Writer and poet Amin Kamil passes away

Amin Kamil

Amin Kamil

Srinagar/Kashmir Reader: Prominent writer and poet Amin Kamil, who gave a new direction to Kashmiri ghazals and stories, passed away Thursday in Jammu. He was 90.

Born on August 3, 1924 in Kaprin village in south Kashmir, Kamil moved to Srinagar when he was a youth. He graduated in Arts from the Punjab University and took his degree in Law from the Aligarh Muslim University. He joined the Bar in 1947 and continued to practice law till 1949, when he was appointed a lecturer in Sri Pratap College, Srinagar.

Kamil was closely associated with the writers’ movement of that time and under its influence switched over from Urdu to Kashmiri as his medium of expression. He joined the Cultural Academy when it was set up in 1958 and was appointed the Convener for Kashmiri language. He later became editor for Kashmiri and edited the two journals of the Cultural Academy—‘Sheeraza’ and ‘Soun Adab’ with distinction for many years. He retired from the service of the Cultural Academy in 1979.

Kamil’s unique style of writing that blends irony, humour, social comment and politics in his stories as well as poems made him shine. He wrote in Urdu before switching to using Kashmiri as his medium of expression. Many Kashmiri poets were influenced by Kamil and tried to adapt his diction.

It’s believed that Kamil’s contribution to the field of fiction by his novel ‘Gati Manz Gaash’ (Light amidst Darkness), published in 1958, was inspired by the condition of Mohandas Gandhi in the aftermath of Partition where he found a ray of hope in Kashmir while the entire subcontinent was in darkness. This novel is the only book in Kashmiri literature which has records of the country’s historical events.

Apart from ghazals and short stories, Kamil wrote many plays and musicals for radio. His works majorly reflect on human life in Kashmir.

Kamil was the recipient of many prestigious awards, including the Sahitya Akademi Award​, the Padma Shri from the Indian government and Kashmir University’s Lifetime Achievement Award. Recently, a two-day seminar on Amin Kamil was held in Aligarh Muslim University in which Kamil was recognised as a writer of national importance, transcending the boundaries of the vernacular literature of Kashmiri. Jammu & Kashmir Academy of Art, Culture and Languages published a special issue of its literary magazine ‘Sheeraza’ on Amin Kamil’s life and works which was released in Srinagar in the summer of 2011.

Kamil’s collection of short stories, ‘Kathi Manz Kath’ (Story within Story) published in mid-‘60s includes his most highly regarded work ‘Kokar Jang’ (The Cockfight). The Cockfight is considered as the most popular story in the Kashmiri literature. It has been translated into many Indian languages and has appeared in English translation in anthologies such as Indian Short Stories 1900–2000.

The Cockfight is prescribed in the school and university curriculum in Jammu and Kashmir. It has also appeared in Best Loved Indian Stories of the Century published by Penguin India in 1999.

Kamil’s demise is an irreparable loss to the field of literature.

Journalist Ajay N Jha no more

Ajay N Jha

Bangalore: A veteran journalist from both print and electronic media, Advisor to Prasar Bharati, Political commentator, Media consultant, ex-Content Editor for NDTV, Wild life photographer Ajay N Jha (52), passed away in Bangalore at around 9.30 PM on Thursday.

He was admitted to Columbia Asia Hospital in Bangalore on October 29, 2014 and was later referred to Fortis Hospital, for further treatment today.

“He was brought here at around 8.30 PM and we did everything possible to save him but he died due to massive heart attack, at around 9:30 PM,” said Dr. E. Kumaraswamy, Head, Emergency wing, Fortis Hospital, Bannerghatta Road.

Ajay N Jha, was treated for heart ailment in New Delhi during April and July this year and had underwent a bypass surgery few months back in New Delhi.

A friend of Nasheman and its Editor Rizwan Asad, he will be remembered for his erudite political analysis, and at a more personal level for his helpful nature and friendship.

“Ajay was a great friend of mine, and his passing away is a huge loss. He had great love for Journalism and Badminton, and it was a privilege working and playing with him. My heart goes out to his wife and beloved son,” Mr. Asad.

He is survived by his wife, and son Kevin Jha.

Pity the Animals: Unseat tiger, make cow ‘national animal’: Pejawar seer

While the novice said, let’s at least leave the animals in peace, the ‘all knowing’ intelligent said, you understand nothing you fool.

cow-tiger

Udupi: One of the most influential Hindu seers, Sri Vishwesha Teertharu of the Pejavara Adhokshaja Matha, has held India’s ‘incumbent’ ‘national animal’ responsible for the increasing violence and terrorism in the country.

The pontiff has suggested that Prime Minister Narendra Modi should consider declaring the ‘cow’ as the new “national animal” of India.

The seer, who has been demanding the elevation of the ‘Holy Cow’ to the post of country’s ‘national animal’ for several years, on Thursday reiterated his demand and said that the violence in the country would reduce if the tiger was unseated from the ‘coveted post’.

Speaking at Channarayapatna in Hassan district of Karnataka, the seer opined that a cruel animal holding the position of national animal was one of the main reasons for the increasing violence in India.

Dubbing the tiger as a “symbol of terror,” the seer said that the cow symbolised “mildness and abundance”.

He called upon people to protect the cow and asked them to chant ‘go mataram’ on the lines of vande mataram.

The chief pontiffs of several other prominent Mutts of Karnataka have also endorsed the proposal of Pejawar seer.

How Israel is turning Gaza into a Super-max prison

A Palestinian boy climbs through the rubble of a house after it was hit in an Israeli air strike in Gaza City, Aug. 25, 2014. (Photo: Wissam Nassar / The New York Times)

A Palestinian boy climbs through the rubble of a house after it was hit in an Israeli air strike in Gaza City, Aug. 25, 2014. (Photo: Wissam Nassar / The New York Times)

by Jonathan Cook

It is astonishing that the reconstruction of Gaza, bombed into the Stone Age according to the explicit goals of an Israeli military doctrine known as “Dahiya”, has tentatively only just begun two months after the end of the fighting.

According to the United Nations, 100,000 homes have been destroyed or damaged, leaving 600,000 Palestinians – nearly one in three of Gaza’s population – homeless or in urgent need of humanitarian help.

Roads, schools and the electricity plant to power water and sewerage systems are in ruins. The cold and wet of winter are approaching. Aid agency Oxfam warns that at the current rate of progress it may take 50 years to rebuild Gaza.

Where else in the world apart from the Palestinian territories would the international community stand by idly as so many people suffer – and not from a random act of God but willed by fellow humans?

The reason for the hold-up is, as ever, Israel’s “security needs”. Gaza can be rebuilt but only to the precise specifications laid down by Israeli officials.

We have been here before. Twelve years ago, Israeli bulldozers rolled into Jenin camp in the West Bank in the midst of the second intifada. Israel had just lost its largest number of soldiers in a single battle as the army struggled through a warren of narrow alleys. In scenes that shocked the world, Israel turned hundreds of homes to rubble.

With residents living in tents, Israel insisted on the terms of Jenin camp’s rehabilitation. The alleys that assisted the Palestinian resistance in its ambushes had to go. In their place, streets were built wide enough for Israeli tanks to patrol.

In short, both the Palestinians’ humanitarian needs and their right in international law to resist their oppressor were sacrificed to satisfy Israel’s desire to make the enforcement of its occupation more efficient.

It is hard not to view the agreement reached in Cairo this month for Gaza’s reconstruction in similar terms.

Donors pledged $5.4 billion – though, based on past experience, much of it won’t materialise. In addition, half will be immediately redirected to the distant West Bank to pay off the Palestinian Authority’s mounting debts. No one in the international community appears to have suggested that Israel, which has asset-stripped both the West Bank and Gaza in different ways, foot the bill.

The Cairo agreement has been widely welcomed, though the terms on which Gaza will be rebuilt have been only vaguely publicised. Leaks from worried insiders, however, have fleshed out the details.

One Israeli analyst has compared the proposed solution to transforming a third-world prison into a modern US super-max incarceration facility. The more civilised exterior will simply obscure its real purpose: not to make life better for the Palestinian inmates, but to offer greater security to the Israeli guards.

Humanitarian concern is being harnessed to allow Israel to streamline an eight-year blockade that has barred many essential items, including those needed to rebuild Gaza after previous assaults.

The agreement passes nominal control over Gaza’s borders and the transfer of reconstruction materials to the PA and UN in order to bypass and weaken Hamas. But the overseers – and true decision-makers – will be Israel. For example, it will get a veto over who supplies the massive quantities of cement needed. That means much of the donors’ money will end up in the pockets of Israeli cement-makers and middlemen.

But the problem runs deeper than that. The system must satisfy Israel’s desire to know where every bag of cement or steel rod ends up, to prevent Hamas rebuilding its home-made rockets and network of tunnels.

The tunnels, and element of surprise they offered, were the reason Israel lost so many soldiers. Without them, Israel will have a freer hand next time it wants to “mow the grass”, as its commanders call Gaza’s repeated destruction.

Last week Israel’s defence minister Moshe Yaalon warned that rebuilding Gaza would be conditioned on Hamas’s good behaviour. Israel wanted to be sure “the funds and equipment are not used for terrorism, therefore we are closely monitoring all of the developments”.

The PA and UN will have to submit to a database reviewed by Israel the details of every home that needs rebuilding. Indications are that Israeli drones will watch every move on the ground.

Israel will be able to veto anyone it considers a militant – which means anyone with a connection to Hamas or Islamic Jihad. Presumably, Israel hopes this will dissuade most Palestinians from associating with the resistance movements.

Further, it is hard not to assume that the supervision system will provide Israel with the GPS co-ordinates of every home in Gaza, and the details of every family, consolidating its control when it next decides to attack. And Israel can hold the whole process to ransom, pulling the plug at any moment.

Sadly, the UN – desperate to see relief for Gaza’s families – has agreed to conspire in this new version of the blockade, despite its violating international law and Palestinians’ rights.

Washington and its allies, it seems, are only too happy to see Hamas and Islamic Jihad deprived of the materials needed to resist Israel’s next onslaught.

The New York Times summed up its concern: “What is the point of raising and spending many millions of dollars … to rebuild the Gaza Strip just so it can be destroyed in the next war?”

For some donors exasperated by years of sinking money into a bottomless hole, upgrading Gaza to a super-max prison looks like a better return on their investment.

Jonathan Cook is a Nazareth- based journalist and winner of the Martha Gellhorn Special Prize for Journalism.

Burdwan blast – act of criminal gang: Mushawarat fact finding report

A rally organised by Muslims in Burdwan on October 20 against maligning of religious institutions in the wake of the blast in the town.

A rally organised by Muslims in Burdwan on October 20 against maligning of religious institutions in the wake of the blast in the town.

Kolkata: The Burdwan blast was merely a case of criminals fabricating simple crude bombs and selling them to politicians and criminals but the BJP-led central government has employed it for its own political agenda to polarise voters on communal lines ahead of the West Bengal assembly elections in 2016, a fact finding report by All India Muslim Majlis-e-Mushawarat has said.

The occasion has also been used to revive the BJP’s old propaganda about madrasas, fact finding team speakers told a press conference here yesterday, as published by the Milli Gazette website.

Two persons that police claim to be terrorists were killed, while a third was injured in what was termed as ‘accidental’ explosion on October 2 in a rented house at Khagragarh on the outskirts of Burdwan.

While announcing the preliminary report of the All India Muslim Majlis-e-Mushawarat West Bengal fact-finding delegation – it visited Burdwan on 24 October – the report said the criminals were outsiders who rented an accommodation in a locality of Burdwan and were exposed only as a result of the blast.

The press conference was addresses among others by the AIMMM president Dr. Zafarul-Islam Khan, who said, “We have no faith in the NIA investigations because it is a puppet of the Modi regime, which thrives on communal polarisation. The Mamata government has failed to withstand central meddling due to its current problems due to Saradha Group financial scandal.”

Following is the text of the fact-finding report:

Burdwan is a district of West Bengal state situated at a distance of around 150 kms from Kolkata. A bomb blast took place here in a mohalla called Khagragarh at 11 am on 2 October, 2014. A Police team which rushed to the place, found three persons seriously injured. Two women with their children escaped unhurt because they were in an adjacent room. Shakeel Ghazi, one of the three, was blown into pieces, while Sobhan Mondal, alias Swapan Mondal, and Abdul Hakeem were profusely bleeding. Mondal succumbed to his injuries while being taken to the hospital but Abdul Hakeem survived. Razia, Ghazi’s wife and Ameena Bibi, Abdul Hakeem’s wife, were taken into custody. Chemicals and explosive materials were found in the room. It seems the persons living in the house were using it to manufacture crude bombs under the guise of running a burqa factory.

After this incident, Rahul Sinha, President of BJP West Bengal, used the media to issue a series of explosive statements to disseminate fear among Muslims and accuse them of indulging in terrorism. Small incidents started taking place in various parts of the state and an attempt was made to burn a madrasa student alive. He was hospitalized and is still fighting for his life.

Under this situation, a team of leaders of Muslim organisations and others visited Khagragarh and Samulia village on 24 October, 2014, met officers of the administration, spoke to the people of the area and inspected the Samulia madrasa. The delegation also met with the secretary of a madrasa located near the Khagragarh building where the explosion took place. The delegation included representatives of the West Bengal unit of the All India Muslim Majlis-e-Mushawarat, Milli Ittehad Parishad, Jamaat–e-Islami Hind West Bengal, Association for Protection of Civil Rights (APCR), Students Islamic Organsation of India (SIO), Welfare Party of India, Markazi Jamiat Ahle-Hadees and All India Muslim Personal Law Board. The delegation also included Mr. Monisha Sen of Welfare Party of India and Mr. Sukhnandan Singh Alluwalia, a Sikh leader. The delegation was led by the General Secretary of AIMMM West Bengal, Mr. Abdul Aziz. A number of mediapersons also accompanied the delegation.

When this delegation entered the Khagragarh mohalla, it found that NIA Chief Mr. Sharad Kumar too was visiting it to inspect the place of the explosion. The delegation tried to meet him but police officers forcefully intervened and did not allow the delegation to meet the NIA Chief, while mediapersons accompanying the delegation were allowed to meet Mr. Kumar though he refused to talk to team.

The delegation met Mr. Muhammad Ali Biswas, Secretary and Maulana Shaikh Abdur Rahman, principal of a madrasa located near the place. A number of senior residents of the mohalla also joined in. They confirmed that an explosion did take place but the way BJP, RSS and some media sections are twisting, it is condemnable as it has nothing to do with reality. This effort to implicate all Muslims is equally condemnable as are those who were fabricating bombs. These people want to make the whole Muslims of India responsible for the criminal activity indulged in by around five individuals, which is contrary to the requirements of justice and humanity.

Women of the mohalla told the delegation that media people have turned their life into hell. They enter their houses with a request to drink water, then speak to them about strange things seeking information about the explosion while the fact is that no one here knows who were the men and women involved in the bomb-making because these people were not locals and had only rented an accommodation here. Local people thought they were traders but it came out only after the explosion that they were criminals. It is unacceptable that BJP leaders and mediapersons want to punish the mohalla people for a crime committed by strangers.

The delegation also met the SP of Burdwan district Mr Mirza for about 30 minutes trying to understand the incident and connected issues. The delegation also visited Samulia village, situated at a distance of around 30 kms from Burdwan. A madrasa here is the target of the police here. The kutcha madrasa building speaks volumes about its plight. The delegation met a numbers of the residents of the village. They all expressed their bewilderment at what is being said. They told the delegation that young girls between the age of 8-10 years studied here. They were from outside the village. Village girls, they said, studied in two village mosques.

Nothing untoward or suspicious was seen in this madrasa. This was an elementary education madrasa which should be described as a ‘maktab’ instead. Elementary books were taught here. Villagers showed the delegation two ponds which was dried by the police. A handle of an umbrella was found at the bottom of one of the ponds. Police people said this may be the butt of a gun. Police also found two air-guns while searching the madrasa. Nothing else objectionable was found here. Yet a police team is camping here. Three youths of the village, who work in Kerela, were not given tickets at the railway station counter when they said they belonged to Simulia village. Those youths had come here to spend the Eid with their parents. Village people are finding it difficult to find work. Marriage proposals of boys and girls of the village are being spurned. Villagers are terrified and have no one to help them. They sought the advice of the delegation about what to do to face the situation.

The delegation, after carefully studying the matter and speaking to many responsible people in the area, reached the following conclusions:

  1. The bomb-making activity in the Khagragarh house was going on for some months but it was not unknown to the local police and politicians because in the same building a political party had opened its temporary office during the last parliamentary elections. Political workers and policemen liberally frequented the place.
  2. The bomb-makers had opened a bomb-making unit which supplied bombs to politicians and extortionist criminals. Criminals and politicians patronised these bomb-makers. They enjoyed the backing of some influential power with far-reaching access.
  3. A section of the biased and communal media is trying to debase Muslims.
  4. There is suspicion that BJP too was in cahoots with the bomb-makers because the BJP is trying to control the districts of Birbhum, Burdwan and Nadia etc. competing with Trinamool Congress. The BJP is feeling ecstatic after the Loksabha and by-election results. It is said that the BJP is eyeing the 2016 assembly elections, therefore it is feared that such incidents will be repeated in the run-up to the elections and communal riots will take place in various parts of the state.
  5. The current West Bengal Government is weak and discredited as a result of the Saradha Scam. To influence people or to control areas by dislodging others, such dirty tricks will be played ahead of the 2016 elections.

Members of the fact finding delegation included: Maulana Shah Md Nooruddin, Khalid Ebadullah, Maulana Md Rafique, Monisha Sen, Maulana Md Yahya, Tahiruddin, Qamruddin Mallick, Sabir Ali, Mashihur Rahman, Kazi Massom, Abdul Aziz, Hilaluddin and Sukhnadan Alluwalia.

MacBride Peace Prize to the people and government of the Republic of the Marshall Islands

This U.S. Navy handout image shows Baker, the second of the two atomic bomb tests, in which a 63-kiloton warhead was exploded 90 feet under water as part of Operation Crossroads, conducted at Bikini Atoll, Marshall Islands in July 1946 to measure nuclear weapon effects on warships. [Photo: U.S. Navy/Handout via Reuters]

This U.S. Navy handout image shows Baker, the second of the two atomic bomb tests, in which a 63-kiloton warhead was exploded 90 feet under water as part of Operation Crossroads, conducted at Bikini Atoll, Marshall Islands in July 1946 to measure nuclear weapon effects on warships. [Photo: U.S. Navy/Handout via Reuters]

The International Peace Bureau announced today that it will award its annual Sean MacBride Peace Prize for 2014 to the people and government of the Republic of the Marshall Islands, RMI, for courageously taking the nine nuclear weapons-possessing countries to the International Court of Justice to enforce compliance with the Non-Proliferation Treaty and international customary law.

The tiny Pacific nation has launched a parallel court case against the USA at the Federal District Court.  RMI argues that the nuclear weapons-possessing countries have breached their obligations under Article VI of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) by continuing to modernize their arsenals and by failing to pursue negotiations in good faith on nuclear disarmament.

The Marshall Islands were used by the USA as testing ground for nearly 70 nuclear tests from 1946 to 1958. These tests gave rise to lasting health and environmental problems for the Marshall Islanders. Their first-hand experience of nuclear devastation and personal suffering gives legitimacy to their action and makes it especially difficult to dismiss.

The Marshall Islands are presently working hard on both court cases, whose final hearings are expected in 2016. Peace and anti-nuclear activists, lawyers, politicians and all people seeking a world without nuclear weapons are called upon to bring their knowledge, energy and political skills to build a powerful constituency to support this court case and related actions to ensure a successful outcome.

It is certainly not the case that the RMI, with its some 53,000 inhabitants, a large proportion of whom are young people, have no need of compensation or assistance. Nowhere are the costs of a militarized Pacific better illustrated than there. The country is burdened with some of the highest cancer rates in the region following the 12 years of US nuclear tests. Yet it is admirable that the Marshall Islanders in fact seek no compensation for themselves, but rather are determined to end the nuclear weapons threat for all humanity.

The world still has some 17,000 nuclear weapons, the majority in the USA and Russia, many of them on high alert. The knowhow to build atomic bombs is spreading, largely due to the continued promotion of nuclear power technology. Presently there are 9 nuclear weapon states, and 28 nuclear alliance states; and on the other hand 115 nuclear weapons-free zone states plus 40 non-nuclear weapons states. Only 37 states (out of 192) are still committed to nuclear weapons, clinging to outdated, questionable and extremely dangerous ‘deterrence’ policies.

IPB has a long history of campaigning for disarmament and for the banning of nuclear weapons (http://www.ipb.org). The organisation was, for instance, actively involved in bringing the nuclear issue before the International Court of Justice in 1996. The International Peace Bureau hopes to help draw attention to the aim of the various court cases on this issue by awarding the Sean MacBride Peace Prize to the people and government of the Marshall Islands. IPB sincerely hopes that the Marshall Islands initiative will be a significant and decisive step in ending the nuclear arms race and in achieving a world without nuclear weapons.

The prize ceremony will take place in Vienna in early December at the time of the international conference on the humanitarian consequences of nuclear weapons, and in the presence of the RMI’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Tony de Brum and other dignitaries. Since its inception in 1992, many eminent peace promoters have received the Sean MacBride Prize, although it is not accompanied by any financial remuneration.

Black money: List of around 627 people submitted to SC

BLACK-MONEY

New Delhi: The Centre government on Wednesday submitted a list of 627 Indians having accounts in foreign banks in a sealed envelope to Supreme Court, which on Tuesday had pounded the government for not revealing all the information in the case.

Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi submitted three sets of lists with the 627 names of people stashing untaxed or black money to the apex court, which fixed March 31, 2015 as the deadline to conclude the investigation into the case.

Rohatgi said more than half of the people in the list are Indian nationals while the rest are Non-Resident Indians. He said that most people named in the list, which was last updated in 2006, have their accounts with the HSBC Bank.

The apex court refused to open the envelope and directed to place documents before the Special Investigative team (SIT).

Only SIT chairman and vice chairman can open the sealed envelope containing names of account holders, said the SC.

The Supreme Court also directed the government to share the list with the Enforcement Directorate and the Central Bureau of Investigation. The case will be next heard on December 3 after the SIT submits its status report by November 30.

The first list submitted in the Supreme Court contains the details of treaties and agreements India has signed with Swtizerland and other nations where the illegal money is said to be stashed. The second list has all the names while the third list has a status report on the investigation in the case.

Rejecting its stand, the Supreme Court on Tuesday ordered the Centre to disclose all the names of black money holders abroad to it in a sealed envelope and slammed it for reluctance on the issue.

The apex court had some strong words for the new government for seeking modification of its earlier order on disclosure of all names saying this was accepted by the then UPA government.

“Why are you trying to protect people having bank accounts in foreign countries. Why are you providing a protective umbrella for all these people.

On Monday, the Centre revealed eight names of Indians holding illegal foreign bank accounts, which included consumer products giant Dabur India promoter Pradip Burman, Rajkot-based bullion trader Pankaj Chamanlal Lodhiya, Goa mining company Timblo Private Ltd and five of its directors – Radha Satish Timblo, Chetan S Timblo, Rohan S Timblo, Anna C Timblo and Mallika R Timblo.

439 new Gram Panchayats to be formed in Karnataka ahead of 2015 polls

gram_panchayat

Bangalore: As many as 439 new Gram Panchayats may be formed in Karnataka by the time the government will hold elections Gram Panchayat election in the state in May 2015. With this the number of Gram Panchayats in Karnataka will go up to 6,068 from 5,629.

A committee appointed by the government to study the relevance of the Karnataka Panchayat Raj Act, 1993, headed by S.G. Nanjayyanamath, in its report submitted on Tuesday recommended for the formation of 439 new GPs. Each one of these will have an approximate population of 6,175.

Accepting the report, Chief Minister Siddaramaiah said the recommendations would be implemented by the next elections to GPs, which is due in May 2015.

Another committee, headed by K. Narasimhamurty, identified over 3,351 Lambani and Banjara tandas (settlements) in the State, against 1,334 in revenue records, and recommended for converting them into revenue villages.

Modi Sarkar: Politics through Culture

Modi

The change in the ruling dispensation (May 2014) has more than one aspect which is likely to affect the very social-cultural-political map of India. Narendra Modi won the last elections with an electoral success, 282 seats for BJP, with 31% of votes polled, which is a landmark for a party. There was a meticulous planning to come to power and there were many factors bringing them to power. One was the communal polarization carried forward from the Gujarat carnage of 2002, to the one witnessed in Muzzafarnagar in 2013. The unrestrained support of Corporate World was another, as Modi had given all the facilities to the Corporate World. Corporate in 2007 declared that they will like to see Modi as the future Prime Minister of India. The backbone of the campaign was seven lakh RSS volunteers, who acted as the steel frame of the campaign. The projected factors helping BJP win was the myth of Gujarat’s development. The media management and the discrediting of the ruling Congress was the effective tool for swinging the votes in BJP’s favor. RSS-BJP-Modi want to bring in Hindu nation trampling upon the values of Indian Constitution., which have laid the foundation of democratic ethos, which have provided the ground for social transformation of caste-gender.

Pattern of Power

The previous time, 1999, BJP came to power at the head of a NDA it did not have the simple majority so it suspended its “Hindutva’ agenda. Hindutva agenda stands for abolition of article 370, Uniform Civil Codes and building of Ram Temple on the site where Babri Masjid stood. Now with the majority in parliament, the march towards this Hindutva agenda has been unleashed. Modi has already instilled the authoritarian streak in the new Government. Secretaries of different departments have been asked to directly report to him, and he has not permitted the meeting of the Cabinet in his absence, which was the norm with previous Governments. Though there is a Cabinet, the major power is being centralized around the prime minister.

Acche Din

The major plank of winning the elections was the slogan of Acche din (Good Times). The people at large, who are victims of the rising prices and inflation, were sold the dream of better days in the offing with victory of Modi. The relentless rise of prices despite Modi coming to power has created a sense of disillusion amongst the people, as high hopes were created through propaganda. Some say it is a bit too early to comment on this, as it is a honeymoon period, while others point to the pattern of policies, which do not give a hopeful picture for times to come. FDA in retail has been raised from 26% to 49% in a single swoop. While in opposition; BJP was opposing it. This is an opportunist turn around. The fear of privatization of public sector is very much there in the air. The amendments to Land Acquisition bill are going to affect the interests of the farmers in a very adverse way. What is being proposed is to dilute the consent of majority of the farmers for acquiring land.

Changed Dispensation: Sectarian mindset

Many times we express more by keeping silence than by speaking, so to say. The Pune techie Mohsin Sheikh’s murder allegedly by the Hindu Jagran Sena was part of the well designed communalization process. The violence in Saharanpur, Rampur and other parts of UP and some parts of MP are part of the process to communalize the assembly areas, which are going to face the polls soon. The silence of Prime Minister on these issues is more than eloquent. Rather it gives signal of sorts, which are not very healthy. There are scattered incidents which give us the glimpse of the Modi Sarkar. The shrewdest part of the new Government is that it has solid backing of vast Sangh Parivar to speak in different languages; these different tongues make the whole picture of their agenda. In case of the tennis star Sania Mirza being appointed as the brand ambassador of the newly formed Telangana state, the BJP leaders on TV openly opposed this saying that she is the daughter-in-law of Pakistan, while the top level functionary of the Government said that she is pride of the nation.

Education

All said and done the major problem of the present rule is going to be the changes in education, which will alter the thinking pattern of the coming generations. The goal is to instill a pattern in consonance with the Brahminical norms, to promote orthodox medieval mind set and to undermine the scientific temper. One recalls that in the previous BJP led NDA regime apart from other things, its major impact was the changes in the history and social science books, where the divisive history taught in the RSS shakhas, the communal history, the history where the kings are looked at through the prism of religion, was introduced. One knows that the communal historiography introduced by British was their main tool in implementing the ‘divide and rule’ policy which formed the ideology of the communal streams of Muslim League and Hindu Mahasabha-RSS. This type of history; by focusing on the glories of ‘our’ kings also promotes the feudal values of caste and gender hierarchy. Mercifully the BJP led NDA lost in 2004 and the rational, national historiography was brought back.

Now already there are signs that RSS volunteers are out to change the total education system and the content of history, social science and other books. Even before this Government came to power, with the rise of Modi on political firmament, with the perception that he is likely to come to power, the Right wing organizations intensified their offensive against genuine scholarship. Dinanath Batra, by now is a well known name, he has been heading the RSS outfits, Shiksha Bachao Abhiyan Samiti and RSS-affiliated Shiksha Sanskriti Utthan Nyas (SSUN) from many decades. He succeeded in pressuring Penguin, the World’s largest publisher, to pulp Wendy Doniger’s scholarly book ‘The Hindus: An Alternate History’. This book brings out through the interpretation of mythology the need to understand the caste and gender aspects in a sensitive manner. The history she has focused on goes against the hierarchical mind set of RSS combine and so pressure was put to pulp it. Now Mr. Batra emerges as a writer himself and a set of nine books written by him have been translated in to Gujarati and introduced in 42000 schools in Gujarat. This may be a trial run before doing similar things at larger scale. Former BJP president and present union minister M Venkaiah Naidu explicitly stated as early as last year (June 23, 2013) that “it (the BJP) will change textbook syllabi, if it returns to power”. Batra is also quoted as saying that a nationalistic education system has to be developed to address the requirements and through this we have to develop a young generation that is committed to Hindutva and nationalism”.

The sampling of Batra’s books gives a good idea of what is in store for us. A quote from one of the set of books, ‘Tejonmaya Bharat’, (Radiant Bharat) tells us “America wants to take the credit for invention of stem cell research, but the truth is that India’s Dr Balkrishna Ganpat Matapurkar has already got a patent for regenerating body parts…You would be surprised to know that this research is not new and that Dr Matapurkar was inspired by the Mahabharata. Kunti had a bright son like the Sun itself. When Gandhari, who had not been able to conceive for two years, learnt of this, she underwent an abortion. From her womb a huge mass of flesh came out. (Rishi) Dwaipayan Vyas was called. He observed this hard mass of flesh and then he preserved it in a cold tank with specific medicines. He then divided the mass of flesh into 100 parts and kept them separately in 100 tanks full of ghee for two years. After two years, 100 Kauravas were born of it. On reading this, he (Matapurkar) realized that stem cell was not his invention. This was found in India thousands of years ago. (Page 92-93)

Indian rishis using their yog vidya would attain divya drishti (divine vision). There is no doubt that the invention of television goes back to this… In Mahabharata, Sanjaya sitting inside a palace in Hastinapur and using his divya shakti would give a live telecast of the battle of Mahabharata… to the blind Dhritarashtra. (Page 64) What we know today as the motorcar existed during the Vedic period. It was called anashva rath. Usually a rath (chariot) is pulled by horses but an anashva rath means the one that runs without horses or yantra-rath, what is today a motorcar. The Rig Veda refers to this. (Page 60)

RSS has already set up a consultative body called Bharatiya Shiksha Niti Ayog (BSNA) to put pressure on Modi’s government to “correct or Indianize” the national education system. In the new syllabus “The passages in the textbooks which pointed out to any unsavory aspect of the Hindu faith like the oppressive caste system in ancient Hindu society, untouchability of the low-caste people and consumption of beef during Vedic ages were scrapped, and anyone who resisted or opposed the changes was dubbed as ‘anti-national’.(1)

Caste and Gender

While these changes in the text books give us a full idea of the agenda of this Government, which will have to follow the guidelines set by its parent organization, its already manifest in the appointment of Prof Y.Sudarshan Rao as the chief of ICHR. This national body guides the research into the Indian history. Prof Rao is not much known in the circles of Academic history, as he has hardly written any academic, peer reviewed papers or books. He has been engaged with writing few blogs on his understanding of history, which is more of a fiction suiting the agenda of Hindu Rashtra, reinstating the caste system in particular. In one of his blogs he emphasis that caste system served the society very well and there are no complaints against it. As per him “Most of the questionable social customs in the Indian society as pointed out by the English educated Indian intellectuals and the Western scholars could be traced to this period of Muslim rule in north India spanning over seven centuries.” He argues that “The (caste) system was working well in ancient times and we do not find any complaint from any quarters against it.” This is a distortion. The customs related to caste oppression were integral to the so called Hindu scriptures Vedas (Rig Veda, Purush Sukta) Upanishad, (2) the scriptures which were written in the Pre Historic BC period. Even in Manu smiriti the caste division is well articulated. Manu Smriti was written around 1-2 and Century AD. Contrary to this Prof Rao states that distortion in caste system came with the coming of Muslim Kings. He had so far been working on proving the historicity of our mythological Mahabharat as a part of History. Interestingly RSS combine presents only one version of Ramayan but there are nearly 400 versions of Ramayan. The scholarly essay by A.K. Ramanujam on the diversity of Ramayan telling again was withdrawn from Delhi University curriculum, and the publisher forced to withdraw the book.

With the coming of this Government the peripheral elements have started talking about making these scriptures as a part of our curriculum. Justice Dave talks of bringing in Gita and others are talking of Ramayana. Both these holy tomes have heavy projections of caste. In Gita, Lord talks of taking birth whenever Dharma is in danger. And this Dharma is Varnashram Dharma (Varna system). In Ramayan Lord Ram kills Shambuk, as Shambuk a Shudra is doing penance and this is something not permitted by Caste system.

Fringe Elements or Division of Labor

VHP supremo and RSS member Ashok Singhal has also called Modi “an ideal swayamsevak” and emphatically declared that Muslims must respect the sentiments of the Hindu culture, threatening that “they cannot survive for long by opposing Hindus”. He has also asked Muslims to give up their claims on Ayodhya, Mathura and Kashi. The idea is to reduce Muslims to second class citizens with no privileges and rights. Another firebrand VHP leader Pravin Togadia, known for his ‘hate speeches’, has endorsed these views by issuing a warning to the Muslims, saying they may have forgotten the 2002 Gujarat riots but would remember the Muzaffarnagar riots of last year. (3)

Goa’s deputy chief minister Francis D’Souza apologized for his comment that India was already a Hindu nation. This was a tactical retreat. He was the one who said that all Indians are Hindus. Christians are Christian Hindus for example. Deepak Dhavalikar another BJP member stated that under Modi India will become a Hindu Rashtra. This is what the deeper part of RSS-BJP-Modi agenda, to see that the religious minorities adopt the Brahminical Hindu norms. That’s why they want that to use terms like Christian Hindus or Ahmadiya Hindus. Gradually, the assertion will be that since you are a Hindu you must practice Hindu norms.

On the long term agenda of RSS-BJP-Modi one needs to see the statement of RSS worker Joshi, “During a question-and-answer session, a volunteer asked Yadavrao Joshi, then the head of Sangh workers across all of south India, “We say RSS is a Hindu organisation. We say we are a Hindu nation, India belongs to Hindus. We also say in the same breath that Muslims and Christians are welcome to follow their faith and that they are welcome to remain as they are so long as they love this country. Why do we have to give this concession? Why don’t we be very clear that they have no place if we are a Hindu country?” Joshi replied “As of now, RSS and Hindu society are not strong enough to say clearly to Muslims and Christians that if you want to live in India, convert to Hinduism. Either convert or perish. But when the Hindu society and RSS will become strong enough we will tell them that if you want to live in India and if you love this country, you accept that some generations earlier you were Hindus and come back to the Hindu fold.” (4)

So where are we heading to becomes clear in the last few weeks of Modi Sarkar. The government will be trying to stick to the language which will be subtle while undertaking steps in Hinduization. Its associates, VHP-RSS will tell us bluntly about their agenda. Needless to repeat that this agenda, being unfolded is that of Hindu nation, where religious minorities will be relegated to secondary position and the Chaturvarnya system will be slipped in a subtle manner.

References

  1. (http://www.onislam.net/english/news/asia-pacific/475865-india-set-to-saffronize-school-curriculum.html)
  2. http://www.countercurrents.org/puniyani300714.htm
  3. http://www.caravanmagazine.in/reportage/rss-30#sthash.GmBGCZLQ.dpuf
  4. (Modi and Hindutva footprints – Editorial, Kashmir Times Kashmir Times – Monday, July 28, 2014)