The Man Who Once Sold Tea Later ‘Sold’ Dreams

This is not the story of a man who once sold tea and later ‘sold’ dreams to a people and managed to reach top echelons of power in the biggest democracy in the world.

This is not the story of this man and his rise from the margins of a organisation which is called the biggest cultural organisation in the world nor it is revisiting stories of ‘bravery and fearlessness of his childhood’ (https://www.news18.com/news/buzz/bal-narendra-in-pics-comic-book-shows-fearless-young-narendra-modi-saving-drowning-boy-taking-on-crocodiles-bullies-676841.html) which can marvel a bollywood film or his alleged wanderings in the Himalayas in search of a guru or to fulfill his spiritual quest.

This is also not a recap of the role played by an international PR agency which was appointed by him á decade back to “seek professional and rare expertise” in reaching out to broadest mass of people with a fresh message.

This is also not to revisit this man’s thoughts which find mention in his book which compare the work of cleaning an ‘experience in spirituality.'(https://www.countercurrents.org/gatade010313.htm)

This is also not the story of this man who abandoned his legally married wife merely few months after their union and this is no exercise in telling you that he never went back to enquire about her nor he took initiative to formalise the separation.

This is also not to repeat the fact ad nauseum that he never disclosed his marital status to the outside world so much so that even one of his own deputies – who had worked with him for more than two decades – did not have any clarity over this aspect of his life. (https://www.ndtv.com/india-news/he-is-ram-for-me-pm-modis-wife-corrects-anandiben-patels-on-marital-status-1870700?pfrom=home-trending). Lesser mortals like us would remain baffled why the silence continued to reign all these years.

May be he suffered from selective amnesia for a long duration in his life or was supposedly so engrossed in the work that he considered working for the ‘nation’ that he even forgot to mention it to others. May be the organisation with which he worked frowned upon any such union and he desisted from sharing the news.

This is also not to share with you that when the need arose and he was expected to put the matters straight he supposedly faced Hamlet’s paradox about his being married or not married and preferred to remain ambiguous.This is no comment on those people who could question this ambiguity, who were in seats of power, also preferred to look the other way or maintained silence.

This is also not to tell you that when he toured the country mobilising people to march on the citadels of power – to break the monopoly of the dynasts – he had no qualms in maintaining an ambiguity about his own life. And this style still continues. In fact, once he even told the people that “he is basically a ‘faqir’, a man of god, with no worldly attachment or possession and that it would not take him a moment to leave his office and go away.” (https://www.nationalheraldindia.com/opinion/narendra-modi-his-speeches-and-politics-the-art-of-public-speaking)

This is no attempt to tell you that few years back his selective amnesia or his ambiguity vis-a-vis his marital status was finally over and he formally acknowledged that he was ‘married’.

This is also not to tell you that for all those people who looked at him as a ‘messiah’ – who adored him – who voted for him in overwheling numbes, who supported him ; did not complain at all even when they came to know that he had been very selective with his words while describing his marital status.

This is also not a comment on the immense tolerance level of the people, that they preferred to nod their head even when one of his deputy frankly admitted that one of his key promises to win over people was merely a ‘jumla’.

This little note has nothing to add to all these things and many more which are available in public domain.

May be later day historians would be able to throw light on them better or sit in a judgement. May be they would able to say whether he was really the ‘visionary statesman’ India waited or was a modern day reincarnation of a medieval king who had decreed to shift India’s capital without larger consultation.

This just to tell you that the woman he abandoned

This woman still worships him as a god. (https://www.ndtv.com/india-news/he-is-ram-for-me-pm-modis-wife-corrects-anandiben-patels-on-marital-status-1870700?pfrom=home-trending)

Do not know why ?…

Do not know why ?…

Do not know why ?

How Does Raazi Resolve The Tension Between Patriotism and Humanity? Kavita Krishnan

Guest Post by KAVITA KRISHNAN

SPOILER ALERT: If you have not seen Raazi, please don’t read this review because it contains spoilers.

Rabindranath Tagore, the composer of the poems that serve as the national anthems of India and Bangladesh, wrote an essay on nationalism in which he asserted, “it is my conviction that my countrymen will gain truly their India by fighting against that education which teaches them that a country is greater than the ideals of humanity.” In a letter to a friend, he wrote, “I will not buy glass for the price of diamonds and I will never allow patriotism to triumph over humanity as long as I live.”

My concern, as I watched Meghna Gulzar’s Raazi, was about how the film handles its central tension – between the values of humanity and patriotism. Continue reading “How Does Raazi Resolve The Tension Between Patriotism and Humanity? Kavita Krishnan”

Gayatri Mantra – Aryanism versus Hinduism: Rajni K. Dixit

Guest post by RAJNI K. DIXIT

The Gayatri mantra, as it is called these days, has been assigned a very important position in Hinduism. One is supposed to pray to the Sun god with this verse every morning and evening. It is supposed to be a prayer to the Divine Light to guide our mind in the right direction, and to show us   the correct way to live life. At the thread ceremony, which was a rite performed as the initiation of a Brahmin child’s education (samskarajanma or dwijatva i.e. second birth), the Gayatri mantra is spoken in the child’s ear because it is a prayer to guide the mind. It becomes his daily prayer to god for the right guidance and upliftment of mind for his whole life henceforth.

However, this verse was composed in a particular political context, understanding which expands our understanding of what is called Hinduism today.

This verse is composed by the great poet-priest Vishvamitra Gathina, and is selected from a poem of eighteen verses, the 62nd poem of the third mandal of the Rigveda. The major portion of this third mandal or group is   composed by Vishvamitra. ‘Gayatri’ is actually the name of the metre that the verse is composed in. The verse is about god Savita, i.e. the sun, and the correct name by which this verse was originally known is the ‘Savitri’ mantra.

Gayatri is not the composition of an ascetic sage. It is written by a poet-priest who was a born politician, a Rajarshi as the later Sanskrit calls him. This was a time when all good poets worked as professional priests. Composition of literature had no existence separate from religion in those times.

Continue reading “Gayatri Mantra – Aryanism versus Hinduism: Rajni K. Dixit”

Statement on Atrocities on Dalits : New Socialist Initiative

Guest Post by New Socialist Initiative

New Socialist Initiative Condemns Hindutva Engineered and Inspired Atrocities on Dalits

Hardly a day passes without headline news of some or another atrocity on Dalits. On 24 May, a Dalit man in the Ahmedabad district was beaten and his house attacked by a gang of socalled ‘upper’ caste men after he had attached Sinh to his name on his facebook post.  On 21 May a dalit ragpicker was beaten to death in a Rajkot factory. Atrocities on Dalits are occurring in the midst of a public ideological environment against them. On 26 May news came of a private school in Delhi asking 8th class students to write a note on how reservations help undeserving and unqualified people for their summer vacation homework.  According to National Crime Record Bureau reports for recent years, between 10 to 15 thousand cases of crimes are reported under the Prevention of Atrocities act every year; an average of 35 crimes per day. Many times more crimes actually go unreported. In 2016 Indian courts had over 45 thousand cases under this act. Out of the 4048 cases decided, conviction occurred in 659 cases only. That is, five out of six cases of atrocity against Dalits did not result in any punishment. The number of attacks against one of the weakest and the poorest sections of the society, and the abysmal rate of conviction would put any civilized society to shame, but India chugs along. Continue reading “Statement on Atrocities on Dalits : New Socialist Initiative”

The Karnataka Moment and the Search for a ‘Bonapartist’ Figure – Looking at 2019

There are enough reasons for for the upbeat and celebratory mood in the anti-BJP-RSS camp following the resignation of BS Yeddyurappa even before the floor test. After all, for once, the game plan of the Modi-Shah duo fell flat, thanks in no small measure, to the Supreme Court’s intervention in directing that the floor test be done by 19 May, knocking down the (RSS) Governor’s initial provision of 15 days to the government to prove its majority. In a manner of speaking, we escaped just by the skin of our teeth.

Both the parties concerned – the Congress and the Janata Dal (S) – were on tenterhooks throughout and the surreal accounts of the high drama of the past three days read like they could be about the nether worlds of crime and mafias. Offers to buy off MLAs with money ranging from Rs 5 crores and a ministry to Rs 100 crores have openly been alleged but these were the relatively minor matters. Congress and JD (S) MLAs were not allowed to leave Bengaluru as their chartered flights were ‘denied permission’. [An MLA, in fact told the Times of India, in the same report linked here that by manipulating resources, the BJP had ‘caged us’ in the state]. Their security cover was withdrawn. The management of the resort in Kochi (another state, not even ruled by the BJP) they had booked into by the Central leadership, actually backed out stating that they were under tremendous pressure. Then began the trip by road to Hyderabad, where eventually, it was the Telengana police that ensured their safety. Stories of individual MLAs, either being offered with withdrawal of pending cases or being threatened with harassment with new ones have also been doing the rounds. And for those who have been following what has been happening to the AAP MLAs in Delhi, nothing of this should be unbelievable.

Continue reading “The Karnataka Moment and the Search for a ‘Bonapartist’ Figure – Looking at 2019”

How the Supreme Court gave up on Democracy in Karnataka: Bobby Kunhu

Guest post by BOBBY KUNHU

There is all around jubilation in the anti-BJP, particularly the Congress camp that the Supreme Court has cut short the time given to Yediyurappa by the Governor to prove his majority from 15 days to 24 hours. This jubilation is extremely myopic and self serving and is in no way rooted in the tall claims that the Congress has been making about trying to save the Constitution. All the Supreme Court order does is reduce the window of opportunity for the BJP to indulge in horse trading and increase the chances of the Congress-JDS combine to keep their flock together and win the assembly – and also substantially reduce the resort costs.

Continue reading “How the Supreme Court gave up on Democracy in Karnataka: Bobby Kunhu”

ज़ुबां पर आंबेडकर, दिल में मनु

PTI4_2_2018_000239B

एससी/एसटी एक्ट को कमज़ोर करने के ख़िलाफ़ बुलाए गए भारत बंद का दृश्य. (फोटो: पीटीआई)

 

2 अप्रैल का ऐतिहासिक भारत बंद लंबे समय तक याद किया जाएगा. जब बिना किसी बड़ी पार्टी के आह्वान के लाखों लाख दलित एवं वंचित भारत की सड़कों पर उतरें और उन्होंने अपने संघर्ष एवं अपने जज्बे से एक नई नजीर कायम की.

आजादी के सत्तर सालों में यह पहला मौका था कि किसी अदालती आदेश ने ऐसी व्यापक प्रतिक्रिया को जन्म दिया था. ध्यान रहे कि इस आंदोलन के दौरान हिंसा हुई और चंद निरपराधों की जानें गईं, उसे कहीं से भी उचित नहीं कहा जा सकता!

मगर क्या इसी वजह से व्यापक जनाक्रोश की इस अभिव्यक्ति ने उजागर किए सवालों की अहमियत कम हो जाती है? निश्चित ही नहीं!

वैसे इन तथ्यों की पड़ताल करना भी समीचीन होगा कि (जैसा कि कई स्वतंत्र विश्लेषणों में स्पष्ट किया गया है) कई स्थानों पर इस हिंसा के पीछे दक्षिणपंथी संगठनों एवं उनके कारिंदों का हाथ था, जो दलित उभार को कुचलना चाहते थे तथा साथ ही साथ उसे बदनाम करना चाहते थे. ( Click here for the full article :http://thewirehindi.com/39182/sc-st-act-dalit-agitation-narendra-modi-government/)