CAB Protests and Our Grammar of Anarchy

The first thing in my judgement we must do is to hold fast to constitutional methods of achieving our social and economic objectives. It means we must abandon the bloody methods of revolution. It means that we must abandon the method of civil disobedience, non-cooperation and satyagraha. When there was no way left for constitutional methods for achieving economic and social objectives, there was a great deal of justification for unconstitutional methods. But where constitutional methods are open, there can be no justification for these unconstitutional methods. These methods are nothing but the Grammar of Anarchy and the sooner they are abandoned, the better for us.

 

When we do not use the constitutional devices made available to us and begin to disrupt our own society to get what we want, in my opinion, there can be arguably two chief driving forces – first, we have lost all faith in our judiciary. After all, just a few days back, a lot amongst us wanted the men accused in Hyderabad rape case to be lynched in a public spectacle and a large part of the country celebrated when they were killed in a police encounter. The defenders of the law are still having a hard time explaining what was wrong in such an act by the police. When you hear Nirbhaya’s mother speaking about her wait for justice for the last 7 years with one ‘juvenile’ already walking free, there is not much left to defend about the systems that were designed for justice but have almost become impediments to the same. Like any other pillar of democracy, our judiciary has become a prisoner of its own laws.

 

However, a large majority still fights with its self-doubts and conflicts with the system to rush to the court when needed. There is a reason that we have more than 3 crores cases pending in our courts. In absence of faith, most of these citizens involved in litigation would have become vigilantes themselves. This brings us to the second force – a lot amongst us do not believe in the institutions of the country, including the judiciary. So, when we are not busy fortifying our beliefs or absence thereof, we take to the streets to bring theory into practice. This set holds the constitution holy in public and burns it with the other hand in private and when provided with an opportunity to be their private self in public, they burn the constitution in public too. They are the ones who have carried out the so called ‘hijacking’ of the Citizenship Amendment Bill/Citizenship Amendment Act protests.

 

Hijacking of protests is not a new phenomenon. When you venture out to protest on the streets through your voice or your pen, you must begin with the assumption that there will be attempts to hijack your movement. If you don’t start with this understanding, your movement will be corrupted in no time. Now, if you do have that understanding, it is also incumbent upon you to prevent it from happening. However, if you consciously want your protests to be hijacked so that it becomes viral and you can extract a career out of it, you are not solving any problem. You are the problem.

 

 

The Question of Group Identification

A lot of people, including most of the media agencies, have betrayed their ignorance in the last week. There are individuals who have claimed that India does not share a border with Afghanistan, many have claimed that they live in India and not Bharat (ignorant about the adoption of the name Bharat in our constitution). There are individuals who have confidently tried to fact-check people who have been using the term ‘CAA’ instead of CAB after the bill was passed in the parliament. Then, there were people who took a week to understand that they cannot support the anti-immigration protests of Assam and the inclusion of Muslims in the Citizenship Amendment Act at the same time. Such people ranged from a few lazy but opinionated people, a few celebrities and their followers, a few small-time opinion makers on social media to some high and mighty so called intellectuals of the country and abroad. That such ignorance could be displayed with such confidence without even a reluctant look at our country’s history, geography, official documents, and most importantly our constitution, has amply proved that Indians don’t like details, we hate to read, we hate to understand our surroundings, and we absolutely abhor being questioned. Ignorance is not the greatest sin, believing that ignorance-is-bliss is.

Between being ignorant and believing that ignorance-is-bliss, lies a greater folly – the desire to play ignorant for the optics. This happens when you know what you are saying is wrong but it sounds politically correct and you can get claps for it, so, you go on to say it anyway. 

When presented with a question – If you had the option to take liberties with some facts and crack a really funny joke or being accurate with the facts and risk dishing out a bland one or no joke at all, which one would you choose? A populist choice makes you dishonest. An honest choice makes you less popular or even unpopular. Many intellectuals in our country however, choose the first option and divide the society into groups that carry one chief value that they decide to label them with. So, if a woman slanders you and you slander her back, they will come at you saying things like ‘how could you talk to a woman like that’ because even when they know that the woman in question is an individual first and the response to her was in her individual capacity irrespective of her gender; for these people, using the gender crutch helps them project themselves as feminists and also perhaps agreeable to a lot of people. 

 

One such oversimplified group in question in the ongoing protests is ‘students’. You will be hearing a plethora of generalizations flying across from both the warring sides – “these students are anti-national”, “a student doesn’t burn buses”, “JNU students are enemies of the nation”, “students like to study”. The absurdity of the arguments have reached such incredible heights that it appears that students are aliens whom most of us do not know and a few of us know too well. A student can be anything – nationalist, anti-national, sub-nationalist, ethno-linguistic fanatic, fascist, communist, sexist, homophobe, islamophobe, xenophobe, or even a terrorist. When the BHU protests happened over the appointment of a Muslim scholar and professor to teach Sanskrit Vidya Dharma Vigyan, students were called out as bigots. A student can burn buses, another can douse the fire. A student may not want to study, a student may only want to study and do no politics. Being a student is not a qualification for righteousness. Depending on their life choices, it might prove to be the path to it. So, it would be a pragmatic thing to stop enjoying and promoting such oversimplifications.

While group identification is necessary for administrative purposes, our society (including the government and law enforcement agencies) will do itself a great good to stop assigning moralistic and ethical values to these groups. They can only be assigned to individuals irrespective of the group he or the government thinks he belongs to. 

 

 

The Question of CAA

The major protest to the bill came from Assam where certain groups want all illegal immigrants identified and sent back. Other groups in other parts of the country took the cue but changed the message and objective. They successfully carried out the pejoration of the Assam protests and went public with all their prejudices and politics. The issue was quickly turned into a Hindu-Muslim question and concerns were raised about the exclusion of Muslims. In that sense, this was the complete opposite of what the indigenous Assamese wanted. If you change a few variables like the party in power or the state in question (say, Maharashtra), the same set of people would have attacked the agitators for ‘complete exclusion’ for being xenophobic and fascists. So, instead of doing any good, the political protests across the country (more specifically Bengal) have in effect diluted the protests in Assam and when there should have been a rigorous debate over the process of identification, implementation, and impact on the Assam demographics, we got brute-braked on the usual Hindu-Muslim speed-breaker.

The group in favour of the Citizenship Amendment Act is happy with its current form and a few among them also want Sri Lankan Tamils, Atheists, and Apostates to be included. If India were to be morally one, then, only one of these sets is right and everyone else is wrong. But that is not true. Every region has its own problem and a state like Assam has a lot more than those which do not share a porous border internationally. So, the moral question changes with our vantage point. Kashmir has a different moral question than New Delhi and hence the same moral compass can’t be applied to the entire country. Then come the existential questions. Can we allow the migration to take place to an extent that the very purpose of migration is lost? That’s the question Assam is battling right now. On the technical aspect, everyone seems to be having a strong case, hence, I will be keenly following the court proceedings to be held in January 2020. The questions I will be looking for answers to are – 

 

  1. The Act does not mention the term ‘Religious Persecution’ but only minority religions in Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Afghanistan. These two terms do not mean the same thing. So, what exactly is the basis of the amendment – ‘minority-status’ or ‘religious persecution’?
  2. If the basis is ‘minority-status’, then why have Jews, Atheists, and Apostates not been included?
  3. If the basis is ‘religious-persecution’, how will the government ensure that all Pakistani Hindus in India claiming citizenship have been persecuted on religious grounds?
  4. Mr. Amit Shah has mentioned in his Rajya Sabha speech that the bill will bring relief to lakhs (sometimes crores) of people. According to our Intelligence Bureau, “a total of 31,313 persons belonging to minority communities, including “25,447 Hindu, 5,807 Sikhs, 55 Christians, 2 Buddhists and 2 Parsis” will be immediate beneficiaries of the amended Citizenship Act”. Which number is correct?
  5. Will CAA be used to grant citizenship to people who have not found their names on the NRC list? If no, then how will the act bring relief to lakhs of people? If yes, then how will religious persecution be determined?
  6. Since, the persecution clause itself is not mentioned in the act, will it not become just an optional check for the government?
  7. One of the points supporting the amended act says that Muslims can still apply for citizenship using the preexisting channels. However, that is true for other minorities too. So, why the new amendment?
  8. How will the government prevent the evergreen bureaucratic lethargy and corruption of our country playing a role in this exercise and implementation?
  9. What is government’s defence for the Kargil veteran not finding his name on the NRC? How will such cases be avoided in the future?  

 

 

The Question of Our Neighbours

What is the reason that a secular state like India is surrounded by theocratic states that prioritise one religion over others? If we are hopeful of solving all our domestic problems while they remain theocratic, we are set on a fool’s errand. Of all the geopolitical realities of South Asia, this is perhaps our biggest failing. When a Hindu nation (Nepal) can become a secular state and the world can welcome it, what is inspiring our neighbours to remain Islamic in nature? Why are the secular forces in these countries not able to effect a constitutional change or escalate their agenda into a mass movement? Perhaps, mass movement is not the answer. When the government swears by a particular religion, raising a voice in protest becomes blasphemy. So, either the leaders of South Asia can sit down and have a conversation on the subject or we would have to wait for a popular government that sees secularism as an aspirational value to adopt. Even though Indian constitution valued secularism without declaring India a secular state, the process of officially becoming a secular state was a top-down action when the Indira Gandhi government brought the forty-second amendment. Do our neighbours have the necessary political will to effect such a thing?

 

 

The Moral Question

On the moral dilemma, what is more humanitarian, to shelter a few (minority who have been persecuted consistently according to reports from reputed organisations) or shelter none? Who is to be given a safe home, the persecuted or the persecutor? Should the act then be seen as a great humanitarian step that not many nations are ready to take? It is interesting to note that the act includes Christians too. The BJP has been accused of being against the Christians in the past and will be accused again even if a bird poops on any church in this country. But then, while religious persecution is a reality in our neighbouring countries, can groups alone define who is persecuted and who is not? Could there be only one Muslim who would have escaped and entered India because of his sectarian differences or apostatic persecution? Will it be moral to send that one person back? What details must this person furnish to prove religious persecution? What are the safeguards our government has put for such people? These are relevant questions, so I would suggest you to keep away from people who are straitjacketing this issue into Hindu versus Muslims battle. While people are throwing up on social media because they are habituated to, very few have seriously considered all aspects and tried to find answers. Fewer have even gone on to read the bill in detail to understand what it is and what it isn’t. Lazy citizens do not bring revolution. They just bring misinformation and a resultant bloody violence, upon others and in the end, upon themselves.

 

 

Three Warnings of Dr. B.R. Ambedkar

In Indian newsrooms and public discourse, there are people who use Mahatma Gandhi’s name whenever they can’t make their own point. “Gandhi said this, how can you go against our Bapu”, is the favourite catchphrase of such lazy intellectuals. Since, they swear by Gandhiji’s name, I am sure they know why the Non-Cooperation movement was withdrawn. Using their favourite rhetoric, I can confidently say that Gandhi would have withdrawn from the so called anti-CAB movement at the first sign of violence. Invoking Gandhi is a hogwash most of the times – just a thorn to take out the existing thorn. Once, the existing thorn is removed, the Gandhi thorn will be thrown away without a care.

On the other side, if one is to believe that the BJP and our Prime Minister have nothing to gain from the Hindu-Muslim polarisation, it would be repeating the mistake. Mr. Modi lost the moral battle the day he referred to the clothes of the protestors during one of his speeches in Jharkhand. So, now we have one side referring to saffron colour to identify the criminal and other side referring to skullcaps and kurtas to know the criminal. In doing so and not able to see the problem, we have already ignored the 2nd warning of Dr. B.R. Ambedkar (another utility thorn of our lazy intellectuals, always discarded once the point has been made)-

The second thing we must do is to observe the caution which John Stuart Mill has given to all who are interested in the maintenance of democracy, namely, not “to lay their liberties at the feet of even a great man, or to trust him with power which enable him to subvert their institutions”. There is nothing wrong in being grateful to great men who have rendered life-long services to the country. But there are limits to gratefulness. As has been well said by the Irish Patriot Daniel O’Connel, no man can be grateful at the cost of his honour, no woman can be grateful at the cost of her chastity and no nation can be grateful at the cost of its liberty. This caution is far more necessary in the case of India than in the case of any other country. For in India, Bhakti or what may be called the path of devotion or hero-worship, plays a part in its politics unequalled in magnitude by the part it plays in the politics of any other country in the world. Bhakti in religion may be a road to the salvation of the soul. But in politics, Bhakti or hero-worship is a sure road to degradation and to eventual dictatorship.

 

The focal points of power must be checked. Government, political parties, media, academia must be asked questions when they want to remain unquestioned and unaccountable. Anarchy is not the answer. Anarchy is nothing but dictatorship at the level of an individual. Soon enough, power centres more devious than what we set out to demolish will rise again. Democracy is still the best solution we have in our hands and a strong democracy needs an opposition with a spine. That is partly our misfortune and partly our own doing. The present opposition doesn’t inspire confidence. The arsonists can never make a good opposition. 

 

I should put out a disclosure here. The first paragraph in this article is the first warning of Dr. B.R. Ambedkar. Please read it again if you did not pay enough attention for the first time. As the Nirbhaya rape convicts have their review petition rejected, Kuldip Sengar stands convicted of rape, CBI gets yet another thrashing by the court, and the court decides to hear petitions regarding the CAA in January 2020, I would still like to believe that our judiciary keeps showing signs of life every now and then. In the absence of an intelligent opposition, the judiciary of our country has been holding better and much more informed debates on matters important to us and just by doing that, it gains the right to become our first resort to justice, of course, only if we believe in our democracy and our ability to plug the existing holes. Otherwise, individual and group dictatorships are already exhibiting their designs on the streets. Decide.

 

Howdy Modi and Why They Hate the NRIs

There was a time when crossing the seas was forbidden in India for the fear of the mlechhas who if mingled with, could disturb the purity of character of the sanctimonious Indian. Out of this fear, many never dared to go to the foreign lands but the traders had to travel to do their trade, so, they would come back and undergo some sort of atonement. However, the worrywarts of the community would still continue to enforce the prohibition and condemnation. As decades and centuries went by, these stopped mattering to people, or at least to most of the people. Most, because, it seems the regressive trend has made a grand come back.

 

After the NRIs put up a commendable show with ‘Howdy Modi’ at Houston, a set of descendants of mlechha-haters has surfaced on social media to profane at these NRIs who according to them are enjoying all the perks that a developed country offers and yet want Modi to continue at the helm in India. This according to them, is a bad thing. Since, these NRIs have already left the country, they can no longer have any views about India. The US immigration department, it seems, has kept brain scanners at the airports that scan and delete any opinion on India from the NRI’s brain on arrival.

 

Let’s understand this with an example confined within the boundaries of our country. If an NRI cannot have an opinion on India or a stake in Indian story, why should a Kashmiri studying in JNU or a Bengali settled in Bangalore have any opinion on Kashmir or Bengal respectively? In fact, when all the hotshots of Indian media can spend weeks of prime-time discussing US politics and their favorite Satan Trump, why should the austerity of self-censorship be forced only on the NRIs? Or perhaps NRIs are not the problem. It is not the NRIs who generate the hate.

 

Just a few monsoons ago, Kangana Ranaut was the Iron Lady of Indian feminism, hailed and cheered from all corners of self-declared woke media. Then, she made a mistake and professed her liking for Mr. Modi. This was a gobar-on-the-face moment (gobar is cow-dung) for many people who were looking for a new member for the Modi-Haters group on whatsapp.  This was not the only time they had gobar on their face. Ranvir Shorey was a greater disappointment. Considering his filmography of off-beat and critic friendly cinema, he was to receive a wild-card entry to the group. Alas, he too spoiled his chances by backing Mr. Modi and was castigated by leading lights of the group on Twitter. The trend became predictable at one point after people like Kabir Bedi, Shekhar Kapoor, Anupam Kher, Vikram Sampath, Barack Obama, Bill Gates, Maurice Obstfeld voiced their confidence in Mr. Modi and were hounded by the touchy people who deactivate their social media accounts for a day and skip their leg day every time Modi gets an award outside the country.

 

Your enemy’s friend is your enemy. Your enemy’s nobody is also your enemy. The hate originates, primarily for Mr. Modi and after travelling a distance of about 14000 kilometers now, seems to have reached Houston. This anger is mostly for the NRIs in the US and not the other countries like Saudi or the UAE. A reason could be that one of the admins of Modi-Haters group was beaten fair and square in a full house wrestling bout by the NRIs at the Madison Square Garden in 2014. However, I wouldn’t count on that as the primary reason. The NRIs in the US are somehow amazingly tantalizing at displaying their affection for Mr. Modi and with their money and political muscle, they manage to organize these colossal shows that give Mr. Modi global platforms to laugh at people who effected his US-Visa denials while he was the Gujarat Chief Minister.

 

It is not only Modi who is hated with such gusto. His supporters are told to drink Gau-Mutra (Cow Urine) and eat Gobar (Cow Dung) by almost all of these self-appointed custodians of India’s secularism. You are told to not talk to Modi supporters, not have Modi-supporting friends, not marry a Modi supporter, and push the Modi-supporting old woman crossing the street under the bus. For this set of people, either you shouldn’t have a political opinion so that they have a shot at washing your brain and injecting hatred for Mr. Modi or if you have one, it must conform to theirs. If it is neither of the two, then either you would be requested to drink cow-piss or in case you happen to speak English, you would be shouted down at literature festivals. No matter how many trees you have planted in your lifetime or how many people you have helped with your abilities, if you like Modi, you become Public Enemy No. 1. Unfortunately for Modi-Hate hags, the Houston event was not a literature festival. It was a display of the growing power of India in global decision making. At such events, only a leader who is democratically elected and has the backing of a majority of his countrymen can make a mark. It is a far cry from a literature festival of the self-proclaimed intellectuals who lecture on moral standards during the day and entertain with their drunken fights during the night. There are so many individuals in our country today who have Modi-Hate as their only claim to fame.

 

I was on an author’s panel once. One of the panelists had published his first novel and even though the book was grammatically holding fine, he struggled while speaking in English. That notwithstanding, he went on about his book at length. This was not received very well by a lady poet sitting beside me who continued to smirk at his struggles with grammar and accent. Once the event was over, she ran up to me to share her opinions about this author and all she had were words of insult and condescension for this writer. Of course, I was expected to join her in her circus of snobbery. To her disappointment, I had only respect for this guy who could complete a book in spite of his limitations with the language. Of course, in an instant, I became an NRI-mlechha to her. If only I had conjoined my sur (tune) with hers, I could have been part of some non-native-speakers-haters group. When you find out that the person next to you is not thinking like you do, hate begins to unfold. When you find out that a majority is not thinking like you do, you start turning into a fanatic.

What to Expect from Namo2.0?

Elections are over. The new government is set to arrive. As the Congress party keeps itself frozen on the cusp of change from where it can choose to advance into an acceptance of the changed realities to progress or just fall back into the pit of regression, the postmortem of election results will perhaps be an unending process. While the media and political pundits can spend all their time and efforts in this operation, the Government cannot afford to venture there. After the 2014 victory, the Prime Minister had shared his vision of ‘Minimum Government, Maximum Governance’; the 2019 victory should be a reason for renewed focus on deliverance of this aspirational vision. Keeping this in mind, I have a list of preliminary expectations from my government of 2019. This is not exhaustive and I might add to it as we move ahead in the year.

 

A separate budget for the agriculture sector

This can help in better allocation of resources for the necessary reforms in agriculture and help improve the implementation of government projects. Agriculture is the primary source of livelihood for about 58 per cent of India’s population. Gross Value Added by agriculture, forestry and fishing is estimated at INR 18.53 trillion (US$ 271.00 billion) in FY18. Considering that and the kind of loan waivers each party has to announce every election season, the demand for a separate budget holds ground.

 

Reward good citizens

Rewarding good citizens can encourage a change in how citizens contribute to nation building. Citizens, who segregate waste, pay their loans in time, do not use plastic, follow traffic rules should get incentives with better interest rates on loans, better benefits on retirement, subsidized payments on insurance schemes etc. This can bring about a big shift in how we engage the electorate post the election season.

 

Invest in government schools and higher education institutions

A major failure of independent India has been its unwillingness and inability to bring up the standard of education in government schools. It is time that these schools accept the competition from their private counterparts and deliver the best in class education to their students. This competition will also substantially bring down the cost of quality education for Indian students. The monopoly of private players on cost of education will break.

 

Invest in government hospitals

Most of the patients wanting admission in a hospital of AIIMS have to wait for a good number of months, in some cases, a year to get their turn. Not having any way, patients take to private hospitals and clinics. In additional to the disease itself, the high costs break the patients and their families, both financially and psychologically. The government needs to invest big in structural reforms for its hospitals. Once again, the government must accept the challenge posed by the private counterparts. If that is not possible, a public-private partnership should be explored.

 

Establish better centers of education and healthcare in industrial belts and other neglected areas

While such areas earn huge revenues for the country, the state of most of these places remains miserable when it comes to education and healthcare. The industrial belts of India need their favor returned so that while citizens brave the not-so-comfortable lives, they can at least avail better healthcare services and send their kids to schools that are on par with any school from the urban centers of the country. All aspirants should have access to a benchmarked quality of education.

 

Encourage cancer research in the country through better facilities, improved funding, and enactment of research friendly laws

While celebrities and politicians can afford to skip levels and travel to other countries for their treatment, the common mass of the country has to make do with whatever is available in our country. While we have some good centers for cancer in the country, the waiting queues at such centers paint a gloomy picture of our patient to doctor ratio. Official data only corroborates this picture. By 2014, we had only about 1000 trained oncologists in the country and the ratio of oncologist to patient stood at 1:2000. This ratio in US is 1:100. Modi 2.0 should understand what creates this stark and disappointing difference and work towards better cancer research and training in our country. (Source)

 

Curb corruption in government institutions

Why should a Member of Parliament get priority over a common citizen for admission to the AIIMS? Why should the street hawkers must pay daily hafta to the Police to keep running their business? Why must the village mukhiya be paid INR 500 for the LPG cylinder which is coming free of cost from the government? There are a lot of low hanging fruits to pluck when it comes to corruption in government institutions. My government must be up to the task without losing any time.

 

Judicial reforms to deliver justice, in time

Indian courts have about three crore cases pending between them. Case AST/1/1800 of the Calcutta High Court was filed in the year 1800. The last hearing date was 20 November 2018. Appointment of Judges, insufficient number of courts, archaic laws are the areas I would like my government to look into.

 

Resettle Kashmiri Hindus in Kashmir valley

The ethnic cleansing of Kashmiri Hindus carried out in the valley remains a blot on the democratic ethos of independent India. The government must carry out this task with the seriousness it deserves.

 

Societal harmony as pet project

No blame games here. The law must take its own course but I believe that much like Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, societal harmony should become a pet project of our Prime Minister. He should avail all the platforms available to drive the message of unity, harmony, and peace throughout the country. It may not deter the criminals as such but might just prevent the conversion of an otherwise reasonable individual into a hate machine.

Spoilers for Karnataka: Indignity War

Why is it that after every dreamy manifesto every five years from all parties in any electoral contest, nothing changes for our country? Why is it that many people I have interviewed in Karnataka don’t really care who gets to sit on the throne after the elections? Why is it that the pre-poll promises are never taken seriously in our country? Will Karnataka become a better state if the BJP comes to power? Will it worsen if the Congress gets the power back? What can Mr. Yeddyurappa do this time after getting elected that he couldn’t do in his previous term? What can Mr. Siddaramaiah do in the next five years that he couldn’t do in his current term? What are they going to change? Like many others, my answer is – nothing, because we are trapped in the time loop, not very different from the one created with the Eye of Agamotto by Dr. Strange. Only that, this time, the eye is blinded and in place of Dormammu, we sit there, too bored to look into the details of a disaster fomenting before us. Or maybe not, maybe all this is for some greater good. Hold on, before you pelt generalisation stones at me, I have a few things of my own to throw.

Are you a pornography consumer? Would you like to watch porn videos in the Karnataka assembly? That’s not an entirely unrealistic fantasy to live by. BJP provides tickets to live such fantasies, thanks to their Achhe Din promise. Laxman Savdi and CC Patil were the two MLAs caught watching porn in the Karnataka assembly in 2012. Guess what, they are here to be reelected. BJP has given tickets to Savdi from Athani and to Patil from Nargund.

The situation is brighter than you would guess. BJP has fielded 83 candidates with criminal charges, Congress has fielded 59, and JD(S), touted as the kingmaker has 41 candidates with criminal charges. When all the criminals get concentrated inside the assembly, we can obviously hope for less crime and more peace in other parts of the state. In all, out of 2560 candidates analysed by The Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR), 391 have criminal cases against them. 25 of them have Attempt to Murder cases against them and 23 have cases related to crimes against women in their names. 4 of the candidates have Murder cases against them at present. In case you are interested in knowing the names of these candidates who are going to keep us safe, hide here – adrindia.org

Congress coming back to power will also mean the continuation of the good present days wherein voters would be allowed to set the state on fire for their rights on issues like Kaveri water sharing etc.

In other good news, Dr. G Parameshwara of the Congress gets his ticket from Koratagere. This is perhaps his reward for speaking truth to power after the Bengaluru Mass Molestation Case – “such things happen”. He is going to obliterate all the western influence on us or at least half of it once he gets all the Infinity Stones from his chosen constituency and will call it mercy. Why would the mining barons be left behind? Reddy brothers are coming to a constituency near you very soon, of course, as Yeddyurappa says, “Winning each seat is important.”

Also, try hiding your excitement at this – Siddaramaiah is the same MLA who got DIG D. Roopa transferred overnight after she tabled her report on the VIP treatment for Shashikala inside the Parappana Agrahara Central Prison, Bengaluru. For his proactive step, Siddaramaiah gets tickets from 2 constituencies – Badami and Chamundeshwari. He gets an additional reward for his superhuman efforts to clean the Bellandur lake, a ticket for his son Yathindra too from Varuna.

Manifestos are out! Parties are enunciating their glorious vision for the state. Thanos has used the Time Stone to take Mr. Modi and Mr. Amit Shah back to 2014, so they are doing a rally on every-feet-road of Bengaluru. Mr. Rahul Gandhi has taken help from Thanos to find out that one situation where he gets to be the Prime Minister out of 14 million outcomes and hence, is going temple-hopping with his face turned towards 10 Janpath saying, “there was no other way, Mom

There are more rumours out there. Please your ears and eyes by clicking on the links mentioned below –

Satyamev_Jayate_India

India is being gang raped every day

Usually, I cite numbers and data while putting my point across. However, that’s not how I want to say things here. In a country like India, where most of the cases of rape or for that matter, any other crime go unreported as well as under-reported (media), numbers won’t help us reach anywhere. We, the people of different religions, castes, states, and political affiliations, might be able to congratulate ourselves over lower rates of crimes when compared to the other competing groups. So far, it seems that data has been used only to impress upon others that things are worse elsewhere and hence, we have nothing to worry at present. Yes, we are waiting for our hell to be as terrible as that of the second person on the street. Once we provide equitable distribution of hell to everyone, we will perhaps start thinking of the ways out of it.

 

In any case, a lot of data has been cited over the last few days by sections in the media to bring home the point that Hindustan is Rapistan in disguise. Should I contest such claims? You don’t have to go very far. That some people who never used the name Hindustan for India, find a sudden spike in their love for it, is not a coincidence. That most of these part time activists continue to spawn wealth showing misogyny, glorifying eve-teasing, and encouraging the pursuit of unrequited love on screen, makes it all the more ironical. The question ends there. They are not to be trusted. You can’t look up to them. You should not look up to them.

If you are sound of memory, you should remember how the protesters were subjected to lathicharge during the Nirbhaya Case protests at Raisina Hills. Bengaluru mass molestation evoked a response to the effect of blaming the molestation on western culture by the then Home Minister of Karnataka. In case the media didn’t tell you, he is currently the President of Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee. What did you expect, that he would be suspended from the party? Politics doesn’t work that way. So, it is beyond any doubt that we can’t look up to the politicians of the opposition party at the centre.

The apologists for the party in power at the centre have only one agenda at every unfortunate incident in the country – “Where were you when this happened to a Hindu?” So, they are fighting the leftist liberals from the media establishments and the party in opposition tooth and nail over their hypocrisy when the fight should have been about something else. Not that it’s a bad thing but our Prime Minister who remembers the birthdays of all the leaders of the world and wishes them religiously on twitter, talks to the country so passionately when he has to count the achievements of his government but doesn’t consider speaking to the people of his country directly in such times, particularly when members from his own party are in the dock, paints a grim picture for us. When a government stops talking to its people and engages only the opposition, the country should be worried. We have nothing to look up to here either.

There were sections from the media who didn’t have their dinner after the conviction of Salman Khan in the Blackbuck poaching case. In a parallel world, I would have imagined them to have demanded swift action on such cases in contrast to about 20 years our judiciary has taken, however, that cannot be the case in India. Do remember, this is the same media that zoomed in on the father-son feud of Akhilesh Yadav and Mulayam Singh Yadav for weeks. Nothing strikes strange about it? Well, Mulayam Singh Yadav is the same person who once said – ‘Ladke hain, galtiyaan ho jaati hain (after all they are boys, mistakes do happen)’. In a parallel world, I would have imagined a complete boycott of this man from our television screens, sound boxes, and printed papers. Well, not in India. We can go to the extent of feeling sorry for one Mr. Lalu Prasad Yadav, the single most important factor for the miseries of the state of Bihar. In all likelihood, the media of this country stands confused about its role. Is media just a messenger? In that case, the stakeholders won’t be able to peddle their personal agenda and bias in the name of news. Can media also do activism? Yeah, but please let me do my activism from my dinner table watching twitter live feed. Also, let me do my activism when I am tired talking about Virushka wedding and Saifeena wedding. Also, let me do my activism after I have told the world how Taimur missed his poop today. Also, let me do my activism when the accused or the victim falls into my self-concocted definitions of Hindu, Muslim or Dalit. Also, let me do my activism when the establishment stops distributing me sops or declines my invaluable services on offer. In all other times, my activism will be holidaying in the Bahamas.

 

I have been reading all kinds of reports in the last few days, from blind narratives to depraved decoction of toxic minds. One of the reports mentioned that Indians are looking for the video of the kathua rape on porn sites. There exist other videos with hashtags on the victim’s name. If the report is correct, who are these people – Politicians? Media? Bureaucrats? Hindus? Muslims? Part-time activists? Dalits? We know these categories are born from us. We know the ones deriving voyeuristic pleasures from rape are walking amongst us. Where is the blame to be fixed then? On us! The truth is we have taken sides, right from our personal lives to social, we tolerate and encourage gender discrimination and gender crimes. Not that this is a foolproof example, but it may act as a cursory indication of how deep the rot is within us, here is what I am talking about – पिलपिलाते-हुए-आम-लोग. The truth is India is being gang raped every day, after administering the sedatives of politics, religion, fake journalism, lazy intellectualism, and a deep support for personal and social nepotism in all these spheres. The truth is the ones who are changing the world the good old way of changing themselves have been silenced by design. The truth is that all the potential agents of change have disappointed our country once again and on top of that list sits the sorry figure of the most crucial agent of change – the Individual – dejected and degenerated.

I hope something comes out of this chaos. I hope we understand that unless we choose to join politics en masse, our politics will remain rotten. I hope that someday we will create more movies like Pink or Parched instead of maintaining a consistent irony between our speech and action. I hope that as journalists, we will report the everyday hearing of a rape case for 20 years if it comes to that and not wait for the survivors’ father to die to spring into action. I hope that we get the basics of our religions right which have love and peace as their fundamental tenets. I hope India learns that the narrative of its religions is being hijacked by mercenaries across the spectrum who force us to keep looking outside for validation.

 

I hope Indians stop helping the TRPs of news channels that have brought one entire community in the dock for the crime of few. I hope that Indians stop becoming the business pastures of the actors from the film industry who get deaf and mute when one of their own stands as the accused but obsess over shaming Hindustan over ‘Devi’sthan. I hope India learns that the online narrative is fast eating up the real space of this country. I hope we realize that we have started believing that our responsibility ends with a post, a placard, a tweet, a blog, a day’s heartache, or a month’s shock. I hope Indians learn to look away from the light-hoggers and give a chance to the voices of thousands of activists who are working every day of their lives to prevent rape and help the survivors. I hope that when I reflect upon my action or inaction every day, I don’t find myself to have encouraged crimes of any nature, sexual or non-sexual in any way. I hope that someday as a human being, I will be able to look inside my being before pointing accusatory fingers at others – people or institutions. I hope this country sees through this and sees this through.

 

 

Image Credit

Falling of Lenin in Khmelnytskyi park

The Eccentric Tripartite for BJP’s Congress Mukt Bharat

After a staggering 25 years, Left Front was booted out of office in Tripura, paving the way for BJP which won 35 seats in a house of 60. It marked an increase in the vote share of the right-wing party from a mere 1.5 percent to 43 percent which came as a deadly setback for the incumbent CPI(M) which has now been reduced to just one state in the entire Indian Union i.e. Kerala.

This also reiterates the fact that BJP is now in power, independently or in alliance, in 20 out of 29 Indian states. The win in Tripura is a landmark victory especially because the BJP came out winners against their arch-rivals, the CPI(M). The people of India have now deliberately and progressively alienated the Left from the political discourse of India and the Right has been filling the vacuum, the so called centre being a hapless, clueless and docile spectator.

From Tripura (Photo : Reuters)
From Tripura (Photo : Reuters)

However, what should have been a cause for positive reinforcement and celebrations in the BJP has turned out to be the harbinger of mayhem, disruption, and anarchy. A day after the ground-breaking win in Tripura, alleged workers of the saffron party instead of celebrating their win with integrity, composure and the proverbial laddoos, chose vandalism instead and demolished the statue of Lenin, considered to be the fore-father of Communists world over. This mala fide activity, no doubt gave rise to much mayhem among the left front and was akin to rubbing salt on a freshly inflicted wound. Naturally, ‘Liberals’ from all sections berated this act of utter shamelessness and indiscipline from a party which has always taken pride in being called ‘disciplined and cadre-based’. The right presented the initiative to the left on a platter and the left did not disappoint. A statue of Dr. Ambedkar vandalized by unknown miscreants in U.P. a couple of days ago was immediately saffronized. People from the cabal immediately set out to find a pattern and in a large country like India finding selective patterns has never been a tough task. All was going well, the narrative was firmly with the left when some imbecile left novices in Jadavpur University decided to dismember a statue of Dr. Shyama Prasad Mookherjee. Although I don’t believe in bans but whoever gave them that idea should definitely be banned from politics.

All these disruptive and unsettling developments were slowly coming to the end of the very short attention span of Indian public when they were given a fresh lease of life by BJP’s Mr. H. Raja. He wrote on his Facebook page:
“Who is Lenin? What is the connection between him (Lenin) and India? What connection between communism and India? Lenin’s statue was broken down in Tripura. Today it is Lenin’s statue in Tripura and tomorrow it will be the statue of caste fanatic EV Ramasamy.”

For the uninitiated, the “caste fanatic EV Ramasamy” that he talks about is none other than Periyar and before one terms Mr. Raja as another fringe element in BJP, let it be known that he is one of the national secretaries of BJP. What is interesting though is the alacrity with which PM Narendra Modi and Party Chief Amit Shah have denounced the statement and the vandalism. They seem to know the reverence with which Periyar is seen in Tamil Nadu, and although the BJP’s neo-nationalism is in stark contrast with the regional nationalism of Periyar, they have no qualms in bargaining that for a better outreach in the region.

The 21st century has been BJPs century so far. From Mr. Atal Bihari Vajpayee to Mr. Narendra Modi, the hierarchy of BJP has truly aged and evolved. Mr. Modi and Mr. Shah have forged a formidable partnership to the chagrin of the opposition. Their combination has worked wonders for the saffron outfit pan India. However, there are pockets of opposition still left especially in the southern states, where an eccentric alliance is being touted. This peculiar tripartite consists of communists, ambedkarites and periyarites who have historically disagreed vehemently with each other on matters of ideology. But as they say, politics makes strange bedfellows. Having come to touching distance of Modi’s dream of “Congress-Mukt Bharat”, it can therefore be argued that the main challenge that lies ahead for him is this tripartite. And the irresponsible statements and actions of his peripheral leaders is only making this amalgamation a lot easier than envisaged.

About the Author : Ambikesh Kumar Jha is a social writer and a sailor, presently ashore.

Modi’s Pakoda Politics for 2019 and Chidambaram’s Joblessness

“Mitron, humne pakode khaane chaie ki nahi khane chaie?”
“Modi! Modi!”

“Mitron, pakodon ke saath chai peeni chaie ki nahi peeni chahie?”
“Har Har Modi! Ghar Ghar Modi!”

“Mitron, wo chai mmain aapko pilaauunga kyunki mmujhe chai pilaane ka experience hai! Platform pe chai bechne ka dard kya hota hai, ye mmujhe maloom hai!”

 

Our Prime Minister Narendra Modi in one of his recent interviews asked if a pakoda-seller earning 200 rupees a day could be considered unemployed. Mr. P. Chidambaram who held the finance ministry in the UPA rule has suggested that by Mr. Modi’s logic, beggars should also be considered employed. The twitter town is abuzz with exchanges between sides.

Mr. Modi on his part is frying his pakodas like he always does – well in advance. Like for everything else he does, he also becomes the first Indian Prime Minister to bring pakoda-sellers into the national discourse. However, one may ask, why pakodas singularly? There are other things sold by the street-side entrepreneurs, say, pav-bhaji, vada-pav, 99 types of dosas, etc. Shiv Sena has already laid its claim on vada-pav politics by offering free vada-pavs to Shobha De earlier. Let’s leave pav-bhaji for Uddhav’s cousin in the name of Marathi-Asmita. Dosas would have obviously offended the Dravidian parties for it would have meant Gujarati appropriation. Modi had already used up the khakhra card by waiving off the GST before Gujarat elections. Here, I summon the spirit of Shekhar Gupta of the Walk the Talk, The Print, the NDTV, and the Lutyen’s Dhaba to answer this. Pakodas are eaten across the country in varying forms and with different names. The country is 80% Hindus, so naturally, most of the pakodas prepared are consumed by the Hindus of this country. Mr. Modi being the Hindutva icon that he is, used the case of pakodas to polarise the electorate and gain Hindu votes in 2019 elections. 

 

To be honest, this is the closest thing to confession that voters of this country can get from both the leading parties. Confession 1 – the present Government is selling pakodas in the name of job creation. Confession 2 – the opposition sits unemployed in the sixth row waiting for pakodas. The stage for 2019 elections is set. After spilling chai all over the kurtas and suits of the opposition leaders in 2014, Mr. Modi is all set to play with some pakode ka tel in 2019. P. Chidambaram is making things difficult for Rahul Gandhi by protesting against pakodas. At a time when Rahul Gandhi is looking to increase his pakoda tally from 44 to 545, P. Chidambaram should just fall in line and start begging for more pakodas right away. He will at least have a job that way. All the watering attempts at pakodas are going to cost the Congress party a lot of oil in face with no pakoda in hands.

 

 

Image Source – Karnataka for Employment (KFE)

Firecrackers are Anti-Hindu, not the Supreme Court of India

The Supreme Court has prohibited the sale of firecrackers in New Delhi and NCR region and daggers have been drawn. The noise on twitter post the decision has been shriller than any of the crackers sold during Diwali season can produce. For many, like every other debate in our country today, this has become a Hindu identity versus other religions. There are others who are pitching 364 other days against this 1 day and defending the sale and usage of fire-crackers. There are also people who are rationally calling for bans on a lot of other pollutants that are more poisonous and hence more harmful. I stand by the last lot.

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Irom Sharmila & the thick lines between activism and politics.

 Irom Sharmila (Iron Lady) has decided to quit politics after her poor performance in the assembly elections of Manipur. She got a meagre 90 votes which is sad but what is sadder is that she has decided to call it quits! After this, many media outlets are projecting her loss as the elegy of Indian democracy.

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Another open letter to Shri Rahul Gandhi

Dear Shri Rahul Gandhi

I am angry and this is a serious letter. So I am not going to throw cheap banters at you. I have also consciously decided to not throw any personal insult at you. I will go ahead with this letter with an assumption that this country has to put up with you till some real leader is allowed to surface on the national scene from your party.

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