OPINION

Monthly Archives: JUNE 2018


Panjab's Emergency: Formal and Informal
28.06.18 - AMANDEEP SANDHU
Panjab's Emergency: Formal and Informal



What is Emergency:

In India, Emergency or President's Rule refers to special provisions invoked by the central government by which citizen's rights are suspended when the state imposes direct control of the central government under Article 356 of Part 18 of the Indian constitution.
 
The then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi from the Congress invoked these special powers on June 25, 1975 and revoked them on March 21, 1977 to impose Emergency on India. In short, an Emergency means that the government is a dictatorship, will do what it wants, and is not accountable to the people. 

Context:

A cartoon by MNS chief Raj Thackeray 
 
These days once again there is great talk about Emergency. In part because the Bhartiya Janata Party, led by the incumbent Prime Minister, keeps raising the spectre of President’s Rule to convince people that Congress is draconian. This year even the on leave for health reasons Finance Minister jumped in to set a cat among the roosters by writing his three part series. One of the headlines on his piece in India Today is: ‘Imposition of Emergency was well planned.’ Yes right, it was as well planned as the 2016 demonetization brought in by the same Finance Minister's right-wing government. 
 
All these new narratives are an attempt to gaslight the people. The fact is while Congress and Indira Gandhi did grave wrong by imposing Emergency and are to be justly blamed, the biggest beneficiaries in the Post-Emergency scenario were the right-wing. They morphed from Bhartiya Jana Sangh into the Bhartiya Janata Party and became mainstream - now in power.
 
The irony is a lot of churn has taken place in India since 1975 but since history is cyclical and power has a tendency to arrogate itself, now under the BJP the nation is once again experiencing the Congress era Emergency like conditions. The sad aspect is Panjab who staked everything to oppose Emergency have fallen out of the narrative.

Post-Emergency government: 

Post-Emergency Janata Dal alliance led by Morarji Desai came into power but the government was unstable because the trade unionists and socialists who formed the government were weighed down by their economic ideologies and were unable to devise a coherent policy. The economic conditions worsened, there were allegations of nepotism and corruption, and Hindu-Muslim violence led the socialists to question the involvement of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) members who refused to quit RSS. Plus the fact that all these assorted politicians could not level substantial charges against Indira Gandhi whom the people started seeing her as a victim of a witch hunt.
 
All this led to the ambitious Charan Singh withdrawing support from the Desai government, being sworn in as Prime Minister, even asking Congress (I) for support to form his own government. In the process he lost support of Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK), Akalis, and Communists. He resigned. When the 1980 elections were called Congress (Indira) came back with a strong majority 351/529 seats. The RSS affiliate BJP also opened its account in Lok Sabha with 13 seats.


Emergency in Panjab: 

Per Amnesty International, during Emergency Indira Gandhi had thrown about 1 lakh 40 thousand people in jails. Out of these, per historian J S Grewal in his book The Sikhs of Punjab, 40,000 were Sikhs from the Akalis. Surely, the greatest resistance to democracy was from Panjab which otherwise is 2 per cent of India's population.

In the initial days of Emergency, even though no Akali leaders or cadre were arrested, the Akalis stood up to the draconian Centre. The Akalis convened a meeting at the Akal Takht within a week of Emergency being declared on June 30, 1975 to pass a resolution that Emergency was ‘the fascist tendency of the Congress.’ On July 7, 1975 the Akalis launched the Save Democracy Morcha and started offering arrests. 

Fearing the Akali defiance might inspire civil disobedience in other parts of the county, Indira Gandhi offered to negotiate a deal with the Akalis that would give it joint control of the Punjab Legislative Assembly. The leader of the protests, Sant Harcharan Singh Longowal refused to meet with government representatives so long as the Emergency was in effect. It is easily anybody's guess as to what the RSS-BJS would have done if they had been offered a deal like the Akalis. Given how we see the BJP form governments in many states now through hotchpotch alliances, even though they do not have the numbers, the RSS or then BJS would have simply slid into power. That is the difference between the opportunists and the ones who really stuck by their convictions - the Akalis.
------
This Panjab is a result of 25 years of democratic governance without accountability which is another form of informal Emergency
------
In a press interview during Emergency, Longowal made clear the grounds of the 'Save Democracy' campaign. ‘The question before us is not whether Indira Gandhi should continue to be prime minister or not. The point is whether democracy in this country is to survive or not. The democratic structure stands on three pillars, namely a strong opposition, independent judiciary and free press. Emergency has destroyed all these essentials.’

While the civil disobedience campaign caught on in some parts of the country, the government’s tactics of mass arrests, censorship and intimidation curtailed the opposition’s popularity. After January 1976, the Akalis remained virtually alone in their active resistance to the regime. Lok Nayak Jaya Prakash Narayan who had led the call for ‘Sampooran Kranti’ which was one of the reasons for Indira Gandhi to impose Emergency hailed the Akalis as ‘the last bastion of democracy’. Unlike the RSS who apologised, begged for freedom, the Akalis never bent to Indira Gandhi and continued to come out in large numbers each month on the day of the new moon - symbolising the dark night of Indian democracy - to court arrest. 

Post-Emergency Panjab:

The Akali response to Emergency made Indira Gandhi circumspect of them. When she came back to power in 1980 she did not even consider the Anandpur Sahib Resolution demands, discriminated over river waters, and triggered the Akali led Dharam YudhMorcha, 1982 in Panjab. That was one among other reasons for Operation Blue Star in June, 1984. 

Operation Blue Star is a watershed event in Panjab politics. The event marks the break between a government which is accountable to people and one which is not, whether it be Congress or Shiromani Akali Dal. By attacking the institution at the core of the Sikh faith, the government ruptured the 'social contract' a cardinal principle of modern democracy.
 
Briefly, a ‘social contract’ is the contract between the citizen and the state by which the citizen gives up certain individual rights to support a government which guarantees protection of those rights. In this case the rights include what the Sikhs hold sacrosanct – the sanctum sanctorum, their centre of faith. (Read philosopher of the French Revolution Jean-Jacques Rousseau's treatise Social Contract or Principles of Political Right (Du Contract Social), 1762, for more on this theory).
------
While in the nation the Emergency lasted less than two years, in Panjab formal Emergency lasted a total of nine years including the national Emergency period. Informal Emergency - unaccountability of the government - lasts until date.
------
What has followed for the last 35 years since the Operation shows that accountability is on no one's mind in Panjab. The pogrom in Delhi and many other cow-belt states upon the assassination of Indira Gandhi, the denial of justice over those brutal targeted killings of Sikhs, the spike in militancy in Panjab in the name of the Khalistan Movement, the enforced disappearances of Sikh youth, the lack of any measures to address the issues are all instances of abdication of state’s responsibility.
 
Even the numbers bear this out: Panjab remained under President's Rule or Emergency from 1983-85 and 1987-92 - a total of seven out of nine years - until the 1992 elections.The Akalis boycotted those elections and the turnout was a mere 23 per cent.Yet, a Congress government was formed. While in the nation the Emergency lasted less than two years, in Panjab formal Emergency lasted a total of nine years including the national Emergency period. Informal Emergency - unaccountability of the government - lasts until date.

As I travel Panjab in recent years to understand if peace has returned after the guns fell silent, all I encounter is discontent in every section of the society: small and marginal farmers, farm labour, thermal plant workers, electricity employees, school teachers, anganwadi staff, sweepers and even religious outfits, the list is endless. The only difference is this informal Emergency is through an electoral process in which the people have no real options but to swing between the Akalis - who from their high moral stance during the nation's Emergency became a family entity and have now been in an alliance with the BJP - and the Congress. 

In the last state elections in 2017, a new political party – Aam Aadmi Party – tried to make its presence felt. Initially AAP raised a lot of hope but blundered its way through its campaign and failed in its bid. Ever since, AAP remains mired in internal contradictions.Vote trends in by-polls after the elections convey that the state is now once again in the tweezers grip of the two parties - both the Congress and the Akalis surpass each other in being unaccountable to the people.
 
In the same elections, after a decade of Akali misgovernance and loot, when the Congress was making its bid to power, its leader Captain Amarinder Singh pledged by the Sikh Holy Book to eradicate drugs from the state within four weeks of coming to power. He has now been in power for one and a half years with over a three-fourth majority in the state assembly. 

On July 1 an anguished Panjab is going into a week-long social protest over the drugs issue. The chief minister remains silent - unaccountable, informal Emergency. It is the same with all other issues: the promise of booking the culprits of the series of sacrilege incidents in 2015, the drastic reduction in pay outs by changing the terms of the farm loan waiver promised in elections, the lack of job creation for the youth and so on. Perhaps the nation has moved on but the mockery of governance, the informal Emergency, continues in Panjab. 

 
 Amandeep Sandhu is working on non-fiction book on Panjab.
 
 
 

Disclaimer : PunjabToday.in and other platforms of the Punjab Today group strive to include views and opinions from across the entire spectrum, but by no means do we agree with everything we publish. Our efforts and editorial choices consistently underscore our authors' right to the freedom of speech. However, it should be clear to all readers that individual authors are responsible for the information, ideas or opinions in their articles, and very often, these do not reflect the views of PunjabToday.in or other platforms of the group. Punjab Today does not assume any responsibility or liability for the views of authors whose work appears here.

_______________________________________________________________

Most shared Punjab Today articles: 

THE KASHMIR GOVERNOR, THE TRIBUNE TRUST & ETHICS - How Journalism Fails Readers?

"Congress Sikhan Di Dushman Jamaat Hai?” —Akalis need to dump broken record, shift gears

"Captain Amarinder Singh ji” and "Rahul”: Reading Sign Language In A Relationship

SARKAR IN MANALI: From Shahkot to Mohali Court, Sara Alam Bigrra Jaye

If it could happen to Arun Shourie, imagine what could they do to you?

SIKHS & FEMINISTS – We hailed Harjit Sajjan; they didn’t hail Gina Haspel

AFTER BEING RAPED, I WAS WOUNDED; MY HONOUR WAS NOT

The Comrade In Punjab - Lost, Irrelevant, Asleep, Even Bored!

WE MISSED A REVOLUTION, BUT CAN IT STILL BE A GAME CHANGER?

A POLITICIAN SPEAKS – YOU SHOULD HEAR

ENCOUNTER, JULOOS & SELFIES

SOWING ANGER - NO QUICK FIX - Democracy is an Empty Ritual in Punjab

OUT-OF-BOX SOLUTION TO STOP FARMERS' SUICIDES

WATERS ROYALTY - The Loot that Rajasthan Committed

'THORRI BAHUTI EHNA NU SHARAM AUNI CHAHEEDI HAI'

ASSEMBLY COMMITTEE ON SUICIDE-HIT BATS FOR AARHTIYAS

RANGROOT OFFERS A PEEK INTO PUNJAB'S TRAGEDY

WHAT MAKE NEWS IN INDIA, AND WHAT DOES NOT?

HITLER, MODI & GANDHI: ON THE SAME PAGE?

PUNJAB IS STILL VERY FAR FROM INDIA

APOLOGY – AKALIS BIG LOSER, CONG TOO 

AMARINDER GOVT's LOVE FOR FARMERS, AND MY DAD's FOR HIS SCOOTER

SUPER EFFICIENCY ONBOARD CM’S CHOPPER

OF SUNNY KID & HORSE SENSE: The Punjab-Punjab Ties: The Coordinated Silence of Amarinder Singh & Badals

PM MODI VINDICATES PUNJAB TODAY REPORTAGE

NEW DELHI V/S OTTAWA — WILL QUEBEC DEFEAT INDIA?        

A SAFFRON JOURNEY VIA CANADA - Trudeau came to Punjab, pushed Amarinder closer to BJP, then called him a liar

JASPAL ATWAL CONTROVERSY: Mr. Ujjal, will you throw some light on this too?   

TRUDEAU VISIT AND RIGHT-WING MEDIA MACHINE

J&K – RAM MADHAV LEAVES SPACE FOR MEHBOOBA’S POLITICS

SHEKHAR GUPTA'S HALF-BAKED TRUTHS 

OF NIRMAL SINGH'S EYES - Karze Ne Layee Ikk Hor Kisan Di Jaan...

PNB Scam: Who is Nirav Choksi and what he is doing In the name of God?

Congress upset due to Priyanka’s cleavage on calendar 

RENUKA'S LAUGHTER: Thank you for your guffaws. We needed this non-violent weapon.

MR CLEAN to PAKKE DHEETH: How Punjab’s Congress hurt Brand Rahul Gandhi? 

MANJIT SINGH CALCUTTA– THE DISSENTER

PUNJAB FARMERS AND IPL CRICKETERS - Finally, they can stand like equals

Mr. CHIEF MINISTER, PLEASE CALL OFF JANUARY 7 FUNCTION. My teacher is not alive, but you please call it off!

SUKHBIR IS RIGHT – On 97th anniversary  Panth Khatre Vich Hai. Where does this threat come from?

THE FINAL HONESTY CERTIFICATE: ISSUED BY THE TRIBUNE

NO TIME TO READ THIS STORY? – That’s OK - Please do not feel guilty 

BAD, BAD WOMAN! – Punjab’s top playwright slams woman complainant against Langah

MR PRESIDENT, PLEASE TAKE BACK HIS GALLANTRY MEDAL – On Amod Kanth’s badge of shame

RELAX! ALL 30 WERE DERA PREMIS – Panchkula says something stinking about its conscience

PUNJAB: AN IDEA IN SEARCH OF WORDS: Punjab, more than a poster boy of progress or a renegade from modernity

_______________________________________________________________


Punjab Today believes in serious, engaging, narrative journalism at a time when mainstream media houses seem to have given up on long-form writing and news television has blurred or altogether erased the lines between news and slapstick entertainment. We at Punjab Today believe that readers such as yourself appreciate cerebral journalism, and would like you to hold us against the best international industry standards. Brickbats are welcome even more than bouquets, though an occasional pat on the back is always encouraging. Good journalism can be a lifeline in these uncertain times worldwide. You can support us in myriad ways. To begin with, by spreading word about us and forwarding this reportage. Stay engaged.

— Team PT





[home] [1] 2  [next]1-5 of 6


Comment

your name*

email address*

comments*
You may use these HTML tags:<p> <u> <i> <b> <strong> <del> <code> <hr> <em> <ul> <li> <ol> <span> <div>

verification code*
 



NEHRU'S INDIA vs MODIBHARAT
What India owes Nehru
23.06.18 - PERVEZ HOODBHOY
What India owes Nehru



PANDIT JAWAHARLAL NEHRU would never have won a popularity contest in Pakistan quite simply because he did his best to oppose our country’s creation. But nowhere is he reviled more than in India’s current ruling circles and among those whose loyalty they command.

The accusations against Nehru are often breathtaking: that he was degenerate and dissolute; born in a brothel and eventually died of syphilis; impregnated a Catholic nun; claimed to be a Kashmiri Pandit but secretly ate onions; and from age 19 onwards would be drunk every day starting at 9 am. As with America’s alt-right which insists that Barack Obama is a closet Muslim, Hindutva activists allege that Nehru’s grandfather was Ghayas­-ud­din Ghazi, a Muslim kotwal serving the Mughal court.

If only anonymous internet nutters were making such attacks, they wouldn’t matter. But a concentrated attack by BJP-RSS sarsangchalaks is leading to the steady purge of Nehru from India’s history books.
 
Betwa Sharma reported in 2016 that students of Class VIII in BJP-ruled Rajasthan are no longer learning that Nehru was India’s first prime minister or that Nathuram Godse, a Hindu nationalist, assassinated Mahatma Gandhi. Nehru’s iconic tryst-with-destiny speech has already been removed from school syllabi and textbooks in some states, reminding one of how Jinnah’s famous Aug 11, 1947, speech was ‘disappeared’ in the Ziaul Haq era.
 
This campaign of personal vilification against Nehru is, in fact, a proxy war against the concept of India as a secular entity. Of course, here in Pakistan we never for a moment believed Nehru when he declared India’s intent to become a pluralistic, liberal, syncretic state whose strength would lie in diversity. For us, all these were just fine words justifying Hindu majoritarianism under the cloak of democracy. Only now that the BJP controls India with a viciously communal agenda have some Pakistanis realised what loss of secularism — even imperfect secularism — actually means.
------
India would have been a dump for crackpot science had Modi been its first prime minister.
------
But irrespective of what Muslims and Pakistanis may have thought in the past, or perhaps still think, the RSS always took Nehru at his word. It both feared and hated him for it.
 
In particular, it has never forgiven him for banning the RSS after Gandhi’s murder and for fiercely opposing a Hindu rashtra (state). One Hindutva activist wistfully writes that had Nehru handed over charge of India after Independence to the deserving sanghis, India would have "attained ram rajya by now, with a hundred crore people chanting ‘hanuman chalisa’ a dozen times a day”.

Nevertheless, there are paradoxes and contradictions that Hindutva cannot escape as it seeks to banish Nehru. All Indians, including right-wingers, take great pride in their country’s scientific achievements. ------
One Hindutva activist wistfully writes that had Nehru handed over charge of India after Independence to the deserving sanghis, India would have "attained ram rajya by now, with a hundred crore people chanting ‘hanuman chalisa’ a dozen times a day”.
------
But imagine for a moment that Narendra Modi, not Jawaharlal Nehru, had been India’s prime minister in 1947. What might have today’s India looked like in scientific terms?
 
Instead of being noted for its exceptional space programme (Mangalyaan!) and brilliant string theorists (Ashoke Sen!), India would have become a garbage dump for every kind of crackpot science. Medical research would have concentrated on medicines made from cow urine and cow dung, the celibacy of peacocks would be under intense scrutiny, astrology would be taught in place of astronomy, and instead of teaching actual mathematics there would be Vedic mathematics. As in Pakistan, Darwinian evolution would be considered heretical and destructive of religious faith.

Nehru’s stamp upon Indian science can be seen across the length and breadth of India in the form of dozens of scientific institutes and universities that owe to him. India is probably the world’s only country whose constitution explicitly declares commitment to the "scientific temper” — a quintessential Nehruvian notion formulated during his years in prison. Briefly: only reason and science, not holy scriptures, provide us reliable knowledge of the physical world.

I was able to see the huge difference that Nehru had made to his country while on a speaking tour in 2005 before audiences in about 40 Indian schools, colleges, and universities in seven cities. Without Nehru there could never have been the huge and palpable mass enthusiasm for science. This was manifested in the many science museums within a single city, and countless scientific societies working to spread understanding of basic science among ordinary Indians.
 
I do not know how much of this has changed under Hindutva. But most definitely not even a fraction of such enthusiasm was visible then, or can be seen now, in Pakistan.

Nehru must also be credited with keeping a lid on his generals. In a democracy the army should be subordinate and answerable to civilian authority, not the other way around. And so, immediately after Partition, Nehru ordered the grand residence of the army chief to be vacated and instead assigned to the prime minister. This move carried huge symbolism — it said clearly who was boss.
------
Ominously for Indian democracy, criticising the army chief is being described by its media as anti-national.
------
When Ayub Khan’s coup across the border happened in 1958, it led to rules that further diminished the role of the Indian army in national affairs. Gen Cariappa, who had retired but praised the coup, was told to shut up. Officers, serving or retired, were strongly discouraged from commenting on matters related to public affairs and economics — and particularly their pensions and retirement benefits. There was no concept of army owned enterprises and businesses.

All this could now be changing. Army chief Gen Bipin Rawat, known for his bellicosity, has broken with the army’s tradition by freely commenting on many foreign policy matters — the Rohingya refugee problem, how India should deal with the Doklam crisis with China, and the need to call "Pakistan’s nuclear bluff”. Time will tell whether Rawat is an exception or, instead, the new rule characterising an interventionist army. Ominously for Indian democracy, criticising the army chief is being described by its media as anti-national.

How much of Nehru’s India will be undone by Modi and his cronies remains to be seen. A demoralised and broken Congress opposition means that they are here to stay for long.

Meanwhile, it is becoming easier by the day for Pakistan to recognise its mirror reflection across the border.
 
 

Pervez Hoodbhoy is a renowned Pakistani nuclear physicist and also teaches physics in Lahore and Islamabad. This article is being reproduced here courtesy dawn.com.

 

 

 

 


Disclaimer : PunjabToday.in and other platforms of the Punjab Today group strive to include views and opinions from across the entire spectrum, but by no means do we agree with everything we publish. Our efforts and editorial choices consistently underscore our authors' right to the freedom of speech. However, it should be clear to all readers that individual authors are responsible for the information, ideas or opinions in their articles, and very often, these do not reflect the views of PunjabToday.in or other platforms of the group. Punjab Today does not assume any responsibility or liability for the views of authors whose work appears here.

_______________________________________________________________

Most shared Punjab Today articles: 

ETHICS OF JOURNALISM & CONFLICT OF INTEREST : The Tribune story

"Congress Sikhan Di Dushman Jamaat Hai?” —Akalis need to dump broken record, shift gears

"Captain Amarinder Singh ji” and "Rahul”: Reading Sign Language In A Relationship

SARKAR IN MANALI: From Shahkot to Mohali Court, Sara Alam Bigrra Jaye

If it could happen to Arun Shourie, imagine what could they do to you?

SIKHS & FEMINISTS – We hailed Harjit Sajjan; they didn’t hail Gina Haspel

AFTER BEING RAPED, I WAS WOUNDED; MY HONOUR WAS NOT

The Comrade In Punjab - Lost, Irrelevant, Asleep, Even Bored!

WE MISSED A REVOLUTION, BUT CAN IT STILL BE A GAME CHANGER?

A POLITICIAN SPEAKS – YOU SHOULD HEAR

ENCOUNTER, JULOOS & SELFIES

SOWING ANGER - NO QUICK FIX - Democracy is an Empty Ritual in Punjab

OUT-OF-BOX SOLUTION TO STOP FARMERS' SUICIDES

WATERS ROYALTY - The Loot that Rajasthan Committed

'THORRI BAHUTI EHNA NU SHARAM AUNI CHAHEEDI HAI'

ASSEMBLY COMMITTEE ON SUICIDE-HIT BATS FOR AARHTIYAS

RANGROOT OFFERS A PEEK INTO PUNJAB'S TRAGEDY

WHAT MAKE NEWS IN INDIA, AND WHAT DOES NOT?

HITLER, MODI & GANDHI: ON THE SAME PAGE?

PUNJAB IS STILL VERY FAR FROM INDIA

APOLOGY – AKALIS BIG LOSER, CONG TOO 

AMARINDER GOVT's LOVE FOR FARMERS, AND MY DAD's FOR HIS SCOOTER

SUPER EFFICIENCY ONBOARD CM’S CHOPPER

OF SUNNY KID & HORSE SENSE: The Punjab-Punjab Ties: The Coordinated Silence of Amarinder Singh & Badals

PM MODI VINDICATES PUNJAB TODAY REPORTAGE

NEW DELHI V/S OTTAWA — WILL QUEBEC DEFEAT INDIA?        

A SAFFRON JOURNEY VIA CANADA - Trudeau came to Punjab, pushed Amarinder closer to BJP, then called him a liar

JASPAL ATWAL CONTROVERSY: Mr. Ujjal, will you throw some light on this too?   

TRUDEAU VISIT AND RIGHT-WING MEDIA MACHINE

J&K – RAM MADHAV LEAVES SPACE FOR MEHBOOBA’S POLITICS

SHEKHAR GUPTA'S HALF-BAKED TRUTHS 

OF NIRMAL SINGH'S EYES - Karze Ne Layee Ikk Hor Kisan Di Jaan...

PNB Scam: Who is Nirav Choksi and what he is doing In the name of God?

Congress upset due to Priyanka’s cleavage on calendar 

RENUKA'S LAUGHTER: Thank you for your guffaws. We needed this non-violent weapon.

MR CLEAN to PAKKE DHEETH: How Punjab’s Congress hurt Brand Rahul Gandhi? 

MANJIT SINGH CALCUTTA– THE DISSENTER

PUNJAB FARMERS AND IPL CRICKETERS - Finally, they can stand like equals

Mr. CHIEF MINISTER, PLEASE CALL OFF JANUARY 7 FUNCTION. My teacher is not alive, but you please call it off!

SUKHBIR IS RIGHT – On 97th anniversary  Panth Khatre Vich Hai. Where does this threat come from?

THE FINAL HONESTY CERTIFICATE: ISSUED BY THE TRIBUNE

NO TIME TO READ THIS STORY? – That’s OK - Please do not feel guilty 

BAD, BAD WOMAN! – Punjab’s top playwright slams woman complainant against Langah

MR PRESIDENT, PLEASE TAKE BACK HIS GALLANTRY MEDAL – On Amod Kanth’s badge of shame

RELAX! ALL 30 WERE DERA PREMIS – Panchkula says something stinking about its conscience

PUNJAB: AN IDEA IN SEARCH OF WORDS: Punjab, more than a poster boy of progress or a renegade from modernity

_______________________________________________________________


Punjab Today believes in serious, engaging, narrative journalism at a time when mainstream media houses seem to have given up on long-form writing and news television has blurred or altogether erased the lines between news and slapstick entertainment. We at Punjab Today believe that readers such as yourself appreciate cerebral journalism, and would like you to hold us against the best international industry standards. Brickbats are welcome even more than bouquets, though an occasional pat on the back is always encouraging. Good journalism can be a lifeline in these uncertain times worldwide. You can support us in myriad ways. To begin with, by spreading word about us and forwarding this reportage. Stay engaged.

— Team PT





[home] [1] 2  [next]1-5 of 6


Comment

your name*

email address*

comments*
You may use these HTML tags:<p> <u> <i> <b> <strong> <del> <code> <hr> <em> <ul> <li> <ol> <span> <div>

verification code*
 



ETHICS OF JOURNALISM & CONFLICT OF INTEREST
Who pays for that English muffin? The Tribune and Narendra Modi now share a man in Kashmir
20.06.18 - kanwar manjit singh
Who pays for that English muffin? The Tribune and Narendra Modi now share a man in Kashmir



SLOAN SABBITH, the financial journalist in Aaron Sorkin's The Newsroom meets up with a corporate honcho at a sidewalk cafe for breakfast and pow-wow but insists on paying for her own muffin. Her reason? She reports on these corporates, and can't allow a billionaire to pay for her breakfast.

"Come on! All you had was a muffin," the billionaire protests. But Sloan Sabbith understands a conflict of interest when she sees one.

Olivia Munn's character of the very qualified economist with great legs explains the Glass-Steagall Act in a prime time television show, but it really takes far lesser intelligence to explain conflict of interest.

The Narendra Modi-Amit Shah-Ram Madhav trio has handed over Kashmir to Narinder Nath Vohra, a retired 1959 batch IAS officer of Punjab cadre. Presently, N N Vohra, as he is more popularly known, is the governor of the state of Jammu and Kashmir, and also the President of The Tribune Trust.

The Tribune Trust runs the very influential, multi-edition mass circulation English daily, The Tribune and its sister publications, Punjabi Tribune and Dainik Tribune, apart from a significant online presence in the form of www.tribuneindia.com.
----------
J-K Governor & President of The Tribune Trust, Vohra hasn’t addressed the elephant in the room: how will a serving governor of a strife-torn state guard against a situation where day-to-day journalism and his gubernatorial duties represent a frequent situation of conflict of interest?
----------
The Tribune is one of the foremost newspapers in northern India that reports on the trouble-torn Kashmir Valley. In fact, the newspaper has a Jammu and Srinagar edition.

Front page of The Tribune's Jammu and Kashmir edition of the day it reported the fall of the Mehbooba Mufti government, a move that made Vohra the executive head of the state for all practical purposes.

 
N N Vohra assumed the Presidentship of The Tribune Trust in November last year when Justice (retd) S S Sodhi was eased out in the wake of an abject frontpage apology published by The Tribune, giving a certificate of utmost honesty to Akali Dal leader Bikram Singh Majithia. 

While Vohra told staffers in a message that "The Tribune Group of Newspapers must remain totally committed to the pursuit of highest journalistic values," and referred to the high "ethical standards,” he did not address the elephant in the room: how will a serving governor of a strife-torn state guard against a situation where day-to-day journalism and his gubernatorial duties represent a frequent situation of conflict of interest?
----------
That Vohra knew how to work with powers that be, and Khare knew how to speak truth to power, are the twin truths known only too well to anyone who spends Rs. 4.50 on a copy of The Tribune and has a casual acquaintance with the happenings in the Valley.
----------
Reporting the state of Jammu and Kashmir is a very political act. Even regular news headlines can have hugely loaded political nuances and implications. Journalists in the Valley walk a tight rope, and the commentary in the wake of the most tragic death of most respected editor Shujaat Bukhari has brought it out only too acutely.
 

Then, how have the management in the form of The Tribune Trust and the editorial leadership of The Tribune and sister newspapers resolved the issue of conflict of interest when their Trust's president is the governor of Jammu and Kashmir?

So far, the newspaper has not addressed the issue in any shape, form or fashion. In fact, the only public event known so far in this respect is that after Mr N N Vohra took over as President of The Tribune, its editor-in-chief Harish Khare, known for his fiery sense of independence and a fiesty anti-establishment tenor, quit in a surprising manner. If it happened in spite of Vohra’s strong opposition, it remains a fiercely guarded secret.

That Vohra knows how to work with powers that be, and Khare knows how to speak truth to power, are the twin truths known only too well to anyone who spends Rs. 4.50 on a copy of The Tribune and has a casual acquaintance with the happenings in the Valley. Incidentally, and very significantly, The Tribune now does not have an editor-in-chief. The new head on the editorial side, Rajesh Ramachandran, has been given the designation of just "Editor,” an arrangement which clearly leaves the room wide open for the Trust to have even more say in the day to day running of the newspapers of the group.

----------
The Tribune now does not have an editor-in-chief. The new head on the editorial side, Rajesh Ramachandran, has been given the designation of just "Editor,” an arrangement which clearly leaves the room wide open for the Trust to have even more say in the day to day running of the newspapers of the group.
----------
Now that N N Vohra will be running the state following the BJP's sudden-and-yet-expected move to pull the rug from underneath Mehbooba Mufti, The Tribune has a job on its hands: explaining how The Tribune Trust plans to pursue objective journalism while reporting the state of human rights and power play in Jammu and Kashmir while the Trust is run by the man to whom reports the joint command of security forces as well as the civil and police brass of the insurgency-hit state.

Quiz Question: On a scale of one to ten, how independent do you think the reporters and editorial staff of the Jammu and Kashmir edition of The Tribune will feel — while reporting the incidents of stone pelting, use of pellet guns, all out operations for dominance launched by security forces and any possible use of Kashmiri citizens as human shields trussed up on vehicles —if they know that they work for a newspaper whose managerial head is also the ruler of the state of Jammu and Kashmir?

Well, they know now. So, tick your choice on a scale of one to ten.

Readers of The Tribune and those who track the state of ethics in journalism remember that if The Tribune had published the apology ("No evidence of involvement of Bikram Singh Majithia in Drug Racket: All allegations unsubstantiated and incorrect; Page 1, The Tribune edition dated October 29, 2017) under its Trust president S S Sodhi, it took an even braver decision of not withdrawing the apology all through the time that the Trust has been under the tutelage of N N Vohra. 

As of date, The Tribune has not withdrawn the front page "unconditional apology” that gave the most pristine clean chit anyone in politics can ever get. With N N Vohra at the helm, the newspaper did not retract its claim that it has verified and found that Majithia was completely innocent.
 

Any newspaper needs to explain the dire circumstances in which its top policy setting body's head has close linkages with not just the government but the deep state. When it involves a clear case of conflict of interest, it amounts to an elephant in the room.
----------
Quiz Question: On a scale of one to ten, how independent do you think the reporters and editorial staff of the Jammu and Kashmir edition of The Tribune will feel — while reporting the incidents of stone pelting, use of pallet guns, all out operations for dominance launched by security forces and any possible use of Kashmiri citizens as human shields trussed up on vehicles —if they know that they work for a newspaper whose managerial head is also the ruler of the state of Jammu and Kashmir?
----------
Incidentally, The Tribune Trust also includes Lt Gen SS Mehta (retd), former General Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Western Command, and Gurbachan Jagat, a 1966-batch Punjab-cadre Indian Police Service (IPS) officer, who headed the Jammu and Kashmir Police and retired as the DG of the Border Security Force (BSF). 
 

In Vohra's own words, "The Tribune Group of Newspapers must remain totally committed to the pursuit of highest journalistic values and ... ethical standards.” 

It starts by not allowing someone to pay for your English muffin, but when you run a restaurant and employ the food critic also, taking the reviewer's word on the quality of the muffin comes with a generous helping of salt.

That's what ruins the dish.

 When a journalist refused to allow a corporate honcho to pay for her muffin.

But this is fiction. You think journos are as ethical in real life?

 

Disclaimer : PunjabToday.in and other platforms of the Punjab Today group strive to include views and opinions from across the entire spectrum, but by no means do we agree with everything we publish. Our efforts and editorial choices consistently underscore our authors' right to the freedom of speech. However, it should be clear to all readers that individual authors are responsible for the information, ideas or opinions in their articles, and very often, these do not reflect the views of PunjabToday.in or other platforms of the group. Punjab Today does not assume any responsibility or liability for the views of authors whose work appears here.

_______________________________________________________________

Most shared Punjab Today articles: 

"Congress Sikhan Di Dushman Jamaat Hai?” —Akalis need to dump broken record, shift gears

"Captain Amarinder Singh ji” and "Rahul”: Reading Sign Language In A Relationship

SARKAR IN MANALI: From Shahkot to Mohali Court, Sara Alam Bigrra Jaye

If it could happen to Arun Shourie, imagine what could they do to you?

SIKHS & FEMINISTS – We hailed Harjit Sajjan; they didn’t hail Gina Haspel

AFTER BEING RAPED, I WAS WOUNDED; MY HONOUR WAS NOT

The Comrade In Punjab - Lost, Irrelevant, Asleep, Even Bored!

WE MISSED A REVOLUTION, BUT CAN IT STILL BE A GAME CHANGER?

A POLITICIAN SPEAKS – YOU SHOULD HEAR

ENCOUNTER, JULOOS & SELFIES

SOWING ANGER - NO QUICK FIX - Democracy is an Empty Ritual in Punjab

OUT-OF-BOX SOLUTION TO STOP FARMERS' SUICIDES

WATERS ROYALTY - The Loot that Rajasthan Committed

'THORRI BAHUTI EHNA NU SHARAM AUNI CHAHEEDI HAI'

ASSEMBLY COMMITTEE ON SUICIDE-HIT BATS FOR AARHTIYAS

RANGROOT OFFERS A PEEK INTO PUNJAB'S TRAGEDY

WHAT MAKE NEWS IN INDIA, AND WHAT DOES NOT?

HITLER, MODI & GANDHI: ON THE SAME PAGE?

PUNJAB IS STILL VERY FAR FROM INDIA

APOLOGY – AKALIS BIG LOSER, CONG TOO 

AMARINDER GOVT's LOVE FOR FARMERS, AND MY DAD's FOR HIS SCOOTER

SUPER EFFICIENCY ONBOARD CM’S CHOPPER

OF SUNNY KID & HORSE SENSE: The Punjab-Punjab Ties: The Coordinated Silence of Amarinder Singh & Badals

PM MODI VINDICATES PUNJAB TODAY REPORTAGE

NEW DELHI V/S OTTAWA — WILL QUEBEC DEFEAT INDIA?        

A SAFFRON JOURNEY VIA CANADA - Trudeau came to Punjab, pushed Amarinder closer to BJP, then called him a liar

JASPAL ATWAL CONTROVERSY: Mr. Ujjal, will you throw some light on this too?   

TRUDEAU VISIT AND RIGHT-WING MEDIA MACHINE

J&K – RAM MADHAV LEAVES SPACE FOR MEHBOOBA’S POLITICS

SHEKHAR GUPTA'S HALF-BAKED TRUTHS 

OF NIRMAL SINGH'S EYES - Karze Ne Layee Ikk Hor Kisan Di Jaan...

PNB Scam: Who is Nirav Choksi and what he is doing In the name of God?

Congress upset due to Priyanka’s cleavage on calendar 

RENUKA'S LAUGHTER: Thank you for your guffaws. We needed this non-violent weapon.

MR CLEAN to PAKKE DHEETH: How Punjab’s Congress hurt Brand Rahul Gandhi? 

MANJIT SINGH CALCUTTA– THE DISSENTER

PUNJAB FARMERS AND IPL CRICKETERS - Finally, they can stand like equals

Mr. CHIEF MINISTER, PLEASE CALL OFF JANUARY 7 FUNCTION. My teacher is not alive, but you please call it off!

SUKHBIR IS RIGHT – On 97th anniversary  Panth Khatre Vich Hai. Where does this threat come from?

THE FINAL HONESTY CERTIFICATE: ISSUED BY THE TRIBUNE

NO TIME TO READ THIS STORY? – That’s OK - Please do not feel guilty 

BAD, BAD WOMAN! – Punjab’s top playwright slams woman complainant against Langah

MR PRESIDENT, PLEASE TAKE BACK HIS GALLANTRY MEDAL – On Amod Kanth’s badge of shame

RELAX! ALL 30 WERE DERA PREMIS – Panchkula says something stinking about its conscience

PUNJAB: AN IDEA IN SEARCH OF WORDS: Punjab, more than a poster boy of progress or a renegade from modernity

_______________________________________________________________


Punjab Today believes in serious, engaging, narrative journalism at a time when mainstream media houses seem to have given up on long-form writing and news television has blurred or altogether erased the lines between news and slapstick entertainment. We at Punjab Today believe that readers such as yourself appreciate cerebral journalism, and would like you to hold us against the best international industry standards. Brickbats are welcome even more than bouquets, though an occasional pat on the back is always encouraging. Good journalism can be a lifeline in these uncertain times worldwide. You can support us in myriad ways. To begin with, by spreading word about us and forwarding this reportage. Stay engaged.

— Team PT






[home] [1] 2  [next]1-5 of 6


Comment

your name*

email address*

comments*
You may use these HTML tags:<p> <u> <i> <b> <strong> <del> <code> <hr> <em> <ul> <li> <ol> <span> <div>

verification code*
 



A POLITICAL STORM BREWING
Non-BJP CMs Hold a Message for 2019 Polls
18.06.18 - VIPIN PUBBY*
Non-BJP CMs Hold a Message for 2019 Polls



THE CONSTITUTIONAL CRISIS in the wake of dharna by Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal and his senior ministers inside the Delhi Raj Niwas, and the support lent by four non-BJP and non-Congress chief ministers, led to an unprecedented situation and is a significant turn on way to the next general elections.

While Kejriwal claimed that the IAS officers deputed to the Delhi government were on ‘strike’, the Lt Governor of Delhi as well as IAS officers association refuted the claim. Aam Aadmi Party Government is also demanding full statehood for Delhi. The stand-off paralysed the functioning of the state government and has raised questions on the functioning of the federal system.

The crisis had its genesis in the alleged roughing up of the chief secretary by supporters of AAP when he was called late in the evening for a meeting. The officers had lodged a protest and it may be possible that some of them may have adopted go-slow approach. Kejriwal has alleged that the officers don’t take calls, abstain from meetings and keep sitting on files. He pointed out that the problem has its roots in a central government order in 2015 which took away the powers of the Delhi government to transfer and post IAS officers in Delhi.

AAP government had been having frequent run-ins with the Lt Governors and IAS officers posted with the state government. The Centre has also taken away some other powers of the Delhi government, including the functioning of the police. One of the major causes for the peculiar problems with Delhi government is that Delhi is not a full-fledged state. Making a submission in Supreme Court the government had said recently that Delhi enjoyed "special status” among Union Territories under the Constitution but that did not make it a state.
------
It is obvious that the humiliating defeat suffered by BJP in Delhi, had set up stage for a perpetual stand-off between the Centre and the Delhi government.
------
Article 239AA of the Constitution, which deals with power and status of Delhi government, is silent on awarding co-extensive executive and legislative powers to the Delhi government. The Centre has taken the stand that Delhi government was empowered to take care of daily utilities of the national capital but the real administrative powers were vested with the Centre and the President.

There was not much of a problem till the central as well as the Delhi government was run by the same political party or coalition like the UPA for a decade before the advent of the Modi government. It is obvious that the humiliating defeat suffered by BJP in Delhi, a year after the Modi wave swept most parts of the country, had set up stage for a perpetual stand-off between the Centre and the Delhi government.

Now the joining of hands by the non-BJP and non-Congress chief ministers to back their counterpart in Delhi has significantly added muscle to the demands of AAP government.
 
The four chief ministers, Mamata Banerjee from West Bengal, M Kumaraswamy from Karnataka, Chandrababu Naidu from Andhra Pradesh and Pinarayi Vijayan from Kerala, have also warned the Centre against undue interference in the affairs of the states. Each one of them nurses some grouse or the other over meddling in state affairs by the Centre.
 
These include devolution of funds, allocation of projects, putting conditions on utilisation of funds under various schemes and seeking to impose schemes not suited for all states. The issue is likely to be taken up more vociferously by non-BJP CMs in the run up to the general elections.
------
With the growing resentment against the NDA government, and its declining performance in Assembly and Lok Sabha by-elections, a political storm is building up before the next general elections.
------
Their joining hands with Kejriwal, who has successfully changed the agenda for the next elections in Delhi, is also of concern to the Congress. The party had been critical of Kejriwal’s moves and considers itself as its main political rival.
 
It has now been isolated with the non-BJP parties joining hands and emergence of Mamata Banerjee as head of the third front.

It shall force the Congress under the leadership of Rahul Gandhi to re-think its strategy if it has to be part of a non-BJP alliance. Significantly, the four CMs who came in support of Kejriwal included one from the Left Front which is otherwise daggers drawn with Trinamool Congress in West Bengal.

With the growing resentment against the NDA government, and its declining performance in Assembly and Lok Sabha by-elections, a political storm is building up before the next general elections. It would be vital how the alliance partners get along in spite of the differences.

Similarly the BJP shall have to learn to deal better with its alliance partners. Telugu Desam Party has already pulled out of the NDA and the Shiv Sena has been embarrassing the BJP on various issues. Even the Shiromani Akali Dal is not feeling comfortable with ‘arbitrary’ decisions being taken by the BJP.
 
This has evidently prompted BJP chief Amit Shah to rebuild bridges with alliance partners. He had been meeting leaders of other alliance partners and is already strategising for the next elections. The non-BJP alliance, however, lacks a charismatic leader who could lead the 20-odd parties including the Congress which still believes that there is no alternative to it for leadership. It shall have to re-strategise its role if it is not able to take all non-BJP parties along.
 
 

*(The author, a freelance journalist, is a former Resident Editor of Indian Express, Chandigarh, and reported on the political developments in Jammu and Kashmir, North-Eastern India, Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh, Haryana and Punjab in his long, illustrious career. This article was also published by lokmarg.com and is being reproduced here with the due permission of the author. - Ed)


 

 

Disclaimer : PunjabToday.in and other platforms of the Punjab Today group strive to include views and opinions from across the entire spectrum, but by no means do we agree with everything we publish. Our efforts and editorial choices consistently underscore our authors' right to the freedom of speech. However, it should be clear to all readers that individual authors are responsible for the information, ideas or opinions in their articles, and very often, these do not reflect the views of PunjabToday.in or other platforms of the group. Punjab Today does not assume any responsibility or liability for the views of authors whose work appears here.

_______________________________________________________________

Most shared Punjab Today articles: 

ETHICS OF JOURNALISM & CONFLICT OF INTEREST : The Tribune story

"Congress Sikhan Di Dushman Jamaat Hai?” —Akalis need to dump broken record, shift gears

"Captain Amarinder Singh ji” and "Rahul”: Reading Sign Language In A Relationship

SARKAR IN MANALI: From Shahkot to Mohali Court, Sara Alam Bigrra Jaye

If it could happen to Arun Shourie, imagine what could they do to you?

SIKHS & FEMINISTS – We hailed Harjit Sajjan; they didn’t hail Gina Haspel

AFTER BEING RAPED, I WAS WOUNDED; MY HONOUR WAS NOT

The Comrade In Punjab - Lost, Irrelevant, Asleep, Even Bored!

WE MISSED A REVOLUTION, BUT CAN IT STILL BE A GAME CHANGER?

A POLITICIAN SPEAKS – YOU SHOULD HEAR

ENCOUNTER, JULOOS & SELFIES

SOWING ANGER - NO QUICK FIX - Democracy is an Empty Ritual in Punjab

OUT-OF-BOX SOLUTION TO STOP FARMERS' SUICIDES

WATERS ROYALTY - The Loot that Rajasthan Committed

'THORRI BAHUTI EHNA NU SHARAM AUNI CHAHEEDI HAI'

ASSEMBLY COMMITTEE ON SUICIDE-HIT BATS FOR AARHTIYAS

RANGROOT OFFERS A PEEK INTO PUNJAB'S TRAGEDY

WHAT MAKE NEWS IN INDIA, AND WHAT DOES NOT?

HITLER, MODI & GANDHI: ON THE SAME PAGE?

PUNJAB IS STILL VERY FAR FROM INDIA

APOLOGY – AKALIS BIG LOSER, CONG TOO 

AMARINDER GOVT's LOVE FOR FARMERS, AND MY DAD's FOR HIS SCOOTER

SUPER EFFICIENCY ONBOARD CM’S CHOPPER

OF SUNNY KID & HORSE SENSE: The Punjab-Punjab Ties: The Coordinated Silence of Amarinder Singh & Badals

PM MODI VINDICATES PUNJAB TODAY REPORTAGE

NEW DELHI V/S OTTAWA — WILL QUEBEC DEFEAT INDIA?        

A SAFFRON JOURNEY VIA CANADA - Trudeau came to Punjab, pushed Amarinder closer to BJP, then called him a liar

JASPAL ATWAL CONTROVERSY: Mr. Ujjal, will you throw some light on this too?   

TRUDEAU VISIT AND RIGHT-WING MEDIA MACHINE

J&K – RAM MADHAV LEAVES SPACE FOR MEHBOOBA’S POLITICS

SHEKHAR GUPTA'S HALF-BAKED TRUTHS 

OF NIRMAL SINGH'S EYES - Karze Ne Layee Ikk Hor Kisan Di Jaan...

PNB Scam: Who is Nirav Choksi and what he is doing In the name of God?

Congress upset due to Priyanka’s cleavage on calendar 

RENUKA'S LAUGHTER: Thank you for your guffaws. We needed this non-violent weapon.

MR CLEAN to PAKKE DHEETH: How Punjab’s Congress hurt Brand Rahul Gandhi? 

MANJIT SINGH CALCUTTA– THE DISSENTER

PUNJAB FARMERS AND IPL CRICKETERS - Finally, they can stand like equals

Mr. CHIEF MINISTER, PLEASE CALL OFF JANUARY 7 FUNCTION. My teacher is not alive, but you please call it off!

SUKHBIR IS RIGHT – On 97th anniversary  Panth Khatre Vich Hai. Where does this threat come from?

THE FINAL HONESTY CERTIFICATE: ISSUED BY THE TRIBUNE

NO TIME TO READ THIS STORY? – That’s OK - Please do not feel guilty 

BAD, BAD WOMAN! – Punjab’s top playwright slams woman complainant against Langah

MR PRESIDENT, PLEASE TAKE BACK HIS GALLANTRY MEDAL – On Amod Kanth’s badge of shame

RELAX! ALL 30 WERE DERA PREMIS – Panchkula says something stinking about its conscience

PUNJAB: AN IDEA IN SEARCH OF WORDS: Punjab, more than a poster boy of progress or a renegade from modernity

_______________________________________________________________


Punjab Today believes in serious, engaging, narrative journalism at a time when mainstream media houses seem to have given up on long-form writing and news television has blurred or altogether erased the lines between news and slapstick entertainment. We at Punjab Today believe that readers such as yourself appreciate cerebral journalism, and would like you to hold us against the best international industry standards. Brickbats are welcome even more than bouquets, though an occasional pat on the back is always encouraging. Good journalism can be a lifeline in these uncertain times worldwide. You can support us in myriad ways. To begin with, by spreading word about us and forwarding this reportage. Stay engaged.

— Team PT





[home] [1] 2  [next]1-5 of 6


Comment

your name*

email address*

comments*
You may use these HTML tags:<p> <u> <i> <b> <strong> <del> <code> <hr> <em> <ul> <li> <ol> <span> <div>

verification code*
 



RECONCILE AND MOVE ON
RSS-Pranab meet: Time to bury old ghosts
13.06.18 - VIPIN PUBBY*
RSS-Pranab meet: Time to bury old ghosts



Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sewak Sarsanghchalak Mohan Bhagwat, credited with inviting former President Pranab Mukherjee to the RSS headquarters at Nagpur, was wrong when he said the Sangh would remain Sangh and Mukherjee will remain what he is even after the event. Not only has the momentous event impacted the Sangh and the former president but hopefully the country’s political discourse for the better.

For the RSS to invite the former first citizen and dyed-in-the-wool Congress leader, who had spent decades in the party and had missed at least two chances of becoming prime minister by a whisker, was a remarkable initiative. For Mukherjee to accept and speak at the headquarters of an organisation which had been political anathema for him before he was elected the President, was a bold move. Even though he became ‘apolitical’ after entering the Rashtrapati Bhavan, he will always be known as one of the most prominent Congress leaders since the independence.

The RSS, which gave birth to the Bharatiya Janata Party, and the Congress represent two extreme political ideologies. Though they had not been seeing eye to eye for decades, the recent trends of mutual suspicion, extreme dislike and hatred had vitiated the political discourse.

The BJP, led by prime minister Narendra Modi and Amit Shah, had set its agenda for a "Congress-mukt Bharat” as it won state after state to be in power with a score of the 29 states of the country, and the Congress is now leading a bunch of parties seeking to make it a "Modi-mukt Bharat”.
------
Although some eyebrows were raised for his full some praise of the founder of the Sangh K B Hedgewar, his speech did mention unity in diversity and underlined the unique identity of the nation as an amalgamation of diverse religious beliefs.
------
The political debate has become so vitiated in the recent past that it has become almost impossible to articulate an objective view without one or the other side branding you either a "Modi bhakt” or a "Rahul bhakt”. Neither side is willing to hear any criticism and even forwarded jokes are taken as an affront and ‘proof’ that you are against so-and-so. 
 
If the invite from the RSS to Mukherjee and his decision to accept and speak at the Sangh’s headquarters has helped to bridge this antagonism between the divergent political views, it is certainly for the better. There can be no two opinions about the patriotism and nationalism of RSS/BJP combine or that of the Congress-led array of political parties. As Mukherjee’s eloquent speech at Nagpur brought out, there can be saner and less acrimonious ways to raise your point of view.

The debate over what Mukherjee left unsaid – lack of reference to Gandhi’s role in freedom struggle and his assassination, intolerance of religious fanatics, incidents of lynchings and attacks and the aggressive imposition of Hindutva agenda – is immaterial. Although some eyebrows were raised for his full some praise of the founder of the Sangh K B Hedgewar, his speech did mention unity in diversity and underlined the unique identity of the nation as an amalgamation of diverse religious beliefs.

"Today I came here to pay my respect and homage to a great son of Mother India," Mukherjee wrote in a visitor's book at Hedgewar's birthplace ahead of his much-anticipated speech at the RSS headquarters at Nagpur.

 
For that matter even Bhagwat was highly circumspect in his speech. He too refrained from saying anything provocative or referring to politics of the day. He even changed the protocol of such functions by letting Mukherjee have the last word. Inviting someone who was known to be opposed to the RSS ideology for a long time was itself a good and bold initiative and the event did create a buzz with the RSS receiving an unprecedented national focus and mileage.
------
Political difference are bound to remain and so does the approach to the problems but there is no other way than to work together for the common good of the country and the society.
------
While it is true that those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it, it is also important to bury the ghosts of the past and look forward to a new and vibrant India.

It is obvious that the leaders of RSS-BJP squirm in their seats whenever others refer to the apology letters of Vir Sawarkar to the British rulers and the questionable actions of its leaders during the freedom struggle. Similarly there is little that the Congress can defend for imposing Emergency and curtailing fundamental rights of citizens. It also has no defence for allowing the 1984 massacre of Sikhs and does not have a sparkling history of a truly democratic political party.
 
But it is time to reconcile with the past and move on. As stated above, no aspersions can be cast on any of the major political parties over sincerity and efforts to take India forward. Differences lie in the approach and ideology. There is need to debate and discuss issue threadbare in the interest of the nation and in a spirit of give and take. Political difference are bound to remain and so does the approach to the problems but there is no other way than to work together for the common good of the country and the society.

Mukherjee’s visit to the RSS headquarters and making his point will be a subject for political debates for a long time to come. Even though Mukherjee was not representing Congress or any other party, his presence and speech have signalled that no major party or organisation is ‘untouchable’. It would prove a great success if the visit is able to calm down political rhetoric and lead to a more mature discourse.

 

*(The author, a freelance journalist, is a former Resident Editor of Indian Express, Chandigarh, and reported on the political developments in Jammu and Kashmir, North-Eastern India, Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh, Haryana and Punjab in his long, illustrious career. This article was also published by lokmarg.com and is being reproduced here with the due permission of the author. - Ed)


 

Disclaimer : PunjabToday.in and other platforms of the Punjab Today group strive to include views and opinions from across the entire spectrum, but by no means do we agree with everything we publish. Our efforts and editorial choices consistently underscore our authors' right to the freedom of speech. However, it should be clear to all readers that individual authors are responsible for the information, ideas or opinions in their articles, and very often, these do not reflect the views of PunjabToday.in or other platforms of the group. Punjab Today does not assume any responsibility or liability for the views of authors whose work appears here.

_______________________________________________________________

Most shared Punjab Today articles: 

"Captain Amarinder Singh ji” and "Rahul”: Reading Sign Language In A Relationship

SARKAR IN MANALI: From Shahkot to Mohali Court, Sara Alam Bigrra Jaye

If it could happen to Arun Shourie, imagine what could they do to you?

SIKHS & FEMINISTS – We hailed Harjit Sajjan; they didn’t hail Gina Haspel

AFTER BEING RAPED, I WAS WOUNDED; MY HONOUR WAS NOT

The Comrade In Punjab - Lost, Irrelevant, Asleep, Even Bored!

WE MISSED A REVOLUTION, BUT CAN IT STILL BE A GAME CHANGER?

A POLITICIAN SPEAKS – YOU SHOULD HEAR

ENCOUNTER, JULOOS & SELFIES

SOWING ANGER - NO QUICK FIX - Democracy is an Empty Ritual in Punjab

OUT-OF-BOX SOLUTION TO STOP FARMERS' SUICIDES

WATERS ROYALTY - The Loot that Rajasthan Committed

'THORRI BAHUTI EHNA NU SHARAM AUNI CHAHEEDI HAI'

ASSEMBLY COMMITTEE ON SUICIDE-HIT BATS FOR AARHTIYAS

RANGROOT OFFERS A PEEK INTO PUNJAB'S TRAGEDY

WHAT MAKE NEWS IN INDIA, AND WHAT DOES NOT?

HITLER, MODI & GANDHI: ON THE SAME PAGE?

PUNJAB IS STILL VERY FAR FROM INDIA

APOLOGY – AKALIS BIG LOSER, CONG TOO 

AMARINDER GOVT's LOVE FOR FARMERS, AND MY DAD's FOR HIS SCOOTER

SUPER EFFICIENCY ONBOARD CM’S CHOPPER

OF SUNNY KID & HORSE SENSE: The Punjab-Punjab Ties: The Coordinated Silence of Amarinder Singh & Badals

PM MODI VINDICATES PUNJAB TODAY REPORTAGE

NEW DELHI V/S OTTAWA — WILL QUEBEC DEFEAT INDIA?        

A SAFFRON JOURNEY VIA CANADA - Trudeau came to Punjab, pushed Amarinder closer to BJP, then called him a liar

JASPAL ATWAL CONTROVERSY: Mr. Ujjal, will you throw some light on this too?   

TRUDEAU VISIT AND RIGHT-WING MEDIA MACHINE

J&K – RAM MADHAV LEAVES SPACE FOR MEHBOOBA’S POLITICS

SHEKHAR GUPTA'S HALF-BAKED TRUTHS 

OF NIRMAL SINGH'S EYES - Karze Ne Layee Ikk Hor Kisan Di Jaan...

PNB Scam: Who is Nirav Choksi and what he is doing In the name of God?

Congress upset due to Priyanka’s cleavage on calendar 

RENUKA'S LAUGHTER: Thank you for your guffaws. We needed this non-violent weapon.

MR CLEAN to PAKKE DHEETH: How Punjab’s Congress hurt Brand Rahul Gandhi? 

MANJIT SINGH CALCUTTA– THE DISSENTER

PUNJAB FARMERS AND IPL CRICKETERS - Finally, they can stand like equals

Mr. CHIEF MINISTER, PLEASE CALL OFF JANUARY 7 FUNCTION. My teacher is not alive, but you please call it off!

SUKHBIR IS RIGHT – On 97th anniversary  Panth Khatre Vich Hai. Where does this threat come from?

THE FINAL HONESTY CERTIFICATE: ISSUED BY THE TRIBUNE

NO TIME TO READ THIS STORY? – That’s OK - Please do not feel guilty 

BAD, BAD WOMAN! – Punjab’s top playwright slams woman complainant against Langah

MR PRESIDENT, PLEASE TAKE BACK HIS GALLANTRY MEDAL – On Amod Kanth’s badge of shame

RELAX! ALL 30 WERE DERA PREMIS – Panchkula says something stinking about its conscience

PUNJAB: AN IDEA IN SEARCH OF WORDS: Punjab, more than a poster boy of progress or a renegade from modernity

_______________________________________________________________


Punjab Today believes in serious, engaging, narrative journalism at a time when mainstream media houses seem to have given up on long-form writing and news television has blurred or altogether erased the lines between news and slapstick entertainment. We at Punjab Today believe that readers such as yourself appreciate cerebral journalism, and would like you to hold us against the best international industry standards. Brickbats are welcome even more than bouquets, though an occasional pat on the back is always encouraging. Good journalism can be a lifeline in these uncertain times worldwide. You can support us in myriad ways. To begin with, by spreading word about us and forwarding this reportage. Stay engaged.

— Team PT


 




[home] [1] 2  [next]1-5 of 6


Comment

your name*

email address*

comments*
You may use these HTML tags:<p> <u> <i> <b> <strong> <del> <code> <hr> <em> <ul> <li> <ol> <span> <div>

verification code*
 







MOST VISITED
YOU MAY LIKE

TOPIC CLOUD

TAGS CLOUD

ARCHIVE



Copyright © 2016-2017







NEWS LETTER