‘Where is Hindi?’

Heart-warming ‘confession’ by VP Naidu

The occasion was Vice President M. Venkaiah Naidu delivering the first Sardar Vallabh Bhai Patel Memorial Lecture at the Constitution Club on the 142nd birth anniversary of the “Iron Man” on Tuesday, 31 October. The event was organised by the Citizen’s Council, Delhi, which was established by a popular Jana Sangh (erstwhile avatar of the BJP) Lok Sabha MP, Kanwarlal Gupta in 1962. Paying rich tribute to Patel, Naidu expressed his thoughts in English and Hindi and said that “we must all be grateful to his vision, determination and pragmatism in preventing India’s Balkanisation and achieving the herculean task of politically integrating more than 560 princely states with the Union of India.” After apologising for not speaking in “good Hindi”, Naidu made a “confession” in Hindi. He said that when anti-Hindi agitation was taking place in Tamil Nadu, he was a college student in Andhra Pradesh. “As Madras was nearby, we also got influenced.” Naidu said he asked someone, “Where is Hindi?” On being told that it was at a railway station nearby and another at a different location, Nadiu said, “We marched to the spots and put black paint on the Hindi signs.” “It was only when in 1993 I came to Delhi that I realised that the country can’t move forward as one entity without Hindi.”


Guha talks patriotism

While delivering the 23rd Justice Sunanda Bhandare Lecture on “Patriotism Versus Jingoism” in Delhi, Ramchandra Guha pushed for “Constitutional Patriotism”, which, he said, contained all true values for one’s love for the motherland, non-violence, freedom of expression and no discrimination on the basis of religion, caste and creed. Guha commented that, unfortunately, “jingoism” was resurgent and “constitutional patriotism” was receding. To a great extent, according to Guha, financial, moral and intellectual corruption of Congress and hypocrisy of the Left were responsible “for the rise of paranoid and hyper nationalism under the ruling BJP. The Left has always loved another country more than India.” Guha said that the Indian Left in party conferences always hung four portraits in the backdrop. “Two portraits are of dead German scholars and the other two are of Lenin and Stalin, the biggest mass murderers of the 20th century.” In his opinion, the form of nationalism that the saffron parivar was practising, was essentially the 19th century European model. European nationalism was based on one language, one religion and common enemy. Hyper nationalism was rooted in these very three points—Hindi, Hindutva and Pakistan. As per the dictionary, Guha said, jingoism simply meant “a bully” who believed in “might is right”. He blamed the Congress for ceding space to “jingoists”. “The Congress has now been reduced to one family. It is shocking how Indira Gandhi and Sonia Gandhi named everything after their family. They even ceded their party stalwart Sardar Patel and a man like Lal Bahadur Shastri to the jingoists.”

OVERHEARD AT THE LECTURE: An old lady loudly shouted “Hai Ram” to attract Guha’s attention, when her friend politely rebuked her by saying: “That is what Gandhi said when he was assassinated. These are known as the words of someone who is dying. Instead, you can say ‘Hi Ram’.” A third lady sitting with them intervened: “What’s the difference? If you wish to greet him, just say ‘Ram-Ram’, which simply means namaste.”

Popular Currency

‘Bharatcoin is coming’

The Sunday Guardian met a senior Indian Revenue Service officer, Rachna Singh, author of a recent book, Financial Felicity: Making Sense of Money Matters. We spoke to her about the meteoric rise in the value of Bitcoins. “Digital currency is the new buzzword in global financial circles,” she acknowledged. She said, “Digital currency would be a money saver in a big way, but crypto-currency like Bitcoin should move over as Bharatcoin is coming.” Rachna said, only 16.8 million Bitcoins are “mined” and are in circulation. The mining of Bitcoins has been capped at 21 million by 2040. “The supply is limited while the popularity and demand are on the rise. Many e-commerce sites are accepting payments in Bitcoins. The ATMs that exchange Bitcoins for dollars have been set up in San Diego and Vancouver. It can be traded at specific exchanges.”

“The fact that Bitcoin sale and purchase can be done without the layers of security clearances adds to its popularity,” she said. “The closure of Bitcoin exchanges in China this summer and clamping down of security measures have not dulled the lustre of this digital currency.” This currency, she said, received a shot in the arm when on 1 April the Japanese Parliament passed a law that accepted Bitcoin as a legal method of payment. It is true that Bitcoin is not an accepted legal tender in India, says Rachna, but it appears that the government may not be averse to a digitally-issued Central bank currency along Bitcoin lines. It looks like the birth of a “Bharatcoin” may be a distinct possibility in the near future.

An influential minister

All eyes on Indu Goswami in Himachal

For the Himachal Pradesh Assembly elections slated for 9 November, everyone is talking of BJP’s Indu Goswami, a feisty 50-year-old lady candidate from Palampur in Kangra.Goswami has become such a star attraction that many were even speculating if she would be declared the Chief Ministerial candidate. Now they say confidently that if she and her party win, she will be an influential minister.  She has stormed the political arena in Palampur, leaving former BJP Chief Minister and Kangra Lok Sabha member Shanta Kumar looking helpless. Shanta Kumar was upset as Goswami is from the adjoining area of Baijnath and his trusted man, former MLA Parveen Sharma was denied the ticket in his hometown. A graduate, Goswami is the president of state BJP Mahila Morcha. Earlier, she headed the State Women Commission. In her affidavit to the Election Commission, she has declared assets worth Rs 82.97 lakh. She had tried for the party ticket from Baijnath in 1998 but was denied. Talking to The Sunday Guardian over telephone, Goswami said, “I have been receiving thousands of protest as well as congratulatory call and many party leaders have named me ‘Katil Adhyaksha’.”

Man Mohan can be contacted at rovingeditor@gmail.com









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