The ‘Theory of Akhilesh Win’ and BJP

Image source: myind.net

 

Assembly elections in UP and other states are around the corner.  Desperate to stop Modi juggernaut, alliances are being made and unmade. Here is one in UP

UP’s Mahagathabandhan =Akhilesh’s SP-+Mulayam’s old guard + -Congress + -RLD Other local parties too are coming together on ‘secular’ platform.

The pluses and minuses change daily like in a soap opera. The Yadav family drama has caught the fancy of our pseudo-everything main stream media. Very eager to see Modi humbled and bundled out, the media clutches at every tenuous thread to prop any challenger -Kejriwal, Hardik, Mayawati, Mamata, and Rahul being air dropped between his vacations. Media’s latest knight in shining armour is Akhilesh.

The ‘Theory of Akhilesh Win’

Media’s ‘Theory of Akhilesh Win’ goes like this: SP faced anti-incumbency. With his bold gambit of throwing out old guard Akhilesh would overcome negative performance and image of his own government. The EC dutifully gives him the ‘Cycle’ instead of freezing the symbol. Akhilesh’s youth and Muslim vote in pocket and some laptops would be enough to sweep aside Modi’s BJP.

Then the soap opera’s conductor adds a twist to the script. The father, the son, and the uncles would soon get together for a family selfie. Our media spinners spin a new sub-theory -Maulana’s return would bring back Muslim votes which would have been captured by Mayawati.

Mayawati’s vote trawler

She has a trawler with her vote-fishing net having 97 floats thrown out in UP’s waters muddied by caste and Muslim factors. Mayawati stares at her fishing net’s 97 bobbing nodes and wonders whether to focus on Muslims or her wads of SC votes.

Congress, seeking a semblance of relevance, declares its alliance with Akhilesh. Our media is ecstatic.

Politics is changing, opposition doesn’t get it

This is how electoral politics has played out all along in India -deals, counter deals, back deals, reward the rebels, encash votebanks of castes and be very afraid of Muslim vote.

If one looks at the enthusiastic support by common people to demonetization, one knows that India under its PM’s leadership has already changed and it is changing. When Modi exhorts BJP to be transparent about its funding, one can assume that he is throwing another challenge to the political class.

By this time, details of BJP MPs’ and MLAs’ cash deposits from November 8th to December 30th must be under processing.

Modi has irrevocably altered India’s political economy. He is combining a revamped and bigger subsidy regime with a business-friendly environment and infrastructure development with boosting small and tiny businesses through Mudra loans. Demonetization, e-transactions and GST are ushering in a faster economy.  A grocer, a shoe shine wala and every ordinary Indian have tasted the advantages of digital economy and what it means to get transfers of subsidies and payments directly in one’s bank account.  In rural households, LPG connections are replacing smoking chullahs. She knows that her ‘notes’ are safer in her bank than in her kitchen. She feels empowered and is no longer a beggar that the Congress had reduced her to be. She is a tough task master. Read more https://www.myind.net/silent-revolution-going-indias-noisy-democracy

Right under the nose of opposition political parties and media, Modi is transforming India’s politics too. While they are creating fiction of intolerance, church attacks, and Dalit deaths, India’s politics is changing from job reservations to livelihood and wealth creation, from fear of technology to embracing it and innovating, from mere demands to people’s participation as seen during demonetization crunch, from main stream media to social media and specialty media. That’s why some ’eminent’ journalists are clamoring for gagging the social media.

Public mood is changing from cynicism about crime and scams to taking on the monsters of black money  and terror.  When else would you find the Prime Minister and the most watched and followed politician launching BHIM app for person to person transfer funds based on indigenously developed technology?

Opposition parties are scared of Modi’s budget coming right before the polling for assembly elections begins. They know that something has changed but they don’t get what -conditioned as they are by decades of Congress style of politics.

But what about the BJP?

I had written in my article on June 12, 2016

“The worrying fact is that BJP is playing the game set up by its opposition.”  Read more https://www.myind.net/elections-bjps-tough-road-ahead

At that time, BJP lacked an overarching emotive appeal that would transcend caste and religion considerations. Surgical strikes against Pakistan and the war on black money which has reached every household are those overarching issues now. From its towering leader, BJP couldn’t have asked for more. Then there are powerful local issues like bleak law and order, communal riots, and Kairana exodus.  Akhilesh has nothing to show and everything to hide for his rule of five years.

As I write this, I am aware of RSS’s Manmohan Vaidya’s statement on reservations at the Jaipur Literature Festival. The opposition and main stream media are quite thrilled because they are good at twisting facts to suit them.  For an ever-defensive BJP, this provides another reason to stay on back foot. If BJP snatches defeat from the jaws of victory, this would be an excuse like it was in Bihar elections. The reason wasn’t valid in Bihar of 2015. It will be even less valid in UP and India of 2017.

You can’t learn how to win from losers of 2014. You can surely learn something from the winner, your top leader and India’s PM -work on your message and deliver it aggressively.

Is BJP afraid of losing UP ? 

Afraid to do anything ‘wrong’ lest it doesn’t win, it stitches an alliance of castes and plans to select candidates accordingly. BJP hears about Akhilesh-Congress alliance and it goes on defensive. It forgets its own PM’s huge achievements and its declared poll planks -surgical strikes and demonetization. On top of allotting tickets to Congress and BSP rebels it welcomes a thoroughly discredited ND Tiwari in its fold. BJP later plays down the whole sordid episode after a huge protest by its supporters on social media. In 2012, BJP had welcomed BSP’s Babu Singh Kushwaha infamous for NRHM scam.  In 2004, it had welcomed strongman and history sheeter DP Yadav.

Worse, when its workers die at the hands of leftists and jihadis in states like Kerala, It doesn’t take the state governments to task. It ignores Hindu traditions to be trampled by foreign-funded NGOs emboldened by a lopsided judicial overreach.  Our pseudo-secular opposition doesn’t see anything wrong in casteist and minority appeasement politics and letting corrupt contest elections. Is BJP afraid of bad press?

BJP may sweep polls, but we need better politics from it

Union Budget will most likely consolidate and build upon Modi Government’s pro-poor and development reputation. Modi’s rallies in UP will be another big factor. These factors and the emotive and substantive issues mentioned above may transcend Congress politics. UP’s main parties SP and BSP are not likely to come together. Therefore, it is quite possible that BJP will sweep the UP polls. But we expect far better politics and communication by the largest political party.

 

The above article was first published at: https://www.myind.net/theory-akhilesh-win-and-bjp#.dpuf

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Lawrence Summers’sweeping allegations and ill willed prophecy about India’s demonetization -A rebuttal

The article Most sweeping change in currency policy in the world in decades  coauthored by Natasha Sarin and Lawrence Summers makes sweeping statements of India’s demonetization unhindered by facts.

While PM Modi’s Big Bang demonetization has gone down well with a large majority of ordinary Indians despite inconveniences and difficulties, the global media’s coverage has been heavily biased.  This is not surprising given the vested interests that control media empires.

But one expects economists to give well reasoned assessments.

Lawrence Summers is no ordinary economist. Among other things, Summers was the Chief Economist of the World Bank, Undersecretary for International Affairs of US Department of Treasury under Clinton Administration, and Director of National Economic Council a forum used by US President. He is the one who had recommended abolition of US $100 and Euro 500 notes.   “One of us (Larry) has long advocated the abolition of the $100 note in the US context and the 500 euro note (aka the Bin Laden) in the European context

Since Summers is undoubtedly the far more accomplished of the two coauthors and since article is published on his website larrysummers.com, we can assume that he fully stands by the article.

 

Bye bye, facts

The economist duo ‘recognizes’ that ‘many who hold large quantities of cash in India have come by their wealth in corrupt or illegal ways’.  Do those who hold cash in large quantities in the US or Europe have come to be wealthy in legal ways? But that’s another subject.  The duo criticizes that what was legal tender was suddenly no longer legal. It doesn’t see that secrecy and suddenness of demonetization is a must to ferret out black money in cash form. In India, even critics (most of them) of demonetization agree that the suddenness and secrecy are critical success factors and they focus on execution issues.

Nor does the duo take into account the fact that India has been facing terror attacks from Pakistan which are funded by fake Indian currency -almost all of it in denominations of Rs 500 and Rs 1000.

The duo questions ‘equity and efficacy’ of India’s demonetization.

As far as efficacy is concerned, we have already seen that Pakistan paid stone pelting in Kashmir has stopped. Concerning black money in other forms, PM Modi has already announced that demonetization is just the beginning and that more actions like crackdown on benami holdings will come soon.

Equally importantly, India has near universal banking and it is rapidly digitizing. A nation-wide GST is another way of bringing large number transactions out of the black economy. The united payment interface (UPI) that makes person to person e-payments possible has been launched. The duo fails to factor in all these fundamental changes.

The economist duo also doesn’t recognize that even if majority of illegal wealth is in non-cash form, cash (means Rs 500 and Rs 1000 notes in India) is vital for the black economy to function.

We shall deal with ‘equity’ in a while.

Summers and his coauthor make sweeping and baseless allegation against Modi government

The duo says about Modi Government ‘ the temptation to expropriate is understandable’.  In effect, Summers and his colleague are accusing the government of giving in to the temptation of taking over someone’s property. This is a serious accusation and is completely baseless because any Indian citizen can deposit his old and useless notes in his or her bank account and get them credited without any limit. It remains citizen’s property. If questioned by Income Tax or other tax officers, citizens have to show that the amount is consistent with declared earnings and economic activity. Is the economist duo suggesting that things ought to work differently? Do the Income Tax people in US or Europe behave differently? So, how is this expropriation?  Summers and his colleague are wildly off the mark here.

Making legal ambiguity as a defense of the corrupt

The duo says ‘ Most free societies would rather let several criminals go free than convict an innocent man’  and the goes on to  ‘ Moreover, the definition of what is illegal or corrupt is open to debate given commercial practices that have prevailed in India for a long time’. Now innocents aren’t getting convicted nor is there any ambiguity in India about what is illegal and corrupt. Perhaps these ‘defenses’ have worked well for bosses of western financial institutions who were caught in various frauds and yet had no personal culpability despite tax payers bailing out their institutions.

The economist duo may note that the Indian legal system was available even for Kasab, a Pakistani terrorist captured in terror attack of 26/11 to defend himself for years.

Now, about the ‘equity’

The Big Bang demonetization announced by PM Narendra Modi caught many in a bind. The black money hoarders got a black eye. Parties like Congress, AAP, TMC, SP, BSP, RJD and yes, your neighborly Sena cousins got hit badly. Builders and Jewelers conducting illegal cash businesses got hit on head and saw stars. The stone pelters of Kashmir ended up jobless. The Naxalites got busy in scraping the bottom. The big bang detonated under seats power in Pakistan too.

Ordinary people complain about queues and inconvenience but they think it is a small price to pay to get rid of black money, mis-governance, and terror. Some cash dependent (black money) sectors like realty and jewelry have taken a hit. There may be a temporary slowdown. To more than balance the negative effect, if any, banks have received so much cash that they have started dropping lending rates. State Bank, India’s biggest lender is one of them. The fall in interest rates has taken place even though RBI hasn’t cut benchmark rates. Legitimate businesses will get boost.  We aren’t even talking about the illegal cash that doesn’t come out in open is now trash and its power to vitiate economic and social fiber is now Zero.    82% Indians favored the decision and 84% said Modi government was serious about the issue‘   It is a people’s movement. That’s equity.

Ill-willed prophecy?

The duo then offers a prophecy -‘ the ongoing chaos in India and the resulting loss of trust in government fortify us in this judgment’ -as a justification for its ‘judgment’!

There are baseless allegations against Modi government, legal ambiguity as defense of the corrupt, and an uncalled for (ill willed?) prophecy in Summers’ and his coauthor’s article.

 

Neither economics, nor logic

The quality of Summers’ and his coauthor’s  article reminds one of Arvind Kejriwal’s allegation The government expects to net 10-11 lakh crore rupees by asking people to surrender the spiked currency and write off the bad debts’ (read )  You can’t write off bank loans (assets) by using peoples’ deposits (liabilities) .

Do you find economics or logic anywhere?

Also read:

https://www.myind.net/silent-revolution-going-indias-noisy-democracy

This article was first published here: https://www.myind.net/ground-reports-about-indias-demonetization-suggest-it-success-rebuttal-lawrence-summers#.dpuf

Bangladesh doing more to fight Islamic Jihad than Mamata’s Bengal

This may shock many, but Sheikh Hasina’s Bangladesh seems more intent in curbing Islamic Jihad than Mamata Banerjee’s Bengal.  This is despite the fact that Bangladesh isn’t a great example of a State that protects its citizens against Islamic extremism.

Here is why.

Bangladesh has always been in news because of Jihadi terror targeting minorities on its soil.  On June 10 2016, a Hindu ashram inmate, Nityaranjan Pandey was hacked to death. On July 1, a Hindu priest, 70 years old Shyamonanda Das was hacked by machetes by three men on a motorcycle in Jhenaidah district, in Bangladesh. Before this, another Hindu priest was hacked to death in the same district.

More than 40 people have been killed in attacks in Bangladesh since February 2013.  Those killed include religious minorities (Hindus, Christians ) bloggers, academics, and gay rights activists (Read ) The number of those who killed in Islamic terror keeps going up with attacks like July 2016 Dhaka attack in which 29 people including 20 hostages (18  foreigners) were killed.

 

Multiple mobs of Muslims attacked Hindu temples and homes recently (Read )

Contrary to what experts and retired army officers think, Bangladesh Government denies any role of ISIS or Al-Qaida in these waves of attacks. It believes that is the work of local hard line Islamists groups. It is important to note that the Bangladesh Government acknowledges role of Islamists unlike our Bengal Government which denies any communal angle to incidents of mob violence against Hindus in the state.

Bangladesh has also been in news for the counter measures it has been taking against Islamic terror.  Bangladesh police detained about 900 people as a part of crackdown on militants after the series of terror attacks. They managed to kill the Dhaka terror attack planner (read ) In a police raid  called as Operation storm 26, nine militants were killed on July 26 ( read ) In  a series of other raids, the Bangladesh paramilitary Rapid Action force  killed 11 militants (read )

As is well known, in May 2016, Bangladesh executed Motiur Rehman Nizami, head of banned Jamaat-e-Islami party, after his conviction for genocide, rape, and massacres (read ) it has weathered the protests by Muslims against the execution.

What is happening in Mamata’s Bengal?

On January 29, 2015 in Kolkata’s suburb Usti more than 50 Hindu shops were ransacked, looted and gutted by jihadists. Police mostly watched as bombs were hurled at Hindus.  The victims were detained while attackers roamed free.  The media remained mute and so did CM Mamata Banerjee whose duty is to protect life of every citizen.

“While the situation for Hindus in Bangladesh is certainly dire, life has become increasingly difficult for Hindus in West Bengal, home to a Muslim-appeasing government and a breeding ground and safe haven for terrorists. For several years, West Bengal has suffered under apparent Muslim-planned riots designed to implement shariah, extract government concessions and grab more territory. “ (read )

In February 2015, The alleged abduction and rape of Tuktuki, a teen from rural West Bengal, by Muslim goons predictably failed to evoke media response and also that by the State Government of Bengal.  No prizes for guessing why.

“There are three points that need to be made in the context of Tuktuki Mandal’s tragedy. First, Hindu girls in their teens are being increasingly abducted and raped, or forced into marriage, by Muslim goons in those areas of West Bengal where there has been an extraordinary spike in the Muslim population, largely on account of illegal immigration from Bangladesh..” (read)

On 23rd April 2015, Muslim mobs in Falta (south 24 Paraganas District) unleashed large scale violence against Hindus. 50 Hindu houses and 10 shops were looted and damaged.  (Read )

On January 3 2016, 1.5 Lakh Muslims assembled near Kaliachak taxi stand. The mob blocked national highway, ransacked vehicles, burnt BSF van, and attacked the police station. The police ran away. The mob then destroyed and looted properties owned by Hindus. It molested Hindu women.  Despite this act of arson the Mamata government could arrest only nine and they could get bail since charges framed by police were not serious at all.  (Read)  All this happened despite the fact that Kamlesh Tiwari, who had allegedly said offensive things about the Prophet, had already been booked and arrested.

The fact is that in Bengal Police and BSF couldn’t protect themselves from the Muslim mob.

What has the Mamata Banerjee Government been doing? Has it been taking measures to prevent Jihadi violence or punish the culprits? No, her government has been doing the opposite.  It is turning a blind eye to growing Islamist violence and even encouraging the Jihadi terror elements.

 

Mamata Banerjee approved academic degrees of 10,000 unrecognized and Saudi funded madrasas and honorariums for Imams.

“In June of 2014, Mamata Banerjee made a highly questionable appointment, Rajya Sabha, to the upper house of the Indian Parliament.  Despite multiple warnings from the District Intelligence Bureau that had red-flagged him for instigating violence against Hindus, including alleged participation in the Kolkata and Canning riots and sheltering known terrorists, she selected Hassan Imran to serve as MP. Imran is a founder and self-admitted member of the radical student group, the Student Islamic Movement of India (SIMI), a recognized terrorist organization banned by the Indian government.“ (Read )

Pakistani gunsmiths trained locals in Bengal to manufacture guns used in Dhaka attack.

The AK-22 assault rifles made under the supervision of Pakistani gunsmiths at illegal arms manufacturing units in Malda (Bengal) were used in terror attack by Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB) in Dhaka. This is based on the confessions made to NIA (National Investigation Agency) by one of the six terrorists arrested in connection to October 2 2014 Khagragarh blast in Bengal’s Burdwan District. The accidental blast had killed tow terrorists and revealed the existence of full-fledged explosives manufacturing units run by JMB that also carried our Dhaka attack.  The Mamata government of Bengal allowed such terrorist activities. (Read )

The Indo-Bangladesh border along Kaliachak (of the infamous Muslim mob attack on police station and BSF unit) Baishnavnagar in Malda is transit route for illegal arms, narcotics and Fake Indian Currency Notes. (Read )

Mamata Banerjee’s criticism of demonetization of Rs 500 and Rs 1000 notes is clearly not without a reason. The scrapping of old notes by PM Modi government must be hurting the Islamic terror operations in Bengal. The fact that Mamata Banerjee is willing to co-operate with even CPM (her arch rivals) and anyone willing to oppose demonetization is also very telling. TMC and Communists treat Muslims as their vote bank.  80% of fake currencies are sneaked through 172 Km border along Malda district (read )

Several districts of Bengal are known as terror hubs with bomb making activities going unchecked. There are no signs that the state government will do anything to punish the guilty.

The Bengal CM recently supported ‘Triple Talaq’  (read ) It is clear that for Mamata Banerjee vote bank politics is more important than gender justice and safety of its citizens.

Taslima Nasrin, the exiled Bengali writer from Bangladesh, couldn’t live in Kolkata. She was forced flee from Bengal following death threats. Mamata Banerjee’s Bengal continues to be in that state.

In our main stream media UP and Bihar are often painted as examples of lawlessness depending on political convenience of media owners. Bengal’s poor record in law and order gets shielded. The truth is that people in Bengal, particularly, Hindus face violence by Muslim mobs, emboldened by their rising numbers and a state government that lets them run riot -just like those in UP.

The Mamata government hasn’t performed its constitutional duty of preventing terror and protecting its citizens. Instead, it has shown a blind eye to Islamic extremism with an eye on Muslim vote bank. Mamata Banerjee is willing to cooperate with anyone who is ready to oppose gender-justice, counter-terror, anti-black money measures by Modi Government.

Clearly, Sheikh Hasina’s Bangladesh has done more for curbing Islamic Jihad than Mamata Banerjee’s Bengal.

This article was first published at: https://www.myind.net/bangladesh-doing-more-fight-islamic-jihad-mamatas-bengal#.dpuf

‘Dangal’ in SP’s Yadav Family, Triple Talaq, and BJP in UP

The Dangal in Mulayam Singh’s Yadav clan and Samajwadi Party and Tata’s tussle with Cyrus Mistry have pushed everything else in the background. The US Presidential race between Trump and Hillary is in its decisive phase. The post ‘surgical strikes’ situation at LOC remains tense. BSF recently countered Pakistan’s transgression. The ISI spy ring involving Pakistan High Commission’s staffer has been busted. All these and equally important issues like Triple Talaq have been pushed into the background.

If newspaper headlines and news channels’ tickers reflected public mood or political realities, we would not have had Narendra Modi led BJP and NDA sweeping the 2014 polls. Had the criticism of PM Modi’s Pakistan policy in media been founded on facts and logic, the surgical strikes would not have happened. The financial meltdown of 2008 and Brexit also would not have happened.

About four months back, UP elections looked to be a difficult challenge for BJP. BJP had swept the Lok Sabha polls in 2014 with UP contributing a lion’s share to the tally. But subsequently, BJP had lost Bihar to the Mahagathabandhan of Lalu Yadav and Nitish Kumar. It was unable to counter the caste arithmetic and propaganda about reservations. In UP, the BJP couldn’t decide on a CM candidate. The party had been out of power for over a decade. Despite Amit Shah’s undeniable credentials as a great election manager the going seemed to be tough for BJP.  Read https://www.myind.net/elections-bjps-tough-road-ahead

In June, this author had argued that BJP needs to play to its strengths and not weaknesses like caste arithmetic. He had summed up the challenge as: “BJP is without an overarching emotive promise which can galvanize this fractured society to come out its nooks and crannies, to come together and vote for it”

Now there is a big shift in public mood.

The surgical strikes against Pakistan have resonated with people throughout the country cutting across sub identities like caste, language and religion. The Modi government and India’s brave Army fulfilled the fervent wish of every Indian ( Read https://www.myind.net/aftermath-uri-attacks-what-india-expects-pm-narendra-modi ) and the nation gave an overwhelming approval to the government and the army (Read https://www.myind.net/strategic-restraint-surgical-strikes-pakistans-terror-camps-what-next )

The Congress led opposition soon realized this and started doubting the ‘surgical strikes’ themselves. When this backfired, Congress claimed that surgical strikes had happened during the UPA regime too.  When this too didn’t impress people, it started telling PM Modi and BJP ‘not take political advantage of army’s success’.  These are sure signs that Congress and opposition have realized that they have lost credibility and considerable public support.

The Triple Talaq issue is now unraveling. The Modi government came out convincingly against continuation of this regressive practice under the pretext of religious freedom. PM Modi said “Can’t allow lives of Muslim women to be ruined by triple talaq” (read ).  He also said that this is not a Hindu-Muslim issue.  His government has framed this issue in terms of ‘compatibility with India’s constitution and gender justice’.

So far, the Samajwadi Party had assumed that Muslim votes would accrue in its account. The Mulayam-Akhilesh feud has left Akhilesh government doddering. Its election prospects now look much worse than before -whether the patch up happens or not. It is difficult to see how even its ‘own Yadavs’, leave alone Muslims, will feel assured enough to vote for it.

Mayawati’s BSP was ascending earlier. But BSP has been plagued by large scale attrition of senior leaders -some no doubt disgruntled by larger allocation to Muslim candidates.

The triple talaq issue is bound to make some Muslims think again. Those who are with Mullahs and Maulvis will remain opposed to the BJP. Out of the 18% share of Muslims in UP, 9% will be women. Even if half of them and some men rethink, we are talking about a probable swing of 4 to 5% away from parties which don’t oppose Triple Talaq.  Mayawati has told the Modi Government to leave Muslims alone -in other words let Muslim women suffer until the Mullahs see light. Her ‘target constituency of young Muslims’ are not going to be very convinced about her stand.  Her idea of attracting Brahmins is also going to be difficult. The Samajwadi Party is not in a position to take a stand on the issue and it may default to support for continuation of Triple Talaq. Congress is an insignificant player in UP. It is still hedging the issue. It would like to get Muslim votes, but it also is in a race to get Brahmin votes. This hedging is not going to make it more popular.

Coming on the back of surgical strikes, Modi government’s stand on Triple Talaq must have further cemented BJP’s core support base. In a multi-cornered election a 4 to 5 % swing of votes and consolidation of broad support bases will be decisive factors.

PM Modi has led the charge for BJP on Triple Talaq. His hugely popular Pakistan policy and credible development appeal are big strengths for the BJP.  The opposition parties, which so far relied on caste and religion vote banks, will find it tough to face the BJP.  It is for BJP to take advantage of confusion in the ranks of opposition parties and surge ahead.

 

Image Credits: ANI News

This article was first published at https://www.myind.net/dangal-sp-yadav-family-muslim-vote-bjp-rise#.dpuf

Trapped by Congress Ecosystem, RSS Punching Below Its Weight

The tamasha by Congress after the recent surgical strike is a stark reminder that the philosophy and agenda of our national development remains trapped by the Congress ecosystem. This ecosystem is a complex web of nodes and of favors and disfavors.

Congress ecosystem and its big lie

Apologists of Islamic extremism and terror form one node of this ecosystem. They rationalize various acts of gender injustice and terror as ‘resistance to oppression’ or ‘ must allow religious freedom’   or as in ‘it isn’t Islam at all’. The other node of this ecosystem is formed by the Left who paint Hinduism as a regressive and upper caste force but have no problem with brutal oppression of women, Muslims from other sects, and religious minorities in Islam dominated regions. The third node of the Congress ecosystem is that of a section of educated Indians who equate West with science and progress, prefer market economy, and have no problem in accepting Vatican certifying Teresa’s miracles and canonizing her. These nodes maintain connections with some media owners and journalists and artists through a system of ‘give and take’. The ‘connected’ journalists easily rationalize horrible violence and gender injustice.  The artists give a ‘humane’ face to Islamic terror and violence by producing movies with sympathetic storylines but they are very precise in linking any social ills to Hinduism when they produce other movies.

The ecosystem co-opts Jihadi, Evangelist, and Naxal forces to keep the pot boiling over.  It isn’t difficult to guess how they keep their wheels greased despite being out of power. They have their counterparts in media, institutions and governments the world over. They cooperate to keep any nationalist upsurge and mobilization in India on back foot. They oppose ISIS only as a symbolic gesture but turn a blind eye to JeM, JuD, LeT and other terror outfits.

There is something really very important that unites these forces. They are united in their agenda to propagate the lie that India was not a nation before the British ‘united it and gave it independence’ in 1947. This lie is the biggest stumbling block to asserting our true identity, claiming our great legacy and progressing to being a great nation again.

We, the majority of Indians who wish to see India and Indians prosper, have to face this disinformation onslaught all the time. Save some media web sites, TV channels and social media we too are trapped in the Congress ecosystem.  Even our Army isn’t spared by the Congress ecosystem.

Now guess who is saying what is given below.

” Humanity can live a happy, peaceful and beautiful life only when we understand and follow the principles of loving and respectfully accepting the plurality inherent in nature; move with a sense of coordination, cooperation, empathy and dialogue and; adopt the path of non-violence and constitutional middle path instead of practicing unilateral fanaticism and violence in our practices in matters related to ideological and religious conduct. “

” Leaving everything related to the nation’s future in the hands of government is not going to prove very effective. All prevailing policy systems across the world have proven themselves as incomplete and half baked visions. The system in our country too has been suffering from the same problem since our independence “

“The resurgence of a self reliant, strong, prosperous and secure nation, giving benevolent and flourishing leadership to the world, is possible only when an egalitarian, organized and enlightened society with self esteem strives towards this end.”  Imported words like ‘inclusive’, ‘secular’, and ‘tolerance’ pale insignificant when compared to the brilliance of the all encompassing world view and a vision for development.

“It is this self-centered collective greed that gives rise to exploitation, suppression, violence and fanaticism. Precisely, operating on the basis of such selfish interests by the western countries is responsible for a new incarnation of terror and fundamentalism that has emerged today in West Asia in the form of ISIS terrorizing the whole world. Can you guess who is diagnosing terror so well?

“We will have to drive out even the smallest of the remnants of our caste based, regional and linguistic egos which breed such prejudices.  Each one of us must test each of our act, whether big or small, on the simple ground that each member of my great Hindu society, and each son/daughter of Mother Bharat, is my own brother and sister. We must ensure that each of our temples, cremation ground and community water source must remain open to. We should ensure that all should participate in all functions, celebrations as well as festivals of great heroes and personalities. ….” Can this come from allegedly ‘Brahminical’, or an ‘upper caste dominated’, or ‘anti-Dalit’ or a ‘divisive’ organization?

“For sustainable development, (our) philosophy encourages least use of energy, maximum employment, sensitivity towards environment, ethics, and the wholesome approach to agriculture. It suggests a decentralized and self reliant economic and industrial order.” Isn’t this model of sustainable development better than western model of replacing one kind of (ever growing) consumption by another?  Can you guess who is articulating this?

All the above are quotes from Vijayadashami speeches in 2014, 2015, 2016 given by RSS Sarasanghachalak Dr Mohan Bhagwat. (Please see references 1, 2, and 3 below)

Could you guess correctly?

RSS vision and actions

Do you see hate towards any religion in these speeches? Do you see any upper caste hegemony? Do you see anything anti-modern? What you see is desire to be a healthy society and a nation. What you see is an examination of what is good for us and what isn’t -irrespective of whether it is modern or ancient.

Dr Bhagwat draws upon our Hindu civilization’s timeless (Sanatana) knowledge and wisdom enunciated by greats like Swami Vivekananda and Yogi Arvind and rishi, muni, and sages from ancient times to tell us what we need to do to fulfill Bharat’s role as guiding light to the world troubled with war and avarice, by arrogance and fear, by disease and dispossession.

RSS has indeed backed up its vision by actions in some areas. RSS is well known for its relief activities during natural disasters like earthquakes and floods. It has been doing a lot of developmental and educational work in Adivasi areas and in eastern states through organizations like Vanvasi Kalyan Ashram.  (Reference 4)

But what do we read in our main stream media? What is the perception among educated Indians and our current ‘thought leaders’?

From Dr. Bhagwat’s recent speech our media picked two points. They ‘noticed’ that Swayamsevaks were wearing the new uniform with full trousers. They also juxtaposed Dr. Bhagwat’s defense of ‘gaurakshaks’ with PM Modi’s criticism -leaving out that both said essentially the same thing. Both emphasized need to abide by the law.

Did we hear or read in main stream media about RSS’ work in Madhya Bharat for ending discrimination against Dalits in surveyed villages as mentioned by Dr Bhagwat in his recent speech? No.

There is only one entity which has been subjected to more sustained and vicious abuse and vilification than PM Narendra Modi -it is Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS). Jawaharlal Nehru, Indira Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi have all maligned RSS. Minor functionaries of Congress keep repeating lies about RSS.  Here is a short list abuses used to defame RSS – ‘killer of Mahatma Gandhi, divisive force, communal, instigator of communal riots, Brahminical, against minorities, regressive and fundamentalist, behind saffron terror, like Islamic State’

A section of educated Indians thinks that RSS is rooted in past. This is the age in which film stars and sports persons become our ‘thought leaders’ due to their audience pull. How many of them stand up for Hindus of Kashmir, Kairana and those in Pakistan? How does it stack with their alacrity in supporting Pakistani artists?

One can and one must read Dr. Bhagwat’s speeches (see references below) in order get a full import of what RSS is and what it is trying to do. But even the most diligent of us can get swamped by the prevalent disinformation onslaught.

So, why is RSS allowing the battle of perception against it and against Hindus?

This is the age of disinformation.  Most large media are controlled or funded by political, religious (Non-Hindu), or business interests. Their information mix consists of ‘curated facts’, half-lies or total lies. The mix is tailored to the interests of those who control or fund.

That’s the reason we read only about ‘trousers or gaurakshaks’.

That’s the reason Durgapuja is banned in the West Bengal, where it is major religious festival of Hindus. It’s like banning Ganesh Visarjan in Maharashtra.

That’s the reason not just RSS but ‘Hindu’ is still a ‘regressive’ ‘parochial’ word in Hindustan, but a Maratha morcha is a sign of ‘awakening’

RSS has strong philosophical foundation rooted in our Dharmic civilization. It has a very large and disciplined organization.  Can’t it project itself better? Can’t it fight disinformation with information?  Can’t it do whatever it takes to alter the public discourse?

Caste politics is preventing Hindu unity

Jats, Patidars, and now the Marathas want caste based reservations.  We are getting into a bigger mess due to percentage games for political gains by various parties. BJP too has played along. If RSS wants to eradicate castes, will reservations help or hinder its work? Who will tell them that their own caste leaders have let them down? Who will tell them that clinging to caste identity will keep them backward.  Can’t RSS mobilize public opinion about futile nature of these demands.  How will it unite Hindus?

We hear that Bihar elections were lost ‘due to Dr. Bhagwat’s proposal to form an impartial and independent panel to examine the current system of reservation’. Whether the analysis is right or wrong, it shows that we remain trapped by the Congress ecosystem.

BJP threw in towel on reservations some time back.  RSS too is trapped by the Congress Ecosystem.

RSS and BJP workers are getting killed

Read about this recent incident . Many such killings have been going on in Kerala, Karnataka, and West Bengal, and UP. It is the job of the respective state government to bring culprits to book and to protect its citizens. If a state government is failing the Center shouldn’t be a mute spectator.

But shouldn’t RSS use its considerable strength to put pressure for necessary actions?

RSS is punching well below its weight

A vanquished Congress with just 44 MPs is often able to put Modi Government on the back foot and RSS in defensive mode. It continues to use its ecosystem of favors and disfavors despite being out of power for over two years.

Alert and nationalist social media activists and a handful of web sites are the only counter-weights to the public discourse heavily skewed against Hindus and in favor of India’s enemies.

The fact is that RSS is punching well below its weight. It has huge resources and it can get more if it wishes. It may have to rethink its model ‘we are an organization for character building and our Swayamsevaks should do what is necessary for country on their own’.

One reason RSS is punching well below it weight is that it is trapped by the Congress ecosystem and it is kept in defensive mode.

Only once in a while we seem to break out of the Congress trap. It happened recently after surgical strikes against Pakistan based terror camps. It happened once before, at the time of 2014 elections.

We need to break out of the Congress trap permanently.

If RSS doesn’t take a lead in this, who will? 

RSS project in Madhya Pradesh for empowering Dalits is welcome. It may be a sign that it is indeed rethinking its model. Modi ji’s promise of Congress Mukta Bharat won’t get fulfilled unless the Congress ecosystem’s trap is broken.

Time RSS starts using its intellectual and organizational strengths. Time it launches more wide ranging projects.  Perhaps it is a better way to build further strength and breaking out of the Congress ecosystem’s trap.

Time we break free.

References

(1) Vijayadashami 2014 speech by Dr Mohan Bhagwat

(2) Vijayadashami 2015 speech by Dr Mohan Bhagwat

(3) Vijayadashami 2016 speech by Dr Mohan Bhagwat

(4) A summary of RSS work

(5) Battle for Congress Mukta Bharat is far from over

Image Credits: ANI News

– This article was first published at https://www.myind.net/india-needs-break-free-congress-ecosystem-progress#.dpuf

Pakistan: What next after surgical strikes?

(Image source myind.net)

Indian Military lived up to the mandate given by PM Modi and his government to protect India against infiltration early today (September 29) morning in a stunning surgical strike 3 Kms inside LOC with Pakistan Occupied Kashmir. It destroyed 7 terror launch pads and eliminated 2 soldiers and about 38 terrorists who were getting ready to cross over to India. (source)

Indians have been angry with Pakistan for its terror war against India through attacks like 26/11, Patahnkot and Uri -just to name a few.  They expressed their anger and hope that their Government would match words by deeds (Read).

As the details of the daring operation started coming out Indians took to social media pouring out their joy and expressing their pride in their defense forces. In equal measure, they are expressing their happiness about having a real Prime Minister and his capable government who walk their talk.

For a while, Modi Government gave an impression to the world that it was banking on diplomatic efforts and  communication campaigns to deal with Pakistan. It described Pakistan as ‘Ivy League of terror’ and ‘following a toxic curriculum’ (Read ), and ‘exporter of terror’. It invited Pakistan Government ‘for a race in poverty reduction and development instead of violence’. It ordered reviews of Indus Water Treaty and MFN status of Pakistan. It pulled out of SAARC meeting in Pakistan. It started conducting naval exercises in Arabian Sea. All this, while Pakistan continued to violate ceasefire and to gather next batches of terrorists for crossing over to India. Pakistan may have thought it could continue and get away with its duplicity.

Even the world powers thought India will not escalate the situation beyond rhetoric.

May be not. Calls from John Kerry Secretary of State and Susan Rice, NSA of US to their counter parts in India may have been about these surgical strikes. It is possible that Modi Government kept USA in loop over the developments on ground.

There are reasons to believe that today’s surgical strike isn’t one-off event. Ever since assuming power in 2014, the Modi Government has been following a long term plan. On one level, the plan consists of offers to talk with Pakistan. Modi’s  impromptu visit to Pakistan was at this level.

At another level, India continued its diplomatic efforts to isolate and encircle Pakistan. Modi Government’s consistent efforts in documenting Pakistan’s role in various terror attack and pacts with Afghanistan are a part of this.  It is trying to contain China, Pakistan’s staunch ally,  through counterweights of US, Japan, and Vietnam at the same time showing willingness to make some concessions to it. It is trying to consolidate its friendship with Russia. It is using its trade and arms purchase power to extract help from various countries.

While doing all above and more, Modi Government has worked on our defense preparedness. It sorted out One Rank One Pension issue which was a big issue for our armed forces. When PM Modi told Arnab Goswami of Time Now that ‘our job is to talk (with Pakistan) the defense forces’ job is to protect our country on our borders’ it wasn’t rhetoric. He had articulated his doctrine in dealing with Pakistan. Not many got it right. Not many get it right even now.

Today’s surgical strike is just an element of this new doctrine.

PM Modi recently asked Pakistan in his Kozikode speech ” Is PoK is with you now? Is Bangladesh with you now? Sindh is with you. Balochistan is with you. But are things right there? Your leaders are making you fools in the name of Kashmir.”

He asked Pakistanis to think about which country got independence in 1947. PM Modi says one day the time will come when Pakistan citizens will take to the streets against terrorism. (Read )

It is unlikely that Paksitan will learn a lesson and stop terror. So does this ‘new doctrine’ include ‘an all out war’ with Pakistan? Probably not.

What next after the surgical strikes?

In Pakistan, its powerful army gets a chance to overthrow Sharif Government calling it ‘incompetent’ in dealing with India. There might be a military coup in Pakistan.

In appealing to people of Pakistan Modi is helping Pakistan’s endgame along. Pakistan is an unnatural and unstable state which can’t take care of its own people. It is propped up by external forces which are being used by Military and  Terror armies to draw sustenance. Pakistan’s so called ‘Islamic Identity’ hasn’t worked -it lost the then East Bengal, Baluchistan is raring to go, and Sindh wants to go too (Read https://www.myind.net/pakistan-has-endgame-begun )

One can expect protests in Baluchistan and Sindh to grow. There will be more efforts to contrast Pakistan’s lack of development with India’s progress and growing stature. There will be efforts to overcome Pakistani’s indoctrination of ‘Hate India’.  One can expect more unrest among common Pakistanis all over that country.

Modi’s  diplomatic efforts will be for exposing the illegitimacy of Pakistan. Like he reached out to Pakistani people, his communications will be addressed to citizens of world to build public pressure on their respective governments to stop helping a terrorist state. A military coup will turn world’s public opinion more against Pakistan.

PM Modi is likely to use trade diplomacy and economic means to persuade world powers. There may be efforts to show CPEC (China Pakistan Economic Corridor) to be unviable because of internal unrest and there may be an offer of a package deal with China.  A well governed India will be positioned as an attractive partner to China. Indian Navy’s overseeing of Arabian Sea will also be leveraged.

America’s real politic revolves around trade and arms trade. Everything else is mere posturing. So does many western powers’ and Russia’s. India’s defense requirements are huge and an economically strong India can pay. Contrast this with Pakistan which needs American aid to buy a batch F-16 fighter aircrafts.

Muslim countries of Gulf which didn’t help Muslim refugees from Syria are unlikely to help Pakistan much more, give that their economies need rebuilding after the reverse oil shock (of falling prices)

Like Uri was seized as a tipping point with respect to international opinion for our surgical strikes, there will come a tipping point in average Pakistani’s opinion about their own government and India. There may be some covert strikes in Pakistan. One of the goals of such strikes will be to safeguard nuclear weapons from terrorists and rogue elements. World powers will surely have stakes here.

As this author said before, Pakistan’s endgame has begun. PM Modi will hasten it slowly (as they say one should). It keeps collateral damage low and improves chances of success. We should build on our strengths, learn strategic thinking, and have patience to achieve our goals. Let us support the Prime Minister by doing our part.

This article was first published by myind.net here

A silent revolution is going on in India’s noisy democracy

India is leapfrogging into future, ahead of advanced economies. It has been charting a unique course. It opted for democracy and universal franchise. It missed the manufacturing bus but it took the services flight. It ushered the green revolution and milk revolution. It started with a government dominated economy and switched a market economy. It has now taken up unfinished work in manufacturing and agriculture. It has followed a bewilderingly zigzag course.  It is becoming increasingly clear that India is getting its act together under the leadership of PM Modi and his government.

India’s Aadhar has entered record books as the world’s largest identity database. ISRO’ satellite launching capabilities have attracted commercial inquiries from some countries. Our UPI (United Payment Interface) technology is being patented. The world sees India as an island of growth and a responsible global citizen. But much more is happening.

A silent revolution is going on in India’s noisy democracy. So silent that it easy to miss it amid our politics of protests.

India’s capacity to transform itself is getting better.

It is well known that PM Modi is a big advocate of technology. But we need to take time to understand the scope of what is going on.  No other big society or civilization is absorbing technology in so many fundamental ways. It is so pervasive that it is not merely about technology anymore.

Indian State is modernizing. India’s leaders are driving changes from top. That’s not all. Indians are changing their ideas about themselves. Technology is coming to aid of our democracy.

By leaps and bounds

People have got used to convenience and speed of online shopping, online ticketing and internet banking. Gone are the days of cheques lost in transit and physical share certificates not getting transferred due to mismatch of signatures. Certificates of birth, education and documents like vehicle registration, driving license, and passport will soon exist only in online form via the Digilocker. When fingerprint and IRIS scanners become ubiquitous through smart phones and terminals, signatures and paper copies of identity cards etc will be replaced by Aadhar based authentication.  Already, a payment bank and a telecom operator have launched their e-KYC based on Aadhar. No Indian will be excluded from this convenience since almost everyone has Aadhar identity.

 

A unique 12-digit code assures every Indian that what is meant for her will reach her and no one else can impersonate her. When voter cards get linked to Aadhar and when Voting machines get equipped with scanners bogus voting will be gone.

This may take time but people, who by now have good sense of what technology can do, will start demanding the above. They will no longer be content in receiving subsidy benefits in their MUDRA or other bank accounts.  They will want all that is possible.

Today shipment of a parcel by courier or even a passport being issued can be tracked online. The Supreme Court has directed all states to upload FIRs (First Information Reports) within stipulated time limits. When FIRs are online, people will surely demand to know progress on them. Tomorrow, when they file a police complaint they will want to track its handling by police on their phones.

Similar changes and demands for quicker and quality services meant for personal businesses and small, medium, and large enterprises will be there. Quicker registration, transparent approvals, consolidated returns and their processing will be demanded by businesses. Internet banking and credit and debit cards will be supplemented by UPI (United Payment Interface) for person to person transfer of money which will be of great help to personal businesses who can’t afford payment gateways for cost and procedural reasons.

The UPI adds the last mile convenience to MUDRA and other types of bank accounts seeded with Aadhar for paying and receiving payments and for obtaining or repaying loans.  Imagine craftsmen and artisans who don’t have credit card terminals or payment gateways selling their wares online (thru e-commerce platforms) or offline and getting paid instantly through the UPI. Imagine farmers selling their produce via the National Agriculture Market and getting paid via their UPI accounts. Imagine budding authors and artists selling their works and getting paid via UPI.

The GST (Goods and Services Tax) implementation has begun. GST will run on its network called the GSTN. The GSTN will be a super database that captures all business transactions involving goods and services provided from one corner of county to the other. GSTN will help to bring convenience to tax payer businesses and individuals and also to the tax collectors. Furthermore, GSTN’s Big Data that captures Indian economy in almost real time can be leveraged for policy making and spotting specific interventions needed. The possibilities of what can be done are huge.

Digitization of land records based on GIS (Geographical Information System) mapping is going on. If this is integrated with authenticated property ownership databases of local and state governments, a revolution similar to Aadhar can be brought to property and land transactions. This will enable genuine and faster real estate transactions, reduction in black money generation, and reduction in litigation.

India is moving from data deficient state to data rich state.

The ‘data riches’ of India and demands by people will create new business opportunities in private and government sector.  These will range from personal services to non-intrusive detection of tax evasion and other illegal activities through data analytics as needed by the governments.

Digital Infrastructure

All these services will ride on India’s vast mobile and fixed line network that is getting upgraded to 4G and the National Optical Fiber Network (NOFN). The NOFN plans to bring internet broadband to 600,000 village gram panchayats. Though this program is much behind schedule, there is no doubt that Modi Government will revisit the program’s technology strategy for speedy implementation.

India’s own GPS (Global Positioning System)  called GAGAN (GPS-Aided Geo Augmented Navigation) has been launched. It will provide high precision information of latitude, longitude, altitude, velocity and time of vehicles or devices equipped with GPS receivers. This will bring all round improvement in navigation and tracking on land, in air, and on seas. For example, it is expected to significantly reduce the time interval that must be kept between successive takeoff or landing of aircrafts. This will have direct impact of airports’ capacity to handle traffic.

Under the National Supercomputing Mission a supercomputing grid of over 70 high performance facilties will power research in academic and R & D for solving multi-disciplinary problems using tools like Artificial Intelligence and big data analytics.

Citizens will demand better services and better laws because they now know it is possible

As citizens’ taste power of information and technology, their demands will cover bigger and bigger circles of public services like town planning and land use, construction permits, roads, sanitation, providing birth and death certificates, law and order services and many other services provided by local, state, and central governments. Many of these services are already provided online but citizens will demand speed and quality because they know it is possible.

Authentication (of people, entities, and properties) and capturing transactions and movements will result in better surveillance and prevention of crime. It will also help in faster investigation and better prosecution and conviction rates. Law enforcement will receive a big boost.

Today India has abundance of laws and a huge deficit of their implementation. This will change. As laws start getting implemented their flaws will come to surface and citizens will demand better laws.

If you listen in on social media you will find that our Judiciary is being criticized for what are seen as its opaque, feudal, whimsical, quixotic and glacial ways.  Demand for fairness and speed will create public pressure on our courts too.  In future, we should be to able track repeated postponements of court hearings. We should be able to see if courts follow their own norms. We should be able to have ‘distance trials’ of at least of civil suits and avoid repeated visits to courts. We should see judges using modern tools of searching legal databases and coming to quicker and fairer judgments. We should see much more from our courts.

Modi Government is driving sweeping changes top down. It is showing a glimpse of what is possible. The possibilities are enormous and Indians want it all.  They will demand more and more. For this, they will have to participate more.

 

Challenges

India is now on a different course. The inevitable missteps and hurdles will have to be overcome. There will be concerns about privacy and data thefts. These will have to addressed. India’s enemies may resort to  cyber warfare (read https://www.myind.net/scorpene-leaks-hurt-india-india-ready-cyberwar ). India’s digital economy will have to be made resilient to cyber attacks.  We will need technical, managerial, leadership pools of high caliber.

Technology can be a binding force or it can unleash breakaway forces. Therefore we need a strong cultural firmament and modern practices based on our Dharmic principles to hold this all together.

All such challenges will have to be overcome.

Yet, it is evident that India is leapfrogging ahead of advanced economies through pervasive use of technology in governance and public services. Indians are switching from being beggars of State to being participative and being demanding citizens.  This is a massive change. The world hasn’t seen anything like it.

(This article was first published by myind.net here: https://www.myind.net/silent-revolution-going-indias-noisy-democracy#.dpuf  Image source: myind.net )