Radia Tapes: Open Sesame?

We have seen how the 2G scam unfolded. Important people were packed off to jail. The really prominent names were not. No Tata, no Ambani. The role of the lobbyist thawed. Nira Radia became a ghostly figure making court appearances.

Now, the tapes that were at the centre of the controversy have been given a clean chit. I say tapes deliberately:

The Centre has argued before the Supreme Court that the Nira Radia tapes that were leaked to the media were tampered with. The tapes contained conversations between lobbyist Nira Radia and various industry leaders. The government has also stated that the tapes were not leaked by government agencies. The government said there were eight to ten agencies, including service providers, involved in the tapping of telephonic conversation of former corporate lobbyist Nira Radia.

Is this a victory for anyone? Was it not the government that was culpable, to begin with? So, how is the government version acceptable? What are government agencies doing? Why was the inquiry handled by the Ministry of Finance who appointed officers to investigate into the case?

The report says the starting and the end point of the conversation do not match with the original tapes, Justice Singhvi said referring to the report. He said the report also says that officers, who had conducted the probe, do not know who has leaked it."It is quite possible that someone else has done it," the bench said.

This is the SC making such vague statements. Of course, it is possible. We have seen the Shanti Bhushan case; Amar Singh is now a veteran in these false tape cases. Is it not crucial to ask who leaked the tapes and why?

Why should we accept the government statement when we doubt it on almost every other occasion? It is a seriously flawed argument, for the government got trapped in the scams. Why would it leak the tapes, anyway? To clear the main decks?

The other possibility is business rivalry and ego.

I had written the following a while ago:

We are witnessing this farce as the Public Accounts Committee (PAC), while not yet giving a clean chit to Ratan Tata and Anil Ambani, has been talking about their honesty and how candid they have been. Niira Radia has been called “evasive”.

Ratan Tata, when asked about his letter to the Tamil Nadu chief minister praising Raja’s work in the telecom ministry, with some gumption said, “We had a chemistry problem with (his predecessor Dayanidhi) Maran.” Yet, he claimed, “I didn’t manipulate the system for 2G licence allocation.” Did not Mr Tata file a petition regarding breach of privacy about the leaked tapes? The political machinery does not wish to completely alienate the corporate lobby, so it accused Radia of being anti-national and an agent of foreign intelligence agencies.

Both sides are getting trapped in quick sand and they need to prop each other up without being seen to ostensibly do so. Why did they not produce records of the Rs. 300 crore that Radia had accumulated? Of course, there is every possibility of impropriety, but for whom and for what?

If foreign agencies were involved, how did they pay her so that the authorities would know the amount? Have the finance and other departments tapped those calls from foreign agencies? What foreign agencies have interests in seeing to it that the Ambanis and Tatas get the prime deals? Which foreign agency would be interested in what portfolio Raja got? It might be important to examine how these players then can be indicted for such foreign connections as well as anti-national activities, including the governments, past and present, for accommodating them.

This is a morass. Now, we come to the media. There was a huge noise by those who were acting as whistle-blowers as well as the ones defamed. The strange aspect is that both groups have continued with their work and moved on. Vir Sanghvi had, in fact, sent the tapes to a couple of laboratories abroad that showed there was something amiss. Will the government use this as evidence? What about the magazines that carried transcripts – will the courts file a case against them?

How much of it is fake? If the “starting and end point” do not match, then what happens to the middle? Besides, who will be seen as culprits in these tampered tapes – will there be a hierarchy of favoured ones and those who can be put to pasture? The politicians, the businessmen and executives, the media persons – if some of their conversations have been tampered with, then does it follow that everything is? Does it, therefore, falsify the whole case and we discover there has been no scam at all?

And to think that a whole people’s movement started by riding on this wave. It is the people who will have to live with such half-truths.

Do read The Media as Middleman for a background and more


Modi reads from The Satanic Verses

...and the Anna-fication of a literature festival

Narendra Modi realised that all his efforts for the Sadbhavna mission fast were not going as great as expected. He had planned it meticulously, but he chose the wrong venue. Godhra. Wrong timing: a month before 10th anniversary of the train burning. No mention of the riots. He wants Muslims to forget that. He wants to mend fences. Nice guy.

This was about peace and harmony. 1600 cops and 5 specially-trained Chetak commandos and unarmed jawans guarding the place. Peace? Peace is based on trust, and he says that there have been no riots. So, what is he afraid of? I get it. He is afraid of Salman Rushdie. What if that bloke who is not permitted to visit the Jaipur Literature Festival decides to land in Gujarat? After all, Narendra bhai has been promoting it as the wonderful Disneyland where you may scream in terror as long as you can afford the rides. Modi likes Rushdie. He does not know why, but maybe it’s the old if A=B and B=C, then A=C.

Yet, for all his liking, he did not want to spoil the Jumma party. He waited and waited for some real Muslims to pay their respects. Finally, he just gave up. Peace can go take a long walk. He asked his men to get a copy of The Satanic Verses. He was going to protest against these Muslims. Those Deoband guys who did not treat his progressive Gujarati fellow nicely when he was made Vice Chancellor and that SIMI is really awful going after poor Salman. No one cares for freedom of expression.

“But, saab,” said his favourite police officer who was transferred for giving signals for an encounter killing, but had now undergone cosmetic surgery and was back at duty, “We took down posters, we threw out artists…”

“Bhai, jo, that is different. We are the establishment. Establishment has right to protect minorities.”

“Er…we are the majority.”

“That’s okay. I am not counting. We must feel like the minority.”

“So, what to do now, sir?”

“Bring me that book. I have many copies in that underground place where I keep all those files about 2002.”

“The book is banned in India.”

“We are not India. I mean, Gujarat has 5 crore people, so we are India within India.”

“This could cause communal enmity, saab.”

Modi guffaws. “This is the land of communal enmity. If you add tadka to cooking oil it will splutter but you get good food. Go, get me a copy. Cover it with green cloth.”

The man leaves hurriedly. A few mullahs come and shake hands with Modi. He says, “You are late.”

“We went to buy you a special edition of the Quran to promote this wonderful multicultural system you started.”

“Time is over for peace.”

“You are insulting Islam by not accepting a copy. Last time you did not accept skull cap.”

“You people’s sentiments get hurt all the time. But you cannot reach on time. I had arranged for your bath here.”


“For your namaaz, I made arrangements for you.”

“Wazoo…it is called wazoo.”

“Don’t try and convert me.”

“We are only informing you.”

“Why you did not inform me about Godhra train?”

There is silence.

“Okay,” Modi continued. “If you want harmony, go and sit quietly.”

His officer brings him a copy of the Rushdie book.

The mullahs smile when they see the green cover. “Subhan Allah! You are our supreme leader. We knew you had a surprise for us. We will pass a fatwa against anyone who does not vote for you.”

Modi whispers in his officer’s ear, “How did they know I am trying to conduct a counter election campaign to get some mileage because everyone is talking about UP?”

“The Deoband must have informed them.”

“This is same group that does not want Rushdie, na? Now see how papers will be full of Gujarat.”

He opens the book and starts reading. The group says, “Wah, wah” in unison.

Modi is confused. “You know what I am reading?”

“Ji haan. You have a sense of humour. You are reading Gulliver’s Travels.”

“What is that?”

“In the madrassa some boys have copies, they told us about how he lands in place where tiny people are and they tie him up.”

“So, why are you smiling? Now where is your Islam? It does not get insulted if book is covered in green?”

“The grass is also green and we walk on it, Khomeini saab.”

“I am not Khomeini,” Modi says disgustedly.

“Uff, mistake. Please continue reading, we are your prajaa, the little people.”

The CM shifts uncomfortably. The thought that he would be tied up by these little people worries him.

“How did these illiterates start reading books?” he asks his assistant.

“Because of Rushdie.”

“Does it mean if I read this book, I will become Muslim?”

“Saab, anything is possible. But don’t say this loudly. They will call it Islamophobia.”

“Take this away.” He returns the copy of The Satanic Verses. “Bring me some other book. These Muslims like stories. Even for peace mission, they want stories. It is always about god.”

The officer gets an idea. “I will get The God of Small Things.”

Modi shakes his head. “What things? These minorities will start thinking their god is the best again.”

“This is not about god.” The officer mentions the writer’s name.

“Arre, the same one who went jogging with comrades in Cuba?”

“Not jogging, only walking. Not Cuba, in India with Maoists.”

“Then send copy to Chidambaram.”

“What do get for you now?”

“Aladdin and the Magic Lamp. Muslims like fairytales. They think by rubbing a lamp, a genie will appear. They forget this is idol worship.”

“I cannot get it, sir.”

“Why? Is it banned?”

“No, your copy has disappeared.”


“Sanjiv Bhat took it as evidence that you were plotting against minorities.”

“What happens to my freedom of expression?” This time he asks aloud.

The audience looks wide-eyed.

“Say something.”

“We thought you are reading from the book.”

“No. I want to know. Why can I not express myself however I want?”

The crowd starts to leave. He calls out to them.

A small voice says, “How can ashes answer what freedom the fire must have?”

- - -

Reports say that today, the opening day of the Jaipur Literature Festival, some writers read out excerpts from The Satanic Verses, since Salman Rushdie is not allowed. This personality cult is seen as protest.

Was Rushdie going to read out from the book? A bunch of huddled up elites in their cocoon thinks this is freedom of expression. Would they have permitted Modi to read, had he written a book? Who are they catering to? A small group, and that includes the media, that knows precious little about such expression, that muzzles dissenting voices, that sells its space without ethics for ad revenue, that pushes political agendas, that also pushes religious ideas; this applies to publications in regional languages as well. It is, however, the English-language media that plays god. We have discussed this already in Salman's Atheist Shrine.

These interests sponsor the JLF and grabbing eyeballs is part of the strategy of making it commercially viable. If they have some enthusiastic pseudo martyrs, they will benefit. Incidentally, Taslima Nasreen and Arundhati Roy, both ‘victims’, have not been vocal about this. Taslima had a fight with Rushdie about Twitter followers and his misogyny. Roy has got to guard her Muslim constituency. Everyone is on their own trip.

This reminds me of Team Anna and the singing-dancing brigade exercising their freedom. Rushdie had attended the previous festivals, so cut it out. If it is so important, then I would like to know why the writers have not sent a petition to the government asking it in clear terms to arrest those who issued threats. Do that. Exercise your freedom, instead of sticking out your tongue.

The festival is already overcrowded. If this were a movie, it would have been all about buttered popcorn.

(c) Farzana Versey
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Similar posts:

Why Modi refused spandex tights

Modi’s fast ‘unto’ death: Gujarat’s shame


Ramdev and Digvijay: Leaky Pens

Inked face and assaulter

We are a culture that thrives on condemning. We condemn those who are silent and we also condemn those who make a noise. Such condemnation takes away from any other questions. So, it was not surprising that the Congress, the BJP, the RJD, everybody condemned a man who threw ink on Baba Ramdev. Soon after, some ‘uncondemned’ the act. The theatre of the absurd does not quite go with a Greek tragedy, but Indian democracy can manage such contradictions. We will get there. First, a snapshot:

A man who gate-crashed at Baba Ramdev’s press meet on black money splattered ink on the yoga guru when he refused to answer a question on the 2008 Batla House encounter. 
Kamran Siddiqui, was beaten up by the yoga guru’s supporters immediately after the incident at the Constitution Club where Baba Ramdev was speaking to reporters regarding his plans to campaign against black money in the upcoming Assembly Elections. Siddiqui, who runs a non-governmental organisation called Real Cause was placed under arrest following a medical examination. A case under sections 153 (promoting enmity among communities) and 355 (criminal assault) of Indian Penal Code has been registered against him, a senior police official said. A first information report has been registered against him at the Parliament Street police station. If convicted, he may be jailed for up to two years.
When Baba said that the Batla House encounter was not fake, Kamran threw ink on him. Siddiqui is a petitioner in the Batla House encounter case.

A few points:

  • If Baba Ramdev is discussing politics, stop calling him a yoga guru in the context of his speeches.
  • A bit strange that nobody had heard about Kamran Siddiqui even though he is a petitioner in the case. Is it difficult to find that out?
  • Even more strange is that he asked this question to Baba Ramdev, and the latter chose to answer it. On what basis? 
  • Why has he been arrested for promoting enmity among communities? This sort of pigeonholing makes it into a communal issue. Batla House is not the whole of India.

Arrest anyone who indulges in this sort of behaviour, but is it so unusual? Don’t our MPs throw slippers at each other inside Parliament? What about heads of educational and medical institutions whose faces are blackened?

What about scheduled caste/female victims who are paraded with their faces smeared because of some ‘honour’? Why do we not condemn those acts with equal ferocity?

Typically, Baba Ramdev has become a martyr:

Media reports quoted Baba Ramdev as saying that he was not deterred by such attacks and would continue his campaign against corruption with full force. I spoke about bringing back black money to the country and giving it to the nation. I spoke about eradicating corruption. I spoke about turning a loot-tantra to a real loktantra (democracy). And in return, as a prize, this is what I have got. I don’t mind receiving black ink. By throwing ink on someone, one cannot malign someone’s character, he said.

You talk about a vague show-me-the-money, and everything else gets washed off. The report said that Baba Ramdev said that it was not an encounter and that led to the ink throwing.

This is not an attempt to blacken the face of Swami Ramdev. This is an attempt to blacken democracy, Hazare said in a statement.

Has Anna Hazare never seen such blackened faces before? Much as I do not relish the idea of such juvenile shoe-ink throwing, let us remind Mr. Hazare that his movement is a protest that has attempted to speak on behalf of the population without its consent. He should not be talking about democracy. If democracy is about protest, then black or blue ink should not be of concern. Hazare and his team should be finding out what it is that angers certain people. He has been holding the flag for such propagandised anger for a while now.

We have entered absurd territory, and the wilting cherry on a leftover cake is this:

Congress leader Digvijay Singh said the incident was a well-orchestrated conspiracy by RSS and the NGO activist who did it was anti-Congress and had links with BJP.

There have been occasions when such orchestrated attempts were made, by every political party. I do not understand how it can be deemed anti-Congress when the Congress government had said the encounter was not fake. (Unless, Ramdev has joined forces with the Congress Party!) Or, is this a strategy similar to the one he is accusing the RSS of – outsourcing, with the frontman speaking one version while the high command maintains its larger role?

The Batla House case was already politicised. The encounter had several loose ends that I mentioned in Shooting Terrorists and Other Stories: It was over within 30 minutes. 25 shots were fired by the cops; eight by the terrorists. Were these dreaded men so naïve as to open the door to a ‘salesman’, sub-inspector Dharmendra. What was he trying to sell? Did they buy anything? Did they not notice him looking at them carefully? Did all the “suspicious characters” stand at the door to welcome him?

Now Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav has spoken out clearly:

"Congress is not serious on the issues pertaining to Muslims and treats them only as a vote bank. That is why when assembly polls are underway, the issue of Batla House encounter has been raised by party leader Digvijay Singh, who termed it as fake. Why has this issue been raised by him now? Congress should either sack him or take action against PM and Home minister, who feel that the encounter was not fake...This is just a political gimmick to befool Muslims, who are being treated as a vote bank.”

Do the political parties realise that for the majority of Muslims, all this produces a huge yawn? You think someone in Bhiwandi (a communally sensitive area in Mumbai) cares or even knows what Batla House is? Or are the ordinary Muslims suddenly expected to possess knowledge about all that happens with, to and by their community?

It disturbs me that one episode of ink-throwing has brought another case to the fore. And it is back to the chain reaction of condemn this and condemn that. Don’t. Each player is an actor here. If Siddiqui was sponsored by the RSS, and Digvijay Singh has been sponsored by his own party, with the satellite players Anna and the rest forming the chorus, then the crowded stage is bound to fall.

Nothing new. We invariably get the dark pits we deserve. If only we saved that ink and wrote our own fate.

(c) Farzana Versey

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Image: Mumbai Mirror

History Through Her Lens

Homai Vyarawalla was always described as the “first lady photographer”, and the thought of someone tiptoeing with a little camera, gently clicking flowers and princesses came to mind. But, when we place her in those historical times, then being a lady was about being many things. And she was.

There is a lot written about her, her photographs of leaders. It is like tracing a period without the need for any other crutch.

These two pictures of Jawaharlal Nehru exemplify this.

1. There is deadpan humour in this one, going where you are not supposed to go. Was there a political message?

2. Here, the image is reminiscent of Michaelangelo. Nehru is releasing the pigeon, but the sky is overcast. One does not know whether Nehru is letting go or wanting to hold on to it, or perhaps reach the sky. It comes across as a pensive, yet optimistic portrait. I’d say it captures the persona of the man and the politician.

And of course among the many others; this is how an Independence Day dance used to be like:

My fascination is with the way she treated her subjects. There is warmth and yet no obsequiousness. She seemed to be part of what was happening, but as a spectator. The black and white images, unfailingly adding a mystique, gave away quite a bit. It seems like a contradiction. It is not. The enigma was in the telling.

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Check out more images curated by NGMA


Sunday ka Funda

"mez se jab meri tasweer hataai hogi
har taraf mujhko tadapta hua paaya hoga"

(My pictures taken off the shelf
Would have spread my pain everywhere)

War is not pretty. It is not desirable. It's Army Day in India today. 'Haqeeqat' remains one of the best films on the subject. It tackles the inner pain and not just outer bruises.

Sometimes, we have to forget because we are helpless...in any 'war'

Hoke majboor mujhe usney bhulaya hoga

Film: Haqeeqat
Music: Madan Mohan
Lyrics: Kaifi Azmi
Singers: Mohamad Rafi, Talat Mahmood, Bhupinder, Manna De
Director: Chetan Anand


Ask the vexpert - 29

Question: I want to measure the exact size of my boyfriend's penis. He claims that it is 6.5 inches when erect. I just want to confirm it. Should I use a scale or measuring tape?

Sexpert: Let the expert decide. It is not his pimple I am worried about but your attitude. Instead of being romantic and loving, you are so ‘physical’. It is not the length of his penis but the way he uses it to show you his love and affection that is important.

Me: Valid query. I believe that all relationships should be based on trust, and that needs to be verified. He has chosen a 0.5 figure, which immediately puts him in the suspects category. A tailor's measuring tape would give you a more rounded picture, instead of just the length. I'd suggest that to make sure the figure he has provided also carries weight, you should put it on a weighing machine. You might also try and check on stamina by putting 'him' through a stress test when he is in a 'happy' frame of mind.

- - -

Question: I am 26, but still the cover of my penis has not been uncovered. What do I do?

Sexpert: Try daily with a little oil to slip it back till the base of the head of the penis. If you cannot, see a surgeon who will guide you further. Do not hesitate to consult one. If you act now, you will ensure pleasure during sexual intercourse.

Me: Don't do a thing. Wait for WikiLeaks.


Sunday ka Funda

Why do we describe victims of cold-blooded murder as "well-mannered and never got angry"? Is it ok for angry, rude people to get killed? This is what they said at Anuj Bidve's funeral; he was killed in the UK by a 'psychopath'. Some people even call such guys mild, those who'd never hurt a fly.

We will not change. The world is round.

"I could be cannon food, destroyed a thousand times
Reborn as fortune's child to judge another's crimes
Or wear this pilgrim's cloak, or be a common thief
I've kept this single faith, I have but one belief"

A Thousand Years - Sting


Symbols and the Poll Cabaret

Vote the hell! Acting as spoiler, the Election Commission is going to make Uttar Pradesh pardanasheen (veiled). So Mayawati and her saathis, the haathis will be covered:

"The Commission has decided that statues of the CM and elephants (her party symbol) will be draped," Chief Election Commissioner SY Qureshi told reporters here.

Apparently, it is poll time and no such promos are allowed.

Those statues are gross anyway, but why is the EC spending so much time, money and effort when the CM looms larger than the jumbo? Is a statue more representative of the person than she herself is? Will all Congress candidates have to wear gloves to cover their hands, their party symbol?

People are bribed with everything from trips to pilgrim sites to CCTV cameras. Indian democracy can wait; let the fun begin.

It is like Moulin Rouge in the streets. Elections in India are a combination of dance, drama, pantomime, jugglery, and the acrobatic skills of purveyors of false hope. You will hear of the new voices raging like matadors towards bulls, but the red rag is often a cloth of blood. Or a clot. If this is pessimism it is internalised by the very karmic feed from the environment.

But that does not matter. We care little about who is in power and more for getting them there. The pre-ballot ballets are what make it so very interesting. You might find a cow with slogans scrawled on its body or an elephant with posters stuck on it; loudspeakers in open jeeps belt out patriotic songs to Bollywood tunes and film dialogues pass off as socially-relevant messages; election symbols can make you chuckle – would you vote for an independent candidate who thinks a balloon represents her/him? Flowers, birds, animals, vehicles, body parts are on display as party symbols.

Promises are made for rose gardens…yes, they do promise you a rose garden…in a country where people need a place to defecate, where women squat near drains with umbrellas hiding their faces to cover their shame as they extricate remnants of malnourished meals and contaminated water.

These people will be taken in trucks to vote, with bait of a little money or a little ride. The rich will celebrate in fancy bars and watch exit polls as they drink their gin and tonic. The glossies will flash pictures of them showing us their inked index finger, the nail varnish a bright fuchsia.

Gods are brought out in the streets – every faith is pandered to, no god should be unhappy. The people? They are god’s slaves. They are the slaves of leaders. They are the slaves of helplessness. They are we and we are they and we know the difference so well. That is why someone sits on a high chair and gives speeches about the horrible state of affairs. These people get elected and stay behind barricaded walls, eat beneath the light of chandeliers as large as ceilings and from crockery with gold rim, and drink off glasses so fragile that when they break they make no noise.

This is not the only silence you will hear. The silence of people with no voices but feet that can be dragged to the booths to put their stamp on someone’s name, never their own. The faceless ones who live for those days when life is a cabaret.


Muslim Fire, Hindu Ire

No patakhas for Muslims?

Leading Islamic seminary Darul Uloom Deoband has issued a fatwa against manufacturing and sale of firecrackers, saying that it is against the Sharia law.

Manufacturing and selling of firecrackers is against the Sharia law, and firing crackers is a gross misuse of money, the fatwa said. It also said that that men who misuse money are the ‘brothers of devil’. The Islamic seminary issued fatwa on a query from a man involved in the business of manufacturing firecrackers. The news holds significance given that a large number of Muslims are involved in the manufacturing and sale of firecrackers across the country.

I just cannot understand this. Why would a person who is already involved in the business want to consult the seminary?

If firing crackers amounts to misuse of money, then so is placing flowers over tombstones at dargahs.

If those who indulge in this are ‘brothers of the devil’, are women permitted to play with phuljhadis?

Is there any evidence of the devil misusing funds? Did he not inherit hell, or should he be pulled up for spending a fortune on adding all those satanic thingies in there?

I do not see how there can be any mention of firecrackers in the Sharia. Did some of the Prophet’s opponents light up anaars on the desert sands?

If the Darul Uloom is so concerned, it should seek justice for children who work in these factories and are exposed to risks of extreme levels of pollution. Get over this fatwa obsession and do something that matters.

- - -

Gays threaten Hinduism?

An artist holding an exhibition in the capital on the theme of homosexuality was on Thursday attacked and abused by an unidentified assailant, who also damaged one of the paintings on display. Balbir Krishan said the attacker entered the solo exhibition space at Lalit Kala Akademi with his face covered by a handkerchief. He pushed and kicked Krishan, a double amputee who has lost both his legs, while hurling insults all the while.

He has been receiving threatening calls saying: “Tuney Hindu dharam ko bigarne ka theka laga rakha hai (You are determined to ruin Hinduism).”

Someone should take these guys on a yatra where temple sculptures clearly show all kinds of sexual activities, including homosexuality. Will they dare to deface those? Will they dare insult the deities?

I am not suggesting that art should be irresponsible. In this case, he was only exhibiting works, giving expression to his thoughts and personal experiences. He was not indulging in criminal activities like paedophilia, for which a few good godmen have been caught. Why do these assaulters not land up in those ashrams and use their fists. Well, to beat up those holy folks...

No dharam can be spoilt. It is not perishable food.


Flag jousting and Indo-Pak 'peace'

The Pakistani flag is hoisted on New Year's Eve in India. At the tahsildar's office at Sindgi town in Bijapur, Karnataka.

Was there any news about it in the media immediately after?

There was damage due to violence. The police have arrested six people from the Sri Ram Sene youth wing.

Why was there silence, even if the idea was to spark off "communal tension" and a few Muslims could have been arrested? Why did that not happen?

The reports are coming in now, after things are under control. Does the BJP muzzle such news? How did the violence go unnoticed when the Sene and Bajrang Dal even gave a call for a bandh?

Not unexpected is the reaction that the BJP and RSS have nothing to do with this organisation. Remember how the BJP would distance itself from the RSS and continues to do so for opportunistic reasons, when the moderate mask wants to hide an aggressive face?

How different are the ministers in Karnataka telling women on the dress code to follow to prevent rape from the Sri Ram Sene group that goes on a rampage against westernised women?

It would be foolish to let it pass that such "miscreants" managed this and it came to light only after the BJP government took action.

You might wonder why they did it at all. One word: elections. The make-up van clears all blemishes.

As for the news, a trickle will now become a storm, and only storms have news value.

- - -

In other news Shashi Tharoor thinks Indo-Pak peace can happen only if we deal with the messy stuff first. Now, people like us have been saying so for gadha (donkey's) years. Mr. Tharoor will hobnob with Them at soirees, though.

One more observation: Pakistani liberals will really cry for peace with India despite their dictatorial government policies. Indian professional liberals will toe democratic government lines.

People like us just speak without waiting for taalis or gaalis.


Why women don't rape men

A minister “personally” does not favour women wearing certain kinds of clothes. Bad enough. Worse is that Yahoo India has this discussion titled: “The Big Question: Are women to blame for rape?”

Why repeat such an idea? It could have been worded differently, instead of such a passive manner. E.g. “Are men such jerks that they rape women’s clothes?” Seriously, how many times do we have to repeat that fully clothed women, not wearing trendy or flimsy westernised dresses, are raped?

Karnataka’s women and child welfare minister C C Patil said:

“I personally don’t favour women wearing provocative clothes and always feel they need to be dignified in whatever they wear…Today’s lifestyle makes it mandatory for women to work like men and live on equal terms with them. So women work in IT companies and call centres at night, they ought to know how much skin they should cover when they leave for such work places. Thus, I leave the issue of their dressing to them.”

Well, thanks, but we should drop the term ‘moral policing’ for morality is the big culprit that starts these stereotypes, and policing assumes they have the power. There is another issue that we are not addressing. What does he mean by saying that it has become mandatory for women to work. It is as much a choice as any other, and it has little to do with aping men. If that were the case then women would be doing the dhinka-chika pelvic thrust, keeping their shirt/blouse buttons open till the waist.

Why don’t women rape men? After all, in many animal species it is the female that hunts prey, and a few smart insects even devour their mate after mating. I won’t get into the nurturing argument. Women’s brains are where they are supposed to be – in their heads. They may get attracted to men and their bodies but they do not lunge. There can be an element of lust when they eye someone, but they do not lick their lips.

Besides the tired argument about conditioning (how many of us are told not to look at men in that way?), women tend to be more individualistic in their thinking, even where sexist ideas are concerned. Men are more likely to follow the herd, which is why gang rape is quite common, often in places where women in fact do work similar to men: in the fields.

The female construct of conquest is not just about security, but exclusivity. Women gossip, but they rarely discuss their bedroom tales with their friends. Ask men and chances are that long after it is over, they will still be tied to the G-strings.