Varsha Will Live On

An obituary is the mightiest writer’s block. And so this shan’t be an obituary. One writes obituaries to dead people. Varsha Bhosle will live forever. Her bodily death is, in the highest tradition of Sanatana Dharma, but a temporary station in an eternal journey. Speculations about the how and the wherefores of her suicide is the worst insult to one who did so much, so fiercely, and in such a short span, to defend, uphold, and propagate ancient Indian values.

Five years ago, I enquired if anybody remembered her. That question has been answered today—perversely , cruelly in the form of a nonstop deluge of obituaries and condolence tweets and news items online. It is both heartening and saddening. Heartening because it shows that there are hundreds of thousands of people who haven’t forgotten her—given the fact that she wrote at a time when the Internet was still in its infancy in India both in terms of reach and impact. Today, the overwhelming outpouring of grief over her death proves the truth that good work always has a way of spreading on its own and that no barrier is too strong to prevent its spread.

Varsha’s legacy is not so much her actual writing but the fact that she inspired an entire generation to—no, she pounded inspiration into an entire generation of Indians weaned on colonial and Marxist lies about their own country and its heritage. The fact that she did it by swimming against the popular current makes it exemplary. The fact that she did it with fearless audacity makes it truly spectacular. Pick up any random Varsha piece, you see these twin qualities jumping out at you.

She wasn’t afraid to take on anyone and was never apologetic—here’s a classic in which she tears into that bleeding-heart liberal/Marxist/humanist (label changes depending on the demands of the situation on hand) Dilip D’Souza, while shredding other pretenders like Anil Dharker along the way. Equally, she’d support even people painted in the darkest of colours if she found merit in what they said. And so, only a Varsha could write something like (underlined):

Pakistan, its namaaz-raising hands dipped in the blood of Hindus and Sikhs, began as an Islamic terrorist State and continues to live up to its foundational values. Take it from Balasaheb and me: nothing will emerge from the latest "hand of friendship." Unless, of course, it is Kargil II.

Few people could dare to take her on because she’d simply steamroll them with so many facts that even those who did even once retreated for good. The D name comes to mind even in this case. She did that with aplomb, unerringly, every single time with 100% success rate because she followed a dictum she claimed to adhere to: “I will not be controlled.”

Far too many writers have made pretensions to such a lofty claim but few have truly lived by it. The one name that immediately comes to mind is Christopher Hitchens. He can with reasonableness be compared to Varsha. Both wrote copiously. Both had a phenomenal volume of facts on a range of issues at their command. Both were unapologetic, brutal, and unforgiving. Both achieved excellence in a rare feat: elevating the use of abuse to an art form. From Varsha’s stable: pinko propaganda, Srikrishna Gita, Sunil Dutt’s psychobabble, Christian dork, Hajpayee, jholiwallas, raddiwalas…it’s pure delight to minds that have a sense of humour and the moral strength from which such abuse emanates and that which can sustain it.

And neither was it about politics all the time. In an extremely moving piece, here’s how Varsha Bhosle profiles her legendary mother and provides tidbits of glimpses into her own childhood and growing-up years. It is, like her other work, gutsy, truthful, and raw.

But back to her original forte. It goes without saying that Varsha was at her acidic best when she wrote about imperial ideologies like Islam, Christianity and Communism and in general, all anti-Hindu and anti-Indian forces. Needless, this endeared her to, and earned her an enormous fan following among Hindus. In a masterful and in many ways, prophetic series of articles, she warned us of the Balkanization of India way before Rajiv Malhotra’s groundbreaking Breaking India.

Years before Geert Wilders popularized it as an election issue, Varsha, in yet another brilliant piece, had unmasked the vile beast of multiculturalism for what it really is: stealth Islamism. In her typical missile-launch style, she says that multiculturalism is an “idiotic concept which only serves to divide a nation and add or aggravate communal strife.” More presciently, she questions:

Which American values can, even remotely, be called Islamic? Democracy? Freedom? Equality? Secularism? Gender equity? Freedom of thought? The right to free expression? The right to critique any holy cow? Does even one of these values exist in a single Islamic state…? Is even one of these values extended to all Muslim citizens of an Islamic state?…What would be the fate of Hindus working in Saudi Arabia if they should advocate the replacement of the word "Islamic" with "Islamic-Hindu" in all references to the kingdom’s heritage?

The reactions to her pieces were as swift as they played according to script. Extreme, far-Right, loony, fundamentalist, Hindutva…were applied to her by armchair pontificators sitting in their ivory-towers built on the foundations of spurious secularism. I’ve come to discern the actual meanings of such terminology. The list below tells you how to do it.

  • Extreme=The bitter truth
  • Far-Right=Rooted in nationalism
  • Loony=Unafraid
  • Fundamentalist=Truth-teller
  • Hindutva=Value-based 

But Varsha was now writing in a medium that these intolerant professional labellers thought was a passing fad and have since paid for that folly. Varsha had built a huge legion of fans who fed on and relished her every piece. Ask me. My blog owes its existence and continuity to the likes of Varsha Bhosle. But Varsha paid the price—if you can call it that—for writing the way she wrote and for writing what she wrote. Rediff threw her out. Not the one to take it meekly, Varsha bludgeoned the head honcho himself:

Actually, you’ve got my so-called ploy all wrong. However, I don’t expect guys with your mentality to understand that.

You’ll be pleased to know that you ‘secularists’ have a successful and time-tested way of tackling free speech: I am no longer writing for Rediff since its top honcho, Ajit Balakrishnan (also involved with discredited SABRANG communications Communalism Combat , ), finds me ‘very inflammatory.’ That’s surely something to rejoice over. Yes, please do post my comments on your newsgroup.

Her crime was not so much that she routinely wrote the harsh truth about the multi-tentacled and mutually-sustaining toxic nexus of Islamists, Evangelists and Marxists but the fact that she exposed their latest do-gooder avatar in the form of NGOs. As her note indicates, this must’ve given the chills to Rediff’s top guy, Ajit Balakrishnan who was (is?) friends with such worthies as Teesta Setalvad.

And so when I read this shameless We will miss you Varsha crap that Rediff put out, supposedly mourning her, I wonder what exactly motivates these brazen pussies. To first kick her out and then violate her even in her death with gutter-level political correctness must take Congress-party level brazenness.

Varsha was unabashedly right of centre, but at the same time not for her the prescriptions of the Hindu Right. In this article, Good God! Thou ate beef?, she tore into the Vishwa Hindu Parishad’s argument for banning beef…she took on the Islamists, but often did stop long enough to rebuke their Hindu counterparts as well…

To me, Varsha Bhosle is how Sanatana Dharma is: a living inspiration that is timeless.

35 comments for “Varsha Will Live On

  1. rathivar
    January 5, 2013 at 2:07 AM

    i came across this blog when trying to search for an article on kannada prabha and read every bit. Excellent sir and i am amazed to the harsh trugthfullness. There is still hope for hindutva. Jai hind. vande mataram

  2. Kaps
    December 24, 2012 at 8:48 PM

    Couldn’t agree more buddy..I used to visit Rediff only to read her posts in those days..and greately missed her when she 1st stopped her columns (ostensibly for her newly born nephews) and later permanently, coz Rediff found her too hot to handle..Truly she can be called as both the Initiator & Purveyor of the curent outspokenness of social media..A true revolutionery…

  3. November 4, 2012 at 6:13 PM

    I read this article along with the rediff news and your other article on her in 2007. She appears absolutely brilliant in her articles. We are going to miss her. May there be more writers in India of her stature.

    I am saddened that rediff dropped her and afterwards she stopped writing. I liked rediff in those days. May be there was political pressure on rediff to drop her. I think after NDA lost elections in 2004, she would have found problems in getting new job because her opponents had gained absolute power. It saddens us to know all such things…

    Btw, my wife says that conditions of suicides happen mostly in people with very high IQ and those who are very brilliant and sharp… Varsha was one of them…

    May her soul rest in peace. If she reincarnates, may she come back with more power in her….

  4. SP Dhar
    October 16, 2012 at 12:17 PM

    She was a breath of fresh air that blew in and forever changed Hindus of a certain generation who were early adopters of the Web. She burned bright; too bright and from both ends of the candle, and thus it was all too short but oh so memorable. Goodbye Varsha!

  5. Nik
    October 16, 2012 at 12:16 PM

    Looks like Dilip os trolling this blog nonstop. Look at how when his lise are exposed, he talks about ‘abuse’ and ‘insinuations’ Am a bit surprised. Thought he was pretty thick skinned.
    gaurav raikar ?@gauravraikar
    @DeathEndsFun You wrote a very moving article,her husband would indeed have felt better.

    Details Expand Collapse Reply RetweetedRetweet Delete FavoritedFavorite
    12h Dilip D’Souza ?@DeathEndsFun
    @gauravraikar Made up for the abuse and insinuation from various other quarters…

  6. Rakesh Krishnan
    October 15, 2012 at 3:23 AM

    Sandeep, you are the best. Thanks.

  7. CC
    October 13, 2012 at 5:21 AM

    Red Devil is right, Rediff is yesterday’s news. I remember it being the top news link in my browser a few years ago. Now I don’t even remember it exists most of the time.

  8. October 12, 2012 at 9:10 PM

    Also, I completely agree with the guys who have criticized rediff. Rediff became popular because of people like Varsha, Rajeev Srinivasan, Arvind Lavakere – ferocious writers who spoke out against the pseudo-secular establishment. I dont know what happened, but the Rediff management deliberately sidelined these people. Since then, Rediff has become yesterday’s news. Nobody bothers or cares about Rediff anymore. It definitely has become down market if one goes by the quality of user comments in that website. Much like AOL. AOL started the internet craze in US, was an internet giant in the initial days of internet era… and then, suddenly disappeared.

  9. October 12, 2012 at 9:04 PM

    Most people probably may have known Varsha Bhosle as Asha Bhosle’s daughter. I am one of those who know Asha Bhosle as Varsha Bhosle’s mother. God bless the lady. I wish she had kept writing. If not in rediff, perhaps as a blog writer or on twitter. The fact that she quit writing – that’s what saddens me and many others. Our initiation into the world of internet and even politics as adults began by religiously reading Varsha Bhosle on rediff. There will never be another like her.

  10. Anand
    October 12, 2012 at 12:10 PM

    Varsha wanted Maoist shills as trustees of her orphanage so that the kids grow up to become bloodthirsty Binayak-Sen type antinationals. Right. Let’s buy that.

  11. October 11, 2012 at 11:23 PM

    Sandeep, I also was in correspondence with Varsha. She told me stuff about a certain comrade. Including how, for instance, he bitterly complained to Rediff about … well, the precise details are irrelevant, so let me put it this way: about the hiding he was receiving from her. That her “Dear Readers” series of articles is in fact response to his pseudonymous, multiple-handle trolling on her page is a poorly kept secret.

  12. SS
    October 11, 2012 at 6:46 PM

    For great writers writing is equivalent to living. They live while writing. Had rediff not piqued her she would have continued writing, and living. She had a mission, not her exact words but I remember the sense: ‘to instill some courage and boldness in Hindus’, the people who have been wronged for ages. She did not fail. As Sandeep rightly said she also inspired many fledgling writers and commentators. But the rediff’s attitude on the one hand and the Hajpayee kind of pseudo-Hindutva or fearful Hindutva on the other annoyed her no end. For some unknown reason she decided to put down her key-board, out of utter annoyance and disgust for both of above, instead of finding an alternate platform. No platform for writing made her dejected, I guess. She had in mind to continue with writing, as I remember she wrote that she was not giving up the varshab@rediff.com ID.

    Any way, giving up life is also not against the precepts of sanatana dharma. We never consider this life as only life an individual lives and if in some life one’s body becomes useless or tainted it has been a normal decision for many avatars to destroy it. After all, what has been ichcha mrityu (death according to one’s wish)? It is a Christian dogma that life is so utterly precious, being the only life you live, that it has to be saved at any cost and the life of anyone’s, even of a dirtiest criminal etc.

    And yes, Varsha did write beautiful literary pieces as well. One about her two young nephews, other about an election day in Mumbai, besides the ‘Eternal Asha’ I still recall. Shrddhanjali! May she take a new birth, with her own great weaponry and everything to fulfill the mission!

  13. Sat
    October 10, 2012 at 6:55 AM

    Thanks for the tribute, Sandeep. Varsha surely touched hundreds of thousand of lives. She was a pioneer in commenting on events form a perspective of a true patriot. Her columns was a education to people that believed everthing written by English media. I realized there was another side to the coin only after reading Varsha. As Sandeep said, Varsha’s writing will live on, albeit, I am sadenned by her leaving us. It has been 3 days, but it has not sunk in.

  14. g
    October 10, 2012 at 1:33 AM

    @CC

    Notice that in the process of “paying his respects” to Varsha, Dilip D’Souza a.k.a. Darth Gnaw actually sneaks in praises for himself in her mouth. And that’s the whole slant of the write-up. It is designed to make its author look like a hero and push the subject herself into the background. This fellow is so much in love with himself and so hopelessly ensconced in his own narrow outlook that all he can see, wherever he casts his myopic sight, is his own beautiful reflection and a validation of his own viewpoints. Both Darth Gnaw and Darth Creep (Ajit Balakrishnan) have basically exploited Varsha’s death to promote their own agendas. Darth Creep’s calculation was to jack up the outrage meter and get all the golden oldies back to his semi-pornographic money-losing web-spurtal by giving Darth Gnaw the honor of laying some last condescending good ones on his opponent exactly when there was no way she would be able to respond.

  15. CC
    October 10, 2012 at 1:00 AM

    Didn’t know Ajit of Rediff was friends with Teesta! So it does seem like you have to make deals with the devil to survive in this world? Sad.

    And no matter what, at least Dilip D’souza wrote something about Varsha, acknowledging their time at Rediff. That’s better than completely ignoring her untimely passing. So I do commend him for that.

  16. Roy
    October 9, 2012 at 9:26 PM

    I stopped reading Rediff after Varsha and Rajiv Srinivasan left

  17. g
    October 9, 2012 at 8:41 PM

    Dilip D’Souza seems to have been initiated into the order of the DarlkLords of the Sith. His new name apparently is Darth Gnaw. He specializes in gnawing at the carcasses of his victims and opponents in a mean attempt to attain some sort of posthumous victory over them. We dub this infernal creature the hungry vulture and the scavenger bunny with fangs for teeth. This thing has a craving for dried, coagulated blood and not fresh carrots, although he generally ends up getting sticks from all directions.

  18. Nik
    October 9, 2012 at 8:05 PM

    Well said Arvind
    Dilip is lying through his teeth. All newspaper reports talk about Varsha wanting to start an orphanage with the Ace photographer Gautam Rajadhyaksha. Dilip is nowhere mentioned.
    That reference to the former PM and how she trusted him with ‘explosive information makes you laugh. The fraud called Dilip cannot even lie properly. That former PM is now in total retirement. So what explosive information could Varsha – who had given up writing had got about him? Trusting Dilip with information about Vajpayee? Like a fox guarding a chickenhouse. Which is why I call such people vultures.
    Now he will take advantage of Ashaji’s grief and wriggle into another gimmick. Sure desperation after the Gujarat riots enterprise seems to be giving diminishing returns.

  19. nash
    October 9, 2012 at 7:34 PM

    arvind and g

    i just search for b s prakash’s article once in a way on rediff and thats it.what sort of thought process goes on their with these editors,who throw out the worthies?Lack of conviction,my inference.

  20. Arvind
    October 9, 2012 at 6:04 PM

    @null,

    ROFL at Dilip D’Souza’s fake tribute. A leftist doing what he does best – trying to get his hands on money by becoming a trustee of some organization or the other. He knows that Varsha Bhosle is no longer around to refute his (possibly church sponsored) claim that he should be the trustee of whatever wealth Varsha Bhosle’s dream project collects if it comes into existence. Perhaps his calculation is that Asha Bhosle will organize concerts and give him the money thinking that she is fulfilling her daughter’s wishes.

    Shame on Dilip D’Souza and Ajit Balakrishnan for such shameless behavior by Dilip D’Souza. In corruption, the son is no different from his father who was exposed by Varsha Bhosle.

  21. Nik
    October 9, 2012 at 12:26 PM

    Sorry. Left that last comment incomplete. No prizes for guessing who he is referring to here in the tweet mentioned here.

  22. October 9, 2012 at 12:23 PM

    Nice write up on a woman who defined how the Right should be. Unapologetic and unafraid.
    http://www.rediff.com/news/column/dear-varsha-im-so-damned-sad/20121009.htm by Dilip D’souza in Rediff is like rubbing salt into a wound.

  23. Nik
    October 9, 2012 at 12:23 PM

    Dilip D’Souza ?@DeathEndsFun
    Sad, but hardly surprising, that there are people who will stand on even a dead person’s shoulders to fire their bilious bullets

  24. Nik
    October 9, 2012 at 11:49 AM

    Look at this so-called tribute to Varsha by Dilip. These vultures cannot even leave the dead in peace. Here too he cannot resist a dig against his hated people. What can you say about a man filled with so much hatred?

    http://www.rediff.com/news/column/dear-varsha-im-so-damned-sad/20121009.htm

    Reading obituaries or tributes makes one sad and feel for the dead person. This guy’s obituary can make somebody go sick. Even in an obituary, his bile and self-aggrandizement are visible.

  25. rightwingdian
    October 9, 2012 at 10:42 AM

    I am just wondering whether someone can take an initiative of converting all her writings into a book. This needs to be saved, as rediff might just block them sometime in future. :-)

  26. slc
    October 9, 2012 at 10:16 AM

    Ishwar Uski Atma ko Shanti Pradan Kare. Aur Hum Sub Ko uske karya ko age badhane ki shakti pradan kare.

  27. Arvind
    October 9, 2012 at 3:57 AM

    Rediff owes its popularity to journalists who boldly defended the truth in Rediff’s early days – Varsha Bhosle, Rajeev Srinivasan, Arvind Lavakare and many others. The truth is that it was this popularity wave that people like Dilip D’Souza rode on. Dilip D’Souza and the leftists too owe whatever little traffic they attracted to those who defended Hindus. The traffic for their articles was the leakage traffic from those who went to read the right-leaning journalists.

    Notice that Rediff is practically dead without those who defended Hindus and it has deteriorated into a portal with a bunch of ads and/or a site that generates a popup storm. Now it has been reduced to a place where the main activity (of whatever little activity) is in the comments section where people go to without reading the article or news item. As a result, Rediff is acting desperate and posting pictures of women in various states of undress.

  28. g
    October 8, 2012 at 10:54 PM

    You don’t know nothing. I do. Smug condescension is after all a hallmark of D’Souza’s.

  29. Sandeep
    October 8, 2012 at 10:42 PM

    Ah! Dilip! You arrived a little late nevertheless. Interesting the kind of confidence with which you say this. Little do you know I know more than I care to reveal. That includes Varsha, her relationship with folks at Rediff. And you.

  30. October 8, 2012 at 10:38 PM

    You don’t even understand her, or realize what she was about, or have a clue about her relationship with the people at rediff. Luckily for all concerned, that’s the way it will stay.

  31. karan
    October 8, 2012 at 9:57 PM

    It is a matter of regret that how a talented lady took such type of action. Oh my god. In my opinion, what ever situation may come, the concept of suicide should be deleted from the mind. The Journalist concerned should investigate the issue more and more and publish the real cause of her depressions, and the people who are involved for depressing her. Very pathetic. Pray almighty for peace to her soul !!!

  32. simran
    October 8, 2012 at 9:51 PM

    Oct 8, 2012Singer Asha Bhosle’s daughter Varsha commits suicide.

  33. karan
    October 8, 2012 at 9:38 PM

    Varsha Bhosle, with great respect, I salute you,

  34. g
    October 8, 2012 at 8:30 PM

    Even since Varsha’s columns ceased on Rediff I stopped visiting the site. Without her that portal was just another mindless Congi/Commie rag. She was as fiery as she was brilliant, and I had the unique privilege of receiving some e-mails directly from her in the old Bhatia-Hotmail days.

    Sandeep, you make her absence bearable.

  35. Thejas
    October 8, 2012 at 7:22 PM

    Touching. The fire she kindled in our minds must glow bright and long.

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