Thursday, 11 November 2021

Salman Khurshid's quarrel with Congress

In his new and entirely worthless book 'Sunrise over Ayodhya', Salman Khurshid writes 

In world history, there have been innumerable souls who chose resistance over submission and supine calculation. Mahatma Gandhi, Emiliano Zapata, Che Guevara, Martin Luther King, Nelson Mandela,

so far so good. All these people championed the underdog. But Khurshid next mentions a great pal of Churchill who helped extend the British Empire and to defeat the Turks

Lawrence of Arabia

Is Khurshid utterly mad? Lawrence served in the RAF in India and had no sympathy whatsoever for the Indian National Congress.  Why couple the name of a gifted writer who served his King Emperor with valor with those who rebelled against Imperialism, Global Capitalism, and White Supremacy? 

The other big question is why Khurshid does not mention a single Muslim name in an article where he is attacking a fellow Muslim- Faizan Mustapha- who says that little will change if India becomes an officially Hindu country. This is true but Hindus don't want any such thing because we all hope that our own sect will get minority status. The problem with having an Established Religion is that the legislature gets to impose its own stupid shibboleths on the members of the majority sect. Khurshid, however, thinks he himself is Lawrence of Arabia. Faizan probably sodomized him as the Turks sodomized Lawrence which is why that nutter would get himself whipped every year on the anniversary of that  happy occasion. It must be said that the Turks were randy buggers. Many a British officer captured at Kut was sodomized in between bouts of dysentery. Lawrence may have been the exception of the rule in that he gloried in this discomfiture- something even his pal Churchill considered uncalled for. 

Prof. Faizan Mustafa, perhaps, needs to do a rethink. I can hardly imagine the likes of John Stuart Mill, Edward Said, Ronald Dworkin, John Rawls, Noam Chomsky, 

Dworkin was a Law Professor but the others mentioned had not studied Law

Upendra Baxi (placing Prof. Mustafa in exalted company)

Baxi accepts Mustafa's argument for the same reason Dworkin would be forced to do so. It is indeed the case that the Bench is not bound by Kesavananda Bharati. The 'basic structure' of the Constitution really is as flexible as Mustafa says it is. The impediment to declaring India a Hindu Rashtra is not judicial. It is political. Khurshid, as a politician, should emphasize this. Instead he talks nonsense about Fascism though he was brought into politics by Indira Gandhi on her return to power- when there was no doubt in anybody's mind that she was an autocrat and popular precisely for that reason- and remains a humble servant of the dynasty to this day.

 ever contemplating buying peace with fascist ideologues for the sake of survival. 

Yet, at the core of Dworkin's 'right answer thesis' is the self confidence of the Bench that whatever ratio it decides on is indeed that which Judge Hercules- or 'Panch Parmeshvar' in Hindi- would decide. But this is precisely Mustafa's point. There is no judicial impediment to India becoming a Soviet Republic or an Islamic Emirate or a Hindu Rashtra iff the Bench so determines. With other schools of Jurisprudence, advocates can offer a ratio to which the Bench must subordinate itself for some extraneous reason- utilitarian, 'natural law, theological, ideological etc- whereas the right answer thesis invests a magical power on the Bench exactly similar to that which ancient Religions- e.g. the Hebrew 'ye are as Gods' (when serving on a Jury) quoted by Christ in the Gospels- specify. In India this is the notion that the Panchayat is guided by God to give the 'right answer'. This is perfectly compatible with a 'Fascist ideology'- indeed, it argues for the duty of Judges to be 'committed' and to anticipate the wishes of the Fuhrer. This type of thinking was much in favor in Indira's India in the Seventies. 

There is a struggle going on for the soul of India, and the women and men who came out across the country in protest against the CAA demonstrated their do-or-die spirit. 

Only Muslims came out though it is not clear that they understood that they were protesting India's long standing policy of giving shelter to non-Muslims fleeing Islamic Republics. However, the result of the anti-CAA agitation was that Congress and the Left were wiped out in the Delhi Elections. The thing helped Kejriwal and Modi.

We cannot let them down by negotiating peace on terms that are neither honorable for people nor compatible with the constitutional values bequeathed to us by the founding fathers.

Is Khurshid against cow slaughter? The thing is a Directive Principle in the Constitution. The fact is the people who framed the Constitution decided to give citizenship to non-Muslims fleeing Pakistan deciding instead to revoke the citizenship of Indian Muslims who happened to be on the wrong side of the border on a specific date. Affirmative action for Dalit Muslims, which had previously existed, was taken away. Godse, not Gandhi, got his wish in that Hindi, in the Devanagari script, was made the official language. Urdu's decline was swift. India, that is Bharat, was in no mood to conciliate Muslims though, no doubt, some Congress Muslims were kept in office. But many of their relatives left for Pakistan not least because of harassment by the Custodian of Enemy Property. 

We cannot let them down by negotiating peace

negotiating? Congress has been crushed. It didn't win a single Assembly seat in Bengal- nor did the Left. 

 on terms that are neither honorable for people nor compatible with the constitutional values bequeathed to us by the founding fathers.

Jinnah was a founding father- though his descendants flourish in India, not the country he founded. The difference between today and 1950 is that nobody wants to emigrate to Pakistan- not even Bangladeshis. 

The historical trajectories that culminated in the constitutional positions described by Prof. Mustafa are vastly different from our experience. There is no way to believe that a change such as contemplated by Prof. Mustafa will be innocuous as far as human rights are concerned, including the right to citizenship.

It was Indira Gandhi who conceded that Muslims from Bangladesh had no right to citizenship in Assam. It was the Bench which forced the Government to fulfil Indira's promise. 

 The benign assumptions in this case have already come to grief in the Hindutva judgment by Justice J.S. Verma, when he described it as a way of life.

Khurshid seems to have forgotten that his party is now an ally of the Shiv Sena. Either Verma's decision was wrong in 1995 or his party is wrong today for allying with a Hindu supremacist movement. 

In my own party, the Congress, discussion often veers towards this subject. There is a section that, with growing assertiveness, regrets the fact that our image is that of a pro-minority party and advocates the jeneu-dhari credentials of our leadership; this section responded to the Ayodhya judgment with the declaration that a bhavya (grand) temple should be built on the site, bypassing any further politics over this issue. That position, of course, overlooked or sidestepped the part of the Supreme Court order, directing land to be given for a masjid as well. On one particular occasion, as senior leaders gathered for a cup of tea after flag hoisting, a colleague indulged in a refrain about the BJP’s intention to create a Hindu Rashtra but was left speechless when the party president asked what a Hindu Rashtra would be.

Rahul says he is janeo-dhari (wears the Hindu sacred thread). Priyanka has tweeted delight at the Ayodhya temple's 'bhoomi pujan'. Sonia, however, is Italian. Indira fought a court case to prove her sons were Hindu but made no mention of her daughter-in-law. Thus, she may be presumed to be non Hindu. Was she the 'party president' who asked what a Hindu Rashtra might be? The answer, of course, is that a Hindu Rashtra is one where Mummies ensure their sons become Prime Minister. The trouble is, such Mummies and Sons get shot or blown up. Autocracy is tempered by Assassination. Italians well remember the fate of Mussolini. The safer course is to let someone else by Prime Minister. 

The BJP must know what it intends, but its top leaders skirt the issue in their ambition to secure world recognition, 

Whereas Congress used to shriek loudly and say to the world 'please don't recognize us. Just pretend we don't exist.' 

while secular parties remain caught in a vortex of uncertainty and unreliable ideological moorings. One is reminded of ‘the king is dead; long live the king’; and, ‘If you ‘can’t beat them, join them.’ This cannot, and must not, be our strategic position.

What should it be? Double down on anti-CAA? Agitate against the building of Temples? Why not just declare a jihad and run amok? 

Seshadri Chari, former editor of Organiser and a rational communicator, has tried to explain Hindu Rashtra in remarkably comforting terms: 'The words Hindu, Hindutva and Hinduism have defied definition . . . The word dharma, as in ‘Hindu dharma’, cannot be equated with the Western concept of religion . . . In fact, the term ‘Hindu dharma’ itself is a misnomer.. . . ‘Hindu’ refers to a society, a group of people with a distinct cultural and civilisational character, a core set of beliefs, traditions, practices—and, yes, prejudices too. In the Indian context, dharma forms the very basis of everyday life, it is about ethics, values and social mores, not religion . . .*

Tambrams are as stupid as shit. The fact is 'dharma' was translated by Indo-Greeks as 'eusebia' which was translated as 'pietas' in Latin which is 'piety' in English. Like the 'Western concept of Religion', India had a legalistic definition of Hindu dharma though it has had to be updated and adapted as certain Indian origin sects want a separate identity. 

The trouble is that by distinguishing dharma from religion and using that as the core content of Hinduism and Hindutva, by encasing it all as a way of life, we blind ourselves to the major cultural input of Muslims in the medieval age. 

No we don't. That input featured Muslim rulers who turned out to be shit at fighting Europeans. There was then a European cultural input till America decided not to finance that racket. After that we have had our own indigenous cultural input which consists of mimicking the trashier aspects of Hollywood while asking 'choli ke peeche kya hai?' 

I recall one RSS ideologue, many years ago, describing Muslims as Muslim Hindus, the latter being the pervasive category of person inhabiting the plains beyond the Indus River or the Sindhu (Hindu) River. But in that geographical definition, how does the land on the west bank of the river, as indeed Afghanistan, get included?

We know how they got excluded. Non-Muslims were killed or reduced to a servile condition. That's also why there are few Zoroastrians in Iran. 

Even as celebrated champions of liberal secularism, like Jyotiraditya Scindia,

who is now with the BJP

 take their ‘mood of the people’ strides 

which is why he is a Minister

and intellectuals like Prof. Faizan Mustafa rationalize choice in our times, the 100-day sit-in by women of various ages, octogenarians to little children, at Shaheen Bagh in south Delhi, sent a message across the globe, to the loud applause of lovers of democracy, that the Indian Constitution, and its Preamble of justice, liberty, equality and fraternity, is not negotiable at any cost.

So, this silly man thought Shaheen Bagh would help his party. Scindia would say to him, 'Khurshid, you were right. I was wrong. Indeed, my ancestors did wrong to fight Muslim tyrants.' 

Yet critics tell us that since we became free in 1947, any talk of freedom now is idle, misconceived, foolish or suspicious, if not patently seditious.

I suppose this guy means that he might get sent to jail if he demands 'Azadi' for Kashmir. 

 Freedom is a bad word, even an ingredient of hate speech. That some people have persuaded courts to examine the alleged culpability of using the word ‘freedom’ in public speaks volumes for our system.

No. It merely shows that PIL activism is a double edged sword. On the other hand, Khurshid is welcome to say that 'freedom' means licking the boots of the dynasty. But that isn't what he is doing here. He is displaying treasonous intentions against his party's hereditary leadership.

 Might it not be said that attempts to proscribe and impose sanctions on the use of the word is itself an extended form of violence against free speech? 

Sure. So would attempts to shove things up the bum of those whose might be trying to write that word. 

Getting the courts to collaborate, willingly or unwittingly, in that unwholesome enterprise itself is a sad dimension of our system.

Khurshid's system is not our system. He may well be angry that Congress is now in bed with the Shiv Sena and that Congress Chief Minister's are currying favor with Brahmins and Holy Men. But what is the alternative? A dynastic party with a roi faineant who won't even be president of Congress- let alone Prime Minister of the country- is bound to die nasty. Meanwhile India remains what it was in 1950- viz. a Hindu Rashtra with some non-Hindu border areas where secessionism is rife. Khurshid is right to quarrel with his Party. There is no point being a token Muslim in a party which is unelectable because it now perceived as not even token Hindu. The only question which remains is where will the Muslim vote go? People like Khurshid- i.e. timeserving nincompoops- can play a useful rule as weather-vanes provided they actually jump ship and switch party loyalties. But Khurshid is now 68. It is too late for him. Thus, he has to publish books. Sad. 

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