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Rediff.com articles of Varsha Bhosle   

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Varsha Bhosle
(8th October 1956 – 8th October 2012)

I didn’t know she was Asha Bhosle’s daughter but would read her rediff.com articles regularly and send links to the same to everyone in my mailing list. I connected with those articles. They totally reflected my point of view about politics, Hindutva and Hinduism and its liberal traditions and the repeated onslaught it faced from various quarters. She did not even spare some of the idiotic VHP leaders, the symbolists, who had no idea of the true nature of Hindu culture.

While she initially rooted for Vajpayee, later she went on to expose the doublespeak and the lack of true commitment of the BJP led by Vajpayee to the idea of cultural nationalism, the foundation stone to build a confident nation of enlightened and united citizens, free from bigotry, caste, class, or religious discrimination, capable of dealing with its enemies with strong hands. She did not hold back when she realized that Vajpayee was just following into the footsteps of Nehru and called him a curse on the country. “India is under relentless attack ‘because’ this person is at the helm of affairs.” She suggested that ‘our tolerating of the PM must stop’. It’s around this time Khullamkhulla would carry anti-Vajpayee articles, calling him a lame-duck PM and various other names. These articles led to an IB investigation against the site.

She would deride the idiotic strains among the Hindutva proponents exhorting and pleading with them to reform and grow up and acknowledge the fault-lines within the community and repair them to save Hinduism. At the same time, she would fight with all her intellectual might and fury the powerful and well-connected media-savvy Christian groups who were carrying out a vicious campaign in the US against donations to Hindu organizations. She would use the might of her pen and extensive understanding of the conspiracy of the Vatican and the evangelists and expose them with her solid arguments and well-researched articles. She wouldn’t even spare the bigoted colleagues within her own media organization rediff.com. She was simply brilliant and fearless.

In those days, Prem Panickar and she were the only two journalists who stood up against the tyranny of the secularist media and countered its anti-Hindutva propaganda vehemently with solid facts and analysis in their rediff.com articles. They didn’t allow the falsehood to go unchallenged. And they didn’t seem to be doing it to become the darlings of the Hindutva establishment. It was their commitment to fair play and truth – the two important credos great journalists have always followed – that made them walk a path shunned by others. Prem Panickar started writing about cricket later and he did a great job of that as well, covering extensively the match-fixing investigations and trying his best to expose the hypocrisy of the cricketing establishment. 

The last article of Varsha Bhosle that I read was about caste discrimination. The spark came from some incident in Haryana or somewhere. She severely lambasted Hindus and Hinduism for letting this scourge continue. She almost disowned Hinduism in that article; such was her outrage and strong sense of justice and reformist zeal. She certainly was not driven by an agenda. She looked at whatever was going on around her and reacted strongly, sharply, passionately, fearlessly, using all her intellectual might and mental fury. She was an exceptional writer and journalist who felt the pain of the Hindus being undermined in their own homeland in the name of secularism and for vote bank considerations.

When I learnt she was Asha Bhosle’s daughter, I was surprised. You don’t associate intellect with artistic pursuits. It’s rare to have someone so intellectually and socially alert and active in a family of artistes. Her mother had every reason to be proud of her daughter. She may not have followed into her footsteps, but she excelled as a journalist and writer. Her death creates a void that can never be filled. Whatever I know of her, it was because of her columns. She was anything but a career journalist. She would write because she felt strongly about something. It seemed her mind was perpetually agitated about the happenings around her and she needed to react and to be heard. She was a sensitive soul. 

And the proponents of true Hindutva and cultural nationalism will feel her loss much more acutely. Their great warrior has fallen on the battlefield when she was needed the most. It should not have happened. She should not have gone like this.

And after she is gone I get to know that apart from our worldview, we shared certain other similarities as well.

May her soul rest in peace.

Rajesh Kumar Singh

http://www.rediff.com/news/varsha.htm