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

Advertisements

Mumbai Marathon: You are a confirmed lunatic but you having a good time like them kids

This had to be a different Marathon for me. The signs were all there to see. For starters, this time we had no difficulty in locating our hotel in Ballard Estate despite Google Map showing it wrongly.

The Standard Chartered Mumbai Marathon 2017 of 15th January brought me back to the city of my childhood and early rebellious days- gulli cricket, of  IIT Powai hostel days, of journeys by crowded local trains and of roaming around Fort, Colaba, Marin Drive, Dadar’s Chabildas School for experimental theater.

The Saturday of 14th was spent in collecting race bib (Race Kit), holed up in a our hotel, and gingerly strolling around in the area. Gingerly because,  last year me, my friend, and my son had tired ourselves silly by walking for hours looking for our hotel and buying fruit in Crawford Market.

I was rewarded by the site of a beautifully bedecked VT (Now CST) station during the stroll on race day eve.img_20170114_1912131

On the 15th, we started the race on at 24 deg and 80+ % humidity. Now all my practice was in Pune in freezing 12 deg and dry weather of November and December.  I knew it was going to be tough. But getting to run in Fort, on  Marine Drive and Pedar Road all cleared exclusively for us runners more than compensated me.

Live bands were playing on side walks and enthusiastic early risers of Mumbai were there to cheer us. I tipped my running cap at them.

They -the pacers of Marathon – kept saying that only once in a year you a get chance to run on the Bandra Sealink.  I reached the sealink climb at 17th KM mark in good time and in good shape.  Another good sign and time for a selfie with my runner friend.img_20170115_0803081Last year, the Elite Runners -who start hours later than us slow runners – had overtaken us at this point. This year no sign of them yet. This confirmed the good sign. My smartphone’s Strava app had crashed at 10 KM but such experiential signs are way better than the numerical ones.

The run through the roads of Mahim was lined with people who cheered and kids who stuck out their hands at us. I responded to as many kids as possible.

But Km #30 to #35 tested my resolve. The stretch of Worli seaface upto Haji Ali bored me.
No pain but it didn’t feel good. Time for you mind to start messing up with you. ‘Why are you running if you are bored?’ ‘Walk like many others’. Time also to ignore it. Then came the Peddar road climb when I could overcome my frustration and get back in a groove. The challenge of running up the long climb did me good. It felt good that I was among very few who were running there. Practicing in Pune -where you can’t avoid the steep climbs of Symbiosis,  Chandani Chowk and many other less steep ones of University Road, Prabhat Road and those inside the University campus -helped me. One shouldn’t avoid them.

Peddar road descent to Marine Drive brought the first cramp in my calf. There were two more cramps. The last one was within 300 meters of the finish line. On all occasions, I felt immobilized but I fell back on my experience that cramps are best handled by making the affected muscles go through full range of movements. But they were scary. Mind you, I was well hydrated, electrolyted and fueled. These things happen despite all precautions. It is a lesson that comes to us now and then that each run is different and your body and mind are different at each time. They need to be respected as they are.

By this time my calculations showed that I could still finish under 6 hours even if I had walked the remaining 7 Kms. But walking was impossible. Running was easier! The return leg of Marine Drive passed.  I didn’t notice passing the the Ambassador Hotel, Brabourne Stadium and the Tea Board Lounge, so focused I was on reaching the finish line. I had sensed that I would finish under 6 hours and decided to run well.  I overcame the third cramp within 300 meters of the finish line. My timing 5:48.

While I waited for my friend at the finish line, I had time for another selfie 🙂

img_20170115_1159021

Now a time of 5:48 is nothing to boast about when the race was won by Sibbu of Tanzania in 2:09 and several in my age group 60-65 finished it in under 5 hours. But I was happy because in the previous Marathon I needed 6:25. Actually,I would have been happy with anything under 6 hours. For someone who started running at the age of 56, running a second Marathon under 6 hours wasn’t bad at all.

So needed to pat myself after all 🙂

img_20170115_1548281

A taxi driver had asked us about the prize money after he learned that we were spending our money and time just for running. He was a bit disappointed that I wouldn’t get any. Last year, an elderly Gujarati lady had asked me why we were running.

I could stand for an hour after all those 42.2 Kms of Marathon running and I could forget sleeping until well after we had our celebration. The recovery over next days was good and there was hardly any niggle. All good signs.

In morning after the race day, I strolled leisurely around the GPO near CST  taking in the race experience and thanking my stars for affording this luxury.

gpomumbaiimg_20170116_075155bw

Runners find it difficult to explain why they run such insane distances. But when the kids line up to give you hi-fives you know that you may be a confirmed lunatic but you are having a good time like them.

via Daily Prompt: Marathon

Mainstream news is Humpty Dumpty, and he’s not coming back

Is Humpty’s Indian avatar falling off the perch too?

Jon Rappoport's Blog

Mainstream news is Humpty Dumpty, and he’s not coming back

By Jon Rappoport

Mainstream news is a dream pretending to be real.

In 1927, Carl Jung wrote: “…the dream is the theater where the dreamer is at once scene, actor, prompter, stage manager, author, audience, and critic.”

But in the case of the news, the dream must come from an external place. It must come from The Anchor.

There must be His Voice and it must narrate (invent, fabricate) the hallucination.

In Paddy Chayefsky’s 1976 film, Network, the unhinged news anchor Howard Beale tells his audience: “We deal in illusions, man. None of it is true! But you people sit there day after day, night after night, all ages, colors, creeds. We’re all you know. You’re beginning to believe the illusions we’re spinning here. You’re beginning to think that the tube is reality and that your own lives are unreal…

View original post 1,080 more words

PM Modi converts war on black money into people’s movement

(Image source myind.net)

On the night of Tuesday November 8, 2016 as the world was tuning into the early trends of the US Presidential elections, PM Modi opened a new front in his war against black money. Not just that, he has done the unthinkable. He has managed to convert a government’s war into a people’s movement.

Modi has been saying again and again that his government will do everything that is necessary to remove the curse that is black money and to help every Indian in coming out of poverty and improving their life. Whether it was during his 2014 election campaign or later, he vowed to bring black money into main stream economy and make its perpetrators pay for their crimes. Whether while forming SC mandated SIT or during Income Declaration Scheme 2016, he repeated his intent. But, Indians in general and his opposition in particular didn’t pay much attention to what their Prime Minister was saying.

Everyone has been jolted out of his or her ‘business as usual’ or ‘things won’t change much’ state. Mamata Banerjee, Arvind Kejriwal, Mulayam Singh Yadav, Mayawati, and Lalu Prasad Yadav are clearly unhappy and are now contemplating ‘unity to counter the demonetization’. A large number of Indians are inconvenienced -such a major surgery on political economy would inflict some unavoidable pain – but almost every Indian is united in their conviction that PM Modi will deliver on his promises.

Overnight, Government’s war on black money became a people’s movement. Bank employees are going beyond call of their duty, restaurants and dhabas are offering free meals to those stranded without cash. From college students to housewives to daily wage earners to retired senior citizens almost everyone is going about their lives with stoic grace.

Some college students told me, ‘This (scrapping 500 and 100 notes) is good.  We will live in a better India’. A man at Chai tapri said ‘people making fun of Modi’s foreign travel don’t know what he is doing’.

The quips and jokes circulating on Whatsapp also reveal what is on people’s minds. ‘A well known politician has so many scrapped notes that he will manage to earn crores by selling them as kabadi ( trash). He was checking out kabadi rates on Tuesday night !’  Another person requested his contacts ‘Please don’t palm off old notes to your subjiwali etc. They may not have bank accounts to exchange notes and will face difficulties.’  Another quip, ‘I never knew a PM has so many powers’ -mockingly attributed to a former PM.

Indians are forming lines in front of ATMs and dispersing with disappointment, but with determination to behave well, when cash gets over.

As it would happen, there have been a few unfortunate instances. A few hospitals and doctors refuse to accept cheques. This too is understandable. There have been some unfortunate deaths in the aftermath of the currency shortage.  Hopefully, there will be mitigation of handling emergencies and starvation. For example, Maharashtra Government has ordered private hospitals to accept cheques (Read )

People also express concern that some businessmen and accountants might subvert the demonetization by laundering old notes via gold trading or payments in cash to low earning individuals. They are also apprehensive that wily politicians and businessmen will be back to their old games.

The demonetization project is still work in progress. It has earned praise from economists and global media. But much needs to be done. And much will be done.

PM Modi tapped into people’s frustration and anger about 60 years of Congress’ misrule that left India tottering on the brink of disaster. He didn’t stop after winning an election. Through his meticulously planned agenda he has increased his credibility. First proof of this came when lakhs and lakhs of Indians gave up LPG subsidy after his appeal. He helped people overcome their cynicism by optimism and willingness to do their part for their India.

Last Tuesday, PM Modi again staked his credibility to ask people for their cooperation in weeding out the menace of black money, corruption, and terror funding. He also has given some indication of his next step on benami properties.  Indians have responded magnificently to their Prime Minister’s call. A government project has become a people’s movement.

India’s economy and political economy are undergoing massive changes. Opposition parties are still grappling with them. These are big areas and are subjects for separate articles.

In world’s history there are very few parallels to the miraculous transformation of India that is underway.

Also read:

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

 

This article was first published at myind.net here: https://www.myind.net/almost-overnight-pm-modi-converts-war-black-money-peoples-movement

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