Sunday, November 30, 2014

SANT RAMPAL EPISODE Media upbraids Haryana, Court praises it

Sant Rampal episode
Media upbraids Haryana, Court praises it

The non-bailable warrants issued against the self-proclaimed Sant Rampal of Hissar and his defiance of the court and the Haryana police made great headlines. Ultimately, the Punjab & Haryana High Court directed the police to arrest him and present him in court on November 21.
The continued defiance of the police and the court in refusal to surrender before the law of the land was generated into a great media hype. Rampal collected about 20-25 thousand of his supporters -- men, women and chikdreb -- to use them as a human shield to frustrate the attempt of the police to lay their hands on him. His touted blind followers seemed more defiant than the sant himself. They declared him innocent and vowed that they would not allow police to arrest him. Even a story was floated that Rampal wss ill, was not in the ashram and was getting medical treatment elsewhere. He will surrender, they said, when he is medically fit. But Haryana Director-General of Police was insistent throughout declaring that Rampal was very much present in the premises directing the defiance and resistance to police attempts by his followers.
The Haryana police adopted a very sympathetic attitude. It did make a show of force but did not use it. They implored both Rampal and his followers to surrender and not hinder the process of law. They repeatedly announced the followers to leave the ashram and promisds all help and no harassment. To counter the police action the ashram authorities floated the news that six persons had died in the police action. They claimed that four bodies of women were lying in the Ashram gates and two persons died when taken to hospital. The cause of death is yet to be ascertained.
The ashram security felt emboldened to the humanitarian attitude of the police which looked very docile and weak to them abd the media. There was firing from inside the ashram injuring numerous police men and officers. Petrol bombs two were thrown at the police. Pelting of stones was also indulged in. The media, particularly the electronic one, created a great story; every other national and international news was relegated to insignificance. They devoted all their coverage to Hissar operation. In comments after comments, in live media coverage and in channel discussions the only point highlighted was the ‘complete failure of Madi’s handpicked RSS man and his favourite, Manoharlal Khattar, as the new Haryana CM who had no experience as administration as he is a first-time MLA’. They were quick in declaring that Khattar had failed in his first test as CM.  The plea of Haryana police that they could not stake the lives of thousands of innocent men, women and children in their anxiety to lay hands on Rampal, fell on media deaf ears.
The only weak link in Haryana police’s armoury of defence was the violence it leashed at some media men covering the Rampal operation. The Haryana government and the Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh regretted the incident and ordered inquiry.
Had the Haryana police thoughtlessly and mercilessly mounted its operation in the ashram, it could have put the innocent lives in the ashram, according to allegations, were held as hostages to be used as human chain of defence against police. In that eventuality the media would have changed the tack to blame the police being atrocious and brutal against unarmed innocent human beings who were there just devoted followers of Rampal.
Finally, when Rampal was nabbed and produced before the High Court, some of these very media channels reported that the court had a word of praise for the way the whole operations was conducted and was successful.
The moral of the story remains that no one, least of all, the media should be hasty in coming out with their momentary comments and opinions at the  cost of their credibility.   
The writer is a Delhi based political analyst e-mail:

Thursday, November 13, 2014



By Amba Charan Vashishth

Note: In the first place, the writer wishes to stress that he himself is totally vegetarian but has written this piece only because animal sacrifice ban amounts to discrimination on grounds of religion

 On September 1st 2014 the Himachal Pradesh High Court directed: "No person throughout the State of Himachal Pradesh shall sacrifice any animal in any place of public religious worship, including all lands and building near such places of religious worship, which are ordinarily connected for religious purposes or in any ceremony/Yagya/ congregation or procession connected with any religious worship in a public street." The Hon'ble Judge also ordered all district collectors, SPs, and other officers to ensure the ban is effectively enforced.(

The HC direction is consequent to a PIL and not a fall-out of any outcry — written, verbal or violent — displayed by any section of the people of any area or by devotees of any place of worship.

The Hon'ble High Court must have come to this considered judgement in all its wisdom. Yet, the conclusion seems to have been arrived at in an ex parte manner and other aspects of the matter concerning one's freedom of faith, belief and religion seem to have got overlooked.

Since times immemorial, in one form or the other, animal — and even human — sacrifice to propitiate a deity or in the course of some social or religious ritual had been in vogue all over the world, India included.   As human race advanced into the present phase of our civilisation, human sacrifice was socially and legally banned almost all over the world. Yet, some reports do continue to be reported in the media from different parts of the world.
Animal sacrifice for religious and social celebrations has, however, continued unabated, though their number and frequency is sharply going down each day. Although feudalism and the age of rajas-maharajas is over, yet animal sacrifice in honour of the exalted visit of an erstwhile ruler to a village continues even today. People offer goats etc. to their family or clan deity on any happy occasion — a marriage, fulfilment of a wish or even for a social celebration, victory in election or success in a competitive examination for a high post.

"Subject to public order, morality and health", Article 25 of the Constitution of India, granting freedom of conscience and free profession, practice and propagation of religion says that "all persons are equally entitled to freedom of conscience and the right freely to profess, practice and propagate religion".  Animal sacrifice in pursuance of any religious faith or belief cannot in any way offend the "public order, morality and health".

It must be noted that animal sacrifice as a part of religious belief or as an offering is never a public celebration but restricted to personal or family gathering. It is not done for a public applause. Moreover, the sacrificed animal is served to the invitees as a prashad. It is a case of feasting at social or religious occasions which can never be construed as a crime by any reckoning. 

Interestingly  — and surprisingly — axing the neck of animals while slaughtering them for public consumption is not a crime; it does not attract even the provisions of the Cruelty to Animals Act. 

It is in this background that the panchayat of the presiding deities of different areas in Kullu and other districts of Himachal have taken cognizance of the verdict and decided to file a review petition in the High Court. The matter has come before the Supreme Court of India.

At the same time, it needs to be understood that personal/individual faith or belief is never rational; it is just emotional, blind and unexplainable. A stone lying on the roadside for one individual may just be a pebble but for the other it can be a god incarnate. To pronounce who is right and who wrong is well nigh impossible because it is difficult to pass judgement on a matter of one's or a group's faith and belief. It has to be respected and not injured or laughed at. No person has a right to hurt anybody's sentiments, reasonable or otherwise.

There is only a hairline difference between animal "sacrifice" and "slaughter" as its meat in both the cases is consumed by human beings. In the former case, it is a prashad shared collectively by the society with religious sentiment while, in the latter, it is a business and commercial exploitation involving the pleasure of the tick of the tongue. The place for sacrifice is specified and earmarked away from direct public gaze unless, of course, if some people volunteer to witness it on their own. Slaughter houses too are public places for all intents and purposes. Therefore, banning animal sacrifice only "in any place of public worship" connected with one's religion, belief and faith and, at the same time, allowing it for community or social celebrations and exploitation, like visit of an erstwhile ruler, present elected ruler or for family or social celebrations directly amount to an act of discrimination on grounds of religion in violation of Articicle 25.

Maybe, there is a need for reform to ensure that the place earmarked for animal sacrifice is hygienic, secluded, away from general public gaze so that it does not offend others. But banning animal sacrifice motivated by religious sentiments and allowing animal slaughter for commercial and social purposes surely amounts to an act of discrimination on grounds of religion and belief. 
The writer is a Delhi based political analyst

Sunday, November 9, 2014

व्‍यंग — जनतन्‍त्र में विरोध प्रदर्शन बस ''किस्‍स ऑफ लव'', बाकी पर प्रतिबन्‍ध

जनतन्‍त्र में विरोध प्रदर्शन बस ''किस्‍स ऑफ लव'', बाकी पर प्रतिबन्‍ध
   अम्‍बा चरण वशिष्‍ठ

बेटा:   पिताजी, आज बहुत मज़ा लूटा मैंने।
पिता:  अच्‍छा\ ऐसा क्‍या कर आया आज\
बेटा:   पिताजी, आज तो मैं बहुत ही खुश हूं, जैसे मनचाही मुराद बिन मांगे मिल गई हो।
पिता:  पर बता तो सही हुआ क्‍या\
बेटा:   मैं आपको बता कर गया था न कि मैं अपने एक दोस्‍त के पास जा रहा हूं।
पिता:  हां। तो फिर वहां क्‍या ऐसा करिश्‍मा हो गया कि आज तेरी बांछें ही खिल्‍ल गई हैं\
बेटा:   पिताजी, जब मैं अपने दोस्‍त के घर पहुंचा तो उसने कहा — चल, कहीं बाहर चाय पीते
हैं। ज्‍यों ही हम बाहर निकले तो कुछ लड़के—लड़कियां, पुरूष—महिलायें ''किस ऑफ लव' जि़न्‍दाबाद'' और ''मौरल पुलिसिंग मुर्दाबाद'' के नारे लगाते आगे बढ़ रहे थे। जब मैंने उनसे पूछा तो उन्‍होंने बताया कि कुछ गुंडा तत्‍वों द्वारा ''मौरल पुलिसिंग'' किये जाने के विरूद्ध वह एक संस्‍था के सामने एक-दूसरे को चूम कर विरोध प्रदर्शन करने जा रहे हैं।
पिता:  यह भी कोई विरोध प्रदर्शन का तरीका हुआ\
बेटा:   यह एक नई खोज है, पिताजी। उन्‍होंने कर दिखाया।
पिता:  तो उसमें तुमने क्‍या किया\
बेटा:   मैंने उसमें कुछ लड़कियों व महिलाओं पर नज़र दौड़ाई जो बड़े ज़ोर-ज़ोर से नारे लगा रही थी़। उन्‍हें देख कर तो हमारे मुंह में भी पानी आ गया। हमने एक दूसरें को कहा — बेटा, ऐसा सुनैहरी मौका पता नहीं तुम्‍हारे जीवन में फिर हाथ आये या न आये। हम भी ज़ोर-ज़ोर से नारे लगाने लगे। जब गन्‍तव्‍य स्‍थान पर पहुंचे और हमें विरोध प्रदर्शन का आदेश मिला, हमने भी अपनी मर्जी़ की युवतियों को गले लगाया और जी भर कर चूमा। सब आनंदित थे।
पिता:  बेटा, तो तुम यह भी जान लो कि कल को जब यह फोटों अखबारों व समाचार चैनलों में आयेंगी तो उन लड़कियों-महिलाओं के भाई-पिता-पति जूता मार-मार कर तुम्‍हें गंजा कर देंगे।
बेटा:   पिताजी, आप जैसे लोग जब ऐसी दकियानूसी बातें करते हैं तभी तो हम आजकल के नौजवानों को विरोध प्रदर्शन करने पड़ते हैं। आपको पता नहीं कि जब कोई वयस्‍क महिला या पुरूष अपनी सहमति से यह काम करते हैं तो यह न अनैतिक होता है और न ही आपराधिक।
पिता:  हां, यह तो तू ठीक कह रहा है।
बेटा:   पिताजी, मेरे को एक ख्‍याल आया। मेरा सुझाव भी है। हमारी सामाजिक व राजनीतिक संस्‍थायें भी अपने जनतन्‍त्र में अपनी मांगें मनवाने के लिये ऐसे हिंसक विरोध प्रदर्शन छोड़ दें जिसमें कि अंडे-टमाटर-ईंट-पत्‍थर बरसाये जाते हैं। उन्‍हें भी ''किस्‍स ऑफ लव'' के अहिंसक विरोध प्रदर्शन का आदर्श अपना लेना चाहिये जो भाग लेने वाली जनता और दर्शकों दोनों का ही मनोरंजन करे और सरकार भी मान जाये। बाकी सब विरोध प्रदर्शनों पर सरकार को प्रतिबन्‍ध लगा देना चाहिये।

पिता:  बेशर्म, मुझे क्‍या कहता है\ यह सुझाव उनको ही दे।                        ***

Friday, November 7, 2014

मौसम न आम का, चुनाव का

मौसम न आम का, चुनाव का 

विज्ञापन: आम का कोई season (मौसम) नहीं होता।

सच्‍चाईचुनाव का कोई season (मौसम) नहीं होता। यह हर

        महीने, हर मौसम में होता है। 

Monday, November 3, 2014

व्‍यंग — 'किस ऑफ लव' के आगे क्‍या है

'किस ऑफ लव' के आगे क्‍या है

— अम्‍बा चरण वशिष्‍ठ

बेटा:     पिताजी।
पिता:    हां, बेटा।
बेटा:     आपने समाचार पढ़ा कि कुछ लोगों ने कोची के एक
रैस्‍तरां में हंगामा मचाया कि यहां कुछ अनैतिक व्‍यवहार हो रहा है\ 
पिता:    यदि वहां कुछ ग़लत नहीं हो रहा था तो उस संगठन
को ऐसा कुछ नहीं करना चाहिये था।
बेटा:     आप ने पढ़ा कि इन नैतिकता के ठेकेदारों द्वारा 'मौरल पुलिसिंग' का डंडा बरसाने के विरोध में मैरीन ड्राइव तथा अन्‍य कई स्‍थानों पर पर विरोध प्रदर्शन के तौर पर ''किस ऑफ लव'' का आयोजन किया जा रहा है\
पिता:    बेटा, मुझे तो यह कुछ समझ नहीं आ रहा है।
बेटा:     पिताजी, विरोध के तौर पर कुछ संस्‍थायें व लोग वहां इकट्ठे होंगे और सामूहिक तौर पर पुरूष व महिलायें एक दूसरे का सब के सामने सार्वजनिक रूप से चुम्‍बन लेकर विरोध प्रदर्शन करेंगे।
पिता:    तो क्‍या वह सब पति-पत्नि ही होंगे\
बेटा:     पिताजी, आप फिर वही बात कर रहे हैं जिसका वह विरोध कर रहे हैं। यदि एक दूसरे का चुम्‍बन ले रहे जोड़ों से कोई यह पूछने की हिमाकत करेगा कि तुम पति-पत्नि हो कि नहीं, तो फिर उस पर भी ''मौरल पुलिसिंग'' का आरोप नहीं लग जायेगा
पिता:    बात तो तुम्‍हारी ठीक है। पर इसका मतलब तो यह हुआ कि वहां पहुंचा हर पुरूष व महिला किसी का भी बेरोक-टोक चुम्‍बन ले पायेगा।
बेटा:     यही तो हमारी नई उदारवादी सभ्‍यता का कमाल है, पिताजी। इसीलिये तो इस सभ्‍यता से लोग जुड़ते जा रहे हैं।
पिता:    पर बेटा, इस विरोध आयोजन के लोग तो यह भी कहते हैं कि वह इस आयोजन द्वारा एड्स के विरूद्ध माहौल खड़ा करेंगे।
बेटा:     ऐसा विरोध प्रदर्शन एड्स के विरूद्ध लड़ाई में कारगर सिद्ध होता है तब तो सरकार को भी ऐसे ''किस्‍स ऑफ लव''  आयोजन हर गांव व मुहल्‍ले में करवाने पड़ेंगे।
पिता:    सरकार को तो तब सचमुच ही सोचना पड़ेगा।
बेटा:     पर पिताजी, मैंने यह भी पढ़ा कि पुलिस ने ''किस्‍स ऑफ लव'' के आयोजन की अनुमति देने से इनकार कर दिया है।
पिता:    तब तो बेटा पुलिस पर भी ''मौरल पुलिसिंग'' का आरोप लग जायेगा जबकि पुलिस का सरोकार अपराध से है नैतिकता से नहीं।
बेटा:     पर आयोजकों ने तो अपनी भीषम प्रतिज्ञा का ऐलान कर दिया है कि वह कुछ भी हो इस विरोध प्रदर्शन का आयोजन कर के ही रहेंगे चाहे कुछ भी हो जाये।
पिता:    ऐसा लगता है कि आयोजक अपने लक्ष्‍य के प्रति कटिबद्ध हैं और लगन के सच्‍चे।
बेटा:     मुझे भी ऐसा ही लगता है। पर पिताजी, यदि पुलिस ने भी उनकी सारी तैय्यारियों और मन्‍शा पर पानी फेर दिया तो लगता है कि वह अपने लक्ष्‍य के प्रति इतने सच्‍चे हैं कि वह चुप नहीं बैठेंगे और और भी सख्‍़त कार्रवाई कर सकते हैं।
पिता:    मुझे भी कुछ ऐसा ही लगता है।
बेटा:     इससे भी आगे बढ़ कर तो यही सख्‍़त विरोध प्रदर्शन हो सकता है कि वह मैरीन ड्राइव तथा अन्‍य सार्व‍जनिक स्‍थानों पर बिस्‍तर बिछा देंगे और जोड़े आकर वह सब कुछ करेंगे सब के सामने जो अन्‍यथा वह अपने कमरे की चार दीवारी में सब की नज़र से दूर अन्‍धेरे में करते हैं\

पिता:    यह तू उनसे ही पूछ।                      ***