PV Narasimha Rao

As prepaid media doubles down on RCEP, they of course won’t listen to Jaishankar

(This is a reprint from NewsBred).

I have long been suspicious of edits which are passionately pushed in the best of English. Much like that bank clerk who is pushing a scheme when you enter the branch. Those pesky calls for your car insurance, those greetings on WhatsApp from land sharks who have the best view in town just for you. The best of them are those who sell their cause to you as if it was your own.

So it is with RCEP (Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership). I have been noticing in Times of India and Indian Express—Left-Liberals of varying shades—how India’s policy-makers are being lampooned for not signing on. I looked at Mint where economists snack. No different.

The readers are told that India itself flagged off the race nine years ago and has now stopped just short of the finishing line. That how dumb of Modi’s India to cite custom duties on manufacturing when it could benefit from the emerging global supply chain in the times of Coronavirus. That its fears on agriculture and dairy sectors are unfounded since those have been factored in for next 20 years.

And then look at India’s manners. The RCEP nations in a separate document are almost begging us to join the bloc. That China has pledged to import $22 trillion of goods and services over the next decade for its 1.4 billion people. Imagine the market it would offer us. Even China’s “enemies” like Japan and Australia are part of the deal.  Is India so dumb it can’t see that RCEP is 30 per cent of global economy and a world population of 2.2 billion people? It is also implicit that India would stay out of Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) which is sure to be revived by the US president-elect Joe Biden. Is this “Atmanirbhar Bharat”?

Economists call it protectionism. World is “free and fair”. India is insular. All Modi seeks is win in elections on the turbo-engine of “self-reliant nationalism.” And to hell with how our beloved PV Narasimha Rao and the John Stuart Mill by his side, called Manmohan Singh, took us out of choppy waters of 90s.

Why India is being so stupid? Because it has found out that all those free trades were no help all these years. And how it could be when your manufacturing base is so abysmal? How did those imports help our employment? And how we are supposed to compete when our hands are tied, legs shackled by the mantra of “free trade” even as somebody like China could abnormally subsidize its products and industries?

How come these grave economists never mention that 66 per cent of India’s GDP results from the services sector and the RCEP is heavily loaded against it in favour of merchandizing trade? What significant stuff are we supposed to sell? Are we wrong to assume that it’s a “trojan horse” set up by a Chinese club called RCEP? And that all it would bring is increased import bill and a few million more added to our unemployed?

I would let somebody as erudite as our foreign minister S Jaishankar hold the stage at this moment. Over to him:

“Those calling for increased openness and efficiency are not presenting the full picture (sic). That it’s equally a world of non-tariff barriers of subsidies and state capitalism (reference to China).

“In the name of openness, we allowed subsidized products and unfair advantages from abroad to prevail. And all this while this was justified by the mantra of an open and globalized economy.

“It was quite extraordinary that an economy as attractive as India was allowed the framework to be set by others.

“Past agreements resulted in de-industrialization of some sectors…the choice (for us) was to double down on an approach whose damaging consequences were apparent or to have the courage to think through the problem for ourselves. We chose the latter.

“It will decide if we become an industrial power with what we decide today.

“It is far from turning our back to the world. In fact, it is to enter the global arena with cards to play—not just to provide a market for others.”

Messrs economists, any rejoinder? Silence. Any thoughts why those nations calling for “free and fair trade”, having fattened themselves on protectionism are denying the same diet to India? That others probably want India as a counterweight to China? Silence.

So anyone for Atmanirbhar Bharat? Hands down.

 

 

10 per cent quota: All you needed to know and your newspaper won’t tell

(This is a reprint from NewsBred).

It’s mayhem in our newspapers. Nobody has come out in support of 10 percent reservation bill which the Modi government has sought for economically backward classes. Through their editorials, columns, opposition quips, wall-to-wall coverage, we the readers are left with four major antipathies: (a) It’s an election gimmick; (b) It’s a “jumla”; (c) It’s breach of the 50 per cent reservation quota; (d) it provides quota on economic criteria.  All of them agree: It wouldn’t stand the judicial scrutiny.

You see readers, I try to make it simple for you. The above points are all there is to it. NOTHING ELSE.  Save yourself from the fatigue which your newspapers are inflicting upon you.  For example the Indian Express has no less than six pages devoted majorly on this issue today. Or The Hindu which has an editorial and a column besides the coverage on front page. Times of India and Hindustan Times are a little better but only in comparison.

Indian Express has gone berserk to raid the mind and heart of its readers. Three big pieces from A.M. Ahmad (a former Chief Justice of India), Faizan Mustafa (vice-chancellor NALSAR University of Law) and PS Krishnan (ex-secretary of Government of India) put its readers under siege. The newspaper still won’t let up. It quotes from national parties you wouldn’t have heard in your lifetimes, especially if you are not from Kerala: Revolutionary Socialist Party and Indian Union Muslim League. Doesn’t matter if their presence in Lok Sabha is only 1-2 members.  It quotes Congress member KV Thomas: “You (BJP) are butchering Indian democracy;” and gives a screaming headline: “Opposition sit-in in House to protest extra sitting.”

Such a massive coverage and not a line on what Arun Jaitley said in defence. Surely Indian Express was not lacking in man-power, space or intent. Then why blank the man who is BJP’s voice and who has demolished all the above points in his typical clinical fashion? What happens to the time-tested commandment of journalism to present both sides equally? Why not admit you are partisan.

So readers hear out what Jaitley said on all the points: punch for punch, blow for blow. His words are in quotes:

  • It’s an election gimmick: “It’s part of election manifestoes of most political parties, including Congress.”
  • It’s just a Jumla: “Why it’s a jumla for BJP and not for Congress, or others, who have a similar manifesto?”
  • It’s a breach of the 50 per cent reservation quota: “The 50 per cent ceiling is on castes as provided for in Section 16 (4) of the Constitution. This new quota is activated through a new section: 16 (5). This 10 per cent quota is from the general category—not reserved category.
  • It provides quota on economic criteria: “If out of that 50 per cent (for general category) 10 per cent is being shared among the poor who can have a problem with it?… Just as equals can’t be treated unequally, unequal people can’t be treated equally.”

Jaitley firmly opined: “No legal pitfalls in the way the legislation has been designed…it buffers it from any adverse legal opinion.”

All the English newspapers have gone big on stating that a similar attempt by PV Narasimha Rao had been struck down by the courts. Most obscured Jaitley’s views on it: “PV Narasimha Rao brought it through notifications. States too tried reservation through notification or normal law. They didn’t have power from Constitution…there was no provision in the Constitution which supported quota on economic criteria (as the BJP government has now sought through the Constitution.)”  Or that “21 private members bills have sought a similar quota in the Parliament over time.”

There is another mischievous twist to the fact: “Over 95 per cent of the population would now be under quota.’” Not 95 per cent of the population but 95 per cent of the economically backward section!!!

This piece is not about the merit of the move: whether the country needs further reservations or not. This article is about how English mainstream media misleads its readers and warps facts. For the readers to question who gains if India loses.

If anything, our newspapers should have exposed the hypocrisy of political parties who put the same in their manifesto, give a mouthful in front of media yet vote in favour to the extent that the scoreline is 323-3. Or what Jaitley pithily said about the Left: “The Communists were opposing a measure brought for the poor.”

Shame.

 

Why nobody is allowed to criticize Sonia Gandhi

Take a deep breath and reflect who you are not allowed to criticize in India. I could think of no other than Sonia Gandhi, former Congress and UPA chairperson. Run the entire gamut, pore over the worksheet of honchos of Indian media, Shekhar Gupta, Barkha Dutt, Vir Sanghvi, Rajdeep Sardesai, Sagarika Ghose etc; google as you might; dive into the archives of Lutyens Media like Hindustan Times, Times of India, Indian Express, The Hindu; Sonia Gandhi, much like Caesar’s wife, has been above reproach.

That’s astounding. I mean nobody has been the president of 134-year-old Congress longer than her (19 years); she got her party two consecutive Lok Sabha victories; a whole lot of scams were unearthed; yet not a word against her. I mean yes, BJP and her bete noire Dr. Subramaniam Swamy keep pelting her windows but that’s par for course for any opposition. But what accounts for no “black sheep” within Congress bleating ever? No media house opening its edit pages for trenchant views; no historian/academician offering critiques? No scholarly paper in JNU? No diagnosis on a person out on bail?

I do recall two embarrassing Sonia interviews, that is for any self-respecting journalist, by Rajdeep Sardesai (he kept saying “fought like a tigress,” both in 2005 and 2016), as it was for Aroon Purie on another occasion, coy and adolescent.  Yes Shekhar Gupta (“she keeps a formidable dynasty on her slender shoulders,”), Barkha Dutt (“she has made a public commitment to Women’s Reservation Bill”) have also interviewed her;  Vir Sanghvi has been profound in “Nobody-in-Nehru-Gandhi-Family-Has-Given-Kind-of-Authority-she-has-to Manmohan-Singh,” echoed by a gushing Sagarika Ghose ( “She never undermined Manmohan Singh, always backed him up”). Both Sanghvi and Ghose don’t touch upon how another Prime Minister, PV Narasimha Rao, was humiliated, even in death. And these clowns happily go toting about “bhakts” to everyone else. Phew.

Two books on Sonia immediately come to my mind. One is a pathetic account by a sychophant;  another is “Red Sari” which was unofficially banned in India for six years due to machinations by Abhishek Sanghvi, as alleged by its author.

There was though one voice of dissent which was muzzled without much ado by this “deep state” in India. Margaret Alva, a former Union minister of state and Governor, was quite scathing in her autobiography: “Courage and Commitment:” Excerpts:

“While Pilot, Prasada and Scindia got all the honours due to them as Congress leaders—with shamianas erected at the AICC to receive their remains before the last rites—PV Narasimha Rao, the tallest of them all, was denied a state funeral in Delhi. His body was not even let into the AICC compound; instead, the gun carriage carrying the former Prime Minister and Congress President was parked on the pavement outside the gates, with chairs lined for party leaders. I was shocked…ever since, I have regretted not protesting and walking away.” – On PV Narasimha Rao’s death in 2004

Alva details that she played a peacebroker between Sonia and Rao: the latter falling out probably for deciding to appeal against the Delhi High Court’s decision to quash a complaint against the Bofors case. Sonia Gandhi once retorted to Alva: “What does the Prime Minister want to do? Send me to jail?”

Alva’s outburst about the unfair ticket distribution in Karnataka led to her ouster. She was asked to resign from the post of All-India Congress Committee (AICC) general secretary in 2009. In her resignation, Alva wrote thus:

“Times have changed and for the first time I have come to feel like a misfit in an organization that I considered as precious as my own home. A look at our recent candidates lists show a distinct patter of patronages to the wealthy and rich lobbies like mining, education and real-estate…”

Just reflect on the above in line of recent Karnataka assembly elections and ponder why no newspaper or media celebrity ever brought this book out of the shelves to examine Congress’ candidates in 2018? Why Congress’ demise in the state is not looked through the prism which Alva afforded us?

As per one reviewer of the book: “Alva’s book offers an amazing insight into the maneuverings of 10 Janpath—the home of Congress president Sonia Gandhi. Without being too harsh, Alva clearly indicts Gandhi for lacking transparency in her manner of functioning, her penchant for surrounding herself with a handful of loyalists…”.

Alva was made to leave Delhi, appointed as she was governor of Uttarakhand. In her words: “Once I had made the mistake of saying: `The Alvas are the only political family to have a member in Parliament without a break for almost half a century.’ This statement sealed our fate.”

(As an aside, Alva was Governor of Rajasthan when Narendra Modi came to power in 2014. Alva describes her meeting with Modi thus: `I told him I had come to pay my respects, not plead for an extension, adding `I am not prepared to quit anytime.’ “There is no question,” He (Modi) replied. “You are doing a good job please continue where you are.” She was subsequently given additional charge of Goa and Gujarat!).

Bengal: Nobody speaks up for Hindus

This is a reprint from NewsBred.

The fresh violence against Hindus in West Bengal calls for the collective conscience of this country.

DALALS (Damn Left and Lutyens Scribes), as expected, first ignored and then dumbed it down to the fabricated Governor-Chief Minister spat.

Political parties such as Congress, Communists and regional heavyweights, avoided mention of any atrocity against the Hindus. Rahul Gandhi trained his eyes and concern on PM’s silence on China.

Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), flogged everyday as the face of a communalist Saffron, haven’t uttered a word in anger. (So next time they are termed bigots, use this instance to shut the pseudo-sikulars up).

But then what’s new?

No less than 600 temples were destroyed in Bangladesh in 1992.  Thousands of Hindus were killed and raped; paraded naked on the streets of Bhola town, shops looted, deities desecrated.

There was little outrage in media or from any State.

In Pakistan, among the near 300 temples destroyed, the demolition of one was personally supervised by a minister in Lahore. Dozens of Hindus were murdered.

The collective silence of the world was deafening.

The exodus of Kashmiri Pundits is a reality. A community uprooted and displaced still carries psychological and financial scars.

But don’t expect it to shake the conscience of this country’s intelligentsia or media.

The partition of 1947 created a Muslim state in Pakistan and afforded them the “freedom.” But the Hindus “haven’t been recognized as a nation or a state nor a control over their own homeland,” as Abhas Chatterjee, author of The Concept of Hindu Nation, mentioned.

If any Jew is treated unfairly in any part of the world, the State of Israel, as their representative, loses no time in raising the issue. Contrast this with the case of Sunil Wadhera, a Hindu who died in an accident in Saudi Arabia a few years ago. As against a policy of compensation of 6-7 lakh dinars offered to a Muslim, Wadhera was extended only 17,000 dinars. Reason, he was a Kafir. “The value of his life was no more than a paltry sum,” wrote Abhas Chatterjee “What’s significant is that even against such an inhuman, outrageous affront, there was no State which could raise its voice on behalf of the Hindu.”

What had upset the discerners was that India, which all along had supported the Arab cause in Palestine, didn’t take up Wadhera’s matter with the Saudi government.

As scholar Dr. Koenraad Elst says: “The Hindu death toll in post-Independence riots in East Bengal already outnumbers the Muslim death toll in Hindu-Muslim clashes in the whole of South Asia by far.” Yet you would hardly find this mentioned in any discourse in mainstream media and academia.

In the East Bengal genocide of 1971, the main victims of Pakistan army’s brutality were Hindus (and this doesn’t include Bengalis). That genocide of millions outnumbers all other massacres in Partition and post-Partition by a mile. Yet, all governments, be it in India, South Asia or West, discourage any discourse on it. (But the unfortunate killing of a missionary such as Graham Staines or the cow vigilantism by a fringe is drummed up again and again as a proof of reactionary Hindus).

India’s Constitution has nothing recognizably Hindu about it. India’s Constitution was but an adapted version of the British Government of India Act of 1935. It was decreed by a ruling class of Indians who were largely lawyers of Western moorings.

The preamble of the Indian Constitution talks of justice, equality and liberty—all of them are Western notions, a byproduct of the French Revolution. Where’s Swami Vivekananda’s cry of Dharma and spirituality, renunciation and service, tolerance and harmony?, as Chatterjee observed.

The first thing Colonizers do is to make Colonies appear inferior to them, particularly in the matter of their culture. The first set of India’s ruling class more or less continued the depressing trend: a trend where everything connected with the essence of the land was derided as worthless. Observe the contempt of this anglicized set of DALALS today on the basic ethos of this land and you would have your answer.

Till Modi came, only Lal Bahadur Shastri and PV Narasimha Rao could be said to be practicing Hindus among the Prime Ministers; not the Nehru-Gandhi dynasty or VP Singh even though they never abandoned Hinduism.

The list of Hindus’ grievances are many: From the Nehru-Liaquat Pact of 1950 which stops India from taking up the maltreatment of Hindus in Pakistan; to the prickly Article 30 of the Constitution; to the issue of Conversion; and to the matter of control over temple management; to name just a few, the majority in this country is increasingly mindful of being ignored by all and sundry.

The violence against Hindus in West Bengal (and Kerala) and the deafening silence of every stakeholder who claims to have interest of India at heart, is a historical fact. Hindus can’t understand why Ram Navmi is “communal” and “Muharram” a religious festival in certain parts of this country.

The last word of this piece must belong to Chatterjee alone. “We are still a subjugated, enslaved nation. Nehruvian Secularists are not our own people…We have to liberate our motherland from their stranglehold and earn our freedom.”