Right-wing politics is playing havoc with people’s lives; it is time for introspection

There is immense fear and growing apprehension of the communal outfits overtaking the very administrative machinery

Right-wing politics is playing havoc with people’s lives; it is time for introspection

Humra Quraishi

Last weekend as Ayodhya lay sieged by the right-wing politics, I was reminded of the autumn of 1992 when right-wing hate mongers had not just destroyed the historic Babri Masjid but had also bared their fangs. That phase heralded the start of communal poisoning in the country; laced with double or triple speak causing sheer destruction and anarchy.

Sadly, to his day there has been no halting the fascist intrusions into our everyday lives, making it difficult if not impossible to survive in the actual sense of the term. Ask the minority communities residing in and around Ayodhya and Faizabad or for that matter even in the other cities and towns and villages of the country? There is immense fear and growing apprehension of the communal outfits overtaking the very administrative machinery. After all, today’s political rulers in Uttar Pradesh and at the Centre are equipped with RSS backgrounders and with that just about any form of injustice and anarchy cannot be ruled out.

In fact, to this day it is impossible to erase memories of the destruction of the Babri masjid and the aftermath. I can’t ever forget the particular shot of Murli Manohar Joshi gleefully hugging Uma Bharti and LK Advani; the trio standing at the site, celebrating, as the masjid was getting destroyed by kar sevaks. Mind you, all the three ‘destroyers’ of the Babri masjid were even amply rewarded, given top slots in the Central government!

Why don’t we, as people see what destruction lies ahead if communal outfits take over. They would ruin our country. It’s time to speak out, especially the who’s who. In fact, this brings me to write about Barbra Streisand’s latest song ‘Don’t Lie To Me’, wherein she hits out at President Trump with some very hitting words. There is no mincing of words, it is a very direct attack on his policies and governance, asking him ‘How do you sleep when the world is burning?’

Can any of our singing stars or even the non-singing stars take on the pack of lies uttered by the rulers of the day! Can anyone dare ask Prime Minister Modi or Chief Minister Yogi how can they rule when so many farmers are killing themselves, when children are dying of hunger and malnutrition, when minority groups are living in fear, when the State unleashed encounters turned out to be fake, when the state machinery cannot halt lynchings, when the sheer rounds of deceit and destruction have begun to hit. It’s time to ask these political rulers how they manage to sleep when thousands of our countrymen sit hungry and upset.

Hindi literary giant Himanshu Joshi will be remembered for his simple style

Last week we lost another Hindi literary giant, Himanshu Joshi. Author of 16 short story collections, 7 novels, several travelogues, Joshi had also done extensive research on the freedom fighter from Shahjahanpur, Ashfaqullah Khan.

What I liked about Joshi’s writings was his simple and uncomplicated style which is a lot like him because on the several occasions I had met him, he came across as a simple person who spoke in a modest way about his writings and about his travels.

He would love to talk about his family. He would tell us about his wife’s culinary skills and details of his trips to Norway as two of his sons had decided to settle down in Norway. His youngest son, Asit, had opted to stay back in New Delhi.

I recall once when I had asked Joshi what his youngest son does, he had detailed his son's life saying, “earlier he was bringing out a magazine but then turned towards spirituality… sadhu type ka insaan hai, totally away from worldly matters and spends his time looking after my wife and I… without him we would have found it difficult to manage especially as we are ageing and health problems have begun… and though I think of my village home in Uttarakhand very often, I know it will be difficult to shift back to the mountains, so one has to survive here in New Delhi.”

And in the last four years, with Joshi’s health deteriorating rapidly, it is Asit who looked after his father single handedly. “My father had looked after us when we were children so it’s time to look after him… did everything I could do for him.”

Ghulam Ali’s upcoming birthday on December 5

Though I’ve met and interviewed ghazal supremo Ghulam Ali on three different occasions but its best if I leave you with this verse of Kerala’s celebrated rebel poet, Balachandran Chullikkad. Titled ‘Ghazal’, in this verse Balachandran Chullikkad has managed to relay much… captured the gentleness holding out in Ghulam Ali’s renderings.

“December 31/
In the music hall of the night /
club /
Ghulam Ali sings /
I’m the singer of lost days …/
As the music flows, melting /
Urdu with the pangs of separation /
Into the soft resonance of Ali’s /
A long pent up melody of grief /
breaks open the tremulous/
window of the harmonium /
Inside, the heart reverberates /
The tabla of season less years /
As Ghulam Ali sings …”

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Published: 28 Nov 2018, 9:17 AM