Tuesday, 4 March 2014

We aren't angry over innocents' killings in Kashmir but our Indian blood boils when Kashmiris cheer against us in a cricket match!

When innocents are killed in Jammu and Kashmir (J & K) by army bullets, do we feel angry?

Are we upset when mass graves are discovered or when gang rapes take place in the valley. And yet there is no action against soldiers due to AFSPA.

Most of us are apathetic on these issues and for our media it is no news.

There is no support for justice for them. There is no such rage. But if it is petty cricket match and Kashmiri boys have cheered for Pakistan, our blood boils.

Perhaps, it is these double standards, which makes them cheer for Pakistan. Don't Indians settled in UK, Australia and New Zealand, cheer for visiting Indian team, instead of their countries! Should we feel upset over someone taking sides.

In this case, it is not sure either that how many of these students had supported or raised voice for the Pakistani cricket team in its match against India. We simply rely on one sided version and the hysteria generated by it.

Let us take up the most basic points first:

1. Kashmir is part of India. Surely. But there have been issues and we haven't treated Kashmiris very well in the past. We forget that Kashmiris had the option to join Pakistan but the masses under Sheikh Abdullah preferred to join India, because they believed in secular nation.

What we do? We put their leaders in jail, didn't allow free and fair elections for decades. Governments were toppled and AFSPA makes life difficult for an average Kashmiri. There is hue and cry about scrapping Article 370.

2. We expect them to behave the perfect hosts when we go their for pilgrimage or trips. But Kashmiris are human beings as much as we are. They can also be political. Their youngsters too have raging hormones. They may act recklessly at times. But it shouldn't make us so angry.

3. We may not like it but we mustn't take it as a patriotism test. Cricket match can be no test for loyalty. Our nationalism is not so weak that a mere cricket match can prompt university to take disciplinary action. The irony is that those who talk about patriotism, themselves have dubious credentials.

4. The right-wing groups that are most vocal on such issues are affiliated to the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), which never hoists Tiranga (national flag) on its premises or buildings anywhere in India.

5. But no one questions it. It is not that Kashmir is the sole troubled spot. In other states, there are issues. But when it comes to Kashmir we are over sensitive. We should stop being reactive over such matters. This is almost a non-issue.

We must understand our responsibilities too, rather, than expecting the Kashmiri youth to just play the gallery and prove his patriotism. It will do us a lot of good. It will also help Kashmiris integrate with the rest of India, better, than by sending the youths back home from university.

We need to win the hearts and minds of Kashmiris. But what are we doing?

Monday, 3 March 2014

Betraying the Bahujans: Dalit politicians, secular leaders joining hands with BJP ahead of 2014 elections

One after the other, Dalit leaders are now flocking to join the the BJP- led National Democratic Alliance (NDA).

The final push to get BJP more than 200 seats seems succeeding now as an even the most vociferous anti-brahminism leaders have no hitch in supporting Narendra Modi.

Is plan NAMO succeeding now. The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) expected the BJP to use Modi's aggression to get more seats. Once the figure of 200 is crossed, there is hope that finding coalition partners would not be too tough.

RPI's Ramdas Athavale has been with BJP and Shiv Sena for sometime. Udit Raj, who heads Justice Party, and has been a hardcore anti-manuvadi has recently joined the party. Udit Raj's desperation is understandable. 

Despite a long movement, he has failed to get electoral support. In UP, Mayawati is the tallest Dalit leader. No other party or individual stands close to her, as far as Scheduled Caste (SC) votes are concerned. So it is not too shocking.

If these developments were not surprising, the latest is Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) chief Ram Vilas Paswan's change of heart. For more than three decades, Bihar-based Paswan, has been a strong Dalit leader. He was seen as a secular leader, who has solid support among Muslims in North India.

But 'secularism' is no longer in vogue now. His decision has surprised Dalit community though he was an opportunist and earlier too served as minister in NDA regime. Clearly, the BJP is marching ahead of Congress, when it comes to forming coalition ahead of Lok Sabha election 2014. 

All these leaders may not bring many seats, but they can change the perception and help the BJP in shedding the image of 'untouchable' party. So BJP is no longer a Bania party with Brahmin, Rajput and middle-class (section of OBC) support? 

The Dalits are joining the BJP and this symbolism may help the party in the forthcoming parliamentary elections. With Congress in disarray and Third Front no longer a strong entity, the BJP campaign seems to be gaining steam, at least, for the time being.

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