Posts Tagged ‘BJP’

DEFEAT OF AN IDEA – HAS THE BJP LOST OUT TO HINDUISM – BY ASHISH NANDY AND SHOMA CHAUDHRY – TEHELKA

June 21, 2009





HAS THE BJP LOST OUT TO HINDUISM?

ASHISH NANDY INTERPRETS THE SUDDEN DECLINE OF THE RIGHT WING

———————————————-

Sunday, 21 June 2009
 
 
From Tehelka Magazine, Vol 6, Issue 25, Dated Jun 27, 2009
CURRENT AFFAIRS  
opinion

Head Hunting

Hindutva is embarrassed by Hinduness. A new generation of confident Indians has started to move beyond its logic of fear and hate. Will the BJP be able to seize this moment for creative reinvention?

ASHIS NANDY with SHOMA CHAUDHURY

image
Save the Nation Youth being trained at a RSS shakha 
Photos: AP

THE CASCADING crisis within the BJP since May 16 and their confused debate about the role Hindutva has played in their electoral defeat tells a fascinating story. It would be premature to read any of this as a signal of either the disintegration of the party or Hindutva, but one could safely say the idea of Hindutva has been defeated by India for the moment. Put on a backburner and challenged to reinvent itself.

The BJP’s dependence on Hindutva as its defining characteristic was bound to become problematic for it. Data shows that less than 10 percent of Indians have ever voted for the BJP on ideological grounds. The Hindutva project was constructed on tapping into and fostering fear and a siege mentality within Hindus: a sense of being a minority in a country in which they are clearly a numerical majority. In itself, this was not a bad thing. You need a political party to ‘summit’ these emotions so you can manage them. The Republican Party in America, for instance, also encourages and allies with Christian fundamentalists. They know a small marginal part of the vote comes from there — small, but a crucial vote percentage. So they woo them pre-election. Post election, though, there could be indirect rewards but no official rewards are handed out to them. The BJP did not understand this art of political management. They did not learn how to treat Hindutva groups as merely a sect within them; they believed their entire existence depended on the ideology.

This whole ideological stand — making Hindutva their central official line – was a myopic mistake. (The RSS of course has never been in politics so their understanding of politics is even worse.) The Indian genius is to manage contradictions. Most people forget, the Congress Party, the original party of the freedom movement, allowed many of its members to simultaneously belong to both the Congress and the Hindu Maha Sabha or other Hindu nationalist formations. This was very prevalent in Bengal because a huge proportion of Bengali freedom fighters came from a background of Hindu nationalism. Tagore himself was a member of both the Congress and the Muslim League. It is because these political impulses were accommodated within the Congress as factions that they were easier to negotiate in the early years. The BJP’s dilemma is that it thought its existence was predicated on Hindutva: now that they have lost drastically, they think Hindutva has become a liability and should be jettisoned. But the fact is, the relationship between the BJP and Hindutva will only become more clandestine. The debate they are trying to have within the party is actually nothing more than a power struggle wearing the garb of ideological challenge.

Gandhi was no romantic. He knew that India could have its own version of a nation state

In itself, this power struggle is a healthy thing. Contrary to all the speculation around them, the BJP is not necessarily slated to disintegrate like the Janata Party. The Janata party was a coalition of factions; the BJP has merely become a party with factions. With Atal Behari Vajpayee and LK Advani past their time, all the top posts are vacant. If the BJP wants to survive and do reasonably well, they should “do a Congress”: they should find a Narasimha Rao or Manmohan Singh to lead them. All their current and prominent leaders are too high-pitched.

The BJP may be short-sighted in analysing its defeat dominantly through the Hindutva lens, but its electoral defeat does point to a kind of defeat of Hindutva itself. At the core of the Hindutva project is a war between Hindusim and Hindutva that is around 150 years old. It began in the middle of the 19th century, when ideas of Hindtuva began to take shape with the Hindu reform movements. In a sense, the defeat of Hindutva today is also a defeat of the West because the Hindutva project was one of the last remnants of the colonial West in Indian consciousness.

TODAY, BOTH detractors and defenders of Hindutva are confused about what it stands for. The truth may not be palatable to many, but Hindutva grew out of an admiration of the western European nation state and our attempt to have an indigenous form of it. When Veer Savarkar, the Hindutva fountainhead, insisted that Hindus must not read the Vedas and Upanishads but read science and technology and western political theory, this is what he had in mind. He was looking for a way to transform a chaotic, diverse, anarchic society into an organising principle for a masculine, western-style nation state, something akin to Bismarck’s Germany.

To achieve this, the Hindutva project required Indians to repudiate their Indianness, and Hindus to repudiate their Hinduness. That was part of the war. It required a chaotic, diverse society to homogenise itself into something that could be more globally acceptable and to live according to European norms. Again, public memory is short. Few people remember that Savarkar was very secular in his personal life – in the western sense. He refused to have his funeral rights according to Hindu custom; he wanted his body taken for cremation in a mechanised vehicle rather than the shoulders of relatives. He also refused to give his wife a Hindu funeral though women members of the Hindu Mahasabha sat in front of his house on a dharna.

Reformers were trying to produce tamed versions of religion able to sustain pan-Indian nationalism

Savarkar’s main criticism of Gandhi, in fact, was that he was unscientific, irrational and illiterate in modern political theory. He was wrong about that. Gandhi did understand political theory, but it had deeper roots, taken not only from Indian society but from the dissenting West. Gandhi did not believe in the modern nation state or in conventional ideas of nationality, nation and nationalism. He went on record to say that armed nationalism is no different from imperialism. At that point in our history, he seemed a romantic fuddy duddy. The fact is, he was way ahead of his time. He understood that India was particularly well-equipped to craft its own version of a modern nation state. It was under no obligation to follow European textbook definitions of the nation state. The irony is that today many western nations are moving away from the old model and becoming more flexible: 14 countries in Europe do not maintain any armies and have opened their borders to become the European Union. On the other hand, because of our colonial past, India and China are two of the purest forms of 19th century nation states you can find in the world today. Tagore’s friend, Brahmobandhab Upadhyay, a Catholic who called himself a ‘Hindu Christian’. Vivekananda himself said the ideal Indian would be one who had a Hindu mind and a Muslim body. But very early in his intellectual journey, Savarkar decided mere geography was too insipid a basis for nationality and began to advocate a more strident Hindu nationalism. The distasteful, clenched-teeth hatred of Muslims and other minorities associated with Hindutva took root then.

image
Club members Ganesh puja in Mumbai
Photos: SHAILENDRA PANDEY
image
Spine straight The Hindutva project wanted to cast Hindus in Islamic and Protestant Christian mould
Photos: AP
image
Multiple ledgers Two urchins celebrate Diwali 
Photos: AP

After its defeat this election, the BJP feels its middleclass base has moved away from it because it is disenchanted with Hindutva. This, perhaps, is not entirely true. The Indian middle-class has a natural affinity with the less strident aspects of Hindutva. Primarily, this is because the RSS and BJP had very strong links with the Hindu reform movements, particularly the Arya Samaj. Both Munje and Hedgewar, though, were also inspired by Ramakrishna. The project was very clear. There was a seamless continuity between these reform movements and European concepts of a nation state. This continuity began to transform Hinduism and partly led to a form of religion compatible with a modern nation state – in the same way that Protestant Christians in Europe had become more comfortable with the nation state, industrial capitalism and secularism. In many ways, all Indian religious reformers were trying to produce house-broken, tamed versions of religion which could sustain a pan- Indian consciousness and pan-Indian nationalism. All these reformers had internalised aspects of masculine Protestant Christianity. Angarik Dharmapal’s Maha Bodhi society in Calcutta, in fact, produced a kind of Protestant Buddhism which the Sri Lankans find very convenient for their majoritarian state. Hindu society was even more diverse and cruel. Anyone wedded to the conventional idea of a nation state naturally found it too chaotic, unmanageable and subversive. The idea of Hindutva was supposed to be something Hindus could hold on to and yet remain good citizens of a modern nation.

The middle-class — which is the most privileged and therefore naturally most invested in the conventional notion of the nation state — is therefore also a natural constituency for Hindutva and its version of Hindusim. In Savarkar’s fearsome novel Kala Pani, the only futuristic novel produced by a Hindutva ideologue, he paints a (for him utopian) vision of a future India that will be a totally homogenous society. People would marry across caste and sect and language and become good, pan-Indian citizens — almost like the over-insipid, boring, lowest common denominator Indians one sees nowadays in India’s metropolises. Indians with no difference in language or custom: everyone speaking in the same accents, everyone having the same choice in music, cinema, clothes. Absolutely homogenised — almost like uniform clones.

SAVARKAR WAS prescient because this, in fact, is almost a mirror image of contemporary urban middle class Indians. A class that has access to a globalised economy, speaks English as its primary language, and is shaped by a uniform media. What resonance does this new-generation Malayali or Bengali or Tamilian brought up in Delhi have with the vernacular Hindusim of his grandparents, or even parents? Do all those myriad gods and goddesses with strange names, family priests, ishta dev and ishta devis make any sense to them? What is emerging instead is a pan-Indian Hinduism that allows you to dip into a bit of Onam and a bit of Diwali and a bit of Durga puja, and not be too deeply invested in any of it. Contrary to the ‘milleniaold’ milleniaold’ tradition Hindutva ideologues claim they are a part of, this new kind of Hinduism is a very new faith. It is no more than 150 years old. It was born in the 19th century and is directly inspired by Protestant Christianity in the wake of the Arya Samaj. And this faith is also a kind of lack of faith. You can carry it with you wherever you go. It is a kind of laptop Hinduism.

The Hindutva project in India is destined not to ever occupy centre space though, because it is challenged by Hinduism. When one talks of this Hinduism which is 4,000 years old, we have in mind a religion or tradition – a sentiment — that might be shrinking everyday but still moves a majority in India. It is this concept of faith — diverse, local, intimate and highly ritual — that most Indians live with. Apart from economic reasons and the crunch on jobs and infrastructure, one of the reasons why the Shiv Sena could garner so much support for their opposition to the influx of Biharis in Mumbai was the proliferation of chhat puja. The Mumbai-wallahs felt threatened, there was a sense of ‘itni chhatt puja kahan se aa gayi’? The Biharis would have had less of a hostile backlash if they had participated in the Ganesh pujas instead. Interestingly, there are many more Durga pujas in Mumbai and Delhi than in Kolkata, but there is no hostility against this because it has graduated into an all- India phenomenon. Chhathasn’t — yet.

The ‘millenia-old’ tradition Hindutva ideologues claim is actually a very new faith

It would be a mistake to conflate the occasional eruption of these hostilities with a belief that the idea of India’s plural traditions is a romantic myth. Religious groupings and sects — within Hinduism, and even between different religions — have always participated in each other’s local festivals, but they were not homogenised into an anodyne laptop religion. India was not an imitation of the Enlightenment model, in which you are deemed cosmopolitan only when you feel the other person to be completely equal. In traditional Indian societies, you are equal only in the sense that you have the right to think the other community is inferior to you, and the other person has a right to think you are inferior to them — even though neither of you might say so openly. In a homogenised, individualised society, the former is seen as cosmopolitanism. In a communitybased society, it is the latter cosmopolitanism that works.

In this continuing war between traditional, chaotic, diverse Hinduism and ordering, homogenising Hindutva, the BJP’s electoral defeat is a sign that Hindusim (which is by far the stronger force in electoral numbers) has defeated Hindutva. Hindutva expects Indians to live according to European norms of nationhood. But we are Indians: we are incorrigible, cussed, we have learnt to live with contradictions for centuries, we have learnt to live with chaos and ill-defined, half-baked ideas. We also want to keep options open for the next generation. These are the attributes that have ensured our survival when so many other major civilisations have failed. These are attributes that the BJP has to find ways to accommodate and respond to.

(I once interviewed Madanlal Pahwa — one of the Hindu militants who was among Gandhi’s assasins — in his old age. Ultimately, his most memorable years were of his childhood spent in a district in Pakistan’s West Punjab, which had Baba Farid’s mazar. There was a religious fair he would go to where qawwalis were sung. He called himself a kattar Hindu but that’s what his most nostalgic memories were about. This tells you something. We Indians are accustomed to living with multiple ledgers. He was a Hindutva wallah and all his language came from there, but his memories came from elsewhere.)

None of these arguments add up to an assertion that Hindutva will die out. What is true, though, is that, unless it metamorphoses, it will never enjoy the same vigour it did in past decades because it is inherently uncomfortable and embarrassed by Indianness and traditional Hinduism. For a generation newly emergent from colonial dominance, there was a fascination and sense of respectful subordination to things Western. But with this new post-independent, post-colonial generation, things are different. Indians have gone back to their own rhythms now, so even for the middle-classes, Manmohan Singh’s ‘West’ — with its idea that anyone can be a Tata or Ambani — is more attractive to many than Savarkar’s ‘West’. The aspiration for a global, material identity has overtaken cultural identity.

There is much Advani has to answer for, but he is quite a tragic figure. No one has read hm right

GIVEN BOTH the perceived and electoral defeat of Hindutva, it will be interesting to see what future route the BJP charts for itself. In many ways, Advani is a tragic figure. It is possible that no one has yet been able to read him correctly. Unlike Vajpayee, Advani had lived in a Hindu minority state and went to a Christian missionary convent. Having lived in a Muslimmajority state, Muslims were not unknown to him, and, perhaps, he did not feel the intrinsic discomfort expected of him. He was a part of the RSS – and probably believed in it — but there is a strong possibility that he also recognised in some ways that Hindutva was a political instrument rather than an all-encompassing ideology.

There is much Advani has to answer for. He is culpable for the Ram Janmabhoomi movement and cannot escape history’s judgement by saying he was talking of Ram as a cultural icon and not a religious figure. He knew he was creating an explosive communal situation. But his party’s reaction to his statement on Jinnah makes him tragic. There was nothing new he said about Jinnah – it is an indication of where our political culture has reached that no one seemed to understand this. Strangely enough, despite a tremendous difference in personality, like Savarkar, Jinnah was a person who thought entirely in Western liberal terms. Their ideological bouquet were almost exactly the same. Advani was only recognising that when he called Jinnah secular. Pakistan’s first law minister was a Hindu, its first national anthem was also written by a Hindu, upon Jinnah’s invitation. Both men shared the idea that nationality is crucial in a nation state and a certain amount of violence and bloodshed is normal in the jostling for dominance. In fact, Jinnah was less accepting of this notion of violence than Savarkar.

Advani tried to cast himself as a statesman in the Vajpayee mould, but could not repudiate his past. At the same time, he could not project himself as an ideologue that could be cast in a heroic mould as, say, Narendra Modi seems to have become for the Gujarati people. He did wear different masks at different times in his career to take political advantage, but it is possible he personally remained somewhat distanced from all of them.

image
Shadow play LK Advani ; perhaps the BJP now needs a leader who can lower the temperature of the party
Photos: SHAILENDRA PANDEY
image
Soul competition Middle-class Hindus today have a kind of laptop religion, easy to carry around
Photos: REUTERS

But this only intensifies the riddles for the BJP because it is quite possible that Narendra Modi too has passed his zenith. This election has indicated a decline in his popularity. The problem is, he did not leave any escape routes for himself, not even a cosmetic apology or expression of regret for the events in Gujarat 2002. This is likely to haunt his entire career. So the search for the correct leader has become the BJP’s biggest challenge – a leader who can lower the divisiveness and high temperature the party has become associated with.

But other questions remain for the party. If the BJP abandons Hindutva, what shape can its right of centre politics take? Its economic program cannot stretch too right of center because a majority of Indians live outside the spoils of the neo-liberal economic system. If only for electoral gains, they have to be accommodated.

What this means is that the BJP could be headed for a different kind of ideology, in which Hindutva will play a part, but there will be other competing concepts. There is no reason why Hindutva itself cannot take on a more benign form. Tagore, for instance, makes extremely powerful arguments for Hindutva in his novel Gora. This was a response to both Kipling’s Kim and Savarkar, and almost anticipated Gandhi in some ways. But even if the BJP and RSS’ think tanks are unable to come up with such innovations, it is quite certain that the party will retain some links with the ideology, and even if it is not part of its functioning ideology, it will be a party more tolerant of Hindutva groups.

VAJPAYEE, FOR instance, held Hindutva as a kind of vague, emotional frame. There’s no problem with that; in fact, it’s probably necessary in the Indian context. As Nawaz Sharif told Vajpayee, as part of the Muslim League and BJP, they were best positioned to break fresh ground in Indo-Pak relations as neither of their constituencies could accuse them of being wishywashy liberals. Above everything else though, like the Maoists who were encouraged to come overground and become part of the democratic process, the Hindu right wing must be politically accommodated. They cannot be annihilated or wished away, just as the Naxals could not be wished away. (Charu Mazumdar’s group in Bengal was wiped out with police action, but in barely 30 years Naxalism has come back again with greater force. These are idealistic people. It is a pity they have opted for the gun, but the problems they represent are real. Sitting in urban citadels, one might imagine that one can solve these problems over a 100 years and wait for some “trickle down” effect, but if millions of people are condemned to die in the meantime, one cannot expect everyone to remain unmoved.) In the same way, there are rump groups who are rabid enough to believe they should break down the Babri Masjid. They cannot just be wished away. They have to be politically accommodated and tamed.

The Mughal empire has some lessons that could be of great significance to contemporary India. The empire was so successful that the British left the Mughal system intact for 100 years. Even the Delhi Durbar of 1911 followed all conventions of a Mughal court. It allowed different levels of allegiance to the centre. The Jaipur Maharaja, for instance, was closer to Mughal Delhi than a sultan in Bengal: this meant he had more power and influence, nothing more.

The BJP has been demanding Article 370 should be abolished and the Uniform Civil Code brought in to India. These are legitimate demands in a European-style modern nation state. But why must we follow that route? Instead of hedging on Article 370, one should use it more effectively – go the whole hog with it. Why didn’t we give Article 370 to Sikkim instead of gobbling it up? Why didn’t we give it to Nagaland, rather than go in for 30 years of bloodshed which has made a whole generation bitter? If there is a worry that it is a border state, why not innovate and come up with Article 370 (a) – which defines more and less rights, with a clause put in for renegotiation at a later date? This would have increased the maneuverability of the Indian state immensely.

Savarkar’s novel Kala Pani covets exactly what the middle-class is today: insipid, boring, uniform

As Gandhi intuited, we are uniquely well-equipped to design our own version of a nation state. By pure default, we have gone in for some innovations — Indian secularism is one example. Both secularists and communalists complain about its compromises. But we will last as a society only as long as we compromise. The moment we try to harden it into something too defined, things collapse.

The current upheaval could be a creative moment both for the BJP and the RSS. Unlike the RSS heads that have gone before him, Mohanrao Bhagwat is not a very conspicuous ideologue. Nobody expects anything out of him. Because of this, he has the opportunity to be truly creative. But westernised Brahmins and modernity can be a lethal combination. It cuts you off from your native Indian genius. So will they be able to spot the moment?

 
From Tehelka Magazine, Vol 6, Issue 25, Dated Jun 27, 2009

Advertisements

Hindu rate of BJP growth – By Shekhar Gupta – The Indian Express

May 9, 2009

ABOUT THE 800 POUND GUERRILLA IN THE ROOM THAT IS INVISIBLE TO BOTH BJP AND CONGRESS

http://www.indianexpress.com/news/hindu-rate-of-bjp-growth/456485/0


Hindu rate of BJP growth


Shekhar GuptaPosted: Saturday , May 09, 2009 at 2301 hrs IST


You can drive around the country in the course of this five-week election, and the one thing on which you will find remarkable unanimity among the thinking classes is that this is an “issue-less” election. Or, that in the absence of a real pan-national issue, the election is being fought entirely on local concerns, as if this was municipal or panchayat election by another name. It is tough to argue against this yawn-inspiring view. The failure of both national parties, the Congress and the BJP, to build a pan-national contest is phenomenal, and disappointing at a time when voter fatigue is increasing with small parties — the spoilers and spoil-hunters of split verdicts. This failure has reduced the leaders of both parties to being like admirals or generals who command vast fleets and armies, and have great ambitions, but have wound up fighting in penny pockets, for minor pickings.

 

If we continue, seeking parallels in military science (because electoral politics is war by another name, only more vicious), our politics, for exactly two decades now, has been a kind of stalemated, stationary trench warfare. The unlocking of the Babri Masjid, and the shilanyas of Ram Janma-bhoomi in the last months of Rajiv Gandhi’s prime ministership, made secularism the centre-point of our natural politics, particularly in the Hindi heartland; combined with a Mandal-ignited OBC surge, it led to the destruction of the Congress in the entire Gangetic plain — even today, it can barely hope to touch 20 in India’s most politicised zone, from Uttarakhand to West Bengal, out of a total of 167. The BJP was able to harvest this for some time, as the Ram Temple fervour overwhelmed caste. But it declined shortly thereafter, as the promise of building a grand new temple for Lord Ram did not quite have the oomph that the idea of destroying an old mosque did. As history, ever since man discovered God, shows, destroying has always held much greater sex-appeal than building. So the Ram Janma-bhoomi-Babri site has remained frozen in time since 1992, and so has our politics. This new polarisation is loosely defined as secular versus communal, or who can afford to join hands with the BJP and who cannot. Its corollary is that it enables parties with total ideological, philosophical and even political conflicts to come together on the principle of secularism or anti-BJP-ism. This is the now-fossilised state of our politics, and that is why the boredom, issuelessness, sameness and indecisive verdicts. There has to be a reason why the same voters who give us such utterly clear verdicts in the states give us such muddled ones nationally.

 

 

 

The BJP would say this analysis is simplistic, even hypocritical. They will say: the secular-communal discourse is just a camouflage for a large number of political parties effectively handing out to Muslim voters a veto on who can rule India. Any party that needs (and has a realistic chance of getting) the Muslim vote, will “blindly” oppose the BJP, they say. That is why, according to them, the BJP and the NDA have to build their politics in a field with a maximum of 325 out of a House of 543, since at least five parties — the Congress, the Left, the SP, the RJD and the NCP — can have nothing to do with them. That is the line of untouchability in our politics. Or perhaps the line that separates the rival trenches, and political mobility, therefore, is confined to hopping from one trench to another, mostly on the same side — barring some small, serial defectors like the Gowdas, Paswan, Ramadoss and Ajit Singh, the entirely mobile operators blessed with total ideological fungibility.

 

You can feel sorry for the BJP. But this is a problem for the BJP to fix. No political party can grow, even survive, by only feeling sorry for itself. Beginning in 1989, the polarisation had helped the BJP. By 1998, it had peaked. It was for the party’s vastly experienced leadership to read the writing on the wall. And probably it did, but did not quite have the conviction, the fibre to lead a change, an evolution that would have repositioned the BJP as a party of the centre-right rather than a party of the Hindu Right.

 

Vajpayee, the BJP leader most respected by the minorities, tried, but lost his nerve at the most decisive moment, a moment that, if seized, would have placed him among India’s great statesmen for ever, in fact our first real statesman of the Right, or may be the second, if you place Sardar Patel somewhere there. This moment was the killings of Gujarat in 2002 — on the flight to Goa, for the party national executive meeting, when he had to decide on sacking Modi after his “Raj-dharma” speech. But he blinked. In the process, he diminished himself, and his party, and gave its opponents Modi as their second rallying point after Ayodhya.

 

That Advani tried to address the same ideological isolation subsequently, with his statement on Jinnah, underlines the fact that, deep down, political wisdom does exist while the will and conviction are lacking. He has tried to re-position his party closer to the centre in a slightly more complex, but fascinating manner. The alliance with the Akalis in Punjab and with Mayawati in Uttar Pradesh, he thought, had helped move his party to the centre; and while the Muslims may still not vote for it, if he could simply persuade them not to treat the BJP as their permanent enemy — that needed to be defeated by voting tactically against it all over the country — he could change its politics fundamentally. But neither had he prepared his party and its ideological mentors, nor had he the audacity and conviction to bash on regardless. So this break-out from the trenches remained short, half-hearted and a failure. Yet again, Advani and his BJP blew an opportunity presented by Varun Gandhi’s speeches. Imagine if, instead of rushing to his defence and demanding a forensic examination of the DVDs, Advani stated unequivocally that he abhorred such language and politics and dropped Varun as his candidate? In one stroke, it would have brought his party closer to the centre, given it wider acceptability, and enhanced his stature in a manner that no website or ad-campaign, howsoever brilliant, could ever have done.

 

 

 

Indian democracy is not unique in having to deal with such a divisive issue of history and legacy. Race and segregation was a divide that determined American politics for a long time. But the Republicans cut their losses in the course of time and so it ceased to be the central issue. Surely, many more Blacks still vote for the Democrats but the Republicans totally dumped the race issue, giving America its most prominent Black public leaders in Colin Powell and Condoleezza Rice — and the Supreme Court justice, Clarence Thomas. And while the larger majority of voters of colour were still on the “other” side, and there was no foreseeable prospect of those “vote banks” shifting, remember how even George Bush (junior) dealt with Trent Lott, the Senate Republican leader who, in a 2002 fund-raiser to celebrate Strom Thurmond’s 100th birthday, made remarks that appeared to raise the race-issue again. (He said “problems” could have been avoided had Thurmond’s 1948 presidential bid succeeded; Thurmond had based that campaign on a racial segregation platform.) Bush dumped Lott immediately, and two weeks later he had lost his job.

 

The beauty of democratic politics is that such opportunities do arise every now and then. Smart leaders seize them, particularly when it is an opportunity to rectify fundamental imbalances in the national political debate. Vajpayee had his big moment once, with Modi; Advani has had his, twice, with Jinnah and Varun. But the BJP, and Indian politics, are now paying the price for those long marchers having blown all three. And that is why their politics, or India’s, remains frozen. That is what will give at least three other possible “fronts” space to try setting up a “secular coalition” after May 16, the only factor overriding all enmities and contradictions among likely new partners being the “exclusion of the BJP.”

 

Until the leaders of the BJP accept the inevitability, and the wisdom, of moving closer to the ideological centre-right, and of growing out of the fantasy of one day reaping the harvest of Hindu resurgence, there will be, to steal the words of one of its own stalwarts (Jagmohan), no unfreezing this political turbulence. Of course, the Congress too has had its failures and lost opportunities to break out of this low-150s stagnation. But let that be an argument, a sermon for another day.

sg@expressindia.com

Readers’ Comments – Online Indian Express:

AssumptionsBy: fromusa | Saturday , 9 May ’09 19:16:50 PMReply | ForwardAnalysis is based assumption that religious minority vote can be trusted to factor good things and change their mind. And congress allows that to happen. Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan tried that. Media has luxury of not being accountable. They can get away with keeping painting BJP in a particular way rather than highlighting governance given by BJP and ruining of institutions by Congress.

Why CPI (M) is better placed than Congress or BJP to lead a stable coalition at the center and secure India? – By Ghulam Muhammed

May 4, 2009

Sunday, May 03, 2009

 

Why CPI (M) is better placed than Congress or BJP to lead a stable coalition at the center and secure India?

The times have changed. No single party, whether they call itself, national or regional, can on their own get a majority in the Parliamentary elections to form a government of its own. And the way, coalition partners of UPA and NDA has gained in their respective constituencies; it is natural that they would bargain to get the best positioning with their share of contribution of seats to the central coalition.

Compared to Congress, BJP is more pliable to accede to the demands of its prospective coalition partners, but it has such a checkered record of its ideological excesses, that it has lost trust of even its old allies.

Congress under Manmohan Singh is run like a dictatorship imposed on the coalition. Manmohan Singh, a widely believed choice of the USA, maneuvered into the post of Prime Ministership, with hardly any sense of accountability to the people of India, however much he may assume that he is working for the best of his country. His democratic credentials are highly questionable, both, at electoral level and at the executive level, with his haughty style of working with keeping all his moves to himself with the steely notion that he is not answerable to anybody; least to his coalition partners.

He has an Idea of India and he has every right to have an Idea of India, just like any other citizen of India. But at his level, he has to share his views with his partners, his people at large and only after getting their full consensus he can make major changes in the direction in which he proposes to take his country along.

He has miserably failed in that quarter and with his public spate with the Left and even Right, he has become a big liability to any coalition, be that Congress, BJP or Third Front. He had been a career bureaucrat and like all bureaucrats, he loves to be left untouched, unquestioned and unaccountable in his private domain. That cannot win friends and influence people.

On the other hand, his party, The Indian National Congress was gripped with sudden panic of being left in the lurch in 2009 elections and had gambled to get its old glory by going it alone without seat sharing arrangements with any of its UPA partners.

It had no time to realise that in each of the state in which it is pitting its candidates against its potential coalition partners, it is getting the kind of reputation that it could have better avoided in these days of coalition politics. In each state, the feeling of sons of soil is getting heightened mainly due to the callous and insensitive handling by the so-called ‘National Political Parties’. The general feeling is that the High Command does no know what is best. The logical conclusion is for the regionals to be allowed to stake their claim on a national government, without becoming a vassal to the so-called ‘National Parties’.

With such a scenario now unfolding, CPI (M) is the only party that could find common ground with other secular regionals, without becoming a threat to them in their respective state. It may suit CPI (M) to remain confined to the state it is ruling and leave the entire country to its potential coalition partners. At the center it will have to rule by consensus.  A public commitment by CPI (M) would ensure that people will start evaluating the gains that they will enjoy by getting the Third Front into the saddle.

This will eventually shift the national focus from secularism v/s communalism to issues of welfare and development, so dear to the people within their own immediate enclave of existence. If Dilli door ast, let Delhi be far!

Besides, CPI(M) has the best credentials to protect the nation from the dangers from the north, without getting under the yoke of US/UK/Israel axis.

 


Ghulam Muhammed, Mumbai

ghulammuhammed3@gmail.com

www.ghulammuhammed.wordpress.com

Shadows of Violence Cling to Indian Politician – By Somini Sengupta – The New York Times

May 2, 2009

 

 

Shadows of Violence Cling to Indian Politician

Ruth Fremson/The New York Times

Mr. Modi campaigning last week in Gujarat State. He was chief minister during a deadly episode of Hindu-Muslim violence in 2002.

 

By SOMINI SENGUPTA

 

AHMEDABAD, India — Narendra Modi, India’s most incendiary politician, is trying to cast himself as the vanguard of India’s modern industrial future. The ghosts of this city’s savage past, though, are refusing to leave his side.

Mr. Modi, 59, is the thrice-elected chief minister of the western state of Gujarat. On his watch, this city witnessed one of the worst episodes of Hindu-Muslim violence in the history of independent India: in the spring of 2002, mostly over three days, 1,180 people were killed across the state. Most were Muslims. Mr. Modi’s administration was accused of doing little to stop the fury and on occasion, abetting it.

On Monday, India’s Supreme Court, in its strongest move yet, ordered a special police team to investigate Mr. Modi’s role in the alleged conspiracy to attack Muslims.

With national elections under way, Mr. Modi is the biggest crowd-puller for India’s main opposition party, the Bharatiya Janata Party. And while party hierarchy means he is not the B.J.P.’s candidate for prime minister this year, he is positioning himself for the top slot in the next race.

On the campaign trail, he is sardonic, often churlish, always theatrical. At one rally, he compared the ruling Indian National Congress, the nation’s oldest party, to an aging woman. At another, he assailed the incumbent prime minister, Manmohan Singh of Congress, as so “weak” that he ought to get a medical check-up; Mr. Singh had recently recovered from heart bypass surgery.

At a third, stabbing the air with his finger, he taunted Mr. Singh for turning to the United States for support in the aftermath of the Mumbai terrorist attacks in November, which India said were the work of a Pakistan-based militant group.

“O-baaaa-maaa,” he whined, referring to President Obama. “O-baaa-maaa. Our neighbor has come and attacked us. Do something!” The crowd lapped it up, hollering, clapping and imitating his cry of “O-baaa-maa.”

Mr. Modi’s success offers a window into the B.J.P.’s delicate balancing act: It has to hold on to its radical Hindu support base even as it pitches itself as a force of prosperity and security. His rise also suggests a turning point in Indian politics, in which voters weigh what matters more: identity issues, like faith and caste, or practical issues, like electricity, water and roads. Opinion polls show that Hindutva, or Hinduness, has diminishing appeal.

With a national profile clearly in mind, Mr. Modi has assiduously sought to reinvent himself from a scruffy mascot of Hindu nationalism to a decisive corporate-style administrator. His talking points these days are Gujarat’s double-digit economic growth, private seaports and round-the-clock electricity in Ahmedabad, a booming western city that Gandhi once called home. He wears business suits to business meetings, instead of homespun tunics. He still lampoons the urban, English-speaking elite, but he is also honing his English skills.

His biggest coup has involved the Tata Nano, the world’s least expensive car. Last fall, Mr. Modi persuaded Tata Motors to relocate its Nano factory to government-owned land not far from here. The company had been buffeted by protests over land acquisition in another state.

Soon afterward, several of India’s most prominent industrialists gathered in Gujarat for a meeting and declared Mr. Modi, a former tea shop manager, fit to be a future prime minister.

Swapan Dasgupta, a columnist who advises the B.J.P. on strategy, described him as India’s “aggressive modernizer.”

The B.J.P “promises growth, good governance, development and security.” But it also returns to the party’s original ideological pillars, from pledging to build a Hindu temple on the site of a razed 16th-century mosque to resurrecting a preventive detention law that Muslims said had been unfairly applied to them.

Rarely does Mr. Modi make overt appeals to faith. He does not have to.

“Modi has learned that you have to do development to get re-elected, you have to have a secular image if you want to be prime minister,” said Ajay Umat, editor of a Gujarati-language daily newspaper, Divya Bhaskar, who has known Mr. Modi for more than 20 years.

Mr. Modi has also learned, Mr. Umat said, that his core Hindu supporters will not easily forget his original incarnation as their “protector.”

That image was sealed in 2002, after a train ferrying Hindus was set on fire by Muslims in a town called Godhra, killing 59 people on board and prompting Hindu mob attacks on Muslims across the state. The mobs stabbed, raped and set their victims on fire; they burned homes and businesses. Mr. Modi has never apologized for what happened. (His office did not respond to numerous requests for an interview with The New York Times.)

His admirers say he has moved on. They credit him for removing red tape for business, improving the state’s road networks, and cracking down on lawlessness and petty corruption. His detractors call him an autocrat. (Sonia Gandhi, the president of Congress, once called him “a merchant of death.”)

If and when Mr. Modi becomes the standard-bearer for his party, Indian voters will have to decide whether they can overlook what is called the “2002 stigma” in favor of the “aggressive modernizer.” His critics hope they will not.

“This man can’t represent India, either as a civilization or as a nation,” said Shiv Visvanathan, a sociology professor and one of Mr. Modi’s critics. “He can represent a part. He can never represent the whole. That is the sanity of Indian democracy.”

Unfortunately for Mr. Modi, the past has been hard to cast off. A police team appointed by the Supreme Court has begun to pry open several cases from 2002, making fresh arrests.

Maya Kodnani, Mr. Modi’s former minister for women and child development, was arrested on charges of helping a Hindu mob attack two nearby Muslim enclaves. She is awaiting trial on accusations of arming the mob with kerosene cans, which were then used to set people on fire. All told, the mob killed 106 people on a single day, including seven members of Abdul Majid Mohammed Usman Sheikh’s family.

Mr. Sheikh, 56, who came to the courthouse on the morning of the arrest in late March, called it the beginning of justice for the dead. Among them were his pregnant wife, three sons and three daughters. He carried their pictures in a plastic shopping bag. He said he felt “a little satisfied.”

 

‘People want leaders from among them’ : Haji Ibrahim Shaikh, BSP candidate to Lok Sabha constituency of Mumbai North Central

April 13, 2009
we have been asking the Congress and the NCP to nominate a minority candidate in this seat. Muslims and Dalits form a majority here. They refused and continued with the dynasty.’
Haji Ibrahim Shaikh, BSP candidate to Lok Sabha constituency of Mumbai North Central


http://www.indianexpress.com/news/people-want-leaders-from-among-them/446205/

‘People want leaders from among them’

Swatee KherPosted: Monday , Apr 13, 2009 at 0009 hrs IST

This BSP candidate is looking to slums and Muslim-dominated pockets of Mumbai North Central constituency to take him into Parliament.Haji Ibrahim Shaikh, a 55-year-old Santacruz businessman, is out to give Priya Dutt a tough fight. The first-time candidate, popularly known as Bhaijan, in an interview withSwatee Kher


 

For several years, you had been active with the Nationalist Congress Party, even acting as the city unit chief until recently. Why did you suddenly switch to the BSP?
Over the past few years, after delimitation, we have been asking the Congress and the NCP to nominate a minority candidate in this seat. Muslims and Dalits form a majority here. They refused and continued with the dynasty. That is why I have joined the BSP and entered the fray. I will work for all sections of the society.

 

You are up against sitting MP Priya Dutt and BJP candidate Mahesh Jethmalani. Both these parties have their established strongholds in the region, so what will be your pull among the voters?
People want a leader from among them. They don’t want occasional visitors. I have been working with the poor and in the slum areas for several years. The slumdwellers are fed up as they have not seen development for years despite promises.

 

What are your main planks for this election?
People are living for decades on land reserved for railways, airport authority and the government. I will ensure that these reservations are removed.

 

Water is a big issue here and I will work for it in my constituency, and ensure implementation of the Sachar Committee report.

 

Will your entering the field and taking away the Congress-NCP votes help opponents?
Those secular-minded in my constituency will vote for me and ensure my win. People will not vote for a party that has a leader like Varun Gandhi who uses foul language against Muslims. Despite living in Hindustan, we are being attacked. It is a good thing that Mayawati applied NSA on Varun.

 

There are parts of your constituency that are cosmopolitan, with an educated and well-to-do population. Are you not going to represent them?
In my constituency, there are six lakh minority voters, one lakh Uttar Pradesh natives and about two lakh Dalits. They make almost 76 per cent of the electorate. They are spread across the constituency and they can bring people to power. Apart from the concerns of Muslims and Dalits, there has been trouble for UP natives in Mumbai. I will also be speaking for them.

ITS CELEBRATION TIME IN INDIA. THE OLD ORDER GIVETH.

April 12, 2009
IT IS CELEBRATION TIME IN INDIA. THE OLD ORDER GIVETH. THE PRIME MINISTERIAL STAKE HAS COMPLETELY WRECKED THE OLD LOYALTIES, OLD FEARS, OLD LIMITS ON AMBITIONS OF THE PEOPLE THAT WERE LONG CHAINED TO THE BRAHMANICAL SOCIAL ORDER. THE REVOLUTION IN THE MAKING IS STILL BLOODLESS AND THE EARLIER THE HAVES STEP AWAY, THE SOONER AND SMOOTHER THE TRANSITION WILL TAKE HOLD. CONGRESS AND BJP SHOULD READ THE WRITINGS ON THE WALLS OF HISTORY IN THE MAKING.
 
GHULAM MUHAMMED, MUMBAI
 
——————————————————————————————————
http://www.indianexpress.com/news/mera-joota-jadugar/446030/
 
 
Mera joota jadugar
 
Meghnad DesaiPosted: Sunday , Apr 12, 2009 at 0115 hrs IST
 

As E-Day approaches, Indian politics appears to be having a nervous breakdown. As it is there is a highly charged atmosphere once an election is announced. Parties have no ideology and no discipline. Each is a collection of individual holders of large vote banks. So candidates denied tickets by one party migrate elsewhere or are poached by a rival party. The Samajwadi Party adopts Kalyan Singh as if Babri Masjid never happened.

Speeches have overstepped the normal limits. First Varun Gandhi and then Lalu Prasad Yadav in retaliation deserve reining in. Now Vaiko has obviously adopted the slogan: My terrorist is a hero, yours is a jihadi.

But the shoe-throwing has cheered things up. When Bush received the first shoe, I thought it was the sort of futile gesture a weak and powerless people resort to. It may have thrilled Arabs but it did not change the reality on ground. But Jarnail Singh has now proved me wrong. If you have a vibrant democracy and 24×7 media, then you can leverage a shoe into a political whirlwind. It is a mark of how overstretched the Congress leadership has become that no one saw the dangers of parading Jagdish Tytler’s innocence so close to election day. The CBI has lost whatever reputation it had for impartiality once it flip-flopped on the Mulayam Singh case. No one for a moment is convinced by its ‘clean chits’. Indeed the restoration of the CBI’s reputation will be the first challenge to any incoming government.

Indian politics dwells too much on communalism/secularism. The issue is of the rule of law. Can India treat all its citizens on an equal footing or does one only have to flash one’s identity or family to escape punishment with impunity? Three times in the last 25 years—Delhi 1984, Mumbai 1993 and Gujarat 2002—the executive has connived in systematic pogroms of minorities. The usual excuse is made of overburdened courts, interminable inquiry commissions, inordinate delay in acting on their recommendations. Anyone in politics has immunity from punishment and can act with impunity. Even a case like Satyam is not allowed to come to court until Andhra Pradesh is safely in election mode. How convenient for all concerned.

People are not fooled by these tergiversations any more. This time around the electorate is younger, better educated, more tech-savvy, and media focussed. So the anger is now palpable. The shoe throwers are articulate and middle-class. They bring to the surface the seething outrage that those in power, even as they pretend to be humble and prattle on about serving the public, have insulated themselves from the law. They move in a cocoon of high security and expect undeserved deference from their voters.

Thus the elections are carried on at two separate levels. Among the leaders, there is a panic that for those of a certain age, this is the last chance of ever becoming Prime Minister. In this group are Sharad Pawar, Lalu Prasad and Mulayam Yadav. They have seen how time passed Arjun Singh by. They are praying for the Congress to be humbled enough to come begging for their support. If the Congress wins big this time, then the dynasty is back in business and Rahul at 38 is good for another 25 years at least.

It is this fear that has made the BJP fall apart. They may attack Manmohan Singh as weak but they know what will follow if he wins. So they are keeping an eye on the Third and the Fourth Fronts. There are several ambitious party leaders who see Advani’s age and fancy their chances if only they can get a seat at the top table.

This is where the best chance for BSP chief Mayawati comes. The Congress may need her but cannot offer her a possible Prime Ministerial slot. The BJP has co-habited with the BSP before. The BJP has Narendra Modi but he has enough problems getting a visa for foreign travel. Hence Behenji. It will be an uneasy marriage but the irony of the Parivar bringing a Dalit to the top job is delicious. Who said tilak, taraju aur talwar, inko maro joote char?

A running thread of deep saffron – By Christophe Jaffrelot – The Indian Express

January 29, 2009

http://www.indianexpress.com/news/a-running-thread-of-deep-saffron/416409/

 

A running thread of deep saffron

 

Christophe Jaffrelot

Posted: Jan 29, 2009 at 1107 hrs IST

The people behind the Malegaon terrorist attack fell into three categories — Sangh parivar cadres, army men and old Savarkarites. The first person to be arrested by the police, Pragya Singh, was a sadhvi and former ABVP leader. A second group of the accused comprised army men, retired or not, related to the Bhonsle Military School (BMS). Major Ramesh Upadhyay, a former defence services officer was arrested first, but the key figure was Lt Col Prasad Purohit, who had approached Upadhyay when he was posted at Nasik as liaison officer. Purohit and Upadhyay imparted military training to young activists — including bomb making — and were instrumental in getting arms and explosives. 

Most of the training camps took place in the BMS, which had been directed by Rtd Major P.B. Kulkarni between 1973 and 1988, andwho had been associated with the RSS since 1935. In fact, the Bajrang Dal organised training camps in the BMS (Nagpur) as early as 2001. The five accused mentioned above were all members of Abhinav Bharat, a Pune-based movement initiated by Purohit in June 2006, whose working president was Ramesh Upadhyaya but whose president was none other than Himani Savarkar, V.D. Savarkar’s daughter in law, who also headed the Hindu Mahasabha.  

The people, the places and the modus operandi are revealing of the continuity that underlines the Hindu tradition of terror, harking back to V.D. Savarkar. The young, revolutionary Savarkar had created the first Abhinav Bharat Society in 1905. The movement drew its name and its inspiration from Mazzini’s ‘Young Italy’, but was also influenced by Frost Thomas’s Secret Societies of the European Revolution, a book dealing mostly with the Russian nihilists. The movement was dissolved in 1952, but ten years back, just before finishing his term as Hindu Mahasabha president, Savarkar had created the Hindu Rashtra Dal, another militia whose mission was to impart military training to the Hindus in order to fight the Muslims, Gandhi’s followers and the Mahatma himself. This movement cashed in on the work of the same institution — the Bhonsle Military School, started in 1935 by B.S. Moonje, another Nagpur-based Savarkarite, after a European tour which had exposed him to Mussolini’s Balilla movement.

Like the Abhinav Bharat of today, the Hindu Rashtra Dal attracted Hindutva-minded Maharashtrian Brahmins — especially from Poona — who found the RSS insufficiently active. Some of them also had connections to the British Army.

Nathuram Godse and N.D. Apte, the two main architects of Gandhi’s assassination, are cases in point. Godse thought that RSS strategy contented itself with “organisation for the sake of organisation”. The Hindu Rashtra Dal, by contrast, organised training camps where volunteers learnt how to manufacture bombs and use guns from bicycles and cars. The key instructor was N.D. Apte who had served the army as Assistant Technical Recruiting Officer. In this capacity, he could use the War Service Exhibitions — which were intended to attract young Indians to the army — to initiate Hindu Rashtra Dal members into the art of modern arms.

The Hindu Rashtra Dal’s terrorist agenda culminated in the assassination of Gandhi, who had already been a Savarkarite target before — in 1934, they threw a bomb in Poona Municipal Town Hall where Gandhi was making a speech against untouchability.  

While today’s Abhinav Bharat belongs to an old tradition harking back to Savarkar and even Tilak, the new element here lies in the implication of one serving officer of the Indian army. Certainly, any institution can have a black sheep. But was he that isolated? He has already named other officers who would have been his more or less passive accomplices and his colleague, Upadhyay, who once headed the Mumbai unit of the BJP’s ex-servicemen cell. The BJP, indeed, inducted ex-army men in large numbers since the 1990s. After the BJP came to power in 1998, two dozens ex-servicemen more joined the party. This inflow of ex-army men may reflect the increasingly communal atmosphere of the institution. In December 2003, a survey by the Centre for the Study of Developing Societies for Tehelka, one of the first among army men — and probably the most comprehensive — showed that 19 per cent of the soldiers interviewed felt that the army practised some religious discrimination — and 24 per cent of the Muslims among them shared this view. 

Instead of distancing itself from the Hindu terrorists, as it had done in the 1940s, this time the Sangh Parivar has decided to support the Malegaon accused. Bajrang Dal chief Prakash Sharma declared that “policy makers should be worried if the Hindus were taking to arms because of the government’s skewed approach to war on terror” and admitted that the Bajrang Dal was running training camps too “to boost their morale [the Bajrang Dal’s members]. The country wouldn’t get its Abhinav Bindras if there were no armed training for the youth”.

In a way, the RSS, with the Bajrang Dal, has created a buffer organisation to handle the dirty work that the Sangh was earlier obliged to do itself — work similar to that of the Savarkarite organisations, whether they are called Hindu Rashtra Dal or Abhinav Bharat. 

     

The writer is a political scientist and South Asia specialist at CERI, Paris

A shadow PM: Advani signals ‘main hoon na’ – By Rajeev Sharma – Sunday Free Press Journal, Mumbai

January 25, 2009

http://www.freepressjournal.in/FPJ/FPJ/2009/01/25/ArticleHtmls/25_01_2009_001_014.shtml?Mode=1

A shadow PM: Advani signals ‘main hoon na’
By Rajeev Sharma
NEW DELHI

IT was a deft political stroke that cerebral politician L K Advani made today while Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was undergoing coronary surgery at AIIMS: the leader of Opposition convened a meeting with some three dozen noted security experts and commentators. Advani’s message to the nation was: main hoon na! At a time when the Prime Minister was under the knife at AIIMS, the BJP made two moves. One, its Prime Minister-in-waiting held a meeting of his advisory council on national security matters, timing it brilliantly with the ongoing Indo-Pak diplomatic tug-ofwar in the wake of 26/11. Many of those who attended Advani’s meeting are prominent members of his shadow cabinet.Two, the BJP orchestrated media leaks that it has found a new ally in Uttar Pradesh and the name of this political party with which the BJP would contest the AprilMay general elections would be announced next week. The BJP also reminded the media about its performance in the just-concluded assembly polls in Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Rajasthan, saying it won 40 Lok Sabha seats, got 300 MLAs and got 34 per cent vote in these three states as against 280 seats and 32 per cent vote share of the Congress. The BJP also maintained that the Congress retained only a city-state and won in Rajasthan because of the BJP’s failure at micro level management.

Those who attended Advani’s national security affairs-related meeting were from four spheres: (i) political: Advani, Rajnath Singh, Arun Jaitley and Arun Shourie; (ii) top journalists and commentators : M J Akbar, Chandan Mitra, Brahma Chalani and Swapan Das Gupta; (iii) 13 from civil services including Vijay Kapoor, Anil Baijal, Ajit Doval, Yogendra Narayan, KPS Gill, K P Singh, Satish Chandra, B Raman and K Santanam; and (iv) 14 from defence— former Air Chief Marshals- A Y Tipnis, S Krishnaswami and S P Tyagi, former Naval Chief Arun Prakash, and ten Lt Generals.

The mission objective of the conclave was that the BJP-led NDA government-in-waiting was here to fill in the vacuum created by the sudden absence of Manmohan Singh from the Congress and the government scene. The idea was to convey to the people of India that it was not just Prime Minister Manmohan Singh but the Congress too was under the knife as the Congress has no face for governance other than Manmohan Singh. Advani’s meeting also set the agenda for governance if the BJP were to return to power. Today’s deliberations also threw up some important points from the BJP’s perspective which the party would be incorporating in its election manifesto. At the meeting, concern was expressed on the defence preparedness and also post- 26/11 situation. M J Akbar felt that British foreign minister David Miliband was trying to link terrorism with the Kashmir problem and the danger was that the Barack Obama administration too could toe this line. Akbar stressed that India needed to be tough. Former defence top honchos expressed concern on slowing down of the weapons procurement process and resentment in the armed forces over the implementation of 6th Pay Commission. They lamented that the Group of Ministers after the 1999 Kargil war had suggested a number of measures to beef up national security but most of these could not be implemented. One suggestion that came up was that before the Crisis Management Group meets to decide upon a development impinging on the national security, there should be a person who can take immediate decisions the moment the crisis breaks out. Mumbai terror attacks and their security fallout were discussed in detail and a recent study of the US think tank Rand

Mumbai Carnage: The final Nail in Mumbai Police’s Coffin – By Amaresh Misra

December 24, 2008


Monday, December 22, 2008

Mumbai Carnage: The final Nail in Mumbai Police’s Coffin

By Amaresh Misra

It is 11.41 PM in India on 22nd December 2008 in India. Barely an hour ago, the Mumbai Police have come out with a statement, on the last day of the Indian Parliament, after AR Antulay, the Indian minority affairs minister was getting increasing support from all secular, Left and even BJP backed parties for his questioning of circumstances surrounding Hemant Karkare’s death and demand for a probe into the same.
The Police statement sounds like a Post Mortem report—but it not one, we are told—it is a statement on the kind of bullets Karkare received on his body. The statement says “four bullets were found on Hemant Karkare’s body; none of the four bullets found on Karkare’s body were from a Police weapon; Karkare was shot by terrorists and his death has nothing to do with the Malegaon blast investigations”.
I leave it to readers to draw their conclusions on the cruel joke which the Mumbai Police and the establishment behind it is playing with Indian, Muslim, Hindu and Marathi sentiments. Have you ever heard of a Police statement which explains that `none of the bullets found on Karkare’s body came from a Police weapon?’ And that his death had nothing to do with Malegaon investigations?
This is not a statement. It is a foolish defense—an epic slip of the official whip—of an indefensible truth—that Karkare was indeed killed by a Police weapon and that his death was a direct result of Malegaon Blast investigations.
The establishment—not just the RSS minded forces but also the pro-US, pro-Israel lobby in Congress and other `secular’ parties—seems frightened, especially by the stand taken by Muhammad Salim, the CPI-M MP, who along with Sandeep Dixit of the Congress, gave one of the best speeches in the Parliament when the debate on the Mumbai carnage began. Muhammad Salim is the young, modern face of the Indian Muslim and his coming out in Antulay’s favor was `dangerous’.
I am not drawing this conclusion—it is emerging from reading the Police version backwards, from the perspective of Edgar Allen Poe, Dashiell Hammett and Ibn-e-Safi. Common sense has deserted the Mumbai Police. This if any is God’s justice and nature’s revenge on killers and rapists like Rakesh Maria, the Joint Commissioner of Mumbai Police, and surprisingly and shockingly the chief investigator in the Mumbai carnage.
By issuing this statement when only a day is left for Parliament’s winter session, when both Antulay and this author were getting increasing support from ordinary Hindus and Muslims for their `conspiracy theories’, the Mumbai Police has admitted its guilt. If the Indian judicial system fails to punish the Mumbai or whichever Police killed Karkare, then God’s and people’s justice will take over.
The Police statement fails to address the basic questions: who sent Karkare, Salaskar and Kaamte to Cama hospital to get killed? Where is Karkare’s mobile phone? Who is the person he was talking to when his last footage was shown on TV? Why have Karkare’s calls not been traced through the satellite system? Karkare was given Z security—where was the Z security when Karkare went into the field? How can an ATS chief enter into a battle with terrorists without at least a dozen members of his 400 strong ATS team, equipped with semi-automatic weapons? Where was the Mumbai ATS team? There are three versions of the chain of events leading to Karkare’s death—which version is true which false?
Karkare was unveiling the uncomfortable truth that terror has a different side to it; according to Karkare’s investigations into the Malegaon blasts, terrorists did not come merely in the shape of `Muslim’ skull caps or beards or Pathan suits. They could also don the tika and pseudo-Hindu, anti-national, anti-Sanatani, anti-secular saffron robes.
For the first time since Independence, Karkare was not just taking the ever alive RSS backed Hindutva terrorism head on; he was wittingly or unwittingly challenging American and Israeli backed Islamophobia. Karkare was challenging directly CIA and Mossad—people who do not take this seriously, whether or not they believe in any `theory’, are simply dumb.
Imagine the repercussions had Karkare been allowed to go ahead with the full probe on Malegaon investigations. Imagine Praveen Togadia behind bars; imagine Narendra Modi behind bars; imagine even Sudarshan and LK Advani behind bars—above all imagine the nightmare of New York Times, Washington Post, Time magazine, Newsweek, The Economist and all pseudo-liberal newspapers who have gone along and played the American-Israeli game of demonizing Islam and creating the image of the `Islamic terrorist’, only and only because, after the demise of the Soviet Union, Islam is the only ideology left in the world possessing a concept of jihad or dharmayuddhya, i.e. a fight against injustice, and the only barrier in the way of the American-Israeli loot of Asian resources.
Imagine the discomfiture of even the Guardian newspaper for which Arundhati Roy’s generalized, superficially anti-American but pro-western-liberal-Imperialist stance, of a pseudo-girlish `oh-my-God’ kind of horror at dirty Indian realities—realities created by the west, but which the West prefers to look condescendingly at, an attitude Arundhati Roy never questions—is the most comfortable kind of third world liberalism that they can live with.
As the Government of India prepares for war with Pakistan at American-Israeli behest, a small happening, Hemant Karkare’s Post Mortem non-report/report, Mumbai Police’s `forced confession’, is standing in its way.
The battle for India’s souls has just begun—tomorrow do not believe a word of what headlines of leading Indian newspapers will scream. They are dead serious about their lies and half-truths—and they know it.
Just 500 meters away from Nariman House, there is a station of the Grenadier Battalion; it was ready to go into action at 11 PM on 26th November; timely action by this force could have saved hundreds of lives—but this battalion and other army units were not pressed into action till 5or 6 AM after the NSG arrived. Why this deliberate callousness? Who is responsible for these orders? Shouldn’t he or she, or hees and shees, be publicly hanged?
Mumbai Police is one of the strongest bastion, of RSS-underworld-Mossad-US alliance, which uses the ISI and a part of RAW as tools. Sonia Gandhi must realize this before it is too late. These forces killed her husband and her mother-in-law. They will not spare anyone. The CPI-M should also realize that as the Congress fails the historic duty of saving India from disintegration, chaos and fascist/colonial takeover rests on its shoulders. Let all Left, secular and patriotic forces see in the Mumbai carnage the first direct assault Mossad-CIA backed ISI, underworld and Hindutva agents on India’s sovereignty.
For those who do not believe that RSS can use Dawood (now a CIA asset) or Vice versa or that ISI can use RSS or Vice versa, what about Indranesh, an accused in the Malegaon Blast investigations taking Rs 3 Crores from the ISI, something mentioned by Karkare in the Malegaon file?

Nails and Coffins.doc
34K View as HTML Open as a Google document Download

CIA, MOSSAD HAND BEHIND SANGH PARIVAR’S EXTREMISTS! – Rashtriya Sahara, Urdu Daily, Mumbai

November 26, 2008

ViaMedia.MumbaiNews

http://www.viamedianews.com

FRONT-PAGE AND EDIT PAGE NEWS AND ANALYSIS FROM MUMBAI’S URDU NEWSPAPERS TRANSLATION FROM URDU FREE SERVICE FOR WORLD MEDIA

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Rashtriya Sahara, Urdu Daily, Mumbai

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Front Page News

CIA, MOSSAD HAND BEHIND SANGH PARIVAR’S EXTREMISTS!

Central Intelligence Agencies vigilant investigating in the aftermath of Malegaon blast; Enquiry being held into the February 2007 visit of prominent Israeli religious delegation and meetings with Hindutvadi Sadhu, Sanths and political leaders; Mossad infiltration a cause of deep concern for Intelligence officials

New Delhi, November 25: (Agencies) – According to an exposé in a national daily published from Madhya Pradesh and several other cities, in the aftermath of the arrests of Sadhu, Sadhvi, and other extremist Hindutvadis as involved in the Malegaon bomb blast, Intelligence agencies are now concentrating on foreign connections of the radical Hindutvadis.

In an special report published by the national daily, it has exposed this sensational news that in central intelligence agencies are to be believed, extremist Hindutvadis have got support and motivation from Israeli secret agency, Mossad’s operations against the Arab and Muslim countries in the past.

The newspaper writes that relations between Mossad and CIA are world known. Report mentions that intelligence agencies are worried about the infiltration of Mossad and CIA in the country. According to undisclosed sources, Indian intelligence agencies are now examining the full details of the visit of Israel’s religious leaders to India and their meetings with Sadhu, Sanths. Intelligence agencies are investigating all those Hindu and Muslim leaders that the Israeli religious delegation had met.

According to the newspaper, it was during the rule of BJP’s Atul Behari Vajpayee; a beginning was made for the visits of Hindutvadis, and especially Sadhus and dharam gurus of the Sangh Parivar to Israel. These visits have been on the increase. It was during Vajpayee’s time, that the visits to Israel and consequently the relations and contacts of Sangh Parivar Dharam gurus and Hindutva leaders with Israel increased manifold.

According to the newspaper, for last ten years, the central intelligence agencies have been closely studying and analyzing the growing strength of Hindutvadi and Sangh Parivar organisations and the increasing violence through these organisations against Muslims, Christians, and minorities in Gujarat, Orissa, Karnataka and other states. Intelligence agencies have disclosed that the visits of Jews and Israeli rabbis was not very frequent in the past, but it has increased to worrisome proportions, during last few years. Of all, the most studied is the February 2007 visit to Delhi of the delegation of Israeli Jewish religious leaders. The delegation was headed by Israel’s Chief Rabbi, Yonah Metzger.

In this delegation, Jewish religious leaders from Israel as well as others rabbis from Belgium and Spain too were included. In India, the Israel Jewish religious delegation met important Hindutva leaders, which included especially the RSS Chief K. S. Sudharshan, President of VHP, Ashok Singhal, VHP leader Vishnu Hari Dalmia.

After the meeting of the Sadhu Sanths and Jewish leaders, both delegations had issued a common manifesto.

In this meeting, Jewish Rabbis expressed grave concern over the details of the terrorist attacks allegedly carried out by Muslims, as narrated by Hindu dharam gurus. Secret Service sources disclosed that at the invitation of Israeli Jewish religious leaders, a delegation of Hindutva leaders had visited Israel this year. In this, some leaders of Sangh Parivar too were included.

The national daily, published from Madhya Pradesh and other places, in its report has exposed that the officials of the national intelligence agencies have categorically stated that American secret service agency, CIA together with Israel’s secret organisation Mossad, has carried out several secret operation all over Asia.

And now that the bomb blast of Malegaon and Modasa had involved the names of the fake Shankaracharya Amaranand alias Dayanand Pande, Sadhvi Pragya Thakur, enquiries and investigation of relations between Jewish and Hindutva religious leaders from Israel and India are being severely felt and is being analyzed. This was disclosed by the newspaper report.

(Translation from Urdu)

Rashtriya Sahara, Urdu Daily, Mumbai

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Front Page News

Why investigation of Israeli connection of Hindutvadis?

New Delhi, November 25: The way ATS has arrested Hindutva extremists belonging to Sangh Parivar, in connection with Malegaon bomb blast, facts have emerged of international networking and support to Hindutva radicals. This has alarmed national intelligence community. India’s internal and external intelligence agencies and RAW have got busy trying to figure out if there is some big international conspiracy is being hatched behind the activities of hardline extremists of Sangh Parivar. According to secret sources, back in February 2007, an Israeli delegation headed by Israel’s Chief Rabbi, Yonah Metzger, and accompanied by several high ranking Jewish religious leaders, had visited India. This Jewish Religious delegation held meetings with many Sadhus, Sanths and Dharam gurus. The delegation also met some Muslim leaders. Now intelligence agencies have started investigations of the meetings of the Israeli delegation and local Sadhus, Sanths and dharam gurus. It is mentioned that the delegation of Israeli Jewish religious leaders has met leaders and dharam gurus from RSS, Sangh Parivar, VHP and BJP. Lal Krishna Advani had arranged a dinner for the visiting Israeli Jewish religious leaders’ delegation and others included in the delegation, at his own residence. According to high official, though the meeting of Sangh Parivar’s leaders to Israeli delegation is not of undue importance, but the way America’s secret service, CIA and Israel’s secret agency, Mossad, are infiltrating in Central Asian and South Asian countries, it is giving strength to the suspicions that in such delegations, members of foreign intelligence get included and through interaction and infiltration, secret operations are carried out. Those organisations that organise and support such visits and meetings, may or may not be aware of the secret mission of foreign agencies, the truth can come out only on investigations. For this reason, the national agencies are now concentrating on investigation of Sangh Parivar and its connections with Israeli lobby and Mossad.

(Translated from Urdu)