Insightful newsletter of Drishtikone: Issue #172 - The New Rowlatt

Photo by Marija Zaric on Unsplash

“Painting is not made to decorate apartments. It's an offensive and defensive weapon against the enemy. (about Guernica).”― Pablo Picasso


Karwa Chauth celebrations were seen everywhere. Let us look at this celebration a bit more deeply.

Whenever anyone has broken the boundaries that come with the limitations of mind and body, what s/he does is in the realm of miracles for the normal people who are defined by those limitations.  When Roger Bannister ran the under 4 minute mile for the first time, defying his mind and body, it was a miracle.  A miracle soon to be emulated by many.  When Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay scaled Everest, that was a miracle.

Where others broke down, where others gave in to their desires and even the body’s needs, many men and women didn’t.  And in those moments of defying their mind and body’s limitations, they prevailed over what others termed as impossible odds.  That is the power of “going beyond”.  Going beyond your mind and body.  You do not become God or start doing miracles.  You simply do things that people often term work of the divine.

In the lives of ordinary people, Love holds that key where ordinary people sometimes do things that would even surprise them, if they weren’t in love.  When in love, those who can’t live without eating can suddenly forget eating.  Such is the power of love.

The concept of Karwa Chauth and the legend of a wife who is committed and loving and who goes without eating or drinking the whole day stopping Death or Yama from touching her husband comes from that realization.  It is not that when a woman fasts, she will ensure the long life of her husband.  It is not an insurance.  Nor is it some kind of “I do the fast, you get the life” kind of transference.  In fact, it has nothing to do with the husband or death.  It has to do with love.

In times of marriages before dating and live-ins, the couples came together in a union far deeper than just physical and compatibility of habits.  How the toilet seat will be kept wasn’t a deal-breaker!  In the lives of couples where love manifested deeper than physical, it wasn’t uncommon for both to depart close to each other.  One died and the other just withered away and died within days, weeks, or a few months.  It was almost as if the life sustenance was gone.  When the very life energies were so tightly bound, for one person to go beyond his or her limitation and shed the limitation of body and mind meant enhancing the life energies of the union itself.  Ask in your family and you will see examples of couples just a generation or two ago, who were so close that one’s death brought the other person’s death too within days.

If – which is important – if a person, a wife (or a husband) – in this case – touched the level which lies beyond the realm of limitation one touched the Divine.  In that experience and state, one could do whatever one wished with one’s life energies.  Even defy death.  For couples so close that their very life energies were intertwined, that meant one taking charge of the whole union!


NOTE: Due to unplanned personal work, we were not able to send the newsletter for the last two days.


US elections - tally comes closer and chaos likely to increase

As the 2020 election gets close to a final tally, it is clear that behind-the-scenes actions may get pronounced. As of now, Joe Biden is just 6 electoral votes away from his presidency.

If Biden indeed wins Nevada as is projected and Trump wins Georgia, North Carolina, and Pennsylvania as is expected, then we are looking at Joe Biden getting just 270 and Donald Trump getting 264.

For Indians and Hindus, specifically in the US, a Biden presidency will a disaster that can set us back many decades. There is absolutely no doubt that the Democratic party of today, which encourages and backs politicians like Ilhan Omar, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and Rashida Tlaib who have consistently backed anti-Hindu hearings and sentiments. Calling out hate that is being unleashed by such politicians is neither being nationalistic nor have anything to do with backing any polity in India. It has to do with our survival here in the US.

That 5 cities in the US passed a resolution against India because the democrats wanted to teach Indians and those who back Modi a lesson based on a patently false narrative of the Citizenship Amendment Act is a testament to the length this “squad” can go to. They can unleash the most ridiculous actions like such asinine resolutions to push their hatred for Hindu-Americans. All while demonizing them.

Two things were significant in these elections.

Just there despite the gang-up: The entire mainstream media, social media platforms, and politicians had ganged up to ensure that any negative news against Joe Biden or his family was buried and any news about Donald Trump was accentuated along with the choicest of abuses and innuendos. Despite that. And despite the devastating Coronavirus impact on health, the number of deaths and the economy; made even worse in media by an ideological narrative, Joe Biden, if he wins, will only scrape through at exactly 270. That should give one a moment of pause.

Process issues: First up, the whole concept of electoral college stops every vote from being counted towards the final result. Second, the various options like ‘mail-in ballots’ only increase possibilities for fraud and inconsistencies. It has been 24 hours and the final counting has still not been done. The total voting population is not more than 250 million. The Indian elections work with a voters population of over 900 million. And, despite that, the results are completed within a few hours. If even with a fourth of the total count, the US cannot handle the most basic tasks of democracy, then there is a serious need for re-engineering.

The new Rowlatt: colonial dictatorship by goons

Nothing explains the situation in Maharashtra better than this one picture.

During World War I, the British wanted to silence every voice in India.  So, they passed a law in 1915 called the Defence of India Act (which was also known as the Defence of India Regulations Act).  It was an emergency law enacted to curb colonized Indians from speaking or expressing.

There was a similar British law as well - Defence of the Realm Acts - but that was for people who were part of a “hostile organization or group.”  The Indian law was to give unlimited powers of preventive detention, internment without trial, restriction of writing, speech, and movement against any individual.

This law was interestingly supported unanimously by the non-official members of the Viceroy’s Legislative Council.

British colonial masters wanted to use this law to silence the nationalists and protect against the “subversive nationalist violence.”

In 1919, the British Imperial Legislative Council passed the Rowlatt Act 1919 (March 18, 1919).  This act extended the rights that the British had during wartime indefinitely.

The main objective of the British rulers was to keep the Indians under their boots so they cannot speak.

British judge Sir Sidney Rowlatt was the president of a “sedition committee” appointed in 1919, which was created to handle “political terrorism in India.”  The law was named after the president of the sedition committee and called the Rowlatt Act.

The Act paved the way for complete control of the press, arrests without warrant, indefinite detention without trial, and juryless in-camera trials for proscribed political acts.

Arrest without a warrant and indefinite detention without trial.

What happened in the case of Sameer Thakkar’s (for calling Aditya Thackeray as Baby Penguin) and Arnab Goswami’s arrest was a repeat of what the British were doing in India with the Rowlatt Act.

Arrest anyone without papers or warrant for merely criticizing the government.

Treating the utter farce of re-opening of a closed case for what it is - a loud public fart by someone pretending that no one noticed the stink! - the action of arresting Arnab Goswami will go down in Maharashtra’s political history as akin to the ill-fated arrest of Indira Gandhi on October 3rd, 1977.

For once Charan Singh, the unflappable Chaudhury, was worried. He ordered the director of the CBI and one of the joint directors to proceed straight to Mrs Gandhi's house. They had told him that the plan was to take Mrs Gandhi to the Badkhal Lake guest house. "You have messed it up," shouted Charan Singh, "now clear up the mess." At 6.05 p.m. Mrs Gandhi came out to the verandah. "Where are the handcuffs" she said, "I am not going without handcuffs." There was uproar. The police politely informed her that she was not to be handcuffed. The wireless crackled again-"King five to Queen four". Charan Singh paced up and down the room keeping a minute by minute track of the drama. And the drama unfolding at 12 Willingdon Crescent was now rapidly turning into a burlesque. Maneka Gandhi's phone call to the Surya office had produced the desired result. Her assistant editor, Raghu Krishnan, had promptly called all possible members of the foreign media. The message intoned in a theatrically hushed tone was the same, "The CBI are at Mrs Gandhi's house."(Source)

That arrest of Indira Gandhi became the biggest blunder of the short and rather amateur Janata Party rule.

Unfortunately for Arnab, the foreign media is not jumping all over his case.  And nor are the media houses which have found their popularity dwindle due to Arnab’s juggernaut.

Just imagine for a moment - channels like India Today, AajTak, TimesNow and ABP have multiple “star” anchors who in terms of their past journalist legend-building are formidable.  You have Rahul Kanwal and Rajdeep Sardesai in India Today, for example.

In Republic TV, you have only one person who people know and remember as a career journalist.

This one guy has achieved in terms of viewership and eyeballs more than the combined strength of multiple star anchors with far more years in journalism that Republic and its team can boast of.

Arnab does not have to tell Rajdeep Sardesai and Rahul Kanwal that they are losers, they know it and live it every day!  Because even when they combine their star power, they cannot get anywhere close to the viewers that Arnab can do on his own.  And, it shows up in their numbers and ad revenues every day!

You see, the liberal gang would closely guard the newsrooms and talent that would enter the hallowed halls of print and media journalism in India.  Only people who would align with a certain ideology and agree to a certain code of conduct would be given entry.

Anyone else having a different viewpoint or perspective was branded as a deviant and thrown out.  That happened in politics, economics, history, education, and Universities.  

They had silenced every ‘deviant’.  The field was theirs as were the microphones and speakers.  No other voice had any chance.

Now, suddenly, others have gotten a way to voice their thoughts also.  Quite unexpectedly others - the deviants - can speak.  And, they are getting platforms.

And, voila, all of a sudden there is intolerance all over the place.

When everyone - of different voices - started speaking, we suddenly learned that we were in the midst of intolerance, and freedom of expression was at stake.

At stake was the monopoly that their voice had.

The problem was not that these journalistic relics did not have a voice anymore.  The problem was that others also had a voice!

Democracy of voices was drowning the ‘elegant monopoly’ of the leftist-Congress pontificating monotone!

Diversity was the basis of intolerance.

And in that new world of the diverse, democratic world where voices unheard, silenced, and shut off started speaking, these ‘guardians’ of public microphones lost their pedestal.

The gods of monopolistic monotones couldn’t fend for themselves in the arena of public consumption.

They had lost.

Monopolists of a gone era had bitten the dust in the diverse world of different voices.

Yes, it is a cacophony.  That ‘elegant monotone’ is not there.  But we are no longer living the farce of democracy anymore.  We represent the rainbow.

Deal with it.

That they can’t.  So, they side sneakily with a bunch of goons who had always lurked in dark shadows of alleys while Balasaheb’s sun shone on Mumbai.  As the sun set on the Western horizon, these vermins came out of the dark alleys and promised to provide the same action plan they had used to silence criminals on the strength of the sun.  The tools that they had used for criminals, were in the last few years being used to brandish around for just petty power.

The petty thieves of political dark alleys joined hands with the losers - the diminishing relics of archaic monopolistic journalism - and devised a plan.

The new Rowlatt of 2019.

Exactly a hundred years later, the new Rowlatt Act was being breathed back to life.

We are now ready for the Thackeray version of Jalianwala Bagh.  Rowlatt and Dyer redux.

nota bene

Domestic Airlines to operate at 60% capacity: The Indian government on Wednesday said that domestic airlines can operate 60 percent of their pre-Covid flights till February 24 next year, news agency PTI reported. The decision has been taken by the civil aviation ministry due to the prevailing Covid-19 situation in the country (Source)

China flaunts graphene clothing: China has shortlisted nearly two dozen private companies to supply advanced unmanned weaponry and graphene clothing to the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) regiments deployed along with the long high-altitude border areas with India, state media reports said. The PLA’s wish list includes “smart warm clothing made of graphene”, a revolutionary form of carbon, the discovery of which led physicists Andra Geim and Konstantine Novoselov to the Nobel Prize in Physics in 2010. The Chinese armed forces are also looking for advanced logistics support equipment like portable solar chargers, portable oxygenators, and a multifunctional dining vehicle. The rare, and surprisingly publicized, move is an indication that China is working towards fusing its military needs with the technology available in the civilian sector - an effort to leverage civilian service and logistical capabilities for military purposes amid the months-long border standoff with India in eastern Ladakh. (Source)

Probe against The Hindu: A probe has been initiated by the Income Tax Department against English daily, the Hindu in relation to alleged financial transactions between the newspaper and China. According to a report of Sputnik, a complaint was filed on October 2 by a Maharashtra-based pressure group called Legal Rights Observatory (LRO) addressed to the Home Ministry. The complaint sought an investigation into the financial transactions between China and The Hindu after the newspaper published a full-page advertisement from the Chinese Ēmbassy on October 1 marking the 71st anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China. It could only be interpreted as an Indian newspaper running Chinese state propaganda. (Source)

Normal Body Temperature is falling: An intriguing study from earlier this year found that normal body temperature is about 97.5 F in Americans – at least those in Palo Alto, California, where the researchers took hundreds of thousands of temperature readings. That meant that in the U.S., normal body temperature has been dropping over the past 150 years. People run cooler today than they did two centuries ago. The 98.6 F standard for “normal body temperature” was first established by the German physician Carl Wunderlich in 1867 after studying 25,000 people in Leipzig. But anecdotally, lower body temperatures in healthy adults have been widely reported. And a study in 2017 among 35,000 adults in the U.K. observed a lower average body temperature of 97.9 F. What might cause these subtle but important changes? One leading hypothesis is that thanks to improved hygiene, sanitation and medical treatment, people today experience fewer infections that would trigger higher body temperatures. (Source)

France closes Turkish group: France on Wednesday announced the disbandment of Turkish far-right, Islamist and neo-fascist group Grey Wolves for stoking hatred. The decision was taken by the French cabinet after a memorial center to mass killings of Armenians in World War I was smeared at the weekend with graffiti including the name of the Grey Wolves. The memorial was defaced with pro-Turkish slogans and inscriptions with the Grey Wolves’ name. (Source)

the truth of research studies - white-washing lies

Lies and prejudices have been peddled in social studies and research in India as facts. Dr. Sarita Seshagiri holds a doctorate in Political Science from the National University of Singapore, a Masters in Political Science from Jawaharlal Nehru University, and a Bachelor in History from Lady Sriram College, Delhi. After her doctorate, she joined some of the leading multinationals in mobile technology as a user experience researcher-ethnographer in their research divisions. She was until recently a visiting faculty at the International Institute of Information Technology, Bangalore. She has presented papers in leading conferences on human-computer interaction, user behavior, and social technology.

In this video, she shares the inconsistencies in field studies and analyses derived from qualitative methods.

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