Monthly Archives: January 2010

** Bigger than dynasty

Congress bigger than dynasty

A  Surya Prakash


Speaking at a function to mark the 125th foundation day of the Congress last month, party president Sonia Gandhi said that over the next year, the party “will recall those remarkable men and women without whose sacrifices and contributions, we would not be where we are today; we will also mark those events that have defined contemporary India, events shaped by our leaders that have left an indelible imprint on the nation’s social, political and economic history”. According to her, the party has been extraordinarily fortunate “to have had men and women of courage, integrity, sagacity and dedication to lead us”.

During her speech, Ms Gandhi showered fulsome praise on Jawaharlal Nehru, Mrs Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi, ‘generously’ devoted two lines to Lal Bahadur Shastri (lest her partisanship become obvious) but made no mention of PV Narasimha Rao, who was one of our greatest Prime Ministers. Since we are celebrating the 60th anniversary of our republic, all citizens who take pride in India becoming an economic powerhouse in the 21st century will be doing a signal disservice to the real heroes of India if they allow Ms Gandhi’s deliberate omission of Rao’s name to go unchallenged.

The facts are as follows: Rao became the Prime Minister on June 21, 1991. The country’s economy was in a shambles when he entered office. Foreign exchange reserves had plummeted to precarious levels and the rate of inflation was 13 per cent and eventually rose to 17 per cent. The predecessor Government, headed by Chandra Shekhar, had pledged gold to the Bank of England to raise $ 200 million because India was on the verge of defaulting on payments. We had just Rs 2,100 crore in foreign exchange — barely enough to pay the import bill for two weeks.

When Rao passed away in 2004, the country’s foreign exchange reserves were $ 140 billion (Rs 6 lakh crore). In the last week of December 2009, when Ms Gandhi felt that Rao was not worthy of a mention at the Congress’s 125th anniversary, India’s forex reserves were close to U.S $ 285 billion (Rs 13 lakh crore !). Apart from this remarkable turnaround on the forex front, the country has achieved spectacular results in terms of per capita income and GDP growth. The media and communication boom that one sees today has its origins in Rao’s decision to end the Government’s monopoly in these sectors. India is now the second fastest growing economy and every nation in the world is keen to have a slice of the action. In short, Rao was ahead of Mr APJ Abdul Kalam in igniting the minds of Indians.

The second but equally commendable achievement of Rao was the grit and sagacity with which he tackled the problem of militancy in Punjab. The seeds of separatism were sown in Punjab during the tenure of Mrs Indira Gandhi and continued unabated during Rajiv Gandhi’s prime ministership. The situation in Punjab appeared to be spiralling out of control when Rajiv Gandhi demitted office in 1989. It needed a cerebral and gutsy Prime Minister like Rao to retrieve ground. But for the firmness displayed by him, Punjab could well have become the first State to secede from India. Yet, Rao is not worthy of a mention by the Congress president.

The Nehru-Gandhis have always been parsimonious in acknowledging the contributions of national leaders other than those who belonged to their family. This is a trait that is obvious from the days of Jawaharlal Nehru, when everything was done to suppress the contribution of Sardar Patel, who successfully integrated 564 princely states and gave us a united India, and BR Ambedkar, who presided over the Constitution Committee.

The same trend continued when Mrs Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi were at the helm. Ms Sonia Gandhi is obviously carrying forward the family tradition. That is why although she says the party will remember leaders who have left “an indelible imprint on the nation’s social, political and economic history”, she makes no mention of Rao.

Further, although she says that the party has been fortunate “to have had men and women of courage, integrity, sagacity and dedication to lead us”, she lacks the grace to acknowledge the contribution of a man who displayed both courage and sagacity at a crucial time.

But, the suppression of Rao’s achievements is not the only thing as far as this speech is concerned. The bigger problem is the attempt by her to credit Rao’s signal achievements on the economic front to Rajiv Gandhi. There is another family trait, it appears, to appropriate the achievements of others, be they those of Sardar Patel, Ambedkar or Rao. She makes the extraordinary claim that Rajiv Gandhi ushered in the information revolution and that the party’s manifesto of 1991 became the basis for economic policies over the next five years, “which imparted new strength and direction to our economy and society”, meaning thereby that Rao deserved no credit at all for what he achieved as Prime Minister.

We need to examine this claim. Rajiv Gandhi was Prime Minister for five years from October 31, 1984. Just a year after he demitted office, India was desperately pledging gold to the Bank of England for a measly $ 200 million and Ms Sonia Gandhi wants us to believe that he ushered in our economic recovery! Yet another claim made by her is that “he brought peace to troubled parts of our country”. Nothing can be more fatuous. Rajiv Gandhi defended the pogrom against Sikhs in his infamous speech at the Boat Club in New Delhi in November 1984. During his prime ministership, Punjab militancy was at its height and there were scores of killings and bombings. In those days, it required real courage to venture into a cinema hall or to travel by public transport in Punjab and Delhi. The man who saved Punjab for India and brought back peace to that State was Rao.

Finally, although Ms Gandhi’s speech at her party’s anniversary is loaded with omissions, it may have its uses. It can enter textbooks dealing with the law of evidence as a classic example of ‘suppressio veri, suggestio falsi’!

1)Dynasty vs. Democracy @

2) Demonarchy of India  @’mo-narchy-of-democratic-india/


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** Stakeholders of Kashmir?

Are Muslims the sole stakeholders of Kashmir?
Nancy Kaul – Vijayvaani
14 Jan 2010
Muslims of the Kashmir Valley have long been portraying themselves as the sole inhabitants not only of the Valley, but of the entire Jammu and Kashmir State, including Ladakh. It is almost as if the Hindus of the Kashmir Valley who were forcibly driven out of their homes two decades ago had never existed, and as if the Hindus of Jammu and Buddhists of Ladakh also do not exist.

Such is the stranglehold of Muslims in the State that they have succeeded in propagating the myth that the only people who live and count in the State of J&K are Muslims, and they are the sole stakeholders of the place, which is far from the truth.

And now, with the so-called liberal brigade which includes inter alia some self-styled and internationally-funded individuals, a far more sinister design is emerging. In fact, it is giving a helping hand to terrorists and Islamic Jihadis to slowly seep deeper; this is the success of Islamic terrorism and its methods of which Jammu & Kashmir is facing a frontal attack.

Much more is the tragedy emerging out of the so-called dialogues, debates, discussions and Track II’s, etc., where the sole casualty is the ‘integrity’ and ‘sovereignty’ of India.

The fundamental ethos and civilisational moorings of the nation are being eroded and undermined by harebrained formulas and lunatic solutions. Many a times the agenda is pre-decided, as are the final reports and resolutions. The participants by and large, and the organizers of these dubious seminars, tend to take a line of allowing terrorists and separatists a free rein and free speech, which starts in venom-spitting against India and compromise on the vital and strategic issues of integrity and sovereignty, and ends at ways and means of Balkanizing the nation.

One such seminar organised jointly on Nov. 7, 2009, jointly by the Centre for the Study of Developing Societies and the Nehru Memorial Museum & Library, Teen Murti Bhavan, and conducted by CSDS Faculty member, Madhu Kishwar. It turned to be an ill-disguised platform for blatant India-bashing by separatists, terrorists and so-called Indian liberals.

The writer was also invited to speak in her capacity as a known Kashmiri Internally Displaced Person. Yet in her zeal to appease Muslims, particularly those belonging to the Valley, Ms Kishwar appeared to be miles ahead in the quest to dismantle the territorial integrity of the country.

The writer was not allowed to read her paper, and in fact suffered the most humiliating behaviour at the hands of Kishwar and her fellow traveller, the eminent lawyer Ram Jethmalani.

The organizers need to understand that they cannot force the rest of us to kow-tow to the Sunni Muslim line in Kashmir. Although the seminar (as suggested by the invitation) was organized by the CSDS and Nehru Memorial Museum, the official report of the seminar proceedings and some letters of ‘sought support’ in the great endeavour of Muslim appeasement and Balkanizing India appeared rather inexplicably on a website called Manushi, which is managed by neither of these two bodies. It is possibly owned personally by Kishwar, who once edited a magazine by that name, though it has been defunct for some years now, and even the website appears dated.

Facts are blatantly disfigured in Kishwar’s report, which is an open support to separatists and the so-called autonomy or self-rule envisaging politicians who are more or less acting in tandem with the separatists. Kishwar should realize that by doing this, the horrendous behaviour particularly of Ram Jethmalani, can neither be forgiven nor forgotten, and she was an equal partner in the crime.

It was she who had invited the writer to the seminar or so-called dialogue. The viewpoint of neither the separatists nor the secessionists nor others can be treated as binding or agreeable to me. If hours and hours had been allotted to the Hurriyat, People’s Democratic Party and such, why could ten minutes not be given to the speaker with a different perspective?

During the course of long hourly speeches of Gani Bhat of the Hurriyat, Mohammed Shafi Uri of the National Conference, and Muzzaffar Beg of the PDP, I neither objected nor interrupted anyone even though I do not subscribe to either autonomy, self-rule or separatism and devolution of sovereignty.

Yet one may ask why Mehbooba Mufti was invited to speak at length in the second session when Muzzaffar Beg had already taken more than enough potshots at the basis of Indian unity – Article 1 of the Constitution.

An important question that has to be answered by the organizers and those who not only stopped me from reading my paper but also humiliated and misbehaved with me, is WHY, after I had read just one page of my prepared speech, Kishwar announced that I can read no further? Why did Ram Jethmalani behave in a derogatory and humiliating manner? Where was the necessary dignity of the organizers when he got up and said he will not allow the paper to be read and will ask me to leave the place?

Jethmalani, Kishwar, and the others who shouted and did not allow the paper to be read forgot in their appeasement of Muslims of the Valley that I had been called by them. Why should a learned lawyer misbehave and gag the voice of a law-abiding citizen who is internally displaced in her own country because of the violence and terrorism unleashed in the Valley? His conduct in fact mauled the freedom of speech and in turn Articles 16, 19 and 21 which are guaranteed under the Constitution of India.

Why should it be taken for granted that only the likes of Hurriyat, PDP and separatists have a right to speak? Why are the other equal stakeholders in the valley not entitled to articulate their viewpoint?

Is asking for the free flow of the Indian Constitution a crime?

It is rather unfortunate and in fact demeaning of Kishwar to lie in her report about the seminar. Where were the representatives from Jammu region and Ladakh? Where were the Buddhists, Dogras, Sikhs, Christians from the State? What is the motto behind giving incorrect information to Indians by her? How could they then not allow even ten minutes to listen to the other viewpoint?

Why in Kishwar’s Final Report is there no mention of the demand put forward by Ramesh Manvati of Panun Kashmir?

Is it because Kishwar’s personal agenda also seems to further the cause of the PDP, and Muslims in particular? In this regard it may be pertinent to mention that Madhu Kishwar has been enjoying the hospitality of PDP now and again; in fact she visited Rajouri along with Mufti Mohammed Syed in second half of December 2009.

In a bid to clothe her pre-fabricated design of furthering the Kashmiri Muslim agenda she has unashamedly and blatantly given an incorrect picture to the country.

The factual details are not only missing, but also incorrect:-

For instance, the claim that Swaraj was Gandhi’s vision is the biggest untruth for any self-respecting Indian. It was Lokmanya Bal Gangadhar Tilak who envisaged the vision of Swaraj and gave the famous slogan: “Swaraj is my birthright”. Although this was in the context of the British Raj and not Indians, yet Kishwar in her appeasement of the PDP termed its self-rule document which envisages devolution of Indian sovereignty on the same level, and even called it more creative than even the European Union!

This is both flawed and questionable, as EU is a Union of several countries and nationalities, while India is one country and nationality. Yet Kishwar has made the very basics of nation-state existence, geo-political, cultural and civilisational aspects, and thousands of years of history and existence redundant in her zeal for Muslim appeasement! There are reams and reams of kudos to the insane ideas which include having two currencies in the State and joint management of the State.

Apart from an apology for her shoddy behaviour, Kishwar should explain what all support she was giving to separatists in the 1990s, as Yasin Malik himself mentioned at Teen Murti that she supported his ideas in 1994, at a meeting in his house in Srinagar.

Kishwar and her ilk are no better than the separatists, and for all their so-called liberal tags, a few foreign jaunts and funds are enough to make them cut at the very roots of the nation’s territorial integrity and sovereignty. I pray to Ma Durga to stand by truth and let it prevail and Ma MahaKali to deliver justice.

Tailpiece: what is RSS up to?

As I was concluding this piece, a friend sent me an email of a discussion organised in Delhi on 19 Jan. 2010 to observe the Kashmir Exodus of 19 January 1990, the day loudspeakers from mosques in the Valley blared open and grim threats to the Hindus: Pandits get out of the Valley, leave your women behind.

I had received the email information before – it was a discussion organised by the Syama Prasad Mookerjee Research Foundation, and the main speakers were listed as the new BJP President Nitin Gadkari, former J&K Governor Jagmohan, and Ladakh Union Territory Front president Thupstan Chhewang, among others.

Thus it was with a sense of shock that I realized that my informant was drawing my attention to the fact that the impugned Madhu Kishwar, Editor, Manushi, was suddenly listed as one of the main speakers at the functions, sharing equal honours with the new BJP president!

Now, the provincial Gadkari may or may not be familiar with Kishwar and her professional history, but the Syama Prasad Mookerjee Research Foundation is an RSS think tank, and someone very powerful in the RSS or the BJP must have been behind her sudden elevation in a place where she has no business to be at all.

RSS Sarsanghachalak Shri Mohan Rao Bhagwat has more than once categorically stated the position of the RSS on Jammu & Kashmir, both in Jammu and in New Delhi. And if the public positions of the Sarsanghachalak can be upturned in such a daring fashion in the capital itself (powerful BJP leaders visit Jammu and say concessions ‘must be given’ to Muslims, without telling the Nation at large and Hindus in particular why), RSS needs to do a serious audit about the Hindutva commitment of its cadres and the BJP which seeks its advice and support.

If a foundation dedicated to Syama Prasad Mookerjee, who is widely believed to have been martyred for the cause of Jammu & Kashmir’s full and final integration into India, for one constitution and one flag (ek nishan, ek pradhan), can provide a platform for a fellow traveller of terrorists, secessionists, separatists and outright criminals,  then what is the RSS’ stand?

The issue is too critical to be brushed under the carpet and demands a clarification and an answer.

1) Delhi Yielding @

2) To Forget History?

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