“Saala jhooth bolela, kaali dilli ka chhora saala jhooth bolela” was a soulful but rebellious rendition of a Bhojpuri song which found resonance across eastern Uttar Pradesh and Bihar in 1988-89. A rather little-known Bhojpuri singer named Baleshwar Yadav sung this song at the peak of the Bofors controversy and alluded to the involvement of the then prime minister Rajiv Gandhi in the corruption scandal by referring to him as “kaali Dilli ka chhora (lad from black Delhi)”. Given the melodious nature of the Bhojpuri language, this song was certainly coarse. Yet, it struck the chord with the Bhojpuri belt.
Obviously, in people’s court Rajiv Gandhi was held guilty of the Bofors pay-off in 1989 even though in legal parlance he was innocent. That Baleshwar Yadav’s song conveyed a far deeper political message than legal language was evident in 1989 elections when the Congress was decimated in the polls. Though Rajiv Gandhi and his cohorts tried to defend their position by applying legalese, it only made an adverse impact. V P Singh grew in stature and acceptance, not because of application of his superior oratory or logic but because his political idioms were carried to people like Baleshwar Yadav.
Obviously, the government of the day cannot be faulted for its lack of understanding of India’s political history. Prime minister Manmohan Singh is essentially a career bureaucrat whose brush with politics is self-admittedly a fortuitous event. But there is a battery of leaders within the party who know it quite well that the application of legalese and superior logic is bound to recoil on the government. This is significant in view of the fact that the government has marshalled top-notch lawyers in the garb of politicians to defend its position.
Take, for instance, the spirited defence put up by union home minister P Chidambaram, HRD minister Kapil Sibal or law minister Salman Khursheed who have been targeting and attacking Anna Hazare as if they were performing in a court of law. In a series of press conferences, these ministers have given long expositions on constitutional matters related to individual’s rights, role of parliament and judiciary and executive in a democracy.
The Congress has simultaneously unleashed another lawyer-turned-MP, Manish Tewari, to call Anna names and describe him and his associates as “company” quite akin to the D company. There is no doubt that the government and the Congress have jointly unleashed a battery of lawyers to employ their language to demolish Anna Hazare’s campaign, vilify him and neutralise him with their superior skill of logic.
Contrast this with Anna Hazare’s one-liners coming straight out of innocent rusticity prevalent in India. He offered to serve Kapil Sibal and carry a “bucket of water” for him (“Sibal ke yahan paani bharoonga”) if the Lokpal turns out to be ineffective in tackling corruption. He is not ashamed of showing his ignorance about the complex legalese employed by legal hawks, academia or social elites of Delhi. His certain expressions may sound “anarchic” to constitutionalists. But is India not called a “functional anarchy” by the same set of people?
By all indications, Anna’s political project of getting India rid of corruption has found greater acceptance among people despite the superior logic of his opponents. However, it appears quite amazing that the opposition has still failed to assess the mood of people and has been relying more on the prowess of legalese and complex language and less on its political instincts to comprehend this phenomenon. This is evident by the manner in which the principal opposition, BJP, has not been as forthright in its political response as its ally, Nitish Kumar, with regard to Anna Hazare’s campaign.
There are many instances in Indian political history when people rejected sophisticated language of rulers and opted for a coarse and rustic idiom which found resonance with the people. Ramdhari Singh Dinkar’s famous line “Singhasan khali karo ki janata aati hai” (vacate the throne lest people come) was an instant hit during the emergency period though there were cries of “India is Indira and Indira is India” in a very sophisticated English language by Devkant Baruah.
Though this article is more than 10 years old, it is very relevant today; it sheds light on how Sonia Gandhi has lied, broken laws and looted the country- Moderator
September 13, 1999
The day I entered Indiraji’s household I became an Indian, the rest is just technical — that is Sonia Gandhi’s latest explanation for not having acquired Indian citizenship till fourteen years after her marriage to Rajiv Gandhi.
First the facts. Surya Prakash, the Consulting Editor of The Pioneer, has documented these in detail. Sonia married Rajiv on 25 February, 1968. Under section 5(c) of the Indian Citizenship Act she became eligible to register herself as a citizen ofIndiaon 25 February, 1973. She chose to continue as a citizen ofItaly. She applied for Indian citizenship only ten years later, on 7 April, 1983.
A foreigner seeking Indian citizenship has to state on oath that he or she has relinquished his or her citizenship of the original country. This requirement was all the more necessary in the case of an Italian citizen: under Italian law, an Italian taking citizenship of another country continues to retain his or her Italian citizenship. Sonia Gandhi’s application did not have the requisite statement, nor did it have any official document from the appropriate authorities inItaly. The omission was made up in a curious way: the Ambassador of Italy stepped in, and wrote to the Government saying that Sonia Gandhi had indeed given up her citizenship ofItaly. He did so on 27 April, 1983. Sonia got her citizenship forthwith — on 30 April, 1983.
Another nugget Surya Prakash has unearthed is that while Sonia became a citizen on 30 April, 1983, her name made its way to the electoral rolls as of 1 January, 1980! In response to an objection, it had to be deleted in late 1982. But sure enough, it was put back on the electoral roll as of 1 January, 1983. She hadn’t even applied for citizenship till then.
All technicalities! If any ordinary person were to proceed in the same way, he would be up for stern prosecution.
Maruti was one of the most odious scandals connected with Mrs Indira Gandhi and her family. The Commission of Inquiry headed by Justice A C Gupta recorded that, though she was at the time a foreigner, Sonia Gandhi secured shares in two of their family concerns: Maruti Technical Services Pvt. Ltd. (in 1970 and again in 1974), and Maruti Heavy Vehicles (in 1974). The acquisition of these shares was in contravention of the very Act that Mrs Gandhi used to such diabolic effect in persecuting her political opponents, the Foreign Exchange Regulation Act, 1973. Just another technicality!
But the Mother of Technicalities, so to say, is to be found in the way Sonia Gandhi, without having any known sources of income, has become the controller of one of the largest empires of property and patronage inDelhi. The Jawaharlal Nehru Memorial Library and Museum is one of the principal institutions for research on contemporary Indian history. It is situated in and controls real estate which, because of its historical importance, cannot even be valued. The institution runs entirely on grants from the Government of India. Sonia Gandhi has absolutely no qualification that could by any stretch of imagination entitle her to head the institution: has she secured even an elementary university degree, to say nothing of having done anything that would even suggest some specialization in subjects which the institution has been set up to study. But by mysterious technicalities she is today the head of this institution. So much so that she even decides which scholar may have access to papers — even official papers — of Pandit Nehru and others of that family, including, if I may stretch the term, Lady Mountbatten.
Real estate, only slightly less valuable, has been acquired on Raisina Road. The land was meant to house offices of the Congress. A large, ultra-modern building was built — the finance being provided by another bunch of technical devices which remain a mystery. The building had but to get completed, and Sonia appropriated it for the other Foundation she completely controls — the Rajiv Gandhi Foundation. The Congress(I) did not just oblige by keeping silent about the takeover of its building, in the very first budget its Government presented upon returning to power, it provided Rs 100 crores to this Foundation. The furore that give-away caused was so great that the largesse had to be canceled. No problem. Business house after business house, even public sector enterprises incurring huge losses, coughed up crores.
The Foundation has performed two principal functions. The projection of Sonia Gandhi. And enticing an array of leaders, intellectuals, journalists etc. into nets of patronage and pelf.
But the audacity with which the land and building were usurped and funds raised for this Foundation falls into the second order of smalls when they are set alongside what has been done in regard to the Indira Gandhi National Centre for Arts.
This Centre was set up as a trust in 1987 by a resolution of the Cabinet. The Government of India gave Rs. 50 crores out of the Consolidated Fund of India as a corpus fund to this Centre. It transferred 23 acres of land along what is surely one of the costliest sites in the world –Central Vista, the stretch that runs between Rashtrapati Bhavan and India Gate — to this Trust. Furthermore, it granted another Rs. 84 crores for the Trust to construct its building.
The land was government land. The funds were government funds. Accordingly, care was taken to ensure that the Trust would remain under the overall control of the Government of India. Therefore, the Deed of the Trust provided, inter alia,
- Every ten years two-thirds of the trustees would retire. One half of the vacancies caused would be filled by the Government. One half would be filled by nominations made by the retiring trustees.
- The Member Secretary of the Trust would be nominated by the Government on such terms and conditions as the Government may decide.
- The President of India would appoint a committee from time to time to review the working of the Trust, and the recommendations of the committee would be binding on the Trust.
- No changes would be made in the deed of the Trust except by prior written sanction of the Government, and even then the changes may be adopted only by three-quarters of the Trustees agreeing to them at a meeting specially convened for the purpose.
Now, just see what technical wonders were performed one fine afternoon.
A meeting like any other meeting of the trustees was convened on 18 May, 1995. The minutes of this meeting which I have before me list all the subjects which were discussed — the minutes were circulated officially by Dr Kapila Vatsyayan in her capacity as the Director of the Centre with the observation, “The Minutes of this meeting have been approved by Smt Sonia Gandhi, President of the IGNCA Trust.”
What did the assembled personages discuss and approve? Even if the topics seem mundane, do read them carefully — for they contain a vital clue, the Sherlock Holmes clue so to say, about what did not happen.
The minutes report that the following subjects were discussed:
1: Indira Gandhi Memorial Fellowship Scheme and the Research Grant Scheme.
2: Commemoration volume in the memory of Stella Kramrisch.
3: Sale of publications of the IGNCA.
4: Manuscripts on music and dance belonging to the former ruling house of Raigarh in M P
5: Report on the 10th and 11th meetings of the Executive Committee.
6: Approval and adoption of the Annual Report and Annual Accounts, 1993-94.
7: Bilateral and multilateral programmes of IGNCA, and aid from U N agencies, Ford Foundation, Japan Foundation, etc.
8: Brief report on implementation of programmes from April 1994 to March 1995.
9: Brief of initiatives taken by IGNCA to strengthen dialogue between Indian and Vietnam, Thailand, Indonesia, China.
10: Documentation of cultural heritage of Indo-Christian, Indo-Islamic and Indo-Zoroastrian communities.
11: Gita Govinda project.
12: IGNCA newsletter.
13: Annual Action Plan, 1995-96.
14: Calendar of events. 15: Publications of IGNCA.
15: Matters relating to building project.
16: Allocations/release of funds for the IGNCA building project.
There is not one word in the minutes that the deed of the Trust was even mentioned.
This meeting took place on 18 May, 1995. On 30 May, 1995 Sonia Gandhi performed one of technical miracles. She wrote a letter to the Minister of Human Resources informing him of what she said were alterations in the Trust Deed which the trustees had unanimously approved. Pronto, the Minister wrote back, on 2 June, 1995: “I have great pleasure in communicating to you the Government of India’s approval to the alterations.”
The Minister? The ever-helpful, Madhav Rao Scindia. And wonder of wonders, in his other capacity he had attended the meeting on 18 May as a trustee of the IGNCA, the meeting which had not, according to the minutes approved by Sonia Gandhi, even discussed, far less “unanimously approved” changes in the Trust Deed.
And what were the changes that Sonia Gandhi managed to get through by this collusive exchange of two letters?
- She became President for life.
- The other trustees — two-thirds of whom were to retire every ten years — became trustees for life. The power of the Government to fill half the vacancies was snuffed out.
- The power of the Government to appoint the Member Secretary of the Trust was snuffed out; henceforth the Trust would appoint its own Member Secretary.
- The power of the President of India to appoint a committee to periodically review the functioning of the Trust was snuffed out; neither he nor Government would have any power to inquire into the working of the Trust.
A Government Trust, a Trust which had received over Rs. 134 crores of the tax-payers’ money, a Trust which had received twenty three acres of invaluable land was, by a simple collusive exchange of a letter each between Sonia Gandhi and one of her gilded attendants became property within her total control.
The usurpation was an absolute fraud. The Trust Deed itself provided that no amendment to it could come into force — on any reasonable reading could not even be initiated and adopted — without prior written permission of the Government. Far from any permission being taken, even information to the effect that changes were being contemplated was not sent to Government. An ex post “approval” was obtained from an obliging trustee.
That “approval” was in itself wholly without warrant. Such sanctions are governed by Rule 4 of the Government of India (Transaction of Business) Rules, 1961. This Rule prescribes that when a subject concerns more than one department, “no order be issued until all such departments have concurred, or failing such concurrence, a decision thereon has been taken by or under the authority of the Cabinet.” Other departments were manifestly concerned, concurrence from them was not even sought. The Cabinet was never apprised.
The rule proceeds to provide, “Unless the case is fully covered by powers to sanction expenditure or to appropriate or re-appropriate funds, conferred by any general or special orders made by the Ministry of Finance, no department shall, without the previous concurrence of the Ministry of Finance, issue any orders which may… (b) involve any grant of land or assignment of revenue or concession, grant… (d) otherwise have a financial bearing whether involving expenditure or not…”
And yet, just as concurrence of other departments had been dispensed with, no approval was taken from the Finance Ministry.
The Indian Express and other papers published details about the fraud by which what was a Government Trust had been converted into a private fief. Two members of Parliament — Justice Ghuman Mal Lodha and Mr. E. Balanandan — began seeking details, and raising objections.
For a full two and a half years, governments — of the Congress(I), and the two that were kept alive by the Congress(I), those of Mr. Deve Gowda and of Mr. I. K. Gujral — made sure that full facts would not be disclosed to the MPs, and that the concerned file would keep shuttling between the Ministry of Human Resource Development and the Ministry of Law.
As a result, Sonia Gandhi continues to have complete control over governmental assets of incalculable value — through technicalities collusively arranged.
A latter-day Dalhousie — annexation of Indian principalities through technicalities!
A very balanced article on double standards of “secular” activists! – Moderator
MADHU PURNIMA KISHWAR, TNN Apr 22, 2011, 12.00am IST
The disdain with which leading lights of the anti-corruption movement – Mallika Sarabhai, Medha Patkar, Kavita Srivastava et al – are publicly threatening to dislodge Anna Hazare from the leadership role because he praised Narendra Modi’s rural development work in Gujarat indicates that the poor man was only being used as a convenient symbol that can be discarded as arbitrarily as he was chosen to lead the ‘movement’.
Human rights activists can retain their credibility only as long as they remain steadfastly non-partisan. To the person killed, it matters little whether the murderous mob was shouting ‘Lal Salaam’, ‘Har Har Mahadev’ or ‘National Unity’ as did the mobs that massacred over 10,000 Sikhs in north India following Indira Gandhi’s assassination. However, the secular brigade shows a consistent soft corner for those who kill under the Maoist or communist banner as well as those who verbally profess secularism.
Narendra Modi’s acts of commission and omission during the 2002 riots deserve the strongest of condemnations. Those crimes need to be impartially investigated and the guilty punished. Just as we are proud that our democratic system ensured a fair trial even for a publicly identified ISI-associated terrorist like Kasab, so also we should let the courts take the Gujarat trials to their logical conclusions.
Those who ask for Modi’s head would do well to remember that hordes of Congressmen in Gujarat gleefully joined the BJP and RSS goons who went around massacring innocent people.
The overall track record of the Congress in this matter is no better, if not much worse, than that of the BJP. In addition to the 1984 massacre of Sikhs in north India, it masterminded numerous other riots through the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s. None of the killers of politically engineered riots in Meerut, Malliana, Bhiwandi, Bhagalpur, Hyderabad, Mumbai, Ahmedabad, Surat and scores of others were ever punished. The Congress also injected terrorism into Punjab by its covert support of Bhindranwale’s Khalistani brigades in order to wrest control of the SGPC that presides over well-endowed gurdwaras. It did incalculable harm to the Sri Lankan Tamils by creating a Frankenstein’s monster like the LTTE. The secessionist movement in Kashmir owes its origins and draws sustenance from the Congress party’s penchant for rigging elections to install puppet chief ministers.
Madhu Kishwar is a well known activist who has worked on behalf of street people, minority rights and authored number of books. See her profile at:
Posted by: “AK Agarwal” firstname.lastname@example.org akaindia
Mon Jun 6, 2011 3:55 am (PDT)
arresting / kicking / throwing out the demanders of INDIA’s money back in Ramlila Maidan, Delhi yesterday – A knee-jerk reaction out of panic by a weak prime minister, who does not even fight elections, neither votes
In usa, a person can become President only if he / she himself, and his/her parents are born in usa. Thus, they have at least, pro-usa nationalist feelings, and they can force swiss banks to give them the info that usa wanted
Unlike INDIA, where sonia is more bothered about quattrochi & rahul, and rest of her coitere is busy hiding their personal moneys in swiss banks, including her ex-husband rajeev gandhi
when sanjay gandhi had died in air-crash, indira gandhi had personally went to safdarjung airport police station and tried to serach & collect sanjay gandhi’s watch which contained his swiss bank a/c no., but was told that meneka gandhi had come earler than her, and had already taken that watch away
Digvijay singh today is what Jaichand and Meer Qasim were past in the history.
June 6, 2011:
Those whom the gods wish to destroy they first make mad, says an ancient proverb. This is what comes to mind in the context of the Government’s unprovoked resort to Operation No-Holds-Barred in the early hours of June 5 against Baba Ramdev and his followers at the Ramlila maidan.
While creating an impression of responding to the call of the Baba against corruption and black money, the Government had already drawn up a full-fledged Orbat for neutralising the Baba. For the meticulous planning, stealthy preparations and thorough-going execution, even the colonial, Imperial British can learn a lesson or two from Independent, democratic India’s present-day powers-that-be.
Coming to think of it, there are many uncanny similarities between the crushing of the Quit Corruption movement by the Manmohan Singh Government and two other defining moments of modern Indian history: The Quit India movement of 1942 and the infamous Internal Emergency of 1975.
The Quit India gathering at Bombay on the fateful night of August 9 was also peaceful. Mahatma Gandhi had, no doubt, called upon the British to Quit India, warning them of a ‘mass struggle on non violent lines on the widest possible scale’. But, at the same time, he had expressed his intention to first meet the Viceroy to explore a decent way out of the impasse.
As in the case of the Quit Corruption movement of Baba Ramdev, well past midnight a huge contingent of Imperial police force swooped on the Congress leaders and dragged them post-haste to railway trains standing at the ready on the platform and spirited them away to unknown destinations. One white Inspector of Police had the barbarity to bodily pull and shake the 73-year old Gandhiji so as to wake him up, and directed the blinding blaze of a five-cell torch on his face from close quarters.
The Internal Emergency too was similarly sprung on an unsuspecting Jayaprakash Narayan, Acharya Kripalini and other noble heroes who fought the British, putting up with unbearable privations, suffering and sacrifice.
A thousand leaders — outstanding patriots all who had served the country with distinction for far longer periods than Indira Gandhi — were ruthlessly rounded up well past midnight and lodged in jails at places far away from their home States, keeping their kith and kin in the dark about their fate. Even after the names of their prisons were made public, their close relations were made to undergo the mental, physical and financial torture of having to travel long distances at heavy expense to unfamiliar places if they wanted to exercise their right of meeting the detenus at prescribed intervals.
Thus, in all the three revolting cases, the fact that saintly figures (Gandhiji, Jayaprakash Narayan and Baba Ramdev) were leading the movements was of no consequence to the cruel rulers.
In all the three cases, the common ruse employed was to strike well past midnight so that the media did not get wind of the loathsome repression, and the rulers had a respite from public outrage for at least 30 hours.
In all the three cases, the rulers tried to stamp out movements demanding purity in public life and protesting peacefully against monstrous evils (slavery, authoritarian suppression of civil rights, and corruption-cum-black money) which were making a farce of the Constitution and democratic institutions.
In all the three cases, the rulers justified their indefensible excesses by resorting to calumny and vilifications against those speaking for the people.
In the case of Quit India, the British painted it as a ‘deliberate fifth columnist conspiracy’, for strengthening the Axis powers; in the case of Quit Murdering Democracy, Jayaprakash Narain was almost physically eliminated; and a sustained character-assassination of the Baba followed his launch of the Quit Corruption campaign.
What an atrocious irony that those fighting corruption are sought to be traduced and evicted from their legitimate spaces, whereas those who should have been stripped of all their unmerited positions and ill-gotten possessions and thrown into prison for good are indulging in loot and plunder with impunity, right under the noses of the UPA Government!