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Local leaders’ sentiments, RSS, caste to play crucial role in BJP’s Mission UP

The party, which has already begun the ground work for selection of candidates, is likely to give priority to those who lost by narrow margins or came second in the last assembly election in UP.

RSS

After Bihar, the BJP has started gearing up for its next high stake battle– the Uttar Pradesh assembly election. Though there are still 15 months to go, the party has lined out the broad contours of its strategy in the state, which like Bihar, it had swept in last year’s Lok Sabha elections. With the mistakes made in the recent Bihar assembly election still fresh in the mind, one of the first lessons for the BJP is to factor in sentiments of local unit in UP particularly in ticket distribution, according to party sources. In the aftermath of the Bihar debacle, several state leaders had alleged that the BJP leadership had ignored them and projected “outsiders” in the run-up to the election.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> The party, which has already begun the ground work for selection of candidates, is likely to give priority to those who lost by narrow margins or came second in the last assembly election in UP. There are around 15%-20% of such candidates, sources said. Another experience from Bihar was the caste dynamics dominating all other narrative in the state where the BJP and its allies faced a humiliating defeat at the hands of the Nitish Kumar-Lalu Prasad Yadav combine, unlike in the Lok Sabha election when the NDA had won 31 of the 40 seats. Sources said the party will lay emphasis on the caste arithmetic in UP, focusing on the upper castes, OBCs and scheduled castes, while deciding on candidates and working out its strategy in the run-up to the 2017 election. In UP, where party President Amit Shah was in-charge during the Lok Sabha election, the BJP, which had projected Narendra Modi as Prime Ministerial candidate, had won 73 of the 80 seats. During the recent Bihar election, the BJP had pinned its hopes on the “uneroded” Modi wave, which had swept both UP and Bihar for it in 2014. In the Lok Sabha election, the BJP had even encroached BSP leader Mayawati’s dalit vote bank as Modi managed to woo the electorate cutting across caste lines. While in the general election, the BSP failed to win a single seat, the BJP is viewing her as its most formidable foe in 2017.With Mayawati, who is hoping to consolidate the dalit and Muslim vote, having a sway over Western UP, the BJP is planning to focus on development-craving Poorvanchal or Eastern UP. While the Dalit population in UP is around 20 per cent, the Muslims account for 19.3 per cent in the state. The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), the BJP’s ideological mentor, is also likely to be play a bigger role in the election to the state, which was the hotbed of hindutva politics and had pushed the party to the national centre-stage in the 1990s. The party strategy is to refrain from chanting about Ram Temple in Ayodhya, which is now in court and on the back burner of the party’s agenda, sources said. However, several of its Hindutva hardliners like Yogi Adityanath, Sadhvi Niranjan Jyoti and Sakshi Maharaj are from UP. The BJP is toying with the idea of replacing its state unit chief Laxmikant Bajpayi, a Brahmin. Among the names doing the rounds are union minister of state for HRD Ram Shanker Katheriya, a pracharak and a Dalit leader, Swatantra Dev Singh, an OBC from Bundelkhand and Ashok Kataria, the state vice-president. Bihar debacle : With the mistakes made in the recent Bihar assembly election still fresh in the mind, one of the first lessons for the BJP is to factor in sentiments of local unit in UP particularly in ticket distribution, according to party sources. In the aftermath of the Bihar debacle, several state leaders had alleged that the BJP leadership had ignored them and projected “outsiders” in the run-up to the election.
RSS role: The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), the BJP’s ideological mentor, is also likely to be play a bigger role in the election to the state, which was the hotbed of hindutva politics and had pushed the party to the national centre-stage in the 1990s. The party strategy is to refrain from chanting about Ram Temple in Ayodhya, which is now in court and on the back burner of the party’s agenda, sources said. However, several of its Hindutva hardliners like Yogi Adityanath, Sadhvi Niranjan Jyoti and Sakshi Maharaj are from UP.

BJP President Amit Shah for retirement to politicos after age of 60

Speaking at a programme in memory of Ranchhordas Ji Maharaj, Amit Shah said the towering personality had given up active politics after 60, setting a example for many that after this age one should be occupied with social work rather than politics.

BJP president Amit Shah on Saturday said senior politicians should consider retirement after the age of 60. The comment made at a function in Chitrakoot in Bundelkhand region of southern UP is being seen as the BJP chief’s way of getting back at the party’s ‘margdarshak mandal’ which includes leaders like LK Advani, MM Joshi and some others who are over 60.Speaking at a programme in memory of Ranchhordas Ji Maharaj, Amit Shah said the towering personality had given up active politics after 60, setting a example for many that after this age one should be occupied with social work rather than politics.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>He also referred to another doyen of the Sangh parivar, Nanaji Deshmukh, saying “he (Nanaji) could have become the President of India. But he distanced himself from active politics after attaining the age of 60. These people have set examples which should be emulated.”Advani, Joshi and Arun Shourie had made veiled attacks at the triumvirate of Shah, Arun Jaitley, and PM Modi which took complete charge of the electioneering in the recent Bihar election.After the BJP’s defeat, these leaders had made statements placing the three leaders in the dock, saying internal democracy in the party had been weakened under Shah.

Bihar: Three hardcore Maoists arrested

Three hardcore Maoists have been arrested from a village in Bihar’s Gaya district, a police officer said.

Three hardcore Maoists have been arrested from a village in Bihar’s Gaya district, a police officer said.Acting on a tip off, the police raided Orwatand village last evening and nabbed three hardcore Maoists, identified as Manoj Yadav, Ramesh Kumar and Sanju Yadav, all members of proscribed naxal outfit – CPI (Maoists), Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Manu Maharaj told reporters.Manoj Yadav was wanted in eight cases of naxal violence in the district, including an incident in which the Maoists had blown up a minibus carrying security personnel in which two were killed on February 24 last, he said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Yadav was also among those Maoists who had torched 32 trucks during their bandh in the district in May this year, Maharaj said.

Remove fear of minority community: Azam Khan to PM Modi

Lucknow: Uttar Pradesh minister Azam Khan on Tuesday said Prime Minister Narendra Modi should learn a lesson from drubbing in Bihar polls and work towards removing “fear” of the minority community.

“If you behave with hatred with everything created by the God then he will not be happy with you,” Azam said.

File photo of Azam Khan. PTIFile photo of Azam Khan. PTI

File photo of Azam Khan. PTI

“‘Sabka saath, sabka vikas’ was your slogan, accept it with an open heart and cremate religious and caste-based ill feelings,” he said.

Invoking ancient saints, the UP minister appealed to the Prime Minister to lessen the fear of the minorities.

“Take lessons from Dadhichi and Valmiki Maharaj. Take fear out of the hearts of the people who are afraid of you and set an example of oneness. Get out of ‘dal and daldal’ (groupings) and become the prime minister of great India.”

The Samajwadi Party leader said people of Bihar have set parameter of mutual brotherhood and relationship.

“Bihar polls have decided the fate of the country,” the minister said. In a written statement, Azam said atmosphere of peace, brotherhood and mutual faith, which prevails after Bihar polls, proves that Indians want a similar atmosphere.

“It is my appeal to the Prime Minister that he should not only learn from the situation, but take it as an experience. He should take an initiative to create a new person in himself,” Azam said.

“On the occasion of Diwali, the pained hearts congratulate you with hope that this won’t happen again in democratic and constitutional system,” he said.

PTI

Maharashtra government takes history lessons on Maratha reservation

The Devendra Fadnavis government is leaving no stone unturned on the Maratha reservation policy, ahead of a Supreme Court (SC) hearing next month. The 16% Maratha quota was stayed by the Bombay High Court last year. The government has asked the archives directorate to find out some “evidences” in history books, which can prove the state’s stand in the SC that Marathas need reservation. Archives officials have been specifically directed to look into the literature of Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar and also the gazettes of early 20th century when Shahuji Maharaj was the ruler of Kolhapur.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> The move is aimed at getting some “historical proof” for the economic backwardness of the community to justify the government’s stand for the Maratha quota in public service and educational institutions so that SC can be convinced. The direction has been given by education minister Vinod Tawde, who also heads the culture department, under which the archives bureau falls. Tawde also chairs the government committee on Maratha reservation. The committee has to carry out a detailed study covering various aspects, which were clearly missing from the Narayan Rane committee report that didn’t stand in the High Court. The Congress-NCP government had brought the policy, which entails 16% reservation to Marathas as an “economically and backward community”, a category introduced for the first time, which was over and above the 51% quota for SC/ST and OBC. History has always equated Marathas with the warrior caste Kshatriya. “However, literature suggests Marathas are Kunbis. Ambedkar had also reportedly written about that. Since Kunbis are covered under quota, Marathas should also be given the same benefit, feels the government,” a highly placed official told dna. On the other hand, gazettes of Shahuji Maharaj’s time is being dug up to get “evidence” that the Marathas were among those needy students from the backward castes, who were given scholarship by the Kolhapur princely state. “Shahuji offered scholarships to backward caste students and Marathas were among them. Maharaj was also a Maratha adopted by the widow of Raja Shivaji 4th. He himself faced humiliation by Brahmins those days,” historians are said to have told the committee. The committee is getting feedback from historians, academicians and other experts besides Maratha leaders. Marathas account for 30% of the state’s population and is the single-largest vote bank in Maharashtra. A senior officer in ministry of law and judiciary said: “Such evidences will not withstand in the court. The government will have to substantiate the demand with data, which is scientifically conducted through surveys.” And the surveys are yet to be done. A professor of Mumbai University said: “Logically, Marathas should be given the benefit of quota under OBCs but the government can’t do that for political reasons.”Tawde did not respond to calls and message. Community updatesOf Maharashtra’s 17 chief ministers since it became a state in 1960, 10 have been Marathas. In this entire period, more than half of all MLAs have also been from the community.Almost 50% educational institutions are controlled by Maratha leaders. Of the 200-odd sugar factories, the mainstay of the state’s economy, 168 are controlled by Marathas. Of the district cooperative banks, 70% are controlled by Marathas.The Maharashtra State Backward Class Commission had argued in 2008: “Marathas are both economically and politically a forward caste… They had never faced social stigma to invite a backward class status.”

Centre should enact law to check cow slaughter: Azam Khan

Azam Khan

Uttar Pradesh Minister Azam Khan has demanded that the Centre should enact an effective law to check cow slaughter and prevent people from making “irresponsible statements” on the issue of beef and bovines.Khan, in a letter to Shankaracharya of Govardhan Peeth Swami Adhokshjanand Maharaj on Thursday, thanked him for gifting a cow for his diary and urged him to “talk to Prime Minister Narendra Modi regarding a law to check cow slaughter”. The Hindu seer had gifted Khan a black cow after the latter had expressed his desire to have one in his dairy.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Seeking that “cow shouldn’t be made a matter of controversy or debate”, he said, “The Centre should also come up with a new law to prevent people from making irresponsible remarks on the issue of beef and bovines.” The central government should make arrangements for providing shelter to stray cattle and take steps to check sale of dead bovines, said the UP Minister of Minority Welfare and Urban Development.”If a living animal is a matter of faith for us then its last rites should also be performed in the same letter and spirit. Don’t sell a cattle you love. “The Prime Minister should stress on creating an environment of love and harmony, and not make it an issue of controversy,” he wrote in the letter.

Curfew-like restrictions continue in parts of Srinagar

Curfew-like restrictions continued in parts of Srinagar city for the third consecutive day today as a preventive measure to maintain law and order.

Curfew-like restrictions continued in parts of Srinagar city for the third consecutive day today as a preventive measure to maintain law and order.Restrictions have been imposed on the movement of people in six police station areas – Rainawari, Khanyar, Nowhatta, Safakadal, Maharaj Gunj and Maisuma – of the city, police said.The officials said the decision to continue restrictions in some parts of the city was taken in view of the apprehensions of law and order problems.Police and paramilitary CRPF forces have been deployed in strength in sensitive areas while concertina wires have been laid at many places in affected areas to prevent people from coming out on main roads, they said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Police has put all separatist leaders including Syed Ali Shah Geelani and Mirwaiz Umar Farooq under house arrest while JKLF chairman Mohammad Yasin Malik has been lodged at Police station Kothibagh since Wednesday.The restrictions have been placed in the city as authorities apprehended that separatists might try to use the Muharram procession for getting political mileage.Meanwhile, restrictions have been lifted from south Kashmir’s Anantnag town after five days but police and paramilitary personnel have been deployed in strength to deal with any law and order problems.Restrictions were imposed in Anantnag town on October 19 following death of Zahid Bhat, who succumbed to injuries at a Delhi hospital on October 18.Bhat had sustained severe burn injuries in a petrol bomb attack on a trcuk at Udhampur on October 9.

This is now Modi’s Hindustan, not Mahatma Gandhi’s India: Engineer Rashid

New Delhi: Jammu and Kashmir legislator Engineer Rahid blames the growing intolerance in the country on Prime Minister Narendra “Modi’s Hindustan”, not Mahatma Gandhi’s India.

Sheikh Abdul Rashid, better known as Engineer Rashid, has been attacked twice this month after he hosted a beef party in Srinagar — first by BJP legislators in the Jammu and Kashmir assembly who beat him up and then by Hindu activists in Delhi who smeared ink on his face.

Rashid, an independent legislator, told IANS that “everything is possible in this country as this is now Modi’s Hindustan, not a tolerant (Mahatma) Gandhi’s India”.

The attack in New Delhi took place outside the Press Club shortly after he had addressed the media on the 9 October attack on a truck in Udhampur in Jammu and Kashmir that eventually killed its cleaner.

Sheikh Abdul Rashid. AFP

Sheikh Abdul Rashid. AFP

The Hindu Sena activists not only blackened Rashid’s face with ink and Mobil oil, but shockingly also threw ink on the families of the victims of the Udhampur attack.

Asked why he violated religious sentiments by hosting a beef party, Rashid explained: “I never eat non-vegetarian food in my constituency. But it hurts me when people like Sakshi Maharaj or Haryana Chief Minister (M.L.) Khattar dictate me what to eat and what not to eat.”

Speaking at the Jammu and Kashmir House here, Rashid hit out at Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders for making controversial comments on Muslims as well as issues related to beef consumption.

On Sunday, BJP president Amit Shah told four party leaders, including Sakshi Maharaj and Khattar, that Prime Minister Modi was very upset with the kind of hate comments made by them.

While Rashid is ready to respect others’ religious sentiments, he has his own questions.

“Cow can be their mother, but what relation do they have with buffalo?” he asked. Buffalo meat is also widely known as beef.

“Let me accept that Sakshi Maharaj’s cow can be his mother. What relation he has with my cow that I raised at my home?

“My cow is my cow, and I decide what I do with it.”

Rashid also urged India and Pakistan to shun the politics of hatred and resolve the dispute over Jammu and Kashmir according to the aspirations of the people of the state.

“I always believe India and Pakistan should have been one country. But the recent attacks by right-wing activists are proving Mohammad Ali Jinnah’s two-nation theory correct,” Rashid said.

Asking Modi to apologize over rising intolerance in the country, the legislator from Langate said: “The BJP has already divided the entire country. Please don’t divide Jammu and Kashmir.

“By doing this, you are proving Jinnah’s two-nation theory absolutely right. Modi should apologize for Godhra, Akhlaq and every other such incident,” he said, referring to the 2002 Gujarat riots that began with a train burning at Godhra.

Rashid branded Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed a “puppet CM” and blamed him for the poor state of affairs in the country’s only Muslim-majority state.

“Kashmir has become a lawless island, and Mufti Sayeed is solely responsible for that.

“People voted for him so that he can put the BJP and RSS out of the state. But he created an unholy coalition with them, providing a platform to the RSS and other extremists to interfere in our state.”

IANS

Want Gandhi’s India, not Godse’s or Bhagwat’s: J&K MLA Engineer Rashid

“He always stressed on Hindu-Muslim unity. If we get Gandhi’s India today then at least we will feel that justice prevails. We don’t want Nathuram Godse’s, Mohan Bhagwat’s, Sakshi Maharaj’s or Praveen Togadias India because we have already suffered a lot,” Rashid said.

J&K MLA Sheikh Abdul Rashid, popularly known as Engineer Rashid, with his face smeared in black paint and ink thrown by Hindu Sena activists.

Reuters
Criticising the growing instances of intolerance in the country, Jammu and Kashmir independent MLA Engineer Rashid on Tuesday said that Mahatma Gandhi’s tolerant views are being sidelined by the extremist groups in recent times.Rashid, who was attacked with ink by the Hindu Sena activists outside the Press Club of India, said Mahatma Gandhi sacrificed his life to prevent communal riots.”He always stressed on Hindu-Muslim unity. If we get Gandhi’s India today then at least we will feel that justice prevails. We don’t want Nathuram Godse’s, Mohan Bhagwat’s, Sakshi Maharaj’s or Praveen Togadias India because we have already suffered a lot,” Rashid said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”The job of a Prime Minister is to keep the nation united. Unfortunately, if the Prime Minister does not wake up even now then nation will suffer,” he added.Rashid welcomed President Pranab Mukherjee’s remarks on rising intolerance in the country.”If President is saying such things then it means that he has taken note of it. I hope those people for whom he (President) has said such things would understand the same,” he said.President Pranab Mukherjee had on Monday expressed apprehension whether tolerance and acceptance of dissent are on the wane and said that humanism and pluralism should not be abandoned under any circumstances.The ink attack took place when Engineer Rashid had called a press conference in the national capital.The Hindu Sena had on Monday claimed responsibility for the attack on Rashid alleging that the independent legislator from Langate has insulted cow, considered sacred to Hindus.Rashid was last month beaten up by the BJP MLAs inside the Jammu and Kashmir Assembly for allegedly hosting a beef party.

Hindu Sena workers smears J&K MLA Rashid Engineer’s face with black ink over ‘beef party’

J&K MLA Sheikh Abdul Rashid, popularly known as Engineer Rashid, with his face smeared in black paint and ink thrown by Hindu Sena activists.

Reuters
Growing face of intolerance by right-wing fringe elements came to the fore once again on Monday when Hindu Sena activists came rampaging inside the Press Club of India premises in the capital and attacked independent MLA from Kashmir Engineer Rashid by smearing his face with black paint and ink. They were protesting against his hosting a beef party in Srinagar earlier this month.The incident immediately invited sharp reaction from chief minister Mufti Mohammed Sayeed who is running a coalition government with BJP in J&K.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”In a vibrant democracy like India, we need to have courage to respect dissent and provide space to different points of view. The spate in unpleasant incidents such as this is most disturbing,” Sayeed said.Former CM Farooq Abdullah also said that PM Modi should look into who the perpetrators of this attack were.The incident happened when Rashid was emerging out of the Press Club after addressing a press conference to protest against the fatal attack on two Kashmiri truck drivers in Udhampur over rumours of killing a cow on October 9. One of the drivers, Zahid Rasool Bhat, 18, succumbed to burn injuries on Sunday at Delhi’s Safdarjung hospital igniting protests in Kashmir.Shouting “Gau Mata ki jai” a couple of unidentified men came rushing to Engineer Rashid when he was about to leave the Press Club. The independent MLA had received massive opposition for hosting a beef party in Srinagar earlier this month.”I do not eat beef, mutton, or chicken but that (the party) was a form of protest to tell the authorities not to interfere in anyone’s religion and eating habits,” Rashid had explained during the press conference.Addressing the media after the attack Rashid said, “It is not mine, but PM Modi’s face that has been blackened today…The world is watching where India, the land of Mahatma Gandhi stands today. These people (the attackers) are mentally sick. I want the whole world to see how these people are trying to muzzle the voice of Kashmiris.” he said.”Talibanisation is not just taking place in Pakistan. It is happening all over India too,” added an angry Rashid.During the press conference, Rashid attacked BJP and PM Modi for being silent against the growing violence by majority community and thus being partners in crime.”If the UP government can be held responsible for Dadri incident, then BJP is equally responsible for the Udhampur incident along with its ally PDP,” said Rashid demanding PM Modi to “publicly condemn” such attacks and “say sorry” for the loss of lives.”Are we living in Hindustan of Mohan Bhagwat or Sakshi Maharaj? The Prime Minister talks of Talibanisation and radicalisation. I have a strong hunch that Sakshi Maharaj is an ISI prop. The PM should carry out an investigation…. And what is this happening in Jammu and Kashmir? Nobody is speaking. I request you with folded hands to highlight the plight of Kashmiris,” Rashid told the media.The relatives of the two truck drivers alleged that Mufti Sayeed government was “threatening, abusing and warning” their family members from speaking to the media.They demanded stricter punishment to those behind the gruesome Udhampur attack.”The (alleged) kingpin of the attack ex-councilor Pralahad Singh is still at large. Why is he not being arrested? The irony is that he is holding demonstrations in Udhampur for release of other five who have been booked by police. We want that the attackers behind this incident should be hanged like Afzal Guru (2001 Parliament Attack convict),” Rashid said.

Bihar polls: BJP will win 32-34 seats in 1st phase, 22-24 seats in 2nd, says Amit Shah

He also said, “If Nitish ji comes back in the government then Lalu ji will run the government via a remote control.”

PTI
BJP President Amit Shah on Monday asserted that the party it will win 32-34 seats in 1st phase, 22-24 seats in 2nd phase of Bihar assembly polls. He also said that the party supported reservation for backward sections of the society.“BJP has given many OBC CMs, we have even given an OBC PM. We support the backward, the poor,” he said.On his assessment about NDA’s performance in the first two phases of voting, Shah said, “In the first phase of polling we will win 32-34 seats, in second phase 22-24 seats.”<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Shah further added, “We will focus on development when we come to power because, even today, Bihar is very backward when it comes to a several issues.”He also slammed ‘Mahagathbandan’. “To take focus away from development agenda, some statements on beef or reservation are being highlighted,” he said.Attacking Nitish Kumar and Lalu Yadav, Shah said, “Bihar doesn’t want to be a “BIMARU” state now. If Nitish ji comes back in the government then Lalu ji will run the government via a remote control.”He also refuted allegations that Sakshi Maharaj said that if BJP lost in Bihar, it would be Bihar’s loss and not Narendra Modi’s. Shah said, “He has not said any such thing. Show me the footage if you have.”

BJP MP Sakshi Maharaj pitches for death penalty to those who slaughter cows

Sakshi Maharaj also backed Haryana Chief Minister Manoharlal Khattar’s controversial “Muslims should quit eating beef” statement, saying there was nothing wrong in it.
File Photo
dna Research & Archives
Controversial BJP MP Sakshi Maharaj on Saturday pitched for a law that provides for death penalty for cow slaughter and defended his party MLAs beating up Sheikh Abdul Rashid in the Jammu and Kashmir assembly as a “natural reaction” to the independent legislator’s action.”J&K independent MLA’s assault was just a reaction. His action… hurt the masses and he was beaten up,” he said.”Leaders need to change their mindset or get beaten up by the people in full public view,” the BJP MP from Unnao in Uttar Pradesh said addressing an event organised by International Hindu Mahasangha in Bhubaneshwar. Rashid was recently assaulted in the state assembly after he allegedly hosted a beef party in Srinagar.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Strongly advocating protection of cows, the BJP MP said,” A strong law should be put in place to hang people responsible for cow slaughter.” He also backed Haryana Chief Minister Manoharlal Khattar’s controversial “Muslims should quit eating beef” statement, saying there was nothing wrong in it.Related read: AIMPLB leader appeals to community not to consume beef to maintain peace and harmonyOn the Ram temple issue, Sakshi Maharaj said the temple would be built during the tenure of the Narendra Modi government.”It may not be today or tomorrow, Sri Ram Mandir will certainly be built during Modi government’s tenure. We have completed just one year in office, four more years are to go,” he said.

Nayantara Sahgal may be guilty of selective outrage, but that doesn’t mean she is wrong

Nayantara who?

For many Indians today, the youth demographic that Narendra Modi talks about all the time, the name Nayantara Sahgal will not ring a bell.

At best they will know her as a niece of Jawaharlal Nehru and they will shrug when they hear she has returned her Sahitya Akademi award. They will dismiss it as the pique of the Nehru dynasty, smarting from its fall from grace and power. They will not know or care that she wrote pamphlets against Indira Gandhi’s Emergency. And most of all they will scratch their heads about why she would return an award she got in 1986 to snub a man who did not give it to her anyway.

Chances are the PM will not care. It is not as if he looks for legitimacy from the heirs of Nehru. By returning the award, Sahgal signals the end of an era where someone like her had unquestioned influence and commanded unquestioned respect. But that era had ended already with the election of Narendra Modi. This act is more akin to shutting the door behind her on the way out.

But is it pointless?

Nayantara Sahgal (left) and Ashok Vajpeyi (right). IBNLive

Nayantara Sahgal (left) and Ashok Vajpeyi (right). IBNLive

Though poet Ashok Vajpeyi has followed suit, Sahgal, 88, is not Lady Liberty trying to start a movement of ghar-wapasi for Sahitya Akademi Awards. She is, in fact, following in the footsteps of the Hindi writer Uday Prakash who returned his award (to much less notice) after the murder of the rationalist MM Kalburgi and of six Kannada writers who returned their honours to the Kannada Sahitya Parisat. Sahgal acknowledges these writers and spells out her dismay about a culture of diversity and debate under vicious assault, about the endangered right to dissent, the distortion of Hinduism. This is not to say these did not happen under previous regimes. In 1984, her own kith and kin were in charge presiding over the carnage that followed Indira Gandhi’s assassination. But two years after that, she did accept the award anyway.

Selective outrage? Possibly. But which of us does not make those choices about when to speak up and when to stay mum?

While giving an award is the Akademi’s decision, returning it is a personal one. And everyone has their own personal trigger-point. Sahgal is entitled to hers. An award is returned not just to shame the state but also because the awardee feels shamed by it. As Rabindranath Tagore said while asking the Viceroy to relieve him of his knighthood after Jallianwalla Bagh, “the time had come when badges of honour make our shame glaring” and he wanted to stand “shorn of all special distinction” by the side of his countrymen.

The irony here is that Sahgal’s countrymen have chosen the man she is castigating by a thumping democratic majority. And according to polls, he still enjoys an enviable 87 percent popularity rating. That makes her act a much lonelier one than Tagore’s. Tagore was protesting against an imperial power, Sahgal is protesting a democratically elected one. And she is inevitably compromised by her famous bloodline.

But to dismiss her act as hypocritical outrage, too little too late, willfully misses the larger point. Sahgal, one of the more privileged citizens of India, is standing up for the right to dissent. It’s not a fashionable stance in India today. And a rare one because it seems we like the idea of a strong leader who brooks no dissent and feels no compunction to rein in the so-called fringe elements, some of them MPs like Sakshi Maharaj who say “Gau mata ki raksha ke liye maarenge ya marenge(We will kill or be killed in trying to save our mother, the cow)?” When the fringe is an elected MP, and can say this with impunity, can we still call it the fringe? If Dadri while “condemnable” is a “stray incident” according to Finance minister Arun Jaitley, then does that make Sakshi Maharaj a “stray” BJP MP?

In her statement Sahgal says, “The Prime Minister remains silent about this reign of terror. We must assume he dare not alienate evil-doers who support his ideology.” That has become a recurring refrain lately. Why does Modi not speak up? We hear that every time a Sakshi Maharaj or a Giriraj Singh or a Niranjan Jyoti shoots off their mouth. It speaks to an illusion we cling to — that Governance Modi will eventually assert himself over Sangh Modi.

It should be clear to all of us by now that both must be the same. The man, who unlike his predecessor is not reticent about public speaking, chooses not to do so. Deliberately. And he does not care what is read into his silence. As Pratap Bhanu Mehta writes in the The Indian Express “Modi should have no doubt that he bears responsibility for the poison that is being spread by the likes of Culture Minister Mahesh Sharma and (Tarun) Vijay — whether through powerlessness or design is irrelevant.” But Modi plans to fill Wembley Stadium with 70,000 people in November. He will be called yet again, a “rockstar” as he speaks to them and gets a standing ovation. Why should he speak because a Pratap Bhanu Mehta or a Nayantara Sahgal thinks he should?

It is in the face of this juggernaut that Sahgal raises a lonely and unpopular flag. To now hold 1984 over her head feeds into a most perverse logic where one terrible crime becomes justification for everything else. The great sin of 1984 was not just that it happened but that the victims never received any semblance of justice either under the Congress or the BJP regimes that followed.

The greater tragedy of the 1984 riots is how we have put its memory to such tawdry use. The lesson we ought to have derived from the horror should have been “Never again”. Instead it has become “Shut up, it’s our turn now.” Don’t dare pipe up about Gujarat 2002, or Muzaffarnagar 2013 or Dadri 2015, because where were you in 1984? We are now at the grotesque point in our public debate where the massacre of one group of innocents is used to justify or mitigate the killings of others.

The issues change but the right to dissent should be an absolute right under all regimes of all ideological stripes. We have turned it into a relative one, always compared against another date, measured against another atrocity. If not Sikhs in 1984, then the exile of the Kashmiri Pandits. We are well down a slippery slope where as Santosh Desai asks, “When does it become possible to be so repelled by something that one is able to condemn it unequivocally, without qualification or sly justification, avoiding the usual, ‘but what about such-and-such done by the other side in the past’, and refraining from keeping a cunning and calculative silence.”

We can ignore Nayantara Sahgal’s gesture, argue why she deserved the award in the first place, accuse her of selective outrage. But none of that actually challenges the veracity of what she said in her statement.

But it is always easier to shoot the messenger than to pay heed to the message, more so when it speaks to a discomfiting truth.

Ready to kill and get killed for cow, says BJP MP Sakshi Maharaj

On September 29, Mohmad Akhlaq was dragged out of his home and stoned to death on a village street after a public announcement from the local temple that the family had slaughtered a calf and eaten its meat.

Known for making controversial statements, BJP MP Sakshi Maharaj on Tuesday said they (he and his allies) are ready to kill and get killed in order to protect cows from slaughter. The BJP MP said, “We won’t remain silent if somebody tries to kill our mother. We are ready to kill and get killed.”Sakshi Maharaj also said that the double standards of the Uttar Pradesh government have been exposed.According to an IBN report, hitting out at Samajwadi Party​, Sakshi Maharaj said, “Azam Khan is a Pakistani. He has faith in Pakistan’s political force. He calls Bharat Mata ‘witch’.”<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The report also said that the MP slammed Akhilesh Yadav for giving Rs 45 lakh as compensation to Akhlaq’s family and nothing to the two girls who were raped and murdered in Unnao.Also read: Dadri lynching: Police asks Twitter to delete ‘provocative’ posts on Muhammad Akhlaq’s killing​A day ago, Uttar Pradesh Minority Welfare and Urban Development Minister Azam Khan said that he would take the issue of rampant communal violence in India to the United Nations and also appealed to Prime Minister Narendra Modi to stop those who are spreading violence and communalism across the country.On September 29, Mohmad Akhlaq was dragged out of his home and stoned to death on a village street after a public announcement from the local temple that the family had slaughtered a calf and eaten its meat.While Aqlakh died, his 22-year-old son Danish is battling for life at a hospital following two brain surgeries. The police has arrested eight persons and detained a Homeguard for questioning after the local temple priest alleged that he was forced to make the announcement.Meanwhile, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley has condemned the lynching incident, saying such incidents hurt the country’s image.”India is a mature society. We need to rise above these kinds of incidents because they certainly don’t give a good name as far as the country is concerned,” he told after a lecture at Columbia University on Monday.

Rs 1.65 cr cash, liquor seized in Bihar ahead of Assembly elections

Patna: As part of intensive drive to check the use of money and violation of Model Code of Conduct, Rs 1.65 crore unaccountable cash, 10,386 litres of liquor and 100 kg marijuana were seized on Monday from different parts of Bihar ahead of state assembly elections .

Additional Chief Election Officer R Lakshmanan told reporters that Rs 1.38 crore cash was seized from a car in an area under Rampur police station area of Gaya.

Representational image. Image courtesy: AFP

Representational image. AFP

Senior Superintendent of Police Gaya Manu Maharaj told reporters at Gaya that preliminary probe revealed that a Mumbai based company’s vehicle was carrying Rs 1.65 crore for ATMs of two PSU banks.

But, the cash was being carried in violation of norms laid down under model code of conduct, the SSP said adding Income Tax department officials have been involved in the probe into the matter.

Elsewhere, Rs 13 lakh unaccounted cash were seized from under Kotwali police station in Patna, Lakshmanan said.

Besides, Rs 6 lakh were seized in Vaishali, Rs 1.40 lakh in Madhubani, Rs 2.70 lakh in Bhojpur and Rs 2.90 lakh in Nalanda among others, he said.

Lakshmanan said seizures were made during intense search of vehicles on a regular basis in accordance with model code of conduct.

The Additional CEO said that during raids 10386 litres unlicensed liquor was seized from across the state. Besides, 100 kg of marijuana was seized in Khagaria district, he added.

Giving more details, he said a total of 27 cases were registered under Defacement in Public Property (wall writing, posters, banners etc), 24 under Defacement of private property and 22 of misuse of vehicle (beacon, light and flag).

On law and order front, seven unlicensed arms/weapons were seized and also 12 cartridges.

In addition, 769 non-bailable warrants were executed and a sum of Rs 4,15,133 collected as fine in vehicle checking.

Proper frisking of passengers and luggage was carried out at Jayprakash Narayan Airport in Patna, he said.

PTI

Debate turns into fight: Woman astrologer slaps self-styled Godman Om Ji Maharaj on live TV

An debate in the IBN 7 newsroom this weekend on controversial godwoman Radhe Maa turned physical when a panelist slapped a self-styled Godman who was also on the panel. The show on had to be stopped after the ugly fight between the two panelists.

screengrab form video.screengrab form video.

Screengrab form video.

Deepa Sharma, an astrologer, slapped Om Ji Maharaj on IBN7’s evening debate show ‘Aaj Ka Mudda’.

Things on the show took a turn for the worse when Baba Om Ji passed a few comments on Deepa Sharma.

The host valiantly tried to calm them down but Deepa Sharma was too furious to listen. She got up, unhooked her microphone and went up to Baba Om Ji and smacked him on the shoulder talking about his lack of respect for woman.

The video was uploaded by President News at Network18 Umesh Upadhyay.

Describing the video he wrote: “Deepa Sharma, a self proclaimed astrologer today slapped another self proclaimed Dhram Guru Om Ji Maharaj on IBN7’s evening debate show ‘Aaj Ka Mudda. Most deplorable incident on LIVE TV. The honourable guests are not expected to do this.”

Watch the video here:

So, he IS Maharashtra Bhushan

Purandare gifts Rs10 lakh award money, plus another Rs15 lakh to Deenanath Mangeshkar Hospital

Babasaheb Purandare was conferred with Maharashtra Bhushan award at Raj Bhavan on Wednesday
Fariha Farooqui
dna
Stating that history is an invaluable treasure which should never be insulted, Maharashtra Bhushan Shivshahir Babasaheb Purandare on Wednesday said whether it was incidents or personalities, he always cross-checked facts before penning and taking the history to masses.Governor C Vidyasagar Rao, on Wednesday, felicitated Purandare with Maharashtra Bhushan award at a ceremony held at Darbar Hall of Raj Bhavan. Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, Minister for Culture Vinod Tawde, Guardian Minister for Mumbai and Industries Minister Subhash Desai, local MP Arvind Savant, local MLA Mangal Prabhat Lodha, Mumbai Mayor Snehal Ambekar and secretary, department of Culture, Valsa Nair-Singh were present on the dais. The award function was held amidst tight security taking in to account opposition by various Maratha organisations and threats of protest demonstrations. The award comprised Rs10 lakh in cash, memento and citation.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Announcing that he would add another Rs15 lakh to the award amount and return Rs25 lakh as donation to Deenanath Mangeshkar Hospital started by Bharat Ratna Lata Mangeshkar for the treatment of cancer patients, Purandare said he was receiving the award on behalf of people of Maharashtra who are involved in carrying forward the legacy of Shiv Charitra directly or indirectly.Expressing the need for discussion, debate, critical analysis and evaluation while writing history, Purandare said he always remained in the boundaries of truth whether it was writing about historical incidents, events or personalities. He said when Sant Tukaram never worried as to whether his Gatha (literary work by poet saint Tukaram) would be thrown away in the river, why should he bother about criticism when he was true to history.Criticising those who opposed Purandare’s name for the award, Chief Minister Fadnavis said these people don’t understand Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj and they should first learn what Shivaji Maharaj was. He said if at all Shivaji Maharaj would have been alive today, he would have issued death sentence to all these people. Fadnavis said the government would support initiatives like making a serial or film on unexplored aspects of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj as management Guru who articulated planning of environment, forests as well as administration.

Jain organisation gifts golden Gita by Muslim artisan to RSS chief

The Gita was handed over to Bhagwat at a function of Jain monks organised by ‘Shubhmangalam’ organisation.

Mohan Bhagwat

RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat was gifted on Sunday with a copy of ‘Bhagwad Gita’, written in a special ink made from gold by a Muslim artisan, at a function of Jain seers in Surat. “We gifted a Golden Gita, made from a special golden ink, to RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat to express our solidarity and feeling of brotherhood with Hindu religion and the RSS,” said Jain seer Abhaydevsurishwarji Maharaj who handed over the copy to Bhagwat. According to its maker Yunus Shaikh, 346 grams of 24-carat gold was used in writing the 168-page Gita which has 745 shlokas.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”I have used herbs and 24-carat gold to write around 745 shlokas in 168 pages of the Golden Gita and worked on it for more than two months,” said Shaikh, a resident of Surendranagar town. Shaikh said he had earlier written holy books of Jainism and Hinduism.”I had also written many holy books of Jainism and Hinduism. I firmly believe that these religions give us a message of humanity,” he said, adding that he did not skip his schedule of offering ‘namaz’ five times daily while working on Gita. Shaikh also claimed the paper used in Gita is unique and that it will not deteriorate for the next 500 years.The Gita was handed over to Bhagwat at a function of Jain monks organised by ‘Shubhmangalam’ organisation. According to an organiser, the making of Gita cost around Rs 7.5 lakh.In his speech, Bhagwat said Gita teaches ‘karmyoga’ and its message is not to run away from problems but to face them. “Gita has a message that we should not run away from problems. If we can solve 70 per cent of our problems then remaining 30 per cent (problems) will be solved by the Almighty,” Bhagwat said while referring to the preaching of Lord Krishna to his disciple Arjuna as mentioned in epic ‘Mahabharata’.

Liquor trader stripped of high priest title after row

Dutta, who was baptized Sachhidanand Giri Maharaj, had been missing over the past couple of days. He is now reported to have returned to his house in Noida.

Former beer bar owner Sachin Dutta who had been anointed as ‘mahamandaleshwar’ of the Niranjana ‘akhada’ only last Friday, has been stripped of the title after media reports about his dubious past triggered off a big controversy.Dutta, who was baptized Sachhidanand Giri Maharaj, had been missing over the past couple of days. He is now reported to have returned to his house in Noida.Akhil Bharatiya Akhada Parishad president Mahant Gyan Das made the announcement about the title being withdrawn on Thursday. The liquor businessman’s dabbling in religion has led to an unseemly confrontation between two equally strong groups of high priests.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”People of such dubious background and character should not have been accorded the title in the first place. The Niranjani akhada should have conducted a proper background check before giving such a highly respected title to a liquor trader,” fumed Mahant Gyan Das. “Such impostors will not be allowed to enter the Nasik Kumbh,” he asserted, adding that the title of “mahamandaleshwar” stood withdrawn with immediate effect.Reacting to his statement, the Niranjani ‘akhada’ has said that Gyan Das was not the the all-India ‘akhada’ body anymore, and hence was not authorized to make any such statement.”We are contemplating withdrawing the title in view of the media reports about his background which was not known to us. Besides, since he has returned to his home, he can’t retain the title anyway,” said Niranjani ‘akhada’ spokesman Anand Giri.”Gyan Das is not the ‘akhada’ parishad president anymore. So such statements by a self-styled president has no meaning,” said Narendra Giri, secretary, Niranjani ‘akhada’, who had been elected president of national body in Ujjain in March this year.However, Mahant Gyan Das has refused to give up the presidentship, alleging that the election of the new president was stage-managed by a handful of ‘akhadas’.Meanwhile, Sachin Dutt is reported to have sneaked into his house on Wednesday night, and has been avoiding the media.A person who is anointed ‘mahamandaleshwar’ is supposed to have renounced his worldly existence, and cannot live in his house or with a family.

Hindu religious leader slams ghar wapsi, religious leaders making controversial statements

Nasik: National president of Akhil Bharatiya Akhada Parishad today slammed the controversial ‘Ghar Wapsi’ campaign besides hitting out at religious leaders who make derogatory comments that divert focus from the government’s development agenda.

“Those people who are making such remarks should understand that they are denting (Narendra) Modi government’s progressive image and diluting his good work,” Mahant Gyandas Ji Maharaj told PTI.

Mahant Gyandas. Image courtesy- PTIMahant Gyandas. Image courtesy- PTI

Mahant Gyandas. Image courtesy- PTI

He was referring to statements made by BJP MP Sakshi Maharaj and Union Minister Sadhvi Niranjan Jyoti early this year asking Hindu women to have at least four children, sparking condemnation from various quarters.

Maharaj, who is in Nashik, to mediate the Kumbh work between the Maharashtra government and Sadhus (seers) also criticised those who have taken upon themselves to strengthen the Hindutva campaign via the ‘Ghar Wapsi’ (home-coming) programme and said, “They must understand that such retrograde statements will not have a good impact either on the society nor on our religion.”

Maharashtra government has been successfully seeking Maharaj’s cooperation to guide and settle disputes during the preparatory works at the Kumbh and he is very satisfied with the arrangements.

“I would like to say that the preparations are phenomenal and none of the governments till now have done such a commendable job,” he said.

Maharaj also said the chances of him conducting any Dharmsabha during this Kumbh are very less as Modi government’s performance has been on expected lines.

He also termed Devendra Fadnavis as a bold Chief Minister who dared to bring a bill banning cow slaughter in the state.

“I met the CM during flag hoisting ceremony and conveyed the blessings on behalf of all cow-lovers from the country and abroad,” he further said.

PTI

Anonymous person threatens to attack Mahabodhi temple in Bodh Gaya

An anonymous person has threatened to attack the Mahabodhi temple in Bodh Gaya, a top district official said on Tuesday.

An anonymous person has threatened to attack the Mahabodhi temple in Bodh Gaya, a top district official said on Tuesday.An SMS has been received by Gaya’s Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Manu Maharaj from an anonymous person who has threatened to attack the world famous Buddhist shrine at Bodh Gaya, District Magistrate Sanjay Kumar Agrawal told PTI.”We are verifying the call details as well as the caller’s identity and his location,” the DM said.Agrawal said the district administration would soon work out details in this regard and take stringent action against the person for threatening to attack the Buddhist shrine.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>With regard to security arrangements for Mahabodhi temple, the district magistrate assured proper security.Agrawal, who along with SSP Manu Maharaj visited Mahabodhi temple to review security measures, said that three companies of Bihar Military Police (BMP) had been deployed there on regular duty. 35 CCTVs are also installed in and around the temple.A terror attack had rocked Mahabodhi temple two years ago in which a monk and a pilgrim had sustained injuries.

I am a true Muslim and Prophet Mohammed a great ‘yogi’, says BJP MP Sakshi Maharaj

He further added, “The one with ‘iman’ is a true Muslim. I am a true Muslim.”

Known for making controversial statements, BJP MP Sakshi Maharaj has stirred a fresh controversy by saying he is a true Muslim and Prophet Mohammed is the biggest practitioner of yoga. As seen in a video posted on ibnlive, Sakshi Maharaj said Mohammed is the biggest name in Islam and I think Mohammed saab is a great yogi.”He further added, “The one with ‘iman’ is a true Muslim. I am a true Muslim.”Earlier, hitting out at Uttar Pradesh Minister Mohd Azam Khan, who has adviced Yogi Adityanath to offer namaz, Sakshi Maharaj dared the senior SP leader to say ‘Jai Shri Ram’.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”Azam is one person, who never speaks truth. He is advising Yogi Adiyanath to offer namaz,” the BJP MP, who was here to attend a private function said.He was only misleading muslims, Maharaj alleged.”We people belong to Indian culture, where there is no difference between Allah, Bhagwan or God. We can say Allah-o- Akbar, if Azam has courage then he should say Jai Shri Ram,” he said.

Haryana: 15 houses burnt, 5 injured due to communal clash in Faridabad

Faridabad: At least five persons were injured and around 15 houses gutted after a clash erupted between two communities over construction of a religious structure in Atali village in Faridabad, following which the district administration has beefed up security.

Representational image. AP

Representational image. AP

At least five persons were injured and about 15 houses burnt on Tuesday night when people from the two communities clashed over construction of the religious structure adjacent to the other community’s religious site, SHO In-charge Inspector Preetpal said.

The trouble began on Tuesday when the roof of the religious structure was being laid, he said.

A group of people from the other community started pelting stones and turned violent with equal retaliation from the other side, he said.

The group poured kerosene on the houses of those belonging to the community and set them on fire. The people fled from their houses, he said.

Section 144 was imposed in the village, he said, adding that twenty people have been booked under various sections of the IPC and Arms Act.

The police are on a strict vigil to avoid any untoward situation, the inspector said.

The SHO of Police Station Chainsa has been suspended for not handling the situation well.

Police force from six nearby districts was called to control the situation, an official said, adding that flag march was also conducted by the police.

Haryana Commissioner of Police Subhash Yadav, Sub Divisional Magistrate Priyanka Soni, DCP Bhupinder Singh, and other senior police and administration officials visited the village to review the situation, an official said.

Local MLA Moolchand Sharma said a meeting was organised in the SDM’s office today in which people from both the communities participated and the matter was resolved.

The government will compensate those affected and action will be taken against the accused, the MLA added.

PTI

PM Modi on two-day visit to West Bengal from May 9

The Prime Minister is scheduled to launch three flagship social security schemes – Pradhan Mantri Suraksha Bima Yojana (PMSBY), Pradhan Mantri Jeevan Jyoti Bima Yojana (PMJJBY) and Atal Pension Yojana (APY) at a function.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi will arrive in Kolkata on May 9 on a two-day visit to West Bengal, during which he will attend a couple of functions, call on ailing Ramakrishna Mission Head Monk Swami Atmasthananda Maharaj and inaugurate a refurbished IISCO plant in Burnpur.State secretarriat sources said that the PM would arrive at the NSC Bose International Airport from Delhi by a special flight in the afternoon and fly to the RCTC ground in the city by a helicopter. The Prime Minister is scheduled to launch three flagship social security schemes – Pradhan Mantri Suraksha Bima Yojana (PMSBY), Pradhan Mantri Jeevan Jyoti Bima Yojana (PMJJBY) and Atal Pension Yojana (APY) at a function.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Modi would then meet Swami Atmasthananda Maharaj of Ramakrishna Math and Mission Order at the Ramakrishna Mission Seva Pratisthan in south Kolkata, where he had been admitted on February 21. Swami Atmasthananda Maharaj, President of the Order started by Swami Vivekananda, is 97 years old and is suffering from old age-related illness.”Modiji treats him as his guru and wants to meet him since our Maharaj has grown very old and is in hospital for a long time. When both of them were in Rajkot, Modi used to go to him to seek guidance,” Subirananda Maharaj, assistant secretary of the Math, told PTI here.After staying overnight at the Raj Bhavan, the Prime Minister would pay a visit to Belurmath, global headquarters of the organisation, on May 10. “Belur Math is very close to his (Modi’s) heart. He will come here to visit the temples and pay obeisance to Swami Vivekananda,” the Math and Mission sources said.After Modi won the Lok Sabha elections last year, the head monk had congratulated him and invited him to visit the Math. During his last visit to Belur Math in 2013, Modi had spent some private moments in Vivekananda’s room where he also meditated.Modi will leave Belur Math for Burnpur in Burdwan district by a helicopter to inaugurate the refurbished IISCO plant before to end his engagements in the state.

Iconic filmmaker Satyajit Ray’s 94th birth anniversary celebrated

Best known for his Apu trilogy and Charulata, Ray had passed away in 1992.

dna Research & Archives
A notebook dedicated to the works of the maestro was launched today to mark Satyajit Ray’s 95th birth anniversary today.The notebook, launched by the Society for the Preservation of Satyajit Ray Archives and retail chain Starmark, showcases some of the iconic posters and booklet covers created by Ray himself who was also a pioneering illustrator and graphic artist.Titled Ray/Short Takes, it is a tribute to Ray who is one of the greatest filmmakers of the 20th century and had won Academy Award for lifetime achievement. The foreward of the book is written by Ray’s son film director Sandip about the maestro’s graphic world. The notebook also contains short interesting anecdotes about his films by Debasis Mukhopadhyay, a well-known Ray researcher.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Several paid tribute to the legendary filmmaker- Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee paid homage to Ray. “Maharaja tomare selam” (Maharaj I salute you), she tweeted along with a photo of him.Best known for his Apu trilogy and Charulata, Ray had passed away in 1992.

Twitter reacts: Sadhvi Prachi ji, I had chicken this weekend, what calamity can I expect?

After BJP MP Sakshi Maharaj propounded his wisdom claiming in a statement in Haridwar that the Nepal earthquake was not caused by interactions of tectonic plates but by Rahul Gandhi‘s visit to Kedarnath, Sadhvi Prachi has followed suit, creating a furore on Twitter.

BJP MP Sakshi Maharaj. IBNLiveBJP MP Sakshi Maharaj. IBNLive

BJP MP Sakshi Maharaj. IBNLive

Their logic is as follows:  Rahul being a non-vegetarian and hence, impure, shouldn’t have visited the holy land of Kedarnath before purifying himself—that is taking a dip in the Ganges.

Rahul Gandhi eats beef, and goes to the holy shrine (Kedarnath) without purifying himself. The earthquake was bound to happen,” The Times of India reported Sakshi Maharaj as saying.

Also present at the conference was Vishwa Hindu Parishad leader Sadhvi Prachi.

Jumping the queue, she made a similar statement saying, “This ( earthquake) is due to the visit of Rahul Gandhi, who is a non-vegetarian. He did not take holy Ganga dip. He should have first purified himself. This disaster in Nepal and northern India is due to Rahul’s visit,” reports the Tribune.

Soon, ‘Sakshi Maharaj’ started trending on Twitter as people slammed the VHP leader

Hindu mothers are not baby-making factories: RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat slams Sakshi Maharaj

In a surprising move, RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat has snubbed BJP MP Sakshi Maharaj who caused an uproar when he suggested that every Hindu woman should bear four children.

According to a report in the Indian Express, Bhagwat while speaking to 300 delegates of the Sangh in Kanpur on Monday, said “Hamaari maatayen factory nahin hain, bachcha paida karna vyaktigat nirnay hai”. ( Our mothers are not baby factories).

Though Bhagwati did not name Sakshi Maharaj, he did say “How can I stop somebody from speaking? But one should think carefully before saying such things.”

While Bhagwat did advise delegates to give adequate representation to women and deprived sections in their organisation, he did mention a fall in Hindu population poses a challenge for national security.

The RSS belief is that Hindus must reproduce more to counter what they believe is a higher rate of growth on the part of Muslims, which is why Bhagwat disowning Sakshi Maharaj’s statement is rather surprising unless off course it was a diktat from the BJP high command.

“The concept of four wives and 40 children will not work in India and the time has come when a Hindu woman must produce at least four children in order to protect Hindu religion,” Maharaj had said at the Sant Samaagam Mahotsav in Meerut in January.

PTI imagePTI image

PTI image

In the past, other Hindutva leaders have also claimed that Hindu women should keep on bear more children.

Previously VHP leader Ashok Singhal was quoted as saying in February 2014 that Hindu women should have at least five kids.

He had said, “Hindus should not restrict themselves to two children per family. Only when they produce five children will the population of Hindus remain stable.” He had also claimed that the Hindu population was rising slower than the Muslim or Christian population in India.

But as far as the dwindling Hindu population is concerned, the maths isn’t really favouring the RSS and VHP’s claims.

Based on the 2011 census, even despite their slow growth rate Hindus constitute 80.5 percent of the population, while Muslims are at 13.4 percent. Christians are even lower at 2.3 percent. And while the Hindu population has dipped in percentage from 85 percent in the 1991 census to 80 percent, the Muslim population has seen only a 2 percentage point increase from 11 to 13.

On Tuesday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi  said  his government will ensure complete freedom of faith and will not allow any religious group to incite hatred against others “overtly or covertly”.

“Mine will be a government that gives equal respect to all religions” he said.

As Firstpost noted earlier, Modi’s words need to be followed up by bold action.

” That is where the real challenge for the prime minister lies. He owes his spectacular political-electoral success to the combined effort of the Sangh Parivar, many of the affiliates of which are Hindutva extremists. The RSS, the mother organisation of the BJP, itself has been quite vocal about India being a Hindu country in recent times. While it has not been openly aggressive, its emphasis on religion has encouraged fringe groups to run amok across the country. Can the prime minister force them to go silent? Unlikely,” argued Firstpost political editor Akshaya Mishra.

Modi has been facing flak for not speaking out strongly against saffron fringe elements of his Bharatiya Janata Party-led government who have kicked up a controversy by peddling the Hindutva agenda and by their comments on “ghar wapsi”, or return to the Hindu faith. But this time around he has finally spoken out  in public rather than  choosing  to crack his whip behind the scenes.

Modi’s enemies from within? ‘I can make or break the govt,’ says ‘powerful’ Sakshi Maharaj

Rishikesh: In an ashram near the Ganges river in the Himalayan foothills, priest-turned-politician Sakshi Maharaj mimes rowing a boat to illustrate what will happen if Prime Minister Narendra Modi‘s government ignores Hindu nationalist demands.

“Modi will have to be a boatman: one oar must focus on the economy and the other must concentrate on the Hindu agenda,” says Maharaj, clad in saffron robes and sitting cross-legged on a bed.

He twirls his bejewelled fingers in the air, explaining that otherwise the boat will spin in circles.

BJP MP Sakshi Maharaj. IBNLive

The Hindu priest, who has been charged with rioting and inciting communal violence, is the embodiment of hardline religious elements in Modi’s party whose strident behaviour is dragging on the government’s economic reform agenda.

In recent months, Maharaj has created uproar by describing Mahatma Gandhi’s Hindu nationalist assassin as a patriot, saying Hindu women should give birth to four children to ensure the religion survives and by calling for Hindus who convert to Islam and Christianity to be given the death penalty.

For the first time since the election last year, some lawmakers in Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) are rebelling against his focus on mending the economy and governance at the expense of promoting Hinduism.

This is testing the authority of a leader who captured power to a degree not seen since Indira Gandhi ruled India more than three decades ago.

Hardline Hindu politicians impatient with Modi’s refusal to champion their cause are beginning to advance their own agendas.

Maharaj, for example, wants to make it illegal for Hindus to change religions and seeks the death penalty for slaughtering cows, an animal revered by Hindus.

Protests erupted at the most recent parliamentary session over a campaign by hardliners to convert Muslims and Christians to Hinduism, torpedoing key foreign investment legislation that the opposition had earlier agreed to pass.

Modi had to use executive orders to drive policy, but they are seen as a stopgap measure that cannot replace reforms needed to address India’s slowing economic growth.

“Modi has a major problem with these extremist elements,” said S Chandrasekharan, director of the South Asia Analysis Group in New Delhi. “If he can’t bring them under control they are going to … sap the energy needed to carry out reforms.”

In a sign the world is watching, US President Barack Obama warned on a recent visit that India’s success depended on it not splintering along religious lines.

‘I AM A POWERFUL MAN’

At the spiritual retreat, or ashram, elderly disciples with long grey beards bend to kiss the feet of Maharaj, who wears light brown socks with sandals, an orange turban, gold-framed Dolce and Gabbana glasses and a chunky gold-coloured watch.

With a self-proclaimed following of 10 million people, Maharaj, a four-time member of parliament, draws support through a network of dozens of ashrams and colleges.

“I am aware that I am a powerful man,” Maharaj says. “I can make or break the government.”

Maharaj is charged by police with rioting and inciting a mob after helping tear down a 16th-century mosque in Ayodhya in 1992, an event sparking riots in which around 2,000 people died.

He admits being present at the demolition but says he could not stop the crowds. In India, trials can take decades because of a shortage of judges.

Modi will have a clearer idea of whether radicals elements are alienating voters when the BJP fights elections in New Delhi. Also this month, the government must present the budget and try to enact three emergency decrees in parliament.

In December, Modi told lawmakers their behaviour was hurting the party and warned them not to cross the Lakshman Rekha, a forbidden line in Hindu mythology, according to party officials briefed on the meeting.”The message is loud and clear: there is no room for any diversion from the economy,” said GVL Narasimha Rao, a spokesman for the BJP.

‘GAME OF CHESS’

The battle for the government’s direction is particularly acute for Modi, because he and his party are ideologically rooted in Hindutva, or Hinduness, a concept sometimes defined in strident opposition to Muslims and Christians.

Modi himself has consistently denied accusations that, as chief minister of Gujarat, he did not do enough to prevent riots in which more than 1,000 people died, most of them Muslims. A Supreme Court inquiry found no evidence to prosecute him.

The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), the powerful ideological wing of the BJP, supports lawmakers like Maharaj who are working to make India a Hindu nation, said a senior RSS official who asked not to be named.

“We will support them because it is all for a Hindu cause,” he said. There was no evidence to suggest that the RSS was actively involved in pushing the hardliners’ agenda, however.

Modi’s ties with radical Hindus “can be best described as a game of chess,” said Ramchandra Guha, one of India’s leading historians. “Both sides are on board when it comes to establishing the Hindu supremacist agenda, but they want to follow a different strategy to achieve it.”

Maharaj says most Indians, including Modi, privately share his views, and he will continue promoting Hindu supremacy.

“The only difference is he is refined and maybe we are crass,” Maharaj says of Modi. “We may have to fine-tune the message but the message will remain the same.”

Reuters

BJP distances itself from Sakshi Maharaj remark

BJP MP Sakshi Maharaj’s remarks that Hindu women should have at least four children to protect the religion have come under attack not just by the Opposition but his own party. The saffron robed MP seemed to have turned a deaf ear to prime minister Narendra Modi’s pleas to party members to focus on the government’s economic agenda. “The concept of four wives and 40 children just won’t work in India but it is high time that every Hindu woman must produce at least four children to protect the Hindu religion,” he had said addressing a gathering of saints on Tuesday. The BJP washed its hands of the comments and asked all its workers to refrain from making “unncessary” statements. “The remarks made by Sakshi Maharaj are his personal views. The BJP believes in good governance and development. The party urges all its workers to focus on the government’s pro-people agenda and try to refrain from making unnecessary statements,” BJP national secretary Shrikant Sharma said in a statement.Seeking to distance from Maharaj’s remark, BJP president Amit Shah said it was the former’s personal remark and not party’s stand. “It is his (Maharaj’s) own view .. his personal remark. it is not the stand of the party,” Shah told reporters while responding to a volley of questions at the end of his two-day visit to Odisha.Asked whether action would be taken against Maharaj for making such remark, the BJP president said it was for the disciplinary committee of the party to deal with the matter. Maharaj had also advocated death sentence for those indulging in conversion and cow slaugher. Controversy over “ghar wapsi” and comments by Hindutva hard liners had disrupted the government’s reform agenda, by giving the Opposition ammunition to unitedly confront the government in Parliament. Sakshi Maharaj’s remarks have again brought the Modi government in the Opposition’s line of fire. The Congress has again questioned the prime minister’s silence.“The Prime Minister has spoken on the most minute, micro issues, he has spoken eloquently, he has spoken on macro issues from New York to Australia, from Red Fort to Chhatisgarh and surely if he has no time to speak a few sentences or at least tweet,” Congress spokesperson Abhishek Singhvi said. He said the prime minister, finance minister and BJP president are silent. “If they are silent, what does it mean? … Is it that the BJP has changed the Population Policy of India without our knowledge. Is the Population Policy of India as against that of China, as against that of several other developing or transforming economies now going to be in the electoral slogan – ‘Ab ki baar, bacche char’ or is it going to be ‘Make in India + 4. The PM should clarify.” He said to look upon to treat women symbolically as child bearing structures was a complete insult to the power potential and capacity of about 50% of our population. —With agency inputs

BJP President Amit Shah distances from Sakshi Maharaj’s statement

Seeking to distance from party MP Sakshi Maharaj asking Hindu women to have four children, BJP President Amit Shah on Wednesday said it was the former’s personal remark and not party’s stand. “It is his (Maharaj’s) own view .. his personal remark. it is not the stand of the party,” Shah told reporters while responding to a volley of questions at the end of his two-day visit to Odisha.Also Read: MP Sakshi Maharaj says Hindu women should produce four children at leastAsked whether action would be taken against Maharaj for making such remark, the BJP president said it was for the disciplinary committee of the party to deal with the matter. Sakshi Maharaj had earlier stoked a row by describing Mahatma Gandhi’s assassin Nathuram Godse as a “patriot” and was forced to apologise.

MP Sakshi Maharaj says Hindu women should produce four children at least

Member of Parliament Sakshi Maharaj
File Photo
dna Research & Archives
BJP MP Sakshi Maharaj has yet again stoked controversy by saying all Hindu women must produce four children to protect Hindu religion.”The concept of four wives and 40 children will not work in India and the time has come when a Hindu woman must produce at least four children in order to protect Hindu religion,” he said at a gathering for the Sant Samagam Mahotsava in Meerut on Tuesday.He went on to say that those who converted from Hindu religion must be ‘punished’ through ‘ghar-wapsi’ (reconversion to Hindu religion). He warned those engaged in cow slaughter and conversion saying that a death sentence awaits them once it is passed by the Parliament.”Wait for some time, a law will be passed in Parliament in which anyone indulging in cow slaughter and conversion will be punished with the death sentence,” he said.The Unnao MP did not stop there adding that Ram Mandir will be constructed at any cost. “No power on earth can stop the construction of Ram mandir in Ayodhya. It will be constructed, come what may,” he said.However, this is not the first time Sakshi Maharasj has made a controversial statement.Earlier, on December 11, BJP lawmaker had raked up a controversy saying father of the Nation Mahatma Gandhi’s assassin Nathuram Godse was a nationalist.However, Sakshi Maharaj later tendered his apology saying, “I respect Bapu and also the parliament. If I have said anything by mistake, I withdraw my statement. Godse was not a nationalist.”His statement had led to an uproar in both the houses of Parliament for almost a week.