Friday, February 26, 2016

Smriti Irani’s Lok Sabha speech- And Aftermath ::: Be cautious about Today

Be cautious about Today: Tomorrow is Important; Need not Forget the Past

Smriti Irani’s Lok Sabha debate on February 24, 2016 is being debated and perhaps will be discussed much more. Politically she did score a point and took the battle into rival camps who later took up all non-convincing points to find fault with her speech.
In Rajya Sabha, opposition rather chose to play up a phoney issue by trying to accuse that Smriti Irani has made a blasphemous remarks about Goddess Durga.


A known ‘secular’ newspaper came out with a most disgusting banner headline – actually belittling the noble profession of journalism itself. These are testing times for democracy more so for a pluralistic Indian society. 

The words like passions, nationalism and even freedom of speech are these days seductive terms. 

Nation building or even patriotism is often related to Disneyland – a sound without echo – or even a present without a past. But patriotism has another quite a dangerous proposition. It needs careful nurturing. The cause of evil vis-à-vis a nation can get a boost often when countrymen and women do nothing. One need not always do much but often not doing enough also contributes in the unmaking of a country.
Ironically, the Left-radicalism actually thrives in this stagnancy, the inaction. So most often even in the case of Indian communists – more so with the Marxists variety – the progress of the country must be resisted. 

They had resisted this with Rajiv Gandhi regime in 1980s and they are on the same war-path with the Modi regime. Ironically the government led by Narendra Modi today is subject for much hatred of Rajiv Gandhi’s son, Rahul and Congress party.

In the process, over the last few decades India has perhaps become one of the most complex democracies.


Indian civilization has been a pluralistic country since ages but politically was declared a ‘secular country’ after independence in 1970s. But gradually it was given the colour of ‘minority appeasement’ and vote bank politics.
To sound anti-Hindu became fashionable. Worse the Left-radical theories influenced the mindset so much that intellectuals took it upon themselves the responsibility of sounding anti-Indian culture often. Thus in large sections they were perceived as ‘alienated’ from the Indian society.
The series of twists in JNU fracas bears testimony of this. A pamphlet that has figured in public debate is blasphemous and most improper description of Goddess Durga.
Personally I could be hurt as I am a Bengali and a born Hindu. But more importantly a section of political class has declined to condemn the circulation of such papers. Rest of the drama is political and unhappy one. But what about the minorities of our country and intellectuals among them? Very few have come out to condemn such papers.
Indeed, it is this kind of episodes that forces ‘fundamentalism’ to thrive among Hindus – the majority in this country. 
Telangana police report

On another plane, controversy is being made about Rohith Vemula’s death in Hyderabad. Notwithstanding contradicting claims by students and doctors, Telangana police have another story to tell and seems to endorse Smriti’s statement.

Even earlier in these blogs, I have spoken about inherent meekness of Hindus to be ‘political’ in their fight against other religion propaganda. The ‘missionary’ zeal and even components are simply missing among Hindus to wage a religious war. 

This was the case in the 13th century. There was a kind of paralysis and the timing coincided with extinction of Buddhism and VICTORY OF ISLAM.

In contemporary setting, overwhelming Hindus in India are now at least getting assertive about defending their rights. This need not be mistaken with communalism per se. But Hindu assertiveness is becoming order of the day. There is nothing wrong is such assertiveness. What is to worry about that the fringe elements among Hindu fundamentalism is that they may also fall into wrong hands as has been with a section of minorities.
Hindus need to be careful about it. The same responsibility also remains with minorities as the feeling of rivalries between religious communities will be quite harmful. 
In this context Smriti Irani’s speech was an eye opener especially in the context of motivated nature of lessons and passages prescribed in school text books under Congress-led UPA.

I am quoting here from the HRD Minister’s speech:
“I wondered, where do our kids learn from? ……This is a history book for students of class IV - Teacher's Reader. 
The author of this book is Teesta Setalvad. 

This book has been commissioned by UPA's Kapil Sibal. The same UPA whose chairperson is Soniaji. Let's see what is to be taught to student of class 4. In our text and syllabus, we continue to perpetuate the colonial legacy of portraying ancient India, as synonymous with Hindu and Medieval India past with the Muslim." 

I quote from this book…"When we teach Shivaji, Akbar, Aurangzeb as responsible educators and animators, we need to ask which Shivaji do we need to take into the classroom. It is not only against Shivaji that is taught. Congress politicians allowed the killings for three days during the Sikh riots. That is also taught.Hindu-Christian riots in Kanya Kumari. How the propaganda of Hindu organisations target Christian minorities."
You are teaching this to a child in the 4th standard. This is their idea of secular education. History taught to standard 6th. Kashmir is a much demonised land today...{pause} that the State militates against the atrocities of the Indian State”
During her speech, Smriti Irani asks, “Are we shocked that our students go to universities and say "Kashmir ki azadi tak jung ladenge.."?
She also raises few other lines as prescribed books and teachers seek to teach students. 

These lead us to a few questions. 

-Will Don Bosco, Matunga try to explain its stand on these books?

-Will champions of freedom from across India- especially a few associated with Ahmedabad especially explain whether Teesta Setalvads still deserve to be hailed as a paragon of virtue?

- Politically was there no quid-pro-quo when Teesta fought against Narendra Modi and Kapil Sibal commissioned her to pen text books for children?

-Did Rahul Gandhi err in accompanying an ill-informed Anand Sharma to the JNU campus?

This is an age of empowerment and informed debate. Politics involve human beings. The human beings – the neta class – can no longer be regarded as infallible. They make mistakes. If they commit mistakes, they must say sorry. 
Joining the Leftists bandwagon by Congress leaders for JNU saga was more than a mistake. It was a blunder notwithstanding some amount of mileage Congress got in a section of select media. Personally several Congress leaders feel the party should have stayed away from the JNU circus where people were trying to hail Afzal. Actually such a stance only seeks to insult Muslims of India. 

Muslim leaders should condemn such an attempt to try to appease them by calling like characters like Osama – Osamaji and Afzal as Afzalji. The former Home Minister P Chidambaram’s classic attempt to give a twist to Afzal-hanging saga is funny and has a lot of holes. Congress has tried to distance itself, safely. But it is too less and rather a lukewarm response.

A Facebook comment on the episode actually should serve a lesson for Congress leadership for continuing to overplay Afzal cards. “The entire UPA Cabinet should be booked under IPC Sec. 302 for murder of Afzal Guru ..... If proven guilty they should be punished for maximum under Law RAREST OF RARE .... BTW, who was the HM when the SC sentenced Guru ????? (Sushilkumar Shinde - blogger)? Is he (Chidambaram) really serious ..... or has he lost his head ?”. 

Only an intelligent man like Rahul Gandhi and his intelligent team can answer this question.


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