Censorship in India

Arundhati Roy. Photo by jeanbaptisteparis on Flickr
Arundhati Roy. Photo by jeanbaptisteparis on Flickr

It is interesting how authors are elevated to positions of moral authority in society.  This is the reason they become particular targets for censorship when they stray from the socially conservative orthodoxy.

Two stories of writers being censored in India have crossed my desk (a metaphor for ‘appeared in my inbox) today.  First, we hear that Rohinton Mistry’s book Such A Long Journey has been cut by Mumbai University’s reading list, adter complaint from Shiv Sena, the unpleasant nationalists who seem to be at the heart of most of the stories of intolerance that emerge from India.  From the Guardian report comes this Tea Party-style rhetoric:

It is our culture that anything with insulting language should be deleted. Writers can’t just write anything. They can’t write wrong things,” said Rawale, who admitted not having read the book.

While Mistry’s right to free expression is clearly under threat here, he is not in the same position as Arundhati Roy, who may be deprived of her liberty in the near future.  Reports from India suggest that Roy (who is the author of Booker winner The God of Small Things) will be charged under ‘sedition’ laws, for comments made about the conduct of the Indian government in Kashmir.  In an English PEN press release I make the point that “laws of sedition are a sinster part of Britain’s colonial legacy – India should not be using such laws to silence debate.”

Here’s today’s statement from Arundhati Roy, reproduced in full

I write this from Srinagar, Kashmir. This morning’s papers say that I may be arrested on charges of sedition for what I have said at recent public meetings on Kashmir. I said what millions of people here say every day. I said what I, as well as other commentators have written and said for years. Anybody who cares to read the transcripts of my speeches will see that they were fundamentally a call for justice. I spoke about justice for the people of Kashmir who live under one of the most brutal military occupations in the world; for Kashmiri Pandits who live out the tragedy of having been driven out of their homeland; for Dalit soldiers killed in Kashmir whose graves I visited on garbage heaps in their villages in Cuddalore; for the Indian poor who pay the price of this occupation in material ways and who are now learning to live in the terror of what is becoming a police state.

Yesterday I traveled to Shopian, the apple-town in South Kashmir which had remained closed for 47 days last year in protest against the brutal rape and murder of Asiya and Nilofer, the young women whose bodies were found in a shallow stream near their homes and whose murderers have still not been brought to justice. I met Shakeel, who is Nilofer’s husband and Asiya’s brother. We sat in a circle of people crazed with grief and anger who had lost hope that they would ever get ‘insaf’-justice-from India, and now believed that Azadi-freedom- was their only hope. I met young stone pelters who had been shot through their eyes. I travelled with a young man who told me how three of his friends, teenagers in Anantnag district, had been taken into custody and had their finger-nails pulled out as punishment for throwing stones.

In the papers some have accused me of giving ‘hate-speeches’, of wanting India to break up. On the contrary, what I say comes from love and pride. It comes from not wanting people to be killed, raped, imprisoned or have their finger-nails pulled out in order to force them to say they are Indians. It comes from wanting to live in a society that is striving to be a just one. Pity the nation that has to silence its writers for speaking their minds. Pity the nation that needs to jail those who ask for justice, while communal killers, mass murderers, corporate scamsters, looters, rapists, and those who prey on the poorest of the poor, roam free.

8 Replies to “Censorship in India”

  1. Arundhati Roy is India’s wannabe Jane Fonda, with an eye firmly on the Peace Nobel. She is a moral and political humbug, disingenuous, slick and acutely aware of her international image and is extremely media savvy. She waltzes into political and social issues which others have made their life’s mission, and hijacks them effortlessly. She flits from international destination to international destination, taking bows for speeches laden with half-truths and hyperbole to gullible audiences, taking pot-shots at the biggest and easiest targets on her radar…the Government of India, the United States, and oh, of couse, evil evil capitalism.
    She belongs to a fringe group within an ultra-left fringe movement. Every democracy has a few of these. The only thing they loathe is being ignored. The so-called conference in New Delhi was perfectly set up for its shock value. It brought together the usual suspects. Kashmiri separatists (which is a polite term for those who were foot soldiers in the Pak sponsored violence that started out of the blue in the late 80’s and are leaders of that rag-tag movement today…calling for ethnic cleansing in one decade, extending hands for talks in another, faking non-involvement as ‘kashmiri’ terrorists take their game to town in the heart of India, and playing hardball with the Indian government when the winds are in their favor), Maoists, the ultra-left violent movement that has the blood of thousands of innocent people and Indian paramilitary soldiers on their hands (’Gandhi with Guns’ as described by Ms Roy…just rocket launchers, land mines, hand grenades, AK-47s and such…self defense against the brutal Indian state, y’know), the remnants of the Punjab Khalistani movement (we all know their bloodthirsty past), now conveniently based out of where else, Pakistan, and of course, their patron saint, Ms Roy.
    Her views on the Indian state are well known, and so are the views of the rest of the clowns.
    Ms Roy would like nothing more than to be arrested. She would LOVE to have pictures of her fragile self being led away by moustachio’d pot-bellied policemen…the poor, frail, brave activist fighting against the might of the evil democratic state.
    I believe the GOI is not blind to this fact. And the fact that this ‘conference’ has been perfectly timed to create this ruckus just a couple of weeks before the Obama media circus hits town when he arrives in India in early November.
    Arundhati Roy is a shrewd political player who always falls back on the ‘I’m just a writer’ argument when cornered. She fails to calculate the amount of pent up disgust that the average Indian has towards her. Perhaps it is difficult to do so when you’re jumping from issue to issue to stay alive in the spotlight, and are constantly surrounded by sycophantic fringe elements who look to you as their one ticket to publicity for their so called causes.

    She will not be arrested. India is more mature than she thinks. Perhaps for once, her calculations have backfired.
    This time she has bitten off a bit more than she can chew.

  2. A few more things that Arundhati Roy will not do:
    1. She will never fight an election, for she knows the outcome. She will continue to write incendiary pieces from behind the shield of an ‘activist writer’ and give legitimacy to violence against the state. After all she believes in armed revolution against a democratic state to bring about social change. Democracy is not compatible with her views.
    2. She will never offer solutions. She will always criticize, whatever be her latest crusade. That is the easiest job in the world.
    3. She will never criticize violence against the state, be it from Pakistan sposored terrorists (she has gone on record justifying the 26/11 carnage in Mumbai), or Maoist terrorists (she has characterized the massacre of 76 paramilitary personnel by her Maoist chums as ‘tragic’ and in the same breath has said that she would continue to back the Maoist armed struggle even if she was put behind bars).
    4. She will never take a moderate line, even if that is the most logical thing or the most pragmatic thing to do. She will take extreme positions because that is her bread and butter. That is what gets her maximum publicity. That is what keeps her in the news. And in the contention for international awards.

  3. Thanks for the comments, Subhadeep, and for the link to Swapan Dasgupta’s article, which makes a powerful point:

    Jaitley is right about the law and the Constitution but he is wrong about the political wisdom of prosecuting secessionists for non-violent offences. …

    Secessionism has to be countered both militarily and through arguments. An argumentative environment is India’s best advertisement against intolerant Maoism and Islamism.

    Whether one agrees with Roy’s stance on Kashmir or not, let us all get behind the idea that India should not be prosecuting people for speaking.

  4. YOU WILL READ THIS FULLY ONLY IF YOU’RE A TRUE-BLOODED INDIAN AND A PATRIOT

    What’s wrong with Arundhati Roy? Is she really naïve or is she plain dumb stupid with psychosomatic blindness? I mean, she may be a literary genius having won the Booker Prize in 1997 for her novel, The God of Small Things, and having received the Cultural Freedom Prize awarded by the Lannan Foundation in 2002 for her work as an activist. But she is selectively blind to some historic facts and I would go so far as to say that she is quite illiterate in this regard.

    Or is she looking for publicity at the cost of the nation because she is planning to publish another of her works shortly (Gawd help us all!), which she hopes will become a bestseller so that she can make millions? Or is she eyeing the Nobel Prize?

    At a convention on ‘Azadi–The Only Way’ in the capital last week, the 49-year-old Arundhati Roy had said, “Kashmir has never been an integral part of India. It is a historical fact. Even the Indian government has accepted this.” For that matter, none of the so-called linguistic states were a part of India. They were erstwhile princely states, provinces, kingdoms and fiefdoms, which together formed Hindustan – and that included present day Pakistan and Bangladesh. I would not be far wrong in saying that it was the British who facilitated their integration and now these states are together in the Sovereign Democratic Republic of India due to cultural and religious commonalities and a host of various other unifying factors. A former Union Minister said that Arundhati Roy “would do better to brush up her knowledge of history and know that the princely state of Jammu & Kashmir had acceded to the Union of India after its erstwhile ruler Maharaja Hari Singh duly signed the Instrument of Accession on October 26, 1947.” According to the Chambers Dictionary, accession is the act or event of acceding; a coming… as an addition or a new member; that which is added; an addition by nature or industry to existing property (law); acquisition of such an addition by the owner of the existing property (law). Therefore the entire state of Jammu & Kashmir, including the Kashmir Valley, is an integral part of India beyond doubt.

    In view of the above, I would urge Arundhati Roy to carefully go through the narrative below by a Kashmiri Pandit and the Historical Chronology of Jammu & Kashmir State. (This is a serious attempt to educate Arundhati Roy). I would also urge her to visit the following websites, which will further educate her:
    http://kaulonline.com/blog/2010/09/kashmir-is-too-small-for-azadi/

    This website says that “Kashmir is not J&K”, because it is actually only a small part of it – 6.98% to be exact. Kashmir is the Muslim majority area and other parts of J&K are not. Kashmir is a geographically smaller portion of the larger state of Jammu & Kashmir, which comprises the provinces of Jammu, Kashmir, and Ladakh. It is this Muslim majority portion of 7% of the state that cannot see itself fitting in a non-Muslim India. It is this beautiful valley that was called Heaven on Earth and has now been turned into hell by the Islamic separatist violence.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Royal_House_of_Jammu_and_Kashmir
    Lists the Maharajas of Kashmir. The last ruling Maharaja of Jammu & Kashmir was Hari Singh. His son His Highness Dr. Karan Singh is the present titular Maharaja of Jammu & Kashmir.

    http://islamicdangerstill.blogspot.com/2008/12/muslim-invasion-of-india.html
    Talks of how Muslim invaders used devious tactics to plunder and ravage India over several centuries.
    http://www.hindubooks.org/sudheer_birodkar/hindu_history/landalienrule.html

    -The Intervention of Alien rule from 1194 C.E. up to 1947 C.E. By Sudheer Birodkar The Hindu Struggle to Resist Muslim Aggression

    The Muslim and Hindu peoples of Kashmir have lived in relative harmony and friendliness since the 13th century when Islam first became the majority religion in Kashmir. The Sufi-Islamic way of life that ordinary Muslims followed in Kashmir complemented the rishi tradition of Kashmiri Pandits (Hindus), leading to a syncretic culture where Hindus and Muslims revered the same local saints and prayed at the same shrines.

    Periodically however, there have been rulers and leaders who have had a narrow view of Islam, and have subjected Hindu minorities to great cruelties and discrimination. The current armed secessionist movement in Kashmir mostly derives its inspiration from these people.

    A canard is now being spread past few years by the secessionist-terrorists and their sympathizers that in 1990 Kashmiri Pandits left Kashmir willingly, having been “tricked” by then Jammu and Kashmir Governor Jagmohan. Nothing could be farther from the truth. The fact is that Kashmiri Pandits were driven from their homeland after a campaign of intimidation and harassment was launched against them by the military-wing of the secessionists. Kashmiri Pandits were forced from their hearths and homes at the point of gun. The objective of this ethnic cleansing was to create a minority free Kashmir valley where the goal of Islamization could be easily forced on the ordinary people.

    However, the history of Kashmir proves beyond doubt that Kashmir belongs to Hindustan. Therefore every Hindu must raise his voice against the atrocities by the Muslims on Kashmiri Pandits. And the Government of India must take definitive steps to show Pakistan and its terrorist organizations and the sectarian forces in Kashmir their place.

    Historical Chronology of Jammu and Kashmir State

    App. 3000 B.C.:

    Kashmir clan is named in Mahabharata.

    2629-2564 B.C.:

    Rule by King Sandiman.

    2082-2041 B.C.:

    Rule by King Sunder Sen rules Kashmir.

    1048-1008 B.C.:

    King Nara rules Kashmir.

    250 B.C.:

    Shrinagari (today’s Srinagar is located about three miles from Shrinagari) near the ancient capital Pandhrenatha is founded by Ashoka the Great.

    7th century:

    King Lalitaditya builds the famous Sun temple and formed the city of Pharihaspura.

    813-850:

    Pampore was founded by Padma, during the rule of King Ajatapida

    855-883:

    King Avantivarman builds the town of Avantipur and the famous Sun temple.

    883-902:

    King Shankaravarman builds Shankarapura-pattan (now known as Pattan).

    1128-1149:

    Reign of King Jayasim.

    mid-12th:

    Muslim invasion of Kashmir.

    1322

    Turks, under ferocious Zulkadur Khan, first invade Kashmir.

    1394-1416:

    Central Asian ruler, Sikander invades Kashmir and brings about mass conversion to Islam. After the tyranny of Sikander was over, only eleven Kashmiri Hindu families survive.

    1540:

    Mirz Haidar, a relative of Humayun (of the Moghul invader dynasty) conquers Kashmir. Kashmir gradually absorbed into Moghul Empire.

    1810-1820:

    Maharajah Ranjit Singh, one of the greatest rulers of India, regains Jammu and appointed his Dogra feudatory Gulab Singh to rule the State.

    Mar 16, 1846:

    The present State is created by a treaty between the British East India Company acting on behalf of the British Government and Maharajah Gulab Singh in Amritsar.

    1931:

    One of the worst communal riots led by Sheikh Abdullah and his Muslim Conference.

    1939:

    Muslim Conference becomes the National Conference.

    Aug 15, 1947:

    India gains independence. The ruler of Kashmir, Maharaja Hari Singh yet to make up his mind regarding accession.

    Oct 22, 1947:

    Pakistan violates the Standstill Agreement by preventing essential supplies to the State, then hoards of armed Pakistani tribesman entered Kashmir.

    Oct 26, 1947:

    Hari Singh signs the instrument of accession, it is no different than the one signed by over 500 other rulers. The accession of Kashmir was accepted by the Governor General of India Lord Mountbatten.

    Oct 27, 1947:

    The first Indian forces arrived in Kashmir to defend against Pakistani troops.

    Dec 31, 1947:

    A highly unconstitutional offer of plebiscite was made by Prime Minister Nehru in the U.N.

    Jan 1, 1948:

    India under Nehru declares a unilateral cease-fire and under Article 35 of the U.N. Charter, India files a complaint with the U.N. Security Council. Pakistan still controls 2/5 of the State.

    Jan 20, 1948:

    The U.N. Security Council in its resolution of establishes the United Nations Commission for India and Pakistan (UNCIP).

    Jul 1948:

    Mohd. Zafrulla Khan, then the Foreign Minister of Pakistan and principal Delegate of Pakistan in the U.N. admits to the U.N. Commission for India and Pakistan that the Pakistani Army had been in Kashmir.

    Aug 13, 1948:

    UNCIP adopts a resolution on Kashmir accepted by both India and Pakistan. Pakistan is blamed for the invasion of Kashmir and is instructed to withdraw its forces from Kashmir.

    Jan 1, 1949:

    Amidst great tension, one minute before midnight, India and Pakistan concluded a formal cease fire agreement.

    Jan 5, 1949:

    Almost a year after Nehru’s offer of plebiscite, the UNCIP passes a resolution that states that, “The question of accession of the state of Jammu and Kashmir to India or Pakistan will be decided through the democratic method of free and impartial plebiscite”. However, Pakistan has yet to comply with the earlier resolution and withdraw from the State. Also, Pakistan is now busy changing the demographic composition of the State.

    1949:

    Not withstanding the opposition by several authors of the Indian Constitution, including Dr. Ambedkar, its chief architect, Article 370 was inserted in the constitution of India. This article is meant as a temporary measure, to be in effect until the formal constitution of Jammu and Kashmir is drafted.

    Jun 1948:

    Sheikh Abdullah declares, “We the people of Jammu and Kashmir, have thrown our lot with Indian people not in the heat of passion or a moment of despair, but by a deliberate choice. The union of our people has been fused by the community of ideals and common sufferings in the cause of freedom”.

    1949:

    Following the cabinet decision taken by the Abdullah Government, Hari Singh steps down. Hari Singh’s son, Karan Singh is named his successor.

    Apr 1950

    UN Security Council appoints Sir Owen Dixon as the UN representative in place of UNCIP to find expeditious and enduring solution to the India-Pakistan dispute over Kashmir.

    Oct 1950:

    General Council of the National Conference demands elections to create a Constituent Assembly.

    Sep 1951:

    Elections for the Constituent Assembly are held The National Conference wins all 45 seats unopposed.

    Oct 1951:

    Constituent Assembly of the State of Jammu and Kashmir is inaugurated.

    Nov 5, 1951:

    The Constituent Assembly is given four tasks by Sheikh Abdullah which including the accession to India.

    Nov-Dec 1951:

    Karan Singh steps down as the ruler, and is elected by the Constituent Assembly of the Jammu and Kashmir State as Sardar- i-Riyasat (Governor).

    1952:

    Jana Sangh begins campaign called “Ek Vidhan Ek Pradhan” (One Constitution, one leader) and demands that the State of Jammu and Kashmir be totally integrated into India and that the people from the other States be able to visit Jammu and Kashmir without a passport.

    1952:

    Jana Sang leader Shyamaprasad Mukherjee dies in a Kashmiri Jail under mysterious circumstances.

    Aug 9, 1953:

    Sheikh Abdullah is arrested. He had turned corrupt and autocrat. He tried to hold India for ransom by giving increasingly anti-India speeches and preserve his power.

    Feb 1954:

    Under the leadership of Bakshi Ghulam Mohammad DEMOCRATICALLY ELECTED Constituent Assembly of the State of Jammu and Kashmir ratified the State’s accession to India.

    May 14, 1954:

    The President of India promulgates the Constitution (Application to Jammu and Kashmir) Order placing on a final footing the applicability of the other provisions of the Indian Constitution to Jammu and Kashmir.

    1956:

    Constitution (Seventh Amendment) Act 1956, the category of Part B State was aboilished and Jammu and Kashmir was included as one of the States of India under Article I. However, Article 370 of the Indian constitution is still retained.

    Jan 26, 1957:

    After the formal inauguration of its constitution, the Constituent Assembly dissolves itself.

    1958:

    All-India services extended to J and K through an amendment in Article 312.

    1964:

    Sheikh Abdullah released from the prison.

    1965:

    Pakistan attacks India, in operation code named, Gibraltar. The defeat of Pakistan results in the Tashkent Agreement between the two countries.

    Mar 30, 1965:

    Article 249 of Indian Constitution extended to Jammu and Kashmir whereby the center could legislate on any matter enumerated in state list (just like in any other State in the Union). Designations like Prime Minister and President of the State are replace by Chief Minister and Governor.

    1971:

    Pakistani attack on India results in the third war between the two countries. Pakistan is completely defeated, over 90,000 of its men surrendered.

    1972:

    India and Pakistan sign the Shimla Pact. Two agree to respect the line of control until the issue is finally resolved.

    Feb 24-25, 1975:

    Following an accord signed by Prime Minister Indira Gandhi and Sheikh Abdullah on February 24, 1975, Jammu and Kashmir is made a “Constituent Unit” of India on February 25, 1975. Through this accord Indian Parliament reaffirms its right to legislate on any matter concerning the territory of the State.

    1977:

    National Conference wins the first post-Emergency elctions.

    1982:

    Sheikh Abdullah nominates his son, Farooq Abdullah as his successor setting up a political rivalry between Farooq Abdullah and his brother-in-law G. M. Shah.

    1986:

    In one of the most shameful acts of religious massacre, several ancient historical Hindu temples are destroyed and scores of Hindus were killed in the city of Anantnag. Chief Minister G. M. Shah looses power to his brother-in-law Farooq Abdullah.

    1990-1991:

    In a spate of terrorist violence, 2400 people have died so far, and 300,000 people have been driven out of their homes. Pakistan’s involvement in this carnage of violence is beyond doubt.

    Does Arundhati Roy need more proof that Kashmir is an integral part of India?

    The twice-married Arundhati Roy is indeed a confused individual – she is so full of controversies and contradictions.

    She has raised questions about the investigation into the 2001 Indian Parliament attack and the trial of the accused. She has called for the death sentence of Mohammad Afzal Guru to be stayed while a parliamentary enquiry into these questions are conducted and denounced press coverage of the trial.

    Arundhati Roy has called the Partition of India as “Britain’s final, parting kick to us”. Why then is she supporting independence for Kashmir? Why has she said “Kashmir should get azadi from bhookhe-nange Hindustan”? Has she not contradicted herself? Is she looking to disintegrate India further as HER ‘parting kick’ to the rest of the patriotic Indians? Is this not sedition? According to the Chambers Dictionary, sedition is public speech or actions intended to promote disorder; vaguely, any offence against the state short of treason.

    Arundhati Roy has also stated clearly that she believes “nothing can justify terrorism” and has called terrorism “a heartless ideology.” Why then had she shared the dais with pro-Pakistan hardline Hurriyat leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani and pro-Maoist leader Vara Vara Rao among others at the Delhi seminar? Her description of the Maoists as ‘Gandhians’ has also raised a controversy.

    Indian writer Tavleen Singh once called Arundhati Roy’s comments “the latest of her series of hysterical diatribes against India and all things Indian.”

    In her statement from Srinagar, Arundhati Roy said, “Pity the nation that has to silence its writers for speaking their minds.” She also said, “Pity the nation that needs to jail those who ask for justice while communal killers, mass murderers, corporate scamsters, looters, rapists, and those who prey on the poorest of the poor, roam free”. She justified her anti-India diatribe by saying, “I said what millions of people here say every day. I said what I, as well as other commentators, have written and said for years. Anybody who cares to read the transcripts of my speeches will see that they were fundamentally a call for justice.

    “I spoke about justice for the people of Kashmir who live under one of the most brutal military occupations in the world; for Kashmiri Pandits who live out the tragedy of having been driven out of their homeland; for Dalit soldiers killed in Kashmir whose graves I visited on garbage heaps in their villages in Cuddalore; for the Indian poor who pay the price of this occupation in material ways and who are now learning to live in the terror of what is becoming a police state.”

    She has chosen to echo the tirade of a few million anti-national separatists in Kashmir but has completely ignored the sentiments of the Kashmiri Pandits and of several million patriotic Indians. In this context, I would urge her to read the following article by Shri Tarun Vijay:

    Whose man is that soldier fighting in Kashmir?

    While one need not fully subscribe to the views expressed in the article, one must fully agree on one issue. In India, we have a totally unacceptable approach of treating the Armed forces, para-military and police as fully expendable, be it Kashmir, North Eastern states or Naxalites. The media and particularly the so-called civil society activists only see human rights violations by the security forces irrespective of the fact they often have to act with great restrain on specific orders and were virtually forced to act by the deliberate acts of agents provocateurs. One hardly sees any condemnation when unarmed govt. employees and policemen are taken hostage and brutally killed. One would go to the extent of saying that since a large number of jawans and policemen are drawn from the poorer and less privileged segments of our society, the establishment (which includes the govt.) is least bothered by the mounting casualties amongst these personnel. Why can’t we have a national political consensus for laying down specific guidelines defining the limits of public protest and expression of dissent in a civilised democratic society? Any transgression of these democratic rights by the security forces should be dealt with deterrent punishment. Conversely, violation of the guidelines should lead to deterrent penal action with political parties and leaders responsible being dealt with severely including disenfranchisement.

    &a mp;a mp;n bsp;

    An extra ordinary, informative article on our soldiers fighting in Kashmir by Shri Tarun Vijay in Times of India.

    []

    Whose man is that soldier fighting in Kashmir?

    Tarun Vijay
    14 September 2010, 07:44 PM IST Times of India

    India must be the only country in the world where being an antinational murderer means a person or organization getting invitations for talks with the government. Mir Waiz and Geelani should have been booked months ago and punished for their anti-India activities. They not only instigated Kashmiri youth to attack our patriotic people and soldiers but also vitiated the entire atmosphere in the valley bringing normal life to a halt and using Kashmiri youth as fodder for their Pakistani plots, resulting in so many killings of young boys. The fact of the matter is that the killers in Kashmir are these two pro-Pakistani elements, who would have been taken to task by any government with a spine much earlier than their fangs grew more poisonous. In such a situation, instead of talking tough and straight, the government is not only giving confused signals to ‘soften’ (whatever that means) the Armed Forces Special Powers Act but making gestures to terrorist supporters to come to talk. Talks, always a welcome way to find a solution, can be held or even an indication for a discussion can be sent only when the atmosphere is ripe for it and the other side, offenders in this case, show a willingness to come to terms. I must say Prime Minister Manmohan Singh sounded reasonable at the Armed Forces commanders’ meet on September 13 when he said: “The youth of Kashmir are our citizens and their grievances have to be addressed….We are willing to talk to every person or group which abjures violence, within the framework of our Constitution.” But is this the time to extend an olive branch?

    Have they ever thought what effect these gestures by the government have on the morale of the soldiers?

    For whom is the Indian soldier fighting the battle in Kashmir?

    It pains me immensely to see how our secular media sirens show their undiluted love for the separatists on TV screens and they go to the streets of Srinagar only to interview the unpatriotic people. When they invite any of the antinational separatists on their shows, they display an utter lack of sensitivity towards those who love their country and give all the space and time to those voices of insanity and violence with a soft, affectionate anchoring you seldom witness when they put on trial any leader showing patriotic leanings. There was hardly a time, except during the Kargil war, when the voices representing the soldiers were given a chance to come to the TV studios or have their say on the editorial pages of the media empires. He is despised, hated and made responsible for all the bad happenings, in a sweeping manner. No one has tried to see the hardened daily routine a soldier is subjected to from 6am to sunset, and after that the night vigil. Anything untoward happens and rogue actors like Salman Khan say meekly to the Pakistan media: Oh, it was the fault of the Indian security personnel. Salman should have been tried for treason. But we have people who lovingly go to his house and try to ‘settle the issue’. These very people and their governors make this day possible when anyone feels free to speak against the soldiers, against the national psyche of patriotism. A soldier is not a daily wage earner like the stone pelters. He is a representative of the nation’s time-honoured traditions. He is nurtured and nourished on a family’s “khandaani izzat” – “Mera beta fauji hai”. Ask any politician acting as an apologist for the separatist murderers, has he ever thought of sending his child to the forces? A family offers mannats at the feet of their wahe guru over devatas to ensure their son gets selected in the “fauj”. He is trained by the best of the warriors at the National Defence Academy or the Indian Military Academy. Some lucky ones get selected early and go through the National Defence School route and see the pictures when they recommissioned – after a thrilling passing out parade in Dehradun. Their caps in the air and their moms and dads hugging them with moist eyes. Years of training and a life of a great Indian patriotic goes waste before the gang of rogue pro-Pakistan elements who have hardly any idea what they are demanding.

    Whether he is in the Army or in CRPF, BSF or ITBP, the story is the same. He is there not because he wanted to loot and rape and maim people. He was sent by the Indian government to safeguard the interests of the nation and the Constitution. He is a uniformed gentleman. Those who blow the case of rights violation must be heard definitely. But can an individual’s fault be attributed to the olive green or the khaki fraternity of the soldier? I absolutely agree with Manmohan Singh when he says, “The youth of Kashmir are our citizens and their grievances have to be addressed”. But this should be done through good governance and a mechanism that can win their trust and not through “Srinagar-CM-living-in-Delhi” type Omars who never find time to place a wreath on the body of a soldier martyred in Kashmir.

    In fact, the killers of Kashmir are people like Mir Waiz and Geelani. The angst of Kashmir must be directed against them. The soldier would be too happy to go back to his barracks and celebrate Diwali and Eid with family.

    In the secular sultanate of Delhi’s power brokers, a soldier is just another babu, another employee to be denied a justifiable demand of “one rank-one pension” by those politicians who raise their salaries 300% in a jiffy. And in the media he is a punching bag. Just read a poem an Indian soldier wrote (saw it on a blog; Ali, perhaps, was his name).

    Why do I still serve you?

    How you play with us, did you ever see?
    At Seven, I had decided what I wanted to be;
    I would serve you to the end,
    All these boundaries I would defend.

    Now you make me look like a fool,
    When at seventeen and just out of school;
    Went to the place where they made “men out of boys”
    Lived a tough life …sacrificed a few joys…

    In those days, I would see my “civilian” friends,
    Living a life with the fashion trends;
    Enjoying their so called “college days”
    While I sweated and bled in the sun and haze…
    But I never thought twice about what where or why
    All I knew was when the time came, I’d be ready to do or die.

    At 21 and with my commission in hand,
    Under the glory of the parade and the band,
    I took the oath to protect you over land, air or sea,
    And make the supreme sacrifice when the need came to be.

    I stood there with a sense of recognition,
    But on that day I never had the premonition,
    that when the time came to give me my due,
    You’d just say, “What is so great that you do?”

    Long back you promised a well-to-do life;
    And when I’m away, take care of my wife.
    You came and saw the hardships I live through,
    And I saw you make a note or two,
    And I hoped you would realise the worth of me;
    but now I know you’ll never be able to see,
    Because you only see the glorified life of mine,
    Did you see the place where death looms all the time?
    Did you meet the man standing guard in the snow?
    The name of his newborn he does not know…
    Did you meet the man whose father breathed his last?
    While the sailor patrolled our seas so vast?

    You still know I’ll not be the one to raise my voice
    I will stand tall and protect you in Punjab Himachal and Thois.

    But that’s just me you have in the sun and rain,
    For now at twenty-four, you make me think again;
    About the decision I made, seven years back;
    Should I have chosen another life, some other track?

    Will I tell my son to follow my lead?
    Will I tell my son, you’ll get all that you need?
    This is the country you will serve
    This country will give you all that you deserve?

    I heard you tell the world “India is shining”
    I told my men, that’s a reason for us to be smiling
    This is the India you and I will defend!
    But tell me how long will you be able to pretend?
    You go on promise all that you may,
    But it’s the souls of your own men you betray.

    Did you read how some of our eminent citizens
    Write about me and ridicule my very existence?
    I ask you to please come and see what I do,
    Come and have a look at what I go through
    Live my life just for a day
    Maybe you’ll have something else to say?

    I will still risk my life without a sigh
    To keep your flag flying high
    but today I ask myself a question or two…
    Oh India….

    Why do I still serve you? ? ?

    And now, a word about the great Hurriyat separatist leader Janab Syed Ali Shah Geelani Saheb…

    He is the father of two sons and five daughters! So much for family planning!

    He is in the view of releasing Mohammed Afzal Guru convicted for attacking Parliament on 13 December, 2001.

    The income-tax department has asked Syed Ali Shah Geelani to file Rs1.73 crore in tax dues over a period when he had not filed his returns, after rejecting his appeal.

    The I-T sleuths, who had swooped down on the residences of Geelani and his family members in 2002 and seized valuable items including a diamond-studded watch gifted by the Pakistan government, had raised a tax demand of over Rs1.5 crore. The department had raided Geelani’s house and other places of his kin on June 9, 2002, and seized Rs10.2 lakh and 10,000 US dollars in cash, vouchers showing purchase of substantial amount of jewellery, and a diamond-encrusted watch inscribed with ‘From Pakistan Government’, besides documents pertaining to purchase of property and vehicles.

    Geelani challenged the demand and approached the commissioner of income tax (appeals) for review of his case and also sought a waiver, saying he did not earn anything other than pension from the Government of Jammu & Kashmir and income from agricultural land.

    The case dragged on for nearly three years and recently his appeal was dismissed, after which he was asked to deposit Rs1.73 crore as tax liabilities by end of 2010. Geelani still has the option to go to the Income Tax Appellate Tribunal in India.

    Geelani had shown an annual income of Rs17,100 — Rs7,100 as pension from the state assembly as a former MLA and Rs10,000 as agriculture income.

    However, according to the assessment made by the income-tax department, Geelani’s monthly expenditure allegedly ranged from Rs1 lakh to Rs1.5 lakh, as he had 15 servants at his house and his wife had confirmed that she used to get Rs25,000 per month for kitchen expenses.

    When asked to comment, Geelani said he had not received the notice as yet and would like to first understand the grounds of rejection before reacting.

    All this while Geelani forced Kashmiri youth to forego their education and indulge in stone pelting! Interestingly, Geelani himself is a graduate from the Oriental College in Lahore and Arundhati Roy went to prestigious schools like Corpus Christi, Kottayam and the Lawrence School, Lovedale, in Nilgiris, Tamil Nadu. She then studied architecture at the School of Planning and Architecture, New Delhi. What then gives them the moral right to make Kashmiri youth to forego their right to education and make them indulge in anti-national activities?

    Here is another fact about Syed Ali Shah Geelani…

    He has been diagnosed with renal cancer, and has been recommended by (Indian) doctors to go overseas for treatment. After Prime Minister Manmohan Singh intervened, Indian government agencies returned Geelani’s passport to his son. His passport was seized in 1981 due to accusations of ‘anti-India’ activities, and with the exception of his Hajj pilgrimage in 2006, he has not been allowed to leave India.

    During a regular check-up doctors discovered that Geelani’s ‘only kidney has developed malignancy’. An infection forced doctors, four years ago, to remove his left kidney. Although the cancer was in its early stages, it was life threatening, and he needed to have surgery. Following the advice of his doctors at Apollo Hospital (in India of course), Geelani was set to travel to either the UK or the USA for specialized treatment. However, his request for a visa was turned down by the Americans, and as his health deteriorated he went to Mumbai (in India) for surgery. Doctors at the Tata Memorial Hospital (in India) successfully performed surgery on his kidney. The reason given by the US for turning down Geelani’s request for a visa was, that he has “failed to renounce violence”. This decision was declared a violation of his human rights by his supporters and family. (I wonder why the blighter didn’t insist on going to Pakistan for treatment!).

    All this means that Geelani will soon become Allah ko pyaraa. Perhaps if he had gone to Pakistan for treatment, the doctors there would have made him kick the bucket much earlier! This is probably the reason why so many Pakistanis come to India for specialized treatment and complicated surgeries.

    In the meanwhile, Pakistan continues with cease-fire violations. As on 27 Oct 2010, there have been three cease-fire violations in 24 hours. And the indecisive and dysfunctional UPA government is sitting and sucking its thumb!

    A new word has been coined for the separatists, secessionists and the self-styled activists who support them. They are now being called ‘splitists’! Be that as it may, the likes of Geelani and Arundhati Roy and their confederates in terrorism have crossed all limits of freedom of speech and expression and are a real threat to the territory of the Sovereign Democratic Republic of India. As they are so displeased with the policies of the Indian government with regard to the Kashmir issue, I would urge them to do us all a great favour and exercise the other great freedom provided by the Constitution of India. The freedom to leave the country. Yes, Arundhati Roy and Syed Ali Shah Geelani, get the hell out of my country.

    In the meanwhile, a case of alleged sedition has been filed in a local court in Ranchi against Arundhati Roy for her controversial remarks on Kashmir

    .

    The complaint, lodged by one Ashish Kumar Singh in the Chief Judicial Magistrate’s (CJM) court of Vijay Kumar in Ranchi, was transferred to the court of Judicial Magistrate (first class

    ) of Amit Shekhar.

    The BJP has demanded that the UPA government take the strongest possible action against writer activist Arundhati Roy for her ‘seditious’ remarks on Kashmir and asked the Centre to spell out its policy vis-à-vis Kashmir and the separatists. “When there is an elected government in Kashmir as the result of free and fair elections, how can someone say the state is not an integral part of India? It’s nothing but sedition,” senior BJP leader M Venkaiah Naidu said.

    Demanding action against Geelani and Arundhati Roy, BJP spokesperson Nirmala Sitharaman said, “The language used certainly threatens the constitutional integrity of the country and the answer given at that time by the Home Minister was that there was a recording available and he would want to see it and that he would take action, if necessary.”

    However, as of October 26, 2010, CNN-IBN reported that the central government does not want to escalate the issue further based on an individual’s comments and is unlikely to take action against Arundhati Roy.

    Therefore it is time for organizations like RSS, VHP, Bajrang Dal, Shiv Sena, Maharashtra Navnirman Sena, Hindu Janajagruthi Samiti, Shree Rama Sene and others to join hands and initiate a nation-wide movement to put pressure on the UPA government to take immediate severe action against Arundhati Roy and Syed Ali Shah Geelani and their ilk. These treacherous anti-national traitors must be arrested immediately, their passports impounded and they must be tried for high treason.

    For those of you who have managed to read this entire narrative and reach this point, I have this to say. It will be my endeavour to put up this entire narrative in the

    facebook page of Arundhati Roy – http://www.facebook.com/home.php?#!/pages/Arundhati-Roy/107634772598971

    and on the facebook page of Syed Ali Shah Geelani – http://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/Syed-Ali-Shah-Geelani/108163025871965.

    I will also make every effort to put it up in every blog I can find and urge you to do the same, apart from circulating this to as many people as possible. (Also, if anyone knows the e-mail IDs of Arundhati Roy and Geelani, please forward this to them). I also urge all readers to send e-mails to the following:

    jaishriram@vsnl.in, writetous@manase.org, contact@rssonnet.org, info@rssonnet.org, nitingadkari@email.com, webmaster@bjp.org, ramsena@shriramsena.com, pravakta@hindujagruti.org, hinduunity@hinduunity.org, report@hinduunity.org

    and urge these organizations to put pressure on the UPA government to immediately initiate action against Arundhati Roy and Syed Ali Shah Geelani. For no one must be allowed to get away by misusing the freedom of speech and expression guaranteed by the Constitution of India and by indulging in sedition and anti-national activities. Inaction on the part of the Indian government will only give an open licence to such traitors to provoke others into anti-national acts, with disastrous consequences. This must be nipped in the bud before it reaches alarming proportions. In fact, it already has reached alarming proportions!

    If I do succeed in this, it may very well trigger a war of words with Arundhati Roy who has the power of word play by virtue of her being in the literary field, while I am but a lesser mortal. However, I dare her to such a match, for, though I am not a renowned author of literary works, I do have access to Roget’s Thesaurus and the Chambers Dictionary. I will match her imaginative fiction for fact, word for word!

    VANDE MATARAM

    1. Thanks for sharing, KVN.

      I don’t think that you can ascribe the virtues of being either a ‘full blooded Indian’ or ‘a patriot’ to someone who reads your comment or agrees with your analysis. The concepts of both ‘full blooded’ and ‘patriot’ are nebulous, if they exist at all, and usually used as an ad hominem attack on the person whose views you oppose. This blog prefers stronger arguments.

      I also think you miss the point at issue here: Arundhati’s Roy’s right to express her views without threat of inprisonment. If you provide evidence that she is wrong in her views, that does not justify locking her up for them. As you say, she renouces terrorism, and it would be ludicrous to say that the statements of one author can destabilise the states.

      See my colleague Salil Tripathi’s analysis: ‘Roy is often wrong, but she still has rights‘.

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