Where a ‘good Modi’ fights against a ‘bad Modi’
Whether a trumvirate of NDTV, The Wire and the National Herald be able to defeat the conviction of those who believe in ‘good Modi’?
Even after four years the mystery of Modi phenomenon continues to confound the republic. While the supporters and admirers say there cannot be another Modi, as he is god sent messenger for the nation to ensure the salvation for the multitude, his detractors and haters say that he is, thus far, the gravest curse on the republic. Unequivocally, 2019 will witness the fight between a ‘good Modi’ versus a ‘bad Modi’
Notwithstanding the Goebbelsian propaganda unleashed by the Modi detractors, especially the triumvirate of NDTV, The Wire, and the National Herald, and his own government’s various omissions and commissions, Narendra Modi is all set to return to power in 2019. In fact, it would be no exaggeration to say that more the anti- Modi opinion makers are trying to polarise the public opinion against the prime minister, stronger is the resolution of the common mass to bring him back to power in 2019. Small wonder then all the venom that were unleashed against Modi by the anti- Modi brigade ever since his entry into 7 Lok Kalyan Marg in the mid of 2014, appears to have fallen flat at their faces. What is there in Modi that majority refuses to believe anything against him, is a glowing tribute to the phenomenon that Narendra Modi is today in our midst?
My recent flipping through the news of Anil Ambani’s filing defamatory suits against various newspapers, especially The Wire, National Herald, and NDTV, suddenly revived certain memories of past years. The chain of past events deluged my mind: It was in the year 2010, i was invited to Indian Habitat Centre by Anirudha Behal, a journalist, now into hiding, in the face book, for participating in a media debate on ‘Media Azadi on Kashmir’. It was my first visit to Indian Habitat Centre, where i had accidentally stumbled upon Arundhati Roy, with whom i had some engrossing discussion. Javed Naqvi, Madhu Kishwar and other distinguished guests adorned the dais, while thousands like me, most of whom were the journalists, were sitting in the audience. Siddhartha Vardarajan, then with Hindu as its editor, was the moderator. It was the first time I saw a self- conceited guy called Siddhartha Vadarajan, whose very face emitted the sort of arrogance that could not be matched by even Dr Amartya Sen. In the entire programme, Siddhartha would not let the speakers speak their mind properly, especially when it came to Madhu kishwar, he appeared to have resented her presence to the core of his heart. A peculiar feature that I had noticed then was that speaker after speaker went on heaping scorn on government of India’s policy on Jammu and Kashmir, without any murmur of protest coming neither from any speaker nor from any member of audience. Of course, Madhu Kishwar was the lone exception who spoke cadidly. While speaker after speaker excoriated the government of India for its repressive policy towards the people of Jammu and Kashmir, my patience ran out, I quickly stood up to register my protest as i questioned them: ‘tell me o opinion makers, who will determine the Lakshman Rekha as to what should be the role of the government’s intervention in regulating media? Should the media themselves fix the limitation of the role for the government of its interference in their affairs or, should it be the court of law or, should it be the people of India? My stubborn dissenting stand, while it had the potential to silence all the secular journalists seeking the bifurcation of the republic on dais, Madhu Kishwar alone had backed my stand then. I was disillusioned to see that none had the audacity to challenge the authoritarianism of the secularist forces who took Sonia- Manmohan government to shreds for what they dubbed as a repressive and an obscurantist policy against the people of Jammu and Kashmir.
Siddhartha Vardarajan, that same self- conceited man is presiding over the affaris of The Wire now as its editor, which is fast emerging as the authentic newspaper for the Modi baiters and haters. Siddhartha is a known Modi baiter, who is unfit to call himself as an editor, notwithstanding his linguistic skills and penmanship, he had openly observed while he presided over the destiny of Hindu as its editor that he would never allow Modi’s news to come in the first page and that he will ensure that it comes only in the third page, loses all his credibility in the eyes of the thinking citizens of this country, especially when he expresses his deep contempt for no less than a person who was all set to take over as the nation’s prime minister on account of his personal prejudice. Little wonder Subramanian Swamy’s investigative zeal had seen Siddhartha being forced out of the office of Hindu only to return as the editor of The Wire to spew venom on Modi government and to ensure that how quickly the dynasty of Congress Party returns to power once again. In the process, Siddhartha and all his cohorts, conveniently choose to soft peddle on the issue that, howsoever scathing his judgmental pieces are in The Wire, the intelligentsia of the country, especially those who have no left leanings or sympathy for the fading appeal of the dynasty, will consider all his news peddling as nothing short of bunkum with a tinge of anti- Modi bias.
When a journalist sells his conscience to the power that be, he accepts the government rewards such as Padmashri or Padma Bhusan, for no government worth its salt, would nominate anyone other than its stooges and cheerleaders in the media for such prestigious awards as mentioned above. Shekhar Gupta is one of such journalists who has sold his conscience and soul to the earstwhile Congress government by kowtowing the dynasty and, consequently, bagged the pretigious Padma Bhusan in the year 2009 from Manmohan Singh government. Although Shekhar Gupta never let any opportunity go to be in the good book of Modi regime, but he drastically failed in his singular mission to win the favour of the prime minister for bearing the tag of a dyansty loyalist, if not its stooge . The consequence was for all to see: Shekhar today has sided with other Modi detractors like Siddhartha and Prannoy Roy to hasten the departure of Modi government and bring back the worthless dynastic prince on to the power citadel.
Prannoy Roy’s NDTV is another agent to promote the Congress Party. In fact, the journalists at NDTV leave no stone unturned in their endeavours to besmirch the reputation of Modi regime. Unsurprisingly then, this triumvirate of Modi detractors have joined hands together to ensure the downfall of Modi government in the ongoing assembly elections and the susequent general election in 2019. But the moot point is: Do these opinion makers have enough of credibility to dent Modi’s image, especially when Modi is still looked upon as a dedicated prime minister by the general mass? How the nation will come to have the trust in such media houses which are run by such dodgy characters who, not too in the distant past, sung paeans for the dynasty and resisted tooth and nail the emergence of an alternative to the grand old party in the republic? Significantly, the inordinate media coverage given to Rafale deal in the recent months by the triumvirate, speaks volume about how these media houses will leave no stone unturned in its diabolical attempts to bring Modi government crashing down in 2019. National Herald, a newspaper founded by Jawahar Lal Nehru is the mouthpiece of the dynasty which has vociferously started the campaign to oust Modi by giving al its attention on Rafale and to make it appear like a mountain out of the molehill.
But then Modi is made of different stuffs. He is not the one to meekly surrender to the inimical forces that seek his ouster by unleashing the bogus charges and propaganda to malign his image. For the triumvirate knows that maligning Modi alone is the key to winning election today, for Modi alone has the credibility in the eyes of the electorate. While Modi’s authoritarian streak in marginalising the other BJP stalwarts cannot be ruled out, yet he still remains an unsullied face amid the deluge of corruption charges against the other leaders, endears the prime minister to his fellow citizens of the republic. Surprisingly, the nasty attempts of the Modi detractors to paint him as the cronies of Ambani and Adani, too, has failed to cut much ice with the common mass who continues to trust him as before. In this backdrop, when Modi remains still insulated from the rampant corruption charges brought against him, is the biggest USP of Modi to take on the collective might of the rag tag coalition that might eventually be formed to take on him. Small wonder then Modi for his admirers, remains the messenger of god who is born in India for ensuring the salvation of multuitude, while for his baiters and detractors, he is the gravest curse to ever have happened to this country. The upcoming general election will be a battle between these two views: Where a ‘good Modi’ fight against a ‘bad Modi’. But, given the size and proportion of ‘good Modi’ backers, they will overwhelm those who believe that ‘bad Modi’ is wreacking the country and, therefore, needed to be shown the red card.
Why V.P.Singh was soon lost to the page of history?
The meessiah of Mandal Commission has no takers of his legacy today, despite the passage of decades after his rule. Ironically, when Dalit icons and their legacies, are increasingly being appropriated by the political parties, V.P Singh had long been written off the national psyche, where his very contribution to the elevation of Dalits in the national polity, has simply failed to resonate with the larger section of Dalits and their leaders who, in the wake of the implementation of Mandal Commission, had held him as their messiah after Babasaheb Ambedkar in the post -independence phase.
Who can forget the Mandal Commission and its architect? The greatest divider of Indian society, which had set one brother against the other. The turbulence and the turmoil that India had to negotiate with in the wake of the national crisis that soon engulfed the polity in the wake of V.P.Singh’s robust obstinacy to go ahead with the Mandal Commission, was epoch making in the annals of post- independence history of the nation. The turmoil in the polity then was far bigger and even of far greater magnitude than that of the Hindu -Muslim divide that the nation had witnessed in the post- Babri demolition. It was, in fact, the biggest assertion of Dalits in Indian politics, when Vishwananth Pratap Singh, throwing all the norms of social harmony and decorum to the winds, sought to empower Dalits by strangling meritocracy for ever, and by propping up one section of the society against that of the other. But then why not his predecessors chose to empower Dalits, despite the permutation and combination of electoral politics too, must have been equally tempting and enticing for them: to polarise the larger section of Dalits for voting in their favours by implementing the flawed Mandal Commission report? Why not Indira Gandhi, especially when she was staring at defeat in the wake of emergency, thought of winning the majority Dalit’s support by bringing in the Mandal Commission report which,if she at all would have successfully implemented then, even the behemoth of Jaypraksh Narayan’s ‘Sampporna Kranti’ could have been swept aside? But, Indira would not risk dividing the society and tear it apart by implementing Mandal Commission, even if she risked the political decimation or, even marginalisation, at the hustings.
However, Vishwanath Pratap Singh was neither Indira Gandhi nor Jawahar Lal Nehru, he was a man who could go to any extent to divide the society for strengthening his own grip over power. The trick that V.P.Singh played had such a far reaching adverse consequences for the nation that, despite the passage of decades, India continues to bleed because of the nasty Reservation Policy, which saw India going down in the ladder of progress, where the thugs in the guise of policy makers, took advantage of Mandal to reap the society further apart. The polarisation of polity based on ‘Forward’ and ‘Backward’ denominations, became overwhelmingly pronounced. The biggest losers in the process was the meritorious people who unfortunately belonged to upper castes, as the number of government jobs substantially dwindled for them. Worse still, the rise of Dalit leadership in the polity was unequivocally attributed to the implementation of Mandal Commission which, witnessed an increasing number of semi-talented people promoted in the buraucracy and other government institutions over that of meritorious people from upper castes, Willy nilly the caste division became so pronounced and stark that people’s merit began to be subjugated to identification politics, where man’s ‘surname’ was the key to his edification. Regrettably, the Mandal Commission saw an increasing number of Dalits taking to politics, with the corresponding decline of politicians from forward castes. The situation became so stark that those among the forward castes taking to politics, played subservient roles in the political parties led by the Dalits based on dynasties, especially at the provincial level.
Significantly, the enticement for further dividing the society for electoral dividend was so overwhelming that Nitish Kumar, in all his wisdom, had further carved out Maha Dalits from Dalits for cementing his hold over that group. Small wonder the increasing assertion of Dalits in the polity, engendered the growing clouts of Dalit icons, where the beeline was made for appropriating the them, especially among the political parties, with all vying for Ambedkar’s legacy, the competition for claiming Ambedkar as their own saw even BJP and Congress competiting fiercely against each other. In fact, Mandal Commission was the trigger for the rise of this frenzy among the political parties where Ambedkar was far greater in demand. The spectacle was indeed spectacular, with Mayawati projecting herself as the Dalit leader along with Kansi Ram as her mentor, Congress, which had no place for Ambedkar in the several decades, suddenly woke up to this new evolving reality, where tom-tomming Ambedkar as its own, resulted in quick political dividend. Not to be left behind in this mad frenzy of cornering Dalit icon, BJP, to whom Ambedkar never belonged, suddenly appeared to have discovered an excessive love for the father of Indian constitution.
While an increasing bonhomie is being felt in the polity for all Dalit icons, the sole exception was that of Vishwanath Pratap Singh, whose legacy has no takers. The man who brought Dalit on the forefront of Indian politics, today has no place for himself anywhere–neither in the hearts of Dalits, nor any memorial or museum or, for that matter, any monument, built against his name. Therefore, it would be little exaggeration to say that V.P,Singh had been long receded in the backyard of public memeory. No Dalit leader worth his name invokes him in any public meetings or in any political gatherings. Worse still, when he was the architect of Dalit empowerment in the Indian politics, nobody bothers to invoke him for his iconic contribution to the rise of Dalit, is undoubtedly the most deserving tribute paid to V.P.Singh for unjustly and unscruplously diving the Indian society for the sake of his own selfish motive. Regrettably, even such a revolutionary step to empower Dalits could not save the chair for V.P. Singh who went on losing the motion on Vote of Confidence in the parliament in 1989. But then as the adage goes, as you sow, you reap, V.P.Singh had diabolically sought to divide the Indian society in the name of empowering Dalits and diminshing the upper castes, where he conveniently forgot that his very upper caste birth and identity were the disqualifications that would never warrant his elevation as Dalit’s icon. On the contrary, his own upper castes had long disowned him for being one of their own. In this backdrop, V.P.Singh neither qualify as the leader of the upper castes, nor does he qualify to be feted by the Dalits whose interests in the polity he so evocatively espoused while he was in the office but for his own selfish motive.
India’s democratic crisis as never before
Vivekanand Jha was an ardent admirer of Prime Minister Modi and an author of ‘Delhi Beckons: RaGa for NaMo( launched by Prime Minister himself). He also was one of the front ranking man to have massively campaigned for the Modi raj on Twitter and wrote contless pieces in his favour. This current piece reflects his deep rooted disillusionment with the state of the affairs of the current regime. Nation always comes first to him. He has neither morgaged his pen with an individual nor with any political party.
When two honourable gentlemen from Gujarat have turned 1.25 billion Indians into eunuchs; when the so called stalwarts of BJP like Rajnath Singh and Sushma Swaraj, have long been dwarfed into poliitcal impotency; when the very patriarch of the BJP, a nonagenarian Lal Krishna Advani, who never tired from proclaiming that his party was a ‘party with difference’, now, far from showing his manliness as fellow party man Yashwant Sinha would like him to exhibit, has virtually slipped into hibernation and, at times, even fawning and kowtowing incumbent party leadership; when the vast army of BJP foot soldiers and so-called leaders of any worthwhile credentials and credibility, when asked to bend, have virtually started crawling; when for the sake of winning elections, even the RBI governor is browbeaten into submission; when the very semblance of opposition, much similar to the emergency era, is reduced to persona non grata; when the truth has fallen casualty to the all enveloping sham and deceit, with murderers and killers presiding over the destiny of the nation and the largest political party; when the media, barring few exceptions, have completely capitulated before the brute might of the state; when the intelligentsia class for the sake of few crumbs, have unabashedly become the cheerleaders of the government, the existential crisis of nation’s democracy could not have been greater. In this backdrop, the valiant efforts made by the flag bearers of upholding moral values and speaking truth to power is indeed laudable. Such men like Dr Pratap Bhanu Mehta, Dr Yogendra Yadav, Mr Khemka, Mr Anant Kumar Singh, and now to add to that illustrious list are: Mr Sandip Tamgade and Mr, Amitabh Thakur, among others, whose swimming against the tide for upholding the values of truth and probity in high offices will never go in vain. From Vajpayee’s era of ‘Satyameb Jayatay’ to that of ‘Satya be damned’ of Modi rule, the journey of BJP for presiding over the nation’s destiny has indeed turned full circle.
Nachiketa, a child of five years old, a famous character of Upanishad, when asked to seek three boons from the lord of death, had famously sought the third boon: ‘ Tell me, o lord of death, if you at all so desire, as to what is the mystery behind the birth and death?’ Such a probing question coming from a small child, had flummoxed the lord of death( Yamraj) into a stony silence for a while. Recovering from a quick shock, when he seldom expected such question from a small child, he unfolded his cajoleries: ‘Oh, child, why does such baseless quesion bother you? Why not seek a long life of thousand years, with a large kingdom and a beautiful queen instead.’ The wisom of that small child Nachiketa, which found the crux of the Upanishad remains immortal till this date, when Nachiketa in the matured voice of the saint said, ‘ But then, even after thousand yars death still will engulf me, where is the immunity from death? And if death is inevitable, why should I unnecessarily seek a prolonged life, instead of seeking an enlightenment for myself’. Beholding the stubbornness of a samll child, the lord of death made certain revelations: ‘ Look, the death which human being perceives as the final journey of a human life, is in fact the beginning of the next. Death is no end to a human life; in fact, it is the beginning of another.’ The significance of this morale is profound: When death is inevitable why fear it? Even the death after thousand years is as painful as one that happened earlier on, what is the benefit of reprieve that simply seeks to postpone the date of departure from this world with accumulated burden of moral guilt pricking and tormenting the conscience till the life force is eventually forced out of the body? No wonder then the prolonged life led in ignominy is far preferable and superior to the death embraced while fighting for truth and justice. Alas! this morale would have dawned on BJP leaders of contemporary times and the vast intelligentsia class which remain beholden to the power that be just for the sake of few crumbs.
Nani A Palkhivala, a constitutional jurist, writes in ‘We the People’ that how Justice Khanna’s honesty and uprightness in spurning Indira Gandhi’s material temptation, went on strengthening the roots of Indian semocracy for all time to come. In the famous Keshvanand Bharti versus state of Kerala, when Indira Gandhi sought to bribe justice Khanna while exercising all her influence and power, the upright justice Khanna never allowed his strong moral fabric to fall prey to such material offers and went on upholding the values of truth and justice by acquiscing in the views of the majority. In the similar vein, the great jurist writes that in those deceitful times of emergency, when the fundamental rights were suspended, Ramnath Goenka was the light amidst the darkness that had enveloped the polity from all sides. When Indire sought to trample democracy under her foot, Ramnath Goenka stood rocklike to oppose her tooth and nail through his newspaper: Indian Expres. When the eternal mantra of ‘Satyameb Jayatay’ was sought to be turned into ‘Satya be damned’ by Indira Gandhi, Jayprakash Narayan rose to resist the force of the state with the fullest might. Indian democracy had never tolerated the individuals, howsoever powerful they might have been, from hijacking the democracy for a long time. The rise of Jayprakash Narayan in that time and era was like reincarnation of Krishna to re-establish the glory of righteousness and dharma.
With the latest revelations made in the ongoing enquiry by the special CBI court into a famous Prajapati case, where none other than the president of BJP, Mr Amit Shah himelf had been accused of murder, along with IPS officers like Dinesh MN, Rajkumar Pandiyan and D.G. Banzara, could never have been more scathing and timely, especially when no stone was left unturned to nip in bud even the shred of evidence indicting Amit Shah and his cohorts. The bravery shown by the IPS officers in this case who were investigating into this murder case, Sandeep Tamgadge and Amitabh Thakur on behalf of CBI, tantamounts to exhibiting the highest level of bravery in steadfastly upholding the truth amidst the fear mongering which has been institutionalised in the polity to such an extent that anyone daring to bite the bullet and speak the truth, meets with the dire consequences, often resulting into their deaths. Worse still, when almost all the witnesses involved in the case, seriously ran the risk of turning hostile in the face of life threats, Sandeep Tamgadge, especially showing the fearlessness that can be matched only by Nachiketa of Upanishad, to steadfastly stand by the truth when the case involving the murder of Shrabuddin, his wife Kasurabi and Tulsiram Prajapati, were almost lost in the absence of valid evidence and the witnesses turning hostile, aided and abetted by CBI botching up the case to the advantages of the accused. The depositions given by Tamgadge and Amitabh Thakur, indeed come as a silver lining. The fearlessness, as exhibited by this valiant officers, has not only set the ball rolling for the reopening of the case, but it has a far greater ramifications now: The very summum bonum of the republic which had premised its foundation on the ‘Satyameb Jayatay’, of Mandukya Upanishad, would have crumbled from its edifice. The much vaunted fundamental of jurisprudence which is premised on the belief that justice must attain its end, would surely have ended up as the biggest casualty to the deceit and mendacity which have irerevocably come to be the governing tenets of the ruling hierarchy. Also, the depositions of the valiant officers invariably revive the impression that all is not lost as yet, even though the brute arms of law, instead of upholding the supremacy of justice, has been doing its utmost to defeat its underlying spirit in letter and spirit, now kindles another ray of hope that justice may finally be done.
But then what this latest revelations made by the IPS officers hold for the president of BJP? Will Amit Shah call it quits? Will he show the audacity that his predecessor and founder of BJP Lal Krishna Advani had exhibited when he resigned from the membership of the parliament and vowed to return only when he was acquited by the court of law in Havala scam? Will Prime Minister Modi who never tires from drumbeating his patriotism, have that courage of conviction to seek the resignation of his loyalist and anoint someone else in his place? And, even if Prime Minister remains beholden to his close lieutenant, his other colleagues who are anxious of falling values in the party and its falling graph, can dare bite the bullet and ask Amit Shah to go with bag and baggage till he is exonerated of the charge of murdering the three innocent people? Perhaps nothing as such will happen. The BJP, which has degenerated to such a level, where all its leaders have become the ‘yes men’, has lost its spine to seek the resignation of its tainted leadership today. Even the greater irony is this: the stalwarts once like Rajnath Singh and Sushma Swaraj are the shadow of their selves, they have become too irrelevant too assert themselves. The entire party is basking in the inflated and illusory glory of Modi- Shah duo, expecting that they would be able to unfold their largesse upon them, if not now, then after the election when Modi-Shah will return to power once again.
The recent revelations vindicate that the incumbent leadership of the BJP has blood in its hand. The very nationalism and patriotism that the Prime Minister has been tomtomming all this while got exposed now in the light of the recent depositions made by the two valiant police officers. Even any efforts made now to give it the political colour of the police officers being the Congress agents or with anti- BJP mindset, will simply fall flat. The people of India are no longer gullible; they have all along been observing the sordid theatrics being unleashed upon the polity by the thugs who have incidentally seized power and calling shots today from the corridors of power with impunity. The nation is certainly passing through its biggest existential crisis as never before; in fact, the emergency like situation has come to prevail, where those shaping the destiny of the nation, are proving themselves as its biggest saboteurs. BJP cannot win the elections simply by pinpointing the void in the opposition camp or by blaming the dynasty of the Congress Party for the crises confronting the republic today. In fact, no prime minister ever had brought his so many trusted officers from his state cadre as Modi has done, resulting in an ongoing crisis in the various institutions, in cluding CBI and PMO. The time is running out for the Prime Minister to prove to the nation that his is not the regime which damns ‘Satyameb Jayatay’ like Indira had during emergency, but upholds it the way his most illustrious predecessor Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee had institutionalised in the polity, when he governed the republic from 1998 to 2004. Significantly, even the whole nation is watching, as the ghosts of Shorabuddin, his wife and Prajapati are crying for justice from Modi government. Will Prime Minister stand upto these expections and pull out the nation from its democratic crisis, or go down in history as a failed prime minister and collaborator to back stab justice, who betrayed the trust that nation had reposed in him in 2014?
When Modi made India taller
Why Netajee’s and Sardar Patel’s legacies never belonged to Congress.
Statue of Unity is not only the tallest statue in the world, but it is a living testimony of India’s emerging out of the shadow of a family which had never allowed anyone its due in last several decades. Small wonder Prime Minsiter, along with his trusted lieutenant Dr J.N.Singh, the Chief Secretary of Gujarat, a living legend of Mithila, have set their dates with history for bestowing upon the nation a priceless legacy which was long overdue.
With the unveiling of great Sardar Patel’s statue by Prime minister, India, albeit belatedly, has set the historic wrongs right: The great legacy of Sardar Patel, which hitherto stood neglected since last seven decades, has been almost resurrected from the ruins. Notwithstanding the ravings and rantings by the Congress Party, accusing prime minister Modi of unjustly appropriating Patel’s legacy, the nation knows that how the grand old party under the watchful eyes of dynasty, left no stone unturned in its Satanic endeavours to magnify the glorification of its dynastic icons, while simultaneously presiding over the funerals of such priceless legaicies of Netajee Subhas Chandra Bose and Sardar Vallabh Bhai Patel and others. It is the high time for the Prime Minsiter to exhibit an equal measure of enthusiasm and spirit to build up the world’s greatest museum after Subhas Chandra Bose( A demad made in the public interest by this writer). And if he does so, he wil go down in history as an iconic prime minister who dared to put to shreds the carefully nurtured and tactfully laid plans of the dynasty to showcase the pantheon of its own leaders as nation builders, while gradually diminshing and finally blowing into smithereens the legacies of other stalwart leaders in the polity.
While the nation gave a standing ovation to the Prime minister on 31st of October, 2018 for resurrecting the priceless legacy of great Sardar Vallabh Bhai Patel, it was an open secret that the move would certainly cause a heart burn among the Congress which, although had no qualms in relegating Sardar Patel to the backyard of the nation’s memory, but was quick to remind the nation on that historic day that, howsoever much BJP might chant Sardar’s name, it cannot omit, let alone obliterate, the name of Sardar from the lexicon of Congress Party. Regrettably, the dynasty dictated party, blissfully forgot the fact that it had never ever accorded Sardar his due and, that too, even Bharat Ratna, the highest civilian award, while it was generously conferred upon the far lesser mortals, especially the family loyalists like Ramchandran of Tamil Nadu, such tallest men like Patel and even Netajee, never ever figured in the list of such awardees, unless one fine morning when it became increasingly untenable to persist with this blunt callousness, the dynasty woke up to the grim reality of public disillusionment with this cheap political gimmicks pertaining to Bharat Ratna that it sought to bracket great Sardar with that of Rajiv Gandhi. The award was posthumously conferred upon him, along with the family icon Rajiv Gandhi who was awarded this honour in the immediate aftermath of his demise, while Sardar was kept waiting for decades. Worse still, the Party, which is so quick in pinpointing that Patel, no matter what Modi government might do to elevate his stature in the public eyes, finally belonged to them, was not only the gravest travesty of truth, but would also be tantamount to humiliating Sardar after several decades of his demise. Significantly, the nation must ask the Congress Party that where it was for last several decades when Patel was a persona non grata for them? And, why, they have suddenly begun singing Patel’s hosannas just because Modi had sought to give him his due, which was long overdue? The nation must ask these Congress men that, why Pundit Nehru, in his utter widom chose to confer Bharat Ratna on himself while giving Sardar a short shrift, when legitimately the highest civilian award should logically have gone to Sardar?
In fact, Sardar Vallabh Bhai Patel was India’s tallest political leader in the post-independence phase. He was also the legitimate chice for India’s premiership, which the cunning and scheming Jawahar Lal Nehru had scuttled for fulfilling his own personal agenda. When the Working Committee of the Congress Party had voted overwhelmingly in favour of Patel, defeating Nehru by a huge margin, it was only Mahatma Gandhi’s blessings for Nehru which propelled him to the topmost political leadership of the country. Almost seventeen members had voted for Patel, while barely four had voted for Nehru.Yet, Gandhi had anointed Nehru as his successor for the prime ministership, while robbing Sardar of his eligibility for the top job. Still, Sardar had shown his magnanimity by bowing down to the wish of Gandhi and not engineering a revolt within the party for fulfilling his own Prime ministerial ambition. In contrast, Jawahar Lal Nehru had thretened Gandhi of a revolt if he was not anointed for the top job. Ungrateful Nehru, who showed little regards for this monumental sacrifice of great Sardar that never had he thought of rewarding Patel for the renunciation that he had made in his favour, or else would not he have conferred Bharat Ratna on Patel, before appropriating the award for himself?
In fact, India has a unique destinction of two great men who, being denied the topmost jobs despite being the formidable candidates, magnanimously chose their supersession by the lesser mortals: First, it was Sardar Patel, and second, it was Bala Saheb Deoras. Bala Saheb Deoras too chose to bow down to the wish of Dr Hedgewar, when he decided to anoint Guru Golwalkar as his successor. When many in the Sangh Parivar thought that Bala Saheb Deoras would break R.S.S to float his own organisation, Deoras studiously followed the wish of the founder of the organisation. Sardar, in a true loyalties and devotion for Mahatma, succmbed to Gandhi’s whimsicality and resolved to play the second fiddle to Nehru. Nonetheless, it was Sardar whose contribution of uniting India, especially winning over the independent principlaities, through choice or by force, was a pivot for keeping India large and united. His unrelenting pressure upon the Nizam of Hydrabad and the prince of Junagarh, among many, was the vindication of his robust adminstrative acumen to make India what she is today. Ironically, if Nehru would not have exhibited his gullibility by calling for a plebiscite in Kashmir, even the problem of Jammu and Kashmir confronting India, possibly would never have been dogging the republic till this date.
Narendra Modi, in fact, was the first prime minister to realise Patel’s glorious contribution to unify the nation, was not given the due recognition and the weightage that it all along deserved. He had taken it as his mission to revive the moribund legacy of great Sardar by according him his due place in the heart of the nation that he all along deserved. And, what else, but the erection of his tallest statue ever, was the most befitting tribute to great Sardar who, despite being denied the highest post of the land, continued to play second fiddle to Nehru, for keeping India united, especially when it had just broken the colonial shackle. Besides, the name of ‘Statue of Unity’ is symbolic of India’s rise as a democratic republic which will eventually lead the world’s destiny, also stands vindicated. Moreover, the erection of tallest statue of Sardar is a living testimony of the fact that whatever India is today, it is only because of him, inevitably makes Sardar’s legacy the most towering one surpassing that of anyone else. While paying a glorious tribute to great Sardar, Modi had very correctly said, that had Sardar not united India, people going from one province to other, would have to apply for the passport, vindicates Sardar’s leadership vision and his messianic zeal to ensure that India indeed rediscovered her lost Mauriyan glory of possessing a vast swathe of territory.
Prime Minister’s burning nationalistic zeal and patriotic spirit contributed to the erection of the great Statue of Unity, which only his government has the right to trumpet. Congress Party or, for that matter, the dynasty has no business, whatsoever, to deride Modi for usurping the legacy that legitimately belonged to it. Its other contention that, how could Sardar belong to RSS when he had sought to ban the organisation in the wake of Mahatma Gandhi’s assassination, is a bunkum, because Sardar had to temporarily ban the Sangh under the pressure of his party and leaders who refused to see eye to eye with Sangh’s staunch advocacy for Hindu Nationalism, which Sardar too subscribed, or else he would not have advocated for the exchange of population in the wake of the partition of Akhand Bharat Varsha?The unveiling of great Sardar’s statue undoubtedly is one of the valiant achievements of Modi government; however, nation now, with greater expectations, await the Prime Minister doing the same to the glorious legacy of Netajee Subhas Chandra Bose by building the world’s greatest museum dedicating to Azad Hind Fauz. If Prime Minister can do that, he will win the nation’s love and affection and will also go down in history as India’s iconic prime minsiter who dared to transcend the Lakshman Rekha set by the dynasty of the Congress Party that no legacy of anyone outside the family will be showcased as precious one for nation’s consciousness. Let Prime Minister fulfill this aspiration of the nation which is long overdue as Sardar Patel’s was, for Patel too had a huge admiration for Netajee Subhas Chandra Bose.
The congress’ game plan in Bihar politics
Vivekanand Jha, author and a public intellectual
Will Madan Mohan Jha’s taking over as the president of the Bihar Congress Party and Akhilesh Prasad Singh as the head of the campaign committee, ensure the massive swinges of forward caste votes in favour of Congress in 2019 general election? Although there is no guarantee for the same, yet Rahul’s meticulously planned strategy to fill up the Bihar Congress leadership with an overwhelming number of forward caste leaders, is a surer indication that Congress is destined to capitalise on the disenchanted voters from the upper castes who have been feeling neglected for quite some time, with BJP showing only a tokenism of appreciation for its concerns, while ostensibly following the policy of appeasement of Dalits, left the upper castes by and large alienated from it, especially in the wake of the Modi government overturning the Supreme court’s judgment on ST/SC act, 1989, which repealed the provision of arrest of the upper caste accused in the event of an FIR being filed against him without an enquiry.
In the last Plenary session of AICCI, this writer was pleasantly surprised to see the photographs of Madan Mohan Jha standing beside Manmohan Singh on one side and Sonia Gandho on the other. Although Madan Mohan Jha, son of powerful Mithila leader, Late Nagendra Jha, has a rich pedigree, which is construed as a vital credential for the elevation in the party hieracrchy, which covets the direct descendants of the political families, Madan Mohan Jha’s hobnobbing with the top notch leadership of the Congress party and, that too, on the dais, was indeed baffling for this writer, as Madan Mohan is usually known for not being a powerful speaker on stage. This writer had already witnessed a living commentary of Madan Mohan’s reluctance to deliver a speech from the podium during the book launch of ‘Han , Main Bihari Hoon at Bihar Vidhan Parishad in 2016, where he had exhibited a tremendous sense of trepidation when being asked to speak. However on being pressed by this writer, he had barely spoken for few minutes. Naturally, Madan Mohan’s bursting camaraderie at the stage with the topmost party leaders at the AICC plenary session, presented a very pleasant spectacle for one and all, especially those who know Madan Mohan from close distance. But then this writer guessed that something big was certainly in the offing for the Mithila leader whose lack of communication at the stage is more than overcome by his shrewd political mind, and even shrewder political vision, which got vindicated with Rahul picking him up as the president of the Congress Party. Interestingly, this writer already was given the sufficient indication on the occasion of Bihar DIwas 2018 that Congress Party was going all out with its strategists overwhelmingly concentrating on the strategies to break the forward castes from BJP’s fold, and was already funding smaller groups to do the needful in the given direction.
The news pertaining to Madan Mohan being elevated to the post of the president of the Congress Party, indeed came to this writer as a pleasant surprise, especially given the fact that Brahmins constitute the infinitesimal proportion of the population of the entire state, including Mithila, and therefore, the elevation of a Brahmin as the head of the party which is seeking its resurrection from its moribund stage, was mind boggling, More so, when the greater energy of almost all the political parties, are being channelised towards the appeasement of Dalits, how could Rahul Gandhi who has been cris-crossing the landscape of the country, take such a suicidal step, appeared enignatic, especially in the context of the list of the appointees overwhelmingly dominating from the upper castes? The decision, which appeared bizarre in the context of the contemporary political scenario, was strategically laid out game plan of the Congress Party which strives to encash upon the recent alienation of upper caste voters from BJP, after Modi government’s decision to overturn the apex court’s verdict on SC/ST act 1989, to restore the earlier provision of an accused from upper caste getting arrested without an enquiry in the event of filing of an FIR. Significantly, the Congress’ underlying game plan was to win the vast majority of the upper castes in its favour, when it sought to empower the upper castes in the topmost hierarchy of its leadership in Bihar. But then, how could Congress alienate the majority comprising of Dalits, Maha Dalits, Muslims and others by focussing its overpowering attention in filling up its topmost leadership hierarchy with upper castes, is the moot question that needed proper examination? In fact, behind this shrewd move of Congress, the underlying objective was that, whereas Congress would corner the larger segments of votes of the upper castes, its coalition partner RJD would be able to mobilise the Muslims and Yadavs to enable it to win the election. Whereas this arithmetic permutation and combination of castes, appear a win-win scenario on pen and paper, the reality may be far distinct from it, for the upper castes would not ostensibly vote for any such combination which has the remotest linkages with Laloo’s R.JD, unless something drastic happens which has the potential to shake their existential identities.
Not to be lagging far behind in this race for empowering upper caste leaders, Nitish Kumar immediately elevated Dayanand Ray as the president of JDU in Delhi from Darbhanga. While this one upmanship of empowering the upper caste leaders is in full swinge in Bihar politics, the common men and women are watching this new spectacle with a sense of amusement. For, the mere elevation of upper castes leaders to corner their votes, hardly is a guarantee for empowering the hoi polloi. Yet this new found race for empowering the leaders of the upper castes is a new syndrome in Bihar politics, where upper castes were facing the serious marginalisation, unless the new syndrome overtaking the polity after the upper castes called a Bharat Bandh which invariably evoked a wide response. Thus, this new upper castes awakening has brought about a new sense of empowerment of the leaders from their castes. Madan Mohan Jha and Akhilesh Prasad SIngh, have been the latest beneficiaries, along with others in the Congress Party, in Bihar, among others, But will this radical step bring the Congress the elusive upper caste voes that drifted towards BJP in 90’s, when the upper castes closely identified themselves with the BJP after V.P.Singh implemented Mandal Commission in 1989? Later, Ram Janma Bhoomie movement brought the upper castes even closer to BJP, as the Congress was increasingly getting drifted away from it after its alliance with Laloo’s RJD in Bihar, with Nitish joining hands with BJP, the upper castes solidly stood by BJP as a formidable force to counter Laloo’s R.JD. Nonetheless, the political equation in Bihar will remain by and large unchanged, for the upper castes, no matter how many of them are being elevated to the leadership position of the Congress, still will prefer to remain with BJP, though a smaller proportion of them might still vote for Congress.
Notwithstanding the clever stratagem of the Congress Party to lure the upper caste voters away from BJP, BJP knows the upper castes’ anathema towards the R.J.D and, therefore, the party has not yet shown much of excitement in rewarding the upper castes in its topmost hierarchy, although Mangal Pandey, an upper caste is already holding the position of BJP president of the state for quite sometime. Not to be left far behind, R.J.D is also in the queue for wooing the upper caste voters and consequently the nomination of Manoj Jha, an upper caste Brahmin from Mithila, to Rajya Sabha, is an exemplification of R.J.D reaching out to the upper castes in no uncertain terms. It was a subtle indication to the upper castes that the party will not hesitate from rewarding the upper castes, if they prove their loyalties to the Laloo family. More so, Laloo Yadav himself had issued a comment, which appeared in Twitter, that he sought an apology for his past defamatory comments against the upper castes and that he looks upto the upper castes with the clean slate and without any past baggage. Significantly, it is a new syndrome for the upper castes to be feted by all the parties and, therefore, now it has choices to exercise; it may no more stand solidly behind any political ideology, unless it fees that the given party will seriously cater to its interests. In this given backdrop, although the upper castes by and large will stay with the BJP for this general elecion 2019, they now has a bigger political space which was not available to them in the past. Hence, the upper castes should welcome this new opportunity in the polity, where it can increasingly discover their lost voice and shall assert themselves once again. They should weight their own options before going enmasse for any particular political alliance, and shall not fall for any political party or coalition which subserves their interest to the other numerically powerful segments. The collective upper caste assertion will significantly make them a key player in the vote bank politics, whereas their fragmentation into different sub- groups is the only recipe for their political marginalisation as they have experienced now. It is, therefore, the new dawn for the upper cstes to rejoice as this new prospect of electoral permutation and combination which covets their collective vote bank, will ensure their political empowerment in the days to come.
The trinity of dissidents turned rebels—How their collective fates hang in balance?
Note: This author greets all esteemd intellectuals on the grand occasion of Maha Ashtami today. Let the blessings of motherDurga penetrate every such home which hitherto has not experienced the resplendence of golden rays of sunlight. Let Bharatvarsha once again return to Mauryan glory, where India presides over the desiny of the world as its political, economical and spiritual guru—this is the blessings this writer seeks from mother goddess for our beloved nation on this auspicious day.
The trinity of dissidents turned rebels— How their fates hang in balance?
With Shatrughan Sinha, all set to join Congress or RJD, for contesting the election from Patna Sahib , his fellow co-traveller whom he loves to call Yashwant Bhai, notwithstanding his ravings and rantings at Modi, is destined for embracing poliitcal wildeness in the wake of his exit from BJP. Kirti Azad, despite lying low for a while after unleashing vitriol against Jaitley, now desperately has been seeking reconcilation with the BJP high command, appears today on the horns of dilemma, with betenoir Sanjay Jha, leaving no stone unturned in cosying upto BJP, his erstwhile party, to get its benign blessings for his candidacy for Darbhanaga constituency, is in all likelihood staring at vacuum. Willy nilly the fate of this redoubtable trinity which picked up its gauntlet against Modi government to the rapturous cheers from secualr media and even standing ovation from dynasty, today stand jaded and shattered, with the poliitcal wilderness beckoning them all towards itself.
The latest news of Shatrughan Sinha, putting vermilion on the head of Tejaswi Yadav and decaring his coronation for the future emperor of Bihar, was another sordid drama of so-called Bihari Babu whose political credibility is at an all time low. Shatrughan Sinha, by taking on Prime minister Modi, for his omissions and commissions, has been trying to mobilise the mass opinion against the Prime minister, appears to have lost his little credibility soon after he started his theatrics. In the garb of fulfilling his own personal ambitions. The Bollywood star turned politician, who is well known for his caste bias and his own personal glorification, which always took blind precedence over social and national interest, has been his ingrained habits and personal characteristics. Unfortunately, when the entire nation had paid its glowing tributes to the nation’s yug purush prime minsiter Shri Vajpayee on his demise, Sahtrughan Sinha was nowhere in sight; and, even if he had offered his tributes, perhaps none of the national print media gave weightage to his sentimental and emotional expression. In the hindsight, Shatrughan had never spared anyone in his life: He had targeted the superstar Amitabh Bachchan time and again; however, it was Bachchan’s magnanimity which had often showerd on his fellow colleagues, that he paid a courteous visit to his friend turned critic, when he was recuperating in hospital in Mumbai after the critical operation. Same Shatrughan Sinha had unleashed his tirades against Atal Bihari Vajpayee when the latter was the prime minister, saying, ‘that a cabinet can afford two Brahmins but it hardly has any space for two Lalas’, insinuating in the process, that while Murli Manohar Joshi can juxtapose with the prime minister Vajpayee, Shatrughan Sinha cannot be accommodated along with Yashwant Sinha’. Vajpayee was a generous leader who, keeping in view Shatrughan Sinha’s long term association with BJP, accommodated him as a shipping minsiter in his government then.
But then Modi is no Vajpayee. Shatrughan, perhaps failed to judge that glaring distinction that set Modi apart from Vajpayee. Although his venting frustration brought him the desired dividend in Vajpayee government, Modi is altogether made of different stuffs. He seldom recognises, let alone rewards, those who dare to confront him or the party for personal gratification. Stubborn to the core, Shatrughan had taken cue from Tagore to walk alone if none came in his support when the cause was altruistic; however, poor Shatrughan forgot to note that Tagore had alluded to someone’s daring cause which gathers momenum with the passage of time as the people increasingly identify with it. Little did Shatrughan realise that his rebellion for his self -glorification, will have few and perhaps no takers. Further, Shatrughan failed to align his own personal ambitions with that of the collective aspiration of the masses and, therefore, even today, despite having sounded bugle of his rebellion against prime minister and his government, remains the lone traveller in the path of his vilification campaign against Prime Minister and his cohorts, with his co-traveller fellow brethren Yashwant Sinha giving him company from time to time. Unfortunately, Shatrughan Sinha, failed to read the sign board that his individual agenda, notwithstanding Modi’s detractors lapping him up, will have no genuine takers. And, even Congress Party, realising Shatrughan’s personal ambitions having overtaken his sanity and no public support for his cause, sought to maintain a distance from him. Small wonder the baffled Shatrughan who mistook his personal ambition to challenge Modi’s leadership as mass hysteria against the prime minister, has been running from pillar to post in search of friends. In the process, he had feted Nitish Kumar and dubbed him as the potent challenger to Modi; however, with Nitish joining Modi bandwagon, poor Shatrughan had once again had to scurry for friends who could sympathise with his cause and turn him into a national hero for his cause.
In his frantic pace to look for friends, Shatrghan’s latest discovery is the most corrupt family of Laloo Yadav, whose legendary zeal to preside over the funeral of the last vesiges of governance in Bihar, is an open secret. Now, the same Laloo has been trurned into a saviour of Bihar by Shatrughan, even though Laloo has been cooling his heels in the far distant jail in Ranchi on fodder scam. As if already this is not reprehensible enough, transgressing all the limits of ethics and good sense, Shatrughan had coronated Tejaswi Yadav as the next leader of Bihar under whose leadership Bihar will attain Mauryan glory. Unabashedly, Bihari Babu, even forgot that Tejaswi is already facing series of charges for looting Bihar’s exchequer. But then, how does it matter to the man who once persuaded every single woman from Bihar to abstain from films, but still had little qualms when the time for resisting his own daughter’s overwhelming temptation came to the fore. The so called- self appointed moral guardian of Bihar’s daughters who had a little remorse for sending back scores of young women from Mumbai and counselling them to go back to their state, frustrating their ambitions and dampening their enthusiasm for demonstrating their artistic skills in the tinsel town on the pretext of an act of moral turpitude and physical exploitation, chickeend out to his daughter’s overriding all his thought process and belief system. Ironically, Shatrughan, who never tired from upholding probity in high offices, took little time in undermining it by turning himself into the cheerleader of the most corrupt family in the history of Bihar and even in the nation. For, Shatrughan has no option left, with BJP resolved to deny him the ticket for 2019 general election, he has to join RJD or Congress if he has to successfully contest the election, for despite all his rhetorics and bluffs, he knows his limitations: contesting as an independent will be a sure recipe for an impending disaster. Whereas contesting as an RJD or Congress candidate, will enable him to garner votes of both his community and Yadavs, along with pulling Muslim votes, which collectively can guarantee his success at the hustings.
Darbahnaga, a consituency which is currently held by BJP, where Kirti Azad has been winning for last two terms. The last term he won absolutely because of Modi wave. However, Kirti Azad has displeased and alienated the incumbent leadership of the BJP by picking up the gauntlet against Arun Jatley, accusing him of rampant corruption in Delhi Cricket Control Board, when he presided over the destiny of DCCB. In the process, he seriously fell out of the BJP leadership, and was suspended from the party. Initially, while he anticipated his own martyrdom for a cause which nation held so dear to itself, Kirti went gung ho about it, but soon realised his folly, even anticipating his political harakiri, he sought mending fences with top BJP leadership and, therefore, started praising Modi for his uprightness while continuing his diatribes against Jaitley. Little did Kirti realise that his very gameplan to create a chasm between Modi and Jaitley, will lead him nowhere. And that exactly what happened: Kirti ended up with a suspension order. While Kirti’s dilemma was accentuating, Sanjay Jha, his opponent, who lost against him in 2014, contesting from JDU from Darbhanga, is rejuvenated again to encash upon Kirti’s nemesis. Sanjay, who himself belonged from BJP before he changed sides, is a Jaitley acolite, and has full Jaitley’s backing. But the conundrum is this: Darbhanga is BJP citadel and, therefore, unless the BJP sacrifices the seat in favour of JDU, Sanjay’s dream of getting the seat allocated to JDU, will not attain fruition. Although Sanjay has full backing from Nitish, his biggest concern is: BJP’s sacrificing it in the favour of JDU or else all his dream to won Darbhanga seat will end up as fiasco. Sanjay is not leaving anything to chance. His recent visit to Ahmadabad, where he sought the support of Maithils, especially Dr J.N..Singh, the chief Secretary of Guajrat and a living legend of Mithila, for the ultimate blessings of Shah, the BJP president, is a vindication of the fact that how Sanjay Jha is not leaving any stone unturned in his endeavours to secure Darbhanga seat from BJP’s quota. Even while Sanjay is cris-crossing the landscape of India, Kirti is keeping his hopes alive, as he knows the denial of seat to him by BJP, will leave him nowhere and all his blusters that his in-law’s place being just few kilometers away( Nehra village in Darbhanga) is enough for him to get him votes, irrespective of the party he contests from. For, Kirti knows too well that denial of sea by BJP, tantamounts to writing his political obituary from Darbhanga, especially when his wife Poonam Azad had already joined Congress Party in Delhi and his doing the same is no guarantee for ticket being allotted to him, and even if it is allotted, the victory from Congress ticket is too distant a dream to be accomplished from Darbahnga in 2019.
Yashwant Sinha, an erudite politician is now in no man’s land. His virulent attacks against Modi, has thus far failed to evoke any response from general public, even though his columns and press conferences are forming the building blocks of the national mainstream media like NDTV, Express and Telegraph, the known Modi baiters. Yashwant’s biggest hypocrisy is this: While he publicly poses as the strongest critic of Modi regime, his son basks in the glory of Modi government, being a member of his cabinet. Now, the septugenarian who is just a year away from turning into eighty, has held the flag of revolt aloft, realsing little that all his hypocrisy has no tangible impact in the public domain, for people are no more fools to fall prey to his rebellion voice. His new avatar as the reincarnation of Jai Prakash Narayan, even failed to take off, as people could seldom forget his own involvement in UTI scam which was one of the tiggers for Vajpayee government losing public sympathy in 2004. Also, his Dhritrastra like love for his son cannot escape the public notice. Otherwise, why didn’t he display the courage that was exhibited by the jubilee star Rajendra Kuamr who had the courage and the conviction to disown publicly his son Kumar Gaurav, after the latter had refused to marry Raj Kappor’s daughter. Kumar Gaurav was only allowed to see his father’s dead body as he was expelled from the house. Where is such public declaration, Mr yashwant Sinha, if you really think your son is principally and ideologically wrong, why don’t you publicly dosown him? Yashwant’s all bluff has no credibility in public perception and, therefore, all his crying hoarse over Modi government’s financial profligacy and misgovernance, has no takers. Yashwant Sinha is politically a dead horse now.
Thanks & Regards,
Alas, India would have shed some tears for Professor G.D.Agrawal
Vivekanand Jha pays glowing tributes to Professor G.D.Agrawal for embracing martyrdom for protesting against the degeneration of Ganga into one of the most polluted rivers of the country.
Cry my beloved BharatVarsha, thy has none to mop up your tears, for your cry will cease to awaken your own sons and daughters who are drunk today not with the glorious nectar of oriental priceless treasure, but are overwhelmed with aping the occidental superficiality which has come to define their national characteristics today. This modern India no more prizes upon Bhagiratha’s legendary tapasaya for bringing Ganga on the earth, but laps up scores of such thugs and charlatans who daily pollute and defile her, yet publicly make a great show of their deep reverence for her.
In this boisterous democracy, where the voice of sanity often gets drowned by an overwhelming and an overpowering cacophony of dichotomous voices which creates needless sound and fury; the saner voice of those who dare transcend the mediocrity and think beyond, often ends up as a casualty at the altar of ‘mundaneness’ and ‘pedestrian’ mindset which govern the actions and the emotions of the republic. The death of G.D.Agrawal is the latest episode of a man who dared to think beyond, but ended up without there being listeners to his noble and patriotic cause that he espoused so passionately. Will his sacrifice lend strength to the movement of the purification of Ganga , or his will be another sad saga of a brillaint sacrifice for the national cause which will go unsung and un- mourned in the annals of history of independent India?
The sad death of Mr G.D.Agrawal, in the wake of his hunger strike, which continued for almost one hundred and eleven days, indeed cast a pall of gloom on the right thinking citizens of India, including this writer. Although this writer had no personal acquiantaince with him, yet he knew that this professor of IIT kanpur, was staunchly devoted to the cause of liberating mother Ganga of all her impurities that has come to characterise her in the recent years. Professor G.D.Agrawal, who later became an ascetic, had assumed a new name of Swami Sanand, was on a fast unto death in Matrisadan in Haridwar Ashram, staunchly demanding that river Ganga needed to be given the attention that she all along deserved. He was also the member of the Central Pollution Control Board and, therefore, had a greater stake in ensuring the purification of Ganga on a fire fighting mode. He had placed his list of demands for the same with the union government, and finally embraced death when such demands were not met. In fact, his demands were not something profound but contained the legitimate aspirations of the masses that always intended to see that Ganga stands purified. Although the central government wanted him to withdraw his movement, but his adamancy that he would discuss the issue threadbare with no less than a person of Prime minister’s stature, was simply thwarted. The Prime minister failed to honour his wish and finally he left this world with his mission remaining unaccomplished.
It was not that Mr G.D.Agrawal, an octogenarian, was the first man to have become a martyr at the sacred cause of purifying Ganga. His predecessor for the same cause Nigmanandjee Maharaj, a Maithil too, had sacrificed his life on the same mission. Swami Nigmanad Mahraj reportedly died in controversial circumstances unsung and un-mourned. He was protesting against the sand mafia and construction of various dams on Ganga, which had resulted in the over pollution of the river. Ironically, while Indian media hysterically obsesses itself with bogus and unproductive news of various types pertaining to politicians, the news of the sacrifice of life by Swamy Nigmanand Maharaj was considered too naive to find its due coverage. No wonder the whole episode vindicates the point that in a boisterous and noisy democracy today, the voice of sanity is hardly heard and given due attention that it all along deserves. Interestingly, the media’s obsession with the sleazy news of Ram Rahim and Honeypreet continued for months, with almsot all media–both print as well as electronic—focussing obsessively on that news; however, the media neither had the time and the incentive to even casually cover the news of a little known saint whose determination to lay down his life for the noble cause, hardly resonated with the mainstream media. But then would the national mainstream media ever have given a decent burial to any such news involving Baba Ramdev if he had taken up any such issue with equal intensity? It is worth recalling that how Ramdev’s news of saving his life by disguising as a woman in Ram Lila Maidan during Manmohan Singh regime, formed the central news of all the electronic and print media. The moot question now: Whether Modi government would have allowed the celebrity like Amitabh Bachchan or, Yoga Guru Baba Ramdev or, meditation guru Pudit Shri Shri Ravi Shankar to sacrifice his life on some national cause without being pro-active to save his life?And, even if that amounted to meeting them personally, perhaps prime minister would never have hesitated to meet either of them to pacify him to withdraw their demand. But then G.D.Agrawal was neither of them, nor he had the solid public backing; hence, embracing martyrdom was the solitary option left for him, when the prime minister showed little penachant in meeting him, let alone conceding to his demand in the public interest.
Paradoxically, when some known figure or a celebrity, takes up any issue irrespective of its implication for public good, the media blows it out of proportion; however, even the issue involving the greater public good, if taken up by the lesser mortals, they are outright dismissed as cheap theatrics to grab public attention. A man like Arvind Kejriwal, who is well known for public theatrics, is feted by the media for all his nonsense, yet someone with as bonafide an intention as Professor G.D.Agrawal dies without himself being heard. And that Professor Agrawal insisted to share his technical expertise with the the power that be so that the agonising issue of pollution of Ganga could have been averted, regrettably failed to stir the national consciousness even a bit, is a sad reflection of reality of contemporary times. In a bout of frustration, Professor Agrawal had reported to have said that who would he share his expertise with? In the same vein, he contented whether he would have to share his expertise with the media which, he felt, had no technical competency to covet his ideas and knowledge. Sadly, even if the 1/10th of the crowd which had expressed deep saolidarity with Anna Hazare at Ram Lila Maidain in Delhi, would have stood behind G.D.Agrawal, hopefully he would be still alive today. However in the absence of the pressure group, G.D.Agrawal died without his issue catching the imagination of the public at large. Unfortunately, as Anna Hazare’s movement to cleanse Indian polity of corruption like virus, was opportunistically hijacked by Kejriwal, G.D.Agrawal’s voice too was silenced for ever, with chances of opportunists finally stealing with the limelight in the future.
But, now the moot point is: Will India allow Bhagirath’s legendary penance to bring Ganga for India’s salvation on earth, to die its unnatural death, especially with the passing away of one of its noble soldiers who sincerely thought of reviving the river which has almost reached the pinnacle of its decline? With the saner voices getting choked amidst the growing cacophony which seems to overwhelm the polity in the contemporary times, it is becoming increasingly apparent that the man like G.D.Agrawal, even though dies thousand times, yet the public consciousness cannot be stirred. Regrettably, the hugely purportedly popular voices of Ramdev and even Pundit Ravi Shankar, being conspicuous by their absence in such noble causes like cleansing Ganga, it appears that the basic proplem of purifying Ganga will remain as unsolved as ever. Worse still, the government’s allocation to the tune of thousand of crores of money channelised towards purification of Ganga, has hardly yielded any dividend thus far. The committee of experts, as constituted by Uma Bharti, the erstwhile minister of water resources, for cleansing Ganga, even failed to hold its maiden meeting, the prospect of purifying Ganga appears as remote as it was when the purification drive was initially conceptualised with huge enthusiasm. Significantly, even Prime minister, thus far, has failed to live upto his expectations to revolutionse Ganga the way he had promised to his electorate in Benaras before he formed his government in 2014.
Jagatguru Shankaracharya of Govardhan Math, says, that if you want to weaken any movement, then go for fast unto death, because then the attention of the nation is focussed on the individuals rather than on the movement. Whereas the same cannot be denied, the question does arise that how should one make his voice heard on a significant issue when no one is listening him? Mahatma Gandhi’s taking recourse to fast unto death at every drop of hat and, that too, every now and then, could stir the national consciousness , because he remained a popular figure across the world. In contrast, the far lesser mortals like Professor G.D.Agrawal who strive to catch the nation’s popular imagination on such an important issue as cleansing Ganga, fails to evoke national sentiment and consequently dies unsung and un-mourned. But it is a time that nation should wake up. It is the time that nation should seriously ponder the legendary Bhagiratha’s histroical endeavours to bring Ganga on earth. Will they allow Ganga to perish, and let the men like Swami Nigmanandjee and Professor G.D.Agrawal’s martyrdom to go in vain? Even the prime minsiter should ponder that should it not have been worthwhile for him to meet Prof.G.D.Agrawal and assure him that his sacrifice would not go in vain? Even though Prime minister’s time is not easily available because of his stately conduct of duty, yet Prime minister should explain the nation that how his going to attend the marriage function of the sons of the politicians takes precedence over that of meeting someone who embraces martyrdom for such a noble cause as seeking the revival of Ganga which is the soul of Bharat Varsha? It is highly incumbent upon the prime minsiter to take the nation into confidence now and publicly assure the nation that his martyrdom will not go in vain. Professor G.D.Agrawal is no more with us but his soul continues to remind the nation that India is increasingly getting detached from its moorings and, therefore, if this trend continues, perhaps none can dare to be another G.D.Agrawal to strive to stir the national consciousness for the issues that remained so dear to the nation once upon a time. The martyrdom of Professor Agrawal is a clarion call to the nation to return to its roots.