Author: Ashish Shukla

Left is over; let a thousand lotus bloom

(This is a reprint from NewsBred).

BJP has swallowed Left in West Bengal which is a significant tide in the history of the state and the nation.

With Kerala gone too, along with Tripura last year, Left as a political and ideological force has its’ funeral procession waiting at its door.

It was a political force which dominated the discourse of independent India, shaping Nehruvian philosophy and garnering numbers of its own which helped form many a government, most notably in 1989, 1996 and 2004; the last one being a stunning guerilla ambush of Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s “Shining India.”

Left was a far deadlier force as an ideology since its call to the poor and “secular” cloak hid the agenda of breaking up India by pitting poor against the rich; Hindus against the Muslims and making sure India doesn’t reclaim its glorious heritage and thus identity.

Left stood on two planks of Congress and propaganda. Congress provided the spread, power and fund which in turn turbo-charged propaganda through media and academia. (I am sure many names will swirl in your head when I name media and academia but let’s resist name-shaming for the time being).

It’s reasonable to assume that their ideological fulcrums in Russia and China massively nourished this elephant in the room for many decades and perhaps still do. Fundamentalist Islamic states which seek converts worldwide, couldn’t have ignored this massive power bloc. Colonial forces, without colonies but not without agenda, sprouted NGOs and CIA never slept. With a friendly umpire in Congress and Left, India’s pitch was queered and transgressions were ignored.

Such powerful entities don’t die easily. Left has no takers in politics but its’ foolish to assume they are dead ideologically too. That they wouldn’t be up to their mischief.  I suspect they would strike back with double the vengeance. They still have their tools in media, academia, judiciary and bureaucracy. The ears and pockets of foreign forces aren’t spent. A strong India would be an eyesore to many. More so to the West who dreads a resurgent Asia.

In the first Parliament in 1952, Left was the main “opponent.” Once it split in 1967, the newly born CPI-M made steady progress in subsequent elections—(19 seats in 1967), (25 in 1971), (30 in 1980). In 2004, it stood at 43 seats! Indeed, it put Congress on wheels.

The rise of BJP has struck at its roots. Its’ cadres and proxies, or whosoever was left after Mamata’s poach, are shifting in en masse to BJP. In 2009, Left had 19 winners and just nine in 2014. They had two seats from West Bengal in 2014—now they have none. Kerala, where they had the majority stakes in the ruling coalition, they now have just one. Barring four in Tamil Nadu, that too thanks to Congress and DMK which made space for them, it’s politically over.

Those who know the troubled history of Bengal, its’ vicissitudes, they won’t miss the magnitude of this seminal moment. It’s been a land of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, Ravindranath Tagore, Subhas Chandra Bose,  Vivekanand, equally vivid in the nightmare of blood which flowed in the streets, if not in Hooghly, on many a occasion. Be it the sinister design of Muslim League and Suhrawardy—Direct Action Day—or when Bangladesh beckoned on the other side. Writers, poets, revolutionaries, social reformers have jostled side by side with butchers, scoundrels, monsters and Satans. Bengal has always been a land of extremes.

But for propaganda tools, little is left in Left’s kit. No longer can they sell poverty to  an aspirational India. No longer it’s a magnet to deprived. There are no takers to these dream-merchants. They can foment trouble in fertile universities, dictate narrative through Lutyens Media and flash their blood-soaked daggers. India can’t go back into the jar of 60s.

Sure, Left still controls the levers of Lutyens media and academia. It’s not a negligible tool. But Modi 1.0 has shown it can be combated. India, by and large, didn’t fall for it. Yes, NYT, Washington Post, Time and BBC, the typical choirboys, were at hand. But people knew better. As long as 1.3 billion people can smell rose in their verandah, these guys can walk up and down the street and stare at “Beware” signs. We can live with that. Archaeology can have its new section. Dinosaurs can have their museums.  Market won’t run out of wreaths.

 

 

A fly on the wall of Akhilesh Yadav, Mayawati

(This is a reprint from NewsBred).

Mayawati and Akhilesh Yadav, “bua” and “babua”, haven’t found their voice since Exit Polls.  Mayawati hasn’t tweeted once; Akhilesh has tweeted only twice – that too no words only photo-ops with AAP and BSP leaders.

That’s unusual silence from two biggies of Uttar Pradesh.  I mean for nearly two decades, it was baton-passing between SP and BSP.  Voters elected one and ditched for the other every alternate elections. Both protected their vote-banks fiercely and it always paid dividends, what if it meant contrasting each other as black and white. Sworn enemies.

Then 2017 assembly elections happened. BJP wrested 325 seats. Both BSP and SP decimated; the latter despite holding on to coat-tails of Congress. A new arithmetic was needed. Survival was at stake. What if SP and BSP got together and Congress became cheerleaders? The experiment was pushed through a few bypolls. Gorakhpur, Kairana and Phulpur gave thumbs up. Eureka, the formula to halt BJP juggernaut had been found.

Much of the run-up to 2019 General Elections was SP-BSP projected as polestar to scattered universe of “Mahagathbandhan.” Mamata Banerjee, Chandrababu Naidu, Rahul Gandhi all were in picture but Mayawati-Akhilesh were seen as king-makers, the catalysts. UP gives 80 seats, it was the reason BJP came to power in 2014. If it goes so does Modi. The gang would be back in business.

It was a theory which couldn’t be disputed. Neither by the projection nor by the samples of Kairana, Phulpur etc. The data analyst put the committed voters of SP-BSP in a jar, gave it a good shake, and the numbers appeared twice as many to BJP. Game, set and match over.

This did put fear in the heart of BJP backers. The defeats in Madhya Pradesh, Chattisgarh, Rajasthan didn’t help. A storm was gathering.  Mayawati and Akhilesh were on Cloud Nine. Everyone else appeared so small. Who needs Congress? The Grand Old Party was willing for pre-poll and post-poll patch up. Wasn’t their desperation a sign that SP-BSP was the fastest gun in the town?

It’s not a postmortem. The results are yet to be out. But the silence in SP, BSP camps are deafening. Political parties don’t need to wait for results. They know the ground reality. They know the truth. SP, BSP know their game is up. The Grand-Idea was a stillborn child. Instead, anger is becoming manifest for close aides –et tu Brutus—are being held out to dry. When that happens, we know Caesar is gone.

If the corollary is right, it means Yadavs votes didn’t get transferred to Mayawati; nor the Dalits went to Akhilesh. Muslims, as per experts’ view, have also voted in a bigger number for BJP.  If that’s true, it’s a mirror to the future. If development can override caste-equations, SP and BSP have run out of fuel. Stranded on the highway, far from the decorated platforms and garlands in wait.

Mamata Banerjee perhaps would be subjected to a similar analysis. I have noted she has “Vidyasagar” photo on her twitter homepage. That issue was only trending for 12-16 hours. The moment Narendra Modi announced a bigger, costlier, better bust as a replacement, the matter lost its sting. Its’ now rotting what Mamata is adorning it as her necklace.

That’s why I say all the opposition—SP, BSP, Congress, TMC etc—are so out of touch with reality. So is Lutyens Media. Propaganda have won you elections in the past. Not any longer. Rafale, demonetization, jobs – nothing worked. Photo-ops are treadmill running, rooted to the spot. Get your hand dirty in the soil. Or be ready to be buried underneath it.

 

 

Lavasa’s rant and the facts readers must know

(This is a reprint from NewsBred).

Facts are facts. They are the referee, the guiding principle, in a dispute. When both sides are represented, it’s called ethical journalism. When only selective facts are published, that is yellow journalism.

Once it became clear that BJP-NDA would romp home in 2019 General Elections, Indian Express has made much of dissent of one of the three Election Commissioners, Ashok Lavasa.  On a few occasions when Prime Minister Narendra Modi was examined if he had violated the Model Code of Conduct (MCC), Lavasa was the dissenting voice in the house which cleared Modi of such charges.

After keeping Lavasa’s dissent alive on its front pages, Indian Express has published a long interview with Lavasa today. The lame headline: “Sought prompt action after Supreme Court frowned on delays: Lavasa” was a giveaway on spun charges – a kind of propping up a dead man behind wheels. The story just doesn’t move.

Lavasa laments that his dissents haven’t been recorded. But then Election Commission never does it.  A majority takes a call which in this case decided in favour of Modi. So what’s this fuss about?

Lavasa thus decided to stay away from the last MCC meeting (Lavasa/Express projection is as if he recused himself midway) . By May 16, 2019 General Elections were more or less over. If he had felt stifled, he should’ve done so much before. Even now Lavasa can resign and ignite a serious debate in public and help an Election Commission which he could be heading in 2021.

If he stays put in Election Commission, Lavasa must respond to public scrutiny as he expects his own institution to be. A few facts are in public domain and are grossly unsavoury.  People have a piece on him which Lavasa needs to respond as quickly as he could. It says that his wife, Novel Singhal Lavasa,became a board director in 12 big companies after he became secretary in environment and finance ministry from 2015 onwards.  It questions whether he dealt with the files of these 12 companies during his tenures? The article then digs up instances which are construed as his closeness to various important ministers, including P. Chidambaram.  Now that Lavasa could be our next Chief Election Commissioner, he must submit himself to public probity and upholds the dignity of EC which he has lowered, perhaps unintentionally, in present case.

Personally, I am for recording dissenting voices. Like they do in judiciary.  But I certainly abhor when I suspect agenda. To me this looks like tainting a historic repeat for BJP in 2019 General Elections, if it comes true on May 23. When the projection is that institutions are muzzled, the next corollary is democracy is in danger.  That’s what they do with Russia, China or even Iran. All of them are straining under economic and tariff sanctions.

The game is much bigger than a mere dissent. First, drum up instances. Two, feed global network. Three, ratchet up public opinion. Four, the “custodians” of free world intervene (never mind they don’t bat an eyelid on Pakistan or Saudi Arabia).  Five, crippling economy sanctions follow.

A nation is thus destroyed like it happened in Iraq, Syria and Yemen. Remember the “Arab Spring” which was unleashed in Middle East this decade? It’s no longer talked about for it has served its purpose—replace many regimes such as ones in Egypt, Tunisia etc.

I conclude by drawing the attention of readers to this piece in OpIndia. It mentions a former Election Commissioner Navin Chawla against whom once  his chief wrote to President of India, asking for his removal for allegedly taking instructions from the ruling party, in this case Congress. This is the same Chawla who was indicted for his excesses during the Emergency. Yet, the 2009 General Elections were conducted under him.

In this article instances are quoted how despite their miserable showings in 1999 and 2014 elections, parties such as SP, BSP and Left were allowed to remain “national parties” by the benevolence of Election Commission. How despite 100 plus seats, BJP was nearly banned in 2007.

It’s important readers take a call and question their newspapers. Treat it as a matter of life and death. Have complete and not just selective facts. Only responsible readers can make their newspapers accountable. Else, your own nation could be in ruins and your future generations exposed to resultant horrors.

 

But then Sanyal, how do we keep 21st Century issues firmly in our gaze?

(This is a reprint from NewsBred).

Sanjeev Sanyal posted a twitter thread on Saturday where he implored discussions on the 21st Century issues rather than being mired in historical characters like Veer Savarkar, Bhimrao Ambedkar and Mohandas K. Gandhi.

Sanjeev Sanyal is much admired for his books, certainly among young readers, and that he is also an accomplished banker/economist, he has been sought out by the Indian government to roll out the roadmap (I know he loves maps) for the economy.

So what are the 21st Century issues? Howsoever we define them, I presume Sanyal certainly doesn’t have in mind the political/ideological issues which keep us grounded. When we need to fight water, food, health, pollution, population, jobs, education, terrorism etc on a warscale, when survival is at stake, how winning or losing debates are going to help?

But then how do we fight the 21st Century issues when water is dragged down to Narmada-Kaveri disputes; food to loan-waivers for farmers; pollution to Deepawali but not Bakrid; population to South feeding the teeming millions of BIMARU states, jobs to turf wars on data, education to midday meal scams and terrorism to human rights issue against “stone-pelters”?

The truth is Sanyal has a composite India in mind but there are 100s of India within the geographical combine. Everyone’s idea of India is different from others (Remember, the odes which were written for Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru on the 50th year of independence in 1997? Would the same be feasible when India hits 75 in 2022?).

India is a political entity which has a different culture, tradition, rituals language, food, clothes, caste, colour,creed every 100 kilometres. These mini-Indias soon enough acquire a local leader who, in order to protect his turf, takes his captive audience on a trip—often fake–of its’ past glory, its heroes, and the injusticesits’ seminal breakthroughs. The sharper the distinction these leaders can draw for their constituents, better are the prospects of their longevity. That’s how Sikhs, who only saw themselves as protectors of Hindus till the 19th century—just count the numbers of temples Maharaja Ranjit Singh built–now talk of Khalistan.

Our founding fathers knew of these issues. They drew a brilliant Constitution. They recognized India could only function as a federal entity. States, but for a few matters, are almost autonomous. Everyone is allowed to have a voice; stifling it would be the end of India we know. So 100s of India are embedded in our Constitution.

Now Sanyal, how do we solve this dichotomy? The first one of course is education. Education brings aspirations, aspirations in turn progress. A critical mind is better suited to break the matrix of false history and false narrative spun by our politicians and media, clearly hand in gloves.  But then how do we get this unbiased education when our schools which prepare us for our jobs, won’t allow it? When “Veer” Savarkar is demonized; mentioning Godse is a slide to oblivion? Why should we look for Savarkar when chanting Nehru is more practical?

It’s clear we made mistakes in 1947. The foremost was to lock our heritage in a closet. To hug ideas, policies and a foreign language which were alien to our ethos. To subdue Hindus so that Muslims remain appeased. It was only a matter of time before a majority makes its presence felt in a room, as it always does. How long it would always be about Ghazni and Ghouri; Babar and Aurangzeb; and not about Brahmagupta and Varahamihira; Sushruta and Bhaskaracharya? How long Vijaynagar empire would remain eclipsed by Mughal dynasty?

The inherent culture asserts. And the resultant turmoil keeps Sanyal exasperated.

Sanyal is not alone in knowing the real dangers India has ahead. But like Sanyal, they too can’t set a narrative. When our front pages are only reserved for politicians, what hope people have? When our school textbooks are only an outreach for our “Deep State”, how does India connect with its soul?

It’s clear out institutions are failing us. Judiciary, bureaucracy, Media, Election Commission, Enforcement agencies etc. Or why a country as corrupt as India has so few persecutions? Who knows if India of old, god forbids, returns with vengeance after Modi?

So Godse and Savarkar in a way are good when narratives other than Gandhi-Nehru are not permissible. Even if Sanyal and I don’t want it, people with their buttons on social media would press. And they must too—we have seen how RSS reluctance to take on Left-Liberal’s quest for our minds has allowed the latter a suffocating hold.

It’s for those who are officially tasked about water, food, health, education etc—policy-makers like Sanyal himself and bureaucrats—who should keep India ahead of selves. Let India rumble in a cacophony. For haven’t we paid enough price for our silence?

And they left Priyanka Sharma grievously injured

(This is a reprint from NewsBred)

You know about Priyanka Sharma. The girl who was jailed by West Bengal police for sharing a meme on chief minister Mamata Banerjee. She has subsequently been released on Supreme Court’s intervention.

On her release, this is what Lutyens Media reported (headlines in bracket): Indian Express(“Morphed photo: SC grants bail to BJP workers, tell her to apologize”); The Hindu (“But court asks Priyanka Sharma to apologize for her action”); Times of India (“SC frees, directs her to apologize”) and last but not the least, Hindustan Times (“SC asks Priyanka Sharma to apologize to Bengal CM”). The word “apology” is in all the headlines or sub-headlines of these newspapers’ print editions of May 15, 2019.

But was apology a condition for Priyanka Sharma’s release? NO. It was an unconditionalrelease.  The court order clearly says her release was not “ subject to” her apology. SC did ask her to apologize but it was not a pre-condition. PERIOD.

However, none of the newspapers gave a truthful account. They made sure “apology” appeared in their headlines even though it wasn’t a pre-condition for Priyanka Sharma’s release. Little did they realize they would be caught in their own mesh within 24 hours.

Now switch to Scene II. Next day, Priyanka Sharma, on her release, called a press conference and asserted she would not apologize.

Now this became a problem for our Lutyens Media. How do they cover it? They couldn’t have ignored Priyanka Sharma’s press conference. Nor could they give headlines that Priyanka Sharma has refused to apologize.  Wouldn’t it amount to Contempt of Supreme Court? But if they press with this logical line, it would expose that “apology” was never a pre-condition. That all they had done was to dupe their readers a day before.

So they come up with another deceit. They made sure to mention Priyanka’s allegation that she was forced to sign a mafinama (apology affidavit). But they omitted her words that “she wouldn’t apologize”.  Scan through all the four Lutyens Media and their print edition today and see if you could spot “she wouldn’t apologize” in the headlines. NONE.

Imagine. If SC asks you to apologize and you refuse, it’s a eight-column banner headline.  But then apology was never a pre-condition.  All the readers of Lutyens Media got was lies and machinations.

Now comes the operative part of my piece. Guess why Lutyens Media were afraid to make a “hero” out of Priyanka Sharma? And this is where I want your attention. All powers move on brands. You create a brand which could gather mass and it would come handy in due course. Kanhaiya Lal (rebel youth), Arvind Kejriwal (Magsaysay Award) for instance.  These common men/women become a part of the eco-system where like-minded jurists, academicians, historians, actors, writers, bureaucrats, media all combine to create a matrix for unsuspecting readers and viewers from which they can’t break free. They make sure that you don’t hear/view/read any counter-narrative which could puncture their balloon of lies and deceit.

Now Priyanka Sharma has become a readymade brand. Brand against totalitarianism, a beacon for freedom of speech, defiance, an individual against the system. She needs just a puff of air to fly and inspire millions others. Like a ray of light, it could remove the cover of darkness over readers. And that’s a problem for Lutyens Media. This is beating them in their own game. So they make sure Priyanka Sharma remains grounded. That she remains obscure, more grievously injured than perhaps she was in a West Bengal jail. What if they have to invent lies and twists finer details to gang up against a young girl and her inspirational struggle against tyranny. All those slogans for “democracy”; “freedom of speech” “freedom of expression” are only convenient tools. They were never in a fight against “the fascist forces.”

Readers, if you cross check the facts I mention and find them true, what could you do? PLENTY. I sincerely believe the “Deep State” or “Break India” forces largely depend on their two organs: (a) media; (b) a type of education without which you can’t make a career.  It’s their best bet to keep the citizenry uneducated and servile. That unfortunately is you and me. Suckered.

What you can do is to start reading your newspapers closely. And then cross-checking with those who keep an eye on them: Swarajya MagOpIndia and NewsBred etc. If you find you’ve been duped by your newspapers you could (a) confront them on social media, e.g twitter; (b) insist on a response; (c) and if both the first two options bear no results, stop paying and subscribing to these newspapers.

This would have a cascading effect. Lutyens Media would be forced to mend its way. If they don’t, they lose readers and become impotent organs for their masters. Trust me, if your newspapers are straightened out, India is saved. If India is saved, so are you and your kids.

Finally, if convinced this is what you should do. Copy and paste and tweet:

@indianexpress @timesofindia @htTweets @ the_hindu

As your readers, I want to know if “apology” was a pre-condition for Priyanka Sharma’s release? If not, why didn’t you mention it to us? Give me one reason why we should still continue to be your readers?

I am posting this tweet. You should do it too. Ask everyone around you to do so. Force a reaction from them. Corner them. Not once but every-time their lies are exposed in the websites I have mentioned above. Only when the readers rise up against their Lutyens Media would they fall in line. Or go out of business. The fangs of the snakes would’ve been drawn.

 

Has Rahul Gandhi replied to MHA’s letter on British citizenship?

(This is a reprint from NewsBred)

There are some discourses you hear. Then there are others which are kept out of your sight. Out of sight, out of mind is a time-tested strategy.

So, let’s begin with what you see and hear. Kamal Haasan and Rahul Gandhi. One is an actor turned politician; the other is a politician turning actor. Both fluff their lines but as we would see it has its own merit.

Kamal Haasan calls Nathuram Godse independent India’s “first Hindu terrorist” for killing Mohandas Gandhi. Pragya Sadhvi, BJP’s candidate from Bhopal, joins the fray by terming Godse as “deshbhakt (patriot).” Uproar is immense on either side. So who were real Godse and Gandhi?

Gandhi was great—even Godse said he folded his hands in front of Gandhi before firing from his country-made pistol. But Hindus, throughout Gandhi’s political life in India, felt shortchanged by him. Godse, a microcosm of such feelings, felt cheated when Gandhi appeased Muslims in Khilafat movement in 1920s (who in turn massacred thousands of Hindus in Malabar riots as a return gift); when Gandhi kept his silence on a matter as grave as Assembly seats being reserved only for Muslim candidates on communal lines;  when Gandhi and Congress hardly muttered as thousands of Hindus were raped and murdered under the call of Direct Action Day given by Mohammad Ali Jinnah in Bengal. Godse like many other Hindus, was anguished at butchering and rape of tens of thousands of Hindus in West of India, in what is now Pakistan, in migrations just before the Partition. He was absolutely horrified at the Razakars’ violence against Hindus in Hyderabad which is little discussed in your history books.

One could say that Gandhi, the great soul, was looking for Hindu-Muslim unity. But his appeasement, ironically, turned out to be the most violent pacifism of human history. This is a fact. As is the fact that Justice Khosla, presiding over the Godse trial, said if the assembled courtroom was asked to pronounce their verdict on Godse, the overwhelming word would have been: NOT GUILTY. This is also a fact. As is the fact that Godse’ testimony in court—he was his own lawyer—was so powerful that the Congress kept it banned for 20 years. You of course can now buy this testimony in the form of a book, Why I assassinated Gandhi.  As you absolutely must read Manohar Molgaonkar’s book  “The men who killed Gandhi.” This classic would leave you spellbound and hugely educated.

Now I want you to guess who said this:

“My own view is…Mr Gandhi had become a positive danger to this country. He had choked all the thoughts…As the Bible says that sometimes good cometh out of evil, so also I think good will come out of the death of Mr Gandhi.”

Pragya Sadhvi? Nah. It’s Bhimrao Ambedkar. Now please go and ask Congis to dare and criticize Bhimrao Ambedkar.  Neither his progeny Prakash nor Gandhi’s grandson Rajmohan Gandhi would ever mention it.  So, nothing is sacred or gospel. Read and read and form your opinion. This is the first good which has come out of Godse storm around us.

Now let’s look at Rahul Gandhi who has mocked Veer Savarkar no end up for “begging” British to release him from the dreaded Cellular Jail in Port Blair, the  “Kaala Paani.” Now guess who said this on the death of Veer Savarkar in 1966: “It removes from our midst a great figure of contemporary India. His name was a byword for daring and patriotism. Mr Savarkar was cast in the role of a classical revolutionary and countless people drew inspiration from him.” No, not any RSS sanghachalak. Indira Gandhi said so. So Mr Rahul Gandhi, would you say your grandma, even though she was a contemporary of Savarkar, knew nothing about the great man?

Incidentally, The Ashok Gehlot Congress government in Rajasthan has removed “Veer” from Savarkar’s name from its’ educational school textbooks. You would have found this news in none of your Lutyens Media. This is how you stop a generation from knowing and being inspired by one of India’s true legend. You can find a lot about Veer Savarkar in an old piece of mine.  Vikram Sampath, who is writing a biography on Veer Savarkar, has a brilliant edit piece in today’s Hindustan Times (May 17, 2019). The newspaper though seems to have developed cold feet since the article is nowhere to be found online.

Now let’s look at what you neither see nor hear.

It’s important for readers to know that they are victims of selective curriculum and biased discourse.  While our newspapers jump up and down on Godse, and lap up Rahul Gandhi on his poison against Veer Savarkar, they would never question the Congress scion: Sir, aren’t you past the date (May 16) by which you had to reply to Ministry of Human Affairs (MHA) about your alleged British citizenship? Whatever is happening in the contempt of court case pending against Rahul Gandhi? Or the lawyer who has presented evidence that there is a plot against Chief Justice of India? How many of you know that Rajeev Kumar, the controversial West Bengal cop against whom Supreme Court has found allegations to be “very, very serious,” could be arrested today? Could  “very, very serious” concern be about national security, terrorists hideouts? Shouldn’t our media be training all their resources on this man rather than on US immigration on their front pages? Do you know that the “apology” of Pragya Sharma was never a “pre-conditon” for her release by Supreme Court as your newspapers have tried to project to you? And what’s happening on “Chidambaran and son” case?

Question, question and question. And then draw your own conclusion. Don’t be a sitting duck for your newspaper who would even come free as long as you are the chicken they can feed their agenda.

 

Mamata and her interview: If not fixed then what else?

(This is a reprint from NewsBred).

Mamata Banerjee has an interview in Indian Express today.  I left everything and went for it. I mean there is such a dire need for the rest of the country to know about the intimidating TMC leader.  I often think if I could write as freely if I was in Bengal of today. She has disdain for Centre; resistance to Supreme Court or Election Commission; contempt for institutions such as CBI; indifference to blood on the streets and incarceration for any individual who goes public with anything not to her liking. I mean do you remember how she stopped her vehicle, got out and confronted the crowd who were chanting “Jai Shri Ram”? We have not even come to Priyanka Sharma put in 14-day custody for sharing a photo-shopped image.

Frankly, I was extremely disturbed when CBI officials were held “hostage” in a police station for descending on Kolkata police commissioner Rajiv Kumar’s residence. That central forces were brought out to ensure the families of CBI officials were not put to harm. That Mamata Banerjee was physically present as the sordid drama rolled out. She then sitting on a dharna, serving bureaucrats and police officials taking their seats alongside her, in complete violation of service rules. Supreme Court later finding the allegations against Kolkata police chief as “very, very serious.”

There was dismay when Durga idols were vandalized in Hooghly; that despite High Court ruling, she restricted Durga visarjan on Muharram day; that threat of Islamic jihadists is so real that Islamic State (IS) has announced it has an “emir” in West Bengal. And should we also talk about the alleged scams which probably is genesis for her angst against Modi and BJP?

When the issue of India’s unity is at stake; whether Bengal could break away one day, whether it could harbour terrorists who would unleash their fury on the rest of the mainland – aren’t these grave enough questions on Indians’ mind? That EC was compelled to spread elections in Bengal to all seven phases; remove a few police officers from election duties; send an observer and finally asked central armed forces to be present in almost the entire Bengal which still hasn’t been able to stop violence and killings, doesn’t it tell you of a state sitting on a time-bomb? That even media is facing the brunt of violence?

But what do we get in the Indian Express interview? How you walk so much? How you eat so little? How she would take up the role of a Prime Minister after the elections (not once but thrice in the interview)? The interview began promisingly enough with questions on Muslim appeasement. But Mamata never replied to it and the question was never pressed again. When political violence is mentioned, Mamata says scattered incidents and the interviewer lets it pass. All we get is how Hindu she is in her beliefs (sic). None of the questions I have mentioned above were even remotely thrown at her. Is this how you define “Journalism of Courage?”

Only if our media wasn’t pliant enough, if it had trained its lens on Mamata Banerjee and the complete anarchy in the state of West Bengal, things wouldn’t have come to this pass. Even as I write this piece, the news has come that BJP president Amit Shah has been denied permission to hold his rally in Jadavpur. State administration has also denied Shah from landing his helicopter in the constituency. Nine remaining constituencies go to poll on Sunday. How do you think Supreme Court or Election Commission is reacting to this “murder of democracy?”

Why do you think our media and edit-writers are not even pointing fingers at Mamata Banerjee on all the issues they profess to champion about? What do we make out of Shekhar Gupta (“She is meeting fire with fire”) and Rajdeep Sardesai (“What’s the secret of your energy?”), the chasm between their stature and their ethics? Is the media afraid of “Didi” (the very word which affection and respect now has acquired a completely sinister meaning)? And if yes, why? What do we attribute this to? Fear, greed, hatred for Modi or all of it? And who speaks for an individual who dissents?

 

Arrest over photo-shopped image: A curse has befallen on Mamata’s Bengal

(It’s a reprint from NewsBred).

This is a poser for you, readers. Please tell us what’s common amongst Rahul Gandhi, Sonia Gandhi, Priyanka Gandhi-Vadra, Mayawati, Akhilesh Yadav, Chandrababu Naidu, Lalu Yadav, Rabri Devi, Tejaswi Yadav, Arvind Kejriwal, Ashutosh, Rajdeep Sardesai, Sagarika Ghose, Barkha Dutt, Shekhar Gupta, Naseeruddin Shah, Aamir Khan, Javed Akhtar, Shabana Azmi, Swara Bhaskar, Pritish Nandy, Vir Sanghvi, Karan Thapar, Prashant Bhushan, Yashwant Sinha, Arun Shourie, Omar Abdullah, Farooq Abdullah, Mehbooba Mufti, Raveesh Kumar, Rana Ayoob, Saba Naqvi, Ramachandra Guha, Harsh Mander, Apoorvanand, Faizan Mustafa, Siddharth Vardharajan, Sadanand Dhume, Christophe Jaffrelot etc. Stumped?

Ok, let me try to suggest a few alternatives to you: (a) They all are anti-Modi; (b) They all stand for “freedom of speech”; (c) They all are for democratic, secular values; (d) they all are against totalitarianism; (e) They all are for feminism and stand for equality and dignity of women; (f) for freedom of press; (g) they are all of the above.

One option which you all must have missed and I would name now is that they all are SILENT on arrest of BJP’s young leader Priyanka Sharma by the totalitarian government of Mamata Banerjee in West Bengal. Like they were silent when CBI officers were held as hostages; police officers under probe being shielded; violence in elections; opposition candidates unable to file their nomination papers; TMC goons forcing voters favourably in polling booths; arrests on mere chants of “Jai Shri Ram”; scuttling of Ayushman Bharat only because it’s BJP’s scheme; Refusing to pick up Modi’s phone on Fani cyclone because she doesn’t consider PM a PM; refusing to let BJP land helicopters for scheduled rally; preferring Ramzan over Durga Puja; custom officials harassed only because they found 2kg gold in the bags of wife of Mamata’s nephew; number of alleged scams etc.

I cite these instances to show how fake are these forces and the ethical and moral cloak they use to hide their agenda. But at a more urgent level, this has probably encouraged Mamata Banerjee to go berserk. Look at the issue of Priyanka Sharma. She circulates a photo-shopped image of Mamata Banerjee, imposed over a latest picture of actress Priyanka Chopra. A complaint is filed and she is sent to 14-day judicial remedy. Mind you, Priyanka Sharma hasn’t created the image, only shared it. Yet amongst thousands of such shares, she alone has been made to bear the brunt of suppression. The clear corollary is that she is made to suffer because of her political affiliation which Mamata can’t stand.

Yet these forces are silent. Even as the hashtag #ISupportPriyankaSharma on twitter is building up a considerable steam. Twitteratis are so upset that they are changing profile picture with the one which has landed Priyanka Sharma in trouble. “Arrest me, if you must,” is an assertion by many twitter-users under the above hashtag. Yet none of these forces are taking note. A BJP worker is jailed for sharing photo yet it’s Modi who’s a “Hitler.”

Newspapers are wrongly defined as a bridge between people and the government. In Lutyens Media, people don’t matter. Or only a certain kind matter.  A Modi is hauled for uttering “Bhrashtachari No.1” while a Mamata Banerjee can get away literally with murder.  Remember, she recently said she would put pebbles in soil and present it as rasogoolas so it breaks Modi’s teeth? How did these forces react? Silence.

I remember an instance when RSS ideologue Prof. Rakesh Sinha had a non-bailable warrant issued against him by West Bengal police for posting a picture of his with his mother in Mahakal temple in Ujjain. The West Bengal police acted on the complaint of an individual who felt Sinha’s “provocative” picture spoilt the communal harmony in the state! An aghast Sinha didn’t know what hit him. “I haven’t even visited West Bengal in the last two years,” a baffled Prof. Sinha had said. Where was the outrage from these soldiers of “democracy”?

The sixth phase of 2019 General Elections would be over on Sunday. Election Commission, worried over history of violence in West Bengal during elections, spread the one in the state to all seven phases. Yet, even the cover of central armed forces haven’t been much of a help. In each of the six phases so far, violence has happened; cases of rigging have been reported. Yet the names mentioned above haven’t bat even an eyelid. Shekhar Gupta, head of Editors’ Guild, instead is drooling over Mamata “fighting fire with fire, venom with venom.” A Rajdeep Sardesai is gushing and asking Mamata Banerjee the secret of her energy. (Boost, of course, you terrible).

A real Mamata Banerjee is very different from the Mother Teresa-like sari she wears.  Her autobiography conveys the image of a woman who likes to play the victim card. She is deeply insecure about losing control. She is also extremely star-struck. Just look at the number of MPs, MLAs and ministers who are stars and starlets in West Bengal. A whole lot of them were recruited in 2014 General Elections. Many more have been made candidates for the 2019 General Polls. Why, she even got a few from across the border to do her bidding.

This piece is just not about naming game. The most troubling is the intimidation which any Indian citizen in any state could be subjected to by the longest arm of law in West Bengal. Judiciary hasn’t been much of a help. Nor the Centre who many believe should’ve imposed President’s Rule in West Bengal seasons ago. Even Islamic State declaring they have an emir in West Bengal hasn’t brought home the horrible truth that West Bengal could be a beehive of Islamic/Jihadists designs today.

West Bengal is slipping out of Union. All the ideals enshrined in our holy book, the Constitution, are being butchered today. The worry is, we are all being reduced to spectators. Some by design, some by helplessness. Time for a saviour. Maybe, May 23 could throw up light.

Amen.

 

Really Rahul, Did Sonia apologize for 1984 Sikh killings?

(This is a reprint from NewsBred).

This is a Congress’ season of apologies. Rahul Gandhi has apology forced out of his mouth by an unwavering Supreme Court and it may still not be enough. Sam Pitroda has spit out the dreaded word for Rahul Gandhi didn’t want to take any chance in Delhi and Punjab elections on Sunday, May 12.

Make no mistake though that apology doesn’t come any easy to Congress leaders. Indira Gandhi apologized for the Emergency by blaming others for its excesses! Addressing a public rally in Yavatmal, Maharashtra on January 24, 1978, Mrs Gandhi lamented those responsible for the mistakes and excesses were not willing to own up and thus she takes the “entire responsibility for the same.” However, her heart still lay in the necessity of the Emergency for she said: “It (Emergency) was a dose of medicine to cure the disease.” Wow!

Congress loyalists though still have difficulty in owning up and feeling sorry for the Emergency.  Salman Khurshid, a former External Affairs minister like his father (Khurshed Alam Khan) and maternal grandson of Zakir Hussain (ex-president of India) has still not been brought to account for his inflammatory words on the Emergency. In Hyderabad, on July 12, 2015, Khurshid remarked thus: “Why should we (Congress) apologise? Why should we discuss Emergency? Certain things happened (Hua to hua in Pitroda’s words)…if we have to apologize, then people of India will also have to apologize…why did they elect her (again)?”

It’s worth reminding readers that none of Congress stalwarts in the 1970s ever apologized for the Emergency. There are a few big names which instantly come to my mind: Bansi Lal, Sardar Swaran Singh, Kamlapati Tripathi, Uma Shankar Dikshit, Inder Kumar Gujral, Vidya Charan Shukla etc. Jagjivan Ram indeed supported the Emergency (his daughter Meira Kumar, who was opposition candidate against Ram Kovind for presidential elections in 2017, can still apologize on behalf of his father). Truth to tell, no Congress leader till recently ever did.

Then there are those Congress leaders who drum up weird logic to defend the indefensible. Anand Sharma has a bulldog’s boorishness yet the delusion of a suave debater. He once credited Indira Gandhi for “lifting the Emergency.” Imagine: A killer being hailed for making sure the victim’s eyes were spared. Yes, he is the same Anand Sharma who now defends Rajiv Gandhi and his family holiday on INS Viraat as what does Modi know about a family and a vacation? I mean could somebody tell the man of the spectacle he is making of himself in public.

But then Anand Sharma is only following his party’s tradition of creating absurd logic in order to avoid a simple word: Sorry.  Sam Pitroda says he is sorry because his Hindi is not very good. It’s the same logic Mani Shankar Aiyer said in defence of his “neech” remark against the Prime Minister Narendra Modi. And how do you think Sonia Gandhi has reacted to the mass killing of Sikhs on the streets of Capital in 1984?

The Congress matriarch’s mention of 1984 Sikh killings came in Chandigarh during one of her election rallies in 1998. Sonia Gandhi had then said she “could understand the pain of Sikhs as she herself has experienced it, losing her Rajiv and her mother-in-law Indira Gandhi that way.

“There is no use recalling what we have collectively lost. No words can balm that pain. Consolation from others always somehow sound hollow,” she had said.

Does it sound an apology to you? Does it sound an apology to Rahul Gandhi who thumped his chest in public on Friday saying her mother Sonia Gandhi had apologized for the 1984 Sikh killings.  This is what he thinks is an apology?  It seems not just the Hindi but even English of Congress leaders is bad. As far as I could understand Sonia Gandhi simply mentioned tit-for-tat. “I lost mine, you lost yours – so what (hua to hua, in other words).” Shouldn’t Rahul Gandhi apologize again attributing false apology to her mother?

Now listen to what “goonga” PM Manmohan Singh said as an apology to 1984 Sikh killings which Rahul Gandhi is trumpeting around. In 2005, a good 21 years later, Manmohan Singh’s conscience came out of coma and uttered that the killings of Sikhs was “shameful” but equally shameful was the “killing” of Indira Gandhi. Does it sound a sincere apology to you? To me it appears “whataboutery” of which the Left-Liberal-Sickular media is so fond of uttering.

The delicious irony is that it was virulent Sanjay Nirupam who once had to apologize. “Congress Darshan”, the party’s mouthpiece, once criticized Pt. Nehru for the present state of affairs in Kashmir and Tibet which could’ve been set aright if Sardar Patel had been put in charge. The mouthpiece also let out that Sonia Gandhi’s father was a fascist soldier.  Nirupam lost little time in putting his tail between his legs and expressed “apology” for the outrage.

While I am on the “Hall of Apologies,” I can’t resist bringing on Arvind  Kejriwal and his litany of shameless apologies. He once apologized not once, twice but three times to three different individuals for bringing disrepute to their names. One was Kapil Sibal’s son Amit, the second was SAD leader Bikram Singh Majithia and finally the mother of all apologies, to Union minister and BJP leader Nitin Gadkari.

This is the same Arvind Kejriwal and his party AAP which brought a resolution in the Delhi assembly for the return of “Bharat Ratna” award to Rajiv Gandhi for 1984 Sikh killings. And this is the same Congress which nearly tied up—and could still tie-up post 2019 elections—in Delhi.

In essence these charlatan politicians and their apologies are not worth a grain of salt. We suffer them day in and day out and unfortunately actually pay for it by buying the newspapers which serve as their propaganda boardroom bulletins.

Alas.

Citizenship row: A nightmare still awaits Rahul Gandhi

(This is a reprint from NewsBred).

 

Please don’t move on only because theSupreme Court has dismissed a “fake” petition stating that Rahul Gandhi has been a British citizen in the past. The matter is hot as coal.

Why do I call it a “fake petition”? Use your brains. The Supreme Court order states “we cannot rely on a paper note to call Rahul a British citizen.” Why would anyone go to court with just a few lines scribbled on a “paper note”? I mean no backgrounder, no facts, no arguments put forth? Petitioners Jai Bhagwan Goyal and CP Tyagi might have been driven by nationalist spirit but like poor surgeons picked up cucumber instead of a scalpel to dissect their object.

But let’s not waste our energy on this sideshow. Let’s look at the ground reality and why I say it’s hot as coal. Congress President Rahul Gandhi has to reply to a letter of Ministry of Human Affairs (MHA) by next week (May 16) on his alleged British citizenship in the past. The MHA is acting on the basis of a letter by Dr. Subramanian Swamy in this regard. Dr. Swamy, the bete noire of  Gandhi dynasts, has done more than just scrawl a letter—he has a petition pending in the Supreme Court on the matter.

So what should Rahul Gandhi say in his reply to MHA?

Assuming he says YES, he indeed was a British citizen in the past. It would open up a can of worms. How could he then have been an Indian citizen, a Member of Parliament and at a cruder level, does it imply that he was staying in India without a valid visa? And does for violations of visa regulations, a jail-term looms?

Assuming he says NO in reply, did he seek FCRA (Foreign Contributions Regulations Act, 2010) clearance from the relevant authorities? If not, isn’t it a misrepresentation/hiding facts in his election affidavit? Can’t it be termed as money-laundering done through a foreign company?

No wonder Dr. Swamy chuckles at the prospects of Rahul Gandhi’s impending reply. He has tweeted: “Buddhu is in a classic Catch 22 situation and between a rock and a hard place.”

So please don’t be lulled into believing that the Supreme Court, in dismissing the “fake” petition, has also given a verdict on MHA and Dr. Swamy’s efforts to get to the bottom of the truth.

Typical of Lutyens Media though in drooling on the verdict in favour of their patrons. Shreya Dhoundial, an anchor with CNN News 18, pressed the buzzer in no time in declaring that SC has junked Dr Swamy’s petition on Rahul Gandhi’s nationality. But the CNN News18 anchor and her fraternity in Lutyens Media in their eagerness—most had the news on their front pages today—missed a very critical point in their coverage.

And the point is that neither Congress nor Rahul Gandhi nor for that matter his master’s voices in Randeep Surjewala and Sanjay Jha have made a single tweet in celebration of Supreme Court ruling. I mean, come on, the Congress camp had a very good opportunity of rubbing BJP’s nose on the ground. Why let go of the moment? Doesn’t their silence speak of the tremors under their feet?

Yes, Rahul Gandhi’s British citizenship issue isn’t dying any soon. You can read the entire background to his alleged association with a British company here. I am not a clairvoyant but my guess is he would miss the deadline of MHA letter or submit a blank page in response. By then, the 2019 General Elections would have only one phase (May 19) of polling left. As they say: A drowning man would clasp even at a straw.