Open thread

Shutting down for the night. If you read something good — left, right, center, whatever — do put it in the tip-box that is the comment field. Be safe.

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Oh the sorry state of public discourse

*shrug*

In closed minds, ugly things fester.

The peculiar genius of the foot in mouth brigade

Who else but the BJP could, through one of its battery of loose cannons, manage to hijack the parliamentary agenda, the upcoming budget and even an actual terrorist attack, and get condoms to trend nationally on social media?

Elsewhere, that factual report on the goings on at JNU, with its verified details of cigarettes smoked, beer drunk, condoms utilised and naked dances performed and enjoyed is inspiring many with envy. Like, so:

Deaths foretold…

What follows, are clips from a masterly dissection of the RSS gameplan, and a clearly voiced warning of the shape of things to come (The clips are intended only to highlight certain thoughts that appear particularly relevant to our times; it is not meant to selectively quote — please read the piece in its entirety. Emphasis, where it occurs, mine):

THE situation in India today is characterised and manifested by creeping fascism. Never before in our history have we been confronted by such an almost invisible phenomenon….

Today the creeping fascism of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) is coming upon us not as gradually as imperialism did, nor as suddenly as did the Emergency. Its spread is being calibrated adroitly by seven faceless men of the RSS, the RSS “high comma nd”. We barely feel it….

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Relative values

JNU, says a group of artists and intellectuals, is a sign of “lurking danger”.

“We think it to be a well-planned conspiracy by anti-national forces and we believe that those raising such slogans are no less dangerous in their thinking than the terrorist Maulana Masood Azhar,” the appeal which has been endorsed by actors Anupam Kher and Paresh Rawal, journalist Swapan Dasgupta, former Lok Sabha Secretary General Subhash Kashyap, economist Bibek Debroy, lyricist and adman Prasoon Joshi, among others, said.

The intellectuals take on the issue of free speech, and ask:

“How can this be called freedom of expression when it questions the supreme judicial decision….”

I feel a mild attack of whataboutery coming on. If questioning the Supreme Court’s decision is wrong, how about “the tyranny of the unelected”? Not to forget that one of the most consistent critics of the SC’s Afzal Guru judgment is the PDP — the party the BJP has been wooing for a share of power in Kashmir.

Malice in blunderland

Bhim Bassi, the gift that goes on giving:

Elsewhere:

New Delhi, Feb. 18: Delhi police today treated BJP MLA O.P. Sharma, accused of assaulting a CPI supporter at the Patiala House Courts on Monday, to a free vegetarian meal from a Connaught Place restaurant and several cups of coffee before arresting and letting him off within 15 minutes.

“He is a high-profile legislator and that’s why we ordered food from the restaurant. It was just a human gesture,” said an officer of Tilak Marg Police station where the hospitality was extended to Sharma, adding he “was not an ordinary person”.

The police station is barely 500 meters from the Patiala House Courts where Sharma was caught on camera thrashing rights activist and CPI supporter Ameeque Jamei. The violence had occurred ahead of JNU students’ union president Kanhaiya Kumar’s appearance, with several teachers, students and journalists also beaten up by a group of lawyers who yesterday brutally assaulted Kanhaiya.

Today, Sharma spent nearly eight hours at the police station – from 11.10am till 7pm – where he was made to sit in the chamber of the officer-in-charge. “We recorded his statement and arrested him but he was released on bail after 15 minutes,” said the officer.

Another officer said meals were not served to those called for questioning and that they were taken to a designated room for quizzing, not seated in the officer-in-charge’s chamber. “The person calls friends or family members for food, though tea/coffee are offered as a courtesy. Food is served only in the lock-up.”

Deputy commissioner Jatin Narwal – accused of being a mute spectator along with his teams during the violence on Monday and yesterday – visited the police station thrice today to ensure “Sharma was well taken care of”, an officer at the police station said. “I do not want to comment,” Narwal said, asked whether Sharma was being given VIP treatment.

But then, OP Sharma — merely a ruling party legislator and thug, not a scary student with the full might of various anti-India forces behind him — is obviously incapable of influencing the investigation and witnesses and all that.

JNU lecture series: Nivedita Menon

Listen. And note, in passing, the number of students who turn up to listen to a professor share an idea, a thought — passing up on the simple pleasures of life such as dancing naked and having sex: