KARNATIQUE is a long journey. If you hop in and hop off between two stations, you don't get the whole story. You need to do undertake the whole journey with patience.-- editor, KARNATIQUE
We have commented on the Congress here and the third front here.
It is not our job to present the viewpoints of all political parties w.r.t. all issues. The sum total of all the different ideologies "in the market" has left the Kannadiga confused w.r.t. his own identity and the path for his own success, Karnataka's success, and India's success. We will strive to remove every such covering of ignorance and clear his/her vision irrespective of the source of that ignorance.
In doing so, it is inevitable that the political biases of "commoner" readers (to borrow your word) as well as their perception of BANAVASI BALAGA go on a roller-coaster ride, swinging this way once and that way once. It is also inevitable that some "non-commoner" readers with preconceived notions about us and/or strong belief-based leanings towards other schools of thought perceive us as simply trying to argue against their pet theories or schools of thought.
On our journey, we can neither afford to nor deem it necessary to be "politically correct" in trying to balance out viewpoints of all the different ideologies and political parties. We don't care who you vote for, since we don't see any of the political parties having what it takes to put back Karnataka on track.
We know we are running a risk in this approach, but we are willing to take it in order to reach out to those Kannadigas who have the courage to examine everything scientifically, analytically, can think with an open mind, and who have the ability to put Karnataka back on track.
Coming back to this post itself - it is amply clear that the whole image of Macaulay as a 100% villain is due to the RSS/BJP. As I replied to "victimofprejudice", this does not mean that we agree with everything Jean Dreze says. In fact, there is a lot of merit in victimofprejudice's post on Haindava Keralam, whose link can be found in his/her comment. There is a lot of merit, too, in Koenraad Elst's article - where he does not agree with Macaulay's views on Christianity as a religion superior to Hinduism. We do not agree with Macaulay there, either.
The problem with RSS/BJP thinking is - it cannot admit agreement or disagreement on an issue-by-issue basis. In their way of thinking (which is hardly a way of thinking - it's more a way of believing) Macaulay can't be right about one thing and wrong about another. That's a big mistake.
We're more than happy if you can provide any evidence of any Congress (or any other political party's or ideology's) comments on the issue of the alleged statement of Macaulay. We will comment on those, too, if there's enough intellectual grub in it, and if we believe there is something for us Kannadigas to learn from those - either by way of agreeing or disagreeing, in part or in full.
We have seen how the BJP and RSS have failed to understand the real India and have made the unwatchful reader believe that there used to be an Indian parliament before the British. But here's more stuff. This time, it's about Thomas Babington Macaulay, the architect of Indian Education, and a person infamous for allegedly making the following statement on February 2, 1835, in the British Parliament:
I have travelled across the length and breadth of India and I have not seen one person who is a beggar, who is a thief, such wealth I have seen in this country, such high moral values, people of such high calibre, that I do not think we would ever conquer this country, unless we break the very backbone of this nation, which is her spiritual and cultural heritage...Jean Dreze, a leading economist who has authored many articles and books with Nobel Prize winner Amartya Sen, argues in the Times of India today that Macaulay never said that. Dreze talks about this in the context of Macaulay's quote re-appearing in the BJP's manifesto (bold: ours):
This "quote" (abridged here) is a wonderful prop for Joshi's arguments. But there is a catch - Macaulay never said this. The quote is a well-known fabrication, which has been the subject of many comments and articles.Sure enough, there is no dearth of Indologists, even of the likes of Koenraad Elst, a supporter of the Hindu cause, who argue that Macaulay actually never said that. Here's what Elst says about how the whole quote was "fabricated" (bold: ours):
Consider the same quotation as it appeared in the Arsha Vidya Magazine, September 2004: "His words were to this effect: I have travelled across the length and breadth of India and I have not seen one person who is a beggar, who is a thief. (etc.)"Different historians have different versions of history. So we can't tell whether Jean Dreze and Koenraad Elst are right or whether the RSS is right. But for a think-tank (RSS) which can make people believe that there was an Indian Parliament which decided inter-state boundaries and names of states before the British, erecting a scarecrow called Macaulay is not a difficult task. Is it?
Now things are becoming clearer. The "quotation" is introduced with the qualifier: "His words were to this effect." So there you have it: Macaulay never said this. The alleged quotation came into being as a mere paraphrase, and as we shall see, not even a very faithful one. It is given in that form in Niti (April 2002, p.10), a periodic publication of the Hindu nationalist association Bharat Vikas Parishad, Delhi, whence most of the Indian quoters have borrowed it. And this in turn has it from what appears to be the oldest traceable source of all these quotings: The Awakening Ray, vol.4, no.5, published by The Gnostic Center (USA).
This Gnostic Center had most likely acquired its knowledge of Macaulay from its Indian contacts, but unfortunately we have no information on that. At any rate, the quotation's publication in an American medium certainly added to its credibility among Indian readers, for that happens to be Macaulayism in action: accepting Western sources as a priori more reliable than Indian ones. From its subsequent transposition to an Indian forum onwards, all those gullible Hindus and Congress secularists and India's Muslim president have sheepishly swallowed it and relayed it to the next gullible audience.
If what Dreze is saying is true, it's a pity that the RSS / BJP have to resort to negative tactics in order to foster a sense of political unity in India. While it is true that India is spiritually united, the RSS / BJP have tried to impose a false political unity on India's history. And what's worse, instead of taking up real issues such as providing good education in the various Indian languages, they still use these negative tactics.
On a similar note, while there is a lot to learn from the great literature base of Sanskrit, the RSS / BJP have learnt and taught what should not be learnt or taught - that Sanskrit is the mother of all languages - a blatant lie!
Given the fact that Shri Keshav Baliram Hedgewar founded the RSS with the aim of uniting India under a strong positive agenda, it's a pity that the RSS has strayed from its original direction and has started accommodating all these negative tactics and scarecrows.
What's wrong with the third front?
The third front is not a political party. It's an alliance of "like-minded" state-parties which hope to capture enough votes in their own states, pool 'em all together and come to power. The question is - does this motley crowd have what it takes to rule India? The answer is an emphatic "No", and here's why.
First of all, although we said they're all "like-minded", we must not forget that the only thing their mind is on is to come to power. They don't have the slightest idea of what India is, what India's problems are, what it takes to solve them, or any such thing. It's like a set of SSLC-failed students coming together with the sole aim of securing the Nobel Prize in Physics. It doesn't work that way. In principle, there's nothing wrong if the politics at New Delhi is equated to the sum total of the politics in each state. In principle, different state-parties can definitely come together and lead India in the right direction. The problem with the "third front" is that individually, they're unfit to rule their own states, too! Then there's no question of being fit to rule India as a whole.
Secondly, even if this motley crowd does gather enough votes to come to power (which is not unlikely, given the power of money and caste-politics), their "like-minded" hunger for power itself will destroy the like-mindedness and "unity". The leader (if any) of each party would fight tooth and nail to become the PM - because that's their only "ideology" - to come to power! This is the picture of a set of street-urchins fighting for leftovers in the night, making enough noise to snatch away India's sleep and peace.
Thirdly, they don't have any declared manifesto whatsoever - other than to stop BJP and Congress from coming to power. That doesn't suffice to take a billion people in the right direction. This motley crowd does not have single economic or social philosophy - even flawed.
Fourthly, these parties don't understand the very basics of leading a democracy. Since they are of the opinion that democracy is all about getting elected by hook or crook, they haven't given any thought to what to do after getting elected!
Hence, we declare the "third front" as the third Pinnacle of Indian Stupidity and admit it to the existing hall of fame. You know what, let's include the "fourth front" also in the "third front" here, anticipating those who might call us as "fourth front" guys. Which Nth front you belong to is a fluid thing anyway - you're here today and there tomorrow. In all, we don't see a single party which has what it takes to lead India. They're all equally useless, equally unqualified. We have a political deadlock in India where the voter is really left with no clear choice.
Till now, we have shown that India's vote doesn't matter in reality. We really appreciate the media which did a great job in asking India to come out and vote - but the problem lies in the people whom India votes for. Even if we have 100% polling in India, that amounts to nothing because, as we've argued, none of the parties in the electoral fray can sufficiently differentiate themselves from each other and from stupidity, corruption and a vulgar hunger for power.
We will have ample opportunity to comment on how to get out of this political deadlock. Read on, and believe like we do that a bright future exists for Karnataka, for the whole of India.
The Times writes from London about the Congress and BJP in India:
They offer no rival visions for India's place in the world, no competing plans for the economy, no serious differences on social policy. The world's biggest democracy means little without a clear choice.
It's easy to dismiss this off as stuff coming from the capital city of a country which subjected us to slavery for 300-odd years, but the words are not without wisdom. Democracy is really about choice. The situation we are in - where it doesn't matter whether BJP comes to power or Congress does - is a defeat of democracy. There's no point in holding elections or going out to vote if there's no clear choice. Really.
Note: we haven't considered the "third front" in our analysis because it's not a group with one goal, one vision, one philosophy, even flawed.
Plans for the economy don't just "not compete"; they don't even exist!
The BJP's ideology school - the RSS - thinks it's against Indian culture to focus on the economy. Given the BJP has strayed somewhat from the RSS, but you can't get mavina hannu from a bevina beeja. It's because they don't give a damn about the economy that neither the BJP nor the RSS see any point in getting Indian languages to start delivering hottege hittu.
The Congress, on the other hand, is opposed to industry to begin with. Go spin charkhas instead of inventing machines. Let projects take ages to complete. Let the state (read: the Nehru/Gandhi family) control everything. With the likes of M. K. Gandhi & Jawarhalal Nehru being iconified even today (albeit due to the lack of anybody better to iconify), there is no question of this party being in sync with the demands of a 21st century globalized economy.
Social policies differ, but nobody gives a damn about them
In short, both parties have not even an iota of the DNA necessary to lead India. And as we said earlier, this is the fate of India -- unless reason dawns on us. Okay, here's the good news: it is dawning as we speak.
As our analysis shows, at the root of this anti-federal feeling lies a confusion in the BJP and it's mother-org, the RSS - between spirituality and nationalism. If the BJP comes to power, this confusion has the power to lead India from darkness to darkness (we don't mean that the other apparent alternative - the Congress - is any better. On them, later, and also in this post. We have not considered the "third front" because it's not a group with one vision, one goal, and one philosophy, even flawed).
In this post, we analyze portions of BJP's "guiding philosophy" which describe the party's anti-federal stance. This philosophy was propounded by Mr. Deendayal Upadhyaya, one of the founders of BJP. And of course, it has its roots in the works of Mr. M. S. Golwalkar who served as the RSS chief for many years.
Get it straight: there was no Indian Parliament before the British
Now let's take Mr. Upadhyaya's comments under the scanner. As part of four lectures delivered at Bombay on April 22-25, 1965, Mr. Upadhyaya said in criticism of the the Indian Constitution as it was at that point of time:
There are separate states. There is no separate citizenship of state and of Union. We are all citizens of Bharat. By the same token, we have denied the right to secede to individual state. Not only that the power to demarcate the boundaries of state and to choose their names, is vested in the parliament, and not in assemblies. This is as it should be; in tune with the nationalism and tradition of Bharat.In short, Mr. Upadhyaya makes the baseless claim that the citizenship, demarcations of state-boundaries (or kingdom boundaries earlier), names of those states (kingdoms earlier), etc were decided by some central authority in the "tradition of Bharat". There could be no statement further away from truth than this! There was never ever a central authority who decided the names of kingdoms or kingdom-to-kingdom borders. All these decisions were taken by the kingdoms themselves. Kings named their provinces as they chose, and borders were decided based on wars. However back you go into the history of India, there was nothing equivalent to the Indian Parliament before the arrival of the British. This is an undeniable fact, even if un-stomachable to staunch BJP/RSS-folks!
Now his comment about the "nationalism of Bharat" is even less true. There is no provable feeling of nationalism prevalent at that time in India except outside a handful vedic mantras which the RSS holds on to as dearer than life - a few shlokas from the Vishnu Purana which talk of the landmass between the oceans and the Himalayas as Bharata. Nobody in Karnataka ever called anything outside Karnataka as the Karmabhoomi or Matrubhoomi, but the BJP and RSS amuse themselves with the feeling that Kannadigas' hearts have considered the whole of India (which in their minds includes Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Burma and Bangladesh also!) as such. Absolute nonsense. If today India is called the Matrubhoomi by some Kannadigas, it is because Karnataka is part of the Indian Union. Not because of anything else. India's Matrubhoomitva derives from Karnataka's Taaytana.
With full respect to the Vishnu Puarana, we'd like to point out that irrespective of what the Vishnu Purana said, there was no common feeling of "nationalism of Bharat" prevalent ever. Not everything written in the scriptures is actually practiced. If only the BJP asks itself how many of their workers utter lies or perform acts contrary to Vyakti Dharma, the point becomes clear that what's written in the Puranas is not necessarily what's seen in society.
The problem here is of the RSS and BJP mixing up two things and getting so confused as to not being able to tell the difference between them: Indian spirituality (which talks about universal truths unconnected with space and time) and the landmass called India (which is a space-time entity).
Arguing that Shri Adi Shankara traveled from Kerala to the Himalayas is no proof of an Indian Nationalism existent at that time. It's proof of an India-wide spiritual unity, but not proof of political unity. The problem is that the BJP and RSS don't understand these two things separately.
Utter confusion in the BJP between Spirituality and Nationalism
Mr. Upadhyaya continues:
However, despite all this, we made our constitution federal, whereby what we have adopted in practice, we have rejected in principle. In a federation constituent units have their own sovereignty. These voluntarily relinquish their sovereignty to the federation, by an agreement. It may be that they surrender all their rights and thereby the centre requires sovereignty. But these powers are given to the Union. It has no power of its own. Thus the federal constitution considers the individual states as fundamental power, and the centre as merely a federation of states. This is contrary to the truth. It runs counter to the unity and indivisibility of Bharat. There is no recognition of the idea of Bharatmata, Our sacred motherland, as enshrined in the hearts of our people.Of course, this passage has only academic interest now since the Indian constitution does not explicitly mention that India is a federal country. But the point is - yes, India should move towards being a more federal polity. Yes, the states must have the fundamental power and yes, the center must remain a federal government - just as in countries such as the USA. The fact that at the root of BJP's ideology lies so much opposition for a federal India is not a good sign.
According to the first para of the Constitution, "India that is Bharat will be a federation of States", i.e. Bihar Mata, Banga Mata, Punjab Mata, Kannada Mata, Tamil Mata, all put together make Bharat Mata. This is ridiculous. We have thought of the provinces as limbs of Bharat Mata and not as individual mother. Therefore our constitution should be unitary instead of federal.
There was never any widespread recognition of an "idea of Bharatmata" before the freedom struggle or nearabouts. If at all, there was indeed only the recognition of a Kannada Mata, a Bihar Mata, etc. The BJP and RSS amuse themselves with the thought that this necessarily means a departure from India's spirituality, but in reality it is not. In reality, all the different kingdoms which lived and prospered in what we call India today subscribed to the same divine ideals which were present all over India without the intervention of any "central" or "national" body. For example, the Wodeyars of Mysore connected directly with Sri Gowri as the diety without any middlemanship by any "Nation" larger than Mysore itself. Sri Gowri was Mysore's Naada-devate without the intervention of any Bharatmata. And yeah, Mysore's borders were formed by way of waging wars with neighbouring kingdoms. And yeah, the name of Mysore wasn't coined by an imaginary central body, and the citizenship of Mysoreans wasn't decided by any so-called national body either. There was no such thing.
So the bottomline is - niether Mr. Upadhyaya nor Mr. Golwalkar, nor the BJP, nor the RSS have the correct understanding of what India is. The main reason for their lack of understanding of the true india is a confusion in their brains between India's spirituality and India's politics. The BJP remains eternally confused between spirituality and nationalism. They can't distinguish between the two - we mean the best of the party's workers. The rest of them, of course, can't distinguish between truth and lies, between Dharma and Adharma, between Deendayal Upadhyaya and Karl Marx, between white and black.
Also read on KARNATIQUE:
Is India a Federal Country? Yes or No?
India's non-central non-government
The Leading Challenge for Federalism: Accommodation of Human Diversity
BJP's unwilling talk of linguistic plurality
It's funny how the BJP's official website - bjp.org - displays the manifesto only in English and Hindi and how the website of the party's prime-ministerial candidate - lkadvani.in - has the manifesto's highlights in "regional languages". We've heard this crap before - that there's something supra-regional about Hindi - and this is what we call Hindi Imposition or Hindification - to which the BJP has again succumbed.
Wait, even lkadvani.in has the highlights only in Hindi, Telugu and Marathi. No Kannada. Is it because Karnataka is already conquered? And why no Tamil? Because Tamil Nadu is inherently not conquerable?
Turning to the manifesto proper, The BJP mentions the word "language" only in the last part of the last section, that too only from the point of view of juttige mallige hoo stuff such as arts-geerts, culture-gilture and everything related only to the past, in a manner which befits a babysitter trying to silence weeping children:
Indian languages are repositories of our rich literature, history, culture, art and scientific achievements. Many of our dialects are important source for knowing our heritage. Samskrit and Tamil have made remarkable contributions in this regard. B.J.P. would promote Indian languages and measures for the development of all Indian languages including Urdu will be taken by providing adequate resources so that they become a powerful vehicle for creating a knowledge society.It's a pity that the BJP does not realize that the "development of all Indian languages" is basically the development of India, and that Indian languages are not fossils of past glory but vehicles of future growth.
And hey, they forgot Kannada and remembered to mention only Tamil - which is no more a repository of "our rich literature, history, culture, art and scientific achievements" than Kannada is. Why did they remember Tamil? Simple: because they were the ones who opposed everything Sanskrit (which opposition we vehemently disapprove).
In any case, the BJP gets credit for mentioning Indian languages for atleast the wrong reasons. Wait till you hear what the Congress has in store.
The congress's dry talk of unity in diversity
Okay, the Congress, in typical Nehru-family style, has the manifesto in English, Hindi, and Urdu. The congress hasn't bothered to have the manifesto's "highlights in regional languages" either - even a couple of Indian languages like the BJP.
Now the manifesto itself repels majority of Indians with the Hindi welcome string written using the latin alphabet - so much for being sensitive to linguistic diversity. While the manifesto appeals to the voter to "Vote for Unity through Diversity: Vote Indian National Congress", it makes no mention of Indian languages whatsoever. Not even for the juttige mallige hoo stuff.
And of course, there's quite a bit of talk of progress without recognizing the need to improve Indian languages - like the talk of going to the moon without a rocket.
So, the manifestos of both parties recognize only a couple of Indian languages (albeit for the wrong reasons). Other languages: go to hell.
It doesn't matter who comes to power - both are blind
In summary, both parties are blind to the idea of India. They have their own imagined Indias in which Indian languages don't play any significant role. By this alone, we declare both parties unsuited to rule India. It doesn't matter who comes to power: both don't understand India. It doesn't matter who comes to power: both don't have the basic education that there is only one thing which can propel India out of its current pitiable state: the upliftment of Indian languages.
Both parties are blind. And India's fate is to be ruled by either the blind or those who blind others -- until reason dawns on us.
I was born in a small village called Gorur in Hassan district of Karnataka. My father was a poor school teacher and a farmer as well. I went to a Kannada-medium school till Class V after which I was selected at the Sainik School in Bijapur which had just been set up to cater to students in Karnataka. Incidentally, I failed the first time I appeared for the entrance exam as the paper was in English of which I did not know a word. My headmaster, however, was a very determined man and he wrote to the defence ministry asking them how they hoped to recruit boys from villages in South India if the paper was held in English and not in their mother tongue. I was able to appear again for the exam, this time in Kannada and that's how I got selected.Gee, that's a humble beginning, and you've scored a point on that for those looking for Lok Sabha candidates with humble beginnings. We were looking for what you did or are planning to do about the situation you've described above, and yes, we were disappointed.
Captian-avare, does it need to be humble to know only Kannada in Kannada's own land? What's your plan to improve education in the Kannada medium? What's your plan to make central govt. institutions have Kannada as the default language for anything in Karnataka? What's your plan to make sure your fellow Kannadigas don't suffer because of not having headmasters like yours (or even any headmaster)? What do you plan to do about those headmasters in CBSE and ICSE and I*SE schools today who don't even recognize that they're teaching in Karnataka which speaks a language called Kannada?
Don't you see Karnataka "crying out for change"? We mean - the state you're planning to represent?
"In the name of your beloved", as the ad goes to say, "on the occasion of a birthday, in the memory of a childhood friend, for winning an award", the Govt of Karnataka is seeking funds for School upliftment across the state.
Sounds like a good project? Sounds like the Govt is doing a great service to Karnataka? Don't be fooled! This is not service, it's shrugging away from responsibilities, an open celebration of the misuse of tax money.
First of all, a Govt which has done little to improve the quality of education in Kannada has no moral right to instruct the public to spend their money on any more education projects it undertakes.
But that's still not half the story. Consider this: the world over, governments don't go begging like this to finance basic school education. Instead, they use taxpayer money. Taxpayers have already done their bit. Now it's your turn to "do your bit", dear Govt, not ours! What's happening to all the taxes we pay? Why can't the government use that money for strengthening school infrastructure?
You know why? Because all that money is going into the bottomless pit of populist largesses aimed at increasing the stranglehold of the BJP on Karnataka, useless Sanskrit universities and you-know-what.
Here's what Swapan Dasgupta from the "Friends of BJP" writes:
The Centre is important, but there seems an unwillingness to recognize that power no longer flows downwards from New Delhi. The energies of post-socialist India lie in the localities. The architecture of politics must begin to reflect this shift. To remain relevant, national parties have to reinvent themselves as a sort of broad church that incorporates different, but not necessarily contradictory, impulses.
And the DMK, on the other hand...
demanded appropriate amendments to Constitution for a "wholesome and genuine" federalism in the country with autonomy at the state level and federal governance at the Centre.
So - is India growing up?
Also read on KARNATIQUE:
This means you don't need to run any extra software in order to type in Kannada on Gmail.
Of course, Google's database of words is not complete, but given the processing power that's getting packed into computers today and how big today's databases can be, this is one possible solution to the problem of input-methods for Kannada data entry. Of course, giving users the ability to add words to the database is a wonderful idea which Google has successfully implemented.
There are notable differences between Kannada input-method editors such as Baraha, Lookeys, Lipikaar, SCIM (for Linux), Nudi, etc, and of course Google's database-heavy transliteration scheme, but it's good that all of them atleast use Unicode. Of course, it's a different story whether Unicode - the way it's defined right now - is the best code for Kannada or not.