When Will Hindus have this sense of history?
“The other option would have been to pull down the structure, but the leaders of the Jewish community were keen on restoring the place for its symbolic importance,”
“On the second floor, too, amidst the freshly-coated walls, the spot where the Rabbi was shot dead by the terrorists, stands untouched.”
“We do not want to whitewash history. We want to keep certain parts the way the terrorists had left it. Our aim is to provide the world a perspective that there is hope and that a candle can light up a dark room,”
Apart from the museum, the Chabad international team is also working on building a memorial in remembrance of all the lives that were lost during the terror attacks across Mumbai.
According to Nick Appelbaum, of Ralph Appelbaum Associates, New York, which is also working on the museum and memorial project alongside the Mahimturas, “The memorial will be the first-of-its-kind in India, wherein the names of every individual who perished in the attacks will be inscribed on it.” The memorial will be built on the terrace.
Not ‘Secularism’ again
Posted online: Sun Jun 24 2012
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.
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July 13 was the 24th birthday of Ajmal Kasab who has been given death sentence by a Mumbai Court for the massacre and mayhem in Mumbai on November 26, 2008.
Congress, ever mindful of Muslim votes cannot even think about hanging him, national pride,security and sanctity of the Supreme Court be damned.
Congress, under Sonia Gandhi cannot even think of hanging Afzal Guru, convicted for his part in the parliament Bombing in December 2001. In 2004, the Supreme Court ordered that Afzal Guru be hanged. The execution was to be carried out on October 20, 2006. Almost five years later, Afzal is very much alive costing the tax payers a pretty penny, thanks to Sonia Gandhi who rules her party and the nation with an iron fist hidden in a velvet glove.
So far the Government of Bharat has spent 310 million Rupees to keep Kasab alive. So, to thank the Congress led government, Ajmal Kasab’s handlers decided to give a memorable gift to people of Bharat.
Yesterday, on July 13, they offered bomb blasts during rush hour in three crowded locations in Mumbai. 21 are dead and 141 are injured; some more may succumb to their injuries.
These numbers that we hear have become routine and do not mean a thing unless one of them is your father/mother/brother/sister/husband/wife/uncle/cousin/friend. Numbers do not matter unless it is your leg or hand that has been blown to bits or it is your eye that is pierced by sharpnels. These numbers have no meaning unless it is your loved one whose body is set on fire by the blast.
The politicians who are principally responsible for this day because of their spaghetti spines when it comes to taking action against any Muslim, will mouth stupid inanities. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh a.k.a. captain sleeping at the wheel while the country is plundered and looted by his coalition Dharma partners, President Pratibha Patil, ever indebted to Sonia Gandhi for putting her in a place where no one can touch her for all the cooperative bank scams she was involved in- in Maharashtra, Sonia Gandhi, the Vishkanya, i.e., kiss of death for mother Bharat, Prithviraj Chavan, Chief Minister of Maharashtra, virtually a nincompoop dancing to His Master’s Voice from 10 Janpath, the home Minister, P.C. Chidambaram, who is too busy to find ways to stay out of Tihar jail with the noose getting closer by the day in 2G scam, all these characters have come out with statements condemning the blasts and at the same time advising the hapless people to stay calm.
You know what? They are good at making these utterly useless statements because they have had repeated practice of making them in last few years. Friends, their words mean nothing, They do not give a hoot whether 21 or 2100 die in these blasts so long as their ill gotten billions are safe in Switzerland.
Solution? Let there be no more birthdays for Kasab. Create a nationwide pressure, such a pressure that the government would be either forced to hang Kasab and Afzal or would be shown the door. Let us vow to give Kasab gift of hangman’s noose on his next birthday, July 13, 2012.
Can it be done? Yes. If Egypt can do it, Algeria can do it, Yemen can do it, Libya and Syria are about to do it, why can’t we? History favors those, who seize the initiative.
Let us not wait for another blast.
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: