Monthly Archives: September 2011

The omertà on Barmaid Gandhi’s illness – Nirupama Subramanian. Shame on the gagged, gangster media.

September 22, 2011The omertà on Sonia Gandhi’s illnessNIRUPAMA SUBRAMANIAN

It is not surprising that the Congress should be secretive about its leader’s health. What is surprising though is the news media’s submission to the secrecy on an issue that is of public concern.

In February 2010, following a convention that the President of the United States will make public the results of his annual medical examination, the White House released details of President Barack Obama’s first health check in office. This included his medication history, the doctor’s recommendation that he follow a diet to reduce his cholesterol levels, and kick his smoking habit.

In the United Kingdom, there is no convention of revealing the medical histories of leaders. In September 2009, amid rumours about Prime Minister Gordon Brown’s health, a BBC journalist asked him during an interview that was going out live on air if he was taking “prescribed painkillers and pills” to help him cope with his work pressures. The question angered the Labour Party, which described it as an “intrusion” into the Prime Minister’s health. But within weeks, Downing Street took what The Guardian described as “the unusual step” of revealing the results of Mr. Brown’s eye check-up that showed two tears in his retina. It said it was disclosing the information in the interest of “transparency” and to put an end to the rumours.

In India too, when Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had to undergo a heart surgery in early 2009, the government went public with details of his medical condition. On Sonia Gandhi’s health, however, the silence continues even after her return from treatment for an illness that has not been made public — but is widely believed to be cancer of some kind.

All that the nation has been told is that almost immediately on her return, the Congress president chaired a party meeting to choose candidates for the Uttar Pradesh elections to be held early next year. No photographs of Ms Gandhi have appeared since her return; the media have used file photographs or old footage to announce that she is back in India after her treatment, and in reporting that she has resumed work as party president. The most recent photographs of her are from her visit to Bangladesh in early August.

Dr. Singh is perhaps among the handful of people who are informed about the state of Ms Gandhi’s health. But officials in the Prime Minister’s Office are not in the know. The Home Minister, the Home Ministry and the Intelligence Bureau also appear to have been kept out of the loop.

Her absence from India, from around August 4, the day the party first announced she had gone abroad, to September 8, when her arrival back was announced, coincided with a stormy period in national politics. Anna Hazare’s hunger strike for the Jan Lokpal Bill plunged the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government into a crisis. The Congress needed all the leadership it could muster but stood exposed for having none. While it is debatable if Ms Gandhi could have steered the ship any better, Rahul Gandhi’s late intervention by way of his speech in Parliament certainly failed to work the miracle that the Congress had hoped for.

The Gandhi family and the Congress party have dealt with Ms Gandhi’s illness as a “personal matter” that requires no public explanation. True, politicians are entitled to privacy in matters of health. But this right to privacy cannot hold if it impacts on their work. Ms Gandhi has led the Congress for more than a decade; her party’s election victories are credited to her leadership. The argument that Ms Gandhi does not hold high office, is not the head of the government, and therefore her illness is not a matter of public importance, hardly holds. Since 2004, she has been seen universally as the main power centre in the UPA. Clearly, several matters of national importance ride on her health, including her ability to lead the party into the next election, and the issue of succession in the Congress leadership, should this become necessary. These are not private matters.

The hush-hush is reminiscent of the secrecy that surrounded the condition of Leonid Brezhnev as the Soviet leader’s health deteriorated through 1982. While the official line was that he was suffering from only a minor ailment, the Communist Party of the Soviet Union had already worked out a line of succession.

On the other hand, we have the openness of former New York Mayor Rudy Guiliani’s battle with prostate cancer, whose let’s-talk-about-it attitude helped the cancer awareness campaign in the U.S. turn him into an iconic survivor of the disease. More recently, Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez spoke publicly about his battle with cancer.

That the Congress should be secretive about Ms Gandhi’s health is not surprising. What is surprising, though, is the omertà being observed by the news media, usually described by international writers as feisty and raucous. On this particular issue, reverential is the more fitting description. Barring editorials in the Business Standard and MailToday, no other media organisation has thought it fit to question the secrecy surrounding the health of the government’s de facto Number One.

A similar deference was on display a few years ago in reporting Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s uneven health while he was the Prime Minister. For at least some months before he underwent a knee-replacement surgery in 2001, it was clear he was in a bad way, but no news organisation touched the subject. Eventually, the government disclosed that he was to undergo the procedure, and it was covered by the media in breathless detail.

Both before and after the surgery, there was an unwritten understanding that photographers and cameramen would not depict Mr. Vajpayee’s difficulties while walking or standing. Post-surgery, a British journalist who broke ranks to question if the Prime Minister was fit enough for his job (“Asleep at The Wheel?” Time, June 10, 2002) was vindictively hounded by the government.

Almost a decade later, much has changed about the Indian media, which now likes to compare itself with the best in the world. But it lets itself down again and again. The media silence on Ms Gandhi is all the more glaring compared with the amount of news time that was recently devoted to Omar Abdullah’s marital troubles. The Jammu & Kashmir Chief Minister’s personal life has zero public importance. Yet a television channel went so far as to station an OB van outside his Delhi home, and even questioned the maid. The keyhole coverage ended only when an agonised Mr. Abdullah put out a brief statement about his separation and a request that he and his family be left alone.

Meanwhile, the media are clearly not in the mood to extend their kid-glove treatment of Ms Gandhi’s illness to some other politicians: it has been open season with BJP president Nitin Gadkari’s health problems arising from his weight. Clearly, it’s different strokes for different folks.

The mystery of Sonia Gandhi’s illness

By Ramakrishna S R | Box Populi – Wed, Sep 28, 2011

Why isn’t anyone telling us what’s wrong with Sonia Gandhi? That’s the question an opinion piece in The Hindu is asking after India’s most powerful politician returned from a US cancer hospital.

Nirupama Subramaniam writes: “That the Congress should be secretive about Ms Gandhi’s health is not surprising. What is surprising, though, is the omertà being observed by the news media, usually described by international writers as feisty and raucous. On this particular issue, reverential is the more fitting description. Barring editorials in the Business Standard and MailToday, no other media organisation has thought it fit to question the secrecy surrounding the health of the government’s de facto Number One.”

Omerta refers to a ‘code of silence’, when people in the know conspiratorially refuse to discuss a matter of importance in public.

The Telegraph, UK, quoted sources as saying Sonia had been suffering from cancer for eight months. There is no official word on it yet, and a reclusive Sonia has been busy mediating between Pranab Mukherjee and P Chidambaram on the 2G note controversy.

The law frowns on the unauthorised disclosure of medical details, so why should anyone be curious? Nirupama Subramaniam argues citizens should know, since Sonia’s health determines the fortunes of the nation. She writes: “True, politicians are entitled to privacy in matters of health. But this right to privacy cannot hold if it impacts on their work. Ms Gandhi has led the Congress for more than a decade; her party’s election victories are credited to her leadership. The argument that Ms Gandhi does not hold high office, is not the head of the government, and therefore her illness is not a matter of public importance, hardly holds. Since 2004, she has been seen universally as the main power centre in the UPA. Clearly, several matters of national importance ride on her health, including her ability to lead the party into the next election, and the issue of succession in the Congress leadership, should this become necessary. These are not private matters.”

In the absence of an aggressive tabloid culture, details of politicians’ illnesses don’t quickly make it to the headlines in India. But many celebrities use their situation to draw attention to a disease, and canvass for research. After a horseriding accident that left him confined to a wheelchair, actor Christopher Reeve campaigned on behalf of people with spinal cord injuries.
NewsX reported Sonia has a benign skin cancer, and no dire illness. Squamous skin cancer, a doctor who came on the show said, is common in the West, and is handled easily. Manmohan Singh, Vajpayee and other leaders have also benefited, says The Hindu, from the omerta of the press.
In India, several politicians have thrived even when they were in physical distress. Jayaprakash Narayan inspired the movement against the Emergency from a hospital bed, while M G Ramachandran and M Karunanidhi, both crippled by severe diseases, have ruled Tamil Nadu well into their late years. Rajinikanth recently came back from Singapore, and his problem remains undisclosed to this day, but his fans remain steadfast.

The question of whether it is ethical to publish details of a newsmaker’s illnesses remains, but the illness itself is no big deal in India. Politicians have such tenacity that they can swing things in the world out there even when they lie motionless in hospital beds or sit breathless in wheelchairs.

While the media in India may hush up problems afflicting our leaders, The Telegraph, UK, shows no confusion when it comes to medical stories. Late last week, it published this story with a heading guaranteed to startle those used to the feeble medical coverage in the Indian papers: Shoaib Akhtar’s genital warts keep him out of Pakistan’s World Twenty20 squad.

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19Please sign in to rate!Please sign in to rate!0 9 hours ago
Does India got sophicicated Cancer hospitals? If so why the hell all these Corporate Politicians and Celebrities visit overseas for treatment and this media always run behind them to show how much they enlarged their nose ,etc……… how much they reduced fat,AIDS treatment etc……..there… More
2 Replies

27Please sign in to rate!Please sign in to rate!1Raja 5 hours ago
there is no health problem. she went to swiss to transfer all the black money to some other safe heaven. people are being fooled.
9 Replies

10Please sign in to rate!Please sign in to rate!0Rajagopal 2 hours ago
She might gone there to park her illegal assets in the name of illness.

10Please sign in to rate!Please sign in to rate!3Ashish 2 hours ago
The congress party is fooling the people, looting the people .. and here we are .. helpless .. no leader in sight
2 Replies

3Please sign in to rate!Please sign in to rate!0ASHOK about an hour ago
is she ailing i doubt? there is nothing secretive about ailment… something else definitely…
2 Replies

0Please sign in to rate!Please sign in to rate!0Babu 2 hours ago

4Please sign in to rate!Please sign in to rate!0Prafulla Kumar 2 hours ago
Congress Govt. is always a corrupt Govt.. But why allies keep mum. What Lalu, Mulayam, Mamata Didi r doing? Of course there is no choice left with we Indians.. All parties r corrupted. Where to go.??. Whom to tell.?? No political party, heartily accepts to pass Jan lopal Bill. P Chidambaram ka get… More

2Please sign in to rate!Please sign in to rate!0SImplice 34 minutes ago
Question is not what is wrong ? Question is whats right with all the politicians ?

2Please sign in to rate!Please sign in to rate!0Rahul 34 minutes ago
She is not suffering from cancer. Its the country is suffering from the cancer named “CORRUPTION”. She was on a visit to Switzerland to safe guard here share of benefit from the countries illness.

9Please sign in to rate!Please sign in to rate!1Vidyut 5 hours ago
When the money used for a secret ailment belongs to the people of India, the public has a right to know what the ailment was. So let us not be squeamish about asking these questions. How much money was spent? Wasn’t an equivalent treatment available in India? Why is every RTI application on the… More
5 Replies

2Please sign in to rate!Please sign in to rate!2Dr. K L Chowdhury 2 hours ago
The secrecy is designed to make her seem even more imponderable. more enigmatic, more elevated than the common citizen and, therefore, more other-wordily. The mystery is designed to titillate the inquisitiveness of the incredibly credulous Indian masses, to further enhance their adoration and… More
2 Replies

0Please sign in to rate!Please sign in to rate!0Vikky about an hour ago
1 Reply

1Please sign in to rate!Please sign in to rate!0Jithender K about an hour ago
wealth & health of Indian politicians is Omreta. Indians have right to question it but unfortunately get no answer. May God save us. I doubt it very much!!!


1Please sign in to rate!Please sign in to rate!0Allama Prabhu 2 hours ago
This is certainly a point to ponder ! Look at the other irony….India advocates for Medical Tourism and the Top leaders like Sonia goes out of the Country for getting BETTER medical treatment(which obviously in their opinion not available in India). AND THESE ARE OUR LEADERS !!!!

0Please sign in to rate!Please sign in to rate!0Syriac about a minute ago
If she openly tells, then it is Okay, otherwise leave it

0Please sign in to rate!Please sign in to rate!0Arun about a minute ago
People of India has right to know why India is not fit for treatment of their leaders, when it is considered safe by ‘politicians’ for rest of its common man. Secrecy is not an issue, why should she be treated abroad ? Best of the doctors in India can be appointed to treat her at home if required.

0Please sign in to rate!Please sign in to rate!0Lakshmi 4 minutes ago
It should be made a rule that ALL politicians should get treated in GOVT. hospitals ONLY. That way, our hospitals have a chance to get better, or we have a chance to see somebody face the consequences of their deeds!! In any case, we will benefit.

0Please sign in to rate!Please sign in to rate!0Syriac 4 minutes ago
Let the health problem be purely their personal problem.Why we have to poke in to other person’s private life

0Please sign in to rate!Please sign in to rate!0Ajay 5 minutes ago
hi everybody.What is so secret about cancer that it should be hidden .If it were aids or HIV well one could have understood.One never goes to a cancer speciality hospital to treat broken nails
With India becoming an important place for medical tourism going abroad is questionable .With the… More

0Please sign in to rate!Please sign in to rate!0SHAPE Shiv N Shachindra 5 minutes ago
we have lot of other iportant work to think

Soania Gandhi may not be the PM of India but she is undoubtedly the most powerful politician in the country. As the author has mentioned, she is treated with more than usual deference both by the Congress party as well as by the media.
from: krishna
Posted on: Sep 22, 2011 at 01:13 IST
What a superb article! I have often wondered about Indian media. They surprise us, shock us, make us leap with joy with the same rush as our heads dangle in shame and disgust. Apparently whoever thought that media should be an impartial and a judicious body was a fool. The silence that surrounds Sonia Gandhi’s health is deafening. People have the right to know if she will be around to lead the UPA around the next elections. Whatever strategy they make chalk out about successor ship has no bearing in the knowledge of physical well being of the nation’s de facto number one. You have portrayed this very clearly and very strongly.
There is still hope left for the media when prominent newspapers are doing the rounds. So we will turn to The Hindu for authentic and timely information.
from: Meera
Posted on: Sep 22, 2011 at 01:21 IST
Apple’s CEO Steve Jobs keeps things private on his illness. Let it stay that way if they wish. Dont forget Paparazzi in trying to get into personal details caused the death of Diana.Few things cannot be revealed and shared at a certain point of time. Else it causes unneccessary frenzy.
from: Bharathi
Posted on: Sep 22, 2011 at 01:33 IST
What about former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Karunanidhi who ‘served’ the state in a wheelchair for around a year? Aren’t you aware of that? Of course it’s different strokes for different folks.
from: Arun
Posted on: Sep 22, 2011 at 02:02 IST
Rightly said, “different strokes for different folks” and certainly “kid-glove treatment to Gandhi’s”… are TV media listening…??
from: Hanumanth
Posted on: Sep 22, 2011 at 02:11 IST
There is a grand management going on by Congress. Media is part of this grand design. Media and Judiciary of India are independent on paper (and In theory) the reality is they are controlled by powerful politicians. Employees do not comment on CEO in public.
from: Bharat
Posted on: Sep 22, 2011 at 02:12 IST
Congratulations.The Hindu has once again brought to light the deficiency of the media. First,it was paid publicity.That certainly brought corruption in the media.Now,it has brought out the partisan approach of the media. It is an unfortunate truth that media is more into TRP ratings and circulation than objective reporting. Wish the media created God,Anna launches an agitation to free the media from its evils and corruption. One has also to remember that the Gandhi surname from Indira to Rajiv to Sonia and Rahul has nothing to do with the father of the nation Mahatma Gandhi.The media refers them as Gandhis which many take it as something to do withMahatma Gandhi. Wish the media acts more objectively and without being unduely influenced by monetary considerations.
from: B.Baskaran
Posted on: Sep 22, 2011 at 02:20 IST
For more than five decades now, Congressmen are sycophantic towards members of the Nehru dynasty, to the extent of periodically losing face, elections and fortunes till such members learn their job — it was so with Indira, Rajiv, Sonia and now Rahul. True, the media has played its subservient role. Even yesterday in Sainath’s incisive article, wealth growth of Sonia Gandhi (no kin of the Mahatma), Rahul, Priyanka and Robert Vadra was conspicuously absent. Even when these luminaries are interviewed, searching questions are never asked. This feudal attitude extends further. Since UPA came to power, MMS has been ridiculed and held responsible for every ill and scandal facing the country. But Sonia is NEVER taken to task, and of course it is the prerogative of Rahul to be the PM in waiting, while it is sacrilegious for the leader of the opposition to even dream of that post. Truly, greatness and awe have been thrust on unworthy people.
from: Jay Ravi
Posted on: Sep 22, 2011 at 02:24 IST
Kudos to the author for raising taking up this issue. One of the fundamental traits of dictators is that when they are alive they will never allow secondary leaders in line for immediate succession (except family members). Such dictators form “committees” and create a power-structure in such a way that the former will never be challenged or even compared with anybody else including the committee members. If something happens to the dictator the whole country will be paying with political uncertainties, etc. This is why in mature democracies leadership ascension plans are developed within the parties as well as for top positions in the country. Another trait of dictators is that they keep information about their own health and whereabouts secret to thwart new leaderships coming to replace them. It should be noted that health information and whereabouts of top leaders are made public in mature democracies. Indians have a right to know such things about the most powerful person in India.
from: Haridas Ramakrishnan
Posted on: Sep 22, 2011 at 02:54 IST
Greetings. I am happy for all your points. When somebody says its personal, why can’t we leave and let them take some rest. why we still need to know her medical problems. We can still pray for good health without knowing the medical problem. please let us give some personal space in this facebook and twitter age.
from: Raja
Posted on: Sep 22, 2011 at 02:55 IST
The Hindu is no exception either! It gives importance and covers MK’s rhetoric ahead of even the CM, sometimes. It never commented about the health of either the PM or Sonia but blames other news media!
from: Velumani
Posted on: Sep 22, 2011 at 04:45 IST
Sonia Gandhi does not hold any public office. Her health is of no concern to the citizens of the world ! She may be the darling of the congress party. That does not mean the whole world should be concerned or be privy to her health problems. If shameless congress men wish to lick the boots of a foreigner, so be it. It is none of the concern of the media or the citizens.
from: D. Sundara Rajan
Posted on: Sep 22, 2011 at 04:59 IST
An excellent and well documented article. I am too short of words to appreciate this type of reporting and also in a way self-criticism about media sensitiveness about priorities. No doubt, politicians are entitled to privacy but it also hinges on the position he or she occupies. The final observation about BJP president Nitin Gadkari’s health condition scores and nails the issue pointedly. Kudos to our Paper, ‘The Hindu’. This type of news reporting only has made people like mefeel, rightly so, for nearly 65 years now, that reading your paper is like a staple food.
from: S.R.Nagarajan
Posted on: Sep 22, 2011 at 05:02 IST
Ordinary people will honour the right to privacy of Mrs.Sonia Gandhi, with regard to the nature of her undisclosed illness, the nature of treatment and the place where the treatment was given amd would wish her speedy recovery but will be interested to know whether the Congress party or Mrs. Gandhi family will permit the visiting foreign dignitaries to call on Mrs. Gandhi as was the practice/ protocol,if any,hitherto followed or disallow such a practice or suspend/ terminate the protocol if in existence, on grounds of privacy.
from: Shekar
Posted on: Sep 22, 2011 at 06:13 IST
Let’s not forget that Sonia Gandhi is also a citizen of India like everybody else and she also deserves the same fundamental rights which are provided to all citizens by the constitution including the right to privacy (as part of right to life, article 21). Frivolous demands asking for intricate details of illness go against right to privacy, after all – what extra public purpose the ‘details’ of illness serve when the party had already informed that she is undergoing treatment in USA? Lets also respect our ethics and age old culture which teaches us to keep unpleasant news within the family rather than making a public mockery of our problems. Moreover, if she was officially the PM, the demand for more information was more logical. Perhaps, the hyperbole and transient nature of our media has forced the politicians to be more reclusive about such things (though all are not successful). Media might love to be compared to BBC, but the differences are too glaring to be ignored as of now.
from: Sanjay
Posted on: Sep 22, 2011 at 06:23 IST
The Sonia Gandhi phenomenon is an enigma. The unquestioned political power she enjoys in the country today is inexplicable. The Indian media is reverential to her as pointed out by Nirupama Subramanian. Even opposition politicians hesitate to directly attack her. Her open promotion of her son as the next Prime Minister of the country has never been seriously questioned by politicians or the media. In a democracy it is very uncommon that a person wields such unchallenged power!
from: K.Vijayakumar
Posted on: Sep 22, 2011 at 06:29 IST

Mrs. gandhi is not the chief executive of the nation. She is the president of a political party which is clinging to power with the help of other parties. Her health condition does not warrant an opinion and waste web real estate. I am wasting my time and web real estate by responding to an article which has no relevance.
from: mani sandilya
Posted on: Sep 22, 2011 at 06:42 IST
The mystery surrounding Ms.Sonia’s ailment is not something that the Congress Party should treat as a state secret.The concern of the people is genuine and needs to be addressed as they are not curious or inquisitive.Keeping only the PM in the loop probably is to doubly ensure that he meant what he said about keeping his chair warm for the Gandhi scion whenever the latter is ready to take charge.Sycophancy at its height!
from: Raj Kumar
Posted on: Sep 22, 2011 at 07:28 IST
The Congress party should go public on UPA Chairperson, Sonia Gandhi’s surgery and health. The media’s deferential attitude in being silenct is hardly justifiable for the most powerful woman in Indian politics.
from: R S Sarma
Posted on: Sep 22, 2011 at 07:50 IST
It only confirms the widespread suspicion that the media is more or less under the control of the powers that be. The current Congress government at the center is a manipulative government. Its strategy seems to be: use the media to fool the people.
from: Akka Chandar
Posted on: Sep 22, 2011 at 08:22 IST
We are a little tired of our politicians wasting the country’s resources to fly off to foreign lands for the slightest medical ailment. Why are they not treated in India? If our medical establishments are ‘suspect’ of substandard treatment, why have they not been made world class. It is high time the government stopped this free medical junkets to the US or Europe.
from: Rajasekar Thunghabadra
Posted on: Sep 22, 2011 at 08:37 IST
I am in total agreement on the article and equally amused the way Arnab Goswami and Rajdeep Sardesai are keeping quite on this issue. The way they reported every other ailment including Nitin Gadkari clearly indicates it wasn’t an oversight but a deliberate ‘miss’. I don’t expect Barkha to speak on since everyone know NDTV’ ‘biased’ approach!. But this silence make me wonder if TOI and CNN-IBN also also biased when it comes to Ms.Gandhi.
from: Ramki
Posted on: Sep 22, 2011 at 08:38 IST
It’s strange that Sonia’s health is kept out of public purview and that no entity from media (including “The Hindu” which voices this opinion piece) felt responsible to bring it out in the open, is only stranger!
from: Ramasamy
Posted on: Sep 22, 2011 at 08:43 IST
Did you read The New Indian Express Op-Ed by Ram Jethmalani on 20th Sep titled “A Needless Secrecy” ? So looks to me suddenly all of you (newspapers) are co-ordinating to publish an article on a not so important topic of Sonia’s health. It is waste of time to know about her health, when millions in India don’t have minimum health care or access to doctors.
from: Karthik
Posted on: Sep 22, 2011 at 08:44 IST
The medias’ silence on Mrs Gandhis’health status was glaring . Many aam aadmi were already raising the same questions as in this editorial as to ” how come not even 1 newspaper/ TV in the Indian media is covering her illness , nor coming up with a daily medical update , knowing very well her importance & status in the ruling Govt.” Once again the Indian media has let the citizens down , and given an opportunity to question its credibility , when it is partnering the ruling Govt in maintaining the silence on a topic of national importance . The question that comes up then is ” how many such issues of national importance are being wrapped up in secrecy by the Indian media , just to be on the right side with those in power “? I am glad atleast THE HINDU , ( again it is The Hindu ) has broken that silence and raised pertinent questions , which all other media must not only take note and respond, but also hang their heads in shame .
from: VJ Nambiar
Posted on: Sep 22, 2011 at 08:53 IST
We all know how media is controlled in India. No news about the First Family ever comes out of Media. Nobody questions why Crown Prince has to visit Sikkim and in what capacity while the rescue operations are still going on?
from: Rao
Posted on: Sep 22, 2011 at 09:28 IST
Befitting the objective, the present article reflects the slavish and discriminatory mentality of the media people even in this age of modernity and emancipation.
from: Murtuza
Posted on: Sep 22, 2011 at 09:45 IST
I feel Ms. Sonia Gandhi’s health and treatment are her family’s personal issues. It’s only ethical that the media is not intruding into that private space. It’s upto the the Gandhi family,to release a statement regarding the same or not.Right through the course of the treatment, the family kept the public informed of the progress she was making and about when she can expected back home.
from: Nyapathy Srinivas
Posted on: Sep 22, 2011 at 10:09 IST
While Ms. Gandhi has been relentlessly lashed out for her status of being the de facto Number One within the Government, it suddenly become a matter of convenience to call upon it, when one is demanding >info on her health. I’m of the opinion this acknowledgment for convenience implicitly promotes that role, what one should be worried about or ask the Government is how they plan to mitigate the absence and do they have an equation for the future minus her and a larger public debate on it would be productive and also inevitable. While I may in principle share the author’s view on equating a leader’s health to that of the Nation’s, the urge to publicly debate on one’s health condition and NOT the implications of it cannot justify violating one’s right to privacy. Honestly, I find it difficult to comprehend why anyone but an authorized Doctor of medicine would want to know the finer details of her health status – I’m sorry, did you all invite yourself to be part of her extended family ?
from: Felix Selvaraj
Posted on: Sep 22, 2011 at 10:09 IST
Indian Express did a piece on it long time back.
from: Sai
Posted on: Sep 22, 2011 at 10:37 IST
Mrs.Gandhi’s health is her own matter, not for public consumption.
from: Dr.Abdul Kadir
Posted on: Sep 22, 2011 at 10:37 IST
Does the choice of word ‘Omerta’ give a clue to the reason for media’s fears?
from: Gowrishankar
Posted on: Sep 22, 2011 at 10:38 IST
One should appreciate Ms. Subramanian for her courage to write this piece which is taboo as far as print and electronic media is concerned. Mrs. Gandi is the numero uno of the Congress party, who leads UPA II ruling combination. Suddenly she left for America and later public came to know she had under gone an operation there. This kept not only ordinary congress workers but also general public in suspense. Still she came back all were worried about her health. Congress party or the persons very close to her should have given some information about her ailment because she is a public person. We see congress party through her face. People have a right to know how seriously ill she is because she is the defacto ruler of this great nation. No body suggests she should give her medical report for public consumption as American Presidents are doing. American Presidents are not only ruler of that country but he is commander of many military establishments spread all over the world. They want to establish their fiefdom where ever their bases are. They want to be ready for any invasions as done in Iraq and Afganistan and also as done in Bosnia. American President is the ruler as well as military commander without uniform. Our leaders are not like that. At least to the knowledge of we simple folks information about health checks is advisable.
from: T.V.Padmanabhan
Posted on: Sep 22, 2011 at 10:42 IST
Every citizen has got a right to protect ones privacy. But there are subtle exceptions to it. People in the glare of a common man, especially if they are politicians or people of international fame, have a moral responsibility to be open about themselves to the public. Their very political existence is because of the popular support of the people. If people are not taken into confidence, then it may become difficult for people to support such people who are extremely discreet in their activities and whereabouts, even if it concerns their health. Sonia Gandhi and the Congress team should understand this vital fact, and clear the air once and for all, before it is too late.
from: Vinod Kumar
Posted on: Sep 22, 2011 at 10:54 IST
An excellent opinion, and observation about the Indian media’s silence on Ms. Gandhi. But however, I beg to differ in comparison with world leaders. We received updates from our PM Manmohan Singh because he is the leader of the nation and not Ms Sonia Gandhi. She is only the Chairman of the UPA/ ruling coalition. She may be a king maker but definitely not a news maker when it comes to aam aadmi’s roti. She is far removed from the realities and doesnt make a difference to the common man. I think the media silence reflects the same and is justified.
from: Ashwini Iyer
Posted on: Sep 22, 2011 at 11:02 IST
I contradict the author in his views. Why should our media start broadcasting someones eles’ illness (no matter who it is) just because politicians are going public about it in other countries ? Why should we know the specificity of the disease ? May be the sufferer doesn’t want to make it public. It is certainly right that media did not focus on the suffering of Mr. Vajpayee.
from: Pramod
Posted on: Sep 22, 2011 at 11:05 IST
I think news about Mrs. Sonia Gandhi’s health should remain in the private domain so long as public money is not spent for her treatment or foreign travel for the same. We don’t have any absolute right, nor do we need, to know what she is suffering from or how she is recuperating.
from: Mukul Kanti Dutta
Posted on: Sep 22, 2011 at 11:36 IST
Never knew ‘The Hindu’ would chide at its other peers for not having invaded the personal space of a woman. Its amazing how in the same breath one is mocking keyhole investigations, and is building a case for ‘investigating’ into health of someone! She might be the most powerful person in India today, but she IS entitled to provacy. If she doesnt want to disclose details of her illness, its her decision.
from: Rajat shukla
Posted on: Sep 22, 2011 at 11:49 IST

Our media is more concerned about their own popularity than our people and country’s goodwill. Except few most of the media is under the hands of corporates and politicians. So dont expect every news to be on air.
from: Tariq
Posted on: Sep 22, 2011 at 12:40 IST
You have very rightly pointed out that “it’s different strokes for different folks”. This is very much apparent that media extends “kid-glove treatment” to Gandhi family and for obvious reasons. Amongst all the national newspapers, you guys show more apt understanding of issues and do more responsible reporting. Keep up the good work guys.
from: Vaibhav
Posted on: Sep 22, 2011 at 13:18 IST
Personal health details should remain private, whether or not Obama declares them. Unless it seriously starts affecting the nation’s administration. The critique on the media is another thing.
from: Arun
Posted on: Sep 22, 2011 at 13:54 IST
Sonia health issue is over she is back now,please discuss something like Fake Currency in RBI vaults,monetry health of country and its regulators,corruption,country defence.
from: Bhardwaj satish
Posted on: Sep 22, 2011 at 13:55 IST
Editorial rightly argued by provding international examples. Though she not heading the government but total policies and strategies of that government decided by her constituted and chaired core committee. If she decides today had the power to replace PM with somebody else. So her health condition and fitness obviously public domain and now there is no reason for hiding her medical check-up and post operation details to put in public.
from: Raghavendra R Pawar
Posted on: Sep 22, 2011 at 14:21 IST
Well, Sonia Gandhi’s health details could have been made public. But making comparison to U.S.President’s regualr health bulletin is highly inappropriate – as she doesn’t hold any Constitutional position. Moreover, Sonia Gandhi is not the only person whose health condition is not discussed in public ; the media does not dicuss Mr.Vajpayee’s health either – and very little was known about the late Kanshi Ram’s health when he was alive. Or has it become one more excuse to indulge in our favorite pastime of the Gandhi family bashing ?
from: Hariharan
Posted on: Sep 22, 2011 at 14:39 IST
I think HIndu have no right to assume that the illness is cancer. It could be a nothing or something. Would anyone of us like to have our kids illness broadcasted in public for getting admission to schools. I don’t think so. A line needs to be drawn by the media. Most probably the family will divulge all the details but till then do not assume anything. Is Hindu the lokpal now.
from: binu
Posted on: Sep 22, 2011 at 15:06 IST
TIMES TV and CNN IBN are owned and controlled by industrial houses. They have to be very careful while reporting on the supreme leader. Remember what happened to Ashok Jain? The Hindu though, could have behaved different.
from: Hilary Pais
Posted on: Sep 22, 2011 at 15:12 IST
First thanks to the hindu for breaking media silence on Ms Sonia Gandhi health. What puzzles common man is not ill-health of her but the silent media. It reaffirms opinion that our media is not free.
from: P krishna
Posted on: Sep 22, 2011 at 15:24 IST
A very balanced article,as usual,THE HINDU continues to be the most sober newspaper in India today.
from: jameel m ali
Posted on: Sep 22, 2011 at 16:19 IST
The Indian constitution envisages article 21 for every citizen of the nation and Mrs Sonia Gandhi is no exception.Being a chairing leader of a major political party doesnt breach her right to freedom under article 21.The media has been covering Anna Hazare and his So called August revolution all this while.Since there’s nothing major to cover at this moment ,thanks to poor show of Indian cricket team in Britain they have shifted to this Enigma.Medias role is getting ambigious and vague at the same time.Its high time that our Media understand its sense of responsibilty and cover sensitive issues rather than senseless ones.Thanks to The HINDU for their exemplary work .
from: Anurag s Thakur
Posted on: Sep 22, 2011 at 16:40 IST
The author has been able to see, how post independance press and media is subservent to Nehru-gandhi family and fears there displeasure.
from: Vijay
Posted on: Sep 22, 2011 at 17:24 IST
@Abdul Kadir: “Mrs.Gandhi’s health is her own matter, not for public consumption.” Yes you are correct if Mrs Gandhi lives like any other ordinary citizen without high profile security every visiting foreign dignitary paying obsceience to her. It is fallacious to ignore her de facto status of head of the state with extra ordinary powers with out responsibility. Nothing happens in this country without the approval of invisible Mrs. Gandhi and poor Dr. MMS is left to bear the cross when things go wrong and credits goes to Sonia.
from: N.G. Krishnan
Posted on: Sep 22, 2011 at 17:31 IST
We in India should try to respect the privacy of our politicians and every body knows Ms. Gandhi under went an operation for a cancerous tumor. Why should she for that matter the congress party make it public on the issue which has no or least influence over the governance of India.
from: P.S. Srinvas
Posted on: Sep 22, 2011 at 17:34 IST
We ought to respect the lady’s privacy. She has the right to keep her illness private. No public interest is served by making it public. Yes, she is an important politician, but does not occupy any contitutional position warranting public interest in dislcoure of her illness. Moreover, finding the media at fault or being submissive is even more absurd. Indian media has commendably respected the privacy of the lady and refrained from making intrusions in to the strictly private affairs of a woman. The media ought to be lauded for their respectful silence.
Please dont write such articles for the sake of raking up something spicy though at the cost of violating an indviduals’s right to privacy.
from: Syam Kumar
Posted on: Sep 22, 2011 at 17:49 IST
I cannot agree with the argument that Sonia Gandhi should make the results of her health check public. Health related information in classified as sensitive personal information under most privacy laws and no one can be under any obligation to share it with anyone, let alone the whole world.
from: Naina
Posted on: Sep 22, 2011 at 18:00 IST
Excellent article!!! Once again the Hindu stands apart from other media publications.
from: Nitn sharma
Posted on: Sep 22, 2011 at 18:32 IST
Ms. Gandhi is Chairperson of the National Advisory Council, ruling Govt.of Inddia from behind the screens. The media has been deliberately silenced. Kudos to the Hindu for raising the issue.
from: J.Narayanasamy
Posted on: Sep 22, 2011 at 18:39 IST
The Hindu is wrong on this. She is under no obligation to report personal health details. Obama is the President and the Commander of the Armed Forces, and THAT country requires that his medical report be made public (maybe). We don’t require all our politicians to publish their health details. She is entitled to her privacy. And the media (for once!) has conducted itself the way it should. I applaud them for that restraint.
from: lrao
Posted on: Sep 22, 2011 at 18:46 IST
Ms Gandhi is the numero uno of the UPA II government. She is a leader of national importance and hence her health is of concern. Though not detailed medical reports like some other leaders but some information about her health has to be made public.
from: avinash
Posted on: Sep 22, 2011 at 18:48 IST
Nirupama Subramanian’s choice of the word “omerta” is in a very bad taste, bordering on malice. The free online dictionary says that the word is of Italian origin, and means “A rule or code that prohibits speaking or divulging information about certain activities, especially the activities of a criminal organization” or mafia. One may or may not agree with a national leader of some stature but unparliamentary language is totally unacceptable to civil society.
from: Dr. V. Nageswara Rao
Posted on: Sep 22, 2011 at 18:58 IST
The mistrust in government is leading to a larger role for the NGOs. Mistrust about the media is building up too. If media doesn’t read the writing on the wall, non-traditional media will rise to the challenge.
from: Syam
Posted on: Sep 22, 2011 at 20:11 IST
I thought this is a common knowledge. The media is bought by congress. Even when you watch TV news, you get the same impression that they are biased. I admire “The Hindu” integrity so far. Hope the awareness among people will change attitude of Media.
from: raj Bahadur
Posted on: Sep 22, 2011 at 20:12 IST
A nice article, shedding light on the hypocrisy of Indian media.
from: srinivasan
Posted on: Sep 22, 2011 at 21:18 IST
I do read The Hindu several times a day but I have no interest whatsoever about Sonia Gandhi’s health and I don’t think rest of the janta should have. She is not a PM leading a country in a crisis, nor head of armed forces in the middle of a war, not my boss during performance appraisal season and not anyone’s math teacher just before board exams.This is not US nor Venezuela and there are far more important items other than Sonia Gandhi’s health in India. So get on with it and let Sonia Gandhi take care of her health and leave her alone as a good human being who respects individual privacy.
from: Gautham
Posted on: Sep 22, 2011 at 22:09 IST
What does the author imply after all? Is she saying that the media should treat others the same way they’re treating Sonia, or that they should treat her the same way they treat others? Either way, I feel this is an unnecessary and provocative pointer at the media. It’s like asking them, “Why are you behaving maturely today? Aren’t you supposed to be irresponsible all the time?”
from: Vincent
Posted on: Sep 22, 2011 at 22:09 IST
i have a few reservations regarding this article: 1. sonia’s health is a private matter and if she doesn’t wish to reveal it to the public, it is her right to do so. also, i dont think the aam aadmi is worried abt her health either. He has lots of other things to worry about. 2. ‘…widely believed to be cancer…’. the choice of words and the context looks like i am reading a Page 3 magazine. is there any proof to back this claim??? expected much more responsible reporting from India’s national newspaper. 3. Again, i am not sure if the author used the word OMERTA intentionally… it is a strong word with a negative meaning. gives an impression that the country is being run by mafia…
from: Jaisim
Posted on: Sep 22, 2011 at 23:07 IST
One’s health issue is his/her own issue. The decision whether to make it public should be best left to the person. Even if the person is in power/ has some responsibilities, he/she has a right to decide whether all details of the problem need to be made public. Everyone in this country should respect an individual’s privacy. Even a discussion if at all it has to be done, should be done on a general manner without mentioning any names.
from: Harish V
Posted on: Sep 22, 2011 at 23:38 IST
I am personally not really interested to know the details of Sonia’s illness as long as I can be reliably reassured through a medical certificate that it would not have implications on her public duties!I am more concerned about why she had to go to the US when the care here now is comparable.If this was paid by her personally then of course I would not be bothered but is she went on public money then we are more than entitled to know whether the treatment was available here!
from: Ashoka Jahnavi Prasad
Posted on: Sep 22, 2011 at 23:39 IST
Mr.Sundara Rajan’s views are 100% correct.1) Sonia Gandhi does not hold any public office. Her health is of no concern to the citizens of the world ! She may be the darling of the congress party. That does not mean the whole world should be concerned or be privy to her health problems. It is none of the concern of the media or the citizens. 2)The Indian Media’ modes operandi is very suspicious most of the times on specific issues which is impacting the public (either be terrorist attack, genocidal issues like Srilanka war crimes, or scandals like 2G,or inflation etc..). That way media in North operating like aliens in giving a wrong messages, biased views, own versions, congress oriented views etc without having a realistic views from South or feelings of the people. Even they are bit reluctant to share the open criticism on the websites (CNN-IBN, NDTV etc..).
from: RBS Varuna
Posted on: Sep 23, 2011 at 06:53 IST
India is India not America or Britain. The mind set of Indian people are not to the standard of the West. Therefore to their own reason they might have kept the bottle closed. I mean not to disturb the apple cart. No problem.
from: Jahan
Posted on: Sep 23, 2011 at 06:53 IST
As a fellow human being I wish Sonia Gandhi good health. If the tax payer has spent huge amounts of money on her medical care in USA (believe me, medical care in USA is very, very expensive), the tax payer has a right to know how much he/she spent.
from: rajan
Posted on: Sep 23, 2011 at 07:03 IST
Sonia Gandhi may not be holding any ministerial position but she is a public representative and therefore the peoples’ concern about her health is genuine. There should be total transparency not only about her health but also about the expenditure incurred out of the public exchequer. The electronic media’s silence is surprising. Have they failed to obtain the information or have been threatened not to talk about it. If the later is true then it is most unfortunate.
from: S L Gera
Posted on: Sep 23, 2011 at 09:28 IST
I think If Sonia Gandhi declared her sickness to Indians her popularity will increase.When she declared openly that she not contested for prime minister post at that time she was most respectable leader in India.Now also she must be open and take in confidence to people of India who love and respect to her,popularity of her increase will triple.
from: Ramesh Raghuvanshi
Posted on: Sep 23, 2011 at 09:53 IST
It is nice to see some one from the media has pointed out to the Sonia ji’s mysterious illness. it is every one’s privacy needs to be respected but the No-word-on-this stance of the Congress certainly raises some wispers and murmurs. is it not protective and uncommon behavior by the Congress? As a public figure there shouldnt be deliberate hesitations on such issues. we dont know what illness! not even where she got treatment! this is over the board secrecy.
from: manush pareek
Posted on: Sep 23, 2011 at 13:36 IST
Regular readers of The Hindu blindly praise their newspaper for writing such provoking articles, when in fact Ram Jethmalani wrote a op-ed piece on this topic in The New Indian Express, a few days before this article. Secondly, instead of lamenting the media silence, why didn’t The Hindu do some investigative journalism and provide us the facts of Sonia Gandhi’s illness/whereabouts? It is akin to writing an article about ‘Who would bell the cat’. All The Hindu faithfuls are happy that someone finally spoke about the cat!
from: Ananth Ramakrishnan
Posted on: Sep 23, 2011 at 18:31 IST
Yes. There it is. I have been, for the last few days, thinking what has happened to Arnab Goswami, Rajdeep Sar Desai, Burkha Dutt, Rahul of HT. They all rush to any spot where there is a news for their viewers. Why then in the case of most powerful lady and her health which required a serious medical attention abroad. All these persons I have mentioned above, or at least one or two of them, owe an explanation to their viewers why this steel wall erected between us.
from: Rohit Krishna
Posted on: Sep 23, 2011 at 19:42 IST
Dear Sir,Mahatma Gandhi did not have any Position in the Congress Party or the Govt. Yet upto his death he used to weild unparalleled power and control over practically all in our country. This was because he had LEADERSHP.We may not agree or grudgingly accept that Soniaji has established de facto control over the PARTY in power and de jure control over the Govt. through MMS. It is creditable for her to make MMS the PM although he is not from LOK SABHA and he does not have control over the Party and the Ministers who are selected by her and they have unstinted allegiance to her. Enviable but unbelieveable.This is why we were subjugidated for a long time by the BRITISH.Our National Character is SLAVISH in character.We are happy to follow as a result there is dirth or lack of indegenous leadership.
from: R.Anapati Ghosh.
Posted on: Sep 23, 2011 at 20:29 IST
Appreciate your courage to raise a genuine issue certainly in public interest. Unfortunately, media did not dare to raise the issue for reasons best known to them. Sonia Gandhi may not hold any ministerial post in both term of UPA government but we should not forget that she was the leader of main opposition party “Congress” during the last NDA regime. It was no less important post than any ministry of the ruling government. Transparency in regard with the health of people’s representative irrespective of his/her status must be maintained as the issue is always in the interest of electorates concerned.
from: B. Srinivas
Posted on: Sep 23, 2011 at 21:12 IST
Health issues are personal. Have you guys heard of HIPPA laws (google it) in the US. One can be arrested and imprisoned for obtaining and seeking another persons health info without proper authorization. If a person does not want to divulge his/her health info then she has a constiutional right to it.
Now what is this Indian obsession about knowing other poeples life history? I dont like Sonia Gandhi maybe but I would request all the commentators to post their medical history on the internet before requesting another human beings history. This stands even for a politician. They have the right to their privacy. The problem is in India privacy is considered suspicious. This is due to cultural and tribal backwardness. There is no allocation for personal space. This why we are called “interfereing Indians”
from: Siddarth
Posted on: Sep 23, 2011 at 21:20 IST
Very often I used to feel that we Indians lack certain basic decency and culture when it comes to the behavior of a civilized society. I even envy the western culture in this aspect. From the article written by MS.Niruppama, and the flood of praises for the same from my dear fellow Indians, I once again feel how uncivilized and uncultured are all we, as a society. How much enthusiasm and interest we generate on trying to know about such trivial things, as a person’s health and her privacy.
from: Jeyanthi
Posted on: Sep 23, 2011 at 23:55 IST
I very well feel that the information regarding the illness of Ms. Gandhi should definitely be made public. It is not subject to seeking in intrinsic details for her illness but a right of any citizen of India to know the state of health of the people who govern their constitution. When frivolous details of a leg-cramp or other health issues of sports people are highlighted, this important subjugation is no different..
from: sagar babbar
Posted on: Sep 24, 2011 at 00:31 IST
In India the role played by media is not always impartial and fair. They are also influenced / silenced by various factors well known to themselves.
from: r.sundararaman
Posted on: Sep 24, 2011 at 08:49 IST
Kudos to HINDU for the forthright article. Health of Sonia Gandhi and hence her physical capacity to handle public affairs deserve to be in public knowledge though not necessarily under undue scrutiny & glare. Of late the media and sections of TV media have shown utter pussilanimity in even objectively discussing or disclosing such matters known to them.On the other they have treated the ‘Indian ruling family’with a hands-off reverence. The ruling party rushes to the press with even drop of a hat to tom-tom most inane things in their favour but desist giving details of health condition of their only leader. It is their bounden duty to reveal such details is missed even by the national press. This shows their lack of objectivity and a tendency to feed aam janata with only the buttered part of all news.Perhaps they dont wish to give the real picture of a lame duck government headed by an ailing leader. How long can media camouflage the stark reality behind this smokescreen?
from: Mohanram Subbarao
Posted on: Sep 24, 2011 at 18:00 IST
Mrs Sonia Gandhi is the head of NAC in the status and prieveleges of a cabinet minister.Her treatment is footed by the Govt. She also controls the destiny of India by default.Her health is a matter of concern to the country. Her decision making ability could be affected by health and the nation may have to pay a price.
from: sankar
Posted on: Sep 25, 2011 at 16:35 IST
Great article. kudos to Hindu news paper management for printing this piece. I dont like Sonia Gandhi and dynasty. What she is most powerful person in the country and sometimes I feel government is in standstill because of her illness. I hope she will recover fast and start making decisions. Media should start investigating and report the reasons for undue secrecy maintained.
from: dilmehdi
Posted on: Sep 25, 2011 at 23:58 IST
The article by ms.Subramanian is really good, though not the first as pointed out by some readers. Quite a few readers have reacted perversely without realizing the importance of her position and the inability of the PM to control his ministers as has been well demonstrated recently. The secrecy is all due to the fact that her next in line of command is still not ready to shoulder the huge responsibility. The nation has a right to know since her condition was serious enough to take treatment in USA, what arrangements will be made to tide over the interim period if there should be a relapse.
from: s. jagannath
Posted on: Sep 26, 2011 at 23:50 IST


Is Anything More Corrupt Than A Govt Buying MPs?

Balbir Punj


Is Anything More Corrupt Than A Govt Buying MPs?
Sadly, the discourse on fighting corruption is being ridden the wrong way

During a recent meeting in Ralegan Siddhi, Anna Hazare’s team decided to renew its fight for probity in public life. One could say it is also time to judge the impact of his campaign on the system, asking some relevant questions. Has the first, “successful” phase of the movement really touched the collective conscience of ‘civil society’ and affected the attitude of the ruling establishment towards corruption? Or is its influence superficial?

Stripped of hyperbole, the real achievements of the movement are modest. Nothing has changed for the better on the ground. Our venal rulers continue on their course, smug as ever. Otherwise, the two whistle-blowers, Faggan Singh Kulaste and Mahavir Singh Bhagora, former Lok Sabha MPs (both of the BJP), would not be behind bars for exposing the cash-for-votes scam of July 2008, and their third comrade, Ashok Argal, would not be facing arrest.

The establishment’s vindictiveness is blatant of course, but on predictable lines. What is really shocking is the deafening silence on the part of civil society. Is a meaningful crusade for clean public life possible without standing by those who resist temptation and dare pull the plug on graft at the highest level? These three honourable men had done just that.

Actually, the anti-graft crusade started in the lead-up to the 2009 Lok Sabha elections, with BJP leader L.K. Advani constituting a task force to go into the issue of corruption at the top and Indian black money stashed abroad. The task force’s analysis hit the nail on the head: the virus begins with people at the top bartering favours at the expense of the exchequer in order to enrich either themselves, their kin, or organisations they or their kin have links with. One recalls the pledge Advani took not to hold any office till investigations into the hawala diary case did not clear his name. He rejoined Parliament only after he was proved innocent in the courts. It is from this that he derives the initiative and moral strength to take up the fight against corruption.

With so-called civil society idealistically setting its eyes on fighting an abstraction—future corruption—the reality of the cash-for-votes scam goes almost unnoticed.


Approached by dalals of the beleaguered Manmohan regime and the Sonia Gandhi-led Congress at the fag end of the previous Lok Sabha term, when the UPA-I government was facing a trust motion on the nuclear deal, the three MPs promptly informed the BJP high command. They had the option of accepting crores in silence, but did not. Instead, as advised, they decided to expose the sordid drama through a sting operation, with the help of a TV channel. The TV channel let them down and they were left with no option but to bring the cash to the Lok Sabha, display it, and expose the sleazy game in front of the entire country. In any other civilised society, such men would have been hailed as heroes and honoured while those who tried to bribe them would have got their just deserts.It is just the reverse here. The arrest of Amar Singh in the case is part of a cover-up operation. He was but a mercenary, doing a dirty job at the bidding of those who were the ultimate beneficiaries of this murky enterprise. Obviously, the cash did not belong to him. The investigating agency, the Delhi police, has neither tried to trace the origin of the cash nor brought to book the faceless persons who had written the script and directed this squalid drama. The theatre of the absurd is complete. The Delhi police has spared the faceless crooks and put the fearless crusaders behind bars. The message is clear: Say ‘no’ to temptation offered by the Congress and, to be sure, you’ll be damned.

The shameful event and its aftermath is full of ironies. The rulers, swearing by the sanctity and supremacy of Parliament while dealing with Anna’s team, have subverted that very institution. And Anna’s team, which had received nationwide support in its fight against corruption and the corrupt, has been indifferent to this issue, staring at us in the here and now. Why is that? Because the three heroes of this ignoble saga belong to the much-abused and demonised tribe of politicians. They resisted and exposed graft and are paying for it. So shouldn’t ‘civil society’ have rushed to help them?

Illustration by Sandeep Adhwaryu

In fact, the silence of ‘civil society’ on this stormy issue has to be seen in the backdrop of events leading up to the conclusion of Anna’s fast. There is little doubt that those who manipulate the system to fatten themselves are indeed cunning and ingenious. Otherwise, the recent anti-corruption crusade would not have ended with the issue being reduced to whose Lokpal bill should be the template for action.

The scamsters who are now facing trial in the 2G case are claiming that whatever they did has had the written or tacit approval of the prime minister and the then finance minister and that the two should therefore be summoned as witnesses. There was a report the other day that a SEBI board member has revealed that the current finance minister was trying to influence SEBI in cases involving some leading corporates. Surely, this indicates it is the Congress that is the fountainhead of corruption—more so than officials or bureaucrats at any level. Therefore, the focus of the debate on corruption must be on the Centre.

With 24×7 TV channels focusing on the swelling support for Anna’s team and the countrywide concern for the fasting crusader, UPA-II was able first to delineate the minimal demands of the team for the fast to be called off. The campaigners settled on three points, and the entire debate was turned around: instead of fixing the spotlight on those whose corruption was writ on every wall in Delhi, it was directed against an abstraction—corruption in the future. When it is evident who is corrupt now, at the political level, is it not a bit ridiculous to debate a future Lokpal to look at future corruption and the jurisdiction that body should have?

The focus of the fight against corruption should be on UPA-II. After all, some of the accused in the 2G scam have even said that spectrum sales had the tacit approval of the PM.


As the concern for Anna’s health rose across the country, the debate was becoming one of ‘civil society’ versus Parliament. In effect, the contention was reduced to a question of semantics. And finally when it all ended, with the whole Parliament thumping the desks and adopting the joint resolution by this demonstration of support, the Congress must have breathed a sigh of relief. The spotlight on the corrupt had been switched off—even if that was only for the time being—and the entire focus was on restraining countrywide corruption in the future; a parliamentary committee was to design the tools for doing that. In this manner, the Congress was able to lead by the nose the debate on black money and corruption.For the next three months, the country may watch with bated breath how this standing committee, headed by a Congressman, tackles the several proposed versions of the Lokpal bill and arrives at one acceptable to all stakeholders. Meanwhile, the prime minister, who is said to have approved with his silence the handing of 2G licences to the undeserving, may relax. Delhi chief minister Sheila Dixit, exposed by the Shunglu committee and the CAG report on the CWG contracts—the money spent by her government was ten times what the committee headed by Suresh Kalmadi spent—can also take it easy.

So where does the battle against graft and exposing and punishing the corrupt stand at this juncture? No doubt, the stature of Anna and his team has gone up several notches in the public mind. People at large have a sense of victory over the system. Public awareness on corruption and the need to fight it is high. Especially in the middle class. In real terms, however, despite Anna’s campaign, there’s little to show on the ground. The original goal of bringing back Indian monies stashed abroad seems to have been completely forgotten. While the focus is on corruption in generic terms, the most visibly corrupt faces continue to be safe in their positions of power. They continue to manipulate the system to save the guilty and target innocents. An unscrupulous and a ruthless establishment continues to persecute, slander and vilify those who dared to raise their voice against its venality and frauds.

In its second phase, Anna has decided to focus on the long-pending issue of electoral reforms and performance audit of MPs. These are not metaphysical and abstract issues. They have germinated in the given framework of Indian politics. Can there be any meaningful movement on such issues divorced from the given context? Will Phase 2 of the movement also end in a sense of victory but without any tangible achievements to its credit?

(The writer can be reached at



Saturday, September 24, 2011

All India General Secretary (Ideology)
Janata Party
As politically planned, organized, orchestrated and launched by Firangi Memsahib Sonia Gandhi, and ably assisted by her known Islamic political crook and advisor Ahmed Patel, many petitions were engineered by the Sonia Congress Party operating from No.10 Janpath New Delhi against Dr.Subramanian Swamy, President of the Janata Party, and sent to different Constitutional Authorities in India. What was the crime committed by Dr.Subramanian Swamy? His ‘great and unpardonable’ crime lay in the fact that he had written an Article on ‘How to wipe out Islamic Terrorism ?” in the DNA English newspaper of Mumbai on 16th July 2011, immediately after the Mumbai Blasts of 13th July 2011.  Great political care—I mean Islam embracing, Christianity coveting and Hindu baiting care—was taken to see that only Muslims and Christians participated in this subtarreanean Sonia drama of baseless petitions sent against Dr.Subramanian Swamy to the Minorities Commission of Maharashtra, National Commission for Minorities in New Delhi etc. etc.
Further many petitions against Dr.Subramanian Swamy were sent by unscrupulous and mercenary petitioners to the Election Commission of India requesting for the criminal prosecution of Dr.Subramanian Swamy for having hurt the religious feelings and rights of Minorities. These petitioners had also requested the Election Commission of India to take immediate action for de-recognizing the Janata Party of which Dr.Subramanian Swamy is the President. 
Naveen Chawla, the Former Chief Election Commissioner was defiantly arrogant and supremely proud to function as a whole-time political agent of the Firangi Memsahib Sonia Gandhi. This inglorious political tradition of abject servility to Sonia Gandhi continues to reign supreme in the Election Commission of India even today. It is not therefore surprising that a Notice was issued to Dr.Subramanian Swamy by Mr. Varinder Kumar, Secretary, Election Commission of India in Ref.No.56/581/2011-PPS-II/32 on 1-9-2011.
I have not seen this Notice issued by the Election Commission to Dr.Subramanian Swamy. I have however seen the straight and hard hitting reply given by Dr.Subramanian Swamy to Mr. Varinder Kumar, Secretary, Election Commission of India on 13-9-2011. I am presenting below the copy of this reply by Dr.Swamy which speaks for itself.
                                                                                                September 13, 2011.
Mr. Varinder Kumar,
Election Commission of India,
Nirvachan Sadan, Ashoka Road,
New Delhi.
Dear Mr. Kumar,
                                    Your Ref.No.56/581/2011-PPS-II/32, dt. 1.9.2011.
            Please refer to my letter dated 5th September, 2011 to which I have not yet received a response. In view of the delay from your end, and in continuation thereof, I would like to state my stand on the concerned matter thereon.
            I stand by my views stated in the article published in DNA newsdaily titled “How to Wipe Out Islamic Terror in India” written after deep and scholarly study of the problem. It is my submission, the ideas expressed therein are squarely within the parameters of the Constitution of India in which sacred document I have always had full faith and belief and defended it as in the case of Emergency (1975-77). 
         I deplore having to waste my time to reply to every ignorant and foolish call for my prosecution and/or explanation for such views.  I would expect that before a constitutional body like the Election Commission of India or for that matter, the National Commission of Minorities – takes cognizance of such vapid complaints, there would be some attempt to understand and analyse the law on the subject. 
The Election Commission of India has failed to do elementary homework on the two complaints received, and any action based on these two complaints would result in ridicule from the public and a devaluation of the high status of the institutions.
In the Supreme Court judgment in the matter of Indian National Congress (I) Vs. Institute of Social Welfare and others {reported in AIR (2002) SC 2158} the Hon’ble Court has very clearly laid down the extent of the power of the Election Commission to deregister a political party. It is in this judgment stated:
“The Election Commission while exercising its powers to register a political party under Section 29A of the Act, acts quasi judicially and decision rendered by it is a quasi judicial order and once a political party is registered, no power of review having been conferred on the Election Commission, it has no power to review the order registering a political party for having violated the provisions of the Constitution or for having committed a breach of undertaking given to the Election Commission at the time of registration”.
            Moreover, the Janata Party does not fall within any of the three exceptions made in the judgment– including the third exception where it is a very clearly stated “any like ground where no enquiry is called for on the part of the Commission” (emphasis supplied).
            I would like to refrain from actually stating that the Election Commission’s aforesaid Notice amounts to misfeasance in office and a malafide exercise of its powers; but I do require you to withdraw your Notice forthwith.  Officials of the ECI who decided to flout the Supreme Court judgment by sending this Notice must be taken to task and made accountable.
                                                                                    Yours sincerely,
                                                                        (SUBRAMANIAN  SWAMY)
I am very shocked to note that a high Constitutional Authority, like the National Minorities Commission, should have sent a Letter to the Election Commission of India recommending the withdrawal of recognition to the Janata Party of which Dr.Subramanian Swamy is the President, for having written an article titled ‘How to wipe out Islamic Terrorismin the DNA newspaper in Mumbai on 16-7-2011.
The popular saying that ‘Ignorance of Law is no excuse’ may be a well known truism in all parts of the world excepting India. In India one of the most sacred and nationally accepted truisms is that ‘Ignorance of Law—nay defiance of Law and the Law of the Constitution is an inviolable Minority Right’. This is the declared political philosophy of the pseudo-secular anti-Hindu (and so anti-national because Hindus constitute more than 80% of the population!) Sonia Congress Government. I cannot help drawing the inference that Wajahat Habibullah, Chairman of the National Commission for Minorities (NCM), derives his inspiration from this perverted political philosophy of the Sonia Congress Government. He has officially proclaimed his Minority Right to fundemental ignorance of the Law of the Constitution and the legal and constitutional powers of the Chief Election Commissioner of India S.Y.Quraishi by sending a letter to him to deregister Janata Party as a Political Party.

I am presenting below the full text of the machinating and malicious, melodramatic letter sent by Wajahat Habibullah, Chairperson of the National Commission for Minorities (NCM), Government of India to the Chief Election Commissioner of India on 30-7-2011. I have given my comments within brackets in red colour in respect of four of the truly Islamic Minority Right points—pointless and baseless in my opinion—-made by Wajahat Habibullah in his letter to the ECI.
30th July 2011
Sub: Request for deregistration of Janata Party as a political party
Reference: Article titled “Analysis: How to wipe out Islamic terror” written by Subramanian Swamy, President of the Janata Party, published in the DNA Newspaper on 16.07.2011
1. I am writing to you in my capacity as Chairperson of the National Commission for Minorities, Government of India, established in accordance with the provisions of the National Commission for Minorities Act, 1992.
2. The Commission has received a complaint dated 29.7.2011 from Shehzad Poonawalla, regarding the commission of a criminal offence. At Annexure A hereto is a copy of the said complaint. After perusing this complaint and the article written by Shri Subramanian Swamy, President of the Janata Party, in the DNA Newspaper, (as downloaded from the websites of the Janata Party and the DNA) on 16.7.11, the National Commission for Minorities is of the view that the said article amounts to the commission of a criminal offence. Accordingly, the Commission, after looking into the complaint, has decided to take up this issue by making this complaint to you. (The Chairperson of the NCM is reacting like a bullying Sub-Inspector of Police in a remote tribal area in one of the States in Northern India! What is the crime committed by Dr. Subramanian Swamy? Who is leading him or misleading him to this landmark conclusion regarding the criminal offence committed by Dr.Subramanian Swamy? Who has determined the nature, extent, content and intent of Dr.Swamy’s mens rea? Shehzad Poonawalla? Wajahat Habibullah?)
3. This article figures prominently on the website of the Janata Party and is available at It can be viewed by people throughout the country. It was downloaded from the Janata Party website. Most important, it therefore follows that the views therein are the views currently held by the Party and its President. Articles similar to the offending article have also figured prominently on the Janata Party website. Hence, this Commission will petition you to cancel the registration of the Janata Party. (How many terrorist Muslims in India, how many Muslims supporting terrorist Muslims in India, State-wise, read the above article of Dr.Swamy? Do you have any detailed description of how their Minority Religious feelings and sentiments were affected and hurt? How many Muslim Madrasas in Muslim Majority Pockets were contacted to ascertain the truly Islamic data to come to this conclusion of a commission of a criminal offence by Dr.Swamy?)
4. The offending parts of the article above mentioned which constitute a criminal offence are, inter alia, as follows:
“Hindus cannot accept to be killed in this halal fashion, continuously bleeding every day till the nation finally collapses…
Muslims of India are being programmed by a slow reactive process to become radical and thus slide into suicide against Hindus…
That they do I will not believe unless they acknowledge with pride that though they may be Muslims, their ancestors were Hindus. If any Muslim acknowledges his or her Hindu legacy, then we Hindus can accept him or her as a part of the Brihad Hindu Samaj (greater Hindu Society) which is Hindustan. India that is Bharat that is Hindustan is a nation of Hindus and others whose ancestors were Hindus. Others, who refuse to acknowledge this, or those foreigners who become Indian citizen by registration, can remain in India but should not have voting rights (which means they cannot be elected representatives)…
Strategy: Remove the masjid in Kashi Vishwanath temple and the 300 masjids at other temple sites…
Declare India a Hindu Rashtra in which non-Hindus can vote only if they proudly acknowledge that their ancestors were Hindus…
Annex land from Bangladesh in proportion to the illegal migrants from that country staying in India…
Goal 5: Denigrate Hinduism through vulgar writings and preaching in mosques and churches to create loss of self respect amongst Hindus and to make them fit for capitulation.”(I fully endorse the view of Dr.Subramanian Swamy on all these points. I assert my fundamental constitutional right to freedom of speech and more importantly freedom after speech. Since I was also in the Indian Administrative Service from 1965 to 1994, my knowledge of the Law of the Constitution can be no less than that of Wajahat Habibullah. The National Minorities Commission can send a beautiful proposal for safe-guarding communal harmony to the Union Government for the creation of a Firing Squad under the total control of the National Minorities Commission. The Chairman of the Commission should be vested with absolute power to order the killing of any non-muslim or non-christian by this Firing Squad whenever or wherever the Chairman of this Commission comes to the conclusion that such an individual has hurt the imagined or imaginary feelings and sentiments of the minority. The view of the Chairman cannot be challenged in any Court of Law! In short the Chairman should be legally empowered to display all the vagaries of an Oriental Potentate of Medieval History like Genghis Khan, Kublai Khan, Tamerlane, Allaudin Khilji etc.)
5. This article promotes or attempts to promote, on the ground of religion, disharmony and feelings of enmity, hatred, and ill-will between Hindus and the minorities. It promotes hatred against Muslims which is prejudicial to the maintenance of harmony between Hindus and Muslims and it is likely to disturb public tranquility. The article imputes that Muslims cannot, by reason of their being Muslims, bear true faith and allegiance to the Constitution of India or uphold the sovereignty and integrity of India. The article asserts and propagates that Muslims, by reason of their being Muslims, should be denied and deprived of their rights as citizens of India to vote. According to the article, all minorities must be told to acknowledge their Hindu ancestry failing which they should be denied voting rights. The article asserts and pleads that all Muslims are under an obligation to acknowledge their Hindu ancestry and this causes and is further likely to cause disharmony, feelings of enmity, hatred and ill-will between Muslims and Hindus. The article and its publication is a deliberate and malicious act intended to outrage the religious feelings of Muslims and deliberately and maliciously distorts history and facts to insult the Muslim religion and the beliefs of the Muslims. The article was written and published with the intent to cause fear and alarm to the public in general and Muslims in particular because it seeks to induce sections of the public to remove 300 masjids and deprive Muslims of their right to vote. The article and its publication were intended to incite persons to commit offences against the state and against public tranquility. The article and its publication was intended to incite Hindus to commit offences against Muslims by removing their masjids and denying Muslims the right to vote and further promotes international odium by calling on the public to promote hostilities against Bangladesh for the annexation of land. (What are the ‘Islamic Minority Rights’ view of the Chairman of the Minorities Commission on the savage attacks on Hindu temples by his co-religionists in different parts of India not during Islamic Rule from 1000AD to 1707 AD but during the Savage Sonia Congress Rule from 2004 till date?)
6. Poonawalla is therefore right when he says: “The term “Halal” is closely associated with Muslim culture and has an unmistakable reference point to Muslims given that “Halal”, in common everyday parlance and ordinary usage, involves a short recital of “kalma” and a religiously mandated procedure to slaughter any meat meant for consumption as food. To use the term “Halal”, which has a level of sanctity and religious attachment for Muslims, in an insulting manner to hurt religious sentiments deliberately and maliciously as has been done by the accused and to insinuate that Islam as a faith is predisposed to violence, is a violation of section 295(A) of IPC 1860”
7. The article and its publication also promotes disharmony and ill-will among Hindus inasmuch as the majority of Hindus who do not agree with the mindset of Subramanian Swamy have been stigmatized and denigrated in the article as if they are not true Hindus. Almost all Hindus ascribe to the constitutional mandate of India as a secular nation and do not believe that in order to be a true Hindu one must ascribe to the notion of India as a “nation of Hindus”. The statements abovementioned were deliberately and maliciously made with the intention of outraging the religious feelings of the majority of Hindus and insulted the religious beliefs of Hindus who believe that Hinduism is a compassionate, flexible and peace loving religion and that Hindus coexist with other religious communities in a secular state governed by a secular constitution. This community of persons – secular Hindus in India – have had their religious feelings outraged by the incitement, in the article to Hindus to remove 300 masjids, annex the lands of the Bangladesh and deny Muslims the right to vote.
8. The article and its publication also promotes disharmony and ill-will between Hindus and Christians inasmuch as Goal 5 abovementioned has insulted the religious beliefs of Muslims and Christians by falsely stating that mosques and churches denigrate Hinduism by promoting vulgar writings and preaching’s.
9. The recent events in Norway where a person with fundamentalist views mercilessly killed innocent civilians and was unrepentant shows how important it is for democracies to take hate speech crimes that incite people to violence against communities very seriously and to stamp it out with all the power available in the legal system.
10. This complaint is being made to you to have the registration of the Janata Party granted under section 29 A of The Representation of the People Act, 1951 cancelled.
11. 29 A of the Act allows for registration of political parties. Sub section 5 lays down certain requirements for the Memorandum or Rules and Regulations of the political party in the following terms: “such memorandum or rules and regulations shall contain a specific provision that the association or body shall bear faith and allegiance to the Constitution of India as by law established and to the principles of socialism, secularism and democracy, and would uphold the sovereignty, unity and integrity of India”.
12. The requirement of law is that a political party while obtaining registration or to continue to maintain its registration is required to abide by the principle of secularism and bear faith and allegiance to the Constitution of India. The article of Subramanian Swamy abovementioned clearly shows that he and his Party does not abide by secularism as set out in the judgments of the Supreme Court , that the Party stands for “Hindu Rashtra”, that the Party has a pronounced anti Muslim stand which is hostile to secularism and therefore, since the stand of the Party is contrary to the Constitution of India and actively opposed to constitutional provisions, the Janata Party has lost the right to continue to enjoy registration under the Act and must be deregistered by the Election Commission of India.
13. In conclusion I draw to your attention to the definitive ruling of the 9-Judge Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court in S.R. Bommai Vs. UOI (1994 3 SCC 1), wherein the Court declared that “secularism is a part of the basic structure of the Constitution. The relevant provisions of the Constitution by implication prohibit the establishment of a theocratic State…”.
(Wajahat Habibullah)
Shri SY Qureshi
Chief Election Commissioner of India
Nirvachan Bhavan
New Delhi.

Copy to Shri Salman Khurshid, Minister, Minority Affairs, Paryavaran Bhawan, CGO Complex, New Delhi for information
(Wajahat Habibullah)
In addition to the points I have made within brackets above, I would also like to put to the National Minorities Commission, the heathenish, paganish and superstitious views of a practising Hindu!
II Am I right in presuming that the National Commission for Minorities (NCM) do not have the official, ‘political’, moral or ethical courage to send a letter to the Press Council of India stating that the Editor of the DNA Newspaper has hurt the religious feelings of the Minorities in India by publishing Dr.Subramanian Swamy’s article and thus calling for action against him under 295(A) of IPC 1860 for its violation? (In my view the Editor deserves the highest public praise and award for having displayed great courage to maintain and uphold the sacred and inviolable cause of Press Freedom)
III If so why should Wajahat Habibullah, Chairman of the National Commission for Minorities (NCM) and Abraham Mathai, Vice Chairman of the Maharashtra State Commission for Minorities act in deliberate and planned unison to allege that Dr.Swamy’s article has hurt the religious feelings of the Minorities (Muslims and Christians) in India? ( In my view, the average Muslim or Christian citizen in India has in no way been affected by Dr.Subramanian Swamy’s article on ‘How to combat Islamic Terrorism’.)
IV Why are they creating imaginary and imagined fiction of hurt feelings of Muslim and Christian Minorities? (In my view , Wajahat Habibullah and Abraham Mathai are only functioning  whole-time to promote the Muslim Minority Appeasement Programmes and Policies and Plots of Sonia Gandhi and her wholly owned Private Property called the Sonia Congress Party?)
SY Quraishi, Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) has publicly stated several times that the Election Commission of India does not have any power to deregister political parties that are ‘redundant’ or were ‘bogus’ in the first place.
In the Open Opinion Page of The Hindu, dated 6-8-2011, Raji Raouf wrote an article under the title We Muslims are mature, we can take criticism”. In this article he strongly disagreed with Dr.Swamy’s article in the DNA newspaper published on 16th July 2011. In order to assist all the readers of my blog in a very friendly manner I am reproducing below the full text of Raji Raouf’s article.
We Muslims are mature, we can take criticism
Raji Raouf
I strongly disagree with Dr. Subramanian Swamy’s views on Muslims he expressed recently in a prominent newspaper. And if chance should have it that I meet him, I would invite him to my humble home for a cup of tea. And if the ambience is just right, we might end up discussing Mark Twain and Wodehouse. For, I am a Muslim and though deeply hurt by his views, I am required by every strand of morality and justice in me to stand for his right to express his views, however unreasonable.
I believe that we Muslims are being taken for a ride by some of these “minority bodies” when they call for the arrest of a senior statesman for our benefit. How can arresting him improve even an iota of our conditions? Whatever he said is out there and the only sensible thing to do now would be to have healthy debates on his views and expose how catastrophic it would be if his ideas were ever to see the light of day. Many senior politicians and academicians have already expressed their dissent.
Whenever Islam or Muslims are criticised, ridiculed or insulted, a very minuscule segment of society gives the call to take up arms and to let all hell loose. And that is a six-course meal for the news and media circus. From books and cartoons to blogs and tweets, every form of the media has been used by various individuals and groups to ridicule, criticise or question Muslim beliefs and lifestyle. And what has been our response? We have asked for the banning of books, expulsion of writers, and the closure of embassies. And the sad thing is that many of these demands have been met. We forget that this paints us as weak, intolerant, boring and an uncreative lot, which we are not.
Muslims have come a long way and for every Satanic Verse hurled at us, we have within our community talented writers, artists and actors more than capable of expressing the other side of the story in the most creative manner. Our history is replete with anecdotes where insults and mudslinging have been met with the highest levels of tolerance and creativity. We have every right to be angry when we are hurt by the expressions of some of the most insensitive individuals around us. But picketing, fatwas and call to violence are not the approach of a mature society. Where we have a chance to play the better role, we should play it. Where we have a chance to show our tolerance of nonsense, we must show it. And when it comes to vulgarity and obscenity, it is sure to offend all individuals irrespective of race and creed and it is in solidarity with them that we should take steps to curb or downplay the significance of such elements in society.
Let it not be misconstrued that I am hereby advocating an eye for an eye policy. Rather, I am advocating that we draw a bigger circle to include those who are seeking ways to expel us from their very small and misinformed circles. Give writers and artists the freedom to criticise and question every fibre of our society and beliefs, for we have acquired that level of maturity that we can stand up to any amount of criticism. As for those elements merely seeking to sow the seeds of discord and conflict between communities by raising non-issues and brandishing vulgarities, let us educate the masses so as to render their efforts futile. The only role such elements would have in shaping our history and future is the one we accord them. Let us be generous and record their failures in attempting to create schisms in a progressive society of all creeds.
Freedom of expression is of paramount importance. How else would certain politicians exert their inalienable right to make a complete fool of themselves?
On the whole, I fully endorse the spirit of Raji Raouf’s article above. He seems to be talking as a seasoned, cultivated and refined citizen. He seems to be echoing the immortal words of Voltaire:” I disagree with every word of what you say but I shall defend to the death your right to say it”.
One sworn inveterate intellectual opponent of any refined and broad minded Muslim is another Muslim! I am not therefore surprised that Faizur Rehman, in his article, titled ‘Muslims and Hindus are mature, the Sangh Parivar is not’ in the Open Page of The Hindu dated 14-8-2011, has not agreed with many of the views of Raji Raouf which he had expressed in his article in the Open Page of The Hindu dated 6-8-2011. For the convenience of the Readers of this Blog, I am presenting below the Full Text of Faizur Rehman’s article.

Muslims and Hindus are mature, the Sangh Parivar is not
A. Faizur Rahman
‘If the Sangh Parivar is honest it can co-exist with Muslims on the basis of the values that Islam and Hinduism share’
Raji Raouf in his article “We Muslims are mature, we can take criticism” (The Hindu, August 7, 2011) cautioned Muslims against getting ruffled by provocative articles such as the recent one written by Dr. Subramanian Swamy in DNA which, among other things, sought disenfranchisement of Muslims for racist reasons. But then, of late Indian Muslims have shown a remarkable sense of maturity, be it the Mecca Masjid, Ajmer or Malegaon blasts or, for that matter, any other issue wherein they were wrongfully targeted. There have been no calls from Muslim organisations “to take up arms and to let all hell loose” and this controverts the caricature of their immaturity painted by Mr. Raouf in his article.
This, of course, is not to deny the existence of extremist Muslim outfits, but only to point out that the moderates are gradually gaining the upper hand in the struggle against extremism which is also evident from the fact that Muslims have not resorted to any kind of retaliatory mudslinging against Hindus to express their dissent against Dr. Swamy’s incendiary article. And if “minority bodies” such as the National Commission for Minorities have issued notices to Dr. Swamy they have acted well within their rights to charge him for violating the Indian law by calling for the denial of rights to Muslims guaranteed under our Constitution. Therefore, Mr. Raouf is not justified in saying that “Muslims are being taken for a ride” by the minority bodies.
If truth be spoken, it is not a question of Muslims or Hindus displaying maturity when ridiculed. Indeed, both communities enjoy a great rapport at the people-to-people level. The big question is whether the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS)-backed Sangh Parivar is willing to let these communities live in harmony. Unfortunately, the saffronites are displaying a kind of majoritarian masculinity that seems to suggest that it is below their dignity to treat Muslims as equal citizens of this country. Demolition of mosques is being justified on the ground that a mosque is less sacred than a temple, and hence it may be bulldozed to make way for a holier place, the temple. The sad part is that persons spreading such disinformation know full well that it has the potential to disturb communal amity.
It must be said that if the Sangh Parivar is honest it can co-exist with Muslims on the basis of the values that Islam and Hinduism share. For instance, in a verse which could be described as the bedrock of inter-faith harmony, the Koran says that if God did not check the mischiefmongers “there would surely have been pulled down monasteries, churches, synagogues and mosques where the name of God is commemorated in abundant measure” (22:40). And it has been declared in the Bhagavad Gita that an absence of enmity for people (nirvairah sarvabhutesu), even though they might have done great harm, is one of the important virtues of the best of the devotees (XI-55).
Having said this, it may be misleading to see the communalism of Hindutva writers as purely a Hindu-Muslim problem. It actually concerns the entire nation, and could seriously affect its development if allowed to continue. It is common knowledge that poverty and backwardness in many African countries are mainly the result of continuous, violent, internal conflict. And nearer home, one of our own neighbours finds itself in deep trouble, financial and otherwise, for failing to contain sectarian violence, and in some cases promoting it as a matter of policy to further its vested interests.
The Sangh Parivar, therefore, must realise that by adhering to the Golwalkarian thought it is sowing the seeds of disharmony between Hindus and non-Hindus. It must understand that it would be unwise to continuously talk in terms of a Hindu Rashtra or a fantasised confrontation between Islam and Hinduism at a time when all our energies are required to be focussed on equitable distribution of the fruits of our nation’s economic growth. In other words, it is time Hindutva ideologues gave up their anti-Muslim agenda and went beyond the idea of conflict resolution into the realm of conflict transformation, by which both communities join hands to work towards the larger goal of making India an epitome of peace, stability and progress.
(The author is secretary-general of the Forum for the Promotion of Moderate Thought among Muslims. He may be reached at


Dr.Subramanian Swamy has given a fitting rebuttal to the above article of Faizur Rehman in his article titled  Strategy To Combat IslamicTerrorism In India in the Open Page of The Hindu dated 17-8-2011. In order to assist my readers I am presenting below the Full Text of Dr.Swamy’s article.
Strategy To Combat Islamic Terrorism In India
Subramanian Swamy
This rebuttal is to the piece
in The Hindu titled “Muslims and Hindus are mature, the Sangh Parivar is not” (“Open Page,” August 14, 2011) written by Mr. A. Faizur Rahman, claiming to represent the “moderate” spectrum of thought in the Muslim community.
Although Mr. Rahman’s piece was written in reference to an earlier piece (“We Muslims are mature, we can take criticism,” “Open Page,” August 7, 2011), by Mr. Raji Raouf, he engages in disinformation about my op-ed piece in another newspaper. Hence it has become essential for me to rebut what Mr. Rahman has written in your columns.
He states that moderate Muslims are content that the National Commission for Minorities sent a notice to me, rather than respond to the call from Muslim Organisations [his words] to “take up arms and to let all hell loose (sic).” Thank you for the consideration, Mr. Rahman!
Terrorism is an act of violence that targets civilians to overawe a legally constituted government and the people in the pursuit of political or ideological aims.
In 2004, the U.N. Security Council, in its Resolution No.1566, referred to “criminal acts, including against civilians, committed with the intent to provoke a state of terror in the general public or in a group of persons or particular persons, intimidate a population or compel a Government or an international organization to do or to abstain from doing any act”.
Hence, every government, separately and collectively, has a duty to take effective counter-terrorism measures, to prevent and deter future terrorist attacks and to prosecute those who are responsible for carrying out such acts. At the same time, countering of terrorism poses grave challenges to the protection and promotion of human rights. Every nation is therefore called upon to resolve the conflicting demands of combating terrorism and protecting human rights. THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN THE TWO IS NOT “LINEAR,” BUT “NON-LINEAR.” THAT IS, IT IS NOT TRUE THAT THE LESS WE PROTECT HUMAN RIGHTS, THE MORE WE CAN COMBAT TERRORISM. THE CONVERSE IS ALSO NOT TRUE. THERE IS, THEREFORE, AN “OPTIMUM COMBINATION” OF MEASURES TO COMBAT TERRORISM AND THE LEVEL OF SAFEGUARDS THAT ENSURE HUMAN RIGHTS. The law of diminishing returns operates in this trade-off. Hence we need a strategy of deterrence with minimal intrusion on human rights. This is what I wrote to stir a debate — and not invite and disinformation abuse as Mr. Rahman has done.
The fundamental question here today is that since in India we are the worst affected by jihadi terrorist attacks, how to formulate a strategy to deal with Islamic terrorism.
The strategy we choose for terrorist attacks should not be worse in the long run than the consequences of these attacks as in the Rubaiya Sayeed kidnap case of 1989 and the Kandahar IC-814 plane hijack case. Terrorism in India worsened as a consequence of the deal made by the NF and NDA governments to free the notorious terrorists in custody. More innocent people, for example, have been killed in terrorist attacks since the release of Maulana Azhar, Umar Qureshi and Zargar in exchange for the passengers and crew in the Kandahar case. These three upon reaching Pakistan, continued as heroes in their terrorists acts against India including 26/11 in Mumbai.
Thus we need a clear-cut policy, which means a clear-cut statement of objectives, defining the priorities of these objectives, the strategy to achieve the objective, and the committing of necessary human, financial and infrastructural resources.
We need, most of all, a strategy of deterrence. Secular intellectuals may wax eloquent about “true Islam” being humane and peaceful, on TV programmes, but it is clear that they have not read any authoritative translations of the Koran, the Sira and the Hadith. These three holy books together constitute the theology of Islam. Hence instead of talking about the “correct interpretation” of Islam, those who call themselves “moderates” in the Islamic community, ought instead to urge for a new reformed Islamic theology that is consistent with democratic principles.
We Hindus have a long recognised tradition of being religious liberals by nature. We have already proved it enough by welcoming to our country and nurturing Parsis, Jews, Syrian Christians, and Moplah Muslim Arabs who were persecuted elsewhere, when we were 100 per cent Hindu country. Today, Hindus being targeted by Islamic terrorists, have to stand up for themselves.
What does it mean in the 21st century for Hindus to stand up? I mean by that mental clarity of the Hindus to defend the nation by effective deterrent retaliation.
This also entails an intelligent co-option of other religious groups into the Hindu cultural continuum. That is why I advocated that Muslims accept what has been scientifically established by DNA genetic studies, that we have common ancestors and share the hoary Hindu past.
(Dr. Subramanian Swamy is President, Janata Party.)
In the last paragraph of the above article Dr.Subramanian Swamy has said that recent DNA Genetic Studies have scientifically established the fact that the Muslims of India and the Hindus of India have common ancestors and share the hoary HINDU PAST. This statement of Dr.Swamy can stand any judicial scrutiny in any Court of Law in India. I know it will be dismissed outright as ‘SANGH PARIVAR Generated Nonsense’ by all the Madarasas of India!
I am not very sure whether the Chairperson of the National Minorities Commission is aware of the fact that the DNA  of Sunni and Shia Muslims of UP State in India has been studied and the Research Results communicated to the world by the National Centre for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) at the U.S. National Library of Medicine (NLM) in their message dated 14th August 2011 under the Heading North Indian Muslims: Foreign DNA or Hindu converts? Shared Y-chromosomal heritage between Muslims and Hindus in India. This message contains search results of the bio-medical research conducted by Department of Biological Sciences, Florida International University, University Park, Miami, FL 33199, USA. (1. Am J Phys Anthropol. 2007 Jul;133(3):1004-12. North Indian Muslims: enclaves of foreign DNA or Hindu converts? Terreros MC, Rowold D, Luis JR, Khan F, Agrawal S, Herrera RJ.)
The abstract of their findings as communicated by (NCBI) at the U.S. National Library of Medicine (NLM) in their message referred to in the above paragraph is as follows.
Abstract of findings on DNA of Indian Muslims
The mtDNA composition of two Muslim sects from the northern Indian province of Uttar Pradesh, the Sunni and Shia, have been delineated using sequence information from hypervariable regions 1 and 2 (HVI and HVII, respectively) as well as coding region polymorphisms. A comparison of this data to that from Middle Eastern, Central Asian, North East African, and other Indian groups reveals that, at the mtDNA haplogroup level, both of these Indo-Sunni and Indo-Shia populations are more similar to each other and other Indian groups than to those from the other regions. In addition, these two Muslim sects exhibit a conspicuous absence of West Asian mtDNA haplogroups suggesting that their maternal lineages are of Indian origin. Furthermore, it is noteworthy that the maternal lineage data indicates differences between the Sunni and Shia collections of Uttar Pradesh with respect to the relative distributions of Indian-specific M sub-haplogroups (Indo Shia > Indo Sunni) and the R haplogroup (Indo Sunni > Indo Shia), a disparity that does not appear to be related to social status or geographic regions within India. Finally, the mtDNA data integrated with the Y-chromosome results from an earlier study, which indicated a major Indian genetic (Y-chromosomal) contribution as well, suggests a scenario of Hindu to Islamic conversion in these two populations. However, given the substantial level of the African/Middle Eastern YAP lineage in the Indo-Shia versus its absence in the Indo-Sunni, it is likely that this conversion was somewhat gender biased in favor of females in the Indo-Shia.
(c) 2007 Wiley-Liss, Inc.
2. Hum Genet. 2006 Nov;120(4):543-51. Epub 2006 Sep 2.
A shared Y-chromosomal heritage between Muslims and Hindus in India.
Gutala R, Carvalho-Silva DR, Jin L, Yngvadottir B, Avadhanula V, Nanne K, Singh L, Chakraborty R, Tyler-Smith C.
Department of Medicine, University of Texas Health Science Center, San Antonio, TX, USA.
Arab forces conquered the Indus Delta region in 711 AD: and, although a Muslim state was established there, their influence was barely felt in the rest of South Asia at that time. By the end of the tenth century, Central Asian Muslims moved into India from the northwest and expanded throughout the subcontinent. Muslim communities are now the largest minority religion in India, comprising more than 138 million people in a predominantly Hindu population of over one billion. It is unclear whether the Muslim expansion in India was a purely cultural phenomenon or had a genetic impact on the local population. To address this question from a male perspective, we typed eight microsatellite loci and 16 binary markers from the Y chromosome in 246 Muslims from Andhra Pradesh, and compared them to published data on 4,204 males from East Asia, Central Asia, other parts of India, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Iran, the Middle East, Turkey, Egypt and Morocco. We find that the Muslim populations in general are genetically closer to their non-Muslim geographical neighbors than to other Muslims in India, and that there is a highly significant correlation between genetics and geography (but not religion). Our findings indicate that, despite the documented practice of marriage between Muslim men and Hindu women, Islamization in India did not involve large-scale replacement of Hindu Y chromosomes. The Muslim expansion in India was predominantly a cultural change and was not accompanied by significant gene flow, as seen in other places, such as China and Central Asia.
PMCID: PMC2590854
Free PMC Article
Apart from Dr.Swamy, another fire-brand web journalist Vijayan (highly communal, highly barbarous, superstitious and ill-informed Hindu) has given a rejoinder to Faizur Rehman, with rapier-like arguments in the internet. For the benefit of my readers I am presenting below Vijayan’s  rejoinder in regard to the main points advanced by Faizur Rahman. I have put Vijayan’s points within brackets in red colour and italics. The words in black colour are the points of Faizur Rahman.
Muslims and Hindus are mature, the Sangh Parivar is not – A. Faizur Rahman
‘If the Sangh Parivar is honest it can co-exist with Muslims on the basis of the values that Islam and Hinduism share’ Raji Raouf in his article “We Muslims are mature, we can take criticism” (The Hindu, August 7, 2011) cautioned Muslims against getting ruffled by provocative articles such as the recent one written by Dr. Subramanian Swamy in DNA which, among other things, sought disenfranchisement of Muslims for racist reasons. But then, of late (like from when Fuzzy Mian started writing his moderately thoughtless article?)
Indian Muslims have shown a remarkable sense of maturity, be it the Mecca Masjid, Ajmer or Malegaon blasts or, for that matter, any other issue wherein they were wrongfully targeted. (Were the Hindus burnt on the Train Rightfully targeted by this Indian and his Muslims? Were the three lakhs Hindus killed in Kashmir and the three lakhs driven out of their homes rightfully targeted? Have the Hindus killed in Deganga been rightfully targeted by his Muslims? Was Akshardam rightfully targeted? Or the Mumbai Blasts, Coimbatore Blasts etc etc? Surely all these killer Muslims did not come down from Mars? And surely all those masjids that have sprung up all over India have NOT been built by Hindus to spite the Indian Muslim? Like there are more masjids in India than in the rest of the Mohammedan world put together? That these blackguards deliberately see to it that their Masjid and its chand-tara towers over every other structure in the neighbourhood, and more particularly it must be at least 50% taller than any Hindu Temple nearby? In certain mohammedan majority areas, ghettos if you will, like Malapuram and Mhow, no one Hindu, Christian or tourist can take even a sip of water publicly during this Roja fest. No Tea shop may sell tea. Then you have Chief Ministers of Kashmir and sundry other Muslim Luminaires threatening death and destruction if terrorists Afzal Guru or Kasab are hanged as ordered by the Supreme Court. Who is wrongfully Targetting who, and why are these Fuzzy-wuzzies incapable of seeing what is and has been going on right under their noses?)
There have been no calls from Muslim organisations “to take up arms and to let all hell loose” and this controverts the caricature of their immaturity painted by Mr. Raouf in his article. (Oh YEAH!!!! Calls are only issued six times a day from the Minarets.)
This, of course, is not to deny the existence of extremist Muslim outfits, (All muslim outfits are terrorist outfits – name the ones that are not.) but only to point out that the moderates are gradually gaining the upper hand in the struggle against extremism (Since the so-called religion of theirs sanctions Taqiya and only know what other forms of deceit to infiltrate and destroy the Kaffir, what price Fuzzy and his “moderate” circus?) which is also  evident from the fact that Muslims have not resorted to any kind of retaliatory mudslinging against Hindus to express their dissent against Dr. Swamy’s incendiary article. (They have retaliated against Swamy, and that is technically not the same thing as retaliatory mudslinging against Hindus okay.) And if “minority bodies” such as the National Commission for Minorities (which is headed by a muslim) have issued notices to Dr. Swamy they have acted well within their rights to charge him for violating the Indian law by calling for the denial of rights to Muslims guaranteed under our Constitution. (As we remember, all Muslims were to run off to Pakistan – exchange of population as originally envisaged during the Partition. But the masters of Taqiya and preferred to stick on here and wreck the nation from inside.) Therefore, Mr. Raouf is not justified in saying that “Muslims are being taken for a ride” by the minority bodies.
If truth be spoken, it is not a question of Muslims or Hindus displaying maturity when ridiculed. Indeed, both communities enjoy a great rapport at the people-to-people level. (Like we were forced by a Stupidly pseudo-secular government and sicklier Courts to put up with Hussain and his obscene Paintings, but Indian MCs led by their “organisations” will riot, run amok and set fire to Indian property over Danish Cartoons which do not have even a fraction of the filth and venom conveyed by the Muhammedan Artist, now luckily dead, though not by a Hindu Hand.) The big question is whether the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS)-backed Sangh Parivar is willing to let these communities live in harmony. (The question is whether MC Organisations will let Hindus live at all, let alone in Harmony with Muslims which is a Globally acknowledged impossibility.) Unfortunately, the saffronites are displaying a kind of majoritarian masculinity (SO why don’t you disgruntled elements run off to Pakistan or Bungladesh as originally planned, instead of smuggling in all your relatives to come here and spoil Harmony?) all your that seems to suggest that it is below their dignity to treat Muslims as equal citizens of this country. Demolition of mosques is being justified on the ground that a mosque is less sacred than a temple, and hence it may be bulldozed to make way for a holier place, the temple. (Demolition of Hindu Temples was part of your inherited ethos and your Islamic Culture, and is being carried out in a big way in every shariat Muslim Country in the world, and even within certain pockets of India as in Kashmir, UP, Waste Bengal. Assam and the North Eastern States. And the other sad truth is that new mosques are springing up all over Secular India at the rate of one very day.) The sad part is that persons spreading such disinformation know full well that it has the potential to disturb communal amity. (Wrong. The sad part is that Truth, Objectivity and Fair Play are being suppressed in the name of warped notions of Secularism, and the worst practitioners of this sort of disinformation who go around vandalising the Truth, wherever it tries to rise up above filthy Vote Bank Politics.)
It must be said that if the Sangh Parivar is honest it can co-exist with Muslims on the basis of the values that Islam and Hinduism share. (Try writing some articles describing these “Shared Values” instead of columns of pure falsehood.)
For instance, in a verse which could be described as the bedrock of inter-faith harmony, the Koran says that if God did not check the mischiefmongers “there would surely have been pulled down monasteries, churches, synagogues and mosques where the name of God is commemorated in abundant measure” (22:40). (And Truly lakhs of Hindu Temples have been pulled down, looted, and desecrated by hordes of Islam..) And it has been declared in the Bhagavad Gita that an absence of enmity for people (nirvairah sarvabhutesu), even though they might have done great harm, is one of the important virtues of the best of the devotees (XI-55). Jesus also said to turn the Other Cheek, and heap coals of fire, and this has also been exploited – for buggering the Hindu.)
Having said this, it may be misleading to see the communalism of Hindutva writers as purely a Hindu-Muslim problem. It actually concerns the entire nation, and could seriously affect its development if allowed to continue. (Like the massive, unchecked growth of Muslim Population including by infiltration from across the border.) It is common knowledge that poverty and backwardness in many African countries are mainly the result of continuous, violent, internal conflict. (Encouragement of this conflict is the Main Objective of Organised Islam.) And nearer home, one of our own neighbours finds itself in deep trouble, financial and otherwise, for failing to contain sectarian violence (??) and in some cases promoting it as a matter of policy to further its vested interests. (Consider it as an inseparable aspect of Islam – that when they have killed off all the kaffirs, they create sects among themselves and start fighting.)
The Sangh Parivar, therefore, must realise that by adhering to the Golwalkarian thought it is sowing the seeds of disharmony between Hindus and non-Hindus. (The non-Hindus must also understand that Democracy is all about Majorities, and 85% of the people here are Hindus. And if they tried these old divisive policies of their Prophets and Popes they will reap the whirlwind.) It must understand that it would be unwise to continuously talk in terms of a Hindu Rashtra or a fantasised confrontation between Islam and Hinduism at a time when all our energies are required to be focussed on equitable distribution of the fruits of our nation’s economic growth. In other words, it is time Hindutva ideologues gave up their anti-Muslim agenda and went beyond the idea of conflict resolution into the realm of conflict transformation, by which both communities join hands to work towards the larger goal of making India an epitome of peace, stability and progress. (If any Muslim, past or present had such notions there would have been no Partition, no large scale ethnic cleansing of Hindus, no Islamic Nations.)
I would like to invite the kind attention of all my readers to the following observations of Sir.Winston Churchill on Militant Islam in 1899 in his book titled’ The River War’ first edition, Vol. II, pages 248-50 (London: Longmans, Green & Co., 1899):

“A degraded sensualism deprives this life of its grace and refinement; the next of its dignity and sanctity. The fact that in Mohammedan law every woman must belong to some man as his absolute property, either as a child, a wife, or a concubine, must delay the final extinction of slavery until the faith of Islam has ceased to be a great power among men. Individual Moslems may show splendid qualities – but the influence of the religion paralyses the social development of those who follow it. No stronger retrograde force exists in the world. Far from being moribund, Mohammedanism is a militant and proselytizing faith. It has already spread throughout Central Africa, raising fearless warriors at every step; and were it not that Christianity is sheltered in the strong arms of science, the science against which it had vainly struggled, the civilisation of modern Europe might fall, as fell the civilization of ancient Rome.”
–Sir Winston Churchill, from The River War, first edition, Vol. II, pages 248-50 (London: Longmans, Green & Co., 1899).

Is CBI trying to stave off Dr.Swamy under cloak of autonomy?

Help us keep our autonomy: CBI tells SC

NEW DELHI: The CBI on Wednesday argued that if the Supreme Court entertained Janata Party president Subramanian Swamy’s plea for probe into then finance minister P Chidambaram’s alleged role in the 2G spectrum pricing row, it would seriously undermine the premier investigating agency’s autonomy.

Appearing for CBI, advocate K K Venugopal contended before a bench of Justices G S Singhvi and A K Ganguly that CBI functioned autonomously under the supervision of the CVC, which too was precluded by law from interfering in the course of investigation.

“Even CVC is barred from directing the CBI in the manner in which investigations are to be carried out. The SC will help the CBI keep its autonomy by not directing the agency to investigate a particular person,” he said.

Venugopal also said that the entire investigations into the 2G spectrum scam had been monitored closely by the apex court to keep the CBI on the right track. “But, now applications are moved to request the SC to direct the CBI to conduct investigations in a particular manner and against a particular person to arraign him as an accused,” he said.

Swamy alleged that Chidambaram and A Raja had jointly decided the price of spectrum and hence the CBI should investigate whether the then finance minister had a “meeting of mind” with Raja on this issue, which contributed to the loss caused to the exchequer because of allotment of mobile licences at a cheap rate.

Venugopal said SC’s role has come to an end as far as the conspiracy angle in the 2G was concerned since the trial has commenced. He said the trial court was competent to order further probe, summon a person as a witness or an accused.

The bench reminded the CBI that its probe into the 2G scam gathered pace only after petitions by the Centre for PILs and Swamy were filed in the SC. “After that the CBI has done an expeditious investigation. But, the petitioners are not satisfied. But, the SC has not said anything,” it said. The bench said it insulated the CBI from interference from any quarter and gave it strength to proceed against anyone who was involved in the scam at a time when the common perception was that the scam would not be investigated.

SC questions Trai no-loss 2G theory

The Supreme Court on Wednesday took serious view of the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) sending a communication to the CBI stating that there was virtually no loss in the sale of 2G spectrum while questioning the probe agency’s estimation of much lower loss to the exchequer when CAG had put it at whooping `1.74 lakh crores.

The CBI in its report to the trial court along with its chargesheet had estimated the loss to the exchequer around `30,000 crores, while Trai’s communication to the agency had said though it had no mechanism to estimate the exact loss in absence of market data of telecom companies, its report virtually had given an impression of no loss.
“CBI’s alleged estimated loss to the exchequer is much less than the CAG, which is being contested. We are really surprised over a communication of Trai. It is appointed as a (telecom) regulator by an Act of Parliament. It is an independent body and the communication is seriously debated. Everything should have been left for the (trial) court to decide. The system should be allowed to function properly,” SC’s 2G case monitoring bench of Justices G.S. Singhvi and A.K. Ganguly observed. “We have not made any observation (on loss so far) lest it should prejudice any party. But it (loss) should have not been taken so lightly,” the bench said when CBI counsel K.K. Venugopal tried to defend agency’s action not investigating the role of Mr Chidambaram in “fixing” the 2G price, saying that the CBI was an “independent statutory body” and should be allowed to function like that.
Sensing the tough stance of the court on the issue, CBI counsel merely said that the agency “has not accepted” the Trai report.
When he tried to cite the example of Taj corridor scam against Mayawati, in which the apex court had asked the agency to get its report vetted by CVC instead of passing by order for further investigation, the bench put a counter poser to the CBI lawyer whether the report in the 2G scam case was sent to the CVC.

War in Maino’s Congress: Pranab Mukherjee suggests Chidambaram could have stopped Raja

Almost two months after the CBI arrested former telecom minister A Raja along with two officials for their alleged role in the 2G scam, the Ministry of Finance sent a 10-page note to the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) saying that had the ministry — then under P Chidambaram — “stuck to the stand of auctioning the 4.4 MHz spectrum”, the DoT (Department of Telecom) could have cancelled the licences.

The letter, sent to Vini Mahajan, joint secretary in the PMO, on March 25, 2011, is signed by the finance ministry’s deputy director (Infrastructure and Investment Division) P G S Rao. It says that “the note has been seen by the Finance Minister” (Pranab Mukherjee).

It says that in a meeting on January 30, 2008, between the then ministers of finance and telecommunications (Chidambaram and Raja), it was noted by the then finance minister that he was “for now not seeking to revisit the current regimes for entry fee or revenue share”.

It adds that when the issue of pricing of new telecom licences was being decided, the then finance ministry “implicitly agreed to the imposition of same entry fee as that prevailing in 2001 for licences allotted upto December 31, 2008”.

The CBI’s main charge against Raja is that he caused a huge loss to the exchequer when he decided against taking the auction route to sell 2G spectrum to companies, some of which were allegedly ineligible to get the same. One of the key points of Raja’s defence is that he had always kept

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Chidambaram in the loop before taking all decisions with regard to allocation of 2G spectrum.

When contacted by The Indian Express, Chidambaram declined to comment. But officials who worked with Chidambaram in the finance ministry said that even until a week before he moved out of the finance ministry, Chidambaram had stuck to the position on record that the 2001 entry fee of Rs 1,651 crore should be reviewed.

The March 25 letter was produced in the Supreme Court today by Janata Party president Subramaniam Swamy. Swamy has moved the apex court arguing that Chidambar’m’” “ro”e” be thoroughly investigated. The CBI has opposed this plea.

Congress spokesman Abhishek Manu Singhvi said today, “We do not, in any manner, accept the allegation made by Subramaniam Swamy against Chidambaram. The party does not doubt his integrity. This precise issue has been raised by Swamy in the apex court and is sub judice. Without waiting for the proceedings to be completed, it is highly objectionable and inappropriate for Swamy or anyone else to pass premature judgment on the very same issue on which he is seeking relief. We may also add that the mischievous attempt to create a rift between different constitutional functionaries is highly regrettable and ought not to be repeated.”

On June 18, current Telecom Minister Kapil Sibal had said that Chidambaram had no role in the decisions taken by Raja relating to 2G spectrum allocation.

“I can categorically say on behalf of my colleague that Chidambaram had no role to play in any of the alleged acts of corruption. Absolutely, he had no part in any sleaze. He is not privy to decisions that Raja made. For the opposition to make such allegations of this nature obviously is a sign of desperation”” he had said, referring to the allegations by the BJP, especially its president, Nitin Gadkari, that as finance minister when the 2G spectrum allocations were made, Chidambaram was party to the decisions taken by Raja.

The BJP today sought Chidambara’’s resignation from the government, saying finance ministry note shows his “complicity” in the scam.

“Ultimately, the cat is out of the bag. It was very clear from day one that Chidambaram agreed to A Raj’’s formula for 2G spectrum allocation. If he had stuck to the finance ministry officials’ position that spectrum should not be allocated in 2008 at 2001 prices, the scam would not have taken place,” BJP spokesperson Prakash Javadekar told reporters today.

The Goebbels put out that Antonia Maino had operation for cancer and radiationtherapy. And they now say in less than a month she has lots of hair on her head and look youngish!!

The Chamchas, the damn ass kissers never fail to relish her sh – -!!

Sonia Gandhi Mystery Deepens, Chocolates Spied – Paul Beckett, WSJ blog

Barmaid to emperess!

Munir Uz Zaman/Agence France-Presse/Getty Images
Congress party President, Sonia Gandhi at the first-ever international conference on autism in Dhaka in July.
The mystery around Sonia Gandhi’s unexplained absence from India this summer is getting even more bizarre.The Congress party, as has been repeatedly noted, has said only that its President went for treatment abroad.Now, barely one week after returning to New Delhi, Mrs. Gandhi was well enough to chair a meeting. This was not just any meeting, but a gathering of Congress’s Central Election Committee, which appears to have the unenviable task of wading through reams of candidates to select to run for seats in Uttar Pradesh.Despite Mrs. Gandhi apparently not being well enough to appear in public, the Business Standard reported that she achieved almost the same level of candidate-selection productivity as the committee’s previous meeting held, in her absence, at the residence of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.The Race Course Road meeting “cleared the first list of the names of 73 party candidates for the UP elections,” the article said. “While a total of 98 names were discussed at the meeting on Thursday, only about 70 were finally cleared.”Mrs. Gandhi, to hear her Congress lieutenants tell it, is not just on the mend but actually improved. After greeting the committee “attired in three-inch wedge heels and a bluish grey salwar suit,” the article said, one party functionary gushed that she looked “younger than usual” and was “more than usually cheerful.”

One might ask, looking across the political landscape, what she has to be cheerful about unless it is the prospect of Narendra Modi going for a weekend without food, but that is beside the point.

In comparison, the normally outlandish Digvijay Singh verged on the morose when he noted only that “nobody could make out that she has undergone any operation.” But even he couldn’t refrain from slipping in an upbeat coda: “Touch wood, she was looking quite good!”

None of this is to belittle what Mrs. Gandhi underwent, whatever it was. We don’t know, because of the official silence. But how her absence – and her return – have been treated, especially by her Congress underlings, speaks volumes about the culture within the party.

If you actually believed all these comments and quotes and had to guess where she had been, you’d think she’d spent a few weeks at Canyon Ranch and had brought back some nice gifts for her admirers.

“She accepted our bouquet of flowers and greetings,” the unnamed functionary gushed. “We were delighted with the milk chocolates with nuts that she served us apart from the coffee.”


He sounds like a schoolboy who has just met the Queen circa 1955.

Dan Kitwood/Getty Images
Former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, waves to the press after leaving Cromwell Hospital, London in November 2010.

On reading it, I was reminded of Margaret Thatcher. Not that the two women have much in common politically. But during Mrs. Thatcher’s time, her reputation as the Alpha Male among her Cabinet was legendary. Next to her, grown men  — tough men with decades of experience in political combat — were said to go wobbly.

One of the most famous sketches on the British satirical puppet show “Spitting Image” shows the Iron Lady, as Mrs. T was known, taking her Cabinet out to dinner.

“Would you like to order sir?” the waitress asks the prime minister.

“Yes, I will have the steak,” she says.

“How’d you like it?” the waitress asks

“Oh, raw please,” Mrs. Thatcher responds.

“And what about the vegetables?” the waitress asks.

“Oh,” says Mrs. Thatcher. “They’ll have the same as me.”

(You can watch the clip here; it’s contained in a documentary about the program.)

NDTV’s Great Indian Tamasha could do well to take inspiration if it is thinking of featuring Mrs. Gandhi anytime soon.

Paul Beckett is the WSJ’s South Asia bureau chief. You can follow Mr. Beckett on Twitter at@paulwsj.

Follow India Real Time on Twitter @indiarealtime.