In The Dark Of His Troubles
Rohith Vemula’s is a tragedy turned into farce—ironically by those very people who, after his sad demise, claim to speak for him and of his travails as a Dalit. The ‘secular’ narrative is simple, suitably twisted to fit its ideological gameplan and divorced from facts. According to them, Rohith was a Dalit fighter against oppression by the elite castes—by the evil, elite-caste dominated Sangh parivar (forget that of all parties, the BJP has the most SC/ST MPs), by the parivar that swears by the Manusmriti (how many Hindus have seen a copy of it?). The impression given is that Rohith was persecuted to the extent that he was forced to take his life.
Running this insidious hate campaign, the ‘secular’ pack seems to have three objectives—pit Dalits against the rest of Hindu society, paint the Sangh parivar black, and prove that Modi’s regime is intolerant and anti-Dalit. To meet these malicious ends, they went on the warpath with some selective facts and half-truths.
Is Anything More Corrupt Than A Govt Buying MPs?
During a recent meeting in Ralegan Siddhi, Anna Hazare’s team decided to renew its fight for probity in public life. One could say it is also time to judge the impact of his campaign on the system, asking some relevant questions. Has the first, “successful” phase of the movement really touched the collective conscience of ‘civil society’ and affected the attitude of the ruling establishment towards corruption? Or is its influence superficial?
Stripped of hyperbole, the real achievements of the movement are modest. Nothing has changed for the better on the ground. Our venal rulers continue on their course, smug as ever. Otherwise, the two whistle-blowers, Faggan Singh Kulaste and Mahavir Singh Bhagora, former Lok Sabha MPs (both of the BJP), would not be behind bars for exposing the cash-for-votes scam of July 2008, and their third comrade, Ashok Argal, would not be facing arrest.
One factor pertaining to the recent assembly elections that every analyst has commented upon is the virtual eclipse of the Left, particularly in West Bengal, which a Left coalition ruled for 34 years without a break. As for Tamil Nadu, the focus has been on how the people have cut the DMK and the Karunanidhi family to size. Lost in the hullabaloo over the rout of the DMK and the Left is J. Jayalalitha’s invitation to Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi to her swearing-in ceremony, a recognition of his growing stature both within the BJP and outside it. Jayalalitha’s AIADMK, it must be remembered, has the Left parties as its allies in the Tamil Nadu assembly, and for the Left, Modi is like a red rag. But she has preferred to ignore this, and invited Modi even though the BJP was not her ally and had in fact fought the Tamil Nadu elections on its own.
Pretty Prose And Guns From Cloud Cuckoo Land
It’s difficult not to admire the perseverance and passion of Arundhati Roy, writer and born rebel. More so when she packages her attacks on the basics of the country—she projects the Indian State as an enemy of the people—in beautiful English prose. In her 18-page essay, The Trickledown Revolution (Sept 20), she wails: “Sometimes it seems very much as though those who have a radical vision for a newer, better world do not have the steel it takes to resist the military onslaught, and those who have the steel do not have the vision.” So, after denouncing corporations as the devil incarnate, the Indian State as a lackey of these capitalists, and describing the government’s operation to curb the violence in the Maoist-affected areas as “a war on the people”, and giving everyone else, including the Maoists, a dressing down, Arundhati plays god for all anti-nationals—from Kashmir to Manipur to Dantewada—who have waged war against civil society.
We are trapped in a caste cage 60 years after independence, but we still seem eager to lock ourselves further—in the divisive politics of caste. So intense are the feelings across the political spectrum for reintroducing a caste-based census that most parties (except caste-based ones) are divided on the issue.
Every politician who supports caste enumeration swears that caste is a reality in our country. True, that reality cannot be denied. But the question is whether we want such divisions to gather strength. Don’t we want an Indian identity that’s beyond caste to evolve? Look at what cricket has done for us. Do we have quotas in our cricket team? Or look at Bollywood. Nobody asks what religion or caste the big stars or directors belong to. Nobody even cares where they come from. Open competition in Indian cricket and Bollywood has resulted in the best talent coming to the fore—as Indians first and last. So it’s not as if Indians do not look beyond caste; they do, and indeed feel proud about what could be called a pan-Indian identity.