All posts for the month April, 2014

The Indian Middle Class – Neither Middle Nor Class

Published April 27, 2014 by vishalvkale

The Great Indian Middle Class – the driver of India’s growth; the focus of business entities from across the world; the source of some of the most-qualified people both in India and in the migrant Indian Community abroad; the cynosure of all eyes in the media; the pride and joy of India; the drivers of India’s consumption, as well as one of the main of the national savings rate; the most educated and erudite people in India! All of these, and more, are used to refer to the Middle Class, which is also the biggest magnet for International Business. The size of this class has been one of the single most mentioned aspects of the Indian Consumerist Landscape. 

However, as all things in life, this too has another perspective, one that does not give such a rosy picture of the fabled middle class which is the cynosure of more than a few scholarly researches and erudite articles. To be blunt, the other side of this bright, resplendent and fast rising class gives a picture that challenges the very nomenclature “middle class”. From this POV, these people{who include yours truly as well, by the way} are neither middle, nor class! 

The term “Middle Class” itself has many definitions; it can be called the class of people between the upper and working classes; it can refer to individuals who fall between the working class and the upper class within a societal hierarchy. Persons in the middle class tend to have a higher proportion of college degrees than those in the working class, have more income available for consumption and may own property. Those in the middle class often are employed as professionals, managers and civil servants. 

However, let me take the liberty to shift my POV just a little- from the societal and/or financial definitions given above. The size of this much-vaunted driver of the Indian Economy is anywhere between 69 Million to 153 Million – or approximately 7% – 12% of our total population. That’s it. The middle classes do not represent and cannot be representative of India {not that anyone has claimed that it is representative}; what about the balance 85% {taking 3% arbitrarily for the top classes}? Neither can it be said that their problems are the most serious problems facing the nation… and yet, in all the talk of big industries, infrastructure, local transportation in cities, corruption, “Aam Aadmi”, Electricity and Water rates, GDP growth, FDI, Inflation etc it is the other 85% that gets left out. 

The problems of the balance population of India are far more serious than one can imagine; we have some 95 Million landholdings in India in Agriculture – 70-80% of these are small and marginal holdings. As per NSS 2005, all of the SM holdings are losing money every crop. We have some 300 – Million {4 per family – conservative and arbitrary estimate} dependent on these landholdings earnings. Then, look up farmer suicides. Look up malnutrition. Look up per capita income growth and consumption growth in the lower classes. Look up education and health facilities in the lower classes. Not one of these real problems find even a hint of a discussion in the mainstream or even financial media; while you can read pages upon pages for the problems that effect the middle / upper classes directly. From this admittedly one-sided POV of the seriousness of problems, the middle class comes across as being an outlier; certainly not middle in any sense of the term. 

Moving on, let us now analyse the term “class”, whose primary meaning is “a set or category of things having some property or attribute in common and differentiated from others by kind, type, or quality”. Permit me to now state the secondary meaning of the word class – “excellence, elegance, unequalled unparalleled”. Again, no one is claiming these things for the middle class {least of all me!}. I am just trying to drive home a point, so bear with me. 

Look at the secondary meaning – and no one who has stayed in India for any length of time will attribute the term “class” to the Indian “Middle Class”, not in this sense at any rate. By no stretch of imagination can we, the English speaking {or even vernacular speaking, for that matter} elite can be called class. Not if we take a gander at some of our more esoteric habits. And no, I am not talking about our lovely and very highly presentable and pride-inducing habits {shining India, indeed!} like spitting on the road, peeing anywhere we damn well please and / or throwing our garbage anywhere between  8°4′ and 37°6′ north latitude and 68°7′ and 97°25′ east longitude. {I am not a Wiki lover – quite the opposite, but for some things, you just cant beat wiki! I sincerely do hope they are right on those markers}

I am talking about the customs officers’ who took money for sweets for their children {yup – nice cheap things like Eclairs and Parle Toffees} from no less an august personality than the Mumbai Underworld’s D Company and Friends {Read S Hussain Zaidi}, leading to the 12th March 1993 incidents. These were middle class Indians. I am talking about those gently, nice, decent, honest people who forgot {hey, anyone can forget} about the SC directive on opaque windows in buses and cars. I am talking about those people-friendly geniuses who let a bus operate without proper documentation. {Remember 16 December… not the movie,btw} They were middle class Indians. 

I am talking about those oh-so-friendly people who demand a bribe for a marriage certificate {I have to pay a bribe to call my wife my wife? Wow, fantastic}. He or she is middle class. I am talking about those lovely people who demand a bribe for a driving licence. Yup. Middle Class Again! I am talking about those hotshots who coolly discuss how much bribe to pay for getting this or that done {since it would inconvenience I-Me-Myself}. Middle Class. I am talking about the ladies and gentlemen who studiously, regularly, unerringly turn the other way and ignore the real problems, issues as they crop up, crimes as they occur, stating it is not my problem – despite being in a position to do something about it. Middle Class. 

I am talking about the aces who put faulty bitumen in roads, leading to washouts in one rain. I am talking about those geniuses who make false bills to various government agencies, who prepare fake excel sheets of inventories, prices, stock-markets analyses. I am talking of those awesome people of integrity who can enlist poor, poor, poor, poor, poor Amitabh Bachchan as a beneficiary in MNREGA. I am talking of those lovely people who put in impurities in cement. I am talking about those corporate honchos who do fake billing, false claims, scams, bad products certain to fail, false documents for various and sundry services. All Middle Class. All Middle Class. 

I can state this for each and every sector of life – from Government Servants to Private Employees, from Driving Licence to Abiding Law. Jumping red lights is common {hey – that red light is a challenge that HAS to be taken up, you know}. Bribes are a part of the other parties take-home package. Shortcuts are where its at. What good is a project that gets executed smoothly? And woe betide the person who tries to play by the rules. This person is a failure in life, to use the common terms, a chutiya. Dont duck it – that is what all of us say. How absolutely wonderful; makes my chest swell up with pride when I hear “we cant do without taking shortcuts, or giving a bribe”. Truly, this is something that can be celebrated. And the person who tries to play it straight  – or, God Forbid,  change us {Chhi! How Aweful! Why should anyone want to change perfection?} – is a fool. How right. 

The Great Indian Middle Class. 

Neither Middle, Nor Class. 

Forgive my bluntness… but I am one of you. Just like you, or quite similar, at any rate… 

Book Review : Operation Red Lotus

Published April 22, 2014 by vishalvkale

1857, The event known, till date, as the Sepoy Mutiny by a fairly large segment of our population. Even those who refer to it as a War of Independence call it a spontaneous uprising; thanks largely to the incorrect narrative of the war written and recorded by the English, and dutifully followed by Indian Historians inspite of pervasive evidence to the contrary. Even the most balanced of books on the national movement refer to the presence of some form of conspiracy, but leave it at that, saying no proof exists. Surprisingly, they did not need to look any further than an existing book – Mazhaa Pravaas – an eyewitness account of the events, that lay bare the reality. I have read and reviewed its English translation on my Blog, so am aware, and recognise the need for an honest investigation into the reality of 1857. The current book under review, is a truly commendable start in that direction.

This book goes much further than that one single source stated above; to prove its point, it sources innumerable bits of period evidence – EEIC records, letters and statements from before, during and after the war; British Govt Letters and records, books by Englishmen who fought in the war; British Parliamentary proceedings, Indian Books – official as well as individual, communication letters of the so-called “rebels”, and much much. This solid supporting proof has been extremely well documented in the Bibliography and Appendix, and weaves a web of the intricate nature of the the entire war plan.

The book starts with the period prior to the war, and traces the rising resentment against the British basis Religious, Economic and Political Parameters. This part, though not known to many Indians, is pretty well known and extremely welll documented by Indian Historians – although Western Historians and people still cling to the idiotic belief that British Rule was good for India. It looks at the planned and systematic destruction of the Economy, and the hardships faced by Indians {as reviewed previously by myself on Irfan Habib’s book}. It looks at the rising anger due to this phase of the British Rule, and the total lack of morality of the British. Most critically, this is the first book to explicitly state that the English Civilization was less advanced culturally and socially than the highly developed Indian Civilization. The nearest anyone has come to such a clear statement has been Shashi Tharoor, who was bluntly called the Indian Civilization as one being a highly advanced civilization in an advanced state of decay.

The book next looks at 2 critical plans of the British : to Christianise the country – the entire length and breadth of the nation. It provides categorical proof of the plan to attack the religious foundations of our nation, which was driven from the highest levels. The second abortive plan was a suggestion to raise a European element in the Indian Population. To those of you to whom this sounds fanciful, please take a look at some other colonies of the British as confirmation. What is more, the book leaves no doubt that 1857 – 59 torpedoed both plans permanently. And that is how we won the First War Of Independence – despite having lost it on the battlefield.

The main thrust of the book is the circulation of Red Lotuses and Chapaties just before the events of 1857. These circulations went on for nearly one year. Furthermore, they were reported only from the areas in which the so-called mutiny occurred. Not only that, there has never neen any repeat occurence of these rotis and lotuses before, or since 1857. And, despite this, few people have given credence to these events – despite the fact that the reverberations of these lotuses and rotis reached the British Parliament, and caused a comment – an acerbic comment and a warning from no less a personality than Benjamin Disraeli. What did the lotuses and rotis have to do with war? Read the book to find out! Unlike other reviewers, I am not going to be the one to spoil your fun!

The book traces the entire war from start to finish in a fascinating narrative, engaging and deeply absorbing, and lays bare several historical inaccuracies – using, by and large, sources from the English themselves! The alliances between hindu and muslim rulers, as well as active participation of the entire people is well covered and proven, laying well and truly bare the claim of this being a soldiers’ war. The total lack of humanity in the English is brought out in a shocking series of genocides carried out by the English forces, when entire villages were destroyed, and its inhabitants brutally murdered as retribution for the war.

This is supported by documented evidence from a multitude of sources. The Genocide of Indians – which no one among us knows – goes against every grain of civilization, and humanity – and destroys the British {and, by relation, western} homilies of being a more civilized nation. The impact of the Genocide at Jhansi is even supported by a congratulatory letter of the English. This was a planned, and targeted attack on the civilian population, designed to kill the support for the war from the local population. The inhuman strategy worked – it took more than 7 decades for the people to rise again. It also explains why The Mahatma and other leaders were wary of an uprising – it would only have led to wholesale slaughter of the population. The English proved that, as late as 1919, they had no compunction in killing unarmed and peaceful civilians. The real tales of the murders will jolt your heart, and shock you into numbness, so brutal were the massacres, and so terrifying their import and inhumanity. Till the modern day, no one in the west recognises these uncomfortable realities, and instead pontificate to the rest of the world on the aspect of civilization!!!!! . So wondrously civilised were our rapists, they received – and followed- orders to use their own families as human shields in the course of the war – something which is unknown to the Indian People in our entire history.

The book traces the events of the war, and leaves no doubt of the scale of the entire war, which had large parts of India aflame, and up in arms in a total uprising against British Rule, and looks at how the British came within an inch of losing India. Not only that, it also proves the Russian interest in India, as it was willing to help Indian rulers in their efforts, and the British Worry of the same. This is the precise worry that led, 50 years later, to the British actively supporting, planning, aiding and abetting the partition of the nation. The book also has you laughing at the ineptitude of our great, civilised geniuses who taught us – aah – civilization {Yup. Killing innocents, murdering non-combatants, and peaceful protestors, creating famines etc is civilised, you know} – as they try to apprehend Tatya Tope, whose stupendous planning and bravery will bring a smile to your lips, a prayer to your heart.

All in all, a must read book, one that succesfully challenges pre-concieved notions about the British Rule and its – aah- benefit to India, its overall inhumanity and cruelty, as well as proves beyond all doubt that without 1857, 1947 would not have happened. In the end analysis, it was the events-  the brutal murder of an entire people in village after countless village, including men, women and even children – that bludgeoned an entire nation into shocked, tortured and silent obedience.

The sheer ferocity, inhumanity and abject amorality of the Genocide leaves you in wonder – can a human do such acts? And they called US dogs! Furthermore, it was this very animal-like brutal assault that shocked an entire nation into stunned silence, and necessitated a measured and non-violent approach towards independence. Just as the British were scared of Hindu – Muslim Unity {This unity nearly kicked them out in 1857}, Indians were scared stiff of the British retaliation, which crossed all known measures of morality, humanity and decency…

Till date, no one knows how many innocent men, women and children were brutally tortured, raped and murdered by the British soldiers. If it were known, I for one would not be surprised if it were amng the largest genocides ever perpetrated on earth. May God Bless Their Souls – everyone of those who were tortured, raped and murdered, and everyone of the martyrs… Rest In Peace…

Rest In Peace. India Owes A Heavy Debt To Your Sacrifices…

India, Being Indian, Elections, And Being Hindu

Published April 17, 2014 by vishalvkale

This is the third article in the reality series…
We are, as a nation, 67 years young today, with our tumultous years hopefully well behind us. We, as a nation, are just coming out of a very demanding period in our life-cycle, and stand at a very critical juncture. As we head into these elections, we stand at a vital junction in our life-cycle. The rise, rise and rise of Narendra Modi has done one thing for certain : it has, yet again, exposed our weak underbelly; once again, we as a people stand stripped naked in front of the Whole Wide World. We stand stripped, and desnuded of all our pretentions, and our grandiose statement of focussing on the issues that matter. 
In its place, we are seeing a sorry and sad spectacle that will no doubt be infintely saddening to The Foundng Fathers Of Our Nation. Yet again, the public discourse has shifted – and shifted decisively – from issues, problems and solutions onto the more mundane, pointless but infinitely more dangerous discourse around Religion, Personalities, Finger-Pointing and grand-standing. The problems – and how they will be solved – have all but dissappeared into the background noise.  Please note that I am referring to the People Of India, and the voice on the street – and not political parties. Not yet, anyway. Not in this post. 
Yet again, we are faced with a sad and depressing spectre of even the educated Indian focussing more on personalities and/or religion; hardly anyone I know has been willing to discuss the real problems, and their solutions – and who can deliver the said solutions. Almost always, it is always Mr XYZ ABC will deliver the goods – without any serious analysis or thought. On pure faith, and faith alone. Faith is fine; but this continued unwillingness to discuss the real issues and their solutions is a seroius cause of concern. What is even more worrisome is the admixture of partisan politics, religion and extraneous matters into this already dangerous potpourri. 
Instead of asking solutions, we are analysing vote-banks; instead of looking at education, health etc we are look at the Muslim Vote; or the Hindu Vote; or the Dalit Vote; or the Brahmin Vote. Nothing has changed. This is not what The Mahatma, Jawaharlal Nehru and others set out to do. This is not what they lived and died for. This is not what they had strived for, This is not what they deserve. This might be what we deserve – judging from our frankly largely partisan, chauvinistic views; but this is certainly not what they deserve. The nation stands divided along caste and religious lines; the lines of religion and division are getting even more deeply etched into stone in our national psyche. The increasing hardline views of the population as is evident from street is now in danger of becoming a deep fault-line…  At this point, it is important that we take a look at some of the statements of our Founding Fathers and Some Famous Indians
The Ganga, especially, is the river of India, beloved of her people, round which are intertwined her racial memories, her hopes and her hears, her songs of triumph, her victories ahd her defeats. She has been a symbol of India’s age-clong culture and civilization, ever-changing, ever-flowing, and yet ever the same Ganga. She reminds me of the snow-covered peaks, and the deep valleys of The Himalayas, which I loved so much, and of the rich and vast plains below, where my life and work have been cast. Smiling and dancing in the morning sunlight, and dark and gloomy and full of mystery as the evening shadows fall, a narrow, slow and graceful stream in winter and a vast roaring thing during the monsoon, broad-bosomed almost as the sea, and with something of the sea’s power to destroy; the Ganga has always been to me a symbol and a memory of the past of India, running into the present, and flowing onto the great ocean of the future. 
And though I have discarded much of past tradition and customs, and am anxious that India should rid herself of all shackles that bind and constrain and divide her people…. I do not wish to cut myself off from the past completely. I am mproud of that great inheritance that has been, and is, ours , and am conscious that I too, like all of us, am a link in that unbroken chain which goes back to the dawn of history in the immemorial past of India – Jawaharlal Nehru

I am proud to belong to a religion which has taught the world tolerance and univerasal acceptance. I am proud to belong to a nation which has sheltered th persecuted and the refugees of all religions and all nations of the earth… Unity in variety is the plan of nature, and The Hindu has recognied it. The Hindus have discovered that the absolute can only be realised or thought of, or stated through the relative and the image, crosses, crescents are simple so many symbols – so many pegs to hand spiritual ideas on. The Hindus have their faults, but mark this – they are always for punishing their own bodies, and never for cutting the throats of their neighbours. – Swami Vivekanad, Chicago, 1893.
One look at the landscape of India today, in April 2014, is enough to convince anyone as to how far we as a people have gone from Nehruji’s ideals; and how very, very far we as a people have moved from Swamiji’s statements. I accept a lot has happened since the time of these 2 one a Legend and one a Great Souls, but this this mean that we move away so totally from the unity that once defined India? These divisions – Hindu / Muslim, Dalit/OBC/Brahmin – how is it that these are so deeply etched into our psyche now? Is deepening division the answer to ills of the past? Time to face the reality; it isnt the anwer. And time for some deep introspection into what we have become as a people…
In the words of Amartya Sen, The neglect of the Hindu Leaders of the major achievements of Indian Civilization, even the distinctly Hindu contributions, in favor of its more dubious features. Not for them the sophistication of the Upanishads, or the Gita, or Brahmagupt, or Sankar, or Kalidas, or Sudrak…. their nationalism ignores the rationalist traditions of India, a country in which some of the earliest steps in Algebra, Gemotry, Astronomy were made, where early philosophy – secular as well as religious – achieved exceptional sophistication…
Come  to think of it, how many of us do indeed think of these things? What do we associate our religion with? The sophistication of thought, and the way of life it contains, or… This is a question that can only be answered by each reader for himself or herself. I for one, would like to believe that we Hindus all believe in the above, and not what Amartya Sen is insinuating. But if we dont, if anyone of us doesnt, please consider : what is Hinduism? And what is India? What defines an Indian? What makes us special?

Book Review : What India Should Know {Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan}

Published April 8, 2014 by vishalvkale

Dr V Lakshmikanthan is HOD of Mathematical Sciences at Florida Tech. He is the editor of 5 international mathematical journals; Dr J Vasundhara Devi is a mathematician and a professor. 
  1. When was Ashok really born? 4th Century BC – or more than a 1000 years before that?
  2. When was the Buddha really born? 6th Century BC – or more than a 1000 years before that?
  3. Who wrote the history that we know as gospel truth today?
  4. What were the motives behind writing this history?
  5. What were the other viewpoints considered when our {Indian} history was being written by the western scholars?
  6. When was the Mahabharat era?
  7. Who were the 2 ChandraGuptas?
  8.  Is the Aryan Invasion the truth – or a complete fabrication?
  9. What were the mental attitudes of the people who wrote our history?
  10. And much, much more…
This is a book that I set about reviewing with some trepidation, since some of the contents are explosive, to say the least – as also seemingly fantastic and unbelievable even on the second reading. That is not to state that the contents are inaccurate; just that the mind refuses to accept what is being presented… it could be in-built prejudice, it could be a mental block… but that is the way it is.I shall not attempt to steal the thunder of the book, neither shall I attempt to hide its flaws. I will only give a small glimpse at some of the more fantastic-sounding parts of the book, and give an overall glimpse of the plot in its entirety. 
The book’s approach is beyond reproach : it begins with an overall examination of society as it existed in the 1600s to 1800s, presenting the various political and religious factors that determined history in a short and succinct first few chapters – effortlessly tracing the entire period in short but hard-hitting chapters, based on facts rather than on passion. This tends to lend authority to the tome, as the tone is distinctly critical yet sufficiently subdued to let the reasoning behind the critique shine through. It is here that its first flaw creeps in : it is heavily critical of Christianity and Islam both, for their bloody history and the misery they have spread. Regardless of the accuracy of their observations regarding the bloodshed {I am no expert, so cannot comment further}, this could have been avoided in a book on India. Further, there are people of both faiths in India as well; this needless scraping of the contentious past – which has no relation to the topic at hand – is regrettable in an otherwise excellent work. Fine, call me a secularist – but that is the way I see it. 
The book moves on from this into the main phase : the distortion of our history during the colonial phase, with a detailed examination of the sequence of events, and a presentation of point and counter-point both, again lending some weight to the work; this is essential, since what is to come is explosive, to say the least – at least to the English-trained, or should I use the derogatory term, Macaulayist mentality that is so prevalent, and to which I was myself a victim in my teenage years. It is here that the second – and biggest flaw of the book creeps in; one of bad presentation. The lack of a proper Bibliography, and annotations that can help the avid follower to cross-check. The references are all clubbed into one at the end, and leave a lot to be desired for. With a proper presentation, annotations, links to proofs for the period evidences and minutes of letters mentioned would have lent irrefutability to the arguments presented therein. Sadly, this is lacking. 
That distortion has happened is now an established fact in innumerable areas; that the Europeans had tried to extinguish our culture is also a known fact, so this should not come as a surprise. The White Man’s total disdain for eastern culture is also a truism even in the modern day, so again this is not a surprise. What does come as a surprise is the existence of a society intended to destroy Sanatan Dharma. The book gives its aims and its charter in detail. As does the intent to translate the Gospel and Isaiah into Sanskrit. This I can believe, as I have read in another work – to be reviewed – of intentions to populate India with the White Man; an intention that was destroyed by 1857. That is why 1857 is the First War Of Independence – we won back our culture, our lifestyle. But I get ahead of myself. 
The book moves onto the more explosive revelations or call them hypotheses, if you will – supported by copious calculations of dynasties, years, times, eras and historical references to prove the points mentioned. Also present in the book is an exhaustive list of kings stretching back across 153 generations, till 3000 BC and beyond, as corroborative proof of the timelines suggested. This is further supported by mention of international references from outside India. Here again, the absence of annotations and end-notes rankles a lot; the book would be far, far more hard-hitting with a proper finishing and presentation. In its current form, it comes across as half-baked, to be honest. 
The last section of the book is a veritable treasure trove of our literary history, with a succinct presentation of our Vedic Literature, The Concepts of Sanatan Dharma, and Vedic Society. This section is the piece de resistance of the book, as one wonders at the level of development and thought processes of our ancestors. At least in my case, this section has kindled a desire to know more, and to learn more. The last 4-5 chapters deal exclusively with Vedic Society and Literature, and will take your breath away in the simplicity of their concepts, and of the clarity of their thoughts. Any description from my side would be superfluous, as also wholly inadequate.
All in all, this is not a book aimed at fueling a misplaced pride, as some might believe – it is a book {some of the  more  fantastic presentations notwithstanding} that attempts to understand clarify and explain Vedic Culture and some distorted aspects of our history. It is a book that is both a class in Vedic Culture and Society, as well as an attempt to place an alternative timeline and sequence of events in front of the reader’s eyes. That this timeline does not tally with Western-written history does not necessarily mean it is inaccurate; it only means that questions still remain, unanswered questions – especially since the logic presented is not so easy to dismiss. A must read, in my opinion.

Book Review : Indian Economy Under Early British Rule – Irfan Habib

Published April 6, 2014 by vishalvkale

First, history… and then, to top that, Economic History. Yaaaawn, you would think; yet another long-winded treatise that is boooring, you would think. You could not be more off the mark; the current book stands as the best, most interesting and power-packed book on Indian History that I have ever encountered. It is short, to-the-point, powerful, and deeply engaging in its flawless narrative and nearly irrefutable in its scathing indictment of the British.

Next, why should you read this? Reason : because any number of educated Indians regard the British rule as either a boon, or just another subduing power. For them, this book forms the ideal vehicle; it deals with that easily understandable commodity – money, moolah, cash. Not for this book the esoteric realms of cultural subjugation a-la Pawan Verma; or the cruel horrors of imperial murder and genocide in 1857 and 1942-44 a-la other writers. This deals with a subject that is easy to explain, as well as understand and empathise with, driving home the sheer brutality of the British Rule, as well as the fact that we got nothing in return for it that we would not have otherwise got.

The most engaging and powerful part of the book is that it provides dated, irrefutable historical writings from the period being covered at the end of each chapter; each of these – called “extracts” – is both a powerful proof as well as a window into that times, the flawed and one-sided decision making, as well as a window into the India as it used to be in those days; as these extracts were written as history was taking place, much as our modern news articles.

The Indians are in many things of matchless ingenuity in their several employments… In some things the artists  India outdo all the ingenuty of Europe – John Ovington, 1689

In commercial dealings, the honesty of the people of this country is such that, let a complete stranger deposit the the sarrafs hundreds of thousands of cash….  would on demand repay the sum without any delay… honest sarrafs give in Hindwi writings…  agents throughout the country… repay on demand…  Sujan Rai, 1695-96

We are looking at a countrywide system of hundis – or cash transfer system, which is frankly stunningly flawless, forms the economic backbone of the trade. Even more amazing, bill discounting , insurance, merchants, traders and banks etc so-called western concepts were already present nation-wide. And no proofs were kept or demanded; it was based on trust – and a peice of paper. Note the commentary of the observer from 1695; one then wonders wherefrom we learnt corruption, and dishonesty that we see all around us today? This is period evidence – irrefutable.

Indeed, most of Hyder’s operations seem to be highly judicious and reasonable… respected by natives of all dewscriptions – Francis Buchanan, 1807

Tipu Sultan’s plans to introduce industrial technology – Persian MS copies of Tipu Sultan’s instructions for his ambassadors of Turkey and France… 1785 – 86. Hello, what was it about us not getting industrial technology? It appears that we were in the process of industrialising, but could not. Now why was that? Because the EIC took over, and instead of introducing technology, which local rulers were doing, took to raping the land, using it as a captive market, and as a source of raw material. Result, the annual inflow of gold and silver turned into a annual; outflow, resulting in the poverty you now see around us.

The book goes on into the impact of revenue farming from land, and the conversion of the landed labourer into beggars or landless labourers. It looks at the heart-rending situation as millions of skilled workers were rendered homeless, and without work; it looks at the losses to industrial units, which lost 73% revenue within 3 years of the advent of British Rule.

It looks at how a well-to-do nation with an advanced, a very, very highly advanced culture and internal systems was wrecked by what I call less civilized but more brutal inhuman creatures. It looks at the systematic destruction of India in every sector – industrial and agricultural. It dwells on the systematic de-industrialisation of an advanced honest and great civilization that was in most respects far ahead of Europe. And it provides irrefutable proof and evidence.

Read this book to know the India that was, the golden land, the sone ke chidiya… you will not regret it. Feel the pride at what we were, the tragic grief of our total destruction at the hands of a buccaneering and underdeveloped people, and at our crass foolishness that led to this. Read the book  to understand how India was one country, with extensive cross-border trade and advanced systems, and its ambassadorial relations with the world…

There is no reason for us to feel inferior; if anything, we were actually ahead of the west in innumerable areas, as western writers have themselves observed…

My Vote, My Future and My Country… The Lament Of A Disillusioned Voter

Published April 3, 2014 by vishalvkale

On the 10th of April, in 7 days time, the Great Indian Election Season starts wherein each adult Indian is supposed to excercise his or her vote, and choose a party into power. To some of us, it is a vital day; to some of us, it is a duty, to some of us, it is a task, to some of us, it is unimportant… and to some of us, like me, it is a day to regret, to cry in desolation at the absence of a good choice.

2014… 23 years since I reached 18, the grand and exciting age that grants me the right to vote, that grants me a single lifetime Share Certificate in India, Inc; that grants me the ability of impact the direction of the nation and that grants me an admittedly small and infinitesimal but vital power over my own future and destiny.

And yet, despite this share, this power, this influence… I have felt disoriented and aloof from this entire excercise, remaining aloof and divorced from this entire tamasha. For, look as hard as I might, I could not spot a single person to vote for, a single person who deserves my vote. For every party fields candidates with criminal records, a subject now discussed to the point of boredom. If they dont, then you have dynasties, making me wonder and re-check my civics books for India’s Government – is it a monarchy? To my complete shock, and bewilderment, I find that book stating India as a Democracy! Whats with the dynasties then? Not just Gandhi, but everywhere you see dynasties! Pretty sure that I was taught civics by a science teacher. India cant be a monarchy, methinks. No way, no how.

Then, as I began to age a bit, I started noticing things… sorry, GoI, noticing is a no-no in India, I know – but it is kind of hard to ignore the naked woman beggar, the jamaadar bathed in shit as he cleans my drain, the hungry beggar begging for a roti, the emanicipated kids running around half-naked the adolescents carrying tea instead to going to school, the half-naked men and women labourers, the power-cuts, those fantastic roads that ensure that mechanics get some earnings (a true patriot, that person who makes those shit roads – ensuring business to the impoverished. Good show!).

Then, sadly, I did my BSc(Ag) and MBA. And what is worse, someone in both colleges didnt know his job; he was bad at it. He actually taught me something. Oh, woe is me… I actually gained education. And, with that dirty word called education, came those lovely but totally forbidden things- thoughts. Time passed , I read some more. Blame the newspapers – those fools actually printed some good analytical articles, as also some misguided authors who dared to educate us heathens on what good Governance is all about. (Good Governance? Who needs it when we can have those criminals and dynasties around us? Pshaw! Stuff and Nonsense. What we need is a good, hard criminal and a monarch – 2 of them)

And then, I did the cardinal sin. I actually became a bigger fool by taking all those evil writers at their face value, and started analysing. Ooh, evil dirty word – analysis; that puts such stupid thoughts as GDP Growth, Gini Coefficient, Inflation, Per Capita Income, Implementation, Project completion time, Irrigated Area, Per Hectare Crop Productivty, Corruption free society {Sacrilege! Corruption free? India? Sent this guy to Agra Mental Asylum: he’s mad}, Per Hectare Income of farmers, farmer suicides, education and literacy in India, Mortality etc etc…

Having made the mistakes above, I could then only see the stalled project due to corruption and crime, the loss to the nation due to the Mining fiasco, the simple fact that I have pay a bribe just to prove I am married (And I married in front of God and a 1000 guests. Bribes more important than both, hey?), the fact that I cant get a headway on property without grease {this grease has nothing to do with that gooey stuff mechanics use, btw}, the power cuts, the state of the Army as it doesnt have equipment, the state of health and Government hospitals, the state of our schooling system.

Sadly, having actually listened to a lecture in MBA {Yup, classmates, thats one more than you guys!), I had the sad and unfortunate ability to realise that we had been ruled by both sets of dynasties, politicians and criminals largely due to our federal status, with something called “states” being constituted in India, which meant both major parties were ruling me locally at varying times. {What did I tell you – Civics by a science teacher. She did tell me about something called a state, cant recall what. But she did, so there!}. As I said, I made the mistake of analysing, and the even more base mistake of observing.

And to top it all, I also thought! {A citizen, thinking? Whats the world coming to, anyway?} While this stupid analysis did tell me one set of geniuses were slightly better at running the Goverment {Yup, I think I know what that word means. Google Zindabad!} – it also told me that I still require to pay a bribe for just about everything, that projects are still stuck due to corruption, and so on and so forth, despite this “state” government being different. And, since my civics classes were taken by a science PhD with a post-doc in particle phsyics, this sad person taught me state lists and central lists as well. {Well, I mean – to be fair, he didnt actually expect me to read those bloody lists. But I did, kyaa karoon?} And, unfortunately, I could see both lists in deep trouble. Why Oh Why did I read those bloody lists? Those should be classified top secret Government reports!

Result? Confusion! {What do you expect if you think???? Clarity? Kyaa Samjhe ho – RamRajya Hai? Hadd Karte Ho! What an Optimist} {Well, ok, maybe idiot is a better word there. See – the advantage of an education? I read your mind! Yes, yes, I now know it is a perfectly useless skill} Both sides, the people seem similar. Both sides clamouring for my bechaaraa vote. Both sides doing nothing to make my life easier.

What did I expect and ask for all these years?

  • Lesser Corruption
  • Improvement in amenities like cleaner cities, no power cuts
  • Education
  • Cheap and Accessible Health.
  • Good Roads
  • A friendly police force
  • A fast-growing economy
And for that, I, the discerning voter, am considered a fool. Yes, it is foolish in the extreme – asking for such things as a Marriage Licence without a bribe, good roads etc. I mean, I am alive, isnt it? Aur kyaa Chaahiye???? Amazing, the expectations of people nowadays. I am a fool for I used to state that I cannot find a single person to vote for.
Enter 2014. Once Again, Elections. Once again, the chance to alter the future of my country, and by extension, myself. Once again, I start that forbidden monstrosity – analysis. Once again, with a hope that by some miracle I will find someone who deserves my vote. Once again, I search… will this time be different? Will I find that impossibility? I it too much to ask – a single decent clean candidate from my constituency? This time, chances are I might. Hope lives on… being an optimist {ok, ok, ok, ok and a fool}, I once again hope with my fingers crossed… my head bent in silent prayer for my mother, my India