Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav in Indian Politics



Once Gautham Buddha stopped at a Village and decided to stay
there for few weeks. A women came to meet Buddha. She said that she has a six
year old child at home. She was worried about her son eating lot of sweets. She
said that her boy is not taking her advise seriously. She was of the opinion
that a powerful monk like Buddha can probably make her son stop his unhealthy
food habit.

Buddha
blessed her and asked the women to bring her child after a week. The women and
the child came back to hermitage after a week to see Buddha. Lord Buddha spoke
to the six year old and told him that consuming sugar in large quantity will
spoil his health. Buddha advised him about the adverse effects of eating too
much of sweets. Buddha told the boy that his mother is worried and the worry
can spoil her health as well. After a while, the little boy and his mother left
the hermitage.

Few days
later, lord Buddha was leaving the village to continue his journey. Villagers
gathered on both sides of the street to see the great monk for one last time.
They were throwing flower petals on the street through which lord Buddha was
walking. The women and her little boy came with flowers in small basket and
place it at Buddha’s feet. The women joined both her hands (namaskar) and
thanked Buddha for changing her son’s life. Lord Buddha blessed her and walked
ahead. One of his disciple asked Buddha; why did you take a week’s time to
advise the boy? Buddha looked at him and said with a smile; I too had that habit
of consuming lot of sugar(sweets). So, I wanted time to stop it, before advising
it to the young boy.



It is better,
if our prime minister Modi and the union government follows the moral standards
of lord Buddha. Recently our prime minister Modi was seeking support from
everyone in his fight against corruption during Independence day speech. As per
NFSA website, the government is providing food grains to 60% of our population
at subsidized price. This means, we shouldn’t 
have hunger and malnutrition in India. But India ranked 101 out of 116
countries in global hunger index 2021. If this is not corruption, then what is
it?

BJP’s assets increased
by many folds in the last eight years. UPA II was immersed in corruption. The
amount of money involved in those scams put together was huge. But BJP just
cannot use that as a yardstick to measure corruption in India.



While
addressing the nation from Red fort on Independence day, Prime minister Modi
also spoke about ending Bhai Bathija vad ( nepotism and cronyism) and Parivar
vad (Dynasties creating hurdles for India). He said; some people have run out
of space to hide their ill-gotten wealth, while many do not have a place to
live. The media in India was quick to say that the ‘Dynasty culture' mentioned
by Modi was about Rahul Gandhi and his family. It is true that Gandhi family
controlling Congress party is an example of Dynasty culture. But the crux of
the matter lies in the fact that the Dynasty culture exists across India. It is
needless to say that in India a wealthy family or a wealthy person is often
considered as someone above the law. And there are many such Dynasts who are
among BJP supporters, workers and leaders. 
Such Dynasts are there in every village, town and cities. And they are
there in every political party. And Bhai Bathija vad exists even in PMO.



So if I am
not wrong, our prime minister was seeking help and cooperation in his fight
against corruption, Bhai Bathija vad from his supporters,  party workers and leaders. And our prime
minister was not blaming Rahul Gandhi or the opposition alone on Independence
day. In fact, Modi acknowledged the contributions of all the prominent leaders
since the days of freedom struggle and the former prime ministers of India
including Jawaharlal Nehru.



Prime
minister Modi recently spoke about revdi culture. He said that he is against
any freebies given by government which will not result in any sort of capacity and
infrastructure building. The union government has done little to nothing to
help farmers to get the price their produces deserve. Instead, the government
has resorted to giving freebies in the form of farm loan waiver and ₹6000 a
year to farmers in three instalments through PM kissan Nidhi.  Often these freebies are given to cover-up poor
governance. In this case, it is being given as compensation for allowing
middlemen to exploit farmers.



Poverty and
unemployment are issues of grave concern. Price rise and inflation will push
more into poverty. The recent protest against inflation and price rise by
Congress started in June this year. Union minister Smriti Irani criticized the
Congress party’s ‘Satyagraha March’ stating that the Congress is protesting to
safeguard Rahul Gandhi’s 2,000 crores properties and not democracy. It is true
that the Congress workers were on the streets to support Rahul Gandhi in  National herald case and to exert pressure on
Enforcement Directorate.



Soon Congress
leaders (Jairam Ramesh, Pawan Khera and Netta D'Souza ) came up with an allegation about
Smriti Irani’s daughter having business links with ‘Silly Souls Café and Bar’.
The Delhi High court on 1 August 2022, held that Union minister Smriti Irani and
her daughter are neither owners of the restaurant cum bar in Goa, nor a license
was ever issued in their name. The court said that the statements by three
Congress leaders against Smriti Irani and her family seem to be ‘bogus with
malicious intent’. However, the investigation by the Indian
Express revealed that Smriti Irani’s daughter Zoish Irani, son Zohr Irani,
husband Zubin Irani and his daughter Shanelle Irani own two companies namely, Ugraya
Farms Pvt LTD and Ugraya Agro farms Pvt Ltd. In 2020-21, both these firms invested
in a third company by name Eightall food and beverages LLP. The third firm’s
principle place of business and GSTIN is same as ‘Silly Souls Café and Bar'.





There is no
doubt that the politics and the way we do business in India has changed like
never before in the recent years. There are several positive changes we can see
around. Still there is a great scope for improvement. And such improvement at
the earliest will help India to be a developed nation in the next twenty five years.
Lack of opposition or a weak opposition could mean poor governance. BJP is
taking full advantage of this situation in India where there is no other
alternative.



On 5 August
2022, Congress party organised nationwide protest against price rise and
unemployment. The protest included ‘Chalo Rastrapati Bhaavn’, ‘Raj Bhavan
Gherao’ and 'PM’s house Gherao’. Other than that the protest  took place in all major cities in India. India’s
annual retail inflation in June touched 7.01%, which is alarming. And there has
been protest from opposition parties in the parliament since the beginning of
mansoon session which began on June 18. The protest in parliament over GST,
price rise on essential commodities and the rising unemployment resulted in
suspension of 27 MPs.



First the BJP
and the NDA allies ridiculed the protest saying that it is to exert pressure on
Enforcement Directorate for questioning Rahul Gandhi and Sonia Gandhi. Then the
Union Home minister Amit Shah blamed Congress for choosing 5 August for protest
wearing black clothes. He said that the Congress insulted foundation stone
laying day of Ram Janam Bhoomi. Many on social media criticized Congress for
choosing August 5, because Article 370 was axed on 5 August 2019.  August 5 could be coincidence or it could be part
of strategy adopted to garner support of minority communities for the protest. Union
minister Amit Shah’s statement also is a ploy to garner support from Hindus to
belittle the protest. Such ploy of using caste and religion to erode protests,
and ignoring the pressing problems like price rise, inflation and unemployment
will not help India to become a developed country in the next twenty five years.



Congress
party presidential election is going to be held soon. The party is organising ‘Bharat
Jodo Yathra’, a foot march which will cover 12 states and two union territories
and will be completed in about 150 days. The padyatra will begin in Kanyakumari
on September 7 and will end in Jammu Kashmir. Congress stated that the rally is
meant to provide an alternative to the ‘politics of fear, bigotry and
prejudice’, and to end inequality, livelihood destruction and increasing unemployment.



The
opposition led by Congress since 2014 did not engage actively in the protests
of farmers, students and the workers. Now even the left parties who used to be
the first to react against issues like price rise are limiting their activities
to statements on social media and lip service.



All of us
should appreciate and support  Congress
party workers in their protest against price rise, inflation and unemployment.
The protest which started in June this year and the Bharat Jodo Yathra will
definitely help congress to get more seats in the next general election than in
2014 and 2019. But it will adversely affect the national politics, if the
Congress fails to win the upcoming state elections. It’s  been four years since Congress party won a
state election. Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh are the only two states where
Congress is in power, which they won in December 2018. Kerala is a state, where
the BJP and NDA has no say. People in Kerala used to elect alternate
government. So it was supposed to be Congress party who should have won the
last Kerala State election. But the Congress failed due to over confidence and internal
politics in Kerala Congress.  



Congress
being the opposition leader or the leader of UPA with power in just one or two
states will not help in defeating NDA in the next general election. It will
also spoil the scope for third alliance, like how Congress being UPA leader
will spoil the chances of UPA winning next general election. Congress party
should be able to prove their ability in the upcoming state elections in
Himachal Pradesh, Gujarat and Karnataka. The time is ripe, but the Congress
leadership is sceptical and are submissive. They lost their faith in the way their
party used to function.



Ghulam Nabi
Azad a Senior Congress leader,  a G23
member and former chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir said in December 2021 that
Congress will not be able to win 300 seats in 2024 general election. He said
this while addressing public in Poonch district in Jammu and Kashmir. Later on
26 August 2022, the 73 years old Congress veteran sent his resignation letter
to Sonia Gandhi in which he criticized Rahul Gandhi for the failure of Congress
in the last eight years. The 5 key points from Ghulam Nabi Azad’s explosive
resignation letter contains sharp criticism against Gandhi’s. Ghulam Nabi Azad
suggested Congress Jodo exercise before Bharath jodo yatra in his resignation
letter. There are several senior Congress leaders who were capable of making
Congress win elections, but they left party due to wrong decisions taken by
their central leadership. Kapil Sibal, Jyotiraditya Sindya, Anand Sharma, Yoganand
Shastri are some of them.



Indian
National Congress is in crisis like never before. But Gandhis have no other
choice than to continue as leaders. If Gandhis were to choose a leader other
than themselves, and if that leader is able to unite Congress, control party
and lead Congress into victory in the next general election, then Gandhis will
never be able to claim the top position in Congress at any time thereafter. So,
the option for Gandhis is to remain the absolute boss of Congress. Moreover,
the opportunities for Rahul Gandhi or for Priyanka Gandhi to lead Congress into
victory in the next general election is much more than any other Congress leader.
Gandhis should be able to win few state elections to say things like; ‘shut up
and do what I say’. Below paragraphs will explain the opportunities and
challenges for Congress to win upcoming state elections.



We all know
our prime minister Narendra Modi and home minister Amit Shah, at least since 2002.
And they were known for wrong reasons than they are popular now for their
contribution in national politics. The court has exonerated both leaders,
despite the attempts of UPA I and II to punish them. Being in power enables to
cover-up wrong doings of politicians and politicians are often criticized for
right and wrong reasons. A theory which is not taught in any political science
class. So it is really difficult to prove whether someone powerful is guilty or
not?



Later in
2014, the Nanavati commission said that the Sabarmati express train burning at
Godhra was not an accident, but a conspiracy. 59 devotees including women and
children were charred to death.  The
Hindus in Gujrat felt that the train burning was without any provocation and an
attempt to terrify those planning to visit Ram Janam Bhoomi. It triggered the
riot. The violence included genocide, rape, looting wealth and property
destruction. Chamanpura massacre (Gulberg society case) in which a former Congress
MP late Ehsan Jafri was killed along with 67 others, Best bakery case, Bilkis
Bano case and many others sends shivers down our spines. 1044 people were
killed in the riot, out of which 254 were Hindus and 790 were Muslims.



Around 10% of
population in Gujarat are from minority community. Then there are people who
are against BJP due to strong anti-incumbency of 24 years of BJP rule. Dalits
are not happy with the caste prejudices and discrimination from BJP (Sangh
Parivar).



BJP won 99 seats
in 2017 Gujarat election, while Congress got 77seats and others bagged 6 seats.
In 16 seats, BJP had a marginal victory, which as low as 258 and 327 votes in
some constituencies.



Mob lynching, cow vigilantism and tougher laws for cow protection
was in news every now and then, since Modi became prime minister. We get to see
news about mob entering someone’s kitchen to check what is being cooked and
killing innocent people on suspicion of beef consumption. The below picture
shows the opposite. India was among the top 5 beef exporters of the world. India
was the world’s largest beef exporter at some point of time during Modi regime.
BJP can justify it saying that it is all buffalo meat. And that argument is as
good as the hypocrisy around beef ban.  

India has
more than 2000 tanneries that produces more than 2 billion square feet of
leather annually. India is one of the world’s largest producer and exporter of processed
leather. The leather industry in India accounts for around 13% of the world’s
total leather production. Yet we see news about poor Dalits and Muslims being
beaten up for extracting leather from dead cows. This explains the hypocrisy of
Sangh Parivar meant to appease Hindus. And this appeasement promotes caste sentiment
as well. Sangh Parivar who talks about Hindus welfare, protecting Hindus and
protecting the religion (Dharma) should know that the Majority of Hindus are
not with them because their theory upholds Manusmriti and the casteism.



Same like the
cow vigilantism there  was a lot of
uproar in Karnataka about the use of loudspeaker in religious places. The Sangh
Parivar and Hindutva leaders wanted Hanuman Chalisa to be played in temples
using loudspeakers. And this is against the use of loudspeakers in Mosques. This
was an attempt by the right wing Hindu outfits to create an issue and to make
it appear like an issue of all Hindus. A strategy used by BJP and Sangh Parivar
to destroy communal harmony which helps them to win elections.



India was
divided a day before Independence and we call it partition. But there was
another partition which took place in Independent India. It is in our mindset. Few
of us think that we are Secularists and look at others as communalists. The
communalists will think that those who talk about secularism are insulting our
culture and our country. Both Secularists and communalists will often fight.
This partition in our mindset is created, nurtured and benefitted by
politicians. It works as an advanced version of British theory of ‘divide and
rule’.



There is a Supreme court order banning the use of loudspeakers in religious places. Karnataka
is BJP ruled state and the Karnataka government can enforce the supreme court
order. The BJP and Sangh Parivar workers can persuade government to do so.
Instead, they are trying to make it a mass movement by playing Hanuman chalisa
in temples. In other words, they are saying that Hindus are equally entitled to
do unlawful activities like Muslims. Such developments can lead to communal
riots and arson. And that helps BJP to win elections despite poor governance.



Neither Quran
nor any Hindu holy literature talks about the need for loudspeakers. And they
didn’t exist back then. The namaz in Mosque as well as the prayers and other
rituals in temples will take place without any obstacles even without the
loudspeakers.



Similarly,
the LDF government in Kerala allowed women of restricted age (between 18 to 50)
to enter Shabarimala temple following court order on 28 September 2018. The
case filed in the court, the verdict and the LDF government in Kerala allowing
women from restricted age group was meant to end gender discrimination.



The above said
temple is on a hill top in wild forest and is not a public place, where access
to all is not a basic necessity or requirement. Those who visit this temple
will follow a set of strict rules and tough rituals for more than forty days
before the pilgrimage. And they do it because they believe that following those
rules and visiting the temple will make them successful in life, will help them
to get rid of sins and will lead to salvation (Moksha). These believes could be
fallacious. But why should someone abuse it to establish gender equality?



 Allowing women to enter a particular temple
where only non-believers (activists) among women would go doesn’t  mean gender equality in any sense. Women gets
far less than that of their male counterparts for the same job and no government
can challenge it, because what women gets is much more than the minimum wage
fixed by the government. This is why the government sets such low minimum wage.
And there wasn’t  any activists
approaching court against it.



The Union
government had options to exert pressure on court, or on the petitioner in
Shabari Mala temple case. Yes, it happens in India. BJP enforcing the ban on
use of loudspeakers in all religious places including in mosques in all BJP
ruled states could have been an effective bargain to counter this Blasphemy.
Instead, they choose to organise mass protest across Kerala. They do it because
it attracts more people into RSS and BJP.



In all these cases
the fight is not really for a cause. The fight between the Secularists and
communalists is bigger than the real cause. And they are meant to benefit
political party with either one of this ideology. 



Karnataka
Hijab row is another example of the above said partition in people’s mindset. On
January 1, a college in Karnataka’s Udupi district did not allow Muslim
students to attend class wearing hijab. They college authorities said that it
is against the prescribed norms of the college. Students were asked to leave,
if they cannot adhere to dress code. The Karnataka government claimed that
educational institutions can impose dress code/uniform prohibiting religious
attire to ensure secular education. The right wing Hindu outfits made Hindu
students come to college wearing saffron shawls against hijab. This Hijab row
became national issue with violent protests breaking out across Karnataka. It
also led to closure of schools and colleges, imposed curfew for few days and it
became the subject for prime time debate in national news channels.

On 3 March
2004, the French senate gave the final approval for a bill prohibiting the
wearing of conspicuous religious symbols in public schools. Religious symbols
includes star and crescent, Om, cruz etc. It was with true secular values and
there was any sort of extravaganzas. If we were to apply the same concept in
India, then we should ban Sindur, Tilak, Hijab, Scull cap, Cruz, Om and a list
of things. But the hype about Hijab ban and the protest against the ban was
unnecessary in every sense.



I worked in various
BPOs in India for almost six years. So, let me explain how this Hijab and Burka
culture works in corporate environment. Almost all the women who come to office
wearing Burka and Hijab will remove it once they are in office. They stay
without this additional clothing on the floor, in cafeteria and in the lobby.
And they will wear it before boarding the cab after office. This means, the
Burka and Hijab is forced upon them in most of the cases. And there are Muslim
men working with them who are very poise, but they feel it is outdated orthodox
belief. We will not see celebrities like Singers, movie stars and sports
personalities from Muslim community wearing Hijab all the time. So, often it is
forced upon women.



So, it is a great opportunity for Rahul Gandhi to prove his
ability by leading Congress to victory in upcoming elections. It requires hard
work and dedication to organize things from grass root level. Success is not a
low hanging fruit. Rahul Gandhi can hire professionals who are capable of
driving his ideas and to come up with ideas to win elections.



The positive
side for Rahul Gandhi is that many of his critics have left the party. Many
senior Congress leaders have undermined worst performance during UPA 2 and the
widespread corruption. And they choose to blame Rahul Gandhi for electoral
failures since 2014. So it is Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav for Rahul Gandhi to prove
his leadership qualities.

Perhaps it is
Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav for BJP leaders and workers to walk their talk. It is
time for them to disregard Parivar vad, Bhai Bathija vad and revdi culture within
themselves to make it Ek Bharat Shrest Bharat in the next 25 years, as
envisaged by our prime minister Modi.



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