Look Into The Mirror To See Misogyny

First Published in Centre Right India  – Misogyny in Indian Politics

The fiery Prime Minister of Australia, Julia Gillard, in a spout of indignation hit back at her Opposition Leader Tony Abbott who had called for the sacking of one of her party members over a sexist row,

“I will not be lectured on sexism and misogyny by this man. Not now, not ever.  The leader of the opposition says that people who hold sexist views and who are misogynists are not appropriate for high office. Well I hope the leader of the opposition has got a piece of paper and is writing out his resignation. Because if he wants to know what misogyny looks like in modern Australia, he doesn’t need a motion in the House, he needs a mirror.”

The fact that we got our first woman Prime Minister even before our colonisers, doesn’t dilute the fact that Indian politics is male dominated despite having some of the top most political players in our country from the fairer section of the society – including Sonia Gandhi, the 4th most powerful woman in the world, Sushma Swaraj, Meira Kumar, Shiela Dixit, Mamata Bannerjee, Mayawati, Vasundhara Raje Scindia, and Jayalalithaa. Hence it was really nobody’s surprise when Sanjay Nirupam insulted Smriti Irani taunting about her profession. In the recent past we have seen a lot of politicians being leaky mouthed uttering comments which puts common sense to shame. Some include Mr. Narendra Modi also in this list, attributing his misogyny to the now infamous “50 Crore girlfriend”. The larger question one would want to ask is that when can we say that somebody is unnecessarily using the gender card to play the victim and when has an actual case of sexism occurred, where shall we draw the line? After all we live in a society which is supposed to treat women like ‘Devi’ and yet have a propensity for acting in a way opposite to the concept.
A notion of equality, which is the basis for modern feminism – classified often as a western philosophy – demands equal treatment towards men and women. So, if I am paying a man Rs.5 for something I should pay the same amount, for the same work to a woman also. That is the concept, put extremely lightly. Hence if equality applies in issues of rewards, I have often wondered why the same equality doesn’t apply in case of penalty too. Anyone who raises the question runs the risk of being perceived a chauvinist, especially in a society such as ours where theoretically, we are to give extreme respect to women to the point of being irritatingly patronising. I read, as a kid, that this was how Gandhi-ji differed in his approach to women. I distinctly remember the chapter where in, it was opined that reformers like Raja Ram Mohan Roy and others patronized women but it was only Gandhi, who, among the mass leaders, treated the Indian woman like a worthy companion waiting to be given the recognition she deserves. One can dispute and disagree.
The idea I am trying to convey is that the Indian concept of women equality has been a flawed one from the beginning. Either the patronisation in the name of equality will be sickening else the Indian woman would be confined to her fixed role, as that of a good “house wife”. A third kind of attitude is that of sycophancy and extreme adoration. But this is different from the rest of the two. I will explain how.
Let us consider the first instance – excessively sickening patronisation. I cannot find a more recent example that the “50 Crore Girl Friend” incident. The point to be understood is that Mrs. Sunanda Pushkar has a personality that is distinct from Mr. Shashi Tharoor. She was first introduced as an associate of Mr. Tharoor and a Director of the Dubai-based real estate company Tecom. Even though, her present fame and position is due to her being his wife, she became a public person when the scam broke out. She was neither any poor old lady from the streets nor a public persona known for her yeomen service rendered to the society. She was a possible accomplice in a scam which caused Mr. Tharoor his minister-ship. Hence when Modi is attacking her, and giving an adjective of a 50 Crore Girl Friend, it would have been only normal to treat the comment just like the way it would have been treated had Modi called Vadra a “50 Billion Damaad” or something to that effect. They are related to top politicians, and their activities have caused enormous troubles to these powerful relatives. So to sit and lament over the fact that Modi defined her using this utterly horrible phrase, and this shows how low class Modi is and that Modi’s behaviour reeks of misogyny, is ridiculous because he treated the Tharoor issue in exactly the same way as any politician any where would have done, had he/she known that a leader and his family were involved in a scam which caused this minister his job. Perhaps this unnecessary patronisation is the same reason why many voices were raised asking Kanimozhi to be freed from the jail because she is a woman and a mother, as if that seals the issue. But there will still be people who will be more than ready to take a train to some place a thousand kilometers away and get slapped. These people would fight tooth and nail to prove that the phrase “girl friend” was used with an innuendo. It is your problem if you treat phrases with imaginary insinuations. Even I can suggest that when Rahul Gandhi spoke about Pink Elephants he was not talking about the statues, but Mayawati herself! 
If there are basic rules as to how a man is supposed to deal with a woman opponent just because she is a woman, it is difficult to realise them as legitimate. Of course, the basic question of morality comes under the umbrella of graceful political discourse automatically. Just like the way you can’t say that a male leader is less of a man, and hence less of a leader, because he hasn’t been able to produce an heir, you can’t say that a female leader is characterless because of her “apparently” colourful past. One can treat his female opponent only the way he would have responded if he were arguing with a male opponent. A an can’t be expected to make special allowances by toning down the arguments because he is dealing with a woman. If you are that kind of a person who feels that women deserve special treatment because she is a woman, it’s against what many of the feminists and anti-misogynists apparently believe in – equality. Hence, if you want equality please train your mind to be treated equal. But , if it’s your opinion that men should be overtly courteous to women, no matter what, then don’t blame people who have an archaic notion of how women are supposed to behave , since you are no less a part of that archaic society who believe that men are supposed to behave in a particular way.
If you are accepting one and not ready accept the other you are a hypocrite and that in turn makes the whole argument invalid, because hypocrites will somehow find an argument to fit their point. It’s a waste of time talking with such people. To now cry foul and talk of sexism is absolute hogwash and unnecessary patronisation. You know it, I know it, but you will never agree with it because bashing Modi is more important.
Coming to the second instance, the Smriti Irani – Sanjay Nirupam episode is a perfect example where in Mr. Nirupam actually derides her by uttering uncharitable remarks. I hear some people apportioning the blame equally to both of them, saying that it was Mrs. Irani who started getting personal by saying that people like Sanjay Nirupam, who desert the mother organisation, are a true blot on the country and since she provoked him, she should also be ready to bear the brunt. After all, two can play the same game. Assuming that Nirupam is a man of extremely stupendous standards and that he lost his cool only because Mrs. Irani drew in the RSS issue, even then what Nirupam showcased was a brutal stereotyping of women. Many feel that actresses are women of questionable background, bimbos, with no job other than to be accessories to skin show. Hence we saw Shahi Imam Syed Ahmed Bukhari shouting at Shabana Azmi calling her a dancing prostitute. We see people loathing Khushboo, treating her with a restrained contempt. But people forget that even in USA they make film actors Presidents and Governors. Back at home, even N. T. Rama Rao and M. G. Ramachandran have become Chief Ministers. Even average screen playwrights like K. Karunanidhi has made it big and branched out into franchisees in Tamil politics. It is from the same field that Jayalalithaa has arrived and has been ruling with efficiencies and inefficiencies only similar to any other male Chief Minister from a conventionally politically background. But yet there is a disdain, certain amount of derision when women from this industry make it big. Note, that this has not often been seen against men from the same background, despite these heroes being excruciatingly inefficient and uninspiring politicians.
Recently a Muslim woman leader Aasifa Khan shifted her alliance from Congress to BJP in Gujarat. People were quick to accuse her of betrayal and opportunism. But her reasons were sound. She felt that Gujarat Congress is not doing anything development oriented neither to the Gujarati Muslims, nor to Gujarat as a whole. And everyone knows how hopeless and lack-lustred the Congress is in Gujarat and that what she has said is not without substance. Such ideological shifts from inactivity to activity, from nadir to zenith, are something that needs to be acknowledged. But sadly such incidents of changing alliances due to staunch convictions are rarely seen in India. On the other hand, deserters in Indian politics, have been usually nothing more than petty opportunists. There is no solid ground as to why anyone shifts from one party to another. If there is K. R. Gowriamma in Kerala who is with LDF one day and with UDF the other, on one side, there is Sharad Pawar on the other side, who after having started his party as a protest against Sonia, has now sunk to the level of dispelling a founding member to please the same Sonia and her Presidential nominee. Hence Sanjay Nirupam is not exactly in a great position to counter his ideological shift. (On a lighter vein,for a man whose Wikipedia account appears to have been written by himself, as pointed out by @pierrefitter, it’s too difficult to take him seriously). One could argue that Mrs. Irani need not have brought the issue of deserting RSS into the conversation, but surely she doesn’t deserve to be stereotyped as a bimbo or worse, caricatured as a person who shakes her hips for money.
And that exactly, is why, I assert that, Sanjay Nirupam is a misogynist, Narendra Modi is not, Pushkar took advantage of the sickening Indian Patronisation, and that Irani was subjected to the cruel stereotyping of Indian misogynists.
A third type of attitude towards the women is deification. Be it Indira, Jayalalithaa, Raje, Mamata, Mayawati or Sonia there are always a set of people who deify these leaders beyond boundaries of reasons. But this is not reserved to the women leaders alone. The same happens to men also including Nehru, Gandhi, Ambedkar, MGR, NTR, and more recently Narendra Modi. So, this is something we can be contented with, at the least, that, if we have decided to be creepy fanboys and fangirls of politicians, we will become one, no matter what the sex of the leader is. And the admirable thing is that these leaders have almost never played the gender card for sympathy, unlike a teary eyed Hillary Clinton during the 2008 Primaries. We Indians tend to respect the Indian women leaders no matter we despise them or adore them. Perhaps it is the tacit knowledge that if a woman has become a leader despite all the misogyny, she must be terrific after all.

The Muslim Leadership In India – The Ultimate Sham – 6


Source – World Religion Watch
6.       Chance for Indian Muslims
 “It is only a small population of extremist Muslims who are perpetrating terrorism. They do not represent me. Why do you blame my beliefs and my religion in the garb of accusing terrorists?” a friend said in a casual debate. These are the views echoed by almost all of the moderate Muslims of India. If that is the case let us see what is being said by those whom you allegedly vote for as a block, by those who claim to represent you. Their statements raise many doubts. Let me ask them straight out.
  •  Do you Muslims want terrorists like Afzal Guru and Ajmal Kasab not be hanged just because they are Muslims?
  • Do you want reservations based on religion although reservation based on poverty level makes more sense?
  • Do you believe it when a party member claims that his leader cries when she thinks about alleged Islamist terrorists being  killed in encounters and as a result of her crying will you vote for them?
  • Do you believe that incidents such as in Assam where not only Muslims but also Bodos and non-Bodo, non-Muslim Indian citizens were also affected, and in Myanmar a faraway place, about which majority of Indians know only a little, will cause young Muslims to get radicalised, i.e., to be blunt, make them violent enough to cause destruction ?
  • Do you honestly believe that communal riots targeting Muslims occur only when BJP is in power?
  • Are you going to vote for anyone who says he or she cannot stand next to Modi, how so ever his or her track record in administration, in performance delivery may be?
  • Are you going to keep quiet even if it is insanely clear that the kind of protests in front of US Consulate against Innocence of Muslims is a knee jerk reaction?
  •  Are you going to believe that India is Muslim-friendly, only if the government bans Innocence of Muslims?
  •  Are only those parties who help only Muslims of India, who sends medical aides to only Muslims of a mixed refugee camps, good parties?
  • If religion symbolism is so important, then is it not against the concept of secularism that you and other minorities and many Hindus also claim to be cornerstone of constitution which is described as the thread which holds India together?
  • Do you like to be the heroes and heroines of a story where you are always the victim and where none from your religion have done any wrong?
  • Is doing business with Israel so wrong although a majority of the agricultural technologies are being borrowed from them?
  • Do you want to create a law which will make criticism of religion a crime?
 I have these doubts because these are what those who represent you, say about you. This is the kind of portrait these leaders flaunt about you. Thus you are represented as an unendingly moaning, moping victim of some larger conspiracy, all of which are incidentally aiming to destroy your religion, and impose upon you some alien culture. Thus you are showcased as some unprivileged set of men and women who are scoffed at by others, much like Cinderella and her step-family. While you are the beautiful Cinderella, rest of the India plays the role of the step-family while Owaisi types are the Fairy Godmothers, because of whose efforts you get a chance to ride in a chariot made out of pumpkin and finally meet the prince, only that in our story the time strikes midnight even before Cinderella meets her prince. And like in the movies this particular sequence where in you are tormented by the step family, then given hopes which do not become true, is repeated a billion times. 
 Is this the life you want? Are these the kind of leaders you deserve? Leaders who separate you from the rest of the nation, even as the rest of the nation is trying desperately to connect with you?  Should you live by what these people say? Are you satisfied with these men as your spokesperson? If then, what is the difference between a Muslim, say in Mali and between you? What is so unique about Indian Muslims if your leaders are trying to make you mundane? India is a nation of great reformers and thinkers. All Indians, from whatever religion they come from, share a common gene of Indian-ness which is inalienable how so ever hard one tries. Instead being proud of this legacy, is it not a disservice by your leader who keeps on exhorting you to be different from the rest of India? What is common is common there is no running away from the fact. Is your leader not putting yourself into a psychological trauma by asking you to treat what is natural to you as something vile and forcing you to adopt something completely alien to yourself as your basis? Is it not like forcing a left hander person to write using his right hand?
 Muslims constitute 13.5 % of the population in this nation. Wiki leaks have revealed that US consider this to be an understatement and the original Islamic population is up to 14.9%.  Even then, going by the official number, there are approximately 163376112 Muslims in India.  This is nearly 10.2% of the world Muslim population. You are the 3rdlargest single concentration of Muslims anywhere in the world. This is a chance for you to make some substantive change. Why can’t you be different? Why should you toe the line of laws created keeping in mind an altogether different geographical setting? Why can you not lead by example?
President house and South block buildings illuminated. Courtesy MSN
In the 1820s we had leaders like Raja Ram Mohan Roy who was a severe critic of the practice of Sati. He lobbied heavily in favour of the Anti – Sati law even though he was effectively ostracised from the conservative Hindu society. There was Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar in the 1850s who challenged the notion of oppressed girl child and opened up many school only for the girl children. His Bethune School was one of the centres of powerful movement of women’s education. This reformation was marred with protests from every corner. Even though these young students were shouted at and abused and even though parents were subjected to social boycott they did not stop attending schools. His contribution to widow remarriage is unforgettable even now. We had leaders like Jyotiba Phule in the 1870s who started Satyashodhak Samaj against caste discrimination, not for any political gain but out of genuine concern for his people. He was a pioneer of widow remarriage too, which, in those times was looked down upon. India had leaders like Gopalhari Deshmukh popularly known as Lokahitawadi who bravely proclaimed that “If religion does not sanction social reform, then change the religion”. The 1900s witnessed Sri Narayana Guru, who broke the shackles of discrimination, inspiring millions of people to date. India is the birth land of leaders like A K Gopalan and Krishna Pillai and K Kelappan who spearheaded the Temple Entry Movement. The Pledge Movement started by M G Ranade in the 1880s worked incessantly for abolishing child marriage.
Is there not a single Muslim to challenge the convention from the country which gave us thinkers like Swami Vivekananda and Raja Ram Mohan Roy? Reformation is a concept which is fundamental to human beings, every one of them, regarding their actions, their beliefs, the way they live. Everyone is looking for ways to reform themselves to betterment, then why not in religion? The fact that Raja Ram Mohan Roy was severely criticised for his opposition to Sati, the fact that those who married  widows  were stoned and later given police protection for pioneering widow remarriage, the fact that Gandhiji himself was fiercely criticised for cleaning the toilets of Harijans, the fact that Vivekananda himself called Kerala a lunatic asylum of caste, shows the guts, the courage these men had when they set out with the purpose of cleansing Hinduism from the clog it had collected due to centuries of superstitions and false sense of divinity bestowed upon undeserving men.
In a secular point of view, even democracy is a reformed structure of archaic forms of administration like monarchy and aristocracy. Thus stage after another, reformation leads to something better and this is indisputable. To brand anyone who set out to reform the religion as a blasphemer and accuse them of heresy is suicidal as it prevents the single existing path towards betterment. Instead asking others to “tolerate” the cultural sensitivity of Islam, ask why not the religion tolerates voices of dissent? Ask how moderates are persecuted and sane voices muted with the threats of chastisements in your religion. Try to differentiate things which pricks your soul from the heavenly ordains of the book. Nurture a leader like G G Agarkar who questioned blind adherence to faith. Respect the moderates who set out in the process of reform. Ask if your faith is too fragile that when a set of non-believers mock you, it becomes a source of rage for radical elements. Ask if fighting for religion makes your life better? Dare to ask your leaders if conducting these protest rallies will bring the alleged 31 % of Muslim BPL population upwards. Ask if passionate speeches in parliament about Muslim youth’s radicalisation create jobs for these young men. Dare to question your book, dare to question your leaders, dare to question the convention. Only then can Indian Muslims make a mark for themselves.
If indeed such a change occurs, it will be hailed by women and men of every country of the world, which ever religions they may belong to. It is going to be a landmark event when one of the most influential set of Muslims in the world, the Indian Muslims, set out in a path way of introspection. That will be the day of Renaissance in the Muslim world, not the Arab spring. That will be the day when Indian Muslim Leader would proudly hailed by every Indian to be truly secular. That is the day when not only Muslims of higher echelons but also the poorest of poor Muslims begins climbing the ladder of prosperity and success. That is the day when religions become irrelevant for all Indians. That is the day when our magnificent nation becomes truly secular. That is when we can focus our energies on issues that matter. That is when we can call us all Indians instead of Indian Muslims and Indian Hindus.  That is the day when India breaks out from the chains of religious feud and starts ascending on a path of glory and greatness that she deserves. For that day I wait. 
Written on 2nd October 2012

Links to other parts 

  1. Part 1Muslim Leadership

  2. Part 2 – Assam Riots

  3.  Part 3 – Ghaziabad Riots

  4. Part 4 – Muslim Youth Radicalisation

  5. Part 5 – “Innocence of Muslims” 

The Muslim Leadership In India – The Ultimate Sham – 5



Members of Islamic organisations holding a protest against the film “Innocence of Muslims” on Anna Salai in ChennaiThe Hindu

 5.       Protests against “Innocence of Muslims” in India.
 This is a current issue which has brought to fore front questions of censorship and limits of freedom of speech. After having seen the unremarkable piece which exemplifies the essence of lack of talent and waste of time and after witnessing the resulting riots which puts civilised women and men to shame I have made substantive changes in my views on what freedom of speech constitutes. Freedom of speech is as much as the phrase implies. It is the freedom to tell any bullshit and yet not be persecuted for it. In fact, I would so far go and say that even defamation and misinformation is allowed in the name of freedom of speech. What is important is the real impact this free speech has on the psyche of the general public. An offensive portrait, a blasphemous book, a distasteful movie, a baseless accusation – how serious an impact these have on a concerned community’s / individuals’ lives and on those who surround them determines the limits of freedom of speech. And only that limits the freedom of speech and nothing else, nothing should. An idea is only as credible as its source is.
          Hence if someone influential, personality say the Prime Minister of the Republic of India, declares that all Muslims are fundamentalists then we have got a problem at hand, since the PM is the most important person in India, at least it used to be like that, and the idea he or she espouses will have a definitive impact.  If Salman Rushdie has said something blasphemous according to Ayatollah Khomeini and in turn declared so by several little Khomeinis of the world, what is to be examined is how far an impact his work is going to have on Muslims and how far the perception about Muslims is going to change in the eyes of a non-Muslim. Are Muslims going to be looked down upon because Rushdie wrote what he wrote in his book? Rushdie’s should have been an old issue which ought to have been buried. But thanks to the secular leaders in and around the world we see the issue rising up every now and then, there by providing arena for these very leaders to prove their secular credentials. It is a goose that lays golden eggs and this time over the owner is not dumb enough to kill it at one go.    It is in this context that Innocence of Muslim is to be examined. Is the average Muslim going to be denied his or her right to live freely with dignity and honour because a nameless faceless person made a tiresomely boring movie? Unlike Rushdie’s book which was popular in literary circles, the movie was and still is not a critical or commercial success. The gentlest of criticisms describe it as a painfully mind numbing experience while, of course, the harshest critics assassinate human beings with missiles.

  •  Protest in Tamil Nadu

 For Muslims to display acts of such feigned sense of insult was a first in Tamil Nadu where religions have been coexisting peacefully. We witnessed a 5 day long protest in Chennai against USA at its Consulate in the city which included 2000 men representing 23 different Muslim groups. Similar protests were organised in Trichy Tirunelveli, Ooty and other parts of the state also. These peaceful protests involved pelting of stones, breaking of CCTVs, damaging buses, blockading railway routes and similar extra-curricular activities. Here also, as in the case of Ghaziabad violence, the police reported how the crowd suddenly swell to thousands of numbers in a few minutes. The claim of each such protest rally is to show the “strength of Muslim community”. In other words, these protests were nothing but futile show of muscle flexing there by affecting the day to day lives of people, for example the visa process in US consulate. What is ironical is how the leaders of these very people sent off their children to study in all fancy locations in USA, Germany and UK. That budding terrorists were nabbed from the south only a while ago and that only a few days ago an alleged ISI module in south India was busted with the arrest of Thamim Ansari, and that exactly in the same time period, protests of these kinds which have not been witnessed till date in Tamil Nadu are being displayed, raises serious questions as to how sincere these alleged show of strength is, and if there is not some sinister motive behind such sudden spurt of non-existent sentiments getting hurt enough to cause injuries to 19 police men, to bring cities and towns to a halt and subsequently causing transfer of a hapless IPS officer from Chennai.
 The fact that these nth wave of radicalised protests happened immediately after the passionate rallies by these very same men who conducted “peaceful” protests in solidarity with the Muslim “victims” of Assam and Myanmar reaffirms the doubt that these are people who are in the lookout for anything which will allow them to get offended and who later on seek solidarity for imaginary victimhood and blasphemy. It is like deliberately going and smelling a pair of foul socks in a home two blocks away and complaining to the owner of the socks that he had intentionally kept the foul smelling sock there so that the offended person would go there and smell it. Nor has it got any logic, neither has any one the guts to infuse logic into it.
 If any Hindu complaints about Muslims being so touchy about the issue, the first counter is about how M F Husain the celebrated artist, “the jewel of India in the world of paintings”, had to suffer at the hands of extremists like RSS and VHP and BJP just because they found his depiction of the Indian gods to be offensive. But is it only as much as it looks like on the surface? Does that mean any one who offended the Indian gods were banished from India?  Why it is then that Zakir Naik proudly displayed a poster in Facebook asking Hindus to prove Ganesha to be a god and yet none of the ambassadors from any Muslim nation to India was killed? Why is it that year after year the great benevolent asura king of Kerala, Mahabali, is depicted as a pot bellied bumbling uncle next door and still no one even raises a finger against it? Why is it that there is a constant insinuation about Babas and Swamis and Matas being fraudsters and yet there is no casualty? Why are secular politicians like Lalu Prasad Yadav who proclaim “These babas are the real terrorists” still survive to tell the tale? So what is so horrifyingly special about M F Husain’s painting which irritated the Hindus, who generally are not so touchy about their own religion, to the point of asking for a ban on the secular artist and his secular paintings? 
 Fact of the matter is that people disliked the patronisation of M F Husain’s offensive paintings than the paintings themselves. You cannot have selective freedom of speech for different sets of people. It is disgusting and akin to prostituting your soul if you do so. You can’t just sit there and lecture the majority of the public that, “Look here people; this is a very important painting by a very very important artist from a minority community. Hence you must bear with it. We will celebrate it to be a masterpiece, will call it as an unparalleled work, will counter you by saying that there are sculptures in Konark temple which are way more vulgar than what our celebrated artist from the minority community has painted, will allege that Kamasutra and Hinduism are one and the same, and not only that we will repeat this in every news paper articles, every editorial, every TV interviews, every political rallies, and will repeat it until people believe this to be true, but yet you should not utter a word because freedom of speech is more important than anything else.” You just cannot do that and now keep quiet and make your silence credible with arguments about the necessity for a limit to freedom of speech just because “a particular community” is too touchy about criticism, because some XYZ religion is not ready for scrutiny by outsiders. Things do not happen this way usually. It was this tendency which demanded provocation from the majority of the Indians which resulted in such a drastic incident where in Husain was sent de-facto in exile.
But unlike the paintings, a majority had not known and still many do not know the contents of Rushdie’s book, an overwhelmingly large percentage of population from the non-Muslims find the movie Innocence of Muslims offensive, no one has supported the views espoused by it, nor has any one hailed it to be a masterpiece. It will not take more than a day for an informed critic to dissect the movie scene by scene and quote from Quran to substantiate a large chunk of what has been depicted in the movie. No one did that only because the OH-I-AM-SO-TOUCHY Muslim leadership were up in arms and people were rational enough not to add fire to the incident. On the contrary, everyone was unanimous in their condemnation. The movie was not declared a must – watch, it was not listed in any top 10 lists (assuming the lists were not about controversies), the movie was not given any positive publicity anywhere by any credible source in the entire wide world. And yet, in spite of all this solidarity and support provided by the unaffected men and women to the so-called affected group, Muslim leaders were already lining up in UN demanding that anything which offends religions should be made a crime.  In spite of all this, there was staunch silence from champions of free speech; we heard sermons about what constitute free speech and what does not. Even the United States of America, a country which very dearly holds its prestige, which treats every attack on them in the harshest possible manner, faltered. The President of the United States of America began his response to the tragic murder of the US Ambassador to Libya with an apology. As a person who believes in free speech, this shook my belief on what this world has come to. A country like theirs, which supposedly is the “Mecca” of free speech,  has been reduced to a level, where instead of condemning such acts of incurable madness, the first thing the leader of that nation utters is an apology. Is offending a religion a greater crime than taking away the life which has been supposedly given to us by the very same God / Allah?    

Written on 2nd October 2012

Links to other parts 

  1. Part 1Muslim Leadership

  2. Part 2 – Assam Riots

  3.  Part 3 – Ghaziabad Riots

  4. Part 4 – Muslim Youth Radicalisation

  5. Part 6 – A Chance for Indian Muslims

The Muslim Leadership In India – The Ultimate Sham – 4


Image Courtesy – Reporters 365
4.       Increased radicalisation of Muslim youth

  • A few incidents –
                    i.     Muthi-ur-Rahman Siddiqui (26), a Crime Reporter from Mid-Day;  Shoaib Ahmed Mirza alias Chhotu (25) , an MCA student; Abdullah alias Abdul Hakim Jamadar (25),  a junior engineer at Airborne Early Warning and Control System, a DRDO division.  Ejaz Mohammed Mirza (25), Mohammed Yusuf Nalbandh (28), a salesman; and Riyaz Ahmed Byahatti (28), a BCA graduate and salesman; were arrested by Bangalore police for their alleged links with global terror outfits. Not only are they suspected of having links with LeT and HuJi they also had plans to murder MLAs and journalists of the region. What shocked everyone was the sophisticated backgrounds each of these suspects were from, which was uncommon a few years ago.
Arrests did not stop with that. Five men were arrested in Hubli with regards to the same case – Ubedullah Imran, Mohammed Sadiq Lakshkar, Wahid Hussain, Dr Zafar Iqbal Sholapur and Mehboob alias Baba . A 12th arrest was made in Hyderabad – Obedulla-ur-Rehman (21), who is reported to be a final year B. Com student.
Daily Bhaskar reported as follows[29]
Karnataka police found many editions of al-Qaida’s online magazine – Inspire – stored as downloaded files on laptops and pen-drives of six of the accused, who were caught in Bangalore and Hubli last week for allegedly planning to attack defence and nuclear installations and assassinate politicians, journalists and businessmen. Source said –“The suspects have confessed that they found the contents quite inspiring and wanted to do something big.”

          ii.  Police have arrested  Tipu Shaikh (19), Ijaz Shaikh (23), Rafiq Shaikh (21) and Matin Pathan (19), Nadim Ansari (18), Imamuddin Kanwade (20), Wasim Shaikh (22), Muzaffar Jamadar (19) and Muzammil Shaikh (18) in Pune for assaulting a software professional from Manipur and a student from Nagaland. Policemen reported that all these men, who were illiterate, were provoked by “unknown” people to spread panic through such targeted attack. 
        iii. 4 Muslim youth were arrested in Nanded by the Maharashtra ATS. They are Mohammed Sadiq Mohammed Farooque, 27, Mohammed Muzzamil Abdul Gani, 29, Mohammed Ilyas Mohammed Akbar, 28, and Mohammad Irfan Mohammad Gaus, 25. [30]It is said that these 4 Muslim youth wanted to “target right-wing Hindutva leaders to incite communal tension and clashes, as bomb blasts in different parts of the country had failed to spark communal conflicts” according to the police. [31]
        iv. Naqi Ahmed Wasi Ahmed Sheikh (22) and Nadeem Akhtar Ashfaq Sheikh (23) Haroon Naik (32) are among the 4 high profile arrests made this year  by Maharashtra ATS in connection with the 13thJuly triple blasts at Dadar, Zaveri Bazaar and  Opera House in Mumbai causing the death of 27 people and 130 injured. Haroon Naik, originally from Beed district (incidentally Sayed Zabiuddin Ansari alias Abu Jundal [32]is also from Beed), who has a diploma in digital technology from ITI Ulhasnagar[33], had been arrested in August 2011 itself. The other person is a Delhi based jewellery shop owner Kanwar Chand Pathreja, 42 who is an alleged hawala operator. There offenses were neatly summarised by Times of India[33]as follows –

Naquee Ahmed Wasi Ahmed Shaikh, 22: Police allege that Indian Mujahideen leader Yasin Bhatkal sent explosives for the 13/7 blasts from Delhi to Mumbai, where Naquee received them. Naquee is also accused of stealing two scooters used in the bombings. ATS alleged that Naquee helped the suspected Pakistani bombers conduct recces of the targets prior to the blasts and helped them get a rented room in Habib Apartments in Byculla
Nadeem Akhtar Ashfaque Shaikh, 23: He was arrested in a SIM card forgery case in which Naquee was also booked. Akhtar is alleged to have ferried explosives from Delhi to Mumbai and stolen two scooters. He allegedly helped Naquee transfer two stolen motorbikes in train from Mumbai to Bihar
Kawalnayan Vazirchand Pathreja, 46: An alleged hawala operator, Pathreja handed over Rs 10 lakh that he received from Naik to Yasin Bhatkal.
Haroon Rashid Abdul Hameed Naik, 33: Naik was first arrested in a fake currency case in July 2011. A charge sheet filed by the ATS in that case says that Naik travelled for arms training to Pakistan and to Afghanistan, where he met Osama bin Laden. The training was arranged and funded by IM leader Riyaz Bhatkal. Naik allegedly arranged for funds for the 13/7 attacks be sent from UAE to India”
                                  v.            2 suspected terrorists were caught and one killed in an encounter by the Maharashtra ATS.  All were suspects in the July 2008 Ahmadabad Blasts during which  21 bomb blasts within a span of 70 minutes killed  56 people and injured 200”. The alleged Indian Mujahideen members are Mohammed Abrar Babu Khan (32), Khaleel Qureshi (20) and Mohammed Shakeer (32). The group were under radar for carrying out bank robberies in Madhya Pradesh for funding SIMI. The 3 men had undergone training in centres in Kerala. [33]It is interesting to note their ingenuity in avoiding police surveillance. “ The tech-savvy module avoided the use of mobile phones and used computers ingeniously to dodge police surveillance”, says the Times of India report.[34]
                                vi.            In 2010, Abdul Latif Rashid alias Guddu (29) and Imtiaz alias Rehan (23) were arrested for planning to set fire to the Oil and Natural Gas Cooperation Office at Bandra. They had been offered help by an ONGC employee. They also had Thakkar Mall in Borivali mall as well as the Mangaldas Market in south Mumbai as targets for attack. They were reported to the police by another Muslim youth who was being recruited for terror activities along with Rashid and Rehan. [35]
                              vii.            A young terror recruit approached the Maharashtra ATS as he had developed cold feet before practicing what he was taught at the terror camps in Pakistan – “in making explosives, reconnaissance and brainwashing others to expand the terror network” [36]The man with a Master degree in Commerce now works in a respectable company drawing a handsome salary after having undergone effective counselling.
                            viii.            A 30 – something Thamim Ansari, a small-scale vegetable exporter and an ex – SFI member, has been arrested by ‘Q’ Branch from Thanjavur district for allegedly taking videos of Madras Regimental Centre at Wellington in the Nilgiris district at the behest of ISI. He has been operating with the help of terrorists based in the northern region of Sri Lanka.
Such incidents where young Muslim men of ages between 20 and 30 are getting arrested are increasing. Of course, as has been told by Supreme Court, innocent Muslims must not be arrested just because they are Muslims. But just because they are Muslims, one cannot claim of being the target of police inefficiency. When Naquee Ahmed Wasi Ahmed Shaikh was arrested in connection with the 13/7 blasts,  hue and cry was made by media that the poor thing was being framed and that he was just another informer of Delhi Police. The Hindu reported in a way which almost sent out the message that poor Muslims are used as bait and then they are trapped by the police themselves. Lalu Prasad Yadav slammed Nitish Kumar for not doing anything to save the Bihari youth. The results of investigation is known to everyone when ATS Chief told in a press conference that Naqee Ahmed has approved of abetting the terrorist group with “full knowledge” of what is happening. Same is the case with Thamim Ansari. The Hindu almost gave his biography[37]portraying him as an ideal SFI leader while Times of India reported how an independent “fact finding committee” took strong exception to the wordings in the FIR that said, “Thamim Ansari was involved in espionage activities due to religious animosity and personal gain. He was involved in a conspiracy to enact North Indian style disruptive activities in South India too.[38]But it has come to light that not only was he being handled by Amir Zubair Siddiqui, a diplomat in the Pakistan High Commission to Sri Lanka, he was also conducting reconnaissance in a David Headly-esque manner. And we all know what happened after Headley headed out for his fun trip in Mumbai.
          Innocents should not be persecuted. I salute the notion and personally appreciate the efforts for the same cause. But this should not blind ones notion of what is right and wrong. If one is fighting for the innocence of wronged people, in the same manner he or she should be ready to accept the guilt of the guilty. One should be rational in the concept of what is objective and what absurd passion for protection of minorities is. There are criminals in both majority and minority communities. But one wonders if a thief caught in an act for a robbery will be backed by the media houses just because he happened to be from a minority community. Remember how the former Union Minority Affairs Minister Cabinet member and the cement scam tainted Abdul Rahman Antulay raised some disgusting theories about Hemant Karkare’s murder? Remember how the television and print media wagged their tails leaking saliva from their mouth chased these bizarre claims? On reading the ridiculous level the media goes into shielding and defending the hard core communal elements from the Muslim community one asks himself, “does that mean Muslims or Christians or Sikhs cannot be criminals at all?” So who are the wrong doers? Who is anti society? Who is causing problems?
And if the culpability becomes undeniable then there are always new tricks off the cuff, the media houses can show. So when Thamim Ansari an ex- SFI is caught, on the same page where the report is published there is another story of Muslim victimhood in which a wrong guy was caught and jailed. It is cruel that he had to undergo such an unmitigated disaster in his personal life. But the timing of the report, the position of the news raises question. Just like how the media questions timing of each and every political move, fingers can be raised on the timing of printing and positioning of such reports also. It looks like a pathetic effort to show – “There are Muslim wrongdoers as given by our first report, but so what? There are Muslims who are wronged also. They are victims of the state excesses which in turn is part of RSS conspiracy. You don’t believe it? Read the following report to know how this patriotic nationalist Muslim was put into misery.” Not only are such articles indications of poor journalism in which articles are being published for the sake of it, it also raises questions as to whom they are fooling with such articles. Is there going to be a perceptible change towards Muslim community just because a news item is printed? I don’t see something of the nature happening among the common people till the claims of the leaders about Indian Muslims having a distinct identity from the rest of India, Muslims always being a subject of regression and the very violent protests being carried out by communal groups are put to an end. It does not matter if Mani Shankar Iyer screams sitting on roof top about how communal BJP is, it does not matter if Mulayam Singh is claiming to support UPA to keep the communal elements at bay, it really does not matter if each one of the secular leaders repeats Islam to be religion of peace in a way that puts every other religion to shame. Unless and until there is a noticeable change in the attitude of Indian Muslims, more importantly, those who claim to represent them, such articles are simply waste of ink and paper.
          Such articles, such slogans, such futile show of being holier than thou are going to be scoffed at by majority of Indian citizens who are not going to tolerate nonsense. The sad fact is that because it is so often repeated that Islam is a religion of peace although actions are to the contrary, the phrase is now popularly used sarcastically. The fact that it is so often repeated only with Islam and not with other religion raises questions like “Is Islam the only religion of Peace?”, “If not why is it being repeated so often?” , “Is there something really wrong?” . Thus instead of being helpful the dim-witted duo of “secular” leaders and the media are being counter-productive.
          One wouldn’t harp on about the media this much had it been uniform in its quest for human rights. So when 5 of the 9 accused are acquitted in Best Bakery case , 61 of the 83 accused are acquitted in Mehsana Massacre, 23 of 47 accused are acquitted in Ode village massacre, 29 of 61 accused are acquitted in Naroda Patiya massacre, it was difficult nay impossible to show a single article or an editorial or a television show about how these men were wronged. Not one human rights activist had the spine to speak up lest their secular credentials be questioned. Are these acquitted men not humans in the eyes of the media? Do they not have the right to live freely, to not be arrested wrongly? Do they have to convert to Islam so that their voices will also be heard? Do they need to hail Owasi as their leader so that media will talk about their misery? Do they need to declare Shahi Bukhari to be their religious head so that rights activist from Tehelka will write sob stories about them? Do they need names like Mohammed Adom Ali Sheikh or Naquee Ahmed Wasi Ahmed Shaikh so that social activists will step up and talk? Are they to be shunned forever, even though the courts have found them to be innocent, just because they are Hindus? Do you not attach any value to their lives, their time they wasted in jail on wrong charges? Are they not victims of vicious propaganda against Hindus by those who claim to be pro-Minority? Did not the need, to brand a few people Saffron terrorists to counter the concept of Green Terrorism result in the arrest of these innocents? Are we supposed to digest your argument that in the process of delivering justice such mistakes tend do happen and that it should be suffered for a greater good? Are not such actions opposite to what you claim to be your cornerstone of ethics? These questions are either ignored or received as part of a larger conspiracy to break the secular fabric of India.  
          When a person gets arrested or sentenced in charges for terrorism, the news reports often carry the photos of their hapless families. Really, one does feel sad for them. For no mistakes of their own they are subjected to such emotional torture. But same is the case for those criminals in Gujarat riots. Don’t they have a family? Do they not have a wife or children or a mother? Were they born with the sole purpose of killing Muslims in India? Yes media would like us to believe that. It is this bias, this complete apathy to the rights of people who are lesser humans in their eyes, this urge to protect the rights of certain criminals and shun others, which has raised questions on how sincere the media and the secular leaders are in the pursuit of welfare of every one, in the pursuit of secularism. After all secularism means to separate religion from everyday activities of life such as education, business, bank loans, crime, punishment, acquittal, human rights etc. But these secular leaders would have us believe that some are more equal than others, these secular media will declare the theory of “No Minority can do wrong” to be the ultimate truth.

Written on 2nd October 2012

Links to other parts 

  1. Part 1Muslim Leadership

  2. Part 2 – Assam Riots

  3.  Part 3 – Ghaziabad Riots

  4. Part 5 – “Innocence of Muslims” 

  5. Part 6 – A Chance for Indian Muslims

The Muslim Leadership In India – The Ultimate Sham – 3

Image Source – Niti Central
 3. Ghaziabad Riots

  •  Background
If there can be a more mundane reason for riots kindly inform me, for I will be even more greatly amused than you are going to be after you learn about this particularly nasty piece of handiwork by some merchants of death, for the lack of a better word. The incident began when 3 boys (reports give one of their name to be Rashid / Salman) happen to tumble up on 16 – 18 pages of Quran on which abuses along with a phone number was written upon paragraphs 9 and 10. These boys showed these pages to  Hafiz Abdul Gaffar/ Gaffar Hafiz / Abdul Gaffar / Zalil-ur-Rehman / Muti-ur-Rehman (each report gives a different name though the name Gaffar appears predominantly). He gave it to the muezzin of the Rafiqabad masjid, Abdul Qadir. Incidentally Qadir claims in one report that Gaffer gave him the copies, and in another he claims Zalil-ur-Rehman showed him the desecrated pages of the holy book. Then he called the elders of that locality to discuss as to what is to be done and it was decided that the book will be buried as is the practice. The news report says – Qadir recalled how within minutes of the pages being brought to him, a crowd had gathered outside the masjid. He said – “When I stepped out of the masjid 15 minutes later, several people had gathered asking what had happened. Some people asked me if someone had thrown the pages outside the masjid, while others said they had been found near the tracks.
By afternoon it was decided that a complaint should be registered with the Masuri police station after the Friday evening prayers. The Imam Qadir claims a group of people, which included only a few he recognised, forced him to take the pages to the police station. “We reached the police station by around 6.30 pm, but it took at least an hour to register a complaint. By then a larger group of people had gathered outside the police station,” Qadir says. One Zalil-ur-Rehman, who claims Abdul Gaffar to be mentally challenged according to a news report [both Rehman and Gaffar have “disappeared” as of now], wrote the complain on behalf of Qadir, who incidentally is now disowning whatever is in the FIR claiming that since he did not know how to read and write, Rehman had written up the complaint and read out a different version of it to him. Though the Inspector asked for custody of the pages, it was not provided and even as to this day the article is being written, the pages are “lost” and no one knows what happened to them. The crowd started demanding the police officers that they should immediately start interrogating the man whose number was written on the pages to which the police responded negatively saying that it can be done only after verifying who the person is. Apparently this triggered the “spontaneous reaction” and a mob of nearly 3000 – 5000 started pelting stones at the police men, blocked the NH 24 , started looting the cars and other automobiles, set ablaze nearly 64 private and public vehicles, abused and even manhandled women passengers of the road (Read a shocking firsthand experience here[25]). Strangely the mob also let free, the criminals lodged in the jail, one of whom was arrested on charges of drug trafficking. To add to this, the investigation report by Masuri administration says, “In a bid to kill a head-constable Roop Chand (who is still critical), the rioters strangulated his neck tightly with a rope. Several policemen were injured with the stones pelted by them.” Another constable is still critical in hospital with a bullet wound. Anyone would naturally start retaliating, and the police resorted to firing to disperse the crowd. There were causalities resulting in the death of 6 people – Hayat (35), Asif (19), Wasim (18), Wahid (18), Amir(16) and Lukman (14) – and about 25 people were injured, 12 of whom are reported to be policemen. One should remember that these were 30 police men who were trapped in a police station by a 3000 – 5000 strong mob armed with rifles, revolvers and sharp weapons” who had “set a barrack on fire and threw an LPG cylinder in the fire to maximise damage.” 
 
  • Politicians’ Response

Anyone with a little common sense would be trying to pacify the locality. They would also not blame the police of gross negligence when they have been brutally attacked. A group of 30 facing an armed group of 3000 is a night mare. So we expect leaders all across the political spectrum including Muslims leaders, to condemn this incident and act tough.  But secular India is no place for pragmatic approach is it? Hence we have Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister, the “young and dynamic” Akhilesh Yadav, who uneasily evades questions of him not being in control of UP by lame jokes, blaming, wait – for –it, the Police Officers, who had delayed the action against the complaint. Akhilesh “felt that had action been taken on time after local residents complained about desecration of a holy book, the flare-up could have been avoided” says one news report.Bordering on absurdity and lack of sympathy the CM said in the presence of state DGP A C Sharma,Bahut bigra hua police mahakma hai (There is something wrong with the police department”.
  
Was this absurdity confined to the new CM alone? No. The Shahi Imam of Delhi’s Jama Masjid Syed Ahmed Bukhari made the whole incident about Muslim victimhood once again, not even for once pointing out the fact that it was the so- called devout Muslims who had created the ruckus. He claims that he represents the Muslims of India even while constantly creating trouble for the ruling dispensation of UP with “warnings” like “Eighty percent Muslims have voted for the SP this time round and Mulayam Singh can only ignore them at his own periland I had appealed to Muslims to support the SP during the Assembly polls. But it will be a tough call now, I have no answer and suggestions like There are a few Superintendents of Police but no Muslim District Magistrate. If there is a paucity of Muslim officials, get them on deputation and I was not seeking any alms from the SP chief but was only batting for the community. I am feeling let down as adequate Muslim representation was not given in response to his brother being denied a Rajya Sabha ticket from UP. One would wonder if the Imam thinks that Uttar Pradesh civil administration is his personal fiefdom or if he is some famed public policy consultant considering the interventions made by him in administrative issues. It is altogether different issue than another secular leader Azam Khan had declared that the Imam was a non-entity in the Muslim world. This is the same Bukhari who persuaded Muslims not to participate in Anna Hazare movement since chanting slogans like “Vande Mataram” and “Bharat Mata Ki jai” are un-Islamic. This is the same Maulana Syed Ahmed Bukhari against whom Delhi High Court had issue a non-bailable warrant in connection with a criminal case in which he is accused of rioting, obstructing and assaulting public servants from discharging their duties[26]. 
Following is the extract of a news item from Times of India about the response from The Left, Right and Centre of the Political Spectrum.
 
The rapidly deteriorating communal situation has, however, drawn no reaction from the political class, a silence seen as linked to Mulayam’s unique position as flag-bearer of the “secular” bloc in future central politics. The violence reiterated the salience of SP in the wake of turmoil over Centre’s decision to allow FDI in retail. The Left and Samajwadis have joined hands in opposing the move that could wipe out native retailers. Mulayam, who once again floated the idea of ‘third front’ by partnering the Left bloc to protest against the coal scam in Parliament last month, is seen as critical in deciding the shape of secular politics post-2014. He is eyeing leadership of the ‘third front’ for a last shot at prime ministership. Both the Left as well as Congress are aware of his political muscle. He may be a big beneficiary in the 80-seat state and could determine who rules Delhi. The Left will prefer him to stay with the third front. Congress, on the other hand, is keen to keep him on its side, as much for UPA-II as for 2014. No wonder, the party has desisted from criticizing the UP regime even though it ran a campaign during state polls accusing Samajwadis of using communal polarization for electoral gain. Trinamool Congress is eager to coordinate with Mulayam since early polls suit both parties. Interestingly, while Mulayam cannot ally with BJP, the latter has its own calculations post-retail ruckus in keeping away from the UP regime. The saffron party does not want to stoke the ‘communal vs secular’ debate by talking about the sensitive issue since it would evoke strong ‘secular camaraderie’ from Congress and keep Mulayam on the UPA side.

 
It is unbelievable to know that not one leader, be it from Muslim community or the other secular leaders or the social activists or any one, had the guts to speak up and ensure that they were actually, really helping to build a secular India. Even the BJP has not been strong in its response other than the stray comments from BJP spokesperson Prakash Javadekar and Shahnawaz Hussain. It got even more ridiculous when the local Muslim leaders started asking the policemen not to take any action as it would further deteriorate the delicate communal situation of the region. [27]The only group who seemed to be registering some disapproval were the Hindu shopkeepers who had shutdown their shops protesting the police delay in making any arrests.  
 

  •  Results of Investigation

Notwithstanding the grumblings from the officials, about the investigation being hindered due to the presence of media, who are constantly following them for news bites, the results of preliminary enquiry are disquieting although not surprising. Following are the extracts of what the Intelligence Bureau has been saying for some time since long.

  •  Retired IPS and former Director General of Police (DGP) Uttar Pradesh KL Gupta says the reason behind the unprovoked attack on media persons at two places could possibly be aimed at destroying the video and photo footage of the violence so that the accused remained unidentified.            
  • The major worry of the IB is that the modules of various terrorist outfits might use the volatile situation to trigger more violence and engineer terror attacks, particularly on or before the tenth anniversary of Ayodhya Babri mosque demolition on December 6.

  • This was not the first time that a defaced religious book was found in the region. Another book defaced in the same manner was found in Pilakhua on August 10 during Ramzan. The pattern was similar to the book found in Masuri as a mobile number was also scribbled on that.
  • The man whose number was found scribbled on the defaced pages of the Holy Quran, claimed he had received a similar threatening call in August as well. “The caller used threatening and abusive language and told me that ‘you have defaced our religious book’. I was shocked. I called back and told him that we will hand his number to the police,” he claimed. The matter was not reported to the police as he received no further calls —that was till the September 14 violence at Dasna and Masuri. The man is totally confused and said two incidents of similar nature, in August and September, cannot be mere coincidence.

  • The police reportedly recovered some pamphlets which were distributed by a political party of eastern UP at various places soon after Friday namaz. The contents of this pamphlet, misinformation about Assam and Myanmar violence, provoked Muslims to resort to violence across the state.

  • Last month the police had recovered some kites on which highly communalised messages were written. The minority community had been asked to wage a war against the nation. Some pamphlets have been recovered on which communal slogans have been written.” an officer of state intelligence department.

  • “The State police chiefs have been asked to investigate robberies and street crime incidents minutely after security agencies noticed a disturbing trend of Indian Mujahideen raising money through this modus operandi.”  The report says that “another area of concern was the circulation of undated pictures of charred bodies of Muslims with communal text supporting it to motivate young men to join the IM”.
Thus we see a planned incitement, stirring up of passion using the age old, tried and tested theme of Muslim victimhood and a wide scale violence harming not only the policemen but also the unassuming on-lookers of their own community. The conclusion that terrorist outfits like Indian Mujahideen are raising money through such heinous manners is something upon which serious investigation need to be done. A very worrying trend is the number of young men who had participated in the mob. It is repeatedly pointed out how hundreds or thousands of young Muslims of the age between 20 and 25 have been seen rioting and plundering in this particular incident alone. One would like to assume that they are not fools who get flared up just because a few pages of their book have been defiled.  Yet, what is seen around the world, in Middle East and in Europe, points to a conclusion which is otherwise. Another thing which is of disturbing nature is the role played by the mosques. By now we have seen a number of incidents in which, misinformation is spread during the namaz time in mosques. As a concerned citizen anyone would want to know about the steps being taken to tackle this. It was a different India, when we saw a leader boldly stating I don’t give a damn if the Golden Templeand whole of Amritsar are destroyed, I want Bhindranwale dead so that the nation will not reel under the threats of secession and terrorism and it is another India when we have a foreigner ruled government trying its level best to pander to the whims and fancies of extremists in the name of secularism. 

Written on 2nd October 2012

Links to other parts 

  1. Part 1Muslim Leadership

  2. Part 2 – Assam Riots 

  3. Part 4 – Muslim Youth Radicalisation

  4. Part 5 – “Innocence of Muslims” 

  5. Part 6 – A Chance for Indian Muslims

 

The Muslim Leadership In India – The Ultimate Sham – 2 – Assam Riots

A child of a violence victim cries at a relief camp. Source : The Hindu


That on July 4th two Muslims leaders of All Bodoland Minority Students’ Union and the All Assam Minority Students’ Union were killed and in retaliation, 4 former members of Bodoland Liberation Tigers (BLT) were murdered leading to one of the saddest incidents Indians had to suffer and witness this year is no news.  Latest numbers put the death tolls at 88 as far as conservative estimates go and up to 100 in some. “There were 4, 85,921 inmates in 340 relief camps during the height of the violence in the last week of July and first week of August” said a DNA Report.[1]That is, nearly 5 Lakh people were in these camps where people sought refuge from the mindless violence. There is a place, called Dadaab [2], in Kenya which is called world’s largest refugee camp, with a little more than 5 Lakh people taking refuge from the mindless violence misgovernance and natural calamities. Sounds familiar? As of now, even after 2 months since the violence, there are still nearly 2 Lakh people spread across some 200 odd refugee camps in lower Assam districts. [2]
 After a flurry of visits from top national leaders who had nothing insightful to offer other than their god-forsaken condemnation and absurd (illiterate[3]?) gaffes by Hon. Chief Minister of Assam Tarun Gogoi, who had earlier been quick enough to pass the buck to Central Government by pointing out the delay in Army Troop Deployment; we finally saw the first set of arrests by CBI. “The CBI on Wednesday made the first arrests in lower Assam violence cases by taking into custody Mohammed Hashem Ali, Mohammed Adom Ali Sheikh, Mohammed Hashim Ali Rehman, Mohammed Qurban Ali Sheikh, and Mohammed Imran Hussain after they allegedly admitted their involvement in the crime in connection with alleged lynching to death of four Bodos in Kokrajhar in July.[4]
 And now “the Guwahati High Court has directed the Assam and central governments to probe the alleged role of the [millionaire] perfume baron and Lok Sabha MP Badruddin Ajmal in the recent ethnic violence in the state.” This Badruddin Ajmal, the president of Assam’s main opposition party All India United Democratic Front, is the same person who likened the situation in Assam to Israel-Palestine conflicts. He has allegedly told in a press meet that Muslims are being bulldozed by Bodos, which many consider as an incitement to the repercussions we are witnessing now. This Badruddin Ajmal is the same person who is considered close to Ahmed Patel, Sonia Gandhi’s Political Secretary and Digvijay Singh, considered to be Rahul Gandhi’s political advisor. [5]The Hon. Dhubri MP is the same person whom incumbent Assam Chief Minister alleged of having been trying to topple his government for 8 years and in turn install a “friendly” minister.[6]One can assume that this friendly minister may be the emerging YSR of Assam, the best Health Minister in the country according to Ghulam Nabi Azad, the person who had resigned and later allegedly camped in Delhi during the heights of Assam violence for a replacement in Assam Chief Minister-ship, Mr. Himanta Biswa Sarma.[7][8]Or not.
 Let us leave the question as to whether passions were stirred up for narrow political gains to another day’s discussion.  
 Following the violence and subsequent swelling up of Refugee camps, National Commission for Minorities headed by Mr. Wajahat Habibullah, a civil servant from Jammu and Kashmir, infamous for his controversial paper “Political Economy of Kashmir Conflict: Opportunities for Economic Peace-Building and the US Policy[9][10]”, which suggested a US interference in the Kashmir issue and how ‘helping Pakistan modernise its armed forces — for instance, by filling gaps in the country’s defence arsenal with modern equipment provided on easy terms — could be a legitimate quid pro quo for action by Pakistan not only to withdraw support for cross-border terrorism but also to actively discourage it‘; visited the strife torn place. Interestingly the three member Minority Commission team[11]which visited Kokrajhar – Dr Syeda Hameed, a member of Planning Commission (not Minority Commission) ,who sees “a greater agenda to destroy the secular fabric” of India at the drop of a hat[12], Dr GB Panda, and Keki N Daruwalla – did not include H T Sangliana, Vice Chair-person of the Minority Commission of India , the only member from the North East, specifically Mizoram, in the commission. Finally they released a report, full of inaccuracies and biases, that Asian Centre of Human Rights was compelled to release a report of its own saying how the NCM had goofed up the entire exercise [13]. The report also gave a rather startling pattern in which, throughout the month of August violence against North East Indians or anyone with Mongoloid features, started increasing culminating in what media dubbed as “The Exodus”. The report “National Commission for Minorities: Communalising Assam Riots?” says
“ Though the rest of the people in Assam, other States of North East India and Darjeeling region of West Bengal had nothing to do with riots in the BTAD, Assam, the attacks on  the people from the North East India has been building up. 
The people who were attacked had to be “Tibeto-Mongoloid” origin for the attacks. It did not matter even if the person is Tibetan. The attacks on the North Eastern people or with TibetoMongoloid features to be precise have been building up since 8 August 2012.  The news reports covering the attacks are given below: 
On 8 August 2012, a student of Poona College belonging to the northeast was beaten up by a group of eight people in the vicinity of the Poona College. This was the first incident of assault against Northeast people in Pune, Maharashtra.
On the evening of 8 August 2012, Infosys employee Kahomdai Panmei of Manipur, who lives in Kondhwa, Pune, was attacked by a group with iron rods and bamboo sticks without any reason. He had gone out to drop his sister to her residence in Shivneri Nagar.
On 9 August 2012, four students were allegedly beaten by a mob near Poona College in the Pune Camp area The victims filed an FIR at the Cantonment police station on 10 August.
In a separate incident on the same day (9 August 2012), Thuike Ywang of Manipur and a student of Poona College, was beaten up by two persons in Kondhwa when he went to buy rice at a shop around 7 pm.
On 13 August 2012, two persons identified as Sarva Bahadur Devang and Mathiyani were allegedly beaten up by unidentified persons in two separate incidents in Kondhwa, Pune. Sarva Bahadur Devang is from Darjeeling, West Bengal and was beaten up suspecting him to be from the north east while he was on his way to home when five men traveling in a car accosted him without any provocation and attacked him on the NIBM road; while Mathiyani was beaten up by two unidentified persons at Shivnerinagar. The police registered two separate non-cognisable cases in connection with these attacks.
On 13 August 2012, a person from Assam, working as a security guard, was allegedly intercepted and beaten up by three unidentified persons in Raidurg, Hyderabad. The attackers also snatched away his mobile phone.
On 14 August 2012, a Tibetan student Tenzin Dhardiyal was stabbed on Dhanwantri Road in Mysore, Karnataka allegedly due to his Mongoloid features.
The attacks on the North Easterners have obviously been building up.”
It is sad that the very Mr. Sangliana, whose lack of inclusion in the team drew criticism from rights activists, finds Karnataka dangerous due to Hindutva fringe elements rather than such incidents of Islamist communalism [14]
Anyone who thought that the worse was over was in for a horror. India witnessed passionate outburst, which many would dub as spewing venom, by Hyderabad MP Asaduddin Owaisi of All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen. Full text of his speech can be read here [15]. Some quotable quotes are as follows.
About five Lakh non-Bodos — a majority of them were Muslims — are living in 200 and odd relief camps where there is no clean drinking water…”
“Let the state Chief Minister and the health minister sit together in one room and see the internal differences.”
“BTC should be dissolved immediately….Scrap Bodoland Agreement. If you cannot scrap the Bodoland Agreement, please take away those areas where 50 percent of population is not Bodos.”
“Lastly, I warn the central government; I warn the hon. members over here. … (Interruptions) If proper rehabilitation does not take place, you be ready for a third wave of radicalization among Muslim youth. … (Interruptions) You are not bringing it to the notice. … (Interruptions) I am bringing it to your notice. … (Interruptions)”
As has been pointed out earlier in this article, the official reports say that at the peak of the violence the refugee camps housed nearly 4.8 Lakh people. So, if we take Owaisi’s data to be true then all those people in the camps are non-Bodos among whom Majority are non-Muslim. On August 15thit was reported by The Hindu [15]– “As many as 10,000 inmates of relief camps have returned to their homes since Monday, reducing the total number of camp inmates in the four violence-hit districts of Kokrajhar, Chirang, Dhubri and Bongaingaon to 2,92,852 on Tuesday. Of them, 2,31,308 inmates are in 175 camps for the Muslims, 61,439 in 51 camps for the Bodos, and 105 inmates in one camp for the remaining communities.” But Hon. Member of Parliament from Hyderabad said there were 5 Lakh non-Bodos a majority of whom were Muslims. If then, how come even when the numbers came down to nearly 3 Lakh there are still about 62 Thousand Bodo refugees? Is it not a deliberate distortion of fact to enhance the image of a Muslim victimhood?  
A Rediff interview noted how Kamal Farooqi responded. [16]Faruqui shows a series of horrific pictures on his iPad sent from Myanmar purportedly depicting Rohingya Muslims killed in the sectarian violence. Since June, incidents of violence between Buddhists and Rohingya Muslims have shaken the Islamic world. The situation in Assam is worse than Gujarat of 2002 because the Bodos have driven out Bengali-speaking Muslims from their homes. Last month, they lit fire to their farmland and kept one exit available. The Muslims ran for their lives when a fire broke out in the middle of the night.  In Gujarat, if not all, most Muslims could go back to their villages from relief camps but here it is a conspiracy.” This is the same Farooqi who had said, “‘I’m worried for the institution (Darul Uloom, Deoband). It’s unfortunate and shameful that a person occupying such a high office has said this when civil society groups are tirelessly working to bring the guilty to book.” He was talking about Maulana Ghulam Mohammad Vastanavi, then a newly appointed director of Darool Uloom Deobandh who had commented that all communities were prospering in Gujarat. Newspaper reports note how Farooqi had “demanded Vastanvi’s immediate resignation, failing which moves would be initiated for his removal.”[17]
The pictures he had seen are most probably the fake images spread in the internet by those Islamists who wanted to spread communal tensions. The poor chap fell for it and that is not a crime. But using that as a tool to whip up extreme sentiments without checking the facts or the authenticity of the images, he had given irresponsible statements. Any “Muslim youth” who did not even know such a thing existed would get aakkrosh(to use his own words) when leaders who supposedly represent them make such lackadaisical comments. Look at the sickening way in which Kamal Farooqi finds it easy to use Gujarat as a comparison for a negative incident but never for something good. Is that not a deliberate attempt to cover up any sense of development among Muslims and to portray them as a group of people who are leading a dismal life eternally waiting to get butchered at any sudden moment? Is it not stereotyping the Indian Muslims victimhood? And all hell will break loose accusing the New Yorker of stereotyping Muslims, if it publishes a front page article with “Muslim Rage” as the headline, even though this rage had killed the US ambassador to Libya. 
Did the Assam story end there? A little known Raza Academy had called for a “peaceful” protest near Azad Maidan to register their displeasure about the attacks against Muslims in Assam and Myanmar. Despite intelligence report that “Muslim community was angry at the recent developments in Assam and Myanmar and that there would be a charged atmosphere at the ground”, and “that Muslims were told about the protest during Friday prayers and would turn up in large number [18]the string of violence which started in Assam did not end.  2 people were killed, media and police men were attacked and Amar Jyoti Jawan was desecrated. The police, who were able to catch a few of those violent radicalised Muslims, were asked by Arup Patnaik the former – Mumbai Police Commissioner, to act with “restraint” since they were dealing a particular community. [19]As Madhu Trehan notes in her response to an article by Teesta Setelvad “..there is a shocking footage of Police Commissioner Arup Patnaik ordering Deputy Commissioner of Police Ravindra Shisve to release a rioter who is being arrested.” 
Suddenly we began seeing protests all over the country. Protests were held in Uttar Pradesh in Lucknow, Kanpur, and Allahabad resulting in destruction of media vans, and some Buddha statue reminiscent of the tribal nomadic radical Islamic fundamentalists of Mali who started desecrating the Timbuktu shrines and that of the destruction of Bamiyan Buddha statues by Taliban. Vicious SMS which deliberately incited mobs, and clarion calls from mosques and madrasas asking Muslims to show that they cannot be victims “again” resulted in fleeing of North Easterners from the southern Metros of Bangalore, Chennai and Hyderabad. And wonder where the SMSes were traced from? From Kerala based Muslim fundamentalist groups such as Popular Front of India which is of the opinion that Kerala, of all the states in India, “is not as progressive and secular as it is made out to be[20]and Harkat-ul-Jihad-al-Islami (HuJi) “who [had] helped Pakistan-based agencies circulate the messages [so that] it looked as though they were genuine in nature and originating from within India” according to the Intelligence Bureau officials [21]. It is interesting to note that these organisations used the help of the Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI) to spread these hate messages, the very same SIMI whose ban our secular leader Mulayam Singh was dead against. Latest information reveal that including Anees Pasha, T. Nawaz and Shahid Salman Khan and 13 others have been arrested by Bangalore police on charges of spreading enmity among various communities. But, hey, leave all this, let us ban some twitter accounts!  
One cursory look at the incident will reveal the number of people who are from the Muslim community and organisations, which claim to represent the Muslims of India; accused, and arrested in relation to a heinous crime against our motherland. These are not without substantial evidences and proofs, these accusations are not a figment of any Hindutva-vadis imagination. This is the reality. But oddly the Media and politicians have been trying to white wash the entire issue by once again reinforcing Muslim martyrdom. Hence we have the types of Owaisi, Farooqi and others who keep on lamenting on the losses of Muslims alone without considering that there are others too, who are dead, who are affected by this. They outright deny the fact that there has been migration from Bangladesh. We have leaders who say “I don’t want them [Muslims] to become militants but what can I do if they are forced to take to arms? I have seen their anger and frustration.[22]But he is part of a secular government. We have parties which send medical and financial aids only to Muslim refugees of the Assam region although they acknowledge the presence of non-Muslim, non-Bodo refugees in the camps. While Badruddin Ajmal is weeping his hearts out to Sonia Gandhi about Muslim victims of the Assam violence [23], she herself is busy crying about Batla House encounter and our Prime Minister is busy losing his sleep over saving a terror suspect and chanting out blunders like Muslims have the first right to the nation’s resources. But they are all part of a secular government. And then we have ‘The’ Gujarat Chief Minister, who is selectively quoted on his action reaction theory, and he is a communal bigot. Surely, India needs a new dictionary where the definition and meaning of words like secular, communal, right wing, left wing, minority etc. need a substantial rework. 
I am not going to comment on how the Indian media pimped out our nation on this issue. Let us see how Al-Jazeera, an international progressive media depicted this incident. “Ethnic riots in country’s northeast follow the same pattern as violence against Muslim Rohingya in neighbouring Myanmar.” – Screamed the headline [24].  Let us see some interesting insights the article provided.
The violence against the Muslims in Assam has provoked reactions elsewhere in India, especially in states and cities with big Muslim populations.”
The Muslim women at Borkanda complained to [Sonia] Gandhi that a lawmaker of the local tribal council had himself led mobs of Bodo people to attack the Muslim villages in the Moamari area of western Assam, where they hail from. In anger, Gandhi turned to her local party leaders and administrator, trying to find out whether the police have booked the lawmaker. She only got nods, but no clear answer.
It is a situation quite similar to Myanmar’s Rakhine province, where Rohingya Muslims, locally called “Bengalis” in that country, have suffered heavily in recent riots with Buddhist Rakhines
Natives of northeastern states, easily identifiable elsewhere in India because of their East Asian looks, have been attacked or threatened by Muslims.
some Muslim hardliners, including one AUDF leader, [are demanding] a special administrative area in western Assam’s six Muslim-dominated districts.
“..but for the “whole situation to cool down”, violence against Muslims in Assam, which is provoking Muslims elsewhere in India to target people from India’s north eastern states, must stop.”
Thus the report actually admits to the separatist tendency among the Muslim leaders of Assam. It also talks about the ensuing violence that the Muslim leadership in the country instigated. 5 Muslim extremist have been arrested by CBI. Muslim organisations have been accused of spreading false rumours. Muslim leaders are instigating mobs whose sole purpose in life, it seems, is to get instigated.  But still the situation is similar to Rohingya Muslims. But still, the Bodos are the ones who need to be checked.  It is the same old hogwash of Muslim martyrdom here again. Is there no one to call the bluff without being made to feel guilty?
Written on October 2

Link to other parts

Part 1Muslim Leadership

Part 3 – Ghaziabad Riots

Part 4 – Muslim Youth Radicalisation

Part 5 – “Innocence of Muslims” 

Part 6 – A Chance for Indian Muslims

 

 

 

The Muslim Leadership In India – The Ultimate Sham – Part 1

After a really long time, on a good weekend, finally I reached the fabled Usman Road and Ranganathan Street in T. Nagar. The place was nothing short of a concentration camp (may be a tad too exaggerative). The path leading from the sub-urban railway station to the main road was a suffocating journey. I needn’t have actually walked, I could stay there and the crowd would push me forward. “Soochi kuththan polum idamilla” as the saying goes in Malayalam. You don’t have a place to even stick a needle on the ground. One would assume, the saying was created keeping Ranganathan Street in mind.
And then my mind started thinking something really gruesome – about terror attacks. One assault would have triggered a massive disaster in the place. T Nagar commercial area is the most crowded place in Chennai, where people from all walks of life and economic strata go for their purchase. In Deepavali days, the crowd would be a lot worse. A terror attack would be fatal to one and all present there, considering the number of people who visit the place, the number of shops present there and the swelling crowd which also surrounds the main shopping region. Not only will the crowd be affected in an unimaginably horrifying way, but also the resulting stampede around the commercial area would cause further chaos. I was not able to stay there longer, with all these horrifying thoughts, and I left.
This is just one example, how in a perverse way, the Islamic terrorists have entered the psyche of Indian population. Everyday people are living in fear, if not in a blatantly explicit way, at least in the deep recesses of their minds. As depicted poignantly in “A Wednesday”, those travelling in sub-urban railways do not know if they are going to meet each other the next day. And why do we fear; just because a set of Muslim fundamentalists want to wage Jihad on non-Muslims? Is that it? I find it ridiculous that India, one of the most progressive nations in the world, with as much state welfare-ism and entitlement-based schemes a nation can have; a nation in which the discrimination towards its minorities, if not non-existent, is positively low; is  subjected to such gruesome and inhuman acts. Not one citizen of India finds any justification as to why we, of all the people, who are here in a corner of the world, trying to mind our own business, trying to cope up with our irresponsible politicians, with more than half the population struggling to meet another day’s end; should suffer at the hands of some lunatics, just because they think they have been told to do so by some heavenly ordain. We don’t want yet another burden, thank you, we are miserable enough.
When situation in India reeks of such a terrorist threat at any point of time, is it abnormal that there is a sense of alienation and fear? Let us take RSS as an example. When Nathuram Godse got arrested in connection with Mahatma Gandhi’s murder, it was found that he was a member of RSS. RSS was subsequently banned by Jawaharlal Nehru and Savarkar was politically and socially ostracized by the ruling elites. None of the “national leaders” even attended the funeral ceremony of this nationalist leader. Did we see media preaching to others, asking everyone to be kind to RSS, because although Nathuram Godse may have been a member, he was not one at the time of the assassination and that there is a good possibility that the Sangh may not have had a hand in the Gandhiji’s murder? Did anyone preach that such a phobia is uncalled for? Did someone pinpoint the sheer scale of social work that RSS has been involving it in? Not then, not now. We only have self-indulgent journalists of the likes of Sagarika Ghose, trying to doubt what the Sangh conspires, even when they are helping the terrified North Eastern people to go back home. She asked “Why [is the] RSS [the] self-appointed protector of NE students? Where are [the] law and order, police and state machinery? What’s the hidden agenda here?” The same media shamelessly broadcasted how Muslim clerics and members from Muslim communities were helping these hapless Indians. This is not to be misconstrued that Muslims should not be shown by the media as kind-hearted accommodating people. Focus was not on the fact that North Easterners were leaving because they were being threatened by Muslim fanatics, but that since RSS is doing its very best to help them, i.e. since RSS being “overtly helpful” they must be cooking up some nasty conspiracy inside the Sangh Parivar National Instability and Saffron Terrorism Private Ltd.
 At this point, let us, including the Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs, Christians and every other people of all religions, let us ask ourselves as Indians, what is the Muslim leadership doing to allay the fear that they care more about the nation than about Jihad, than about what is happening to Muslims of other nation? Any topic which deals with such a question will be met with the standard response “Why should Muslims prove their patriotism? We need not prove anything to anyone. We are as much Indians as anyone is and we don’t need a certificate of Indian-ness from a bunch of right wingers.” A very admirable defence and it is to be appreciated. But remember that from time immemorial the onus lies on wrong doers to prove that they have straightened themselves. The onus is on Germany to say that they do not hate Jews, it is not the other way round, the onus is on Israel to prove that they don’t have a pathological hatred for Palestinian Muslims instead of other way round, the onus is on the whites to show that they are not racists, the onus is on Muslims to show us that they care for India most and religion later. After all it is not as if Muslims are a historically wronged group like the people from Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes.
The incidents which have been lately cropping up, reminiscent of the 1990s when the appeasement and the concept of Muslim martyrdom were at its peak, show that nothing has changed in 20 years, and if possible, it has worsened with the 8 year rule of UPA. Let us see some example.
1.       Vandemataram 

 Jam ait-e-Ulema Hind or the JEU on Tuesday issued a fatwa against singing national song ‘Vande Mataram’ saying in their resolution that Muslims should not sing ‘Vande Mataram’ as it’s reciting is against the Islam. The resolution, which was passed at the Deoband national convention meet, says that Muslims should not sing ‘Vande Mataram’ as some verses of the patriotic song are against the tenets of Islam. The JEU leader said that the some of the line in the song is against Islam.” said a Times of India article.  The sad part is that Hon. Home Minister of India, Mr. P Chidamabaram was right there on the stage when such resolutions were announced. Congress responded in its ever apologetic tone, reserved for appeasing Muslim anger since time immemorial, “This is a very sensitive issue. It is our national song. And there are also religious sentiments attached. Keeping in mind all these facts, the issue should not be made controversial” Standard argument is as given by Mr. Kamal Farooqui, SP leader and a member of Muslim Law Board: “We love the nation but can’t worship it”, and it follows the same mould as that of the leader of the erstwhile Samata Party, Syed Sahabuddin’s comment “I do not consider it devta.I respect it. I do not worship it.



Written on 2nd October 2012 

Link to other parts

  1. Part 2 – Assam Riots

  2. Part 3 – Ghaziabad Riots

  3. Part 4 – Muslim Youth Radicalisation

  4. Part 5 – “Innocence of Muslims” 

  5. Part 6 – A Chance for Indian Muslims

 

The Real Underachiever

Ok, this is getting a tad bit repetitive. Character assassination of Manmohan Singh is the new in-thing. While the Time calls him an underachiever, Statesmen is ready with an equally offensive “poodle”. Hence it came as no surprise when the Washington Post decided to portray the Indian Prime Minister as a tragic figure. At home he does not fare very well either. He has been called everything from the “weakest Prime Minister India has ever seen” to “Shikhandi”. How did this happen? A man who was celebrated as “one of the world’s most revered leaders” and “the model of what a political leader should be” is now described as “a dithering, ineffectual bureaucrat presiding over a deeply corrupt government.”
            Let me take you back some 248 years ago to Buxar, an eastern district in Bihar. When British Major Hector Munro defeated the combined army of Mir Kasim, the Nawab of Bengal; Shuja-ud-daula, Nawab of Awadh; and Shah Alam II, the Mughal Emperor, the plum victim was not the authoritative Mir Kasim but the absolutely powerless Mughal monarch Shah Alam II. The British signed a treaty called “Treaty of Allahabad” with the Mughal king, there by asserting their supremacy over the prosperous eastern region of the Indian subcontinent.
The biggest disaster came in the form of dual system of government, implemented in Bengal by “the” Robert Clive, then famous as Clive of India, as a part of the administrative reforms. Accordingly the British East India Company acquired the real power in Bengal, the most prosperous place on earth at that time, and on the other hand the Nawab of Bengal (De-jure Ruler of Bengal) was made accountable for all the company’s decisions and their fallouts.
It does not escape a curious mind’s observation that Robert Clive could have easily abolished the post of Nawab of Bengal, and assumed power himself. But the advantages of not doing so were immense. By having this dual government system, the power centre was separated from responsibility. In effect, all the mismanagement (read cruel apathy) which originated at the hands of a mere trading company and its greedy masters, where attributed to the local ruler Nawabs of Bengal who were puppets in the hands of the English East India Company.
After nearly two and a half century nothing has changed. India is still ruled by a foreigner who is not accountable for all the power wielded and India (and now the International media too) hold a local native puppet ruler accountable for the mismanagement perpetrated by the greedy (or thick-skulled?) foreigner. When the Sonia Gandhi led UPA won a shocking victory in 2004, her inner soul spoke deafeningly loud that she renounced the post of Prime Minister to Dr. Manmohan Singh; then known for his stint as the Finance Minister of PM Narasimha Rao who was instrumental in ushering a wave of economic liberalisation reforms and also as the not-so-stellar Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha during the NDA rule. The wail of MPs like Renuka Chowdhary and others still echo in my ears, since they deeply scarred my mental image as a kid.* Cutting short to chase, Dr. Manmohan Singh was coroneted with pomp and fair. He was seen as a welcome change among the loud, uncouth, unprofessional, uneducated politicians we usually see. Everybody was quick to praise Sonia Gandhi for appointing someone else as the Prime Minister while she in the most bharathiya-nari-esque manner made a sacrifice. [Read – Her alleged act of renunciation in 2004 took sycophancy to new heights when her party men and women began comparing her to Sister Nivedita and Mother Teresa.] Ah, how touching!
Through this write up, I wish to impress the fact upon readers that merely blaming Dr. Manmohan Singh and abusing and ridiculing him is not the way. Identifying where the rot lies and surgically removing the cancer is the path to be followed. Even a cursory look at the multi-pronged approach through which Sonia Gandhi led the Republic of India into a state of deep chaos and total anarchy , will make the UPA and its chairperson repulsive in the eyes of the ordinary Indian, the famous yet pathetic “aam admi”.
·         National Advisory Council

That Sonia Gandhi is the super Prime Minister and that she is having a super cabinet called National Advisory Council (NAC) is not new. NAC was created in UPA 1.0 for implementing the Common Minimum Programme – the document based on which Left supported UPA “from outside”. After the office-of-profit fiasco and her resignation, when Congress won again in 2009, the National Advisory Council was renewed to act as an interface between the government and the public. It consists mostly of retired beurocrats, economists and of course social activists. It is to be noted that there is no provision in the constitution of India which supports the basis of such an unelected body.
One can ask that if the earlier NAC was created so that Left parties’ concerns were adequately met through the CMP, why it was renewed even though there is no such instability issue being confronted by UPA 2.0. Ill-advise from loyal workers or personal satisfaction of ego – whatever may be the case, the fact that a set of left-leaning activists and ex-beurocrats are churning out bills without any fore-thought or common sense (except the Right to Information Act, but sadly for Indians, brilliance is not a norm but exception among the NAC policy makers) is not a welcome move. It is a worryingly larger issue that Sonia Gandhi, who heads this kitchen-cabinet, does not even bother to talk to anyone in the meeting or even make a significant suggestion to any of these ridiculous ideas . Leave alone the tiny detail that she is not allowing the Prime Minister to function independently and has made him a symbol of subservience; it is a cruel injustice to the people of India if the “supreme ruler” herself is not making any contribution to the policies, which are later on given a label of being her brain-child.
Read“She listens carefully and doesn’t say much,” said a member who worked with her in the first NAC.”

Priyanka Chopra recently told in a conclave that although she became a celebrity over-night by winning the Miss World title, she was not ready for in-depth questions like the ones regarding economy of Uganda. We accept that. One cannot expect a person, especially if they are Miss World contestants, to know about the economy of Uganda, unless of course, she is from Uganda or any of the neighbouring countries. But Sonia Gandhi should realise that although the Indian television media is not tired of writing banal ballads about how she had risen from a humble background to become the 4th richest politician in the world, the lack of education and feigning selective ignorance is not an excuse for the bare minimum exposure to matters of governance.
Following is a short analysis on how Sonia Gandhi’s so called pet-projects have functioned.
1.       NREGA 
  • A policy with no long term vision

The Employment Guarantee act, one more of the rights-based approach that NAC has spearheaded, is the world’s largest entitlement programme. Yes, among the officially recognised 192 – nations NREGA, is the biggest such programme, as far the money spent is concerned, as far as the geographical area it spans , as far as the number of people it affects (both positively and negatively). Now, about the “Mega Bharat Nirman plan” as some people call it, where shall one start to point out how ill-conceived the entire scheme is? Does it matter to Sonia Gandhi that there is a drain in the labour force where they are actually needed? Does she care about actual skill upgradation of workers? Does she even know how her pet – project has contributed to food inflation? People would love to see her answer these questions, but alas, neither has she got the acumen for analysing the impact of her ill-fated projects not has she the ability to undo the disaster caused.

  • Logistical Issues
            Assuming that the standard, right-leaning, pro-free marker arguments against this scheme does not exist; assuming that NREGA is the best possible way that a government having 205 MPs can remove poverty of people below the poverty line, let us see how serious the government is in implementing this scheme. One lookat what the highest court of our country has told will prove that the implementation has been a big let – down. “There has been distribution of money. But in many cases, it is going to wrong persons and real beneficiaries do not receive the cash,” the Bench said. The Supreme Court also added “There should be some real development at the ground level”, showing that NREGA is not making any actual progress, which in turn was its original aim. Logistical blunders have been made by the ruling government by not upgrading the infrastructure facilities for rural banks, thereby forcing those unfortunate officers in rural areas into a state of misery and utter bewilderment.
  • Democratisation of corruption

Neelambari told famously in the Rajnikanth starrer Padayappa, “Vayasanaalumun azhagum stylum innum unna vitu pokave illa.” (Even when you are old your handsomeness and style hasn’t left you) to which he promptly replies, “Koodave poranthu pokave pokathu.” (These are things born with me and hence would never leave) One wonders if Congress feels the same way about corruption. As part of the democratisation of corruption, thereby giving a platform for not only the ministers and top level beurocrats in New Delhi, (note – I do not subscribe to the notion that all politicians and beurocrats puts one’s own greed above the nation’s welfare) but also to the Gram Panchayat Pradhans and members, through MGNREGA’s unchecked fund flow and poor accountability rules, Sonia Gandhi led Congress has allowed the plague of corruption to permeate to the ground level executive. To quote the Hon. Rural Development Minister Jairam Ramesh, “But there has been malfeasance: Wrong guys have got payment; full payment has not been given; money meant for asset creation has gone into the purchase of Boleros and Pajeros.”  One has to assume that this, no doubt, is well in tune with UPA Chairperson’s policy of strengthening grass level leaders. Kudos to you Ma’am!
Read– “Constant threat from the gram panchayats, zilla panchayats, contractors and state government’s lack of seriousness to control irregularities in plagued Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) scheme has made many shy away from the post of ombudsman.
Read– “Sometimes we do not know that who is working and who is getting the wages. Many beneficiaries were of the opinion that wage of Rs 120 per day was not provided to them. They hardly got Rs 40-50, generally 100 day’s man-days are not completed and there are very few cases of the completion of 100 days of work,
Read– “The modus operandi is simple — a contractor enrolls around 50 persons to take up the development of a lake or a road. He manages this easily as people like truck drivers, rickshaw drivers, petty shop owners, mentally challenged persons or tea-stall owners fall prey to his offer of getting money for doing no work.    
  •              Awareness
Another complaint NREGA has attracted is the low level of awareness government has managed to spread about the policies of NREGA, other than that of the 100 days work. For a scheme which is touted as the vote gainer and game changer and brain child and what not, the marketing done has to be exaggerated. For example- the scheme provides for a crèchenear the working area for women with young children. But nor is it present in many of the work places, neither are those poor women toiling in the work places demanding one. 
  •         Productivity

The one major argument provided by the government regarding MGNREGS is that “this scheme has the potential to transform the lives of millions of rural poor by guaranteeing wage employment through the creation of productive assets.[1]It aims to create rural amenities like roads and wells which are assets to the rural society and a definitive improvement to the rural infrastructure. But it has been noted by many studies, including Rural Development Ministry’s own review,  that “The quality of assets created under MGNREGA and their relevance to the livelihoods of the poor is inadequate[1][2][3][4]

A sample –“They point out that the quality of the assets was poor. Farm bunding has been initiated without any proper technical planning because which the quality of work was shoddy. In Tikamgarh, plants have already died because no arrangement was made for water. So, the poor quality of assets makes a hindrance in achieving sustainable development.
Do we know what Sonia Gandhi feels about making the rural population of India create such sub-standard products which is not going to benefit them in the long run? This is cruelty. Knowing that one’s hard work and toil is not going to be of any use and yet asking him/her to work, how much ever the salary may be,  is a crime to human potential and nothing worse than forced labour and it is time that she understands this. But then, when questions themselves are raised as to how much her involvement is in this scheme, other than the repulsive political posturing in her rallies, one cannot expect her to answer these questions.
  •     Lack of political will

MGNREGA has become a tool for creating rural vote banks and spending the state’s money through irresponsible ways of implementation and faking non-existent empathy by the UPA Chairperson and her battalion of dim-witted Congress members. The lack of political will shows in the way politicians comment about the short comings. Either they completely deny the existence of any wrong doing (the convenient Zero Loss Theory) or they try to justify it as a inevitable evil. But the most bizarre justification comes from Mr. Jairam Ramesh himself. In an interviewto Mint he said,
 “I did an exercise recently in which I said: suppose all states operate NREGA with the same degree of efficiency and reliability as Andhra (Pradesh), what will be the total expenditure involved? Thank god for Indian inefficiency. Had we had the entire country follow the Andhra model, we would require an allocation of hundred thousand crores, which is two-and-a-half times of what we are spending. So in a way, in a very perverse way, one can argue that look, we have been saved by Indian inefficiency.” – I have nothing more to add.
For a party, in which members, apparently, do not even dare breathe without the permission of the Congress President, when a minister himself espouses such weird opinions, one can’t but wonder, if she supports such views or if she does not even have a modicum of intelligence to respond and understand the blunders of her ministers.
The above mentioned shortcomings of NREGA are only the tip of an iceberg. To know the larger implications read
  1. UPA-2: Stooping to survive
  2. NREGA – Good politics Bad business
  3.  Did NREGA kill as many jobs as it created?
  4. NREGA and the law of unintended consequences
  5. Mess-up: High food inflation when granaries are bursting

I assume, the argument put forward will be that people cannot expect Sonia Gandhi to micro manage each and every scheme of hers. If so then on what basis is she being bestowed upon, the so-called success MGNREGA has achieved? Is it not sheer hypocrisy in its most blatant display? This dirt is only about MGNREGA. If we dig further regarding the Food Security Bill, the Loan Waiver Scheme, National Food Security Bill (NFSB), Prevention of Communal and Targeted Violence (Access to Justice and Reparations) Bill one would come to know that all these bills are biased, with narrow scopes satisfying personal agendas of the Congress and leftist bigots.


Note – This is the 1st of the 3 part series on UPA Chairperson and Congress President Sonia Gandhi. 

Media’s Tryst With Mamata Banerjee



1st Woman to hold the office of the CM of West Bengal

Mamata Banerjee’s name has been etched in the history of India among those leaders, whose presence have been mile stones in India politics, whether you like it or not. Her name, preceded with an oft – repeated adjective, mercurial, is doing the media round yet again for her not so benevolent comments against the judiciary. Only a short while back was she lampooned for arresting a poor farmer, who dared to ask her a question, after branding him a Maoist. True, the lady has become one of a kind, with her almost-cartoon-like behaviour. Talk about cartoons, she doesn’t like that even.
            
          When “Didi” came into prominence, bombarding the Left Bastion that Kolkata used to be, the western media celebrated, may be a bit more than our own. Be it her impractical diktat of talking to anyone from the Left, leave alone marrying them; or walking out from a talk show (which, later on, was completed by the juvenile journalist at Banerjee’s residence), her stint as the West Bengal CM, has been nothing but a diwali pataka of impractical blunders that doesn’t seem to stop and even if she tries (which I don’t think she does) to stop, the media may not leave her alone.
            
The Hindu : Mamata sees reds in TV studio, wants probe
            But the excessive negativity, almost akin to a witch hunt, if not in a manner that is reserved only for Narendra Modi, reeks of some conspiracy and wretchedness. That the media is not holier-than-thou has been proved ample amount of times by various netizens and their own activities (Radia Tape, Fake Live Interview et al.) That the media is filled with Left Leaning bigots is also something which needs no introduction to. Hence one cannot but wonder, if this ridicule that the Hon. West Bengal Chief Minister is being meted out is in some way a deliberate attempt to show her in a poor light.
             
            But yet, when our anchors present these to the unassuming audience with a smirk; every time such laughable and sometimes dangerously serious incidents crop up around Ms. Banerjee; I wonder, how at the ground level, the CM is perceived. West Bengal is one of the poorest states in India having a BPL population of 48% as per the state’s calculation, and 28% as per that of the Centre. Link 1 Link2Do these significant chunks of population actually bother about what their Chief Minister had commented on the Judiciary? Will they be more worried about what Didi tells her party men about Communists or will they be worried about the next day’s meal? It is a bit naive to assume that such incidents, which, sadly, does give away streaks of autocracy, will be affecting a poor farmer or an ordinary house-wife struggling with the rising costs of vegetables or a girl who is not able to go to school simply because her parents could not afford it. They cannot even begin to care what the elitist English news channels talk about the Chief Minister; because it is ridiculous to imagine that any one will be ready to watch the anchors jabbering off into oblivion, in those precious moments when there is no power cut
            
             True, I don’t think that she is the best thing that happened to West Bengal. I don’t even think she is a good CM. She is average, just like our Prime Minister. She talks a lot, he doesn’t – that sums up the difference in their performance. Hence to put the woman under this much scrutiny, for every single sentence she utters and then to make it the topic of discussion of FTN and TBSH is venomous and intentional. May be, the fact that the last vestige of the horrendous ideology of Communist parties has broken down and shattered, is not being accepted by the pseudo intelligentsia and the cheap thugs, the Left now comprises of. Or maybe it is that she is just not cool enough for the media, like Mr. Omar Abdullah is whose performance as a CM had met a tragic demise long ago.
India Today – Nielson Poll
             
                       If the recent India Today – Nielson Mood of the Nation polls is anything to go by, Mamata Banerjee’s popularity has not only been unaffected by these negative news, on the contrary she has gained significant good will of her people, now being voted 3rdmost popular Chief Minister, only behind the obvious choices of Narendra Modi and Nitish Kumar and above Jayalalithaa’s conspicuously low ranking. She has thus kept her account strong and safe in West Bengal, despite her hugely impractical and and some times childish and a bit autocratic decisions. I am of the personal view that anything which keeps the farce that Communists have become now is good. Not to forget is the fact that, this is a woman who has been a street fighter politician since she became active in politics. May be she was meant to perpetually continue in that role, a reason why she might have participated in rallies conducted against the policies of her own governments! May be she is not talking, how a CM should. But when I see the drama played out by our “sensitive” ruling party MPs over being called “illegitimate” or the hoopla created out of a boring cartoon, or the indignation paraded by our honourable representatives when Team Anna called them corrupt, I do not mind a Chief Minister, who at the worst is overtly emotional and short tempered. That is last of India’s trouble.

Nazis, Stormtroopers and Trolls

I recently read an article, rather, a strategic analysis, by a former R&AW officer who was very concerned about the supporters of a certain popular leader, who is widely touted as the Prime Ministerial candidate of the principal opposition party, Narendra Modi. He has tried to give a wakeup call to India through his article about how the “fascist” supporters of Mr. Modi has, through their “Nazi Storm Trooper-like methods” succeeded in almost finalising his nomination. He even accused them of waging a psychological warfare to enforce their will. We cannot completely say he is sternly against the pro-Modi campaign, since he gracefully accepts that though there are perceived misdeed by Mr. Narendra Modi, the activity of campaigning for him is not illegal. Thank you very much. His articles were shared and spread by many concerned people / esteemed journalists who echoed the fact that “paid” “RSS trolls are incapable of the distinction between personal abuse and criticism of a political persona in the public domain.” The esteemed journalist was even kind enough to warn others, since she claims, she is well – versed with the “the formulaic tweets of #RSS #Trolls by now.” and tweeted, “People sh[o]u[l]d note these trolls operate in well orchestrated groups rather [one] on [one].” The groups of journalists joined and in an apparently formidable intellectual grouping they silenced their critics by proving the “fact” that all Narendra Modi supporters are trolls. Or, are we?

Nazi Stormtroopers (in picture) or the Brown Shirts functioned as the original paramilitary wing of the Nazi Party. It played a key role in Adolf Hitler’s rise to power in the 1920s and 1930s. Their main assignments were providing protection for Nazi rallies and assemblies; the disruption of opposing political parties and the fight against their paramilitary units and the intimidation of Jewish citizens.

                             Mr. Raman should know that these are not criticism against him as a person, but against the “psychological war” the media and Congress has been playing ever since Independence, and that he just wrote an article whose tone was not in sync with public mood. The problem is not merely a write-up by Mr. B. Raman, a respected gentleman, nor the childish responses of these journalists who were not able to face criticism even after their long work-experience. It is the kind of biased opinion that they have successfully been able to convey across a wide audience: “RSS conspires online and offline for further propaganda.” I do not see any reason why a nationalistic organisation, any organisation for that matter, should not find out new ways to further their ideologies. We find that everywhere, though not everyone has mastered the trick like the Christian missionaries in India, I must concede. I am in midst of a large number of people who , if I say, that I support Narendra Modi, is definitely going to view me through a saffron coloured lens; I suddenly become communal, fascist and an “Indo-Nazi”(whatever that may mean).
                                   The Right in India has always been sidelined in the circle of “elite intelligentsia”. Reduced in stature as killers of Gandhi and murderers of Indian “Unity in Diversity” the Right has been subjugated, or rather “trolled” into a corner. When this highly coordinated, or rather well “orchestrated” conspiracy of domination, in every field – education, politics, history books, news paper articles, the Op-Eds, and now the television channels, through smartly titled news articles and cunningly worded one-liners, by these “intellectual trolls”, became rather unbelievably biased, it was only natural that the single left over free medium of internet became the source of discussion, debate and information sharing for “the loony right”.


Vinayak Damodar (Veer) Savarkar, one of the most famous revolutionary freedom fighter, and the creator of the term Hindutva. Not a single minister from the Cabinet showed up in the cremation ground to pay homage to Savarkar. In New Delhi, the Speaker of the Parliament turned down a request that it pay homage to Savarkar.

When there is only one source of information, the citizens tend to believe it, thinking whatever they are served is correct. I still remember, as a kid, I once asked why J. Nehru’s birthday is celebrated as Children’s day. I quickly got the response that it is done so because of the love Nehru had for kids, and was supplemented with two or three photos of J. Nehru with a few kids, giving him a rose. Still I was not convinced, why should a man’s birthday be celebrated as Children’s Day nationwide just because he likes kids. Even my parents like kids. Now I know, the love he had was for his own kid.
                                  Similarly there is a deification of Sonia Gandhi and I simply cannot begin to understand. Neither has she spoken an intelligent point of view, nor has she been the source of an incredible idea. She has not made any significant contributions to our well being, and those brain-childs of hers led to huge losses to the exchequer. She lacks every qualification a politician should have – she is not articulate, nor bright, lacks political will and is uninspiring. Hence, the media, in turn made these very basic failures of her, as her assets. And those poor people who tweet about hindutva are the paid trolls! Well played.
                                              I am no one to dictate what the media should do or should not; I am a simple common audience who has stopped watching this hypocrisy being played out everywhere. You, media; your impatience and irritation are understandable that the Right made a comfortable position in twitter before you did and hence your chances of complete dominance over the information source are dead.
                                              And as far as the allegation of paid trolls are concerned I am confused. A few say these are RSS trolls, then another set say they are NaMo Brigade (WTF term of the decade), then they say RSS does not like Narendra Modi, then they gleefully read out the fissures in Sangh Parivar, of the split between the RSS backed Gadkari and Narendra Modi. Get your facts correct, what exactly is it that you want to convey? Fact of the matter is, those loony trolls whom you look down with disgust they need not be paid. They do not act with any selfish motive to get paid; prosperity of India is their only wish, with Modi or without Modi. But as it turns out there is not a single person who can even come near the visionary that Narendra Modi is.
                                           I will give you a short example. I needn’t list out the figures he achieved in Gujarat, because let’s face it, these do not excite any one any longer, because a successful Gujarat is yawn story, it is a normal story, there is nothing new about it since Modi became the helmsman there. I refer to the speech he made during the Mumbai Conclave of BJP. The issues that he raised have been impressive. He spoke, unlike other utterly lack-lustre politicians, not about religion, but about development, he spoke about skill development of the youth, not about hindus and muslims, he spoke about China and world economic crisis not about the threat migrants from other states posed, he spoke about national security, not about minority appeasement. I don’t know if these impress the intellectual super-humans, but an average citizen like me is impressed when, for a change, a responsible person talks about responsible things. If asking others to emulate him make us a loony right wing paid RSS troll, let it be. To impress the scholarly media and has never been the aim.


TINA – There Is No Alternative

P.S. – In the blog, Mr. Raman says that Modi should not be endorsed in order to avoid the “future misdeeds that are likely to be committed by these elements if their methods succeed.” I never knew that Tom Cruise’s Minority Report impressed people this much.