A note on the Indian National Congress

The New York Times, reporting on Modi’s win in India –

What scion? Rahul Gandhi is a mediocre politician at best, and a terrible orator on most days. His gaffes at the mic and in front of the media are legendary. Videos of him screwing up basic general knowledge, though certainly well edited by the BJP and its paid media houses, shed light at how utterly incapable he is as a leader.

I’m as liberal as they come, and to me, it is a joke that the media pits Modi’s wins as the rise of nationalism vs the liberal left. It is not. It is a backlash against Congress, one of the most corrupt political parties in the world. In many ways, Modi’s victories are not just the BJP and Amit Shah’s doing. The ‘blame’ lies also on Congress’ own shoulders. Here are the reasons –

  1. The first mistake Congress has made is corruption. Decades of corruption scandals, unchecked fraud, unjailed politicians and business leaders, and unending investigations, have led the commoner to believe less and less in the party’s ability to lead us into the next century. In that backdrop, any leader who shows a spine would seem to be a better option, let alone someone with media savvy and a track record for economic growth.
  2. The next mistake is complacency. What change has Congress brought in itself, that voters would look to them with hope? The biggest joke is the idea of the politician working for the people (I don’t even want to address the ‘servant of the people’ idea), because that’s not what dynastic politics is about – it’s about serving oneself and one’s own future generations. At every step, Congress has done well for its own coffers, but less and less for the people. That is not to say that there has not been economic growth under Congress, but has been been due to, or despite? The current political climate in India is a response to that question.
  3. The most important mistake that Congress has made is that it is not a political party of India. It is the Gandhis’ political party in India. It is a personal club that every Gandhi automatically has entry into. This is wrong. If Congress wants to become relevant again at the national stage, it needs to come out of the shadow of its current leaders and let new voices be heard. The definition of letting the youth take reins is not the let the next Gandhi in line become your new lynchpin.

I’ve called before for the removal of Mark Zuckerberg as CEO of Facebook. Regardless of who has been responsible of the many, many security and privacy blunders by Facebook over the years, the person most responsible for them, the one who set company culture, who oversaw the main aspects of how Facebook makes money, is Zuckerberg. Letting him go will let Facebook focus on what is important – building a platform people want to come to. Right now, Facebook is mired in infighting, theatrics, and a faltering ethical compass that is not helped by Zuckerberg’s total domination over the platforms he runs.

The same is true for Rahul Gandhi. Far from being a charismatic leader or an adept politician, Gandhi is a no-name entity in Indian politics, bound to keep making the same mistakes or worse, that have so marked Congress’ recent history in India. Why should the people not demand his and all other Gandhis’ removal from the party, so that it can reboot, refresh, and move forward?

The Indian democracy is still young, and can afford to make some mistakes. But letting the Gandhis maintain control over Congress is not just a small mistake. It weakens the largest democracy in the world by beholding an entire national entity to the whims of a few inept politicians. The path from being the largest democracy to the greatest one lies through a few important sacrifices.

Let’s make sure that we hold Congress responsible for their choices, so that India as a country can make better ones.

Word of the Day: sabre-rattling

Sabre-rattling, according to Wiktionary, is from the early 20th century when a military officer would threaten to draw his sabre as part of an argument. But the metaphorical meaning is an overt show of military strength to prove a point or to imply a threat. It was recently used by NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, to accuse Russia of unwarranted “sabre rattling” when Russia declared that it would be adding forty Intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) to its nuclear arsenal this year. That, of course, in response to increased US activity in NATO allied eastern European countries, which of course, Putin sees as a threat.

“This nuclear sabre-rattling of Russia is unjustified. This is something we are addressing, and it’s also one of the reasons we are now increasing the readiness and preparedness of our forces,” Stoltenberg said.

Continue reading

Word of the Day: metonym

According to Wikipedia, metonym is a figure of speech in which a word or phrase is replaced by another that has a similar meaning. That is to say, you don’t want to call a thing by it’s name and you use another name in it’s stead. That is to say, you use it’s synonym instead. Essentially, metonym means instead. Now, where would you find such a convoluted word for such a simple meaning? Why, in The Hindu’s Editorial, of course! Specifically, this is how it is used in an OpEd piece I was reading today – Continue reading

Twitter isn’t as impartial as some expect

They’re on our turf now, not the airwaves.

via Moneyball for Votes | Jason Putorti.

Jason Putorti made this comment 3 days ago. I just read the post. The context is that Politicians have been spending massive amounts of money on print, TV and direct advertisements without caring about talking to their voters and having a real relationship with their constituents. That way, the politician with the most money wins because they cast the widest net on the most sources. He goes on to point that this is not longer the case because of the growth of the Internet and specifically, Twitter. Continue reading

How Indian Politics is doing what China can’t in a Hundred years

The politicians of India are decidedly against the concept of India as a Nation, a single entity with One Status and One System, an Open country with no biases and certainly no reservations against any of it’s long parts. While citizens of many other countries in the world fight over sports, break each other’s bones over the singular football match or hate each other over long histories of wins and losses in Ice Hockey matches but come together when the Country’s solidarity is questioned, Indians fight and kill when it comes to region, religion and water, but don’t care a paisa’s worth over local sports, partly because of it’s non-existent local sports and partly because it’s easier for it’s politicians to raise anger against other communities and religions instead of building dams, bridges and stadiums.

The Chinese think tank International Institute of Strategic Studies claims that Beijing

“should work towards the the break-up of India into 20-30 independent states with the help of friendly countries like Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal and Bhutan, support Ulfa in attaining its goal for Assam’s independence, back aspirations of Indian nationalities like Tamils and Nagas, encourage Bangladesh to give a push to the independence of West Bengal and lastly recover the 90,000 sq km territory in southern Tibet”.

It argues that a fragmented India would be in China’s interests and would also lead to prosperity in the region. Further, it goes on to say that if China “takes a little action, the so-called great Indian federation can be broken up”.

A lot of people on This Pakistani Forum agree with the Chinese and have even provided a ‘Map’ of India after Partition and claim that India has never existed as a Nation but Pakistan has been around since 3300 BC. Tall claims, for sure, but they need not crib so much against India.

Gandhiji had strict instructions regarding Quotas, they were a system to bring the backward classes of India’s Society into the mainstream so as to provide Total Equality, yet more than 60 years after his death, the system continues, reinforcing the sickly condition of India’s education, job, social and moral infrastructure. Some time back, a few more quotas were introduced into the Education system with a keen eye on the voters. Then the concept of quotas for teachers was thought up, bring up a whole new system of prejudice ( People can say, “I am a Khatri, why should I study from a lowly class teacher?? “). Recently, Maharashtra reserved 80% jobs in state industries for locals. Shiv Sena and BJP promised to implement this rule strictly if voted to power.  There’s not going to be much time before every state starts playing the ‘sons of the soil’ card and promising such ridiculous reservations. What will the outcome be?? Well, what happens when you reserve jobs, the most important reason for migration of people? The flux of people stops and soon regions become tightly locked strongholds of Politico-Religious affiliations and look at every outsider as an enemy or worse. This kind of attitude leads to glorification of the State above the Nation and though this is relatively healthy for the growth and cleanliness of areas within the State, it is bad for the concept of the Nation as a whole and Pride in the Nation. How many Indians today even utter the words, “I am proud of India”? The ultimate result, that of disjointed, hateful and suspicious states, is what many political powers wish to achieve about India.

Let us now look at an Organisation where this will not happen. The Defense Forces of India, the Indian Air Force, Army and Navy, are prime examples of anti-quota systems. No matter what his father earns or what his caste is, every soldier kisses the mud in the NDA training. No matter how much bank balance a person has, they all get the same houses at the same Rank, they all drive the same vehicles to work and get the same ration to eat food. A Squadron posted in Madras does not crib when it gets a Commander from Kashmir and a Platoon deep in the jungles of Assam will not say a word if a Rajasthani boss comes and tells them how to execute guerrilla warfare. Nor do they reserve 80 pc quota for locals. For this reason alone, they do not have any qualms about making friends with people of different religions, cultures, color or social standing. They have an open institution where anyone can be posted to any part of the country, ensuring that they fall in love with India and not Maharashtra, Assam or Haryana.

There are a lot of NGOs willing to fight the Tatas from building Seaports and to launch massive protests against private organisations for their wrong doings, but very few NGOs stand up against such blatant misuse of Public power by politicians to destroy the sovereign status of India.

Do you really want to see India as this one day??

The future??

The future??

Very few organize human chains, unending sms lists, forwarded emails and collect online signatures to present a letter to the President of India (who, strangely, has no power at all).

Very few organize human chains, unending sms lists, forwarded emails and collect online signatures to present a letter to the President of India (who, strangely, has no power at all) when politicians continually abuse Indians with Vote-gathering schemes based on instigating the common man’s anger against ‘outsiders’. Very few indeed…

There ought to be more.

The Memory Remains (from Guest Author Anurag Saxena )

It is meant to be a memorial for the nation’s war dead but seems to be more of a monument to India’s slothful bureaucracy. The army has wanted a memorial inscribed with the names of nearly 50,000 soldiers killed in four major wars since Independence. The British-built India Gate has the names of fallen soldiers from the two World Wars who served in a colonial army. Free India’s National War Memorial proposal has been through various various ministerial hoops for a decade now. The first objection was that the memorial would block the view of India Gate. The Ministry of Defense responded by saying that the memorial would have the martyrs’ names inscribed on marble slabs in the ground below eye-level. Now the Ministry of Urban Development has reservations on the project due to “certain statutory clearances and availability of land”. Never a shortage of feeble excuses when it comes to honouring India’s war dead. – India Today (August 17, 2009)

India Gate

The Akshardham temple in Delhi is magnificent. Maybe opulent is a better word. 356 ft (109 m) long, 316 ft (96 m) wide and 141 ft (43 m). high, covering an area of 86,342 sq ft (8,021.4 m2), it provides a breathtaking view of religion through the ages. It is a monument of worship. Worship of money, that is. Magnificent sculptures, fountains etc show how money can buy everything. This can be expected in a country where books like White Tiger are criticized for depicting the truth.

Akshardham

It is inexplicable how we can manage to spend millions on temples and other places of worship and yet turn a blind eye to the millions who live below the poverty line. The Indian Army wants a memorial for their heroes. Frankly, God for me is that unknown soldier who patrols the border, making sure his countrymen can sleep peacefully and asking for nothing in return. Why doesn’t he deserve a memorial? Just ask yourself, if you are in the middle of a war, who would you rather have by your side? A beautiful idol of your God or a trained soldier with plenty of ammunition? Doesn’t that unknown soldier deserve better?

Dealing With Dust

I went to the hostel today, just to clear out a few things I had kept over there while having moved out to live separately. What I did not realize was that those weren’t a few things which I had chosen to leave, they were a whole Life of me which I had gotten cut-off from since I moved out. Among the important ones were a whole set of my writings which I have never published simply because I never got the time to do so. Also, all my work related to Politics and Philosophy, topics upon which I had deliberated a lot during the course of the first and second years of college and which I had felt were life changing, lay there like a distant past of which I had no recollection, just the knowledge that a few pages with my handwriting were kept there, protected even from my own self, never to be further thought about. About these Ideas and Ideals to which I had once subscribed, I would like to say today that –

“If Man wants, he can include Philosophy into his Life, thus making it a Never-ending Quagmire of Thought, Self-Doubt and the Reassurance that Man is Superior to Animal”

after Four years of Engineering, it has come as no surprise to me that I now believe in Hard Work more than ever. As I step into the part of my Life where I will be a part of the Corporate World, I have now this notion-

“The Simplest and Most effective way for a Person to live is to Work. Nothing else is as Important as working hard. And working hard is what makes Life easier than ever.”

Deliberations on Philosophy and Politics are indeed habits of those who have the Luxury of wasting their time in making their Lives Complicated. The Simple way of Life does not involve these, just a clear understanding of what a Person’s work is and what the resultant thoughts and beliefs are.

In digressing from the topic of cleaning up my Hostel room, I wanted to ensure that the thoughts that went through my mind when I was arranging my things together were noted down. However, the more important detail is about what all I found there.

The second Important thing I found there were some of my clothes. I got very nostalgic when I saw them, discussing with my roommate Lalit the amazing journey I made from being a size 32 waist to a size 38! I know I am fat right now and I am less than proud of it. But it is an amazing thing for me to see myself as a lean, weak boy with cheeks sunk deep into my cheekbones as opposed to a well rounded man with chubby cheeks and friends who keep reminding me that I must join the gym!

It is not everyday that One gets to look at their past and present in such a glaringly contrasting way, but this insight was amazing and has made me rethink a lot about what were my thoughts and beliefs when I was two years less-experienced than I am today and I now ponder over whether in the fierceness of my devotion to my Ideals, I was believing in the right things or not…

After all, today I am happy to be an Engineer, but at some point, I wanted to be a Politician!

p.s. I promise that those unseen writings of mine will be put up soon, complete with my favorite creative commons license!

The Statue!

the many types of thieves...

the many types of thieves…

A Statue, in honour of the Indian Criminal!

His head held high, encompassing all boundaries of politics, religion, region, caste and creed.

He is Everywhere.

He commits every type of crime- financial, moral, physical and non-humanitarian, knowing of his prowess and that of his money.

He is omnipresent, omnipotent and has every physical size, shape and appearance possible.

He is the black market and the black money and every black deed ever committed. He is friend to all, the terrorist, the dacoits, the politician, the policeman, the tax man, the reporter and the reportee, the society and even the common man.

He is Robin Hood when he wants to be, Hiranyakashyap when he feels like it and even the Leader of the Nation when it must be so.

He is the Nano and the Ferrari, Jet Airways and Kingfisher, Satyam and Infosys, Haryana and Punjab.

He is the MF and the PF, the fixed dividend and the High Risk.

This is not just a statue, this is THE STATUE.

This won’t be spit on or shit on or decapitated. Instead, it will be revered forever, as the True Saviour of our Nation.

All hail,

Our Grey National Hero.