J&K’s Accession: An insider’s account – Punarvasu Parekh

Pandit Ram Chandra Kak & Maharaja Hari Singh
JournalistThe failure of the Indian state to find a solution to the J&K dispute is rooted in its refusal to face the facts. – Punarvasu Parekh

“What Sheikh Abdullah was really gambling for … was an independent principality whose continued existence would be guaranteed by the Indian armed forces and whose solvency was secured by the Indian treasury. There was, however, no idea of a quid pro quo from his side. He did not expect to be called to account either in respect of the internal administration of the state or the utilization of funds supplied to him by the government of India.”

How prophetic these words penned way back in 1955 have been! As Indian soldiers shed their blood to protect J&K from troublemakers of all sorts and as the Indian treasury bleeds to keep it solvent, only to be greeted by chants of “Azadi” from stone-pelting mobs and demand for “greater autonomy” from local sundries, we realize how farsighted the author was in warning us that “Sheikh Abdullah stood only for his own aggrandizement and had no affection for India and no use for her except to the extent she sub-served his ends.” The Abdullah tribe has multiplied several times since then, but its genes and DNAs remain unchanged.

The author Pandit Ram Chandra Kak was the prime minister of princely state of Jammu & Kashmir during the period leading up to the state’s accession to India in October 1947. He left behind a document that records the devious political games played to transfer authority over this Hindu-Buddhist kingdom to Muslims, specifically to Sheikh Abdullah.

Radha Rajan is the editor of Vigil OnlineUnsurprisingly, the document is barely known in “secular” India; its only known public copy is in UK. In a monumental piece of investigative journalism, Radha Rajan presents this document in full, along with her analysis of the communal political game played by Congress leadership in general and Nehru and Gandhi in particular, which has converted Kashmir into a festering sore in Indian polity.

Pandit Kak’s document traverses familiar ground, though it does highlight some less known facts. Its chief merit consists in providing a clear and consistent exposition of the dilemma faced by the State of J&K over accession to India on the eve of independence, by a perceptive patriotic powerful insider who was privy to overt happenings as well as covert machinations in the state, who was in the centre of the storm facing winds blowing from all directions. It tells us why things went the way they did and how India could have averted the current impasse. From the document, Pandit Kak emerges as a man of learning and character, a sterling patriot who had the courage to suffer for his convictions.

In her comments on the selected passages from the document, Radha Rajan shows that what happened in J&K was not accidental, but a logical culmination of the attitudes and policies consciously adopted by Gandhi, Nehru and Congress towards princely states, especially those with Hindu rulers.

The question of accession to India came up before J&K twice in less than a year, though in very different circumstances. Its decision on both the occasions was the same, but for different reasons. Then again, Prime Minister Kak and Maharaja Hari Singh concurred in their conclusion, but not for identical reasons.

Late in 1946, the state was sounded out by the Government of India on the accession to India after the Cabinet Mission had completed its consultations with Government of India and Indian leaders in Delhi. At that time, partition was not on the horizon except as a remote contingency and the accession was envisaged only to the newly-to-be-created Dominion of India.

Sheikh Abdullah and Jawaharlal Nehru

Pandit Kak tells us that as regards welding India into a single unit, he was not opposed to accession pure and simple. But there was a problem: Sheikh Abdullah, Congress leaders’ (especially Nehru’s) complete identification with him and their refusal to see any other point of view than his.

Sheikh Abdullah started his political career in 1931 as one of the two protagonists of Muslim Conference, an unabashed self-professed communal body. Later he fell out with the other protagonist Ch. Ghulam Abbas and set up his own outfit National Conference. As Ghulam Abbas managed to get close to Jinnah and Muslim League, Sheikh Abdullah approached Pundit Nehru for support. This he received in ample measure and soon he found himself a leading luminary in Congress firmament and President of All India States’ Peoples Conference.

While paying lip service to Congress ideals, Abdullah never forgot his original aim and ambition: absolute control over the state. With the power and prestige of Congress behind him, he started resorting to coercion and bullying against those who disagreed with him, including dissident Muslim groups. Some residents of Srinagar were for years unable to visit other parts of the town for fear of harassment. A maulavi who favoured Muslim Conference was prevented from preaching at the mosque where he and his forefathers had preached for generations before. Hindus began to live in perpetual fear. During the so-called Quit Kashmir agitation in 1946, thousands-strong mobs would surround houses of respectable persons for hours together, terrorise inmates and hurl stones and filthy abuses not sparing women folk of the house. For this reason, he was arrested, prosecuted and sentenced to three years of imprisonment by the state administration.

This was the man backed to the hilt by Congress and its leaders right from the beginning. Nehru, Maulana Azad, Khan Abdul Gaffar Khan and others visited Kashmir and participated in deliberations and demonstrations of National Conference, which often culminated in violence. After Sheikh Abdullah’s arrest Pundit Nehru insisted on visiting Srinagar despite being told that his visit would be most undesirable in the prevailing circumstances. Nehru was detained in the Dak Bangalow at Muzaffarabad, provided all the facilities possible and the state arranged for his return to Delhi when he so decided. Indeed, after a meeting with Sardar Patel in Mumbai where Gandhi also was present, Pandit Kak facilitated Nehru’s visit to Srinagar in July 1946. Yet, it seems, Nehru never forgave Maharaja and Pandit Kak for his detention.

Against this background, it is not surprising that the decisive factor which influenced Pandit Kak in rejecting accession was the attitude of the Indian National Congress as regards the affairs of the state.

Radha Rajan points out that in the attitude of the Indian National Congress towards princely states, there was nothing peculiar to J&K. It is strange but true that Congress under Gandhi who reached out to the likes of Ali brothers, Muslim League, Jinnah and even Britishers nurtured undisguised hostility towards princely states and sought to undermine them on every conceivable occasion. J&K is the best example to show that this hostility has cost the country dearly.

The issue of accession came up again on the eve of independence when partition had been agreed upon and princely states, which were to regain sovereignty after the lapse of the British paramountcy, were advised to join either India or Pakistan.

J&K again found itself on the horns of a dilemma. It was Jinnah or Nehru-backed Abdullah. Lord Mountbatten told Pandit Kak “you must consider your geographical position, your political situation and composition of your population and then decide.” Pandit Kak rejoined “that means you advise us to accede to Pakistan. It is not possible for us to do that. And since that is so, we cannot accede to India.”

India was divided on communal lines and the only rational course of action for any state before deciding on accession was to ascertain whether its people would support the accession. And with 76 per cent Muslim population, J&K could not be sure of the support of its people if it acceded to India. Accession to India was also hobbled by Congress’s infatuation with Sheikh Abdullah. Sheikh Abdullah was in prison at the time of independence. Top Congress leaders were insisting not merely that he be released forthwith, but also that a new constitution be drafted for the state with their advice and power transferred to Sheikh Abdullah. Accession to Pakistan was ruled out because Pandit Kak had no illusions about the nature of Islamic state that was coming up. In other words, Kashmir would not accede to Pakistan and could not accede to India.

Pandit Kak met Jinnah who advised him to join Pakistan and offered favourable terms. However, when Jinnah was told that J&K’s decision not to accede was final, he said so long as the state did not accede to India he would not mind if it did not accede to Pakistan. Of course, he had no intention of honouring this assurance. Less than ten weeks after its formation, Pakistan invaded J&K.

From Government of India side, V. P. Menon, secretary, Ministry of States, had a lengthy discussion with Pandit Kak in Delhi and it was decided that Menon would pay a visit to Srinagar after 15 August 1947 to discuss the future course of action. Pandit Kak, therefore, resolved that under the given circumstances, it would be ideal for all stakeholders if J&K became an independent state, maintaining good relations with India and Pakistan.

Maharaja Hari Singh came to the same conclusion, though for more grandiose, if irrational, reasons. He was dreaming not just of remaining independent, but also of ruling over a larger territory. Fuelling his ambitions was Swami Sant Dev, part of the assortment of swamis, gurus, astrologers and others claiming direct communion with the supernatural collected by Maharaja Hari Singh’s uncle and predecessor Maharaja Pratap Singh. Such was the influence acquired by the Swami on Maharaja that even Pundit Nehru paid him a visit when he came to Kashmir in 1946.

For all his supposed spirituality, the Swami did not neglect the mundane. He was keen to earn jobs, contracts and other favours for his large but non-descript followers and constantly made suggestions to the administration on behalf of his cronies. On most of the occasions, Pandit Kak found it hard to oblige him. The enraged Swami started looking for an opportunity to get rid of the “obstinate” prime minister.

The opportunity came when accession became a live issue. The Maharaja was convinced that after the departure of the British, with the potency of Swami’s supernatural powers, he would be able to extend his rule to new areas. In June 1947, he met with rulers of some adjoining princely states and planned a federation of J&K and some areas now in Himachal Pradesh. When Maharaja Hari Singh sought Pandit Kak’s opinion about his plan, the latter explained to him that it was a futile and impracticable idea; it was utterly unrealistic to imagine that forces which had compelled the British to leave India would allow the creation of a new empire in their midst.

Neither Maharaja nor Swami forgave Pandit Kak for this candid advice, the cold douche he administered to their towering aspirations. Machinations started to remove him from the office. Matters reached Sardar Patel who asked Pandit Kak to convey to the Maharaja that in those crucial days it was essential that the Maharaja and his Prime Minister pulled together, and if that was not possible the situation must be brought to an end immediately. In other words, Maharaja Hari Singh had to choose between swami and Kak. Inevitably, he chose the Swami.

From that point, it was a downhill journey. On 11 August 1947, Maharaja gave Pandit Kak “permission to retire.” It was followed by decapitation of the entire administration. Top officers including Chief Secretary, Chief of the Army Staff, the IGP, Governor of Kashmir, Director of Civil Supplies, the Chief Engineer and several other important officers were removed and replaced by people of little or no experience. Sheikh Abdullah was released in September and lost no time in spreading his tentacles. These developments disheartened and alarmed the citizenry. The result was that when Pakistan attacked the state around 22nd October, it was in no position to counter it. Its helplessness was aggravated by perfidy of the British officers and treachery of the Muslim soldiery.

Pandit Kak had to pay a heavy personal price for his love of truth and candour. Charges of trumpery were forged against him and he was denied permission to leave the state even though he feared for his safety. This enabled Sheikh Abdullah to have his revenge when he paraded Kak and his elder brother through the streets of Srinagar with their hands tied and residents asked to shower shit and filth on them. Kak was pressured to give statement against Maharaja Hari Singh rule. But he did not utter a single word against the Maharaja. Kak later migrated to Kasauli.

The Hindustan Times

With the benefit of hindsight, we can say that Pandit Kak’s idea of an independent state of J&K was not viable. Pakistan would not let it remain in peace. Given its location, onset of the Cold War and China’s ambitions, it would have been a hotbed of international intrigues and a constant source of anxiety to India.

Ideally, J&K should have been fully integrated into India, just like hundreds of other states, small and big. What we now have is a halfway house, an arrangement in which India has the worst of both the worlds. For all nationalist objectives, J&K is an alien state—the steadfast refusal of Sunni Kashmiri politicians to the return of Kashmiri Pundits, establishment of sainik colonies or even temporary facilities for Amarnath pilgrims should clinch the issue. However, India has all the obligations regarding its security and solvency.

Pandit Kak’s document tells us how we could have avoided landing in this position of no rights and all responsibilities. India could and should have insisted that accession of J&K to India would be on the same terms as that of any other state. There was no insurmountable reason why it should be on a different basis. There was no need for India either to accept Mountbatten’s suggestion to make accession conditional upon a plebiscite or transfer power to Sheikh Abdullah or agree to a separate constituent assembly for the state. The Indian army was fighting the state’s battle and the simplest thing was to set up a military administration as was done subsequently in Hyderabad. By the time the military operations ended, a lot of things would have become clear. Then again, there was no need to allow Sheikh Abdullah to oust Maharaja Hari Singh and elect a new Head of State when the issue was being debated in the UN Security Council.

The failure of the Indian state to find a solution to the J&K dispute is rooted in its refusal to face the facts. The two-nation theory was false and pernicious, but after conceding Pakistan Congress lost moral right to oppose it. The country was divided on communal lines and the logic of partition has to be accepted. The existence of a large Muslim population in India does not alter the reality that after the secession of the Muslim component, what remained was and is Hindu Rashtra.

How could India expect to retain the valley of Kashmir with a 95 per cent Muslim population contiguous to the entirely Muslim province of NWFP? Replying to this poser in 1950 by Gordon Walker, then secretary of state for commonwealth relations, Pandit Kak pointed out that it was wrong to assume that the status of the valley affects only its residents and therefore they alone could decide its future. From time immemorial, Kashmir has been cradle to a vital corpus of Hindu thought and rituals. For that reason all the Hindus in India and beyond have a stake in the fate of Kashmir. Kashmir has always been a part of the Hindu Holy Land (punyabhoomi) and the question of handing it over to those who are hell-bent on destroying its Hindu ethos does not arise.

To sum up, reading this book would be a sobering, painful experience for any patriotic Indian. It narrates a sordid tale of historical vicissitudes and human weaknesses from which no player emerges unscathed. But truth, however unpalatable, must be faced. For truth alone liberates from bondage of fear, from folly and its consequences. That is the significance of Radha Rajan’s book.

»  Punarvasu Parekh is an independent journalist in Mumbai.
» Radha Rajan is a political commentator and animal rights activist in Chennai. Pandit Kak’s original document (PDF) is available on Radha Rajan’s website Vigil Online.

Jammu and Kashmir: Dilemma of accession: A historical analysis and lesson by Radha Rajan and Krishen Kak

       Published by Voice of India, New Delhi.  Pages 140, Maps 2, Price Rs 300 

Order from Voice of India or Amazon

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Congress attempts to takeover Kamakhya Temple – Jayant Chowdhury

Kamakhya Temple, Nilachal Hills, Assam

Journalist“This is a shameless attempt by the Tarun Gogoi government to run the temple through its chosen agents. The government has no business to run a temple or any place of worship, be it a mosque, church, gurdwara or synagogue. The Kamakhya Temple is being run perfectly well and the Tarun Gogoi government was trying to subvert last year’s Supreme Court verdict restoring the task of running the temple to the Dolois, as has been the age-old practice. We will strongly oppose any attempt by this government to resuscitate the bill,” said BJP leader Himanta Biswa Sarma. – Jayant Chowdhury

Tarun GogoiAn attempt by the Tarun Gogoi-led Congress government in Assam to take over the management of the ancient Kamakhya temple has been nixed, albeit temporarily.

The state government had introduced a bill (the Assam Sri Sri Maa Kamakhya Devalaya Management Bill, 2015) in the state assembly on Monday that would have led to the creation of a board, headed by a serving or retired IAS officer and comprising members nominated by the government, representatives from the temple management, and the district administration as well as the state revenue and finance departments, to look after the management and development of the temple.

After Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) members objected to the bill, the government withdrew it temporarily.

But to fully understand the sinister motive behind the Congress government’s attempt to take over the Kamakhya Temple, it is important to delve a bit into its history. The management and administration of the Kamakhya Temple, one of the most powerful Shakti peeths and an important religious site for Hindus, has been under two ‘Dolois’ who are elected by the ‘Bardeuris’ or priests of the principal Kamakhya Temple, since the time of the Ahom kings.

These Bardeuris are descendants of the famous Kanyakubja Brahmins of Kannauj and were brought over to run the Kamakhya temple by Maharaja Dharmapala of the Pal dynasty in mid-11th century. There are four clans of Bardeuris and each adult male of the four clans (there are around 450 of them) can stand for election to the post of the two Dolois .

The person getting the highest number of votes becomes the ‘Dangor Doloi’ and the one getting the second-highest votes become the ‘Xoru Doloi’ (‘Dangor’ means ‘elder’ in Assamese, and ‘Xoru’ is ‘younger’). The two Dolois have five-year tenures.

In 1992, Jnananda Prasad Sarma and Paran Chandra Sarma were elected as the ‘Dangor’ and ‘Xoru’ Dolois respectively. But when their terms were about to end in 1997, they constituted the Kamakhya Debutter Board to run the temple. Over time, this Board came to be packed with priests and pandas loyal to the Congress, which has been in power for most of the time in Assam since Independence.

The Kamakhya Bardeuri Samaj filed a case against the Debutter Board at the Gauhati High Court in 1998 and the High Court, in November 2011, ruled that the Board had no locus standi and the affairs of the temple should be handed over to the Bardeuris. But the Board challenged this verdict in the Supreme Court which, on July 7, 2015 upheld the High Court verdict. This was a big blow to the Congress government in Assam, which could no longer remote-control the affairs of the temple through the Debutter Board that was packed with its loyalists and lackeys.

Kamakhya DeviBut the state government did not honour a vital part of the SC order. “The Supreme Court had asked the district authorities to seize the premises, accounts and properties of the Kamakhya Devalaya from the Debutter Board and hand them over to the Bardeuri Samaj. But even six months after that order, we haven’t got the accounts of the temple and most of the properties. So we filed a contempt petition in the Supreme Court last month,” said Bhaskar Sarma, the secretary of the Kamakhya Bardeuri Samaj.

The bill brought by the Tarun Gogoi government is, thus, a sinister attempt to subvert the Supreme Court order and take over the management of the temple. On getting to know of the state government’s plans to introduce the bill, members of the Bardeuri Samaj launched an indefinite hunger strike from January 30.

The state’s move attracted criticism and widespread condemnation from intellectuals and cultural personas of the state as well as the powerful All Assam Students’ Union and the opposition BJP and the AGP. When the bill was tabled, Opposition members questioned the motive behind the bill, especially since the Kamahya Temple was being run perfectly well by the two Dolois and the Bardeuri Samaj. They also said the age-old traditions of the historic shrine should not be interfered with, and pointed out that the Bardeuri Samaj had not been consulted. Facing flak within and outside the Assembly, the government kept the bill in abeyance. However, it has not dropped the bill and chances are that it would try again to introduce and pass the bill.

The Opposition, while questioning the Congress government’s motives, has also pointed out that governments have no business managing the affairs of religious places. “This is a shameless attempt by the Tarun Gogoi government to run the temple through its chosen agents. The government has no business to run a temple or any place of worship, be it a mosque, church, gurdwara or synagogue. The Kamakhya Temple is being run perfectly well and the Tarun Gogoi government was trying to subvert last year’s Supreme Court verdict restoring the task of running the temple to the Dolois, as has been the age-old practice. We will strongly oppose any attempt by this government to resuscitate the bill,” said BJP leader Himanta Biswa Sarma.

AGP leaders also spoke in the same vein and wondered why the Tarun Gogoi government is targeting the Kamakhya Temple. “In that case, the government should take over the management of all mosques and churches in the state. Can Tarun Gogoi dare do that?” wondered a senior AGP leader.

In Assam, a wide cross-section of the citizenry are dismayed by the Congress government’s attempts to interfere in the management of a Hindu place of worship and are asking if Tarun Gogoi can even think of taking over the management of any mosque or church in the state. – Swarajya, 4 February 2016

» Jayant Chowdhury is a commentator on politics and society in Bengal and eastern, including north-eastern, India.

Sonia Gandhi & Tarun Gogoi

Why do so many Indians demean India? – Minhaz Merchant

Minhaz Merchant“The BJP behaves as if it is in office, but not in power. The more accommodative it tries to be with the Congress, TMC, JD(U) and the Left, the more aggressive the Opposition becomes. … The Congress is out of power but the ecosystem it has created over decades enables it to punch above its weight. The talent deficit in the Modi government exacerbates matters. Apart from eight to ten ministers and a few dozen MPs (out of 281) in the Lok Sabha, the BJP lacks intellectual breadth.” – Minhaz Merchant

Shashi TharoorIn an extraordinarily misconceived video comment for The Guardian last week, Shashi Tharoor, a Congress MP, said: “The impression has gained ground that India is now governed by obtrusive and intolerant forces determined to put minorities, rationalists and liberals in their place, somewhere not far from the dustbin.” Narendra Modi’s war on pluralism is destroying India’s reputation, The Guardian interpreted Tharoor as saying.

It is difficult to think of a more concentrated piece of incendiary nonsense in a 2.42 minute video comment.

The corrupt Lutyens’ ecosystem meanwhile roared with delight. India was getting a good, little bashing. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, that arriviste, was being shown his place.

Why do so many Indians so often demean India?

V. S. Naipaul put his finger on it when he said India remains a wounded civilisation. Hinduism has been in retreat for centuries—first through internal caste divisions, then Islamic invasions, and finally colonial occupation.

The anti-Indian rantings of Arundhati Roy should not be taken seriously. Every country has its share of dissenters and critics, many with outlandish and (as in Roy’s case) subversive ideas. In a democracy they should be welcome. Such views need sunlight: they will then be disinfected. Democracy is a great leveller in the fullness of time.

In India, though, the enemy lies within.

Jairam Ramesh, a former Union minister, speaking on carbon emissions, said this three days before the climate change summit in Paris earlier this month: “Unfortunately, India’s style has been very confrontational, very argumentative. It is a Krishna Menon style, it is a moralistic style. I think the world does not like that. As far as Africa and the Small Island States are concerned, we are part of the problem. So India must be less moralistic, less argumentative, less confrontational and more in an engagement mode.”

Maneka Gandhi Maneka Gandhi, Union minister for women and child development, told a television channel just as India was battling to get a fair deal for the developing world at the climate change summit: “Historically (the fact that) the polluters have been the West doesn’t absolve India from the fact that it is today one of the major polluters. It is a question of putting the blame always … the West did it. They may have done it hundred years ago. India is one of the main players destroying the climate. We, China and Brazil are the largest producers of methane. Coal, animals and rice, these are the three reasons for methane and methane is 26 per cent more powerful than carbon dioxide in creating climate change.”

What do these two ministers, past and present, have in common? They compromise India’s interests at crucial times and play into the West’s hands.

It gets worse.

Last month in Pakistan, former Union ministers Mani Shankar Aiyar and Salman Khurshid made public remarks that were perverse in intent. Aiyar told a Pakistani television talk show host: “First, you need to remove Modi … otherwise the talks will not move forward.”

Khurshid at a conference in the Jinnah Institute in Islamabad said: “If you look back at the first face-to-face between our PMs, your PM took a brave, far-sighted decision. What we said and did made things uncomfortable for Pakistan after the visit. If there has been a leader of democratic Pakistan who wanted peace with India, it is (Nawaz Sharif who) was the first non-military (Pakistani) leader to try for peace.”

Subramanian Swamy & Rajiv GandhiWhat went wrong

In a recent interview with Swarajya magazine, five-time MP Dr Subramanian Swamy recalled his close friendship with former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi: “I thought well of Rajiv. He was a great patriot, I thought he would make a great prime minister if he came back for the second time around, and I supported him. Openly, on the floor of Parliament (I said) he didn’t get the Bofors money, (Ottavio) Quattrocchi (Sonia Gandhi’s close friend) got it, and these were proved quite later, too late.

“(When) I had a ministerial rank position in (Narasimha Rao’s) government, as the chairman of a commission (Sonia) used to meet me once a week for tea. She, in fact, told me, ‘I’m more Sicilian than an Indian.’ I said, ‘Why do you say that?’ She said, ‘Indians like to be kicked.’ That’s what she told me. ‘Whereas you are a ruthless person,’ she told me.”

This conversation can’t be independently verified and remains Dr Swamy’s version. Pertinently though, no one has ever sued Dr Swamy for defamation despite the several serious allegations of corruption he has levelled against, especially, the Gandhis.

In contrast, the BJP (apart from Prime Minister Narendra Modi) remains resolutely respectful of the Gandhis. In return, it periodically gets kicked in the teeth. The body language of several BJP ministers and MPs is deferential—in Parliament, in TV studios, and in public.

The sight of parliamentary affairs minister Venkaiah Naidu pleading with a handful of Opposition MPs tells multiple stories. The BJP behaves as if it is in office, but not in power. The more accommodative it Venkaiah Naidutries to be with the Congress, TMC, JD(U) and the Left, the more aggressive the Opposition becomes.

The Congress and its handmaidens—AAP, RJD, JD(U), the Left, TMC and National Conference—meanwhile swagger their way through Parliament, TV debates, media interviews and public functions. The Congress is out of power but the ecosystem it has created over decades enables it to punch above its weight. The talent deficit in the Modi government exacerbates matters. Apart from eight to ten ministers and a few dozen MPs (out of 281) in the Lok Sabha, the BJP lacks intellectual breadth.

Modi has begun to turn the economy around, reboot foreign policy and reform infrastructure financing among many other achievements. But the positive message is hijacked by an Opposition well versed, as embattled finance minister Jaitley observed, in Gobblesian propaganda. The BJP’s Delhi unit has been ineffective for years. It is time talented and honest administrators are brought into the party’s Delhi unit or its 67-3 rout in the February 2015 Assembly elections will not be the last.

The Congress behaves like a colonial master, the BJP, despite attempts at retaliation, like a deferential subject in a colony where it has the majority but not the wit to enforce its will. While Modi has his hands full cleaning up the detritus left behind by the scam-tainted, policy-paralysed ten-year regime of the UPA, he must now turn his attention to bridging the talent deficit in the government. He also needs to change the over-deferential psychological mindset of the BJP.

That doesn’t mean emulating the Congress’ empty swagger but being clinically assertive. “Playing nice” will not work with colonial-clone bullies. As with all bullies, aggression conceals cowardice. There’s only one way to deal with that: stand up to it.

Sonia & Rahul GandhiPostscript to National Herald case

Associated Journals Ltd (AJL) announced through advertisements in newspapers last week that an extraordinary general meeting (EGM) of its shareholders would be held in Lucknow on January 21, 2016. The aim: to seek approval to convert the AJL into a section 8 company under the Companies Act 2013 (equivalent to a section 25 company under the old Companies Act, 1956) and change its name.

The notice, clearly sparked by recent court events in the National Herald case, says: “The board of the company has been considering for more than four years that the company should not be commercially motivated with a view to distribute any benefits or dividends to its members. It should, instead, operate and undertake its activities for the larger public good. As such, the board has decided to take necessary steps to convert the company into a non-for-profit section 8 company under the Companies Act, 2013.”

A close reading of the Companies Act, 2013, Business Standard reported, reveals that under sub-section (9) of section 8, “If on the winding up or dissolution of a company registered under this section, there remains, after the satisfaction of its debts and liabilities, any assets, they may be transferred to another company registered under this section and having similar objects, subject to such conditions as the tribunal may impose, or may be sold and proceeds thereof credited to the Rehabilitation and Insolvency Fund formed under section 269.”

As Business Standard correctly pointed out: “This means that the assets, after meeting debts and liabilities, could be transferred to another section 8 company. The assets could also be sold and the proceeds credited to the government’s Rehabilitation and Insolvency Fund. A section 8 company could also be converted into a regular company after meeting some prescribed requirements under the companies law.”

This last critical fact significantly weakens the not-for-profit argument on which Sonia and Rahul Gandhi’s lawyers have based their defence against Dr Swamy’s complaint. – Daily O, 22 December 2015

Herald House Lucknow

Hatred for Narendra Modi by the Congress’ first family will intensify next year – Anirban Ganguly

Narendra Modi, Sonia Gandhi, Manmohan Singh and Sumitra Mahajan

Dr Anirban Ganguly“In the coming year, one will see this intense hatred for Narendra Modi that the Congress’ first family spews only get more accentuated. The family lives in a delusional world and believes that demonising and publicly berating Modi will ensure that their depleted and confused flock survives.” – Dr Anirban Ganguly

It is an interesting phenomenon that a particular political party and its sustaining dynasty continues to be irreconcilable to the fact that it has lost the people’s mandate and has been designated to live without the power that comes with it, at least for five years. The year 2015 has continuously seen the expressions of its irresponsible behaviour that stems from an inability to come to terms with political defeat.

The Congress, especially its leading family, always takes defeat personally and it is in its tradition—if one is to recall the treatment meted out to Chandrashekhar—to create ruckus and act as street toughs and bullies, targeting those who have been the causes of its defeat. It consigns governance, delivery, stability and commitment to parliamentary systems and traditions to the dungeon, and its sole obsession is to try and create legislative and political disruptions in the country.

Congress LogoFor a party that has been in power for so long, such a denigration of the democratic and parliamentary traditions is lamentable. The deeper reason for such a wild behaviour is the intense disdain for a leader who has risen through ceaseless struggle from a railway platform to the high office of the prime minister, despite the Congress’ first family trying to stymie that rise. In the coming year, one will see this intense hatred for Narendra Modi that the Congress’ first family spews only get more accentuated. The family lives in a delusional world and believes that demonising and publicly berating Modi will ensure that their depleted and confused flock survives.

Meanwhile, the fumbling designated prince of Congress will forever remain unprepared, running around badly enacting the role of India’s saviour. The intemperance in political behaviour and articulation from the group of 44 will increase, also because we have a prime minister who strictly adheres to democratic traditions and never allows his personal insult to come in the way of decision-making.

Modi’s approach to the states, his assiduously demonstrated faith in India’s federal structure, which the Congress’ first family has always worked to weaken by trampling upon regional leaders and sentiments, has brought about a stability and faith that such a tradition will eventually strike deeper roots in India. Despite intemperate outbursts from some maverick regional leaders against him, Modi continues with dignity and perseverance to respect diversities of opinion and does not allow that insult to influence or shake his deeply embedded faith in the federal as well as united destiny and goal of India.

Meanwhile, Communists will continue floundering, disintegrate and end up becoming lackeys of various political forces, both external and internal. While paid intellectuals and card-carrying ideologues will keep crying “intolerance” from time to time, especially on foreign soil during junkets, the rise of India as a civilisational state shall continue. That irreversible march has begun; trivialities cannot arrest it in the long run. – The New Indian Express, 27 December 2015

» Anirban Ganguly is Director, Dr Syama Prasad Mookerjee Research Foundation, New Delhi.

Sonia & Rahul

BJP’s mistakes benefit Rahul Gandhi – M. D. Nalapat

Prof M.D. Nalapat“Rahul Gandhi’s clear mission is to ensure that the Modi government fail to deliver results, and thereby come to grief in 2019. Rahul’s ally has been the BJP, a party that has systematically destroyed the goodwill won by Narendra Modi for it in 2014 by filling the government with the same faces of the defeated past, and by refusing to enforce accountability for the sins of the Manmohan Singh government.” – Prof M. D. Nalapat

Manmohan SinghMore than anything done by an opposition party, it is the errors committed by the ruling party that ensure a smooth trajectory for the former. The Congress Party ought to have changed its Prime Minister latest by 2011, when it was obvious to all except the coterie around Sonia Gandhi that Manmohan Singh was discredited across the country for his unwillingness or inability to run an effective and clean government. Had Rahul Gandhi been appointed as his replacement and done away with the old team of ministers, choosing instead fresh talent untainted by association with the past government, the Congress Party would have given a much tougher fight to the BJP than proved the case in May 2014.

Although Sonia Gandhi was the object of considerable public anger because of the perception that her party was indulgent towards the corrupt, such a dislike did not percolate downwards to her two children Rahul and Priyanka, both of whom remained popular. Indeed, in the 2009 Lok Sabha elections, it was the repeated presenting of Rahul and Priyanka on television during the campaign that ensured a promise of change, especially when compared to the 79-year old L. K. Advani, the BJP warhorse who was that party’s Prime Ministerial candidate. Had it been Narendra Modi instead, the BJP would have emerged as the single largest party in the Lok Sabha during the 2009 polls, although the Congress-led alliance may still have won enough seats to rule for the next five years.

Narendra ModiThe mistake—of continuity rather than change—committed by the Congress leadership was capitalized on by the BJP in 2013, when the party ensured that Narendra Modi would be its standard-bearer for the 2014 polls. The Congress Party had tried through the government it controlled to send Modi to prison on a miscellany of charges, but failed due to lack of evidence. Of course, this did not stop the then ruling party from conducting a trial by media of Modi throughout its decade in office, in the process giving him a boost because of the incessant focus of the Congress Party on Modi, especially after he won a third term in Gujarat in 2012 and established his hold among voters.

Narendra Modi swept to power promising transparency in governance as well as accountability. It was expected that the processes of government would be made more open to the public, as that is the best way of reducing corruption. However, as yet the Right to Information Act still suffers from several infirmities in its implementation, including the appointment of retired civil servants as Information Commissioners and even as Chief Information Commissioners (CIC), despite their bias in favour of secrecy. The present CIC, for example, seems more determined to conceal than to reveal the details of the functioning of government.

Sonia GandhiAcross the board, including in such fields as Education where greater autonomy is vital for innovation, controls that were put in place under Manmohan Singh have largely been continued and in some cases, expanded. Taxes have gone up despite commodity prices going down to very low levels. As a consequence, both the middle class as well as the business community have begun to distance themselves from the BJP-led government, thereby weakening the party as it prepares for the 2019 polls. And as for accountability, this seems to have been forgotten in the case of those who were running the central government during 2004-2014 to a barrage of criticism from the BJP about their corrupt activities. Not a single First Information Report has been filed against any ex-minister at the central level by the Modi government, and even the few cases instituted under Manmohan Singh (as for example against former Telecom Minister Dayanidhi Maran) seem to have lost steam. Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has himself been given a clean chit by the Modi government, thereby raising the question: was the BJP wrong in calling Manmohan Singh the fount of corruption? A few small fry at the state level from the previous regime have been targeted, mainly because of rivalry with BJP office-bearers in their respective states. Overall, the new government has given a free pass to its predecessor, and because of this, the Congress Party in particular has bounced back to life. If in 1978 it was the (ineffectual, almost comic) prosecution of Indira Gandhi that gave her back her popularity, this time around it has been the lack of action by the BJP that has ensured that the mist of corruption surrounding Congress President Sonia Gandhi and her party has largely cleared.

Subramanian SwamyIronically, it has been an individual who has not even been made a Member of Parliament by the BJP (much less a minister), who has managed to throw a dart at the Congress leadership. Subramanian Swamy filed his case against Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi and three others in 2012, when Manmohan Singh was Prime Minister. He joined the BJP only in 2013, and once in power, the party has done nothing to assist him in pursuing the case against the ruling family of the Congress Party. However, Rahul Gandhi has used the fact of Swamy being a BJP National Executive (a toothless body) member to allege that the party is behind his efforts at indicting him and his mother for the takeover of a company through moneys received from the Congress Party. The Modi government has adopted the position that both the UPA leadership as well as its own key people are spotless (the BJP rejected very substantive allegations against key individuals as baseless without offering any reason why such a clean chit was justified).

Narendra Modi vs Rahul GandhiHowever, rather than ensure Congress cooperation in the passing of legislation, such a policy has boosted the party, especially now that it is under the control of Rahul Gandhi, whose clear mission is to ensure that the Modi government fail to deliver results, and thereby come to grief in 2019. Rahul’s ally has been the BJP, a party that has systematically destroyed the goodwill won by Narendra Modi for it in 2014 by filling the government with the same faces of the defeated past, and by refusing to enforce accountability for the sins of the Manmohan Singh government. Candidate Modi missed the benefit of the mistakes made by the Congress Party from 2009 onwards. Now Rahul Gandji is getting the benefit of the mistakes made by the BJP in his campaign to ensure that Narendra Modi will have only a single term in office. – Pakistan Observer, 11 December 2015

» Prof M. D. Nalapat is Vice-Chair, Manipal Advanced Research Group, UNESCO Peace Chair & Professor of Geopolitics, Manipal University, Karnataka State, India.

Rahul declared himself British citizen on company document, says Dr Swamy – PNS

Subramanian Swamy

Rahul Gandhi aka BossAt a press conference in New Delhi, BJP leader Subramanian Swamy shared copies of the company’s annual returns, in which Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi’s identity is certified as British. – The Hindu

BJP leader Subramanian Swamy on Monday alleged that Rahul Gandhi had declared himself as a British citizen before the authorities in the United Kingdom (UK) and demanded that the Congress vice-president be stripped of his Indian citizenship, as well as his Lok Sabha membership.

Addressing the media, Swamy said he had written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi on November 12 about Rahul’s secret British citizenship and the details of his company in London. “There will be action. As per Article 9 of the Indian Constitution, an Indian citizen can’t hold the citizenship of any other country, and he will lose Indian citizenship automatically as and when he acquires another citizenship. I will also write to the Lok Sabha Speaker seeking expulsion of Rahul Gandhi from Parliament,” Swamy maintained.

“I am enclosing with this letter some authenticated documents regarding the registration in 2003 and dissolution in 2009 of a private limited company in the UK with an address located in London. The name of the company is Backops Limited and the director and secretary of this company was Rahul Gandhi [reference states NATIONALITY UNKNOWN].

“As you can see from the company’s annual returns, Rahul Gandhi has given his date of birth correctly but has declared himself to be a British national with an UK address,” said Swamy in his letter to Modi. Swami released a copy of the letter to the Prime Minister and a set of documents running into 13-pages, supporting his claims, to the media.

Rahul had 65 per cent shares in the company and his co-director Ulrik McKnight, a US citizen, had 35 per cent shares. McKnight is the son-in-law of former Union Minister Eduardo Faleiro.

Pictet & Cie Bank Headquarters, Geneva, Switzerland.Swamy also alleged that Rahul has an illegal undeclared account in Pictet Bank and was taken into custody on September 24, 2001 by US authorities at Logan Airport for carrying $1,60,000 in cash.

To questions on his future action, Swamy said he hopes the Government will take action on his complaint. “Why should I go to court? During the National Herald expose, the UPA was in power and so I went to court. Now it is our Government and it will take action,” he said.

In the documents produced by Swamy, Rahul had shown two London addresses in the company registry.  The first address in London was 2 Frognal Way, NW3 6XE. The other address was 51 Southgate Street, Winchester, SO23, 9EH.

Stung by Swamy’s revelations, after three hours, the Congress came out with the incorporation documents of Rahul’s till-date hidden British company Backops Limited. The document shows him as an Indian citizen.

Reacting to the Congress’ counter, Swamy tweeted that the Congress’ statement was “stupid”.  He said, the Congress statement says Rahul had stated in 2003 that he was an Indian citizen but why not in 2005, 2006 and 2009? He asked the Congress to show the entire records of the British company and who owns the house in Frognal area.

Congress HandCong rejects allegation as dirty tricks

Hitting back at Subramanian Swamy’s allegation that Rahul Gandhi was a British citizen, the Congress later came out with a detailed counter asserting its vice-president Rahul Gandhi has been an Indian citizen right from his birth and has never held the citizenship of any other country.

The Congress released the company’s incorporation document showing Rahul as an Indian citizen. However, the party did not come out with a clarification on the other documents of the company (from 2005 to 2009) where Rahul declared himself a British citizen.

In a one-page press release issued after a meeting, attended by Ahmed Patel and others at Rahul Gandhi’s residence at Tuglak Lane, the Congress termed the allegations as a “petty, mindless activity of the BJP and its dirty tricks department headed by Swamy” to save face after the humiliating Bihar election defeat.

“From the day he was born, Rahul Gandhi has held Indian citizenship and Indian passport and has never held citizenship of any other country nor has he represented as such. The allegation of Swamy is entirely false. The Certificate of Incorporation of the said company is enclosed and clearly mentions Rahul Gandhi as an Indian national.

“Rahul Gandhi has never held any account in Pictet Bank nor has he ever been questioned or detained at Logon Airport with undeclared cash. This is a complete falsehood that Swamy is in the habit of falsely repeating for decades for his malicious political motives and to gain cheap publicity,” said AICC’s chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala in a statement.

“Frustrated by their humiliating defeat in Bihar elections and internal revolt brewing amongst the senior-most leadership, the BJP’s dirty tricks department led by Subramanian Swamy is resorting to petty mindless mud-slinging. The sole purpose appears to be to divert attention from inner revolt and paralysis of policy and governance being questioned all around including the leadership of the Prime Minister Narendra Modi,” said the statement.

Earlier, shortly after Swamy’s Press conference Congress leader Ajay Maken had sought to dismiss the allegations as his publicity stunt. “Swamy is having the habit of mudslinging. He is now sidelined in the BJP. So he does all these type of activities to stay in limelight,” he said. – The Pioneer, 17 November 2015

Rahul GandhiSubramanian Swamy's letter to Narendra Modi (1) Subramanian Swamy's letter to Narendra Modi (2)

  • For the documentation attached to Dr Swamy’s letter, go to the VSH website HERE

See also

India’s ideological civil war – M. Vidyasagar

Prof M. Vidyasagar“I was born on September 29, 1947—just 45 days after Independence.  My entire life has been wasted by the pro-poverty agenda of the Congress Party (disguised as a “pro-poor” agenda).  Each time a potential saviour appears on the horizon, be it Jayaprakash Narayan in 1975, or the first NDA government in 1998, or now the Narendra Modi government, the dynasty strikes back with ever greater force.” – Prof  M. Vidyasagar

Narendra ModiIndia is at present undergoing a civil war.  This civil war is not being fought on a conventional battlefield, but in the battlefield of people’s minds.  The armaments used to fight this war are not conventional weapons, but rather, the weapons of disinformation.

On one side is the present government led by Narendra Modi and its well-wishers.  On the other side is a horde that is unwilling to accept the democratic verdict of the people of India, and/or unable to accept that a person starting his life in humble circumstances has risen to the position of Prime Minister.

By now it is clear that the dynastic Congress Party has systematically entrenched poverty as a permanent feature of the Indian landscape.  In order to perpetuate the poverty of Indians, the Congress party consciously imprisoned Indian citizens in a vast web of government rules and regulations, and perverted every institution in democratic India, including the judiciary and the media.

In order to legitimize its stranglehold on Indian society, the dynasty has also created a vast ecosystem consisting of “the poverty industry” in the form of NGOs whose survival demands that India remain a desperately poor country, or at the very least, is perceived to be so.  Thus, when the outcome of the 2014 election was not in favour of the dynasty, the Congress could summon up all of its foot soldiers in the judiciary, the media, and the most inappropriately named “civil society.”

What else can explain the daily dose of misinformation in the media?  For the past many months, we have had a plethora of accounts of “church attacks,” most of which were debunked as being either inside jobs or simple law and order problems.  The rape of a nun in West Bengal was instantly attributed to “militant Hindus emboldened by the election of Modi,” until it was discovered that the perpetrators were Bangladeshi Muslims.

Rahul GandhiJust a couple of days ago, we had one Misbah Quadri claiming that she was denied housing in an apartment complex merely because she was a Muslim.  Even the most inexperienced cub reporter would have gone to the housing complex in question and verified in person whether in fact the complex was “Muslim-free.”  But our journalists sitting in their air-conditioned offices were happy to enough to accept this victimhood narrative at face value and play it up for all it was worth.

A minor newspaper, Mid-Day in Mumbai, was apparently the only media agency to take the trouble of visiting the complex in question, to find that there are already Muslims living there (thus blowing Quadri’s story to smithereens), and unearthing the fact that Quadri was being evicted because she did not maintain her payments.

But the rest found it all too expedient to persist with their false narrative of Muslim persecution in “Modi’s India.”

Even as that particular hatchet job on the government blew up in the faces of its perpetrators, comes another one that IIT Madras “banned” a “student group” for “having criticized the Prime Minister.”  The Dean of Students at IITM has already stated that the group was provisionally de-recognized because it did not follow procedures, but none of that could be heard in the din.

By jumping into the fray at IITM merely to score some cheap points against the HRD Minister, opposition parties and the corrupted media are again showing that they do not care a whit for the welfare of Indian society, and that their sole interest is in regaining power by hook or crook.

The IITs are among our finest educational institutions, a stark contrast to JNU which is a cesspool of politics and mediocrity.  Over-politicization of the “student body” at any institution can have only one outcome: JNU-ization, if I might coin a phrase.  This is why I was adamantly opposed to the introduction of humanities departments in the IITs.  While in theory, these subjects are supposed to broaden the minds of the students, the reality is that such departments attract intellectually inferior minds for the most part.

Indian MediaLet us not remain under any illusion that the Quadri affair or the IITM affair will be the last.  As soon as one issue gets resolved, the media will throw up 10 others, like a hydra-headed monster for which it is a proxy.  This is why I call it a civil war.  Or perhaps one should borrow from Christian mythology and call it Armageddon, the final decisive battle between the forces of good and evil.

I was born on September 29, 1947—just 45 days after Independence.  My entire life has been wasted by the pro-poverty agenda of the Congress Party (disguised as a “pro-poor” agenda).  Each time a potential saviour appears on the horizon, be it Jayaprakash Narayan in 1975, or the first NDA government in 1998, or now the Narendra Modi government, the dynasty strikes back with ever greater force.

Each one of these prospective saviours has had a more difficult task compared to his predecessor, because the forces of evil get more and more entrenched after each victory.  For me, the present government offers the last hope that India would become a worthwhile country within my lifetime.  If we as a nation miss this opportunity to uproot the forces of evil once and for all, then I at least won’t be around for our next opportunity, assuming that it will come at all.

There is only one glimmer of hope on the horizon. Until now, the corrupt media has had a monopoly on information dissemination, and could thus control the narrative.  With the rise of social media, that monopoly has been broken.  But the breaking of the monopoly does NOT, by itself, weaken the hold that the corrupt media has on our collective fortunes.  The rest of us must seize that opening and provide a fully competitive alternative to the distorted, anti-national garbage that is constantly being put out by the media.  We cannot afford to be complacent, nor can we afford to underestimate the magnitude of the task at hand.

To repeat: India is in a civil war.  As Lord Krishna told Arjuna: “Yuddhaaya krita nischayah.” You must fight with full vigour. – Swarajya, 30 May 2015

» Prof Mathukumalli Vidyasagar is a leading control theorist and a Fellow of the Royal Society. He is currently the Cecil & Ida Green (II) Professor of Systems Biology Science at the University of Texas at Dallas.

Rahul Gandhi