We all know Supreme Court was mocked disdainfully by the citizens on Deepawali as firecrackers dinned in our ears till wee hours next day. There was no adherence to time slots; no indulgence by stealth; a few selfies in social media of individuals standing over the bomb-scraps as a hunter would over a sprawled killed tiger.
This was a serious matter. The vaporous, poisonous air of the Capital was unlikely to get better. The long arm of law loomed big. Spending the Festival of Lights behind a cold, bleak and dark lock-up isn’t quite one’s idea of an adventure. Yet here were citizens thumbing their nose in disdain; preferring faith over law.
Police, it would appear, had given up on enforcement long before it was breached by millions. How do you patrol lanes and streets; verandahs or terraces? Only when fellow residents complained about violating neighbours, did the cops reluctantly hauled themselves up for action. Ignoring a breach was tantamount to risking their own jobs.
The citizens apparently have drawn a line in the sand. They risked legal censure, incarceration, a possible blot on their careers. But let nobody, not even the supreme judicial whip of the land, come between them and their faith.
Even Lutyens’ media couldn’t ignore the masses’ contumacy. Hindustan Times made it a lead story of their edition aptly headlining “Ban Goes Up In Smoke…”. The Times of India too made it the day’s biggest headline, “Most Flout…” The Hindu noted in headline: “Supreme Court restrictions on crackers violated.”
Indian Express was another matter. It chose the story of stray arrests over people’s defiance. Not a line in their front-page story mentioned of grave violation of Supreme Court order by the masses. All they did was to report how many were booked for violation of the ban across the country. As if to warn its readers that they would be literally playing with fire next year; as if to engulf them by a sense of fear. What ought to have been a moment of reflection for them, or judiciary for violating people’s faith, was lost in the enthusiasm to show the punitive arm of the state.
Indian Express ought to have paid heed to their former editor Shekhar Gupta who slammed the judiciary for coming between the people and their faith. In trying to enforce what is un-enforceable. “Do you really see police in our various states entering households, arresting and prosecuting people,” wrote Gupta, admittedly in the wake of Sabrimala, no different from Deepawali in legal crosshair.
So complex, traditional and long-held are the beliefs of millions that Supreme Court is best adviced to leave citizens alone on the matter of religion. Upholding the Constitution on gender equality and grave societal matters is one thing; wading into centuries-long faith is quite another. One shouldn’t come at the cost of the other. And as we know from last year, banning firecrackers didn’t help the Capital’s poisonous air. The known reasons—stubble burning, construction, sand-debris bearing trucks, car emissions—remain unattended. That sends the wrong message of being selective in fight against pollution. More so when the ban, barring a small window of two hours, was not for Delhi NCR alone but covered the entire country.
All this does is to undermine the authority of the judiciary. Judiciary against citizens has only one winner. More so when whispers start gaining volume that Hindus are under a sustained attack on their faith and practices in their own land.
Deepawali, a joyous festival, is second to none in a Hindu calendar, carrying an ethical lesson on good lording over the evil in the form of their supreme deity, Ram. Tragically, the news in newspapers is about seizing of firecrackers, violations and arrests, with the same sense of foreboding as bomb-attacks in our cities, seizures of cache of rifles, machine guns or handcuffed terrorists. It’s a classic case of solutions being worse than the malady.
It’s only for their own good that Indian National Congress stop shouting hollow the “corruption” charge against Narendra Modi and his ministers in the garb of Rafale. Such charges may get an echo from your very own drummer boys and girls in media but is self-defeating. Mercenaries can do a lot of things but don’t appeal to logic. First, you dream a self-image; then pay the pen-pushers to give words to it; and then read and believe it. How stupid could you get?
Only, if they were to ask average readers, three questions would be thrown back at them: (1) Who made the charge (2) Why’s the charge; (3) What’s the follow-up?
So (a) Congress and opposition has made the charge; (b) the charge is of inflated bills for Rafale jets; and (c) err…no follow-up!!!
No follow-up? You mean no cases filed against corrupt ministers? No CBI, ED, Income Tax inquiries? No request for midnight anticipatory bails?
You see what I am leading to? Just imagine the picture: Rahul Gandhi in a residential colony of Delhi, say Safdarjung, asking a housewife on Rafale and being shot back at with these three questions. How do you think he would reply???
Let’s say Gandhi is carrying the clippings from Lutyens Media, The (pants on) Fire, Hugpost, TheScowl, ThePint, TheSquint as his file of defence. He dramatically pulls them out and says: yeh dekho, yeh dekho aur yeh bhi dheko!!! All can’t be wrong!
Oh, so it’s going to the chambers of our very own defence minister? But then she’s only be around 10 months? Why 10 months, even in the entire four-plus years of NDA, we haven’t heard of any corruption charge against any Central minister? Be it Union, minister of state or Independents in the Centre. No mid-night bail dramas, no-anticipatory reliefs. And you mean we have a corrupt government in the Centre?
How do you think Rahul Gandhi would reply? When names such as Sushma Swaraj, Rajnath Singh, Nitin Gadkari, Piyush Goyal, Smriti Irani, Ravishankar Prasad, Prakash Javedkar, Jayant Sinha, Kirren Rijju, Nirmala Sitharaman, Manohar Parikkar, Rajyavardhan Rathore, Suresh Prabhu or Manoj Sinha are taken aloud in his face? How do you think he would react to this question: “Mr Gandhi, none of the above in the eyes of neutral citizens of this country are seen as corrupt. Not even by the media you quote. On the contrary, we know you and your mother are on a bail; your brother-in-law’s company is fighting 18 fraud cases; your pre-eminent minister Chidambaram and his son are anticipating arrests, etc. What makes you think we believe you?”
That’s the whole point: Corruption and this Modi government don’t connect. Insinuations are not charges. Claims are no evidence. Shouting is no logic. Especially when said by a voice which must end with a hug or a wink. A person who flies abroad while his party is bloodied on a political turf; a “young” leader whose’ voice on social media don’t seem to be his very own.
Let’s bring another relevant issue to the debate. Just google “Modi Arrogant.” You would have many of the above suspects voicing in unison: YES. That he is a dictator. He has reduced everybody to rubber-stump in the Cabinet etc.
Tell me frankly, do men like Gadkari, Rajnath, Goyal or Prasad look like errand-boys to you? Sushma, Nirmal and Smriti house-attendants? Rijju, Rathore, Parrikkar or Prabhus lawn-makers? Haven’t they carved out respect in the eyes of the people due to their hard work and integrity? Haven’t they survived because they are competent and not because they fear “Dictator Modi.”
Congress and its’ echo-chamber today is completely divorced from reality. Such antics are only good to fool yourself. That’s like you are spot-running, going nowhere. If I was Rahul Gandhi, I would take a sabbatical, withdraw from this heat of the battle, go on a personal, physical “Discovery of India.” Know real men, know real India, know real issues. That’s what the original Gandhi did. That’s what our present so-far-dummy Gandhi must do.
Kapil Sibal, former telecom minister in the UPA government, in an Oped article in Times of India (May 2, 2017) today, has urged “Asli Hindus” to distance themselves from Hindutva which, in his view, is nothing but fundamentalism in the name of Hinduism and mirrors intolerance, casteism and a sedition-happy government.
The trouble is Sibal saying so is like the devil quoting from the scriptures. He was the father of the notorious amended 66A section of the IT Act under UPA which could land anyone in jail for three years for “offensive” tweets. Anyone arrested had to apply for a bail under this cognizable offence.
The need for this draconian measure was to crush dissent against the corruption in the UPA government. A Jadavpur University Professor, Ambikesh Mohapatra, was arrested in April 2011 for merely forwarding on email a cartoon on Mamata Banerjee. Similarly, cartoonist Assem Trivedi, in solidarity with Anna Hazare’s crusade against corruption, was arrested and had to shut-down his website.
This was like an Emergency; a true muzzling of freedom of speech and expression. In the end, Supreme Court had to step in and squash the amended 66A Act, terming it “unconstitutional.”
This “unconstitutional” move went all the way up to your door, Mr. Sibal. It isn’t like Una, Dadri or Alwar where Modi government is being dragged for no role of their own.
Indeed, such outrageous were your moves and utterances as a minister, that Supreme Court had to intervene once again and bring the guilty to book. I of course am referring to the 2G Scam. It was you, as telecom minister, who rubbished all the investigations under the 2G spectrum scam, be it of Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG), CBI, Justice Shivraj Patil report, or by the one of telecom regulator, TRAI. You even made the absurd claim that your predecessor A. Raja’s spectrum allocation in 2008 caused no loss to the exchequer!!! It was only after Supreme Court bristled in anger that you had to buckle down. It’s a reminder to you readers that 2G scam was worth 170,000 crores.
After such a “distinguished” record as one against the dissent or contempt for authorities such as CAG and TRAI, don’t you think your moral stances are a little facile? Do I need to remind you of the “intolerance” of Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru against iconic poet Majrooh Sultanpuri who was put behind bars in Arthur Jail Road in Mumbai for a year for a rebellious poem penned by him? The poem went something like this:
“Aman kaa jhandaa is dharti pe
kisney kahaa lahraane na paae
ye bhii koii Hitler kaa hai chelaa,
maar le saathii, jaane na paae!
Commonwealth ka daas hai Nehru
maar le saathii jaane na paae!”
(Who has stopped the flag of peace from blowing in the air on this land? Is this someone a disciple of Hitler and we must not let him get away with this. Nehru is no better than a slave of Commonwealth and he ought not to be allowed to get away with it).
Do I need to remind you of the number of sedition cases which were filed while UPA was in centre? Or films which were banned by Congress? And who amended Article 19 (I) to rob people further of their freedom of speech?
This “freedom of speech” and “intolerance” nonsense against the Modi government which is being used to put them in a corner on the Hindutva issue isn’t cutting much ice with the voters of this country. “Asli Hindus” aren’t willing to be drugged any further by anti-India left-liberal-media factions. Newspapers like Times of India could reserve the best space in its edition for your harangues but trust me the people of this country don’t give a damn. Divide and rule won’t work in today’s India.