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Dancing to her own tune

04 March, 2017 02:24:40 PM, Manas Dasgupta




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Mallika Sarabhai: She is figthing the LS election against Advani

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After Mallika Sarabhai announced she would take on the BJP’s prime ministerial candidate Lal Krishna Advani in Gandhinagar, V.R. Krishna Iyer, former judge of the Supreme Court, wrote to her: “Values must matter in politics and public life. Enemy number one of the country today is communalism and who opposes this force is a true patriot in shaping our grand tryst with destiny.”

The 50-something dancer and daughter of the “father of India’s space programme, Dr. Vikram Sarabhai, says she is in the poll arena precisely for this reason: to uphold values in public life. The selection of Gandhinagar was conscious. “That itself signifies the values I stand for,” she asserts. It was also because of those same values that she refused to join any political party and is contesting as an Independent. Ms. Sarabhai does not see much difference between one political party and the other. “All parties behave as if democracy is of politicians, by politicians, for politicians, pushing ‘people’ to the background,” she says. “I want to re-establish the people’s voice.” She bristles at the suggestion that hers is only a “symbolic fight” and claims that she is a “very serious candidate.” But she says winning is not her only goal: “I want to establish transparency in public life and wish my rivals too adopt the same principles so that we have a level playing ground.”

Ms. Sarabhai belongs to an affluent family, but she will not contest the elections using family funds. “I plan to collect Rs 25 lakh, the limit set for Independents by the Election Commission, from public donations which alone will be used for election expenses.”

For the sake of transparency, she has created a website where every donation received and expenditure made will be posted regularly for public viewing. “I will stop accepting donations the moment it reaches the ceiling limit,” she says.

Her main thrust will be on a door-to-door campaign. “I know I won’t be allowed free movement; that hurdles will be placed and there may even be attempts to liquidate me,” she says. The roughing up of Medha Patkar, the Narmada Bachao Andolan leader, still haunts her. Persona non grata in Gujarat, Ms. Patkar turned up at a gathering organised by Ms. Sarabhai at the Sabarmati Gandhi Ashram soon after the 2002 communal riots. “It was open to all and Ms. Patkar happened to be there. As a true Indian who believes in Atithi Devo Bhavo (Guests are like god), I could not turn her out. But this has made me a common enemy of both the BJP and the Congress,” she says.

Hooligans of both parties had manhandled Ms. Patkar and her inside the ashram precincts. Besides, her open criticism of Chief Minister Narendra Modi’s “communal politics” has also made her an enemy number of the Sangh Parivar. But nothing is going to deter her from “speaking the truth.”

(Courtesy The Hindu)
























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Sare Jahan Se Accha

Hindustan Hamara

In 1905 more than 100 years from today, when Iqbal was a lecturer at the Government College, Lahore he was invited by his student Lala Hardayal to preside over a function. Instead of making a speech, Iqbal sang Sare Jahan Se Accha Hindustan Hamara in his style. Iqbal compiled this poem in praise of India and the poem preaches the communal harmony that had unfortunately started ceasing in India by that time. Each and every word in this poem depicts an Indian’s respect and love for the motherland and the values the Indian society inherited for long...Read Full




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