Arrogance of Amit Shah

Arrogance of Amit Shah

Contempt for Gandhi, Congress and Opposition

By Faraz Ahmad

Amit Shah’s castigating Mahatma Gandhi as a “Chatur Baniya” has justifiably caused widespread uproar all around questioning this pompous political pygmy’s pejorative and derisive mention of the Father of the Nation.

But when photographic evidence is available on the social media of Shah’s “Saheb” Prime Minister Narendra Modi offering floral tributes to the portrait of the Mahatma’s assassin Nathuram Godse, and records of Sardar Patel writing to Rashtriya Swaywamsevak Sangh (RSS) Sarsanghchalak Guru Golwalkar pointing out how the Sanghis celebrated on the streets Gandhi’s assassination distributing sweets, why should this derision of Gandhiji by a Swayamsevak surprise anyone?

Be that as it may, it is now getting to be three years since this man once implicated in a murder case, has been leading the biggest and the ruling party of India. It is normal courtesy and every former president of the ruling party, starting from the Congress presidents Jawaharlal Nehru to Indira Gandhi, to Rajiv Gandhi to P V Narasimha Rao extended the basic courtesy to the Opposition by meeting them and confabulating with them on all matters of national importance and this included former BJP presidents, be they L K Advani or Rajanth Singh or even the current HMV of Modi, Venkaiah Naidu, they all granted this basic courtesy to the Opposition leaders.

But what about this Gujarati trader? Has he bothered to meet the Opposition leaders even once, call on them and discuss any national or international issues? Can’t recall any! And how would he? Has he shown any signs of developing into a leader of national stature in all these years? Has he betrayed any traces of growing into a statesman? Not that is evident.

Amit Shah’s forte is divisive politics, which he has learnt well at the feet of his “saheb” and his strength lies in being able to implement this successfully with an elan, caring a damn for what the critics say.

Take for instance his decision to choose Mr Ramath Kovind as the next occupant of Rashtrapati Bhawan and a clear attempt to browbeat the critics by beating the chest of denigrating a Dalit, in case anyone questions who is Mr Kovind. What are his antecedents?

Yes those in the know recall that at one time he was a personal assistant to Morarji Desai and naturally must be well versed at taking dictation from the Prime Minister of the day. Insofar as that, rest assured he will serve the cause of this Sanghi establishment very well. As for his other qualifications being touted by the BJP and its kept media, he was once briefly appointed by the BJP on the panel of its long list of spokesmen/women. I don’t recall the year, but I think it was around the time L K Advani was about to contest as the PM candidate in the runup to the 2009 general elections again to showcase a Dalit face. He must have come to address the daily briefing of the media at 11, Ashoka Road, hardly a few times, maybe only three or four or even less. And our prospective President was largely tongue tied in the face of a barrage of questions, except a few leading ones from the vast majority of embedded journalists. By the way this was not because of his discomfort with the English language. After all Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi or Syed Shahnawaz Husain too made no effort to impress the media with the command over this alien language. Nor did Rajnath Singh. But they had no hesitation in fielding the most difficult questions with a flourish. That was always left to the resident of 9, Ashoka Road Arun Jaitley. But not our so-called Dalit leader. The only time, and I missed that opportunity, his name appeared in the media was when he made a statement opposing any reservation for the Dalit and OBC Muslims and Christians, a typical Sanghi line. That’s it.

Choosing Kovind as the BJP candidate for the presidency is actually a snub to the Opposition which is what Amit Shah is most adept at. Everyone knew that after the last round of Assembly elections earlier this year wherein BJP swept the largest Uttar Pradesh, BJP has overwhelming numbers in the presidential electoral college and therefore getting its candidate elected was no big deal. The Opposition kept waiting for the ruling party to seek their views on a possible consensus candidate. But that was far from Amit Shah and his Saheb’s mind who revel in rubbing the nose of their opponent in the sand and so they chose this gentleman relishing breaking the Opposition unity by crying Dalit, Dalit even as they continue the torture of the Dalits of Shabirpur and Saharanpur, incarcerating Bhim Army leader Chandrashekhar Azad while sharing the dais with that Savarna perpetrator of arson and violence against the Dalits of Shabirpur. It is now for the Dalits to make a choice whether they will get carried away by the BJP tokenism of Mr Ramnath Kovind in  Rashtrapati Bhawan or rally behind Chandrashekhar Azad and Una’s Dalit leader Jignesh Mewani.

Eom

 

 

 

Blasphemy of the butcher

Blasphemy of the butcher

By

Faraz Ahmad

After the British had vanquished the Indians in our first war of independence in 1857 under the leadership of the last Mughal emperor Bahadur Shah Zafar, they virtually leveled the entire sprawling fashionable market cum residential colonies of the Mughal nobility living in the land between the Jama Masjid and Lal Qila and turned that into their first cantonment and the regal Jama Masjid into a stable for their horses.

The   Indian nobility was so badly demoralized and pauperized that it was in no position to dispute much less challenge this sacrilege of their prized heritage. That was when the butchers of Meerut and vicinity rose and offered the British to buy back the place from the British and restore it as a mosque. And guess what, they paid a princely price in those days of Rs 12 crore to buy back the Jama Masjid and restore its preeminence. Such was the monetary strength of the butchers among the Muslim community. Even today Makki mian’s palatial house is situated opposite Jama Masjid alongside Chawri Bazar/Dariba Kalan, close to where they sell the fireworks. Makki mian’s forefathers had collected the amount and handed over to the British. Makki mian himself must have died several decades ago.

It is not for nothing that the Sanghis have targeted the meat trade, for this, they have keenly observed, will break the economic backbone of the Muslims. So, the first thing Yogi Adityanath did on assuming the office of the chief minister of Uttar Pradesh was to attack the meat trade, fully aware that this more than anything will hurt the Muslims, not merely in terms of attacking their food habits but the source of sustenance, neigh prosperity of the Muslim community. That it will also hurt the Dalits who apart from being non vegetarians are also intricately involved with the meat business in several accessory trades, including the leather industry and even the OBCs who are the main cattle traders, is an add on. So with one stroke you kill three sets of despicable non Aryan social groups.

If the object was merely to protect the cow, and we may or may not agree, but never mind that, if the object was to protect the cow and mind you not the bullock or an ageing bull, least of all a buffalo or an ox, why issue the diktat to implicitly obstruct the slaughter of the buffaloes as well. Because, the real purpose is to close the cottage meat industry and remember only the next door meat seller, for the big factories owned by the Jain community, exporting from Saudi Arabia to Mexico are still running and will continue to run full steam.

The Aryavrat, even Rajasthan High Court judge Mahesh Chand Sharma, has never put any premium on the buffalo. Buffalo is black and only the Yamaraj, himself black, rides the black animal. There is no religious sanctity attached to the buffalo in any Hindu text. So the Sanghis and their private army of cow vigilantes is not fired by any love for their religion or the alleged hurt to their religious sentiments. It’s what Guru Golwalkar said long ago: “The Muslims will seek nothing and expect nothing.” They will live merely on sufferance. In a Sanghi setup what else should be expected?

So in this Sanghi establishment the Muslims will not become second class citizens, they already are reduced to that state. For decades the Sanghis were looking at the neighbouring Pakistan with amazement and appreciation: “If they can achieve this why can’t we,” they would muse among themselves. Pakistan has been their ideal for all of the 70 years of its creation and we are copying Pakistan in every which way, unmindful of what a situation they have landed themselves into.

1977 elections were my first opportunity to cast my vote and like many others I too was campaigning actively for defeating Indira Gandhi. My best friend and class fellow from AMU Hari Kishan Sharma, no leftist, was dismayed at my rooting for the Janata Party pointing out what a communal rabble rouser Atal Bihari Vajpayee was then. But I brushed him aside. But soon as Vajpayee became India’s External Affairs Minister, where did he go first? To Islamabad to enjoy the hospitality of that mullah in khaki General Mohammad Ziaul Haq to virtually endorse the dismissal of the first constitutionally elected government of Pakistan led by Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto. Bhutto was hanged later and thanks to Vajpayee presiding over the Foreign office, we refused to condemn that judicial murder by Zia.

Soon as Vajpayee became the Prime Minister he headed Lahore wards yet again with much fanfare to bless the then Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. Then, soon after NDA went out of power. L K Advani led a large contingent to Pakistan and went all around from Lahore to Islamabad to Karachi and where all, I don’t know for naturally I was not the lucky one.

Now our very own Macho man Narendrabhai Damodardas Modi, first thing he thought even before being sworn in was to beckon Nawaz Sharif to come and join in the celebrations which he did. Mind you, I am all for very cordial diplomatic relations with Pakistan and regular exchange of people and people to people dialogue. Bu we are here talking of those who said “Doob maro, doob maro ( go drown yourself)” when Pakistan Prime Minister came to pay obeisance at Ajmer Dargah.

The point is that while they fan hatred and anger against Muslims, in India or Pakistan, they are bewitched by the Pakistani model of governance and are ever ready to emulate that. There was only one difference we bet that the ethos of democracy are so ingrained in us that we can never become a military dictatorship. Seeing the way the Army is today made into a holy cow and the way that out of turn promotee General Rawat is gloating about Major Gogoi, I can’t say how far we are from a military takeover either.

It may sound preposterous today. But mind you we have already taken the first steps in that direction. Just one simple calculation while Modi is likely to continue as the PM post 2019, in 2024 he will not be eligible to contest elections by his own criterion when he denied the ticket to Yashwant Sinha because he was past 70. Modi too will be way beyond 70 in 2024. So next we will have a saffron clad Yogi Adityanath as the PM and as we can see he is incapable of handling administration even today, leave alone as the PM. So soon enough the Army supported by a section of the saffron brigade will step in to “save Mother India.” How I wish I would be proved wrong.

Eom

 

 

 

The Engima of Chandraswamy

The Engima of Chandraswamy

By

Faraz Ahmad

The death of godman Chandraswamy will hopefully give a decent burial not just to one time Rasputin of the Indian establishment in the 1980s and 90s but also put to rest after full 19 years the Multi Disciplinary Monitoring Agency (MDMA) of the Central Bureau of Investigations (CBI) supposedly probing the larger conspiracy involving Chandraswamy and others in the assassination of Rajiv Gandhi on May 21, 1991 at the hands of a Sri Lankan Tamil woman as a human bomb.

The M C Jain Commission probing the larger conspiracy in the planning and execution of former Prime Minister and the then Congress president Rajiv Gandhi, was so entangled in frivolous court cases slapped by those desperate to cover up the real conspiracy,  that it failed to come to any definite conclusion. But it made enough remarks to force the then Government of Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, himself a Chandraswamy Bhakt, way back in 1999, to set up a MDMA to further unravel the mystery about who really conspired to get Rajiv assassinated.

I remember those late 1980s years when the Indian Express and its crusading editor Arun Shourie were gunning for Rajiv and indulging in all kinds of conspiracies to somehow dislodge Rajiv, much before his five year term was to come to an end. In that process one day Shourie was apparently told by some source that Chandraswamy had some vital information that could nail Rajiv in Bofors payoff scam. Shourie immediately dispatched one of the youngest reporters then in the Indian Express team, now a noted journalist himself Murali Krishnan. But the wily tantric kept lying on his bed for long hours, belching and farting loudly, telling Murali nothing of worth to file a story and Murali returned after hours cursing the godman. Shourie was so cut up with this betrayal that he wrote a full length anchor next day with bold headlines “Belching, farting Swamy.”

I don’t know if the Sangh eventually brought about peace between Shourie and Chandraswamy but about this time anyone who wanted to get rid of the young Rajiv, veteran Opposition leaders like Chandra Shekhar and Hemvati Nandan Bahuguna, (both considering themselves PM material) Om Prakash Chautala, Arif Mohamamd Khan Congressmen P  V Narasimha Rao, Captain Satish Sharma, S S Mahapatra, Margaret Alva, Natwar Singh, Krishna Kumar and wife Usha Krishna Kumar, then Janata Dal leader and now an important face in the Biju Janata Dal Pinaki Mishra, but most of all the BJP leaders starting from Vajapyee himself, Rajmata Vijay Raje Scindia, Ramnath Goenka, Hema Malini, Arun Jaitely, Rajat Sharma and a host of others paid obeisance to this godman and many regularly visited his abode in Safdarjung Development Area (SDA) opposite Delhi IIT, gifted to him by veteran actor and BJP MP Dara Singh but most of all Subramanian Swamy who travelled to London and tax haven Monte Carlo with Chandraswamy, according to the Jain  Commission and had the closest ties with Chandraswamy.

Former journalist, turned film maker turned Shiv Sena MP Pritish Nanday has written an amusing account of his interaction with the tantric in the company of Rajat Sharma at SDA which just shows what a con man this gentleman was. Yet from former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and Elizabeth Taylor (on the authority of Natwar Singh) to Kenneth Kaunda a host of other African heads of states, plus the Sultan of Brunei  were all mesmerized by this person and the CIA too appeared sufficiently impressed to ignore his dealings with the notorious under cover operator for the CIA, Adnan Khashoggi and the Bank of Credit and Commerce International (BCCI). That is how he operated with impunity making influential contacts the world over.

Thus when it came to suspecting an international conspiracy behind Rajiv’s assassination, Chandraswamy was the logical suspect. That’s an enigma which the MDMA refused to unravel, and sat twiddling its fingers for full 19 years. Chandraswamy who had an unhindered access to the Prime Minister’s house (he told the Jain Commission that his car used to drive down straight into the inner portico without being subjected to the normal security drill) beginning with the six months that Chandra Shekhar was India’s Prime Minister and then continuing for another five years of Narasimha Rao regime, went into a shell once Rao ceased to hold office and even though Vajpayee himself was a Chandraswamy Bhakt, he had in his ministry two Chandraswamy baiters, L K Advani himself and Ram Jethmalani, who hated Rao and therefore baited the tantric. So wily nily Vajpayee had to cede their demand and follow up the Jain Commission needle of suspicion pointing against this godman. He thus constituted the MDMA much against the advice of the then CBI Director Trinath Mishra, said Subramanian Swamy.in his book.

In fact Swamy quoted a report filed by now a former UPA minister Rajiv Shukla in the Ravivar how there was an animated discussion in Vajpayee cabinet over the Action Taken Report (ATR) on Jain Commission report and how Ram Jethmalani made it a prestigious issue even demanding immediate arrest of Chandraswamy.

But despite a hostile Home Minister in the Vajpayee government and later a regime headed by Sonia Gandhi, whose entire family suspected the godman’s role, such was the clout of this person that the MDMA moved not a finger in full 19 years, with officers after officers coming in serving a tenure and then being posted elsewhere. Even after the defeat of LTTE and the capture of KP by the Sri Lankan forces, there is not a word on the conspiracy to kill Rajiv. Just shows that Narasimha Rao or Chadnra Shekhar were not the only ones shielding Chandraswamy. But why?

In the Dussehra of 1992, that is just a year after Rajiv Gandhi assassination and ascendance of Rao as the Prime Minister, Chandraswamy and Subramanian Swamy got on to a truck converted into a rath and traversed the entire length of the Capital’s walled city along with the traditional Ramlila procession. Praveen Jain then in The Pioneer returned that evening with that photograph and Vinod Mehta ran it prominently.

What had these two Swamys achieved in 1992, even as the BJP/VHP was readying to demolish Babri Masjid, that they stood there like two gods with their hands raised? Surely they had done something remarkable. They had succeeded at least for the time being, following the assassination of Rajiv Gandhi, in defeating the Mandal forces. That was no mean achievement because the entire elite class of the country was and is still united in repulsing and crushing the subalterns.

Eom

 

 

Na tired, na retired, March forward behind Modi

Na tired, na retired, March forward behind Modi

By

Faraz Ahmad

 

Narendrabhai Damodardas Modi completes today three years in office as India’s 14th Prime Minister bringing to an end two thirds of the five year term of the 16th Lok Sabha.

In these three years, Modi has achieved a lot for his party the BJP and his alma mater the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), no doubt. The saffron colour spreads across the country from Kashmir to Andhra Pradesh and from Gujarat and to Assam and Arunachal Pradesh with full Ghar Wapsi of the Hindi heartland we otherwise call the cow belt, including Delhi now. And the rate at which he is going, it may not surprise many that by the next general elections in 2019 a few non saffron patches still visible on Mother India’s map, may also change colour, specially the few states, Congress continues to govern. Only Rashtrapati Bhawan is left to be saffronised but that too may happen in the next couple of months when the new incumbent to the Presidential office is elected.

But what has he achieved for the people of this country or rather how has he redeemed the many big promises he made while campaigning for the 2014 general elections, ever since he was reelected as the chief minister of Gujarat for the third term in December, 2012.

Let us first examine his latest conquest of the Municipal Corporations of Delhi, trifurcated into three by the then Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit of the Congress party in 2012. The BJP has swept all three corporations not just defeating the Congress party which lost steam long ago, but even the new, assertive Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) of Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal.

This is the third term the BJP has been ruling in all three corporations. The state of filth not just in some slum areas like Sangam Vihar, Tigri or Devli gaon, but in the high end South Delhi colonies like Saket is deplorable. There is a place close to Saket Metro station called the Garden of Five Senses or Saidul Ajaib, where the hoi polloi go in the evenings to dine at some high end restaurants and bars. Adjoining the garden is the Saidul ajaib village, which is no more a village because smart flats have come up there to offer paying guest accommodation to young boys and girls joining numerous tuition centres sprung all around. Just next to the garden is an open giant size garbage bin. Every morning a herd of our much revered Gau Matas saunter upto the garbage mound, feed on that filth all day, get sick and spread the muck all around because of which the whole lane stinks even in mild winters leave alone this blistering summer. The dogs, cats, monkeys, who abound in large numbers and humans all suffer from scabies. There is acute water shortage. You can’t pull through the summer months without paying regularly and getting water from private water tankers who make a pile each day.

The roads are so bad that the slightest rain leads to puddles all along the road to Garden of Five Senses and in fact the entire two kilometer stretch traversing right upto Saket Metro station. In effect there is virtually nothing in the name of civic services in that area inhabited and frequented not by some slum dwellers. Yet remarkably the BJP candidate won hands down in Saidul Ajaib.

Many in Delhi are not aware of the responsibilities of the municipalities in an urban centre, more so in a cosmopolitan place least of all, the prized Capital of India. Governance in Delhi is very confusing. It is simultaneously governed by the Central Government, the Delhi government and the now trifurcated three municipal corporations with three Mayors, three Commisisoners and a host of other paraphernalia to fatten politicians and bureaucrats. This was BJP’s objection when Sheila Dikshit foolishly trifurcated the Municipal Corporation of Delhi into three entities. But then the idea was to limit the jurisdiction of each municipality to secure better and more efficient governance. But what have we witnessed since the much maligned Commonwealth Games? The Delhi Government put up benches at different spots on the footpath for the pedestrians to rest a while their tired limbs from a long walk. One with fancy Jindal steel pipes was put outside our Gulmohar Park. Within no time first those pipes were stolen, then the bare skeleton as well with neither the Corporation nor the Delhi Police accepting their responsibility of protecting public property.

Sheila Dikshit embarked upon the project to decongest Delhi by getting to build multi storeyed parking lots at several vantage spots. I’ll mention here only three, one at Baba Kharak Singh Marg, next to Hanuman Mandir. It is fully automatic and the charges are a pittance, just 10 rupees. It is hardly used while hordes of visitors to the Hanuman Mandir next door leave their cars right in the middle of that busy road. The Connaught Place Police station wedges between the Hanuman Mandir and the fancy parking lot. But who has the guts to penalize the Hanuman Bhakts and fine them or tow away their vehicles for not parking in the parking lot?

In Sarojini Nagar there is not even a religious sentiment involved. But the chaotic parking on the road continues while a fancy automatic parking lot is experiencing the same fate because the Municipal Corporation continues to auction the unauthorized roadside parking lots to the contractors for huge amounts and the traffic police takes no interest in decongesting roads. Its a nitghmare visiting a friend or relative living in those Sarojini Nagar government quarters.

In Hauz Khas market the underground parking lot completed in 2011 and since then is lying virtually unused with the Municipal corporation notice board bang opposite the parking lot announcing Rs 30 parking fees for parking on the road. The Hauz Khas Traffic Police Deputy Commissioner’s office is at a stone’s throw. But while their tow trucks keep lifting irregularly parked vehicles all day from all around, they dare not disturb Hauz Khas market because that is permitted by the South
Delhi Municipal Corporation. All the high brows keep grumbling about the chaos and cursing the municipal services. Yet they did not think twice and voted the BJP.

I would be repeating ad nauseam the many promises Modi made or the biting criticism of the previous UPA government led by former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi that he spewed out against their so called corruption ineptness and incompetence, day after day, at each public meeting, tickling and amusing his fan following consisting mostly of the educated upwardly mobile youth.

Notwithstanding the fact that most of it has been stated by others as well it is worth recalling at what has Modi done in these past three years that people have been voting overwhelmingly for him election after election, for there is no respite in price rise; no respite in farmers’ suicides, nor from corruption, or lawlessness, the bureaucracy has become more obtrusive in our everyday private life through Aadhar, situation in Kashmir today looks hopelessly irretrievable, says of all the people, the newly appointed  vice chancellor of Ashoka University Pratap Bhanu Mehta, one time big admirer of Modi.

Modi did not tire of mocking what he described the pusillanimity of Manmohan Singh government against an aggressive Pakistan, crossing our borders with impunity and spreading Jihadi terror across the country. Three years down the line with all the macho talk and chest thumping, what is the net result? Can any Modi Bhakt put his hand to his heart and say, these three years of Modi rule have made any difference to Pakistan’s designs?

Forget about the fans, Modi himself announced from the public podium that the Pakistani terrorists have now become so impudent as to enter deep countryside in UP and Madhya Pradesh and derail our trains. So much for the big talk of talking down to Pakistan! When Manmohan Singh was invited by Pakistan to visit his home village Gah in Pakistani Punjab, Modi and his party the BJP kicked up such a storm after Manmohan Singh’s meeting with the then Pakistani Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani at Sharm el Sheikh that the Congress party advised him against going to Gah and the poor man developed cold feet. On the other hand Modi flew to Lahore directly to attend Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s birthday and family wedding almost uninvited. But that by BJP/RSS standards was commendable diplomacy. The people of India would never get to know the most jealousy guarded state secret whether Nawaz order Modi’s favourite Dhoklas specially from Ahmedabad, or did Modi bring along his tiffin or he enjoyed the delectable beef kabas at Nawaz Sharif dining table.

This man had announced with great fanfare upon being elected as India’s Prime Minister that he will not be the chief administrator of the country but the chief servant, a la Saharashri style.( Saharashri Subrat Roy, whom the Supreme Court has bailed out for the most specious reason and is reluctant to lock him back in Tihar jail) called himself chief servant but would sack anyone who would not rise and say Good Sahara 20 times a day as long as he was in the office and interacting with another Sahara employee. Modi, or even his factotum BJP president Amit Shah, has not allowed even one opportunity to the media to freely throw questions and seek answers from him about what he has done in these five years. He gives out his Man ki Baat but has no time to hear Janata ke Man ki Baat.

For all the criticism of rival political leaders and their alleged corruption which now also includes Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal, apart from Sonia Gandhi, Lalu Prasad, P Chidambaram, Maran brothers of DMK, Mamata Banerjee and even Naveen Patnaik, this man who never appointed a Lokayukta in Gujarat in his 12 year rule, has also forgotten how his trumpet blowers Anna Hazare, Baba Ramdev and Sri Sri Ravi Shankar brought the sky down against his predecessor insisting on a Lokpal And how could he? Our man arrived in the national Capital from home state Gujarat for his swearing in in Gautam Adani’s private plane, with not a trace of remorse or embarrassment on his face.

Yes he is an unapologetic friend of the big business. If the non-performing assets of the top banks of India have exceeded six lakh crore, never mind. He did demonetitsation of the currency to force the poorest to deposit his cash in the banks and thereby provide more capital to the tottering banks to disburse more money to the big business houses and in turn further pile up their NPAs without feeling in the least contrite.

His most ardent admirers like the Sunday Express columnist and a Lutyen Bungalow zone hoi polloi Tavleen Singh too has started tiring of Modi, criticizing Modi and his team’s priorities of targeting Muslims in the name of beef eating, love jihad et al rather than attacking the Congress legacy of “socialist economic policies” including welfare schemes like MNREGA. Just shows a degree of exhaustion and exasperation on the part of Modi fan club.

But will it make a difference to his rising popularity, to his ability to win comfortably more elections in the days and months to come, right upto and perhaps even beyond 2019? I believe not, for the following reasons.

One, there is virtually no Opposition worth the name and so the voter seems to be left with no choice but to wily nily go and vote Modi. Second for all the whining of the likes of Tavleen Singh, Modi is extending an unapologetic support to the corporate sector in India and is ready to open further almost all the doors for the corporate sector, both Indian and foreign, to do business in India and abroad.

Even Manmohan Singh and P Chidambaram were game to this in spite of some reservations that Sonia Gandhi and Pranab Mukherjee had in respect of this policy. But that in the eyes of Modi bhakts including some judges of the higher judiciary, was corruption.

Since the BJP victory in UP in February this year and the takeover of the state by that Uttarakhandi Thakur Ajay Mohan Bisht, the Mahant of Gorakhnath Math, going by the pseudonym of Yogi Adityanath, the Thakurs of UP suddenly feel unleashed and vindicated. As one of them remarked recently, for the first time after independence the Thakurs, the rightful rulers of India, have got an opportunity to rule the state and “We shall put an end forever to this Yadav-Muslim and Jatav raj, ruining Uttar Pradesh for a quarter of a century now.” Yes, that is the reason the Savarnas will come out next elections in even greater numbers to press the lotus button on the evm machines in UP.

The RSS is the backbone of the BJP and it is the Sangh karyakartas who do almost all the leg work on the ground. The Sangh has never had it so good even in the Vajpayee era, in spite of a Murli Manohar Joshi as HRD minister and LK Advani as Home Minister. In these three years every institution has been completely taken over by the RSS. So in spite of some rumblings here and there, by and large the Sangh will continue supporting this regime whole heartedly, in the sense that it will do its best, through foul means or fair to ensure return of the BJP in each successive election.

There are some occasional minor hiccups and irritants like the recent agitation of the Dalits of Saharanpur or earlier of Una in Gujarat or Hardik Patel or the Jats of Haryana or Marathas of Maharashtra. But these can be taken care of by charging the political atmosphere with an anti-Muslim sentiment. Earlier Love Jihad worked for two successive elections in UP and elsewhere. This time a brief war with Pakistan may heat up the political atmosphere to the same temperature.

Eom

 

Liberal lament

Liberal lament

Crying over spilt milk

By

Faraz Ahmad

Right wing liberals and others till the other day, starry eyed about the dynamic Narendra Modi, happily believing Modi would unleash tremendous energy to usher in the supposed change to make India Great, seem to be ruing the foisting of Hindutva rabble rouser Yogi Adityanath the Mathadheesh of the Gorakhnath Math in Gorakhpur as the chief minister upon the unsuspecting people of Uttar Pradesh.

There was an element of shock and disbelief in the edit columns of many mainstream newspapers over the decision of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in choosing the vituperative, communally venomous Yogi, to lead the state with maximum diversity. Professor Pratap Bhanu Mehta represents that section of the liberals who when Modi was rising as the star campaigner for the BJP and aspiring to become the Prime Minister of India, had reposed full faith in him for shaking India out of its inertia and lethargy and march Bharat Mata to the tune of modern development and progress, disdainfully dismissing the Government of Manmohan Singh as too weak and Sonia Gandhi’s leadership as corrupt. He of course though extremely erudite was only one of our leading intellectuals and generally the upwardly mobile urban Savarna class along with the aspirational youth who reposed all their confidence and hope in Narendra Modi.

However today Mehta considers Modi’s choice of the Yogi both “odious and ominous” and he explains why it is ominous because, “it sends as clear a signal (that) the already accomplished political fact of the marginalization of minorities in UP and elsewhere will now be translated into a programme of their cultural, social and symbolic subordination.”

But he and the liberals like him fail to appreciate that this is a natural corollary to the Kabristan vs. Shamshan and Diwali vs Ramzan debate started by none other than the Prime Minister himself. Besides the Hindu Hriday Samrat of Gujarat (and now there is one more in Yogi Adityanath) has on all crucial occasions since the anti-Muslim pogrom of 2002 in all over Gujarat,  shown his true colours be it in Bihar or Assam or earlier Maharashtra or Jammu and Kashmir elections of an underlying intolerance of not just Muslims but all those who are opposed to his and his alma mater Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh”s exclusivist thinking.

Even 15 years after Godhra no decent Muslim is allowed to move out of the Juhapura and Kalupur ghettos. The victims of Gujarat riots are still living on the outskirts of Ahmedabad on the landfill with all civic amenities denied to them. Denial of schools to Muslim children victims of that mass murder, refusal to implement the Prime Minister’s 15 point programme of scholarships for the Muslim students and holding his purse strings tight against the implementation of MNREGA in Gujarat, contemptuously dismissing it as a wasteful dole. That was the Gujarat model which enthused our chatterati to pitch for ‘Modi, Modi’, in 2014 and apparently in 2017 as well.

Mehta says and I agree with him that the choice of a disruptive and divisive saffronite like Yogi is “now not a statement about UP” alone but “about the prime minister’s inclinations and judgment. In the moment of his triumph he has chosen to defeat India,” started realizing our liberal belatedly now. But he forgets that more than Yogi, Modi is first a RSS pracharak and Guru Golwalkar said in a Hindu Rashtra Muslims will seek nothing and get nothing. Anybody following the teachings of Guru Golwalkar will naturally provide no space to the Muslims.

The liberal’s angst shows when Mehta says what none of us dare say publicly that, “If the legislature electing Adityanath is indeed the best interpretation of the mandate then the Indian democracy is corroded to the core. For it is effectively saying that India is now communalized to the point where a figure like Adityanath is the popular choice. We have to then give up the last vestiges of democratic hope in the idea that while the people may misjudge or commit mistakes, while they may occasionally excuse a crime, they will not vote for the wholesale destruction of basic values.

“If Adityanath is indeed the popular choice, then the crisis of Indian democracy deepens. It will essentially seem like a contest between fundamentalism and democratic misanthropy, both destructive of the idea of democracy,” says our liberal democrat. But though belatedly it dawns upon our liberal that, “There is an element of truth in Yogi Adityanath’s claim that the BJP is consolidating a politics that goes beyond caste…” and laments that “India’s enemies will be exulting that at a moment in world history when all India had to do was to have a sensible policy, we have chosen to empower the worst of ourselves.” Yes indeed the Yogi along with Modi and Amit Shah have been succeeding in taking politics “beyond caste.”

But that is exactly what Modi had sought and achieved successfully first in Gujarat since 2002 and now in the country from the day he looked in the direction of Delhi. That is the reason why we screamed full throated, ‘Modi, Modi’ and gave him over 300 seats in Parliament, because we detested the rise of OBC and Dalit leaders like Lalu Prasad, Mayawati and even that dubious suspect Mulayam Singh Yadav and determined to rid the nation’s politics of these “despicable” characters. Forget about Lalu, Mulayam and Mayawati, we despised with equal vehemence even the urbane technologically savvy Akhilesh Yadav and his pretty and sober wife Dimple. For that we needed to unite the Hindus, drowning their caste differences and mutual distrust to fight one enemy. Modi hinted at that enemy, in his famous speech of Kabristan vs. Shamshan and Ramzan vs Diwali. Amit Shah elaborated further labelling all the opponents of BJP as KASAB. Remember what he said when he campaigned in Bihar that they will burst firecrackers in Pakistan if BJP were to lose in Bihar, implying that not just Muslims but all those opposing Modi and BJP are Pakistani agents. Shah didn’t come back to tell us what they did in Pakistan when BJP actually lost Bihar.

Never mind that, we are in UP right now and if Amit Shah addressed 90 rallies, according to media reports in the run up to the UP elections, Yogi addressed 80 and all along his refrain in almost all speeches was Kabristan, love jihad and cow slaughter. So from Modi to Yogi there is only one formula to make the Shudras and Dalits forget the discrimination and humiliation heaped upon them by the Savarnas over the centuries, to put behind them Rohith Vemula and Una, by identifying the bloody Musalman as their real enemy.

Human memory is pretty short and we tend to forget why and how one time Hindu Hriday Samrat, Kalyan Singh, former chief minister of UP was sacked unceremoniously, because he dared to espouse the cause of the OBCs after returning to power in 1995. Today the first act of Yogi is to wash the chief minister’s residence in Lucknow with cow milk to rid it of all the pollution caused by his predecessor Akhilesh Yadav, a Shudra. Simultaneously the meat business has been targeted even in Ghaziabad far away from Lucknow or Gorakhpur and this is not cow but legally permitted buffalo. Still it is obvious that by forcing vegetarianism on all and sundry you don’t just target the Malichh Musalman but the Malichh Dalit as well and in a way it serves well those Dalits and backwards who voted the BJP against the Muslims, Yadavs and Jatavs.

This is not to embarrass our liberal, but we made our choice way back in 1990 when V P Singh brought in Mandal and immediately thereafter the then RSS Sarsanghchalak Balasaheb Deoras came to Delhi, whereupon L K Advani rode upon a mechanized rath from Somnath in Gujarat to Samastipur in Bihar en route Babri Masjid in Ayodhya leaving behind a trail of blood and gore  to counter Mandal. Eventually Lalu Prasad applied brakes upon this Yatra for which Lalu was never forgiven and stands disenfranchised today by the Brahmanical establishment including our casteist judiciary.

Whatever liberals like Mehta may say, this victory in UP and then the crowning of Thakur Adityanath is a vindication of the assertion of the Savarnas. Gilles Verniers of Ashoka University informs us that “the return to power of the BJP in UP has led to a resurgence of the representation of the upper caste in new assembly” and how? BJP which was ostensibly wooing the non Yadav backwards and non Jatav Dalits gave 86 per cent tickets to the upper caste (Brahmins, Thakurs and Banias). The new assembly has 44.3 % upper caste, highest since 1980 and within the BJP the upper caste share is 48.2 %. Within the upper caste the Thakurs and Banias have increased the most, says Verniers giving out percentage figures.

He also gives us a regionwise breakup saying that upper castes make up more than 55 % MLAs from Awadh, 43,5% in Doab, 39% in the East 47.3% in Bundelkahand, 53.4% in North Eastern UP and slightly more than a third in Rohilkhand and western UP.

There was such a hue and cry about Yadavisation of UP. It turns out in the last assembly they constituted only 18 % and now their numbers have come down to mere 5%. But the other OBCs have not benefitted from this. The Rajbhars, Nishads, Malis, Baghels, Shakyas, Kumhars, Sainthwars and Sainis etc totally got just 28 seats in the present UP assembly which means the representation of each of these groups remains extremely modest,” says Verniers. So much for Modi’s hype of giving a fair share to all those denied so far by the Yadavs to non Yadav OBCs. The so called OBC allies of Modi in the NDA, Apna Dal of Anupriya Patel or the Rajbhar party or the Nishad party also brought in Brahmins. Apna Dal gave two upper caste MLAs and won three reserved seats, The Rajbhars’ SBSP got only one Rajbhar MLA and the sole MLA of Nirbal Indian Shoshit Hamara Aam Dal got only one MLA in the assembly and he is a Brahmin.

Eventually it is all about the return of the Savarnas to rule UP, whatever may be the guise. Insofar as that the Sangh agenda has succeeded completely not just in suppressing the hated Musalman but even more so in completely marginalizing the backwards and the Dalits. Mehta and many right wing liberals may dismiss Marx disdainfully but only he understood and warned us against the poison of religion being inflicted upon the underprivileged. It’s been happening in Pakistan since 1977 and we are successfully emulating the General Mohammad Ziaul Haq model. We should therefore easily anticipate where it will lead.

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Modi’s magic

Modi’s magic

By

Faraz Ahmad

Bharatiya Janata Party’s resounding victory in the recently concluded Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections is remarkable by any standards. Save for 1977 when the newly formed Janata Party comprising of all non-Congress political parties routed Indira Gandhi led Congress party and won 352 of the 425 seats in UP Assembly. Even the first UP assembly polls in independent India, in 1957 did not give such a sweep to the charismatic national leader Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru where the Congress got only 286.

In 1985, Rajiv Gandhi riding the anti-Sikh wave, because of his mother and former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi’s assassination did come somewhere close to the latest BJP tally winning 309 seats but still short by three since the BJP under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi broke many records winning 312 seats in the UP assembly.

One can only call it remarkable because no other description fits this spectacular achievement. But like many other political analysts it bewilders me as well. We all witnessed hundreds and thousands of workers in factories in and around Delhi retrenched and going back home to UP, Bihar, Rajasthan and from wherever he came, because of the impact of demonetization. The hectic construction activity came to a sudden halt in my neighbourhood in Faridabad since Diwali last year, first stopped by National Green Tribunal (NGT) on account of pollution and then hit by demonetization because the labour contractors had no money to pay cash to their daily wagers. In Khari Baoli the biggest grain market in Delhi the loaders were left with no work and left for homes. Majority came from UP villages. But then Modi told them that he has taken this extraordinary step to hit the rich, to pauperise those hiding their 500 and 1000 currency notes in their pillows and mattresses. Never mind that there was no visible evidence of this. But it seems people happily believed all this.

The whole sale dealer in Azadpur Sabzi Mandi was crying and had no money to pay the farmer who came with onion, tomato, potato, cauliflower and peas produce and the farmer left the produce on his doorstep without getting paid a paisa. Next he stopped digging out the potato, or worse spread it out on the road outside his house and let people take it away for free. Yet most of it was lying rotting there. Not to talk of the increasing number of suicides of farmers, the farmer seemed unperturbed by all this and apparently went and voted Modi!

A friend said that by early December Modi sensed that cashless ATMs may turn the middle class against him and therefore he saw to it that the ATMs in Luckow and maybe some other important towns like Allahabad and Agra were regularly replenished with cash. But the poor man who lost his job and went back to his village, did he have an ATM card to avail of the ATM facility? I doubt very much.

The construction contractor close to my house in Faridabad palmed off all his cash of 500 and 1000 notes to the workers whose wages he had not paid for six months, within days of Modi’s demonetization announcement on November 8. My maid who worked there got Rs 8000 back wages in banned 500 and 1000 notes and stood for close to a week in bank queues holding her little baby in her arms, every day to exchange her old notes and even received couple of injuries in the pushing and jostling she faced day after day.

My other maid in Gulmohar Park had sold her village land in Budayun for Rs 8 lakh to buy a house somewhere in and around Delhi to bring up her children giving them education. She had kept all that money in cash. She was hysterical the moment Modi issue his Sultani Firman. For Modi it was all black money. Does it make sense for her and her relatives to go out and vote Modi? But it seems they did? Why and how?

The Jats of western UP were so angry with Modi and the BJP that they had put out posters, Hamari bhool, Kamal ka phool (Our mistake the lotus) lotus being the BJP election symbol. There was an agitation going on in their vicinity and the Jats of Haryana sitting on a dharna said they had sworn to teach Modi a lesson. Instead Modi seemed to have taught them a lesson or two?

Someone said at some places outgoing UP chief minister and Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi were chased away. But then so was BJP president Amit Shah in Agra and even Modi when he had to abandon a public meeting in Barabanki. The Prime Minister’s helicopter hovered over the venue and then returned to Delhi pretending to be affected by bad weather hiding the fact that there were virtually no crowds come to attend his public meeting.

In Varanasi he stayed back for three days deployed his 23 top ministers after BJP/RSS workers told journalists that only Modi’s presence may save the party other wise people are too angry. Modi held two road shows in his home constituency, visited all the important temples and made a big show of feeding  a cow at Gadhwaghat asharam. But Akhilesh-Rahul Gandhi road show was evidently far more impressive. Yet Modi’s show made an impact while Rahul-Akhilesh drew a blank. And the people of Benares forgot Modi’s hollow promises of Cleaning  the  sacred Ganga river and turning the holy city of Benares into Kyoto.

So what is it that worked for Modi? Evidently he succeeded in communally polarising the election and uniting the Hindus across caste divide on issue like it Kabristan versus Shamshan, and Ramzan versus Diwali. In that frenzy nobody seemed to be bothered about the vehement denials by Akhilesh. Modi’s magic was working or so they said.

And strangely they claimed that even the Muslims voted for Modi. Now does it stand to any reason that on the one hand Modi succeeded in sharpening the communal divide to an extent that the voter forgot all his woes and went and voted Modi to naturally go and fix the bloody Musalman and on the other, the Musalmans also went and voted for Modi? But in this season of absurdity, anything goes.

We have some woman with a Muslim name standing up and claiming that Muslim women voted for Modi because of triple talaq issue. Much as many of us detest the horrible triple talaq tradition prevalent among certain sections of Muslims and rightly so, did any of us think of going and supporting Modi for this? Nonsense.

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Saibaba’s sin!

Saibaba’s sin!

Committed unpardonable crime of standing for the tribals

By Faraz Ahmad

 

Professor G N Saibaba of Delhi University has been sentenced by a district court in Maharashtra to life imprisonment with the District and Sessions Judge of Gadchiroli S S Shinde refusing to grant the basic facilities granted to even the most heinous convict, if he is orthopedically challenged, of providing him assistance to perform his daily toilet functions, which in Saibaba’s case, are impossible without assistance, since both his legs are wasted, waist below and he is wheelchair bound.

I remember covering the trial of Satwant Singh in 1985-86, the security guard of Indira Gandhi, who along with the Delhi Police Inspector Beant Singh shot dead the Prime Minister of India from close range in cold blood. In instant retaliatory fire from the other security guards, Beant Singh was killed at 1, Akbar Road while Satwant Singh was hit in his legs and waist and after remaining in hospital for months, lost the strength of his legs and was wheel chair bound till his hanging in Tihar Jail, two years after killing the Prime Minister.

The country’s Prime Minister then was Indira Gandhi’s son Rajiv Gandhi and he earned a lot of flak, quite justifiably, for the massacre of Sikhs in the aftermath of Indira’s assassination. But till he lived Satwant, a very young and handsome Sikh boy, was well looked after and granted all the facilities required by a physically challenged person. His marriage to a Sikh girl was performed in the jail with a lot of celebration and all the necessary rituals.

Here Saibaba has committed no crime. His sole crime, if that be, as per the Maharashtra Police, was that he happened to be a member of the Communist Party of India (Maoist). Well so be it. Also that he was in correspondence with the Maoists based in Bastar. There was another renowned academician, Dr B D Sharma, the former Vice Chancellor of North Eastern Hill University in Shillong from 1981 to 1986. A 1956 cadre IAS officer, once the District Collector of Bastar, then in Madhya Pradesh. He died at the ripe age of 86 In 2015. But three years before that in2012 the Maoists kidnapped and held hostage the then District Collector of Bastar Dr Alex Paul Menon and the UPA Government approached Dr Sharma who, due to his known proximity to the Maoists, succeeded in persuading Maoists to release Dr Menon unharmed. Imagine had it not been for Dr Sharma’s proximity to the Maoists, would they have spared Dr Menon’s life and let him go, even returning safely his two mobile phones.

Had the current dispensation been around then, the same prosecuting and investigating agencies along with this judge would have hanged Dr B D Sharma.

True the Maoists believe in bringing in social and political change in the country through violent means. But then their main target are those both in the Government and the corporate world who are exploiting and ruining our forests for capital gains like unhindered mining of our rich mineral resources, trampling upon the rights of tribal forest dwellers in Chhatisgarh, Andhra Pradesh, Odisha and Jharkhand. If they are killing the security personnel hunting for them, the CRPF and other armed men including the Salwa Judum and its later day incarnation, are going to tribal villages committing mass gangrapes, not sparing even pregnant women and those with new born babies.

Granted retaliatory killing is unjustified. But how far can you argue against retaliatory violence when poor hapless women relate their ordeal at the hands of the functionaries of the repressive state?

Ironically Babu Bajrangi, spoke on record how he tore open a pregnant Muslim woman’s womb with his sword in the presence of a large cheering crowd, extricated from it an unborn child raised the little thing on his sword for all to see and record and then flung it, naturally killing the mother and child both instantly and gloating over it before the camera. This was only one of the murders Babu Bajrangi committed and narrated in the anti-Muslim pogrom in Gujarat in 2002 under the overall supervision of our Prime Minister Narendra Modi, then as Gujarat chief minister.

Babu Bajrangi is out on bail 15 years after he participated in that dance of blood and gore and is happily relaxing at home on the plea that he has an eye problem. So is one time Modi minister Maya Kodnani who led marauding blood thirsty crowds to slaughter Muslims in Naroda Patiya, after being convicted for mass murders.

Only the other day the Supreme Court took notice of the fact that former Home Minister L K Advani, former HRD Minister Murli Manohar Joshi and current Union Minister Uma Bharti have not yet been convicted 25 years after the demolition of Babri Masjid when Advani’s rath yatra from Somnath to Ayodhya left a trail of blood raising communal temperature throughout the country.

No Sanghi leader from Modi to Amit Shah to Yogi Adityanath and there is an unending list, will ever be convicted and put to Saibaba’s ordeal for it is no crime to publicly seek and aid the decimation of the minorities. But believing in a social change which empowers the most deprived section of our society, the forest dwelling  tribals is the most heinous crime in the perception of Justice S S Shinde of Maharashtra, ruled by the BJP and Saibaba who never ever perhaps touched a firearm or any other weapon, found to his dismay that advocating the cause of forest dwellers, even through his writings,  deserves no concessions, whatsoever.

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