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.