Monday, March 2, 2015

PDP legislators want Afzal Guru's body to be returned to state. We are outraged (as usual)

NB - This report is in line with the fascination our media (and readers, presumably) have with manufactured outrage. Here outrage pops up in the third sentence. Yesterday the TV channels also had a field day talking about the traitor Afzal. We are now so habituated to Doublethink and Doublespeak, that we don't even notice what we do. I commented on this with regard to the lionisation of JS Bhindranwale in a post two years ago, (relevant comments placed beneath this news-report from Firstpost). It is noticeable that our state of mind corresponds with the Orwellian nightmare, where each day begins with a Two Minute Hate Prayer. Read the extract from Orwell. Indian politics (and indeed that of Pakistan and Bangladesh) is in a state of permanent denial and self deceit. 

As long as Gandhi's assassination is celebrated by the Indian Parliament and the 'Sangh parivar's' supporters and legislators, no one speaking in the name of the Nation (whatever that is), need complain about Sikh 'martyrs' and Kashmiri 'martyrs'.  We shall keep going around in circles until we wake up. There's no sign of that happening in the foreseeable future. Here's a fuller argument, based on what happened in 1984 - DS

It's barely been a full day since Jammu and Kashmir got a state government, but the alliance between unlikely bed fellows PDP and BJP is already wading through troubled waters. First Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed inexplicably thanked Pakistan and Islamabad-backed militants soon after he was sworn in, for allowing peaceful polls in Jammu and Kashmir. Before the outrage had begun to take proper root, the party outdid itself when some PDP leaders said they wanted the state government to press the Centre to get back Afzal Guru's mortal remains. A note allegedly signed by nine PDP leaders,  demands that Guru's mortal remains are returned to the valley. Although there were reports that the report not may not be bona fide, party MLA Pulwama Mohammad Khalil Band made a statement to the contrary.

"Our party has given statement that mortal remains of Afzal Guru should be brought back to the state. We stand firm on our demand. Please ask Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mufti Sayeed whether this issue has been discussed with BJP or not," Band told CNN-IBN. He said that the note was authentic and repeated his demand to return Guru's body to the state. An ANI report said that Band made the demand both inside and outside the Assembly today. According to the news agency, Langate legislator Engineer Rashid was circulating the note allegedly signed by state cabinet Minister Naeem Akhtar, who is also the PDP spokesperson. The note reportedly said that the late Afzal Guru’s hanging was a travesty of justice, contending that due judicial procedures were not observed.

While the main leadership of the BJP has not commented on the incident, leader Subramanian Swamy, as always reacted quickly on Twitter. "If PDP continues to speak outside Common Minimum Programme, will have to remove Article 370. If PDP continues speaking this language, they are only harming themselves," he said. Udhampur MP and Union Minister Jitendra Singh decided to play safe by saying "I have to read the statement in detail only then can I comment". Afzal Guru who hailed from Jammu and Kashmir was hanged to death on 9 February 2013 after he was convicted and awarded capital punishment for his role in the December 2001 terrorist attack on Parliament.

Delhi gurdwaras to hail Indira Gandhi 's killers? Why complain when Mahatma Gandhi's killers are lionised?
NB: It is indeed offensive that men who assassinated someone in their protection should be given a sacred aura by the SGPC. This is not a sign of religious faith, but a tragic lack of it. It is yet another sign that religion has become less a source of wisdom and more a badge of identity. However, the ongoing politics of hurt sentiment extends beyond the matter of Rushdie's or Taslima's books, and beyond Valentines Day. At the topmost political levels we hear of outrage at the bestowal of martyrdom upon persons guilty of terrible crimes. 

Today we learn that Omar calls Afzal ‘sahib’, draws flak from Congress. This is considered to be an act of 'glorification' by those who are offended. I am not offended, but bemused at the differing standards we exercise in our public life. V.D. Savarkar was a prime accused in Mahatma Gandhi's assassination. Yet he is acclaimed & honoured with a portrait in the Central Hall of Parliament. Those of us who object to this risk being dubbed anti-national elements. Yes, Savarkar was an extreme patriot. So was Charu Mazumdar, founder of the Naxalite movement. Why not place a portrait of him too, in the Lok Sabha? (See The Other side of Maoism

We need to look into our consciences before we object to (some) Sikhs hailing Indira's assassins, and (some) Kashmiris declaring Afzal to be a martyr. These are matters of emotion and perception, and most often they have to do with a sense of injustice; or of making a gesture of defiance. A 'Hindu unity' portal (now removed, presumably because  the RSS does not wish to openly identify its sympathy with Gandhi's assassins) hailed "our beloved Nathuram Godse". The Sangh 'Parivar need not feel ashamed - even the ultra-left writer Hansraj Rahbar, in his 1969 book Gandhi Benakaab
, hailed Godse as a true son of India. 

Why do people need to make these kinds of gestures? I believe part of the answer is an absolutist, extremist frame of mind, where we fix upon one part of the truth, make it ours, and fail to see that there are other aspects of reality that we may have missed. It has rightly been said that a fanatic is someone who nurses a terrible, secret doubt - a doubt that he or she wishes to quell by means of an Absolute Truth. Linked to this is an attachment to violence (martyrdom is one way of celebrating death) as the only means of securing our place in the world, our view of it as it ought to be. Since we despair of finding justice and fairness in the world, we seek to annihilate it - no matter that we may be annihilating ourselves as well, along with every value of human kindness and decency. Today there are fanatics (or worse, those who pretend to be fanatics) at the highest levels of Indian political life. It is worth considering whether they are worthy of being entrusted with upholding the letter and spirit of the  Indian constitution

As long as Gandhi's assassination is celebrated by the Indian Parliament, no one speaking in the name of the Nation (whatever that is), need complain about Sikh 'martyrs' and Kashmiri 'martyrs'. Lets be honest with ourselves for a change -Dilip

 The Abolition of truth - (on the 'parivar's celebration of Gandhis murder)
Satya ki hatya

Also see
The Savarkarist syntax
Sanjay Tickoo's Open Letter to Omar
Kashmir - 16 yrs on, Wandhama victims ...
Rahul Pandita - Violence in Kishtwar ...
Jamal Kidwai on Kashmir today
Kashmiri Pandits Stage Protest March in Srinagar
Balraj Puri (1928-2014) An Extraordinary Socialist Democrat
Nandini Sundar: No room for 'others'
Communal violence in Kishtwar - an analysis
Pak Parliament condemns Afzal Guru's execution
High Court of Jammu & Kashmir upholds Sanjay Tickoo's petition...
Superflous People - review of Rahul Pandita's 'Our Moon has blood clots'

The Broken Middle - my essay on the 30th anniversary of 1984
Shekhar Gupta - National Interest: Secularism is dead!