Shashi Tharoor

Irony died a million deaths in Tharoor’s column

Shashi Tharoor’s edit piece in Indian Express on Saturday reminded me of my probation days in journalism with the Times of India in the 80s. My editor would look at my typed report, run circles in red every second line and send the paper flying towards the dustbin: “What the hell do you want to say?”

Chuckling, I set about circling Tharoor’s piece (see image), and literally ran out of ink. The man is as confused as his party, touching every base and sticking to none. “Jaana-tha-Japan-Pahunch-Gaye-Cheen-Samajh-Gaye-Naa” kind of delirium. A piece as bald as palm of my hand. Let’s stick to a few specific ink-circles, and not all, for I can’t afford to bore and lose you, my readers.

“Our attacks (on BJP) are based on our own convictions and about what is good and proper for the nation”:  So using “neech” and “chaiwala” are part of your convictions. A wild attack on RSS as murderer of Mahatma Gandhi is part of your conviction. Blaming Centre for violence in “Sterlite” is part of your conviction. Blaming BJP for murder of Gauri Lankesh’s murder in your own governed state is based on your conviction. “Ease of doing business” and a “7.7 GDP growth” in your view is not “good and proper for the nation.” Impeachment of Chief Justice of India (CJI) is good and proper in your view.

“Congress’ core belief…inclusive growth, social justice, abolition of poverty, protection of minorities, women, dalits and adivasis”:  Inclusive growth, social justice, abolition of poverty? Are you joking Mr Tharoor? Anyone earning above Rs 33 is not poor is how Congress removed poor and poverty.  Six worst communal riots happened under UPA and you call it protection of minorities. Women? Ask Shah Bano. And remember how you had to apologize for making fun of our own Miss World 2017?  Dalits? That’s why Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar could get Bharat Ratna only in 1990 and that too not under Congress’ regime. Further, why your heart didn’t beat for a murdered Dalit youth leader found hanging by tree in Bengal? Was it because he worked for BJP? Adivasis? Then how did Maoists and Naxalites proliferate in India?

“Congress is political embodiment of India’s pluralism…preservation of secularism”: Your kind of equality under “secularism” doesn’t extend to Hindus and their problems. “Secularism” ought to be equality; not appeasement of minorities. The world “secular” too is an insertion in the Constitution by your leader Indira Gandhi after suspending the Parliament and slapping the “Emergency” on the nation in the 70s. Secularism is nothing but a cloaked dagger by Congress to keep it plunged in India’s heart.

“We too share Hinduism, albeit an inclusive version of the faith, rather than a bigoted one”: Oh really? May we ask you Mr Tharoor where’s your reaction on 24 BJP/RSS workers killed in Karnataka under Congress rule? Where’s Congress’ concern for Hindu lives as they are butchered in West Bengal and Kerala? Show me one tweet where you have offered condolence to Hindu lives lost? Congress standing by Hinduism almost sounds like an abuse.

“The need of Rural India represents political opportunity to Congress (e.g)…the mounting farmers’ suicides”: So, tragic lives lost is a political opportunity to Congress??? But then what else do you expect from a party which clings to a dynasty and cries democracy in the same breath?

“(Congress must) Help citizens in interactions with the police…”:  Now that could only happen if both citizens and police trust you with your intentions. I don’t know how policemen feel after Rahul Gandhi stormed a police station and scolded a policeman in uniform. As for citizens, they still speculate about an unfortunate death in a Delhi five-star hotel as you would recall. Where’s credibility of Congress and its leaders with the citizens of this country?

From housing to transport to potholes-on-roads to drinking water to education to healthcare to public parks to sanitation to waste management, Tharoor leaves little for imagination and a lot for mockery in his piece. Empty rhetoric, typical of Congress, the sound of an empty biscuit tin. Mr Tharoor, irony has died a million deaths in this juvenile piece of yours.

What Hindus are missing in fight vs. Lutyens Media

Hindus need to look at how they address the forces against them in India.

It’s alright to be outraged that a Kathua has politicians, actors and presstitutes creating a sustained surround sound while reducing a similar rape in a madarsa akin to a weather bulletin.

You see a Shekhar Gupta plaster his twitter’s wall page with the image of Kathua lawyer; Bollywood bimbos hold placards in protest; Rajdeep Sardesai and Sagarika Ghose convulse through dozens of tweets on Kathua but the Madarsa rape doesn’t interest these clergies of morality.

The same on Biplab Das. The cabal has woken up to Tripura and are hounding a young politician who was central to a tectonic shift in North East in a truly historic election of independent India. Das is used as an excuse to parody the Hindu gods; there is a silent acquiescing to a profane Western historian calling Rama a “pig”. Neither “Janeudhari” Rahul Gandhi nor “Why-I-Am-A-Hindu” Shashi Tharoor are offended.

This cabal would hammer away at a Biplab Das but the constant blabbering and lies of a Rahul Gandhi is met with “his-speech-is-improving” innuendo.

There is a forceful counterpoint—I would term them as “Lone Rangers” henceforth–from OpIndia and SwarajyaMag; Postcard News and PGurus; a few TV news networks stand up to the shameless; erudite voices such as David Frawley, Rakesh Sinha and firebrand Shefali Vaidya rip open this Zanus-faced cabal. Yet it all appears a mine-blast compared to the guided munitions which rain from the sky.

What’s the trick outraged Hindus are missing?

Social Media: The Left-Liberal cabal has only 8-10 voices which it has created and promoted into brands (It has to be a “creation” for they never ever take a critical look as Christo-Islamic forces). The “nexus” works with everyone promoting and shielding each other. Those voices are picked by a similar network abroad. Stray voices, similar themes and a lie is easily brushed into a truth.

Our “Lone Rangers” on the other hand rarely form a formation. At the most a retweet and a shelf-life of a few hours. Mostly, each to his own. There is no method. There is no understanding that a sum is bigger than the parts.

Television: Most of us remember a harebrained Saba Naqvi; a mangy John Dayal or a scruffy Kumar Ketkar from TV debates on Prime Time. Could you name any independent neutral voice you remember? There are dime-a-dozen forceful presences on twitter (What the heck, let me bite my own bullet and name my favourite Dirty Dozen: @mediacrooks, @nesenag, @shefvaidya @unsubtledesi @rahulroushan, @rajivmessage, @davidfrawleyved, @madhukishwar, @mvmeet, @SreeIyer1 @thejaggi and @ARanganathan72). Not all are right-wing voices; some could be overtly critical too of NDA government (like @mediacrooks, @ARanganathan and @thejaggi). Yet, either they shy away or TV networks keep them out. This must change. TV news are very stale and badly needs fresh voices. Social Media must bring out a sustained pressure on them to “open up” TV studios.

Print media: This is the difficult part. Mainstream media, especially English, is already controlled by Left-Liberal cabal. Regional media have a huge role as a counteracting force. They must seek out above independent voices and give them space.

A tactics which we could learn from Lutyens Media is how they create a narrative and then sustain it. They pick up a subject, sustain it with old and new information, new angles, helpful interviews, columns in edits and even anniversaries! And what “Lone Rangers” have done with Madarsa Rape? A customary objection and little else. Haven’t we shifted our focus away from Audrey Truschke too soon? (And don’t give me the BS that it would only make her a star).

It’s all about rallying to a cause. It alone sustains passion and reverses the narrative.

Bollywood: It has long been controlled by dubious funds and Muslim-centric ethos. A “pujari” is always shown lecherous (e.g Kanhaiya Lal or a Shakti Kapoor) while a “Muslim” character is invariably depicted as paanch-time namazi (viz a A.K. Hangal). All the right-minded Indians could do is to expose their duplicity–regularly.

The above four forces–to go with the fifth of school texts and academia–control the narrative. “Lone Rangers” need to grow muscles to counter it. Own ivory towers won’t help. As long as heart is in the right place, differences in IQs, fan-following, language quality, status must not matter. IT MUST NOT MATTER.

“Lone Rangers” clearly suffer from resources. But for their toil and time, sweat and passion, there is little in support. Most of them sacrifice their working hours or leisure time with family to do what they feel is necessary for India’s future. They need be supported, not judged through prejudicial, hierarchical lenses.

These voices need be sustained; be called over to seminars and panel discussions; be invited to educational institutions for lectures; be part of alternative litfests. I have been a journalist all my life and trust me, voices mentioned about talk more sense than my own discredited professional community.

Lack of time ought not to be any excuse. Hit the road in protests on your temples, education and religion. Don’t back off. Only those who assert their identity, retain their identity.

A call must go out to corporate houses. Look at how The Wire gets its funds. They are given funds by a foundation which has trustees such as Aamir Khan, Azim Premji, Ms Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw, TN Ninan. If you can’t spare time to write or debate, at least spare change from your pockets, big or small, and make a difference. Or remain deluded with the story that a hard-working tortoise wins race in the end.

Tharoor, Hegde and Constitution

(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