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 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.

Sustainable Start ups anyone?

There are a lot of food delivery start ups that have come up in India. And I suppose more in Bangalore as compared to other cities.

The food delivery idea is good, is smart, works and all of that. But each time food is delivered, it is delivered wrapped in more plastic than the food itself. There is a lot of it. We ordered a couple of times and felt that there is room for some solutions there. There is only so much recycling one can do at a residence. Even so we managed to convert one of the packets into a lampshade - and while that may not be the most appropriate of solutions - it is heartbreaking to throw so much plastic that will come back to haunt our future generations.

If this is the case with one house (and we rarely order from outside) - imagine the total plastic generated.

This is not just for food delivery btw - it is actually true for other online retailers. One single book comes up in a humongous amount of cardboard and plastic. One library cling wraps every book being delivered. Plus the carbon footprint of it being delivered.

Sure, all this is a money exchange and we pay for the services.

But who does the clean up - how and when?

It is time to think of a sustainable packaging method for these deliveries.

Or maybe have an online recycler who will collect after these deliveries? Just a click away?

Sunday, September 06, 2015

Do you support ISIS?

Surely, you have heard of ISIS? Yes, those same gang of peaceful people who are peacefully killing people?

Yes, the same gang of people who recently destroyed the Palmyra temple.

The report linked above also says, the same group of people, peacefully, beheaded the archaeologist who was oversseeing the site.

Earlier last month, the group beheaded 81-year-old Khaled al-Asaad, the archaeologist who had looked after the Palmyra ruins for 40 years [link]

ISIS has been routinely beheading people, by the way. So, that is kind of normal behavior of them.

ISIS also makes people pay taxes (different rates for believers and unbelievers). Hey, that is known as Jaziya/Jizya - take your pick.

Read more about the ISIS/ISIL here...

So my dear liberal, do you support the ISIS in what they do? Like the things described above? While you ponder over your answer, let me remind you about another person who did many of these things in India.

He is Aurangzeb. Here are some facts - all taken from this website.

One of the main objectives of Aurangzeb's policy was to demolish Hindu temples. When he ordered (13th October 1666) removal of the carved railing, which Prince Dara Shukoh had presented to Keshava Rai temple at Mathura, he had observed 'In the religion of the Musalmans it is improper even to look at a temple', and that it was totally unbecoming of a Muslim to act like Dara Shukoh (Exhibit No. 6, Akhbarat, 13th October 1666). This was followed by destruction of the famous Kalka temple in Delhi (Exhibit No. 6, 7, 8, Akhbarat, 3rd and 12th September 1667). [Link]

And about executing those who opposed him, some information... (Rival kings - like Shivaji did not execute their opponents - and definitely did not do so outside of war).

About imposing differential taxes...

In obedience to the Quranic injunction, he reimposed Jizyah on the Hindus on 2nd April 1679 (Exhibit No. 16), which had been abolished by Emperor Akbar in 1564, causing widespread anger and resentment among the Hindus of the country. A massive peaceful demonstration against this tax in Delhi, was ruthlessly crushed. This hated tax involved heavy economic burden on the vast number of the poor Hindus and caused humiliation to each and every Hindu (Exhibit No. 18). [Link]

So, between Aurangzeb and ISIS the similarities are:

Destruction of non-believers temples and artifacts - check
Beheading of opponents - check
Differential tax with an aim to convert/dominate - check

Perhaps, my dear liberal, you love Aurangzeb - and in which case you most probably will have to declare your undying love for the ISIS as well. Perhaps you will, perhaps you won't - out of the sake of political correctness or because they are not attacking India - not yet atleast.

But for me, if you support Aurangzeb, it means that you support the worst terrorists out there - in the league of Al-Quaeda and ISIS.