1.10.11

Modi's Martyrdom Via Sanjiv Bhatt?

While everyone was assuming that Narendra Modi will be busy fasting and watching disco dandiya during the Navratri festival, he quietly got his band of stick-wielders to arrest former IPS officer Sanjiv Bhatt. As we all know, Bhatt says he was present when directions were issued by Modi to let Hindus “vent out their anger” and teach Muslims a lesson. By all accounts, Bhatt did give this version, but was not called before the SIT committee to depose. He pretty much played by the book and did not use other means of exposure. In this sense, he cannot be termed a whistle-blower. It has been several years and he stayed in office.

On September 30, he was put behind bars for kidnapping a junior to implicate Modi. Constable K D Pant lodged an FIR saying that he was wrongly confined and threatened to fabricate evidence. This is hilarious. Before the might of Modi, why would a senior recruit someone way down in the hierarchy to buffer his case?

Is Sanjiv Bhatt a real thorn or a diversionary player? To his credit, he refused to give sound bytes to the TV news channels. One anchor rather helpfully told us that he has left it to the media and the people to decide! Much as I dread those who barf into microphones, Bhatt should have issued a statement. He is trying to use the law when he knows that the law is being misused.

Now, we come to conspiracy theory number one:

Modi refuses to attend the BJP’s two-day national executive meet that began yesterday, the day Bhatt is arrested. He cites the kNavratri festival and his fasting as the reason. Tongues wag. There is a problem between him and L.K.Advani. Rubbish, say the others, we are one big family. They are not like any other political party.

Modi did not attend because very likely it was already conveyed to the BJP high command coterie. This is the classic Hindutva style of functioning. One section does the dirty work, so that the main group remains clean. Then, after the deed, the core group re-enters to lend support. This effectively amounts to a higher ideological agreement. The BJP was not around toK watch Bhatt arrested. It was a local decision. However, they are with Modi on this in principle. It is a smart strategy and has paid them well in the past too. We often see the RSS as the tough guys, while the BJP flaunts its moderates, its intellectuals and its dancers.

Here is how the BJP spokesperson Prakash Javadekar reacted to the arrest:

"This is a very right step. Any state cannot tolerate unaccountability and indiscipline. Officers and police personnel have to follow a certain discipline, a code of conduct and decorum.”

Accountability? Decorum? Code of conduct? Where were all these when the riots took place, when in the aftermath the same undisciplined officers, prodded by the government, took part in encounters and looked the other way? Where were all these honourable codes when these same disciplined men were transferred to protect their insidious activities by the government in charge?

This brings us to conspiracy number two:

Bhatt had already filed an affidavit before the Supreme Court; the timing of his arrest is important. The BJP meet, besides making a clear demarcation between the good, the bad and the ugly, will also send out an overt signal that Modi is not a national level leader. His arena is the state, where he is king. What will Modi get out of it, besides a principality instead of a kingdom? The advantage of not being dependent on a kingmaker. No BJP leader can claim to have made Modi. Even poor Atal Behari Vajpayee was seen as an Advani creation, especially during his ‘mukhota’ (mask) phase.

The BJP does not have a dynasty, but it most certainly has its hierarchy in place. Often, instead of people, it is factions that rule. While factionalism has caused severe damage to other political parties, the saffron ethos grants every satellite its monogrammed halo. If you bring all these halos together for the larger good (read elections), then you are given to understand it is cultural renaissance and reclaiming of pure India. It might be cause for sniggers, given that we ‘rid’ ourselves of a pure land six decades ago, but then there is the danger of being branded pseudo-secular.

I say danger because some segments of the liberal/secular brigade (though they can be mutually exclusive ideas) have used the riots to further their own image, if not use manoeuvres. The reason could well be the necessity to force-feed the judiciary which is keeping its mouth shut. Is that not why even Sanjiv Bhatt had said he would be willing to give all the information if he got the “opportunity to tell the truth”?

The legal process has a different version of truth. It has to be factually provable. It is often difficult to produce evidence of acts of omission or of covert instructions.

The situation is now set to make a martyr of Modi via the martyrdom of Sanjiv Bhatt. Bhatt’s arrest will get the liberals out, but without the advantage of an iota of what he knows. This knowledge too is probably lacking in relevant paperwork, unless people are willing to testify. Unfortunately, that makes them invaluable assets for the establishment. They can be accused of being pressurised or get co-opted into making such claims. Bhatt will be the lone man standing. In a weird twist, Modi will be posited against this – the gentleman politician and the undisciplined officer, the former being condemned only because the latter had differences, that too with a man who has transformed his state despite the odds and made it into a model for the rest of steel-and-chrome India to ape while retaining its ‘soul’.

Sanjiv Bhatt is the perfect foil to ensure Modi’s tragedy act, rather than demonise him. After all, Nero’s fiddle did not do the burning of Rome. In fact, he was so lost in fiddling that he did not even smell the smoke.

As always, it is advantage Modi and his flying Valhalla machine.

(c) Farzana Versey

(Also published in Countercurrents

37 comments:

Free and Footloose said...

FV,

Happy to see you back. Now awaiting the backlog of your responses to many comments on other posts.

----

(Talking of this post) Frankly speaking, there are too many assumptions behind your views, not all of them reasonable.

Looking at Modi govt (that too a full decade down the line) solely from the riots prism will always yield distorted views. I do not deny the tragedy (A huge majority of common public in Gujarat simply refuses to assume that the riots were a crime at all. Just as a massive part of Muslim community worldwide refuses to acknowledge that Islam by definition can not - as yet - tolerate other religions, forget considering them as equal).

Hope that future will bring about some positive changes.

Let the name-calling start now!!

Free and Footloose said...

FV,

I just read once again your soulful monologue meant for the ears of Mr Prakash Jawdekar. I think this is what they call "begging a question". You are asking him (by inference BJP and Modi) to be accountable for an offence which in his view was not commited by at all - or was not a crime at all.

It is like asking Saudi Arabia or Pak to be accountable for having a vengeful, discriminatory, medieval Islamic law!

FV said...

I seriously do not know what I can add to the earlier discussion (http://farzana-versey.blogspot.com/2011/09/modis-fast-undo-death-gujarats-shame.html). Much of it I have said in different posts in different ways. I reckon the debate, even if a bit pugnacious, did provide a few insights. Thank you Meriam, Hitesh, F&F...

Even so, let me address a few points discussed for they are about issues beyond the immediate:

1. The Stockholm Syndrome can apply to a people who are captured in some manner and, despite the vile intentions, a process of forced attraction takes place. It has to do with helplessness and to an extent subliminal opportunism. This has happened in Gujarat because the system sold the 'no riots' after 2002 idea, quite inadvertently revealing that it CAN prevent them if it wishes to. Clearly, the earlier one was not prevented. Muslims of a certain economic strata, as people anywhere, would go along if their businesses and properties are safe. 

The Kashmir analogy does not quite work. There might be individual Kashmiris held hostage who could suffer from the SS. But it cannot apply to the state as a whole because 

A. The people have been disillusioned way before visible insurgency. 
B. There are the government, the security forces and the extremists - between them the state is fractured. SS requires a singular force. 
C. If throwing stones is SS, then every single public gathering could be termed so, including people brought in trucks to cast their votes. 
D. Hindus converted to Islam not only because they "were terrified of the unrelenting Islamic atrocities" (I thought they fought and their women committed jauhar - mass suicide to save their honour from the marauding mobs), but often due to the stringent caste system. Interestingly, much of Islam as practised in India has become caste-based. The Sunni-Shia conflict has always been there, of course. 

2. It is facetious to bring in religious texts to divert the issue of a communal riot. It means that those rioting were reading their own texts, not the Quran, and shouting their own slogans. Do we want to get into this? Was this a 'holy war' too? How many Muslims agree with holy wars taking place across the world? And, more important, most of the victims are indeed Muslims. So, whether anyone quotes para and verse or not, the reality is not based on them. 

If the Quran discriminates, then where does it say in any scripture that another religion is superior. I would be happy with some quotes on this!

The equal rights argument is part of the political and civil ethos. If a state deems itself Islamic, then it is open season for it to follow what it sees as discrimination - again the rules go against the majority Muslim populations. 

Does Hinduism not discriminate? Anyone read the Manusmriti? Every religion thinks it is the best, and that is the idea of its gods being omnipotent and omniscient. Only because India is a democracy it is bound by the Constitution. Had it chosen to be a theocracy, then it would do what others do. Since it cannot do so legally, the are groups that function extra-constitutionally. They have no business to, until the laws change. Then they can discriminate and people can seek their peace. 

Non-Muslims are not allowed in Mecca. Dalits and other Scheduled castes are not allowed in temples, although they are Hindu. 

FV said...

3. Modi is termed mass murderer because he was the CM, as though all rioters from across Gujarat were lining up in Ahmedabad for their wages every evening! On other hand, in case of 92 Mumbai riots, Bal Thakre is blamed though he held no official position and his party was not even in power, while no mention is made of the Congress functionaries.

Hold back the hyperbole, F&F. There is something called the snowballing effect. Rioters do not get paid; they are brainwashed. In Mumbai in 1992, although Naik was the CM - and he was pulled up for it - the hold of Thackeray was immense. He has never held an official position, but his party has instigated violence openly, using abusive language. This works with some people. No wonder Dada Kondke was a Sena guy. The firearms were found in the homes of Sena guys. Your argument that only because one is making Modi accountable since he occupied the top seat mandates that anyone who causes riots should be in that position is really lame. 

FIRs can be filed if there is some proof. Zakia Jaffri has filed an affidavit where she does implicate him by association quite clearly. 

Anyone can be part of the debate and it has nothing to do with whether you hurt religious sentiments. Asking others to read up before joining in when your position is being questioned is really unacceptable. This is wrt F&F to Meriam. How much have we read about the Pakistani Constitution? What do we know about the intricacies of tribal laws in the North? At least I have spoken to real people who I have seen in person! (Yeah, like seeing is believing or like quoting something can get you a dinner invite...where is unconditional hospitality while there is unconditional hostility?)

FV said...

The last of the 3 part response.

4. I'd like to quote Hitesh here:

The Hindu nationalists (and most certainly the Democratic India) believe that they will prevail (with history on their side); just the way Capitalism prevailed over Communism. Muslims fear that flow of modern history is against their way of life and their very survival depends not only on opposing the Hindu majority state but the very idea of modern secular nation state...

So, the perpetual war may not be entirely avoidable but if it can be mitigated then resources can be deployed towards desperately needed development.


Do consider that the modern state, ideologically, is based on pragmatism. But why must there be a situation where Muslims or anyone needs to oppose majoritarianism in a democracy? Why is their survival so precarious? Ever so often I get these 'good Muslim' type links to articles where the Mussalman is essentially doing the things that are acceptable to the majority or a good Hindu who prays with a Muslim. It is like a bloody zoo...gorilla looks after lion cub or some such. 

Even so-called developed states have their internecine fights. And surely you know that development usually pushes the elite forward. Take the Gujarat example. And how do we define and circumscribe modernity when we have such disparate groups? 

I think all we need to do is follow the Constitution is word and spirit. And understand what democracy means, instead of merely quoting it. There is no place for public projection of religion, and I mean all faiths, including the famous fatwas. The government version of secularism is a vote-bank one and must be stopped. Legally. While iftaars are noticed, the whole Ram Janmabhoomi movement is one big vote-bank. Will the judiciarybhave the courage to disband it?

F&F:

Your stint into poetry, literary connoisseur that you are, might appeal to Taslima Nasreen. Honestly, what was that about "joote maaro"? Hitesh or Meriam can pontificate or sermonise as much as you and I do. They are people, not ideas. Hit out at the idea. 

As the old song goes, "Man ki aankhein khol, baba, man ki aankhein khol..."

Meriam:

It is good that you engaged in this debate, because the world is a large place but also rather small. Why else would your views be seen as certifying mine? Anyhow, you know that I know that I know what I am saying. This is the usual sexist drivel. I have not started writing yesterday, but it is a problem. They can get into a huddle, even outsource the arguments ("VM will handle that"!), but anyone who agrees with me is either suspect or is doing me a favour. Who knows, those Kolhapuri chappals could be seen as Stockholm Syndrome :)

Btw, what is IVS?!

FV said...

F&F:

I am not back really, and there is no backlog I have to clear, or my fair name. I have made a few points that I wanted to.

Your comment on this post is bemusing.

>>FV,

I just read once again your soulful monologue meant for the ears of Mr Prakash Jawdekar. I think this is what they call "begging a question". You are asking him (by inference BJP and Modi) to be accountable for an offence which in his view was not commited by at all - or was not a crime at all.

It is like asking Saudi Arabia or Pak to be accountable for having a vengeful, discriminatory, medieval Islamic law!<<

This was not a monologue, unless you see all writing as. If Javadekar's ears get tickled, then he'd join an illustrious list.

Those in public denial are not ignorant of the crimes committed by them/for them. The denial is precisely a coverup. Asking for accountability is about justice, not politics.

Since you cannot digest anything Indian without reference to Saudi Arabia or Pakistan, then as I have said often, they follow the Sharia. We do not. Declare India a theocracy and then talk to me...over dinner, if you please. It will be the last supper, for sure.

Free and Footloose said...

FV,

Thank you for the reply. Sincerely.
-----
The Meccah - temple comparison did not make sense to me. I am a proud Hindu but I am deeply ashamed of the caste system. There is no contradiction between these two statements. I am also ashamed of the fact that in my personal capacity I am yet to do anything much against this evil. I hope to correct my mistake in future in whatever way I can. Those who prevent fellow Hindus from entering temples are the worst enemies of my religion. I find VHP a bunch of cowardly, cunning, casteist hypocrites because they are ususally in hiding when dalits are denied temple entry or when dalit kids are thrown out of schools or khaps kill inter-caste couples. Their valour only shines in front of poor, hapless Muslim slumdwellers. And they falsely claim to represent all Hindus in the Vishwa, which includes me wihout my assent.

Let me hear something similar from ONE Muslim in the world! Better if it was Imam Bukhari. Or at least Asaduddin Owaisi!
------
Ayodhya movement and its many other revivalist avatars -past and present - have clearly taken a cue from the Islamic destructive religious fervour. Such a thing was practically unknown to Hinduism until medieval period. I believe it goes to show that Hinduism is the only religion in the world which is open to evolution and is not afraid of taking a critical look at itself. Hindutva is just one of the strands of Hinduism (Savarkar believed exactly the opposite though) which has emerged out of the unending process of churning that Hinduism encourages. It is important to know and acknowledge the external stimulii which caused this birth.

Many of the "phoney bleedin" types are likely to jump up in disagreement.
---
The footwear poetry was in response to a similar couplet by Hitesh. I agree that such unhealthy things must be kept out of a discussion. I find personal attacks abhorrent too.
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The issue is not at all about whether some country follows Sharia. Do you mean to say a thing becomes acceptable if it is labelled 'Sharia' but remains unacceptable otherwise? What is this if not double standards? Why should non-Muslims be subject to a code which is entirely Islamic in origin? Why do they deserve death sentence for praying or for gifting a Granth/Geeta/Bible to a Muslim? Is this the sekulaar vision of a just and peaceful world?
----
Yes, we must follow constitution in letter and spirit. (It would also mean implementation of a Uniform Civil Code). But the Indian Constitution itself provides for mechanisms for revision/ ammendments. Ask Shah Bano Begum.
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Kashmir issue is about nothing else but religion. I have no doubts in my mind as to this. Article 370 is perhaps the worst that Indian sekulaars can stoop to in appeasemt (though they can still surprise). I hope I live to see the day when this evil part of the constitution is sent where it belongs - a septic tank.

Hitesh, the target is ready, Shoot!
----
Judiciary is unlikely to have the courage to disband (How exactly?) Ramjanmabhumi movement, just as it will never have the guts to ban Iftars, Burqas, Namaz in streets and Fatwas or the guts to enforce singing of Vande Mataram and Saraswati Vandana. As long as the rules of the game are uniform, I am ok with it!
----
Your dissection of the term Stockholm Syndrome was interesting. How about Manmohan Singh? Is he a victim of it too?
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I never said Quran should assert to superiority of other religions. There is a distinction between superiority and equality.
----
Please do not assume the garb of a victim of sexism. The discussion in question had nothing to do with it. Call me a mass murderer if you want but please do not call me a sexist. It hurts.

If I have ever sounded like one in my arguments, please point it out.
----
Thanks all.

Free and Footloose said...

FV,

I differ. Pak is not a theocracy in the conventional sense. It is an Islamic state. Besides, the European definition of the term does not carry itself intact to the Islamic world and perhaps only Iran can be loosely called a theocracy. If Pak is a theocracy, then nearly every Muslim-majority country (and Mohalla!)is also a theocracy and every bearded guy/veiled gal a theocrat! With a bomb strapped to body! Correct me if I am wrong.
----
If the names Saudi and Pak do not sound pleasant to you any more, I can refer to Yemen, Iran, North Sudan, Egypt, Afghanistan, Malaysia or maybe even Behrampada. You will be surprised to see how most arguments continue to hold good even then!
----
I am gratified to learn of your staunch belief in the Indian constitution. I will remind you of it if ever amnesia sets in!
----
If you were living in the same cage as the gorilla and the lion, would you rather have them cuddling together or rioting with swords?

Thank God you at least ascribed violent ferocity to both in your metaphor. Sekulaars usually use more evocative terms - like say, cutie pie bearded rabbits and mass murderer saffron wolves!

A Hindu is likely to forward links which show non-Hindus following Hindu ways. Please search and forward links showing non-Muslims following Muslim ways. I promise to read them (and comment if asked). Unfortunately, such links are not likely to contain anything more than Modi-bashing, in my opinion! Open to correction.
---
I know VM only as an occassional commentator on your blog. We are not in a conspiratorial huddle or snuggle. When we have one, we will call you and Meriam! Yumm!

(Sorryyy! Couldn't resist that one. Feel free to discard this entire comment if this is offensive. Kolhapuri Chappals hurt sorely when used on the face! Alternatively, you can hold this up and cry "sexist"!)
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QUOTE : "If a state deems itself Islamic, then it is open season for it to follow what it sees as discrimination - again the rules go against the majority Muslim populations."

Not understood....

---
On second thoughts, your views on Stockholm Syndrome need to be pondered over. I admit my remark on Manmohan was just a a red herring!

hitesh said...

(1) India (and esp. its elites, both political and business) have had real concerns that India would go the way of Russia and Yugoslavia (with so many similarities, with regards to diversity, their choice of government and their position in international affairs.

To some, it seems Hindutva will hold it together, to others it seems the democracy might do the trick.

(2) So, the ones who are in position to enforce the constitution in word and spirit are busy figuring out their next move if worst comes to pass. Kind of like what happened with,

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paul_von_Hindenburg

(3) As I have said before Modi is "Ahmedinejad of Gujarat". The Gujarati Hindu Mullahs who hold the real power are ostentatiously non-violent (otherwise known as "passive-aggressive). Modi grew up as poor kid in the interior of Gujarat (kind of like Kasab in Punjab) and RSS took him under its wing and that saved him from the life of abject poverty. Internecine fights within Brahmin, Patel, Baniyas led RSS/BJP to APPOINT Modi to Gujarat leadership.

(4) Modi first served the purpose he was brought in for (establish absolute supremacy of the Gujarati Mullahs). BTW, it is not all directed towards Muslims but generally from moneyed elites towards undesirables. If you are skeptical about it, go back and re-visit the 1984 anti-reservation riots. They were instigated against Madhavsinh's pro-reservation stance and within matter of weeks they turned Communal even though it had nothing do with Muslims (at least the original issue). So, poverty is the real crime here.

(5) Egalitarianism is not very natural in Asia (or anywhere for that matter) but constitutional democracy is a b*ch.

(6) Once Modi learned the ropes, he consolidated his hold on power. Although he is still beholden to the Gujarati Mullahs (esp. NRI kind) for financial backing, he does have his own constituency in Gujarat now; which is very unusual in Brahmin/Patel/Baniya dominated Gujarat politics (vs. Kshatriya, Harijan, Aadivasi and Muslims of Madhavsinh).

(7) So, this little administrative matter of Sanjiv Bhatt is likely to get buried in mountain of unresolved matters in Indian judicial system. Indian judiciary will keep appointing one committee after another and shuffle papers around until "Stockholm Syndrome" takes over and victims have moved on (does anyone remember Bhopal or anti-Sikh riots of 1984)? BTW, when Manmohan Singh was approached about the election tickets for Sajjan Kumar's brother he demurred and passed it on to Soniaji. You can infer his psychological state from that in whatever way you like.

(8) Pakistanis are quick with Guns; that is how they brutalized East Pakistan which became Bangladesh. Indians are the champions of murder by bureaucratic inaction. Whether it will produce similar outcome remains to be seen.

FV,

Yes, Blue Phase.

If one keeps festering the wound, even medicine can't help then how the prayers would ...

If I dance some more to the catchy dandiya tunes, may be my comments will become cheerful :)

For the next few posts, let me suggest some topics...

(1) How to improve competitiveness of Indian Chefs on TV shows (I was somewhat disappointed by the great showing but ultimate loss of Chef Mehta on Iron Chef). How about Modi Culinary Academy ??

(2) IKEA vs handmade custom furtinture (Modi Furniture Mart)

(3) Latest dandiya dance moves could be a topic but then I have a feeling religion will get involved. Also, Modi won't look good doing dandiya; Spandex or no Spandex..

I have made sure that even with these not so serious topics you won't loose your readership :)

vande mataram said...

Nice to see Secular gang in pain, first they were slapped by SC now by Guj police. Long live modi.
I am enjoying every bit after 10 years of false propaganda.

Free and Footloose said...

Hitesh,

Good you have the grace to accept that Pakis always reach for their guns as response! (Wait a second please, the 'stereotype' argument is coming up next.) I hope you will remember your own statement when talking of J&K hereon. Needless to say, you should also remember that Indians are not guilty of anything more than inaction!! O forgiving Meriam, where are you?
---
It is instructive to see a sekulaar using caste-indicative terms so freely and deeming them to be a justification of things. It is also revealing (FV, I am borrowing your language) to see how a committed sekulaar is stereotyping people on basis of nationality (Pakis are..), region (South Asians are..) and caste. Suit yourself plz!
---
Your have a vivid imagination (Refer para 3 of your comment). About time you wrote a script for one of the Khans.
---
QUOTE : "poverty is the real crime here"

How many poor people have gone and attacked Indian Parliament, Taj Hotel, CST Station, Akshardham Temple, WTC Towers, London Buses or the Madrid Trains? Perhaps the planning commission would know.

hitesh said...

>>> Indians are not guilty of anything more than inaction!!

Tell that to thousands of Bhopal families still waiting for justice and remuneration.

Also, nothing more than inaction is needed when people's homes are burning and shops are being looted and much worse...

This can only mean one thing. Just like God, Government also does not exist in South Asia...

I would like not to ascribe malice where incompetence is sufficient explanation but there are cases where "malice" is very clearly evident.

>>>It is instructive to see a sekulaar using caste-indicative terms so freely and deeming them to be a justification of things

Secular does not mean Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs and Christians other identities cease to exist.

As regards to castes, refer to

http://www.tiss.edu/

You may be right, it is only the 9-gam leva patel that that seem to care about their caste,

http://www.bandhan.com/female/gujarati/patel+leva/id--92030cee789ae6c0

rest of Gujarat is a paradise of upward mobility and Hindu brotherhood.

>>> stereotyping people on basis of nationality (Pakis are..), region (South Asians are..) and caste.

Saying "Americans like hamburgers" would probably offend Vegan Americans and it would still be a largely true statement.

>>>"poverty is the real crime here

How many poor people get massacred by atrocities committed by both the terrorists as well as their own Government and how many rich ??

Free and Footloose said...

Hitesh

If we continue posing questions to the walls to avoid answering, it would only reflect on our sincerity towards the discussion.

It would help if you answered the original questions before raising counter-questions.

Thanks.

Free and Footloose said...

Hitesh,

Sorry the last comment was short due to lack of time.
---
1. Since you brought in Bhopal tragedy, you might as well describe Arjun Singh and Rajeev Gandhi with some terms of affection. They too were politicians, they were Indian, they connived to allow a 'mass murderer' to slip out of the country.

Ready steady go..!
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2. What was that matrimonial link meant to prove? Caste system indeed needs to be fought and eliminated. Where is the doubt? Have I said anything to the contrary? If you spend some more time on these sites, you will realize Lewa Patels are not the only ones.
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3. If your stereotypes are "largely true", so could be others'. "All Muslims are bloodthirsty, Hindu-hating, chauvinist, communalist jehadi criminals!!" What say? Largely true? If not, please reconsider your stereotypes.
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4. I think you have disownned your own hypothesis that poverty is the real issue. Thanks. It was helpful!

hitesh said...

>>> they connived to allow a 'mass murderer' to slip out of the country

There is no need to defend anyone in that case. It was crass incompetence combined with subservience to our colonial masters and callous disregard for the poor.

>>>What was that matrimonial link meant to prove? Caste system indeed needs to be fought and eliminated.

There have been many social reform movements in India (all the way from Buddha's rejection of caste, Kabir's Bhakti Movement, Rammohan Roy's Brahmo Samaj or Vivekanand and so on ...

It was most certainly a motivation for conversion to Islam among certain sections of Indian society and as FV has already pointed out that they still haven't escaped the clutches of castiesm even after conversion. They now get to be discriminated for being Muslim as well as lower caste!

It is curious that so many of these movements have originated in North East (Bengal/Bihar) and it is still a cesspool of castiesm. Compared to that Gujarat is indeed a paradise.

Even as recently as under Nehru,

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hindu_code_bills

No wonder, we are so agonized by what is happening in distant Muslim lands because looking in our own backyard is so inconvenient.

>>>you will realize Lewa Patels are not the only ones.

It took me hardly a second to put a random search term in google and see what came up. I am not afraid of Dictatorship of Lewa patels anytime soon. It was meant as a sample of how ridiculous this obsession can get.

Hey, if that is what motivates them, fine by me. Just don't whine when others want to make their own clique and pursue life, liberty and happiness.

>>>If your stereotypes are "largely true", so could be others'.

There are stereotypes and there verifiable facts.

Saudi Arabia is a conservative theocracy is a fact.

All Arabs are fundamentalists is a stereotype.

>>>I stand by my thesis that there are separate rules and value of life for the poor in every society and to some extreme levels in South Asia. So, yes poverty is indeed a crime.

hitesh said...

Now, let me provide a different (positive) perspective on this.

Middle-eastern monotheistic traditions de-emphasize individual and instead prefer written-down laws (people of the book); oddly enough it resembles modern day Communism/Socialism. It was supposed to submit individual to the needs of the society (or in service of God if you will). But, given the events of Arab spring, it is clear (if it was already not) that reality is not so.

Hindu tradition has always emphasized individual; not so much the written law. Absence of written law demands that Hindus believe in adaptable and evolving social, political and economic system (which is exactly what they are resistant to do as my examples above illustrate). It provides greater freedom and glory for an Individual (hence our many Gods; latest incarnation being ShahRukh Khan :), in return imposes brutal "survival of the fittest" dynamics. Not so oddly, it resembles modern day Capitalism. But, given the leaders we have seen, it is quite clear that definition of "fittest" is very flexible.

Now, here is the conundrum. As Charles De Gaulle once said, "Graveyards of the world are filled with indispensable people". Meaning Society does move on even after their hero perishes.

The written down laws provide structure and stability to the society and also holds everyone accountable to it regardless of their wealth and power. It's primary flaw is the adaptability to the changing circumstances.

Free-for-all system of Hindus and modern day Europeans allows for much more individual freedom (at least in theory, here again racism of the Europeans and Casteism of Indians is in direct contradiction to their own cherished belief) and practical solutions that work in existing environment but its primary flaw is lack of stability, too dependent on an individual and therefore continuous need for messiahs.

So, in my opinion, democratic system with a written down constitution (providing for the rights of individual and minorities) are a synthesis of good ideas from both. But, just because it is a good idea (like Buddha's middle path) does not guarantee it's success. But, by accounts it seems Indians have taken to voting ritual of democracy; constitution not so much.

FV said...

Meriam:

Since your name was included in the sexist comment, I owe you an apology for letting it pass. I had my reasons and they are as follows and apply to similar comments that have either been let through or not, and there have been quite a few in the days past by others as well. 

1. When a person uses a sign-in, it is the responsibility of the person to delete the comment, if he thinks it crosses a line. The fact is that he knew it was off and left it to me. I became the recipient of the comment and had to see it. I felt it necessary to post it. 

2. I have already been accused of playing the victim of sexism, even before is comment. So, now it become convenient to throw it back at me

>> you can hold this up and cry "sexist"!<<

So, I have to see the comment, play the censor, and then, despite the elongated sorrryyy, supposedly act all hurt and call it sexist. It is bloody sexist. 

I mentioned the "huddle" with VM, because the arguments were being outsourced. And I did not mention "snuggle" anywhere. 

There is a place for banter, and I am not immune to it myself. But this sounds suspiciously like some other kind of certificate to me. 

So, Meriam, I have been put off and can imagine you would have been too. Since we do not know one another here personally, I can only hope that you understand why I did what I did. 

The very idea of moderating comments is a nuisance, besides being quite against my essential self, but I had to start this and, to be honest, there is more offensive stuff that I get to see. It does not lessen this in any way. 

I wonder why for someone who gets hurt at the sexist label, F&F went ahead with it. A Kolhapuri fetish? I guess I am more comfortable dealing with a mass murderer, as long as I am not killed. 

In the interest of debate, though, I will be responding to his comments where necessary. I respond to Modi's statement too.

FV said...

F&F:

Please don't start on this personal shame about the caste system as your non-casteist calling card. The Hindutva supporters have used Gandhi, Dalits and every cultural 'icon', including the Mandal Commission to stay in power and consolidate their hold over a larger section. 

While you complain about the VHP and say they falsely represent you, do you ever grant this to Muslims...that they are also included in this heap of jihad/fatwa/ummah? No. In fact, the only way in which any Muslim can shine in your eyes is by expressing similar 'shame'. This is a facile bait. Muslims have been severely critical of their laws, the manner in which mullahs brainwash people, and have made strides in several fields. Even when they have not, they are like any other disadvantaged people. 

The reason many people who are secular, and you can find connotations for that, speak up on behalf of them is when there is a genuine case, and they have every right to do so. I would be happier if more Muslims came out unapologetically without resorting to fake liberal rallies and being 'ashamed'. This is bulllshitting. I am not ashamed and I am not proud. I see the context and know that killing people anywhere is not good. But, I like to go further and look at reasons and if you will conspiracy theories. 

If this makes me a jihadi or an ummah acolyte, please spread the word so that they at least know of my good work and accept me. Right now, they are happier with a few good secular Hindus, ironically the ones who are ashamed! Oh, what a web we weave...

And now you say that Hindutva has been inspired by "Islamic destructive fervour". Right. Modi's "action-reaction" theory came from there? Then, is one to assume that the Islamic destructive fervour was also a reaction?

I have said this often. Colonizers do not come to introduce us to scones and tea - or shahi tukda; they will battle forces to enter forcefully. Go back to the history of India and what the rajahs did to each other's principalities. 

(to be contd)

FV said...

Part 2

>>The issue is not at all about whether some country follows Sharia. Do you mean to say a thing becomes acceptable if it is labelled 'Sharia' but remains unacceptable otherwise? What is this if not double standards?<<

Well, it is, as much as the Constitution is. The shariah is their Constitution. It is acceptable within the confines of their lands, even if one disagrees with several aspects of it. Other who live here know what it is, that is the reason outsiders are not even granted citizenship. 

Heck, when Indians get killed in racist attacks in the West, does anyone bother to raise such questions? 

>>Judiciary is unlikely to have the courage to disband (How exactly?) Ramjanmabhumi movement, just as it will never have the guts to ban Iftars, Burqas, Namaz in streets and Fatwas or the guts to enforce singing of Vande Mataram and Saraswati Vandana. As long as the rules of the game are uniform, I am ok with it!<<

Well, the SC can put the Janmabhoomi issue on hold, that is no pursuing it in any manner that creates friction. 

I am amazed that you posit the ban on namaaz/burqas with the "guts to enforce" what are broadly Hindu rituals. This is NOT a Hindu country. These hymns can be sung by people who wish to but it CANNOT be enforced. Your idea of uniformity is skewed, and you will have to live with the non-uniformity. Or, if you need help looking for an island, let me know. 

>>I am gratified to learn of your staunch belief in the Indian constitution. I will remind you of it if ever amnesia sets in!<<

Are you the keeper of the Constitution and my conscience? I will pick holes in it and fight it when I want because I do not blindly believe in it. It would help if you remind yourself that there is a Constitution and it clearly indicates there no place for A Hindutva dream of Ram Rajya. 

>>On second thoughts, your views on Stockholm Syndrome need to be pondered over. I admit my remark on Manmohan was just a a red herring!<<

Do so. And before throwing red herrings my way, do remember that I've seen red long before the herring. 

Here it is:

http://farzana-versey.blogspot.com/2009/05/myth-of-manmohan-singh.html

FV said...

Hitesh:

Brilliant positive perspective, and thank you for your viewsl I seem to concur with most and feel less burdened to reply!

F&F:

The theocracy argument is long and needs more contemplation. Also, in my note to Meriam, I have alluded to you. Just to put the cards on the table. Did not what it to interrupt my other points. Appreciate your engaging in the dialogue within the circumference of the non-personal.

Free and Footloose said...

FV,

Sorry for the out-of-place banter and its unintended consequences! What was more unfortunate was that it caused an avoidable digression from the central issue at hand. Guilty as charged!!
----
Sorry also to Meriam the Forgiving!
----
I am really perplexed to find the following sentences appearing in quick succession in your comment:

QUOTE: "I will pick holes in it (Indian constitution) and fight it when I want"

and

QUOTE: "There is a Constitution and it clearly indicates there no place for a Hindutva dream of Ram Rajya."

???

Do you think you have the moral right to accuse anyone of not following the constitution in letter (forget spirit)? Or the right to whip up fear about the mortal threats (Read Hindutva) to the constitution?
----
I know very well that India is not a Hindu country (in the sense that Pak is an Islamic one). Thanks for the reminder anyway.
----
QUOTE: "I see the context and know that killing people anywhere is not good. But, I like to go further and look at reasons..."

Do you grant the same right to others? That of thinking about the reasons behind killings and arriving at conclusions? Or is it that some riots are more sacred than others? Or am I just bull****ng?
----
You seem to be saying that as long as Sharia is the constitution, you are ok with whatever goes on under it. Your honour, even the Apartheid was part of SA constitution at one time. Either you go by the statute book or you go by the conventional concepts of good and bad! (The two do not necessarily coincide. Even in an Islamic state!) When it comes to Modi, you do not care what the law says. But when it comes to a discussion on Sharia and Islamic law, you seem to regard "constitution" as the final argument! Guess what that makes you!

You are certainly entitled to hold such double standards. But then you must not criticise others for doing the same.
----
Please explore what inspired the Islamic destructive fervour, and let me know the results of your research too. It would mean that you at least accept the historicity of such a thing! In such a case, I would believe this is one step closer to each other than where we began! (Note : In a metaphorical sense only! Gosh, those menacing Kolhapuris!)

Meriam said...

Farzana,

Yes, I've been put off but you know it is not because of you. There is absolutely no need for you to apologize. Please continue to moderate comments as you see fit. I can deal with the dimaaglooses of this world but it's nice to know you got my back :)

I do wish you wouldnt rise to the bait all the time though. Not everything you write needs to be defended. It has merit and those who know the value of a balanced argument, the sheer RARITY of it, engage in quiet contemplation rather than flinging feces :) Generally I can give it back harder than I got it, but sometimes you have to know when to tune it out because the effort required to respond will go to waste. You cannot debate anything with someone who has a fixed agenda. More than anything he's written, it's his TONE that drains me of any desire to engage. But kudos to you for having the patience.

If you continue to respond, could you please ask him why 'islamic destructive fervour' gives him an erection but british imperialism leaves him limp? Why is one the bane of his existence and the other acceptable and even emulated? If the destruction of the Babri Masjid is acceptable, why not go after the Taj Mahal Masjid next?

Find this quite apt :)

http://dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2011%5C10%5C09%5Cstory_9-10-2011_pg3_2

hitesh said...

while I agree with most of what Ms Ranade says except her very charitable description of Hinduism as inherently secular and progressive theology. That part can be easily disputed based on even cursory reading of history.

Hinduism is so broadly defined at times (as a matter of fact, for legal purposes it is a negative category; meaning everyone who is NOT jewish, christian, muslim, parsi etc) that it is hard to assert what it stands for. In that case, actual history of the subcontinent is our only guide and it is anything but egalitarian.

As for Congress and Indira, they did not invent Communalism or Casteism; they are both as old as India itself. It is the least ugly contest between Congress and BJP. Yes, Congress is lesser evil but evil nonetheless.

Free and Footloose said...

Meriam,

I read that! I will take the liberty of responding - in the same tone as hithertofore.

Thanks for the link to that article. It was quite an interesting read. I do not know when and where I showed "intense devotion to Modi".
----
Everything writen need not be defended. It is FV who has chosen to take comments and defend herself. I certainly appreciate her for that.
----
I am hugely amused to note that my utterly amateur attempts at matching wits with a professional writer like FV drained you of the will to engage! I believe you are giving undue attention to tone and tenor at the cost of the central arguments.
----
It is you who is (intentionally?) assuming my intense disapproval of the p-secs to be the same as intense devotion to Modi. Nothing could be further from the truth. If the reflection is ugly, breaking the mirror will not make one beautiful! I have pointed out clear instances of selective (and probably mala fide) targetting of Modi. I feel these have not been answered. Why?

Correct me if I am wrong.
-----
I am fully willing to discuss British impearialism, the presumed erectile dysfunction notwithstanding. When do we start?

hitesh said...

Even if we had forgotten all about the suffocating brutality of Taliban regime,

http://news.yahoo.com/eight-bangladeshis-beheaded-saudi-145503481.html

news item like this shows that sharing a common religion is no barrier to meting out gruesome medieval justice by unsavory regimes.

So, regardless of the form of government or laws we choose; if we have no desire to enforce it and assert ourselves, it does not carry much meaning. Indian version of secularism at times just seems so non-committal.

Singapore also carries death penalty for drug offense or caning for littering or graffiti. It is bit extreme in my view but I would still rather see India assert its positions clearly and stand by it; rather than non-committal wishy-washy kumbaya of peace, love and happiness.

hitesh said...

this is present India,

http://www.videosurf.com/video/i%27m-dalit-how-are-you-1266400

specifically, Modi's Gujarat.

If you prefer more urban perspective,

http://www.videosurf.com/video/our-journey-how-we-know-caste-81489696

I would have made a snide remark about 50$ tablets coming to the rescue but having watched the entire video it is just so sad ....


>>>I believe you are giving undue attention to tone and tenor at the cost of the central arguments

We can all argue till we turn blue in the face if it helps us to ignore the reality ...

>>> If the reflection is ugly, breaking the mirror will not make one beautiful!

In this case, I don't think even plastic surgery would work either.

Mahesh said...

Meriam,
If you think these debates are visceral - you should've seen it here about an year or so back. There were guys who hurled "euphemisms" such as "Phallic Desire" at FV. The current tenor is far far more civilised , undertones is a much different thing. But then, this is what shapes us . /maybe, just maybe, a few more exchanges and down the line you and those with whom you exchange adversarial comments here might actually start missing each other. Not being cathartic or patronising. Just plain another perspective . Maybe it is stale enough that you and others might not even be lacking it.
Cheers,
Mahesh.

Mahesh said...

Farzana,
PLEASE BLOCK MY EARLIER COMMENT DIRECTED AT MERIAM. IT HAD IN-ACCURATE REFERENCES TO "PHALLIC *****". JUST REALIZED WHAT I TYPED AND HOW UN-INTENDEDLY INSULTING IT WAS.
- Mahesh.

Mahesh said...

Farzana,
The term relating to Phallic in my earlier comment was supposed to "Phallus Envy" . (The relevant comment posting by Amit Verma may be found at comments section in : http://farzana-versey.blogspot.com/2009/12/global-bubble-of-revivalist.html ).
Again, Please excuse me . I understand the comment was deeply insulting. Really, Really Sorry for that. But then - you need to appreciate my efforts in hunting down the relevant comment. Trust you understand it.
Cheers,
Mahesh.
p.s. : You may choose to mail me the comment so that I can edit it for correction and re-post it.

Free and Footloose said...

FV,

I didn't know you have FACED such things in past! Pun intended - I am not feeling guilty any more!

Can I type a smiley in here?

FV said...

Mahesh:

Quick note. I rarely look at some comments before posting since I am quite sure they'd be ok. You are one of them. In this case there was the time lapse, so all three went through. I know you did not intend any insult.

If you want I can delete them, but then I will have to delete the next one too which will result in a cycle of my double standards, MY sexism, and the rest. Yet, tell me...but again a time lag will be there.

Mahesh said...

Farzana,
Perhaps, we may live with the comments.
It was my own sexist attitude that I was much more worried about and hence the exacerbated reaction.
Cheers,
Mahesh.
p.s. : Do we see the discussions here much more civilized than , say, a year or so back ?
p.p.s.: My earlier comment in your response got posted without a name. Please feel free to choose whichever you may want to publish .

FV said...

Hitesh:

Sorry I missed your delightful ideas in the tango between you and the double F! I shall keep the blue phase out, so here’s my response to yours…

For the next few posts, let me suggest some topics...

(1) How to improve competitiveness of Indian Chefs on TV shows (I was somewhat disappointed by the great showing but ultimate loss of Chef Mehta on Iron Chef). How about Modi Culinary Academy ??


Modi’s Kitchen would be better. Chakki peesing and peesing and the noise from all the machines would silence the taster.

(2) IKEA vs handmade custom furtinture (Modi Furniture Mart)

Modi’s Khaat…foldable and fire-proof?

(3) Latest dandiya dance moves could be a topic but then I have a feeling religion will get involved. Also, Modi won't look good doing dandiya; Spandex or no Spandex.

How about the dhoti, with his team of cops, all singing from ‘Lagaan’…in Gujarati…”vaar vaar haan, bolo chha karod haan, aapdi jeet hoye, kai bhi thaye”…

Now, we can be sure that my readership is safe even if sorry :)

F&F:

Do you think you have the moral right to accuse anyone of not following the constitution in letter (forget spirit)? Or the right to whip up fear about the mortal threats (Read Hindutva) to the constitution?

Yes. As a citizen, I do. I clearly said that I do not follow the Constutition blindly. It was after you said you would remind me about the Constitution if I suffered from amnesia. Sp, who gave you the moral right? As for Hindutvawaadis, they are striving for a Ram Rajya…it has no place in the Indian Constitution. Period.

QUOTE: "I see the context and know that killing people anywhere is not good. But, I like to go further and look at reasons..."

Do you grant the same right to others? That of thinking about the reasons behind killings and arriving at conclusions? Or is it that some riots are more sacred than others? Or am I just bull****ng?


Why do I have to grant others the right? They do it on their own and go even further. If Aurangzeb is your idea of ‘reasons’, then go ahead, be my guest…but do not expect this to be taken seriously.

You seem to be saying that as long as Sharia is the constitution, you are ok with whatever goes on under it…When it comes to Modi, you do not care what the law says. But when it comes to a discussion on Sharia and Islamic law, you seem to regard "constitution" as the final argument! Guess what that makes you!

Sensible. That’s what it makes me. For, if you cannot see the difference between a religious law and a democractic law, then it is your problem. If I lived under a Sharia regime, I would have to on paper follow certain rules. It does not make those rules good. Do you get that? I am also not saying that all our laws are good. Do you get that? So, while under a sharia law it may be difficult to protest, the Indian Constitution makes it possible to do so. Modi falls under this law…and the courts will be questioned by citizens if we feel the verdicts are improper.

If you find that hard to handle, then you are free to bask in your island.

FV said...

Meriam:

Thanks! I do not see it as defending myself, but defending a point of view that may not be confined to my mind. The fact that there are a few others who feel the same does mean that we have to not get muzzled. I do not think I am patient; just persistent. I am not biting the bait. Nothing ‘fishy’ here :)

Incidentally, F&F should note that the ‘banter’ did not take away “from the central issue at hand” as far as I am concerned. I made it a point to post the banter note in another post to tell the chaff from the chafe!

- - -

Mahesh:

I do not see how we can live with the comments. If that is so, then one would not be apologising/regretting/gloating.

However, I would like to address your question.

Do we see the discussions here much more civilized than , say, a year or so back ?

You had given an example earlier. It was, one might say, a point being argued, even reasoned by the person concerned. You found the tenor visceral. It was. In your note to Meriam, you mentioned that it was worse then. I have said often that I have seen worse. It is not time-based, and not necessarily on the blog.

Now, how do we describe civilised? Is only the absence of cuss words/sexist terminology/personal slurs enough to make it civilised? Haven’t we seen things taken out of context or selectively chosen? How civilised is it when a point of view is stuffed into a pigeonhole? How civilised is it if we cannot get out of stereotypes that completely decimate whole groups?

The reason I continue to hold forth and fort is because I think I listen to another viewpoint (and am ever so grateful for the effort put in by those who do so); however, it is rare for me to change my stand because I do not write if I do not believe in what I say. And I do not have any organisational/NGO/well-wisher email list, so it is pretty much a lonely ‘hunt’.

The good thing is I get to keep the crown of thorns…and as my filmi self would repeat from ‘Mughal-e-Azam’, “kaanton ko murjhane ka khauf nahin”…:)

PS: Just curious…what got you started on this subject?

Meriam said...

Farzana: Understood :) Patient or persistent, you're still the best at a retort :)

LOVE the quote from mughal e azam. Have kept it as my status on FuckBook. I think you should join :P

Hitesh: Like Farzana, I am also similarly impressed with your thoughts and simple way of presenting your ideas. Agree with everything you write and therefore...dont know what to add! :) Thanks for being here.

Mahesh: I really did not find anything offensive in your comment but your panicking about it was sweet anyway :) Thank you to you too :)

Free and Footloose said...

FV,

Your views are, shall I say, intriguing? Allow me to arrange the things a bit (I hope like hell this doesn't sound to Meriam like the conclusive proof of my 'intense devotion to Modi'):

QUOTE "I do not follow the Constutition blindly...... As for Hindutvawaadis, they are striving for a Ram

Rajya…it has no place in the Indian Constitution."

I Read: FV reserves the right to trash parts of the constitution or call for ammendments. But she denies that right to others - specifically Hindutva groups. In other words, she will see red if one of these guys call for a constitutional ammendment to make India a Hindu Rashtra. Not just that, she will refuse to acknowledge their right to hold such views.

I Wonder: Is that her version of an equal, civilised and balanced debate?
-----

QUOTE : "Why do I have to grant others the right? They do it on their own and go even further.... do not expect this to be taken seriously."

I Read: FV is content with the current way of things, i.e. My Truth Vs Your Truth. She is not really keen on any reconcilliation of views with the opposing side.

I Wonder: Is it because she is scared of being accused of a sell-out? Or is it just the force of habit? Or is it something I do not see? (I think I am leaving a flank unguarded here!!)
------
QUOTE :"how do we describe civilised? Is only the absence of cuss words / sexist terminology/personal slurs enough to make it civilised?"

I Read: FV reserves the right to declare things as civilised or uncivilised. She seems to be saying that anyone who holds the same views as hers is civilised while others are not. In other words, the very holding of contrarian views can make a person a barbarian in her eyes.

I Conclude: Perhaps it needs to be pointed out that by this highly subjective logic, even her blog can be condemned as uncivilised, should (some)one choose to do so.

I think this line of thought is suitable for professional politicians, not the rest of us.
-------
QUOTE : "The reason I continue to hold forth and fort is because I think I listen to another viewpoint (and am ever so grateful for the effort put in by those who do so)"

I agree that she does and respect her for listening to me - and taking trouble to reply. I only wish that she makes an endeavour to have uniform standards for herself and her opponents (I am not using the word enemies).

By opponents, I do not mean myself but the forces which she claims to be combating.

mstaab said...

Bravo, Footloose! I'm following. :)

>>I agree that she does and respect her for listening to me - and taking trouble to reply. I only wish that she makes an endeavour to have uniform standards for herself and her opponents (I am not using the word enemies).<<

Predictability is indeed an imperative in certain quarters. Doubtless you meant to evoke Shakespeare in your performance?

From Hamlet, Prince of Denmark, Hamlet's response to Guildenstern's claim to be unable to "command any utterance of harmony" on the recorder (a sort of flute, as I understand it):

Why, look you now, how unworthy a thing you make of me! You would play upon me; you would seem to know my stops; you would pluck out the heart of my mystery; you would sound me from my lowest note to the top of my compass: and there is much music, excellent voice, in this little organ; yet cannot you make it speak. 'Sblood, do you think that I am easier to be played on than a pipe? Call me what instrument you will, though you can fret me you cannot play upon me.

You simply can't beat the Bard for subtlety, IMHO. :)

M.