All posts by subhash gatade

Auschwitz of Our Times

For If I Shall Not Burn
And You Shall Not Burn
If We Shall Not Burn
Then Who Will Dispel The Dark

-Nazim Hikmet

I

Whether anybody is familiar with a place called Auschwitz which is around 270 kms. from Warsaw, capital of Poland. It has been more than sixty years that the brick kiln structure there which housed detainees witnessed silent sufferings of lakhs of people who were put to death in myriad ways by the henchmen of Hitler. Continue reading Auschwitz of Our Times

Saffron Terror

Nanded, in Maharashtra, is a town with a significant population of different faiths – Hindu, Muslim, Sikh and Buddhist. Nanded could well have become a new metaphor for secularism as practised in the Subcontinent, but this was not to be. Instead, Nanded has come to represent the emergent danger of a violent new brand of Hindu militancy, with due support from a section of the state machinery. A place that was once witness to the final days of Guru Gobind Singh, Sikhism’s Tenth Guru, has today metamorphosed into an epicentre of violent Hindutva. Indeed, Nanded represents the build-up of the violent fundamentalist Hinduism of the past half-century. The town has been witness to a new spate of acts that can be inarguably dubbed ‘terrorism’.

The inner workings of this new form of Hindutva were on show recently in two, evidently accidental, explosions in Nanded within a span of nine months, in April 2006 and February 2007. These blasts, which killed four people, took place at the houses of activists from the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), Bajrang Dal and Shiv Sena. The arrival of Nanded on India’s ‘terror’ map was followed by media investigations into similar previous incidents, which also showed the involvement of Hindu youth in terrorist actions.

The new element here is the increasing similarity between Hindu militancy and ‘terrorism’ of other hues. Continue reading Saffron Terror

‘Bal Thackeray’s Big Heart’ : Bombay Riot Victims Pe Mat Ro

It is difficult to say how many journos or politicos managed to have a look at the recent meeting between Mr Vilasrao Deshmukh, Chief Minister of Maharashtra ; his deputy Mr R.R. Patil, who also handles the home ministry and Bal Thackeray, the octogenarian leader of the Shiv Sena, at Matoshree, the house of the Thackerays. It was reported that the Congress high command had specifically asked Mr Deshmukh to visit the Sena Supremo to thank him for his support to Ms Pratibha Patil in the Presidential election.As was expected the meeting went well. While the two sides formally maintained that not much should be read into their convergence of views over the Marathi Manushi’s candidature for the august post, it was evident that a new chemistry was unfolding itself between the long time adversaries. At least one could gather it from the exchanges they had or the body language of the leaders. “You have a big heart.” Vilasrao Deshmukh is learnt to have told Balasaheb Thackeray. The Sena chief’s prompt reply was worth noting: ” I have a big heart indeed, but people fail to understand this.”( Indian Express, July 19, 2007) Continue reading ‘Bal Thackeray’s Big Heart’ : Bombay Riot Victims Pe Mat Ro

This Is Not A Story About Binayak Sen

This is not a story of the fifty plus Children’s doctor Binayak Sen from Raipur, Chattisgarh who is at present languishing in jail under draconian provisions of a law which has declared him a ‘terrorist’ because he had the courage to speak truth to power.

This is not meant to be a story of two young daughters of this man who are eagerly waiting for their father who is one of their closest friends and with whom they have shared all secrets of the world. Continue reading This Is Not A Story About Binayak Sen

Can The Real Shekhawat Ever Stand Up ?

(“There will be a Gujarat-like situation in Rajasthan if the State Government did not stop its ‘appeasement of Muslims’ and ‘anti-Hindu’ policies.”
– Bhairon Singh Shekhawat, former Rajasthan chief minister, Gangapur on 23 April, The Hindu, 30 April 2002)

The elections for the post of the President of India have rather opened up a free for all what is known in colloquial Hindi as Khula Khel Farrukhabadi. The saffron sympathetic journos in the media have rather taken upon themselves the onerous task of excavating the past of the UPA candidate for the post Ms Pratibha Patil. Days in and days out we are being bombarded with stories laced with usual melodrama about alleged acts of omission and commission on part of the presidential nominee of UPA.

Continue reading Can The Real Shekhawat Ever Stand Up ?

Hardline Hindutva : On The Wane ?

(…A report prepared by one of the national secretaries of the BJP Mr Prabhat Jha analysing the election results to UP, ( Bhaskar, 12 June 2007) provide enough proof of the pathetic situation in which the party itself finds today. This report would be presented before the national executive meeting of the BJP to be held in last week of June and much fireworks are expected there…) Media personnel bearing sympathy with the Hindutva cause – who are in decisive positions at various levels – have an uncanny ability of deflecting the attention of the public from the pathetic situation in which the Sangh Parivar finds itself today – morally as well as organisationally.May it be the Parivar‘s sermonising on Character building going tatters a la the Babubhai Kataras or the Bangaru Laxmans or the Dileep Judeos, or the Party with a difference tag becoming a joke of the decade or the ‘disciplined’ infighting at various levels becoming a public spectacle, these pen/bytepushers make feverish attempts to maintain the aura intact. Of course there are moments when it is next to impossible for them to push the real issues under the carpet or present a rosy picture of the disorientation in which the parent formation and its affiliated organisation find themselves today. Interestingly recent results to byelections in different states or assembly elections to UP and Goa have helped brought the issue to the fore. And the world at large is finding that the countdown has finally begun for Political Hindutva – the ideology of hatred and exclusion formulated by the Savarkars and Golwalkars. Continue reading Hardline Hindutva : On The Wane ?

J’accuse : A Children’s Doctor and A Mighty State

It has been more than ten days that Dr Binayak Sen, a paediatrician by training and profession and a human rights activist by choice has received a new identity. – A menace to public safety – The Chattisgarh police whose own record of human rights violations would shame even the KPS Gills, has used the provisions of the draconian Public Safety Act and Unlawful Activities Prevention Act ( a substitute for POTA ) to detain Dr Binayak Sen in the wee hours of 14 th May.

Question naturally arises how does a graduate from the prestigious Christian Medical College, Vellore who has been associated with several community health programmes for the last three decades, who even contributed to the state government’s conceptualisation of community health programme ‘Mitanin’ and who played a significant role in the evolution of ‘Shaheed Hospital’ – a hospital started by workers for the workers under the leadership of legendary Shankar Guha Niyogi, has suddenly metamorphosed into a menace to public safety ?

Continue reading J’accuse : A Children’s Doctor and A Mighty State