Follow me on Twitter

Thursday, May 22, 2008

None of our business?

The most effectual means of preventing [the perversion of power into tyranny are] to illuminate, as far as practicable, the minds of the people at large, and more especially to give them knowledge of those facts which history exhibits. 
-- Thomas Jefferson. 

Gradually an unprecedented streak undoing the constitutional spiritthrough executive orders is gaining ground in the corridors of power for the sake of immediate populism and political gain. This is not only against the egalitarian norms of inclusiveness and accommodation but is leading dangerously to further and bitter fragmentation of polity. 

This is also supported (as a unintentional result) by peoples' inertia in asserting their rights and pushing for corrections in government policies. Except for the sponsored and hired crowds, there is hardly a visible spontaneous demonstration on issues affecting civil life. More than 17,000 farmers committed suicide in 2006 alone, but not a single district, leave aside a state showed its anger through any bandh or silent procession. Lethargy on the civil front is a sign of an imminent upheaval that erupts with a suddenness of a pouncing tiger. People feel hopeless and cheated; hence nothing shakes them or excites to rise and say a big no to the masters of the power games. 

They used to do it; India has seen unprecedented movements and agitations in the past that authored a new course of public action and constitutional behavior changing the colour of politics forever. 

We had mass leaders in political as well as non-political realms enjoying the peoples' unflinching trust. Now the “fast food” culture in the public domain has devoured the element of trust and mutual respect. The language spoken from public platforms has gone down and the credibility of mass organisations in the public eye was never this low. It's impossible for any organisation to appeal for a single important issue that touches their hearts and have a crowd of thousands gathering on its own. It was not so in the Sixties and even in the Seventies. Till the Eighties, bandhs and strikes were spontaneous signs of public dismay and disapproval. Remember the time of Punjab terrorism. Not any longer. 

It's because the governance has become insensitive to the public sensibilities and more of a tool to satisfy petty goals and achieve localised ambitions. The pan-Indian outlook is diminishing not only from the political corridors but also from the media houses. Both had been pillars of a wholesome idea called India. Now Bulandshahar, Kochi, Guwahati and Rajkot have become more significant to the news coverage needs and concerns of the movers and shakers because localized sentiments – fashionably interpreted as 'niche markets' bring more votes, money, increased circulation and give a ticket to govern. We have swapped India with ghettoes of our goals miniaturizing the republic's principal nature and cohesiveness. This wholesome idea is quintessentially constructed by an active participation by its constituents. That very element of participation has become invisible. 

Maybe it has gone into a shell of disgust and disillusionment suspecting every single public person's credibility. Hence people select their own programmes to see a more credible leader from among them, a more enjoyable and amenable character to admire and trust. It's like avoiding a direct conflict out of utter disregard before the final hour arrives when a credible leader would emerge to offer a window to accumulated angst of the masses. 

We celebrate Republic Day, but the contemporary scene of the republic says it all. All the power and money is centralized in the hands of a chosen few – not more than a hundred people controlling the fate of a thousand million commoners calledpraja ! 

Taslima Nasreen's agony, a shrinking Hindu population and a geographically shrunk India post-1947, the majority being snubbed for being assertive over its civilisational icons, patriots living as refugees and loans, jobs and educational opportunities being doled out on religious criteria – all this is un-republican . A Hindu-Muslim divide is the prerequisite for any secular polity thriving on fragmented minds. If I write anything that affects Hindu sensibilities, it must be construed as 'anti-Muslim' and against minorities without even reading the text! 

Indian masses are feeling and sharing the agony of Sarabjit Singh, but not the secular state power which takes pride in entertaining the “pardon Afzal Guru” crowd and losing sleep over Dr Haneef. 

The one big step this mighty government of India took from the colonial age precincts of South Block was to request the visiting French President not to honour Taslima on Indian soil. 

From the day she wrote Lajja , a wonderfully moving novel on assaults on Hindus in Bangladesh by Islamic fundamentalists, Taslima has become an eyesore to the “secular brigade” and intolerant Muslims. So, anything was used as a tool to harass her in a world largely dominated by men. 

The way a state government refused to ensure her security in Kolkata has raised fundamental questions about the state's credentials. This doesn't reflect a republic's ethos. Even Nehru didn't blink before China's serious protests and gave asylum to Dalai Lama and his followers. But these “seculars” of the Left variety who had been agitating on issues like allowing an Israeli satellite to be launched from Indian soil, just to please the Muslim votebank, even if it means compromising with our security with Israel being one of our most trustworthy allies, have shamed the spirit of the republic by standing against a woman writer and organising a brutal dance of death in Nandigram. The ouster of Taslima is a blot on a polity of a society that is otherwise symbolised by the icon of Shakti, the female annihilator of the wicked and restorer of righteousness. That in the land of Shakti, the wicked should be seen winning is a gift of Marx. 

Those who were determined to see a woman writer ousted from West Bengal and have her visa canceled for fear of hoodlums and murderers remain silent on the Uttar Pradesh blasts and jihadi assaults on Kashmiri Hindus. They gleefully participated in a ceremony held at Jamia Milia Islamia to honour M F Husain, a painter with a Doctor of Philosophy degree known for selectively painting nudes of Hindu goddesses. This is how politics of secular jihad flourishes. Taslima stands abandoned by all – candlelight demos in her support remain fashionably limited to having their protest registered for the sake of record. 

A woman so brave and courageous that she took on hypocritical pen pushers and Mullahs is running helter-skelter amid a thousand million citizens of a democratic republic that boasts of a 5,000-year-old civilisation. None of the secular bravehearts stood up to say ‘Come what may, whether the central government fails in its duty or the Communists in Bengal go in hiding on her safety issue, I shall protect her in India, the land of free thought and Vedic wisdom which gave shelter to all the persecuted in the world from Jews and Parsees to the Tibetans’. 

For her outspokenness, the nation's Islamic religious leaders issued a fatwa against Taslima, putting a price on her head. Taslima had to flee from Bangladesh and took refuge in Sweden continuing “to rail against the forces of oppression despite attempts to silence her”. Thus wrote Mathew Kelley in the script of a 27-minute film made on her life and struggles. Another 23-minute film produced by Journeyman Pictures depicts her as a woman writer who has called for more freedom for the women of Bangladesh and consequently had a fatwa issued for her arrest and/or death. Taslima received the Sakharov award from the European Parliament and even West Bengal's Left Front government presented her the Ananda award before Muslims objected to her writings. 

You have to be very special while dealing with issues concerning Muslims. It raises inconvenient questions too. Inconvenient to the “seculars”, human rightists, peacemakers and “uncompromising” voices of freedom and equal opportunities and those who “fight” dark forces of obscurantism and oppression, particularly injustices against women. 

Question no. one – Would Taslima have been hounded out from West Bengal if she had written against Hindu “communalism” and the atrocities they “perpetrate against minorities”, exactly in the same fashion which has become a signature tune for the Left and secular groups? If Taslima had joined their ranks and agitated against Hindu “lumpens” would she not have been awarded fellowships by Delhi and Kolkata? 

Question no. two – Would the Left intellectuals and leaders have kept their conscience at the mercy of jihadi “headhunters” if Taslima was a man? A masculine gender showing off “his” bravado at press conferences and giving a slap for a slap if jihadi “bravehearts”, all men of course, are assaulted in full glare of press cameras and reporters (like happened last year in Hyderabad)? Is being a woman and on top of that a writer, exposing Islamic fundamentalism and atrocities against Hindu women, such a criminal act that Taslima had to be hounded from Kolkata to Jaipur and Jaipur to Delhi and Delhi to nowhere? 

Question no three – Wouldn’t Taslima have been considered for a Padma award or a Nehru Memorial Lecture for “communal harmony and international understanding” if she had chosen to lambast the Hindu right and bow her head before the mullahs? Why is that the first requisite to get recognition and comfort in a secular regime? 

Faith must be en element to enhance love and tolerance. But if it becomes a principal instrument to hate and divide, there must be something fundamentally wrong with it. Try to revisit it with an inquiring mind. We can't say that issues involving our nation are none of our business. It’s OUR nation. We have got to take ownership and say no to everything that goes against our grain. Peoples' inaction is a dangerous signal. Maybe a storm is accumulating and waiting to erupt unannounced. 

Assaulting an Indian dream

More than a hundred thousand civilians have been murdered in cold blood since 1986 in ideological hate attacks in India. Most of them invariably were Hindus. Though Hindus are there in every party and state machinery, there has been hardly a voice of reason, angst and pain raised effectively against assaults on Hindus during all these years, as if Hindus still feel they are living under an oppressive un-Hindu regime and hence it's better to suffer in silence and be thankful to the oppressors for small mercies. 

It's amazing. The sheer nature of compromise and an attitude of self-denial , the auto suggestion to keep mum if slapped, otherwise you will lose votes and power, has de-nationalised governors and polity to such an extent that a lady minister thinks it beneficial to visit the office of the assaulters on Hindus, sympathising with the attackers but chooses to remain silent over the gruesome murders of five Indian citizens in an Indian town Kannur, just because the governance depends on the support of the assaulters and victims do not figure in their voters list. Is this the government for only those who form the ruling coalition or for all Indians? 

So much humiliation and insults have gone deep into our blood that even to say, oh we were attacked not for any other reason but just because we wore saffron, we were Hindus, makes many of us feel embarrassed and declare oh, what's the use of remembering what happened to our ancestors, it will further create bad blood and hatred. But this is 'true' only when Hindus are victims. In every single other incident, its 'prudent', 'wise' and 'essentially readable a thousand times'. Movies on Hindu 'lumpens and aggressors' are facilitated to bag state awards and included in international film festivals. I have seen a couple of such aggressively secular 'missionary' documentaries. It is difficult to appreciate the tone and tenor of utterly hateful commentaries, which rely more on fabricated unsustainable allegations and communally surcharged picturisation. 

A precipitated hate against Hindus in an influential part of polity and media showed its first face, post- partition, immediately after the Tricolour was unfurled at the Red Fort. The Mirpur, Mujaffarbad, Pindi massacres of Hindus put even the Nazis to shame. It's difficult to re-count those incidents of blood and gore and unimaginable brutalities on Hindu women and children. It was so horrifying that Hindus dread even to remember that. But it figures nowhere in media, though they recount world war, Pol Pot ,Vietnam but not massacres of Hindus in the erstwhile East Pakistan and Kashmir. In North East, National Socialist Council of Nagaland (IM), which is fighting to crate a greater Nagaland for Christ, United Liberation Front of Assam and many such fronts in Tripura and Manipur, Maoists extremists active from Orissa to the states of UP, Bihar, Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand and Islamist Jihadis under various banners have been targetting Hindus under different pretexts like in Assam they call them as Hindi- speaking people and in Kashmir its just KPs(Kashmiri Pandits). 
And now, we have Kannur. 

What has changed in this sixty-one-year of progress, secular rule and increasingly impressive listings in Forbes list? 

Hindus being targeted just for their colour of faith and assertive Hindutwa is a matter of embarrassment. 

Two recent incidents have made me feel like re-visiting Godhra, where Hindus were victims and Hindus were blamed for having organised their death in a burning inferno! Everyone condemned Gujarat riots where Hindus and Muslims both were victims, but never even for once we have seen a secularist answering a question-why were Hindus burnt alive in Sabarmati express? 

Why not a single secular human rightist has taken up the case of Godhra victims?

Why Gujarat riots means only 'Muslims killed' and hundreds of Hindus killed are simply forgotten as if they were unmentionable dirt? Every single Indian facing injustice, no matter what the colour of his faith is, must get support from all patriots. Why colour of death decides the hues of support? 

In the killing fields of Kannur, five RSS-BJP workers were hacked to death in a matter of four days ( ). Those killed were low income group wage earners like auto rickshaw and truck drivers. Since CPM has come to power in Kerala in 2006, 20 RSS workers have been murdered for their saffron leanings. No animosity of any other count but just belonging to a different and growing ideology was their crime. In 2003, a teacher K.T. Jayakrishnana was hacked to death before the tiny tot children he was teaching. On 17th September 1996, two ABVP activists, Anu and Kim, were cornered in a college in Parumala and threatened to be killed for joining a saffron student's organisation. Fearing death too close, the students ran and tried to swim across the Pampa river, but the SFI goons stoned them so severely that they were forced drowned. Even the women washing near the river tried to throw their sarees to the drowning students, but were stopped by Communist student leaders. Both the dead youngsters were the only offspring of their families. The killings of RSS workers in Kannur have a background to it. It was here that the Communist Party was formed in Kerala in 1940 and the place is considered a stronghold of the Left in the state. Since early sixties, the RSS began its work here and soon workers from lower income group, especially the backward, dalit segment were attracted towards it. This angered the CPM cadre and leadership and to harass and instil a fear in the CPM workers who were joining RSS, the first murder of a saffron worker took place in 1967. His name was Ramakrishnan. I have received a letter describing why violence is not stopping in Kannur against Hindu workers from Sadananda master, a teacher in Kannur whose both legs were chopped off in 1994 because he was organising RSS work there. He is still a teacher, and continues to do RSS work. 
From Nandigram to Kannur, Communist terrorism has taken different shapes and shades. Their ideological cohort Maoists have emerged the largest single murderer-outfits responsible for killings and looting ( ). Yet they have captured the space for peace initiatives and candle light marches!! They don't know, a worker killed may have a red or a saffron colour, but the colour of the tears of their mothers remain the same. Ideological apartheid and a policy to annihilate the differing people is a legacy of the Communist and Islamic intolerant groups. This creates a chain reaction. Unfortunately media too takes a narrow sectarian view and sides with groups that thrive on a secular bias against anything saffron. 

The entire Europe and India's anti-fascists churn out tones of literature against Nazi barbarities and make it sure that the new generation is taught about how bad Hitler was. This is considered an essential exercise in secularising the society and building brain walls against recurrence of such dark periods. But if in the same spirit of building resistance to the barbarities of Dark Age represented by Aurangzeb, an exhibition is sought to be displayed, it is uprooted and closed by the secular state power. 

This happened in Chennai where police ordered forcible closure of an innocuously presented exhibition on Aurangzeb, according to Mogul documents. 

The exhibition was organised by a French journalist Francois Gautier, who is an ardent devotee of Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, an apostle of universal brotherhood and peace. The purpose was to depict Aurangzeb as he was seen by Mogul chroniclers and his confidants. The secular politicians are afraid of two things -showing disrespect to Aurangzeb and showing respect to his blood brother Dara Shikoh, a noble hearted Muslim whom he got murdered. Its important to recollect that not only the dreaded terrorists active in Kashmir like to call their actions of brutality in the name of Islam as continuing the 'great legacy of Aurangzeb' but in Pakistan the craze amongst the anti-India leaders is to decorate themselves with the title of Aurangzeb in order to show their devotion and zeal to the cause of their religion. 

This situation says a lot about the dispossession of the Hindus and their severe loss of memory resulting in disinterestedness in resisting assaults on their soul. Every party has Hindus as leaders, but they feel to speak for Hindus is a matter of political loss. They shine individually but fail collectively. In spite of being the victims of hate and assaults since centuries, there is not a single museum of holocaust in this land depicting the long journey of Hindus through indescribable travails and their glorious history of resistance. There is not a single institution of excellence in India devoted to the study of Hindu resistance and assaults on their body and mind. Indian leaders, mostly Hindus, have earned hundreds of crores, amassed great amount of wealth, but most of it is spent in downsizing their colleagues, living in extravaganza, launching missiles against their rivals rather than using it, for once to reawaken the memories of their collective glorious past and struggles of their ancestors to inspire and lighten up a grand future. Its an intellectual war to be fought with warriors of wisdom rather than political gatekeepers and durbans. A community which forgets insults and doesn't make amends to put up a courageous resistance can't hope to weave a future of respect. It's not against any other people but on the contrary a Hindu solidarity alone is a guarantee of peaceful co-existence and equality testified by our long history. And it certainly means a society without any caste discriminations, asserting one single identity-the Indian Tricolour. A Hindu observing caste or region based discriminations and prejudice is less than a Hindu. Make him feel ashamed of his narrow-mindedness. Breaking the stranglehold of caste in politics and social mobility corridors is another Independence struggle to realise the Indian dream. 

There can't be an American dream deleting the memories of Thomas Jefferson, Lincoln and Martin Luther King and making Americans feel embarrassed about their Latin Christian character that defines the colour of the land. There can't be an Indian dream by targeting Hindus for their legitimate saffron assertions. 

Tarun Vijay: The Third Eye

Tarun Vijay: The Third Eye

The Third Eye

Mahashivaratri is a day of awakening from darkness to light. To annihilate the wicked and usher into a regime of Shiva, literally meaning goodness. Those who worship Shiva and observe fast, and their count keeps on swelling to unimaginable numbers each passing year, have a responsibility to pray that the third eye of Shiva is directed for a national rejuvenation too. 

Shiva's third eye has inspired millions around the globe since ages, Adobe being the latest one. Before that, CERN was inspired by it. Its the European Organization for Nuclear Research, known as a highly respected centre for nuclear research focusing primarily on fundamental physics, finding out what the universe is made of and how it works. 

At CERN, the world's largest and most complex scientific instruments are used to study the basic constituents of matter — the fundamental particles. By studying what happens when these particles collide, physicists learn about the laws of Nature. CERN established a two metre high statue of Nataraj, the dancing form of Shiva with an open third eye at their headquarters in Geneva. A special plaque next to the Shiva statue explains the significance of the metaphor of Shiva's cosmic dance with several quotations from The Tao of Physics . Here is the text of the plaque, which I have taken from Fritjof Capra's site: 

Ananda K. Coomaraswamy, seeing beyond the unsurpassed rhythm, beauty, power and grace of the Nataraja, once wrote of it "It is the clearest image of the activity of God which any art or religion can boast of." 

More recently, Fritjof Capra explained that "Modern physics has shown that the rhythm of creation and destruction is not only manifest in the turn of the seasons and in the birth and death of all living creatures, but is also the very essence of inorganic matter," and that "For the modern physicists, then, Shiva's dance is the dance of subatomic matter." 

It is indeed as Capra concluded: "Hundreds of years ago, Indian artists created visual images of dancing Shiva in a beautiful series of bronzes. In our time, physicists have used the most advanced technology to portray the patterns of the cosmic dance. The metaphor of the cosmic dance thus unifies ancient mythology, religious art and modern physics." 

Foreigners adore the significance of our Shiva, but what about Indians and the duty that this knowledge bestows upon us? Rather we use Shiva for our personal plans, for a secular barter in the garb of religiosity that touches nauseating arrogance of castiesm and shamanism. 

Shiva is the most benevolent boon giver of all the gods we know. He destroys the negative forces with his glance and feels happy in the company of the most disadvantaged and the deprived 'un-elitist' crowd! He loves Bhakti , the true devotion and not the artificiality of the rituals. And there is a story of a tribal boy Tinn in the western Godavari area of Andhra, who would offer a handful of pork meat and water stored in his mouth at the Shiva Lingam, daily in the wee hours of the morning climbing up the steep hill where the temple was situated. The priest got mad seeing such a sacrilegious act, caught him one day and beat him red and blue so much that the Lord appeared from the Lingam and scolded the priest saying the boy's devotion was more honest and innocent than the priest's mechanized rituals. 

If Shiva is so clear hearted and noble, his anger knows no bounds and when he opens his third eye, the radiant energy emanating from it destroys all the evil and brings in Pralay Kaal . The dooms day or apocalypse won't be able to convey the true meaning of it as the purpose of discharging energy from the third eye is to prepare for reconstruction. 

The same Shiva spirit is manifest in peoples' power. They are virtuous, noble but unleash an uncontrollable energy out of anger when cheated and abused. Shouldn't we say, the time for its occurrence is now? 

Have leaders kept our faith in them intact and delivered even fifty percent of what was expected of them? Or turn inwards and ask, if we, the people, have discharged our citizen dharma in maintaining the civility and contributing in the goodness factor of the society? If the answer directs us for self introspection, shouldn't we be asking for an annihilator's attitude for the destruction of evil in us and the leaders through ballot boxes? 

With 'vote the budget' Chidambaram basking in his last year of glory in Parliament, the election campaign has been virtually kicked started. 

It's the time for people to open their democratic third eye to destroy all that evil accumulated in the political jungle and reconstruct with a clean slate. 

The world is changing fast. 

Iran-Iraq animosity has ended. 

Obama is on a wining trek. 

Russia has got a new President. 

India's young are the world champs. 

And we are stuck with the same old archaic polity of status-quo-ism and appeasement (take a not-give a vote) as if time has frozen for Indian politics. 

Change it or perish, that's the only message of a youthful, vibrant India who can't wait to emerge victorious. 

Ask a few questions before you go to sleep. 

Why can't our primary schools, universities and airports be the best in the world? And courts, police posts, hospitals, roadways and railway stations more people friendly? The chaotic and dirty platforms, uncleaned compartments and difficult journeys speak about the rich oriented, elitist hypocrisy of 'Garib Rath' wallahs. The stark truth shows up on any metropolitan station where the poor wait for a corner in the trains like unwanted dirt as they can't afford to buy a reserved berth. Any day, any time, Indian capital's twin station show the raj of the middlemen, filthy platforms and a system blind to the passengers' plight. The situation has improved only for the internet users and credit card holders who travel AC class. But which part of India do they represent? Thousands of people, Indian citizens, live like insects on footpaths in Delhi and the night shelters govt. runs for them are the messiest dens of dark acts. 

A double digit growth chart is fine, but the poor have become poorer and the suicides of farmers are a statement of an economy that doesn't care for its common people. Travel north to south in any train, preferably in a sleeper class and see the vast expanse of the land on both sides. It's all agricultural land and people with faith in karma sweat to feed a nation that cares more for the cricketers and film actors. Political parties vie with each other to give a parliamentary seat to glamorous entertainers who would be simply inaccessible to the cadre and masses after the swearing in. Its moneyed who live luxuriously on the labours of the commoners. The system facilitates this irony. 

Faith and economy go hand in hand in Indian ethos. Deriding faith and hijacking economy for the neo-rich and politically influential is a murder of trust imposed in the state by the people. 

That’s what this government is doing. 

Imagine leaving your house in New Jersey, Oklahoma , Fatehpuri in Delhi or Lucknow for fear of terrorists and living in tented accommodations hundreds of miles away. Lost orchards, deserted temples, bewildered and traumatised children, emasculated dreams and ambitions dying young. With no future that can excite or thrill. Life means waiting to die. That's what this government has given to our own patriotic people in an independent nation. From Kashmir's Pandits to Tripura's Reangs, the story is the same. 

Look at Bundelkhand. Scorched earth dried up water levels, no harvest and no space for any livelihood. People have died of hunger, malnutrition and lack of bare minimum living conditions. And the politicians are the richest millionaires of this region. None helped the dying farmers and rural labourers. Moneyed and powerful, who could have helped wrote letters to the editors and issued statements condemning each other. 

Political leaders failed. The non-political leaders fled. 

Is that the India we celebrate as the fast moving economy? 

Money spent is not development ensured. If that was the case, J&K would have been the most developed area with people happily singing national anthem and north-eastern states would have left Mumbai and Bangalore miles behind. Money was never in scarcity for Orissa's Kalahandi or Punjab's farm lands. Yet the poor died of hunger or committed suicides. Farmers of Punjab on the suicide path? It should have woken up the people and Parliament like the Taj Mahal was being bombarded. 

Nothing happened. 

Because farmers are not models or film actresses. Hence media too took a cursory notice. 

The worst kept temples in the north are the Shiva temples where Brahmin priests have not only refused to train the disadvantaged children into priesthood, but have laboriously managed to tighten their stranglehold on disrobing the faithful and keeping the lanes and surroundings of the temple in the most unhygienic condition. Sometime back, a friend's family came from Suriname to visit Kashi with young members of the family, obviously first time visitors to Hindustan, to show them the land, culture and religious places of their ancestors. Having visited Kashi, they wept and lamented for their decision. Brahmin priests robed not only their money but also their trust in the pilgrimage and religious rituals. 

Opening third eye means unshackling our temples from such a castiest stranglehold and making them a centres of cultural and civilisational rejuvenation open to all Hindus without any discriminations and seeing that to be the high priests, the only factor that should matters is the qualification and a scholarship to deliver and not the caste which makes even the illiterate to hold high position and deprives the others even to aspire for it. 

Why do we have to wait endlessly to have our brave hearts released from the Pakistani jails? Many times the stories appear that they have been forced to convert, but at least in Kashmir Singh's case the news proved wrong as he has himself denied it. And I stand corrected too. We must salute the Pakistani human rightists for raising saner voices there and hope Sarabjit Singh and other more than five hundred Indian prisoners would also get a fair deal. But think, can Pakistan make a Saudi or US citizen languish in its jails for three decades? 

Rivers of India are fast drying from Ganga, Kaveri to Bharat puzha. Glaciers are shrinking. The senseless pilgrims and apathetical governance leaves all the garbage at Har ki pauri, Rameshwaram, Gangotri and Gaumukh- the source of Ganga. All the filth and human excreta is straightway downed in Ganga and Jamuna by hoteliers and government guest houses in Gangotri and Yamunotri. And then they worship the river for 'sanctioning' a son or an election ticket!! 

An Islamic centre known world over as the production point of Taliban mentality issues a statement on terrorism like its the victim of terrorists who come from 'Unidentified Foreign Lands' and media laps it up as if India and United states have joined hands to finally ‘smoke out the terrorists from their hideouts’. No voice is heard against the sheer duplicity and the hypocrisy of the long bearded insensitive mullahs using 21st century luxuries and liberties to nurse a 14th century Arabian mindset. 

It's the flow of the Indian soul that's been under assault by a stale, fossilised, unacceptable colour of politics. 

Change it. For the good of the nation. Make up your mind. 

For preserving and re-inventing everything that defines India. 

The Blessed path

What does it mean to leave a newspaper one has grown with for several decades and join a political party's think-tank? 

Leaving Panchjanya is like giving up a part of my body, a whole world of love and affection and unstinting support from those who kept the flame of my conscience alive. It's rare to become the second youngest editor of a journal which is widely regarded as the voice of the largest Hindu movement on earth and survive so long there. Working in an ideological paper elevates. But it binds too. It's unbelievable that in my nineteen years as editor, there was not a single moment when my RSS bosses called me and said: “Look, this is not done. What you have published is wrong in our eyes, better correct or...” Never. 

We committed mistakes, published what hurt our own, and took immense liberties. When L.K. Advani was Deputy. Prime Minister and Home Minister, we wrote an editorial severely criticizing his Kashmir policy. We were not de-listed. And Atal Bihari Vajpayee was not only my first editor, but first reader too. Many of our issues were warmly appreciated and severely criticized by him. He would call even when he became Prime Minister to say what we have published is good or simply intolerable. He didn't like criticising opponents personally and would always advise: “Oppose as vehemently you can, but on policies and programmes. Refrain from personal attacks.” 

We started publishing film reviews more freely, a women's column with a picture of a beautiful lady and news and views of all our opponents in a paper that was widely perceived as conservative and archaic. Everyone who opposed our ideological stand was published honourably without a single cut, from Somnath Chatterjea to A.B. Bardhan and D. Raja to Shahabuddin and Bukhari. IPTA's theatre new items got published along with Sanskar Bharati's. It shocked our opponents but pleased our friends – it showed the strength of our commitment to what we believe in – dialogue. That's Hindutva and not the Siberia-ism or creating of a Gulag on every news desk by the so called 'independent', 'objective' and 'fearless' journalists of the secular hue. 

There were moments when the Sarsanghchalak (RSS Chief) would simply walk in without prior notice to see how we were working and have a cup of tea or nimbu pani . We all worked at very low salaries put in the longest hours without complaining or demanding overtime; the mission kept us alive. It's difficult, if not impossible to work in a Hindi journal to cater ideological arsenal to the faithful when the entire intellectual discourse has been confined to just one language – English. You end up creating more foes than friends. But as Rajju Bhaiyya (Prof. Rajendra Singh), my mentor and the fourth RSS chief used to say, take the challenge head on and look into the eyes of your opponent fearlessly. You will emerge a winner. Be willing to self-correct and believe only in one god – your ideology with a 200 per cent commitment. Everything else, including the top leaders, is secondary to ideology. He would add that if you are going to Thiruvananthapuram, don't get into a squabble at Jhansi station. Once he said: “Never go too close to leaders you adore” , adding that sometimes proximity turns you from idolatrous to iconoclastic, citing the examples of Nehru and Narsimha Rao. 

Too many years at one station makes one yearn for a change and new challenges. Going to Zanskar on a 10-day Wangchuk Chhenpo chaddar trek or getting lost in the Indus source region in Nyari province of western Tibet are some of the things I wanted to take up while exploring new avenues and vistas of Pt. Deen Dayal Upadhyaya's Integral Humanism as a student. I also had to honour my commitment to my Chinese friends to write a book on bilateral relations. It took exactly three years to have my work station changed. In the history of Panchjanya I got the best farewell ever given to an editor. What else would a journalist dream of? 

Some felt happy and a couple of friends emailed me – “Oh! Sorry to see you joining a political set-up... It's a world where old tea planters of the butchery inclinations have been replaced by 'news planters' pocketing media sources to back stab a colleague, in whose appreciation a book might have been released by the same politician hours before. In contemporary polity, talking ideology is not exactly an 'in' thing. Ideologies look collapsed and are fast replaced by a polity of wealth and deceit. Though it might be a general perception, the basic values of simplicity and commitment have survived and always find a patient audience. Deen Dayal Upadhyaya, Syama Prasad Mookerjee, Hiren Mukherji, Ram Manohar Lohia, Rajendra Prasad and Sardar Patel can be named among hundreds of such people who are still adored and inspire. Ideological apartheid should give way to a shared commitment to an idea called India. 

My take is: never compromise on your commitments. It's your actions alone that save. Ultimately you have to bear your own cross. As a Hindu, the life and soul are immortal, only the attire, the body, perishes and a new life awaits. So why fear? M.S. Golwalkar, the spiritual fountainhead of the RSS, would warn: never be hasty in forming a government without ideological commitment. 

I feel indebted not only to those whose colour I wear, but to those as much whom we have been attacking and hopefully will continue to oppose for their different hue of ideas. Some of the best friends who taught me the real meaning of understanding and intellectual honesty are those who are across the fence and they are Muslims, Christians and hardened Communists who make me envious of their unabridged commitment. They have enriched my life and opened new windows. 

To cap it, we went to Vaishno Devi on 25th Feb and it taught me strength of higher values, of ideology overpowering micro-identities. If life was just bread and butter, pilgrimages would be a non-starter and music wouldn't have been described as ennobling. 

In times of precipitated intolerance against each other based on parochial and religious identities, the pilgrims' progress shows the strength of nobler bonds. There were Marathis and Biharis, UP- wale bhaiyyas and Gujaratis mingling with Malyalees and Punjabis of all shades – amdasis, Sikhs and Monas (Hindus) and Buddhists from Leh and Sikkim .All melted in one colour - Jai Mata Ki. Each one helps the other to walk miles of steep climb and encourages the other to keep at it. They may be complete strangers and none notices if the other is well dress or poorly attired. A billionaire and a cobbler walk the same path with the same confidence and commitment. That's the miracle of sharing and believing I saw during the Ramjanmabhoomi movement where provincial, caste and language identities were completely submerged in the broader, higher goal of rejuvenating the bruised national icon of Sri Ram. During the Kargil war too, the same spirit of harmony was exhibited extraordinarily and it bound Indians of all faiths with a thread of patriotism. This can be achieved only through ideology of purpose and not through personality cults. 

It was an ideology that gave us Buddha who inspired people the world over, instilling universal values of acceptance and inclusiveness. Today he represents the soul of India more than anyone else. Life revolves around ideas. Bricks, mortar, reproduction and sumptuous meals play a supplementary role: essential yet not the whole. A stream of ideas encompassing a world view, woven around ennobling values and defining the relationship between the known and the unknown often forms an ideological way. Those who have chosen one are blessed. 

Today the battle is ideological being fought by ill-equipped warriors of different hues. Some understand it a personal play and keep their organization a private limited corporate business trading votes for some considerations. The long-term players with ideological commitments can wait patiently to find the opportune time for the final victory. That alone will help and not the impatience leading to unsavoury compromises. There has to be a paradigm shift in our approach and idioms that we use to address the youth. That alone is going to lead the war of ideologies. The myth of Aryan invasion, a Dhimmitude directing our polity and actions, intense hateful assaults on anything Hindu and spineless responses by an ill-informed crowd that represents the durbari class of Raibahadurs of the colonial period, absence of unity of purpose and the threat of barbaric intolerance can be faced with an uncompromising and unapologetic pride in being Indian inheritors of a great Hindu civilization. 

Being a Hindu should be an elevating and enriching factor of our life instead of making us feel embarrassed. Sri Aurobindo had clearly and unambiguously defined our nationalism as Sanatan Dharma, the eternal righteousness that defines what people understand as Hinduism. None has ever said that Sri Aurobindo was communal, so why do have fear today? He believed in the great destiny of India and gave us a path that was universal yet distinctly Indian. Why hesitate to redefine it and adopt for contemporary polity? Defeating ideologies incompatible with the contemporary values of egalitarianism and plurality should form our foundation of nationalism which strives for material progress and ecological safeguards too as an essential part of Hindu dharma. As much as 1.25 lakh sq km of our land is in enemy possession; this, as well as two flags for Kashmir fluttering over Srinagar Secretariat and the killing and uprooting of patriots should hurt us, give us sleepless nights and steel our resolve to undo the wrongs. 

Our entire approach to science and technological advances has to be tested on the touchstone of ecological safety and human happiness with an integral approach to all creations, overwriting the consumerist approach. 

Those who fear war get war and those who are ashamed at being what they are get nothing but shame from everyone. Never say yes when you ought to say no and never compromise on basic issues. That's what those who have an ideological commitment declare. Rest, simply pass time.