One cannot kill an idea….

Bhagat Singh

One can hang Shaheed Bhagat Singh.

One can topple Lenin’s statue.

But just remember, one cannot kill an idea.

“It is easy to kill individuals but you cannot kill the ideas. Great empires crumbled, while the ideas survived” – Shaheed Bhagat Singh.

To rest of the political parties in India, just remember the poem by Pastor Martin Niemöller

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Passive Spectator or Active Participant?

I generally don’t share star views, but here’s one from Randeep Hooda for the day.

While I like the good part of this tweet, feels a bit uneasy to accept it in its entirety.

Should we just look away from “youth on drugs”?

Should we stay away, while people are being marginalized due to their faiths or believes?

Instead of being a passive spectator, we should actively discuss the current topics and happenings with friends and people around us.

Instead of stop watching news, we should demand for truth and facts; we should hold media accountable for what they broadcast.

What do you think?

Pune Violence – is it an isolated incident?

Mumbai_violence

I am far away from the happenings at Pune and Mumbai in last few days.

Per available news, the Dalit organisation’s event to mark the 200th anniversary of Bhima Koregaon battle in Pune district was disturbed by Hindu-extreme-right wings.

Stone-pelting and violence followed; someone died.

In protest, the Dalit organisations declared Maharasthra-wide bandh, which again was marred by violence.

I do not agree with any violence – whether it is done against people or properties, anywhere in India.

 

At first look, the bandh day protests and violence appears to be a retaliation to the latest violence against Dalits.

But, in my opinion, it goes deeper than that.

To me, it is a retaliation by India’s oppressed, against the continuous happenings for past several years, instigated by extreme elements in wider Sangh parivar.

 

The demolition of Babari Masjid by Sangh parivar alienated and scared the Muslim minorities in India.

Modi’s ban on cattle slaughter has virtually stopped the leather industry, traditionally operated by Dalits and other minority castes.  Illiteracy, poverty and ban on raw materials have pushed them to a corner.

On top, numerous mob killings similar to those at Bisara, Alwar and violence similar to Una flogging worsened the crisis.

It went even further; the Una accused projected the Dalits as Muslims.

Another example why the minority Dalits and Muslims might feel they’re jointly targeted.

These organised attacks by Sangh Parivar were not limited only to Dalits and Muslims.

They even went against students who were protesting in campuses.

The courts could not prove any evidence against JNU students; in fact, police have not even filed a chargesheet against the students.

On the contrary, forensic tests proved that JNU videos were tampered to add anti-national voice over to portray a complete different picture of JNU students.

The talented, mostly scholarship-winning higher-studies students re-elected the left leaders in 2017 with even more majority at JNU – in BJP ruling Delhi.

 

In all of above cases, the Sangh Parivar and its media slaves tried to portray the victims as anti-nationals and terrorists.

Where were these cries on India’s integrity when Babari Masjid was demolished?

Was it not a terrorist act, similar to the destruction of Bamiyan Buddhist statues by Taliban?

Why there is no outcry on India’s image when people are routinely murdered in different parts of India accused of eating beef?

Is it any less barbaric than ISIS be-headings?

Why are the JNU students still accused as traitors?

All of these events reveal the horrific, bullying, violent nature of Sangh Parivar.

 

The threatening message is: join us, or be silent – if not, be ready to be silenced.

 

Let’s come back to Pune and Mumbai.

As I said, I do not agree with any violence, anywhere – whether it was committed in Mumbai by Dalits in last 2 days; or against Dalits, “Madrasis” or UP/Bihar migrants by Shiv Sena, MNC and other right wing extremists in last several decades.

It is a fact that BJP and Sangh parivar used the religion/caste card to come to political prominence in India.

They are still using the same card to instigate hatred between Dalits, Muslims and upper castes – to bounce back from their vote-loss in recent Gujrat elections.

Hence the stone-pelting and violence against the Bhima-Koregaon celebrations.

 

The day we stop mixing politics with religion, the better for us.

The quote from 1884 is more valid for present day India:

“Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, and the soul of soulless conditions. It is the opium of the people”.

JNU – Let’s discuss further…

 

A couple of my very good friends for many many years contacted me after yesterday’s post on the arrest of JNU Students President, Kanhiya Kumar.  Both of them referred to Arnab Goswami’s show and the concerns raised in the NewsHour on JNU situation.

I have seen that video and agree with my friends.  The points Arnab raised were very valid and I too fully agree with the same. No one can call themselves on left of politics if they support anti-national activities.  No one can say in the same breadth they follow left-wing ideologies and also spit venom of “India ki barbaadi”.

Those who speak the language of terrorists need to be identified and brought under the full fist of the law. Period.

I am a proud Indian and always will be. Proud of the nation where I was born, in its culture, its contributions to this world and I will stand for and support its determination to fight against the demonic forces that try to bring India down.  I have the same feelings when I see the patriotic scenes from Mani Rathnam’s Roja and J P Dutta’s Border or Rakeysh Mehra’s Rang De Basanti.

Now, I invite you to see another speech – of the arrested JNUSU President, Kanhiya Kumar.   All I wish from you is to completely hear his speech from the steps of JNU’s campus.

Have you seen it? If not, please see the same before reading further.  It’s less than half of Arnab’s show, and not a single ad-break!

I request you.  It’s a Sunday today and we hopefully should have some time in our hands 🙂

Seen it?

Now tell me, how could one say that this young man supports terrorism? Where in his sharp, pointed speech does he support anti-national sentiments?

I agree there is anger and fire in his voice.  I agree there is rage and resentment in his eyes – but that is towards the injustice, intolerance and inequity of current establishment – not against India.  Each statement of this young man proudly screams out his patriotism and at same time, the oppression faced by the poor and vulnerable in India’s slums and tiny villages.

Now, instead of listening to what his generation say, what does our government do? Arrest him under the anti-terrorist law!  Spread fear among his comrades.  Instead of fighting ideologies with ideologies, try to oppress them with law and inform rest of the state that what they say is not against the wrongness of the establishment, but against India itself.  If this is not mirroring Indira’s emergency era, what else is?

Let me type, again:

I am a proud Indian and always will be. Proud of the nation where I was born, in its culture, its contributions to this world and I will stand for and support its determination to fight against the demonic forces that try to bring India down.

Why does a left-leaning person have to first give this affidavit while talking in or about India?

I invite my friends to think about it.

This is where the current Governing party’s ploys get unmasked.  This is where, when they cannot fight ideology with ideology, they misuse law and turn people against people.  If one speaks against the casteism and other evils, portrait that person not only as anti-Hindu, but anti-India itself; then use the full-wrath of establishment to confine and silence her/him.

I hope Kanhiya Kumar will come out of custody soon. I hope he will continue to speak his words from the steps of JNU, with full strength of mind and determination, describing the anguish faced by his people in India.  If he stays true to the ideologies, I am sure his voice will always be FOR India, not against it.  If any time his voice cross the borders of patriotism and anti-nationalism, I will join you to raise voice to put him behind bars.

Till then, let us hope this voice is not suppressed. If we let that happen, it will be our voice that will be suppressed in coming years, as rightly pointed out by Kanhiya Kumar to media towards the end of his speech.

 

Saturday Thoughts on JNU arrest and Spain’s General

 

What is the connection between the arrest of JNU’s Student Union President and Spain? Other than both news were on media on the same Friday? I will explain.

First, on the news from JNU.

It is very clear from JNU news that Modi government is using Indira Gandhi’s emergency-era tactics to systematically silence the left and liberal voices who do not agree to his party’s and RSS Hindutva agenda.

What else is the reason for arresting Kanhaiya Kumar, who is an ASIF worker and elected President of JNU Students Union?

Kanhaiya Kumar has clearly stated that he does not support or agree to the extreme ideologies and dissident voices of those mere 10+ students, but went to resolve the dispute between them and ABVP activists – whom he defeated in Student’s Union elections. As the elected president of the university, he has all the rights to pacify a volatile, potentially violent argument in the campus.

Using words like terrorist and anti-national for those with different ideologies other than Hindutva and arresting them under UAPA, and other anti-terrorist laws to silence them shows the coward-ness and inability of BJP and Sangh Parivar to participate in open discussions and justify their viewpoints.

It is ironic that it is Modi’s party and Government that accuses others as terrorists!

It is the same BJP which supports those who admire Mahatma Gandhi’s assassin by building temples in his name and commemorate the day Godse was hanged as “Balidan Diwas”! It is the same party that has alliance in J&K with PDP who advocate for self-rule in Jammu and Kashmir – For argument sake, is this not the same topic the 10+ JNU students had a discussion on?  If their voice cannot be tolerated by BJP, how can they share power in J&K with PDP?!

The arrest of Kanhaiya Kumar, charged with sedition, is just another example to the intolerance under Modi Government that is being discussed by intellectuals, Bollywood actors and other independent thinkers in the country. Whether it is the arrest of an elected President of a prestigious college union, or killing of an innocent father for having meat in his fridge are the examples of same intolerance which is being nurtured and cultivated by the Hindutva hooligans who years ago burned Graham Staines and his two sons at tender ages of 10 and 6.

India prides itself in its Unity in Diversity and being the biggest democracy in the world. The beauty of India’s unity and democracy lies in its diversity and the free, independent democratic voice of each and every one of its citizens.

While desperately using Mrs. Gandhi’s emergency-era tactics to suppress and saffronize this unity and democracy, BJP and Modi Government should take some time to read what happened to Indira’s election results just after the end of the emergency. The same people who admiringly made her Prime Minister ruthlessly defeated Mrs.Gandhi in the very next election after emergency; not only she lost power, but also many of her senior leaders and hundreds of thousands of common people deserted Congress.

This brings me nicely to Spain and the very Friday’s BBC magazine article on “Erasing Franco’s memory one street at a time”.

As you can read, no government could suppress the free minds and voice of any country for all the time. Nazis, Mussolini and Gen Francisco Franco learned it in harsh ways. If BJP and Modi continues this intolerant attitude towards the free and independent voice of India, future will see a repeat of history.

 

Meerut ka Mandir

Achche din aane wale hai
Bhumi pujan has already started.
Just wait a little while, my dear friend.

Rubbles from Ayodhya,
Fire from Manoharpur’s burnt station wagon.
Once reached, kar-sevaks will build the temple in a single day.

Armed with gun and stick,
I’ve heard the deity of peace looks handsome in khakhi and white.
Soon, modern God will be coronated in Meerut.

First aarti is by Kingpin Kodnani,
Followed by Oriya bhajan of “Santh” Dara Singh.
Night ends with light entertainment: “How to demolish a Masjid?”

Hail him, who killed a “Ravan” at point-blank range!
But why, the roar of an innocent smile from Raj Ghat still haunts me?
Is it the burning flesh of Graham Staines that nauseates the air?

Let’s close our senses and brainpower,
Just repeat the mantra of modern Führer.
Achche din aane wale hai….

Well done, AAP!!

A well deserved win for Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) and well thought replies from its leader, Arvind Kejriwal.  AAP not only humiliated Congress to single figures in Delhi Assembly, but also reduced BJP’s vote share compared to last election.

Let us hope this movement picks up momentum in rest of the country as well.

Let us also hope the leaders of Aam Aadmi Party do not get sucked in to parliamentary power plays and greed, but will function as a superlative example of what politics should be and could be.

“We are not here to make careers, we have left our careers to clean up the system” – Simple but powerful words from Kejriwal.

48 hours Strike by Indian Workers

Today, India is going through the second day of a 48-hour strike. The strike is organized by 11 Central Trade Unions who belong to various political parties. Among others, INTUC – trade union wing of ruling Congress Party, too support this strike. Per latest news, 10 crore (100 million) workers are participating in this historic strike.

Concrete measures to contain price rise, amendment of Minimum Wages Act to ensure universal coverage and pension for all are some items in worker’s 10 point charter of demand.

One of my friends asked a question in Facebook – “Do you support the Trade union strike?”

Yes, I do; but why? The answer is in few comments I just read in today’s newspaper:

“For a daily wage earning porter, 2 days loss of work is extremely tough on family, but even after working 7 days a week, it is hard to live a decent life. With sky-rocketing price hikes and ridiculous National Minimum Wage which is ignored, life in India was never this hard. This strike is to awaken a Government which is sleeping with the rich and MNCs, and if it needs a 5-day strike, will happily join that too.”

Strong-minded decision, taken with a very clear viewpoint – and I support it.

No worker would like to loss her/his 2 days wages; still they are on strike for their demands. But why does the businesses oppose the strike? Purely, because it is their profits in crores that will be affected. What is wrong in asking for strict implementation of National Minimum Wages Act? Who does not want a control on price hikes? Does pension for all old aged people too big a demand? It is for these demands the workers are striking for…. A fraction of corrupt money during this Govt’s rule (read 2G / CWG / copter scams) could easily solve a lot of these just demands.

UK to stop Financial Aid to India

UK Development Secretary, Justine Greening, has announced that UK will stop its financial aid to India by 2015.

This was an expected move for some time now.  UK’s austerity troubles and India’s growing economical standards had raised queries on justification of aid, time and again, in UK political and wider TV/newspaper/radio discussions for last few years.

How will this affect India? India will surely miss the additional financial aid, there is no doubt in that; but the termination of aid is not a serious blow to India’s current situation.

Let me be clear.  This in no way means India’s poverty is eradicated or at least in control; India’s ruling politicians have miserably failed in achieving the same.  In fact, they never showed any genuine interest to eliminate poverty.  “Garibi Hatao” (eradicate poverty) was a nice election slogan from Indira Gandhi’s time, but yet it remains just that – only a slogan.

That said, decision from UK Government could well become a positive catalyst towards India’s efforts towards better managing its internal machinery and funds for poverty reduction in more cautious and wiser ways.

Not only that, India could now expect to be treated as equal partner by western countries while having face-to-face business and trade discussions, without feeling inferior for receiving financial aid from parties on other side of the table.

Shameful Politics of the Thackerays

Today’s post is on shameful politics played by Thackeray Family and Shiv Sena in Western Indian state of Maharashtra.

Whether it is Bal, Raj or Uddhav, all Thackerays follow same politics of hate. After a gap, they have yet again turned their venomous tongues against North Indians residing in Mumbai and Maharashtra. They are even talking about issuing “permits” for North Indians to enter and live in Maharashtra. It shows nothing but hatred, ignorance in Indian constitution and selfish political views of the Thackerays.

In 70s and 80s the senior Thackeray instigated hate politics against South Indian’s in Maharashtra; particularly in Mumbai. Unfortunately this incorrect concept of “sons of the soil” had some effect on some of the innocent Maharashtrians. Based on this concept, Shiv Sena could make some political gains too during those times.

What is Sons of the Soil concept? In simple terms it means demanding incorrect advantages and benefits on a particular geographical area, purely based on argument that the person who demands was born on that particular place.

This concept has now turned against the Thackerays themselves! Congress leader Digvijay Singh has unearthed a book written by none other than Bal Thackeray’s father Prabhodhankar Thackeray – in which it is written that the forefathers of Thackerays have moved from Bihar (!), via Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and ultimately settled in Pune! If this is true, the first “resident permit” should be awarded to the Thackerays!

One can fool some of the people all time, and all the people some time; but no one can fool everyone all the time. It seems the Thackerays have not heard this saying. In current times of advanced political knowledge and improved educational standards, the Shiv Sena and Thackerays could not fool the Maharashtrains with Sons of the Soil mantra. If the world adopts the “sons of the soil” concept, what will happen to lakhs and lakhs of Maharashtrians who work in different parts of the world? Are they supposed to leave their jobs, houses and universities and head back to Maharashtra?

Few humble words to the Thackerays:

  • Even though from same family, you three cannot see each other; you’ve divided your party and followers. If you cannot stand together under the same flag, how do you dream of “uniting” Maharashtraians against their brothers from other parts of India?
  • Maharashtra is not a separate country; it is an integral part of The Republic of India.
  • Republic of India promises any Indian citizen the right to live in any part of India. This is a fundamental right and no one needs a permit from the Thackerays. If they demand for a permit for Biharians to live in Maharashtra, then Thackerays are against Indian constitution, and hence, committing a punishable crime. In simple words these are the words of criminals, not of leaders of political parties.
  • The same way Indian citizens from Maharashtra do not need any permit to work in any part of India, Indian citizens from other parts of India do not need Thackeray’s permit to work in Mumbai and Maharashtra.

The days are not far when the highly educated citizens from Maharashtra will throw away this nasty politics. Let us hope the supporters of Shiv Sena realise soon that political ideology is not only dirty, but also against the Federal status and unity of India.