Monday, 15 May 2017

KNOW THE REAL PROBLEM OF KASHMIR & POSSIBLE SOLUTIONS

I reiterated in my recent FB post that Kashmir problem is not political rather religious fundamentalism. This post is in line with my article titled 'What is exactly the problem with Kashmir today' published on merinews.com on September 9, 2016. (http://www.merinews.com/article/what-is-exactly-the-problem-with-kashmir-today/15919366.shtml)

In that article, I had clearly explained why the Kashmir issue is neither political (freedom struggle or plebiscite) nor for autonomy or for abrogating AFSPA. The problem is purely the radicalised Wahhabi Islamic movement that was seeded by late Pakistani military ruler President Zia-ul-Haq. Their first step was to compel Kashmiri Pundits to flee from the Valley. And then, planting radical Wahhabism through madrasas and mosques. The situation is now such that the Wahhabi revolutionaries have taken full control over the Valley and their radical movement can no longer be quarantined through dialogue.

From the time of writing of that article (September 2016) until last week, when I wrote the FB post, many of my friends are still unconvinced with my opinion. Most of my friends, albeit did not react to my FB post or the article, but did personally message me that my facts were incorrect and the source from where I had gathered them was probably biased. Some even alerted me against believing in false RSS propaganda, although my analysis was purely based on various opinions provided by expert contributors from India and abroad, who are neither supporters of the RSS nor enemies of Pakistan.

But, as it is said, truth never remains buried for long and at an opportune time, it props up from anywhere. On May 12, 2017, Hizb-ul-Mujahideen terrorist Zakir Musa aka Zakir Rashid Bhat, who had succeeded the slain terrorist Burhan Wani, issued a video message threatening Hurriyat Conference of dire consequence if they termed the Kashmir issue as a 'political struggle' instead of 'Islamic uprising'. Earlier too, Zakir Musa had explained that their armed struggle was neither for Kashmir nor for any freedom/autonomy. Their fight was for Islam read Wahhabi Islam.
In the meantime, some media channels have also exposed how the terror network is being coordinated and organised through social media. Republic TV too, exposed recently that Zakir Naik apart from radicalising Muslim youth had also been involved in mass conversion to Islam of people from poor sections of non-Muslim communities. They have been extremely successful in their ulterior motives in Kerala and parts of Mumbai, UP & Bengal. It is just the beginning for these radicalised Wahhabi groups towards establishing their dream caliphate of 'Khurasan'. For those unaware, Khurasan was a historical province of the pre-Islamic period that spread from Iran to Burma, including North India.

Now the question is, what would be the possible solution to the Kashmir issue? Is resumption of dialogue between India and Pakistan a solution?

I don't think so because even Pakistan internally does not want Kashmir. No doubt, they have been sowing the seeds of Wahhabi terrorism in India, but the situation has now gone even beyond Pakistan's control. Pakistan's intention is to let this radical movement be restricted to Kashmir only, harming India for long. I also feel that Pakistan wouldn't like to go to war with India over Kashmir as they no longer want it. The stone-pelters of Kashmir who often raise Pakistani flags in addition to the flags of ISIS are also aware of it. A journalist asked a stone-pelter as to why he was raising the Pakistani flag if he didn't want Kashmir to become part of Pakistan? The simple answer that the journalist got from the stone-pelter was that he had raised the Pakistani flag only to irritate India. Pakistan is India's enemy and an enemy's enemy is our friend, he further said.
Should there be any talks between the Indian government and Hurriyat and other separatists?
The answer is now clear from Zakir Musa's message to Huriyat as explained in the beginning of this article. Even the politicians of Kashmir are so terrified with this Wahhabism that they are under compulsion to take anti-India stance in fear of risk to their lives.

Is India actually losing Kashmir as claimed by many anti-BJP political parties?

Again, I don't think so. This problem is limited to just five districts of the Kashmir Valley surrounding Srinagar. In rest of the areas, people are not supportive of this radical movement and rather seek government action to curb this menace. The Shia communities of Kargil are very worried over this Sunni Wahhabism. Thus, the government of India should take some stern steps as mentioned below:

1) Either dismiss the Mehebooba government or at least bring these five districts under direct control of the Central government.
2) Stop all telecommunication networks that these radical forces depend upon.
3) Enforce a search and eliminate operation, to be carried out meticulously cleaning each and every square inch of the affected region. There are some liberated zones, as per claims, which need priority attention. The point to be noted is that a majority of people want peace but remain helpless and fearful of just a handful of terrorists. Once these terrorists are eradicated, common people will come out in the open against these radical forces.
4) The media must be advised to stop giving space to separatists and agents of Pakistan. Our news anchors while blasting such Pakistani stooges, fail to realise that they are indirectly giving a platform to these anti-nationals. Hysterical debates on Kashmir should be stopped for sometime giving our security forces sufficient time to fix the real problem.
5) There should be proper investigation to identify the terror funding network through illicit money trail and each and everyone involved in it should be booked without considering the outcome due to the status in the Valley of that particular individual.
6) If Pakistan really wants a war, give it to them and this time a decisive one, wining back PoK and liberating Balochistan.

Will the Narendra Modi government take such courageous steps?


I think that Prime Minister Modi has already started preparations and soon we will see some action on the ground. One thing that must be noted is that only Narendra Modi can cure this chronic disease of Kashmir dispute. If he fails, then nobody knows how long will India continue to bleed over Kashmir.

Wednesday, 15 March 2017

Captain Amarinder Singh Should Send a Thank You Note to Akalis for His Spectacular Win Over AAP in Punjab






In Punjab, Congress got more than two-third seats. It's good news for Captain Amarinder Singh who prior to the elections had already declared that these would be his last elections.

One of my friends immediately called me over the phone and said that Congress should get some solace in the fact that it won over BJP in clear terms in at least one state. My answer was, since when was the BJP a player in Punjab? After all, the party is just a minor entity in Punjab politics. I would also not agree that Congress defeated Akalis because after 10 years of anti-incumbency SAD was ready to lose this election.

So, whom did the Congress really defeat? Definitely, it defeated the debutante Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) for which Congress should thank the SAD-BJP coalition. But how and why? Let's do an analysis to know what happened in 2017 Punjab Assembly elections, a state where electoral mathematics is very complex and a bit strange as vote share is not necessarily directly proportional to the seats won.
In my of my articles published in various platforms I have clearly mentioned how strange the electoral mathematics of Punjab is. In 2014, Congress got around 33.1 per cent vote share where as it got least number of MP seats (3). AAP got 30.4 per cent vote share and got 4 MP seats. SAD-BJP got 29 per cent votes yet got highest number of MP seats (6).

Thus, to beat this complicated mathematics, Congress had to get at least five per cent more votes and AAP should have fell behind SAD-BJP's vote share. The exit polls showed otherwise. They put the vote shares of AAP and Congress almost equal while putting SAD-BJP's vote share at less than 10 per cent allowing it to have just 4-7 seats. Had the exit polls been right then it would have led to the formation of a government in the state under AAP.

But in reality, Congress did get a vote share of 38.4 per cent which is exactly 5 per cent more than what they got in 2014. Also SAD-BJP got 30.7 per cent votes, an increase of 1.7 per cent votes from 2014 vote share, thus making AAP get 23.7 per cent votes which is 6.7 per cent less than their 2014 vote share. (source: http://eciresults.nic.in/)

That means that these 2017 Punjab Assembly elections were a direct contest between Congress and the Aam Aadmi Party. Had the SAD-BJP combine put up a poorer performance then AAP could have formed the next government there. Isn't the present electoral mathematics of the state too strange if you go by the seats won vis-a-vis the vote share? But that's what Punjab's politics is all about.

What are the takeaways for different political parties post the results?
For Congress it should be a learning lesson that in future elections it should trust more of regional leaders than depending on Central leaders. Rahul Gandhi shouldn't feature in any election campaign. They need to allow growth of local leaders. Congress could never have won Punjab had Captain Amarinder Singh not been made in-charge. Rahul Gandhi many a times wanted to remove Amarinder Singh, but it was Sonia Gandhi who didn't accept Rahul Gandhi's proposal.

For BJP, I think there is nothing in this election. Some would be thinking that BJP should have contested independently abandoning the coalition with SAD. But I think the top leadership made a good decision of not ditching SAD because it shouldn't dump long time allies in states where it doesn't have that much organisational structure.

For Akalis also it wasn't that bad an election as they got around 25.3 per cent votes (BJP – 5.3 per cent). They should now wait for 2022 to get back to power.

But there's a learning lesson for AAP. You just can't ditch Delhi and camp at Punjab. The Congress will haunt back AAP in the upcoming MCD elections in Delhi scheduled on April 22 this year. A defeat in MCD could lead to end of story for Arvind Kejriwal. His ambitions are good and high, but that doesn't mean you should ignore your roots. AAP's roots lie in Delhi and its neglect of the capital city could spell doom for the party.

Finally, I would say that there is a drastic change in power politics post these five state Assembly elections which will be visible very brightly. But in the meantime Captain Amarinder Singh need to send a big ‘Thank you’ card to Akali dal.

Monday, 23 January 2017

BOOK Review- H.R.Diaries by Harminder Singh





कुछ नौजवान जिन्होंने नयी दुनिया में कदम रखा, उलझ गये दौड़-भाग के पाटो में। जिंदगी की पेचीदगियों को उन्होंने अपनी तरह से हल करने की कोशिश की, अनेक रोचक मोड़ आते गये , वे हँसे, रोये, घबराये लेकिन रुके नहीं। आखिर में उन्होंने पाया की नौकरी करना कोई बच्चों का खेल नहीं! उनकी जिन्दगी का एक हिस्सा उनसे हर बार सवाल करता है की यह दौड़ यूँ ही क्यों चल रही है? हमें क्यों लगता है की हम एक जगह बंधे हुए है? क्या यह हमारी नियति है?”

यह चन्द पन्कतियां हरमिन्दर सिंह की लिखी पुस्तक एच. आर. डाईरीज मूल तत्व है. लेखक का दावा है कि ये कथानक काल्पनिक है. परन्तु समझने  वाले समझ जाते है कि हरेक कहानि, द्रुश्यपट तथा विभिन्र कलाकार व सम्बाद लेखक कि अपनि अनुभुति है.

मेरा विश्वास है कि हर ख्यण हम किसि ना किसि कहानी कि अग्ं वनते रहते है परन्तु उसे सामान्य बिषय मानके हम भुल भि जाते है. हरमिन्दर जी ने लेकिन हर छोटा बडा घटनाओँ को अपनि द्रुष्टीकोण से विश्लेषण किया . जोभि उन्हे तर्क संगत लगा उन्होने उसे वाख्या कि.

उन्होने जिस तरह से इक रोज़मर्रा की दफ्तर वाली ज़िन्दगी को इस किताब के ज़रिये दर्शाने की कोशिश की है वह वाकई में काबिल तारीफ़ है। इसका एक एक विषय हमेशा याद दिलाता है उन दिनों की जब हमने पहली बार नौकिरी करने के लिए किसी दफ्तर केअंदर गए थे। किस तरह परिस्थितीयों का सामना किया। नयी नयी चुनोतियों को कैसे अपनेतरीके से सुलझाने की कोशिश की और निरंतर गिरते रहे उठते रहे मगर चलते रहे। यहपुस्तक हमें उन यादों से जुडी हुई सिख दिलाने में प्रेरित करती हैं।आपका यह पुस्तक पढ़के मैं काफी प्रवाबित हुआ हूं, और आशा करता हूँ की यह उन तमाम युवा पीढ़ी को भी अपने ज़िन्दगी में आगे बढ़ने की प्रेरणा देगी।


हो सक्ता है कि आप यह आकलन से असहमत भि हो मगर आप को उनकि वर्णन शैली को दाद अवश्य देगें. पढते पढते आप किसि चरित्र मे अपने आपको ढुन्ड लेगें. यहि मजा है जव आप वास्तव कहानिओँ के रुवरु होते है.

ये तो मानना पडेगा कि मानव स्ंसाधन विभाग वह विभाग है जहां से नौजवानों का स्वप्न शुरु होते है. सवको  कुछ ना कुछ अभिग्ङता है, लेकिन एक अलग द्रुष्टीकोण से रचित यह उपन्यास सभि श्रेणी के लिये पठनीय है.

यह पुस्तक हरमिन्दर जी कि प्रथम रचना है और Blogadda.com कि ब्लागर्स टु आँथर्सयोजना के अन्तर्गत प्रकाशित हुई है.

मेरा आकलन - 4/5

Friday, 8 July 2016

Social trolling menace?-Why the advocater of right to absolute freedom of speech/expression are silent?





Union minister for Women & Child Development, Maneka Gandhi has decided to take actions against troll-abuse in social media particularly against women. She has requested the Union Home Ministry as well as I&B ministry to take possible steps to control the abusive trolling community. She also asked social networking platforms like Twitter, Facebook and other social media platforms for their assistance in tackling this troll menace.

Maneka Gandhi became proactive following complaints by troll victims. A fake account in the name of Arvind Kejriwal is nowadays posting obscene content online. Another Chennai based IT professional has complained that her sister-in-law is posting abusive content against her. The minister also assumed it as worst form of violence against women.
Many are of the view that the repeal of section 66A has made the trolling community careless and they are misusing online platforms to abuse people in worst kind of trolls. Whether the section 66A was helpful in curbing the trolling menace or not, we will discuss this in later part of the article.

The Supreme Court repealed section 66A after free speech advocators complained against it. These advocators always claim that freedom is absolute. Now the same advocators are complaining against trolling in social media. If freedom of speech and expression is absolute, how can you demand action against trolling?

In any society (forget about democratic set up) nothing is absolutely free. A freedom always comes with a rider. You have freedom to speak/express but at the same time you must take care of the fact that your exercising of right to freedom must not abuse anybody, must not hurt anybody's sentiment, and must not be provocative and finally it must not be indecent. Creative imagination is always an art, which can be displayed without hurting anybody.

But then if people become cynic (with biased point of view) then their opinions always contradict each other. For example, the same freedom flag bearers advocate nude pictures of Hindu God or Goddess, films like PK as freedom of creative imagination but then they also demand action against cartoon on prophet or films like Vishwaroopam (Kamal Hassan starrer). 

There are many people who are very critical of Salman Khan's 'raped woman' analogy (Salman's view is no doubt indecent but not intentional I believe) but the same group of people clapped for the 'Balatkaar' speech in the film ‘Three Idiots’. In both cases rape is ridiculed, joked but contradicted opinion makes many people to suffer from hypocrisy. 

Now the question is, whether section 66A could be helpful in curbing the trolling menace. I don't think this section can be helpful in anyway except its misuse by vested interest groups as well as people in power (responsible for enforcing the law). That's why SC rightly scrapped this law. But then the Supreme Court never said that acts shouldn't be there to control such menace. The SC on numerous occasions said that right to freedom is not absolute. Section 66A had many lacunae for which instead of helping to curb the menace, it started haunting people for no reason.
Can there be any possible law/act/section, which would be able to control this troll menace? But let's first find out what should be considered abusive. In this modern Bollywood, Hollywood era, it's very difficult to define what exactly the abusive language is. For example, 'Fuck', 'asshole' like slang words have become part of English literature. You can find out such things in English movies and novels. An exact translation of such words in Indian vernacular languages would be considered as extreme vulgar. But then the film 'Udta Punjab' cleared by the Bombay High Court has full range of Hindi/Punjabi vulgar slangs. If those are not considered obscene, how you can draw a line?

In the process of trolling Barkha Dutta, a twitter user wrote that he had already purchased toilet paper because of delay in availability of Barkha's book. Now there is nothing vulgar in this post, yet it is one of the worst abusive tweets particularly against a woman?

There is also complaint that people with fake accounts indulge in such disgraceful trolls. But the fact is, all other genuine accounts as well as established persons like senior journalists, writers, politicians and socialists also indulge in indecent and abusive trolls!

Arvind Kejriwal referred Prime Minister as psychopath in one of his tweets. You can't book him because there is no law to tackle online insults. Even if you take action, Kejriwal will fight back complaining revenge politics. After HRD minister, Smriti Irani was transferred from HRD to textiles, many known and reputed people with genuine accounts trolled her with sexist comments. Thus why to blame only fake account holders?

It's not that such things cannot be controlled if not be eliminated. One thing is in our hands i.e. ignore it, don't react to it. This is Gandhian formula. Don't even block the abuser, just ignore. Time will come when the trolling will stop because there won't be any response despite provocations.

Second way could be introduction of "report abuse" tab on social networking sites like many newspaper websites provide. If the abuse tab is hit beyond threshold number (set as per assessment) then the account should be blocked by the social media administrator and an inquiry by the police could be started.

One may not be booked at the moment, but an inquiry can name and shame the trolling person and that would be enough for many to control their language in social media. For repeat offenders a 24-hour detention in police station would be sufficient because all such trolling people probably do not understand what police station is. They troll from comfort zones at their private places through smart devices considering themselves as absolute kings.

Finally, I would like to ask the flag bearers of right to absolute freedom to think once more over their arguments.


Wednesday, 6 July 2016

Cabinet Expansion of Modi Government:- Shouldn't Critics focus on Big Picture than Indulging in Cynicism?

The first major expansion of PM Narendra Modi's Cabinet took place on 5th July 2016. Around 19 new ministers have been inducted in the Cabinet whereas Prakash Javadekar has been promoted to the Cabinet rank. Expanding and reshuffling of council of ministers is a common event in any government. But, as it's Modi government, the opposition parties consider it as their duty to criticise even the expansion.

Frankly speaking, criticism has a key role in any democracy as it's the only way to remind the government of possible errors, mistakes, omissions/commissions etc in policy or functioning of the government. But, what will you do if cynicism replaces the criticism? Does cynicism anyway help democracy?

I always believe that there is a very thin line between criticism and cynicism. If an action/policy/performance is critically scrutinized in an unbiased manner then such scrutiny is called true criticism. But if the scrutiny is done in a biased manner then it simply amounts to cynicism.

In Modi era, majority of media is behaving like opposition parties and sometimes their scrutiny becomes very cynic. Let's decode some scrutinies by media and political opponents.

Almost all are unanimous that this expansion is based on merit, competency and expertise. Then why to deduce a caste and political angle? If some are inducted in the cabinet due to their merit, then why to attach caste factor with their selection? What the critics want to tell? That the ministers are inducted purely because of their castes? Is such view not undermining the merit of that particular minister?

This reminds me an incident. A Chief Engineer from ST community who is very competent once confessed in front of me that he was very frustrated because people don't judge his competency rather focus on the quota stamp on him.

Media, which claims that it fights against caste discrimination, always invokes caste first, be it selection of Chief Ministers (in Maharashtra and Jharkhand) or the present expansion of central council of ministers. If Anupriya Patel deserves to be a minister because of her competency, then do we need to highlight her caste?

Similarly critics are also saying that the Cabinet expansion has been done keeping in view the upcoming UP assembly elections. I am yet to understand how this is related to UP elections. UP gave 73 seats to BJP in Lok Sabha 2014 polls. Thus it's natural that 15 ministers from UP can be inducted into the Cabinet.

One who is criticising selection of ministers from UP, should also tell the PM, if not from UP, then from where he should appoint new ministers. Should he choose new ministers the states like TN or Kerala where he doesn’t have MPs or straight away import from Europe and America?

Then there is debate on who loses and who gains. According to JD(U) Rajya Sabha MP Pawan Kumar Varma some ministers are undeserving to be in the council of ministers. Has Varma ever assessed the council of ministers in Bihar government? A true scrutiny will tell that at least one-third of council members don't deserve to be ministers. Especially, Tej Pratap Yadav, in no way is fit to be deputy chief minister.


Some also raised fingers at the size of the council of ministers (78 ministers at par with UPA) invoking Modi's promise of minimum government and maximum governance. Here the point is, what does the slogan of "minimum government and maximum governance" means. Does the size of council of ministers represent whether a government is minimum or maximum?
Government doesn't mean the council of ministers only. It's the entire system involving bureaucrats and other statutory bodies. Minimum government means less bureaucratic procedure (Red tapism) and maximum governance means faster delivery with highest degree of transparency. If you become cynic then the size will only be seen as the government.
I will point out towards two things only. Expansion and reshuffle are prerogatives of the Prime Minister. India has a parliamentary system yet sometimes elections are contested like presidential elections. Jawaharlal Nehru, Indira Gandhi, Rajiv Gandhi and now Narendra Modi have contested Lok Sabha elections like a Prime Minister should and people also voted them through their representatives (irrespective of merits of contesting candidates). Thus it's Narendra Modi's responsibility to give a good governance.

In Narendra Modi's case he is the authority (whereas Manmohan Singh many times had confessed lack of authority with him due to coalition compulsion). Next, Mr. Modi is one of the most interactive Prime Ministers of India. He has a perfect feedback system on working of his ministers, not only from his trusted auditors placed inside the PMO, but, also from public through various modes such as 'mygovt.com', and social platforms. 
Thus he is aware of feedbacks about his government's functioning and performance and competent enough to induct and allot portfolios as per his assessment.
Instead of indulging in biased criticism (or cynicism) people should have looked at the big picture. For example, many people have to say that Jayant Sinha is demoted as he was moved out of finance ministry and placed in civil aviation ministry. 
The big picture is that Air India is incurring Rs. 30,000 crore loss every year. Thus Modi trusted on Sinha to revive Air India as a profit making unit. All other allocations can be seen in this way.

Instead of indulging in cynicism, critics should have focused on the big picture. It's time the entire political opposition and media should support the government through constructive opposition (through unbiased scrutiny) in the interest of the nation.




Cabinet Expansion of Modi Government:- Shouldn't Critics focus on Big Picture than Indulging in Cynicism?

The first major expansion of PM Narendra Modi's Cabinet took place on 5th July 2016. Around 19 new ministers have been inducted in the Cabinet whereas Prakash Javadekar has been promoted to the Cabinet rank. Expanding and reshuffling of council of ministers is a common event in any government. But, as it's Modi government, the opposition parties consider it as their duty to criticise even the expansion.

Frankly speaking, criticism has a key role in any democracy as it's the only way to remind the government of possible errors, mistakes, omissions/commissions etc in policy or functioning of the government. But, what will you do if cynicism replaces the criticism? Does cynicism anyway help democracy?

I always believe that there is a very thin line between criticism and cynicism. If an action/policy/performance is critically scrutinized in an unbiased manner then such scrutiny is called true criticism. But if the scrutiny is done in a biased manner then it simply amounts to cynicism.

In Modi era, majority of media is behaving like opposition parties and sometimes their scrutiny becomes very cynic. Let's decode some scrutinies by media and political opponents.

Almost all are unanimous that this expansion is based on merit, competency and expertise. Then why to deduce a caste and political angle? If some are inducted in the cabinet due to their merit, then why to attach caste factor with their selection? What the critics want to tell? That the ministers are inducted purely because of their castes? Is such view not undermining the merit of that particular minister?

This reminds me an incident. A Chief Engineer from ST community who is very competent once confessed in front of me that he was very frustrated because people don't judge his competency rather focus on the quota stamp on him.

Media, which claims that it fights against caste discrimination, always invokes caste first, be it selection of Chief Ministers (in Maharashtra and Jharkhand) or the present expansion of central council of ministers. If Anupriya Patel deserves to be a minister because of her competency, then do we need to highlight her caste?

Similarly critics are also saying that the Cabinet expansion has been done keeping in view the upcoming UP assembly elections. I am yet to understand how this is related to UP elections. UP gave 73 seats to BJP in Lok Sabha 2014 polls. Thus it's natural that 15 ministers from UP can be inducted into the Cabinet.

One who is criticising selection of ministers from UP, should also tell the PM, if not from UP, then from where he should appoint new ministers. Should he choose new ministers the states like TN or Kerala where he doesn’t have MPs or straight away import from Europe and America?

Then there is debate on who loses and who gains. According to JD(U) Rajya Sabha MP Pawan Kumar Varma some ministers are undeserving to be in the council of ministers. Has Varma ever assessed the council of ministers in Bihar government? A true scrutiny will tell that at least one-third of council members don't deserve to be ministers. Especially, Tej Pratap Yadav, in no way is fit to be deputy chief minister.


Some also raised fingers at the size of the council of ministers (78 ministers at par with UPA) invoking Modi's promise of minimum government and maximum governance. Here the point is, what does the slogan of "minimum government and maximum governance" means. Does the size of council of ministers represent whether a government is minimum or maximum?
Government doesn't mean the council of ministers only. It's the entire system involving bureaucrats and other statutory bodies. Minimum government means less bureaucratic procedure (Red tapism) and maximum governance means faster delivery with highest degree of transparency. If you become cynic then the size will only be seen as the government.
I will point out towards two things only. Expansion and reshuffle are prerogatives of the Prime Minister. India has a parliamentary system yet sometimes elections are contested like presidential elections. Jawaharlal Nehru, Indira Gandhi, Rajiv Gandhi and now Narendra Modi have contested Lok Sabha elections like a Prime Minister should and people also voted them through their representatives (irrespective of merits of contesting candidates). Thus it's Narendra Modi's responsibility to give a good governance.

In Narendra Modi's case he is the authority (whereas Manmohan Singh many times had confessed lack of authority with him due to coalition compulsion). Next, Mr. Modi is one of the most interactive Prime Ministers of India. He has a perfect feedback system on working of his ministers, not only from his trusted auditors placed inside the PMO, but, also from public through various modes such as 'mygovt.com', and social platforms. 
Thus he is aware of feedbacks about his government's functioning and performance and competent enough to induct and allot portfolios as per his assessment.
Instead of indulging in biased criticism (or cynicism) people should have looked at the big picture. For example, many people have to say that Jayant Sinha is demoted as he was moved out of finance ministry and placed in civil aviation ministry. 
The big picture is that Air India is incurring Rs. 30,000 crore loss every year. Thus Modi trusted on Sinha to revive Air India as a profit making unit. All other allocations can be seen in this way.

Instead of indulging in cynicism, critics should have focused on the big picture. It's time the entire political opposition and media should support the government through constructive opposition (through unbiased scrutiny) in the interest of the nation.




Tuesday, 2 February 2016

Price rise pinching you-start your consumer activism!


Your Modi too failed man!’ Rakesh shoot on me while entering the room.

I lifted my face from the newspaper on his sudden remark and stared at him while he was lodging himself in the sofa. He has a habit of saying everything adding a prefix ‘Your’

‘See, the dal rate is touching 200 marks!’ without bothering my stare he continued, ‘When the hell this Achche din is coming?’

I was in Big Brother’s Bhubaneswar residence for a courtesy meet.  Big Brother comes to Bhubaneswar office once in a month and it was a ritual to meet him if I am around. On the other hand Rakesh is a permanent client to Big Brother. In every visit Rakesh ensures to buy a stone or Tabiz or something else to make his fortune remains well. He is a serious believer of astrology and for him Big Brother is a God of astrologers.

Big brother is seventy plus yet a very healthy man. He is a renowned astrologer, great philosopher and an incredibly humorous.  I am a declared atheist who doesn’t believe in astrology, God or anything that has no scientific proof. However I have a special bonding with the Big Brother because of his simple logic, great philosophies. He too likes me as I question a lot but by character a no-nonsense person.

Rakesh is a very close friend of mine although we differ in opinion in many subjects. But friends are always friends and hence despite different views our friendship never affected.

‘How do Modi belong to me?’ I asked irritatingly.

He frowned. But stubbornly he asked ‘aren’t you citizen of India?’

‘So are you?’ I answered in the same tone,’ Then why not Modi too “Yours”?’

‘Point is not Modi’ He said in same obstinate tone, ‘point is dal price and promise of Achche din’.

‘I didn’t commit these. Better ask Modi yourself’ I grunted and again focused on newspaper.

He appeared to be hurt for some moment as he wasn’t expecting such answer from me. Generally I used to indulge in debate with him on host of issues although we never reach on any conclusion.

‘But you should have some answer on this rising price of dal’ He insisted, ‘It’s almost pinching our wallets man!’
‘Better stop eating dal!’ I said without turning away from the news paper, ‘There are many people who never eat dal yet they are surviving.’

‘What a great solution my friend suggested!’ He said mockingly, ‘Simple solutions, if dal price is high, don’t eat dal. Similarly if Onion price or potato price rises, don’t eat those as well. If all food prices rise then don’t eat at all. Consume air and recite ‘achche din’! What a great philosophical solution from my great friend!

He then clapped but had to stop because Big Brother entered in to the room. We both stood up and paid respect saying Namaste.

‘Long live brothers!’ He acknowledged

‘What for clapping was there?’ He asked. He heard Rakesh’s frustrated clapping not really realizing where he was then.

Rakesh froze instantly. Unable to answer anything he looked at me for any clue how to respond. I carelessly avoided his gape.

Big Brother looked for some moments to dumb face of Rakesh to read his mind. Then he looked at me and asked, ‘What’s the matter?’

‘Rakesh is worried about rising price of dal’ I answered looking worried face of Rakesh.
‘That’s the problem?’ He asked bit amusingly and then said looking towards Rakesh, ‘Better stop eating dal, Rakesh!’

This time I was surprised. Such advice of mine to Rakesh was out of frustration of his irksome question. But Big Brother too is prescribing this!
On what logic?

‘Is this a solution to rising price?’ I practically questioned. Somehow I realized that I am repeating Rakesh’s question.

‘Definitely this is the only solution’ Big brother answered while sitting on his chair. I was wondering on his smile whether he is seriously answering a valid question or simply joking. Perhaps he had heard my answer to Rakesh.

‘If you are joking Big B then I must say I am not amused’ I was very straight. I have such privilege being direct to Big Brother.

He looked at me in an expression as if saying ‘why do you always disbelieve me?’

I didn’t say anything. But my facial expression said him that I was very serious.

‘OK! I heard your discussion just before entering the room.’ He finally said, ‘But I really appreciate your point on not eating dal if prices are rising.’

I still didn’t answer. But I sat down in the sofa considering that matter ends there. Rakesh was still standing. First he had guilty feeling for clapping in Big Brother’s room and then stunned to hear Big Brother’s prescription matching to my answer.

‘Sit down man!’ Big Brother asked Rakesh, ‘Now is not so ‘bure din’ (bad days) that you have to stand for eternity!’

Rakesh sat as if a robot.

Big Brother practically laughed seeing Rakesh’s precarious condition. But I knew that it’s not Rakesh’s mistake. In fact Big Brother’s personality is such; everyone can’t feel easy in front of me. Perhaps I am an exception.

‘Yes I am serious’ Big Brother started in his style, ‘Your method of quit eating of the food commodities whose price is rising is the best solution.’

‘But should we quit eating at all if the entire food items price became high?’ I couldn’t help myself asking the same question Rakesh asked me.

Big Brother looked at me expressing helplessness in his face. Clearly he was not expecting the questions asked by Rakesh from me. But I started feeling that Rakesh’s counter questions have some logic.

‘No logic in your question man!’ Big Brother finally said, ‘If price of all food items is increased, then where is the question of pinching price rise?’

‘I didn’t get you?’ I said honestly.

He remained silent for some moment intently looking at me. May be he was thinking how I couldn’t understand simple commonsense.

But the fact was really I couldn’t get him at all. May be for him its simple commonsense but I need a detailed explanation.

‘Price rise is a relative matter’ Big Brother started his lecture, ‘If rate of every item is increased, then you can’t say there is a price rise. For example when I was young we use to buy a quintal of rice at 25 paise. Now one kilo rice costs minimum Rs 25. Should I tell rice cost is pinching my wallet?’

‘But that time value of rupees was different than now’ I interjected, ‘The devolution of rupee now a day’s such that today’s twenty-five rupees is equal to then twenty-five paise!’

‘Exactly!’ Big brother continued, ‘If rates of every commodity are increased there would be further devolution of rupee. Hence this couldn’t be considered as price rise. With devolution of rupee your income too is increasing, thus it’s balancing each other.’

He looked on us to gauge how we took his lecture. It’s his style that he uses to check whether we are grasping his points or not. He use to conduct ‘Prabachan’ in many places and perhaps for this reason he developed that habit.

I maintained a blank face where as Rakesh appeared to be both ears to Big Brother’s each and every word.
‘When rate of some commodity rises abnormally, we say its steep price rise.’ He continued, ‘We are habituated with such price rises. Sometimes Onions, sometimes Potatoes and now is dal. But the most ridiculous thing is that governments in many a time lost mandate to such rise of price for apparently no fault of them?’

‘What? Governments have no role in price rise?’ Rakesh asked bit loudly not able to digest the last line of Big Brother. I too wanted to ask the same question but Rakesh hit it early.

Big brother too seemed bit surprised on Rakesh’s reaction. He looked at him curiously perhaps wondering how Rakesh reacted sharply awaking from his dumbness.

‘What do you think governments do?’ He then asked, ‘Do they govern the nation or manage departmental stores?’

Rakesh remain confused whether to answer or not.

But I countered, ‘Does governance not mean to control inflation?’

Big B looked me expressing dissatisfaction as if I said something irrelevant. Practically he said, ‘How does inflation relevant in steep rise in dal price?’

I immediately realized that in spite of rising dal price the inflation at that moment was at a five year low.
‘Agreed,’ I had to concede, ‘but government has to prevent illegal hoarding and black marketing.’ I rephrased my counter.

‘Well, that’s definitely a job of state governments as law and order falls under their scope’ Big be answered quietly, ‘but we need to understand why at all such hoarding and black marketing taking place.’

He looked on both of us one by one seeking a response. Both remain silent in fact not finding a proper answer to his question although the possible answer striking to mind is that hoarders do it for profiteering.

‘OK, tell me when price became high and low?’ He perhaps rephrased his question,’ When something becomes very costly or very cheap?’

‘Simple, it’s a demand versus supply equation’ I was quick to answer, ‘When supply is less than demand, the rate goes sky high and when supply is more than demand, rate dips rock bottom.’

I stopped for a moment and then said, ‘perhaps the hoarders do hoarding to restrict the supply there by rising the demand thus infusing a price hike!’

Big brother looked me smiling expressing satisfaction. His facial expression indicated that I got his point. Then he said, ‘The hoarders make this supply restriction to create an artificial shortage of particular commodity making the consumer panic and then they charge whatever price they want!’
I knew this, thus this explanation didn’t impress me. My concern was how the government should act so that this artificial price rise can be checked.
Big B perhaps read my mind. Hence he continued, ‘Government might have something to do, but the real key is always with us.’

‘How’ Rakes asked this time.

‘Simple, reduce the demand!’ answered Big B

‘Reducing the demand?’ I spontaneously asked, ‘Do you mean we shouldn’t eat or use a particular commodity to reduce the demand?’

‘Exactly!’ Big brother exclaimed, ‘That’s why I appreciated your solution of not eating Dal.’
‘If we quit eating dal, what would we be eating instead?’ Rakesh asked wondering on Big Brother’s logic.
‘You have got lot of option!’ Big Brother explained calmly,’ Eat Charu, Rasham or make curry full of gravy so that it can work like dal!’

‘But how can these replace dal?’ Again Rakesh asked.

‘It may not replace dal, but definitely you will not die without dal!’ Big Brother was confident on his point.
I started realizing Big Brother’s point. It’s true that if people quit dal for sometime because of price rise, then the hoarder will face loss and had to release the stock in to the market which will reduce the price of dal. In fact this logic can be applicable to all commodities whose rate reach sky high due to shortage in the market.
‘But will people get united on quitting such commodities for example dal in this case?’ Rakesh asked. Perhaps he too realized Big Brother’s point.

Big brother started laughing loudly. Rakesh blushed instantly not understanding why Big Brother laughs. I was confused too.

‘You were complaining that steep price rise pinches your wallet’ Big Brother said laughingly, ‘and now you seek people need to be united for your benefit?’

Rakesh didn’t say anything. But I couldn’t stop asking him as his words were going over my head.
‘Will you explain in English please which we can understand?’ I was direct.
Big Brother put a sudden brake on his laugh and looked at me with utter disbelief. Through his facial expression he might wanted to ask, ‘still you didn’t get my point?’

But I was stubborn this time. I returned a facial expression that ‘No I didn’t get you’.
He shook his head helplessly kept quiet for some moment. Then he asked, ‘Do you know why onion price never affected me?’

‘Why?’ I spontaneously asked

‘Because, I don’t eat onion’ He answered as if he revealed a great secrete, ‘those who are vegetarian, they never bother about price hikes of non-vegetarian commodities. If Dal is pinching you find a cheaper alternative. Similarly anything that you think abnormally high, quit it temporarily. Such quitting will bring solace to your mind that your wallet is not pinched.’

‘Provided, an alternative is available’ I asked like a devil’s advocate.

‘Alternatives are always available’ He was calm in his response, ‘You need to be bit logical and vigilant’.
‘But Rakesh’s question was a valid one!’ I was no mood to relent, ‘We may quit dal for some time and adjust with alternatives, but will that stop black marketer’s illegal hoarding, unless people are united?’

Big Brother didn’t mind my question. He explained calmly, ‘if people remain united for all causes, such things would never occur. But man is anarchic in nature and can never remain united. That’s the reason where black marketers succeed in reaping benefits from illegal methods. But why you need be worried? If you are feeling pinch in your wallet, you take proper action. If someone wanted to know your trick, you explain him. It’s up to him whether he opts to quit a high priced commodity or to fall in to trap of black marketer’s trap and scolding the government of the day. As long as your case, you remain immune to price hike of a commodity. Consider it as a consumer activism at individual level’

That in fact made me convinced fully. It’s really foolish to blame government for everything as there are many things we can control. If something started pinching us, it’s we to take a call. Certainly nothing in this world except life saving drugs which can be temporarily quitted.  I recall a friend’s logic of not seeing any picture purchasing a ticket in black. He always prevents his urge to see the picture till tickets are available fairly. His point too is logical that he might see the picture bit late but neither the length of picture reduced nor the enjoyment quotient.

I nodded my head in appreciation of Big Brother’s logic. I looked upon Rakesh whether he was convinced or not. But his body language told me that he too fully understood the point although he wanted to ask a question.

‘You want to ask any question?’ I asked Rakesh.

‘Yes, if Big Brother don’t mind.’ Rakesh said hesitantly.

Big brother looked at him in snooping style for some moment then said, ‘Go on, and ask your question?’
Rakesh paused for a moment and then asked, ‘Where can I learn cooking Rasham?’

Both I and Big Brother looked him surprisingly then we exploded with loud laughs not caring the sentiments of poor Rakesh.