All posts for the month February, 2015

The Myth Of The Aryans

Published February 25, 2015 by vishalvkale

This post is an attempt to tackle the Aryan Myth, that still holds as true in some Indians; in the post below, I have attempted to tabulate all the known points about this theory’s rebuttal in an attempt to spread the word among Indians – at least the ones that I have come across, as one body of reading; references are provided at the end of the article. 
I have also attempted to place a logical extension- that the Sindhu-Saraswati Civilization {Indus Valley Civilization} may also have been the Vedic Civilization, although a lot more needs to be investigated and revealed if that needs to be commonly accepted as fact. 
1.   Literature: First, the RigVeda. The geographical area of the Rug Veda (Rig Ved) is clearly delineated as North West India; there is no room for any doubt. It specifically mentions the Saraswati as between the Yamuna and the Sutlej, That can only be the Ghaggar river bed. Satellite imagery has established that this used to be a massive river system in the old days. The Rugved does not mention a drying Saraswati, clearly meaning that it must have been written well before 1900 – 2600 BC. There is no mention of either invasion or Migration in the Rugved; if any migration occured, it happened before 3000 BC – if at all. There is also no mention of a central asian landscape in the RugVed; it is specific in that it mentions the Kabul river to the west and the Ganga to the east. There is awareness of the Himalayas.
2.   A Radio Metric Dating of the Indus Saraswati places the real age of this civilization to 7200 BC or thereabouts. This was announced by the ASI in an international conference on 5th November 2012. This also suggests that migration did not happen 3500 years ago, or even 9000 years ago.
3.   Second, Genetics. a 2006 study clearly identifies that the Indian population has been generally stable for a very long time, and that there has been no major injection of Central Asian Genes for over 10000 years at least. So, if any migration did happen, it was long before settlements emerged, before domestication of the horse, before the Iron or Bronze ages. We are talking about hunter gatherers, small bands of nomads etc. The latest dating of the Indus Saraswati Civilization is 9000 years – as per Radio Metric Dating; the genetic evidence is older by this than 1000+ years at least.
4.   The R1a1a gene mutation is found in North India and East Europeans, South Siberia, Tajikistan and North Eastern Iran, A study on this conducted in 2010 found that the oldest strain of the R1a1a branch was concentrated in the Gujarat-Sindh-Western Rajasthan region of India, suggesting that this was close to the origin of the genetic group. A mutation M458 is found in Europeans, but is not found at all in Asians. This M458 mutation is at least 8000 years old, thus lending credence to the observations above
From this we can see that the Aryan Migration never happened; Literary, Archeological as well as genetic evidence all points to the reverse. There is no longer any room for any doubt whatsoever…
There are 2 prominent theories of the Aryans. The first and the older one places the aryans as people from Western Asia – specifically Iran. The newer theory places the Aryans as residents of Afghanistan, Northwest India. The newer is now gaining prominence, with the only disagreement being Afghanistan or India? Central to the second theory is the identification of the river referred to in Vedic scriptures as Saraswati or Ila. Some people refer it to Northwest India, citing satellite research (which is to me pretty convincing), while others place it as a river system in Afghanistan. 
 Let us now look at the evidence regarding the above. This rests on scientific, archeological, scriptural and linguistic basis. The scientific evidence is the identification of The Saraswati as flowing nearly parallel to the Indus, which has now been identified by satellite imagery to be the Ghaggar Basin. The scriptural evidence has to do with the Vedas, which represent the Ila (Saraswati) as initially being a massive river, which subsequently dried up. There are other descriptions in Vedic literature regarding the flora and fauna etc which identify the place as Northern India – or Afghanistan upto Iran borders.
Archeological evidence  has to do with sites around the Indus – most critically, 70% sites of the civilization have been found to be precisely along the banks of the Saraswati River bed. Further evidence are the pottery, the seals, the water baths, the ritual fires etc. The linguistic evidence is the clincher in that if you compare the Avestan language with Vedic sanskrit, the similarities are simply too uncanny to be ignored, The Gods in Vedas are the bad ones in Avesta, for ex. There are many such similarities which make it crystal clear that if you are to identify the Aryans, we can only look to Eastern Iran, Afghanistan and Northwestern India. 
The Aryans were a people living along the banks of a massive river system (let us leave which one for the time being to avoid argument); as the river dried up, there was a natural migration. The people on the west bank migrated to Iran and regions west, while the people on the east bank migrated to the Gangetic plains of India. This satisfies the critical  linguistic evidence, as it is the only explanation that holds water for the similarity between Avestan and Vedic language. It also fits in with the scriptural evidence, as well as the archeological evidence on all points

Next, consider migration out of Africa – starting 75000 – 60000 years ago. A small band of hunter migrated to Arabia; all modern Humans in Eurasia are thought to be from this group. 

In those days, the sea level was much lower; which meant a low-lying and rich path to India. This is also an established scientific fact. Thus, there was no European link at all even in the initial stages. At the most, there may have been some inward drifting during the ice-age – the last of which was in 18000 BC. This is 16500 years before the supposed Aryan Invasion Theory. After this time, there was no inward migration or invasion. 

This is also borne out by archeological, linguistic and scriptural evidence. The Rugved is specific: the landscape is Northwest India. The Rugved is known to be prior to 3000 BC, as it mentions a flowing and mighty Saraswati. It is now a known  scientific fact that the Saraswati flowed precisely where the Rugved says; that it was one of the mightiest rivers known; and that it dried up in 1900BC, with a reduced flow from 2500BC. The Rugved does not mention any invasion or inward drift; it does not mention a shift; it does not mention anything. The description is specific: North-West India. All mentioned places have been found – including Dwarka. 

Further, the cultural contiguity of the Rugvedic traditions also confirm the above; by no stretch of imagination would a conquering tribe have completely converted to Sanaatani thoughts. If the Rugevedic people were in India from 3000BC-plus, who were they?  The wide prevalence of linguistic lineages in India from Sanrkrut and Prakrut also indicate an origin in India. All evidence from Genetics to Archeology point to an Indian origin; migration – if any – must have been prior to 40000 years ago – as evidenced in the genetic studies above. All 4 cant be wrong!

References {The ones I have studied so far in my hunt to understand my lovely nation: 

·      The Land of the Seven Rivers – A Brief History of India’s Geography;
·… : Article on Separating the post-Glacial coancestry of European and Asian Y chromosomes within haplogroup R1a; Refer the bibliography of the book for Genetics research papers references
· : The Ghaggar River Basin
·      What India Should Know – Laxmikanthan and Devi

·      I have also looked through :
 Reconstructing Indian Population History – David Reich et al – 2009
 Polarity and Temporality of High-Resolution Y-Chromosome Distribution in India Sengupta at al – 2006
 A Prehistory of Indian Y Chromosomes Evaluating Demic diffusion scenarios – Sanghamitra Sahoo et al
 Indian origin of paternal haplogroup R1a1 S Sharma at al 2009

Underhill is not the only 1; second, sample size has almost nothing to do with accuracy; it is the representativeness of the sample components that holds greater weightage.

The study above does not challenge that the the mutation does not occur is Asians ; the Underhill study specifically states that the mutation, thought to be 8000 years old, is not found in Asians.

Further, Sengupta study specifies that the Indian gene pool has been stable for 10000 years at least. In an interview, geneticist Thiagarajan specifically stated that ASI and ANI groups may date to 60000 and 40000 years. The combination of the 3 is unmistakable: that there was no migration or invasion since at least 8000BC

An unsolicited word of advice; avoid internet resources totally. Start with a book, go to its bibliography, do a google search; read the articles (prefer PDF files as they can be saved onto disk as well as the fact that generally pdf files are reproductions of actual research papers). This will enable a deep understanindg of the subject matter as well as deal with any questions the book might leave

Indian Culture : Being Indian, Truly Indian – An Examination

Published February 20, 2015 by vishalvkale

Being and becoming is definitely the flavor of the season… there are a few trends that are now clearly discernible in the national discourse in India along these lines: one is the yearning for a return to our culture and our roots, the second being a push to be Indian and buy Indian, a third is the rising tide that pushes a national narrative of a Hindu subjugation, and a fourth being the rising tide of Hindu sentiment for a golden Hindu period, with Hindu values, and morals. The icing on the cake is the moral brigade, and the attendant reverse, with the pillorying and vilifying reactions to this moral brigade. Intermingled among all these is the single viewpoint of contempt and disdain some educated Indians have for ancient Indian culture.

In the atmosphere of Ghar Waapsi, I noted that the true Ghar Waapsi will happen when we stop giving bribes, stop eulogizing The West etc. Similarly, in the light of the rise of the AAP, we are talking of a rising hope, which is great, and a rising euphoria, which is misplaced. In both the cases above, as well as the scenarios in the first paragraph,  we are talking about a complete change in a people being dreamt and imagined by a people who first of all only pay superficial obeisance to Indian Values,  Sanaatani Vichaardhaaraa and our culture, and have little or limited knowledge of history.  As a small example, just try and tell anyone the fact that Hinduism is a British creation; that our real religion is Sanaatan Dharm; note the aggressive reaction, and the ignorance.  

Being “Indian” in culture, in this context, is taken to mean something either completely superficial and  external, without getting to the core of the issue – by and large, equated with language, dress, and such like – things that have precisely nothing to do with culture, and are manifestly superficial; or something based on a biased, one sided and incorrect narrative of History. This article delves into the first aspect, and the historical narrative forms the 2nd part of this mini-series.

Being Indian is being taken and interpreted as a stance of morality in relations between the sexes, which is a loaded and one-sided sentiment even at the best of times, as another example. Some of the more interesting views is the political landmine of Hindi being needlessly and incorrectly termed the national language by some people. Being Indian is taken to mean eulogizing the ancient culture we had, with a more hardline stance pillorying even the Mughal and Arabic rulers of New Delhi from 1150AD onwards

These people forget that the very language they go ballistic over – Hindi – is a borrowed tongue, being born out of Arabaic, Persian, Awadhi, Braj and a couple of other dialects. 300 years ago, this language had not even been invented, and was in the process of being crafted – whereas some modern languages like Marathi had already evolved out of Maharashtri Prakrut and Apabhramsa several hundred years before this time. Yet, it is Hindi which is spoken across Northern India, not the other ancient languages. What does this tell us about our culture?

India has come under one political yoke many times in ancient days, and yet a single language did not evolve, and was never enforced. Even in Muslim central rule, when Persian was the official tongue, one single language did not evolve; the language that did evolve from this – Hindi – was more akin to Marathi and other Indian languages than to Persian and Arabic. Not only that, at no point did an indigenous arts and literature evolve around the foreign language in India. Point is the openness and non-interference in cultural affairs and the cultural tolerance even during Muslim rule!

On the topic of women, one side of the argument vociferously denounces the changes happening, while the other, quite naturally, in automatic and justified outrage, goes the other extreme! For the moral brigade : technically, you might have been right – had you decided to approach the problem as a point of education and awareness, rather than moral policing; an issue which meant that Indian Values need to be inculcated… but even there, we run into problems, as becomes evident in the next paragraph. On the other side: it is your life, your decision; I personally see no locus standi of anyone not from your respective families.

I am all for a reversal for the role of women to that in ancient India, provided it is in keeping with the genuine Indian culture, not what is normally pandered in the guise of Indian Culture. What was the role of women in those days, and in what societal context? Women have always had a position of primacy in the Indian household, society and politics – right from ancient times. Even in normal lives, women were not oppressed – yes, there were some practices which are unacceptable in the current societal context, like age of marriage – but by and large, they were relatively free.

If you say women should marry as per male family members’ wishes, fine by me. If you say open display of love is a no-no, fine by me. But… it can’t be a one-way street; you then have to re-examine the entire scenario: what was the overall attitude towards women in those days in our society? How safe were they on the streets? What was their contribution towards the economy, the society and politics? How were they treated, and how were they viewed? Were they objectified and treated as showpieces, as men are habitual of doing today, openly staring a women, treating them as objects? Was open display of love really a no-no in those days – within the then prevalent societal norms?

Women were treated with respect, given a pride of place, were safe in ancient India, and were not objectified, were actually honoured. Can we say that today? Display of affection was allowed within the norms of that society. Further, their contribution in economics, politics and society was valued. Given the nature of that society, and the role of women as home-makers, that was relevant. In the modern context, women are important contributors to economics, politics and society far in excess of ancient times.

If we then say that the old norms stay paramount, then revert them to their old roles, stop their contribution in various fields. Fine by me – but what about the damage to politics, economics, livelihoods of males working in organizations formed by women etc? You cant have your cake and eat it too! In other words, males want to benefit from female efforts from other families, while simultaneously keeping and treating them as property! They are fine if other women do it, their family should remain in their control… what If everyone thinks the same? What will be the difference between us and the Middle East in that case?

As a matter of fact,  a powerful case can be made for the fall of the Indian Political power in the medieval times as being a result of the rise in the maltreatment of two classes in our society: women, and the downtrodden. The rise of norms such as Sati, increasing obstruction of women coincided with the fall in our fortunes – this tallies with our scriptures, which specifically state that Gruhalaxmi has to be respected, else wealth flies away. We started ill-treating women, and our wealth went bye-bye! Remember, Goddess Sita opted to bury herself in Mother Earth rather than go back to Ayodhya!

Moving on, the easiest aspect to tackle in this narrative is the be-Indian-buy-Indian brigade, which has both economic and cultural aspects; the economic side of the argument has been well covered in mainstream media, and needs no repetition. The cultural side of the argument deals with a narrative of re-colonisation, and is a very popular and oft-forwarded message on Whatsapp and even Facebook, as well as blogs and digital media. This narrative actually is completely the opposite of “Indian” from an ancient perspective! Ancient and Medieval India was a trading powerhouse, with a vast and massive trade of a large number of goods with the entire world from the past 5000 years, which is a known and established fact.

We had trading outposts as far away as Central Asia, a busy land trade route as well as extensive commercial guilds that traded with other ancient cultures, as is evident from the mentions of India in other ancient literature from other cultures, as well as the interchanges with diverse visitors and invaders like the Greeks and the Huns. India flourished as it learned to trade far better than others – giving what it did best, and taking what it could not specialize in. This is essentially what Modern Economics states, and we did it 3000 and more years before the birth of Economics!

But this narrative never reaches the public, who focus only on be-Indian-buy-Indian, which is not only against all economic logic, but is also against our own culture, history and learnings from the past! Far from learning from our mistakes, as we saw in the case of language, women or in this case of trade, we are reacting in a way that holds some serious questions for us as a people and as a culture. Sad part is, there is no attempt in the mainstream to handle this logically, and without passion… the good part is, that the first stirrings of a logical debate on these matters has now started.

The point of the article is that “Being Indian” in culture is more about what you THINK, what you do and how you behave : Vedic values are more about honesty, cultural and religious tolerance, openness, free trade across political borders, equality of the sexes {viewed in the context of the respective era}, etc. It has to be viewed holistically, not piecemeal as per our convenience and vested interests. It also has to take into account our prevalent societal, socio-economic and other paradigms, and cannot be viewed in isolation. And lastly, it has to be based in light of facts, not a desired fiction or a notion or even an imagined Golden Period;

My small suggestion for what it is worth,,, can we all try and really be Indian in every sense of the term?

Ghar Waapsi : The True And Only Ghar Waapsi…

Published February 15, 2015 by vishalvkale

“Ghar Waapsi” has become, sadly, the flavor of the season, with the Media going gaga over it, thanks largely to some disturbing antics of some sections of our society. If we are focusing on returning to our roots, the question arises is just what are those roots? How do we define those roots? The question arises, what is the true Ghar Wapsi? The true return home? Are we, the people who are supposedly at home, truly at home? Or are we in some land that is neither here nor there?

Saying that people should return to their roots is fine, but are we ourselves close to our roots? Is our society – be it Hindu, or Christian, or Muslim or Sikh – really truly back to their roots in national terms, in cultural terms? Have we fully jettisoned our various inferiority complexes and hang-ups? Let us take a lookat some of the more delightful aspects of this society of ours :

We are in a world where anything to do with culture is considered being fundamentalist at worst or old-fashioned at best, where jabbering in English is a sign of education and intelligence, where listening to western music is considered the in thing, where any attempt to portray or look at Indian culture is termed exotic and quaint, where you can find Shakespeare in any book store across the land but will not find one single copy of the Vedic texts, Upanishads, or anything else ancient or medieval Indian literature, not even the Baburnama or the Akbarnama, Abhigyaan Shaakuntalam, Kabiror anyone else.

We are in a world where you are termed naive and foolish for not having read western classics and books, where people look down on you for not watching the latest hollywood flick, where people freely insult themselves and their country by terming our films Bollywood {which was originally {and still is IMO} an insult}, where you find the most ludicrous and idiotic scene of constant, never ending non stop comparisons with The West on everything, except the economy : which is compared with China!,

We are living in a society  where you have to be as good as the West in anything and everything, where you are termed old-fashioned, quaint, or caricatured simpleton for going the culture way, in a world whose schools teach Dickens but not Indian classics, in a world where the education system goes gaga over Western developments and culture while completely omitting Indian developments and culture, and in a land supposedly Indian and yet requiring spoken English as a prerequisite for success!

We are living in an environment where reading itself is considered passe, where a well-read man or woman with a passion for reading is considered impractical and a liability. We are in an era where people dont read religious books, or are not interested in historical and cultural aspects of life and society, where the focus is on materialism. We are living in a world where being decent, good and honest is considered a sign that a person is bookish, impractical and a fool, and where the average Indians knowledge of his or her roots and history is abysmal!

We are in a world where the focus is on gratification of the self, not on the society and the community, where the focus is on feeding the body and making its environs comfortable; not on feeding the mind and developing its finer aspects, in a world where living with a partner without social sanction is considered a sign of development and being oh-so-modern, where sleeping with several partners is considered being modern, and having several girlfriends a sign of modernity, achievement and development, and not a sign of decadence!

If we are truly get back home, it is far better to forget the conversions issue, which can give rise to needless tensions and passions, thereby disturbing the equity that is increasingly to be found in Modern India,  a land where everyone is free to practice his or her own religion, a lovely land where each religion is free! And if you have to right historical wrongs, why not go after the incipient and far more damaging westernization of our society?

If people are so concerned about historical wrongs, why not right the Colonial rape, which was demonstrably damaging, vis-à-vis the exaggerated wrongs of the Muslim period? How many of us have actually read The Shrimad Bhagwat Geeta? The Ramayan? The Mahabharat? The Upanishads? The Puranic texts? Let alone reading – which is an educated activity for enlightened broadened minds – how many among us display the stupidity and the inferiority complexes and open westernization noted above?  

The true way forward, one that represents real Ghar Waapsi, will be if the Indian {The majority} can place equal {Not even greater} but equal emphasis on Mother Tongue with English, where we read Shakespeare with as much elan as we do Kabir; where we watch Hindi, English and Vernacular movies and songs with equal relish without needless comparisons and condescending treatment. The real Ghar Waapsi will be when the Indian appreciates – truly appreciates – Indian Culture, and foregos some of the above small minded habits.

The true Ghar Waapsi will be when the Indian stops giving bribes, recreating the India that was observed in writings of the 1600s, which show a stunningly honest land. The true Ghar Waapsi will be when women get their due in India, as was the case in Vedic times. The true Ghar Waapsi will be when the Indian stops drooling over Western Culture, and faces the West with pride and confidence, confidant and calm, effectively saying : This is me, this is the way I am, take it or soak your head!

The true Ghar Waapsi will be when we can find our ancient and medieval literature in equal volumes and strength on book shelves, when we can actually try and decipher the wonders contained in our ancient literature without the fear that we will be the butt of jokes and condescension, when we can place greater credit on our Mumbai and Chennai film industries, when we can place our own film awards as more important an event from our perspective, rather than devaluing and insulting ourselves by doing the reverse!

That represents the true Ghar Waapsi… the question is, will it happen?

Book Review : Ramayan – The Game Of Life {Shattered Dreams}

Published February 12, 2015 by vishalvkale




Book 2

The Ramayan Retold by : Shubh Vilas

Shubh Vilas is a spiritual seeker and a motivational speaker, with a degree in Engineering and Law, specialised in Patent Law. Prominent among his teachers are H.D.G. A.C. Bhaktivedant Swami Srila Prabhuda {Founder Hare Krshna Movement} and H.H. Radhanath Swami

Words fail me… I had never known the true power of The Ramayan, or the real reason why we Sanaatan Dharm followers {Hindus} honour Prabhu Ramchandra above all… I have, of course, known the full story through TV serials, movies, abridged Amar Chitra Katha comics and abriged stories… but reading the full story is an entirely different issue. The full force of the character of Prabhu Ram hits you hard, really hard – I actually cried on a couple of paragraphs – as you realise that this person just  cannot be a human… what is in embodied Prabhu Ramchandra  is beyond description – simple, soft, and yet so totally beyond even the wildest conceptualisation of our limited minds in the modern word… amazing that there once walked on this earth a man like Prabhu Ramchandra… truly, Maryada Purushottam! And even better : you come face-to-face with the full power of The Lady Sita, whose simple, unassuming and yet tough, rock-hard countenance is a revelation to small minds like mine… 

On reading it, I can only say that I can now begin to understand why Prabhu Ram is given a place of honour… shameful of me to read it at age 40+! The translation specifically is really good; a knowledgeable person vetted it just by hearing the name of the Guru of the author, stating if that is so, then I must read it… this is a lovely translation, beautifully written, completely true to the  Ramayan in Sanskrut so far as I can tell, written with true devotion and love, and yet in a reasonable, practical and yet respectful tone. This is a book for people like me, who havent actually read The Ramayan. I am captivated by the beauty of this epic, lovely and fascinating story from our Ancient History…
This is the 2nd book of the series, and deals with the plan to place Prabhu Ram on the seat at Ayodhya, the vicious plans of Manthara and the turning of Kaikeyi’s mind, going on to how Prabhu Ram takes this in his stride. The book focuses in detail on this phase, making for stirring reading, especially in the scene the Lord breaks the news to Devi Sita, and  Lakshman. The book focusses on the beginning of the Vanvaas, their initial experiences, thoughts and journeys in the latter half

The main aspect of the book is the revelation in the scenes between the various players, with the recreation of the scenes between Prabhi Shri Ram, Devi Sita; Shri Ram – Lakshman, Shri Ram – Kaushalya etc. This is so wonderfully retold, that the scene unfolds in front of your eyes, and invariably bringing a tear to your eyes! Such is the tremendous power of the words in the book : I do not know if this is the power of The Ramayan, the skill of the Author, or both…

For those of you who havent actually read The Ramayan, be prepared for a roller-coaster ride and a highly emotional experience. I can now understand just how important The Ramayan is to us, as well as Shri Ram-Devi Sita; the emotions you experience as you read it cannot be described; at least I do not have the skill to describe them. This is also due in some small measure to the focus being not just on telling the story so much as recreating the story in front of your eyes, and in your mind. 

The entire period of The Ramayan rises in front of your eyes. I can only say that it is tragic that I cannot read Sanskrut, if a translation can be so beautiful, I wonder how unimaginably fascinating the original must be, and how transcendentally beautiful! This is an epic, lovely and fascinating translation, and has been told with respect, devotion and great love; and it shows. 

The key value addition by The Transalator is the end-notes; first, they underscore the role of the author : he is our mentor and our guide on this journey of rediscovering the Ramayan, a Guru. And the Guru has littered the book with lovely, deep and pointed end-notes as explanations of the behaviour of each character {thereby ensuring the story remains free of intrepreter bias}. This takes you deep into the story and the minds of the various players in the story, giving you a deep understanding. 

What this also does is it also brings you face-to-face with yourself, your morality, your behaviours, your views and your life, giving you a deep learning and a fascinating maturing and learning experience. And then you begin to realise the sheer power of The Ramayan and its ability to bring you to face yourself, and introspect. You also realise through these stupendous end-notes that this is a story that can be read again, and again, and again… each time, with each reading, it will give a new flavour, a new learning…

In closing, let me state that despite knowing the entire story, this book has made me appreciate Prabhu Shri Ram – Maryaadaa Purushottam, his clarity of mind, his sincerity of purpose, his simplicity of thought, his honesty and integrity, his devotion and his love for everyone. It has also made me appreciate the sheer force and incredible power of Devi Sita, her incredible toughness, her dedication and sacrifice, and her love for Prabhu Shri Ram. And let us not forget the others – Shri Lakshman, Urmila and their equations, Bharat and his incredible nature… 

Incredible that such people once walked the face of this earth, and incredible that Mother India was once blessed with the presence of The Lord Himself! 

Jai Shri Ram!

{If any errors have happened, please accept my apologies….}

This review is a part of the biggest Book Review Program for Indian Bloggers. Participate now to get free books!

New Delhi : AAP – Massive Challenges Ahead

Published February 11, 2015 by vishalvkale

In the previous article, I detailed why the election isn’t a major worry for the BJP. In this article, I propose to outline the challenges and problems that this election has raised in front of the AAP, as well as its positives.
For starters, the AAP stands as the one single party that has been consistently ridiculed by an amazingly large number of people on social media and national media alike. This is frankly the most disturbing aspect of the entire episode. People were consistently willing to forget the mistakes of the other parties, but not the AAP.
People were scalding in their total contempt  of this party, one whose main plank was anti-corruption & clean governance. I do not deny their mistakes, my point is different : the level of ridicule and insults that targeted this party right from the start were beyond imagination. Not only that, they were pilloried left right and center, despite being the only party in Indian History to quit government on a principle. Whether they should have done so is another matter – but critically, not one person appreciated that they showed that they had no desire for power, for standing up for the people, while blaming them for faults – some real, and some imagined.
It was this absence of a balanced view of this new party that was the most disturbing aspect of the entire political discourse, a matter which is the subject of the third and concluding part of this mini-series. It was from these ashes that this party re-emerged to win New Delhi, and this despite an ugly and frankly shocking campaign that all political parties in India should be ashamed of.
How they did it is now known, and is a matter of documented record. What is more important is the result they have achieved – 67/70, or nearly 95% seats. First, this represents a major loss for Democracy, rather than a victory. One of the founding principles of democracy is a strong and functioning opposition, which New Delhi now lacks. A strong opposition ensures proper functioning.
Next, this places the pressure firmly on them to perform; further, given that a large number of opponents are just waiting out there, ready to pounce on the first hint of non-performance, is going to be a very tall order. No one can be that good; mistakes will happen. These opponents will conveniently forget the much, much bigger mistakes of other political parties, mistakes for which even the nation has paid a high price at time, but will be all too willing to vilify the newcomer in a disgusting show of political opportunism. The AAP is best advised to gird up its lions for the tough fight ahead, that is pretty much a guarantee. We shall look into the reasons for this in the 3rd part.
That would mean it will have to stay focused on its core area of competence : New Delhi. The biggest challenge this huge result places in front of them is the development of areas outside New Delhi; this is now going to be a tough challenge to overcome, as they will need to concentrate on New Delhi. The only way forward for them is to ensure good performance in New Delhi – clean, incorrupt : let the people realize the power of a clean political party. If they now spread themselves thin, they run the risk of losing focus – this they cannot afford. That means, it has now been effectively contained to New Delhi.
Third, the vote share analysis is damning : only non-BJP segments have supported the AAP; the BJP has retained almost 97% of its base. The consolidation of the vote into one anti-BJP platform is going to be almost impossible to replicate, given the entrenched following of regional parties in other areas. The AAP will find it hard to crack that nut. Be it UP or Maharashtra, the ground realities are such  that it makes the way forward for AAP frought with massive risks.
It can be done : but not with haste. This will require careful strategic thought, and excellence in tactical execution. It will also require a long, time consuming process of development of a following among the people. The vote banks are fragmented, which means breaking into these bastions is always going to be a tall order. The key task for the AAP is now proving to the whole world that clean politics is possible, maintaining high standards and letting their work do the talking. For now, they had best be content with a regional role. This does not mean they make no efforts expand; that would be suicide. But this should be with an understanding that 2019 is not an option as of now.
लिये सपने निगाहों में, चला हूँ तेरी राहों में
ज़िंदगी  रहा हूँ मैं \- 
कई यादों के चेहरे हैं, कई किस्से पुराने हैं
तेरी सौ दास्तानें हैं, तेरे कितने फ़साने हैं  \- 
मगर एक वो कहानी है, जो अब मुझको सुनानी है
ज़िन्दगी  रहा हूँ मैं 
मेरे हाथों की गरमी से, पिघल जायेंगी ज़ंजीरें
मेरे कदमों की आहट से, बदल जायेंगी तक़दीरें \-
उम्मीदों के दिये लेकर, ये सब तेरे लिये लेकर
ज़िन्दगी रहा हूँ मैं
This is what the AAP should now take to heart – this is the one line, the one message that should be on the minds of each member of the AAP, each minister and each volunteer. They should realize that the AAP is now a shining light in the darkness for some Indians – hopefully a very large number. People who are looking expectantly towards Arvind Kejriwal and his team, hoping to watch the promise of deliverance from ugly politics come true, hoping that they will see the day corruption reduces, that the goal of equal development will happen, that money reaches the people it is meant for, and much, much more.
Secondly, this majority gives the AAP the much-needed confidence to implement the reforms they deem necessary and within its powers to do. So long as they explain and sell their message, acknowledging their mistakes, and being mature, they should be fine. They now have the mandate; they should not waste the opportunity – something which the central government is in danger of doing.
Third, the AAP should also understand that the BJP can be beaten without winning over its hardliners anywhere else, or its votebanks. So can any other existing party; all it requires is a consolidation of the vote bank, combined with a genuine attention to the ground needs of the people – which will require painstaking hard work at the field level, something which the AAP excels at, as per new reports.. This is admittedly difficult, but not impossible, given time and the right performance in New Delhi, with the needed evolution in its policies and manifesto.
If they can pull it off, they can evolve into a national outfit subsequently far more easily. This will require that the AAP evolve a credible economic policy that balances the need for equity with the need for growth; that is evolves a foreign policy and so on and so forth – and communicates it to the people. It will require all this and much much more; it is a hard long road of learning for the AAP.
But it cannot and should not forget that people now look towards the future with tremendous and fervent hope, people who are eager for a credible alternative, and who are fed up with the status quo in national political discourse. If they forget that, even for a moment – they are finished. And with them, the risk of hope dying and cynicism setting in is too high; that is not a risk we can afford. The AAP should be clear : on them rest the hopes of hundred of Millions.
The reality is that the BJP’s message still sells to its core followers. The reality is the split vote banks are still a reality. The reality is that caste still sells, and caste-based parties will still garner votes. The reality is that frivolous issues are still considered vital, over and above serious issues by some segments of the electorate. The reality is that large numbers of voters are not educated enough to understand the nuances of the policies, and can be easily converted through a one-sided loaded message. And it is in this backdrop that the AAP has to sell its dream outside New Delhi.
The future is now in the hands of the AAP; how it handles New Delhi could well be the difference between the song above, and the one below for those among the electorate who are now looking towards the AAP and its leaders with hope in their eyes, a light in their minds and joy in their hearts…
क्या शबाब था के फूलफूल प्यार कर उठा
क्या कमाल था के देख आईना सहर उठा
इस तरफ ज़मीन और आसमां उधर उठा
थाम कर जिगर उठा के जो मिला नज़र उठा
एक दिन मगर यहाँ, ऐसी कुछ हवा चली
लूट गयी कलीकली के घुट गयी गलीगली,
और हम लूटेलूटे, वक़्त से पीटे पीटे 
साँस की शराब का खुमार देखते रहे
कारवाँ गुज़र गया, गुबार देखते रहे
हाथ थे मिले के ज़ुल्फ़ चाँद की संवार दूँ
होंठ थे खुले के हर बहार को पुकार दूँ
दर्द था दिया गया के हर दुखी को प्यार दूँ
और सांस यूँ के स्वर्ग भूमि पर उतार दूँ
हो सका ना कुछ मगर, शाम बन गयी सहर,
वो उठी लहर के ढह गये किले बिखरबिखर,
और हम डरेडरे, नीर नैन में भरे,
ओढ़कर कफ़न पड़े मज़ार देखते रहे
I Would Rather Listen To The First Song, Arvindji… you are the hope of India… don’t disappoint us. With a strong ruling party- the BJP, and an equally strong opposition – The AAP {hopefully} keeping a check on each other, the future of our India will be guaranteed, with no possibility of anyone going wrong. India needs you, India needs a strong opposition as well as a strong Government!
Jai Hind! Vande Mataram!

New Delhi’s Astounding 67: Why The BJP Should Not Panic

Published February 11, 2015 by vishalvkale

The astounding 67… a major victory of the Aam Aadmi Party, and an almost seminal event in Indian Politics. Any election that returns 95% successful candidates is an astonishing event, deserving of accolades as well as hopes of genuine change. But let us not go overboard and read too much into this, for a deeper look at the ground realities and figures reveals a slightly different picture.

This cuts both ways and has major positives as well as negatives. The positives have been exceedingly well documented and commented upon, including the emergence of the Aam Aadmi Party as a significant player in the consideration set of voters. Once can be a fluke, or euphoria; twice cannot. The AAP now has emerged as an acceptable alternative in front of the people.

It is being said that this is a setback for the BJP, and a comment on Narendra Modi and the current Government. That it is – but only up to a point. On this, I agree with the BJP Government, but the reasons are different. And that reason is not connected to this being a state election, or limited to one city-state alone.

Firstly, this election does not represent an rejection of the BJP government by the electorate : their vote share remains intact at 32.2% vis-à-vis the last state election in New Delhi. What this essentially means is that those voted for the BJP and Narendra Modi, elected to do so again, by and large. Thus, prima facie, there hasn’t yet been a major shift either way for the BJP, neither is there any discernible dissatisfaction with their performance among its supporters. To know more, we shall have to wait for more detailed figures and psephological analysis to emerge, as well as more data from other coming state elections this year. As of now, it is too early to comment.

The biggest, and indeed only, defeat of the BJP has been its inability to expand  its voteshare, and appeal to a broader cross-section of the society. It has apparently not been able to appeal to a larger cross-section, which should be the cause of deep introspection within its ranks. If they think they have nothing to worry about in other areas, they may just be right. A few days ago, Indore returned the BJP in a majority in the municipal elections. The BJP remains limited to its core set of followers, and this is both a strong point as well as an Achilles heel.

In a straight one-on-one contest between two parties, the BJP was decimated. Nowhere else in India can this be a reality, thus making the chances of BJP victories elsewhere as well as in 2019 almost certain, or at least making it the only strong contendor. The learning for the BJP is that the moment the fragmented vote consolidates; it will get decimated by the electorate.

It needs to take a deep look at its own failures and tone down the fundamentalist aspects of some of its people to grow beyond this share. It also needs to take a deep look at its economic policies, as well as how it markets and sells them to the people. There is a good chance that the recent episodes of fundamentalist proponents, and the attendant silence of the officialdom at the top, has ensured that its appeal has not grown despite a good performance in the central government till date. This is combined with the other economic issues, creating a lack of growth.

This is a worry because you are performing well {excellent, in fact}  in the government, and are yet unable to win the electorate. This also places at risk your existing vote share, in that they may get swayed by the negative coverage of some of the policies and aspects. If you are doing a great job, you should grow : this is a clear basic aspect of life itself. And this election shows that despite an excellent performance, it has not been able to grow.

In other states, the electorate gets divided, with other strong contenders who have their own set of followers, which ensures a division of the non-BJP vote bank; with the BJP maintaining its appeal, their victory becomes easy, as recent history has proven. Thus, there is no reason to hit the panic button – but there is reason to worry for the BJP.
In one way, this represents a clear rejection of at least some aspects of the BJP’s agenda; what precise aspects of the agenda have been rejected is not yet fully clear, and will require more data. But, as I observe above, they have completely failed to convert non-voters into their agenda, who remain unconvinced regarding the BJP. That is why, in the presence of a credible single alternative, with a pedigreed track-record of the past year when the AAP did ground-work, the BJP was decimated.

And that is also why this election has thrown many questions for us as a people, as well as clarified once and for all the full scenario. Furthermore, as we shall see in the next article in this mini-series, this election has also actually relegated the AAP to the level of a regional small outfit, with very little chance of growing into a national player as things currently stand. Thus, this election represents in a small way a major electoral triumph of the BJP. For the nation, this election is a cause to celebrate as well as worry, as I look at in the next part of this series, which will deal with the Aam Aadmi Party…

India, Stockholm Syndrome, and Hindutva {Nehru – 3}

Published February 7, 2015 by vishalvkale

This article is the next in the Nehru Series, and carries on from the previous one : Blaming Nehru : Partition – The Role Of The British,  This article focusses on meeting the question of why is accurate History important, and carries on and connects into Hindutva. I  {and people like me} am {are} still battling the Stockholm Syndrome among Indians : these posts are only an attempt to lay bare the ugly reality, and  clarify the completely misunderstood sense of history that some Indians have. I dont know how many read me; but I still do it in an attempt to tell the truth
There is a general impression among a large number of Indians that history is just history, and does not deserve great thought and attention. Added to this is the belief that all that has been told to them is Gospel, wedded to a deep-seated adulation for The West, which leads to people treating alternative viewpoints on Indian History with condescension, and a resultant blind unquestioning acceptance of the prevalent version of History.  

This is a classic sign of Stockholm Syndrome : associating all the positives with the conquerors, and blaming internal forces and factors to the exclusion of all else. We can see this everywhere : in our constant aping the western culture combined with condescension for Indianness, This can be seen in attributing false negatives to pre-British times & unquestioning acceptance of the British narrative. This can be spotted in  a variety of aspects of our day-to-day life in India, and is only to be expected, given the long captivity we have suffered. 

These two factors have deep and lasting repercussions into the modern world; on a very practical level and in all fields from economics to sociology. The only way to tackle the stockholm syndrome is for the truth to be told; and that is where an incomplete understanding of history leads to serious modern issues. The rise of the so-called Hindutva is one such example. Modern Indians – “Hindus”, to use the commonly accepted term – dont even know that Hinduism is itself a British term, and has precisely zero historical truth or relevance. The correct term? There is none. The closest we come to a name is Sanaatan Dharm
What’s in a name, you might say? It isnt just the name; the entire narrative, instead of being anti-white, has shifted to anti-Mughal, and nonsense like a Hindu period after a 1000 year rule by foreigners, which is at best a half-truth. We are a multicultural society – which is more healthy for us : blaming an external force, or an internal sub-population? Isnt it far better that we blame The British? And the icing on the cake? That version is also the truth, as we shall see in other aspects as well in subsequent articles. 
The spread of half-truth and falsehoods {originated by the British} has laid the groundwork for the communal tensions we see everywhere {not just India}, allowing communal and/or polarising viewpoints gain strength. Before attending to this, let us ask ourselves : can the Hindu be faulted for this, like 100% of Western Media is habitual of? No. That The Hindu has been {and continues to be oppressed or ridiculed elsewhere} is an absolute fact. Other faiths should understand that The Hindu has been through more persecution than anyone in recorded history – the Jews apart. If they are now rising, it is only because they {or rather, we Hindus}, have suffered for long. 
The misunderstandings of history need to be met head-on and clarified. That is why I even support the heavy-handed intervention by the BJP. I see no problem at all in telling a biased and completely exaggerated version of history and pride, given that for the past 250 years we have been told a version that is the complete opposite. Fact of the matter is that whereas the current version is based on complete falsehood, the Hindutva version is based on facts and existing ancient literature, making it far better than the western nonsense we currently have in common circulation. I would rather we also learn the Hindutva version in school apart from the illogical version currently taught. 
It is exaggerated, sure. But it is also warranted, needed as a balm, and creates a swing; with time, good sense will prevail, allowing the full truth to be told, as the more discerning challenge this new version, creating a debate, allowing truth to percolate through. Upto this day, no one was questioning the accepted versions, despite there being various holes in it. High time that the truth prevails. And for that, curdling the waters is essential
Take for example the recent utterance by the VHP stating that every Indian is a Hindu, or words to that effect. I am a confirmed moderate, but let me tell everyone : that statement is actually the a-b-s-o-l-u-t-e, verifiable and historical truth. The term “Hindu” does not have any religious overtones at all. It refers specifically to people living beyond the river Sindhu {Indus}. The religious connotations and associations to this term were started by the British. 
See how distorted historical understanding is creating and has the potential to create modern tensions? Had this been generally known, the response would quite possibly not have been anger from the other religions, but ridicule! Further, since the public does not have any conceptualisation of the reality, the interpretation they place on the above utterances is completely different. And that is what places the above statement in the objectionable category, And further, had this been common knowledge, the scope for rousing passions through this route reduces to zero. 
What is in evidence in this case is a hunt for restoring lost pride. And for true peace, it is vital that that pride be restored. And for Pride to be restored, self confidence has to return… which requires that the truth be told and accepted…
For true healing, what was once ours has to come back to us. I mean the money as well as the confidence in our culture, It has to return to its true owners. Only when we have learnt to deal with our anger can lasting peace be a reality. Hopefully by means we are best at : Trade, Economics, Diplomacy, Internal Strength, internal questioning attitude, Negotiation and Democracy. There can be no healing until the Indian People – or all colonised people – get justice… and learn to be confident of their identity, learn to be confident in who and what they are…

Book Review : The Winner’s Curse

Published February 5, 2015 by vishalvkale

   The Winner’s Curse

By Dee Walker

Dee Walker is an alumnus of IIT Delhi, and is a businessman in the field of startup ventures, specifically into providing guidance to international companies wanting to invest in India. He also works closely in Pro Poor Policy and Programme Development, Monitoring and Evaluation.

Harsh Mittal : Dont judge him. Repeat : DONT judge this guy
Kamal Pandey: I like him, period. Nice guy, tough and a fighter
Babuji : A Politician. Need I say more? 
Roabesh De Mello : The Resident Sycophant
Raghav Badhwar : The quintessential I-Me-Myself man
Rajan Khosla : Corporate Hot Shot…
Savita Bhambi : The Ferret
A. R. Mani : Tech Wiz. He starts with tech, and stays with tech till the end. Right till the end. 
Aravind Pandey : He started it all… without him, there is no story to speak of… for nothing would have happened…

The plot seems deceptively simple; trust me, it isnt. It is anything but simple; and is a beautifully crafted set of two intertwined plots, based on politics. The first revolves around Harsh, & Babuji. Babuji has thought up a simple plan centred around the Unique Identification Number project, involving connecting each citizen digitally and ensuring proper deliverance of services through e-governance. Tacked onto this is a surveillance and intelligence project. Babuji calls his mentee Harsh, and top businessman and an IITian to boot. 

Enter plot no 2: corruption. Some nice, decent and honest gentlemen are involved in a nice sweet and cosy mining set up, involving ferreting out some ore to China, alongwith the mandatory lining of the wrong kind in the right kind of pockets. Well, these nice people run into a most disagreeable and troublesome character who exposes them, or tries to at the very least. 

The rest of the story revolves around these two (apparently) totally unconnected plots, as the story gyrates back and forth with effortless ease. What is the connection? What happens next to our set of grey characters- for save a couple, all are etched in tones of gray to some degree? Will they manage to fight the temptations of the trappings of power, and the hypnotic pull of corruption? And how is this material the basis for a cliff-hanger? Read the book to find out!

The Winner’s Curse is a fiction book in the political thriller genre; and stays true to its genre in totality. It is based on politics, current events, and is an out-and-out thriller. Not only is the book a thriller, it is also a thriller that does not have any violence at all; and yet manages to keep the adrenalin flowing high in the reader till the last page. It will take an effort just to keep yourself from turning and skipping the pages to see what happens next

The part I personally liked best about the book is its practicality, and the way the plot has not shown a crusader as the central character. If anything, the central character is almost on the verge of being an anti-hero, which is most out of character for a book based on political corruption. Not just the central character – every character of the book is well filled out, and etched with realistic and deep tones, making for a completely believable story, one that almost seems real…

From start to finish, the story and the plot seem stunningly real and completely believable. At no point does it feel like fiction, which is a stupendous achievement for the chosen genre and topic. The narrative is flawless, and devoid of any vulgarity. In fact, the control on the language is truly laudable, with not a word out of place. The couple of expletives that do occur are natural in the situation portrayed; that apart, the book is squeaky clean. 

The book sets a frenetic pace right from the first page, and carries the plot effortlessly forward. This is a page turner, and you will constantly want to push ahead to see what happens next. A word of advice: this is not a book that you can read in stages or in fits and starts; once you start it, you will have to finish it – that is the quality of the writing. I rate it 5 stars… a class book that is a quick and fast read, and enjoyable as well. And the icing on the cake : a lesson to boot, with the ten commandments {What are they? Read the book!} , and the hard-hitting punch in the end, as the title and its meaning strikes home hard, in a stunning climax…

Skill Gap – 3 : Doing Something Practical About It

Published February 4, 2015 by vishalvkale

The MBA is considered among those courses that are a ticket to a good life and earnings, it is considered among the most-sought after qualifications a person can have – if done from the right institution. To some, it is one of the most hyped courses, while to others, it is the only target and the only qualification. And yet, this course and its degree holders are the one that are among the most challenged. Similar is the situation with other professional courses at the Graduate and Post Graduate Level, in particular Engineering. 
And yet, surprisingly, it is the students of these courses that are finding getting a job to be a tough ask. Outside the top few colleges, placements are a real challenge. Even in cases where placements are done, the right job or a lucrative job is rare, to say the least. Placements usually require a compromise on the part of the student, who is understandably keen to land any job in this tough market. And even then, a good number have to remain jobless
Further, we are seeing a stunning spectacle of seats going unfilled in MBA colleges, and the closure of institutions. For example, as this article clarifies, 147 schools closed down last year. For a nation which is supposed to be going through a skill shortage, this is both sad as well as surprising. On one side, companies are crying skill shortage, bemoaning the lack of quality trained manpower, and on another – the institutions which can provide the manpower to companies- MBA, Engineering and other colleges are going through strain – either closing, or unable to attract students, or are going jobless, in a classic case of the supreme irony! This would even be a laughable joke, if it werent so tragic at so many levels…
This points to a deep seated problem at two levels – firstly on the part of hiring managers and organisations, as I delved into some detail in previous articles on my blog : Skill Gap and Skill Gap 2. In these articles, I noted the sad and pitiable status of training cutting across functions in companies; as well as the reluctance of companies to get into the situation, roll up their sleeves and craft a solution to the problem. 
Given the reluctance of the organisations to do anything about it, I can only conclude that these organisations lack the skill sets required to craft a solution to this vexing issue, something I shall go into greater detail in my next article on this matter. We then have no choice but to look at the other side of the equation, given that the people actually facing the problem have no intention of either solving it, or lend a helping hand in solving it. 
The second level of the problem is within the MBA courses and colleges itself, who in my experience have both the willingness as well as the ability to craft a solution. As a matter of fact, much of what I state will already have been thought of in colleges across the nation, of that I am certain. The key question here should be, what can these institutions do that is doable as well as logical?
Here again, there are two levels : one relatively easy, requiring little specialised knowledge and readily doable over a short time-frame; and the other exceptionally hard and time-consuming, requiring deep specialised knowledge and conceptual clarity of a high degree. The first is increasing industry-college linkages, and the other refurbishing the design of the MBA {or the core curriculum in degree courses} course itself. This article dwells on the first aspect only, given that the second is rather a tall order, especially for a blog post. 
The moot point in this is that the industry has shown itself to be completely unwilling to engage itself with colleges and institutes outside the top few in a meaningful manner, restricting their interaction to giving pointless and empty feedback regarding what students lack : in effect, brushing their hands off the problem and walking away! This leaves the colleges and the students both up a creek, so to speak : hunting for vague meaningless terms like “soft skills”!
The net result is that the people facing the problem in full : the students, the colleges {in particular the placement and administrative cells} – have little precise knowledge of exactly what the industry requires, for the perfectly simple reason that no one in the industry has ever taken the trouble of telling them in function and role-specific terms as to what is required. The reason for that, as we shall subsequently see in the follow-up to this article, is that companies themselves haven’t even a farthing’s idea as to what exactly this ethereal and by now almost legendary skill gap is in practical terms. 
Thus, the people who should know, dont; and the people who are the interface, the people who can link to the students and sort out this mess – the professors and teachers – cannot help in the absence of information. This leaves the gap open for vocational training services, which come at a cost, and, while effective no doubt, can with a little thought be made far more effective and pertinent. 
The solution is simple : catch onto professionals who would like to make a difference. Please note my usage of words, carefully : I did not state hire professionals as teachers and professors. I stated clearly, catch the professionals who want to make a difference. Trust me, if colleges across the nation make a determined effort, they will find ready talent across functions and levels – Engineers, Doctors, Managers, Marketers, Finance Specialists : the whole lot of professions – who would want to make a difference. All they require is an alternative, one which offers them a career option. 
I also did not state increase salaries to the level of the industry; the reason is straightforward. The industry can always pay more, there is zero chance of all institutions matching industry packages. Some might, but certainly not all. Second, there is the hope factor: so long as you are in the rat race, there is always a hope that you will get the promotion or the new job. Third, matching packages will run the risk of attracting people who are in it for the money, not for the love of the profession. What is required is giving entry to professionals, and a decent package that can ensure a decent life. That is it. 
Next, set up expectations from these professionals, in a defined framework; a framework that asks them to give some value addition from their industry experience. These cross-over professionals should be clear in their mind that their task involves both covering the syllabus as well as grooming students for corporate life. Interaction with such professionals in a classroom over a sustained period of 2-3 years is bound to have a powerful impact. This will of course require tweaking in the class allocations, with additional time being given to such professionals, alongwith some performance measurement criteria in terms of deliverables. Critically, for this to succeed, this has to be taken up with an almost missionary zeal. The make or break will be the professionals you hire, who should share this zeal and passion. 
The start will perforce be slow; but it has to be done. For in my considered opinion, as I shall cover in the next article, the industry cannot be relied upon to sort out this mess; it just does not have the requisite skill sets for this. Neither is the training institutes route a permanent solution; these are excellent; no doubt : but are hamstrung on two parameters : firstly, low acceptance in the industry, and second, high resistance to external intervention by industry as well as colleges, which is completely understandable. This will have to go hand in hand with a solution to another problem that is also a core issue : the availability of the proper study material at the right price and in the right language : which is a massive, massive issue… but that is an entirely different story, to be taken up in the concluding article in this series…

Blaming Nehru : Partition – The Role Of The British

Published February 3, 2015 by vishalvkale

One of the favourite theories that quite a number of us subscribe to is the reason and the blame for Partition, which is ascribed to Panditji. This article presents the other side of the picture, one which will hopefully lead the reader to do some questioning of the accepted and commonly understood versions or rather impressions that are held as gospel. 

It is stated that the reason for Partition is that Panditji and Jinnah were not able to get together, leading to a rift and ultimately to Partition. The supposed ego-clash between these two pivotal figures in our history is considered a key aspect of the entire Partition saga. The scenario that plays out is a simplistic fall-out between these two main players, leading to Partition. Further, The Mahatma’s support for Panditji is also claimed as a powerful factor. 

I make no claim either way in this article; I leave this argument as it is for now. As the reader shall see, it would be premature to take this up at this juncture. The reason is that the above is a very simplistic scenario, that does not take the full scope of the problem into account. The first task is to establish the full set of parameters to be considered  before we can get to analysing the individual contributions of each. 

There were three players in this scenario : Muslims, Non-Muslims {Mainly Hindus} and The British. All of us tend to forget the presence of the British in the scene. They were controlling the levers of power, and were in a position to exert considerable influence, as we shall see. Furthermore, this simplistic scenario overlooks one simple reality : that Panditji and Jinnah were not alone, there were a dozen or more major players in the scenario – as well as millions of common citizens. The commonly told narrative in the public forgets that all central players were important because of the public; and drew their power from their following. This is especially true of Panditji. 

That is the key to the solution : the key question should be, how is it that one man was able to drive Millions into believing India was not their home? That they needed another country for themselves? Just an ego clash does not fit bill. The following of the people, and their willingness to listen to one man and his scenario of hate, indicates the presence of some third {or maybe more} visceral factor/s that was / were influencing them. Most critically, how was it that two communities who lived side-by-side for a Millennia and more even under Hindu or Sikh rulers, who fought the British together in 1857, who served under each others’ rulers, who cooperated with each other, fought against each  other, lived with each other for better or for worse, came to see each other as enemies? How was it that the atmosphere became so vitiated that violence was rampant, and the nation became literally ungovernable by the British?

The answer is the introduction of the third variable into this simplistic algebraic equation : The British. Prior to the British, the struggle for power between the Muslim rulers and the Marathas was already in full swing; Hindus were on both sides, as well as Muslims. The struggle for Hindu political dominance was also in full upswing in the Mughal-Maratha battles, without it becoming a people’s war, or an inter-community affair. It was into this quagmire, in a nation temporarily disordered, and with a weakened central structure, entered. 

The British were centrally involved right from the start. This is not a simple tale; it all started way back in 1757, and gathered steam from 1857, which, for the record, wasnt a mutiny; it was mass uprising of almost the entire Northern India, large tracts of Southern India and parts even of Eastern India, and included a joint Hindu-Muslim attempt. It was, in every sense, The First War Of Independence. More here : The Significance of 1857 in our Independence

1857 established a few  things to the Brits – one, colonisation of India by the White Man was impossible. Next, it also made clear to them that conversions and religious attacks were also a recipe for certain disaster. And that is why 1857 is the first War of Independence: we protected out way of life, and our society – which is 100% brown and pure. We protected our religion, and our country. Had this not happened, who knows what the future held? Look at other esp African countries… “

It also made crystal clear to them that the next time Hindus and Muslims unite, The White Man is out. That was the most critical learning the British took from 1857. 1857 laid the foundation for Partition; after 1857, it is my personal opinion that a united India became impossible due to the British {But I jump the gun, more of that later}. Till their last days, The British were terrified of a popular Army-led uprising; rightly so. The next time The Indian Army rose, The White Man was kicked out. 

It also laid the groundwork for an insidious divide and rule policy, a policy that had, and still has, far-reaching implications. And it was this Divide And Rule Policy that played havoc with the structure and fabric of our society and our internal politics.  To summarise,

  • Differential treatment to both communities
  • Differential approach in jobs
  • Differential approach in education
  • Differential approach in treatment and attitude
  • Differential community building
  • Entrenching and deepening religious and caste divides. 
  • Differential treatment to political movements by both communities
  • These steps were followed by the separate electorates of 1905…

  • The net impact of the above was to institutionalise caste based and religion based differences.
  • This, combined with the unbelievably shocking, mind-numbingly cruel slaughter and mayhem in 1857-59 had created a subdued population, simmering, but terrified
  • This was why The Mahatma was adamant : No Violence. he knew that violence would give the British the opportunity to recreate 1857. 1919 had confirmed his worst fears; which is why he called off all movements at even the slightest hint of violence. Remember that when The Mahatma’s opinions were being formed, 1857 was a living memory. Also remember that as recently as 1919, the murder of a 1000 innocent Indians was regarded a celebrated event by The Whites in England, with Dyer even getting accolades and huge money as a reward for killing a 1000 Indians. Thus, the terror of The British was real.

  • It was in this brutal, sad and terrifying mixture of seething rage, anger and discontent that the British played out their Great Game : Russia.
  • They did not understand they were playing with fire; with something so powerful that it would one day consume them. That is what happened. The forces they unleashed ripped apart the entire empire. They suppressed Muslims, leading to seminal changes in them – creating a force that is now threatening World Peace. The suppression led to a series of changes and questions within Islam, but I digress. That is not relevant here.
  • The other factor : The Arrogance Of The White Man, who considered the Muslim a fighter and the Hindu a coward. {Yes. evidence of this also exists, sorry}. {History is silent proof of just how tough and hard The Hindu can be… but that is another story}
  • The Great Game + White Arrogance are the two deciding factors here. Having said that, there are other parameters involved – Islam and its internal tumult ranging from Wahhabi influence, to Syed Ahmed Khan, Al-Afghani etc; inter-community stress with the rising tide of nationalist thought; inability of the majority to convince the minority; rising tensions, all of which  are irrelevant to the question here
  • In this seething Maelstrom, one critical decision was considered, in the backdrop of WW1, when Partition was first considered  : 1933, when the British thought that if push comes to shove, Baluchistan can be partitioned off, so as to retain troops to counter Russia. It was evident that independent India would not allow that, given the opinions of its leaders.
  • It was in this backdrop that Jinnah met Linlithgow in September 1939, and assured the British:  “Muslim Areas should be separated from Hindu India, and run by Muslims in collaboration with Great Britain- Jinnah to Linlithgow, 4 Sept 1939”! “He [Jinnah] represents a minority, and a minority can only hold its own with our assistance Linthgow to the Secretary of State” 
  • From this point on, every British step was taken to ensure Partition. Each and every single step.
  • The police stepped aside in riots, not taking action. 
  • Islamic agenda got wide dispersal as a result, further deepening divides
  • No action in the runup to and during Direct Action Day, 1946, leaving a community helpless and defenceless
With that, we arrive in 1946, in a situation where no one was willing to listen to the other, with rampant violence and hatred. Before we look at internal players, I shall go into detail with specific examples of Divide And Rule, and how it destroyed the fabric of our society. 


This article is yet another in my continuing endeavour to understand the tragedy of Partition, and the reasons behind it; as well as my contribution towards telling and spreading the real story.  Partition stands as one of the most convoluted and involved topics I have even run across; and blunt frank and straight : no material I have read has managed to convince me or answer all of my questions… the other aspects – Internal ones, like Jinnah/Nehru, The Mahatma, internal realities – shall be detailed later, as  I progress further in my hunt for the truth… so please bear with me. 


1) From the ruins of empire- Pankaj Mishra {For a Pan Asian Perspective, and to understand British strategies}

2) Partition – The Untold Story – Narendra Sarila {An insiders account – ADC to Mountbatten, replete with irrefutable explosive original documentary evidence}
3) Jinnah, Partition, Independence – Jaswant Singh {Blow-by-blow account of the final days}
4) The Case For India – Will Durant {For the superb analysis of the British Strategy}
5) India’s Struggle For Independence – Bipin Chandra Pal {For thorough overview of the entire era}
6) Churchill’s Secret War – Madhushree Mukherjee {For the Period from 1940-1944}
7) The Discovery Of India – Jawaharlal Nehru {To Understand Pandit Nehru : Must read for ALL Indians}
8) Bengal Divided: The Unmaking Of A Nation: 1905 – 1971 – Nitish Sengupta {For Divide And Rule, and its insidious impact in tearing asunder 2 united communities}