Friday December 15, 2017
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O Allah! It is for us that we have gathered here and it is for us that we are breaking the fast: A reloaded Iftar

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By Sreyashi Mazumdar

Picture credit: hindustantimes.com
Picture credit: hindustantimes.com

 

While paging through the withered pages of past, one might have run into a string of Ramdan fiestas hosted by Vajpayee when he was at the helm of affairs. Generally considered as a friendly gesture to address the largest minority of the nation, which kicked off with Jawaharlal Nehru’s close-knitted Iftar banquets, the ceremony over the period of time has hit a crooked path.

The pure spirit of Iftar has shriveled up. With the kind of grandeur demonstrated by the Iftar parties, the political maneuvering being exhibited and the paparazzi predominant during such parties, Iftar has somewhere down the line parted ways with its real essence – a customary which encompasses brotherhood and sodality.

Starting from the much celebrated Aam Aadmi, Arvind Kejriwal, to that of Congress’s chief, Sonia Gandhi, every who’s who in the political circle is trying to play their best cards through their customized versions of Iftar politics. Kejriwal’s Iftar was nothing less than a show-stopper in the midst of a political labyrinth. His foeman, Najeeb Jung and his much talked of predecessor Sheila Dikshit were found sharing candid snapshots with him, they were all smiles and hugs in the party. Even though the new found bonhomie might have raised millions of eyebrows, it clearly commemorated the true meaning of Iftar, especially when it has been emblazoned with political colours.

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Picture credit: dailyo.in

If this wasn’t enough, Mrs Gandhi’s Iftar party served a plushy platter of both fodder (politically propelled scoops) and food. Even though the party didn’t have a handful of political mavericks, her party fleshed out Congress’s preparation for the forthcoming monsoon session. The generally media-uncouth Rahul was found palling up with media persons. Taking a pot shot at Prime Minister Narendra Modi, he said, “I will speak in parliament, even if PM speaks or not,” as quoted in an India Today report. If one would have to summarize the entire Congress’s Iftar episode in a more flamboyant and hammy way, SRK’s much celebrated Om shaanti Om dialogue- “Picture abhi baaki hai mere dost” – wouldn’t have refuted the core essence of their intent.

The Iftar saga would have been incomplete without President Mukherjee’s banquet. The fete wouldn’t have garnered currency and the kind of brouhaha it kicked off across media houses, hadn’t it been for Narendra Modi, who decided to snub the ceremonial.

Since Modi started off as the Prime Minister of the nation, he hasn’t done enough to address the largest minority of the country. Last year, he fended off wearing a skull cap, passing it off as a form of tokenism rendered by the Congress. However, without fail, our beloved Prime Minister’s pink slip to president’s Iftar party reinstated his coldness for the Muslim community.

A proper introspection of the Iftar saga leaves one baffled. With the holy month of Ramdan coming to a close, Indian politics has taken off to a different level. Despite the banquets orchestrated with never-found bonhomie and unusual handshakes predominating the Indian media and political circles, reflecting brotherhood with the festival of Eid knocking at the door, Iftar has turned into nothing less than a political circus wherein every inmate of the circus is trying his or her best to reap benefits.

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Absurd Theatrics of Rahul Gandhi in Gujarat Assembly elections campaign

Why Rahul Gandhi should do himself and the nation a favor by retiring from politics

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Rahul Gandhi Gujarat elections
Rahul Gandhi (Wikimedia Commons)

–  Gaurav Tyagi

Campaigning for Gujarat Assembly elections to be held in two phases on 9th (phase 1 voting day has passed)  and 14 th December is in full swing. The scion of the Nehru dynasty is trying all stunts to win Gujarat for his Congress Party.

He is making rounds of numerous temples in Gujarat proclaiming himself as a
‘Shiv Bhakt Hindu’. Indira married a Muslim man Feroze Khan in a London
Mosque. Many people in India are still ignorant about this fact and consider
Feroze a Parsi.

Feroze’s mother was a Parsi before marriage to Feroze’s Muslim father but since,
she converted to Islam, their son Feroze Khan was a Muslim.

Indira also embraced Muslim religion for marrying Feroze Khan. Her Muslim name
was Maimuna Begum but she kept this fact well hidden so, as not to harm her
political career.

Rajeev married Sonia Maino, a Catholic Christian. The real names of their children
are Raul and Bianca Maino. They both hold Italian Passports as well but in order
to fool Indians they have adopted the names of Rahul and Priyanka Gandhi.

It is incomprehensible that the aforesaid Raul Maino is claiming himself to be a
Hindu now, just to garner votes for Congress in Gujarat in the name of Hindutva.

Raul while addressing an election meeting in Porbandar on 24 th November said
that Prime Minister Modi gave Rs. 33,000 Crores to Tata Company for
manufacturing Nano model of automobiles. He went on to say that no Tata Nano
is visible on the roads of Gujarat.

When Tata Motors’ Nano manufacturing plant at Singur in West Bengal faced
protests in 2008; Modi, the then chief minister of Gujarat invited the auto-maker
to Gujarat and extended benefits like allotting land at concessional rates and tax
exemptions for setting up the plant at Sanand near Ahmedabad.

A manufacturing plant of a big company like Tata assures employment
opportunities for the locals besides making the state a more attractive investment
destination for both domestic as well as foreign companies. Every Chief Minister
in India would have done what Modi did at that time.

Modi didn’t do anything wrong by providing a few concessions to Tata. Nowhere,
did he provide Rs. 33,000 Crores to Tata furthermore, Raul’s statement at the
rally while addressing Gujarati locals; “You lost land, electricity, water to Tata
Nano. And if you are not seeing any Tata Nano here, then, what type of magic is
this” is completely absurd.

Immediately after the signing of the Nano deal, Gujarat Industrial Development
Corporation took six villages under acquisition in Sanand. The government of
Gujarat at that time paid the price of land at Rs. 1200 per square meter.

It was four times higher than the market rate prevailing at that time, resulting in
the farmers of this region buying Audis and BMWs.

If the Nano model didn’t turn out to be a commercial success, what has Modi got
to do with it? Every big business house knows that not all of their products would
turn out to be profitable.

Mr. Maino also said that the amount of money Narendra Modi gave for
manufacturing Nano Cars was equal to the UPA government’s allocation for
funding MNREGA since Raul frequently likes to harp about the success of
MNREGA. Here are the facts;

This scheme only guarantees jobs for 100 days a year. A year has 365 days. What
about the rest of the 265 days? The jobs in MNREGA involve completely useless
and unproductive tasks like digging ditches and then filling them back with sand.
This MNREGA scheme is a total failure and waste of government funds.

MNREGA has turned majority of its recipients into lazy, good-for- nothing,
unemployables. This scheme must be abolished with immediate effect.

Raul tried to woo the fishermen of Gujarat by saying that Congress government
used to provide them with subsidy, which covered 25 percent of fishermen’s
expenses on diesel and petrol.

The question is; where and when would this useless subsidy culture end?

Congress is just playing ‘Poverty Politics’. These doles and freebies make people
indolent and uncompetitive thus preventing the progress of a nation.

Raul wants Indian masses to always stand infront of Congress politicians with
folded hands like the old “Maii Baap” culture pioneered by Nehru and later
followed by Indira and Rajeev.

This pattern continued until the only sensible Congress Prime Minister till now,
P.V. Narsimha Rao liberalized the Indian economy in the early 1990’s.

It’s highly disappointing that inspite of Raul Maino’s, relatively young age and
wide travels, he does not possess any constructive and innovative ideas to make
India a better place.

Raul should do himself and the nation a favor by retiring from politics. He anyway
does not need to work for a living and can enjoy the Billions amassed by his
ancestors through masquerading as fake Gandhis.

– The author is a Master Degree holder in International Tourism & Leisure Studies from Netherlands and is based in China

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Dogfight in Aam Aadmi Party : The audio clip of Kumar Vishwas reveals the party is no longer for principles but for personal aspirations

Arvind Kejriwal's Aam Aadmi Party seems to be more engaged in dogfight rather than developmental politics. The new audio clip of Kumar Vishwas reveals discontentment within senior leaders of AAP

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  • The abusive audio clip of Kumar Vishwas surfaces hinting at split in Aam Aadmi Party

  • Aam Aadmi Party which claimed to bring clean politics is no longer working on principles, its an ongoing dogfight between unsatisfied political aspirants

Just few days back, Arvind Kejriwal’s Aam Aadmi Party was slapped with Rs. 30 crores Income Tax notice. The party which claimed to revive clean politics was itself found dirty. The Income Tax notice cited that the Aam Aadmi Party had not disclosed income worth Rs 13.16 crore. According to the IT Department, the money received as donations in its bank account was not recorded in the books of accounts. Today an audio clip of Kumar Vishwas surfaced hinting at rift within the party.

Last year, Chanda Bandh Satyagraha (www.nolistnodonation.com) led by Dr. Munish Raizada was initiated against Aam Aadmi Party’s backtracking on financial transparency which gathered a huge amount of support from section of Aam Aadmi Party who were not ready to compromise on principles. But anyone who raised questions against Arvind Kejriwal’s dubious stance on donation transparency were sidelined from the party.

Aam aadmi Party Illegal Donations
Chanda Bandh Satyagrah led by Dr. Munish Kumar Raizada against dubious donations of Aam Aadmi Party

The leaked audio clip of Kumar Vishwas suggests that individual ambitions are derailing the Aam Aadmi Party, risking the public’s confidence. What issues dominate the AAP? The party members no longer seem to have any aspiration for developmental politics, they are rather engaged in dogfight for power and position. Unmet with expectations, many of the founding members of party like Yogendra Yadav are no more with the AAP today. It certainly affects prospects for party expansion. People supported AAP because it offered hope of a wider democratic platform, giving ordinary Indians a political voice. But it now seems that Aam Aadmi Party is just a bunch of opportunists trying to grab political space for their own development through corruption and dubious political donations.

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Since its inception, Aam Aadmi Party has been indulged in all those things it promised to stood against of. AAP has failed to deliver what it promised. The list of scams by Aam Aadmi Party is endless. From Thali scam where total food bill of 80 guests amounted to Rs 11, 04,357 costing Rs 12,000 to Rs 16,000 per plate to 400 crore Delhi water tanker scam, AAP has crushed the expectations of people who were hoping for an honest political party. Arvind Kejriwal’s government spent a large chunk of taxpayer’s money for party advertisement. The advertisements were found to be in violation of the Supreme Court guidelines.Transport Minister of Delhi Gopal Rai from Aam Aadmi Party is involved in scam worth crores of rupees in Auto Rickshaw Permit scam. Sacked Delhi minister Kapil Mishra alleged that he witnessed Satyendar Jain giving Rs 2 crore in cash to the party chief Arvind Kejriwal. The list can go on, but the serious question here is the credibility of Aam Aadmi Party. The audio clip of Kumar Vishwas hints at rift within the party, this explains well why Delhi is suffering under bad governance, the key members of party are indulged in back bitching and score setting.

– by SHAURYA RITWIK, Shaurya is Sub-Editor at NewsGram and writes on Geo-politcs, Culture, Indology and Business. Twitter Handle – @shauryaritwik

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Surajpal Singh Amu: A case of Fatwa by Hindus?

BJP's Surajpal Singh Amu announced a reward roughly equivalent to $1.5 million to anyone who would behead Deepika Padukone and the film director Sanjay Leela Bhansali.

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Padmavati Banner
A man signs a banner during a signature campaign as part of a protest against the release of Bollywood movie "Padmavati" in Kolkata, India, Nov. 22, 2017. VOA

A leader of India’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has announced that he would pay a reward roughly equivalent to $1.5 million to anyone who would behead an Indian actress and a film director.

Surajpal Singh Amu, a member of the BJP in northern Haryana state, is apparently upset about an upcoming movie, Padmavati, starring actress Deepika Padukone as the 14th-century Hindu queen Padmini.

The movie is directed by Sanjay Leela Bhansali.

Amu alleged that the movie is misleading, not based on truth and offends Hindu sentiments in the country.

FILE - Actress Deepika Padukone and director Sanjay Leela Bhansali attend the opening of the 13th annual Marrakech International Film Festival in Marrakech, Nov. 29, 2013.
FILE – Actress Deepika Padukone and director Sanjay Leela Bhansali attend the opening of the 13th annual Marrakech International Film Festival in Marrakech, Nov. 29, 2013. VOA

“We will reward the ones beheading them, with 10 crore rupees, and also take care of their family’s needs,” Amu said in an interview with India’s Asia’s Premier News (ANI) earlier this week.

Threats against movie

Amu also vowed not to allow the release of the movie and warned movie theaters to avoid playing the movie or risk being torched.

The movie was set to be released during the first week of December.

Rights activists have reacted strongly to the threats and urged the government to take action.

“This is pretty outrageous that you announce publicly and no action takes place at a time when people are being arrested for most trivial reasons in this country,” Gotum Naulakha, an Indian-based civil liberties activist, told VOA.

A security guard walks past a poster of the upcoming Bollywood movie "Padmavati" outside a theater in Mumbai, India, Nov. 21, 2017.
A security guard walks past a poster of the upcoming Bollywood movie “Padmavati” outside a theater in Mumbai, India, Nov. 21, 2017. VOA

An official complaint has been registered against Amu, but many are criticizing the stance of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party — which controls the central government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi — on the matter.

“I’ve not heard any official stance from the central government or the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting,” Vinod Sharma, an Indian-based analyst, told VOA.

Anil Jain, a local BJP spokesperson, told ANI that the law applies to everyone in the state of Haryana and no one can threaten others. The central government has yet to react, however.

Bollywood actress Padukone stood her ground and said the movie would be released despite the threats.

“Where have we reached as a nation? We have regressed. The only people we are answerable to is the censor board, and I know and I believe that nothing can stop the release of this film,” Padukone told Indo-Asian News Service (IANS) last week.

Controversy

Padmavati was controversial right from the start. Opponents of the movie stormed the filming of one scene and destroyed the film sets. They were upset that the director of the movie was distorting facts by alleging romance between the Hindu queen and the Muslim invader Alauddin Khilji.

Film director Bhansali, however, denies the allegations and maintains the story is based on a Sufi and medieval-era poem written about the Hindu queen. In the poem, the Hindu queen chooses death before the Muslim conqueror could capture her.

Some experts say the poem is centuries old and there is a possibility the Hindu queen might be purely a fictional character found only in folklore.

“There’s a lot of debate in India whether Padmavati was actually a living being many, many years ago or whether she was just an imagined person in a poem,” analyst Sharma said.

Rights activists maintain that if government fails to draw clear lines around the threat made by the politician, and discourage a growing sense of impunity for some, incidents like this will only increase and threaten the freedom of expression in the world’s biggest democracy.

“By letting loose and giving [a] sense of impunity to the goons of the ruling party or people who’re connected or close to the ruling party, we’re paving the ground for much bigger and [worse] things to happen in the near future,” Naulakha told VOA.

The movie is awaiting approval from India’s Central Board of Film Certification.

Written by Madeeha Anwar of VOA.