Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Paresh Rawal Blunders

American President Donald Trump was in Saudi Arabia the other day.  The man who came to power riding the anti-Muslim wave, the man who told the world that Muslims were the enemies of civilisation, now praises the great contributions of Islam to the world.  He mentioned the “ancient wonders” as well as the Saudi Arabia’s modern “soaring achievements in architecture.” He listed such “wonders” as Giza, Luxor and Alexandria to applaud the Islamic achievements.  He sought the cooperation of Saudi Arabia to bring peace and harmony into the world.

Whether Trump underwent some spiritual transformation is yet to be seen.  We know that he is a devout Christian who attends prayer services regularly and religiously.  But prayer services and rituals really don’t make people any better.  If they did, the world would have been a paradise long ago. 

Whatever that is, Trump has apparently changed his approach from one based on hatred to one based on cooperation.  This new approach might work.  I hope it does.  At least it gives hope a chance while hatred can achieve no good.

Courtesy: clipartfest.com
This is one lesson that India’s Right wing is yet to learn.  The latest example is Paresh Rawal’s suggestion to the Indian Army to use Arundhati Roy as a human shield in Kashmir. Leaving aside the insult it implicitly sticks to the Army, the suggestion smacks of the pettiness that accompanies the entire outlook of India’s Right wing.  

Arundhati Roy stands far, far above petty nationalism.  She has described herself as a “global citizen.” That’s what we all should be: citizens of the world who respect every human being irrespective of race and religion.  Ms Roy’s views on Kashmir spring from that broad, global outlook.  Narrow-minded bigots like Rawal cannot be expected to understand such benignity. 

Donald Trump was lauded as a great hero by India’s Right wing because he spoke the same language of hatred which the latter has not only mastered but also is wielding effectively in most parts of the country.  But Trump seems to have learnt better lessons.  Are people like Rawal ready to learn?  If they are, India might still have a chance to stay united as one nation.

“It is a choice between two futures,” as Trump proclaimed in Saudi Arabia.  “If we really want to address that crisis (in Kashmir),” Ms Roy wrote a year ago in Outlook, “if we really want to stop the endless cycle of killing and dying, if we really want to stem the haemorrhaging, the first step has to be a small concession to honesty.  We have to have an honest conversation.”

Yes, it is basic honesty that the Right wing in India should acquire first.  And then the willingness to shed hatred – if they are incapable of learning love, at least that: shed the hatred.


  1. I was planning to write about a similar topic on one Major Leetul Gogoi, from Assam, who has been applauded by the Indian Army of using a stone pelter as a shield.

    Yes, Arumdhati Roy's God of small things left me in transient state of hangover for days, such is the power of her words and intellect.

    What I don't understand is, why can't she be flexible and find reasons to the correctness of both the sides instead of adhering to one. Communists are not always right, stone pelters are not always right, anarchism is not always right.

    Or perhaps I am highly biased due to the media.

    1. Every person who is passionate about something is biased naturally, I guess. Isn't the entire right wing in India today totally biased against the minorities? Their whole thinking is rooted in hatred. Compared to that Ms Roy's bias (yes, we call it bias insofar as her views are rooted in an ideology) is almost sacred. When she says that Kashmir belongs to the people of Kashmir and they have the right to decide their destiny, is it really a bias? When she says that whenever some entrepreneur wants some forest land, thousands of tribal people are displaced in the name of bringing them to the mainstream, is she biased? When she says that big dams don't serve the purpose is she biased?

      Yes, stone pelting is not right. Yes, terrorism is terrible. Yes, communism is outdated. But Ms Roy is at least honest. She is humane. As Sanjay Bhat IPS said I would love to sit with her tied to the jeep as a human shield.

    2. Your arguments are powerful except for the part of letting the people of Kashmir decide the fate of their state.
      I am not well read on the deeper issues dated from the era of independence of India to understand the rebel of the Kashmiri youths but if they are let to decide the faith of their "own" land, then arunachali would also have to be let to decide their fate, then the Bodo people of Assam have to be let to decide their fate, then the indigenous population of Assam have to be let to decide our own fate.

      How can we decide our own fate? Won't it lead to economic instability? Won't it lead to disruption of one nation? Won't it lead to a time travel to the pre industrialisation?
      When the brightest minds should come forward to solve hunger issues, poverty, happiness index, right to dignity, is it wise to create disruption?

    3. I'm not endorsing disruption or balkanisation of any sort. See why the small states of Northeast were carved out of erstwhile Assam. It is because the indigenous people of those areas were denied their rights. New states had to be formed. That is the solution.

      Now in the case of Kashmir, even as Ms Roy has said many times, the situation has gone out of the control of the govt of India. Moreover, there are many other factors such as the provision for a referendum, the anti-Muslim sentiments of the majoritarian govt, the rise of fundamentalism, and so on. How do we deal with them?

      Look at the rise of Bhim Sena. Their leader, Chandrashekhar, has vowed that the Brahmins (Aryans) will be driven out if it comes to more persecution of Dalits. Who is creating the problem?

      We need to look at the problems with the intention of solving them not with the intention of asserting our power.


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