The Hindu

Kumbh Mela 2019 begins: English media couldn’t care less

The largest human gathering in human history began in Kumbh Mela in Prayagraj today (January 15, 2019) and our English mainstream media don’t like it.

Times of India does have a front page image but the rest were too worried about Alok Verma and Kanhaiya Kumar to bother about 150 million people visiting Kumbh Mela between January 15-March 4, 2019.

The Hindu ignored the news altogether giving rise to the speculation that its’ name is as misleading as Rahul Gandhi being a janaudhari. Indian Express and Hindustan Times have a token presence in inside pages, the kind you register when there is a death in the neighbourhood.

None of these English newspapers are enthused even though the human congregation is more than the population of 100 countries combined. It’s more heads than you can count in Germany, UK, France, South Africa or Australia. Give these journos a mombatti gang or 10 fat women hugging trees in South Delhi and it’s a completely different story.

They would give lectures on gender equality till Lord Ayappa regrets being a brahmachari and calls a press conference to say – I quit. But the sight of million s of men and women taking a holy dip together in the confluence of Ganga, Yamuna and Saraswati rivers to wash away their sins is revolting to them.

The significance of thousands of years of belief and faith in Kumbh by millions of Hindus don’t matter to them. Though the coverage of Pope visiting Ecuador is front page anchor with picture to boot.  The Yadgar-e-Ghalib in Majnu  ka Tila is worthy of a special edition.

The biggest and most peaceful gathering of humanity for nearly two months is an awe-inspiring event. Sadhus come down from their caves in Himalayas, devotees brave cold weather and hardships, poor without money, feeble without strength still turn up at the banks of holy rivers because they believe in Samudra Manthan and their divinity. A thousand years under the calamity of Islam and Christianity, and loot, plunder and rape of a subjugated population couldn’t douse this flame of faith.

Our English newspapers would rather have us innocent readers NOT know about it all. I doubt if you know that Akshay Vat (Indestructible Tree) inside the Allahabad Fort has been thrown up to faithful millions by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. It’s not out of bounds as it was under the Congress regime where you needed to take a special permit for it’s “darshan.”

It might be a myth in the eyes of our English newspapers that sage Markandeya once asked Lord Narayana to prove his divine power. Narayana duly flooded the world for a fleeting moment—only this tree stood erect above the water level. The historical evidence is still not enough for these English pen-pushers.  That Al Biruni mentioned it in 1030 AD.  Mughal Emperor Mohammad Akbar’s contemporary historian Abd Al-Qadir Badauni refers about it. Akshay Vat finds a mention in Tulsidas’ Ramayana. There is historical evidence of this tree being burnt, cut and dug by Mughal Emperors, none more so than by Aurangzeb, but so unfathomable are its roots that it kept springing back to life. That it has made it to UNESCO’s list of “Cultural Heritage o Humanity” still leaves our English mainstream media cold.

These newspapers though would bring out those obscure history books and dubious historians to tell you why Prayagraj ought not to be the name of Allahabad. The Prashant Bhushan’s Book of PILs could leave somebody inspired. Like Ayodhya, 70 years would still not be enough to clear the muddle. You could be given a lesson in history by the redoubtable Shobha De and Twinkle Khanna. A Swara Bhaskar could feel violated. Javed Akhtar and Naseeruddin Shah would be your professors of secularism.

Let not the lack of information be a dampener. The Indian Railways has over 800 special trains to Prayagraj during the event. Air India has announced a few additional flights. UP State Tourism Development Corporation is providing a helicopter service. Have no worries on security, roads, toilets or health services. Over 50,000 security personnels are deployed. Toilet exists over 120,000 in numbers. Over 220 km of roads have been built. Doctors abound in thousands. There are stalls of virtual reality (VR). Over 4000 wi-fi spots. An App which even provides instant weather forecast.

If you are a Hindu and live in India then I urge you to be in spirit, if not in person, with Kumbh Mela 2019. Fight the virus of blackout by our English MSM. Keep these “asuras” in your sight—their only strength is your ignorance. Be the light to drive away this darkness of India-breaking forces.

10 per cent quota: All you needed to know and your newspaper won’t tell

(This is a reprint from NewsBred).

It’s mayhem in our newspapers. Nobody has come out in support of 10 percent reservation bill which the Modi government has sought for economically backward classes. Through their editorials, columns, opposition quips, wall-to-wall coverage, we the readers are left with four major antipathies: (a) It’s an election gimmick; (b) It’s a “jumla”; (c) It’s breach of the 50 per cent reservation quota; (d) it provides quota on economic criteria.  All of them agree: It wouldn’t stand the judicial scrutiny.

You see readers, I try to make it simple for you. The above points are all there is to it. NOTHING ELSE.  Save yourself from the fatigue which your newspapers are inflicting upon you.  For example the Indian Express has no less than six pages devoted majorly on this issue today. Or The Hindu which has an editorial and a column besides the coverage on front page. Times of India and Hindustan Times are a little better but only in comparison.

Indian Express has gone berserk to raid the mind and heart of its readers. Three big pieces from A.M. Ahmad (a former Chief Justice of India), Faizan Mustafa (vice-chancellor NALSAR University of Law) and PS Krishnan (ex-secretary of Government of India) put its readers under siege. The newspaper still won’t let up. It quotes from national parties you wouldn’t have heard in your lifetimes, especially if you are not from Kerala: Revolutionary Socialist Party and Indian Union Muslim League. Doesn’t matter if their presence in Lok Sabha is only 1-2 members.  It quotes Congress member KV Thomas: “You (BJP) are butchering Indian democracy;” and gives a screaming headline: “Opposition sit-in in House to protest extra sitting.”

Such a massive coverage and not a line on what Arun Jaitley said in defence. Surely Indian Express was not lacking in man-power, space or intent. Then why blank the man who is BJP’s voice and who has demolished all the above points in his typical clinical fashion? What happens to the time-tested commandment of journalism to present both sides equally? Why not admit you are partisan.

So readers hear out what Jaitley said on all the points: punch for punch, blow for blow. His words are in quotes:

  • It’s an election gimmick: “It’s part of election manifestoes of most political parties, including Congress.”
  • It’s just a Jumla: “Why it’s a jumla for BJP and not for Congress, or others, who have a similar manifesto?”
  • It’s a breach of the 50 per cent reservation quota: “The 50 per cent ceiling is on castes as provided for in Section 16 (4) of the Constitution. This new quota is activated through a new section: 16 (5). This 10 per cent quota is from the general category—not reserved category.
  • It provides quota on economic criteria: “If out of that 50 per cent (for general category) 10 per cent is being shared among the poor who can have a problem with it?… Just as equals can’t be treated unequally, unequal people can’t be treated equally.”

Jaitley firmly opined: “No legal pitfalls in the way the legislation has been designed…it buffers it from any adverse legal opinion.”

All the English newspapers have gone big on stating that a similar attempt by PV Narasimha Rao had been struck down by the courts. Most obscured Jaitley’s views on it: “PV Narasimha Rao brought it through notifications. States too tried reservation through notification or normal law. They didn’t have power from Constitution…there was no provision in the Constitution which supported quota on economic criteria (as the BJP government has now sought through the Constitution.)”  Or that “21 private members bills have sought a similar quota in the Parliament over time.”

There is another mischievous twist to the fact: “Over 95 per cent of the population would now be under quota.’” Not 95 per cent of the population but 95 per cent of the economically backward section!!!

This piece is not about the merit of the move: whether the country needs further reservations or not. This article is about how English mainstream media misleads its readers and warps facts. For the readers to question who gains if India loses.

If anything, our newspapers should have exposed the hypocrisy of political parties who put the same in their manifesto, give a mouthful in front of media yet vote in favour to the extent that the scoreline is 323-3. Or what Jaitley pithily said about the Left: “The Communists were opposing a measure brought for the poor.”

Shame.

 

Wish Barkha Dutt had spoken to my “piddi”

(This is a reprint from NewsBred)

A righteous Barkha Dutt was ecstatic. An act of new Congress government in Rajasthan made her tweet pompously (see image): “In a deeply unequal country, education is a privilege and lack of universal education a failure of the State. To have educational barriers to contesting elections was regressive and the Gehlot government has done well to overturn it. Next you will say only the educated should vote. Rubbish.”

Now Barkha please don’t ask me how could I access your twitter handle since you’ve blocked me. You see my “Piddi” (pet) also has a twitter account and follows you. My only fault is that I provided Piddi with the background on Ashok Gehlot’s revolutionary move: The new chief minister of Rajasthan had scrapped minimum education criteria for candidates in civic and urban polls.

But then my Piddi is not Pappu. His sense of history is strong. He asked: “But wasn’t it only the other day when the ecosystem in which Barkha Dutt thrives had called BJP union minister Smriti Irani names for her supposed lack of education?”

They called Irani names alright. Samajwadi Party’s strongman Azam Khan had pooh-poohed Irani’s educational qualification. Congress leader Ajay Maken was beside himself in anger: He too had tweeted: “What a cabinet of Modi? HRD minister (looking after education) Smriti Irani is not even a graduate.” Congress general secretary Gurudas Kamat had called Irani a “kaamwaali bai.” The front soldiers of this ecosystem, Lutyens’ Media didn’t need an invitation to take up the cudgels. The Outlook magazine had a satire penned in Irani’s own words: “I was touched by the support extended by the one and only Rakhi Sawant, who, like me, was unsuccessful in contesting the Lok Sabha polls.” The First Post was doubly quick to point out that “forget Smriti Irani, there are six other ministers who aren’t even 12th passed.”

Irani wasn’t alone, bad words were reserved for her Prime Minister Narendra Modi too. Congress chief Sanjay Nirupam had added “illiterate” to Modi’s name with glee. The entire ecosystem was falling upon each other to show the country was run by illiterates and predicted a doomsday.

Now that Ashok Gehlot has removed education as a criteria for contesting polls, the eco-system is hailing the visionary. The usual suspect Indian Express was first off the blocks with an editorial, patting Gehlot for a good job done. The Hindu made it sound as if it’s the biggest thing done to democracy since the French Revolution. It said: “Rajasthan strikes a blow for democracy.” The Wire was jubilant at this act of removing a “discriminatory and elitist” rule of the previous BJP government.

So these offenders who had held a noose for Smriti Irani were now upholding a garland for Gehlot. Such is their moral fibre. They wouldn’t have written a line questioning the educational qualification of a Sonia Gandhi, Jayalalitha, Rabri Devi, Mayawati, a Phoolan Devi or a Karunanidhi. But bring on Irani or Modi and see their daggers under the cloak.

While we are at the fakery of Barkha Dutt, let me leave you readers with a surgical strike Olympic hero and now a Minister of State (MoS) of Information and Broadcasting ministry, Rajyavardhan Rathore conducted on Shekhar Gupta on a “misleading” article the latter had printed at the start of the new year. Lest you didn’t know, Barkha and Gupta are old collaborators on the news of their own kind.

So this is how the New Year has begun for them. I wish they had taken a resolution to desist from fake news at the start of 2019. So much of muck is hardly healthy.

 

How Lutyens’ Medi shielded Rahul Gandhi on his lies

You must have read in English mainstream media on Thursday morning that Finance Minister Arun Jaitley in Parliament called out Congress President Rahul Gandhi for “speaking five lies in a day.” But I bet you wouldn’t have read the instances Jaitley cited in support. Be it your Indian Express, Hindustan Times, The Hindu or The Times of India—all the Lutyens’ Media have edited out the “instances”.

It’s not the first time—the Lutyens’ Media never nails down Rahul Gandhi on his lies. Mr Gandhi knows he can lie with impunity and the English MSM would gush and swoon. There was never a word against his mother Sonia Gandhi for over two decades. NOT ONE WORD. There is none against Rahul Gandhi in the last five years. You can watch this video of Jaitley’s speech of Wednesday and judge for yourself how your newspaper cheats you every single day. And firewalls Rahul Gandhi as if it’s lives depended on it.

Maybe it does depend after all.

I bet you haven’t read what Jaitley said about Rahul Gandhi’s lies on offset partners and the supposed favour to Anil Ambani’s Reliance. “They keep citing Rs. 1.30 lakh crores (the amount of favour). Now it was UPA which decided in 2005 that offset partners in India must get 30-50 percent of total work. Since the total deal is Rs 58,000 crores, it would amount to Rs. 29,000 crores. Dassault has said the business (to Reliance) comes to only 3-4 percent, or only around Rs 800 crores over 10 years. How the figure of Rs 1.30 lakh is cited when the entire deal is only Rs 58,000 crores?” Did you find it in your newspaper?

Jaitley then tore into Rahul Gandhi for somehow linking PM Modi to Rafale deal. “(He said) The procedure was wrong. No negotiating committee, no defence acquisition council, no cabinet committee on security—just one man (Mr Modi). But the panels (put together) had 74 meetings…the details of which were submitted to the Supreme Court. SC said it was satisfied with the process.” Did you find it in your newspaper?

Jaitley then shed light on why Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) was not chosen as an offset partner. “UPA itself had refused the contract to HAL.” HAL quoted “2.7 higher man-hours”required for the job—so not only price would’ve escalated but Pakistan and China would’ve gone stronger too.” Did you find it in your newspaper?

“The press statement which was issued (after the deal) said it was an inter-governmental agreement. That it would be cheaper than the price which UPA had negotiated.” Did you find it in your newspaper?

Jaitley then chided Congress leader Shashi Tharoor over Rafale pricing and said at least the latter was expected to have read the Supreme Court judgment. “SC asked for price, we gave them the sealed envelope, they opened it and then SC gave the judgment that it was satisfied with the judicial review of the pricing.”

Jaitley mentioned that UPA contract provided for 11 years for the delivery of first batch of Rafale jets. “And they are asking us why no jet has been delivered in 2018 when the contract was signed in 2016.”

Jaitley dismissed the Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) probe outright. “JPC is on matters of policy” and not on “investigations.” Besides, Jaitley said the JPC is on “partisan party lines.” He cited the instance of Bofors where a hand-picked JPC had termed the bribes given not as “kickback” but as “winding up charges.”

Jaitley struck hard at lies which the Congress president and his party have spread over the years. “He (Rahul Gandhi) said the French president (Macron) had himself said (about Reliance as offset partner) to him. The French government later denied it.” He also cited the case of forging of papers by Congress to show (former PM) VP Singh’s son had a foreign bank account at St. Kitts. Yes readers, you must’ve missed this bit too.

Jaitley took a broadside against the Congress and its leaders. “The Economist” wrote about a “prime minster who is in office but not in power” on Manmohan Singh. “This man (Rahul Gandhi) lies repeatedly. He lies five times a day.”

So disgraceful were Congress during the Parliament session that speaker Sumitra Mahajan spat out in disgust: “If you don’t want to listen, you shouldn’t have asked for it.”

Yes, Rahul Gandhi had asked for it. But you wouldn’t have known thanks to the cover-up which English MSM does as a matter of editorial policy.

The IS-module accused find sympathy in Lutyens’ Media

Take time out to read the Indian Express and The Hindu of this morning (December 28, 2018). Instead of disgust and horror for the 10 accused arrested by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) on charges of an imminent Islamic State-module inspired operation, the report in these two national dailies could make you cry and hug them in sympathy.

Indian Express, in its second lead on front page, shows NIA as nothing better than bumbling idiots—a la Inspector Clouseau of Pink Panther movies –through the reactions it managed from the relatives of the accused. So the main accused, Mufti Suhail, in the words of his relatives, was “unlikely” to teach in a madrasa as NIA made him out to be. In the same breath, the newspaper claims that none of Suhail’s relatives and neighbours in Amroha knew much about him since he shifted from Delhi only a month ago. Why quote someone who knows nothing about the subject? Why go to a Doctor of Literature (DLit) when you are suffering from a rectum disorder?

The newspaper then quotes the elder brother of an “accomplice” of Suhail who has also been arrested. The elder brother of Mohammad Irshad says the latter has been arrested just because Suhail’s number was in his mobile. So NIA, for god’s sake, shut up your assertion that Irshad, an autorickshaw driver, was helping Suhail in hideouts to keep the explosives and bomb materials. The man (Suhail) about whom nobody in Amroha knows a thing, has his number with a local autorickshaw-driver but that doesn’t get the newspaper’s antennea up.

And by the way, did the newspaper stop to question itself why a man who had nothing to do with Amroha, who had lived all his adult life in Delhi, was doing in the small town? Why he had rented a house? If he didn’t teach in a madrasa, what really he wanted to do in Amroha where he interacted with no one? Express could’ve asked NIA to name the specific madrasa where Suhail was teaching on the Hakim Mahtabuddin Hashmi Road in Amroha. It could’ve said that NIA hasn’t replied to its question. But no, Sohail and Irshad are given a “clean chit” in the eyes of the readers, through their relatives.

The newspaper supplies the same “whitewash” to most other accused courtesy their relatives. Some were “god-fearing”; some “scared even of monkeys”; some were just working in mosques and not “Imam” of a Jama Masjid in Baksar, Hapur as NIA claimed accused Saqib Iftekhar to be.

The biggest outrage the newspaper has reserved is for NIA’s claim to have recovered rocket-launcher in its mop-up operations. It quotes the father of Raees Ahmed who’s been arrested on the charges for keeping explosives and rocket-launchers in his welding shop: “It’s nothing but a hydraulic jack used in trolleys…The NIA has confused it for rocket launcher.”

Thus the reputation of NIA, India’s foremost Central Counter Terrorism Law Enforcement Agency, lies tattered in the eyes of the newspaper’s readers. Never mind that NIA has an enviable conviction percentage of 94.4% in trials. Never mind the extensive swoop which NIA enacted in one go on 17 locations, making 10 arrests related to terrorism planned against political leaders, security and government installations. Or that the raids yielded a dozen pistols, 150 rounds of ammunition, 112 alarm clocks, 91 mobile phones and 134 SIM cards and lakhs of cash. About 25 kg of bomb-making materials for Improvised Explosive Devices (IED) has been seized from the operations. All the readers are left with is an eye-watering account on the innocent, falsely-accused, scared-to-the-bones youths who are now under arrest on terrorism charges.

Let’s turn our attention now to The Hindu which has multiple stories on arrested accused running beyond its front page.  Just take a note on these mutli-column headlines before we delve into its’ contents: “I believe my son is innocent”; “Sleuths took away inverter batteries, circuits”; “Have more Hindus as friends than Muslims.” Have more Hindu friends than Muslims? I mean what this communal headline has to do with charges of terrorism? So a thousand Hindu followers on Facebook is good enough a character certificate if you’re an accused terrorist?

You have just been told through Indian Express that the “rocket-launchers” were actually “hydraulic jacks” ( in the words of father of accused Raees Ahmed). The Hindu has another take on it. The counsel for the accused, M.S. Khan says the supposed “rocket-launchers” were actually a tractor’s power nozzles. (Come on, you father and the counsel. Please be on the same page. Could it be that the bottle through which we launch “rocket fire-cracker” during Deepawali is the one NIA is mistaking for “rocket-launchers?”).

It’s scary the support and whitewashing the dangers to our society receive from those who have access to our ears and mind. So Burhan Wani was the son of a school-teacher; the Bhima-Koregaon activists arrested were not urban-naxals but actually the voice of freedom, equality and dignity in society (never mind the honourable courts keep siding with the police and investigating agencies on the matter). While these propagandists deny the evidence in plain eyesight, they lose little time in dubbing an unfortunate murder—like the one of Gauri Lankesh—as the work of right-wingers even before the agencies have got down to work.

What’s the message that’s being conveyed to Muslims of this country: Before you start feeling guilty and sheepish about the act a few men within your own community, you could flash these newspapers to your detractors about the “frame-up” that’s being perpetrated by the Indian state through its agencies against Muslims. Feel self-justified and triumphant. Or carry a sense of perpetual victimization. Wouldn’t it make Muslims feel alien and hostile? Isn’t it a recipe for widening gulf which could keep India torn and on the edge of a Civil War?

It definitely raises questions why our newspapers are evoking sympathy when the issue is as grave as the advent of Islamic State-like activity on our land which could cause mayhem. What else are family and relatives supposed to say about those arrested on charges of terrorism? Do give space to them but the humane touch must be balanced with sobering reality. Why seek out their vomits without logical counter questions? Who gains if India loses is a logical puzzle a reader is left with.

 

Deepawali defiance has a grave message

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.

 

Why is media losing sleep over Justice KM Joseph

(This is a reprint from NewsBred)

Something doesn’t seem right here. All the four major English dailies—Indian Express, The Hindu, Times of India, Hindustan Times—today (August 6, 2018) have a front-page blockbuster story of “some” Supreme Court judges planning to corner Chief Justice of India (CJI) Deepak Misra on Monday over the “downgrade” of Justice KM Joseph.

A background is necessary: The President of India has cleared Madras High Court Chief Justice Indira Banerjee, Orissa HC CJ Vineet Saran and Uttarakhand HC CJ KM Joseph as judges of the Supreme Court. However, Joseph has been put last in the list of seniority and this has got the hackles up for a few Supreme Court judges, as these pious newspapers claim.

You could belong to one of the three categories below:

 

(a) A complete innocent on the “judicial-activism-of-Supreme-Court-kind” who would instantly ask if this is true and whether the Centre has indeed been manipulative.

(b) A general reader who probably knows that government had asked SC collegium to reconsider Joseph’s name but after being re-recommended by the SC, has now acceded to their request.

(c) A keen hawk of Indian politics who knows all about the “puppets” (i.e. media) and their “masters” (Left-Liberal lobby).

 

If you are a complete innocent then it’s important to know that the government is strictly going by the book. As per Article 124 (2) of the Constitution, The President may but is not obliged to consult Supreme Court judges. As for seniority, KM Joseph is least senior amongst the three in terms of dates when they were appointed High Court judges (see image). I leave it to you what to make out of the unnamed judges plea that “Joseph must be recommended senior-most since his name was recommended first.” What logic? Juvenile, I say.

Now, if you are one from the second category, a general reader who knows basic details, you are still wondering why there’s so much of fuss over Joseph’s name. Well the media tells you that’s because as Uttarakhand High Court Chief Justice, he overturned the President’s Rule in the state two years ago (and that’s why the Modi government is being vindictive). It might help you to know that as per law minister Ravi Shankar Prasad at that time, there are presently 11 more Chief Justices of various HC who are senior to Joseph; and that Kerala HC already has a judge in the SC.

And finally, if you are in the third category, a keen hawk, you would dribble out a few simple questions: How come all the newspapers have same story and same detail without anyone being named? Was there a press conference? Did all those Supreme Court judges who intend to corner CJI Deepak Misra on Monday rang up newspaper offices? Or is it there is a “diktat” to our Lutyens’ Media to roll out the story as they have been told? Or whether a favourable judge today could be a difference between imprisonment and freedom for those out on bails or being pursued by state agencies such as Enforcement Directorate (ED).

Quite clearly, it’s the last option which seems most plausible. Does the “deep state” of India, read long-ruling Left-Liberal combine who control media and academia in this country, have the ears, if not the pockets, of both judiciary and media? May be they are doing out of fear. Or they are compromised. One thing though could be said with certainty: in this harmonica, all the notes are one and coming out of a single mouth.

The danger is acute. Supreme Court seems to be exercising its overreach; it’s getting into the crosshairs of executive, that’s government. A showdown is not far off. As the SC/ST Act has shown, the government is prepared to reverse a SC ruling when it suspects an intrusion into their authority and responsibility. More such repeats could happen.

Supreme Court must appear neutral; never show bias or prejudice or overreach for people are beginning to impute motives. It should never be seen doing a PR exercise. The people have noticed how a press conference by a few honourable SC judges was not criticized; how shamelessly an “impeachment” notice against CJI was moved; how retirement of SC judges—from `packers and movers” to full-page interviews—was covered; or how the KM Joseph non-issue is being given wind to by Lutyens media and their masters.

Who cares if long-established norms and institutions are brought down, anarchy is served for course and blood is your drinks for the night…

 

 

 

Why nobody is allowed to criticize Sonia Gandhi

Take a deep breath and reflect who you are not allowed to criticize in India. I could think of no other than Sonia Gandhi, former Congress and UPA chairperson. Run the entire gamut, pore over the worksheet of honchos of Indian media, Shekhar Gupta, Barkha Dutt, Vir Sanghvi, Rajdeep Sardesai, Sagarika Ghose etc; google as you might; dive into the archives of Lutyens Media like Hindustan Times, Times of India, Indian Express, The Hindu; Sonia Gandhi, much like Caesar’s wife, has been above reproach.

That’s astounding. I mean nobody has been the president of 134-year-old Congress longer than her (19 years); she got her party two consecutive Lok Sabha victories; a whole lot of scams were unearthed; yet not a word against her. I mean yes, BJP and her bete noire Dr. Subramaniam Swamy keep pelting her windows but that’s par for course for any opposition. But what accounts for no “black sheep” within Congress bleating ever? No media house opening its edit pages for trenchant views; no historian/academician offering critiques? No scholarly paper in JNU? No diagnosis on a person out on bail?

I do recall two embarrassing Sonia interviews, that is for any self-respecting journalist, by Rajdeep Sardesai (he kept saying “fought like a tigress,” both in 2005 and 2016), as it was for Aroon Purie on another occasion, coy and adolescent.  Yes Shekhar Gupta (“she keeps a formidable dynasty on her slender shoulders,”), Barkha Dutt (“she has made a public commitment to Women’s Reservation Bill”) have also interviewed her;  Vir Sanghvi has been profound in “Nobody-in-Nehru-Gandhi-Family-Has-Given-Kind-of-Authority-she-has-to Manmohan-Singh,” echoed by a gushing Sagarika Ghose ( “She never undermined Manmohan Singh, always backed him up”). Both Sanghvi and Ghose don’t touch upon how another Prime Minister, PV Narasimha Rao, was humiliated, even in death. And these clowns happily go toting about “bhakts” to everyone else. Phew.

Two books on Sonia immediately come to my mind. One is a pathetic account by a sychophant;  another is “Red Sari” which was unofficially banned in India for six years due to machinations by Abhishek Sanghvi, as alleged by its author.

There was though one voice of dissent which was muzzled without much ado by this “deep state” in India. Margaret Alva, a former Union minister of state and Governor, was quite scathing in her autobiography: “Courage and Commitment:” Excerpts:

“While Pilot, Prasada and Scindia got all the honours due to them as Congress leaders—with shamianas erected at the AICC to receive their remains before the last rites—PV Narasimha Rao, the tallest of them all, was denied a state funeral in Delhi. His body was not even let into the AICC compound; instead, the gun carriage carrying the former Prime Minister and Congress President was parked on the pavement outside the gates, with chairs lined for party leaders. I was shocked…ever since, I have regretted not protesting and walking away.” – On PV Narasimha Rao’s death in 2004

Alva details that she played a peacebroker between Sonia and Rao: the latter falling out probably for deciding to appeal against the Delhi High Court’s decision to quash a complaint against the Bofors case. Sonia Gandhi once retorted to Alva: “What does the Prime Minister want to do? Send me to jail?”

Alva’s outburst about the unfair ticket distribution in Karnataka led to her ouster. She was asked to resign from the post of All-India Congress Committee (AICC) general secretary in 2009. In her resignation, Alva wrote thus:

“Times have changed and for the first time I have come to feel like a misfit in an organization that I considered as precious as my own home. A look at our recent candidates lists show a distinct patter of patronages to the wealthy and rich lobbies like mining, education and real-estate…”

Just reflect on the above in line of recent Karnataka assembly elections and ponder why no newspaper or media celebrity ever brought this book out of the shelves to examine Congress’ candidates in 2018? Why Congress’ demise in the state is not looked through the prism which Alva afforded us?

As per one reviewer of the book: “Alva’s book offers an amazing insight into the maneuverings of 10 Janpath—the home of Congress president Sonia Gandhi. Without being too harsh, Alva clearly indicts Gandhi for lacking transparency in her manner of functioning, her penchant for surrounding herself with a handful of loyalists…”.

Alva was made to leave Delhi, appointed as she was governor of Uttarakhand. In her words: “Once I had made the mistake of saying: `The Alvas are the only political family to have a member in Parliament without a break for almost half a century.’ This statement sealed our fate.”

(As an aside, Alva was Governor of Rajasthan when Narendra Modi came to power in 2014. Alva describes her meeting with Modi thus: `I told him I had come to pay my respects, not plead for an extension, adding `I am not prepared to quit anytime.’ “There is no question,” He (Modi) replied. “You are doing a good job please continue where you are.” She was subsequently given additional charge of Goa and Gujarat!).

Why Muslims owe a lot to Sardar Patel

This is the centenary of the year when Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel first met Mahatma Gandhi and India got its unifier as we know the nation today. His birth anniversary, which falls this week, was all but erased from public memory under the Congress continuance and the media/academia which controlled the public narrative. It’s only now that the man is being pulled out of history’s dusty racks.

History bears testimony how the birth centenary of Sardar Patel on October 31, 1975 was blocked from public consciousness by the dispensation of Indira Gandhi and the media/academia cabal. Contrast this with Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru’s who was festooned all over India in 1989 during his birth centenary.

You have Marxist historian Romila Thapar pointing out Sardar Patel’s role in reconstruction of legendary Somnath Temple after Independence, an act of communal and not secular ideals of India by inference, though how Nehru pushed the passage of the Haj Committee Act in 1959 is better not questioned.

Congress loses no time in terming Sardar Patel as its own, and couldn’t care less about your protest that the “Iron Man” got Bharat Ratna only 44 years after India’s independence. Try telling them that no less than three Nehru-Gandhi icons were decorated with India’s highest civilian award in between (two of them, Nehru and Indira, while they were still alive). A few awardees in between, while Patel was kept in the storeroom, could be suitably embarrassed.

All this while Patel’s has been nuanced into an anti-Muslim persona. Be it agenda-driven websites which have mushroomed lately; the known Left’s stable such as The Hindu/Frontline or NDTV, and mainstream media, Patel’s legacy has suffered in their hands. The man deserves truth even if respect eludes him from the indifferent amongst us. Sardar was no less than Bismarck—but India hasn’t been a match to Germany in gratitude.

The anti-Muslim narrative must seize our immediate attention. BJP has been tireless in pointing out Sardar’s role in India’s unification. It’s been easy for the Indian ecosystem to club the two and project it against Muslims of the country. One, it establishes their “secular” credentials and two, it kind of helps in explaining their willful neglect of the towering Sardar.

Was Patel Anti-Muslim?

The one unethical method the intelligentsia adopts is to take a quote out of its context and use it to buttress its agenda. We have Rajmohan Gandhi writing in “Patel A Life” (P. 426) that “He (Patel) was unquestionably roused more by a report of 50 Hindu or Sikh deaths than by another 50 Muslim deaths.”

Another by Rajmohan Gandhi: “…Patel could not get over his anger against Muslims whom he held responsible for the Partition; they had brought this tragedy not only upon themselves but also on others.”

Patel has been blamed for introducing the Permit system which didn’t allow Muslims to claim their Indian citizenship even if they had gone to Pakistan for a visit after August 15, 1947. He is also burnt at stake for slapping the Evacuee Property Law which meant the absorption of movable and immovable assets of Muslims who chose to leave for Pakistan. In both the instances, it was in retaliation to similar moves made in West and East Pakistan but such logic is usually lost in wilderness.

Quite a few of Sardar’s utterances are cited to hold him guilty of anti-Muslim bias. There is this speech in Hyderabad, just two months before his passing away in 1950, where he said: “I naturally begin to doubt whether Muslims here feel that their future lies in India.” (That his next sentence condemned some Hindus for celebrating Gandhi’s assassination, is studiously avoided). (Chopra, P.N., The Sardar of India, p.150.)

There are these words of Sardar’s in Calcutta (now Kolkata) in January 1948:  “The Muslims who are still in India, many of them helped in the creation of Pakistan…They (now) say why their loyalty is being questioned.”

When Pakistan invaded Kashmir, the same month, he addressed Muslims in Lucknow, thus: “I want to tell you frankly that mere declaration of loyalty to the Indian Union will not help you in this critical juncture…those who want to go to Pakistan can go there and live in peace.”

Contrast these words with the actions Patel took vis-à-vis the minority communities. He was instrumental, as chairman of the committee on minorities and fundamental rights, in allowing Muslims and Christians the right to (a) propagate their religion (b) the right to preserve their language and culture; and (c) the right to run their own educational institutions.(1)

Men like K.M. Munshi and Purushottam Das Tandon, protested that even in the 1931 Karachi session of the Congress, only the “right to profess and practice one’s religion,” and not propagation, had been allowed. But Patel would have none of it. He went by the reasoning of Christian and Muslim members that propagation of faith was central to their tenets. That’s how you have the word “propagate” in Article 25 of the Constitution. (2)

It was also Patel who gifted Muslims and Christians, and other minorities, with Articles 29 and 30, that allowed them the right to pursue their language and culture as well as control their own educational institutions. These rights are enshrined in India’s Constitution. (3)

The first Chief Commissioner of Delhi that Patel appointed was Khurshid Alam Khan. The Inspector General of the Special Police Force was a Muslim and a close confidant of Sardar Patel. In September 1947, Patel had 10,000 or more Muslims shepherded to safety inside the Red Fort. During communal violence he had free kitchens opened for them.

Many senior civil servants and police officers have left a vivid account of Patel’s sense of justice. He once rushed out in person in the middle of a night to save the Dargah of Nizamuddin Auliya. Choudhary Khaliquzzaman writes in Pathway toPakistan (P 395-396) how Patel ordered Section 144 Cr.P.C to save besieged Muslim lives.

It was in the sacred Constituent Assembly, that Patel had thundered: “…a discontented minority is a burden and a danger and that we must not do anything to injure the feelings of any minority so long as it is not unreasonable.” On another occasions he addressed Hindus thus: “If you think that you can go on constantly troubling loyal Muslims because they happen to be Muslims, then our freedom is not worthwhile.”

In 1949, the idol of Ram was installed inside the non-functioning Babri Masjid. Patel lost no time in writing to UP Chief Minister Pt. Govind Ballabh Pant that the mob must not be allowed to take law into its own hands. That the law-breakers must be met with force.

Rajaji wrote thus in “Swarajya” in 1971: “A myth had grown about Patel that he would be harsh towards Muslims. This was a wrong notion but it was a prevailing prejudice.”

In January 1948, Gandhi wrote: “Many Muslim friends had complained to me of the Sardar’s so-called anti-Muslim attitude. I was able to assure the critics they were wrong…the Sardar had a bluntness of speech which sometimes unintentionally hurt, though his heart was expansive enough to accommodate all.”

Thus here we are looking at a man who is more secular than those who employ it as a tool to push their own despicable agenda. Why would you think a man of such generosity and big-heartedness didn’t get his due from the establishment? In one short word: Nehru, his successors and the ecosystem which they spawned in their wake.