True Indian congress dirty communal politics’s Weblog

December 9, 2007

Modifying the reality

Filed under: Communists, India, Indian congress, Islam, Muslims, Sonia gandhi — Tags: , , , , , , — truecongresspolitics @ 2:06 am
Modifying the reality
It was just what the Delhi media, particularly TRP-hungry TV channels, were praying for. Development makes dull copy; it has little visual appeal. The Gujarat election campaign was threatening to put everybody to sleep. Just then Sonia Gandhi launched her vitriolic tirade against Narendra Modi, her speechwriters went on overdrive to draft hyperbolic phrases to conjure up grisly images. Veteran Congress strategist Digvijay Singh, out of favour till recently allegedly for peddling a soft Hindutva line, seized the chance to rehabilitate himself by describing Gujarat as a State teeming with Hindu terrorists. Ms Gandhi who had launched her 2002 campaign in the State at a temple town, paying obeisance to many local deities, dramatically altered track this time terming Modi “maut ka saudagar“.
Some say the Gujarat Chief Minister should not have risen to the bait. He could have carried on talking about injured Gujarati pride, exhorted people to give yet another fitting reply to those who continued to tarnish the State’s image by harking back to the violence of Godhra’s aftermath, and plodded on with impressive statistics of Gujarat’s quantum leap into the frontline of economic progress. But in politics, especially at election time, polite refusal to counter heinous charges is usually regarded as their tacit acceptance. A politician’s credibility comes into question if allegations are not effectively refuted. Narendra Modi had few options but to deploy a sledgehammer.
There is a Hindi saying “Sau sunar ka, ek lohar ka” (One strike by a blacksmith equals a hundred taps by a goldsmith). I hope this is not classified as a casteist remark on the lines of the Nachle song! But Modi’s reference to hardened criminal and terrorist, Sohrabuddin Sheikh, killed in an allegedly fake encounter with the police had precisely the lohar effect. Till he said it, even Sonia’s charged rhetoric had gone unnoticed in the national media. In any case, for the secular-fundamentalist, English-language media, Sonia is incapable of doing wrong. The Hindi and Gujarati media, though, being less mesmerised by her apparent charm immediately flayed her “merchant of death” comment. She had handed an issue to Modi and he could not afford to let go of it.
Of course, Ms Gandhi’s inadequate command over Hindi has led her into dangerous terrain in the past too. Once she called Atal Bihari Vajpayee “nikamma” (the literal English translation ‘useless’ doesn’t quite convey the derogatory connotation of the Hindi word). On another occasion, she reacted to a mediaperson’s query about the former Prime Minister with a highly provocative phrase, “Woh dimagi santulan kho chuke hain” (He has lost his mental balance). In other words, Ms Gandhi is not quite the demure, cultured, unfortunate widow in the mould of Jaya Bachchan in Sholay.
Master of crowd manipulation, Modi responded by asking a hysterical rally crowd as to what should be done to the likes of a terrorist like Sohrabuddin, for whom India’s bleeding heart intellectuals’ hearts bleed incessantly. Predictably, the crowd shouted: “Kill him! Kill him!” Theatrically, Modi wanted to know if Soniaben’s permission was needed for that. Hell has broken loose in the Delhi media since. They cornered Gujarat Government counsel KTS Tulsi, a dear friend both of Punjab supercop KPS Gill and I, into surrendering his brief. Moral of the story: Lawyers should be less approachable to TV hounds for they may make you say professionally untenable things that you might regret later. Anyway, Mr Tulsi’s hasty announcement is unlikely to impact the Gujarat Government’s legal defence now that star advocate Ranjit Kumar has taken up the brief. Having watched the TV clip of Narendra Modi’s controversial remark, I feel it will be difficult to establish a watertight case against him, especially after his subsequent condemnation of fake encounters.
Where the secular-fundamentalists who have made Modi their principal hate figure go totally out of sync with popular sentiment is in their macabre affection for every terrorist on Pakistan’s payroll. It is natural even for the averagely informed Gujarati to sense a conspiracy against the State when they see the likes of Teesta Setalvad, Prashant Bhushan and now (regrettably) a fine poet-lyricist like Javed Akhtar gunning for Gujarat. Some time it is Qutubuddin Qureshi, the hapless tailor who became their poster boy by virtue of an award-winning photograph showing him pleading for his life during the deplorable aftermath of Godhra. Qutubuddin was whisked away to “secular” (pre-Nandigram) Bengal and provided Government accommodation. A couple of years ago, he returned to Gujarat complaining of his exploitation by “secularists” and said he felt perfectly safe in his home State.
Then there was the celebrated Best Bakery case, whose main protagonist Zaheera Sheikh, ended up accusing her erstwhile benefactor, Teesta Setalvad, of physically torturing her. After serving a prison term for perjury, Zaheera is happy to return to the oblivion from which she would never have emerged but for the cynical manipulations of Modi-baiters. Finally, the secular brigade went to town over the killing of “innocent” Ishrat Jahan, an 18-year-old Pune girl who tragically got mixed up with die-hard ISI-sponsored terrorists, ending up as their courier. Her untimely demise was, no doubt, unfortunate but “innocent” she was not.
With Sohrabuddin, the Gujarat-bashers believed they finally hit the jackpot. Indeed, they appear to have successfully fixed DG Vanzara, the fearless encounter specialist who apparently did not believe in exchanging Anglo-Saxon pleasantries with terrorists or arranging gourmet meals including biryani for them in jail, the way a previous Government in Delhi did with ISI-backed Kashmiri terrorists at the Hazratbal shrine. Vanzara’s colleagues subsequently let him down, for even if his methods of tackling terror cannot be condoned his nationalist motives are above reproach. It is reminiscent of the way human rights-wallahs hounded Amarjit Singh Sandhu, SSP Amritsar in the heyday of Khalistani terrorism, once he had liquidated the enemies of India in the district under his command. In Punjab, not a single terrorist was convicted by the courts even under a draconian TADA but the same courts relentlessly pursued cases against Sandhu to the point where he was driven to penury and eventual suicide.
As for the repeated reminder that the police must not get trigger happy and adhere strictly to the law of the land, the case of Parliament attacker Afzal Guru mocks at the face of jurisprudence. His death sentence has been confirmed by the Supreme Court, but our prim and proper Home Minister says it may take up to seven years before he is executed! A simple question: Why? If vote-bank politics shamelessly intrudes into the sphere of justice, as it has brazenly done in the Afzal case, why must Narendra Modi be singled out in the Sohrabuddin matter? And have we forgotten the price the country paid for the red carpet treatment the Government gave Azhar Masood in a jail in Kashmir? Don’t we all know what he has been up to since we ferried him back to his Taliban masters in Kandahar in the final days of the last millennium?

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