Indians and Hindus in India always seem to embarrass NRIs, says the ‘highest intellectual’ of India of our times, Prof. Ashis Nandy.

My head!

Also read: Churumuri

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The departure of Devender Gowd from Telugu Desam Party, has not only weakened TDP, but has raised many other interesting questions. Undoubtfully, this move adds to the Telangana movement, and throws the major parties in the state: Congress and TDP into defence. The Chandrababu Naidu led Telugu Desam Party is still unclear about its agenda on Telangana issue. Although Mr.Naidu has given statements that they are not against the formation of a new state, but they are vague unlike the previous general elections, where they have contested with the ‘Samaikya-Andhra’ (United Andhra Pradesh) agenda.

But, what is more interesting would be the analysis of the previous two elections in the Telangana region in the last 4 years. Even in 2004 general election, TDP hasn’t performed badly (infact better than other regions) in this region, though the Congress-TRS (Telangana Rastra Samiti) has got the major stake, by the anti-government wave. The recent by-election, because of the en masse resignations of the TRS party representatives in March 2008, also turned out to be against TRS. Ofcourse, this cannot be considered as a referendum over the creation, rather we can view it as a gradual decline of people’s faith in Chandrasekhara Rao led TRS. This probably would have led Devender Gowd to go for a new party based on Telangana issue, since we have witnessed TRS being wronged inspite of growing strength of the Telangana issue.

Telugu Desam Party, ideally would love to stick to the same idea of united-andhra, but seems to be left with not much of options. This is because the very identity of TDP lies on one-ness based on the language and the division in the state would envitably leaves the party with more ‘leaders’. The second tier leaders in TDP: Devender Gowd, Kadiyam Sri Hari etc., had been expressing their dissent over the past few days, has left the Mr.Naidu helpless. He would probably have to voice the same Telangana song to win an alliance with one of the parties with this agenda.

One more group which might be adversely affected with the present chain of events is Chiranjeevi, the superstar of Andhra Pradesh. He has already declared that he is coming up with a new party by the end of August. CPI has already offered strong backing to him, while CPI (M) is probably trying to rope him into the party itself. The reason why his ambitions of CM might decline is because both the left partys are strong in the Telangana region. Moreover, he has a strong support from fans in the Nizam area, which means loss of atleast around 10-15 Assembly constituencies. On the top of this, he would also have to make his agenda clear on the issue, which is another challenge for the Chiru-campaigners. But, if he takes the decision of supporting Telangana movement; he would join the league of TRS, BJP and Devender Gowd, which means Telangana might be envitable atleast over the next 5 years.

Sam, come back soon…

June 27, 2008

Sam

pic courtesy: indainarmy.nic.in

Also read: pragmatic euphony , acorn

Excellent take on Sam’s funeral by Churumuri

Big deal

June 26, 2008

Recently there were demands that Mr. Advani could be a “statesman” by coming out in support of the deal. The BJP points of opposition is somewhat different from the stance of the left, they are not opposed to the deal as such, they want that the deal be renegotiated and not agree to put a cap on the nuclear tests. Still listening to the calls for support, the PM aspirant has come out to spell it out again that they are not opposed to the deal as such. Besides the deal was a internal matter of UPA more than the NDA, and its not as if the Congress is engaged in trying to convince the BJP or the other NDA partners about the deal. The statements by Advani are indicative of a compromise in the stance to save the deal, and the PM has not spent any time to have a dialogue with the BJP to gain consensus. On an earlier occasion also the PM has been calling desperately for consensus when the political cards are played by Sonia.

And if the government falls because of the deal, it is not as if the BJP can support it because the governance has been pathetic on many counts and the BJP as the opposition has been critical of the bad policies of the government. The BJP could vote in favour of the deal in the parliament if the issue should come up, which it is not likely to. In any case the PM himself has not initiated any dialogue as such. Then what statesmanship are we talking about? The congress refuses to acknowledge that when most parties except itself are opposed to the deal, the deal should either be renegotiated or should be let go of. But the congress today has issued signs of indifference towards other parties’ opinions and said that they would go ahead with the deal.

The left has shown its true communal colours, this time in full glare of the media. It is increasingly obvious that their opposition to the deal was meant to pander to the minorities, placing the interests of a community over those of the nation.

The leaders of Muslim organisations for their part who had opposed the deal said that they were opposed to the deal because it was against national interest and that it had nothing to their Muslim identity. The SP also has said that they know the minorities very well. Somehow no one has opposed the claim that the SP has the Muslims in their pocket. Even the SP has not gone ahead to decline it, they have acknowledged the fact and said that they “know the minorities” very well and need not be lectured on the subject by the left.

The congress finally took some stance and did not yet make any efforts to get a real concensus with the opposition as well. Yet it did take a stance and while they pat their backs for it, we have to lament that this feat was reserved for a deal which is rather not in the interest of the country which inspite of all the claims by the congress is not a do-or-die situation. It is not imperative for the nation’s energy security, in the present form.

Farmers have to change

June 25, 2008

The media here in Karnataka was all filled with a police firing which killed a farmer in North Karnataka till few days back. The incident was reported in a very much biased way by all the newspapers and news channels. It was obvious that they would take the farmer’s side. Agreeable, since the sole bread winner of the family was killed by the police. But the other side of the story was just brushed under the carpet.

The kind of violence indulged by the farmers is really worrisome. One wonders as to why the farmers have suddenly started protests and indulged in burning buses and pelting stones at police stations, agriculture offices and other state government properties. The reason being given is the shortage of fertilizers. Many questions intrigue me here. Why did the farmers suddenly start protests just after the new government assumed power in state? Did they not face any shortage of fertilizers till now? If so, they dont seem to have proper planning for the future. Why did any so called farmer-leader not go to the governor and make a representation of the shortage of essential farming supplies in the state? There was Central rule for more than six months in the state, and in case of any protests then or even any peaceful representations, farmers could have really got their problems solved long back. I seriously wonder if these protesters are all true farmers or farmers instigated by the opposition or just not farmers at all, but political cadres. If the case belongs to last two categories, then perpetrators of violence should be handled firmly. If they are genuine farmers, then there are more things to do, apart from just providing them fertilizers.

Indian farmers have come a long way in utilizing the chemical fertilizers so much so that they just cannot do farming without them. Stopping the use of fertilizers suddenly is definitely not possible, but gradual reduction is very much possible and essential. They can get together in small groups and manufacture organic manure and pesticides locally to suit their requirements. The kind of coordination seen in protests is actually needed in bringing a change in the farming methods. Better material management, better storage and processing and better marketing of the produce is needed. They must also look at improvised and customized tools for Indian farming conditions.

Farmers have to reduce their dependency on the government. Most of them still depend on the governments for things right from seeds, fertilizers to selling the produce. The latter one needs large network and huge investments. But other things can be managed by the farmers at their level itself – preparing seeds for the next crop or even procuring manure. Again, proper coordination amongst themselves will help them a lot.

I believe that for most of the farmers, corporate farming can be the key for their problems. Especially for the small and medium farmers, who generally have issues with finance, economy and business of their farming, corporate farming is a bless. Opposition to such initiatives saying that they harm farmers’ interests, that too by people who do not have any know-how of farming, is naive in deed and only has ulterior motives driven by a sick ideology of anti-all-corporate. Farmers should try their luck with corporate farming when the good old times of happy farming with the complete government support are gone.

The so-called farmer leaders have failed the community badly. Those self proclaimed leaders are only making money and fame in farmers’ name. They also do politics over farmer suicides. Many a times those leaders are themselves not true farmers! Farmers have to be cautious of such terrible leadership.

Farmers really need to stop ending lives, for that it gives no relief for their families, neither solves their problems. If they believe that by ending self the families can survive with the compensation by the government, is utter foolishness. Unfortunately many of them believe so strongly in getting compensation that they do end up in ending their lives. The administration and as a society we all need to do something to stop this suicide spree by those who provide food for us. These suicides are also a psychological issue apart from the financial failure of farmers. It is imperative to counsel the farmers in distress, motivate and orient them towards a self-confident and self-sustained entity. They are insecure — socially and financially.

Dirty politics around farmers’ death has to stop. I saw the opposition parties up in arms against the government protesting the killing of one farmer in police firing. While I do not deny the crime on the part of police and blood on the hands of the administration, the politicians should also shed a tear or two for those who are committing suicides. I see the Congress making a huge hue and cry on the issue. It should look into what it has done in the states of Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh and what it did in Karnataka. They are hunting for the new chief minister’s head. When they can celebrate Sharad Pawar, they have zero morality to talk about farmers. Sharad Pawar is better off licking cricketers’ boot than serve the poor farmers. I also saw some communists coming out and protesting here and there on the issue. Believe me, I could not control laughing, for me having seen brutal killings of poor farmers in West Bengal and absolute ignorance of their plight by the state government.

I remember one Mr. R. Madhavans [not the ‘maddy’ guy, but a revolutionary farmer who despite being an IIT graduate, has taken up farming as a passion and finds peace of mind in his high-yielding farms] repeated quote that farming is not just an art, but also true science and a great engineering.

I know, these things are easily written as a blog and forgotten there after. But somehow, someone needs to bring revolutionary changes in fields or at least trigger them. The hands that feed the nation should never beg for their own bread.

Snub snub snub Pranab!

June 25, 2008

the loser

The world seems to enjoy snubbing the Indian external affairs minister Pranab Mukherjee. First he got snubbed in Russia with its premier Vladimir Putin ignoring Pranab’s visit. Even the Russian foreign minister did not meet his Indian counter-part. Pranab found himself in a very uncomfortable situation when he was frisked at Moscow airport. Poor guy! Next was China’s turn with its premier Wen Jiabao not meeting Pranab; instead he visited the earthquake affected Sichuan where things were actually under control!

Now its the turn of Australia. Pranab during his recent visit did ask for uranium supplies to India which was strongly turned down by Australia. It was such a shame for India that even after requesting by its foreign minister, it only got snubbed by Australia. The same Australia supplies uranium to China, which has a poor record of nuclear proliferation.

These three incidents are really of great significance. With India talking a nuke-deal which was nuked by the Left, did not care much for Russia. At the same time, China has successfully improved its relations with Russia. The world knows about the new Australian PM’s pro-China stand.

India has find itself in a very hopeless position with neither the nuke deal working out nor any relationships with some of the key players in the global affairs improving.

The no. 2 in the Indian government is a bad loser. Indian diplomacy has hit a new low with almost every one in the current rule getting humiliated in one way or the other including Madam President, during their visits. The next government will have a herculean task ahead to set the things screwed up by the UPA right.

Reorganisation of states

June 21, 2008

Recent gorkhaland demands have sparked off a new debate about reorganisation of states. An interesting debate was published in the ET also. Mr. Peter Desouza gave an interesting opinion that enumerates the following reasons: –

  1. Five fold growth in electorate since independence.
  2. Democracy of communities
  3. Increased recognition of leaders at community level
  4. The fourth is the development deficit – politics weighs pros and cons, and if a communities gain is another communities loss the losers are bound to react and that will cause new protests and demands.[link]

The possibility of demand for telangana has been known for almost since formation of Andhra.

The States Reorganization Commission (SRC) was not in favour of merging the Telangana region with the then Andhra state. Para 382 of States Reorganization Commission Report (SRC) said “..opinion in Andhra is overwhelmingly in favour of the larger unit, public opinion in Telangana has still to crystallize itself”. The concerns of Telanganas were manifold. The region had a less developed economy than Andhra, but a larger revenue base (mostly because it taxed rather than prohibited alcoholic beverages), which Telanganas feared might be diverted for use in Andhra. They also feared that planned dam projects on the Krishna and Godavari rivers would not benefit Telangana proportionately even though Telanganas controlled the headwaters of the rivers. Telanganas feared too that the people of Andhra would have the advantage in jobs, particularly in government and education. Para 386 of States Reorganization Commission Report (SRC) said “After taking all these factors into consideration we have come to the conclusions that it will be in the interests of Andhra as well as Telangana area is to constitute into a separate State, which may be known as the Hyderabad State with provision for its unification with Andhra after the general elections likely to be held in or about 1961 if by a two thirds majority the legislature of the residency Hyderabad State expresses itself in favor of such unification.”

The central government decided to ignore the SRC recommendations and established unified Andhra Pradesh on November 1, 1956. However, a “Gentlemen’s agreement” provided reassurances to the Telangana people.[link]

Please read that link on the gentlemen’s agreement, and the states reorganisation commission report on andhra and decide if all that was necessary at all. The state reorganisation committee discusses how to break and join the kanadda majority areas with karnataka and how to do the same for telugu majority areas. The lingual identities were not belonging in many cases to their respective states, this was grafted. Many districts hence remain under dispute. Absolutely illogical fashion of executing the formation of states!

I for one think that there are two main goals of a nation to maintain stability, one is to keep a national interest before any other, and to therefore have a strong national identity and patriotism. Other is to strengthen local economies, so that interdependence is not a constraint for co-operation. All non-local resources should be within the purview of the centre. Lingual identity reinforces a european model of nationalism which would fail miserably in our nation where there are many many different toungues. We already see the MNS issue, and the KaRaVe issue, and though some of both their concerns are indeed genuine, they both place their regional interest over the national interest.

Interestingly there is a rejoinder to Mr. Peter’s arguments by a certain Nilotpal Basu, from the CPI(M) central secretariat. Mr. Nilotpal, keeping in line with the glorious tradition of his party, has blamed everything from RSS to US imperialism for the gorkhaland and other state demands. He stops short of making a point when he starts with a correct premise.

However, the post-Independence period has not been free from tensions. The inherent nature of capitalist development has resulted in regional imbalances. Lack of development has been a basis for demanding new states, often undermining the principle of linguistic states. On the other hand, ethnic and linguistic considerations, which ignore the question of viability, have been pushed to the fore. Care has to be taken to evolve mechanisms like autonomous councils for some communities — with adequate constitutional safeguard for their respective identities and greater role in deciding their own future.[link]

Now it is inherent nature of capitalistic development which is the cause for the Gorkhaland demand in West bengal, which has neither had a capitalist government and nor has it seen any resemblence of development happen for the last 31 years. His own argument is out to hit him! And he is right about regional imbalances, and that can be overcome by strengthening the local economies by giving regional autonomy not by forming autonomous councils and more such complicated government sitting benches.

It is extremely worrisome that Mr. Nilotpal’s only argument is that since RSS demands it, we shall protest it. This bigotry stems from an absolute absence of strong ideology. Even RSS does not hesitate to praise Indira for somethings that they feel were good and in the nations interest. The hollowness of ideology in the communist parties is a sign of dark times ahead for my state of Bengal.

CPM on foreign policy

June 19, 2008

Prakash Karat and Bardhan have a great nack for delivering nonsense, still some times they manage to surprise me.

New Delhi, June 15 (IANS) India has been drawn into the strategic designs of the US, and the Indian government’s flourishing defence relations with Israel are a direct result of the paradigm shift pushed by Washington and Tel Aviv, Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) general secretary Prakash Karat said here Sunday. Speaking at a function here, Karat said the issue of India’s defence ties with Israel cannot be separated from the “overarching” strategic relations with the US. All “patriotic, progressive and anti-imperialistic forces” should work to disentangle the country from the US-Israel axis, he added.

“On this point, there is no compromise on foreign policy,” he said, referring to the cause of creation of a separate Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital.

He alleged that Israeli defence companies, most of whom are state-owned enterprises, are “known to pay heavy bribes”.

“The Barack missile scandal is but an example. If our ties continues, it will subvert our won military and security establishment,” he said, referring to the defence deal which is now being probed.

The CPI-M leader, whose party supports the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government from outside, rebuffed the Indian government’s explanation for launching an Israel spy satellite earlier this year “as a purely commercial decision”

The function was also addressed by Issam Makhoul, a politburo member of the Communist Party of Israel, who ended a week-long visit to India.

Makhoul, a former secretary general of the party, was strongly critical of the military ties between Israel and India, which he pointed out had propelled Tel Aviv to be among the top five defence exporters in the world.[link]

One realises that there are a lot of problems in the middle east, some caused by Iran, Palestine, Syria etc. and many caused by Israel as well. Surely that can not be a reason for severing any ties, we have strategic interests that we should look out for, and thats the only rule in international relationships. They have been immensely helpful in the Kargil War by supplying arms without any agreement. Besides, like India, Israel too has suffered a lot at the hands of islamist terrorism and continues to suffer the presence of hostile neighbours. The Islamic world which has gone on the offensive towards the Israel in the past, prosecuted the jews in large numbers can not suddenly wave the white flag and expect peace. The minimum territorial integrity of Israel should be acknowledged as well.

What a fifth columnist party that Communist party of Israel is? India was a country which had welcomed the jews when they were being prosecuted world over. And the party sits in a function to support the cause for a palestenian state with jerusalem as the capital! Just how pathetic can communism be to advocate against the interest of your own people.

Even if we should not get into strong ties with Isreal, why should we support a palestine state with jerusalem as the capital. It is similar in temerity to the suggestion of Osama running for US president. The left should also know that these people they defend are going to be their worst enemies. The left at least has the freedom to form their communist party in Israel, and propogate such ideas, but no such freedom exists in the Islamic world.

Gujarat Drama

June 18, 2008

1. PM and Fm make referenced to take credit for Gujarat’s development saying that a lot of funds have been given to Gujarat. – in some speech.

2. Modi reacts saying only a meagre 5% of the tax paid by Gujarat’s people is given as funds from the centre and says that they are relying on falsehoods. He goes one more step ahead and says that the centre is more dependent on the state’s taxpayers. – in some rally

3. Issue blown over – The congress says that the data is not true as there was no data of taxes paid by states and calls for modi to be tried for treason (probably inspired by similar such calls from Nawaz Sharif recently), and says that Modi is questioning the very existance of the nation. They question the nationalism of the nationalist leader.

4. Modi asks them to go ahead with the absolutely ridiculous idea of the treason trial.

5. Congress says that Modi does not know the facts and produces facts to show that the Congress govt. did indeed give more funds to gujarat in their time than the NDA govt. did. The figures compare NDA contribution in 2002-03 and theirs in the last year showing about 25% increase over 4 years. This when the growth of Gujarat has been about 10% every year then. Also congress refutes the claim that the aid given to Gujarat is paltry, by discovering the amount taxes paid by the state to centre. One does not even know which taxes have been considered.

This is one of the better dramas unfolding in the recent past, the strong dialogues by Congress “leaders” (read sycophants like Manish Tiwari) like “trial for treason” have been interesting indeed. The congress have really given a good drama for a long time, its time they bowed out.

As for Modi, he should try and make sure he is quoted right and in correct context (he was only speaking at a rally). And he has a point, the state people work hard to produce some results in their neighbourhood. People work hard hoping that roads and infrastructure in their part of the world would improve and if any funds are going to the centre to put into sachar committees and to institute fudging experts and contract killers to maintain the sanctity of flagship pogroms oops sorry programs like NREGA.

The simple speech of Modi can shake the congress so much to call treason is testimony to the stature of Modi.

Pm in waiting Advani has been telling repeatedly to BJP that they should not get complacent. But the signals in place are quite the other way.

the Bharatiya Janata Party, or BJP, has a tough task in Delhi: naming a potential chief minister in the absence of a natural choice, ahead of the assembly polls due later this year. [link]

The BJP might be well placed due to anti-incumbency and misgovernance of the central and state government, but the BJP holds a democratic ideal which makes people choose about them better, they take decisions, stances, and project leaders. The voter is better equipped to make a choice about BJP than about any other party. Even though other parties will try to cash on the fringe, the BJP still emerges on the top because it respects the voter. Delhi is a disturbing piece in the trend in the whole set, and absence of any natural leader is a very petty excuse.

Jagdish Mukti or VK Malhotra should hopefully take reins and start organising the party machinery and revives the democratic ideal of BJP so that a good fair election takes place.