The Padma Awards Controversy

Where cronyism becomes the creed only the craven can be celebrated. The annual brouhaha over the Padma awards therefore never ceases to startle me. Such honours are always conferred even where they are not actually deserved. The truly deserving seldom seek awards and, in the distorted scheme of things in which we live, thus become disentitled to receive them. After all it is not honour which is being bestowed but patronage!

Acharya Kriplani had, in 1970, moved a non-official Bill for the abolition of these awards. According to the Bill the decorations were not always according to merit with the Government of the day not the best judge of the merit or eminence of the recipients and what was intended to be for a few exceptionally talented individuals was transformed into a torrent of conferrals.

Quite predictably the Kriplani’s Bill was defeated. The Padmas had to be conferred by politicians on themselves (Indira Gandhi), their teachers (Rajiv Gandhi), their doctors (Vajpayee & Manmohan Singh) or on prospective political allies (MGR and now Sharad Pawar) or those who shout the loudest (Saina Nehwal). Bharat Ratna Tendulkar is busy endorsing products and teams on television while Dhyan Chand (a national icon but of a less favoured sport) lies obscure and anonymous in his grave. Dubious antecedents are no bar to the grant or holding of these awards – being shady or above-board has nothing to do with qualities intrinsic to the individual in question and is only a question of perception. And a favourable perception of those who have to confer awards is all that is required for entitlement!

Interestingly, the Supreme Court of India while rejecting a petition against conferring of awards nevertheless observed that it is necessary to ensure that the “recipient are subjected to feelings of respect rather than suspicion” and that “the number of awards should not be so large as to dilute their value.” The Court “did not say more” because it had entrusted the job to a Committee of “high level functionaries” which was to keep in view the “anxieties” expressed by the Court.

Judgments are not meant to be homilies which is the reason the Court’s exhortation has been treated with utter disdain and contempt.

As the RTI activist Subhash Chandra Aggarwal said “when the Awards Committee choose about 100 names from thousands of nominations in just a few hours over two to three meetings, it seems likely that a pre-decided list is put before the committee for endorsement.” No ennobling exercise this, just a kick in the teeth of the deserving while giving short shrift to the “anxieties” which led the Court to constitute the Committee itself.

It is apparent from the manner in which the Padma awards have been granted that what was meant to be an honour has been reduced to a mere title which is specifically barred by Article 18 of the Constitution of India and the breach of the condition precedent for their retention as declared by the Supreme Court renders the very process of granting these honours void in law.

Considering its process and its selectees I feel the Padma Awards should be re-named Padma’s Wards!

J&K Assembly Ruckus – A DISGRACE!

Asked about the disrespect shown to the anthem by National Conference, Congress and Communist party of India-Marxist,  the NC MLA and Provincial President Devender Singh Rana said, “Please ask BJP people who became champions of nationalism. They created an environment of anarchy in the state. Ask PDP who created such an environment. They created such a situation”.

Disrespect of the National Anthem is a wrong in itself and condemnation of that wrong cannot be met by attacking a perceived disreputability of others, an approach which replaces logic with invective and eliminates any possibility of argument with sheer abuse. The disgrace with which Rana and the others covered themselves will not be any less merely because BJP and PDP “created the environment”. There was no compulsion to be part of that environment created by BJP & PDP!

But there is something far more sinister in this comment. The suggestion is “if you are nationalistic there will be anarchy”! I am not dealing in this blog with the informal fallacy of False Dilemma which ignores not only that there can be position between two extremes  (nationalism and anarchy) or even that the alternatives themselves (that is nationalism and anarchy) can be completely different. I am more horrified by the fact that in linking nationalism with anarchy the comment mischievously attacks the very existence of a shared identity and proceeds to assail the very continuation of national identity by suggesting that it will only lead to confusion, chaos and disorder!

This utterly disreputable comment is made worse because it was made to defend sloganeering when the National Anthem was being played and the Governor’s address to the legislature had to be cut short. The National Anthem is symbolic of the values of a pluralistic constitutional polity and provides self-identification of citizenry with norms having nothing to do with ethnicity or culture creating a civic bond, building civic empowerment and creating what Muller said was “a plausible and appealing style of political allegiance.” And the anthem was being rendered in the legislature which is a legal construct implicit in whose establishment is limitation of authority which is but an instance of the norm of checking abuse of power the disruption of which negates the very concept lawfulness which pits an organised orderly polity against anarchy. Nationalism did not cause anarchy. The anti-nations caused it.

The comment in fact goes beyond Kashmir and attempts to hollow India out. There is a pattern in the behaviour. First ethnic basis of nationalism is denied. Then cultural unity is made an outcaste. Liberal values are next assaulted. Multicultural tendencies are thereafter derided. And now nationalism is reduced to an epithet and made to share space with anarchy.

The utterly appalling nature of the comment is made worse by the complete shamelessness with which it is expressed. Nationalism does not lead to anarchy. Shamelessness does!

Saif, Taimur & Name-Calling!

In an Indian Defence Review Blog it was mentioned that Pakistan is working on an Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) named Taimur. India however has an Intercontinental Celebrity Baby Made (ICBM) in India with that name thanks to Saif! It is a sheer coincidence that Pakistani’s and Saif share the liking for that name. Pakistan chose it because of its visceral hostility towards India celebrating the Taimur’s invasion of Delhi and the brutal massacre which followed it. Saif however is the ultimate patriot – he has shown some Indians can do in India what Pakistan cannot from Pakistan!!

Then perhaps Saif chose the name because he is actually a Mongol. He wants to celebrate the Taimurian passion to restore and then expand the Mongolian Empire. It is a different matter that Ghengis Khan is credited with the largest contiguous Mongol Empire. The point Saif very intelligently notes is that Ghenghis’ military campaigns in India were not of the same ferocity for Saif’s son to proudly carry that name. Taimur is better! There is another reason; Ghengis was called “Great Khan” and Bollywood has too many great Khans to bother about that old chap!!

Or perhaps its got nothing to do with Mongols. In fact nothing at all to do with anyone. You see Saif, the eminent historian that he is, knows that in Taimur’s time everyone was fighting everyone else. Muslims fought Muslims too! Saif only likes the razing of cities and torturing and massacring of captives – the more cruel a person the better. And does Taimur not fit the bill. Come on the answer is an obvious YES!!

And are we not living in INTOLERANT times? The name should suit the times. Enough of secularism and tolerance – God its suffocating! The Sword of Islam is the answer. With whom is the Sword of Islam associated? Hehhehheh – Taimur!

Saif is just a loving parent choosing the best name for his son! No one from the Islamic Golden Age could be the right choice for him. Do you think we need to be bothered about Philosophy, Science, Mathematics or Art and Culture with whom have been associated very eminent Muslims? Not at all!

And now that Taimur is taken, Ghaznavi, Ghauri and Abdali remain as future choices. These are the names of the existing Pakistani missiles.

The supremely cultivated Rishi Kapur told everyone disapproving the choice to “shut the fuck up”! How will he respond to people like me who provide the justification for Saif’s choice?? 🙂

OMAR ABDULLAH- THE SCARLET PIMPERNEL OF KASHMIR

Omar Abdullah is the Scarlet Pimpernel of Kashmir. His real identity is secret. He assumes the role of Omar during the day but keeps the experience of his secret identity muffled as he addresses the people during the day. His harebrained, imbecilic and witless comments are but a disguise. He remains the ultimate Indian.

Omar, as Scarlet Pimpernel, knows former President of Pakistan Musharraf who admitted that Pakistan trained Lashkar-e-Taiba and other organizations to carry out terrorist attacks in Kashmir was in fact an Indian Agent. This is the reason why he is condemning the Indian Government.

Hafiz Syed who wants war against India “until liberation of Kashmir” is actually mole of the Indian Government. He may be ranting to frenzied crowd repeatedly shouting “Jihad” near Minar-e-Pakistan but India Gate is where his heart is. The Scarlet Pimpernel knows it and is dropping hints but Indians are too silly to take the hint.

Nagrota, Uri, Chursoon and Udhampur attacks were staged by the Indian Army! They are tired of fighting the Pakistanis all the time and are inventing new war-games to keep themselves occupied. How does the Indian Government condemn or warn Pakistan. One has to believe Scarlet Pimpernel.

Terrorists exchanged for hostages in the IC 814 hijacking and included Masood Ashar. Scarlet Omar knows Ashar was never released. The man who in a speech at Karachi vowed to liberate Kashmir from “Indian rule”and identified generally as Masood Ashar was not him but a body double created by RAW.

Pakistan has no interest in Kashmir. Its 22 Special Envoys only wanted a pleasurable excursion out of the country – sponsored by India. And Nawaz Sharif’s interest in Burhan Wani who sought Hafis Syed’s blessings for Jihad against India aside from the repeated references to the UN Resolutions on Kashmir was so acting because the Indian Intelligence had changed the script of the speech otherwise Indian envoys would have had nothing to respond to and their presence at the UN would have been seen as waste of public money.

And the exodus of Pandits from Kashmir is a lie only to defame the Kashmir. Jagmohan did it. He was the agent of the Central Government.

Omar Pimpernel knows Indians have got their heroes and villains mixed up. So he acts like a villain but he is actually the real hero. He has realised that patriotism is the last refuge of scoundrels. And Omar has no intention of being a scoundrel!

US Presidential Elections: American Dream & Indian Reality

Terror became a serious problem to warrant launching of “war” against it ( the term was used for the first time only in September 2001 by then US President George Bush) only when the Twin Towers in New York City were attacked. India had been a victim of terror for decades prior but had to fend against it alone.

Majoritarianism was so illiberal and anti-democratic that India was lectured about its vice but becomes a legitimate basis of the claim to undermine the legal process to elect the President of United States despite the system being consciously so devised by the framers of the American Constitution and there being four earlier instances of such an event happening.

Illiteracy and consequent improbability of a functional democracy was often used to pillory India’s democratic credentials but the elite and the educated do not control the electoral results even in the United States.

Tolerance was taught to India,  a society far more diverse and multicultural than the United States, but extreme intolerance to an outcome is being celebrated in a manner which will shame the most intolerant of societies.

Nostalgia for a hoary past was denounced as regressive in India but invocation of that nostalgia propelled a candidate to be the President of the country.

The frustrations towards a system which denied majority of Indians both voice and rights became a communal issue in India despite the American experience showing it is just a secular reaction of sapient and sentient population to problems of every day life the religion of those suffering an inane element having no relevance to the reaction.

India was mocked for its elitism and derided as a feudal set-up masquerading as democracy but it are the privileged and the elite who are mocking democracy in the United States.

The unity of India was made subject of ridicule. But see the deep divisions in the so-called cohesion of an apparently well-integrated society.

And viability of Indian institutions was often doubted but there has never been an instance when the results of a national election, no matter how unfavourable, were ever demurred to, or contested or disregarded in this country.

Its a no-contest between and American Dream and the Indian Reality!

Salman Khan & Pakistani artistes…

“Ideal situation should have been of peace. But now reaction to an action has happened. It was a proper action because they were terrorists. But in this day and age I think if we lived in peace and harmony it would have been better for everyone especially for the common people.” Thus spoke Salman Khan protesting banning of Pakistani artistes.

For Salman Khan the Uri attack and killing of 19 Indians was merely “an action” – a physical fact to which one can be indifferent and which can carry not attribute of right or wrong!  This is a flawed premise which cannot but doom the conclusion which follows.

India, according to him, did not respond (that is did not act in a thoughtful or reasoned manner) but “reacted” that is acted thoughtlessly and impulsively to the action which brings both countries at par with nothing to distinguish between them. India responded not reacted as it moved mindfully against specified targets to prevent infiltration into the country which Pakistan has no right to permit.

I presume what he called “proper action” actually implied “proper reaction” unless he feels that terrorist infiltration into India is proper with which point of view I cannot have a reasoned discourse. If however the reaction was “proper” then he cannot simultaneously rue the want of “peace and harmony” because a proper reaction is a restore a disturbed equilibrium and impose restraint to curb injuries of excess.

Peace and harmony can be an end in itself only if the intention is shared. It is always the preferred state of existence but in an interactive environment that goal can be achieved only when actions are conducive towards that end. The Pakistani track-record (to which Salman Khan does not allude) needs to take the blame for want of peace and harmony. Pakistan has to be condemned for Pakistani artistes losing work in India. Have any of the Pakistani artistes spoken? If they are not affected whose case is Salman Khan espousing?

Pakistani artistes may not be terrorists but who amongst them have called the terrorists terrorists? And will these artistes not endorse the official Pakistani line both on Kashmir and terrorism on which Pakistan justifies the repeated disturbances in India? How can Pakistan be defeated unless the mindset which drives Pakistan be vanquished? And how can that mindset be vanquished without quelling those who endorse it overtly or covertly? This is not a question of mere politics but survival of India as India and art cannot be the Trojan Horse for India’s defeat in its battle for existence. India wants its position to be accepted as that acceptance gives India the justification to resist Pakistan. If we host those who are not aligned with India’s interests how can we isolate those hostile to it and prove the seriousness of our intent to do it?

Salman Khan may feel sorry for Pakistani artistes friends. But he should also wonder whether his friends feel sorry India.

KAPIL SHARMA’S ACHHE DIN SHOW!

Kapil Sharma before demolition of illegal structures:

Talking to a friend: These are Achhe Din! I am burning trees every night to make extension of my building. I am also making unauthorised construction on the 9th floor of my apartment. One Chaubal has made a complaint and BMC has issued me a Stop Work Notice but I do not care. I am paying Rs 15 crore as tax so forget how much I am declaring and just imagine how much I am making. All celebrities host me in my own show and I just pretend I am hosting them. I will be movie star in my own right soon. Modi ji is great. These are really Achhe Din!

Kapil Sharma after demolition of illegal structures:

Tweet: Yeh hai apke achhe din?? I am paying 15 crore as income tax for the last 5 years and have to pay 5 lakh bribe to BMC officials for making my office!

BMC:

He pays 15 crore as income tax? And bribe just 5 lakhs?? Ab hamare Acche din aaenge

Politicians other than BJP:

He tagged Modi! Good. Now we will target him. Hamare Achhe Din shuru! Congress and BSP join the chorus.

BJP:

These ARE Achhe Din. Why is Kapil Sharma thinking only of himself. All he needed to do was file a complaint. Law would have taken its course. Name the culprit.

Kapil in a spin…Broods. When I said yeh hain AAPKE achhe din I was only complaining about mine not handing OTHERS any opportunity for achhe din. That is Mr Modi’s business!Now everyone is happy aside from ME!!

Mr Modi:

This is bringing a bad name to Achhe Din. Take action immediately.

BMC:

There are many more illegalities both in Goregaon and Versova! We will take action against all of them. Bribes may have kept some of us quiet earlier but we will take stern action now. Achhe Din Modi Style for BMC with respect to Kapil Sharma!

Politicians other than BJP:

Got them on the mat! These are Achhe Din.

BJP:

See action has been taken immediately. Who can deny these are Achhe Din?

Kapil Sharma:

Demolition Notices received. Complaint against me contemplated. Bribes not working anymore. System is functional. Politicians are not obliging by intervening. I cannot complain to Modi anymore. My next tweet: Mujhe apni shakal bilkul achhi nahin lagti.  Yeh hain MERE achhe din?!

LOUD NOISE in the background! Siddhu laughing. He laughs at every Kapil Sharma Show…