Lalu Prasad Yadav's candid remark on #beef eating "Even Hindus eat #beef" appears to have shocked Sushil Kumar #Modi, and he's asking Sonia Gandhi and Nitish Kumar for explanations, as though there is something difficult to comprehend about a four word sentence.
While the #BJP is busy rewriting #history and and science and textbooks to studiously insert belief everywhere and anywhere, and undermining organizations of learning by installing carefully mediocre (read incompetent) people to key positions, surely the supposed gatekeepers are not unaware of the fact that Hindus can and do eat beef.
I personally know several Brahmins who have eaten beef. I know plenty of Hindus abroad who eat beef. My first taste of beef was a can of corned beef on a trek - brought along by someone whose father was a senior leader of a BJP affiliate party. That too a girl. And this is the Brahmins. The supposed vegetarians, all mentioned so far. Plenty of non-vegetarian friends eat beef. In my late teens and early twenties, I went to the bhendi bazaar almost religiously every Friday, to pick up cheap and interesting things - particularly art materials. One of the #Hindu friends on the group - a CKP - a meat eating #caste considered very upper caste and equals of Brahmins was a total beef fan. If he went to Bhendi bazaar, it was impossible to get him out without eating beef in one of the restaurants there - I forget the name now. I have had beef several times with him, though at that point I was mostly a vegetarian and lived in a Brahmin society, so these experiences came largely in the company of other meat eaters - not just beef, even chicken or other meat.
Over the years, I have heard of countless Hindus eating beef. Perhaps Sushil Kumar Modi is not aware, but there are photos of BJP leaders eating beef as well. In Kerala. In 2013, BJP Tribal leader Devlal Dugga sacrificed a cow to a tribal deity in his native village of Khadka in Narayanpur district of Chattisgarh - against the wishes of local villagers and in a place where animal sacrifices had been banned. As recently as a couple of weeks ago, BJP leader in #Kashmir - Khurshid Ahmed Malik (probably not Hindu unless gharwapsied) threw a beef party protesting the beef ban in Jammu and Kashmir and invited Hindus and Muslims. In 2012, dalits organized a beef eating festival in protest of a beef ban imposed on the college campus at Osmania University. ABVP activists even gatecrashed and got violent there, so it isn't as though BJP didn't know. If you look at the campaign page of the beef and pork eating campaign at JNU, you will notice that most of the profiles listed sound Hindu.
Beef is happily eaten in the northeast tribes, in West Bengal. Countless Hindus have openly stated on various social #media that they do eat beef in the last few days. Like waving "hello! Hindu here. Eats beef."
When humanitarian interests are not served and in fact harmed by the cow and when humanism is shamed, self-defeating extreme cow protection should be rejected…(Samagra Savarkar vangmaya, Vol. 3, p.341)
If we did not eat beef and mutton, there would be no butchers. Eating meat is only allowable for people who do very hard work, and who are not going to be Bhaktas; but if you are going to be Bhaktas, you should avoid meat.
The Brahmins at one time ate beef and married Sudras. [A] calf was killed to please a guest. Sudras cooked for Brahmins.[Source]
There was a time in this very #India when, without eating beef, no Brahmin could remain a Brahmin; you read in the Vedas how, when a Sannyasin, a king, or a great man came into a house, the best bullock was killed; how in time it was found that as we were an agricultural race, killing the best bulls meant annihilation of the race. Therefore the practice was stopped, and a voice was raised against the killing of cows.[Source]
Vivekananda is even alleged to have eaten beef himself (though he has also given contradictory quotes claiming no Hindu eats beef - worth a separate article to examine what he said and to which audience).
So, either an organization claiming to speak about Hindus is ignorant about Hindus, or it pretends to call everyone it can lay its hands on as Hindus, but in the end will only recognize its core upper caste cartel as real Hindus. BJP has to decide whether beef eating castes and tribes it claims under Hinduism are Hindu or not. It has to decide whether the Buddhists it calls Hindu are Hindu or not. If yes, then Hindus most certainly eat beef. If not, they must stop lying in election campaigns and propaganda about the holy cow and Hindu Rashtra. Though of course, Sushil Kumar Modi may not think of beef-eating dalits as Hindus, given how his name was implicated in support to murderers of dalits from the Ranvir Sena. Surely a son of #Hindutva wouldn't endorse #murder of Hindus like some invading Mughal?
Because, even Savarkar had the nature of upper caste zealotry nailed, and himself being atheist and uneasy with #superstition and had explicitly said:
…When humanitarian interests are not served and in fact harmed by the cow and when humanism is shamed, self-defeating extreme cow protection should be rejected…(Samagra Savarkar vangmaya, Vol. 3, p.341)
Ring any bells about Dadri and zealot leaders recommending murder on national television?
But then that is exactly what BJP is doing, no? Creating an artificial "truth" of Hinduism, that excludes non-upper-caste practices and herds everyone into following the "dharma" their leaders are best at defining for everyone - with carrot and stick?
Regardless, at least at this date, it cannot be denied that Hindus do eat beef, which BJP is trying its hardest to deny and prevent. One wonders why, if BJP is supposedly pro-Hindu. One wonders why BJP claims to care about Hindus at all, when its agenda is Hindutva, affiliates of which are happy to #attack Hindus who don't conform to their zealot agenda for India. When the poison fed by nationalists and their profiteering hits the roof so bad that retired veterans are assaulted by state controlled #police, and BJP leader's son incites a murder by lynching with a manufactured accusation of beef eating - against the family of an Air Force warrior of India, where the Air Force chief is moving the family threatened by the murderous rage unleashed by BJP's insanity to its own secure base to protect them.
You can wake up one who is sleeping, not one who pretends to sleep. You can reason with one conflicted over information, not ones seeking to interpret anything and everything and photoshop where not available to incite civil war in a country they pretend to love. Where they report to an organization giving open calls to people to have arms in their home. When there is massive political profit to be reaped from threatening the safety of people and winning #elections by polarizing the greater number of people in a direction you represent, what is the small sacrifice of truth, safety, life?
Is that not the plan? To raze India to the ground and build a Hindu Rashtra on its carcass?
What does it matter that fundamental rights be overruled, bitter hatred be spawned among communities, violence warp Hindu minds till they think of nothing beyond hostility to Muslims. What does it matter? Riots win elections. That is all that matters to abject greed. BJP leaders will be unable to see Hindus who eat beef. They will redefine Hindus, attack them as "not real Hindus" or "anti-Hindus", recommend murders for "secularists", anything, everything to avoid that four word sentence Lalu Prasad Yadav threw out. "Even Hindus eat beef."
Not only have massive killings of dalits not bothered the political establishment, foot soldiers of the ruling #BJP have been on a quest to discredit Cobrapost. Replying to some of their biggest objections instead of individual and repeated replies.
This is problematic on several levels. The evidence they bring speaks for itself.This objection has not been raised about say.... the likes of #Subramanian Swamy, who targets the Congress specifically. Even if it were true, as long as the allegations are correct, they should be investigated, whether it is a BJP puppet or Congress puppet bringing them up. This is consistent with the stand I had taken on AVAM - which targeted #AAP and was supported by BJP in doing so. If their allegations were correct, they should be acted on. AVAM only targeting AAP is no excuse to ignore, just like Cobrapost "only targeting BJP" is no excuse to ignore.
However, Cobrapost, as a matter of fact does not only target the BJP. The expose immediately before the Operation Black Rain was about the UPA stealing the thunder of "Golden Quadrilateral"work done by NDA under Vajpayee and "expanding" it at massive cost with bent rules and hasty clearances. Previous exposes too have targeted Congress. BJP supporters attempting to silence exposes of their wrongs with ad hominem accusations remains a logical fallacy.
Cobrapost is attempting to sabotage BJP before Bihar #elections.
Only true if BJP insists on backing the candidates tainted in the expose. BJP could also choose the way of honesty and justice and reopen investigations and solidly nail Nitish Kumar, who was the CM who scuttled the Justice Amir Das Commission of Inquiry that had nailed the culprits on coming to power. If BJP chose, it could use this to destroy Nitish Kumar. Laloo, messiah of the poor too has done precious little to get justice for this and could be confronted. It could even be projected as the transformation of BJP under their new and improved leader, #Modi. What BJP supporters are not saying is that they do not WANT justice for the dalits killed by their allies, which is why the expose is a problem. Cobrapost cannot be expected to cater to political desires for cover ups. It has provided the BJP the means to do a very high profile clean up of criminal elements in their party as well as nail their opponents. It cannot be considered Cobrapost's fault if BJP does not WISH to clean up their act and nail their opponent in the process.
The timing of Cobrapost's Operation Black Rain release is suspect.
I don't know why Cobrapost chooses their dates, but personally, I think before the elections is an excellent time to expose crimes and criminals so that people may choose who to vote for with eyes wide open.
BJP benefits from riots and Cobrapost exposes before elections help BJP consolidate vote #banks
This may be true, because a Yale study does show BJP males electoral gains with every riot. However, it is unclear whether exposes of a riot from the past would result in electoral gains as well. Regardless, even if people choose brutal killers because of riots, that is their choice in the future they want for themselves. Concealing information to prevent an electoral outcome does not educate the voter - even if we don't agree with their choices.
When commanders of the Ranvir Sena were acquitted of brutal massacres, Cobrapost conducted sting operations to determine the truth of the matter. What they discovered in a year long operation was killers candidly admitting that they conducted systematic massacres. Killers who spoke of political support, financial support, support in procuring arms as Army rejects and training with the arms at the hands of jawans - on leave and retired. Killers talking of politicians providing getaway cars when surrounded by #police who were armed with far less advanced weaponry than them. Killers who talk of killing women and children in cold blood. The accusation is the support for communists among the dalits. Yet what were the dalits rising against? They were opposing exploitative wages for their labour in the fields of these landowners.
The Ranvir Sena massacres confessed to in this documentary
Bathani Tola, Bhojpur (1996) - 22 agricultural workers from Scheduled Castes and Muslims killed in broad daylight at 3:00 o’clock in the afternoon with a police chowki close-by
Laxmanpur Bathe, Jehanabad (1997) - 58 people from scheduled castes killed
Shankar Bigha, Jehanabad (1999) - 23 people from Scheduled Castes killed
Miyanpur, Aurangabad (2000) - 35 people from Scheduled Castes and Other Backward Castes killed
Ekwari, Bhojpur (1997) - 10 people from Scheduled Castes killed
This totals to 154 murders (though the documentary says 144)
Nobody killed 300 or more dalits in Bihar?
Here is what Dy SP CID (Retd.) Mirza Maqsood Alam Beg had to say:
“You see, there is direct evidence against them … eyewitness … people saw them and identified them … apart from that before the occurrence [of a massacre] these people would hold meetings at their places … all these things are recorded in case diary”
Here is what the killers had to say for themselves:
Note: quotes here are by the name of the person under which they appear. While the Ranvir Sena commanders spoke in Hindi, I'm providing the English translations here for readability. Feel free to go and verify against Operation Black Rain document if need be.
Commander of Ranvir Sena, convicted to life imprisonment by lower court, acquitted by Patna High Court.
“As the clock struck 3, the Sena began firing … it was 3:00 at daytime …the massacre was carried out…there was a police chowki too.”
“Some bodies of those who were part of the assault had been cleared from there, but still there were 22 bodies on the spot … yes there were 22 dead bodies lying about.”
Claims Chandkeshwar Singh when the Cobrapost reporter asks him if they had killed five more people whose headless bodies were found about the river the next day:
“Yes, they were beheaded.”
“I was very angry at them. Why should I waste a bullet on them that is worth Rs 100 or so, I thought. Better use the knife I have. So I cut them down with it.”
On the Laxmanpur Bathe massacre
“It was 10 when we arrived there and the Sena began the assault. The firing went for 29 minutes."
“So we decided to eliminate them (the CPI-ML). We should not allow them go stronger. So, our party, I mean the Sena, surrounded them. There was assault and counterassault in which they got killed.”
About a meeting at Belaur village at Arrah to plan Laxmanpur Bathe massacre with all the members of the core group including Barmeshwar Mukhiya, Vakeel Chaudhry, Bhola Singh, Shiv Narayan Singh and Krishna Nand Chaudhry.
“The meeting took place two days before the massacre … the meeting was held in the Arrah district … took place in Belaur village.”
“I told them we have LMGs. They asked how we got them. I told them our Prime Minister got us it from Indian military as rejected lot. They called us traitors. I said no we are not traitors. We are doing it in the interest of the country. That is why we got the arms with help from our Prime Minister. They asked which Prime Minister. I said Chandra Shekhar ….”
And the conduit who got the so-called rejected lot of military weapons, according to Siddhnath, was Surya Dev, a powerful politician from Dhanbaad:
“There was a close supporter of ours … Surya Dev from Dhanbad … it is Surya Dev who brought us a lot of rejected military weapons.” Sidhnath adds further: “In those days, Chandra Shekhar Singh was prime minister and Chandra Shekhar Singh was a very close friend of Surya Dev Babu and upon visiting he would stay at his place. This is how they both helped us.”
Siddhnath also spoke about Aibatpur massacre:
“I told them about the massacre that took place in Aibatpur under Kanpath #police station. Our men had killed seven people of Mushar caste ….”
This massacre was conducted by nine Sena militiamen, but 64 people were named in the FIR by the local police which ultimately helped the murderers get off the hook.
According to Siddhnath, there were nine leaders who formed the core decision-making body of the Sena. He confesses to his involvement in six massacres.
We … one massacre was in Bathe Belaur, one was in Chauri, then (Laxmanpur) Bathe, Shankar Bigha, third was Narayanpur, fourth was Miyanpur, Hyderpur was the fifth … Jalpura was the sixth … Shankar Bigha Bathani Shankar Bigha Bathe was one … the third was Narayanpur and one was in Arval … in all six massacres.”
On indiscriminate killing of women and children:
“In #India, our #religion does not say that if you kill an old man, you won’t become a sinner or that if you kill a young man you will become a sinner … then there is no such law which says that if you kill a boy, you will face imprisonment for 20 years, if you kill an old man you get 2 years jail or if you kill a child you get a term of 50 years. There is no such law.”
Arvind Kumar Singh
“Yes, two massacres took place in Ikwari … seven and nine people were killed.” Adding further he says: “Seven were killed in the first massacre … in the second eight–nine people were killed … one happened in 1996 and the other took place in 1997.”
“Mukhiyaji [Barmeshwar] was not there … only the villagers of Ikwari were involved … yes total[ly] from Ikwari, there was no outsider involved … no no Sena … we have 500 households in Ikwari … and when a member from each family would come out we would have the Sena ready … we never needed the Sena … when you have 500 families of Bhumihar and if only a man each from 200 families volunteered we had the Sena assembled.”
“Weapons and other things were already stocked at our homes … we had bought weapons for safety … we had also bought some expensive weapons ….”
Although an accused in both massacres, Arvind Singh and other murderers forced victims to compromise and withdraw cases.
“No, no. We managed to clinch a compromise with them in all cases … we persuaded them with cajoling or show of force to come around and arrived at a compromise with them.”
“That [Miyanpur] village was the supporter of the Naxals and was thus on the target of the #Ranveer Sena. We executed that massacre.”
The assault was led by none other than Barmeshwar Mukhiya himself as Pramod Singh mumbles an affirmative double “Hoon, hoon” when he is asked if the Sena supremo led the massacre. When the Cobrapost reporter asks him if he could tell him of any such massacre in which he took part along with Barmehswar Mukhiya and others, he replies:
“It was Miyanpur [massacre] … there were many … he too [Barmehswar Mukhiya] was there.”
The assault party had 10 members of the Sena led by Barmehswar Mukhiya of whom nine were sentenced to life imprisonment but only to be allowed to walk free by the Patna High Court some years later.
A prominent #BJP leader supported the dreaded outfit with finances.
“It was when there was the BJP #government [at the centre] … there was Atal Behari Vajpai [as prime minister] … there was Yashwant Sinha … he would visit regularly … meet the Mukhiya [Barmeshwar Singh] regularly … he was there in my village when the police were hot on our heels and raiding our places.”
And how did Yashwant Sinha help them?
“[He] gave us money … Five and half lakh).” Any other kind of support? “What else support he could lend … other than political support,”
“When on the run … suppose the police had laid siege of us … five–six people were to be evacuated … then Arun Kumar, the MP of Jahanabad, would reach the spot and would escort away all of them in his car ….”
“There was this arms drop in Purulia … we got a lot of weapons from there.”
“We killed about 50–60 people then and there in Laxmanpur Bathe.”
“I consider Laxmanpur Bathe the most important [of all massacres] … that is a twin village … there I killed many people.”
According to him there were 100 members of the Sena who launched the assault that was led by one of his nephews.
“The #attack was led by one of my nephews, Santu, from Ekwari village.”
When the reporter asks if Barmeshwar Singh and he himself were among the attackers.
“Yes I too was there.
Bhola Singh recounts the assault on Laxmanpur Bathe.
“There is [Laxmanpur] Bathe across the river and we live on this side of the river. They [CPI-ML] would come here and go back. They had their own boat by which they would cross the Sone, come to our place and commit some crime and return. We thought since they come from that side of the village, why should we not mount an assault on it. They must be taking shelter there. We worked out a plan and launched the attack. All were sleeping and were caught by surprise and killed. We suffered no casualties.”
“We were carrying semi-automatic [weapons].”
"We had in fact worked out a strategy to execute massacres across 50 villages in a single day to wake up the government from its torpor. Otherwise, the government will always think that no castes other than the minorities, most backward and backward live in this country.”
Of the role Anand Mohan Singh played in instigating the upper caste landlords and their militiamen while offering them arms of any kind and caliber.
“One young leader called Anand Mohan came and told us that he has a cache of all kinds of arms. Whatever you need you can pick.”
“[the massacres were] executed upon … you can say I did not execute them but it was me who ordered. You can say I did not execute the job, I did not kill, but when I ordered to commit a #murder then I did it.”
“I dispatched a squad of 50–60 members to a particular village, but they did not find a single soul there and executed the order in another village.”
“We have all kinds of weapons. All people have helped us, donated us the arms. We have also bought with money.”
"We have men in military and they used to give training when on leave … this village is large enough and there are about 200–400 men in military … if we get one or two men from each family we get enough men to fight ).”
"Yes, the reason is our men will go wherever they were told to go … now suppose you are asked to pick a couple of ripe mangoes? You hit the mango tree with a stick … as a result eight ripe mango fall and along with them 5 raw mangoes also fall. Now should you be punished for felling raw mangoes? We send our men to kill the young able-bodied and if some children also get killed along with them should they be punished … they are not on payroll so as to punish them by cutting their payments.”
Sanjeev Singh and Upendra Vatsayan
The spokesperson of the Akhil Bharatiya Rashtravadi Kissan Sangathan Upendra Vatsayan:
“Our men also said if you got an intestine of 36 inches ... we will tear up the whole of 36 you got. And not just you, we will also tear your women … so that they will never give birth in future.”
The candid disclosures of the commanders of the Ranvir Sena make it clear that the state police of Bihar fumbled on probing these crimes against humanity, so that the cases could not be taken to their logical conclusion, while the state political executive saw to it that nothing clinching was established against the perpetrators of these massacres or their mentors in the political establishment.
When the JDU–BJP alliance came to power in Bihar, the Justice Amir Das Commission of Inquiry, which had been set up after the brutal Laxmanpur Bathe massacre that killed 58 including 27 women and 16 children, was dismissed by Nitish Kumar. Justice (Retd.) Amir Das states that it was because his report could have implicated some prominent politicos for their support to the private army he was asked to close the shop without submitting a report. Justice Das is categorical in the interview:
I can tell some names, for instance, Shivanand Tiwary, C.P. Thakur, Murli Manohar Joshi and Sushil Kumar #Modi. Then there was a head of a village in the neighbourhood of Laxmanpur Bathe about whom we had drawn the conclusion that he too supported [the Ranveer sena].
The reason of this sudden volte-face on part of the state executive under the new dispensation of the JDU—BJP alliance was unmistakable: the commission had got to the bottom of the political support that the Ranveer Sena was getting and there were many bigwigs from the BJP both at the centre and at the state level whose names were doing the rounds as mentors of the monstrous private army raised by Bhumihar—Rajput landlords.
Justice Das explains why the government wrapped up the commission unceremoniously:
“It was closed down all of a sudden, without any report or notice. I was not asked to submit the report either. I mean it was done without any ultimatum. When Chief Minister Nitish Kumar’s government was formed, Sushil Kumar Modi was Deputy Chief Minister. Nitish was not involved in it so his name did not crop up. But Sushil Kumar Modi’s name did crop up along with many from the #RSS or say from the BJP.”
"We had a witness who said that Murli Manohar Joshi had threatened him asking him to behave and if you conducted investigations properly when we come to power you will have it. This all meant to get things done favourably by putting the fellow under pressure.” The witness was an Investigating Officer of the stare police.
"He visited after the massacre. The IO had gone to Senari to conduct a raid. He came to know about it and came to see the IO threatening him if he did what he was set to do he would have it when they would come to power. This is how he stopped him from discharging his duty under threat and when he was cross-questioned he denied it.”
The Cobrapost has a copy of the report of the commission.
In a shocking judgment on January 14th, in this year, a lower court acquitted all 24 accused of killing 23 Dalits in Shankar Bigha in Arwal district in 1999. Earlier, in October 2013 the Patna High Court had acquitted all 26 Ranveer Sena men – including 16 who had been put on #death row by the lower court – accused of killing 58 Dalits in worst-ever massacre at Laxmanpur Bathe on December 1, 1997. The Bathani Tola massacre case had met the same fate on April 17, 2012, when the Patna High Court set all 23 Ranvir Sena men free who were accused of killing 21 Dalits, including 11 women and six children on July 11, 1996. The same happened with Miyanpur massacre of June 2000 when the Patna High Court allowed all 10 accused except one to walk free on July 3, 2013.
Clearly, there is a pattern here, with brutal killers going scot free and unless something changes, these cases are going to pass through our courts without consequence.
The acquittals have been challenged in the #Supreme Court. However, given the blatant cover ups, even as killers brag about their cimes, will we see this farce of acquittals play all through to the top? Where does the complicit wink at brutal massacres end?
Note: It appears to be a political strategy to discredit this expose as motivated by the #elections. However, Nitish Kumar, who scuttled the probe implicating BJP leaders is in the opposition, along with Lalu, who over the years has done nothing to rein in the Ranveer Sena either. There is no political outrage over this expose and no political party comes out smelling sweet. This is the hard reality of India. Some murders don't matter.
Ever since Aam Aadmi Party's stunning win in Delhi Assembly elections, there is a rash of analysis and advice for Modi government (which has mostly fallen on deaf ears, and no surprise there - they know their support base).
I have several opinions around this issue that differ from the common consensus, so sharing them.
Development or Hindutva?
Several people are looking at BJP's stunning defeat in the Delhi Assembly elections as a rejection of their communal agenda by people. This couldn't be further from the truth. As Yashwant Sinha rightfully pointed out in his piece in the Economic Times, BJP's vote share hasn't really dropped all that drastically. The last time Delhi saw a BJP government was in 1993. In 1998, BJP got dislodged by the Sheila Dixit led Congress Party governments right up to the previous election where AAP formed a minority government. BJP's vote share for Assembly Elections has not really changed much.
[tweetthis twitter_handles="@Vidyut, @_AamJanata"]BJP has lost Delhi with a higher vote share than it had when it got the most seats in 2013[/tweetthis]
BJP got 34.02% votes in 1998, 35.22 in 2003, and 36.34 in 2008 - all three of which it lost to the Congress. The splitting of the decaying Congress vote between Congress and AAP in 2013 saw it get the most seats in the 2013 elections with just 33.07% of the votes - actually lower than all the intervening years when it lost. They didn't have the numbers to form a majority government, but they did get the most votes.
This, to me indicates that around slightly more than a third of the voters - give or take - are with BJP no matter what - regardless of how it plays out in the results. This number has sustained through several losses - it is now the fifth time BJP has failed to form a government in Delhi. I would see this as an ideological base to a large extent - which it has retained. And the numbers pretty much show that as long as one viable alternative exists, whether Congress or AAP - BJP remains out of power in Delhi.
So what is it about the "Mandate for Development"?
That is the part BJP supporters omit. When Modi was campaigning for the Lok Sabha Elections promoting development, the BJP vote share was NOT around a third and approached closer to half at 46%. In this election, it went back to normal. In other words, if anyone believed the development propaganda, they have stopped believing it now.
This was inevitable, because it was the throwaway mandate by design. What is telling about this mandate is that even if we ignore the Lok Sabha vote share, what is immediately evident is that BJP failed to gain votes from the complete decimation of a party that ruled Delhi for 15 years - it actually lost votes even if not a large percentage. Congress votes simply went over to AAP while even BJP share dropped slightly as though AAP stepped into the vacuum left by Congress seamlessly while adding other voters as well. In other words, no one other than loyalists seem to have remained with BJP in Delhi. AAP, which didn't exist two years ago got a vote share of 54% - an actual majority of votes as well (even if not as representative of remaining 46%).If this doesn't scream irrelevance to the realities and changes happening in Delhi, I don't know what does.
Why can't BJP just start focusing on development again?
They are focusing on development. They never stopped. Only after elections, the development focus has been made clearer as the development of the large corporate mandate - which has been the hidden third mandate no one spoke about all through. The victory was a result of all three mandates. The Hindutva wing provided ground support and volunteers through unaccountable funding, while radicalizing the masses to consolidate the Hindu votes. The crony capitalist mandate provided the finances as well as control of media to extend the reach of campaign propaganda, as well as attack opponents and cover up things that would not bring popularity to BJP. The development mandate provided the votes that took Modi's government beyond the "Delhi standard" vote share.
The last was the domain of most of Modi's speeches and one never intended for delivery - which is how all the U-Turns started popping up as soon as the government came to power. Given that the corporate world and the unwashed masses have always been at odds, it was absolutely impossible that the Modi government could deliver on both development as well as crony capitalism.
While positions of power and social impunity went to the ideological mandate, Hindutva (appointments, social "reforms" like gharwapsi or text book alterations); profits and economic impunity went to the corporate mandate (sabotaging of land rights, environmental protections, and much, much more - this is HUGE MONEY). Delivering to the common man at large was never the intent - this was a consolidation of power and control, not service task. Some things may be done that don't inconvenience either of the other two "real" backers. They will be publicized to the hilt to create a perception of vast service to people, but there is only so much you can tell people they are experiencing prosperity if they aren't. We saw that this elections.
But what about secularism?
What about it? It is lip service. Communal control over country is what the Hindutva brigade got for its investment in the Modi government. Secularism is not compatible with it. Would Modi like to be communal? I don't think so. Modi is a narcissist. He is rather besotted with his image as a progressive leader, which is opposite of regressive. Which is how, in spite of altering textbooks to more Hindutva friendly versions or pretending not to notice the rise of the fan clubs for Nathuram Godse, he continues to use Congress leaders when trying to impress people. It is the best he can do. To pretend he does not see the rise of communalism and give them the impunity of his silence.
Not that he has much choice, because if he endorses secularism, his Hindutva supporters (almost his entire vote bank at this stage) will simply ignore him. Not even the lowliest troll shows an iota of respect for Modi when he calls for religious tolerance.
So, I disagree with a lot of columnists when they recommend things that Modi should do to regain his popularity. Modi cannot regain his popularity by speaking of development, since he hasn't delivered it. Modi cannot regain his popularity by endorsing secularism because his core vote bank will not allow it. The disillusioned voters who get swung on hope, have swung AAP's way this time. All Modi will end up doing if he tries to get secular is piss off his supporters. All Modi will end up doing if he actually tries to deliver on promises is piss off profiteers who are in no mood to share.
His best bets are to keep his head low and siphon off as much profit to his sponsors and power to his mentors as he can. It is going to be very difficult to pull off a second con this close to the first.
Every predator is someone else's prey
However, Modi is going to need to find new ways to hook voters. The AAP victory has made a mockery of his claims of development - a fact no other state going for elections will forget. When Nitish Kumar praised Trinamool Congress, BJP supporters were quick to sneer at an anti-BJP front, but both Uddhav Thackeray and Sharad Pawar too have taken pot shots at Modi in recent days. Incidentally, this would be the same Sharad Pawar of the Nationalist Corrupt Party that Modi gushed over on Valentine's Day as the one to support him when the UPA was in power.
This is going to be a problem. Because Modi will be a laughing stock if he tries to rule forever with ordinances. At the same time, without winning in states, he is going to find it very difficult to get any bills through the Rajya Sabha.
If a runaway victory for AAP creates a potential democracy crisis in Delhi Government, it is countered by the control exerted by a hostile center government.
Similarly a runaway victory for the BJP government is held in check by the "anti-BJP" fronts mushrooming. The Delhi Elections may have dazzled everything else out of the spotlight, but the AAP government was endorsed by the extremely unlikely pair of CPI as well as TMC in Delhi - who both asked their followers to vote for AAP. Nitish Kumar as well. At least three other political leaders of other parties have voiced skepticism over targeting of AAP via AVAM just days before the elections. Bihar sees another unlikely pair willing to cooperate to defeat BJP with Nitish Kumar and Lalu Prasad Yadav burying their legendary hostility to defeat the BJP. Aditya Thackeray welcomed the rise of AAP in Maharashtra (more a taunt to BJP than any real wish to embrace AAP values or compete on such a premise at all).
Given such a climate, BJP appears to have few choices beyond counting on its Hindutva loyalists to deliver miracles and the corporate mandate to do PR as well as damage control while they use every dirty trick in the book to discredit opponents. I am amazed they haven't yet applied their phenomenal strategy skills to splitting opponent votes between two strong opponents rather than this harder way of discrediting or dummy candidates and such, but I am delighted they haven't. In any case, I don't imagine any change of methods is on the cards for BJP at this stage.
Thus, any pleas to Modi to deliver development or embrace secularism, in my view are highly unlikely to materialize - no matter how many columnists think they are a good idea.
Thackerays are the bad boys of Mumbai. Thugs. It encompasses their identity to the point that no matter what they say or do it is perceived as yet another proof of their lawlessness and jingoism or regionalism or whatever.
I couldn't care less about who thinks what of which politician, and I will add my voice to condemning use of violence. However, I agree with them on the subject of migration and I disagree with most logic used to criticize them on migration. Worse, I find that there is considerable "opinion manufacturing" - which doesn't stand to scrutiny - which plain irritates me, because I find that manipulative and dishonest.
I quote our constitution here to begin with pointing out that things aren't half as cut and dry as peddlers of opinions would like you to imagine.
Freedom to reside and settle in any part of the territory of India which is also subject to reasonable restrictions by the State in the interest of....
Supposedly literate people of India lose the ability to read the part in bold. While what is "reasonable restrictions" needs to be more explicit, unilaterally denying and dismissing any conditions means overruling our constitution in the name of quoting it. There are people with the power and profit in rewriting realities. Politicians with nomadic vote banks depending on where elections are happening come to mind.
It would be most inconvenient if these people could be tracked. While a local worker with family expenses cannot afford to work at the prices migrants under cut them for, migrants get paid lesser too. The sting is two way and the ones profiting are neither the local nor migrant workers, but those who would like to pay less for more work - who are often connected with political as well as media - which makes extensive use of migrants too.
This is kind of exploitation The Interstate Migrant Workman (Regulation of Employment and Conditions of Service) Act of 1979 aims to prevent. The Act is targeted at employers and contractors of migrants, requiring them to register and provide records of migrants in their employ, their wages (which also have explicit norms), working hours and so on. This will automatically result in employment records for migrants being maintained better, which in turn will mean tools to combat exploitation, human trafficking and crime. It is a question worth asking who gains from these records not being kept. There is no reason for lawfully employed migrants to face any problems whatsoever through such processes.
Why would someone make laws for inter-state migration at all, if there was no legal basis or need for monitoring migration? Recently Manohar Parrikar, CM of Goa expressed an intent to ban migration to Goa.
"I am very clear about it. We need to freeze the incoming population while looking at industrial expansion. I am happy when one person from another state comes for a job to Goa, but he comes with two other unemployed relatives and that adds to the unemployment number in Goa," Parrikar told a trade body function.
Cultural overwhelm threatening to alter the unique identity of the state. Article 29 of our constitution states:
Any section of the citizens residing in the territory of India or any part thereof having a distinct language, script or culture of its own shall have the right to conserve the same.
The fact of states along linguistic lines itself is a clear indication that appropriating the identity of any place was not the agenda. It is a kind of cultural invasion to claim "Mumbai belongs to no one." Well, much as opportunists would like a free for all, there is an existing culture and language, "air" of sorts - for want of a better description - and I am not talking here only of Marathi Manoos, but even the quaint charm of the Irani cafes, for example. Who can forget P L Deshpande's irreverent and loving mimicry of Marathi in a Parsi accent?
Today, in Mumbai, in "upmarket" areas of most cities in Maharashtra, in Bangalore, in Hyderabad.... the local style is seen in a demeaning manner. From being the unique flavor of a place, it has been rendered as something similar to America's "natives" - something to be replaced with a superior race of generic Indians. There can be a marked arrogance associated with some communities of migrants that hurts even among very poor classes. This is likely cultural differences rather than deliberate superiority or malintent, but the conflicts generated are real.
It is worth asking why migrants of certain states are hated almost everywhere they go. It is worth asking why those states are also associated with higher than average lawlessness too, and if other states must offer unregulated travel in spite of that. All this can be dismissed and called discrimination or hate speech, but these are questions. Except when instead of a debate, there is an attempt to silence the questions raised - by denying natives any right over their own land.
This isn't discrimination or insult. It is a struggle to retain identity that is getting louder and more violent the more it is ignored. Discrimination and insult is when government documents use terms like BIMARU. No, Raj Thackeray didn't write any of it.
"Political ploys" as if politicians having political motives is somehow an anomaly peculiar to Thackerays. As if a party taking stands in alignment with openly stated goals is a pretense. Yet, it is extremely naive to assume they have manufactured a problem where it doesn't exist. Social conflicts arising out of migration are a prolifically documented phenomenon worldwide.
Migration happens from a place with low opportunity to one with high opportunity. Maharashtra's employment guarantee scheme (1972), for example was such a magnet till 2005 brought NREGA. When development is consistently failing, it is impossible that a few developed areas can sustain migration infinitely or deal with it through an infinite addition of job generating industries. These glass ceilings come still lower when the economy is slow. There have been corelations drawn with neo-liberal policies and the consequent increasing divide in empowerment of urban and rural India.
Starving farmers have sold rural property and moved to cities for survival often as a result of policies that seem to be designed to make rural life impossible. This is not about the spirit of exploration, but sheer survival. There is no alternative to development and governance to check distress migration - the largest kind in India. While the short tempered Thackerays are louder than others, they aren't the only ones by far.
People like Chidambaram and Sheila Dixit have blamed migrants for rising crimes. Last April, Central Association of Private Security Industry (CAPSI), an umbrella body of over 100 companies providing private security guards, underlined the need for offering employment to rural youth to check migration and rein in crimes in urban areas. These are people in the business of security. Hopefully unrelated to the Thackerays. Kozhikode police are actually going to the extreme (and privacy violating) step of getting fingerprints of migrants on record. A draft legislation in Kerala plans to make it mandatory for migrants to register with the Labour Department and get cards in order to be work in Kerala.
And then there is blatant political one upsmanship or exploitation. Management messiah Laloo's tenure as Railways Minister had entrance exams for railway jobs in at least 2 states having more Bihari applications than local. Local newspapers did not carry notices, but Bihari newspapers did, and Biharis applied in droves and migrated specifically for exams and government jobs. Yeah right. Anyone can give exams anywhere. Exams can be advertized or not advertized anywhere too? Likely. Lot of freedom of expression here. People screaming hoarse on reservation find nothing odd in 90% applicants being Biharis in states other than Bihar? Why not conduct exams there and simply post people to other states? But hey, agitating about reservations is hep, agitating about Biharis systematically organizing a monopoly on railway jobs in other states is not, yes?
The Thackerays didn't like it, but few in Maharashtra in any mood to appreciate jobs being conned from them - regardless of political orientation. 9 students were murdered on 9th November 2003 and Biharis were not allowed to appear for the exams probably sounds like the doings of Raj Thackeray, but really happened in Assam for the same reason five years before the attack on exam halls that Raj Thackeray is so famous for.
In Assam, they prevent Biharis from taking a railway recruitment exam. In Bihar, they "retaliate" by beating up Assamese students in trains. Back in Assam again, they "retaliate" for this "retaliation" by killing Biharis: 50 and counting as I write.
Rabdi devi's brother Pappu Yadav and supporters were part of the attacks on northeast students. Let's not publicize that. Ever wonder why how one side of a story is eternal truth while the other vanishes into thin air?
In 2008, activists of MNS and SS vandalized examination halls and attacked students soon after Laloo declared as a taunt that he would perform Chat puja in Mumbai regardless of who tried to stop. In a spectacular show of sub-nationalism, political leaders across party lines in Bihar were unanimous in condemnation. Laloo included. Raj Thackeray had achieved a milestone in Bihari unity that devastating Kosi floods and division of Bihar itself failed to achieve. Maybe he should be lauded for that. No one bothered with the impact of their people on jobs in Maharashtra. Media didn't bother to look at this blatant hypocrisy.
While sub-nationalism is supposed to be the Thackeray trademark, it was a Bihari youth, also called Raj in Mumbai who hijacked a double-decker bus at gunpoint, injured one and declared intent to kill Raj Thackeray - as a response to persecution of Biharis - so much for persecuted people fleeing for their lives. He got shot dead by police. Bihari politicians condemned the killing without comment on a person from Bihar hijacking a bus on gunpoint with an illegal gun. Biharis were being sacrificed to Raj Thackeray by cops themselves was the consensus. There were demands for Election Commission to derecognize Raj Thackeray by Laloo who incidentally is well known for his rule of Bihar from behind bars. The man was threatening to kill Raj Thackeray, so Raj Thackeray should resign. Nice logic.
Recently, when Raj Thackeray accused migrants of having a role in Mumbai riots, he was ignored and misreported. Later, when a teenager was really arrested in Bihar, Nitish Kumar threatened kidnapping cases against police. The threat being answered with a threat got dubbed persecution of Biharis, but no one bothered to ask why a vandal of the Amar Jawan memorial being arrested caused such outrage for Nitish and the first threat was issued against police at all? Is it not illegal to threaten people with legal cases? Earlier Nitish had threatened to ask all Biharis to leave Mumbai and implied that Mumbai would collapse without them.
Why wouldn't a psychological response to a threat to shut down Mumbai by withdrawing Biharis lead to a desire to run Mumbai without them to begin with, so that external states don't have the power to threaten such economic attacks? Why would anyone want to employ Biharis after that threat? Strangely a regional threat by Nitish Kumar to Mumbai is acceptable to the same people.
This is not migration. It is the political capture of a region by using migration to establish lobbies strong enough for leaders of other states to threaten local leaders - good or bad - with shows of strength. The threats in themselves prove the point of an invasive presence that owes loyalty outside. To quote that India Today article from 2008
Analysts say that since 1997, the percentage of migrants from Uttar Pradesh and Bihar has increased from 12 to 19 per cent. About 19 of the city's 36 Assembly constituencies are now dominated by north Indian voters.
There are more Bhojpuri films screened in Mumbai than Marathi. But making a noise over this is regionalism. Apparently Bihari regionalism in Mumbai is legitimate, but not Marathi. What logic supports this? Why should decades of demands unheard still have vandalism as protest today? Ok, think for a minute, Mumbai doesn't belong to Marathis, but it doesn't belong to UP or Bihar either, right? So why can't as many Marathi films be screened as Bhojpuri? Without access to nurturing audiences, revenue collection or representation in public space, what exactly is the intention toward Marathi cinema?
Someone said something interesting, when I said that I agree with the view, but not actions. That person said that all extremists begin with a core cause that is right, but their actions make it wrong. There is absolutely no reflection in the role of the state in long term neglect of burning causes people have till they reach a point where they walk out of the scope of the law. We did that with Maoists too.
I think Raj Thackeray's way of protesting is wrong, for another reason, though
It walks straight into the trap laid out to get him. He acts in increasingly illegal ways, undermining credibility and support. It is common in India to neglect, incite and tip over dissent into the illegal in order to silence. He is at risk.
It keeps returning to the same point. He should file court cases, set precedents and make concrete progress instead.
But that would probably have those threatening police with legal cases calling it legal persecution of Biharis or something.
Who are we fooling here?
Such questions are not fashionable. Wrong surname.