2014 election campaign

This election is a fight for honour and revenge, Amit Shah tells Jat audience in riot areas

Anti-Muslim rhetoric runs high as the BJP election manager in Uttar Pradesh addresses meetings in areas torn apart by riots in September.

On Thursday, SDJ high school in Raajhar village, 40 km from Muzaffarnagar in Uttar Pradesh, was preparing to receive an important visitor. The teachers were stringing up marigold garlands in the computer labs. Folk musicians were singing raginis that satirically spoke of the emasculation of all men under the present government.

The chief guest arrived four-and-a half hours late. “I got delayed because of the broken roads in the area,” said Amit Shah, the Bharatiya Janata Party’s election manager in Uttar Pradesh. “When Narendra Modi comes to power, each village will have proper roads and electricity.”

Shah, 50, is the former Home Minister of Gujarat who has been accused in a fake encounter case and was asked by the Supreme Court of India in 2010 to stay away from the state to prevent him from influencing witnesses. He was accompanied to the meeting by BJP legislator Suresh Rana, who was imprisoned for 12 days for his role in precipitating riots in Muzaffarnagar and Shamli in August and September that left 49 people dead.

Since the Raajhar event was billed as a private meeting with the Jat community organised by Amit Pawar, an industrialist who owns mines in Indonesia, Shah did not use the microphone to address the gathering of 400 Jat men for the fear of violating the model code of conduct.

Raajhar village is the headquarters of the Batteesaa Khaps, a sub-group of the Jat community that dominates this sugarcane belt of western Uttar Pradesh. Western Uttar Pradesh has 25 out of the 80 seats in Uttar Pradesh. Jats have been the traditional vote base of Ajit Singh’s Rashtra Lok Dal. But this September, after the communal riots in the area between Jats and Muslims, the Jat vote began to shift towards the BJP, which won only 10 seats in the 2009 Lok Sabha elections in the state.

In the wake of the riots, the BJP not only managed to repackage the Jat identity into that of a larger Hindu one but also deflect attention from the bad governance of its own candidates. It fanned the demand for the withdrawal of the 356 cases against members of the Jat community for rioting, polarising voters on communal lines.

Though the crowd applauded as Shah blamed the bad roads for his unpunctuality, his explanation didn’t cut much ice. After all, the constituency has been ruled by BJP MLA Hukum Singh for over two decades. Singh is one of the 16 political leaders accused of sparking off the Muzaffarnagar riots, and was the Lok Sabha candidate for whom Shah is campaigning.

Suddenly, one man shouted, “We have only two demands: there should be a separate law to ban same gotra self-choice marriages under the Hindu law and all cases against Jats in the communal riots must be withdrawn.”

Shah raised his hand to reassure the man. “For the integrity of this community, the answer is Modi government,” he said. “Not the government who gives compensation to those who killed Jats.”

Shah added, “This is the time to avenge. The leaders standing next to me” – he pointed to Suresh Rana and Hukum Singh – “have also been humiliated. A man can sleep hungry but not humiliated. This is the time to take revenge by voting for Modi. This will defeat both the governments: the one at the Centre and UP government who lathi-charged and tortured our leaders.”

The honour theme spilled over into the next meeting in the Raja Rani banquet hall in Shamli district.  This time, Shah was joined by Ajit Singh, the headman of Lissad, one of villages worst affected in the riots, who stands accused of fanning the violence. Several khap leaders of the Jat community were also present.

The meeting started with a request from Udayvir Pehelka, an octogenarian Jat leader: “If Amit Shah has come to talk to us, he must promise that he will help us withdraw all the false cases against the Jats and secondly, address a national problem, which is to control the population of this country, else soon enough votes from our community will not count and only” – he stopped to make a sign indicating a beard under his chin –  “they will be present everywhere”.

When Shah took the stage, he declared, “This election is the election of honour and revenge.” He said that women in UP were not safe. “And when we protect them, we are called rioters because Mullah Mulayam is busy defending the minority”, he said, making a reference to the support Mulayam Singh’s Samajwadi Party gives to the area’s Muslims.

Shah quoted a Narendra Modi’s tweet, promising “to stop pink revolution and start green revolution”. The pink revolution referred to the slaughter of cows and animals, he explained. “Beggars have turned millionaires by running butcher houses,” Shah claimed, taking another swipe at the area’s Muslim community.

He ended by invoking Pakistan, rhetoric that always plays well for a community that sends large numbers of members to the security forces. “When Narendra Modi comes to power on May 16, Pakistan will learn a lesson for beheading our three soldiers,” Shah said. “Uttar Pradesh has always played a role in change. This time western Uttar Pradesh must ensure that Modi comes to power!”

 
We welcome your comments at letters@scroll.in.
Sponsored Content  BY 

Harvard Business School’s HBX brings the future of business education to India with online programs

HBX is not only offering courses online, but also connecting students to the power of its network.

The classic design of the physical Harvard Business School (HBS) classroom was once a big innovation – precisely designed teaching amphitheaters laid out for every student to participate from his or her seat with a “pit” in the center of the room from which professors orchestrate discussions analyzing business cases like a symphony lead. When it came to designing the online experience of HBX—the school’s digital learning initiative—HBS faculty worked tirelessly to blend these tenets of the HBS classroom pedagogy with the power of new technology. With real-world problem solving, active learning, and social learning as its foundation, HBX offers immersive and challenging self-paced learning experiences through its interactive online learning platform.

Reimagining digital education, breaking the virtual learning mold

Typically, online courses follow a one-way broadcast mode – lectures are video recorded and reading material is shared – and students learn alone and are individually tested. Moving away from the passive learning model, HBX has developed an online platform that leverages the HBS ‘case-based pedagogy’ and audio-visual and interaction tools to make learning engaging.

HBX courses are rarely taught through theory. Instead, students learn through real-world problem-solving. Students start by grappling with a business problem – with real world data and the complexity in which a business leader would have to make a decision – and learn the theory inductively. Thus even as mathematical theories are applied to business situations, students come away with a greater sense of clarity and perspective, whether it is reading a financial report, understanding why a brand’s approach to a random sample population study may or may not work, or how pricing works.

HBX Platform | Courses offered in the HBX CORe program
HBX Platform | Courses offered in the HBX CORe program

“Learning about concepts through real-life cases was my favorite part of the program. The cases really helped transform abstract concepts into observable situations one could learn from. Furthermore, it really helped me understand how to identify situations in which I could use the tools that HBX equipped me with,” says Anindita Ravikumar, a past HBX participant. India’s premier B-school IIM-Ahmedabad has borrowed the very same pedagogy from Harvard. Learning in this manner is far more engaging, relatable, and memorable.

Most lessons start with a short 2-3 minute video of a manager talking about the business problem at hand. Students are then asked to respond on how they would handle the issue. Questions can be in the form of either a poll or reflections. Everyone’s answers are then visible to the ‘classroom’. In the words of Professor Bharat Anand, Faculty Chair, HBX, “This turns out to be a really important distinction. The answers are being updated in real-time. You can see the distribution of answers, but you can also see what any other individual has answered, which means that you’re not anonymous.” Students have real profiles and get to know their ‘classmates’ and learn from each other.

HBX Interface | Students can view profiles of other students in their cohort
HBX Interface | Students can view profiles of other students in their cohort

Professor Anand also says, “We have what we call the three-minute rule. Roughly every three minutes, you are doing something different on the platform. Everyone is on the edge of their seats. Anyone could be called on to participate at any time. It’s a very lean forward mode of learning”. Students get ‘cold-called’ – a concept borrowed from the classroom – where every now and then individuals will be unexpectedly prompted to answer a question on the platform and their response will be shared with other members of the cohort. It keeps students engaged and encourages preparedness. While HBX courses are self-paced, participants are encouraged to get through a certain amount of content each week, which helps keep the cohort together and enables the social elements of the learning experience.

More than digital learning

The HBS campus experience is valued by alumni not just for the academic experience but also for the diverse network of peers they meet. HBX programs similarly encourage student interactions and opportunities for in-person networking. All HBXers who successfully complete their programs and are awarded a credential or certificate from HBX and Harvard Business School are invited to the annual on-campus HBX ConneXt event to meet peers from around the world, hear from faculty and business executives, and also experience the HBS campus near Cambridge.

HBXers at ConneXt, with Prof. Bharat Anand
HBXers at ConneXt, with Prof. Bharat Anand

Programs offered today

HBX offers a range of programs that appeal to different audiences.

To help college students and recent graduates prepare for the business world, HBX CORe (Credential of Readiness) integrates business essentials such as analytics, economics, and financial accounting. HBX CORe is also great for those interested in an MBA looking to strengthen their application and brush up their skills to be prepared for day one. For working professionals, HBX CORe and additional courses like Disruptive Strategy, Leading with Finance, and Negotiation Mastery, can help deepen understanding of essential business concepts in order to add value to their organizations and advance their careers.

Course durations range from 6 to 17 weeks depending on the program. All interested candidates must submit a free, 10-15 minute application that is reviewed by the HBX admissions team by the deadlines noted on the HBX website.

For more information, please review the HBX website.

This article was produced by the Scroll marketing team on behalf of HBX and not by the Scroll editorial team.