India’s determination has reduced China to the level of a Twitter troll

When talking about the dragon, there is always the obvious danger of speaking too soon. But it has to be remarked that while India has held its line with quiet determination, China’s response has become more and more comical. What is that old saying about barking dragons seldom … ? Anyways…

When the standoff in Doklam began, the Chinese establishment threatened us with war everywhere from Kashmir to Uttarakhand to Sikkim to Arunachal. The Global Times began a daily ritual where this or that Chinese “expert” would rant about China’s overwhelming military superiority.

Indians who grew up in the 90s are probably familiar with this kind of internet rant. They were a primitive form of trolling that Pakistanis used to post on Rediff’s message boards. Those were the days…

One of the more comical lows was reached when another Chinese “expert” warned of a “small scale military operation within two weeks” in which they would seize Indian soldiers in Doklam. The “expert” even went on to say that the Chinese government would inform the Indian Foreign Ministry before the operation.

One wonders how the “expert” forgot to give us the exact date and hour of the attack.

It is difficult to take such troll posts seriously for too long.

For a while now, the Chinese have been remarkably insecure about India, overreacting to the smallest things. For instance, nobody in India would have even noticed that a recent NASA image made India look brighter than China. That is unless the People’s Daily (official mouthpiece of the Communist Party) went out of its way to assure the Chinese people that their country has more electricity than India does!

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What makes these tantrums look comical is that most Indians already concede readily the massive economic and military edge that China enjoys over India. Instead of speaking like the hefty superpower that most Indians perceive China to be, why is China reduced to speaking like Zaid Hamid?

I swear to God that some of those Global Times “editorials” were one step away from threatening “Ghazwa-e-Hind” and promising to establish “Radio China Delhi”.

 

If I remember correctly, that guy was considered too embarrassing even for Pakistan television after a while. It is anyone’s guess why China wants to speak in a manner that would leave even Pakistanis squirming.

After threatening to blow India to bits, the Chinese finally attacked … with stones!

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The supposedly professional army of a wannabe superpower reduced to the modus operandi of common terrorists and common criminals? Was this planned or plain indiscipline in the ranks of the Chinese Army? I am almost embarrassed for the Chinese here.

So the Chinese tried it all : from childish threats to troll posts on the internet to pelting stones. You know they are out of ideas when they made this painfully stupid video.

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No real response is needed to this one, because the Chinese themselves have done a fantastic job of turning themselves into a worldwide laughing stock.

This just in : Aware of the PR disaster with the first video, the Chinese are back with a second video which they feel will finally turn the tide for the ‘heroic’ PLA.

All this while, India has stood calm and sober. Unwilling to be drawn into silly verbal clashes about whose daddy is stronger. The Chinese have been reduced from threatening war to small scale military operation within two weeks… to making racist videos. India’s determination has reduced China to the level of a Twitter troll.

Before giving sermons to BJP, the Catholic Church should examine its own pacts with Fascist Mussolini

The Church has done it again. As per a report in the Gaon connection, a magazine run by a church in Goa has ended up comparing the democratically elected NDA governments to the Nazi regime in Germany. In doing so, it has accused the present government of carrying out a “constitutional holocaust”, a nonsensical term that is sure to find pride of place in liberal vocabulary.

Before indulging in such hyperbole and instead of accusing others of being “like Nazis”, the Catholic Church and its flock would do well to examine (and admit) their own historical connections with Hitler and Mussolini.

Did you know there was a time when the Catholic Church saw Mussolini as a man sent by God?

Indeed, when Italy was born as a country in the second half of the 19th century, a lot of the unification happened at the expense of the “Papal states“, which were lands held by the Pope. When stripped of its moneybag, the Catholic Church revolted against the Italian government, excommunicating the King and even forbade Catholics from voting in Parliamentary elections … a fatwa if you will.

Who did the Catholic Church see as the messenger of God that would bring all this democracy and secularism to an end?

Fascist Benito Mussolini, the savior.

In the early 20th century, as the Fascists began to consolidate their power in Italy, they found an eager ally in the Pope. Let David Kertzer, professor of Italian studies at Brown University, explain in this interview to NPR (you can also read about it in his book The Pope and Mussolini)

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And yes, Mussolini’s fascist rallies in 1933 would begin with a morning mass performed by a Catholic priest.

Interestingly, as the World War drew closer, the Church did have some doubts about supporting Mussolini, but the break never actually happened. The reason they had these doubts is not what you might suspect. The real reason makes for absolutely chilling reading.

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That’s right.

But of course, with more practical considerations in mind, the break with Mussolini’s Fascist Regime and the Catholic Church never happened.

Did I mention that Mussolini gave the Catholic Church a cool 750 million lira in cash and another 1 billion lira in government bonds? When offered that kind of money, fascism can’t really be a roadblock, can it? (Here‘s from TIME Magazine on June 17th, 1929)

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If you happen to be in a mind to dismiss these as old failings of a long dead Pope, I should remind you that the Catholic Church subscribes to the dogma of “Papal infallibility”. Simply put, this means that the Catholic Church officially believes that no Pope can ever be wrong. 

Yeah…that’s a real thing. Check it out here. Indian liberals would have made fun of it if the Pope wore saffron.

So Mussolini and the “infallible” Pope of the Catholic Church were allies. History.

Today, Manohar Parrikar is too much of a fascist for them.

You cannot change history, but fortunately for our eminent historians and intellectuals, you can always lie about it.

Meet Dr. Naqeel Ansari, the hero who saved many lives in Barcelona

This is a news report, or rather a compilation of news reports, from the near future. I decided to beat the mainstream media to the punch in writing it.

In  the first minutes after the tragedy in Barcelona, where a self driving van (which had no religion) plowed into a crowd of innocent people, it was Dr. Naqeel Ansari, an immigrant from India, who held the fort for humanity.  As cries of pain and anguish filled the scene, Dr. Ansari was seen offering the victims water, tea, wet tissues and blankets at his own personal expense.

Incidentally, Dr. Naqeel Ansari, who was in the driver’s seat of the van when it plowed into the crowd, explains that the self driving van had offered him a lift.

Heeding the example of Dr. Ansari, who also happens to be Vice President of the local Muslim Refugees Association, several other Muslim inhabitants of the area were also seen pitching in to help. One of them is shown in this picture below :

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Unfortunately, soon after the story of Dr. Naqeel Ansari began to go viral, winning hearts across the world, the right wing troll brigade on social media began frantic attempts to malign him.

Some Twitter users dug up old reports showing someone of the name Naqeel Ansari accused of providing forged documents to illegal immigrants wanting to impersonate those with genuine visas. Another report mentioned one Naqeel Ahmed Ansari being accused of rape. Still others found an anonymous Twitter handle that goes by the name of one Dr. Naqeel Ansari based in Barcelona, from which several pro-ISIS tweets had been posted.

It could not be independently verified whether any of these allegations actually refer to Dr. Naqeel Ansari. However, speaking to reporters of the Slime of India, Dr. Ansari explained that these were “past controversies”. Later, speaking to the Puffington Post, Dr. Ansari declared :

“I am an Indian … umm err… Spainard!”

Renowned journalist Barkha Bhat hailed Dr. Ansari on Twitter as a “patriot, hero and human being”.

Needless to say these allegations are false and reveal the Hindutva brigade’s bigotry. The keyboard warriors of Hindutva are unable to accept that when their heroes failed, it was a Muslim who stood up as a human being and a doctor. And even if the allegations are true, they are actually still false because who says that a sinner cannot be a hero?

Meanwhile, the Coup Express newspaper sent reporters to Dr. Ansari’s native village in UP’s Poorvanchal to find out more about him.

Incidentally, the Ansaris have an illustrious heritage. Their family has been an integral part of the freedom struggle, going to jail several times both before and after Indian independence. Their grandfather was a noted freedom fighter, who played a prominent role in the Khilafat movement for the independence of the Ottoman Caliphate of the Turks.

Today the living room of Akhtar Ansari, who works as a mafia don in his spare time, is full of photographs of the Ansari family with other freedom fighters.  He speaks fondly of the time Naqeel Ansari was Vice President of the students union at Aligarh Muslim University.

After completing his studies, Dr. Ansari dedicated himself to social work in Indian Occupied Kashmir. However, in the early 90s, when the valley was invaded by Brahmin Twitter trolls with state support, Dr. Ansari had to flee. Thereafter, he spent several years as a refugee in West Asia before finally finding his way to Spain.

As Vice President of the Muslim Refugees Association in Barcelona, Dr. Ansari has been a leading voice for the welfare of all Spanish citizens, most recently speaking up for the growing sense of insecurity among Muslim refugees in the country.

Meanwhile, Dr. Ansari has been invited by the Indian left wing website The Dyer to inaugurate its Arabic edition on this upcoming Republic Day, 2018.

Tale of two democracies : is toppling of a Confederate statue in the US different from demolishing Babri Masjid?

A rally against racism in the US state of North Carolina. Protesters gather in Durham county, around a statue commemorating Confederate soldiers (those who fought for slavery during the American civil war) placed in front of the Courthouse.

The chants go up:

We are the revolution! We are the revolution!

Amid these rising chants, a ladder is put up and a protester climbs up to the pedestal where the statue stands and puts a noose around its neck.

Then more and more people gather and pull on the rope … and keep pulling till the statue tumbles to the ground and breaks.

People stomp on the fallen statue, kick it and spit on it repeatedly. Much cheering and applause from the protesters amid cries of :

No Trump! No KKK! No Fascist USA

This event and the reaction to it, especially from the Global Left is extremely interesting. There does not appear to be any real call for condemning the act and the mood seems to be distinctly celebratory. For example, The Atlantic explains (and rightly so):

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Fair enough, really. Right outside the courthouse in Durham, there used to be a statue celebrating the people who fought for slavery! How were black people supposed to feel when they walked past that statue into the courthouse? Could they really expect justice?

From a democracy thousands of miles away, we see questions that can be raised about our own. Let me ask this boldly:

Is the destruction of a Confederate statue in the United States different from the demolition of Babri Masjid in Ayodhya?

How do we make a distinction between people who were cheering the pulling down of the statue in North Carolina from those who chanted “Ek Dhakka aur do”?

How is a Hindu supposed to feel while visiting Ram Janmabhoomi only to see a mosque at the spot?

Hindus have faced systematic persecution for their religion under centuries of Islamic rule in India. Would the feelings of a Hindu upon seeing a mosque at Ram Janmabhoomi be that different from a black person upon seeing a statue of a Confederate soldier with a gun outside an American courthouse?

Nobody in the United States would ask African Americans to embrace the history of slavery, the Confederacy and monuments celebrating it.

It would be even more far fetched to ask African Americans to embrace symbols of the Confederacy as a mark of America’s racial diversity! Isn’t it interesting then Indian Hindus are asked to embrace the Babri Masjid as a symbol of our composite culture?

History can be painful. And even though we today can do nothing to change it, destruction of a single symbol that comes to acquire sudden significance can often prove cathartic to a people.

There are literally hundreds of Confederate monuments across the United States; but this one in Durham, North Carolina suddenly became important.

During the 1789 revolution, the French stormed the Bastille and razed it to the ground, because the infamous prison was a dreaded symbol of tyranny. Incidentally, a mere seven people were actually in that prison, but what mattered was the symbol that the Bastille had become. The Fourteenth of July, the day of the storming of the Bastille, is today France’s most important national holiday. In 2009, Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh was the guest of honor at the official Bastille Day parade in Paris.

Is it possible that one monument can acquire similar significance for Hindus in that they see it as a symbol of their humiliation?

Sadly, in our country, even the most benign of attempts to soothe the pain of Hindus … such as renaming Aurangazeb Road … have been met with howls of disagreement and accusations of “communalism”. These howls have come not just from garden variety liberals, but also from historians in academic positions in India and abroad.

In desperate attempts to draw a distinction between subjugation of Hindus in India and say black Americans in the United States (see here for example), these historians have been clutching at straws. These straws generally consist of pointing out factoids like Hindu kings being allies of the Mughal emperor, presence of Hindus in courts of Muslim rulers and the like.

However, it is easy to see that similar excuses can be made for almost any system of oppression. History is never a pet of any one ideologue. Because history is something that happened in real life, it always has curious subplots built into it. For example, there were actually Jews who collaborated with the Nazis. This curious subplot cannot be used as a counterpoint to the much larger event of Nazis systematically mass murdering the Jews.

In fact the August of 1947 marks not only the time of British withdrawal from India. Strictly speaking, we should be celebrating not just independence from the British, but also from over 500 different sovereign rulers who controlled large parts of India! Again, we don’t let these subplots interfere with the main narrative.

It should be fairly similar (and elementary) with Muslim rulers and their Hindu subjects. The larger narrative of persecution of Hindus, of being made to pay Jaziya taxes, of destruction / desecration of temples and even massacres on occasion … cannot be held hostage to anecdotes of some individual Hindus making deals with Muslim rulers.

Slavery and the Confederacy in the United States ended a long time ago. The protesters who came to the Confederate statue in North Carolina with chants of “No Trump” were also trying to interpret the current political environment through the lens of past injustices.

The Hindu sense of grievance is a justified and real thing. It is for us as a nation to do the right thing and acknowledge it. Instead of bullying Hindus for talking about it and trying to shame them into silence.

This Independence Day, a hurray for social media as well!

You might think I am kidding. On Independence Day, instead of first remembering say… the soldiers at the border … or say the scientists at ISRO who always make us proud, I am busy applauding people who write on Facebook and Twitter?

Well, that’s because I am a nobody. Who am I to write something like an “Independence Day address” outlining all the achievements and challenges before the nation? I am only providing a tiny addendum to all the important things that we talk about on Independence Day.

So I am going to remember the small folk… the everyday commoner who pitches in whatever s/he can to weed out lies from the flow of information in public discourse.

In a democracy, information is everything. Because citizens depend on that information to make choices at the voting booth that ultimately decide the future of the country.

And the woe is that the information business has become hopelessly corrupt. And the information business does not consist only of news channels, newspapers and news websites, it also consists of intellectuals who live in universities, train scholars and write textbooks for everyone from primary school to college. They are all in the business of collecting and processing and interpreting the information that is available to citizens.

This corrupt business thrives because individuals cannot possibly cross check every bit of information they come across. Fact checking, cross referencing and contextualizing information are difficult and time consuming tasks.

But social media levels out the playing field. By pooling our knowledge together and pitching in whenever we can, common people have provided a net so strong that the corrupt tycoons of the information business feel trapped by it. Even suffocated by it.

The recent and most shining example of this is that of Kafeel Khan and the Gorakhpur tragedy. I have seen this cartoon making its rounds on the web for years, but the Gorakhpur incident has made it look almost literally true.

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If social media had not aggressively started digging up Kafeel Khan’s history of being accused of rape, the private clinic he runs in the name of his wife and where he sees patients from 9 AM to 9 PM despite being on duty at the govt hospital…

Imagine…

Finally, it comes out that Dr. Kafeel Khan might himself have been stealing oxygen cylinders!

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And this man was being paraded by the media as patriot and hero and savior! He might be the monster who literally stole the breath out of the infants’ lungs.

Take a bow anonymous tweeters and not so anonymous tweeters. You have done a service to the nation.

Let’s always remember that the two amazing pillars that give social media give its power are

(1) Scientific & technological advancement that makes social media possible

(2) Freedom of speech that allows us to say what we want

And let us resolve to always stand rock solid in favor of both.

Meet Dr. Kafeel Khan : when a story is too secular to be true

Place : Gorakhpur, home of saffron clad ‘communal’ CM Yogi Adityanath.

Victims : Kids & infants dying by dozens.

Savior : A Muslim doctor

This is why I did not open my mouth even once on Gorakhpur tragedy in the last 2 days. Because I knew that media would be salivating so madly on this juicy story that they were bound to overlook facts.

I knew that when a story is too secular to be true, it probably isn’t true at all. 

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I don’t actually believe in luck, but this amazing series of coincidences is forcing me to think otherwise. Maybe Barkha celebrating somebody really does bring that person bad luck…

Even some of the ‘born again secularists’ on ‘our side’ were so eager to be “in” with the hip secular crowd that they jumped.

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Not all media favorite stories are true. And not all people are smart enough to wait for facts before running with media headlines. Thank you Rahul for reminding us of that.

Bhak sala!

Ah, so now it seems that hero cum patriot cum human being Dr. Kafeel Khan actually runs a private hospital for children in the name of his dentist wife.

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Now let me show you what fact checking looks like.

Okay, why do I think that Dr. Kafeel Khan runs his wife’s hospital? Why can’t it be his wife running her own hospital. Because his wife is a dentist. And what’s the private hospital for? It’s a hospital for children. And what does Khan saheb do? Well, he’s a paediatrician.

Makes sense now?

Good!

Now let’s see if an alternative narrative sounds appreciable. A typical corrupt medical doctor at a large government hospital runs a huge practice on the side. Supplies that are meant for the government hospital are diverted to the doctor’s private hospital and THAT is why there is a sudden shortage. When disaster strikes and kids begin to die, the doctor realizes he is probably going to get arrested and scrambles to obtain oxygen cylinders out of his own pocket. Because of his religion, a motivated media makes the No. 1 villain into a hero. And a patriot for good measure.

Note: I am not saying this is what happened. I am just asking you to tell me whether you think this chain of events is more likely than the cock and bull story that media was trying to sell to us.

What shows up next is a shining example of social media fact checking taking down a grand media lie. Hats off to the person who found this!

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Dr. Kafeel Ahmed enticed a woman to come to his nursing home and then raped her along with his brother?

Hero. Patriot. Human being. Not all heroes do this by the way.

Stop! The story says “Dr. Kafeel Ahmed” and not “Dr. Kafeel Khan”. Could be a different guy, no?

Let’s see… the story also says that the accused Dr. Kafeel Ahmed invited the victim to his hospital on Rustampur Nahar Road. Let’s run a quick Google check for Medispring Hospital owned by Dr. Kafeel Khan.

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Located at Nahar Road, Rustampur. That should seal it.

And look what else Google threw up in the lower left corner?

It even gave us a photo of the front of Medispring Hospital, with Dr. Kafeel Khan (Pediatric) in huge letters. I don’t even see a mention of his wife, who is supposedly a dentist and the real owner of the hospital. How much more evidence do we need that Dr. saheb was running an illegal private practice?

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But wait, there’s even  more awesomeness in Dr. Kafeel’s life.

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Caught in 2009 impersonating someone else in Medical certification exam!

Dr. Kafeel Khan. Patriot. Hero. Human being.

Fraud accused in 2009? Rape accused by 2015? Hero by 2017?

Not all heroes wear capes. Even fewer would forcibly strip a woman. 

If a story is too secular to be true, it probably is false. 

UPDATED TO ADD: Just learned that Dr. Kafeel Khan has now been asked about these accusations and he doesn’t even deny them!

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Yeah, why would “past controversies” come up now that he has become a hero and patriot as per Barkha Dutt?

And of course he is too modest to provide evidence that he actually paid for 3 oxygen cylinders from his own pocket. Not all heroes are so shy… well done Kafeel bhai!

Understanding a Dynasty loyalist : Case study of Karan Thapar

These people refer to others as “Bhakts”

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From time to time, I am sure you must have wondered like I do : what is behind this unending loyalty of certain elements to the Dynasty? Their political party is decimated to just 44 seats. It’s out of power pretty much all across the map. What institutional favors could these Karan Thapar types possibly be chasing?

Well, you need to understand that these people are not like most of us. And Karan Thapar explains exactly how. Read what he says :

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That’s right. In 1976, the Emergency was at its peak. All the Fundamental Rights of the Indian people had been gutted. Numerous leaders were in jail. The PEOPLE were suffering.

But the Karan Thapars of the world weren’t suffering.  They were having breakfast with Indira Gandhi at Safdarjung Road and then heading off with the Prime Minister to watch movies at Rashtrapati Bhavan!

Do you think Karan Thapar did not enjoy the fact that he and his family were chilling in the President’s royal mansion on Raisina Hill while common folk were filling jails and/or striving under the boot? Their BOOT!

Being ruling class is awesome. It really does feel great. It’s not for nothing that people do so much for power.

Have you ever felt “exclusive”? Do you realize how seductive that is?

I’ll try to tell a story as well. In my whole life, I think I have had only 4 hours of being “exclusive”. I was coming home to India after some 2 years… and striving for the cheapest possible flight, I had booked a journey requiring a horrific 20 hour connection time at Abu Dhabi airport!

Okay … so after a gruelling 19 hours on the floor of overcrowded Abu Dhabi airport, I sleepwalked myself to be the first person in line to board.

And then… the gate agent ripped my boarding pass straight out of my hand. I was scared for a second, but then she smiled and said this:

Sir, you have been UPGRADED to FIRST CLASS!

I’ll never forget the next 4 hours of being in freaking FIRST class. Never ever. I was really disappointed when the flight began to descend into Mumbai.

The feeling of being in luxury, the feeling of being served and obeyed and treated as special while the “cattle class” fought for breath in the back of the plane. When I got off the plane, I felt like I was 6 inches taller.

That’s just a few hours of being “exclusive” by pure chance. Now think how Karan Thapar felt his whole life.

No wonder it is difficult for Karan to accept today that one of those same teeming millions could be walking up the steps of Rashtrapati Bhavan, while he is limited to writing syrupy reminiscences in cheap newspapers.

We have to understand that “THEY” are not like us. When you or I see Rahul Gandhi today, we see a young spoilt brat who has achieved nothing in his life. We don’t have fond memories of breakfast at Safdarjung Road or movies at Rashtrapati Bhavan.

This reminds me of the time Rahul Gandhi tried to present himself as a “man of the people” by telling people that he got bitten by mosquitoes while visiting Bundelkhand in Uttar Pradesh.

Here’s the thing. We have actually been bitten by plenty of mosquitoes in our lives. When a mosquito bites me, it’s not such a big event that I can actually remember the date and time and place years later 🙂

It’s not really the fault of the Shehzadas of the ruling class that they were born this way. I am not a socialist or communist that I will rail against inherited wealth. But political power is a different thing. In a democracy, that belongs to all of us. And for parasites who have made their money and power by hanging out with powerful political dynasts, I have nothing but contempt. Hatred if you will.

Modi’s reply to Hamid Ansari was masterpiece oratory

I can guarantee you Hamid Ansari did not sleep that night.

Being a Congressman is one thing. And being an absolute scumbag is another … well not so quite another thing. But there used to be a difference, at least.

People like Hamid Ansari remind us why the Congress should never ever be allowed to come close to power ever again.

For the last three years, this Ansari person has been an absolute disgrace to the post of Vice President. He has been little more than a political Muslim and has not said anything that shows him to be Vice President of 1.25 billion Indians. He’s been just that : a narrow minded political Muslim.

Needless to say, the secular brigade has rejoiced each time he has attacked Modi sarkar with his narrow minority mindset. Of all the ways they praised him, I found it most hilarious when they tried to claim that Vice President Hamid Ansari has “moral authority” or is some kind of “conscience keeper”.

Why? What has Hamid Ansari done to deserve “moral authority” ?

Hamid Ansari was not elected by the people to be India’s Vice President. I actually had to go to Wikipedia to find out about his career before that. It’s a joke. At least Pranab Da had held numerous important ministries in his career and was well known in public life. Maybe Pranab Da would have some moral authority… I don’t know. But this Hamid Ansari is a two penny diplomat who was elevated probably due to hanging around at 10 Janpath wagging his tail. How does this clown go strutting about like he has “moral authority”.

Authority? Lol! It’s more like he had a collar around his neck.

The second most hilarious thing is when Hamid Ansari talks of “insecurity” of Muslims in India. Ansari has spent time in West Asia. Of all people he should know that Muslims are washing up on Europe’s kafir shores by the million… because they can’t live any more with their barbaric brethren back in their home countries. Ha! Indian Muslims are living peacefully in India… okay for the most part, when they are not spreading “peace”.

But I see. He is using the post of Vice President to tell Indian Muslims that they are “insecure”. And it just so happens that his mafia don relatives like Mukhtar Ansari are in the business of providing “security”. Keep it up, brother!

But I will tell you what is not hilarious. What is not hilarious is that the man was Vice President for 10 years and we are only now getting to hear about his family connections with infamous mafia don Mukhtar Ansari.

Ten whole years! Last 3 years spent lecturing on the “insecurity” of Muslims. And not one question faced on how his family is in the mafia don business. THAT my friends is the power of establishment secularism.

Here I was sleeping soundly not knowing the dangers posed by the man in India’s No. 2 constitutional position. THAT is the power of establishment secularism. Hindus don’t even know how insecure they are.

So when Modi showed Ansari his “aukat” on Thursday, it felt wonderful. Of course, a master orator does not waste 500 words of outrage to get back at petty Hamid Ansari. Modi summed it all up in 1 minute.

And what a minute it was!

A masterful mix of contempt, wit, humor and taunts,  all rolled into one single fireball of sarcasm wrapped in fake humility!

It was in one minute that Modi reminded Ansari that he was from the cocoon of Islamic thinking … from the theocracies of West Asia to Aligarh Muslim University and the minorities commission.

The taunt had the desired effect in the appropriate corners. I reproduce here my tweet in full, for I feel no moral obligation to stay polite about Hamid Ansari.

And here’s Vinod Dua of The Wire : “You can take Lakhuram out of jhopad patti but you can’t take jhopad patti out of Lakhuram

In short, here’s how it went down :

Modi to Dynasty slave : You are stuck in narrow minded Islamic fundamentalism. 

Dynasty slave to Modi : You …you… ummm… err… you were born poor! Ha Ha! So poor! My owners are rich. You still have the jhopad patti in you… you poor man’s son! 

You know what you slaves? Being a poor man’s son is not a crime! And it’s not even an insult. Not even remotely so.

By the way, did I mention that Hamid Ansari is going to spend this upcoming independence day inaugurating the Urdu edition of The Wire? LOL!

This worm crawled back into the same cocoon, just like Modi said. Ha!

 

Thank you Amit Shah for the entertainment

You win some. You lose some.

But you have to fight. And you must not just fight, you must be SEEN to be fighting. So that your millions, perhaps hundreds of millions of supporters can SEE that you share their hostility for the evil Dynasty.

Anybody who remembers the BJP between 2004 and 2013 will know what I am talking about.

I’ll say it : when Arvind Kejriwal came forward in 2012 saying that BJP & Congress are actually “friends behind the curtain”, I almost believed him. I could see no reason not to.

But things changed since Sept 13, 2013 when Narendra Modi became BJP’s PM candidate.

Earlier this week, we could SEE the light of battle in the eyes of Amit Shah, even as he sat alongside Gujarat CM Vijaybhai Rupani waiting for the results of the Rajya Sabha cliffhanger.

We could see the Dynastycrooks fighting with their backs to the wall and Amit Shah fighting tooth and nail to punish them.

And that is something that is reassuring. It is all too easy to get cynical about politics, to say that “nothing has changed”. But when you see the right hand man of the Dynasty scampering to save a Rajya Sabha seat he used to take for granted, you can feel the wrath of new India expressed through Modi and Shah.

Hindsight is always 20/20. Yes, there were lots of mistakes, some mistakes that are truly puzzling by Amit Shah’s standards. At the top of the table are the two nincompoop Congress MLAs who ended up showing their votes and got invalidated. But even more puzzling are the 6 (or 8 according to some reports) numbskull Congress MLAs who actually resigned from the Assembly. If they had just held on to their seats and cross voted on the day of reckoning, Ahmed Patel would have lost miserably.

Whose decision was it to make the Congress MLAs resign instead of staying put and cross voting? Nobody other than Amit Shah himself should be blamed for this tactical disaster.

Did Vaghela play a game of double cross? Even though it is hard to see what he gains from this.

While fighting hard is one aim, it is not an end in itself. The bottomline is that Shah lost and each defeat has to be dissected brutally. Or else, losing becomes a habit.

The true winners do BOTH.

The first lesson from this result is that Congress still retains shades of its old instincts. When pushed to the wall, the Congress still knows how to fight back. And as we saw during the late night drama at the Election Commission, it’s power within institutions is still very significant.

In some ways, this has been the story of the last 3 years. As the tide of Modi has ravaged the electoral landscape, Congress friendly institutions have remained secular fortresses. This could be anything from universities to commissions to the Lords who cannot be named.

I am not asking for an India with no checks and balances. That would be a terrible fate. But it is galling that India’s ruling party has little to no influence within India’s institutional core, while the Congress has so much. It is a gap that is understandable … the elaborate system of family favors underlying this institutional power often goes back decades to periods even before independence.

Who knows which person’s grandfather gave young X the crucial promotion that let him into the big league? Today when X is a big powerful man, he remembers that favor from the grandfather. If the granddaughter is in trouble with the police, why not help her out and repay the favor?

The second lesson from this is that Rahul Gandhi does not even have a single straw of leadership skills in him. Amit Shah was out there, with his workers, with his party, managing every battle effort till the bitter end. Rahul Gandhi on the other hand had bolted, leaving his minions to fight. Rahul was too shy to be seen fighting with his troops and too arrogant to be seen celebrating their victory with them. That this man still has a shot at becoming India’s PM one day is a national embarrassment.

Did NDTV conduct a fake interview with Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan?

For the past few weeks, the political violence in Kerala resulting in killings of RSS workers and also CPM workers has become a major national story … Kerala government has said it is just propaganda, but how do they explain the violence and the fact that even Congress is now protesting in the state? Well, to take all these questions we have with us Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan speaking for the very first time on this issue. Sir, thanks very much for speaking to NDTV

These are the words of NDTV anchor Sunetra Choudhury on Aug 7, 2017 as she began speaking to the Kerala Chief Minister

Any reasonable viewer would have assumed that this is a typical exchange between a politician and a journalist.

What happened next is rather comical. As Sunetra Chowdhury poses each “question”, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan waits, then raises his eyebrows, looks down on something before him and then appears to read out prepared responses right on air!

The first possibility is that NDTV handed prepared questions to CM Vijayan in advance so that he could prepare written responses. In that case, would it not have been fair for Sunetra Choudhury to have made this explicit to her viewers?

Should the viewer not have been warned that what s/he is witnessing is not an exchange between a politician and a journalist, but rather two actors performing from a prepared script? That NDTV is not broadcasting news but showing “news theater”?

But then, a reasonable viewer would never have expected NDTV to be anything but news theater.

The second possibility is even more chilling. Did the Kerala government or the Communist Party of India (Marxist) prepare the questions and hand them to NDTV to be asked on air? This kind of act would bring to mind visions of Communist Commissars reading out the “party line” to party mouthpieces.

We would like to know explicitly if NDTV aspires to be (or already is) the Indian version of China’s Global Times “newspaper”. Actually, you know what, don’t answer that!