NEEDED: MODERN EDUCATION
It would be easy to conclude from the media, especially from the fiercely competitive TRP-hungry TV channels, that India was burning, people were being thrown into prison for harbouring seditious thoughts, basic civil rights were fully extinguished and the khaki-knickered gendarmes were terrorising the country, putting down anyone who did not conform to their peculiar version of fascism. In short, things were never so bad since the founding of the Republic.
The saffron hate-mongers having ascended the New Delhi throne were now out to stand the liberal, democratic Constitution on its head, keen to replace it with the one-man dictatorship of the Sanghchalak, alias the Fuhrer. A climate of fear envelops the country. Nobody feels secure. The prying eyes of the Big Boss, who has grabbed power through stealth and false propaganda, are everywhere. In other words, this is worse than Indira Gandhi’s Emergency.
Now, it may be virtually impossible to convince those who were congenitally wired to believe that Narendra Modi’s real place in life was a wayside railway station selling tea, but weren’t all others supposed to know better? They too seem to have taken to merely parroting the inane plaints of the dispossessed Congressmen without a moment’s reflection about the sordid reality of the unchanging Indian condition.
Aside from the members of the Old Family Firm, and its bonded slaves, others should have had better sense than to swallow the vicious lies and untruths peddled by the anti-democrats whose minds were unsettled by the loss of power in a free and fair poll last year. Of course, no right-thinking person would condone Dadri. No, Not even one. Mohammad Akhlaq was beaten to death by a crazy mob, which had momentarily lost its collective mind over an old and ossified belief in the sacredness of an animal.
A moment’s cool reflection would be enough to persuade you that even in the 21st century people can do crazy things, like going on a wild rampage over the torn pages of a sacred book, or over the consumption of beef or pig, or the theft of a lone strand of their prophet’s hair. Dadri flags yet again a continuum of an ancient mental process rooted in human race’s blind and irrational belief in the Unknown. Even in the West, which entered the age of reason a long time ago, there are elements which are often prone to act Dadri-like when their ingrained prejudice and belief system is challenged. This is not to rationalise Dadri, but only to put it in perspective.
(Indeed, those shouting the loudest over Dadri might like to explain how fanning the flames in Punjab over a most mischievous ISI-inspired act of sacrilege is justified, particularly when it too resulted in two innocent lives being lost. Both acts stemmed from the religious faith of the respective followers. In one case, the Modi-bashers were guilty of fuelling the mayhem, in the other they were abusing the faithful. Double and triple standards have, clearly, become a badge of honour for these faux secularists.)
Again, no one in his right mind would rationalise the burning alive of two children in Haryana. This was the most horrendous act and must be condemned in the strongest possible terms. But you cannot overlook the facts leading up to these ghoulish murders unless your motive is to score brownie points against the present dispensation. The death of three Rajputs last year at the hands of the Dalits, who rudely refused to no longer play second fiddle to them in the village panchyat, reportedly culminated in last week’s tragic burning of the little children. The caste wars may well be a corollary of the deepening democratic process wherein the hitherto oppressed communities were asserting their constitutional rights.
But that is not the point we wanted to make. Which is that the first rulers of the Republic did a great disservice to the people by grossly neglecting education. Instead of distributing goodies to the illiterate and poor masses, instead of fanning a culture of entitlements, the Garibi Hatao sloganeers would have served the people better had they educated them well. Ignorance and superstition lies at the root of many of our national ills. The real antidote to Dadri, or, for that matter, Haryana killings lies in an educated citizenry. But because an educated and well-informed citizenry is a threat to the socialist poseurs, the latter never allocated enough funds for education.
Modern education is the answer to many of the ills that afflict the country today. The casteists, the communalists, the fake socialists et al would find themselves rendered jobless the moment we have an educated and aware population. The early Congress leaders were guilty of treating the masses as “biped cattle”, guaranteed to be easily herded into polling booths every five years for voting for the pair of bullocks, or the cow and the calf.
In the 21st century, it is a shame that we should have the Dadri or the Dalit killings. But those who denied Indians basic education, kept them ignorant and poor, cannot now escape major share of the blame for the display of obscurantism that erupts periodically in some or other part of the country.
WHEN A DINNER HAD TO BE RELOCATED
Everyone is afraid of the goons. Former Pakistani Foreign Minister Khurshid Kasuri, who was recently in Mumbai for the release of his book, Neither A Hawk, Nor A Dove, was invited by an old acquaintance for dinner at the city’s well-known watering hole, which is the favourite haunt of top corporate honchos, media heads, socialites et al. The host had also invited a few friends to join them for the dinner in honour of the visiting dignitary.
But to his utter surprise, a couple of hours before the actual dinner, he received a call from the club, asking him firmly not to bring Kasuri for dinner that evening. Asked why, the caller at the other end muttered that the host, a bona fide member of the club, would be fully aware. “Sir, you know the reason, don’t you? We wouldn’t like to face an ugly situation…” Perforce, the club member relented and hosted Kasuri at a popular city restaurant.
PS: We do not identify the goons in question since readers are well aware of their existence in India’s commercial capital and how they have held it to ransom due to the cowardice of successive governments since the day they came into existence in the mid-60s.
JAITLEY VERSUS YOUR LORDSHIP
Now, forget the tu,tu, mein-mein on nightly television that is passed off as an informed and reasoned debate and wait for the genuine stuff. Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, wearing his hat as a former successful lawyer, is set to debate the former Chief Justice of India, Rajendra Mal Lodha. The issue is the ongoing controversy over the system of appointment of judges to various High Courts and the Supreme Court. Even though Jaitley is publicly committed to respect the apex court order rejecting the formation of the National Judicial Appointments Commission, he has highlighted his differences with the reasoning that informed it. The NJAC law was unanimously passed by Parliament and endorsed by 20 state Assemblies. The debate is to be scheduled on the eve of the winter session of Parliament early next month. To be held in Parliament Annexe, it is set to attract a large number of present and former MPs and is to be televised live by Doordarshan. However, it is feared that it might end up being a tame affair. Jaitley is known to be an ace debater. Admittedly, not all successful lawyers make successful debaters. And successful lawyers rarely become judges, especially these days. Some have suggested that Lodha’s side needs to be bolstered by another top lawyer, say, Fali Nariman, who had argued in the apex court against the NJAC.