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Thursday, November 22, 2007

Dishonest intellectuals of Bolshevism

Tarun Vijay

21 Nov 2007

In the year of the 90th anniversary of the Bolshevik Revolution, which inspired millions across the world as a hope for peasants and workers and exploited-classes, and which soon turned into a monstrous state totalitarianism defeating the very purpose it was claiming to serve in its initial stage, we saw Nandigram massacre and its justification by the pale shadows of Stalinism. It is also a statement on the seriousness and analytical minds governing the media and political debate that hardly any in-depth study has been done or commissioned to re-evaluate Bolshevism and its impact on the Indian society and polity. Trivia rules Delhi and immediate concerns of winning an election dominate political activities with bubbles of protests or justification for massacres like the one that occurred at Nandigram, creating headlines and filling editorial scrap books. Violence and physical eliminations form an essential part of the Communist ideology and though the Bolshevik Revolution promised the rule of the proletariat, bread and equal economic growth, land to the peasants and grass-root democracy through multi-party Soviets to the Russians who were sick of high prices, non-governance with a rude and anti-people bureaucracy, soon, the entire party apparatus was turned to control administration and be a tool to serve leaders beginning a new regime of subjugation and dictatorial state policies. Lenin's rise, the history of the Mensheviks and the Right and Left Socialist Revolutionaries, the end of the Trotsky era in the course of the Revolution need to be revisited in the light of a what we see as an enormous dishonesty of the Left-wing intellectuals demonstrated so 'bravely' in Kolkata recently bemoaning the Marxist government's anti-people policies. Hardly anything has changed since the first red revolution took place in 1917. There is no doubt that the Bolsheviks' organisational flexibility, openness, and responsiveness to popular aspirations, as well as their extensive, carefully-nurtured connections to factory workers, soldiers of the Petrograd garrison and Baltic Fleet sailors gave birth to an enormous magnetic attraction and raised hopes of immediate peace. Exactly the same happened in India too. The October Revolution was quintessentially the intellectuals' accession to power. Creating well-defined socio-economic groups, the Leftist intellectuals promoted a statist system as 'the ideology of the new ruling caste', and the Soviet system was 'nothing other than the construction of a new class domination over the producers, the establishment of a new socialist power over them', the plans for which having been 'elaborated and prepared during several decades by the leaders of the socialist democracy'. What it turned our ultimately was a complete reversal of the promises and the brute rule of the moneyed party Commissars followed with a force. Falsification of history, gossip presented as state documents, deceit, deception and intellectual dishonesty marked with a stylised political demagogy became the hallmark of the Bolshevik 'revolutionaries' who were enjoying the fruits of a mass uprising, hijacking the Russian Revolution to become the new ruling elite. West Bengal has witnessed the same historical phenomenon with a difference that India has a large population with the continuity of Hindu civilisational flow that powers their silent yet powerful resistance to un-Indian attitudes in its own way. So the Marxists have never been able to increase their influence directly and have found just a few corners using their skill of maneuvering state power through the back door and terror tactics. Those who claimed any kind of intellectualism at the Kolkata rally to denounce the CPM's atrocious barbarity at Nandigram have further compromised the reputation of their residual ruins of Bolshevism. Their angst and disenchantment with the party they loved so much all their life is not because of the Nandigram massacre but because of the media outcry over what had become a thoroughly-indefensible episode. It stunned them suddenly to come to the roads with a singularly private mission to safeguard their personal positions, however falsely though, in a society that's civil enough in spite of a long Marxist rule, due to the influence of reformers like Vivekananda and Ishwar Chand Vidyasagar.
These Left intellectuals with a stiff upper lip and a typical 'rebellious' brand value showcasing a set of symbolism in their exterior postures never felt agonised over any number of barbarities perpetrated by the Marxist goons from Bihar to Bengal and Kerala to Maharashtra. When the teachers were hacked to death before students in a class room by SFI goons, they kept reciting poems of revolutionary love in Mukta Dhara auditoriums. When Nepal's Maoists were getting protection by JNU's jhola-chhap Left extremist groups they were happy in donning highly beneficial positions in akademis and literary circles. When Kashmiri Hindus were raped, maimed, killed and their temples razed, the same intellectuals condemned them for spreading 'rumours' and sang songs of peace and international brotherhood to earn free tickets to Soviet Russia and Beijing. Now, just to steal the thunder and outdo the genuine voices of pain and anguish emerging out of Nandigram, these intellectuals have tried to overwhelm them with their own noises of moral turbulence over what was always a hallmark of their ideological patrons. If bullets and sickles were physical on the Nandigram people, they had the same brutalising effect through academic dishonesty. Nandigram was bruised both ways. West Bengal has seen the most hateful ideological apartheid practised in India under these worthy intellectuals. It was in their Communist regime that Ramakrishna Mission had to declare itself a non-Hindu institution in order to save its educational centres, schools and colleges from the assaults of CPM's unions. With a dismal land distribution and industrial growth rate, farmers, labourers and industrial workers have faced the worst situation due to Marxist monopoly over state policies and programmes. The way they 'win' state Assembly elections through guns and goons is an open secret. From the days of 'China's Chairman is our Chairman' and betraying the nation in 1962, supporting the Emergency in 1975 and aligning with forces who ruthlessly eliminated their co-ideological travellers, Naxals, during Siddhartha Shankar Ray's Congress regime in the 70's, Marxist intellectuals had no qualms denouncing Taslima Nasreen and demanding not to extend her visa, just because she had espoused the cause of Hindu minorities in Bangladesh and depicted graphically the sorry state of Muslim women under the yoke of Islamic rule. These intellectuals who feel 'sad' at the government's handling of Nandigram are not ashamed of the fact that they had supported a totalitarian ideology for the last several decades that justified the division of motherland and welcomed the unfriendly Muslim infiltrators from Bangladesh. They never denounced the jihad and taught Marx and Lenin in the text books denouncing Gandhi, Vivekananda and Subhash Chandra Bose. As if Russian and Chinese Communist leaders were more Indian than those who espoused the cause of Indian nationalism, Independence and spiritual wealth. When the Communist mouthpiece depicted Subhash Chandra Bose as lackey of Tojo and hurled abuses on Gandhi and Nehru, no Marxist intellectual felt anything bad about it. They support the continuation of Annexure 370, separating Kashmir from the rest of the country, never ever sympathised with the victims of jihadi or Maoist violence in Jammu &, Kashmir, Telengana, Bihar, Chattisgarh and Jharkhand. In fact when an extremist fringe of the Communist tradition won hands down in JNU defeating official CPM candidates, it shocked the leadership. The competition to emerge as sole spokesperson of the Left stream is so strong that it can only accelerate the killing spree amongst them. Leftist poets and writers are angry that the West Bengal government is not acting according to the ideological moors and they would like to form the real Left which is pure and follows the line of thought propounded by Stalin, Lenin and Mao. Their world view and inspirations are still across the border and nothing within this motherland that gave birth to them, inspires them. They kept mum when the Soviet tanks entered Hungary and Afghanistan because 'they were brotherly actions of fraternal comrades'. They never protested when Pakistan occupied illegally two-thirds of Kashmir and China refused visas to our Arunachali citizens. Poverty, subjugation, deprivation and darkness of a static social milieu help them to write and earn. In fact more the deprivation, more their revolutionary zeal is fuelled and a strong poetry emerges out of it. Like political maneuvering, the Left intellectualism, too, thrives in backwardness and not in finding and guiding solutions to remove it. Hence, take a pause, the Left intellectuals' 'sadness' shouldn't be taken as their willingness to purge their ideology of the un-Indian traits too. Marxism is dead. Long live the 'bourgeoisie' intellectualism.

Partition's ghost haunts Pakistan

Tarun Vijay

November 06, 2007 01:05 IST

Two headlines on The New York Times this week caught my attention. One said, 'Hello, India? I Need Help With My Math.' It was about how Indian tutors sitting in cities like Chennai are helping American children in Washington and California get good grades in math.

The other headline, about America's blue eyed regime, screamed, 'Pakistan Rounds Up Musharraf's Political Foes' and detailed the state of emergency clamped there.
What a difference between two State powers that were born simultaneously!
One was separated because it did not want to remain 'shackled' to a Hindu majority nation. 'We are a separate Qaum (identity), we are Muslims,' roared Muhammad Ali Jinnah.
Even Iqbal, the poet who wrote Sare Jahan Se Acchha Hindustan Hamara ('Our India is the greatest'), wrote a foundational theory justifying the creation of a separate nation and redrafted his immortal lines into 'Sare Jahan Se Acchha Pakistan Hamara'.
Mahatma Gandhi is still anathema in Pakistan though he fasted unto death, annoying both his disciples Jawaharlal Nehru and Vallabhbhai Patel, forcing them to give Rs 52 crores -- Rs 520 million, a mammoth amount in those times -- as a 'loan' to newborn Pakistan. But Iqbal, the arch supporter of our motherland's division, remains a much revered icon in India in whose memory all governments -- including the Bharatiya Janata Party's -- are pleased to give high awards to Urdu poets.
An all-inclusive Hindu majority nation with an astounding continuity of tradition that defines applied democracy and freedom of thought remains a helpless spectator to the plight of its neighbour, which was considered an inseparable part of India till 60 years ago, and which has fought four bloody wars with us.
Pakistan's Islamic dream has gone sour miserably.
It got further divided in 1971, giving birth to another jihad factory, Bangladesh. Like any other Muslim majority country the world over -- Turkey provides an exception, for many other reasons although -- it has an Islamic obsession to wield the gun and teach the West and the Hindu-Jewish combine a lesson.
In Karachi, the brave journalists keep writing books like Who Owns Pakistan? Or Pakistan -- Between America, Army and Allah (in that order), and Taliban-a Bane or a Boon?
Those who care for a reasonably modest Islamic republic have accepted intermittent periods of a nascent democracy, army rule and judicial games -- giving a semblance of constitutional regime -- while human rightists present well-prepared papers in Delhi seminars and give wishful speeches at glamorous media summits.
A leader is allowed in, ostensibly because Big Brother in Washington 'approved' her politics and the other is shunted off from the airport itself, exiled to a State run by the protector of two holy mosques.
India, the nation they derided and disapproved of, is emerging as the genuine friend and 'apne log' to the common Pakistani. Indians find warmth and light in a living democracy where every shade and colour finds a space to shine, notwithstanding fringe extremism in stray corners.
Pakistanis are bewildered to see a prominent road in Aurangzeb's memory and almost a ban on naming any important point after Dara Shikoh! 'I can't believe it,' exclaimed a Karachi-based journo, our guest.
That's India, a Hindu majority, attacked and assaulted by Pakistan immediately after a Partition that Hindus didn't want. The kind of gory massacres and loot that occurred during Partition and then in Mirpur and Muzaffarabad, beginning October 27, 1947, is a holocaust that is still etched in the minds of survivors.
Yet, the average Indian exudes warmth and closeness to a Pakistani citizen, and vice versa.
For Indians, it is an unbelievable experience to find common Pakistanis reaching out to them in pure affection. My Karachi, Lahore and Balochistan trips are full of such unforgettable memories of welcome.
And none of the visits was government sponsored.
The same happen when a Pakistani visits us. Indians try to walk the extra mile to show their neighbours love and a trust in unbreakable ties.
Isn't it surprising? Two people separated by faith and mistrust, yet longing to see each other and willing to forget the unsavoury past?
It is culture that binds Delhi, Karachi and Dhaka. Common festivals like Basant (spring) and even our choices of cuisine and couture unite us.
That's why when I meet Pakistanis, often they say, 'Unless we leave these goras (foreigners) and bond, we can't progress.'
India and Pakistan as friends can make progress together and leave the Europeans far behind. We have everything -- brilliance, youth, strength of a hardworking attitude, a land rich in resources and strategic location.
The hate, which in the name of a faith separated the worldview and turned twins into deadly foes, is now pointing the gun at their neck. We call it the Bhasmasur syndrome -- the demon that turns against its own.
The Lal Masjid, Taliban, judicial 'firing,' frequent emergencies, hanging leaders, exiles and an uncertain course ahead. Was it this that Jinnah and Iqbal visualised?
Blood brothers live with a foreign colonialism to 'teach a lesson' to the next-door neighbour, but can't accept what remains their own just because of a change in faith? Is that not reason enough to pause and ponder?
Partition has become more visible 60 years later, and is showing its bloody colours to the children who never created it.
It is a lesson for all of us; hate and extremism can destroy, but they can never help a people bloom.

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Tarun Vijay

November 20, 2007

Nothing surprising in it. Nandigram was Stalinised the same way Stalin had Siberia-ised Soviet Russia, and justified it too. So West Bengal Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharya accepted 'paying in the same coin.' He and his loyal Red Guards were honest and transparent as far as their deeds are concerned.
The honour of being the biggest mass annihilators has been bagged by Communists the world over. So they couldn't have afforded to lag behind in the last and residual bastion of the ideology still so highly revered in every single party convention with portraits of Stalin and Mao overseeing the struggling crowd of comrades.
Everywhere they have eliminated the 'enemy' for 'protecting' the rights of the proletariat, maintaining 'peace' and defeating the 'forces of hate and divisive anti- social' tendencies. After all, 'counter revolutionaries,' 'revisionists,' 'agents of the Western evil empire,' 'lackeys of capitalism' have to be eliminated for a 'peaceful, progressive, friendly and fraternal socialist government of the revolutionary masses' functioning dedicatedly from the interiors of the red bricked Writer's Building.The ministry of home affairs testifies their single-minded dedication to the cause. In its 2007 annual report, passed and authenticated by Home Minister Shivraj Patil, it says, 'The Communist Party Marxist Leninist-Peoples' War (CPML-PW) and the Maoist Communist Centre of India (MCCI) have continued to spearhead the Naxal violence in the country, accounting for about 91 per cent of the country-wide violence and 89 per cent of the resultant deaths.' (*Source: Ministry of Home Affairs)*.The violence spearheaded by the Communists in India has surpassed even the bomb blasts and attacks of the Islamic jihadis. Those who are supporting the UPA government to survive so that the 'communal' saffron party is kept at bay and the country 'saved,' adheres to the same ideology that is being practiced by the killer Maoists and Naxals and Leninists. They share the perception and portraits and prognosis about the nation's ills.
Their conventions proudly display portraits of Stalin and Mao and they show the same allergy and hate for Gandhi and Subhas and would never hang their portraits in the corner of a wall at their exit door. And they show utmost respect for Che Guevara and Fidel Castro and share their prescriptions with another great Communist leader known as Pol Pot.Public memory is very short and with large media houses being run on the impulsive showmanship encasing the 'big mouths who matter in the contemporary power corridors' as their respected public face of opinion and debate, the Left is presented to readers as the sole repository of peaceful propagators fighting for communal harmony and the rights of 'victims of State terrorism' like Afzal Guru and the providers for the poor, hungry and disadvantaged.
While another ideology, Hindutva to be precise, is caged in a manufactured imagery of violent, hateful, divisive, anti-woman, obscurantist, anti-minority stream of lumpen. Remember all these words are used by secular columnists in their daily sermons on how to run the country.It would be not inappropriate to recall what the icons and luminaries of the Communist tradition, who still inspire our seculars so much that one of them, named his son, not after any Indian, not even after Periyar or Dalit reformers like Shahuji Maharaj or Ambedkar or Buddha but after Stalin, the erstwhile Communist ruler of Soviet Russia.Josef Stalin. What a leader was he?He reminds us of Gulags, Siberia's labour camps and, of course, Aleksandr Isayevich Solzhenitsyn. According to the declassified Soviet archives, during the worst excesses of Stalinist power, in 1937 and 1938, Russia's secret police, the NKVD, detained 1,548,367 victims, of whom 681,692 were shot -- an average of 1,000 executions a day.
Historian Michael Ellman claims the best estimate of deaths brought about by Soviet Repression during these two years is in the range 950,000 to 1.2 million, which includes deaths in detention and those who died shortly after being released from the Gulag as a result of their treatment in it.The other Communist icons are Mao, Lenin, Che, Fidel and Pol Pot. Every one is credited with conducting summary trials and executions of opponents. During the Cultural Revolution and the 'Great Leap Forward' lakhs were killed.
About 14 million to 20 million deaths occurred due to starvation as a result of Mao's 'Great Leap Forward'. Besides the historical sites, manuscripts, artifacts, and civilisational places were completely destroyed by the Red Guards.Pol Pot left Hitler and Idi Amin behind in barbarities with mass killings in Cambodia during his Khmer Rouge regime. More than 19,400 mass graves have been identified and 167 former prisons documented. The discoveries by the Cambodian investigators estimated the number of victims of the Khmer Rouge from 1.7 million to 2.5 million.Now the followers of his legacy proudly call themselves Maoists and execute teachers, labourers, policemen and farmers in the name of a Communist revolution in India.
A RSS teacher was hacked to death in the classroom before tiny tot students in Kannur, Kerala, and another student, belonging to the ABVP, was forcibly drowned in the Pampa river in Kerala by the 'red revolutionaries.' The reason -- a different ideology's influence was not tolerated.
More than a hundred workers of the RSS, BJP, VHP and ABVP have been killed by CPI-M cadres and its student wing members in Kerala. Hundreds have been maimed, and brutally assaulted.
In West Bengal CPI-M workers have been 'punishing' villagers for supporting Mamata Banerjee's Trinamul Congress with rape, dismembering limbs, and murder after barbaric torture. Mamata had paraded such victims and made several pleas to the government and media, yet the Left remains a blue eyed favourite of secularists in every field like a religious order.The menace of Communist terrorism has become so grave that a Standing Committee was constituted under the chairmanship of the Union home minister with the chief ministers of 13 Naxal-affected states as its members. The second meeting of the Standing Committee was held on April 13, 2006 in New Delhi under the chairmanship of the prime minister.An inter-ministry group headed by the additional secretary, home ministry, has been constituted. Another empowered group of ministers, headed by the home minister and comprising select Union ministers and chief ministers, has been set up to monitor the spread of Naxalism and evolve effective strategies to deal with it.Still further, a Naxal management division, headed by an additional secretary, has been set up by the home ministry to ensure periodic reviews and close monitoring of the action plans drawn up by the states to deal with the Naxal problem.Of the total 12,476 police stations in the country, Naxal violence has been reported from 395 police stations (2006). It is bleeding India both physically and economically. Just read these lines from the home ministry's latest report, 'In order to enhance the capabilities of the Naxal-affected States... the central government had included 55 Naxal-affected districts in 9 states under the Backward Districts Initiative (BDI) component of the Rashtriya Sam Vikas Yojana (RSVY) and had provided financial assistance of Rs 2,475 crores... under the Police Modernisation Scheme to modernise their police forces... the central government has released an amount of Rs 3,677.67 crores to the Naxal-affected States.'Incidents of Communist-Naxal terrorism2003 ???
Number of incidents: 1,597Number of civilians killed: 410Number of policemen killed: 105
Number of incidents: 1,533Number of civilians killed: 466Number of policemen killed: 100
Number of incidents: 1,608Number of civilians killed: 524Number of policemen killed: 153
Number of incidents: 1,509Number of civilians killed: 521Number of policemen killed: 157
(** Reconciled figures for 2005 (source ministry of home affairs 2006-2007 report) *The Communist Party of India (Maoist) have been trying to increase influence in Karnataka, Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Uttarakhand. The Revolutionary Democratic Front (RDF), set up in May 2005 has been enlarged into the People's Democratic Front of India (PDFI).
The Naxal outfits have been targeting the police posts, railway stations, forest checkpoints and other government and private properties. Followers of the Communist ideology are affecting the nation's development by forcing the government to spend huge amounts of money, public money, on combating Communist terror and reimbursing cash-starved states expenses incurred on plans to face Communist, jihadi and other types of terrorism like the one spearheaded by NSCN groups in the Northeast.Special police units raised by states for combating Naxal operations are being provided specialised training in jungle/guerrilla warfare. The Greyhounds Training School in Hyderabad is being used for this purpose. So far, the central government has released an amount of Rs 3,677.67 crore to Naxal-affected states like Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Orissa, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, Uttarakhand, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Karnataka.Under the Security Related Expenses (SREs) Scheme which reimburses expenditure incurred by the states on ammunition, training, upgradation of police posts etc in Communist terrorism affected areas, 76 districts in 9 states, badly affected by Naxal violence, are covered.This is how Communist ideology and its adherents are affecting the nation's growth, peoples' development and infrastructure. They are destroying the atmosphere to make economic progress affecting only the poor and disadvantaged sections and helping exploitative rich classes to make big money.Hence, should one be surprised at what happened at Nandigram? What else can one expect from a government that proudly declares its allegiance to those who are known globally as the hardcore perpetrators of mass killings, intolerance and violence?The Left with all its burdens of an ideological shamanism needs a democratic purge -- the Indian way to make it suitable for the Indian environment. It understands this language only and unless it is de-Stalinised, it can't acquire a human face.
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Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Do a Putin in India

15 Nov 2007, 0448 hrs IST ,

Tarun Vijay,prtpage-1.cms

A dinner at Kremlin with President Vladimir Putin and our Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee remains an unforgettable experience. Our table was fourth to the left of the table where Putin and Vajpayee -- the two giant leaders sat. The whole atmosphere was celebrative and exuded warmth in that fabulous palace with stunning artwork in pure gold that's indescribable, with Russian orchestra playing lilting tunes from Raj Kapoor films like Awara - a great hit in Russia. While we chatted, Russians were clearly showing their appreciation for India under a firm coalition emerging fast on the global scene as a powerful nation. On my table were some scientists from the Russian Academy of Sciences (RAS) and perhaps impressed with my praise for Putin one of them said, if you have so much of love for him, go get his signatures on this evening' s menu. In a sudden impulse, I straightaway reached Putin in a second and got his autographs -- still a prized possession. I remember Vajpayee smilingly saying - 'he edits the paper I edited once'. Putin signed and returned the smile politely. His liveliness and a desire to remain India's closest ally impressed us all -- nationalists and internationalists both. Sadly, this time Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's visit to Moscow was too short and couldn't register the traditional warmth and vivacious factor that has always marked our ties. This time Kremlin was used for a press briefing and dinner was skipped. Though Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, whose government survives on the support given by the forlorn Indian children of the Bolshevik Revolution, visited Moscow at a time when the residual Communists are celebrating its 90th anniversary, he neither offered a wreath at the tomb of Lenin nor paid tributes to the Revolution. This is how a revolution which 'inspired' Stalin and Mao to annihilate millions of their citizens and throttle the voices of a different colour inhumanly, has gone invisible in less than seventy-five years of its birth, leaving behind a legacy of tortures, Gulags and Siberias. On the ruins of Soviet Russia's falsified and inflated claims of economy and a painful dismemberment of its constituents, Vladimir Putin has emerged as the hero of the Russian people, walking in the shadow of legendary ruler, Peter the great. He is young - just 55 - has definitive ideas for making Russia regain its strength and an independent say in global affairs, rejuvenated the economy and ruthlessly eliminated the terror groups, mostly of the Islamic jihadi variety. He had inherited from his predecessor Boris Yeltsin, the first democratically-elected President of the Russian Federation post-Communist era, a tottering economy, when bagful of roubles (check the spelling please) fetched dollars less than what fingers could count and a virtual parallel rule of the ex-KGB mafia goons from airport to downtown areas. Putin restored Russian confidence by single-mindedly campaigning against terrorism and his catch words were -'eliminate terrorism without talking to rebels'. Chechnya provided a testing time for his will and prowess and he emerged victorious with flying colours. The 1999 military campaign in Chechnya to defeat decisively the incursion of Chechen rebels into Dagestan in August 1999 demonstrated Putin's steel willpower. "The absence of law and order in the republic led to terrorism, kidnapping and all kinds of illegal activities, which crept into southern Russia and constituted a threat to the surrounding area...What in August 1999 was presented as an operation to deter Chechen aggression against Dagestan, had in October become an effort to seal rebellious Chechnya off along the river Terek; in November to "eliminate the terrorists," and finally in January 2000, a military operation in defence of Russian territorial integrity'. Putin refused to hold negotiations with Chechen rebel leaders, saying that "negotiations are out of the question because they are senseless''. Today Russia claims hard currency reserves of $303 billion (234 billion euros), the third largest in the world and the government's Stabilization Fund -- used to soak up extra oil revenues and keep a tight leash on inflation -- is close to $100 billion (77 billion euros). Oil production is expected to reach 540 million metric tonnes per year by 2015, up from 482 million at present. During the Communist regime, hundreds of Churches were demolished and the places of Russian civilisational pride were turned into garbage centres. Putin began a massive reconstruction movement involving people and corporates to rebuild those structures, which included famous Cathedral of Christ the Saviour, demolished during the Soviet period.

A black belt in karate, whose bare-chested photos created a stir in Russia recently, Putin will relinquish office in March 2008 paving the way for his successor, but people still love to see him run the national affairs. And while he has become the lone brave voice against US hegemony, Washington accuses him of nursing dictatorial policies and a complete centralisation of power in his hands. Russians, ask in return, is that Bush administration speaking who has unleashed a global military campaign to 'democratise Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan and has Iran next on its list? Prime Minister Manmohan Singh met this man and reaffirmed the 'time-tested friendship' between the two nations. The visit, though merely spanning 28 hours, is significant in view of the drama being played regarding the India-US nuke deal by the remnants of Bolshevism, Indian Leftists.

India purchases 70 per cent of its military hardware from Russia and though the US has never helped India in times of crises, remember its Seventh Fleet during the 1971 war of Bangladesh liberation, friendship with Russia, in the words of Manmohan Singh, "has passed the test of time." But, of late, Russians feel that South Block still looks at Russia through a Leftist-Cold War era prism and has tilted its preferences in favour of the US which is trying to use India for its regional strategic goals. Hence, a renewed emphasis on creating an India-Russia-China block. Last year in July, on the sidelines of G8 meeting in St. Petersburg (which was renamed as Leningrad in Soviet Russian era), Prime Minister Manmohan Singh met Putin and Chinese supreme leader Hu Jintao, talking about strengthening relations between the three giants. Predictably, it created a lot of heat in the West. Putin has been openly critical of a uni-polar world and trying to work with India to strengthen the troika to move towards a multi-polar regime that suits us too. In this background, the deals with Russia look impressive. India gets 80 Mi-17 helicopters, an agreement towards the joint development of the Ilyushin 214 military transport planes and Fifth Generation Fighter Aircraft (FGFA) show the renewed levels of trust. Putin had plans to build four more Russian nuclear reactors in the southern state of Tamil Nadu. Under an existing deal, he had agreed to install two reactors in Tamil Nadu with a capacity to produce 1,000 megawatts of atomic energy a day, but strangely enough, the agreement in this sector couldn't be signed during Manmohan Singh's visit and the reason cited was that the nuclear trade with India is still banned till it moves ahead finally with the Indo-US nuke deal. Yet an important agreement for cooperation in space puts the relations again in an extraordinary category. Russia's Federal Space Agency (Roskosmos) and the Indian Department of Space have agreed for a joint lunar research and exploration agreement, which was signed by Roskosmos chief Anatoly Perminov and Madhavan Nair, the secretary of India's Department of Space and chairman of the Space Commission. Russia would launch an unmanned mission to the Moon, Luna-Glob, in 2010. The second mission, which will include putting a new-generation 400-kg Lunokhod unmanned rover on the Moon, will start in 2011. "The first mission will be solely Russian, but the second will be carried out in conjunction with India," Russian reports said. India will provide a rocket and a flight module for the mission, which will be launched from an Indian space centre.

Well, so far so good. But the question remains - why can't we too do to the traitors and annihilators of people's just movements what Putin did in Russia?

We are shamelessly silent on the Nandigram massacre, listening to the justification of mass killings by CPM hoodlums by a state Chief Minister, talking endlessly to the rebels eating away the vitals of the nation and remain indecisive about vigorously persuing national goals. No nation on earth is so complacent on security issues and eliminating terror as we are. The kith and kin of martyrs who laid their lives defending Parliament returned their gallantry awards and it didn't shake the conscience of any political master. On the contrary, the culprit, who had his death sentence confirmed by the highest court of the land, was defended openly to please a 'majority' in the Valley.

There are daily news reports regarding killings of innocent citizens by Stalinist Maoists and jihadis , the nation's civilisational moors become a matter of jokes and denigration by rulers and an ambition to lead the world remains elusive at the political level.

Putin providing military hardware is fine, but our leaders should also take a few grams of courage and a ruthless decisiveness for restoring peace and national pride from him.

Is that light, the way and the truth?,prtpage-1.cms

7 Nov 2007

Tarun Vijay

In a time when we are surrounded by sordid dramas in the neighbourhood, where anarchical sounds of dictatorship, violence and separatism from Islamabad, Kathmandu, Dhaka and Colombo combine with a perspiring and disillusioned Prime Minister in Delhi trying to find his feet, the strength to look joyous and light lamps of hope on Diwali can be derived only from sources that have defined and enlightened our land since ages.
On a mundane level, the question often asked is 'where is the light'? A painter who is in self-exile fearing reaction to his nude paintings of Sita, Mother India, Durga and other religious icons, was honoured with a doctorate at the Jamia Milia Islamia on October 30 in Delhi with three thousand students and a glitterati, consisting of a large number of Hindus too. The vice-chancellor, in the presence of the Vice-President of India, described Husain thus -' Maqbool Fida Husain, the most respected artist of our times'. An art gallery, too, was dedicated to this painter. The vice-chancellor described Husain's paintings as "a profound encounter with civilisational archetypes where the mythic and the secular collide". What is mythic and what is civilisational was not explained but one can try to learn these terms seeing Husain's paintings. It's difficult to understand what Mr. Husain has painted unless we see them. A student from Jamia has e-mailed me pictures of a couple of his paintings which perplex a connoisseur as to why such a 'top-end earning' name in arts should choose a nude style only when he has to paint Hindu goddesses? A few paintings' introductions go like this - Durga in sexual union with Tiger, Lakshmi naked on Shree Ganesh's head, naked Saraswati with Veena, Shri Parvati nude, naked Brahmin and naked Bharat Mata (can be seen on my blog- ), while other paintings describe a well-clothed mother of the painter, a fully attired Muslim lady etc. Why this se divide? Isn't it shocking and unacceptable? Would they show the same liberalism if the cartoonists from Denmark were also invited to a university here and conferred doctorate for their 'distinguished services to the world of art and caricature'? The spectre of India's seat of power and the elite in self-denial and a silence of the powerful reminds of that infamous 'private purgatory' period of Bush senior in the nineties. When US President George H W Bush was in office, an Associated Press article quoted a White House spokesman about punishing those expressing disagreement with the President's policies, threatening they would "suffer in their private purgatories.

Purgatory, of course, in Roman Catholic doctrine, is just like hell, only temporary - a place where souls suffer for minor, venial sins until they are sufficiently cleansed to enter heaven.
Are Hindus being subjected to such a hell through continuously making them suffer indignation and humiliation in a land which bears their mark unquestioningly on every inch of her vastness? Is it too much to recall one of those songs of agony read years ago with painful lines -

Eminent destruction of my body, Is this the deliverance I was expecting? Plunging my hands in my stomach... Waiting for the final butchery! Still continuing my pogrom on myself, Such horrible thing to taste, I'll never reach the end! Am I, blaming myself again! Sinful actions, I'm falling in despair!!! This terrible thing took my body and my soul! In a land which prayed for the good and happiness of all on this earth without discrimination - Sarve Bhavantu Sukhinah, Sarve Santu Niramaya (let all be contended and healthy) Hindus are refugees post-Independence, targeted by jihadis , Maoists and Christian rebels (in the NE), their tormentors are given state awards, and a continuity of light and wisdom brought to this era through a vicissitude of assaults and invasions is again threatened and mocked at by their own blood brothers. Those who find the assertive Hindu inconvenient, try to superimpose their own beliefs and ideas of their civilisation over the native one. Why?
Never in the history of mankind has a civilisation lived so long in a continuity that baffles the western observer, who is accustomed to look at universe in a 2000-year-old time frame. Hindus, alone are the people on this earth who are training their spaceships for a voyage to the moon while living traditions that go beyond the imaginable realm of five-thousand-year-old statistical data and literature. From birth to death, whether it's the commissioning of a new naval ship or muhurat of a Bollywood film, a huge mall for world class IT software or a new track laid for railways - the mantras that are uttered with the breaking of coconut and sprinkling of holy water are the same that were chanted during Mahabharata and Ramayana, during Vikramaditya's coronation and Shivaji's Rajyabhishek - enthronement. It's so obvious and natural to us that we fail to see the significance of the thousands of years' unbelievable continuity that we live in our daily lives - in our homes and offices. When the Chief Election Commissioner of India does his duty most elegantly, going beyond any doubts, he also sports the mark of this centuries old civilisational continuity on his forehead - in the shape of a Vaishnav tilak - a sign of his spiritual school of thought. The same mark was visible on the forehead of Guru Vashishtha, Guru Vishwamitra and ancient sages millenniums ago, who would be, ironically in today's secular days, asked to prove their existence through birth certificates. Our President shows the same mark of cultural flow on her forehead with pride. Sorry to say, all this is being subjected to go extinct in a methodical way helped by the same forces who destroyed Somnath. Hindus, in the land of Lakshmi, Durga and Kali, can't accept this destruction of their self in cowardice. And there are reasons to cheer up and light a lamp. A nation lives through her glorious past and the highest levels of academic achievements of their ancestors and not by denying or denigrating them. Why can't we be happily proud of our cultural ethos and the pursuits of our forefathers, and why a secularism is being imposed on us that demands to dispossess us of our spiritual wealth dismissing all that as 'myth' and 'communal obscurantism' while the world looks at us with admiration for those very values? Recently, Washington Shakespeare Company 'proudly' presented 'The Divine Drama Series- A Festival of Classical Sanskrit Theatre' with these words in its introduction - Like Greek drama and the works of Shakespeare, Sanskrit drama, which flourished in India from the first millennium BC to the first millennium AD, belongs neither to time nor place nor specifics of situation - it achieves universality through incisive specificity. Sanskrit drama allows the audience access to the fundamental essences of humanity through a process of stylized, meditative ritual...... Characters are often tested but for the most part remain unchanged. Heroic Romances, Epic Fables, Symbolist Fantasies, Political Intrigue and Urban Secular Dark Comedies - Washington Shakespeare Company's (WSC) "Divine Drama Series" has it all. Gaurav Gopalan, the imaginative producer-director at WSC hails from Delhi who studied Sanskrit before going to the US for realising his dream to 'produce Sanskrit Drama in the states'. He told me about his wonderful idea that drove him to places,-- 'I spent a year researching the canon and selected representative works to introduce Washington audiences to this rich theatrical tradition (Sanskrit plays from India written from 2 century BC to 12 century AD - or thereabouts form the longest continuous theatrical tradition in world drama and in its time the only significant drama occurring in the world (being preceded by the great Greek Classical Theatre and followed by Classical Chinese Drama) - a continuous and vibrant tradition lasting nearly 1200 to 1500 years; in comparison Greek Drama lasted around 300 to 400 years and England's Renaissance Drama - of which Shakespeare was a crowning achievement - lasted less than a century).' He met Christopher Henley, Artistic Director of WSC, who 'has a deep interest in world classics' and the ground was set for something unprecedented. He says, 'We started with performance and discovery workshops on the Divine Drama in early September. This included local professional actors who had shown an interest in the series. The discovery workshops focussed on The Abhigyan-Shakuntalam and were a detailed study of text and dramatic presentation. In the series I direct the reading of Shakuntala (which was a wonderful success), and the other Kalidas piece - the romantic court comedy Malavika-Agnimitram , along with the Little Clay Cart by Shudrak. Last week Jessica Lefkow directed two one-act plays adapted from the Mahabharata by Bhasa - the earliest extant Sanskrit playwright. We selected Duta-vakyam (The Messenger's Speech) and Uru-Bhangam (The Shattered Thighs) which book-end the great epic war of the Mahabharata and trace the fall of Duryodhana from a proud boastful king to a broken man. It was very successful and moving.' Isn't it ironic to see our genius being appreciated in Washington but humiliated in Delhi?
It's India that gave the oldest and the most scientific language Sanskrit to the world, our ancestors gave mathematics, invented zero, measured the circumference of the earth and the speed of light and evolved the science of medicine that encompassed surgery and the art of keeping healthy. Today, just to earn dollars, an atheist government invites tourists for 'Ayurvedic tourism' that has existed here since time immemorial in 'god's own country'. The numerals are still called Indian numerals or Hindse (in Arabic) because they are our gift. The most practical solutions to the problems of environmental degradation are found in the Upanishads and millions in this land still find it worthwhile to study the ancient wisdom even if it doesn't bring any Gurgaon-Bangalore type lucre and prestige in an era when destruction of Hindu icons is considered a sign of modernity and progressivism. More than one hundred and twenty newspapers and magazines in Sanskrit are published and villages and colonies are emerging where every one speaks in Sanskrit. ( Private spiritual channels are flourishing each day and the most 'secular' marketeers find it beneficial to produce millions of Sanskrit audio-video cassettes and CDs and start columns on Dharma. But it's only for a market and when it comes to state policies and vote banks, the reverse happens. A government which pursues a policy of indigenous language annihilation on a scale greater than the brutal pogroms of savages occupying Americas post-Columbus' discovery of an 'India', can't raise the levels of confidence and honour of a people in whose genes worshipping Lakshmi every Diwali as an invocation to light and prosperity intertwined with Dharma and culture is embedded inseparably. This Diwali let's pray for wisdom that would empower our nation on our foundation and not on a borrowed one. Eternal, ancient foundation, for an eternal modern outlook.

Some selected readers’ Opinions

Write to Editor
Is that light, the way and the truth?
1 2 3 4

Namita , Indonesia , says: As an Indian woman, I would like to ask Hussain and all our so called intellectuals a simple question. We consider our goddesses a part of our families and our homes. If this was your mother, sister or daughter, would you paint her in the nude and display her in a five-star hotel or art gallery?(8 Nov, 2007 0840 hrs IST)Seema , Dallas, USA , says: What an article Tarun ji! Happy Diwali first of all. Shame on Jamia Milia for "honouring" Hussain for his bigot and derogatory paintings of Hindu Goddesses. How would they feel if we honour Rushdie or that Danish cartoonist in the name of art and journalism. It is a pity state of our nation and hard times for Hinduism that we have no self-respect left and are being insulted left and right. Also, it is a pity that media is not standing up against such bigots like Hussain and Karunanidhi. These people should be stripped of their Indian citizenship.(8 Nov, 2007 1120 hrs IST)Ham TVNS , Hyderabad , says: M F Hussain, the painter reminds me of Ghazni. He gets at this age the perverted pleasure by painting the Hindu mother goddesses of Vedas in nude. The Hindus in America, who helped the Bush Government to recite the Upanishad shlokas in the Senate, shall take up the cause. The Indian government, could not take any action but without shame boasted that they are tolerant. In fact, the mother goddess Saraswati represents the arts, literature, education (spiritual as well as academic) and the art of painting. This artist, it seems, has no belief in his art of painting. On behalf of Mr.Tarun I am submitting this and I hope this sees the light on the occasion of the festival of lights and makes all concerned bold and courageous to shower some sort of enlightenment on this misguided painter at least now. (8 Nov, 2007 1810 hrs IST)Ashok , Derby,UK. , says: Dear Tarunji, your brilliant article has certainly enlightened my Diwali, sitting here alone in front of my laptop in Derby in the UK. It's a cold blustery evening here but my heart was warmed by your inspiring article. I, however, remain an optimist about Hinduism and India. Hinduism is too vast, too big, too great, too powerful to be slighted by a man (great artist for his followers) like Hussain or a bunch of pseudo secular persons trying to honour him. (9 Nov, 2007 0208 hrs IST)
Kaustav Chatterjee , Chennai , says: Persons like MF Hussain come and go and are forgotten within 50 years or so but my eternal India lives on with its gods and goddesses for zillions of years. My urge to the fellow country men is not to despair as our culture alone will triumph in the end. [13 Nov, 2007 1240 hrs IST]manik , bangalore , says: Dear Tarunji, please start writing where and how Hindus need to improve. You have travelled to so many countries and learned about a variety of religions, cultures. For example, teach people how to bring more spirituality/conscience/reason and purity in celebrating Diwali, Holi, Vijaydashmi.[11 Nov, 2007 2153 hrs IST]ktej , usa , says: Wonderful article. Hats off to dear Tarunji and TOI. If these words do not open the eyes of the dishonest government politicians, I do not know what would. Thanks again. [11 Nov, 2007 0716 hrs IST]Dinesh , mumbai , says: Dear Tarun ji, Please accept my best wishes on the festival of light. We need people like you who keep doing work like this for empowerment of our great nation BHARAT. A great article. [10 Nov, 2007 1431 hrs IST]Pradeep , U.A.E , says: Shree Tarun Ji, all your articles are mind opening. Because of great souls like you Hindus are realising the value of their culture and taking pride in their religion. I hope such writings will continue in future also. [10 Nov, 2007 1055 hrs IST]Vijay Kumar Shrivastava , Morrisville,NC,USA , says: It is a great article by Tarunji at the time of festival of light. May God bless Mr. Hussain along with all other Indians.[9 Nov, 2007 2109 hrs IST]

Bridges are not impossible

2nd Nov. 207

Tarun Vijay

How should have Muslims taken an Id greeting from the RSS chief? Or is it more pertinent to ask how would Hindus have reacted to it? Was the greeting a sincere gesture of friendship or simply a PR exercise?
This has to be seen more as a question of perception than reality. The RSS is perceived, thanks to the continuous political and media blitzkrieg, to be an anti-Muslim organisation. It is seen as a hard-core anti-minority outfit, though any number of facts can be quoted to disprove this perception. Let us not forget that statistics and the Sachar report have shown that the minorities have fared the worst in states where the "secular" parties have ruled. Muslim girls' education has the lowest numbers in states like Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and West Bengal. More riots and terror attacks have taken place in states run by non-BJP governments than in BJP-run states. The highest number of Muslim-Hindu dialogues has been held by the RSS affiliates, not by those who dole out all sorts of quotas to Muslims, thus creating rifts between communities.
An increasing number of Muslims are realising that any gesture of goodwill extended by the RSS is sincere and can bring Hindus and Muslims together. This is because the RSS won't fake its intentions like the politicians would do.
History tells the truth that no society can be purchased or appeased for long. Empowerment is a result of harmonious intermingling and climbing the ladder of professional abilities. After all, Shah Rukh Khan, Azim Premji or Sania Mirza didn't achieve what they did because of any Muslim-only support system or reservations. There are many such bright examples.
Hence when the RSS chief says Id Mubarak and combines it with his Vijaya Dashami greeting, it assumes significance beyond cosmetic peripherals. Sarsanghchalak Sudarshan even quoted Ghalib's famous lines underlining the existence of one God and the futility of false egos.
The RSS, often described as the biggest organised Hindu movement in the world, entered its 82nd year on Dussehra last week. The RSS was founded in Nagpur in 1925 by Dr K.B. Hedgewar. The RSS' Dussehra programme comprises an impressive march-past by its uniformed members and a speech by the sarsanghchalak on the nation's affairs where he gives direction to the faithful about the future course of action and programmes.
This time, the sarsanghchalak spoke of how terrorism is affecting us all, Hindus, Muslims and Christians: "(It is) not that only Hindus are being targeted. On 11 October a bomb exploded in Ajmer Sharif ... killing two and injuring 20. Before that Samjhauta Express and the mosques in Malegaon, Hyderabad and Aurangabad were targeted and those who were killed and injured were Muslims. And on 17 October the traders who received parcels containing 36 detonators hidden inside CD players as presents were also Muslims. This proves that the terrorists, whether Hindu, Muslim or Christian, or those who claim to be followers of Sikh Gurus, are bereft of all religious values."
He spoke of how Indians were being targeted by terrorism, of the Left's hypocrisy and of the scientific and security aspects of the Ram Sethu. He ended with the plea to adopt new methods to improve agriculture and get more yield per acre through multiple arrangements of crops.
Of late the sarsanghchalak has made it his mission to initiate schemes for water preservation, to start new units to manufacture bio-diesel and encourage the use of mother tongue in our daily conversations. He wants parents to speak to their children in their own language and not in English, as is the case in many neo-rich upwardly mobile families. To promote his ideas he meets leaders belonging to diametrically opposed ideologies. He says that for the good of the society and the nation, we should not believe in any sort of apartheid or segregation.
Few know that the sarsanghchalak is a keen student of Islamic history and its journey. He has addressed large exclusively Muslim congregations in Jaipur and Ajmer and has declared that the Muslims who join a jihad against Hindus go against Prophet Muhammad's teachings.
In his speeches he narrates at length Islamic stories about Mecca and Medina and often quotes from the 1905 conversation between Swami Ramtirtha and Lucknow's maulanas. He talks about the bloody fights between various Arabian tribes, their blind adherence to idol worship without knowing its significance. He narrates how the Kaaba was made the unifying factor for all by Prophet Muhammad who tried to bring in a harmonious way of living by getting rid of hatred and conflict.
One must understand that every religion gives certain instructions which are eternal (shashwat). And then there are other values that hold true only for certain times (yug dharma). The wise know this distinction, and should interpret their scriptures in a manner to ensure that respect and appreciation for different viewpoints are not lost. Make genuine efforts to know each other, share the positive side of all faiths and keep the dialogue open in every situation — that's the Hindu way of looking at a different ideology. After all, in India, Hindus, Muslims and Christians belong to the same race, and share their ancestors, language, culture, attire and social rituals. They are not "different" people.
The sarsanghchalak said, "Minorities are those who were uprooted in their own countries and took refuge in this country. That way, only the Jews and the Parsis may be called minorities — they came to Bharat 2,000 and 1,000 years ago from Israel and Iran respectively. The leaders of both communities refused Constitutional reservations and said that they were quite happy merging with the mainstream. We see that they did not suffer any disability whatsoever (for this). Our two generals, Gen. Jacob and Gen. Manekshaw, one a Jew and the other a Parsi, brought victory to our country during wars. Who can forget the role played by Dadabhai Naoroji and Madame Cama during our freedom struggle or the contribution of Jamsedji Nasarvan Tata in the industrial field?"
The maulvis of Lucknow had told Swami Ramtirtha in 1905, for us nation comes first because the place of birth and our ancestors are chosen for us by Allah and we must respect His wish. Mecca is holy because of our religion, and Bharat is holy because Allah has chosen this land for Muslims born here.
An organisation of young Muslims, Rashtriya Muslim Manch, is trying to propagate these ideas. Its members are campaigning for raising the level of education among Muslim girls. They are demanding the scrapping of the triple talaq system. They want it replaced with a modern system that will empower Muslim women. Since nowhere in the Quran cow slaughter is necessarily mandated, the Manch is collecting several lakh signatures from Muslims nationwide demanding a ban on cow slaughter.
Try seeing this new phenomenon without blinkers, and a bridge across the divide of fossilised hate doesn't look impossible. To deride or divide is easy. To include or appreciate needs the courage of conviction.

Band-aid state

29 Aug 2007, 1130 hrs IST ,
Tarun Vijay,prtpage-1.cms

Bombs are deadly. They suddenly blast and even before you could know what has hit you, your body would be scattered all around in a hundred pieces. You may be having fun at a local food joint or preparing to solemnise marriage the next morning. Everything goes off in a second. Marriages turn into mourning and the enquiries are ordered. That's the system requirement. A democratic state needs enquiry reports. But bombs do not arrive uninvited. They are invited and sheltered and facilitated. The biggest facilitation comes from the state apparatus through the creation of an atmosphere where blasts become a routine affair so much so that people stop counting or reacting to them. The blasts, the condemnations, the expressions of deep sorrows and the steel resolves –'not to be cowed down by such dastardly acts' become so standardised like the cyclostyled copies of the municipal payment receipts we used to see in childhood days, that nobody read. Yet they are kept as sacred documents, readily producible in future if asked –did you pay your bills? Yes, sir. So if someone would ask our worthy leaders what did you do when your people were killed, they would smartly produce the newspaper cuttings – we condemned the incident in strongest words. Band-aid solutions. Never eliminating the cause of the hurt, never finding the permanent solutions. Just a first-aid and the matter ends like an ill-equipped public hospital treating a wounded pedestrian. Do we remember how many of them have occurred so far? Jammu, Gandhi Nagar, Varanasi, Bangalore, Delhi, again Delhi and yet again....Hyderabad, Kolkata, Imphal, Guwahati, Coimbatore... The one who did it in Delhi was condemned to death penalty by the Supreme Court but secular politicians wanted him to be set free. The other, a rogue politician himself, caught for the Coimbatore blasts was felicitated in a public function by the entire cabinet of a state government run by the Leftists, with the home minister in the lead, when the accused was freed on technical grounds, mainly because the state apparatus that was supposed to present proof of his involvement in the bloody incident 'failed' to do so. Have you ever heard a state cabinet felicitating a soldier's family who gave his life for defending India? A Taslima is attacked and the victim herself is booked for the 'instigation' like a rape victim in Pakistan being accused of 'instigating' rapists to commit the act! A party in power, which takes decisions calculating an electoral win and safety of political power rather than the lives of people it is supposed to rule and protect, would even go to the extent of hobnobbing with the anti-nationals to secure their support for staying afloat in governance. The Muslim League (ML), under Jinnah's leadership, was responsible for India's division and the subsequent massacres. Post-Independence, ML survived, though it was a political pariah like the Communist party and Lenin's memory had become in Russia. It was helped revive by the Left parties in Kerala to get Muslim votes and the first district based on a religious group's majority, a Muslim one, was created and named Mallapuram in the late fifties. Now, for the first time in our post-Independence history, the UPA invited ML to join the central government. Parties which would show no qualms in hating any group with a Hindu tag or inclination, go an extra mile to accommodate a communal Muslim party which didn't think to change its name after its condemnable role in the nation's partition. Suppose the Hindu Mahasabha, which was against Partition, was revived by Hindus in Pakistan and Bangladesh, saying it's a different party now, would any of them be allowed to join the mainstream?
Recently, several thousand Bangladeshi Muslim infiltrators were caught by the Arunachal Pradesh government and thrown out of the state. Immediately, the All-Assam Minorities Students Union, Assam, issued a warning that unless they are 'accommodated', they will push out all Assamese (read Hindus) from three Muslim-dominated districts of Assam – Dhubri, Goalpara and Barpeta. In no time Assam's Chief Minister issued a statement that all of these Muslims, ousted by the Arunachal government, belong to Barpeta and so shall be accommodated there. There was no enquiry that on what basis the Arunachal government has declared these people as Bangladeshis and unless the matter is settled between two Indian provinces, nothing decisive should be spoken for those declared aliens. The central government maintained a studied silence. In Assam the prevailing perception is that any Bangladeshi can claim his or her citizenship to Barpeta, because it's a city run and controlled by Bangladeshi illegal infiltrators. Assam is the only place on this earth where a native government enacted a foreigners' registration act which put the onus of proving a person's nationality on the police or the complainant rather than on the suspect! It was known as the Illegal Migrants (Determination by Tribunals) Act 1983 applicable to one state only so that Bangladeshi illegal infiltrators are facilitated to sneak in. The irony was that on a highway, on the left side, Assam, had one foreigners' registration act and on the right side, Meghalaya had a different one. It was struck down by the Supreme Court (SC), which admonished the government in harsh words. But with state elections nearing, a shameless government, through an executive order, amended the act, which had become uniformly applicable all over India after SC's orders, to keep the same discarded IMDT Act in vogue through backdoor. It was against the spirit of Supreme Court's orders, against the national interest, against the people of Assam. Yet it was created to get Bangladeshi infiltrators' votes. Thanks to judiciary, that amendment too was struck down by the court. But by that time the damage had already been done. Like the central government, Assam's Congress government depends on Muslim voters to stay in power. Hence the Bangladeshi infiltrators might be aliens, but till they vote an Indian political party to stay in power, they are most welcome to grab land, take fake identity cards, and increase their population so much that now a Bangladeshi Muslim majority pocket in Assam has demanded a separate autonomous status for it so that they can run their affairs according to their wishes. If the political parties, responsible for safeguarding the nation from aliens, act this way, who is going to stop the terrorists in an effective manner? Just before the state elections were held in Andhra Pradesh, Naxals and Maoists were given lavish dinners by the party in power and made to stay in government guest houses in Hyderabad. Their help was also sought in winning the elections. Can a Chief Minister take action against those bandits now? What worth are his words that assure action against terror outfits when his connections and his bowing before the lawbreakers who control his vote bank, is public knowledge?
A nation living on a self-denial mode can never defeat gun runners. A polity that declares Ishrat Jahan innocent even before a police enquiry begins, which allows secessionists in Nagaland to open and run their 'free republic' headquarters and celebrate 'Independence Day' separately, which turns aliens into voters, thrives on a self-obsessed people who remain as engrossed in their routine of earning and dying as they were in the East India Company's babudom. Strong nations move on their heritage and civilisation, whether it's Russia, China or the United States. They know who they are and who the enemy to their existence is. But here, we have a state which tries to de-recognise its civilisational moors, rather demoralises the patriotic forces ( from Kashmir to Kohima) and sleeps with the foes of our ancestral past so much so that we love to honour the memory of a bigot like Aurangzeb, the ideological 'great grand pa' of today's Taliban, by naming a major road in the Capital after him, but fear to honour Dara Shikoh, the learned scholar of Upanishads and a bridge of love between Muslims and Hindus( Japanese PM Abe quoted him in his address to Indian Parliament recently). Dara Shikoh was jailed and killed by his brother Aurangzeb and his grave lies unheard, uncared for in the precincts of Jama Masjid, New Delhi, where even the fashionable heritage-walkers of the NDMC-Habitat variety do not visit. The state finds it fulfilling to guard the remnants of those who assaulted Indian civilisational state, romanticise the memories of conquistadors-who razed temples and build mosques over it like the one called Quwwat-ul-Islam Mosque popularly known a Qutub Minar, where an introduction by the Archaeological Survey of India tells all, but fails to reinstate temples destroyed by jihadis in the Valley or protect a shrine and a bridge connected with the memories of Ram. So, after every blast, band-aid prescriptions and similar analyses are of no use unless the real spirit of the nation is recognised and nourished. Huntington wrote 'Who are We ? and answered the character of the American nationhood without apologies. Do we know who we are and the destiny of the nation that we are entrusted to realise? Then alone the state can fulfil its commitment to eliminate the hands that turn marriages into mourning. And this can be achieved with a united front of all- no matter which religion or province one belongs to. Because the battle is between Indians and India-haters.

Monday, October 1, 2007

Whose interest is national anyway?

22 Aug 2007, 1417 hrs IST

Tarun Vijay

For the last three days the only news that seemed important next to the Left-UPA spat over the nuke deal was Sanjay Dutt's bail application, its hearing in the Supreme Court and finally the grant of bail. I am sure for the next seven days, his homecoming, sweet messages from everyone in filmdom, his clothes, and his cane-making experiences would hog the front pages as if the billion-strong, fast-moving, agro-based, IT-savvy, space-age nation has nothing else to read about. Meanwhile, I happened to notice a few marginalised or contemptuously ignored news items. For your benefit a few lines from a few news items are given below: SRINAGAR: Ten people, including a Colonel were killed in a clash between troops and Muslim militants trying to sneak into Indian Kashmir from the Pakistani side, the Army said on Wednesday. (AFP). 'In an act of bravery Col Vasanth and Lance Naik Ganpat achieved martyrdom while fighting hardcore Afghan terrorists. Col. Vasanth earlier intercepted (the terrorist communication) and fired upon them.' Leading from the front, he organised his troops to surround the terrorists. (IANS ) GUWAHATI: Hundreds of people bid a tearful farewell on Tuesday to an Indian Army soldier whose snow-preserved body was found nearly 40 years after he was killed in a plane crash in the northern Himalayas. Nearly 400 people attended Mahendra Nath Phukon's cremation near his family home in Deodhai, a village 340 km (215 miles) east of Guwahati, the capital of northeastern Assam state.

Manipuris also feel threatened by the growing clout of the separatist Naga organizations like National Socialist Council of Nagaland-Isaac-Muivah group (NSCN-IM) which demands a chunk from Manipur to create a "Greater Nagalim for Christ". In fact, Nagaland was created on December 1, 1963 slicing off parts of Assam, namely Naga Hills, Tuensang district and Dimapur after a fierce insurgency launched by A Z Phizo, who took refuge in London under British patronage and the Church's support. They still nourish a dream to create a Christian-dominated colony serving British and US interests in the region and their "war cry" is "Republic of Nagalim for Christ."

Even in Manipuri text books national subjects are omitted. In the text book screening committees, set up by the government, representatives of separatist organizations like the All Manipur Students Union, the Democratic Students Alliance of Manipur, the Manipur Students Federation (a Maoist outfit) take all the major decisions. The committee decided to teach only Manipur issues, leaving out of its curriculum, Gandhi, Nehru and other national heroes. In a Robin Hood role, student organizations check teachers' conduct and cut their salary if they are found to be absent from classes. The money collected is deposited in their association's account.

A couple of days before 12 insurgents were arrested from the official residence of three Congress MLAs in Imphal, arms and ammunition in large quantity were also recovered from their houses. Manipur's newspapers did not carry editorials against the insurgency in the state, but in fact carried blank editorials against the government's instruction to observe restraint in publishing statements of the terrorist outfits demanding separation from India, as they "use" print media to spread rumours and psychological terror. Manipur is observing a ban on Hindi movies and instead Korean movies are being freely shown. The national anthem is not allowed in schools and any chord that binds the famous region of Radha Krishna's cultural heritage with the rest of India is being weakened and torn. The state's 150-year-old library, with rare Bengali manuscripts and books was burnt as the terrorists didn't want "a library having books in a colonial language". Those in the state who stand up for national integration are not supported by either the media or the power centre in Delhi. Manipuris also feel threatened by the growing clout of the separatist Naga organizations like National Socialist Council of Nagaland-Isaac-Muivah group (NSCN-IM) which demands a chunk from Manipur to create a "Greater Nagalim for Christ". In fact, Nagaland was created on December 1, 1963 slicing off parts of Assam, namely Naga Hills, Tuensang district and Dimapur after a fierce insurgency launched by A Z Phizo, who took refuge in London under British patronage and the Church's support. They still nourish a dream to create a Christian-dominated colony serving British and US interests in the region and their "war cry" is "Republic of Nagalim for Christ." Even in Manipuri text books national subjects are omitted. In the text book screening committees, set up by the government, representatives of separatist organizations like the All Manipur Students Union, the Democratic Students Alliance of Manipur, the Manipur Students Federation (a Maoist outfit) take all the major decisions. The committee decided to teach only Manipur issues, leaving out of its curriculum, Gandhi, Nehru and other national heroes. In a Robin Hood role, student organizations check teachers' conduct and cut their salary if they are found to be absent from classes. The money collected is deposited in their association's account.
\u003cbr\>\u003cbr\>\u003cspan style\u003d\"font-size:10pt\"\>In the government sector, the Kanglipak Communist Party, the United National Liberation Front and the Kanglei Yayol Kannan Lup are most active and impose a "tax", which no one can dare to refuse. Government employees are forced to give one to two per cent of their salary and each central project contractor or the officer-in-charge has to cough up 10 to 20 per cent of the project cost in most of the north-eastern states.

But Delhi remains busy in its own petty squabbles, either unaware or uncaring of the problems being faced by the Northeast. Until a couple of years back, Arunachal Pradesh was known as the only peaceful state in the troubled Northeast. But gradually the forced religious conversions and accompanied insurgency by the National Socialist Council of Nagaland (Issac-Muivah) in Changlang and Tirap districts and the lethargic attitude of the central government has already brought this beautiful state on the brink of unrest.

Arunachal's border with China is a long one, which stretches all the way from the east, over to its northern boundaries and down to its north-western edge where it merges with Tibet. To its west is Bhutan and on its southern end touches Assam, Nagaland and Burma before sweeping up to China. Let us not forget that China claims around 36,000 square miles of Indian Territory in Arunachal Pradesh, while it has occupied some 15,200 square miles in Kashmir. Though the state leadership had raised issues of security from time to time, the Delhi government has chosen to ignore their calls for help. In 2003, the then Chief Minister Mukut Mithi warned the central government about Chinese troops making forays across the border and demanded constructing vital roads along our borders with China to meet any security threats. Recently there was a furor in Parliament when an MP from Arunachal Kiran Rijiju sought to disclose Chinese intrusion in Indian territory. Though it was refuted by South Block, none from Delhi's media went to the border areas to cross check the facts and present the views of the Indians living there.

In the government sector, the Kanglipak Communist Party, the United National Liberation Front and the Kanglei Yayol Kannan Lup are most active and impose a "tax", which no one can dare to refuse. Government employees are forced to give one to two per cent of their salary and each central project contractor or the officer-in-charge has to cough up 10 to 20 per cent of the project cost in most of the north-eastern states. But Delhi remains busy in its own petty squabbles, either unaware or uncaring of the problems being faced by the Northeast. Until a couple of years back, Arunachal Pradesh was known as the only peaceful state in the troubled Northeast. But gradually the forced religious conversions and accompanied insurgency by the National Socialist Council of Nagaland (Issac-Muivah) in Changlang and Tirap districts and the lethargic attitude of the central government has already brought this beautiful state on the brink of unrest. Arunachal's border with China is a long one, which stretches all the way from the east, over to its northern boundaries and down to its north-western edge where it merges with Tibet. To its west is Bhutan and on its southern end touches Assam, Nagaland and Burma before sweeping up to China. Let us not forget that China claims around 36,000 square miles of Indian Territory in Arunachal Pradesh, while it has occupied some 15,200 square miles in Kashmir. Though the state leadership had raised issues of security from time to time, the Delhi government has chosen to ignore their calls for help. In 2003, the then Chief Minister Mukut Mithi warned the central government about Chinese troops making forays across the border and demanded constructing vital roads along our borders with China to meet any security threats. Recently there was a furor in Parliament when an MP from Arunachal Kiran Rijiju sought to disclose Chinese intrusion in Indian territory. Though it was refuted by South Block, none from Delhi's media went to the border areas to cross check the facts and present the views of the Indians living there.
The UPA-Left spat will come to an end soon and so will Sanjay's bail and jail issues. Even if there is a mid-term election, does it bring any hope for a change or simply another burden of thousands of crores on the people of India? After all, the same faces will reappear in a different set-up. National interests remain prisoner to political and vested interests.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Stronger at Sixty

The Times of India
15 August 2007

Tarun Vijay

It's a wonderful feeling being 60 and going strong. Good to find that the whole world looks at us with admiration. Certainly Bharat that is India has once again become a land of hope and immense possibilities. In spite of inefficient governance, a blinkered polity that doesn't own India and a hundred other reasons to complain, we have risen like the phoenix showing our civilisational strength and a will to prove the Geeta's message -- that wherever there is dharma (righteousness), there is victory -- true. The only thing we have lost is respect for the politician and trust in the government's efficacy. The story of India's progress is a saga of peoples' power and a will to move ahead despite netas and all other odds.
August 15 also happens to be Sri Aurobindo's birthday, the great revolutionary seer who foretold India's destiny thus, "India of the ages is not dead nor has she spoken her last creative word; she lives and has still something to do for herself and the human people. And that which must seek now to awake is not an anglicized oriental people, docile pupil of the West and doomed to repeat the cycle of the Occident's success and failure, but still the ancient immemorable Shakti recovering her deepest self, lifting her head higher towards the supreme source of light and strength and turning to discover the complete meaning and a vaster form of her Dharma."
A long range traveller never gets into small squabbles on the way; like Arjuna's concentration on the eye of the fish, a nation too does well if her targets are ambitious, high and instruments trustworthy. Just ignore the dwarfs in our Parliament and parties, the wind of change is blowing, bypassing them and in Indian interest. The strides that our people have made in medical sciences, technology, bio- sciences, engineering, global industrial empires, energy and defence are unbelievable, even though we would have liked a bit more here and there.
No other nation has ever been tormented so much and or so long as ours, yet, no other nation can claim to have preserved her inner core's sanctity and the fire like we have.
We fought wars and won. We shattered the Islamist barbaric arrogance on December 16, 1971. Cared for the West's arrogant sanctions neither in the Pokharan of 1974 nor in that of 1998. Our girls and boys studied in village schools and built up empires of knowledge and acumen around the globe.
True, we lost a major part of Kashmir; saw half-a-million Hindus turning refugees in their own motherland, a bloody Jihad and a bloodier Left extremism. We saw illiterate and semi-literate deciding the fate of the nation through sackfuls of hot money, but Parliament's unanimous resolve to take back lost territories is alive still and we have witnessed many political crooks behind bars and others waiting for their moment of truth. The new trends in media invited the wrath of the traditionalists, like the metric system was frowned upon by anna-pai-seer generation, but it has set the tone for the youngest nation on this planet and the new vibrations of Gen X can also be seen finding solace in Sanskrit, Yoga and Sanatan Dharma with a pride that was hard to find since the days of Raj Raj Chola or Shivaji.
Nowhere in the world would you find a mosque, a Jain temple, a Shiva temple, a church and a Gurudwara all within 500 yards from where the Prime Minister addresses the nation - the ramparts of the Red Fort overlooking all these major places of faith in one row. Our pride in being a Hindu majority nation is best expressed through a space and a respect for all -- unlike what we see in Islamic nations or in a Communist regime.
We were partitioned in 1947 to gain a truncated Independence, yet look at the land parted for being a different religionist. That was further divided into two, none has a stable democratic polity; revenge, killings, intolerance, a medieval mentality and military interventions mark their map and while one is known as an NGO country, the other as Washington's extended state.
We are unique in every sense of the term. We negotiated a nuke deal so hardy, it won admiration from "the arch foes" too and one of them quipped if anything is criticised by Pakistan, China and the Communists, be sure that it serves best our national interest. Still, we must keep our options open. Like blind faith, sometimes 'anti-anything that Communists say' can also be wrong like their blind anti-Americanism. Our security concerns alone should guide us to judge the soundness of any deal.
This is the only nation on this earth where there is an unbelievable continuity of traditions, daily household rituals and languages for the last five thousand years and more while other civilisations have become bound in books and libraries.
One thousand years we spent in fighting, to keep our soul and body intact, to keep the saffron flag flying high in various areas and we did it valiantly. Pioneers in science, technology, medicine and architecture, our saffron fragrance has permeated the entire east Asia, China, going beyond Korea up to the Mayans and Mesopotamians.
A recently published book The Pride of India (Samskrita Bharati) is a must read for anyone proud of being a citizen of this land. Contributed by some of the most eminent scholars in science, history, archaeology and ancient scriptures it tells point by point, word by word, our ancestors' great achievements in mathematics, metallurgy, life science, town planning, surgery, algebra, trigonometry, astronomy etc, winning laurels from scientists of AEC and IT wizards alike.
Our Tatas, Kumarmangalams, Azim Premjis, Mittals, Mahindras, Dhoots and Big B's legendary roles are writing another book of contemporary achievements for us. We make the best of films and the worst of them too, have the most exhilarating free space of creativity and though preachers on high-pedestals sometimes give the worst models of indiscipline too, yet the trains move with a better track record, highways are laid, most ambitious freight corridors are planned, bio products find a big market, experiments in retail set new trends, spiritual masters link nirvana for the soul with the nation's new rise, SEZs are becoming a reality and though Nandigrams remain a bad unacceptable patch, the farming sector will never be the same again in the next decade and farmers' suicides will be avenged by an agrarian facelift brewing underneath.
Not so bad for a nation which was never looked upon as a land of the capable by colonialist butchers and their cigar puffing bullies like Churchill, who predicted the most humiliating future for us.
In spite of a deep-rooted inferiority complex, a lack of solidarity --remember we provided men and facilities to the invaders and killed our own kith and kin at their orders to earn a few annas and lost our education system (before yielding to the British we were more literate and knowledgeable than the entire West was) -- we produced a Gandhi, the most admirable icon of peace and non-violence the world recognises and restored a pride in being an Indian.
Though we have our quota of problems and disagreements too - a leadership negotiating Kashmir's honour and damaging the Ramsethu, a state soft on terror, a prejudiced media, an academia in perpetual self denial and a people driven by caste and sectarian concerns -- yet if we have crossed the 60th milestone so successfully in spite of such odds, no power on earth can stop us from a total recovery and becoming the supreme centre of strength and achieving that ultimate might that provides succour to the noble and fills hearts of the wicked with fear.
The main focus has to be on attaining military supremacy. The world respects the powerful and a confident nation. Those who go begging for others' support get ridicule. We have learnt it the hard way. Friendly ties with China and East Asian countries, a working strategic partnership with the West and Russia, a strong will to take on terrorism are needed. A stable economy and well-oiled infrastructure, a service sector believing in excellence and enough technological and science colleges to empower the nation with capable minds and hands would fuel the growth engines further.
Hope for the best and be ready to face the worst. A Gilgit regained and a highway connecting Skardu to Kanyakumari, a channel from Chennai to Port Blair, a friendly Bangladesh providing a corridor to link Kolkata and Silchar via Sylhet, a Tawang to Thiruvananthapuram and Itanagar to Okha expressway, a ban on extremist organisations espousing the cause of ideologically "friendly" foreign powers but hurting their own Swades , a ruthless tit-for-tat policy against cowardly violence of the Islamists, North East insurgents and the Maoists, a time-bound programme to ensure the safe and honourable return of Kashmiri Hindus back home, getting away with the two flags and separate constitutional provisions for J&K, a uniformly applicable code of law and identifying ourselves as Indians first and Indians last in a perfect Chak De India spirit -- if these and some more are the dreams, we can hope to materialise them too. A big shabash to Shahrukh for giving us such a wholesome inspirational entertainment on the 60th Independence Day.
And there across the border, nobody had imagined that a Pakistani would make a film like Khuda Kay Liye, a strong dig at Islamist extremism, yet it happened and has done well. If people and leaders of the social sector can change and brave the wicked there, we too can move forward in the direction of social harmony and empowering the disadvantaged, eliminating extreme ideologies through a collective effort. In fact it has to happen as the quintessential Indianness, the Hindu ethos, abhors obscurantism and intolerance fundamentally.
The Taslima-tormenters represent a defeated Mafiosi of the Jihadi variety reviving the ugly memories of the Rajakar days and the foreign element in our midst, which may create a bubble but remains unsustainable in the long run.
This is the time when we must shun all hatred for the ideologically different people; let Bharat be our god, our ultimate symbol of faith and a reference point of united colours of our existence, let us recognise contributions of all belonging to different hues, with a resolve to work together for a greater tomorrow. Because the nation belongs to us all -- every shade and colour and voice within the constitutional framework.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

The pyramid and the ants

8 Aug 2007, 1056 hrs IST ,

Tarun Vijay

Ms Priya Dutt is a Member of Parliament representing more than one voter of her constituency. As a lawmaker she has a responsibility to speak for the nation on national issues. Having considered her present turmoil borne out of brotherly affection, one has full sympathies with her. But her constituents have a right to ask whether she had ever raised the voice of terror victims or 'innocent' convicts who are not film actors? How many Congressmen or the self-proclaimed 'down-to-earth champions of the proletariat', the Communists, have ever visited the families of those slain barbarically by the jihadis ? The day the Mumbai judgement came; a blast in a tourist bus in Srinagar killed two women and injured many. They were Indians and Muslims, and had gone to enjoy the Valley's beauty. There was hardly a reflection of their sorrow in the papers or a condemnation for the killers. What we see is an anger against the brave and considerate Judge P D Kode who delivered a balanced yet forthright judgement which otherwise is a delayed one –thirteen years after the bloody incident which left 250 dead and 700 injured. Who spoke for the families of the dead and injured? Priyaranjan or Kapil Sibal or Munnabhai media? The parents of the security personnel martyred defending Indian Parliament returned their bravery medals to the government for its lackadaisical attitude over Afzal's hanging. Who spoke for the anguish and frustration of the patriotic parents who gave their best for the nation? Priya or net surfers campaigning for a convict who had links with the anti-national mafia? So is it a new unwritten law that to be saved from the punishment you need to be on the right side of secularism, political affiliation and popularity? Who thinks for the family of the men in uniform who get killed in Kashmir or Chhattisgarh fighting against Islamists and Maoists? An average Army personnel earns very modestly, yet risks his life so that Members of Parliament can perform their duties and industrialists and filmmakers earn a lot of money and squander on buying a fleet of seventeen, seventy or more cars. The politician, the ugly money-maker machine, protects every Ashok Malhotra and Telgi but smarter part is that he is seldom caught. The more the exposures of his corruption, the greater are his chances of elevation in the party or in the Cabinet. When temples were razed in Kashmir and Hindu women raped and their bodies dismembered, neither the fashionable women rights lobby spoke which otherwise goes gaga over heavily-covered Islamists women campaigners for 'freedom', nor the filmy brotherhood of Sibals and Priyas. It’s noteworthy that none of the accused in the Mumbai blasts or later terror acts has expressed remorse or regrets on the killings of hundreds of innocents. Who speaks for those Indians who were killed while shopping for Diwali or playing Holi or offering prayers inside the temple? When Hindus are converted through dubious means and a head of the Christian sect, the Pope, issues religious dictates' to 'harvest' Hindus in their own Hindustan, do those sitting at the top of the power pyramid declare that the Pope has violated the sanctity of his host's hospitality? The freedom of expression wallahs and the peace candle variety have kept a well-studied silence over every single atrocity against Hindus. Why?
How do they gauge the appropriateness of their status at the top where access is restricted and the sky looks closer? I think they just don't care to realise the 'appropriateness' factor at all, because the biggest fear to them is from their own misdeeds that they know and hence hesitate to reflect .More than a hundred thousand cast their vote to provide a Membership of Parliament to a candidate. Much fewer numbers vote for a corporator or an MLA. It's like a pyramid. More people at the base support a candidate to reach at the top and it's incumbent upon the top position holder never to miss this fact. The winner is not there just because of his great brilliance exercised in isolation, but because he could convince the millions constituting the base and the upper layers that his elevation could bring good to the entire structure. It happens in everybody's life. A student receives a degree with the support of thousands of contributors, from a carpenter to a teacher, gardener, policeman, printer, publisher, driver and postman. Does he ever think to repay the social debt in return of his status gained? What's the social responsibility factor in a public man's life? Or in the industrial, corporate world? Hardly anyone gives a damn to the social responsibility element. The stinking rich want to get richer and crave for more cars, bigger apartments. More luxury keeps on growing in a Bharat where wheels to our economy – farmers, labourers, teachers, security personnel, landless workers commit suicide or live in sub-human conditions described as bare survival. Go and see after nine lives in and around old Delhi's station, JJ Colonies and the footpaths of Malabar Hill. Those who are killed by drunken careless sons of politicians and actors and industrialists driving their Pajeros and Land Cruisers and BMWs while going to discotheques post-nine, can't even murmur 'justice' and the witnesses are turned hostile and judgement always delayed crossing extreme unfair time limits. Who speaks for them in the pyramid of power? Look at any IIFA or similar awards, they may have various categories of fun-filled decorations, but have you ever heard an award for social awakening or the patriotism category? They will laugh if anyone suggests the idea, because the love for the personal gains has not been allowed to incorporate love for the nation too by the Left-secular hypocrisy of progressivism. Entertainment means Bipasha's bidi jalailo and Amit ji's dances and patriotism remains in isolation in the courtyards of a Manoj Kumar or Sunny Deol. If the pyramid philosophy of respecting the basic constituents by the top-position holder ants is not followed, anarchy and rebellion won't be far off. Small things matter most. Although a thin line demarcates national boundaries, the resultant difference is far greater in its impact, triggering sometimes wars that kill millions on both sides. Violating a thin line, tearing a simple piece of cloth recognised as a national flag, a single weird comment on any person's modesty can make a difference of life and death.
But those who reach at the top of a pyramid in their region- whether it's a company, filmdom, politics or academics, seldom realise that they owe a lot to those who provided their shoulders and moral approval to climb up and stay put. Like a thin line boundary, there may be a little difference in overall qualities of a Lakshmi Mittal and his juniormost supervisors. What makes Mittal reach at the top is his ability of leadership that comes with how much he cares for the last man at the bottom of the pyramid he is donning. Priyas, Sibals and Dasmunshis don't understand or appreciate the overriding burden that comes along with the position they enjoy at the top of their respective pyramids. They play with it, abuse it, and mould it as if the top end is hanging in the air, not needing any foundational support once they are up there. They are like ants, small in fact but having reached at the top thinking they have become elephants. They fall soon. First in the eyes and esteem of people, who form the base that facilitates the emergence of a top cone-end followed, of course, by a decisive fall in position and fame. Such people are more interested to talk to terrorists, engage them in dinner diplomacy and ignore the victims as they are neither a violent threat nor organised. Thousands of billionaires were born here and died. How many of those remain in the collective national memory? People remember one modestly rich man Bhama Shah who dedicated all his wealth to Rana Pratap when critical times befell on his motherland. In Rajasthan it's considered better to be a Rana Pratap and die heroically battling in the rough ravines of Haldighati, than to be a Raja Mansingh and live a spineless life full of compromises for the sake of enjoying extreme luxuries of forts and palaces and immense wealth. That's the Indian spirit of valour and meaningful living. Gandhi, in spite of many of his failed experiments, lived a perfect life of a Hindu Vaishnavite and fulfilled the requirements of being at the top of a socio-political pyramid of people’s power. He cared for the last soul at the bottom of his pyramid, merging himself with the identity of the smallest and the weakest and rose to the dizzy heights this mankind has seen so rarely becoming an immortal symbol of patience and leadership. Today the arrogant ants in politics and media violating this code of 'being at the top of your pyramid', are becoming more and more irrelevant for the masses and country's future. There is hardly an exciting innovation, an out of the box presentation of a grand vision or a path breaking initiative I any such field Whatever good is happening is in the fields where there is minimal touch of governance or the state power and politics. On the other hand, companies and organisations following the pyramid rules provide all the necessary space for the welfare of their last constituent the bottom layer. The gyms, yoga rooms, dance floors, subsidised canteens, video games parlours –all these are parts of a new futuristic endeavour in California or Gurgaon, just for the sake of enhancing quality and the number of productive hours. But those who defy this, become special invitees to the kingdom of self-destruction. The only way out is to strive for a proactive positive self. The change should begin with our own heart and then the required strength to change others would emerge naturally.
Readers Opinion
The pyramid and the ants
Ajey , Mumbai , says:

Thanks to TOI for publishing this article. Mr. Tarun, seems to be really courageous to write such an article. The Nation's secular-left people should explain, why are they overlooking (or glorifying) acts of terrorism. Terrorist should be punished, as great the Maratha King Shivaji punished Afzal Khan. We know what Ghouri did to Prithviraj Chouhan, even through the great Prithviraj pardoned him several times.There is a greater need for secular-left and fashionable humanist to act responsibly, if they want their names not to be counted in the list traitors of the Nation.9 Aug, 2007 1615hrs IST

Kalpana , Rajkot , says:

Great. A very good article.9 Aug, 2007 1155hrs IST

Sheetal , Pune , says:

Hi, It was really a good article. I agree with each and every word. Simply superb. 9 Aug, 2007 1125hrs IST

shailesh iyer , us , says:

Awesome article.9 Aug, 2007 0422hrs IST

Ktej , USA , says:

A very thought provoking and sincere column. 9 Aug, 2007 0252hrs IST

Siddiqui , Jeddah , says:

An excellent title, unlike the makers of the pyramid the writer gets lost in an unnecessarily complicated issue which defies logic ,to point out one of the many illogical bits,....."winner is not there just because of his great brilliance exercised in isolation, but because he could convince the millions constituting the base and the upper layers that his elevation could bring good to the entire structure." C'mon from present going ons if u r trying to mean the winner as a Sonia or Atalji one may agree, but the vast majority with shady backgrounds, criminal records may spend their lifetimes in convincing millions to elect them seems fanciful. Clearly other factors are at play.9 Aug, 2007 0216hrs IST

Rohit , Mumbai , says:

An excellent article that exposes the shallowness & hypocrisy of our politicians. But the situation is so because of us - the people. We have for too long had the 'chalta hai' and 'politics is for scoundrels' attitude which is why most of us do nothing beyond visiting the election booth every 5 years and then lament the state of affairs our elected representatives bring upon us. We, the ordinary people need to break this 'politics is for scoundrels' attitude and jump into the political process. Only then will things improve. Otherwise who else but the scoundrels are left to work for the country's politics - and they seem to be enjoying their job.8 Aug, 2007 1609hrs IST

david , Auckland , says:

Bravo, well said.8 Aug, 2007 1455hrs IST