Thursday, December 27, 2007

Hindutva and radical Islam: Where the twain do meet(Arun Shourie in The Indian Express)

It has almost become routine to slight Hindu sentiments — our smart-set do not even notice the slights they administer. Recall the jibe of decades: ‘the Hindu rate of growth’. When, because of those very socialist policies that their kind had swallowed and imposed on the country, our growth was held down to 3-4 per cent, it was dubbed — with much glee — as ‘the Hindu rate of growth’. Today, we are growing at 9 per cent. And, if you are to believe the nonsense in Sachar’s report, the minorities are not growing at all. So, who is responsible for this higher rate of growth? The Hindus! How come no one calls this higher rate of growth ‘the Hindu rate of growth’? Simple: dubbing the low rate as the Hindu one established you to be secular; not acknowledging the higher one as the Hindu rate establishes you to be secular!
Or M.F. Husain. He is a kindly man, and a prodigiously productive artist. There is no warrant at all for disrupting all his exhibitions. I am on the point of sensibilities. His depictions of Hindu goddesses have been in the news: he has painted them in less than skimpy attire. I particularly remember one in which Sita is riding Hanuman’s stiffened tail — of course, she is scarcely clad, but that is the least of it: you need no imagination at all to see what she is rubbing up against that stiffened tail. Well, in the case of an artist, that is just inspiration, say the secularists. OK. The question that arises then is: How come in the seventy-five years Husain has been painting, he has not once felt inspired, not once, to paint the face of the Prophet? It doesn’t have to be in the style in which he has painted the Hindu goddesses. Why not the most beautiful, the most radiant and luminous face that he can imagine? How come he has never felt inspired to paint women revered in Islam, or in his own family, in the same style as the one that propelled his inspiration in regard to Hindu goddesses?
‘In painting the goddesses, he was just honouring them,’ a secular intellectual remarked at a discussion the other day. ‘It was his way of honouring them.’ Fine. It is indeed the case that one of the best ways we can honour someone is to put the one skill we have at the service of the person or deity. But how come that Husain never but never thought of honouring the Prophet by using the same priceless skill, that one ‘talent which is death to hide’?
‘Has Mr Shourie ever visited Khajuraho?,’ a member of the audience asked, the implication being that, as Hindu sculptors had depicted personages naked, what was wrong with Husain depicting the goddesses in the same style. Fine again. But surely, it is no one’s case that the ‘Khajuraho style’ must be confined to Hindu icons. Why has the artist, so skilled in deploying the Khajuraho motifs, never used them for icons of Islam? The reason why an artist desists from depicting the Prophet’s face is none of these convoluted disquisitions on style.
The reason is simplicity itself: he knows he will be thrashed, and his hands smashed.
Exactly the same holds for politics. How come no one objects when for years a Muslim politician keeps publishing maps of constituencies in which Muslims as Muslims can determine the outcome, and exhorting them to do so? When, not just an individual politician but entire political parties — from the Congress to the Left parties — stir Muslims up as a vote bank. When Muslims start behaving like a vote bank, you can be certain that someone will get the idea that Hindus too should be welded into a vote bank, and eventually they will get welded into one. Why is stoking Muslims ‘secular’ and stoking Hindus ‘communal’?
And yet perverted discourse, even the stratagems of political parties, are but preparation: they prepare the ground for capitulation by the state to groups that are aggressive. And in this the real lunacy is about to be launched, and, with that, the real reaction.
read complete article here

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

The Harbinger of Renaissance in Kashmir Poetry-Dina Nath Nadim(Rashneek Kher in Greater Kashmir)

The cascade was convulsed with laughterNot aware who cried how much…. With the onset of 14th century the cultural renaissance in Kashmir had almost come to an abrupt end. The era of new ideas and fertile philosophical thoughts had died down owing to hostile historical and cultural incursions in the otherwise enlightened house of Sharda. The great mystical poet and genius, Lal-Ded was probably the last new philosophical thought to have dawned in Kashmir till the time Dina Nath Nadim arose on the poetic firmament. Eminent Kashmiri scholar Dr.S.S.Toshkhani says and I quote “If you took out themes related to mysticism and love from Kashmiri poetry, there would remain nothing else at all”. The literary stagnation or death of ideas can be attributed to the fanatic and intolerant rulers who ruled Kashmir 14th century onwards till the arrival of British rule in Kashmir.
Read complete article here

Monday, December 10, 2007

Bigoted Killers!

My happiness was taken over by a deep sense of grief when a journalist friend of mine sent me the news of a suicide bomber blowing a school bus.The suicide bomber was blown to pieces as were nine people including five children.The school bus belonged to the Kamra Air Force base school,Attock,Pakistan.My friend had sent a note with the news clipping, It read” This is getting ridiculous! It seems like Kashmir all over again, only this time in a different valley”

I traveled back many years and was reminded of an equally gruesome murder by Yasin Malik and his band of terrorists killing four un-armed IAF officers who were waiting to board a bus.In a bizarre twist of fate, Yasin Malik today is a “protector of human rights and a victim of the State” .His erstwhile accomplices vie for the same media attention that he commands thanks largely to the pro-separatist(read terrorist) English Channels like CNN-IBN and NDTV. They too try and emulate him in every conceivable way from sitting on Dharnas to taking peace marches but alas!Yasin Malik can get visas to any country, has an Indian Passport despite dozens of criminal cases pending against him his former accomplices are still stuck in Kashmir both metaphorically as well literally.

That Kashmir evokes strong emotions was a passé yesterday.It evokes ever toddlers to shout”Jis Kashmir ko khoon se seencha…who Kashmir Hamra Hai”.Walking alongside these 40 odd kids (dressed in Kashmiri attire and RIK head bands)I realized we are walking with the future and the past at the same time.There was a gory past that forced us out of our motherland but here alongside me walked hope.I was immersed in a sea of joy and the response to the event made my joy even greater.However as I was trying to collect the press clippings to assimilate them for posterity,the bad news of this bigoted suicide bomber killing innocent people much like Yasin Malik (who did the same on chilly winter morning in 1990) pulled me into the abyss of grief .

Nietzsche resounded in my ears

When you gaze into the abyss,the abyss gazes back at you.

In grief......

Rashneek Kher

Dead End

Dead End
The road to what was once my home in Kashmir....zuv chum bramaan ghare gachehae..