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A guest post by Hari Prasad on the propaganda prevailing in India, the nature of it and the implications it has for the country and its ability to understand its government.

India. It was May, 26th 2014. There was a coronation in front of an historic building to an undisputed emperor of the purportedly new dawn, the king of good days (not times). There was hope, expectation, (misplaced) rejuvenation among many and there was anxiety, curiosity, worry and suspense among another lot. What one thinks and feels (or felt of thought) is not relevant when it comes to judge what has happened since.

There have been seemingly unconnected statements made by various ‘fringes’ – a term which is mostly an excuse by the present ruling dispensation in India and its larger family the RSS. It is important to see why these statements and certain actions are to be seen in cohesion and not as so called ‘isolated’ anomalies.

But how are things handled these days in India? How is criticism taken these days in India? How is opposite point of view is viewed in India? All of these not by Indians but by the present ruling dispensation and its cohorts in India.

I have kept the prose very rudimentary, less grammatical and only in hints or examples (not explanations) and there is a reason to it.

Ad hominem:

You place an argument and instead of responding to that argument, we are called names. I will let you assume what those names have been and how many people have been victims of those. To electoral opponents in Delhi to an economist.

Ad nauseum:

How many times have we heard a single or very limited ideas being repeated – like ‘Love jihad’ or ‘us vs them’ or ‘appeasement of past’?

Appeal to authority:

How many seemingly unconnected and extremely opposite national icons have been appropriated by this group? Bhagat Singh was a completely left. Ambedkar called Hinduism “a veritable chamber of horrors.” Netaji had nothing to do with RSS. Patel was opposed to RSS. Yet, and that’s where the beauty lies, they are being appropriated.

Appeal to Prejudice:

How many loaded and emotive election campaigns have we seen during 2014 and two years after that? Whether it is 15lakh per person to Muslim across the border in Assam to crackers across the border in Bihar, to the latest Kairana, we have come a long way in just appealing to only emotions.

Big Lie:

The big lie was economy was absolutely down. Nothing moved. Policy paralysis. Based on the new series (or magic series, if you are one of the critics), in fact the economy didn’t do as bad in numbers published by the finance ministry in final years of UPA. But in meetings after meetings, in interviews after interviews we heard the word “revival” used sparingly and without any inherent meaning. There was no concrete proof provided on what that word meant. There was neither concrete proof provided for the word “in shambles.”

And oh, the global economy was blamed. And what did the world see after 2008? A high growth and high demand period? (more on specifics in another post)

Black and white fallacy:

Sometime back, I wrote on ‘is and the ought.’ Apart from those, we have been provided with few false choices during these two years. A shining example – “have four kids or else…”

Cherry Picking:

Savarkar sympathizers quoting Gandhi, to their own convenience. The irony died multiple times in the past two years.

Classical Conditioning:

If you are against this government or its policies, you are termed you know what by you know who. What happened and is happening to the NGOs and the activists in Chatisgarh is beyond comprehension.

Common Man:

Remember the photo ops – worshipping parliament, crying in central hall, posing with broom. These appeal to the common folks, just like you and me. And by the way what is wrong with it? Nothing, if they are true and honest and we know now those are not. When you work actively to topple elected government, your empty symbolism is sheer waste.

Cult personality:

My favourite. There is nothing wrong in personality but everything wrong with Cult personality. Name a person in India who has used mass (and social) media to have cultivated idealized, heroic and worshipful image? The never-wrong image fuels the followers and in turn feeds the person as well.

Demonizing the enemy:

Remember the Hitler and Akbar comparison by a dimwit? Libtards sounding bastards to refer liberals. Presstitute sounding prostitute or press? These are sub-human and at once demonizes all opponents.

Dictat:

Indian Prime Ministership is supposed to be first among equals. There has never been a PM apart from Nehru who personified this. However, there was nothing called as Dictat from the last PM. But now, there are Diktats – Yoga Day on Ramzan, Good Governance day on Christmas etc. With short term memory, we forget the burqa diktat in one Jaipur rally of BJP and yea, asking colleges to send pupils to its Mhow rally.

Disinformation:

Dadri. JNU and Hyderabad University. Created false records, forged video to convince us of some untruth. This also has extended to conceal truths by censorship. Udta Punjab is a case in point and not the end of it. Kerala – somlia comment. Amit Shah showing a Sri Lanka kid’s pic with the words “God’s own curse”

Euphoria:

Circa 2014. Need say more? Or all the NRI meets.

Exaggeration:

Modi lied about paying off Gujarat’s debt before and he lied about 15 lakh per person on black money. And I am waiting and so are crores. These are all classic case of exaggeration which are allowed only to poets and if politicians use this licence they have one word for it – LIARS!

Fear, uncertainty and doubt:

With demonization and name calling, few sections of society are left in fear. They have to prove everytime that they are innocent and the starting point of any debate is under the assumption that they are guilty.

Flag-waving:

After 6 decades of independence we are left with a debate on nationalism and patriotism. Now, we are expected to prove our patriotism first when we debate the idiots and foxes in power. To provoke nationalism is one thing, it can harness good in a society but the flag waving group is certainly not doing for it.

Guilt by association:

You are associated with congress, yes you are guilty and anti-national. Well, when they cross the river and come over to BJP, their sins are cleansed by Ganga jal and are reborn. Assam to Uttarakhand to Arunachal we have seen it all.

Half truth:

“Despite being Muslim….” That’s how a minister referred to Late APJ Abdul Kalam. He was a Muslim, yes, no denying that but ‘despite’?

Intentional Vagueness:

This government is a master in not disclosing facts and trumpeting on motherhood statements. Take for example BJP-PDP alliance. Or for example the Naga accord. What are the specifics? What have we conceded or accepted to? Bharat Mata is worshipped but “afforestation commitment” and “Forests Rights Act” certificate have been removed for miners!

Labelling:

Aadarsh Liberals. Libtards. Sicklar. Presstitutes. Barmaid.

These are easy, simple, deceptive, meaning less but enchants the crowd. (Bhakt is a praise and cannot be called as pejorative.)

Managing the news:

As Arun Shourie said, this government is managing the news and not the economy. What we are given now are recurrent themes – “under threat,” “love jihad,” “illegal migration,” “fastest growing” and acronyms and abbreviations for endless recycled policies and schemes. But actions on those? Never mind.

Minimization:

Dadri. It was not a cow. No, wait. It was a cow. So killing is justified. An unjustifiable position is justified. Go online and see comments and feedback on Godhra and the answer is glaring.

Name calling:

Should it be elaborated? How many facts based arguments have we seen in the past two years? Every issue is twisted to make it emotionally suitable to a point of view, to an agenda, to a predisposed conclusion. Oh! And don’t forget a former general calling some Dog. Behold, Sickulars!

Oversimplification:

Pakistan, China and the like. We have seen and heard solutions to all. We have seen and heard the past government being (rightly) criticized for handling these issues and were offered “56 inch.” But what have we seen? ISI has visited our Air Base, China came in last week, Nepal screwed and no, we love Africans (but only one of our CMs has a reservation about Nigerians). Results? A big big zero.

Rationalization:

How many reasons have we been offered for completely indefensible acts?

Scapegoating:

Oh yea. Blame it on Nehru. Blame it on Congress. Blame it on Mughal Rule (note: not on British Rule). But I am incapable to providing solutions or answers. All I can do is blame the past. And no, don’t question me on my work. Because, I am a patriot.

Also, keeping a one arm distance, the ‘fringes’ are offered as scapegoats whereas they are perfectly in line with the mind-set and ideology of the ruling dispensation.

Stereotyping:

NGOs are foreign national plant. Christians are converting beasts. Most of the supporters actually believe this garbage. And no, I need not say anything about their thoughts on Muslims. A quick stroll through whom the PM ‘follows’ in Twitter will give a glimpse of the stereotyping.

Testimonial:

In March, 2016, BJP tweeted a purported quote of Mahatma Gandhi praising Savarkar. However, when I tried searching a lot, I couldn’t find a quote.

Third Party technique:

Another testimonial came in the form of WikiLeaks which praised Modi as corruption free. Remember? That was also a lie. An organization which is respected and hated worldwide was quoted without any authentication or permission and self-glorified itself.

Unstated Assumption:

One follower, a famous one at that said “When pest control is done at homes, cockroaches, insects etc come out. The house gets cleaned up.” What is the implication? Eradication of all who are opposing this government of us? Or even if they oppose what is the written law, so what? The unstated assumption here is that like Hitler used vermin, he had used it and threatened whoever is opposed to whatever this government thinks it as right. So did he propose a ‘final solution’ to the problem?

Virtue words:

Truth alone triumphs

The world is one single family

Non-violence is the topmost Dharma

Let good thoughts come from everywhere

All spiritual paths are treated equally

“Sahana bavathu… let there be no hostility”

These were pre-2014 words of Modi’s Idea of India.

As recently as last week, we have seen the double message – Vikas from PM and Kairana from the planner.

So why are all these necessary? What are these random phrases? These are phrases which define any propaganda machinery. Their methods, techniques and their ways. Its hard to see things in isolation but when you connect the dots, you have it all.

Without knowing and without being obvious, what we are seeing and living with is a propaganda machinery at work. We can’t search for a plan, a blueprint. What we are left with are actions on ground, inferences glaring at our face, wanting to take note and stand up and raise our voice.

Why was the prose kept very simple? Because someone in the past said that propaganda must be kept simple.

What is Propaganda?

The dictionary describes it as “information, especially of biased nature, used to promote a political cause or point of view.”

What will this trend lead to?

People who have the power also have the responsibility to do. In our case, we have the power to resist such schemes, manipulations and twisting of facts. If we stand and watch silently, if we think that this has not happened to me so it will never happen to me, I leave you with these wise words of Niemoller.

“First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Socialist.

Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.”

Dissent, debate and disagreement are cornerstones of a vibrant democracy. By using the techniques of propaganda, the ruling party and its affiliated ‘parivar’ are undermining it. Brick by brick, the edifice of our democracy is being eroded in front of our eyes and we are remaining mute spectators.

If we think, this will not happen to India, just because this is India, we are either living in fools’ paradise or utterly stupid.

Wake up, its propaganda!

Originally published here

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While AAP is busy distracting from the nature of accusations against Nitin Gadkari by suffering more damage than him and talking about that suffering rather than multiple-DIN Nitin Gadkari (it is an evil denounced by the BJP with much outrage), it is a good time to put them up again and leave readers to decide whether this is corruption or an innocent being defamed with false accusations.

These are direct extracts from investigative reporting by media houses. Nitin Gadkari is welcome to sue them for defamation as well.


This is IBNLive

Nitin Gadkari aides including ex-driver were directors in 26 companies

Days after revelations of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) President Nitin Gadkari's former driver being the director of some of the alleged benami companies that funded Gadkari's company, CNN-IBN has now accessed more documents. The documents show that four of Gadkari's very close aides, including his former driver and accountant, have been directors in at least 26 companies and that too within a period of the past four years.

Gadkari's former driver, Manohar Panse was a director in 11 companies between 2009 and 2011. Gadkari's very close aide, Kawdu Zade, has been a director in 16 companies in the same period. Purti employee Nishant Agnihotri has been a director in 13 companies.

A very close aide, Sagar Kotwaliwale has been a director in 9 companies. Like the controversial Purti Sugar and Power Private Ltd. in Nagpur, there are three more companies controlled by the 4 close aides of Gadkari.

CNN-IBN had on Thursday also accessed details of one of the alleged shell companies that invested in Gadkari's Purti Group. Regency Equifin Pvt Ltd interestingly has Gadkari's accountant Kawu Zade and other employees in Purti as directors.

Also, records show that Regency Equifin both borrowed from and lent money to Gadkari. The company bought shares worth Rs 4 crore in Gadkari's Purti Group in 2008. The 2008-09 balance sheet of Regency Equifin shows Gadkari gave unsecured loans of Rs 26 lakh. In 2011, the balance sheet of Regency Equifin shows that the loss-making Purti gave Rs 95 lakh to it.

The Income Tax department on Thursday began probe into Purti Power and Sugar Ltd (PPSL). I-T authorities said they will also probe source of funds of the 18 companies that invested in Purti. Prima facie evidence suggested that shell companies had invested in Purti. Sources said that if necessary Gadkari might also be summoned in the case.

"I-T departments of Mumbai and Pune have started their probe into Gadkari's Purti Power and Sugar Ltd," sources said. The agency is also expected to submit a report to Central Board Direct Taxes (CBDT) soon.
The 18 companies will be summoned in due course. I-T department sources said that it would be very difficult to prove the quid pro quo. "If necessary Gadkari might also be summoned but that call will be taken by investigating officer in due course of the probe. I-T has already started gathering documents relating to these companies," said sources.

"We will trace the source the funds of the companies including the 18 companies that invested in Purti," a top I-T official said on condition of anonymity. He said prima facie 'shell' companies (inactive firms used as a vehicle for various financial manoeuvres or kept dormant for future use in some other capacity) had pumped money into PPSL.

Gadkari is at the centre of a raging controversy over funding of PPSL with media reports claiming that major investments and large loans to Purti were made by Ideal Road Builders (IRB) group, which had won contracts between 1995 and 1999, when the BJP chief was PWD minister in Maharashtra.

Reports also claimed that shell companies were floated for making investments and their fake addresses were submitted to the Registrar of Companies. On Tuesday, Corporate Affairs Minister Veerappa Moily had said that Registrars of Companies would inquire into the allegations. On his part, Gadkari has denied the allegations and said he was prepared for a probe.


Here's more from BJP's oh so loyal Times Now.

Here. One more from Times Now


Here NDTV finds that these supposed directors may not be aware of being directors and address provided for firms are fake.

Astrologer, driver are directors of investor firms for Nitin Gadkari's company

Through a partly opened door Manisha Sharma said, "My husband Vishnu Sharma is an astrologer. He works from home, looking at people's horoscopes. He does not work anywhere else." Mrs Sharma was responding to questions about her husband's links with BJP president Nitin Gadkari. Mr Sharma himself, his wife said, was away in Jaipur.

Vishnu Sharma is listed as a Director in Ashwami Sales and marketing and Earnwell Traders, both of which have bought over Rs. 5.5 crore worth of shares in Mr Gadkari's Purti Group. According to documents filed with the registrar of companies, Mr Sharma was appointed a Director of Ashwami Sales and Marketing in June this year.

Ashwami shares its company's address with two other entities - Earnwell Traders Private Limited and Swiftsol India Private Limited. But none of these companies exist at the address, 10 Govind Karman Chawl, in suburban Mumbai's Malad. It's the residence of the Soni family since the last 15 years.

Earnwell and Swiftsol together own about Rs. 5 crore worth of shares in Purti.

Ever since NDTV exposed mystery companies that have invested in Nitin Gadkari's Purti Power and Sugar Private Limited, more details of these companies and its Directors are emerging everyday.

All of them point to the loopholes in Mr Gadkari's defence. On Saturday, when NDTV broke the story of mystery investors in his Purti Group, Mr Gadkari had said his investors are friendly businessmen and professionals who he turned to fund his company.

Nitin Gadkari had said, "Any individual can purchase any share from any company. Basically there are 10,000 farmers. The farmers are the members of Purti. Now on that equity it was difficult to get the loan, so we approached many people from society - industrialists, traders, businessmen, investors."

But what is emerging is that investor companies have as their directors astrologers, Mr Gadkari's personal aides and his own driver Manohar Panse. One of these companies is Ashwami, the same which has Vishnu Sharma, the astrologer as its Director.

When NDTV went to the residential address of Mr Panse in Nagpur, given by the company to the Ministry of Corporate Affairs, we were told that he did not live there. He lives exactly opposite, in Wada, Mr Gadkari's' home in Nagpur. Today though Mr Panse, we were told, was not there.

Instead, we met his son who said he had no idea if his father was a Director in one of the companies that had invested so much money in Mr Gadkari's company. Amit Panse said if his father was made Director, it was because he has been working loyally for Mr Gadkari for 22 years.

Panse was also a Director at one point in another mystery company All Wise Finvest. This company has bought shares worth Rs. 3 crore into Purti Power and Sugar Private Limited.

False addresses, directors who are personal aides, directors who are clueless about the existence of these mystery companies - all raising questions about the sources of funding of Purti Group.


So here is the icing on the cake of these investigations. Threats to Income Tax officers. This would be Economic Times.

Nitin Gadkari threatens I-T officials investigating Nagpur-based Purti Group

A bellicose Nitin Gadkari on Thursday threatened revenge against Income Tax officials, who are investigating his controversial dealing with the Nagpur-based Purti Group. A day after the sangh parivar capitulated to outraged public opinion and handpicked Rajnath Singh to lead the BJP, Gadkari warned the tax officials of "retribution" when a government headed by his party takes over the Centre.


Financial jugglery appears to be an open secret. Here's what the Commission of Inquiry on the Adarsh Housing Society found according to The Hindu. Of course, Maharashtra Cabinet scrapped the report right off the bat.

Gadkari aides figure in benami transactions

A firm, of which MP Ajay Sancheti’s brother Abhay is director, financed 8 buyers in Adarsh

The Commission of Inquiry on the Adarsh Housing Society has found 22 transactions to be benami, eight of the buyers having been financed by the San Finance Corporation, of which the BJP Rajya Sabha member Ajay Sancheti’s brother Abhay is a director. The Sanchetis are considered close aides of the former party president, Nitin Gadkari.

All 22 transactions are barred under the Benami Transaction (Prohibition) Act 1988, says the report, since tabled in the Maharashtra Assembly and already rejected by the Cabinet.


I guess someone needs to explain to Gadkari that it ain't defamation if it is true.

There were nice attempts to whitewash Gadkari but content doesn't really die on the internet.

Cobrapost brings to light the conspiracy and exposes the conspirators behind the events of December 6, 1992, which rewrote the history of modern India on communal lines

In a long undercover investigation, Cobrapost has unearthed the conspiracy behind the fall of Babri Masjid in Ayodhya on December 6, 1992, exposing the actors who pulled the strings from behind the scene, weaving about a complex cobweb of intrigue and deceit that even the CBI could not unravel after years of investigation. Working at different levels, these actors kept the whole plan a highly guarded secret with its details never coming out. The plan was given a codename, ‘Operation Janmabhoomi’, which Cobrapost found apt to use for its undercover operation, as well, and was executed with precision of a military operation, from conducting training to putting all logistics in place and finally launching the assault, using multitudes of crowds as cover.

Posing as an author-to-be researching for his book on the Ayodhya movement, Cobrapost Associate Editor K. Ashish interviewed 23 of these actors, namely, B.L. Sharma Prem, Dharmendra Singh Gurjar, Jai Bhagwan Goyal, Pawan Pandey, Jaibhan Singh Pawaiya, Santosh Dubey, Swami Sachidanand Sakshi Maharaj, Mahant Ram Vilas Vedanti, Ramji Gupta, Ramesh Pratap Singh, Sadhavi Ritambhara, Sadhavi Uma Bharti, Vinay Katiyar, Kalyan Singh, Prakash Sharma, Champat Rai Bansal, Satish Pradhan, Mahant Avaidyanath, Acharya Dharmendra, Moreshwar Save, Lallu Singh, Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh and Swami Nritya Gopal Das.

Of these, while the Liberhan Commission has indicted 15, the CBI has named 19 accused in its chargesheet, strangely enough leaving out B. L. Sharma, Mahant Avaidyanath, Nritya Gopal Das and Ram Vilas Vedanti. In all, 40 are facing trial in a CBI court, of which 32 have been made accused in FIR No. 92/197 as executors, while the remaining eight have been made accused in FIR No. 92/198 as conspirators.

The investigation took Associate Editor Ashish to Ayodhya, Faizabad, Tanda, Lucknow, Gorakhpur, Mathura and Moradabad in Uttar Pradesh; Jaipur in Rajasthan, Aurangabad and Mumbai in Maharashtra and Gwalior in Madhya Pradesh.

The Conspiracy and Preparations for the Assault

Role of the Bajrang Dal: As the Cobrapost investigation reveals, the conspiracy to demolish the Babri Masjid was hatched at the top level and those who were recruited for training did not know it till the countdown for mosque’s fall began a month before in November. In June 1992, Bajrang Dal, for instance, conducted a month-long military style training for 38 of its cadre chosen from various regions in Sarkhej, Gujarat. The training was given by retired high-ranking military officers. Ideological teachings were imparted to the cadres by the likes of Acharya Giriraj Kishore, Acharya Dharmendra, Dr. Praveen Togadia, Jaibhan Pawaiya and Ashok Singhal.

The drills conducted at the Neela Teela in Ayodhya by Bajrang Dal cadres took the training they had received in Gujarat a step further. But how and when such skills -- like climbing taller structures with the help of grappling hooks and ropes -- would be put to use was not revealed till the day when the top VHP office bearers asked them to form Laxman Sena with the specific purpose of dismantling the disputed structure in a top secret meeting that was held in the basement of Ram Katha Manch. According to Ramesh Pratap Singh: “Uss baithak mein hum paanch jo humari prashikshit logon mein se paanch the paanch ke baad chatha Ramji Gupta aur Durg Singh Chauhan. Humare adhikari ne humse milne ke baadunka samark wahi unka adesh tha baithak lenge Durg Singh Chauhan aur karravai jo bhi aapko karna ho aap kya karoge rachna kya karoge theek hai wo parde se huth gaye (There were five persons from among those who had received training in this meeting. The sixth person was Ramji Gupta and then there was Durg Singh Chauhan. After meeting with us this office bearer told us Durg Singh Chauhan would be our contact point and he would coordinate all the meetings. Decide whatever you want, how you will form it. After that this office bearer disappeared from the scene).” This VHP office bearer was none other than Champat Rai Bansal.

Bajrang Dal’s War Cry ‘Jai Sheshavatar’: Apart from Ramesh Pratap Singh, this secret meeting was attended by Dharmendra Singh Gurjar from Gwalior, Madhya Pradesh, Hariya Lal Parikh from Rajasthan, Arun Khanna from Punjab, K. Nagarajan from Tamil Nadu and Arun Kumar Tiger from Jharkhand. Ramji Gupta was put in charge of this band of 1,200 RSS workers secreted from various regions. Gupta supplied them with all the logistics such as chisels, heavy-duty hammers, pickaxes, spades, grappling hooks and sturdy ropes in good numbers. The army was divided into smaller groups of 10 each with a leader and each group had its job cut out. All these groups had the instructions to merge with the crowds when they would surge toward the Babri Masjid for karseva and finish the tasks assigned to them. They would not listen to any leader, however senior and respected he might be, till the task was accomplished. ‘Jai Sheshavatar’ was the signal for the groups to begin work on their brief, which according to Ramji Gupta, had to be raised thrice.

According to Dharmendra Singh Gurjar of Bajrang Dal from Gwalior, Madhya Pradesh, from among this band of Laxman Sena, even a suicide squad was formed, which they calledBalidani Jatthaa la the fidayeen Islamic terrorist organisations use. This squad was supposed to lead the assault on the Babri Masjid from the front.

When the Babri Masjid was razed to dust on December 6, it was Shiv Sena chief Balasheb Thackeray who proudly claimed before the world that it was the Shiv Sena which did the job, as BJP leaders like L. K. Advani went about town offering apologies. Thackeray’s claim was not hollow as the Cobrapost investigation establishes.

Role of the Shiv Sena: Like the VHP, the Shiv Sena too had its own plan to demolish the Babri Masjid  and conducted a secret training camp in Bhind–Morena in Madhya Pradesh, bordering Uttar Pradesh, where necessary skills were imparted to its cadres. Says Vinay Pandey of this training: “Usmein Jai Bhagwal Goyal the Delhi ke aur ek Madan Lal Chadda Ghaziabad jinhone wahan vayavastha diya tha, Mahesh Ahuja the aur Anand Digheji uss samay Maharashtra se aaye the training dilwane ke liye (There was Jai Bhagwal Goyal from Delhi, there was Madan Lal Chadda from Ghaziabad who had made arrangements for the training, there was Mahesh Ahuja and Anand Dighe had come down from Maharashtra to impart training).”

The top Shiv Sena leadership including Balasheb Thackeray, Raj Thackeray, Satish Pradhan and Moreshwar Save were keeping a tab on all these activities. Moreshwar Save is also learnt to have provided financial support for the training. A co-accused in the case, Save helped with money to run the training camps. “Save ne kuch madad nahi ki sirf political aur arhtik madad ki. Uss samay khane-peene ke liye hum 65–70 hazar rupaya humko diya gaya tha wo logon ki khane peene ki vyavastha karne ke liye (Save didn’t help much. He helped us politically and financially. He gave us Rs. 65,000–70,000 to arrange food for the trainees),” claims Pawan Pandey, a Shiv Sena leader who has been chargesheeted by the CBI in the case.

The Relic of Mir Baqi on Sale: In the thick of action on December 6, Pandey saw the domes of the mosque crumbling and saw the heavy stone plaque erected by Mir Baqi declaring the establishment of the Babri Masjid, fall apart in three pieces. He took away two pieces of the antique relic as memento. which are still in his possession. Pandey proudly says: “Wo toh abhi humare paas hi hai. Do hissa humare paas hai ek hissa jama hai (This is still with me. Two pieces are with me while the other is with the authorities).” Pandey now wants to auction these relics to make some quick bucks.

Arsenal Used:While the VHP and its youth wing the Bajrang Dal were holding secret meetings at Ayodhya to plan the final assault on the Babri Masjid, the Shiv Sena leadership too was confabulating on the fate of the Babri from New Delhi’s North Avenue, which was attended by Save and Pradhan, among others. If all methods failed, Shiv Sena had an explosive Plan B: dynamite the mosque. Claims Goyal: “Humare paas dynamite bhi tha hum dynamite bhi lekar gaye the wahan par agar zaroorat padti usko bhi chala dete iss taiyari se gaye the hum (We were carrying dynamite there. If need arose, we had gone fully prepared to use it).” In 1990 too, Shiv Sena had tried this option, which was foiled as the police arrested Suresh Baghel who was carrying 28 dynamite sticks.

Imagine the mayhem it could have caused had such zealots succeeded in their diabolical designs.

If not dynamite, petrol bombs were definitely used by these saboteurs to dismantle the structure. This dangerous act was committed by the Bihar team of Bajrang Dal. Former BJP MP Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh was also seen planting a petrol bomb there by none other than his fellow karsevak Jaibhan Singh Pawaiya. Look at the claim Pawaiya makes: “Ek petrol bomb do baje koi lekar aaya jo eent mein lagane ke baad dhuan nikal kar reh gaya uske baad hila bhi nahi … Brij Bhushan laya tha arre petrol bomb (Somebody brought a petrol bomb at about 2 pm. After it was planted between the bricks, it did not work, releasing some smoke only. Oh, it was Brij Bhushan who had brought the petrol bomb).”

Apart from petrol bombs, the forward squad of Bajrang Dal used traditional tools like chisels, heavy-duty hammers, pick axes, spades and grappling ropes were also used in good numbers to bring down the mosque.

Sankalp to Demolish Babri: Sensing the do-or-die mood of Ram bhakts (devotees) who had descended on Ayodhya in lakhs to settle the issue once and for all, a Sankalp (or oath), was administered. The onerous task of initiating the vow fell on Ram Vilas Vedanti. The Sankalp said: “Sankalp mein likha tha aaj dinank 6 December ko hum sabhi Ram Bhakt Ram Lala ke prangan mein yeh pratigya karte hain ki jahan par khandahar khada hai uss jageh bhavya mandir banane ke liye iss Ram Janmabhoomi ke mandir ke khandahar ko hatana avashyak hai isliye isko hatake bhavya mandir ka nirman karaya jaaye iska sankalp hum log Ram Lala ko samarpit karte hain iss dhang se tha (There was written in the oath that on this day of December 6 we all Ram bhakts take this oath on the premises of Ram Lala that it is necessary to remove the structure from where it stands to make a grand temple there. It is necessary to remove the structure to make a Ram Janmabhoomi Temple. We all take this oath for Ram Lala).” No sooner had the oath been administered, began the assault on Babri.

Dubious Role of VHP Chief Ashok Singhal: As it is already known and as it has come to light in the Cobrapost investigation as well, there were two determined attempts to demolish the Babri first in October 1990 and then in December 1992. However, the first attempt ended in police firing in which karsevaks were killed. Recounting the horror of October 30, Sakshi Maharaj says that if there is anybody to be blamed for the killing of karvsevaks, it has to be Ashok Singhal, none else: “Toh mere saamne Ashok Singhal ji ne kaha Maharaj kuch log nahi marenge toh andolan upar nahi uthega toh aap agya do jaane ki … toh Ashok Singhal ji ne kaha ... Vamdev ji ne kaha bache marenge toh bahut kaam kharab ho jayega ... Bole  Maharaj jab tak nahi marenge tab tak kuch hoga nahi andolan, tabhi barhega (Before me, Ashok Singhal said ‘Maharaj (to Vamdev), the movement would not gain momentum unless some people die’. This is what Ashok Singhal said. Maharaj Vamdev said it will be disastrous if children die. Ashok Singhal again said the movement will not get a fillip until they die).” Sakshi avers that well-known karsevaks like the Kothari brothers from West Bengal and Mahendra Singh from Rajastan were deliberately targeted by the police at the behest of some vested interests spearheading the Ram Janmabhoomi movement.

Adding credence to Sakshi’s averments, then BJP leader and MP Uma Bharti also blames Bajrang Dal leader Vinay Katiyar, her compatriot in the movement, for the killing of the Kothari brothers: “Jo log mare the wo Vinay ki galti se. Galti bhi nahi wo bhagdar machi wo gali chhoti thi. Galti matlab wo bhag gaya chhodkar bhag gaya (They got killed because of Vinay’s mistake. Actually, there was a stampede and the byelane was narrow. By mistake he fled the scene abandoning his group).”

These revelations add a new dimension to the Ayodhya conspiracy and raise a pertinent question with regard to the intent of its leaders: Were they using the youth as sacrificial goats?

Like Sakshi Maharaj and Uma Bharti, Dharmendra Singh Gurjar, another frontline leader of Bajrang Dal at that time, is critical of the manner the leaders used the youth of the country for furthering the movement, only to dump them later: “Ye sab bewaqoof banane wali baatein hain isiliye toh humara desh bewaqoof banta aa raha hai … pehle hum jawani ke josh mein the … junoon mein the ek junoon tha guzar gaya … logon ne upyog kiya aur chhod diya use karke (All this talk is an exercise in making a fool of people … this is why our countrymen are made a fool every now and then  (by such leaders) … in those days I was being driven by the enthusiasm of youth … I was driven by plain madness … it was plain madness which has passed … people used us and threw us out after using us).” Drawing an analogy, he says “leaders use us in the same manner as we use tobacco”. What he says shows his complete disenchantment with proponents of Hindutva: “Aise logon ke sath kiya bees saal baad logon ki zaroorat nahi ya jo bees saal baad naye yuva honge unka upyog karenge (This is what they did. After 20 years (of the Ayodhya movement), they don’t need people like us … or they will use the new generation of youth after 20 years).”

Another interesting fact that Cobrapost investigation has thrown up is that disenchantment against the BJP leadership runs deep also among the more hardliners of Ram Janmabhoomi movement leadership.

Hindu Zealot Cursing Fellow Hindu Zealot: If leaders like Gurjar feel cheated, Acharya Dharmendra too feels slighted at the compromising stand of leaders like L. K. Advani: “Sachai ye hai ki Advani ji karm fod rahe hain abhi tak karm fod rahe hain ki mere jeevan ki abhi tak ki sabse badi durghatna thi. Sachai ye hai. Toh fir kis ko kya fayada hona hai? Atalji ne kaha mere jeevan ka sabse sharmnak din hai toh aur kya sachai hai? Sachai ye hai Arun Jaitley ne kaha ki Hindutva humare liye ek loklubhavan nara hai anyatha hum Gandhivadi samajvadi dharmnirpeksh loktantra mein vishwash rakhte hain. Satya ye hai ki Sushma Swaraj ne 1992 mein ye kaha ki Ram Janmabhoomi ek baar hi cash hota hai aur wo humne cash karwa liya wo karva chuke aur kya satya hai? (The truth is Advani is still cursing his karma going about saying that it (Ayodhya demolition) was the saddest event of his life. This is the truth. Then, who is going to benefit? Atal (Behari Vajpayee) said it was the most shameful event of his life. What more truth you want to know? The truth is (BJP leader) Arun Jaitley said that Hindutva is a populist slogan for us. Otherwise we believe in the Gandhian, Socialist and secular democracy. The truth is Sushma Swaraj said in 1992 that you can encash Ram Janmabhoomi movement only once and we have done that).”

Mahant Avaidyanath too spews venom against Advani: “Advani bahut … unko toh zinda nahi rehna chahiye (Advani … he should not stay alive).” He says the rest of the leadership: “Nahi sab swarthi log hain jo iss tareh se kehte hain kyonki aapko Hindutva ki avashayakta nahi hai jab zaroorat hoti hai istemaal karte hain (No, all these leaders are selfish who say such things because they don’t need Hindutva at all. When they need it, they just use it).”

Another leader who has only disdain for leaders like L. K. Advani is Santosh Dubey. He says bluntly: “Jisko iss desh ka Hindu bhagwan maan raha ho jab wo hi jhooth bolne lag jayega toh log usko shaitan manane mein bhi der nahi karenge. Advani jhoothe aadmi hain unhone Jinna ko Brahmin aadmi bataya. Ganda aadmi hai kul milakar. Dhancha tudwane mein unki poori sahmati hai kaise jageh jageh unhone jaloos nikala sabhayein ki har jageh bolte the. Aapne toda hai ya nahi toda hai lekin aapne lalkara toh, todne wale toh taiyar kiye(If someone who the Hindus revere as God begins to tell a lie, it will not take long for them to trash him as a Satan. Advani is a liar who said Jinnah was a Brahmin. He is a dirty fellow in all. He had agreed on the idea of felling the structure. It was he who led the processions, addressed the meetings and talked about it everywhere he went. You broke it or not, but you gave a call and prepared people for the job).”

Role of Kalyan Singh, the Nero:A fallout of the events that followed the failed attempt on Babri and killing of karsevaks in October 1990 was that BJP came to power in four states, and Uttar Pradesh was one of them, with Kalyan Singh at the helms. Now, the approach was diametrically different from the approach that the local administration had in the 1990 karseva. Although Kalyan Singh had the foreknowledge of what going to happen on December 6, he chose to look the other way round. Mahant Ram Vilas Vedanti, another leader of the movement, claims to have informed Kalyan Singh about it a day before: “Paanch December ki raat ko hi Kalyan Singh ke paas samachar bhej diya gaya tha aur usmein ye kaha gaya tha ki yadi awashayakta padti hai toh dhancha bhi tod diya jayega aapko kya bhoomika nirwah karni hai vichar kar lijye (On the night of December 5 itself Kalyan Singh was informed of it and he was told that if need be the structure would be felled. Now, you decide what you have to do).” Sakshi Maharaj also claims to be in constant touch with the then chief minister. It is learned that at one point, Kalyan Singh had made up his mind to resign in the morning on December 6 when he came to know an assault on the disputed structure has begun, but senior leaders of the RSS like H. V. Sheshadri and Murli Manohar Joshi dissuaded him, while BJP leaders in Lucknow made him captive the whole day until a clean job of the mosque had been made at Ayodhya.

What made the job easier for these zealots was a sympathetic administration and police force, which instead of discharging their constitutional obligations were goading the karsevaks to remove the “headache” the Babri had become for them. Pawaiya makes another interesting observation about the role the Provincial Armed Constabulary (PAC) played on December 6, 1992: “Wahan nirman kayra ka jo stall tha, uss stall ko todkar ke saaman nikala. Usmein jo rasse the aur jo PAC tha jo Uttar Pradesh ka usne chhaini aur ye saari cheezein logon ke haath mein di ki isko saale ko sirdard ko khatma karo to wo sahyog mein lekar usase toota tha. Matlab PAC favour mein thi poora sainya bal ye keh raha tha kya-kya chahye tumhein tod daalo tum ye tha wahan par (There was this stall for construction work. That stall was broken apart and the ropes and other stuff were taken out. The PAC of Uttar Pradesh gave the people chisels and other implements saying they should remove this headache forever. This is how they cooperated in the demolition. I mean, the PAC was in absolute favour. The constabulary was saying tell us what you want. You break it down. This is how it happened).”

There is no surprise if the then District Magistrate Ravindra Nath Srivastava and Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Devendar Bahadur Roy find themselves among the accused in the CBI chargesheet.

Role of Prime Minister P. V. Narasimha Rao: After the Babri Masjid demolition, there were allegations flying thick and fast that then Prime Minister P. V. Narasimha Rao had given his tacit support to the demolition. Cobrapost investigation finds these allegations true as some leaders at the forefront of the Ram Janmabhoomi movement like Vinay Katiyar, B. L. Sharma, Santosh Dubey, Sakshi Maharaj and Mahant Ram Vilas Vedanti openly acknowledge Rao’s supportive role.

An Elephant and Four Blind Men: Interestingly, on the surface, the interviews all these proponents of Ram Janmabhoomi movement had with Cobrapost’s Associate Editor Ashish remind us of the story we read in our school days in which four visually challenged persons get hold of an elephant and describe it the way they perceive the different body parts they are holding. But in the end, they serve the same purpose. Similarly, all the major leaders interviewed describe the various aspects of the movement, and between their claims and counterclaims one has to read the subtext to ascertain their involvement in the larger conspiracy and execution, so subtle are their answers at times to pinpointed questions.

For instance, Champat Rai Bansal would draw an analogy when he describes his role in the demolition of Babri Masjid. Bansal asks the reporter who killed Rawan? When the reporter says it was Ram who killed Rawan, Bansal in turn asks: “Vibhishan ki bhoomika nahi hai (Didn’t Vibhishan have a role in it)?” Bansal is no minion to make such statements that would not carry weight, for the high-ranking functionary of VHP and a close aide of Ashok Singhal was one of the architects of Laxman Sena which was entrusted with the task of razing Babri to the ground on December 6, taking advantage of the sea of restive karsevaks gathered there at Ayodhya. His understatement suffices to make it clear that the whole ‘Operation Janmabhoomi’ was conducted with utmost secrecy, with even some senior most leaders of the movement never coming to know of such audacious plan.

Callous Face of Hindutva: However, a very callous and indifferent face of this movement and its leadership comes in full glare when the Cobrapost reporter reminds Mahant Avaidyanth of the sacrifices numerous karsevaks such as Vinod Vats, whose old parents now have nothing to fall back upon. Avaidyanath nonchalantly makes light of such a sacrifice: “Sabko marna hai tumko bhi hai mujhe bhi marna hai. Mrityu ko kaun rok sakta hai(All have to die, both you and me. Death is inevitable).” He has the same philosophy for his old, helpless parents: “Wo bhi marenge unko bhi marna hai (They will also die. They also have to die).”

A Witness to the Fraud: The Cobrapost investigation brings to the fore one more fact: the appearance of Ram Lala at the Babri Mosque was not the result of some divine intervention but the handiwork of a petty priest and two senior government officials who became willing conspirators in this fraud. A witness to this deceit was none other than Baikunth Lal Sharma alias Prem, two-time BJP MP from East Delhi. It all happened before his eyes in 1949, Sharma claims, when he was posted in Ayodhya with Military Police as a Warrant Officer. Priest Ram Chandra Das, a regular visitor to their unit, informed them how on a particular day Ram Lala would appear. Debunking the theory of Ram Lala’s ‘divine appearance’, Sharma avers: “Arre ji kahe ke prakat hone wale … prakat kiya hai … wo toh maharaji ka kaam tha na Ram Chandra Paramhans (How would He (Ram Lala) appear? He was made to appear … It was the handiwork of Maharaj Ram Chandra Paramhans).” At some other point in the course of his interview, this Hindu-zealot-turned-Khalsa claims: “Ayodhya ki baat sun le main 15 December 1949 ko Military Police mein tha, Ayodhya mein hi tha mere 13 logon ka main warrant officer tha. Hum logon ko jab moortiyan sthapit hui main wahin tha … Thakur Guru Dutt Singh ji the aur Nayyar sahib the theek hai inhone sahyog diya humara jab kabhi hum Faizabad mein humari unit thi bacche Muktar Ghat par (Now, listen to what happened in Ayodhya on December 15, 1949. I was then with Military Police and was posted at Ayodhya. I was Warrant Officer of a unit of 13 military personnel there. Posted there was Thakur Guru Dutt Singh and Nayyar. They helped install the statues. Our unit was stationed at the Muktar Ghat in Ayodhya).”

Although the chronology of events Sharma claims to have been witness to is not accurate (there is a difference of only one week), what he says is irrefutable, for the two officials K. K. Nayyar and Guru Dutt Singh were, respectively, the district magistrate and city magistrate of Faizabad, who wrote the script of this fraud, collaborating with priests Ram Chandra Das, born Chandreshwar Tiwari in Bihar, and Dharam Das. In 1952, Nayyar took voluntary retirement to join Jan Sangh, the political front floated by the RSS, and became an MP in 1967.

Priest Ram Chandra also grew in stature to attain the title of Paramhans in the Hindu religious order as lakhs of Hindus were mobilized by the RSS and its extension VHP and other Hindu outfits in the 1980s with the opening of the gates of Ram Janmabhoomi in 1986 by the Congress government of the day, with the movement reaching a crescendo in 1990 and finally culminating in the demolition of the Babri Masjid in 1992, irreconcilably polarizing the country on communal lines.

This is a copy of the Cobrapost expose. Backed up here just because BJP is busy invoking the Election Commission and what not to silence this.

8

Dear Anonymous,

Congratulations on your first successful protests in India, and what a way to begin - a dozen cities at the same time!

June 9 happened and Internet Freedom Activists protested in several cities of India.Astonishingly, the call sent out by Anonymous India survived the considerable propaganda machine and made it to the real world. This is no mean achievement for an entity that has just come into bring and spent two weeks or so in promoting their first protest. An entity without any financial or organizational backing to enable protests anywhere.

Considering this, it is amazing that volunteers from various cities organized protests at their own expense and initiative. I also applaud the courage of those who protested. It is very easy to protest in a crowd. You go with the flow. When your group is small, and your goal is already under systematic attack, it takes exceptional courage to be the few men (or women) standing in the spotlight.

Not only did these organizers promote the protests and convince increasing numbers of people to join in, they managed to fund it too. In a few cases, small local groups supported voluntarily, in other places, the protesters didn't know each other at all. It is a tribute to Anonymous striking a note of inspiration that this is possible, and I applaud the call you took and your success in its manifestation. I admit that I was one of the few very skeptical people who thought that the protests would either not happen, or worse happen with really few people in very few locations.

I supported your cause, no doubt, but I didn't think India was ready to speak out on censorship to this extent after struggling to raise support for the Freedom Fast in Delhi recently. I didn't think it possible, but true to the advice I got in one of the interviews, I, being one who thought it was not possible, did not get in the way of people doing it. And it was good advice. Thrilled to be proved wrong.

The response was mixed. The earliest sign of trouble came when the police in Cochin "arrested" six protesters after their protest was done. There was much anger (including by me) but it later turned out that the Cochin police not being informed of the protest had detained them for questioning about the protest and let them go after taking their personal details and making a few veiled threats about them being questioned if there was further trouble.

The worst response of the state happened in Hyderabad and Kolkata. In Hyderabad the protests were supported by the Free Software Movement of India. Protesters were threatened by a senior police officer with arrest and confiscation of protest materials including T-Shirts. They were forced to negotiate when the activists stood their ground and the protest was relocated to the nearby Indira Park with a police escort.

Mamatadidi's Kolkata shines once more - not. About 200 protesters arrived for the protest, and were confronted by the police who allowed them 15 min silent protest. Varying accounts on exact methods  agreed that Police noted details and allowed to protest as a split group to look less visible. There were worrisome accounts of indirect intimidation and veiled threats. It says much about the paranoia in Kolkata over dissent that when the police started noting personal details of protesters, the number dropped to a fourth of what it was. Further, after they were forced to leave, when they assembled at a nearby park, plainclothesmen started taking photos of them without any regard to their refusals. At which point they disbanded. But the cops weren't done. They started making individual calls to the numbers they collected interrogating them about their intent and questions like how long they were "gathering online to make protests". Very insane. Mamata Banerjee is increasingly looking like a very worrisome dictator.

And then our President Pratibha Patil shines once more for being anti-people and possibly without even being aware of what gets perpetrated in her name. Protesters in Pune were refused permission to protest anywhere in the city because the President was in the city. Now Pune is huge. Surely there was one corner the President was not Occupying that the common man could Occupy? No such thing. While they did not deny permission on record, they did not give it either (classic Indian red tape). Pune decided to go ahead anyway, but the response was reluctant.

I am interested in knowing how you plan to work around such blocks, because these are important to address, and they hit a lot of citizens routinely if they want to protest anything.

From all accounts, the protests in other places went well. The most life affirming response came in Mumbai, where a protester actually reported that one of the senior officials at Azad Maidan recommended that they repeat their protest soon, if they did not get a good response first time. Win, Mumbai, this is how you win hearts. Hoezaay attended the protest both to support and to report and has a heart warming account of Occupy Mumbai on his blog. A rare worldview, where he staunchly supports the movement, and acknowledges disagreements including areas he doesn't support at all without letting it undermine his firm assertion of the value of the protest in any way. Worth reading.

Occupy Bangalore, Occupy Delhi looked very fun too. The support to the Bangalore protests by FSMK (Free Software Movement Karnataka) who had a parallel protest against the IT Rules was also very appreciated.

Specially worth mentioning is that I was astonished to see that the protests in less publicized places like Calicut, Chandigarh, Jaipur or Manipal go so well. I heard that there was a small protest at Chennai too. They hardly got any attention, but it needs to be acknowledged that they not only have internet users, but they have internet users willing to own a stake in shaping the country's access to the internet. I think this speaks well for our future.

I missed information on Nagpur, Indore, Ahmedabad. I don't think protests happened there.

The response to the protests online was one of initial skepticism followed by a section of people enthusiastically following and spreading news of the various protests. Contemptuous comments about the size of the response persisted, but frankly, I don't give them any weight. In my view, the Anonymous protests were a roaring success. We, of the masala expectations want to see oceans of people to count a protest as successful, since that is the new "benchmark" since the JanLokpal protests. However, the popcorn gallery needs to get a reality check, in my view. Team Anna's protests are coordinated from a central point, backed by organizations with grassroots networks in large swathes of the country. They have funding. They ran SMS campaigns, and did a thousand other things. The handling of the protest is a study in promotion and it was fueled by outrage in the population over corruption.

In comparison, the Anonymous protests are ad hoc. You have no iconic figures, no centralized decision making, no organized reach into the population. Additionally, while almost everyone who understands our IT Act and Rules is outraged, in the physical world, the population of internet users is about 10% and over 99% of those have little awareness of issues like censorship. They will wake up when something they took for granted will not work anymore, or if something they said gets wiped out. Until then, the issue of censorship is not something they expect. Indeed, most Indian users of the internet actually assume Freedom of Expression as described in the US constitution for all intents and purposes. They are not even aware that they could be silenced for being something as subjective as "offensive". Even fewer may be willing to make the effort to actually go to a place and voice support for an idea that their government wants to criminalize. Considering this, the numbers are nothing short of a miracle.

It is a mark of the call of Anonymous capturing the needs and imagination of the people that they can go from being unknowns to having protests in over a dozen cities within a few weeks. A person discounting this has failed to see what is happening among people. Kudos!

That said, I have a few suggestions for Anonymous:

  1. Don't use privately owned public locations (like Malls) for protests unless you know and trust the owning entities as supporters of freedom of speech. It is too easy to evict protesters from private property (even under "inspiration" from the government). Ideally, it should not be so if the protest is not disruptive, seeing as how anyone can enter a mall, and wearing masks is not illegal in India, but remember what we are fighting? Censorship. We have an environment where raising voice against the status quo is almost criminalized by default. We can fight this, but it has to be a separate fight, or it will sabotage this one.
  2. Don't ask for permissions. I have been following your protests with avid interest (including lurking with a nick and being kicked for it) and I have seen that the biggest hurdle to organizing the protests was permissions, which were difficult to get and often for inexplicable reasons. Naturally, if you don't want to break laws, you will have to plan protests that won't need permissions. Smaller groups, other ways of being visible, whatever... and keep the large protests on the ground for special occasions.
  3. Not to mention the fact that apparently you can't protest as an individual in India. Only organizations get permissions to protest. This is very strange and a whole subject in itself. I suggest formally using Anonymous as the name of an organization and if needed, getting someone to register it in some form, so that all future individual protests in the country can simply put Anonymous as the protesting organization and reclaim their freedom to protest - regardless of whether they are Anonymous or not. This will directly make you heroes for many.
  4. The information needs to be documented and organized for easy reference. I know that since all of you are individuals, this is not easy to manage. I will try and help you with this. If/when I get time, or you should ask bloggers and other internetizens who may have time to volunteer and create timelines and archives of links.
  5. While we haven't had much success overturning censorship so far, there are several individuals and organizations working hard to get the IT Rules revoked, for example. They already have in depth and very responsibly conducted research in place, as well as plans on how to make it happen. Anonymous should consider following news on this and throwing their power behind such efforts, since this is one of your goals too. For example, the recent Stop IT Rules Campaign and the Freedom Fast. There are other efforts being made. If you wish, I can try and find out information on this for you. Or, I suppose you have your ways.
  6. While DDoS or defacing attacks are your chosen method, I think if you must break laws and risk your safety for it, then the payoff ought to be higher. In your place I would certainly not risk my safety over blocking access to a site, that too temporarily. Instead, you should focus more on releasing information pertaining to corruption and other damage being done to the country. Information that would otherwise not be accessible to people.
  7. You should consider creating an RTI archive, where people can send you copies of documents they receive through RTI and you make them public - after a certain delay if needed, if there are stories being released on their basis. Such documents should be carefully tagged with all related keywords and be searchable for people needing information. This will propel the country's struggle toward transparency and accountability, provide activists with far larger quantities of information than they can from individual efforts. They will help provide a layer of safety for the lives of RTI activists as well as resist all attempts at silencing. Operation RTI, may I recommend? Additional bonus, you will get a lot of volunteers because it will be totally legal. I can help you with setting it up if needed. I am also willing t host or admin it, but this project cannot be run by a single individual. It will become too large. I will need volunteers.

That I support Anonymous is no secret. I support all efforts at creating a change toward freedoms and inclusion. I supported Team Anna, I support Satyamev Jayate, I support women's rights advocates, I support the campaign to get rid of the IT Rules, I think all these ways collectively add to the momentum. I am not bothered by the flaws of any method as long as they don't harm life and limb, because I have not yet encountered any call for change that was perfect. In my view, change comes through continuous improvement, not perfect solutions. We are a living culture, and we learn from our experiences. To block change for fear of imperfections is a symptom of a defensive mind that fears failure. In my view, rather than block something "because it will not work", it is far more useful to allow it to try and work, and if it doesn't work, it can't be used anyway. In that sense, I may not be a hacker or support some of the methods used by you, but I certainly accept that there is a very real need you are trying to address, and I respect that.

Or in other words, I don't appreciate the idea of servers being attacked. I don't think it is legal, but I think our situation on censorship is far worse. If that is what it takes, I would compare it with stealing the codes of a nuclear bomb to defuse it. Sure, it is stealing, but heck yes, it helps.

I also accept and understand when you say that the advantages such protest offers you may be the only way the protest can be sustained. Words from the interview remain in my mind. You can't be silenced or defamed. Therefore you will be heard. I think you have a point there, when all kinds of dissent is not allowed to stand by personal attacks and discrediting of anyone raising questions, perhaps it is necessary to let the questions stand on their own without anyone to sabotage attached.

There are many things to say. The idea of Anonymous has always fascinated me ever since I heard it. In fact, this blog is founded on a similar idea, though opposite in many ways. You leave behind identity, I use identity as an expression of one reality in the country. But the focus on ideas being the driving force for change is the same. You are the idealism of a generic, nameless human, I am an example human standing as an expression of the reality of many such people. The same idea, abstracted in different ways.

So Anonymous as an idea is very precious to me. And I do believe that it is possible to do great things if we are able to leave behind our identities and image obsessions and work purely in the realm of valuing ideas regardless of source, on their own merit.

I wish you the very best.

With love,

Vidyut