Politics is probably one domain where non-performance can be rewarded with promotions. The distance between Bhopal, capital of MP, and Indore, the main commercial city of MP is just about 190Kms. In the ten years that he was CM of MP, Digivijay Singh, couldn’t get even a decent two-lane road between these two most important cities of MP built. This was a stage post-reforms when infrastructure had become a top priority in most parts of the country. The journey between the two cities then used to take anything from 6 to 7 hours. In neighbouring Gujarat you could cover the distance in 3 hours flat. I do not know the current status of that highway but the former CM of MP is now on the national stage for Congress charged with the task of invoking the fear of RSS and other Hindu organisations under the garb of ‘Saffron Terror’. Pushed out of the limelight by the Anna Hazare campaign DS finally comes with a blog equating corruption to Communalism. This time instead of rabble rousing in the TV media he has written a post on the Times website: Communalism is as dangerous as corruption. This time the rant is against the Internet warriors or should I say, Internet Hindus. So let’s try and understand his latest rant (quotes in blue). (Thanks to @KittuKrithika who sent in the feed)
If you were expecting him to be discussing both corruption and communalism in his article then you’re going to be disappointed. The word corruption appears only twice in the whole post. Corruption appears once in the title and then again in a repetition of the title towards the end. Such is the deception of the whole piece. Understandable, because not once in many years has DS ever spoken about the rampant corruption in and by the party he belongs to.
The internet technology has now gathered momentum and now made the virtual world, at times more powerful and overpowering than the real one. Obviously, politicians in India so far used to the cut and thrust and real world politics in India also can't ignore the opinion manipulating possibilities of the tools of virtual media. Read carefully what he says – “manipulating possibilities”! Millions of people on the net are out to manipulate opinion? That many views and opinions are circulated on the net are not really his problem it appears. The problem is that there is now alternative media for millions who have found their voice which is usually never heard in the mainstream. There is a mild admission that politicians have probably not managed to manipulate this virtual media as they have been able to do with the paid and servantile mainstream media. If indeed any media holds “manipulating” potential as DS states then the politicians would be the first one to use it to great effect. Unfortunately, he has yet to come to terms with the greater independence of the net.
An empowered middle class enjoying the fruits of economic liberalization has become extremely politically conscious which I feel is quite a healthy sign . But this new found political articulation is sometimes ill-tempered and in several cases extremely partisan and crosses the limits of decent public discourse. There are many great writers on the net. Many are far superior to our regular mainstream journalists. Where ill-temper is concerned there is little chance anyone on earth can use language more foul than some of our politicians. And what is wrong with being partisan? As a Congress member DS is not exactly the greatest symbol of bi-partisan discourse, is he? In all fairness the ones on the internet are actually far more bi-partisan and if there are extreme and unfair views or campaigns the internet users criticise those heavily too. DS may not believe how well self-regulated internet is.
I say this from personal experience. As, I have lately been on the receiving end of the abusive hate mail whenever I have expressed my forthright views on Right Wing Terror. In such situations, the articulate middle class has its right to dissent against the views of politicians, but should be tolerant enough to listen to the views that they may not agree to without being abusive. Forthright views are quite different from malicious campaigns. Calling a protester a ‘thug’ or calling a chief minister ‘maut ka saudagar’ are not exactly forthright views presented in a civil manner. Come to think of it, our politicians have moved a privilege motion against Kiran Bedi and Om Puri for mimicking them and ridiculing them. Even if the duo’s acts were in bad taste they weren’t half as vulgar as the language or actions that politicians employ. Yet, they cannot stomach such minor ridicule.
I have always felt fanatic religious or ethnic fundamentalism is the root cause of global terror. Irrespective of the religion they may profess, the perpetrators of this ideology of fanatic fundamentalism breed hatred and appropriate a self -righteous authority to impose their beliefs on others and then unleash violence against the non-believers. History is full of such examples. This is like Moses talking. It is anybody’s guess which religious groups have sought to impose their beliefs on others through swords and terrorism.
India is a country of tolerance……We can't allow the idea of "Vasudev Kutumbhakam" so closely identified with our history and our culture to be snatched away by these rabid fanatic fundamentalists whether they are Muslims or Hindus. Simply amazing! This is the first time I’ve heard DS using a Hindu phrase to recollect our history. I'd have thought he would have invoked 'Osamaji'! It is simply a tragic realisation for us Indians that we have gone a step too far beyond tolerance. We have gone to the extreme of tolerating the intolerant. That is the cause of so much churning in our society. Imagine, which democracy will tolerate a party that has institutionalised corruption and managed to alienate the majority community for most of the last 65 years. Which democracy will tolerate a foreigner holding the power strings? Which democracy will have PMs being imposed on them rather than through elections?
I have faced the ire equally of both rabid fanatic Hindus and Muslims when I went to Azamgarh and when I went to Barak Valley in Assam. They are the faces of the same coin. They feed on each other in a mutually sustainable way. Some times when I see that within minutes of my statement, even in some remote corner of the country against right wing terror, there is a flood of abusive comments against me. I have doubts on their authenticity. Are they sponsored? Have the perpetrators of hate and terror been able to organize themselves through cells/ groups that run these ‘virtual campaigns' through assumed identities to brow beat any one into silence who dares to expose their acts of violence? Really sweetheart? If I were the TOI I would have asked DS to put up 10 mails/letters from Hindu and Muslim people to support this frivolous statement. If there are any mails it would largely be from Hindus who have been targeted over and over again through DS’s foul comments. When DS stepped up after the 13/7 Mumbai blast and indicated Saffron hand in the blasts cannot be ruled out despite the govt’s position not to speculate, what was the authenticity or reason for such statements? What is the authenticity that dead men had spoken to DS? Sometimes it’s better to ask silly questions to one self rather than throwing them out in the open to unknown commoners.
But I would urge upon all those who believe in universal brotherhood who believe in liberal modern secular India to react with the same zeal against these communal fascists who through wireless technology …..To me communalism is as dangerous as corruption. We don’t have to look too far as we have in our neighborhood the example of almost a failed state of Pakistan….Let us get together and not allow the fascist communal fanatics to capture the mind and thoughts of the people of this great country through the use of the 'virtual world '. First, corruption is within your house DS! And that would be easier to confront than any other problem. Second, the more often you use the term ‘communal fascists’ for some net users it betrays your thorough lack of understanding of the power of the net or wireless technology. The net has all kinds, including the likes of DS. There are communalists, fascists, Nazis, islamists, mujahideens and believe me, even Congress fanatics.
The internet is not the greatest threat to this country. The greatest threat is pretty much the current state of Congress which is thoroughly soaked in corruption, nepotism, and communalism (Remember wikileaks?) Maybe DS should also read the article ‘Communal games of secular Congress’. No wonder the internet has rattled the mainstream media and now it has rattled saffron baiter Digivijay Singh himself. I thought I’d never see this day. Celebrate!