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Posts Tagged ‘India’

पत्रकारिता के खिलाफ पत्रकार

Posted by chimeki on November 18, 2016

journalism2002 नेपाल के एक साप्ताहिक अखबार जनादेश के संपादक कृष्णसेन इच्छुक की पुलिस हिरासत में हत्या कर दी गई। दूसरे दिन तमाम नेपाली अखबारों ने इस हत्या के विरोध में अपने संपादकीय पृष्ठ को कोरा छोड़ दिया। ऐसा कर सभी अखबारों और पत्रकारों ने राजनीतिक विचारधारा उठ कर पेशे की एकता का परिचय दिया था। उनके इस कदम का मतलब यह था कि माओवादियों और सरकार की टकराहट में उनका पक्ष जो भी हो लेकिन पत्रकारिता पेशे की एकता सर्वोपरि है।

कृष्णसेन इच्छुक की हत्या के विरोध जो व्यापक विरोध हुआ उसने तत्कालीन सत्ता पक्ष को यह एहसास दिला दिया कि उसे स्वतंत्र अभिव्यक्ति के अधिकार पर हस्ताक्षेप नहीं करना चाहिए। और उसके बाद माओवादी जनयुद्ध को कवर करने वाले पत्रकारों की हत्या अथवा उनके दमन की कोई बढ़ी खबर नेपाल में देखने को नहीं मिली। और वो भी एक निरंकुष राजतंत्र में। यहां तक कि माओवादी पार्टी का मुखपत्र माने जाने वाले जनादेश में काम करने वाले भूमिगत पत्रकारों की हत्या नहीं हुई। लेकिन जो कुछ आज के लोकतांत्रिक भारत में देखने को मिल रहा है उससे चेतना बहुत जरूरी है। रिपोटर्स विदाउट बाडर्स् की 2015 की रिपोर्ट के अनुसार भारत पत्रकारिता के पेशे के लिए तीसरा सबसे खतरनाक देश है। एशियाई देशों में ये अव्वल है। पाकिस्तान और अफगानिस्तान एवं इराक से भी पहले।

हाल के वर्षो में खासकर पिछले दो वर्षों में भारत में मूल पत्रकारिता का दायरा बहुत छोटा होता जा रहा है। 2014 तक भारत में पत्रकारिता में सत्ता विरोधी स्वर प्रमुख था। पिछली सरकार के जनविरोधी फैसलों को उजागर करने में पत्रकारिता का बड़ा योगदान रहा। लेकिन वर्तमान सरकार में पत्रकारिता सत्ता पक्ष की प्रोपोगेण्डा मशीन बन गई है। जो कुछ भी सरकोर वाली पत्रकारिता दिखाइ दे रही है वह ब्लाग अथवा सामाजिक संजाल जैसे ट्वीटर या फेसबुक में सिमटा दी गई है। 2011 के जनगणना की माने तो भारत में मात्र 4 प्रतिशत लोगों के पास इंटरनेट से जुड़े कंप्यूटर की सुविधा है। इसी तरह मोबाइल इंटरनेट, जो अभी भी काफी मंहगा है, के जरिए फेसबुक अथवा अन्य इंटरनेट सुविधाओं का उपभोग करने वालों की संख्या अभी भी बहुत कम है। अधिकांश लोग टीवी अथवा रेडियो या समाचारपत्र जैसे पारंपरिक माध्यमों पर ही सूचना के लिए आश्रित हैं। ये माध्यम ही दुनयावी जानकारी के लिए बहुसंख्यक आबादी के स्रोत हैं।

लेकिन पिछले दो सालों में ये माध्यम तेजी से सरकारी प्रोपोगेण्डा मशीन बन गए हैं और पत्रकारिता के सरोकारों को भुला दिया है।

नोटबंदी के सरकारी फैसले के बाद जिस तरह की अराजकता और परेशानी व्याप्त है उसे सामने लाना और सरकार को इस बात के प्रति चेताना हाल में पत्रकारिता का प्रमुख कार्यभार है। लेकिन सभी समाचारपत्रों और चैनलों ने अपने इस कर्तव्यों से किनारा कर लिया है। जो एक या दो समाचारपत्र या टीवी चैनल इसे दिखा रहे हैं उन पर हमले हो रहे है। अभी पांच दिन पहले कारंवा पत्रिका के पत्रकार पर हमला हुआ। और परसों और कल फील्ड से रिपोर्टिंग कर रहे रवीश कुमार और उनकी टीम को डराने की कोशिश की गई। जिन लोगों ने यह किया वे एक पार्टी के समर्थक थे। और वे ऐसा ही करते हैं और करेंगे। ऐसे लोग बस या मेट्रों पर भी होते हैं लेकिन हम यह मानते हैं कि इन्हे सरकारी संरक्षण प्राप्त नहीं होगा इसलिए हम प्रतिवाद करते हैं, उनकी सुनते हैं अपनी सुनाते हैं। लेकिन पिछले दिनों में यह आभास हो रहा है कि पत्रकारों पर इनके हमले के खिलाफ अन्य मीडिया संस्थानों का खामोश रहना अनिष्ठ का संकेत है।

सुधीर चैधरी का डीएनए क्या इनता विकृत हो गया है कि अपने ही पेशे पर हो रहे इस अशलील आक्रमण के खिलाफ एक लाइन तक नहीं कह सकते। वे जिस कदम को ठीक मानते हैं उसके प्रति उनका पुर्वाग्रह रखना कोई गलत बात नहीं है। लेकिन अपने पेशे के प्रति इस कदर उदासीन रहना उनकी बड़ी भूल है। अर्णव गोस्वामी या दीपक चौरसिया जो भारत पर आने वाले तमाम खतरों को दूर से ही भांप लेते हैं क्या लोकतंत्र पर मंडरा रहे इस खतरे को नहीं समझ पा रहे। पिछले दिनों कारंवा के पत्रकार और इन दिनों रवीश और उनकी टीम पर हो रहे हमले दरअसल पत्रकारिता पर हमले हैं। और इसलिए भी यह वक्त पत्रकारों को अपनी विचारधारा से उठ कर सोचने का है। रवीश पर खतरा एक व्यक्ति विशेष का मामला नहीं है ये पत्रकारिता के पेशे पर दवाब है। साथ ही यह फेसबुक और ट्वीटर के पत्रकारों पर भी हमला है। इसलिए पेशे को बचाने की लड़ाई बेहद जरूरी हो गई है। विचारधारा इसके बाद।

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That wasn’t funny Mr Modi

Posted by chimeki on September 1, 2014

modi_japanMy friend Laxman knew better than most of us what bullying was. His father worked in Pahalwaan’s fields, a small time landlord of our town with a penchant for bullying people dependent on him or weaker. Pahalwaan also ran a tea shop. The tea shop was the place, where grown up people of our locality met and talked.

When Laxman was 13, Pahalwaan asked his father to send him to work in his shop after school. Laxman’s work was to wash dishes and server tea. Seldom, we would go to the shop to meet Laxman. Due to the work, he had become irregular in the playground where we used to play in the evenings.

Many a time, we saw Pahalwaan and other bullying Laxman. Pahalwaan would hold his ears and role them. ‘ye dekho Ganapati ka chuha’, one day we heard him mocking Laxman. Often, we too would become part of that regular dose of fun. We were too young to understand how Laxman was taking it. Later, we too started doing the same with Laxman. The tallest and the heaviest of us would caught hold of Laxman’s ears and make him Ganapati. We would laugh holding our pants. Those giggles cost Laxman too much. He started avoiding us. One Monday, the day Pahalwaan kept his shop closed, Laxman didn’t come to play. For he was the most sought-after player, the curiosity was obvious.

When his absence became regular, we knew something was wrong. One Monday we went to meet him in his house. We found him playing with his sisters. He couldn’t convincingly tell us why he stopped coming to play. He just said that he had lost interest. Sometimes after, he left school too. His father told our teacher that Laxman cried every time he was told to go to school.

Soon we forgot Laxman. I don’t know how is he now but I know that it was bullying of Pahalwaan and us that took him away from us. Who knows what he would have become had we not bullied him? After all he wasn’t lacking anything. Only thing that had saved us from suffering the fate of Laxman, perhaps, was that we survived Pahalwaan’s bullying. By bullying Laxman, Pahalwaan had set a trend. He had made Laxman a clown for others too. Now there is no Laxman in our town but Ganapati. Often people see him dancing in the processions against crowd cheering, ‘wah Ganapati, shabash’.

I have lived and relived Laxman a thousand times. His fate is a realization for me what bullying can do. It breaks children’s confidence. In India, there are many Laxmans who are bullied every minute for sadist pleasure of mentally sick people. When PM Modi, held the ears of the boy in a temple in Japan and made fun of him I was taken back in time. I saw myself standing in front of Pahalwaal’s shop watching Laxman being bullied. Although, it was happening seven seas far, I could recognize everyone there. I saw Raju chacha, Hari bhaiya, Vinod, Abhishek and I laughing aloud. Laxman too was laughing but has tears in his eyes. I know, like then, this time too he won’t forgive me.

V.S.

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In Nepal PM Modi failed to break with the past

Posted by chimeki on August 6, 2014

Courtesy: Business Standart

Courtesy: Business Standard

Despite beginning his speech in Nepali, acknowledging Lumbini as Gautam Buddha’s birthplace and reuniting Jeet Bahadur with his family, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Nepal visit was an absolute failure in terms of everything India wanted to see him achieve. People in India as well as Nepal expected from PM Modi that he would break with the old tradition in India-Nepal relationship where Nepal always has to play younger brother role and usher it in an era of equality opportunity. Sadly, as at home he couldn’t deliver abroad.

His maiden speech in the Constituent Assembly of Nepal was worst ever speech by a visiting head of any country in any host country. It was more of a sermon than a clear cut diplomatic statement, which every one rightly expected.

PM Modi was expected to fill the holes which consecutive Indian governments had dig in in Indo-Nepal relationship but he, like his predecessor Dr. Manmohan Singh, ended up adding more!

Narendra Modi did well to begin his speech in Nepali but failed to keep the momentum. Initially it appeared that he was one who was free of big brother syndrome, which Indian leaders generally carry, but two-three sentence later he shed his mask of humility and started coaching Nepali parliamentarians on his favorite topics: religion, history, management and mostly importantly himself!

What India badly needed in Nepal was an image makeover. For whatever India does in Nepal is always seen with suspicion. Suspecting everything India does in Nepal is the default setting in a Nepali mind. So PM would have done better if he would have come out of his election mode and talked business. After all he wasn’t there to influence voters!

The first blunder that Modi made was to unnecessarily evoke gods to describe Nepal’s relevance. Doing that, he ignored the feelings of non-Hindu population of that country. He wasted many minutes of his 45-minute long speech to explain how his coming from Somnath and winning election from Kashi (Varanasi) brought him closer to Pashupati (Nepal)! Further he wrongly claimed that 125 crore Indians want to visit Pashupatinath temple!

In his enthusiasm to impress or impress upon Nepali parliamentarians, half of whom are Communists, he forgot to minus Muslims, Christians, Sikhs, Dalits and other minorities of India and Nepal from that number who are barred from entering the elite temple. In the gate of the temple it is written in bold, ‘Non-Hindus are not allowed inside the temple premise’! Moreover, even Nepalis do not relate themselves to Pashupatinath. It is Gautam Buddha who is the real national symbol in Nepal. Ask any Nepali there, the first thing he would like a tourist to see in Nepal is Lumbini, the birth place of Buddha. PM Modi would have done better by congratulating Nepal on becoming a secular democratic country.

It is again a diplomatic blunder to try teaching leaders of host countries what they should be doing. In half of his speech he did this. To add on to it, he told the members of the Constituent Assembly that they didn’t know what they were actually doing! He spoke as if those men and women didn’t understand the meaning of constitution writing. Once he even said, ‘you think you are doing this but actually you are doing that’.

The PM would have really done well had he talked about the process of Indian constitution writing. It was an opportune moment to remember Dr BR Ambedkar, the architect of Indian Constitution, and the challenges he had to overcome to write it. And, also what features of Indian constitution played important role to keep India stable and on the path of social justice. It would have definitely given the Nepali law makers some food for thought. But our PM ignorantly mixed modern constitution with the ancient Hindu texts! Rather suggesting them to have saintly and priestly mind, he could have suggested them to have scientific and rational attitude.

It makes one wonder if our PM really don’t know anything beyond the Ganges, gods, Hindu religion and of course himself. He didn’t once mention any great Nepali leader or literary figure. Compare his speech with the US President Barak Obama’s in the Indian Parliament and readers can easily spot the differences. President Obama spoke about Mahatma Gandhi and Rabindranath Tagore. He evoked both to highlight the importance of equality, human dignity and social justice. In contrast PM Modi could only stereotype Nepalis as shedding blood in India’s wars and belonging to the country of Lord Pashupatinath. President Obama genuinely recalled the roles of his predecessors in building relationship with India. PM Modi, in contrast, negated the roles played by the likes of Jawaharlal Nehru, Indira Gandhi, IK Gujral and others in bringing India and Nepal closer. It wouldn’t have left bad a taste had he talked about Jayaprakash Narayan, Chandra Shekhar, VP Singh and other Indian leaders who always associated themselves with Nepal’s democratic movements and who Nepali people still fondly remember. But no, Modi can’t do this. His ego is too big to see anything beyond himself. With this attitude, Modi will never achieve what he intends to achieve. He can never be the South Asia’s leader he aims to become and who the region badly needs.

V.S.

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Ambedkar Mela 2014: A Report

Posted by chimeki on April 16, 2014

Ambedkar Jayanti Mela 2014

Ambedkar Jayanti Mela 2014

Every year on 14th April dalits from different parts of India hold the Ambedkar Jayanti Mela (fair) in New Delhi’s Parliament Street to commemorate Dr. BR Ambedkar’s birth anniversary.

Hundreds of dalit organisations, activits, individuals and social groups gather here to showcase their work and ideas. People, who are regular to the mela, tell that the event is expanding with every passing year. Twenty years back the mela was just a dot in the lane, today it is getting bigger than what the street can accomodate.

JP Nerala, Convenor of Caste Annihilation Movement says, “4-5 years ago the funfair would last for 3-4 hours but now people hang around till noon. Then there were few stalls, mostly of NGOs, publications and bank and other ST/SC unions. Now small businessmen from dalit communities too participate and market their products. Since past few years political organisations to have started to come to the mela to mobalise people around their political views.”

Manish, owner of Jai Bhim products, says, “today’s dalits not apologetic about their identity. The young dalits know what they want and how to achieve it.” His product, Jai Bhim premium tea and premium neel (whitener) are hit. However, this wasn’t the case in the beginning. Five year ago when he started the venture, people would blame him of using Dr. Ambedkar’s name for personal gain. Also, his own relatives and friends would hesitate to get associated with him. They feared that getting close to him might expose their identity.

The gathering has also evolved as a platform for exchange of ideas. For 2014 is an election year, the discussions this time were mostly centred around dalits’ role in election. Ramkesh, who had a book stall, had come from Muzaffar Nagar in UP, a city often in news for wrong reasons. He blamed both the BJP and the SP for the bloody riots. He says, “more people have died in riots than what the government had claimed. Fearing backlash from the Muslim community, the government refuses to acknowledge the fact that most of the missing people are actually dead.”

Rajesh of National Confederation of Dalit Organizations (NACDOR), who claimed 2100 affiliations across India, says that his organisation is instrumental in making this event grand. He claims that it is the part of his organisation’s vision to bring as many people and organisations working on dalits issues to single platform as possible.”

Next to NACDOR was the stall of the All India Backward (SC, ST, OBC) and Minority Communities Employees Federation (BAMCEF), the organisation founded by one of the tallest figures of India’s social justice movement Kanshi Ram in 1978.

Like last year, this year too Gautam Book Centre and Samyak Prakashan were the centre of attraction. People thronged to these stalls to get their copies of new titles. Gautam Book Centre has more than 400 published titles. Samyak too has similar number of publications.

This year there was also a stall of music cassettes and cds. The songs are based on Ambedkar’s and Buddha’s teachings and speak of fighting against discrimination based on caste, class and gender.

V.S.

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Migrant Pakistani Hindus remain in India’s twilight zone

Posted by chimeki on March 8, 2014

Photo: V.S.

Photo: V.S.

Man can forgive atrocity of any kind but take away his right to last rituals he will rebel. This is not a formulation based on theories taught in sociology classes, but the reality that has forced lacs of Hindus to leave their ancestral home in Pakistan. In rural Pakistan, dalit Hindus and the people of Bheel communities are not allowed to cremate their dead ones. They are compelled to bury them against their tradition. While government treats all citizens as equal, the social discrimination is so sharp that these people either have to follow what the majority wants from them or leave.

India and Pakistan, partitioned in 1947, are yet to learn to mind their own businesses. Atrocities meted out in one country on its minorities results in numerous repetitions in another. The lines drawn to separate them have, ironically, joined their minorities’ fate thoroughly. The narrator of the Amitav Ghosh’s The Shadow Lines rightly describes the situation as, “they had drawn their border, hoping perhaps that once they had etched their borders upon the map, the two bits of land would sail away from each other like the shifting tectonic plates of the prehistoric Gondwanaland. They discovered that they had created not a separation but there had never been a moment in the 4000-year-old history of that map when the places we know as Dhaka and Calcutta were more closely bound to each other than after they had drawn their lines”

Recently in Delhi some of Pak Hindu migrants staged a protest demanding citizenship or at least refugee status and other rights. Some of them came to India more than ten years ago. Some were just ten years then. In these years, they have grown old and adults but their fate still hangs in uncertainty.

Rajkumar moved to India from Jhol, a small town in Sanghar District of Sindh province some eight months ago. Sanghar has around 20 per cent Hindu population. His brother, who was a driver, was murdered. For months he knocked every possible door for justice or at least a hearing. After failing to secure even an assurance, he decided to leave. He says, ‘people who were arrested on his report were released within hours’. He still carries his dead brother’s photograph in his mobile. In the photo his brother is chained around the neck, suggesting signs of torture before being slit. He agreed to narrate his story provided he was not photographed. He feared for the lives of his people he left behind. A month back his younger brother too crossed the border and joined him.

Rajkumar works in a mine near Jodhpur. In Pakistan he was a farm labourer. He hopes to get at least a work permit so that he can move beyond the limits set by Indian authorities and find work in a farm.

Dinesh (name changed on request) was only ten year old when he came to India with his parents from Rahim Yar Khan, a city in Punjab province of Pakistan. He studied in a school run by the Rajasthan government and two years ago completed B.Tech. He cannot get a regular job for his status is a ‘Pakistani on pilgrimage’. Like others, he too is forced to work in a quarry. There are many like Dinesh. Educated but cannot work.

Hindu Singh Sodha, himself a migrant, has been working for more than two decades for the rights of these people. He says, ‘although people had been coming to India since the 1965-1972 but the exodus became regular after the demolition of the Babri Maszid in 1990. There are nearly eight lac Hindu migrants in India.’

Hari Ram had a dream to make his son a policeman. But an incident knocked him down from the dreamland to the rocky surface of reality. His cousin who was able to join the police was killed. Later his people were warned not to try their luck beyond the socially accepted role of farm labourers. Few days after he asked his jagirdaar for a month leave so that he could take his family for a pilgrimage in India. After 13 years of arrival he is still in India. Dinesh, B. Tech, is his son. He doesn’t ask for more than refugee status for his son so that he is excused from working in the mines.

If they thought their problems would end in India, they realized how wrong they were. India, who is hailed as a model for its refugee policy has turned a deaf ear for these people. Hindu Singh says, ‘this group is left excluded from almost all the surveys and refugee developmental plans/projects undertaken by various national and international segments in India.’ For this reason, the United States Committee for Refugees and Immigrants didn’t incorporate this group as migrant/refugee in India in its World Refugee report 2008.

In 2013 Government of India passed the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2011 which paved the way for registration of Overseas Indian Cardholders (OIC). Barring few exceptions the OIC holders can enjoys all the rights of naturalized citizens. However, the people belonging to Pakistan and Bangladesh were exempted from this amendment!

India fears that, given the current circumstances, large number of people might like to come from these two countries. However a rough calculation of the number of people who are eligible to apply for OIC comes near to 35 crores! On the one had India is ready to accommodate 35 crore people who have never seen India and on the other hand it refuses to help these people who were once a part of it.

Explaining the nature of their status, Goverdhan, a migrant, says, ‘here we don’t have votes so nobody wants to hear us. The Congress party thinks being Hindu, harassed in Pakistan, we will never vote for it. The BJP thinks, it need not do anything for we are by default their supporters! Sometimes democracy is just a calculation.

(First published in the Citizen on 27 Feb 2014. Click here to read the article as it was published)

V.S.

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It’s time to get back to basics for the Congress

Posted by chimeki on December 12, 2013

Now that the election results of four states are out, the Congress party needs to rethink its strategy for future. The mandate is anti Congress and there is no reason to think otherwise. The first thing the Congress should do immediately is to change guard and bring new faces at the helm of the affairs. It means it is time that the party President and Vice President are given rest and let other take the responsibility. There is no harm in thinking in this line. No individual should be above an institution as old and as big as the Congress. Both Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi can contribute to the party by saving in their respective constituencies.

Besides this makeover the party should let its regional satraps decide. In other words they should be allowed nature ambitions. A political party in a parliamentary democracy cannot grow or live if it stops its leaders from cultivating ambitions. The Congress since Indira Gandhi had suppressed the culture of competition.

During its initial days after independence, there was a culture of competition in the party. Leaders could speak their minds without fear. Jawaharlal Nehru, Dr Rajendra Prasad, Vallabhabhai Patel, Kamaraj, and others were never afraid to suggest contradictory and often opposite opinions. Many a times, leaders of stature of Nehru and Patel had to give up on the pressure of the party. Even, during the party’s presidential election Nehru and others never had an easy go. They competed to remain relevant. After Nehru’s death, the principle of collective leadership was further emphasized and acted upon. In India After Gandhi, Ramachandra Guha narrates how then Congress President Kamaraj discussed the issues of succession with then chief ministers and members of parliament. After Lal Bahadur Shastri’s sudden demise, the same method was applied.

But Indira Gandhi changed the whole system collective leadership in the party upside down. It wasn’t less than a coup d’état. She made the party a family’s business.  It is true that the Gandhis have played an important role in keeping the Congress together but the opposite view also holds the truth that the most revolts in the party were against the Gandhis’s leadership! If during Indira Gandhi things had begun to fall apart, it has aggravated during Sonia Gandhi’s reign. The follow up of what Indira did is what we see now! Sonia Gandhi has never been much accommodating to the idea of openness in the party. Though she had for the better part of her reign has kept herself low profile but she has also, simultaneously, didn’t allow other leaders to be seen as equal! Like in open economy, competition and greed are the locomotives of a parliamentary party.

Compare this state with the other national party BJP the difference is obvious. With all its faults, it has let its members and supporters grow ambition. This had led to the growth of leaders with immense potential and mass appeal. Leaders like LK Advani, Atal Bihari Vajpayee, Murli Manohar Joshi, Narendra Modi, Sushma Swaraj, Shivraj Singh Chouhan, Vasundhara Raje, Raman Singh, Uma Bharti and other are the result of such competitive spirit. Kill this spirit and the BJP will be in tatters.

This equally applies to other parties as well. Those refusing to abide by the principle of inner party competition had faced, facing and will face the fate of the Congress. Lalu’s Rashtriya Janata Dal, Mulayam Singh’s Samajwadi Party, AIADMK and even Mayawati’s BSP will find it difficult to challenge this proven law of parliamentary democracy. They either have mend their ways or perish. There is no mid way.

Coming back to the Congress, it is urgently need for it to let regional and national leaders take the lead in its affairs. Let them compete and prove their worth. The more people have eye on the top seat the better. Without giving them opportunity to grow the party is in the suicidal mode. The Gandhis cannot always carry the party on their shoulders. They don’t even have strength required to do so now. It wouldn’t be inappropriate to suggest that the Gandhis have come close to their journey and what is the better way to honour them by making one of their folks the president of India!

V.S.

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Bigotry: Shivraj Style

Posted by chimeki on October 11, 2013

shivraj

Shivraj Singh Chauhan

In Bhopal, the capital city of Madhya Pradesh, Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan is everywhere. He is in railway stations boasting clean platforms, at bus stops priding on Bus Rapid Transits, on the hoardings across roads, and in public conveniences. There is no place in Bhopal where one can slip out of his gaze. Big Brother is Watching You!

Hardly, one steps out of Bhopal station first thing comes to notice is Shivraj Singh big boastful picture explaining one of the his numerous yojanas (schemes). Literally, he has yojanas for every section and class of society. He is taking elders on pilgrimages through Mukhyamantri Teerth Darshan Yojana (Chief Minister Pilgrimage Scheme). He is educating the girls through Ladli Laxmi Yojana and later getting them married through Mukhyamantri Kanyadaan Yojana!

You name a section and he has yojana for it. For young and educated unemployed he has created Mukhyamantri Pichada Varg Yuva Swa-rojgaar (self employment) Yojana. For those who can’t afford medical expenses he is running a Free Pathology Checkup Scheme.

A careful study will reveal that hardly any scheme with Mukhyamantri prefix is new.  All were there. He prefixed Mukhyamantri and made people celebrate them. Supporters of welfare state would not mind this, however, Shivraj’s passion for these schemes is enough to give them shivers down their skins.

Shivraj is a magician.  From Bhopal he makes everyone believe that all is well in Indore and from Indore it looks other parts of state are flourishing! A Bhopali is seen singing paeans of Gwalior and an Indori falls short of words for glorifying Jabalpur’s development!  The road in Damoh is pathetic but according to Shivraj, in one of those hoardings of course, good roads have reached everywhere in Madhya Pradesh.

Under his careful gaze, Madhya Pradesh is being transformed into a replica of some imaginative medieval Hindu state which his supporters claim existed in the place where the state stands today! His party-men want to rename Bhopal as Bhojpal on some mythical Hindu king who is said to have ruled there. Since long he has been promoting ‘Vedic’ language Sanskrit with a passion of a crusader and now intends to introduce the Gita in Urdu to madarsa students. The farce doesn’t end here. He legitimizes dowry through his Mukhyamantri Kanyadaan Yogana instead of fighting it roots and branches. All his yojanas are shrewd attempts to saffronize the whole society.

If Gujarat under Modi is a laboratory of hardline, militaristic and chauvinistic Hindutva, Madhya Pradesh under Shivraj is an exercise in saffron bigotry.

jabalpur

Warnings on the rocks read: couples seen together will be beaten and their procession will be taken out! (photo: V.S.)

The CM hardly utters a word on industrialization and creating employment. The young either migrate or commit suicide. Madhya Pradesh’s major four cities have the highest suicide rates in India according to National Crime Record Bureau. Jabalpur, once a flourishing industrial hub of the country, leads the chart with 572 suicides in 2012. The administration, as anywhere else, blames ‘domestic’ problems and deteriorating ‘family system’ for the rise in number.  The fact of the matter is the main cause of suicides is increasing unemployment. The anger, rising from it, either results in self destruction or is channeled or managed to fuel hatred among weaker sections of the society. In 2011, Madhya Pradesh recorded, the highest number of rape cases at 3046.

Although, Shivraj is not solely responsible for the state’s complete collapse nevertheless his indifference towards it makes him doubly dangerous. He is an emperor who plays fiddle while his state is awaiting eruption. While Nero was acting unconsciously, Shivraj does it knowingly. Nothing is there in his tenure to suggest that he is concerned about the development of the state. Only thing he seems to care is implicit indoctrination of youth with religious chauvinism and anti-minority hatred making an easy catch for the RSS. In return, the Sangh guarantees him continuous support.

Jawaharlal Nehru in his Towards Freedom wrote about Fascism that ‘their way had been to mobilize mass support for one program and then to utilize this for an entirely different purpose (365).’ This is in cruel display in the BJP ruled Madhya Pradesh. The anger of people against unemployment and deteriorating condition is being utilized for ‘an entirely different purpose’. They are trained to distrust neighboring countries, see them as enemy and if need be, be ready to attack them.

The people are also given ‘classes’ in moral policing. They bully couples where ever they get to see them. Warnings, like, ‘boys and girls if found together will be beaten’, ‘their procession will be taken out’ and of other such exemplary punishment are written everywhere couples may have chance to be together. Valentine’s Day is the most feared day for the state’s youth. The warnings are issued well in advanced in local newspaper and cable channels and couples receive harsh treatment, in full public gaze, if seen together on that day. In this Bajrang Dal ruled state the police is a mere spectator.

Shivraj’s brand of Hindutva is not less dangerous for the society. What Narendra Modi failed to do, Shivraj Singh Chouhan is doing without coming under any scrutiny what so ever. This ‘benevolent’ looking Chief Minister has made religious bigotry, national chauvinism and Fascism a ‘national mission’. Unlike his Gujarati counterpart, he has made a dangerous and medieval idea acceptable to whole society without risking to put a drop of blood on his hand.

An MP Tourism jingle suggests ‘MP Ajab Hai (MP is strange)’. It equally fits on its CM too.

V.S.

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Love Jihad: What an Idea, Sirji

Posted by chimeki on September 18, 2013

Courtesy: The Guardian

Courtesy: The Guardian

So it was Love Jihad that sparked a riot in Muzzafarnagar! A Muslim boy tries to woo a Hindu girl. The girl’s enraged brothers kill the boy and are killed by a mob in retaliation! It was that simple, wasn’t it? What happened to that girl who, unknowingly of course, triggered one of the worst riots in recent history? Nobody cared? Isn’t politics an art of using selective facts to gain premeditated results! Now that the boy is no more and no one is talking about that girl should we not try to understand love jihad.

According to online Oxford English Dictionary love means ‘a strong feeling of affection’. The same source tells that jihad means ‘a war or struggle against unbelievers’. So the person, who is on a love jihad mission, should have a strong feeling of affection to wage a war against an unbeliever. Loving someone to wage a war! I get my feeling confused.

But this isn’t a new thing of course. We have Wikipedia entries on Missionary Dating and Flirty Fishing which claim seducing or loving people to bring them close to god is allowed in the book. That insecurity associated with such tricks, might have been a cause that the love jihad’s existence in India was first discovered by a church in Kerala! Later, as often is the case, it was exploited by Hindu fundamentalist organization the Vishwa Hindu Parishad, VHP. The VHP even set up a Hindu Helpline 1500 to take on this social menace.

Even if it does exist, shouldn’t we appreciate such attempts? After all isn’t it better to spread religion with love than with swords or trishul. A person who is using love to bring people to god is better than one who promises love and sells girls in India’s flesh market. Ask a Nepali or Bangladeshi girl in Delhi’s red light area how she ended up there, she would tell a story you wish you shouldn’t have heard.

My friends, who married or are living with persons of different religious back ground, now feel that one day some of them would be accused of using the trick and a joker Praveen Togadia will find in them reasons for instigate riots in otherwise peaceful surroundings. An ideology which brands love a criminal act is doomed. So are the people who follow it.

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When a Minister comes

Posted by chimeki on September 9, 2013

Shashi, the minister, arrives

Shashi, the minister, arrives

An Indian minister, regardless of his portfolio, is a sum of many yesteryear’s princes. Often the total is equal to a maharajah. I saw this formulation in an exhibition organized by the National Literacy Mission Authority at Delhi Haat in INA. There the Minister of State for Human Resource Development Shashi Tharoor was accorded a welcome any former maharajah would envy. As he entered the Haat Lawn, neatly and colorfully dressed girls started to dance around him. They sang some Rajasthani folk song and a man with a wooden horse wrapped around his waist, started to swing his animal up and down. They reminded me of IPL team Sahara’s desi cheerleaders.

Shashi, with a half snobbish half arrogant smile, walked between two human lines. People showered flowers’ petals on him. To inaugurate the exhibition he cut a ribbon and lit a lamp. Then he went to the main hall. There too he cut a ribbon and lit a lamp. All the while he was preceded by folk cheerleaders.

Inside the hall there were people of different shades and hues. A lady, who was compering the programme was requesting people to pay obeisance to the minster by giving him a standing ovation. The crowed stood up immediately.

A man was screaming, apologizing and smiling in a manner similar to a father of an Indian daughter during her marriage. He was asking people to vacate the seats for the minister’s entourage and was apologizing to people, who he guessed were sahibs and deserved seats, by bending his back in right angle. I guess he, somehow, had an illusion that Shashi, watching the successful event, would promote him.

Is he tweeting?

Is he tweeting?

A French couple asked if I knew what was happening. I told them that an oriental maharaja had come. They got exited. One of them even took out his camera and wondered if he could take some snaps. I nodded in yes. The lady asked me about the state of the maharajah. I rightly said, Republic of India.

Shashi, In fact, was looking like a maharajah. Confident, smiling and very funny in his ‘centrally’ parted mushroom cut hair style. He kept on running his fingers through them.

To mark or taunt his arrival a man sang a famous Hindi song, ek din bik jayega maati ke mol jug me reh jayenge pyare tere bol. Indifferent to the song, Shashi kept on playing with his mobile. I checked my twitter account to see if he was twitting anything about the cattle class among whom his job had forced him today. He was not. After inspecting stalls and tasting delicacies as much as his stomach could accommodate, he sat on a big sofa which could have easily accommodate at least three people to lessen the burden on the daughter’s father.

Cheerleaders

When he was done with playing with mobile, Shashi was asked to speak. He spoke in Hindi and laughed at himself or Hindi I could not figure out. But laugh he did. After a few words on empowerment and women, empowering women through literacy, transforming society etc., he hopped down from the dais and left. Before the compere could thank him and ask the crowd to stay put the whole hall started chasing Shashi. All wanted a snap or two with the maharajah. The horse rider too tried to make his way in but his horse didn’t allow. When he tried to force in his horse was kicked and out.

Without wasting a minute, the cheerleaders started revolving and rotating around Shashi. He moved like the Sun without taking any cognisance of the effort. I didn’t follow him to the end to tell how he entered, sat and leaned back in his car and what he messaged to his friends about the event but the satisfaction on the face of the daughter’s father was enough to suggest it all went well.

V.S.

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Their Modi

Posted by chimeki on March 29, 2013

Their-ModiNarendra Modi presents himself as a leader India needs, a leader who can deliver. His rhetoric of development and corruption free India has taken over every sane voice. ‘Don’t remain hooked up to past, move forward’, he suggests. His supporters sing his praises. They see in him panacea of all ills that India is seen to be suffering from!

All his supporters are not bearer of fascist Hindutva ideology. Eighty per cent of them are not anti-minority or Hindutvawadi but they are disillusioned with the existing system, which is unable to give them employment and corruption free society. Even in Germany, less than five per cent people who supported Hitler were anti-Jew to the extent to demand their extermination or secondary status for them (see Ali Rattansi’s Racism). The Hindutva forces, today, are harnessing the Indian youth’s anti-establishment feeling to further their fascist agenda. Hence, targeting Modi for 2002 genocide alone, though it is one of the most important issues that cannot be ignored, will not work. Similarly, the Congress and other Right wing parties will never be able to undo Modi’s ‘spell’ of development for they too are sailing in the same boat, using same development and corruption free rhetoric.

Ultimately, it falls on the Left to undo Modi and show people the way out. It is the Left’s historic responsibility to lead the country out of this mayhem. Yet, for Indian Left it is a hard nut to crack. It is so because it has not yet clearly defined its relationship with the country’s bourgeoisie. It is frozen into time when the bourgeoisie was seen a progressive force. That idea is passé. Indian capitalist development has reached that point. Now it has become a reactionary force which can go to any extent to completely hijack the economy, even if it means to support fascist forces.

Hence it is the responsibility of the Left to expose the corporate maneuvering as the activists of the Occupy Movement have done in the Western countries. The Occupy movement across Europe and the US is an outcome of the efforts that the activists have put tirelessly to expose big business houses. In the area of popular art too, the exemplary documentaries like,  Sicko, Capitalism: A Love Story by Micheal Moor and movie like Syriana by Stephen Gaghan have shown the true colors of big corporate houses and how they manipulate governments for their gains. Now, due to popular pressure of course, even James Bond (Quantum of Solace) has been forced to see his villains in big corporations. It shouldn’t be forgotten that Indian bourgeoisie too is a part of world capitalism. The havoc it is associated with in the most exploited countries of Asia and Africa should be debated endlessly. It would be a big mistake to see it differently.

Accordingly, India’s Left should expose corporate corruption to combat the Modi myth. He is a blue eyed boy of Indian corporate world. They present him as a trophy. Instead of concentrating on Modi alone, the role of corporate that is funding him should be exposed. The Left should work to develop a movement similar to the Occupy movement. Only a movement of that scale and vigor can expose Indian corporations and simultaneously defeat ‘Modism’ which is nothing but the obsolete 20th century bourgeoisie national chauvinist ideology.

V.S.

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