Category: India


What Kiran Rao said, came from a mother’s heart. A mother whose kid’s father belongs to other religion. and being a celebrity kid doesn’t mean you won’t be bullied. Kiran might be wrong, she might be worrying too much or thinking too much, but it’s cruel to judge what a mother feels.

But let’s face it. We Are Not The Safest Place for Children.

Our cities are overcrowded and polluted. Our villages lack infrastructure, some are ruined because of drought.

We talk of harmony but are ready to take on each other any instance. We are losing acceptance and difference of opinions and there is polarization in the society about anything and everything.

We see a rise in crimes against women and children and elderly. People are still being persecuted on basis of caste. Women are still disallowed from entering temples for being women. Communities force their eating habits on society. Writers and thinkers are killed for speaking out. And the “I don’t care” attitude still persists.

Youth is getting addicted to technology and losing touch with reality. Drinks, drugs and tobacco poses a threat. Traffic rules are broken every second and road-rage is becoming common. People still die of Dengue, Malaria, TB, Diarrhoea, hunger and cold.

Inflation is flattening the middle class. Rich and intellectuals have no time for poor and persecuted. Poor are barely surviving and slowly losing it.

Trees are cut down without a second thought, miners are destroying jungles, rivers are shrinking, seas are rising, sudden flash-floods are displacing thousands every year.

You will say this is happening all over the World. But should we not focus on the fact- this is happening in India of 21st century? Sure we have a great past, and strive for a glorious future, but we shall not forget the present that counts most.

Let’s face it. IT IS ALL HAPPENING. It has been happening not just for past few months, but for over a decade and half. What we see today is a result of what we all have been doing (or not doing) for years.

We are certainly not the safest and best place in the world. Perhaps we are on the brink. But as Jeff Daniels character in “The Newsroom”, Will McAvoy says in his oration about America, “we can be the best country in the world”

We still have people who care about what is happening around. We still have youngsters ready to die on the border, we still have women defying all odds. We still have people raising their voices against injustice. We still have HOPE.

And as long as hope is there, we can fight all insecurities. Doesn’t matter who is our leader. What matters is who we are and what we want to be.

If your brother is afraid of something should you mock him all the time? Or should you stand by his side, make him trust yourself and destroy his insecurities? Decide. Decide what is more Indian. To rage and destroy or to love and heal? to fire in defence or to kill for supremacy?

Let’s decide. Let’s make India a much better place than what it is- a Great country. A place where every mother would want her children to be.

  • Janhavee Moole, ABP Majha/ABP News.

एका सहका-यासोबत झालेली चर्चा. सुरूवात अर्थातच निवडणुकीवरून.

“सध्याच्या परिस्थितीविषयी काय वाटतं, काय होईल?”

मी – काय होईल, याचं उत्तर मिळेलच. आणि माझं मत काय आहे, यानं फरक पडणार नाही. लोक ज्याला कौल देतील, तो सत्तेत येईलच. लोकशाही आहे आपली, म्हणजे सर्व विचारधारांना स्वातंत्र्य आहे इथे आणि सर्वांना निवडणूक लढवण्याचा अधिकार आहे. हिंदुत्ववादी नेता निवडून येणं हेही लोकशाहीचंच लक्षण आहे. आणि लोकांचा कौल मोदींना असेल, तर त्यांना एक संधी किंवा थोडा संशयाचा फायदा देण्यात हरकत नाही. मोदी कदाचित बदलले असतीलही, पण मोदी सत्तेत आले, तर एक पत्रकार म्हणून आणि त्याहीपेक्षा एक स्त्री म्हणून, I have to be ready to face tough times.

“असं का? तू snoopget विषयी बोलतेयस का?”

“नाही. मोदींचं पंतप्रधान होणं म्हणजे अनेकांना स्फुरण देणारं आहे. त्यात आरएसएस, विश्व हिंदू परिषद, बजरंग दलसारखे लोक आहेतच, पण श्रीराम सेनेसारख्या संघटना आणि अमक्या मठाचे आचार्य, तमक्या मंदिराचे पुजारी, असे अनेक लोकही आले. त्यांच्या हिंदूधर्माविषयीच्या कल्पना आणि आडाखे तापदायक आहेत. खास करून बायकांसाठी. मुलींच्या कपड्यांवर बंधनं घालण्याची मागणी करणारे हे लोक, बायका पबमध्ये गेल्या की संस्कृती भ्रष्ट होते असा आकांत करतात. जणू संस्कृती ही बाईची जबाबदारी आहे. अशी माणसं शेफारली, तर कठीण आहे.”

चर्चेचा रंग साहजिकच बदलला मग. आणि माझं म्हणणं बरोबर असलं तर काही बायकांचं वागणंही चुकीचं असल्याचा सूर उमटला.

“म्हणजे तुला बायकांनी सिगरेट ओढणं मान्य आहे?”

“मला कोणीच सिगरेट ओढणं मान्य नाही. खास करून public placeमध्ये. फक्त स्वतःची नाही, समोरच्याचंही नुकसान करतो सिगरेट ओढणारा. आणि याउप्परही, कोणी सिगरेट ओढावी की नाही, हा ज्याचा त्याचा प्रश्न आहे. आता तिसरी गोष्ट, आपल्या संस्कृतीतही हुक्का, चिलीम, विडी आहेतच की. आणि गांजा ओढणारे साधू- ते व्यसन तर आणखीनच घातक.”

“पण कसं असतं, बायका अशा गोष्टी करतात, तेव्हा होणारा इम्पॅक्ट वेगळा असतो. म्हणजे एखाद्या घरात बापाला दारूचं व्यसन असेल, तर आई, तिच्या मुलाला सांगते, की वडिलांच्या दारूमुळे तिला किती त्रास झाला. मग मुलगा पुढे मोठं झाल्यावर दारूला हातही लावणार नाही, कारण त्याला दारूचे दुष्परिणाम माहित असतात. पण आईच जर दारू प्यायला लागली तर… ”

“अरे! म्हणजे पुरुषांना मोकळी सूट आणि बायकांभोवती कसलं कसलं बंधन.. मुलांवर संस्कार करण्याची जबाबदारी काय फक्त एकट्या आईचीच आहे? आणि मुळात दारू पिणं आणि दारूचं व्यसन असणं, या दोन वेगळ्या गोष्टी आहेत.

कुठल्याही गोष्टीचं प्रमाणाबाहेर सेवन वाईटच असतं. वाईन, रम, ब्रँडीसारखी पेयं कधीकधी आरोग्याला चांगलीही ठरतात. आपल्याकडे एखाद्याच्या हातात ग्लास दिसला, की लगेच त्याला दारुडा ठरवलं जातं, जे चुकीचं आहे.

मी दारूचं समर्थन करत नाहीए. पण दारू प्यायची की नाही, कोणतं ड्रिंक ‘दारू’ आहे आणि कोणतं नाही, हे वैयक्तिक प्रश्न आहेत. आणि एखाद्या बाईला आवडत असेल ड्रिंक घ्यायला, तर लगेच ती चवचाल, भ्रष्ट असल्याचं लेबल लावणं आणि आपली संस्कृती बुडाली असं म्हणणं मात्र साफच चुकीचं आहे.

मान्य, की काही विशिष्ट कालावधीत म्हणजे conception, pregnancy, बाळाच्या जन्मानंतरचा काही काळ, मूल लहान असेपर्यंत आईनं खाण्यापिण्यावर बंधनं पाळायला हवीत. आरोग्यशास्त्राचा आधार आहे त्याला. पण म्हणून सर्रास मनाई करायची आणि ‘पिणाऱ्या’ बायकांना ‘वाईट्ट’ ठरवायचं??? सोशल ड्रिंकिंगची कल्पनाच माहित नसल्यानं असं थेट मत मांडलं जातं. एखाद्या घरात ड्रिंक्स घेत असतील, आईनं स्वतः सर्व्ह केलं, तर उलट मुलांना कदाचित त्यात काही अप्रुप वाटणार नाही.They might not remain curious about it. Again, it’s a personal matter. कोणी पुरुष दारू पितो, तेव्हा त्याला धर्मभ्रष्ट करत नाहीत, मग बायकांना वेगळा न्याय कशासाठी? काही बंधनं जरूर पाळावीत, पण फक्त बायकांनीच का?”

“मला कसलंही व्यसन नाही, आणि माझ्या बायकोनं व्यसन केलेलं मला चालणार नाही”

“गुड. हा तुझा निर्णय आहे, चांगलाच आहे. पण तो इतरांवर लादू नको.”

आमची चर्चा तिथेच थांबली. पण माझ्या विचारांचं चक्र पुढे सरकलं.

मोदी सत्तेत आले, तर देशाचा विकास होईल न होईल हा प्रश्न अलाहिदा. पण अशा दांभिक विचारसरणीची माणसं डोकं वर काढतील, हे नक्की.

ताप आहे डोक्याला.

योगायोग पाहा ना? मदर्स डे आहे आज.. आईवर आणि पर्यायनं स्त्रियांवर महानतेच्या नावाखाली किती ओझं टाकलं जातं, याची जाणीव करून देणारा दिवस.

पण खरंच, आदर्श आई कोण हे कसं ठरवायचं? एखादी आई केवळ आईसारखी दिसत नाही, वागत नाही, म्हणून ती वाईट ठरते का? मुलांवर प्रेम, मुलांसाठी त्याग हे केवळ आईनंच करावं अशी अपेक्षा का केली जाते? अनेक आदर्श आया, आपल्या आंधळ्या प्रेमापोटी मुलांचं नुकसान करतात, ते योग्य आहे का?

मी अशा अनेक मुलींना ओळखते, ज्या रेग्युलरली पबमध्ये जातात, सिगरेटही ओढतात पण तरीही, न चुकता देवळात जातात, नवरात्रीत उपवास करतात, त्या हिंदू नाहीत का? धार्मिक नाहीत का? आणि त्या चांगल्या माता बनणार नाहीत का?

माझी संस्कृती, माझा धर्म सिगरेट ओढणाऱ्या किंवा दारू पिणाऱ्या बाईमुळे संकटात आलेला नाही. पण दंगलखोरांना घरातले सिलेंडर्स पुरवणाऱ्या आणि चिथावणी देणाऱ्या बायकांमुळे मात्र तो भ्रष्ट झाला आहे.

RIN Uprising memorial Colaba, Mumbai

RIN Uprising memorial Colaba, Mumbai

On a busy street in Colaba, Mumbai, just next to the MSLTA courts and opposite to the Taj Wellington Mews, a small garden takes you back in decades. There, in midst of all greenery, stands a staute, Rock Solid frame of a Sailor.

This is the memorial of an inspiring episode in the saga of Indian Freedom struggle- an uprising, that shook the basic foundation of the British Empire and yet, it is relatively unknown to the masses- the Royal Indian Navy Mutiny or Bombay Mutiny, as it is known, or the February 18 revolt, as many would like to call it.

This is the story of the brave young Indians who showed undoubting courage to take on the rulers. Not just common Mumbaikars, students and workers but Naval ratings and servicemen in other cities too stood by their side and their voices stunned the rulers.

The Beginning

It started in the winter of 1945, when the world was just getting to terms with effects of 2nd Great War. Campaign for freedom of India was at its peak and the country was going through turmoil because of widespread movement for Pakistan.

It is in these days, Balai Chandra Dutt along with a small group of naval ratings dreamt of doing something for the country. Dutt was a young Telegraphist aboard the HMIS Talwar- a shore establishment of the British Royal Indian Navy which acted as a Signals School and trained officers and ratings of the RIN in communications and radar. A friend’s journeys through Malay Peninsula and close contact with the Azad Hind Sena Members had inspired the spirit of Nationalism among them. The young boys decided to make their voices heard and on December 1st, when the Navy day celebrations were on, they expressed their emotions through slogans like “Jai Hind” painted on walls of the ship.

It took some time for the British to realise who was behind the graffiti and anti-empire literature distributed across. But finally when they did, Dutt was arrested. The ratings were unhappy about the arrest. over the years, they had suffered ill-treatment and there was simmering discontent over the poor service conditions and humiliation of Indian Leaders by British officers. Dutt’s detention triggered a unanimous call for strike among the Indian ratings on Talwar. several other ships joined in and what started as a non-violent ‘hartal’, turned into a full-fledged revolt.

The Events unfold

On February 18th, the first day of strike, sailors took over Talwar. Since it was like a wireless communication centre, they could spread the word to other ships and establishments. By next day, several other ships in Mumbai, then Bombay, and other ports, notably Karachi joined in the revolt.

In the dusk hours of February 19th, Naval Central Strike Committee (NCSC) was elected. Leading Signalman MS Khan and Petty Officer Telegraphist Madan Singh were unanimously elected as the President and Vice-President. It should be noted that, the choice was made consciously to indicate the religious unity among the rebels.

RIN Revolt

RIN Revolt – March on Mumbai street

The White Ensign was taken down and revolting ships hoisted three flags tied together- those of Congress, Muslim League and CPI. Workers from all ranks, some officers in Castle Barracks and residents of Bombay joined in. on 22nd and 23rd, there were mass agitations on Hornby Road- today’s Dadabhai Novroji Road- near Victoria Terminus (today’s CST station. the demonstrations turned violent and officers opened fire on the ratings.

Indian people, already gripped by the heroics of INA, supported the strike. On 20th February, a general strike was called in Bombay, which later spread to many other cities. The ratings in Calcutta, Madras, Karachi and Vizag also went on strike with the slogans “Strike for Bombay”, “Release 11,000 INA prisoners” and “Jai Hind“.

Many units of the Royal Indian Air Force and Local Police forces went on strike. Naval officers began calling themselves Indian national Navy and offered left-handed salutes. 1000 RIAF men from the Marine Drive and Andheri Camps also joined in sympathy. By the end of the day Baloch and Gurkhas in Karachi had refused to fire on striking sailors.

The Rulers React

Meanwhile, The British government was shell-shocked., Prime Minister Clement Atlee had to order the Royal navy to clench the revolt. British destroyers from Trincomalee in Ceylon (Sri Lank) sailed to Mumbai.

The Flag Officer commanding the RIN, Admiral J.H. Godfrey (yes, the same one on whom Ian Flemming’s “M”- the boss of James Bond is based), gave ultimatum on air “Submit or perish”. A British Bomber planes flew over Bombay Harbour threatening to destroy the mutineers.

Defeat in Karachi 

The clashes between the 2nd British Battalion and ratings holding the Hindustan reached to a tragic conclusion for the mutineers. Sailors decided to hold on and fight back. but by late morning, they had no option but to surrender. Extensive damage had been done to Hindustans superstructure and there were many casualties among the Indian sailors.

Reaction from Political leaders

Both Congress and Muslim League were not prepared for the revolt and got it all wrong. While the movement was appreciated by the masses, no national leader or political party came forward in support. (In fact, Mahatma Gandhi condemned the riots and revolt in his statement on 3rd March 1946)

Only two Leaders –  Aruna Asaf Ali and Achyut Patwardhan assisted the revolutionaries, and Aruna attracted criticism from Gandhi for it. Further, Congress and Muslim league tried to convince the sailors to end their strike

End of Revolt

The leaderless Strikers were disheartened with such political apathy and under the rising pressure, had no option but to give way.  On the evening of February 23rd, after a meeting between Vallab Bhai Patel and MS Khan, President of (NCSC), the revolt was called off. Mohmmed Ali Jinnah supported the action.

Damage to the Empire

The revolt lasted only for 6 days, but was enough to shake the British Empire. It was largest revolt by any of the imperial naval units.  In all, 74 Ships, 20 fleets and 22 units of RIN went on strike.  The Navy was heart of Briton’s success. It was the centre of their pride, the reason for their rise as traders and then rulers around the world.  The same ships and boats had now become a threat.

The World War had hurt the British empire and they were running out of funds. After INA’s heroics and Naval strike, British rulers knew, their armed forces were becoming less and less trustworthy.

Prime Minister Clement Atlee knew the empire would not hold on for long and within two months, on 16th May, Atlee’s Cabinet mission promulgated the plan to decolonize India that paved the way for Independence.

What Happened to the Heroes?

Despite the assurances of the good services, widespread arrests were made. Strikers had to face court martial and most of them were dismissed from service, never to be recalled into either Indian or Pakistani Navies after independence.  The political apathy continued even in the later decades. Till date, History Text books don’t talk much about the revolt.

The recognition finally came in the 1970s when the RIN Revolt was renamed as Naval Uprising and the mutineers were honoured by the government. The Indian Navy named two of its ships after Madan Singh and B.C Dutt. A memorial is built in Mumbai.

Off the main revolutionaries, B C Dutt joined Free Press Journal on S. Sadanand’s offer, but later quit to join an Advertising firm. He spent his years in Mumbai and wrote the book – Mutiny of the Innocents.

Madan Singh, Vice-President of NCSC too joined Free Press Journal as a political correspondent. Within a year, he too quit the job and started business all over the World.  One of his colleagues in the Navy, C.P Ramachandran went on to be an exemplary journalist as the Deputy Editor of the Hindustan Times.

Nothing is known about NCSC president MS Khan- and many others who shed there sweat and blood.

– Janhavee Moole