Retrograde. Bamboozlement! More Bamboozlement!

What is RSS supposed to mean to me?

Anti RSS, Anti-Hindutva
I was in Sixth standard and blissfully unaware of the conspiracies spinning around my world and shaping my world. Then one day my Hindi teacher decided to give us a crash course in real history. She was a young woman who had joined the teaching profession only recently. And then she decided to really educate us. She claimed Taj Mahal is a Hindu Temple; it has Hindu motifs like lotus all around it. Then she talked about Islamic invasion and stuff like that. I must say I was intrigued. Why weren’t we being taught this kind of stuff? This was lot easier stuff to remember than the dates and all that crap in our history textbooks (which as time passed, I realized were lying too). What was the source of her profound knowledge? Years later, still in school, I came across the RSS material-The underground knowledge, that nobody teaches us. So, this was the treasure chest of the real knowledge. Somehow, I didn’t like them and I stuck to reading The National Geographic Magazine (well, actually just watching the photographs. Started reading it much later). Maybe that one decision maybe saved me from becoming a ‘Foaming at the mouth raving lunatic’.

I was in Nagpur for five years. I returned from that place just three months back. I lived in an area that had a square field in the centre. The whole mohalla was built around this square. This square has a temple and an old community hall. In this field, all the mohalla Cricket matches and community functions were organized. At night, local rowdy youth would sit in the ruins of the community building, smoking pot, fighting and drinking. On one corner of the field, we had a rough-cemented portion for roller-skating, although it was never used for the purpose. The local RSS branch for its prayers and physical drills used that portion of the field. Surprisingly, this portion of the field was right in front of the house of the only Muslim family in the area. However, this did not seem to bother anyone. Every evening seven or eight old men in Grey shorts would arrive and say their prayers (seemed like ode to the motherland and oaths to the motherland) in Sanskrit language. They would play with their sticks and play Hitler, thanks to the funny salutes that they do. Each old man would step forward one by one, raise his hand in a Nazi salute and spell out his alliance to the country, to the organization and to his leader. Each evening the game of cricket would continue as these 7-8 old men played their old games. Then on 15 august all of a sudden whole bunches of old men in shorts would emerge, complete with a band and a flag. They would flag march through the lanes and then gather in the field. Again, they would play their games.

Nobody bothered these old men and they did not seem to be bothering anyone. One evening some kids were playing in their portion of the square. They promptly shooed away the kids and were seemingly furious at them. A Jat friend of mine, whose sole passion in life is Bodybuilding and not Nation building, objected to their behavior. They responded by saying that the kids are Dalit and have no business to be here. This somehow, infuriated my friend and he openly questioned their hypocrisy. My simple-minded friend was furious now. Soon things turned ugly. They same young people who would drink at night at the same field had now come to protect the faith and the organization. But, a local friend of my Jat friend talked sense into them and they let him go on the condition that he is never to return to that field.

I have no doubt in my mind about how things work. If there were communal disturbance in that area, those Rowdy youth would attack the only Muslim house in the area and the old people in the shorts would continue with playing their stupid games. How do I draw this conclusion?

This happened to a Muslim friend of mine in Nagpur. He happens to be the son of a local NCP leader and dreams of being an IAS. U.P is the native place of his family and moved to Nagpur about thirty years ago. He lives in what we would call a typical Muslim ghetto. This ghetto borders and merges into the Hindu locality. My friend’s younger brother, who was supposed to give his matriculation that year, got involved in a small brawl with a classmate of his. Somehow, the local Paanwaala who happened to witness the brawl joined in. This Paanwaala was a member of the local Hindu organization (VHP). Soon, the fight between the children turned into a small communal riot with real violence taking place. People were throwing cold drink bottles on each other and stuff. The Paanwaala at that time may not have known who the Kid was but when the people did realize, the nature of the conflict changed. It became a Hindu-Muslim thing. The situation was brought under control after some violence and much noise, phones started ringing and through political pressure. My friend told me, he was prepared for the worse that could happen- attack on his house and family. He was going to kill them and be killed. His father was in Mumbai all this time and he was ringing all kind of people for support. My friends handling of the situation amazed me. He was like a small kid and a politician at the same time. Behind the front of Bravado that he put, I could see that he must have been afraid at that time. Soon, negotiated peace between the Hindu and the Muslim communities made everyone forget the incident. Months later, he took me to the shop of that Paanwaala and we had a nice small friendly chat with him. He was a typical Paanwaala from U.P with a big red tilak on his head. Things seemed normal on the surface. I smoked my cigarette and we started to walk back to my friends place. On the way back, my friend told me very frankly, that things are not as normal as they seem. If and when there is trouble in the future, old scores would be settled and hence he tries to keep a friendly relation with him. In any case, his father may or may not be in Power yesterday.
I have covered RSS and VHP. What is missing? The Bajrang Dal.
Okay this happened in my College Hostel. The students had developed real problems with the New Warden. This new Warden was brought in because the discipline of the hostel was in bad shape. People would smoke openly in their rooms, do grass, booze and drugs in the night and that kind of stuff. The college authorities threw out such students out of the hostel. But, the warden wasn’t content with this. He began bothering the normal students by putting in strange rules like, banning wearing shorts in the hostel and a whole bunch of such idiotic rules. Soon, things turned bad because students would reason with him (I tried to tell him about chaddi clad RSS people) and he would hit them back. Then one day, one of the Bad Guys who had somehow managed to stay on the hostel decided to confront him in his own way. Surprisingly, the warden understood his message and backed off. This started a sort of movement in the hostel. The students through methods that were outrageous (protesting by keeping the lights on), naughty (by hanging dead rats to his door) Gandhian (a friend of mine actually offered him another cheek of his) and finally offensive (walking out onto the street at 2’oclock in the night and police had to be called) managed to actually throw him out of the hostel in the middle of the night. He left with a quite warning to the student who started it all.
That warden had strong ties with the local Bajrang people.
A few months later, the boy was attacked on his head with the handle of a ‘katta’. Bajrang people had called him to have a talk. Then they attacked him in the middle of the road and left with a warning. The life of that boy was already in mess, but after this incident, he decided to go back to home, never to return. A few months later, our hostel team had to fight a football match with the team of that warden. I must say Warden played excellent football, but I really wish he had played wearing a trouser and not shorts. That would have made him a true revolutionary against the Shorts wearing western civilization that is corrupting the Hindu… oops the Indian civilization.


Guerrillas book V.S.Naipaul
I picked up an old copy of GuerrillasGuerrillas book V.S.Naipaul by V.S.Naipaul from a roadside bookstall. I picked it up as it was on the top on the pile. As I opened the book, the lines on first page were:
“when everybody wants to fight
there’s nothing to fight for.
Everybody wants to fight his own little war,
Everybody is a guerrilla.”

-James Ahmed
After weeks of verbal duels on Kashmir, it made perfect sense. I bought it.

Realized that this Naipaul book was famous for a rather violent sex scene that takes place near the end of the novel.

"The Planets" by Diane Ackerman

The Planets,Diane Ackerman
We imagine them
cheek to jowl,
these driftrocks
of cosmic ash
thousandfold afloat
between Jupiter and Mars.
Names to conjure with,
Dakotan black hills,
A light-opera
Staged on a barrier reef.
And swarm they may have,
Crumbly as blue-cheese,
That ur-moment
when the solar system
broke wind.
But now
they lumber
so wide apart
from each
to its neighbor’s
slant millions
and millions
of watertight miles.
Only in the longest view
do they gaze
like one herd
on a breathless tundra.

- Diane Ackerman,
The Planets (New York, Morrow, 1976)

"Zito the Magician" by Miroslav Holub

Zito the Magician,Miroslav Holub(Czech)                                                                                                             George TheinerTo amuse His Royal Majesty he will change water into wine.
Frogs into footmen. Beetles into bailiffs. And make a Minister
out of a rat. He bows, and daisies grow from his finger-tips.
And a talking bird sits on his shoulder.
Think up something else, demands His Royal Majesty.
Think up a black star. So he thinks up a black star.
Think up dry water. So he thinks up dry water.
Think up a river bound with straw-bands. So he does.
Then along comes a student and asks: Think up sine alpha greater than one.
And Zito grows pale and sad. Terribly sorry. Sine is
Between plus one and minus one. Nothing you can do about that.
And he leaves the great royal empire, quietly weaves his way
Through the throng of courtiers, to his home in a nutshell.

Miroslav Holub(Czech)
Translated by George Theiner
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