As we arrive at the critical middle phase of elections, there is still space/time for one final piece of drama- Dr Manmohan Singh’s brother Daljit Singh Kohli has joined the BJP.
He was supposedly motivated by the humiliation inflicted on bade bhaiya by the dastardly dragons at the Delhi Durbar (PM had no comments except to express personal sadness).
It is quite possible that Daljit is a Vibhisana (devil brother) and not a Lakshman (angel brother), but the stories of humiliation are vouched for by many people in the inner-most circle (incl. Sanjaya Baru).
Any other time such stunts would be dismissed as pure drama-bazi, but if your boat is already sinking even a few straws may prove to be too much of a burden, especially when the public has reason to suspect that there is no honor to be spared amongst this gang of thieves.
We have always been bemused by the plethora of articles criticizing the evil Modi vs. the pure as snow Congress and its unswerving commitment to protect minorities. The liberal mouthpieces such as Mukul Kesavan, Mihir Sharma, Aakar Patel (and many others, all non-Sikhs) have been confidently stating for some time now that the appointment of Manmohan Singh as Prime Minister has helped erase the blood-stains from 1984. The lone dissenting voice is that of a Sikh- Hartosh Singh Bal – who aptly terms all of this as “secular nonsense.”
If we continue to press forward with a community polarization strategy (for which all parties are equally to blame) then Hindus + Sikhs + Jains + Buddhists (so-called Dharmic group represented by the present BJP/NDA) and even some Christian communities will be united against the Yavans, the invaders who foolishly claim that their motherland lies on some imaginary desert (Arabic) shores.
But there is hope for a better way. The younger generation of muslims in Delhi readily abandoned the Congress for the Aam Aadmi party which is led by the non-elite, middle class and is propounding a common-sense, left wing agenda (disturbed by a few antics here and there, a natural part of the growth experience). If the AAP is able to win some 50 odd seats it will be in a good position to drive the dynasty away from the privileged position it feels entitled to. And India will be a far better country for having shaken off all the parasites, apologists, foot-lickers, and sycophants as well. Enough is enough.
A day after Prime Minister Manmohan Singh rejected the presence of a ‘Modi wave’ in the country, his stepbrother Daljit Singh Kohli joined the Bharatiya Janta Party (BJP) in the presence of its prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi.
Kohli stunned everyone, when he suddenly appeared on the dais, minutes after Modi and Punjab chief minister Parkash Singh Badal mounted the stage at a rally to support BJP’s Amritsar candidate Arun Jaitley.
Embracing Kohli into the fold, Modi said, “Dr Manmohan Singh’s brother has joined the BJP, and this will add to our strength. I welcome him into the party and assure him that this is not a membership party, but a relationship party. I promise him that whatever dreams for India and Punjab he has brought into the BJP, all of them will be fulfilled.”
Defending the PM, but lashing out at the Congress, Kohli said, “I put on record that my elder brother Sardar Manmohan Singh is a respected and honest gentleman. He has served the nation with full dedication and honesty. However, the Congress leadership never gave him a free hand and interfered in the functioning of the government. Because of this the nation is in a mess. I decided to join the BJP in the interest of the country and Punjab.
Secular Nonsense (Hartosh Singh Bal/Open magazine):
…..several ‘secular’ commentators have joined issue with these right-wingers to make the claim that the Congress, despite 1984, is less of a danger than Narendra Modi.
The ‘despite’ is a problem. It takes a degree of armchair callousness to make light of the widows of Trilokpuri, as Mihir Sharma did with the easy claim that ‘1984’s victims aren’t living penniless in garbage dumps today as, around them, a state’s development is praised.’
(Aakar) Patel wrote in The Hindustan Times: ‘The fact is that the Congress has made its peace with Sikhs. To see this we need to only go through the names of Punjab’s legislators. Of the 46 Congress MLAs, 33 are Sikh (on the other hand 10 of the BJP’s 12 MLAs are Hindu).’ The fact, though, is nothing of the sort. Let me cite a fact from Gujarat. Earlier this year, in the Salaya municipality in Jamnagar district of Saurashtra, where 90 per cent of the population is Muslim, the BJP put up 24 Muslims for the 27 seats at stake, and all of them were successful.
Going by Patel’s logic, it would seem that the Muslims of Salaya love the BJP. But I have reported from Gujarat often enough to know this is not the case. There is a Hindi phrase that sums up their plight: ‘Majboori ka naam Mahatma Gandhi’. If Patel had bothered to understand Punjab half as well as he understands Gujarat, he would know that in a state with a Sikh majority, the Congress and Akali Dal are the two alternative routes to power. If one is closed, the other is the only option. This has nothing to do with making one’s peace with a party, unless by making peace Patel implies exactly what the Hindi phrase suggests.
Kesavan is far more explicit in his admission of the extent and nature of the Congress’ culpability for 1984, but he ends his column in The Telegraph with a claim that goes beyond 2002 and 1984: ‘So the reason the dynastic Congress isn’t as dangerous as Modi’s BJP is dispiriting but straightforward: while the Congress is capable of communalism, it isn’t constituted by bigotry.’ This conclusion isn’t specific to Modi, it extends to almost any BJP administration.
The problem is that Kesavan makes this claim while addressing the question of the 1984 killings. Murder or rape organised by a ‘secular’ party is no less serious than murder or rape at the behest of a communal ideology. You cannot privilege one party over another on this basis. Neither 2002 nor 1984 can ever be acceptable and either is enough to disqualify a party from a reasonable claim to power in this country.
If you consider the difference between the pursuit of justice post-2002 and post-1984, Kesavan’s explicit claim is what accounts for the active involvement of civil rights activists in Gujarat and their apathy in practice over the 1984 killings. Many of the activists who have done outstanding work in Gujarat, such as Teesta Setalvad, see no problem in maintaining close links with the Congress. They see the BJP and Modi as ever present dangers that need to be combated, but they treat 1984 as an aberration that lies in the past.
In a 2007 book The Clash Within published by Harvard University Press in the US and glowingly blurbed by none other than Amartya Sen, Martha C Nussbaum confronts the comparison thus: ‘The closest precedent to Gujarat… was the anti-Sikh riots in Delhi…’ She then goes on to make the claim that there were differences and that in the Delhi riots ‘rape and killing-by-incineration were not central elements of the violence’.
The central image of the 1984 killings is of Sikh men being burnt alive. Eyewitnesses tell of tyres tied around their necks and set on fire, others tell of a white powder that easily burst into flames.
As for rape, Jyoti Grewal in her book Betrayed by the State, writes, ‘…I must respect their wishes which were explicit that I not repeat events, names and references. What I heard were the details of rapes, how family members were forced to rape their wives and daughters before the mob raped the women again; it was more than I could bear.
Later in the book, she writes, ‘The issue of rape was buried… the community pressured them so much that the women just did not want to talk about rape.’ Women silenced once had been silenced again by one of the world’s leading feminists only to make a point about Gujarat. Consider the secular outrage we would have witnessed if a leading US conservative had written something so offensive about the Gujarat killings.
Despite such facts, there seems to be no shortage of commentators, largely non-Sikhs, who are willing to speak on behalf of the community and absolve the Congress of its role in 1984. It is no wonder the epigraph to Jyoti Grewal’s book reads, ‘I write so I am not written out; I write so I am not written about.’.
Link (1): http://www.hindustantimes.com/elections2014/the-big-story/prime-minister-manmohan-singh-s-brother-daljeet-singh-kohli-joins-bjp/article1-1212269.aspx
Link (2): http://www.openthemagazine.com/article/voices/secular-nonsense-on-1984