(This is a reprint from NewsBred).
Sanjay Raut. Wait, wait. This isn’t a voice which you are hearing from behind Kangana Ranaut’s skirt. This man can fill up your nostrils all on his own. He is always in your face like the ones who knock at your car panels on red lights. Ranaut is only the latest excuse.
Raut is a leashed presence at the feet, a prototype all leaders keep only to be released in time. Some act suave, like Pavan Varma and Derek O’ Brien and some are cast in his inimitable mould such as Azam Khan and Sanjay Singh, if you may. Congress has too many which this piece is too short to do justice to. So, Randeep Surjewalas and Navjot Sidhus and Digvijay Singhs could relax.
There was a time when Sanjay Raut wanted to bar Muslims from voting in elections. He came around to stand with them on anti-CAA plank, chumming up to Jamaat-e-Islamic Hind. This change was overnight. It swung with equations of his Shiv Sena vis-à-vis BJP. He once bloated on the upcoming Chhatrapati Shivaji memorial site on the Arabian Sea. He is now drawing daggers at Rani Lakshmi Bai, i.e Kangana Ranaut in a filmi avatar.
So who is the real Sanjay Raut? Nobody. He is just a muckracker in the journalistic tradition of our times. He edits his party’s paper, Saamana, and takes credit for writing a biopic on Balasaheb and would be mistaken as erudite by somebody living in North Pole. Well, after all he has been an “elder” in Rajya Sabha for three terms now. But his calling card, as you would’ve guessed by now, is baring his teeth when his masters want him to.
So, it’s with him now on Kangana Ranaut. It was good he affixed “ladki” with his “haramkhor” adjective. Or somebody would’ve thought he was in a self-appraisal mode. I mean thrice a national award winner, four times of Filmfare, all by the age of 30, doesn’t quite fit the definition of a “haramkhor.”
As you would’ve guessed, the gender-warriors in our newspapers have ducked into their gutters. All your Shobhaa Dees, Mahua Moitras, Priyanka Gandhis, Brinda Karats who bristle at slights on the fairer sex are silent. And we are talking of no ordinary woman here. It’s a prized actress who is picking up the cudgels against the patriarchal Bollywood. Who wants to clean up the filmi stable of drugs and Dubai mafia. Who wants to offer a tomorrow of safety and respect and dignity to a newcomer who is arriving at VT station from Asansol. Who doesn’t want them to meet the fate of a Sushant Singh Rajput. That their young eyes with dreams aren’t closed forever. A woman who is risking her life, lighting a matchstick on her own career, who if she was to venture into Mumbai today would have an idea how a PoK must feel like.
But not a word from our pen-pushers. Not a clap for the triumph of talent over entitlement. She is not a “Shero” to Barkha Dutt. Nor she is a Safoora Zargar who gets a cry of outrage from Shekhar Gupta’s ThePrint. A Sagarika Ghose brings out international law in defence of Safoora. A Rajdeep Sardesai tears his heart out on a pregnant woman in jail. Somebody calls Ishrat Jahan a daughter of our own land. Never mind one is charged with inciting riots and the other with a plot to assassinate a chief minister.
Our Bollywood bimbos now can’t find the placard in support of their gender. Against one of their own who they can’t match in range in this lifetime. Why bother if there are couches perfumed for their hinterland preys, ringed by leering louts? That youngsters are no better than playthings for those who happen to be their dads?
All of them—these starlets, muckraking journalists, political clowns—are toxics in our life. They don’t allow us to smell a rose; inhale a breeze, whistle a tune. Once in a while, somebody stands up risking everything one has. And she is “haramkhor” to them.
Aren’t we sick, folks?
The largest human gathering in human history began in Kumbh Mela in Prayagraj today (January 15, 2019) and our English mainstream media don’t like it.
Times of India does have a front page image but the rest were too worried about Alok Verma and Kanhaiya Kumar to bother about 150 million people visiting Kumbh Mela between January 15-March 4, 2019.
The Hindu ignored the news altogether giving rise to the speculation that its’ name is as misleading as Rahul Gandhi being a janaudhari. Indian Express and Hindustan Times have a token presence in inside pages, the kind you register when there is a death in the neighbourhood.
None of these English newspapers are enthused even though the human congregation is more than the population of 100 countries combined. It’s more heads than you can count in Germany, UK, France, South Africa or Australia. Give these journos a mombatti gang or 10 fat women hugging trees in South Delhi and it’s a completely different story.
They would give lectures on gender equality till Lord Ayappa regrets being a brahmachari and calls a press conference to say – I quit. But the sight of million s of men and women taking a holy dip together in the confluence of Ganga, Yamuna and Saraswati rivers to wash away their sins is revolting to them.
The significance of thousands of years of belief and faith in Kumbh by millions of Hindus don’t matter to them. Though the coverage of Pope visiting Ecuador is front page anchor with picture to boot. The Yadgar-e-Ghalib in Majnu ka Tila is worthy of a special edition.
The biggest and most peaceful gathering of humanity for nearly two months is an awe-inspiring event. Sadhus come down from their caves in Himalayas, devotees brave cold weather and hardships, poor without money, feeble without strength still turn up at the banks of holy rivers because they believe in Samudra Manthan and their divinity. A thousand years under the calamity of Islam and Christianity, and loot, plunder and rape of a subjugated population couldn’t douse this flame of faith.
Our English newspapers would rather have us innocent readers NOT know about it all. I doubt if you know that Akshay Vat (Indestructible Tree) inside the Allahabad Fort has been thrown up to faithful millions by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. It’s not out of bounds as it was under the Congress regime where you needed to take a special permit for it’s “darshan.”
It might be a myth in the eyes of our English newspapers that sage Markandeya once asked Lord Narayana to prove his divine power. Narayana duly flooded the world for a fleeting moment—only this tree stood erect above the water level. The historical evidence is still not enough for these English pen-pushers. That Al Biruni mentioned it in 1030 AD. Mughal Emperor Mohammad Akbar’s contemporary historian Abd Al-Qadir Badauni refers about it. Akshay Vat finds a mention in Tulsidas’ Ramayana. There is historical evidence of this tree being burnt, cut and dug by Mughal Emperors, none more so than by Aurangzeb, but so unfathomable are its roots that it kept springing back to life. That it has made it to UNESCO’s list of “Cultural Heritage o Humanity” still leaves our English mainstream media cold.
These newspapers though would bring out those obscure history books and dubious historians to tell you why Prayagraj ought not to be the name of Allahabad. The Prashant Bhushan’s Book of PILs could leave somebody inspired. Like Ayodhya, 70 years would still not be enough to clear the muddle. You could be given a lesson in history by the redoubtable Shobha De and Twinkle Khanna. A Swara Bhaskar could feel violated. Javed Akhtar and Naseeruddin Shah would be your professors of secularism.
Let not the lack of information be a dampener. The Indian Railways has over 800 special trains to Prayagraj during the event. Air India has announced a few additional flights. UP State Tourism Development Corporation is providing a helicopter service. Have no worries on security, roads, toilets or health services. Over 50,000 security personnels are deployed. Toilet exists over 120,000 in numbers. Over 220 km of roads have been built. Doctors abound in thousands. There are stalls of virtual reality (VR). Over 4000 wi-fi spots. An App which even provides instant weather forecast.
If you are a Hindu and live in India then I urge you to be in spirit, if not in person, with Kumbh Mela 2019. Fight the virus of blackout by our English MSM. Keep these “asuras” in your sight—their only strength is your ignorance. Be the light to drive away this darkness of India-breaking forces.
(This is a reprint from NewsBred).
Times of India leases out its editorial pages to entities who would struggle to find a byline in a Bareilly school magazine. Shobha De, Twinkle Khanna, Aakaar Patel are pits which readily come to mind. Sagarika Ghose can’t write a line with integrity. Then there are those like Swaminathan S. Aiyar who are gripped with amnesia as they enter into their 80s. These fossils and left-overs do show the Old Lady of Boribunder of its age.
Aiyar in an edit piece today (December 23, 2018) makes an assertion that Vijay Rupani, the chief minister of Gujarat, wants new projects to hire at least 80 percent of their workers from within the state. This he mentions in an attempt to show CM Kamal Nath isn’t alone in gunning for UP and Bihar migrants in his state of Madhya Pradesh. The only trouble is: Rupani’s exact words in Vibrant Gujarat Summit last month read so: “We hope that the private sector provides 80 per cent of jobs to the locals.”
So, this is no government ordinance. No diktat. Only a nudge to private sector players. But Aiyar would make us believe that it’s a Gujarat government policy. It’s a deliberate mischief. Like the one he did on Sardar Patel as a flawed hero, not a unifier of India, in a piece last month. Ashok Malik, my former colleague in Times of India, and now a press secretary to the President of India, tweeted it to be the “most intellectually dishonest pieces I have read in a long time. “ You don’t have to read these pieces to know that he is Mani Shankar Aiyar’s elder brother enthralled with the Congress.
Aiyar then gets factual on the attacks on immigrants in Gujarat earlier this year after one of them is held accountable for a rape of a toddler. He won’t tell you though that it was a spontaneous outpouring of the masses and not the Gujarat government’s doing. Aiyar ends his piece with the words: “Today Gujarat is going the Shiv Sena way. This is just not immoral and unconstitutional. It may also be political suicide. UP and Bihar have 130 parliamentary seats against only 26 in Gujarat. The BJP’s new stance in Gujarat implicitly blesses the attacks on north Indian workers. That can lose Modi far more votes in UP and Bihar than it gains in Gujarat. That will be just deserts.”
Aiyar needs be told that Gujarat today has zero level of unrest and is considered an ideal state for immigrants. While employment exchange data shows 60 and 40 lakhs unemployed in West Bengal and Kerala, it’s only 5 lakhs in Gujarat.
This is not to discount the larger disquieting image of migrants issues in other states of the country. UP, which has or 25 per cent of it’s population of 20 crores living below the poverty line; and Bihar with nearly 44 per cent of it’s 11 crores below the sustainable level are subject to hostility when it’s people migrate to other states. Most of them are seasonal migrants, finding succour in diverse sectors such as construction, hotel, textile, manufacturing, transporation, services, domestic work etc.
The cities we live in are built—and sustained–on the hard labour of these migrant workers. But they never figure in the designs of architects. The political class discounts them for they don’t count as votes. Trade Unions don’t stand up for them. Urban planners have no space for them on their spreadsheets. Census data every 10 years go completely off-mark on their numbers. Low-paying, hazardous and informal jobs are their fate. Health services are non-existent for them.
The Indian Express of today has a story about an Odisha migrant worker who suffered an acid attack by his employer of a brick kiln in Vishakapatnam in Andhra Pradesh. The employer allegedly targeted migrant’s face and neck during an altercation over wages. Wages, physical abuse, deaths are real issues for these migrants. Most live on factory premises and thus subject to a 24-hour work roster. Legal disputes in unorganized sector are a hopeless cause.
The way out again is an example emanating out of Gujarat. Aajevika Bureau, through its Shramik Sahayata evam Sandharab Kendras (3 SKs), provides registration and photo IDs to migrants which is useful in emergencies and KYC at banks. Legal education, counseling and mediation is made readily available. On-the-Job training is provided for. It runs primary health clinics—Amrit—and crèches for migrant children.
India’s migration story is not big today—only 1.06 per cent of India’s population do inter-state migration. But greater prosperity will bring greater mobility in very near future. The 100 Smart Cities Mission launched in 2015 needs to address the issues of these poor and marginalized. Smart solutions are not smart if they don’t account for helpless, destitute migrants on our roads. And politicians? Please shut up.