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SIGNS OF THE TIMES
Congress weakened both from within and outside
By Humra Quraishi
Last evening as I heard Congress vice -present, Rahul Gandhi's interactive session at Berkley University, I wanted to hear him more and some more for he was speaking sense. Yes, he sounded honest and grounded. He spoke of the dark realities of today's India, where political murders and loot and deceit are taking place on a daily basis, as conned the masses sit.

Rahul Gandhi spoke out rather too spontaneously and confidently; not ducking, talking on every possible aspect - right from dynasts to tyrants of the day. And his comments on the Kashmir crisis were not just honest but apt. It's a fact that the Kashmir Valley has never seen this level of anger as it persists today. Of course, alienation and disgust had been building all these years but it has peaked, because of the PDP-BJP combination. The so called political experts got to make the effort to walk around the Valley to witness this anger, this disgust, this absolute no-no for the Right Wing. And in such an atmosphere space gets created for anger to manifest itself in all possible hues and forms.

Congress is unable to make inroads because of the near absence of a visibly strong band of workers and also because of the negativity spread about the party and its leadership. For the last three years every time Rahul Gandhi spoke out he was not taken seriously. Why? Because he doesn't come across as a manipulator of words, doesn't believe in spinning craftily worded sentences or shedding tears!

Today we are so accustomed to layered political promises and more than layered speeches that straightforwardness doesn't seem to hold out. It's about time we should see that forthright trait to Rahul Gandhi which according to me is a rarity in today's political scenario. I'd rather have a straightforward leader who will hold out promises of safety and security. Mind you, not just in craftily worded speeches but out there, all along highways and hinterlands.

Critics of today's political mess, blame both the Congress and the BJP along the strain 'between the devil and the deep sea', but if I were to comment then its loud and clear that in the Congress years of rule the masses together with the minority groups felt safer and securer, in every sense of the term.

COME SEPTEMBER, POLITICIANS FLYING TOWARDS KASHMIR!

Before winter sets in there seems hectic activity in the political parties, to fly their top brass to the Kashmir region.

Last week, flew in the Union Home minister Rajnath Singh to the Valley to propose the so called '5 Cs formula' to settle the Kashmir crisis ! Not sure whether his five Cs - compassion, communication, coexistence, confidence-building and consistency -can hold out much hope when the ground realities have been worsening. If I'm not mistaken this was Rajnath Singh's fourth visit to the Valley as Union Home Minister. Perhaps, he had undertaken this latest journey to further prime minister Modi's 'gale lagao' (hug and clasp instead of goli and gali) comment from the Red Fort. These words hold out little for the aggrieved Kashmiris who have to face a different set of dark realities. Nah, no warm or even tight hugs but only deprivations and fears of upcoming dents. In fact, several Kashmiri commented, 'With all the possible Cs that Rajnath Singh listed out, he forgot to mention the Constitution…What it holds out for us Kashmiris! He ducked on Article 35 A and also on Article 370 …just about saying that the Centre will not in any way go against the wishes and sentiments of the Kashmiri people. When he had taken the trouble of flying from New Delhi to Srinagar he should have been vocal about the basic issues rather than indulge in formalities and safe phrases. It gets so obvious he had to play safe with the BJP cadres. It's about time these politicians stop coming here for their little holidays!'

And now comes in news of several from the Congress all set to visit the Valley. Led by Dr.Manmohan Singh, the other members of this group would be, P Chidambaram, Ghulam Nabi Azad and Ambika Soni. And here again there is little hope or enthusiasm. After all, what did the Congress do in the Valley when Ghulam Nabi Azad was the chief minister of J&K between 2005 to 2008? Or what did Dr Manmohan Singh do for the Valley when he was the prime minister of the country- in fact, in 2006 Manmohan Singh had come up with announcements that working groups be formed to settle the mess in the Valley and also to look into finding a political solution in terms of the special status to the State. Critics also point out that the Congress party failed to implement the report of its own interlocutors in 2010.

Aung San Suu Kyi - she is no peace warrior! Why this Nobel Prize still with her?

As the Rohingya refugee tragedy worsens, a large number of people have begun to ask the very obvious: why shouldn't we ask or force Myanmar's ruler, Aung San Suu Kyi, to return the Nobel Peace Prize which she received in 1991! After all, she is no peace warrior! On the contrary she should be charged for massacres and killings. She should be held responsible for destroying thousands of lives, killing not just this generation of the Rohingyas but also the upcoming ones. After all, what's been happening in Myanmar is nothing short of ethnic cleansing, yet quiet sits the world!

Like mute spectators we Indians are seeing thousands of these refugees getting uprooted from here, to be packed off for upcoming massacres in Myanmar.

*(Humra Quraishi is a freelance columnist based in Delhi and is currently a visiting Professor in the Academy of Third World Studies in Jamia Milia University).


News Updated at : Thursday, September 14, 2017
 
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