Ram Janmabhoomi

Anarchy has come home to roost in India: What options do BJP have?

(This is a reprint from NewsBred).

Breakdown.

Is that what India has come to?

Most Indians are battling this conundrum.

This perceived breakdown, internal, is largely at two levels: (a) harmony between Hindus-Muslims; (b) Centre and state relations.

Both are interlinked. A power seemingly in perpetuity loses an election. And another. Both by a landslide. The winners are identified with majority. The losers with minority. The turfs have exchanged hands. It’s an existential moment for losers; like those countless in history where Czars and Caliphs came to rest in tomes and tombs.

Losers now rally their forces. It joins hands with those it was in fight with all these years. All the parts must matter in sum. It doesn’t. Those who made a meal out of caste politics in India’s heartland are uprooted; those who swore by Maratha identity sound like a hag’s croon; elsewhere in volatile Bengal, the monster-slayer Didi stomps ground, flashes eyes and fingers, yet barely keeps her head above the surging water.

The Winners are surer after second win. They know they have come to stay. They won on planks of development and incorruptibility. On keeping India First. So out goes Jammu and Kashmir and its armour of special status. Minority wakes up to post-Shah Bano world in Triple Talaq Act; Ram Janmabhoomi arrived at an opportune time; and then the long-standing Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) is approved by India’s chosen representatives.

So Losers can’t win people’s confidence. The judiciary too doesn’t fall to their mechanisms. Prepaid media is doing its best but little is changing on the ground. Their Samaritans in movies, culture, academics have little traction. The echo-chamber in West is drowning in its own noise.

Anarchy thus is the last resort. It’s always two-faced: One is led by the system. The other by the people. As I mentioned at the start: Break it down at (a) people; and (b) governance level.

Anarchy at the people’s level is your anti-CAA protests, Hathras, Farms Bills, Reservation stirs etc, etc. Anarchy at the governance level is passing resolutions against the Central Acts in your State’s assemblies; refusing CBI a peek into your vice-dens; protecting your favourite police officers even against the judiciary’s strictures; and ridiculing Governors every alternate day.

Uddhav’s Maharashtra is taking it to the next level. Mamata’s police was bad on cartoons on their leader (Uddhav’s too as ex-navy officer Madan Sharma would testify); it would land on doors at different States;  a journalist here and there; but Uddhav’s is booking the entire Republic TV network—claimed 1000 of them ! Kangana Ranaut was just a teaser it would seem. What next?

Some fundamental issues are stake in India. How far could this anarchy be allowed? The ruling BJP apparently has two choices. Let the masses know who are their enemies. It would teach them a lesson in due course. The other option is to exercise the power that the Constitution empowers it with: Dismiss state governments. The long rope which BJP has extended to Mamata Banerjee in the last six years conveys they would rather not do it and leave it in people’s hands.

BJP also knows what is noise and what’s substance. The noise is the ant-Farm Acts stir in Punjab led by its Congress chief minister Capt. Amarinder Singh. It could pass assembly resolutions but nothing would come out of it. The Punjab government is saddled with enormous debts and in the era of GST, you can’t trot your own horse when the whip is with someone else. You need Centre at every stage: Disasters and finances are one thing; telecommunications and security is another. More so in a border State.

It doesn’t mean that BJP ought to be at peace with anarchy. Mandate comes with responsibility. Anti-CAA protests led to Delhi Riots. They didn’t see Shaheen Bagh become what it did in the end. It made even Supreme Court helpless. The State must never be seen soft. India can’t afford it. All societies run on larger good. Those sloganeering “freedom”, “democracy” and “Constitution” don’t mean a bit of it. This chimera must yield to rule of law. Or it would persist in our lifetimes; and in our children’s. To horrific consequences if a malleable power was to come to Centre.

(Meanwhile, don’t fret on the welfare of Republic TV. Nothing would come out of it. Indians don’t like or even see somebody being browbeaten. More so by Powers. Brazenly. Mumbai Police has taken a bigger bite than it could chew. So, enjoy the drama but don’t miss your routine. The Karma would catch up with Mumbai Police and the rulers in Maharashtra).

 

 

So Modi’s men want to maximise India’s surplus land: Waqf Boards anyone?

(This is a reprint from NewsBred).

I woke up this morning to the news that Modi’s men want to maximize its land within India. I mean it’s alright to secure our borders but what about the land lying idle in plain view?

So Railways, Telecommunications and Defence, India’s biggest landowners, are put on alert. Their surplus land are mere idle parcels begging for infrastructure and commercial attention. Figures are damning too.

Railways and Defence own more land than 10s of Palestines, the cause of which hasn’t let us sleep since 1940s. Railways has around 1.25 lakh acres of land lying vacant out of 11.80 lakh acres, Defence is even bigger, around 6.35 lakh acres. Then you have our BSNL and MTNLs. The surplus land of BSNL alone is worth Rs 24,980 crores.

BSNL would be the first to part with its excess. Next in line are BPLC, CONCOR, Air India and Shipping Corporation of India. Public Private Partnership (PPP) is mooted, Toll-Operation-Transfer is seen a win-win model for all. Why, the Union Budget 2020-21 had listed plans to monetize at least 12 lots of highway bundles of over 6,000km before 2024.

Waqf Board anyone? You can’t tell me you haven’t heard on them. I could understand you don’t know that ones across India hold at least six lakh acres of land worth $18 billion. But there ought to be something for the UPA government in 2005 had set up a seven-member Justice Rajindar Sachar panel which recommended an overhaul of waqf boards and which was given a quiet burial by our rulers and prepaid media. In 2013, the UPA government floated the idea of bringing waqf lands under the Public Premises Act. Nothing happened. Modi government has acted only to the extent that there is a Waqf Management System of India (WAMSI) portal. Some 5.56 lakh acres of land has found entry into the system. But what about half of Waqf lands now virtually owned by individuals? Where corruption and not charity is the order of day?

Let me first give a short primer on Waqf. By its definition Waqf, an Arabic word, is giving away of a property for charity by person of Islamic faith. It means, loosely, immobilization, in English. That is, it must not be sold or developed to earn profits. State Waqf boards guard these lands under the Waqf Act, 1995. In 2015, the Supreme Court directed all states to set up three-member Waqf boards to protect such property. In all there are 32 such boards across states and union territories.

A government estimate claims over half of the Waqf land are occupied by people who are not its legitimate owners. The issues in public domain are instances of a CEO of Maharashtra State Waqf Board found transferring land to a private developer for non-Waqf purpose; Arvind Kejriwal’s Aam Aadmi Party trying to bring back a tainted MLA as chairman of the Delhi Waqf Board; and Delhi High Court snubbing the Delhi Waqf Board and Delhi government on an encroachment thus: “You cannot encroach even to house other people. Charity begins at home. So do charity at your home. You cannot encroach upon…it’s not permissible.”

Why, even Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, our minority affairs minister, has acknowledged of the existence of a “Waqf mafia.” A Reuters report confirmed the rampant misuse of Waqf properties.

The Centre cannot take Waqf land. It shouldn’t even think on the lines like it could with its institutions like Railways, Defence and Telecommunications. But it’s within its right to coax the State Waqf boards to follow the best practices around the Islamic world. Saudi Arabia and Malaysia have no hesitation in calling them “Corporate Waqf Institutions.” There are professionally run management bodies which have developed Waqf programmes to manage and invest Waqf assets. If Saudis could do it, what stops our own Muslims unless the idea is to tease the Centre and thumb your nose at the cost of the country?

We are not even talking of taxing the God’s land. All that is needed is to clean up the encroachers and encourage Waqf boards to maximize its assets. Don’t tell me that fighting litigations (Ram Janmabhoomi) or poring over plans to build (Ayodhya mosque) is all that they (UP Sunni Waqf Board) could do.

 

 

When was the last you saw yourself in mirror, Mr Pratap Bhanu Mehta?

(This is a reprint from NewsBred).

Once in a while it’s fun to see an intellectual knackered down in the ivory tower of his own. So, it was with Pratap Bhanu Mehta in the Indian Express today where he has been cornered by BJP’s general secretary Bhupendra Yadav.

Yadav, you see, has had problem with a Mehta column in the same pages which was titled “Railroading the Bills” and thus leaves nothing to imagination. Mehta had emptied his chamber of bullets which, usually with intellectuals, is a slow striptease for their masters and never really about the subject they are writing. Mehta has an audience in the West, in its academic and media circles, and it was for their consumption. Who cares if BJP heard it or not?

Bad luck for Mehta, this time Yadav did. So, Yadav first distils the essence of Mehta’s article and then proceeds to ask if tearing the rules book, breaking the mic, standing on table, screwing up the social distancing norm, was okay with the intellectual. If it was okay with the intellectual that the safety of marshals was tested and that neither the erring MPs nor their parties have had any regret to show for their conduct. And if that’s okay with the intellectual that such precedents of hooliganism are set in the Parliament of world’s largest democracy since he had completely side-stepped the issue.

Not that Yadav let Mehta go on his intellectual pretensions. So, he set about dismantling the intellectual point by point.

  • You say “Question Hour” was suspended. But the “Right to Question” wasn’t suspended. Curtailed sessions often opt so. Why, even state assemblies in Kerala, Maharashtra, Punjab, Rajasthan and West Bengal—incidentally all ruled by Opposition—have also suspended the Question Hour. Any word for them, Mr intellectual?;
  • You say the Select Committee was avoided. But you don’t recall that amendment to refer the Bill to the Select Committee had been moved—and could have arrived at some conclusion had not the hostile members surrounded the Deputy Chairman of the House and snatched papers from him;
  • You say the “division” of votes were not allowed. But for a division to be allowed, the House has to be in order. And, by the way Mr Intellectual, who disrupted the order? Who walked out? Who ought to have been asked this question?

Mehta has said enough in last few years to leave no-one in doubt that he hates Narendra Modi and the conservative government in power. Before 2019 general elections, he had said: “The last five years have been a mutilation of the Indian soul” or “They stand for everything that is un-Indian.” Never mind, a common Indian has a completely different opinion to Mr intellectual.

But then Essential India is not what intellectuals such as Mehta and Arundhati Roy worry about. Often, they give a Western literary motif to their viewpoint which makes no sense to an average Indian. They are inaccessible to Indians as the latter are to them.

So, when Delhi gathered around 700 academics a couple of years ago, with the idea of creating an ecosystem of Indic knowledge tradition, it didn’t endear itself to Mehta, all because it had been organized by the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS). So, who would lead the revival of Indic tradition if not RSS? Have you asked the JNU, with all their state funding of taxpayers’ money, why they don’t have an Indian philosophy centre? And what about your own Ashoka University where you were a vice-chancellor until recently, Mr intellectual?

This was the man who viewed Ram Mandir as “dangerous” or “unnecessary”. He viewed it as act of terrorism since it was after a mosque had been razed down. This was the man who called for “street action” after Islamists and Leftists and Liberals weren’t able to get their way past India’s legislature or executive and the judiciary wanted to play by the rulebook. (Some wonder he escaped the Sedition charge!).

The government had followed the rulebook in both Houses of Parliament to make the Triple Talaq bill a reality. It had played by the rulebook in enacting a new profile of Jammu and Kashmir, doing away with the stain of seven decades of “temporary” special status. It also waited patiently, trusting in India’s judiciary and the Constitution, to end the legal wrangle of decades on Ram Janmabhoomi. It also presented its case impeccably to have the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) cleared by the Parliament.

Anyone who didn’t agree had the option of knocking the doors of Supreme Court. You surely expect such a conduct from Liberals who profess in centrality of the Constitution and the tenets of democracy. But then these Liberals are wolves in sheep’s clothing.

So, if the temporary status of Jammu and Kashmir is done away with after seven decades, it’s a problem. If a verdict in favour of Ram Temple, after Hindus of successive generations have exhibited exemplary patience, it’s a problem for the resident of the ivory tower.

So they didn’t agree by the rulebook, just as the Opposition hasn’t done on the Farm Bills. They gave a call for hooliganism, just as Opposition has now done on Farm Bills. All the pretence on swearing by the Constitution, Parliament, Judiciary, Democracy is what it is—a pretence. They deserve nothing but contempt.

 

Modi is India’s greatest prime minister by a distance—here’s why

(This is a reprint from NewsBred).

The very headline demands a comparison. Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru had his own view of India, not the one he shared with his mentor Mahatma Gandhi. Views on science was one thing, Hindus were another. Gandhi’s India was more than just Hindus, often at its cost. Nehru’s India could do without Hindus. For their own reasons, almost a century they shared between them (1869-1964), never made Hindus a political question.  Hindus, “the bloodiest story in human history” as historian Will Durant put it, remained unattended.

Indira Gandhi didn’t burden herself with the weight of ideology. Power was all that mattered. Two notables which she is credited with, probably owed little to her. The liberation of Bangladesh was an Indian army’s gift. Indeed, New Delhi held back the permission to storm Dhaka well beyond the expiry date. The storming of Golden Temple, and clearing of Sant Jarnail Bhindranwale and his proverbial 40 henchmen, was the outcome of her own experiment which went horribly wrong. Between the imposition of the Emergency and her butchering of Constitution–“secular” and all–it’s difficult to say which was worse.

Rajiv Gandhi, the reluctant politician, was terrible on Sri Lanka’s Tamil issue. He paid with his life in the end. He also apparently had a blood-streak in him which his velvety profile hid well. Ask the survivors of 1984 Sikh Progrom, it’s justice in perpetual limbo.  He also carried on the tradition of Muslim appeasement which under Mahatma Gandhi had cost India  its western and eastern arms.  He upturned the Supreme Court verdict on Shah Bano which had granted the divorced woman the right to alimony. Sharia Law had trumped democracy. India was rightly perceived to be a soft state by fundamentalists.  It gave wind to separatists in Kashmir.

Thereafter, terrorism became the headlines. Hindus were shown the chimera of independence as lakhs of them were driven out of Kashmir Valley. Atal Behari Vajpayee favoured peace with Pakistan and got Kargil in return. Vajpayee was no ordinary leader though. He made India nuclear. It was a game changer in India’s security doctrine. Vajpayee also did bold reforms in education and infrastructure.

Manmohan Singh was an economist at the service of politicians. He was a dummy prime minister, an accidental one, who turned a blind eye to scams dancing -under his chair. Pamphleteers give him credit for opening up the Indian economy. In essence, he only carried out the dictates of his prime minister Narasimha Rao who didn’t belong to Nehru-Gandhi clan. His has been a pursuit of power, of communal bias— “Muslims have the first right on India’s resources” – and between visits to hospitals, he is presently panting for a Rajya Sabha seat.

In all these pre-Modi years, India wrestled with hunger, wars and terrorism as its three key moments. In the 60s, India was without food. Wars bloodied its earth virtually every decade. Terrorism brought death to cities after 1990. Mumbai’s 26/11 was as big a psychological scar to India as battles of Panipat from Babur to Ahmed Shah Abdali. Rich made the best of licence raj; poor couldn’t even enter a park. Police and bank accounts were out of bounds. Subsidies were for the middlemen. Entrepreneurship a sin and a road to suicide. Mandal Commission–oh we forgot VP Singh–created regional satraps in Mayawati and Yadavs on the plank of Dalit politics.

Modi now has completed six years in office. His both terms secured with a resounding vote from 1.35 billion Indians. He chose demonetization against black money and Indians became friends with the digital world, an offshoot nobody had foreseen. India took halting steps towards one-tax regime in Goods and Services Tax (GST). India’s unseen people today have electricity, cylinders, health coupons, bank accounts, direct subsidies, Mudra loans and gifts of sanitation etc. These benefits don’t choose Hindus over Muslims.

Yet, this is not what makes Modi India’s greatest prime minister ever. It’s about vision–which is not ideology–where he seems to be up against the world. He dreams of a safe, prosperous and united India but not at the cost of Hindus. It upsets a hell of a lot of people.

Let’s begin with Kashmir. He has restructured the former state which was manipulated by Nehru-Gandhi clan to ensure Kashmir Valley always wins. In due course, it became a personal fiefdom of Abdullahs and Muftis. Now the assembly seats, whenever elections are held, would see a balance in proportion to size and population. There is not an ounce of evidence to suggest it is against Kashmiri Muslims. But there is plenty to suggest it would hurt the entrenched regional dynasties who had turned a blind eye, if not aided and abetted, the terrorism from across the border. Muslims in Kashmir Valley were in pits in all these years. They could only look up.

An impartial history would judge Modi as an Indian who saved India’s borders which Prithvirajs, Gandhis and Nehrus couldn’t do in a thousand years. Kashmir was a lost case. In 2047, it would’ve been hundred years to that thorn. It was not a matter of if, but only of when, India would become the rest of Kashmir.  In the age of Islamic State (IS) and its known cahoots in India this was given. My children, and their children, and their children, have been blessed with that one ring of security which is Modi’s offering at Mother India’s feet.

Then, we have Ram Janmabhoomi. This was hanging fire much beyond our independent years. Nothing had been in doubt: That the Babri Masjid had been built over a temple; that it was a mosque in disuse; and that mosques are routinely removed in Saudi Arabia. Yet, Hindus were denied a home for their supreme deity in their own land. Modi has managed it without resorting to unconstitutional norms.

One half of India’s 200 Muslims, their womenfolk, had a constitutional disadvantage due to a practice which isn’t objected to by Sharia Law even though the Holy Book probably doesn’t sanction it. A husband could take away his wife’s investment of her life and career in him by simply pronouncing triple talaq. This was slavery within homes. It hurt Muslim women, their kids, the family, the society and the nation. The Triple Talaq Act 2019, which had been approved by Supreme Court but stuck in Parliament on numbers, was finally enacted within days Modi assumed his second term. This was the first definite step towards Uniform Civil Code (UCC) which is desired by the Constitution.

It’s said Muslims are unsafe in Modi’s India. Lynchings are cited as proof. I remember so clearly the early days of Modi’s first term when this word was repeated ad nauseam. A few scribes and newspapers worked in lockstep on this agenda. You couldn’t pick up a newspaper where “lynching”, real or fake, wasn’t mentioned. Lynchings have always happened in rural India where cows are wealth and people would give life to protect them. It’s no different to how anti-CAA and now migrants have been picked for propaganda though they couldn’t care less for Muslims or poor.

This anti-India lobby of journalists, politicians and their foreign handlers see an existential threat in Modi. He is a Hindu in thought and action but they would rather portray him as anti-Muslim. It’s easy to sway millions of Muslims for most are uneducated and poor; and have a latent fear of Hindu’s rise. This frenzy would again be on us once Corona Virus recedes in the background.

Modi’s position is secure in history. His real test would be coming four years. Anti-India lobby, which includes Jihadis, Communists and imperialist forces, won’t give him a moment’s respite on Muslims. Modi is a nationalist and nationalists are always a threat to these global forces.  I predict an anarchy on streets where police would be immobilized. Any action they take would have screaming headlines and images in next day’s daily. It in turn would bring pressure groups such as the United Nations, European Parliament, George Soros etc. into play. Police would freeze; the anarchy would bring in violent mobs in a bid to overthrow him. This is a script I am reading it out to you in advance. How Modi responds, we would see.

We haven’t touched how painstakingly Modi has invested his time and energy to be a world leader of considerable respect. Or how, if we beat Corona, he would invite books of gratitude. He doesn’t part with national coffers easily which is a leeway we must grant to a Gujarati. But the sum is always greater than the parts and it’s the whole which makes Modi the greatest ever.

 

4 Forces which BJP must confront—or be ready to lose India they have in mind

(This is a reprint from NewsBred).

Forces which oppose Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) would feel they now have a gameplan in the wake of its’ crushing defeat in the Delhi assembly elections.

These anti-BJP forces could easily be clubbed as (a) opposing political parties; (b) Left-Liberal controlled propaganda media; (c) Indian Muslims; and (d) urban youth. More or less these four forces would feel empowered now.

Political opponents which fear BJP’s hegemony—and nearly all of them do—are the hyenas who think they could now hunt the lion named BJP down. They won’t take recourse to Parliament or judiciary but would look to resist Centre on the most inane of legislations on their turf. They would put women and children in front. They would look to stall or breakdown India’s federal structure and create anarchy.

The time-tested proven method of George Soros-led Liberal forces is to force a showdown with police on streets, show the State impotent, build support in captive media and when the state strikes back, build the pressure through global colonial, imperial forces to bear down on the hapless country.

Propaganda mainstream media, who fatten themselves on their political, religious and colonial masters, would be on steroids now. They would be more vitriolic and vicious. This despicable media hasn’t found one act of Arvin Kejriwal—or of Ashok Gehlot/Kamal Nath—in the last few years worthy of criticism. NOT ONE ACT! Even though AAP operates right under it nose in the Capital. It must tell you a thing or two about their “neutrality.”

Indian Muslims have long enjoyed entitlement in a “secular” nation. Modi’s rise played on their anxiety. With abrogation of Article 370, Triple Talaq Act and Ram Janmabhoomi, they were simmering under the breath. Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) gave them a tool. Propaganda media and political parties fanned it.  Theirs became a cause célèbre. It made headlines around the world. A nondescript lane of Capital was turned into a shrine. Death of a toddler was deemed “Qurbani”.  Secessionist slogans and war-cry of “Azaadi” rent the air. They would now stall your daily life and governance.

Urban youth, particularly students and of elite society, were completely sold off to the Jamia and JNU narrative.  This 20s newbies feel no connection with 370 Article or Ram Janmabhoomi, two issues which have by and large troubled the soul of this nation. It’s the power of the propaganda, and our shambolic education system, that these youths are completely weaned away from the ethos of India.

BJP, and its two engines, Narendra Modi and Amit Shah, work under the constraints of the Constitution. They won’t dismiss a Mamata Banerjee or Pinaryi Vijayan government or make Shaheen Bagh protestors run for cover. There won’t be lathi-charge or pellets shots. They do get affected by the negative publicity. The headlines and images which are multiplied by international media leave them passive.

In view of the mounting challenge from these four opposing forces, BJP would be foolish to believe it would just go away. These four forces would “create” issues to cause disruptions. There is no escaping them. You can’t wish them away, close your eyes and feel it’s disappeared.  They are in your face. Sharks have tasted blood in the water. You better deal with it or squander everything you’ve gained in the last few years.  There is a new game in the town. It’s called ANARCHY.

One, BJP shouldn’t be shy of dismissing state governments which promote violence and anarchy or resist their Constitutional obligations. The first litmus test would be at the time of CAA implementation in April against which Punjab and Kerala assemblies have passed resolutions. If they resist its implementation, dismiss them. To hell with niceties or looking for approval from hostile corners.

Two, BJP shouldn’t leave propaganda media to its own devices. Instead, they should try to force them in corner on their omissions and commissions. Fake propaganda spread by them needs to be accountable. Mobilize readers. Have a very active, virile awareness campaign to their manipulations. Drop the velvet gloves. Spread the world. You have men and money. Use it to tame the beast.

Indian Muslims must be stripped of their undue entitlement. Have a very serious look at how India could claim to be a secular nation and yet promote minorityism by having separate ministries and funds. Bring on Uniform Civil Code which is an obligation our Constitution has longed for from our lawmakers. Don’t give an inch or treat any group as privileged. Treat them as any other citizen. Law and order is a state subject and if a hostile state government promotes anarchy by prodding the Muslims, deal with them harshly.

Urban youth must be engaged with discussion. There ought to be a mechanism where their issues are listened to and addressed on a fortnightly basis. Engage them. Propaganda media won’t cover it but publish ads, use radio and television, to let the “neutral” public know of government’s keenness to dispel the doubts. Long-term solution of course is change of India’s education system and it won’t happen on its own. It needs be done. The course correction must begin now.

And then finally there is this matter of Hindus who constitute majority in this country. Delhi election results would convey they didn’t stand by BJP. They weren’t upset by “Hinduon se Azaadi” slogans. They weren’t upset by the anarchy on the streets. They weren’t upset by Shaheen Bagh. They weren’t upset that their Hindu brethrens from neighbouring Islamic countries are stopped from having own roof over their head.  Ram Janmabhoomi doesn’t touch them a bit. Nor the sacrifice of our tens of thousands of soldiers in Kashmir. Hindus didn’t stand by BJP in the Delhi elections.

There is also no denying that BJP expected such support from Hindus. That’s why perhaps Shaheen Bagh was allowed to linger as long as it has. That’s why Pakistan was evoked at every public address by an Amit Shah or a Yogi Adityanath. Surely, it has been a miscalculation to bank on their traditional votes.  Hindus are a sloth – and history is a testimony.

BJP doesn’t need to blink against the four inimical forces. It also needs to ramp up its information- disbursement mechanism. It needs to nurture those voices who are laboring under their own passion and “dharma” but could do wonders if sustained with attention and care. As for Hindus, they have been disappointing. They can’t see the threat these four forces are determined to inflict on their existence.  And on India they call their motherland.

 

 

Modi and his eerie silence: Rivals are digging up their own grave

(This is a reprint from NewsBred).

I am a little intrigued by the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party’s prolonged silence since protests and strikes filled our newspapers from headmast to imprint line even if on ground it occupied only a dozen maidans and gullies of our immense country.

I am also a little perplexed why BJP is dead-stone cold on the virulent Western protest and even on the staged marches which are being taken from Cape Town to Canada (yes, yes, Prakash Javedkar has whispered his displeasure).

Mamata is being typically outrageous in Bengal; Pinaryi Vijayan is comically taking referendum in Kerala assembly; Priyanka Gandhi-Vadra is picking every destitute child from the street and posing with a straight face, Uddhav Thackeray is comparing JNU to 26/11 and Kamalnath is commenting on prime minister Narendra Modi’s parentage. The sidekicks like Yogendra Yadav and Sitaram Yechury are only finding time for the Left students in their alma mater. The Shekhar Guptas of the netherworld are swooning over a mercenary Deepika Padukone. Bollywood, meanwhile, has come out of their ivory towers and are squatting on Mumbai’s grimy streets in their Gucchis and Armanis.

I can understand if you the readers are bewildered on what’s causing this outrage. Some days it’s police which is doing too much; On other days it’s police which is doing nothing. Some days students’ violence in campus (JNU) is being seen as India being overtaken by fascist forces: On other days, students in Bengal doing worse violence are being hailed for staking their lives to keep “democracy” and “secularism”alive. The swords on CAA, NPR and NRC have been sheathed for the moment. But be assured, it’s only the lull before the storm. It’s clear as crystal that anarchists, riding the two wheels of political lust and youths’ naivety, want to run over the Modi government.

In its’ nearly six years in power, the Modi government has done everything by the book (Constitution). Even on an issue as emotive as Ram Janmabhoomi. So far, the people it is in conflict with, was playing by the same rule. But now the matrix of the game has changed. Order is up against anarchy. We know the roadmap of Anarchists. How do you think Order should respond?

First, Order can’t abandon the governance it has been entrusted with by the majority of 1.3 billion people in this country. It can’t pass the CAA in the Parliament and then develop cold feet. Or abandon the NPR and NRC which is to distinguish between the real and fake citizens. It can’t be hostage to whim of a few.

What worse could happen? People would hit the streets, logjams, violence, bad press etc. (Police and para-military forces would do what they need to do).  Urban youth could be alienated. Communal divide could be stoked. But why not trust millions more who are unseen and unheard but support your move?

I suspect BJP has worked out its way forward. It won’t be frozen into inaction. Policies would be formulated, legislation made and implemented. Law and order issues would be handled by law and order agencies. Let the ideological battle be settled by the people of this country. A hands-off approach actually seems a very smart move.

Let’s look at political and propaganda mafia. Both clearly want to spew so much poison that people of this country turn against the ruling dispensation. So they could seize control of political levers of the nation. But both are living in fantasy. These political parties—let’s take Congress and Left for example—don’t constitute more than 4-5 dozen seats in the parliament. Newspapers such as Indian Express don’t count more than a lakh in readership. English readership is heavily outnumbered by Hindi and regional press. It might feel good to see yourself mentioned in Western press and US democrats boardrooms. But it doesn’t win you elections. It won’t win you elections. All you do is to get trapped in your own propaganda. If nothing then learn from Donald Trump and Boris Johnson who you had given up as dead and who won such an emphatic mandate from the nameless and faceless.

It’s these nameless and faceless who would make a choice. Not a perfumed elite. That’s why you see BJP is not worried. That’s why it would do what it has to do. Left-Liberals-Bollywood could sing and create its national anthem. They could hope on an organic students’ protest in a few campuses. But it’s a minuscule and doesn’t speak for the majority of youth. BJP would have its own version of Hum Dekhenge.

Most importantly, all this has brought the threat of break-India forces alive to the Hindus of the nation. It would keep Hindus on their toes—and united. By stepping back, Modi dispensation is actually asking the silent majority to be aware of the danger it faces. The majority now knows exactly whom it is up against. The majority always had the numbers. Now it is infused with a new will. It has come about because Modi, that political animal, has chosen to be silent.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sunni Waqf Board is still to clarify stance on 5-acre land

(This is a reprint from NewsBred).

A new twist to the Ayodhya saga could still come about if the All-India Muslim Personal Law Board or other prominent Muslim bodies refuse the offer of a 5-acre land for a Mosque construction as compensation to the demolished Babri Masjid, as directed by the Supreme Court.

The Supreme Court on Saturday directed the Indian state to allot a 5-acre plot to assuage the feelings of Muslims, retain communal amity and put a lid on a simmering dispute between the two communities which had lasted for decades.

But within no minutes of the judgment being announced, most prominent Muslim parties and leaders, including the intransigent Asaduddin Owaisi, expressed outrage over the idea that a land in compensation could be accepted by their community.

“We don’t need a 5-acrre land as a donaton…don’t patronize us,” said Owaisi in his first reaction to the reporters.

Kamal Faruqui, a member of the AIMPLB, said even if the government gives 100-acre land, it’s not enough. “Is this justice,” he bristled in dissatisfaction.

UP Sunni Waqf Board, who are designated as a body which would get the 5-acre land as compensation by the government, has announced that it would not challenge the SC judgment though it has reservations on the ruling. Still, it hasn’t clarified if it would accept the 5-acre land when it comes about in three months time.

A one-page statement by Zufar Faruqi, chairman of the UP Sunni Central Waqf Board, read thus:

“We welcome and humbly accept the verdict of the honourable Supreme Court.

“I as chairman of the UPSCWB make it clear that it will not seek any review of the Apex Court’s order or file any curative petition, hence any statement in this regard by an individual, lawyer or organization which mentions that the UP Sunni Central Waqf Board will go in review is not our line.”

However, there is no mention to their stance on the proposed 5-acre land awarded for a mosque.

So far a nation of over a billion Indians have shown remarkable restraint following the emotive judgment with both Hindus and Muslims refraining from aggressive posturing or violent reactions. The reaction of India’s vituperative media too has been remarkably toned down, neither triumphalism or dejection marking their coverage though a directive by the Centre in this regard surely played a critical role.

Millions of Hindus, who waited for this verdict for decades, put a lid on their celebrations all across the country. Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) cautioned restraint in the days leading up to the judgment. So was the reaction of Indian prime minister Narendra who cautioned his ministers and party members to refrain from any chest-thumping on the positive verdict for the Hindus.

Indian state had feared for the worst as police had fanned out in districts of Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Madhya Pradesh and paramilitary forces were called out in Ayodhya, ground zero of the Ram janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid dispute. This, along with aerial surveillance, is still on to prevent any communal incident.

Still, if the Sunni Waqf Board rejects the offer of a 5-acre land by the government or is opposed by other Muslim bodies and leaders, it could vitiate the atmosphere of amity and peace and provide a fresh flashpoint to the dispute.

Admittedly, accepting the offered land wouldn’t dear the Sunni Waqf Board too to their Muslim audience, especially the clerics and hardliners who are fundamentalist in nature.

India’s liberal and secular brigade is already upset at the verdict and reactions from Pakistan are stoking insecurity among Indian Muslims. Any confrontational stance would add fuel to the fire.

 

 

 

Civil War in India: Are we condemned to such a fate?

(This is a reprint from NewsBred).

A tweet video is trending in which a Muslim is caught having just broken an idol of Hanuman and uttering that he did it in the name of the Allah.

We do not where and when it happened. We don’t know the name of the offender. We don’t know what happened to him thereafter.

Five years ago, when Modi had just ensconced himself in Centre, there was a recorded event of a Hanuman idol being attacked in Andheri (W) in Mumbai. As the news spread and devotees began to mass around the temple agitated, the possibility of an ugly turn to events was real.  However police was able to persuade the seething crowd to cool off.

Last year a temple in Howrah in West Bengal was ransacked with portraits of Hindu gods and goddesses thrown in mud. If you click on this link, you would find various attacks on Hindu idols in temples in Pakistan, Bangladesh and even United States.

I am not writing this to contrast the outrage which Lutyens Media had shown three weeks ago when a skullcap of a Muslim was thrown on the ground and police had later contested that the victim might have actually kept the skullcap in his pocket. I am also not trying to whip up an outrage among Hindu majority. And I am certainly not trying to paint millions of Indian Muslims in a corner who I believe are largely peaceful.

My point is larger and the instance I quote is of Lebanon to show how stray incidents, if not checked, snowball into something monstrous.

On April 13, 1975, a few gunmen of a PLO (Palestine Liberation Organiztion) faction barged into the Church of Notre Dame de la Deliverance in East Beirut and opened fire on the VIPs present, killing four people.

It was a religious transgression and it began the civil war in Lebanon which lasted for 15 years (1975-1990).  Around 120,000 people were killed. By 2012, approximately 76,000 people had been displaced within the country. There was also an exodus of over one million people.

It was a flashpoint and sure the genesis of it was building up over the years. At the turn of the century, Lebanon was a Christian-majority country. It was a model nation of liberal values. By 1950s, Lebanon had entered into its golden age. Politically stable, economy booking, excellent tourism, exemplary banks, envied even in Western world and termed as the Swiss of the Middle East.  After Israel, it was the most prosperous country in the Middle East and this too without oil as its backbone.

It began to change when Lebanon opened its border to accept hundreds and thousands of Palestinians during 1948-1967 period, a stretch when Israel became a nation and fought wars with Arab nations. The Muslims’ demography in Lebanon was already booming: Having 10 children in family was a norm. With the influx from across the border, the demographic equation changed, religious battles for turfs became common and Civil War loomed. A flash point was all it needed to wreak havoc.

I am not getting into the debate about the role of demography, about Islam’s ideology of propagation of faith or its resort to violence to achieve its goal. My point is still larger and its’ something which liberal world could either choose to dismiss it as Islamophobia or gird up its lions to deal with it.

We all know that the adherents of Islam are 1.20 billion in the world. That majority of them are peaceful. That only 10-15 percent, or a few millions it is, who cause horror. But this number is enough to bring the liberal world to a staggering halt.

Weren’t Germans by and large peaceful before Adolf Hitler and his ethnic cleansing program dragged them into World War II and caused millions to die? Wasn’t Joseph Stalin a role model of a “reformed” Communism who caused tens of millions to die of starvation and hunger in Soviet Union? Do we need to tell what Mao Zedong did to millions of his men? Do we need a reminder what 19 wood-cutters did to our world by bringing down the towers of World Trade Center?

Would peaceful majority of muslims deny that there are hundreds of Sharia courts in England which were unthinkable a few decades ago and which run parallel to the laws of the land? Would they disagree that there are dozens of areas in France which have been declared “no-go zones” even by the police?

Closer home, weren’t Indian muslims largely peaceful yet the Partition occurred in 1947? In view of historical and present facts, would they revisit their empathy for Rohingya Muslims? Or, to rethink if the so-called state aggression on “innocent” Muslims in Jammu & Kashmir could have a contrary viewpoint? How now do they view the “tukde-tukde” gang? How do they view the growing presence of Islamic State (IS) in Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Bengal? Do they have an opinion on Babri Masjid-Ram Janmabhoomi dispute?

The crux is peaceful Indian Muslims need to stand up and be counted. At least those who are well-off and not struggling to meet their ends meet. They need to be angry on lynchings and be equally outraged on loses in the Hindu quarters.  They need to find a leadership within which speaks for say, Kashmiri Pandits and condemn terrorism.  The narrative of violent Islam needs a course correction and it must come from within the community. Or they would hand over the future of their own coming generations in the hands of a dreaded few.

As for Hindus, they need be aware of the danger of demography, the limits of secularism and the pitfalls of bookish “liberal” values.  Not for nothing it’s said: Those who refuse to learn from history, are condemned to repeat it.

 

Our politicians are for polls, not people

(This is a reprint from NewsBred)

We are all wary of politicians. Deep in our hearts we know they are populists. All they want is to win elections. They could lie endlessly and shamelessly, as Rahul Gandhi often does, and be sure that their darbaris, such as Lutyens Media, would turn a blind eye. Or if you are a BJP, the issues of corruption and Ram Janmabhoomi temple is only limited to manifestoes. My Hindus vs Your Muslims is only a trap to ensnare us in. Politicians are for polls, not people.

Once in a while, we the people swoon over a  Arvind Kejriwal before the unblushing chameleon is found out. These days, it is K. Chandrashekhar Rao of Telangana who is trying to seduce us with the talks of a non-BJP, non-Congress “Federal Front.” His words – “the country needs a new economic and agricultural model” – is meant for us suckers. Don’t we know he is another one perpetuating a dynasty—his son is the next in line to take over Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRP) party; his daughter Kavitha is the only woman minister in the state cabinet. Or that it could be a ploy to split the non-BJP votes in the 2019 General Elections as his detracting neighbour, K. Chandrababu Naidu of Andhra Pradesh has remonstrated? What does it tell us about TRS when it bonds with a clearly communal AIMIM?

Politicians would splinter and regroup if there is a bigger pie visible in the near horizon. Mayawati and Akhilesh Yadav are at each other’s throat one moment and a bua-bhatija the next; Yadavs in Bihar would draw close and apart like recalcitrant lovers who can’t make up their minds; Shiv Sena and BJP would stick under one roof even as they sleep in separate bedrooms; Mamata Banerjee could hold aloft Sonia Gandhi’s arm for photo-op one instant and be disdainful the next; Congress and JD (S) in Karnataka would clasp their daggers even as they plant kisses on the cheeks. It’s difficult to believe BJP and PDP were once allies. Such machinations leave them with little time for people.

Congress is perceived as a pro-Muslim and BJP as pro-Hindu party. It’s a chimera. Congress has realized Muslims would no longer win her elections. Out come the tilaks and janaus –the Shiv bhakts and tomes on why one is a Hindu. BJP is forever repositioning itself as a centre-rightist party. It knows HIndutva could only fetch it 100 seats. The rest of 172 could come, alone or in alliance, from a secularist position only. So no dramatic overtures towards Hindus.  Not on Ram Janmabhoomi temple. The end of their term is near but not a line has changed in our outrageous, preposterous academic History textbooks. Leftists wrote them from the pen dipped in poison. The hugely communal governments of Bengal and Kerala ought to have been dismissed a long time ago. All these parties do is to evoke our deepest religious, cultural inclinations and antipathies while maintaining a status quo in terms of action. People are no better than pawns, lifeless objects at their mercy.

Congress is gung-ho about wins in Chattisgarh, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh. It has lost no time in announcing loan-waivers for farmers.  Uttar Pradesh and Maharashtra, and now Gujarat, has seen BJP in a similar populism. In some states, the loan waiver amounts to over 30 per cent of the entire state’s budget. Some promises are never meant to be fulfilled —like Punjab on its farmers’ loan-waivers — but they serve the purpose in polls. No thought is given to fiscal prudence. That the banks might be wary of lending loans in future if there is no recovery possible. That even solvent farmers could dip their hands in the loan jar and be unaccountable.

And how do you think Congress is planning to tackle the issue of unemployment? By insisting that locals get the jobs at the cost of migrant UP or Bihar workers. That’s what Kamal Nath has done in Madhya Pradesh even as he himself is an outsider on the Chief Minister’s chair to a local Jyotiraditya Scindia. And that only those industries which employ upwards of 70 per cent of locals would get state assistance. Such juvenile conducts give a damn to what happens to Madhya Pradesh youths when they go out searching for jobs in other provinces. How is it a United India when migrating to other states has the disapproval of ruling politicians?

I have no doubt that India’s politics and politicians aren’t going to change in next 100 years. Part of the reason is Indian constitution’s federated character.  States are autonomous to a large extent but for some key matters resting in the hands of the Centre. This is logical given India’s diversity in language, customs and culture. It also gives rise to regional forces who are eyeing a bigger bite at the Centre. Friction is thus ever-present. One-upmanship is never far. Propagandists, faking as journalists, are paid and work overtime to brainwash the people. They are all part of the anti-people, pro-Powers mosaic. You could include academicians and power blocs which come in the garb of NGOs and Human Rights bodies.

Is there anything we the people could do? Are we only meant to wring our hands in despair? Could we take on these behemoths and succeed? I guess we could do a lot. We could support individuals who through their own initiatives are doing good to India and its culture. There are some who are digitizing our Sanskrit scrolls; those who are bringing back our stolen idols and sculptural marvels; those who are immersed in reviving our heritage through articles, magazines, websites, books, lectures, seminars, festivals by highlighting our exceptional dance, music, drama, architectural, handicrafts, sculptural, literature, painting, astronomy, scientific heritage etc.

Minorities are no demons either. Their politicians and religious leaders sure are looking to lead them astray. But most, by and large, want to get on with their lives and survival. Well-meaning groups within minorities could do a lot to win the trust and affection of majority. Just imagine if Muslims as one give way to Hindus’ demand for a Ram temple in Ayodhya. Or take up the task of learning and disseminating information on Sanskrit. Speak and act with affection and sensitivity on cows and beef.

Politicians and propagandists are no good. People are and could be good for the country we call India. We can’t really change our politicians, given their heft, deep roots and deep pockets. But we could show them a united face. Force them to attend to the pressing issues of this country and not resort to cheap and damaging populism. As long as we remain dormant, such politicians would remain our fate.

 

 

Lynchings: Activism or populism by Supreme Court?

Supreme Court wants new laws against lynchings. It warns of “mobocracy” which could eat away the vitals of a free, just society. What it missed was an address to itself, a reflection whether it too could have played a part in this growing “gang rule.”

Mobs taking law in its hands could have various genesis: emotional, religious, civic, political etc. Bigger the mob, bigger the suspicion that it’s part of an organized group or political party. Often state machinery colludes with it. Police, just an arm of state, is unable to overrides its bosses. But what stops judiciary?

Two issues have troubled two generations of Indians on two sides of two centuries. One is justice to the 1984 anti-Sikh riot victims. The other is Ram Janmabhoomi. To thousands of Sikh families, indeed the entire community, 1984 riots is a festering wound. As for Ram Janmabhoomi, millions of Hindus suspect that top judiciary has played its role in obstruction of a decision. We all know, Justice delayed is justice denied, isn’t it.

In the 1984 Sikh riots, 3325 people were murdered, 2733 were in Delhi alone. Powerful Congress leaders were named. Some, like HKL Bhagat, have since died. Others like Sajjan Kumar, Jagdish Tytler and Kamal Nath are still around. Nearly 10 Commissions have sent in their reports in three decades.

The Nanavati Commission, created by Vajpayee government, made public a lot of shocking details. Manmohan Singh had to apologise to the country (but not as Congress’ representative!). Tytler lost his ministry. And that’s it. Only 30 people, mostly low-ranking Congress supporters, were convicted. No prosecution for rape yet.

Police, no surprises here, kept botching up 100s of cases. Special Investigations Teams (SIT) have yielded little. It closed 241 of 587 cases anti-Sikh riots cases on lack of evidence. Most of them, admittedly, are being reopened by the Supreme Court.

Blame it on system, if you may; police and judiciary could pass on the buck to each other, but in perception of the masses, especially Sikhs, the perpetrators of 1984 riots remain unpunished. Mobs are formed when belief in the system is eroded. All three organs of the state: executive, legislative, judiciary are equally guilty.

There is no gainsaying by judiciary that it could only judge what is brought in front of it by investigating authorities. Several police officers have been indicted by various Commissions. Why not persecute them for contorting justice? Why not question the cover of exoneration which departmental inquiries have provided them?

Ram Janmabhoomi is another chore. The judgment has been pending for over two decades after the High Court verdict which gave two-third of the land to Hindus. There is no obstruction by police or Parliament. Yet, the ball is in judiciary’s court for too long.

Issues such as above weaken citizens’ trust. They then seek justice through the prism of their own outrage. A stalker is then lynched because people of this country aren’t sure when, and if, justice would be delivered. It could happen even in petty crimes, such as a pick-pocket being lynched.

The fear is, judiciary is increasingly suspected of courting populism. When judges address press conference; when it opens its doors in midnight (not Karnataka, this is about Karti Chidambaram being granted relief at Madras High Court judge’s residence), when judiciary addresses adda of a newspaper, it’s suspected of PR, showcasing itself in  better light than its brothers-in-arm, executive and judiciary.

Supreme Court’s intervention on matters of lynchings are sure to warm the heart of every neutral citizens of the country. Only if such citizens could reflect whether it’s necessary. Whether India doesn’t have suficient criminal laws to deal with such issues. And if it has such laws, whether the issue is just of enforcement? Without enforcement, if the prodding for new law by Supreme Court could only make the latter appear pretty, and little else.