JD(U) chief Sharad Yadav has called for a temporary ban on social networking sites to stop the spread of retaliatory violence in the country in the wake of the ethnic clashes in Assam. There is not even a remote possibility of the Central Government taking such a step because banning a social networking site like Facebook even for a day would lead to an outcry of astounding nature but what is interesting to note over here is that these unfortunate incidents have reignited the debate surrounding internet regulation.
The same set of people who stonewalled Kapil Sibal’s attempt to do internet patrolling are now calling for substantial steps to be taken in the direction of content-control in the virtual world. I have always been supportive of the idea because there is not even a single country on the face of the Earth which gives its citizens the absolute right of the freedom of speech and expression. No matter how fundamental this right might be but it can always be curtailed to contain tricky situations which might lead to violent clashes and bloodbaths. Last year’s London riots bear testimony as to how technology is used to spread mischief and rioting and the Indian experience this year is no different. The internet serves as the ultimate platform for rumour mongering propagandists and fundamentalist forces. The emotional-exaggerated messages put up by such people have a readymade audience suffering from societal anxiety and hidden heartache. Governments across the globe might shy away from patrolling the internet today fearing a stubborn backlash from internet giants but ten years down the line this would become an utmost certainty.
Since the past couple of days a lot of people on my friend list have been irking me by sharing stupid and silly photographs of the supposed genocide in Myanmar. Not only are those photographs fake, doctored with and morphed but they are also highly blasphemous towards the Buddhist community and promote a kind of bigotry against them by using captions like ‘Burma’s Buddhists are terrorists’ and ‘Share to show who the real terrorists are’.
I do agree that the conflict between Rakhines and Rohingyas is indeed a very serious one but since I’ve read quite a lot about the clashes I can unambiguously state that the conflicts aren’t as unilateral as they are being projected and both the sides have witnessed damages which are numerically very high and not very unequal. The clashes are primarily based on the issues of ethnicity and immigration and so it’s grossly preposterous to suggest that Muslims are being massacred because they are Muslims. Its untrue, misleading and I don’t like the statement. I am not saying that religion has not got anything to do with the mayhem in Myanmar. It’s certainly one of the factors but not the principle factor. However, the role of the country’s army in the riots remains full of doubt.
Politics is a paradoxical business. Yesterday on NDTV’s show ‘The Buck Stops Here’, Senior BJP leader Chandan Mitra was repeatedly citing the exodus of Pakistani Hindus as a complete violation of the 1950 Delhi Pact between Jawaharlal Nehru and Liaqat Ali Khan. It’s true that Pakistan’s track record in terms of religious autonomy and freedom towards its minorities is pathetic enough to be labelled as horrendous but what amazed me was the hypocrisy surrounding Mitra’s arguments.
Syama Prasad Mukherjee, the founder of the Bhartiya Jana Sangh (BJP’s First Avtar) supported the partition of Bengal in 1946 and sabotaged Sarat Bose and Huseyn Shaheed Suhrawardy’s bid for an undivided but independent Bengal. This ultimately culminated into widespread dispersals and bloodshed. Later on, Mukherjee went on to become a Union Minister in the Interim Central Government but he resigned from the cabinet when Pandit Nehru invited Liaqat Ali Khan to sign a pact which would lead to the establishment of minority commissions and safeguarding of minority rights in both the countries as he was opposed to both the pact as well as the invitation extended to Liaqat Ali Khan since he felt it was nothing but an appeasement ploy and held East Pakistan directly responsible for the large number of Hindu refugees. It’s strange that he did not see this coming when he jolted the idea of an autonomous Bengal and stressed upon its partitioning on religious lines.
Today, the very same Delhi Pact of 1950 which Mukherjee opposed tooth and nail and led him into establishing the Bhartiya Jana Sangh is being heavily quoted by BJP leaders to hold Pakistan accountable. They are citing a document the opposition to which brought them into existence. BJP’s website has an article titled Subhas Chandra Bose : A Mascot of Hindutva, the same Subhas Bose whose brother Sarat Bose’s bid for an independent Bengal was jeopardized by Syama Prasad Mukherjee. You never know what might happen in politics. Foes become friends and friends become foes. Coming back to the crux issue of Pakistani Hindus and other minorities, I would unequivocally condemn the step motherly treatment meted out by Pakistan towards Hindus which is a matter of utter disgrace. Such things would go on happening until and unless three substantial things are not realized, first, a secular polity, second, debunking of historical mistakes and third, getting over the sickness of indigenous people (Every legal citizen is an indigenous citizen in my opinion irrespective of the first historical appearance of his/her tribe in the concerned area) and dismissing superstitious claims of a God-given holy land. However, I would be quite blunt in my submission that Pakistani Hindus willing to migrate into India should fulfil all our citizenship requirements and no special privileges should be extended to them because in the event of such a scenario, there would be a direct comparison of Muslim Bangladeshi immigrants with Hindu Pakistani immigrants. One is being treated as a threat to the demographic pattern and national security whereas the other group is being welcomed with open arms. It’s more of a case of human rights and we should see to it whether we are in a position to sustain the influx of migrants be them Hindus, Muslims, Buddhists, Christians or anything else.
The United Nations International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (Signed in 1966 and enacted in 1976) states in Article 1 that ‘all people have the right of self determination’. I am reminded of this particular article plainly because of the impotency showed by the Congress Party in its inability to stop the Eelam conference held in Tamil Nadu under the careful watch of DMK patriarch M Karunanidhi from passing a resolution in favor of a separate Eelam for Tamils (Wording of the resolution was a bit different but metaphorically this is what it signified).
Sri lankan nationalists have come down heavily upon the Indian government and protested vociferously against this conference since they viewed it as a serious challenge to Sri lanka’s sovereignty and internal security. If there was an international prize for political mismanagement then there is little doubt that the Congress Party would have been the hands down winner not only because of its terrible tenure in office but also because of its simpleton nature as it has allowed India’s bilateral relations with its immediate neighbours to deteriorate to an irreconcilable level by allowing propagandists residing on Indian soil to call for a separate Tamil state in Sri Lanka and likewise in Balochistan without being mindful of the fact that it opens us up to a lot of questions about North East and Kashmir.
It’s fascinating how a country of 1.2 billion people is satisfied with and can’t stop gushing about the six medals won by the entire Indian contingent put together at the London Olympics 2012. Honestly speaking, we put up quite a hopeless show and it’s atrociously stupid of us to stand and salute this effort of our sportsmen.
This in no way discredits the efforts of those who managed to come out with flying colours but the crux of the matter is that our representatives acted like the cricket team of the Proteas each and every time the big moment came immensely close and choked in. India hasn’t had an impressive record to boast off at the grandest stage of them all so we can take refuge in the fact that we climbed the ladder a bit more this time around.
Sporting supremacy is the doorway towards becoming a global political and economic superpower. India can’t expect to give the United States a run for their money until and unless they do a China at sporting events like the Olympics. This requires a fundamental change in the strategy of the Sports Ministry and other sports governing bodies in India who need to come up with the relevant sporting infrastructure within no time and provide serious incentives for taking up sports as a career but what is far more urgent is to institutionalize participating in sports in schools and colleges which will help in building a strong sporting base at the grassroots level and will also increase the healthiness of young Indian kids apart from sending our medal-acquiring hopes on the ascendance.