Laxmi Dubey: Pop singer and Hindu nationalist

Hindutva pop star Laxmi Dubey, a symbol of Hindu majoritarianism. (Supplied photo)
Updated 01 December 2019

Laxmi Dubey: Pop singer and Hindu nationalist

  • Votary of Hindutva ideology sows fear among India's religious minorities with divisive message
  • Dubey says her aim in life is to serve Hindutva and use her music to propagate the ideology

She calls herself Kali, the goddess of death, and is a staunch advocate of Hindutva, a militant ideology that believes in the supremacy of Hinduism over all other religions in India.

Laxmi Dubey, 30, is one of the most popular singers of “saffron pop,” propagating Hindu majoritarian politics, which the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) represents.

Some of her songs on YouTube have close to 50 million viewers. Her videos are filled with saffron imagery (the color of Hindutva politics), with Hindus wearing saffron robes, holding swords and dancing to her music. In one of her songs, she vows to kill anyone who gets in the way of building a temple for the “god” Ram.

The BJP has long been demanding such a temple in the eastern city of Ayodhya, in place of the Babri Mosque, which Hindus claim is Ram’s birthplace. Last month, India’s Supreme Court ruled in favor of building the temple.

Dubey’s songs are played at religious and political functions to arouse Hindu sentiment.

Niranjan Mukhopadhyay, a New Delhi-based political analyst and author of several books on Hindu right-wing politics, said: “Hindu nationalistic politics has grown on the clutches of popular culture.”

Dubey is a symbol of Hindu majoritarianism, which has become the defining feature of India’s polity and society. In one song, she describes those who do not hail Ram as traitors.

Such songs inculcate fear among Muslim and other minorities in India, amid fears that


BIO

Name: Laxmi Dubey

Nationality: Indian. 

Place of residence: Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh, India.

Occupation: Hindutva pop star.

Medium: Songs, interviews, concerts, social media.


India’s secular credentials are being damaged. Those fears have been further heightened by last month’s Supreme Court ruling.

Senior journalist Pawan Pratyay said: “Saffron songs are used by Hindu fanatics during religious festivals to inflame passions, and at times it leads to religious violence.”

Dubey said that her aim in life is to serve Hindutva and use her music to propagate her religious ideology. “I want to see India as a Hindu nation,” she told Arab News.

Dubey believes that since independence in 1947, secularism in India has led to Hindus becoming subservient and victims of terrorism. Such a belief has driven Hindu extremism.

Dubey rose to prominence in the wake of Narendra Modi becoming prime minister in 2014.

She released videos supporting him, and campaigned for the BJP. In the 2019 video that she released just before the general election, she extols Modi as the savior of Hindus in India.

Opinion

This section contains relevant reference points, placed in (Opinion field)

“I’m with those who stand by Hindutva,” said Dubey, who advocates the expulsion of the Muslim population from the Kashmir Valley.

She says in one of her songs: “Kashmir is ours. We’re hardcore Hindus. We’ll create a new history. We’ll enter the enemy’s house and cut their hands.” Dubey supports the Indian government’s recent decision to abrogate Kashmir’s special status.

She abhors secularism, and says since neighboring Pakistan was created for Muslims, “India has to be a land of Hindus. India belongs to Hindus exclusively.”

She added that the country, “under Modi, is at the pinnacle of its civilizational history. He’s a man of history. He’s a realization of the dream of our ancestors who always wanted India as a strong nation.”

Mukhopadhyay said: “The BJP uses people like Dubey … to widen its mass support base. This has been done in the past, and it’s being done now.”

He added: “The hatred that she propagates through her songs is directed only toward Muslims. Only Muslims are others. Dubey’s videos are in tune with the larger strategy of majoritarian politics.”

Historian and political analyst Aditya Mukherjee, who is a professor at Jawaharlal Nehru University in New Delhi, said more needs to be done to counter such hatred. “Police should take action against people like Dubey for spreading venom in society.”

He added: “Civil society and concerned citizens should come forward to save society from attacks that threaten to tear apart its religious fabric.”


US lawsuit against Qatari emir’s brother to be re-filed in Massachusetts court

Updated 28 January 2020

US lawsuit against Qatari emir’s brother to be re-filed in Massachusetts court

  • The move was intended to force Sheikh Khaled, who had been avoiding being served, to acknowledge and accept legal service
  • Two former contractors alleged they were denied wages and threatened by Sheikh Khaled after they refused his orders to kill two people

The attorney for two former contractors suing Sheikh Khaled Al-Thani, the brother of the Emir of Qatar, has asked a Florida Federal Court judge to dismiss their lawsuit so they can re-file the claims before a different Federal court in Massachusetts.

The former contractors alleged they were denied wages and threatened by Sheikh Khaled after they refused his orders to kill two people. The original lawsuit had Sheikh Khaled as the principle defendant but on Nov. 5, 2019 it was expanded to include race car company Al-Anabi Racing USA LLC, which Sheikh Khaled owns.

The move was intended to force Sheikh Khaled, who had been avoiding being served, to acknowledge and accept legal service.

Failing to serve a defendant or a defendant’s business assets can result in the lawsuit being thrown out by a judge in the American judicial system.

The expansion of the lawsuit worked. After ignoring the lawsuit for more than seven months, lawyers for both Sheikh Khaled and Al-Anabi Racing USA LLC, filed responses. They asked the Federal Court on Jan. 2 this year to dismiss the Pittard/Allende lawsuit, arguing Florida lacked Federal jurisdiction over the case.

According to Bloomberg Markets, Al-Anabi Racing USA LLC, is based in Duxbury, Massachusetts, although it has an office in Florida.

“After the Pittard case complaint was amended, several individuals bravely stepped forward to share their stories and experiences with the defendants in the Pittard case,” said Rebecca Castaneda, the attorney for security professional Matthew Pittard and paramedic Matthew Allende, who are seeking $33 million in damages.

“In light of the information that they have provided, and the new plaintiffs’ claims and causes of actions against the defendants and others, we have requested that the Pittard case be dismissed from the Middle District of Florida.

“The cases of Matthew Pittard and Matthew Allende will be supplemented with additional legal claims and information that has been obtained and re-filed in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts in the District of Massachusetts.”

Sheikh Khaled’s attorney, Alejandro Soto, of the Florida law firm Fridman Fels and Soto, PLLC, argued in their motion to dismiss in January that Sheikh Khaled had no legal presence in Florida and that Florida’s Federal courts had no jurisdiction over his actions.

“While the amended complaint invokes Florida law, it otherwise fails to allege any facts supporting Sheikh Khaled’s contacts with the state,” Soto said in his Jan. 2 dismissal demand.

“By all accounts — including plaintiffs’— Sheikh Khaled is a citizen of the state of Qatar whose domicile and primary residence — both during the time period alleged in the amended complaint and now — have always been in Qatar.

“Moreover, the amended complaint does not allege a single fact suggesting that any of the alleged conduct giving rise to this case occurred in or arose from Sheikh Khaled’s contacts with Florida. Indeed, the only alleged connection that Florida has with this case is plaintiff Matthew Pittard’s alleged residence in it.”

Attorneys for Al-Anabi Racing LLC, Armando Rosquete and Javier A. Reyes of the Bell Rosquete Reyes Esteban, PLLC law firm, argued that Sheikh Khaled was not employed by Al-Anabi Racing USA LLC and claimed Florida lacked jurisdiction to hear the case.

“Contrary to this settled jurisdictional jurisprudence, plaintiffs failed to plead any facts to establish personal jurisdiction or even provide a factual framework under which this court could analyse personal jurisdiction,” Reyes and Rosquete said in their Jan. 2 dismissal demand.

“Indeed, other than an unsupported conclusory allegation in a single paragraph, plaintiffs include no jurisdictional facts that connect Al-Anabi to Florida. Plaintiffs do not allege that they were injured in Florida, nor do they allege any facts regarding Al-Anabi’s contacts with the state.

“The amended complaint is devoid of facts that could — even when analysed in the light most favorable to plaintiffs — show that the purported injury or other conduct alleged even occurred in Florida,” Reyes and Rosquete added.

Attorneys Reyes, Rosquete and Soto all failed to respond to repeated inquiries for comment on their dismissal filings.

Pittard and Allende alleged in the lawsuit, originally filed on July 23, 2019 before Federal Judge Thomas P. Barber, that Sheikh Khaled ordered them to kill two individuals who posted negative and embarrassing comments about the sheikh on social media.

According to Castaneda, Sheikh Khaled ordered the killing of a Los Angeles-based drug dealer who was trying to blackmail the sheikh with claims he had compromising photos and videos of the sheikh.

“We don’t know the veracity of the drug dealer’s claims, but the sheikh took them seriously and he wanted Pittard and Allende to kill the blackmailer,” Castaneda said.

In another case, Castaneda said Sheikh Khaled allegedly ordered the two security contractors to murder a Moroccan woman who was a friend of the sheikh’s wife. Castaneda said Sheikh Khaled feared the woman was feeding embarrassing information about him to a Saudi national at a time when his brother, Emir Al-Thani, and Qatar were in an international row with Saudi Arabia and three other Arab countries.

Pittard and Allende allege they were threatened at gunpoint by an angry Sheikh Khaled when they refused his orders in September 2017 to murder the two individuals he suspected had sullied his social reputation. The lawsuit claims Sheikh Khaled's threats against Pittard and Allende continued to escalate.