THE OTHER HALF

yes , i agree sachin tendulkar is good at what he does and it is indeed sad that he is retiring , But blocking the airwaves for a whole week to honor him is absurd. cricket is adored by millions in this country , but counting everyone to be a cricket fan or for that matter a sachin fan is stupidity. The cricket fanaticism is a middle class phenomena , which makes it the religion of just the half of us  There is the “other half” including myself who are taken on a not so pleasant ride by our media when a cricket becomes the prime topic of discussion .  As happened last week we were  either made to watch the “news” or watch a general entertainment channel on such days . After a few shows I opted for bigg boss at 9.

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The Sachin fans are a crazy lot especially when it comes to their god , post retirement wanted nothing short of a Bharat Ratna to be awarded to him , Bestowing  India’s highest civilian honor for some one who sported controversy for refusing to carry the national flag was a surprise .  Sachin’s contribution to the development of our society is equal to nothing and if we take into account the exorbitant amounts he charge for commercials , he is actually draining us . On taking such an important decision the government never cared to look at the list of many other deserving candidates , which includes social activists who did selfless to our society . Frankly  sachin doesn’t deserve a bharat ratna for anything that he had done till date , If popularity is the basis for this honour , then actors   Amitabh  Bacchan and Rajnikanth deserves it more , especially for the quantum of work they did in the last 30 years. Sachin tendulkar as a cricketer was pathetic on the field when  the Indian team needed him the most and what he is recognized for in the cricket world  is purely for his personal achievements . This decision which the government have taken in haste have yet again tarnished its image among the public  , especially, the other half who were reduced to mute spectators in this whole saga ,

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1975

emergency to me like most  born in the late 1980s is a dark period in our history , something which came down to us through vivid narrations , , It was Mrs Gandhi’s attempt at being the “Indian Empress” by imposing her will on a country of over half a billion. The excesses of the period are a topic of discussion even today , literature abound with detailS , whether it be “Midnights Children” or the movie “Hazaroon khwaishein aisi” . Ironically rarely does these discussions proceed to the question of – why emergency was imposed? , we don’t know much about Mr jayaprakash narayan before 1970s ,and  to the few who knew him the details are sketchy , still he is one of the revered saints of our time.

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The JP movement from a constitutional point of view was equally unlawful  as the emergency was and to an equally violent . The movement taken out against a democratically elected government is undemocratic right from its conception, and to this if we add the geographical limitation of the movement it looses its pan India appeal.. After the 1971 war Indira Gandhi had started showing signs of despotism , but mere signs  cannot be taken an excuse to ask for her resignation before the end of her term . The elections were due in 1976 but  Mr JP intensified his agitation in 1974 itself , Like a normal politician  he could have waited for the democratic process to  bring about change , but what he did was unwarranted . With his support base he tried to stall the functioning of the government and oust Mrs Gandhi through undemocratic means , which ultimately led to the events of 1975 .

I am in no way supporting Mrs Gandhi for what she did or the doings of her “princeling” , Emergency was and will remain a blot on our democracy , but painting JP in white and Prime Minister Indira Gandhi in black is not fair . It is hard to digest the story of the socialist leader who retired from politics for serving the society suddenly donning the role of a messiah of the masses . He too had political ambitions , may be he regretted his initial decision to retire, during the final days  .comparing the JP movement to Gandhiji’s civil disobedience movement is stupidity . While Mrs Gandhi was thrust into power by the people on a huge majority , the British were not . Even at the Zenith of the movement against her Mrs Gandhi was still an all India force  , while JP was not.  this was latter proved by the dissipation of the janatha government at the same speed with which it came to power.

while discussing emergency we take JP for granted , but his intentions still remain a mystery . but solely blaming Indira Gandhi  for 1975 is not kind on the legacy of a leader of her stature.

HINDUS AND THE INDIAN DEMOCRACY

to know  the sheer scale of the success we as a nation is , you must read ramachandra guha’s ” India After Gandhi” . it is the riveting  story of a nation born out of chaos , which over the years slowly overcame obstacles , many of which life threatening , with ease and determination. we have had the various political scientists giving their take on why we as a country survives or is surviving , but most of them have given scant credit to the most important of the reasons – the majority community – ” hindus”.

i had always wanted to write a post on this pillar of indian democracy , but backtracked owing to the “communal” tag that comes with it.  the recent anti immigration laws by many European countries made me value the sense of openness that our community have shown over centuries and the level of tolerance it still foster. many had predicted at the time of independence that with the death of nehru , india will start taking baby steps towards being a hindu pakistan , which even after 65 years have not happened and to my knowledge is never going to. we have had the saffron party ruling the country for nearly eight years and still we remain more secular as ever before . the sheer force of the ram janmabhoomi movement that propelled BJP to power could have easily compelled it to build the temple at the site , but the secular section of the majority community , fought for it not to happen . many dooms day predictions are already out for the day when/if Mr Narendra modi will become the prime minister , but as we all know as far as the secular ones , which btw constitute 95% of the 1 billion hindus remain the majority , is never going to.

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hindus make up nearly 80% of our population , with their share in population varying from 3% in many northeastern states to 95% in himachal pradesh. the most interesting of the examples is my state of kerala were 45% percent of the people belong to the minority groups. the state could have easily gone the malaysian way , which have similar statistics and taken up their own bhumiputra movement  , what happened was just the opposite. now after 50 years of the states birth it is more egalitarian than malaysia will ever be.  kerala could not be compared with a north indian state , where generations have grown up hearing the folklore of shivaji and prithviraj chauhan and their fight against the invaders. even after this huge doses of victimhood they remain much at ease with their muslim neighbours , there is this misconception among the secular left wing observers that the north indian hindus could never accept secularism to the fullest , which is to an extent baseless , if it was the case , then how could you explain the success of the hindi soap on zee tv “qubool hai” ? .the story revolves around muslim characters with the lead actress invoking “allah” on every second breath. according to the rating charts it was once the second highest rated show in india. similarly  to me the khans of bollywood shows us  how the north indian masses have graduated with salman khan being revered as god by most of the lower class men from bihar and UP .

this brings us to the question of riots . if hindus were at ease with their other half how could they riot? . my answer would be the comparison with the white supremacist movements and neo nazis. these riots which mostly are politically motivated are the handiwork of these fringe groups , a phenomenon not confined to india alone . but unlike the countries of the west which have stabilised into  monolithic entities , we are in a state of flux like the europe of the 18th century , where outbursts could be magnified and old prejudices easily offended . as we progress towards a stable future these groups will certainly be pushed into obscurity .

i did my graduation at a MES (muslim education society) college whose president Dr Fazal Ghafoor once told us that he would always be thankful to the majority community of kerala for being secular as it is and helping the minorities prosper with them . which is a huge credit for the 95% of us . i conclude this post with the trajectory of BJP’s evolution , a party that began as the appendage of RSS is now a national party whose ideology is just called “right wing” , with more emphasis on free market than on hinduism.