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Wednesday, November 19, 2008

They fought to the last man for India

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Date:- 18 November , 2008

India may have lost the 1962 war with China, but it was not completely a saga of defeat. Hamstrung by an indecisive leadership and poor military equipment, the Indian army put up a valiant resistance along the McMahon Line. It is another matter the political leadership of the day did not back them.

One such spot where our soldiers fought back, and repelled, the Chinese incursions was at Razang La near Chushul, in the Himalayan heights. On November 18, 1962, 114 soldiers of the 13th Kumaon fought till the last man, and last bullet, in sub-zero temperatures, to beat back the huge Chinese army. A grateful nation acknowledged their valour by posthumously conferring the Param Vir Chakra on Major Shaitan Singh.

Forty-six years later to the day, Tarun Vijay undertook an emotional journey to Chushul and Razang La, site of a memorial to commemorate the brave souls who died so we may live in peace and security, to file this audio report.

'Sir, a national crisis has been created as a result of the Chinese attack on the northern border. China has expansionist designs, it has set its eyes like a vulture on 48,000 square miles of land belonging to India.

'On August 25, 1959, while speaking on the Kerala debates the prime minister (Jawaharlal Nehru) had stated that India would not remain India if per chance it becomes Communist. The same thing applies to China as well. The defence minister (V K Krishna Menon) has a doubtful past and his present conduct is dubious. He has Communist leanings. In his message on the Territorial Army Day he said that India should not keep a large army because keeping a large army was not compatible with our morality.'
-- Atal Bihari Vajpayee in the Lok Sabha, December 22, 1959

The ironies of history take strange shapes. In 1962, Nehru didn't listen to the warnings of the erstwhile Jana Sangh, believed 'the Chinese can never attack us' and lost face and land both to his 'bhai'-like friends. Then the government arrested more than 400 top Communist leaders on charges of sedition and invited volunteers of the Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh to participate in the 1963 Republic Day Parade at Raj Path in New Delhi in full uniform, recognising its services during the war.

In 2008 the Communists have become the darlings of the Congress that still sources its legacy to Nehru, and the RSS is sought to be banned.

By 1962, China had taken Aksai Chin and invaded NEFA.

In 2008, China is still occupying Aksai Chin and has rebuffed our foreign minister with a renewed claim on Arunachal Pradesh (formerly known as NEFA).

But can the nation forget the 1962 war? Who were those who fought and died? For who? And to what avail?

One of the stories India can never forget is the battle we fought in the Indus valley, near Chushul village.

The battle of Rezang La, fought at an altitude of 17,000 feet, is one of the most incredible sagas of valour and courage that Indian soldiers have showed. That was November 18, 1962, exactly 46 years earlier. They fought and died for Indian soil.

In 2008, we are still waiting for a leader to show any will or resolute action to indicate we are serious to take back the land that China grabbed.

The Congress changed post-Nehru, so did the others. Politics and immediate interests have overpowered security concerns, and distinctions between the identities of the enemy and patriots are as blurred as they were in 1962.

Unanswered questions

Forty-six years later, the question remains still unanswered: why did we have to fight a war, and why was it that the brave 114 soldiers of the 13th Kumaon had to offer their supreme sacrifice fighting till the 'last man and last bullet' in sub-zero temperature (minus 15 degrees Celsius) at Rezang La on November 18, 1962? What were the causes of that war and what happened afterwards? Who remembers them except a few ex-soldiers and the patriotic crowd at Rewari (Haryana), hometown of most of the martyred Ahirs who had fought at Rezang La? Why does no politician think it a matter of honour to send his children to join the army? Why do we have an important road in Delhi named after Krishna Menon, the disgraced defence minister of the '62 war, and nothing significant to honour the men who gave their lives to save India in Chushul?

These were the thoughts on my mind when I set out for Chushul last fortnight to get a feel of 'November in Rezang La' and pay my homage to the bravehearts.

The 1962 war with China is a sad story of a completely incapable leadership, favouritism at the top echelons of the army, and a disregard of the nation's security needs by those who were hailed by the people as their saviours. Neville Maxwell, a British journalist, writes in his famous book India's China war: 'At the time of independence, [B M] Kaul appeared to be a failed officer, if not one disgraced. But his courtier wiles, irrelevant or damning until then, were to serve him brilliantly in the new order that independence brought, after he came to the notice of Nehru, a fellow Kashmiri Brahmin and, indeed, distant kinsman.'

Revisiting 1962's incredible saga of valour

Boosted by the prime minister's steady favouritism, Kaul rocketed through the Army structure to emerge in 1961 at the very summit of the Army HQ. Not only did he hold the key appointment of chief of general staff but the army commander, Thapar, was, in effect, his client. Kaul had, of course, by then acquired a significant following, disparaged by the other side as 'Kaul boys' ('call-girls' had just entered usage), and his appointment as CGS opened a putsch in HQ, an eviction of the old guard, with his rivals, until then his superiors, being not only pushed out but often hounded thereafter with charges of disloyalty. '
Those who didn't know their men, their land and the risks involved called the shots, yet our bravehearts stood firm for the honour of their motherland. The Rezang La battle saga is among the most inspiring stories of soldiers dying in the line of duty, yet our schools, which proudly prescribe the age-old narration of Romulus and Remus, find it unworthy to insert a lesson on how India was defended at Rezang La by Indian soldiers of the 13th Kumaon.

They fought till the last man, last bullet

They were ill-equipped, ill-prepared and heavily outnumbered by the Chinese. All the 114 jawans died in action, not a single soul retreated and neither did they let the Chinese intrude. For three months the government didn't know about them, about their extraordinary sacrifice, till in January-end in 1963, shepherds from Chushul found bodies of jawans scattered on the Rezang La, after the snow had melted. The dead bodies of the Chinese were far more in number, about eight hundred on our side, and it was estimated that more than a thousand might have fallen to the bullets of Indian soldiers. It was an unbelievable feat and the government decorated Major Shaitan Singh with a Param Vir Chakra, posthumously.

The PVC citation awarded to him reads: 'Major Shaitan Singh was commanding a company of an infantry battalion deployed at Rezang La in the Chushul sector at a height of about 17,000 feet. The locality was isolated from the main defended sector and consisted of five platoon-defended position. On 18 November 1962, the Chinese forces subjected the company position to heavy artillery, mortar and small arms fire and attacked it in overwhelming strength in several successive waves. Against heavy odds, our troops beat back successive waves of enemy attack. During the action, Major Shaitan Singh dominated the scene of operations and moved at great personal risk from one platoon post to another sustaining the morale of his hard-pressed platoon posts. While doing so he was seriously wounded but continued to encourage and lead his men, who, following his brave example fought gallantly and inflicted heavy casualties on the enemy. For every man lost to us, the enemy lost four or five. When Major Shaitan Singh fell disabled by wounds in his arms and abdomen, his men tried to evacuate him but they came under heavy machine-gun fire. Major Shaitan Singh then ordered his men to leave him to his fate in order to save their lives. Major Shaitan Singh's supreme courage, leadership and exemplary devotion to duty inspired his company to fight almost to the last man.'

The battle fired the imagination of young soldiers and Bollywood alike. A successful movie, Haqeeqat, based on the Chushul saga was made by Chetan Anand starring Dharmendra and Balraj Sahni. I was on my way to visit the same area, the village called Chushul and the Rezang La memorial, in the month November, 46 years after the battle had taken place.

Chushul, village of the bravehearts

The journey to Rezang La was the most scintillating pilgrimage for me, like the Kailas yatra. Interestingly, the best route to Kailas also goes through Chushul and connects Demchhok (on the Line of Actual Control, within Indian territory) to Nyari province of Tibet, running alongside the Indus river. There has been a longstanding demand from Ladakhis, supported by J&K leaders like Dr Farooq Abdullah, to have this route opened for the Kailas yatra.
The 80-minute flight from Delhi to Leh is itself a memorable one, and passes over Manali, Rohtang pass and snow-clad mountains before touching down at Kushok Bakula Rinpoche airport, Leh. The outside temperature was minus eight degrees and I straightway drove to a friend's house for a couple of hours of acclimatisation. At an altitude of 11,000 feet, it's mandatory to acclimatise before moving to another destination, and any violation may prove fatal. 'No Gama in the land of Lama', says the Border Roads Organisation's roadside advisory, meaning don't show undue haste and bravado in this land of high mountains and Buddhist lifestyle.

It would be seven hours to Chushul, said my guide Dorjey while putting my rucksack into the Innova. We left Leh early morning and passed through Stakna, the summer palace, Thikse Gompa, Sindhu Darshan, Upshi, Hemis Gompa, Karu and negotiated the tough Chang La Baba pass at 17,800 feet, saying hello at Chemday monastery. At Chang La jawans offer a cup of 'love tea' free to all travellers -- a kahva with cashew nuts and roasted almonds. It's really invigorating.

Next was Tsoltak, and Luking was a further 65 km and Chushul another 124 km away. Post Chang La, a continuous descent along the Tangtse took us to the breathtaking expanse of a mesmerising empire of salt water called Pangong Tso lake. It's a magic God created for the gods. Tourists are allowed only up to this point, and all non-resident Indians need an Inner Line Permit issued by the district magistrate, Leh, to enter this area. The lake is 134 km long and five km wide. Another 40 km, alongside this blue, turquoise green world of water, and we will be at Chushul.

The road is really a patchwork of scattered stones and pebbles, though a board announces that the Luking-Chushul road is under construction. A little before dusk we finally arrived at Chushul, which looked every bit a sleepy, dreamy-eyed village. It has a population of 993 persons to be exact, as informed by its 'numberdar'.

The wind was getting wilder by the minute. It was chillingly cold outside and it seemed almost impossible to push the shutters of the camera with bare fingers, frozen and numbed they were. At 4 pm the wind got ferocious and the waves it created in the lake were great fun to watch.

Chushul has hardly changed since 1962. There is no electricity, though solar power connection is given to the villagers with a dose of subsidies. "But we can't run colour TVs on that low voltage connection," complained the villagers. Lights are off early, usually there is only one bulb lit in each home, for cooking, evening gupshup and studies for the kids. So the usual schedule is to have a heavy peg of local rice brew, early supper and go to sleep. The dependable sources of news are transistors and B&W TVs, with Doordarshan's unchallenged monopoly. Though a few enterprising households have bought Dish TV receivers, and access other channels.

I had hardly taken the prescribed and mandatory rest at Leh, so the dreadful headache began at a deadly pace and soon the world turned colourless to me. The wintry chill coupled with a lack of oxygen, and horrific wind, made my task truly 'adventurous'. I cursed myself at leaving the comforts of electioneering in Delhi and other states to reach a place that no one even thinks about in winter.

Forgotten warriors

Suddenly 1962 flashed before my eyes. It's 2008, we have better woollen jackets, comfortable sleeping bags, well-connected communication system, a strong political opposition and an awakened and vocal leadership in the forces. But 1962 was different. Ill-equipped jawans, bad communication system hardly worth its name, poor clothing; the Chinese attacked in this very month, in this chilly winter, in the wee hours of the day.

In such sub-zero atmosphere I was unable to operate my camera, but they had to operate .303 guns, fire mortars and keep fighting! I was at a lower level in the village with comparatively warmer temperature. They were at the top of Rezang La, facing Trishul, at 17,000 feet. They defeated death and kept the flag high, but New Delhi forgot them and sang in praise of the defeatists.

Do the inhabitants of Chushul remember that story, I asked with excitement and waited for a reply. No one could say yes or recount what perhaps was told by his father or grandfather. There is hardly any remembrance of the battle the nation feels so proud of, in this village which once stood as the 'sword of the nation'. The Army's valour has hardly been passed on to the villagers, to the new generation. Like an unconcerned machine, some men in uniform come to the Rezang La memorial every year, perform rituals and go away. Without touching the lives of those locals who carry the burden of that great legacy.

'Give us upgraded school, bijli and SDM office'
Sir, you have come from Delhi, please tell the government to upgrade our school to the higher secondary level,'' said Sonam Paljor, ex-sarpanch, and Phunchuk Namgyal. ''Our children have to go to Leh for higher studies, we can't afford that, so no one has graduated from this village except one so far. '' I was surprised to hear that.Chushul is not as far as some would like us to believe. It's not an impossible country as politicians would like to offer as an excuse for not bestowing small mercies to this famously brave last frontier. No roads, no electricity, no upgraded school, no landline, no mobile, no hospital. This is how we honour the people and the village that fought our fiercest battle and is responsible for providing local infrastructural support to the armed forces, so vital and critical in times of crisis.

There is only one InmarSat telephone, with the local army post, and it's made available to 'civilians' only for two hours a day, in the afternoon. Suppose there is an emergency, someone is sick and has to be taken to Leh, I asked naively. ''Here no emergency, no one can do anything, the army post is closed after the evening and we can't reach them,'' said Phunchuk. There is a local, government-run public health clinic, but the doctor is hardly available, and even when he is there, few medicines, and no equipment. I saw some textbooks of the primary school; nothing is mentioned in it about the soldiers' lives. Or the Rezang La saga. How do we expect them to have respect for the armed forces unless they are introduced to them properly?

That night my roommate in the Buddhist guesthouse was Sonam Tsering, the man who has the glory of being the first post-graduate from Chushul, and the only one so far. He is an elected councillor in the Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council from Chushul on a Ladakh Union Territory Front ticket. His father ran a transport business, and hence could afford sending him to Leh and then Chandigarh for higher studies. But his two younger brothers and sister couldn't follow him and have remained confined to Chushul. The local high school is a gift from the army.

It's a hundred percent Buddhist village and there is a permanent complaint that no one visits them from Delhi -- no politician, no minister has ever spoken to them about their lives and demands. Sometimes a minister comes in an army helicopter, stays with the army officers and goes back immediately. ''They come here to take pictures,'' smiled Phunchuk. An old village monk told me in the morning that his grandpa used to tell him stories about how they had brought the dead bodies of the Rezang La warriors from the mountaintop That's it. Nothing more. Even the village doesn't celebrate November 18, Rezang La day.

Sonam said, ''Sir, before the Chinese attack in 1962 Chushul was the sub-divisional headquarters and the sub-divisional magistrate used to have his office here. He was shifted after the war, and it's causing great difficulty to the villagers. Why was the office of the SDM shifted?''

The village depends solely on the army for everything; still the cordial touch is missing. It's too mechanised.

I had to recharge my camera batteries and there was nothing to help. Solar power won't do it, giggled Sonam. ''Sir, it's no use here, we sometimes hire a generator whenever there is an election meeting or any government officer arrives from Leh.'' Somehow the sarpanch brought an inverter as a cherished treasure and that worked well.

The darkness settled in a bit too early and in the thick of night I felt almost dead. I had two thick blankets underneath and a 'Siachen quality' sleeping bag covered with another heavy quilt. Yet the chill pierced through my bones and the headache rose to newer heights. Besides, the toilet was old-fashioned Tibetan type, with a hole in the floor and freezing water to wash. Do our soldiers at the mountaintop observation posts have heated bunkers to keep better watch on Chinese activities, I asked Sonam and the sarpanch. No one could answer. Perhaps I had asked a foolish question.

But the villagers had a lot to say. The Chinese look at them with contempt, and in flag meetings with their Indian counterparts they complain about how the Chushul villagers and shepherds often 'violate' the Line of Actual Control.

Saluting the martyrs

A dose of Paracetamol helped and the morning was a little comfortable. We set out for the Rezang La memorial at 6 am, bidding adieu to a hallowed village. I was thrilled and felt I should have taken some flower to lay as a wreath at the memorial. But nothing was available. Having taken the turn from Chushul, at every second mile I saw a board put up by the army showing the direction and miles to the memorial. Dorjey indicated the beautiful Trishul mountains on my left, bathing in the first rays of a nascent sunrise. The fields are vast and grand, we were cruising in a sea of openness, roads are either invisible or it's a sporty challenge to you to create your own path! Yet the danger looms large as the heights on our left are under Chinese control and they monitor our activities comfortably.

The Rezang La memorial is a simple marble pillar with names of all the 114 martyrs etched on two sides, in Hindi and in English. The third side has these inspiring words:

How can a Man die better than facing Fearful Odds,
For the Ashes of His Fathers and the Temples of His Gods,
To the sacred memory of the Heroes of Rezang La,
114 Martyrs of 13 Kumaon who fought to the Last Man,
Last Round, Against Hordes of Chinese on 18 November 1962.
Built by All Ranks 13th Battalion, The Kumaon Regiment.

The pilgrimage to the village that once was the 'Sword of India' was coming to an end. I had to go further, on the road to Demchhok, the route that finally reaches Kailas Manasarovar alongside the majestic Indus river. That's another story, another time.

खतरनाक मोड़ पर असम

दिनांक : - १७ नवम्बर २००८, दैनिक जागरण

असम में बोडो आदिवासियों के खिलाफ बांग्लादेशी घुसपैठियों की हिंसा पर चिंता जता रहे हैं तरुण विजय
एक ओर बराक ओबामा की विजय पर देश के विभिन्न शहरी वर्गों और मीडिया में हर्षोल्लास का अतिरेक दिखा तो दूसरी ओर असम में पाकिस्तानी झंडे फहराने तथा 100 से अधिक बोडो आदिवासियों को बांग्लादेशी घुसपैठियों द्वारा मारे जाने पर सन्नाटा छाया रहा। लगभग 96 हजार हिंदू 50 शिविरों में शरणार्थी के रूप में शरण लेने पर बाध्य हो गए हैं। इस समस्या की शुरुआत कुछ समय पहले अरुणाचल प्रदेश से निकाले गए बंगलादेशियों के कारण हुई थी। ऐसी खबरे हैं कि अरुणाचल प्रदेश की सरकार ने लगभग दस हजार बांग्लादेशियों को अपने राज्य की सीमा से निकालकर असम में धकेल दिया था। इसकी प्रतिक्रिया में पहले से ही बांग्लादेशी घुसपैठ से क्षुब्ध असम के विभिन्न छात्र संगठनों ने जुलाई और अगस्त में बांग्लादेशियों की पहचान का अभियान प्रारंभ किया।
विदेशियों के भारत में आने का विरोध करने के बजाय आश्चर्यजनक रूप से असम के मुस्लिम संगठनों ने बांग्लादेशियों की पहचान के अभियान का तीव्र विरोध किया और असम अल्पसंख्यक छात्र संघ द्वारा 13 अगस्त को और मुस्लिम छात्र संघ द्वारा उदालगुड़ी में 14 अगस्त को असम बंद का आह्वान किया गया। दोनों ही बंद अप्रभावी रहे तथा इनका विशेषकर बोडो हिंदुओं द्वारा उदालगुड़ी तथा दारंग जिले में विरोध किया गया। प्रतिक्रिया में बांग्लादेशियों ने परंपरागत हथियारों से हमले किए तथा बोडो लोगों की दुकानें जला दीं। हमलों का यह सिलसिला कई दिनों तक जारी रहा। इस दौरान अनेक गांव भी जला दिए गए। हमलावरों ने पांच स्थानों पर पाकिस्तानी झंडे फहराए और पाकिस्तान जिंदाबाद के नारे लगाए। आश्चर्य की बात यह रही कि असम के एक पूर्व कांग्रेसी मंत्री महिबुल हक तथा असम सरकार ने न केवल हमलावर बांग्लादेशियों को संरक्षण दिया, बल्कि यह बयान भी दिया कि उदालगुड़ी में पाकिस्तानी झंडा फहराने की बात अल्पसंख्यक समाज को बदनाम करने की साजिश है। न तो मुख्यमंत्री तरुण गोगोई तथा न महिबुल हक इस बात का जवाब दे सके कि उदालगुड़ी में पाकिस्तानी झंडा फहराने की खबर इस्लामाबाद के डेली पाकिस्तान में कैसे छपी? डेली पाकिस्तान ने समाचार का शीर्षक दिया-असमियों द्वारा हरे और चांद सितारे वाले झंडे को सलाम। बाद में विस्तार से बताया गया है कि भारत सरकार की दमनकारी नीतियों से परेशान होकर असम के मुसलमान अब पाकिस्तानी झंडे को अपनी आजादी का प्रतीक मानने लगे हैं। इस समाचार में यह भी लिखा है कि असम के स्थानीय पत्रकारों ने पाड़ा और मोहनपुर गांवों में पाकिस्तानी झंडे देखे तथा उनके चित्र खींचे। इस घटना से भारत के अधिकारी स्तब्ध रह गए हैं।
असम के देशभक्त नागरिकों को सबसे ज्यादा दुख इस बात का है कि भारत सरकार विदेशी हमलावरों से देशभक्त नागरिकों की रक्षा करने के बजाय हमलावरों के बचाव में उतर आई है। पहले से ही पूर्वांचल के विभिन्न प्रांतों में अलगाववादी विद्रोही आंदोलन चल रहे हैं। राजग सरकार के राज में भी त्रिपुरा के आतंकवादियों ने राष्ट्रीय स्वयंसेवक संघ के चार वरिष्ठ कार्यकर्ताओं का अपहरण कर एक साल बाद उनकी हत्या कर दी थी। नगालैंड में तो महात्मा गांधी की प्रतिमा भी स्थापित नहीं की जा सकती। मणिपुर में हिंदी की फिल्मों तथा राष्ट्रगीत गाए जाने पर प्रतिबंध हैं। असम में 42 से अधिक विधानसभा क्षेत्र बांग्लादेशी घुसपैठियों द्वारा नियंत्रित किए जाने लगे हैं। अब उनका दुस्साहस इतना अधिक बढ़ गया है कि जिस क्षेत्र पर वे कब्जा करना चाहते हैं वहां बेहिचक हमला कर तथा हिंदुओं के गांव जलाकर अपना कारोबार स्थापित कर लेते हैं। बांग्लादेशियों का इतना अधिक दबाव व प्रभाव है कि सरकार ने मुस्लिम हमलावरों को दोष देने के बजाय सारे मामले को भ्रमित करने के लिए कहा कि ये हमले उल्फा तथा नेशनल डेमोक्रेटिक फ्रंट आफ बोडोलैंड ने करवाए हैं। मुख्यमंत्री तरुण गोगोई ने नई दिल्ली में राष्ट्रीय एकता परिषद की बैठक के बाद पत्रकारों को बयान दिया कि असम में एक भी बांग्लादेशी नहीं है और जो यहां अवैध बांग्लादेशी घुसपैठियों के होने की बात करते हैं वे असम को बदनाम करने की साजिश कर रहे हैं। मुख्यमंत्री के इस बयान से बांग्लादेशी घुसपैठियों का दुस्साहस और बढ़ गया। इसके विरोध में उदालगुड़ी और दारंग के लोगों ने तीव्र क्षोभ प्रकट किया तथा अखिल बोडो छात्र संघ ने सारे घटनाक्रम का सिलसिलेवार तथ्यात्मक विवरण एक ज्ञापन में प्रधानमंत्री को भेजा है। जो प्रधानमंत्री यह स्वीकार करते हैं कि विदेश में आतंक के आरोप में एक भारतीय मुस्लिम की गिरफ्तारी के समाचार से उन्हें नींद नहीं आई उनके कार्यालय से इस ज्ञापन का प्राप्ति स्वीकार भी नहीं भेजा गया। बोडो लोगों ने अपनी आंखों से घुसपैठियों को अपने घर जलाते देखे हैं। उनके भीतर पनप रहे गुस्से का अंदाजा लगाना दिल्ली के सुल्तानों के लिए कठिन है। उनका सब कुछ राख के ढेर में बदल गया। उनकी जमीनों पर हमलावरों ने कब्जे कर लिए। लोगों को मार दिया गया, फिर भी किसी ने उनके प्रति सहानुभूति प्रकट नहीं की।
मालेगांव में हुई घटना पर सारे देश के सेकुलर मीडिया तंत्र के साथ-साथ महाराष्ट्र सरकार और रक्षा मंत्रालय में उबाल आ गया है। एक साध्वी को गिरफ्तार कर तथा अप्रमाणित कथानकों के आधार पर उसे हिंदू आतंकवादी घोषित कर सेकुलर जलसा मना रहे हैं, लेकिन असम में घुसपैठियों के हमलों के शिकार लोगों की व्यथा पर न तो कहीं कोई चर्चा होती है और न ही सरकार हमलावर आतंकवादियों के विरुद्ध कार्रवाई करती है। उल्टे इस माहौल में कांग्रेस के ही एक मुख्यमंत्री का बयान आता है कि वह सरकारी नौकरियों में मुसलमानों को प्राथमिकता देंगे। मजहबी विद्वेष और हिंसा को सेकुलर राजनीति कवच प्रदान कर रही है। क्या ओबामा की जीत और टिकट वितरण के झगड़ों में व्यस्त दिल्ली सुरक्षा पर घुसपैठियों के आघात का शोर सुनेगी? (लेखक वरिष्ठ स्तंभकार हैं)

Why are Hindus angry?

Published on :- Times Of
Date :- 18 November, 2008

In Srinagar, a Muslim women’s organization – the Dukhtaran-e-Millat – vows to impose the strict Islamic code on women through violence and declares
that it is in the interests of women. The leader of this outfit, Asiyah Andrabi, was jailed several times for working against the nation and for being a conduit for money to jihadi groups who used that help to kill Hindus and create disaffection among people against India. The US State Department Report of 1995 held a Dukhtaran-e-Millat activist responsible for a parcel bomb blast at the BBC office in Srinagar in which one person was killed and two injured.

The DeM has recently been linked to certain money laundering cases. Andrabi was booked under POTA (Prevention of Terrorism Act) for receiving ISI money through hawala channels. Whenever she speaks against India, there is no emotion or any sense of regret.

She was never subjected to a narco test nor did the media feel anything bad about her. Instead, women's groups interviewed her, called her the “new face of Muslim feminism”, and glossy magazines splashed her interviews with a tinge of revolutionary romanticism.

For Indian seculars, the Srinagar crowd working against India brings added fizz, a thrill and a heroism that has to be “understood” rather than condemned. Serious academic columns are published saying that if they are so passionately and aggressively pursuing separatism, why shouldn't we give the Kashmir valley to them?

It’s only when a lady monk is killed in Kandhamal or arrested in Nashik and appears to be wearing saffron rather than green that expressions become stern, the law becomes the guiding force, narco tests are immediately ordered and before anything can be even remotely established, the person is pronounced guilty. No women’s organization comes out openly to say she is a woman and hence the police must protect her honour and religious obligations at all cost.

Her father says she is innocent. No one gives any importance to that statement.

She cooperates during the narco test and nothing incriminatory is proved. The police say she practices yoga, hence the narco test didn't work.

The bike, the RDX, the targets – nothing is proved. Yet, she is tortured in police custody.

The women's commission that swung into action when an item girl used it to get cheap publicity and hot assignments maintains a studied silence.

The Human Rights Commission remains unfazed and the red sirens of the Marxist class look the other way. They had been demanding a pardon for Afzal although the Supreme Court convicted him. But the issues involved were of secular nature; hence they had to speak.

Nobody still knows what Pragya actually did or didn't do. She has to be severely dealt with just because the colour she wears is not registered as secular in the government's registry of protection where rapists, extortionists and scandalous criminals get a cabinet berth and a murder accused jailbird becomes a chief minister for being on the correct side politically.

First they said an army officer used 60 kg of RDX to blow up the Samjhauta Express. Then the denial comes; no RDX was used, it was ammonium nitrate, oh no perhaps IEDs. Then the Mecca Masjid blasts are linked with Malegaon, then the Hyderabad police issue an official statement that nothing has been found to link the two. The motorbike, the disfigured numbers on the chassis, the absconding person, the real mastermind, the saffron terror guru ... Remember when the Kanchi Shankaracharya was arrested, what kind of charges were levelled against him? Rape, murder, financial fraud and womanizing. And women came foreword to issue statements about how they were “lured”. What happened afterwards? Even “nothing” won’t convey the nothingness of the entire plot.

But the damage to the great seat of Hindu reverence had been done.

After Kanchi and the Kandhamal murders, a new tool in form of Hindu terrorism has been crafted to make the Batla House terror gang happy.

Not a single Hindu will ever condone terrorism. It's not in our genes. Our blood group in this matter is different. If someone does it he is guilty of doing an un-Hindu act. Anyone caught and proven guilty must be severely dealt with. But why humiliate a majority community that defines the character of the nation for election gains?

Words, cacophony, a celebrative secular media's new 24-hour preoccupation – lynch the saffron, light the party fire.

Just one incident and look how Batla House terrorism, Jamia's protective belligerence, Assam blasts, Pakistani flags carried in Bodo areas by Muslim infiltrators, the Ram Setu destruction and affidavits that humiliate Hindus, everything got under cover. Only the newly manufactured “Hindu terrorism” is reigning in the national debate as a new fashion statement.

The invention of “Hindu terrorism” helped the government get out of a defensive shell and be extraordinarily active to crack a whip against “bad elements”.

It had never displayed this action-oriented thrill when the Delhi blasts occurred or the Jaipur blasts claimed more than 60 lives. No Maulana was arrested or caricatured in the media as the bloody green terror guru or ghastly Islamic terrorism.

No, they said, terror has no religion hence these blasts, though done with a holy book surrounded by AK47s, and long quotes from it to justify the blasts and the killings of Hindus shouldn't be sourced to religion. These must not be explained away as Islamic terror, but just the work of some misguided people who are giving a bad name to a peaceful, brotherly way of worship.


But when they see saffron, everyone loves to tie them with the speeding bus of law enforcement and constitutional propriety and beat them black and blue to prove a secular manliness of dhimmitude variety.

Pragya says she was tortured in police custody but no one took any notice of that. Why?

Even the most dreaded women criminals have been accorded human rights protection. Pragya is no criminal, she doesn't advocate violence against the state, she is not a traitor, she doesn't impose any kind of obscurantist code on women nor does she use acid, like Andarabi, to make other women fear her dictates. She has not said she is out to kill others to bring about any kind of religious order. But she is tortured and no one says it a gross violation of human rights. Is she not to be given the protection that every woman is entitled to?

Those who write against the nation, insult our heritage and support secession, get applauds and awards. But those who die for the nation and protect the civilisational flow are tortured in police custody.

That's the brevity and power of a state that's in reality headed by a woman and is being actually run by another.

More than 60,000 Hindus have been killed by Islamic jihadis, in the name of their religion and not a single Hindu stood up to say: Enough is enough, I will now see the wicked are punished and innocents are protected.

There is a list of more than 200 Hindu temples razed or desecrated in the Kashmir valley. No Hindu Kashmiri vowed to establish a Hindu terror group
to take revenge because the state apparatus has failed to provide them safety.

Seema, a six-year-old girl, was found lying unconscious in a pool of blood in Doda when Islamic terrorists came to her house in the thick of night at 2.30 am, woke up her father, mother and her 11-year-old brother, killing them after brutal torture. They used big knives to cut them into pieces.

Still no Hindu terror group was formed to teach them a lesson.

A two-and-a-half-year old boy who was crying for milk as his mother was shot dead by Islamic terrorists in Wandhama attracted the attention of the jihadis and the bullets silenced him too.

Even then, Hindus didn't become terrorists.

The great socialist leader Ram Manohar Lohia use to say – India has three dreams – Ram, Krishna and Shiva. The abodes, the principal temples of the global Hindus dedicated to these three dreams of India were destroyed and desecrated by Islamic invaders. Go to Google and see how the Shiva temple in Kashi has been turned into a mosque in such a style that the pillars of the old Hindu temple remain clearly visible to show Hindus that here was once the temple they used to worship, which has been converted into a mosque.

Yet for the last four centuries no Hindu has turned a terrorist to take revenge in Kashi.

Now when elections are underway, the government is in shambles showing utter unworthiness to govern and protect patriotic people. Suddenly every single person arrested for terrorism is a saffron, a Hindu and nothing is appearing on the channels or in Sunday magazine features except the “grave danger of Hindu terrorism” and the army getting the saffron “tilak” of terror.

Even the Ghaznis, Ghauris and Abdalis haven't done so much of character assassination of a majority community as this government has done just to garner a few Muslim votes.

Is it fair?

Will it not create a reaction among those who have been chanting mantras of global peace and fraternity and praying for the welfare of all, irrespective of faith or colour? Pushed to a corner, restricted from crying and blackholed like the Jews during the Nazi regime, will it not be a bit too naive to expect that Hindus will remain silent and offer their necks for the secular sacrificial ritual of election gains? Their temples are bombed, their children are killed, their property is looted, their orchards are burnt, their motherland is disfigured and assaulted, yet the state declares a war on their sensitivities, the media muffles their voice and bans all for a for them to express their views. On the contrary, it shows the victims as aggressors, humiliating them in the eyes of the real attackers.

Nature abhors such Siberian gags. Peace is strengthened by justice alone.

The way Pragya has suddenly become a hero must make sane people sit up and take note of the wave passing through the Hindu heartland. Tsunamis don't send advance emails before they strike.

Obama, the leader of his nation

Published on :- Times Of
Date :- 08 November, 2008

Barack Obama's victory is more of a victory of American values and dreams and democracy. Whatever we say about the various presidential regimes and
their actions, the US has to be judged by the societal actions and the way it behaves. Obama's rise to the White House, enabled by the people of America, is the most important societal change since Martin Luther challenged the fossilized fallacies of the catholic Pope.

It has to be saluted and applauded. It’s unbelievable; it washes off all the sins of the US against their own people on the basis of the colour of the skin and race. It raises hopes of emancipation and a new sunrise among millions of subjugated and exploited people of the universe.

It gives hope.

In abundance. To everyone.

Bravo Americana.

Every word that Obama spoke, including his acceptance speech was like a fresh breeze. I could feel the thrill of it sitting in my home. I can quote it; it’s irresistibly quotable in full, his lines after lines. “If there is anyone out there who still doubts that America is a place where all things are possible; who still wonders if the dream of our founders is alive in our time; who still questions the power of our democracy, tonight is your answer.

“It's the answer told by lines that stretched around schools and churches in numbers this nation has never seen; by people who waited three hours and four hours, many for the very first time in their lives, because they believed that this time must be different; that their voice could be that difference.”

And to rewind a bit, what he said on 28th August, at Democratic National Convention after his nomination as the presidential candidate: “Four years ago, I stood before you and told you my story – of the brief union between a young man from Kenya and a young woman from Kansas who weren't well-off or well-known, but shared a belief that in America, their son could achieve whatever he put his mind to. It is that promise that has always set this country apart – that through hard work and sacrifice, each of us can pursue our individual dreams but still come together as one American family, to ensure that the next generation can pursue their dreams as well.” And he said: “America now is not the time for small plans.”

Simply invigorating.

He spoke so warmly about his rivals – Hillary, Bill, and finally McCain.

Only in America do we find such grace in victory. And such grace while bowing out – as we saw in McCain's last speech. It was great.

Yes Obama, I must confess, I got jealous of you and your nation who saw to it that a new American dream rises on your shoulders. Obama is certainly not just a president of the US; he is the leader of his nation.

Watching him speak, I saw my newspaper headlines – Assam, Kashmir. A dreadful ghetto called Delhi made up of those small-time players whose times and visions have passed out long ago. In reality they are the money collectors, awfully clever spenders and abusers of power. Who would never have any dream for India, any promises to be called – Indian promises. They divide us between Hindus and Muslims and then bring in their dads from abroad to threaten us with punitive actions and we meekly surrender gunning our own kith and kin, badmouthing our own heritage in hope of a green card.

Obama did exactly the opposite. He turned his alien-ness into a vivacious indigenised pride in the adopted soil's fragrance, legacy and promised to maintain continuity. He became one with the colours America wears.

I can see Obama becoming one of the most popular, strong and successful presidents the US has ever had. He has to be seen in the context of what he will be doing for America and the American people. Serving the American interest is his job, not serving anybody else's. It's the Indian leaders' job to serve India and face and defeat and maul Obama's actions and policies with full ferocity if he offends our interest and plays a dirty game on Kashmir. If our leaders are ready to sell off Indian interests to an alien, that would be our fault and not of the buyer's.

So be confident while praising a person who has led a revolution of sorts bringing unprecedented cheers to the people, in an election that is being termed as the first in the history of a great democracy. The most important aspect of his campaign and words that I felt was too good for us was his stress on the family values. Of late I had been thinking to find a chance to praise an ad campaign of our very own bank – the Union Bank of India (UBI). “Your dreams are not yours alone.” It brings tears to my eyes – values for parents, for mother, for wife and a sweet little chirpy sister.

Obama gave me this chance.

Whoever wrote the copy for this UBI ad series, and the one who approved it, must get a public felicitation. Your dreams are not yours alone. Yes, so very true. But we have become too rude and self-centred. Parents do not have time for the kids they gave birth to, and kids do not find enough warmth to care for their parents. But they donate money for old age homes. Rakhi doesn't mean a sister's love but its touted as a 'threat' on the Valentine’s Day and festivals get a scornful deconstruct for an 'obscurantism' and 'blind ritualism' that's a taboo in the modern, secular web India's alienated Macaulayist elite has woven for itself.

Gradually we are becoming rude and insensitive to relationships. India, if she stood on her own, would have become a beacon light to the rest of the world in preserving family values and protecting the eco system. But now we are forced to have to learn from those who have learnt it through their own turbulent times and mistakes.

Obama, by virtue of the position he held and his country possesses, highlighted these values through his own conduct and sincere words. His honesty, his caring attitude towards his mother and a sweet emotional remembrance of his grandma, his historical adulation to the 106-year-old voter who had faced discrimination just for the colour of her skin in an age when there were no airplanes, his assurances for a just and fair future, his selection of associates, everything looks exciting and makes us sigh – only if we too could have done that.

We are stuck here with a spineless, de-nationalised elite that takes a sadistic pleasure in attacking values that construct India, and a polity that shines most when it is subservient to others. Look at the “galaxy” of honest, impartial, dedicated leaders with an impeccable integrity – and I have to leave this space blank for you to fill because I can’t even try.

Those who analyse what Obama's rise would mean to us are wrong and yielding to the notion of supremacy of the US. The question that needs to be asked is – how our leaders will deal with Obama, the president and the policy maker for a nation that's looking like a dada to the rest of the world-thanks to his predecessor. Will our leaders again fall over each other to have a simple handshake with him? Like our honourable parliamentarians, especially the lady members, did when Clinton came to the central hall. And remember that was post-Monica Lewinsky.

Issues like terrorism, Kashmir, conversion through fraudulent means and insurgency in the northeast have to be tackled by an Indian leadership that stands for the nation and doesn't care whether the moves to crush and annihilate the wicked anti-nationals will translate into votes or not. So stand before Obama like an Obama and you will earn respect.

Obama, in spite of his different middle name, which raises eyebrows in times like these, and his first name that the spell check in your computer would try to "correct" to Osama, assured America about his sincerity and commitment to American values and to defending the nation's legacy and happiness.

While wishing well to the statesman Obama, we can only pray to have a person amidst us who can be a leader of our people, and not just a representative elected through various manipulations.

Fire of discontent from Indus to Brahmaputra

Published on :- Times Of
Date :- 03 November, 2008

India is facing an extraordinary unrest and angst from the region of Indus to the land of Brahmaputra. I am filing this column a bit late from
Tsangtse, on way to Chushul, where the famous battle of Rezangla took place in November 1962 under the leadership of Major Shaitan Singh. Having just crossed the mesmerizing flow of river Indus and seeing the Chinese post across Pengong, I was reminded of Assam's agony by a phone call from Deepak Barthakur, a highly reputed social worker and cultural leader of Assam.

Assam is burning, no government, no leader to console the bereaved, no hope for the future. The Assamese, loyal to the motherland and always willing to live and die for her, feel Delhi's sultans do not consider them a part of the mainstream. They like to enjoy the resources of the Northeast but preserving and protecting the culture and people of the region do not appear to be on their radar of concerns. The Congress government in Guwahati has become a Bangladeshi-controlled apparatus facilitating an unprecedented rise of violent Muslim groups. They are supported by Delhi-based young jihadis who have a better line of command, instruments and a commitment that doesn't fear death. Further, they are shielded by the seculars who attack every step that police and other security agencies take against terror modules. The statements of the terrorist arrested from Jamia bear testimony to this network and a faith regime that allows killings for a happier time in the heavens.

Facing such elements are the forces representing Indian colours, the security personnel, who are less equipped, do not find respected mention in the media; the secular elite control the channels and the administration humiliates them to score their human rights points. The Jamia syndrome works wonderfully to shield terror groups and demoralise security forces. The worst of equipment, administrative corruption, political lechery and compromises make their work all the more difficult. Till today they are not provided good quality bullet-proof jackets; the one they have are the obsolete ones – too heavy at 10 kg-plus and cumbersome.

I was wondering how India is seething with unrest and still we say we have some sort of governance? Who are the kings? Those who have turned India into a place of making profit and ensuring a comfortable life for themselves? In the run-up to the elections who is bothered about the precious lives Indians lose every day because the ruling parties are not interested in eliminating the attackers? Why did the heroes of Chushul (I shall write about the battle and this place in my next column) give their lives? To see that they have leaders who won’t care for the supreme sacrifices of the soldiers and rather be happily dining with the enemies because that empowers their party position?

The ULFA and HuJI in Assam are the direct consequence of the central and state governments' policies that deprived Assam of its due share in retaining revenues generated within the state and failing to ensure that the illegal Bangladeshis were ousted lock, stock and barrel. The Assamese had to wage a war-like agitation to get a small share of the oil explored in the state in form of refineries. Their land has been taken over by the foreigners, they are killed and maimed; yet the government shields every Bangladeshi because they are the votebank it needs to retain power.

When Guwahati was hit by blasts last week, chief minister Tarun Gogoi was busy seeing off Haj pilgrims at the airport. He didn't cut short his
visit even after being informed of the blasts as he feared Haj pilgrims would be angry. HuJI and ULFA both opeate from Bangladesh, yet the Indian government hesitates to attack their hideouts and annihilate them to safeguard Indian territory and people.

HuJI-B aims to establish Islamic Hukumat (rule) in Bangladesh by waging war and killing progressive intellectuals. It draws inspiration from Osama bin Laden and the erstwhile Taliban regime of Afghanistan. At one point, the groups had issued a slogan, Amra Sobai Hobo Taliban, Bangla Hobe Afghanistan (We will all become Taliban and we will turn Bangladesh into Afghanistan). HuJI-B recruits are indoctrinated in the mould of radical Islam. ULFA has joined them and in a recent report admitted that most of its new recruits are from among Muslims.

While the Assamese are fighting a lone battle to save their existence as Indians, so is the case with Ladakhis who have been always in the front ranks to save the territory and honour of their motherland India. The Congress is playing havoc with local aspirations and is making the Buddhist population face the heat of Srinagar's discriminatory policies that may in times to come help strengthen fissiparous tendencies. Hence they are demanding a complete severing of relations with Srinagar and a Union Territory status. They say Srinagar treats them as second grade citizens, discriminates on communal lines, facilitates a demographic change so that the Buddhist population is reduced to a minority. Buddhist youngsters do not find a place in Kashmir's engineering and medical colleges. Even if they qualify in the Kashmir Administration Services, they are rejected in interviews. The Union Territory Front (UTF) that is ruling Leh today under the leadership of Thupstan Chhewang is fighting a battle of the ballot to defeat the Congress in the state assembly elections. Having huge chunks of land with a population density of five persons per sq km, Ladakh is the land which valiantly fought the Chinese in 1962 and produced military leaders like Col. Rinchin. The same people are being made to feel alienated and disillusioned because of votebank politics.
Most of India's border states are increasingly falling under the influence of insurgent movements and terror outfits. In this scenario the most disappointing role is played by the so-called elite who write and influence peoples' opinions as well as that of the rulers’. They have utterly failed the nation in awakening the people and ensuring an intellectual rising against the anti-national elements and their shields in governance. So what's the alternative before the suffering masses? Should they wait for the appropriate leadership to descend from Mars or should the young and dreamy generation fuel a new uprising against the de-Indianised elite and political class? The ensuing elections in various states and the next Lok Sabha polls provide people the chance to effect a change but still I feel India needs more of a non-political leadership that will focus on changing the system and rejecting the “seasoned” class of political operators. The children of Indus and Brahmaputra can't fail their nation and the angst and anguish that we see today generated by nincompoop politicians will fire the zeal of the nationalist forces to be the vehicle for ushering an era India has been awaiting for long.

Why join the police?

Published on :- Times Of
Date :- 23 Oct 2008
Never before has a state been seen to be so hateful and dismissive of its security forces as the present regime. It has evoked fitting responses
too. First, an army chief refused publicly to obey instructions to count Muslim heads in his forces. Then the chief of the coast guards expressed serious concerns about going ahead with the 'break Ram Setu' mission of the secularists. The families of the brave and decorated security personnel returned their medals in protest against the government's “pro-terrorist” policy. The naval chief had to publicly rebuke the government by asserting that the forces fight for status and honour rather than for pay packets. It's the attitude of the South Block they oppose as it puts the soldier lower than babus .

Now, a police already hit by terrorists and their friends in Jamia and Batla House, is getting whipped by politicians of the secularist hue.

21st October was National Police Memorial Day.
Did you hear about it anywhere or read any news article or discussion on it?
It’s celebrated in memory of those police personnel who laid down their lives on this day in 1959 when Chinese soldiers suddenly attacked Ladakh. I had thought this year, in view of the Batla House gang attacking the police in Delhi, the home ministry would be a little more active and a wreath would be laid by the Big Boss in the North Block showing solidarity with his men in khaki who have been asked to fight terror outfits. But I saw none.

Not even the Minister of State for Home thought it appropriate to join the police officers and jawans on this solemn day. Barring a few Hindi newspapers, not a single mainline English newspaper gave a line to this day's celebration. Delhi's police officers, meekly and perhaps with humiliation in their hearts, observed the day as an apology to their martyred colleagues. I looked to see if it had found a mention on the Delhi police website but there too nothing had appeared, except a picture of Inspector MC Sharma in the martyrs' column. Not even a picture of the police commissioner laying a wreath at the small police memorial in the police lines was put on the website even 24 hours after the event. I tried the Ministry of Home Affairs site to know why police day is celebrated on 21st October – there was nothing about it. More than anyone else, police personnel understand the mood of the master; hence they felt it was safer to play defensive this year. The only celebration of the day I could get to know about was in Uttarakhand where chief minister Maj. Gen. BC Khanduri took the salute of the police parade and bestowed honours in a grand function to mark the day.

This was the year when the Centre was expected to lionize their brave actions and salute the forces' heroes. Instead, North Block wore an apologetic look and kept silent when everyone else in the secular Batla gang portrayed the police as criminals and terrorists in khaki. A new Jiyarat, was created as Batla-Jamia hub where offering chador in memory of the terrorist and abusing the police dead became a new sacred ritual. And the protectors of the soldiers, the Home Ministry, turned its back on its own men. Secular brevity indeed.

Two questions arise. Why should a young Indian join the police? Money apart, it's the honour, the izzat that sustains an organization. Even the criminal, terrorist gangs have a share of it in their own way. If a police man is expected to die like an animal and without any defence, face ignominy and insult even after death, what's the fun in wearing khaki? Bad guys in police forces would be as much if not fewer than the politicians in Parliament and in the Cabinet. Rapists, murderers and extortionists have found all sorts of state honours and berths in the corridors of power just on the basis of the heads they showed in their flock.

Why defeat and put to shame a force that's required daily to fight crime and maintain law and order? If the government doesn't trust its own force
or feels ashamed about it, better to disrobe them and form a new organization. Politicians need khaki to cover up their own misdeeds but refuse to introduce reforms to make it look better and independent, use it as a political pawn, yet distance themselves from it when it needs the protection most.

Who were those 12 who fell to the bullets of the communist terrorists called Maoists in Chhattisgarh on the eve of the police memorial day? A useless bundle of bad guys? Did you see any demand from any quarter to crush, ban and eliminate the communist attackers? Any protest in Delhi or Kolkata's human rightists' fashion shows? Suppose the attackers were saffron outfits and the victims were any non-Hindu segment, what would had been the reaction in political offices and the secular media? Because none in the Vatican cries for the personnel who die in the line of duty, none raise the issue in the Commonwealth or publish interviews of their widows and at least offer a line in praise for their sacrifice? Do you have to have a “proper” religious tag to be honoured for your patriotism? That too in this secular dispensation?

This year, 685 policemen have died while performing duties. All in vain? Faltoo ke log ?

The disdain and contempt with which seculars look at the police is exemplified by the fact that the national capital doesn't have even a single memorial to police martyrs that can be termed as worth mentioning. One memorial was sanctioned by LK Advani when he was home minister; that was dismantled under the pressure of the seculars. The memorial was almost complete - 95% of it had been raised in the heart of Delhi near Chanakyapuri at a cost of Rs 13 crore. Everything about it was sanctioned by various government agencies. The CPWD designed the structure, which was cleared by the Delhi Urban Arts Commission, New Delhi Municipal Corporation and the Civil Aviation Ministry. Yet the secular group that represented an obscure crowd of petitioners saw it not only stalled but the entire scheme was scrapped. The structure was dismantled and crores spent went down the drain, giving a big jolt to police morale.

Highrise hotels for the rich and the ugly can be accommodated in Chanakyapuri, but a memorial to the martyrs was uprooted to please the “aesthetic senses” of the seculars.

Again the question arises, why should a young, bright Indian join the police?

Suppose there is definitive information about some terrorists hiding in Jamia or its vicinity, would any police officer risk his life and honour to get cracking? When terrorist are being defended through public demonstrations, turning them into new romanticized icons of victimized innocents because they wear a different religious colour, the first thing that gets compromised is the value of patriotism. Salary can make one write an FIR, but risking lives to eliminate the bad requires patriotism and a value system that motivates. Destroy these fibres and the result is a demoralized and a frightened sub-standard force.

In developed nations, the National Police Memorial Day is an occasion led by the top powers in governance representing the full strength of the state. In the UK, the Prince of Wales heads the Police Memorial Day celebrations and its website gives full details about martyrs and decorated police officers.

To date, we do not have a single government website giving details about its martyrs from the armed forces as well as the police. No memorial to Indian martyrs has even been planned in the capital except the one under the shadow of a gate that commemorates soldiers who protected the British empire and not the Independence movement. Not surprisingly, this colonial attitude to praise the firangs has made Delhi police website mention with pride that “the institution of Kotwal came to an end with the crushing of the revolt of 1857, the first war of freedom, by the British and, interestingly, the last Kotwal of Delhi, appointed just before the eruption of the first war of freedom, was Gangadhar Nehru, father of Pandit Motilal Nehru and grandfather of Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, India's first Prime Minister (sic).”

Any surprise that we have all the statues and roads in memory of Aurangzeb and Krishna Menon, the villain of the 1962 war, but none named after the heroes from the forces.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Pushing Hindus into a corner

Published on :-Rediff .com
Date: October 27, 2008

One Diwali the highly revered monk of Hindus, Swami Jayendra Saraswati, was arrested while performing puja. The secular world celebrated it as a victory of law and constitutional propriety. When nothing was proved, all the chargesheets turned bunkum, the Supreme Court gave a verdict favouring the swami's release on bail, but no one retracted the strong, often abusive words used for the Hindu monk. It was met with silence as if nothing important had happened.

One Krishna Janmashtami night, another ochre-robed reformist monk, Swami Lakshmanananda, was murdered along with an aged Hindu nun, Ma Bhaktimoyee, in his ashram. Secularists tried to direct and guide the entire investigation till the arrested murderers confessed that swami's work among tribals made prosylitisation difficult and hence they took the violent way.

The media linked the violence post-Lakshmanananda's murder to various Hindu organisations and completely ignored the brutal killing of the sanyasi and the lady monk.

This Diwali, Hindus were labelled as 'terrorists'.

There is a university in Delhi which gets a large amount of Saudi grants, and which thought it appropriate to honour a Muslim painter whose nudes of Hindu gods and goddesses and Mother India were opposed by Hindus, with a Doctor of Philosophy degree, honoris causa. The same university's vice chancellor, in a display of public affection for those students arrested for treason by a Congress government, declared that he will fund their 'struggle' as they are his 'children' and they would be considered innocent till proved guilty.

The secular world applauded his decision as bold and highly moral.
A Hindu sadhvi has been arrested for her alleged involvement in the Malegaon blasts. But not a single Hindu organisation came out in her support saying she remains a member of the global Hindu fraternity and would be considered innocent till proved guilty and hence shall provide all the financial assistance to her.

I was thinking, suppose I start a 'support Pragya fund' how any Hindu saints and ashrams and mutts and leaders would come out in support? Doesn't she deserve help and support till proved innocent?

Unlike the sweet little students of the university's vice chancellor, who were arrested from the area of the Batla House encounter, Pragya was in Surat , giving a religious discourse when the Malegaon blasts occurred in September. Her bike had been sold years before. No one said the blasts were organised to make Hindu law applicable or turn the nation into a Hindu state. No one had quoted Hindu scriptures to justify what would be termed as a ghastly act, inhuman and un-Hindu.

Yet, there was a virtual celebration in the so-called secular camp, they were over-joyous as if they have reached the moon. Got it, they said, what we were saying for years! The usual suspects were on our TV screens, delightedly giving interviews and the media lapped up crispy descriptions like Hindu terror, Hindu bomb, Saffron terrorism. When they quote the Quran, seculars cry don't label them Islamic terrorists, but Hindus being Hindus must be termed as Hindu terrorists to keep a 'balance'. So those who insult the memory of a martyred police officer show their glee over having succeeded in bringing the term 'Hindu terrorism' in vogue. What greater shield could an Islamic terrorist have wished for!
They were itching for this day and they have got it.

Last year too the 2006 Malegaon blasts were blamed on Hindus. Later the agencies proved they were done by . This year, Union ministers were demanding the ban on SIMI be lifted in spite of truckloads of evidence of the organisation's involvement in deadly blasts and waging war against the State, the most heinous crime in any part of the world. And the investigations, gathering of proof and the hard, difficult investigation, were done by government agencies.

The same honourable members of the Union cabinet demanded banning Hindu organisations, in spite of having no evidence of their involvement in violent activities or working against the Indian State. Those who ignore the Supreme Court's verdict on a terrorist who was accused waging war against the State, demand that Hindu organisations be banned for their patriotism. Once they drove out the tricolour folks from the Kashmir Valley, now they assassinate their morale in the rest of the country.

For the sake of Muslim vote-bank, SIMI had to be helped and Hindu organisations needed to be shown as being involved in anti-national activities. The balancing had to be achieved, like the U C Banerjee Commission. Much before the honourable commission could start work on Godhra, leaders were declaring during the Bihar election campaign -- many of whom loved to be seen with an Osama look-alike -- that the Godhra train inferno was a creation of Hindus so that they could get a chance to pounce on Muslims.
So much for their secular credentials!

This time, too, they had tremendous amount of pressure to nurse their vote-banks. Elections are right here, campaigning has begun, chances look very bleak seeing the public mood, and voters seem already restless with high prices, growing inflation and an insecure atmosphere. Hence a communal divide would help. If such considerations can be credited as having instigated the 'creation' of a Hindu or 'Saffron' terrorism, would it be a far-fetched conclusion?

The intelligent people who could create a Bhindranwale, or a Raj , to 'defeat' one or the other political opponent, could also be trusted to repeat the feat elsewhere.
So, this time, the police version is not to be distrusted or questioned. The first suspicion about police action is reserved for the Batla House fraternity. Hindu monks do not deserve it.
The term 'Hindu terrorism' looks so attractive to secularists. Proof, evidence, and final acquittal may take year. But the articles, front page edits, condemnations, further isolation, and cornering of the saffron side, would help someone. That's enough for today.

That this way may turn more dangerous tomorrow is not understood by the perpetrators of the secular pogrom of words against the Hindu Right. Every nation has a soul and a colour. India's soul is Hindu civilisation and the colour is saffron. Samuel Huntington described America as a Latin Christian nation, and it doesn't make her any less to give other communities second-class citizenship.

It may be the first time in its four hundred years of democratic history that a Black might be sworn in as President, who would take oath on the Bible. Who would demand that it's an unhealthy tradition, as non-Christians also built America? Traditions, colours and the inner core are always sacred and nations preserve them at all costs. If the same elements are humiliated and turned into icons of shame, nothing remains except a dead, meaningless smoke of rootless words.

India's Hinduness is that essential element to define this nation. We can't be explained through Saudis, Marx or Bethlehem. Or through Arabic or Latin or Persian. India is explained by the Ganga, Krishna, Ram and Gandhi. By Kumbh Mela, Sanskrit chanting, lighting of the lamp, Namaste, the Vedas, Guru Nanak's teachings, Guru Gobind Singh's valour, Buddha's global message of peace and compassion and Mahavir's ahimsa. India is deciphered by Dhammapad, the Gita, the Guru Granth Sahib and a divine love that saw the emergence of Radha and Meera. That fired the imaginations of doyens like Tagore and Vivekananda. Together they make a mutually supportive group of Indian streams of faith that welcomed and accommodated without murmur all other ways of worship brought here through various means.

Every single persecuted community in the world found a respectable space here, while they were brutalised, uprooted, converted and 'museum-ised' in other countries. The legacy of tolerance and plurality is the legacy of the Hindus and all those faiths born and flowered here. It made Taj Mahal possible and Jesus adored by a non-Christian majority. You deny them this place of honour, make them shrink in a defensive shell, and you lose India.
For just a comeback to power? And how!

Ram Sethu becomes a target of destruction, Ram is denied, Ram's history linked with the bridge is mocked at, Sita's persona is caricaturized in public, the shrinking Hindu population and their conversion become victory signposts of the secularists, Hindus driven out of Kashmir are deleted from all lists of secular concern, Hindu temples are taken over by the atheist State and their revenue used on non-Hindu areas, while not a single non-Hindu place of worship is taken over or 'managed' on similar grounds by the governors! More than sixty thousand Hindus have been killed by terrorists in various actions during the last three decades, five lakh have been uprooted and turned refugees, but no one shares their grief or respects their courage, but terms them terrorist in a matter of 24 hours, that too relying on media hype and an election platform?
After centuries Hindus got freedom that should have meant a free space for them to flower their culture, language and traditions. After all, the invaders came to attack and loot them and raze their temples. Wasn't it a matter of logical right that they should have been honoured for exemplary resistance and resilience and showing an extraordinary tolerance towards all those communities whose leaders had been in the forefront to deprive them of basic human rights? But instead, the victims were portrayed as aggressors and humiliated for their colour and faith. What has changed since Ghauris and Ghaznavis and the inquisitionist Portuguese left?
They killed us but never portrayed Hindus as terrorists. This secular dispensation is celebrating Diwali with that label gifted to Hindus. It will not remain unanswered. Hindus as a mainline faith never never never believed in any kind of cowardice that's the hallmark of terrorism we see today. Killing innocents, shooting at fellow citizens and the dreaded midnight knocks just for the reason they wear a different faith.

If that was the case, the way Islamists quote from religious scriptures and declare their religious intentions while committing ghastly acts of violence, how much ever disapproved of by their co- religionists living and enjoying democratic freedoms, Hindus too would have shown the same streaks immediately after their women were gang-raped and kids murdered in Kashmir. There was no revenge in the rest of the country. Not a single Hindu soul would ever justify any act of terrorism ever (and please don't refer to exceptions to corner Hindus, see the principal stream). Born reformists, they would revolt if anyone did that.

But I am afraid the secular hate-mongers are pushing Hindus into a difficult corner without a space to be heard. Not a single 'mainline' newspaper publishes their views, though any number of assaults on them are a matter of routine. This is creating a grave situation and it's a warning signal that can be ignored only at the peril of the nation's great legacy of plurality.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Friends of the Terrorists Club(FTC)

Suddenly yardsticks for our judgment have changed. Opinions, morphed as judgments, are passed not on merit or weighing its consequences for the society, but by the yardstick of the colour events wear. The Nanavati Commission's report is to be discarded even before its pages are browsed because the Narendra Modi government instituted it and it shows Hindus as victims. The Bannerjee report is to be trusted because the secular Lalu Yadav instituted it and shows Hindus as aggressors. Strange logic.
Who speaks for the Indian?
Inspector M.C.Sharma's funeral is not to be attended because he shot at Muslims. When the men in khaki arrested the Kanchi Shankaracharya, not a single secular channel or newspaper cast any doubt on the police reports and statements. But when the men in khaki arrested a few from Jamia Milia, doubts were raised immediately and investigative journalism flowered.
Please read the following significant revelations:
The BJP government decided to undertake a census to find out how many Muslims there were in the armed forces, at each level, and in each unit.
The BJP government decided to survey the entire civil service to find out how many Muslims were employed and at what level.
The BJP government decided to set up National Advisory Council run by a prominent BJP/RSS leader. Its job is to consult with NGOs that are friendly to the BJP/RSS in order to seek advice on government policy. The Council, in turn, would propose legislation that the BJP government would implement. Of course, the NAC is not elected and has no constitutional power.
Riots took place between Buddhists and Muslims in Ladakh, at a time when the Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir is a long-time BJP politician from Jammu who has been appointed CM by the high command in Delhi.
A cabinet minister in the Rajasthan's BJP govt., who had also taken part in the Ayodhya kar seva announced in a public meeting at Kota that Rs. 51 crores will be awarded to any one who will slay M.F.Hussain and further he would be weighed in gold and that gold will also be handed over to him as a mark of Hindus' gratitude for punishing the bad guy.
Of course, it was a Congress government that did all these things and the last act by a S.P. minister. Suppose it had been a BJP government, can you imagine the outrage and hostility of the "secular" Indian media and intelligentsia? Somehow they keep quiet when someone else does it.
Sitting in my small balcony watching Sreedharan's miracle called Delhi Metro passing by, I tried to make some points that require some answers I fail to provide.
1 Kanchi Shankaracharya was arrested on wild allegations while performing puja on Diwali night in the name of law and announcing that the statute is above all. But the non bailable warrants against Imam Bukhari were refused to be executed by Congress govt. through an affidavit filed in the court.
2. Denmark cartoons of the prophet were denounced and the govt. expressed 'concern'. And all of us agreed. But when M.F.Hussain drew an obscene picture of Mother India and other Hindu goddesses, nothing happened. Doesn't Mother India belong to all of her children-Hindus, Muslims, Christians alike? Similarly no govt. statement of 'concern' came out on the ugly depiction of devi Durga by an Athens ad agency.
3. In the case of Aligarh Muslim University, when the Supreme Court said it can't be declared a minority institute, the Minister refuses to accept it and comforts his vote zone that a law would be made to annul court's decision.
4. In the case of the infamous I.M.D.T. act in Assam , which protects the Bangla Deshi infiltrators rather than to facilitate their ouster, Supreme Court ruling was again flayed and the chairperson of the ruling combine assures in Assam that the same would remain in vogue.
5. Hajj is helped through lavish grants while Hindu pilgrims to Kailas Manasarovar are not.
6.Negotiations on Kashmir have been reduced to a Muslim alone platform and all the permits, Aman Setu and talks revolve around Muslim outfits while Kashmiri Hindus remain as neglected as ever, who have been turned refugees in their own free and secular nation. No plans or announcements are made even to remotely suggest that they will go back home soon. Imagine what this govt. and the powerful secular press might have done if Muslims were made to flee from a Hindu majority state in India?
7. Iran vote by India has been turned into a Muslim issue by the most pronounced secular parties like CPM and Samajwadi, on the other hand when a neighbouring Hindu monarchy and its citizens are brutally assaulted by the Communist terrorist group, it becomes a question of democracy and the killers are projected and interviewed as heroes of a mass revolution. 7. The same govt. invites the Saudi King as chief guest at its republic day parade, knowing well that there is no individual freedom or human rights in the kingdom and Hindus are not allowed to practice their pujas even in the private precincts there.
8. Andhra govt. announces job reservations for Muslims alone in the face of adverse judgments by Andhra High Court and Supreme Court.
9. Valentines Day has become a new national festival , so the freedom to celebrate it means being modern and progressive and any different voice is debunked as retrograde and obscurantist specially targeting Hindutva organizations for saying what they believe in. Just one or two small protests out of 500 cities, are shown twenty-four hours to use it to denounce an entire community.
10. A congregation of the Hindu tribals to rise above social discriminations and ill practices of the caste and regionalism for safeguarding religious identity is condemned as an affront to other religions and pronounced as a 'war' on the secular right to convert Hindus. That the high priests of the Hindu society mingled with the so called low caste people and tried to erase the stigmas is not found even worth mentioning.
"PM faces EU ire over the 'massacre' of Christians', ran a front page headline. Thank god, Mehrauli's Santosh and Kandhmaal's Swami Lakshmanananda didn't have any lobby in France or US. What a relief. They were not concerned at the growing violence in India. Just the faithful of their colour make their world. Anything, any hurt, is a 'massacre', 'mayhem', and 'pogrom' if seculars so wish. It makes good headlines abroad and even better grants and awards for the academic crusaders.
Prime Minister couldn't say-well I think Christians in Bangalore and Orissa too are Indians, who are you to tell me what should I be doing in my home?
When noise and cacophony rules, victims look as aggressors. Hard law is bad, because it was "used" against a particular community. Police is bad because it's arresting and targeting a particular community.
Terror is secular, khaki is suspect
While the nation and her security forces that includes the police too, stand firm to combat terrorism, the state power and the seculars are providing focused support to terrorists and enhancing their morale through statements and casting doubt on the motives of the anti-terror action. India's secular cabinet ministers demanded lifting of a ban on a terrorist organization, proposed Indian citizenship to millions of illegal Bangladeshi infiltrators, refused to say a word of encouragement to the security forces fighting terrorists but publicly assured help to the accused whom police, a part of the government, arrested for blasting Delhi and killing citizens.
All these secular statements had just one consideration religion of the groups they want to support or oppose. The seculars have become the worst kind of communal hate spreaders, with their extreme one-sided postures and acidic language. In a way these rabble-rousing seculars have become a security threat affecting the societal fabric and the morale of the policemen and soldiers.
They ordered a communal head count in the army, ignored and downgraded celebrations of Bharat Vijay Diwas, 16th December, and Kargil Vijay Diwas, stopped observing the Pokharan test anniversary in Delhi and failed to show due respect to Field Marshall Manekshaw. All this can't just be exception; they show a trend, an attitude.
They know their side
In the secular dispensation, to be objective, liberal and broadminded and have sympathies on humanitarian grounds are reserved only for terror groups. Is it a secret that these seculars leave no stone unturned to create an atmosphere where procedural mechanism to punish the guilty is influenced and driven to believe that the arrested criminal is not the culprit, but the victim of an incompetent state apparatus.
Remember how a vigorous campaign to release a lecturer of the same Jamia Milia Islamia was launched in spite of Delhi police submitting a truckload of evidence about his involvement in the attack on Parliament? And the famous case of Abdul Mahdani, declared as the "main accused" in the Coimbatore bomb blast case, which left 58 dead? Karunanidhi went to see him in jail, provided all the facilities, including a regular masseur, and finally when on purely "technical" points he was released, Kerala's Left Front cabinet ministers came out and accorded him a public felicitation?The charges against Mahdani were as follows:
"Accused No. 14 Mahdani is one of the key conspirators in the Coimbatore bomb blasts case."
"Accused of collecting and transferring explosives to the town, ripped by a series of bomb blasts on February 14, 1998."
"Charged under Sections 302 IPC (Murder); 307 IPC (Attempt to Murder); 153-A IPC (Creating hatred among communities); Section 5 of the Explosives Act and Section 25 of the Arms Act.
"Public prosecutor Balasundarm, arguing against Mahdani, had expressed "surprise" over the judgment to release him and said he did a good job in assimilating the voluminous evidence of documents 1785 documents marked as evidence, 1300 witnesses and over 15,000 pages of investigation records. If indeed the case had been presented as thoroughly as claimed, why did it fail?
Maulanas are silent, teachers do not speak out and the common men suffer in silence. Is that the way we are going to deal with this war? If people don't forge solidarity and revolt and keep looking to politicians for all solutions, even god will think twice about helping them.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Call the bluff of America

Published on :-The Pioneer

Date: November 13, 2005

Instead of advising India on caste system, the US would do better to address its own social problems, says Tarun Vijay

In November, the US Congress will discuss a Bill on Indian Dalits that deals with their treatment. Congressman Christopher Smith, a New Jersey Republican who chairs the House International Relations Subcommittee on Global Human Rights and International Operations, held previous discussions on the topic in October this year.

Mr Smith convened the hearing titled 'India's Unfinished Agenda - Equality and Justice for Victims of Caste System', during which, he said, "The Dalits and tribal peoples are treated as virtual non-humans, and suffer pervasive discrimination and violation of their human rights."

In his discussion, Mr Smith alleged that Dalit girls are becoming temple prostitutes and tens of thousands of tribal women have been forced into situations of economic and sexual exploitation. He further said that despite constitutional safeguards, the rights of indigenous groups in the eastern parts of the country are often ignored and mob violence such as lynching, arson and police atrocities against tribal persons are all too common.

Mr Smith, bringing out the 'real' issue, said, "Over the years, many Dalits and tribal groups have converted from Hinduism to other faiths (read Christianity). However, such converts often lose benefits conferred by the Government's affirmative action programmes because these, according to the Constitution, are reserved only for those having Scheduled Caste status. Converts to Christianity and Christian missionaries are particularly targeted, as violence against Christians often goes unpunished."

Any person blind to Indian interests would find such blatant lies offensive. Why take refuge in lies and falsehood in a country where god speaks directly to its President? And why are such concerns always limited to Christians? Is the US the sole protector of Christian rights, globally? Are Indian Christians comfortable when another country interferes in their matters? Why are they silent? Do they feel only US can help them and not the Indian Constitution or people? Do they know that Indian Dalits are lured into Christianity by announcements preaching that only Hinduism has caste based discrimination; that once you become Christian, you become equal in the eyes of all?

Missionaries fail to mention, however, that even after conversion, Dalit Christians have to go to separate churches and have designated separate cemeteries, too. The same happens to the Dalits when they turn to Islam but are still told to demand reservation! An Dalit receives Government reservation by virtue of being a Hindu to rectify the injustices faced due to caste-based discrimination. The moment he leaves Hinduism and is baptised or Islamised, the raison d'etre for benefits automatically ceases to exist.

Hungry for battle, US President Bush has now unleashed a war on Hindus through sanctioning billions of dollars for proselytising campaigns. The US Congress's debates about Indian Dalits provide Christian missionaries with a 'cover' to convert weaker sections of Hindus in the same way that Pakistanis provide cover to the jihadi infiltrators along the LoC.

This process has two steps: First, creating an atmosphere of baseless allegations and stating Christians alone are victims, thus making Indians defensive. Second, asking for safeguards from these allegations from the proselytisers and unleashing a billion dollar campaign to take advantage of a disjointed Hindu society.

It is sad to see a complete absence of protest from the Government of India that claims to represent all sections of the Indian society and, above all, national honour. Still worse, Dalit movements have not been able to produce nationalist leaders like BR Ambedkar, who would stand up against blatant US interference in our internal matters. Most of the present lot thrives on the support of foreign NGOs and US groups which use them for their nefarious designs. They forget that the eradication of untouchability and caste-based discrimination has been the single most important issue for all Hindu social reformers and political leaders, across party lines. From Guru Gobind Singh to Sahuji Maharaj to Vivekanand, Mahatma Gandhi, Ambedkar, Hedgewar, and the present political groups, all are unanimous regarding this. But, due to vote-bank politics, caste still plays a major role in hampering progress needed to achieve an egalitarian and casteless society. Though it's a serious problem, Indians are addressing it with full support from the Constitution and their socio-religious and political groups.

Americans should set their own house in order before interfering in the affairs of other sovereign countries. According to Human Rights Watch, US figures reveal the continuing, extraordinary magnitude of minority incarceration and the stark disparity in their rates of incarceration compared to those of whites. Out of a total population of 1,976,019 incarcerated in adult facilities, 1,239,946 or 63 per cent are black or Latino, though these two groups constitute only 25 per cent of the national population. Instead of giving baseless commentary on the caste situation in India, the US Congress would do better to address social problems in America.

Secularists left speechless by Shabari Kumbh

Published on :- Daily Pioneer, February 17, 2006

Something unbelievable is happening in the forested tribal areas of south Gujarat, the Dangs. I see miles after miles of people coming down the hills and village roads making it almost impossible to drive up to the venue where Shabri Kumbh - commemorating the legend of Shabri - is being held.
Till Saturday afternoon, more than 3.5 lakh tribals from every nook and corner - from the far Northeastern States to Port Blair and Uttaranchal to Kerala - had arrived. At midnight, they were still reaching from places as far away as Itanagar in Arunachal. It's a unique event in the tribal history post-independence India, and its magnitude is difficult to measure for a reporter who is able to see only a part of the whole even after a hectic day-long tour around the five sq km stretch of the venue on the full moon day of the month of Magh.
Why should tribals feel threatened in a nation whose Constitution provides protection to their cultural and religious identity? It is so "because the constitutional provisions have not been used effectively so far", says Mr Jagdeo Ram Oraon, a tribal leader from Chhattisgarh and president of the largest NGO working among tribals, the Vanavasi Kalyan Ashram. Mr Oraon who is also chairing the Shabri Kumbh Committee. "We are not against any religion or institution, but are trying to put our own house in order. What's the fuss about?" he asks.
Later in the evening, I meet the lady pastor of the local CNI church. Her grandfather was the first pastor of the same church established in 1932. She says they have nothing to fear from such gatherings as the tribals are always non-violent though there are bad memories of a few incidents that occurred in 1998 in this region. This time the administration has given them full protection. "It's the media reports that make us anxious," she said. And she was right. In spite of everything remaining peaceful, a section of the media tried to create fear amongst the Christians.
It is noteworthy that the tribals have fought more than hundred recorded battles against the British led by heroes like Alluri Sitaram Raju, Birsa Munda, Sidho, Kanho Chand and Bhairon, Pazhsi Raja and Rani Gaidinliu. Without exception, all of them had to resist the onslaught of Christian missionaries, too, as the battle against the British also meant battling to safeguard their religion.
Take the example of Rani Gaidinliu of Nagaland. She had led a heroic guerrilla war against the British and when defeated by the mightier army, was rewarded life imprisonment by means of a "fair trial" -- all this when she was just 16. Nehru met her in Kohima jail and wrote poetically about her heroism calling her "fit to be a Rani", hence the title of Rani.
After independence, it took Nehru more than a year to see her out of jail. Indira Gandhi awarded her the Padma Bhushan and also a tamra patra in the silver jubilee year of independence. But Kohima church and the Christian leaders of the NSCN opposed vehemently when there was a proposal to have her statue installed in Kohima after her death because she had declared her Heraka and Zeliangrong movements Hindu and had refused to convert to Christianity.
In order to convert a tribal, his beliefs, customs and deities are condemned, pronounced "incapable of providing salvation"; his entire worldview is sought to be replaced with Romanised concepts and ways of worship. It was the fear of this aggression that made Congress leader and current Chief Minister of Arunachal Pradesh create a Dony Polo mission. He also began motivating tribal public educational institutions so that his people were saved from conversion.
Shabri, who waited a lifetime to welcome Ram, is believed to have treated the Lord with her part-eaten wild berries in the Dangs (derived from Dandakaranya) according to the beliefs of the local tribal population. Surely, she has emerged as the most powerful icon of tribal-nontribal harmony, the legend thus helping the evolution of a unique cultural chemistry.
The same place is today witnessing a powerful assertion of tribal rights to protect their identity and culture. They have given an unambiguous call to their converted brethren to return to their original fold. "We are not giving a call to the citizens of Vatican to convert to Hinduism, but calling our own people back," asserts Morari Bapu, world-renowned preacher. In the village of Shabri, it was an unprecedented sight: Revered Shankaracharyas, sannyasins and Brahmins were embracing the tribals and seeking forgiveness if they had been wronged in the past.
But the secular Taliban-like voices refuse to see anything good happening to Hindus. They tried their best to ban Shabri Kumbh, some media persons surveyed the venue in advance and the prophets of doom declared the programme a threat to environment.
Those who merrily lauded the fraud of Benny Hinn, went hammer and tongs against a great Hindu event. But all of them have been silenced by the grandeur and peaceful conclusion of the biggest expression of tribal assertion in our history. This is also the beginning of a new order, which declares: Come what may, obstructionist politics of hate cannot stop the march of the indigenous people.