Indira Gandhi

Onion crisis and its political shadow in India is one of history’s poor jokes

(This is a reprint from NewsBred).

History pulls some poor jokes and I am afraid onion is one of them though it’s unlikely millions of my agitated fellow Indians would view the matter as funny.

Onion prices have hit the roof in India, a kilogram costing one-third of an average Indian’s daily income of $4 dollars, forcing a worried government to seek tranches of supply from Egypt of all places lest the people’s anger extracts a political cost too grave in nature.

There’s a precedent for such grave forebodings too as governments once fell on rising onion costs in Delhi and Rajasthan and Indira Gandhi once channelized such anger to ride to power in 1980 even though the excesses of Emergency were still fresh in people’s mind.

Onion to Indians is what air is to human life, invisible yet impossible to do without, a bulb of a food which launches a thousand curries, an essential even if inconspicuous item on your food plate, peeling of which is always a teary proposition and consumption of which is strictly no-no if the next thing you are doing is to kiss your lover. You see, what is pungent for your food is odour between two mouths!

Onions were once despised by Indians

Yet history tells us that onion was one of the forbidden foods for ancient Indians who were seeking an austere life. Holy scriptures despised it as an aphrodisiac, unsuitable in quest of a spiritual life.  One of history’s most famous travellers, Hieun Tsang of China, observed in the seventh century that very few locals used onions for fear of being expelled beyond the walls of the town.

Muslim invaders then came in hordes but always returned after loots, unlike the Mughals who dominated the next millennium and barely ate anything without the onions. Their cuisine of rich meat dishes and biryani (flavoured rice), virtually embedded with this layered bulb, sometimes raw, mostly burned brown and mixed, let a strong aroma to the royal kitchenette and their dining halls. The smell soon blew down to the masses beyond the royal walls and before long, onion occupied the pride of place which it retains to this day for an average Indian’s food buds.

The irony won’t be lost to a history student as he observes a renaissance of ancient India and its true ethos of our times which laments the loss of its virility due to a thousand years of servility at the hands of the Muslim invaders and British colonialists and yet is unmindful that one of Indians’ staple food, the unputdownable onions, is actually a gift of the Mughals. That’s what you call out history for one of its poor jokes.

As onion grew in importance, so did its crop for farmers to the extent that India today is the second biggest producer and exporter of onions in the world and earns $360 million each year from its surplus. Once in a while, the monsoon is delayed or rains are active till the onset of winters and this double whammy makes onions scarce and dearer. That’s when fumes of anger hit the power corridors of government and occasionally envelopes it too. This year is a classic case study of such a frightful scenario.

Plans and the battle ahead

India hopes to come to grips with it in a matter of month or two for there is always an abundance of onions between January and May which allows the excess to be stored and used till August before the fresh crop in winter keeps Indian kitchens running for the rest of the year. It’s this winter crop, called Rabi crop in India, which has suffered the vagaries of weather this year.

Indian government is countering the crisis by banning exports and calling for imports from diverse nations such as Egypt, UAE and Turkey to meet the shortfall. Times were when India turned to Pakistan in such crisis as it was in 2010 but now the ties between the two neighbours is in deep freeze and India even needs permission to use air space of its arch-rivals. There are also measures to subsidize such imports for Indian consumers as well as a policy to ensure Indian farmers don’t get shortchanged in price only because the weather has played truant.

Such assurance though are difficult to extend to its Middle and Far East clients as well as to  neighbours like Bangladesh and Sri Lanka who are used to special brown Indian onions and find the alternative, say the white ones from Egypt, too bland in taste.  Yet Egypt is now shipping its onions to Sri Lanka which it had done never before. Even the Netherlands is importing onions to Sri Lanka though the transportation lag is no less than six weeks. Onion cost has skyrocketed for India’s traditional export clients and there is fear that India might have yielded too much ground to exporting rivals such as Pakistan, China and Egypt.

(This piece also appeared in rt.com).

 

 

A man who didn’t give up for 40 years may have now solved India’s population blues

(This is a reprint from NewsBred).

Many view India’s ballooning population, set to overtake China by the next decade, as a time-bomb ticking but a solution is now at hand which nevertheless took four long decades in coming and was hidden in plain sight.

India had only 54 millions on its population chart in 1979 when a slight professor in his 40s, Dr. Sujoy Kumar Guha, published his first scientific paper on Risug, a drug molecule he had developed as a reversible contraceptive for men. He pleaded for clinical trials. But the “Dr” in front of his name was not a medical degree; it was courtesy his PhD studies in an American university. No go, said India’s apex medical body, ICMR (Indian Council of Medical Research).

Guha chose to climb this door which was slammed shut on him by opting for his medical entrance test and becoming a qualified medical doctor. ICMR relented and the clinical trials began but more than a decade had passed and Guha was now in his 50s, an age when most men tend to get flaccid in mind.

Phase I of clinical trials progressed from rats, rabbits, monkeys to humans and were proved spectacularly successful in 1993. But then ICMR brought it to a half after someone complained that the substances of Risug are known to cause cancer. Guha argued individual substances turn harmless as compounds, just as chlorine, which could melt human flesh, becomes basic salt of everyday use when mixed with sodium. ICMR wasn’t convinced.

Dr Guha knocked the doors of Supreme Court; the Phase II was set in motion after a few years and by 2002 Dr Guha’s dreams were close to being realized before another spanner was thrown in the works. Now it was the changed international norms for clinical trials. It took Indian medical authorities another five years to put the required norms in place.

The envy which took its toll

Unsurprisingly, Guha evoked interest and envy in equal measure around the world.  The world began sniffing on his wonder drug and not always with a sense of appreciation. The National Institute of Health in the US raised questions and caused delays. Dr Guha believes to this day it was meant to promote a pill-in-the-making which, unlike his one-time injectable hormone-based drug, promised continual demand and endless profit.

Now after another dozen years, nearly 40 years all put together, Dr Guha’s dream is close to being realized. The extended tests on Risug have shown no side-effects. The Indian medical authorities are hopeful of introducing his reversible contraceptive in market in next 6-7 months.  It would be the first injectable male contraceptive in the world. Its’ competitor, the pill, is nowhere in sight.

Indian men prefer to use condoms than an invasive vasectomy surgery to sterilize their reproductive organ.  But Dr Guha’s invention is external, non-invasive and cheap and could prompt millions to opt for it, given its’ reversible with just two counter injections put in place. There is no barriers to physical intimacy like condoms.

Youth and the shackles of population

There’s a great imbalance in India’s population trajectory with southern states meeting the global trends of less than two children per household. In contrast the northern states, which contain 40 per cent of India’s population, tend to have nearly four children per household. Education, economic dependence of women, rural-urban divide all play a role in India’s population which is bursting at the seams and poses a great strain on India’s diminishing resources such as water and energy.  India has more than 600 million young people and needs 12 million jobs for them each year. Population is an issue which could no longer be put off to tomorrow.

In times gone by, around the time when Dr Guha had worked out his invention, Sanjay Gandhi, son of India’s then reigning prime minister Indira Gandhi, went for a compulsory sterilization programme to halt the population boom in 1976. Over 6 million men were sterilized in just a year. Nearly 2,000 men died because of botched operations. In the ensuing elections, India voted the Gandhis out of power. Nobody in authority has dared to do anything as dramatic as this since those dark days.

Dr Guha, nearing 80 and still sprightly, could finally give India solution to a problem which has seriously shackled the nation’s future. He wouldn’t meet the tragic fate of Dr Subhas Mukherjee who was the real architect of “test-tube baby” but lost the rights of invention to Louise Brown only because his work hadn’t appeared in any international journal. In 1981, Dr Mukherjee was found hanging in his Kolkata apartment.

(This piece is a reprint from rt.com).

 

 

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.

 

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.

Rahul Gandhi’s Minimum Income Guarantee is a scary bluster

Congress president Rahul Gandhi has promised a Minimum Guarantee Income (MIG) for “for every poor person” in the country and frankly he has bitten more than he or his party can chew without an upset stomach.  A few basic questions:

  • Does he mean “every poor person” or every “poor household”?

As per an expert committee report, under former Reserve Bank of India governor C. Rangarajan in June 2014, 363 million Indians were poor. But if we go by the number of poor households, given an official figure of 4.9 persons per household, the figure would come down to nearly 53 million poors.

  • Does he mean to raise funds by cutting down on various welfare schemes or would it come by raising taxes?

Cutting down on various welfare schemes would be disastrous. For what’s the point of providing minimum income when a poor has to make do with his own expense on the matters of food, healthcare or guaranteed employment? As per its own 2017 document on the Universal Basic Income (UBI) issue, the Congress has stated: “UBI is welcome, but not at the cost of existing welfare schemes like MGNREGA or through reduced spending on education and health.”

Raising taxes is again a no-no for it would mean fiscal deficit in double figures and a runaway inflation.

(c) What’s the minimum amount Rahul Gandhi has in mind to give to each poor?

According to Economic Survey report of 2016-2017, UBI (similar to MIG) of Rs 7,620 per year could cost as much as 5 per cent of the GDP. It would create a “While-Rome-Was-Burning-Nero-Was-Fiddling” syndrome. A benefit of Rs 600-700 per month to each poor, without raising taxes or cutting down on socialist schemes, is completely unfeasible.

By its own admission in the document mentioned above, the Congress party had declared in 2017: “What the minimum amount should be/could be controversial.”

But then we have P. Chidambaram, the Gandhi loyalist, being almost coy in declaring that the Congress party will find the resources to implement the scheme. He too, like Gandhi, hasn’t given the details. Unless both have plans to donate their own considerable funds and resources, not necessarily from scams, Rahul Gandhi’s MIG plan looks a bluster.

Remember, this is the very party whose defence minister A.K. Antony had declared that UPA 1 and 2 didn’t have the money to buy the Rafale aircrafts. (no misquoting here, watch the video).

Like before, the mainstream media has swallowed Rahul Gandhi’s bluster hook, line and sinker. There is no questioning of his words, no editorial columns, no analysis. (Just compare it with the reaction of mainstream media when the Modi government had promised 10 per cent quota to poor ONLY in public jobs and higher education). Indian Express hasn’t even covered Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad’s detailed reaction: “His party was in power for 58 years—if poll promises had been kept, the face of the country would’ve been different,” Prasad has said. (Again, contrast this when BJP makes an announcement: Ghluam Nabi Azad, Anand Sharma, Abhishek Sanghvi, Kapil Sibal or Malikarjun Kharge are always available with readymade quotes).

Indeed, didn’t Rahul Gandhi’s granny, former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi had given the “Garibi Hatao” slogan in 1971?  (Does Mr Gandhi mean his granny had then lied or is his meant to be a similar lie?)

During his speech, Rahul Gandhi also said: “Whatever I say I do. Whether it’s loan waivers…I complete the promises I make.” (Even though his face-off with Union Minister Arun Jaitley’s in Parliament recently, where the latter said: He (Rahul) lies five times a day, has remained uncontested. The Rafale lies have already been busted by the Supreme Court. )

Let’s look at loan-waivers in Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh where Congress now is in power. Loans allegedly were waived for those who hadn’t taken loans or had died. In some cases, Rs. 50 loans were waived off. Prime Minister Narendra Modi exposed loan-waiver lies in a public rally recently.

Rahul Gandhi and his Congress party would now have to come out with MIG details—and it must in the party’s manifesto in March for the 2019 General Elections. If it doesn’t, then Rahul Gandhi’s latest bluster is a pre-emptive blank strike against the measures Modi government could announce in the annual budget session later this week.

 

Sharia Courts in all districts is recipe for another Pakistan

The All-India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) has plans to introduce Sharia Courts (Darul-Qaza) in all 640 districts of India.

Even though Sharia Courts have no locus standi in the precincts of India’s courts, and that individuals and not a religious group is an entity in the eyes of a “secular” state, the AIMPLB recommends itself to solve the personal conflicts of Muslims in this country, citing the inordinate time a case takes in legal courts and claiming the guardianship of interpreting “Quran” the holy book for its adherents.

It’s a dangerous, calculated ploy by the AIMPLB to present itself as the upholder of “Quran” and thus obtain a complete subservience from the Muslim population of India, preparing a ground of conflict with India’s legal system which has recently made a move on the “triple talaq” issue and which is at the cusp of making a “Ram Janmabhoomi” verdict.. It’s preparing a ground for “two-nation” theory and has seeds of another Partition, another Pakistan in it.

The threat is real due to the weak nature of Indian judiciary which, in the past, passed a Shah Bano judgement couched as its “interpretation” of Sharia laws. India’s rule of government is no better in cracking a whip on a body about whom 95.5% percent of Muslim women have not even heard of.

Prof. Mohammad Tahir, an international expert on Muslim law, and a former chairman of Minorities Commisson, has no doubt that the Muslim law board manipulates Quran to perpetuate regressive laws and that it needs to be abolished. A few of the instances he cites,are worth quoting: “There are two verses in Quran on talaq. One verse says, `Divorce is only twice.’ The other Quranic verse says a person can’t divorce his wife unless there is an arbitration or reconciliation process from both sides. The Maulvis prefer to choose the first verse as law and the second as a mere morality.

“Similarly there is no Quaranic sanction for a Muslim law which treats two female witnesses as equal to one male witness… Every sensible Hadith is declared false, every sensible verse of the Quran has been abrogated.”

“Frankly I want (Muslim law) board to be abolished. It’s members are paranoid and they speak rubbish. Everytime the Supreme Court delivers a judgement, the Board says it is interfering with the Shariat.”

We have the instances of Muslim women denied fair marriage, divorce, adoption and property rights.  No women-in -dargahs; polygamy etc is practiced. Prohibition on child marriage is opposed by AIMPLB. Free voices, like Salman Rushdie, would continue to be muzzled.

The fall-out and damage to India’s social fabric consequently has been massive.  It has led to Muslims retreating themselves into “ghettos” and “no-go zones.” There is no assimilation and thus regressive mindset kicks in which fuels similar destructive forces of other minorities. In the name of “secularism”, the majority in India allows such self-appointed bodies to hijack and set the agenda for the minorities to the detriment of the nation.

Thus a “nation-within-nation” takes shape. It’s funded by forces which wants jihad for Muslim sovereignty across the globe. From US to Philippines, every society today is facing this challenge. First, an exclusive area is forged; it then develops into a zone which police has problem in accessing. Lawlessness emerges. Politicians fish in troubled waters. It’s not long before government loses control of such areas. Terrorism and drugs thus come to hold sway. Soon there is a call to declare them “Islamic zones.” Several European cities today are victims of such phenomenon.  For example, a radical group in UK wants 12 British cities, including London, to turn into independent Islamic states.

Look at Bengal. It has hundreds and thousands of illegal infiltrators from Bangladesh, duly aided by ISI-modules. Consequently, there are 100s of villages in Bengal where police has no say, abetted of course by politicians. When fundamentalist Mullahs make a call for no-entry to the likes of Taslima Nasreen, neither police nor politicians are of any help.

Initially, the British judges in India were assisted by Muftis and Qazis. The Qazis Act of 1880 deprived the Qazis of their judicial powers. The British courts thereafter made judgment on Muslim Personal Law. There was a persistent demand in the first quarter of 20th century to have Sharia Courts. Muslims followed the Hindu Act till 1937 when the Muslim Personal Law Application Act was passed. The All India Muslim Personal Law Board came into being during Indira Gandhi’s rule in 1973.

The life around us could soon descend into chaos, anarchy, riots and who knows, civil war.  That’s what happens in completely communally polarized societies with weak judiciary and appeasement politics. Similar was the situation during the final years of Raj when bigoted forces managed to vivisect India, slicing off its Eastern and Western arms. Appeasement lay at the root of it. History seems set to repeat itself and it would, unless it’s dealt with firmly and decisively. As citizens, we would be no less responsible for our indifference.

What Pranab da wanted us to pay heed to on Hedgewar

When former President Pranab Mukherjee visited Keshav Baliram Hedgewar birthplace in Nagpur on Thursday, he must have known better than the lies of TheWire that the founder of the Rashstriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) was subservient to the British interest in freedom struggle.

Pranab da must have been aware of Hedgewar’s role in the Non-cooperation Movement which sent him for a year’s rigorous imprisonment but not before he said the following in the court on August 5, 1921: “…What obtains today is a regime of usurped authority and repressive rule deriving power there from. The present laws and courts are but handmaids of this unauthorized regime.”

The sagacious political statesman must have known better than his junior Congress colleague Anand Sharma that RSS hurt the freedom struggle by playing no part in the Quit India Movement.

Pranab da must have lent an ear to Congress’ own Aruna Asaf Ali in the past who had revealed in an interview that RSS Delhi sanghachalak Lala Hansraj Gupta gave her shelter in his own house during the 1942 Quit India movement. Or that prominent Congress men like Achyutrao Patwardhan, strong RSS critic Sane Guruji were all kept safe in the homes of sanghachalaks/swayamsewaks. Be it food, safety or illness, RSS stood like a wall in safeguarding a few Congress leaders still out in open in 1942.

Pranab da must have been disgusted by the assertion of Professor and Indian Express edit-page writer Shamsul Islam that if RSS was fighting Quit India movement, its’ leaders ought to have been in jail. Pranab da must have known—what everyone knows except liars–that RSS has always been a social, and never a political organization. RSS had worked it out perfectly that Quit India was a hasty agitation bound to fail—and would only hasten the Partition. Why, RSS didn’t take part even in the Hindu Mahasabha agitations in freedom struggle!

Pranab da must have known better than a report in The Telegraph that Hedgewar had asked RSS to “consider the Bhagwa Dhwaj” as their national flag in 1931; the same year when the Congress Working Committee, which included Moulana Abul Kalam Azad, itself had recommended Kesari or Saffron colour for the national flag!!!

Pranab da must have been aghast at his colleague’s assertion that Bharatiya Jana Sangh sided with the British for the former wasn’t even around when the British left Indian shores, having been formed only in 1951!

Pranab da must have simmered at chicanery of his former Congress colleagues, applauding the “pluralism” of Congress when it’s no longer the original Congress which exists today. The real Congress was over in 1969 itself, half a century ago, when Indira Gandhi caused the split. The present Congress is an expanded version of Indira Congress only.

Pranab da must have found his conscience wounded for Congress came into being by a foreigner, AO Hume, only! And that Congress didn’t want complete independence from the British rule till as late as 1929 !

Pranab da must have been moved to term Hedgewar as the “great son of Mother India” for all RSS men, from its inception in 1925, had to take a pledge before joining the organization: Desh Ko Swatantra Kar (Free the Country).

When Pranab da visited the very place where RSS was founded and said “Today I came here to pay my respect and homage” to Hedgewar, he wanted his countrymen to brush up their information on the great man: That he refused to accept sweets on Queen Victoria’s coronation day in his school; that he was expelled for exhorting students to say “Vande Mataram” in high school; that he threw at bomb at a police station while still only 18; that his revolutionary activities expressed itself in Anusheelan Samiti.

If neither Pranab da nor Hindu ideologists hold any merit for Left-Liberal mafia, they would do well to pay heed to one of their own: the well-known Communist leader, Late EMS Namboodirapad himself: “Dr Hedgewar was a nationalist.” This ought to shut them up. (But you and I know, they won’t).

Irony died a million deaths in Tharoor’s column

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.

Why Rajdeep Sardesai blocked me on twitter

(This is a reprint from NewsBred).

I found myself blocked on twitter by Rajdeep Sardesai today.

My tweets to him have never been abusive; rarely personal even though there is good enough reason to be so since we shared the same newsroom in the Times of India in the 90s. But I understand that the “Freedom of Expression” is not a two-way street. Stupid, we aren’t meant to practice what we preach.

Still, I was obliged, conscience-wise, to peek into his tweets of the last four days. No, I wasn’t looking for his sermons on illegal Rohingyas. Or if he is disparaging about Bullet Train. Or if he is in the pack of the wolves dancing around the embers of Demonetization. Or if their creativity is still on its feet in stitching “Sangh Parivar” with the murder of Gauri Lankesh.

All the above issues are meant to convey their concern for India. How their heart beats for India’s proud history of welcoming refugees. How India’s economic slide kicks them in the guts. How their souls are scorched at the fanciful waste of Bullet Train. How they die a thousand deaths at the plight of “independent” journalists in today’s India.

Surely, such “conscience-keepers” of the nation would have shed a tear at the demise of Arjan Singh, Marshal of the Indian Air Force, in the Capital on Saturday. I wanted to check on Sardesai, if he has extricated himself from the morass of mud-slinging and spared a thought for the departed hero.

But I found myself blocked by Sardesai!!!

So I did the next best thing. I turned to Sagarika Ghose, his wife. Surely, the woman who has a new biography on Indira Gandhi to her name and thus, by inference, had time to research many wars of the 60s and 70s, would remember late Marshal Arjan Singh and his legendary deeds.

But there’s not a single tweet from Ms Ghose! (There of course is a retweet but that’s like registering a presence in a funeral). It’s so much like Congis–with whom her family has had a roaring stand–who rarely have had a great respect for our military heroes.

Remember the death of Field Marshal Sam Manekshaw on June 27, 2008? The then present UPA dispensation in the Centre, were all missing from the funeral of India’s greatest military hero. Neither President Pratibha Patil, supreme commander of our armed forces nor Prime Minister Manmohan Singh; neither the then defence minister A.K. Antony nor the three Service chiefs attended Manekshaw’s funeral.

Manekshaw’s various run-ins with the Indira Gandhi could be the reason. I am not sure if Ms. Ghose has it mentioned in her book—those loyals who have read it must inform me. Or the book has the facts that the 1971 War hero’s status and dues were held up for decades. (It was only due to the initiative of former  President APJ Kalam that a cheque of Rs 1.3 crores was sent to the late Marshal on his deathbed.)

Next I logged on to Sitaram Yechury’s twitter account. He is another one who can’t see his beloved India going to pieces under the Modi regime. It’s another matter that those who protect India’s sovereignty are not quite sure of his time for them. He too wasn’t present, by all accounts, at Field Marshal Manekshaw’s funeral.

Yechury too hasn’t offered any condolence on Marshal Arjan Singh. All he has done is to question Modi government for its indifference to death of India’s “most senior serving military officer.” Indifference? Is the whining Communist leader indeed talking about Marshal Arjan Singh? Isn’t he aware that Arjan’s son Arvind Singh is overwhelmed at the present government’s response to his father’s death?

I next turned to two other Congress Seniors: Digvijaya Singh and Manish Tewari. The two have been much in news for their colourful vocabulary in public lately. Abusive like the drunk thugs you often find on the streets; with little association to decorative representative offices such as ones of former Chief Minister and Union Minister. Digvijaya predictably had no time for Marshal Arjan Singh’s death (does India-Occupied-Kashmir ring a bell?) And Manish Tewari? No prizes for guessing this one too.

You would expect these people to use Marshal Arjan Singh’s death as an opportunity to present their credentials as well-wishers of Indian army, and by inference India. They have often held the grouse that their patriotism has been questioned by Hindutava agents; that they are shown as anti-Indian armed forces. But doesn’t their lack of respect for Indian soldiers and heroes only confirm the impression?

Maybe they thought that Marshal Arjan Singh’s death has come at a wrong time. Only when they were going hammer and tongs against the Modi government, the death of war hero has allowed Modi to showcase his sincerity and respect for India armed forces.  Only, when they had Modi pinned to the wall—or so they thought.

What’s a career without credibility in public life? And what delusion, like a she-Hindi author who painted Modi-praisers as no better than asses in recent days? Better by asses than filth-loving pigs.

Oh yes, and if anyone could update me on Rajdeep Sardesai on Marshal Arjan Singh.