Here is what dhimmitude looks like

When the serial blasts in Mumbai happened, I was a very small boy. I didn’t really understand anything… except that something very scary had happened and everyone was talking about it for days. I remember hearing “RDX” and I remember the name “Dawood Ibrahim”. I asked my parents why we couldn’t put the guy in jail and I was told it’s because Pakistan has developed “new clear weapons” (I had never heard the term “nuclear” before). All I understood is that Pakistan just has to press one switch and the “new clear weapons” will kill us all.

I was terrified. I couldn’t sleep many nights.

As I grew up, I slowly began to understand what a terrorist attack is. There were so many memorable ones. Coimbatore blasts. Mumbai blasts. Again Mumbai blasts. And more Mumbai blasts. Mulund. Ghatkopar. Zaveri Bazar… Commandos locked in gun battle with terrorists right inside our Indian Parliament! A terror attack outside the American Consulate in Kolkata. Akshardham in Gujarat. Blasts in Delhi. Blasts in Jaipur. Blasts in Amdavad. Then 26/11.

This was of course, in addition to the continuous reports of bloodletting in Kashmir. We ignored these reports for the most part, because we thought of the whole of Kashmir as a valley of death, more or less.

This is a reality for all of us growing up in India. We know that brutal terror strikes at will. We know that our lives are worth little and soon everybody moves on. They put a positive spin on all this by talking about things like “spirit of Mumbai”.

Somewhere along the way, we developed the superstition that dying in terror attacks is a “third world problem”.  We knew for sure that the century’s biggest terror attack happen in the United States; in New York and in Washington DC.

BUT that was different.

“They will avenge this,” my father shook his head as the news unfolded on our TV screen, “They are not like us that they will sit quietly”.

My father was talking about what he called “white people countries”. They were supposed to value the lives of their citizens. If you kill an Westerner, punishment is certain. Their governments never forget and never forgive such crimes. Unlike India which is very good at just moving on…

We saw ourselves as the soft state. A nation of dhimmies that always fails to stand up to oppressors. Everything we read about our history confirmed this notion.

“White people” were different. They hate losing. When somebody punches them, they take revenge.

Or so we used to think.

Cut to 2017.

Tell me what is your first thought when you see a European city trending on Twitter these days. Has to be another terror attack, right?

It’s become so routine that it’s almost boring. I think it was about two years ago when everybody on Facebook was changing their profile picture to a French flag to show their grief for victims of  a terror attack in Paris. Remember?

I doubt anybody would do that today. Not because we have become any less human. Just that it’s become too routine for people to sit up and take notice.

The reaction in Europe has changed too. The first terror attacks brought with them a sense of disbelief. Back at the time of 9/11, the pre-eminent French newspaper “Le Monde” (The World) ran the now famous headline

Nous sommes tous Americains (We are all Americans)

Things are different now. These days terrorists just pick their favorite European city and do whatever they want. The police and emergency services arrive on the spot to count the dead and to check if there are any survivors. Europeans don’t even get too angry. Instead, they get busy chasing mirages like “multiculturalism” and fighting ghosts like “Islamophobia”.

Apparently, no one has told the Europeans that it’s not paranoia if they are really out to get you.

Instead of getting angry or even sad, Europe has now found a way to actually squeeze out dark humor, even pride in getting neutered every single day by their barbaric enemy.

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True that. The powers in Europe today can only ask their citizens to chew on such dark humor. Because they are unable to secure for their people the basic guarantees of life and liberty, let alone the pursuit of happiness. And Europeans are eating it all up with a spoon, unable to tell the difference. It’s the dark ecstasy of a civilization dancing away to its own death.

Be proud London, be proud. Congratulations, you have snatched the crown of dhimmitude from us.

You know they say that the last stage of grief is “acceptance”, but I think it should really be called “political correctness”. Europe today can’t even feel the pain. Political correctness has given them the kiss of death. Rest in Peace.

Jagendra Singh : The journalist whose death was inconvenient to the media narrative

These days the discourse in the Indian media is high on “freedom”. Freedom of speech, freedom of the press, religious and cultural freedoms, academic and intellectual freedoms. I can open any English language newspaper today and read about how Modi has wrecked press freedom. I can hear them shouting from the rooftops that their voices have been stifled.

Whatever virtues the Indian media might have, irony is clearly not their strong suit.

The voices have recently grown louder with the CBI raid on Prannoy Roy. In a clear violation of press immunity, the CBI raided NDTV and Prannoy Roy in connection with alleged fraud.

Oops! Did I say “press immunity”? I meant “press freedom”. I always struggle with these concepts of having immunity vs having freedom. Anyways…

But there is one voice that I cannot hear. A voice that is gone forever. All that we have left is a few screams on tape.

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That’s the job of a journalist. Asking questions. And Jagendra Singh wanted to ask why “they” had to burn him alive? On his death bed, the helpless man wanted to ask why the “minister and his goondas” could not have given him a lesser punishment, such as beating him up.

Who is Jagendra Singh?

Well, there are journalists who are burned alive and have to beg for the more merciful “punishment” of being beaten up. And then there are journalists who have to be rushed to TV studios and Thinkfests  with severe third degree injuries from getting trolled on Twitter.

Jagendra Singh belonged to the former category. His journalism was a no-frills operation, for he ran a mere Facebook page called “Shahjahanpur Samachar“.  For those who don’t know, Shahjahanpur is one of those sleepy little towns in Uttar Pradesh that never make the news. Shahjahanpur is definitely a bigger town than Dadri, though, but I digress.

On the Facebook page of Shahjahanpur Samachar, this man Jagendra Singh ended up writing extensively about alleged corruption of one Ram Murti Singh Verma, a minister in then Akhilesh Yadav government in Uttar Pradesh.

So, a journalist accuses a minister of corruption. The next thing, the journalist is burned alive and leaves behind a dying declaration (caught on video, no less) accusing the “minister and his goons” of burning him.

What happens next? Does the Press Club hold an emergency meeting to begin a nationwide movement for justice to this journalist? Do intellectuals start returning heaps of awards to stir the national conscience?

No, of course not! The minister in question was secular, a member of the Samajwadi Party. The state of Uttar Pradesh was ruled at the time by the “Achche Ladke” team headed by Akhilesh Yadav.

So, nothing happens. Intellectuals keep their awards. Journalists keep raising awareness against the scourge of internet trolls.

Nothing to see in Shahjahanpur. A few months later, Dadri would go on to happen in “Modi’s India”. That’s when the cameras came, crying aloud for freedom.

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But the law had to take the case to its logical conclusion. Something had to be done about the complaint lodged by Jagendra Singh’s son.

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Oh thank god! Jagendra Singh’s sons had earlier lodged a complaint against the minister. That was before they had a chat with their mother and discovered that his father had planned to threaten self immolation all along. So nice of these two upright young sons to come forward and actually “demand a clean chit” for the minister.

Who says that “ghor kaliyug” has come? It is moments like these that restore our faith in humanity.

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Fortunately, the alleged sole eyewitness in the alleged murder of the alleged journalist (hope I have used “alleged” sufficiently many times) also remembered just in time that it was actually a self-immolation. What an awful  misunderstanding that could have hurt the image of one very upright individual minister in the secular government of Akhilesh Yadav.

Here ends the story of Jagendra Singh. You won’t hear him telling his wild stories ever again. Thank god for that, right?

It’s only a matter of time before Jagendra Singh’s voice on tape also realizes its mistake and ends up “demanding a clean chit” for Akhilesh’s minister. Wait and watch…

Happy Birthday Laloo ji

I really really want to write this post in Hindi, but my internet is a bit slow today and I can’t get the transliteration to work 😦

Hearing that Laloo ji has a birthday today… and it’s a big one too.. his 70th birthday after all.

There was a time when they used to call him “Raja of Bihar”. There was a time when they used to sing: “Jab tak samose mein rahega aalo, tab tak Bihar mein rahega Laloo”.

(It means : Till the time that there is potato in samosa, nobody can dislodge Laloo from Bihar)

These and many other slogans were used by his goonda cadre to terrify innocent people like us.

For me, the most abiding image of Laloo Yadav will always be him in a campaign vehicle, waving to crowds lining the street … exhorting them all with cries of

Bhajpa hatao, Bhajpa hatao (Remove BJP, Remove BJP)

I just want to remind Laloo ji that since that day the BJP has gone on to win a majority of its own in the Lok Sabha, won countless states and installed two Prime Ministers. What has Laloo Yadav achieved since that day?

The man has 80 seats in Bihar, which makes RJD the largest party in the State Assembly. But his name has become so deeply synonymous with corruption that he dare not lay claim to the CM post. He has to hide behind Nitish Kumar.

Oh wait…. he can’t even lay claim to the CM post because I think he is legally debarred from doing so. For he is a convict!

How life plays out…. where is BJP today and where is Laloo’s RJD! Here is Laloo on his birthday, begging people on Twitter for help with his dream alliance project.

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In some ways, Laloo Yadav is a success story for Indian democracy. He might be the most prominent leader ever to be convicted in a corruption case.

You hear that, Laloo ji. Not only did you fail in your life mission to stop BJP, you failed even at corruption!

Everybody knows that the corrupt are never convicted in India. How dumb were you that you actually got convicted?

The joke really is on him.

For me, the other abiding image of Laloo Yadav is him sitting with a bunch of journalists, with his right hand raised … and speaking English in a fake village accent:

One day…one day I will rule this country and I will serve this country..”

No Laloo ji. You won’t rule this country. Not in this birth. But you might get a chance to “serve”. I mean a chance to “serve” jail time. On this birthday pray that your bail doesn’t get canceled.

Meanwhile I will go grab some samosas….

 

Draupadi Murmu has everything going for her, except one!

At the outset, I would say that I rather like the Shiv Sena suggestion of Mohan Bhagwat for President. Just to make the liberals mad. Yes, I know that the Sena came up with the idea just to embarrass the BJP…knowing that Mohan Bhagwat would never get to 50% in the electoral college. But, it’s still fun to think about.

Wait… hasn’t Mohan Bhagwat been trying to trip up Modi for a while now? Remember how much damage his comments did in Bihar. But still fun to think about as President 🙂

So, it seems everything is going well for Jharkhand Governor Draupadi Murmu. She is a woman, she is a tribal.

Modi is a politician who works at many many levels. Gujarat goes to polls in December and that’s one state with a large tribal population. This fact won’t be missed by Modi-Shah. Yes, they are probably supremely confident about Gujarat… but the good thing about Modi is that he leaves nothing to chance.

They knew they were winning Uttar Pradesh, but the PM spent 3 days in Varanasi… just to be sure.

In this trait, he is different from Vajpayee… and shall we say poor Theresa May…lol!

Modi never leaves anything to chance. Numerous electoral victories have not made him even a bit overconfident : if anything Modi-Shah team seems to prepare longer and harder with every election.

The other thing that makes a lot of sense is that Draupadi Murmu is from Odisha. The BJP has been banging down the door in Odisha for the last several months. Appointing a President from Odisha will be another adrenaline rush for an already deeply enthused BJP worker. Now is perhaps the time to prepare for a final assault on Coastal Odisha, where Naveen Patnaik has his bastion.

Ironically for Naveen Patnaik, if Draupadi Murmu is chosen as the BJP candidate for President, he will have to smile as he contributes to his own political ruin. Odisha is definitely in the category of “neglected states”… an Odiya President will be a big thing for the people of the state. It leaves Naveen babu with no option but to vote with the BJP.

At the moment, the BJD has 28 MPs (LS+RS) and 117 MLAs in Odisha. That is a LOT of electoral votes.

Wait…we are still not done! Draupadi Murmu brings still more advantages to the table. As Governor of Jharkhand and as a tribal, she is in some sense “from Jharkhand”  as well. What this means is that the JMM will have no option but to vote for her as well…

I haven’t done the math explicitly, but I believe that the NDA (minus Shiv Sena…which is certain to throw a tantrum) plus BJD plus JMM will easily cross the halfway mark in the electoral college.

But there’s ONE thing that is clearly going against Draupadi Murmu. Modi and Shah like to keep their cards close to their chest and they don’t tell. Murmu’s name has been in the media for months …  if Modi-Shah indeed pick Murmu, this might be the one rare case where the media has been able to know in advance what is in the mind of BJP’s ruling duo.

By the way, I also wanted to express my unhappiness with this kind of defeatist thinking:

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No, seriously, what’s wrong with you Jaggi?

A while ago, The Jaggi wrote in Swarajya asking BJP to pick its battles wisely, the case in point being the rather unnecessary rumble over some Gurmehar something…

I mocked him for saying that… but later I changed my mind and mocked myself for mocking Jaggi 🙂

But, this time… come on…

I am all for picking battles wisely but this seems to be a situation in which BJP should not stoop under any circumstances. Picking the President is a basic privilege of the ruling Party … like every ruling party in history of the Republic of India.

What is out of the ordinary this time?

The thinking of Jaggi seems to be that anything Modi does will become a controversy, so it is better not to assert the authority of the ruling party at all.

A concession to the Opposition on the post of President is basically like telling the Opposition that the BJP is scared to breathe. It will undermine the authority of the Prime Minister and give a signal to the Opposition that the BJP is terrified.

And no… a tactical concession to the Opposition won’t prevent Opposition unity. That’s going to happen anyway in 2019. Even if Modi were to propose Sonia ji for President of India…. lol

If anything, the BJP providing a President that is “acceptable”  to all will make the Opposition feel like they have got the upper hand in the battle of nerves. They have NEVER beaten Modi … they will take the slightest success as a great victory.

We have to remember that in 2019 the arithmetic will be against the BJP. The only thing that can carry Modi through the 2019 election is the morale of the BJP worker.

In 2014, they all underestimated Modi. It was different. This time they are overestimating him. They will take all precautions and get every single Opposition vote together.

This is the time to keep the BJP worker enthused… in a state of confidence where they don’t believe they can lose. A bit like the Australian cricket team of old. Not the time to see concessions from the top.

The Indian farmer as a political prop and why the Congress is fighting a lost cause

Every two bit reporter knows that crying about “farm distress” is an easy story to do. Since most of their viewers or at least most of the viewers they care about live in towns and cities, they know nothing about farmers. The image they have is of a man tilling his field with a plough and two bullocks from dawn to dusk every day.

So, cry “farm distress” and every urban or semi-urban viewer will feel guilty. Most news channels even have a standard background picture ready for such stories : an old farmer with a wrinkled face, wearing a dhoti either with his hands spread out in despair or with his face in his hands, crying. Behind him is a panel of dry land that is cracking up…

It is true that lakhs of farmers suffer. Farmer suicides are a blot on the country.  Whoever is in the opposition always wants you to believe it is the fault of the ruling party. But what is really killing the farmers is their own land. It’s a harsh truth that no politician wants to tell the farmers. Instead they want to tell the farmer that they have a magic pill to solve their woes … raise the minimum support price, waive the farm loans, etc.

Except that these things have never worked. Ever. They have only kept Indian farmers on a slow death drip.

Modern agriculture is exactly that … modern. It requires sophisticated technical knowhow and modern equipment. It’s not a low skill occupation like journalism 🙂

Farming is a high skill job. You need to ensure maximum productivity despite uncertainties of weather, rainfall, possibility of drought and disease. Scientists work on this stuff their whole lives in big labs. To implement the outcomes of their research, you need people with high skills and training.

Instead, farming in India is done by people with almost no skills. Yes, I have a lot of respect for the “hands on experience” handed down by generations. But that’s no substitute for modern technology. That is why Indian farms are among the most unproductive in the whole world.

The other thing is that farming is a business. Each farm is a small business and needs a business like mind to run it. Are our small and marginal farmers really capable of running a business?

So what is the solution? Not everybody can be trained to have high technological and business skills. The solution is to do exactly what every other country in the world has done : you have to have corporatization of the farm sector.

And what happens to the small farmers who work on the land now? Well.. they work either on corporate farms OR they get jobs in the industrial sector. And that’s actually a way better life. Not everyone can run a business.

Right now the Indian farmer lives through a cycle of uncertainty every year. He begs before the government for hiking the minimum support prices and for loan waivers. He prays to God for better rainfall. All this pain can end once and for all if the farm sector is finally corporatized.

But in our socialist country, “corporate” is a dirty word.

The Modi government started out the right way, by introducing the Land Acquisition Bill. But then it developed cold feet over the suit boot ki sarkar jibe and withdrew the Bill. Has the Bill actually passed, the process of finally moving India’s low skilled labor out of agriculture sector would have started. But alas…

What is happening in Madhya Pradesh (and Maharashtra) today is but a logical outcome of the farm loan waiver in Uttar Pradesh. You cannot give a farm loan waiver to farmers in one state without farmers in other states asking for the same. And when the state government makes a bad mistake, like in Mandsaur the other day, the Opposition will feel like they have a chance to claw back into reckoning.

Not this opposition. No. Rahul Gandhi can come for a day and fly back to Delhi. Nothing will move on the ground. Rahul is yet to realize that these episodes of getting over-excited over a specific event are not paying dividends. They cried buckets over Rohith Vemula. What was the outcome?

On the ground, Shivraj Singh Chouhan is a much more effective politician than any of the Congress troopers in the state. A mistake has been made, but the government and the media will move on. The election is more than a year and a half away.

The mistake that Rahul and most of his media are making is that they think the Modi mandate is built on sand. They keep thinking in terms of “Ek dhakka aur do“. Just one push and farmers, Dalits, youth…whatever will desert the Modi camp en masse. The Modi mandate will collapse.

Rahul made a tour of every campus in the country… FTII, JNU, University of Hyderabad and perhaps more… hoping to get the urban youth on his side. Results? He is probably the biggest joke among the urban youth today.

Rahul and the entire secular opposition thought Rohith Vemula had given them their one big opportunity. Results? The BJP not only won Uttar Pradesh, they held on to practically every single vote they had got in 2014.

In between, the Congress has been lending moral support to various agitations : Jat agitation, Patidar agitation, Kapu agitation, Maratha agitation. Every single one of these proxy attempts failed.

What happened to “Jat anger” in Western Uttar Pradesh? I think BJP’s strike rate in the region was around 90%! In Maharashtra, Fadnavis successfully got the Maratha morchas to fizzle out and the BJP has only tightened its grip with every local election there. And we all know what is going to happen to the Patidar agitation in Gujarat later this year.

The Congress cannot make it as a part time political party. ALL of these movements and causes that I mentioned above could have become vote getters for Congress and the opposition in general if they had the leaders to channel the anger properly. The problem is that these “movements” are happening in the hands of jokers like Hardik Patel or Jignesh Mevani. Or that Chandrasekhar fellow who is leading “Bhim Army” in Uttar Pradesh. Or they simply go leaderless, like the Maratha Morchas in Maharashtra.

These jokers who “lead” sudden mobs have no depth, no strategy and no ideas. They make too many tactical errors and soon everything fizzles out. This is exactly what will happen in Madhya Pradesh. So, a few mobs went on a violent rampage in the state for 2-3 days… which by the way, is a great way to lose support. There’s a good monsoon in the offing … and farmers need to get busy. On top of that, Modi is a very practical politician … and all these farmers will get a loan waiver anyway before the next election comes around. The Congress is not even in the picture.

I hope Rahul ji enjoys his 1-2 day stay in Madhya Pradesh. Get some pictures clicked. Go to Bandhavgarh National Park. Do some sightseeing in Khajuraho. It’s not going to matter.

Does it make sense to become social media Gandhis?

This post is not against anyone at all. Just because I am a person with a quick temper does not mean I have to be attacking someone all the time 🙂

Rather I just want to discuss something using a specific person only as an example. I have a lot of respect for this person and all that he has done to break the liberal dominance in media.

I am talking about Rahul Raj. We all know him as @bhak_sala. I think most of us are fans. I have written posts in support of him when he was defamed in the Rajya Sabha.

But recently, Rahul Raj (Bhak_sala) has been raising certain issues about the Right Wing on social media. It is all too easy to dismiss him as a maverick or worse… as some kind of “defector”… LOL!

I think the Right Wing should discuss what Rahul Raj is talking about. And I want to give my personal strategic view on this. Yours may well be different (and more clever).

I think this is a fairly representative example of what Rahul Raj has been talking about recently.

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Is this true? No, I am not talking about the gangrape story he mentions. I’ll trust him fully on that.

I am talking about the latter part of his post. Has social media evolved to become a reflection of the mainstream media? Too absorbed with its own agenda to actually care about anything else?

My answer : maybe!

But, my counter question is : so what?

You know Gandhiji essentially felt that we as a nation were “fallen” and being ruled by foreigners a sort of punishment for our sins. In order to stand up and be free, we would have to earn that liberty by purifying our “fallen” society.

Now, there’s nothing inherently wrong in Mahatma Gandhi’s observation that Indian society in the early 1900s was beset with numerous ills. Of course Mahatma Gandhi fought against these social evils.

But the question is how did the British ruling class perceive Gandhi’s effort to “purify” Indian society? And this is not just limited to Gandhi  or his time. How did the British perceive “social reform” movements in India?

As an opportunity, nothing else. For them, social reform movements in India were an admission of the inherent inferiority of the Indian people. It provided an intellectual basis for keeping the “natives” under the boot of the “civilized” British.

Take this quote from a prominent Brit of that era:

“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.”

Do you know that these words were engraved by the British at the entrance to North Block where they remain to this day?

The heart of Lutyens’ Delhi. The British ruled from there. The Sonia establishment still rules from there. And both of them have the exact same message for the masses of India : you are not good enough for liberty. Go out and raise yourselves up and then we’ll see if we can give you some liberty.

The strategy is the exact same : here is how the exchange goes between the masses and the establishment.

Masses : We want liberty! Give us liberty.

Establishment : That’s awesome. We in the establishment would love to give you liberty right now.

Masses : Yay! Then, give it to us.

Establishment : We would love to. BUT …

Masses: But what?

Establishment : But we just have these tiny concerns about how you guys treat <insert group>. We are just worried that if we give you liberty < group > may face some injustices. 

This is the crucial part of the conversation between the masses and the establishment. The masses are still thinking, because they know there is truth in the criticism they just got from the establishment. Finally, a “Gandhi” emerges from the crowd.

Gandhi : (to the masses) The establishment is right, my friends. How can we ask for liberty when we don’t deserve it? We have to lift ourselves up by reform. 

Masses : That Gandhi is right. We are so impure. We have to go back and reform ourselves first.

Establishment : Excellent. Glad we agree. Can we keep the seat of power safe for you while you are busy reforming yourself?

Gandhi : Sure…why not. 

Establishment : Bingo!

And that, folks, is how the establishment keeps ruling us. Each time we go back they point out another flaw in us. And while we get busy reforming the new flaw, they keep the power.

Think about how the establishment keeps political assertion of Hindus at bay. What about caste atrocities? What about treatment of women? Yes, there’s been a lot of reform, but we should always be busy with more. Go ahead and drive out the sexism inherent in the Rakhi celebration. How can you be so cruel to animals on Jallikattu? Have you no mercy for the environment on Diwali?

Go ahead and reform yourself. Meanwhile, the establishment will keep all the power. They are just waiting for you to become “perfect” so that they can hand you liberty.

The establishment takes on social media challengers in exactly the same way. You want to democratize the discourse? You want to pull it out of the hands of a few compromised journalists and intellectuals based in and around Lutyens Delhi? Sure… the establishment wants the same… but they just have some “concerns”.

They are concerned about “trolling” and “online misogyny”. They in the establishment are worried about social media pushing its own bias and agenda. Please go make social media perfect. Meanwhile, the old media will keep all the power while the social media challengers leave on a quest to become perfect human beings.

Does it make sense then to become a “social media Gandhi” like Bhak_sala wants us all to be? Should we all set off on a quest for perfection leaving the mainstream media to enjoy its power indefinitely?

I think not.

Bhak_Sala’s stance reminds me of Balaram who arrives just at the end of the Mahabharata war to see Bhim hitting Duryodhana below the waist. Balaram charges at Bhim with his plough, ready to slay the Pandava for violating the code of honor. But Krishna intervenes.

The era of Kali has begun and the laws of a previous age cannot apply.

Don’t be Balaram. Be a Krishna.

Serious Question : Has the media ever written an article critical of Sonia Gandhi?

So, yesterday was a time of much glee for the right wing as NDTV’s Prannoy Roy finally was shown his place. If Modi can touch the king of dynastycrooks, he can touch anybody. This realization sent a cold shiver through Lutyens Delhi. You can sense the fear and surprise in the panic tweets posted by the cocktail elite.

Relax Ram Chuha relax. Sit down. Don’t strain your vocal chords. You have a lot of screaming left to do. The party has just started. The fun is only beginning.

Coming back to earth, just because there has been one raid on Prannoy Roy doesn’t mean that the objectives of the Right wing have been achieved. It never ceases to amaze me how much hold the Dynasty has over the media.

By the way, I have a suggestion : BJP should now spread the “news” of “Modi unhappy” over the CBI raid on Prannoy Roy. Wouldn’t that be delicious irony? LOL!

Speaking of which, I have a serious question:

Has the Indian media ever written an article critical of Sonia Gandhi?

This question has always been in my mind, but I have never actually gotten around to asking it.

Any example will do. Of course, it is preferred if the article was written during the 2004-2014 period, but honestly, I don’t think that is even possible. At least, someone somewhere must have written something critical of Sonia Gandhi. At least after 2014.

Even today, with Congress reduced to ruling only one large state and with 44 MPs in the Lok Sabha, we have to strain hard to find a line of criticism against Sonia Gandhi. It tells you all you need to know about the “establishment” and the “deep state”.

 

The only way perhaps to understand Sonia Gandhi is to think about “Big Brother” from George Orwell’s 1984. It is never quite clear whether Big Brother is an actual person.

I have sometimes wondered the same about Sonia Gandhi. Is she a real person? I turn on the news media and I can hear Sonia Gandhi speak in a thousand different ways through every elite news anchor out there. But we never actually know if Sonia Gandhi said anything.

Just like in Orwell’s 1984, the large posters of “Big Brother is watching you” are everywhere. On every screen. But is Big Brother really watching? Did Big Brother actually say anything? Does Big Brother even exist?

The infamous “Sonia unhappy” meme can be understood similarly. We tend to understand “happy” or “unhappy” in a very ordinary human sense. Not so with Big Brother or Sonia Gandhi. Sonia ji can be “happy” on one channel and “unhappy” on another. It is meaningless to talk about Sonia ji’s “actual feelings” because there is no such thing. Her “feelings” are just establishment propaganda, which changes as per the audience, the context and the instructions of the day.

This was best illustrated that one time Salman Khursheed told a rally somewhere in UP that Sonia ji had cried on seeing the dead terrorists at Batla House. When confronted about this, the Congress party explained that no such thing happened.

What was more interesting was Khursheed’s defense : where he explained that this was “just an anecdote”.

Huh? An imagined anecdote?

It actually makes perfect sense when you realize that Sonia Gandhi is just an “idea”, the face that the establishment chooses to present before the world. According to the choice of the establishment, the face can cry or not cry or even do both at the same time. 

To understand their “idea of India”, you have to understand the “idea of Sonia”. 

Raids on NDTV : So what?

It happens every other day in India. Raids by some branch of law enforcement  : police, CBI, ED, IT sleuths on some individual or some business. Jewellers get raided, factories and their owners get raided. Politicians and industrialists get raided. Film stars and cricket players get raided.

So why does it matter if a raid happens on NDTV? Why is the reaction different? Here are just two samples.

Why such extreme rhetoric? No, Mr. Praveen Swami, the last time this sort of thing happened was probably last week. Check local news reports from all across our vast nation. I am sure you will find that some business owner or executive was raided by police during the last week.

In fact, such raids have probably happened somewhere or the other in the country on every single working day for last several decades. And Indian democracy is doing just fine.

But that’s probably not what Praveen Swami had in mind. He was talking about businesses that sell a very specific product : news.

If a jeweller or shopkeeper is raided by law enforcement, it’s not an assault on democracy.  If you raid a newstrader, only then is it an assault on democracy.  Huh. Why?

The media would probably chafe at the term “newstrader”, as if it is some kind of insult. What’s wrong with being a trader? Business creates wealth. If only Nehru and his descendants had understood this simple fact, they would not have led us into a four decade long disaster of aligning with the wrong side of history.

But no, the media looks down on the word “trader”. In an attitude that can only be described as Brahmanical, the media claims to live in some higher intellectual heaven. What they sell is more than just a product, it is some kind of divine prasad that we should be eternally grateful for.

I checked. According to the Ministry of Corporate Affairs, there are over 15 lakh registered companies in India. NDTV is just one of them. Nothing more, nothing less.

If media in general and/or NDTV in particular has a heightened sense of self, or some sense of entitlement, that is their problem. You know, like this :

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No, NDTV you are not an “institution of India”. You are just one of the 15 lakh + companies in the country.  Get over yourself.

The same sense of entitlement operates when you see conventional media bash the social media. The most common technique is to dismiss social media as “trolls” and the most common smear is to call them “misogynist”. Well, this Prime Minister has always used social media to get his message out. And on social media, his every word is scrutinised and dissected and examined in a way conventional media never could.

Again, if the conventional media thinks that a handful of their media workers could do a better job than the collective intelligence of the masses, it is really their problem. Technology has always gotten rid of low skilled jobs and it may just be the turn of the old media.

In short, media is a business. Privately owned. Privately operated. Be prepared to operate within the same system as every other business. I can’t believe they expected anything else.

A Saturday : One Bengali renounces Indian secularism

A wish from Rabindranath Thakur :

Chitta jetha bhoyshunyo, uchcho jetha sheer … Bharatere sei sarge koro jagorito (Where the mind is without fear and the head is held high … let my Bharat awake into that heaven of freedom)

Words from Gitanjali (1910). In independent India of 2017, imagine if the poet were to look up to the sky for inspiration and tried to put his vision into his own words. The poet would not be allowed to describe the blue sky as he chooses to in his beloved Bengali language. Instead he would face a fatwa from the government of West Bengal to call the blue sky “aasmani” instead of “akaashi“. If the poet wanted to describe the rainbow, he would have to call it “rongdhonu” instead of “ramdhonu“.

His words would become restricted. The poet’s spirit would wither away.

 

Where is Indian secularism and what has it done for me?

Of late, I see numerous articles from eminent liberals warning Bengalis about the expanding empire of BJP ruled states. They say Modi is coming to impose the culture of the “cow belt” on West Bengal.

Apparently, the “North” will take over. They will take away my Bengali language and force me to speak Hindi (I already speak it fluently, don’t worry). They will take away the regular meal of beef curry from my table and replace it with paneer (just like almost all Bengali Hindus, nobody in my family eats beef, don’t worry).

Dear liberals, I am more similar to those “invaders from the North” than you think. On the other hand, you and I probably have nothing in common.

So, stop warning me about the dangers to my Bengal and my Bengali culture from the rising tide of BJP. Tell me what your Indian secularism has done for me before you shed crocodile tears about Bengal.

Let me tell you clearly. I don’t have any confidence in your Indian secularism. Can it protect me when the need arises? Take our National Anthem:

Punjab, Sind, Gujarat, Maratha… 

You must know these words, again written by Rabindranath. Tell me, where is Sind? Show me Sind on the map of the Republic of India. Can you? What happened to Sind and to the Hindus there? What happened to their homeland and their culture?

Again from the National Anthem :

Dravida, Utkala, Banga.

Where is Banga? I only know about West Bengal. There must be an East Bengal somewhere. Where did it go and what happened to the Hindus there?

Was secularism able to protect the Hindus of East Bengal? No, as a matter of fact, this whole joke called “idea of India” was built on the bones of millions of Hindus of East Bengal.

 

Why did Indian secularism throw away the lives of Hindus of East Bengal? Is it not true that they threw these lives away because they were impatient to rule from Delhi? Today, their biological and intellectual descendants have come to teach me “idea of India”.

 

The only “idea” in “idea of India” in 1947 was this : throw away the lives of millions of Hindus (and Sikhs) of West Punjab, East Bengal, Sind and others so that we can rule from Delhi.

Trying to emotionally blackmail Bengalis today with the same “idea of India” is a sick joke. Secularism took away East Bengal. Today, all it can give us is renaming the leftover West Bengal simply as “Bengal” or “Banga”. Could it be any more pathetic?

I am being told to fear the so called “Hindutva forces”. Really? Is that the real fear?

What happened to Hindus in the Muslim majority regions of India that went to Pakistan in 1947?

In the Republic of India, there was one … just one large region where Muslims were a majority. Kashmir. What happened to Hindus there? They were marched out of the state and became refugees forever.

There are 57 Muslim majority nations spread all across the world. They could be as rich as Qatar or as poor as Somalia. Tell me what is the status of democratic, religious and cultural freedoms in these countries.

How do Muslim majority nations behave across the world?

How have Muslim majorities treated minorities in parts of the Indian subcontinent that broke away from India in 1947?

How have Muslim majorities treated minorities even inside the Republic of India?

Now tell me why I should not be worried as district after border district of Bengal turns Muslim majority.

Why should I believe that the pattern that has repeated in every corner of the Republic of India, in every corner of the Indian subcontinent and indeed in every corner of the world will not repeat in say West Bengal or Western Uttar Pradesh or Kerala or Assam?

Are you asking me to believe in magic? At least you should say so openly.  I do not believe in magical sky gods. Perhaps you do.

Now tell me what is the real danger to my personal security, my way of life and my culture.

Does Indian secularism wish me well? Will it give me a fair deal? Can it protect me?

I see liberals burning Manusmriti every day. In fact, I think that the sales of this book are driven almost entirely by liberals buying it just so they can burn it. Go ahead, for it is your right. But would these liberals ever dare to burn the …. ? You know what I am talking about. Are you saying that no oppression of human beings is carries out in its name?

Everything I need to know about Indian secularism and liberalism is already clear from that comparison.

Yesterday, I happened to read a much talked about article in The Hindustan Times by Naseeruddin Shah. Here is the last paragraph of this article and I guess it was meant as some kind of punchline

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I have too much respect for the acting of Naseeruddin Shah to accuse him of malicious propaganda, so I will only express pity for his ignorance. Because I have never seen a more spectacular example of an author destroying his own argument.

Mr. Shah, you should know that Mohammed Iqbal who wrote “Saare Jahaan se achcha Hindustan hamara” in 1904 became a rabid Muslim separatist in the 1920s. He was one of the leading lights of the idea that Muslims cannot live in a Hindu majority democratic India. His close collaboration with Jinnah laid the intellectual basis for Pakistan, with Iqbal often coming across as more extreme than even Jinnah in believing that separation of Hindus and Muslims was inevitable.

Now add to this the fact that Mohammad Iqbal was a great scholar, with a Bachelors degree from Cambridge and a Doctoral degree from Munich. That’s even more impressive if you imagine the attitudes towards Indians in colonial Europe of more than 100 years ago. Great scholar and great literary master and yet Iqbal became the rabid Muslim separatist that he was.

If a brilliant and educated man as Mohammad Iqbal can become a danger to Hindus …

I am sure Mr. Naseeruddin Shah can explain why I have nothing to worry about. Or can he?

Since I was a child, I have been taught about the greatness of Indian secularism. The media writes about it non-stop. Cable news blares about it incessantly.

It’s as if Nehruvian secularism is the state religion. But what has it ever done for me?

So today I renounce it. I renounce Nehruvian secularism. This is my dissent.

Yes, I understand that I have been late in my realization. But what do I do? I am not a media celebrity nor a full time propagandist.

I am just an ordinary person. I have my compulsions. I have to be busy during the week with my everyday job so that I can put food on the table.

You tried to divide my Bharat over caste on a Monday.

You tried to divide my Bharat over language on a Tuesday.

You tried to divide my Bharat over veg and non-veg  on a Wednesday.

You tried to divide my Bharat over North and South on a Thursday.

You divided my Bharat on August 15, 1947. That was a Friday.

I am only replying to you on a Saturday.

 

 

The Left tries to divide India with every breath it takes

Politics is about rhetoric. Much of what politicians say is all rhetoric, their promises, their agenda and their actions. We the people are used to this. Even when we are wildly cheering someone along, mentally we are always toning it down a bit because we know that politicians tend to exaggerate.

We recognize rhetoric. We generally filter it out even as we listen to a politician speak. It keeps us sane.

BUT, filtering out what we think is rhetoric is also fraught with danger. Because sometimes the threat may be staring us right in the face and we refuse to recognize it because we think it’s just rhetoric.

So, I was browsing through the madness on Twitter ever since the Modi government came up with the notification on cattle markets. Here is Shoaib Daniyal, the chief intellectual goon at Troll.in

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The left today is in a dark place. In this deep dark place, even High Court judgements are broken down by region.  They see this verdict as some kind of revolt by a Southern state against alleged oppression coming from the North.

Why such absurdity? What the hell does this have to do with “Dravida Nadu”? And what is Dravida Nadu?

Because today, the left lives and breathes hatred for the Indian nation. They said it very clearly : Bharat ke tukde. Don’t dismiss it as pure rhetoric. They mean every word.

This poisonous agenda has been coming out of every pore.

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With every breath, the left struggles for its dream of tearing India apart. North vs South, East vs West, veg vs non-veg, upper caste vs lower caste.

Okay, so, what happens now:

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So what do the leftist intellectuals of India do with the Kerala HC order now? Is Kerala going to get kicked out of Dravida Nadu then? But … wait… Kerala with its large support base for Commies is supposed to be ground zero of Dravida Nadu. Ah…what a betrayal!

I know how to proceed. Why don’t leftists dig up the name of the Kerala HC judge in this case? Is he from an “upper” caste? Bingo! Here is the chance to tear India apart on yet another level. Begin a struggle for Dravida Nadu that is free from upper castes. If the judge is not from an upper caste, accuse that specific subcaste of being a “chamcha” of “upper castes”.

You say Dravida Nadu 1, Cow Belt 0.

I say India 1 Leftists 0

I don’t just like that last sentence, I even like the sound of it.