Monday, December 28, 2009

Jharkhand - elections and leter

In early part of this decade, 3 new states were formed - Uttarakhand, Chhatishgarh and Jharkhand. All the 3 states carved from bigger states had natural resources in abundance but development had eluded them even after 5 decades of Independence. So when the NDA government carved these states, there was a lot of optimism in local population. While the former 2 went on their path of development thankfully due to stable governments, Jharkhand has been deteriorating due to instability. So all eyes were on this elections to see what mandate was thrown up.

The mandate that was thrown was even more fractured that the previous ones hinting at deeply divided thinking process at various regions and classes. Shibu Soren who was written off before the elections turned out to be the biggest winner, closely followed by Babulal Marandi. Both these leaders derive a lot of flak and disgust in urban living rooms but between them they acocunted for nearly 40% of the seats in the state, which hardly has any urban centre. What does this show? This shows that India and Bharat still think very different.

When Shibu Soren staked his claim to be the CM with BJP support, media and political observers went about questioning BJP. But what they forget is that Shibu Soren was given the higher pedestal first by Narsimha Rao and then Manmohan Singh. While Rao's government survived on his support, Soren was a cabinet minister in UPA1. Questions which weren't asked then are being asked now. The question one has to ask is was there a government possible without Soren? Answer is no. Any government that had to be formed needed JMM and that is the only way to bring some stability to the state. The last phase of unstable government of Madhu Koda and Congress has virtually stripped the state of it's resources and hope. Wish that this time's verdict though fractured, does soemthing for one of the most neglected places in the country.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

BJP - Starting a new chapter

Something that we all waited for has finally happened. The baton has been passed in BJP as the party has a new of leaders with Nitin Gadkari becoming the Party President and Sushma Swaraj taking over as Leader of Opposition. Arun Jaitley has already been the leader of the party in Rajya Sabha. This also means that the eternal yatri of Indian politics and the kartavya purush as I would like to remember him moves away from the limelight and becomes the mentor for the party as it weathers the toughest storm it has faced in it's history.

Many people I spoke with, asked about how does this team expect to be an alternative to Rahul Gandhi. Well, when people say that they forget that there is a basic difference between BJP and Congress. While Congress follows a top-down approach where in the Gandhi Family decides the party and government policies, BJP follows a grounds-up approach where the strength comes from the grassroots. This is infact the reason why there has been an organisation change in BJP. Like BJP, Congress too lost elections in 1996,98 and 99 but there was no change at any level. Even after 2 consecutive debacles, Sonia Gandhi ran the party. Whereas in BJP, electoral defeats results in introspection on leadership, ideology and approach. This is the more democratic manner of functioning and a healthy sign for a national party in a long run.

Taking a look at the choice of Nitin Gandkari are Party President, one get's a feeling that the idea is to get a person who is a doer and someone who have proven skills as a manager. Nitin Gadkari is long remembered in Maharashtra as the person who showed how infrastructure can be developed without bowing down to corporates or without burdening the common man. His work as PWD Minister and his vision for infrastructure during NDA regime proved to be the catalyst for the infra boom India saw. While Nitin Gadkari is a person who understands the concept of Hindutva, he also is not a hardliner. His concepts of Hindutva, secularism are very clear and one could see from his interview on NDTV that he is ready to take this debate beyond the television studios. He is unapologetic about his ideology which helps the grassroot workers to throw their weight behind him. Add to this the clean image he enjoys. All this makes his new inning one worth watching. The future of Indian democracy will depend heavily on how he delivers in next 3 years.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Division of states

As India prepares for one more state in form of Telengana, there are voices of dissent about how India is getting broken into states and how dangerous it is for the country's unity having seen the lingustic jingoism in various states. While one can agree with this to some extent, there is no black and white when it comes to division of states.

To start with, the initial division of states was faulty since it was done only on lingustic grounds. That itself sowed the seeds of division. And who else but the 'great' Nehru to blame for this mistake in his already huge list of mistakes. No one can deny that a country as vast and populated as India needs smaller states for better administration. US for example with half the population of India has 51 states and so there is nothing wrong in having smaller states for better administration.

If one looks at the last 3 states formed out of bigger states during Vajpayee rule - Jharkhand, Chattishgarh, Uttarakhand, one can how they have performed better as seperate states and even better than the original states they were carved out from. So this also proves that neglect does lead to smaller states and once seperate they can become viable states as well. And they have not been formed on basis of language.

Most of the times, demand for a seperate states stems from decades of neglect. Uttarakhand was long neglected in UP and so the demand. Same is with the demand for seperate Vidarbha state in Maharashtra. In Telengana's case, while Telengana region acocunted for more than 50% population of the state, they were given only 40% representation in the state assemby. Their share of development fund was even lower since the leaders concentrated on the larger pie. This situation can be changed or saved only by having an administration which divides the development pie equally amongst the regions. This has been successfully proven in Gujarat where one used to hear cases for Kutch state. But in last few years, those have died down because the development was taken to those who so far were neglected.

Finally to the dirty politics played in Telengana case which lead to the situation becoming so volatile. Congress has played with the emotions of people in Telengana for long. To start with they merged the first Telengana party and agreed to its terms and made Chenna Reddy the CM of AP in 70s. But they did not nothing about the seperate state for years. In 2004, they got into an alliance with TRS on promise of seperate Telengana state but put it in cold storage after that only to bring it up again during no-confidence motion last year to save the government. Again they played the Telengana card during this year's assembly and general elections. But again put the demand in cold storage. This led to the violent reaction this time. More than 30 people have lost their lives over the politics played by the Congress and it was so distasteful to hear their MP Hanumantha Rao say on CNN IBN this morning how Telengana people should thank Sonia Gandhi for giving them a piece of pie like a mother as if India was an Italian Pizza to be divided.

Myths about terror, communcal divide and 6th Dec

one of the most common statements one hears from political spectrum is that India faced terror only because of the incidents on 6th Dec 1992 when the disputed structure was brought down. Also commonly said is that Hindu Muslim divide is a result fo that day. Nothing can be farther from the truth than the above 2 statements.

Terror reigned in India even before 6th Dec 1992. One just needs to remember how Delhi was constantly ripped by bomb blasts in mid-80s. Indira Gandhi was assasinated much before the day in question. People need to think if Pandits were forced out of Kashmir after 6th Dec 1992? Answer is no, they were pushed out and terror ruled Kashmir even before that day. Mizo trouble, Assam rebels, Naxal violence - all were seen much before the day. Infact the fist act of terror seen in India was way back in time after partition when Nizam of Hyderabad and his Razakars terrorised not only Hyderabad but also states around the border. So to say that terror is result of that day is just a convenient political tool and gives justifcation to terrorists.

Communal divide has for long been attributed to that day. But communal divide was actually the cause and not the result of 6th Dec. Had there been no communal divide, Muslims would have gladly given the land to Hindu organisations for the temple (no namaz was offered for decades there). It would have been the most unifying gesture in modern history but this test was failed miserably. Shia Board was ready to negotiate and even gift the land for the temple. But the AIPMLB and Babri Masjid Action Committee (heavily represented by Sunni Muslims) was not ready to talk or even honour ASI findings on temple's existence. They were hell-bent on showing their political clout (aided by new found radicalism after Shah Bano case). Riots were not new to India. Meerut, Bhiwandi, Ahmedabad, Baroda, Bhagalpur and many more places had seen bloody riots in the period between partition and 6th Dec 1992.

So to say that the demolition was the cause of terror and communal divide is just a way of not letting truth .prevail

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Indian leaders and books

Few months back, at a book store, a thought came up in my mind. I started looking at how many Indian leaders have either written books or have books written on them by other authors compared to the leaders from the Western World. Since then I used to look at the histroy and biography section of every bookstore I entered. What surprised me was that from pre-freedom days, the only leaders who have books on them seemed to be Gandhi and Nehru family. I have seen just a couple of books on Subhash Chandra Bose and equal number on Sardar Patel, two of the talled leaders India ever produced. There is hardly anything on other leaders including Lokmanya Tilak, Gopal Krishna Gokhale, Bhagat Singh and others. Similarly in post Independence period, one sees books on Indira, Rajiv, Narsimha Rao and those written by L K Advani, Mani Shankar Aiyar, Jaswant Singh etc, one can hardly find any books on Jayprakash Narayan, Atal Bihari Vajpayee, Chandrashekhar, Morarji Desai who have been the stalwarts of the anti-Congress front. Compare this with the tendency in the West where most of the leaders have either their memoirs or their biographies written and we find that amount of information that one gets about any leader outside the celebrated circle (read Nehru, Gandhi, Ambedkar) is extremely less. Only in recent years, one sees attempts by L K Advani, Jaswant Singh, Arun Shourie, P C Alexander to present a new and a fresh look at the history. One really wishes to know more about the leaders who like Lokmanya Tilak, Bhagat Singh, JP, Vajpayee who all came from extremely ordinary families and reached the high altar of Indian hearts and souls. It's time history remembers the ones who are languushing in deep corners of the forgotten.

Awaiting an Indian leader's Bicyle Diaries.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

The political roundup

Lot's happening as always in India. Right from price rise to a timid foreign policy, Government seems to be running out of answers and so senior ministers have resorted to either losing their temper in Parliament or using same old tune of "dont politicise the issue" which in pure terms means don't try and make us accountable, we aren't.

Price Rise - The price of essential commidities are shooting up the roof. Vegetables look a luxury for middle and lower middle class, while one wonders if the fruits soon will become a festive season item. Not to mention sugar which leaves a sour taste for most and there is no possiblity of that going down since Sharad Pawar has to repay his voters (sugar mill owners and big time farmers) for voting them back to power in Maharashtra. What an irony that while small farmers have to agitate for better price for sugarcane, the sugar prices seem to rise higher and higher. So wheres the money going, Mr. Pawar? And we have distinguished (or should it be extinguished) economist as our PM and he can't act against corruption and mismanagement by his own senior colleagues.

Naxal Violence - Naxals and Maoists are running amok in the many states in India and in response we have a central government response which is driven more by who is ruling the state. While Central government was quick to send enforcements to Eastern Maharashtra when Naxals attacked Gadchiroli, their own cabinet ministers have been doing business with Maoist in Communist ruled West Bengal. While Central government cannot make up it's mind in how to tackle the red menace, scores lose their lives and no one including media is bothered because ones who die are those who don't matter for the system.

Foreign Minister missing in action - Who is India's External Affairs Minister? Ah, did the question not stump you? When was the last you heard or saw him? He seems absent when China is armtwsiting India to abaondon projects along the border and he is nowhere to be seen when developed countries are putting pressure on India for emmision cuts. He is not to be found when Pakistan goes about it's drama of 26/11. S M Krishna is currently doing to External Affairs Ministry what Shivraj Patil did to Home Ministry for so many years.

We are not accountable brigade - Pranab Mukherjee, the seniormost and possibly the most able minister in current government has joined the "we are not accountable" arrogant brigade. He first lost his temper on Opposition Leader L K Advani on 26/11 victim compensation and later on Communist leader Brinda Karat on price rise. Both the issues were important but instead of answering the queries, Pranab Mukherjee lost his temper and accused leaders of politicising issues. Since when did asking questions becomes politicising? Isn't the government acocuntable? Does it not have the duty to answer for it's glaring mistakes? Atleast his government does not seem so.

26/11 Ram Pradhan report - So the nautanki is over. Media, sponsors, government all made hay at the cost of feelings of the victimes, their family and millions others who wanted to see some change. Ram Pradhan report has not been made public. The report did talk about how the system failed and how the police top brass mismanaged. Now the Maharashtra government talks about another committee to do a further investigation. All this at tax-payers cost.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

They are dying here too

Just saw a startched shirt and more starchted faced Home Minister Chidambaram proudly claim that his biggest achievement is that there has been no major terror attack in India after 26/11. Well, if that's the yardstick, then George Bush would be the greatest administrator in the world since US did not see even a small attack after 9/11. And anyways, if there has been no attack, it is only because terror groups are running helter skelter in Pakistan under US-Pak armed pressure.

But let's for a moment look at how terror is still killing people all over India. More than hundreds have died in last one year in Orissa, Chattisgarh, Jharkhand, West Bengal, Assam, Manipur, Nagaland and Kashmir. Scores of security officers and policement have died fighting the naxals, maoists, jehadis, ulfaites, naga militants in all these places. The Naxal and Maoist belt sees an attack every alternative day. Trains have been blown off, hijacked and much more. Blasts have ripped apart places and buildings. The poor tribals there keep on dying in a battle which the Central Government seems to keen to lose to discredit the local state governments, be it BJP, BJD or Communist governments. But no one notices since it's no Mumbai or Taj, it's just some undeveloped forest land of those forsaken states. Maybe the Home Minister needs to improve his geography to know that those places belong to India.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

26/11 - Now and then

It's nearly a year since 26/11. There will be ceremonies, events, media marches, sms polls, messages, all to get that penny out of our pocket by playing the "we care" drama tape. People spoke about wnating to change the system. Let's wait for a minute and see if things have really changed.

Kasab is still alive.
R R Patil and A N Roy are back in the control of our security
Vilasrao Deshmukh has been promoted.
There is no sign of any improvement in our police department as top cops fight each other
The police reforms and modernisation still looks a distant dream

So what changed? All the candles burnt, all the marches taken out and all the hands held. the reply is nothing has changed since the day 10 terrorists (though the then NSG Chief still claims there were more) raped our motherland. Hundrer more are doing it on everyday basis in forests of Chattishgarh, Jharkhand, Orissa, West Bengal. And thousands more waiting to enter through Kashmir. Nothing has changed since then till now. The government spoke about wanting to change things for people but it went back to making money in sugarcane prices and 2G Scams. Common public spoke about awakening and wanting to change the system but ran off to nearby hill stations when the time came for the change.

All we have to do is thank the Pakistan Army for keeping the jehadis busy else we would have seen many more 26/11 and then Indian History would read like a calendar - 13/12, 11/7, 26/11

So, while we sit on a volcano, let's forward stupid smses of 'we care', 'India strikes back', 'Mumbai Spirit rocks', 'Let's hold hands and march' to increase wealth of likes of Ambanis and Prannoy Roys.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Liberhan Commission report - just one sided view?

So now that the report is 'officially' out, one can see how legal experts, constitutional experts are junking the report. And that is because it seems a large part of it was written while the honourable judge was 'daydreaming' (if I put down factual errors in a list, it would be a long one). While the political fraternity and the media are looking at the aspects of the report based on their affiliations, one can notice that while the report focusses heavily on what happened, it seems to suffer from selective amnesia on why it happened. Let me give you some examples:

The role of the Muslim leadership in build-up to the 6th Dec - The report says how the Muslim leadership was adamant on it's course and did not produce the settlement claim or any historical documents at the negotiation meeting where VHP produced the necessary historic and legal documents for the settlement. The fact that the leadership for 2 consecutive meetings did not bother to produce any legal or historcial documents slearly shows that all they wanted to do was to prolong the exercise and frustrate those leading the temple movement. Bukhari of Jama Masjid had gone to the level of saying that no judgement or negotiation where a Rama Idol is kept int he structure will be accepted and that there would be disintegration. It is surprising that everyone has so far been completely silent about how the inflexible attitude of these leaders played a major role in deepening the crisis. Also when VHP was doing Kar Seva on non disputed land, they put pressure on government to get it suspended too . They combined with the 'secular' leadeship to ensure that hardly any negotiation meetings took place between 1990-1992. And even when there was a talk of getting the courts to get an early judgement, these leaders played the game of delay.

The 'secular' leadership and their inaction / provocation - Was Narsimha Rao really so naive and foolish that he was day dreaming when the Kar Seva was allowed by SC and a huge mass had gathered? Wasn't he supposedly the father of Indian Economy boost as well as a shrewd politician who overstayed his tenure and luck? Did he really not think the situation was very volatile? Very surprising considering the fact that he was one of the chief negotiators earlier as the Home Minsiter of India under Rajiv Gandhi and had worked with leaders of both the communities. Also the fact that inspite of Hindu leaders meeting him regularly to get a settlement and urgng him to convince the Musllim leadership, he hardly did anything. He was inactive in the period that VHP suspended the kar seva to reach a negotiated settlement.Also the report is silent on the role of Late Rajiv Gandhi who as the Prime Minister ordered the locks of site to be opened to perform pooja. The way he played footsie with both the communities left him was nothing but pure communal politics. On the other hand, the so-called secuar leaders like Mulayam Singh and V P Singh continued their game of appeasement by indulging Bukhari inspite of his utterances. Though there is a very miniscule mention of how Mulayam administration fire callously furing the earlier Kar Seva in 1990, there has never been any doubt that Mulayam used his administration to kill scores of Kar Sevaks but got away with any rap just because he mouthed secular slogans. The fact that all these leaders continued to address the structure as a mosque (inspite of requests from a section fo the society to call it disputed structure till negotiations were complete) played a major role in incensing the already motivated kar sevaks.

So while the report, the media and the political class focusses only on one side of the story, it is high time, one looks at the other hand which was responsible for the clap else thse claps will someday become a slap on the Indian soul.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Princely Arrogance

One thing that I like about Rahul Gandhi is his princely arrogance. The ignorance is so well concealed by the arrogance that even the most stupid remarks come across as gems. Read this "My UK MP friend knows more about rural India than NDA leaders". Hmm, so David Milband knows more about rural India that Atalji, who still has his family staying in a rural house in MP or Advaniji does not know rural India when his parents lived in a small village called Adipur in Kutch while the son was a star in Indian politics. Or maybe Milband knows mroe about rural India than Narendra Modi who spent more than 2 decades travelling across the country staying at party offices or party workers house like a common man and lived a spartan lives. Rural India and it's life is not new to RSS and BJP because that's where most of them come from. Maybe Rahul's friend David so much about India that he made the famous suggestion about how India should "give up" on Kashmir to save itself from Pak terror. Rahul, with friends like that you don't need enemies.

Now, he has come up with another gem. "India has two parts, one urban and another rural - one with facillities and one without facilities" He should be renamed Rahul Einstein for such a wonderful discovery. No body denies that there are 2 Indias but the questions why are there 2 Indias? Why haven't facilities still not gone to the villages and the poor? Who best to answer this other than Rahul himself considerignt he fact that his familly has ruled India most of the times after independence. So please don't reduce the burden of the blame just by accepting that their is mess. Own up for the mess generated by your family all these years.

Who else has the access to P Chidambaram's lock and key?

Unanswered queries about 26/11, Telecom 2G scam, sugarcane crisis, rising prices, Madhu Koda corruption mess, US-China interference in Indian affairs, Chinese aggressive stance on eastern borders, Leftist terror and many more. One can count the number of issues where the government is in the docks and needs to answer. So what does the government do?

It just deflects the media and national attention to a Commission set up nearly 18 years ago. The question here is not about the contents of the Liberhan's report since one has to wait for whole report to be tabled. It is about who had the keys to Home Minister P Chidambaram's lock and key, where he claims he has the report? Or who did Justice Liberhan try to benefit some media houses or the government by leaking the report? If Justice Liberhan and Home Ministy are the only 2 entities in possesion of the report, who leaked it if not one of them? One interesting point to notice is that the report has been first leaked in Indian Express and NDTV, both media companies run by those who have close links with 10, Janpath - Shekhar Gupta and Prannoy Roy. So was it done to deflect attention from the faillures of the UPA or was it done to take the battle for Muslim votes to the next level? Some answers are so obvious that they do not require a question.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Tale of 2 congregations

Nov 2009 saw an interesting set of opposites. The only thing common between the two was that both were huge assemblies. That's where similarities ended because both were organsied by 2 organisations which are on different ends of the ideologies and culture. Some glaring differences to be seen between the two were:

The one such meeting which was widely publicised was the Jamait Ulema's meeting which became famous for it's various resolutions like the fatwa against terror, against Vande Mataram, against insurance, women's reservations, television and much more. By the way before you think this was held in Afghanistan or Pakistan or Saudi, wait. It was held in India.

Another was organised by Vanvasi Kalyan Samiti in Delhi. Here more than 10,000 students and their families were brought from the North Eastern States, Orissa, Chattishgarh, Jharkhand. The students stayed with local families who support RSS and it's activities in tribal areas. The idea was to bring the bring the students to the mainstream and show them how similar the people are inspite of the diversity.

While one congregation was about division, the other was about uniting. One was bringing India to medival ages, another was bringing old India to meet a new one.

But still, one could not but help notice the media coverage the Jamait's congregaiton got and the lack of coverage for the tribal meet. And this neglect by the media and the ruling class only because of the vote bank politics and slavery of media to the ruling class (A rumour was that national media was warned against covering the tribal meet by a Union Minsiter who owes his position to missionaries).

For those who want to see the glimpse of how the tribals are being brought into mainstream, there is a similar event happening in Mumbai in December.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Home Minister goes a Ghajini

Home Minister P C Chidambaram just did a Ghajini act. No, he did get tattoos on his body and neither did he bash up few goons. He had a lapse of memory and forgot that he was the Home Minsiter of India and not Home Minsiter for Muslims. He went to Deoband, which is one of the more fanatic forms of Islamic studies in India and with which Taliban also shares it roots. He spoke at length about Hindu fundamentalism. But he seems to have missed an important event which happened minutes before he went there. The clerics at the Deoband meet issued a fatwa banning Vande Mataram, our national song on grounds that it was anti-Islam. This was a clear strike at what can be called symbol of our identity and pride. Chidambaram maybe agrees that Vande Mataram is communal song and should be banned/ What next to be removed? The saffron from our flag?

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Political Roundup

Some things remain the same, more they appear to change. And Indian politics is one of them. A round up of all that happen (or did not happen) in the last few weeks

Maharashtra still awaits a government - Maharashtra Congress seems to have made up it's mind to ignore Madam and Yuvraj's calls for austerity. What else can explain the delay in swearing in which is costing the state more than 10 lakhs so far and not to forget the delay in projects which leads to more money being lost. The Congress fresh from a handsome win is more bothered about cabinet berths and portfolios than the aam aadmi.

RajThackeray's ideological washout - While the media and his partymen are busy showcasing MNS's seats as a major win, what they seem to miss are some of these details from Mumbai. Raj Thackeray fought on anti-migrant or pro-Marathi agenda but he also led to reduction of Marathi representation in current assembly. More than 50% of elected MLAs from Mumbai are non-Maharashtrians. Nearly one-third are from UP. This is substantially higher than previous assembly. So while Raj did his political bit by affecting BJP-SS, he lost on ideological grounds miserably.

31st Oct was Sardar's birthday too - Sardar Patel would possibly be sad up there when he realises that he made a mistake by not furthering his family into Indian politics. Because had he got a government which was run on strings by his grand daughter in law or daughter in law, maybe he too would have been remembered on 31st Oct. All efforts were made to show Indira as India and that included having 'paid' or 'loyal' stooges to even justify the emergency and Operation Blue Star be it in newspaper, magazines or television. Maybe this was one place where the governemnt and the Congress Party forgot to follow austerity.

Mother of scams - 2 corruption cases come out in open and who do they belong to? Well the incumbent UPA. One is Madhu Koda from Jhakkhand who was the UPA CM and another is D Raja from DMK and current Telecom Minister. While the sheer volume of money that Indian public has lost (Rs 50,000 crore) in telecome Specturm case makes it the largest scam in India, the minister D Raja is sitting pretty because the current government depends on DMK and there is no way our 'clean, non-corrupt' PM can remove an 'efficient' minister (or money arranger) like Raja. As far as Koda is concerned, he has no value anymore and so can be hounded.

BJP Blues in Karnataka - The first BJP government in south India faces a serious threat from the rebels led by the mine-kings and cash rich Reddy brothers. The situaiton underlines one main point and that is wherever BJP jas deviated from core RSS ideology and fallen prey to money-bags, it has had bad experience. It's high time BJP stops giving importance to those who are in the party only to further their business interests and gives some respect to those who are with the party based on ideology.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Centre-State Relations and Bias

This morning, in Times of India, one saw an ad from Cong-NCP for elections tomorrow. The reason they wanted people to vote for them was mentioned "better centre-state relations" Now does this mean if anybody else comes to power, it will be treated untouchable or a pariah? This sounded more like a threat to vote than an incentive. Why should centre-state relationship depend on who is rulign the state? Such statements make the claims of partisanship in recent flood relief in South India very believeable. While one does not know the impact of the flood on both AP and Karnataka, from what one reads it clear that rain created nearly equal havoc on both the states. But still Karnataka ruled by BJP got nearly one third of what AP got, maybe because the Congress rules there.

This entire thing is against the spirit of federal and democratic policy. And ruling parties should dedist from using hreats to get them votes.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

China Border - Deja Vu

More some things look like changing, more they look similar at the foundation. Look at these coincidences - 1960-62, India had a 'humane' PM (keen for a place in history) advised by a man from Kerela called Krishna Menon. India had just started looking positive with the beginning of the Green Revolution. In 1950, Sardar Patel had warned Nehru about Chinese threat in long-term only to be brushed aside like always by the Alice who lived in Wonderland. 1962, General Thimayya warned Indian govt of Chinese intrusions only to be called 'alarmist' and 'Pro-West' by Nehru and Krishna Menon. The result was China invaded India in few months.

Today, we have a PM too keen to get his name in history books or a Nobel Peace Prize. India is riding high on economy. US has dealt a huge blow to Chinese trade vis-a-vis India by levying a huge anti-dumping duty on their products. And China has started making noises on the border - both verbal and in actions. Media and Armed Forces are both crying foul. But again comes a man from Kerala Shashi Tharoor and A K Antony who rubbish these claims as 'false alarms'.

One just hopes that like in the history India does not have to see coffins just because some people in New Delhi still live in fool's paradise as they lived in 1960s.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Miraj riots and Media

Recently Miraj and Sangli witnessed riots during Ganesh Visarjan. This too was just the same kind of riots as one would have witnessed over the years. The Ganesh Pandals had erected some arches to which the Muslims of the town objected and riots broke out over this. What really stuck me while reading or watching the media reports was the way it was reported. All along the incident, the media line was - The riots broke out over an arch depicting Afzal Khan's death at the hands of Shivaji.

Now this is worth thinking. Is there any doubt about how Afzal Khan was killed? Was Afzal Khan a saint and Shivaji a murderer? Then how can there be a argument over a historically correct and proper action?

Then should the media have not said this - The riots broke out over objection of certain people over the arch? This looks a correct statement. But then if the media takes this line, it is secular incorrectness. And no media house in India wants to do that. And this just because of their prejudice against certain section of the social and political ecosystem.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

100 days of failure - Price Rise and Inflation

Hmm, so 100 days of the UPA government are over and let's just look around to see what's changed. PM Manmohan Singh had promised before elections on how he we will change the economy and reduce inflation within 100 days of coming to power. So this series this week will focus on all that was promised and delivered or not delivered, starting with what impacts the common man the most - Inflation, price rise and economy.

While economic growth seems to be moving in right direction to recovery, there seems to be no sign of the liberal policies one was promised. No divestments, no bold economic measures and all this inspite of no Left support needed. On the other hand, the inflation and price rise has zoomed to a new high breaking record each new day. Add to this the governement's silence on hoarders (payback time for election funds?) and our Agri Minister Sharad Pawar new methods to increase shortage and prices for sake of a fw wealthy farmers and industries. Walk into a shop and Tur Dal, Sugar, Moong Dal and in near future Rice too are all missing. Add to this the increase in fuel prices within one month of winning the elections (they had reduced the prices before elections for obvious reasons). Imgaine two of the seniormost ministers facing serious allegations from public, media and their alliance partners on how their nefarious ways are causing the price rise and making life tough for the common man.

Add to this the serious drought situation facing the country. And what has been the Central Government's reaction to it, to shift the blame to the State Governments. Either the governement's too busy printing full page ads on Rajiv Gandhi's birthday or they are waiting for the assembly elections in some state. Till then the farmers can wait and if they can't wait, they can die.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Angels and Demons

So Jaswant Singh is at it again. He has just done what he does the best (apart from managing finances and external affairs of the country well) and that is to speak his mind, controversies notwithstanding. This time he has opened a Pandora's box by praising Jinnah and blaming Nehru for the country's partitiion.

One has to go beyond traditional prejudices to look at the role of Nehru and Jinnah in Indian Partition. Jinnah was senior to both Gandhi and Nehru in Congress and it was Jinnah who opposed the Khilafat Movement (started by Gandhi to protest against British removal of Caliphate in Istanbul). At that time Jinnah had warned Gandhi against bringing religion (Islam) into politics and thereby showed his secular credentials. What then spurred Jinnah to take a u-turn and ask for partition on religious grounds remains an unsolved mystery specially in India because J-Word has demonised by those who were responsible for the u-turn in Jinnah's thought process namely the Congress, Nehru and Nehruvian historians cum sychopants. The injustice done to Jinnah, the humiliation he was made to suffer at Congress Committee meeting in late 20s and early 30s and finally Congress's refusal to share power with Muslim League in Central Provinces and UP were amongst the few reasons that drove Jinnah to ask for Partition. It was the power lust of 2 egoists - Nehru and Jinnah that was the reaosn behind death of millions, sufferings of billions and the hatred amongst two communities and now countries. Had Nehru not been a greedy egoist that he was, Jinnah might have never gone on the path to partition.

Unfortunately history is always the story of the person who is in power and so we all were brought up to demonising Jinnah and worshipping Nehru when the truth was that both were equally guilty. But that's what Congress did post independence. They tried to remove references and history marks of all those who weren't in the Nehruvian sphere. While Sardar Patel's authority was slowly and steadily diminished after his sterling role in unificaiton of country, Shubash Chandra Bose's life and death were kept a mystery and even today Mukherjee Commission Report has not been made public. Many other doyens and leading lights of the freedom movement were pushed to comparatively lesser stature like Lokmanya Tilak, Bhagat Singh, Veer Savarkar to name a few. The idea was to make Nehru synonymous with Indian Freedom. Because of Gandhi's popularity and stature, they could not do the same to him and they conviniently appropriated Babasaheb Ambedkar as Congress symbol when the history clearly shows how Ambedkar till last moment was aligned with Muslim League and not Congress. It took last minute intervention from Gandhi to convince him but he was never aligned with Congress.

Similarly, Guru Golwalkar was always shown (inspite of being cleared by the courts) as someone behind Gandhi's murder, what was subsequently erased from history books was his and RSS' role in assisting army during 1948 Kashmir Invasion, 1965 Pakistan war or 1962 China War not to mention their services during various natural disasters which prompted the government to allow RSS be a part of the Republic Day Parade. But Guru Golwalkar was always demonised by the historians without presenting the true story.

While we all have been brought up to hate Hitler and as human beings, rightly so. But let's stop for a moment and think as Indians. Hitler was the only international leader (apart from US President Roosevelt) who supported India's freedom and was ready to help Bose (maybe for his own selfish reasons). The German army under Shubashbabu's request did not use Indian soldiers captured while fighting for Britian, as canon fodders for fighting. But then we as Indians have always forgetting this small symbol of German support. Instead we all were taught that Lord Mountbatten was a supporter of India's freedom while the fact was that he was responsible for the partition too. Simlarly though US President Roosevelt did his best to support India during partition (as seen from his letter to British empire in Mr. Singla's book), US offer as friend was ignored just because of Nehruvian love for Soviets and this resulted in long US-Pakistan frienship with started with 1948 General Assembly of UN on Kashmir. But then angels and demons are decided by those who yeild the power.

It's time for the new generation to break the prejudices and accept things for what they were and are. While we all will rightly hate Jinnah for the partition, it's time for the new generation to see Nehru in his rightful place in Indian History and that is of a greedy egoist who ruined the nation for his lust to become the PM. And some of his mistakes are troubling us even today in a bloody manner.

(Sources - Mr. Singla's book "Untold Story of India's Partition", Jinnah's biography which contains letters from Gandhi on Jinnah nationalist and secular credentials, Arun Shourie's book - Worshipping False Gods, Lost Hero by Mihir Bose, and many other similar books by Indian authors on Indian partition and leaders)

Monday, August 10, 2009

Remembering Atal Bihari Vajpayee

Many a times, it takes small things to remember and aknowledge a great personality and his contributions to the world. Similarily it took a small road trip to remember Atal Bihari Vajpayee and acknowledge how he changed the state of the nation.

Zipping through Raigad, Ratnagiri, Sindhudurg on our way to Goa, me and my friend started talking about how difficult and back breaking journey it used to be for all when going from Mumbai to Goa and how pleasant it has become now. Then strikes a name - Atal Bihari Vajpayee. If Mahatma Gandhi is called the Father of the Nation, if Sardar Patel can be called the Integration Man and if Nehru can be called Man behind Agriculture Revolution, Atalji has all the right to be called the Father of Indian Infrasturcture.

It was in his rule of 6 years that the country broke it shackles in infrastructure and zipped ahead in port development, road and highway creation, power generation, telecom modernisation and much more. While one always used to tlak highly about Atalji political persona or his creative side and even his stint as the Foreign Minister in 1977, the face of a man with modern vision must have been a pleasant realisation to even his greatest critics. Not only did he put an emphasis on infrastructure, he ensured that infrastructure related ministries were given to those who would deliver. So we saw likes of Nitish Kumar, Maj Gen B C Khanduri, Suresh Prabhu, Late Rangrajan Kumaramangalam, Ananth Kumar Hegde be at the helm of the ministries whose growth was important for India growth story. He envisione and proposed, while his team delivered.

If today India is on it's way to becoming one of the economic superpowers, the credit for laying the foundation goes to Atalji.

Karnatka - TN Handshake, a welcome change

Statues as I had mentioned in a earlier blog are European gift of art to India which we converted to the symbolism of power. But then this one statue unveiling is what I say is welcome as it helps the country.

The occassion was the unveiling of the statue of the great Tamil poet Thiruvalluvar in Karnataka. It took 18yrs and a lot of courage from the current Karnataka CM Yediyurappa to get this much needed honour for someone who is more a national hero. While one sees a tremendous growth of regional identity politics in India with the states trying to focus more on 'local pride and identity' than national integration, this move sees Karnataka and TN making some sort of departure. The fact that these 2 states have had conflicts on many issues right from border to water sharing and there are some hate sentiments by some populace at both sides makes this move even more welcome. Now TN CM Karunanidhi too has invited the Karnataka CM for unveiling of the statue of Kannada poet Sarvagnya in Chennai. If both the CMs could keep the regional hawks at bay and do the right thing, one can hope they can sort out the issues without much bloodshed or hatred .

This statue diplomacy can help stabilise intra-state relations get better which will just strengthen the country.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Years of effort washed in few minutes of 'emotion'?

The Sharm Al Sheikh declaration between India and Pakistan has become a hot potato for the overnment to handle. India for the first time has been driven to the backfoot by Pak diplomacy. From being a victim of terror to formentor terror, India covered a long distance within 20 minutes of one to one between India PM and Pakistan PM. No one knows what transpired in the one to one meeting and no one will ever know because the RTI act does not include these discussions. But one thing is for sure, India gave temuch more than it got. Was it US pressure or was it the wish to go down in history books or was it the temptation of a Noble Peace Prize, one might never find out. What we find out on a daily basis is that while we have been stripped of our pposition to question Pakistan on terror attacks here, we see an accusation from the other side about Baluchistan on a daily basis.

This is when the statesman like Atal Bihari Vajpayee and cunning fox Late. Narsimha Rao score heavily over Manmohan Singh.

Monday, July 20, 2009


One more deviation from the stand taken last year and during the election campaign. Now we have gone ahead with EUMA (End User Monitoring Agreement) with the US. One of the interesting points of this agreement is - US Administration has a right to monitor that the systems sold by them to India can't be used against US allies. This ties down India to the changing dimplomatic positions of US vis-a-vis allies. Plus that line combined with the flip flops on Pakistan being a US ally makes thione think if in a situation of battle, can India use systems against Pakistan without US coming down heavily on it. This plus many other terms which clearly show that India again bowed to US pressure and Govt has backtracked from the promises made to the Parliament and the nation..

In last 1 week, this is the third time that India succumbed to the US pressure. The Emission discussion in Italy, the Indo-Pak declaration under US pressure and now the EUMA. At this rate, this governemtn is slowly turning from UPA to YUPA - Yield Under Pressure Alliance.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Down but not out

One of the most common statement we hear these days from media, common people, experts is about BJP in disarray. While mos tof the common public says this with some amount of curiousity, doubt and worry, the media and experts sound extremely glad. But then most of them forget a few things, which I am trying to point out.

While BJP lost the elections and came down to 116 seats, more than 80 seats were lost with a margin of less than 15,000 votes or less than 2%. This means that with some more effort in right direction, the tide can and will change.
In 1998 and 1999 elections, Congress was down to the same tally as BJP currently but then they did manage to bounce back in 2004. And plus BJP in 1989 bounced from 2 seast to 85 seats. So there is no reason why history cannot repeat itself. All we need is to have basic faith in our ideology.
If one looks at the Congress record over the years, it is clear that in absence of a strong opposition, Congress starts running this country like a personal kingdom and then starts the cycle of corruption, nepotism, sychopancy and violation of human rights. For this main reason, it is important that BJP stays strong. It's not only in BJP's interests but also in the interest of the country.
The glaring difference in BJP's post-lost actions and Congress's post-loss action in 1998 and 99 is that not only does BJP start thinking on ideological terms but the experts, the media and common man also expects it to think about its ideology one way or other. Compared to this, all Congress did was "we need Gandhis" after their earlier electoral losses. This is a redeeming feature in BJP and Left. They fight elections on ideological grounds. And that's why post losses, the discussion on ideology starts. It's always in national interests to have a mainstream national party which fights on ideology and not on individuals. And after a loss, one does not need to change the ideology but just the means to communicate it better and more clearly. This I am sure, BJP has already begun.

The battle's lost but the war's still on.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Arrogance of Power

Something's can never change whatever be the time span. And Congress blue blood arrogance is back. After winning just over 200 seats in the elections, one is seeing a spate of activities in opposition rules states and a clamour for President's Rule. So far, the President's Rule has been demanded in West Bengal, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Chhatisgarh and now Uttar Pradesh. Congress is back to it's original thinking that nobody except they are destined to rule India. It seems very laughable when Rita Bahuguna Joshi targets Mayawati on rape cases in the most abusive language used in Indian Politics. She seems to forget the history wherein Congress leaders have been found guilty of the biggest sex scandals in India - Jalgaon, Srinagar, Indore and Delhi, in last 2 decades. And then comes the 'PM in waiting' or should one say Proxy PM, Rahul Gandhi on the infrastructure woes of UP. Can someone remind him that his party has been ruling that state for nearly 4 decades and if there is someone to blame for the lack of development in India, it has to be only and only Congress. But then, who will say that Emperor has no clothes?

It's surprising that this arrognace is kept aside only for India and Indians. Because the moment the PM steps out, he seems to bow down to everything, right from the stand on Pollution in Developing Countries to Terror and talks with Pakistan. It would help the country if rather than showing their bravado to Indians, the government shows some on the international circuit where it is fast replacing UK as US's paddle dog.

Friday, July 3, 2009

The 'Liberal' slip in showing

While watching the landmark and welcome judgment on homosexuality, I enjoyed what I call the wicked pleasure. This pleasure was to see the so-called liberals like John Dayal, Father Emmanuel, Kamal Farooqi, Kalbe Javed etc show their real intolerant face. For long these 'gentlemen' have been the darling of media, activists and political parties who don't miss a chance to parade these liberals to take on the right-wing intolerant. But yesterday, they stood exposed as they went on their religious beliefs and how their beliefs were bigger than the judgement or the human rights of the homosexual community. It was sad the way these guys were turning a day of respect to a day of shame.

Next time, I hope I don't get mails of liberalism, tolerance and human rights coming out of a church flooding my mail box just because they were on receiving end.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

What's in a name??

Did someone say - What's in a name anyways? Well, if one goes by the Indian political standards, there is a lot more to name.

More than half the country is named after Nehru Gandhi family. It was possibly sheer luck that during the Emergency days of Indira and the brute majority days of Rajiv, they did not make an amendment to constitution that alteast one member of each family should be names after a Nehru or Gandhi and their future generations. That actually is the only thing left.

What Congress does at the centre is done by the regional parties in states. That's why you have roads, bridges, flyovers, highways, grounds, slums, schools named after the regional satraps and their families.

In late 90s, when Nitin Gadkari was the PWD minister in BJP-Shiv Sena government, he and MSRDC has made a decision not to name the infrastructure projects after any politician. That's why we still have the Mumbai Pune Express Highway being called that instead of Indira Gandhi Road or Sanjar Gandhi Marg. It is high time, a similar policy is followed and the country is spared from turning into a Gandhistan from Hindustan.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

The politics of statues

One of the finest memories of any trip to Europe are those fantastic statues complimenting the architecture of any town or city. What was supposed to represent art in Europe now represents power and greed in India. Statues surely have gone a long way.

In very recent past, we have seen how the bankrupt Maharashtra government had a 300 crore plan to install a statue of Shivaji Maharaj in the sea on the lines of Statue of Liberty. What they seem to havemissed is that US was not going through an economic crisis or facing farmer suicides when the statue was built there. But Maharashtra is and am sure Shivaji being such a great ruler would have himself used his coffers more for betterment of the people than such vote attracting misadventures.

So it comes across as sheer hypocrisy when Congress opposed Mayawati's plans to install her statues in UP. While Mayawati's plans to do it is sheer criticisable, Chidambaram's advice to her to use that money for development is like pot calling the kettle black. Congress is guilty of the statue culture in India and has not left a single city, town or village untouched by such symbols of their leaders in general and Gandhi Nehru family in particular. Had they thought of using that money for education and infrastructure, India would have been in a different level.

So while the culprits fight amongst themselves, few more farmers in UP and Maharashtra would be praying to get their next meal

Monday, June 1, 2009

Successful Diplomacy?

One of the many things, media and the ruling party spoke as a UPA achievement was its diplomacy. Let's just have a look at what's happening around and see if this is really an achievement:

Pakistan has still not acted on 26/11 accussed and continues to play traunt on that.

While US has now conveniently reduced the 'pressure' on Pakistan for terror in India, it has started applying economic pressure on India with its anti-outsourcing policies. And the pressure to sign the NPT has restarted. So much for the hyped up Nuke Treaty

Sri Lanka
China has already made its inroads in SL with it's pro-government stand durign the LTTE crisis. India in turn was caught riding on two boats which meant that neither they have a say with Sri Lanka any more and neither they could do anything to prevent human rights violation.

France has already shown its inclination to sign a Nuke Deal with Pakistan notwithstanding Pakistan's precarious position. Indian government has left Indian students in Australia to their own fate when faced with brutal racial attacks.

If this all is supposed to be an achievement, then God save the country from such regimes.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Post Elections - A new beginning

Elections 2009 are over and results are out. Congress with it's few allies is back in power. And the first few things one notices is:

A much more stable government without allies pressure
A stronger Manmohan Singh which may mean more impetus on reforms
A return to dynasty with more than 20% of ministers so far sworn in kins of senior leaders
While merit has been the criteria for a few, more or less loyalty to the family has been given the importance. What else can justify inclusion / promotion of people like Veerapa Moily, Vilasrao Deshmukh, Ambika Soni.
More minority representation (than earlier governments) - While 5 ministers are Muslims, 3 are Sikhs (including PM) and Christians have the lion's share with 8 ministries, which means nearly 10% of the total cabinet.

Now that the ministers are in place, all eyes on PM's promise to turn aorund the economy in the furst 100 days.