Tag: Indira Gandhi

Death of Lal Bahadur Shastri

Many people believe India’s Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri died of poisoning on 11/1/1966 and not of heart attack as officially mentioned. They think T. N. Kaul, then India’s ambassador to USSR, poisoned Lal Bahadur Shastri so that Indira Gandhi can become prime minister.

On 2/10/2012 Karan Razdan raised to topic about Shastri’s death in The Last Word on CNN-IBN. Inder Malhotra, Kuldip Nayar and Anil Shastri were panelists. Kuldip Nayar mentioned reasons for suspicion. Questions were raised in Lok Sabha. T. N. Kaul phoned up to Kuldip Nayar and asked him to deny there was poisoning. Shastri’s thermos went missing. There was a commission to inquire about the death. Shastri’s doctor died in an accident the day before he was to depose before the commission. Shastri’s personal assistant died a similar death. The implication is that they were murdered.

Inder Malhotra in his column Rear View in The Indian Express dt. 17/9/2012 has written that in 1965, relations between Shastri and Indira Gandhi became strained almost to the point of breaking. She had upstaged him during language riots by going to Madras. She had said “Do you think this government can survive if I resign today. I am telling you it won’t. Yes, I have jumped over the prime minister’s head and I would do it again whenever the need arises.” On 31/12/1965 Finance Minister T. T. Krishnamachari came to Indira Gandhi’s house to say he has resigned in sheer disgust. Indira Gandhi said “I will be the next to be thrown out. It is not a cabinet worth staying in.”

Shastri was cremated. If he had been buried, his body could have been exhumed and tested for poisoning. T. N. Kaul and Indira Gandhi are dead. It is 46 years since the death. It is difficult to find out about poisoning but not impossible. People in Tashkent or Moscow can shed light on the case. There are detectives who deal with cold cases who can find out some clues and solve the case.

Greatest Indian

CNN-IBN had conducted a poll on the Greatest Indian after Mohandas Gandhi. B. R. Ambedkar won the poll. The 28-member jury had voted Jawaharlal Nehru. The jury had a list of 100 persons. They reduced it to 50 persons. The people voted on the 50 persons the list was further reduced to 10 persons. After voting by people B. R. Ambedkar emerged the winner. The other eight finalists were Vallabhbhai Patel, J. R. D. Tata, A. P. J. Abdul Kalam, Mother Teresa, Indira Gandhi, Sachin Tendulkar, Atal Behari Vajpayee, and Lata Mangeshkar.

History TV18 and Outlook were CNN-IBN’s partners. I do not know why there were 28 members in the jury. Perhaps it was one member for each state.

Vallabhbhai Patel was deputy prime minister, home minister, and minister of information & broadcasting. He is known for amalgamation of princely states. J. R. D. Tata was an industrialist. A. P. J. Abdul Kalam is a scientist, known as missile man, and was president of India. Mother Teresa did charitable deeds for the poorest of the poor. She won Nobel Prize for Peace. Indira Gandhi and Atal Behari Vajpayee were prime ministers. Sachin Tendulkar is a cricketer. Lata Mangeshkar is a singer.

On 14 August 2012 CNN-IBN declared the result of its poll. On 16 August 2012 it held a discussion. The question: Was Ambedkar greater than Nehru? There was recorded interview with Shashi Tharoor. Kancha Ilaiah, Sudheendra Kulkarni, and Mridula Mukherjee took part in discussion. The answer as per votes by viewers was 59% yes, 41% no.

There was no need to mention the jury had voted Nehru as the greatest Indian. It seems Ambedkar’s victory was hard to digest for the jury and Congress members. It was even hard for Sudheendra Kulkarni who is associated with BJP. He said B. R. Ambedkar was opposed to Congress and freedom struggle. He joined viceroy’s council during Quit India movement. He was not the architect of the constitution. B. R. Ambedkar was the chairman of the drafting committee of the constitution. Nehru and Patel headed many committees of the constituent assembly.

It is not proper to put people of different fields, who lived at different times, together and ask who is the greatest of them. Acting, charitable work, industry, science, singing, sport, politics, and literature are different fields. Even in the same field there are differences. Hockey is different from cricket. A batsman is different from bowler. A spin bowler is different from a fast bowler. An off spinner is different from a leg spinner. In football, a goalkeeper is different from a forward. One is expected to stop goals; another is expected to score goals.

Some years back some people made lot of money by holding a poll on Seven Wonders of the Modern World. Voting was by SMS and each SMS cost 10 rupees. A person can vote any number of times. Many Indians voted for Taj Mahal. CNN-IBN did not go for SMS poll. Voting was by missed calls.

Next year CNN-IBN can have a poll on the Greatest Indian after Jawaharlal Nehru. B. R. Ambedkar died in 1956. Jawaharlal Nehru died in 1964.

Indians and fools

Markandey Katju said 90% of Indians are fools. He clarified that by 90% he means an overwhelming number; it can be 85% or 95%.

Markandey Katju gave 10 reasons why majority of Indians are fools.

First, Tamilians follow rahukalam. They consider it inauspicious. They are fools. Katju has shown courage to single out Tamilians as more foolish than other foolish Indians.

Second, many ministers and chief justices of high courts take oath during “auspicious” times.

Third, Supreme Court judges considered 7, Tughlak Lane as inauspicious residence due to some mishaps there.

Fourth, there was a superstition that an idol was drinking milk and media played a part in spreading the superstition.

Fifth, babas have great following. He mentions one baba who advises his followers to eat certain things to solve their problems.

Sixth, someone in Tamil Nadu had claimed he can convert water into petrol and was exposed as a fraud.

Seventh, most parents consult astrologers when their children marry.

Eighth, TV channels show astrology and all kinds of superstition. The editors have no power to stop such shows. The owners want TRPs. The intellectual level of the middle classes is very low. They want to watch lives of film stars, fashion parades, cricket and astrology.

Ninth, most Hindus and Muslims are communal. They were not communal before 1857.

Tenth, India has social evils like honour killings, dowry deaths, and female foeticide.

Katju talks of India’s great scientific heritage, following the path shown by great scientific ancestors and recovering former glory.

Of the ten reasons, five have to do wholly or partly with astrology. Markandey Katju is chairman of Press Council. He wants to control TV channels and does not want them to have shows on astrology. As chairman of Press Council he has not stopped newspapers and magazines from publishing astrological columns. By Katju’s logic Indira Gandhi was a fool. Ramaswamy Venkataraman was a fool. Lal Krishna Advani and Murli Manohar Joshi are fools.

I do not know about the mishaps at 7 Tughlak Lane. I suppose there were several mishaps so the judges got scared. Did Markandey Katju volunteer to go there?

The superstition of idol drinking milk lasted for a day.

Babas can fool people for some time. After that they are exposed and lose their followers. If some followers want to suspend disbelief and want to follow babas even after they are exposed it is their problem.

Anybody can make any claim. Sooner or later he is exposed. One person claimed he had passed an exam conducted by NASA. He got publicity. President A. P. J. Abdul Kalam felicitated him. Then NASA stated that it had not conducted any exam in India.

TV channels want TRPs. They have to survive. India has done well in cricket, so cricket has got following. Many people also watch car race and European football. Watching sport on TV does not mean intellectual level is low. Interest in fashion parades and the lives of film stars is not confined to India.

Being communal is different from being foolish. It is wrong to say people were not communal before 1857. Katju should remember Aurangzeb.

What people call honour killings and dowry deaths are murders and female foeticide is a crime. Murders and crimes should be called as such and should not be called social evils. Caste system is a social evil.

Katju has not spoken against numerology, palmistry and tarot card reading. He has not spoken against glorification of child marriage in a TV serial. What Katju has to say about vastu and feng shui?

India’s strong glorious scientific past is a myth. People like Aryabhatta, Brahmagupta, Charaka and Shushruta were exception during their times. India’s fools inherited their superstitions from their ancestors. Sangram Singh believed in astrology and did not attack Babur when his forces were demoralised. He waited for an auspicious moment to attack Babur. That gave time for Babur to make a speech and fill his soldiers with courage. Sangram Singh lost the battle. India’s past has many things which are not glorious and some of them continue to present day. There was sati. Widows could not remarry. Untouchability was widespread. People did not cross the sea. If Indians were scientific they would have reached and conquered America, Australia and large parts of Africa. Instead India was conquered repeatedly.

Many chairmen of Press Council have come and gone. None of them made news. Markandey Katju makes news regularly. He said there is no freedom of press in Bihar but does not want journalists to report bad things about UP for one or two years because Akhilesh Yadav is new CM.