Shehla Rashid as LS candidate brings more value to BJP than opposition

The rumors have been there for a while. But when a secular establishment insider like Barkha Dutt tweets this, you have to start taking it at face value.

Perhaps I am still jumping the gun here. It’s probably because I have been waiting (and praying) for this to happen for months.

When reports on this began to make their rounds on Twitter, some concerned right wingers complained about the BJP making a “star”  out of someone like Shehla Rashid. This is not the first time I have heard a view like this. And I respect it. However, I could not disagree more.

Why?

Because Shehla Rashid is inexperienced, loud-mouthed, egoistic, media-addicted and vocally anti-Hindu.

That’s a bad combination for the Opposition to showcase as one of its faces. And a dream come true for the BJP. I remember saying the same when I first heard about Medha Patkar contesting on an AAP ticket. At the time, the AAP was giving the Hindu right some serious jitters regarding the urban Hindu vote that we thought was locked up in favor of Modi. Deploying a “vote repellent” like Medha Patkar was one of the worst things AAP could have done.

Think about it. Shehla Rashid will contest from some 99% M seat in Kashmir. But the value she would bring to the BJP in the other 542 seats would be massive.

Yesterday, we learned that Digvijay Singh had finally been dropped from the Congress Working Committee. Tell me the truth. It’s a blow to Modi bigger than anything else. You know it.

In the early part of this year, shortly after Gujarat elections, there was a meteoric rise in media exposure attracted by Jignesh Mevani. You will recall that I was thrilled at the time.

It’s quite simple actually. Shehla Rashid and her entire JNU crew are easily the most unpopular people in the entire country. Worse, they are loud-mouthed and media-addicted. They have no idea when to keep their mouths shut. They don’t even know how out of touch they are with public sentiment. What passes for  normal and common discourse in JNU arts departments is seen as outright “gaddari” or treachery by 80% of the country.

You can’t beat the most popular leader India has ever seen in a generation by advancing a crew of the most disliked people in the country. The urban middle class may be miffed with Modi over lack of direct incentives, but there’s no way they will go with the Arund***ti Roy and Shehla Rashid types.

I can’t stop looking forward to these people appearing daily on news channels explaining just how evil Hindus are, how evil India is and why Pakistan is right about everything. And I can’t wait to see the Congress leadership have to wince at every comment, duck at every remark from these people; all of which will be ruthlessly made viral on Whatsapp.

So, why isn’t the Congress realizing this? Don’t they get it?

This is where the question of weak leadership comes in, along with the diminishing footprint of the Congress political ecosystem. This is what I wrote about earlier this week.

Normally, the Congress would have kept elements like Shehla Rashid on a tight leash. But the intellectual ecosystem senses the weak political hand of the Congress, as also the incompetence of its top leadership. They are not going to settle for being on the fringes any more, they won’t settle for picking up crumbs. They want the loaves and fishes of power. Rahul lacks the strength and authority to hold them back.

The JNU crew has the intellect to outwit Rahul Gandhi. He has to accommodate them. The Congress has shown near total dependence on its intellectual network in the last four years to put up some semblance of a fight. It’s mass leaders are gone. It’s organization has collapsed. As such, the elements that Rahul’s ancestors would have kept on a leash are demanding more and more.

These elements are going to take over the Congress. The situation is basically spinning out of Congress’ control, even before the Mahagathbandhan has been formally announced.

 

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Can Modi turn ‘Muslim Party’ remark into a second ‘fatwa wala baba’ moment?

For a party that is used to getting chased up a tree by Communists and Islamists over the smallest things, this is definitely a welcome change. Instead of doing the explaining, the BJP is making the secular ecosystem work extra hard to prove its secularism. For a side that is used to demanding explanations rather than giving them, the seculars in turn have been all over the place in their response. Some are giving explanations, some are calling the original report fake news, some are saying Rahul said this but meant something else. Some are saying that Rahul meant this and said something else, but whatever.

Like I said, they are used to demanding explanations, not giving them. They don’t really know how to react. You can see the irritation openly coming out in the tweets of even the most self-satisfied of journalists.

Nice to see journalists have this gnawing desire to think beyond identity issues. I still remember Gujarat elections when all youth icons and celebrity journos were proudly campaigning for people to wear their caste names written on caps on their heads. But apparently, not all identity issues are fodder of the same kind for the media; caste issues are always fresh and yummy, while Hindu-Muslim issues cause indigestion.

The alacrity with which Modi picked up on the opportunity created by Shahid Siddiqui’s mistake has been absolutely wonderful.

I don’t know if Rahul said this. I wasn’t there. I call it a ‘mistake’ by Shahid Siddiqui because he didn’t realize how Modi would seize on to it. If you see Siddiqui’s Twitter timeline ever since that July 12 tweet, it is full of the most pathetic kind of prostrating before Rahul Gandhi and his ancestors. He is desperately trying to make amends, to ingratiate himself again with the secular ecosystem, but the damage is done.

After the PM spoke about the matter at his rally, the editor of Urdu newspaper Inquilab only made it worse. Whatever his name is, he defended his headline and his choice of words. In some places, he hinted that the words may have been meant differently.

You can see the inexperience of the Urdu press here. The Urdu media has zero experience with modern communication and still lives in a 1950 like bubble. Decades of appeasement politics have gifted them this bubble where they think only their target audience (Muslims) would know what they are talking about. But this is the age of Whatsapp … and stuff spreads.

This is how Shahid Siddqui along with the Inquilab, have landed themselves in this soup.

It is hard to decide which Gujarat elections were harder for Modi to win: 2002 or 2017. In 2002, the BJP was heavily out of favor with the people and Modi was a newbie as CM, struggling to establish his hold on his party (at state level) and struggling to establish a track record as CM. One of the things that really came to his aid was a fatwa asking Gujarati Muslims to vote for Congress.

Along with ‘Mian Musharraf,’ the term ‘fatwa wala baba’ became one of the biggest hits of Gujarat 2002.

Like I said in yesterday’s post, the Congress leadership has been hiding under a rock these last few months, scared to give out openly anti-Hindu signals. But there is no way they have changed their spots.

In my life, there have been few moments when I have felt so personally aggrieved and marginalized as a citizen of India than the time PM Dr. Manmohan Singh said that Muslims have the first right to India’s resources. This is their thinking that is bubbling beneath the surface right now. This desire to reclaim the ‘first right’ is what underlies the Mahagathbandhans that are being firmed up across the country.

But this thinking is hiding right now. They have sealed their lips.

This is why it is so important to catch them in the act whenever even a hint of their real philosophy appears on the horizon. Hindus are very good at forgetting and peaceful groups are very good at remembering. So, opportunities like the present one are bound to be few and far between. Which means that PM Modi and BJP need to utilize them to the absolute fullest.

Are Cong political and intellectual ecosystems pulling in opposite directions?

So, the Congress Party has distanced itself from Shashi Tharoor’s “Hindu Pakistan” remarks. Those of us familiar with social media know that the term has been in use for a long time already among hate-filled liberals. The term in fact has become part of the now established vocabulary of Hinduphobic terms like “Hindu Pakistan,” or “Hindu Taliban, ” each one coined ironically by adding the word Hindu before something horrific established by members of the religion of peace.

Some time ago, when the fear of gau-rakshaks was the “in” thing, I had noticed an escalating dictionary of Hinduphobic hate words: cow-terrorists, cow-Nazis, coming into use in popular media. Same pattern there. Same failure to find something monstrous created by Hindus which could be used to coin a term that would capture the amount of hatred they were feeling. At that time, I remember writing an article helpfully suggesting the use of the term “Cow-Commie” if liberals felt so strongly against the menace of gau-rakshaks, but it seems the term did not catch on.

Yes. So it does come as a sort of surprise when the Congress pulls away from Shashi Tharoor using the term “Hindu Pakistan.” Not just pulling away, but bolting away in the opposite direction. For once, it feels good to see the Hindu right seize on something and make the other side run away.

But then, it was only the other day that I pointed out the demonization of Hindu icons like Hanuman, Swastika and even the Om symbol. Remember how all it takes is for a smalltime journalist from a left wing portal to stick her neck out of the window, see a Hindu and feel her Hinduphobia rising like a wicked bout of acidity in those Eno commercials. And then she can write the article that will set in motion a worldwide PR campaign of damning whatever symbol that unfortunate Hindu outside her window happened to be sporting at the moment.

So, what is happening? While they are out there fusing the ancient Om symbol into a Nazi emblem, why is the political mothership pulling away? Why are they seemingly at cross purposes?

This is why one of the alternate titles for this article, in my mind, was to ask if the tail is wagging the dog.

It is not hard to imagine what the masterplan is supposed to be here. The rise of Modi and the election of 2014 has sent a chill down the secular spines. The fear of the political Hindu is real. Just ask the party of red atheists in Kerala that has just signed up for ‘Ramayana month.’ Sources say that if this shrinking party finds its base collapsing any further, they might even adopt ‘Mandir wahin banayenge‘ as their new slogan.

This is a massive departure from the days when India’s Prime Minister would openly proclaim that Muslims have the “first right” to India’s resources. The dirty work has been delegated to people much lower down the food chain. The aggression against Hindus will be carried out by people in the wider ecosystem. The top leadership of the Congress will hide under a rock and maintain plausible deniability until the political environment improves.

That’s the plan. Except these things rarely hold up like they are supposed to. Like mahagathbandhans. Because when two forces of extreme greed make an arrangement, they are always going to keep gnawing at each other. And before you know it, someone is sobbing and calling the whole thing a ‘poison’ in order to distance themselves from the trainwreck.

Historically, the Congress Dynasty has done very well at keeping both its political and intellectual ecosystem on a tight leash. The crown here should actually go to Sonia Gandhi, much more than any of her predecessors. Mindful of the diminished footprint of the Congress political ecosystem, she yielded lots of space to the intellectual ecosystem. The National Advisory Council was an extra-constitutional miracle that lasted ten full years and did an amazing job of harmonizing the anti-Hindu agenda of “intellectuals” with the political agenda of the party to win elections. The RTE was a masterpiece in this regard, a poison pill so perfect in its packaging that half a century may pass before this disaster is addressed. By that time, the poison would have worked its way through, devastating Hindu institutions, leaving nothing behind.

But Rahul Gandhi is hit by a double whammy. The Congress political footprint has declined massively, even beyond the tipping point that made Sonia Gandhi craft the National Advisory Council. He is left with little ground to cede. His intellectual hounds are running amok. Worse, they sense both his weakness and his intellectual deficiencies.  How could they not?

Today a Rahul Gandhi, far from appearing like the sinister puppeteer of JNU’s Tukde Tukde gang, sometimes comes off as the sidekick of Kanhaiyya Kumar. Perhaps even a puppet himself.

The tail is not just wagging the dog. The tail is becoming the dog.

 

 

Hey Anubhav Sinha, do you watch movies?

It is no secret that bashing Modi has become a career in itself. I don’t really mind the desperate ones, like Brinjal for instance, doing it for a living. But when Bollywood, which has a massive impact on people’s psyche … and not just within India, decides to openly start making excuses for Islamic jihad, it’s a bit much.

This now viral video of director Anubhav Sinha, with a simpering Tapsee Pannu in the background, caught my attention. At first I saw the few seconds long clip, which was being shared happily by pro-Congress handles and with outrage by RW handles. But the clip had a jump cut in it and given the level of bigotry being displayed in it, I had to look up the video and assure myself that someone was not being taken out of context. Here it is (from 2:13):

Reporter : Sir, why do you think Muslim youth are joining terrorism? The other day, Hizbul Mujahiddeen tweeted photos of 12 of their men including Burhan Wani…Why you think Muslims are joining terrorism?

Anubhav Sinha: Do you read the news? Watch TV? Yesterday, two ministers of your country felicitated Hindu rioters. End of answer. 

That’s right. Now Bollywood is at the point where they are literally making excuses for Hizbul Mujahiddeen. Saying that the global colossus of Islamic terrorism, which kills our children everyday in Kashmir, which flies planes into the World Trade Center, which kidnaps  Nigerian schoolgirls and turns them into sex slaves is all the fault of Modi sarkar. He might be right about the news and TV part though, because these media are also trying their hardest to prove that it might actually be the fault of Modi sarkar.

Yo Anubhav! Look man, I’m not some fumbling reporter at your press conference that was called by your sorry behind to publicize whatever nonsense propaganda movie you might be making. A movie that you clearly wish to promote at the cost of our nation (yes, I noted how you chose to say “your country“).  And most of all, I’m not intimidated at the sight of you smugly closing your eyes … as if deeply immersed in thought … before speaking up.

So let me ask you a question. Do you watch movies? 

Did you see how Bollywood recently spent crores making and publicizing a biopic glorifying a certified criminal like Sanjay Dutt? Oh, they had to call it Sanju; because you can’t even call criminals by their given names. That would be too harsh to them. You must address those delicate souls by more endearing pet names like “Sanju.”

Sanjay Dutt. A man who was accused under TADA Act and convicted under Arms Act. Do you know what TADA stands for? Terrorism and Disruptive Activities Prevention Act.

A man whose name came up in relation to Mumbai serial blasts in which over two hundred innocents lost their lives. A man who was accused of receiving weapons from Abu Salem. A man who might have been connected to Dawood Ibrahim.

The same Bollywood that makes movies glorifying convicts is the same Bollywood that puts the blame for Hizbul Mujahiddeen’s activities on “Hindu rioters.” And does this lecturing with a straight face.

Don’t forget that Sanjay Dutt was not just a movie star with access deep inside Mumbai circles, he also happened to be the son of Sunil Dutt, a powerful MP of the ruling Congress. His sister Priya Dutt was an MP even in the previous Lok Sabha. But such is the power of the Congress ecosystem that no fingers were ever pointed at them for the fact that Sunil Dutt’s son was accused of receiving weapons from Abu Salem.

These days, the Prime Minister is held personally accountable for every tweet from every account that he “follows” on Twitter.

A final word. Even in shaming Bollywood, there is a line I would never cross. Notwithstanding the fact that Bollywood makes movies glorifying Dawood Ibrahim and his associates … sometimes even with funding from Dawood himself, I would never blame Bollywood for the crimes of Hizbul Mujahiddeen. The monstrosity of Islamic jihad is an evil that stands on its own and no intellectual thug, however hypocritical, can be blamed for it.

So, yeah, Anubhav Sinha, you and your Bollywood are indeed better than Hizbul terrorists. I will admit that.

Rudra Hanuman and Swastika : How Hinduphobia went global

A couple of days ago, Annie Gowen, the India Bureau Chief of the Washington Post, put this up on Twitter.

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One wonders, whether in this day and age, a journalist would have dared to express hatred so openly towards an icon of another religious community. At least a journalist who wishes to keep her job. Can you imagine a liberal taking on Muslim, Christian or Jewish iconography in this manner?

I hate to bring race into this, but I am going to do that since the global left loves race-baiting so damn much. The optics of a white American journalist dissing a religious icon in a country of brown people are simply devastating for The Washington Post. A pink slip should have been in order.

But I am pretty sure it isn’t. Which confirms the position of Hindus as the most culturally marginalized people on this planet. In a world that is increasingly sensitive towards issues around race, nationality, gender identity and expression, Hinduphobia stands out as the last acceptable prejudice.

The whole fracas around the Rudra Hanuman imagery happened so quickly that most of us remember it well. A smalltime journalist was taking a taxi somewhere when she happened to stick her neck out of the window and notice a bunch of people with Rudra Hanuman flags. Notwithstanding the fact that they did not cause the slightest trouble to her or anyone else that she could see, she decided to attribute violent, hateful motives to them and the Rudra Hanuman icon they were using. Her rantings were published on a far left portal and overnight the Hanuman was declared a symbol of hatred, genocide and what not.

Incidentally, the far left website in question has an entire section called “The Soviet Century,” dedicated to celebrating the Communist regimes that massacred 1000 lakh people. But who cares about that? Not coincidentally, the man who started this far left website was recently honored at Stanford University for “contributing to Western understanding” of the Asia-Pacific.

I have created this simple chart to explain the liberal thought process:

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Stunningly enough, what began with an unhinged rant by a marginal journalist working for a far left portal has now been internationalized by staffers of The Washington Post.

Yet another testament to the dominance of the Hinduphobic international left and the cultural marginalization of Hindus worldwide.

There are several other shocking examples, but the worst would be the Swastika. As the world gets more global and connected, you would think that there would be greater and greater understanding of the fact that Hindus using the ancient and sacred symbol has nothing to do with Hitler. But you would be wrong.

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A photo showing UN Ambassador Nikki Haley with a swastika behind her at a Hindu temple gets removed. If a Muslim icon had been subject to a similar cultural misunderstanding of this magnitude, we would have been in for a thousand lectures from liberals on “ignorance.”

But instead of using Nikki Haley’s picture with the Hindu swastika as a teachable moment, Reuters decided that it was best to get rid of the photograph. In other words, if you don’t know anything about the culture of one billion Hindus, that’s just fine. The international liberal establishment is here to cater to your ignorance. Instead, they will remind you five times a day that Islam is a “religion of peace.”

Like I said, Hinduphobia remains the last acceptable form of prejudice.

Instead of addressing ignorance and prejudice towards Hindus, there is evidence that the global left is now working actively in the opposite direction. You can see that efforts are in progress to fix the Rudra Hanuman in Western imagination as a symbol of hatred. And yes, the same applies to the Swastika. Remember this?

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This is from the time Narendra Modi visited the UK. This was projected on to the British Parliament by “activists” belonging to the Awaaz Network.

The sacred Om and Swastika symbols fused into Nazi emblems! That’s the new left. They actively wish to turn the clock backwards, to promote colonial attitudes towards the “Hindoo.”

We recently learned that India’s GDP for the year 2017 has officially crossed that of France, making us the world’s sixth largest economy. In 2018, we are almost certain to go past Britain, which will make us the world’s fifth largest economy. In view of our increasing economic might in the world, the fact that the cultural imprint of Hindus is actually decreasing, that Hinduphobia is on the rise, is absolutely shocking.

We Hindus are not an Abrahamic people. We are not bound to a Prophet or a book. We are incredibly diverse. We constantly reinvent our Hinduness by re-imagining our festivities, our cultural expression and our icons and deities. Who knows what is next in line to be labelled as a global symbol of hatred? Remember, all it takes is for a smalltime journalist for a left wing portal to stick her neck out of the window and damn you forever.

 

Supporting Sharia Courts is one of the lowest points of Congress

I have always maintained that the slogan “Bharat ke tukde” should be taken seriously. It is not just something crafted by a motley bunch of unemployed (and unemployable) college students. Rather it should be seen as a very serious statement of intent.

Understandably, with Modi sarkar in power, there has been a growing clamor for a uniform civil code. While that remains a distant dream, the first few steps have been taken to bring Indian Muslims under Indian law in some meaningful way. First, triple talaq was done away with, then the Haj subsidy was junked, now Nikah Halala may be on its way out and Aligarh Muslim University is battling hard to keep its minority status and deny SC/ST students their rights.

Please bear in mind that each of these instances above is at best either a partial victory for common sense or a work in progress. But the signs of a shift are all there. The leaders of Indian secularism have made note of this and they intend to strike back hard against the authority of the Indian state.

Leading this charge is the Indian National Congress, which is ready to burn every square inch of India down to dust if it helps them back to power. So, when we heard of the All India Muslim Personal Law Board’s idea to overwhelm the country with hundreds of Sharia courts, it is no surprise that the Congress eagerly signed up for it.

First of all, a word about the constitutionality of Sharia courts. I believe there is an SC judgement somewhere that holds that Sharia courts are not unconstitutional in themselves, although their “verdicts” have no force of law. On technical grounds, this is correct. Anybody can set up a kangaroo court and start resolving disputes between people who volunteer to bring their cases before them.

The problem lies in how this is going to be practiced. We can all see what’s going to happen : the weak and marginalized will be forced to submit to the authority of these Sharia courts. Their “verdicts” will be enforced by fear of physical violence.

The first victims here are going to be Muslim women. But, have you seen any feminists speaking up against this grievous assault on the rights of women? Of course you haven’t. Because throwing Muslim women at the mercy of fundamentalist mullahs is now a time honored tradition of feminism. If you remember, when the triple talaq debate was at its peak, one renowned radical feminist lawyer actually argued in favor of triple talaq … her point being that Muslim women might otherwise get murdered by angry husbands. Evidently, “Teach Muslim men not to murder women” is not a slogan that has caught on among the feminist community.

The larger point is about what a swarm of Sharia courts would mean for our country. This is just the first step towards achieving a parallel state for Indian Muslims and finally another separate state for Indian Muslims, the second time in one hundred years.

Everyone knows that if you want to make something legal in India, you first do a grab and then bribe and blackmail the system to legalize it. You want to take over government land? Well, begin by encroaching just a bit…. put up four bamboo poles and tent. Then, build a little bit more a few months later. Then, build the first floor of your illegal house on the land. Then, go to local politicians and bureaucrats and bribe them to give you the permissions you lack. A year later, build another floor … then repeat the process. Everything from large housing complexes to vast slums are built this way. All Indians have seen this process in action.

The Sharia court is one such Trojan horse. Today, they don’t have force of law. But once the system is established strongly enough, you are going to get politicians who will argue for the need to “regularize” them. With every election cycle will come the need to do another little bit extra to help build a “state within a state” for Indian Muslims.

And remember that a Sharia court for civil disputes is just the first step towards a Sharia court for criminal matters. Anybody who thinks that the mullahs who set up Sharia courts will defer to the Indian Penal Code in criminal matters is fooling himself. The AIMPLB has taken the first step here towards the … cut off hands, cut off feet, cut off neck … type of legal system that is practiced in Saudi Arabia.

The legal outline for regularizing Sharia courts is already in place. Remember RTE and how “minority institutions” are allowed to exist outside the authority of the Indian state? You need to change only a few lines here and there to enable “minority courts” to come into existence.

We all know what comes next. Separate courts, then separate electorates and then Pakistan-II. In the leftover part of India, Hindus will again be a majority, which will enable the same process to start all over again. The same appeasement in the remainder of India, the same shaming and guilt tripping of average Hindus over ‘Islamophobia.’ Until Pakistan-III is achieved another hundred years hence. Rinse and repeat till a bite sized piece of leftover India is chewed up by its secular neighbors and lost forever.

How saffron clad Yogi crushes superstition while suave Akhilesh promotes it

The other day Yogi Adityanath and PM Modi were proud to inaugurate the world’s largest mobile phone factory in Noida in Uttar Pradesh. Like bhau @iMac_too pointed out on Twitter, Rahul baba’s handlers do not keep up with political developments as well as they should. Otherwise they would never have scripted the “one selfie — one job to China” line for him. Because the mobile phone manufacturing industry has been one of the biggest sunrise sectors for Indian manufacturing under Modi sarkar.

And it is only fitting that Modi and Yogi have now inaugurated the world’s largest mobile phone factory in Uttar Pradesh. Understandably, dynasty handlers were desperately claiming that this was all the good work of Akhilesh Yadav.

But I was noticing something else. I was noticing the fact that Yogi Adityanath was actually on stage in Noida, instead of hiding in some hotel in Lucknow or Delhi.

Now what is special about that? It comes out as special when you realize the comical lengths to which Akhilesh Yadav went to avoid visiting Noida.

Yadav had taken the Noida jinx story seriously. He assiduously avoided visiting the city even when his presence was required. He had inaugurated the Yamuna Expressway by pushing the button from Lucknow. He had inaugurated Greater Noida development projects and laid the foundation stone of a university through remote control from Lucknow. He had even inaugurated Nasscom‘s Noida headquarters sitting in a hotel in Delhi.

 

Ha! The suave, modern Akhilesh Yadav, young prince with foreign education, hides away in Lucknow, too scared to set foot in Noida. The reason is some silly superstition that any UP Chief Minister who goes to Noida loses his chair. This is the man who is a glimmer of hope in the eyes of self proclaimed liberals and progressives. These are their heroes: spoiled young princes, who got everything handed to them and are too cowardly to take risks in life, be it even the risk of falling foul of some silly superstition.

Now imagine for a moment if this had been Yogi Adityanath hiding in Delhi or Lucknow to avoid Noida. Imagine the party that our liberal elite would have, mocking him for being saffron clad and therefore, by implication, superstitious.

In fact, this is exactly what you would expect from Akhilesh Yadav. Everything he has in his life is through his stroke of luck in being born in the ruling family of Uttar Pradesh. That’s why he was so fearful that his good luck would run out one day. If necessary, Akhilesh Yadav would have flown to space and hovered there in order to avoid setting foot in Noida. On public money, of course.

But Yogi Adityanath does not have any such compulsions. He’s made his fortune the hard way. He knows that your luck is in your own hands. You make of it what you will.

Starting last year, this is at least the third time that Yogi Adityanath has visited Noida. For liberals who want to see “saffron clad” as a symbol of being regressive, there is a lesson here to be rubbed in their faces.

As for Akhilesh Yadav, all that theatrics in order to avoid visiting Noida did not help one bit when it came to the election. In fact, I believe that 2017 was the worst defeat for any ruling party in Uttar Pradesh in decades.

You want to hold on to power? Then, rule well. Give the people roads, electricity and law and order. You can also take the cheap way of forming desperate alliances. But superstitions can’t save you.

Strangely enough, Akhilesh Yadav’s astrologer does not appear to have said anything about bad luck being associated with stealing taps and tiles from your government bungalow. Now that would be one superstition that we the people could use.

Cracking the whip on missionaries: Why Jharkhand govt rocks

Jharkhand is not a state that gets a lot of limelight. Raghubar Das isn’t a Chief Minister who gets a lot of credit. But over the last one week, the Govt of Jharkhand has been in top notch form, hitting crooked, criminal missionaries where it hurts.

The first thing they did was the blow the lid off the massive baby selling scandal at Missionaries of Charity. The government did not rest there, but really got into the act. All homes owned by them were evacuated, the children and women sent elsewhere, the institutions sealed and blacklisted. This is really the toughest I have seen any BJP government get on enemy elements in a very long time.

“Child lifter” is a very serious taint. The mere rumor of child lifting on Whatsapp has led to several tragic lynching incidents nationwide in the last few weeks (this is actually becoming a serious problem). In my opinion, Whatsapp should seriously examine what can be done to quell such dangerous rumors on their platform that are leading to horrific crimes. But the intensity of the mob reaction to even unsubstantiated rumors of child lifting shows you how strongly people feel about this.

It is going to take a lot for Missionaries of Charity to wash the taint of “child lifter/baby seller.” By association, this taint is sure to rub off on missionaries in the state and in tribal communities as a whole.

In some way, the Church forced the BJP government’s hand. The Church in Jharkhand has been on the warpath against the government ever since the state enacted very strict anti-conversion laws last year.

Take Pathalgarhi, an innocuous tribal tradition that was co-opted into a spurious, Maoist influenced, demand for “autonomy.” Curiously enough, Pathalgarhi’s primary focus seems to be on defying the government’s writ by stopping kids from attending state government schools. And guess who just happens to run a whole bunch of educational institutions? A perfect confluence of interests between the Church and the Maoists.

In the recent Khunti gangrape, the role of the missionary school principal has been the most shady of all. Remember that this is about gangrape of five women. The anti-national elements got so audacious that they attacked the home of Khunti MP Karia Munda and abducted three policemen. For those who may not know, Karia Munda is by far one of the seniormost BJP leaders in the state, one of two main contenders for Jharkhand CM when the state was first formed, the other being Babulal Marandi of course. After 2014, Karia Munda’s name has come up variously for the post of Lok Sabha speaker and even Vice President of India. An attack on Karia Munda’s house is as audacious as it gets.

Raghubar Das has acted … and acted firmly, turning around the situation. The days of missionary institutions running a parallel government in Jharkhand are over, along with the days of their newfound friends the Maoists. While the national media has ignored the Missionaries of Charity child lifting scandal (for obvious reasons) it has been the foremost issue for local media. Like I said, this is a total PR disaster for the Church … something that will take them years to recover from.

And then, the missionaries simply walked into this:

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Here is what happened. Some missionaries arrived in a village, trying to convert people of the Sarna faith, badmouthing their traditions and trying to get them to embrace a religion from somewhere in the Middle East. The Sarna people wouldn’t have any of it and called the police, which resulted in all 16 missionary elements getting arrested under Jharkhand’s strict anti-conversion law.

You may never have heard the word “Sarna.” In fact, Sarna is an Indic tribal faith that is followed by at least 10% of people of Jharkhand. Technically, they are not considered “Hindus.” But, the line drawn by Savarkar was very clear : Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Hindus, Sarna … these are all faiths whose “punya bhoomi” is our very own motherland. There is one more such tribal faith practised in Arunachal Pradesh whose name I cannot remember at the moment. There are probably many others. Some say the Bishnois of Rajasthan are a separate religion of sorts. But, to us, all are Hindus.

Aside: The main festival of Sarna “religion” is Sarhul, an absolutely wonderful occasion when people celebrate trees. What a way to connect with your own soil!! Find out more about this fantastic tradition. 

The credit goes to Jharkhand police for pursuing this matter in all seriousness. The missionaries were duly interrogated and their link to a South India based institution was uncovered.

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About time. This nexus has to be pursued, taken apart and crippled by police. Enough is enough. The menace of conversion has gone on long enough. Children are being sold, women are being gangraped. Dirty money being laundered in from abroad. Foreign institutions specially training preachers to fool immigration officers at Indian airports. In case you don’t know, becoming a missionary in India requires a very special type of visa that is really hard to get. Many foreign missionaries just game the system, pretending to be tourists and visitors to sneak in.

Seriously, enough is enough.

My political journey : Finding a Hindu

I think it was 2009. I had been hearing about this thing called Facebook for a while.  I remembered my long forgotten old Orkut account (tell the kids what Orkut used to be).  I was not sure if I was interested in the “craze” of joining Facebook. But I joined anyway. Unlike Orkut, Facebook was sleek and cool and had a wonderful feel. Before long I was neck deep in arguments over politics, advocating ferociously for my Hindu right wing positions.

And then suddenly, an old friend I knew in the days of high school messages me. What’s going on? He wants to know.

His curiosity and/or surprise makes sense. Because he remembers me distinctly and ferociously advocating for Communism from the days of high school. His message also carries an undertone of a “threat” of exposing me for the “fraud” I was.

What!!!! Chaiwallah was a Commie? All those blog posts you know me from where I am bashing Commies like they are the scum of the earth … and to think that I used to be one myself!

I was in Std XI when I read “Selected works of Marx and Engels.” The book used to be in my school bag all the time.

Well, what can I say? Except that people change…

I guess I was always hardwired for politics, even at an age you probably would consider ridiculously young. I remember this heady feeling of joy when the Babri Masjid came down. This was probably at an age when I should have been more interested in toy trains. I remember being thrilled when Vajpayee became PM for the first time; I still remember Pramod Mahajan’s speech about “He is the only member of his party and he is in the government.” I remember celebrating when the United Front Govt fell … I remember the shock when I came back from school to hear that Vajpayee’s govt had lost by one vote!

So what’s going on? Here are the stages.

A Communist and a BJP supporter

As ridiculous as it sounds, I think I was a supporter of both BJP and CPIM growing up. It seems absurd now, but please bear in mind that I was really really young at the time and barely understood what was happening. It was only at the beginning of college that I realized that you have to pick one 🙂

Some of this must also be blamed on the fact that economic philosophies in India do not differ as much between right and left wing. India is basically heavily left of center, whether you ask the BJP, the Congress or the CPI(M). So, if I had to look back I would diagnose myself at the time as Hindu right (socially) and Communist (economically) back then.

Ultra-Pious Hindu 

By the time I was in college,  I had definitively decided to be on the Hindu right. And I really got into it. I filled my college hostel room with a huge assortment of idols and framed photos of devis and devatas. I was one of the handful of students who would light incense in front of them twice a day.

As a matter of course, I “rebelled” against my highly non-vegetarian Bengali family. No chicken or fish for me! Not even eggs! They thought I was crazy. But I was convinced. The only way to be is a pure vegetarian Hindu who lights incense twice a day.

In time, my political debates in college against left leaning students became quite a spectacle. In particular, I had one favorite adversary who was a Communist sympathizer. Our arguments in college would last late into the night, sometimes for days as each of us ferociously argued in favor of our positions.

On the back of my hostel room door, I had written in chalk. NEVER FORGET GODHRA. I remembered the 59 victims of the fire every day of my life.

This phase lasted a little over 6 years I would say. Well into graduate school.

Beef eating atheist

This part may shock you (the most). By this time I was in the US. Again, following my natural hardwiring towards politics, I had to indulge my need to find out about American politics … and more importantly, pick a side. After a year of watching Fox News and MSNBC (mostly Fox News … mostly Hannity and Colmes and Bill O’Reilly) I was ready to choose the Republicans. I had always had a liking for President Bush anyway.

There was only one problem. Many elements in the Republican Party rejected evolution. This drove me nuts. In the early days of youtube, debates on this topic were a major thing. Suddenly, I found myself listening to Richard Dawkins, to Christopher Hitchens and the like for hours.

I was ready to rebel again. This time to reject all religious traditions and become an atheist. I still remember how hard it was for me to try beef for the first time. I forced myself to go through with it anyway.

Free minds and Free markets

As you might have realized, until that point I had never given much thought to an economic worldview. I didn’t understand very much about economics anyway. Coming from a typical Indian middle class background, the socialism of Nehru was in my blood; I believed in economic reforms of 1991 and privatization, but only just.

This was about to undergo a sea change. In the US, the economic discourse was actually polarized between real right and real left. Remember that this was also the time when the Great Recession hit, forcing everyone to think deeply about economics. Also Obama was elected and as with any opposition party, the Republicans went back to their roots in economic philosophy.

There was the Tea Party; the talk of “Don’t tread on me.” I heard for the first time about the idea of “Big Government” and the concept of “Taxation as theft.” I do not know if you have heard of Grover Norquist, but his idea of small government and free citizenry had tremendous influence on me. Basically, the recession had forced everyone to think about what brings prosperity.

Around this time, I also started watching shows by Penn and Teller … two hardcore CATO institute guys who advocated strongly for completely free markets. I was also regularly watching John Stossel on Fox, learning about how government ownership wastes money, how private enterprise does things better, reading about the American revolution and Jefferson’s emphasis on liberty. The natural next step was Milton Friedman. Nothing hit me so hard as his long documentary “Free to choose,” which explained in detail how Big government socialism keeps people in poverty, with examples from around the world.

The low point was when Milton Friedman goes to India around 1982 and shows our villagers running with sticks between trees to smoothen yarn. A process that a modern machine could do in seconds. What an embarrassment that this should be happening in India a decade after Americans walked on the moon.

Who was to blame for this? Nehru! It was his socialism … or should I say Communism … that had destroyed India for four decades. I had always fiercely hated the Congress … and it didn’t take much to instill in me a searing hatred for Nehru’s economic policies. Yes, if there is one man I blame for keeping India back from her economic future, it is Nehru. He poisoned the well so badly that even 70 years later, we are struggling to shake off the shackles. If India had embraced free markets in 1947 itself, our country would have looked like Japan or Israel today.

Leaving atheism … and a homecoming as a Hindu

The problems with my new found atheism were all too apparent. While I would never reject things like evolution or global warming, I still favored the Republicans and their strict stance against Islamism. Worse, “atheism” was beginning to change … and become a religion all on its own.

Those who may not have been part of certain geek subcultures between 2008-2011 may not have heard the term “Atheism Plus.” But that became a big issue in my life.

So, what’s “Atheism Plus”? As the name suggests, it was MORE than strict rationalism. You had to buy into a load of the “Plus” part. In order to become a “real atheist,” you had to support militant crazy feminism (which was often anti-science), you had to support Greenpeace and their terror tactics. And you had to do the one thing that has been non-negotiable for me my whole life … you had to bow down before violent Islamofascism and declare it to be “peaceful.”

In short, what began on the internet as a movement for pure rationalism had been hijacked by the radical left. Suddenly, to become an atheist, you were required to hate all non-Muslim countries, especially India, Israel and the USA.

This was a big problem for someone like me, who feels very strongly about our motherland, is a huge fan of Israel and generally supports the USA.

The axe of “atheism plus” struck one by one … kicking out many of the core intellectuals who had influenced my “conversion” to atheism. Richard Dawkins himself got “excommunicated” from atheism when he asked the “new atheists” to focus on rights of women in the Muslim world.

Liberal hypocrites wouldn’t do it. They were ready to hold Hamas and Hezbollah close to their chest, but suddenly Dawkins was an enemy.

In short, “atheism” had become everything it claimed to be against :  a doctrinaire Abrahamic religion with its own way of imposing political views.

Worse, the “atheism plus” advocated for a very aggressive form of “atheism” where followers are supposed to spit in faces of religious people and put great emphasis on acts that deliberately hurt their sentiments.

In short, not that different from the mentality of raiders who plundered and destroyed Somnath Temple.

Atheism had not only become an Abrahamic religion, it had also become a copy of Islamism.

Remember what I had written on the back of my college hostel room door? NEVER FORGET GODHRA. Not a single day has passed in my life without remembering the plight of 59 Hindus in Godhra. There was no way I would accept Islamism.

It was time for a homecoming. It was time for me to be reborn as a Hindu. To return to my original tradition. The keyword was “sahaj” or that which comes naturally with every breath, as with loving my parents, my country, the town I grew up in and the like. A tradition that does not impose on anyone else.

That was my journey, friends. Going through phase after phase until I felt at peace with myself. I personally feel that I am better off for it. If you feel like it, let me know about your journey in the comments below.

PS: Remember the person I knew from high school who “threatened” to expose me as an old Commie back in 2009? He is a big time “bhakt” nowadays… LOL.  And remember my friend from college who I used to fight with because he was a Communist? In time he became one of my closest friends and now he’s another big time “bhakt”. Life changes …. 

 

 

 

 

 

280 babies missing? Why CBI needs to probe Missionaries of Charity scandal

It now seems that the baby selling racket unearthed at Missionaries of Charity in Ranchi could be much bigger than anyone could have imagined.

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As per the report in The New Indian Express:

According to police sources, 450 pregnant women were admitted in various homes, run by the order founded by St Teresa, here between 2015 and 2018, but there are records of only 170 childbirths and no information about the remaining 280.

“We are investigating all angles… of the sale of children to childless couple. We have gone through records of the pregnant women and newborn babies. There are discrepancies in the records,” a police official investigating the case told IANS.

So as many as 450 pregnant women were admitted in various homes but only 170 childbirths have been recorded. What happened to the other 280?

This is no longer a crime that could have been managed by one or two nuns and one or two low level employees. If as many as 280 babies have been trafficked, it would require an active nationwide distribution network to match the “customers” to the traffickers. And there would have to be a sophisticated system of making illegal payments at every link in that chain.

The Jharkhand Police may have blown the lid off something massive here. At the very least, this calls for a full scale CBI inquiry.

And we cannot just assume that the babies were sold to childless couples. The children could have been handed over to anybody … pedophiles, organ harvesters …. absolutely anybody. We really don’t know how cruel child traffickers can get.

There are four things that need to happen here.

First, there needs to be a CBI inquiry. Only the CBI would have the expertise and the authority to investigate this matter with the seriousness it deserves.

Second, the top administration of Missionaries of Charity can no longer dissociate themselves casually from this massive scandal. So far, they have been let off with “form denials”, with mere disclaimers and condemnations and some vague promises of an internal investigation. It is time to put their top management in the dock. A scandal of this magnitude is not likely to have happened without their active connivance.

Third, the scope of the investigation needs to be nationwide. This should take the form of massive search, seize and rescue operations at properties of Missionaries of Charity across the country. This is also a time sensitive matter, since any delay could give time to the offenders to destroy records that would expose their crimes.

Finally, the mainstream media and social media should put together a massive awareness campaign to prevent more expectant mothers from falling into the hands of these child traffickers. The Jharkhand government has already blacklisted the Missionaries of Charity, but it is important that other states follow suit and further, that the general public should become aware of it. Whether the mainstream media will cooperate is anybody’s guess, especially because of the religious identity of the accused. This makes it a job for social media to take up as a top priority, because child trafficking has no religion. We cant let them be protected by the veil of secularism.