OPINION

Monthly Archives: AUGUST 2018


Pakistan, Navjot Sidhu & the hug: Amarinder Singh 2018 is opposing Amarinder Singh 2004
23.08.18 - S Pal
Pakistan, Navjot Sidhu & the hug: Amarinder Singh 2018 is opposing Amarinder Singh 2004



IS A SHORT-TERM political exigency actually eroding the goodwill capital earned by Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh?

No one can dispute two simple facts: Firstly, that Captain Amarinder Singh had emerged as the harbinger of the Indo-Pak civilian discourse and steered a popular Punjab-Punjab narrative during his last term; and secondly, that the same Captain Amarinder Singh is now being seen as opposing a harmless gesture by his popular minister Navjot Singh Sidhu during his recent visit to Pakistan.

Certainly, Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi was not a shining knight of democracy nor a stalwart fighter for Indo-Pak peace, by Amarinder Singh had broken convention by walking across the border with a bunch of his ministers and embracing each and everyone, regardless of their past.

He was happy to receive a horse from the then Punjab government and from Elahi who was a leading coterie member of a four-star general Pervez Musharraf. Musharraf had by then exiled an elected prime minister and ran the country in uniform and then in civvies. Surely, Amarinder Singh had not crossed the borders without a benign nod from Musharraf.

But he had done the right thing at the moment. Thanks to the shared sense of history, culture, language, destiny and life that Punjabis on both sides of the border have, Captain Amarinder Singh's overtures towards less-than-respectable characters in Pakistani politics were not frowned upon.

In fact, he was hailed as a messenger of peace. It is a constituency he nurtured carefully, and with some effort. His backing to the various World Punjabi Conferences and the exchange of delegations of businessmen, farmers, traders, lawyers and journalists defined and underlined Amarinder Singh's political approach. 
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The only way to stop Navjot Singh Sidhu from walking away with the crown will be to ensure that the corridor to Kartarpur Sahib is not opened. Amarinder Singh just tripped himself.
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It was a huge reservoir of goodwill that Amarinder Singh had earned with some effort. That he currently has a constant companion and friend by his side who hails from Pakistan reminds many of his overtures that had come just five years after Kargil.

Now, eager to snub Navjot Singh Sidhu, Amarinder Singh is negating that very goodwill. He is emerging as someone who, despite being a military historian and a war chronicler, can say something completely contrary to known facts.

Now Navjot Singh Sidhu is claiming that Pakistan's Army chief has assured him, rather informed him, about the opening of the Kartarpur Sahib corridor. 

It is possible that political exigency might have demanded that at no cost should Sidhu walk away with that huge prize. So, the CM has pooh-poohed Sidhu's claim, and has asked India's foreign minister Sushma Swaraj to take up the issue with Pakistan through proper channels.

Here is a translation: Amarinder Singh, a military historian, thinks Pakistan Army Chief Qamar Javed Bajwa is not really a powerful person whose writ will run in the matter of corridor, and Sushma Swaraj is such a powerful minister that she will be able to pull off with the help of Pakistan officials what General Bajwa cannot.

Also, it denotes that Amarinder Singh thinks anything in Pakistan happens only through "proper channels" and an army general will carry out proper fencing and will make arrangements as ordered by the Narowal SDM.

With due humility, that is a slightly erroneous judgement.
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Amarinder Singh thinks Pakistan Army Chief Qamar Javed Bajwa is not really a powerful person whose writ will run in the matter of the corridor, and Sushma Swaraj is such a powerful minister that she will be able to pull off with the help of Pakistan officials what General Bajwa cannot.
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The next natural course of action should have been to take Navjot Singh Sidhu's word on its face value and demand that General Bajwa and Islamabad now carry out what was promised to the visiting minister and friend of Prime Minister Imran Khan. 

Amarinder Singh could have turned the tables to say he would like Imran Khan to be the first person to walk through that corridor and escort the first jatha of the Sikhs for a darshan of the Kartarpur Sahib gurudwara, the last abode of the founder of the Sikh religion, Guru Nanak Dev. Naturally, that jatha could have been led by Amarinder Singh. His old friend, Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi, is these days the speaker of Pakistan parliament, and could have received him.

This would have been Amarinder Singh's shining moment.

Instead, Amarinder Singh 2018 has now taken a firm stance against Amarinder Singh 2004. 

The new Amarinder Singh is speaking in sync with the Hindutva crowd. The new Amarinder Singh has more faith in the Modi government's capacity to get the corridor open, instead of harking to the sense of a shared heritage and culture of Punjabis.

But the latest stance of Amarinder Singh is more in line with the new avatar of Amarinder Singh, the man who wants a bravery medal for the Indian army officer who ties a Kashmiri youth to the bonnet of a jeep as a human shield. Amarinder Singh now wants ten Pakistani heads for every Indian soldier killed. Amarinder Singh now speaks the ultra-nationalist language. Amarinder Singh now does not squeak on matters of mob lynching. Amarinder Singh cannot even criticise Narendra Modi in the words that a Rahul Gandhi uses. 

Amarinder Singh has opened the field to his critics to attack not just him and his politics but also his personal friendships and life decisions. Of the many ways of losing the battle to Navjot Singh Sidhu, Amarinder Singh has chosen the worst option of negating his own political capital.

The last man to have a chuckle on this will be Navjot Singh Sidhu. The only way to stop Sidhu from walking away with the crown will be to ensure that the corridor to Kartarpur Sahib is not opened. Anyone seen as working towards that end will be seen as a person more close to the forces of hatred than those desiring peace between Punjabis on both sides of the Radcliff Line.

Amarinder Singh just tripped himself, and all the king's horses and all the king's men cannot put Humpty Dumpty on the wall again. 

A Rahul Gandhi becoming a twice born Hindu by displaying his Janeu is the final victory of the BJP, because it denotes that the Congress has become a BJP Lite. With this legislative measure, all that Amarinder Singh has left to do is to tie a royal blue turban, since his is the Akali Dal Lite. The Aam Aadmi Party with Sukhpal Singh Khaira as its face is definitely an Akali Dal Ultra Lite trying to become an Akali Dal Lite under the leadership of a man whose father once used to shout Khalistan. 
 

The Akali Dal now has a chance to accuse Amarinder Singh of committing sacrilege since his government has actually, legally and literally equated Sri Guru Granth Sahib with religious texts of other communities, something anathema to most Sikhs. But with its ties with BJP already under strain, Sukhbir Singh Badal will prefer to wait. However, many radical groups will not.

The politics of Punjab is truly stagnating, and the stink is becoming unbearable. That sacrilege should hurt the sentiments of people of all religions, and also of none.
 

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.

_______________________________________________________________

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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





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THE NATIONAL CONSPIRACY AGAINST MODI
Narendra Modi will fend off this attack from Vajpayee. He did it earlier, too.
17.08.18 - S Pal
Narendra Modi will fend off this attack from Vajpayee. He did it earlier, too.



NO ONE HAS lost more than Narendra Modi in the death of Atal Bihari Vajpayee. The former Prime Minister, who once reminded 'hamare Narendra Bhayee Modi' of his 'raj dharma,' seemed to have timed his death perfectly to deliver a message to the incumbent prime minister, and was found unsparing this time. Again.

As Modi trudged the seven kilometre stretch, walking next to Amit Shah behind the hearse, all the way from the BJP head office to Smriti Sthal, one could the see the worry writ across his face. You can blame the mercury for rising to 36 degrees or the humidity to have crossed 70 per cent, but Modi's concerns were very different.

It was a day of mourning for him. His idea of India seemed to be gasping for breath, his vision of India not only defeated but even its public humiliation being beamed live on national television. 

Vajpayee had finally trounced Modi in a way most public, and there's nothing that Amit Shah could have done about it. Except, perhaps, to stay away from hoisting India's national flag ever again. He's not very good at it.

Every tribute paid to Atal Bihari Vajpayee sounded like a particularly well targeted barb at the divisive agenda gripping the country today. Every tweet hailing the late patriarch's ability to bridge the divides seemed like an Oscar Wilde rapier plunging deep into a 56 inch broad saffron chest.
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Arun Jaitley is a frail man these days, recuperating after surgery, but he would have inflicted lesser pain if he had plunged a red hot iron into his boss’s 56 inch chest. The violence of his words could not have been more brutal.
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Modi's knights could do no better either. In the 'Et tu, Brute?' vein, Arun Jaitley wrote that Vajpayee was a "quintessential gentleman" who was "always at ease in dealing with both friends and opponents and never allowed himself to get into any petty controversy...His political style was liberal. He accepted criticism...valued consensus. He bore no malice."

Jaitley is a frail man these days, recuperating post-kidney transplant surgery, but he would have inflicted lesser pain on his boss if he had plunged a red hot iron. The violence of his words could not have been more brutal.

It is not that the men tasked with enforcing the current national agenda were not fighting. Swami Agnivesh was beaten up, pushed, heckled in Delhi outside the BJP head office and had to be rescued in a police van. An assistant professor of Mahatma Gandhi Central University was administered an objective answer style lesson in Patna after he shared a Facebook post critical of Vajpayee. A dozen men lynched him, and have now been booked by the Motihari police. In Pune, a corporator was assaulted by fellow corporators on the Aurangabad Municipal Corporation premises after he opposed a resolution to pay homage to Vajpayee. In Gurgaon, some Muslim residents were booked for reading namaz in a vacant plot after taking permission from its owner.
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Narendra Modi was not worried because of such small, silly incidents. He was worried by the attack being mounted from the cortege by the man at the centre of this national multitude: Atal Bihari Vajpayee.
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But Narendra Modi was not worried because of such small, silly incidents. In times of ruling party politicians calling public lynchings and daylight murders as minor incidents - chutt putt ghatnaaye - what's a professor beaten to pulp or a Swami bashed up on a monthly basis? And why can't Muslims perform namaz in a room? ("Good question!" an Oxford-educated anchor would have cheered.) 

Narendra Modi was worried by the attack being mounted from the cortege by the man at the centre of this national multitude: Atal Bihari Vajpayee.

Every tribute spoke of his great regard for the values of tolerance.

Every message by world leaders hailed his capacity to befriend even his enemies.

Every statement by fellow politicians recalled his moderate prose, his mesmerising softness, an ability to dent the course of history with just a timely pause in his oratory, a proclivity to use fewer words to convey grand ideas, an understanding of India that is diverse, multicultural, multireligious; in fact, many Indias.

And they were all speaking publicly. Tweeting. Writing. Talking. There was not even an attempt to thinly veil their views in view of the delicate situation they could see on their television sets: a 56-inch-broad chest thumping man walking ramrod straight behind a man in a prostate condition who hasn't spoken a word in more than a decade, hasn't been seen in public, and was now hitting Modi where it hurt the most.
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All of it so public: tweeting, writing, talking. There was not even an attempt to thinly veil their views in view of the delicate situation they could see on their television sets.
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In fact, the man in the prostate condition, clearly angry at the fact that his advice to follow the raj dharma was not taken seriously and has led India to a turn where crowds are hunting cattle traders and Muslims, had now marshalled world leaders, Indian politicians, social media warriors, television channels and hordes of 'anti-nationals' to his side.

All of a sudden, the national discourse had been inverted. Even on R for Republic primetime window into the soul of a divided India where the nation demands an answer on a nightly basis. Vajpayee did what no liberal could do; he made Arnab Goswami talk of tolerance, genteelness.
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"He was my ideal, a guru, a role model," said Narendra Modi. Sir, you could have avoided saying any of that. It will pass. It will.
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Mirwaiz Umar Farooq remembered Vajpayee as someone who not only understood Kashmir, but even gave Kashmir hope. It's something some people walking behind that hearse know, would not be said about them ever.

"Democrat in Nehruvian mould," wrote Sudheendra Kulkarni. "Humanity and empathy distinguished Vajpayee from his peers...Samvedna had become his second nature... As we bid adieu to Statesman Vajpayee, may we strive to inculcate his "insaaniyat” and "samvedana” in our lives and also in India’s political life." Amit Shah would scoff at such prose. Some people just don't stop writing speeches even when the deliverer is being delivered in a glass enclosure.

But what went wrong with M Venkaiah Naidu? He has been rewarded well, one would think. "He only made friends, no enemies," the Veep wrote, delivering a very unkind cut. 

"One's inner core is reflected on one's face," Naidu wrote. He could have chosen different words, at least. Wait, there's more that Naidu said: 

"What made Vajpayee ji endearing to all the countrymen was the way he related to different sections of society. This was possible for him because he saw no contradiction in his commitment to the core values he believed in and in speaking for India as and when required."

Et tu, Brute?

The editorial writer at the Indian Express seemed to have a personal grudge against Narendra Modi — "(T)here are no leaders in the BJP in the Vajpayee mould, or they have been relegated and marginalised." But what's wrong with the Hindustan Times? It called the deceased politician 'The last statesman' when the man everyone in the BJP, and all those out to save a motherly animal on the roads in the middle of the night, call a statesman was walking right behind the editorial writer’s last statesman? 

One can quote hundreds of other obituary writers, newspaper editorials, thousands of press releases issued by district and block level offices of the BJP, and these would all read as if sleeper cells of tolerance and moderation became active during a vulnerable time when humanistic values were being openly paraded on the streets of the national capital, from Pandit Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Marg to Shakti Sthal/Raj Ghat.

"He was my ideal, a guru, a role model," said Narendra Modi. 

Sir, you could have avoided saying any of that. Sometimes, you just need to duck. It will pass. It will.

They are already renaming all the villages in Rajasthan that have Muslim-sounding names, and they will surely bash up Swami Agnivesh again next month. Yes, Umar Khalid, too. 

Then, everything will be normal.
 

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.

_______________________________________________________________

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

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_______________________________________________________________


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


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

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Welcome to 1947. Happy Independence Day. Would you like to step out?
13.08.18 - S Pal
Welcome to 1947. Happy Independence Day. Would you like to step out?



WE LIVE IN 1947. It is midnight. A job is being done. An agenda is being implemented. We will see the morning only when the task is accomplished. Millions crossed the Radcliffe line; others are still being told to go. In 1947, the announcements were made from loudspeakers mounted on horse-driven tongas. Now, the message is being sent out from the TV studios.

In Delhi, someone fired at Umar Khalid at an event titled ‘Khauff Se Azaadi.’ 1947 is on.

It is not about the BJP, or Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The fact is that Muslims in India have not found the required political legitimacy that a functioning democracy should have provided them, theoretically on day one, pragmatically within a reasonable time.

Even when people weren't worried about what the guy next door was storing in his fridge, even riots weren't happening, even when the truck-cum-rath of LK Advani hadn't started trundling through the cow belt, before even when the doors of the Ram Temple in Ayodhya were still to be opened, India's Muslims were not living peacefully.
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Living peacefully means more than not having riots. It means kids will often share school tiffins.
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Living peacefully means more than not having riots. A peaceful multi-ethnic life means villages, cities, housing societies, schools, and community affairs will see equal or at least proportionate mix of communities. Muslim friends would send over a bowl of biryani, and Hindus will invite them to their home on Diwali.

It meant kids will share school tiffins.

But we chose to live in the night of that fateful August 15, 1947. The project of nation building is on in the same spirit, with the same gusto. There is a fire in the belly. The unfinished agenda is being pushed. Heads are being counted in Assam, and new lists of citizens are being drawn up. We have no compunction as a rice farmer wonders which of his five children is not an Indian, or a widow is told that one of her three daughters-in-law is a foreigner and will be deported.

The political class is one on the issue, and so is the deep state of India. The Congress brought and legitimised the idea of updating the citizens' register, the BJP is implementing it, and the Supreme Court is telling the government to open negotiations with the Bangladesh government for facilitating deportation.

Muslims wanted a country. Politics gave them one. They should all have gone. How simple is that! Itna to bachhe bhee samjhte hain, goes a TV ad these days. 

We advertise this fact repeatedly. You would never hear of a piece of news that a Hindu has become a judge, or a speaker of the House. That's normal. But you read about how India made a Muslim its president. That's because it's abnormal.
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Muslims wanted a country. Politics gave them one. They should all have gone. How simple is that! Itna to bachhe bhee samjhte hain, goes a TV ad these days.
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You do not read a million news items that a postcard reached its destination. What you read about is the postcard that reached its destination in three years. Abnormal is reported. Man bites dog is news.

Someone needs to tell the world who India belongs to. So we must build what those, to whom India does not belong, are opposing. Hence, the Ram Temple. The Babri mosque demolition was a continuation of 1947. The talk, court cases, political narrative, television programmes and ongoing work at sculpting pillars for the temple represents a country stuck in 1947.

Were we getting Khalistan or not? Did Master Tara Singh do the right thing? Was Mohamad Ali Jinnah ready to give Sikhs an area of complete autonomy? Sikhs, the third party around the round table when tall men (and no women) used to sit at a table to carve countries and fates, are now arguing about Referendum 2020. It is actually Referendum 1947.

1965, 1971, 1999, the militancy movement in Punjab are all part of the platter of pending errands of 1947. We watch 1947 on our screens with a nauseating regularity. Border, Gadar, Mulk. We think it is such a normal thing for us to use phrases like My Name is Not Khan, or His Name is Not Khan without a bone-chilling shiver leaving us incapacitated for hours. It happens to Muslims, as if it were a genetic problem, a little like an eyebrow twitching.
-----------
You want to test the calendar? Buy a copy of the holy Bhagwad Gita in Urdu and start reading it in a bus. In five minutes or less, 1947 will come calling.
-----------
You come out, you form a band, buy a few saffron bandanas, block the road. After this, everything is black and white. Even black buffaloes look like white cows. And men become meat, to be beaten to pulp, as community work performed by a collective. A religious sewa-style legitimacy is attached to it all. Certificates, siropas follow. Photo ops, too. Dated 1947.

You want to test the calendar? Buy a couple of urdu books with colourful titles. Preferably, buy a copy of the holy Bhagwad Gita in Urdu or the NCERT's Class XII political science book in Urdu (I am not sure if they still sell these), and carry these in your hands as you take a bus or sit in a train. Keep these prominently by your side, or open one and start reading.

In five minutes or less, 1947 will come calling.

We have a very serious problem with Urdu. There's a reason. For some reason, every captured terrorist is found carrying some kind of reading material, and it is invariably in Urdu. That's why the legislator in Aligarh was stopped from taking oath in Urdu.

jin shahroñ meiñ gooñji thi Ghalib ki nava barsoñ/ un shahroñ meiñ ab Urdu benam-o-nishañ thahri/ aazadi-e-kamil ka elaan hua jis din/ ma.atub zabañ thahri ghhaddar zabañ thahri

This was Sahir, in 1969. He was basically saying it was 1947. Lovers of Urdu at the Jashn-e-Rekhta in Delhi now take care to carry the Urdu books they buy in khaki paper lifafas. Some time back, a woman carrying a brochure of Jashn-e-Rekhta was harassed in a metro because it was in Urdu, the language of the enemy. It is 1947.
-----------
The Congress brought and legitimised the idea of updating the list of citizens, the BJP is implementing it, and the Supreme Court is ordering the government to open negotiations with Bangladesh for facilitating deportation.
-----------
The demonization of JNU is part of the incomplete agenda of 1947. It is ironic that a university that gave Indians immense pride, also gave us an iconic phrase to denote our idea of the pending errands of 1947: tukde tukde gang.

Do not bother about the Congress asking why the BJP did not give a ticket to a single Muslim in Uttar Pradesh. Ask why there isn't a strong reaction among the public for the utter marginalisation of a major minority community. That's when you see our national life being lived in 1947.

Occasionally, in the United States, they beat up a turbaned Sikh with a flowing beard, mistaking him for a Muslim. Sikhs are very angry about it. Their top temporal seat, the Akal Takht, actually spells out how Sikhs are not Muslims. There is talk of educating the regular American bloke about the Sikhs. The community leaders publish pamphlets and paste posters on walls that update the Americans about how Sikhs are very different from Muslims and they should not be suffering due to mistaken identity just because they wear turbans, as OBL did, or have beards, as OBL had.

This is absolute 1947, in its purest form. This time export quality. No need to educate Americans not to bash up innocent Muslims. Just educate them how Sikhs are not Muslims. So the angry American bloke brought up on Fox News should take the trouble of checking out the ID card of his suspect, make sure it is actually a Muslim and not a Sikh, and then feel free to pummel him. 

In endless partition stories, there are descriptions of people dressing up as a Muslim, or a Sikh woman donning a burqa to escape murderous hordes. Naturally, when they encountered a crowd of fellow Hindus and Sikhs rushing towards them, apparently baying for Muslims’ blodd, they shout loudly that they weren’t Muslims, and that they were actually Sikhs or Hindus in disguise. When the hapless Sikh in the US complains, saying "Why was I beaten because of my turban? I am not a Muslim," he is basically confirming it is 1947. He is shouting, "Don’t beat me. I am not a Muslim. Please go and find a real Muslim, and you can beat him to pulp.”

I have seen couples marking the golden jubilee of their marriage with a dance to the lilting tune of chaudhvin ka chand ho, ya aaftab ho. It is amusing to see people listening to zihaal-e-miskin makun-baranjish, bahaal-e-hijra bechara dil hai / sunai deti hai jiski dhadkan, tumhara dil ya hamara dil hai. These are the people who do not complain that our children are not taught Urdu in schools. In fact, they will probably hold a dharna outside the school gates if the school even as much as proposed it. And you will have the local gau sewaks supporting them. We hate to have anything to do with a language in which our young boys and girls sing to each other. Can there be any bigger evidence of us living in 1947?

Sonia Gandhi is from a small village in Italy, born in a Roman Catholic Christian family. She is often derided for it. A prominent politician, now a member of India's Cabinet Committee on Security, once threatened to shave her head if Sonia Gandhi were to become prime minister.

Now, think of a situation if she were to be from a predominantly Muslim country! What could have been the level of our rhetoric? Guess the kind of phrases you would have in certain television studios specialising in locating India's enemies within. Shaving heads would not have counted. Killing a good many would have been one idea. A dozen surgical strikes another.

The fact is that while we are not having a conversation about 1947, we are either living in it, or writhing in its pain. We are still being hit by books that remind us how deeply damaged are we as a people because of the pain of 1947. 

1947 has been chasing us through the conversations of our parents, or the ones they have been avoiding to have with us. The death, the destruction and the displacement has damaged us deep within, and we are not talking about it, because we no more live in Lyallpur, or Shiekhupura, or Dipalpur, or Pak Pattan, or Rawalpindi. We think we live in 2018. The fact is that we are living in 1947, and much of the narrative around us is connected to 1947.

We are subjected every night to the images and delusions of Muslim men baying for our blood and honour. These images are our cursed family heirlooms. 
-----------
We have a very serious problem with Urdu. For some reason, every captured terrorist is found carrying reading material in Urdu. We hate to have anything to do with a language in which our young boys and girls sing to each other.
-----------
We have found a way to escape those mobs by turning into a similar mob ourselves. Or by not seeing the mob looking for an alleged tukde-tukde gang, or not calling it out when it is carrying a tricolor and shouting Pakistan Murdabad in a Muslim inhabited area. We escape these mobs by not trying to know anything about Islam, by making sure our girl knows it clearly that she is not supposed to socialise with a Muslim, forget about making out with one, and by the clarity of our thought that we need not learn Urdu even as we hum along a Javed Akhtar or a Gulzar.

We have not seen any demands for teaching Urdu, the language of the region, to our students. That is the success of the continuing 1947 project.

Political legitimacy for this 1947 resides in us. We are refusing to give up the project. We are wallowing in 1947, and yet suffering from it. The daily spectacle at sunset at the India-Pakistan border, hailed as a performing art for hordes of tourists, is the ultimate show-window for war when it is not possible to wage it. The pride in Bofors guns and Rafale jets is the nearer end of 1947 project, its far end being the wish to finish off Pakistan once and for all.

On this Independence Day, we wish you a few moments outside 1947, the rent-free resident in our head. Come out and smell the air. Look at that tricolor flying in a free land. And be happy for the crescent and star green flag of Pakistan fluttering in the neighbouring country. Like us, they, too, fought for freedom along with us. Like us, they, too, got it in 1947. Like us, they, too, were victims of 1947. We spilt each other blood. We need to cry, for ourselves, for each other.

It is 2018. Close your eyes and listen to the voices: if a million died during these days, surely some voices must speak to us. We need to listen to these.

We must never forget 1947. We must never live in 1947. Happy Independence Day. To us. To them. To all.
 

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.

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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.

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Sikh rebellion: Questioning the SGPC's authority
10.08.18 - VIPIN PUBBY*
Sikh rebellion: Questioning the SGPC's authority



THE Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC), housed in the Golden Temple in Amritsar, is considered the Mini Parliament of the Sikhs. It holds sway over the affairs of this community with huge funds and vast powers at its disposal.

The Committee, which was set up under the Sikh Gurdwara Act, 1925, is seen as a protector of Sikh maryada (traditions) and awards religious punishments, including excommunication from the community. It lays down strict guidelines on how respectfully the Guru Granth Sahib (holy book of the Sikhs) is to be carried. It gives permission to set up new gurdwaras and organise prayers in gurdwaras and homes.

Besides having a major say in Panthic affairs, the SGPC has an annual budget of Rs 1,064 crore and the collection from the golak (offering by devotees in gurdwaras) runs into crores of rupees.
 
Besides managing gurdwaras, the SGPC runs several welfare and educational institutions, including medical colleges.

However, its powers have now been challenged in the Delhi High Court by the "Inter Continental Association of Lawyers” which has questioned provisions of the Sikh Gurdwara Act, 1925. The Court has issued a notice to the central government as well as the SGPC.
------
For the first time, an association has questioned provisions in the Sikh Gurdwara Act for giving control of gurdwaras to the SGPC
------
The plea by the Association says that the Act is unconstitutional as it gives management and financial control over gurdwaras in Punjab and elsewhere to the SGPC in violation of Articles 25 and 26 of the Constitution. It says that while Hindus, Jains and Buddhists have the right to establish their places of worship anywhere, only Sikhs are restricted from doing so as per the provisions of the Act.

The petitioner, Debasis Misra, who is also president of the Association, has said that the Sikh Gurdwara Act, 1925, passed during British times, says that a person intending to establish a gurdwara is to seek permission from the SGPC. He said that in 2011, one Kirpal Singh Panesar had established a gurdwara in Jeeda village in Punjab, but it was demolished at the behest of the SGPC as no permission had been taken. After failing to get any relief from the authorities, including the Punjab government, he moved the Punjab and Haryana High Court. His writ petition was decided on May 15 last year and the High Court gave him permission to file an appropriate representation.

The petitioner had first filed a PIL in the Supreme Court on July 6, 2018, which directed him to approach the High Court. He then filed a writ petition under Article 226/227 for issuance of "writ of Certiorari, or Mandamus or any other” against the respondents for enforcement of the fundamental rights guaranteed under Article 25 and 26 of the Constitution.

The petition says, "A Hindu can establish his own temple and operate without control of anybody. But the big temples are controlled through Management Boards due to big risk of pilgrimage and donations” and asserted that when "Mughals came to India and started converting the Hindus to Muslims by force, Guru Nanak developed the Sikh sect in Punjab in order to protect the Hindus from forcible conversion and atrocities of the Mughals.
------
SGPC is "not only having monopoly over the construction and operation of gurdwaras on world soil but also has developed the concept of Rehat Maryada by which they have controlled/interference on the day-to-day prayer/rituals on the different gurdwaras of the world.
------
"That the present writ petition is filed for the entire Sikhs residing in the territory of India and throughout the world who are not knowing whom to approach and which court of law to approach for their grievances (sic).

"That the Petitioner Association is registered under Section 8 of the Indian Companies Act, 2013 and is preferring the instant Writ Petition in furtherance of its activities mentioned in the Memorandom of Association for establishment of constitutionalism more specifically the protection of fundamental rights guaranteed under Articles 25 and 26 of the Constitution of India of the Sikhs residing in the territory of India and throughout the world.” It goes on to declare that the petitioner association will pay the costs, if any, imposed by the Court.

The petition says that different authorities had recorded the statement/evidence of the petitioner, but he did not get any response over the past 10 years. It says the SGPC is "not only having monopoly over the construction and operation of gurdwaras on world soil but also has developed the concept of Rehat Maryada by which they have controlled/interference on the day-to-day prayer/rituals on the different gurdwaras of the world and has also control over a Sikh marriage which has to be compulsorily performed in gurdwaras”.

It says that the High Court may examine and decide on the substantial question of law about whether the Sikh Gurdwara Act, 1925, is a violation of Article 14 of the Constitution or not.
------
The SGPC, which is formed after elections held periodically, is under the complete control of the Badal family. The candidates put up by the Shiromani Akali Dal and nominated by Parkash Singh Badal and his son, Sukhbir Singh Badal, have been sweeping the elections to the Committee. 
------
It further says that it is a violation of the human rights of Sikhs in India because not only is their religious freedom controlled, so are their cultural freedoms—of marriage, and so on—because a Sikh has to compulsorily get a marriage solemnised only in a gurdwara.

The SGPC has not yet responded, but its reply is expected to be on predictable lines—that it is an internal issue of the Sikhs and that no other party has any right to interfere with Sikh religious rights. A spokesman of the organisation, who did not want to be quoted since the issue is before the courts, said that the petition was uncalled for and the SGPC would not leave any stone unturned in fighting the case. He was hopeful that the petition would be rejected at the initial stages itself. He warned that religious fundamentalists and mischievous elements may try to fish in troubled waters if the sensitive issue was stretched.

The SGPC is also likely to question the locus standi of the petitioner.

The SGPC, which is formed after elections held periodically, is under the complete control of the Badal family. The candidates put up by the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) and nominated by former Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal and his son, former deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal, have been sweeping the elections to the Committee. Sukhbir is also the president of SAD. The father-son duo decides who will head the Committee and which important decisions are taken.

Any court hearing on the Sikh Gurdwara Act, 1925, would have a direct bearing on the Badals and they would vigorously defend the provisions of the Act. One has not heard the last on this subject.
 

 

 

 

*(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 is being reproduced here courtesy: indialegalive.com  - 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.

_______________________________________________________________

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_______________________________________________________________


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




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BINA SHART SHARTIYA SIYASI ILLAAJ
Rajya Sabha Deputy Chairman election: NDA wins, Akali Dal loses
09.08.18 - S Pal
Rajya Sabha Deputy Chairman election: NDA wins, Akali Dal loses



IN THE ELECTION of the Rajya Sabha Deputy Chairman on Thursday, the Akali Dal of Sukhbir Singh Badal lost rather badly, without even a consolation prize. That's the political result of the joust.

As for the electoral joust, Harivansh Narayan Singh of the Janata Dal (United) who was the NDA's pick, defeated opposition candidate B K Hariprasad of the Congress with a 125-105 votes.

Even at a time when Bihar CM Nitish Kumar was caught up in a storm over the shelter home scandal in which young girl children were molested and a crescendo was on for the resignation of one of his ministers, the BJP could not ignore his grouse.

Nitish was miffed that while he had given full representation to the BJP in his government, the Modi-Amit Shah team had failed to reciprocate it at the Centre.

But Nitish Kumar did not utter a word in public. 

On the other hand, Sukhbir Singh Badal and his coterie of Akali leaders went to town, making it clear that they were claimants for the post. Naresh Gujral's name was openly bandied about. 

But then, Modi and Amit Shah are politically suave enough to know how much damage potential an ally can have if he is wedded to the idea of unconditional support.

Unlike Shiv Sena, the Akali Dal has been the meekest ally of the BJP. It does not squeak on national issues. It has no stand on national anthem in cinema houses. It has no stand on trussing up innocent citizens on the bonnets of jeeps to be used as human shields. It has no stand on love jihad, ghar vapsi or widespread culture of public lynchings. It basically does not have a stand on anything.
-----------
Sukhbir Singh Badal and his coterie of Akali leaders went to town, making it clear that they were claimants for the post. Naresh Gujral's name was openly bandied about. 
-----------
When not taking a stand becomes your most consistent stand, then you do not get an increment. "Kya karenge, usi tankhah par kaam karenge," said an Akali leader to a friendly reporter on Wednesday in Delhi as he walked out of a book launch event.

Among others present at the event was Naresh Gujral, the Akali Dal MP whose dream of cornering a plum position had been dashed. 

But the Akali Dal is hoping against hope, as was clear from Naresh Gujral's observation at the event: "Narendra Modi will change with the times and the BJP must learn to deal with its allies and not to interfere in their turf."

Gaurav Bhatia was the only one from the BJP who was present, and even if someone was repeatedly referring to him as Gautam Bhatia, surely a message was being conveyed. 

"It is important that they (the BJP leaders) do not try to get into the allies' territory. The allies must be given their space," Gujral said, and then seemed to lean on the Shiv Sena for some support.

Addressing Sanjay Raut of the Shiv Sena, who was sitting next to Arun Purie, the editor-in-chief of India Today and chief executive of the India Today Group, Gujral said, "I am sure Shiv Sena will stay with the BJP provided the BJP does not start demanding more seats from them. These are the issues which are going to be very important."
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"Narendra Modi will change with the times and the BJP must learn to deal with its allies and not to interfere in their turf.” — Naresh Gujral, 24 hours before RS election. 
-----------
"This is where a Vajpayee touch is required...I am sure Modi will be the prime minister again and I am sure he will change with the times," Gujral concluded.

While Sanjay Raut said he agreed with what Naresh Gujral has said, the fact is that Shiv Sena's capacity to take the BJP by its neck and give it a rude shake is well known. Already, the Shiv Sena has announced its readiness to fight the elections alone. It is a thought that scares Akali Dal right to their marrow. 

After just 48 hours of shadow posturing and the farce of a core committee meeting, Sukhbir Singh Badal rushed to the media not just to say that its three MPs will vote for the NDA candidate for the post of Deputy Chairman of the Rajya Sabha, but to add that there was "no question of not supporting the NDA's official candidate." Also, he said there was "no question of abstaining".

"The Akali Dal is standing rock solid with the BJP. It would support any candidate the NDA fields for the post," he said. So this was Sukhbir Singh Badal's complete capitulation: we will support Nitish Kumar's man Harivansh Narayan Singh because you say so. We will support anyone you say. We are saying so even without asking who else it could be. 

So while NDA’s pick Harivansh Narayan Singh chose journalism over bank officer’s job, and ended up becoming a politician and now the deputy chairman of the Rajya Sabha, the entire episode exposed the Akali Dal as an even weaker ally of the BJP than its weakest, which was Akali Dal itself till before this election.

Rajdeep Sardesai's "Newsman: Tracking India in the Modi Era" would have been a better volume if it also had an annexure of leaders and parties whose motto has always been: "Ussi tankhwa par kaam karenge.
-----------
The Akali Dal will stay in the NDA, unconditionally. That's the only condition it knows. 
-----------
At the book launch event just hours before the Rajya Sabha joust, Gujral said: "The success of the NDA will depend on the kind of a pre-election coalition that they are able to stitch up...on whether they are able to carry along their existing partners and some more."

Mr Gujral can rest assured as his own party is incapable of not being carried along. No one leaves a confused kid lost in the wilderness. Even without a Vajpayee, the BJP is not that heartless, or imbecile. The Akali Dal will stay in the NDA, unconditionally. That's the only condition it knows.

"I am sure we will refuse (to go with the BJP) if they ask us (SAD) even one more seat,” Gujral said. Bravo. How many hours before a clarification is issued by the unconditional leader?
 

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.

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Comment by: Malvinder Singh Mali

ਭਾਜਪਾ ਨੂੰ ਬਿਨਾ ਸ਼ਰਤ ਹਿਮਾਇਤ ਦੇਣ ਵਾਲੇ ਬਾਦਲਕਿਆਂ ਨੂੰ ਮੋਦੀ- ਅਮਿੱਤ ਸ਼ਾਹ ਗੈਂਗ ਨੇ ਉਹਨਾ ਦੀ ਔਕਾਤ ਵਿਖਾਈ , ਰਾਜ ਸਭਾ ਦੇ ਉਪ-ਚੈਅਰਮੈਨ ਦੀ ਚੋਣ ਵੇਲੇ ਬਾਦਲਕਿਆਂ ਦੀ ਜਾਤ ਵੀ ਨਹੀ ਪੁੱਛੀ ....

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Comment by: Sukhdev Singh

The Badal family is no longer into politics. They are into business. Their business needs are being met by the Modi government and its associate State governments. So there is no question of any disappointment among them.

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