PM Modi has validated the fake outrage of liberals

I cannot hide my bitter disappointment at the Prime Minister’s comments yesterday on “cow related lynchings”. No one is justifying any violence. Mob violence in India is a very real thing. It can happen over anything : pickpocketing, seats in the train, two vehicles brushing by each other on the road.

It has to stop — NOW! If people want to begin a movement to end such rampant lawlessness, I am all for them. The current round of outrage had nothing to do with that. It was a pure and simple smear campaign against ordinary Hindus and the RSS/BJP based on non-existent data.

Of all people on this planet, Narendra Modi should know a smear campaign when he sees one. Of all people on this planet, Narendra Modi should know that his remarks yesterday will be seen by his detractors as “pleading guilty” to a baseless charge of a non-existent crime.

This tweet from PMO, retweeted by Shekhar Gupta, along with Jaggi’s response captures the pathetic surrender.

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Modi ji has just plead guilty on behalf of himself, the entire BJP, the larger Sangh Parivar and pretty much his entire legion of supporters. Here is the headline on Firstpost :

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Well, the General plead guilty, the General surrendered and now the victors are demanding the spoils of war. Now they get to sit across the table and decide how the defeated Sangh Parivar must be run.

Did the BJP or RSS or Sangh actually support lynchings in the first place? These questions are now immaterial because the General himself has plead guilty to the charge.

What is almost unbelievable is how unnecessary this surrender was. This kind of hypocritical drama and fake outrage has been run so many times before : church attacks, award wapsi etc that there was zero chance of the #NotinMyName protests having an impact. It was the liberals who seemed totally out of ideas, churning out the same failed lies and propaganda desperately hoping for different results. Instead, liberals were coming in for all round mockery such as this:

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The Right wing had its tail up, confident that this recycled propaganda could be brushed off easily. The desperate loser face of Shabnam Hashmi said it all about the mood in the left wing camp.

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Soon enough, the “lynch map” of India that the so called protesters put up had gone viral on the internet, coming in for withering criticism for deliberately leaving out all crimes in Kerala and prominently omitting the death of Mohammad Ayub Pandit, killed during Ramzan outside a mosque because peacefuls thought he might be a non-believer.

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In all my years of watching liberal propaganda unfold, I don’t think I have ever seen liberals come up with such weak sauce. There was absolutely no doubt that the right wing was winning this one hands down.  When the liberals went looking for the data to back up their claim about an upswing in mob violence, they couldn’t find any. Instead the right wing was all over them, busting their lies with data. The resulting frustration in the liberal camp comes out clearly in this DailyO piece :

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It almost reads like a parody : the right wing being accused of “swearing by data” and digging up incidents spread over years. Yeah, what kind of evil person tries to look at data and compare the current situation with data from the past? LOL! The Right wing being accused of “weaponising spreadsheets” and “dangling data”. LOL!

Indeed, data is like a weapon, even a weapon of mass destruction when it comes to lies. And when one side is lying on purpose and losing badly, it is only natural for them to object to the use of data.

Because of the absence of data to back up the liberal outrage, there was even a very shameful attempt by IndiaSpend to convert liberal outrage itself into data. This “report” was carried across media outlets.

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How did they get this 97% figure? Well, they didn’t look at police or crime records. Instead they did a “content analysis” of English media for keywords related to lynchings. In other words, a lynching is counted ONLY if the English language media chose to cover it!

No wonder they managed to show that 97% of the violence happened after May 2014. Because English language media only chose to cover this after Modi came to power.

The claim of 97% by Indiaspend is like saying that the Finance Minister’s Budget speech has only 370,000 views on Youtube while Dhinchak Pooja’s “song” Selfie maine le li aaj  has 18 million views! By IndiaSpend’s methods, this means that the impact of Dhinchak Pooja on India is nearly 50 times more than the impact of the Union Budget!

What IndiaSpend did here to arrive at this 97% figure is sort of a watershed moment in the history of fake news. This is the first attempt I know of where fake news itself was recycled to produce data.

Pretty much beaten on all fronts, even liberals themselves had very low expectations of their #Notinmyname protests.

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Until Modi came back from the US and drove to Sabarmati Ashram and suddenly, unexpectedly handed the liberals  a victory. Its a betrayal of his right wing base that worked hard thinking that their leader would back them up.

Full toss ball hit right up into the air and the ball descends into the hands of an eager fielder. What a shame.

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Traveling circus is back in town : Award Wapsi comes back to make us laugh

I was actually on a train yesterday and it stopped for a few minutes at one of the many stations with a high speed Rail Wire connection (thanks Suresh Prabhu because it’s awesome!) Unable to stay disconnected, I logged in to Twitter … and then burst out laughing so hard that my co-passengers were stunned for a moment.

What the hell is this thing?

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Why the glum face? Did Madam Sonia not give her a bakshish on Eid?

It took me a while to understand this is Shabnam Hashmi coming to return her National Minority Rights “Award” that she had received from the Queen in 2008.

The what award? National Minority Rights award? Again, what the hell is that thing?

So, this is how the Queen used to keep these creatures happy : giving them made up awards… getting them invited to functions with high sounding names. That’s where they got to meet important people and allowed to feel important themselves. A plane ride with some big minister or business tycoon and the Lutyens courtiers would consider themselves obliged.

After all, tell me what other job someone like Shabnam Hashmi could have found if not professional secularist? Does the economy have any other use for her skills or more accurately her lack of skills?

So, they would get “National Minority Rights Awards”  and in return they would keep up the rumble about human rights of this terrorist and that terrorist.

However, for Shabnam Hashmi, it must be a great honor to be chosen to be the first to relaunch the traveling circus of Award Wapsi. Either that, or Shabnam Hashmi is a dim witted tubelight who is only getting now the message that was sent out in 2015 before Bihar election.

But be assured that there are other dimwits who will now try their luck at “starring” in the Eid release of Award Wapsi 2. The flop show is coming back. That they would have to dredge it up and run it all over again shows a painful bankruptcy of ideas in the opposition camp.

Over the next month or so, if you suddenly see trending on Twitter (at 8th or 9th place) some name that you have never heard before, you know what to expect. Must be some unknown person returning some unknown “award” that he/she got during the reign of the Queen.

They will come in all forms and flavors : National Right Award, National Left Award, National Radia Award, and National Scam Award. I wouldn’t be surprised if UPA gave out an award for “Best Tweet praising Rahul Gandhi’s speeches”, an award for “Best Chamcha” as well as “Best Chamcha in a supporting role”.

Meanwhile, I have decided to nominate Award Wapsi 2 for a National Flop Award.

Ramzan : It should be all about protecting the kids

For me, the word Eid brings back only one real memory : reading Munshi Premchand’s famous short story “Eidgah”. Hamid, the little fatherless boy goes to the Eid festival with his friends at the end of Ramzan. But he has too little money and wanders around, considering what to buy even as his friends gorge upon sweets and pick up toys and trinkets. Finally, the day is nearly over and the market is about to close and Hamid still hasn’t bought anything. Ultimately, what does Hamid buy? He buys a “chimta”, a pair of tongs so that his old grandmother doesn’t get her hands burned while making roti everyday.

A heart touching story, the true “idea of India”, embodied in the works of great writers like Premchand. I read this story in a simplified form as a kid, along with other of Premchand’s stories like “Motor ki cheetein” (read it…it’s really funny!), “Namak ka Daroga” and “Bade Ghar ki beti”. My favorite was Bade Ghar ki beti, the tussle created in a middle class household by the coming of a new bahu from a rich family and the amount of ghee that she is used to putting in the food!

Anyways, Premchand’s story “Eidgah” also surfaced in my Hindi textbook at some point, somewhere in eighth grade. I also believe we had to read an English translation at some point in school.

Okay, but here is a question : we all know that Muslims fast daily for the whole month of Ramzan. I am still calling it Ramzan by the way, not Ramadan. No Indian Muslim around me said “Ramadan” when I was growing up. If you would rather use the Saudi term because some radical preacher on youtube told you to say it that way, then go to Saudi Arabia.

So what about the kids? What about little kids, some as young as nine years of age, who are being made to go through the daily torture of fasting during Ramzan? Shouldn’t there be a PIL in some court to stop this?

I was quite sure that given the large legions of NGOs and human rights organizations dedicated to humanity, activists worldwide must have filled up courts with petitions to help the children. After all, they always want to help the children : the children of Gaza, the children of Syria. What kind of “activists” wouldn’t care about children?

So, I went online to see what is being done about this, to protect vulnerable young kids. Quite shockingly, I was able to find precious little that is being done, that too in Western democracies that take great pride in their human rights records. And nothing whatsoever in India.

The only concrete step I could find was this example of a private school in Britain that asked parents to desist from making their kids fast during the holy month.

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Kids are fainting in school! We have to do something about this! Imagine how children are suffering during the Indian summer, tormented by hunger and thirst. It is rather shocking that in the whole world I could find just ONE example of somebody doing something about such ritual torture of children. And none at all in India, home to 150 million of the most peaceful Muslims in the world.

In my experiences with the Indian media, I have discovered that Muslims in particular care deeply about human rights. No other community in India is as peaceful and as committed to human rights as Muslims.

Perhaps it is time for India’s peace loving Muslims to come together and file a PIL in the Supreme Court to ban minor children from fasting during Ramzan. And if that fails to happen for some mysterious and totally unexplained reason, I am sure most of our human rights organizations and NGOs will be happy to file such a PIL on their behalf.

Mercifully, Indian courts of late have been very receptive to pleas regarding the rights of children.

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Even in the case of adults, the Supreme Court has chosen to throw a layer of protection around them and decided how high they can climb on top of each other. As the Supreme Court rightfully asked in a case involving Jallikattu :

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Exactly! What is the necessity to have young children suffering daily fasts at the peak of summer? Being woken up at 3 AM to eat in a hurry…then being kept hungry and thirsty all day. All day! Just imagine not being able to have water during the summer day. And then, the fast is broken at night in a round of binge eating. Is this really what we should be doing to the kids? A daily torture for a month and encouraging an extremely unhealthy lifestyle?

I see it as a civic duty of celebrities in media and academia to come out publicly against kids having to fast during the summer. Aamir Khan for instance, could totally do an episode of Satyameva Jayate about how kids feel the pangs of hunger and thirst.

As the Honorable Supreme Court would have observed in all its wisdom : What is the necessity?

Srinagar lynching : should we close the temples again?

In the past, we have seen the liberal media and intelligentsia turn almost any crime into an excuse for Hindu bashing. Take for instance, the infamous gangrape of Jyoti Singh Pandey (Nirbhaya) in December 2012. To any rational person, the horrific crime had absolutely nothing to do with religion or Hindus or Muslims.  Among the rapists were both Hindus and Muslims. There was no evidence of any religious or communal angle coming into the picture at any stage whatsoever.

Except…

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You would think a person as eminently secular as Mahesh Bhatt would remember that Muslims and Christians are also equal citizens of the Republic. They share in its rights and privileges and it follows naturally that they would also share in our guilt and shame.

As such, if for some reason temples need to be shut down out of a sense of national shame, one would imagine that Mahesh Bhatt would also prescribe some form of atonement for our very equal fellow citizens belonging to the Muslim or Christian faith.

But, I catch the drift of the argument. They say it is ironic for Hindus to worship so many female deities when women face so many forms of abuse in our country. This line of thinking has a very clear endorsement from the table of the Shehzada himself.

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Now let us talk about what happened in Srinagar on Friday.

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Let me check out all the elements in this story : the lynching happened in the holy month of Ramzan. It happened outside a mosque, during the special Shab – e – Qadr, when night long special prayers are held. And he was lynched specifically because they suspected him of being a non-Muslim.

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Isn’t it ironic that while people were out there worshipping “peace”, they just happened to lynch somebody outside their gate on suspicion of being a “non-believer”? What say Mahesh Bhatt? What should be done now? Close the temples again? I am sure Rahul Gandhiji has an answer: People who go to …

Presidential poll : Fighting on the wrong side of history

The BJP  fielded Ramnath Kovind as its candidate for the President of India. The BJP’s continued Dalit outreach unnerved the Congress, which decided to field … Babu Jagjiwan Ram’s daughter.

The difference could not be more stark or more fitting : on the one side a Dalit born in an ordinary family who rose to become a Supreme Court lawyer, not to mention holding several other legislative and constitutional posts. On the other side, the daughter of a powerful politician with her many flatterers in media and Lutyens’ Delhi.

What a way for the Congress and liberals to give a thumbs down to the aspirations of Indian youth. When it comes to the secular establishment, privilege attained purely by birth is the only thing that ultimately matters. Pretty much exactly like caste.

It is quite understandable therefore that the Congress, a party of political feudal lords, would field one of their own high born political princesses for the highest Constitutional post in India.

On the other hand, it is quite laughable that the Congress thinks elevating a political princess who just happens to belong to the Dalit caste, is somehow an answer to the BJP’s sustained engagement with Dalits.

Quite simply, the Congress and its retinue of liberal flatterers don’t see the difference. And even if they knew the difference, it wouldn’t matter because they are simply fighting on the wrong side of history.

Whether India’s so called secular left likes it or not, the RSS/BJP today is offering to Dalits a very powerful narrative of Hindus coming together to reclaim the greatness of their nation. Why was there a Dalit cascade in favor of Modi in 2014? Why is it, that despite every possible propaganda effort from the establishment to throw the Modi government out of favor with Dalits, the results of Uttar Pradesh 2017 were an exact replica of the results of May 2014?

The ‘secular’ left consoles itself with the belief that somehow the Sangh Parivar is full of closet casteists and it is only a matter of time before they get exposed in the eyes of Dalits. The ecosystem is always in a hurry to spread every real or imagined ‘news’ story that seems to show that such a phenomenon is finally happening.

Their fatal weakness is that they have never considered the possibility that they might be wrong. When Modi came to the holy city of Varanasi and replaced a powerful Brahmin leader as Murli Manohar Joshi, a message was sent.

What was the message? The message was that the BJP would make room for merit, no matter what caste or background the person might come from. The same message has been sent today with Ramnath Kovind : that the BJP is a vehicle by which a person of humble background can reach the greatest heights.

But what did the Congress expect? They convinced themselves for a while that the BJP’s new focus on OBCs and Dalits would lead to “Brahmin anger”.

But that never happened. The Brahmins stuck with BJP as always. And the OBCs and Dalits came to the BJP fold in large numbers.

Today it is Modi, an OBC. Before this it used to be Vajpayee, a Brahmin. Who knows who will lead the BJP tomorrow? It could be a Dalit or a Brahmin or maybe a tribal. Whoever leads will have to rise through the ranks instead of being born with a golden ticket. That’s what people see today.

The Congress party and its political zamindars are missing the fatal weakening of the caste system.

In the eyes of the Congress party, the typical Dalit is a person who is full of hatred towards other Hindus. In their eyes, a typical Dalit goes to lots and lots of beef parties. And their economics is supposed to be essentially Communist. Because, for some mysterious reason, Dr. Ambedkar chose to posthumously join the Communist party after despising it all his life.

But the “Dalit” that the liberals think they are speaking to barely exists in this country, if at all. A simple calculation based on NSSO data shows that only about 3% of India’s 300 million Dalits and tribals actually consume beef. To put this number in perspective, let us take the fact that surveys generally show about 5-6% of Muslims voting for BJP. In other words, the BJP does a better job of representing Indian Muslims than the liberal beef lobby is doing of representing Dalits and tribals! The hysterical protesters for “social justice” on the left may kindly take note…

Liberals have to realize that they can’t use caste as some kind of card against Indian nationalism. In fact, for historical reasons, the so called “lower” castes are farthest from the rootless liberalism that creates useful idiots for Pakistan. The “lower” castes never collaborated with British Empire, never enjoyed its patronage and were never socialized into its mode of thinking.

And so if Dalits today see the liberals trying to use caste as a card against Indian nationalism, they will severely punish such elements. Dalits will stand with India much before they stand with elements such as Mani Shankar Aiyar.

The secular establishment should ask itself why BJP manages constantly to expand its base. Each time they try to box in the BJP as a party limited to this group or that group, it manages to expand its base far outside that group. The BJP is able to keep adding Brahmins to OBCs to non-Hindi speakers and more and more.

On the other hand, trying to add Dalit to  Muslim always results in a flop. Mayawati wasn’t the first to try this math and she won’t be the last. This is what happens when you believe a fake version of history and try to add up apples and oranges.

Perhaps India’s secular liberals should consider the possibility that a Dalit is, first and foremost, a Hindu. He/she has no sympathy for Communist movements or for a Pakistani design to tear India into pieces. And so, if the Hindu right manages to communicate a larger design for Hindu unity that goes beyond caste, Dalits will happily join the flow. India’s secular liberals are fighting on the wrong side of history.

When Sagarika Ghose gave Dr. Kalam a lecture on “tolerance”

Quick question : If you had a chance to meet Dr. Kalam, what would you do?

I would try to learn something from him. Even if I don’t understand the details of technology, I would try to learn from his life, his zeal, his hard work and dedication. I like to believe that most of the country would say pretty much the same. There are a million things we can learn from him.

But then, there is Lutyens’ Delhi and there is the rest of the country. No sir, the denizens of Lutyens’ Delhi have nothing to learn from Dr. Kalam. Instead, they arrogantly offer to teach him stuff.

What would the denizens of Lutyens’ Delhi teach Dr. Kalam? About “tolerance” of course.

Enter elite journalist Sagarika Ghose. With the Presidential election around the corner, this seems like the right time to read again her epoch making 2002 article in the Hindustan Times. Well, to be fair, Rajdeep and Sagarika produced several gems of journalism during and about 2002, but if there is one that should win Sagarika Ghose a perch of immortality, this one should be it.

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Again, let me ask you this : if you met Dr. Kalam, how would you address the great man? Probably with a  humble “Sir” or maybe even “Respected Sir”. But as Sagarika Ghose mocks us, we are just members of the “Great Indian Public”, with all our silly reverence for knowledge. She is not one of us and I am sure she sees it as a great honor. So, she calls him “Bomb Daddy”.

Why should the Great Indian Public be thrilled about Bomb Daddy? Elite journos on the other hand, only get excited about truly worthy people (tweet compilation by Mediacrooks)

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Ms. Sagarika Ghose then proceeds to give Dr. Kalam a real scolding about the supposedly VIP treatment that she thinks atomic scientists receive. In doing so, she also makes some truly puzzling allegations against Indians in general for …. umm, er … loving science! Apparently, it has something to do with all of the following : (1) Casteism (2) Sexism (3) Hindu fundamentalism.

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????

Don’t tell me to make sense of this extract. I didn’t write that article. She did.

But I guess she has some kind of problem with atomic scientists leading “pampered lives” where they are ferried back and forth to spotless labs. Supposedly, it makes them “loftily distant from the dirty masses”.

On the other hand, in this picture below you can see an elite journalist toiling at the grassroots, far from the lofty lifestyle of atomic scientists.

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Perhaps she wants the government to stop “pampering” atomic scientists. The government could use the money  to ferry elite journalists back and forth in the Prime Minister’s official aircraft.

Next come a bunch of sentences that I never thought any rational person would write in his/her lifetime.

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Science is compatible.. even “particularly compatible” with religious fundamentalism? Science creates an “orthodox and extremist mentality”?

What? If you really love your “humanities” subjects so much, at least read them. Throughout history, science has not created orthodoxy, science has always demolished it! Read history or at least use some common sense.

And then, a reminder to all science enthusiasts out there that Osama bin Laden studied engineering. I guess terror finally has a religion to which it can be successfully linked. It’s not called Islam, but science and engineering…

The article comes to an end with a stern warning to Dr. Kalam about the importance of “tolerance”. I guess she is saying that Lutyens is ready to make peace with Dr. Kalam as long as Bomb Daddy promises to be a good boy and not turn into another Osama bin Laden!

Folks, the reason for reading this old article is not the comic value. Nor the embarrassment that it would cause today to elite journalists. It is to remind the Great Indian Public what your brain looks like on liberalism. Don’t do liberalism or you will become intoxicated like “Udta Lutyens”. Liberalism di maa di … 

 

The Congress’ War on Freedom : Ten years of Emergency you never heard about – II

This is a continuation of yesterday’s post.

(5) The Second Emergency (1971 — 75)

Earlier, we talked about how the Congress party managed to convert a one month war into a five year emergency starting in 1962. However, Indira / India Gandhi realized she could do much better, turning a two week war with Pakistan into five years of Emergency. Well, clearly the plan was to have an emergency that stretched forever; it is just that she lost out in her 1977 gamble.

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The war came and went in just 2 weeks of December. But the Emergency that was declared on December 3, 1971 continued. But India / Indira Gandhi decided to make us surrender our Fundamental Rights in Nov-Dec, 1974, almost three full years after Pakistan surrendered in Dec, 1971.

The purpose of this action in 1974 was of course to protect the nation during the war of 1971, just in case Pakistan managed to get their time machine working.

So these rights just had to go: 

So, Article 14 of the Constitution which grants Right to Equality under the law … gone!

So, Article 22 of the Constitution which gives protection from arrest and detentions … gone!

And of course Article 21 of the Constitution which grants “Right to Life”, including the Right not to be executed without a trial … clean bowled! 

And in case you forgot, the rights under Article 19 (Free speech) were automatically retired hurt to the pavilion the moment Emergency was declared in 1971. It saved them the trouble of having to issue a separate declaration removing the freedom of speech. 

No equality under law, no protection from arrest and detention, no free speech and no right to a trial before getting executed by the state. Remember that this was the situation before the infamous Emergency of June 1975 began. This was the prevailing legal situation when India / Indira Gandhi ji realized that this was still too much freedom and it was time to crack the whip.

(6) The Third Emergency (1975 — 77)

This was supposed to be the final fall of the guillotine on freedom in India. As bad as the already existing emergency of 1971 was, Indira / India Gandhi decided to impose another even more stringent emergency in June 1975.

Things moved swiftly:

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Remember the earlier order of 1974 destroying the protection of Articles 14, 21 and 22? That was too soft, because those orders applied only to individuals arrested under certain laws related to national security. The 1975 order was “unconditional”, i.e., the protections under Article 14, 21 and 22 were no longer available to anyone no matter which law he/she happened to have been arrested under.

And for good measure, the government decided to amend the already draconian MISA act to add a new Section 16-A, which said that the government no longer needed to even disclose the grounds on which someone has been arrested.

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But even that was not enough. Remember the First Amendment of 1951 which created a new Ninth Schedule in the Constitution? The magic power of the Ninth Schedule created by Nehru was that any law placed in there would be immune from all judicial review. This family jewel that had been handed down from father to daughter was now pressed into service.

India / Indira Gandhi then moved the 39th Amendment (1975) to the Constitution. The MISA Act was now placed within the Ninth Schedule, making it immune to all legal challenge. In fact, the “Statement of Objects and Reasons” in the 39th Amendment makes for absolutely captivating reading.

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That’s right : The President, Vice President, Prime Minister and Speaker are holders of “high offices” and because they hold “high offices”,  they are not answerable to courts for anything done while in office in the exercise of their powers. Reads like a death warrant of democracy, doesn’t it?

The last few loopholes of freedom left in the country were plugged by the 42nd Amendment Act, 1976 which by far is the most infamous of all. It is generally well known that this Act gave Parliament unrestrained power to amend the Constitution on any whim or fancy.  It also protected these Constitutional Amendments from being challenged in courts. But one of the lesser known and more amusing parts of the 42nd Amendment is the following :

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Indeed, members of legislatures would no longer be disqualified by courts on the basis of holding “offices of profit”. Only Parliament can decide what is an “office of profit”. While taking over political power, no fascist organization ever forgets to make sure that their members are turning a profit at the expense of the people.  It’s not just about power. It is also always about money. 

This article has already gone on long enough, so I will briefly summarize my objectives here:

You know, court poet historians today will tell you that the Emergency of 1975 was some kind of a one-time mistake that the Congress and Indira Gandhi made. As if the Congress was driving down the highway of freedom, but suddenly made one wrong turn.

Nothing could be farther from the truth. It was a planned and very systematic offensive that began right with the Preventive Detention Act of February 1950. The Emergency of June 1975 was merely the culmination of a twenty five year war effort. It became a Waterloo for them.

Further, many independent nations of Asia and Africa that were born in the wave of decolonization after World War 2 succumbed to fascist takeovers within a few decades. They were poor nations just like us. The Congress party thought they could do the same with India. To the eternal credit of the Indian people, we resisted successfully.  That’s where our liberty came from.

When the British were building North Block in Lutyens’ Delhi back in the 1930s, they inscribed on a high doorway these words full of contempt:

Liberty will not descend to a people. A people must raise themselves to liberty. It is a blessing that must be earned before it can be enjoyed.”

Don’t let any court poet historian tell you that our liberties descended from above, as a gift either from the British or from the Gandhis. We the people lifted ourselves up to our liberty that we have today.

Jai Hind!

The Congress’ war on freedom : Ten years of Emergency you never heard about – I

If you had your school education in India, you must have been fed every single detail (real and imaginary) about the role of the Congress party in attaining freedom for India. However, chances are that you have been told little or nothing about the Congress party’s war on freedom that they fought in earnest starting from 1950. Since this is the week that leads up to June 25, the anniversary of Madam India / Indira Gandhi declaring Emergency, it seems like a good time to tell this story.

Since the Congress’ War on Freedom was a long and protracted conflict, I have tried to break it down into a series of steps. Please keep in mind though that I am neither a historian nor a legal scholar, so there might be several others steps that I don’t know about. I apologize in advance for any such omissions.

(1) The war begins : Preventive Detention Act (1950) 

The Constitution came into force on Jan 26, 1950, officially making Indian a sovereign republic.

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“Preventive Detention” meant that people could now be picked up by the state and thrown into jail if the government was satisfied that they might commit certain crimes.

My favorite thing here is how prompt Nehru was in passing this Act on Feb 25, 1950, giving a middle finger to individual freedom within a month of the Constitution coming into force. What a rocking start for Indian democracy under the guidance of the Dear Leader…

Also to be noted is that the Act was initially to remain in force for just one year. At the end of the year, the ruling party wanted more and more and the act just kept getting extended over and over all the way till December 31, 1969 (and it was made permanent in a new form after that : we’ll get to it later) . From one year to twenty years. Power once taken from the people is not easily returned.

(2) Free Speech dies quickly : First Amendment Act, 1951.

During the period 1949-50, the Indian judiciary delivered two significant whacks to the Congress Party’s censorship initiative. The first involved a Delhi government bid to gag the RSS mouthpiece Organiser. The other was related to a Madras government bid to gag the Communist inclined magazine called ‘Crossroads’.

Within a week of losing in court, Home Minister Sardar Patel complained bitterly to Nehru, saying that the ruling:

knocks the bottom out of most of our penal laws for the control and regulation of the press.

Yeah! No kidding! [Insert ironic laugh here]

Again, the Congress party wasted no time. They decided that enough was enough and it was time for India’s young constitution to see its first ever amendment.

The First Amendment did the following two things, both essential steps in the War on Freedom.

(a) First, it imposed “reasonable restrictions” on free speech. The government now gave itself sweeping powers to curtail speech on the grounds of preserving “public order, decency or morality”. The moral police became the official police, with the full backing of the government.

The super highway of freedom was now reserved for the state and its preferred notion of “decency and morality”. The people were relegated to the sidewalk with its “reasonable restrictions”.

If it is any consolation, I assure you that Free Speech died a quick and painless death after only one year of the Republic. It didn’t have to suffer too much.

(b) The second part thing that the Amendment did was more mischievous. The Amendment added a new Schedule to the Constitution : the Ninth Schedule.

The Ninth Schedule was like a charmed coat of armor protecting a mythological hero. Any law that the government decided to put inside this newly created Ninth Schedule would no longer be subject to judicial review (Article 31-B).

Feel like doing something unconstitutional? Just gift wrap it and put it inside the Ninth Schedule. It will magically get immunity from all legal challenges. Clever, no?

We will see later how this gem of legislation was passed down the family from father to daughter and came in really handy in 1976.

Fun Fact: In a landmark judgement, a nine judge bench of the Supreme Court decided in 2007 to remove such blanket immunity for stuff placed in the Ninth Schedule. 

(3) The First Emergency (1962 — 1968) 

Well, we can’t hold this one against them, right? After all, you would need some emergency powers during the five year period of the Indo-China war from Oct 1962 to Jan 1968.

Wait, what? A five year war between India and China? When did that happen?

Never.

The Indo-China conflict lasted about a month. But the Congress used it to impose a five year emergency. Maybe they just conveniently forgot to give us back our Fundamental Rights.

It is perhaps important to explain here what exactly happens to our rights during an Emergency. The Emergency powers of the government are mostly described in Articles 358 and 359 of the Constitution.

(a) Article 358 suspends all Fundamental Rights contained in Article 19 (Free Speech, Freedom of the press, Freedom of peaceful Assembly, Freedom to move freely throughout India, etc.) This comes into force automatically when the Emergency is imposed. The mute button on free speech is pressed automatically with no need for a separate declaration.

(b) Article 359 gives the President the power to issue declarations suspending the right to move the courts for enforcement of Fundamental Rights. This means that these rights are not automatically suspended when Emergency is proclaimed. The President must give explicit orders to suspend these rights.

It should be noted that the Emergency Articles 358 and 359 were substantially weakened after the 44th Amendment Act, 1978. What I have described above is the law as it used to be when Nehru imposed the Emergency in the 1960s and when Indira / India Gandhi imposed it in the early 1970s.

Five years of emergency for a one month war. So much for liberty! 

(4) Maintenance of Internal Security Act (1971) 

Remember how the Preventive Detention Act (PDA) of 1950 was allowed to expire in December 1969? Now why would Indira / India Gandhi let go of such delicious power?

The answer lies in the fact that the PDA (1950) had one very annoying provision : it was temporary. Every few years, the legislature would have to go through the exertion of having to renew it. Although the original act which was intended for just one year had no trouble getting renewed for twenty years, such exercises that are even of cosmetic value to democracy have no place in India / Indira Gandhi’s scheme of things.

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Now we are talking! Ye hui na baat!

The Preventive Detention Act was now enacted as a permanent statute in the form of the Maintenance of Internal Security Act (MISA).

Atal Behari Vajpayee, Lal Krishna Advani, Devi Lal, George Fernandes and Lalu Yadav are some of the big names that were arrested under MISA.

It should be noted that the MISA had nothing to do with the Indo Pak war of 1971. The MISA was passed in July of 1971 as a permanent statute, whereas the Indo Pak war happened in December of 1971.

 

The ground had been fully prepared. Two decades after 1950, it was time for Indian democracy to die.  Only the final blow was left. In the title of this post, I mentioned TEN years of Emergency. We have only yet accounted for FIVE. We’ll talk about the other FIVE years tomorrow. And that of course is the juiciest part. Thanks for reading 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

It’s always open season for Hinduphobia

So my Facebook feed tells me it’s “Father’s Day”.

Well, I am old enough now to be cynical about these things but I don’t want to spoil anybody’s fun. If people want to spend a day feeling warm and fuzzy about how much their dads have done for them, no harm done. I will even play along..

In fact, here’s TWO wonderful things my dad taught me that I remember every moment of my life.

(1) There is nothing free in this world.

(2) Nothing is ever accomplished by brute force; you have to use your mind.

Makes me feel warm and fuzzy! Thanks dad! I guess I am not cynical after all; and I am really happy about that.

But guess what? Inside the mind of every elite journo there is a little microprocessor that is capable of taking pretty much anything and turning it into an occasion for Hinduphobia. Because when it comes to hating Hindus, it is always open season.

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Who knew that even something as simple and innocuous as “Fathers’ Day” could turn into a vehicle for insulting Hindus?

I wonder who would like to have a dad like the one Jesus had. His father abandoned him even before birth and then got him killed in an extremely cruel way for the sins of others! That’s just horrific. 

I wonder if India Today would have the balls to point that out.

But, I can better that one.

You know the kind of dad I would NEVER want? Here, read this.

 

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Yeah, I would never want a dad who swears “unwavering loyalty to Mussolini”.

What do you think, India Today? Dare to write about this one?