Good Days Are Ahead ?


Don’t Give Me “Reasons”, Give Me “Results”! The mentioned phrase is commonly used in most business organization to keep pushing their employees, for higher sales, revenues and profits. UPA II led by Indian National Congress, in their last leg, provided all sorts of excuses for policy paralysis, but results. Indian voters, hungrier than ever for growth, will not tolerate any more excuses for failure. Neither the “Indian Growth Story” can afford any reasons for derailment.

With high hopes, a decimated opposition and a mammoth mandate, India has chosen Mr. Narendra Modi, as their infallible CEO. Indian voters have brought necessary change in guard, with almost everyone voting for them, farmers, laborers, middle-class and the richest too! India expects their “Super-Hero” Prime-minister, to propel Indian growth engine to newer orbits. And this time, unlike UPA I and II, they wouldn’t have any excuses, for not achieving it.

This time, the BJP led government under Mr. Narendra Modi has no coalition pressures to blame to. With fragile opposition, neither they are expected to build consensus first for difficult decisions. The new government has unwavering Industry support too, to take bold decisions. Everyone expects this government to take courageous and necessary steps in next two years itself. This is to counter the electoral impact, as the following 3 years can help cooling off the short-term negative impacts. Moreover, every organization/economy/country experiences inevitable business cycle with crests and troughs. India at the deepest end of this cycle is expected to grow up the ladder anyhow (though better governance could enhance the speed). No new global recessions are in foresight, neither a military war nearby; India is ready to hit its 5th gear. I understand that the expectations are idealistic, but so were the promises!

Also, there could only be two reasons, I can think of, which could trump the performance of the Modi government. First, either lack of talent,skill or integrity in ministry-hood or the second, the social/religious discords in the country, which could create a hostile business environment. I hope neither of them comes true for Mr. Modi, and neither would he fuel them through his actions and inactions.

Visualizing all this, I am assured, that only “Good Days are ahead” for India!

And The Award Goes To…


Congratulations Mr. Narendra Modi, for being voted as the Prime-Minister of India. There was a Tsunami indeed in favor of the “Political Rockstar”, and I hope for the good! Never forget that the India has voted for the “Development Man” and not for the “Hindu Nationalist”. India expects a lot from their “Messiah”, and I hope you are able to match their expectations. Markets seem to surge, hope does the “Common Man” too in times to come! I had an ideological battle with you and your party, and I still stand by to it! Kindly keep proving me wrong again and again, so that the India wins!

Congratulations “The Election Commission of India”, for conducting the largest elections in the World. You did it fairly again, against the rhetoric of being biased to the incumbent. You did it successfully, considering the scale and size of Indian electoral demographics. Unlike the political parties switching governments, you have been proudly sustaining the democratic construct of India.

Congratulations to “Indian voters”, for coming out in large numbers to elect the “First among Equals”. You chose development over caste, perceived merit over dynasty, unidirectional stability over haphazard coalitions and socio-capitalism over entitlement politics. Let’s keep voting, to make our India a pluralist, multi-cultural, patient and prosperous society.

Will you be there for your Parents?


shutterstock_51858802-460x307I have been dreading about those days, when our Parents would be old and physically incapable to manage their daily chores. Those will be the days, when our Parents would need us, as much as we needed them when we were infants. That inevitable phase of our life frightens me. Will I be there for our Parents?

Today, in an urban phenomenon, both husband and wife are chasing money, through their respective jobs. In an era, when we as Parents have buckets of disposable income (although struggling to meet luxurious ends), the only thing we are in extreme dearth of is, “Time”. We do not even have time for our kids, and they are left over to maids, crèches, schools and retired grand-parents.

Our parents, in those ugly days, would need us, more than anything. They will like us to sit beside them, serve them, nurse them, manage their mood swings with a smile and love them. Remember, they did exactly all these things for us in our cradle days. Will our parents too, be left over to maids, nurses or hospitals? Can family be replaced by a hired maid or nurse? Can piles of money replace affection and care? Even if no, will we serve them unapologetically, selflessly with patience and love?

The thought frightens me. It asks me as I ask you the same, “Will you be there for your parents?”

Development, but at what Cost ?


India has been voting on the issue of development since last decade. BJP’s “India Shining” bombed, as back then, India was shining only in Media houses. Atal Behari Vajpayee and his brilliant team (Jaswant Singh, Arun Shourie, Brijesh Mishra) failed into the hands of RSS and Hindutatva agenda. From 2004 to 2009, India grew well both economically and socially under Manmohan Singh, and India voted them back on the agenda of development, with higher mandate. Now, again in 2014, it seems India is again voting on the agenda of development. And the man chanting that word the most is Narendra Modi.

But, I have a question! India needs development, but at what cost? During Congress regime from 2004-2014, India developed, managed recession and brought in social reforms. But we Indians paid a heavy price for it through “Corruption”. India is looking forward to Narendra Modi’s BJP, as he promises to speed up the India’s growth engine and bring prosperity to the nation. Considering his promises to be true, it may heavily cost us Indians into Moral Policing, Conservatism, Non-pluralistic visions and Social Dissonance. And who can guarantee that the government under Narendra Modi wouldn’t indulge in corruption, crony capitalism and scams. In the haste of achieving high sensex figures, lets not lose our ethics and social harmony.

If you and fellow Indians are ready to pay that price for development, go and vote for Narendra Modi.

Also for those, who are voting on the basis of religion, caste and creed, please go find another country for yourself.

(If Narendra Modi becomes India’s Prime Minister, hope he proves me wrong !)

Open Letter to Indian Voters !


Dear Indian Voters,

Hope you are not voting for somebody because you think, everyone is voting for him. Or because there is wave. Or because media, friends, family or society around you says so ! Be not of herd mentality !

Especially women ! Hope all Indian Women eligible for voting, are voting based on their choice and beliefs ! And not because their Father, Husband, Family etc. told them to vote for ! Be Independent !

Just listen to your heart, and vote !

Proud of Your Religion! But Why?


I have always been keen to dwell into the mind-set of anyone, who says, I am a proud Hindu, Muslim or Christian etc.! Most of us haven’t chosen our religion and were just destined to born into one. Moreover, it’s our parents and people around us who train us to follow a particular faith, again not by choice but destiny.

The counter-argument I have received is, that one should be proud of our parents, country and by extending the logic, religion too. Yes, we were just destined to born into our families and country, like our religion. But, unlike one’s particular religion, our parents and country nurtured our childhood. Parents through sacrifices groomed us with values, and the country through governance facilitated us with infrastructure. Religion prospers nobody, as Parents and Country does!

Then, people would argue, that the religion helps us learn values through spirituality. But then, every religion does the same! Then why gratification towards a particular religion, and calling oneself a “Proud Hindu” or “Proud Muslim” etc.?

Also, if anyone considers his/her religion superior to others (basis mythology and history), then that’s sheer communalism. One cannot be both “Proud Hindu / Muslim” and “Secular”. Such non-pluralistic views can be scary for a secular democracy.

Every religion preaches similar morals and principals, and each one of us should respect all religions!

Thus, are you proud of religion? But Why?

Nationalism vs. Magnanimity ?


I have always believed in a concept “Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam” propagated in Hinduism. “Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam” is a Sanskrit phrase that means that the whole world is one single family. Everyone has their own worldview which is quite often different from person to person. It preaches us of respecting this difference.

In modern era, a popular theory, which conflicts this ideology, is “Nationalism”. Especially, when “Nationalism” is defined as a feeling that people have of being loyal to and proud of their country, often with the belief that it is better and more important than other countries.

It is destiny that we are born to our nations or race. Though we should always be affectionate and obliged towards our country, but our values and views should not get immersed in the subjective truth of nationalism.

If we discover, that our Country (Run by Nationalistic leaders) is indulging in an act, which is nation-friendly, but is against the theory of “Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam”, shouldn’t it be confronted? And if confronted, then are we “Anti-Nationals”?

Remember, villages, cities, states and countries etc. mushroomed, so that regions can be well administered, to make the World, a better place to live. A World, which comprises several smaller subjective worlds! A World, which is peaceful, cordial and tolerant!

Thus, I am always wary of leaders and politicians, those who chant the term “Nationalism” to garner electoral votes. Nationalism has always been a constituent element of fascists, as Hitler and Mussolini were. Pseudo-nationalists use it as a tool to conquer supremacy. Nationalism is inherently divisive because it highlights perceived differences between people, emphasizing an individual’s identification with their own nation. The idea is also potentially oppressive because it submerges individual identity within a national whole, and gives elites or political-leaders potential opportunities to manipulate or control the masses.

The basic constituent of a great leader is “Magnanimity”. Magnanimity is greatness of mind; that elevation or dignity of soul, which encounters danger and trouble with tranquility and firmness, which raises the possessor above revenge, and makes him delight in acts of benevolence, which makes him disdain injustice and meanness, and prompts him to sacrifice personal ease, interest and safety for the accomplishment of useful and noble objects. Though magnanimity is a rare ingredient, but is surely the essential one!

I announce myself to be Anti-National, but being Magnanimous!

Do you?

Why India should vote for BJP in 2014 Elections!


2014 General elections are not too far, and political parties have started their drum beating acts, vilification and slug-fest. Voters either already have or are in process of aligning themselves to preferred ideologies, leadership teams and parties.
Sooner or later, even I had to announce my loyalties for the forthcoming elections. Though I am not fully convinced, but still, here are the reasons, why India should vote for BJP this time.

Widespread Cynicism
Seems like majority to Indians (especially on Social Media) are at their heights of Cynicism. They are in no mood to trust our Media, Government, Institutions and Politicians (except “The Saheb”).
Pessimism is spread among the urban Indians like a wild fire, and the credit goes to both UPA and BJP. UPA Government through their unwanted actions and desirable inactions, have raised several doubts on the theory “India: The next Superpower”. And BJP, backed by RSS, also to be equally blamed, for their vilification tactics using social media and pracharaks!

And the only way to transpose them from Cynicism to Realism is by bringing “Change”.

No-Confidence Motion against Congress
Congress has lost any sought of trust in the Indians. Flurry of scams, minimal communication with the public, perceptive spineless leadership and opaque decision making have crashed their popularity index. All the decisions, statements, views of their leaders are seen with suspicion and usually termed as political opportunism. They have lost their moral ground to even criticize their opposition on every aspect be it economics or governance and more so, on the secularism. More so, Congress is been in power for 10years now, and fatigue factor is overpowering Indians, and thus considering change. Although all the political parties have deleterious baggage of their past, but “The Recency Effect” goes against Congress too. The only political party which seems to “substitute” them is BJP, considering AAP being too small. AAP also lacks the governance experience and the political muscle to win seats in 2014. As of now, they can be a good opposition party, if not more.

Stability

Indian economy needs a stable and decisive government, even if affects the social fabric of India. India needs quick economic, social and agricultural reforms, which only a stable and decisive government can provide. Federal parties don’t seem able enough to provide stability due to internal political tussle and deficiency of national approach to India’s problems. Thus we are left with no option but to vote for BJP.

New Era of Politics

The new-age India would now vote the basis of performance (economic and social). Congress and many other parties would soon realize that their style of traditional politics is now obsolete. Also now it’s high time for Congress to move beyond Gandhis and the Oldies. Thanks to emergence of AAP and BJP’s marketing strategy (based on their state Government’s performance), Indians would soon disown dynastic, corrupt and criminal leaders from politics.

NaMo Mysticism

To start with, I would still believe, India should vote for BJP minus Mr. Narendra Modi as Indian Prime-Minister. But since, now their paths are aligned, this possibility seems hypothetical.

Meanwhile, Indians overwhelmed by the Modi-Mania are dreaming of a mystical world with Mr. Modi with a magical wand, which would solve all of India’s problems, as he did in Gujarat. Many Indians are into idol-worship of NaMo, and see no wrong in the Mr. Modi. Let not their dreams not be shattered.

Mr. Modi, who mirages hope in impatient Indians, for a better future, has outgrown himself bigger than the party. Infact amusingly, many are fascinated with Mr. Modi but not with the party, BJP. Let not their hopes get crushed, because, if crushed, they will lose faith in India’s growth story.

If Modi remains “The Un-Chosen One”, India will keep harping on “If”s and “But”s. He should be given a chance to dictate India, because, sometimes, a country needs to go through the holocaust to realize its true character and to rekindle the importance of social framework.

 

 

Disclaimer: I would still not wish BJP to get 272 seats. A BJP (max 200 seats) led coalition government would keep a check on the right wing extremism in India.

“Avoid Them” or “Buy Them”!


India’s General Elections 2014 are nearing soon. Being a democracy, elections in India have always been clash of several “Ideas of India” and perspectives. To gather larger vote share, leaders and political parties are harping upon the following major agendas – Economic reforms, Social Reforms, Governance and Corruption! Seeing the trend, Economic reforms and Governance agendas, have mesmerized “The Urban India”. And hence they had been flocking behind the leader, who will lead India to the Promised Land.

As I see it, there are two agendas which are of supreme importance to India, and nobody seems to be discussing them even a bit. I would like to hear more from our politicians on “Police Reforms and Judicial Reforms”. If India seek an inclusive growth and a high rating on human development index, these two reforms should be on a high-priority list. “The Other India”, “The Bharat”, demands these reforms, but nobody cares to heed them. For a commoner, living in “The Other India”, equality and justice are of more significance than outsourced jobs and fancy growth rates !

Indian Police system in India, still works on an outdated colonialist act, legislated in 1861 when India was under British Empire. Police, today, are considered, as “Uniformed Goon”! It is publicly perceived that Indian Police is there for the affluent sections of the society. Common men feels dreaded in interacting with Indian Police, and usually dodge any possibility of facing them.

Policemen are public servants, who should emerge as support system of the society. I would prefer a two pronged Police System, with one, polished and milder form of Police, with a front-ending role of law-enforcement and managing public relations to keep peace and order. And the second, the tougher and stricter form of Police, for investigating and discovering the perpetrators of crime and ensuring successful prosecutions.

Similar, is the scenario, in the Indian Judiciary. Judiciary in India is marred with stretched and complex procedures, fallible judges/prosecutors/executives, and ever-delayed justice. Police and Judicial reforms will help creating a safer and an impartial India, transposing its benefits to the Indian Economy, Social Justice, superior Governance and lesser Corruption.

Future Parliamentarians, are you listening?

Holi: The Un-Holy Day!


The Festival of Colors – Holi is celebrated across India and in countries with considerable Indian population. My aversion for Holi, as a fun festival, has amplified with times! Although I relish all the other festivals (especially Diwali) to the core; Holi is one festival, to which I feel dis-enchanted.

All cultures and religions preach their practitioners to live a humble and a disciplined life. Self-control and sacrifice are considered to be the pathways to salvation. Being a stimulating task, every culture created a yearly day-off, a fun day, for men and women to unleash their mischievous spirit, banish cerebration and blur the societal boundaries. Indian culture created such a day, as Holi. Other cultures have similar festivals like Carnivals (Brazil and Italy), Mardi Gras (New Orleans), Cooper Hill’s Cheese Rolling Festival (England), Dia de los Muertos  (Mexico), Songkran Water Festival (Thailand), Watermelon Festival (Australia),Burning Man (Nevada), Cascamorras and La Tomatina (Spain), Mud Festival (Japan and South Korea) etc.

But nowadays, in the dark ages of materialism and gluttony, we live a blithe lifestyle, every day. Thus for me, Holi has lost its relevance, as the festival is now moving towards overindulgences and hooliganisms. The festival, which was once known through the tagline, “Bura Na Mano Holi Hai”, now has turned into an unapologetic revenge tale! Though I still enjoy, meeting relatives, social gatherings and cherishing delicacies during Holi, but I am highly disillusioned with the color-bashing concept.

More Than Meets The Eye – Taare Zameen Par…


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Till now, everyone must have watched “Taare Zameen Par”. Was it not a great experience!!! Actually I am short of words to describe the movie’s excellence. I watched it on the very first day although my exams were just 4 days away. I always felt that the movie was not about only Dyslexia but more about child labor. The movie was more about parent’s expectations from a child, and the cruel competitive world.
The movie made me cry a lot. But the unusual part of it is, whenever I see the movie again, I feel like crying every-time. As if I am helpless and couldn’t help “Ishaan”! As if, I am disgusted by the God’s decision! As if, it is my story! As if, it is the story of every child around us! As if many Ishaans are around us,asking for help! As if every child is in the making of Ishaan. And as far as I have got the review of the movie, almost everyone cried while watching the movie. Are we all helpless?
So shouldn’t we take a step ahead, and make difference through our deeds. Can’t we take a day off and visit a NGO to spend some time with children suffering with problems like mental retardation, autism, dyslexia etc.? Or can’t we stop spending our money on McDonald’s and KFC’s and donate that money to such organizations? Or the simplest thing we can do is, to make sure that no more Ishaan are created. Make sure when we will have our children, we will let them live there childhood.
Think upon it! Do it yourself, in your own way. But atleast we should do something, so that the next time, a movie like Taare Zameen Par releases, we will not cry !!!

Highway – An Emotional Odyssey !


Leave all your prejudices at home, instill a little empathy, and watch “Highway”. I am sure it would turn out to be, one of the most soul-stirring movie experiences you may had in recent times. At least I had the heart-wrenching experience, for sure.

“Highway” is a picturesque travelogue of an urbane glitterati young-girl and an earthy haryanvi lawless-man. Midst their journey, both see through each other’s troubled pasts, and find eternal happiness in each other.

Alia Bhatt’s performance is exceptional, to say the least. She has surprised many through her acting skills in “Highway” and does certainly deserve a nomination this year. Both Alia Bhatt and Randeep Hooda lived their well-etched characters to the bone. Rahman’s music transposes the emotional expedition to the hilt. Yet again proves that he is still remains the best in the business.

A realistic cinema, few laughs, many smiles and dozens of tear-jerking scenes!

This is by far, Imtiaz Ali’s best work.

A must watch!

My Remonstrance with Contemporary Journalism !


With the emergence of Television and Digital platforms in last 10 years, I expected more from Indian News Media, but I stand disappointed. I am disappointed because, even after inclusion of newer technologies and heavy investments, our news channels have not milked the benefits in right direction. In the era of fierce competition of making profits, news channels have lowered their standards of content creation and reporting, their outreach and journalistic code of conducts.

Frog in the Well

Today’s journalists are such lazybones, that we end up watching news only from urban India. None of the news channels today have journalists or teams to cover issues of labors and farmers.  Thus effectively, news from 70% of India is neither reported nor even considered by today’s news channels. English News Channels cover stories (pun intended) only from metros/capitals or of major events. And Hindi News Media is busy serving their audiences with either crime reports or entertainment. Even election surveys are merely confined to urban population. We would never get to know how the rural India (actual voters) actually feels, before D-Day of election arrives.

Obsession with Headlines

Gone were the days, when we used to see news reports and features on relevant topics. Today either we end up seeing only speed news or debates. Investigative journalism and reporting seems to be out of fashion. Journalists are out there seeking bites from the news-makers, more so to create headlines. We rarely see these days any documentaries or news reports illustrating all existing on-ground perspectives.  Journalists have turned into vultures, news-makers being their prey, looking for controversial statements or key words to create headlines; and further stretching the issue through irrelevant debates and featured stories.

Opinionated Anchors

News anchor’s role in any discussion is to merely moderate the debate and help bring out all the perspectives. A news anchor has to project him/her as non-partisan and free from any prejudices. But in an era, where debates are equated with popular journalism, news anchors push their views and ridicule counter-viewpoints or perspectives. Though journalists are entitles to have a personal viewpoint, but that can only be exemplified through editorials and not through news or debates.

2014 General Elections : One Man’s Race !


Subash Chandra Bose once said, “No other constitution can flourish in India and it is to India’s good that dictator should rule her to begin with … she suffers from so many ills that only a ruthless dictator can cure her”

Considering Congress’s suicidal attempts and Kejriwal’s accidents… Seems like only one man is running in the PM’s race. Nothing seems like stopping NaMo to become India’s new PM.

Subash Chandra Bose’s dream (atleast this one) is coming alive !

Why India is NOT Pakistan?


India and Pakistan both got independence from British in 1947. Both countries born together had one struggle for freedom, one civilization, and one culture. Yet after 66 years of each other’s independence, both the countries are poles apart, both economically and socially. As famously George Bush quoted, “I explained that Pakistan and India are different countries with different needs and different histories”!

But have we ever thought of reasons behind this anomaly between the two countries, which were years ago so similar, but today completely contradictory?

I have tried dwelling upon few reasons from our history in last 66 years. Here are the following:

Visionary Leaders –

India had assembly of great leaders in 1947, whose visions helped in defining India’s roadmap to recreate an exemplary civilization. Unlike Pakistan, India was lucky to have wise and compassionate leaders like Jawahar Lal Nehru, Sardar Patel, Maulana Azad, B R Ambedkar, S.Radhakrishnan, Lal Bahadur Shastri etc. All these leaders were groomed under Mahatma Gandhi and thus always valued the importance of upholding the “Dharma” (Justice). All these leaders valued the sacrifices of Bhagat Singh, Chandrasekhar Azad, Ashfaqulla Khan, Ram Prasad Bismil etc. and thus vowed to craft India a great Nation.

On the other hand, Pakistan’s Muhammad Ali Jinnah lacked both vision and wisdom. He could not create next crop of leaders nor was able to inspire fellow countrymen.

Non-Aligned Movement –

Those were days of Cold War between USA and Russia, and all the Third-World countries were aligning themselves to the either superpower. Non-aligned Movement led by Jawahar Lal Nehru with other world leaders, decided to not formally align or go against any major power blocs. Such entrepreneurial and hyperopic foreign policy helped India gain huge respect among the world leaders across geographies.

Unlike India, Pakistan chose to get associated with USA and its allies, to receive favors from the economic and military powerhouse. Today after so many years, where India is now highly self-dependent, Pakistan has ended up being a pet of USA (and also China). Pakistan’s impatience to grow faster by aligning itself to USA landed it nowhere. Whereas India grew slowly but surely, leaving Pakistan laps behind in the economic race.

Secularism –

Where Pakistan slowly turned into an Islamic country and treated minorities as second grade citizens, India chose “Secularism”. India respected people of all faiths and beliefs, allowing everyone to co-exist in harmony. Pakistan’s transformation into an Islamic country ended up mushrooming powerful religious leaders, which led to rise in terrorism and religious extremism.

India, on the other hand, kept a strict check on right-wing extremism of the majority, and also protected minorities through equal justice and supportive policies. Indian governments didn’t allowed India to become a Hindu-Pakistan, and kept restoring the faith of minorities during difficult times.

Equality among Democratic Pillars –

India always ensured equilibrium among all the democratic pillars of democracy which are Judiciary, Legislative, Executive, Military and Media. None of the five pillars was neither allowed to interfere, nor allowed to overpower another pillar. Although being parallel, all the pillars of democracy worked collectively to take India to newer of heights of being a great democracy.

Pakistan, failed in maintaining this equilibrium, and thus allowing the Military, several times, to overpower all other pillars of democracy. Pakistan had seen several coups by their Military leaders and even today, none of the other pillars had yet challenged its supremacy.

Beyond these key aspects, in last 66 years, India had been through several conflicts and issues. Issues ranged from leadership issues to secularism turned appeasement issues to pillow-fights between democratic pillars to feeble foreign policy issues etc. Yet we all have always been able to overcome all the problems, thanks to our fore-fathers, fellow Indians and leaders. We may come across several new conflicts in our near and distant future. But I am confident, that we “The Indians” will be able to solve all the existing and forthcoming problems amicably. Though sometimes slowly, but surely!

I would conclude by sharing this famous quote, “By travelling alone, we can go faster. But by travelling together, we can go farther!”

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