Posts Tagged ‘Adolf Hitler’

India 2012: happier and more relaxed than 1975?

18 May 2012

Media freedom in India id est Bharat has never been a more scarce commodity than in the year of the lord 2012.

The fourth estate is under concerted attack from all three pillars of our democracy—the legislature, the executive and the judiciary. Organisations mandated to protect media freedom (like the press council of India) are happily chomping its heels. Every day the sound of some distant door closing echoes through the internet chamber.

On top of it all, or because of it all, the sparks of public cynicism about the media and its practitioners (thanks to paid news, private treaties, medianet, and this, that and the other) has become a wildfire, its faceless flames licking the very hand that feeds. Regulation and self-regulation is the mantra on every lip.

(Why, supposedly courageous practitioners of journalism themselves don’t hesitate to intimidate those who expose their warts.)

The illiberalism, the intolerance, the control-freakery that have become a part of the accepted discourse in 21st century India was most evident last week when parliament—the so-called temple of democracy—committed the ultimate sacrilege: a Harvard-trained poet agreeing to remove newspaper and magazine cartoons from school textbooks because they could hurt the fragile egos of faceless mobs back where they go out with their bowls every five years.

The ostensible provocation was a 1949 cartoon of B.R. Ambedkar, the Constitution framer and Dalit icon, drawn by P. Shankar Pillai, the legendary cartoonist, in his now-defunct magazine Shankar’s Weekly that had been included in an NCERT textbook in 2006.

But it was clearly a smokescreen to sneak in the scissors to cut out all cartoons about all politicians in all textbooks.

Shankar’s Weekly shut down on 31 August 1975, the very year Indira Gandhi declared Emergency, on whose back rode a beast called Censorship.

In circa 2012, as her daughter-in-law Sonia Gandhi thumped the desk when Kapil Sibal eloquently ushered in Censorship without the formal proclamation of Emergency, it’s useful to go through Shankar Pillai’s farewell editorial, which shows that the more things change, the more they remain the same.



“We started with an editorial 27 years ago. We will end with another.

“The world was different in 1948. The Cold War had not taken the sinister overtones that it later did. The atom bomb was in our midst and there was scare of war. But there was no apprehension that life would be wiped out from the earth in a nuclear holocaust.

“The United States was riding high with sole possession of the atom bomb. Communism was to be rolled back by its strength and Time magazine’s brave words. But monolithic communism was already breaking up. In 1946 Yugoslavia was expelled from the Cominform.

“Less than a year after Shankar’s Weekly was born, Mao Tse-tung took over mainland China, for ever changing the dimensions of international affairs. While Europe was still struggling to get over the aftermath of a ruinous war, Asia stood up for the first time as independent entity.

“Soon after Africa emerged from colonial darkness. The old imperialisms watched uneasily at Bandung and Afro-Asian solidarity. Perhaps there was something in Nehru’s non-alignment after all.

“The world of today is very different. The Cold War is still there but played according to already laid ground rules usually. West Europe has been integrated in a sense, although the sense of nationalism is still strong. Africa by and large has not steadied itself except in one or two countries.

“White supremacy is still unchallenged in South Africa and Rhodesia. Asian politics has become uncertain largely due to Sino-Soviet rivalry. Latin America seethes with unrest, but the CIA and multi-nationals are trying to contain discontent. Economically, the world is somewhat better off than 27 years ago despite runaway inflation and drought and so on. But the quality of human life cannot be said to have shown any qualitative change.

“This is what brings us to the nub of the matter. In our first editorial we made the point that the our function was to make our readers laugh – at the world, at pompous leaders, at humbug, at foibles, at ourselves. But, what are the people who have a developed sense of humour? It is a people with a certain civilised norms of behaviour, where there is tolerance and a dash of compassion.

“Dictatorships cannot afford laughter because people may laugh at the dictator and that wouldn’t do. In all the years of Hitler, there never was a good comedy, not a good cartoon, not a parody, or a spoof. From this point, the world and sadly enough India have become grimmer.

“Humour, whenever it is there, is encapsuled. Language itself has become functional, each profession developing its own jargon. Outside of the society of brother-cartoonists, an economist is a stranger, floundering in uncharted territory, uncertain of himself, fearful of non-economic language.

“It is the same for lawyers, doctors, teachers, journalists, and such-like.

“What is worse, human imagination seems to be turning to the macabre and the perverse. Books and films are either on violence or sexual deviations. Nothing seems to awaken people except unpleasant shocks. Whether it is the interaction of the written word and the cinema on society or not, society reflects these attitudes. Hijackings, mugging in the dark, kidnappings, and plain murder are becoming everyday occurrences and sometimes lend respectability by giving it some kind of political colouration.

“But Shankar’s Weekly is an incurable optimist. We are certain that despite the present situation, the world will become a happier and more relaxed place. The spirit of man will in the end overcome all death dealing forces and life will blossom to a degree where humanity will find its highest purpose discharged.

“Some call this God. We prefer to call it human destiny. And on that thought we bid you good-bye and the best of luck.”

Published on Sunday, 31 August 1975

Hat tip: D.D. Gupta

Image: A facsimile of the front cover of Shankar’s Weekly

Adolf Hitler reacts to Indian Express ‘C’ report

2 May 2012

Just as the world was consigning the Indian Express ‘C’ report—the full page, three-deck headline, three-byline story of the coup that wasn’t—to the dustbin of history, the Fuhrer steps in.

Also read: Indian Express ‘C’ report: scoop, rehash or spin?

Indian Express stands by its ‘C’ report

How the media viewed the Indian Express ‘C’ report

Aditya Sinha tears into the Indian Express ‘C’ report

They gave us Veena Malik, we give them Dhanush

21 December 2011

Who would have thought that an “actress” whose clothes gladly yield to gravity and a silly song with kindergarten lyrics would do more for “people to people” contact between India and Pakistan than the combined efforts of the external affairs ministries of the two countries put together and the heavy marketing of its two biggest media houses put together?

Link via Arun Simha, Charu Soni

Also read: When Kolaveri Di meet Sharad Pawar ji

A real viral is when Hitler and Mr Bean sneeze

Adolf Hitler intervenes again on the Radia tapes

25 November 2010

As journalists seriously ponder the rot within the media, Varun Grover at The Daily Tamasha provides much-needed levity to the proceedings by asking the basic question: where is the fucking story in the paper I read?

Adolf Hitler finally reacts to “Barkhagate”

24 November 2010

So what if “mainstream media”, assuming such a beast exists, ignores the Niira Radia tapes in the 2G scam involving, among others, topguns of journalism like Barkha Dutt, Vir Sanghvi and Prabhu Chawla?

Also read: This is “All India Radia”

Did Adolf Hitler fetch S.L. Bhyrappa’s freedom?

21 August 2010

The American humour writer P.J. O’ Rourke says the Soviet Union did not collapse because of Ronald Reagan or Margaret Thatcher or Star Wars; it collapsed because of Bulgarian blue jeans.

The Kannada writer S.L. Bhyrappa who tilts at the windmills of history like a latter-day Don Quixote, is no humourist; even the Sancho Panzas who sit at his lotus feet wouldn’t accuse him of a sense of humour. But the “Arun Shourie of the South” can still crack a joke, with a scowl.

Speaking five days after the 63rd anniversary of independence—at the 72nd chaturmasya of Sri Visvesha Teertha swamiji of the Pejawar Mutt, go figure—Bhyrappa has declared, apropos nothing, that India did not attain freedom because of non-violence or hunger strikes.

But because, well, the British were bored and tired of staying on.

Maybe even plain pissed—in their Bulgarian blue jeans.

“The British did not leave India because of ahimsa or upavasa satyagraha. You can only cleanse your conscience with a hunger strike; you cannot drive out the British.

“After World War II, the British were sapped of all energy. Moreover, the troops stationed in India were agitated. This was the main reason for the British to leave India.

“At the time of granting independence to India, the then prime minister was asked how much ahimsa had been a factor. He replied very little.”

Implicit in this line of thinking is the belief that the independence movement was a passive one, not an active one. That freedom was something that the Brits gifted us, handed down to us; not something that Indians fought for and won. In other words, if the Brits didn’t want to give it to us, we wouldn’t have got it.

Implicit is the belief that all the wars, mutinies, marches, strikes, boycotts, sacrifices were futile exercises that we now humour ourselves with in Amar Chitra Katha comics. In other words, the Brits didn’t take any note of them and wouldn’t have at all if their energies and attentions hadn’t been otherwise diverted.

Implicit is the belief that independence was a sudden, spontaneous, off-the-cuff development. An event not a process. That after 200 years of rule, the Brits just woke up on 7 May 1945 and decided enough was enough. That none of the months and years that preceded it had any role in it. In other words, had it not been for WWII, we might as well have kissed independence goodbye.

In other words, we must thank Adolf Hitler for engaging the Brits in a war that fetched us freedom?

Above all, implicit in the quasi-rant against ahimsa and satyagraha is a palpable lack of belief in, and contempt for, Gandhian modes of protest. In other words, a vote for un-Gandhian aggression and machismo, sotto voce,  as chain-mailed by other patron-sants of the sangh parivar before, like this one here in 2008:

“World War II ended in the summer of 1945. In the general election that followed, Winston Churchill lost to Clement Attlee. With the war-torn economy a shambles, Britain was in no shape to hang on to the vast colonial empire. In March 1946 Attlee decided to grant independence to India.

“The following years saw independence granted to many colonies—Burma, Ceylon, Ghana, Malaysia, British Guyana and others—that had no history of freedom struggle. So it is correct to conclude that independence to India was a given with or without satyagraha.  The truth is that non-violence was inconsequential in achieving India’s independence. “

Of course, it is a point of view, one which those who hold it are well entitled to hold.

The only question though: would S.L. Bhyrappa‘s negative post-facto vote for ahimsa and satyagraha have turned positive had the characters behind them boasted different surnames or belonged to the other end of the ideological spectrum, one of whose brave members pumped three cowardly bullets at 5.45 pm on 30 January 1948 into the upper thigh, abdomen and chest of the man who was its apostle?

Photograph: courtesy S.L. Bhyrappa

Also read: S.L. Bhyrappa on Avarana

S.L. Bhyrappa versus U.R. Anantha Murthy

S.L. Bhyrappa on the N.R. Narayana Murthy issue

Adolf Hitler, Bal Thackeray and My Name is Khan

12 February 2010

In which the Fuhrer und Reichskanzler gives it to, verdammt!, the Faux Fuhrer of Kala Nagar, the Hindu Hridaysamrat with the Heineken.

Also view: Adolf Hitler and  the rise and fall of the iPad

Adolf Hitler and the rise and fall of the IPL

Adolf Hitler and the rise and fall of the iPad

29 January 2010

In which the iFuhrer und iReichskanzler gives it to, verdammt!, Steve Jobs‘s unmanly tamponieren, gives up on Apple, and hopes HP will get it right.

Link via Aniruddha Bahal

Also read: An Apple a day keeps Steve Jobs away from us

11 similarities between teh iPhone and Rajnikanth

What if Microsoft, not Apple, had made the iPod

Amartya Sen’s “Idea of Injustice” to the three As

11 September 2009


Ever since he became the 52nd human to receive the “Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel” at the hands of His Majesty, Amartya Sen has attained a thick coating of polytetrafluroethylene, impenetrable at the hands of lesser mortals.

Nobody dares to find a hole in his turgid output because no one gets to that point of the story anyway, and nobody should because, like “Dr” A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, Prof Sen is hovering somewhere in the vicinity of the other Nobel laureate from Calcutta in the divinity orbit.

jaggiR. Jagannathan, the executive editor of the Bombay newspaper DNA, makes a brave and laudable attempt, skewering Prof Sen’s latest jargon-filled work The Idea of Justice, especially in the manner in which it lionises Ashoka (“No thinking person should presume that the historical Ashoka was the same as the Ashoka of the rock edicts”) and deifies Akbar (“the tacit presumption that secularism or tolerance was not a part of the Indian ethos before him”).

Jagannathan pulls his best punches for Prof Sen’s other pet, Arjuna.

“Amartya Sen, the peacenik, obviously prefers Arjuna‘s reasons for avoiding war at Kurukshetra to Krishna‘s call to duty. Sen casts Arjuna in the role of unwilling warrior when he had no qualms fighting other wars before Kurukshetra. By implication, Krishna is the agent provocateur.

“Dead wrong.

“First of all, Krishna’s message in the Gita was not to go to war, but to do one’s duty when needed. The Kurukshetra war was not a whimsical call to arms. It became inevitable when Duryodhana and his advisors thwarted all efforts to achieve an honourable peace.

“Now picture the World War II allies suing for peace with Hitler on the basis of Arjuna’s specious reasoning, complete with worries about how many people will get killed. It would have been “peace in Arjuna’s time”, but of the kind Neville Chamberlain achieved in Munich with Hitler. It made the Second World War more horrific.

“In our history, we have seen how Nehru pulled defeat from the jaws of foolish diplomacy in the 1962 war. He played Arjuna, the pacifist, till he could no longer maintain the charade in the face of Chinese perfidy. Peace with honour is achievable only if you are prepared to go to war.

“Amartya’s Ashoka, Arjuna and Akbar are great historical characters who contributed to India’s cultural nationhood, but Amartya Sen has reduced them to cardboard characters of dubious authenticity. He hasn’t done them or Indians much justice.”

Illustration: courtesy The Little Mag

Photograph: DNA

Read the full article: Ashoka, Arjuna, Arjuna, Amartya

The rise, rise and rise and fall of the Third Reich

5 September 2009

Adolf Hitler was a mass murderer. AIDS is a mass murderer. So AIDS=Adolf Hitler? The anti-AIDS sex video that has been condemned by AIDS charities.

Also read: The rise and fall of the third reich

Will an RSS-run BJP be more vicious in future?

31 August 2009


PRITAM SENGUPTA writes from New Delhi: A quite extraordinary aspect of the supernatural implosion in the BJP is how the “disciplined party”—the democratic party with a difference—has dropped all pretence of being dictated to and directed by the half-pants of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS).

On paper, both sides claim that there is no formal link between the two outfits; that they are two very different entities, one a “cultural” organisation and the other its political apparition. In practice, though, as the events of the last fortnight demonstrate, the truth is known to the knicker lobby.

The RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat gives an openly political interview on the eve of the BJP’s chintan baithak, which sets the agenda for the party’s post-poll introspection. He pitches his tent in Delhi where everybody from L.K. Advani to Rajnath Singh, and everybody else in between, grovels and genuflects before him in the full glare of the cameras.

The headlines all scream of the role the RSS is playing in drawing up a “succession plan”, its preferences, etc.

For the BJP and its supporters whose bread, butter and poha comes from deriding Congressmen for reverentially turning to 10 Janpath even to so much as sneeze, this—the parading of its earthy leaders before an unelected, unaccountable sarsangchalak—is a moment for their personal photo albums.

At least Sonia Gandhi is the president of the Congress, the convenor of the United Progressive Alliance (UPA), and an elected member of Parliament. What could be the excuse of India’s “principal opposition party” to be at the mercy of a thrice-banned organisation whose pernicious ideology draws heavily from Adolf Hitler?

An equally important fallout of the events of the last fortnight is the penumbra of the RSS that now envelopes the BJP, and is only likely to grow and enlarge in the future at this rate.

The generally agreed consensus after the “nasty jolt” (Bhagwat’s words in the Times Now interview) in the 2009 elections was that the BJP had paid a price, among other things, for its exclusivist philosophy, its neglect of the minorities, its support for pumped-up communalism, etc.

If the RSS is going to play a significant role in deciding the BJP’s present and future formulation, and if it is seen to be so openly playing such a role,  will it help the BJP’s cause? Will it enlarge the BJP’s votebase? Will it make it more endearing to the young, the middle-classes and the urban voters, all of whom appeared to have abandoned it?

Or are we likely to see a more shrill, vicious and dangerous BJP than in the past?

Cartoon: courtesy E.P. Unny/ The Indian Express

More charismatic than Carter, Clinton, Bushes?

17 March 2009

The Atlantic Monthly has a 5,625-word profile of the “brightest star in the Hindu-chauvinist Bharatiya Janata Party”, Narendra Damodardas Modi, in its April issue.

Given how infrequently Modi meets the Indian English media, and how petulant he gets when he is asked about 2002, Robert D. Kaplan‘s article offers a rare window into the mind of the “economic dynamo” who “also presided over  India’s worst communal riots in decades.”

Kaplan writes that when he met Modi, he wore “traditional paijama pants and a long, elegant brown kurta—ironically, the traditional dress of India imported by the Mughals.”

# “Modi’s hypnotic oratory and theatrical flair have led some to compare him to Adolf Hitler. Certainly he is the most charismatic Indian political leader to emerge since Indira Gandhi in the 1970s…. I have met Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, and both Bushes. At close range, Modi beats them all in charisma. Whenever he opened his mouth, he suddenly had real, mesmerizing presence.”

# “Modi is neither Lee Kuan Yew nor Adolf Hitler. He is what he is, a new kind of hybrid politician—part CEO with prodigious management abilities, part rabble-rouser with a fierce ideological following—who is both impressive and disturbing in his own right. While Barack Obama may give hope to millions in the new century, a leader like Modi demonstrates how the century can also go very wrong when charismatic politicians use modern electoral tactics and technology to create and exploit social divisions, and then pursue their political and economic goals with cold bureaucratic efficiency.”

# “I asked him about the contribution of the Muslims, who make up 11 percent of the state’s population. “We are a spiritual, god-fearing people,” he answered. “We are by and large vegetarians. Jainism and Buddhism impacted us positively. We want to create a Buddhist temple here to honor Buddha’s remains.” “He then prompted me for my next question. He had nothing further to say. His terse responses spoke volumes: Muslims, of course, are meat-eaters.”…

# “There were so many ingenious ways Modi could have shown remorse for what happened in 2002 without directly admitting guilt, and he had expressed no interest in doing so. Perhaps it was a Machiavellian ploy: first, allow RSS forces to launch what most neutral observers said was a methodical killing spree in 2002, and then turn toward development after you have used violence to consolidate power and concentrate the minds of your enemies.

“But Machiavelli believed in using only the minimum amount of cruelty to attain a positive collective result, and thus any more cruelty than was absolutely necessary did not, as he put it, qualify as virtue. He is a very driven man, with no personal life, from what I gathered. He exuded power and control. How could he not have been implicated in the 2002 pogrom?, I asked myself.”

# “Is Modi a fascist? Although episodes in his political career and his role in the events of February 2002 suggest as much, the answer is, ultimately, no. “What makes Modi different from Hitler,” explained Prasad Chacko, who heads a local NGO, “is that while Hitler thought fascism the end result of political evolution, Modi knows that Hindutva is only a phase that cannot last, so now he focuses on development, not communal divides.”

Photograph: courtesy The Atlantic Monthly

Read the full article: India’s new face

Also read: Does BJP owe an apology for Gujarat genocide?

‘Gujarat was vibrant long before Narendra Modi’

Do you have it in you to go hungry on August 15?

27 July 2008

BHAMY V. SHENOY writes: The attacks on two cities, Bangalore and Ahmedabad, in the space of two days, July 25 and July 26, is comparable to 9/11, if not in scale, at least in the manner in which they have pierced the conscience of an entire nation. 

How should “We the People” react?

Should we follow in the footsteps of our political parties and leaders who have already begun playing their favourite sport of pointing fingers at each other, or at their chosen targets? Or should we join hands and stick together to show the fear-mongers that nothing can drive a wedge between one Indian and another?

I believe we should desist from the unfortunate example of “an eye for an eye” set by President George W. Bush. We should, instead, follow the high ideals of Mahatma Gandhi in trying to find a solution to a global problem.

By trying to take revenge on a supposed enemy, Bush has unleashed thousands of Osama bin Ladens whereas by adapting the path of satyagraha and fasting to do introspection, the Mahatma succeeded in stopping the killings during Partition.

What would Gandhiji have done today had he been alive? He would have urged all of us to go on a fast, to show our solidarity and to do introspection rather than find faults with groups or individuals.

That is precisely what we should do to prevent more cities from being added to the list of Bangalore, Bombay, Delhi, Hyderabad, Jaipur….

By finding faults with our brothers and sisters, most of whom are also victims of the terrorism that is laid at their door, and many have whom have been led to terrorism by our acts of omission and commission, we will not even begin to solve the problem.

We will only be helping trigger a chain reaction, an endless spiral of more killings as we have seen in Indonesia, Britain, Spain, Iraq, Pakistan and Afghanistan since 9/11.

So, why don’t we do what the Mahatma would have done?

Why don’t we embark on a symbolic fast on Independence Day, August 15, from 8 am to 8 pm?

Let us all—Hindus, Muslims, Christians, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis, everybody—let us all join hands, publicly and privately, and not partake of food and water for 12 hours on that day.

Let us send a strong message and an even stronger image to future terrorists that their cowardice doesn’t scare us, that their dastardly designs will not work.

Let us not follow leaders like Stalin, Hitler and Mao who used terror to gain power. Let us follow Gandhi, Martin Luther King and Nelson Mandela who used the lesson of love taught by all the religions to put it down.

Let’s go hungry on August 15 to starve the terrorists of their oxygen.

Also read: CHURUMURI POLL: Should POTA be brought back?

K. JAVEED NAYEEM: ‘All terror can be traced to injustice, inequality’

D.P. SATISH: ‘Globalisation and terrorism are closely linked’

HARI SHENOY: Machcha, why can’t we do what Israel does?

And Amrut Badami said: Ich bin ein Bengalooriga

2 April 2008

KIRAN RAO BATNI writes from Bangalore: I flew Lufthansa from Dallas to Bangalore last weekend, having to stop by in Frankfurt to switch planes.

I usually can’t sleep on flights, but because of a week filled with tiring back-to-back meetings and because of going through hell in the absolute worst seat on the previous flight from Dallas to Frankfurt (the trishanku seat at the back, neither aisle nor window, which won’t even lean back an inch because of the wall, sandwiched between two fat American women carefully appointed by fate), I must have dozed off for about 45 minutes from boarding to takeoff.

I woke up after I guess the very cells and molecules inside me were dislodged from their normal locations, when I thought I heard an announcement detailing the safety features of the aircraft, the journey time, the course of the plane, and stuff like that in Kannada.

Yes, K-A-N-N-A-D-A.

At first, I didn’t believe it.

I’ve had these dreams of Kannada making it to the skies and stuff, and I dismissed this off as one of those stupid dreams. But no, the announcement continued for about 30 seconds and ended with the usual courtesies, enough for even my jetlagged brain to distinguish dream from reality.

It was real.

Yes, on 30 March 2008, the Lufthansa plane from Frankfurt to Bangalore created history by making an announcement in Kannada on the land of Albert Einstein, Adolf Hitler and Steffi Graf.

Just to make sure, I checked with the girl in the next seat (if you’re wondering what happened to the two fat American women, you’re jetlagged, dude!) if she had heard an announcement in a strange language other than German, English and Hindi.

Yes, she had heard that strange tongue too!

(Now the fact that she happened to be a Kannadati from Bangalore who for the rest of the flight talked to me in English while I persisted in Kannada shall form, as time permits, the story of another churumuri story.)

However, after the plane landed in Bangalore, when I wanted it and was fully awake to listen to it, the announcement in Kannada did not come. Before I got down from the plane, and as people were disembarking, I interviewed a relatively free stewardess as to what sequence of events had culminated in the Kannada announcement during takeoff and what in its absence after landing.

At first, the lady persisted that no second Indian language had been used on the plane. But I told her how I couldn’t have missed it, how pinching myself is a good test, and how the girl next to me had heard it too. Then she checked with an Indian colleague of hers who confirmed my sanity in front of German women.

It turned out that Amrut Badami, a Lufthansa flight attendant who is Kannadiga by birth and apparently continuation, finds it prudent to always announce in Kannada on flights to Bangalore, for the very same reason why anybody makes any announcement on a plane: so that people understand the safety features of the plane, where the plane is going, and stuff like that.

It met this fellow and thanked him near the mosquito-ridden immigration desk.

Lufthansa is obliged to make announcements only in German, English and Hindi on flights to India. Now I’ll leave it to the elite forum of churumuri readers to decide whether announcements in Kannada should become mandatory, and if four languages are one too many, whether Hindi or German should be dropped on flights to Bangalore.

Also read: Anna-sambaar to the American on the BlackBerry

John F. Kennedy: “Ich bin ein Berliner”