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Ved Pratap Vaidik’s meeting with Hafiz Muhammad Saeed in the latter’s fortified hideout inPakistan raises some pertinent questions.Vaidik claims that he metSaeed as a journalist but Vaidik’s activities of late have been less of a journalistic nature and more of a freebooter Modi soldier. Was he included in the three-member delegation toPakistan in his capacity as a journalist? If yes, which news organisation does he represent?

The 64-year-old Hafiz Saeed is not only listed on NIA’s “most wanted list” but the United Nation had also declared Jama’at-ud-Da’wah a terrorist organisation and Hafiz Saeed a terrorist as its leader. Besides, in April 2012, the United States announced a reward of $10 million on Hafiz Saeed, for his alleged role in the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks.

Vaidik (Right) with Hafiz Saeed

Vaidik (Right) with Hafiz Saeed

Hafiz Muhammad Saeed had, along with Abdullah Azzam, founded in1987 Markaz Dawa-Wal-Irshad, a group with roots in the Jamait Ahl-e-Hadis. This organization spawned the jihadist group Lashkar-e-Taiba in 1990 with the help of Pakistan’s Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) officers.

Lashkar’s primary target is Jammu and Kashmir. Saeed is often quoted as saying, “There cannot be any peace while India remains intact. Cut them, cut them so much that they kneel before you and ask for mercy.”

After the November 2008 Mumbai attacks, India submitted a formal request to the UN Security Council to put the group Jamaat-ud-Dawa and Hafiz Muhammad Saeed on the list of individuals and organizations sanctioned by the United Nations for association with terrorism. India has accused the organization and its leader, Hafiz Muhammad Saeed, of being virtually interchangeable with Lashkar-e-Taiba. India said that the close links between the organisations, as well as the 2,500 offices and 11 seminaries that Jamaat-ud-Dawa maintains in Pakistan, ‘are of immediate concern with regard to their efforts to mobilize and orchestrate terrorist activities.’ On August 25, 2009, Interpol issued a Red Corner Notice against Hafiz Saeed, along with Zaki-ur Rehman Lakhvi, in response to Indian request for his extradition.

Hafiz Saeed lives in Lahore in a ‘fortified house, office and mosque’ that is guarded by Pakistani police and his supporters and closely watched by ISI officers. It is said that no one is allowed nearSaeed’s ‘fort’ without the approval of the ISI. How did Vaidik get clearance of the ISI? On his own ‘authority’? With the help of India’s Research and Analysis Wing (RAW)? On personal intervention of Modi through Nawaz Sharif? These are some of the questions that need answers.

Vaidik has not revealed the full contents of his ‘interview’ with Hafiz Saeed. It is Hafiz Saeed who has revealed that Vaidik ‘asked if we would protest Modi’s visit to Pakistan, on which I replied we don’t participate in such politics and protests. Perhaps it says much about Vaidik’s meeting with Hafiz Saeed!

PS: A source, who takes keen interest in Pakistan-sponsored terrorism, feels Vaidik may have gone to give ‘hush money’ to Hafiz Saeed to ensure that he does not create any trouble during Modi’s visit to Pakistan.

There are roughly three reasons why one becomes a sannyasi or sadhu or mahatma or whatever you want to call. One and the only valid reason is that one has thoroughly enjoyed life and now feels detachment from the worldly things. Bhagavad-Gita lays down: na karmanam-anarambhat naishkarmyam purushoshnute (No man shall ‘scape from act; By shunning action; nay, and none shall come; By mere renouncements unto perfectness. Nay, and no jot of time, at any time, Rests any actionless; his nature’s law; Compels him, even unwilling, into act; [For thought is act in fancy]. He who sits; Suppressing all the instruments of flesh, Yet in his idle heart thinking on them, Plays the inept and guilty hypocrite; – translation by Sir Edwin Arnold).

No school of Indian philosophy permits sannyas or renunciation without going through the worldly requirements. Sage Patanjali defines yoga as complete mastery over feelings and sensations (yogashcittavritti-nirodhah). Bhojadev, the king-scholar who is believed to have reigned from 1019 to 1054 AD, has authored a lucid commentary on Sage Patanjali’s Yogasootram. He explains how desires and feelings such as anger, jealousy, hunger, sex urge, etc. will continue to haunt one who takes to sannyas without fulfilling all his desires. Yogic kriyas, which some of the godmen flaunt to claim their divine power, are merely forms of physical exercise aimed at making the body fit for the rigours of sadhana which is required to attain sublimation.

Once I met at Rishikesh an elderly gentleman. The tranquillity and compassion on his face had attracted me to him. I had a few meetings with him during my stay. He had, he told me, retired as the Sub-Divisional Magistrate (SDM) in a town in West Bengal, had saved enough for a comfortable retired life, and his children were married and well settled. His wife had expired a few years earlier. He gradually felt his interest in the worldly things waning. Then he decided to move to Rishikesh and concentrate on meditation and the study of the scriptures. He never went to his place but his children and grandchildren occasionally visited him at Rishikesh. He was, he said, at peace with himself.

In the second category are those who out of sheer frustration or for some other reason renounce the world and take to sannyas. They start it with complete honesty. Then after some time the unfulfilled desires and ambitions take the better of them and they spend the rest of their lives hovering between the two forces. Swami Karpatriji can be cited as an example of this category. Born as Harinarayan Ojha in a Pratapgarh district village, he left his home, wife and a small daughter at the age of 17, went to the Himalayas to perform penance, and was accepted by Brahmanand Saraswati, Shankaracharya of Jyotirmath, as his disciple and given the name of Hariharanand Saraswati. He went to Varanasi where he spent most of his time in meditation and the study of the scriptures. He was spending an ideally austere life. Once in a day he would go to some house, spread his palms before the housewife, eat whatever his palms could hold in a single serving and return to his place at Mirghat to continue with his penance. That was how he got the name Karpatri which means one who uses his hands as utensil.

As his reputation spread, the rich and the influential were attracted to him. Soon the swami was trying to play the king-maker. He formed a political party comprising mostly the former princes and princesses. In the first two general elections, the party had won a few seats in Lok Sabha and Vidhan Sabhas in the Hindi belt. In his later years the Karpatri was living among the affluent, all strident believers in ancient Indian values. The days of austerity were left far behind.

The third reason for becoming a monk is the calculated design to con the gullible people for enjoying all the good things of life without doing a day’s honest work. An extremely large majority belong to this category. There is a play in Sanskrit with the title Dhoortasamagam’. It was written by Jyotirishwar in the 13the century. Its main character, Vishvanagar, is unable or disinclined to earn his living through honest means and becomes a sannyasi. During his wanderings he meets his female counterpart Suratpriya who had also taken to sannyas to enjoy life. The play is about how they con the people to enjoy dainty food and sexual orgies.

These self-styled godmen build up their halo over the gullibility of the people. What, however, is surprising is the manner in which the educated persons, quite rational otherwise, block their critical faculty before such a godman even when the godman has been proved to be a crook. Asaram Bapu is the most well-known example of this.

After Bhopal Raj Bhavan’s alleged involvement in Shivraj Singh Chouhan’s infamous VYAPAM scam became public, Congress leader and former Leader of Opposition in the Assembly Ajay Singh suggested that Governor Ram Naresh Yadav should resign. Ajay Singh was a bit too late in seeking Yadav’s resignation, like his father Arjun Singh who could never take a political decision at the right time.

The right time for seeking Yadav’s resignation was when the Governor had, by his inexplicable action, lowered the dignity of the Constitution, brought to disrepute the office of the Governor and created embarrassment for the Congress party, to which he himself belongs, on the eve of the November 2013 Assembly elections. The conduct of most of the occupants of the Bhopal Raj Bhavan in the past couple of decades has, sadly, been less than exemplary.

The Assembly was abruptly adjourned while a Congress-sponsored motion of lack of confidence in the BJP’s Shivraj Singh Chouhan government was pending. The motion, levelling serious charges of corruption against Chouhan and his family members and close relatives, was admitted on July 9 (2013) and the time allotted for a discussion in the House. When it was taken up for a debate on July 11, Speaker Ishwardas Rohani called Leader of Opposition Ajay Singh to speak. However, Deputy Leader of Opposition Rakesh Singh Chaturvedi stood up and said that he was opposed to the no-confidence motion. The BJP members were promptly on their feet hailing him and creating loud noise. The Congress members took a little time to recover from this sudden shock and denounce Chaturvedi.

In the free-for-all that followed, minister of legislative affairs Narottam Mishra moved a motion for an adjournment of the House. Speaker Rohani promptly adjourned the House sine die, leaving Opposition members flabbergasted. Top BJP leaders led by chief minister Chouhan hugged and lionised Chaturvedi and took him outside where Chaturvedi announced before media persons that he was joining the BJP. Leader of Opposition Ajay Singh (who lacks the acumen of his late father) made the tactical mistake of not opposing the motion moved by Narottam Mishra for an adjournment of the House. That, though, was a minor thing.

The Congress then petitioned Governor Ram Naresh Yadav. The Governor had two options before him. He could prorogue the Assembly under Article 174(2) of the Constitution or he could send a message to the House under Article 175(2) for the consideration of the pending motion. Article 175(2) says: “The Governor may send messages to the House or Houses of the Legislature of the State, whether with respect to a Bill pending in the Legislature or otherwise, and a House to which any message is so sent shall with all convenient despatch consider any matter required by the message to be taken into consideration.”

This is followed by Rule 20 of the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business in the Madhya Pradesh Vidhan Sabha which says: “Message by Governor: – Where a message from the Governor for the Vidhan Sabha under Article 175(2) of the Constitution is received by the Speaker, he shall read the message to the House and give necessary directions in regard to the procedure that shall be followed for the consideration of the matters referred to in the message. In giving these directions the Speaker shall be empowered to suspend or vary the rules to such extent as it may be necessary to do so.”

Instead of acting in either way, the Governor started consultations with all and sundry, the lawyers and Constitutional experts included. He also sought opinion from the Advocate-General who has his office at Jabalpur. Congress leaders met him several times as did the leaders of some other parties. He had meetings with chief minister Chouhan and even called Speaker Rohani. In between, he made a trip to Delhi leaving an impression behind that he had gone to take directions. On return from Delhi, too, he continued to dither.

Then on July 26, he wrote a brief letter to the chief minister suggesting that the Assembly session should be reconvened. It was a vague and illiterate letter because the Executive does not come between Governor (who is part and head of the Legislature) and the Assembly. Moreover, the Governor did not cite under which provision of the Constitution or any other law he had written to the chief minister. Predictably, the chief minister did not take any notice of the letter. The whole thing came as a huge embarrassment to the Congress which was much too confident of debating the no-confidence motion in the House with the intervention of the Governor.

Rohani’s act in abruptly adjourning the Assembly was reprehensible enough, but what Governor Yadav did was most abominable. Instead of taking a decision either way as mandated by the Constitution, he started dilly-dallying and reportedly making compromises with chief minister Chouhan, casting thus an indelible slur on the institution of Governor.

July 2014
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Ignorance is bliss!

How much happier that man is who believes his native town to be the world, than he who aspires to become greater than his nature will allow.

--- MARY SHELLEY in Frankenstein

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