October 29, 2015

The politics of awards

In the period since my last blog post over 25 authors, 12 film makers and the latest is a Padma Bhushan awarded scientist have returned their awards to the respective institutions that awarded them. The question that arises is why now?

The Dabholkar murder happened when the UPA government was in Delhi. The murder of other rationalists and a few writers and journalists and a few unfortunate events involving some literary and cultural events happened in recent times.

The people who seem eager to appear as the upholders of liberal values were quiet when the Congress led government was in place at the centre but seem to have woken up from their deep slumber all of a sudden. Have they forgotten that Law & Order is a state subject in India and Karnataka is ruled by a Congress government ?

The people who enjoyed state patronage under the Sonia Gandhi led dispensation and won awards many a time for less than good reason and for sub-standard work now seem keen to discard those awards fearing that this government might somewhere raise questions about the quality of previously awarded work. They forget that India is today a Congress-mukt country. Even Sonia and Rahul Gandhi can not hope to revive this dead colossus.

So my suggestion to these guys is wake up and smell the coffee. India is a society in a fluid state and such events though not excusable are something that has to be seen from a suitable perspective. Those whose hackles are raised every time a member of the minority community is touched by someone who happens to be a Hindu are unperturbed when a member of the Hindu community is brutalised. Isn't it being selective in your condemnation.

Raising questions about the society's intolerance is always important but how we register our protest is equally important otherwise we end up giving a handle to the saffron brigade that moves public glare away from the events.       

October 9, 2015

From Babri Masjid to Dadri

The recent happenings in Dadri, barely 50 kms away from the National Capital, have cast a serious doubt in many minds as to where our Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi stands on such an emotional issue. The Bhartiya Janta Party which will take a few millenniums to live down the shame of Babri Masjid demolition by 'karsevaks' on 6th December 1992 has added the Dadri Beef controversy to its Hall of Shame.

No one in his right mind will believe that a crowd of around 200 persons entered the residence of Mohammad Akhlaq in Dadri prodded by a mere announcement by a priest in the local temple that he was consuming and storing beef in his fridge at home and lynched him. Our people may be poor and unlettered but they are not fools. The first question anyone would have asked the announcer is 'How do you know?". Our natives are sufficiently intelligent and can smell a vested interest from miles away.

So it is quite obvious that someone with an agenda was at work and thus it becomes imperative for our administrators to uncover this conspiracy and expose the culprits at the earliest. But trust the Uttar Pradesh police, under the 'Dynamic Leadership' of the emerging Yuva Neta, Akhilesh Yadav to make a complete mess of it. Instead of hounding out the mischief-makers they took pains to collect samples of the meat found at the site and launched an investigation to see if it was indeed beef. Even that would have been laudable had they publicized the report in a matter of hours and cleared the air. Politicians being petty politicians can not allow any event to subside till it has been milked for all it is worth, so the administration's announcement that it was 'mutton' and not 'beef' cam exactly after 10 days of the unfortunate incident.

The significance of Bihar, which is next door to Uttar Pradesh and has a sizable Muslim population, going to polls is not lost on anyone. Anyone with an iota of grey matter can see it is the handiwork of agent-provocateurs of the political elite who think that an electorate polarized on religious lines will improve their poll prospects. Anyone, but the shameless spokespersons of the political parties who come on TV every night and want us to believe that they are angels who are being demonized. Who will tell them that even they can bow to their conscience once in a while. It takes courage even to keep quiet when you don't agree with the party line on any issue.

Our Prime Minister who takes pride in his various initiatives for India's Growth and Development could not find the time to either mourn Mohammad Akhlaq or comment on the shameful occurrence for 11 days. I am sure that had he wanted our 'karmayogi' prime minister who starts his day around 5 AM and doesn't call it a day till 10 PM could have at least tweeted or issued a press release. He has a large number of staff at his disposal for such small jobs. That instead he chose to ignore the Dadri events shows either of two things - Either he was also among those who wanted to milk the events for their political gain Or he was naive enough to believe that a statement by his ministers was all that was needed to pacify enraged emotions.

Whichever way one looks at it Namo now has a somewhat jaded and faded halo ! 

Dear Prime Minister, if you really care for India first demonstrate that you care for Indians be they Hindus or Muslims. Catch the trouble-makers, even if that means sacking the UP Government. Silence all the rabble-rousers of your own party and let the rule of law prevail.

Then and only then will any talk of growth and development make any impact. I hope we see a new, improved Namo soon. Amen !!!