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We've been seeing this phenomenon all through since the 2014 Lok Sabha election that swept the BJP to power in India. Assorted supporters of Modi and BJP backing off warily as individuals or in groups as they realize that the trailer and the film have little in common. And of course there are those like me, who insist that this is one blame that cannot be laid at BJP's feet, because the trailer and the film are exactly the same, except that those "discovering now" have now been removed from the ranks of the protected and added to the ranks of the disenfranchised. And that appears to have made all the difference.

These people come in a few broad categories of regret:

Organizations with an agenda

Every large collective that could be exploited for votes was tapped into by the BJP. From affiliates of its parent RSS to criminal godmen with profits to make or crimes needing impunity. From rights groups to identity struggles and across ideologies. With overt deals for support or subtle manipulation. And one by one they have been waking up to the disaster that this government is. Many business houses are staring at the economy in disbelief today. Surely they will be assessing who they fund next.

One feels pity for the likes of Swabhimani Shetkari Sangathan, who literally blew away five years worth rights for farmers because they were fooled by pretty promises and didn't look to actually verify claims. They have had brutal awakenings with the collapse of the agrarian economy. First the cattle slaughter ban decimating their investments in cattle, then the demonetisation decimating their income and crippling investment into the new crop cycle and finally the GST - which very few understand, but which is severely restricting the MSME. Going from threatening to tie cattle outside BJP offices over the cattle slaughter ban to writing bitter articles about malpractices and raging farmer protests, SSS is basically doomed to a limbo till the next elections and yes, very definitely out of love. Similar scams have played across other collectives of people and this includes RSS organizations like the Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh, reined in for long from protesting exploitative labour laws, declining jobs and the demonetisation. The RSS has wisely given them permission to protest against the BJP - likely so that they can be told to shut up when it is time for elections again.

Then of course there are the likes of Ram Rahim. Facilitated in every effort to escape accountability to the point of allowing a build up of violent protesters to intimidate the Court from an unfavorable verdict and flown out by helicopter after being convicted! It came as no surprise to anyone that Ram Rahim's sudden departure from remaining apolitical to endorsing BJP openly had come with an understanding of cases against him being dropped. Regardless, with the discovery of 600 skeletons from Dera Saccha Sauda, it is pretty much understood that he will spend the rest of his life in jail or graduate to the Parliament. Needless to say, his supporters are unlikely to vote for the BJP again either.

For profit organizations

With the Congress failing, BJP had made it abundantly clear that you were either with them or against them and those with them would prosper. The likes of Ramdev went on to build empires and gained favorable government actions, land and more - and he isn't going to ditch BJP in a hurry. The rest were dreaming of bonanzas, but are left staring at their own balance sheets as the economy slows and all kinds of dubious gamechangers helicopter in.

And I'll include corporate media here. As the propaganda for the next election starts warming up, several channels that could see nothing but good in the BJP and nothing but evil in the Congress have suddenly returned to journalistic integrity. Hatchet jobs on BJP opponents are off non-BJP channels now. Which should not be understood as the profession finding ethics, but a more likely answer being closer to wallets - the expected bonanza for the corporate media did not materialize, while their journalists were systematically stripped of dignity. Where as recently as last year, journalists thrashed by BJP goons on court premises held silent marches in support of themselves, but the TV screens remained loyal to the autocracy, today the non-BJP media is merrily erupting into criticism of the very same things it was not able to see for the last five years.

Because BJP's considerable ad revenue not withstanding, corporate media is a business and there is no such thing as a business doing well in India these days - unless you're Alibaba. Mobile wallets celebrated a bonanza for a few months and will likely hit a worse situation now as cash returns. The smart ones converted to payments banks. The rest will likely be left scratching their heads wondering what happened like everyone else. Corporate media runs on advertising revenue. Arnab lying without consequence to the public is no longer half as funny as outright hate mongering would have been a short year ago. There is trouble in the cowshed. Media is back to being BJP affiliated media or up for grabs and the twain don't meet right now. And they won't, unless BJP bankrupts its own mouthpieces, or fixes the economy. The ones roped in by their wallets are off seeking their fortune in greener pastures. Both being unlikely, the coming election is likely going to be bipolar with "reality" depending on what channel you are watching.

The economic right wing

If the political right is about majoritarian might being right and under the bus with the rest in the social sphere, the economic "right" (also known as "pro-capitalism") is about prpfits being right and under the bus with the rest. THe two converged smoothly under the BJP govt with the upper caste and upper class providing a hinge that was in common with both for the most part. It is inherently a perspective that lacks egalitarian ethics and was ripe for the plucking when it came to exploiting for votes. Disenfranchisement of ethnic minorities seduced religious supremacists, while deprivation of economically vulnerable gave the pro-profits a high. The mentality is the same - rob the less powerful and distribute among the powerful for instant high of prosperity and power combined with contrast with those lower sinking further. Sadly, it is one thing to disenfranchise the poor and quite another to disenfranchise the profiteers. Honeymoon there was over the minute the economy gods stopped smiling. So people who didn't really see a problem with BJP's extremely disturbing relationship with fascism and made utopian proclamations along the lines of "shaadi ho jayegi to apne aap jimmedar ban jayenge" are now suddenly realizing that communalism is an unacceptable thing after all. Because they can hardly whine about losses to big business when people dying in queues didn't make them blink.

Those who overlooked the sheer number of hate mongers supporting Modi, because it would help bring the "pro-business" to power are now scandalized that the hate mongers voted Modi for hate and not economy. Somehow they hadn't paused to analyze whether the collapse of law and order and decisions by people turning "intellectual" into an insult would help or harm economy. It was one thing to believe that a few dead people and impoverished people-not-like-us were an acceptable price for getting the perfect environment where the free market could ride into the sunset on a swastika. It was quite another thing for the promised free market to not materialize. The GDP was a final slap to their gullibility - for those who still hadn't been repulsed by the economic slaughterhouse that the demonetisation was (many believed it hurt only the poor and not so much the cashless, till corporate profits dropped - people dying in queues was regrettable necessity - economic slowdown was sin). Now they realize the cost. They condemn the damage done to country. Regardless, claimed ethics aside, the bottom line is that they no longer believe the BJP can do anything useful for the economy, or they'd have been fine with a genocide or five too. Today, even Rupa Subramanian of all people admired Rahul Gandhi's speech - of all things. It doesn't get any more "game over, BJP" than that.

The gullibles

These are, quite simply idealistic but lazy fools, who want good things to happen and are content to endorse someone to deliver it without oversight and consider their duty done. They are busy and are quite happy to leave the details to someone who has a good ad. As the propaganda fog wears thin, they are waking up from their zombie like complacency to realize that their ideals that they trusted BJP to enact are not actually being acted on and are all upset in the manner one rants at customer support - when in reality they have been scammed for their votes and influence, not just been provided bad service to.

This class of gullibles also includes various activists who served as useful fools for BJP objectives - sometimes even when they are ideologically opposed to BJP. Feminists, for example were used to bring down credibility of Sheila Dixit government first and then the ethics of the entire left with a series of trials by media of anti-BJP public figures accused of abusing women, anti-Aadhaar activists were used to discredit UPA2 on Aadhaar or Muslim reformers challenging Triple Talak to discredit Islam or the skillful inflaming and use of Tamil nationalist sentiments on Jallikattu to disrupt and control Tamil politics, even as protesters thought they were rejecting BJP. This was basically the skilful magnification of selectively chosen causes to bring down opponents while not caring about those causes in the least. This continues today, because Social Media idealists are a lazy lot, given to exhibitions of ethics more than analysis of social realities and independent conclusions and actions. It is easier to trend a tag provided and be "neutral" by criticizing "even their own" without noticing that there never is a tag for all the rapists in the Parliament - including those defending a convicted Ram Rahim - for example. Useful fools, they are called and in my view, such activists do more harm than good by reducing important struggles to political tools.

It would be ironic that the left or parties that have come up on the basis of activism can't engage activists in protest like the BJP - except it isn't ironic, because BJP is the only party that actually systematically targeted various activists to leverage their influence and use them as fronts instead of making statements as themselves. This is how it was from the start when the Hindutva brigade learned at the lap of the Zionists on how to use rationalists and atheists to discredit Islam - the good old Orkut days. Indian atheists rarely fall for this selective incentive for criticism anymore (Taslima Nasreen and Tarek Fatah are not Indian).

When own tail is on fire

And then there is the sort of BJP supporters who are fine with BJP till they become the victims. In many ways, this already includes the organizations that are backing off and the oracles of the free market, but it also includes several individual cases like Dr. Jwala, who got disenchanted when she accused Tajinder Bagga of harassment and instead of finding support, found herself unfollowed by a Prime Minister who allegedly doesn't unfollow people, while Tajinder Bagga got appointed as spokesperson of the party. It includes the three office bearers of ABVP in JNU who resigned. Now ABVP has been up to a lot of shit in JNU, but it took demands for JNU to be shut down and their own education to be imperilled for them to realize that the BJP stand was wrong. Target minorities, undermine institutions, frame people, violent protests and all is fine. But such a terrible college must not be shut down, because their degree gets into trouble then. Cue ethics.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Now it remains to be seen how BJP makes a play for credibility once more to con people for 2019 and how many of these gullibles fall straight back into their laps once the light and sound show begins.

The famous Patna Museum, started in 1917, turned a hundred years old this April. Today, it was shut down to move its wealth of national antiques moved to an autonomous museum by the government.

Detail of door of Patna Museum
Detail of door of Patna Museum

This had been coming and students of the neighbouring College of Arts and Crafts celebrated its centenary as well as fought tooth and nail to keep it alive as only the love of Art students used to haunting priceless treasures can. Speaking with several people fighting the government to keep a piece of Bihar's priceless heritage alive, I pieced together a story that to me, at least speaks of devastating loot, in the same manner is the ongoing privatization of many national resources from water to historical antiques.

In a state with an abundance of museums falling to disrepair for an alleged lack of funds,  and public infrastructure as well as citizens lacking basic amenities in large swathes of the state, and at a time when Nitish Kumar was busy touting Bihar's poverty, he also saw fit to give 17 acres of land and an estimated 500 crores for the construction of a "world class museum" that would run as an autonomous trust. The usual circus of corruption followed. Tenders through an opaque process, cronies on board, astronomical consulting fees and when challenged, plain ignoring the courts and delaying the case till the project became too big to fail in spite of the High Court judgment clearly saying that the Bihar Museum project was not in public interest (even though it refused to stop it because the project was nearing completion by the time the case concluded). If you're thinking this sounds like UIDAI and Aadhaar, you wouldn't be alone.

An important distinction here, is that the Patna Museum is a Government Department, while the Bihar Museum is owned and run by the Bihar Museum Society - which is basically an NGO with the board appointed by the government, but it is not a government body. It has no legislative backing as a government body. So, what is happening here is that the treasures of the state are being handed over to a privately run organization, while the government fudges this knowledge from people by calling it a "government museum". If it is a government museum, why is an autonomous body recruiting people for it? When was the transfer of the museum done from the Society to the government?

And a 100 year old museum that belongs to the people of Bihar - which amounts to a heritage treasure in itself, is being killed to fill the NGO's museum with world famous antiques and archaeological finds. Its most crucial and valuable exhibits, referenced by archaeologists worldwide in countless books - artefacts dating to before 1764 - will be transferred to the Bihar Museum. There is also fudging of legal process. For example, exhibits on loan from Archaeological Survey of India, Indian Museum in Calcutta and the Lucknow museum cannot be moved without their consent. They have not consented. The pieces are being moved anyway, illegally. Jaya Sankritayan, daughter of Rahul Sankritayan is furious> Her father, Rahul Sankritayan had given his finds of Buddhist and other artifacts from the 12th Century explicitly to the Patna Museum for display. In the event the museum closes, they would revert to the family, she is absolutely not consenting to them being moved to the Bihar Museum.

For those who don't know the difference between a Government Museum and one that is a registered Society, here's the part of Manual of Museum Planning: Sustainable Space, Facilities, and Operations that I found useful in understanding:

Differnet kinds of organizations of museums
Differnet kinds of organizations of museums
funds for private museum
funds for private museum

What this basically means is that the government gifted an entire museum to an NGO. But it also has other implications. While the Patna Museum can rely on the Bihar government for funds, the Bihar Museum may be eligible for funds, but it is the government's discretion whether it gives them and it must raise funds from its own resources and visitors. This pretty much guarantees that sooner or later, the fees for viewing the museum would be priced way higher than the Patna Museum in a state with large numbers poor people who wouldn't be able to view their own heritage - or the shortfall would be made up in other ways and it not being a government Museum, you wouldn't be entitled to answers from the Bihar Museum.

This means, it is vital for the Bihar Museum to be an economic success. And economic success in the armpit of a world famous museum that is a hundred years old would be difficult. The government of Bihar has come to the rescue by giving the Bihar Museum the exhibits of the Patna Museum and shutting down the Patna Museum instead of having to develop its own collection! If you look at what is going on here, you have an NGO that is being given government land, public funds and irreplaceable national archeological wealth to create and run a museum as a private entity. The question must be asked why give all this to an NGO then and why not let it belong to the people of Bihar?

To do this, the 100 year old Patna Museum, which is owned by the state of Bihar and which could easily have been upgraded to "world class" for a fraction of the cost, was raped of its archaeological treasures, including the world famous Didarganj Yakshi sculpture estimated to be 2500 years old, a holy relic of Lord Buddha, Chausa bronzes and many other archaeological finds referenced in scholarly works worldwide. To understand the history of the Museum and how intertwined the creation and curation of the Patna Museum is with the assertion of the identity of the state of Bihar itself, read this loving article by Salila Kulshreshtha that makes it come alive. This Museum opened, in its current glory for the last time yesterday.

When I spoke with Dr. C. P. Singh, General secretary of Bihar Puravid parishad, his anguish 90% of Patna museum's antique exhibits being given to Bihar Museum was unmistakable. And why not? From the little I know, the priceless archaeological finds in a museum are its soul. Which well wisher of a museum would tolerate being forced to part with most of them? His concern was even greater that there wasn't proper infrastructure yet at the Bihar Museum to handle the precious cargo coming in. "Even if we move homes, we have to be careful about the furniture, over here we have world famous relics that need to be handled with care and documented properly". Another concern I heard from an activist was that the inventory was not properly documented. In the hands of a private organization, it would be impossible to say if priceless artifacts from Bihar's history vanished without trace. The cynic in me is fairly certain that this, to the Bihar government and Bihar Museum Society, is a feature and not a bug.

I am not a lawyer, but even to the most uneducated eye, what is going on is clearly a transfer of public assets and funds to private hands in the name of creating a modern museum. In other words, a scam. I agree with the students of College of Arts and Crafts, Patna and the Patna Sangrahalay Bachao Samiti (Save the Patna Museum Association) that the Patna Museum needs to be saved, its painstakingly curated collection of exhibits returned and its dignity that is so interwoven with the history of Bihar itself must be restored.

I hope better legal minds than mine will scrutinize this situation and assist the cause of those fighting an overwhelming war to save something precious.

1

 

Gauri Lankesh was murdered

She was a target of Hindutva forces. She had spoken about this before. Yet, supporters of the government would like us to believe anything except the obvious suspects could be responsible.

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Let us say it loud and clear. Hindu terror units killed Gauri Lankesh. She opposed the RSS, the BJP and these hindutva forces and this killing is the silencing of that voice against hate politics.
B T Venkatesh
Gauri's lawyer

She was the fourth rationalist to be murdered in this manner

She was murdered at point blank range by two assassins who came on a motorcycle in a style similar to other rationalists before her. A professional hit by masked men who knew her routine enough to intercept it, came on motorcycles and fired shots and left.

The killers skills and weapon were good enough to shoot her 4 times in 15 seconds. Like the others, assassins aimed for her chest and head (Govind Pansare was hit in the chest and neck). Like the others before her, she didn't stand a chance. They were stalking her and it was a matter of time before they found her.

Additional striking similarities with murder of Prof Kalburgi

In addition to the similarties in the murders of all four rationalists, there are even more similarities between the murder of Gauri Lankesh and Prof. Kalburgi.

They were both attacked by assassins who came to their homes and attacked them there. (Dabholkar and Pansare were attacked on morning walks).

Like Kalburgi, Gauri Lankesh also was of the view that the Lingayat community was distinct from Hinduism and merited a minority status and was vocal about it. She had also written about the Lingayats in English media.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PgaQv3Jmt-Yhttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FF_Vx3mAFQM

So far, there is no clearly referenced Naxal threat to Gauri described other than the BJP troll factory's accusations, which are now being published in their echo chambers waiting for mainstream media to treat it "equally" with known facts.

Death threats have become a common factor

Gauri Lankesh had described the communalised atmosphere of Karnataka and threats and attacks by Hindutva forces, compared it with her father criticizing Jawaharlal Nehru and Indira Gandhi.

She had come up with a list of who likely Hindutva targets were based on threats and put her own name as fourth on the list. Gauri's lawyer is categorical that she was killed by Hindutva forces.

BJP MLA Jeevaraj openly said in public that Gauri Lankesh would be alive if she hadn't written about the RSS.

What dweshbhakts want you to believe

The troll factory wants you to ignore everything above and believe that Naxals are "equally" suspect. Why? No one has an answer. No doubt, this is laying the groundwork for producing a "Naxal" somewhere. Who just happened to attack Gauri in the same manner as other rationalists.

This is a strategy they have performed successfully before too, when they trolled and bombarded a lazy media with enough invented facts that convinced them to look at the Gujarat riots in a "neutral" manner - as in, ignore direct testimonies and facts on record, BJP or Modi is no more responsible than anyone else.

The goal of dweshbhakts is to either discredit Gauri Lankesh to the point where people will not make too much noise about justice for her or to discredit those deamnding justice in order to create a perception that their demand is inconsequential and should be ignored.

Accordingly, they have come up with a lot of bullshit that is being propagated through usual troll networks

Gauri Lankesh was a "criminal"

The party that specializes in slander and organized slander as a method of attacking dissent now sees defamation - something journalists routinely get sued with - as a statement of her character as a "Criminal" - why? Probably because they already have a script for shooting criminals dead being a good thing.
She was already a target of Hindutva's favorite tactic of filing cases in various places to punish the target by being forced to travel constantly to attend them. The one case she lost, she was out on bail under appeal.

Gauri Lankesh's last name was Patrick

This, of course is an out and out justification of killing Christians as "deceptive". Minor problem with that. Either through sheer illiteracy or malice, the name of her newspaper - Gauri Lankesh Patrike, meaning Gauri Lankesh's journal has been misrepresented as "Gauri Lankesh Patrick" being her full name that she concealed in order to appear Hindu. Actually she is from the Lingayat community and BJP only is desperate to claim them as Hindus - they want minority religion status distinct from Hindus.

Gauri was a Naxal sympathizer - they kill their own

Objective of this is easy. They already have followers well trained in making accusations of being Naxal sympathizers. If this one sticks, they are on the home stretch of the propaganda war.
Well, decide. Was she a Naxal sympathizer and useful for their cause or a Naxal target? There is considerable evidence of her being a Hindu target,This appears to be copied accusations from the recent murder of an RSS activist where RSS-BJP held statewide strikes and then one of them was found to be the murderer.

Gauri Lankesh had a feud with her brother

The implication being that he must have killed her. This, to the best of anyone's knowledge is a longstanding ideological difference. Incidentally, her brother is joining BJP. So how does this rumor even let the Hindutva criminals off the hook if she was killed due to ideological differences with a brother with Hindutva leanings?
This brother is now parroting everything BJP prompts - give case to CBI, Naxal threat after saying no Naxal threat and what not.

Gauri was buried, not cremated

The fault for this actually lies solidly with the RSS and its Hindutva brainwashing that their followers have so little knowledge of Indian religions and traditions, that they don't know there are many Hindu communities that bury their dead. This would include Lingayats - the religion Gauri belonged to. But this is deliberate malicious propaganda aimed at exploiting the ignorance they nurture to trigger instant hate for her. Unless of course BJP wants to ask for Lingayat votes after saying those who bury their deads are Christians/Muslims.

Journalists didn't protest for other slain reporters

The objective is so transparent. You don't ask for justice every single time, therefore you can't expect justice in this murder. This piece of bullshit is actually from an alleged journalist examining five handles and deciding that they did not demand justice for previous cases.This is basically gibberish in the name of statistics.This was immediately and abundantly debunked using everything from proofs to education on statistics. No point adding a few hundred words here.

So, dweshbhakts, what is your damage?

How is it that unknown assailants have at their disposal the entire BJP propaganda machinery? Claims of innocence would have been so much easier to prove with simply demanding an investigation and asking killers to be punished. So why not?


What do you know that we only suspect?

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Nationwide protests

The killing of Gauri Lankesh brought about a wave of anger around the country as journalists and other citizens alike spontaneously declared protests and condelences events in over 75 locations in the country



Dozens of organizations, political parties and citizen groups have condemned the killing

Protest at Press Club, Delhi

Journalists protest at the Press Club, New Delhi. One person holds up a sign that says "Ideas are bulletproof". Many such protests have happened nationwide.

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DYFI protest at Vashi
DYFI protest at Powai against the murder of Gauri Lankesh

DYFI protested in several locations

The Democratic Youth Federation of India, who have already been protesting 4 years of lack of justice for the murder of Narendra Dabholkar took to the streets in several locations in Mumbai and Maharashtra as a whole.

Ravish Kumar at Press Club

Ravish Kumar spoke powerfully about the role of supporters of the government in justifying the murder of Gauri Lankesh and vile tweets by those followed by the Prime Minister.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5tMi3F2Vj0M

Where to from here?

This is a question that must remain in our minds. Can we afford to protest a few days and be complacent? Is this not what murderers count on?

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Can we afford this?

Mr. Gauhar Raza, an eminent scientist and poet, was maligned, defamed and hate engineered against him by the malicious, concocted and motivated news telecast carried by Zee News in March, 2016. Mr. Raza was branded as a part of an “Afzal Premi Gang” for reciting his poems in the ‘Shankar - Shaad Mushaira’.

A complaint was then filed by Mr. Raza with the News Broadcasting Standards Authority against Zee News along with another joint complaint filed by eminent artists like Mr. Ashok Vajpeyi, Ms. Shubha Mudgal, Ms. Sharmila Tagore and Dr. Syeda Hameed. Advocate Vrinda Grover arguedf on behalf of Gauhar Raza and other complainants.

The NBSA, vide its order, has upheld the constitutional right of Mr. Raza to freedom of speech as well as his right to dissent, and held that media house Zee News cannot use their might to intimidate citizens and prevent them from exercising their constitutional right to dissent and freedom of expression.
Upholding the rights of Mr. Gauhar Raza, ZEE news channel has been held liable for their false, malicious and distorted coverage. NBSA has directed that

  • to publish an Apology on 08.09.2017 at 09:00 pm on their channel, in Hindi text, in large font size, on full screen, and a clearly audible vioce over in slow speed
  • Fine of Rs. 1 lakh to be paid in 7 days.
    The NBSA has awarded the highest punishment in its jurisdiction, reaffirming that big media houses cannot trample over the rights of citizens to freedom of speech and expression, which includes the right to dissent

A pdf of the order will be uploaded here when it becomes available. In the meanwhile, copies of individual pages may be found here.