Friday, December 19, 2014

When losing is winning

The BJP launched a high decibel campaign in its Jammu and Kashmir election. It was termed Mission 44 and the quest was to get more than 44 seats. Towards this end, the BJP appears to be offering a fresh hope to the people of the state. Many in the state have gravitated towards - people respected in both Jammu and the valley.

And the media has, in its usual way, covered it. Some, as they are wont to, dissed the BJP in the thinly veiled guise of contempt and false choice - that only they can offer a multi faith multi cultural society - when in reality the Islamiyat has all but done Kashmiriyat to death. Others reported it as it is. The usual suspects have created noise on the same. Omar, here and Mehbooba, there.

There has been a lot of speculation on the high voters turnout - on whether the turnout is beneficial to the BJP or if it is really people turning out in large numbers to keep out the BJP.  Worthies have contended that outsiders have made Modi rally a success in areas like both Kishtwar while being silent on his very successful rally in Srinigar.

But all this, I think is missing the point.

Even if the BJP does not win 44+ seats (and I strongly suspect that it wont), even if the BJP gets nowhere close to forming a government (and I strongly suspect that it is the case as well) - it has won. It will, in all probability gets its highest number of seats and have a very strong voting percentage - that cannot be ignored. But India has won - note that - not the BJP, but India.

Think about it. The nationalist BJP party has been able to campaign successfully, organize rallies, get a significant vote share and has attracted many people to its fold. In the meantime, voting percentages have been high and people have participated enthusiastically in the democratic process. The elections have been free and fair. And of course, Pakistan sponsored terrorists tried their best to disrupt the election process.

Those who are opposing Modi and shouting from the rooftops that the BJP wont win are missing the point. The point is not about winning Jammu and Kashmir for BJP - though if it happens, that will be an amazing turning point. The point is that the world is able to see the way people are responding to elections, trying to get a normal life while Pakistan sends terrorists from the across the border.

Those who think this is all about the BJP winning miss the big picture. The big picture is that Jammu and Kashmir is an inalienable part of India - the entire election campaign, the process has shown this to the world.

As for Pakistan Occupied Kashmir - you know where it going. And Pakistan itself, you know where that where that country is going as well.

Regardless of who wins or loses, the Modi government will use this to great effect to shut out the idiotic paid Fai analysts, the track II shopping tourism and the think tanks who go to great lengths to equate terrorism in Pakistan to the so called unresolved issue of Kashmir.

And that is that grand plan. And this is how, even if the BJP loses in Jammu and Kashmir it is a great win for India.

(Am putting this before the results come out - will update it when the results come out).


Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Terror has no religion

Thank god (which one?) religion has no terror. Imagine if it did.

Imagine, for instance, Dodoites. What if the Dodoites had a scroll that detailed everything that the followers of Dodoism should do to those who worship other animals or trees or did not believe in a god. And if they insisted that only the oldest edition of the scroll written in blue ink with DoDo feathers and its misinterpreted editions (Do scrolls have editions?) can be used. Scary thought - what if the original handwriting had wrong spelings?

Imagine that the scroll did not account for the advancement of human sentiments like gender equality and freedom of expression for all Dodoites? And what if Dodos that raised their voices for these were liable to be killed by other Dodos around them? What is the point for dying something so new anyway? Old is gold.

Imagine their scroll institutionalized killing of those who did not believe in their DoDo god. What if it said, anybody who believed in the Capybara should be imprisoned in ant hills.What if the world ran out of ant hills?

Imagine if the scroll closed out technological advancements. Of all kinds. Except methods of killing capybarites. Thankfully no such Dodoite scroll bans advancement of technologies of destruction of Capybarites. Imagine killing Capybarites with stones for example, on a flat earth, for example. That would not be nice at all to showcase the advancement of the human race, considering we have the AK47, would it?

What if the scroll, written in Dodo call language, closed off advancement, for instance, for the Dodoites. Or transportation. Or the internet. Oh, well, how can a scroll ban something that is not invented. We however, need not worry about such thing, because there is no such thing. Because no scroll has banned any technological advancement of dodoites or capybarites for that matter.

Imagine that their dodo preachers went addressed the world asking Dodoites for the murder of Capybarites and then Seaanemoneites and even the Pteranodonites and other lesser animal godites. That would be so bad. (Pardon the spelling here, because I am new to all of these. Please do not clip my wings, or take me out of water or feed me chewing gum for this utterly despicable act of manipulating spelling - Wrennmartinites I beg forgiveness from thee.)

Imagine on the basis of this, random Dodoites going around murdering random Capybarites in coffee shops or schools or at homes or on streets. Or forming organizations for the murder of Capybarites and protection of Dodoites. And if the Capybarites cannot mimic the dodo call, they get shot or maimed or get their wings cut (Capybara has wings?) or something like that. And then take a video of it as well.

Imagine that the supreme DoDo country gives money to these organizations to murder Capybarites, sometimes under the guise of charity and other noble deeds when in reality all they want is for the Capybarites to worship the supreme DoDo.

Thankfully, we have no such thing.

Thankfully, terror has no religion whatsoever.

Thankfully we only have a just holy war around the world.

And that is manageable. Because if we had the rest, I cannot imagine the plight of the world. 

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Secularism in your head

A few months ago, I bumped into a Kashmiri Pandit whose family had been thrown out of Kashmir about a generation or two ago, not by those who worship Flying Spaghetti Monsters, but by Islamists. And they did not, as you might think, do that out of love, but because they wanted to throw out the people who followed a separate religion, but shared a common upbringing, culture, language, among other things.

This persons family had lost everything they had - rather, everything they had was taken - by people they knew - the people who they lived among, worked with and so on. And they were not Hindus and Sikhs or Jains or Buddhists.

And yet, as he explained his situation, he actually said, "I don't want to sound religiously biased, but well, they took everything we had, including our house". And then went onto talk about army abuses and so on - almost apologizing for those very people who had taken everything they had - implying that because of all this, their family had invited all this upon themselves or all that (caused by the government) was making them pay for it.

Firstly, it WAS his religion that made his abusers throw out his family - so if his attackers were religiously biased - and let us not pretend that religion had nothing to do with it - he has to be honest about it.

And second, that is a great narrative on how the attacked seem to invite attacks on themselves. And this is a great narrative to build and you hear it all the time - from the so called liberals - that the Babri Masjid demolition was the cause of a certain otherwise secular gangster to set off bombs in the very city that he had made his billions. That the Gujarat riots were the cause of anger among a set of people who have decided to take revenge for everything that happened. Even some paid analysts in the United States think so - that if India gave up Kashmir - Pakistan, would, magically, become a great pacifist state overnight.

The problem with this cause effect theory is that it seems to work in one direction only. And it is often justified in one direction only. I ask you why.

Why is it that a single Kashmiri Pandit never took to the gun? Why did not they invent their own Al-Qaeda? Why did not create a terrorist organization that took revenge?

Why is it that there is no Hindu terror organization in Pakistan? In Bangladesh?

(And I am not saying there should, but unless money, arms, motivation is supplied, a terrorist organization cannot be created- ever. Now ask yourself who supplies these to terrorists. End of argument.)

And why is that the person who lost his home only because he worshipped a different god, apologetic about stating it in as many words? Why do you have to be politically correct to those who took away everything you had? I am not saying thirst for revenge, but why be politically correct and not call a religious bias a religious bias?

There is only explanation. Stockholm syndrome of the 'secular' kind.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Media on Modi sarkaar

Over the last few weeks, if you have been a regular follower of media in general, you will get the sense that the Modi government is not doing much and that would be the charitable view.

On the other hand, if you are a follower of the more vociferous media, you may well believe that the only thing happening is saffronization - Sanskrit, the Sadhvi and conversion.

The other thing you may never have noticed that with Congress and opposition disruption Parliament, no opeds are being written on Parliament money or taxpayers money and time being wasted while there was a point not too long ago when the entire orchestra sang this tune for the BJP when they were in opposition. Of course, opens are being written in unison on Sanskrit, Sadhvi and Conversion.

The reality is of course, far more nuanced, but here is the thing to remember - the media (most of whom are grown and nourished on Congress nutrition) will try their best to equate the NDA sarkaar to the inept UPA.

One possible equation would be Modi Sarkaar = UPA minus secularism
Another possible equation would be UPA with allies was better than NDA without allies.

Notice that in all this comparison the massive ineptness plus reckless corruption of UPA is being completely ignored. Plus the communal and partisan nature of their legislation. And the leaky nature of their schemes.

But that is the game the media will play. They will subtly equate NDA to UPA and create this comparison in peoples heads.

So what can this government do?

Vajpayee made the mistake of thinking that the media has been co-opted - and they gave him Kandahar.  Advani made the mistake of getting in a certain Kulkarni and he wrecked LKA to a point of no return.

The simple point is that the media will use the NDA to bring back UPA - and like a certain reporter posed with the same Amit Shah who he had accused of murder (wrongly) to 'sell' his 'book' - they will do the same.

Modi and his government have to wary of this. They need to create a counter ecosystem - which will take years to build.

But in the short run, they need to think of something better. The Modi social army is still at it and calling out lies. And thanks to some astuteness by the government, things like conversion which were otherwise taboo topics are being discussed in the mainstream. Pakistan is quietly realizing that this is a different India.

But remember, that this media is just waiting - to tell everybody that NDA = UPA, so that they can get their mojo, their phoren trips, their vacations, their bungalows, their entitlements, their access based journalism back.

 Their vision is to drag this government to the lowest common denominator. The sooner Modi sarkaar realizes this the better.

One short term strategy is to keep the media busy with non-issues and start some real work in the background - they won't notice it anyway...

Saturday, November 22, 2014

UPA - an NREGA at every level?

I was reading this article from a few weeks ago, where Surjit Bhalla talks about the corruption in the NREGA Scheme.

Surjit writes:

Calculations identical to those undertaken in PDS evaluations show that, far from having low leakage, the NREGA programme is possibly even more corrupt than the PDS system. These calculations are based on the NSS 2009-10 labour and employment survey, a survey that contained special and additional questions meant for monitoring and evaluating the NREGA programme. [Link]

And then goes onto to quote figures that show that the NREGA was a highly corruption prone scheme.

There is no prizes for guessing who made the money as part of the scheme. By and large, it had to be the middlemen - and the middlemen are not who you think - bureaucrats and low level officers, though perhaps they are there as well. There are other types of middlemen here, like NGOs. See this report here. Here is another one where Lok Sewaks/Lok Karmi appointed are from NGOs. 

So, while some money reached the beneficiaries, along the way NREGA helped those who helped the Congress ecosystem alive - obviously middlemen were connected to the powers that be and the ideologies that be. And as they made money, they also kept their ecosystems warm by not allowing others into it, presumably. And in general, the BJP ruled states implemented it much more seriously than the Congress ruled states.

Net, net, the NREGA was a leaky bucket. Money was poured into it. Various middlemen made money out of it - they were kept happy and they in turn kept the regime happy - and the ultimate beneficiaries made nothing. And they voted with their feet.

I stumbled upon a Womens Self Help Group Scheme...And activists are up in arms when the government wants to scrap it. Another channel to oil their machinery I suppose.

Now, take a look at the scams - Coal Scam, 2G scam or any other scam. It was another NREGA style scam at another level. Someone at the top identifies a bucket. Holes are drilled into the bucket in terms of either rules favouring certain parties (2G) or in terms of giving off benefits to 'people close to the powers that be' - and they in turn kept the regime happy - and the ultimate benefeciaries (the exchequer) was left bleeding.

The media who should have reported this was bought into it by similar means.

About 60 journalists stayed in government provided subsided housing (the curious case of the dog that did not bark?).

Some journalists (almost all pro-Congress) received state awards.

Manmohan Singh took 34 journalists with him on his foreign visit.

And who is paying for all this? People like you and me, the taxpayers.

And apart from this is a long list of friends and relatives who had plum postings in various official capacities. The latest is CBI chief who has been asked to recuse himself because instead of investigating, he was helping the accused in the probe.

Bank appointments were given to cronies - which is now being cleaned up.

Governor positions were given to tainted politicians so as to get gubernatorial immunity - here is one example.

I suppose I can go on and on. Nothing was spared by the UPA. Essentially it was running a giant NREGA while a lot of people made money out of the government.

QED: UPA was one giant NREGA at every level...
alculations identical to those undertaken in PDS evaluations show that, far from having low leakage, the NREGA programme is possibly even more corrupt than the PDS system. These calculations are based on the NSS 2009-10 labour and employment survey, a survey that contained special and additional questions meant for monitoring and evaluating the NREGA programme. - See more at: http://indianexpress.com/article/opinion/columns/no-proof-required-pds-or-nrega-corruption-must-go-on/99/#sthash.7BSL3QfF.dpu
alculations identical to those undertaken in PDS evaluations show that, far from having low leakage, the NREGA programme is possibly even more corrupt than the PDS system. These calculations are based on the NSS 2009-10 labour and employment survey, a survey that contained special and additional questions meant for monitoring and evaluating the NREGA programme. - See more at: http://indianexpress.com/article/opinion/columns/no-proof-required-pds-or-nrega-corruption-must-go-on/99/#sthash.7BSL3QfF.dpuf
alculations identical to those undertaken in PDS evaluations show that, far from having low leakage, the NREGA programme is possibly even more corrupt than the PDS system. These calculations are based on the NSS 2009-10 labour and employment survey, a survey that contained special and additional questions meant for monitoring and evaluating the NREGA programme. - See more at: http://indianexpress.com/article/opinion/columns/no-proof-required-pds-or-nrega-corruption-must-go-on/99/#sthash.7BSL3QfF.dpuf
alculations identical to those undertaken in PDS evaluations show that, far from having low leakage, the NREGA programme is possibly even more corrupt than the PDS system. These calculations are based on the NSS 2009-10 labour and employment survey, a survey that contained special and additional questions meant for monitoring and evaluating the NREGA programme. - See more at: http://indianexpress.com/article/opinion/columns/no-proof-required-pds-or-nrega-corruption-must-go-on/99/#sthash.7BSL3QfF.dpuf
alculations identical to those undertaken in PDS evaluations show that, far from having low leakage, the NREGA programme is possibly even more corrupt than the PDS system. These calculations are based on the NSS 2009-10 labour and employment survey, a survey that contained special and additional questions meant for monitoring and evaluating the NREGA programme. - See more at: http://indianexpress.com/article/opinion/columns/no-proof-required-pds-or-nrega-corruption-must-go-on/99/#sthash.7BSL3QfF.dpuf

Sunday, October 26, 2014

A hyprocritical argument


I received this picture yesterday. It is an innocuous little thing - the sad irony of an elephant in India. Usually, one would just dismiss it as humour, but somehow, as I read it, it smacked of hypocrisy to me.

Yes, the elephant does have trouble in India and yes,we do indeed worship an elephant headed god (atleast the Hindus do). We also worship a monkey and we worship many other things. After all Hinduism is a polytheist religion apart from animals, we worship forests, trees, lakes, mountains and then some. We even worship the sun, fire, water...the list goes on and on.

Two things here. So, is the picture any reflection of the cause and effect? No it is not. Just because the elephant is not worshipped in Africa does that make the crime against elephants any less? Or just because nobody worships the rhino does that make it fair game? Or if people stop praying to the elephant god, will it make the elephant less vulnerable or less - your guess is as good as mine. This is a non-sequitur at best,

Why people do what they do - is a matter of policies, punishments, incentives, behaviour and so on and so forth.

The second and bigger issue here is that all animals - face a very bad situation under humans. Either we have tamed them (which may be a lesser evil) or we breed them for food, hunt them down to extinction or hunt them for various beliefs or skin or tusk or use them to test poisons and toxins in the name of research. Even if you are a vegeterian, there is a high likelihood that animals are harmed directly or indirectly because of human existence. So, if you can, become vegeterian - at least direct impact is lowered. If you cannot, try to save animals, their habitats etc. Whether you pray to a god or an animal has precious little to do with it.

Now replace the statement with women. Yes, as a religion we worship women. And yet whether it is a religion that worships or does not worship women - either of them do commit atrocities on them. Does that make any side less guilty? Or is the praying hypocritical? Or is there is no real connection at all? And whether you pray or you do not, the crime remains one to be punished for?

And while I am all for mocking all religious beliefs, as humans perhaps we need to live lightly, tread lightly on the earth while we are at it, given that our existence itself is hypocritical.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Stuck on Hosur Road

Today, I had the great privilege of being stuck on Hosur Road - just at the base of the Electronic City Tollway. For many others, this may be a daily occurrence, but for me, today, this was a privilege. You see, the Bangalore traffic police had stopped traffic on both sides so that a Chief Minister who was recently jailed for disproportionate assets had to return to her home state of Tamil Nadu. Still wondering why I did not say Jayalalitha?

Well, so the police stopped the traffic leading to a long pile up along both sides of the road so that the common people who possess proportionate assets can wait to watch someone who possesses disproportionate assets I suppose. Hence, I was among the privileged crowd.

Why does traffic have to be stopped? At all? (If it is so important, why dont they take a helicopter or some other means).

That is a simple question and perhaps we have our own reasons for doing so - leave that aside.

And then her motorcade passed us by. And therein lies a bigger question. Why do we have security personnel hanging onto the outside of the cars on footboards as the cars whizz by at upwards of 80 kmph. I can understand personnel doing this at lower speeds or when a vehicle goes through crowds etc, but on a highway? I dont think POTUS motorcade has this idiotic spectacle of security guards clinging to the outside of the vehicle? I am sure armour is advanced enough to protect corrupt politicians - apart from body fat and thick skin? Why do other humans have to cling to the outside of that vehicle, or any vehicle?

(If there is some other great reason, please do enlighten, but to this observer, it seems ridiculous.) 

And yes, finally the motorcade passed and those with proportionate assets burned disproportionate amounts of petrol to reach their destinations.