while I was sleeping

“Comrade,What’s up?Stay safe,” my good friend Doc buzzed  flying out of Delhi .Friends and family kept calling equally concerned.I had no clue of these missives.Was bemused as I do not watch TV and remain closeted indoors – only to move as far as my Mayur Vihar Pan shop for an occasional puff. Business seemed ,the usual.The Twitteratti on my mobile was still quiet except for the faithful who were talking of the Army to move in to save an imminent bloody riot. That was a couple of days ago…

North East Delhi by now is burning.I am still rubbing my eyes or shaking my ears in disbelief.A mosque has been vandalised,one Dargha burnt down , some dead and over a hundred injured.The Muslims campaigning democratically and peacefully for their citizenship rights under challenge at the behest of the ruling dispensation are either defending, resisting, retreating or just running to safety. The Saffron flags and sticks in hand, pelting stones,mouths covered in handkerchiefs, emblematic of a kind of  definitive Hindu mob were chasing them everywhere shouting terrifying slogans. The Police stands and watches or selects the Muslims for questioning while going through the motions of crowd control – benign and suspiciously lazy. A well- rehearsed chronology and sequence of the macabre perfected by the present Home Minister Amit Shah on the streets of Gujarat in early 2000 was /or is unfolding – the fratricidal blood-letting.

Trump dodging pointed questions on the backdrop of uncalled for violence and attack on minorities  was around and has since left, feted and feasted in the erstwhile Royal Durbars of a much abused “Lutyens Delhi” by a Modi and Govind.Some cutie-pies have even seen the immorality of the protest when the new “Latt- Sahib,” our revered guest was at home.How very wicked,you know !

AAP has returned to power on the back of some good  public work and disgust of the public at the hatred spitting bigotry of the BJP and the waiting-to-be-mothballed, disconnected and dormant Congress. The Muslims are still waiting to see the “other” Hindus to come out in large numbers in their support while the opposition Party leaders are yet to be seen in front or by their side. A mixed-up ,confused and slouched Kejriwal  sits Gandhi- like in Raj Ghat praying for the communal virus to vanish while a sizeable lot of the “normal” Hindus are looking away with mocking shrugs.The Army would soon be coming in to restore peace  after the damage has been done . A small group of lawyers,businessmen,social activists,journalists, public spirited citizens ,young girls and boys, also known as students – probably the “new Hindus” share space and sticks with the Muslims adding an unrecognized colour to this theatre of the Absurd…

And here we are over some shots of some cheap scotch squabble amongst ourselves on questions of when and who did it first.Was it not always there?Did the Congress not appease them?Why were the Muslims not asked to go to Pakistan during Partition?Why can’t they keep quiet and pay respects to our religion?Oh,these are those termites from Bangladesh?We have had enough?The Congis and Commies and all such anti-nationals need to rot in hell.And that bloody-Gandhi?

… No more can I recognize my friends  from the others.They all speak the same and have started to look alike, even – so woke, to believe, that the desecration of the Babri Masjid was only a reminder of the Avatar of Deliverance,long overdue – was ready to return in Ram’s Ayodhya.The famous poet Neeraj rues too.

जितना कम सामान रहेगा उतना सफ़र आसान रहेगा

जितनी भारी गठरी होगी उतना तू हैरान रहेगा

हाथ मिलें और दिल न मिलें

ऐसे में नुक़सान रहेगा

जब तक मन्दिर और मस्जिद हैं

मुश्क़िल में इन्सान रहेगा। #गोपालदास_नीरज

Quixote-like, I keep crossing swords with imaginary windmills. I am safe and the mobiles no longer buzz.Delhi burns in parts.Life is normal, when last reports came in…

 

Kejriwal- tactics or collaboration?

🔖One is so fed up with Congress that it’s ghosts still scare even the Ramsay brothers.The Left is so wasted they seem to not exist.What is after that are some regional leaders of substance and ardour and a withering opposition lost in a Mela.But,truth be told,in the national imagination Modi’s ubiquitous image has become an – avoidable must. His fans however,can take heart – for he has still some time.

Modi and Amit Shah had almost tripped Kejriwal with a Congress fishing in troubled waters.Should they have got a mere 5%more of the Delhi votes Kejriwal was a goner.
Be that as it may – the liberal fringe have snorkeled up for some much needed political oxygen after having choked in the deep and dark depths of a Modi-led authoritarian,divisive Hindu national ride.
But as the first flush of the infatuation of a historic victory simmers down we need to draw the red lines quite quickly so as to not suffer a premature cardiac arrest.At best kejriwal brings hope for the David’s of resistance not to lose hope and at worst he has only reminded Modi of what is to be done and is guilty of forgetting.
In this unusual analysis – read on how a righteous democrat analyst begrudges Kejriwal ‘s victory as pyrrhic and gives a lot to Modi’s strategists to feel vindicated.Yes,if anything Indian society, indeed has shifted to the right and we are discussing politics and economic development within that paradigm.

☘zindabad @sunilkbanerjee ⬆

Kejriwal Didn’t Stand Up To Modi – He Side-Stepped Him – NDTV https://www.ndtv.com/opinion/kejriwal-didnt-stand-up-to-modi-he-side-stepped-him-2177811

Are you a Communist ?

What is the most outstanding and significant event of the last decade is a question posed to the protaganist in Ray’s movie Pratidwandi at a job interview during the turbulent sixties and early seventies.Was it Vietnam or Landing on the moon is still to be answered?But,that the job-seeker was a signature Communist has not changed,since.The four minute clip of the witty exchange,sharp but smart replies followed by a clipped and abrupt closure quite captures my childhood and adolescence with my family and friends,both at school and college and maybe my subsequent years in the Air Force to becoming a Veteran and even to this day.

I studied at an English medium school,played most games with claims to ability of no consequence,watched a few movies,was glued to radios for a BBC that rarely got thru for the infamously truant short waves and read mostly stolen(flicked)comics, borrowed sports magazines and a few on current affairs.Text books were the only books I had read in any language.Most of us friends

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had quite a similar journey.Our erotic impulses were more than satisfied by watching a Mumtaz or a Helen who co-starred with our parent authorised and parent-permitted favorite, Dara Singh on the silver screen.As for the school girls we had little time or were too shy.”Pocket-money” was a term we became familiar when it’s necessity had far exceeded its useful life.We were unusually well informed – though it was : each according to his ability and to each as per need . Not everyone had the same heroes and if they had a different sense of history or politics; Ah,well ! – we loved each other too much to scarcely notice the diversity.

If you are still with me and curiouser, be aware, that I was born into a political family of staunch Congressmen , my mother had been a proud part of the Indian Freedom struggle while my father, was a small-time Zemindar embroiled in bleeding litigation mostly, residents for over three generations at Cuttack, Odisha – a Bengali immigrant of sorts. Sheikh Mujibur’s Ghare Ghare Durgo Godhe tolo(Build citadels in Every Home) or the rallying cries of Aamar Nam, Tomaar Naam -Vietnam (My name,your Name, Vietnam) for Ho Chi Minh and Amaar Badi, Tomaar Badi – Naxal Badi in praise of Charu Majumdar ( My Place, Your Place_Naxalbari) as much as the undigested morsels of extreme subversion seen in the life and struggles of a Bhagat Singh or a Jangal Santhal excited and stirred – to boggle our infantile minds.Nehru and Gandhi hung unfavourably on our halloed, rebellious walls as against a Mao or a Fidel.These were my or our folk heroes.
Violent ways,shedding blood to gain any kind of freedom or Victory and irreconcilable hatred of anything British were important imperatives of our lives.Else why would one adore reading Ashok Mitra, almost salivating in savage glee, describing a Vivian Richards belt every ball of a Botham,Willis or a John Snow, as if in revenge of every whip-lash that his proud ancestors had been subjected to as black-slaves.We loved action and war movies and some Hollywood slapstick caricatures of revolution.Ours was a generation that identified with political protest and fraternal solidarity almost spontaneosly.Seamlessly.Or am I talking of a region that was still to become integrated with the idea of a nation-that was Bengali and chauvinistic- perhaps nihilistic?Or was it ceaselessly seeking a perfect world much ahead of its times?Remember, Siddharta Chowdury almost rhetorically thinking aloud in the Interview clip “Nation?

In time We, the Six,

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went our different ways to get into the business- of- earned- living : our political passions very private and quiet.While me and my broad-shouldered elder brother Lalloo chose the military,Pappu ,the ever persevering Bihari became a specialist doctor while Gopi, a large-hearted Marwari settled, quite literally in his father’s “Gaddi”to continue with the parental stock-in-trade -Business.The steady Tokon and macho-man Subuda, the two Bongs got into Accountancy and Medical sales.Tokon and Gopi remain bachelors while the rest of us went on to get married and have children.

I spent my military life confused about the ideas of Partition,Indian National Army Nation,Patriotism,Pakistan and China as enemies of India.All my life,I had learnt about the love and unfailing bond of brotherhood of the peoples of the world and here was I confronted with the worst of contradictions.My sense of discipline must have faltered often for my peers and superiors saw in me a potential insubordinate.Many wondered of what use was my Masters in Political Science in my profession called soldiering – much like the smug Corporate honcho questioning the honest but naive hero of Pratidwandi. In bars or crew rooms light discussions frequently descended into verbal brawls.That said – I had still managed learning well the Chetwoodian Honour Code- that I came last and my subordinate – first and uppermost.My patriotism never got challenged though in the thick of battle for a war never happened in my time.At least, the regular one !Immodestly though,I must add – My men (those I am sworn to protect and care for) I believe,would have had no qualms, if ever, I was leading them into one.

After three scores and a quarter of our lives spent- We, the Six

pappu 10

watch TV, movies and sports most of the time, if not,screaming at each other on our politics and compromises so far.It is now, more than ever, I get to know, for sure, on the questions of what is a nation,Freedom,state of the woman in India, Is the Muslim an equal partner,who and what is a Hindu,patriotism,development, equality, caste, religion and ways to go about it we think and feel so differently while we still sit and sup together.

Behind us,the TV has come alive with images of the young protesting ,singing hand- in- hand of no jobs ,unending hunger and the brutality of the police and the State repression right within the premises of the Jamia,Jadavpur,JNU and Aligarh Muslim University and many places else.What has changed after these many years? I ask. They fight bolder and stronger against the State in Free India comes the anguished cry.The same fire in the belly…

The march or the drum roll has not ceased…but,the Question still haunts deep and long – “Are you a Communist”?