H C Singh

Annie Besant and MK Gandhi -6 Independence Movement of India from 1880 to 1920 –Brief Review

Annie Besant was born in England and at the age of 19 married a young author Christian Rev Frank Besant and came to be known throughout Anne Besant. Soon she found the women in Britain were discriminated and were not considered equal to men. So she became non believer in god and in due course in Christianity and started trying independently to alleviate the conditions of women in UK as she came to believe that as her Parish husbands wife she could  not do much for ending women’s suffering. So differences grew with her husband so fast that first they went their own ways but as her husband turned her out of home  and then got legal separation keeping the son with him allowing his wife to keep little daughter with her. Thus Annie came to London and 1874 joined the secular society .Annie Besant could not sit idle and started working for a paper of radical views called National Reformer. Editor of the paper was Bradlaugh equally secular and he and Annie wrote a book on Birth control which agitated the orthodox government of UK so much that both were imprisoned for six months. Though on appeal their sentence was overturned but Annie was determined to continue advocacy of her views and wrote a book independently on birth control in her book ‘ The laws of population ‘. Her husband got further annoyed and got custody for her daughter too so she was left alone. But all this did not deter the secular minded Annie and a free thinker and activist. She continued to work now writing about unhealthy working conditions for women, industrial workers and their low wages in comparison to men industrial workers .   Annie Besant came to India in early 1880’s and at once joined and commenced enthusiastically her secular activities. She was, it is said, one of the founder of Indian National Congress in 1885.

1)                     Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi and Annie Besant, were virtually contemporary. Gandhi was born in India, got bar at law degree from UK while Annie Besant was born and brought up in UK. For first 30 years of his life did not devote his young life for the benefit of Indians, the country to which he owed everything. As he was a failure as advocate in the very first and the only case MK Gandhi bar at law could not defend the case as he fumbled did not speak a word in support of his client before the British Magistrate. He apologized and left the court almost heart broken. Then Gandhi managed to get an assignment in South Africa from an Indian businessman and left for South Africa where he spent 21 years without his wife and children. Though Gandhi, the barrister from India made many friends, British, South Africans and Indian and fought for equality of Indians and Africans with British ruler of South Africa. Gandhi and Indians in South Africa cannot forget the humiliation that he suffered when, with valid 1st class ticket he was virtually thrown out of train by Britishers. Thus when the First World War started in 1914 Gandhi left for India. Indians thought now experienced Gandhi who was about 45 year old will lead the Indian campaign against the British rulers. But instead Gandhi supported the British in their war to the extent that Gandhi in his home state Gujarat went from village to village for four years to recruit soldier from India for British Army. Which on the other hand  Annie Besant a British citizen spent 5 years in jail as she was supporting Indian independence from British rule which was not only Annie Besant but many Indians were demanding , if not independence, Home Rule.

It was only after the Jallianwala Bagh massacre of unarmed India’s peaceful men and women who had just gathered there to hear their leaders, killing more that 500 men and women that Gandhi became to an extent anti British or anti imperialist and joined Independence movement and soon became its leader and Father of the Nation.

April 25, 2011 Posted by | Indian History | , | Leave a comment

Ayodhya Verdict Review and Solution

When the Ayodhya Verdict was announced by Allahabad High Court all political parties and all Hindus and Muslims heaved a sign of relief, expressing satisfaction over a long awaited verdict. The verdict was balanced and not one-sided. Even the governments of UP and Delhi, in particular and Central government, too, which were fearing unrest after H.C Verdict had deployed thousands of security Personnel to maintain peace. Before the announcement of historic verdict BJP and its allies feared that verdict might be completely in favour of Muslims allotting whole of Babri Mashid complex to them. On the other hand Muslims particularly Sunis too, feared that verdict may be fully in favour of Hindus. But High Court seemed to be just to both Hindus and Muslims.

Learned judges of Allahabad High Court in their just verdict had divided Babri Masjid complex of 60 acres of land in three parts, giving two parts of Ram temple and Sita Rasoi to Hindus and third part where part of Babri Masjid stood to Muslims. With the passage of time both Hindus and Muslims decided to go to Supreme Court in appeal for improving the HC award in their favour. It must be mentioned that two judges of High Court out of there viz, Honourable judges Aggarwal and Khan gave majority Judgment that created history because one of the two judges was a Hindu and other Muslim. While the third judge of HC, Mr Sharma went too far in favour of Hindus, so his views have been ignored by both Hindus and Muslims.

P.C. Chidambaram, Home Minister, belonging to Congress Party in UPA, has announced that the verdict of Allahabad High Court has not approved demolition of Babri Masjid. But the Congress is worried because after the demolition of Babri Masjid in 1992, Congress lost to BJP, it fears that if it opposes, in any manner the verdict of Allahabad High Court, it may lose power to BJP in 2012 general elections. So congress is in dilemma. It cannot afford to favour Muslims and it cannot dare appose the verdict or demand is dilution in favour of Muslims. Both Hindus and Muslims are thinking of appealing to Supreme Court. Till then there would be calm and peace as there has been after HC verdict and even for ever. Both Hindus and Muslims and the whole of country should be grateful to two learned judges of Allahabad High Court who gave a verdict of peace and harmony between both Hindus and Muslims and in India. Hope peace and harmony is further highlighted by the following statement by learned secular minded Islamic Scholar Maulana Vahidudin Khan- “Either leave it to the government to implement the court verdict or agree to the relocation of Babri Mosque. There is in reality no third option”. This appears to be the best solution for Muslims to be allotted free of cost land equal to the existing Babri Masjid as well as with reasonable amount for construction. Hindus would be very happy to get the entire Babri Masjid complex for building Ram temple that could be one of the best temples in whole of India, though they, too, like Muslims are thinking of appealing to Supreme Court so that they are not left behind and to demonstrate to the entire Hindu Community that they want the entire Babri Masjid complex to build a befitting Ram Temple.

On 16th Oct both Muslim and Hindu organization decided to appeal to the Supreme Court. First came the decision of All India Muslim Personal Lal Board (AIMPB) to challenge the Allahabad High Court verdict after their special meeting. AQ illyssi its spokesman said after the meeting that “we are only claiming our property back. A mosque cannot be gifted, shifted and sold.” Nirmohi Akhara counsel retaliated in a few moments on the same day: Akhara wants the management rights of the temple and the entire Babri Masjid courtyard in its possession. Earlier Gagan Das head of the Akhara and Hashim Ansari, the original plaintiff had been negotiating a peaceful settlement. But when the Sunni Muslim dominated AIMPB took hardliner’s view, Akhara Mahant Bhaskaran, too, decided to appeal to the Supreme Court defending his decision strongly: Going to Supreme Court is our compulsion now as Sunni Board has already decided on it. Thus on both sides hardliners have had the way over moderates, atleast for the time being. Still it is heartening to note that both sides are willing to negotiate. Now both the parties and the nation has to wait patiently of the decision of Supreme Court which may take months as SC may call for the ASI (Archeological Survey of India) report which is already with HC.

October 19, 2010 Posted by | Hinduism, India, Indian History, Muslims | , , , , | Leave a comment

Kashmir – Support by Deoband For Unity with India

It is a lesson for Geelani, his supporter colleagues and followers as well as even for Omar Abdulah that a massive conclave of Deoband clerics have snubbed the separatists in Kashmir. It is first time that on 10th October Darul Uloom Deoband spiritual leaders of Sunni Muslims of India have openly come in favour Kashmirs accession to India saying openly in a congregation that Kashmir is integral part of India, have openly condemned the Kashmiri separatists, who led the recent agitation for so called Azadi for 5 months that resulted in loss of about hundred lives of mostly innocent youth of Kashmir and even women for no fault of theirs. They were instigated and led by separatist time and again, even during curfew, to pelt stones on Security personnel. Latest and the worst was attack on school buses carrying school children to their schools or returning from schools after 5 months idleness at home. Thirteen children were hurt but parents insisted that buses should continue to run. Unfortunately Omar Abdullah the PM of Kashmir too lost temper recently and blamed Central Government as well as accession of Kashmir to India not realizing that it was his own failure during last six months in particular to build confidence in favour of Kashmir as part of India.

Views and comments of important Muslim leaders of India, for the first time since partition of India on religious ground and creation of Pakistan which after 63 years is in turmoil because of Taliban on one hand, their frequent suicide bombing right upto Islamabad and Lahore and Karachi. On the other hand frequent bombing by USA, on Pakistan in absolute violation of Pakistan’s sovereignty and a threat to Pakistan’s government. Pakistan’s failure as a Muslim state has opened the eyes of Indian Muslim leaders who have come openly in support of India’s unity and Kashmir’s unity with India which is a secular state, caring for all religions equally.

Senior religious leader, Darul Theolegiun, Abul Rahim Bastawi description of India has far reaching significance, which has not been said so far by any Muslim leader of India. Bastawi, Darul theolegiun said “India is bouquet of all types of flowers. We cannot allow any of the flowers to be taken away.” The resolution passed by Darul conclave made it further clear though not in poetic words of Bastawi but equally significant. The resolution passed in the enclave on Sunday said: “the long pending demands of Kashmiri people must be addressed within the framework of the Constitution of India.”

Both Geelani and Omar Abdullah must go through the views expressed by Bastawi a noted theologian as well as the resolution passed by the most important conclave of Muslims and instantly change their views for the sake of Kashmir and Kashmiri people who have suffered a lot because of separatists like Geelani’s instigation and incapacity of Omar Abdulha, in handling the situation being head of Jammu and Kashmir. All Kashmiri leaders and people should not forget the criminal folly of Pakistan in 1947-48 of sending non – Kashmiri militants from NWFP trained and financed by Pakistan to enter Kashmir, kill and loot Kashmiris indiscriminately at a time when there was standstill agreement. Pakistan had sent its army in support of Jehadis to capture Kashmir’s capital Srinagar. It prompted Hari Singh to sign instrument of accession of J&K to India and on the plea of Sheikh Abdulah and Sardar Patel to send Indian Army to stop the aggression and save the lives and honour of many and save Kashmir. Rest is history well known, defeat of Pakistan’s Army and Jehadis and Cease Fire.

October 12, 2010 Posted by | India, Indian History, Muslims, Pakistan, Political Commentary, Terrorism | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Supreme Court verses the Constitution by Pran Chopra – Brief review and Comments

There was hundred percent honesty in Judiciary of India during Nehru era for more than two decades. It is well known as to why judiciary was made an instrument of government, particularly by Indira Gandhi who set aside the constitution and imposed Emergency in whole of India for the first time, and it is hoped for the last time ever. During Emergency virtually all the state governments were dissolved and all prominent political leaders of opposition including Jai Prakash Narain who never hankered for political office or ministership and who was a freedom fighter along with Gandhi and Patel.

In contrast to give a few examples of how even after Emergency politics got corrupted and some judges and CBI (Central Bureau of Investigation) a tool of the government. Lalu Parsad Yadav who was Chief Minister of Bihar had to resign from Chief Ministership because of Fodder Scam of thousands of crores of rupees. Despite proven charges in courts, he has not been convicted but, for political reasons, was included in Central Cabinet for a number of years. It is well known that Paswan accepted bribe of Rs 60 lakh from the then Congress PM P.V Narsimha Rao. It was proved as he had deposited huge amount in the bank and so was convicted. He too, thereafter became a minister in the Central Cabinet.

Another case is of UP Chief Minister Mayawati who is often required to save the central government of Manmohan Singh and UPA chief Sonia Gandhi. It is only on Sept 27, 2010 that Supreme Court has rapped CBI and Mayawati for getting her petition of 2008 against her prosecution for disproportionate assets case adjourned several times. The Court lashed at both Mayawati and CBI “if both of you are together then we shall not hear this case at all” Supreme Court bench added “Sometimes the petitioner (Mayawati) wants time to fill an application, sometimes you (CBI) take time file your reply to it”.

Though India under British rule had a written constitution 1935 Act, upto 1947, when India became free. But Independent India had its own constitution after prolonged deliberation in Constituent Assembly in 1951. In India constitution is supreme like USA which has the oldest written constitution in the world. Though after World War II European countries, even like defeated Germany have a written constitution which they also consider supreme. Pran Chopra rightly points out that Indias constitution is “preserver of federal system of India. No document institution or authority is Supreme to it. Our constitution has given authority to Supreme Court to interpret the constitution. Though India’s Parliament, as representative of all the people of India is supreme but it is to act within the limits of the written constitution. Parliament can make amendments but within the limit set by written constitution and are not ultra vires to the constitution.

It is in this context that I K Gujral who became later the Prime Minister of India was shocked to observe the saddening conduct of some honourable chief justices during the Emergency: “I recall the visit of two honourable chief justices to Moscow during my tenure there (as India’s ambassador to USSR) and how they defended the misdoings under emergency imposed by Indira Gandhi) of the era”.

Former chief justice of India A M Ahmadi has posed the fundamental question can the Parliament pass any constitution amendment without proper and extensive discussion in the Parliament? He cites the example of for former speaker P A Sangma and some of his successors when “guillotine is applied and a lot of legislation is passed without any discussion. The power to enact a law does not merely mean that you place a law on the table of Parliament and take it as passed”. It is a significant contribution of Chief justice Ahmadi for future Parliaments before they pass any law or constitutional amendment.

Sovereignty is with “we the people” as first line of preamble of the constitution makes it clear and not with any of the three organs mentioned above former PM of India and former Chief Justice of India as well as there are many other personalities who have expressed their similar view’s in ‘Supreme Court verses Constitution of India’, to name the few, Pran Chopra who provided a detailed article for discussion as well as for contribution of articles by eminent persons like former PM and Chief Justice of India and others. Govt of India and the Parliament have now realized that there should be transparency in Judiaciary, no corruption because of Judges having close relations with lawyers. Accordingly a comprehensive bill is being introduced in Parliament shortly for this purpose.

To sum up, Indian constitution is mainly meant, because it is a written constitution, to guard the fundamental rights of Indian citizens, right to life, freedom of speech, sanctity of democracy and for perpetuation of federal system, to keep India united, so that all federal states have freedom of having their own language and culture. Thus it is foremost duty to every member of Parliament, every member of judiciary and CBI which has come to be known as instrument of government and all the members of executive to honour and preserve the written constitution, despite the amendments which are essential because of development of society, not being static. Constitution and its spirit is thus sacrosanct.

October 5, 2010 Posted by | Corruption, India, Indian History, Political Commentary, Politics | , , , , | Leave a comment

Implications of 300 percent increase in MP’s Salaries

With pay and allowances hike of 300 percent for Indian MP’s , an Indian member of parliament would be getting 68 times in relation to per capita GDP: while on the same basis a Japanese MP gets 6 times and an Italian MP 7 times. Even an American senator or member of House of Representatives gets 35 times. How strange and unreasonable when India is still having 35 percent citizens who live below poverty line of which atleast 15 percent i.e. half do not have guarantee of two course meal of simple rice and Daal(pulse) or Daal and Roti and quite a number of them commit suicide because of inability to feed themselves and their families because of drought, debt that they cannot repay or just poverty.

It is also well known that more than half the number of MP’s in India are crorepatis. Why should they need 300 percent increase in their salaries and perks? Even MP’s like Lalu and Yadav demanded forcefully further 10 percent increase besides 300 percent increase already approved by cabinet. To continue to get their support the government of India has acquiesced to their demand though on August 25 when the Bill to hike the salaries and perks of MP’s was tabled this 10 percent hike was not included but, it is said that it is likely to be accepted in due course at the time of implementation of this cabinet decision approved by parliament.

Besides the salaries, perks are quite comprehensive, which, too, have been revised and enhanced. Constituency allowance has been doubled from Rs 20,000 per month to Rs 40,000 plus Rs 10,000 pm increase in pension and office allowance of Rs 40,000 pm. This is not all. He gets rent free bunglow with furniture, telephone, internet etc in Lutyens New Delhi on prestigious roads like Aurangzeb road, Ferozshah road or spacious accommodation in roads east and west of Rashtrapati Bhawan with Rs 2 lakh and one lakh per month rental value. All these increases will result in overall expenditure of Rs 142 crores per annum while lumpsum one time expenditure will be Rs 118 crores for paying salary arrears since 15 Lok Sabha was constituted. Hike in pay, allowances etc approved will add to on MP’s cost to Rs 37 lakh a year or Rs 3 lakh more each month. In addition an MP will get 34 single air journey tickets a year costing Rs 5 lakh and unlimited rail and steamer travel.

Impact of all these hikes in MP’s salaries and allowances will have on MLA’s. Already Delhi administration has approved increase of 200 percent in pay and allowance of each MLA. There is likely to be demand for similar hike in pay and allowances for MLA’s in all the other states and union territories of India. This demand may create difficulties for some states who may demand help from centre to implement as this demand by state MLA’s is due to hike in pay and allowances of MP’s to more than 300 percent. On 27 August Lok Sabha voted for revised MP’s salary and pension bill, not taking into consideration requests and demands for enhancement. Parliamentary affairs minister Pawan Bansal admitted the need for a mechanism for enhancement of salary and perks of MPs though it was a verbal assurance. It is hoped that this mechanism, which may take into account the rise in cost of living and impact on MLA’s of all state government, will be worked out in consultation with states etc and be announced.

August 30, 2010 Posted by | Corruption, India, Indian History, Political Commentary, Politics | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Kashmir Crisis and Solution

It is months that Kashmir Valley is passing through one of the worst prolonged crisis. The present crisis started with the death of one Kashmiri youth on June 11, when during an agitation in which he was ahead, a teargas shell hit his head and he died. Thereafter the disturbed conditions got worsened almost every day because of hard liner Huruyat’s instigation, pelting of stones on police and CRPF personnel started and went on for days. In self defence and to curb violent agitation police and CRPF had to fire which resulted in the killing of 13 persons including a nine year old boy and 25 year old woman. As the situation was getting out of control Chief Minister Omar in consultation with Central Government of India called the Army a fortnight back. Curfew had to be imposed a number of times so that there is no agitation and Army troops won’t be required to use force, leading to killing of anyone. The Army personnel maintained utmost control while marching through streets of Srinagar and other disturbed areas of valley like Avantnag and Baramulla. During the relaxation of curfew, which was essential, so that citizens could come out and purchase essential commodities like rice, wheat, pulses and vegetables etc. During relaxation of curfew there was no disturbance.

However on Sunday the July 18, a class XII student of Gurunanak School Baramulla, north of Srinagar got drowned, because it is said by the locals that Army cops chased him. So that once again situation does not get out of control in Baramulla, hundreds of troops started patrolling streets as a preventive measure in some areas of Srinagar.

Now question arises as to what is the root cause of sporadic crisis in Srinagar and in many parts of the valley though, Jammu area has been peaceful throughout the present crisis though, Jammu area is part of the state of Jammu and Kashmir. In brief it must be stated that Kashmir problem is as old as India’s Independence and creation of Pakistan. Even before the accession of Kashmir, newly created Muslim state of Pakistan equipped and transported from NWFP area militants to capture Srinagar. When these Pakistani militants captured Baramulla India had to airlift the Army troops to reach Srinagar in time before the intruders from Pakistan capture Srinagar airport. Thus Kashmir crisis for the last 62 years is Pakistan’s creation. Tension and sporadic crisis continue despite Indian Army’s heroic efforts to throw out the Pakistani Army and temporary settlement of LOC (Line of Control) and despite limited wars between Pakistan and India. This is in short the cause of Kashmir crisis, engineered financed for sending Pakistani citizens, now more from Pakistan occupied part of Kashmir.

What is the solution? What is the way of ending Kashmir crisis once for all? Now that when Pakistan is in the words of US President Obama ‘cancer of terrorism.’ Because of upsurge of Taliban militants and terrorists in not only NWFP and Baluchistan but whole of Pakistan by suicide bombing upto Lahore, Pakistan cannot be expected to control the Taliban and other militants from entering Kashmir valley and cause unrest, agitations and instigation.

India has to show it determination as a strong country to prevent crossing of LOC from Pakistan. Station more Army units in areas like Baramulla and Srinagar. Curfew may have to be relaxed often for long, for the citizens of Kashmir, who are Indian citizens so that they can be engaged in useful activities like harvesting fruit particularly apples and transport to India and also the other activities like making wonderful shawls and handicrafts so that they are proud of their hard work and good earnings by their own labour.

At political level in Kashmir, Omar Abdulla should consult frequently and impress the opposition parties, which have to be there in a democracy and elected government. Kashmir has been integral part of India since times memorial, even during Muslim and Mughal rule, British rule and shall ever remain as paradise of India.

July 21, 2010 Posted by | India, Indian History, Pakistan, Pakistan's Origin, Creation and Turmoil, Political Commentary | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Caste-ridden India – That is Bharat

After 60 years of 1950 constitution which abolished untouchability and ordained that reservations for SC and STs’ would be for only 15 years; it was felt that India would make progress in all fields – social, economic and political and India that is our Bharat will become a casteless society. Sardar Patel who was India’s first and best Home Minister had, besides supporting wholeheartedly India becoming a casteless society was opposed to reservations for so-called minorities. When some Muslim leaders had raised the question of reservation for Muslims in parliament Sardar rebuked them that India is a secular country and “those Muslims who want reservations can go to Pakistan”. It was then felt that in 15 years time there will be marked improvement in the living standards, education and employment of SC and STs’. But unfortunately our politicians and political parties did not pay any attention to these fundamental issues and were concerned with being in power or retaining power in politics. In 1964 India’s first PM Nehru died and thereafter there was struggle for Prime Ministership.

Thus in 1965 no politician bothered to think of or do anything for SC and STs’ so that there is marked improvement in their condition in society. It is unfortunate that politicians and political parties who have ruled India for the last 60 years, for political reasons and for political power more and more castes were being included for reservation, in particular the OBC’s. Thus instead of India becoming casteless society, today India is a caste-ridden society, a democracy in name only because democracy’s main features are equality of all citizens, no discrimination of any sort of Caste or Status.

How and why there has been deterioration in social, political and economic spheres during last 60 years? Why India, our Bharat, instead of going forward is going backward? Who are responsible for this reversal?

There are about 2000 castes of OBC’s in central list, though each State has a list of its OBC’s. There are some professions like that of Dhobi (washer man) which are SC’s in States of West Bengal, Bihar, UP and Rajasthan but are included in the list of OBC’s in Maharashtra. How can SC’s and OBC’s be considered one. There can be some other castes, particularly in Tamilnadu which may be SC’s there but OBC’s in other southern States or vice versa. How can OBC’s of all 2000 castes be considered backward when some are big landlords and prosperous businessmen or professionals. For example Badal of Punjab who is Chief Minister and his son Dy.Chief Minister can be OBC’s entitled to concessions. Similarly Hooda and Chautala of Haryana present and former Chief Ministers can come under reserved categories. The case of both Yadavas is similar. They have been ruling one State or other. There are many so-called other backward class (OBC’s) cabinet Ministers and Ministers in many States. There are Jats who are holding high position in Civil services, information technology, professors and principals as well as vice chancellors.

There have been occasionally murders, killing because of ‘Khap’ Panchayet’s objection to marriages in same gotra though same gotra marriages were declared legal in 1945 by Bombay High Court. This judgement is of great significance which has since been ignored though it was much before the codification of Hindu Code Bill. It is unfortunate that to gain political support former Chief Minister of Hariyana, Om Prakash Chautala and Congress MP Jindal are supporting the ‘Khap’ Panchayet’s ideology and actions and even want legal support. If somehow ‘Khap’ Panchayet’s get legal support this will mean, that our judicial system of justice will have no jurisdiction in ‘Khap’ Panchayet’s and thereafter in all Panchayets all over India though gotra politics is medieval : that will take India much more backward.

Latest unfortunate and ill-considered action of UPA-II government is inclusion of caste in 2011 census without bothering about its implications. Central leadership seems to have succumbed to pressure, particularly from two Yadavas, and allies. There are thousands of castes and tens of thousands sub castes. How these will be coordinated into four major castes? Moreover there are millions of citizens who don’t believe in caste system and do not and would not like to mention their caste for the census. There are 18,000 categories of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes listed in 2001 census.

 If India is to be a progressive and modern democracy it take steps, though 45 years late, to end caste system by 2025 so that India is determined to move forward and not backward. If a constitutional amendment is required, just as provision in 1950 Constitution that must be enacted. For this all parties must sink their differences and rise so that India advances like Christian dominated countries where there is no caste system at all. Even Muslim countries who have their problem of Burqa, have no caste system, thus no discrimination, all citizens being equal.

July 2, 2010 Posted by | Corruption, Hinduism, India, Indian History, Muslims, Political Commentary, Politics, Religion | , , , , , | 2 Comments

Shahid Bhagat Singh’s Courage and Patriotism-Little Known Facts

Bhagat Singh and his two associates Raj Guru and Sukhdev were executed on March 23, 1931 in Lahore jail in India. Particularly in Punjab anniversary of these patriots and freedom fighters was celebrated as they had taken up arms and had founded first revolutionary Army called Hindustan Socialist Republic Army. Bhagat Singh and Dutt were sentenced to life imprisonment on May 19, 1929 for throwing a bomb in Assembly. Earlier Bhagat Singh and his two associates murdered two British police officers Saunders and Scot in Lahore in December 1928, for killing Lala Lajpat Rai, a renowned freedom fighter who hailed from Punjab. After killing these two Britishers to avenge the assassination of Lala Lajpat Rai they put up a ‘Notice’ on many public places in Lahore. This notice was hand written by Bhagat Singh.

Notice: By Hindustan Socialist Republic Army Bureaucracy Beware. With the death of JP. Saunders the assassination of Lala Lajpat Rai has been avenged.” It is detailed poster of a full page and ends with “Long Live Revolution.”

                 The complete text of this “notice” to British and many other important documents like Jinnah’s historic speech in central Assembly in defence of Bhagat Singh, Gandhi’s discussions with Viceroy Halifax and his secretary Emerson and Bhagat Singh’s last letter to Governor of Punjab and many other document’s are found in noted writer and Lawyer AG Nooranis book “The Trial of Bhagat Singh- Politics of Justice.” These appendix reveal the little known facts as elucidated in brief.

Ghandhi on Bhagat Singh

Gandhi and Congress were facing unprecedented problem because a day before the scheduled Congress session in Karachi Bhagat Singh, Rajguru and Sukhdev were executed. Gandhi had been negotiating with Viceroy of India and his Home Secretary Emerson for quite long for postponement of execution or commutations of death sentence to life imprisonment of these three freedom fighters but to no result, as Gandhi did not appear assertive enough. Few days before the execution of Bhagat Singh and his two associates Gandhi-Irwin Pact or “Delhi Pact” reached between Gandhi and Viceroy of India. After the news of execution of Bhagat Singh a day before the opening day of Karachi session of Congress, there were demonstrations against the government the ‘Pact’ and Gandhi. Following extracts from negotiations between Viceroy and Gandhi as well as between Gandhi and Emerson, Home Member, demonstrate Gandhi’s half hearted efforts for getting commuted the death sentence into life imprisonment.

              On 20th March there was a crucial meeting between Gandhi and Emerson. After the meeting Emerson informed the Viceroy in writing that “Gandhi did not seem to me to be particularly concerned in the matter I told him that we would be lucky if we got through without disorder and I asked all that he could do to prevent meetings being held in Delhi during next few days and to restrain violent speeches. He promised to do all he could.” (File No 33(1) 1931 Home Dept Political Branch, National Archives) To this Gandhi wrote a letter to Emerson in reply to his letter of March 20, 1931.

My Dear Emerson,

Thank you for your letter just received. I know of the meeting you refer to. I have taken every precaution possible and hope that nothing untward will happen. I suggest that there should be no display of police force and to interference in the meeting. Irritation is likely to be there. It will be better to allow it find vent through meetings

Yours Sincerely

Sd M.K. Gandhi

(F4/2/1931 Home Dept Political Branch, National Archives)

One can read from above correspondence Gandhi’s ‘dual role’ during the period of civil disobedience Movement launched in 1930. On one side he was negotiating, to get commuted Bhagat Singh’s death sentence to life imprisonment and on the other side he was helping British colonialist power how to deal with likely disturbances after Bhagat Singh, Rajguru and Sukhdev’s execution.

 Bhagat Singh’s Defence by Jinnah

First of all Jinnah criticized the Government of Punjab for maltreatment of Bhagat Singh and his associates who went on hunger strike because they were not getting proper food like other prisoners. Jinnah boldly said in Legislative Assembly in his long speech on Sept 12 and 14 1928: “As far as Punjab Government are concerned, the government do not merely bring these men to trial and get them convicted by a Judicial tribunal but government go to war against these men. The man who goes on hunger strike has a soul. He is moved by the soul and he believes justice of his cause. He is not an ordinary criminal who is guilty of cold blooded, sordid, wicked crime.” To elucidate Jinnah added, “It is the system, the damnable system of government which is resented by people….. What happened to Congrave, the Prime Minister of Ireland? He was under sentence of death a fortnight before he got invitation from His Majesty’s government to go and settle terms!” Jinnah concluded his long and logical speech with these memorable words: “And the last word, I wish to address the government are; try and concentrate your mind on root cause and the more you concentrate on the root cause the less difficulties and inconveniences there will be for you to face, and thank Heaven that the money of the tax payer will not be wasted in prosecuting men, nay citizens, who are fighting and struggling for freedom of their country.

It is clear that from above quoted extracts that Jinnah considered Bhagat Singh, Rajguru and Sukhdev, as freedom fighters. He asserted that they were not ordinary criminals. He compared Bhagat Singh with Irish PM, who, too had been sentenced to death but was called by British Government for negotiations. But British government of India behaved with Indian freedom fighters as if they were enemies and were at war.

The way he defended Bhagat Singh and simultaneously condemned the ‘damnable’ colonial administration in the Indian Legislature , shows that till then Jinnah was a strong Indian Nationalist. It is a different episode that after a couple of years he became President of Muslim League and with the connivance of Churchill and British started demanding partition of India and Muslim State of Pakistan. To achieve his object of Pakistan he went even so far as instigate September 1946 Bengal riots and also communal riots in Punjab in April 1947 and thereafter Partition riots.

 Courage and Patriotism of Bhagat Singh

Bhagat Singh when he was sentenced to death did not ask for mercy but wanted to be shot by army instead of being hanged. Following are extracts from Bhagat Singh’s last letter, “petition” to Punjab Governor: “We know that the maxim ‘might is right’ serves as your guiding motto. The whole of our trial was just a proof of that, we wanted to point out that according to the verdict we had waged war and therefore were war prisoners. We claim to be treated as such .i.e. we claim to be shot dead instead of to be hanged …….. we request and hope that you will very kindly order the military department to send its detachment to perform our execution.”

Bhagat Singh was first great Freedom Fighter who took up arms against the British tyranny to teach them a lesson that Indians will not sit idle but take up arms to fight for Freedom of their country. Thus Bhagat Singh was forerunner and inspiration to many young Indians who fought for India’s freedom from British rule in India. Socialist Republic Army which called for an “armed revolution”, Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose, was inspired by Bhagat Singh. He fought for India’s Independence as Supreme Commander of INA to bring an end to British rule in India.

Shahid Bhagat Singh was just 23 years old when he was executed by hanging in Lahore Jail. During 5 years of his youth he showed unlimited patriotism courage and knowledge through his letters. His patriotism and Revolutionary actions inspired many young men who fought for India’s independence and laid down their lives from 1931 to 1947. Thus Bhagat Singh, the revolutionary young patriot is honoured by celebration of his martyrdom all over India, particularly in Punjab.

April 1, 2010 Posted by | Indian History, Politics | , , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Bill for 33 Percent Reservation for Women- Its Implications

Though the Bill has been passed in Rajya Sabha after heated debate it will not suffice because in India women are not regarded equal to men or even are considered inferior to men, socially and intellectually. Besides most of women are confined to homes for being fit to do domestic work and raise children. Though 33 percent seats in Parliament are reserved for women in Russia, Norway, Sweden, France and Germany, and in East, in Korea and Philippines, women in these countries and where there is no reservation like USA, Australia and England, women are in a position to take full advantage because they are socially equal and in nowhere and in no sphere considered inferior in Society in intellect and efficiency etc. Reservation for women in these countries has done well and is considered as women’s achievement.

In India even in the Parliament of 1999-04 the percentage of women members was only 7.8 percent i.e., there were only 42 women in the House of 543. As these women members of Parliament came mostly from upper middle class and upper class and most of them were highly educated, they were vociferous, significant and even dominating like Sushma Swaraj (BJP), Brinda Karat (CPM) to name a few.

More important for uplift of women are education particularly in rural areas, their social equality which means they should have equal right of inderitence of property and assets, end of discrimination on caste basis. It must be stated that though the Bill was passed by a majority of 186 against only 1 and 39 obtained, something unbecoming happened. Seven members of the parliament went up to the Chairman of Rajya Sabha and snatched the copy of the Bill from hands of the Chairman and tore into pieces. This was a shameful act by these seven opposition members who were overpowered by Marshals and evicted later suspended from Parliament. Such an unbecoming behavior of MP’s had never happened before. Worst of all these seven have not apologized, or even are not ready to apologize. Such male members of Parliament do not deserve to be members of any elected House .

Rajya Sabha had to be adjourned a number of times and could take up the Bill next day for voting and the Bill was passed. Sonia Gandhi was very happy considering the passage of Bill in Rajya Sabha as her personal victory. However because of controversy and many members of BJP and even Congress, besides other small parties though are not openly apposed to the reservation of 33 percent for women, are at heart not willing to support the Bill. This is one of the reasons that discussion in Lok Sabha has been postponed to May 2010. It may be further postponed, as it has already been done. Thus at this stage there is no reason for Sonia Gandhi or Congress to be happy and Jubilant.

Another issue that has cropped is quota within quota for Muslim women. Infact Muslims have been demanding reservation for Muslims in all spheres and elected bodies from Panchayat onward to Parliament. But because of the present Bill of 33 percent reservation for women, this demand for reservation for Muslims has risen once again. To recollect, this demand by some Muslim leaders was raised even after independence. But Sardar Patel who was Home Minister retorted that those Muslims who want reservations should go to Pakistan. Can this demand be accepted, because of vote bank politics, or brushed aside? Hypothetically, if Muslims demand for quota is accepted, there may be demand for quota by Christians, Sikhs, Jains and Buddhists.

The Bill for 33 percent Reservation for Women is not even half way through. It is the Lok Sabha which has to pass by two third majority, as it would be a constitutional amendment. As there are already many MP’s of all the Parties including BJP and Congress who are opposed to the Bill, it is becoming doubtful whether in May it will be taken up and passed after discussion in Lok Sabha or it will be postponed further.

Democracy presupposes equality of men and women and also equality of opportunity for all women and men. It is regretted that this equality is lacking even after 62 years of independence though Article 15 of the constitution prohibits discrimination on ground of sex. Even the Directive Principles of State Policy which urge that the state shall direct its policy towards securing adequate livelihood for women as well as equal pay for equal work, seem to have been ignored or half heartedly attempted.

It is noteworthy that empowerment of women by giving them 33 percent seats in Panchayats all over India has resulted in induction of “at least one million” women to public life in rural India at the grassroot level. It is heartening. Though 33 percent reservation of seats in Parliament for women requires some vital amendments and considerations with all political parties as to how 33 percent seats will be distributed or effected keeping in view SC and ST quota. It is definitely not as simple as 33 percent quota for women in Panchayats. However when this amended Bill is passed in Lok Sabha by two third majority, which at this stage seems difficult, even in May 2010, this will bring a corresponding revolution, much more significant than that of Panchayats. It will herald a new era in advancement of women in India in all spheres. As and when this Bill is finally passed by Lok Sabha and becomes a Constitutional Amendment, India will, in the comity of nations all over the world, be recognized as an advanced and progressive country.

Though the Bill has been passed in Rajya Sabha after heated debate it will not suffice because in India women are not regarded equal to men or even are considered inferior to men, socially and intellectually. Besides most of women are confined to homes for being fit to do domestic work and raise children. Though 33 percent seats in Parliament are reserved for women in Russia, Norway, Sweden, France and Germany, and in East, in Korea and Philippines, women in these countries and where there is no reservation like USA, Australia and England, women are in a position to take full advantage because they are socially equal and in nowhere and in no sphere considered inferior in Society in intellect and efficiency etc. Reservation for women in these countries has done well and is considered as women’s achievement.

In India even in the Parliament of 1999-04 the percentage of women members was only 7.8 percent i.e., there were only 42 women in the House of 543. As these women members of Parliament came mostly from upper middle class and upper class and most of them were highly educated, they were vociferous, significant and even dominating like Sushma Swaraj (BJP), Brinda Karat (CPM) to name a few.

More important for uplift of women are education particularly in rural areas, their social equality which means they should have equal right of inderitence of property and assets, end of discrimination on caste basis. It must be stated that though the Bill was passed by a majority of 186 against only 1 and 39 obtained, something unbecoming happened. Seven members of the parliament went up to the Chairman of Rajya Sabha and snatched the copy of the Bill from hands of the Chairman and tore into pieces. This was a shameful act by these seven opposition members who were overpowered by Marshals and evicted later suspended from Parliament. Such an unbecoming behavior of MP’s had never happened before. Worst of all these seven have not apologized, or even are not ready to apologize. Such male members of Parliament do not deserve to be members of any elected House .

Rajya Sabha had to be adjourned a number of times and could take up the Bill next day for voting and the Bill was passed. Sonia Gandhi was very happy considering the passage of Bill in Rajya Sabha as her personal victory. However because of controversy and many members of BJP and even Congress, besides other small parties though are not openly apposed to the reservation of 33 percent for women, are at heart not willing to support the Bill. This is one of the reasons that discussion in Lok Sabha has been postponed to May 2010. It may be further postponed, as it has already been done. Thus at this stage there is no reason for Sonia Gandhi or Congress to be happy and Jubilant.

Another issue that has cropped is quota within quota for Muslim women. Infact Muslims have been demanding reservation for Muslims in all spheres and elected bodies from Panchayat onward to Parliament. But because of the present Bill of 33 percent reservation for women, this demand for reservation for Muslims has risen once again. To recollect, this demand by some Muslim leaders was raised even after independence. But Sardar Patel who was Home Minister retorted that those Muslims who want reservations should go to Pakistan. Can this demand be accepted, because of vote bank politics, or brushed aside? Hypothetically, if Muslims demand for quota is accepted, there may be demand for quota by Christians, Sikhs, Jains and Buddhists.

The Bill for 33 percent Reservation for Women is not even half way through. It is the Lok Sabha which has to pass by two third majority, as it would be a constitutional amendment. As there are already many MP’s of all the Parties including BJP and Congress who are opposed to the Bill, it is becoming doubtful whether in May it will be taken up and passed after discussion in Lok Sabha or it will be postponed further.

Democracy presupposes equality of men and women and also equality of opportunity for all women and men. It is regretted that this equality is lacking even after 62 years of independence though Article 15 of the constitution prohibits discrimination on ground of sex. Even the Directive Principles of State Policy which urge that the state shall direct its policy towards securing adequate livelihood for women as well as equal pay for equal work, seem to have been ignored or half heartedly attempted.

It is noteworthy that empowerment of women by giving them 33 percent seats in Panchayats all over India has resulted in induction of “at least one million” women to public life in rural India at the grassroot level. It is heartening. Though 33 percent reservation of seats in Parliament for women requires some vital amendments and considerations with all political parties as to how 33 percent seats will be distributed or effected keeping in view SC and ST quota. It is definitely not as simple as 33 percent quota for women in Panchayats. However when this amended Bill is passed in Lok Sabha by two third majority, which at this stage seems difficult, even in May 2010, this will bring a corresponding revolution, much more significant than that of Panchayats. It will herald a new era in advancement of women in India in all spheres. As and when this Bill is finally passed by Lok Sabha and becomes a Constitutional Amendment, India will, in the comity of nations all over the world, be recognized as an advanced and progressive country.

March 17, 2010 Posted by | Achievers, Corruption, India, Indian Economy, Indian History, Muslims, Political Commentary, Politics, Religion, Women reservation in India | , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Defeat Of Churchill And Victory Of India

  In a recent book written by Arthur Herman ‘Churchill and Gandhi’, there are many aspects which reveal both Gandhi’s ideology and Churchill’s anti-Indian views because Gandhi wanted and worked for India’s independence while Churchill was on the other extreme to deny India independence by all means. Gandhi felt that independence was India’s birth right while Churchill worked hard in and out of Parliament to put obstacles in the way of India’s Freedom Movement. Churchill was convinced that if India won freedom “sun will set on British Empire” and this is what happened. Here are some enlightening facts.

Winston Churchill who was Prime Minister of UK during Second World War and remained so till the end of war was considered virtually by all the people of UK as savior of England as well as of British Empire. Accordingly after end of war, Churchill vehemently opposed India’s independence saying “I have not become His Majesty’s First Minister to preside over liquidation of Empire. Churchill thus considered, as his and British empires enemies all those Indians who were fighting for independence whether by Gandhi’s non violence or by taking up arms against the British like Subhash Bose of Indian National Army(INA). Accordingly when after the war PM Attlee of Labor Party tried to negotiate for independence of India, though at that time as a Dominion, Churchill started through Jinnaha, to create problems for unity of India and even went so far as to encourage Jinnaha to demand a separate state for Muslims (Pakistan) with all the Muslim majority provinces including whole of Punjab and entire Bengal.

Churchill was convinced that if India gains independence, it will herald end of British Empire all over the world. Therefore Churchill and Gandhi were irreconcilable opponents throughout, particularly after 1919 Jallianwala Bagh massacre.

It is best to know how Winston Churchill grew up. Winston’s father, Randolf and his mother ignored him even during his illness. Later Churchill said about his father, “He treated me as if I had been a fool: barked at me whenever I questioned him… He wouldn’t listen to me or consider anything I said”. This type of bringing up made Winston, like his father, Lord Randolf Churchill who was Secretary of State for India in 1885.So Winston became more self-centered and aggressive than his father. Even at the young age of twelve Winston was called by his teacher: “The naughtiest little boy in the world”.

From 1920 to 1936-37 Churchill considered Gandhi a “fakir” and “fanatic”, a threat to British rule in India. He became a threat to everything Churchill believed in and in the end Churchill would fight him with everything he had. (Arthur Herman).

As war clouds gathered in 37-38, Churchill feared Axis between Germany and Japan. He got worried about Japan’s military effort in the East just as that of Germany against England and rest of Europe except Italy. Thus Churchill to keep India on British side had couple of dinner talks with G D Birla in July 1937 to apprise him of Japan’s dangerous intentions about India. Churchill discussed with Birla for two hours. “Well a big experiment has begun” Churchill asserted meaning the new Indian constitution (1935 Act).

For the first time because of danger of imminent war by Germany, Churchill “swore” that he had not said a word against India Act since the King had signed it. Churchill even said that viceroy of India had invited me to visit India “I will go” if Mr. Gandhi also desires it. He even told Birla that he had great respect for Gandhi. The statement of Churchill was in complete contrast to what he said and meant for the last 20 years about Gandhi. Thus when in September 1938 Churchill heard PM Chamberalin going to meet Hitler at Munich to sign an agreement with Hitler,Churchill lost control and said: “This is end of British Empire” The agreement was duly signed.

Gandhi said “Peace has been preserved but at he cost of honour”. But 41 year old Subhash Bose announced “The time has come, for Indians to take advantage of it”.

But in mid March just six months after the signing of agreement, Hitler’s army invaded Czech capital. All England wanted Churchill to be at helm to lead Britain in war against Hitler. Accordingly at first Churchill was included in the Cabinet. In May 1940 he “pushed the door of Downing street” and was PM. Chamberlein and many had preferred Holifax to be PM but Holifax realized Churchill potential on the war and said “I think Winston is better choice”. There were shouts against Chamberalin and demand to resign, “Go, in gods name go”. This is how Churchill became PM.

During Second World War India decided to fight for India’s independence through mass satyagraha i.e. agitations and civil disobedience. Viceroy Linlithgo, unlike Churchill, wanted some compromise, some promise of independence after war. Gandhi met Linlithgo before launching the mass agitation and told the viceroy “He would encourage every Indian to refuse to support the war effort”.

The fall of Singapore, virtually without a fight by British officers and Indian Army heralded the end of British Empire in India and South East Asia. Fall of Singapore was first and greatest shock to Churchill as PM as Japanese had sunk both the ships ‘Prince of Wales’ and ‘Rapulse’. Next shock was for Churchill and his war cabinet during the headlong flight from Burma. “He got worried whether Indians will help Britain in their war effort. Even more frightening possibility was that Indians would rise up against British workers and join the Japanese. One man was already working to make that happen ‘Subhash Chandra Bose’ Head of INA in Singapore “worshiped Bose as God”.

Bose spoke the language of Indian manhood and heroic self confidence…..like Churchill, Bose was committed to waging war to the hilt to win that struggle (independence for India) Bose famous and inspiring words became a maxim “Give me blood and I will give you independence”.

India, wrote Leo Amery who was Secretary to State for India during Second World War, “when the conflict between Indian nationalism reached climax particularly in 1942. Churchill had “wholly uncontrollable complex” Churchill’s outburst were sometimes so intemperate that Amery wondered in his diary if ‘on the subject of India he (Churchill) is really quote sane”.

Though Churchill one of the greatest British politicians and Prime Minister, he was also a great British writer on Political History and won Noble Prize, but he was utter failure so far his hatred for Gandhi, India and Indian Independence was concerned. Despite Churchill’s all efforts like encouraging and helping Jinnaha and to an extent Mountbatten, though at cost million of lives in partition riots India won Independence on 15th August 1947. It was a day of India’s victory and Churchill’s personal defeat.

March 10, 2010 Posted by | Achievers, India, Indian History, Mahatma Gandhi in South Africa, Political Commentary | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments