Saturday, March 31, 2012

No Escape from the Myths and Megalomania

Down has published a long, vapidly tedious critique by Arundhati Roy of capitalism, business houses, middle class and western democracies. An abridged version has been published by the Guardian as well. She flies off seamlessly on expected multiple tangents from the foci of her pulsating anger on India and Indians. As expected she has corrosive views on everything even remotely connected with money, mining, market, commerce and deeply hated forces of demonic globalization. She finds dark shades of intrigue and willful criminality in every one from the house of Tata’s, wealth of businessmen, middle class supported anti corruption agitation in India. Even the Jaipur literary festival is thoroughly ridiculed due to corporate sponsors, their intimidating logos, willy associates and for the controversy about the demonized writer Salman Rushdie, whose freedom to cause hurt is perpetually questioned.

Her vapid caldron of caustic opinions can only hold interests of her own tribe of misty eyed dreamers, champagne socialists, social outcasts and those who love to point fingers on others to aggravate conflicts, instead of any attempts at resolving the complex issues and telescoping competing interests.

Like her tribe, Ms. Roy quotes Marx extensively, as the crystal gazer cardinal and ultimate ideologue who could foresee that the capitalism would eventually collapse due to its own contradictions and inhuman greed of the robber capitalists.

Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, the separatist Kashmiri leader and Hurriyat chairman has been refuting the charges that the separatist struggle in Kashmir was sponsored by Pakistan, and that the recent Kashmir upsurges had shown to the world that Islamabad had little role to play in it.

But, on 30th March, 2012, ahead of sentencing of Ghulam Nabi Fai, who has pleaded guilty to charges of receiving money from ISI after his arrest last year, US Attorney Neil H MacBride said "Mirwaiz Umar Farooq was supported and controlled by the ISI and Indian civil rights activist, Gautam Navlakha was introduced to an ISI general for recruitment by Fai at the ISIs direction,"

Gautam Navlakha, a friend and collaborator of Ms. Roy, is known for his pro separatist views. It is yet to be seen how far he was really in cahoots with Pakistani spy agency and what were his briefs and payoffs from his alleged masters.

Ms. Roy has deep sympathies are with Maoists, who want to establish a "communist society" by overthrowing India's "semi-colonial, semi-feudal" form of rule through armed struggle. Few days ago Maoists blasted a land mine which killed 15 para military personnel. But such ghastly acts would never be mentioned in her emotive take on what ails the world and India, as her dexterous word smithy and wild imagination rules over reasons and reality to paint a blood splashed horrific collage of black and white images.

Shobha Mandi, alias Uma, alias Shikha, was raped repeatedly by fallow Maoist comrades.She had joined the Maoists at age of seventeen; and surrendered nine years later, to save herself and let the world know, how the women comrades have been treated in the vast jungles under brutal control of the red ultras. If someone like Uma, having a leadership role over dozens of Maoists was not spared, and repeatedly raped, the plight of other women can easily be imagined with clarity.

The summary of her experience painted a gruesome scenario of Maoist leaders raping just any women they fancy, along with inflicting injustices against same helpless poor for whom they claimed to be doggedly fighting for.

But her sad story will never be accepted or told by Ms. Roy. Rather, she would deny and denounce such real stories as mere capitalist, neoliberal, corporate and state staged conspiracies to defame the armed struggles. She has history of justifying and legitimizing violence by non state actors in the name of self defense, resisting an oppressive demonic state forces and their violence.

Francis Indwar, the lone wage earner of his family and a police officer of Jharkhand was unarmed. when he was abducted by Maoists and later beheaded. But his beheading along scores of policemen, innocent travelers and villagers dying in various Maoist attacks, bomb blasts, train derailments will never be told and criticized by Ms. Roy.

What these Market hating Maoists trade for their guns? Ms. Roy has always ignored many important questions, as to how they assure unending supply of arms and weapons, bombs and explosive? They are supposed to be poor people dying of hunger, starvation and entrenched in extreme poverty and multiple suppression! From where do they get the resources for their professionally executed brutal armed rebellion and where is the money coming from?

The poor tribal do not turned Kalashnikov toting killers on their own. Their anger and plight is being shamelessly exploited by few viciously infantile ideologues, misty eyed traders of a failed ideology and its romanticized blood letting. On hand education, infrastructure and job are needed to provide employment opportunities, on the other hand the destructive Maoists have been blowing up schools, medical centers, communication towers and violently oppose road building, mining and refining of minerals.

Indian police and paramilitary forces can hardly be called “the army of Rich”, as Ms. Roy would like her readers and audience to believe. They are poorly trained, ill equipped, afflicted with poor command and control structure, are demotivated and the recruited come from poor and disadvantaged backgrounds.

Dr. Binayak Sen, the Maoist supporter has been freed on bail, and now, is a member of Planning Commission of India. The vice-president of People's Union of Civil Liberties, was sentenced to life imprisonment along with Naxal ideologue Narayan Sanyal and Kolkata businessman Piyush Guha for colluding with the Maoists to establish a network to fight the state.

Only few days ago, Kobad Ghandy, the well known Maoists leader has been absolved of charges by a court in New Delhi. He comes from a very rich Mumbai Parsi family and got entangled with far left wing activism during his stay in London. Kodad took up the responsibility of spreading the violent Maoists ideology to the urban centers in India and turn cities into bloody conflict zone. Thankfully he failed in his mission. But his, and full story of Dr. Sen will not find place in what Ms. Roy loves to write about the draconian Nazi like Indian state and its criminal minions.

Ms. Roy had joined the protests against Sardar Sarovar Dam project, taking water to irrigate about 18000 square Km area in drought prone Gujarat. Eventually the government had proposed a compromise to reduce the height of the Dam, but a defiant Ms. Roy wanted the damned Dam to be made a museum of failed technologies, without realizing that about 22% of homes, offices and factories in India ran on power generated by hydroelectric power plants. She even amazingly, further equated Dams with nuclear bombs.

She was given a three month jail sentence for obstructing the construction of Sardar Sarovar Dam. Ms. Roy went to jail in grand style but only after 24 hours, opted to pay a 75-rupee ($1.50) fine rather than showing solidarity with the humble prisoners. Perhaps, she found an Indian prison much less spiritual than what was imagined and moreover, it was enough to be photographed behind bars, looking fierce and defiant. After freezing few dramatic photographs for posterity , it was pointless to stay in such an unsanitary and criminal infested place. But later, she spent a lot more time with gun totting Maoists in jungle, which must have an uplifting and blissful experience for her, listening to couple of dramatic jungle tales bristling with nourishing nuances of the romanticized violent struggle.

Did Arundhati Roy and her ilk of jet hopping rich and powerful intellectuals ever think about from where the various metals used in pen, computers, laptops, ipods, cameras, cars, fridges and airplanes come from and how?

The Capitalism may be in crisis as any living being can be but the ideals and tools of totalitarian communism have been thrown away by most of those who have had gone through the nightmares of living within high walls of country wide prisons, across the world.

The exploding Commerce of High Pitched Hoopla around Ideals and Goals of Anti Globalization Business is very lucrative for likes of Arundhati Roy. Many Americans and westerners have turned very fond of rabid criticism, as it is an exotic self loathing entertainment and maybe even useful in some extreme cases.

But the point is only one, Arundhuti Roy is all about rhetoric with no relation with reason, logic and solutions. Nowhere in the world, the eternally wise-angry leftists and likes of Ms. Roy have come up with any pragmatic solutions based on systematic analysis of serious problems.

They have expertise to weave a deceptive maze- multilayer, colorful stew of myths, myopia and megalomania, which means nothings and suggests nothings of value apart from twisted entertainment of few armchair intellectuals, misty eyed self serving fat cats, stylishly disheveled leftist bimbo's and unwashed hunks, jetting around the world.

But the question is, if the eternally demonized Reliance Industries Limited and other big businesses have not come up in India, how their absence would have helped the millions of Indian poor, tribal, helpless and homeless?

If Anil Ambani had not built an imposing house or whatever, with intimidating helipads and other undesirable elements etc, which is supposed to employ about 600 people, how the poor and homeless of India would have benefited?

But there are many in India and across the world, who have an age old problem with businessmen having any power and influence in society and policy making. They further assume that only Mr. Anil Ambani, Tata and few corporate houses have total control over politics, policies, decisions and assets of India.

If that was the case, than the legitimate demand to go for Foreign Direct Investment in Retail and Aviation Sector would have happened years ago! But that is still not happening, as the political class, their advisers, associates, bureaucrats and hanger ons have other ideals, compulsions and motives.

If one asks, who is the looser? Ms. Roy would respond with nuggets of terse polemic and catch next flight to speak in New York or Timbuktu.

It is an amazingly wrong premise that a country should not have private enterprise and businesses, as they can only be exploitative and predatory in nature, as openly being suggested by Ms. Roy. Mr Ambani may be one of the most powerful and important businessmen, but there many other like him who employ hundreds of thousands of Indians and foreigners as well. Their industrial empire and associated wealth doesn't come from mere inheritance but also by personal efforts, taking high risk bearing initiatives as well. In fact many of the present captains of business and industry are first generation entrepreneurs. It is due to effects of economic liberalization and efforts of people like Mr. Ambai that India has one of the cheapest mobile phone rates, which benefit the poor, tribal and others.

It is not being suggested that they are angels and have done nothing wrong ever. They only represent the prevailing most dominant ethos, ideal and practices of the society they spring from. Politicians, bureaucrats, businessmen, professionals, academics and others can be good, bad and ugly.

Ms. Roy and her aristocratic family must have had numbers of telephones since ages. But the middle class and poor could afford to have phones, only after advent of economic liberalization leading to privatization of telecommunication services in India. The socialist India, she so dearly would love to bring back overnight, boasted an eight year long waiting time to get a telephone, which was considered a luxury, people of a developing country could not afford to indulge in.

But, she in her intellectual hubris would retort, “why bother about telephones and communication when hungry people are dying, while police, army kills and corporate robbers are busy picking up blood diamonds all over?”

There are many who follow Marx's dictum that working for another person is the most stupid and shameless things to do. Though he had never worked for a day, never set a foot in any factory, Marx concluded that a working man was selling his soul to his boss. So we still have likes of Arundhati Roy, who are busy telling us, the same things, that the businesses and private enterprises must be closed down and destroyed so that the people do not work for others.

If the capitalists have done business with fascists, socialists, despots and military dictators, so have the communists and Marxists done the same, as well. Rhetoric spewing Marxist dictator of Venezuela, Hugo Chavez starts his day by vowing to destroy capitalism and west but keeps exporting oil to his arch enemies

Interestingly, in India the negligible growth rate during socialist era was termed as “Hindu Rate of Growth” by an army of economists, who earnestly believed that the blissfully contended nature of Hindus was the real reason of their lack of economic initiative and enterprise.

But the real fact was, that the dormant entrepreneurial energies of Indians were chained down and suppressed by insular economic policies which demonized private enterprises and saw personal wealth creation as merely criminal pursuit of the greedy few.

Her obsessive love affair with era of stagnant socialism and sense of deep anger with India opening up to the world market tells own story of unjustified fixations with small economy of class conflicts, low incomes, much larger unemployment and multitude of shortages.

If that was not enough, a convenient conjecture was further added to the twisted tales by assuming an unholy collaborative venture between rise of Hindu Right wing forces and first phase of economic liberation initiated by Rajiv Gandhi. It is conveniently forgotten that there were separate events and actions also initiated by Rajiv Gandhi which gave impetus and motive to Right Wing Politics, an eventuality which was bound to happen sooner or later to balance the far left leaning policies pursued since the independence in 1947.

Perhaps, unknown to her, during last December, granddaughter of Bal Thackeray, the boss of right wing Hindu Shiv Sena( The Army of Lord Shiva), quietly got married to a Muslim boy. But Mumbai and India did not go up in flames, as no one took notice or offense. Such marriages have been happening in India. The darling of all Indians, the King of Bollywood, Shahrukh Khan is married to a Hindu girl, so is Amir khan and so many others across India. Promising and articulate, young politician and minister, Sachin pilot is married to daughter of Farukh Abdullah. But disregarding inherent multi-hued meanings of such mixed marriages, Ms. Roy will continue to paint India and Hindus as unruly gang of bloodthirsty fanatics, busy harassing and suppressing Muslims and Christians by gleefully quoting, decade old riots, violence and death tolls. Irrespective of what is being assumed by Ms. Roy, one of the most respected and richest Indian Businessman, Azim Premji is a Muslim too, who has donated billions of dollars to establish school for underprivileged kids in India. On the other end, the biggest income tax defaulter and money launderer, Hasan Ali has been able to stash billions of dollars abroad. Ali is is rumored to enjoy high level political patronage and protection. But such stories will never be part of cast iron, antagonist narrative woven around suitable conflict ridden conjectures of Ms. Roy.

Another moot point is, that her pulsating hate for market, commerce and multinational corporations did not stop Ms. Roy from going ahead to get her book published by an international publishing house, which is as per her own views; must be a part and parcel of ever expanding predatory body of greedy-heartless corporate robbers.

She has long back, termed India “a fake democracy” but suddenly now beginning to see great danger to the so called fake democracy by likes of Anna Hazare!

If Arwind Kejariwal of India Against Corruption, gets donations from the Ford Foundation, the whole anti corruption agitation become a suspect for Ms. Roy.

It is an another naive attempt to construct a "revolutionary" narrative of post-colonial rage variety with tedious and familiar litany of capitalist wrongdoing, but no actual suggestions for an alternative.

Good writing skills, mixed with wild imagination can not hide the blatant hypocrisy of Leftist writers like Ms. Roy, who are ever ready to hammer the last rusted nail in the decaying coffin of capitalism without the much awaited corpse.

The most articulate critics of Globalization are the so called ‘progressive’ novelists of India. Pankaj Mishra and Arundhati Roy are regularly and almost exclusively invited to write about the anything under the sun, be it politics, society and economy.

One can ask how many western fiction writers are bestowed such honors to write about political- economic issues and taken seriously?

Her twisted take is only an example of the inherent dichotomy and blatant hypocrisy of Indian fiction writers who masquerade as political/economic commentators.

What they write is really fiction masquerading as non-fiction aimed to please their exotica seeking publishers and media houses, who crave well written, pop social-economic-political witchcraft.

If, there are few rich Indians and many poor, there are also rich star writers and their poor cousins, who eke out a living working for small and medium newspapers and publishing houses in lanes and by-lanes of Indian cities.

Can Arundhati Roy tell us how many Indian writers are asked to write for well-paying western publications and called for media appearances, lecture tours? May be maximum number of about 100 with few likes of her at the top. Further, their writings are not published and paid for by any socialist/communist/Marxist country, if at all such entities do exist in reality today!

If there were no multinational publishing houses looking for new talents and newer markets, there would have been, no Booker prize, no “God of Small Things” and no Arundhati Roy as well. The celebrity status has been bestowed on her by the same demonic capitalist forces and entities, she, so deeply despises and wants to end their criminal hegemony. Ms. Roy uses that status to air her caustic views and the same entities fight with each others to give her continued attention and space.

What could she had done and achieved in absence of multinational publishing houses, capitalist funded lecture tours and media appearances?

She must also tell us how far she has been exploited by these heartless corporate robbers? Perhaps it has been a cozy, interdependent and collaborative venture for common greed and goal-the joint exploitations of misty eyed armchair intellectuals, champagne socialists and naive of the world!

That is the enabling power and needs of these capitalist entities, who love to give space to plethora of dissenting voices, no matter how radical and dysfunctional these may be.

Had there been no economic liberalization in India, there would have been no self centered and greedy middle class with disposable income, who bought and devoured her lucid prose, detailing forbidden pleasures of underwater farting.

There many writers in India who are poor or barely paid as well, most of them are not working for any big newspapers and corporate houses but are holed up with small and medium ones, due to various compulsions and reasons.

What happened to other hundreds of thousands of writers of India? Do they get opportunities, top dollar fee, speaking invitation to west, she and other likes of her get every week and why?

Ms. Roy has problems with 100 billionaires of India occupying the top positions of power and influence. But what about the high octane power of highly paid star opinion makers like her, who jet around the world, airing their take for top dollar fee along with seven star hospitality, executive class travel and expense accounts?

Likes of her must know that the big, bad world is not flat and it’s a pyramid and Some people have to be at top in all spheres of public life, professions and occupations, including Ms. Roy as well.

It is indeed further amazing that Arundhati Roy declares that human rights and supremacy of law is American conspiracy designed to protect Israel? But no one can be surprised at such most blatant subterfuge, which is the launch pad of these extreme leftist writers who find sinister designs, even in the most noble ideals and goals.

Likes of her have never written anything against the conflict pedaling Islamist and Communist ethos and ideals, as for likes of her, these are the ultimate harbingers of heavens of equality and balance in the wretched world.

She has never accepted, questioned or criticized role of Pakistan in fomenting terrorism and Islamic fundamentalism in Kashmir and elsewhere in India. Ms. Roy only harps on presence and suppression by security forces in Kashmir without accepting role of Pakistani Rulers in fomenting various troubles and eviction of about 3,50,000 Pandits from the valley.

She is the same lady who announced that India deserved 26/11 Mumbai attack and even while it was happening, she said it was done by Indian Muslims and not by Pakistani origin Jihadi terrorists.

A gifted writer who wants to destroy ideals of freedom, democracy and liberty by assigning most amazing motives and assumptions.

There are multitude of serious problems in India, corruption and the related mismanagement. But still it is a democratic country along with strong emphasis on ethos of secularism. But important point is these, rich dollar earning Leftist thinkers and writers have no clue about how to solve or reduce these problems.

Her twisted take about Indian Army and its influence on government is mere fiction and not backed by facts. Indian army is very reluctant to take up issues of discontent due to decades of maladministration by civilian governments.

The stark facts remains that, likes of Ms. Roy are the products of the same hated market, the entity which has created and still feeds them.

They must devote their time and energies writing fictions and literary criticism, rather paddling half truths and misty eyed conjectures as social-political-economic witchcraft.

The well known ethos, ideals and writings of Ms. Roy can be compared and equitably mapped with what the wise Pakistani Rulers have done with their school curriculum. They only teach tons of half truth to the kids and describe how during the horrific days of partition, millions of Muslims were butchered by Hindus goons. It is however never told that most of the Muslims were butchered by Sikhs in Punjab. There are compelling reasons and designs, as the Pakistani Rulers have been busy funding and motivating violent Khalistani agitation in India. Further the kids are never told that millions of Hindus were also massacred by Muslims goons and fanatics.

It will perhaps be very nice experience for her to go and live in still Communist China, North Korea, Venezuela and even opening to global market, Cuba or Islamic heavens of Saudi Arabia or Pakistan.

The near complete absence of western values of human rights, liberty and messy democracies like India will not tie her down and blossom her creative juices to write, much awaited another novel, perhaps titled, " The Gods of Big Things". or “The Gods of Utopian Dreams”.

Let us be sure, being a market savvy lady, she would be wise enough to get out, before the teeming Mad Mullahs or crafty communists throw her in prison or mental asylum.

It is only the mindset of the hypocrite writer who called the brutal Maoists as Gandhians with Guns, and justified 26/11 Mumbai massacre of innocent people by saying that India deserved such an attacks for the fault lines within.

Her fake pulsating hate for the word “corporate” manifests the inbuilt strategy to reject modern business models, even while enjoying the accrued benefits,she makes sure will continues to pour in. Or perhaps more likely, the eternal wish to swim along with rabid anti market, self-loathing angst of leftist intellectuals like Noam Chomsky, her ideal.

It would be interesting to see if she has guts to withstand the scrutiny of her rabid ideals and beliefs by likes of Shashi Tharoor and Gurucharan Das in a televised discussion.

So far she has been treated with kid gloves by the interviewers who never put counter questions.

The Diva of Factoids loves to demonize and lambast everyone except Islamist fundamentalists and infantile Marxists who love to call themselves, Maoists.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Undressing of Emperors

It is a new age typical Indian revolution with out a shot being fired, with out streetlights, fiery war cries and wide spread bloodshed, The misty eyed devotees of age old class wars and conflicts can only make plethora of eloquent snide remarks and blissfully go back to their perpetual day dreaming of illusive bloody revolution.

Why cant people be celebrators of this much delayed focus of corruption? The Jan LokPal Bill or any other bill will not completely eradicate the corruption but would certainly diminish it to some extent.
But why even that possible dream is deemed to be so pathologically unacceptable, unpractical and unrealistic?
Further is indeed amazing that it is being presumed that this agitation does not have grass root support. How such a support is ought be judged and accepted? Perhaps only when the old age cast iron dysfunctional narrative is repeated in lackadaisical manner with out the kind of passion seen across the whole spectrum of people, cutting through demography of caste, creed, region, religion and economic strata.

The pained cynics and angry critics might say any thing, but the current celebratory turmoil will eventually lead to better democracy and lesser corruption.

Look at the political compulsion and naked realities of shameless bartering of support .in age of commercialized coalition politics.

There have been no easy solutions and all the imperfections you have so dramatically and eloquently detailed will not go at once, only because a new anti corruption law has been passed. The real world will still be teeming with hordes of rapists, thieves, looters, criminals, swindlers and other dishonest human beings.

As if the people at bottom of pyramid, eking a livelihood at twenty rupees a day will not be benefited in some way if the fat monster of corruption will become less monstrous?

It must be pertinent to remind that this monster of corruption was seeded and took birth under the nurturing patronage of lofty Socialist Ideals and related practices of license permit raj of yesteryear's..
The willy rulers have finely honed faculties to smell the impending doom, or else they would have never given the space, as they did. Not that they did no try to obfuscate and derail the new script of agitation and its actors, by whatever they had at their power fueled demonic command of legislative privileges.

The angst ridden ridiculing of the hated middle class and their powerful internet enabled tools of communication and utter hatred for televised events tells only the part of fractured and twisted narrative. That noble job is done by harping on and pandering to the total rejection of unfolding events along with the ideals of ancient tribal mistrust and distrust of the wider freedom.

Understandably Andre Beteille still neck deep in pits of caste conflicts, treats India as an utterly fragile nation, which can not bear the agitation against corruption.
Perhaps he has not experienced corruption and hence , does not care to even acknowledge that it originates from the monumental governmental apathy and faulty governance.

Being member of holy National Advisory Council along with his own ideological obsessions, he can only lampoon and deride the anti corruption agitation.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Diva of Factoids Arundhati Roy: Kashmir and Beyond

It is true, that a democratic country must not silence it writer, but the writers and artists also have a huge responsibility to tell the truth with balance and not dramatize selectively for personal benefits alone. The news that sedation cases may be slapped and the possibility of Arundhati Roy arrest spread, the world got ready to see, If a democratic India is about to do a communist China on her.

But she and her supporters were left deeply disappointed by the benign decision of a neo Nazi Indian state. She remained free to continue her repertory of the Marxist theater of an absurd, out dated script teeming with half-truths and twisted beliefs.

Can Roy explain how a neo Nazi, suppressive police state and a fake democracy can install women in four top positions; the President of India, the Speaker of the Indian Parliament, the UPA chair person, and the Leader of Opposition, along with the Prime Minister from the minority Sikh community?

Further how can an allegedly obscurantist Hindu state catapult two Muslims, a Dalit and a Sikh to occupy the chair of the President of India?

Will the gays and lesbians be given freedom by law to be what they are, in primarily an allegedly regressive society? The long awaited reform was easily done against feeble opposition from not only from Hindu hardliner fringe but Muslims and Christians as well.

It is ironic; when half the globe away in Cuba, the ailing revolutionary war horse Fidel Castro has belatedly accepted that the communism has failed to help poor, still the unconcerned Indian foot soldiers of the blood soaked ideology and misty eyed supporters like Roy, continues to mislead the poor and tribal on path of violence and destruction.

Arundhati is also known so far as a “one- book wonder” that has drifted to controversial issues. Her education and training as an architect, forays in films and later as an aerobic trainer, hardly prepared her to understand and articulate complex telescoping issues of national and international politics, economics, social development and related myriad matters. Her oversimplified vision of black and white world of wrong and right is a pointer to a total lack of disregards and understanding of complex developmental processes and conflict resolutions in such dicey endeavors.

She has been described as a Champagne Socialist, who loves flirting with controversial issues to enhance her market value to primarily the western media.

Those who decry about stifling voice of a writer must know that it’s not her book, which is under attack or has been banned. She is freely moving in India and abroad; sharing what ever are her views on India. She has acquired a role of a political activist with rabid leftist leanings, which is her right too. But her statements would naturally go under robust microscopic scrutiny. The old religiously fanatic friends of the cause have been in fore front to protest against an obscure cartoon or a book and force ban by indulging in violence and destruction.

Should a political activist who has written a best seller be given more freedom than those who have not?

Her accusations of suppression of writers in India are part of another blatant attempt to enforce falsehood and half truth, as far as Roy herself is concerned. Her supporters can gleefully quote MF Hussein episode and the recent Rohington Mistry case, which are part of Indian story too. Both events are representing actions of regressive fringe elements in the melting pot of India. But Hussein and Mistry never don the mantle of political activism and neither had they tried to piggyback on their fame to make disjointed statements and complicate delicate social and political issues.

A best seller is a cleverly marketed product, an out come of convergence of various talents, tools and opportunities. Roy writes devastating prose while telling a story, which got her a booker prize. The booker prize does not bestow on her self any more knowledge and enlightenment than she has. But that prize does set her apart from other political activists in India, who are unknown to the world at large. Having a keen eye for the hated market, she had been very quick to identify a vacant lucrative slot and got her self entrenched to manifest the balance sought to counter the emerging positive Indian story.

The important point is that Roy herself is a product of the market, the very corporate, she hates, derides and lampoons on 24x7 basis. The accentuated attention and space given to her by corporate controlled media, negates the rabid criticism of the entity, which has created and still feeds her.

Interestingly the negligible growth rate during socialist era was termed as Hindu rate of growth by economists, who believed the blissfully contended nature of Hindus was the real reason of their lack of economic initiative.

Her dreamy obsessive love with era of stagnant socialism and anger with India opening up to the world market tells own story of strongly unjustified fixations with small economy of class conflicts, low incomes and multitude of shortages.

But that did not stop her from going ahead to get her book published by international publishing house, a part of expanding predatory body of corporate. Her fake pulsating hate for the word “corporate” manifests the inbuilt strategy to reject modern business models, even while enjoying the accrued benefits. Or perhaps more likely wish to swim along with rabid anti market, self loathing angst of western intellectuals like Noam Chomsky, her ideal.

It would be interesting to see if she has guts to withstand a scrutiny of her ideals and beliefs by likes of Shashi Tharoor and Gurucharan Das in a televised discussion. So far she has been treated with kid gloves by the interviewers who never put counter questions, and let her babble. The interview by Karan Thapar was too soft for unexplained reasons, but her vulnerabilities were apparent.

What Arundhati Roy said about Kashmir, with out bating an eye lid would be difficult for any one knowing the back ground even in cursory detail.

But she has never cared for details to show responsibility and opined that “Kashmir was never a part of India.”

She spoke about justice for the people of Kashmir who live under one of the most brutal military occupations in the world; for Kashmiri Pandits who live out the tragedy of having been driven out of their homeland; for Dalit soldiers killed in Kashmir whose graves she visited on garbage heaps in their villages in Cuddalore; for the Indian poor who pay the price of this occupation in material ways and who are now learning to live in the terror of what is becoming a police state.

True to her style, Roy failed to accept that the ethic cleansing of Pundits from Kashmir has been done as per designs of fanatic shade of Islam exported, aided by Pakistan Army/ISI along with other terror outfits. Roy points accusing finger at Indians largely developmental as well as strategic role in Afghanistan but never believes Pakistani role in creating trouble and mayhem in India.

She defines and delineates Pakistan as a poor country being ravaged by capitalist west where as India is neo Nazi Hindu police state, suppressing poor and minorities at behest of market forces, along with perpetuating conflicts all around. It does not matter to her that Pakistan is a theocratic Islamic state busy prosecuting and killing minorities and liberal sects with in Muslims and bombing their mosques on weekly basis.

She further tries to establish extraordinary exploitative collaborations between Hindu hardliners and market forces by coincident of liberalization and rise of militant Hindutva in late eighties.

Simply put in comparison to these two hated regressive entities; the Jihadists and the Maoist are the real forces of future, the acceptable, true harbinger of just and equal society.

Now, let us try to go over the defining past events to judge the validity and fairness of her recent uttering along with her world view and vision or lack of it.

In August 1947, like other princely states, Kashmir also had the choice to accede to its preferred dominion - India or Pakistan, taking into account factors such as geographical contiguity and the wishes of their people. The Maharaja delayed his decision, attempting to remain independent.

In their very first major foreign policy decision, the rulers of Pakistan decided to attack and take Kashmir by force. The Pakistani soldiers in the guise of tribal Pathans and mercenaries entered Kashmir on 20th October 1947.

When invaders reached outskirts of Srinagar, the Maharaja had to ask India for help and finally joined India on 26th October 1947.

The agreement which ceded Jammu and Kashmir to India was signed by the Maharaja and Lord Mountbatten of Burma. The Jammu & Kashmir National Conference volunteers worked shoulder-to-shoulder with the Indian Army to drive out the invaders.

Pundit Nehru’s deep faith in effectiveness of UN, forced him to seek help of the international body in no way diluted the facts of Kashmir being part of India. Pakistan never retreated from the forcibly occupied area, the basic precondition of the plebiscite, which could never be held. While article 370 forbids any one to buy property in Kashmir, Pakistan changed the demography of the part under its occupation, rendering possibility of a plebiscite remote.

After 1989 departure of the Russians from Afghanistan, the Pakistan army/ISI decided to push the battle hardened Jihadists in to Kashmir. That led to sharp revival of separatist forces and religious fanaticism.

Till 2001 terrorist groups in Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) have killed more than 30,000 civilians and 6000 defense personnel. The political parties have not been spared either. The National Conference has lost 205 members, Congress 49, Janta Dal 10, BJP 9, CPI (M) 5 and the Awami League 5. More than 350,000 pundits have been rendered homeless, forcing them to live as refugees in their own country. The terrorists have attacked 45 security forces’ establishments in the last year. Between 1990 and 2000, the security forces have recovered 20,365 AK rifles, 8,825 pistols, 959 UMGs, 308 sniper rifles, 615 rocket launchers, 1,687 rocket boosters, 75 LMGs, 757 assorted weapons and 25,000 kg of RDX.

The rulers of Pakistan have never shied away from their gleeful acceptance of providing support to so called Kashmir freedom fighter.

Obviously why the Diva of factoids would care about these facts, before saying what brings her more notoriety based on sensationalism?

In a TV interview, she strongly decried India opening two rusted locks in late eighties, the Indian market and Ayodhya dispute. Her opinions are full of large gaping holes and with out any valid cause and effect analysis. To her the terrorists of religious and ideological variety have valid reasons to attack and kill and there must be no any reaction to these much justified acts of retributions against the old exploitative forces. Her extremely leftist stand along with hobnobbing with religious fanatics points to the inherent lack of Impartiality and quest for solutions, which is too evident to be missed.

According to many observers her provocative statements could only give handle to the hardliners, who are never part of any solutions in trouble ridden developing societies, grappling with many serious issues.

Fanatics of every variety have no other options but to strike at the prevailing imperfections, dramatize the effects by sensationalism, to build their cases of radical solutions. In case of India, the overriding strengths are never mentioned but they are severely lampooned by quoting suitable instances to accentuate the dramatized weaknesses only. Fanatics and their misty eyed supporter love to extend the real and imaginary conflicts between the have and have not.

The forests having mineral riches in parts of India have come to fall under control of Maoists, still having strong beliefs in Marxists ideology. The tales of grave suppression and intimidation by the ultras do not bother the misty eyed Champagne drinking, hard partying, Maoist supporters based in metros, dishing out apologies and justifications.

The Maoists have targeted school teachers and doctors by killings and intimidation for much needed isolation. Nearly half of teachers and doctors have preferred to be away from serving in inhospitable terrain, leaving thousands of school going children and those who need medical attentions to go with out the much needed services.

With in the mineral rich jungles forming the red corridor, the Maoists indulge in most brutal oppression and sexual exploitations of females with in their ranks and elsewhere. The violent raids on villages to punish government informer by acts of grave intimidation, rapes, summary trial and executions by kangaroo courts have never been criticized by the Maoists supporters.

Taliban employ same tactics of violence and intimidation by blowing up schools and repression of women in their area of influence too.

While speaking at the Karachi press club, Roy decided to dwell on the mere facial beauty of a Kalashnikov toting young Taliban soldier. She deliberately avoided to comment on the inherent human right violation, brutalization in recruitment and activation of child soldiers by the zealots of the faith. The overriding compulsions and motivations were clear; how rabid leftist supporters can criticize the Islamic fanatics!

Her hate is reserved for only Hindu hardliners, Jews and the west along with capitalism. Like a true Marxists-jihadist supporter, she knows her permanent enemies well enough and does not waver from her focus as each and every imperfection is dramatized to be used as ammunition.

While Roy uses Maoists, Kashmir separatists to periodically make noises, few Sikhs espousing cause of Khalistani separatism are toying with idea of facilitating and use her celebrity status fueled reach to drum up support for their ill conceived cause of a religion based tiny nation. It is sad that for so long a hard working and risk taking community has got itself under spell of insular clerics and others who have no other ideas but to use religion and bad past events to enhance own power and hold on the community.

Militant Sikhs have created hundreds of sites on social networking platforms spewing hate against amorphous Hindu community and are especially targeted against Gandhi - Nehru family. Their pathological hatred for Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi still persists with dangerous portents. The signs look ominous as cash rich foreign based militant Sikhs and their Indian foot soldiers may be giving final touches to some gruesome acts to further their cause and reestablish prominence.

There is great convergence on the views expressed by militant Sikhs and Roy, like her they too believe that India is a neo Nazi Hindu suppressive police state, responsible for every conflict with China, Pakistan, Nepal, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka.

But it will be some time before the market savvy Roy decides to mouth Sikh angst, as she appears on stage after well separated intervals. Meanwhile she may go through the militant Sikh propaganda material to prepare for the event.

In past, her distasteful expression of terming Maoists as “Gandhians with Guns” was insanely outrageous.

It is the peculiar and reprehensible mindset of some one, who could be so intellectually arrogant, aloof and unaffected enough to justify Mumbai killing of 166 innocent civilians in a gruesome attacks by terrorists from Pakistan, with well known supporting structure and covert state role.

The world is not perfect and neither is India, which has a long way to go before many scourges, conflicts, gender discrimination, biases, opportunities, regional and income imbalances are even out to a better state of harmony.

But the radical solutions supported by likes of Roy have never worked towards better societies any where in the world.

It is 2010 the year when the wizened Fidel Castro has also accepted the futility of communist ideals and violent means.

Cuba is busy dismantling state control and moving towards a market economy by encouraging private enterprises, foreign investments and integration with the connected world.

Earlier, the growing religious fanatics and dwindling ideological hotheads believing in violent means, see the writing on the wall, better it would be.

Sharmaji, Richard Burton and Gandhi

The bell rang.

I tried to get up, but Mr. Agarwal signaled me to keep sitting and slowly hobbled to open the door.

Sharmaji was visible with a large bouquet, leading to an awkward silence.

“Oh Sharmaji,…what a surprise….please come in…” I could sense a suspicious welcome

“Get well soon, Agarwal saab…and don’t be surprised…its my duty…” Sharmaji bowed and extended the bouquet. I was taken aback; not expecting him to be there so fast, literally following me.

“Oh, thank you..Please have a seat…” Mr. Agarwal hesitatingly took the bouquet and painfully wobbled to the settee. Sharmaji too made the scene surreal by his limping. Holding his beloved lathi, he looked around closely and thoughtfully sat down. For some mysterious reason my presence was completely ignored. The shinning, oiled lathi, extending over his head was held lovingly by both hands, as he keenly inspected Mr. Agarwal and his bandages.

“What happened to your nose?” I was aghast at the crude tone of an insulting inquiry.

“Oh, that bastard rubbed my face against wall...” The host painfully mumbled his shame.

“But good at least your nose is saved...aap ki naak kati to naheen na...” Sharmaji roared with his typical staccato burst of coarse laugh, like a country made gun painfully firing. I saw face of Mr. Agarwal flinching on unexpected crudity, but he kept his cool. He too perhaps dreaded the consequences of the guest sermonizing against his private life.

To me, Sharmaji looked liked a doughty Punjab village headman visiting his troubled subject. The differences were ample too; the dress, headgear and the paraphernalia of a British upper middle class home. His trademark ruffled mane and stubble gave him a menacing aura of an East European Mafioso.

“You must report to the police…don’t be afraid…” He got down to business fast.

“I can’t even move few steps…but thanks to my neighbor Juliana, who drove me to the medical centre..” Mr. Agarwal protested, fearing an immediate visit to the police station.

“Don’t worry, that stupid ape is coming here to record your statement…” Sharmaji started rolling the lathi between bony palms.

“What…who is coming here..?” A confused Mr. Agarwal gave an angular look painfully.

“That racist policeman…I call him an ape.. a langoor…Any problem?” Sharmaji explained and inquired in his deadpan voice.

“Well, what can I say…You know things better…around here…” A wide eyed Mr. Agarwal threw a deep inquiring look at me. But I carefully maintained my stony presence; keeping the suitable noncommittal, fence sitting neutrality of a thick skinned Indian politician during a crucial no confidence vote.

“Good, I called and gave that ape my piece of mind…must be here any moments…don’t be afraid at all, I am with you and so are all other Indians too…” Sharmaji looked at his watch, still ignoring me. I decided to become a piece of furniture to watch the old foes getting close. Sound of a car made Sharmaji get up and limp to the door, signaling Mr. Agarwal to lie down.

“You pretend to in great pain..”

“I don’t have to pretend any thing…the pain is unbearable…” The host protested angrily.

“Good, then try to feel double pain.. And don't worry...and take it easy…it’s his damn duty…the langoor is not doing us any favor…Okay?” The inappropriate use of ‘good’ was stupid and his dubious ignorance of my presence was agitating my mind along with crudities. Mr. Agarwal again looked at me curiously and did as ordered so decisively by his old foe. His mounting discomfiture was visible on being ordered around so coarsely.

“Hello inspector Bartan..” I felt myself craning my neck to fulfill desire to look at the apelike policeman.”

“Hi, it’s Burton...”

“Sounds great but makes no difference to me…” A mocking Sharmaji ridiculed the English objection.

My disappointment was evident; he was the same policeman whose dramatic arrival saved me from thugs. He shook hand with Mr. Agarwal, looked deeply at me and smiled. I got up, shook hand and introduced my self. Richard Burton sat down, swiftly opened his notebook with English efficiency and started questioning. Mr. Agarwal haltingly narrated the incident. I could see that he was following the instructions of Sharmaji who sat close to his apelike foe and let the story unfold.

Feeling unwanted and bored, I decided to make some contribution by preparing tea and moved to the kitchen.

“Oye Gal shun yaar…that’s not right…how and where you met this langoor Bhanda Bartan?”

The familiar accusing baritones made me spin, seething with deep anger. The horrible braggart had been callously ignoring my presence, even forgetting my defining role in softening Mr. Agarwal’s dislike for him! Enough was enough, my revulsion mounted and exploded.

“You are impossibly crude and mad…and where I met this ape? Well, for your info, he just saved me from getting mugged up on the way here…Okay?” My retort was befittingly rebellious and vengeful.

“That’s good…was that a black gang?” Unfazed by my tone and anger, his eyes sparkled.

“What the hell you mean by that’s good…?” I nearly chewed the words to keep the angered voice down. It was close shave to be mugged badly and that is good for this horribly unconcerned idiot!

“That must be a black thug…right?” With out waiting for an answer, he thoughtfully decided the culprit.

“That was a black thug, who tried to rob..Okay? He repeated his assumption.

“What do you mean…and okay to what?” My anger was boiling over, just like the hot tea foaming violently in the pot before me.

“Don’t apply your fhaltu mind…let me handle it…you just act shocked and nod to what I tell him…Okay?” The Mafiosi whispered the order, turned and limped back to the living room. I felt myself under strange stupid feeling of colluding in his unknown sinister plan. I could guess he was up to some thing. When I went back, holding a tray, the questioning of Mr. Agarwal was over.

“Thank you very much…” Richard Burton picked up a cup and smiled. I immediately felt indebted to him and wondered what Sharmaji was up to.

“You folks not doing enough to control crime in this area…mostly by black thugs and junkies..?” Sharmaji picked up a cup. He never cared for any niceties; so expectedly, didn’t thank me, nor smiled and neither even bothered to look up. The receding anger boiled back with vengeance and I was about to pour hot tea on my tormentor.

“These thugs are all kind..Happen to be black… whites and Asians too…” Burton was evasive.

“I know your problem…you don’t like admitting few dirty facts…” Sharmaji leaned on the lathi to convey his anger.

Burton turned thoughtful and sipped tea, almost ignoring the open challenge thrown to him. Now from close I was happy to at last see some resemblance to apelike features. His jaw outline protruded a bit, and that must be the defining reason for Sharmaji to term him an ape.

“Well, it a difficult area…Sir, were boys troubling you?” Burton suddenly turned and addressed me. I felt too happy to be involved in the conversation at last.

“It was a black gang …you folks are doing nothing…” Sharmaji was quick to push me out.

“Well, both white and black..”I interjected but let it tapered off as steely eyes bore in to convey an order aligning with his anti black line.

“They were demanding money…but ran away seeing you approach….” Sharmaji looked at me closely and spoke as if, I had told him about the incident in finer details.

“He is still too shocked and afraid…just look at him…” I felt myself shriveling into suitably panicked posture. The performance must have been good, because it forced Richard Burton to put down his cup and swiftly jotting down detailed belched out by Sharmaji. He gave hazy description of a black boy threatening me with a knife. I wondered about his motivations to accuse blacks of rampant mugging but found myself still groping in dark.

“I find your walking stick very interesting…and intimidating as well!”

“Inspector Bartan, this very stick was used by Mahatma Gandhi!” Sharmaji looked at stick with due reverence and touched his head on it. Mr. Agarwal seemed flabbergasted and painfully turned his neck towards me. I was taken aback at the audacity and looked closely on the freshly emerged historical connection with mounting curiosity. Sharmaji had meanwhile leaned back, closed him eyes, leaving us all hanging and panting for me. But the ape was charged, he edged forward.

“Really, Mr. Sharmaji…but how could you get it....don't tell me you are related to Mr. Gandhi...are you?”

Burton’s eyes bulged and looked deeply fascinated at the object of great historical relevance.

“That is a long story inspector…some other time…and one more thing..” The deep baritone made the ape look up.

“What’s that Mr. Sharmaji..” We all waited coiled in mounting suspense. The shinning lathi kept rolling between the bony palms, as we found ourselves inching to the edge. Sharmaji suddenly opened his eyes and looked at his rival with deep pity.

“Gandhi was never intimidating, inspector..”

The policeman turned serious and stared at his tormentor with admiration.

A bored Mr. Agarwal shifted uncomfortably, looking enquiringly at my shriveled frame. Like a trapped unwilling accomplish some how I was still awaiting for a signal to unlock myself. The ape leaned and tried to touch the lathi with care and a somber face, Sharmaji swung it away.

“I am sorry, you have to wash your hands first..” The apelike face fell a little but nodded understandingly.

“We will have good opportunity to talk about Gandhi a lot, tomorrow...let me tell you more about these black thugs…”

Sharmaji was still focused on issues of black gangs creating a big every day nuisance. He let out a vivid trail of unreported violent incidents; unsavory scum’s roaming freely on streets and mugging people. In no time Richard Burton started to agree with the formidable evidences and valuable first hand information about the mounting menace. Sharmaji would often ask Burton to stop, close his eyes, as if thinking hard and after some time start sharing more. I could see the ape too had same deep traces of racial biases; the British have been accused of quite often. They talked animatedly on the subject like old friends and suddenly Burton got angry.

“I get so fed up and I want to shoot these scum dead right there...but could know the shit laws…”

Sharmaji fell silent judging him closely.

‘Are you sure, you want to do that?”

A charged up Burton repeated his desire loudly.

“Are you serious...better you folks learn it from Punjab police?”

“Yes, you may be right..but sorry Punjab police is too violent…we have a different system…but you know I am really fed up..and one of these days...”His voice trailed off, perhaps belatedly realizing the foolish indiscretion. He got up and shook hands.

“We have invited the press and others to discuss the crimes in will be good if you are there. Sharmaji got up and walked with Burton to the door.

“Okay...well will see and talk to superiors about it.” The ape turned distant again.

“Oh, I though, you are the boss around here?”

The policeman skillfully avoided the mocking question, smiled, shook hands and went out.

“Was this lathi really used by Mahatma Gandhi?” Mr. Agarwal could no longer suppress his mounting curiosity.

“My grand father never told a lie in his whole life….but I do, when ever needed.”Sharmaji gave a broad smile to a confused Mr. Agarwal.

“Get well soon Agarwal saab…come on lets go.” Sharmaji suddenly addressed me, turned and walked out. I found his abrupt escape uncivil and felt bad leaving a troubled Mr. Agarwal alone but was curious about many unexplained things. I let Sharmaji wait for some time and talked to Mr. Agarwal, who was sure about the false claim of the lathi used by Gandhi. I agreed readily with him and took leave with a promise of a visit along with grocery in the evening.

Sharmaji was contentedly humming the theme song from “Mukkadar Ka Sikandar”. I wondered about his change of mood but asked nothing. He screeched to a halt after bypassing my place. It was a curious behavior for him, and I was sure he was on to do some thing important.

“I better ran…you see….got many things to do…and don’t forget to attend the community meeting…you know the place…right….be there on time to see destruction of my enemies and their criminal supporters.”

The community hall was teeming with English, Black, Hispanic Indian, Pakistanis and varied specimens of the greatly mixed neighborhood. The Indian entourage looked formidable in its strength and the sheer variety; the turbaned Sikhs, Punjabi, Gujarati, South Indians, Bengali and others, less distinguishable. The media was in attendance with their paraphernalia. A fat, black spokesman was skillfully harping on the blatant discriminatory attitude of British police, punctuated by cheerful boos and clapping. Richard Burton listened pensively along with two others who were trying hard to look important. One was a thin Pakistani doctor with dark glasses, who had been very short and diplomatic while sharing his experience with police and problems in the area. Obviously Burton was happy and smiled at him repeatedly. Other, an Englishmen, who spoke first, had talked philosophically on great British values of welcoming and respecting the vibrant multi-cultural ethos.

I looked around but Sharmaji was not visible and the seat on dais with his name was vacant. He had asked me to be present on time to witness the exposure and destruction all the horrible plotters and their vile supporters. The old foe and challenger of Sharmaji, Thakkar and his glamorous wife sat in first row. I could feel some silent communication going on with the policeman, or may be my biases were making me see things. The long acrimonious battle between an aggressive Punjabi Sharmaji and astutely calm and scheming Gujarati Thakkar was representative of their distinctive communities. As the speaker concluded with loud clapping, a murmuring commotion broke out. I was sitting some where in the middle and followed every one's amazed look at the back entrance.

I blinked many times to make myself realize, if it was reality or a dream.

A figure resembling Mahatma Gandhi with two girls on sides, stood at the entrance. The trio moved ahead swiftly in the isle towards the stage under continuous glare of flashlights.

It was Sharmaji dressed as Gandhi.

He might have looked different to those who were familiar with diminutive, thin figure of real Mahatma Gandhi. But Sharmaji dressed to perfection in dhoti, his stubble and head shaved, matching spectacles and the trademark Lathi, looked like a healthy and taller version of the real. His audacity to play a limping naked fakir in the biting British cold was admirable.

While everyone was still trying to decipher the drama to react, Sharmaji had reached the podium.

“Good morning, ladies and gentlemen, I am Tilak Raj Sharma, the disciple of Mahatma Gandhi.”

The flashlights blazed again accompanied with clapping, cat calls and whistles by his boisterous supporters. A fascinated Richard Burton got up and clapped. Others on the dais followed too, the black spokesman; perhaps a South African was overwhelmed. He promptly decided to bow before the healthy avatar of Gandhi. The reaction of Pakistani doctor was visibly muted but the English philosopher was greatly amused by the unfolding drama of vibrant multi cultural colors. A stunned Thakkar was shaking his head in disbelief but his egalitarian wife seemed lost in the unfolding drama.

“This is my grand father’s walking stick and was used by Mahatma for one whole day during historic dandi salt march. When faced with suppression and discrimination, Mahatma always reacted by peaceful means to make his point and guide the toiling masses of India”

The shinning Lathi was held high for benefit of cameras. After ample exposure, he lowered the historic connection to the revered figure and continued in more somber tone. Every one listened; the nuggets of history and Gandhians wisdom narrated skillfully by Sharmaji.

“Ladies and gentlemen, like my ideal Mahatma Gandhi, I too humbly try to fight the discrimination and suppression through peaceful means by telling only the truth. And now let us all hear the truth about what is happening in our beloved neighborhood. I must make it clear; that I feel no enmity for any one and my actions are solely guided by the concept of common good.”
Sharmaji took the shoulder bag from one girl and silently produced a cassette player and switched it on.

Angry voice of Richard Burton boomed, expressing his deep frustration against the stupid law bound inability to kill the black miscreants. The black speaker turned to look menacingly at the dazed policeman. A dark cloud descended on the face of the English philosopher; feeling devastated as his dream was turning in to a disastrous mess. The Pakistani was trying hard to stay neutral and unaffected by the Gandhi inspired turn of events. But the media was greatly pleased by unexpected windfall of sleaze and high drama.

The cassette player continued to belch the uncomfortable truth with Gandhian detachment.

“That shameful thug Thakkar has laid his wife as bait before that racist policeman Richard Burton to harass and pin the devoted social worker Sharmaji.” An unknown English voice told more explicit truth about the dubious alliance with sinister objectives.

An agitated Thakkar got up made wild gestures angrily and tried hard to stop Sharmaji. His wife covered her face and raced out, frantically followed by salivating cameras and microphones.

Curious Case of Dr. Binayak Sen: Smoke of Mysteries

A person, apart from what he is and does, is further known for what kind of friends he loves to keeps. While work of Dr. Binayak Sen as a devoted doctor serving poor tribal in a difficult and inhospitable environment is impressive, but his close association with committed Maoists busy waging a bloody war with Indian government does add certain elements of valid concerns. The highly secretive Maoists ideologues are not known to socialize with all and sundry, being so concerned and eager to lift poor out of their miseries as soon as possible. Working with Swiss clock like precision, they abhor wasting precious time, energies with people who don't agree with their agenda or have no ability and will to help them in attaining their lofty objectives.

There are many in India, who have chosen to erroneously compare Dr. Binayak Sen with 19th century French army officer Alfred Dreyfus, who was wrongly convicted of passing on sensitive information to Germans. If these intellectuals and social scientists are so impressed by the Dreyfus affair, than there is a more than thirty years old, Samba Spy Scandal crying for their immediate attention and prompt action. Perhaps they do not know or care that more than 50 young officers of Indian army were wrongly accused, tortured and convicted for being Pakistani spies. Unfortunately, there are no Indian avatars of Emil Zola's, Poincare's, Clemenceau's and Anatole France’s to speak aloud and diligently fight for these destroyed and broken families, for their extreme plight and shame heaped by an insensitive Indian army and top politicians, who never helped them.

But certainly whatever happens at least the highly selective and focused PUCL would not be helping these unfortunate army officers. As their office bearers and world wide net work of learned leftist intellectuals afflicted with dreams of impending revolution along with deep sympathies and unflinching support for “Gandhians with Guns” would not be impressed by plight of mere soldiers, the lackeys of a fake democracy.

On numerous occasions, Peoples Union for Civil Liberties has received valid criticism for its cozy closeness with Maoists. The conviction of Binayak Sen, its boss in Chattisgarh, based on statements made during the trial by more than sixty witnesses had only added to allegations of a deep nexus. But being packed with known Maoists apologists and closet communists, the lofty entity does not care for any bourgeois criticism.

The democracy is continuously vouched and its power is being challenged to save Dr. Sen, who chose to closely hobnob and help a person who has professed his deep disdain for the same democracy and strong beliefs in violent struggle.

To his credit, Dr. Binayak Sen has been able to accumulate an impressive army of very influential friends and supporters, the world over. Right from Nobel laureate Amartya Sen, the redoubtable lover of dictatorships and Marxist hegemony Noam Chomsky, historian Rommila Thapar and the well known, rabid Maoists apologist and supporter Arundhati Roy along with former chief minister of MP, congressman Digvijay Singh-the new mascot and mouthpiece of minority vote bank politics. More than eighty luminaries from various walks of life have strongly advised for his immediate release.

Indian police and various investigation agencies are not known for their professional ethos and practices. They have shown their sheer incompetence repeatedly across length and breath of India. But they are very careful in what they do and hardly touch a well known and influential personality, in spite of his or her crimes, because of real possibility of extreme pressures from all possible corners. More over, state boss of PUCL is not a small fry by any standards and is prone call media honchos and a press conference at drop of a hat. The canny police officers do fear bad press for various internal and external reasons. These over worked and presumably corrupt policemen and their ancient apparatus are no match in playing the clock and dagger game against highly motivated and savvy Maoists ideologues. The lower bureaucracy and some policeman are said to be in hand and glove with ultras, who pay or push them with their deep pockets and intimidation.

But if, some senior policemen or their right wing political bosses were out to implicate Dr. Sen, they have certainly created a huge mess by resorting to classical bumbling acts.Otherwise Indian policemen have also been known to employ very effective means to harass, implicate and even exterminate the hated person, with out even a trace left. The pathetically novice bungling and shoddy investigations of the case, however do not point to any well organized campaign to implicate Dr. Sen. Or, perhaps their nefarious designs were defeated by “democratic tools” of corruption at lower levels, so graphically explained by the doctor himself.

But then, as Ernest Renan had said, the human stupidity is the only thing that gives an idea of the infinite.
According to government figures violence by Maoist rebels in India peaked in 2010, leaving a record 1,169 people dead which started on a bloody push with the massacre of 76 policemen by rebels in the insurgency-riven state of Chhattisgarh. The death toll for year 2009 stood at 591.

It is apparent that the Maoists have not only spurned the offer of peace talks but have also chose to escalate the conflict. Mineral-rich Chhattisgarh remained main theater of Maoist violence during 2010 with 306 murders, including 142 civilians and 164 security men, according to latest figures, published by the state government.

Before dwelling on the well known plight of Dr. Binayak Sen, and world wide clamor for his immediate release, it is important to know about another lead actors in this curious real life drama. Like a suspense thriller, the story is teeming with shadowy actors, sinister intrigues, secrete parlays, jail breaks, armed attacks, dubious traders, bungling policemen, jungle hide outs, guns and stench of death.

Narayan Sanyal, is the well known ideologue of the armed struggle and one of the leaders of Naxalbari movement. He was one of the members of the CPI (Maoist) central committee and chief of its central-eastern regional bureau monitoring the revolutionary affairs in Orissa and Chhattisgarh.He had joined the party while working as a senior bank employee in Siliguri in West Bengal in 1966. Working diligently under late Charu Majumdar, he was instrumental in spreading the tentacles of the party far and wide. Sanyal was jailed for five years after his arrest at Ranchi in 1972 and rejoined the underground cadres, after jumping bail in 1977.

He was alleged to be the lead planner of the Peoples War Group attack on former Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu at Alipiri in Tirupati in 2003. Other audacious revolutionary ventures include the Jehananabad jail break that resulted in liberation of 340 prisoners, including several Maoist activists, during 2005
Sanyal has been reportedly involved in more than twenty serious cases of Maoist-sponsored violence in different eastern States, including the attack on the Police Superintendent’s convoy in Bastar in January 2005. He was also involved in the attack on the police headquarters in Korraput in Orissa in 2004, also described as an able strategist who helped bring about the merger of various Maoist groups since 2000, a hardliner who believes in armed struggle rather than parliamentary democracy. Narayan Sanyal had insisted that the party must operate underground and had differed strongly with veteran leader Kanu Sanyal, who over the years had become disenchanted with the violence resorted to by the Maoists.

In the distance past, Kanu Sanyal had angrily differed with late Charu Mazumdar’s line of swift class annihilation to create a proletarian society. He believed in building mass organization to lead the struggle against the Indian state.
But in a successful coup, a zestful Narayan Sanyal and others made Kanu ineffective, regrouped and launched the next phase of armed class struggle in dense jungles of Dandkaranya

A disheartened, broken and ill Kanu Sanyal, eventually committed suicide on 23rd March 2010.

So here we have the most prominent figure in the Maoist Terrorist movement ,responsible for years of bloodshed and destruction. The Government’s case against Binayak Sen rests on his close links with Sanyal. Curiously most of commentators have blissfully ignored the personality of Narayan Sanyal and his well known role in violent struggle, thousands of deaths, destruction and mayhem unleashed for myopic radical changes in India.
Sen met Narayan Sanyal in jail for 33 times between May 26 and June 30, 2007, allegedly carrying seditious letters and passing them to Piyush Guha.

Piyush Guha is another convicted actor in the drama, is a tendu leave trader from Calcutta. He was supposed to be carrying the letters written by Naryan Sanyal, which were allegedly passed on to him by Dr. Binayak Sen.

According to government assessments the estimated annual income of the Maoists is around a whopping Rs 1,400 crore (Approx 300 Million US Dollars), largely sourced through extortion. Maoists have been targeting the forest produce and mining industry, besides road contractors operating in the area.The Maoist-infested regions of Chhattisgarh are abundant in forest produce like tendu leaves, sal and timber. The ultras force the contractors and the transporters to pay up in return for “protection” of their businesses. The businessmen are left with little choice but to comply with the extortion demands. The state-run not have to directly deal with Maoists, as the extortion levies are forced on contractors and transporters. Similarly, industries and businesses in Maoist-infested areas have to pay protection” money.

These helpless traders, transporters and businessmen are left with no option but undertake various clandestine assignments for the Maoists.

Its very likely that the tendu trader Piyush Guha was acting as a courier to pass on letters written by Sanyal to other comrades waiting for important instructions and information.

The frugal Maoists, keep the operating expenditure low to fund the central military commission, R&D wing, arms procurement wing, information and publicity wing, state committees spend big money to buy sophisticated Chinese arms.

The market hating ultra are careful enough to spend a good chunk on marketing of the violent cause, public relations and publicity, both through the Internet and in-house publications. One of their publications has a good circulation amongst thousands of cadres and many urban sympathizers. It is very likely that some part of the bounty is shared with their influential supporters and mouthpieces, to fund their wining, dining and wooing of sundry jet hopping, Scotch guzzling, caviar greedy opinion makers in India and abroad.

It is also believed by some commentators, that when Binayak Sen was arrested, the event ended up giving a huge boost to the Maoists. As they strongly advocate violence to achieve their ends, it was a big bottle of oxygen for them, every time the bumbling state committed a grave travesty of justice.
However, It is accepted even by the Maoist apologists that armed movements have only succeeded in autocratic, dictatorial and monarchical states, but never in democracies.

If there is one major reason why communists have failed in contemporary times, it is because they do not know how to function in a democracy. They were successful In Russia, China, Cuba and elsewhere, because the democracy was missing. This observation holds true not just in the case of Maoists , but for all those who advocate violence as a political weapon and their misty eyed, fashionable supporters.

The Maoist movement, which started in late sixties, primarily fed on land disputes, police brutality and corruption. Due to these reasons, it has been strongest in the poorest and most deprived areas of India, many of which are rich in natural resources.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, has labeled the insurgency the number one threat to India’s internal security, and repeatedly urged state administrations to speed up pro-poor welfare measures specially in Maoist-hit regions.

The moot question is, was Dr. Binayak Sen, who is presented as, and believed to be a peace loving Gandhian, unaware of what has been going on the jungles in name of revolution? Did he not know about the important role played by Narayan Sanyal during decades of gruesome violence, deaths and destruction?

In an interview, he has softly debunked the notions of Gandhian romanticism and expressed his dormant discomfiture about Baniya origin of Gandhi. His sardonic comments on Indian state, tribal poverty and plight of young prisoners jailed for patty crimes, though true but do betray his leftist leanings.

Interestingly he has commented about the well entrenched corruption in Indian jails as the great leveler and a “democratic tool”, in hands of the helpless inmates to strike back at the heartless state, to live a better life behind high walls of prison. As a strategic lip service for public consumption, Dr, Sen reaffirmed his aversion to violence. But at the same time, did not feel any thing wrong in hobnobbing with one of the most dangerous man responsible of thousands of death and mayhem.

When asked by a journalist, if he now looks back and feels, was it wrong for him to meet Narayan Sanyal?

His swiftly responded by saying, he was only trying to help Sanyal by giving medical advise and legal help.

In a published statement, Dr, Sen, has said, “I submit that my prosecution is malafide; in fact it is a persecution. I am being made an example of by the state government of Chhattisgarh as a warning to others not to expose the patent trampling of human rights taking place in the state. Documents have been fabricated by the police and false witnesses introduced in order to falsely implicate me.”

With in the prisoners hierarchy, Narayan Sanyal is sure to exude and carry an aura of important inmate, may be the most important and dangerous one. Similarly a regular visitor Dr. Sen, involved in taking care of poor tribal, boss of an entity, giving sleepless nights to seats of power, must have been given due respect. Its likely that these two great men were left alone to confabulate regarding, the professed medical and legal issues. Mere exchange of few pieces of paper wouldn't have been a very difficult task, when they met 33 times. As explained by Dr. Sen himself the democratizing corruption and influence makes life easy by providing personal stove to cook delicious and nourishing “Daal” by beleaguered inmates. It has been very clear, that any thing is possible with in portals of Draconian Indian prisons.

Secret written communications of shadowy Maoists are never addressed, nor carry burden of date but are coded. Further, it can be presumed that the careful couriers will exchange their prized wares only in total privacy with no other soul around.

Ilene Sen may be rightly worried about his heart problems, needing immediate medical care, which is allegedly being denied by Raipur jail authorities. She further fears for life of her ailing husband, which is supposed to in danger. Its however highly unlikely that such a high profile inmate can be subjected to such foolish and questionable treatment, in 24x7 glare of media attention.

The weak arms of fake Indian democracy and highly influential civil society has helped him before and surely would provide further assistance to Dr. Sen.

Maverick politician and legal luminary, Ram Jethmalani had secured him a bail in past and he is set to help again with his legendary legal skills. According to the Mr. Jethmalani, the higher court would throw this weak case out with in minutes. It is again an enabling paradox that the feared lawyer belongs to the right wing political party BJP, governing Chattisgarh and alleged to be the real tormentor of Dr. Sen. But Mr. Jethmalani has strongly asserted his right and resolve, to never discuss his professional assignments with the party.

Eventually, Dr. Sen would perhaps emerge stronger from the isolation of imprisonment. He has been and would rejoin the expanding army of luminaries articulating defining weaknesses of Indian polity, governance and the underlying imperfections.

Even after his freedom, few troubling questions would never be answered and remain buried under weight of several contradictions and misty idealism. It will never be known, if Dr. Sen did courier secret communication from Narayan Sanyal, and how many people had died as result of any related action by ultras?

Maoist war is inherently political with deep rooted and complex commercial interests along with large money to fuel it ahead with more bloodshed. Their concern for poor and tribal is fake , as they neither have will , resources and nor any skills to lift poor out of their plight. Some of it flows from brutal intimidation and total disregard for any sort of developmental activity and related job creations. There are also several reports of forces perennially engaged in inflicting deep wounds on India are helping Maoists by funding, supplying sophisticated arms and supposed to be planning joint operations to strike terror in Metros.

Further, it will never be known that In his noble venture of helping poor and Maoists, how much Dr. Sen had been privy to, about the deep secrets and well known violent going on in deep jungles?

Dr, Binayak Sen, with his dreamy eyes and beard resembles an older version of late Che Guevara, also a doctor. Dr. Sen, just have to grow long hairs and put a beret.
But certainly the Indian Doctor does not seem to be so colorful, restless and full throttle, trigger happy revolutionary, as legendary Che was.

Its ironic that the ailing Fidel Castro, the tallest living revolutionary has belatedly confessed, about the abysmal failure of communism to help poor.

But, it will be perhaps, take few more tormenting years and bloodshed, for the Maoists and their misty eyed supporters, to agree with a wizened Castro

Days of Victory and Rage: Egypt Effect and Beyond

The most iconic visual image of a Chinese protester, still frozen in memory in recent decades: a single unarmed Youngster standing defiantly in front of four tanks, daring them to run him over.

The revolt in Tunisia was sparked by the suicide attempt of an unemployed 26 years old graduate, Mohamed Bouazizi, a road side vendor, who patience snapped after the police took away his cart, the sole means of livelihood. An event which could have gone unnoticed before, aided by technology, ignited the desperate people.
The leaping flames of freedom are now spreading across the region and beyond. Despots and dictators sitting on top of brutal regimes, billions of dollars, bevies of mistresses and fawning courtiers are increasingly getting nervous. But the impatient masses are seized of their new found freedom and dreaming for long desired changes.

People at large are delighted by 24x7 internet access and ability to share reactions to the world at large. With each technological leap forward, barriers fall, dictators’ control lessens, ignorance decreases and people can take ever more informed actions. And that is the real good news for widely desired freedom and openness.
During April 1989, angry students in China converged on Beijing’s vast Tienanmen Square. More than 100,000 assembled to mourn death of a liberal, pro-democracy communist party member Hu Yobang. The demonstrations spread to other cities, turned in to dreaded pro democracy movement and lasted about seven weeks. Communist Party hardliners were divided and worried as the public support grew across the world, for the movement aided by modern technology. Eventually they ordered the Army to clear the square, but Soldiers faced substantial resistance from people.

On the night of 4th of June, 1989, People’s Liberation Army with tanks circled the peaceful demonstrators and opened fire; they had to meet an early morning deadline, to clear the square. Exact numbers were never known, but more than 3000 demonstrators believed to have died, dreaming for democracy. The Chinese government had blocked TV and radio but missed the new communications technology called the fax machine. These machines kept churning out images of repression, bravery and words of support from across the world.

The mighty Berlin wall was eventually pulled down by people in November, 1989, by emotive forces unleashed through the images of satellite television, delivering a final crushing blow to weakened entity of the draconian communist regimes.

The misty eyed bands of die hard communists, across the world, still go through rituals of yearly breast beating by bemoaning the hated fall of their beloved wall by devious capitalistic mechanization, while strongly justifying killing of young counter reactionaries in Tienanmen Square.
Technology has stuck again in North Africa and Middle East, after 22 years of those tumultuous events of 1989.

Youthful emotive forces unleashed by expanding internet and vibrant social media, made a despot in Tunisia flee. With in days, the seismic waves traveled east, by passing 40 years old Col. Gaddafi regime of Libya and in no time the decades old dormant anger in Egypt exploded. The Tahrir Square in Cairo got filled with men and women seized of deep desires to change their lives or even die in their pursuits. Young men and women, students, professors, artists, housewives and kids, Muslims and Copt Christians fought and celebrated together in the large square. They valiantly resisted and suffered violent onslaughts by thugs riding speeding trucks, horses and camels, leaving about 11 dead and many grievously injured.

The Egypt effect, signifying crumbling of a well entrenched despotic empire, has encouraged people in the Middle East and Main land China. Demonstrations have been growing in Algeria, Jordan, Yemen, Morocco, Kuwait and Bahrain. The nervous rulers of Syria have already made some relaxations to placate the people.
The bearded Mullahs heading theocratic regime in Iran have been gleefully watching the events in Cairo with a different perspective-a kind of heady replication of Iranian revolution leading to a theocratic state. For the Iranian opposition, which has been absent on the streets in more than a year, seems to ready to reassert its presence after facing relentless oppressions. Tens of thousands of protesters assembled and clashed with security forces on Tehran’s main boulevards, which were immediately shrouded in clouds of tear gas, leaving one civilian was dead.

Iranian theocratic regime has detained the son of opposition leader Mehdi Karrubi. He was arrested after security forces raided his home. Many members of the Iranian parliament issued death threads against the opposition leaders and former presidential candidates. Some have been wildly chanting “execute Moussavi, Karrubi."
Let us try to dispassionately go over the past and present to conjure up a possible vision of future.

In Egypt, the top commanders, all with strong political ties to age old Mubarak regime, must have decided to break with him for the sake of their own legitimacy. But they still have a vital stake in maintaining the status quo, not just politically, but economically as well. Egyptian authorities have frozen assets of Hosni Mubarak and his family. Some ministers have come under corruption investigation in Egypt, but how far and wide spread these actions would go, is still to be seen.
In a well entrenched crony capitalism alliances forged through decades , Egyptian military officers own shares in just every industry and businesses in the country, from construction to automobiles companies to the cash cow- tourism.

The scenario holds true for most of the countries in the region. This could eventually lead to a serious clash during expected arbitration trying to bring an end to corruption and related trials.

According to some Middle East watchers-"To even think about the investigation of the transgressions of the regime has to take it directly into the military economy, as military leaders have less than zero interest in having an investigation of that."

Egypt is in the early stages of a leadership succession that could possibly swing the country toward greater openness and political competition or even towards the often dreaded consolidated authoritarianism. The military command has proposed extensive constitutional amendments that would shift some powers to the legislative branch and revise rules for presidential and parliamentary elections, but observers are concerned that many of the changes may prove to be cosmetic.

Crises in Iraq, Palestine, and Lebanon have hindered the democracy promotion, yet these developments present a unique opportunity to urge meaningful reform in Egypt, perhaps without endangering stability and key regional relationships. In such a welcome eventuality, the waves of democratic reforms would unfold with diverse out come, elsewhere in the region and beyond.

The major implications of Egypt’s current political climate and presents four key issues: presidential term limits, greater freedom for political parties and movements, independent election oversight, and limiting executive powers.

For a long time in the Arab world, Islamists have assumed the role once played by national liberation movements and the leftist. They are deeply embedded in the social fabric, and are thus able to mobilize considerable influence. Their ideology prescribes a very simple and easily understood solution to the persistent crises of contemporary Arab societies—a return to the fundamentals, or the true spirit of Islam.

Indeed, “Islam is the solution” has been the longtime slogan of Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood and others. Islamists have been able to distill and promote for long, a complex philosophical tradition into simple slogans that have quickly supplanted the Pan-Arabism and socialism that dominated the region until the 1970s. As a result, in most countries in the region; the Islamists represent the only viable opposition forces to existing undemocratic regimes, till now.

Islamic thinkers like Hasan Al Bana and Sayed Qutab of Muslim brotherhood along with Syed Abdul Ala Maddudi of Jammat Islami of Pakistan had laid foundation stone of hereto visible fissile shade of religious fanaticism. Al Azhar University of Cairo too had espoused the similar strains of Islam. The well known Amir of Jihad Abdullah Azzam was an Al Azhar scholar and guru of Osama Bin Laden.

But now, the incorrigible optimists have few good reasons to believe that the Egypt effect has created ripples of unstoppable waves to rewrite the future of democracies and individual freedom in the Middle East. A keen regional analyst has echoed his enthusiastic sentiments, “Each place will interpret the fallout from Egypt in their own way and in their own context.’’

The seismic waves, which had bypassed Libya in January has bounced back with greater force.

Brutal Gaddafi has reacted predictably, by ordering his air force to fire on the foreign inspired “Rats” swarming out on roads. His bald Mafiosi resembling son Saif Gaddafi has threatened to unleash rivers of blood and fight to last bullet. How many people have died there, is still not clear, but death toll seems to be mounting, as unrest spreads widely. Libyan Ministers and diplomats are resigning and distancing themselves from the mad regime. Several opposition groups in exile called for the overthrow of Gaddafi and for a peaceful transition of power in Libya.

But stark differences exist between worldly, commercially integrated Egypt and definably insular Libya. There are no well entrenched bureaucratic and administrative structures in Libya, which has been ruled by groups of armed thugs and tribes loyal to Gaddafi. The isolation and suppression of Libyan people is formidable and unimaginable, according to experts.

Now, as protests are growing widely in Middle East, a key question is if the Chinese communists dread it surfacing again in their own country?

The economic power house of China has stark similarities to Tunisia and Egypt.

First similarity, the Chinese regime is not democratically elected and rules only by brutal force.

Second, the food inflation is soaring. According to official data, food prices soared about 10 percent from the previous year in December 2010 and jumped 12 percent in November 2010. Many economists believe these figures are rigged and inflation is actually much higher.

Third, the growing discontent over low wages had been gradually manifested in a string of migrant worker suicides in Guangdong. The suicides prompted worker strikes, which were resolved after factory owners gave sizable wage concessions.

The 1989 protests were politically motivated. After the uprising was crushed brutally, people consented to the communist rule, all these years because of unfolding economic development.

Now, for the first time in 22 years, university graduates, even from prestigious ones, had trouble finding gainful employment. They are called 'ant tribes'. The vile term loosely lampoons and describes- growing army of educated young Chinese people forced to bear sordid living conditions in Beijing, Shanghai and elsewhere.

The fate of migrant workers remains greatly oppressed, as the soaring food prices during 2010 have affected them brutally.

If, the hereto suppressed “Jasmine” unrest were to rebound and grow lethal in China, later during 2011, it would be predominantly based on economic disparities as opposed to political discontent of 1989.

New Indian Muslim Leaders: Plights and Possibilities

The Fortress of the Faith, Darul Uloom Deoband, has decided to remove Gulam Mohamad Vastanvi, the controversial rector.

Vastanvi and his supporters have termed the findings of the inquiry committee incomplete along with allegations of internal politics, pressure and interest groups using the opportunity to maintain the their hold over the respected seminary. His supporters are taking legal advice to approach the court as the institute has to comply with the established rules and procedures as per Societies act.

“I have been absolved of two allegations of Modi and Moorti, but they have not investigated who were responsible for the incitements of students and hooliganism.”

When asked about his past controversial comments, he replied by muttering, “No comments please.” He further explained that Draul Uloom is a seminary and there was no possibility of him ushering a new curriculum and modern education.

The controversy has mobilized the community on hereto untouched issue of new approach, like never before, as Vastanvi started getting support of the community at large throughout the country

The moderate leader and an accomplished educationist hailing from Gujarat was appointed in January as Vice Chancellor of Darul Ulooom, Deoband. He immediately found himself in midst of acrid controversies after praising the development underway in Gujarat and its accrued benefits to all including the Muslims. He had also advised Muslims to get on with important issues of education and jobs, rather than living forever under dark shadows of 2002 riots.

One of the primary reasons for Vastanvi's appointment as VC of Darul Uloom, was his ability to get along, as he turned out to be the candidate acceptable to both warring factions. His exemplary track record as an educationist, who might have brought in the fresh air could have been largely an unintended benefit. He has been associated for a decade and been a liberal Donner to Deoband too.

Starting with nothing apart from his zeal and vision from a thatched roof hut with 6 students, he gradually built the huge education infrastructure in 30 years because of his positive approach and hard work, benefiting over 250, 000 students, half of them were provided free education. Unfazed by the controversies, he has gone ahead with his fund raising campaign in west for a new medical college and hospital.

But in highly politically correct, lip service prone India, such achievements and merit have always been immediately scarified for well entrenched political expediencies. If an assessment of response about Vastanvi is made on the basis of online comments made, he has less admirers with in his community, while the appreciation is wide spread amongst the non Muslims.

Echoing the majority views prevailing in the Urdu press, displayed extension of well entrenched biases, some Muslim commentators have even responded with angry criticism of his fund raising in west, and denounced it being an anti Muslim venture. His net supporters have been severally abused and heaped with strings of unprintable names, laced in abrasive religious, caste and racial prejudices.

The critics have lost no time in calling him a pathetic sellout and stooge of BJP, a political party, pursuing right wing Hindu agenda, along with unacceptable behaviour of a Muslim distributing idols of Ram and Krishna in a function. Interestingly, in recent past, even the noted Marxist leader from West Bengal was severely criticized for offering puja and accepting prasad from a Hindu priest, during last parliamentary election.

Boldly combining modern education and ethos with religious teachings, thousands of poor students benefit from scholarships for higher education, under his leadership. Vastanvi has been personally behind construction of about 4500 mosques across India.

His, brainchild Jamia Islamia Ishaatul Uloom plans to double the intake of students in all major courses of management, engineering, teaching, medicine and pharmacy. About 15 institutes being ran in Akkalkua alone are modern campuses of swanky buildings with international look and Internet connections. A 100 Cr (about 23 Million US $) Medical University is coming up in Jalana.

His supporters are convinced that, he is also being punished for displaying a new vision and imparting modern education to the student, an age old anathema to old guards of Indian Muslims Leaders, who abhor changes and love old ways.

Other the other side, even during last January when the controversy exploded, influential old boys' forum of Deoband announced that they would come out in strong opposition of the Shura Council if it decided to press for Vastanvi's resignation.

Deoband has never been free from such fierce inner wrangling, but a new bench mark has been established. During the controversy, dissensions were also hotly debated among the ordinary’ Muslims, unlike in the past, when these issues had remained largely limited to the insular clerics themselves. His appointment and removal is internal matter of Darul UIoom as well as an indicator of how the Indian Muslim community is grappling with the visible change in the leadership.

If we view the related events and discourse in the larger prospective, a welcome shift is indeed visible. The new breed of Indian Muslim leadership is bursting out and trying to redefine, the popular but highly dysfunctional, divisive, age old cast iron narrative built and nurtured on perennial angst, conflicts and pains of past.

If his elevation as rector, a consensual candidate, though part of an on going internal power struggle, was seen as significant development, signalling the belated arrival of new leadership. The eviction showed that the old guards were deft in exploiting the opportunity to revive their hold. Elevation of Vastanvi was also seen as result of an attempt to deftly blunt and gradually remove the six decade hold of Arshad Madani and his family.

Being the first outsider to head the important institution, liberal Vastanvi is also the first non north India, non Sayed and non Shaikh person to head the seminary. Many students, who remained his silent supporters, were hoping that he would some how be revamping the old, uninspiring syllabus and make it more in tune with demands of time.

Many Liberal Muslims intellectuals, have reported to have privately lambasted the well known political mechanization, intrigue, culture of malice and antagonism of Arshad Madani to maintain and regain the hold over the institution; he fancies as his own family heirloom.

The struggle is with in family too, as he is closely related to Arshad Madani. With out naming his relative and rival, Vastanvi has expressed strong views against treating a community asset as own for personal benefits.

The Urdu press has vehemently opposed Vastanvi for the unpardonable, cardinal sin committed by praising the on going development in Gujarat and its accrued benefits to Muslims. The collective print media onslaught is believed to have been engineered by supporters of Arshad Madani.

Few Urdu newspapers who praised Vastanvi are being severely ridiculed for their Qadiyani behavior, and his supporters are termed as Saffron minded moderates.

Veteran journalist M. J. Akbar has called Vastanvi a remarkable person, who has demonstrated ability and skills to address problems of the community.

Ameer Raza Husain, the noted theatre director wanted the freedom of speech be respected and appealed for a reasonable response.

Barbara Metcalf, writer of Deobandism and author of the brilliant A Concise History of India, opined that arrival of Vastanvi on stage signals a ‘breath of fresh air’ to counter the traditional scholars, or the ‘old guard’. She has acknowledged his credentials and skills in addressing what the new generation of Indian Muslims have been saying are their real interests: education, employment and integration into the mainstream.

Anwar Ali, an advocate has expressed his support in followings words on Milli Gazette:

“The importance of ‘difference of opinions’ and ‘principled or constructive opposition’ is something else but dirty and stinking politics based on selfishness and malice is distasteful to every one. The words and sentences too that are used for Vastanvi Saheb are below the level of decency. They are in negation of all canons of civility and ethics. As a lawyer, I would advise Vastanvi Saheb to file a criminal case of contempt against all those people in a civil court. Those leaders and ulama who are collecting wealth from within and outside the country and monopolizing Darul Uloom Deoband do not want to see Molvi Vastanvi as its rector.”

Rehan Ali and his brother Mavi Ali scions of an old zamindar family from Deoband , said they will file a Public Interest Litigation in the Supreme Court against Vastanvi's dismissal and get well known lawyer and activist Prashant Bhushan to contest the case.

Supporters of Vastanvi are becoming hot potatoes for the political parties, who have played minority card and vote bank politics . As a result Mavi was immediately thrown out from Samajvadi Party after he criticized Vastanvi's rival Arshad Madni and reposing faith in the liberal-reformist Gujarat cleric.

But the well known old guards and perennially angry Marxists were quick to mouth age old angst and anger along with total agreement that this MBA-Facebookwala is not the right man to head the respected seminary.

Kamal Farooqi ridiculed the repeated mention and importance given to his MBA degree by the media and found his removal justified.

Marxist Shabnam Hashmi breathed fire and strongly denounced him and his misdeeds

Prof J S Bandukwala, president of the Gujarat People Union for Civil Liberty, welcomed the move. “I am glad that Vastanvi is no longer heading the Darul Uloom”.

Website Bismillahnews has reacted with following words::

“Heartening is the decision by Saudi Arabian Newspapers particularly Arab News and Saudi Gazzate to ignore the News of Vastanvi totally,there was no coverage in major Arab Newspapers.The main business of Vastanvi Inshallah of collecting donations from Muslims countries will also be immensely effected because of his nexus with BJP an anti-Muslim,anti-Madrasa education party. Madrasa’s in India exist with Allahs blessing and Inshallah would continue to flourish,despite the agents of Hunood, Yahood and Nasara trying their best with money power to change the curriculum of these madarasa’s to suit hunood,yahood and Nasara. May the enemies of Madarasa’s, maloon, mardoods, in the name of producing Engineer’s,Doctor’s,MBA’s be cursed by almighty Allah for distorting Quranic teachings and Allahs deen.Ameen.Summa Ameen.”

In recent past the seminary has found itself embroiled in controversies about extension of regressive beliefs and biases along with new emerging threats.


Last year, the seminary has been criticized for turning itself in to a fatwa Factory, promoting the most regressive ideals and thereby ruining countless marriages along with a sense of fear among women. Darul Uloom opined that even if a person has uttered the word ‘talaq’ thrice and his wife couldn’t hear it, the divorce takes place.


Early this month, Darul Uloom has asked the Saudi Arabian government to ban Ahmadiyas (Qadiyanis) from visiting Makkah and Madinah to perform Haj and Umrah (mini-Haj). The seminary's vice-rector has alleged that many Qadiyanis from India disguise themselves as Muslims, they are misguided and may mislead other Muslims.
Qadiyanis have been declared non-Muslims in countries like Pakistan from times of ZA Bhutto and face severe prosecution, oppression and cyclic massacre .

Tahreek-e-Taliban Hindustan:

There is an email message floating on net from a so-called Tahreek Taliban Hindustan, using the Darul Uloom Deoband insignia, circulating the following message:

“This Country ‘India’ was never a nation of Hindus. It was ruled and governed by Muslims for hundreds of years. And we the students of Tahreek-e-Taliban-Hindusthan, demand that the Muslim majority areas should be and must be ruled according to the Sharia Law. Therefore we pass This verdict from today onwards that all the non-Muslim living in Muslim majority areas should start paying ‘JAZIYAH".You have only three choices: (1) Convert to our great faith ‘Islam” and u will be safe. (2) Or pay the Jaziyah on our terms and conditions and live. (3) Or accept our challenge and fight us on the battle field.”

The seminary has quickly distanced itself and denounced the mischievous email and its lunatic message. The mischief mongers or a radicalized fringe group of Indian Muslims could be behind this attempt to create fear and communal disharmony in India.

According to an article in The Economist, These days Gujarat accounts for 5% of India's population but 16% of its industrial output and 22% of its exports. Its growth has outpaced India's and it wins accolades from business people. A recent comparison of Indian states by McKinsey, a consultancy, waxed lyrical about Gujarat. It might yet play the role of industrial locomotive for the country, as Guangdong province did for China in the 1990s. There is lots of excited talk about exporters switching from China to India. Sanjay Lalbhai, the chairman of Arvind, a textiles maker and clothing retailer based in Ahmadabad, says such a move is "imminent" in his industry.

A new age leader of Indian Muslims, has certainly arrived and sure to make his presence felt and provide the much needed balance during important future discourses or conflicts. He can not be a lone passenger in his torturous journey from obscurity to prominence and there are others with same vision and zeal to address the myriad problems.

Vastanvi has thundered, “I am not some one be taken lightly, as no one can dent my resolve to be truthful and do the right work for the community.”

Having achieved the prominence and firing the imagination, it is yet to be seen, how he conducts himself and guides his swelling vocal and silent followers towards the lofty goals.