Tag Archives: Modi

Savarkar, India’s ’Ratna’ of a Different Kind!

BJP’s poll promise of Bharat Ratna for Savarkar, who inspired a wide spectrum of fanatic individuals and violent organisations, shows the moral vacuousness of the Hindutva project

Savarkar

“The curious fact is that as we move into the 21st century, historians have become central to politics. We historians are the monopoly suppliers of the past. The only way to modify the past that does not sooner or later go through historians is by destroying the past….Mythology is taking over from knowledge”.

It was in the wee hours of dawn of the 21st century that renowned scholar and historian, Eric Hobsbawm, had talked about the process of  “destroying the past” to “modify” it or how “mythology is replacing knowledge” in his speech at Columbia University in New York City.

Much water has flown down the Ganges, the Rheins, the Yangtzes of the world and as we stand at the cusp of the third decade of the 21st century, one realises that how this process — both literally and metaphorically — has advanced to different corners of the globe.

With the ascent of Hindutva supremacist forces in polity and society in this part of the world, perhaps this process has reached its extreme, so much so that every other saffronite seems to have gathered enough confidence to claim legitimacy to any weird thing. The news that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), in its election manifesto (for the Maharashtra Assembly) has promised that it would confer Bharat Ratna, the country’ topmost honour, on VD Savarkar if voted to power, should be seen in this light.

( Read the full text here : https://www.newsclick.in/Savarkar-India-Ratna-of-a-Different-Kind)

New India  – New Father of Nation?

Image result for mahatma gandhi

Ms. Amruta Fadanavis – wife of Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadanavis – found herself at the centre of controversy two weeks back. Her birthday greetings to PM Modi – whom she wished ‘Father of Our Country @narendramodiji a very Happy Birthday -…’ – on her twitter evoked reaction from twitterati. Her ‘height of ignorance’,  was pointed out and her attempt was called ‘sycophancy at its top’ (https://twitter.com/fadnavis_amruta/status/1173877700290678785)

Anyway, as one hoped that this chapter around ‘discovery of a new Father of Nation’ was over and one was attempting to turn a new leaf what one witnessed was rather unusual.

The debate around ‘Father of Nation” came back with a vengeance. Continue reading New India  – New Father of Nation?

Lynchistan

Southern trees bear a strange fruit,

Blood on the leaves and blood at the root,

Black bodies swinging in the southern breeze,

Strange fruit hanging from the poplar trees.

The word lynching conjures up images of a dark period in the history of the United States of America. Between 1877 and 1950, white supremacist gangs murdered 4,000 African Americans, while the government and the police looked the other way. James Baldwin, whose essays Dark Days captures the unfolding violence, wrote, ‘A mob is not autonomous. It executes the real will of the people who rule the State’. In 1888, white supremacists lynched seven African American men for drinking from a well – which they had said was for ‘white’s only’. Baldwin recounts that story and writes, ‘The blood is on the hands of the state of Alabama which sent those mobs into the street to execute the will of the State’.

The lyrics quoted above are from the iconic song – Strange Fruit – written by the communist artist Abel Meeropol and sung by Billie Holiday. Continue reading Lynchistan

Wishful visions, dishonest tales and bitter fruit

Review of ‘Malevolent Republic : A Short History of New India’ by K. S. Komireddi

Image result for malevolent republic

‘The idea of a peace-loving, nonviolent India exists, persists, as part of a selectively constructed and assiduously cultivated national self-image in the midst of a society pervaded by social and political violence…’ argued Prof Upinder Singh, in her well-researched voluminous book ‘ Political Violence in Ancient India’ which had appeared around two years back. She had also added that pioneers of independence struggle were instrumental in creating this ‘[m]yth of non-violence in ancient India which obscures a troubled, complex heritage.’

‘Malevolent Republic’ – A Short Hisotry of New India’ by K. S. Komireddi – a commentator, critic and journalist who has written for leading western publications, reminds one of this debate. The book tries to chronicle the trajectory of post-independence India from Nehru to Modi – and does not shy away from raising uncomfortable questions which demand broader contemplation as well as deep soul searching.

( Read the full story here : https://epaper.telegraphindia.com/calcutta/2019-09-06/71/Page-11.html)

Who Needs Romila Thapar’s CV?

Thapar questioned imperialist versions of Indian history, which the Hindutva Brigade still goes by.

Romila Thapar

..an historian who is indefatigable in the pursuit of knowledge and prolific in its publication, and who is above all a devoted partisan of the truth. … The early history of the country has been illuminated by Professor Thapar, whom I now present, more than by almost any other scholar. An historian of that period who seriously wishes to refute accepted fictions and dispel the general darkness will need several high qualities. (From a citation presented by Oxford University to Romila Thapar while conferring on her an honorary Doctorate of Letters in 2002.)

It was 1960, when Romila Thapar, a young historian at the time, wrote a 400 plus-page monograph on Asoka and the Decline of the Mauryas. According to Oxford University Press, which published it in 2017, it tried to “trace virtually the entire span of Indian history.” The monograph is considered a classic today.

Thapar’s scholarly journey continues unabated at the age of 88. She is among the world’s foremost intellectuals, known for path-breaking work on Indian ancient history, as this interview acknowledges. Undoubtedly, her work has informed and inspired at least three generations of history students.

It hardly needs mention that Thapar has prestigious prizes to her credit for the scores of books and academic papers she has published. Twice, she declined the Padma Bhushan, the third highest civilian award granted by the government.

Now Thapar is in the news because of a strange query from the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) administration, where she has held teaching and administrative positions for roughly three decades.

( Read the full article here : https://www.newsclick.in/Romila-Thapar-CV-JNU-Historian-Hindutva-Brigade-Indian-History)

 

Shyama Prasad Mukherjee’s Role: Official Myths on J&K Busted

Dear Prime Minister, nothing about Jammu & Kashmir is as your party sees it

Syama Prasad

Economist and activist Jean Dreze, who has co-authored books with Nobel laureates, such as Amartya Sen and Angus Deaton, was in the headlines for a placard he carried to a protest rally in Delhi earlier this week. His placard challenged the government’s most critical justification for its controversial move to scrap Article 35A and read down Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir (J&K). The placard displayed statistics that compare J&K with Gujarat, which is Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah’s home state. Dreze clearly showed how Gujarat lags behind J&K on a raft of development indices.

Although Dreze’s data beautifully punctures the government’s claim that J&K’s special status was a hindrance to its progress, Modi in his address to the nation on Wednesday night repeated the same argument, based on dubious claims. For instance, his claim that J&K lags behind other Indian states in matters of health services, education and so on, is patently incorrect.

Figures recorded in the National Family Health Survey (NFHS) has extended the debate further and shown that J&K already excels many other Indian states on several human development counts. Once again, this underlines that all talk about how “development” will reach J&K after Article 370 is made redundant is sheer humbug.

The propagation of false information brings home the fact that the government has gone very far to generate legitimacy for its decisions in J&K. In his address to the nation, Modi also said that his government had “fulfilled the dreams of [BR] Ambedkar as well as [the then Home Minister Vallabhbahi] Patel”.

( Read the full article here : https://www.newsclick.in/index.php/shyama-prasad-mukherjees-role-official-myths-jk-busted)

Return of Hindutva: A Challenge for Secularism

Guest Post by Gargi Chakravartty

BOOK REVIEW

Hindutva’s Second Coming by Subhash Gatade; published by Media House, Delhi; 2019; pages: 272; Rs 395 (US $ 18).

The return of Modi to power with a huge margin in this 2019 election is a clear verdict for the Hindutva plank. Why and how it happened leave us, the secular billions, to ponder about the reality and its aftermath. And at that juncture Subhas Gatade’s 272-page analysis titled ‘Hindutva’s Second Coming’ gives us something concrete to think over once again. This in-depth study with rich academic perception is a commendable work, bereft of jargons and convoluted expressions, often found in books written from a high pedestal which goes beyond the mental reach of lay readers. Precisely for this reason the author needs to be specially acclaimed for bringing out facts at one place based on notes and references which are so far scattered in divergent historical materials. It serves as a Reader for millions who are combating communalism and distortion of history at the grassroot level.

( Read the full text here : http://www.mainstreamweekly.net/article8847.html)