India

Islam, Where are your Role Models?


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Every now and then, a terror attack is reported, and newspapers flash names of organizations like Al-Qaeda, ISIS, Boko-Haram, Taliban, Lashkar-e-Taiba, Jamaat-ud-dawaa and many more. After every Peshawar, Mumbai, 9/11, Charlie Hebdo etc., wherever and whenever Islam is discussed, I see only stories of despair and pessimism. Thanks to “Messiahs of Terrorism” like Laden, Kasab, Hafiz Saeed, Dawood etc. who are discussed with disgust every nook and corner of the world. Meanwhile, every philosophy which has villains must have heroes too. But here’s my question to every Muslim, where are your role models?

Muslims, followers of Islam as faith are going through internal conflicts and social turbulence. Amongst wide-spread fear and hatred, through killing humanity and dissent, these terrorists are defaming the religion by calling themselves Muslims (also architect of Sufism philosophy). An average Muslim ends up proving and convincing others, its loyalty to the country and commitment to non-violence! One commits a heinous crime and millions face the brunt by being tagged as terrorists too! But if an average Muslim kid wants to follow the paths of any living role model in your faith, who are they? I am sure Ladens of the world aren’t. Where are those heroes, who can inspire millions to be like them? Where are your living legends, whose action ignites optimism and hope? Where are your Mahatma Gandhis, Martin Luther Kings, Lincolns and Mandelas? Where are your Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Sachins and Federers? If there are any, this is the time for them to be counted! If they aren’t any, it’s time to build one and many!

I believe that behind this dearth of modern Muslim heroes, is lack of education. More the education seeps into the each and every member of this faith, more and more success stories would emerge. On a global platform, I can see Malala in the making of a role model for Muslim young women! Another reason I believe, is minimal participation of Muslim Scholars in public and political space. It’s time for the educated Muslims to jump into the political foray and create name and fame. It’s time for them to step up and be the torch-bearers of Muslim faith. So that no more Hate-ranter Owasis, Fatwa-generators Imams and terrorist organizations of the world can claim to be your leaders.

Indian sub-continent is still lucky to have local role-models in the past and present, though very few! We had greats across the era like Maulana Azad, Ashfaqullah Khan, Azim Premji, Yusuf Hamied (Cipla) and Dr. APJ Kalam etc., whose stories still inspire many. From glitterati world, we have AR Rahman and Aamir Khan, who have been and can be change-agents, thanks to their body of work and popularity. At present, Indian political space is crying to have popular, good and statesman like leaders from Islam.

Finally, hope this message reaches especially to the Arab world! Remember, until new global role models don’t emerge from the shackles of conservatism; until new heroes don’t spread their reformist vision in the public space, sadly (and unjustifiably) till then, Islam would remain tagged as a fundamentalist and a terrorist-breeding religion!

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“Modi – The Marketer” in USA – A Report Card !


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After noteworthy interactions with Bhutan, Nepal, Japan, China and Afghanistan, “Foreign Policy Champion” PM Modi recently concluded his all-important trip to USA. With the background of Visa-row by Obama Administration and enthusiastic support of NRIs for Modi, this trip was surely an important event, if not historic. Sycophantic Indian media celebrated this event with full-time live coverage of PM Modi’s trip. Rather reporting unbiased and important news from all across the world and India, they chose to be cheerleaders! Nevertheless, contemporary Indian media has been an “Epitome of Exaggeration”. Meanwhile, after keenly following his itinerary, it seems, he had 3 major agendas to push through.

Firstly and importantly, the major agenda was of marketing the “Brand India” to the US Business Community. He scored full marks by meeting the top brass of the world’s biggest corporations in US. Through this effort, he may have induced some optimism into these corporations to come and “Make in India”. Although, Mr. Modi has been trying to allay fears of these investors, he has still loads of work pending, in creating a comfortable business environment in India. I think, that all these corporations will have now huge expectations from the next budget session. They will look forward to important policy changes in India and till then, they will “Wait and Watch”.

Second Agenda, was to step up the “Brand Modi” into an important International Icon. Like Nehru, Indira, Atal and Manmohan, he wished to make a mark by being a change agent in world politics. He failed miserably with that, but he should be excused as this being his first attempt. His fluttering speech at UNGA went unheard in an empty hall. Although it was very unlike Modi, but it seems that the formal setup, global platform and a written speech format got better of him. He did come to his own midway and made some important points, but who doesn’t. Remember even Manmohan Singh recieved much adulation from its international counterparts, previously at UNGA. Funnily, Indian media lost it senses and sensationalized his speech by equating it with National pride. Indian PMs have been speaking at this forum since ages, had put better points with higher impact. PM Modi also unsuccessfully tried his hand in reaching out to US youth at “Global Citizen Festival” rock concert, but ended up boring them.

Third agenda was about International diplomacy and to revive relations with US Government which were turning sour in last couple of years. Mr. Modi averagely performed as we weren’t able to make any new breakthroughs in our relationship with USA. His dialogue with Obama was not even note-worthy by US media. But again, Mr. Modi can be excused as realists weren’t expecting anything from Obama-Modi meet. Breakthroughs like “The Nuclear deal” don’t happen every day as it requires heightened levels of diplomatic mutual trust. US is also on the verge of electing new government, and India may have to wait for their new government to up-rise the relationship.

And yes beyond all this, Mr. Modi, held a “Tamasha” at Madison Square for his supportive NRIs, who left India for greener pastures. He acted upon previous government’s recommendations and appreciably promised important benefits to them. In his traditional style, Mr. Modi ended up entertaining usual narcissistic Indian audiences across the world, through his influential speech.

To conclude, I would say, I am little vary of aggressive marketing of “Brand Modi” and “Brand India”. A overly-hyped brand with no real actions or performance, crashes faster into unrecoverable troughs. “Reel Intentions” are commendable but India need “Real Actions”!

100 Days of Obsolescent Congress !


While the TRP-hungry Indian media is busy analyzing the meagre 100 days of the mighty Narendra Modi Government, I decided to look the other side of the coin. Indian National Congress, as a political organization, also completed their 100 days of devastation, powerlessness and cluelessness.

The lethargic Congress Working (pun intended) Committee has neither shown any zeal nor any intent to reinvent themselves. They have still not even hinted their sympathizers, on any alterations, either in their leadership, or structure or communication etc. It seems, they are neither planning, preparing nor willing to win the upcoming assembly elections in Maharashtra, Haryana, and later in J&K, Bihar and UP. Another washout for Congress in these elections would not at all be surprising.

Even as an opposition, be it in parliament, news-channels, social-media or streets, Congress finds itself unnoticeable. Congress representatives (barring Tharoor’s of the world) still witless and sometimes regressive, though mostly humbled (thankfully), after massive defeat. Spokesperson, still spoon-fed by the Old Guard, are surely “Young” but they do not represent the “New”. They are “Fossiled” to past, both in content and in person! Although the BJP Government (and not Mr.Modi) and their mouthful friends, have provided enough political opportunities to latch upon, yet Congress failed to materialize any issue.

If things remain the same as they are now in Congress, very soon, the political prowess of Modi-Shah duo, will be penning down the last chapters of Indian National Congress, a political organization, which once existed.

Breed of Online Political Activists !


Indian democracy was in shambles in the 1975 Emergency Era. Tsunamis of Indian, led by Jai Prakash Narayan, were on the streets protesting against the autocratic regime. The movement fought on streets against the darkest phase of independent India, led to the dawn of first breed of political activists post-independence. The long list included Atal, Advani, Modi, Nitish, Jaitely, Laalu, Mulayam, Sushma, Rajnath etc., who in future were the shining stars of Indian political spectrum.

India is yet again, echoing the history. New breeds of political activist are getting life, this time not on streets, but through social media. India was still the place where patience resided till 2009. Social media was distant tool and was best consumed in the form “Orkut”. The mutiny against the corrupt regime, was fought on “Facebook” and “Twitter”, and was led by Aam Aadmi Party and Narendra Modi led BJP. Facebook and Twitter gave a platform to urban India to voice their opinions. Facebook and Twitter allowed resentful Indians to protest anytime, anywhere, against anybody, without disconcerting their comforts or by shouting their throats off.

Emergence of social media hustled the emergence of newer breed of political activists. Not debunking it as a fad, but by considering it as accelerating activism, Indians would express their opinion more actively and prominently in days to come. Who knows, with continuous progression, 20 years ahead of today, you, me, he or she, may make mark in Indian political spectrum.

Mr. Kejriwal – Its High Time…


Dear Mr. Arvind Kejriwal,

This is to inform you, that we Indians are tired of your flip-flops and dramas, to keep yourself relevant in politics and media. Though I don’t doubt your intentions (say thanks to my generosity), but your methods have been ridiculous to the core. Believe me or not, but your over-the-top actions and reactions have the hurt the “Aam Aadmi Party” the most. You have been demoting yourself from “A Political Revolutionary” to “A Political Terrorist”.

Emergence of AAP is key to Indian electoral politics, and just for myopic success, don’t let the “Idea of AAP” get killed. Take my suggestion, resign from all party-posts in Aam Aadmi Party, and let statesman-like Yogendra Yadav take the rein.

From,

A “Saamanya” Aadmi

(Aam Aadmi being your patent)

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.

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.

Quick Perception Check !


A quick question on Modi’s involvement and 2002 riots. Would appreciate your response ! Just trying to gauge Public perception !

https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/S8KNK35

“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.

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!”

Credible Source ???


We were taught that a Society grows when they learn to evolve from
Data —> Information —> Knowledge —> Wisdom !

But considering Indian political scenario these days…
I believe “Credible Source” is the need of the hour !

“FASCISM” – Merriam Webster Dictionary


“A political philosophy, movement, or regime that exalts nation and often race above the individual and that stands for a centralized autocratic government headed by a dictatorial leader, severe economic and social regimentation, and forcible suppression of opposition.

Philosophy of government that stresses the primacy and glory of the state, unquestioning obedience to its leader, subordination of the individual will to the state’s authority, and harsh suppression of dissent. Martial virtues are celebrated, while liberal and democratic values are disparaged.

The leaders of the fascist governments of Italy (1922–43), Germany (1933–45), and Spain (1939–75)—Benito Mussolini, Adolf Hitler, and Francisco Franco—were portrayed to their publics as embodiments of the strength and resolve necessary to rescue their nations from political and economic chaos. Japanese fascists (1936–45) fostered belief in the uniqueness of the Japanese spirit and taught subordination to the state and personal sacrifice.”

Q. Any resemblance with any Indian Politician of today’s era ???

Mahila Bank or Mahila Police Stations ?


P. Chidambaram’s idea of creating “Mahila Bank” is silly to say the least. There aren’t any major banking issues with women in the urban. And for the rural also, women do prefer their men to take charge in financial issues.

India, desperately “Mahila Police Stations” instead. This would be an important confidence building measure for women across the stratas of society.  Currently, post “Nirbhaya” case and several horrific rape cases across India, Indian Government should take more steps to provide sense of security to women.

I would go a step further in suggesting, that we should even have “Mahila Courts” where, women related specific cases could be heard without condescending them !

Hope our PM is listening !

So guys, what would you all prefer a “Mahila Bank” or “Mahila Police Stations” ?

Cycle Rickshaw – Common Man’s Kingly Ride


India is growing, its economy is well-stabilized, infrastructure is improving, income levels are raising and the whole world wants to invest in this country. My journey from Kanpur (my birthplace) to Delhi and to Bangalore, have seen immense change in terms of city infrastructure, especially transport.

In Kanpur and other two-tier metros, roads are as slim as the footpaths.Four-lane roads are rarely seen, that to in the very outskirts. Smaller Mahanagar Buses, are as full as a popcorn pack, where men and women are popping out of doors. Moreover, in buses, more likely are the chances of pickpocketing and eve-teasing (Kanpur boasts of it). To add to it, you could never ever find a seat to sit even in your wildest dreams. Thus “Sharing Autos” (Vikram) are prominent mode of transport as they are cheap (literally), quick (just see them driving), and safer (you have to experience that). But, for small distances, these cities still depends on “Cycle-Rickshaws”. I assume, whole of North-India depends on them.

According to Calvin Trillin of National Geographic, “Most rickshaws serve people “just a notch above poor” who tend to travel short distances. He added that some people use rickshaws as “24 hour ambulance services,” as escorts for shoppers, and as a way for businesses to transport goods. Trillin added that children enrolled in schools were the “steadiest” customers. Many middle class families contract with rickshaw pullers to transport their children; a rickshaw puller who transports children becomes a “family retainer.”“
The best part about cycle-rickshaws is that, it makes a common man feel as if he is “The King of the Road”. Yes, they are damn slow, but its like a elephant-ride of King, who sits alone, and rules the road as well the driver. Moreover they are eco-friendly and cheap. Yes, it doesn’t save you completely from the heat of summers and rains. But friends, drenching yourself in rain while travelling, is an experience. Rickshaws are the best-friends of people living in smaller cities.

No matter, how thin a lane is.
No matter, how rough a road is.
Rickshaw would take you there!

But, with times, the cycle-rickshaws are reducing in numbers. And I always felt that future generations would never be able to live this experience. Rickshaws are losing the race with times. In more developed cities like Mumbai and Bangalore, rickshaws are even banned. Reason, their slow pace affects traffic and it involves excess physical labor.

Whenever I get an opportunity, I don’t miss a chance to grab a rickshaw ride. It reminds me of my childhood days.

I wish if we could have done anything to save this eco-friendly transport from extinction.

Idea of India – Shashi Tharoor


Once, in HINDU newspaper, I had read an article by Mr. Shashi Tharoor, on Indian diversity. I was so impressed by his statements that even after several years, I searched for it on web, to blog it.

He said and I quote,
“If America is a melting-pot, then to me India is a ‘Thali’, a selection of sumptuous dishes in different bowls. Each tastes different, and does not necessarily mix with the next, but they belong together on the same plate, and they complement each other in making the meal a satisfying repast.”

Truly believe in this “Idea of India” !

Happy Birthday : Father of the Nation !


Wishing a very Happy and Respectful Birthday to our Dearest Mahatma Gandhi !

You were the greatest, bravest and the simplest man India ever had, in recent history !

Unfortunately these days, Social Media and Rightist leave no opportunity to defame you and undermine your importance in Indian freedom struggle.

I am sure, sitting in heaven, you must be smiling at their childishness and re-quoting one of your many thoughts –
“‘An ounce of practice inspires more than a ton of preaching” !

And for those who point fingers at our Bapu, here are few lines from an Indian song –
“Kuchh reet jagat kee aisi hai,
Har ek subah ki shaam huyi, !
Tu kaun hai, tera naam hain kya,
Sita bhi yahan badnaam huyi” !!

Indian Elections : An Eulogy !!!


“गूँगे” ने मचाया इतना शोर,
कि दुनिया अब,
“बड़बोले” को चुनने चली !

“ढैंचू ढैंचू” से हुई इतनी बोर,
कि दुनिया अब,
“मैं मैं” को चुनने चली !

“ठाकुर” तो निकला बेबस़ और कमज़ोर,
कि दुनिया अब,
“गब्बर” को चुनने चली !

“Secularism का बुर्खा़” पहनने वाले तो निकले चोर,
कि दुनिया अब,
“मौत के सौदागर” को चुनने चली !

“ठीक है” से नहीं चलेगा, India मांगे More,
कि दुनिया अब,
“Act” नहीं “Action” को चुनने चली !

एै “धृतराष्ट”, तू अब तो गद्दी छोड़,
कि दुनिया अब,
“औरंगजे़ब” को चुनने चली !

3 Cancerous “C”s of Congress !


United Progressive Alliance (UPA), majorly represented by Congress has been reigning our country from almost last 10 years. Though they started off well with an Economist Prime Minister, they failed miserably in their second stint of (mis-)Governance. Inability of Congress to adapt with changing times has led to their downfall. Below are the three factors, I presume, have turned cancerous for Congress !

CORRUPTION !

Corruption has hit Congress’s credibility the most. Scams after scams across several ministries have rocked the nation. Thanks to CAG and various investigative news channels, which were able to unmask the corrupt faces in Congress. Moreover, when the world is dealting with deep recession and India is suffering from Inflation, corruption cases augments the common man’s misery.

COMMUNICATION !

Congress government failed to communicate with a emotional common man, especially when India was seeing Lokpal Agitation and 16 December Rape case agitation. In various other instances as well, “Mute” Manmohan Singh didn’t even cared to inform his emotions or share clarifications that India wanted. To make things worse, too many mouthpieces spoke instead. Congress failed to discipline their leaders, and people like Digvijay Singh, Manish Tiwary etc. (the list goes on), pooped all across the media channels. Congress was not speaking in one voice, whenever they needed. They remained mostly in the reactive mode, thus answered only when they were asked to. India’s Prime Minster should not require a written speech to express his concern for the rape victim. I guess, he should take a leaf or two from speaking skills of Obama and Atalji. Sonia Gandhi, who used to be usually at the forefront, took a back seat as well for the reasons unknown (other than health).

CENTRALIZATION !

Congress failed miserably in creating local leaders in states like Gujarat, UP, MP, Bihar, Chattisgarh, Andhra, Orissa and Tamilnadu. When India is moving more towards Federalism, where leaders like Modi, Mamta, Nitish, Patanaik and Jayalaltitha have cult like status in their states, high-command culture is hampering Congress chances in these states. Decentralization of power has helped BJP immensely by creating regional leaders like Narendra Modi, Mohan Parikkar, Shivraj Singh Chouhan and Raman Singh.Sonia and Rahul Gandhi, connected with common man through their mass rallies from pillars to posts in 2004. It seems that now they prefer to reach out to Indian public, only occasionally, that too sitting from 10 Janpath. Their eagerness and zeal for reaching out to common man, found missing. Dearth of strong regional leaders, and high dependency on Gandhis, will result in huge decline in Congress’s votebank.

I believe, it is now too late for Congress to revive their chances in next general elections. The only ray of hope for them is BJP doing self goal, for which they are famously known for. India has a difficult choice to make between the two evils.

Perils of not being a Modi Fan !


As India is slowly moving towards its next general elections, political alignments have boiled up ! The current Indian Government headed by Congress has failed at most fronts. Almost into their 10th year of governance, Congress has not been able to intelligently tackle recent economical, social and political situations. Their governance is marred by several scams and more importantly, their inability to communicate effectively with a common man.

BJP, India’s principal opposition party’s mascot, Narendra Modi is considered to be biggest contender for the top spot. His credentials as long serving, Chief Minster of Gujarat, are almost impeccable, with excellent development records, with stains of 2002 Hindu Muslim riots. Being a great orator in Hindi language and being technology and business enthusiast, he commands huge following on social media, largely youths of India.

But this article is not about Modi’s eulogy or Congress’s criticism. This is about my freedom of expression. Modi-Fans and Anti-Congressmen aren’t allowing people like me to freely express our viewpoints against Modi. No sooner, I write any statement against the Vikas-Purush Modi, than I am labeled as Pro-Congress, Anti-Hindu, Corrupt, Gullible, Anti-Nationalist etc. Any news, criticising Modi, if shared on social media, is considered as a ” Conspiracy by Paid Media” ! If any Anti-Modi views are discussed, they are doubly counterviewed by Anti-Congress views. Our Twitter and Facebook accounts are slammed with hate comments.

Its not only me who is suffering brunts of Modi-Mania ! Even L K Advani (Loh Purush), who was considered to be Modi’s mentor, was not spared, when he decided to go against Modi Fever. Highly respected politicians like Nitish Kumar are considered opportunist if they utter any anti-Modi statements. Old BJP loyalist, who dared to go against Modi, are shown exits. News channels like NDTV’s credibility, built brick by brick in 25yrs, has gone for a toss. Highly respected journalists few years back like Barkha Dutt, Karan Thapar etc.are now considered people with hidden agendas. In nutshell. Any and everybody, who questions Modi, should be ready to face heat from Modi Fanatics.

Today, on social media, when Indians openly question or criticise the actions and viewpoints of even the greatest men the world has seen, from Lord Rama to Mahatma Gandhi, from Sachin Tendulkar to M S Dhoni, from J L Nehru to Ambedkar, from our Parents to our Teachers. Why aren’t we allowed to even question/criticize Modi.

Where Corporates, Institutions, Laws and Rituals are subject to scrutiny, why aren’t we allowed to scrutinize Modi.

Today, I see jokes on Mahatma Gandhi, Nehru Family, Prime Minister, friends, families, religions and communities. But I am yet to see a joke on Narendra Modi, on any social/print/tv media.

I am afraid my dear friends, that we have created a demi-god of man named Narendra Bhai Modi. I am afraid,what if NaMo ends up being even worse than Manmohan, dooming all your hopes.
Germans voted in majority supporting Hitler with huge expectations. And once Hitler got the top spot, he unmasked himself to become the most dreaded man in political history.

How great he may be, allow us to review his actions, with a pinch of salt. Allow us to criticise and applaud any and every viewpoint, be it Congress or Modi, be it Secular or Extremist. Allow us to be fence-sitters, and not label us as Congressmen or a Modi Fan. We do not wish to take sides. Instead, we wish to dissect every news through our knife of cynicism.