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 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?