Wednesday, 19 February 2020

The ''Vijaya Stambha'', Chittorgarh Fort, Rajasthan, built in mid 15th century - a Rajput monument

Vijaya stambha, Chattigarh Fort, Rajasthan/
Vijaya stambha, Chattigarh Fort,
The Vijaya Stambha, an imposing victory monument within Chittorgarh  Fort in Chittorgarh, Rajasthan, India was first built by the Mewar king  Rana Kumbha  in 1448 to commemorate his victory over the combined armies of Malwa and Gujarat led by Mahmud Khilji. The tower is dedicated to Vishnu. It is a good example of Rajputana architecture that gives due attention to minute details in stone works, be they marbles stones or sand stones.  
Though Vijaya Stambha is a common name widely used by the local folks, actually it is  dedicated to  Hindu God  Vishnu. Hence it is a Kirttistambha or Kirti Stambha, a "tower of fame". This odd-looking 9-story tower is adorned  with beautiful  sculptures of  many Hindu deities around.  There are around 157 narrow spiral  steps leading to the terrace at the upper level.  Here, from the  balconies  you get a fine view of the whole town down below.  The tall tower is a great sight when it is  illuminated in the evening. The effect is quite absorbing. It is a good example of religious pluralism practiced by the Hindu rulers like Rajputs. The topmost story features an image of the Jain Goddess, Padmavati and images from the Ramayana and Mahabharata epics. Ruler Rana  Kumbha also had carved the word "Allah" in Arabic nine times in the third story and eight times in the eight. It shows the secular attitude of the Hindu kings, unlike other rulers who follow other religion.
Vijaya stambha, Chattigarh Fort, Rajasthan. Guidestone
There are stone inscriptions on the upper levels of the tower. They contain details about the genealogy of the rulers of Chittaur  and their contributions.  The man who designed it was Sutradhar Jaita well supported by his three sons and others like Napa, Puja, and Poma. There  is a stone inscription on them on the 5th floor.
Victory tower, Chittorgarh Fort,
Kerthi stmbha. Chittorgarh Fort, Rajasthan.
It was in  1326 Chittorgarh Fort  was  re-established   and Rana Kumbha, knowing the impending danger from the Delhi Muslim rulers,  took serious efforts to beef up the security of the fort by strengthening  the  fort walls and building additions.   Most of the fort's walls  were constructed with care during his reign from 1433 to 1468. The second attack on the fort took place a couple of centuries later in 1535 and this time  by Sultan Bahadur Shah of Gujarat.  Every time the enemy had to struggle to access the fort.


Chittorgarh Fort, (first built in 7th C), Rajasthan - steeped in poignant history

Chittorgarh Fort, Rajasthan.
Chittorgarh Fort, Rajasthan. Chetan Meena/Getty
This  formidable fort may look impressive and imposing, but  if you turn the dusty pages of Indian history books, in its background lurks a  sad story that may make your heart sink. The fort witnessed battles where barbarity and brutality ruled the roost.  This was true of many countries until the establishment of democratic system.
Chittorgarh Fort,
Built on  a 180 meter tall hillock and covering roughly 700 acres of rugged terrain is a famous historical fort of  Chittorgarh (Chittaurgarh) in Rajasthan. The town is a testimony to the rich legacy of  Rajput,
their pride as great warriors, sacrifices and  planned administration. This fort reflects  all the great quality and traits of the Rajput clans and their quite known heroism and war exploits.  This massive hilltop fort, steeped in history  is a major tourist attraction in Rajasthan because it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site that  way back witnessed  many political events, painful tragic events during the heyday of Mewar rulers. The controversial 2018 Bollywood Indian drama movie "Padmaavat" (based on an epic poem on the legend of Queen Padmavati, wife of 14th century monarch Maharawal Ratan Singh) as you may recall  drew inspiration from the  fort's history.
Meera temple Chittorgarh Fort,

Enclosed in this  fort is  the Meera and Khumba Shyam Temple that is associated with the great devotee of Sri Krishna - poetess Meera  who was an epitome of devotion to God  and  whose life was spent on conducting  bhajans on lord Sri Krishna. Quite well-known across India, her devotional hymns have become part of the folklore and literary traditions of the region and other places. 
Chittorgarh Fort,
Considered as the pride of "Pride of Rajasthan State" and its former ruling clan,s  the history of this fort, it is said, goes back to  the  Pandavas of Mahabharata; it is believed to have been built by one of the Pandava brothers ''Bhima''.  Historians say it was built during the reign of   Mauryans  (Chitrangad Mori)  in 7th century.  It was Bappa Rawal, who established the Mewar dynasty, in the mid 8th century and  later rulers of Mewar developed this strategically  located outstanding fort by building additions.  It is said his kingdom stretched  up to Ajmir and on the SW up to part of Gujarat. 

The history of this majestic fort is a poignant one  written in blood shed and  brave self-immolation by Rajput women. It had all links with the invasion of  treacherous Muslim invasion from  the Delhi rulers.  The invasion of Muslim warriors from NW had begun to give  insecurity among the Mewar rulers because they were notorious butchers and destroyers of both Hindu and Buddhist temples. Till the end of 13th century, the fort never faced any major enemy attack or any threats whatsoever.  It is a matter of  debate  as to why did, in 1303, Allaudin Khilji, the brutal ruler of the Delhi Sultanate, attack the fort ? Was it to abduct the beautiful queen of Padmavati, as  some sections of historians believe or  was he just after the strong and strategically-positioned fort  to add to his land?  Anyway, the unexpected invasion by the brutal army from Delhi caused havoc, mayhem and  mass  massacre; the outcome was devastating.  It left behind a trail of bloodshed and death of as many as  30,000 people within the fort. The ruler was either captured or killed in the battle. As for virtuous Padmavati, she, having no choice,  immolated herself along with other women in the royal family. This was done to avoid being  preyed upon  by Allaudin Khilji and his merciless  army.

Later   Mewar rulers   re-eatablished the rule in 1326 and improved the fortification a lot. Rana Kumbha strengthened most of the fort's walls during his reign from 1433 to 1468. Sultan Bahadur Shah of Gujarat  made a successful attack after a long struggle and during the second attack on the fort, the ruler Uday Singh II  and his brother escaped to avoid   facing death and in the wake 13000 Rajput women got into the huge fire to escape harassment, rape and dishonor.
Soon, Emperor Humayun   defeated  the Sultan from Chittorgarh and  and this time he reinstated the inexperienced young Mewar king  Rana Vikramaditya;  He though he could deal with the young ruler easily.

In 1567 Mogul ruler Akbar  of Delhi had an eye on this amazing fort and attacked it with a huge  army.  It took a while for the Mogul army  to access the fort  because of sturdy stone walls and they  did it by way  of blasting their  way  with mines and digging  tunnels. They also used cannons to damage the fort when necessary arose. When the Mogul ruler  captured it in 1568  Rana Udai Singh II had escaped from the scene, asking his commanders to take care of the battle. This time thousands of  of common  people were slaughtered by Akbar's army and this again resulted in the  mass immolation of  Rajput women inside the fort.  At last, Mogul ruler Jehangir made a peace treaty with the Mewar rulers in 1616 and between 1884 and 1930 some palaces and other structures came up.
chittorgarh-fort, Rajsthan.
Perched atop a  hillock, it is not that easy to access the fort that has lots of impediments besides  massive stone structures  close to the gates  as part of  fortifications. Guarded by a watch tower over  seven  huge gates  fitted with massive sharp iron spikes to prevent ramming of sturdy war elephants, the fort is almost self-contained.  The reservoirs, chhatris, stambha, palaces and temples  inside the fort get the attention of tourists. There  were as many as 84 water bodies in the form of wells, ponds and step wells with the storage capacity of 4 billion liters of water in the by-gone era. But, presently, there are only 22 water bodies. The fort could withstand siege  by enemies  for a pretty long time. The enemy's army had to put in lots of efforts to reach the fort.

Sunday, 16 February 2020

Thanjavur big temple, Why are politicians afraid to enter the heritage temple through the main entrance?

outer and inner entrances, Thanjavur big temple, TN
Thanjavur Brihadeewara temple, TN main send entrance on east side.

Though India has  made a big stride in modern technology in the last three decades or more,  still the natives, in particular, Hindus are superstitious and, in this respect,  we are still on the back road. The unfounded  belief is so deep-rooted nothing could shake them off  it. As for the famous big temple Sri Brihadeewara temple dedicated to God Shiva at Thanjavur, Tamil Nadu, it is shrouded in a sort of mystery bordering on jinx  for the politicians; to them it is a frightening experience  to enter the temple because it is a  place of worship with a spell on people in power.  This belief did not exist in the 1960s and  has been  around since late 1980s. The belief is: Politicians /Statesmen who, irrespective of their party affiliation,  visit this historical UNESCO world heritage  temple (built in 1010 CE) through the main entrance on the east, will fall from their post or face impending  doom. Haunted by such a fear, politicians on a visit to this city are afraid to take a look at the temple. This  is what many people here say sarcastically. As for common men, this divine place is always crowded, in particular, on festival days. Every year, on invitation from the South Zone Cultural Centre, Thanjavur (a central Govt. organization) operating in this city scores of young girls from other states perform  classical dances native to their respective states.
1860 front entrances and Nandi pavillion. Thanjavur big temple
Above image: ''Photograph of the entrance gopura and Nandi pavilion of the Brihadishvara Temple, Tanjore, from an Album of Miscellaneous views in India,1860s. The Brihadishvara Temple built by the Chola king Rajaraja around 1010, is a monumental temple standing in the middle of a large courtyard surrounded by smaller shrines. The temple is entered through the east by two gateways. To the east of the temple there is a 16th century pavilion with a huge monolithic sculpture of Nandi, the white bull sacred to Shiva to whom the temple is dedicated. The shafts of the columns of the pavilion are carved with figures of devotees. The Nandi pavilion, is in the left foreground.'' ( /n/019pho000000027/u00039000.html....................
A small  section of people have come up with a weird theory without any proof that it is due to the curse of   sage Karurar, a  Sidddha prusha who helped king Sri Rajaraja install the main huge Shiva linga   in the sanctum/ garbagriha. Yet another fringe group  that protested that the consecration should only be done  in Tamil and  not in both Sanskrit and Tamil, went one step ahead and said the fire mishap that took place in the Yagasala in 1997 on the temple premises  during the beginning of the consecration ceremony 23 years ago was due to the use of Sanskrit against the wish of sage Karurar who preferred Tamil mantra to Sanskrit.  There are neither temple records nor stone inscriptions in this temple  to corroborate this. As a matter of fact, there are many inscriptions in Sanskrit as well in the  big temple. However, it is good to both these wonderful classical languages that have lots of poems and devotional hymns.

Even to day driven by taboo and per-conceived notion about the so- called Hex Factor,  almost all politicians have reservations about entering the Thanjavur big temple  especially through the main entrance facing the main  road.  If necessity arises they, with hesitation,  will use the side entrance on the  south side from the adjacent Sivaganga Park.
c1890 Thanavur big temple. credit  James Kerr.
How come politicians, including atheists  harbor fear and trepidation about this temple.  To get to the root, we need to walk down the memory lane: 
01.  Former Prime Minister of India Mrs. Indira Gandhi and Congress leader  was unexpectedly assassinated close to her official residence in Delhi in October, 1984. Just  a few weeks  before her fatal death,  she visited the Big  temple in Thanjavur along with the then CM MGR  and  they entered  the temple through  the main gate.

02. Former Tamil Nadu chief minister M.G. Ramachandran who happened to be a famous Tamil actor after his visit to the temple   in the same year fell seriously sick with kidney problem.  After recovery  three  years later he died in December, 1987 while in power. From then on  superstition and myth overshot  rationality and the belief,  driven by surmises, grew manifold that the east gate (not the temple, however) facing the Nandi mandapam and the main shrine with sanctum is  jinxed and a mysterious  power is active there  that 'does not  like certain politicians entering through that gate.!!

03. The former CM of Tamil Nadu late  Sri. Karunanidhi, a rationalist Dravidian politician and  a staunch  atheist in September 2010 took   the side  southern entrance on the park side and never took the main entrance Keralathan Vassal  to avoid facing Nandi and the main shrine behind. Probably, somebody close to him advised  him to avoid the direct stare  by entering  temple through  the side gate. Earlier in 1997, when there was a fire accident caused by a spark  from the fire works  at  night that resulted in  the death of 45 people  mostly women,   then CM  Karunanidhi, on a flying visit to the temple,  took the side entrance and avoided the main gate. In 2011, his ministry was out of power.
When it comes to recent kumbabishekam (Feb.5, 2020)
Tamil Nadu CM EPS  and his ministers avoided visiting the temple giving room to the  rumors  their visit to this temple might spell doom in the ensuing state assembly election in 2021.  However, EPS  and other ministers stayed in the city, attending social functions.As for  87 year old ex CM late Karunanidhi's visit to the temple 23 years ago  on  wheel chair while in power during the 1000 year celebrations  to watch the cultural program it was a daring, but cautious one. On the premises,  one thousand  Bharatnatyam dancers  performed in unison under the direction of famous  Bhratanatyam exponent Padma Subramaniuam (daughter of well-known Tamil vintage film director and producer late  K. Subramaniam, an advocate by profession. He is called Tamil Cinema's thanthai (father).
Political analyst/satirist  late Cho Ramaswamy  expressing no excitement  said: “ He (Karunanidhi) is masquerading as an atheist …...  he follows the advice of astrologers on auspicious timing … if he has worn a white angavastram (upper cloth) instead of the usual yellow (shawal), it must be on someone’s advice that its use would ward off evil.”

However, we have to accept the fact that the former CM, despite his old age and commitments to rationalistic stand  did enter the temple through the side gate, unmindful of the purported risk to his power.   About the  curse of Karurar, it  may be a figment of somebody's mind. Being a sadhu, a Shiva bhaktha and Guru to king Rajaraja, he won't have gone to the extend of casting  a spell on a great monumental  temple dedicated to  God Shiva. There are many differences between us and the sadhus, who are virtuous  and  whose main forte is 'control of all senses and focus on devotion to God'. According  to the Maratha Prince of Thanjavur  Raja Bhonsle, who is a hereditary trustee of the big temple:  "Why should God punish anyone for entering the temple".
The recent consecration  was done for the third time in the last 40 years.  On April 3, 1980, the  great ceremony  took place after  a pretty long gap of 177 years. During the colonial days the temple was not taken care of.  In 1997, the consecration  was originally planned for June 8 but was held the next day (June 9)  on account of  a big fire  accident in the Yagasala in the evening.

Saturday, 15 February 2020

''Queen of Holland diamond'' - once owned by the well-known cricket player Maharajah Ranjit Singhji

From Kollur mines. Queen of Holland diamond.
Queen Wilhelmina of Holland. en. wikipedia org.
 The famous Queen Holland diamond, the legacy of the royal family of Holland,  is one of the famous diamonds of the world.  Though it's origin is  a bone of contention among diamond experts, many of them  are of the opinion that considering its quality, purity and shine, it was a  typical Golconda diamond (From Kollur mines, Andhra). This final decision was taken  by many professional diamond cutters in the city of  Amsterdam in 1904. The superior quality, size and unique  blue tint corroborated their view. Earlier it was thought that its origin was from South Africa.  The famous  
 F. Freidman & Co. fashioned it into a cushion-cut  and named for Queen Wihelmina of Holland, a famous  much-loved queen  who reigned from 1890 to 1948
Maharajah Ranjit Singhji.
Above image:  Sir Ranjitsinhji Vibhaji Jadeja, GCSI GBE (10 September 1872 - 2 April 1933[1]), commonly  known as Ranji, was the ruler of the Indian princely state of Nawanagar,  now in Gujarat  state.   From 1907 to 1933, as Maharajah Jam Saheb, a world famous Test cricketer who played for the English cricket team. He also played first-class cricket for Cambridge University, and county cricket for Sussex.  Ranji has widely been regarded as one of the greatest batsmen of all time  Neville Cardus described him as "the Midsummer night's dream of cricket". Unorthodox in technique and with fast reactions, he brought a new style to batting and revolutionized the game.  In spite of his rich legacy and wealth, he was a simple person and ruled his small Princely state well.  vide:   ...........................
This famous blue-tinted diamond was  purchased  in 1930 by none other than  Maharajah of Nawanagar. Ranjit Singh was  a legend in the world of cricket,  and  he  played for the English  Cricket team.  At this time  Albert Monnickendam, who wrote  “The Magic of Diamonds''. mentioned that in terms of quality and shine this Queen of Holland  diamond is on par with that of  the famous Regent diamond (yet another diamond from Kollur mines).  Classified as one of the finest diamonds, it is considered the 10th largest ‘D’ color diamonds in the world. Once the French President Doumergue  of France 1924-1931 was on a visit  to see the Queen of Holland. Her diamond was shown first to him, however, his resentment  subsided when he saw the queen later. As he  took a look  at the stone  leisurely he was told the  value of the diamond was roughly 1 to 1.5 million dollars.

The Maharajah of Navnagar (now in Gujarat)
Kumar Ranjitsinghji Vibhaji, upon its ownership, handed over the diamond  to  the well-known jeweler Cartier, with the responsibility of setting  it in a beautiful piece of jewellery. Cartier, as wished by the Indian ruler, set the diamond as the center piece of a pendant, in a fine-looking  necklace.  The ruler of Navanagar had the Queen of Holland diamond in his possession  for his life. After his  death in 1933, the diamond remained with his family until 1960 when Cartier purchased it from them. Cartier displayed it for sale in their London store where it was eventually purchased by  one William Goldberg. After a minor re-cut to its current weight - its original 136.25 carat weight  reduced to its current weight of 135.92 carats,   Goldberg, in turn, sold it to Robert Mouawad, his partner. Robert Mouawad, a Lebanese diamond investor and collector, bought it for $7 million, a big money in those days.

Fasinating Tereschenko diamond - famous blue diamond stolen from India's Hindu temple!!

Tereschenko diamond
Tereschenko diamond
Among the valuable gem stones, diamonds, the hardest of all,  are expensive and they rule the roost in the jewelry industries. The trend has not yet changed.  In the case of world famous dazzling diamonds mostly from the Indian subcontinent, they always get the attention of the rich and and famous world over despite their huge price tag and curses. Invariably, most of them  were stolen from India's historical Hindu temples - places of divinity. The 20th century is an interesting period  and many famous diamonds surprisingly emerged from the mysterious shadows  and the  veil of anonymity  and the lack of  history of  early owners appear to be a riddle. The myth and  the  twisted past add zest to them and their price. 
Among the diamonds that saw the light after a long spell of time in the last century, the Tereschenko diamond is an interesting one. This pear-shaped  blue stone with many color shades mined in the Kollur alluvial deposits of the Krishna river (then under the Golconda ruler; now in Andhra State) has found a home in Russia and its weird journey to such a far off place from India is a riddle. Obviously, it was a stolen one.  
first owne of blue diamond. Mikhail Tereschenko, Russia
Above image: Mikhail Ivanovich Tereshchenko (18 March 1886 -1 April 1956) was the foreign minister of Russia from 18 May 1917 to 7 November 1917 (N.S.). Born rich, he was a major Ukrainian landowner, the proprietor of several sugar factories; he was also a and a financier. After the February Revolution of 1917, Mikhail Tereshchenko was appointed Minister of Finance of the Provisional Kerensky Government. In April 1917, Tereshchenko was known to support the Ukrainian government that led to the establishment and recognition of the General Secretariat in Ukraine 1917.  The political  situation, having become volatile, on the night of 26 October, Mikhail Tereshchenko was arrested in the Winter Palace with other ministers of the Provisional Government and placed into the Peter and Paul Fortress while his office was temporarily held by Anatoly Neratov. In the spring of 1918, Tereshchenko  managed to escape from prison and fled to Norway with the Tereshchenko blue diamond. Later he  soldit  in 1984 for $4.6 million through  Christie's  auction house. (   ..................

The Tereschenko family  happened to be  first owners of this diamond. They made a huge fortune in sugar industries;  the blue diamond is named after the family.  Mikhail Tereschenko in 1915, sought the help of  a famous international  jeweler Jacques Cartier from the place of Vendome, Paris  to set the stone as the centerpiece in a necklace made with an assortment of fancy-colored diamonds. The blue diamond has different shades of ultramarine,  sultana-green, grey, blue, etc. Surely,  the necklace consisting of this fine blue diamond was an attractive one  with gentle shinning and radiance.  At that point of time Mikhail Tereschenko  had been  the minister of foreign affairs.  

True to  the Indian proverb ''every thing on this earth is transitory'', Tereschenko  never thought he would lose his post so soon in 1917 just before the Russian Revolution.  Prior to that the owners removed the  diamond  for financial security reasons  and smuggled it out of Russia and sold it to a private buyer. It was in 1884, this fancy blue  diamond resurfaced after a long gap at  an auction conducted by  Christie's in  Geneva. Then it was the fourth largest diamond in the world. The auction saw  a big competition among the rich to get a hold on this classic diamond from Kollur. On November 14, 1984 at Hotel Richmond one Robert Mouawad, a famous Lebanese jeweler. emerged victorious and he paid  a whopping sum  10 million Swiss francs i.e. £3,180,000 for it. No doubt, It was a record price for a diamond ever.
This blue  diamond  first weighed roughly 150 carats, the largest blue diamond in the world; later it was cut to sizes in 1673 in the French town. After the cut the other  blue diamond ''Hope'' weighed 44 carats which belonged to the French Crown.  After the French revolution, the Hope diamond  went to England and later to the USA.  It is said in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century, the blue diamonds were stolen from the  Hindu temple. They were in the eyes of  an idol  of the goddess Sita, consort of God Rama, the seventh Avatar of Vishnu, and were then shipped to Europe.  Next  to the Hope diamond it is a fine compact diamond and carries a good price on it at present. It is yet another famous diamond mysteriously left the shores of India centuries ago.

Friday, 14 February 2020

Historical Duffein Clock Tower, Mysore city, Karnataka - a legacy of Mysore Maharajah

Historical Dufferin Clock Tower, Mysore city. /
Historical clock towers that stand odd in the urban landscape never fail to get the  attention of passers-by. Clock towers  form a specific visible structure that houses what is called  a turret clock  that has  one or more clock faces on the upper outer walls facing all four directions. Many of them are  freestanding structures that may be very tall  or short and  just  set on the top of a building. Normally, clock towers are in a prime area so that people can comfortably see them to know the time of the day.  No doubt clock towers add beauty to the locality where they stand  and are a common sight in  many counties.
Historical Dufferin Clock Tower, Mysore city.
A clock tower historically is defined as a tower specifically built with one or more (often four) clock faces and that can be either freestanding or part of a church or municipal building such as a town hall. Only certain  buildings are fit to house a clock.

In India there is no dearth of clock towers in public places and most of the colonial clock towers  bear testimony to the heyday of the British India. Many of them are chiming clocks,  sounding large bells or chime every hour that can be heard  far away within half a kilometer  radius around the tower.

Dufferin Clock Tower in the old city of Mysore, Karnataka, a popular heritage colonial structure, was commissioned by the ruler of Mysore - 
the Wadeyars  in honor of  Lord Dufferin, the Viceroy of India during 1884–1888. This  highest British India official took the credit of being the first  Viceroy of the Raj  to pay a ceremonial and friendly visit to Mysore city at the  invitation of the then  Maharajah Chamaraja Wadeyar X in 1886.
 During the Raj under the British Crown  administration, the Mysore kingdom was a princely state with a British Resident stationed in the capital city - Mysore and the royal family of  the Wadeyars ruled  the land under the guidance  and direction of the Viceroy of India. Since Mysore state happened to be a salute state  with prestige, they had to follow certain prescribed protocol  rules. The royal family, with a view to maintaining a good relationship with the Crown administration, had to please the highest officials then there as a courtesy. 
Dufferin Clock Tower, Mysore city.
Constructed on a strong foundation with eight pillars covered by railings along with  a decorated fountain at the center, Duffein Clock Tower is an important landmark in this city of palaces. This tower  and the vicinity were in bad shape due to negligence on the part of the city authorities. The heritage lovers and others made many representations to the government and in 2012 this clock tower was renovated to give shape to its old splendor. The city council spent about Rs. 40 lakhs  for the renovation work. As part of it,  nine small fountains and 13 decorated lamps were added to the space. The vacant space was cleared for good and the space is good enough for  conducting small music concerts, etc.

Shock treatment from the Supreme Court awaiting criminal Indian politicians!!

Criminal Netha in the 'can'.
Why are so many politicians  facing criminal charges still getting  elected to parliament and state assembles? Across India people express their deep concern over more and more criminals  getting into the  great democratic institutions - state legislature and Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha.
George orwell.

Criminals and politics  have become inseparable - a sort of symbiotic relationship for a few decades. The situation is so irksome and worrisome if a netha does not have  at least one case on his name to boast of his status in the political arena, he does not get  respect, rather he is looked down upon by his fellow men!!.  Corruption and criminalization of politics will be a menace and threat to  country's democratic tradition, progress and welfare of the people. Apart, in the past one decade or so  terrorism and naxalism further retard the country's progress. On top of it, caste and communal politics in the door steps of places of worship has taken a wrong direction. That they have become political platforms is a sad commentary.  Since criminalization in politics will erode the fabric of Indian democracy, the Supreme Court of India made certain directions recently.
Crime and politics in India are so  blended and camouflaged  it is a vein attempt to find “clean politician” with  no criminal records and now, they have become a breed apart.  With  numerous exceptions, most of them are ruling the society and they have the power and pelf to do so.  Because of prevalence of
candidates  with criminal records, corruption, enticing of poor voters by way of cash and kind, etc at stake is our democratic values and constitutional ethos.  Finding a  politician  dedicated to the society  and people's welfare is like finding  a nugget in the Badlands terrain. Before every election, be it State Assembly  or Lok Sabha,  in this  2nd most populous land (next to China) that boasts of the largest democracy in the world, people witness a sort of high-voltage  election to catch the power either in the State or in the Parliament. You can witness a sort of TV soap-opera episode. When the curtain goes up the hilarious, but unethical drama unfolds and   will continue for a while  if the coalition parties do not get the needed majority. To tip the scale, there will be horse-trading of  cross-over politicians who carry a price on their heads.  These elected candidates will be playing hide and seek along with  them - secretly shunted from places to places until they  settle on a comfortable  majority  with the help of  cross -over nethas. For their crucial services of changing their shirt and political ideology (if they have one) they  will get a fat reward - enough to settle down in life.

The proper administration of elections in a democratic country  with more than 560 million voters lining up before more than 930000 polling stations  to choose the right candidate representing as many as more than 470 to 500  political parties is  a nightmare for the Election Commission of India. They have to watch out for booth-capturing, tampering of votes, bribes, etc.,  in remote places.

Corruption  has become part of politics  and is found in grass root levels.   According to a report  published in the recent past by the Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR), a nonprofit organization  that works on electoral and political reform, ''a total of 1,580 Members of Parliament (MPs) and Member of Legislative Assemblies (MLAs), or approximately 33 percent of the legislators in India’s Parliament and state assemblies, have criminal cases pending against them''. In 2018, it is reported that  though some of  their charges are minor, over 20 percent of the new MPs face serious charges such as attempted murder, assaulting public officials, and theft.

India. politics and crime.
India -poliics and
Knowing the criminal records well, fielding the tainted candidates irrespective of their party affiliation is an anathema. No less than the highest Court of Judiciary in India - the Supreme Court is wary of this growing nexus between criminals and politicians, and 
ordered the Parliament to “cure the malignancy” of criminalization of politics by making a proper law totally prohibiting  the entry of politicians with criminal records into portals of the Assembly or the Parliament or any other  political arena.
  Chief Justice Dipak Misra and the five judge-bench  observed  ''this unsettlingly increasing trend” has the propensity to “send shivers down the spine of a constitutional democracy.” The court added that the criminalization of politics was “not incurable” but the issue was required to be dealt with soon before it becomes “fatal” to democracy. They added the criminalization of politics is an “extremely disastrous and lamentable situation.” 

Many media and political commentators keep saying the prevalence of criminal activities in politics is not under check due to lack of deterrents like
stringent law that requires political parties to revoke the membership of tainted candidates  or complete ban on their entry in politics for the rest of their life. Besides, they should be fined heavily running into crores if caught in a scam or misappropriating public funds meant for the welfare of the people who elected them to power.  The Parliament  must amend Article 102 of the Constitution and provisions of the People’s Act to disqualify unworthy candidates.  If it is not done nothing will change the present political scenario.

The shocking news is of 3,884 criminal cases,  court conviction  resulted in a 6-year  ban from contesting elections;  guilty  judgements  in 38  cases and 560 were let out scot-free - just acquittal. Yet another disparaging fact is  in 18 of 29 states and two of seven union territories, surprisingly there were no convictions for criminal cases against MPs and MLAs whose criminal activities included  murder, attempted murder, kidnapping, hate speech, and criminal intimidation.
Indian political scenario and criminals
 In this regard the government is doing nothing, keeping the  fingers crossed. Many experts are of the view that  any ruling party won't take the risk because more importance is given to the  ‘winnability’ factor of the tainted candidates than their degree of criminality. What is the end result? This positively  relegates all their criminal activities to the background.  It is quite shocking   rules are so relaxed that currently, even candidates who spent for less than two years in a slammer can contest elections. 
Ciminal poliicians, India .
Our old democratic tradition lies buried deep in the ground, so is the aspiration of Indian electorates who expect our politicians  will make their future safe and comfortable. If great patriots like Netaji Bose, Vallabhai Patel and Gokhale, were  alive,  they would hang their head in shame.   
Criminals in Indian politics will get a shock treatment!!
The court’s  new direction came  in the wake of its observation of  an alarming increase in criminalization of politics in the last four general elections across the country.   ''The Supreme Court has come up with a series of landmark judgments on addressing this issue. It removed the statutory protection of convicted legislators from immediate disqualification in 2013, and in 2014, directed the completion of trials involving elected representatives within a year. In 2017, it asked the Center to frame a scheme to appoint special courts to exclusively try cases against politicians, and for political parties to publicize pending criminal cases faced by their candidates in 2018. But these have not been a deterrent to legislators with dubious credentials. Perhaps what would do the trick is a rule that disallows candidates against whom charges have been framed in court for serious offenses, but this is something for Parliament to consider as an amendment to the Representation of the People Act, 1951. This denouement, however, is still a pie in the sky given the composition of the Lower House with a number of representatives facing serious cases. Ultimately, this is a consequence of a structural problem in Indian democracy and the nature of the Indian state.''...... (vide: the
The Supreme Court has taken the right move to curtail
criminalization in politics and proper implementation of this move is far more important than mere direction because our Nethas know very well how to save their face by using lots of holes in the law. The Supreme Court on Thursday - 13th Feb. 2020 directed political parties to upload on their websites details of pending criminal cases against candidates contesting elections.

A bench headed by Justice F Nariman from the parties over the selection of such candidates and said the information must be uploaded on social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter and in one local vernacular and one national newspaper.

The Supreme Court said the parties must submit a report of compliance to the Election Commission within 74 hours of selecting such candidates, failing which the poll panel must inform the apex court. 
The apex court also demanded  a proper  explanation from the parties over the selection of such candidates and said the information must be uploaded on ''social media as well as published in newspapers''.  The court has taken the right direction, though it is belated,  based on the plea from the Election Commission of India (ECI) to direct political parties not to field candidates with criminal history.  The spark is the finding that 46% of Members of Parliament have criminal records, has forced the SC to act quickly.