Thursday, August 27, 2009


The dust has not yet settled down. The churning process still goes on with “desperate” vigour. The proverbial “Amrit” is no where in sight. The churners are losing steam. The “party with a difference” is turning out to be the “party with differences”. Yes, I am writing about BJP.

The “Chinthan Baitak” (brain-storming session) was organized at Shimla with the best of intentions. Contrary to expectations and hopes it has turned out to be a damp squib. This time the bomb shell came in the form of a work by Jaswant Singh, the senior party leader. “Jinnah–India-Partition-Independence”- eulogising the founder of Pakistan simultaneously casting aspersions on Sardar Vallabhai Patel. The same stand of Jaswant Singh held by Lal Krishna Advani in 2005 terming Jinnah a great man only with the exception of keeping mum on Sardar Patel cost him the post of BJP President apparently under orders from paterfamilias- the RSS leadership. The same Lalji Advani had to stand by the majority assembled at Shimla to show the door to Jaswant Singh is a cruel joke of history.

By making Jaswant Singh a martyr, the party with the best of intentions earnestly hoped for keeping the house in order by silencing the dissenting voices waiting in the wings. Party President Rajnath Singh must have aimed at keeping the cadre-based character of the party intact.

Subsequent events dashed his hopes to the ground. Actually he was opening a can of worms. After Jaswant Singh, the most dangerous man appeared on the scene with a challenge to take action against him. He dared to castigate Rajnath Singh and co., called him ‘Alice in Blunderland’ and ‘Humpty Dumpty’, called upon RSS leadership to take over the party leadership. The biting acerbic pen of Arun Shourie is known to all, particularly the leadership. Up till now the leadership has not dared to take disciplinary action against the journalist turned politician. In Rajasthan, the royal blood of Vasundhara Raje, the opposition leader, keeps boiling. The lady is up in arms with the support of more than 70 MLAs. If the latest reports are any indication, she is not willing to step down as opposition leader owning up responsibility for the defeat in the assembly elections in 2008 and the 15th Loksabha elections. Today’s news reports indicate another revolt by B.C.Khanduri, the former CM of Uttarkhand. Who is the next one to take up cudgels? Yashwant Sinha…? No idea.

This is the story of the so-called right-wing party of the nation. What about the communists – the so-called left-wing parties?

Similar is the case with the left also. Here also the churning process has not led them to anywhere. The much touted cadre character is nothing but a charade. Parliamentarism, corruption, nepotism, even sycophancy have reduced the communists to the level of typical bourgeois parties. If an independent political observer points out the rot set in these parties, no amount of frowning or name-calling is the solution. The assembly elections in Kerala, West Bengal and Tripura are scheduled nearly two years from now. No serious attempts are being made to regain the lost ground, which was very much evident in the 15th Loksabha election results except in Tripura, instead much time got wasted in infighting and initiating disciplinary actions.

Genuine criticism from whosoever needs to be heeded by the leadership in true spirit and build up the cadre from grassroots level if the leftists wish to hold sway in politics. Alas dedicated leaders like Pramod Das Gupta, A.K.G, Rajeswar Rao or E.M.S, are nowhere in sight among communist leaders. Holding Press conferences frequently, convening Polit Bureau, penning articles in Party publications, and to and fro flights are not enough for the growth of left movement in the country.

The other day I came across an article by Seema Mustafa in a national daily whom I hold in high esteem. On going through the article, I happened to note her views on the role played by regional parties in India. It was the second time I was reading her encouraging views of regional party politics. Regrettably I can’t digest and agree with her views.

For a third front to come up in India we needn’t have the presence of regional parties. Unfortunately the mushrooming of regional parties in almost all States proved to be detrimental instead of being a boon to the nation. Parochialism, nepotism, narrow-mindedness, lack of a national outlook are all consequences of regional party politics. In the long run, I fear a going back to the days of princely States, might be a possibility. Furthermore, take for example, once communist parties held sway in certain States like Bihar. The likes of Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) of Lalu Prasad Yadav, Lok Janashakthi Party (LJP) of Ram Vilas Paswan, Janata Dal(U) of Sharad Yadav and Nitish Kumar were even unheard of. The myopic views of regional parties confined to their respective State frontiers will always remain a bane of the nation. Now the communist party is practically non-existent there. Regional chauvinism always leads the party leaders to lobby for their respective States caring two hoots for the interests of other States, even if these leaders are holding portfolios at the centre. If the leftists- they are with national outlook also- are nourished and nurtured by the comrades (they will have to take pains) a third front is well nigh possible in India. The leftists will have to seriously ponder over their abject failure in spreading its hold in the Northern States, especially U.P, where Mayawati is allegedly spending crores and crores of rupees in building parks and installing statues of herself, her mentor Kanshi Ram and Ambedkar, while lakhs of hapless citizens are starving from hunger, malnutrition and even pure drinking water. It is a pity that even after sixty two years of Independence, the communist parties are nowhere near reaching a position of power or even a marginal influence in the Northern States.

Thursday, August 13, 2009


I am not sure whether you have read a news report appeared in one of the inner pages of a national daily on Raksha Bandhan Day (Rakhi) symbolizing the bond of sanctity between brother and sister by tying a sacred thread around each other’s wrists. On this auspicious day Muhammad Ajmal Kasab, one of the surviving assassins of 26/11 Mumbai carnage in the course of his trial in a special court in Mumbai was reported to have expressed his ‘desire’ to tie ‘Rakhi’ around the wrists of those present in the court to everybody’s amazement and anger. On reading the news item I recalled the reported story of a girl-child who in the course of the identification parade identified him to her shudder and fear the face of the surviving assassin in the 26/11 Mumbai carnage. Kasab and his accomplice Abu Ismail who maimed her were the murderous assassins who sprayed bullets indiscriminately on the innocent commuters rushing to catch the local trains to their residence at the Chathrapathi Shivaji Terminus (Victoria Terminus) in the late hours after a day’s tiresome work. About 54 of the commuters were killed and more than hundred maimed. Meanwhile the renowned landmarks of Mumbai-Taj Intercontinental, Oberoi-Trident hotels and Leopold restaurant - one frequented mostly by the foreign tourists- all turned into virtual pools of blood by the other colleagues of Kasab , killing more than hundred bringing the throbbing vibrant commercial capital to a horror world. On their way back from Chathrapathi Shivaji Terminus, Madam Cama Hospital also was targeted by Kasab and his accomplice killing hapless patients, hospital staffs and their relatives. These cold-blooded terrorists held Mumbai to ransom from 26/11 to 29/11 (four days) and after fierce clashes- planned and executed by our security personnel murdered eight of the terrorists and Kasab was caught alive leading to a break through during his trial proceedings by police.

While the trial proceeding was going on in the Arthur Road Jail premises before the Honorable Justice Tahaliyani in the presence of all in the court room, about one-two months ago whether on due to guilty conscious thus transforming into a chastened man on a sudden impulse after a brief talk with his lawyer Abbas Kazmi, he confessed to his crime and submitted before the Honorable Justice and appealed to him to award him maximum punishment.

Public Prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam suddenly intervened and appealed to the Honorable Judge his decision to go on with the proceedings and no to allow Kasab’s plea. His submission was promptly granted and Kasab’s confession to the crime was, however, put on record. Actually what prompted Kasab to his appeal midway? Whether this man is really sincere in his admission of guilt?

It was reported in the media of his confession to the gruesome murders was made soon after the news of Pakistan’s admission of Kasab’s Pakistan citizenship. If that be the case, how he got to know the news report? The whole matter still remains in a fluid state.

For argument’s sake assume he is really sincere of his crime.

Then why he is insistent on awarding capital punishment to himself before the completion of trial proceedings? In history there are umpteen instances of historical figures after convinced of their cruel deeds undergoing mental transformation engaging in penance for the rest of their lives. Also certain characters in classics like Raskolnikov in ‘Crime and Punishment’ by Dostovesky Jean-Val-Jean of his ‘Les Miserables’ of Victor Hugo and similar characters.

India is a secular democratic country. A summary trial followed by a quick verdict and its execution, probably a mind- boggling one implemented in front of a wider public is a characteristic of Islamic law in an Islamic nation. Whether it is right or wrong is anybody’s guess. In a democratic nation like India many a legal hurdle has to be crossed to reach a final verdict. Its implementation, for instance, a verdict in a lower court pronouncing the respondent guilty and vice-versa, can be challenged in superial courts and if it be upheld by the Supreme Court the respondent can rightly file a mercy petition before the President and he/she has to refer it to the Law ministry seeking opinion. Only after the President gives the nod to execute the verdict can the next step be taken and it may take months if not years. Kasab must have been aware of this factor. Whether this factor also led to his confession to the crime may be or may be not to emerge a chastened to escape severe punishment.

If Muhammad Ajmal Kasab, the surviving assassin of 26/11 Mumbai carnage is sincere in his confession to his crime, what must be expected of him is to patiently wait for the law to take its course and to accept the verdict regardless of how long it will take.

Monday, August 3, 2009


Some call it “disputed territory”. We call it our territory. The neighbouring country claims it their land staking claim to it even in the international fora like UN. Neither this country nor that country, it belongs to ‘US’ and it will be ‘OURS’ – some are cocksure about it.

The debate, the conflict dates back to 1947. More than six decades. Since then the land renowned for its scenic beauty worldwide is in turmoil experiencing violent clashes between different contenders leading to much bloodshed, loss of innocent lives, army men and destruction of properties almost on a daily basis. The land bore the brunt of three wars aggravating the intensity to the maximum.

Still the land is simmering. Despite slew of measures initiated and adopted by the rulers of both nations nothing fruitful was/is forthcoming. Whenever the leaders sit across the table to bring peace to both sides, a temporary respite comes into force, yes only a temporary respite, then another bout of militant attacks upsetting everyone’s calculations and dreams strike at unexpected locations leading both countries trading charges and baring teeth, with the victimized nation pledging to retaliate vowing to teach the rival nation a lesson. The stalled dialogue between the two nations continues to be in limbo for an unpredicted period and after the dust of rivalry settles down, an offer of dialogue by one country to settle disputes gains momentum and with the acceptance of dialogue by the counterpart, another round begins.

A never ending cycle of dialogues, attacks, again dialogues, then again attacks – this rivalry is a perennial one. The suffering lot are innocent citizens of the accursed land as they are always wont to, also the faceless peace loving citizens of the nation as also those across the world.

Yasin Malik, leader of JKLF for an independent Jammu & Kashmir, Mirwaiz Omar Farooq, leader of the moderate faction of Hurriyat Conference for a middle path between complete autonomy and independence of J&K, Sayed Ali Shah Gilani leader of the militant faction of Hurriyat Conference who is incidentally an unabashed supporter of Pakistan fighting for the secession of Jammu & Kashmir and for annexation of it to Pakistan. The ‘core issue’- these words are very dear to the Retd General Parvez Musharaff, the former military ruler of Pakistan- of Jammu & Kashmir has to be solved as a first step in the right direction for establishing durable peace and security to the volatile region as far as Pakistan rulers are concerned.

Yes, this ‘core issue’ is/was the bone of contention between the two nations from the very outset.

The other three or four mainstream parties are Indian National Congress (the Grand Old Party of India), National Conference headed by Farooq Abdullah and his son Omar Abdullah, Peoples’ Democratic Party headed by Mufti Mohammed Sayed and his daughter Mehbooba Mufti, Bharatiya Janata Party headed by L.K.Advani and Rajnath Singh.

As long as Kashmir remains a ‘core issue’ between the two nations a solution seems a distant dream for all of us Indians. India always claims it an integral part of the nation and to establish the claim before the world, is determined to go to any great lengths. Pakistan, on the other hand is determined not to allow India sleep peacefully as long as India keeps the land a part of it. Besides the rulers of Pakistan, the militant units operating from its soil sneak into J&K with the overt and covert support of the military and engage in throwing bombs, grenades and mercilessly kill people, firing from VVIPs at the top to the lower strata of the society at the bottom – disturbing the already volatile region.

Wither Kashmir? How long our rulers force peace in the land dealing heavy blows on disparate elements? Remember – six decades, three wars, peace initiatives, once in a while, inspite of all these we are back to square one. All are back to square one.

The news reports of rape and murder of women, people falling prey to bullets at different locations in the Kashmir valley and also violent protests led by different political parties as also by citizens are distressing to say the least. And these reports serve as feed to the neighbouring country to rake in incessant troubles to India paving the way for waging relentless attacks in the valley of Kashmir and elsewhere in cahouts with militant outfits operating from across the border. Repression of revolts either by military or paramilitary forces ultimately serves as fuels to the simmering cauldron of enmities between the two nations for the last six decades.