Archive for March, 2010

Congress at it again-Modi bashing

Congress at it again-Modi bashing.
Is something basically wrong with the Congress’ spokespersons that they just cannot put forth their views in a calm way but must spill their rancor and their hatred against Modi whenever they have to speak on Modi and the Gujarat riots? It was hey day for the TV channels and the Congress’s spokespersons to indulge in a subject –Modi. Somehow they seem to spit venom and make wide accusations. Congress is fixed in Gujarat riots of 2002 not because its heart bleeds for the loss of lives but because the vote bank politics must be furthered and reinforced. If it is loss of lives of ordinary people-and the justice dimension that bothers the Congress then we need to assess this concern hindsight.
After the assassination of Indira Gandhi when Congress leaders led butchers to the Sikh areas and supervised the genocide of some 3000 and odd Sikhs what was the callous and cold hearted attitude of the Congress party to this pogrom?
Should we say that there is entirely a different perception and assessment of lives of Indian citizens depending on who the victim was/is and who was/is the perpetrator? What role did the Congress party play-then and now and during the whole period of 25 years? Even the UPA government had to be pressurized for the compensation amount. But look at the cheek of Manish Tiwari quizzing Amitabh Bachchan whether he endorses the role of Modi in the Gujarat riots. And may I beg to ask what is the role Manish Tiwari and his party ascribe/prescribe to Modi? On the other hand we had Rajiv Gandhi justifying the pogrom of the Sikhs. For three full days the Congress government just looked the other way. It has the audacity now to keep harping on the role of Modi.A role which the Congress has thrust on Modi for its own petty political gains. Can we detect at least an iota of regret, a concern for the lives of people in the Congress party in general, and in its leaders in particular? There was no pressure on the investigation agencies-the handmaids of the UPA governments to hasten the process of justice and to book those involved. On the other hand the three leaders identified were Bhagat who is no more, Jagdish Tytler and Sajjan Kumar. All these three enjoyed the patronage of the Congress to the hilt and went about in their leadership roles. Jagdish Tytler was off the hook through crook may be, and it was Sajjan Kumar who is now in the net of justice. The CBI was unable to trace him till he got anticipatory bail. It would be interesting to watch how this case is moving and what the Congress has to say about it. The media’s silence in this case is deafening. He was supposed to be the Congress candidate for the last elections but when public resentment was evident then ticket was denied to him and his brother got the Congress ticket as a Congress candidate.Is Sajjan Kuar treated as a political untouchable What does all this show. At no point of time did the Congress or any of its loud mouthed spokespersons condemn Sajjan’s role and distant themselves from him. Do we then take it for granted that the Congress party continued without any remorse its accomplice to the massacre of the Sikhs? So, what moral right does the Congress and its spokespersons have to quiz Amitabh Bachchan if he endorses Modi’s ‘role’ in the Gujarat riots”? What if he does, and what if he does not?
And what is the ‘role’ of Modi is yet to be ascertained. Such prior pronouncements not only prejudging Modi ,hindering and hampering the judiciary process, vitiating the whole atmosphere and thrusting its own perception as the ‘public’ perception on Modi’s role is unethical on the part of the Congress. This is unjust, and fraught with misguiding the people. Using Modi to hit at the Bachchans is politics of a low level and is indulging in third degree harassment. This is nothing short of hate politics which the Congress is practising. AB has his right to stand by whomever he wants and likes. Why should he go by the Congress’ likes and dislikes? Why should he not be the brand ambassador of Gujarat and its people? Is Gujarat Modi and Modi Gujarat? This is because the Congress cannot separate personalities from their own perception of India and its people. It survives on personality cult. Thus we have ‘India is Indira’ and now it is the first family all the way-the rest do not count. It is Rahul Gandhi who is the brain and the brawn behind all the development taking place in India and his mother-Mrs Sonia Gandhi is the mother head not only of the Congress but of India. It suffers from a kind of fixation. This has been projected in its perception of Gujarat and Modi. True, one cannot deny-no matter how hard the Congress tries, that Modi is one of the best, if not the best CM of the country. Is that fact so galling for the Congress? Why is it resorting to hitting below the belt .Modi must be faced, challenged and fought political. The oldest (I am not referring to Priyanka Vadra) party in the country is not able to do so because of its own inbuilt weakness-.a dependence on one family syndrome. It was shocking and nauseating to listen to the loud brash and shrill illogical, unethical and wild accusations against Modi. If Modi was grilled for ten hours what does it show? That he respected the law of this country-that he was like any other citizen a subject to the judiciary process. Why should Ambika Soni refer to this as Modi being frustrated because he was grilled? Can’t they sir clear of the SIT and allow it to do its job without sending strong signals of their own perception and prejudgments? Has the Congress already put Modi on trial with the assistance of the media naming him as ‘star accused’? It all seems a bit too difficult to accept that politics and politicians have stooped so low-churlish in their behavior, lacking in public probity and absolutely no dignity in their approach to men and matters –with only one motive to bash Modi and to score brownie points. It is not befitting for the Congress who is leading the government to play such dirty games-to treat a CM of one of the most biggest and prosperous States of India with such contempt. In doing so it is revealing its contempt for the people of Gujarat. This will not be forgiven. After all Modi won the confidence of the people before the Gujarat riots and after the Gujarat riots. If the Congress believes in democracy then the people’s elected representative must be treated with decorum and respect. This is the minimum one would expect of the Congress and its allies. Modi is not a political untouchable, he commands the respect of the people of Gujarat-no matter what the likes of Teesta Setlvad and others think and say. But a political party as the Congress needs to adhere to public probity. It is only those who are weak who will lose their cool and it is only those drunk with power who will arrogate to themselves the role of prejudging others.
A second example relevant to be cited in exposing the double standards of the Congress: during the ethnic cleansing in J& K from 1989 under Dr Farookh Abdullah and the CMs after him some 1400 Brahmin pundits were massacred and driven out of their homes. What action had been taken against Farookh Abdullah and the CMs of that State? Were they probed? Was it not their duty as heads of the government of J&K to prevent this genocide? Till date what did the State government undertake for rehabilitation and compensation of the victims and those affected? Why this ominous silence on the part of the Central government? So here again it is so obvious that the Congress is not concerned with loss of human lives or/and to uphold justice but only to eliminate Modi from the political scenario at all cost. If its heart bleeds for the loss of lives in the Gujarat riots then the heart should also bleed for the Hindu pundits massacred in J&K? Why this differentiation? Does it not expose the hypocrisy of the Congress and the hollowness of the tirade unleashed by its spokesmen/women against Modi? It is recorded history that the Congress has never been a great upholder of Justice.
A third instance-in 2008 prior to the riots in Odhisa the brutal and gruesome murder of Swami Lakshmananda and his four ashramites shocked the people. Swamiji had requested in writing police protection from Naveen Patnaik. But the State government did not bother and the CM was indifferent .This resulted in the murder and the subsequent riots. Should not the same kind of treatment meted out to Modi also be extended to Naveen Patnaik? Where is this NGO for Justice and Peace? Why has the CM of Odhisa not been probed for abetting the murder of Swamiji resulting in the riots in Kandhamal? This is a blatant double standard of justice and a double standard of the Central agencies investigation approach to bring to justice the perpetrators. Swamiji was not Eshan Jafri-that makes all the difference. A simple question -is it because the victims were Hindus/Sikhs in all these cases cites above that the Congress was indifferent and looked the other way? There was no vote bank returns for it. So a direct and honest assessment is-the victims if Muslims will activate the Congress, its heart will bleed, it will spend sleepless nights and its spokespersons will raise their shrill accusations and condemnations and investigation machinery will move in the ‘right’ direction-not otherwise .Does it not speak volumes of the ways of the Congress-its motive and its concerns?
But in the whole picture the biggest disappointment is the media-Why is it also blindly following the political agenda of the Congress? Why is the print and the electronic media politicized
Another example is the Jain Commission report after demanding that report to be first placed in Parliament and then shouting itself hoarse for the Action Taking Report-pulling down a government , the Congress was like a deflated balloon-it gave the Jain Commission Report and the ATR a quiet burial after the purpose of the Congress had been served.
The recap of recent Indian history is a sickening revelation. The thousands forgotten and buried without been wept in Indian history, the thousands of Sikhs brutally massacred in one of the well organized and supervised genocide of Delhi by the Congress men, the forgotten and unmourned victims of the Mumbai blasts, the charred bodies of the unfortunate victims of Godhra a stark story of innocent people burned alive for no fault of their own, not even found a mention, the quietly swept away gruesome murders of Swami Lakshmananda and his four Ashramities all these and more are staring at our faces. Their ghosts will haunt us unless and until justice is done.
The political scenario that unfolds today is the low level of the culture of politics, the biased appeasement policy, the blatant double standards, the lack of honesty, the lack of concern and refinement, the insensitivity to people’s sufferings, the lack of public probity, the lack of basic courtesy and respect for one’s opponents are the very depressing jagged contours depicting a very bizarre picture of political India today-and does not auger well for the future of this country. Political parties should not bull doze over all basic human qualities and political norms and drive recklessly to the seat of political power. The bottom line question is: What is the political and human qualitative legacy that the present politicians are going to leave for the future generations?
Dr Mrs Hilda Raja,
Vadodara

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March 30, 2010 at 10:03 am 16 comments

SC allows ‘Poor Muslim’ quota

With all due respect to the three-judge Bench of the Supreme Court one gets the impression that the Bench is also playing to the gallery by allowing ‘poor Muslim’ quota while staying the High Court order against the Andhra Pradesh government’s 4 % quota for the Muslims. The Bench decided to refer the question of constitutional validity of the Act to a Constitutional Bench of the Supreme Court. The Bench was on the right track but then why had it given the go ahead to the AP government and not defer till the Full Bench decided on the validity of the Act. In doing this the Bench did seem to have some doubt on the constitutional validity-even otherwise what was the hurry before the second week of August to give the go ahead to the AP government?
In trying to make a case against the order Attorney General G.E.Vahanvathi declared that the State legislature did not intend the Act to be ‘religion specific’ but aimed at social uplift of the social groups identified as backward. If this is not semantics jugglery then what is it? Nobody questions the need of social upliftment of the socially backward groups. It is already a law based on affirmative action that the SCs BCs and Most backward groups are given the quota for this great upliftment process. Then how can poor Muslims be outside the above mentioned socially backward groups. It is crystal clear that this is religion specified quota, and is a violation of the Constitution. What is the meaning of ‘poor Muslim’ quota of 4%.If it meant for the poor then why that affixture of Muslim-a religious identity? The Judiciary cannot become a partner to the political appeasement policy and must interpret the law according to the spirit of the Constitution. It is a travesty that such a request must come from lay persons and be addressed to the Judiciary which is the repository of the Constitution and its operation.
The Judiciary is also aware of the appeasement policy and its nuances. It is not functioning in isolation nor is it in an ivory tower. It must be above politics and biases-in the real sense of the term. So to stay the order of the High Court of AP and allow a go ahead to the quota for the ‘poor Muslims is flawed-based on a religious criterion. There are poor Christians, poor Jains, poor Hindus, poor Parsees, poor Buddhists et al. So why not extend the same social upliftment quota to all these categories and scrap the SCs and BCs and OBCs –caste tags. One cannot go by caste tags and also by religious tags. Poverty and backwardness being the common denominator then use only economic criterion in netting in poverty groups. Where does all this lead to? It will be the saddest day for this country if the judiciary is seen as political and biased.
When the quota for the Poor Muslims question goes to the full Bench of the SC what happens to the go ahead signal given by the three- judge Bench of the SC? What was the urgency that three judge Bench SC found before the second week of August to give the go ahead nod to the AP’s Act? Now if the full Bench struck it off as unconstitutional should we say that the three-judge Bench indulged in some thing that was unconstitutional? What happens to those ‘poor Muslims’ who already got into educational and other services on this quota? Will that be nullified? Or will they be allowed to continue in that quota category? It seems that the SC is tying itself in knots.
Let the AG not take the people for a ride and ask us to read poor Muslims as only poor people-then why the identification of the 14 groups of Muslims? In fact the whole Muslim community sects and sub sects have been identified. Is this identification exercise pertaining to the poor or to the Muslims who are poor? That’s the catch. One need not be a legal expert to understand the meaning-the intent and the motive of the quota for the Muslims. It is simply an extension of the appeasement policy of the governments both at the Centre and the States. But Justice denied and buried will resurrect. It is at the cost of other poor people that this is being done for the development ‘cake’ is only one. You cannot rob poor Peter to pay poor Paul. Injustice upon injustice and that too flowing from the judiciary cannot take the country forward nor will the poverty and backwardness of the poor people disappear. Is it not obvious that the quota system has increased backwardness? Ever since the quota system came into the picture as a strategy of upliftment more and more people have become backward. It seems that quota is abetting backwardness in this country. The only persons to gain are the politicians who thrive on using this as a mirage for development. But it is the judiciary to which the people turn for justice. Truth and Justice cannot be butchered by the Judiciary. It is accountable to ‘We the people’.
PS.In this context it becomes relevant to stop the post retirement assignments for the Judges
Dr Mrs Hilda Raja
Vadodara

March 26, 2010 at 3:30 pm 8 comments

Third Opinion

Response to Jug Suraiya(second Opinion)
Jug Suriaya has baptized MF Husain as ‘Hindu’ Husain?’(TOI 24th march)It fails my comprehension why the ‘secularists’ are laboring to prove the point that Husain is secular and had no evil design to denigrate Hindu gods and Goddesses. The author picks up a new line of defense for the artist. ‘The basis of Hinduism of what has been labeled as Hinduism is the opposite of zero tolerance: it is infinite tolerance. There are almost as many Hinduisms as there are Hindus; it is a designer religion..’ So we are reminded that in its infinite tolerance Husain can and must be allowed to express his perverted sexual expressions using Gods and Goddesses that is the litmus test of infinite tolerance according to Jug Suriya. MF Husain’s parampara is one Book, one faith, one path, one congregation, one god and Islam forbids any pictorial depiction of the Prophet So the parampara of Husain does not believe in artists and their freedom or for that matter any kind of personal freedom. Does that mean that he needs to operate the freedoms denied to him by his own religion on the ‘designer religion’ –Hinduism thus qualifying to becoming Hindu Husian? Ahomogenised Hinduism would not be Hinduism but a travestry of that myriad-threaded fabric asserts Jug Suriaya.Yes Hinduism is tapestry of a myriad threaded fabric woven and rewoven for thousands of years by the waft and the woof of rites and rituals of conventions and norms, of cults and god experiences of thousands of rishis it can be stretched to accommodate Husain’s vulgarization of what is held holy and sacred by the Hindus of all the Hinduisms? A person from zero tolerance faith and belief -one will expect to have some restraint in beholding this fabric so artistically and religiously and patiently woven for centuries. Can he so carelessly and ruthlessly tear it asunder? What is blasphemy according to his religion becomes infinite tolerance and hence valid namely to caricature and paint Hindu gods and goddesses. The Freedom gagged and denied to him by his own religion which he religiously abides by does not stop him from painting God and Goddesses in the nude but leads him with his brush to vulgarization and denigrate them. No matter what Jug Suraiya accedes to as ‘strength’ of Hinduism –the designer religion will not and cannot accommodate such perversity.
Jug Suraiya very artfully tries to tell us that the ‘strength’ in Hinduism is its infinite tolerance and by protesting Hinduism becomes weak. There are two aspects to this:-He wants us to accommodate Husain’s perversion under the ‘infinitely tolerant religion of Hinduism-.Husain the firm believer of zero tolerance cannot function to give full expression to his artistic freedom in his religion. The restraints of which he abides by to make him a good Muslim. Here there is no written restraints-Hinduism does not go by the Book rules but calls upon each individual to a self imposed discipline does not mean there is no discipline. Freedom to perceive and experience god in one’s own way is entirely different kind of infinite tolerance. One does not have to look to god though another’s eyes-nor does one’s experience be limited to another’s god experience. This is the infinite tolerance of Hinduism-the many paths that lead to the Ultimate. Such an infinite tolerance is on a different plane. It is not operational in allowing freedom to maine, brutalize and denigrate the Hindu gods and goddesses. For example the UK has no written Constitution, does it mean there are no rights and no Parliamentary democracy-when compared to those which have written constitutions I would say that UK’s parliamentary democracy is more disciplined and vibrant. Similar Jug Suraiya cannot use the absence of a Book-of written rules and regulations as to what amounts to blasphemy as a license for unrestraint freedom of expression-freedom to hurt the religious sentiments of the Hindus. And all the secularists brand this infinitely tolerant Hindus as bigots, and Husain has an array of ‘secular’ apologists who are vociferously, through the media-both electronic and print, holding out the view that it is almost the duty of this infinitely tolerant Hinduisms to allow Husain to brandish his brush and disfigure that tapestry of a myriad threads woven beautifully depicting the facets of the One omni presence as Gods and Goddesses-of this ‘designer religion. And to allow such jihadi by brush under the Right to Freedom of Expression.. Jug Suraiya goes one step further-he wants the travesty of a myriad threads fabric to be shredded and torn apart when he warns that a militant Hinduism will rob Hinduism of its breath of tolerance. So what? If militant religions like Islam and Christianity can flourish be appreciated as ‘secular’and pampered to I do not see the need to continue this infinitely tolerant Hinduism in the face of zero tolerance and be branded as bigotry and communal. If the Kashmiri pandits were killed and driven out of their homes till date not rehabilitated what is the use of this infinite tolerance. Using this infinite tolerance to block and blotch human rights and community rights is no way of making a case to uphold this breath of Hinduism –tolerance. When zero tolerance cannot allow infinitely tolerant Hindus of Hinduisms their own homes and hearths? So Jug Suraiya’s premise to test the strength of Hinduism by allowing anything and anyone to do anything and everything under the garb of its infinite tolerance is a bad case. It cannot co-exist.
And the brief for Husain does not end here-Jug Suriaya has elevated his client as an example-his testimony to the capacity of tolerance of Hinduism-that in it there can be no scandalous liberties to be censored-MF Husain becomes a Hindu and a good one too-by his adherence to the zero tolerance of his own religion Islam he becomes a good Muslim also. Eat the cake and have it too-policy. Do to others what you expect others to do to you-is also a Book faith diktat is conveniently overlooked. How very succinctly Jug Suraiya has led us down the path with such carrots.. and full praise for ‘Hinduisms’ and its strength. In its strength lies the message not to fight-not to face the challenge-look the other way no matter what is done to you and your gods and goddesses. No matter the insults and the injuries your strength is to allow such things. This is a strange advice and message to uphold Freedoms. It is an aberration of Freedom. Too long this infinite tolerance has been exploited and too long the Hindus have thought that ‘strength’ means to look the way. It is time to stem the rot and it is time to face the challenge and expect everyone, artist or no artist to abide by the law of the land-irrespective of religion and age. We are a secular society and religious rules must be subsumed in civil law and civil liberties. You cannot use one’s religious laws for some and civil laws for others, All Indian citizens must and should fall under one law and thus will Justice and Truth be upheld.
Dr Mrs Hilda Raja,
Vadodara

March 25, 2010 at 6:07 am 17 comments

on 33% reservation-reply to my former student Geetha

A copy of my response to one of my former students- to her reaction on my article on the 33 percent reservation for women.
You are right in some points and wrong in others! But this is not a small beginning-it is a nosedive into regression. Women need to fight it out and come on their own-that is empowerment-otherwise it will be remote control affairs only. If the present elite women-we have 62 women MPs do not made a difference you think the 33percent will. If one mistake is multiplied into 33 times will that mean correctness? You have got it wrong. Most of the women will not want to be in politics and those who enter will be proxies.
Take for example your Parliamentary constituency is reserved for women-you stand for election and win. This is for only five years-after that your constituency becomes unreserved-so anyone can contest there-what happens to you-shift or fight First you fought women now you have to fight men and women if you want to be again elected fro the same constituency. Do you know that to understand the rules and regulations of Parliament-its working-how and why a Private Member’s Bill can be introduced-what are the requirements, Question Hour, debates etc takes time to study and learn these. So in 5 years it is not possible. The first time MPs will all be backbenchers and they will vote according to their leaders’ wish. Now who decides and what factors are taken into consideration to make a constituency reserved? There lies a big hidden motive. Again and again democracy is becoming more centralized and decisions of such vital importance will be in the hands of one person and her subservient agencies-like the Election Commission, the CBI etc. If you do not toe the line then the CBI will either resurrect dead cases or foist false ones. If you tone the line then even the SC will exonerate you-the judiciary becomes a mockery. Look at Sajjan Kumar’s case-and now Sanjay Dutt dropped from all the charges.
If it is so now with reservation women will be branded as slaves and bond permanently. As long as she is not released from her familial duties-she will be restricted. As you say if in Panchayats till date the women have not been able to stand up on their own-you think at the Parliamentary level they will. In Chennai the councilor of our ward was a man-a congress-he was thoroughly corrupt. So for the last elections he put up his wife and she won. Just before we left, the nearby school invited this woman councilor to hoist the flag on Independence Day. She came along with her husband and former Councillor of the ward. It was her husband who hoisted the flag After the function she came home and I asked her why she did not hoist the flag-she was the chief guest-Her answer was that since ‘ he’ is there I thought he should do it. This is an urban place-right in the capital of TN-so what will be the position in rural areas. That much for empowerment of women. This does not mean that no change is taking place and that women are not going to be empowered. There is a phase and a gestation period for growth and maturity. Please do not tamper with that and allow the growth-give all inputs and encouragement but do not oppress and push and create an artificial growth picture. That is regression. Even the natural growth process will be stunted and we will have women all subservient puppets. Should I add that they may decorate the Parliament and make it colorful-they will enable one woman to be the most powerful woman of the world-at their cost of their own dis-empowerment. This is the tragedy of the whole story of women’s reservation.
First things first-survival inputs must be not only accessible but also available. Today with the price rise she is grappling to make both ends meet. It is she who till date serves the food for the children and she wants to see that their stomachs are filled-what remains she eats. This is the case of the majority of our women. So the madams in Parliament will not grasp this story-told and retold that it has become stale. Even the basic development/survival input like potable water is not available-bottled spring water is available-for whom? First give their children better food-better health services and education facilities. Look at the heartaches to get a child admitted in a reasonable well run school. One of my own students was toying with aborting her second pregnancy because of school admission. She struggled so much to get the first child admitted and was not able to pay and go through the same rigors for the second. She came to me. I took her to my gynaecologist-the first child-daughter was 5 years old. The doctor advised her not to go in for abortion and then of course I promised her to do my best to get her the admission. She too was CD specialization. Has the situation changed today? I am giving these examples to substantiate my thesis. Reality picture needs real stories and not some crazy make believe stories. Empower the family unit and release her from worries-strengthen her and she will be able to stand on her own. Do not put her on permanent crutches. She will become a permanent disabled person. Tell me has Reservation solved backwardness? Has it empowered people? It has unleashed vested interest and churned out a creamy layer which sits tight on backwardness and makes more people backward. We still project more backwardness-more deprivation and more poverty. If even in the developed countries this kind of empowerment has not happened where women have better indices in health and economic status how can we simulate an empowerment of the women in such a skewed manner.It is like shadow bowing. But it will push India on the top of development as far as the world development index is concerned. This is exactly why the most under developed countries like Sri Lanka. Pakistan, Bangla Desh and India had women PM’s -did it reflect the empowerment of women in these countries? Even till date the USA has not-the European countries have not-only Margaret Thackery had been able to make it-What does this show. Development of women do not begin at the top but when she today has to trek for miles for drinking water, when she has no laterines, no health facilities,and when she bends to pick up the crumbs of a 100 day work a year for a pittance(called the NREGS) you just cannot talk of 33 percent reservation of women in Parliament. It is not that women are not pushing themselves up. Look at Mamata-the only woman who has come up from the grass root level-similarly Mayavati(good or bad is not the question) but if you take the others including Sonia Gandhi they are there because of the families/money and not because of themselves.Hence not able to understand what empowerment means-but indulge in drawroom discussions and Five star hotels debates on poverty and women’s empowerment. Take for example Brinda Karat-she is the only woman in the Politburo-what prevented her and her party from taking more women. For that matter why should they reserve constituencies-if Sonia Gandhi, Sushma Suraj et al are so convinced that women must be given a better share in the participation of the political affairs of this country then why depend on Parliament passing a bill. Do it in your parties. Give a few more women tickets to contest-take them in your consultative bodies. This is a big farce .This is not Her story but our stories and Mrs Sonia Gandhi has become one of the most powerful women globally with doing nothing-of yes she does -pull the strings as a puppeteer. Such empowered women are dictators and will not and cannot understand real empowerment. Because she has not come up the hard way up to where she is Don’t tell me of the sacrifice-Yes her husband was assassinated for political reasons-but those involved in it are allies today. For 12 silver coins Truth was betrayed. The Border Security Force-our ordinary jawans lay down their lives for the country-do they in return demand power-they are not even paid a pension to keep the fires of their family hearths burning.
So please reflect and get out of the mould and fetters that we women are and reflect dispassionately to understand what the basics for empowerment are.
Jayanthi Natarajan-another vocal person for this 33 percent-how did she enter and why/her grandfather was the CM-her father-in-law the chief secretary of TN. Became an MP through the backdoor-nominated to the Rajya Sabha. Was one of the members of the shouting brigade which pulled down the Central government under Gujral-why? Because of the Jain Commission Report-they demanded that Murasoli Maran must be dropped and action against the DMK chief must be taken. Today where does all this stand-does time change the perception of truth? She has to toe the line of her boss. Does she have a say in the affairs of her party and yet in Parliament she was very vocal that this bill will enable women to have a say in the political affairs of this country. May be what she meant was One Woman will have the total say and the others will be like puppets opening and closing their mouths. You see what power does-Truth will be buried. Woman or man what we want is people of integrity-with no vested interest but above all those who will not betray truth for 12 pieces of silver-
Dr Mrs Hilda Raja
Vadodara
________________________________________

March 13, 2010 at 11:52 am 9 comments

Cry my sisters-it is our stories-Not Her’s

Musings of a woman on Women’s Day
It was shocking for a few women when I told them that I am not for the 33percent reservation of women in Parliament. Knowing my firm stand on woman’s issue this came as a shock to them. Not only today on those Women’s Day right down from 1996 when as a speaker/chief guest I have addressed meetings. I used to be wary to broach the topic but when questioned I had to be truthful. I knew that it was unpalatable to most of the women audience.
What are my reasons?
1. What is so sanctimonious about the figure 33%?This is not the subsidy given by banks for the SCs and OBCs under the IRDP.I just cannot comprehend how the politicians who consider themselves champions of women’s empowerment picked up the 33percent.What is the logic? Why not 50%.Does it mean women representation in Parliament will be capped at 33percent? Till how long? Then will there be a need to bring in another amendment to remove that? If one is to go by gender breakup, women form more than 50 percent of the population.
2. How can Parliament be bend on making Unconstitutional matters constitutional
by three fourth of the members voting for it. So if a day comes when ¾ of the members vote the Constitution as unconstitutional will it become valid?.
It is clearly stated that discrimination on the basis of gender is unconstitutional so what are these so called champions of women voicing and voting for-something that the Founding Fathers put in black and white-Equality –irrespective of gender and religion. Religious equality has gone under the carpet with the Ministry of Minority affairs sitting over a budget and with a PM stating that Muslims have the first claims to development and its resources.
3. Does more women in Parliament mean more power to women? Does it
proportionately increase the empowerment of women on the streets-the working women, those who today are struggling with a hand to mouth existence So what does an increase of 33 percent of women MPs mean? There are 61
women MPs in Parliament today. We hardly hear them take part in meaningful debates-Except for Brinda Karat, Mamta and Sushma Suraj. Even Mrs Sonia Gandhi sits like a sphinx in the front row. Twice MP like Priya Dutt has not opened her mouth in Parliament. So more women in Parliament means -more debates-more issues of women will be raised and aspirations of women and their empowerment will be handed over on a platter?
4. Empowerment does not flow from above-Not that empowerment of the ordinary
women will not take place. It will, but this will be a block. Strange it may sound but an incisive analysis will prove. The elite women are the ones who will make it to the Parliament at this point of time. Those with political clout and with money Even today right from the President of India, to the Speaker power has come to them through their fathers .Every single case except a couple of MPs fall in this category. Will the 33% not be a repeat of this?
5. Not even developed countries where women have more empowerment have this
kind of a perception to link empowerment of women to their representation in Parliament.
6. By achieving this 33% a false sheen is given to the women in India-Still slogging
away at half the wages of men, and suffering from economic dependency, still
oppressed by dowry, discriminated, still unwanted and hence rampant female
feticide and infanticide, still unsafe in their work places et al
7. Personhood of woman in India is not even recognized. Hence in all the
governmental forms the mother’s name as parent does not suffice. The father’s
alone gives legitimacy. Even for an adult woman either her father’s name and or
husband’s name is a must. All these are indicators that a woman cannot and is not
perceived as a person-independent. She stands as a daughter of so and so and a wife of so and so and a mother of so and so that brings and defines her status.
8. Here comes a legislation to complete that dependency syndrome-she needs to be
cocooned in a ‘Reserved’constituency-a safe place to move up to. It must be
borne in mind that Reservation business has not be the solution-it continues
making people backward and more backward and dependent. Now the women
will be caught in the same net.
9 It is an exploitation of women because in the World Development index such a
33% women MPs will push India higher than most of the developed countries-
which is contrary to the ground reality .It is in no way a reflection of the ground
reality and hence women are being used to boost the ego of the most powerful
woman as though under her patronage Indian women have been empowered.
This is a complete faked up, morphed picture of the whole empowerment struggle of women in India
.10 A plea to the media-both electronic and print-spare the women from your sound
bytes and write-ups on how women have achieved empowerment through this legislation. It is a farce and a regression. No empowerment can take place in reservations and certainly not in the magic number of 33%. It will be like pouring oil in burning fire.
11. When Mrs Sonia Gandhi supported the rise in fuel price she hit hard at the women and with one body blow put her down With the PM –the great economist stating that a rise in fuel price will not necessarily increase the index of food he was taking an anti-woman stand. Because it they who grapple with the cooking the food for the family. And because till date the majority of the women eat the last in the family and that what is left .Does the PM and Mrs Sonia Gandhi realize how the majority women cannot afford ordinary food grains-dals, cooking oil, vegetables and here are our honorable the MPs taking of empowerment of women through the 33 percent reservation. They are even unable to perceive the aspirations of the ordinary women-to feed their children, to meet their everyday needs, and their other survival inputs. Who sits in Parliament and how many sit is not the proposition. But how many have the empathy, the understanding the courage to stand by them is the question

12. Mrs Sonia Gandhi is not affected by the fuel price because she does not have a car-all cars are at her disposal for nothing. How the fuel price has a cascading effect on everything. Today be it the vegetable vendor, the provision shopkeeper when asked why the prices are steadily increasing the fingers are pointed at the budget. Women are struggling to keep the fires at the hearth burning- and those who sit in ivory towers think that accommodating more women in the ivory tower is EMPOWERMENT. Poor Indian women.-cry my sisters for this great drama of deception. Dr Mrs Hilda Raja

PS.-The reservation of 33 percent has been passed in the Rajya Sabha.It is not Her story it is the story of women been told that they are weak and will never be able to even simulate a show of presence without a special queue for them. So the women’s queue is set up and through that women will line up to the Parliament and according to the Congress and those who support it will take part in the decision making of this country. One needs to pause and assess why the parties which were so vcoal have no women in their decision making-Take the CPM-just one woman in the Polit-buro What prevented Brinda Karat and her likes from giving women a chance in the decision making of their party affairs.In giving them tickets to fight the elections. Why should they want Parliament to pass such a bill? Can they not lead by doing it themselves through and in their respective political parties?
A simple question is- are the women MPs taking part in the decision making of the country. Is it not a paradox that in countries where women have no power were/are headed by women-be it Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, India.
It is all the way a Mrs SoniaGandhi’s empowerment of women’s strategy. Even she is not empowered but for the Nehru-Gandhi family. Take away that tag and she is disempowered. This is reality. Instead of allowing women to struggle their way up in one stroke it has put down women-patronizing them and clearly reflecting the patriarchy values. Mrs Sonia Gandhi must realize that the Congress is a minority government and not beat her chest and proclaim in every sentence the I’ that ‘I am happy,I am relieved etc This is Rajivji’s dream’. Should women be empowered because it is Rajiv Gandhi’s dream. Can they not even have their own dreams.Or have they no dreams-or are they not allowed even in dreams to seek empowerment? Even that Mrs Sonia Gandhi wants to deprive them of and calls it a man’s dream. Shame on her and her party for exploiting the vulnerable and gullible masses. This is no achievement of hers –she has put the empowerment process in reverse and as all her actions become an expert puppeteer skilled in pulling strings and making the rest puppets-for empowerment is not Her story-it must become Our stories…..We cannot become feathers in her cap as she is stating that the President-the Speaker are women-thanks to her-we are women and not prepared to become feathers to adorn the her cap.
Dr Mrs Hilda Raja
Vadodara.

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March 10, 2010 at 8:39 am 6 comments

leter to the editor-in-chief of The Hindu

I have taken time to write this to you Ram-for the simple reason that we have known you for so many years- you and The Hindu bring back happy memories Please take what I am putting down as those that come from an agonized soul. You know that I do not mince words and what I have to say I will-I call a spade a spade-now it is too late for me to learn the tricks of being called a ‘secularist’ if that means a bias for, one, and a bias against, another.
Hussain is now a citizen of Qatar-this has generated enough of heat and less of light. Qatar you know better than me is not a country which respects democracy or freedom of expression. Hussain says he has complete freedom-I challenge him to paint a picture of Mohammed fully clad.
There is no second opinion that artists have the Right of Freedom of expression. Is such a right restricted only to Hussain? Will that right not flow to Dan Brown-why was his film-Da Vinci Code not screened? Why was Satanic Verses banned-does Salman Rushdie not have that freedom of expression? Similarly why is Taslima hunted and hounded and why fatwas have been issued on both these writers? Why has Qatar not offered citizenship to Taslima? In the present rioting in Shimoga in Karnataka against the article Taslima wrote against the tradition of burqua which appeared in the Out Look in Jan 2007.No body protested then either in Delhi or in any other part of the country; now when it reappears in a Karnataka paper there is rioting. Is there a political agenda to create a problem in Karnataka by the intolerant goons? Why has the media not condemned this insensitivity and intolerance of the Muslims against Taslima’s views? When it comes to the Sangh Parivar it is quick to call them goons and intolerant etc. Now who are the goons and where is this tolerance and sensitivity?
Regarding Hussain’s artistic freedom it seems to run unfettered in an expression of sexual perversion only when he envisages the Hindu Gods and Goddesses. There is no quarrel had he painted a nude woman sitting on the tail of a monkey. The point is he captioned it as Sita. Nobody would have protested against the sexual perversion and his orientatation to sexual signs and symbols. But would he dare to caption it as ‘Fatima enjoying in Jannat with animals’?
Next example-is the painting of Saraswati copulating with a lion. Here again his perversion is evident and so is his intent. Even that lets concede cannot be faulted-each one’s sexual orientation is each one’s business I suppose. But he captioned it as Saraswati. This is the problem. It is Hussain’s business to enjoy in painting his sexual perversion. But why use Saraswati and Sita for his perverted expressions? Use Fatima and watch the consequence. Let the media people come to his rescue then. Now that he is in a country that gives him complete freedom let him go ahead and paint Fatima copulating with a lion or any other animal of his choice. And then turn around and prove to India-the Freedom of expression he enjoys in Qatar.
Talking about Freedom of Expression-this is the Hussain who supported Emergence-painted Indira Gandhi as Durga slaying Jayaprakas Narayan. He supported the jailing of artists and writers. Where did this Freedom of Expression go? And you call him secularist? Would you support the jailing of artists and writers Ram –would you support the abeyance of the Constitution and all that we held sacred in democracy and the excessiveness of Indira Gandhi to gag the media-writers-political opponents? Tell me honesty why does Hussain expect this Freedom when he himself did not support others with the same freedom he wants? And the media has rushed to his rescue. Had it been a Ram who painted such obnoxious, .degrading painting-the reactions of the media and the elite ‘secularists’ would have been different; because there is a different perception/and index of secularism when it comes to Ram-and a different perception/and index of secularism when it comes to Rahim/Hussain.
It brings back to my mind an episode that happened to The Hindu some years ago. You had a separate weekly page for children with cartoons, quizzes, and with poems and articles of school children. In one such weekly page The Hindu printed a venerable bearded man-fully robed with head dress, mouthing some passages of the Koran-trying to teach children .It was done not only in good faith but as a part of inculcating values to children from the Koran. All hell broke loose. Your office witnessed goons who rushed in-demanded an apology-held out threats. In Ambur,Vaniambadi and Vellore the papers stands were burned-the copies of The Hindu were consigned to the fire. A threat to raise the issue in Parliament through a Private Members Bill was held out-Hectic activities went on-I am not sure of the nature and the machinations behind the scene. But The Hindu next day brought out a public apology in its front page. Where were you Ram? How secular and tolerant were the Muslims?
Well this is of the past-today it is worse because the communal temperature in this country is at a all high-even a small friction can ignite and demolition the country’s peace and harmony. It is against this background that one should view Hussain who is bent on abusing and insulting the Hindu Gods and Goddesses. Respect for religious sentiments, need to maintain peace and harmony should also be part of the agenda of an artist-if he is great. If it is absent then he cannot say that he respects India and express his longing for India.
Let’s face it-he is a fugitive of law. Age and religion are immaterial. What does the media want-that he be absolved by the courts? Even for that he has to appear in the courts-he cannot run away-After all this is the country where he lived and gave expression to his pervert sadist, erotic artistic mind under Freedom of Expression. I simply cannot jump into the bandwagon of the elite ‘secularist’ and uphold what he had done. With his brush he had committed jihad-bloodletting.
The issue is just not nudity-Yes the temples-the frescos in Konarak and Kajhuraho have nude figures-But does it say that they are Sita, Sarswati or any goddesses? We have the Yoni and the Phallus as sacred signs of Life-of Siva and Shakthi-take these icons to the streets, paint them -give it a caption it become vulgar. Times have changed. Even granted that our ancients sculptured and painted naked forms and figures, with a pervert mind to demean religion is no license to repeat that in today’s changed political and social scenario and is not a sign of secularism and tolerance. I repeat there is no quarrel with nudity-painters have time and again found in it the perfection of God’s hand craft.
Let me wish Hussain peace in Qatar-the totalitarian regime with zero tolerance May be he will convince the regime there to permit freedom of expression in word, writing and painting. For this he could start experimenting painting forms and figure of Mohamed the Prophet-and his family And may I fervently wish that the media-especially The Hindu does not discriminate goons-let it not substitute tolerance for intolerance when it comes to Rahim and Antony and another index for Ram.
I hope you will read this in the same spirit that I have written. All the best to you Ram.
Dr Mrs Hilda Raja,
Vadodara

March 3, 2010 at 4:28 pm 85 comments

letter to Editor-in-chief of the New Indian Express

Dear Mr Adhitya Sinha,
Your editorial on the 27th Feb.was painful. Because I thought that at least the NIE would stand to be counted and not jump into the bandwagon of the so called secularists.Today it seems that bashing the Hindus and tolerating anything and everything that the Muslims do is secularism. . I belong to the old school of thought that believed in the independence of the Fourth Estate.I started reading the Indian Express (there was only one) in the days when Frank Morias was its Editor. During the Emergency under the stewardship of Goenka again this was the paper which stood up against Indira Gandhi. The Fourth Estate was and is a pillar of democracy. Even that I find has fallen and given way to a pseudo secularism. It is not my intention to go into that but to bring to your notice the hurt I feel in the episode of Husain the painter.
Let us not forget that he is a fugitive of law. His age is immaterial. Already in 1996 he painted goddess Sarswati in the nude. When there were protests he tendered an apology .But the ‘elite secularists’ faulted him for the apology. Since then he has allowed his perversion to run amuck on his canvass. Freedom of expression does not give the right of hurting the religious sentiments of the majority. What if Husain paints Mary in the nude? Why is his artistic freedom contained only to the Hindu gods and goddesses? Let him try and paint Mohammad’s wives/daughters and watch the effect of freedom of expression of the artist.
You may point at the paintings and frescos in the temples and in Konark and Khajhuraho. But these had a different background and were in no way offensive as the paintings of Husain. Nudity has been caught in the canvas by many painters but Husain has a hidden motive-to hurt. He sketched Hitler in the nude and stated that he spited him and hence he drew him naked. Will he even dare to paint Mother Theresa in a kanjeepuram saree all decked up? Signs and symbols do convey meaning. The yoni and the phallus are symbols of life –Siva and Shakti. Take it out of context into the streets –it becomes vulgar.
The background of Husain’s paintings cannot be overlooked. At a time when religious communalism is at a high pitch such paintings only aggravate the religious disharmony. Time and again Husain has used his brush as a Jihadi would use his weapons-for blood letting.
What is the great honor conferred on him by Qatar-its citizenship? You will be more knowledgeable about Qatar’s tolerance and its totalitarian regime. Is it an honor to be conferred citizenship by that country No it is only to spite India and to shelter an Islamic fugitive of a painter.
You did not hesitate to blame the thugs of the Sangh parivar for this exile of the venerable artist Husain.‘The kind of fascist intolerance they display to any view point or perspective that does not square with theirs makes a mockery of democracy’.You had also pointed out at the Ram Sena. Look today at the secularism of the Muslims in Shimoga-Karnataka –they are on a rampage because of Taslima Nasreen’s article against the tradition of burqa. Will your paper come out with a stinging editorial supporting Taslima’s freedom of expression and condemning the intolerance of the Muslims there? No, you will not I am certain-that much for the secularism of the media. Vandalising paintings of Husain becomes the handiwork of thugs-but killing innocents and painting our streets with the blood and tears of ordinary people through the Islamic Jihadis is what? Does our democracy square up with the Jedahi’s concept and ideology? Why is the media- so soft on Islamic terror-in India and across the globe? No, terror knows no religion will be the hollow voices heard from the ivory towers wherein the secularists live and the media lends its sound/print byes to drum up this hollowness. Lives lost of the innocent who go about their daily business is not condemned in such stringent language as that you have reserved for the ‘thugs’ of the Sangh parivar. Why this unreasonable, irrational and unrestricted condemnation. Freedom of expression is no doubt precious but freedom to live is in fact the highest of all Freedoms .When people are brutally gunned down you have not condemned the blood thirsty thugs of a particular religious ideology .Is it to prove your secular credentials? .So blame the government for not providing security for this artist who even at the age of 95 cannot resist from perversion, sadism and voyeurism.
Why this so tolerant Qatar and all the other Islamic countries not offering citizenship to Taslima? Why is she hunted and hounded? Tell me about freedom of expression and what an embarrassment to India that its celebrated painter is in exile. So what is the solution-withdraw all the cases-protect his paintings and give security to the man who with his brush is a jehadi. Why can’t he stop hurting the Hindus and their feelings? Why can’t he apologize for his erotic and blasphemous paintings of the Hindu gods and goddesses? If he loves India and misses it then he has to embrace all that is Indian-has to respect all its citizens and in the present context contribute his mite through paintings to create harmony and not indulge in just the opposite. Husain is like any other citizen and his freedom is not unrestricted.
Brown Dan’s book ‘Da Vinci code’ was found offensive-Salman Rushdie’s ‘Satanic Verse’ was banned and a fatwa given out-the Danish cartoonist too is under the threat of a fatwa. This is the Islamic tradition from which Husain must be viewed. Men and women of Fine Arts have unrestricted freedom of expression only in the realm of Hindus and Hinduism. But when it comes to other religions and its icons their freedom of expression evaporates.
Voices of dissent need also to be heeded in a democracy and the Fourth Estate should continue to be a pillar of democracy-towards that I fervently wish.
Dr Mrs Hilda Raja
Vadodara

March 3, 2010 at 4:26 pm 6 comments


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