(This is a reprint from NewsBred).
Indian prime minister Narendra Modi could sense a long road ahead. He is under attack from all corners, both at home and abroad. From civil rights activists to media; from foreign parliaments to Congress; Presidents to Islamic leaders. All are baying for his blood. And have declared him enemy of Indian Muslims.
It of course is not true. There is nothing in Citizenship Act which is anti-Muslim. There is nothing in NPR which wasn’t there in its’ previous exercise in 2010. NRC, if it happens, is too far out. But what does Modi do? Should he allow the events to overtake him? Or should he follow the time-table his government has set for the exercise? Should he compromise or should he stay firm?
Let’s evaluate what Modi gains if he softens his stance. Let’s say he scraps Citizenship Act or puts it in abeyance. Would he gain the support of Indian Muslims? Would shameless Indian media applaud him on his statesmanship? Won’t we read headlines in Western press such as “Power of people foil a bigot dictator’s pogrom”? Would Iran and Turkey; Pakistan and Malaysia hail him? The answer is NO.
Let’s also evaluate the fallout at his own side of the fence. He could appear weak to his millions of his supporters and lose their support. He could hurt his “raj dharma” by which he professes all too often. He has often said powers would come and go but India remains. Should he be true to his oath to the “Constitution” to do what he believes is best for the Republic? For which he has been chosen by 1.30 billion people of this land?
Now let’s consider the eventuality in case Modi decides to stay firm on his decision. Let’s take the domestic and foreign fallout separately; though both in reality feed on each other. If Modi stays firm and presses ahead in the muddied waters, there could be: (a) More riots across the country; (b) Indian and Western Media would only intensify their anti-Modi coverage; (c) A few state governments could refuse to implement CAA; (d) Kashmir would burn now that winter is in retreat; (e) And even judiciary could buckle under and pass a stricture against him.
Again, what do you think Modi should do? Compromise or stay firm?
From above synopsis, it’s apparent that Compromise wouldn’t help him a wee bit. Or his government. Or India. Or Future governments. A weak Modi now would give a template to anti-India forces to pursue in years to come. Future leaders may also not have the energy, vision or selflessness of a Narendra Modi.
It would be a severe blow to Hindus who are in dire need to be in touch and in sync with their heritage of language (Sanskrit), culture and religion. A Hindu revival is what the world doesn’t want. A revival of Hindu ethos is what could save this world. A blow to it would only embolden the Islamist powers. Besides, history won’t judge Modi kindly if he succumbs to pressure. And what he would say as explanation???
Further, suppose the CAA and NPR throw up unaccounted for illegal migrants/infiltrators on our land. Could they be sleeper cells? Jihadists? Terrorists? Putting your and my life at risk? Would those who are championing “human rights” and “democracy” and “constitution” come to our help? In such an eventuality, who would we all end up blaming for?—Modi of course.
There is simply no going back, Mr Modi. People have given you mandate to run this country on their behalf for five years. Parliament has given you sanction. Supreme Court would judge you by the Constitution. Nothing else matters. States powers which put populism ahead of India, dismiss them. Jihadi Islamists, political leaders and their organizations who whip up Indian Muslims into arson and violence, book them. Media, which is unbridled and peddles fake news, suspend them. Western Media could take a walk. Don’t give a hoot to what a few foreign powers say. Ignore the garbage of a European Parliament or a United Nations Human Rights Council.
What would happen at the most? There might be a dozen more calibrated riots. A United States could slap you with sanctions (though it won’t as long as Trump is in power, hopefully till 2024). Military intervention is out of question against a serious nuclear power like us. Are you worrying about your reputation Mr Modi? Playing ball to anti-India forces wouldn’t spruce up your reputation. Indeed, it would break into splinters the hearts of millions of your followers.
You have four-plus years remaining in your second term. Use it with full conviction. Without fear of consequences. That’s what Bhagwad Gita says too. A weak Modi would lose all he has gained so far. It would hurt him, country and billion-plus Hindus. It won’t be the right homage to our suffering souls of a thousand years.
Ironically, a weak Modi at this stage won’t help the cause of Indian Muslims either. The anger of Hindus would bubble forth. The society at large could be prejudiced against Muslims. Muslims could be further ghettoized. They could also be expecting more entitlements. They could be further radicalized. It could be ripe for a ISIS or a Hizbul Mujahideen to make further inroads. Remove their fear by actions. Withdrawing CAA would only confirm their worst fears about you.
(This is a reprint from NewsBred).
United Nation Human Rights Council (UNHRC) is a disgrace and don’t take my words alone for it.
The United States withdrew from the body in 2018 stating it to be a “cesspool of political bias.” US secretary of state Mike Pompeo termed the council as a “protector of human rights abusers.” Nick Haley, the US envoy to the UN, termed it a “hypocritical body” that “makes a mockery of human rights.”
And this is not Donald Trump alone. The Bush Administration did likewise when the Council was created in 2006. The reasons cited were the same: The Council was ignoring same of world’s worst atrocities while showing its bias for a few on the religious lines.
Indeed, some of world’s worst terrorist-sponsoring nations and human rights violators have occupied the high seats of this Council. This Council would do nothing to pull up a Saudi Arabia or a Pakistan who treat women terribly. But talk of Israel and the Jewish nation has been censured no less than 68 times between 2006-2016. Sixty-eight times!!! And this is nearly half of all the resolutions the Council has adapted against countries in its existence till now.
The Counil, meanwhile, doesn’t bat an eyelid when the Palestinian Authority runs a “pay to slay” program which rewards those who indulge in bombing and terrorism; launch rockets and missiles at Israeli citizens from Gaza.
Do we need to remind the world how UNHRC ignores human violations in China or Cuba; Afghanistan or Congo? That there is death sentence for gays in Somalia and Sudan? That Mauritania allows slaves? That Qatar and Libya both enslave migrants? Or the tyranny which Maduro exerts in Venezuela? No prizes for guessing: All are members of the UNHRC.
Do you think this is an angst of a Hindu nationalist peeved at UNHRC’s resolution against India on Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA)? Consider this:
Former United Nations secretary general, Ban Ki Moon, mentioned the Council so in his farewell speech in 2016: “Decades of political maneuverings have created a disproportionate volume of resolutions, reports and conferences criticizing Israel.”
What did the Council do when millions were being displaced and killed in Kyrgyzstan in inter-ethnic violence in 2010? It expressed “support and encouragement to Kyrgyzstan government for its efforts.” The Council spoke about “human rights violations” in Iran for a mere 171 seconds in 2015. The Council succumbed to the pressure of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) in 2008 and qualified their “freedom of expression” charter with the caveat that it didn’t cover religious discrimination. Can you beat it!
The present Council is a makeover of Human Rights Commission which was scrapped in 2005 by an overwhelming vote of the UN General Assembly. This happened after decades of complaints and well-encapsulated by former Secretary-General Kofi Annan with these words: “The commission had been undermined by declining credibility and professionalism”. Autocrat states came together to block any scrutiny of their records. Libya, despite its poor human rights record, chaired the commission once. No action was initiated against Sudan despite its terrible excesses in 2004.
The new Council though was no different to its previous avatar. Many see it as a stain on United Nations. Its members continue to vote in bloc rather than address each issue separately. African group tends to vote as a bloc and so does OIC, as per a report by the Democracy Coalition Project. Their stands mostly reflect security and economic ties and worrying about human right abuses is farthest from their minds.
So when such a body makes a political stand in the garb of “human rights”, take it with a pinch of salt. It has an overwhelming bias against Jews–and you could now safely add Hindus to this list. This disgrace on world community would be shown its rightful place by the Indian Supreme Court in due course. Meanwhile mark those Jaichands and Mir Jafars who are rejoicing at the censure of UNHRC against the Modi regime. These scums care little for your country or human rights. Reserve only contempt for such garbage.
(This is reprint from NewsBred).
It has now come to light that the reports in three national dailies on Sunday–Indian Express, Hindustan Times and The Hindu–on the alleged “Goli maaro slogans” raised in peace march of BJP leader Kapil Mishra on Capital streets could have been “fake news.”
Indian Express led its Delhi edition of Sunday (March 1, 2020) with a front-page screamer: “Goli Maaro slogan is back as Kapil leads ‘peace’ march”. Hindustan Times led a similar pitch with headline: “Goli Maaro slogans at march attended by BJP leader Kapil Mishra. The Hindu didn’t use “Goli maaro” in its headline but struck its own constructed note with the story: “Inflammatory slogans” raised during the same rally.
These three “fake news” were uncovered by Kapil Mishra himself in a video interview to famous social activist Madhu Purnima Kishwar (see video section) with some pertinent questions of his own.
Alleging that a few newspapers, such as mentioned here, were intent on establishing a false narrative, Mishra pointed out that these media houses were not showing images or videos to back their claims.
“May be they don’t want to show `Vande Matram’ or `Bharat Mata ki Jai’ the slogans which were raised in the rally,” claimed Mishra. Further, Mishra pointed out that police accompanied the peace rally all through its duration, implying that such slogans wouldn’t have escaped censure had they been raised.
“It is the agenda of a few channels or media houses to project blame only on one community…and this agenda they have been following assiduously,” said Mishra. The BJP leader further said that it defies belief that one who has been shown to stock “petrol bombs” or “acid pouches”, namely Tahir Hussain of Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), has almost been given clean chit by these agenda-driven media houses while he has been made a scapegoat.
A few things, on closer analysis, raises very serious questions on the manufacturing of the fake news on the peace march.
The Indian Express story shows its bias and machinations in the headlines itself. It says “Goli Maaro slogan is back as Kapil leads ‘peace’ march”. The headline is constructed in a manner which seems to implicate Kapil Mishra and the rally with the slogan without quite linking the two. It’s like “I fit into my suit; my suit fits into my suitcase, so I fit into my suitcase.” Further, by putting the word “peace” within brackets, Indian Express tries to mislead its readers by implying that the march was anything but peaceful. Hindustan Times is similarly inciting while The Hindu is more camouflaged in its description.
It’s interesting that The Times of India doesn’t blame Mishra and the peace rally for “goli maaro” slogans. It’s been treated as a separate story in the Times of India where it mentioned a few young people had raised “goli maaro” slogan near a metro station in the Capital. In no way, Times of India links these slogans raised with the peace rally Kapil took out in support of victims of “Jehadi violence.” They were two separate incidents which were treated separately by the newspaper.
As things emerge, one could construct the unfolding of events in the Capital on Saturday. One, that Kapil Mishra took out a peach march in support of people who suffered due to Jehadi violence in the city, which trended as #DelhiAgainstJehadiViolence on social media. Two, “Goli maaro” slogans were raised by a few individuals in a completely unrelated event near a metro station in the Capital. The two were separate events. To stitch them together in a bid to frame Kapil Mishra and shift the focus from Tahir Hussain who is on the run, such “fake news” was manufactured in the toxic lab of a few media houses.
A logical question which would be uppermost in the mind of readers is: If “Goli Maaro” slogan wasn’t raised during Kapil’s peace march, how come it was mentioned by not one but three newspapers? Valid question but only by innocents who don’t know how the Left-Liberal cabal controls the media houses in this country. They pull the strings of a few media houses who only amplify the narrative set by their masters.
(This is a reprint from NewsBred).
Let me say this at the outset that the headline of this piece doesn’t quite convey the disgust I feel for the kind of journalism Indian Express indulges in with a straight face and yet call itself a “journalism of courage.”
This “journalism of courage” publishes family interviews of terrorists (like they have of Shakir Bashir of Pulwama attack today) but would never have time for tears of near and dear ones of a Ankit Sharma or Kamlesh Tewari.
In other stories on front page today, it has one on how Indonesia has called in Indian envoy on CAA as a headline. But Express won’t headline the fact that Jakarta has expressed “complete confidence in Indian government.”
It has one headline on front page which says “10 stabbed in Shillong, toll 2 in anti-CAA unrest in state.” The very first line in the text says the “violence believed to be related to Citizenship Act..” So the readers must treat it as a CAA-related violence even as the text only “believes” it to be so.
These examples I have quoted are of just one day, today. All on front page. Indian Express does it everyday. So bad is their track record that once I had offered Rs 50,000 in 2016 to anyone who could show me a favourable story on Hindus on their front pages. Needless to say, the offer remains unclaimed to this day.
This toxic newspaper does more or less the same thing every day: Twisting headlines, hiding texts which don’t suit their agenda, any positive story or comment by a BJP leader is inevitably deflated with the help of bytes of a Anand Sharma or Sitaram Yechury; Ghulam Nabi Azad or D. Raja; Shashi Tharoor or Mallikarajun Khadge, the usual rent-a-byte suspects. It’s editorial pages “breed” academicians and experts who peddle the Left-Liberal narrative, twisting history; Human Rights activists who can’t see Hindus being butchered, say, in Bengal and Kerala; former judges, election commissioners, police chiefs who were beholden to the toxic Congress rule in this country.
I would still have given Indian Express the benefit of doubt if once in a while they tried to present the other side of the narrative. How come farmers’ plight under the BJP regime is sung from the rooftop but the Madhya Pradesh government, which hasn’t honoured the farmers’ waiver promise of its manifesto, isn’t pulled up? They would use microscopic lens to highlight “lynching” of a particular community while the one of the other community is altogether ignored. How come a Congress government in Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan doesn’t have one single story come out in its criticism. Are the readers being told that Arvind Kejriwal hasn’t done a single thing worthy of criticism in his three terms as chief minister of Delhi? A GST is criticized even though it came about with the consensus of all states and stakeholders.
To me eyes, Indian Express is bereft of any credibility today. It’s allowed to go scot-free because the inner mechanism which upholds truth and integrity of Indian media, the Press Council of India and Editors’ Guild, are so hopelessly out of shape. Dead men walking. Information and Broadcasting Ministry is wary of belling the cat for fear of its own kind. The judiciary is all sanguine for fixing the “hate-speech” makers and “sedition” cases. But it won’t take a call on media which polarizes the communities with fake news.
As for readers, they remind me of a famous saying: “A crook appeals to the straight; guilty to the innocent.”
So readers be vigilant. Watchful. Know your responsibility. If nothing then to see where your buying rupee is going. All responsible mechanisms in this country have given such newspapers a free run. They are looking the other way. You alone can bell the cat. If your newspaper doesn’t mend, stop buying those rags.
(This is a reprint from NewsBred).
Donald Trump trusts Narendra Modi on issues which make damning headlines around the world. But he won’t be up on his feet till India delivers the trade balance he wants between the two countries.
Trump went away home after two days in India on Tuesday with a ringing approval of the country and “his friend” Modi. He is now looking for India to do its bit to satiate the obsession he is known for around the world—trade.
President George Bush had his neurosis on “war on terror”, Barack Obama on “climate change” but it’s trade for Trump who won’t be drawn, for instance, into Hong Kong as long as he could muscle out trade concessions from China. India shouldn’t expect anything different.
Trade though was on the backburner in the overall theme of Trump’s visit. It was all about a reception unlike “anyone had received anywhere in the world at any time of history,” as Trump mentioned more than once in his interaction with the press on Tuesday evening.
The press corps looked for that one quote which could put Modi in poor light. But it never came. Kashmir was an issue “which has been on for a long time.” Trump was willing to help his two friends—Pakistan’s president Imran Khan and India’s prime minister Modi—if they wished so but to suggest it was an offer of mediation or intervention would be a stretch of imagination.
India’s contentious new Citizenship Act, the reporters were informed, wasn’t even discussed between the two leaders who had met privately in the afternoon. Trump viewed the ongoing violence in the Capital as a matter India could handle. Of course, religious reforms figured in the talk between them but Trump was mightily assured Modi’s India meant no harm to any religious group. When a specific question on Muslims was raised, Trump mentioned Modi and his “powerful statement” that Indian Muslims have grown from 140 to 200 millions in a very short period of time.
All this must be music to Modi’s ears. But he would’ve to do his part on trade to keep Trump in similar humour. The US president noted India had managed to bring down its trade surplus from $23 billion to $14 billion in a short period of time but he expected more. Trump hoped for a trade deal between the two nations by the end of year.
India’s trade advantage vis-à-vis US is miniscule, at least 20 times less than what China enjoys against the US at $345 billion. Yet it’s an irritant in Trump’s eyes. In 2018, he imposed tariffs on steel and aluminium. In April next year, India lost its spot in the Generalised System of Preferences (GSP) programme of the United States. It affected India’s exports to the tune of $5.6 billion.
India responded with tariffs of its own on 28 imported items from the United States. It’s high tariff on Harley-Davidson motorcycles, retaliatory moves on farm and dairy products also didn’t go down well with Trump. India seeks to improve its bargaining position in the service industry, have more employment visas for its young and talented. For sure, this is not an exhaustive list of contentious trade issues but just a sample.
To be fair, Trump has been unambiguous about what he expects from the world on trade matters. His inaugural address as President in 2017 was littered with mentions of America’s “foolish” trade policies…which had redistributed its wealth across the entire world.”
The US president looked fresh and eager, up on his toes for the better part of an hour in the evening, fielding questions from the press corps. There was no sign he had as hectic a day as he had endured on Monday, hopping from city to city, and viewing India’s people, culture and monumental masterpieces from close quarters.
On Tuesday, he met India’s president and business tycoons, paid respect to India’s father of nation Mahatma Gandhi at his memorial and oversaw negotiations between the officials of the two countries. His better half and the First Lady Melania Trump at times accompanied him and at other times charted out her own engagement in a local school in the Capital. By late evening, the two had headed for home.
(This is a reprint from NewsBred).
India is refusing to be a choir-boy of the United States which is a dichotomy given the two nations have never been closer on economic and defence matters than now in their 73 years of diplomatic relations.
Most know that India won’t let United States or its sanctions come in between its ties with Russia or Iran with whom it shops its energy, strategic and security needs. Very few though are picking the blunt hints which India’s foreign minister Dr Subrahmanyam Jaishankar is dropping regularly on the doorsteps of United States and Europe, the geographical region we commonly denote as West.
Dr Jaishankar rounded up his presence in the 56th Munich Security Conference on Sunday by asking a US republican senator to keep off Kashmir and reminding the United Nations of its slipping credibility in the “Westlessness” of today’s world. He headed off to Brussels on Monday where he would agree to Indian prime minister Narendra Modi’s presence in the European Union (EU) Summit on March 13 only if the EU shelves its plan to entertain the anti-India resolution a few of its members have in mind on Kashmir. In between his team has thrown out an offer of mediation by the secretary-general of the United Nations, Antonio Guterres on Kashmir.
A man who loves to shoot from the hip
This is perfectly in sync with Dr Jaishankar’s no-nonsense diplomacy trajectory since he exchanged the life of a diplomat with one of a politician at the insistence of Indian prime minister Narendra Modi in May last. In next two months, India had rewired the state of Jammu and Kashmir and Dr Jaishankar has literally been shooting from the hip since.
In December last, Dr Jaishankar had rebuffed the US House of Foreign Affairs Committee (HFAC) who had wanted him to hold a unilateral meeting with lawmaker Pramila Jaypal by stating “I have no interest in meeting her.” Reason: Jaypal had tabled a resolution in the House of Representatives against India on Jammu and Kashmir. When the Capitol Hill wanted a Congressional hearing on Kashmir in October last, Dr Jaishankar used his channels to make sure that no less than 10 US Congressmen abstained from appearing in the hearing.
He had earlier held back no punches on the United Nations for keeping India out of the UN Security Council when in next 15 years it could be “the most populous country in the world…and the third largest economy…it affects the United Nations’ credibility.”
A world which is no longer bipolar
In Dr Jaishankar’s worldview, the post-1945 bipolar world and the post-1992 American world is no longer the norm. “Things change, nothing is engraved in stone. This world will be different, power will be more dispersed, there will be more actors,” he confided to a French daily last November. He also feels India and China have a common interest in re-balancing the world.
Dr Jaishankar is only taking cue from his boss Modi who once ticked off the US president Donald Trump in a joint media interaction session by stating India wouldn’t like third-party mediation on Kashmir. Trump has alluded variations on “mediation/arbitration/interventions” on Kashmir at least seven times in as many months and India has never failed to ask the US to keep off Kashmir.
All this must not be music to American ears but then the US itself has a “America First” policy. The entire world is looking to protect its own interests as multilateralism is retreating. The United States has heard some plain-speaking, not just from Russia or Iran but also from its’ so-called close allies in Europe (France), Asia (the Philippines) and Middle East (Turkey, Saudi Arabia) in recent times.
Thus India and the US could have economic and defence ties which suit both; Narendra Modi and Donald Trump could serve each other a home audience by the ringside; cameras could keep whirring on the personal warmth between the two, but both go their own way when it comes to having equations with the rest of the world. At least India is letting the United States know to mind its’ own business even though the latter isn’t quite giving up its instincts of intrusion.
I have personal reasons to be elated with the 11-year-sentencing of the UN-designated terrorist Hafiz Saeed in Lahore, Pakistan on Wednesday – though like most self-gratifying moments, I could be guilty of undue haste.
I feel a sense of lightness at the sentencing of a monster terrorist who masterminded the 26/11 attack in Mumbai in 2008, in which 166 innocent people were gunned down, including a very dear fellow journalist with whom I shared the newsroom at the English daily Times of India in the 1990s.
Though the sentence is too little, too late – and could still mean nothing in the days to come – Hafiz Saeed is the face of evil to me. Saeed’s men pumped bullets into my colleague and friend, Sabina Saikia, pulling her from below the bed where the terrified girl had hidden at the staccato sounds of machine guns outside her room in the iconic Taj Hotel of India’s commercial capital.
A nightmare that continues
The fateful evening was November 26, 2008, and I had long since left the Times of India. Now, I was busy marshalling the news desk of a national TV channel as the dreaded attack unfolded. I had no idea Sabina was in Mumbai to attend a wedding for a day and that she had checked in to the very hotel which had been watched for months by terrorists from across the border in Pakistan.
It would be four days before we knew who and how many people were murdered, as the killers holed themselves up in the ocean-front hotel before India’s security forces managed to neutralize them following dozens of hours of gun battles, watched 24/7 on television by a stunned nation.
Sabina’s was no ordinary casualty. She was the Czarina of Food, whose reviews in India’s best-selling English daily made or marred a restaurant’s reputation. She had dabbled in various news ‘beats,’ including crime and investigation, but found her seat at the high table of journalism as a food critic. There she had stayed put until those bullets took her life.
Anniversary after anniversary passed. I kept a tab on mastermind Hafiz Saeed, who was the co-founder of the Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) terrorist group which had received its initial funding from none other than Osama bin Laden. This is the same Islamist group which was accused of an attack on India’s Parliament in 2001 – as well as the Pulwama suicide attack which killed more than 40 Indian soldiers in 2019, merely four months after Saeed was arrested for terror-financing.
All these years, Saeed was evil personified for many Indians. India knocked on the doors of global powers to have Saeed and his terror group sanctioned and watched in horror as the bearded, portly terrorist was arrested and released on more than one occasion by the Police-Judiciary interplay in Pakistan. India’s attempts to secure his extradition remained unanswered. The United States, since then, declared LeT responsible for the 26/11 Mumbai attack and announced a bounty of $10 million on Saeed’s head.
Breakthrough or strategic move?
At face value, Pakistan has cracked the whip on terrorism – the first condition for India to resume dialogue with its neighbor and arch rival. Logically, this should lower the tensions between the two nations, particularly strained after India revoked the autonomous status of the Jammu & Kashmir state last August. Saeed, in particular, was India’s nemesis in Kashmir Valley and has long-vowed to prise it out of India’s grasp.
But India is not too optimistic yet. It knows Pakistan has a critical meeting with the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) in Paris this weekend, which could ‘blacklist’ it for insufficient action to keep a check on funding to terror groups like Lashkar-e-Taiba. In that light, the country’s sentencing of the 70-year-old Saeed could just be strategic.
If it is blacklisted, Pakistan could lose up to $10 billion and be economically devastated. It would be an outcast in the international financial system. Its banking system would be crippled, remittances or access to international lending would be denied and foreign investors would keep the nation at arm’s length.
The last on Saeed has not been heard yet. But his sentencing is a balm, nevertheless, for the wounded soul in me.
(This is a reprint from NewsBred).
Those looking to have new Arvind Kejriwals and Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) replicated all across India are living in a fools’ world.
Delhi is unique in the sense that a ruling party doesn’t have to worry about law and order nor has a jurisdiction over its land as is the case elsewhere.
All it needs to do is look after infrastructure, health, schools, education etc and offer freebies without a thought in the world since its revenue is always in surplus compared to its expenses.
Figures show that Kerjiwal’s government has surplus money of over Rs 5000 crores. It’s education budget is 25 per cent of its revenue. The subsidizing of electricity has gone up by 6 per cent.
This enables Kejriwal to stuff Delhi’s mainstream corrupt media with advertisements worth tens of crores which in turn ensures that not a line in criticism appears in public domain.
Kejriwal also has the unique advantage of practically having an urban political party which can’t be compared with any other local, state or national party in India.
It’s no secret that Urban India gives the nation its growth and economy compared to rural folks but India’s cities don’t control its own revenue. All the money earned through local bodies in urban areas goes to state governments who divert it in the hands of farmers, poor etc in order to secure its vote-bank and remain in power.
Just look at ministerial portfolio distribution in the Shiv Sena-led government in Maharashtra: The urban ministry has been retained by Uddhav Thackeray and it gives him control on most of the revenue earned in Mumbai and elsewhere in the state.
As per data, 32 per cent of India is urban while the rest is rural and hence it makes sense to divert a significant portion of your revenue towards rural areas and reap the benefits in elections.
In contrast, a Delhi government retains control of its landscape and its revenue and doesn’t have to divert its money anywhere.
Sure there are other Union Territories (Delhi is neither UT nor state but has a special status and hence enjoys legislative assembly) but nobody has the scale and depth of Delhi. Just consider: Delhi National Capital region and Mumbai metropolitan region, alone between themselves account for 9% of India’s population.
So for other Kejriwal and AAPs to emerge, a hopeful must have the (a) size of Delhi; (b) No rural vote-bank obligation; (c) no law or land obligation; (d) no subservience to a state party. No other place than Delhi in India can claim to have this advantage.
On a larger note, it’s also a sign that sooner or later tens of urban political parties would emerge in India’s growing cities who would seek independence from the yoke of state governments.
At the moment, India’s Constitution doesn’t support such a division between power and responsibility between state and local levels but a change can’t be stopped in coming decades.
For one, India is increasingly growing urban. Surveys show that nearly 70 per cent of India would be urban by 2050. Already, from sky above, larger part of India appears to be towns, mini-cities or cities but the “definition” of “Urban” vis a vis “Rural” limits its numbers to 32 per cent only.
The definition of “urban” as per Indian laws is that the area must have its own municipality, cantonment and corporation board and must have a minimum population of 5,000.
Sooner than later, the state governments would have to cede control of their big cities in the hands of “mayors” since a great deal of rural India is moving towards cities in any case. This migration is unstoppable due to the lure and opportunities in big cities.
These mayors would be like Presidents of their cities, looking after its infrastructure, water, electricity, health, education etc and managing its own budget. Diversion of its funds would not be feasible for state governments as most of their vote-banks would’ve moved to the towns and cities anyway.
Besides, badly managed cities where health, water, electricity, policing is ignored could lead to large-scale riots which would burn up the remote controlling powers in its own flames.
Hence, there is one Arvind Kejriwal, one AAP and one Delhi. Hoping a duplication of this format elsewhere in India is plain day-dreaming.
And hence brace yourself for BJP don’t ceding control of India’s political landscape in 2024 and beyond.
(This is a reprint from NewsBred).
Forces which oppose Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) would feel they now have a gameplan in the wake of its’ crushing defeat in the Delhi assembly elections.
These anti-BJP forces could easily be clubbed as (a) opposing political parties; (b) Left-Liberal controlled propaganda media; (c) Indian Muslims; and (d) urban youth. More or less these four forces would feel empowered now.
Political opponents which fear BJP’s hegemony—and nearly all of them do—are the hyenas who think they could now hunt the lion named BJP down. They won’t take recourse to Parliament or judiciary but would look to resist Centre on the most inane of legislations on their turf. They would put women and children in front. They would look to stall or breakdown India’s federal structure and create anarchy.
The time-tested proven method of George Soros-led Liberal forces is to force a showdown with police on streets, show the State impotent, build support in captive media and when the state strikes back, build the pressure through global colonial, imperial forces to bear down on the hapless country.
Propaganda mainstream media, who fatten themselves on their political, religious and colonial masters, would be on steroids now. They would be more vitriolic and vicious. This despicable media hasn’t found one act of Arvin Kejriwal—or of Ashok Gehlot/Kamal Nath—in the last few years worthy of criticism. NOT ONE ACT! Even though AAP operates right under it nose in the Capital. It must tell you a thing or two about their “neutrality.”
Indian Muslims have long enjoyed entitlement in a “secular” nation. Modi’s rise played on their anxiety. With abrogation of Article 370, Triple Talaq Act and Ram Janmabhoomi, they were simmering under the breath. Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) gave them a tool. Propaganda media and political parties fanned it. Theirs became a cause célèbre. It made headlines around the world. A nondescript lane of Capital was turned into a shrine. Death of a toddler was deemed “Qurbani”. Secessionist slogans and war-cry of “Azaadi” rent the air. They would now stall your daily life and governance.
Urban youth, particularly students and of elite society, were completely sold off to the Jamia and JNU narrative. This 20s newbies feel no connection with 370 Article or Ram Janmabhoomi, two issues which have by and large troubled the soul of this nation. It’s the power of the propaganda, and our shambolic education system, that these youths are completely weaned away from the ethos of India.
BJP, and its two engines, Narendra Modi and Amit Shah, work under the constraints of the Constitution. They won’t dismiss a Mamata Banerjee or Pinaryi Vijayan government or make Shaheen Bagh protestors run for cover. There won’t be lathi-charge or pellets shots. They do get affected by the negative publicity. The headlines and images which are multiplied by international media leave them passive.
In view of the mounting challenge from these four opposing forces, BJP would be foolish to believe it would just go away. These four forces would “create” issues to cause disruptions. There is no escaping them. You can’t wish them away, close your eyes and feel it’s disappeared. They are in your face. Sharks have tasted blood in the water. You better deal with it or squander everything you’ve gained in the last few years. There is a new game in the town. It’s called ANARCHY.
One, BJP shouldn’t be shy of dismissing state governments which promote violence and anarchy or resist their Constitutional obligations. The first litmus test would be at the time of CAA implementation in April against which Punjab and Kerala assemblies have passed resolutions. If they resist its implementation, dismiss them. To hell with niceties or looking for approval from hostile corners.
Two, BJP shouldn’t leave propaganda media to its own devices. Instead, they should try to force them in corner on their omissions and commissions. Fake propaganda spread by them needs to be accountable. Mobilize readers. Have a very active, virile awareness campaign to their manipulations. Drop the velvet gloves. Spread the world. You have men and money. Use it to tame the beast.
Indian Muslims must be stripped of their undue entitlement. Have a very serious look at how India could claim to be a secular nation and yet promote minorityism by having separate ministries and funds. Bring on Uniform Civil Code which is an obligation our Constitution has longed for from our lawmakers. Don’t give an inch or treat any group as privileged. Treat them as any other citizen. Law and order is a state subject and if a hostile state government promotes anarchy by prodding the Muslims, deal with them harshly.
Urban youth must be engaged with discussion. There ought to be a mechanism where their issues are listened to and addressed on a fortnightly basis. Engage them. Propaganda media won’t cover it but publish ads, use radio and television, to let the “neutral” public know of government’s keenness to dispel the doubts. Long-term solution of course is change of India’s education system and it won’t happen on its own. It needs be done. The course correction must begin now.
And then finally there is this matter of Hindus who constitute majority in this country. Delhi election results would convey they didn’t stand by BJP. They weren’t upset by “Hinduon se Azaadi” slogans. They weren’t upset by the anarchy on the streets. They weren’t upset by Shaheen Bagh. They weren’t upset that their Hindu brethrens from neighbouring Islamic countries are stopped from having own roof over their head. Ram Janmabhoomi doesn’t touch them a bit. Nor the sacrifice of our tens of thousands of soldiers in Kashmir. Hindus didn’t stand by BJP in the Delhi elections.
There is also no denying that BJP expected such support from Hindus. That’s why perhaps Shaheen Bagh was allowed to linger as long as it has. That’s why Pakistan was evoked at every public address by an Amit Shah or a Yogi Adityanath. Surely, it has been a miscalculation to bank on their traditional votes. Hindus are a sloth – and history is a testimony.
BJP doesn’t need to blink against the four inimical forces. It also needs to ramp up its information- disbursement mechanism. It needs to nurture those voices who are laboring under their own passion and “dharma” but could do wonders if sustained with attention and care. As for Hindus, they have been disappointing. They can’t see the threat these four forces are determined to inflict on their existence. And on India they call their motherland.
(This is a reprint from NewsBred).
India is banking big in placing practically one indigenous Kalashnikov AK-203 assault rifle in the hands of every second soldier of its million-strong army as details are emerging from the ongoing Indian DefExpo in the northern city of Lucknow.
Though India has been swift in gaining the assistance of original manufacturers Russia in a joint venture (JV), as well as opening an arms factory for the purpose in Amethi, a district in north India, last year, it could still miss the May deadline as a mutually agreeable price is yet to be hammered out.
Indian army is keen to place an order of 670,000 Kalashnikovs with the joint venture but the setting up of production facilities and initial technological transfer is driving up the prices of Kalashnikovs, arguably the most famous assault rifles in the world for over two generations.
The two partners of the JV are presently engaged in bringing down the cost from $1000 per rifle to something more affordable. Even though AK-203 is a vastly improved and advanced version of earlier versions, such as AK-47, the latter could be bought for a few hundred dollars in global arms market.
Delay is pause, not impediment
The delay is still a pause and not an impediment as the project is fuelled by the highest political will of the two nations, no less by the desire of Indian prime minister Narendra Modi who declared on Wednesday: “Our desire is to export (weapons) of US$5 billion in five years.”
Indigenization of weapons is also a huge priority for Modi government as the prime minister elaborated upon in DefExpo: “How long can the world’s second-largest population, second-largest army and the largest democracy remain dependent only on imports?”
India is keen on 100% indigenization of Kalashnikovs and Russia is a willing partner in the project, hoping for a complete technology transfer after it has produced the first 100,000 rifles. Once the JV sorts out the core issue of price, not an insurmountable matter given the mass production and export opportunities embedded within, the dream would take little time in becoming a reality.
India is determined to replace its INSAS (Indian Small Arms System) rifles, indigenously developed in the 1980s, with AK-203 completely in coming months. The two appear similar but vary greatly in size and impact. The Indian rifles are heavier and of lesser range than Kalashnikov’s 4kg weight and 800-metre-long firepower. It’s a huge advantage in field combats which could last for hours. Besides, Kalashnikovs have an automatic firing mode which is not the case with Indian rifles.
It’s not to say that Indian soldiers are unfamiliar with the sight of Kalashnikovs. Over the years, they have used it extensively in Kashmir where the terrorists often emerge from the hiding with the same assault rifles. The Indian army has a concept of sector stores under which those in Kashmir, and the NorthEast, are equipped with AK-47s and not INSAS. The growing footprint of terrorism within the country makes it imperative for India to include Kalashnikovs in its preparedness.
Iconic rifle of choice
Kalashnikovs has been an iconic rifle of choice from army to terrorists to drug-lords post World War II. It’s inventor, Mikhail Kalashnikov worked out its design after being wounded as a Soviet soldier through the hands of the Nazis. He had perfected the design of his Avtomat Kalashnikova (Automatic Kalashnikov) by 1947 and that explains the ubiquitous title of AK-47 which resonates around the world.
Ironically, Kalashnikovs aren’t pin-point accurate. They are best used in close combats as against distance engagements. But it’s rugged and easy to use which is perfect in tough conditions such as sand or mountains. It’s easy to set up and easy to repair and could last 20-40 years. Figures suggest that one-fifth of all firearms used in the world are some sort of Kalashnikovs, or over 100 million in numbers which is staggering.
India is keen to reduce its weapons-import bill which till recently was the biggest in the world but is now second only to Saudi Arabia. Figures suggest it bought over $100 billion worth of arms in the 2008-17 decade. Its’ military budget is fourth biggest in the world.