Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Aurangzeb Road or Abdul Kalam Road: A road treaded a bit too far

   Recent renaming of Aurangzeb road to Abdul Kalam road by New Delhi Municipal Corporation has caused uproar among a section of society including mainstream media and political class. I would not go into whether it is right or wrong. They could well have avoided it. What is funny is the kind of points being put forward in both print and internet media to criticize the action, justify Aurangzeb's actions and to prove greatness of the last prominent Mughal ruler.
   A close look at a few articles is in order. This mostly well balanced article compares Aurangzeb's destruction of temples with that of Vasundhara Raje Sindhia, present CM of Rajasthan and almost justifies the act.  
   This article tells us that Aurangzeb "is like the kuttichathu of Malayalis—responsible for anything that went wrong." The author contends that Aurangzeb was made responsible for all wrongs. And what wrongs are being cited - that the last mughal was a bigot, fanatic, imposed excessive taxes and destroyed temples in every nook and corner of India.  
   Now lets take a look at the very popular TOI and Mumbai Mirror. A very prominent journalist in this informative article(picture below) in Mumbai Mirror puts Aurangzeb in perspective with other Mughal rulers Babar, Shah Jahan, Akbar, Jahangir and Humayun. He tells us that Shah Jahan and Jahangir were nobodies, that Akbar was no less cruel than anybody else. He further goes on to tell us the greatness of Aurangzeb declaring with the ending line that "Aurangzeb was certainly great".
   As for his shortcomings, we are told that "The action against temples came in three stages: no new temples, no renovating old ones, break old temples" and that, "this order was followed indifferently, probably because of the emperor's lack of enthusiasm". So two points are to be noted, one, destruction of temples was done indifferently. So the thousands of temples were destroyed with no "specific interest". Two, author would like to attribute this indifference to Aurangzeb's lack of enthusiasm. One should consider this along with the fact that Aurangzeb stopped listening to music because one of the hadiths said so as per the same author. To conclude, Aurangzeb was ardent follower of Islam so much so that he stopped doing what he liked, but he had no particular interest in destroying temples which he did in countless numbers.
   This TOI article (picture above) tells us that Aurangzeb was the only Indian that Britishers could not beat. Isn't it a matter of pride for all Indians? But it would like us to forget that Aurangzeb was the emperor of India and Britishers were nobodies then. And Gujarat had its "tangible achchhe din" under him. A historian is quoted that ban on music was really economic in nature. I have no problem with this explanation except that it doesn't tie with the Mumbai mirror article quoted above. It also safely ignores the war on temples that Aurangzeb waged across India as it would like us to believe that the Mughal emperor is being victimized and shall remain alive among historians.
   While these articles have brought a lot of hitherto not known facts about Aurangzeb and other Mughal rulers they have gone a bit too far to twist the picture they would like readers to see.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

A letter to Narendra Modi from an angry supporter

Modi ji, good evening. I will start with the confession that I am your die hard fan and have been following you since 2007.
So, it's a night of introspection, night of feedback, night of advices! 
Rings any bell? "Kaala dhan Kaali raat Kaala karnama (black money, black night, black deeds)", You had said in an election rally. You also said, "Our country can forgive mistakes, but not betrayal". You really know the people and know how they behave and vote. They forgave Arvind Kejriwal's mistakes. But if you continue to lie and fool people, you may not be forgiven.
   Todays Chanakya which predicted your resounding victory in general election 2014 did a social survey in Delhi on election eve. It tells us quite a few things. One, Brahmin, Baniya, Punjabi, BJP's traditional vote bank preferred AAP to BJP. Two, SC, OBC and Muslims voted in huge numbers for AAP. Even among age groups, you were given a complete thumbs down. All in all, there was not a single class who preferred BJP to AAP. NOT ONE!
   I have to say, this was one of the worst campaigned elections by BJP. Either there was no campaign-in-charge or there were too many. Negativity, conspiracy, mud-slinging and what not! You had seen all this in 2007 and 2014, but you stayed clear of them and were rewarded handsomely. What went wrong this time, sir? Are you getting surrounded by a coterie of advisers, something we hear Sonia Gandhi had the luxury of. Have you started enjoying the luxuries of Congress? If that is so, people won't give you 10 years that you have asked and are planning for. 
   I am sure you already know. But to get any chance, not only would you need to increase your focus on public good (I do not doubt, you are already doing it), but also you would need to stay clear of mud-slinging, unnecessary nose poking in other party matters. For e.g. what is happening in Bihar and Jharkhand wont be seen favourably by public. Not only do people see through your lies, they also are disgusted at such cheap tactics.
   If this election is not an eye opener, none would be.