Wednesday, February 17, 2010


I wrote my last blog article last year in April, 2009. Suddenly Facebook happened to me and i stopped blogging.. Facebook is extremely good in making like-minded friends and you tend to develop a bond as a family with friends who have the same agenda.. My main motive to to join Facebook was to meet friends who share the same feelings and love for the country, which i am proud of.

I started Facebook Groups like GET INDIAN MONEY BACK FROM SWISS BANKS AND INDIA RISE, VEDIC MANTRAS as a Creator. I got a tremendous response from friends who think on the same lines as me.. I became a part as Administrator on Groups like HINDU RENNAISANCE and HOMELAND FOR KASHMIRI PANDITS. I could interact with my friends through my articles and receive their feedback which is quite positive and i learn a lot from them.

The only thing which we lack is the implementation of our thought process, which is very important for the idea to gain roots on the ground. I hope one day, i may be able to do that too, once the idea starts taking a concrete shape.

Friday, April 17, 2009


It has been a queer enigma every time I have sat down to think about it. I am certain that its not only me, but almost every educated individual who has thought about it, felt strongly about it, wanted to take action about it and then gradually forgotten about it; ofcourse barring a few who have taken steps to change the situation, but have either miserably failed to create an impact or have just lost thier significance in works which are never highlighted in the media and fail to grab public attention. The crux is that, we as "educated" individuals, have got all the time to crib about situations, but have rarely found ways to change them.

I tend to remember a very intriguing line somewhere a long time back. It said that "All men desire peace, but very few desire those things that really bring peace". So true as it is, I find myself in a very similar state right now. The question I raise here is that "Why Politics and Education always seem to be running a race in completely opposite directions?"

Why the hell do we, I again quote, "educated" individuals, always run away from politics? We always want the government to behave the way we want it to, but if we just introspect a bit, what have we at all done to make sure that the governmets atleast hear what we need and want out of them. Do we really expect them to come to our doorsteps and ask things? I know they make promises which they never fulfill, but how many times have we punished them for not doing so?

Are we so helpless that we cant do anything? Or is it just our lethargy that has created so much of inertia that we fail to move a bit - even when the cities are taken hostage and the girls are raped under open sun? Are we all really waiting for things to happen to us before we realize that it is our onus to take action and set things right.

Why are the educated individuals so averse of even touching politics and taking the reins in our own hands? Most of the times you question an "educated" citizen about his involvement in politics, you would perhaps hear, "Main seedha saadha aadmi hoon, politics ke khel mein mera kya kaam?" ... Yeah?... So true, I know damn too much to enter politics, it is meant for criminals and illiterates. It really pinches me when I compare the backgrounds of our politicans with those of America or UK. Our politicians have histories of crimes, and an education they cant even prove they have. And at the same time, countries are being run by law scholars from Harvard and Rhodes scholars - the real intellectual lot. And then we crib of all the problems. Shame on us, shame on India's educated, who knows only rights, not duties; who knows only how to demand, not give. Let's rise together, let's pledge to be a part of the system - take your first step, Come together on a common platform..

Sunday, April 12, 2009


What has happened to our politicians? Why are they - be it Ashoj Gehlot of Congress from Rajathan or Yeddiyurappa of BJP in Karnataka - so out of touch with the Indian people? It's so evident now that there is a huge divide between these old bunch of politicians and the new India.

When the whole country was demanding the blood of spineless politicians in the aftermath of Mumbai attacks, several questions were asked about our politicians. We finally agreed these breed have come from amongst us and so they should be given a chance. The nation went ahead and cast votes in the state elections and voted to power the same old breed. And now,instead of focusing on serious issues such as providing food, health and education support to the economically weaker class or building infrastructure or routing out corruption from the system (or atleast they themselves pledge to be less corrupt) or increasing the security of common people, these bunch have set out to moral police the Indian youth. No these politicians have come from a different generation and it's high time the nation routes out these outdated politicians.

Today all these politicians are unfit to rule, making personal attacks on each other.
They have no development plans for poor or any development agenda for our country. We are so unfortunate and our hands are tied. There is not even a single party, which has national character, values and love for their country. Their only love is power grabbing,by hook or crook'

Pre-poll and post-poll alliances is a mockery of the so called “ Democracy “ in India. Parties choose candidates on the basis of caste, religion and money power. Where are we heading to ? We certainly did not want this kind of democracy which gives blanket permission to make hate speeches and targeting each other on personal grounds. Do we have to import leaders from abroad or take an Obama franchise to rule India ? These politicians are certainly not fit to vote. It is a disgrace to vote for such thugs, power brokers ( Alliances ) and I feel deeply depressed to see them live on TV with no agenda and issues to solve the problems of our country. Today our country is a hotch-potch country, a KICHRI rather. Whom should we vote for ? Which party or candidate deserves our vote ? NONE

We are a nation of youngsters as majority of Indian population is below the age of 28 or so. In this 'Youngistan' (as some advt calls it), we need politicians who understand that generation. We need polticians who can contribute to that generation. We need polticians who can make a strong India out of these youngsters. The right, left or centre - all parties still strive on some 100 year old ideologies and beliefs. Political parties in developed have adopted new strategies to deal with new generation. In UK Labour party called itself New Labour to usher in a new administration. Barack Obama presented change and hope as keywords to bring in youth to electoral politics.

We still have 70+ year old people running most of the parties. These power hungry people from Nehruvian era still think India just attained independence. Most of them do not know the underlying power the new generation holds. Instead of supporting and developing new generations, these bunch of political weeds try and suppress their freedom. Wake up Young India, wake up. Ask these political parties to give us youthful leaders who can lead us to take on the world and become an economic super power and a proud nation.

Thursday, April 9, 2009


This week’s shoe-chucking incident has, albeit in an unseemly fashion, highlighted the issue of political parties fielding candidates linked to communal riots, as well as the inability to deliver justice to the victims of such riots.

In this case, it was sheer political cynicism on the part of the Congress to renominate Jagdish Tytler and Sajjan Kumar, accused of involvement in the anti-Sikh riots of 1984, as Lok Sabha candidates in Delhi. The party should, legal technicalities notwithstanding, drop the duo. Such a move would help in defining the necessary exclusion of communally-tainted persons from mainstream political life.

By the time of writing this article, both Tytler and Sajjan Kumar have been removed by Madame Sonia Gandhi, out of sheer vote bank compulsion but not out of sincerity to give punishment to the above guilty. Both will still remain unpunished for ever.

But then, the nomination itself underscores the ritualised acceptance of communalisation in India. And indeed, for some, the very means of political mobilisation. Communal riots, thus, are often seen as periodic, and expected, consequences of such a polity, and consequently, despite extant pertinent laws, the perpetrators almost always manage to go scot free. And it is this political acceptance, even encouragement, of such violence that has translated into official apathy towards punishing the guilty. The dismal record of our investigative and legal apparatus on that count is, therefore, hardly a surprise.

This institutional failure can hardly be remedied except by envisioning law-enforcement agencies as truly independent of political influence, which in turn can only be firmly established if political practice moves away from competitive identity management. Given some form of such independence, as the Supreme Court appointed Special Investigative Team probing the Gujarat riots of 2002 is displaying, the law can catch up with even high-level leaders behind such massacres.

In fact, the arrest of Maya Kodnani, BJP leader and former minister in Narendra Modi’s regime, for her role in a riot, is the first time a minister-level person has been arrested for communal violence. And perhaps of even greater import was the remark of Justice D H Waghela of the Gujarat High Court on the case, who compared religious fanatics involved in mass murders to terrorists. That, given the horrors of a communal riot, is a description that should define the legal consequences, and be a step towards prevention and justice.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009


American Presidents while taking oath of office, always refer to God, the Bible and Christian values in their opening speech to the nation. Their no address is complete without referring to their religion.

They sound almost like a scripture teachers in one of our convent schools. The American media notices it, even comments upon it. But no one ever suggests that the President sounds like a fundamentalist. A good Christian, perhaps. But a fundamentalist, heavens no!

Now imagine if someone like Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee were to talk so much about Ram or Hindutva in his inaugural address, or flaunt his Hindu education and background the way American Presidents do about their Christian upbringing, can you think of the outrage it would have provoked?

Everyone, including our media, would have flayed him for stoking the fires of Hindu fundamentalism. As it is, the world press keeps referring to the BJP-led NDA as spearheading Hindu fundamentalism.

In other words, being a good Christian is politically correct in free America but being a good Hindu is politically incorrect in secular India. Why? Why is the American President not slandered as a bigot when he speaks about God, the Bible and Christian values while the Indian prime minister is called a Hindu zealot when he refers to Ram or Hindutva?

After all, what are we looking for in our leaders? Denial of religion? Atheism? Is atheism synonymous with secularism? Or is secularism the ability to pursue your own faith with conviction and respect the right of others to do the same?

We are back to semantics here and this is the real difference between secularism as propagated by Mahatma Gandhi and secularism as it has been practised by his political heirs led by Jawaharlal Nehru.

Gandhi saw it as the co-existence of all religions and urged everyone to follow his own faith with even greater conviction while Nehru, a self-professed agnostic, saw it as the gradual erosion of the role of religion in a modern society.

So, while Gandhi pleaded for more faith, better understanding and a bigger role for religion in creating a truly secular state, Nehru idolised the blossoming of the scientific temper, which he believed would eventually diminish if not entirely wipe out the role of religion in our political culture. It achieved precisely the opposite.

American Presidents are not in the least embarrassed by their faith. In fact, they see it as their strength. They see it as the strength of their nation. So they drop all pretences, all hypocrisy and speak out openly for what they think is the solution to most of America's problems, as well as the world's. Faith. Religious faith, in their case, Christianity. But, for others, whatever their faith is.

It is not religion that exacerbates conflict; it is the absence of religion. When we stop being good Hindus or good Muslims or good Christians, that is when we pick up weapons against each other to fight wars in the name of religion.

All conflict is actually secular. People may raise the banner of faith but they are actually covering up the real reasons for the conflict which are sometimes political and, more often, plain criminal.

American conferences are a unique experience and what impresses most is political America's fierce commitment to its faith. Of course Christianity is there, centrestage. But it was there as a symbol of America's faith in all religions and their right to coexist.

In one of conferences, the other side were the prime ministers of the Slovak Republic, Albania and Greenland. On the next table, the presidents of Croatia and Serbia and the governor of the Cayman Islands. Next to him, the home minister of the Tibetan government in exile, and his wife, the Dalai Lama's sister were on the adjoining table. It was a sangam of all faiths. Christians, Muslims, Hindus, Jews, Buddhists. They were all there, praying for a better, stronger, more compassionate world.

Luckily we, in India, have a strong judiciary that refuses to yield ground to over-ambitious political leaders. We have a democracy that is stubborn, brave, uncompromising.

Maybe it is time to reject cant and hypocrisy, shed this sham of political correctness. Let us, as a nation, admit to ourselves that there is absolutely nothing to be ashamed of when we speak of our religion, our faith.

A good Hindu is no less than a good Christian or a good Muslim and it is time we acknowledged this simple, inescapable fact in a nation that has been the crucible of faith for centuries.

In this acknowledgement lies our future. As Hindus, as Indians. As a nation on the move.

There is, there can be nothing endearing about faithlessness.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009


"Democracy is good. I say this because other systems are worse."

-Jawaharlal Nehru

The list of casualties of India’s enviable democratic system include, ironically some “non negotiable” cornerstones of democracy: idealism, integrity, egalitarianism, justice and, of course, governance. However, even more vexing is the widely prevalent lack of common sense; very often, we hear (with a hint of derision) that common sense is not so common in ‘common’ people! Will this continue to be the mantra for the upwardly mobile Generation X in India?

The root of all that is wrong with our democracy, however, appears to be the negative approach of citizens towards voting – “Bad officials are elected by good citizens who do not vote”. Voting has today become a trade and the “VOTE” a highly tradable commodity. Very often elections are reduced to a sham wherein the highest bidder (those who offer the most rewarding inducements and rewards) emerges victorious, sans merit, competency or interest. Indeed, most voters are simply apathetic because the factor that tilts the fate of elections is the ubiquitous “vote banks”, which is explicitly manipulated by the political parties. For example, Party X secures the votes of minorities, while Party Y’s support base comes from the urban middle class – this preference is often made for short-term contentment and lacks any larger vision or commitment.

Present day politics in India is so overtly besmirched by our netas that the thinking man or most educated citizens in India do not want to risk applying his or her mind in an effort to vote, let alone establishing changes in the society, because he believes it is a dead cause and any attempt is but an exercise in futility.

Such is the bane of our existence in this country, prisoner or warden, leftist or rightist, owner or slave, man or superman; we have resigned our fate as guinea pigs in this experiment in democracy and self-rule. What happened to the belief that we could right what was wrong, that as individuals we were capable of heroic thoughts and actions?

But this could all change - if you decide to change it. It is really quite simple; people look at wine differently after spending quality time in France. All good changes start when we revolutionize our perception. We urge every Indian to control the disparagement of the system, exercise their denigrating attitude, and view India as their new canvas. Realize and celebrate the true potential of your dream for this country for there is definitely hope.

The populace is now entitled to review valuable details on the candidates standing for elections; information can now be accessed from the Election Commission websites. This right to information will enable us to make a deliberate choice while voting, and to appraise the candidates based on the information such as their criminal antecedents, assets and liabilities and educational qualifications – this will resuscitate the dogma of “determined votes”. The parties can no more obfuscate their agenda.

The initiative that PAC started in 1996, to inspire educated choices for local elections, has been an aid for citizenry to make deliberate decisions. It was to be trampled by cynicism at its inception, but today it is a force with which people can device their nationwide dream. Along with this the new initiative “Vote Bengaluru” is once again the vehicle on which people can practice their power of choice, use their voice. Vote Bengaluru – an agenda to improve the voting system, to cleanse the voters’ list, motivate voters, encourage independent candidates, is a platform from which we can only soar up high.

Awake from your indolence, the fate of the future generation and “India Tomorrow” rests on your shoulders. Dispense of your frivolous blame game and pull up your socks, because if you believe that politics does not affect you or your family, you are WRONG. It does! The truth is it decides the taxes you pay, your entitlements, even the price of the rations you pick up from the market,because it is the politicians who decide on the policies, they who represent your cause for concerns, they who process your criticisms and comments and decide whether it needs to see the light of day or not. Because the decisions taken decades ago by our politicians still affect us, therefore, your actions today decide your tomorrow. The problem that exists in our electoral system, the corruption in our society, and child labour will continue to exist unless you do something about it. Make a choice, read the newspapers, use the Internet, educate the others, make the right decision for your future - this is your story – make it matter!

The difference between thoughtful participation and apathy is that of the living and the dead.

UPDATE: I have received an update from my friend, who notified me about the issue of "Negative Vote or Right Not to Vote"

Below is the email he sent to me :

Dear Vaneet,

I would like you to be aware of section 49-O of the electoral rules which is nothing but the voters right to REJECT ALL CANDIDATES IF NECESSARY. I am copy-pasting the relevant portions of the above said rules, that is, section 49-O for your perusal and needful. I suggest that the mass media should be involved and newspaper and T.V. advertisements and coverage must be given to the right which we electors have to REJECT ALL CANDIDATES.
Kindly go through the following:

49-O is one of the sections of The Conduct of Elections Rules, 1961, which governs elections in India. It covers the procedures to be followed when a valid voter decides not to cast his vote, and decides to record this fact. In recent times, the urban educated electorate has not turned out in large numbers in Indian elections. This has been attributed to disillusionment with the system, and a perceived paucity of good candidates. In some cases, voters with valid identification documents have been turned away because impersonators had already cast their votes. Recording one's vote under Section 49-O is a choice that a voter can exercise to prevent electoral fraud, and misuse of his vote.

Since the ballot paper/EVM contains only the list of candidates, a voter cannot record his vote under Section 49-O directly. He must inform the presiding officer at the election booth. This violates the secrecy of the ballot.

Some recent articles suggest that in case the number of votes recorded under Section 49-O is greater than the maximum number of votes polled in favour of any of the candidates, a repoll is held. This is not explicitly mentioned in any of the sections of The Conduct of Elections Rules, 1961.

Sunday, March 29, 2009


The formation of a third front is gaining momentum, given the current state of political affairs in the country. In fact, the very idea of a third front was put forward when the CPI(M) General Secretary, Prakash Karat announced and is gaining strength every day. Though there is no doubt that both the big national parties – Congress and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) – cannot form a government on their own, as it has been quite evident over the past few years, for both these parties have seen a sustained erosion of their national appeal and those are the regional parties which have been eating into their share of the pie! The erosion has been so severe that in some states, some regional parties have literally overgrown to challenge the erstwhile supremacy of the big two.

In fact, of all the regional parties, it is Mayawati’s Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) which has done the maximum damage for them. Historically, it has often been observed that the party which rules Uttar Pradesh invariably makes Delhi as their next destination; and Mayawati has been successful in routing both the BJP and the Congress from a state which earlier used to be their bastion. Her party has not only marginalised both the Congress and the BJP in UP, but also has started making inroads into other states of critical importance from the perspective of national elections.

Looking at the way things are shaping up, there are three possible outcomes of the forthcoming Parliamentary elections – first, that of Congress forming a government with outside support from Mayawati and CPI(M)and other allies, second, being that of BJP forming a government with support from regional parties: and third, the third front also becoming a formidable alliance to form a government of their own. Now, in both the first and second cases, on account of the nuisance value of BSP, CPI (M), RJD, SP and other regional parties, both Congress and BJP would abstain from partnering a coalition with them, until and unless there is a dying compulsion. This leaves us with the third option, and that is, Prakash Karat’s third front coming together and forming a government. In fact, the very idea of a third front has already been formed including BJD, by BJP’s former ally, Chandrababu Naidu, who would do anything to make good his loss vis-a-vis the Congress in the last state elections. Moreover, other political parties who are partners in the current UPA coalition, like the NCP and RJD, have formed their own alliance and would not mind joining the third front as well, as there has been a clear conflict of interest in their respective states – Maharashtra and Goa for the former and Bihar and Jharkhand for the latter.

The same holds true for JD(S) in Karnataka as well. But irrespective of such a high probability, the biggest challenge that Prakash Karat would face would be in holding them all together to form a viable third front. And an even bigger challenge would be in terms of deciding who would finally lead the front. Looking at the way things are going, Mayawati stands a bigger chance for the same, but this is something that the CPI(M) leadership and NCP would not be able to accept. And this is exactly the point on which the very idea of a probable third front would die a premature death.

Now the question is: What is the solution to this impending imbroglio? Since i was in Delhi recently and happen to meet lot of friends who had deep interest in politics, incidentally, most of them had the same point of view. Though going by convention, it is almost impossible to even imagine that both BJP and Congress can come together and jointly form a government. But then, why not? This is any day a much better alternative than having the aforementioned third front, which would do nothing other than adding nuisance value at the Centre. Moreover, if one closely analyses the NDA and the UPA regimes, it becomes evident that on most policy matters, they have taken an almost identical stance during their respective tenures. Both the parties have been reform oriented with a strong focus on economic growth. Starting from the Golden Quadrilateral to the nuclear deal, both the parties have been maintaining almost a uniform stance. And the economic performance of the country has also seen almost similar trends in their respective tenures. In the given scenario, with so much in common, why can’t the two parties come together to form a government? If they can do so for the larger cause, burying their respective ideological differences, only then can we have a workable coalition, which would then sustain itself for the full five-year tenure. And then who knows, the political chemistry between the two parties could work in such a manner that then why just five years, they could move ahead to more terms.

A few days back, Congress President Sonia Gandhi and BJP leader Lal Krishna Advani were seen sharing a hearty laugh at the Rashtrapati Bhavan – only if they extended the same laughter to the next election and forged a grand alliance!!!

A National Govt. of both Congress and BJP is the need of the hour and they should bury their hatred for the sake of the country. Both have good leaders like Dr Manmohan Singh, P. Chidabaram etc. in Congress and Arun Jaitley, L.K. Advani, Narendra Modi in BJP. All the above leaders have the capacity and the capability to run a nation as they are leaders who do not seem to be corrupt and still have some national values as compared to the loose canon like a third front, which is a hotch-potch combination, only bound together to grab power and ultimately collapse under its own personal interests of their respective leaders.

Sunday, March 22, 2009


Did we ask for this kind of Nation ? A voting bazar, trading of seats called seat adjustments. All the tainted and corrupt trading in the open market for seats ? It is a mockery of democracy.

The problem is in our vision in trying to see things as what they should be rather than what they currently are. Unless we acknowledge that the current democratic system is not achieving the desired results, we will not think about how to change it. We are still waiting for a future date when the system will give the desired results, and not conceding that the system has been ineffective for the past 60 years. The case is not so much for a dictatorial form of government, as it is for any form of government or leadership that will achieve the desired economic and social progress in the country on a continuous basis. A few pertinent questions are: -

What is the use of giving a mass of people acepower in the form of voting when freedom in the more basic sense does not exist, where daily life is a fight?

What is the sense in having a system that changes its philosophy and track every 5 years and does not ensure uninterrupted progress, with no room for mid course corrections? We all know, we have 2 Indias. One extremely rich. Ambanis etc. and the other, a majority living below poverty line, striving for one meal a day ?

Where is the clarity in tackling real issues by any of our ace elected representatives? Where are the deliverables?

In India, the democratic system has given birth to a band of people who have no national interest in mind and the opportunists have cashed in. It is clear that democracy in the real sense has not existed, unless you consider only the system of voting once in every 5 years as democracy.

When Emperor Asoka ruled India 2500 years ago, every person lived a contented life during his rule. Did that system of dictatorship (called dynastic rule) not work better than our idea of democracy? It is obvious that only the front end is working, but the back end is incomplete.

The past 60 years are proof of the little progress we have made on various fronts. It is mainly because the average Indian still considers himself distant from the entire nation building process, except at election time. Is this the democratic process we are adamantly supporting? Democracy as a system will not work in nation of people with no national interest, unless we admit responsibility for our fate. It also seems that Indian politicians are afraid to progress and become efficient, because as time progresses one may find that they are redundant.

It seems like freedom wars of some sort will continue to happen in India ad infinitum, ad nauseum, whether it was freedom from the Mughals, the British and now, our politicians like Laloo Prasad Yadavs, Mayawatis etc. who are someday aspiring to be PM. There is a saying that goes, If doing a particular thing, does not give the desired result, then stop doing it. The same goes for a system that just does not work. Reinvention is the name of the game.

It is an example of the cargo cult metaphor which is the institution called democracy. Voting every so often to elect representatives that sit in a great big hall to decide matters of national importance is the front end. The deep backend requires an informed public at a minimum. Even under the best of circumstances, aggregating individual preferences is a risky venture as students of public choice theory will appreciate. (See Ken Arrow’s Impossibility Theorem.)

In the case of India, we have a cargo cult democracy. It looks like one with electronic voting machines and election speeches and manifestos, with pollsters and pundits, with election commissioners and voting stations. Only the deep backend is missing. There is no understanding of issues of substance among the people who vote. Put up a name which is recognizable, and they would vote for or against that name. Promise enough freebies (free electricity, for instance) and they will vote for you, never mind that it may bankrupt the state and that eventually it will impoverish the same voting public.

For democracy to work, you need accountability — both among those who vote and those who are elected. In an area where the government is seen as a source for endless handouts by the people, and the leaders look upon their stint in the driving seat as an excellent opportunity to steal from the public, democracy is not likely to work. All the talk about the smart voter is so much hogwash that the mind boggles.

Do we want this kind of democracy ? When I see images of political leaders on TV everyday, I feel disgusted. They have no ideology, values. Ethos or national character which an Indian asks for. Maulayam Singh Yadavs, Amar Singhs, Sharad Pawars, Lallus, Mayawatis, Jayalalitas and many more like them are traders in the garb of political parties. Congress and BJP, two main parties trying to make seat adjustments with regional parties, just to grab power, nothing else ? Each one of them want their pound of flesh. We the citizens like dummies watch, listen and read about these wheeler-dealers everyday and do nothing about it ? A full platform of vote trading happens in front of us and we like impotents cant do a thing about it !

I shun this kind of democracy and I want change. It is a mockery of democracy and trading going on, like we see in the stock market or while you are buying your daily vegetables or fruits. Trying to bargain with a vegetable vendor.

I want to change this forever…. This is not my India, I wanted.

Thursday, March 19, 2009


In the interest of giving a fillip to the economy, the government should consider the idea of holding general elections every two years. This will serve a dual purpose. Accountibility and implementation of various public welfare programmes will get faster and all the reigning govts. will fast forward to complete the programmes in a time bound manner. If not, they will thrown out after 2 years and the people wont have to crib and wait for long 5 years to get accountibility. Public memory will remain short and economy will get boosters after every 2 years.

Besides countering the anti-incumbency factor by making each term barely longer than the usual honeymoon period, they could also think of the entire election process and campaign as a variant of NREG scheme, guaranteeing a minimum of 90 days of employment to people across India.

There is the poster and banner making industry, not to mention election merchandise like pennants, badges, caps, anga-vastrams. There are tentwallahs and microphone-wallahs, all manner of car and taxi owners, not to mention private jet and helicopter owners who see a spurt in business during that time.

Print and electronic media get a fresh flush of election-related advertising to tide over lean times, advertising professionals make a killing by helping out with election campaign films and ditties, and even out-of-work stand up comedians find employment as “crowd warmers” at election meetings.

Security guards, bulk food suppliers, cooks and cleaners to rustle up meals at rallies for restive crowds and ‘seasonal’ party workers all benefit from the hubbub.

The need for rooms for campaign offices in various parts of every constituency, the staff to man them, furniture and communication equipment also spells opportunity for landlords, furniturewallahs and electronics store owners.

With the Election Commission getting more and more vigilant about violations of the code of conduct, there is plenty of opportunity for videographers and photographers to loan their services as cameras-on-hire, either for government agencies or for pernickety rivals.

Naturally all the various types of technicians who process such tapes, not to mention the CD makers will also see a rise in demand.

Around Rs 10,000 crore is said to be up for grabs to be injected into the economy for the elections. That may be just about half of the NREGA outlay, but surely still enough to be considered as a bi-annual booster-shot?

Saturday, March 14, 2009


Abraham Lincoln – For his remarkable role in transformation of American mindset and society.

Obama- sold hope and change. Yet to prove himself.

I do not find someone else who has been as effective however good they may have been. So, I will just offer my take on some of the great personalities who have been hailed as leaders.

Napolaon – Partially yes. But he did not have most of the good qualities of a good leader like good behavior, emotional maturity. Probably his Prime Minister Talleyrand was a much better Leader but due to a combination of factors that included his own handicapped status, he could not overtake Napoleon.

Hitler – Not by any stretch of Imagination. He was a possessed individual who can never be classified as a leader.

Lenin – Not even when I stretch my imagination beyond the breaking point. Lenin was a puppet of the Capitalist US to overthrow Tsar rule in USSR. He was financed by Wall Street. He did not have any credentials to be a good leader.

Stalin – Again only partially yes (And by partial I mean only a very small %age).

Most Important behavior-patterns/characteristics of the leader.

A Good Sense of Humor, level headedness, single minded zeal with vision. Yes, in my opinion, these are the first and the foremost qualities. Everything else will fail to materialize if a leader does not have these qualities. No matter how good an orator he is, No Matter how much proud he is of his country, and No matter how much educated he is.

The kind of transformation that a leader can drive.

A leader is as good as his followers. All said and done, still someone needs to channelize the efforts of masses. So, if a leader gets able support of his people he Can derive unrealistic transformations. But all other factors need to fall in place.

Does anyone among the current crop of Indians (somewhat well-known) have the potential to be a great leader (off course no one has the demonstrated but has someone got the inherent potential or has someone shown flashes of brilliance).

APJ Abdul Kalam Azad – Yes, he has what it takes to be a good leader, but then after his retirement from Presidential Bhawan, got lost because no one supported him. Just cutting ribbons here and there.

Tatas, Birla – No way.

Ambanis – Are you crazy. They will sell the nation in stock market.

Narayanmurty – I will prefer not to comment.

Nilekeni – Yes, he has the qualities, but then needs to prove himself at a bigger stage.

Narendra Modi- Yes, the best bet so far..

The Most Important factor that prevents the emergence of good leaders other than the outlined ones like genetics, etc.

Fear Factor:

It is this factor that we need to change. We need to change our thinking patterns. We need to be honest and fearless in voicing opinions as well as arguments. Unless, we can change these aspects, we would not get good leaders. Because, the good leaders won’t emerge unless there is support for their ideology. And in current India, I do not see there will be any support for it.

We Indians basically by nature are a scared lot, may be genitically. Perhaps, thousands of years of slavery by Sultans, Mongolians, Mughals and Britishers had impacted our fore-fathers a lot.

Natives of India were trained to obey orders from the rulers from time to time. That in-depth fear factor has seeped in and gone down to many generations, event the present ones. We love to discuss and criticize our politicians, bureaucrats and the rulers, the people who govern us in the confines of our drawing rooms. But when it comes to real brasstacks, by supporting a cause openly which is in the interest of the people, our nation, we shirk to participate and don’t endorse the cause due to fear factor, backlash and various other reasons. If this is the case, how can we expect to get good leaders ? After all good leaders have to come from the society, which never endorses a good cause.

It results in Mafia, goondas, corrupt and people who want to make politics as a profession to enter politics and they become our representatives in Assembly and the Parliament. These people are familiar with our phyche and they rule over us, breaking all the rules and making a mockery of a so called democracy in India. We create the vaccume and they fill to govern us.

If we want good leaders, we will have to come out openly to support a worthy cause which is in the interest of our nation. We must stand up firmly and listen to our heart to support a cause which demands numbers. Otherwise we are destined to live as we live today. But for God’s sake, stop criticizing the current lot of public servants as they are the people who are ruling over us, whom we never try to question openly.

All Kinds of Comments and Criticism Welcome.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Narendra Modi as Prime Minister? Why Not? PART - I

I am reproducing an article by Bandyopadhyay Arindham on Narendra Modi. I understand that many people have lot of misconceptions about the man. This is the best article i could find On Modi. L.K. Advani is too old to handle things. Congress means Dynastic Rule. Without Sonia Gandhi or may be, without Rahul Gandhi, Congress is a big zero. Rahul Gandhi is yet to prove himself. We want tried and tested leader at the Centre. Regional Parties create chaos and are misfit for Centre. What is the option ? Certainly not, L.K. Advani but for good goverance, we need Narendra Modi. He is the need of the hour. Many of you may not agree with me. This is my personal opinion and the feedback i get from lot of sources in India.

The recent drama that evolved when Anil Ambani, Sunil Mittal, Ratan Tata and other industrialists lauded Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi at the investors" summit in Gujarat, claiming his leadership as "national level material" and wishing that "person like him should be the next leader of the country", was quite interesting and deserves an honest appraisal.

The unsuspecting media was totally unprepared for such accolades from the stalwarts of India Incorporate for the alleged "merchant of death". The next few days saw numerous news and articles popping up as to why Modi cannot be the Prime Minister of this country. Congress spokesperson called him a fascist and compared with Hitler. There were attempts to develop a rift between Modi and the BJP"s Prime Minister Candidate, Mr. L. K. Advani that lasted till Modi himself declared, much to the disappointment of the media, that he is not in the race for PM. An editorial in Times of India went to the extent of disqualifying him on the ridiculous ground that he was denied visa to the USA and thought that to be considered for the Indian PM post, Modi has to be acceptable to foreign countries. Coming from an editor of a national newspaper, it is intriguing how far one can lower one"s self and national esteem.

Narendra Modi and Gujrat Riot 2002

No discussion can happen on Mr. Narendra Modi, without talking about the Gujarat riot of 2002. Communal riots are not new in India or for that matter, in the state of Gujarat itself - it has happened since medieval times. Neither was the Gujarat riot of 2002 the largest in the history of the state - more extensive and more prolonged violence with much higher death tolls had happened in 1969 and 1985, under the rule of Congress governments.

Those who vilify Modi as a representative of Hindutva politicis of the BJP or RSS kind, fail to remember that Hindu - Muslim riots happened even before the RSS was founded in 1925 or the BJP in 1980. Hindus, known for their tolerance and faith in religious pluralism, are never known to be in conflict anywhere else in the world, but the same cannot be said of the followers of the extremist Muslims, not the Muslim community as a whole, involved in religious (against Hindus, Christians, Jews, Buddhists, etc) and sectarian (Shia, Sunnis, Ahmedhias, Kurds, Baloch etc) violence, not only in the subcontinent of India, Pakistan or Bangladesh, but also in Afghanistan, Middle east, Russia, China, Indonesia, Bosnia, Nigeria and other places.

They also conveniently downplay or misrepresent the cause of the 2002 riot, not a few stones thrown on a procession or a petty quarrel or a temple bell interrupting the tranquility of the namaj, but the systematically carried out Godhra Carnage where three bogies of the Ahmedabad bound Sabarmati Express were set on fire by a Muslim mob, on 27th February, 2002, killing over 50 people, mostly women and children, mostly karsevaks, returning from Ayodhya.

Modi has been accused of permitting, if not directly and deliberately commandeering the portrayed selective massacre and genocide of Muslims, ordering his police force to turn a blind eye, delaying Army help and in the process causing the death of anywhere between 1000 to 5000 Muslims.

It is hard to get true accounts of events that erupted on 28th Feb 2002 and beyond, from reported news and stories, almost all of them tainted with a bias against the Hindus and the Gujrat Chief Minister. However certain facts do stand out, even from accounts in the English media, not particularly known to be generous to Narendra Modi.

1. The Congress Union Minister of State for Home, Shriprakash Jaiswal, in Parliament on 11 May 2005, said 790 Muslims and 254 Hindus were killed in the riots. This is hardly consistent with a Muslim genocide.

2. The entire police force of 70,000 was deployed in Gujarat on 27 February itself in apprehension of riots. (The Hindustan Times Feb 28, 2002). Gujarat police fired more than 4,000 rounds in the first three days alone. Altogether the police arrested more than 27,000 people. National Minorities Commission Chairman John Joseph noted, "As on April 6, 126 persons were killed in police firing, of which 77 were Hindus." (The Telegraph, April 21, 2002.). This does not tally with the accusation of a deliberately inactive police force.

3. "Shoot-at-sight" orders had been given in Godhra on February 27 itself. (Times Of India, Feb 27, 2002). 827 preventive arrests were made on the evening of February 27 itself, on Chief Minister Narendra Modi"s order. The State Government deployed the Rapid Action Force in Ahmedabad and other sensitive areas and the Centre sent in CRPF personnel, on February 27 itself even before a single riot had taken place. (The Indian Express, Feb 28, 2002)

4. Narendra Modi, frantically called the Army units to Ahmedabad on February 28th (The Hindu, March 1, 2002). Army units started arriving in Ahmedabad on the night of February 28th. On 1st and 2nd March 2002, riots took place even in places where the Indian Army was present, i.e. Ahmedabad and Vadodara, and close to 100 people each were killed, despite the presence of the Indian Army.

5. Only 2 deaths were reported on 3rd March in the entire state, and the main violence ended on 3rd March 2002. After 3rd March 2002, riots took place almost entirely in those places where the Army was posted. Subsequently there were 157 riots and all of them were started by Muslim groups (India Today, June 24, 2002).

6. As early as 5 March 2002, out of the 98 relief / refugee camps set up in the state, 85 were for the Muslims and 13 were for the Hindus. As on 17 March 2002, as per The Times of India, 10,000 Hindus were rendered homeless in Ahmedabad alone. As on 25 April 2002, out of the 1 lakh 40 thousand refugees, some 1 lakh were Muslims and 40 thousand were Hindus. Again this is not consistent with the unilateral Muslim sufferings that have been portrayed.

7. India Today weekly in its issue dated 20 May 2002 clearly admits that, far from being anti-Muslim, the Gujarat police did not act speedily against Muslim fanatics and rioters, for fear of being called anti-Muslim by the biased and partisan media

As for the issue of deployment of army, this is what India Today reported on its 18 March 2002 issue .

FEB 27, 2002

8.03 AM: Incident at Godhra claims lives of 57 kar sevaks.
8.30 AM: Modi is informed of the carnage.
4.30 PM: Modi gives shoot-at-sight orders to the police.
10.30 PM: CM orders curfew in sensitive places and pre-emptive arrests.

FEB 28, 2002

8.00 AM: Special control room set up in CM"s house.
12.00 PM: Modi informally contacts Centre for calling in army.
4.00 PM: Modi requests army deployment following consultations with Advani.
7.00 PM: The Gujarat Government"s formal request for army deployment is received in Delhi.
11.30 PM: Airlifting of troops begins

MARCH 1, 2002

2.30 AM: A brigade reaches Ahmedabad.
9.00 AM: Discussions between representatives of the army and the state take place, followed by troop flag march in Ahmedabad."

Thus, contrary to the accusation of the "fiddling Nero", Mr. Modi did act timely, spontaneously and with due importance to the seriousness of the matter. The National Human Rights Commission and the Minorities Commission "accepted the Gujarat government"s contention that it did foresee trouble and took precautionary steps to check it, but was caught by surprise and overwhelmed by the mob fury erupting on February 28."

That the retaliation of the Godhra train carnage was overwhelming for the available resources at his disposal was obvious, but to blame the Chief Minister or his administration for that would be as unjustified as to blame the Prime Minister, Mr. Manmohan Singh, for the recent obvious sloppiness and intelligence failure that one saw during the recent Mumbai terrorist attack of Nov 2008. Yet that has been and is still being done in such vigor that even most Hindus feel that it is the truth and are probably shameful about Mr. Narendra Modi.

Contrast this with the largest riot that happened in recent times, the anti Sikh riot in Delhi in 1984, in the aftermath of Indira Gandhi"s assassination. In that incidence, officially 3,000 Sikhs were killed and may be 10,000 in actual number. Not a single Congressman was killed, not even one person was killed in police firing, and not even a single government relief camp was organized for the Sikhs in 1984. The joint report on the riots, by the People"s Union of Civil Liberties and the People"s Union of Democratic Rights, mentioned the names of 16 important Congressmen and 13 police officers among those accused by survivors and witnesses.

The Army was deployed but was not allowed to act without permission of senior police officers and hence was ineffective. And this was the justification of the then Prime Minister, Mr. Rajiv Gandhi, "Some riots took place in the country following the murder of Indiraji ... it seemed that India had been shaken. But, when a mighty tree falls, it is only natural that the earth around it does shake a little."

So, can one accuse that there was deliberate failure of administration in the anti-Sikh riots? Can one be justified to call it a Congress-sponsored genocide and pogrom? Did anybody dare to challenge or disqualify Mr. Rajiv Gandhi as the Prime Minister then?

Narendra Modi - the person

Mr. Modi has been described as a phenomenon of a kind India has not seen for a long time. Born on 17 September 1950 to a middle class OBC family in northern Gujarat, he has a Masters graduate degree in Political Science from Gujarat University. Having an RSS background, he was a student leader of Akhil Bhartiya Vidhyarthi Parishad and played a prominent role in the anticorruption movement in 1974 in Gujarat. He later joined the BJP in 1987 and became a National secretary of the party in 1995. Later in 2001, he became the Chief Minister of Gujarat.

The biggest challenge which Narendra Modi had to face when he took over as the chief minister was the reconstruction of the earthquake affected areas. Bhuj was a city of rubble. People were living in temporary shelters without basic infrastructure. Earthquake recovery became his first priority. His dynamic vision and quick decisions have put Gujarat Reconstruction Program as one of the best reconstruction programs on the global map and set a benchmark for reconstruction and disaster recovery, not only in India, but also in the entire Asia, for which he achieved global recognition.

He is perceived as an honest, capable man who has taken Gujarat to greater heights of prosperity, since then. He was reelected for the third time in 2007 after a hard fought battle of ballots, in which he single handedly fought not only the Congress lead opposition but also the biased and prejudiced media and his own disgruntled party members.

With a reputation revolving around his incorruptible image and ascetic style of living, he is a workaholic, with a no-nonsense attitude who is unafraid to call a spade a spade. A person who cares less for political correctness and social connections, he is a patriotic karmayogi, whose vision is to make Gujarat at par with developed nations. A proud nationalist, on being asked whether it hurt him that he couldn"t get a US visa, he responded, "I take this as an opportunity. I want my India to be so strong and prosperous that Americans will queue up to come to India. A day will come when Americans will yearn to come to Gujarat."

It is this passion that makes Modi different - a passion for developing Gujarat, a passion to uplift the living standards of its people, a passion to place his Bharatmata back to her days of glory again. And this he tries to do with action and not false promises or gimmicks.

After the Gujarat riot, he has been the target of pathological hatred of the leftist, pseudo-secular, sociopolitical crowd and specially the English media and has been ornamented with numerous chosen abuses like a mass murderer, a dictator, a fascist, a Hitler, an ugly Indian, a maut ka saudagar, but all that has increased his resolve and his determination that he took back to his voters, who returned him stronger and triumphant with their love and respect.

He remained untouched by all the filth and unfazed by all the accusation and lies thrown at him. "Do you think the Centre would have left me like this if they had any proof against me? I have a government that is unfavourable at the Centre and their quietness says it all", He once shot back to an interviewer.

"We have a vibrant media, an active judiciary and global human rights groups working in the country. If there was even the slightest evidence that I had committed a crime, I would have been hanged long since", he said to another.

The Gujarati people have probably found in him what they like to see in any Indian politician - leadership, transparency, accountability, incorruptibility. He is unshakable in his commitments, to the extent of being arrogant, yet humble and down to earth. "I didn"t become CM on 07-10-2001. I have always been CM, I am CM today and shall be CM forever. For me CM means not Chief Minister but Common Man." Many can say but not many can act that way.

There are not many leaders in our country that spends his New Years Day with BSF forces at the border and feels and acts for the simple rights of the soldiers to have access to basic amenities like drinking water, electricity and telecommunications services to talk to their families

It is been hitherto a rare combination in the current Indian sociopolitical scene where one denounce a crime but not the powerful criminal, condemns a terror act but delays punishment of the terrorist, criticizes corruption but fails to indict the corrupt, where a politician is selected because of his popularity, even if it is for a wrong cause or because of his families and contacts and where a significant percentage of politician have pending cases against them on charges as varied as briberies, extortions, rapes and even murders.

No doubt he is endorsed by his party senior, Mr. Advani, "I can think of no other example in Indian politics of a leader who, after being subjected to a malicious and prolonged campaign of vilification, has been able to impress even his critics with his determination, single-minded focus, integrity and a wide array of achievements in a relatively short time"


Saturday, March 7, 2009


Like death, elections are inevitable in any parliamentary democracy. Only the timing is a matter of suspense. Just like an ordinary mortal with healthy habits & family history of longevity is likely to live for 70-80 years similarly election come every five years (with occasional mid term polls) & are no less colorful than the famous “Kumbh Fair” where sinners & saints gather to better their fortunes by taking a dip in the confluence of holy rivers.

People try their best to get a party ticket to contest elections a stepping stones to riches, fame & power. Those who are left in the race but are influential or stupid or gamblers try their luck as independents.

Months of noise, hustle & bustle is followed by an eerie silence & then the climax is unfolded the victors celebrate like there is no tomorrow & the vanquished vanish like rats just before storm. Graffiti, festoons & placards make the whole country look like a carnival with occasional gun shots & booth rigging.

Money, muscle & mistress are pressed in to service with liquor & sumptuous meal for the foot soldiers depending on the strength of the party. Star campaigners hop across the country like poets in the festival of colors called Holi.

The story does not end after elections there is jockeying for ministerial birth the license to mint money & pay back dividends to the stake holders called supporters. Then follows a game of musical chairs by reshuffling & transfer of civil servants loyal to the person in the seat of power.

The power equation changes over night. The suspense continues in case the ruling party has slim majority & lots of horse trading takes place with sting operation galore duly televised. I feel irritated to see the whole city swimming in a sea of graffiti & traffic jams everywhere.

Frankly, I do not find any one worthy of my vote but dutifully stand in the queue to have the false sense of being god for a moment. Or may be I do not want to be called an idiot.
Would like to know your reaction!

Thursday, March 5, 2009


Power to the people, is a slogan now rarely heard. To many, all it means is electrification of homes! Yet, these four words have the force of history behind them.

They connote a philosophy, a system of governance, which has swept across the globe, laying low many a king, feudal lord and dictator. Not all autocrats and despots have disappeared yet, but the idea of people’s power has certainly shaken them.

Democracy is a necessary means of empowering people; however, to the extent it is restricted to voting, it is far from sufficient. Electoral democracy has many limitations — even drawbacks — especially when it degenerates into majoritarianism or unregulated licence. Oppression of the few by the many is, unfortunately, not an unknown by-product of democracy. Ironically, the reverse — small organised groups of hoodlums holding the majority to ransom (as in many bandhs and strikes) — is also facilitated by “democratic freedom” and encouraged by vote-bank politics. If empowerment of every individual is the goal, it is necessary to go beyond mere elections and ensure: participatory democracy; tolerance and encouragement of diversity in life-style and thought; decentralisation of political and economic power; and equitable access to information, communication and education.

Decentralisation — through the creation of a third level of formal governance by constitutional amendments empowering panchayats and urban local bodies —and the Right to Information Act have, together, given a huge boost to grass-roots democracy and accountability. Potentially, these are revolutionary steps in truly transferring power to the people. Yet, the actual realisation of this is stymied by many obstacles and sometimes contradicted by other measures. The rich and powerful continue to enjoy special privileges and wield influence completely disproportionate to their numbers; they also appropriate a far bigger share of public expenditure than is justified. The plight of the pedestrian is a good metaphor for this.

Political netas and corporate leaders are hardly ever seen walking in the streets of our cities (though a few do run on them during marathons). Therefore, pedestrians — mostly the ubiquitous but indefinable “common man” — get short shrift. Over the last few years, the motor car has been getting ever greater precedence over the pedestrian and the cyclist.

Footpaths have been shrinking in a flurry of road-widening projects, and even existing cycle-lanes have disappeared. An attempt in Delhi to give precedence to cycles and buses through dedicated lanes (as part of a bus rapid transit system) has met tremendous resistance from motorists. Fortunately, following its success in Delhi, a “metro” (train) system is now being put in place in major cities. However, one is not sure if this is a genuine recognition of the dire need to create mass public transportation systems, or is merely the flavour of the day.

The doubt about decision-makers’ serious commitment to efficient public mobility arises from the contrast between the hundreds of crores being spent on fly-overs and road-expansion in cities, and the distinct miserliness and lethargy with regard to procurement of buses and facilities for pedestrians. The priority for cars at the cost of pedestrians is evidenced by the “free left turn” at traffic signals. While this facilitates the movement of vehicular traffic, the resulting continuous flow means that a pedestrian wanting to cross the road must either be capable of out-running Usain Bolt, or be a great believer in re-incarnation! Pedestrian over-bridges and sky-walks would be solutions but these, unlike the proliferation of fly-overs, are a rarity. Escalators and lifts to help the aged or differently-abled to use overbridges — where they exist — are, of course, unaffordable, unlike fly-overs! Pedestrian subways are but few; in Delhi, the aspiring world-class city, they are so filthy and unsafe that no one uses them. This, but naturally, does not bother decision-makers.

In contrast, in many cities around the world, the pedestrian is getting increasing importance — and space. In London — a second home to many of India’s rich and powerful — the width of the foot-paths on Oxford Street, for example, is probably double that of the road. Despite the very heavy traffic and constant congestion, no one even thinks of widening the road at the cost of the foot-path. In many other cities, particularly in Europe, large areas are “pedestrian-only” zones. The result, despite adverse weather for many months in the year, is far more walkers. Most people there walk to and from the nearest station or bus-stop. In contrast, our shrinking, uneven and often non-existent footpaths discourage walking. Those who do walk are often left with no option but to use the road — disrupting traffic and risking injury. Little wonder that Indians prefer to use a car even for short distances. On the other hand, London and Singapore, amongst other cities, levy steep congestion charges on cars entering designated parts of the city, thereby discouraging use of private transport while reducing pollution and traffic density.

In most countries, public authorities and vehicle drivers respect pedestrian rights, giving walkers the right-of-way in many situations. In India, cars run on fuel power, but also on feudal power: they assume almost divine right-of-way everywhere. Government’s actions — through its investment policy, priorities and its disdain for pedestrians — reinforce this sense of superiority. Even in Mumbai, a city in which the offspring of the upper-classes too used to travel to school or college by bus or the “local” (train), the change is perceptible; driven, doubtless, by the neglect and decay of a public transport system trying hard to retain its legendary efficiency.

To make “power to the people” beyond mere cliché, what better way than by empowering pedestrians? Here is an opportunity for the central and state governments to work closely with the third tier, the urban body, and initiate a major exercise in pedestrianisation; to put this in the same class, and with similar priority and resources, as building fly-overs or modernising airport terminals. Industry and civil society must play a major role in shaping this new societal architecture and life-style, one that is environment-friendly and empowering.

The article is written by kiran Karnik. I am sharing it with you

Saturday, February 28, 2009


We have come to accept with equanimity — and therein lies the danger — that we are among the most corrupt countries in the world.

If you have had anything to do with any of our government institutions, whether central, state, regional or provincial, the one unremitting common denominator you find is corruption.

But have you ever wondered why and how institutions like IIMs, IITs and a few other institutions of excellence have remained 100% corruption-free, despite being government institutions? Before you contradict me saying a few years ago there was a leak in the Common Admission Test of IIMs, I may say that the leak, following a HRD ministry-IIMs stand-off, was from a government press and no IIM was involved in the unfortunate leak.

In any case, here, when I say these institutions are ‘corruption-free’ what I is mean that the probability that a student gains admission by means other than the admission criteria laid down is zero — not virtually zero, but zero. It is important to understand how these islands of integrity survive in this ocean of corruption, because that may be our only route to pulling our other institutions from the morass of corruption.

The systems and processes of admissions in these institutions are such that even a corrupt head of the institution wanting to oblige a political heavyweight, cannot influence the process of selection of the students. No one individual, or even a clique of powerful individuals can make a dent in the processes that govern the selection of students in these institutions. Not that undue pressures are not applied from the highest offices in the land to favour the son or daughter of so and so!

Fortunately, even a pliant head of institution, most keen to oblige the powers that be, cannot do so for the simple reason that he is in fact powerless. So when this head of institution tells the powers that be that, sorry, he cannot do anything to ensure the admission of the latter’s ward, he is not just taking a moral posture. He is telling the truth.

Of course, the nice thing is, when you belong to such an institution, the moral posturing comes automatically. Everybody believes in fairness. Everyone knows that his statement of inability to influence is also backed by the system. And that helps enormously.

The systems in these institutions ensure rigid compliance. What is interesting is that these systems are not rigid in the sense that they stymie individual initiatives or do not allow for situational exigencies. They do. And yet, the systems are such that the basic integrity is in no way ever compromised.

For the same reason, we must push for electoral reforms in the form of transparent and tax deductible contributions to political parties.

The ad-hoc system of underhand collections in the name of the party can help politicians line their own nests liberally before their party’s. The parties virtually set ‘targets’ of collections in return for party tickets and positions.

The politicos in turn set targets for those serving under them, they in turn set further targets down the line and the system cascades down all the way to a point where the police sub-inspector or even the constable may have ‘targets’ based on where he is posted. That is the reason politicos stoutly resist electoral reforms.

That is also the reason they resist giving the option “None of the above” to the electorate, so that if enough number of people vote for that option, all the candidates stand disqualified. And these are all the more reasons why, as a people, we must fight for such systemic improvements.

We have seen many other instances where introduction of proper and transparent systems have minimised corruption. For example, introduction of radio cabs with their electronic meters in cities like Hyderabad and Bangalore have eliminated much of the harassment of the passengers by cab drivers. Introduction of e-reservations eliminated much of the corruption on the Railway booking counters.

There is an interesting system of compliance in Israel. In some of the one-way passages, embedded on the road are these steel spikes, curved in one direction, such that a vehicle could move on it in the correct direction; but a vehicle trying to go in the opposite direction will get its tyres punctured — a system we could use in this country!

As the world’s largest democracy, we owe it to ourselves to recognise corruption for the rot that it is, eating away our innards. We need systemic solutions.

The above aricle is inspired by V Raghunathan.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009


Lok Sabha elections are round the corner and can be declared any time by Election Commission. It is a golden opportunity for us to get illegal swiss money back to india.

Dishonest industrialists, scandalous politicians and corrupt bureacrats have deposited in their swiss personal accounts a huge sum of about US$ 1456 Billion which has been misappropriated by them creating scandals, scams and by corruption.

This amount is about 13 times larger than foreign debt. This amount is such a big amount that 45 crores of poor people can get Rs. 100000/- each. This huge amount has been collected from the people of India by exploiting their funds, and by betraying people of India. So in reality this entire amount belongs to the people of India. All such money kept in to Foreign Banks must be declared as National property and it should be brought back to India. And for keeping such money in foreign banks illegally, all dishonest industrialists , scandalous politicians and corrupt officers must be punished at least for 10 years of mandatory imprisonment or punishment.

The function of delcaring such money lying in foreign banks illegally as the national property can be done in Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha only by making law. Government will not enact such law until there is heavy pressure on the Government from every corner of the country to make such a law because those who have collected such illegal money and kept into foreign banks are themselves sitting in the parliament and in the Government.

However, any Government has to yield to the heavy pressure of public opinion. Azadi Bachao Andolan is actively endeavouring to create such heavy pressure of public opinion to make such law. In this forthcoming election, we all have a golden opportunity to talk tough with the political parties and candidates, before elections on this issue.

People should declare not to vote for any candidate who does not promise in writing to make such law if elected in the parliament. If atmosphere is created, every political party and every candidate of every political party will have to promise to enact such law. Once all the candidates commit to enact such a law after they are elected in the parliament to get swiss money back to India, there is no one who can stop, swiss money coming back to India. All political parties should furnish an affidavit, before going to the elections, that they will enact this law within one year of being elected. If they are not able to enact such a law, people will have the right to recall such political parties and candidates. It should be binding on the political parties and no appeals to the court will be entertained by the judiciary. Reason being, we have a past experience of parties backing out from their promise, once elected.

Once this huge amount of illegal money comes back to India, entire foreign debt can be repaid immediately in 24 hours. After paying entire foreign debt, we will have surplus amount almost 12 times larger than the foreign debts. If this surplus amount is invested in earning interest, the amount of interest will be more than the annual budget of the Central Government. So even though all the taxes are totally abolished, then also Central Government will be able to maintain their extravagant expenses and huge wastages of money as being done since last 50 years.

Friday, February 20, 2009


The Indo-Pak peace initiative has always generated a wide range of excitement and enthusiasm among the cross section of people. One can understand the natural response of the peace loving people, who are deeply concerned with the gradual deepening dent of fear, suspicion and hatred between the two countries since partition.

I also tried a peace initiative after the Mumbai terrorist attack. I was writing my comments on a Pakistanti blog called “ Teeth Maestro “ which is a popular blog in Pakistan. My comments related to an article called “ Is India behaving like LET ? “. I was putting my comments from the Indian point of view and was trying to remove, many misconceptions, which Pakistanis have about India. The article was a guest blog by some hardcore Pakistani writer against India. While writing my comments, I came across the owner of the blog Dr. Awab who is the webmaster also of the blog. I showed my interest to write a guest blog, to which he agreed happily. My motive of writing the guest blog was to remove the misconceptions of aam admi of Pakistan, about India. I wrote an article “ Partition of Territory, not hearts “
You can read the article as per link also given in my email to you.

The comments I was receiving from Pakistanis was of utter hatred towards India and hindus. The comments were full of foul language, abuses and deep anger against India, specially hindus. The retaliation was natural from indians. They also blasted them like anything. I was all the time doing a role of a peace-maker between the two.I was trying to pacify both the sides, but to my utter dismay, Indians restrained themselves, but Pakistanis never stopped abusing. There were hardly any sane voices from across the border, except Farrah. K. Raja, who created a special blog of friendship, saying “ Vaneet, this is your page. “ The Webmaster played an obliging host but restrained himself from making comments, for reasons best known to him. When the abuses and foul language shifted to me personally by pakistanis, I called it a day. That was the end of peace initiative. Although Dr Awab, has sent me an email citing reasons for not participating in the discussions and apologised also for the misbehavior of Pakistanis, he also offered once again to restart the peace blog, which he has created once again. I have all the praise and regard for Dr Awab and Ms Farrah, who tried their best and sincerely tried to hold on to the peace initiative, but fanatic voices in Pakistan destroyed everything, overriding their sincere efforts. These fanatic voices called Mumbai terrorists as warriors and fighters. Their views reflected victory over India. " If 10 warriors can lay seige in Mumbai for 60 hours, just imagine few thousand would create havoc in India ".

But past experience of such exercise always proved to be a part of the military strategy of the successive rulers of Pakistan against India. No Indian leader had tried as hard as the former Prime Minister, Atal Bihari Vajpayee to establish friendly relations with Pakistan, but in stead of responding, the Pakistani leadership has spurned every move of his.

The purpose of this discussion does not mean to oppose the peace move but only to participate in a debate on viability of peace between the two countries. Historically, Bhakti movement was the first peace initiative for union of hearts between Hindus and Muslims in medieval India by diluting their conflict since the advent of Islam in India. But the Muslim rulers and thinkers after Great Mogul Akbar thwarted it. Even in 1857 Sepoy Mutiny, when an environment was created for unity of Hindus and Muslims, Sir Sayed Ahmad Khan polluted it. He launched the Aligarh movement to achieve Muslim supremacy over the Hindus and propounded the two-nation theory as a separatist ideology, which subsequently formed the ideological base for Pakistan Movement. Islamic warriors of Pakistan had hardly made any positive contribution during freedom struggle. They were scared of the concept of democracy, which meant end of Muslim domination over Hindus. They carried the ideological banner of the Two-Nation theory while supporting Pakistan Movement without realising that Partition was an unnatural division of a natural geo-political entity. The self-seeking rulers of Pakistan merged the politics of opportunisms and deception with emotive religious passion. Pakistan is in danger became synonym to the slogan of Islam is in danger.

Islamists were happy with creation of Pakistan but it did not satisfy them fully. They therefore, accelerated their protracted movement for Islamisation of whole of South Asia to fulfil their unfinished agenda. Responding to the design of Islamic clerics, the politically ambitious top echelons in Pak army, who mostly belonged to the elite class overthrew the successive elected Governments and became rulers of Pakistan. Under the unholy alliance between Islamists and Pak army, which emerged as a commanding force in controlling the political affairs the successive military rulers, gave a free hand to the Ulema to carry forward the centuries old legacy of hatred, mistrust and deep suspicion against the Hindus of Indian sub-continent.

In stead of involving their citizens in national re-construction programmes for economic development, the Pakistani leadership believed in re-construction of the history of Pakistan for a new national identity based on the philosophy of anti-Indianism. Accordingly, with a view to inculcating the concept of patriotism among their citizens, they deeply linked the origin of the national identity of Pakistan with the centuries old hate-Hindu voices and contemptuous acts of Muslim invaders, rulers and the leaders of Pakistan movement. In the process they never allowed any democratically elected government to survive for long.

The ideology of Pakistan as defined to students at every school and college in the country is nothing except anti-Indianism. In every walk of Pakistan from academia to journalism, from sports to bureaucracy a vast majority of people have been inculcated with fantastic anti India notions. [ Phrases like the Hindu mentality and devious Indian psyche are part of the daily military talk. Anti-Indianism, in short, runs deep in Pakistani state and society. It is a state of mind that cannot be switched off.

The broad expanse of South Asian history is a tabula rasa upon which Pakistani historians and policy makers have created the story of a new nation replete with cultural roots and ancient socio-religious trajectories.The story of Pakistans past is internationally written to be distinct from and often in direct contrast with interpretations of history found in India .

Depiction of Jinnah as a man of orthodox religious views, who sought the creation of a theocratic state and a move to establish ulama as genuine heroes of Pakistan Movement became a part of hate-India campaign. In short, anti-Indianism is synonymous to Pakistani Nationalism.With new national identity, Pakistan army fought four major wars against India. Promotion of terrorism since nineteen eighties including terrorist attacks on Indian Parliament, Kashmir Assembly, Mumbai terror attack and many has been a part of their military strategy. They are still pursuing the philosophy of two-nation theory on Kashmir issue.

After humiliating defeat during 1971 war, the subsequent Military ruler Zia-ul- Haq (1977-1988) accelerated the process of hate-Hindu campaign and turned it into a movement to develop a fervent patriotism on the basis of anti-Indianism among his countrymen. The text books of history and social studies were radically distorted by glorifying the villainous role of Muslim invaders and rulers. They were projected as liberators of Hindus from the so called torturous misrule of Hindu kings. From Muhammad bin - Qasims mass killing of Hindus of Sindh in 712 AD onward, the role of all the Muslim marauders, were glorified.

Muhammad bin Qasim, who assassinated all the young males of Sindh and sent thousands of Sindhi women to the harem of Abbassid Dynesty, Muhammad Ghaznavi, the villain of multiple iconoclastic incursions and Muhammad Ghori, whose betrayal with Prithviraj Chauhan is known to every Indian overnight became the prominent heroes in the history text book of Pakistan. They are placed on pedestals used as stepping-stones towards the inevitable unfolding of the ideology of Pakistan coming to closure with the near deification of the father of the nation Mohammad Ali Jinnah .

Contrary to the personification of Great Mogul Akbar as Pan- Indian liberal ruler by secular historians of India, the Pakistani historians regarded Akbars religious theory as apostasy. On the other hand the Pakistan text books glorified Aurangzeb and overlooked the killing his own brother and keeping his father in jail.
Can anyone expect that with the political ideology of Pakistani nationalism discussed above, the present generation will be ready for a long lasting peace with India? A number of Muslim scholars of repute in India consider partition a terrible blunder.

Ironically the Indian leadership too got trapped in Musharraf strategy by introducing Srinagar-Muzaffarabad bus, which will facilitate the forces operating cross-border terrorism. It is in fact a success of Musharraf, who kept India confused about his military design to score some points for his Kargil fiasco.

Even against the known designs of the military rulers discussed above, the successive leadership of India always ignored the history and kept the real issues in back burner. They never took any lesson from the past in handling the foreign affairs. They repeatedly committed mistakes like historic Prithviraj Chauhan while dealing with Mohammad Ghori. Four major invasions after partition followed by peace exercises like Tashkand Agreement, Shimla Accord, and former Prime Minister A.B.Vajpayees Lahore bus journey proved futile. Maharaj Shivaji was perhaps the only Indian hero, who was extra alert against the peace initiative of Saista Khan.

One can understand the problem of Pakistani citizens to overcome the hatred and suspicion against India from their mental frame due to chauvinistic discourse in their text books. Without unloading the hate-India mental burden, the present generation may not like to participate whole heartedly in any meaningful peace talk. Besides, it is an irony of fate that the Ulama and the elite section of Muslims, who had no positive legacy for freedom from colonial rule have still not freed the masses of Pakistan from their seize.

Indian Independence act 1947 under which both India and Pakistan was founded as Independent States also provided liberty to 562 pre-partition independent kingdoms under indirect British rule to sign instrument of accession with either of the two countries if they desired so. But there was no provision in the Act for any review or revocation of the instrument of accession once signed. The then ruler of Kashmir signed the instrument of accession in favour of India and Indian army intervened Pak army only after instrument of accession was signed by the ruler of Kashmir and his kingdom became an integral part of India but a part of it remained under the occupation of Pakistan, which is known as Pak occupied Kashmir. Even against this sound legal status of Kashmirs complete and final integration of India, Pakistani leadership is continuing Machiavellian propaganda campaign for its illegal claim.

Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh in response to the letter of Former Prime Minister Vajpayee assured that vital interests are fully safeguarded in peace talk with Pakistan. He was quite categorical saying, There can be no room in our discussions or in our actions for ambiguity regarding our position on Jammu and Kashmir. I have reiterated on every possible occasion that there can be no redrawing of boundaries. We have also ruled out any role for a third party either through interventions or as guarantor or as mediators in any form. Against the known stand of both India and Pakistan how people to people contact would remove the growing suspicion and mistrust between the two countries since partition until the boundary dispute and Kashmir issue are resolved remains a mystery.

Our past experience shows that Pakistan leadership always let us down after the peace initiative.

Against the historical background of Pakistan Movement, hate-India as national identity and political ideology of anti-Indianism any Indo-Pak peace initiative, which has created laudatory euphoria, excitement and enthusiasm among a cross section of people of the two countries may be meaningless. It has only provided an opportunity to the academicians, journalists and political observers to exchange their views like the aspirant orators expound in speakers corner in the world famous eighteenth century park in central London, any fruitful outcome is just like chasing a mirage.

One may wonder if there could be a solution for lasting peace in the region. Where there is a will there is a way is a popular saying. Let opinion makers in Pakistan, India and Bangladesh initiate a debate and create an environment for a movement against the separatist two-nation theory to unload this mental burden of the illiterate and uneducated Muslim masses of the three countries and reinvent their future political set up by forgetting the past. Except Israel, Pakistan is the only country in the world, which came to existence on the basis of religion. If European countries that too had fought among themselves presently have peaceful relation why not we?

It may apparently be a difficult proposition due to the bitter experience of situational ups and downs but may not be impossible. The only obstruction will be the unholy alliance of army, radical Islamists and the ruling elite of Pakistan. This ruling clique of Pakistan leadership may ridicule the idea and reincarnate Jinnahs ghost of Hindu domination over Muslims and use it as a tool to misguide their people. The opinions makers are to be watchful against such nefarious design.
Union of Hearts, which was the cherished dream of Mahatma Gandhi is the only solution for lasting peace in the region. Muslims. Alas! Jinnah had fought for Indians as a whole without separating his co-religionists from united India. Partition was an unnatural division of historically integrated and geographically compact India. Any viable solution for peace in the region needs natural union of the three unnaturally divided nations.

Saturday, February 7, 2009


My Dear Chaachaa & Bhatijaa Thakerays,


I hope, my missive finds you in a sombre mood, brooding over as to why you all did not come out in the open with your ( un !! )licenced arms, storm into the Taj Gateway/Nariman House or the CST Railway Station in the historical Chhattrapati spirit to kill the Afjal/Shaista Khans who came from the ocean on the fateful night of Nov.26, 2008.

You and your teeming lakhs of Chhattrapatis turned out to be cowering rabbits, brought shame on the great soul and patriot that Chhattrapati Shivaji Maharaj was, under whose glories you all have been basking all these years...and minting crores too !!! Did your hearts cry out in anguish when a number of widows who lost their husbands and a great mother who sacrificed her young son, walked up the stairs one by one to accept the medals, scroll of honour on the Republic Day from a Congress MARATHI MAANUSH President ? Did your hearts bleed then ??

Your hearts bled when very poor, weak, mal-nourished/under-nourished boys from Bihar/UP came over to Mumbai in search of jobs, then hundreds of petty, hefty and paid Chhattrapatis swooped down and thrashed them in public, in full view of the international media. And the boys did not retaliate at all !!! What laurels did you earn for the Marathi Manush, for Maharashtra, and India for that matter, if India really matters to you ??? The boys innocently thought, Mumbai is their country...and also that UP/Bihar equally belongs to all Maharashtrians as well !! And the reasons proffered by you to justify the assault are simply too pathetic, too flimsy to merit any serious discussion. Any genuine introspection shall leave you utterly self-humiliated and acutely embarrassed.

While you were holed-up in five-star comforts of your mansions like cowering rabbits, young boys from Bihar, UP, Haryana and Keral were defending Mumbai on that fateful night, without giving even an iota of selfish considerations to their families and their own lives. Did you behold that with tears in your eyes ???

Innumerable non-Maharashtrians have been sentimentally attached to Mumbai for long and I happen to be one of them, because I was born and brought up there. This association with Mumbai started when the British-Indian Army retired my grandfather in Mumbai. Don't say, my family went to Mumbai with a begging bowl.

When the nation was constituted, it was implicit, every corner of the country is accessible to everybody. Non-Maharashtrian businessmen established their production bases there...the journey of economic development moved on...Mumbai/Maharashtra became completely cosmopolitan, rather a mini-India within India. Every Indian has the right to be proud of Mumbai/Maharashtra and every Indian has equal right to ownership of Mumbai/Maharashtra just as you have the same equal right to ownership of Mumbai/Maharashtra as well entire India ( if you are inclined so !!!). No Chhattrapati including you both individually, has any right to question this ownership right of non-Maharashtrians to Mumbai/Maharashtra under any circumstance, whatsoever. Otherwise, there are several tough-nuts all over the country today who are waiting in their wings to strike a deadly blow to your mule-headed regionalism.

Since you both never move out of Maharashtra owing to your narrowed attitude and stunted intellect, I shall limit myself to Mumbai & Maharashtra alone for this 'With Warm Regards Mail'

Let me call out a few spades, a spade.

When General Vaidya was assassinated, so many non-Maharashtrians felt so miserable that they did not eat even a morsel on that day...I am too, one of them !!! It was very agonising to see a General being derogated in this manner by the anti-national forces. It just did not matter whether he was a Maharashtrian.

You too, suffer from the 'Ghetto mentality'.

Heal yourself and inspire all Chhattrapatis to heal themselves.

Tell them to spread out of Maharashtra all over India, settle down all around and merge into the larger Indian society.

Maharashtrians are very much my own people and I do not allow anyone to derogate them or offend their culture under any circumstance.

Every nook & corner of the country is rightfully owned by every Chhattrapati Maharashtrian and every nook & corner of Maharashtra is rightfully owned by every Indian.



Tuesday, February 3, 2009


Monthly Salary : 12,000

Expense for Constitution per month :10,000

Office expenditure per month :14,000

Traveling concession (Rs. 8 per km) :48,000 ( eg.For a visit from kerala to Delhi & return: 6000 km)

Daily DA TA during parliament meets :500/day

Charge for 1 class (A/C) in train:Free (For any number oftimes)
(All over India )

Charge for Business Class in flights :Free for 40 trips / year (With wife or P.A.)

Rent for MP hostel at Delhi :Free

Electricity costs at home : Freeup to 50,000 units

Local phone call charge :Free up to 1 ,70,000 calls.

TOTAL expense for a MP [having no qualification] per year : 32,00,000 [i.e. 2.66 lakh/month]

TOTAL expense for 5 years :1,60,00,000

For 534 MPs, the expense for 5 years :
8,54,40,00,000 (nearly 855 crores)

This is legal money from govt. treasury. Think of the illegal money
they have. It is unimaginable....

Certainly our public servants are the real Jamais." Raja amir, Janta Fakir. "


This is how all our tax money is been swallowed and price hike on our regular commodities.......
And this is the present condition of our country:

855 crores could make their life livable !!
Think of the great democracy we have.......

Still proud to be an Indian !!!!

Sunday, February 1, 2009


The following article is inspired by an eminent historian and writer Ramchandra Guha.

In 1960, Frank Moraes wrote that " there is no question of ( Jawaharlal Nehru's attempting to create a dynasty rule of his own, it would be inconsistent with his character and career ". Two things are significant about this statement: the year, and the writer. For Nehru's daughter, Indira Gandhi, had just finished a term as President Of Indian National Congress. And by 1960, Moraes had become a sharp critic of Nehru's policies.

Indira Gandhi brought Sanjay Gandhi into public life. During the Emergency of 1975-77, he was the second most powerful person in India, despite not being a minister or even an MP. He was now appointed general secretary, a clear sign that his mother hoped him to succeed her as Prime Minister.

6 months later, Sanjay died in a plane crash. Now Rajiv Gandhi was drafted into politics by his mother, and made general secretary of the Congress. This latter induction showed even more clearly than the 1st that the creation of a dynasty of her own was wholly consistent with the character and career of Indira Gandhi.

In a weak moment, Jawaharlal Nehru allowed Mrs. Gandhi one term as Congress President. His fellow Congressmen, such as Mahatma Gandhi, Vallabhbhai Patel and Rajendra Prasad, steadfastly refused to bring their own progeny into politics. In passing of her mantle to Sanjay and Rajiv, Mrs Gandhi thus acted in violation of Congress tradition. To quite an extent BJP too, does not have much sons and daughters in politics.

Once the oldest and greatest of Indian parties had decided that ideology took second place to genetics, why should the lesser parties stay loyal to their own past creeds ? Consider the career of DMK. This was the 1st successful party in India, whose idelogy embraced far more than opposition to the centre. Apart of dignity of the Tamils, the DMK also promoted caste reform and gender equality. Now all that it worries about is which son of Karunanidhi will succeed him as CM of Tamil Nadu. Or Mulayam Singh Yadav is more committed to socialism than to his son Akhilesh becoming a minister at the Centre or CM of Uttar Pradesh ?

By now, perhaps a dozen parties have become family firms, their rather grandnames notwithstanding. RJD shoud really be known as Lalu, Mrs Lalu & Co, H.D. Dev Gowda And Sons, The NCP as Sharad Pawar and Daughter Inc., Badal & Family ( pvt ) Ltd in Punjab. 6 ministers in Badal's cabinet are from Badal Family out of 18 ministers. When Sukhbir Badal was recently made Deputy CM of Punjab, there was no power cut, which in winters run to approx- 6-7 hours daily. You can imagine, what will happen in summers. But there seems to be one exception to the rule. Omar Abdullah, son of Farooq Abdullah, current CM of J&K seems to be energetic and a man with a vision. But only time will answer that.

That so many parties have followed in the path of Indira Gandhi's Congress has had a negative impact on democracy in India. The Aam Admi asks, is it what democracy all about ? The old idiom " Baap Raja, Beta Vazir, Janta fakir " is proved right in this kind of democracy.

Thus, it may be that the allure and significance of dynastic politics has peaked. It may be that indian voters are disenchanted with the placement of a family's interests above those of the state or country. This might be one conclusion that one can tentatively draw from electrol successes of Mayawati in UP and of Narendra Modi in Gujarat who, despite their ideological differences are yet united in the public eye by the perception that they cant forever be thinking of the interests of their sons or daughters or husbands or wives. Modi's sister is employed in a ordinary school earning Rs.ten thousand monthly.

The hypothesis will be put to the test in the coming Lok Sabha elections and years. Will Stalin be humbled at the polls by a woman who is not a wife or mother, namely, Jayalalitha ? Will Udhav Thackery come to be CM of Maharashtra or even the remote control behind him ? Above all, will Rahul Gandhi ever lead his party to a majority in Parliament, as his father, grandmother and great-grandfather had done before him ? If the answer to these questions are Yes, No and No respectively, one might may definately conclude that the heyday of dynastic politics is behind us.

Thursday, January 29, 2009


The following article is inspired by T.K. Arun.

The Satyam swindle is outrageous, no doubt. The facile outrage over this outrage, however, is even more outrageous. Politics in the world's largest
democracy is an expensive affair, running to several hundred thousand crore rupees every year. The bulk of this money comes from companies, generated off the books. Indians have collectively been closing their eyes to this malaise. Can the Satyam episode serve to shake off this sickly pretence? The Satyam culprits should, of course, be prosecuted. Even more germane is the need to overhaul the entire system of political funding that makes cooked books not only possible, but mandatory.

It was widely reported in the media recently that several crore rupees went missing from the BJP's central office in the Capital. No police complaint was filed. Assume this was a mere story. But does anyone have any doubt that not just the BJP, but every major political party in the country, funds itself out of the goodwill, forced or voluntary, of corporate India?

When we see our political leaders whizzing around in hired helicopters and chartered planes, let us be clear that some substantial contribution has been made by some industrial house or the other. Do all industrial houses disclose every paisa of what they contribute? Do they reveal even 10% of what they donate? Will those who receive these donations permit them to reveal that money has changed hands? After all, a significant portion of political contributions end up with individual leaders rather than with their parties.

And it is not just politicians and political parties that require to be propitiated to get things moving in our system. Bureaucrats too are important players in their own right who have to be taken care of. Civil servants who wear suits that cost more than their pay commission arrears and lead flamboyant lives symbolise money being generated off the books no less than high-flying politicians.

Nor is the problem limited to officials at the top. The petty bureaucracy is even more demanding, with more frequent, insistent and multifarious demands for permitting business in India to occupy buildings, make transactions, create jobs and incomes, indeed, to breathe. An automobile major dropped its plans to run company-owned showrooms in the country after pilot experiments came up with a shortage of grease - they could either service the cars on sale or lubricate the palms that suddenly proliferated all around.

Nor is this all. Protection rackets, some of them with a thin political disguise, also demand their cut. In the northeast, companies have shown, in the past, money paid as ransom to liberate kidnapped officials as deductible expense. This led to disputes. So such expenses all over India are now paid without being shown on the books at all.

And let us be clear. All these companies making these payments have employed internal and external auditors, to comply with regulatory requirement.

Reputed audit firms routinely sign off on books they perfectly know to be cooked in assorted ways. They have no choice but to collude. After all, they have to work in this country and with its business as it is. The blame lies with the system as a whole, not selectively with those who are forced to play a role in the system.

And the very creation of funds off the books generates further points of vulnerability and corruption that politicians and the bureaucracy can use to extort funds. Over-invoicing of supplies is a routine method. This calls for the collusion of a series of players along upward linkages. Most of them would insist on their take.

In the absence of an institutional method of funding politics, we have the present, alternate method of financing: loot of the exchequer, extortion from the public, corruption of the entire system. The rot runs deep and breaks to the surface occasionally as toxic pistules that may take the shape of a Satyam here or an engineer beaten to death for not coughing up money for a birthday bash, somewhere else.

This must change. But who will take the initiative? Political parties? Why should they, on their own, change a system that has been yielding riches on a grand scale to parties and partymen, at least the leaders? Some reform-minded politicians might emerge from the woodwork, however. But they will need a constituency of strong support. Who will provide that? The public at large should. But the lead should be taken by corporate India and large investors.

Market capitalisation on the stock market has emerged as the most vital source of riches for businessmen. Money off the books lowers the market cap. This is incentive enough for business leaders to take up the fight. In the increasingly globalising market for capital, clean books become even more vital. Historically, capitalists have played a revolutionary role in building democracy. Indian capitalists have their chance now to make history. Will they be content to just do more Satyams?

As far as i can understand supporting Narendra Modi, Chief Minister of Gujarat by all the top corporates at recent Vibrant Gujarat Summit at the same time is no coincidence. It was not because of sudden love For Modi, which prompted all the big corporates to support him in one voice, as the next Prime Minister. They seem to have learnt their lessons from the Satyam scam. We all know that Satyam was a conduit for the politicians to get their illegal money stashed abroad, to get back to India. The modus operndi was that Satyam used to make fictious billings to bogus companies abroad. The bogus companies abroad used to make payments against Satyam's billings. After receiving the illegal money in the shape of payments, it used to be transferred to hundreds of benami accounts in shape of FD's. At an opportune time, these politicians used to encash these FD's. Thus Satyam was playing a role of a middleman to get ill gotten wealth of the politicians, back into India.

But once, one of the investors broke the news and the nexus, the entire blame came on Raju, the founding chairman of Satyam. Within 48 hours, he was arrested, before he could spill the beans to media. Till today, SEBI has tried its best to lay its hands on Raju, but nothing has happened till now. And truth will never be known.

Big corporate houses are now scared to cook up books for the sake of politicians, as they have known from the Satyam scam, that politicians do not take a second to disown them, if such kind of a scandal breaks out again. They found In Modi, an honest man, who is only concerned for the development of his state, without any kickbacks. They are sick of corrupt politicians, who can break their companies, face humiliation and thus imprisonment like Raju, if any such scandal erupts in future. Satyam case may be a blessing in disguise.