While Rome never burned, Nero never played the fiddle…
Pragya Singh Thakur, the Lok Sabha Member of Parliament from Bhopal, would never have imagined that the leading Hindi daily Dainik Bhaskar would mark her return to her constituency after a 70-day gap with a sarcastic article published on its front page. The headline read, “He Digvijayi Sadhvi Pragya! Shukriya, Aap Ko Bhopal ki Yaad to Aayi—O World Conqueror, Many Thanks, You Remembered Bhopal at Last.”
The daily was giving vent to the feelings of the lakhs of citizens of the capital of Madhya Pradesh. Some had even organised a social media campaign revolving around their “missing” MP.
The last time Thakur was in the city was 2 March, to participate in a condolence meeting for a BJP leader. Thereafter, she was away from the city. The intervening period had proved extremely harsh for residents due to the deadly second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic, which has already claimed hundreds of lives.
The anger of citizens was palpable. That is why the daily asked her, “When Bhopal was sick and desperate for help, you were not to be seen. When the city needed oxygen and Remdesivir, you were still not here.”
The absence of an elected leader belonging to the ruling dispensation when people need her the most raises a pertinent question. Was this an exception? Forget the fact that the BJP-Sangh Parivar repeatedly claim they are “disciplined soldiers”, a number of those associated with right-wing organisations have gone missing in action.
For those who don’t like Modi-Sangh politics, February 10th was a day of joy. When this note was drafted a month ago, the provisional title was “This is No Time for Despair.” But last Tuesday has not only dented Modi’s invincible image – it has also dented the sense of being besieged. Since May 2014, almost every progressive force in the country has been on the defensive. The AAP’s politics and the popular tsunami that drove it to power have shattered this gloom.
But the key question at this point – is the eventual defeat of the NDA in an election the only goal? I argue that here that that is just the beginning. The end of this period – which, notwithstanding February 10th, is obviously some time away – will offer a space that has not existed in Indian politics in decades. Whether that space gets used or not will depend on how the struggle develops in the interim period.
The potential of this period is rooted in three basic flaws that the current ruling coalition (between big business and the Sangh) suffers from. First, its key forces are fundamentally myopic and delusionary in character. Second, it is internally contradictory – the two pillars of this formation will undercut each other in organisational (not just political or rhetorical) terms. Finally, it embodies a peculiar combination of organisational strength and political weakness. Continue reading A Chance for Social Change Like Never Before: Shankar Gopalakrishnan→
‘Cat drinks milk with closed eyes and thinks the world is not watching it’
Rare have been occasions in recent times that the RSS, with all its anushangik (affiliated) organisations on their toes, is engaged in dousing the fire in which it has caught itself unawares. Reason being the ‘interview’ of one of its own Pracharaks (wholetimer) turned terrorist named Swami Aseemanand which was published in a leading magazine named ‘Caravan’.(http://www.caravanmagazine.in/reportage/believer). According to the RSS, it is a ‘concocted’ one and has even issued a handwritten letter supposedly written by the interviewee ‘denying’ that any such interview occurred whereas the magazine has stood the ground and has even made transcripts of the said interview and its audio recordings public.
Perhaps with the ‘denial’ by the interviewee the matter should have ended there for the RSS, but this does not seem to be the case. And for reasons which is known to itself, it is trying to ‘clarify’ its stand on various aspects which came up during the interview and is trying to distance itself – once again – from Swami Aseemanand alias Naba Kumar Sarkar, a disciplined activist of the ‘Parivar’ for last more than three decades, who hails from a village in West Bengal. Continue reading Mirror, Mirror on the Wall ! Who Were Those ‘Bad Elements’ Mr Bhagwat?→