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|March 18, 2002|
Did he or did he not quote Newton's Third Law to justify the communal carnage in Gujarat?
Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi claims he did not. His critics say he did.
At issue is a tasteless remark sourced to Modi. He is accused of saying, in effect, 'Every action has an equal and opposite reaction,' to justify the communal riots that followed the Godhra incident.
Modi, of course, claims the quote was the 'so-called secular' media's 'figment of imagination'. He wrote an angry letter to the English daily that put him in touch with Newton during the riots, claiming he had never spoken to its reporter.
Could Modi be saying the truth? That the quote was 'invented' by the correspondent to indicate 'the attitude of the government'?
An insider at the said newspaper tells me it was cooked-up to 'fight the fascist forces and not to give them any space in our papers.'
Modi plans to approach the Press Council of India with his grievance.
Shankaracharya's VVIP devotees
Sangh Parivar members say he is the 'holiest man on earth.' Is it any surprise then that from Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, everyone was reverentially deferential towards Sri Jayendra Saraswati, the Shankaracharya of Kanchi?
They touched his feet, sought his blessings, and generally took pains to keep him in good humour. The Shankaracharya, unmindful of the temporal positions of his devotees, addressed the prime minister as plain Vajpayee: "Vajpayee, tu bhi mandir banana to chata hain, par kahta nahin hain (Vajpayee, even you want to build a temple, but cannot say it)".
As for Union Home Minister L K Advani, he was just another mere mortal. Thus, the Shankaracharya said, "Tera to mujhe pata hain, tu to chahata hain ki mandir wahin bane! (I know what you want, you want to build the temple at the same spot)"
Sangh Parivar ideologue and Swadeshi Jagran Manch convenor S Gurumurthy played an important role in getting the Shankaracharya to mediate in the Ayodhya dispute.
The Ostrich syndrome
The Vajpayee administration's goody-goody nature came under attack from some BJP members at an informal meeting of some select leaders.
Angry at what they called the 'one-sided coverage of the Gujarat riots in a section of the media and the general campaign of calumny against the Sangh Parivar,' they pointed out how 10 to 12 public sector organisations were patronising a foreign-owned television channel, which was in the lead of what they claimed was spewing venom against the ruling National Democratic Alliance.
Public sector organisations like UTI, LIC and Maruti, to name but only three, advertised heavily on the news channel, they said.
"It is inconceivable that any Congress administration would allow public organisations to fund their critics in the media in such a blatant fashion," said a senior BJP leader from Delhi.
"But it is unlikely that the public organisations will stop patronising the said channel," said a political observer. "Because, most in the government, like Vajpayee himself, suffers from the Ostrich syndrome!"
Illustrations: Uttam Ghosh
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