East Pakistan

Kartarpur: India sees it as a passage for terror

(This is a reprint from NewsBred).

India doesn’t believe it is reading too much in the designs of arch-rivals Pakistan in opening up its doors for Sikh pilgrims to visit the resting place of their founder, Guru Nanak Dev, within its territory.

The two Prime Ministers, Narendra Modi and Imran Khan, stood at two sides of border to facilitate the first batch of 500 Sikh pilgrims make a 4-km trek to the holiest of their shrines, Gurudwara Darbar Sahib, on Saturday.

India sensed a chill behind the warm words wafting through from across the border as Imran Khan bemoaned the lockdown in Kashmir and his foreign minister, Shah Mahmood Qureshi mocked if India could do the same for Muslim pilgrims longing to visit their holy places in Kashmir.

A few days ago, India was stung when Pakistan had released an official video welcoming pilgrims which showed images of three major slain militants who wanted to carve out a separate homeland for Sikhs in Indian state of Punjab in the 80s.

Though the separatist movement for Khalistan, a homeland for Sikhs, petered out in the 1990s there is still fire in the dying embers and India believes Pakistan would do its best to stoke its doctrine of “bleeding India with thousand cuts.”

India has tightened security, including ban on drones, in its north-western state of Punjab as it fears it could be a route to supply arms and terrorists to Kashmir—and that the holy corridor for Sikhs could act as a cover.

India finds Pakistan’s new-found affection for Sikhs a coat of deception and remembers multiple instances as a marker in support of this theory.

No sooner had Pakistan came into being as an Islamic state in 1947, Sikhs along with Hindus were driven out, killed and raped in thousands who retaliated by doing the same to Muslims from across the border. This set in motion the greatest migration in human history which cost two million lives, the horror of the violence rising up to the scale of the Holocaust.

Still, after the fire of Partition had died out, almost 23 per cent of Pakistan’s population comprised of non-Muslim citizens which now has been reduced to less than 2 per cent.  Thousands of Hindus and Sikhs were repressed and displaced whom the Indian government now is trying provide citizenship through an impending Act.

India is still battling the scars of five lakh Hindus being driven out of Kashmir Valley in the 1990s as grave terrorism spouted within its borders and the hands of Pakistan in spurring it to life was internationally acknowledged.

Pakistan also couldn’t keep its Bengali Muslim brothers within its fold as it let loose a reign of terror in East Pakistan in late 60s, killing hundreds of thousands, before the local resistance, with the help of India, broke free and a new nation Bangladesh came into being.

Pakistan’s flip-flop in run-up to the opening of holy corridor for Sikhs hasn’t gone unnoticed too.  The “goodwill gesture” will now cost Sikh pilgrims $20 dollars on each visit though the first two such trips, including the 550th birth anniversary of their founder, Guru Nanak Dev on November 12, would be free. Further, while Imran Khan has waived the requirement of passport for pilgrims, his omnipotent military is insistent on such a requirement.

“Pakistan is professing love for Indian citizens but this is the same country which is refusing its air-space for Indian prime minister to fly out on his foreign trips. Which Pakistan do you think we should believe,” said a retired diplomat who didn’t want to be named.

This is the latest saga in the frosty, bitter and violent relations between the two nations which share a common heritage yet have fought four wars and accuse each other of one or other violation practically every day. The guns haven’t stopped booming at the borders. Let’s hope this fresh smell of rose is for real.

(This is a reprint from rt.com)

 

Operation Kashmir: Modi wins the world in UN; what next?

(This is a reprint from NewsBred).

Prime Minister Narendra Modi is back from the United States. During his sojourn, he had the President of the United States in attendance and in audience in the Houston event; won the “Goalkeepers Global Goals Award” from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF); and above all had the world eating out of his palms on Kashmir. No Indian, arguably since Swami Vivekananda, ever set foot on United States and returned home with such global acclaim. (Never mind if our own Shashi Tharoor is working overtime to argue that Modi’s is not unprecedented, even if he has to resort to fake news on Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru).

If Houston was imagery, the concurrence of world on Kashmir in the United Nations was real substance. Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan looked no better than a gangster, smoking gun from a nuclear upholstery, faking the championing of his country on behalf of Kashmiri Muslims, never mind he didn’t even whimper on one million fellow Muslims being kept in concentration camps in Xinjiang by China or that his country was responsible for over a million killings of fellow Muslims in once East Pakistan. Pakistan is today seen as what it’s worth in the world.

Be that as it may, Operation Kashmir is now in its second phase. It’s a phase when at some stage the Modi government would’ve to consider lifting the ban on internet, freeing thousands of politicians, activists, businessmen etc who unknown to their families are lodged up in and outside Kashmir. The present clampdown in Kashmir can’t go on forever. At some stage, elections would’ve to be announced and before that happens, the government and security forces would’ve to pull themselves back in the trenches. Leaders of regional political parties– Abdullahs and Muftis–would need to be freed.  Longer it’s delayed, faster India would lose the world which is now standing next to it.

Or, Modi could act indifferent to the world. The world today is wooing him not because it’s convinced of Kashmir being an internal issue but because it wants India by its side. West, in particular, is wary of China and sees India as indispensible in halting the Dragon’s march. India’s market and the growth story is no less attractive to them. Modi thus could keep the frills out, delay elections in Kashmir as long as he deems fit, keeps Muftis and Abdullahs in house arrest and to hell with the cacophony of the seculars.  He could put internal security above all other considerations, given the intelligence inputs.

Before the Houston event, Modi met a group of Kashmiri Pandits and assured them justice. Kashmiri Pandits–and their numbers run in lakhs–of course have a yearning to return to their homeland from where they were driven out in the 1990s. It’s been almost a generation since BJP has made it a part of their manifesto. The abrogation of Article 370 has raised hopes in the hearts of these Kashmiris.

But it won’t be easy. Muslim Kashmiris in the Valley today are incensed at the curb on their freedom and their knowns being lodged up in jails.  The post-1990 generation have no idea that theirs is a land where once syncretism prevailed and Muslims and Hindus lived check-by-jowl. They are likely to see returning Kashmiri Pandits as intruders and not rightful owners of their hearths and homes.  The natives would be seen as aliens. The reconstruction of their vandalized temples, as the Modi government has vowed, would be fodder to canons of insinuations and rumours.  Winning hearts without compromising in security or allowing Pakistan to stir up mischief with its mercenary terrorists won’t be easy.

Lutyens Media is ready with its texts, blurbs and headlines once clampdown is lifted in the Kashmir Valley.  These sob stories would be endlessly played. Modi would be shown to have committed a Himalayan blunder in tampering with Kashmir’s special status. Modi government would need to be on its toes to fight this war of misinformation. For every word of misinformation, it needs an article of facts to be put on public display. It would need nothing less than a separate Ministry against Misinformation on Kashmir.

Lutyens media has latched on to Imran Khan evoking the image of 2002 Gujarat riots. They of course won’t tell that every Court in the country has cleared Modi of culpability in the crime. (And it is not as if only Muslims were killed. The figures, released by the Congress-led government itself in 2005 put the figures as 794 Muslims and 254 Hindus killed).  Similarly, Lutyens Media has gone to length to highlight the dozen protestors who stationed themselves in front of Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation in Seattle, petitioning against the award to Modi on Swachh Bharat Mission (SBM). They won’t let you know that the Mission is almost 100 per cent successful. Nearly all villages of the country are now Open-Defecation Free (ODF). As Sandipan Deb wrote in the Mint: “The WHO study estimated that SBM Grameen is likely to have averted more than 300,000 deaths between 2014 and October 2019. BMGF’s survey found that in ODF districts, there were 32% fewer cases of diarrhea among children, 15% fewer cases of stunting, and 37% less women with lower body mass index, compared with non-ODF districts.”

Governance, like life, can’t be still. One has to think on one’s feet. Modi has dealt with the first phase of Operation Kashmir to the last detail. The second phase is fraught with dangers for now guns would have to be replaced with roses.

Modi calls out Indian Communists and here’s why

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has said that “Indian Communists do not respect India’s history, culture or spirituality,” while condemning the “most shameful” behavior of Pinaryi Vijayan’s Communist LDF government on the Sabrimala Temple issue.

Predictably, the CPI (M) has gone ballistic against the comment on its twitter handle but I ask what’s there to argue about really?

Let’s take India’s pre-independence history. Didn’t communists in Bengal assembly support The Partition? (It’s an irony though that communists, like Leftist Amartya Sen had to flee East Pakistan to India whose unity they had betrayed). Wasn’t CPI (Communist Party of India) officially against the Quit India movement?

Or the annals of India after Independence. Didn’t the CPI chief B.T. Randive termed India’s freedom as fake (“yeh azadi jhooti hai”) and called for an armed revolution in 1948? Who do you think a section of Communists supported in the 1962 Indo-China War? (E.M.S. Namboodiripad among others argued in favour of China and dubbed India as the aggressor). Isn’t the pro-Chinese faction of those days is the Communist Party of India (Marxist) today? Didn’t the CPI (M) parrot the line of its masters in China in opposing the historic Indo-US nuclear deal in 2007?

And what to say of the “Eminent Historians” from the stable of Communism who have butchered the Indian history in India’s text books and academia. For instance, are you told the story of Battle of Talikota of 1565 when Vijaynagar Empire which had two Muslims as its main generals who, at the last minute, betrayed the legendary Hindu kingdom and went to the other side? (It practically ended the golden era of Hindu renaissance).

And how do you think the story of destruction of Hindu temples by invading Muslims is told to you? Famous Indologist Dr. Koenraad Elst points out the instance that invading Muslims are blamed only for destroying 80 temples in India. Though one of these 80 entries read: Qutubuddin Aibak, the military general of Muhammad Ghouri, destroyed 1000 temples in Varanasi!!!

And how do you think dreaded Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb’s destruction of all the temples in Varanasi is explained away? That it was due to a Brahmiin conspiracy as one of Muslim princes had been abducted and hidden away in a temple? Any historical proof? My foot.

Can Indian communists deny that one of the main planks of their ideology is atheism? Isn’t it a fact that one of their leaders, Brinda Karat once led a savage attack against Baba Ramdev? What’s been their stance when the Kanchi Shankaracharya was sent to jail? Or on Sri Sri Ravi Shankar who gets targeted often? If these men don’t matter to you then isn’t Modi justified in claiming that Indian Communists do not respect India’s history, culture or spirituality?

Would these communists ever confess that Stalin killed more people than Hitler did before or during the Second World War? Would they acknowledge the genocides of a Mao Zedong or a Pol Pot? Or is that genocide of millions don’t matter in this case while a stray lynching sees them paint the town in red? What was their stance when Salman Rushdie’s book “Satanic Verses” was banned in India?

So thorough is Communists hold on our textbooks and academics that anyone who holds a contrary opinion is never allowed to rise up the academic ladder. But all those who fall in line are conferred with position and prestige.

There is a lot more which could be said about Communists and Naxalites, including the Urban Naxals, but this must wait—some other day, some other time.

 

Minorities: Wish Imran Khan looks at this mirror of his own

(This is a reprint from NewsBred).

Mr Imran Khan, Prime Minister of Pakistan, please don’t be a joke.

You want Pakistan to be a shining light of example for India in its treatment of minorities. It must be the cruelest joke not only on Hindus, Sikhs and Christians of whosoever are left in Pakistan but also on fellow Muslims such as Shias and Ahmadiyyas in the persecution of which you’ve played your hand. And should I remind you of what Pakistan has done even to Sunni Muslims, nearly 2.5 millions now, whom you left to their own fate in Bangladesh after agreeing to repatriate them?

I would not even get into the basic fact of only 2 per-cent of 23 percent of Hindus/Sikhs/Christians at the time of Partition are now left in Pakistan. Or that correspondingly, India’s 8 per cent of Muslims minority in 1947 has now ballooned to nearly 20 per cent. Let me begin by showing you the mirror on your act both as a Prime Minister and as a politician.

Isn’t it a fact that soon after you became the Prime Minister, you removed Dr. Atif Mian from the Economic Advisory Council only because he is an Ahmadiyya and in protest of which two other economists in the panel, Dr. Imran Rasul and Dr. Asi Ijaz Khwaja resigned? Do you need be reminded that a Punjab minister Salman Taseer was assassinated in 2011, being blamed for blasphemy as he advocated a fair trial for Christians even as you were flourishing in your political career?  Or that a Sunni Muslim terrorist group called Sipah-e-Sahaba which targets Shias is said to enjoy the state patronage?

Do you need be reminded that since your Constituent Assembly in 1949 declared Pakistan to be an Islamic State, Kafirs include both minorities and even fellow Muslims? Shias may number 20 per cent of the population but violent extremist action against them is routine. Ahmadiyyas have been declared non-Muslim by a writ of the state. There are forced conversions to Islam. Their houses of worships are bombed frequently. Pakistan’s pro-Wahabi/Saudi leaning against anti-Shia/Iranian is known to all but to you. The concept of a minority is alien to Islam and Pakistan. They have no future in Pakistan. The religious cleansing is consistent with the state philosophy. As Justice MC Chagla wrote in Roses in December: “To Pakistan, everything is communal.”

The constitutional amendment in the 1980s included in non-Muslims not only Christian, Hindu, Sikh, Parsi or Buddhist community, but also anyone of the Qadani/Lahori sect, a Bahai or a person belonging to any of the scheduled castes. Ahmadiyyas are already declared non-Muslims. Campaigns are on to condemn Shias to similar fate.

Around a million Muslims from Bihar opted to go to East Pakistan in 1948 because they believed in Qaid-e-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah and in the concept of “Islamic Pakistan.”  They were the ‘Urdu” speakers to “Bengali-speaking” inhabitants of East Pakistan.  They overtly supported West Pakistan during the turbulent year of 1971 when a successful revolt against the repression, death and rape of Pakistan’s army culminated in India’s intervention and creation of Bangladesh.

It unfolded a nightmare for these Bihari Muslim migrants. First Mukti Vahini and then Bangladesh state systematically targeted and killed them. Everything they owned was taken away from them. The glamorous sounding “Geneva Camp” near Dhaka is a living hell for these Bihari Muslims to this day.

Various heads of Pakistan have visited “Geneva Camp” over decades. In the 1980s, Pakistani president Zia-ul-Haq assured these “stranded Pakistanis.” Later Nawaz Sharif made similar promises during the 90s. Benazir Bhutto, who belonged to Sindh, earlier had made it clear that there was no space for them in Pakistan. During his 2002 trip to Bangladesh, then Pakistan president Pervez Musharraf said he couldn’t allow Biharis to emigrate to Pakistan. This is the fate of nearly 2.5 million Urdu-speaking outcasts rotting in Geneva and others camps around Bangladesh.

Their loyalty and belief in the concept of Pakistan has resulted in a terrible fate for nearly three generations of these Bihari Muslims. Only 1.7 lakh have been repatriated so far. The rest have been stalled. Those who have been repatriated are experiencing a living hell.

Most of those repatriated are crammed in a slum in Mian Channu in Punjab, Pakistan. During the 1980s Karachi riots, the ethnic Sindhis targeted them with impunity. Their schools are bombed. Then there is Orangi town in Karachi which houses Biharis in a pathetic condition.

This is the price fellow Muslims who believed in the idea of Pakistan have paid over generations. The medal of destitution is all they have got for their loyalty.  But look at the gall and cheek of Pakistan’s Prime Minister and his copious tears on minorities.

“Nehru Conspiracy” & Dr. Mookerjee’s death

Dr. Shyama Prasad Mookerjee’s death which falls on Friday (June 23, 1953), and which Atal Bihari Vajpayee termed as “Nehru Conspiracy” , was as turbulent as his heroic life.

The founder of Bharatiya Jana Sangh (BJS), the precursor to Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Dr. Mookerjee had been arrested and kept without medical care in degrading conditions for over a month in Srinagar in May-June 1953  by the Sheikh Abdullah’s J & K government,

Despite his known heart condition which the rarified air of Kashmir didn’t help, Dr. Mookerjee was finally offered the care of a hospital just a couple of days before his death—shifted in a small jeep instead of an ambulance and kept in a gynaecology ward, according to present BJP president Amit Shah–and administered penicillin injection despite his protestations that he was allergic to it, as BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra asserted in a TV show, citing evidence of an eyewitness.

Prime Minister Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru refused to entertain a written appeal of Dr. Mookerjee’s mother for an impartial inquiry as she believed her son’s death was a murder as the family members hadn’t been allowed to meet him during his long confinement—nor his two companions allowed to visit him—apparently illegal for it was done without a formal, legal trial.

Dr. Mookerjee had decided to take on the prevailing political situation in Kashmir where the state not only had its own constitution, it’s own flag but even it’s own Prime Minister (Sheikh Abdullah) whose permission was necessary for other citizens of the country to enter the state! Dr. Mookerjee’s war-cry that “Ek Desh Mein Do Vidhan, Do Pradhan aur Do Nishan Nahin Chalenge” (One nation can’t have two constitutions, two Prime Ministers and two Flags) would resonate for decades to come.

Atal Bihari Vajpayee, the future Prime Minister, who had partly accompanied Dr. Mookerjee in that fatal march to Srinagar as a journalist, insisted it was a conspiracy to let Dr. Mookerjee enter Srinagar so as he could then  be incarcerated and dealt with severely. As Vajpayee was to recall: “later, we came to know that J & K government and Nehru government had entered into a conspiracy, as per which it was decided that Dr. Mookerjee would be allowed to enter J & K but not be allowed to leave.”

Dr. M.S. Gowalkar, chief of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) in Nagpur, in a premonitory caution, had warned Dr. Mookerjee he was putting his life to risk.

The academicians and historians over the years have provided several clues to Nehru’s antipathy towards Dr. Mookerjee who was his colleague in independent India’s first cabinet as industry minister not long ago.

However, three years into his job as a Union minister, Dr. Mookherjee had resigned on April 8, 1950 against the Nehru-Liaqat Pact. In Indologist Dr. Koenraad Elst’s words, the Pact was an “unequal treaty in which Nehru promised Pakistani Prime Minister Liaqat Ali Khan not to interfere in the treatment of the minority Hindus across the border, even while the latter were suffering large-scale atrocities in East Bengal.” The Indian part of the Pact didn’t hold water as a stable communal cease-fire had descended on India after the day of Gandhi’s murder.

Dr. Mookerjee was often at crossroads with Indian National Congress (INC) during the Freedom Struggle, including Quit India Movement (1942), which he didn’t support along with the Hindu Mahasabha of which he was a part.

Critics cite it as proof of Dr. Mookerjee and Hindu Mahasabha’s corrosive role in India’s freedom struggle. However a contrary view is that Hindu Mahasabha suspected Congress to have a “Muslim-appeasement policy” with no regard to the concern and well-being of the Hindus. They believed Quit India Movement was no better than a vent to let out the frustrations of Indians and was as phoney as the “non-cooperation” and “civil disobedience” movement. None of these achieved their objectives and were fake movements.

Dr. Mookerjee’s role in the partition of Bengal into West Bengal and East Pakistan is glorious beyond words. When the Muslim League government of Bengal in 1946 had butchered and raped minority Hindus by several thousands during the “Great Calcutta Killings” and “Noakhali Riots” of a genocidal nature, Mookherjee had championed the cause of Bengal partition so as Hindus could be safe in West Bengal rather than be subjected to genocide in East Pakistan. The Bengal Muslim League and its leader Huseyn Shaheed Suhrawardy had earlier sought to create an un-partitioned, an independent Bengal state—which won’t be part of either Indiia or Pakistan!!!. Suhrawardy was conscious that with its coal mines and jute mills, as well as Calcutta and its mighty port, would all go to Hindu-majority West Bengal.

The calamity of great Bengal famine of 1943 which cost 38 lakh lives also saw Dr. Mookerjee at his best. He led the Relief Coordination Committee which set up 5000 relief kitchens for famine-stricken people. He had then hit out at Food Minister of Bengal, Suharawardy, and his business friend Ispahani, with these words: “Bengal has not seen greater acts of official crime in its long history.”

Dr. Mookerjee, born on July 6, 1901, was also an illustrious scholar and became vice-chancellor of Calcutta University at the age of 33, like his father Ashutosh Mookerjee once was. Dr. Mookerjee was part of Congress and a member of the Bengal legislative assembly in 20s and 30s. Disillusioned by Congress and its policies against Hindus, he had joined the Hindu Mahasabha in 1939.

Dr. Mookerjee’s speech at Banaras Hindu University in 1940 is still relevant today:

“If I have understood the history of my country alright, a pacifism that refuses to take up arms against injustice and makes one a passive spectator of oppression and aggression, does not represent the real teaching of India…

“Disruptive forces are at work within the country itself…A divided India was always a prey to the foreign invader from the days of Alexander and Mahmud of Ghazni to those of Vasco de Gama, Dupleix and Clive.

“There is much disharmony and disunity in India today. Communal differences have taken such an acute turn that fanatic claims for the vivisection of our Motherland are widely asserted.”

These words ring a bell even today.