Author: Ashish Shukla
Indian Express is breathless in rubbishing the recent speech of Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the Parliament that “democracy in India wasn’t the work of Pt. Nehru….but that it was in ragon (veins) of Indians.” In last one week, Ashutosh Varshney and D.N. Jha have hogged Express’ edit pages to sneer at the Prime Minister and swoon at Pt. Nehru as the reason India has democracy.
We know too well the design of such anti-India forces to blacken our glorious heritage. You call them stooges of Western powers (for whom democracy originated from Greece) or the lackeys of Left (sworn enemies of Hinduism) but never forget the vileness of these forces. They don’t mean good of you or me or our future generations.
Varshney defines democracy as one of elected governments and universal adult suffrage, a typical Western notion. Who are we to tell him that Pt. Nehru’s own mentor, Mahatma Gandhi took a dim view of such a democracy! Gandhi saw better merit in “Republics of Village” – a direct democracy rather than a representative democracy—in which India abounded.
Varshney’s second line of propaganda is that ancient India may have had Councils (Gana or Sangha) through which a King governed but a common citizen had no role to play. Here’s what the eyewitness account of Alexander’s campaign to India in the 4th Century BCE by a Greek historian Arrian states: “ (there were) free and independent Indian communities at every turn”.
Greek writer Diodorus Siculus mentions that he mostly came across cities in India which practiced a democratic form of government.” The reference was from an account of no less than Greek traveler Megasthenes who had covered the entire Northern India and went as far as Patliputra.
Varshney probably hasn’t heard of Kautilya or his Arthashastra in the 4th Century BCE which mentions “janapadas” (Republic) where craftsmen, traders and agriculturalists had their guilds and wealth earned from trade ran the political process.
Panini, in his Sanskrit Classic “Ashtadhyayi” mentions the process of decision-making in politics. He provides various terms for voting and decision making through voting. He also mentions that in these Republics “there was no consideration of high and low.” The Buddhist literature in Pali and Brahmnical literature in Sanskrit portray a complex scenario of different groups managing their own affairs.
Indeed, the non-Monarchical governments in India go back to Vedic times. Rig Veda (10/191/2) mentions that “all resources to all stake-holders must be distributed equally.”
As for Pt. Nehru and his democratic credentials, his very appointment as Prime Minister was as undemocratic method as you could come across in any world annals. Nobody voted for him, yet he was made Prime Minister after majority’s favourite Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel bowed to the tyranny of Mahatma Gandhi.
And before touting for “democratic” Pt. Nehru, Varshney also ought to have informed the readers that the first Prime Minister of India had indeed jailed Majrooh Sultanpuri for his poem which didn’t paint him in golden colours. No wonder, his daughter Indira Gandhi went a step further and imposed Emergency.
So much for “freedom of speech” and “freedom of expression” which Varshney calls essentials in democracy.
(This has also appeared in NewsBred).
Indian cricket is basking under the sunshine from playing fields but the stench from its boardrooms could give a pigs’ colony a fair name.
Ask if you can the Supreme Court-appointed Committee of Administrators (CoA) of whom only two are left –Vinod Rai and Diana Eduljee–why a Rahul Dravid can’t coach an IPL franchisee team while Ricky Ponting, an assistant T20 coach of Australia, is coming over as coach of the Delhi Daredevils outfit.
Or why a Ravi Shastri, the voice of IPL, must not be allowed behind a mike even though Mark Waugh, an Australian selector, is a regular in a commentators’ box during the T20 Big Bash.
A Sunil Gavaskar must shut down the players’ wing of his pioneering Professional Management Group (PMG) if he wants to commentate on IPL and could only look in envy at someone like Michael Vaughan who runs a talent management company and broadcasts on the game unhinged.
The same is true for the support staff of Indian team—Sanjay Bangar, Bharat Arun, R. Sridhar etc—who can’t be a part of IPL even though trainers and masseurs associated with other national teams are allowed to ply their trade in the T20 showpiece.
For heaven’s sake, ask the CoA how they can stop a Sunil Gavaskar from speaking to media even as they cut him in half in the name of “conflict of interest.” Or what’s the “conflict of interest” is when the Indian team’s masseur is massaging the soft tendons of a player during the IPL.
The CoA can’t think beyond the perceived “moonlighting” of its stable. Who are we to tell them that while the world would come over and discuss, learn, share, prepare a dossier on everything related with Indian cricket and cricketers, our very own would be twiddling their thumbs, munching popcorns in front of TVs for two months.
Who are we to tell these foggies that India has a demanding tour of England immediately after the IPL and that the final frontier of Australia beckons in its wake. That the year 2018 could be a defining make-or-break year for a young captain and his young team. Or possibly for Indian cricket for the next decade. That being out of step with technical and technological advancements in a rapidly evolving professional sport, two months could be a lifetime of opportunity lost.
And if we may ask these chumps how there is no “conflict of interest” when a COA Diana Eduljee extends a purse of Rs 15 lakhs to her sister whose achievements are laughable compared to those ignored among Indian women cricketers, as coach Purnima Rau went away alleging.
Why there is no “conflict of interest” when a Sourav Ganguly could head the Cricket Administration of Bengal (CAB) and still be a part of governing council of IPL? Ganguly was commentating during the Champions’ Trophy in England last summer and soon thereafter was interviewing his fellow commentator Virender Sehwag for Indian coach’s job!!!
Trust me, someone like James Sutherland, CEO of Cricket Australia, would be laughing his guts out for he had his son Will Sutherland represent Australia as a vice-captain in the recent Under-19 World Cup in New Zealand without this nonsensical “conflict of interest” hanging over his head.
The Supreme Court last January appointed CoA to implement Lodha Reforms in BCCI within six months but its twice the time over and the bull hasn’t stopped dancing on the shards of a china shop it destroyed in the first place.
The architect of this whimsical and convenient interpretation of “conflict of interest” was no other than anglophile fake historian Ramachandra Guha who was also a part of the CoA appointed by the Supreme Court before he quit last year. Guha, as a rule, runs contrary to the interest of Indian heritage and polity and now has left Indian cricket scarred too.
It’s this supine meekness towards “whites” still running world cricket which stops the CoAs to empathize with our very own. Barring Gavaskar, one couldn’t find any other Indian commentator during the recent Test series in South Africa whereas we bring them over by truckloads in our own domestic tourneys. Every time Indian team comes over to field before play in South Africa the giant TV screen would only unspool their dismissals and humiliations. The Wanderers’ pitch was clearly manipulated on the final day of the Test but not a word of protest has followed from the Indian board. No questions why the Newlands Test wicket wasn’t pulled up by the ICC when the match was over inside three days. One was an eyewitness to the frustration of the Indian team with the practice strips in the lead up to the Wanderers Test a fortnight ago.
The CoAs could swoon at all the zeroes of an IPL broadcast deal overrunning a piece of paper but they would be hard put to explain why its own anti-corruption unit chief accuses BCCI of having no “concern or interest” in fighting graft and corruption in Indian cricket.
You would’ve known the world’s richest cricket body’s website was down for failing to renew their domain of a few hundred rupees this week but you wouldn’t know why you couldn’t watch Indian women, World Cup finalists, thump South Africa in Kimberley by 88 runs in the first of the three ODI series on Monday. There was no live coverage on television or online; no live commentary portals or links to live streams from the match. This while a member of the COA has earned her stripe and present position for being a former Indian women cricketer.
Indian cricket presently is a rudderless ship awaiting the fate of a Titanic and it’s only a matter of time before PILs start crowding the desk of our judiciary seeking redemption.
The Indian cricket is a headless chicken at the moment. Those at the helm have exceeded their brief and tenure and no end is in sight. Going back to the old system appears impossible now. Supreme Court may have had laudable intentions but chaos presently lords over Indian cricket.
The question no longer is that Who RUNS Indian Cricket. Albeit, Who RUINS Indian Cricket. And please don’t ask prizes for guessing.
India Express, the pallbearer, err…flagbearer of Indian Mainstream Media, for two days running on its front page (there would be more Front Pages in coming days, be assured) has gravely stated (in its editorial) how the authorities are browbeating the journalists of this country.
The matter relates to a Tribune story in which one of its reporter could gain access to as many Aadhaar numbers as desired by buying a login and password for only Rs 500 only. Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI), Aadhaar’s regulatory body, in retaliation has gone to police, and lo and behold, all hell has broken loose. Indian Express, along with press bodies and Amnesty International, not to forget the Congress and other opposition skunks, are beating their breasts in mourning.
A few questions to these pall-bearers are in order. Let’s begin with Indian Express. My beloved newspaper, why have you chosen to blank (sic) the statement of Delhi Police of Sunday which could have answered most of your insinuations misleading your innocent readers?
The Police in its official statement has stated that UIDAI had filed a “open-ended” complaint with the former’s cyber cell which the Police later converted into an FIR. Why then defame a regulatory body with a “crime” they never committed? Why hide the facts?
Two, while you cry hoarse and run your throat dry, why not report that the FIR says “unknown” under the column “accused”? Why hide the facts?
When UIDAI hasn’t named Tribune or its reporter as “accused” how could it be an attack on the freedom of the press? Could reporting a sequence of events be construed as an attack on free press?
(We must chip in and be on our feet to applaud the Police. When fake MSMs are misleading the public and avoid/neglect official reactions, the regulatory authorities increasingly are resorting to Social Media, press conferences, advertisements and official statements to convey their side of the story. Way to go, folks).
Three, Indian Express actually should admonish fellow Tribune and its reporter for wasting Rs 500 when the allowed access is only to help personnel/officials address the grievances of citizens. Without security measures—highly encrypted ones—such as biometrics and iris, the newspaper report is not a “data breach” and can only be described as “misreporting” which the UIDAI has dryly noted.
Now let’s come to other jokers. Google practically has no trace of Editors’ Guild of India hard as I tried. No website. All I could do was to find it has just 2 tweets (yes, TWO!) since its’ joining in 2016. Such media-shy body is the custodian of free media in this country. The most my search could yield was a 2014 report which showed Barkha Dutt, Shekhar Gupta, Seema Chisti, Kumar Ketkar among others as its working committee members. And oh yes, Mrinal Pande as its specially invited member.
Indian Express quotes Editors’ Guild extensively and the latter is shown using grave words such as “booked” and “penalized” and “persecuted” when its just an FIR (converted too) and doesn’t name anyone as “accused.” Given the gravitas of this jury if it still happens to be around, you would believe the basic understanding of IPC is not beyond them. Surely, I do trust my washerman to come out with flying colours if he was subjected to such a test.
Such distinguished people ought to ask Indian Express–and themselves—whether betraying paying readers with fake news, and mounting a campaign in its support, amount to “cheating or loot” under the Indian Penal Code.
You also have Indian Women’s Press Corps in protest. Before you express your surprise at what’s our women journos grouse is in this case, you must be told the Tribune reporter happens to be a woman. Next time issues of “triple talaq” and other such matters flicker in your mind, my advisory is don’t look for the reaction of this august body. You see, women with pen aren’t the same as women under burqa.
And oh yes, there is Amnesty International too (Sorry folks, there was no prize for guessing). An important tycoon of “human rights industry.” An organization which is openly accused of being a “servant of US Warmongering Foreign Policy”, a ‘soft-power” of post-War colonialism, is outraged at the UIDAI move to protect its shed.
Let me share a fact-sharing website, Mental Floss, to bring a few truths on Amnesty International to light. The organization was inspired by the arrest of two Portuguese students in 1960 which may never have happened! This very organization had accused Nelson Mandela of promoting violence and didn’t campaign for his release in 1963-64. It concedes it takes money from governments “in some cases.”
Pavan Varma–his snobbery must never be mistaken for gravitas, never homespun but unmistakably Western—writes in Times of India that “fringe” and “mainstream” is one and the same thing when it comes to Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). He gives instances to imply that BJP is promoting sectarian violence, artistic intolerance, rewriting history and imposing public morality.
At the outset, Varma must decide whether he is a “fringe” or “mainstream” of BJP. After all Janata Dal (United) is in power in Bihar because of BJP’s support and Varma is its national general secretary. If BJP is anathema to him, why lounge with them? And conversely, by tolerating a “fringe” like him, doesn’t “mainstream” (BJP) show itself to be different and plural? How “fringe” and “mainstream” then is the same for BJP? Any idea, sirji?
A BJP MP from Maharashtra goes public in his criticism of Narendra Modi and paints the town red. Yet, this “fringe” is never pulled up by the “mainstream.” How would Varma describe this “fringe” and “mainstream” as the same?
Dr Subramaniam Swamy is a Rajya Sabha member because of thinly disguised support of the BJP. Yet, he loses no opportunity to lash out at arguably number two in the BJP government, Arun Jaitley. Why the “fringe” Swamy and the “mainstream” Jaitley aren’t the same in this instance?
In trying to impress his case, Varma treats the questioning on “Taj Mahal” as virtually blasphemy. If the spirit of questioning is met with the same “intolerance” that Varma exhibits then the world would still have been flat and earth still the centre of universe. He has objection to Islamic rule—around 800 years– being called a period of “extreme exploitation, insane barbarism, and unprecedented intolerance. “
Varma, a History student, probably hasn’t heard of Ibn Batuta who gives a contemporary account of 14th century Delhi where decapitated and mutilated bodies are strewn at the door of palace of Sultan, daily. Nor that Batuta was given scores of Hindu sex slave girls for his pleasure. Varma probably has also not heard of historian Will Durant who wrote in his Story of Civilization, “the Mohammedan conquest of India was probably the bloodiest story in history.” Or more contemporary V.S. Naipaul who lamented that Hindu civilization was “mortally wounded” and “ancient Hindu India” was destroyed by these invasions.
Yet Varma wouldn’t allow us the blasphemy of questioning “Taj Mahal” or “Islamic rule.” He has problem with “fringe” Dina Nath Batra on his conviction of ancient India and the “mainstream” Narendra Modi sharing the belief. While modern giants of quantum physics today acknowledges the contribution of Vedas; if a Fields Medal (mathematics Nobel) winner concede that Sanskrit texts and ancient seventh century mathematician Brahmagupta helped his quest, Varma would like us to believe his bogus and compromised intellectualism and not these verified truth. Such moribund persons would still mock at Ram Setu even as modern science is beginning to accept its existence.
Varma would do well to examine the “fringe” and “mainstream” overlapping of Mamata Banerjee in West Bengal or Pinaryi Vijayan in Kerala. We await his verdict on “fringe” Jignesh Mewani and “mainstream” Rahul Gandhi on caste polarization. He can enlighten us with his views on “fringe” abuses of our elected Prime Minister by “mainstream” AAP, SP and BSP leaders.
It’s time our myopic intellectuals get a ball transplant.
(This is a reprint from NewsBred).
There’s been a disquiet in India’s public space over Modi government’s rejection of US President Donald Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s Capital in a United Nations General Assembly resolution recently.
This disquiet has grown to anger after Palestinian envoy in Islamabad was seen in the company of Mumbai attack mastermind and global terrorist Hafiz Saeed in Rawalpindi though a strong protest by India since then has led to envoy’s recall to home by the Palestinian Authority.
The erudite supporters of Prime Minister Narendra Modi are questioning why he would stand with the Palestinian cause and vote against US, and Israel, having worked so hard to get both of them eating out of his hand lately.
Modi had become the first Indian Prime Minister to visit Israel in July 2017 and the latter’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is due to visit India in the first fortnight of the new year.
Israel’s support in the realm of technology, agriculture, security and defense has ramped up significantly in recent times and Trump misses no opportunity to gush over India and its leader.
The rabid supporters of BJP are aghast why their government would stand by “ungrateful” Muslims while it’s erudite patrons are questioning why New Delhi didn’t abstain from voting as 35 others had done.
Adding to the chill is US ambassador to UN Nikki Haley’s crude words “…this vote will make a difference…on how we look at countries who disrespect us in the UN.” Trump threatened to cut down funds to those who opposed him and Netanyahu called the UN a “a house of lies.”
The truth is, India did everything right on all three counts which should matter for the country: beneficial, practical and moral.
About 19 per cent of India’s total world trade is accounted for in the Middle East (as compared to nearly 1 per cent with Israel) which ought to halt in track the juggernaut of criticism. Such scales of benefit could only be denied by fools, if not blind.
The practical takeaways, if anything, are bigger. US has fallen flat on its face in West Asia and its strategy to sow discord and anarchy through Iraq invasion and conduits for the growth of Islamic State (IS) has been successfully reversed by Russia, in alliance with Iran, Syria and Hezbollah. So much so that even a traditional US supporter Turkey is on the opposite side of the fence.
The vacuum of US in the Middle East would soon be filled up by Russia in alliance with China which is using its typical trade and infrastructure growth route to look for strategic stranglehold in the region. India would be foolish to be seen standing in opposition to the new Big Boys in the region. India can’t overlook the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) too which would encircle it in an iron clasp more so since China is parking itself on ports of Sri Lanka. Letting go of West Asia at this stage would be a suicide, no less.
By rejecting the Trump’s move on Jerusalem, India is also letting the world know of its independence lest it be seen as a US lackey. It would earn India respect and a sense among its friends that it’s a principled ally. Further, India can’t allow itself to be bound by Trump’s often hasty and boorish decisions.
Absentation would’ve been a paper umbrella—only giving the notion of protection against a downpour. It would still have earned a scorn from the free world, without quite endearing it to US or Israel. Worse, it could’ve emboldened them to see if they could kick around India in future.
India’s decision to stand on its moral compass would draw a host of lesser nations in its orbit. Forget criticism, Modi government’s move deserves a standing ovation.
To brush up history for the uninitiated, Israel has been controlling the eastern Jerusalem since the 1967 six-day war. It’s being sought by the Palestinians as the capital for its future state.
(This report has also appeared on NewsBred).
Union minister of state Anantkumar Hegde’s remarks that “BJP had come to power to change the Constitution” and that it would “do so in the near future” made Shashi Tharoor quote RSS ideologues and their supposed hostility to the Indian Constitution. Shekhar Gupta, on whose website the article appeared yesterday, tweeted that ‘the cat is out of the bag.” These two oily characters, both literally and figuratively, have long been damn annoying with their selective truths.
Tharoor threshes out quotes from the works of former RSS supremo M.S. Golwalkar and Deen Dayal Upadhyay to show their disapproval of Indian Constitution. The insinuation is that our holy grail, the Indian Constitution, is not safe under the present dispensation of BJP and its fountainhead, RSS.
Only if Tharoor could explain to us that why in their decade-long years in government (1998-2004 and 2014 onwards), BJP has made no amendment—NO AMENDMENT WHATSOEVER—on the religious statutes of the Constitution? Surely, if this is their hidden agenda, they would’ve made a move to change the status-quo.
If Tharoor could explain to us why a political party with the so-called “Hindutva” agenda is seen as a pro-Capitalist party, swearing by “development” and being no activist, unfortunately, on the issues of cultural heritage?
If we could be explained why all the BJP election manifestos since 1980 have asserted the right of legal equality regardless of religion?
If Tharoor could throw light on why the introduction of Uniform Civil Code would be such a bad thing to do?
Or why amendment in Article 30 is not desirable which allows minorities to set up schools, have religion-centric curriculum and get government funds to boot while denying the same to Hindu majority?
Or for that matter Article 25 which allows “propagation” of one’s religion, knowing fully well that Hinduism doesn’t have a tradition of proselytization while Islam and Christianity do. As Dr. Koenraad Elst says: “It’s like giving wolves and sheep the equal liberty to eat each other.” [i]
Or why Article 370 must not be amended which doesn’t allow non-Kashmiri Indians from acquiring property and citizenship in J and K state? Why such a measure, conceived and executed with the understanding that it was only temporary, be allowed to continue to damage the fabric of one nation?
That why under Article 26 Hindus do not have the fundamental right to maintain institutions for religious or charitable purposes, as interpreted by the Supreme Court (Shri Adi Vishveshvara of the Kashi Vishvanath temple vs Uttar Pradesh case)? [ii] Why Christians and Muslims can manage their own place of worship but the Hindus’ religious institutions have been taken-over by the state governments?
What about the discrimination against Hindus while Minorities Finance Corporation are functional in almost all the states of India? Or the 1992 Minorities Commission Act in a nation which is avowedly secular? Or the Hindu Code Bill while personal laws of a minority can’t be amended without their approval or initiative? Why religion-based personal laws which continue to flout the Article 44 of the Constitution which is for Uniform Civil Code?
(In passing, let me throw a Golwalkar quote to sober up Tharoor on his hysteria: “Let the Muslims evolve their own laws. I will be happy when they arrive at the conclusion that polygamy is not good for them, but I would not like to force my views on them,” said Golwalkar. [iii] So much for RSS and BJP’s “Hindutva” mission !).
Critics like Tharoor can only go back to Golwalkar and Deen Dayal Upadhyay who have been dead for nearly half a century. In the intervening period, the likes of Tharoor can’t get hold of any stick to beat BJP and RSS with. This in itself is a proof of BJP’s development “sabka saath, sabka vikaas” plank.
Tharoor won’t tell that Golwalkar was a spiritual leader—who almost became a Shankaracharya—and was completely anti-political. Golwalkar never warmed up to Hindu Mahasabha’s political goals. As for Deen Dayal Upadhyay, Tharoor would’ve done well to point out the merit of former’s “Integral Humanism” which is BJP’s core philosophy.
Wish Tharoor someday would write and Gupta would publish the former’s views on 42nd Amendment which inserted the word “secular” in the Constitution when all the opposition was in jail and it’s clearance in Parliament was no better than a joke on democracy.
[i] Dr Koenraad Elst, Decolonizing the Hindu Mind, Page 230
[ii] Dr Koenraad Elst, Decolonizing the Hindu Mind, Page 241
[iii] Andersen and Damle: Brotherhood in Saffron, Page 83
Pavan K. Varma, member of JD (U), usually hedges his bets quite nicely but his edit piece in Times of India on Saturday (December 9, 2017) deserves a considered rebuttal.
Basically, Varma praises Jawaharlal Nehru (“Scientific Humanist”) and Mahatma Gandhi (“Catholic spirit”) for the India that should be; and slams the “deliberate communalization by the “Hindutva” brigade.
Varma pompously terms it a “malevolent design.” He writes that such forces “know very little about what Hinduism is.” Therefore, “Hinduism needs to be reclaimed…from rampant bigotry.”
Since Varma knows so much about “Being Indian”, having written a book by this title, he needs be told what Nehru thought of Indians while seeking permission from his father to shift from Cambridge to Oxford in England: “Cambridge is becoming too full of Indians.” [i]
As for his praise of Gandhi for the “Catholic spirit”, Varma needs be asked if it’s the same “Catholic spirit” which makes a Pope condemn the attempts of US-based protestant missions in Latin America but show his double standards by keeping silent on Catholic missions in India?
Is it the same “Catholic Spirit” he has in his mind when he surveys Church buildings standing on the debris of Hindu Temples in South India? [ii] Hasn’t Varma read the Niyogi Committee Report on Christian conversions? Isn’t he aware that Catholic church by itself could be the biggest owner or real estate in India? On a historical scale, does Varma has any recollection of Church condemning colonialism? Would he deliberate the Holocaust could be the result of centuries of Christian anti-Jewish stance? Does he remember Christianity’s oppression of Pagans?
Indeed, European landscape is studded with churches containing false relics of false saints to whom false martyrdom is attributed. [iii]
Now, let’s return to Mahatma Gandhi which Varma praises for his “respect for all religions.” Does Varma remember that Gandhi had made the last-ditch proposal to Jinnah to accept Muslim/non-Muslim parity in Parliament, making one Muslim equal to three non-Muslims? (As an aside, how could Gandhi who has “respect for all religions” be praised for his “Catholic spirit”? Too bad, Mr Varma for using a communal brush on your hero.)
Varma calls out Hindutva forces for communalization in this country. Doesn’t he know that it was Hindutva forces who opposed communal electorates and recruitment quota which Congress had endorsed in pre-Independent India? Doesn’t he know that Hindus can never be fundamentalist because this concept belongs to Biblical-Quaranic traditions? And that Hindu scriptures are universally acknowledged repository of plurality?
We all know, as I am sure Varma does, that words such as “secularism” and “Hindu communalism” were made popular by Nehru. But did Nehru, his other hero, ever say a word about Muslim League which was a reincarnation of “communalism?”
Let’s now take up Varma’s diatribe against the Hindutva forces, which as I infer, is Rashstriya Swamsewak Sangh (RSS) and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
In RSS’ official statements, the notion of a “Hindu state” is totally absent. Every BJP member, on joining the party has to take the solemn pledge of “Sarva Dharma Sambhav.” That, “I subscribe to the concept of a secular state and nation not based on religion.”
In the RSS literature of the last 60-odd years, “not a single derogatory word or expression towards Christ, Biblical teachings, Prophets of the Bible, Mohammad Paigambar or Koran, or pilgrimage to the Holy Land Jerusalem or Mecca, or about anything which is purely religion,” has been mentioned. [iv]
The BJP election manifesto clearly states that “diversity is an inseparable part of India’s past and present national tradition.”
Varma would never condemn the curious fact that media never mentions the service aspect of RSS. He wouldn’t mention that Hindu India has no history of book-burning, of executing heretics or throwing dissidents to lunatic asylums. Does he remember that it was Hindus’ India which gave shelter to Christian refugees in 345AD and never took that protection away?
Varma in his editorial piece slams Hindutva forces for the “vitriolic politics” on Ram Mandir-Babri Masjid dispute even when the “dispute” is before the Supreme Court. Varma would do well to tell his readers that dispute is not about Mandir or Masjid. The High Court had already awarded Mandir to Hindu litigants. What the Hindu litigants are demanding is the entire land and not one-third of it. Besides, who began the Ayodhya issue? Wasn’t it “janeu-dhari” and “Shiv-bhakt” Rahul Gandhi and the blundering Kapil Sibal?
Wasn’t it Lal Krishna Advani who noted in a BJP Today editorial (16.11.97) that “non-Hindu” luminaries such as VS Naipual and Nirad C. Chaudhuri had justified the Babri demolition and that it was Advani himself who “still regretted the manner in which this happened” ?
Would the intellectual Varma offer us a clue why even after 25 years of Babri demolition, neither he nor his friends in Lutyens’ Media have attempted to find out the real culprits? Surely such forces which can dig up every cent being credited to the Jan Dhan accounts can do the job.
I do not know if Varma is a socialist or Marxist. But I do remember this popular saying about the misfortune of Hindus and their cultural heritage. “Hindus have been facing a sustained attack from Islam since the seventh, Christianity since the 15th and the Marxists since the 20th century.”
[i] – Joseph Shattan: Review of Stanley Wolpert’s book, “Nehru: A Tryst with Destiny, in American Spectator, February 1997
[ii] Decolonizing the Hindu Mind by Dr. Koenraad Elst, Page 273
[iii] Decolonizing the Hindu Mind by Dr. Koenraad Elst, Page 277
[iv] Christianity in India, by Sreepaty Sastry, Page 18
Osaduddin Owaisi, a Muslim hardliner known for his legal wordplay, was brought to his knees by the combine of Times Now’s Rahul Shivshankar and BJP spokesperson Dr. Sudhanshu Trivedi on Ayodhya issue on Tuesday night debate.
Owaisi’s spacious argument was that Kapil Sibal was representing Sunni Waqf Board in the Supreme Court in the capacity of a lawyer and not from Congress; similarly as Ravi Shankar Prasad and Arun Jaitley have represented their respective clients in the past even though they are the members of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
(The same argument was stressed by Congress spokesperson Randeep Surjewala, chewing his words more than in his usual irritating style and flashing documents as Moses might have recounted the 10 Commandments in Exodus 20).
“But then why make a political argument that the Ayodhya hearing be postponed till after the ’19 General Elections? Doesn’t it show him (Sibal) as a political front of Congress? Why not stick to legal recourse? Doesn’t it show a lack of faith in India’s top judiciary?” Owaisi was questioned. Losing his cool by the minute, Owaisi said he didn’t fear as much Hindutva revivalism as Hindutva and the effect a majoritarian rule could have as it happened in (Nazi) Germany.
While Dr. Trivedi made a pertinent point on Hindu philosophy (“We have instances of one brother following another in the Forest; a heir-apparent abandoning his right on kingdom bowing to wishes of his father—unlike other faiths where son kills father and brother kills brother”), Owaisi’s sly reference to Germany needs a rebuttal. This is the last recourse Hindu-baiters employ to paint them as “Hindu fascist/Nazi forces.”
Since very few of us have the time or energy to verify these allegations, they acquire kind of a life of its own. Such a narrative would become more and more dominant till the next General Elections in 2019. It must be confronted with hard facts time and again.
Owaisi, who was dubbed by author Taslima Nasreen as a Muslim Extremist, is not alone in this fake tirade.
Communist leader Sitaram Yechury renamed RSS as Saffron Shirts (even though the RSS uniform has no saffron) or SS in a sly reference to Hitler’s dreaded paramilitary group. [i] Sonia Gandhi and other Congress leaders have done so in the past. [ii]
In Adolf Hitler’s Mein Kampf, the word Hindu or any term for any specifically Hindu concept, does not figure anywhere. “India” figures only twice.
As for the adoption of Swastika (or hooked cross) as party symbol, it was Hitler’s attempt to counter Communist “hammer and sickle” as a logo of his own party. It bore no resemblance to Hindu’s quest for inner control from one of his of outward physical dominance. [iii]
Further, there is no Hindutva theory on race purification, no biological divergence of the Hindu-Muslim conflict and no Hindu programme on eugenics.
Still, the Hindu-haters attempts have persisted all along. At the time of Ayodhya history debate in 1990-91, VHP-mandated scholars had mentioned a 19th century Germany archaelogist Dr. A. Fuhrer to further their claims. Quickly enough, the vicious propaganda turned it into an evidence of VHP’s admiration for the Fuhrer!
Owaisi need be told that if anything, the Muslim League before Independence was viewed to have a similar outlook on Hitler and Nazi Germany by none other than Jawaharlal Nehru, as mentioned by BR Nanda in his book, Gandhi and his Critics :
“When Nehru returned after a brief visit to Europe in 1938, he was struck by the similarity between the propaganda methods of the Muslim League in India and the Nazis in Germany.”
Nanda wrote further that “the league leaders had begun to echo the Fascist tirade against democracy…Nazis were wedded to a negative policy. So also was the League. The League was anti-Hindu, anti-Congress, anti-national…the Nazis raised the cry of hatred against the Jews; the League had raised its cry against the Hindus.” [iv]
Though this piece is not about Hindu-Muslim viewpoints, it must be said in passing that the RSS and Hindutva forces, against whom Owaisi mouths his venom, have never commented on the intrinsic value of Islam as a religion even though by popular admission, Islam is narrower, more regimented and less freer than Hinduism.
For example, Muslim countries are less repentant about having treated non-Muslims under their rule as a lower class of human beings. Such has been the case against the Hindus in Pakistan and Bangladesh.
Thousands of Christians were killed in Indonesia, in East Timor and in Sudan; substantial Copts were killed by Muslims in Egypt; Algerian Islamicists targeted Catholic priests in 1990s. Christian natives too have committed since against Hindus in Fiji but neither any Muslim or Christian country is ever termed as Fascist/Nazis. (Thanks to Dr. Koenraad Elst for these facts).
Communists have killed far more people in numbers than Hitler ever did. Did British colonial powers kill less number of Indians than Hitler ever did in his Holocaust?
Yet, the tag of being Fascist/Nazis has never been applied against an Islamic or Christian country after World War II. Hinduism, in contrast, is tolerant and accommodating, never looking for outward expansion, and thus an easy target for this tirade.
Those who call Hindutva as Fascists or Nazis, ironically are clearly in alliance with ideologies whose record against Humanity leaves much to be desired: Communism and Islamism.
I conclude this piece with a delicious chuckle: all these secularist champions—who fear-monger about supposed Hindu fascism—need be told that Hitler himself was a secularist!
The European history of the last half-millennium has shown that modernity (Renaissance, Enlightenment, French and American Revolution, French Third Republic etc) has gone hand-in-hand with secularization. Hitler too had continued with the secular policies of Bismarck’s Kulturkampf. All along, Hitler had kept religions in its place.
i] Pseudo-Hinduism Exposed, CPI (M), Delhi, 1993, Page 1
[ii] The Saffron Swastika, Dr. Koenraad Elst, Page 28
[iii] The Swastika, Malcolm Quinn, Page 129
[iv] Gandhi and his Critics by BR Nanda, Page 88
Indian Express in its second lead on front page on Thursday have twisted itself into a tangle. Its’ murder of logic is something which Agatha Christie or Sherlock Holmes (or our own Col. Vinod) would utterly fail to solve.
Its’ Ayodhya story has so many loose ends that its multiple writers (the creditline is: Express News Service) could win world championship in “Fake News” but to pass them off as journalists is only possible in most creepy and insane mental asylum. And to think somebody actually cleared the copy and decorated the Front Page with it is Ripley’s textbook material. Such scripts can present the whodunit movie makers a guaranteed blockbuster.
The 1000-word gorilla of a story essentially tries to prove that Kapil Sibal was representing an individual client and not UP Sunni Waqf Board and the guy (Haji Mehboob) who snubbed Sibal on his unprompted remark “postpone-Ayodhya-hearing-till-July 2019” was not a member of the board.
Readers can read the entire Express story in this link and then most possibly would join me in posing a set of questions to the newspaper:
(a) Even if Sibal is representing this individual client Iqbal Ansari (this guy must be rich to afford Sibal), his remarks have been disowned by Ansari himself. So whose case is Mr Sibal fighting? (our guess is Congress. Express could’ve asked even “piddi” to get this answer).
(b) Express quotes a lawyer of the UP Sunni Waqf Board for claiming Haji Mehboob is not its member. It then quotes Mehboob for having met Sibal in Delhi three days ago. In what capacity? (for as per Express Sibal-Waqf Board-Haji Mehboob are all unrelated).
(c) Express states that Mehboob replaced his father as a defendant in the Ayodhya case. Who’s the father? Express doesn’t make an effort to clarify.
(d) Express brings All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) to buttress its story with this quote in support of Sibal. “…it was not the right time to take up the matter for final hearing.” But who’s AIMPLB? Isn’t the body in question in UP Sunni Waqf Board? Why not speak to them and find out whether they had authorized Sibal’s views or not?
(e) For a moment, let’s admit AIMPLB is legitimate body to comment. Shouldn’t Express have asked them how they arrived at the conclusion that the “right time” has to be after July 2019?
(f) Could it be that Express wasn’t able to access Sunni Waqf Board? But then how was it able to lay hand on one of its Advocates-on-Record and quote him extensively without asking the primary question: What’s UP Sunni Waqf Board stance?
(g) What are readers supposed to make sense when it reads from other sources that UP Sunni Waqf Board chairman Zufar Ahmed Farooqi has said: “none of the members supported the view that the case be deferred.” (Express can claim it couldn’t get Farooqi on record. But would it carry Sunni Waqf Board’s views next day?)
Express then states that Modi has “picked up” the Sibal quote and goes on extensively to quote the latter, allowing him to offer his defence.
Sibal predictably lays into BJP and Prime Minister Narendra Modi, accusing them of having no principle in politics. He outlines the virtues of Congress and how it wants unity in the country. His grouse against employment, exports, GDP situation in the country is allowed full vent.
But Express fails to ask Sibal a basic question: Who do you think you were representing? Neither UP Sunni Waqf Board nor your independent client has supported your comment. If indeed you are present in the hearing as a lawyer and not as a politician, why colour the legal proceedings with apprehensions on political fallout in 2019 General Elections?
Express doesn’t ask some basic questions in this story. All it does is to sweat and put Sibal and Sunni Waqf Board in separate pigeon holes and labours to make them appear in better light.
The attempt is a massive flop. And even its diehard fans are asking: How come “journalism of courage” has turned into “gutter of journalism?”
(This is a reprint from NewsBred)
While India celebrates its Navy Day (December 4), let’s do a remembrance to The Royal Indian Navy (RIN) Mutiny of 1946 which left colonial masters Britain with no choice but to leave India.
That there is little mention of this momentous event in Indian historiography is a striking indictment of establishment run by Congress who had betrayed this spectacular mass uprising in that heady week of February (18-23).
British Prime Minister Clement Attlee accepted three weeks later that “the tide of nationalism is running very fast in India.” Britain had always feared united mass movements in India and RIN Mutiny was one such where Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs and Parsees had come under one banner. Indian masses came out on streets in support and hundreds spilled their blood on the street.
Salman Rushdie’s 1995 novel The Moor’s Last Sigh describes these momentous events on the streets of Bombay, through one of its character, thus:
“In February 1946, when Bombay, that super epic motion picture of a city, was transformed overnight into a motionless tableau by the great naval and landlubber strikes, when ships did not sail, steel was not milled, textile mills neither warped nor woofed, and in the movie studios there was neither turnover nor cut—the 21-year-old Aurora began to zoom around the paralyzed towns in his curtained Buick, directing her driver Hanuman to the heart of the act, or rather of all that great inaction, being set down outside factory gates and dockyards, venturing alone into the slum city of Dharavi, the rum-dens of Dhobi Talao, and the neon flesh pots of Falkland Road, armed only with a folding wooden stool and a sketchbook.
“Opening them both up, she set about capturing history in charcoal.”
Remember your history books and historians, your glorified political leaders and their progenies, all your Independence and Republic Day celebrations and after you’ve read of this great betrayal, don’t muffle but air-rend your full-throated cry which sends shockwave through this land of ours and warn these enemies “Not now and never again.”
And tell your children: “you would read history as it happened and not as it was doctored to us.”
The World War II had caused RIN to expand massively. It was 10 times larger than in 1939. Young men were enlisted in tens of thousands. Moving around the world, they could see the fire of nationalism against colonialism sweeping around the world. As these young men were hailed as liberators in Greece, Burma, Indo-China, Indonesia, Italy. It was logical they asked themselves: Why not India be free now?
The myth of British supremacy was receding. These young men could see how European forces were wilting across Asia under the Japanese aggression. The Indian National Army (INA) of Subhas Chandra Bose had captured their imagination. The trials of those arrested brethrens and their humiliation had filled the natives in armed forces and on streets with revulsion and anger.
In January 1946, the airmen of Royal Air Force mutinied as a harbinger to the eventually bigger revolt. They seized the signaling equipment and spread their message to other servicemen. From Karachi, the agitation spread to places as far as Kanpur to Singapore. The navymen were demanding delisting from the services. They were unwilling for fresh battles in Indonesia on behalf of the Dutch government as well as war in Vietnam, then under the rule of the French colonial government. The hands of British government were forced.
Meanwhile, trials of INA officers were on at the Red Fort. A young naval Rating (enlisted officer), Balai Chandra Dutt, posted on HMIS Talwar in Bombay, began painting the ships and dockyard walls with messages in its support. HMIS Talwar had 1500 officers and ratings and was the second largest training center in the whole British Empire. In the recollections, titled “Mutiny of the Innocent”, the mutineers detailed the squalor on board, the poor quality of food and the racism of British officers.
The mutineers first took out peaceful processions in Bombay, holding an image of Subhas Bose aloft. Chief Commanding Officer (CO) King called the rebellious “you son of bitches” and “sons of bloody junglees.” Rebels responded by deflating his car. The events of dockyards in Mumbai spread like a wildfire across the country. Ratings set up a INA Relief Fund and posted letters against CO King. On February 17, when the ratings again pressed their demand for good food, British officers called them “beggars.” This was the last straw.
On February 18th morning, 1500 ratings staged a protest in the mess. They also declared: “This is not a mere food riot. We are about the create history…a heritage of pride for free India.” A Naval Central Strike Committee (NCSC) was formed which decided to take over the RIN and place it in the command of national leaders. (That’s right!, they wanted India’s political class to be their guide and guardians).
The formal list of demands called for release of INA’s POWs and naval detainees, withdrawal of troops from Indonesia and Egypt, equal status of pay and allowances and quality Indian food. It also formally asked the British to quit India.
The strike soon spread to other naval establishments around the country. At its peak, 78 ships, 20 shore establishments an 20,000 ratings were involved in the uprising. HMS Talwar was coordinating the mutiny through signal communication equipment on its board.
Indian Naval personnel now began offering left-handed salutes to British officers. The orders of British superiors were ignored or defied. In Madras and Poona, the British garrisons faced unrest by the Indian Army. Widespread rioting began from Karachi to Calcutta. The joint banners of INA, Indian National Congress, Muslim League and Communist Party of India were hoisted on board HMIS Talwar.
Sadly, instead of support, the Indian National Congress condemned their actions. Mahatma Gandhi criticized the mutineers for revolting without any guidance from a political party. The Muslim League too denounced the mutineers, arguing that protests should be through constitutional methods alone.
Sensing that the political leaders were not supporting the uprising, the British government moved in for the kill. Admiral Godfrey tricked NCSC into returning to their respective ships and barracks. Within an hour, Godfrey had the army surround these barracks. Realizing they had been betrayed, NCSC got ready for open battle The NCSC appealed: “You, our people and our respected political leaders come to our aid…you must support us.”
But the political leaders could sense the dilution of their political authority in this mutiny. Never one consisting of mass leaders and made up mostly of elites, these political leaders had always been uncomfortable in face of a mass uprising. The Congress asked the people “to go about their work as usual.”
But the masses were now ready to defy their political leaders. Thousands of civilians brought milk, fruits, bread, vegetables and cooked food for the starving ratings to the Gateway of India. The ratings came by motorboats to collect the offerings. Hindu, Muslim and Iranian shops opened their eateries and asked the masses to take whatever they could for the suffering ratings. The Indian soldiers on duty didn’t stop them.
The city of Bombay went on strike on February 22. The public transport system was shut down; trains were burnt; roads were blocked; shops were closed. Eleven military trucks were torced. The city came to a grinding halt.
With no assistance from either the Congress or the Muslim League, the mutineers were doomed. British army and air bombers began closing in. At this stage, Congress assured the mutineers their grievances would be looked into. That they won’t be victimized. Jinnah asked the Muslim ratings to surrender. That sealed the fate of the mutiny.
Meanwhile, Bombay continued to burn the next day, February 23. The army responded with indiscriminate firing. In just two days, 229 civilians and 3 policemen had died. Over 1000 people and 91 policemen/soldiers had been injured.
The ratings were court-martialled. More than 500 ratings were kept in Mulund (Bombay) and in Maliar (Karachi) in abominable conditions. They were dismissed and later sent home. Only in 1973 did the Indian government recognized a few as freedom fighters. Most claims for pensions were not responded to. Only in the 1990s, two of the navy’s tugboats were named after BC Dutt and Madan Singh.
In 2001, the uprising was commemorated with a statue in Colaba—a recognition which came more than half a century late!!!
Such is the story of great betrayal of Royal Naval Mutiny of 1946 by India’s political leaders. When 100s of ratings suffered in Mulund camp, nobody spoke up for them.
It’s time we pay our respect and homage to those braves who concluded their mutiny with the words: “Our strike has been a historic event in the life of our nation. For the first time the blood of men in the Services and in the streets flowed together in a common cause. We in the Services will never forget this. We know also that you, our brothers and sisters, will not forget. Long live our great people. Jai Hind.”
We would never forget it: And repeat this great event of bravery to our children.
Time to take a vow.