Thursday, December 31, 2015

'Royal' wedding in Maheshwar: Holkar scion's marriage to Godrej family girl draws attention

The era of princely states ended long ago, 68 years to be precise.

But many of them continue to be referred as 'royals' and any event in these families draw attention of the masses.

In Central India, descendants of many states including Gwalior [Scindia] and Indore [Holkar] still have clout.

Even, the self-styled 'royals' of other states like Rewa, Dewas are visible in public space.

The scions of some small states have earned more fame because of their involvement in politics.

An example is Raghogarh [Digvijaya Singh] that was a small principality, while many other big states [like Bhopal] have lost their clout because they failed to enter either business or politics and frittered away their legacy.

Recently, the Holkar dynasty was again in news as a scion of the former rulers of the erstwhile state, 'Prince' Yashwant Rao Holkar III was to get married with Nayarika [of Godrej family]. The wedding took place in Maheshwar, an ancient temple town, which was capital of Holkar state.

All the rituals were performed elaborately. There was media attention, as expected. All the events drew coverage in local channels and newspapers.

The marriage was a mix of tradition and modernity.

Villagers from the Holkar's native village were also invited.

Also, in Nazarbagh premises, the reception was held.

The Holkar family met everyone and interacted with other 'royals' as well as the rural folk who had attended the marriage.

Politicians, businessmen, socialites and a large number of people from outside the country, also came for the marriage.

Maheshwar was the capital of Ahilya Bai Holkar, the famous woman ruler of the dynasty.

All the rituals and 'puja' were held as per the family's age-old traditions.

After the marriage, the couple--Yashwant Rao and Nayarika, sought blessings of everybody.

They went for boat ride in the river. For days, it remained front page news for newspapers in Madhya Pradesh. See more photos of the marriage below.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Bohra Muslims' procession on Id Milad-un-Nabi in Madhya Pradesh

On the occasion of Id Miladun Nabi, Muslims across India take out processions.

The unique aspects of local culture are visible in each region.

The Dawoodi Bohra Muslims also take our similar processions in states where they have strong population.

These regions include Maharashtra, Gujarat, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh.

The sect follows its own calendar and hence they celebrate festivals one or two days ahead of the day when the other Muslims hold celebrations.

These are photographs of the Id Milad-un-Nabi procession taken out by the Bohras in Bhopal. There are scouts, the dummers, the buggees, kids riding camels and horses, in the spectacle. The photographs are taken by Shaan Bahadur for

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Jainism in India: When thousands of Jains gather to celebrate Panchkalyanak Gajrath festival

Jainism is an ancient religion and though it is an Indic religion, not many people are aware about Jain rituals and festivals.

One of the reasons is that Jains are a small minority, which is scattered across the country. In areas where Jains form a substantial population, the festivals and rituals are celebrated at a large scale.

These include Gujarat, Rajasthan, Malwa and Bundelkhand regions of Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka and some parts of Maharashtra.

The Bundelkhand region of UP also has sizable Jain concentration, especially, Lalitpur, Jhansi and nearby small towns.

Panchkalyanak Gajrath Mahotsava

The 'Panch-kalyanak' parva is organised when a new Jinalaya [Jain place of worship, commonly termed Jain temple] is built or when the new idols are consecrated in an existing temple.

Thousands come from far and wide to attend the event. The rituals are quite fascinating and long.

Also, the immense wealth of the community is also on display during these programmes. People spend huge money to become 'Indra' and 'Indrani' [to enact lives of Tirathankaras as per Jain mythology, texts].

In MP, the Panchkalyanak is always associated with Gajrath--chariots pulled by elephants. 

Also, there are such festivals like 'Janm-Kalyanak' to commemorate the births of Tirthankars.

Jains believe that there are 24 Tirthankaras, the first being Adinath and the last being Vardhaman Mahavir.

In these 'parva', the birth and other events of the life of the Tirthankara, are enacted by the devotees.

There are songs and dance apart from religious rites. The monks [Jain munis] deliver lectures and discourses too.

Jainism is as ancient a religion as Buddhism because Lord Mahavir was a near-contemporary of Lord Buddha. There were three great teachers of the era--Siddhartha Gautam [Buddha], Mahavira and Makkali Gosala. Gosala's religion, Ajivika, died nearly 600 years ago.

As far as Buddhism and Jainism are concerned, Jains insist that the religion is much older.
The Jains say that their last Tirthankar, Mahavir, was Buddha's contemporary. And, the earlier Tirthankars lived thousands of years ago.

In fact, the Jain texts suggest that India got its name, Bharat, from the first Jain Tirthankar Rishabhdev's son.

Rishabh is also called Adinath.
Jainism didn't spread much outside India.

After Adi Sankara led revival of Hinduism, both Jainism and Buddhism retreated.

While Buddhism disappeared and gained some ground in 20th century, Jainism survived.

It wasn't much visible but remain alive in certain regions as an esoteric religion, making itself more compatible and as part of Hinduism.

The Gajrath rituals are elaborate and interesting. If you haven't seen them, you have missed a part of unique Indian culture.

*A report on Panchkalyanak Gajrath Mahotsava in Chanderi, MP. Read
*A report about similar event organised in Saharanpur, UP. Read
*A video link about Panchkalyanak-Gajrath in Jharkhand. SEE

Seeing a sallekhana: Jain woman's fast to death in Madhya Pradesh

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Muslims hold protest marches against Hindu Mahasabha leader but do these demonstrations serve purpose?

Tens of thousands of Muslims took to the streets in Indore to protest self-styled Hindu Mahsabha leader Kamlesh Tiwari's controversial statement.

Earlier, in Bhopal, a massive protest took place at Iqbal Maidan.

Besides, in towns like Raisen, Betul, Harda, similar protests have been held.

Initially, the protests took place in UP. Later, the protests began in other cities across India. Mahasabha has dissociated itself from Tiwari now. [Also, Tiwari has been arrested. He is the same person who had announced a reward on Owaisi's head]

It is a democratic right to hold protest and demonstrations. But what's the point when Tiwari was already arrested. Of course, it is one's right to take out processions, if you feel hurt.

Now coming to the issue of why these protests hurt Muslims. In Indore, during the demonstration, there was disorder, ruckus and some youths resorted to damaging vehicles. This was duly condemned by Muslim groups.

However, a section of media, painted a negative picture of Muslims. Though incidents in which right-wing groups brandish swords on 'Shaurya Diwas' don't lead to panic, image of Muslims on streets, prompted them to come up with extremely critical coverage.

This gives the impression that Muslims come out on the streets only on emotive issues. 
If Muslims were really hurt, shouldn't they have used legal option, like filing FIRs against Tiwari.

In case, police didn't register the case, the FIRs could have been filed through courts.

This is done by filing private complaints, so that it would have taught him a lesson to avoid provocation. But these protests are taken as show of strength by other communities and the purpose is also not served.

People like Tiwari get more attention because of these huge protests. One wondered, if similar protests, will be held on issues like promise of reservation to Muslims in UP or implementation of Sachar panel recommendations?

Sunday, December 06, 2015

Dalit group's campaign to press for rebuilding Babri Masjid in Ayodhya even as Muslims' hopes fade

Now, it has been 23 years, since Babri Masjid was demolished in Ayodhya on December 6, 1992.

In the past, Muslim groups held demonstrations and protests on the anniversary of the mosque's demolition.

But over the years, there has been a decline in such protests. Except in a few cities like Delhi and Hyderabad, there are no major rallies.

Interestingly, while a large section of Muslims have now reconciled to the status quo and don't have any hope about reconstruction of mosque on the site, Dalit groups have been running the campaign in Uttar Pradesh (UP).

In this photo above, the graffiti on the wall says, 'Ab Dalito.n ki majburi hai, Babri masjid zaroori hai'. The organisation is Babri Masjid Nav-Nirman Sena which has district level chiefs in Uttar Pradesh.

Dr Bhai Tej Singh, who heads Ambedkar Samaj Party, has been a moving force behind the Babri Masjid Navnirman Sena, which was cretaed a few years ago.

The Sena president Dr Jagbir Singh affirmed that his organisation would continue to raise voice and participate in the struggle for building Babri Masjid, and will extend full cooperation to the Muslim brethren in this movement.

On December 6, 1992, Babri Masjid was razed in Ayodhya.

The then, PM, PV Narasimha Rao, had come on TV, and promised that the mosque would be built again at the same spot.

However, it was a lie. He lied to crores of Indians in his message to nation.

Muslims have trust in law and expected that mosque would be reconstructed, but it couldn't happen. With passing years, the hope too faded that this would ever happen.

Saturday, December 05, 2015

Hindu women walk on fire in memory of Karbala martyrs in Chehallum ritual: Arbaeen in India

It is not just Muharram--the 10th of Islamic month of Muharram, which is observed to commemorate the martyrdom of Imam Husain and his kin.

But, after 40 days of Yaum-e-Ashura, Chehallum [Arba'een] is also observed in India, widely.

The practices vary from region to region, even from one district to another in a particular state.

On the left is the photograph of a woman walking on fire--embers [burning coal].

This is to express devotion towards the martyrs who were killed in Karbala, which is situated in Iraq.

This particular photo is from Damoh, part of Bundelkhand region in Madhya Pradesh [MP].

Carrying the kid, she walks on fire. Hundreds other follow this practice--from Damoh to Datia.

This ceremonies take place on Chehallum and continue for 1-10 days. In Jaora, the ceremonies continue for many days.

In Jaora where Chehallum ceremonies continue for days and lakhs come from all over the country, and even abroad, thousands walk on fire, not just the select few.

The other photograph is also from Damoh. A boy walks on embers.

Irrespective of their sects, Muslims and Hindus perform these rituals. For Hindus, it is age-old practice.

They feel their kids would get blessings from the Imam, and hence bring kids along, during these rituals.

For more about Chehallum, do read this post. Lakhs of Muslims reach Husain Tekri in Jaora, to observe Chehallum. CLICK

Friday, December 04, 2015

Dozens lose vision in botched up operations during eye surgery camps: Pathetic state of healthcare in India

*16 suffer loss of vision in Chandigarh
*5 suffer vision loss in Guwahati
*43 lose eyesight in Barwani in Madhya Pradesh

These three incidents have occurred in the last couple of days in India. Patients go to these camps for cataract surgery, hoping to have their vision cleared.

Instead, their vision is lost, due to lack of post-operation care and indifference of authorities. In fact, it clearly shows the dismal state of health care in government-run camps in India.

The latest incident has occurred in Barwani in Central India. As many as 43 persons, many of them women, lost their eyesight completely. It is a real tragedy for these victims. For, most of them, now face livelihood issues.

Absolute apathy, lack of post-operation care in such camps where mass surgeries are held. Doctors come at camp, operate and leave. If patients have complaints, none bothered. Within days, infection spreads and vision is nearly lost.

Money can't compensate loss of vision

"Ankh hi chahiye, muaawza nahi". 'I want my vision back, no other compensation would do", says a woman. "Hubby dead, how will I raise kids", she said as it is she who works to eke out living for her family.

Yet another sad aspect is that mostly poor are affected and hence there is no major outcry. Departmental action hardly improves the situation. A few suspensions here and there--that's the governments' style to tackle these botched up surgeries.

Committees, reports, recommendations but NO CHANGE

However, lack of sanitation and issue of infections at these camps, don't get priority. Committees are formed and asked to give reports. After months, when reports are prepared, the recommendations are forwarded but there is again, no action, no change on the ground.

Isn't this a tragedy that this is the situation of healthcare, 68 years after independence?

Lakhs of devotees reach Husain Tekri in Jaora to observe Chehallum

A huge gathering took place at Husain Tekri Sharif in Jaora town in Central India.

Muslims, especially, Shias, from all over the world, descended here to observe Chehallum.

The Chehallum rituals are held 40 days after Muharram--the 10th of Ashura that signifies martyrdom of Hazrat Imam Husain and his family members at Karbala.

Husain Tekri is a famous shrine in Jaora town that is located in Ratlam district of Madhya Pradesh.

Jaora was a princely state in pre-independent India, ruled by a Nawab. This year, nearly 3,00,000 people participated in the rituals. 

The devout from all corners of the country, camp here in open spaces, stay in hotels, lodges and the guest houses.

The arrangements are held on a large-scale. The events are organised on an area spread over 100 bighas. The devotees pay obeisance at the 'rauzas' of Imam Ali and Imam Husain, amongst other shrines.

The unique aspect that tens of thousands of people walk on embers [burning coal]. There is a large number of pilgirms from outside the country who arrive here, stay for days, attending the rituals.

Though Chehallum is observed in places with strong Shia population like Lucknow and Hyderabad in India, the gathering in Jaora is among the biggest in the country. A large number of Sunnis and Hindus also attend it.

Tuesday, December 01, 2015

Now it's ghettoisation on social media too: Hindu, Muslim ghettos on Facebook, Twitter

This post is about a trend I have noticed over the years--how people change drastically on social media.

Over a period of time, they create their own 'ghettoes' on the internet, avoid opposing views and end up isolating themselves from rest of the world.

Now there is nothing wrong about interacting with the like-minded but here it is not about people who share interest in tennis, gardening or literature.

Rather, it is about how people choose to interact with those who share similar ideology, then over a period of time their positions get hardened, they get more drawn towards those people, until they create their dream world--of all those who share their ideology.

There was a nice guy who was active on Twitter. In the initial years, he was friendly with people of all sections but then everybody felt he was getting irrational on certain issues. Ideology now prevailed over sane thoughts.

Now, he doesn't fight with the oldies but simply avoids the few of them, he still follows. Most of the time, he is busy fighting the 'Rest', leading an army of Twitter-walas of same ideology, who launch mercilessly attacks on those with diverse opinions, in order to create a world of their own liking.

It is not just about Hindus and Muslims, it is also about left-wing and right-wing, the 'sickulars' and the 'bhakts'. I have seen this affect their personality. This delusion that they have already created their utopian world on internet and are on way towards changing the world, reflects in their real life too.

Just see how these ghettos come up on social media, graduating from one level to another, until you are in the Ghetto.

1. A 'like' or 'Retweet' is an incentive on social media. Criticism is unwelcome, those who criticise aren't good guys, are they!

2. Even for irrational thoughts, there must be 'likes' and those who argue or question, aren't 'my friends'. So just ignore, avoid, block or unfriend the critics--just be in your comfort zone. [There is also the 'mute' button now on Twitter, so you don't un-follow them but their voice won't reach you]

3. Side with those who think like you. The are the real friends (even if many of them you never met on the street & they don't have real photos either]

4. You will like their post, they will promptly like yours, after all, you share the same 'great ideals'.

5. You are happy with those who 'like' your post, you drift towards them even more, get into that world.

6. On Twitter too, you un-follow those whose opinions are not in sync with your beliefs, except may be a few old friends.

7. You get heady feeling with more likes and RTs by those who think alike, you keep getting
immersed in your ideology--sectarian, communal, your positions get hardened day by day.

8. So now you are getting the dose which you want, any criticism, diverse thoughts or opposing idea are unwelcome and in any case these 'uncomfortable or irritating people' are not even reaching you now.  You have blocked or ignored or filtered them by now.

9. 'Those others' in your friend list or followers list are just tolerated, and you simply wish them on birthdays, anniversaries.

10. Of course you are talking publicly and you are on social media, but it is just like a caste-linguistic-religious ghetto where you are happy with your own kind, no diversity.
Now, you are in your dream world.

PS: Just check self, if you are into this ghettoisation, too? (everyone, including this blogger, must introspect)

[For those whom I observed, more on Twitter, going up in indoctrination levels within a few years]

Friday, November 27, 2015

Sickular Vs Bhakt: The 'intolerance' debate in India reveals our intellectual hollowness

The debate over 'intolerance' has led to a strong polarisation in India.

Either you are on one side or you are on the other side of the political divide, getting labelled as 'sickular' or 'bhakt'.

Positions have hardened to such an extent that people are just not willing to listen to the other side.

That's really sad for a country where people claim to have a continuous civilisation of thousands of years.

Centuries ago the great Kabir said, 'Nindak niyare rakhiye...'. 

It is always wise to have critics around, it is not and can never be an insult to any group or society to have critical opinions. 

In fact, it strengthens, makes you do introspection. But it is very very unfortunate when a certain section of people get into the state where they just tom-tom own greatness and refuse to listen to opposing views.

So, if I say, there is intolerance in India, I am a 'sickular' person
And if someone says, there is no intolerance, he is a 'bhakt'

There can be space 'in between' two, the space to converse, to talk. The truth is that there is intolerance, it was always there and will always remain so. 

Society and state remain intolerant towards the poor, the weak, those on the margins. 

And, if you believe, India is a country where rivers of milk and honey flow, you have a right to your opinion but you can't accused those with contrarian position of being 'anti-India' or running campaign to defame the country. 

The threats to send people to Pakistan, to lodge cases against them, to question their patriotism--it is all intolerance. It will not help you in anyway--neither your party, nor your ideology.

Role of media in 'intolerance debate'

Indian media has failed miserably in taking the issue to the masses. TV channels have failed to even present the true picture, let alone educate the masses.

The manner in which self-styled 'national' channels confuse 'right-wing jingoism' with nationalism and patriotism, is a sad aspect of today's media. Those who are guilty of delivering hate speeches are called again and again to studios and given 'space'. 

Either it's Amir Khan's statement or Rahul Gandhi's interaction with students, reports were one-sided and were just aimed at 'senationalism', even at the cost of airing false news. Clearly, there is no sense of propriety and responsibility.

The complete 'doha' is: 

Nindak niyare rakhiye aangan kuti chhabaaye
Bin sabun bin paani nirmal karat subhaye

[Translation: Keep the critic around you, he will clean your heart without water and soap].

Monday, November 16, 2015

1,050 Muslim clerics' fatwa against ISIS: Indian Muslims' religious leaders had taken stand, condemned ISIS much before Paris attacks

Though acts of self-styled Islamic State [or ISIS] have been termed un-Islamic and repeatedly condemned by majority of Muslims, the Paris attacks have once again brought focus on IS.

On social media, Muslims have been clearly saying that ISIS doesn't represent Islam, at all.

There is also a feeling that Muslims should come out and condemn, though the fact is that Muslims are not just condemning ISIS, but on ground too it is large number of Muslims who are fighting it.

Also, Muslims are also the biggest victims of ISIS' atrocities, not just in Syria, Iraq and adjoining countries but also because of the Islamophobia that is generated by these acts. But these aspects don't get as much publicity.

In fact, much before the recent terrorist attack in France, Indian Muslim clerics had taken the unprecedented step, and 1,050 Muslim clerics had issued a fatwa, collectively, against the ISIS and had termed its acts as un-Islamic.

These 1,050 Muslim clergymen include Muftis, Qazis, Imams, Maulanas and Religious scholars. They included Jama Masjid heads, representatives of leading Islamic seminaries, institutions, organisations, sajjada-nasheens and influential Sufi shrines.

They had jointly signed this fatwa against ISIS, its leader and its fighters. It was a huge fatwa that tackled the issue point wise and exhaustively. One wished that it had got the due attention, it deserved, across the world. 

The Ulama had said that ISIS was an enemy of Islam. It was sent to United Nations (UN) general secretary Ban Ki Moon. The document's text said that ISIS actions were inhuman, it was involved in mass killings and was absolutely against the basic tenets of Islam.

See links

*1,000 Muslim clerics sign fatwa against ISIS. Huffington post report
*Over 1,000 Muslim clerics issue biggest fatwa against ISIS. New Indian Express
*Indian Muslims fatwa against ISIS' fanaticism, religious extremism. Wall Street Journal
*US welcomes Indian clerics' fatwa against ISIS. Read
*Muslim leaders issue fatwa against ISIS. Read

*Video report about Indian Muslim clergy against ISIS. Report

[Also, see post on why Islamic clergy across the world should call ISIS' bluff and its claims about being Islamic, need to declare it outside the pale of Islam. READ]

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Paris attacks: Islamic clergy must loudly denounce ISIS, clearly say that IS acts are outside the pale of Islam

Self-styled 'Islamic State' or ISIS has struck once again--killing nearly 140 persons in Paris.

The attacks have outraged the world. Muslims across the globe are are also angry.

ISIS is not just involved in terrorism, wanton killings and bloodshed but it is also defaming Islam and Muslims.

Most Muslims were clearly shocked at the terror attacks in France and condemned ISIS' acts. 

However, there were some tweets and Facebook status messages about how 'killings by ISIS in Beirut and Baghdad this week were not splashed in the media".

There were messages like how the cycle of violence has been going on--West intrudes in Middle East and forces regime changes and in process these countries are forced into civil war in which thousands are killed.

Also, about how extremist groups get help from Western countries. The conversation goes to 'oil'، the great game and even how, media gives disproportionate coverage to events in Paris or England, compared to Africa, Asia or Middle East.

1. ...a lot of it may be correct, but the harsh reality is that ISIS or ISIL or 'Islamic State' is involved in evil acts, genocide, mass killings and acts of terror. And, unfortunately, the 'i' in IS stands for 'Islamic'. We can't erase it.

2. Saying things like, 'When X doesn't condemn for act by Y, why should I do it?', are fine for sake of arguments. The reality is that a very wrong message is going to the world, especially, the ordinary people.

3. We may say that it has nothing to do with Islam and talk of who made it and what it does, but the fact is that it operates in Islamic regions, runs a state, claims to have a Caliphate, raises 'Islamic flag', claims to give punishments to people as per 'Sharia laws'.

4. ISIS claims to be Muslim and hence we must loudly say, that they are NOT. Some Muslims are in a habit of saying that particular countries in the West support(ed) these groups or go about propounding theories about Zionists leading them but the conspiracy theories are to delude themselves. There are definitely Muslims in extremist groups and they are all  hurting Islam terribly.

Even if you believe [like some more knowledgeable friends] that it was US attack on Iraq-Afghanistan which led to this cycle of violence and media doesn't show lakhs dead in these countries and it is 'biased media coverage', even then what are you doing it to tackle the situation, smartly, or show that Muslim world is the real sufferer? At least, do something worthwhile to change the image. If innocents are killed at one place, it doesn't mean innocents can be killed elsewhere as revenge. There is no justification to killing in our faith. It is terrorism, which is against Islamic teachings. So why not a collective fatwa against ISIS! 

5. Either it is the ISIS than can erase this 'i' in their name, else, the Islamic world must strongly denounce this organisation. Muslim clergy must unitedly condemn and clearly say that ISIS is un-Islamic and its acts make it outside the pale of Islam.

6. The clerics of Saudi Arabia and Islamic countries must say it loud and clear. It should be said strongly, so that there is no doubt left in the minds of anyone and those who are its supporters on the ground, should realise that it is not Islamic and is an organisation contrary to teachings of our religion and a group which is destroying Islamic societies and defaming the faith.

7. When terror attacks were going on in India on a regular basis, Indian Muslim clerics strongly issued 'fatwas', hired an entire train and held huge public conferences to declare that 'Terrorism is un-Islamic'.

8. Indian Muslims had even refused to give place to Ajmal Amir Kasab for burial in any graveyard in Mumbai. It is an age of mass media and the message needs to be sent across. Saying it in mosques is not sufficient, you must inform non-Muslims too that ISIS doesn't represent us.

9. Fortunately, India, despite a huge Muslim population, has seen less radicalisation and the country has come out of the phase. Such incidents are now history.

10. ISIS, Al Qaeda and other such groups have done incalculable harm to Muslims. Time for Muslim clerics the world over to stand up, take a very strong stand, and issue a 'fatwa' unitedly, declaring ISIS as a bunch of criminals, terrorists and imposters, who are NOT MUSLIMS.

Down with you ISIS. 

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Why BJP doesn't like Tipu Sultan, the king who fought British and whom they feared?

Shams Ur Rehman Alavi

The BJP's bigotry is well-known as far as Tipu Sultan is concerned. They don't like Tipu and there are reasons.

But first go back to history, which is very clear. Tipu Sultan fought British and they feared him, this can't be erased from history.

Not just Tipu, his father Hyder Ali had also fought Britishers and defeated them. But, even Hyder Ali, is not liked.

The reasons don't need to be explained. There were no other figures in contemporary India, then, who dared fight British.

Tipu defeated British and later got martyred in the last Anglo-Mysore war. There are records of communication between Tipu, his persistent efforts to forge unity among Marathas and Nizams, to establish a joint front against the British.

Both Marathas and Nizams ditched him. He wrote to Napoleon, he befriended French, did everything possible to evict British. But these aspects have no value for those who simply hate Tipu.

Yet, in case of Tipu Sultan, the right-wing 'dig out' out entire history, make an effort to find anything negative just to abuse, even spread falsehoods, to term him and declare him 'anti-Hindu'.

Fine, sometime do remember, Shivaji's attacks within the country, plunder of Surat, too. Do talk of other historical figures too who sided with British or your interest in history is limited to targeting a man whom you don't want to accept as a hero.

Firstly, Rulers were monarchs and there would be negative aspects to everyone. In modern era, in democracies, leaders can commit genocide, yet be 'nationalist' and 'patriot'. And their followers have the cheek to term Tipu Sultan as 'bigot and committing atrocities'.

The point is that Tipu, a Muslim, as first man who rose against British power in India, can't be accepted by Hindutva brigade.

So, even if he had a ring with 'Rama' written on it, or his excellent relations with Sringeri Sankaracharya, lone king of era who didn't compromise with British, and laid his life in the battle--nothing can make him a 'hero' in the eyes of BJP and Sangh Parivar.

The 'patriotism' or 'nationalism' certificate is issued by those who are the cheerleaders for the politician who can organise genocide in modern era, in democracies. They have the right to say who is nationalistic and who is 'anti-national'.

They can run mis-information campaigns. But the irony for them is that history can't be changed. BJP can't find a 'hero' from 18th century who dared to stand up against East India Company, as there was none other than Tipu Sultan.

Great Freedom Fighters of India: TIPU SULTAN

Tipu Sultan was undoubtedly among the greatest freedom fighters of the country. Senior journalist Dilip C Mandal writes, "The British made a list of the most formidable enemy commanders and it included the names of Napoleon and Tipu Sultan..."

"When Tipu was fighting British, the other native kings had already signed treaties with British. They included kings of Tanjore, Travancore and Peshwa. In the third Anglo-Mysore war, the Marathas and Nizams fought along side British, to form an joint alliance to defeat Tipu".

"This was not at all a Hindu-Muslim issue. It is unfortunate that such a glorious heritage--the contribution of Tipu Sultan, is being termed controversial due to foolishness of a section here", Mandal further writes.

LINK: Britain's National Army Museum: List of greatest foes of Britain

MUST-READ: Justice Katju's article on Tipu Sultan, how he was defamed to drive wedge between Hindus and Muslims. READ

William Dalrymple's article on how Tipu Sultan was targeted, defamed by British historians. READ

Monday, November 09, 2015

Six best cartoons on BJP's defeat and grand alliance's victory in Bihar: Cartoonists' response to election result

While millions of words have been written on the electoral outcome of the Bihar Assembly poll and the analyses continue, the cartoonists and artists have said it with a few strokes of their pens and brushes.

See these five cartoons that describe the BJP's loss and Nitish Kumar-Lalu Yadav's JDU-RJD-Congress alliance's victory. Clearly, 'Cow and Pakistan' are part of every illustration as BJP had made them a poll issue.

Surendra's cartoon touches the topic of reservation too. Others are by Manjul, Satish Acharya, Shreyas Nevare. The penultimate cartoon was published in Punjab Kesri. All these cartoons are about the results, except the last, which was about the exit polls.

Sunday, November 08, 2015

Bihar defeats 'Beef, Pakistan' politics, setback for Narendra Modi: Electorate reject communal, divisive election campaign

Bihar has shown the way once again.

The electorate of one of the most politically aware state of the country, voted for JDU-RJD coalition and defeated Narendra Modi's BJP in the Assembly election.

The trends show that Nitish Kumar-led grand alliance was all set to win the election in a big way.

The RJD-JDU-Congress combine was well on its way towards winning more than 160 seats in the 243 member house.

Despite being Prime Minister, Narendra Modi was almost projected as the face of BJP in Bihar as there was no chief ministerial candidate.

Amit Shah, the 'master strategist' tried everything--communal and divisive statements from BEEF to PAKISTAN were used to polarise communities on religious lines.

But the people of Bihar, chose Maha Gathbandhan (MGB) and rejected the alliance of BJP, LJP, HAM and RLSP.

Clearly, the BJP's 'rainbow' coalition didn't work. Rising prices, especially, that of the tuar [arhar] daal, must have also gone against the BJP.

1. The promised 'achche din' hadn't come. Further, the attempts to vitiate communal atmosphere was visible.

2. People were witness to how an armyman's father was killed in Dadri by the beef vigilantes and how people were being lynched in different states.

3. The atrocities on Dalits and VK Singh's remarks also affected the BJP's chances. Besides, RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat's comment on 'reservation' couldn't have come at a worse time for the BJP.

It surely raised anxieties among a large section of population.

4. Also, Muslims didn't vote for AIMIM despite wanting to vote for Asaduddin Owaisi.

There was fear that vote for MIM would go against MGB and each seat counted. Hence, even Akhtarul Iman seems in trouble in Kishanganj.

5. The message from Bihar is strong. Narendra Modi must deliver on his promises.

Where is the promised black money that was supposed to come. What about the 'Development Agenda?'. There are just more taxes. Tackle unemployment and inflation, rather than creating communal divide.

It's time for BJP to reign in lumpen elements, particularly, the senior members of the party and ministers, who issue certificates of nationalism to anyone and threaten anyone with diverse opinion to be sent to Pakistan.

When BJP lost in Delhi Assembly election, it was said that this was a small poll--that of a city state.

AAP's victory could have been termed a fluke, an exception. But, after Bihar verdict, Modi is no longer invincible.

100 million Indians [the population of Bihar] have decided to elect Nitish Kumar-led coalition, preferring him over BJP.

Given BJP's penchant for communalism, one may see them again resorting to similar tactics before UP election, but the writing is clearly on the wall.

They must stick to their promises, else people are getting restive. 'Beef', 'Pakistan', can't get you win elections.

Friday, November 06, 2015

Reaction to Shahrukh Khan's statement exposed BJP leaders, their claims of 'tolerance': King Khan's courageous stand against intolerance in India

Shah Rukh Khan has taken a bold and courageous stand.

The star openly voiced his concern over the climate of intolerance that is prevalent in the country.

The stand is laudable as super stars in India generally refrain from taking positions--so that neither of the sides get angry.

This has been the age-old tradition in India. Bollywood personalities have rarely taken stand, even when there were major issues concerning the country.

Film stars are well aware that they have huge following and whatever they say would be lapped by media.

1. They don't want to upset any section of their fan base. Stars know that their fans come from all political parties and their anger may affect their movies' box office chances. Also, political parties can issue 'boycott star' diktats, which hurt producers-directors too.

2. But King Khan took the unprecedented step. Not only, he spoke about the intolerance, but also said that he supported the writers' move about returning awards, as a protest against the culture of intolerance and hate-speech under the present regime.

3. By any standards, this is praiseworthy. The reaction to his comment, exposed the flag-bearers of 'tolerance'. Immediately, Sangh brigade and BJP leaders were after Shahrukh Khan, who was now their Enemy Number One.

4. The BJP leaders who feel they own the country and can issue certificates of 'nationalism' and 'anti-nationalism' at the drop of the hat. BJP vice-president Kailash Vijayvargiya said that 'Khan's heart was in Pakistan'.

5. BJP MP Yogi Adityanath and Sadhvi Prachi, both notorious for hate speeches, also showed how much tolerant is the current regime. They also revealed their true character, their true sanskaar. Kudos, Shahrukh Khan.

You truly deserve to be called 'King Khan'. 

Wednesday, November 04, 2015

Questioning patriotism, terming others as 'Pakistani': Hate preachers are real anti-nationals, dividing India on religious lines

(C) Indscribe

If you don't like someone or find their views contrary to your own political beliefs, then just term the person as 'anti-national'.

This is the latest and disturbing trend in the world's biggest democracy.

No longer it is about so-called 'fringe groups' of the grand Hindutva parivar, but the senior leaders of the ruling party of India are issuing these firmans.

They are terming actors, writers and fellow Indians as 'anti-national' or 'Pakistani'.

The term 'Pakistani' [the manner in which it is used in India] is nothing less than hate speech, because it questions a person's patriotism and declares him (or her) a 'traitor'. It is racist hatred [directed at Muslims]. Hence, it is criminal, and law must be invoked to prosecute those who use the term and attempt to divide society.

The latest statement is about BJP's senior leader Kailash Vijayvargiya terming Bollywood actor Shah Rukh Khan, 'anti-national'. In a series of tweets, Vijayvargiya wrote that Khan's heart lies in Pakistan.

This comment coming from a senior leader is extremely objectionable, as it is clear hate speech. The use of term 'Pakistani' is manifestation of hate towards Muslims. The self-styled nationalists [right-wing] feel that Muslims are pro-Pakistani.

This is just one of the umpteen statements that keep coming day after day. Sadhvi Prachi is a Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) leader and she also made a similar charge against Khan. Earlier, BJP leader and union minister Giriraj Singh has also used similar terminology to run down the opponents.

The list is long--from Sakshi Maharaj to MA Naqvi. Yogi Aditya Nath has also made similar comments and used abusive, threatening language against Muslims. Words like 'Pakistani agent' are thrown at India's leading actor whose family members participated in freedom struggle.

It has become a routine practice for BJP leaders in India to term anyone as a Pakistani and threaten to send adversaries to Pakistan.

In fact, no one seems to think more about Pakistan, than the BJP leaders and the politicians aligned to right-wing.

Interestingly, the right-wing BJP is the political baby of Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS), which didn't play a role in India's freedom struggle.

Yet, it tries to position itself as a patriotic organisation, and claims to be more nationalistic than others.

[The two messages have been circulating on Facebook and Twitter. Not sure, as to who created them, hence, credit not given along with these two pictures.]

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Pay to get more Facebook 'likes', more 'followers' on Twitter: Unfair practices on social media?

Social media giants Facebook & Twitter have lately come up with similar plans for users who want 'greater clout' or 'more audience'.

If you pay money, you have the option to get more Facebook 'likes' and more Twitter 'followers'.

But is it fair? Content is not the king anymore.

Someone who has extra dollars or rupees, to spend, can use it for branding and get thousands of 'real or unreal' followers on Twitter.

Similar is the case with Facebook. Here, a person can 'buy' the 'likes' for his/her page. Where's the level-playing field on social media?

That's the fundamental question.

I don't feel it is fair. These companies initially had no such schemes but once they reached a level where they are opinion makers and dominate our lives, they have come up with these schemes.

Personally, I don't like it. It's like, you can't earn numbers or grades, so just pay for it. Is it fair? 

Take for example, movie personalities, TV persons, sport stars or anybody who came late on these platforms, and have less followers.

Or those who don't have anything interesting to share but feel upset that others have more likes or followers, can avail these schemes.

They can just pay money and get past the people who genuinely earned the following.

If you pay, Twitter shows your profile to many more people as 'suggested' in 'Who to Follow' advisory on the top right.

If you pay, your page is displayed to more people who are suggested by Facebook, to like the page.

On Facebook, you get option to target people in particular region or people of a particular age group.

We like it or not, Facebook and Twitter dominate our lives so much, that we have to live with it--their policies. They are here for business, aren't they. And that's what business is!!!

Bajrang Dal engineers riot in Karnataka after Muslim barber refused to shut shop on 'Tuesday'

In a shocking incident, right-wing extremist group Bajrang Dal engineered a communal riot in a town in Mangalore district, after a Muslim man refused to shut his shop on 'Tuesday'.

This riot over' barber's insistence on haircut' took place in Nelliyadi in Mangalore. The barber, Salman, opened his salon but was asked by local Bajrang Dal leader to shut it, 'as Hindus don't get haircut on Tuesday'.

When Salman refused, Bajrang Dal and allied Hindutva groups' members attacked Muslims and ransacked property. Dozens were injured and property worth lakhs was gutted.

Incidentally, Karnataka is ruled by Congress but right-wing extremists' activities have increased in the State, especially, in Mangalore district in recent years.

This report published in Hindustan Times, tells that Bajrang Dal leader Ravi Bally asked Salman to down the shutters in view of 'local sentiments' but he refused. Popular Front of India (PFI) members' names has also come up in this rioting. PFI is a Muslim group active in this region.

This year alone, over 150 communal incidents have occurred in Mangalore. The district was once known for communal harmony, education and openness among members of different religious communities.


*Couple visiting beach handed over to police, boy's mother dies of shock. READ
*WhatsApp picture raises heckles of moral police in Mangalore. READ
*Church in Mangalore vandalized even after PM's appeal for religious tolerance. READ


Communal bug bites Mangalore: Clashes, rioting reaches the 'auspicious town' 

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Caste Terror: Two innocent children burnt alive in India's Haryana

These two children have closed their eyes for ever.

They were sacrificed at the altar of casteist hostility. Despite police protection, a Dalit family was set afire.

The children were burnt alive. These innocent kids died. Their parents are critical and battling for life in hospital.

This happened in Faridabad in Haryana, which is notorious for casteist terror. Go to hell with your caste, religion.

Three year old Vaibhav and nine-month-old Divya, are seen in this photograph. Their mother Rekha suffered critical burns while father Jitendra's condition is improving. The assailants, belonging to Rajput community, came at night, put petrol and set house on fire.

Indian Express reports that it was an act of vengeance. What vengeance against kids? Aren't we one of the most barbaric, violent nations in the world. All talk of 'ahimsa' is absolute nonsense. This is an immoral, unjust society.

READ: Isn't Indian society one of the most violent, discriminating and unjust societies in the world?

Cops, courts, none is able to provide security, basic dignity and respect.

Burn yourself, kill each other but at least spare the kids. Why did you kill these innocents.

* Will the monsters who committed the act, be arrested and sentenced to death?
* Will Haryana chief minister ML Khattar send casteist terrorists to Pakistan?

Where is humanity?
Cry, this country.


Saturday, October 17, 2015

'Love Jihad' was right-wing extremists' conspiracy to demonise Muslims, split inter-religious couples: Hindutva project in India

For the last couple of years, the term 'Love Jihad' had gained currency in the media.

Hindutva groups, especially, Bajrang Dal and VHP, used it publicly on a regular basis, targeting Muslims.

1. Any inter-religious relationship in which the groom was Muslim and the bride was Hindu, was termed 'Love Jihad'.

2. The term was used so often that many people started to believe the theory that Muslim youths were 'trapping' Hindu girls.

3. A sting operation by Cobrapost revealed that it was a conspiracy to defame Muslims, split inter-religious couples, fan communalism, spread hatred against Muslims and polarise society on religious lines.

4. This sting operation was conducted over a period of several months and the Cobrapost reporters caught BJP, VHP leaders on camera, that how this nefarious conspiracy was hatched and was going on, across the country.

5. The videos were made available along with other evidence at the press conference. However, the media didn't give proper attention to this shocking expose. Perhaps, the reason was that the BJP government is at the helm at the Centre.

6. But, imagine, how serious is the expose, that members of the party that rules the world's biggest democracy, were involved in the false 'Love Jihad' project, which was apparently planned to corner, defame and demonise Muslims.

7. Doesn't this case require a high-level investigation? But the problem is that probe agencies work under the Centre, and their disinterest in probing other cases in which right-wing or Sangh Parivar elements are involved, suggests what will happen even if an investigation is launched.

8. After the expose, courts needed to have been approached for action against these conspirators. But nothing happened. There was absolute silence. Newspapers, TV channels, mostly ignored the story. Was it too explosive?

Across the length and breadth of India, the right-wing extremists were propounding the Love Jihad theory.

9. When they found an inter-religious couple, they put pressure on girl, her family, used their influence in police and like-minded lawyers, to file cases.

10. The strategy was that the girl was blackmailed, pressurised, even drugged, to quit the relationship [marriage]. The youth was implicated in abduction case and other cases were also slapped on him to ruin his life.

11. Such organised plot at the national level? And yet, there is no seriousness about it? This was a nationwide project to de-stabilise the communal harmony of the country. It was also used to defame 200 million Muslims of India.

And, it is just one of the projects. Muslims don't slaughter cows but they are being blamed and demonised in systematic campaign. Such campaigns continue through out the year. This is hurting not just Muslims, but also Hindus and the entire country.

12. Azam Khan recently said that he would approach United Nations (UN) over atrocities on Muslims. He was mocked it. May be, Khan, was reckless. You may not agree with him. But what do you do, when organised groups that are now part of government, plot such crimes?

This is systematic persecution, a hate-campaign. This must be known across the country and the world. And, organisations involved in it, should be brought to books. Cobrapost-Gulail deserve a salute for exposing the nefarious plans of the Sangh Parivar's allied organisations.


*Cobrapost investigation, read, watch videos: Busting the bogey of Love Jihad

Wednesday, October 07, 2015

Sakshi Mahraj should start his cow protection campaign with India's biggest meat exporting companies

Sakshi Maharaj, the Saffron-robed leader of Bharatiya  Janata Party (BJP), has said that he is prepared to go to any extent to protect cows.

It is admirable that the BJP leader, who is also a member of parliament (MP), has such a strong conviction, and love for cow.

Even if, his statement, that he is ready to 'kill or get killed' is not proper as per constitution, [we oppose any act of violence or inciting violence], we must be able to go beyond this and admire his passion.

I am sure, he will follow it up with actions in near future.

I hope that he would remain sincere to the cause and the top meat exporters who supply beef, would now figure on his radar. Sakshi Maharaj must be aware that India is among the leading countries as far beef export is concerned.

And, he must be aware of the names of all the top beef exporting companies in India.

The leading firm is Al Kabeer, which is owned by Sabarwals--Atul and Satish. He muts also be aware of the other leading exporters, the companies owned by the Kapoors, the Madans, the Bindras, and many others.

If not action, at least, he would speak against them--this is the least we expect from him. One hopes that an 'ascetic' would not fear the moneyed and would at least speak truth and stay true to the cause, at least, when we are talking about an issue as important as cow protection.

1. Sakshi Maharaj says, 'ready to kill, get killed'. See link
2. India tops the world in exporting beef. See link
3. Al Kabeer, India's leading beef exporter, is owned by Hindus. See link & link
4. Four biggest companies that top the list of meat, beef exporters. See link