Why I won’t celebrate India’s independence Public art spending freeze is possible
Aug. 15 will mark India’s 70th anniversary as a free country. That was the day in 1947 when it emerged from its long, dark, winter of almost 1,000 years of foreign rule.
The first invasion of India, with the intent of permanent occupation and destruction of its Hindu ethos, was made by the Arabs in 710 AD.
After that came Afghan, Turkic and Central Asian barbarians who committed untold horrors on a largely civilized and peaceful people.
India still lives with the scars of these invasions, but more on that later.
From the 16th century onwards, it was the turn of the Europeans, who ostensibly came for trade, but reduced India from being one of the most prosperous places on earth, to one of the poorest.
First came the Portuguese, followed by the Dutch, French and finally the British Raj, that lasted 200 years. India’s independence 70 years ago came at a huge price and left a permanent scar that may never go away.
The 7,000-year-old Indian Jinnah, ordered a so-called “Direct Action Day” which ended in the killing of Hindus in the city of Calcutta, to blackmail the secular Indian National Congress to concede to his demand for the “Partition of India”.
This so he could carve out an Islamic state, claiming Muslims could not live under the rule of non-Muslims, particularly the supposedly “unclean” Hindus.
On that day Jinnah unleashed his thugs in Calcutta to an orgy of death, slaughtering Hindus without mercy. Thousands were killed.
A Hindu reprisal against Muslims is what Jinnah was hoping for and he got what he had planned.
Days before the riots, Jinnah told a press conference, as reported by American journalist Margaret Bourke-White in her book, Halfway to Freedom: “We will either have a divided India or a destroyed India.”
Both Jawaharlal Nehru and Mahatma Gandhi succumbed to Jinnah’s blackmail.
By the time the massacres were over, few Hindus or Sikhs were left alive in Lahore, the ancient Hindu city believed to be named after “Luv” the son of Lord Ram.
While Muslims who moved to Pakistan from India came of their own accord, Hindus and Sikhs did not leave their homes on their own account. Many were hunted down and killed or chased away.
Just two years after the world had said “Never Again,” what happened to the Jews in Germany happened to Hindus and Sikhs in the new Islamic state.
It is politically incorrect to say so, but the facts stare us in our face.
On Aug. 15, this Muslim Indo-Canadian will not celebrate my motherland’s amputation.
I leave that for the fiction writers, who live in the rarefied air where lies are passed off as goodwill gestures. email@example.com
If you’re angry about the new $500,000 piece of “public art” on the Trans-Canada Hwy. coming into Calgary, take note — we as taxpayers have an opportunity to do something about such spending.
Yes, common sense has established a small beachhead on the shores of dysfunction known as city hall.
This past Friday, city Coun. Sean Chu tweeted a story about the new $500,000 art installation and asked, “Does this wastefulness burn you too?”
The Canadian Taxpayers Federation responded to him on Twitter by asking, “Will you table a motion to suspend public art spending until the economy recovers?”
We suggested a drop in the city’s unemployment rate and food bank usage could be used to help determine when Calgary’s economy had recovered.
Make no mistake, the best solution would be for the city to let the private sector take the lead on paying for public art in Calgary — perhaps through corporate sponsorship, individual donations and volunteers working together to make public art.
However, in the short-term, convincing council to hold off on public art spending while our economy recovers is a realistic step in the right direction.
Coun. Chu responded to our request by noting that he had “tried that as amendment but didn’t pass, sadly.”
Chu was referring to an attempt back in 2015 to halt spending on public art while Calgary’s economy was mired in a recession.
When we asked Chu to try again, he agreed. Great! Those of us who are disappointed with council’s decision to continue to spend millions on questionable public art each year — while raising property taxes — don’t have to just sit around and fume.
We have a chance to do something about the problem.
Between now and the next council meeting in September, we need to call, email, tweet and send Facebook messages to the mayor and city councillors and convince just seven of them to back Chu’s motion.
Fortunately, there are signs that we can make this happen.
Councillors Magliocca and Sutherland have also expressed varying degrees of disappointment with the new piece of public art
Coun. Peter Demong might also support Chu’s pending motion.
After all, Demong tabled a similar one back in February 2015, but it was outvoted 9-5.
However, a lot has changed since early 2015.
Businesses have shed tens of thousands of jobs and thousands of Calgarians have received pay reductions.
It’s very difficult to argue the city should spend millions on public art while food banks have line-ups stretched out the door.
Not to mention, the most recent ‘public art’ exhibit has resulted in a huge backlash.
Not only are people disappointed with such luxury spending, many are aghast that the city paid someone from New York City to design it.
If we can mobilize the frustration that’s out there into action, we can convince seven other council members to vote with Chu and put a freeze on public art spending.
So share this story with your frustrated friends — show them there’s hope.
With a bit of effort, we can bring some common sense to city hall.