Talibanisation of India continues unabated with the latest fatwa against the all girls band in Kashmir. Following a weak government at the centre, it seems the fundamentalists are getting away with all their zealot ideas. The country was stunned when the grand Mufti at Kashmir issued a fatwa against the grils’ band from the valley. Apart from lip sympathy, the Centre and the state government remained mute spectators as the girls went silent.
Only when the scared girls refused to sign again, the Kahsmir government made some token arrests. People who threatened the girls on the social media were arrested. But what happens to the man, who is pulling the strings. Why is the Centre, state government is quiet on the issue, why is that they are scared to take action ?
All Girl band and Aurangzebi diktat
Ironically if in a secular state, the all girl bands has been silence by the fundamentalists, nothing of such is happening to an all women group called Ghazal Band in the Islamic state of Iran. Sahar Lotfi says she has searched a lot to find out if Islam considers music as taboo for women but has not found anything. “Nothing has been written about it,” says the lead singer of ‘Ghazal’, an all-woman Sufi music troupe from Iran. The group is in Delhi to perform at the ICCR Sufi Festival and is clearly shocked by the controversy that has caused the all-girl rock band from Kashmir to call it quits.
Lotfi had her own reasons to look up religious scriptures to find out whether women are indeed prohibited from playing music in public. She and five members of her group are also used to restrictions on performances back home. For instance, if a woman sings alone, it can only be for an exclusively female audience. However, if she plays an instrument alone, it can be before a mixed group. “These are unwritten rules that society makes. Can’t the Kashmiri girls even perform before an all-woman audience?” Lotfi asks, unable to suppress the surprise and concern in her voice. “I don’t like being told what to do,” says Lotfi, who is dressed in a black top, trousers and a sweater, and is just back from shopping at Fabindia. In Iran, she says, the gender restrictions on the audience have not stopped girl bands from mushrooming. “They are growing every day,” she says.
Some Congressmen feel that the greatest hindrance to reform is the Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh himself. Apart from the Indo-US nuke deal, there’s absolutely nothing that the Prie Minister can talk about. Some feel that with the general elections knocking at the door Dr Manmohan Singh has lost all interest in governance. “He seem to be merely biding his time,” a Congress leader said. The reforms moves taken by the government was being viewed as efforts to deflect attention from the crisis. People are wondering how would Walmart do business in India. “It needs at 20 to 30,000 square feet to set shop. If they try take such a place in Connaught Pace, Walmart would go bankrupt paying rent. If it is in Ghazaibad or Gurgaon how many people would drive all the way to Walmart for a discount of Rs 40 ?”
But then, Manmohan Singh in the final phase of his innings has sent a signal to US that he did all that he could do.
Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and expressed his unhappiness over the Centre’s refusal to provide gas to the state at the same price at which it is given to Mumbai and Delhi. “It was a very good meeting and we had a long discussion during which several different issues came up. The Prime Minister gave his good wishes for the development of Gujarat and the success of the new government. I gave an assurance that Gujarat will give full support to all measures taken for the welfare of the people,” Modi said. In a memorandum submitted to the Prime Minister, Modi demanded that Gujarat be provided gas at the same rate as places like Delhi and Mumbai. “A legal battle is on between us and the government of India. Gujarat is not given gas at the price at which Delhi and Mumbai get it. We had gone to court and won the case.
Despite this the order was not implemented for six months and we filed a contempt petition,” Modi said. ”Instead of accepting this order, the government of India went to the Supreme Court to delay the process. I have expressed my unhappiness to the Prime Minister over this,” he said. Is the PM listening, more importantly can he do anything without the clearance from the Congress high command ?
UP's tycoon tourism
The appointment of Sudip Sen, a Nazrul Geeti singer from Kolkata, as the chairman of the UP Tourism Corporation in Lucknow has created a flutter in the state. The need to appoint a person from a different state ignoring the claims of party leaders in the state has kicked up a storm in Samajwadi Party.
The election commission website shows that Sudip Sen had given a sum of Rs 1.5 crore to the Samajwadi Party during the last assembly elections. Party spokesman Rajendra Choudhury claimed that Sudip Sen was a senior party leader, who lived in Lucknow and his appointment was justified. Others in the party are apparently seething and has taken this appoinment as an insult. Incidentally Sudip Sen and his wife Aditi are based in Kolkata where they run a music and dance institute called ‘Basanti Bidya Bithi’. Their institute offers courses in Rabindrasangeet, Kathak and Odissi dances, vocal classical music and Nazrul Geeti, thumri, ghazal, bhajan and other forms. Sen is president while Aditi is secretary of the institute, which was started by his grandfather, the late Manoranjan Sen.