Saturday, May 28, 2011
The BJP has to make an informed choice to reinvent itself
By Swapan Dasgupta
Yet, there are outstanding questions. If the BJP is of no consequence in the states where the regional parties dominate the non-Congress space, why should those parties be averse to a pre-poll alliance with an eye to power at the Centre? Why should the regional parties be wary of a mutually exploitative relationship with the BJP that protects each other's turf?
The answers are not flattering to the BJP. Any national alliance with the BJP runs the real risk of the regional parties triggering a minority reaction against it without, at the same time, generating a countervailing Hindu consolidation. If the NDA, with a BJP prime ministerial candidate, does manage to include some additional regional players, the Congress is certain to play the 'secularism' card aggressively. Where the BJP isn't a factor, Muslim votes follow one set of logic; where the BJP is relevant, the single focus is to defeat it. This is a situation that the regional parties would not like to countenance.
The BJP may live in denial of an unstated minority veto against it—and its allies—but it is a grim fact of life. And it can only be overcome by a counter-consolidation of Hindus which seems a remote possibility.
Minus a recovery in Uttar Pradesh, the regional parties are unlikely to countenance any pre-poll understanding with a formation led by the BJP: the political costs of the enterprise are, as yet, not commensurate with the potential returns. However, national politics could change quite dramatically if the BJP was persuaded that the likelihood of a victory in 2014 would be greatly enhanced if the NDA was to project a non-BJP leader as its prime ministerial candidate. The experience of Bihar, where the JD(U) and BJP struck a harmonious alliance and even succeeded in winning the votes of minorities, is instructive. It could become the model for a broad front of anti-Congress impulses.
An NDA battling for federalism, integrity, harmony and good governance led by the unifying figure of Nitish Kumar is an idea whose time is fast approaching. But for this to happen, the BJP has to overcome its internal stalemate and paralysis and make an informed choice.
Faizpur (Dist . Jalgaon, Maharashtra):
Recently a Muslim tried to kidnap a Hindu woman by hypnotizing her.
A married Hindu woman from Savda travelled in a bus coming from ‘Nhavi’ village and got down at Faizpur bus stand on 25th May. That time, a Muslim came to her and turned his palm around her face due to which the woman was hypnotized and sat on the pillion with him on his two-wheeler. After travelling some distance, she came out of the trance and realized what had happened with her. She asked the Muslim to stop the two-wheeler; but he ignored her. She then jumped from the vehicle and ran to her house. The woman has, however, not yet lodged any complaint with the police.
BJP leader Arun Jaitley argues that it is a dangerous and discriminatory bill which presumes that the majority community is always to blame for communal violence
What does the bill in effect state
If the proposed bill becomes a law, then effectively it is the central government which would have usurped the jurisdiction of the states and legislated on a subject squarely within the domain of the states.
Terrorist groups may no longer indulge in terrorist violence. They will be incentivised to create communal riots due to a statutory assumption that members of a jihadi group will not be punished under this law. The law makes only members of the majority community culpable. Why should the law discriminate on the basis of a religion or caste?
Who will ensure implementation of this act
It shall have powers to deal with the armed forces. It has a power to send advisories to the central and state governments.
Bride doom for Hindu priests in Kerala
The priest of a Hindu temple (santhikkaran in Malayalam) may be an intermediary of the Divine inside the sanctum sanctorum, but is not even considered a worthy groom outside it.
Hundreds of young priests in temples of South Kerala are in distress because no family is willing to give them a bride. “They are in a very sad situation,” said Akkeraman Kalidasa Bhattathiripad, president of the Yogakshema Sabha.
The reason is quite material. “Priests are officially equivalent to sweepers in the Travancore Devaswom Board’s scheme of things,” said Mr Radhakrishnan Potti, office-bearer of the sabha.
Thanks to the measly pay (about Rs 5,000 per month) and low official grade, priests don’t get suitable brides. “And desperate youth trying to find brides through marriage bureaus are getting cheated by the dozens,” added Mr Potti.
To resolve the sundry problems of Santhikkar, the sabha has also decided to set up a trade union of priests which will be given final shape at the fest.
“Priests don’t even have a welfare fund since they are not considered employees,” said Mr Potti.
For most Indians of my generation, Savarkar is a somewhat shadowy figure – rarely mentioned in any detail in history books; even less so at public events or occasions that commemorate India’s independence. For a small few though, he is the archetypical hero – the one who fought fearlessly against the British, the “Veer” (brave).
As some of you would know, by the time India became a republic in 1950, Savarkar was already on the path to oblivion. A few years later, he died – unsung and hardly mourned. In the 45 years since, he has become a deeply polarising figure in the pantheon of leaders who fought for India’s Independence.
I had long wanted to read more about him…but something or the other always prevented a detailed research. In the meantime, I stumbled on this piece by Sh Arvind Lavakare – and felt this was as good a place to start. On this occasion of his 128th birth anniversary, I hope to begin a re-examination of this great historical figure. Today, excerpts from “A Saint vs. A Patriot” by Sh Lavakare (emphasis added):
The life of Savarkar (1883-1966) was so uniquely variegated that it is almost unbelievable that one individual could possess such an intellect, such talent, such intensity as to be a firebrand freedom fighter from childhood, a potential barrister, a writer of history, of poetry and Sanskrit prayers, a social reformer, and a distinctive political ideologue with a prophetic vision on the fate of Kashmir, the formation of Pakistan along with its subsequent hostility, the mass Muslim infiltration from East Bengal into Assam and China’s hoodwinking Nehru on his Panchsheel.
He suffered six months of solitary confinement, seven days standing handcuffed, ten days of cross bar fetters and other tortures in the cellular jail on the infamous Andaman islands of old where he was sent in 1911 to serve a total of 50-year life imprisonment for his alleged involvement in two cases: the murder of the English district magistrate of Nashik and efforts in Bombay to ‘overthrow the legally formed government of the country.‘ He was in the Andaman prison till 1921, from where he was shifted first to Alipore jail and then, in January 1924, released from prison but confined in his movements to Ratnagiri district (in present Maharashtra) with stringent conditions. It was in May 1937, when Jamnadas Mehta of the Tilak Democratic Swaraj Party agreed to support the new Cooper ministry in Bombay on the express condition of Savarkar’s unconditional release, that Savarkar was finally rid of colonial shackles. And he soon plunged into politics, becoming the president of the Hindu Mahasabha, even as those engaged in the freedom movement sought his views and advice. Included in that lot was Subhas Chandra Bose whom he inspired to make India free through military action.
But the Congress and Communists of 2003 are not moved by all that Savarkar did or suffered in trying to win freedom for his beloved country, by how Savarkar kindled the minds and hearts of millions, including Bose and Bhagat Singh.
Image courtesy: www.Savarkar.orgRegarding Savarkar’s connection with Godse, the Special Court appointed for the trial did not accept the evidence of Digamber Badge who had turned approver and stated that Savarkar had blessed the assassins in their mission. In Godse’s reply to the charge sheet against him — reproduced fully in May it Please You Honour (Surya Bharti Prakashan, New Delhi, 1987) — he had categorically denied the prosecution’s stand that he was guided in his action by Savarkar and that, but for Savarkar’s complicity, he could not have acted the way he did. What’s more, Godse’s reply stated ‘I take the strongest exception to this untrue and unjust charge and I further regard it as an insult to my intelligence and judgement.’ (Ibid page 45). Indeed, Godse’s reply indicated his disenchantment with Savarkar’s belief that free India having got its own government, all parties should conduct their propaganda on constitutional lines rather through anarchical tactics and undemocratic conduct. (Ibid page 56).
‘Let the Indian State be purely Indian. Let it not recognise any invidious distinction whatsoever as regards the franchise, public services, offices, taxation on the grounds of religion and race. Let no cognisance be taken whatsoever of a man being Hindu or Mohammedan, Christian or Jew. Let all citizens of that Indian state be treated according to their worth irrespective of their religion or racial percentage in the general population.’
अहमदाबाद में अन्ना की सभा के दौरान एक शख्स ने लोगों को संबोधित कर रहे मुल्ला अग्निवेश पर हमला कर दिया। उन्होंने पहले अग्निवेश की पगड़ी खींची और उन्हें थप्पड़ मारा। पुलिस ने उन्हें तुरंत हिरासत में ले लिया। गिरफ्तार शख्स का नाम महंत नित्यानंद दास है।
जानकारी के मुताबिक यह शख्स अग्निवेश के कुछ दिन पहले दिए गए उस बयान से नाराज था जिसमें उन्होंने कहा था कि अमरनाथ शिवलिंग को कृत्रिम तरीके से बनाया गया है और इसलिए यह यात्रा धोखा है।
जानकारी के मुताबिक अग्निवेश अहमदाबाद के लाल दरवाजा में सरदार बाग के बाहर सभा कर रहा था । तभी नित्यानंद ने पहले अग्निवेश के गले में कपड़े की माला डाली , इसके बाद उसने उसकी पगड़ी खींच ली और थप्पड़ जड़ दिया।
नित्यानंद ने इससे पहले अग्निवेश पर जूता फेंकने वाले को 50 हजार रुपये का इनाम देने का एलान किया था। अहमदाबाद के श्री काड़ी मंदिर के महंत नित्यानंद ने अपनी इस हरकत का समर्थन किया। उसने कहा कि आप भ्रष्टाचार के खिलाफ लड़िए , लेकिन आपकी बाबा अमरनाथ के खिलाफ बोलने की हिम्मत कैसे हुई ?
उसने कहा कि जब अग्निवेश कश्मीर में था और गिलानी के साथ बिरयानी खा रहा था तो उसने कहा था कि अमरनाथ यात्रा ढोंग है। हालांकि इस घटना के बाद अग्निवेश ने नित्यानंद के खिलाफ कोई कार्रवाई न करने की अपील की।