Insightful newsletter of Drishtikone: Issue #256 - Choice in Bengal
Media is alarmed - Muslim vote is threatened. A vote based on religious identity - a communal vote - is threatened. Those who are scared of communal politics getting hurt fancy Secularism.
“There is more wisdom in your body than in your deepest philosophy.” ― Nietzsche, Friedrich, Thus Spoke Zarathustra
You may not realize it consciously but every breath you take is your choice. A choice is being made by your body to take the next breath or not. You may choose to imagine that breath just happens to you. But it doesn’t. It is your choice.
Why do you choose life in every breath?
Because life is aligned to the creative consciousness that underlies everything. Wanton and purposeless destruction is the way that is anti-existence.
Yet, so many walk the path of killing and destroying others for just one reason.
Their idea versus that of the other.
About things that neither has either seen or experienced.
That cannot be life enhancing.
Yet a democracy allows it. Just like this existence allows you to make the choice for the next breath.
But unlike your body, which chooses life, democracy allows groups and mindsets which hate democracy and equality of all to have an equal say to those who believe in the sanctity of democracy.
That is why a democracy’s death is embedded in its seed.
Unless you are a fanatically strong lover of democracy and disallow anyone who calls for its destruction in his private moments, you will die with democracy as well.
Oceans never kill people. Those who don’t know how to swim get killed. Those who know how to align with the waves, surf even 100 feet waves effortlessly.
Cannot thank Parthoji enough for his yet another generous contribution to Drishtikone. Very thankful to you sir. 🙏
The Stark Choices in Bengal
West Bengal, one of the largest Indian state, and once upon a time a leading state, is going in for state election later this month. The election will stretch through the entire month of April in 8 phases. The result will be declared on May 2nd. The state assembly has 294 seats in all.
The Bengal elections is not between parties. It never was. It was always between one violent and abusive party and another.
This time, since BJP, with PM Modi in charge is fighting, the election is between anarchy and violence on one hand and law and order on the other.
The reason for Election Commission to stagger the polls is the specter of violence that is imminent.
Indigenous firearms and bomb-making factories have come up in the last couple of years. From South 24 Parganas, North 24 Parganas, Malda, Murshidabad, to Medinipur and some other parts, the state is flush with firepower than can derail any country, forget a state.
“The prices of such pistols range from Rs 300 to Rs 8,000 depending upon the quality. A country-made pistol which is usually used by small-time political goons is priced between Rs 300 and Rs 1,000. The country-made bombs are priced as low as Rs 130 per piece and can go up to Rs 500 per piece depending upon the quality and quantity for which it is ordered. These crude bombs are usually made by locals who have been trained by firecracker-making factories. Those who are into this make these pistols and bombs in their own houses. These are made mostly in villages by groups of people who are trained in doing this job. Training for bomb-making and pistol-making is also prevalent in the state. For bombs, sharp nails, glass pieces, nuts and such other sharp objects are used to cause maximum damage. The gunpowder used in the bombs is procured from firecracker factories,” an Intelligence Bureau officer from Bengal told this newspaper. (Source)
Unprecedented armed forces - 17,000 men - will be deployed to save democracy, which is almost non-existent in Bengal now.
125 companies of Central forces (roughly 17,000 men) in the state which will include 60 companies of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), 30 companies of the Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB) and five companies each of the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) and the Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP). (Source)
Muslims constitute 30% of the total population in Bengal (Source). And, they are treated as a consistent vote bank by most parties who fancy calling themselves as “Secular.”
That is why everyone is interested in partnering with Pirzada Abbas Siddiqui’s Indian Secular Front (ISF). Some background on this organization.
Pirzada Abbas Siddiqui belongs Furfura Sharif, which is an Islamic shrine.
Ahead of the upcoming assembly elections in West Bengal, Pirzada Abbas Siddique, the founder of Furfura Sharif Ahale Sunnatul Jamat, launched a separate party - Indian Secular Front (ISF) in Kolkata on Thursday. (Source)
Basically this is the first step for the Islamic organizations to create their presence in the state. The controversial AIMIM Chief Asaduddin Owaisi met Pirzada and then he announced that he will contest under Siddiqui’s leadership.
As far as Muslim identity politics is concerned, the buzz in Bengal was about AIMIM’s high voltage entry in Bengal electoral politics after its success in Bihar. Just then, out of the blue, emerged Pirzada Siddiqui and his new outfit. AIMIM chief Asaduddin Owaisi visited Furfura Sharif in early January 2021, met Siddiqui, and then announced that they would contest the election in Bengal under Siddiqui’s leadership. Then on January 21, Siddiqui floated his own party. The TMC dubbed it as “vote-katua” and the BJP criticised it as a communal outfit. (Source)
So ISF formed an alliance with the Congress and the Left parties and launched their campaign with a rally on Sunday at the Brigade Parade Ground.
In a massive show of strength, the CPM-led Left Front, Congress and Muslim cleric Abbas Siddiqui’s Indian Secular Front (ISF) held a rally at Kolkata’s iconic Brigade Parade Ground on Sunday. It was the first time that a joint rally of this kind was held, which is likely to make an impact in West Bengal Assembly polls commencing from March 27. Highlight of the rally was the presence of Siddiqui, an influential cleric of the shrine of Furfura Sharif in Hooghly district. Following are the takeaways from the rally. (Source)
In the last general elections, the Left was left with nothing really as its Muslim votes went to TMC.
Now, those votes will come to this alliance with the Islamic partner.
Which means that TMC will lose a massive voter base.
This is communal politics. And, the media is not mad that such outright communal game is being played but that a new player will hurt this vote bank politics to show its complete effect.
How easy it is and how for granted everyone takes the consolidation of a “Muslim vote” and anything that may point to the Muslims not voting en masse becomes a “threat”.
Is that how politics should be conducted?
The problem with the truly secular forces who back social harmony like the readers is that we have given such vile media groups and these rabid communal political forces a pass.
We should not.
Their bigotry, their anti-democratic ways should be called out.
Their aim is not to govern the state for Bengalis as a population. But to represent the Muslims!
The Muslim vote.
Anything but Hindus.
It’s what their rhetoric underlines and expresses day in and day out. We are not consigning them to the dungeons of communal politics that they find themselves in. They have been working hard to get there themselves! Who are we to define them when they do such a great job themselves?
As if that isn’t bad enough. This consolidation of Muslim vote on communal lines by the Congress and Left is being directed towards a guy who is openly anti-Hindu. There is no pretense of Secularism even.
He uses his communal politics to create an atmosphere of hate and fear. Last year in November, he was saying to his followers: “If we do not come to power next time, they (Hindus) will rape our women in front of our eyes. Do you understand? You cannot do anything if you do not have power in your hands.”
Last year the same guy - who is the darling of Left parties and Congress was openly praying to Allah for Coronavirus to kill 500 million Indians!
That’s little less than twice the US population!
The cards are stacked clearly today.
A crazy fanatic Islamist bigot named Abbas Siddiqui. Wooed by the Left parties and the Congress as their savior. Why?
Because he can deliver - via communal divide - all the Muslim votes to their alliance.
Now, when the Muslims are being driven or pushed into one corner - the ISF-Left-Congress alliance, what do you think will be going through the minds of Hindus? Specifically given his vile Hindu-hatred.
To save themselves by keeping such despots away from any semblance of power! Who wouldn’t?
Since TMC itself is vying for the same vote-bank, the choice for Hindus is a default one. They really have no choice out there in real sense.
The only party that may not harm Hindus - although in the last many years it has not particularly saved Hindus from the hate killings of Islamists and Communists either - is BJP.
BJP is not a party in Bengal that will “save the Hindus”. But one that will “not kill the Hindus.”
That is the choice that Hindus in Bengal are left with. Vote for someone who will not commit a genocide of Hindus…. yet again in Bengal.
For, it was Bengal where the trigger for India’s partition was set off. With the Direct Action Day.
The choice for Hindus is bad but it is stark. Survival for now by going to BJP and ensuring the safety factor (for BJP has failed miserably in defending the Hindus in Bengal) for later.
Some of the Congress leaders realize the slipery slope that their party has taken by forming an alliance with ISF but are in no state to do much except vent out their feelings. And, it is exceptionally ironical because they have paved that slope for their party themselves over the years!
When you choose the sides, choose them carefully.
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Sreedharan as Kerala CM?: 'Metro Man' E Sreedharan, who formally joined Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in Malappuram on Thursday, has opened up on joining politics and the possibility of becoming the chief minister of Kerala. In a conversation with Aditi Tyagi, Sreedharan said that the reason he joined politics is because of the state Kerala is in right now. Kerala is drifting towards the "fortune of a death trap, financial bankruptcy, and such a high level of unemployment" therefore his "technical knowledge and experience" should be made available to the people of Kerala. (Source)
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video corner: Sir Ganga Ram
He had designed and built most of the iconic buildings in Lahore. Amongst them were - General Post Office, Lahore, Lahore Museum, Aitchison College, Mayo School of Arts (now the National College of Arts), Ganga Ram Hospital, Lahore 1921, Lady Mclagan Girls High School, the chemistry department of the Government College University, the Albert Victor wing of Mayo Hospital, Sir Ganga Ram High School (now Lahore College for Women), the Hailey College of Commerce (now Hailey College of Banking & Finance), Ravi Road House for the Disabled, the Ganga Ram Trust Building on "The Mall" and Lady Maynard Industrial School. He also constructed Model Town and Gulberg town, once the best localities of Lahore, the powerhouse at Renala Khurd as well as the railway track between Pathankot and Amritsar.
Delhi, even today, has a Sir Gangaram Hospital in Old Rajendra Nagar.
Let us know more about him.
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