There is a complete mismatch in what PM says and his party, the Bhartiya Janata Party, does. While his oratory is filled with messages of inclusiveness, unpalatable actions of the BJP and its associated wings cause unnecessary consternation amongst a section of the society thereby raising questions like, ‘Is there a hidden agenda?’. West Bengal and Uttar Pradesh are under their radar.
The dust in Aligarh, kicked up by the BJP insistence on celebrating the 128th birth anniversary of Jat King Raja Mahendra Singh on AMU campus, had barely settled down when the union minister from Fatehpur Niranjan Jyoti made an unwarranted statement during campaigning in Delhi. Her rural and poor background (as quoted by the prime minister while seeking pardon for her behaviour ) can hardly justify her use of abusive language in denouncing those who don’t believe in Lord Rama.
Behind both, the reasons are purely political. Ironically, in Aligarh the BJP saw the caste of the leader while coolly ignoring the fact that the Raja was also called Peter Peer Singh because he had imbibed three religions. The game plan was clear in Aligarh, to keep the Jat-Muslim wedge simmering till the 2017 Lok Sabha elections as the unity of the two dominant castes could prove politically dangerous for the saffron brigade.
But why defend the indefensible like union minister Niranjan Jyoti, whose popularity is waning in her own Lok Sabha constituency. But then how can the Prime Minister drop her when his party is out on its woo-OBC-Dalit mission. On this December 6, instead of observing Shaurya Diwas, the saffron brigade was celebrating Ambedkar Jayanti in Uttar Pradesh.
Now, we have this news about a conversion camp held in Agra.
On a day prime minister Narendra Modi won hearts at a rally in Kashmir by saying, ‘They want Android smart phones and not AK 47’, a group of Dharam Jagran and Bajrang Dal volunteers were converting 57 Muslim families to Hinduism describing it as the homecoming of those who had embraced Islam only 25 years back. Knowing the bullying character of these organisations, it is hard to know whether these Muslims were forcibly converted to Hinduism under their ‘Hindu Bachchao, Hindu Banao’ campaign.
While making it clear that these conversions camps will continue, the volunteers held hawan amidst Gayatri Mantra for the purification of those ‘coming home’ and handed over deity of Kali for worship.
The families were from Kolkata and claim to be happy with their new identities. The very next day, accusing Bajrang Dal of tricking them at a religious event denied conversion to Hinduism. But by then the rumour mill had started working across the country.
It was Asaram Bapu first, now Rampal – the two self-styled godmen who flaunted much touted healing and spiritual powers but failed to save themselves from incarceration. Without going into merits or demerits of their arrests, I somehow feel it’s time their gullible followers understand there are no ‘such spiritual superheroes on this earth who can provide them succour and support they go hunting for.
The power to hypnotize is different from the power to fulfill wishes and desires. Reeling under abject poverty, health problems, harassment, the innocent masses, turned away by the political systems, run to tens and hundreds of such ‘Babas’ believing them to be demi gods only to be taken for a ride as the so call sadhus use the same pains and sufferings to build their edifices and empires.
If they had any such ‘powers’, there was no way they would have gone to jail. Isn’t it? If they can’t save themselves, how would they save others?
But their incarceration is not enough. One needs to dig deeper into their activities- also their connections with criminals and anti- nationals foe whom they turn their heavily guarded ashrams into safe haven. The political and the bureaucratic system must answer for their meteoric growth.
The Congress cannot shun its responsibility in Rampal case. The new BJP-led government might have mismanaged or delayed his arrest but the Congress government remained deaf and dumb to Rampal’s activities for years. So is the case with Asaram Bapu.
How could they build their palaces, amass unaccounted wealth, arms and ammunition? Do we have a government, a system or not? And if we have one, then how, right under their nose, these godmen built huge boundary walls and gates to turn it into fortified lairs, where people could enter but not come out? Is our political system so weak that the common rules governing all construction activity in the country did not apply on them?
It’s a scary picture. And for all the sufferings of the unknown people, heads must roll.
Today it’s not about one ashram or baba— the two are dangerously mushrooming in rural India where the poor live. As one travels down the countryside, such ashrams can be spotted every hundred miles with few knowing the real face behind it. After all Rampal was just a junior engineer while Asaram Bapu sold tea in front of a magistrate’s office.
It’s not about their professional status but their meteoric rise in the spiritual world – rather materialistic world. How could they impart moral and spiritual teachings when they themselves were addicted to luxuries? It’s a wake-up call for the masses as well as the state and central governments.
It’s time to bring such mushrooming religious institutions of all caste and communities under the scanner.
The Uttar Pradesh government on November 18 allocated Rs 556 crore for toilets in state’s villages. Media was quick in linking it with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Clean India campaign. Read more
My friend walked into my home in a flurry on the Diwali day. Instead of festival hug and greetings, she said with excitement, ‘I have become a Modi fan’. Incidentally, she is a Muslim and wife of a retired colonel. The couple strangely had this weird idea of leaving India and settling somewhere abroad when the news about Narendra Modi’s crowning came after BJP’s spectacular victory in 2014 general election. Read more
Where does the voter count in elections? Watching closely the Maharashtra political scenario, one can only say, ‘nowhere’.
Barely 22 days before Maharashtra goes to the polls, the two political groups were engaged in seat sharing talks. It’s not unusual for the political parties to bargain or bulldoze their way in seat sharing talks. Read more
People across the country are keenly watching the coming together of old political rivals Lalu Yadav and Nitish Kumar in Bihar. Despite the hugs and the handshakes in public, I really doubt if the rivalry is finally over. They have, more likely than not, simply come together for their very survival in the state’s politics after BJP blizzard left them struggling for some space. Read more
Politics is all about imponderables. On Jan 19, 2013, the Congressmen clapped and cheered Rahul Gandhi after he was declared the vice president of the grand old party. They saw their future in him. A day later, his emotional speech made many literally cry. Read more
Now that Narendra Modi is all set to move from Gujarat to New Delhi, analyses are bound to flood the media space on how he manipulated his way across the country, even in areas where the BJP had failed to plant their lotus since it came into existence. Read more
That the Uttar Pradesh government bungled in handling Muzaffarnagar riots and subsequent rehabilitation goes without saying. Or else the state even after spending Rs. 100 crores on rehabilitation would not have got so much flak for inept handling of the situation. Unwarranted statements by senior politicians and officers further worsened its credibility. Read more
Both are a challenge, accept it. The message is for the Congress leaders who despite their humiliating defeat in four states refuse to admit it. Read more