Category Archives: Gujarat

(In Gujarati): Naresh Patel, Kagvad, Keshubhai and “Frightened Society”

This article in Gujarati exposes Keshubhai Patel’s game plan of dividing the Gujarat electorate by raising bogey of “injustice to Leua Patel” where he has used his henchman, one Nartesh  Patel to collect funds in name of a goddess and using religious platform to do political activities.

Gaurang

http://kinner-aacharya.blogspot.com/2012/12/blog-post.html

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

નરેશ પટેલ, કાગવડ, કેશુભાઈ અને “ભયભીત સમાજ” !!

Posted by Kinner Aacharya at 4:21 PM

 

નરેશ પટેલના નિવેદનો માત્ર આંચકારૂપ નથી પરંતુ એ સમસ્ત સમાજવ્યવસ્થાનો, સામાજીક ઢાંચાનો તથા ચૂંટણી વ્યવસ્થાનો અને બંધારણના મૂળભૂળ સિદ્ધાંતોનો ધ્વંશ કરનારા પણ છે
 
 
 
         
 
થોડા દિવસો પહેલા મારા બનેવી અને લેખક – પ્રકાશક, નરેશ શાહ સાથે વાતો ચાલતી હતી.સ્વાભાવિક રીતે જ ચર્ચાનો વિષય હતા લેઉવા પટેલ સમાજના કહેવાતા અગ્રણી એવા નરેશ પટેલ.  એમની પ્રવૃત્તિઓથી હવે કોઈ અજાણ નથી અને સમાજ ( અમારે મન સમાજ એટલે સમગ્ર સમાજ, બ્રાહ્મણ કે જૈન નહિ!) માટે જેમને રતીભારની પણ ફિકર હોય તેવા લોકોને આ પ્રવૃત્તિઓ કઠતી હશે તેમાં બેમત નથી.  “કંઇક કરવું જોઈએ” એવી વાતો સાથે અમે છુટ્ટા પડ્યા, પરંતુ નરેશભાઈને ચૈન ના પડ્યું અને તેમણે આ બાબતે એક લખાણ તૈયાર કરી ને જનતા પ્રેસ કોન્ફરન્સ (રેસકોર્સના બગીચામાં, નાસ્તો-પાણી વગર!)  બોલાવવાનું નક્કી કર્યું.  કોઈ કારણોસર એ શક્ય ના બન્યું પરંતુ એમણે મને કેટલાક મુદ્દાઓ આપ્યા, થોડા મુદ્દાઓ મારા દિમાગમાં હતા – એ બંનેનું મિશ્રણ કરી આ નાનો એવો લેખ તૈયાર કર્યો છે.  આશા છે કે, જેમને સમગ્ર સમાજની ચિંતા છે અને જે લોકો આવા છેલ્લી કક્ષાના જ્ઞાતિવાદથી ત્રસ્ત છે , દુ:ખી છે – એવા તમામ લોકો આ વિચારોને યથાશક્તિ ફેલાવવાનું કાર્ય કરશે … 
શું તમારી બદલે કોઈ જીવી લે, તમારી બદલે કોઈ શ્વાસ લઇ લે એ શક્ય છે?:
જો “ના” , તો પછી તમારે મત કોને આપવો એ અંગે નિર્ણય અન્ય કોઈ શા માટે લઇ શકે?

છેલ્લાં કેટલાંક સમય દરમિયાન ખોડલધામ ફેમ નરેશ પટેલના જે પ્રકારનાં નિવેદનો અખબારોમાં આવી રહ્યાં છે તે સમગ્ર સમાજ માટે આંચકારૂપ છે. આપણે અહીં સમગ્ર સમાજની વાત કરી રહ્યાં છીએ અને સમગ્ર સમાજમાં વાણીયાં-બ્રાહ્મણ-લોહાણા, મોચી, સુથાર, લોહાર, કુંભાર, દલિતો, મુસ્લીમો તથા અદિવાસીઓ વગેરે પ્રત્યેક કોમ સાથે કડવા અને લેઉઆ પટેલો પણ આપમેળે સમાવિષ્ટ થઇ જાય છે. યાદ રહેઃ નરેશ પટેલના નિવેદનો માત્ર આંચકારૂપ નથી પરંતુ એ સમસ્ત સમાજવ્યવસ્થાનો, સામાજીક ઢાંચાનો તથા ચૂંટણી વ્યવસ્થાનો અને બંધારણના મૂળભૂળ સિદ્ધાંતોનો ધ્વંશ કરનારા પણ છે. એમના નિવેદનો ઘાતક છે, એમની હરકતો નજીકના ભવિષ્યમાં જ વર્ગ વિગ્રહ ભડકાવે તેવી પુરેપુરી શક્યતાઓ છે.
માતાજીના ધર્મસ્થાનનાં નામે ટોળા ભેગા કરવા અને પછી રીતસરનું રાજકીય બ્લેક મેઈલિંગ શરૂ કરવું, જ્ઞાતિવાદ ભડકે તેવી હરકતો ખુલ્લેઆમ કરવી… એ જ્ઞાતિવાદ નથી તો બીજું શું છે? હમણાં જ ભાઇ નરેશ પટેલએ એવું કહ્યું કે, “જે પક્ષ લેઉઆ પટેલોને વધુ ટિકિટ આપશે તેને લેઉઆ પટેલો મત આપશે!” બીજું નિવેદન એવું કર્યુ કે, “અમે રાજકીય પક્ષોની વર્તણૂંક જોઇને નક્કી કરીશું કે, અમારે કોને મત આપવો!” પછી એમ કહ્યું કે, “લેઉવા પટેલોએ યહૂદીઓની જેમ એકતા દાખવવાની જરૂર છે!’ આજે જ્યારે સૌપ્રથમ જરૂરત ભારતીય બનવાની છે ત્યારે આવી વાતો ધડમાથા વગરની લાગે છે! બહુ વિચિત્ર લાગે તેવી આ વાતો છે. આખા લેઉઆ પટેલ સમાજ વતી નિર્ણયો લેવાનો અધિકાર તેમને કોણે આપ્યો? કોને મત આપવો-કોને ન આપવો, એ દરેક વ્યક્તિની અંગત બાબત છે. તેનાં માટે કોઇ જ્ઞાતિના બની બેઠેલા નેતા વ઼્હીપ જારી કરી શકે નહિ. આવો ફેંસલો કે ચૂકાદો કોઇ વ્યક્તિ જાહેર કરતી હોય તો એ સમાજને માટે ઘાતક પણ છે અને ચૂંટણીની મૂળભૂત ભાવનાને ખત્મ કરનારો પણ છે.
સામાન્ય નાગરિક તરીકે અમને લાગે છે કે, આવા નિવેદનો વાંચીને બાકીની દરેક જ્ઞાતિના લોકોનું લોહી ઉકળી ઉઠે છે. ખરેખર તો લેઉઆ પટેલોનું પણ ઉકળવું જ જોઇએ. કોઇ એક વ્યક્તિ તેમના વતી આવા ફેંસલાઓ લઇ કેવી રીતે શકે? બહુ નિખાલસતાથી કહીએ તો કહી શકાય કે, નરેશ                                                                                                                                                                                                                        જેવાં લોકોને કારણે લેઉઆ પટેલ જ્ઞાતિ પણ સમાજના તમામ ઇત્તર વર્ગમાં ચર્ચાનો વિષય બની રહી છે. આ નરી વાસ્તવિકતા છે. રાજકીય મર્યાદાઓના કારણે અને અન્ય અનેક પ્રકારનાં ડરને લીધે લોકો જાહેરમાં કશું બોલી શકતા નથી પરંતુ લોકોમાં આ અંગે ભારોભાર રોષ છે. અમે અનુભવ્યું  છે કે, ઘણાં લેઉઆ પટેલોને પણ આવી જ્ઞાતિવાદી હરકતો ગમતી નથી પરંતુ તેમનો કોઇ વોઇસ નથી. અથવા તો જ્ઞાતિથી અળગા થવાની તેમની પાસે નૈતિક હિમ્મત નથી.
પરિસ્થિતિ બહુ ગંભિર છે. ધર્મનો ઓટલો હવે રાજકીય રોટલો શેકવા માટે ઉપયોગમાં લેવાય છે. માતાજીના નામે લાખ્ખો લોકોને ભેગા કરીને તેમને રાજકીય સંદેશાઓ અપાય છે. કોઇપણ સમાજ માટે આ માનસિક નાદુરસ્તીની નિશાની છે. શું આપણો સમાજ રિવર્સ ગીયરમાં ચાલી રહ્યો છે? શું આપણે જ્ઞાતિવાદ અને કોમવાદથી ખદબદતા આપણાં ભૂતકાળ તરફ ગતિ કરવી છે? દરેક સમાજે તે વિશે વિચાર કરવો પડશે. લેઉઆ પટેલોએ સૌથી વધુ ગંભિરતા રાખીને આ અંગે ચિંતન કરવું પડશે. જ્ઞાતિની સંખ્યાના આધારે ટિકિટો માંગતા રહીશું તો જાહેર જીવનમાં આપણે વધુ અંધાધુંધી સર્જીશું.
આપણો સમાજ કઇ દિશામાં ગતિ કરશે તેનો બહુ મોટો આધાર પટેલો પર છે. પટેલો પાસે અઢળક ધનસંપદા અને રિસોર્સીસ છે. એમની સુખાકારીને તેઓ હકારાત્મક માર્ગે ઉપયોગ કરે એ ઇચ્છનીય છે, એ જ સાચો રસ્તો છે. સૌથી વધુ સુખી-સંપન્ન હોવાનાં નાતે તેઓ પર વિશિષ્ટ સામાજીક જવાબદારી છે. તેઓ ઇચ્છે તો સમાજને નવો રાહ ચીંધી શકે તેમ છે. પણ એ માટે જ્ઞાતિના રાગડા તાણવાનું બંધ કરવું પડશે અને અન્યાયનાં ઠાલાં મરશિયાને પણ વિરામ આપવો પડશે.
`અન્યાય…. અન્યાય….’ની આ કેશુભાઈની વાતો બાલીશ પણ છે, જુઠ્ઠી છે અને સમાજને ગેરમાર્ગે દોરનારી છે. `સમાજ’ની `એકતા’ના નામે અહીં ખુલ્લેઆમ દાદાગીરી થઇ રહી છે. બ્લેક મેઇલિંગ થઇ રહ્યું છે. અને અન્યાયના નામે લેઉઆ પટેલ જ્ઞાતિની સહાનૂભૂતિ મેળવવાનો તથા તેમનાં પર કાબૂ લેવાના પ્રયાસો થઇ રહ્યાં છે. સવાલ એ છે કે, અન્યાયના ગાણા ગાતા અગ્રણીઓ આ અન્યાયની વિગતો શા માટે આપતા નથી? ગુજરાતના રાજકારણમાં સૌથી વધુ વજન પટેલોનું જ છે અને સ્થાનિક-કોર્પોરેટરોથી શરૂ કરીને મંત્રીમંડળ સુધી પટેલોની જ બોલબાલા છે. ગુજરાતના 182માંથી કેટલા ધારાસભ્યો પટેલ છે? જરા આંકડો કાઢી જુઓ એટલે આપોઆપ ખ્યાલ આવી જશે। ગુજરાતનાં રપ મંત્રીઓમાંથી આઠ મંત્રીઓ પટેલ છે! સૌથી વધુ ટિકિટો તેમને મળે છે, સત્તા તેમને મળે છે. ગુજરાતનાં 14માંથી ત્રણ મુખ્યમંત્રી પટેલ જ્ઞાતિનાં રહ્યાં છે. વેપારથી લઇ રાજકારણ સુધીના દરેક ક્ષેત્રોમાં પટેલોની બોલબાલા છે. પટેલોને જો અન્યાય થતો હોય તો શું આવી સ્થિતિ હોઇ શકે?
કેશુભાઇ પટેલ જેવા નેતાઓએ પણ સમાજનું ઓછું નુકસાન નથી કર્યુ. સૌપ્રથમ તો તેમણે સમાજ (લેઉઆ પટેલ સમાજ)ને અન્યાયના નામે સહાનૂભૂતિ ઉઘરાવવાની ચેષ્ઠા કરી. દાવ ઊંધો પડતા સમાજ (સમગ્ર સમાજ) ભયભીત હોવાનું કહ્યું. એમની દૃષ્ટિ લેઉઆ પટેલ સમાજથી શરૂ કરીને લેઉઆ પટેલ સમાજ પર જ ખતમ થઇ જાય છે. એમની અંગત રાજકીય પછડાટનો બદલો વાળવા હવે તેઓ જ્ઞાતિનો તલવાર-ઢાલ તરીકે રીતસર દુરૂપયોગ કરી રહ્યાં છે.
 
 
 
જ્ઞાતિની એકતાના નામે જાણે ઘેટાચરાને ઉત્તેજન અપાઇ રહ્યું હોય એમ લાગે છે. માતાજીના નામે થતા મેળાવડાઓનો ઉપયોગ અંગત મહત્વાકાંક્ષા પૂર્ણ કરવા થઇ રહ્યો હોય એવું લાગે છે. આ સમય આવા મેળાવડાઓમાં જોડાઇ જવાનો નથી પણ જાગી જવાનો છે. દુનિયા ક્યાંથી ક્યાં પહોંચી ગઇ અને આપણે જ્ઞાતિના નામે રક્તતૂલા જેવા ગતકડા જ કરી રહ્યાં છીએ. હા! કચડાયેલી અને પીડિત જ્ઞાતિઓનાં લોકો `એકતા’ની અને અન્યાયની વાતો કરે તો સમજી શકાય એમ છે. પણ વાણીયા, બ્રાહ્મણ, લોહાણા કે પટેલોને કોણ અન્યાય કરી શકવાનું છે? જ્યાં જ્ઞાન, ભણતર, સાહસ અને ઉદ્યમ હોય ત્યાં અન્યાય ટકી જ ના શકે. પટેલો પાસે અખૂટ રીસોર્સીસ છે, એશ્વર્ય છે, સત્તા છે. શું નરેશ પટેલ જેવા લોકો એવું ઇચ્છે છે કે, ગુજરાતનાં તમામ ધારાસભ્ય લેઉઆ પટેલ જ હોવા જોઇએ!
જ્ઞાતિના નામે દાદાગીરીનો આ ખેલ એક ખોટું ઉદાહરણ બેસાડી રહ્યો છે. નરેશ પટેલમાંથી દરેક જ્ઞાતિના-ગામના ઉતાર જેવાં લોકો વાહિયાત પ્રેરણા મેળવી રહ્યાં છે. બ્રહ્મ સેના કે એવી કોઈ સંસ્થા દ્વારા બ્રાહ્મણો માટે ટિકિટ મંગાઈ છે, પુરુષોત્તમ સોલંકી કહે છે કે, કોળીઓને ઓછામાં ઓછી ચાલીસ ટિકિટો આપો! આ તમામ વાતો વાહિયાત છે. અમે બ્રાહ્મણ અને જૈન છીએ  પરંતુ જ્ઞાતિના આધારે કે સંખ્યાના આધારે કોઈ બ્રાહ્મણને ટિકિટ મળતી હોય તો તેની સામે  અમારો સખ્ત વિરોધ છે.  થોડા સમય પહેલા કેટલાંક બ્રાહ્મણોએ સંજીવ ભટ્ટ અને હરેન પંડ્યાના નામે ઉપવાસ માંડ્યા હતાં અને `બ્રાહ્મણોને અન્યાય’ના વાજાં વગાડ્યા હતાં. શું સંજીવ ભટ્ટને કોઇ અન્યાય થયો છે? જો થયો જ હોય તો એ એટલા માટે થયો છે કે, તેઓ બ્રાહ્મણ છે? હરેન પંડ્યા બ્રાહ્મણ હતા એટલે તેમની હત્યા થઇ હતી શું? આવા તાયફાઓ સામાન્ય રીતે પોતાનો સ્વાર્થ સાધવા જ થતા હોય છે. અને આવા દરેક પ્રયાસ સામે અમારો વિરોધ છે. પછી એ પ્રયત્ય બ્રાહ્મણો દ્વારા થતો હોય કે કોઇ લોહાણા અગણી તરફથી થતો હોય કે પછી નરેશ પટેલ દ્વારા થતો હોય.
જ્ઞાતિના બની બેઠેલા અગ્રણીઓ એ વાત જાણી લે કે, જે-તે જ્ઞાતિ તેમની જાગિર નથી અને જ્ઞાતિજનો તેમના ગુલામ નથી. અઢાર વર્ષની વય પછી દરેક નાગરિકને પોતાની વિવેકબુદ્ધિ મુજબ મતદાન કરવાનો અધિકાર છે. તેમને જ્ઞાતિના મંચ પરથી કે ધાર્મિક મેળાવડાના સ્ટેજ પરથી સૂચનાઓ આપવામાં સાર નથી. `અન્યાય…. અન્યાય….’ના ગીતડા ગાતા નીકળેલા કેશુભાઇ પટેલ જેવા નેતાઓએ પણ સમાજનું ઓછું નુકસાન નથી કર્યુ. સૌપ્રથમ તો તેમણે સમાજ (લેઉઆ પટેલ સમાજ)ને અન્યાયના નામે સહાનૂભૂતિ ઉઘરાવવાની ચેષ્ઠા કરી. દાવ ઊંધો પડતા સમાજ (સમગ્ર સમાજ) ભયભીત હોવાનું કહ્યું. એમની દૃષ્ટિ લેઉઆ પટેલ સમાજથી શરૂ કરીને લેઉઆ પટેલ સમાજ પર જ ખતમ થઇ જાય છે. એમની અંગત રાજકીય પછડાટનો બદલો વાળવા હવે તેઓ જ્ઞાતિનો તલવાર-ઢાલ તરીકે રીતસર દુરૂપયોગ કરી રહ્યાં છે.
કોઇ જ રાજકીય પક્ષ સાથે અમારે સ્નાન સૂતકનો પણ વ્યવહાર નથી. ભાજપ હોય કે કોંગ્રેસ હોય… બધા જ પક્ષો જ્ઞાતિઓનો ઉપયોગ કરતા રહ્યાં છે. આ શિરસ્તા સામે દરેક જાગૃત નાગરિકનો ઉગ્ર વિરોધ હોવો જ જોઇએ. પણ સૌથી વધુ વિરોધ તો આ નવા શરૂ થયેલા ટ્રેન્ડ સામે છે-જેમાં જ્ઞાતિના બની બેઠેલા રખેવાળો જ જ્ઞાતિનો ઉપયોગ કરી જાય છે. આ ઘટનાઓ ભયાનક છે, સમાજને વેરણછેરણ કરનારી છે. અમને લાગે છે કે, આવી હરકતો સામે લાલબત્તી ધરવામાં માધ્યમો પણ ઉણાં ઉતરી રહ્યાં છે. નવી શરૂ થયેલી આ પ્રથાને અને આ મહાન કુવિચારને ઉગતો જ ડામી દેવા માટે માધ્યમોનું પ્રદાન અનિવાર્ય છે. માધ્યમો જો આવા દૂષણોને માઇલેજ આપવાનું બંધ કરે તો આપોઆપ તેઓ કદ મુજબ વેતરાઇ જશે. તેમનું કદ મીડિયાએ જ મોટું કર્યુ છે. મીડિયા ન હોય તો તેઓ કશું જ નથી.
જ્ઞાતિવાદ લગભગ દરેક જ્ઞાતિઓમાં વત્તાઓછા અંશે જોવા મળતો હોય છે. પરંતુ અહીં સૌથી વધુ ઉલ્લેખ નરેશ પટેલનો કરવો પડ્યો છે. કારણ કે, તેમણે છેલ્લાં થોડા વર્ષોમાં જ્ઞાતિના નામે ઉપાડો લીધો છે. એમની અંગત મહત્વાકાંક્ષાઓ સાકાર કરવા તેઓ લેઉઆ પટેલ જ્ઞાતિનો નિસરણી તરીકે ઉપયોગ કરી રહ્યાં છે. દુઃખની વાત એ છે કે, પોતાનું કદ મોટું કરવા માટે તેઓ ખોડલધામને માધ્યમ બનાવી રહ્યાં છે.
અમારે કેટલીક મહત્વપૂર્ણ અને સ્પષ્ટ વાતો કહેવી છેઃ
 જ્ઞાતિના નામે ટિકિટો માંગતા અને જ્ઞાતિને અન્યાય થવાનું ગાયન ગાતા દરેક લોકોને પ્રજા જ જાકારો આપે, પછી એ જ્ઞાતિ લેઉઆ-કડવા હોય કે બ્રાહ્મણો હોય કે લોહાણા હોય કે જૈન કે અન્ય કોઇ હોય.
 જ્ઞાતિનાં નામે વ઼્હીપ જારી કરતા લોકોને તંત્ર જ દંડ કરે, સાણસામાં લે અને પગલા ઉઠાવે તેવી અપીલ છે.
 બંધારણએ 18 વર્ષથી વધુના નાગરિકોને સ્વતંત્ર વિવેકબુદ્ધિથી મતદાનનો અધિકાર આપ્યો છે. લોકો જાતે જ નક્કી કરે કે તેઓ કોને મત આપવા માંગે છે. પોતાના જ્ઞાતિબંધુને જ મત આપવો જરૂરી નથી. સામેનો ઉમેદવાર સારો-સ્વચ્છ હોય તો તેને મત આપીએ.
 પ્રજા પણ જ્ઞાતિના નામે ભોળવાય નહિં. શાંત ચિત્તથી વિચાર કરે, સમાજને સ્પર્શતા વિવિધ મુદાઓ જેવા કે, માળખાગત સુવિધાઓ, ભ્રષ્ટાચાર, લાઇટ-પાણી-રોડ રસ્તાઓ, જાહેર આરોગ્ય, સલામતી, કાનૂન અને વ્યવસ્થા વગેરે બાબતે કઇ પાર્ટીનું શું પ્રદાન અને અભિગમ છે એ વિશે વિચારીને લોકો સ્વયં નિર્ણય લે કે તેઓ કોને મત આપવા માંગે છે.
 નરેશ પટેલને સણસણતો જવાબ આપવાનો શ્રેષ્ઠ રસ્તો એ છે કે, બાકીની તમામ જ્ઞાતિઓના વિવિધ મંડળો પોતાની જ્ઞાતિમાં એવો સંદેશ આપે કે, “લોકો પોતાની વિવેકબુદ્ધિથી મતદાન કરે. જ્ઞાતિ જોઇને મત ન આપે.”
છેલ્લી પરંતુ બહુ જરૂરી સ્પષ્ટતાઃ
અમે  કોઇ ચળવળકાર નથી, કોઇ જ્ઞાતિનાં વિરોધી નથી અને કોઇનાં તરફદાર નથી. આ કોઇ ઝૂંબેશ નથી, આ માત્ર એક સંદેશ છે – અમારી લાગણી છે. મારા જેવાં કરોડો લોકો જે વિચારે છે તેને અમે આપ સુધી પહોંચાડ્યું છે. આ વિશે હવે પછી અમે  કોઇ કાર્યક્રમ નથી કરવાનો , સંમેલનોનો તો પ્રશ્ન જ નથી. કોઇ એક લેખ લખીને આ વાત પ્રજા સમક્ષ પહોંચે કે કેમ એ ખ્યાલ નથી પરંતુ સાવ એમ ને એમ બેસી રહેવા કરતા કૈંક કરવું બહેતર છે એમ માની આ લખ્યું છે! હમણાં જ ક્યાંક વાંચ્ય હતું:
 
“મંઝીલ મિલ હીં જાયેગી ભટકતે હીં સહી, 
ગુમરાહ તો વોહ હૈ જો ઘર સે નીકલે હીં નહિ !”
 
આ પ્રજાની લાગણી છે, આવું અમે જ વિચારીએ છીએ તેવું નથી. સમાજમાં આવા વિચારોનો વધુ પ્રચાર-પ્રસાર થાય એ જરૂરી છે અને એ માટે અમે  આપ સૌની મદદ માંગીએ છીએ. અમારે જે કહેવું હતું એ કહ્યું છે. હવેની જવાબદારી જાગૃત નાગરિકોની છે, સ્વૈચ્છિક સંસ્થાઓની છે.



-કિન્નર આચાર્ય                                           -નરેશ શાહ 

My Shopping Experience in Karnavati (Ahmedabad)’s Famous Manekchawk area

(This was written on 11/11/12)

I went shopping in Manek Chawk, Tran Darwaja (three gates) area of Karnavati (Ahmedabad) today. In American parlance this would be called downtown.

It was a veritable sea of humanity and vehicles of all shape and color. Traffic was so intense that pedestrians were vying for a foothold along with scooters, motor bikes, bicycles, rickshaws, cars, tempos and everything else on four wheels. There were shouting match a galore and nilly willy I got in an argument with a motor bike driver who found fault with us hapless pedestrians; when he kept telling me to move to the side, when there was really no side to move to, I had to ask him, if he wanted me to walk over his and other drivers’ heads or would he be rather satisfied by driving over all of us. At times I thought, no matter how much I tried to be careful, a wheel was going to run over my foot. Fact that this is Deepawali time, did not help the matters.

I was told to watch my wallet and there were signs all over the place not to put one’s purse or wallet in the shopping bag. I had divided my few thousand rupees in two pant pockets and was constantly on guard; however, if one would have been able to take it from my pocket in that dense crowd where it was hard to even know where your limbs were, he/she would have well deserved it!
Traafic-ManekchawkIn a sense it was a microcosm of what Bharat is all about. Intense struggle and competition to stay afloat and survival of the fittest. No niceties here, no “thank you” or “excuse me” here. It was sheer sense of self preservation.Another aspect was the varieties of products available. For those who do not know Karnavati or Manek Chawk area, this is mostly, on the road vendors markets competing with super crowded, small stores.
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You can buy clothes, shoes, artificial and real jewelry, Gold, fire crackers, sweets, decoration items, books, stationery, utensils, fast food, construction items, vegetables, fruits, medicines, flowers, perfumes, furniture- you name it and it is there. These markets spread over less than 0.5 square miles caters to all economic strata, except the super rich or snobs. Amongst all these, there are Mandirs as well as Masjids too and cows find their own way!
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It was interesting to see a hawker shouting sale of a Rs. 80 items for Rs. 60 and exhorting this as the last day of the sale. I have no doubts that were I to go there tomorrow, he would be still repeating that same, last day of sale pitch!Similarly a footpath vendor from whom I bought artificial flowers claimed that it was his “Boni”, meaning it was the first sale of the day while he had already sold to two customers in front and ahead of me! This is Karnavati and this is Bharat- as the song goes, I love my India.IMG_3298Another interesting facet of this “free” enterprise is that a majority of vendors and shopkeepers are Muslims but the buyers are mostly Hindus. As a matter of fact this area is known to be a Muslim fortress for ages. Same people who kill each other during riots, do the business amicably in peaceful times. It is a human paradox.
IMG_3299Observing all these in a span of two hours, I felt that someone should do a Ph.D. on the dynamics of Manek Chawk and Tran Darwaja market. It would surely bring out interesting and hidden facts of this at least, 500 years old market.
At he end of the day, looking to the total traffic indiscipline and chaos, I felt that Bharat could not be a super power in true sense of the word, no matter how affluent it becomes. But then again perhaps, its vitality remains rooted in chaos and not the orderliness of the West to which I am accustomed after spending better part of my life outside Bharat.

In Your Hands Lies future of Bharat- Vote Today, Vote Wisely, Vote BJP

In Your Hands Lies future of Bharat- Vote Today, Vote Wisely, Vote BJP

Today Gujarat goes to poll. This is a momentous day.

It is not the question of whether BJP will win or not

It is not the question of whether BJP will get more seats than in 2007 or not,

It is not the question of whether Narendra Modi will be reelected as Gujarat Chief Minister or not

It is not the question of whether a strong showing in this election will propel Narendra Modi towards candidacy for the position of Bharat’s Prime Minister or not

All of the above questions are important but not as important as the question,

Will this election determine if our nation would get rid of Congress culture once and for all or not?

2300 years back, Pandit Vishnugupta took a vow not to tie his “shikha” until he had uprooted the Nand Dynasty from the soil of the kingdom of Magadha. He achieved this objective and established Maurya Empire, making Chandragupta Maurya its king. We know this Vishnugupta as Chanakya.

Today, you, the Gujarat voters have the historic opportunity to be the Chanakya. You can  hasten throwing of Congress culture lock, stock and barrel in to Hindi Mahasagar a la Chanakya style.

  • To achieve real freedom for Bharat,
  • to end minority appeasement,
  • to end mollycoddling of terrorists,
  • to end rampant Christian conversion,
  • to end losing the Northeast, Kashmir, West Bengal, Kerala and Tamilnadu
  • to end selling off Bharat to Western Imperialism,
  • to end strikes at the roots of Hindu ethos and culture,
  • to end uncontrolled loot to the tune of trillions of rupees of national exchequer,
  • to end division of Bharat by use of caste and religion,
  • to shake off  the death grip of  Nehru-Gandhi dynasty on the body politics of Bharatmata,

You the voters of Gujarat have to start a hurricane to wipe off Congress from its roots in Gujarat.

Let that turn into a tidal wave of Tsunami by 2014 that will destroy Congress from across the land of Bharat

So would the Congress be uprooted and destroyed from Gujarat in 2012 election, in turn leading to its banishment at national level in 2014?

Now, that is the question that this election poses and also offers an opportunity to act.

Do not fail Bharatmata today and on December 17. In your hands lies the future of Bharat. Vote anti-Congress, Vote for Narendrabhai’s BJP.

Forward this to your friends; if needed, translate into Gujarati.

Thank you and Jay Hind

Gaurang G. Vaishnav

Edison, NJ, USA

Gujarat Elections- My Interaction with a Muslim Shop Owner

I was in Gujarat for approximately two and a half weeks around Deepawali time. My travels took me to interiors of Saurasthra region and North Gujarat but this blog is not about my experiences there, though they could become subject of a future blog.

Here I want to talk about my interaction with  a Muslim shop owner in Karnavati, tha tis, Ahmedabad.  Whenever I am in Bharat, I am a loyal customer of a laundry, owned by a Muslim person. All these time, I had never discussed with him politics because one is always on his guards when it comes to Muslim vis-a-vis BJP.  However, this time it was different. I was at the laundry just after Deepawali when commerce in all of Gujarat comes almost to a standstill for full five days!  I was lucky that this laundry was open. As the owner, Ganibhai and I looked at the deserted road which otherwise is a tidal wave of two wheelers and four wheelers, Ganibhai commented on the stillness of time and tranquility. I reminisced about my college days in early sixties and told him how this was a dirt road at that time.  That led to a talk about the development in Karnavati. Ganibhai praised the all-round development, not only in Karnavati but also in Gujarat.  he asked me if I agreed with him, based on my limited exposure. Then, he surprised me when he said,  it was all due to the leadership.

IMG_3622

                                                                                                                                                                              Ganibhai at his Laundry

Cautiously I probed. I asked was it not true that Muslims had a distrust for the leader, that is Narendra Modi? Ganibhai said: “One has to forget what had happened (reference to Godhra and post Godhra riots) and move on. Fact was that Narendrabhai had done wonderful work for all. I asked, “how so? ” Ganibhai: “Before (Modi’s development), where we live, there were dens of gamblers and illicit liquor; our children were becoming hoodlums; there were so many without work. Today men earn honest money, even though they may be hawkers on the street. Our girls now aspire for education and some of them come in the first ten in Board examinations.”  So what about Congress? Ganibhai: “They have used Muslims as pawns:” I asked him if that meant he was going to vote for BJP. His answer was an emphatic Yes and for a good measure he added, “I am a BJP man.”

I came home digesting what I had heard. I realized that up until  now I had heard stories of Muslims coming on board with BJP from BJP leaning friends only. But today, I had heard it from the source. I decided that I should write a blog on this and for that I needed Ganibhai’s photo. So, next day I went to the shop and explained to him that I was going to write an article on Gujarat election from USA and wanted his photograph. He was very glad to hear that and I clicked away.

Thank you, Ganibhai.

Gaurang G. Vaishnav

Gujarat Congress = Gutter Inspector

Gaurang G. Vaishnav

I was in Gujarat for a few days around Deepawali holidays.  As a casual observer, I could see big billboards in Karnavati (that is Ahmedabad) put up by the Congress party to sway voters against  Narendra Modi’s BJP government in the upcoming elections. I have reproduced a few of them here.

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This is the height of negative and misleading propaganda by a party that is known for expertise in dirty deeds.  Of course, anyone with commonsense would be able to see through this misinformation.

For example, one advertisement says, in Gujarat 29% people do not get clean drinking water. But that would also mean that 71% do get it!- Not a bad record in a country where there is acute water shortage.

First picture below cries out that 16,50,000 families are without affordable homes. It gives an impression that this is all BJP’s doing and as if when Congress ruled, all these 16,50,000 families had affordable housing!

Second picture has become a sort of poster child of Congress’s lies. It shows a malnourished baby and then goes on to give figures of malnourished babies in Gujarat. It is a different matter that these figures are from 2007 and things have improved a lot after that. But reason this has become an embarrassment for Congress is that it has come out that the photo is from a Tsunami relief camp in Sri Lanka! 

After seeing all those billboards that concentrated on all the negatives, engineer that I am, I came up with an equation.

 Gujarat Congress = Gutter Inspector

A gutter inspector can only see and smell sewage; he is oblivious to colorful flowers that might be around the landscape.

I am positive that Gujarat’s astute populace will throw the Congress and its minions like the Gujarat Parivartan Party in the gutters of history in coming elections.

#GujCongress=GutterInspector

Hanging out with NaMo late into Friday night — Kanchan Gupta

2 Sept. 2012

Hanging out with NaMo late into Friday night  — Kanchan Gupta

Millions jammed the online highway to Narendra Modi’s Google+ Hangout hosted by Ajay Devgn. Nobody wanted to miss this show and none was disappointed as a real life Singham spoke to Youngistan
I wasn’t aware of a film called Singham till someone drew my attention to a caricature of the movie’s trailer that had been posted on YouTube and named ‘Manmohan Singham’. It was, to borrow an acronym from Youngistan’s lexicon, ‘ROTFL’ stuff. Much later I watched Ajay Devgn aka Singham robustly put down a mafia don-turned-politician. It was a whistle-and-clap movie but very cathartic nonetheless. No less striking was the ease with which Ajay Devgn had slipped into the role of a good cop out to cleanse the world of malcontent. There’s something touchingly sincere about him which came through in The Legend of Bhagat Singh too. He’s not an attention-grabber and, as I have learned in recent days, pretty well-informed on issues that many of his colleagues would possibly find utterly boring or to which they would at best pay lip service if it assured them space on Page 3. It’s not the flaky kind of understanding that makes Amir Khan popular among the chattering classes but a deeper appreciation of how things work in real life, for instance, governance issues.

It’s this insight that has made him look at Gujarat with a critical eye and come up with the assessment that Government works in this State because of the quality of leadership at the helm. His initial interest was limited to checking out Gujarat as an investment destination, but while doing that he realised what makes the State different from others. And from there began an engagement between him and Gujarat which resulted in Friday night’s Google+ Hangout with Chief Minister Narendra Modi that will be talked about and remembered for a long time for multiple reasons ranging from the Internet highway getting jammed by the traffic of millions of people trying to log in for the show (it’s a miracle that YouTube weathered the unexpected turnout so well) to the stunningly candid manner in which a popular leader spoke to young Indians at home and abroad (it’s amazing that a man who is demonised by our biased media as an arrogant, uncaring politician is, in real life, a caring and inspiring leader).

It would be facetious to suggest that the choice of Ajay Devgn as the host for the show was influenced by his popularity as an actor. I think it was his understanding of how the Gujarat Model of Governance works — to quote him, “clear policies” always help — that made him a perfect host for the show. That and his screen image of Singham — the fearless lion who never steps back — made him the right man for the job, although it must be admitted that he has a certain charisma which others lack in his fraternity. In a sense, there were two Singhams hanging out with Young Indians on Friday night: Modi is popularly referred to as “Gujaratka sher”. On Twitter, someone billed the event as “Singham meets Singham” on Friday afternoon. By the time Google’s staff began packing their equipment in Gandhinagar late Friday night, more than two million people who had keenly listened to what Modi had to say on a variety of issues agitating young minds were eager to hail him as “Bharat ka sher”.
Modi’s decision to use this barely tested new platform for a public discussion open to a global audience had captured the imagination of young Indians. Questions poured in by thousands but, given the time constraint, only a few could be answered. But that did not deter anybody from logging in to see the event live. It would seem everybody with a broadband connection was online watching the show on Modi’s YouTube channel. Headlines Today was clever enough to suspend its regular programmes and live telecast the Hangout. Other channels persisted with their late evening shows and came a cropper for that. If anybody were to disclose Friday evening’s TRPs, our news channels would look far worse than they usually do. No amount of tampering with TRP meters or their readings would make them look better.
What Modi did was simple. He bypassed mainstream media, especially the English language media, such as it is, and did his own thing. Since technology is no longer the preserve of big media there’s little that could be done to prevent it. And while doing so, as the transcript of his Hangout will show, he spoke on the future and not the past. There was a message in this: While large sections of the media which shares its agenda with Modi’s political opponents would have liked Friday night’s show to be dominated by the past, Youngistan looks at and thinks about the future. Modi addressed their concerns, leaving his critics to fret and fume. And that’s why he connected so well to the millions of eager listeners.
But technology can only do that much. It can connect a leader with the masses, it cannot make him or her appear credible in the eyes of the masses. Modi used technology to project his credibility, talking to (and not down to) those on the show as well as those watching the show. He talked about growth that would impact all lives, not a few. He spoke about the need to reform our education system not only by setting up better schools but by producing better teachers. He disagreed with the need to stop bright Indians from going abroad — for every bright Indian who leaves India for foreign shores, 10 others are born. He described young Indians as his, and the country’s pride. He reiterated his faith in the principle of equality of opportunity as opposed to equality of outcome. He talked about his favourite dish — khichri — with the same enchanting simplicity as while expressing surprise that ‘Modi Kurta’ had become a fashion statement even in Europe and America. He overawed his audience with statistics by casually mentioning numbers during the two-hour-long virtual conversation as minor details to illustrate the larger point he was constantly making: Good governance makes everything possible. And, not to forget, even in his unpractised humility that kept on surfacing again and again, he displayed the steely resolve and patience of a singham. Responding to a young Indian who lives and works in the US, Modi calmly said that he lives to see the day when Americans will stand in a long queue for a visa to visit a prosperous India, a powerful India.
For a man who has been tormented for a decade by slanderers who hold powerful positions in mainstream media and think nothing of twisting facts to fit into their perverted perceptions, a politician who has been unceasingly defamed by the Delhi-based commentariat that survives on scraps from the Congress high table, a visionary who has the foresight to identify challenges of the future and convert them into advantages but has not been acknowledged for pro-actively pursuing policies and programmes that none has even thought of, Modi is remarkably at peace with himself. As he repeatedly said at Friday night’s Hangout, his only concern is how best to serve Mother India. Everything else is inconsequential. In that assertion lies a message for every Indian.
(The author is a Delhi-based senior journalist.)

Narendra Modi and the Muslim votebank

http://www.vijayvaani.com/FrmPublicDisplayArticle.aspx?id=2376

Narendra Modi and the Muslim votebank

Virendra Parekh

9 July 2012

Before, if ever, Narendra Modi becomes India’s prime minister, he will have to break the stranglehold of the Muslim votebank on Indian politics. His sadbhavna yatras (goodwill missions) to win the confidence of Muslims are good as far as they go. However, even hundreds of such yatras will not take him even an inch closer to the throne of Delhi. Hindus, and Hindus alone, can propel him to power at the Centre, if they choose to.

For BJP’s central leadership, Narendra Modi poses a dilemma: he is viewed as a great asset and also as a great liability. Modi’s popularity crossed the borders of Gujarat long ago. He emerged as a national leader on the back of resolute leadership, efficient administration and a clean image. He enjoys a good deal of support from the RSS, which in BJP is a trump card.

With ears close to the ground, easy accessibility and a sound track record of delivering on promises, Modi has acquired a measure of credibility and charisma which none of the BJP’s central leaders possess. Shivraj Singh Chauhan of Madhya Pradesh and Raman Singh of Chhattisgarh have also earned popularity on similar strengths, but neither appears to be keen, as of now, to play a leading role at the Centre. Modi is a different case. BJP bigwigs cannot ignore him or his ambitions.

However, if Modi is selected to command BJP forces in the forthcoming Lok Sabha election, many BJP leaders will have to forget their ambitions and rein in their lust for power. The pull of such lust should not be underestimated.

These leaders want Modi to campaign for the party, not only in Gujarat, but also in other states where his presence can make a difference, while expecting him to confine his own ambitions to Gujarat. Modi is unwilling to oblige them, unless he could augment his own political capital by campaigning outside Gujarat. He wants to be the commander, not a foot soldier. This subtle tug of war is slowly becoming visible and will emerge out in the open by the time of the Lok Sabha election.

It is equally certain that if BJP selects Narendra Modi as its prime ministerial candidate, it will have to forget not only about the few (if any) Muslim votes it gets, but also about allies who are mortally scared of annoying Muslim votebanks. Therein lies the rub. Barring the Akali Dal and the Shiv Sena, all other parties in the NDA are enamoured of the ‘secular’ label. The hypocrisy of leaders like Nitish Kumar is infuriating. By insisting that the NDA candidate for prime minister must have a ‘secular’ image, he is playing to the green gallery while trying to keep a powerful rival off the field. The ploy is too transparent to be missed, but, unfortunately, it threatens to work.

Muslims are naturally amused to watch the game. In their view, their security (actually, political clout) lies in keeping out of power any party or leader who enjoys any credibility – real or fake – among the Hindus. And if Hindu leaders can articulate that position for them in as many words, so much the better.

This is a decisive moment, not just for the BJP or NDA, but for Hindu society. The modern Hindu intelligentsia has failed to grasp a basic fact: clout, influence, power or authority is central to human relations. Power that is not exercised eventually wears off and vanishes. Hindu intellectuals rarely examine any issue, development or trend in terms of Hindu influence or power. For most of them, such an exercise is weird and anti-secular if not anti-national. They think it is beneath them to indulge in it. Hindu society has paid, and continues to pay, a heavy price for this failure of its intelligentsia.

In the post-independence period, Hindus have never asserted primacy of their civilisational identity at the political level. They have never claimed to be the essential national society, the fulcrum of the polity around which every institution and organization must arrange itself. In contrast, Muslims realize the centrality of power in relations with non-Muslims. They can and do use their votes as an effective political weapon. I do not criticize Muslims for doing so, just as I do not applaud Hindus for neglecting power equations in post-independence India.

Hence it is that Hindus have become political orphans in the only country they can call their own. Hence it is they are still maligned for Gujarat riots ten years after the event, while the original provocation (burning alive of 59 Hindus by a Muslim mob without any provocation) is all but forgotten. Hence it is that heartrending tales of Kashmiri pundits, who have suffered far greater atrocities for much longer, hardly ever evokes any sympathy at all from any political party – not even the BJP. Hence it is that Hindus can speak as Dalits, Adivasis, Jats, Yadavs, Kurmis, Lingayats, Reddys, Vanniars and Nairs, but not as Hindus. Hence it is that 12 per cent Muslims, without uttering a word, can frighten mighty Hindu politicians into rejecting anyone with Hindu credentials…

In the pre-independence period, a con game was played in the name of nationalism. Only that party, that leader was national (and could speak for the whole country) which was not opposed by the Muslim League. In this reckoning, the Congress was an organization of Hindu banias, but the Communist Party of India was a national organization. After independence, the same game is played in the name of secularism. Only that party, that leader, that programme or proposal is secular which is not opposed by Muslims. The name has changed, participants have changed, but the game remains unchanged. And so does its objective: to keep the Hindus on the defensive.

How history repeats itself! Congress is now saying about BJP whatever Jinnah used to say about Congress in 1940s: that it is a party of Hindu banias, that Muslims can never expect justice from it, that if it ever came to power then Muslims will have to fear for their lives and so on. Again the object is the same: to use Muslims as political pawns to delegitimize and checkmate nationalist sentiments.

Narendra Modi has the power to break this game. Without a single Muslim vote, without making any special or specific gesture to Muslims, he has swept assembly elections, not once, but twice, in Gujarat. He has demonstrated that if Hindus stand solidly behind any leader, he does not have to flatter Muslims. This is why he is regarded as a mortal enemy by most Muslims, all brokers of Muslim votes, and all parties hankering after the Muslim votebank.

If Modi can replicate at the national level what he has done in Gujarat, it will decisively break the stranglehold of Muslim votebanks on Indian politics, breathe a new self-confidence in Hindu society and force a rethink among Hindu politicians in non-BJP parties. Muslims will become just one of the many groups in Indian politics and thus join the national mainstream.

Whether Modi is interested in attempting this feat, whether BJP will give him an opportunity to make such an attempt is, of course, another matter. His sadbhavna yatras have aroused speculation that he, too, may be craving acceptability among circles that want BJP to shed every trace of Hinduness. As to BJP, it does not deserve a single Hindu vote as of now as a party of Hindu nationalism. But that does not affect the position outlined in the earlier passages.

If the BJP really regards itself as a party of Indian nationalism, it should distance itself from those hankering after the 12 per cent votebank and announce Narendra Modi as its prime ministerial candidate for 2014 Lok Sabha election.

The author is Executive Editor, Corporate India, and lives in Mumbai

Not ‘Secularism’ again by Talveen Singh in Indian Express

Not ‘Secularism’ again
Tavleen Singh
Posted online: Sun Jun 24 2012
Indian Express

Now that the Chief Minister of Bihar has dragged ‘succularism’ into the political discourse, it is time to deconstruct it so that we can end this pointless debate once and for all. I have deliberately misspelt the word because when said in Hindi that is how it is usually pronounced. It is a hard word to write in devnagri and the Hindi and Urdu equivalents do not quite mean what secularism has come to mean in the Indian political context. It is a foreign word that evolved in a European context when the powers of the church and the state were separated. In India, since none of our religions were led by pontiffs who controlled armies, or had vast temporal powers, we had no need to make this separation.

But, the word secularism is used in India more than almost any other country. Why?

Well, because when we entered our current era of coalition governments, political parties of leftist disposition found it convenient to keep the BJP out of power by saying they would only ally with ‘succular phorces’. The BJP became a pariah after the Babri Masjid came down and so whenever someone like Nitish Kumar wants to hurl abuse at the party he is in alliance with in Bihar, or one of its leaders, the ‘secularism’ debate gets revived.

Currently, he appears to be positioning himself for prime minister in 2014 and seems to believe that he will only be in the running for this job if he can eliminate Narendra Modi before the race begins. He is not alone in this endeavour. On my wanderings in Delhi’s corridors of power last week, I ran into journalists and politicians who went on and on about how Modi could never be prime minister because of the violence in Gujarat in 2002.

They said pretty much what the Chief Minister of Bihar, and his cohorts, have said which is that the prime minister must be a man who is ‘clean and secular’. So how do we explain Rajiv Gandhi? How should we understand why he was given the biggest mandate in Indian parliamentary history after justifying the pogroms that killed thousands more Sikhs in 1984 than Muslims were killed in Gujarat in 2002? Were Indian voters un-secular when they gave him more than 400 seats in the Lok Sabha?

If there were still a chance of major communal riots in the future, there may have been some point to reviving this talk of secularism. But, there has not been a single major Hindu-Muslim riot since 2002 despite Muslims from next door having been responsible for the worst terrorist attack on Indian soil in 2008. Before 26/11, there were other attacks by Islamists on Hindu temples, commuter trains in Mumbai, stadiums in Hyderabad and bazaars in Delhi. None of these ugly acts of violence caused riots. Our 24-hour news channels have made communal riots impossible and the average Muslim has begun to understand this. I noticed this while travelling in Uttar Pradesh during the recent elections.

So let us stop this silly talk of secularism and communalism and start demanding from those who want to become India’s next prime minister that they tell us what they can do for this country.

Here is my own list of questions.

What will the next Prime Minister do to end the licence raj that prevents the education system from achieving its full potential? What will he do to fix our broken public healthcare system? What will he do to make sure that every Indian has enough electricity to at least light a few bulbs and run a ceiling fan in his home? What will he do to create new jobs for the estimated 13 million young Indians who enter the job market every year? What will he do to revive the Indian economy? What steps will he take to ensure that India becomes a fully developed country by the middle of this century?

When I heard Aung San Suu Kyi’s address to both houses of Britian’s Parliament in Westminster hall last week, what impressed me was the clarity with which she spelt out her vision for her country. But, throughout her speech, something kept bothering me and by the time she finished, I discovered what it was. What bothered me was that I could not think of a single Indian leader who could make such a speech.

The Indian political landscape today has become a desert in which only the stunted progeny of stunted political leaders bloom. We need our political parties to throw up real leaders and we need a political discourse in which real political problems are discussed.

So can we stop fishing ‘secularism’ out of the dustbin of history and holding it up as a shining ideal? Its relevance faded a long time ago.

Follow Tavleen on : Twitter @ tavleen_singh
http://www.indianexpress.com/story-print/965967/

DEFINING ‘SECULAR’: THE WAR RAGES ON — ARVIND LAVAKARE

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June 29, 2012

Defining ‘Secular’: The war rages on

Arvind Lavakare

It was Nitish Kumar who lit the fuse on the amorphous word this time. He did that last week by warning that his party, the Janata Dal (United) would accept only a ‘secular’ prime minister. His target was clearly Narendra Modi, said to be the likely choice of the BJP for that post. Why the Bihar CM’s bouncer to his ally BJP should have been bowled at the time it was is a separate subject for debate.

The issue is that Kumar was wrong in not realising that:

Even after 10 years of investigations, Narendra Modi is still innocent of the charge of being personally responsible for the post Godhra riots of 2002. Even Supreme Court judge Ajit Pasayat, (now retired), who orally alluded to ‘Nero fiddling while Rome burnt’ during a hearing on Godhra did not have evidence to put down that remark in his written judgment.

Amidst the decade-old demonisation of Modi unleashing a ‘Genocide’ against Muslims, nobody has explained why, of the total 1044 killed in those riots, 254 were Hindus.

Modi fielded 247 Muslim candidates on the BJP card in Gujarat’s civic elections of October 2010, and, more unbelievably, 118 of them were victorious. Would a ‘communal’ chief minister do that ‘secular’ act?

Even after Indira Gandhi got the word ‘Secular’ into the Preamble of the Constitution of India with the 42nd Constitution Amendment Act, 1976, our nation is not secular. Take a look below

‘Dr Ambedkar made it clear in Parliament that he did not believe our Constitution was secular because it allowed different treatment to various communities and the legislatures could frame separate laws for different communities.’ (‘Reforming The Constitution’ UBS Publishers Distributors Ltd, 1992, edited by Subhash C Kashyap, an eminent Constitutional authority.)

In the above book, Kashyap writes, ‘Where there is discrimination between man and man on the grounds of religions… where the administration of places of worship can be entrusted to Government Officers… where even fundamental rights are demanded and conceded on grounds of communities, it is a cruel joke to talk of secularism.’

The Indian nation as a whole is itself not ‘secular.’ Unknown to almost our entire political class, the Preamble of the separate Jammu and Kashmir State Constitution, November 1956, does not proclaim J&K State as a ‘Secular’ State, courtesy Article 370.

Come now to Mohan Bhagwat, the RSS chief who was provoked by Kumar’s remark to talk of dharmanirpeksh. He too was wrong in not realising that the word dharmanirpeksh does not denote the adjective ‘secular.’ The exact Hindi word for ‘secular’ is panthnirpeksha, coined, at the behest of Indira Gandhi, by Lakshmi Mall Singhvi, (1931-2007), a literary figure and an altogether very versatile personality who was awarded the Padma Bhushan in 1998… He said the word ‘secular’ should more appropriately be translated as panthnirpeksh. He argued that dharma, the fundamental duty, is the foundation ethic of the Indian nation and of every walk of life, and the very foundation for the section called Fundamental Duties of Citizens being part of Mrs Gandhi’s Constitutional amendment. Panth, on the other hand, meant religion. That is how the word panthnirpeksh to denote ‘secular’ got into the Hindi version of the Preamble of our Constitution. It is, therefore, a shame that dharm continues to appear in Articles 15, 16 and 25 of our Constitution’s Hindi version with regard to ‘Prohibition of discrimination…,’ ‘Equality of opportunity…’ and ‘Right to freedom of Religion’ respectively in the English version.

Below is another true story.

In 1977, the Janata Party government introduced a Constitution Amendment Bill wherein one clause sought to define the word ‘Secular’ as ‘equal respect for all religions.’ The proposal was passed in the Lok Sabha where the newly elected Janata Party was dominant, but was rejected by the Congress majority in the Rajya Sabha.

The Congress should no longer object to that definition suggested 34 years ago. Why? Because in a lecture delivered on June 9, 2007, at the Nexus Institute, The Hague, Sonia Gandhi herself proclaimed that ‘India is a secular country. The term secularism means equal respect for all religions.’

Let me end with a poser. A political party represented in our Parliament from 1952 till now says in its website that among its aims is ‘To secure and protect the rights and interests of the Muslims and other minorities in the state.’ Which is that party? And can it be labelled as ‘secular?’

Published Date: Jun 29, 2012
http://epaper.dnaindia.com/story.aspx?id=20964&boxid=14757&ed_date=2012-6-29&ed_code=820009&ed_page=9

SIT report uncovers the murky world of anti-Modi cottage industry, where cops, journalists, NGOs, politicians are in nexus

(our Thanks to DeshGujarat.com and Japan Pathak)

http://deshgujarat.com/2012/05/09/sit-report-uncovers-the-murky-world-of-anti-modi-cottage-industry-where-cops-journalists-ngos-politicians-are-in-attempt-to-misuse-the-court-read-it-to-believe-it/

                                                                                                                             Sanjiv Bhatt

Ahmedabad, 9 May 2012

In its closure report, the Special Investigation Team (SIT) has clearly expressed an opinion that “certain vested interests including Shri Sanjiv Bhatt, different NGOs, and some political leaders were trying to use honorable Supreme Court/SIT as a forum for settling their scores”. The SIT has in its report noted that “Shri Sanjiv Bhatt had been colluding with the persons with vested interests to see that some kind of charge-sheet is filed against Shri Narendra Modi and others.” The report has quoted some email communications of Sanjiv Bhatt that clearly make a point that Bhatt had attempted to influence Amicas Curiae through NGOs, media campaign and pressure groups.

The SIT in it report says: Government of Gujarat vide its letter dated 22-6-2011 forwarded a set of emails exchanged between Shri Sanjiv Bhatt, DIG, Gujarat Police and certain individuals during April and May 2011. It was mentioned in the above letter that during the course of an inquiry instituted against Shri Sanjiv Bhatt, IPS by DG (Civil Defense), Gujarat regarding misuse of official resources, some revelations have been made having direct bearing on the cases being monitored by SIT. The material forwarded by Govt. of Gujarat has been scrutinized and the salient features of the same are summarized as below:

(1) That top Congress leaders of Gujarat namely Shri Shaktisinh Gohil, Leader of Opposition in Gujarat Legislative Assembly and Shri Arjun Modhwadia, President of Gujarat Pradesh Congress Committee are in constant touch with Shri Sanjiv Bhatt, DIG. They are providing him ‘packages’, certain materials and also legal assistance. Further, on 28-04-2011 Shri Sanjiv Bhatt exchanged mails with Shri Shaktisinh Gohil and the former gave point for arguments in honorable Supreme Court matter, allegations to be made against the members of SIT and to establish that the burning of a coach of a Sabarmati Express at Godhra railway station was not a conspiracy. From the emails, it appears that Shri Sanjiv Bhatt was holding personal meetings with senior mentions that he was ‘under exploited’ by the lawyer representing Congress before Nanavati Commission of inquiry.

2. That Shri Sanjiv Bhatt had been persuading various NGOs and other interested groups to influence the Ld. Amicus Curiae and the honorable Supreme Court of India by using ‘media card’ and ‘pressure groups’.

3. Shri Sanjiv Bhatt had been exchanging emails with one Nasir Chippa and in the email dated 11-5-2011 Shri Bhatt has stated that he (Nasir Chipa) should try to mobilize support/pressure-groups in Delhi to influence Ld. Amicus Curiae Shri Raju Ramchandran in a very subtle manner. In another email dated 18-5-2011, Shri Sanjiv Bhatt had requested Shri Nasir Chippa to influence Home Minister Shri P.Chidambaram through pressure groups in U.S. It is believed that Shri Nasir Chippa has strong U.S. connections and his family stays there.

4. That Shri Sanjiv Bhatt arranged an appeal from Shri M.Hassan Jowher, who runs a so called NGO titled SPRAT(Society for Promoting Rationality) to Amicus Curiae on 13-5-2011, to call Shri Sanjiv Bhatt, IPS, Shri Rajnish Rai, IPS, Shri Satish Verma, IPS, Shri Kuldeep Sharma, IPS and Shri Rahul Sharma, IPS (all police officers of Gujarat) to tender their version of the Gujarat story. It may be mentioned here that the draft for the said appeal was sent by Shri Sanjiv Bhatt himself to Shri Jowher, Further, a copy of this mail was circulated by Shri Sanjiv Bhatt to Ms. Shabnam Hashmi, Ms. Teesta Setalwad, Shri Himanshu Thakker, journalist, Shri Leo Saldana, journalist and Shri Nasir Chippa to encourage the prominent persons/organizations to write to Amicus Curiae on the similar lines so as to pressurize him.

5. In emails exchanged on June 1, 2011 between Shri Sanjiv Bhatt and Shri M.H.Jowher, it was proposed that a PIL may be field through a lawyer named Shri K.Vakharia( a senior advocate and chairman of legal cell of Congress party in Gujarat) in the Gujarat High Court for providing security to Shri Sanjiv Bhatt. It was also proposed that another complaint may be filed with the Commissioner of Police, Ahmedabad city against Shri Narendra Modi and others for his alleged involvement in 2002 riots which would be taken to appropriate judicial forums in due course.

6.That Ms. Teesta Setalwad, her lawyer Shri Mihir Desai and Journalist Shri Manoj Mitta of Times of India were in constant touch with Shri Sanjiv Bhatt, IPS and were instrumental in arranging / drafting of the affidavit for filing the same in honorable Supreme court. Vide email dated 10-4-2011, Shri Bhatt solicited “Co-ordinates” from Ms. Teesta Setalwad, who had also arranged for a meeting with her lawyer Shri Mihir Desai at Ellis bridge Gymkhana, Ahmedabad. Shri Sanjiv Bhatt sent the first draft of his proposed affidavit to Shri Manoj Mitta on 13-4-2011, after meeting Shri Mihir Desai, Advocate and invited his suggestions. Shri Manoj Mitta advised Shri Sanjiv Bhatt to incorporate a few more paragraphs drafted by him which were incorporated by Shri Sanjiv Bhatt in his final affidavit sent to honorable Supreme Court of India as suggested by Shri Mitta.

7. That Shri Sanjiv Bhatt was instrumental in arranging an affidavit of one Shri Shubhranshu Chaudhary, a journalist, to corroborate his claim that he had gone to attend a meeting called by the Chief Minister at his residence in the night of 27-2-2002. Significantly, Shri Bhatt had sent his mobile phone details of 27-2-2002 to Shri Shubhranshu Chaudhary and had also suggested that probable timings of his meeting to Shri Shubhranshu Chaudhary on 15-5-2011. Simultaneously, these details were sent to Ms. Teesta Setalwad on 16-5-2011, for drafting the document, presumably the affidavit to be filed by Shri Shubhranshu Chaudhary. Shri Sanjiv Bhatt sent an email to Shri Shubhranshu Chaudhary that the said affidavit could be leaked out to the print media which would force the Amicus Curiae and honorable Supreme Court to take notice of the same. Shri Sanjiv Bhatt also sent another email to Shri Shubhranshu Chaudhary, in which he has stated that they should play the ‘media trick’ so that affidavit is taken seriously by Amicus Curiae and the honorable Supreme Court.

8. That Shri Sanjiv Bhatt had been exchanging emails with one Leo Saldana, a Narmada Bachao Andolan activist, with a view to mobilize public opinion in their favor. On 1-5-2011, Shri Sanjiv Bhatt had sent an email to the latter to the effect that what they needed to do at this stage was to create a situation, where it would be difficult for three judges Supreme Court bench to disregard the ‘shortcomings of SIT under stewardship of Mr. Raghavan’ and that the pressure groups and opinion makers in Delhi could be of great help in forwarding the cause. He has further stated in the mail that he was hopeful that things would start turning around from the next hearing, if proper pressure was maintained at national level.

9.That Shri Sanjiv Bhatt was trying to contact Shri K.S.Subramanyam, a retired IPS officer, through Shri Nasir Chippato make an affidavit supporting his stand with a view to convince the Amicus Curiae and through him the honorable Supreme Court of India that Shri K.Chakravarthi, former DGP of Gujarat, was a liar.

10. That Shri Sanjiv Bhatt had been taking advice of Ms. Teesta Setalwad in connection with his evidence before Nanavati Commission of inquiry. He had also been in touch with various journalists, NGOs and had been forwarding his representations, applications and other documents through email, whereas on the other side he had been claiming privilege that being an intelligence officer he was duty bound not to disclose anything unless, he was legally compelled to do so.

11. That Shri Sanjiv Bhatt had been maintaining a close contact with Shri Rahul Sharma, DIG of Gujarat Police and had been getting his mobile phone calls analyzed with a view to ascertain his own movements of 27-2-2002. This shows that Bhatt does not recollect his movements on that day. He has also been trying to ascertain the movements of Late Haren Pandya, the then minister of state for Revenue on 27-2-2002, with a view to introduce him as a participant of the meeting of 27-2-2002 held at CM’s residence, but could not do so, as Shri Rahul Sharma had informed him after the analysis that there was absolutely no question of Late Haren Pandya being at Gandhinagar on 27-2-2002 night.

From the study of emails, it appears that certain vested interests including Shri Sanjiv Bhatt, different NGOs, and some political leaders were trying to use honorable Supreme Court/SIT as a forum for settling their scores.This would also go to show that Shri Sanjiv Bhatt had been colluding with the persons with vested interests to see that some kind of charge-sheet is filed against Shri Narendra Modi and others.

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