|PM Modi's misreading of history|
|Sangh more culprit than victim|
|For an "above average" student, as a Vadnagar school teacher described Narendra Modi, the prime minister's grasp of history does not appear to be foolproof. Having once called the Mahatma "Mohanlal", Modi has now said that the BJP's travails since 1947 have been worse than what the Congress faced during the freedom movement.
Considering that the Hindu Right did not participate in the struggle for independence, it is not surprising that Modi's knowledge of that period is somewhat hazy. But the "world's most popular leader", as Modi's acolyte Amit Shah designated his boss, is guilty of gross exaggeration when he says that the party faced huge obstacles from soon after Independence to the present day without specifying what assailed it.
For one, he is talking about the Jan Sangh since the ...|
|A Real Man..!|
|As father of two daughters I've wondered at the perfect type of man; somebody who meets all the requirements, you know what I mean?
And then one day I saw him; perfect I thought, here's the type of fellow who'd fit into my living room and not get thrown out like I want to do with all the others I see lounging around:
"Perfect!" I said, "Purrrrfect" I grinned.
He was a flawless hunk, huge and muscular, handsome and confident as he looked around. I stared envious at him, bulging muscles and taut abdomen.
"How strong he is!" I thought happily.
But a voice spoke gently into my ear: "Bob, the strength of a man isn't seen in the width of his shoulders. Its seen in the width of his arms that circle you!"
And then I heard the fellow speak, in tones that could have made ...|
|BETWEEN THE LINE|
|The mess Radcliffe created|
|The British have the reputation of leaving their colonies in a mess when they have to withdraw by force or otherwise. One method they have adopted is to partition the country they have ruled. They did this in Ireland, Palestine/Israel and of course India.
This is mid August 2016 and l recall the conversation l had with Lord Radcliffe who drew the line to divide India into two countries, India and Pakistan.
Lord Mountbatten, the last Viceroy, picked him up from the British Bar and had him flown to India to divide the subcontinent into two countries. Radcliffe had never set his foot inside India before, nor did he know much about the country. He told me that when Mountbatten spelt out what he wanted, he told him that it was a difficult job which he could not undertake. Mountbatten him R...|
|It's right where you are..!|
|Many years ago while walking through a village I suddenly stopped and held the arm of friend who was walking alongside, "Listen!" I said and we both stopped and listened. I saw his face grow from curiosity to enlightenment, "Isn't it beautiful!" I whispered and he nodded.
It was the sound of the wind gently rustling the leaves of a tree.
There were many trees in that village and as we walked there was not a word between us as the breeze played with the leaves and created an atmosphere so divine I thought I was in heaven.
"This is where I'd like to live!" I told my friend, and he nodded, "a place where no radio or music system will ever have to compete for my attention as I listen day and night to such heavenly melody.
"Music of the gods!" said my friend and I nodded.
That was many mo...|
|A wider problem than Kashmir|
|India anticipates that it can get away with a heavy handed template in Kashmir. The summer of 2016 can join the other years now associated with the largely ineffectual public angst in Kashmir: 2008, 2009 and 2010. The problem is that just as events in 2010 brought about the turn in 2016 with Burhan Wani's exit from normal life dating to the events in 2010, the events in 2016 will no doubt add a lease of life to the troubles in Kashmir.
If 2010 gave a half decade lease of life to the insurgency, the consequence of 2016 will be around for longer. Children are part of the front line in protests. While right wing apologists on television explain away injuries to children as result of their being used as human shields, it is clear that children - quite like as other protestors - are angry wi...|
|The face of determination..! |
|After Sindhu and Sakshi won the silver and bronze the newspapers are full of their photographs. Sakshi looks cute as she holds the medal to her lips and Sindhu looks a tall beautry too, but what hits me more than ever is the face of determination that rests on both of them. Immediately, you feel their strength, their mental ability and tremendous tenacity, all of which made them world champions. Determination is what played a key role in their winning, not anything else.
Despite our poor government policy, despite being girl children, despite being ridiculed and mocked at by a male chauvinist society we live in, their determination to succeed made them win! Determination is the force that when galvanised makes each of us a winner! If you remember the second set of Sidhu, it was almost a ...|
|Implications of raising Balochistan, Gilgit |
|Prime Minister Narendra Modi has raised the issue of Balochistan, Gilgit, Baltistan and Pakistani Administered Kashmir in his Independence Day speech on 15th August, 2016 in response to Pakistan dedicating its Independence day, celebrated a day earlier, to 'Freedom of Kashmir.' This is the first time India has officially expressed support for the cause of Balochistan. People in these areas are unhappy with the Pakistani government. While there is a full fledged movement in Balochistan going on to demand autonomy from Pakistan, people in Gilgit-Baltistan want basic civic rights and democracy.
Pakistan has said that this is a proof of India's involvement in Balochistan. While it may be not a well known fact in India, people in Pakistan widely believe that just like Pakistan aids secessioni...|
|A few years ago while attending the funeral of an aunt of mine, a little boy came to the cemetery rather late and sidling up to me asked, "Is this the funeral of Bully Aunty?"
"Bully Aunty?" I gasped looking to see whether my uncle whose wife it is we had just buried had heard, but I saw him grinning.
"That's what she was called!" he laughed with tears in his eyes. "Not because she was a bully, oh no God bless her soul, but because we had a dog named Bully and the whole colony knew me as Bully Uncle and your aunt as Bully Aunty!"
"Didn't it bother you?" I asked afterwards.
"Of course not! Why should it have?" asked my uncle looking at me curiously a little puzzled.
always remembered that incident and laughed.
Yet I know many, many fathers and mothers who hate to be known as the par...|
|Scholar's Ink and Martyr's Blood|
|Dr Akbar Ahmed is a man of many parts. Civil servant, diplomat, author, filmmaker (creator of biopic Jinnah) and teacher, he has also served as Pakistan's ambassador to the UK. Currently Ibn Khaldun Chair of Islamic Studies and Professor of International Relations at the American University in Washington, it is his extraordinary insight into Muslim societies around the world and contribution as a scholar of Islam that truly sets him apart from his tribe.
Distinguished author of such groundbreaking books as Postmodernism and Islam, Predicament and Promise (1992), Living Islam, From Samarkand to Stornoway (1993), Discovering Islam, Making Sense of Muslim History and Society (2002), and Islam Today: A Short Introduction to the Muslim World (2002), he is perhaps the best living and walking...|
|Sedition in the neighbourhood..!|
|There was the sound of a police jeep and heavily armed policemen entering my neighbour's compound as I stepped onto my balcony, "What's happening?" I shouted to my neighbour.
"Sedition!" he shouted back as he opened the door and let the police in. "I called the police to arrest my wife and children!"
"Whoa! Whoa!" I shouted as I heard screams from his house, "Why ever would you do that?"
"They revolted!" said my neighbour angrily, "Said they wanted to change what we ate for breakfast, lunch and dinner. I was patient with them initially, but they insisted on having potatoes and cauliflower twice a week, and then I was firm with them!"
"But doesn't your wife fix the menu?" I asked.
"No, I'm in charge," said my neighbour smugly, "Am I not the head of the house? Do you know what my eldes...|
|The Dalits rise |
|There comes a time when one needs to speak; I speak of the Una Independence Day Rally of Dalits, at the end of a 10-day 400-km Dalit Asmita Yatra following a massive Dalit congregation at Ahmedabad, Gujarat, on July 31.
Whatever one's political, social or religious preferences, inclinations or beliefs, anybody who has respect for the Constitution of India would welcome the show of strength and combined determination of Dalits congregated from many states at Una. The mass gathering demanded azadi from oppression, exploitation, inhumanity and indignity, and pledged not to handle dead animals or perform sanitation work, hitherto their deemed duties among other degrading and menial tasks assigned to them over centuries in a society dominated by "upper-caste" people. What is significant is th...|
|"….With education, the girl child will grow up and be a better mother - she will be better able to understand the importance of her own children being educated, and will be better able to provide for her children..."
—Sarah Crowe, spokesperson for UNICEF in Johannesburg.
A few years ago, it made my heart glad to see front page photograph in the Khaleej Times; t'was that of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, ruler of Dubai presenting a degree to a graduating girl. But a few moments later despair reigned in me as I read in another paper of two girls in India, Samina and Zarina who were threatened and assaulted by their neighbour for pursuing a college education.
According to the paper, the neighbour warned the girl's father that only girls with 'bad character' studied! L...|
|Eighty Years On|
|Is 2016 the New 1936?|
|Hegel remarks somewhere that all great world-historic facts and personages appear, so to speak, twice. He forgot to add: the first time as tragedy, the second time as farce.
Karl Marx, 1852
We would all prefer a farce to a tragedy, so let us hope that Marx was right. But he has been wrong a few times in the past, so we must entertain the possibility that what awaits us is tragedy.
The "first time", in this instance, was the 1930s, when the painfully slow recovery from a global financial crash led to political polarisation, beggar-my neighbour trade wars, and the rise to power of anti-democratic, ultra-nationalist leaders in a number of countries. The consequences included the Second World War, death camps, the first and only use of nuclear weapons, and forty years of Cold War.
|The Chief Minister’s own jam..!|
|It was a massive traffic jam we got into on Sunday in Mumbai: I was dropping my friend, a famous novelist and also a newspaper columnist to the airport, and he’d just told me how nice it was driving in the city when we hit the jam. It stretched on and on! “Must be an accident!” my driver observed as we inched forward inch by precious inch and my friend looked anxiously at his watch. “We’re going to be late! I might miss my flight!” he whispered.
I wondered what it was and as we slowly neared the airport, I saw hundreds and nearly a thousand motor cycles with placards and banners, all blocking the highway.
They were parked discriminately all over the large ten lane Western Express Highway.
The only road leading to the airport.
The police were helpless.
The cars and buses and trucks ar...|