Let not ‘BJP ka Gandhi’ get away easily

In the backlanes of Uttar Pradesh, Varun Feroze Gandhi is referred to as the “BJP ka Gandhi”. It’s a reference indicative of what’s been perhaps the 29-year-old poet-politician’s central dilemma in life so far: the struggle to carve an independent identity for himself outside of the Nehru-Gandhi legacy.

His cousin, Rahul, has been bequeathed the keys to the family business. His aunt Sonia is the Supreme Leader of the Indian National Congress. Varun, and his mother, Maneka, have always been the ‘outsiders’, blessed with the surname of India’s most powerful political family without any of the privileges. Which is why the so-called ‘other Gandhis’ have been forced to look for career options. Maneka has found her niche in the world of animal rights activism. Varun too, judging from the content of his speeches in Pilibhit, also now appears to have found his feet as the BJP’s new Hindutva posterboy.

When Varun joined the BJP five years ago, it was an important moment for the party. For decades, the BJP has had to live in the political shadow of the Nehru-Gandhi family. While the dynasty was seen as the sophisticated Brahminical elite of Indian politics, the BJP, and its earlier avatar of the Jan Sangh, was dismissed as a ‘bania’ party of petty traders and ‘sanghis’. The entry of professionals – journalists, bureaucrats, armymen – in the 1990s went a long way in ending the isolation and enhancing the acceptability quotient of the saffron outfit.

Varun’s entry ended the ‘untouchability’ of the BJP once and for all: if an LSE educated member of the Nehru-Gandhi clan could join the BJP, then how could the party be treated as a pariah any longer? The fact that he was the son of Sanjay Gandhi, the face of the abhorrent Emergency, hardly mattered. He was, above all, the great grandson of Jawaharlal.

In fact, within weeks of Varun joining the party, there was a section of the party that was already projecting him as the generation next leader of the BJP. He was even almost pushed into contesting elections in 2004 itself, till someone in the party remembered that the young man wasn’t even 25 and therefore was ineligible to contest the elections.

The desire to have Varun as a BJP face wasn’t just about ending the monopoly of the Congress over the Gandhi-Nehru family name; it was also designed to defeat the Nehruvian political project. Central to the Nehruvian ideal has always been the belief in a secular state that would protect all religions without any distinction. For the BJP, this model of secularism was based on ‘appeasement’ of minorities and needed to be rejected.

The secular-pseudo secular debate has been at the core of the Hindutva ideology and has played a major role in the rise of the BJP in the last two decades. For the sangh parivar , Nehru was, to use the words of a sangh ideologue, “the leader of a perfidious operation that led the country to surrender to Islamic separatism.” What better way to hit back at the much-reviled Jawaharlal than to have his great grandson question the very essence of his legacy?

Which is why Varun’s rhetoric in Pilibhit – the kind which might make even a Bal Thackeray blush – should come as no surprise. Varun was not given special treatment in the BJP so that he would be just another politically ambitious young man waiting his turn. He was catapulted into the arclights to fulfill a particular role: a member of the Nehru-Gandhi family who had wholeheartedly embraced the Hindutva ideology.

That he chose his mother’s constituency of Pilibhit to make his inflammatory remarks is also not unexpected. With a substantial Muslim population, Pilibhit has a history of communal trouble. In the 1930s, resolutions moved in the central legislative assembly to ban cow slaughter had sparked off violence in the region. If today, Varun seeks to revive the cow slaughter issue it should be seen in a specific historic context: as a well-read young man Varun probably knows that this is just the kind of issue that will have an emotional appeal in the region, and could polarize the electorate in his favour.

And yet, there will still be those who will ask just why Varun chose this moment to take up a potentially divisive campaign when his party leadership itself has shown the capacity to look beyond its traditional revivalist agenda, and focus on issues of governance. The simple answer: he probably thought he could get away with it. Had it not been for an alert and enterprising media, he probably would have got away. After all, hate speeches have been made routinely in this country in recent times, yet no one has been really punished.

The only senior political figure who has been held guilty by the judiciary of hate speech has been Bal Thackeray in 1999, that too 12 years after the original offence was committed. The Shiv Sena big boss was initially deprived of his basic right to vote and contest in elections for a period of six years, but even here the punishment was later commuted to just two years. This, despite the fact that Thackeray has been unapologetic and explicit in his venomous speeches and writings against the minorities for over forty years now.

Narendra Modi’s Gujarat Gaurav yatra in 2002 was laced with invective against the minorities, the election commission issued warnings and notices, yet could do little else as Modi stormed to victory in the ensuing elections. In 1984, the Congress publicity campaign spread fear and hatred towards the Sikhs, yet it wasn’t banned. Nor did it stop Rajiv Gandhi from becoming the prime minister. Whether it be political imams who appeal for votes in the name of Islam, or Hindu leaders who target the minorities, little has been done to actively enforce existing legislation against hate speech.

Perhaps, Varun too will eventually get away, and in all probability, even win his election from Pilibhit. Once the media frenzy settles, it is even possible that Varun will be lionized as a gutsy individual by those who believe that such rhetoric is necessary to put minorities ‘in their place’. Maybe, this is the inevitable price we must pay as a nation for having allowed our politics to degenerate into a snake-pit of divide and rule.

And yet, if we have any faith in the idea of India as a multi-religious society with a republican constitution, we must not allow Varun to get away so easily. That’s the least Jawaharlal and our founding fathers would expect of us.

By Rajdeep Sardesai
Source: IBN

27th February: Death Anniversary of Chandrashekhar Azad

Indian Freedom Struggle during the year 1920-35 saw emergence of young revolutionaries. It was in thie period when “CHANDRASHEKHAR AZAD”, “BHAGAT SINGH”, “RAJGURU”, “SUKHDEV”, “RAMPRASAD BISMIL” “ASHFAQULLA KHAN”, etc arrived and created thunder in the British administration. This young brigade sacrificed their family, job, entertainment and all comforts at very tender age and plunged into the freedom movement. They were oozing with confidence and had just one motto: Freedom from British Rule. As the Rang De Basanti says “In this world there are 2 kind of people one who calmly goes towards death and anther who goes with lot of noise and irritation but these were stands in third category which Happily, Knowingly and wantedly going towards the mouth of Death.”

 

27th February is the death anniversary of Chandra Shekhar Azad. If you read the saga of self sacrifice and courage of Azad, you will remember the words of Thomas Jefferson- “The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time, with the blood of patriots and tyrants. It is its natural manure.” Azad joined the freedom struggle when Gandhiji launched Non Co-Operation Movement in 1920. But with the sudden withdrawal of movement in 1922 following Chauri-Chaura incident like thousands of his countrymen, Azad too was greatly disappointed. Azad switched over to armed revolution and formed ‘Hindustan Socialist Republican Association’ with other revolutionaries to spread the message of complete independence.

 

Chandrashekhar Azad was involved in Kakori Train Robbery (1926), the attempt to blow up the Viceroy’s train (1926), and the shooting of Saunders at Lahore (1928) to avenge the killing of Lala Lajpat Rai. Azad was a terror for the British police. He was on their hit list and the British police badly wanted to capture him dead or alive. For his part, Azad had also vowed that he would never be arrested by the British police and that he would die a free man. On this day, in the year 1931, Azad was betrayed by an informer and was besieged by the British police in Alfred Park, Allahabad. Azad fought valiantly till he had ammunition but later killed himself as he vowed to stay “Azad” throughout his life.

 

Chandrashekhar Azad is a legend and motivated many people to join the freedom struggle. Legends are fearless, selfless and passionate about the things they do and Azad certainly belongs to this category. Chandrashekhar Azad was the heart of all revolutionary leaders and his poetic composition, ‘Dushman ki goliyon ka hum samna karenge, Azad hee rahein hain, azad hee rahenge’ is still recited by Indian soldiers.

 

Mr Raj Thackeray has done a commendable job

Mr Raj Thackeray has done a commendable job.
surprised!!!!!
well let me explain.I have been living in Mumbai for past 3 and half years.
And in these past 3 and half years I have seen 3 major incidence of violence against people of Bihar. Let us take them one by one.

1)The 1st one was the case of J.J.Medical college, where tension developed between Bihari and Marathi students on the issue “who will fill his bucket 1st”. Bihari students were lamented goons and Shiv Sena people forced the local police to arrest the Bihari students. Late Mr.Pramod Mahajan said “Outsiders must not dare to challenge locals else they will have to face the same”. Mind you the Congress government was in power at that time both at the Center and the Maharashtra. All the local dailies carried out the picture of students being taken in custody on the 1st page as if some terrorist has been nabbed.

2)The second incident: Raj Thackeray asked his men to drive out North Indians from Maharashtra in the month of February this year. Major violence broke out in the city and at least 6 north Indians and 2 Marathi people were killed. A heartening story of boy of 7 being hit by stone while on his way to his hometown in Bihar came up. The boy was hit by stone pelted by “Marathi Manoos” (For it was not sure whether they were MNS activists or were from Shiv Sena). As a result he went in to coma. His parents requested people for mercy and financial aids poured in from all quarters of society in Mumbai.

3)The 3rd incidence is here in front of you. I will like to quote few leaders hailing from Maharashtra. Mr.Sharad Pawar (NCP) “I can’t understand why a student has to come to Mumbai all the way from Kolkata”. Mr Parkar(MNS) “By acting in hindi movies Mr Ritesh Deshmukh has brought shame to Marathi Manoos. “Mr.Narayan Rane (Congress) is in support of MNS ideology though he says that the method is wrong one.

So how how does it support my statement “Mr Raj Thackeray has done a commendable job.”

1)Never has Bihar seen a unity over on any issue in it’s history (J.P movement being an exception). The example of yearly flood industry set up by both center and state government could have been solved long back but they never united and people never protested.
So 1st thanks giving to Mr.Raj Thackeray to make people of Bihar aware of the power and importance of unity.

2)Never ever we had a clear idea that what others have in their mind.I am talking about political parties.As all the leaders from Maharashtra (I have quoted them in my previous post) no matter which party he belongs to is singing the “Marathi Manoos” cause. Now we have a better knowledge of them and clearly say that they are no friends of ours. Rely on your own power and your leader. Mr Raj Thackeray made us feel helpless when Biharis were being killed in Maharashtra. Had our representative in government been true and loyal to us they would have made sure that some action is taken against Mr Raj Thackeray.


So 2nd thanks to Mr.Raj Thackeray to make us realize the importance of electing the right person. (It high time we give up cast politics and vote for Bihari cause).

3)Why does a Bihari has to migrate.
Answer is simple we do not have opportunities back home.Right, but have we never asked for proper amenities for a decent living from our elected government. The reaction of the person will be Oh!!!common I am not here to ask questions. It’s the government’s job let them think over it. Leave apart parks and amusement parks we don’t even have proper roads, sewage and street light for ages. But we never dare to step out our homes and ask for our rights. Why should we we are educated, we are elite let others do it for us. We will migrate!!

3rd thanks to Mr.Raj Thackeray for enlightening this section of Bihari society.

4)In the past 2 decade Bihar has seen a migration as never before in it’s history. There are only 2 major type of transaction taking place in Bihar.
A) Parents are sending money to their children outside the state.
B) Working people are sending money to there parents back home.

We have a daily routine of calling receiving calls from Papa and Maa. We talk for 10-15 minutes and say everything is fine!!!When we know it’s not fine out here!!
Tell me how can you be fine when you are not at your home. People have been trying to escape from this truth for a long time.
4th thanks to Mr.Raj Thackeray for making us realize that it’s absolutely not fine when you are away from your home.

5)Are Biharis the largest migrating community in India? Well I don’t have exact figures but can clearly say that it’s not so…
Two other state which see a heavy migration are Punjab and Gujarat. They are both inter and intra migrates. But why don’t they face the same as what we Biharis have to face?

The answer is not hard to find.

They belong to developed state. In past 20 years Gujarat has developed like any thing.
Punjab has done the same. One can argue that Punjab has from the very beginning been a rich state. But we must note that if Punjab has fertile land so does our state Bihar.!!!!
So finally 5th Thanks to Mr.RAJ Thackeray for helping us to realize that real tool we need to fight humiliation we face is development of our Bihar.

We all need to decide, if we really want to work for Bihar and see our state as a happy state we all will have to return back. Create opportunities for ourselves on our own, choose a proper representative who will help us in doing so. You can’t sit in New york and blame the government of Bihar and people out there. The reason being simple you are not the one who has elected the representative, same is true for people in Bangalore, Delhi, Mumbai, Chandigarh…the list is a long one.

What is Patriotism?

India Patriotism

THE NATION celebrating its 61st Independence Day. India’s struggle for Independence is a saga of those thousands of men, women and even children who sacrificed their lives for the freedom of the nation. And so by celebrating Independence Day, a homage is paid to all those who fought to bring Independence to our country. But gone are the days when every Indian citizen valued the importance of this great day. Time has eroded those sentiments and now we observe this day just like any other day or a holiday. Children are forced to go to schools to attend the flag hoisting ceremony by making attendance compulsory. Children seems to have no feeling for this day and the same can be said for the adults in our country also.

The Oxford dictionary defines patriotism as devoted love, support, and defence of one’s country; national loyalty. But the word patriotism cannot be restricted and is very subjective in nature. One need not play cricket matches or fight wars to express their feeling of patriotism. Our emotions run high when India thrashes Pakistan in any sports or when a businessman of Indian origin, staying abroad, makes it big in the world. We feel so much patriotic when a lady of Indian origin (who has hardly been in India) goes into space. The episode of Sunita Williams and consequent celebrations in India clearly exhibit to what extent we are obsessed with the Western culture.

The youth of the country while studying only thinks of moving out to America or United Kingdom and settle abroad and earn money for the foreign nation. They give reason that there is no infrastructure in our country, there are hardly any avenues, scope to make it big and fulfill one’s ambition. This might be true, but isn’t it our responsibility to facilitate such an environment in our country? APJ Abdul Kalam has mentioned in his book ’Wings of Fire’ that “never think of the scope, work hard to create that scope.” Kalam rejected several offers from abroad and stayed in this country and contributed to making India a nuclear power. That is the resolve of a real patriotic person.

The problem is that we are so much obsessed with foreign labels. This is really a dangerous trend. We are losing our own identity in the process. We have no interest in our history, culture and our country’s growth. We are aping Western countries, leaving behind our nation. But we are very selective while aping as well. Why is it so? The whole of America and UK come out on the road to celebrate their Independence Day. The whole nation stands by their armed forces not only during war times, but during any crisis. They share the success and failure of their country together. They dream of taking their nation to new heights. Do you feel same for India?

There is so much negative thoughts about India in one’s mind and quite often we just don’t want to discuss or talk about it. There was a very famous dialogue in the movie Rang De Basanti, which said “koi bhi desh perfect nahi hota, usse perfect banana padta hai” (no nation is perfect, it has to be made perfect). And who’s responsibility is it to make it perfect? Do you expect someone else to improve the scenario of your nation and when that happens you will happily return to your nation to contribute to the development. Right?

Author Shiv Khera said that if we are not part of the solution, then we are the problem. Our country has made advancements in almost all sectors but there is still greater distance to cover. There are some problems that are still unattended and we need to work on that. A nation does not become great with slogans. It becomes great when its citizens do great things. We just don’t want to fight the injustice and battle for our integrity. We need to change ourself and drive this nation forward. We need to be a part of the system and bring some positive changes.

Politics is not a dirty game, it’s just that there are dirty players. That’s all. If you say that you don’t promote wrong things and you are neutral then that is paradox. If you don’t oppose injustice and crime then you are certainly encouraging it. The vision of Independent India became a reality when our freedom fighters came together and fought the imperialists, which was initially considered impossible.
India is not the only country with problems but is certainly amongst the few that does not throw up the solution. As a responsible citizen, we need to provide the solutions.

There is so much an individual can contribute towards the progress of our nation. We need to improve the tone of our social and economic life through improved work ethics and environmental behaviour. Let us rally behind our flag, let us love our country with all its faults, let us work to improve it with all our strength, let us defend it with all our resources, let us hand it on to the coming generations better than what it was when we received it. Let us try to build a nation, which our freedom fighters dreamt of. That will be the real tribute to them!

Remember one thing- the country is our mother and we have to be responsible enough to say that I am going to take care of her.

Jai Hind.

Are we happy and fit as a nation?

Just when we were wringing our hands at the prospect of a blank medal tally at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, Abhinav Bindra hit gold. Certainly, the gloom has lifted.

But this is actually the perfect time to ask an unsavoury question: should we allow our sporting self-esteem to be linked solely to what a handful of our athletes do once every four years? Don’t get me wrong. Bindra’s feat should make us proud.

But should India aim for an outcome in which a fraction of Indians excel while the rest of us wallow in sporting mediocrity and are content to bask in reflected glory? While there is much to admire in countries like China setting goals and methodically going about achieving them, are we beholden to adopt the same set of goals just to keep up with the Joneses? The bottomline: do we want lots of Indians to be fit and love sports, or just a few people who can bring us medals, while others remain impervious to any physical and outdoor culture? Maybe the two aren’t as ‘either-or’ as they seem. So what could our goals be? Instead of pouring all our financial and other are sources into developing world-class athletes (which we don’t any way), why not start from the bottom up? Inculcate a love of fitness and sport among Indians from an early age by creating more open spaces, playgrounds and parks, with relevant programmes.

More than China’s galloping medal tally, I admire the way its government has encouraged cycling as a preferred means of transport, which reduces pollution and allows a large number of people to keep fit. We should also carefully choose the activities we want to encourage.

These need not be competitive, a feature we seem to think is indispensable. We could help foster in children a love of hiking, by setting up various clubs in schools – the way another Olympic-underperformer Israel has done.

Indigenous contact sports like kho-kho and kabaddi could be developed even if they aren’t part of international sporting events. Above all, we should develop the self-confidence and self-belief to chart our own course.

So, while we wait for more Abhinav Bindras, we could have a happier, fitter India.

Source: Yahoo

How Cool is “Being Cool”?

A DANGEROUS trend is engulfing the country’s youth. This trend can be attributed to the technology, influence of west, lack of morality, etc. This dangerous trend is being ’cool’. This word is very subjective and its meaning has changed over the years. What was not considered ’cool’ few years back is the only ’cool’ thing today.

If I ask you when is a game not a game? The logical answer would be – when it can lead to death. But there are so many incidents that prove that teens seem to be losing their grasp of logic at a breakneck pace. The death of Bombay Scottish student – Gaurang Dalvi – a few months back, has brought into focus the risky pastimes that children indulge in.
Youngsters say that the choking game, in which they become semi-asphyxiated, enables them to achieve a hypoxia-induced euphoric state. They undergo a partial or complete loss of consciousness brought about by the intentional deprivation of oxygen to the brain for a short period. There are other games as well, in which children indulge for thrill. A travel writer who indulged in such game while in school says, “We used to stand by the side of the road and wait for a fast-moving car, and cross the road just as it was approaching. We did it for the thrill. But now I realise the mistake I made.”

Its not just about the choking games, but also with the latest mobile phones, branded clothing, apparels, gaming consoles, etc. Even television commercials focus on this aspect of ’coolness’ in today’s youth. That’s why you see Mahendra Singh Dhoni saying, Aajkal aadmi ki aukaat kapdon se pata chalti hai.” Parents also try to fulfil all the demands of their kids, which can not be justified all the times. This race to look ’cool’ does not end here. Youth wants to try everything available in the market for ’cool’ people today. Smoking and drinking is the next thing available. A study conducted by researchers at the University of Texas’ School of Public Health concluded that in urban India, kids as young as 11 are smoking and drinking. The principal investigator of the study, professor Cheryl Perry said, “As India becomes more westernised, more teens will use tobacco.” The Internet also promotes smoking and motivates the young people to smoke with catchy punchlines. One such punchline I came across was for the girls, which read – ’Kissing a non-smoker is like licking a rotten potato’.

In the world of young Indians, there is nothing proscriptive. They are open to everything from late night rave parties, body piercings, going around with the opposite sex, sexual relationships with multiple partners, sitting idle outside the classroom in the college, etc. These things define the ’cool’ culture today. The drug addiction has also gripped the youth. Most drug addicts are male, but there are several girls hooked on to drugs too. Most girls addicted to drugs are persuaded by their boyfriends to try them. Few get into it out of frustration. The ratio is 1:25. One must avoid friends who call you a ’sissy’ or ’chicken’ for not indulging in their ’pastimes’. You may say that it is an individual’s right to do whatever he/she wants to do. I agree but then there should be some thoughtful process involved in what one does.

This race to be ’cool’ is also taking its toll on children and youth as well. There is an increase in the number of cases of depression, stress, insomnia, anorexia among the children in the last few years. The prime reason being pressure from parents, teachers and especially the friends who want them to be cool and look cool. For a child, who does not believes in such nonsense, life is more tough. He is neglected by the classmates, teased all the time with lewd comments, humiliated and soon he finds himself under depression. He is made to believe that his thinking, values, traditions etc are very primitive and they find no place in today’s world. This, sometimes, leads them to take extreme step. To help them commit suicide there are host of websites, which promote the same. And, unfortunately, there is no control over these websites!

This race of being ’cool’ is very new in the country but is already a hit. In a fast-changing world accelerated by new advances in electronic technology, only a dynamic exuberant generation can put India on a strong footing. Thus, it is very essential for the youth to understand what is right and wrong and not to fall prey to the ’cool’ race. A strong religious base combined with strong family ties and high morals can help the youth if they find these things ’cool’.