Narendra Modi

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The Misunderstood Hindu

Published July 2, 2014 by vishalvkale

As I noted in my previous post, the targeting of the BJP among a set of hardcore religious fundamentalist organisations, most with militant and armed wings – armed with the latest arms and weapons, with a history of armed struggle behind them – is highly suggestive, and confirms the stereotype the West holds us Indians, and especially Hindus, in, as well as underscores the colored glasses and biases held by the West towards Hindus. It pains me, a confirmed moderate, to use these words; but I now have no choice but to call it like it is. 

The list is extremely though provoking, and incites deep questions, disquieting questions, for the BJP is chosen as one among a series of hardcore fundamentalist organisations, equating the approach of the BJP with these organisations, all of rest of which have far more serious repercussions for the USA than the BJP; all with either a chequered or violent history, and all of them being from unstable nations, or Islamic nations, or nations in deep strife – or nations with established terrorism-supporting history. 

By clubbing the BJP with these, the USA has straightaway equated India with these nations – which makes for a wonderful reading : Pakistan, Venezuela, Egypt, Bolivia! India, with its established history of calm and peace, and focus on solving its own internal problems; India, with its non-aggressive culture, internal focus and non-expansionist mindset – is no threat to anyone, and cannot be called a flash-point either. We have proven the ability to sort out our own problems without crying or complaint. 

By targeting the BJP with such  an august list, one straight point has been irrevocably made – the West, especially the USA, does not understand Hinduism, and does not understand India, or its politics or its culture or even its ground realities. It further equates the BJP with they call fundamentalist Hinduism, which can be the only reason for this unacceptable clubbing. 

This can only happen when a nation’s internal realities are not understood by a super-power, and its culture is equated with other cultures. It just cannot see beyond its own narrow conceptualisation of the nation, of the state. It confuses Hinduism with other religions, and also confuses Indian nationality and internal truths with its own biased perceptions, without serious engagement with, or attempt to understand the truth. 

First, Hinduism is not equal to India, and India is not equal to Hinduism. One is a religion and the other a nation. We are a nation of several religions, all of which exist in complete equality. The special privileges to minorities are constitutionally protected, and the state does not equate itself with any religion. Neither does the majority religion – Hinduism make any attempt to do so. There are calls to dismantle some of these – true, but these are dealt with in true democratic fashion, which is our own internal right, as a sovereign nation. 

Hindus, or any of its “supposed” socio-cultural organisations do not target non-Hindus in India. Violent, systematic targeting and vicious targeting is all but absent and sporadic outbursts of violence do not deny this fundamental reality. In fact, the various sub-sects of the minorities peacefully exist in India – unlike any other country, including the USA. No religion is preferred; in fact, the minorities receive special privileges.  We Hindus can differentiate between our religion and our nation. 

Hinduism, even in its most aggressive avatar, isnt even a patch on some of the other fundamentalist scenes we see around the world, and especially so when compared to others on the list. The most aggressive avatar of Hinduism : 

  • does not provoke the spread of extermination; 
  • does not target minorities in the fashion of the others;
  • does not spread armed extremism as in the Islamic world; 
  • does not advocate any  set of oppressive laws; 
  • does not seek to build a political identity across political borders; 
  • does not seek to build a pan-Hindu identity; 
  • does not seek modern arms, or advocate militancy; 
  • does not exterminate populations; 
  • does not seek to spread outside India; 
  • and it does not differentiate between internal streams of thought in Hinduism – unlike the other major religions!

The entire focus of even the most fundamental Hindu is the recognition of India as a Hindu state – which, first of all, is devoid of any fundamentalist overtones as indicated above. The focus is internal – on India; and poses no international threat to any nation. This is an entirely Indian problem, with no one having any locus standi on it. We can deal with it internally, and have the institutions and laws to deal with this by our own selves without any intervention, as recent history has proven beyond any shade of doubt. 

The sad part is that historically, it is the Hindu identity that has been the most viciously targeted by 

  • oppression, 
  • suppression, 
  • external violence, 
  • forced conversion, 
  • destruction of places of worship,
  • denigration of and direct, targeted insults to the religion and its followers,
  • innuendo and false impressions,
  • torture and pain,
  • Racist intolerant views, and 
  • biased, one-sided portrayal of its practices combined with derisive and insulting coverage of its proponents

We have been suppressed for more than  hundreds of years, within our own land; we were forced into practically beggarly existence in the lap of our own mother. Despite this persecution, we opted for a secular polity in the interest of peace – with complete separation of religion and the state, unlike even the USA. We are still made fun of, poked at, derided and insulted on a routine basis by the Westerner in facebook posts, social media, news articles, books, news channels and newspapers. All bad happenings are still blown out of all proportion in international media, with its jaundiced, prejudiced and one-sided portrayal of India and Hinduism both. 

India is the only land where all Islamic sects enjoy peaceful co-existence. India is the only land where all religions enjoy a peaceful coexistence, without state discrimination. And most critically, India is probably the only land most fundamentally impacted by the scourge of Islamic Terrorism. We live surrounded by enemies; we are the closest to Islamic terror. Not only that, we also have the highest {or second-highest} population of Muslims in the world. And yet, By The Grace Of The Lord, India is the one nation that has remained relatively at peace when the rest of the Islamic world goes up in flames!

You will not find a Hindu poking fun at other religions, or questioning them, or deriding them. At least, not as much as others, especially westerners. The Hindu will not intervene in other religions – at times, even when it impacts his or her own practices. This is a tribute to my religion and its openness that allows fundamental thoughts to coexist with moderate & even liberal thoughts, and compete with each other without dogmas and dictats of any kind. It is a further tribute to my land as well as my religion, which ensures peace for all religions.

Despite all this persecution, derision and misunderstandings, The Hindu remains resolute in his faith, non-violent, calm, difficult to arouse, and internally focused. Yes, we have problems – and big ones. Yes, there have been incidences of sectarian violence, which is sad especially considering our tolerance. But what is more important is that we are dealing with these issues on our own, within our own laws, without disturbing other nations. And the people- including The Hindus themselves – are probing, questioning and self-examining. We do not want trouble; there are forces active who are questioning the background, and taking-  or trying to – take corrective action.

Be it Hindus, or Muslims, or Christians, Or Sikhs… we Indians are dealing with our own problems within our own land without disturbing anyone. This is a tribute to followers of all Religions of this Great Land. And this makes us more mature, developed and calm a people than any other nation on Earth. That is the key : without disturbing or involving anyone. If we are wrong, we will pay for it. If we are right, we Indians will reap the benefit. The message : Stay the hell out of our problems. We can deal with them!

It is crystal clear, and has been for some time now, that the USA as well as most of the West continues to map its own perceptions on our internal realities, and confuse right-wing politics and/or what they love to call Hindutva with Fundamentalism. It is a known fact that even the most aggressive Hinduism is not even a patch on other religions, as I observe above. My advice to all such ladies and gentlemen : make an effort to understand Hinduism, its history, its internal realities. You dont have even an iota’s worth of concept of what we are, how advanced we are in our thoughts, and how positively ridiculous your suspicions are. Try and understand us- in place of deriding us – which, incidentally reveals more regarding your nature and exposes you more than us!



USA Snoops Again, Targeting BJP… Massive Overreach And Paranoia?

Published July 2, 2014 by vishalvkale

1st July, late evening… and our favourite, our media darling and our pet punching bag got caught with his hand in the cookie jar. Yet again, caught at its irresponsible antics. I am referring to our “defining 21st century partner”, “friend” The United States Of America. Good ol’ Unka Sammie! Apparently, it so transpired on a sweet, sweet 2010 morning that some people within the USA asked for permission to spy on a select few political organisations, namely : 

  • The Amal – Lebanon
  • Pakistan People’s Party
  • Muslim Brotherhood, Egypt
  • Bolivarian Continental Coordinator
  • National Salvation Front, Egypt
  • The BJP, India

My, what august company to be in. Amal is thought to have links with the Hezbollah; an Islamic Organisation with know and proven militant and armed wings, and as per some reports is suspected of Anti-US attacks. Bolivarian Continental Coordinator is said to have links with FARC, yet another armed group. Of the remaining parties, it can be seen that they are purely Islamic organisations, and the state of affairs in the Islamic world and its utter tragedy is well known to the rest of the world. 

Now how does the BJP fit in? Because it supposedly drives what the West loves to term a fundamentalist agenda, a strong Hindutva agenda? Thus, in the eyes of the West, Indian Hindutva is the equal of Islamic terrorism and pure Islamic parties driving a purely Islamic Agenda politically, to the exclusion of all else? Even the Muslim Brotherhood is thought {although debated in some quarters} to have some terror links. And, as per the USA, the BJP is comparable to these august organisations? 


HINDUISM

The above begets the question – why is this so? Is it based on a fundamental lack of knowledge of Hinduism, and the West’s collosal ignorance of its basic tenets? This does seem to be an important reason for the misplaced western apprehensions, which club all fundamentalism into one, without analysing whether or not it is actually “fundamentalism” in the commonly understood sense of the term. 

Hinduism, unlike Christianity and Islam, is not evangelical, and is not interested in conversion of other faiths into Hindus. Hinduism is not a fundamentalist religion at all; there is nothing in Hinduism that is fundamentalist. Hinduism is further not interested in claiming itself as the best and/or only path. It does not have a worldwide organisation, nor does it have any global aims. This is manifestly different from both Islam and Christianity. 

In fact, Hinduism is, technically speaking, not a religion at all as it has no central body, or organisation or dogmas. It does not have any history of bloodshed. Everyone is a Hindu – even the atheist can call himself a Hindu. Atheism is a known philosophical thought in what we now call Hinduism, which earlier had no name. The closest any term came was Sanaatan Dharm, or the eternal way. 

There is no organised aggressive face of Hinduism even in its Hindutva face that is in any way comparable to the others. It does not support militancy, neither is there an organised militant form of the  same, not counting some local small scale outfits – which again, are not armed in any way in the conventional sense. 


THE BJP

Furthermore, how does the BJP fit into a comparable slot, with respect to the rest of the organisations listed? The listing itself is deeply humiliating, and highly offensive. That the USA can transgress all norms of international conduct as well as undermine Indian Privacy Laws is a further insult to our nation, and a direct questioning of internal laws, and a strong signal that the USA does not care about India, its laws and its opinions. This is in no way acceptable behaviour, any which way you look at it. 

The more you consider it, the more deeply disturbing this news becomes. There is no logic that can justify the listing of the BJP in such a list; that itself indicates the deep distrust in the BJP the USA has. Distrust is fine, you are entitled to your own views, howsoever unjustified they may be, or howsoever bigoted; that does not justify the action of throwing away trust, diplomacy, international norms, relations and laws into the dustbin. This proves conclusively that first, the USA has no understanding of Indian ground realities, its culture, or even its political realities, as has been proven earlier as well. Second, it also proves that the USA views India not as a partner, or a friend – notice that it exclusively let out its real friends from the listing. 

There is no way the BJP poses a threat to the internal security of the USA. There is no way it can cause any kind internal threat. Further, it has proven itself as a pragmatic party with a good governance record. There is no history of terrorism by the BJP, which is a clean and purely socio-political organisation. I state socio-political for the USA’s benefit and warped understanding; for us, it is a purely political organisation, and a good one at that. 

Not only that, it hails from a peaceful nation which is no way connected to interests inimical to the USA. There is no turmoil in India; there is no Hindu Terrorism to speak of. {Please dont quote exceptions by misguided people, or unproven allegations}. The BJP, or India is not harmful to the world in any way, nor do we in India have any global designs. This is unlike Pakistan, Egypt, Lebanon, Venezuela, or the others. 

Why then is the classification, nay – the deeply offensive and insulting classification with such organisations and countries? By what stretch of imagination is India or its internal political and socio-cultural realities comparable with Egypt and Pakistan, for heaven’s sake? By what stretch of imagination is a rightist political organisation with a good governance record in a nation such as India a target for such spying?

And most critically, how does this fit in with the USA’s declaration of India being a “defining partnership of the 21st century”? Far too obviously, there is no such intention! Its actions speak for themselves – most are not what you would associate with a friendly nation! If you continue on this path, Unka Sammie – there wont be much of relationship left. You do not treat your partners and friends this way. This is rank arrogance, and brute display of strength, which is not the way to build  relations with a proud nation such as India. Wake up before India walks away! As it is, we are trying to build a strong Eastern foray, a marked shift from our pro-West stance. 



I say this as a friend, USA : Wake up before India walks away! You are trying your damndest to push us away; well, you might just succeed. Read the comments on the news articles; talk to the man on the street – your image has taken a major beating. More and more people are turning anti-USA in India… if you dont care about that, high time you did!


Wake up before India walks away!



References : 
4. FARC

The NDA, Its 10 Points, Public Expectations, And Our Armed Forces

Published June 12, 2014 by vishalvkale

The NDA Government has just announced a series of focus area, or a to-do list, if you will. This is a great beginning, a start – at least a roadmap is in place. Reams have been written on this, so I will not write on these 10 points, but rather on what else needs to be done on a priority. But first, let us take a look at these 10 points

  1. Food Inflation
  2. Economy
  3. Jobs
  4. Taxes
  5. Reforms
  6. Agriculture
  7. Reviving Manufacturing
  8. Infrastructure
  9. Energy Security
  10. Urbaniszation

Sounds good… if they can pull it off. Time will tell. The key lies in overcoming Centre-State Issues, legal blockages, Public Interests Petitions that will surely follow if proper land acquisition is not done, meaning Land Acquisition law needs to be dealt with. As someone I know  {Mr Mohankrishnan R} pointed out, “Money being no excuse it is the question of speedy planning, land acquisitions, addressing environmental considerations and executing the projects on time. It is not unreasonable to assume that the present government will measure itself to these requirements. ” Can they pull it off without Police, Adminstrative and Judicial Reforms? I dont think so. And the news on all 3 is total silence, while the nation continues to hurtle towards a precipice.

Because, the moment you get into Land Acquisition, you run into the Land Mafia, Local vested interests, protests of affected people, etc – all requiring extensive administrative and police reforms. If anything, the news on that is disturbing, with recent events confirming the total lack of any movement on these vital reforms. You cannot expect fairplay in these matters without a free police, fast court redressal, and a fair reasonably incorruptible administration that is not hand in glove with local vested interests. And, if perchance these forces come together in unhealthy ways – you are staring at another andolan. Can the NDA do it?

Let us see. I reserve comment – except to state that I am skeptical. Without tackling the powerful vested interests, desired results will not flow. Sure, improvement will be there – no issues. But dont expect magic; it will be turbulent, and hard fought all the way. Might succeed, might fail. Let us see 

The single most problem area for this Government is high public expectation – if they do not deliver…  The writing is on the wall. And the public wont be looking for steady improvements – they will be on the lookout for a transformation. When passions run high, expectations go through the roof. Their biggest challenge is managing expectation – which is going to be impossible, any which way you look at it. Unless they can find a way to reign in inflation in the next quarter or two – which is a very, very tall order indeed. The most optimistic of estimates are looking at cooling inflation over a period of 8 quarters. This is in terms of public expectations

Stock markets are running amok; People are making big plans and talking big; Big Foreign players have suddenly become bullish about India; Nations have a fresh approach; people are running a fever… these expectations will have to be managed, if not met – through action, clear and transparent communication. So far, the NDA is spot-on in communication, at least. That is a big plus.

I cannot recall any such period of euphoria in the past 2 decades or more. The key is managing these expectation – India cannot afford to fall short. NDA has to deliver – and is HAS to manage these expectations properly. How will they do it? They have this initial period to strike gold. The Budget will be the key for a lot of reasons. For more reasons than one. That is one document that is the most awaited one.

The other aspect that is left is the needs of India’s Armed Forces. The Armed Forces need a massive infusion of funds, as they are in dire need of any number of systems. That will require money. This is one requirement that cannot be put off. They also require a relook at organisation, with steps like a CDS, and other needed interventions. Defence Procurement needs a thorough revision, while border infrastructure needs urgent refurbishment. A first step seems to have been taken, with the intention to clear the Fighter Acquisition within the next few months, while today’s reports show an intent to simplify road construction in border regions. This is heartening.

And this will be the litmus test for me as a person – I, despite being a person interested in Business and Economy, will be watching one thing, and one thing only – what is the NDA Government’s plan to refurbish the Armed Forces? And by when? I will be watching concrete measures taken, not words. The reason for this is simple – with the status the Armed Forces are in – they need the help on a priority, to ensure our continued security. This is best done when both our threats are in no condition to mount an offensive – covert or overt. Pakistan is neck deep in trouble, and China is currently locked into the USA-Japan-SE Asia triangle while fighting internal fires on the growth front. We have a few clear years in front of us, and it needs to be utilised. The UPA ignored these points – if the NDA goes the same way, and does not solve the Armed Forces problems, the intent will be clear. Let us see. if they are UPA-3 in another form, or really NDA. Time will tell  I hope, for India’s sake, that they deliver – my fingers are crossed… All the very best, GoI!

Elections 2014 – Hope, Euphoria, and Ignorance

Published May 16, 2014 by vishalvkale

Now we have a majority in the lower house; one that is not a dynastic ruled majority. That is a reason to celebrate. And we have a Government which will decidedly perform better than the current incumbent. Having said that, sad part is, there is no focus on the real issues; the people were blown away in an,emotional tide without indepth thought. My problem is not the result, but the method adopted to,get the result. I welcome the result, not the method which was frankly deplorable. In our 67th year of independence, we are still being taken for a royal ride by the political class. We still wont have a free police, anti-corruption laws, administrative reform etc. We will still be lorded over by babu class, We will still not have proper education reform. The money spent will continue to reach the pockets of corrupt babus and political leaders.

Sure, we will be better off under NDA than under UPA. But serious, serious fissures remain. Nothing is being done on Sachar Committee report. Polarisation of society continues. This is clearly evident in,voting pattern, at least what has been reported so far. Implementation remains a bug bear. Will NaMo with his focus on big business forget the plight of the downtrodden? If he does, then democracy has lost today, yet again. More than 300 million Indians still live in dire straights. More than 600 million Indians still don’t have access to proper education and health facilities. India still partners sub Saharan countries on,HDI parameters.NaMo and NDA focus is on big business: I just pray to God that he doesn’t forget the others, the 80% Indians outside the purview of this class.

If he does,Democracy will have lost -again – for the third time in a row… 


Don’t get me wrong : I reiterate that NDA is a far better option than UPA. No comparison. But we, the people of India, deserve better. Please don’t tom-tom democratic success a-la western news; let us move on from that clichéd utterance. Indian democracy is not in doubt anymore; time for us to raise the bar to real inclusive democracy and growth, and to real performing institutions! Our institutions, Armed Forces apart, have failed the Indian people and The Indian nation. That is a manifest truth. And that real change will not come about till we the people demand the highest possible standards of governance, public probity and performance from our political classes in place of populism and grandstanding. We are creating a powerful superstructure, that I admit. We have destroyed, or are on the verge of destroying dynastic rule, in itself a victory for democracy, that is also granted.

But we are building this strong superstructure on a weak foundation. There is a historical precedent for this : in 1953, Panditji was warned of the errors of higher education without a solid primary education platform. No one listened. We are still paying the price for that folly. That is the real danger confronting us : the democratic institutions of our nation are inarguably weak, corrupt, rusted and decrepit, with rampant corruption and nepotism. We ignore this at our own peril.


Read the above again. Do you deny that the administrative machinery, police etc,entire people interface of the Government is ridden with inefficiencies, corruption and nepotism? Do you deny that 80% projects are stuck in corruption? Do you deny that NDA 1 did not undertake administrative reforms? These are documented facts. Sad that we are fine with this sorry state of affairs. 

Do you deny that we are among the worst in HDI parameters? Do you deny that we are as bad as Saharan nations in health and education? Do you deny that schools in rural India go unattended by teachers? Do you deny that malnutrition is a serious concern? Do you deny that farmer suicides are rising at an alarming rate? Do you deny that small and marginal farmers are losing 800 rupees per crop per hectare? Do you deny corruption has beset the entire government machinery across departments and sectors and levels? Do you deny the increasing polarisation of our society, and the increasing intolerance? Do you deny that only 10paise reaches the people out of every rupee spent? 

The changes everyone is talking about  are superficial; they will only provide much-needed immediate relief; they will do precisely nothing to fundamentally alter the economic scenario we are currently in the grip of. What are the real problems in front of us? Police Reforms, Administrative Reforms, Corruption, Land Reforms, Labour Reforms, CBI Autonomy, Armed Forces Reforms, GST, NIA & NCTC, Oil and Fertilizer Subsidies, Structural Fiscal Excesses and Freebies. And there is no intention of doing anything on this. CMIE data shows 80% projects are stuck in one of the above problems; and further, these are at state level, where the center has little leverage due to the state list – central list problem

How will these come unstuck?

Dont we want a performing, free police force that is free from interference? Dont we want the IAS lobby and the Babus to be held accountable? Corruption is the single biggest drain on the economy… shouldnt we want to lessen it? Dont we need to both ease land acquisition while also providing for the land-owners? Dont we need an Armed Forces free from the babus who know nothing of the Army? Dont we want to be safer, which a properly functioning police and NIA-NCTC will make us? We also need to understand where things are stuck. Everything comes unstuck in project implementation, which lies solidly in areas governed by the state list as per our constitution. In a coalition government, getting consensus and moving on such matters is highly fructuous and virtually impossible. We can also not change the list or introduce constitutional amendments. Center lacks sufficient leverage to make things move on the states list. This is why NCTC still lies a work in progress, for example. This is why land acquisition deals get stymied.
 

And few people are asking these questions… which is why I state Ignorance of the Electorate…

It is fine to state one man can start the process of change. The key question here is how? No one in the entire discussion in the national doscourse is willing to tackle the nitty gritty of the issues involved: the precise methods and steps that can be taken. Let us get practical here, and look at the ground realities.How will NaMo do it? How will he ensure 8-10% GDP growth without tackling the fundamentals? Let alone the above, what about the Fertilizer and Oil subsidy? 48% of our budget is eatern away by subsidies and interest payouts. National debt is ballooning. All economic fundamentals are awry – and you already have Subramanyam Swamy advocating a removal of Raghuram Rajan – this is even before they have come to power, to say nothing of the other, shall we say, interesting statements made by some geniuses!

What will be the impact of Dr Rajan’s removal? What is interest rates are lowered in this scenario? What will be the impact on the people? We are already being hammered by 10-12% inflation on CPI basis on our home consumption basket – the 8.62% is total CPI inflation. That means, interest rates are being lowered to achieve a short term impact on the economy, forgetting the other more deleterious impacts. Are they advocating interest rates reduction to benefit big business? This is even before taking power!


In conclusion, I can only state that the Jury is still out on the verdict. Time will tell whether Democracy won, or it lost for the third time in a row. The deplorable election debate, with shocking name calling, aspersions on patriotism, hindutva undercurrent, dictatorial utterances regarding non-supporters leaving India, complete avoidance of real issues plaguing the societal, political and economic sectors of the nation, the tidal wave of emotional euphoria that has tended to distort perspective, the worryingly high proportion of NOTA, the blindingly bright prognosis for a vibrant India which has no basis in the fundamentals or the indicators on both societal as well as economic parameters; and most of all the shocking and stunning ignorance of the electorate leave a worry in the mind and a bitter taste in the mouth. A bitter taste of an opportunity lost once again, for the third time in a row; and of the people being taken for a royal ride by the political class.

That is why I don’t celebrate election results regardless of whoever wins. I weep for my nation, and for the ignorance of its people… Forgive me for spoiling the party, folks… I cant see anything to celebrate. Yet again, we have been taken for a ride…  

Narendra Modi – 17 Questions

Published March 26, 2014 by vishalvkale

    Elections 2014… and Narendra Modi. These are the “Modi” elections… everywhere you look, you will find Mr Modi. Nothing wrong with that – problem is, in this Modism, the real issues lie buried somewhere – buried and forgotten. Let me enumerate these issues in the form of Questions, in short and simple words. This is not a long blog-post; I am just asking a few questions. If you want my vote, please answer these questions, straight and simple. Else, I am clear: I will not cast my vote for the BJP. Mr Modi, sir, my vote may not mean much to you, but it means a lot to me. I am a nobody in the 1.27 Billion, but to me, I am a somebody, a thinking individual…
    1. How will you ensure that infrastructure projects’ implementation will start after your rising to the pole position? How will you ensure implementation of all Government projects, departments and works?
    2. Will you give Autonomy to the CBI?
    3. Will you allow Raghuram Rajan and the RBI a free hand to reign in Inflation? How will you reign in Inflation?
    4. Will you cut red-tape and reduce the number of approvals required for setting up new businesses?
    5. How will you stoke consumption, and improve the confidence levels of business in the country?
    6. How will you ensure the investment cycle picks up again, and Capital Flight is stopped?
    7. How will you improve Brand India?
    8. Will you make Gen VK Singh – or someone else equally qualified {an ex-serviceman} – the responsibility of the Armed Forces?
    9. Will you increase allocation of funds to Defence, Health and Education as a percentage of GDP?
    10. How will you increase the manufacturing base of the country?
    11. Will you set up the tri-services command?
    12. What will you do about the crippling shortages plaguing the Indian Armed Forces?
    13. How will you handle Kashmir, and the relations with Pakistan and China? 
    14. What will be the thrust of your Foreign Policy?
    15. What will you do about Farmer Suicides? 
    16. How will you ensure Market Access to ensure proper rates for farmers? 
    17. Our Small and Marginal Farmers regularly lose money on every crop. What will you do to ensure their profitability – without raising subsidies?.
    The reason I am asking these questions is straightforward : everyone is expecting Mr Modi to waive a magic wand, and hey presto! Everything is right with the world again. We even have a suprising spectre of famous people stating that some level of corruption is acceptable if the result is stability. Expectations are rife – expectations of India being a strong, and renewed India. A euphoria, a heady euphoria is in the air, the euphoria of a rise of the BJP after 10 long years of the UPA. It is a given that the initial response to a Modi Government will be positive on the business cycle. But will this be sustainable?
    For it to be sustainable, the points enumerated above will have to be attended to. And no one – note, no one is asking these questions of the BJP, or the UPA or even the AAP. No one. I would like to understand how can things correct themselves automatically? Let us take stuck  projects as an example. How can anyone ensure that implementation picks up unless the very serious and vexatious issues of land reforms and corruption are solved?  If anyone expects that once BJP comes in power, corruption revelations will stop – they are living in Shanghri-La, the land that doesnt exist! The Media, the CAG, and the others in the fray will continue to ensure that corruption is exposed. Same is the case with Land Reforms, or red tapism, or any other issue highlighted above. These will have to be attended to; and yet, no one is asking these questions. Everyone is just chanting some name or the other!  
    How can any Government ensure rapid growth without sorting out these questions I have asked above is beyond me. Just shouting NaMo or RaGa or Kejri will not solve our problems. There has to be a strategy, a plan of action, a clearly definable tactical execution strategy that tackles extant problems. This is clearly absent – and yet, people are jumping for joy in sheer expectation! Will we never learn our lessons? High time the Indian electorate learnt to asked our political classes the right questions. Sadly, it is with a feeling of deep regret that I note that even the educated middle classes – the only people who can show the path to the rest of India, and lead the true renaissance of our land – are missing these very real questions, and are getting caught in the pointless and dangerous euphoria!
     It is the time for the middle classes to step up and be counted – but looking at the euphoria and the heady mood of the people, including the only people who can bring about real change – I cannot but feel a dredge of helplessness sweep over me; that our problems will never be solved. There is no concrete proposal on the board in the manifesto of any political party that attends to these real problems facing my India. And yet, the people are ecstatic and euphoric of the rise of Mr Modi. Amazing! How will one man solve all problems? How? Please do tell me!
    Jaago, Sonewaalon!

      NaMo, RaGa and ArKe… A List Of Questions…

      Published March 6, 2014 by vishalvkale

      There is a new party on the Horizon – The AAP. In just 48 days of Governance, the people of India are picking on their mistakes – just 48 days – unmindful of the fact that both the BJP and the UPA have had chances to rule India, and have committed massive errors – errors which the people of India have conveniently forgotten. I have been seeing questions being asked of the AAP; why isnt anyone asking these questions to both the UPA and the BJP? The below occurred in their tenures; neither can escape answering these : 
      1) A special group was set up to study the defence structures in India, Its recommendations lie unheeded – and all this while, our defence preparedness continues to suffer, Why?
      2) During Kargil, emergency supplies were needed; for ex, the Swiss company supplying Bofors had to be de-blacklisted on an emergency basis. Other examples abound. This caused the then Chief of Army Staff to comment, : “We will fight with what we have”. What are our politicians doing? Are they not seriously compromising the security of the nation?
      3) Kargil was a serious intelligence failure; we were caught with our pants down. And yet, the intelligence set-up, while decidedly improved, has still to be unified. Are we not compromising on the lives of our citizens? Examples abound. NCTC remains a pipe dream, and the NIA is supposed to lack substantive powers
      4) Moving On, there were 2 major scams – Harshad Mehta and Ketan Parekh, Have they been properly investigated? The CBI’s investigation apparently had numerous loopholes; all regulators were blamed or faulted in an investigative report by Sucheta Dalal and Debashis Basu. The money is still untraceable. Where is the money? What about the small investors, several of whom were destroyed? Why were SBI officials targeted, when they were the ones to expose the scam? Why werent the systemic flaws attended to? The investigators claim that huge numbers of junior functionaries lives or careers were destroyed, or are fighting to clear themselves. Why? 
      5) Why is the CBI still not an autonomous body, despite numerous CBI directors coming out openly in favour of this?
      6) Why have the police reforms, accepted by everyone and demanded by no less a body than the Supreme Court, not been implemented? Isnt this causing risk to the lives of the people?
      7) Why has no Government been able to control the Fiscal Deficit, and has insisted on running freebies and leaking schemes, and ignoring the real demands of the people?
      8) Why is the expense on Education, as a percentage of GDP, among the lowest in the world? What have our politicians been doing all these years?
      9) Why is the expense on Defense as a percentage of GDP at the lowest level since 1962?
      10) What has been done about Black Money by anyone?
      11) Mining – across states, is mired in illegal activities. There have been documented murders of even IAS officials because of this. What is being done to control this? How has this come about?
      12) What has been done the check the banks after the Cobrapost expose, and to check systemic flaws and abuse? 
      13) Telecom : security aspects. The questions remain unanswered till this date. What is being done to address this?
      14) Telecom scam : What has happened? Why are the guilty still free?
      15) Commonwealth scam?
      16) Why is the status of India on HDI parameters comparable, or lower than, even sub-saharan nations?
      17) Why is malnutrition such a serious issue in the interiors?
      18) What is being done to address the concerns of the people from whom land is forcible taken away for development? This is a serious impediment causing several developmental projects to be blocked up.
      19) What has been done to overhaul the RBI, SEBI, Banks and their working?
      20) What is being done about Fertiliser and Oil Subisidies? Why are the rich being subsidised by cheap petrol?
      21) Why is good Healthcare in Rural India such a serious concern even in 2014?
      22) Good Motorable Roads: It takes more time now to travel by road {by truck} than 40 years ago, Fact, Why? Why dont we have good motorable roads connecting villages to marketplaces, when this will result in savings and benefits for the people?
      23) Why is Agricultural Productivity among the worst in the world in any number of crops? What is being done about this?
      24) We are facing a serious electricity shortage in the years to come. Why is there no traction in planning and implementing this?
      25) Farmer Suicides : Why are large amounts of farmers committing suicide?
      26) 76% of our farmers are small and marginal farmers, who lose 840 – 1400 Rupees per hectare per crop – in Modern India. Why?
      Why is each and every political party silent on these {or a majority of these) matters? Why is no one addressing quite a few of these serious issues? Why is this absent from the English Language press? {Dont read the vernacular, so no idea of them}. Why are we not concerned about these serious, serious issues? Because they dont impact us directly? Farmer Suicides, Malnutrition, Healthcare, Land Acquisition, Project Implementation, Defence Preparedness, Police Reforms – no one is talking about these. Why? Why only focus on Urban India? We Urban Indians comprise only 17.68% as per 2011 census – speaking from memory. What about rural India? What about their concerns? And I have not even started asking questions!
      There are many more questions that can be asked. Why should only the AAP be answerable for just 48 days of power, and not the NDA and the UPA for their mistakes? Why the differential treatment? Not only that, the AAP is being asked for clarity on its economic and other policies. Please tell me which party has a clearly defined economic ideology? Which party has clearly stated its objectives in no uncertain terms, encompassing various aspects of trade and foreign policy – things which are being asked of the AAP? 
      • Just how is the NDA / UPA going to reign in inflation? 
      • How are they going to contain fiscal deficit? 
      • How do they intend to fill the tax deficit that will arise from their grandiose taxation reforms suggested – I mean specific, time-bound implementable measures? 
      • How much will they spend on defence? 
      • How much will they spend on Education? 
      • How much will they spend on Plan and Non-Plan Expenditure? 
      • How much will they spend on Healthcare? 
      • What are their specific plans for disinvestment of Blue Chip PSUs? 
      • How do they intend to stoke the slowing manufacturing engine?
      • How do they intend to reverse the IIP numbers? 
      • How do they intend to tackle inflation?
      • What is their foreign policy? 
      • Precisely how will they tackle the challenges now arising in the Malidives, Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh, Myanmar and Sri Lanka? 
      • What is their defence outlook? 
      • What is their stance on the relationship with Japan, Israel and France? 
      • On Pakistan? 
      • On Terrorism? 
      • On centre-state relationships? 
      • On sharing revenue with the states? 
      • On the plans to bring in the GST? 
      • On the excise duty structure and the customs duty structure? 
      • What is their stance on the exim (trade) policy?

      No one is asking these questions – I can ask dozens more. There isnt a single document, a single article – at least one that I have seen on mainstream media; neither is anyone asking these questions of the NDA or the UPA.
      But Lo and Behold, along comes a new person – and everyone pounces on that person! Asks for a detailed manifesto covering these points! Everyone in the Media and the Public, members of my friends and family included! There isnt even a hint of a discussion on these vital parameters anywhere – but the new guy has to answer these questions. The NDA was given 5 full years; and their failure in innumerable areas is a matter of documented record. I am not an AAP fan – but within a span of 48 days people are willing to write off the new guy! Fantastic!
      As far as I know, as on date, the AAP is the only party with a clearly documented vision and action plan; the others are playing ad-hoc. Read the book swaraj. also remember that they have promised a detailed clarity on all points. No one else has promised that… it may not be what you are looking for – but they have a clearly defined ideology, and a set of policies; they have further promised a detailed clarification on all points. This is more than anyone else’s statements. 

      Narendra Modi and The USA… Just Ignore!

      Published September 15, 2013 by vishalvkale

      Having said that, a part of me wants him to become PM just to see what the US response will be. It will put them in a pretty pickle… the mere thought of that sets my brain neurons racing with excitement! 
      The USA – first of all, as of today morning, we were sovereign. Have been with family all day, so have no real idea if USA has annexed India or not. If they have, then NaMo is disqualified since he is not eligible for a US Visa. Sorry, old boy. (PS: If USA has annexed India, can I have my salary in Dollars, please?)
      Just googled. India Still Sovereign. 
      (Pity, that… salary in dollars meant… well… U know what I mean)
      And since we are sovereign as at 8:45 PM today evening 15th September 2013, the question of a US Visa impacting our decisions does not arise. 
      On a more serious note, the USA is not exactly a paragon of Justice and Righteousness; their deeds would fill an encyclopaedia of causing trouble in the World. They have supported some highly shady characters and evil personalities in the past with total impunity when it suited them. So they dont have any right to call Narendra Modi (also known as NaMo) anything. As a matter  of fact, it places NaMo on a much higher pedestal than the USA. Compared to some of the – aah – gentlemen who get Visas and have gotten US support, NaMo is quite literally a saint. 
      Furthermore, remember that NaMo has been cleared by our Supreme Court. Read this : SIT finds no proof against Modi, says court.The SC’s recent record should place this above all doubt. It is certainly all the proof I require. Furthermore, note that any Indian Citizen disagreeing has the right to appeal; this is not available to a sovereign foreign power. That tantamounts to intervention in internal politics – at which USA is a past master. It is a classic case of the pot calling the kettle black. By the way, the said kettle in the example is a clean aluminium kettle, not your black iron kettle!
      I can only surmise from this that the USA has some powerful reasons for not wanting NaMo – which have absolutely nothing to do with the riots. What the USA is doing is very divisive and deadly dangerous; pandering to disaffected segments of both Khalistani as well as Gujarat riots. Regardless of the truth of the allegations – it has absolutely no right to intervene. This it is regularly doing in every spectrum: NaMo, Sonia Gandhi, Retail FDI rules; Pharmaceuticals; preferential treatment to Indian Manufacturers etc. Note that in each and every case, it (USA) has no locus standi whatsoever. Recently, it has also started making noises along the lines of “quantify damage in monetary terms due to Indian policies”. Its courts have allowed lawsuits against Indian Politicians regarding riots held in India – where they have no legal or moral right in intervene, like in the recent Sonia Gandhi case. Anyone wanting to complain is welcome to India and seek redressal from the Indian Courts. And, if you are a naturalised American Citizens, you will have Big Daddy with you. 
      In each of the above cases; the common thread is that the USA has no business intervening. Their own internal record is much worse.
      They would do well to remember: pehelaa patthar woh maare jisne paap naa kiyaa ho, jo paapi naa ho… let the person who has not sinned throw the first stone. Frankly, by US standards, NaMo easily qualifies for national hero status, given the ugly US past record. That USA is not giving him a Visa is an award, a badge, a mark of tremendous respect. By comparison, NaMo is a veritable saint; and even the allegations against him are just that: unproven allegations. And do remember that these words are being penned by a man who has gone on record disavowing both NaMo and RaGa. (Rahul Gandhi). 
      Why should we give credence to the frankly stupid views of a country that does not understand India? Why should we give it any importance at all? When it suits them, they will do anything to achieve their ends. This is the same nation which displayed collective national amnesia when it went from ban-India-on-nuclear-issue to Yay,-Indian-Nuclear-Sector in the twinkling of an eyelid! This is the same nation that all of a sudden became a champion of the war on terror when the terror reached its shores – again displaying collective amnesia when they clean forgot that they looked hard the other way all the years India complained regarding arms misuse by Pakistan, as well as on Pakistan Nuclear issue. This is the same nation which glibly ignores repeated Pakistan Nuclear threats to India (the latest being the recent security meet in Pakistan when tactical nukes were reportedly discussed: Pakistani political leaders meet to discuss national security, and goes after Iran and North Korea hammer and tongs. So long as we have our house in order, the size of our country will ensure that the USA will yet again display its trademark collective amnesia – and change its colours yet again. Rest assured. 
      A reminder: The USA isnt, and has never been, a friend. It is furthermore an outside power. Let us all Indians stand united on this; regardless of our personal feelings. Whether NaMo becomes PM or not is for all of us to decide through our vote in 2014; that is where we have to talk. Whether or not NaMo is guilty, it is an internal matter, to be decided by Indians – not USA. Let us all tell the USA, mind your own bloody business. Go to Hell with your Visa! We dont butt into your politics, you stay the hell away from ours – be it Retail FDI, IP rights, NaMo, Pakistan or whatever else. You are not welcome in our internal matters. Stay Out, Uncle Sam!