The Power Of History Part 2

[Please read Part 1 of this post before reading this. It has the context for this post as well as links on the basis of which I have based my assessment of Jaswant Singh’s book.]

Two questions naturally arise from all this.

The first one: Why did Jaswant Singh write this book?

Was the controversial theme something he really does not believe in, merely a ruse to sell the book in the same way that Jaswant’s revelation of a “mole” in the top echelons of the government, a name he refused to divulge most possibly because there was none, in his last book was? I would say not.  While Jaswant Singh and his publishers were possibly well aware of how the uproar would help the bottom line, I doubt whether the book was exclusively written for the sake of controversy-driven sales.

No. Jaswant Singh’s book comes from genuine deep-seated conviction. More precisely an immense distaste of the Congress. I am going out on a limb here but I speculate that this hatred might be a royalist’s reaction to the way the princely states were treated by the Congress with Sardar Patel intimidating and brow-beating the kingdoms to join the Union of India and with Jawaharlal Nehru, with his refusal to accept any kind of challenge to his authority, providing the consistent political pressure for the assimilation of the princely states.

To people with royal Rajput connections like Jaswant Singh, what the Congress achieved in the name of “national unification” was nothing but conquest by democracy, the will of the “majority” taking away from the raja-log what they perceived to be their birth right (yes as pointed out here, shades of Dukey Bana of “Gulaal”) with the last blow being dealt by Indira Gandhi who, in a populist measure, went back on the promises given to the kings during independence and cut off their privy purses. It may not be a coincidence that it was around about this time that Jaswant Singh joined politics.

In Mohammed Ali Jinnah, the bete noire of Congress’s greatest generation, Jaswant Singh finds someone with whom he shares a hatred of the Congress and for very similar reasons. Jinnah too was solidly against Congress majoritarianism, the power of the sweaty masses awakened by Gandhi’s taking politics to the people, creating a juggernaut that Jinnah saw as one that would obliterate the rights of minority Muslims. Also Jinnah regarded Nehru’s single-minded opposition to a denomination-based federal structure a sign of Hindu power-hungriness and an expression of his insensitivity towards the concerns of minorities.

If you read Jaswant Singh’s interviews (again I have not read the book), you will note that these are the exact two points on which he sides most strongly with Jinnah—-his supposedly justified fear of Congress majoritarianism (“it is the will of the majority and so it will be”) and his opposition to Nehru’s “Western European” ideal of strong centrally administered nation-state, one that Jinnah felt  blinded the Congress to the possibility of the creation of “spaces” for minorities—–a “Pakistan inside India”. It is here that Jinnah’s animus towards the Congress melds into that of Jaswant Singh’s (albeit in different contexts) which explains why Jaswant Singh admires Jinnah, blames the Congress for Partition far more than they should be, and repeats the Pakistani-Marxist canard that Muslims are isolated, confused and abandoned in India, if only to try to show the failure of Nehru’s vision.

The second question. Why, if he possesses views that are so contrary to his party’s ideology, did Jaswant Singh stay on in the party for thirty years?

Now as to why Jaswant Singh stayed in the BJP for so long, the answer is not difficult. Over the years the BJP has come to define itself by its Ram Mandir electoral plank. However there is another ideological thread that runs through its lifespan—-trenchant anti-Congressism. In the 70s, when Jaswant Singh came into politics the Congress was the 800 pound gorilla in the electoral landscape and politics was driven by whether you were for or against the grand old party. Since Jaswant Singh was so obviously against the Congress perhaps because of the way it treated the princely states, the BJP was a home for him, even though its obvious he has no truck with some of the deeper Hindutva underpinnings of the party. Over the years as the Congress’s role in Indian politics steadily waned and the BJP sought to define itself on the notion of Hindu pride. Jaswant Singh still stayed in the party as it was, by far, the strongest anti-Congress formation in today’s India . And as long as he kept his personal opinions to himself, the BJP were also fine with his presence since he was one of their better administrators and also a part of their “moderate” face. But now finally their hand has been forced by this book which makes an ex Minister of External Affairs and Finance Minister of India  a folk hero in Pakistan.

Which brings me to what people are interested in the most. The BJP reaction to Jaswant’s book, met with almost universal condemnation in the popular press. How justified is the shakedown? In order to do an unbiased assessment, one must look at the decision to expel Jaswant Singh from an ideological as well as pragmatic perspective.

The first. Sardesai asks how BJP can claim to be different from Congress if this is the level of tolerance they show to alternate viewpoints within their own party. I think Sardesai misses the point here when he compares the BJP’s intolerance of Jaswant Singh to the Congress.’s Every party has certain stated ideological “non-negotiables” and Jaswant Singh very clearly stepped out of his organization’s laxman-rekha .  Even more than his Jinnah worship and his blaming Indian leaders for partition, its his contention that minorities are forgotten and oppressed in independent India that is very obviously out of the song-book of BJP’s ideological adversaries, using language that BJP has always and without fail dubbed as “pseudo-secularism” and “minority appeasement” .  Every organization (political party, corporate body, marital unit) has certain inviolable rules and the organization has the right to take sanctions if you are found to be breaking them—-like publicly declaring that your company’s product is bad or getting caught in bed with a “friend I met at the bar.”

In the last paragraph, I mention the word “stated”. The problem with the Congress is that their most important ideological foundation is not only not “stated” but actually steadfastly denied. Namely that someone from “a certain family” has to be the head of the party. Anyone who fails to “spontaneously” support this certain family  is defenestrated. Once Congress makes it clear that anyone who joins the Congress, more than its stated ideals of secularism and socialism, has to agree to this “One Family to rule them all” rule and that there is nothing spontaneous about it, I would have no problem with Congress ejecting people who then violate it.

And now the second perspective. Pragmatism. The one that really counts. Since all of us cynics know that there is just one fundamental ideology uniting political parties—get and hold onto power. Everything else is negotiable.

By that token, BJP’s decision to remove Jaswant Singh, without giving him an opportunity to defend himself, is a total and utter disaster on the scale of “Roop Ki Raani Choron Ka Raja”. It was obvious that with his recent political battle  over Raje’s supposed discrediting of Jaswant’s son Manavendra combined with BJP’s “dog eat dog” atmosphere of infighting, Jaswant may very well have been looking for a way out. And with BJP’s precipitate, knee-jerk reaction it has given Jaswant an opportunity to be a “martyr” at the altar of free speech (To see Jaswant Singh’s personal respect for freedom of expression, watch his reaction to the camera as a pressman asks him a question he does not like—link courtesy Sunny Jain) as well as given him  invaluable positive press.

When a friend is dissing you out, the immature way to react is to shout and scream, grab him by the collar and weep “How could you? You are no longer my friend”. The more mature way is to gradually isolate him, move him to the restricted list on Facebook and then ultimately remove him from your list, invite other friends to our house for dinner but “forget” to call him and in the unlikely event he is dense enough to call, you politely talk for five minutes and then say you are getting a call on your other line and you will call him back. Which you do not.

Similarly BJP, as a party of  supposedly “mature” individuals, needed to make a statement that they did not endorse Jaswant’s viewpoints regarding the apportion of blame for India’s partition and his statement about Indian Muslims. And left it at that, taking the “high moral ground” saying they are not like other parties. Then they should have gently turned the screws on him and his political dynasty. So that when a few months later he left it would not be in a blaze of glory but as an item on Page 5.

This disastrous response is also symptomatic of a larger malaise. After the reversals in the Lok Sabha elections,  BJP has no idea as to how they should brand themselves. Should they go anti-Congress with a vengeance? Should they woo the minority vote aggressively? Should they present a more secular, development-oriented face that the urban educated middle-class would appreciate? Or should they fly the saffron flag, embrace the RSS base and hit the road? In the middle of the confusion, they try a little bit of this and a little bit of that. Different leaders pull the party in different directions. And the leadership keeps sending mixed messages. Like their most childish “I am making an example of you” hasty expulsion of Jaswant, in deference to their base—the RSS.

No two ways. In terms of pragmatics, it is a horrible horrible decision, one which has the potential to further sink a party caught already in a leadership and organizational quagmire.

And finally if there is a larger lesson from all of this, it is the realization of the power of history and its ability to spring out from the dry and dusty pages and shape our present and impact our future.

Our history teacher was a wise man.

[As before, be mindful of hateful comments. Moderation will be done. ]

105 thoughts on “The Power Of History Part 2

  1. Me first …

  2. Its a real pity that Nehru was assumed by Jinnah (and many among the docile Indian masses at that time) to be the representative of the Hindus. What an irony !

    [edited by GB]

  3. Jaswant Singh may have had the deep baritone and propah accent that is generally loved by the media, but his “cardinal offense” in the BJP rulebook was not praising Jinnah, but tearing down Sardar Patel. What was Jaswant expecting? That the BJP would garland him with rupee-notes?

    As someone remarked previously, Budda Satiya gaya hai. Hope he picks out a good retirement home in Darjeeling.

  4. I feel that BJP’s decision to remove Jaswant Singh will bode well for the party in the long run.

  5. @Vinayak Kale

    You’ve got a colorful last name. I have a good friend (a Marathi Manoos) whose last name is Kale (Black). His mother’s maiden name was Goray (White). So, my friends and I have recently nicknamed him “Obamanoos”. 😉

  6. Jinnah was the most prominent force responsible for partition.He was marginalized in Congress and national politics by the arrival of M.K.Gandhi.He ran away to London disillusioned and then suddenly it dawned to a cigar smoking,scotch sipping anglicized ‘Burra Sahib’ that Muslims are another nation(according to Two nation Theory).I think Jaswant Singh is in the same boat as Jinnah was.Marginalized by the Leadership and seeing the party sink in further chaos,he must have believed that this is the way to go out,as a supernova rather than fizzling out as a white dwarf.It hurts to see the party of Atal sink to this low.This was the party with the difference.Now it resembles Congress of the 90s under Sita Ram Kesari.After 60 years all the schmucks who feel that partition is a matter of distant past and India as a nation should move on seem to conveniently forget that History is a living document.It changes with the passage of time and at times repeats itself.I do not condone Nehru but his and Sardar Patel’s vision of a United India with a strong Central Government is the only reason that we exist as Indians or at least have a notion of what India is.It is really a misfortune for India that both Gandhi and Patel passed away by 1950 leaving Nehru unchecked .

  7. BTW don’t the current 24 Hrs News channels with their incessant stream of breaking news and headlines make you nostalgic about Doordarshan?Remember the days of 9 PM news and serials like Turning Point? What happened to AajTak of SP Singh?Damn Already feeling old.Looking forward to an article on the state of current media with its shark feeding frenzy over tidbits like Shahrukh Khan’s US drama.BTW dont mention Barkha Dutt.She might sue you 🙂

  8. Thanks for both the posts – they made for interesting and sober reading. And you have rightly pointed out the undercurrents of Singh’s ideology/ decision to write the book that almost all the MSM in India has, perhaps not surprisingly, decided to overlook or not bothered to really analyse. I don’t think it’s surprising that Jinnah has become some new found folk hero for the anti Congree wallahs – it’s perhaps a logical if twisted end of their reasoning against whatever Nehru did.

  9. And what about Modi’s going overboard of banning the book in Gujarat? That’s another naive move by the BJP. What you say about the party trying little bit of this and little bit of that, I think that’s most appropriate.

    What was one of the better things about the BJP that it was a democratic party and leaders had difference of opinion is now turning into it’s bane. In this light, I’d like to know what exactly is the best practice – Should a party blindly follow its leader and thus present a unified strong face in front of a country in order to appear stable and thus be able to win elections? Or is it normal and good to have differences of opinion? But time and again it is shown that these people at times have such inflated egos that differences of opinion cannot be resolved.

  10. From the above TOI article

    “The party had distanced itself from his views when senior BJP leader Sushma Swaraj described Kulkarni as an “independent journalist” who was free to air his opinion.

    She had said the views expressed by him in the article were not that of the party. Since then, Kulkarni has been virtually inactive within the BJP.”

    Kulkarni was anyways on the way out. Actually, the BJP used the exact same strategy suggested here. Look how that turned out.

  11. Quote : “Every party has certain stated ideological “non-negotiables” and Jaswant Singh very clearly stepped out of his organization’s laxman-rekha . ”

    Why your above logic was not applied to Advani when Advani praised Jinnah as a secular person.

    For some reason, the way you have written makes me feel you have a soft corner for the Congress and Nehru or a Pro Congress/Nehru..

    May be am wrong, its just a feeling that i got from the narration and the flow of your article..

    If so, then this might interest you..

  12. I think you are spot-on with both Part 1 and 2. I didn’t know of Jaswant Singh’s royal lineage. That makes things so much more clearer.

    Thanks for the very well written and very objective posts. Very informative. 🙂

  13. Gulaal was what came to my mind as soon as I read ur first para! 😀 And there you were comparing Jaswant to Dukey bana…

    The explanations/arguments seem logical but somehow I feel the BJP could have done without expelling him at this time especially with the condition the party is in… Not to mention the new ‘cats’ Jaswant is bringing out of his bags…

  14. Hi GB
    I think self-pinging is not good as par of SEO. Do install No-Self-Ping plugin.. hope it proves useful to u

  15. For those who think Jinnah was the villain behind the partition, please remember that it was Jinnah who initiated the Hindu-Muslim pact of Lucknow in 1916. An achievement no one else has achieved till today.

  16. @Junaid.
    Hindu-Muslim pact of 1916 is a disgrace to what you call Hindu Muslim unity.This was the time before Mahatma Gandhi became politically significant in India.This pact was nothing but caving in by Congress to accept separatist agenda of Muslim League.Congress accepted the demand for separate electorates.This was a blunder for which India paid dearly in 1947.Jinnah was responsible for partition,before him Muslim league was a minor player.It was a party formed by Nawabs to keep their interests safe with the British government.

  17. Singh and Kulkarni have left BJP. I would say – good riddance.
    BJP needs some young, lean, even mean dudes to take on the nasty Congress/Media combine. Kulkarni/Singh were old school and a baggage anyways. (So is Advani. But he is needed to hold all of ’em together)

    Sad part is, with BJP’s continuing decline, we are going back to days of Single party family rule.

  18. @GB:
    Did you find if Sudheendra Kulkarni had any royal connections as well ?

    Also, I can’t buy your idea that entire India would have been like NWFP had it not been Nehru. It’s too much of a generalization.

  19. @kaunteya

    You are 100% right, my friend. To Sudheendhra Kulkarni’s quitting the BJP, I too would say “Good riddance to bad garbage”.

    It was due to this Leftist Kulkarni’s constant advice to the national leadership (esp. Mr.Advani) that the BJP lost its ideological moorings and tried to become a pale version of the Congress. The result: many Indian voters couldn’t see any difference between the two parties and consequently the BJP lost two elections (2004 and 2009).

  20. Amit,

    Did you read a book by Kulkarni idolizing Jinnah and blaming Nehru’s philosophy for a strong center and Congress majoritarianism for partition?

    If you didnt, the answer is no since everyone who leaves BJP does not do so for the same reason.

  21. You have totally changed the way I perceived the whole episode. History indeed never comes in Black or White….. It’s always in shades of Grey….

  22. Hmmm… lots of speculation there. Not sure I’ll switch Asimov for Jaswant, but the book will probably bear this out. Good old Nehru could have never imagined so many swinging to his defence – guess it takes someone to say something nice about Jinnah!

    Jaswant does seem to be prepared to burn bridges considering his latest ‘activities’, so it does seem he sort of anticipated things to go the way they have (which in turn might suggest these were calculated moves).

  23. Eshwarprasath,

    As far as I know Advani did not step out from the Laxmanrekha since he did not make statements about the isolation of Muslims in India. He just called Jinnah secular. As argued in my first post, much of Jaswant’s justification for Jinnah may be extended to imply for instance full autonomy for Kashmir which is again something Advani didnt do.

    As to saying I am a supporter of the Congress, I have been told that I am a a BJP fan boy. I have said this in the past and I will say so again. These accusations amuse me as it affirms what I believe about myself: I am politically neutral.

  24. The result: many Indian voters couldn’t see any difference between the two parties and consequently the BJP lost two elections (2004 and 2009).

    It is easier to say you are different when you are still only a contender. Once BJP came to power, people could see for themselves that this was indeed the case. I suspect that for the BJP to have got as many votes as it has done, there is still a core support base which votes for it. I don’t think this base has switched to the UPA. They seem to have failed to convince the average voter (those who do not vote on ideological grounds). Manmohan’s image certainly helped the UPA.

  25. Everlasting Truth August 23, 2009 — 6:40 pm

    Great analyses, Greatbong.

    All of this points to the fact that “serving” one’s own country is just a cover for serving oneself and the likes.

    Netaji was the only strong and self less leader and MKG did not stand up to Nehru’s selfish machinations and thats where he showed himself a shade incapable as a force in front of Netaji.

    We see Sourav Ganguly ruling India as the only solution that can prevent this whorish dynasty and Jaswant and Advani and other **c*su***rs like Laloo taking us for a ride, just like in 1947.

    My suggestion for the new leaders:
    Sourav Ganguly as PM
    Greatbong as President and Chief Justice of India
    Pranab and Mamta as they are.
    Amartya Sen as planning commission Chairman.
    Seniormost bengali defence scientist as scientific advisor to the president and Home minister.
    What say !

  26. This media angle is always interesting. All the supporters of BJP are convinced that English media (Print & TV) are against their favorite party . But really how come everybody ( I mean every decent columnist) say the same thing about one party. Surely Congress can’t buy four main English news channels and all the newspapers.

  27. @Everlasting truth: LOL!ROFLMAO… U missed Paposh Taal as our ‘foreign minister’ 😀

  28. I must say I am disappointed to read this part. A lot of speculation that is not needed.

  29. So at least for now Jaswant’s dream of Partitioning West Bengal and carving Gorkhaland will be put to backburner..(unless Didi springs a surprise)

    Darjeeling, here I come.

  30. Everlasting Truth August 23, 2009 — 8:24 pm

    @joyjit : Trust our esteemed PM and chief of the republic to elist services of other bengali noblemen for the service of the nation. Sourav might be having Dalmiya in mind as cabinet secretay too.

    @Sanjay : Please learn to bet on the spculation of wise people to never lose and never be caught offgaurd. Greatbong is to discerning and esablishing motive as Buffett is to NASDAQ. Dont let your ego cloud your mind. Some people are more intelligent and it will be good for the sheep(you, me and Joyjit and some other people) to be led from the valley of darkness to light – to not have the Lord’s vengeance strike down upon thee – Ezeikel – 25.17

  31. But really how come everybody ( I mean every decent columnist) say the same thing about one party.

    Decent columnists? Pray tell one. Unless you are counting, the Sardesais and Burkhas..

    Surely Congress can’t buy four main English news channels and all the newspapers.

    Yes it can. Also it doesn’t have to try too hard. The association is there since past several decades in most cases..

  32. Its not a question of buying newspapers. First of all, I dont think all outlets are supportive of the Congress—Arnab Goswami, from what U have heard, is not and The Pioneer isnt of course. Having said that most media organizations have an ideological bias against the BJP and that is purely due to the biases of the people in charge and not because they are being paid. Most of the very top bosses come from similar educational backgrounds (most of them belong to the same circle of friends) and hence their ideological slants are likely to be the same.

  33. hasty expulsion of Jaswant, in deference to their base—the RSS

    This is not so clear. Here are a couple of articles pointing out that the agenda for the chintan baithak — set by the RSS — was introspection over the election defeat and the end of infighting, and by spending the whole meeting on Jaswant’s expulsion which was not even on the agenda, the BJP has subverted the direction desired by the RSS: which might be the point.

    (Apologies if this comment is duplicated.)

  34. Resentment for ‘royal’ reasons causing a book on Jinnah seems a stretch at best. Being pissed off with Congress and deciding to praise Jinnah do not tie.
    I would think guy has a bloated ego, not unlike most other Indians who are ‘someone’. There is a vacuum in BJP leadership and everyone is using their own devices to garner their share of voice, publicity and followers to claim the position. In case of Jaswant Singh, he could write a book, and so he did (so I think).

  35. Indophile,

    I will not enumerate the details of the Media being “paid or laid” by political parties as it involves the risk of libel. There is ample evidence that the many of the top English Language media houses in India are financially controlled and bankrolled by western religious interest groups, middle-eastern petrodollars and communists – all of them antagonistic to the BJP.

    However, there is also another key fact we must remember. The Doon School Old Boys Network ties the Congress Leaders and the English Language Media barons like Siamese Twins. One has to only speak to any Doon School Alumni to realize how their Old Boys’ fierce loyalties and camaraderie is thicker than blood or water. You are free to verify these following facts independently:

    Eminent Journalists who are well-known Doon School Old Boys:
    * Prannoy Roy, founder and the Executive Chairperson of NDTV.
    * Karan Thapar, popular talk show host on CNN IBN and CNBC
    * Swaminathan Aiyar, former Editor of Financial Express
    * Inderjit Bhadwar, Editor of India Today and author
    * Suman Dubey, Editor of India Today
    * Prem Shankar Jha, Editor of the Hindustan Times, Economic Times and Financial Express, information adviser to the Prime Minister of India
    * Rahul Khushwant Singh, Editor of Reader’s Digest
    * Aroon Purie, founder of India Today
    * B George Verghese, Editor of the Times of India, Magsaysay Award winner
    * Writers Ramachandra Guha and Amitav Ghosh

    Eminent Congress Politicians who are/were Doon School Old Boys:
    * Rajiv Gandhi
    * Rahul Gandhi
    * Sanjay Gandhi
    * Mani Shankar Aiyar
    * Kamal Nath
    * Jitin Prasada
    * Jyotiraditya Scindia
    * Arun Singh
    * CPN Singh
    * Dinesh Singh
    * Karan Singh
    * RPN Singh

    When these Journalists interview their Old Boy Congressis on TV or write articles/editorials in the newspapers, they do so as long-time friends, ideological compatriots and fiercely loyal Old Boys. So, there is no animosity between the Doon School journalist and the Congress politician, only a feeling of brotherhood and bias. It is always good to have your friends in power and in charge of the media (propaganda). So, the two sides do each other favours and return them with generosity – “You scratch my back and I will give you more than a massage”. 😉

    In contrast, none of the Top National BJP leaders are Doon School Alumni. The BJP, to my knowledge, has not given “massages” or scratched the backs of the English Language Indian Media journalists. Ergo, the ELIM is extremely unflattering of and hostile to the BJP (who also happen to be the political foes of their benefactors – the Old Boys). Go figure !

  36. Note: Only one minor, rookie BJP leader is a Doon School alumnus (Dushyant Singh). None of the BJP veterans are.

  37. @Nanda Kishore,

    You are correct about the BJP core-support base. But to pull first-time or “non-aligned/fence-sitter” voters towards them, it didn’t help that the National BJP top brass tried hard to become a xerox-copy of the Congress.

    On the other hand… Look at Narendra Modi or Yediyurappa, for example. These two BJP leaders have proved that in clean governance, development and ideology, they have out-performed their state’s Congress/JD leaders who were corrupt and useless…. at least in my opinion.

    The same goes for the NDA state govt in Bihar. Nitish Kumar (CM) and Sushil Kumar Modi (Deputy CM) have taken Bihar on a new path, leaving Congress and Lallu Prasad far behind.

    Dr. Raman Singh, BJP CM of Chattisgarh is an unsung hero too. He has ensured that [edited by GB] Congress leaders like Ajit Jogi have no political future.

  38. The expulsion was inevitable. One can also excuse the tastless manner in which it was supposedly done.

    However, I am shocked at how a state government (Gujarat) can ban the book outright. That is stupid.

  39. @ano

    Good points. The whole Jaswant Singh episode is a non-issue that is being highlighted by the ELIM to tar the BJP (as being ideologically rigid especially in its views w.r.t. Sardar Patel) and to make Jaswant look like a martyr – which he is not.

    But it looks like this plan is about to backfire as more and more well-read people (Bengalis included) are ridiculing Jaswant’s writings on Sardar Patel and Jinnah.

    Reminds me of the poetic phrase – ‘The best laid schemes o’ mice an’ men ….Gang aft a-gley.’ in Robert Burns’ poem “To a Mouse” in 1786.

  40. @haha,

    Sardar Vallabh bhai Patel is considered, nay revered as a super-hero in Gujarat. Writing a book attacking Sardar Patel is blasphemy in Gujarat and expecting any Gujarat Govt to keep mum over such a book is unwise.

    Even if a Congress Govt ruled Gujarat, I bet they too would have had to ban any book containing unkind references to Patel.

    It goes with the territory…Just like you can’t or dare not publish any book attacking Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose in Bengal, for example. Now why would any sane person do that? 😉

  41. Whoops. Thought it was going to be an Inglourious review!

  42. @Bengal Voice: You’re actually justifying banning of a book? Any book? That’s insane man! I can only hope it’s the result of an edgy sense of humor!

  43. Good analysis .. u came up with some new angles indeed. “A royalist’s reaction to majoritarian congress ” angle was something which a lot of us must have found different.
    Though it would have been better if you read the book first. Two posts on a book when you havent even read it? 🙂

  44. Karthik Krishnan August 24, 2009 — 5:44 am

    @Bengal Voice
    Nice argument and excellent data to back it up , but simple question what percentage of the ELIM reading/watching population goes out and votes parties to power would be nice addendum.

    Globally media takes sides in some places it is tacit some blatant. Fox News being case in point of shameless republican bias.

    Hence to point it out to one school would be too much of a generalization. There are factors which are beyond just old boy network. Point in case ToI is pro establishment (Except for Gujarat) irrespective of party in power , Express of yore used to be anti establishment again irrespective of who is in power.

  45. Wow! GB, seriously why are you wasting your time researching and teaching computer science, electronics, whatever in your spare time? You were born for greater things like contributing to Indian understanding of popular culture, politics and bengalis. I don’t know how, but join journalism or TV or become a full time writer or something. Seriously just do it full time!

  46. The BJP will have to do a lot of ‘Uthak Baithak’ if hopes to put up a challenge to the Congress next time around.

    What I can not agree with in this piece is the simplistic assumptions GB makes about the motivations of JS and his reasons for sticking around with BJP for so long.

    For one, JS fought and lost his first election in 1967 on a Swantantra Party ticket, 4 years before the Privy Purses were abolished.

    The Congress has had its share of ex royals. The royals who joined politics did not do so with the lofty ideas of beating the Congress and getting their kingdom back but to be a part of the ruling elite once again. The Congress was a vehicle as were the other parties. The Congress was the best vehicle to achieve their aims.

    After the abolition of Privy Purses families like that of JS gained the most. The Maharajas had to give their excess land and properties to their Sardars to comply with land holding limits. JS today owns vast tracts of land in Rajasthan and a few havelis. He technically did not loose anything but gained a lot.

    Why should he then carry such deep rooted hatred for Nehru? He is with the BJP and criticizes the loony fringe and now Sardar Patel. He could have done the same with Congress. Stayed with it and criticized Nehru.

    Why did he stick around with BJP?

    Are you suggesting that he stuck around in BJP just because like all opposition parties it too had an undercurrent of anti-Congress feelings? All of this despite the fact that he had no affinity to its core (simplistically – anti-muslim) ideology.

    He was a part of the party when it was nothing, he remained with it all along and it was not in any position to make a serious bid for power or hit back at the Congress till 1989. From ’67 – 89 is 22 years with insignificant parties – long time. It was another 10 years before there was a serious bid for power – 32 years. He stayed with it when the mosque was brought down, riots followed, Gujarat ’02 happened, terrorists were exchanged and his ‘good friend Lalji’ lied about not knowing the position on release of terrorists. He lived through all of this just because BJP was anti Congress. Really.

    His need for a non-Congress public life would have been very strong to survive 50 years in politics – almost half in anonymity – and live through things he did not like (but was a part of nevertheless) for the rest of them.

    I think JS + anti-Congress + ‘why in BJP’ are points that do not appear strong in an otherwise well argued series.

  47. “He could have done the same with Congress. Stayed with it and criticized Nehru.

    That is not the same as staying in the BJP and criticizing Patel. I think too much is being made into the Patel thing—first of all it seems he has virtually nothing bad to say about Patel except that he did not single him out as “special” and instead clubs him with the “Congressis”. This is nothing compared to the kind of intellectual subterfuge he would have to engage in to stay in the Congress and criticizing Nehru. JS defines himself by his opposition to the Congress party, everything it stands for and its leader. So I do not buy the “stayed with Congress part”.

    JS, I know, benefited from the abolishment of privy purses as the Rediff article said.However he would still, based on his royal lineage, still harbor strong resentment towards the Congress for what they did to his “people”. I base this on the fact that his support for Jinnah is exactly based where Jinnah’s and the royalist’s problems with the Congress intersect (I read an article long time ago in I think Illustrated Weekly (not sure) where some ex royal bigwig had expressed his well-argued opposition to Nehru’s ideal of an centralized India and Congress majoritarianism without getting into Jinnah).

    JS’s politics is defined by this antipathy for the Congress and first the Swatantra party and then the BJP was his only home, even though he didnt evidently support the Ram agenda.

    The BJP gave him the opportunity to rule, gave him prominence for many years. And now with the BJP at its lowest ever and with moderate Vajpayee no longer the leader, he doesnt see any future for himself especially with what he possibly perceives is its return to the RSS fringe, without Vajpayee’s steady hand.

  48. “what he possibly perceives is its return to the RSS fringe, without Vajpayee’s steady hand”.

    @ Arnab
    I dont think you have observed the BJP before 2000.
    Vajpayee is RSS too….always was.

  49. Rishi,

    I hope you have observed the significance of the word “fringe”.

  50. Vajpayee has always been BJP’s moderate face. JS came out today saying that Vajpayee wanted to resign after 2002 and wanted to punish Modi but was prevented from doing so by Advani. This is why, Vajpayee is universally well-respected and not a part of the RSS fringe.

  51. @ Rohan:
    Punish Modi for what?
    There was no intel that the Godhra mass murders would happen? How could Modi have stopped it?

    Going by that standard of measurement, Vajpayee himself should have resigned after Amarnath attacks….and the Congress goverment shouldnt be even there.

  52. Rishi,

    I presume you are smart enough to know that the reason Modi is considered to be what he is because of what happened after Godhra. I am sure if Modi had intel that Kar Sevaks would have been going to be killed, he would have had the entire police force of Gujarat present there. It is futile arguing about this with people like you who I presume believe justify any violent action against minorities and support Modi and his branch of politics. These discussions have happened before on the forum and I do not want to go into it even though I am positive you and your friends are just dying to bring it up. So I will not give you that pleasure.

    GB, please moderate this comment if you deem fit.

  53. @shubho,

    Nope. I don’t support banning of books. In my opinion, banning books is not the solution. Let people read them and make up their opinions. If the book is good, let it sell like hot cakes. If the book sucks, then the sales figures will be in the red.

    I am just giving you my insight on what I feel could be the practical reason behind this book being unwelcome in Gujarat. Every state has its icons and if a book targets such icons -fairly or unfairly- then a concomitant reaction is to be expected …. For some reason, human beings in general tend to be staunch practitioners of “hero-worshipism”.

    Let me give you some more practical examples – it is unwise to attack MGR in a book and expect it to get no adverse attention in Tamil Nadu. Likewise, a book that allegedly tries to denigrates Dr.Rajkumar will not be welcomed in Karnataka. And as we all know, any book that dares to show Sourav Ganguly in a poor light will not be welcome anywhere in India…lol… You get the drift. 😉

  54. How Boring…ZZzzz

    Great Bong – I hope it was a one off.

  55. Just one question…why not wait to read the book before getting in to a lengthy analysis?

    and ‘The prince who lost his princedom ‘ bit smacks a bit a amateur psychology to me..

  56. @ Rohan:

    “I am positive you and your friends are just dying to bring it (Gujrarat riots) up. So I will not give you that pleasure”.

    Rishi’s response:
    I used to think that bringing Gujarat riots up at the drop of a hat was the sole prerogative of people like you 🙂

    Lets leave it at that for now.

  57. @Rohan bhai

    As much as your impotent indignation against Narendra bhai amuses me, I would leave it to the voters of Gujarat to decide if they agree with you or not.

    And surely, in the same vein, we can expect some empathy and crocodile tears from you towards the 500,000 Kashmiri Pandit refugees, the Amarnath victims or the millions of Bengali refugees who are the silent victims of a global jihad.

  58. Hateful Bengal Voice,

    Here are the potential fallacies of your argument.

    1. If the entire Pakistan supports the murder of Hindus, it is because of Islamic culture. If however the entire Gujarat supports Modi and the murder of Muslims, it is the will of the people and hence correct.

    2. While you and Rishi and many others regularly come rushing here onto this comment thread weeping and beating your breast on Islamic Jihadi terror, what prevents you from mentioning in the same breath the killing of Muslims in Gujarat where the state stood watching? What makes you think only I am obliged to talk about Kashmiri Pandits when I talk about the victims of Modi in Gujarat especially when they have no direct connection to one another while you are not?

    While you may surely expect crocodile tears from me for Kashmir, can we expect a few from you for Muslims murdered in Gujarat? Something tells me I cannot even expect that.

    That was distinguishes me from you.

  59. @ greatbong.
    Shouldnt I be allowed to respond to Rohan?

  60. @GB: “However he would still, based on his royal lineage, still harbor strong resentment towards the Congress for what they did to his “people”.”

    Some of the royal scions who have been active members of Congress party:
    Madhavrao Scindia, Jyotiraditya Scindia, Srikantadatta Wodeyar, Capt. Amrinder Singh, Karan Singh. I am sure there are many more. I don’t see how we can conclude that Jaswant Singh would harbour strong resentment towards the Congress just because he has a roayl lineage and his argument in support of Jinnah matches that of another royalist’s against Nehru.

  61. Mohan,

    Sigh. At the cost of repeating myself, I do not make an argument “All royals hate Congress”. I make an argument “Some royals hate the Congress. The reasons they usually give are A and B. JS is a royal. He supports Jinnah because of reasons A and B. He also does a hack job on Congress’s heroes. Ergo I conclude he hates the Congress”.

  62. @Rishi Khujur,

    No. Not when I find you launching ad-hominems as a “reply”. My space. My rules. Sorry to be so blunt about it but I have a finite time overseeing comments and after that dont quite appreciate (for time reasons) having to justify myself.

  63. @ Greatbong.
    Fair enough..your blog.

  64. @Rohan,

    I am not going to take your bait. I will refrain from commenting on this blog because I respect GB’s blog and its rules.

    On the topic of Gujarat, I am not going to repeat whatever has been said before by other readers. If you would like to, you can read this and comment there.

  65. much ado about nothing!can someone tell me why the BJP netas are so bothered about Jinnah _ they seem to be mesmerised by him so much that one goes to pak to praise him and another writes a book.the entire fracas has nothing much to do with jaswant’s book, the BJP has decided to ditch a guy with no mass base,who was turning into a dangerous dissident against it’s present policies.the whole episode is surreal coz the party who’s lost a general election and is in chaos has nothing better to do except the way,can anyone tell me why the chintan baithaks have to be held in hill stations? delhi mai baithkar sochne par dimaag par zyada zor padhta hai?

  66. @rohan: Dont waste ur time arguing with people who have their minds stuck in a time warp. People like these believe that India’s biggest problems are partition and religious conversions. The BJP is in harakiri mode thanks to people like these and in sometime it will become a party of only these type of people as all the respected and well meaning people leave the party-jaswant, then Kulkarni and lets see what happens to Shourie!

  67. @joyjit,

    Since you find Arun Shourie a very respected and well-meaning person, why don’t you first read Shourie’s well-researched articles on these very topics – the upcoming partition and religious conversions:

    Here’s Arun Shourie’s blog with his articles neatly categorized on the right-hand side:

  68. @sukh,

    Good question on why heated chintan baithaks are held in hill-stations.

    The answer: The same reason why people have their honey-moons in the cool climes of hill stations. 😉

    When things start getting hot, those involved need a bit of cooling down to do. 😀

  69. @bengal Voice: of course he has the right conservative line of thought and that is fine. All have their own line of thought except for maniacs who think that anything other than their line of though is balderdash!

  70. joyjit wrote: “of course he has the right conservative line of thought and that is fine.”

    You put your foot in your mouth about Shourie, didn’t you? Seems like you are now “fine” with Shourie’s critiques of certain religions, the upcoming partition and religious conversions. Do you even read people’s articles before you agree or disgree with them?

    joyjit wrote: “All have their own line of thought except for maniacs who think that anything other than their line of though is balderdash!”

    My friend, you can get into serious trouble for saying this. You are hurting the feelings of certain religions’ followers by calling their God/Founder as “maniacs” – since this jealous God/Founder advocated that anything other than their own line of thought is balderdash that has to be killed or converted.

    Do your research before you rattle off here!

  71. GB,

    “Revenge of the Royals” – That was a very different aspect – humnn…never thought of that.

    Personally I think BJP is clueless & rudderless and have acted foolishly here.

    And banning a book – Hello !! Though its surprising that Congress is seeing eye to eye with Modi in Gujarat on this subject – shameful.

    [GB adds: Removed the nickname. Though this isnt impersonation, I would prefer names of famous people not be used as IDs]

  72. @bengal voice: LOL! now you are getting founders/GODs into the discussion… 😀

    Anyway have fun in ur cocoon of belief that you are the only researched poster out here… anyway i will let you be in peace while ur beloved aprty licks its wounds!

  73. BTW about Shourie I used to read his blog before the election and also the post after the defeat 😉 mebbe you dont consider people like Jaswant and shourie as assets for the BJP but I have greater respect for them despite the fact that I dont agree with their views and ideas.

  74. @joyjit,

    You seem like a very unbiased guy. I like you already and I got news for you, you unabashed Shourie fan ! 🙂

    See this article:
    “Arun Shourie wants Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh to take over the BJP and change its top brass lock, stock and barrel”

    By the way, I am quite relieved that this Manthan (churning) is taking place within the BJP. Just as in the case of the Samudra Manthan (Churning of the Ocean), first the poison (Halaahal) gets manifested and consequently removed from the ocean; and then the nectar of immortality (Amrit) will emerge, benefiting Mother India and her children.

    Change is always good for anyone – be it an individual or a party. Let fresh blood be brought into the BJP leadership. It will help them take on the Congressi “Family Fiefdom” better.

    I am also for bringing change in the Congress(I). The only powerful Congress leader who can save the Congress is Pranab Mukherjee; but sadly, I feel he has been purposely marginalized within his party. 😦

    If Pranab babu becomes Prime Minister, then I will switch my support to him gladly. 😉

  75. GB,
    I think you are confused between 2 stories (1) JS writes a book about Jinnah and (2) he gets expelled from the party…

    While in (1) has nothing wrong in it, because people have written books on Hitler as well. If he is eulogizing Jinnah, then there might be a reason for it.. It could be a “insaan bana haiwan” story as well .. and the “great self-made man” portrait was necessary to contrast what happens later to that character.. And in the end he would say – All these happened because of CONGRESS. (I am just speculating here without reading the book)

    (2) is an insane decision that BJP has taken.. totally proves that they have lost their mind with aging Vajpayee..

  76. @Bengal VOice: I love Shourie’s idea…. that would ensure that BJP never again wins at national level! 😀

  77. @joyjit,

    You wish. 🙂

    Shourie wants the National BJP to become ideologically coherent and emulate the State BJPs in Gujarat, Karnataka and Chattisgarh. Perhaps that’s why the BJP remains quite popular among voters in states where clean governance, development and ideological coherence go hand in hand.

    I am sure you would like that too. 😉

  78. We will see if the Gujrat-Kar model works at a national level… IMHO BJP does not look too well placed in Karnataka for its next election…

  79. If wishes were wings, joyjit would fly…j/k… 😉

    The BJP did it all-time best in Karnataka during the April elections, wresting 19 out of the total 28 seats. The BJP lost a few seats narrowly.

    Recently, I travelled through various cities/towns and districts in Karnataka and I was amazed at the outpouring of pro-BJP support among the people I met. Even Congress supporters grudgingly admit that Yeddyurappa is unshakeable.

    Who can challenge the BJP in K’taka? The Congress is a divided house with lacklustre leaders. The JDS has become Deve Gowda “family fiefdom” and has lost all credibility because of widespread allegations of nepotism and corruption.

    Send me an email sometime. Lets take the conversation offline.

  80. @Karthik Krishnan

    Thanks for the nice words. I vaguely know a “Karthik Krishnan” who studied at UT-Austin.

    The ELIM media biases do swing public opinions and affect media coverage in Hindi and regional language news outlets (that are mostly owned by regional or national political parties that are also anti-BJP). Take the example of Sun TV/Dinakaran, Jaya TV, Dinamalar, Eenadu/ETV, Sakshi, ABP/Bartaman, Kairali TV etc which have close links to or are owned by various anti-BJP political parties

    Though an elitist bunch, the Doon School Old Boys’ polished mediocrity strike a sense of awe in HMTs (Hindi Medium Types) as Shekhar Gupta implied in one of his articles.

    When Prannoy Roy and Karan Thapar speak with a faux stiff upper lip in a very biased manner (against the BJP), they have an smug aura about themselves that affects the opinions of many indecisive Indian voters; while other journalists (working in Hindi/regional languages) eagerly lap up whatever these Old Boys have served and internalize these biases.

    By the way, the Times of India under the stellar stewardship of the late Girilal Jain supported Hindu Nationalism and welcomed the movement for the liberation of the Ram Temple at Ayodhya as part of the process of Hindu self-renewal and self- affirmation. His daughters Dr. Meenakshi Jain (a reknowned historian) and Sandhya Jain (outspoken journalist) have continued their father’s struggle valiantly.

    By the way, the Indian Express was quite anti-establishment as long as the late Ramnath Goenka was in charge. After Ramanath Goenka’s demise in 1991, the Indian Express broke up into two smaller papers (due to family squabbles) and became susceptible to external power-play. The rest, as they say, is history.

  81. @Rohan

    Since Bengal Voice took the high moral ground, let me answer the questions you posed to BV.

    @“what prevents you from mentioning in the same breath the killing of Muslims in Gujarat where the state stood watching?”

    There are already enough global powers that are supporting them, funding them and speaking on their behalf. They have 57 Islamic nations to side with them. Their side of the story has been broadcast ad nauseum on the world media. Most Indian political parties suck up to them, appease them and actively work to promote their interests (even if it conflicts with India’s interests).

    So, let us also speak up for the underdogs – yes, the orphaned Hindus who have no global powers or media outlets to speak up for them; yes, the mute Hindus of the Indian subcontinent who have been getting the barbecue treatment for the past 1400 years and still continue to be killed like vermin by well-organized Hindu-haters. The Hindu side of the story must also be told fearlessly, vividly and openly.

    Regarding your eloquent choice of phrase: “where the state stood watching”, read these facts and remember them:

    • On February 27 2002, 59 Hindu pilgrims (including 25 women and 15 children) were torched alive by the Islamic mob at Signal Falia (near Godhra railway station).
    • On February 28th, the riots broke out.
    • On March 1st, the Army was called out.

    Narendra Modi did his job to stop the violence, even though the situation was very grim and the Gujarat police force was stretched thin. Have you seen the death tolls during police firing during the riots? During the riots, 137 rioters (both Hindus and Muslims) were killed due to police firing and several hundred were injured. [edited by GB: Hujur, such sentences will lead to entire comments being deleted and not just a sentence. I hope you do not want all this typing effort to be lost.]

    Now contrast this with the fact that 1984 Congress-led anti-Sikh pogroms, not a single Congress worker was killed in police firing (because the Delhi police did not open fire), while the Congress mobs continued to butcher 3000 Sikhs in Delhi.

    According to the UPA Government, 254 Hindus and 790 Muslims were killed in the Gujarat riots. Now if it was a state sponsored riots against Muslims, how come 254 Hindus lost their lives? Gujarat is the only state where many rioters have already been convicted by courts whereas the first conviction in the 1984 Congress-led anti-Sikh pogroms happened in 1997 (13 years later).

    Gujarat has progressed a lot since the 2002 riots and hence Modi’s popularity has soared not just in Gujarat but in the entire country, in spite of the extremely hostile media and the powerful, anti-Hindu axis that has infested India.

  82. @GB,

    Point taken. But, in the same vein, is it acceptable for “Rohan” to refer to another reader as “Hateful Bengal Voice” and go unmoderated?

  83. Hujur,

    Yes it is. In response to “crocodile tears”. Again same thing as I told Rishi. My forum. And I dont appreciate being asked to give explanations for my decisions simply because writing down explanations for my decisions take time. Sorry if that sounds rude. No two ways around it.

  84. About moderation of comments – took a long time coming.

    It is pathetic to watch the same rehashed arguments from the same usual suspects (some with rehashed handles I suspect). If cliched arguments won’t drown the reader, the verbosity certainly will. Some people are so in love with themselves and their arguments – they won’t take a clue from their own blog readership (ie lack thereof).

    I had a friend in college who was perennially under the weather and loved talking about it; would just not talk of anything else.
    “jeevan – how about movie tonight?”
    ‘Arre no yaar, I need to go to hospital.’

    “Jeevan, long time no see.’.
    ‘Oh, I was off sick for a month.’

    “Jeevan, the physics test was tough today.”
    ‘Kya pataa, this sneezing is almost killing me, couldn’t focus on what to write. ‘

    Some posters here remind me of the guy – a sure bet for a depressing and ultimately useless conversation anytime.

  85. gb,

    That argument would have been stronger if this resentment towards the Congress was found uniformly among the royals. But it is not. There are probably more royals with Congress than against. And anti-Congressism is not restricted to royals either. Do we say Advani’s anti-Congressism is because of his Sindhi background or George Fernandes’ is because of his Mangalore-Christian roots? So the only thing that remains is “Some royals who hate Congress use arguments A and B, and JS has made those arguments in support of Jinnah”. Now the connection itself is a bit tenuous – the royals who make those arguments probably do so with reference to princely states, but Jaswant Singh hasn’t said anything about it (at least not in the interview). So why isn’t it possible that as a student of history he was interested in the subject of partition (who isn’t?), researched it and found pre-1937 Jinnah’s argument convincing (or at least something that could have been made to work if not for Nehru’s ideological rigidity (in JS’s opinion)). Why does it have to do with his royal connection. Yes, it may have played a role, but not as strongly as you implied.

    I found this piece by MJ Akbar more convincing as to JS’s reasons for writing the book.

  86. Mohan,

    Let me try, JS is saying that Nehru and Patel were more responsible for partition than Jinnah, because they insisted on a strong center, whereas Jinnah wanted a loose federation of states, hence Jinnah was forced to ask for a separate country.

    It so happens that most of the princely states like Travancore, Bhopal and more well known examples of Hyderabad and Junagadh wanted precisely that (my source Guha- India after Gandhi), a loose confedearation of states. Now none of the nationalist at that time (including the right wing Hindus) wanted this. Finally Patel and Nehru arm twisted everyone to join a strong federal India. Hence quite a few royals (including most likey JS) have an antipathy towards congress.

    So GB’s point is not solely based on JS’s lineage, but based on what he is saying (read this line again). Its not some fringe conspiracy theory, it is most logical reason to explain JS’s behavior.

  87. Wow, great thread and discussions for both articles. The only flies in the ointment being the usual findamentalist Modi-defending suspects…

    I am not sure that Jaswant Singh is entirely unaware of how some publicity will help sales of his book. He did the same thing before the release of his previous book, remember?

    Look at it this was. His career is practically over. The BJP lost the elections taking with him his dreams of a last stint as minister. He does not get along with the “new blood” (i.e. the 40+ Swarajs and Jaitleys, instead of the 70+ oldies), and he has absolutely no future to look forward to in the BJP.

    But what can he look forward to then? The answer is – some fame, and a lot of money in royalty, if he manages to raise a big enough stink. If the party bears it – nothing is lost. If the party expels him, ha can play the martyr. It was a win-win situation for him either way.

    I am not suggesting that this was his ONLY motivation to write the book. But this scenario must have played in his mind before he allowed the offending passages to be published He took a punt when he knew that there was little risk for him in it.

  88. Apologies for the typos in the above post because of hurried typing. Too many of them…

  89. spark,

    I am not saying it is a wild conspiracy theory. It is certainly plausible. However, in this case, I don’t think it is true. Couple of reasons. Jaswant Singh hasn’t said anything about princely states in his interview. He has supported Jinnah’s federal structure proposal strictly for provinces as were envisaged at that time – few muslim-majority provinces (punjab, sind, bengal, frontier) and the rest hindu-majority provinces. So under that proposal, the princely states would have been merged with these provinces anyway. I have not seen Jaswant Singh suggesting that those states too should have retained their independence under this federal structure. Given that, I don’t see how we can connect JS’s argument in support of Jinnah with some royalists’ argument in support of princely states.
    GB has referred to the phrase JS used – “Pakistan within India” – couple of times. But if you accept that Muslims and Hindus are separate nations (which many people did at that time, not just Jinnah or the Muslim League), then there were only two choices – Pakistan within a united India, or Pakistan separated from India. Note that Pakistan there doesn’t necessarily mean what we think of Pakistan today – a sovereign state, a nuclear power, India’s arch enemy, etc. Pakistan in those times referred to the Indian muslims as a nation (again, the concept of nation itself was different from what we normally think of today – nation referred to a set of people, not a sovereign state or a geographical region). So seen in that light, having a Pakistan within India is not as preposterous as it sounds and all JS seems to be saying is with some flexibility on Nehru’s part, it could have been worked out without having to physically separate the two nations.

    Second reason is, having read the interview, I don’t sense any undercurrent of antipathy towards the Congress for what they did to princely states, etc. He comes across as genuinely sincere and objective. I would give him the benefit of doubt.

  90. Superb writing by gb in both parts 1 and 2. enjoyed the discussion thoroughly. one word of advice to the embattled “usual suspects” – hhbb, rishikujur, yourfan2, bengalivoice, hujur, shouri et al. Over time, i have come to appreciate your fabulous insights on the politico-journalism complex, geo-politics, history and philosophical topics. As much as i come to rtdm to read GB’s thoughts, I also read through the comments section to see if you guys have posted any comments. trust me and i speak for quite a few readers out here – i enjoy the sparring of ideas that takes place regularly, though i don’t contribute much to the discussion. when ppl fail to debate your ideas, they will attack you personally. don’t get riled up, just ignore them.

  91. quote:
    I am going out on a limb here but I speculate that this hatred might be a royalist’s reaction to the way the princely states were treated by the Congress with Sardar Patel intimidating and brow-beating the kingdoms to join the Union of India and with Jawaharlal Nehru, with his refusal to accept any kind of challenge to his authority, providing the consistent political pressure for the assimilation of the princely states.

    Can we on the same limb speculate that your anti-Jaswant stance is due to the fact that he admires Jinnah, who instigated mass murder of Indians (especially people from WB) and hence you have a deep seated hurt.

    I disagree with your analysis of why he was with BJP for so long. The reason could simply be that he found better chances of flourishing in a new party (and he did) (as some people join startups some remain at big companies some go for academic stints). It doesn’t mean that i have to hate the other choice. I am sure Jaswant Singh would have equal number of warm friends in congress as in BJP. But your speculative analysis tries to make him look like a conniving person which might not be the case.

    I for one believe that life is much simpler than your analysis. I am sure that if you apply same logic to various decisions and steps taken by you in your life span, you might draw some sort of anomaly or logical invalidity. I guess our actions and progress can be modeled by hill climbing using simulated annealing at best. As much objective as we should in analyzing anyone, mudslinging should be refrained (as that is distasteful).

    I also havent read the book but heard his interview (thanks for sharing the link). I do not see any thing wrong that he said there. It would be interesting to read his perspective on History of Modern India.

  92. I disagree with your assessment about Nehru and Jinnah. In various ways, Nehru did end up creating, maybe unintentionally, a separate India for Muslims. The Muslim personal laws which govern marriage, adoption, divorce, alimony, inheritance, etc. – basically, a large part of a Muslim’s life serve in no small measure to isolate the community and are patently unjust to women and children. And although Nehru at least zealously and correctly reformed Hindu personal laws, he let Muslim personal laws stagnate and then his grandson of course, regressed it further post Shah Bano! And in the only Muslim majority state in India, Kashmir, Nehru again created a sort of mini-Pakistan by, in the guise of giving it special treatment, further isolating it (e.g., every union law in India starts with the disclaimer that it applies all over India except J&K, an non-Kashmiri cannot acquire properties in Kashmir and other absurdities like that). It was almost like far from trying to disprove Jinnah’s thesis, Nehru had tacitly come to accept it. Ironically, the social spaces where Muslims are truly integrated are the places where law and politics have almost no role (e.g., cricket and Bollywood). Although I don’t believe Nehru did it for political reasons, his progeny proved to be avid students of Jinnah and became experts at playing religious and caste based identity politics, be it Indira’s Bhindrawale or Rajiv’s Sikh riots, Shah Bano, Rushdie or Ayodhya fiascos. That’s probably the reason why Congress couldn’t stand the thought of supporting Kalam for a second term despite being “secular” – he was a complete anti-thesis of Jinnah! It is very easy to repeat the received wisdom that Congress is “secular”, but analyzing specific instances from history and the present tell a very different story.

  93. @Shan
    I agree with you on the JS controversy. But I expected better arguments from you than mere juvenile name-calling of the “the usual findamentalist Modi-defending suspects”. Next time around, please come back with cogent information instead of vacuous accusations against Shri.Narendra Modi. Its a pity that, even 60+ after independence, some Indians suffer from a colonised mindset and are filled with deep self-hate towards their own civilization, while deifying invaders, occupiers and India-haters. I sincerely hope you realize that you have far too much potential than to remain a crusty, snobbish “brown sahib” all your life.

    @Ajax Das
    Howdy? Your rehashed handle comes as no surprise, neither does your clichéd whining. How does it feel to be completely outgunned and outsmarted by India-lovers?

  94. @sumita,
    thanks sister. Will keep that in mind.

  95. A.Surya Prakash pulls no punches in “The Pioneer” newspaper

    ”Flawed thesis on partition”

  96. @Hujur

    I use my real name, here and where-ever else I go – never used any other handle on this board; don’t need to.

    You prove my point pretty nicely – thanks for fitting the described stereotype to the T.

  97. @Hujur:

    The sentence “…vacuous accusations against Shri.Narendra Modi…” says everything. I mean I know the Sanghis are adept at rewriting history (Patel as Sangh mole in Congress! Ha!), but even such recent history? Truly Faith is all powerful and makes people believe anything…


    Here’s an article I came across that also espouses the theory that Jaswant’s days were numbered anyway because he did not have a vote bank (as opposed to Vasundhara Raje). He realized that and went for broke.

  98. Hara hara bom bom August 26, 2009 — 12:27 pm

    A number of arguments have been presented about JS’s volte face. One point I see lacking is the psychological angle.

    Armchair psychology is the most easiest and difficult to do, if you know what I mean. However, JS may have experienced a very, very belated mid-life crisis in the BJP. He mulled over the extensive years of his life gone by, and realised that …. he had achieved nothing. Nothing at all. And this in spite of holding key portfolios in a nationalist government in an exciting time for a dynamic nation.

    His pronouncements were always pretentious yet prosaic, bombastic yet vapid. I would have thought his afternoon tea chats consisted of long Marlowian soliloquies. And once he realised that his life amounted to nothing more? Sheer despair and despondency. His frustration turns to nasty vilification of the softest, most convenient and most immediate cause at hand ….. the hand, the party and the ideology that fed him.

    This would be easy to achieve, amass immediate national (sic) sympathy and acquire a modicum of international blips as a swansong. It would also be very simple …. he knows the facts, all he needs to do is ‘reverse’ them, both to himself, as well as others.

    And thus a Jinnah, whose call for ‘Direct Action’ was tantamount to nothing less than a slaughter of defenceless Hindus, is ‘reversed’ in to a paragon of Hindu-Muslim friendship.

    I have mentioned before, the final position and actions define a man. Jinnah may have displayed secular tendencies in the past, whether you call them smatterings or genuine credentials. He was DB Naoroji’s secretary at one time. But he assumed the guise of the apostle of hate in the end, calling for the cruel butchery of a nation, and a slaughter of a community as a precursive warning of what would engulf India if his demands were not met.

    I cannot understand why people harp on about his early avatar, when his final ghoul was the one that defined those innumerable dead bodies lying on the streets. This is the image of Jinnah that stands and is pervasive.

    I am glad that JS is gone and for good. The BJP needs to define its identity. Is it a soft-looking party that infact consists of truly hard men? Or is it hard-looking party that is really comprised of cry-baby softies?

    Great challenges are upon us. If history repeats itself, and it unfailingly does, the time is nearly nigh when we shall be reduced to fighting for our survival.

    Our encirclement by enemies .. IN ALL DIRECTIONs, is nearly complete. A SUPERPOWER dreams of shattering us to pieces (China). We have NO ALLY left (Soviet Union). Those paying lip service to our friendship (USA, UK, UN) are funding Pakistan to divert their fury on us. After the Congress aided the Sri Lankan government to slaughter fellow-Indians by sending them military hardware, Sri Lanka is repaying us by sending army representatives to Pakistan to co-ordinate anti-Indian activities!! Hah!!

    I have not even touched upon the mass of internal enemies … the Congress and jihadis.

    Many of us do not believe it. Many of us do not ‘want’ to believe it. But when all the facts point to impending war, it is idle, wishful and dangerous thinking to brazenly assume hostilities will not break out.

    In such a scenario, we need every single asset we can muster. People like JS are liabilities. If he had a shred of dignity, he would have retired as soon as he realised his speech was slurring and he was growing senile.

    That’s “IF” he had a shred of dignity. From his disgusting and egregious exit, including possibly going to Pakistan to promote a false book in praise of the architect of mass-murder of his fellow citizens, it is evident he has none.

  99. @Shan,
    If you feel that by repeating a lie many times, you can turn it into the truth…then I can only feel sorry for you. I gave you facts about Narendra Modi, in return you give me no facts at all, only unsubstantiated accusations. That is to be expected, given your snooty disdain for all things Hindu. Keep up your self-hate….. it is bound to take you places.

    @Ajax Das
    India has been dealing with your stereotypes for centuries, so you can take a chill-pill.

  100. Dear @Bengal Voice
    Doon school !! I mean school alumni association. That’s stretching the logic. The main point is still that it only justifies half of the people. What about Arunabh,Rajdeep even the guys from headline today who are controlled by Prabhu Chawla and he has links with RSS. This is pure conspiracy theory according to me my dear friend and most of these people in your hit list seems to be level headed and they don’t resort to name calling. Do you want to say we should listen to Kanchan Gupta & Rajeev Srinivasan with his “undie TV” and “cut price news network” commentary !! Are you talking about this type of credibility?

    Regarding Gujrat riots !! why do you want to bring such insane logic like Election and its results. Comeon dude you can do better than that a country like ours where 5% vote means clean sweep and you are judging on basis of that .

  101. @Indoph–e,

    You wrote: “Doon school !! I mean school alumni association. That’s stretching the logic”.

    Trying to explain Dosco kinship to a non-Dosco is like trying to explain calculus to a kindergartener. Like many others, you probably went to a regular day-school for a few hours (from 8 AM to 3 PM) for 5-odd days a week. You spent more time with your family than you did with your residential school-mates. So, if you don’t get the point about lifelong camaraderie between Doscos and ex-Doscos (Doon school Old Boys), I won’t be surprised.

    Doon School is not just your regular run-of-the-mill school. Since 1935, Doon School is an all-male institution where the elite, privileged, influential families of India have sent their sons to study and get groomed to be India’s “leaders” in different fields. To Doon’s credit, it is rated as the ‘most respected residential school’ in India in a 2008 survey conducted by the Education World. These privileged kids (Doscos) spent the most formative years (6th grade to 12th grade) bonding and learning from their peers 24/7 in the residential school. At the residential school, they spent more time with each other than they did with their own families (whom they visited once or twice a year).

    As teenagers, they had spent memorable years together, debated topics together, struggled together in academics, played sports together, talked about childhood crushes and strummed guitars over a campfire. Even after these Doscos graduated, there were shared joyrides in cars, dinner invitations to each other’s homes, weddings and baptisms to fraternize at – all these are life-long bonds formed between these rich kids before they inherited powerful political dynasties or started well-funded media outlets or became prominent diplomats. All these shared experiences and undying loyalties from an early age forged the Doon School students into a “Band of Brothers”, whose loyalty to each other and shared memories (of the best years of their lives) are not wiped away by the sands of time.

    Plus as they got older – a common notion of “self interest” that is intrinsic to elitists keeps them working together – out of losing their privileged positions if a different ideology gains preponderance in the polity.

    Who says alumni networks don’t wield clout? Alumni networks are quite powerful and fiercely loyal to each other. I guess you are not part of any of the IIT or IIM alumni networks, are you?

    You wrote: “Prabhu Chawla has links with RSS”.

    You should get your sources checked. The RSS filed a defamation lawsuit against the Prabhu Chawla. See:

    You wrote: “Do you want to say we should listen to Kanchan Gupta & Rajeev Srinivasan with his “undie TV” and “cut price news network” commentary

    Don’t set yourself up for libel, my friend. Neither Kanchan Gupta nor Rajeev Srinivasan have ever referred to NDTV or CNN-IBN in the terms you’ve described above. But if you’ve transposed your subconscious opinions about these two TV channels in your comment above, then so be it. But don’t put your words into Kanchan da’s or Rajeev ji’s mouths.

    It’s obvious why your ilk dislikes Kanchan da and Rajeev ji – both of whom are iconoclast mavericks hailing from states (Bengal and Kerala respectively) that are India’s surviving bastions of regressive Stalinist dogma.

    • Rajeev Srinivasan, an IIT-ian and Stanford alumnus, thinks outside the box and is doing quite well as a freelance journalist and blogger.
    • Kanchan Gupta (and Chandan Mitra) get the credit for running a successful pro-India newspaper like “The Pioneer”, which refuses to kowtow to the Indian English Language Media’s tradition of selling itself to the highest bidder – both western interests and Arab petrodollars. That must really get your goat.

    You wrote: Regarding Gujrat riots !! why do you want to bring such insane logic like Election and its results. Comeon dude you can do better than that a country like ours where 5% vote means clean sweep and you are judging on basis of that .

    Let’s see whose logic is insane, my brother. You must really dislike democracy so much that you disregard the electoral will of the voters of Gujarat. If Gujarati voters approve of Narendra bhai, what is your problem?

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