Thursday, September 26, 2013

Shining Strong and Steady Narinder Modi has virtually captured India's political horizon

Shining Strong and Steady
Narinder Modi
has virtually captured India's political horizon

When Gujarat Chief Minister Narinder Modi was, on September 13, anointed by the BJP President Shri Rajnath Singh as party's – and NDA's – prime ministerial candidate for 2014 elections, it was not something unexpected. People knew much earlier that ultimately he alone will emerge as BJP's Man Friday; all they had been waiting was for the formal words from the mouth of BJP President who had been hinting  at it since long. The declaration has only resulted in Mr. Modi painting the country's political horizon saffron – the colour auspicious and sacred as per Indian traditions. He has now arrived on the scene, made his presence felt and effect of his leadership ominous. He left an indelible mark on the minds and hearts of the six crore citizens of his State. He worked for the welfare and development of everyone irrespective of one's caste, creed and sex. This reality ignited in the minds of people all over the country that Mr. Modi is a man of action who means business and can do wonders for the country as he did for his State.

The glow of his work and the fragrance of his achievements were so sweet and strong that it transcended the boundaries of Gujarat to regale one and all in the country. It sparked the feeling: wish they too were one among the Gujaratis. For the captains of industry, Gujarat became a pilgrimage they must undertake to get the boon of having a pride address in this vibrant State.

The news had an instant electrifying effect. The day of announcement was also the day of polling in the Delhi University Student's Union elections. Akhil Bhartiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) campaign was already centred on Modi, his portraits dominating the posters and campaign material. The results joined the chorus of crackers that were burst to hail Mr. Modi being named PM candidate. ABVP won three posts of President, Vice-president and Secretary after a long interval.

Rewari (Haryana) rally on September 15 was planned much earlier. It turned out to be one of the greatest by any non-ruling party, particularly BJP which has not much presence in the State assembly at present. It attracted about 3 lakh strong cheering crowd. "Modi was the chant, Modi the speaker and Modi the leader", English daily put it. Those present vouchsafed for "his all encompassing appeal, charisma and star power".

The 25th September Bhopal rally addressed by Mr. Modi as also Mr. L. K. Advani which besides Mr. Rajnath Singh, MP CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan and party's top national leadership turned out to be an epoch-making one. According to media reports, more than 7 lakh people participated and a team of the Guinnese Book of Records was there to record the greatest rally.

The post-anointment opinion polls have given BJP one-up in all the four States of Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan and Delhi going to the polls in just another two-three months, although in Delhi it is reported to be not that much comfortable as elsewhere.

The Modi bang seems to have unnerved UPA. The day after former chief of army staff General V. K. Singh joined the Modi rally, an inquiry has been instituted by government against him obviously to browbeat the brave soldier. Further, CBI which had earlier taken the stand that it had "sufficient proof" against Samajwadi Party supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav suddenly found empty its bag of "sufficient evidence" against him in the DA case. The CBI has also become super-active in the Ishrat Jahan 'fake encounter' case to complete the assigned task before the nation goes in for Lok Sabha polls.

The daring decision by BJP chief Rajnath Singh has once again proved that BJP is a party with a difference. It has given a lie to the prophets of doom. It does possess full internal democracy where every leader and worker has a right to express his opinion freely and frankly but once the party comes to a collective conclusion it is a decision of one and all to be religiously respected. The decision on Mr. Modi has once again put a seal on this great characteristic of the party.

The Modi decision has also raised the stock of Mr. Rajnath Singh in the country. He has now come to be regarded as a man of mettle who can handle difficult situations in his stride and can weather all storms  remaining steadfast in his determination. In consultation with the top leadership he took a bold decision and the timing and implementation of the strategy too was his.  He came out with flying colours in the end. 

The catapult of Mr. Modi from the vibrant State of Gujarat to the national scene was the process of natural evolution as he consistently achieved the highest rate of GDP growth year after year despite the fact that the State had to pass through two unanticipated great disasters: the Kutch earthquake and the 2002 riots.  He made history by rebuilding the houses razed to the ground and rehabilitating in just one year the people and areas severely devastated.

He was quick to marshal the State police and the military strength to control of post-Godhara riots. Had he not acted in time the extend of carnage would have been much more heinous. It goes to his credit that hundreds of cases have been taken to their logical conclusion in courts after speedy investigations and hundreds have been punished, both high and low, irrespective of caste, creed and political affiliation. This stands in contrast to the 1984 anti-Sikh riots where more than double the number (compared to Gujarat riots) of Sikhs and Sikhs alone were butchered and that too only in Congress-ruled States. Those who were named by victims as the perpetrators of progrom against Sikhs were only Congress leaders yet none was hauled up immediately. On the contrary, they were prized and made party MPs and ministers. The bereaved families are still running pillar to post in search of justice which has eluded to more than 95 percent of families even after about 29 years.

Mr. Narendra Modi pulled Gujarat out of the debris of the two great tragedies in no time and turned it a model state of development in the country. He set the standards for others to follow. It was because of the fast growth in Gujarat and other BJP ruled States of Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Himachal Pradesh, Bihar when BJP was part of the alliance, etc. which recorded a much higher rate of growth than the national average. Had the performance in these States not been that spectacular, country's GDP growth rate would have been much lower. The anti-Modi elements both in Congress, UPA and the so-called 'secular' front got a hard punch when Union government's own statistics showed that minorities, particularly the Muslims, had a much higher per capita income and led a much better life in Gujarat than in non-BJP States.

Because of Mr. Modi's wonders in his home State he became a household name all over the country. The more his detractors tried to run him down, the more he bounced forward with greater force. In the end he emerged the winner.
The more his political enemies tried to block his emergence on the national scene, the more space he started getting in the media. It was the controversies that his political foes generated to raise a scare about him that made him the doyen of the common man. The country witnessed the evolution of Mr. Narendra Modi as the voice and vision of the masses. He was not being imposed by the party bosses from above; he emerged as the choice of the people. "Modi lao" became the common refrain. He earned the support even of those who had, in the past, never supported BJP.

The messengers of doom had spread the scare that if Mr. Modi were made the PM candidate, a 1996 situation will arise when no 'secular' party was forthcoming to support to Vajpayee's NDA government. But within 10 days the BJP has received warming up signals from the Telugu Desam Party, Karnataka Janta Party of BS Yedyurappa and others.  

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Gandhi of Jana Sangh and BJP

His 98th birth anniversary falls on September 
Gandhi of Jana Sangh and BJP
By Amba Charan Vashishth

For Bharatiya Jana Sangh (BJS) – and its later avatar Bharatiya Janata Party  (BJP) – Pandit Deendayal Upadhyay holds the same position of love and reverence as does Mahatma Gandhi for the Congress. While the name, fame and electoral utility of Gandhiji for Congress seems to be waning and his portraits adorn only on ceremonial occasions, no BJP function is today complete without Upadhyay’s pictures overseeing every party programme and function.
Gandhiji came off a well-off family, Upadhyayji was born in an ordinary one. The latter lost his parents too early and was brought up by his maternal uncle. Simplicity in life dawned to Gandhi after he jumped into India’s freedom movement; it was very much in Upadhyayji’s bringing up and genes.
Gandhiji always loved to travel in a third class railway compartment; so did Deendayalji. In train he would utilize his time reply to karyakartas's letters in his own hand. Once when RSS sarsanghchalak Golwalkar,  popularly known as Guruji, made him to sit in a first class compartment to discuss something, the first thing he did on alighting  was to contact the Station Master (SM) to pay the difference in fare between third and first class ticket. The SM told him, “Panditji, you’re the first person to be so honest to volunteer to make such a request in my long career”.
Simple living, high thinking
Gandhiji adopted a life of simplicity by choice; Deendayalji inherited simplicity and maintained it till the last. He always wore a dhoti-kurta. Even when he became the national general secretary and, later, national president of BJS it brought in no change in his demeanour. He would carry an ordinary cloth bag with a few holes in it. When a follower offered to bring a new one, he remarked, "The holes in this bag are too small to let my clothes trickle out".
From his simple looks and habits it was difficult to fathom that the bespectacled ordinary looking person was that great an intellectual. He impressed everyone who came in contact with him for his qualities of head and heart.
Any means of conveyance – a tonga, a cycle rickshaw – was convenient and comfortable for him. He was happy even as a pillion rider on a motorcycle.
He would not mind helping spread durries and dust the floor at the function venue even when he was a national general secretary.
Deendayalji was never after office or election. Office was always thrust on him by the love of the party leaders and karyakartas. The party rank and file wanted that Deendayalji contest the by-election for the Jaunpur Lok Sabha seat in Uttar Pradesh in 1963. Though reluctant yet he ultimately bowed to the collective wish of the party and contested. The Congress candidate against him was a Rajput who made appeal for votes on caste lines. BJS karyakartas suggested to Deendayalji that like Congress candidate, he too should retaliate by making a similar appeal to his own community of Brahmins. He got furious. He said he would prefer to lose the election rather than making a casteist appeal. He also threatened his supporters that if they indulged in that, he would retire from the election.
As a saintly man like Gandhiji, he took the ups and downs in his life in a stride. He was never unusually happy or sad at anything. He attended the next morning's RSS shakha after losing the Jaunpur election as if nothing had happened. He said, "My opponent proved more successful in conveying his message to the people than me".
In another election when a BJS candidate got defeated, he remarked, "Our man has been defeated but the party has moved forward. It has spread its message to more and more people".
Simple like a child
A karyakarta Kailash Sarang sent invitations to many leaders, including Deendayalji, for his younger brother's marriage. He was surprised when Deendayalji rang up from railway station to tell that he had come for the baaraat. He got his hair cut and his clothes ironed. "When I have come to join a baaraat", he told smilingly, "I should look like a baaraati". Knowing that Deendayalji had come to Bhopal, senior BJS leader Kushabhau Thakre wanted to avail himself of his presence and convened a meeting of MP MLAs in the evening. When Thakreji told him, he jocularly said, "Thakreji, neither did you went in for a marriage nor did I.  So we can't appreciate the importance of the occasion. You fix the meeting tomorrow.  I cannot miss joining the baaraat. "
Kind hearted
Once Deendayalji was travelling in a railway compartment. A poor boy asked an officer sitting nearby whether he could polish his shoes. The officer asked whether he had a cloth to clean his shoes. On his saying "no", the officer refused. While reading a newspaper Deendayalji kept his ears open to the talk. As the boy was going out, Deendayalji asked him to stop. He pulled out a towel from his bag, tore it and gave one piece to the boy saying, "Polish the sahib's shoes". After polishing when the boy came to return the cloth, he asked him to keep it so that he doesn't lose work next time.
Once he got his hair-cut from a roadside barber. He told a curious karyakarta smilingly, "The barber had no customer and I had no time."
Strict disciplinarian, yet human
Deendayalji was a hard task master and a strict disciplinarian.  Once in 1959-60 it was decided to nominate members of the Standing Committee for Delhi Municipal Corporation. A senior BJS leader Lala Harichand was adamant that he should be nominated. In the alternative he threatened that he would defy the party by contesting the election. When Deendayalji came to know of it he wrote to Vijay Kumar Malhotra, "How long we would be able to keep people into our fold by paying such a price?". When Malhotra conveyed this feeling of Deendayalji, he immediately regretted his stand and decided to go by the party's decision.
Ugly scenes in Parliament and State assemblies are the order of the day today but were rare those days. In March 1966 tempers in the Madhya Pradesh assembly ran so high that a provoked Pandharirao Kridutt MLA threw a chappal in the house. This condemnable incident put BJS in the dock. The matter was reported to the central party. Deendayalji, then general secretary, took a very serious note of it and said it should never be repeated. At the same time there was need to avoid a sense of guilt. He said Kridutt was a very sensible man and it was equally necessary to go into the circumstances which provoked him to resort to this extreme step. This changed the mood of dismay in the party.
Pioneer of coalition governments
Deendayalji was the pioneer of the concept of coalition governments in the country. When in the 1967 general elections to State assemblies, Congress lost majority in a number of States, after an open-minded discussion with leaders and karyakartas he gave a go-ahead to BJS to join the Samyukta Vidhayak Dal governments. He said in this way his party would get an experience in running governments.
Defined corruption
Deendayalji defined corruption as "equal to shortage of commodity multiplied by government regulation".
Friend with Lohia
Even though Dr. Ram Manohar Lohia and Deendayalji subscribed to different political ideologies, yet a great sense of bonhomie prevailed in their relations. It was Dr. Lohia and Deendayalji who jointly demanded that India and Pakistan should form a confederation to end the persistent hostility between the two countries.
Integral humanism
He felt that neither communism nor capitalism could be the panacea for the Indian society's ills. suited the Indian conditions of life nor could they solve India's problems. He therefore enunciated his own theory of Integral Humanism in which the central figure of the country's development plans was the human being.  He gave an impetus to the Antodya concept of development without distinction of caste, creed and sex. When BJS leaders Bhairon Singh Shekhawat in Rajasthan and Shanta Kumar in HP headed the Janta Party governments in 1977, they gave this concept a practical shape with excellent results.
 Foreign tour
During his visit to USA, he impressed one and all, left an indelible impact.  He addressed students of Negro College at Austin University in Texas.  He also addressed India-US friendship Society for one hour and for one hour he participated in a question-answer session. The Texas city council granted him an honorary citizenship of the city.
An American lady enquired of Deendayalji's host: “Who are the persons in Upadhyayaji’s family?  He told her that Upadhyayaji is not married and has no family. At this Deendayalji smilingly intervened, “No , no. It’s not like that. I too have a family and that is very large”.
When the lady came to bid farewell to Deendayalji she told him, “From now onwards I am also a member of your large family”.     
Couldn't speak about himself
Mr. L. K. Advani once narrated that when working for the weekly Organiser  he requested Deendayalji to write a weekly column 'Political Diary' narrating his experiences of his tours all over the country. For some time he did but then all of a sudden he stopped expressing his inability to do so. Mr. Advani explained that the obvious reason was that while writing this piece he had to use the word "I" numerous times and it was this what he detested.
Vocracious reader
Deendayalji was a voracious reader. At a time he kept two-three books open for reading. When he got tired of one, he would shift to the other.
He was also a good writer, equally at east with Hindi and English.  He wrote two books – “Samrat Chandragupta” and “Jagat Guru Shankaracharya” which not only have commitment to the goal but also a vision and philosophy of life. This has been explained very beautifully in these two books.
Same end
Both Gandhiji and Deendayalji met the same kind of death, almost – crucified  for their convictions for the sake of the nation: Gandhiji fell to the bullets of a self-righteous individual who did not see eye to eye with Gandhiji's thought and action. Deendayalji met a brutal death at the hands of a desperado whose motive, political or criminal, could not be ascertained even 36 years after his death.
Deendayalji had never been an MP or MLA. Nor did he ever hold any public office. Yet, like an ajaatshatru who had no enemy, he enjoyed so much love, affection and respect in the heart of everyone that Parliament made an exception to pay him a homage, unanimously.
Guruji paid a very impassioned tribute, "Deendayal chala gaya, sab kuchh chala gaya"(I have lost Deendayal, I have lost everything).                      ***

Monday, September 23, 2013

हिन्‍दू धर्म के शक्तिस्‍तम्‍भ

हिन्‍दू धर्म के शक्तिस्‍तम्‍भ

आज से शायद 50 वर्ष पुराणी बात होगी। तत्‍कालीन मद्रास व आज के चैन्‍नेई में एक विधवा महिला प्रदिदिन मन्दिर जाती थी। संयोगवश एक महाशय भी यही करते थे। महिला के पति के श्राद्ध का दिन आया तो उस महिला ने सोचा कि यह ब्राह्मण बड़ा श्रेष्‍ठ है जो हर रोज़ मन्दिर आता है, पूजा-अर्चना करता है, क्‍यों न उसे ही न्‍योता दे दूं? झिझकते हुये उसने उस महाशय को बताया कि उसके पति का कल श्राद्ध है और मेरी प्रार्थना है कि आप मेरे घर आकर भोजन करें। महाशय तुरन्‍त तैय्यार हो गये और उस महिला के घर का पता ले लिया।

दूसरे दिन निश्चित समय पर प्रात: वह महाशय आ गये। उन्‍होंने पूजा भी करवा दी और भोजन भी ग्रहण कर लिया। भोजन उपरान्‍त महिला ने उस ब्राह्मण को दक्षिणा भी दी। औपचारिकता के लिये व अपना आभार प्रकट करने के लिये कि वह महाशय उसके घर श्राद्ध के भोजन के लिये पधारे, वह महाशय को घर के बाहर तक छोड़ने गई। तब वह भौंचक्‍की रह गई जब उसने देशा कि वह महाशय तो गाड़ी में आये थे। उसने उनके पांव पकड़ लिये और कहा, ''मुझे माफ कर दीजिये। आप तो कोई बड़े आदमी लगते हैं और मैं ने आपको अपने छोटे से घर में श्राद्ध के भोजन के लिये आमन्त्रित कर दिया''।

महाशय ने महिला को उठाया और कहा, ''आप क्‍या कर रही हैं? मैं एक ब्राह्मण हूं और श्राद्ध करवाना व भोजन ग्रहण करना तो मेरा कर्तव्‍य है। मैं ने आप पर कोई एहसान नहीं किया।''

और वह महाशय तत्‍कालनी मद्रास उच्‍च न्‍यायालय (हाई कोर्ट) के मुख्‍य न्‍यायाधीश थे।

(मुझे एक सज्‍जन ने सुनाया था जिसने यह घटना एक पुस्‍तक में पढ़ी थी)

Saturday, September 21, 2013

व्‍यंग सस्‍ते नेता, महंगे अण्‍डे-टमाटर

सस्‍ते नेता, महंगे अण्‍डे-टमाटर

दो दोस्‍त आपस में चर्चा कर रहे थे। एक ने कहा कि लगता है हमारे नेता आजकल बहुत लोकप्रिय हो गये हैं।

दूसरे ने पूछा कैसे\

पहले ने कहा कि आजकल जनता द्वारा नेताओं पर अण्‍डे व टमाटर फैंकने की घटनायें तो अब सुनी ही नहीं जातीं।

दूसरे ने समझाया कि ऐसी बात नहीं है। वास्‍तव में आजकल नेता सस्‍ते हो गये हैं और अण्‍डे व टमाटर महंगे। पहले लोग सड़े हुये टमाटर और अण्‍डे फैंकते थे पर आजकल तो सड़े हुये भी आम आदमी की पहुंच से बाहर हो गये हैं। इसलिये हमारे नेताओं का ग़लतफहमी हो गई हैं कि क्‍योंकि आजकल उन पर अण्‍डे व टमाटर नहीं बरसाये जा रहे इसलिये वह बहुत लोकप्रिय हो गये हैं।

Thursday, September 19, 2013


The Day's Topic

The national daily The Statesman has come out today, the 19th September, with a front-page story headlined "Pranab-Mamata meeting triggers poll tie-up speculation, WB Cong divided". In all probability the President's office is expected to outrightly deny today itself the report as false and speculative.  Yet it is as much wrong to accept it as gospel of truth as it is to dismiss the story as without foundation or of no consequence.

It may be too much to expect that after his elevation to the constitutional office of the President of India, Mr. Pranab Mukherjee has lost all interest in the political fortunes of his old party. He has his family interests too. It is worthwhile recalling that his son won by a slender margin the parliamentary seat vacated by Mr. Mukherjee on his election as President. Given the present sentiment for the Congress in the State and the country, it does not strengthen Mr. Mookerjee's wish that his son will have a smooth re-election in the 2014 election to Parliament.

The report also shows that President Pranab may have quit as a minister in the Congress-led UPA government of Dr. Manmohan Singh and severed his formal relations with the Party, but he seems not to have renounced his role as the sankatmochak (trouble-shooter) of the party. It may also not be too much to read between the lines because the President has a genuine interest in the fortunes of Congress for family reasons too.

But we and Mr. Mukherjee himself need not forget that he holds a constitutional office of the President of India who is much above the petty partisan party politics. He is the custodian of the Constitution. He cannot –  and should not – look to be partisan, even if inadvertently and indirectly, by in indulging in politicking for or against.                     ***

Monday, September 16, 2013

In our system of justice a person has a right both to commit crime and claim innocence!

In our system of justice a person has a right both to commit crime and claim innocence!

By Amba Charan Vashishth

The system of dispensing justice in olden days could though be dubbed as orthodox, primitive and unscientific yet, at the same time, it remained unique, quick and effective.
Remember the old saying: chor kee dadhee mein tinka (a straw in the beard of the thief). It has a story behind it. A person complained to the local munsif that somebody had stolen his valuables. He expressed suspicion on some people. The munsif called the suspects who were all bearded. He asked each one of them one by one, but none confessed to have committed the crime. In the end the munsif suddenly shouted, "dekho, chor kee dadhee mein tinka” (Look, there is a straw in the beard of the thief). The real thief instantly brushed aside his beard with his hand to remove the straw which actually never was. It was only the guilty conscience of the thief that made him behave like that. And that was the proof of his guilt. He was punished.
Cut the child into two
Similarly, an Indian king was faced with a great dilemma. Two women came to his durbar, each vociferously claiming to be the mother of a particular child. But how could the king determine who was the real mother? There was no DNA test those days. Ultimately, the king asked both the claimant mothers: is the child yours? "Yes, my lord!" both reiterated their claim.
"All right", the intelligent king dispensed his justice, "Cut the child in two pieces and hand over one piece each to the claimant mothers".
"No, my lord!" cried one of the women falling over the feet of the king. "Give the child to her. I shall console myself by seeing my son alive in her lap".
The king smiled. "Give the child to this bewailing woman. She's the real mother". He punished the false claimant.
The justice system at that time may not have a written code but that certainly was effective and served the ends of justice for all. Crime under this system remained under check and people were satisfied with the speed and quantum of justice they received.
English System 
But the system of criminal jurisprudence the British imposed on India and we inherited and continue to follow even after they left us independent leaves much to be desired. It has failed to deter the criminals from indulging in their nefarious activities, to speed up investigation and trial and, ultimately, to fetch justice.
Our system is a strange plethora of contradictions. A criminal has a right to commit crime. He has the right to volunteer a confession before the police and even before a magistrate, where he does state that his averment is voluntary under no threat, coercion or allurement. But this confession of guilt has no sanctity of law; it is just a piece of paper. The accused has a right, later, to resile from this admission of guilt and instead claim innocence. His spilling the beans can, at best, be used by the prosecution as a material for his cross-examination, nothing more.
The criminal has a right to deny the charges against him even though he knows that he is not telling the truth. After the prosecution and defence evidence and arguments, if a court gives a verdict of guilty, it gives a lie to what the accused stated. In other words, our present system of justice extends a license to a criminal to tell a lie to camouflage his crime. He can get away with his dividend in the form of acquittal earned by telling a lie but is never made to pay for his crime of having told a lie with the well thought-out intention to mislead the court.
In a way it also implies that under the prevalent law it is not a mandatory duty of a citizen – a criminal too is a citizen – to honestly tell the truth. On the contrary, it confers on him only the right to tell a lie. In this way, a criminal stands nothing to lose. A lie could save him from the clutches of his crime but not punish him for his lapse.
Nirbhaya case
In the infamous Nirbhaya case of December 16, 2012, during trial of the four (one committed suicide during the pendency of the trial) persons accused of murder, rape and other crimes, pleaded not guilty. One person even claimed he was not present at the spot of crime. They produced defence witnesses to prove the prosecution story a lie. Their defence lawyers did their best to prove the innocence of their clients.
Misleading court
One of the accused was tried under the juvenile law because he was five months short of being an adult. The juvenile court handed down the maximum punishment of three years he could be given under the law. The hardened juvenile was mentally and physically fit enough to commit the grave crime but was a juvenile to evade the quantum of punishment for his crime.
When the court ultimately gave a verdict of guilty against all the accused, they advanced all the alibis to tone down the crime they committed to plead for lesser punishment. Their poverty and being under the influence of wine too was made to be the accentuating ground for seeking lesser punishment.  
Considering the prosecution and defence evidence and arguments by both sides, when the Hon'ble court sentenced them to death, all the four broke into tears crying in chorus for "some mercy". A person can seek mercy only if he confesses his crime and seeks to atone his guilt. It was only the horror of the gallows that made these inhuman criminals to tell the truth about their crime which they had earlier withheld from the court to mislead it. Their other crimes apart, perhaps, this one was no crime under our present system of jurisprudence.                                                                                            ***