Team Gadkari & New Look BJP : Sunny Days Are Here Again


Few months back, when Mr. Nitin Gadkari was anointed as the new president of BJP, it was a foregone conclusion that he will usher a new era in the party. He promised to bring new and fresh faces in the team to give the party a new lease of life. Mr. Nitin Gadkari announced his organisational team few days back. As expected and as announced by him earlier, many young and new faces have been inducted in the new team.

As soon as the team was announced, electronic and print media swung into action and started criticising the new team vehemently. The venom and diatribe was specially directed towards Hema Malini, Kirron Kher, Smriti Irani and Shaina NC. As per the view of media these ladies were selected only because of glamour and this glamour quotient will not help BJP. According to them, these above mentioned ladies have done nothing for the public at large. For arguments sake , if we accept that these ladies have done nothing till now, can’t they start fresh ? If they wish to serve the nation and society,is it a valid reason to de bar them on the pretext that they are fresh and they have done nothing. May I ask, what was Sonia Gandhi’s contribution when she was initiated into politics and started her journey? Apart from being the widow of a slain Ex Prime Minister, she had no credentials.

Second argument is that the team is full of the leaders who have lost elections. May be in some cases it is true but in democracy there has to be a loser and a winner. Without a loser there can’t be a winner. Some times a leader loses because of so many factors. Losing an election doesn’t certify that the particular leader is incompetent. Moreover the most glaring example of a loser being anointed for the most important post, is Mr. Manmohan Singh. He lost election from Delhi, got elected to Rajya Sabha from Assam. Now he is a sitting Rajya Sabha MP and he is the Prime Minister of this country. Does anyone object ? So why this hue and cry about BJP team ?

Third objection of the media was regarding Varun Gandhi. Why this Gandhi scion was inducted ? This is just to counter Rahul Gahdhi. Again if you accept this argument for the sake of argument, is it wrong for any political party to counter its opponent ? What should BJP is supposed to do ? To go and garland Congress leader ? Is countering Rahul Gandhi blasphemous ? In democracy people’s will is supreme. If people have elected Varun Gandhi, he has every right to be in public life and serve the party of his choice. As for his hate speech, I have made my views public in my earlier blog – Varun Gandhi’s Hate Speech & Lalu’s Sermon On The Mount ”, posted on April 09 , 2009.

Last point which media made is , that discontent is brewing up in the party because of the list . BJP is a big party with many competent people. It is difficult to accommodate everybody. It is impossible to satisfy everyone. There has to be some rambling. In fact it shows that contrary to Congress, BJP is a democratic party, where any one can air his views.

In my opinion Mr. Gadkari has chosen a very competent team and once this team settles in office, they will surely make a difference. BJP will truly be a party with difference very soon. The sun will shine once again and I will see a resurgent BJP and that too – YACHI DEHI , YACHI DOLA !!


Vidur

http://www.vidur.co.in

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M. F. Husain , Qatar & Freedom Of Expression


Last week it was Husain galore everywhere. T.V. , Newspaper and Internet; it was surfeit of Husain. Everyone has his or her opinion about the painter. Husain always evokes extreme reactions. Either you admire him or criticise him, but you can’t ignore him. And when it is impossible to ignore him, then let me also air my views about him.

I do admire Husain as a painter. He is certainly the most influential and controversial modern Indian painter. Few years ago, he created media frenzy and mass hysteria, when he painted Hindu goddesses in nude. Public outcry erupted and reached its crescendo. Several cases were lodged against him. According to one estimate 900 criminal cases were filed in different courts of various states of India. Art galleries, exhibiting Husain’s paintings, were attacked by some people and his paintings were vandalised.

This is a brief history of the incidents, preceding his exile. After exhibition of his paintings, whole country was galvanised and virtually divided into two groups. One, supporting Husain and the second opposing him. Husain left the country and thereafter lived in exile till now. Recently he surrendered his Indian passport and accepted Qatari citizenship, inviting strong reactions again. I will try to put both the views here and then give my opinion.

Views of Pro-Husain Group :

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1 – Freedom of speech and action is of paramount importance and there should be no infringement.

2 – Husain’s intention was not to denigrate Hinduism or insult feelings of devout Hindus. He has painted many other nude portraits. And this is his style.

3 – How can any artiste work in peace, when he is made to run from one court to the other ? So he was forced to leave the country and live like a fugitive. This is an insult to artist fraternity.

Views of Anti-Hussain Group :
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1 – Right comes with responsibility. Freedom of expression is definitely important but an artiste should be sensitive to the society, to Indian culture and to religious feelings of the vast section of Hindu populace.

2 – If Husain is so true to his conviction, if he paints only nude paintings, he should paint religious figures of other religions also. Venerable figures of Islam and Christianity should also get his attention. Can he paint nude portraits of an Islamic deity ? Has he painted any ?

3 – As for leaving the country because of court cases, The Supreme Court clubbed all the cases. So he had to attend only one court. Union Home Minister promised all the possible security, so this is not the true cause for his exile. He left country for some ulterior motive.

MY VIEWS :
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1 – Unbridled freedom of expression can bring chaos and anarchy. In the name of freedom of expression, people can resort to all kind of things. And moreover, if Husain has right of expression, then why this right of expression was not extended to the Danish Cartoonist ? Why this freedom of expression is denied to Taslima Nasreen ? Why this was snatched from Salman Rushdie? Why  “ The Last Temptation of Christ ” and “ The Satanic Verses ” were banned ? Can I get answers from any supporter of Husain ?

2 – I can’t watch nude portraits of Hindu goddesses or Bharat Mata. As a devout Hindu, I won’t say Husain should paint Gods and Goddesses of Islam and Christianity . Can he paint royal family of Qatar nude ? I am waiting and shall always wait for that day. Will Husain oblige ?

3 – Just after Hussain accepted Qatari citizenship and surrendered Indian passport, he was interviewed by Barkha Dutt of NDTV. He stated in that interview, that he is accepting Qatar’s Royal Family’s offer because of huge amount he is supposed to get for his projects and also the tax benefits he is getting. So this is the real reason for his action and not the court cases or Hindu backlash. Bala Saheb Thackeray even said that Husain is most welcome to return, provided he apologises. Is there anything wrong in saying that “ if I have hurt religious sentiments of anybody, I am sorry ! ” Not apologising is arrogance and nothing else.

4 – And moreover , accepting Qatar nationality for money , comfort and tax benefits is definitely not praiseworthy. Husain proved that he is interested only in money. All the other things being said and written in his defence is just an alibi.

I painfully conclude that M. F. Husain has insulted his country and countrymen. He says that he works as per his conviction and he had done no wrong. If so, then he should have faced the trial and should have proved his detractors wrong. By surrendering Indian passport, he is confirming the allegation of his opponents.

Farewell Maqbool Fida Husain !

I am no longer fida on you !  Goodbye for ever !!

Vidur

http://www.vidur.co.in

20 Weathered Years In Mumbai : Taking Stock Of Erosion And Corrosion


As I turned 57 on December 17, 2009, I started an introspection about 20 years of my life in Mumbai. In my previous blog I have divided my life in 4 phases. First phase – 22 years, Second phase – 15 years and Third phase – 20 years. Of these 57 years, 30 years were spent in Deoria, 07 years were spent in Allahabad and remaining 20 years were spent in Mumbai. I had stated that third phase of my life ended in 2009 and fourth phase has started. This third phase comprises 20 years of my life in Mumbai. From October 1989 to December 2009, I survived 20 years in this film industry where fortune changes every Friday. I endured and could sustain myself successfully.

It was a hesitant and tentative start. I moved to Mumbai to eke out a living in the film industry. I had no acquaintances, no godfather, no advisor, not even a helping hand here. With no help in life, no succour in sight, no money to make a living and no one to guide me, I started living a precarious life. I was advised by Ms. Ashha Chandra to start Diction classes. In those days of abject poverty, when days passed without lunch and nights, without a proper meal, it was a welcome opportunity. I started training people and started earning some money, which was not enough but I was happy that I was earning something. To save money I used to avoid bus and local train and used to walk on foot. Once I walked from MacDonald, Linking Road, Khar to Yari Road. I am not regretting those days, I am just making few points to illustrate how I started this phase and finally how I could make it against all the odds.

My first student was a girl called Sarita. Later on I got an opportunity to train Saif Ali Khan. From Saif to Ranbir Kapoor and from Kareena Kapoor to Katrina Kaif, I have trained students of every hue and colour. Barring a microscopic minority, all the star-sons and star-daughters are my students. Late Raj Kapoor’s three grandchildren : Randhir Kapoor’s daughter Kareena, Rishi Kapoor’s son Ranbir and Rima Jain’s son Arman are my students. Mr. Shatrughan Sinha’s both sons ; Luv and Kush, Mr. Anil Kapoor’s daughter Sonam, Moushami’s daughter Meghaa, Late playback singer Mukesh’s grandson Neil Nitin Mukesh came to me for training. Apart from Hindi, my students are working in Tamil, Telugu and Kannada film industries. So many of them are working in Marathi and Bhojpuri films. T. V. industry is full of my students. I get students from far-flung states of India like ; Jammu & Kashmir, Sikkim, Meghalaya, Manipur, Assam and Andaman & Nicobar Islands. Students from West Bengal and South are in legions. Among my students 3 are music directors, 4 are producers and 6 are directors.

Almost all the prestigious banners, including Yash Raj Films, Dharma Productions and Rajshri Productions almost always send their protege to me for training. I started a trend of Script Based training. I did script based workshops for several films. From Yash Raj Films “ Mohabbatein ” to Samir Karnik’s forthcoming “ Yamala Pagla Deewana ” and Shah Rukh Khan’s Red Chillies Production No. 5, I did many workshops. I did workshop for a Kannada film also, starring Nenapirali Prem and Karishma Tanna. Currently I am supervising dubbing of Aamir Khan Productions “ Dhobi Ghat. Aamir Khan’s wife Kiran Rao is the director. Karan Johar produced, Dharma production’s forthcoming film “ I Hate Luv Storys ” could be mentioned as a watershed in my career. Its protagonists – Imran Khan and Sonam Kapoor, its music director Shekhar ( of Vishal-Shekhar fame ) and its director Puneet Malhotra, all are my students. It has been a very satisfying journey indeed.

As I conclude my analysis of these 20 years of my life as an acting trainer, I have just one regret. Some of my students criticise me vehemently. Though they are in microscopic minority, but still they are there. I fail to fathom their vehemence and persistence in my criticism. But I have satisfaction that vast majority of my students love me. I value their love and respect. As for my critics are concerned, they are welcome to have their views. I don’t wish to be AJATSHATRU [ Having No Enemy ]. In mythology only Yudhishthir was Ajatshatru, neither Arjun nor Krishna could even boast of this title. They had enemies in legions. I would love to be in company of Krishna and Arjun. Instead of a faceless and spine less Yudhishthir, Arjun and Krishna are any day preferable.

As my third phase ends, it gives me immense satisfaction that it was satisfying phase.

Vidur

http://www.vidur.co.in

Women’s Reservation Bill


In principle I am against reservation. But I wholeheartedly supported reservation for SC/ST. Still being opposed to reservation, I am a supporter of Women Reservation Bill. Only reservation, which I wholeheartedly refuse to accept, is the reservation for OBC. For some it would be a confusing and paradoxical stand. But it is not. For me it is definitely not.

Reservation is meant for the betterment and uplifting of weaker section, but in my opinion, it cripples them permanently. It creates a mentality of deprivation and a continuous habit of looking for succour. I have seen some of my SC/ST friends suffering from an attitude of self-denial and lack of self-esteem. But there is no denial of the fact that SC/ST reservation helped these sections in a major way. Its contribution towards the emancipation of SC/ST is immense. These downtrodden and weaker section of our society were reeling under cruelty and neglect of upper caste Hindus since centuries. Our caste based system and Manu’s laws had oppressed them for more than a millennium. In fact they were suffering since time immemorial. Reservation came as a boon for them. Though upper caste people vehemently opposed it initially, but slowly they fell in line. Now SC/ST reservation is a foregone and accepted phenomena.

Let us take this new reservation for women. They constitute 50% of our society. In spite of all the adoration and worship of various goddesses and deities of our religion, condition of women were pitiable. They suffered in silence and were subjugated to all kinds of cruelty and tyranny. Their redemption and emancipation was desperately needed and thus the Women’s Reservation Bill was a much-needed and very much delayed legislation. It was conceived 14 year back but due to the objection of few OBC leaders, it was kept in cold storage. The Yadav troika of Mulayam, Lalu and Sharad, who are vociferous exponents of OBC reservation, furiously oppose this bill. Those who are enjoying fruits of reservation themselves, refuse to share this with other weaker sections. These hypocrites are precisely the reason, why I oppose OBC reservation.

Women’s Reservation Bill has some flaws. The main flaw is rotation clause of the bill. 33% seats will be reserved for 5 years. After that these seats will become general seats. Who would like to nourish their seats if they know that they won’t be representing these seats in next election? And why a woman will nourish her seat, if she knows that she won’t be representing it next time? So I suspect that in future only wives and daughters of male M.P.s will get tickets as proxy candidates. So amendments are needed. Re-drafting of the bill is necessary. But that could be done later also. It’s a revolutionary step and it should be welcomed wholeheartedly.

Vidur

http://www.vidur.co.in

The Tragedy Of Being Elder & Getting older


In life’s cycle, old age is the most certain and inevitable stage. In fact it completes the cycle but it also makes people vulnerable. They, just like a toddler, need all the support and care, which definitely and certainly allude them. A helping hand, when most required, vanishes. Youngsters, when needed most and that too with anticipation, simply refuse to pay heed. Old, feeble and infirm people sometimes face all sorts of humiliation and neglect in isolation. In a way they become trash bins, lying in the neglected corners of a house. Anyone can come, can heap abuses, can accuse them for anything and everything and then can leave without any trace of repent or remorse. If you are the eldest, the trauma multiplies.

After posting my blog about Amita Pathak, I was spending a lazy Sunday. This luxury happened to me after a long time. After reading Times Of India, I started thinking about my life and its journey till now. Meandering through many ups and downs, braving inclement weather, walking in cold and heat, bracing challenges after challenges,facing opponents after opponents and listening acerbic criticism and harsh condemnation, it is still hurtling and inching to its unknown destination. How many battles, how many wars are yet to come, I don’t know. I do not know, how many opponents are still lurking in the dark and are waiting to pounce on me. Multiplicity of enemies and enormity of hindrances are yet to get over. And I am getting old. But life moves on. And for me it moves in phases.

THE FIRST PHASE : 1952 – 1974 ( The Formative Years )

Though I didn’t realize it then, but my first 22 years were my golden period. During this period, though I lost mygrandfather, maa and my father, but still I think and believe, it is the best period of my life. In spite of asinine activities and futile sibling rivalry, this period was my best till date. When I revisit my childhood, I am amazed at the idyllic pace and carefree atmosphere of those days. Reading a lot, playing a bit and roaming around here and there, carelessly and aimlessly was the order of the day. Little did I realize then, that these days are not going to come back again in my life. A sense of nostalgia grips me whenever I look back and try to tread same path again. Those 22 years were spent in the cities of Deoria and Allahabad in Uttar Pradesh . If I divide it further, I spent 15 years in Deoria, where I was born and studied till High School. I passed High School in 1967 and then went to Allahabad for further studies. I spent 07 years in Allahabad. In 1974 my father died and I decided to return to Deoria after completing post graduation. I returned to Deoria from Allahabad and thus the first phase of my life ended. After my father’s death, technically and legally I became head of the family, but since my mother was alive, I was neither the eldest, nor the oldest. My flanks were protected and I felt secured in my mind.

THE SECOND PHASE : 1974 – 1989 ( The Quest Of A New Path )


My second phase of 15 years started again in Deoria, in 1974. This period was full of turmoil and deaths. My relatives, some friends and some close people started dying one by one. It is strange, rather bizarre. You start a family. By matrimony or by other associations you have close relatives and then slowly they start leaving this world one by one. Apart from deaths this period was full of struggle, dispute, litigation and confusion. Almost 22 court cases were pending in various courts of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar regarding my property and family matters. I started fighting the court cases and started doing social work. I worked day and night and created a niche for myself. As I rose in public esteem, my friends became envious and started their vitriolic and venomous campaign against me. there was no respite in sight and their ferocity increased by each passing day. To buy peace of mind I decided to leave Deoria and came to Mumbai in 1989. And thus second phase of my life ended. But I was yet to get old, yet to become the eldest. But a new struggle was starting all over again.

The Third Phase : 1989 – 2009 ( The New Path – Voyage Starts )

I came to Mumbai and started my struggle for a new life. Some hits, few misses ; some victories, few defeats and a sense of insecurity became part of my life. It

started as a lonely journey and it is still lonely in spite of 20 long years. I travelled every nook and corner of Mumbai. I accepted students of every hue and colour. Sometimes I worked even without getting paid , though I was in dire need of money. Days , months and years passed. there was no end of my struggle in sight. I worked tirelessly, sometimes without food , sometimes without proper clothes , but I kept on moving ahead. Today I can state with satisfaction that I have trained almost all the star sons and daughters. While I was struggling to establish myself, my mother died and thus with one stroke of destiny, I became elder overnight. Suddenly I felt that I am getting older too. On 17 December 2009, I celebrated my 57th birthday and on the same day the third phase of my life ended.

The Fourth Phase : 2010……….( Groping In The Dark )

This phase started in January 2010. I am again restless. I am feeling that I have already accomplished what I wished for me. Are there some new heights to scale ? Are there some other goals to hit ? Will there be some changes again in my life ? I don’t know . But one thing is certain; I am now elder and I am getting old. This makes me vulnerable. At this stage my flanks are open and they are without protection. Anyone can come and can say anything to me. Anyone can come and accuse me of anything and everything. And that to with impunity. Since I am elder and older, I am supposed to be magnanimous and forgiving. I can’t even answer back. It is inhuman tyranny, It’s a lonely journey, a very lonely journey.

My brothers are settled in life with their respective families. My sisters are also leading their own life after their marriage. We are not going to live under the same roof once again as we used to live during our childhood. All my elders are gone for their celestial journey. Barring few, all my childhood friends have drifted apart. They must be fighting their own battles. I don’t know where and how. Even if I bump into them, I shudder, I won’t recognize them. Some may be enjoying retired life after accomplishing every dream, every wish and desire and here I am, still fighting for my survival, still struggling for a new life. I have some friends left in Deoria but I have lost contacts with all my friends of Allahabad.

As I complete 57 tumultuous years and I am approaching 60th year of my life, a sense of loneliness grips me. At this juncture, I am again groping in the dark, with no vision in sight. The tragedy of being elder and getting older empowers and engulfs me completely and I am feeling very lonely in the winter of my life. May be I would be a trash bin lying in the neglected corner of a house.

Vidur

http://www.vidur.co.in

51st Anniversary Of Tibetan Uprising


Today ( March 10 ) is the 51st anniversary of Tibetan uprising. On the same day 51 years ago, Chinese forces occupied Tibet forcibly and started their brutal and unholy rule and HH Dalai Lama had to leave his country with his followers and took shelter in India. Potala Palace remains vacant ever since, silently waiting for HH 14th Dalai Lama’s return.

Though I was only a toddler at the time of Tibetan uprising, but the event stayed in my psyche forever. It happened in 1959. Then I was just a 7-year-old boy. But I always heard my father talking about it. So the brutal suppression of Tibetan people became a part of me and my personality. And an independent Tibet became my goal and aspiration.

Let me dwell a bit on the history of Tibet for the present generation. Tibet was always an independent nation. She had close and warm relationship with India. Before her unholy subjugation, India used to manage Post & Telegraph department in Tibet. We had centuries old cultural relationship and ties. Kailash and Mansarovar, two very holy places of Hindu religion, are there in Tibet. After red star rose in China and after Mao took over reigns of China and became unquestioned leader of the country, Communists started claiming that Tibet is a part of China. Slowly but very steadily they started moving ahead in that direction. After making provocative noises and statements in every international forums, Chinese Peoples Liberation Army moved into Tibet and took control. Suppression and subjugation of Tibetan people started and Chinese government started controlling every aspect and spheres of Tibetan population. Strangely the international community kept quiet. HH Dalai Lama left Tibet along with his chosen followers and came to India. Ever since he is here in Dharamshala and runs Tibetan government in exile. It is brief and layman’s information about Tibet.

51 years have passed since then. Han Chinese are being brought in hordes and are being settled in Tibet. Ethnic Tibetan culture is forbidden and their tradition is ridiculed and curbed. Communist China is hoping that one day ethnic Tibetans will be in minority and they could subjugate Tibet forever and perpetuate their hegemony. The introduction of railway is a sinister step in that direction.

World is still silent and watching hopelessly. Younger generation is almost oblivious of the trials and travails of Tibetan nation. Are we not going to see independent Tibet in our life ? I firmly believe, I will. I am 57-year-old, but I believe and firmly believe that before my death I will see an independent Tibet. Tibet’s cause is not lost. Millions of Indians believe like me.

Long live HH Dalai Lama !!

Long live independent Tibet !!

Vidur

http://www.vidur.co.in

Vidur’s Open Letter – 4 : To Amita Pathak


Hi Amita ,

Congratulations and best of luck for your first production “ Atithi Tum Kab Jaoge ? As your film releases today, memories of your impeccable behaviour, your hard work as a student, your helping nature and my interaction with you at the time of the launch of your first film “ Haal-E-Dil ” comes to my mind. As I am sitting and writing this blog, a floodgate is slowly being opened and I am completely engulfed and submerged by emotions.

I remember your first day in the class. A reticent girl sitting in the front row near me and watching everything with wide eyes. It took me a while to know that you are Mr. Kumar Mangat’s daughter. And I got this information from others, not directly from you. Never ever you tried to show in the class that you are well entrenched in the industry and that’s why you need special treatment. I found you well-behaved and very down to earth. After completing your training, you got busy with the production work of “ Omkara ” and I lost touch. We came into contact again at the time of your debut film “ Haal-E-Dil ”. You came to me with the script for my suggestions and then got busy with the shooting. You didn’t forget me at the time of the release of your film. I can imagine the pressure you could be in and tremendous mental strain you must be going through, still you remember a nonentity like me and invited me for the all the events of your film. That film has one more student of mine, as one of the leading actor. He saw through me in the party and even though I went and congratulated him, he pretended not to recognize me. When I compare his behaviour with yours, my affection for you grows more. I respect you more as a human being. I thank you from the bottom of my heart for being so nice to me, when others were not.

Unfortunately “ Haal-E-Dil ” got released and tanked. I don’t know what you felt at the time of the debacle of your debut film. But I am sure of your capacity and capability as an actor. I am not trying to please you, but let me assure you that you are a brilliant actor. But you can’t follow the path of Katrina Kaif or Kareena Kapoor. Your niche is like Konkona Sen Sharma. I am not mentioning Nandita Das, because she works only in art films. While Konkona Sen Sharma works in all kind of films. She was brilliant in “ Mr. & Mrs. Iyer ” as well as “ Wake Up Sid ”. If you wish, you can mold your career on the pattern of Konkona Sen Sharma. Compared to Yuvvraaj ”, “ Wake Up Sid ” was any day better. You have now your own production company. So apart from producing films, please try to give a new lease of life to your acting career also. I know you can work wonders.

I started this letter on Friday and completing this on Sunday. It is very satisfying to read in today’s Times Of India that “ Atithi Tum Kab Jaoge ? ” stays at the box office. I am happy for you. And once again wish you all the success in all the future endeavour of yours.

God bless you, Amita ! May you scale dizzying heights of fame and success !

Vidur

http://www.vidur.co.in

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