There was a species native to Indian towns and cities when I was growing up. It was a kind of young male that gathered in streets, usually around a source of sustenance like a tea or tobacco dispenser. This was more commonly found in the vicinity of a collection of “prey”, such as a girl’s school or college. In addition to making howling noises and making girls miserable, this group would occasionally attack one of the prey. This is an endangered species in most places now, including Central India where I live, but obviously not in the land stretching from Bihar to Haryana. The “alpha males”, the guys in power, have used these herds for their purposes for a long time and have subjugated women using what can only be called terror tactics.
Fear of attacks has imprisoned women, and limited not only their choices, but the progress of the areas as a whole. Female foeticide and violence against women are but manifestations of this subjugation of women. The solution has to come from policing these herds.
What is the right punishment for these herds? Throwing them in prison and clogging the already clogged justice system is counterproductive. We need law enforcement, not a criminal crackdown.
Rounding up is often good enough. Maybe just a show of intent will be enough. Some humiliation will also go a long way, just parade them in the eyes of the media and ask them to apologise to the girls they have been harassing. If these things persist even for a few months, none of the young guys will be permanently harmed, and hundreds of thousands will be dissuaded. Its quite simple, really. So whats the problem with what the “Anti Romeo Squads” are doing in UP?
The guy ordering it is the problem. The media, and the self appointed elites, have decided that Yogi Adityanath is bad. Nothing he does could be right, especially for the “weaker sections”, which includes women. A religious guy, especially an ascetic, a Sanyasi, has to be misogynist.
The “Anti Romeo Squads” in UP are not a random move. BJP campaigned on it. And the people gave a massive mandate to the party. So this probably is something the people of UP really want. So what reason could these crooks conjure up to oppose this? This is “Moral Policing” they say.
Moral Police, the real one, like in countries like the Saudi Arabia and Iran, is a force meant to control women. It is used to enforce religious dictate and whims of the Mullahs. It is a tool to imprison the women, and to ensure that any blame of any attack on a woman falls squarely to the woman. The Anti-Romeo Squads are targeting men. It aims to make it easier for women to move around freely. It aims to make women safer. This is the exact opposite of what the real Moral Police wants to do. Does the media not understand this?
Of course they do. They understand too well that Anti Romeo Squads are police enforcing laws, not “Moral Police” enforcing codes of behaviour. Its just a longstanding mission of theirs to equate Indian Right with the worst of religious nuts. Words like Hindu Taliban, Saffron Terror, Rabid Hindu Nationalism etc are all part of the same narrative. They will empathise with those who run illegal slaughterhouses with barbaric conditions for the cattle. They will empathise with the slain terrorist’s headmaster father. They will empathise with the “poor young men” who are not even allowed to ogle and molest young girls. Even if there is an they have the words of of their Samajwadi patron: “Ladke hain, ġalti ho jati hai”.
We have to stand up now. The media has clearly shown that there are no depths it will fall to in order to make the Right look bad. This also shows, however, that there is not much genuine ammunition for the media. It has to resort to more and more outlandish comparisons. For anyone who has been following the news this is eerily reminiscent of the campaign against a certain CM of Gujarat.
Anti Romeo squads are not tools of fascism and moral policing. They are tools of women’s liberation in the real sense. They have a potential to make women safer, but the self proclaimed liberals are more interested in complaining than in women’s safety.
Remember when Nationalistic Congress Party was formed? It was a creation of Sharad Pawar and P A Sangama as a revolt from Soniya Gandhi. In one stroke, congress lost its most popular leaders of Maharashra and of North East. Congress has never been as strong in Maharashtra ever since. This is not just a story of clash of ambitions, its a deeper issue. This split is at the root of why congress is in dire straits, and why it can’t recover in foreseeable future.
It started with Indira. Her elevation to leadership was neither easy, nor uncontroversial. There were much bigger, stronger stalwarts with a claim. The biggest contender after Shastriji’s death was Morarji Desai, representing the Right wing of congress. He lost the internal political fight but agreed to become the Deputy PM and Finance minister under Indira. He left when Indira nationalised all banks and stalled credit growth for decades. Similarly, Kamraj, one of the biggest contender for the post of Prime Minister twice, remained King Maker and kept Congress on top in Tamilnadu for decades. He was also seen as a threat by Indira and a split was forced. Thus was Indian National Congress converted to Indira Congress, and Congress lost leaders such as Virendra Patil, Neelam Sanjeeva Reddy, Biju Patnaik, Ashoka Patel and many more during Indira reign.
Indira worked tirelessly to cut any leader that posed a threat, but that was a time of few other alternatives, and new mass leaders kept emerging within Congress. Rajiv tried to continue this and arrest the popularity of the guy who was getting more and more popular: VP Singh. We know how that turned out, though. V P Singh won, and Janta Dal started a new wave of socialism + casteism + appeasement that continues to the day.
There was a different period after Rajiv Gandhi’s demise, though. Congress, for a few years, was not run like a fiefdom. There was dissent, there was genuine competition for power, and in power was the greatest Congress PM in my opinion. P V Narsimha Rao was no mass leader, though. He relied on many others to get votes for him, and it didn’t work out. Not that congress had a dearth of leaders at the time. There were leaders such as Pawar, Mamta Banerjee, V C Shukla, S M Krishna, and many more, but they couldn’t, or wouldn’t ensure a victory for the party. In the years when India was ruled by the likes of Devegowda and Gujral, the “loyalists” in congress succeeded in what they wanted: bringing Sonia Gandhi to head the party. As soon as the drama of humiliation of Sitaram Kesari and Namsimha Rao started, it was clear that congress was returning to the feudal structure it felt most comfortable in.
This was the phase of an exodus of leaders from the party. NCP, Trinamool were formed in West and East. In central India, stooges such as Digvijay gained power at the expense of mass leaders. When Chhattisgarh was formed, V C Shukla was, at the last minute, replaced by Ajit Jogi as CM on the orders of “High Command”. Since then, Congress has not won even a single election in Chhattisgarh despite the less than stellar local leadership of BJP. And as soon as Jogi started getting some mass base, even he was forced out of leadership here. In Odisha, Biju Patnaik’s son rules, challenged only by BJP. In state after another, an absence of genuine leaders is shrinking congress to the anti BJP votes. In states with a strong regional party, it loses even that vote. Congress is the most rapidly shrinking force in Indian politics today.
This is the story of congress. A family paranoid about holding its grip on power and a coterie of political nobodies that cling to the leadership in order to stay close to power. Do people like Sanjay Jha and Manishankar Aiyar have any support anywhere? Is Chambaram the best congress can do in TN? The height of propping up a puppet was when Manmohan Singh was made the Prime Minister despite his obvious inability to win even a single Lok Sabha election. Popularity got you a kick in this party, bootlicking got you promoted.
The best news for Congress today is from Punjab, but you will see little celebration of that. The fact is Captain Amrinder Singh was one of the first major politicians to openly ask for a change of leadership at the top. It was desperation that led the leadership to not only let him remain in the party, but also give him autonomy in how to run his state’s campaign. He has produced a spectacular victory despite/ due to no Rahul Gandhi campaign in Punjab. Once there were such leaders in every nook and corner of India who knew their region like the back of their hand, and won elections for the party. Now the congress has jokes like Raj Babbar running their UP campaign.
This decline is not an accident. Nor is it just a matter of Rahul Gandhi not being popular, or eligible for a leadership role in any way. This is a deep malaise in congress that leads to an aspiration for feudal power structure and a disregard for the people. Remember, most BJP leaders didn’t want Narendra Modi either, but the party structure made sure the most popular leader rises to the top. When you replace structure with dynasty worship, you get leaders who are openly called Pappu.
Its not great for Indian democracy to be saddled with only a single national party, but thats the legacy the bootlickers of congress are going to leave.
We have all heard of the recent case of a Muslim girl Suhana Sayed who was harassed for singing a Hindu devotional song in a singing show. it sounds really appalling. Rafi saab was one of the best Bhajan singers of his time, and Yesudas has created the gold standard for so many devotional compositions. Is this country going to dogs that people can’t even sing songs of another religion? Will someone protest against a hindu singing a Qawwali next? Well, not so much. All the “harassment” and “trolling” by Muslims was a myth. GO to any YouTube page of her singing and you see a large number of Muslims supporting her, raising their voices in her support. Bt these people are absent from any media reports. All that has happened is that a group of people on some obscure page abused her. Thats it. I’m sure such people existed even when Rafi saab sung Man Tadpat Hari Darsan Ko (composed by Naushad and written by Shakeel Badayuni, incidentally). They now have a voice, thanks to social media, and thats a good thing. What is not so good is them being blown out of all proportion and made into a monster that doesn’t exist.
This is not an isolated case. The case of Gurmeher was similar. A couple of serious threats, at least one of which was fake, were blown out of all proportion to make it seem like locusts have descended on her and made her life a nightmare where she may be assaulted at any point. There was a lot of disagreement to her, and not all articulated in the best possible way, but the attention she received only exacerbated the attacks as many saw her being shielded from criticism.
We all know this happens and we shrug it off. Just the corrupt media doing its TRP crazy thing. But then it starts hurting people. It already has started hurting people. The terrorist killed in the Lucknow encounter is part of an Indian jehadi group. Last year some guys from that organisation were actually arrested and interrogated. When asked about motive, many said they were motivated by the “atrocities” on Muslims in India. This is not even just after 2014. They have been radicalised for long before that.
Now I understand that there might well be genuine grievances of communities. Where the blame for the relative lack of development of Muslims is a topic that can be debated at another time, but whoever you blame, we can be agree that there is no large scale violence specifically against Muslims. At least not to the scale that requires an armed insurgency.
So where did these guys get these ideas? Just look at any TV host, any screaming headline. “Intolerance, Radical Nationalism, Extreme Nationalism, Attack On Minorities, Are Muslims Safe in Modi’s India?” A narrative has been created to make it seem like the state is an active party in a conflict and Hindus and Muslims are at loggerheads, fighting for survival. If you are not with one of these “secular” leaders that media has anointed, you are a rabid nationalist, communal scum. And because so many people are, evidently, in support of PM Modi and what he’s trying to do, that must mean that India is an intolerant nation that has no place for Muslims. Rajdeep Sardesai, unfortunately a prominent journalist of the nation, has crossed an even lower threshold of journalism. he recently wrote that invoking Vikaas is a communal agenda and PM asking votes on the basis of hope and development is also communal.
In this atmosphere, is it any longer a mystery why a small number of Muslim youth think India in general is their enemy? The narrative is such that even a moderate may start feeling threatened. I have seen this happen. Those who didn’t like Modi before he was elected are seeing the boogeyman of “suppression” everywhere. There is no rational reason that I can think of. I can cite statistics till i get red in the face, but we have to remember that fear is not a thought, its an emotion. So is anger.
The media understands that. The media plays on our emotion. They are now storytellers, not custodians of truth. They exacerbate our emotions of hurt, betrayal, unfairness, and aim to make us angry. They create a monster out of the few idiots who trolled a girl for singing the “wrong” devotional song. They create a monster out of the politicians that make irresponsible statements. Then they pitch these monsters against each other and watch with glee as we all divide ourselves to fight the monster we feel threatened by the most. The media sits in a corner eating its TRP popcorn, slurping their ideology soda. When this fight gets ugly, as it sometimes does, it brings out its Told You So megaphone and starts exaggerating how divided we are even more.
If you think thats sad, think how sad it is that we fall for this again and again.
I have never been a fan of Trump. I was stunned when he won. Ever since I have been trying to understand why he won. Where did I go wrong. But hell, I’m a foreigner, and have only an outsider’s perspective. I’m not too hard on myself. Its not as if I thought there was no Modi wave in May ’14.
But the broad majority of “respected” journalists in India did think there was no Modi wave. And everyone in US thought Trump would surely lose. There was talk of this being historic landslide for Hillary. Obituaries of Republican party were being discussed with ill-concealed glee. Headlines of “Madam President” were ready for print. What must be happening in their heads? What kind of introspection must they be undergoing? Read a few headlines and judge for yourself. “Shock and unease as Trump rises to power”, “Anti Trump protests spread across the country”, “A time to keep fighting”, “The populist fury that may damage global prosperity”, “How Hillary handles pain”, “Not my president”, “Trump won. Here’s how to fight back”, “Trump’s win is a reminder of the incredible, unbeatable, power of racism”, “White women sold out sisterhood by voting for Trump”, “Its not melodramatic to fear for our safety after this election”, “There’s a simple reason people don’t like Hillary. She’s a woman”
No sign of introspection. Also no report of Trump victory parties, just of protests. Surely some celebration must be happening too! No reports from the point of view of trump supporters. Not even a pretense to look neutral. Just blatant opposition and disgust. Assumptions of racism, sexism, and bigotry. And then they wonder why they are losing money and why people don’t trust them. Twitter is even worse. The cries of sexism and racism ignore all reality and impartiality.
These “journalists” hardly ever see anything wrong with Clinton and Obama. I like certain things about Obama, but many of his policies have been a dosaster. Obamacare, his healthcare plan, is failing. The average healthcare premiums rose by 25% this year. But when that news came out, all the media headlines were about worrying that Republicans would take advantage of this news. No attempt to question Obama or to ask Clinton how she will fix it. Trump, frankly, has no alternative to Obamacare. he just says he will scrap it and bring something better. Media makes lots of jokes about it. But what is Hillary’s plan? Nothing. Rather its exactly the same. She says she will make it better. And she gets a pass. She also gets a pass on all the complaints about corruption. Not just because she’s a woman and they want a woman president, and not just because press has deep ties to the Clinton machine, but because its a world view they are unwilling to challenge.
Indian media is the same. Any deviation from the standard centre-left monopoly on “opinion” and “intellectualism” is always dismissed. The media remains closed to new perspectives. American media is now talking about regulating social media. Social media is taking more of a role of being a source of information for people. Media wants Facebook to control what narratives spread there. Basically preventing anything they don’t like. The people who claim to be on the side of the marginalized are the first to demonize the common people if they speak anything but official narrative.
And thats why, media folks, you are dinosaurs. Traditional media is dead. It just hasn’t fully realized it yet.
Bernie Sanders is the latest darling of the left. If you try and match his support, there is a near one to one correlation with those who support AAP in India.
Thats not a coincidence. These are people dissatisfied with the mainstream left, represented by the Congress here and Democrats like Hillary in US. Congress and Hillary talk of the leftist principles, but are in the pocket of the rich. They have totally abandoned the principles of socialism by now. They essentially have no principles. Republicans are the same from the other side. They claim to be for Capitalism, but are in the pockets of their cronies and thrive on religious and nationalist sentiments. Much like BJP, really, but they don’t have a charismatic and largely honest leader at the top.
Thats why the Republican presidential field is littered with petty, small people. How bad do you have to be to be behind Donald effing Trump?
But we digress. Sanders. He has been a congressman (member of parliament) for several years, and as such hasn’t run anything. He has been activist for the Left, that’s it. But he did run something once. The city of Burlington. As a candidate against both Democrats and Republicans. A third alternative, so to speak. Do you know what his platform was? Lower cost Electricity and Telecom. He claimed that the utilities companies were robbing the consumer. Starts sounding familiar to our dear Kejriwal, right?
There’s more. Politics is a serious job. Like all jobs, you show your seriousness by dressing formally. Not him. he had dishevelled hair, a crumpled shirt and loose, badly fitting coats. He talked all the time about the rich guys talking things away from the common man. He always, at all times, stood against what America was for. He has had wet dreams about a revolution since 1970’s and proclaimed that him being elected mayor of Burlington was the start of a socialist turn for the US. his quote: “I think from one end of this country to the other, people are ripe for political revolution. The whole quality of life in America is based on greed. I believe in the redistribution of wealth in this nation.”
He attended rallies outside US, happy to collaborate with and give support to dictators as long as they were socialists. And anti-American. (At one of them in Nicaragua, he attended a rally celebrating the “defeat” of USA. They were chanting: “here there everywhere, the Yankees will die.”)
This is not all of course. He is a socialist, remember? Sanders has supported stealing the assets of corporations. He has supported nationalising all television. He has even supported taking the assets of a company and called for a state takeover of utilities “without compensation to the banks and wealthy individuals who own them.” He has supported state takeover of all oil business.
He made it a personal mission to attack the Rockefeller family. At that time the richest Americans. He advocated seizing their wealth and distributing it to the poor. He suggested that appointing Nelson Rockefeller as Vice President would lead to a dictatorship of the country by that family. Nothing if that sort happened, of course. Rockefellers declined in relative wealth, as other innovators overtook them. As happens in capitalism.
People say he is not really a socialist. He just uses that label. Look at the man and his positions when he was not prominent. That’s the real Sanders. Very similar to our own Kejriwal. You can just replace Ambani for Rockefeller and copy paste the speeches. Hating the rich and making them out to be demons is the central tenet of socialism.
The similarities are not a coincidence. This is the Left. They are all about seizing, capturing, taking something that doesn’t belong to them, and then doing charity with it.
America is not a perfect society. Far from it. But what makes it great is the individual liberty, the freedom to pursue greatness and riches, the celebration of innovation. In short, the Capitalism. Read again. These are the same attributes that we admire in Indians. We are not a society of conformist society when we are at our best. That’s the worst part of India. That leads to castes, dominating women, creating barriers. At our best, we are an open, innovative nation. Innovation only thrives when there are incentives to innovate. That’s what capitalism is.
Electing a socialist to the top of the largest economy in the world, and one of the best nations in the world will be a disaster for the whole world. I hope Americans are not stupid enough to do that.
Islamism is the political ideology seeking the supremacy of Islam over all other values. those “other values” include not just other religions, but also the concepts of freedom, secularism, and the liberal democracy itself. This is what threatens to take over the Islamic world when powers such as ISIS, Taliban, Hamas and other Salafists rise. We must separate this “political” Islam from the religious Islam that ordinary Muslims practice and cherish. Islamism is a poison both to ordinary Muslims and to the rest of the world. But saying g that it has nothing to do with Islam is disingenuous and dangerous. That’s what Left has been preaching, though.
Left has had a problem in the west. Given how successful capitalism has been, and given the success of emerging economies as they become more capitalistic, propagating socialism keeping getting unfashionable despite a recent resurgence, via Sanders etc. In general though, the Left in West has become enmeshed with identity politics. Women’s rights, Black rights, Immigrant rights, minority rights in general.
These are all issues close to anyone seeking liberty. Equality is the cornerstone of a modern society. The problem starts when this thinking becomes cultish. It is a short distance from “minorities should have rights” to “minorities are always right”. We know this well in India, were there is a history of appeasing minority “leaders”, whether they are right or wrong. And in the name of “social justice” we have created gangs of goons roaming the hinterlands. This approach benefits neither majority nor the minority, nor the socially disadvantaged. It just keeps some leaders happy, the backwards backward and the Left in power.
The Left is a means to struggle against oppression. It started against the royalty and the dictators. In 50’s and 60’s, some western Leftists raised their voice against USSR too. Today, they only stand against whoever happens to be the majority in their country. So the American Left idolises the “Eastern Spiritualism” and to them Yoga is the most eclectic exercise ever, but Indian Left starts convulsing as soon as the PM wants to promote it. And while all liberty loving people in the Islamic world recognise the dangers of Islamism, the Westen Left wants to hug and protect everyone who is against Western powers.
Case in point: Francois Hollande, the french president. He belongs to the Socialist Party. He did not support the ban on face-covering burqa that previous president Sarkozy applied. He campaigned to the muslims claiming to be their deliverer from Sarkozy. He got 93% of Muslim votes in a face-off with Sarkozy. That was no doubt a factor in French parliament unilaterally recognizing Palestine. Even after Charlie Hebdo, Hollande was pretty mild, resisted criticizing Islamism, and tried to prevent the PM of Israel from attending the solidarity march, as that may offend Muslims. So what happened? France is the largest non-Arab exporter of fighters to ISIS. France has had coordinated attacks against jews. Of course Charlie Hebdo. And now this.
Why does this happen? Slowly, by broad generalizations. Left feeds into and reinforces the feeling of victim-hood that has spawned political Islam. There have been attacks on countries with Muslim populations by the West, but they were not Islamic nations anyway. Iraq and Libya are probably more Islamic today than they were under their dictators. And There have been more attacks on Muslim countries by other Muslims (Yemen, ISIS, Iraqi Shia-Sunni clashes, Turkish-Kurd conflict, I could go on). If every attack on any Muslim by a non-Muslim is portrayed as an attack on Islam itself, it feeds the narrative of Muslims v/s the rest. It feeds into a feeling of isolation and pushes people into ghettos. It isolates both the sides. Pushes them apart. Left has been feeding this narrative of victimhood to the Islamic world, and the chickens are now coming to roost.
If only Hollande was an exception, though. We have a barrage of idiocy from Left, starting with the refusal to recognize the threat of Islamism. When the Left, from Obama onwards, keeps shouting at the top of their voices that ISIS has nothing to do with Islam, they are fooling the world, and probably themselves. ISIS, and similar organizations, have a mission according to their reading of Islam: that of making Islam and Islamic Caliphate the predominant power in the world.
By keeping Islam and any criticism of it out of public discourse the Left has created a vacuums that is being filled with rabid hatred of Islam, and of Muslims in general. The rise of far right parties, like UKIP in England, and National Front in France is precisely because the rhetoric of Left seems hollow. When, time and again, bunch of young Muslims kill themselves and others to the chant of “Allah O Akbar”, repeating ISIS has nothing to do with Islam makes less and less sense.
Nor does ignoring all reformist, liberal and feminist voices in the Islamic world. Those people, fighting for the oppressed, are painted by the Western Left as cronies of the West. Any criticism of Islam is tarred by the brush of Islamophobia, and brutal suppression is condoned as “cultural difference”. The natural allies of Left are thus abandoned. Long term Leftists are recognising this and raising their voices.
It is very important that ordinary Muslims not be tarred by the same brush as ISIS. It is clear that ISIS represents a small minority of Muslims. It is also clear that ISIS and other Islamists do represent some Muslims. And that their ideology is based on Islam. You don’t, after all, see Buddhist ISIS fighters. Islamism is a threat to ordinary Muslims as well as to the non-Muslims. Its imperative that the Left takes a note of it, and fight it. But the head is so far down the sand that I doubt they are listening.