Kapil Sibal

Smriti Irani in McDonald: We’re loving it

(This is a reprint from NewsBred).

Smriti Irani is a formidable opponent. You don’t need Rahul Gandhi to tell you. Anybody who has engaged her in the Parliament, TV debates or open public forum would swear in the name of Allah. Barkha Dutt won’t deny it nor would Rahul Kanwal. You could also ask Rashid Alvi (who? Well Congress). Or a collective opposition who were not safe even in their trenches as she rumbled in Parliament a few seasons ago.

In the above instances, Ms. Irani was dealing with hardened ideologues and masters of deception. Politicians who cook facts quicker than maggi noodles. Journalists, those cloak-and-dagger assassins, without a trace of blood on their pen. Yet they froze like rats do when bathed in car flashlights. You don’t test the depth of a river with both feet, do you.

This is a woman who is just not a prima donna in front of cameras. Away from limelight, she walked hundreds of miles in countless visits to uproot the Prophet of Amethi. Door to door, ear to ear, shoulder to shoulder, in grime and dust, scorching sun or raining heavens, lending ears and shoulders in equal measure or corner of her saree to sponge the tears of wailing widows.

When Ms. Irani speaks, it’s difficult to say if her Hindi is better than her English. When words in chaste Urdu are effortlessly slipped in. There is a flow and rhythm, snarl and contempt all constructing a perfect mosaic. You are confronted with a holistic picture, its’ edges secured in the frame of clinching facts. When she performs, it’s often better than her words. It makes material difference to the recipients; and not just aesthetics to its listeners.

We have no evidence where Ms. Irani cut her teeth in the unforgiving world of public gaze. To an unknown, a TV actress would be a guess too wide off the mark.  It’s like somebody telling you he outran an audi. That she was an Alice looking for her Wonderland in a Miss India contest once. That she also once donned checked blue shirt and trousers with apron to greet us in a McDonald cap in Bandra, Mumbai.

Yes, she worked in McDonald once. Clearing tables and sweeping floors. All for a princely Rs 1,800 a month. We wouldn’t have known it but for a textile council securing her Provident Fund employee certificate from McDonald and toying with the idea if its’ auction could come to the aid of a group of women artisans. McDonald was a refuge when she was still nursing her rejection for an air hostess job. She was told she “lacked a good personality.”

This is a woman who has made her own destiny. She prised open the door of TV soap operas and her main lead in “Kyonki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi”(Because a mother-in-law was also a daughter-in-law once) is a TV legend like few have been. Apparently her talent was no less than her looks for she was deemed best actress for five straight years. She was a female superstar, if ever there was one, of the small screen.

Maybe stardom helped Ms. Irani in political arena. Maybe not for she was a member of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) in her childhood itself even though she joined BJP formally in 2003 only. Her grandfather, a member of the RSS, must have been an early influence. As would have been her mother, Shibani Bagchi (a Bengali) who was a Jana Sangh member. Her father, Ajay Kumar Malhotra, hasn’t anything political known about him. Thus there are no rough edges here: She is an ideologically rounded person. She is married and has three kids and pictures of a happy family are aplenty.

Leaping through the ranks, Ms. Irani became national secretary of BJP in 2010. The same year she was heading her party’s women’s wing: BJP Mahila Morcha. Next year, she entered Rajya Sabha as a parliamentarian from Gujarat. Early in her career, she took on Kapil Sibal of Congress in the 2004 General Elections from Chandni Chowk constituency in the Capital.

In Narendra Modi’s two cabinets, Ms. Irani has held various portfolios. An educated guess is that she has moved between portfolios, particularly in the case of Information and Broadcasting Ministry, because of her combative working style. She is eminently capable of ruffling a few feathers. We all know Narendra Modi would rather have his team concentrate on developmental work than lock horns in public with dimwits. She has relatively quiet and non-controversial ministries of Women and Child Development and Textiles in her latest brief. But all of us know, Ms. Irani would dominate the coming decades of Indian politics. In defeating Rahul Gandhi, she probably has caused the biggest upset not just of 2019 Polls but in an entire generation. Just 43, here is a woman who is a role model for not just millions in her gender but many more in rather ruthless, largely men’s arena called politics.

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.

Judiciary: Dirty linen are now being washed in public

(This is a reprint from NewsBred).

Clearly all is not well with Indian judiciary and these are anxious time for India’s democracy.

In what is emerging as a divided house in public domain, barbs are being exchanged and motives assigned by practicing legal luminaries, both advocates and judges. Practically, the dirty lines of our judiciary are being washed in public.

The latest such episode is Supreme Court asking for response from an NGO, Lawyers Collective, and its operators, lawyers Indira Jaising and Anand Grover on a plea alleging FCRA violations by them.

Indira Jaising and Anand Grover, and their NGO Lawyer Collective in a press statement have cried foul and alleged that this is a case of “victimization” since Ms. Jaising took up the cause of ex-woman staffer who had leveled sexual misconduct charges against the Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi which now have been rejected by an In-House Inquiry Committee earlier this week.

In these columns, reports have been published how corporate lobbies and corrupt lawyers derail justice. A young Supreme Court lawyer Vibhor Anand in series of tweet-threads has alleged that law firms which hire family members/relatives of judges act as a conduit to influence judicial processes. He has further alleged that the opaque system of Collegium appoints judges in High Court and Supreme Court on recommendations influenced by corporate lobby.

The delicious irony of this all is that the lobby which ignored CJI Ranjan Gogoi’s anguish that the sexual harassment charge was an attempt to “deactivate the office of CJI” is now crying hoarse under the umbrella of “victimization.” So while this could be a plot against Indira Jaising, Anand Grover and their NGO Lawyers Collective, the “plot” theory doesn’t hold true when it comes to CJI Ranjan Gogoi!!! So, what is true for one, isn’t true for another.

While a certain lobby of lawyers and media has worked with clockwork precision to pin CJI Ranjan Gogoi to the wall, treating ex woman-staffer has a hapless victim, no thought has been spared that the CJI himself could be a “victim” in this case. In series of columns, we have highlighted how CJI Ranjan Gogoi has been virtually declared “guilty” while not a single line has been spared to pursue his line of reasoning and argument. We have also outlined the background and the related story of a lawyer claiming he has evidence it was a plot against CJI Ranjan Gogoi.

The political machinations too have played a massive role in destabilizing judiciary. Reputed lawyer Harish Salve had reacted vehemently when an impeachment process was set in motion last year against then CJI Deepak Misra. He had slammed Congress and their lawyer-politicians for vilifying the constitutional institution.

The only way to stem the rot, Salve had opined, was for Contempt of Court Act to be used with firmness and people to be sent to jail.

Speaking to Arnab Goswami, this is what Salve had said: “I believe that it is with great hesitation that the court declined to initiate Contempt of court in the Justice Loya case and I personally think it was a mistake.” With the way things were going, Salve had said, we might as well wind up the constitutional courts…if it could be vilified…without any consequences.”

Salve had cited a personal instance. “I was in Ayodhya case when (Kapil) Sibal threatened to walk out of the court…it’s awfully disrespectful of the court.”

Damningly, Salve had said: “Now that the Congress is reduced to 44, they might use the court to destabilize the government.”

Now the desperation of political survival is spreading its poison in judiciary by invoking the various lobbies they had created in the past. Lutyens Media, as ever, is pliant to their machinations and act as a forward force. In all this, the credibility of the judiciary has taken a serious beating. If judiciary goes, what survives???

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.

 

Rahul Gandhi now leaves Indian Muslims in lurch

If I was an Indian Muslim, I would have a whole lot of questions today and certainly no answers.

So far, I believed in the pictures of Rahul Gandhi, skull cap and all, in Iftar party breaking his fast, so to speak, at sunset during a day in the Ramadan month. His remarks that Congress is a party of Muslims. Now, I read he said Tuesday in Indore that his party is one of Hinduism.

It raised a whole lot of issues to my mind. Does Congress stand for Muslims, Dalits, Hindus or everyone. So far I have been told the only protectors Muslims have are Congress. They engineered a special protection for my Jammu and Kashmir brethrens and sisters in Indian Constitution. They stood up for Sharia during the Shah Bano case; are most determined for Rohingya refugees; paralyzed the country on Kathua tragedy; stalled the Triple Talaq bill, spotlight every single–half or full–lynching incident in the remotest hamlets of the country. Now they say they are one of Hinduism.

All this while, they dubbed Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) as sectarian and communal even though Narendra Modi never once said he stood only for Hindus. Isn’t Rahul Gandhi now being communal by opening claiming his party is one of Hinduism? Isn’t it polarizing the communities? Widening the gulf of fear and insecurity between practitioners of two religions? Is this the vision of One India or daring of a burglar who wishes to rob the home of 1.3 billions of all its valuables?

Then I look at my newspapers. My day begins with Indian Express, the “journalism of courage.” For the last four years and half, they have reported every single incident against my Muslim community, and Dalits, with sincerity and not a little bit of imagination and creativity. They have marked anniversaries of Dadri, Pehlu or a Junaid by sacrificing the space for news of their front pages. They made sure my Muslim community didn’t forget for a single day the crimes which have been committed against them during the Modi regime (Nor did they Una or Bhima-Koregaon on behalf of Dalits). Indian Express seemed seriously concerned about the future of Indian Muslims.

And look at them, now that Rahul Gandhi has jumped the ship, to my eyes at least, Indian Express choose to completely blank out his Indore comment in today’s edition (31.10.2018). Why didn’t they report Rahul Gandhi for his communal and polarizing comment? Why did they desert me and million of Indian Muslims like me who dread a majoritarian narrative in this country? Could Indian Express be said to be standing up to the idea of secular, free and equal India? Just imagine if Modi had said BJP stands only for Hinduism? (They haven’t allowed him to live down the Kabristan-Shamsaan speech to this day).

If I could ask Indian Express why for a similar offence, BJP is communal and Congress is not. Why give ammunition to right-wingers who claim there is never a pro-Hindu story on your front pages? Why make even your die-hard fans like me and other Indian Muslims doubt your sincerity when you sweep Rahul Gandhi’s all-for-Hinduism comment under the carpet?

I’ve tried to give my faith in Indian Express a second chance. What if your reporter truly miss the Indore event? Extremely unlikely for Rahul didn’t offer his comment in private. It was a press conference. Even if your reporter missed the event, news agencies such as PTI must have brought the news on your teleprinters. On close inspection, I even find this Indore press conference of offensive-comment buried inside your newspaper (Page 8).

Then why did you throw a cloak on this Rahul remark from our views? Why have double standards on BJP and Congress? If you care about us Indian Muslims or the idea of India that you numb our minds daily with, why avoid the searchlight on Mr Rahul Gandhi? Is that an editorial policy or a direction you receive from “Above”? And who’s this “Above”? Does this “Above” have the welfare of us Indian Muslims or India as a whole in mind?

These are all very disturbing questions to my mind. I hope Indian Express takes my fears in the form of questions to Rahul Gandhi. Ask its editorial writers from JNU and Ashoka University; Kancha Ilaiahs or Apoorvanands, to prove they truly speak for us minorities. That their propagation of free and secular India is not fake. Scratch the surface of Kapil Sibal and Shashi Tharoor who are never out of your reach, or representation, in your newspaper on a daily basis.  You could even evoke write-ups from retired professionals such as Justice Fali S. Nariman or Chelameswar, ex-cop Julio Ribeiro, ex-election commissioner S.Y. Quraishi etc who don’t even need an invitation to fill your editorial pages.

After all, you are “journalism of courage.” You profess to stand up for us minorities. You claim to care for a free and secular India. The proof of burden that  you don’t write on behalf of Muslims and Dalits only when it suits you.

Indian Media and the judiciary canard

It’s now given that attacks on judiciary would hog the front pages of newspapers and prime time television till the 2019 General Elections.

Newspapers would speculate on the “allegations” whether the Chief Justice of India ought to be impeached or not but you would never see them beat one’s own brains whether the four “dissenting” SC judges have themselves invited an impeachment motion on their press conference earlier this year (as opined by former SC judge RS Sodhi).

You would see these presstitutes flagpole government’s apparent delay in confirming the appointments of judges, initiated by the SC Collegium, but you would never see them brainstorm if government’s demand for a more transparent appointment system is justified given how a particular judge, belonging to Collegium itself, was ordered by the SC itself to undergo mental “stability” examination!

The Lutyens’ Media would run up any given lampost to browbeat the NDA government for trying to “encroach” upon the judiciary but you would never see them admit that a Law Minister was always the part of the judicial appointment system till the Collegium came about in 1993.

(That “enroahed” system got a judgment against the sitting Prime Minister of India by a Allahabad High Court judge. That “encroached” system  produced judges of the caliber of Justices Vivian Bose, Hidayatullah, JS Verma etc. What Collegium has produced, well…)

These despicable hacks would drown you with the noise that government is taking over the judiciary. They would never clarify as to how the “A.J. Raja acquittal” or Bapu Asaram guilty pronouncement then came about.

The crooked media would never tell you why sexual harassment charges against judges are dismissed on less-than-convincing grounds.

The deceitful pen-pushers wouldn’t tell an opaque system encourages judges to be manipulated—or why else most of the Supreme Court judges end up getting lucrative post-retirement jobs—and that it must be done away with.

The shameless mainstream media wouldn’t encourage dismantling the opaque system even after names of corrupt former CJIs are presented in a sealed envelope in the court. It would not question a Kapil Sibal why he didn’t asked for “impeachment” motion in above allegations of corruption and sexual misdemeanours against the honourable judges.

Best of all, you would never see the gutter media present the fact that after all this, NDA has cleared the appointment of more judges than ever per year.

So cram up the facts and be ready with answers when propaganda hits your face next time.

On Manish Tewari and his innocence on “what’s news”

On the HRD’s move on “fake news”, now jettisoned, the strategy of Mainstream Media (MSM) has been two-pronged: One, it’s an assault on freedom of press (yawn); two, government must define what’s “news’.

The second defence is a stonewalling lawyer’s argument and it fittingly it has come from Manish Tewari who is from the Congress stable of Kapil Sibal and Abhishek Sanghvi (the names say it all).

So what’s “news”? News is information. If it is not truthfully reported, it’s “fake news”. One wonders why Tewari, once an Information minister, never came to ask the media houses: “Sirs and Madams, that you are in the business of news, what does news really amount to?” Wish somebody had asked him while he was in the minister’s chair: “Sir, what do you think is news”. Mr Minister himself would’ve escorted the journo out of the door. (As an aside, imagine worrying about the freedom of press when not being able to define news as per se!).

So the idea is, if you can’t define what’s news, how would you define what’s “fake news”? This jugglery was meant to stonewall and embarrass Smriti Irani. Tiwari and presstitutes of course would take no note of a number of fake news which appear on MSM daily and which OpIndia so brilliantly clubbed together recently.

Don’t expect presstitutes to come clean when caught with pants down. It runs to Press Council of India (PCI) for every speck of dust in the eye. But when the PCI chairman sees value in government’s move, the rogues of the stable—that’s mainstream media—don’t publish it.

These rogues are not obliged to any regulatory measure.

These shameless feel no accountability towards their readers.

They wouldn’t care to inform you that accredited journalists do not amount to entire community.

These thugs won’t tell you that the charm of being “accredited journalists” are the perks and benefits which comes with the tag.

Only if the Editor’s Guild of India and News Broadcasters Association were under the RTI, we would’ve known how many, IF ANY, transgressions of mainstream media in all these years these two august bodies have censored. Or whether the only time they clear their throat is when they cry “Assault on Freedom of Press.”

Where all this jockeying leaves the readers? No better than vegetables in the eyes of the presstitutes. Freedom of press? My foot. Freedom to loot and subvert; and scavenge on dead is more like it.

And India can go to hell.

HT blanks Sibal story; Express gives its own slant

What’s OpIndia.com? Apparently nobody since Hindustan Times completely banned the Kapil Sibal “land scam” story which has propelled the remarkable website on to the national consciousness.

Who is Smriti Irani? Again nobody since Hindustan Times, leave aside the investigative story, didn’t  even consider the presser of India’s Human Resource Development minister worthy of coverage. Every other story, from a Karnataka chicken to dime-a-dozen weather reports, mocked at its readers in complete disdain today.

Indian Express, typically, covered the story inside its covers but with a completely outrageous slant. It manipulated the story not as an alleged “land scam” but as Sibal allegedly siding with a “money launderer.” You see, scams—that too made-up– exist only for a particular political party in a particularly hostile mainstream daily. (Mischievous that the newspaper is, it covered its tracks with the mention of “land” in its online story).

These are the newspapers who are awarded and feted on fake “Panama Papers”—a CIA operation which is distributed to select media outlets around the world who then acquire a halo, claiming to have worked themselves to ground in heroically unearthing this massive scam. I mean how fake could you really get!!!

These newspapers run “investigative report series” on environmental hazards in Goa; every sneeze of a Dalit; every sweat of a Muslim, every strand of hair on a Dravidian mirror but try making them cover a scam concerning Congress or Left! It’s sunk on a sea floor without much ado. There are relaxed norms for columnists–such as Sibal, Yechury or Chidambaram–who are above reproach or probing questions.  (And by the way why Surjit S. Bhalla has stopped appearing in Indian Express since becoming a member of Modi’s Economic Advisory Council? Any idea, sirji).

But could heat on them would lessen any degree only because the English mainstream media plays the cover-up game? Unlikely. Such are the avenues and platforms—social media and TV channels—available to readers that truth is out despite wool being pulled over their eyes by presstitutes.

And it is these rogues who beat their breasts on the “freedom of press” having done their best to slaughter the cause of independent media.  All its “star” go into a slumber when their masters are grilled by unassailable facts. The more they stretch to cover, the more torn undies get in the process.

Owaisi on Hindutva! Look who’s talking

Osaduddin Owaisi, a Muslim hardliner known for his legal wordplay, was brought to his knees by the combine of Times Now’s Rahul Shivshankar and BJP spokesperson Dr. Sudhanshu Trivedi on Ayodhya issue on Tuesday night debate.

Owaisi’s spacious argument was that Kapil Sibal was representing Sunni Waqf Board in the Supreme Court in the capacity of a lawyer and not from Congress; similarly as Ravi Shankar Prasad and Arun Jaitley have represented their respective clients in the past even though they are the members of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

(The same argument was stressed by Congress spokesperson Randeep Surjewala, chewing his words more than in his usual irritating style and flashing documents as Moses might have recounted the 10 Commandments in Exodus 20).

“But then why make a political argument that the Ayodhya hearing be postponed till after the ’19 General Elections? Doesn’t it show him (Sibal) as a political front of Congress? Why not stick to legal recourse? Doesn’t it show a lack of faith in India’s top judiciary?” Owaisi was questioned. Losing his cool by the minute, Owaisi said he didn’t fear as much Hindutva revivalism as Hindutva and the effect a majoritarian rule could have as it happened in (Nazi) Germany.

While Dr. Trivedi made a pertinent point on Hindu philosophy (“We have instances of one brother following another in the Forest; a heir-apparent abandoning his right on kingdom bowing to wishes of his father—unlike other faiths where son kills father and brother kills brother”), Owaisi’s sly reference to Germany needs a rebuttal. This is the last recourse Hindu-baiters employ to paint them as “Hindu fascist/Nazi forces.”

Since very few of us have the time or energy to verify these allegations, they acquire kind of a life of its own. Such a narrative would become more and more dominant till the next General Elections in 2019. It must be confronted with hard facts time and again.

Owaisi, who was dubbed by author Taslima Nasreen as a Muslim Extremist, is not alone in this fake tirade.

Communist leader Sitaram Yechury  renamed RSS as Saffron Shirts (even though the RSS uniform has no saffron) or SS in a sly reference to Hitler’s dreaded paramilitary group. [i] Sonia Gandhi and other Congress leaders have done so in the past. [ii]

In Adolf Hitler’s Mein Kampf, the word Hindu or any term for any specifically Hindu concept, does not figure anywhere. “India” figures only twice.

As for the adoption of Swastika (or hooked cross) as party symbol, it was Hitler’s attempt to counter Communist “hammer and sickle” as a logo of his own party. It bore no resemblance to Hindu’s quest for inner control from one of his of outward physical dominance. [iii]

Further, there is no Hindutva theory on race purification, no biological divergence of the Hindu-Muslim conflict and no Hindu programme on eugenics.

Still, the Hindu-haters attempts have persisted all along. At the time of Ayodhya history debate in 1990-91, VHP-mandated scholars had mentioned a 19th century Germany archaelogist Dr. A. Fuhrer to further their claims. Quickly enough, the vicious propaganda turned it into an evidence of VHP’s admiration for the Fuhrer!

Owaisi need be told that if anything, the Muslim League before Independence was viewed to have a similar outlook on Hitler and Nazi Germany by none other than Jawaharlal Nehru, as mentioned by BR Nanda in his book, Gandhi and his Critics :

“When Nehru returned after a brief visit to Europe in 1938, he was struck by the similarity between the propaganda methods of the Muslim League in India and the Nazis in Germany.”

Nanda wrote further that “the league leaders had begun to echo the Fascist tirade against democracy…Nazis were wedded to a negative policy. So also was the League. The League was anti-Hindu, anti-Congress, anti-national…the Nazis raised the cry of hatred against the Jews; the League had raised its cry against the Hindus.” [iv]

Though this piece is not about Hindu-Muslim viewpoints, it must be said in passing that the RSS and Hindutva forces, against whom Owaisi mouths his venom, have never commented on the intrinsic value of Islam as a religion even though by popular admission, Islam is narrower, more regimented and less freer than Hinduism.

For example, Muslim countries are less repentant about having treated non-Muslims under their rule as a lower class of human beings. Such has been the case against the Hindus in Pakistan and Bangladesh.

Thousands of Christians were killed in Indonesia, in East Timor and in Sudan; substantial Copts were killed by Muslims in Egypt; Algerian Islamicists targeted Catholic priests in 1990s. Christian natives too have committed since against Hindus in Fiji but neither any Muslim or Christian country is ever termed as Fascist/Nazis. (Thanks to Dr. Koenraad Elst for these facts).

Communists have killed far more people in numbers than Hitler ever did. Did British colonial powers kill less number of Indians than Hitler ever did in his Holocaust?

Yet, the tag of being Fascist/Nazis has never been applied against an Islamic or Christian country after World War II. Hinduism, in contrast, is tolerant and accommodating, never looking for outward expansion, and thus an easy target for this tirade.

Those who call Hindutva as Fascists or Nazis, ironically are clearly in alliance with ideologies whose record against Humanity leaves much to be desired: Communism and Islamism.

I conclude this piece with a delicious chuckle: all these secularist champions—who fear-monger about supposed Hindu fascism—need be told that Hitler himself was a secularist!

The European history of the last half-millennium has shown that modernity (Renaissance, Enlightenment, French and American Revolution, French Third Republic etc) has gone hand-in-hand with secularization. Hitler too had continued with the secular policies of Bismarck’s Kulturkampf. All along, Hitler had kept religions in its place.

i] Pseudo-Hinduism Exposed, CPI (M), Delhi, 1993, Page 1

[ii] The Saffron Swastika, Dr. Koenraad Elst, Page 28

[iii]  The Swastika, Malcolm Quinn, Page 129

[iv] Gandhi and his Critics by BR Nanda, Page 88

 

Express surpasses itself in Sibal’s defence

Indian Express in its second lead on front page on Thursday have twisted itself into a tangle. Its’ murder of logic is something which Agatha Christie or Sherlock Holmes (or our own Col. Vinod) would utterly fail to solve.

Its’ Ayodhya story has so many loose ends that its multiple writers (the creditline is: Express News Service) could win world championship in “Fake News” but to pass them off as journalists is only possible in most creepy and insane mental asylum. And to think somebody actually cleared the copy and decorated the Front Page with it is Ripley’s textbook material. Such scripts can present the whodunit movie makers a guaranteed blockbuster.

The 1000-word gorilla of a story essentially tries to prove that Kapil Sibal was representing an individual client and not UP Sunni Waqf Board and the guy (Haji Mehboob) who snubbed Sibal on his unprompted remark “postpone-Ayodhya-hearing-till-July 2019” was not a member of the board.

Readers can read the entire Express story in this link and then most possibly would join me in posing a set of questions to the newspaper:

(a)    Even if Sibal is representing this individual client Iqbal Ansari (this guy must be rich to afford Sibal), his remarks have been disowned by Ansari himself. So whose case is Mr Sibal fighting? (our guess is Congress. Express could’ve asked even “piddi” to get this answer).

(b)    Express quotes a lawyer of the UP Sunni Waqf Board for claiming Haji Mehboob is not its member. It then quotes Mehboob for having met Sibal in Delhi three days ago. In what capacity? (for as per Express Sibal-Waqf Board-Haji Mehboob are all unrelated).

(c)     Express states that Mehboob replaced his father as a defendant in the Ayodhya case. Who’s the father? Express doesn’t make an effort to clarify.

(d)    Express brings All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) to buttress its story with this quote in support of Sibal. “…it was not the right time to take up the matter for final hearing.” But who’s AIMPLB? Isn’t the body in question in UP Sunni Waqf Board? Why not speak to them and find out whether they had authorized Sibal’s views or not?

(e)    For a moment, let’s admit AIMPLB is legitimate body to comment. Shouldn’t Express have asked them how they arrived at the conclusion that the “right time” has to be after July 2019?

(f)     Could it be that Express wasn’t able to access Sunni Waqf Board? But then how was it able to lay hand on one of its Advocates-on-Record and quote him extensively without asking the primary question: What’s UP Sunni Waqf Board stance?

(g)    What are readers supposed to make sense when it reads from other sources that UP Sunni Waqf Board chairman Zufar Ahmed Farooqi has said: “none of the members supported the view that the case be deferred.” (Express can claim it couldn’t get Farooqi on record. But would it carry Sunni Waqf Board’s views next day?)

Express then states that Modi has “picked up” the Sibal quote and goes on extensively to quote the latter, allowing him to offer his defence.

Sibal predictably lays into BJP and Prime Minister Narendra Modi, accusing them of having no principle in politics. He outlines the virtues of Congress and how it wants unity in the country. His grouse against employment, exports, GDP situation in the country is allowed full vent.

But Express fails to ask Sibal a basic question: Who do you think you were representing? Neither UP Sunni Waqf Board nor your independent client has supported your comment. If indeed you are present in the hearing as a lawyer and not as a politician, why colour the legal proceedings with apprehensions on political fallout in 2019 General Elections?

Express doesn’t ask some basic questions in this story. All it does is to sweat and put Sibal and Sunni Waqf Board in separate pigeon holes and labours to make them appear in better light.

The attempt is a massive flop. And even its diehard fans are asking: How come “journalism of courage” has turned into “gutter of journalism?”