Monday, November 17, 2008

Banish the 'Deshdrohi'

Finally ‘Deshdrohi’ has been banned. For another two months. Thanks heavens!! It is applicable only in Maharashtra. Those who are curious to watch it can migrate to other states. This ‘migration’ is the ‘crux’ of the film. And the crux of the current violence over ‘north Indian’ issue. No wonder it may become the poll plank in the upcoming general elections.

The ban comes after the Home department had a special hearing held on Thursday. The makers of the film, it seems, will again rush to the Bombay High Court.

So what is objectionable there in the film? Anyone who has watched the promos can make a good sense. In a scene the ‘protagonist’ is seen being pushed in a BEST bus by the conductor. Another scene has both protagonist and few local politicians; argue over his origins. Played by Kamal Khan, the young graduate has moved to Mumbai to make a living. Somehow he entangles himself in the brawl of regionalism.

Current ‘provocative’ atmosphere especially in Mumbai forced the authorities to stall its release. Maharashtra police under Bombay Cinema Regulation Act 1963 had recommended a ban on ‘Deshdrohi’.
And the Congress-NCP ruling combine grabbed the chance. It gave a green signal for the ban.

Reasons cited sound justified. ‘Deshdrohi’ can incite communal tensions. It may have added oil to the flame. Quite right! But who is responsible for the highly volatile situation? And who is ‘Deshdrohi’.

Past few years are witness to a new emerging trend. Throw away the ‘poor’ migrant workers who are ‘Bhayyas’ says the campaign. They don’t speak Marathi. It doesn’t sound a good reason to extern them. It’s an act of insanity perpetrated by the insane. It’s not astounding: A sane attacked weirdly by an insane.

Indian Constitution guarantees the Fundamental Right to Life under Article 21. Right to Livelihood is enshrined in it. Offensive against the north Indians is akin to stripping them of these Rights. It is tantamount to ‘contempt’ of Constitution.

Judiciaries act as the traditional ‘ombudsmen’ to upheld the Constitutional provisions. These are Constitutional institutions. One’s contempt may lead to the contempt of the other.

Thousands of north-Indians have preferred their lives to their livelihood. They have fled to their homes. Anti migrant violence has received more publicity than ire. People fed up with ‘Saas Bahu Serials’ were found glued to the TV. They had found a new entertainment. The cutting of a birthday cake with ‘Bhayya’ written on it added ‘spice’ to the newly arrived opera.

Raj Thackeray and his lumpen were at the forefront of the anti north Indian agitation. It saw large scale destruction of public and private properties. Months of uncertainty led to ideological marginalization. His subsequent arrest did not yield much.

So who is ‘Deshdrohi’? Should it be banned? The answer is simple. Yes. Recently Bombay High Court in its ruling had called Raj Thackeray as an “urban terrorist”. A terrorist is a parson who wages a war against the nation. He kills innocents and is the ‘Deshdrohi’. In history of Indian polity, a judiciary never pronounced such censures on a political leader.

The legacy of hatred has many manifestations. Anti-South Indian and anti-Gujarati movements were turned into an anti-Muslim one in late 80s. The ‘bow and arrow’ was pointed towards Muslims. Its fallouts were huge. The hatred reached its zenith during post-Babri riots and 1993 serial blasts. Gradually the derogatory remarks against Muslims became poll plank.

The idea of propelling these ‘Bhayyas’ is not new. Only a new breed of hate mongers is pushing it ahead. ‘Bhayya Haath Paaye Pasari’, is a Marathi play that is also at the receiving end. Those who find it derogatory and offensive have demanded a ban.

The fallout of the probe into the September 29 Malegaon blast has started a new debate. Can a Hindu ever be a terrorist? The right wing Hindu outfits have decried the notion vociferously. All saffron outfits have taken up the cudgels on behalf of the accused.

Unless proved guilty, an accused is innocent. After convicted he becomes a perpetrator, an accomplice in the crime. Accused in Malegaon blast have given a new dimension to the investigations in terror acts. It has shifted the focus.
The trial will determine their culpability. If proved guilty they will become terrorists. Like many who were held guilty under TADA in 1993 serial blasts case.
So whoever the ‘Deshdrohi’ are and whatever are their intensions, the governments need stringent acts and actions to deal with them.
For putting an end the turmoil, banning a film would not be sufficient. Government should banish the real ‘Deshdrohi.’

Monday, November 10, 2008

Terror Has No Religion, But Who Believes?

Terror has no religion. It is a face with no certain identity. A terrorist understands only one language, the language of hatred and bloodshed. Through out the world a terrorist is a terrorist and a criminal is a criminal. It is widely held notion, which is approved by majority of people. Judiciaries do not base the religion to pronounce their judgements. It is the degree of offence or the seriousness of act of "terror" that determie the culpability. But a few have moulded the term "terrorist" or "terrorism" for their own set targets. Be it a propaganda against a particular community or a trial by media, everybody almost starts believing in what is aired, printed or is talk of the town. It is a universal fact that people believe in what they are unstoppingly fed, no matter what is fed or shown to them is based on facts or hoax. Except a few, nobody sees a terrorist either as a Muslim, a Hindu, a Christian or as a Sikh. India is the only country where terrorists hail almost from every big religion. The 1980s Khalsa movement revolved mainly around the secessionist demands of Sikhs. They wanted a land of their own. In north eastern Indian states some Christians are allegedly found to be involved in anti national activities. The central provinces of the country are battling with the naxalite movement. This movement is infested with Left-tilting ideology of the Maoists or the Peoples' War Group. The insurgency in Kashmir has seen Muslim terrorists, who mainly come from across the LoC. Recently the role of a few alleged Hindu millitants in Malegaon blast is being probed. A sadhvi with her accomplices allegedly planned the September 29 Malegaon blast. Reams of papers will end but the debate will continue. But who believes in the notion that a terrorist has no religion? Before that we take a sneak peak into the entire episode. What is terrorism? When innocents civillians become target of a deviated few who believe in the doctrine of bloodletting, the resultant scenario that leads to death and destruction of civillian population is the act of "terrorism". Unfortunately only bomb explosions are seen as acts of terror. In India since Independence huge number of people have been butchered in the name of religion. Only the modus operandi was different, but the outcome was the same, annihilation of the targeted innocent people. The past few decades or so have seen Muslims being branded as "terrorists". How can the entire community be held responsible for deviations of a few. Similarly all the Hindus can not be held liable for the crimes of a few of their co-religionists. Despite that a large chunk of India's populace still upholds the secular values of her forefathers. Nobody comes for the rescue of the Muslim community when it is branded as the cultivator of outlaws. In contrast, the arrests in Malegaon blast has created unrest in pro-Hindutva groups. Indiviuals and organisations have openly supported the arrested accused. Two incidents changed peoples' perceptions to some extent. America, for the first time in history, elected an African-American as her first "black" president and Jamiat-ul-Ulema E Hind, in its 29 general session in Hyderabad on November 8-9, adopted a resolution that condemned terrorism. While the first changed the way people saw to America, the second is expected to revive hopes of Indian Muslims. The hopes that seek tranquility are reasons to to be optimistic. Jaimat-ul-Ulema-e-Hind and its general secretary, Maulana Mahmood Mdani, who happens to be a Rajya Sabha MP, will be remebered for their courageous initiatives. This time for the audacious effort they have put in passing a resolution at its 29 Hyderabad session. More than 6,000 delegates attended the conference. Mahmood Madani made a statement on November 8 on the organisation's opening session in Hyderabad. There is nothing new in his statement which we may celebrate. His speech echoed with what pepole usually opine after every terror strike. "We should not link terrorism to religion". This is what he meant. And this is what Jamiat adoptd in its resolution. He was speaking on the backdrop of the arrests made in September 9 Malegaon blasts. A few may find it only as an ordinary statement delivered from dais of a religious congregation, but those who seek solutions to problems, it has huge ramifications. No political leader did have the same courrage as Madani did. He condemned the current ongoing "campaign" that brands Pragnya Singh Thakur as a "Hindu" terrorist. The right wing outfits are exception to it. As, it is quite natural for them to defend Pragnya and her accomplices, they have scome in full support of her. These right wing outfits can never even imagine of doing what Jamiat and Mahmod Madani have done. Resolution apart, they would never say a word against the alleged imjustice. Recently L K Advani spoke of media sensationalism. He appealed to media not to sensationalise the news. The silence of other political parties is deafening. They should also have denounced the "campaign" that brands people on grounds of religion. We do not want either to take sides or point fingers at others. Neither is our intention to support any act of violence. The bone of contention is that people should avoid rhetoric. A conceretd effrot to tackle the menace is the need of the hour. Instead of delivering statements, we should deliver results. Jamiat and Madani wanted Pragnya not branded as a "Hindu" terrorsit. A very few aslo did the same. People say terror has no religion. Now, it is not hard to say who pratices it. But who believes in the notion? It does not need to be answered.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Mautam---A phenomenon that jeopardises existence

Resentment leads to discontent. Discontent transforms into rebellious endeavours when people feel neglected. Mizo National Front was formed to get the attention of indifferent regime that overlooked their apprehensions about Mautam. In this far flung north eastern Indian state of Mizoram, Mautam occurs every fifty years. Mautam is a natural cycle that accelerates the flowering of bamboo 'crops.' This means flowers blossom on 'bamboo' crops. During flowering, hordes of rats swoop on them to quench their natural desire of 'hunger'. These rats feed on them. Acres of this 'bamboo' farmlands are destroyed as a result of flowering. As collateral damage these rats leave behind them the most dreaded farm-crop diseases. Plague is one of them. Due to this unique phenomenon, deteriorated by plague of farmlands, acres of famcrop lands are destroyed. In Mizoram 'bamboo' and its resultant economic activities are the mainstay of the Mizos. People not only built their houses but they also indulge in handicrafts utilising the abundance of bamboo. Last time flowering happened in 1958. Owing to the government's failure to stop Mautam, the great famine engulfed larger section of population. The entire state came under the threat of starvation, displacement because of unavailability of food. The present day Mizo National Front occupies the central position in the state politics. Its ruling the state. Famines and natural disasters are national calamities. National calamities are not the domains of states governments only. In tandem with the Centre any state at the receiving end of the natural calamity tries to deal with the crisis. But in case of Mautam---a joint mechanism is the need of the hour. A joint venture of between the Centre and Mizoram could produce good results. Initially the apprehensions of the Mizos were mocked and the whole episode was downplayed. The fears were termed only as unreliable superstitions. A man from the region states that he saw eight hundred to one thousand rats. These rats swarm to feed on the blossomed bamboo farms, do not differentiate fields and houses. The measures taken to avert the crisis are not sophisticated. Manual capturing of rats is the only way to lessen the damage. A few of the farmers sprinkle poisons across farms. some paddy fields are also affected because of the peak season. In peak season paddy fields throw the produce out.  First Mautam occurred in 1911. Mautam tells two stories. One shows the ingenuity of the rodents. They attack the fields in groups of hundreds and thousands. The other exposes the indifference of the regimes that consist of homo sapiens. One time guerilla fighter the present chief minister may be occupying the powerful seat, but there exists no concrete effort to do away with the menace. A land of guerillas or millitary-men has failed to win the war against rats.  It is difficult to say that how the locals deal with the problems, but the need of the hour is to curb the phenomenon----that jeopardises the existence.