Tuesday, December 29, 2015

The matrix of secularism

You are born secular*#@. (Read definition below first to understand what is secular, so that you are not confused with real secularism.)

Most likely, your parents were born secular too. In the unlikely event your parents are not born secular, you are most likely considered uncool by your society around you.

Your school was secular. They taught you a sanitised form of history. Your subjects were secular. In your school in all likelihood, they did not teach you Indian epics - Ramayana and Mahabharata. Neither do you learn much about Chanakya or Sushrusha. You learnt precious little about Hindu culture. You had zero exposure to the vedas if at all. You learnt in English. If at all, you may have ended up taking Sanskrit as a second or third language at best. Your mother tongue if you are lucky might have been another language that you took - but thanks to Central and other boards, this is on the way out. If you can read books in any language other than English, consider yourselves lucky. You learnt very little about the Indian freedom struggle - other than Gandhi and Nehru. You learnt even little about the Maratha empire, except in cursory terms. As regards the history of the South of India - don't even ask - it is not even part of the syllabus. You learnt about the greatness of the Mughal empire while their atrocities were sanitized. Jaziya? That was just a tax. The English? Again, you learnt that they oppressed, but very little of their actual crimes against the country. The Portuguese? No - not a word about inquisition.

As for your children going to school today - they are learning an even more sanitized version of the same.

Your relatives are secular. They are modern. They don't follow much of your archaic customs. If you follow too much of your customs - you are way uncool. Go to temples? Pah, thats for oldies. Satsang? Bhajans? No way. Rock concerts - oh yes. Bolly pop - yay indeed. Western classical - ah, now you are talking.

If you celebrate Karwa Chauth  - that is patriarchal. Ganesh Chaturthi is noisy. Diwali is polluting. Holi wastes water. Jallikattu is bad for animals. Navratri is bad because it causes abortions (somehow). Everything else is regressive.

If you are lucky, you may have learnt classical music and dance - atleast in the South of India that is prevalent. Though for some reason, piano classes and western classical is preferred as cultural education these days. Like German and French are cooler subjects to take in school.

Your media and news are secular, brought up as they are in leftist beliefs. So, you learn that your festivals are to be celebrated silently, preferably in your closets. They tell you that discriminatory laws depending on which false gods you worship are the norm in all countries. They tell you that despite nearly half a century of encouraging religious terrorism, Pakistan is a secular state. They still tell you that we need peace with a country like Pakistan. Why secularism is linked with Pakistan, is a mystery I haven't figured myself - except for the fact that ISI is a good paymaster.

The media divas and journo tycoons find nothing wrong in anything that Congress does or ever ask Soniaji to give an interview or write an oped asking for her statesmanship. Again, don't ask me how is this connected to secularism. They almost whitewashed all of Congress corruption by painting all Indians as endemically corrupt.

Your media is driven by leftists who will never tell you the truth - about Rahul Gandhi for instance. Or Kamlesh Tiwari. Or Rafique Taliparamba. Or Sanal Edamaruku. Or Saif Ali Khans and Sharmila Tagores secularism for that matter. Because it is uncool to talk about the Christian and Islamist aggression in India. They will never tell you about them. If you talk conversion - you are immediately branded RSS (and somehow RSS is a bad word - despite its service to the nation from time immemorial). And somehow talking about Christian interference in politics from Kerala to Mizoram is bad. Or about calling Islamists out - that is also bad for some reason.

Even the Gita and Vande Mataram are deemed unsecular. Yoga is getting there. Ayurveda - well, they have told you that is mostly made of toxic metals that are bad for you. Hindu pilgrimages are bad - for the environment (Amarnath), patriarchal (Sabarimala), corrupt temples(Tirupati) or unhygienic (Kumbh Mela). Besides donating to temples is bad - they want you to donate to Christist NGOs.

And after all this, you rebel in your teenage years - against any imposition of Hindu culture on you - little realizing that you are playing into the very hands of what Macaulay wanted you to be. Read this Minute - point 7 onwards and you will know what I mean.  Point 16 stands out:

Another instance may be said to be still before our eyes. Within the last hundred and twenty years, a nation which had previously been in a state as barbarous as that in which our ancestors were before the Crusades has gradually emerged from the ignorance in which it was sunk, and has taken its place among civilized communities. I speak of Russia. There is now in that country a large educated class abounding with persons fit to serve the State in the highest functions, and in nowise inferior to the most accomplished men who adorn the best circles of Paris and London. There is reason to hope that this vast empire which, in the time of our grandfathers, was probably behind the Punjab, may in the time of our grandchildren, be pressing close on France and Britain in the career of improvement. And how was this change effected? Not by flattering national prejudices; not by feeding the mind of the young Muscovite with the old women's stories which his rude fathers had believed; not by filling his head with lying legends about St. Nicholas; not by encouraging him to study the great question, whether the world was or not created on the 13th of September; not by calling him "a learned native" when he had mastered all these points of knowledge; but by teaching him those foreign languages in which the greatest mass of information had been laid up, and thus putting all that information within his reach. The languages of western Europe civilised Russia. I cannot doubt that they will do for the Hindoo what they have done for the Tartar. [Macaulay Minute]

Now, Imagine this matrix. You are born secular. You are taught secular. You are fed secular.  You red secular books  in general. How can you read anything indic? The great authors were all Westerners after all. How will grow up to be anything but secular in this matrix?

Except that there is the internet. And you can choose to take the red pill - rather the saffron pill of real secularism. If you don't, you are a product of the matrix of secularism. Congrats.

*Secular: This means that you are modern. You hate most Hindu traditions - but on the other hand, you are ambivalent towards most Abrahamic traditions. You hate many Hindu practices - like putting a bindi on your daughters forehead, or tying a thread around the wrist or worshipping at temples. You hate yourself for being a Hindu. You believe in soft Hinduism - that should not raise its voice about anything, but others are entitled to burning down things at the slightest non- provocation. You believe in limited freedom of speech - especially if some people get offended, then that freedom of speech is not good. You are perfectly ok with Hindus discarding their practices and religions, and equally at home when the other religions go down the opposite side. It is perfectly ok for someone to insult Hindu deities, but it is not ok for someone to do the same for other religions. It is ok for someone to question Hindu traditions, but not ok for someone to do the same for other religions. It is ok  for books written that denigrate Hindu practices, but not ok for books that do the same to other religions.  MF Hussain paintings are good, Hebdo cartoons were of course, provocative. Hindu fasting on Ekadashi are bad, but Ramzan fasting is good. A sufi, qawalli night is cool - but a bhajan, satsang is uncool. Hindus abstaining from alcohol is bad, but Lent is good. Beef bans are bad, pork bans are good. Halal meat is great - you don't know that Jhatka exists. Most likely, you rebel against Hindu practices at home - after all they are old, meaningless and patriarchal. You believe Congress is secular, BJP is communal. You think celebrating a cracklerless Diwali, waterless Holi, noiseless Ganesha is a great idea, but not so for minority festivals - after all, you believe that minorities in this country are under threat. You do not support any Hindu superstitions like fasting on eclipses - but other superstitions are fine. Indeed, you believe that there are no religions which have any superstition including Santa Claus. You believe in feminism - but only for Hindus. You don't believe in bull- fights which are, of course, cruel to bulls - but chicken lollipop and beef burgers are cool.  Uniform civil codes are a bad idea - after all minorities need to protect their own culture, however regressive. Urdu shayaris are good, so are Urdu medium schools, but thank god they don't impose Sanskrit in schools - that would make your French so bad. I suppose you get the drift here.

#Disclaimer: You may not be entirely an extremist in the above continuum, but you may believe the above in varying degrees.

@Not to be confused with real secularism for any rhyme or reason. Real secularism is where "God is one, but their routes are different". Where one has to give up old practices - and take to newer ones - without bringing in religion. Things like equality to women, financial assistance to all regardless of religion, scholarships to all regardless of religion, equal footing to schools run by any religious denomination - these are for everybody.  Real secularism is all about live and let live and about keeping religion out of politics and governance. Real secularism is about respecting the culture of the country that you grew up in - and that means everything. It is also about reading History and Culture with an apolitical lens and that means swallowing some harsh truths. Again, you get the drift.

Yes, this blog is unsecular too. If you are reading this blog, congrats, chances are that you may start thinking about finding your way out of the matrix. 

Meanwhile on intolerance

One media diva is rounding up filmstars -  possibly the most privileged ones in our society and telling the minions why boycotting movies is intolerance. This, after, a bad movie by a victimized superstar - who later claimed that his victimhood was misconstrued - flopped. What is next? Compulsory watching movies of victimized superstars? In response to this, the diva has put her mike to a privileged star who is now ranting intolerance. Somehow, that never got eyeballs - though she is still trying.

While that is happening - a certain person by the name of Kamlesh Tiwari is being hounded (he is actually in jail). A certain section of peaceful people want him to be beheaded - because he insulted someone (ya, ya, hints are enough). However, when a certain MF Hussain insulted some Hindu gods and goddesses - these liberals went all out to support him. Somehow, they are all missing for Kamlesh Tiwari. (Never heard about him? Google him.) Meanwhile protests have happened from Uttarakhand to Karnataka. Very peacefully. All they want is is head. Literally.

And in Kerala - that well educated state. A mans studio was burnt down by peaceful Islamists after he opposed a very progressive practice on a whatsapp group. No, no, this chap is not RSS. Here is a link.

Meanwhile all those who ranted on intolerance have stayed silent on this one. No Aamir Khan, No Shah Rukh Khan has spoken. Why is that? Your guess is as good as mine.

And oh, by the way, the lovely great students studying in the JNU - atleast a section of them do not want Baba Ramdev to give a speech in their university. The university stands by its invitation - but well, such great display of tolerance by students is heartening. Again, no media debates, no FoE under threat - nothing.

And btw, a Congress newspaper fired their editor for writing a few truths.

A few days ago, a Chief Minister who is ostensibly fighting corruption on the eve of a CBI raid on his officer accused of corruption used words like psycopath (sic) and coward for the Prime Minister. But no, he is not a troll - the so called 'internet Hindus' are trolls.

A Congress member from Assam insulted Smriti Irani - the HRD minister with words that are sexist at best and crass and vulgar at worst. Again no intolerance.

If you have been following this manufactured news closely, there is a pattern. That pattern is that FoE is one sided in India. When it comes to the Islamists side - whether it is a fatwa on Rehman or a Rafique Taliparambas studio being burnt down or Kamlesh Tiwaris head being sought for a comment or Baba Ramdev not being allowed to give a speech - these things are met with silence. And this is a short list.

Sunday, November 29, 2015

The 'False'man Show

The Truman Show has been a recurring theme here, and here. The movie is a well known one -  with the whole story revolving around one man whose life is made up in order to create a TV show.

From the wiki entry,

To prevent Truman from discovering his false reality, Christof has invented means of dissuading his sense of exploration, the most drastic of which was "killing" his father in a storm while on a fishing trip to instill in him a fear of the water. Christof also floods the channels with news reports and commercials about the dangers of traveling, and television shows about how good it is to stay at home. The actor that played Truman's deceased father sneaks back onto the set as a homeless man, but is whisked away as soon as Truman notices him. Despite Christof's control, Truman has managed to behave in unexpected ways, in particular by falling in love with an extra, Sylvia, known to Truman as Lauren, instead of Meryl, the character intended to be his wife. Though Sylvia is quickly removed from the set and Truman marries Meryl, he continues to secretly pine for 'Lauren'. Sylvia becomes part of a "Free Truman" campaign that fights to free him from the show and to reveal his identity.

This is how media controls our life.

Or controlled it - until the internet and social media. They showed us the 'right' kind of news,  kept us away from the news that may hurt their narrative, created a set of intellectuals we would admire, demonised another set of intellectuals who were challenging the system. There is a larger story there, by virtue of our education have been colonized, history sanitized and perhaps even the actual story of the freedom struggle narrowed down to one set of people with the other set being reduced to side characters.

So, in their narrative, the majority Hindu religion of the country is a bad religion - that often puts its minorities into trouble. Any news that adds up to this is trumpeted and any news that does not (and these days most of the news does not) is suppressed. So, Hindu godmen are bad. Christian and Muslim fathers and imams are perfect. Hindu festivals have campaigns against them - either they are patriarchal (Karva Chauth) or polluting (Diwali, Holi, Ganesha) or both. Some of the customs are sought to be ridiculed - actually most are. There is never a word on any religions festivals in a bad light.

All riots are caused by Hindu majority - and even when there is evidence to the contrary, this is not brought out. Recently, in the last few years, there have been so many communal incidents of the 'secular' kind and our media has kindly kept them away from us. In Kashmir - which honestly, is the only incident in the country where the majority (guess who) has ensured that the minority has been terrorized into leaving their homes - is never highlighted to push their narrative forward.

They created a set of intellectuals who we were supposed to admire - while the others like Subramaniam Swamy, Gurumurthy, Bhyrappa were supposed to communal. Why, many of our reporters,  writers, Bollywood actors (only those who sell the snake oil of communal Hindus) are supposed to be intellectuals.

The common factor was that all these subscribe to leftist belief systems - among other things. Even our history has been slanted to further this narrative.

I can go on and on.

Except that social media has been successful in breaking the monopoly of this narrative.

The current intolerance debate - a manufactured one at that - which everyone in the room is able to see - mainly thanks to social media is one such example.

Every video that the media puts out (selectively edited) has been countered by an unedited clip which shows how the media lies. Every tweet that the media puts out - is countered by a response by the same media when the tables are turned (for example, when they threaten to sue bloggers that is freedom of speech, but when someone counters them they are trolls or bullies). And so on.

So, well, media, the days of your 'False'man show have ended. Social media will challenge you at every step. Get used to it...

Oh intolerance...

The tolerant folks of the country, are telling us that we are intolerant. To prove their tolerance, they have been using, hold your breath, not tolerance, but intolerance. 

Vikram Sampath - who was organizing the Bangalore Literature Fest - who held views that were not acceptable to the tolerant had to step down to prove his intolerance and their tolerance - whereas in reality it should have been vice versa. 

A TV anchor who shouts much about tolerance asked a renowned and reputed historian to take back a word that he had learnt through his scholarship and he refused. Now if the anchor was tolerant, would she have done that? Who is tolerant and who is intolerant?

People returned their awards protesting against intolerance. A larger section has not returned. Is it a question of numbers - this intolerance? 

Or it it based on what superstars who make billions feel? Or what?

These are just a couple of examples on how this manufactured dissent has snowballed into a faux agitation...

And the intolerant who are claiming intolerance want our country to be a place...

Where the mind fears them and wants some heads to be bowed low, 
where knowledge is owned and distributed by them, 
where the world has been broken up into fragments defined by them
where they build those narrow walls
where words come out from the depths of falsehood, 
where tireless publicity results in stretching its arms towards donations,
where the only stream of reason should be their murky stream
into the dreary desert sand of dead habit,
where the mind is led forward by only those who are certified
into ever narrowing thought and action,
in that heaven of despondency, they want our country to awake...

(apologies to Rabindranath Tagore)

Thursday, November 26, 2015

A note to Namo Supporters

Its all over social media these days. The very same set of people who assiduously supported Narendra Modi in his nothing less than historic 2014 victory are now tut-tutting his chances for 2019.

Yes, it has been a turbulent 18 odd months for this government. For the most part, it is due to no fault of theirs. They have done the right things - tightened up processes, left less scope for discretion, opened up industries, worked on development (electricity, cities, transport), ramped our foreign policy engagement, kept Pakistan on a tight leash, engaged with the neighbours, worked on improving internal security.

But the media has been shouting with its own agenda. There are no guesses as to whose agenda is the media playing. The media is playing to the person who owns their precious ecosystem. The ecosystem which gave them sources - sometimes resources. Which allowed them to lobby for positions, spin - why some journalists are 'dealers' or 'wheeler dealers'. They own companies which get lucrative contracts. Some are family members of the ecosystem party. They used to get free foreign trips both from the government and sometimes from an 'ISI marked Fai'. All in all, life was good.

Now, Modi has broken this ecosystem. Broken, but not completely. Because the same channels which throw muck on the government is rewarded with government ads, interviews from top ministers. Modi himself has been praising them, attending their functions.

So, there is good reason that they are shouting. They shout that Modi is not doing enough. He is not talking enough. That the communication strategy of the government is all wrong (and maybe there is some work required there).

But to take all this noise and feel despondent as a supporter on SM is a little too much.

Think about it.

Most of the agenda driving has been aimed at Modi (and Amit Shah). As a social media supporter, what you see and experience is a fraction of fraction of wrath that Modi has been at the receiving end of the ecosystem. Of course, this is nothing new to Modi - who has been at the receiving end of this ecosystem - from fake cases to bought witnesses to slander to insinuations to abuses from eminent people who once ruled the country to security threats.

And yet, he did not give in then and he has not given in now. Giving in, would mean capitulation - which is what the ecosystem wants. The way that Vajpayee was brought down from the inside - is not possible since there are very few moles.  So, interesting old but new, improved strategies are being used to distract him from jailing the crooks, going after the corrupt among other things.

If Modi can stand this for over 12 years, why cant we stand by him for 5 years?

Sure, he can do more and he will. Right now, no one, not even his worst enemies can argue that he is not doing the right things. There are many more things that he wants to push - but Parliament (led by stateswoman of the ecosystem is not cooperating). Even here he could have taken the easy route of 'deals' or 'CBI inquiries' but he has not. He is trying it the hard way of winning elections, getting the numbers and moving the needle...

So, we need to stand by him...because nobody else has and nobody else will...

Is Technology making us dumber?

The latest question being asked in intellectual circles is this. They don't mean, technology like washing machines and baking ovens - though it could get there as well. They mean technology like whatsapp and Facebook and all that.

Did TV make us dumber? You bet. The 80s were the idiot box generation. Hours lost because people sat in front of boxes that emitted electrons and newspersons that spouted nonsense. This, apart from tele serials and the like.

Did newspapers make us dumber? Yes, the leftist liberal claptrap that has been drilled into our heads is primarily because of the news we were fed when we grew up.

Yet, one can argue that both TV and newspapers also made us smarter. Because, for one, it made us aware. And two, there were good articles and programs that did make sense.

Ditto for books - much before TV - there were books. One can safely argue that not all the books printed are worth reading (and I don't mean textbooks).

But books did make us smarter? Without doubt. And there are books which continue to make people dumb - and those books are not even banned.

Truth be told, this has nothing to with technology and making people dumb. Hitherto, people sat in front of idiot boxes, watched programs, believed most of it, talked to their neighbors, shared it in post morning walk conversations or spoke about it over lunch tables in offices...

Today with whatsapp and Facebook, they post it on the internet (yes, the internet is making us dumb) or on whatsapp groups (which are really extended conversations with family, friends, random people etc).

Trouble with posting this on the internet is that the sanctity of narratives are being questioned. Earlier, in those good old days we believed anything that was printed. Not any longer. We also believed anything they said on TV. Not any longer. Why? Because for every article they write, there are countless rebuttals. For every clipped video that they air - there are citizen sourced videos that people put up - so that people can see the truth for themselves.

Today when a superstar claims intolerance, people express themselves (earlier also they did - but in closed circles). Today they express their feelings on the internet. That, by the way, is social media. Get used to it. They also, see what the superstar said last year and what he is saying now - and they ask him - rightfully - hey what changed. They also see soldiers dying on the front for our security and liberals outraging about ink attacks - and they question it - rightly so. They see news anchors (journo tycoons) take positions - that contradict their own tweets from a few months ago. They see media building up fear mongering - and question it. They also see media holding up Rahul Gandhi as an icon of intelligence  and they question  it.

This is what bothers our intellectuals.

Earlier, they spoke and we believed them. Often, because they spoke, we were ashamed of what we thought. They set the narrative and we believed them. Today, social media questions that and these faux intellectuals are upset.

Instead of saying "Is technology making intellectuals upset" it is now framed as "Is technology making us dumber".

Fire burns - can also be used for cooking. Internet has junk  - but you can also learn from it. TV is useless on all counts. Newspapers carry enough junk that I don't want my kids to see - and a few good articles. One can argue that any technology is dangerous and making us dumber.

No it is not. Depends on how you use it. 

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Deja vu for NDA

To the NDA under Modi government,

The Lutyens liberals will not let you rule peacefully like they never allowed Vajpayee. Just before Delhi there were some loud noises around Church attacks. Just before Bihar, there was loud noise, not about church attacks - but about a lynching that happened - not in Bihar, but in UP. And its Chief Minister got a free pass and you got blamed.

There is a pattern here as we saw during Vajpayees tenure. First distract you and your government with all sort of things like the above. And more important, repeat this so that the people get distracted. And the swing voters will not swing. And while they press for you and your government to respond to this nonsense, the opposition continues its way ahead in canvassing for the elections. This is classic distraction strategy.

What happened in Bihar - is basically an extension of what happened in Delhi and what will happen in UP for 2017. Note - trial balloons have been floated for their favorite Chief Minister already. 

First the so called opposition will unite. Then they will distract the swing voters and create a loud noise demanding that the Prime Minister do this and do that and so on. And this was just the beginning, there may many other events that may get orchestrated.

Note: Even as I speak, the veterans have already been roped with an eye on Punjab.

So,what can be done?

1. Take off that Statesmanitis garb of yours. And gloves. And kick some political ass. Announce fast track corruption courts. Get the corrupt into jails. That will ensure visibility of the government. Open other pending cases - there are tons of them inside. Let loose classified files - like the Henderson report.  (Remember Congress never suffers from an attack of statesmanitis. Vajpayee succumbed to statesmanitis. You needn't - you have staved off the vultures during the Gujarat tenure.)
2. Have strong leaders in every state - Raman Singh, Shivraj Patil and Raje are not enough. Fadnavis was a good discovery. But Bihar had no credible name. Ensure that there is a name for UP/Punjab now and get them working on the ground now.
3. In your ministry, get rid of underperformers.
4. There are some interesting cases under your radar - including some media houses that seem to love you so much. Also some politicians have left a neat paper trail for your ministries to follow. Fast track every single one of them.
5. Throw out each of your spokespersons and their TV channel visits. Restrict them to a press conference each day. Disregard random people who put the wrong part of their anatomy in front of TV mikes while wearing a BJP badge.
6. And yes, work on getting as much work done as you can with the Lok Sabha majority. As for Rajya Sabha, point #1 will take care of the crooks.

Remember this is just the beginning. Pakistan is yet to deliver a gift to you - like they did for Mr. Vajpayee. Kargil, Kandahar were just Pakistan gifts for the NDA1. They will likely send you another one. And then we all know, how the media will react if something happens along those lines - see this link from 2008 by the venerable Kanchan Gupta. They may not do it - only because you are not pussy footed - and may elicit a stronger than expected response - but the recent episodes should gladden them. They have forced you to make many a statement - and that may embolden Pakistan to try a trick or two.

Friday, November 06, 2015

Pump and Dump - Congress ecosystem explained

There is something known as a 'Pump and Dump' strategy in the stock market. To outsiders like you and me, it is not visible. And it takes a fair bit of investigation to figure this out. But put simply, it works like this:

(from the wiki entry):

that involves artificially inflating the price of an owned stock through false and misleading positive statements, in order to sell the cheaply purchased stock at a higher price. Once the operators of the scheme "dump" sell their overvalued shares, the price falls and investors lose their money. 

This is how it happens in reality. Buy a stock at a low price. Talk up a stock using some information and spin, get a bunch of people to talk about it, buy the stock, create small movements - and keep repeating this cycle till everybody believes in it and then as it attracts more people, the original investors (who bought it at a low price) sell their stock and make money.

Now, cut to the Congress ecosystem. The ecosystem works exactly like this. Sounds a bit like the 'Emperors new clothes' or 'herd mentality'. The spinmeisters will spin the story of the greatness of someone. They will put that into your head through school curriculum, news reports, TV, books, articles, awards - you name it. Until, like the emperors new clothes you (and the population at large) believe it. Because we believed in what we read in newspapers and heard on radio and TV (until recently that is) - and they told us stories that madam wanted us to hear.

How it works: First one person in the ecosystem will go ga-ga over Ms. X. Ms. X will almost always toe the party line for anything. Or Ms. X will be related to someone who directly helped Congress or indirectly helped Congress. Or both.

Sooner or later X is praised by Y. Y writes a foreword for a book written by X. Z takes an interview on TV. P writes about it. Q nominates X as the chief of some organization. And then X, Y, Z, P, Q repay this favor to each other and to the madam at the top. Multiply this over a 100  or a 1000 across generations and see what you get.

Many of the idiots who you used to admire are all part of this industry.

Take anybody in that ecosystem and you will find that this works. A Congress Padma awardee for example, would have by and large served Congress interests - see so called journo-tycoons awarded. A writer would have among other things - written something like Indira Charisma (I kid you not).  A sportsperson (there are exceptions here mercifully) - may be used by Congress to campaign.

Things were not always this bad. But especially in the last 10 odd years of UPA, everything has been politicized.

And Rahul Gandhi and Sonia epitomise this. Lets see.

Sonia does not give a single interview - not a single interview given in 10 years. Nobody questions Sonias education (but they all question Rabri Devis education) or her knowledge or her leadership skills. The media has created an aura of mystery around someone who is barely seen making any sense beyond prepared speeches.

Cut to Rahul. Rahul gives 1 interview and flubs it so badly that people reproduce it with comedy tracks. He has been spotted reading from chits. He has been spotted given incoherent answers - the kind of answers my third standard teacher would have laughed at me for poor comprehension - even to kids - let alone competent adults. He has not been spotted saying anything meaningful beyond a sentence or two. He has been spotted copying out notes into a visitor books. And our popular press - which is a rabid part of the ecosystem - has always sung the Congress scheme of things every time Rahul launches yet another photo opportunity as part of building up his image. (This Humpty Dumpty won't stick.). We have known that people have walked out of his rally before he even begins to talk - we are never shown the reality of the 'crowds' - thin at best that dot his rallies.

Thankfully, Social Media exists to poke holes in the air balloon of the ecosystem. because the ecosystem will never ever point out the emperors new clothes - except that the social media doesn't waste time. Rahul Gandhi jokes dot whatsapp. His memes take over twitter (in a comedian sort of way). His speeches and some extremely warped dialogues (Escape velocity, Power is poison, I spoke to my mother) are subjects of satire and sarcasm. Even his interview was wildly dissed on social media, but our great press - well, what they called it you go and read.The moment he gives a prepared speech - they actually tweet similar things. The moment he goes off on yet another of his tangents - they actually croon, oh, Rahul and the revival of Congress.

Oh wait, thats the pump. Whats the dump? And then when things go against the Congress ecosystem, as it often does - these pumped up intellectuals (most of them) rise up in defence of the Congress. They shill for them. Under-report scams they commit. Put innocuous questions when it comes to Congress crimes (Where is the fraud?). And smoothly, ever so smoothly deflect Congress politician criticism to either all politicians  (People blame politicians) or blame it all back on you and me (National shame). If a Congress minister or MLA commits a crime, the party name is cleanly whitewashed...

And like in these days - these idiot intellectuals for hire are pretending that it is an emergency. Except that it is not - and the only emergency that happened was under their glorious leader.

Thats pump and dump for you!

A perfect echo chamber, until Social media created a sound of its own...where you the dump is quickly flushed down the drain. 

Wednesday, November 04, 2015

Peddling victimhood

Recently, unless you have your head in the sand in a desert, India media has been fighting a battle. A fake battle. A battle where it has created its own straw man and is now spending time demolishing this straw man. The straw man argument is that India is intlolerant. And to aid this, some useful idiots have gone up on TV (or newspapers) and claimed victimhood.

The list is long and I have a few examples here.

A famous film actor - hailed as the finest - winner of national awards - claims that he is a victim.

Another famous film personality - known for some bad acting - but winner of several awards, owning a huge piece of real estate in a very expensive part of the country claims he is a victim.

An ex police commissoner - who is respected for bringing down many a gangster and terror network - and decorated with awards - claims victimhood by writing articles in newspapers.

Another film personality, who has converted from her erstwhile religion and now gives sermons to others on tolerance (despite following a non-secular approach at home) - has come out stating how much intolerance is there in this country.

(There is a bit of a deja vu here. Many years ago, a famous cricketer - who was a fine wristy player, came under betting allegation - played the victimhood card and now runs for elections as a pastime.)

All of the above are limousine liberals - these people are idolized by the general public for the talents and their contribution to India. If there was victimhood, they would  not be able to succeed - they would have been driven out of their homes, they would have had to hide - but hey, these are well to do folks who have made it big in Indian society on their own steam - like anybody else.

So, well, here is how India treats these victims. It elevates them. Awards them. People idolize them. Pay to watch their shows using their hard earned money. It gives them a level playing field. Gives some of them national awards. And at the end, instead of being grateful to the country and the audience or working on real issues, what do they do? They peddle victimhood.

But here is the thing, dear victimhood peddlers. There are victims like you and there are real victims.

By elevating your faux concern to the level of the real victims you do a grave injustice to the real victims of India. There are real victims - of corruption, of caste, of religion, of gender, of political high handedness, or bias.

By equating (or attempting to equate) the fact that your food served in a five star restaurant had less salt to the hunger of the man of the street who had no food, you are committing a grave injustice to the real victims and making a mockery of their tragedy.

And oh, by the way, there is another film personality who is taking these idiots on - whose family was  driven out of his home as part of a religious movement - and who has made it big in the industry and who has not yet claimed victimhood. That person is Anupam Kher.

Well, thank you Anupam Kher for calling out the idiots out on this one...

Media and the human mind

Many years ago, there was just television channel in India. So, everybody watched the same things. On Sunday evening, there was a special Hindi movie that would be screened. Most of India (atleast the part that understood Hindi) would watch it.

So, the next day when we went to school, the topic of discussion was always the previous evening movie or program. If you missed that news, you were left out.

Times have changed. There are numerous channels. There are channels for sports - if you want to avoid news. There are news channels, if you want to avoid music. There are channels in your own language. Simply speaking, media no longer controlled your mind.

However, if you watched the news channels - by and large - they all say the same thing - atleast the English media channels do. The newspapers also by and large all report the same news in the same way. So, while we have a number of media channels - they all say roughly the same thing.

Almost all of our news channels (the English ones) have a very strong left liberal bias. As do our newspapers. So if you grew up reading a newspaper - it is very likely that you subscribe to the view - without even you knowing it.

Which is probably why a lot of us start off with a leftist viewpoint of life - until at some later point you question a few aspects behind it. That is tough - because the matrix all around will paint you as stupid, uncool or dumb if you try to get out of it. This is why I believe that leftism is a lazy belief system. (More on this again - later).

So, if you noticed, ever since May 2014, the media has been after the NDA government.

They have used a set of words to create a subliminal messaging in your head that the government is promoting intolerance - that there is an atmosphere of hate - and have consistently carried articles and interviews to 'confirm' their viewpoint. This is so perfectly orchestrated that one would think that there is just one media channel in India.

Except that there is social media - which brings the alternate viewpoint. And like in NDA 2004, media has singing its favorite songs - that this government is bad. Except that unlike then, social media is calling out the nautanki of the people who are at it. These are the same guys who were well fed by the Congress ecosystem - who have taken many a favor from the Congress and are connected to its ante-chambers. These are the same people who get awards from the ecosystem. And everybody knows them. Thankfully, by this time, media has damaged its credibility - most people don't believe media any more.

But the moment you see something on media - question it. Once you question it, scratch the surface, you will get better answers...

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Patterns repeat in life - Manmohan Singh

Did Dr. Manmohan Singh preside over the momentous reforms of 1991 in India or not. This is a question of eternal debate in certain circles. The debate rages because they do not want to give credit to someone who they don't like (PV Narasimha Rao).
But let us look at the evidence. This article written by none other than Yashwant Sinha provides a few clues.

There is absolutely no question that MMS is personally honest in pecuniary matters. I have plenty of anecdotes on this and so do all those who have interacted with him. But have you heard of House No. 3989, Nandan Nagar, Ward No. 51, Sarumataria? You probably haven't. This is in Dispur and MMS is ostensibly a tenant there. 
That's because he is a Rajya Sabha MP from Assam. As I said, honesty is a relative term and I know of people who would baulk at this deception. 
There is an anecdote in Yashwant Sinha's book about how MMS had brought alone a file to Chandra Shekhar, who was then the PM, but had already resigned. The file concerned MMS' appointment as UGC boss. 
As Chandra Shekhar had already resigned as PM, he pointed out that he couldn't morally sign the file. MMS retorted that he had backdated the file. Since this anecdote has gone uncontested, it is presumably true. 
Therefore, if non-pecuniary transactions are involved, I have never been convinced MMS places a premium on "honesty". It is for an individual to decide whether he feels comfortable looking at himself in the mirror. [From the piece]
This article is a few years old. From then on, there have been more evidence. Here is ex Coal secretary and the ex Telecom secretary.
Here is the coal secretary link, where the article says.
In his arguments, Gupta claimed he had "no dominion" over the natural resource and Singh, who was also holding the portfolio of Coal Ministry at that time, had given final approval for allocation of coal block.
And here is the ex Telecom secretary stating his point...
In a separate chapter, Baijal refers to the alleged warning from Singh: "They (CBI) had warned me in each case (cases related to 2G scam and disinvestments) that I would be harmed if I didn't cooperate. Incidentally, this was exactly what the eminent economist Prime Minister (Manmohan Singh) had told me would happen if I did not cooperate in their scheme of things in the 2G case.
There are a few more things (which despite crazy googling, I could not find), but the point is that patterns repeat. 
For someone who has never done something 'different' throughout life and always followed orders (his 10 years as PM was all about taking orders from his boss the great Sonia Gandhi) and almost reversed every reform that is credited to him. It is highly unlikely that in 1991, he did something by himself, unless he was ordered to do so.  
And as Yashwant Sinha himself points in his article,
First, MMS wasn't PV Narasimha Rao's original choice as FM. IG Patel was, though that is neither here nor there. Second, the credit for those reforms should largely go to Rao, though the Congress conveniently chose to ignore this later. Indeed, MMS also distanced himself from Rao, though that too is perhaps neither here nor there, except that it reveals some of MMS' personal attributes. The point is, any FM in 1991 would have had to introduce those reforms. The agenda was known. The blueprint was known.
It is highly unlikely in life that one breaks out of such set patterns just once and then returns to somnolence. A person who is a fighter is a fighter at every level. And a person who is an order taker is an order taker at every level. You make them shift roles and they will get out of it very quickly. It is  true for every single one of us. If you make one go against my values, I will raise my voice or quit. Yes, I may swallow an insult or two or live a bit out of my skin, but ultimately it is just not possible.
And what of the curious case of the dog that did not bark? The answer, therefore is only one. What is the repeating pattern? The evidence is above. 

Saturday, September 19, 2015

A Fatwa on AR Rehman

And see how a liberal - Ms. Shabana Azmi reacts:

In the video linked above, Ms. Shabana Azmi, a self styled liberal - certified and approved by all the other liberals argues (hold your breath), not for the right of Mr. Majidi to make an offensive movie, but she actually says that Mr. Majidi and Mr. AR Rehman in her considered opinion cannot make a movie that offends the sentiments of a said religion. The said religion is her own and is also shared by the other two - Mr. Majidi and Mr. Rehman. And then she goes into explaining what a fatwa is.

The same Shabana Azmi (and her worse half) often go into conniptions defending Freedom of Expression when it comes to offending Hinduism. Like, in making movies that offend Hinduism. Or making a painting that offends Hindus. Not that Hindus care much about it in general, but the silence on such hypocrisy is deafening...

So now what happened? The moment it is about 'her religion' (notice, I do not name it), the boot is on the other foot. It is all about equivocation, tying herself in knots. And here, a fellow tweeter calls this hypocrisy out.
She is not alone. The other self styled activist actor who makes tear jerking TV serials on supposedly social causes has remained silent. Her better half has remained silent. And the other few big actors who come from a similar community have also remained silent. There are no protest marches in support of AR Rehman or Majidi. Or a #IstandwithARR or something like that.

And they, have, coincidentally, never, ever, spoken in favor of a certain Taslima Nasreen.

Oh, even our famous journo-tycoons have remained silent...

What gives? What is happening here? Care to see beyond the hypocrisy?

Still wonder why...

This is because our so called FoE by liberals says, "Don't offend the violent, but by all means, offend the meek".

Why the hairstylist of the liberals himself says so and gets skewered by the champion of free speech, the late Mr. Hitchens.  "Freedom of speech has consequences to the speaker - as he says in this video about 7.30 onwards


and rightfully gets slapped by Hitchens...

"Fire" says Hitchens and then wonderfully demolishes Mr. Stylist. "If your feelings are hurt, how is it acceptable to burn down a newspaper office..."

Update: Mr. Better Half has written a piece on the fatwa, but in his usual style when it comes to 'certain things' - obfuscates, equivocates, insinuations, uses a bunch of logical fallacies, writes about himself and finally blames Hinduism for everything or thereabouts.

PC, Vasan and then some

A few days ago, this article appeared in The New Indian Express - as opposed to the old Indian Express.

This report is titled, P Chidambaram, Vasan Eye care and Rs. 223 crore black money. And the title is as straightforward as it gets.

There is really very little point quoting any other bit from the report - it is worth a read in all its glory.

And the author is none other than S Gurumurthy who has sniffed out many a fraud in the past.

It ends with this:

This shows PC’s clout in the finance ministry now headed by Arun Jaitley. It is not just in the Vasan case. In the NDTV tax fraud case, in which too PC is involved, the CBDT is supporting the tax-fraudster by attempting to  match-fix the case of `900 cr tax evasion in collusion with NDTV. Is Finance Minister Arun Jaitley aware? Is he listening?

And if you noticed, this report has not been the subject of raging debates on televsion and twitter trends. Why so? Not worthy enough? Or well, some holy cows cannot be touched...

Gurumurthy has taken it further with a follow up article questioning Vasans one page denial.

Lets green our temples

A temple is a great place to build environmental consciousness. As I read through composting machines -  I learnt something that composts kitchen and natural waste using electricity (and that too not too much of it).

Since temples generate quite a bit of organic waste – like leaves, flowers on a day to day basis, using a temple to start a composting revolution may be a great idea. Like a zero waste temple. Or an ‘eco conscious’ temple. Or a temple that creates compost - blessed by your favorite god - how cool is that? 

Or powered by solar instead of the grid. 

Developing thought...

Coffee anybody?

A few days ago, I saw a hot start up make a delivery. Well, they were delivering coffee – in a flask. In a locality that is surrounded by atleast 3 coffee serving places plus darshinis plus hotels  - do you really need a bike delivering coffee made in some central locality and then burning as much petrol as the coffee to  deliver it in a flask to an office which surely has vending machines inside? Yes, you may be super particular about your coffee – so am I  - I am so particular that I make it myself using a coffee filter the traditional way. But, delivering coffee on a bike? Thoda jyaada nahi hai boss?

Or we do really need a an app for someone to collect our dirty clothes take it to a central locality wash it and get it back on a bike? Wait, an aggregator can do that job (huh?). Or perhaps, just perhaps – I can do it on my evening walk. I am too busy, but the neighbourhood guy does home collection and delivery.

I am waiting for a milk delivery app. Or a garbage collection app. Or how about this – a start up that delivers newspapers. Or stitches clothes with the neighbourhood tailor?

Well, coffee delivery guys – you are in a bubble – just waiting to be pricked. Atleast in my definition you are not solving a problem, nor creating a wow factor (like some food startups are doing), not are you eliminating a middleman or creating a service (like food aggregators), not offering something that needs a speedier service.

I am all for start ups, even food delivery start ups – even if they are mushrooming faster than mushrooms. I am all for entrepreneurship and ideas.  But there are bubbles – and they burst. Soon.

I need a good filter kappi, now...

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Divide and aspire to rule...

It is not that we are united as a nation. Let us be honest. We are divided quite badly. As someone said, the only thing that united us was cricket and perhaps war. Perhaps it is true of all nations, perhaps it is not.

But the least politicians can do is make unity the norm than the other way round. As it is, we are divided. By language, by eating habits, by states, by urban and rural divides, by religion, by caste, by sub caste, by sects...by millions of things.

The Mandal commission made it worse by dividing everything along caste. And from then on it has been one big race to declare oneself to be a minority of some sort. Either a schedule caste or a scheduled tribe or an OBC or DT or NT or something. This is not to say that affirmative action is needed - but whatever affirmative action has to be taken has to be agnostic of the god you worship (or not, in case you are atheist). But there are people who are denied opportunities because they are of a different caste - not because they are any less deserving.

In this divided pot is the BJP - which has kind of formed a 'Mahadalit' kind of formation -  at one level by uniting the different castes (which they usually vote as well) by getting a  pan-India 'agreement' on development. And this focus on development means that the old caste combinations are neither valid nor working as Mayawati and other caste based parties saw in the 2014 elections.

Again, this is to say that this will not make a comeback. There is a great chance it will. And this is the hope that those opposing the BJP have.

They want to break this 'mega coalition' into something they are familiar with. Which is why as soon the government took over, there was fake outrage over some global religions - which have all been proved wrong.

Then there was a huge brouhaha on Right wing hotheads (some obscure people in whose face mikes were thrust). Similar fatwas by secular groups have been neatly ignored.

Then there is recent outrage on meat ban (which in reality is a shutdown of slaughterhouses for the most part) and something that has been happening for decades.

There is a perpetual hurry to blame Hindus for everything that is wrong with the country.

There was a great attempt to paint Yakub Memon as the victim of a giant Hindu conspiracy.

And of course, the encouragement a certain Hardik Patel gets in the media is worth watching.

So what is going on?

The only antidote to creating unity is divisiveness. Like it says in the ancient story where humans were building a tower to reach heaven and god suddenly made them talk in different languages and since they did not understand each other from that point on, the tower collapsed.

In modern times, fear mongering is one of the ways to do it. And in that sense the media - the extended arms of the Congress has started spreading fear. By creating fear in the minds of the Marathis against the Gujaratis. By creating fear of the Patels in the others (and vice versa). By giving reservations to Jats (as opposed to Gujjars). By dangling reservations to Lingayats in Karnataka...

This is their idea of India. A perpetually fractious country tearing each other apart. And in this divided comes the Congress and their ilk wanting to milk this divisiveness by promising a piece of the pie here and a piece of the pie there and keeping them at each others throats.

The BJP needs to know this. That their message of pan Indian unity will be torn apart by the Congress and its useful idiots. The media amplifies this message. A Hardik Patel who is asking for a ridiculous reservation for a well to do community is a 'quota warrior'. A Shiv Sena which is amplifying the Marathi-Gujarati divide is suddenly 'liberal' for opposing a meat ban which has been in place for decades now. A judicial process over 20+ years (no less) that deemed Yakub Memon guilty is used to arouse suspicion among the people - resulting in a wave of sympathy for a terrorist. Stones thrown at a church by drunkards is amplified enough to result in a once respected senile man writing columns about Christian persecution. A man like Aurangzeb who did to India what ISIS does today - is suddenly finding himself loved by all liberals. The reason - a road named after him was renamed. Yes for sure, there are Hitler roads and Hitler nagars in Israel. We of course name cities and institutions after tyrants who ordered inquisitions, destroyed temples and imposed jaziya on Hindus.

All this will happen till 2019. The BJP needs to fine tune its messaging. Only fine tuning that will not help. It has to go big on many communal laws (like RTE). It has to get these fear mongers to pay for their crimes (and many of them have enough crimes in their backyards). It has to choke their funding (and many of these are suspicious - a first step has been taken with the crackdown on the FCRA).

This is the new divide and aspire to rule. This is the Idea of India - a perpetually squabbling dividing populace that don't care about governance, but will live on doles while at top level there is massive corruption that keeps their own sycophants happy.