Integrated development, politics and social empowerment in India and beyond

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Jamila Verghese
Books written by B G Verghese

Books written by B G Verghese

Books written by B G Verghese

Shah has repeatedly got exemption over some nine months on account of his political work which is election management for the party. So does justice wait for the Big Boss?

Prize Idiocy of Little Men

Nehru established India as a democracy, its diversity safeguarded through secular policies. He cannot be equated with a Modi.

By B G Verghese

Tribune, 16 November, 2014

Nehru’s 125th birth anniversary is currently being celebrated- grudgingly and as a belated afterthought by the government. Fatuously, some Hindutva voices are comparing Nehru with Modi, a colossus with a pigmy. Modi is the antithesis of everything that Nehru stood for but says he wants to “connect” Nehru with the people! Here is the second order of absurdity being passed off as piety!

Nevertheless, the Congress is going ahead with its own celebrations that will eclipse the dishonest official tamasha, with an international audience and hundreds of millions of Indians to remember him with affection and pride. His greatest contributions were to establish India as a democracy, safeguard its diversity through secular policies and build the base for development and modernisation. He had his failures too; but the balance was hugely positive. India will remain a democracy and plural society, despite all its flaws, because of the foundations laid by Nehru despite the narrow, divisive exclusive, communal. caste-bound, fascist and chauvinistic challenge of the RSS and Parivar and its Hindutva philosophy, a political credo that bears no relationship to Hinduism. Modi and Mohan Bhagwat should read “Discovery of India”.

The one cardinal error, the Congress has committed, is to have sent out invitations designating Nehru as “Pandit”, that appellation of caste and exclusiveness. Why he styled himself “Pandit” is a mystery as he was no casteist. Let that term be dropped forever. Caste is a curse, though many still cling to it.

The much awaited cabinet reshuffle was a routine affair. Manohar Parrikar’s appointment as Defence Minister filled a gaping vacuum while Suresh Prabhu will make a good Railway Minister and bring some integrity and imagination to the Cabinet. Some alleged criminals were also inducted. Ram Shankar Katheria faces allegations that his gradation mark-sheet was forged. In, Mumbai, the Fadnavis cabinet has been sworn in. But it is a minority government and much instability can be expected.

Modi is away on another foreign tour. In Myanmar he pleaded for connectivity with and beyond Myanmar and promised to “Act East” instead of Looking East”. But he has shown no awareness of India’s Moreh-Tamu-Kalewa road link or the Guwahati international airport and international air cargo terminal. Both are fine India-built projects but monuments to apathy, incompetence, lack of coordination and the colonial nature of the current NE establishment that can and will achieve nothing. The Kaladan inter-modal road-cum-waterway is going the same way. It is nearing completion but there is little word of how it is to be operated. All previous governments are equally responsible.

The special CBI court in Mumbai investigating the alleged Sohrabuddin and Prajapati murder cases by Amit Shah, has permanently exempted him from personal appearance in the trial court until charges are framed unless specifically so directed by the Court. Shah has repeatedly got exemption over some nine months on account of his political work which is election management for the party. So does justice wait for the Big Boss?

Contrast this with the Tehelka case. Tarun Tejpal was arrested, summoned to Goa and detained with common felons on a contested charge of rape. Bail was denied on the ground that he would interfere in the course of justice or might abscond. Finally, bail was granted after many months on account of his mother’s illness. But all airports and land exist routes were closed lest he ran away. Is Amit Shah, an accused murderer, a less powerful man? Has justice fled? Modi’s post-holocaust 2002 broadcast said that those who sought peace must desist from seeking justice. Is this what we are witnessing while we await Nanavaty’s report?

Justice has most often been unduly delayed because due process has become a device to dodge the law, with official and judicial connivance. Punishments are light, if awarded. L.N Mishra was murdered by Congress hit-men because he knew too much about the corruption going on in high places to which he had been made party. The judgement is to be delivered on 8 December, 14 years after the event. The effort has been to shield the guilty.

One silver lining last week was the award of life sentences to five military personnel for false encounters at Machil in J&K in 2010, describing the three innocents murdered as foreign militants. This heinous crime was to claim rewards and promotions. Justice has been delivered. But this must be followed by withdrawal of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act in J&K and the Northeast with the proviso that it will be reimposed for two months at a time if there are fresh terror attacks. Army objections should not be entertained and civil orders must be final. We have to rebuild trust, with the approaching general elections offering opportunity for new beginnings, with those opposing and obstructing elections being detained for blatantly flouting the constitution.

Finally, it is clearly time to remove the chairperson of the National Commission for Women, Lalitha Kumaramangalam for remarking that love-jihad is not worth talking about and has been blown out of proportion by media hype. A Hindu girl and Muslim boy in Kerala, on the run for 11 months for “committing” love jihad, have finally decided to come out in the open and stand their ground against Hindutva hoodlums, with the offer of CPM protection. Has the State abdicated? “Love-jihad” is illegal and unconstitutional and a gross violation of the right to privacy, human rights and gender rights. Its Hindutva advocates have never loved or been loved and have turned love into an object of communal hate, shame and anti-nationalism. This garbage has been silently blessed by Modi whose own attitude to women is well-known. Lalitha Kumaramangalam is best retired as Chair of the NWC for being the woman-hater she has shown herself to be.

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