Saturday, January 4, 2003, Chandigarh, India

National Capital Region--Delhi



Vajpayee’s musings on Hindutva

In his New Year musings from Goa (Jan 1) Mr Atal Behari Vajpayee, in an attempt to soften the all-consuming, homogenising orientation of militant Hindutva , has stressed that there is “no difference between Hindutva and Bharateeyata”. He has rightly rejected as unacceptable the “narrow, rigid and extremist” interpretation of Hindutva being projected particularly after the Gujarat Assembly elections.

However, if by his expression — no difference between Hindutva and Bharateeyata — he means that the two are synonymous or congruous with each other, then what he is says is little different from what the spokesmen of militant Hindutva have been advocating. But if Mr Vajpayee means that Hindutva and Bharateeyata partake of the same spirit of liberalism, then here is certainly a qualitative departure from that of militant Hindutva which seeks to Hinduise Indianness.

In fact, time has come to discard the already exploded myth of unity-in-diversity in describing the plural Indian society. This myth has been invoked by secularism for endeavouring to homogenise linguistic, cultural, religious and regional identities. Militant Hindutva also betrays the same homogenising tendency — though in a different form — by asserting that a particular way and view of life is central to and core of Indian diversities which, as such, have to play only a peripheral, satellite role.

The plurality of Indian society is multi-focal & not uni-focal. Once this fact is accepted then the communitarian identities would come to be seen as flowing out of the very character of Indian society being plural, without being treated as mutually contradictory. In other words, Hindutva, Muslimtva, Sikhtva have to come to terms with one another as being co-equal constituents of Bharateeyata.

In fact, the acceptance of the principle of co-existence, co-survival and co-flowering of the Hindu, Muslim, Sikh and Christian identities is more important for the very political survival of Hindutva in the long run.



Poetry and politics

Recently, speaking at an evening of poetry at his residence, Mr Atal Behari Vajpayee said that he could not believe that someone could write poetry while in politics (“After politics, I will return to poetry: PM”, December 28).

There were many poets, who wrote excellent verses while in politics. Sayyed Fazal-ul-Hasan Hasrat Mohani was always found in the forefront of the struggle for freedom. He cheerfully underwent the rigours of incarceration and said: “Hai mashq-e-sukhan jaari chakki kee mashaqqat bhee/Ik turfah tamaashah hai Hasrat kee tabiat’ bhee” (Hasrat has a wonderful temperament. He writes verses while grinding grain with a quern — as a penal servitude).

Pandit Mela Ram Vafa was an outstanding poet, who made great contribution in the field of literature, journalism and politics. He infused patriotic fervour into the country men by his poems. His verses were admired by a celebrated literacy critic Niyaz Fatehpuri.

Zafar Ali Khan of The Zamindar, Lahore, was a fearless journalist, speaker, writer and politician. Yet he was a prolific poet. None could emulate him in writing verses extemporaneously. He was very much impressed by Vafa’s knack of writing poetry. He thus advised a poetaster: “Torta hai shaairi kee taang kyoon ai be-hunar/Ja saleeqah shaairi ka seekh Mela Ram sey”. Because of his fiery temper, he was called “Koh-e-aatash-fishaan” (Volcano). He did not brook even the slightest cavilling about what he spoke or wrote. Yet Vafa corrected the second line as “She’r kaihney ka saleeqah seekh Mela Ram sey”. Zafar Ali Khan was so much pleased with this correction that he published it with his eulogistic remarks in his newspaper for days together.

Maulana Mohammad Ali Jauhar was an ardent politician and yet he was a great poet. Even his brother, Zulfaqar Ali Gauhar also wrote poetry. The third brother, Shaukat Ali, was not a poet. Someone asked him why he did not write poetry. “Because I could not find a nom de plume rhyming with “Jauhar” (talent, gem) and “Gauhar” (pearl)”, he ejaculated. “Assume the pseudonym of “Shauhar” (husband) and start writing verses”, quipped the quick-witted inquirer.




Significance of Gita

This is in response to Dr B.L. Chakoo’s article “Significance of Gita today” (Dec 26). I don’t intend to deconstruct Dr Chakoo’s article and neither am I a scholar on the Gita but this article reminds me of one of the Murphy’s laws: If you can’t convince them (readers, in this case), confuse them. And, this is precisely what Dr Chakoo has done in his article. He has burdened himself by undertaking the magnanimous task of pondering over the “significance of Gita today” but this is the last thing he has done. Rather, he has just wasted the precious space reserved for spiritually uplifting pieces of intelligent thoughts and observations and unfortunately it contained neither of the two.

He has described the Gita as “a great book of science” in an utterly unscientific manner without substantiating his statement(s) by any sustainable argument(s). He maintains that “Krishna’s life here is no different from that of a scientist” whereas the stark opposite is true. The Gita is a book for believers; those who believe in the omnipresence of God and not for the sceptics who look for some scientific mechanism in it. Rather the Gita dissuades the people away from the all logical world of science and takes them to the spiritual realms of faith and belief. Whereas Dr Chakoo states that if understood in penetration “there is no concept of God in the Gita”. Now, I don’t know which depths of the Gita Dr Chakoo has penetrated to come out with a statement like this but I know for sure that all that it takes is an ordinary reading of the Gita to say that the opposite is true.


Saluting the soldiers

Here is wishing our soldiers a very Happy New Year. They may be far away from us — in the hostile inhospitable regions guarding the frontier posts. Wherever they are deployed, the gallant soldiers are very much in our thoughts. We are well aware of the arduous and stressful conditions under which they work day in any day out for the safety and honour of their countrymen.

We respectfully salute the armed forces personnel even as we pray for their well-being and glorious achievements in the service of the motherland. We also take this opportunity to assure them that the whole nation is behind them in every eventuality at all times. Good luck, soldier! We are proud of you.

Wing Cdr S.C. KAPOOR (retd), Noida

Justice delayed

The news item “Riot victims seeks CBI probe” (Dec 26) is a living example of how justice delayed is justice denied. The pain and suffering of these widows is writ large on their faces but that can only be understood by those who have witnessed those turbulent times.

One by one the perpetrators of the Sikh holocaust are being freed by courts either for lack of evidence (18 years is a long time to circumvent the evidence) or lack of the desire on the part of the prosecution team to put in 100 per cent of their effort to uphold the oath of equal justice for all.

It is news like these that gives India a dubious distinction of being a part of the so called “Third World”, here in the USA and the West.


Home | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Editorial |
Business | Sport | World | Mailbag | In Spotlight | Chandigarh Tribune | Ludhiana Tribune
50 years of Independence | Tercentenary Celebrations |
122 Years of Trust | Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |