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25. Being ´Gandhian´ the Nirmala Deshpande way
Didi Deshpande´s USP and the competitive edge in this thriving anti-Hindu activist industry is her self-styled appellation- ´Gandhian´. Of course there is no law against anyone calling himself or herself ´Gandhian´. Sandeep Pandey, the other famous anti-Nation Magsaysay awardee, also describes his activism as ´Gandhian´; what does it mean to be ´Gandhian´ of the Deshpande, Pandey variety? For one, when I think of Gandhiji and Didi and Pandey all at the same time (although it is blasphemous to place the Mahatma in the same category as the other two), the first thing that comes to my mind is that they are all great walkers or ´marchers´.
The very least that Nirmala Deshpande and Sandeep Pandey could do to justify their appellation ´Gandhian´ is to march - Deshpande marched (figuratively, of course) to the US in 2003 carrying tales about the Gujarat riots to the US Government while dear Sandeep marched from Delhi to Multan for ´peace´ between India and Pakistan. Only the bill for the Dandi March did not amount to Rs 5,25,634.00 (five lakhs, twenty-five thousand, six hundred and thirty-four rupees, that´s right) which was the cost of Sandeep Pandey´s march to Multan. Some costly march, that! The expenses for Pandey´s ´peace´ march from Delhi to Multan included petrol and diesel expenses which totaled Rs. 11,896!!10 Didi Deshpande´s march to the US in autumn 2003 was of course sponsored by NRI-SAHI - in American dollars, forsooth! Gandhiji´s march cost nothing because he marched on his legs, which didn´t consume petrol and diesel. Gandhiji, unlike Sandeep Pandey, also did not distribute pamphlets as he marched nor did he arrange a photographer for photo-ops along the way to Dandi. To Nirmala Didi and Sandeep Pandey goes everlasting credit for re-defining Gandhian simplicity and the Gandhian march.
I saw Nirmala Deshpande for the first time in July 2001 when she descended on Chennai with her Tweedledee the good Admiral, a 150-strong all-male contingent from Pakistan, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, Abdul Ghani Lone, and the Dalai Lama to boot for a seminar on Jammu and Kashmir. This was barely a year since Pakistan´s invasion of Kargil and I fell in love with Didi when she asked the women present in the auditorium to tie rakhis to ´our dear brothers from across the border´. It was love at first sight because I was still bleeding from the memory of the mutilated bodies of Lt Sourabh Kalia and five others captured on 15 May 1999, brutally tortured and killed (our dear brothers from across the border had amused their jihadi souls by first torturing these young men and then killing them after 2 2 days , and then mutilating their dead bodies). Lt Kalia was barely 21 years old when he was tortured and killed by ´our dear brothers´, and the bodies were handed over to the Indian forces on 22nd June, tortured and mutilated beyond belief. I was still bleeding from the wound of having lost over 400 of our armed forces - officers from the Indian Army and Indian Air Force, junior commissioned officers and sepoys; and dear Didi was asking us all to tie rakhis to ´our dear brothers from across the border´. When Didi asked us all to tie rakhis to our dear Pakistani brothers I decided I would get to know her better. The last part of this chapter is, therefore, a labour of love and devoted to two of my most all- time favourite persons - Nirmala Deshpande and Sandeep Pandey who says his mission in life is to ´resolve the Kashmir issue´.
26. Didi goes to America
The Gujarat riots that followed the burning alive of Hindu men, women and children in Godhra in February 2002 provided our activists with a great opportunity for sponsored jaunts to the US on talking tours. Nirmala Deshpande was one of those who enjoyed a fully-paid-for-talking tour of the US in August- September 2003 and the non-resident Indian groups that accompanied her on the conducted tour were—
NRI -SAHI : Non -Resident Indians for a Secular and Harmonious India
Vaishnava Center For Enlightenment, Lansing, Michigan
CSDI: Coalition for a Secular and Democratic India
CAC: Coalition Against Communalism
IMC-USA: Indian Muslim Council, USA
SAPAC: South Asian Progressive Action Collective
FIACONA: Federation of Indian American Christians of North America
SAGAR: South Asian Group for Action & Reflection
WTO: World Tamil Organisation
GMAA: Gujarati Muslim Association of America
ICCFHR: International Christian Coalition for Human Rights
The list of Deshpande ´s friends and sponsors is self - explanatory. Nirmala Deshpande came to the US primarily to run squealing to the US Government asking them ´to do something´ about Narendra Modi, Hindutva, the RSS and the BJP.
´The European Union sent a team to Gujarat to find the facts — unfortunately your Government didn´t do that,´ said Nirmala Deshpande, projected by her cronies as the keeper of Gandhi´s legacy. Deshpande, made the remarks in an interview after speaking about cooperation and nonviolence to 400 Mount Madonna School students, parents and staff. The activist also made stops in Washington, D.C., and San Francisco as part of a month-long swing across the country.