Thursday, September 25, 2014

A Chase Of Thoughts

O Shit! He had to run. There was no other option. The strange looking stranger had just picked up his laptop bag and was making a dash for the platform exit. Or so he thought in that split second. For he didn't know where the platform exit was. He managed to glide the almost filled plastic tea cup straight into the dust-bin, as he craftily picked up his stylish blue backpack on the way, and sprinted with all his wind tearing power, towards the moving figure threatening to merge into the crowd. While he was ducking and darting like a bullet on auto pilot, a million thoughts ran through his mind. What would he do if the bag was stolen? It contained most of his critical documents, his cellphone hands-free, the borrowed Dostoyevsky book, the chosen 10 movies from his Woody Allen collection, and of course his e-ticket. He had once lost his bag which contained his LIC policy, Driving Licence, Passport, Chaos Theory & two other books he had just purchased from Blossom, and 4 new movie DVDs. He had gone through hell to get all the documents back but on hindsight it seemed easy.
Suddenly he didn't feel as scared just in case the bag was stolen. Another thought that ran parallel to this was, that she was going to call him soon. And he wondered what if she called him just now while he was running.
The strange stranger was quick but the distance between him, and the fluttering white kurta which was feeling left behind in the midnight chase, was decreasing. He was glad he had been running thrice a week lately, and it showed. He finally decided to go for the flying dive. It was a big risk. Even if he managed to grab the ankle he was sure he would pin him down. But what if he fell short?
And as he felt his grey jeans preparing to soak in some action, he dived. Almost in slow motion, he was holding the cell phone in his left kurta pocket to keep it from hitting the ground, his backpack nicely hung by his shoulders and flying with him, and his right hand outstretched as far as his 6 foot 1 inch frame would allow it to go. He blazed towards the stranger's foot and his fingers just about got hold of the bottom edge of the cloth around the ankle. That was good enough. His strong grip brought the stranger to ground, as they landed on the hard floor with a thud, and slid to a stumbling halt.

And the phone rang.

"Hey! had your tea?"
"Uhm... Not really."
"I was lost in some thoughts baby, and by the time I could realise it, you called."
"What thoughts sweety?"
"You know, as I was looking for a tea stall nearby, I realised I might need to leave my laptop and backpack at the mercy of this strange looking stranger sitting next to me. So I started wondering. What if the moment I begin to have my tea this guy picked my laptop bag and made a dash for the exit? What would I do? How would I chase? And then... while I was thinking about all that could happen, you called!"
"I don't believe you boy! You better get back to writing."
"I guess I'll go and have my tea first."

An old draft, which I somehow didn't publish.

Thursday, August 07, 2014

Development for the people and against the people

"Ban on new industries in critically polluted industrial areas lifted; pollution index-based moratoriums stopped"! - NDA eases green rules to push investment

And that's just the tip of the iceberg. This entire article is nothing short of scary. This approach is similar to the approach of those people who will dump their garbage in the neighbours yard and feel happy about how easily they have cleaned up their own. We should realise that we don't live in isolation.

Many public hearings that I have read about have apparently been more of a hoax than a fair hearing (Tribals kept out of public hearing: Vedanta showed its anti-people face once again). Filled with party workers and paid crowd, they are an irritating formality that the govt official has to get over with. Some of them don't even happen on ground. Easing of these norms will get this irritant out of the way to a large extent! Clap, should we?

Easing environmental clearances with no logic or without proper checks and balances can cause disasters. (Building in old river courses magnified Uttarakhand disaster, Why north Bihar residents remain vulnerable even as Kosi waters recede)

And every once in a while, a smaller group of Indians (read farmers/tribals) sacrifice their life, home, comfort etc and are forcefully displaced without fair compensation so that someone can make money in the name of development and to benefit a larger group of Indians. Now the district administration can consent for a project, on behalf of the affected smaller group, and declare that the rights of the villagers/tribals affected have been "settled". This declaration can happen in 60 days irrespective of the settlement status!


All this in the name of development.

As time passes, you realise that corruption at every level is eating so much into this development money that the larger group pretty much ends up with a "thullu".


So what should the govt do? While announcing the easing of norms, they should also talk of enforcing an environmentally favourable triple bottom-line reporting for all industries affecting the environment in a big or small way! The amount of damage done has to be compensated with same amount of Eco-restoration. Get them to balance out their carbon footprint.

However, there is no answer to the settlement declaration rights being given to district administration. That's just pure sham. Distt Administration is a representative if the govt and not a democratic body. They will not work on the interest of the affected people but of the govt decision. This decision is like taking away the walking stick from the blind.

Bottomline - An unbalanced pro-development but environment and people-unfriendly approach by Modi govt. Who are you doing the development for if some of the people are left unhappy and homeless while others don't get to live in a healthy environment?

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Miss you mousse!

He spent a short time with us, but gave us way more happiness than we ever dreamed a little rabbit could be capable of giving. Whatever may be bogging Hitesha down, one look at mousse and it would all become fine.

And of course, the mandatory "talk to the paw" - the act of waving mousse's little paw in my face, whenever I said something that needed to be unceremoniously disregarded!

From 'oh he is so small' to 'why isn't he growing big' to 'oh he is eating everyone else's food' to 'how amazingly adventurous he is', our bauna khargosh will always be missed!

Tuesday, July 08, 2014

Disappointing so far... this Modi sarkar!

Through its actions like using ordinance route for petty purposes, PMO backing of rape accused, gas pricing stand, delhi Discom audit silence, inaction on CAG report on Reliance (Jio) pointing to a 4G scam, Vyapam scam, Goa BJP ministers brazil junket, soft stand on Pakistan, ridiculously low increase in MSPs, manufactured use of IB reports, e-rickshaw conflict of interest drama, train/fuel price hikes (with no alternate plan), encouraging sugar lobby malpractices through import duty hike, denouncing BRO, our law minister defending subrata roy in court, continuing with ridiculous BPL benchmarks, bla bla bla... the list is endless... BJP is only proving its sceptics right at every step.

There aren't many positives either -
 - SIT on black money (its SC enforced. but at least govt acted. would applaud them if they also started the Police reforms which also the SC has directed the govt to enforce. further, Govt role will be worth applauding only when the SIT as able to act fast and there is a constructive end to it)
 - Taking leadership in the SAARC region (suits modi's ego)
 - FDI policy (while extent of FDI in defence etc may be questionable)
 - Media reports on how Modi is making the bureaucracy work hard
 - Some reforms in govt functioning, like scrapping GoM and EGoM (only the results can prove if these are right steps)

Fact is, with over 40% of current 282 BJP MP's being ex-congress, BJP is nothing but congress in a new avatar. Albeit under the leadership of an "alleged" mass murderer, stalker, fake encounter strategist, terror manipulator and a statistically challenged PR hawabaaz with an old school penchant for heavy infra-project based approach to development that gives a damn to the environment and facilitates corruption and kickbacks for his cronies!

Jo kare gadkari aur amit shah se pyaar, woh kaise kare corruption or criminals se inkaar?

Terribly disappointing so far, this Modi Sarkar!

PS - the ratio of wrong moves to right moves in the current time-frame is unfavorable, so more time will only make it worse. be prepared.

Monday, June 30, 2014

Modi Govt's Lack of Constructive Indicators

"Modi must not be judged solely by spineless decisions in one week. We must give him more time to prove that he can indeed reform India. But that means matching slogans with actions. If instead he only talks tough and then retreats into dithering populism, he will deserve the Hindi epithet, "Sher ki soorat, khargosh ka kaleja" (looks like a lion, but has the liver of a rabbit)." - Swaminathan S A Aiyar

While I don't entirely agree with all the points in the article, I am no economist like Swaminathan. Yet, I clearly see that one also can't just stop at price increase. There have to be clear efforts to cut down losses due to corruption and inefficiency else all price increase is redundant.
Even with regard to gas pricing, the contract spoke of the players having the right to price the gas at Market price. However, if a player is artificially "manufacturing" local high prices by creating a deficiency of gas through illegal under-production, then the contract doesn't hold, rt? Had reliance been producing as much gas as they promised, they had the right to demand market price. But then what the heck is market price of gas in a market where local gas production is abysmally low, and most of it is being imported? why? because the local jokers aren't producing!
a clear chicken and egg situation ---- where egg was artificially impregnated before the chicken happened!

If you leave the economic blunders aside, at a moral and ethical level Modi/PMO's silence/lack of action on involvement of BJP leaders in Vyapam is bad. BJP and RSS clearly are under the scanner and there is no way they can wriggle out clean. How come PMO got involved in defending a rape accused MoS, but the same PMO does not acknowledge the seriousness of Vyapam?
Someone needs to be held accountable and punished soon for BJP to send a message that they are serious about internal cleansing!

Overall --- Unfortunate indicators that scams WILL happen... and thrive under Modi!

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Modi's 30 days

If you are a Modi Supporter, you could feel all mushy and gooey as you read his blog on the eve of 30 days of his govt!

But, does it say anything more than - "I am dedicated and I'll work hard"? Will any PM in his right senses claim anything otherwise. Will any PUBLIC servant ever say anything otherwise? We console ourselves with, "at least he is saying something"! :)

Fact is, even his strongest detractors don't question his sincerity towards "National Interests". What is highly debatable, however, is his definition of National Interest and the approach towards achieving it. Sadly, the actions of his govt so far only worsen the fears.

Here are some of my highlights of his 30 days -

1. No apology or compensation for Akshardham attack convicts declared innocent by SC, who spent 10 years in Jail due to Modi's intervention leading to a POTA case against the innocents
2. Ordinance route, meant for rare and extreme situations, used for appointment of secretary & Polavaram kick off
3. Appointment of tainted police officials accused of fake encounters by the courts, across key positions
4. Active defence of a rape accused MoS by the PMO
5. Not declaring names of the account holders with black money
6. Support of Hindi as a primary communication language
7. Railway price hike not accompanied with any agenda spelling out the reforms to be taken up in railways, and combating corruption specific to it
8. Smriti Irani working on introducing ancient Hindu texts in school curriculum, with "selective inclusion of the history of certain communities"
9. Dr Harsh Vardhan thinking that NACO is "promoting illegal activities through condoms" and directing them to teach morals through their AIDS awareness ads
10. Extremely dubious play on gas pricing! The core objective of a Jaitley and Modi meeting, as per an official release, was to "figure ways of incentivising gas explorers (aka ambani) without causing inflation"
11. No action or policy on cleaning the parliament of criminals. Just a request to the criminally accused ministers, to request the SC, to clear their cases in a year!
12. And finally, the highly condemnable Gopal Subramaniam controversy. Modi has a history of subverting judicial processes in Gujarat, and the alacrity shown in transferring the special CBI judge hearing the sohrabuddin and tulsi prajapati fake encounter case, in which Modi's right hand man Amit Shah is chargesheeted, is alarming!

What about the good stuff he has done? Well, there are 17 crore Indians who don't need any good action by him in order to support him. His talks are enough, and he has been shouting the right slogans, so they will let him carry on!

Monday, May 19, 2014

The Akshardham terror strike tragedy and a "Mindless Modi" ?

Updated on 21st May

Saw a really serious news article today -

Supreme Court pulls up Gujarat police, orders release of Akshardham convicts

Did some research, and heres my attempt to try and explain the real import of it -

Imagine that this is 2003, and your closest family member, lets say your father, whom you love with all your heart and soul, visits Akshardham temple in Gandhinagar. Unfortunately there is a terrorist attack at the same time on the temple, National Guards intervene immediately as if on cue, and kill both the terrorists. The Gujarat police however is "asked" to find and book the people who "conspired" behind the scenes for this attack. The moment crime branch, under DG Vanzara, gets the orders, they do some super efficient investigation, collect evidence and capture 6 suspects within hours. None of these suspects have any police record or history of criminal association, one of them being your father. The crime branch wants to charge these 6 suspects under POTA. But this can't happen without the home minister's consent, so Mr Modi assesses all the investigation material and gives a go ahead for framing charges under POTA. The courts however probably need more. A clear sequence of events and may be clearer evidence. So the police claims that a letter was found from the bullet ridden and soiled dead bodies of the 2 killed terrorists, which implicates these 6 suspects. Curiously, the letters don't have any blood stains or soiling. Further, your father, along with others, are tortured endlessly until they confess. But when in front of the judge they obviously retract their confession.

While all this is happening, you are distraught, upset, angry and you feel injustice is happening. you know that your father is innocent. you miss your father. You are helpless. You can fight a court battle but can't save your father from unfair torture. The agony continues for more than 3 years.

Cut to July 2006 - to your astonishment, the POTA court awards death sentence to 3 of the convicts and other 3 get imprisonment ranging from 5 years to life (please feel free to take a call on whether your father is sentenced to death or imprisoned for years). You can't believe this verdict. The evidence says a different story and the court says something else. You approach the High court and fight another battle for 4 years. In June 2010 the Gujarat High Court upholds the POTA court sentence. They do not find any justification for the unsoiled and unstained letters recovered from bullet perforated bodies of the fidayeen terrorists, and leave it by saying, "Truth is stranger than fiction". You are aghast, heart-broken, spirit-broken. Your father has been found guilty of waging war against the nation, a crime he can't even dream of committing. But you still have some fight left in you. You approach the Supreme Court Of India.

Cut to 17th May 2014 - The Supreme Court of India gives a diagonally opposite verdict. They take strong objection to the HC "truth stranger than fiction" ruling and say that, "We cannot accept the recording of the HC that the secret behind the crease-free unsoiled and unstained letter lies in the divine philosophy of 'truth is stranger than fiction' for this renowned epithet by the author Mark Twain comes with a caveat that says, 'Truth is stranger than fiction. Fiction must make sense'."
The SC also criticizes the "Pota court's overlooking the fact that crime branch arrested accused within hours of getting investigation powers. The Pota court never examined crime branch head D G Vanzara for getting information that cracked the case."
Obviously, the SC finds no evidence pointing towards the convicts being guilty. It goes on to says that the police investigation was "shoddy" and “the story of prosecution crumbles at every juncture”. It also gives a nice sweet gentle wrap on the knuckles of Mr Modi, who has now become the prime minister of the country, blaming "the home minister for 'clear non-application of mind…in granting (POTA) sanction, since it was based neither on an informed decision nor on an independent analysis of facts. The court said the sanction was hence “void” and not a legal and valid sanction under POTA."

And the court orders the release of the 6 convicts. Whoa! congratulations on winning this battle and finally taking your father home and losing a decade of life to pain and agony. But may be this was a battle that shouldn't have started but for either of the 2 things - either Mr Modi is mindless, or he was directly driving this entire operation through the police to convict anyone at the earliest, just so he could draw political mileage from the terror attacks, which is worse and heinous!

But then don't we all know that Modi is not mindless? Don't you see that until the case was within Gujarat, it went only one way - towards proving Modi's strong decisive leadership that is killing all pakistani enemies? How does it matter if after 11 years we find that it was no better than a Quixotic battle sans the idealism? How does it really matter if Mr Modi couldn't apply his mind and see that the police investigation was shoddy and that there was no real evidence? Unless he consciously wanted any random set of people to be convicted for political gains, and didn't care who he was putting behind bars as long as it was a Muslim? And finally, why does it really matter in 2014, that which happened in 2003?
It only matters to those who get caught in this mess and to others who have a heart. It matters to those who lost precious time and life between 2003 and 2014. You can't sweep such conscious gross injustice under the rug of irrelevance, citing passage of time. Someone doesn't become innocent just because his misdeeds took a decade to be brought to light. There are many whose lives have been messed up by such selfish and non-inclusive politics in Gujarat, and they are either fighting their battles in court, or have given up.

The question that really begs an answer is - do we really need to lose empathy in our pursuit for development?

PS - Please do your own google search to get a reconfirmation on the flow of events.

SC pulls up gujarat police orders release of akshardham convicts
SC acquits Akshardham terror strike convicts slams Gujarat police probe
Supreme Court highlights errors of POTA court, High court
Gujarat High Court upholds death sentence in Akshardham temple attack
They asked me to choose godhra, pandya or akshardham
Mistry - I suspect Modi knew about Akshardham attack beforehand

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

A logical appeal, before the elections end!

Across my various interactions in the recent months, I have managed to gather 4 constructive reasons why some Indians would want to vote for BJP -
  1. Modi: First and the loudest reason is Mr Modi himself (his key attributes in this context being - Development oriented approach and Decisive and Strong Leadership)
  2. Stability: The need for stability is the second critical reason. Not having a government that depends on smaller regional parties and their so called short-sighted agendas while taking a call on critical issues. This was cited as a key reason for policy paralysis of UPA.
  3. Less Corrupt Option: The perception that BJP is at least not as corrupt as Congress, also plays a role. There may be proof of possible BJP corruption but people are ready to digest it, and move on
  4. Any Other Option? : The final reason is that most people feel there is no other valid option
If you can think of any other absolutely non-debateable reason, then please share. I am ignoring the destructive and negative reasons like Modi will be tough on Muslims, he will attack Pakistan if needed, BJP will build Ram temple etc. Yes, people who are voting for Modi/BJP for such reasons do exist, they are blinded by their social and cultural upbringing and I don’t expect them to see life any other way. It’s the sensible ones I address here.

Now lets leave our judgements and prejudices aside for a while and assess the above through logic and reasoning -
  1. Modi’s Development orientation and Decisiveness
    1. The Gujarat model of development has been debated to no end. Many figures being thrown from both sides. TN, Maha etc have claimed to be better. I have always found that from some angle or the other, all figures can be interpreted in favour of or against Modi. If you leave figures behind and want to talk about development on ground, then there are Gujaratis claiming they have seen it with their eyes, and there are Indians from other states claiming that roads and infra in their state has also developed, which the Gujarati has not seen. This debate to me seems endless. However, given the fact Gujarat Model of development is so susceptible to a raging debate makes one wonder about how true the claims really are.
    2. Lets for a moment assume that the ”development” did happen. It is only logical to expect that whatever development has happened, was based on some planning, some vision for Gujarat. And this plan and vision must have been stated somewhere. A party’s manifesto can be safely treated to be that document. It gives a road map, with specific promises.
    3. Modi made many promises to Gujarat (which we will discuss in a bit), and is now making similar development promises for India (Diamond quadrilateral of bullet train, IIT/IIM/AIMS in every state (curiously, the IIT/IIM in each city claim is missing from the manifesto, but is integral to ModiMantra on BJP site), 24*7 electricity “like already done in Gujarat”, a massive low cost housing program that will provide pucca house to every citizen by 2022 etc)
    4. So whether Modi will deliver on his promises in future, can be best assessed by whether he has delivered on his promises in past. Has Modi delivered on his 2007 and 2012 manifesto in Gujarat, and if yes then to what extent?
    5. Now, if you don’t agree with me on this simple logic that a man’s credibility is based on his past actions, then you can stop reading right here. If not then please continue.
    6. Here are the key concrete promises of Modi’s Gujarat manifesto collected from sources (Gujarat BJP website does not have the older Manifesto ) given in the annexures below-
      1. House to ALL urban and rural homeless
      2. Achieving 12% economic growth in next 5 years
      3. Doubling agriculture production
      4. 14 hour uninterrupted power supply for all farmers
      5. Reduce water Tax for irrigation
      6. Increasing electricity production to 20,000 MW of electricity
      7. Set up 1 SEZ in every distric
      8. Raise per capita income to above Rs 80,000 per annum
      9. Achieve 0% dropout rate in primary schools
      10. Pure drinking water for everyone (repeated in both manifestos)
      11. Medical insurance for all people below poverty line
      12. Good roads across villages
      13. Making Gujarat No.1 in time for the state’s golden jubilee in 2010
      14. Increase women employment to 30 lac
    7. What happened to these promises? I’ll not quote the well circulated TOI article describing “the 10 broken promises”. I’ll just park this point for now.
  2. Stability: Do we really believe that stability alone is enough to ensure good governance? UPA govt was stable for 10 years and their record is abysmal. In BJP's case, they have already announced a pre-poll alliance with around 30 political parties, to form the NDA. So even if they come to power, aren't they going to be bound by regional party demands and requirements? Wouldn’t those, who worried about a Khichri sarkar, feel rather reassured of bringing BJP to power had BJP decided to fight these elections alone? Further, its also unfair to brush all regional parties as petty and low on vision. The problem, however, with having such opportunistic alliances, is the post-poll ministry allocation dynamics. This is bound to hamper the much celebrated decisiveness of Modi. Stable govt, therefore, is not a sufficient reason in itself to vote for BJP. It has to be a clean and stable govt. Which brings us to the next point, Is BJP clean?
  3. Less Corrupt: The most avid of BJP supporters can only say this, with much hesitation, that BJP is not as corrupt as congress. In fact, they go a step ahead and say, Modi will ensure that BJP becomes clean in due course. This seems hard to believe on two accounts – First, the 'less corrupt' perception is probably a function of how much of it has been unearthed and spoken about in media. In which case it is only a matter of time before we realise that BJP is as corrupt. Secondly, one wonders as to why hasn’t Modi been able to cleanse his Gujarat cabinet in so many years and purge it of sentenced ministers and convicts? In the interest of a moral high ground, shouldn’t a minister 'sentenced' for corruption be kept away from political interference, at least until he is cleared by a higher court? Or is a moral high ground such a bad thing? Is Modi’s development agenda so weak that it will get dented by letting go 2-3 ministers? Modi claims that he will de-criminalise BJP if he comes to power, but sadly he has not given even one clear signal to make a neutral observer believe him. So, the point I guess is, there is nothing like less corrupt.
Coming back to the key question; has Modi delivered on his Manifesto in Gujarat? Basis my limited research, 11 of those 14 manifesto claims have not even come close to being achieved, 2 claims reached somewhat close (per capita income has touched 75,000/annum, Good roads do exist) and only 1 was absolutely achieved; 20,000 MW electricity target of 2007 has been crossed. But, unfortunately this increase is solely attributed to private sector, and the govt sector electricity production has actually come down. That wouldn't be such a bad thing, was it not seen to be causing an excessive strain on public resources, further fueling the crony capitalism allegations on Modi.

I strongly recommend that you do your own claim check, because whatever data and source I put here, will not generate as much trust as your own sources. I am ready to concede that may be 2 or even 3 of the claims have been achieved. But no further.

Its important to note here that Modi has had time on his side. Even after 5+2 years since his second win, he seems to have failed to deliver on his promises by a substantial margin. Even if we assume that he has come close to achieving half of the claims, is that all that we should expect from a Model State? Isn't a National responsibility much larger than a state responsibility? Does this performance at state level generate any trust? Therefore hasn't Modi technically failed at state level, and yet he has been portraying it as his strength? Is this what builds PM credentials?

Now if one tightens the noose, and critically evaluates him in the larger context of all the negative aspects of his political life (inflammatory speeches against Muslims, justifying fake encounters, deliberately distorting facts repeatedly to create impact in speeches, displaying lack of integrity by concealing his marital status and using it in his speeches to portray a clean image, dis-respecting and sidelining senior party leaders like Advani, Joshi & Jaswant, snubbing Sushma Swaraj on the Sriramulu decision, being under CAG scanner for crony capitalism, fighting against the SC to subvert the Gujarat Lokayukta and legislating a weak one, spying on women for no reason ever declared so far... its a long list) then suddenly his meager achievements seem further dwarfed.

So, is BJP really the only option?

Show some faith.


Annexures -
  1. Modi Manifesto for Gujarat 2007
  2. Modi Manifesto for Gujarat 2012
  3. Claim Check

Friday, April 18, 2014

She is alive

She is alive.

She has a universe of her own. Universes, I guess.

She throbs and pulsates with such imagination that worlds get created by a mere glimpse of her thoughts.

She makes a wanderer feel the contentment of being found. And still keep wandering.
She and innocence giggle together. She talks to wonders. She plays games with little shiny things that smile with the sun, dance with the rain, and huddle together with happiness when storms claim to dance.

She lives like no one else ever lived.
Ever will.

She is so alive.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Why should Modi apologise?

Modi recently said in an interview, in his typical third person style, that, “I am convinced that if there is even a grain of truth in the allegations, I feel for India’s bright future and traditions, Modi should be hanged in the street square."

Of course he should be hanged if he has committed the crime. But he must apologise even if he hasn't, because its the failure of his state machinery that allowed criminals like Maya Kodnani and Babu Bajrangi to distribute swords,guns, bombs etc, go on a rampage and kill innocent people. He must apologise for his utter failure as a chief minister and home minister to not be aware of the background of his cabinet and make kodnani a women welfare and child development minister of Gujarat in 2007. Gujaratis died while Gujarat police looked away and the system stayed put.

For all the bruhaha about the great administrator modi claims to be, if he claims to not have abetted them, then he must at least apologise for his abject failure to manage the riots. Further, he must apologise for the roadblocks faced by courts and the activists in trying and convicting the perpetrators. To the extent that SC had to move many cases out of Gujarat to ensure free and fair trial. As per CAG, Gujarat govt granted INR 629 crores for special courts, but only 252 crores of it has been utilised. Read the challenges, with documentary evidence, faced by Teesta (Secretary - Citizens for Justice and Peace) here. The point is, if Gujarat Govt wants the pepetrators to be punished, and so do the social activists, then why so many hurdles and cross accusations?

When it comes to 2002 carnage, Modi always speaks like a guilty man. If he had truly tried to stop the riots, he would be ridden with remorse for the women who were killed by shoving swords through them and ripped open wombs, and infants who were burnt alive, as much as for the innocents who were burnt alive in the train. He wouldn't take out a Gaurav yatra and go around spreading rumors that while a gruesome train incident did happen, but no one retaliated, no one was burnt or raped in Gujarat, and everything was fine in the state. He wouldn't shout out from loudspeakers during his so called gaurav yatra, apparently addressing a non-existent Parvez Musharraf, saying "kaan khol kar sun lo miyan musharraf, jab hindu aatankvaad aaega naa, tab duniya ke nakshe par pakistan ka naam-o-nishaan mit jaaega" (listen in at 1.13.15) Is this the foreign policy of our potential PM candidate?
Anyone who reads/sees the witness accounts of the atrocities in gujarat, and takes it with 10 pinches of salt, would still shudder with horror. I heard one witness account which was worse than what was done to Nirbhaya!

In fact, Modi would have done a great service to himself and his supporters by rendering an unqualified apology for being a helpless witness to a gruesome riot, and closing the chapter once and for all. By getting defensive and providing convoluted responses, he only ends up betraying a sense of guilt.

His lack of apology and the blind faith of some of my Indian friends in him, is only a reflection of 2 things - Hard cold brutal souls, and ignorant give-a-damn minds.

Why is all this relevant today? Because many Indians seem to want to vote for BJP on the name of Modi. How does he as in individual score, should therefore be scrutinised very deeply. Here are the alarm bells -

1. Modi seems to lack personal integrity - Across rallies he has been claiming to be the right candidate for fighting corruption saying "mere aage peeche koi nahin hai", while he was actually concealing truth under oath all this while. He says he does not want to wear a skull cap because it may amount to appeasement, while he goes around wearing the cap and headgear of every other community. He constantly uses misinformation and incorrect data to gain momentary impact on audience. Seems like he is trying to con people into painting a picture of himself which is different from the truth.

2. Modi's development model, even if assumed to be fair, scores extremely low on human development indices, especially education. For the economic aspects of the development model, Modi govt has been severely criticized by CAG.
Please note that its the same CAG whose recommendations and reports have been quoted time and again by Modi and BJP to showcase the corruption of UPA (while actual conviction and sentencing has happened only for 2 MP's in India, neither of them part of the alleged high profile UPA scams of last 10 years, like spectrum, Coal etc)

3. Modi is soft on corruption: Corrupt leaders in his cabinet, corrupt leaders in BJP supported by him, his silence on political funding coming under RTI, his silence on Gas pricing, his govt's track record of doling out tax payers money to corporates at low returns and interest, CAG's claim of financial irregularities under Gujarat govt to the tune of 16000 crore, Modi's battle against the SC to first postpone appointment of the Lokayukta and then passing a legislation that effectively makes the Lokayukta a person of his choice, the list is endless. Can you share one incident which shows his clear intent to fight corruption? Except for the anti corruption hotline which seems to be effective in Gujarat, you draw a blank. Also, help line combats retail corruption, and can never help collusion based high end corruption.

4. Modi seems to believe in the old system of politics: What is this old system? Win polls by hook or crook - opportunistic alliances, booth capturing, bogus voting; Keep the police machinery under you and use it as per convenience for political gains (right from fake encounters to election rigging, no police reforms done in Gujarat like many other states), Keep source of funding hidden, and work for industrial lobbies, and so on and so forth. Any indication that BJP / Modi want to fight these malpractices? I haven't seen any.

Inspite of all this if you believe that you don't want a fresh approach to politics, and that Modi will actually give a stable govt which will develop the country, then best of luck to you.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

What can I do to make India better?

Sharing a video that should help build a perspective on the enormity of the task ahead of us Indian citizens. Most of us do not even realise or acknowledge that its our task, our responsibility.

The fact is that the money that is supposed to be used for our development does not get used the right way. Every bit of development that we see today could have happened faster and better if there was less corruption. And there would still be space for more. Whether you want development, stability or clean politics, there is only one option to achieve it - YOU.

We all can do something about it in our daily life. Don't break traffic rules, respect others and be courteous in public, know that a que is a good thing, and that letting someone go ahead of you in a que doesn't make you a loser, don't give or take bribes, don't look for questionable shortcuts, don't demand/accept favors to achieve unlawful or unethical ends, don't fudge your accounts, don't pay black money to buy a house, don't accept black money while selling one, don't give undue advantage to someone based on anything except competence, be true to whatever work you do. Be good and be nice, and don't expect the world to fall at your feet because you are being so! Just keep doing your bit. Sounds fair and easy?
Now just think of yourself as a potential MP/MLA and see how unimaginable such a life is for a politician! Thats the sad truth of our country. However if all our politicians did follow the above, then it wouldn't really matter which political ideology you and I support, would it? ---- until then, its AAP all the way, because the simple truth is that just like YOU even your politician believes that, "thoda bahut idhar udhar toh karna padta hai" - My politician believes, agar na chaho toh nahin karna padta!

Intellectual Property - Beware