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Saturday, 31 May 2014

Obama quietly reverses Hillary’s ‘get Modi’ policy

MADHAV NALAPAT  New Delhi | 19th Apr 2014

Hillary Clinton
S President Barack Obama has quietly reversed a policy initiated by former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, to "get Narendra Modi" — ostensibly for the 2002 Gujarat riots, but in actuality "for taking stands that may be different from that favoured by the US administration" — in the words of a senior analyst in New York.
"Hillary Clinton likes to operate through NGOs, which are given funding through indirect channels, and which target individuals and countries seen as less than respectful to her views on foreign and domestic policy in the target countries," a retired US official now based in Atlanta said. He claimed that "rather than US NGOs, (the former) Secretary of State Clinton favoured operating through organisations based in the Netherlands, Denmark and the Scandinavian countries, especially Norway" as these were outside the radar of big power politics. These NGOs were active in the agitation against the Russian nuclear power plant at Kudankulam in Tamil Nadu, with "funding coming mainly from a religious organisation based in Europe that has close links with France".

Incidentally, French companies are in direct competition with Russian rivals in seeking to expand the market for nuclear reactors in India. The senior official, now on a visit to India, claimed that "your (i.e. the Manmohan Singh) government has full details of the religious organisation involved in funding the Kudankulam protests, but is keeping this secret as the organisation has high-level backers" in the UPA.

These present and retired officials claimed that "during the tenure in office of Secretary Clinton, several expert teams in the guise of NGOs were sent to Gujarat to try and find mass graves". The purpose was to then take the matter to the Office of the UN Commissioner of Human Rights in Geneva as an example of genocide. "In 2011, some bones were discovered in a Gujarat field by one of the search teams and there was much excitement, but these were later found to be buffalo bones", an official said. The official added that "no evidence whatsoever of mass graves was uncovered in Gujarat despite six years of clandestine searching for them" by undercover experts posing as representatives of NGOs. He added that "five politicians, three from the state and two in Delhi, assisted the search teams, but the information given by them proved unproductive".

Finally, "now that Secretary Clinton had stepped down from office, by end-2012 orders were given to stop wasting time on the search for mass graves in Gujarat, much to the dismay of those NGOs who were getting significant funding as a consequence of the search operations". Interestingly, the senior official claimed that because of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's inability to water down the Nuclear Liability Act and Defence Minister A.K. Antony's decision to prefer the French Rafale fighter to its US rival, "orders were given to activate the Khalistan file so as to create embarrassment for Sonia Gandhi and Manmohan Singh".

Another official, now retired, claimed that "since 2011, several search teams have been active in Punjab, seeking human remains in suspected mass graves". According to them, "key politicians in Punjab have assisted these search teams and on occasion even provided logistical facilities for them".
These officials claim that the recent decision by the US Aviation Authority to ban extra flights into the US by Indian carriers was "directly linked to US displeasure over the strong Indian response to the Devyani Khobragade episode, especially as they had been privately assured by senior officials that the fallout of an arrest would be routine and perfunctory".

Another example of misuse of public interest bodies cited was the recent decision by the UK Automobile Safety Authority to classify five India-produced small car models as unsafe, "or exactly the same models that are offering competition to European and US vehicles in the European market". They said that such steps were "protectionism in the guise of safety" and that "the Manmohan Singh government's passivity in responding to such unilateral measures encouraged more of them to get slapped on India".

Coming back to the BJP's PM candidate Narendra Modi, these sources say that the Obama administration has dialled back on the hectic efforts by Hillary Clinton to paint the Gujarat CM as guilty of mass murder and even genocide. "This is clear from the latest report of the US Commission on International Religious Freedom, which has sharply scaled back its criticism of the Modi government as compared to earlier reports". According to a senior official, "President Obama does not share Hillary Clinton's confrontational approach and her preference for Sonia Gandhi, and is looking to establish a pragmatic partnership with India should Modi become the Prime Minister". Hence the search "for a US envoy who would be different from (former ambassador) Nancy Powell's Clinton-style hostile approach to Modi, and to find an individual who could be expected to bond with the new PM and his team". According to these sources, President Obama "is alarmed at the steep downslide in India-US ties caused by Hillary-style crusades, and wants the relationship to be even better than what it was under the Bush presidency".

Recent remarks by Narendra Modi indicate that the BJP's standard bearer is ready to reciprocate the hand of amity proffered by Team Obama to the BJP's PM nominee.


Friday, 30 May 2014

PM Modi’s men- Hats off to the VIF


Prime Minister Narendra Modi has made two very crucial appointments after taking charge- Ajit Doval as the National Security Advisor and Nripendra Misha as the Principal Secretary to the Prime Minister. While both Doval and Mishra have exceptional credentials, what is interesting to note is that both are part of a major think tank in New Delhi known as the Vivekananda International Foundation.

Housed in a huge building at New Delhi’s Chanakyapuri, VIF comprises an elite class of people who academicians, army and air force personnel, intelligence and diplomats. Ajit Doval who retired as the Chief of the Intelligence Bureau in 2005 is the director of this institute, while Mishra is part of the Executive Council.

Professor (Finance) Vaidyanathan and UTI Chair Professor in the area of Capital Market Studies at Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore is a member of the Advisory Committee at the VIF. He tells that Doval and Mishra have not been chosen because they were from the VIF, but because of their credentials and expertise in their field. They are both exceptional officers who have proved themselves in their respective fields. It is incidental that they are from the VIF and I must say that this is a feather in the cap for our institution.

Professor Vaidyanathan explains to us the reason why the VIF came up in the first place. There was a lack of understanding of core issues that ranged from terrorism to black money. Much of the think tank in New Delhi were either left oriented or leaned towards socialists. One must remember that in the year 1970 Noorul Hassan who was minister of state for education had created several centres across the country filled with leftist idelologues. He was a sharp strategist and his intention was that for the next 20 years professors from across the country would encourage the left leaning students.

This has been discussed and debated among us several times and it is then that a conclusion was reached to have an alternate forum for discourse for the people. It was for this very purpose that the VIF came into existence. Today at the VIF there is a lot of activity that takes place. It has given a good platform for non leftists who get take part in lectures and talks. Delhi never had any such a forum for a person who was non-leftist. The VIF was also blessed by both Atal Vajpayee and L K Advani and since there the organization has been provided meaningful insights to the people.

According to the VIF website, it is an independent, non-partisan institution that promotes quality research and in-depth studies and is a platform for dialogue and conflict resolution. It strives to bring together the best minds in India to ideate on key national and international issues.T hese are objectives that fall under a broad head called `nation-building’ and often come within the purview of universities and institutions of higher learning. Unfortunately, for reasons best known to those who manage them, these academic bodies have not been able to attend to these tasks. This neglect, it seems, is in some way responsible for the perceived failure of representative bodies and the prevailing inefficiency in the government sector. VIF believes that many of these institutions – which are central to our democratic existence – cannot be expected to work better, unless academia, think tanks and civil society engage with them and critique them on a regular basis.
Distinguished Fellow at the VIF and former boss of the Research and Analysis Wing says that at the organization there is a lot of commitment to national interest. We are a think tank with a difference. We have top people coming down from across the world to share and discuss with us. The USP of VIF is national interest and it does not cater t any political line.

Profile of Nripendra Mishra- He has been described as an outstanding Indian Administrative Officer and has been the former Chairman of the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India. At the VIF he is part of the executive council. His friends at VIF say that he has wide exposire to administration and he is a man with a clear head who will take everyone along. He is known to be objective and has a great capacity to deliver. He has such a clear mind that he would never hesitate to give the right advise to the Prime Minister.
A 1967 batch IAS officer from Uttar Pradesh, he has held several important positions. One may remember that he was a crucial witness in the 2G scam case. During the hearing he is the one who disputed A Raja’s claim that the regulator had recommended the first come first serve basis. One could also remember his famous quote during the Do-Not-Call service issue when he had said that TRAI has the teeth to chew not to bite.

Ajit Doval:

A highly decorated officer and many part of his batch say that he has the nose of a blood hound to sniff down a terrorist. Former Director of the Intelligence Bureau he is an IPS officer from the Kerala cadre. His friends at the VIF are very excited about him being the NSA. They say that as far as national security is concerned, in the present crop of officers they cannot rate any one higher for the job. They say he is a complete package of professionalism and on national security matters. He also has a great deal of international acceptability. Moreover he can provide the post of NSA what it has always needed. He can drive the NSA from being a foreign services post to that of one which drives the national security agenda. Most importantly Ajit Doval is a practioner who can operationalise things.


Thursday, 29 May 2014

FEATURED: The real reason why Kejriwal went after Ambani

In the surprising success of AAP in Delhi 2013 elections, its total victory margin from 28 constituencies from where it won, is 2.12 lakh compared to BJP’s 3.74 lakh*.  This number is pretty interesting considering its relevance to the Aam Aadmi Party- the leading vanguard of the anti-corruption, honest brigade. Not surprising, they often remind us of the communist principle of “To each according to his need, from each according to his capacity”. This is not because they subscribe to this idea, but because their economic principles are equally noble-sounding, pro-people types, apparently honest in intentionand yet suffer from an implementation-impossibility due to ‘real-life’ factors.

Coming back to the story; before the poll pundits finished calculating the victory margin in Delhi, our activist-outside-anarchist-inside, CM Kejriwal resigned. However, that’s not where the story ends. While exiting, Kejriwal decided to take the mightiest of men down with him. In that context, a FIR was registered against the man alleged to be running the country: Mukesh Ambani, alongwith the minister of petroleum Veerapa Moily and V.K Sibal.

The question that we should be asking is: What business does Delhi’s Anti-Corruption Bureau have in a matter under the purview of the Central government, technically emanating from the recommendations of CCEA headed by C. Rangarajan, with the contentious gas-blocks in Andhra Pradesh far from Delhi, and the matter pursuant from a decision of the Gujarat High Court?
To find an answer, let us try understanding Kejriwal’s electoral arithmetic.

Electoral Arithmetic

Delhi has close to 70,000 autorickshaws which guzzle CNG. What is more interesting is that each auto-rickshaw is driven in two, sometimes three, shifts thus making 2-3 autowallahs dependent on a single rickshaw. That is no small number.

Autos in Delhi*Victory Margin calculated by TIR Research team based on data from Election Commission of India for Delhi Elections 2013.

For an election where winning margins of the two top parties are 3.74 lakh and 2.12 lakh and respectively, an electoral strength of 3.3 lakh votes is the most tempting en-bloc support on plate.

Of course, it is no one’s case that all of these people have been enchanted by the new winds of supposed change. Yet, even if 60-70% of this block votes for AAP, resulting in a number between 1.97 lakhs and 2.30 lakhs, it clearly needs little innovation in other areas of electoral maths.

The best part of this target group is that it doubles up as a campaign-volunteer-team besides constituting a big part of the total votes cast in its favour. According to one source, about 40,000 of the autos were carrying AAP’s posters in the first round of campaigning in August 2013.  In fact, such is AAP’s fascination for the autowallah network that it took up several of their issues, suo moto or requested, in its 49-day stint at governance, or the lack of it.

It is pretty surprising that even in a short span of 1.5 months; it managed to organise a mahapanchayat for the group that was angry with its non-delivery of promises, supported them against Delhi police working to withdraw the latter’s right to fine errant drivers who refuse to ferry passengers, even at the risk of jeopardising middle-class commuters or fulfilling the rest of their electoral promises. After all, middle-class commuters don’t vote en-bloc.

With such things in the background, their resonance with the hike in gas price becomes so relevant.Apparently, as mentioned on their website, the case can be registered in Delhi’s ACB because of the territorial aspect of the transaction. By that logic, everything that the Centre does can be registered in ACB, and yet, out of all issues AAP finds great injustice in the doubling of gas prices. Perhaps it is and perhaps it is not, that is a different question. And AAP’s brouhaha over the issue may turn out to be good for the country. The pricing mechanism is discussed in detail by us in an article on the Economic Times(here).
George Washington had said, “It is better to offer no excuse than a bad one”. Well, to say that for AAP, there was no political reason behind stirring the fire over expensive gas and all was done in the good name of the moral fibre is well, Kejriwal’s bad excuse.

Power Struggle over Power Crisis

In keeping with its general behaviour of crusader-spiritedness, bring govt-on-its-knees behaviour, AAP went after the people involved in gas pricing. What it should have done instead if it really wanted to make right the wrong, was to question the economic logic of the Rangrajan panel’s methodology in arriving at the recommendations. If the methodology can be proved wrong, everything consequent to it immediately falls flat. However, this modus operandi would involve negotiation, careful analysis, study of economic principles behind oil extraction and pricing, international benchmarking – in short, a study bereft of ‘charisma’ and zing. Instead, take the country’s most powerful man to task and you make instant headlines. So, AAP went for the latter.

Now, AAP’s whole engagement with the power issue started with them promising free and cheap bijli-paani to middle-class people. Also, setting a major populist precedent, they had also announced waiver of dues for 24,000 people who had participated in their rebellious andolan. Alas! Just before making the exit they forgot to settle the appropriation bill for Rs 6 Cr needed for the 50% waiver leaving everybody in a nebulous fix: the defaulters, the discoms who are worried about recovering their subsidy dues, the next govt which will inherit this mess.

The Story

On June 28, 2013; the decision to increase the gas prices from 1st April 2014 was approved by the Manmohan Singh government.

AAP released its manifesto promising 50% reduction in electricity tariff on Nov 20, 2013 while the other two national parties promised a “electricity surplus” status for Delhi. The promises were made in hurry, all sounding attractive like the ‘50% off’ tag during sale season, the implementation was not thought about even as experts tried pointing out the gross anomaly between dreams and reality.

With the hike in gas prices, cost of power is estimated to go up by 60-70%. Considering that in the subsidy bracket, a total of 5,437 million units are consumed, the total subsidy cost to be borne by the government becomes untenable.  The discoms together earn INR 15,000 Cr as revenue. Kejriwal’s 50% reduction promise amounts toINR 7500 Cr to be borne by the State govt. After gas price-hike, the gas based power cost would have resulted in an additional subsidy burden of INR 1,456 crore per annum. Having realised that this is an unserviceable gargantuan amount, about 20% of Delhi’s entire state budget of INR 37,450 Cr and compared with the Delhi planned outlay being INR 15,000 Cr, the future would have looked pretty bleak to the activist Chief Minister.

Recover the amount due to pilferage by prominent distribution companies and use that to meetshort-term cash crunch- this was his innovative idea of practical economics. All this was based on a set of assumptions and to-be-done programs like the CAG audit. In doing so, they disregarded the woes faced by these distribution companies which have been serving the Delhi-state for 10-15 years. They have net under-recovery to the tune of INR 20,000 Cr and were deficient in funds to pay to NTPC which threatened to cut off supply until High Court intervened. Rather than understand the issues of the entire supply chain, AAP decided to blame the so-called rich to appeal to the ‘poor’ end-users at the mercy of these companies. This was exactly in line with their general lack of economic sense which doesn’t recognise the principle: One shouldn’t borrow to pay for short-term personal luxuries, one borrows to create assets to be able to pay for them.

To assume that Kejriwal is a naïve man without political intent, as done by the two national parties earlier much to their own detriment, is immature of us and suicidal for the opposition.

So, it’s not that Kejriwal is unaware of the political mileage of going after the richest man of India, an ideology he has been milking for quite some time just like Modi milks his Gujarat brand and Rahul Gandhitries to milk his ancestry in want of anything substantial.

Hence, he resigned. Though, it was hardly surprising. After countless examples of anarchistic demonstrations within the government by a popularly elected Chief Minister, midnight blanket-covered sleepovers on the road, lawless raids by the minister of law, reward of civil disobedience participants, threatening letters to power distribution companies, and other innovative governance mechanisms, it looked like he was looking for an excuse to exit with the head held high. If one’s entire andolan is based on “gas”, literally and figuratively, it makes business sense to get out before the brickbats are thrown at you for not fulfilling your electoral promises. The worst statement that will come your way is, “Had he been there, he would have done it”, as they used to say for Sehwag, “Tik jayega, to century bana dega”.  And so it was back to the roads. Governance was boring. Activism is the flavour of the season.

There has seldom been a chief minister who was so eager to bring down his own government. It was clear to him that he could do little in terms of meeting the whole rainbow of promises on gas, he made to his core voter base – the autowallahs, the middle-class. Unlike the dominant opinion, his political journey is not akin to the JP Narayan movement and other socialists’ as it was made out to be. It’s filled with the same political overtones, stratagems and acumen that are the markings of any other political party – secure the vote base.
Probably, he wished to capitalise on the resulting sympathy wave that would emanate once he resumed his allegation-distributing business. It was the same sympathy wave that cataclysmed him onto the Delhi gaddi. However, at this juncture, it found little takers. Probably everyone was tired of the tactics and the manoeuvrings even as he has started another round of mudslinging. No wonder, the autowallahs feel ‘betrayed’ and have decided to snub him before Lok Sabha polls.

One can be on any side of Kejriwal-debate. And yet, one must know that even good intentions do not finance immediate bills. By that logic, we can forever live in the Utopia of having surplus cash to set right all the ills of the world, once we remove corruption from every nook and corner. However, this is a child’s dream. A political party is expected to get down on one’s knees, deep into the mud, and start cleaning whatever they can. All this while keeping the nation afloat, much like the people who dig the roads to lay pipes keep the road functioning, albeit through a narrow pathway.

The road is paved with the concrete of hardwork, not by the flimsy tar of dreamy intentions.
49 days was good enough for everyone to learn this.

A version of this story was published by the authors in the Economic Times here.

Akhil Handa, Aparajita Tripathi

Akhil Handa is the former Asian Energy analyst with JP Morgan Hong Kong, Currently Editor-in-Chief of The Indian Republic and a founding member of Citizens for Accountable Governance (CAG). Aparajita Tripathi is the ex Infrastructure consultant at PwC, Currently Research Head of The Indian Republic and a founding member of Citizens for Accountable Governance (CAG).
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Thursday, 15 May 2014

Jamaat-e-Islami Hind issues list of preferred candidates to check 'communal forces'

,TNN | Apr 24, 2014, 03.50 AM IST

NEW DELHI: Jamaat-e-Islami Hind has put out a list of candidates in order to ensure consolidation of Muslims in favour of those who are in the best position to defeat "communal and fascist forces".

The candidates recommended by the Islamic outfit belong to Congress and other non-NDA parties including AAP, SP, BSP, RJD, Trinamool Congress, Left Front, JD(U) and NCP.

Although Jamaat did not mention BJP, the reference to "communal and fascist" forces is seen as meant for the Narendra Modi-led party.

In one case, in Amravati constituency in Maharashtra, Jamaat has asked its supporters to exercise the "NOTA" option since it found no candidates to be suitable.

The list may interest political circles and observers also because it brings out the estimate of Jamaat — an outfit with a countrywide network — about which of the non-BJP party in a given constituency is likely to get more Hindu votes and, therefore, is best equipped to defeat saffron nominees. Going by the estimate, SP fits the bill in UP while Mamata Banerjee remains far ahead of Left Front in West Bengal. In Bihar, Nitish Kumar, who broke with BJP over Modi's projection as PM, is trailing far behind his secular rival, the Congress-RJD combine.

Another organization, Jamiat Ulama-i-Hind, the largest body of Sunni Muslim clerics, has also appealed for support to "secular" candidates but has refrained from putting out a list. "We are asking people to vote for candidates who are secular and promote communal harmony," said a JuH leader.

So far, the Jamaat has recommended candidates in 32 out of 80 parliamentary constituencies in UP. In 17 of these seats, the JiH supports SP candidates, including in Kairana adjoining Muzaffarnagar where many villages were hit by riots last September.

In Baghpat, JiH supports the SP candidate pitted against RLD chief Ajit Singh. However, in Mathura, Jamaat has recommended Singh's son Jayant Chaudhary.

The JiH has supported BSP in eight seats, including Qadir Rana in Muzaffarnagar who is accused of provocative speeches ahead of the riots.

The JiH also recommended Congress candidates in three of the 32 seats, including Salman Khurshid in Farrukhabad and Imran Masood in Saharanpur, hauled up for "hate speech" by the Election Commission.

In Bihar, the JiH has recommended candidates in six seats, including JD(U) in Munger, Nalanda and Arrah. In the remaining, its a choice between RJD and Congress.

In West Bengal, JiH recommended candidates in 34 out of 42 Lok Sabha seats. While expressing support for Trinamool Congress in most seats, JiH has recommended Left Front candidates in five seats.

In Delhi, JiH recommended support for AAP candidates in five of the seven parliamentary constituencies.

In Maharashtra, it's mostly a toss-up between Congress and NCP with a few AAP and Welfare Party candidates thrown in. "It is time to decide whether we will have democracy or fascism, communal harmony or communal conflict, broad-mindedness or narrow-mindedness. Even a small mistake can throw us thousands of miles from our destination," said Nusrat Ali,JiH national secretary general.

In Jharkhand, the JiH recommended candidates in four seats — Lohardaga, Chatra, Palamu and Koderma. Of these, JiH has expressed support for Congress candidates in Lohardaga and Chatra, RJD in Palamu and JVM in Koderma.

JiH leaders explained the decision to bring out the list of their preferred candidates by saying that the country was passing through "a very critical and decisive moment".

"It must be our endeavour that secular votes do not get divided and split, else interests of the country, minorities and weaker sections would be endangered," Nusrat Ali said.

"We don't support any party, but look for candidates with democratic values, good character and free from corruption," said Mohammed Ahmad, JiH national secretary.


The inside story of Modi's model of governance in Gujarat

Mail Today Bureau   |   Mail Today  |   New Delhi, April 18, 2014 | UPDATED 13:59 IST 

(L-R) Sunil Alagh, Surjit Bhalla, Uday Mahurkar, Aroon Purie and Bibek Debroy at the book launch.
While claims and counter claims over the accuracy of Gujarat's developmental model have been doing rounds, especially this poll season, a new book takes a look at the path-breaking initiatives taken by Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi to understand and reveal the ground reality of what his model of governance really is.

The book titled 'Centrestage: Inside the Narendra Modi Model of Governance' was released on Thursday. Written by Uday Mahurkar, senior editor with India Today, the book has also charted the process of how Modi turned many a loss-making state enterprises into profit-making entities.

"Modi's ability to generate a sense of pride among people on the basis of past achievements of the society and his will power to implement initiatives are his strong points that make him a popular leader among people of all sections," said Mahurkar, who has been following Modi since 1986.

Releasing the book, Aroon Purie, the Chairman and Editor-in-Chief of India Today Group, said the book will provide a ground reality of how Modi's model has worked.

"The timing of this book is perfect, even better than Sanjay Baru's book. Everyone is talking about the Gujarat model of development. One can be confused with the various statistics on Gujarat and its comparison with other states. But this book provides a ground level view of how governance has been changed by Modi," said Purie.

Purie said the book describes how Modi's style of governance, which has done away with the dole system, and his aggressive use of technology in governance have resulted in people getting quality services. "Modi's belief is that if you provide quality services then people will buy it," he added.

The book has chapters dealing with topics like energy, technology, agriculture, finance, and innovation. "I have backed all the chapters with facts and figures to give a clear picture of how Modi's model of governance has fared in various departments," said Mahurkar, who has covered Gujarat extensively.
The panel comprising Bibek Debroy, professor at Centre for Policy Research, Sunil Alagh, business executive, and economist Surjit Bhalla said Modi's biggest strength is his style of governance which brings efficiency and transparency. "Modi has turned around the agriculture sector in Gujarat. It has shown a consistent growth of 7 per cent in the last 10 years," said Bhalla.

The event was moderated by MAIL TODAY editor Sandeep Bamzai.


Gujarat accounts for 72% new jobs in India

While India’s unemployment rate stood at 3.8% Gujarat showed lowest rate of 1%. 
OUR CORRESPONDENT  Gandhinagar | 14th Sep 2013
At the Vibrant Gujarat Global Investors summit -2013, Volkswagen and Tata Motors signed MoUs with the Gujarat government to develop industry responsive skill in workers.
kill development is critical for achieving faster, sustainable and inclusive growth on the one hand and for providing decent employment opportunities to the growing young population on the other.
Government of Gujarat has been in the forefront of implementing various skill-building programmes with the aim of helping people to get jobs and this in-turn facilitates industrial development. It has taken a number of initiatives to focus on skill development among the youth of the state such as upgradation of Industrial Training Institutes (ITIs), setting up of 20 superior technology training centre, about 1,074 skill development and training courses and new skill generation training centre network under PPP model to cater to the needs of the industries and to speed up the industrial and economic development.

In the Yuva Shakti Year, the 150th birth Anniversary year of Swami Vivekananda, Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi, shared a formula for success with the youth — ' Skill + Will + Zeal = Win'. Industrialists and educationists around the world share this view. It was suggested that in both the public and private sectors of India more vocational training programs, which would improve the skill sets of the youth and solve the country's problem of unemployment should be included.

At the Vibrant Gujarat Global Investors summit -2013, automobile majors Volkswagen and Tata Motors, besides 117 other industries, signed memorandums of understanding (MoUs) with the Gujarat government to develop industry responsive skill in workers. At the convention, Gujarat's Industrial Training Institutes (ITIs) signed 26 MoUs with various industries.

Finance Minister Vajubhai Vala spoke about the healthy relationship between Industries and labourers in the state and lauded the cooperation extended by the industries and people in state's development. TCS's S.Mahalingam credited the success of PPP model in Gujarat to the farsighted leadership of Hon'ble Minister Shri. Narendra Modi.

Due to rapid industrial development in Gujarat, there was a unanimous demand from industries, Industrial Associations, ITIs and technical experts for setting up specialized training facilities on superior technology to provide highly skilled and specialized technical manpower at the shop floor level to cater to the technological needs of the industry. As a result, Swami Vivekanand Superior Technology Centres were established in the State which offers Short Term Courses on Superior Technology in Automobiles, CNC, Chemical and Solar Sectors. Training for these courses is offered through the advanced laboratories & workshops set up in the ITIs for imparting highly specialized training demanded by the industry.

The courses at ITIs have been designed after analyzing the requirements of industries which has made Gujarat a state with the least unemployment. In the last decade there has been a 5-fold increase in the number of ITIs which have been upgraded with new structure, infrastructure, and resources. Considering the rising demand from the industry, the state government is looking to establish 150 skill development centres during 2010-11 to meet the demand of highly skilled category of technicians.

India is a young country with 65% of the population below the age of 35. To reap the demographic dividend, there is an urgent need to put in place an extensive skill development programme so that the employability of youth is enhanced. Small and medium enterprises and the self-employed are the backbone of our industrial and service economy. It plays a key role in creating high economic growth and employment for the exceptionally large labour force that is still working in agriculture. Achieving and sustaining such growth and higher employment will require a boost in industrial and services growth.

Skill development is an indispensable ingredient to empower the youth of the country and emerge as a growth engine for global economy. The Gujarat Skill Development Mission & Gujarat Council of Vocational Training aims to make each and every youth employable. This emphasis on skill development has led Gujarat as the highest job creator in the nation today, generating 72% of the total jobs in India.

According to the report (2011-12), while India's unemployment rate stood at 3.8% Gujarat showed lowest rate of 1%. The report also noted that Gujarat has an extremely low unemployment rate among females in urban areas, which is again a progressive sign.


Why the West finds Modi’s rise inconvenient

“What do you think of Western Civilisation?”
“ I think it is a good idea.” Ascribed to Mahatma Gandhi

Newspapers across the Western world are falling over each other with articles condemning Narendra Modi’s likely rise as India’s Prime Minister.  From The Economist to the Guardian, from Germany’s Nürnberger Nachrichten (calling Modi ‘racist’) to the New York Times, commentators are wringing their hands over the loss of the ‘soul of India’.  The ostensible reason give is the 2002 post-Godhra riots in which approximately a thousand people were killed — both Muslims and  Hindus, which is routinely referred to as a ‘pogrom’ or even as a ‘genocide’.

The West is of course intimately familiar with genocides and pogroms. Western civilisation has wiped out diverse peoples and cultures including an estimated 100 million Native Americans in the American Holocaust and about 6 millions Jews in the European Holocaust. The witch hunts by the Christian Church in Europe’s Middle Ages killed thousands of medicine women and the two European-initiated World Wars of the 20th century killed another hundred million people between them. Communist ideology imported from Europe into Russia resulted in the deaths of several million more under the hands of Joseph Stalin.

Western concern for India’s Muslims is cited as the main reason for opposition to Modi. It is worth remembering that, more recently than the Gujarat riots, the America-led invasion of Iraq resulted in an estimated hundred thousand to nearly half a million Muslims being killed. This Bush-Blair war had bipartisan support in US Congress, including 58 per cent of Senate Democrats who supported the Iraq Resolution. The Western Left and Right collaborated in this project. The liberal New York Times helped manufacture consent for the Iraq war. These hundreds of thousands of deaths, are not labeled as “the Iraq genocide”, but are merely “collateral damage” from the war. Despite the false pretext for this war, neither Bush nor Blair were tried in their countries for war crimes, unlike Modi who went through multiple rounds of judicial scrutiny in India.

Given this history, the West’s apparent concern for Muslims is too facile a reason for the trenchant opposition to Modi. Riots have happened in independent India under many different governments. The British policy of divide and rule had instigated the division of India on religious lines, leading to large-scale displacement and killing.  After independence, simmering conflict fanned by politicians broke into riots, most often during the rule of the Congress. In Gujarat in 1969, nearly 5000 Muslims were killed under Congress rule, yet the Chief Minister was not ruled satanic. Unlike in Gujarat 2002, where scores of Hindu rioters were killed in police firing to stop rioters, the 1984 anti-Sikh riots under Rajiv Gandhi hardly saw any such preventative action. However, Rajiv Gandhi was never demonised in Western academia and media. What is special about Modi?

In his book ‘Clash of Civilizations’, Harvard professor Samuel P Huntington laid out his thesis that basic differences in civilisations will result in a clash. In his book he identified ‘Western’ and ‘Hindu’ civilisations among the major distinct civilisations of the world. While Huntington’s thesis has been criticised, we must accept Huntington’s view as an important way the West looks at the world. Huntington was deeply embedded in the institutions of American power. He was the White House Coordinator of Security Planning under President Jimmy Carter, a consultant to the US Department of State, founder and editor of Foreign Policy magazine and a professor at Columbia and Harvard.

The rise of Modi bothers the West because the BJP and Modi, unlike the Congress, appear to stand for the Hindu civilisation. This view may not be far off. Unlike the other parties, the BJP’s manifesto, explicitly invokes continuity with Hindu kingdoms of the past. It sees modern India, as not just born today, but as a continuity of an ancient civilisation. This threatens both the Christian Right and the Secular Left of the West, the two prongs of Western civilisational imperialism. The Christian Right sees the rise of a Hindu civilisation as threatening its conversion agenda, the Left sees it as a “religious” threat to the expansion of Western secular universalism.

Fed on Doniger-esque caricatures of Hinduism and partisan account of the Gujarat riots, they are inclined to view the rise of a Hindu party as an extremely distasteful and incomprehensible existential threat. Just as the a handful of British people ruled India with the help of a large number of Indian sepoys, the intellectual Indian sepoy army that has internalised the Western worldview, view this rise with the same distaste and actively write against it in India and abroad.

The Hindu civilisation doesn’t have the proclivity towards genocide that shows up in the history of the West. Nor does it fit into the categories of “Religious Right” and “Secular Left.” Monotheism has an issue with diversity and a record of persecuting religious minorities since it is based on exclusive theologies that view the other as Satanic. The Hindu civilisation naturally respects different traditions and has a record of diversity and pluralism, including providing refuge to small minorities such as the Parsis and the Jews without any persecution. It aims to raise human consciousness through harnessing the tendencies of the mind. It has had no concept of the “heathen” or the “kaffir.” Neither does it subscribe to the clash of civilisation but to “Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam” or ‘one world one family’.

An India based on Hindu civilisational values is not a threat to its diverse religious groups nor to the West. Indeed it may help civilise, or rather Sankritise it, to make it more refined. This has already been discovered by millions of Westerners practicing mindfulness meditation, Yoga, Vipassana, Sanskrit chanting and other Indian spiritual practices as a way to refine the mind and senses. We can only hope that the mainstream of Western Civilisation will also move away from its tendency towards genocide and towards becoming more Sanskrit. India under Modi is less likely to experience religious violence than it has in the years under Congress regimes since independence because of the humanising effect of Hindu culture. India is finding its soul, not losing it.


Development in Kutch - Letter to Kejriwal

16/04/2014 15:31:04  

Welcome to Kutch Gujarat Mr. Kejriwal. Nice to know that you want to survey the development of Kutch.  So let we the people of Kutch Brief you with few facts.

  •     Kutch has the population of 18 lacs, that is 1% of UP, but produces 12,000 MW power and total will be 27,000 MW by 2018.    
    To put this number into another perspective, Australia produces 30,000 MW power in spite of being the world’s largest per capita power consumer and having population 11 times that of Kutch !!! We hope “yeh sun ke aap ka dil thhik thhak hai. Kahin mild sa attack to nahin aaya.”

  •   This will be 35% more than whole of Pakistan with population 100 times that of Kutch.
  •     Kutch is in the process of becoming the largest cement producing district  of India.
  •     Kutch is going to produce 10% of potash in a year’s time which is key ingredient of fertilizers.
  •     Unfortunately in spite of India being agriculture based country we almost import 100% of potash, and this import will be reduced due to this plant being put in Kutch that will provide direct benefit to every farmer of India.
  •     Kutch is the largest wind farm power producing district in India.
  •     Kutch is 3rd largest area producing Saw Pipes in the world, which are used in oil and gas piping.
  •     Kutch handles maximum sea cargo in India and is home to two largest ports of India.
  •     Kutch has the largest edible oil refining capacity in India.   
  •     Kutch has the largest number of saw mills of wood in India, in spite of not having any forests.
  •     Kutch’s tourism has developed by 1200 % in 7 years and that too major in Muslim majority areas.
  •     Kutch being the desert region with no water for 5 decades now receives drinking water directly from Narmada which has reached right up to the border for BSF jawans.
  •     Kutch is the district with largest road network in India.

And these all things have happened in front of our eyes and the time when Kutch was reduced to rubbles due to one of the most severe Earthquakes of India in 2001.
If you are unbiased and really want to see the development hopefully you will appreciate these things, that will give you a bigger stature among us - the people of Kutch.

We are known for our warmth & hospitality, of course you need to open your arms too, which is not likely to be done as you are in TOO much of a hurry".

But, you a good person so our advice and a very sincere at that,  is that please take training during next five years and learning 1) how to administer, 2) how to behave in Parliament, 3) how to put your point to the janta of this country,

4) stop beating your drums etc.  When you would have acquired the training in all these matters we are sure you will be next candidate for PM  

A resident of Kutch.

Further please note:
A 49 days unsuccessful CM (Kejri) does not deserve to ask any questions on development to Mr. Modi, a 12 years successful CM with best CM of India award.
But we as AAM AADMI definitely deserve to ask You Mr. Kejri below 16 questions:

Why you are not targeting

1. Mrs. Sonia? Mr. Rahul? Mr. Manmohan? Mr. Lalu ? Mr. Chavan ? Mr. Mulayam ? Mrs. Mayawati, Whole UPA/Congress ? The real corruption masters?

Why you are not talking about

2. AAP Giving tickets to corrupts like Yudhvir ?
3. AAP Giving tickets to Maoist, Naxal, Anti-Nuclear & Kashmiri separatist supporters, sympathizers?
4. Terrorism?
5. China border issues?
6. The issues of South India?
7. The Jawans, who are killed by Pakistanis and beheaded our jawans’ heads ? 8. Our Navy officers being killed by Congress by suffocating their operational needs ?

Why did you

9. Take CONG support to form your govt. against whom you fought election?
(You should have rejected their support even when they gave you support without your asking)
10. Leave govt. in 49 days? No action against Somnath Bharti? By finding an excuse to leave the Govt. you helped Congress to rule?  There is no doubt that you have a deeper understanding with them to fight BJP.
11. Why didn’t you take any action against Mrs. Sheela? Why No dharana for Nido's death against Delhi police?
12. What is the guarantee that either you will not support Congress or take support from them?
13. What is the guarantee that you will not leave the govt, if at all you get seats in lok sabha elections?
14. You are claiming BJP and Congress are bad, can you name the good parties after reading all 17 questions?
15. If Gujarat is not developed, why people of Gujarat elected Mr. Modi 3rd time? Why is he awarded 6 times best CM award?
16. What were you doing all these days? After shouting against every one that they use helicopters to fly, but you took a private charted flight that too funded by media group. You call every one pay media. Now aren't you doing same?

17. Final question? Are you mentally stable?

Dear Citizens of India, it is high time to wake up.

Why I support Narendra Modi And no, I’m not a “right-wing Hindu fanatic”

I have long believed that the greatest problem India faces is that it’s people don’t have a strong sense of pride. There is so much division among people on the lines of class, caste and religion that we neither have an affinity towards our fellow citizens nor for our towns, cities and states, for that matter, not even for our elevators and stairwells where people litter, spit and even pee, with total disregard. Poverty doesn't disturb us. Oppression doesn't bother us. General lawlessness doesn't alarm us. It doesn't enrage us that we have been an independent country for more than 60 years and still we are a third world country. There are more starvation deaths in India than the sub-Saharan region. You can be killed in your own country just because you’re from another part of your own country. We feel privileged if we get electricity everyday and water twice a day for two hours. We don’t even like to smile at each other on the roads.

Whereas nationalism lacks glaringly, we are full of jingoism. We talk big but act small. We are crazy about a stupid game like cricket. We like to imitate rather than innovate or create. What’s the problem? Why do we have outsourcing companies but no big software development companies (just to give a small example). Why do most Indians excel abroad but not here in India? Why don’t heads roll when an entire cryogenic project is sabotaged and the career of a brilliant scientist is ruined? Why do we eagerly kill or die for a temple, a mosque, a church or a gurdwara but not for a hospital, a school or a playground? Legend has it that once in a town when there was a power cut during the telecast of the Ramayana serial the people of the town burned down the electricity board office. The same people never even raised a whimper when there were routine power cuts during the board exams and all the students had to study in darkness.

Everything boils down to we’re not proud of ourselves.

This is the void that Modi seems to fill. He exhorts people to work hard, excel in their respective fields and work for the collective betterment of the country. He doesn't want to create ladders of communalism and casteism to rise. For once there is a political leader who wants people to work for excellence rather than depend on government subsidies and doles. Finally the country has a political leader who has the guts to show the middle finger to the world. I don’t know how much he really means to do, but when I begin to compare, he is the only leader who says things that I really want to hear.

I don’t want to hear the same old secularism versus communalism diatribe not because I don’t want our country to be secular but because yes, without these diatribes our country is already secular (in fact it has remained the most secular country or region throughout millennia), and second, by continuously pandering to minority vote our political parties have developed a mindset that you only need to offer empty promises and raise doomsday scenarios in order to come to power. Development doesn't work. Progress doesn't excite. It’s caste and religion. Minorities are under threat. Dalits are being marginalized and exploited.
I’m not saying minorities shouldn't be protected and the rights of the Dalits shouldn't be protected. But the justice system should work for everybody not just for minorities and Dalits. If our justice system works, if our political system works, if our bureaucracy works, we don’t need affirmative action. We don’t need special status for minorities if development is inclusive and people are punished in a timely manner in case of communal bias.

You cannot constantly blame the majority Hindu community for historical wrongs its forefathers may or may not have committed on certain sections. Historical wrongs were committed against Hindus themselves so then why the Muslims aren't made to feel guilty about them (there, I just became an Islamophobe)? I’m not saying they should be, I’m just saying if the blame game needs to be perpetuated, why not create an equal playing field for every religion and every community?

This is the mentality that Modi opposes, and so do his supporters. These people get angry when they are made to feel apologetic about their majority status, about their festivals, about their rituals, about their gods and goddesses, about their patriotism and nationalism and about their “the nation first” approach. They’re fed up of the pervasive mediocrity in almost every field in the name of inclusion and tolerance. They want excellence. They want to compete with the world and when they talk about competition, they don’t mean competition with Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Bangladesh or even Taiwan. They mean competition with the USA, with the European Union, with Japan and with China. They want to turn India into a global brand. Just as people respect “Made in Japan” and “Made in Germany”, people should respect “Made in India”. No longer we want to depend on our proverbial “jugaad”.

There is also an underdog feeling. Another thing that makes me support him is the witch-hunt he has been subjected to for such a long time. The greatest number of riots have happened under the Congress rule and its various offshoots. The Gujarat 2002 (well, how can something on Modi be complete without a reference to this particular period?) riots were contained within 2-3 days. There is documented evidence that Modi sought help from both Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh that were both Congress-ruled states at that time, and both the states refused. There is documented evidence many from the BJP itself have been targeting Modi and the Gujarat riots were a part of the scheme. There is documented evidence that even Congress ministers were involved in the riots — the mob that set Ehsan Jafri eblaze also had member from the Congress party.

Modi has been maligned so much, the onslaught has been going on for such a long time, unmitigated, that many have begun to feel, what the heck is going on? No politician, no matter how vile or incompetent he or she has been, has not been targeted so much, both nationally and internationally. It can’t be just “divisiveness” because in the name of religion everything goes in our country. What is it? Communal riots are unacceptable, but they have been happening in India since time immemorial and there have been very few, very few instances of they being contained within a few hours. Recently Yagoendra Yadav of the Aam Aadmi Party said the Muslims will need another country if Modi comes to power. How can he get away with such inflammatory utterances and not Modi? Manmohan Singh said Muslims have the first right to national resources. Sonia Gandhi cried for two terror suspects. After the recent Muzaffar Nagar riots aid was provided selectively to the Muslim community, if at all it was provided. Salman Khurshid in his book wrote that both Sikhs and Hindus deserved the blood bath that took place in the 80s. In a metro like Delhi Kejrichandra says corruption is India’s biggest problem but in front of Muslims he says the biggest problem the country faces is communalism. For Rahul Gandhi, the greatest threat to India are Hindu organizations and not Islamic terrorists, Naxalites and Maoists. Shinde says the RSS runs terror camps. Why aren’t these people communal and divisive, and why Modi is? Why does Modi destroy the “idea of India” but not people like Laloo Prasad Yadav, Mulayam Singh Yadav, Mayawati, Karunanidhi or even the infamous Owaisi brothers? Why aren't the communists taken to task by our intellectuals for totally destroying a progressive state like West Bengal? Why aren't the then chief ministers of Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra demonized for not sending help to Gujarat during the 2002 riots? I’m not even going into the 1984 anti-Sikh pogrom carried out by the Congress party. Why aren't there inquiries set up for this dereliction of duty, this galling incompetence? Why does Modi become the all-encompassing evil all “secular” forces need to come together against? There has to be a reason.

The reason is that the beneficiaries of the status quo don’t want it to change. The nexus between politicians, religious leaders, industrialists, scholars, artists and journalists has been working for them for decades. They prefer this deep divide between the haves and have-nots. Mediocrity is the name of the game. You have muscle, money or contacts? Great! You have none. Good.

The best bet for a mediocre person is to curtail people from achieving excellence and this excellence can be from any field. They don’t want people to get educated. They want people to toil for even basic needs such as food, shelter, electricity, security, education, travel and health. They want to keep different peoples of the country perpetually divided because when you unite you can put up a united fight and this can jolt the status quo. One more problem when you unite as that there is a collective dialogue without a conflict and this is dangerous for people thriving on divisive and actually communal philosophies. Through doctored education and propaganda we have been divided into tiny nations, islands in ourselves.

When you need to constantly put massive effort into caring for just basic needs, when do you get time to become socially, culturally and politically aware? When there is nothing to compare, there is no accountability. India is dirty, well, it is because India IS dirty. India is poor, well, with so great a population, poverty IS inevitable. Remember that bureaucrat that said that the Indian benchmark for cleanliness is different from other countries (during the preparation of the Commonwealth Games) when dog shit was found on the bed sheets. With such a big administrative structure, corruption IS bound to happen. For everything there is an excuse.

The current arrangement has been good for many people. You get plum postings without ever working. You get elected simply by pandering to a particular community. Intellectuals promote each other and don’t allow alternative voices to come forward. Remember how Wendy Doniger was repeatedly being called “authoritative” by the same usual suspects? In the name of news channels we have reality shows. In the name of sports we have the colonial hangover of cricket destroying other games in the process.

Modi’s approach is that quality of life is your right, not a privilege. He doesn't want to give you “poori roti”, (a whole piece of bread) he wants to nourish you with healthy food. He wants you to work hard and become self-dependent rather than expecting the government to dole out goodies because of your caste or religion.

When he speaks he knows his facts. Of course sometimes he goes overboard and there is too much of “mitro Gujarat mei maine ye kiya hai aur vo kiya hai” but one, he’s normally talking to the masses so a little bit of rhetoric is needed, and two, he talks about Gujarat because that’s where he has worked.

The best thing I like about him is he has totally changed the narrative of the political discourse whether people like it or not. To the so-called secularists’ dismay, they are the ones who are constantly found to be talking about different castes, identities and religions whereas he talks about Indians. He talks about inclusive growth. He doesn't care whether you are a Muslim, Hindu, Christian, Sikh, Dalit or OBC. He has a firm grip on how resources should be used for maximum benefit. Just look the way he has cleaned up Narmada. Gujarat is quickly turning into the biggest producer of clean energy. Yes, there are kinks, and there are claims that Guajarat is a state that anyways does better compared to other states, and not being an expert I won’t be able to counter your argument.

He talks about concepts our other clueless politicians and highly biased intellectuals can never even think of even if they are born twice. To a person who really feels for the country, Modi seems to be taking the country forward and the rest of the politicians seem to be taking the country backward.

Will he deliver? Frankly I don’t know, I cannot vouch for him. I’m not a BJP propagandist and I’m certainly not working for Narendra Modi. I support him because, as I have already written above, he says things I want to hear. He has facts on his fingertips. He talks about solutions rather than problems. He is unapologetic about his leanings. He’s not bothered about his international image. He couldn't care less whether you term him secular or communal as long as he gets to do his job. His own party works against him. Despite such a prolonged hounding, he has risen and not disappeared into political oblivion. I mean look at that perpetually scheming Kejrichandra. He’s a total creation of the media as well as political machinations. Without these factors he and his bunch of jokers are nothing. Look at Modi on the other hand. He has borne the most vicious media onslaught. His own party men and women are constantly scheming against him. The entire English speaking intellectual class loathes him. Not a single media channel has done a real documentary on what are the real conditions in Gujarat. Why? Because they've got very little negative to show. Had the conditions being bad, do you really think an award winning documentary wouldn't have been commissioned and telecast in a loop, especially on NDTV?

What about his divisiveness? Doesn't he pose danger to the minorities, especially Muslims? You tell me which party isn't divisive in our country? Which political party truly works for the country and not for self-interest? The Congress party, the darling of the secularists, have milked the cows of communalism, casteism and poverty dry while letting Muslims die and remain backward invariably. DMK and the AIADMK are the epitomes of corruption. They say Karunanidhi’s sons are as bad as Saddam Hussein’s sons, or even worse. Communists have done what they are best at — destroyed multiple states. Laloo and Mulayam run their own fiefdoms and all Nitish Kumar wants to do is become the PM of the country even if we has to explode bombs.

An average Modi supporter is not as fanatical as he or she is made out to be. If that were the case, the Togadias and Singhals would have been mainstream politicians rather than fringe elements. Considering all these, I don’t think Modi poses a threat to Muslims. Besides, I believe that he has bigger goals and he knows that playing communal politics doesn't pay in the long run. He is intelligent. Most of our politicians are corrupt and nearsighted. They cannot see beyond the next elections. Modi on the other hand is farsighted. This, I’m sure, will keep the Muslims of the country safe, even if you think he is a hard-core Hindu nationalist.

Still buy the “Modi is a polarizing figure” crap? This tweet from @madhukishwar pretty much sums up my own response:


The runaway messiah

Arvind Kejriwal is the most dangerous of all political animals: the messiah. The man for whom any existing reality is too impure to be corrected   

In this angry flood of youth, testosterone, hope and pride, perhaps Modi needs someone to whisper ‘memento mori’ in his ear
In this angry flood of youth, testosterone, hope and pride, perhaps Modi needs someone to whisper ‘memento mori’ in his ear
On the morning Narendra Modi was to file his nomination papers from Benares, and the mythical jansailaabh was still but a trickle, Arvind Kejriwal sat in a great sulk outside my house on Assi Ghat. It was a scorcher of a day; the city was getting ready to come out in vast numbers for Modi; and Kejriwal’s gathering, even by AAP’s modest standards, was small. Fifty odd people, of which half were policemen and journalists, sitting in sombre silence under a peepal tree. The protest was being held in honour of Somnath Bharti, Delhi’s former law minister, who, the night before, had been attacked by men thought to belong to the BJP. (These clashes, by the way, between knots of men in white and saffron caps have become something of a nightly occurrence on the Assi ghat, and the atmosphere is now distinctly medieval; one is either a Guelph or a Ghibelline, Lancaster or York.) Kejriwal, swollen-cheeked, with two garlands of marigolds round his neck, was emerging from an hour of silence, and beginning to address the press in low tones. His supporters, with the air of men at a wake, looked vacantly about them.

Just then, a voice was heard. It carried up from the river and, with something of the faraway quality of a Delphic utterance, it disturbed the tranquil melancholy of this scene. A boatman, making his way up to the ghat, made a casual but devastating remark. He said, in a voice loud enough for all to hear: “Ajeeb baat hai. Dilli mein itni badi kursi chhodh kar, Kejriwal Benares chale aaya.”

It was a blinding moment; or, at least, it should have been. This passing Tiresias had said the thing that was on everyone’s mind. And, in that instance, it was plain for anyone with eyes to see that Kejriwal’s plan to leave Delhi and come to Benares had been an act of madness. But the AAP men, even if inwardly they recognised the wisdom of the boatman’s words, did not let on. They looked away as if nothing had happened. And I remember thinking then, as I had a few times before, when I first began attending AAP meetings, that for all their talk of receptivity, this was far less flexible an organisation than it seemed; that somewhere under the cloying sweetness of those gatherings, the question-and-answer sessions, the jholawala concerns, the air of kumbaya, there lay the soul of a petty despotism. It did not surprise me. For the experience of two centuries tells us that every time the name of the People has been invoked for political purposes— whether it be the People’s Tribunal or the Janata ki Durbar— it has been shorthand for tyranny.

There is one charge, above all others, that has not left Arvind Kejriwal’s side this election. It is that, when faced with the hard practical reality of running an administration in Delhi, he fled the field, returning once more to the only thing he knows: the life of protest. To this, Kejriwal has responded in an understandable way. He has tried to turn a weakness into a strength. Like the writer who, made aware of a flaw in his book, pretends it is not a flaw at all but part of the book’s strength, Kejriwal has, on numerous occasions, spoken of the courage needed to leave the Chief Minister’s chair in Delhi. He has invoked the life of renunciation. Doston, inko kya pata tyaag kya hota hai! He has compared his leaving Delhi to Ram leaving Ayodhya. It has been a valiant effort, but, in my view, unconvincing. The charge is too serious.

It is serious not just because it is on everyone’s lips; not just because it has harmed him politically, earning him one of this election’s most damning epithets: bhagoda; no, it is serious because it goes to the heart of our fears about the Aam Aadmi Party. These include fears of anarchy, intolerance, an inability to work with others. But, of all these, one stands out in my mind. It is the fear that Arvind Kejriwal is that most dangerous of all political animals: the messiah. The man for whom any existing reality is too impure to be corrected, and who strives for some necessarily vague Utopia, which he, alone, by what feels like an act of faith, will bring into being. The messiah is dangerous because he is at bottom a nihilist. I have written before, in a different context: ‘Every man who ever dreamt up a Utopia was animated far more by the wish to purge than to build. I would say, too, that the great flaw in any Utopia is the intellectually lazy notion—and one capable of unspeakable violence—that if only the society were cleansed or purged of some particular undesirable element, the Utopia would automatically— come into being. That nothing more would need to be done.’

In the case of Arvind Kejriwal, that undesirable element—the fire by which all aims will magically be realised, all evils cleansed—is Corruption. It came up again and again in a speech I heard him give in Harsos, a small village on the rural edge of this constituency. It was the first time I was hearing him speak, and I was at once alarmed and fascinated.

Let me say first that it is difficult to exaggerate the extent to which this man is physically unimpressive. He has thin long arms; a small frame and, one suspects, a flaccid body; he wears baggy clothes in dull colours, and carries a blue Reynolds pen in his pocket. There is the trace of a whine in his voice. He is not so much the aam aadmi as he is the caricature of an aam aadmi. He is like the Punjab Power employee Shah Rukh Khan plays in Rab ne Bana di Jodi, who, out of a kind of shame at his ordinariness, adopts a Bergerac-esque proxy to win the love of his wife.

Yet—and this is what makes his physicality so fascinating— under this drab diminutive appearance, this Gogolian picture of the government servant, there lies an iron-willed monster of perseverance and doggedness. When his party men say, “Modi will never find a fiercer, more relentless opponent than Kejriwal,” I believe them. And when Kejriwal himself says: “I have not run away. Antim saans taq tumhari chhati pe moong daalunga,” I believe him too. It is, in fact, in this combination of physical puniness and inward strength that the resemblance to Gandhi becomes striking in more ways than one. For, like Gandhi, Kejriwal’s vision of what he seeks to dismantle is all too real and tangible, but what he wishes to put in its place—that kingdom of heaven he wishes to lead us into—is pure chimera.

On that hot day in Harsos, surrounded by freshly harvested fields, he said his aim was to defeat Rahul Gandhi and Narendra Modi. Because, he stressed: “The BJP and the Congress are two faces of the same monster. Defeat Rahul and Modi and the monster will be utterly decimated. And from this decimation will come a new kind of politics.”

But when, I wanted to ask him, has that ever happened? When, in the history of any stable democracy, have its two major political parties simply withered away, and a new politics come spontaneously into being? This is not the language of electoral democracy; this is the language of revolution. It is what makes Kejriwal seem like certain characters from literature. I’m thinking of Kirilov, the nihilist, in Demons, or Conrad’s Professor in The Secret Agent, who never leaves the house without a glass vial of explosives in his breast pocket and a detonator in his palm. Nor does this impression decrease when one observes the things he has chosen to attack. They are, whether he is speaking in Harsos or down a back alley in Dara Nagar, always the same: Mukesh Ambani, Adani, FDI in retail, privatised utilities, helicopters, and all that they stand for… The list goes on, but the politics is familiar.

One never hears him utter a harsh word against what must be the fountainhead of corruption in this country, the Indian state. In fact, if one were to close one’s eyes and imagine Kejriwal’s India, it would be a giant expanse, reaching as far as the eye could see, of two- and three-storey government flats, in Sovietised shades of blue, beige and grey, packed full of pious government servants, leading a dreary existence on subsidised gas, housing, water and electricity.

But haven’t we—you might well ask—already rejected this vision of India? Isn’t that what this election is about? Hasn’t India, having already sampled the genius of the Indian state, come out in significant numbers to say: no, we do not want that India. And not simply because it doesn’t work or is corrupt, but because it is shabby and lifeless and stifles the spirit. Have we not already opted for the other India? Which, crude as it may still be, is the India of roads and malls and IPLs—Sheila and Munni’s India! Do we not agree that, at this stage in our development, we have more to fear from big government than big business? Is it not generally acknowledged that the source of corruption in this country is a State that preys on private enterprise, rather than private enterprise preying on the State? And is it not true that India’s daily encounter with corruption occurs, not in the Reliance or Vodafone shop, but in the government office?

Kejriwal—that scourge of Corruption—does not reflect this in his politics at all. He is far more willing to demonise business than the State. And he has crafted a political style to go with his politics; he has made a great show of his simplicity. It is a mistake, I fear. I think he will discover that if style is to be the test of ideology, then the people of India prefer Modi’s chopper to Kejriwal’s Scorpio.

In fact, one of the things that has intrigued me this election is the kind of anger I sense for Kejriwal’s brand of austerity. The AAP will tell you that the violence against its volunteers is all BJP-sponsored—and, no doubt, some of it is. But some of it is also spontaneous. They seem to arouse a kind of contempt. I have witnessed it in all quarters, now in a driver at the Harsos rally, who, on seeing Kejriwal in his Scorpio, might say: “Yeh simplicity kuchh zyaada toh nahi ho gayi?” Now, in some BHU students, jeering at AAP workers taking a boat ride on the Ganga: “Lagta hai ke pehli baar boat mein jaa rahein hain.” Or, here, in a man who took me aside in Chitvan gym, to say: “Kejriwal se zyaada diwaaliya insaan maine kabhi nahi dekha hai. Voh maansik rogi hai.” And, even at the little protest outside my house, a BHU student muttered: “Isko toh main bhi thhapadh maar sakta hun.” India, it seems, knows what to do with simplicity when it comes in the form of a holy man— Gandhi, Vinoba Bhave, Anna Hazare. It is far less sure of what to do with it when it comes in the form of Arvind Kejriwal.

Still, it is something of a miracle that he exists at all. Wrong- headed as his politics may be, there is no greater tribute to the democracy we live in than its ability, less than two years after Kejriwal was fasting in the streets of Delhi, to have absorbed him electorally. I will say, too, that the people who comprise his party—many of whom have left their jobs to serve the cause— are among the most decent people to ever enter politics. And, whether they win or lose, they will have forever altered the political culture of this country. Already, due largely to their advent, there is a growing conviction that politics need not be the province of the cynical professional, but that ordinary people, tired of what they see around them, can and must step forward.
This is not AAP’s election. Many of them know as much. They would like to be, they say, Modi’s main opposition. They are hoping for 100-150 seats. They are dreaming. It would have been much better had they stayed in Delhi and proved that their politics was more than a politics of protest. And yet, that morning when I left them in their small silent circle on the edge of the Ganga, and found myself swept up in Modi’s jansailaabh, an angry flood of youth, testosterone, hope and pride, which was, by turns, exciting and scary, I could not help but feel what a good thing it would be for Indian democracy if, in Modi’s hour of triumph, the man tasked with whispering ‘memento mori’ in his ear was none other than this most formidable of former taxmen.


केंद्र सरकार ने माना 'मोदी' का गुजरात अव्वल

केंद्र सरकार ने माना 'मोदी' का गुजरात अव्वल

नई दिल्ली, जागरण ब्यूरो। वाणिज्य व उद्योग मंत्री आनंद शर्मा गुजरात की आर्थिक प्रगति पर सवाल उठाने में कोई मौका नहीं छोड़ते, लेकिन ऐसा लगता है कि उनका मंत्रालय ही उनकी इस राय से इत्तेफाक नहीं करता है। औद्योगिक नीति व संव‌र्द्धन विभाग (डीआइपीपी) अपनी ही एक रिपोर्ट में पर्यावरण संबंधी मुद्दों और जमीन अधिग्रहण के मामले को सुलझाने में देश का नंबर वन राज्य माना है। यह भी ध्यान देने योग्य बात है कि कांग्रेस के उपाध्यक्ष राहुल गांधी अपनी चुनावी सभाओं में गुजरात सरकार की तरफ से उद्योग जगत को दी जाने वाली जमीन को लेकर लगातार सवाल उठा रहे हैं।

डीआइपीपी ने प्रमुख आइटी कंपनी एसेंचर के साथ ही मिलकर एक अध्ययन किया है, जिसे अभी सार्वजनिक किया गया है। इसमें भारत में कारोबार करने के माहौल पर विभिन्न एजेंसियों की रिपोर्टो का अध्ययन किया गया है। इन एजेंसियों की रिपोर्ट के आधार पर राज्यों को कारोबार करने की छह प्रमुख जरूरतों के आधार पर बेहतरीन राज्य घोषित किया गया है। इसमें गुजरात और महाराष्ट्र दो ऐसे राज्य हैं, जिन्हें दो-दो क्षेत्रों में बेहतरीन राज्य माना गया है। गुजरात को जमीन व भवन संबंधी मंजूरी देने में अव्वल स्थान दिया गया है। साथ ही पर्यावरण मंजूरी देने के राज्य के तौर तरीके को भी अन्य सभी राज्यों से बेहतर माना गया है। पर्यावरण मंजूरी देने के मामले में राज्य ने जिस तरह से ई-गवर्नेस का इस्तेमाल किया है, उसकी काफी सराहना की गई है।

उल्लेखनीय तथ्य यह है कि राज्य की जमीन अधिग्रहण की नीति की कांग्रेस की तरफ से लगातार निंदा की जा रही है। लेकिन इस रिपोर्ट में इसे काफी दूरदर्शी बताया गया है। उद्योग जगत के लिए जमीन चिन्हित करने से लेकर उसका आवंटन करने और विवादों को निपटाने के फार्मूले को अन्य राज्यों से बेहतर माना गया है। राहुल गांधी बार-बार आरोप लगाते हैं कि गुजरात में टॉफी की कीमत पर जमीन उद्योग जगत को दी जाती है। वे गुजरात की मोदी सरकार पर किसानों से जमीन छीनकर कंपनियों की जमीन देने का भी लगातार आरोप लगा रहे हैं। लेकिन इस रिपोर्ट के मुताबिक जमीन अधिग्रहण से प्रभावित हर परिवार के एक सदस्य को नौकरी देने की व्यवस्था इस राज्य में की गई है। यही वजह है कि वर्ष 2008-09 285 हेक्टेयर जमीन आवंटित की गई थी। जबकि वर्ष 2009-10 में 1,564 हेक्टेयर और वर्ष 2010-11 में 907 हेक्टेयर औद्योगिक उद्देश्य से दिए गए हैं।

'अच्छा होता कि गुजरात को गाली देने वाले मेरे कांग्रेसी मित्रों ने अपनी ही सरकार की वह रपट पढ़ी होती जिसमें गुजरात के विकास की तारीफ की गई है।' -नरेंद्र मोदी का ट्वीट

Indian Secularism is not secular

May 2, 2014 · by  

For years I did not know what opportunities to practice equanimity I had missed, till I finally got a TV set some 3 years ago. In the beginning, I certainly did not remain calm under all circumstances. What intense emotions in just an hour of listening to panelists on the news channels! However, slowly I learned to sit back. I could admire the quick-wittedness and the amazing ability to talk or rather shout while listening.

These anchors and panelists are no doubt intelligent, nevertheless their choice of topics is often pathetic, and they get some points consistently wrong. One such point is ‘secular’ or ‘secularism’. Since secularism is mentioned daily in Indian media and since it is a western ‘invention’, I would like to put it into perspective:
Contrary to the general perception in India, secular is not the opposite of communal. Communal as such is not objectionable either. It simply means ‘pertaining to a community’. In Germany, elections to local bodies are called “communal elections” (Kommunalwahlen).

Secular means worldly and is opposite to ‘religious’. Now ‘religious’ in this context refers to Christianity, i.e. to a well-organized, dogmatic religion that claims that it is the sole keeper of the ‘truth’, which God himself has revealed to his Church.

And what is this revealed truth? In short: the human being is born in sin, which dates back originally to Adam and Eve. But fortunately, some 2000 years ago, God had mercy on humanity and sent his only son Jesus Christ to earth to redeem us by dying for our sins on the cross, then rising from the dead and going back to his father up in heaven. However to be able to get the benefit of Jesus’ sacrifice, one must be baptized and become a member of the Church, otherwise one will be singled out for eternal hell on Judgment Day.

Understandably, such claims did not appeal to those who used their brains, but for many centuries they had to keep quiet or risk their lives.  The reason was that for long the Church was intertwined with the state, and  harsh laws made sure that people did not question the ‘revealed truth’. Heresy was punished with torture and death. Even in faraway Goa, after Francis Xavier called the Inquisition to this colony, unspeakable brutality was committed against Indians. In many Muslim countries till today, leaving Islam is punishable by death.
Significantly, those centuries, when Church and State were intertwined, when the clergy prospered and the faithful sheep suffered are called the dark ages. And the time when the Church was forced to loosen its grip, is called the age of enlightenment, which started only some 350 years ago. Scientific discoveries, which could no longer be brushed under the carpet, played a crucial role for showing the Church her place. Now, more Europeans dared to oppose the stranglehold of religion. Many went to prison for doing so.

Slowly, the idea that reason, and not blind belief in a ‘revealed truth’, should guide society, took root and this lead to the demand for separation between state and Church. Such separation is called secularism. It is a recent phenomenon in the west.

Today, most western democracies are ‘secular’, i.e. the Church cannot push her agenda through state power, though most western democracies still grant Christianity preferential treatment. For example in Germany, the Constitution guarantees that the Christian doctrine is taught in government schools. Further, the Churches have retained special labour laws that make it obligatory for Church employees (alone in Germany over one million) to conform to Christian norms. Nevertheless, the present situation is a huge improvement over the dark ages when one had to pretend to believe unbelievable dogmas.

In India, however, the situation was different. Here, the dominant faith of the Indian people never had a power centre that dictated unreasonable dogmas and needed to be propped up by the state. Their faith was based on insights of the Rishis and on reason, intuition and direct experience. It expressed itself freely in a multitude of ways. Their faith was about trust and reverence for the One Source of all life. It was about doing the right thing at the right time according to one’s conscience. It was about The Golden Rule: not to do to others what one does not want to be done to oneself. It was about having noble thoughts. It was about how to live life in an ideal way.

However, this open atmosphere changed when Islam and Christianity entered India. Indians, who good naturedly considered the whole world as family, were despised, ridiculed and under Muslim rule killed in big numbers only because they were ‘Hindus’ (which is basically a geographical term). Indians did not realise that dogmatic religions were very different from their own, ancient Dharma. For the first time they were confronted with merciless killing in the name of God. Voltaire, who fought the stranglehold of the Church in Europe, had accurately observed, “Those who can make you believe absurdities, can make you commit atrocities”.

Guru Nanak left a testimony how bad the situation was, when he cried out in despair: “Having lifted Islam to the head, You have engulfed Hindustan in dread…. Such cruelty they have inflicted, and yet Your mercy remains unmoved…” (Granth Sahib, Mahla 1.360 quoted from Eminent Historians by Arun Shourie).

During Muslim rule Hindus had to lie low for fear of their lives, and during British rule they were ridiculed and despised by missionaries, and cut off from their tradition with the help of ‘education’ policies. Naturally, this took a toll on their self-esteem. In fact, till today, this low self-esteem especially in the English educated class is evident to outsiders, though it may not be so to the persons concerned. Swami Vivekananda’s efforts to give Hindus back their spine did not impact this class of people. Nevertheless, it is a great achievement that Hindu Dharma survived for so many centuries, whereas the west succumbed completely to Christianity and over 50 countries to Islam in a short span of time.

Coming back to secularism. Though Hindu Dharma survived and never dictated terms to the state, ‘secular’ was added to the Constitution of India in 1976. There might have been a reason, as since Independence, several non-secular decisions had been taken. For example, Muslim and Christian representatives had pushed for special civil laws and other benefits and got them.

However, after adding ‘secular’, the situation did not improve. In fact the government seemed almost eager to benefit specifically the dogmatic religions (for which secularism was coined) and occasionally had to be restrained in its eagerness by the courts.

This is inexplicable.  Why would ‘secular’ be added and then not acted upon? And the strangest thing: ‘secular’ got a new, specific Indian meaning. It means today: fostering those two big religions which have no respect for Hindus and whose dogmas condemn all of them to eternal hell.

It is a sad irony. Can you imagine the Jews honouring the Germans with preferential treatment instead of seeking compensation for the millions of Jews killed? Yet Islam and Christianity that have gravely harmed Indians over centuries get preferential treatment by the Indian state, and their own beneficial dharma that has no other home except the Indian subcontinent, is egged out. And to top it, this is called ‘secular’!

Obviously Indians have not learnt from the European experience. Hindus have not yet realized the intention of the dogmatic religions, though they say it openly: Finish off Hinduism from the face of the earth. Hindus still ‘respect’ them, though this respect is not and cannot be reciprocated as long as those religions claim that their God wants everyone to worship exclusively Him. Hindus don’t realize that an ideology that uses God as a front does not become sacred, but all the more dangerous.

Media and politicians do their best to muddy the water. They call parties that represent a religious group, ‘secular’, instead of ‘religious;’ which would be the correct term. When the state gives in to demands by the big religious bullies it is also (falsely of course) called ‘secular’. But WHY would the government do this? It clearly plays with fire. Does it want to give its citizens a firsthand experience of what the dark ages were like? In the interest of all Indians it would be wise for the state to simply ignore the powerful, dogmatic religions and focus on all its citizens equally. This means being ‘secular’.

However, western secular states are not role models either. There is a lot of depression, drug abuse, alcohol and people are generally not happy in spite of doing everything to ‘enjoy life’. Here, India has an advantage over the west. Her rishis have left a great heritage of valuable treatises not only dealing with how to live life in an ideal way, but also how to conduct economy, politics, management, etc. If those guidelines are considered, and if India becomes a state based on her ancient dharma, she has good chances to regain the lost glory as the wealthiest and most advanced country in the world whose citizen are open-minded and contented. If not, probably the west discovers this treasure trove and adopts it…..first.

by Maria Wirth