Yes, it’s true I went on repeating that Sen should be stripped of his Bharat Ratna. In my sound and fury, which signified nothing, I clean forgot that the NDA under Atalji had presented Sen with this award. Bloomers always happen to regular BJP spokespersons on TV like myself.
At this moment, let me take a time-out, remember my Tennyson, and sing a dirge for us saffron spokespersons....
Nonsense to the right of Nirmala
Nonsense to the left of Meenakshi.
Nonsense behind Smriti, someone has blundered
As usual it was I, on the cursed Sen!
But then the party did not agree with me and distanced itself from my remarks. Nirmala made the announcement, though in private they all congratulated me. I must appreciate the ‘highly cultured’ BJP cadre, though, who never let the party down. Our brave warriors went hammer and tongs at Sen’s daughter, digging up a bikini-clad pic, purportedly of hers, rounding off the whole thing with a nice, abusive caption. So long as the BJP flaunts such bravehearts, Hindu culture is safe. Of course, I condemned their action on TV but if you watch me closely, you might have detected that twinkle in my eye!
Life would be much more pleasant if all these Nobel laureates and Bharat Ratnas knew where to stop. Many people in my cultured party have pointed out that Sen was a Congress-type of economist clinging to old-fashioned theories unlike our young and vigorous Advaniji who is full of youthful zest, even today. Our leader is even today ready to advise NaMo on how to bag the ‘Peace Nobel’. Maybe it can even be presented to him at one of his favourite places in Gujarat, Naroda Patiya.
The Mumbai-based satirist is the creator of ‘Trishanku’; E-mail your secret diarist: vgangadhar70 AT gmail.com
Thank you to all those who have taken the trouble to read the article and share their thoughts. Out of the arguments made here, there are two that perhaps need answering. So here they go.
1. The first part of the article compares outcomes (relative percentages of population of the religions concerned) irrespective of the process that led to those outcomes - whether immigration, relatively faster population growth or conversions. This was for two reasons. One, to put the figure of 2.3 per cent in "numerical perspective", as the article itself explained. The second reason was that outcomes are ultimately what the crux of debate is about. The rest of the article in any case dealt with process - or conversions in this case, from both a contemporary and historical perspective.
2. Some commenters have tried to cast doubts on the reliability of Census 2001. Those who do this should bear in mind that Census 2001 was conducted by a BJP government. Considering the extreme importance that BJP gives to this issue, it would be reasonable to expect that IF it had perceived a problem with the methodology that was distorting the numbers, it would have fixed it. As the article mentioned, BJP or BJP-supported governments have been in power for 10 of the last 40 years, or about a quarter of the time, and the only reasonable conclusion one can arrive at is that any misreporting of numbers, real or perceived, would be marginal and hence, not of importance.
To all other arguments made, my answer is the following: Please read the article again, with particular focus on the quotations of Vivekananda and Monier Williams, and the history of the missionary efforts in Bengal and their outcome.
To Gangadhar, the ...
"Best way to get rid of impotent fury ..."
...must be to write the 'Secret Diary'!
The Diary rings so true!
Like every Bengali Chandan Mitra too takes pride in saying that G. K. Gokhale had paid compliment "What Bengal thinks today India thinks tomorrow" even while he wrote a piece sometime back in Outlook on bhadralok Bengali quisine.
I tried to find out when and where did the great Maharashtrian leader say so. In my earnestness, I even called Gokhale Institute, Poone seeking help. The person on the other end promised to do the needful. He, of course, told me he was unaware of such a statement by the great patriot. I haven't heard anything from the esteemed Institute in Poone.
I looked for Gokhale's Presidential address to the Indian National Congress at its Benares session in 1905. In course of his speech, Gokhale told, "What educated Indians think today, rest of India will think tomorrow." Some intelligent Bengali, I guess, distorted Gokhale's aforesaid statement and declared, "What Bengal thinks today, India thinks tomorrow." He deserved a Bharat Ratna for such mischief.
But Bengalis took it for granted. Every child writes it in his exams., repeats in debates, and public speaking. Every leader too do so. and every journalist and some MPs too throws it in their writings.
Mitra has qualified for a Bharat Ratna.
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