Ram Nath Kovind
(This is a reprint from NewsBred).
Frankly, what kind of nincompoops we have in our public discourse.
Indian Express is jumping up and down on Ranjan Gogoi, former Chief Justice of India, having taken up the Rajya Sabha nomination by the President, Ram Nath Kovind.
It’s like a barking dog which hasn’t pissed for two hours and is scratching at the exit door.
Express has scavenged its own plate of former lawyers and judges who have a hangdog expression of a mongrel in claiming arbiters (judiciary) would now be seen in bed with the litigant (government).
(In a separate story, this rag typically distorts an old Gogoi exchange with a lawyer. Gogoi had asked the lawyer if he believed post-retirement jobs is a scar on judiciary. Express puts it as Gogoi’s own views!!! Do click this hyperlink and mark the difference between the headline and the text.)
For god’s sake, what’s Gogoi’s crime? How does it fit the punishment he is getting at the hands of mockingbirds?
Shekhar Gupta, like a devil quoting from the scriptures, finds it morally repugnant on his website. Should we even bother what the cocktail-couple Rajdeep Sardesai and Sagarika Ghose think about it? Or second guess what shows up on the twitter timelines of Yogendra Yadav and Prashant Bhushan?
Would somebody ask these hopeless creatures how does a Rajya Sabha seat benefit a former Chief Justice of India? Does he get more money than he would have otherwise as post-retirement benefits? Does he get more in terms of travel benefits which a senior citizen in Makkhiganj gets by way of routine? Is a salary of Rs 16,000 such a lolly? Is it worth your time to spend time in a branch of legislature where you could be flanked by illiterates?
Want to know his daily, dearness and travel allowance? The sum he would get for office-expense? The free telephone calls which would be his privilege? Click this link and quarantine yourself in a fortnight of shame. Just ask yourself what could have goaded Gogoi to accept the Rajya Sabha offer when he could have easily put his feet up and basked in the afterglow of his Ram Temple judgment? How big is the perk of a Rajya Sabha seat for a former Chief Justice of India?
A Manmohan Singh to this day, with bypass surgeries and all, thinks he could contribute at 88. ( Some loyalties don’t come with expiry dates). A Yashwant Sinha still can’t live without the limelight. The legal legend, K. Parsaran is busy with Sabrimala after Ram Temple at the tender age of 92. Why this nation would like to lose out on a living authority on law and Constitution in Gogoi? Wouldn’t it prepare our legislatures to be Constitutionally correct in passing a contentious bill?
Could you guess who were Franklin Roosevelt, James Madison, John Quincy Adams, Woodrow Wilson, Bill Clinton or Barack Obama before they became the president of the United States? Or Clement Atlee, Tony Blair for United Kingdom? Lawyers, of course. Why their legal stances didn’t come in their way of vying for White House or 10 Downing Street? How come no barb comes the way of Kapil Sibal and Abhishek Singhvi who take sides on “religious” battles while remaining stalwarts of “secular” Congress?
Just think. How many would be more worthy than Gogoi to be in Rajya Sabha? What does he gain by way of money or power or prestige? Would he be remembered in annals as a legal light or a member of parliament? Why would he open himself to ridicule in such a polarized society? To hear and read nonsense from imbeciles? How is it “copulating” between judiciary and legislature when the man is in no position to influence the former or to be the casting vote on the latter?
It would also do us no harm to know of Gogoi’s background. He belongs to a royal family from his mother’s side. His father was once the chief minister of Assam. Power and money isn’t new to him. He was born into it. Adulating heads he would’ve seen from the very first day of his life. And now we are supposedly giving him “nirvana” with a Rajya Sabha seat. No shit, Sherlock.
And how does Narendra Modi gain in influencing Gogoi’s presence in Rajya Sabha? Wouldn’t he be better off in choosing a yes man than one who could intellectually be a problem? Why to convey even a hint of suspicion on Ram Temple judgment? Well, of course, unless Modi thinks that our Parliament could do with the presence of such a luminary.
This is the level of discourse India is reducing itself to these days. A few newspapers and crackpots are its’ Pope. Throw them out in the first sewer you find on our roads. A few deranged are telling you to take leave of your common sense.
Don’t do it.
(This is a reprint from NewsBred).
Chennai is parched dry but it’s too far. “Mann ki Baat”draws many a listener but you and I aren’t one of them. We even don’t know that President Ram Nath Kovind referred to water crisis in his address to the joint session of Parliament last month. Could you please stop shedding tears on water, please.
Let’s get a little closer to the truth. Say Jaipur. Part of the city ran out of water last year. It was because Bisalpur dam, the supplier of water to Jaipur, almost dried up. Imagine coolers–many times more than A/Cs—without water in the searing heat of the desert. Or supply of water restricted to an hour. A decade ago, five farmers who were protesting the diversion of water to Jaipur, were shot in Bisalpur.
Still far? Closer to any of these cities such as Pune, Nagpur or Mumbai? Click the links and you would know how close you were to use only toilet papers in the morning. Ever wondered why you see hundreds of water tankers darting to and fro in the Capital in summer? Or why violent clashes for waters among neighbours is so common? Delhi Police counted for three dead and many injured from last year. Cities like Delhi, Bangalore and Chennai already ferry water as far as 200kms from their outskirts.
Still unconvinced? Niti Aayog has warned that India faces the worst long-term water crisis in its history. Millions of lives and livelihoods are at risk. Outbreak of water-borne diseases would swamp our hospitals. Burial grounds would be humming like fairs.
Ever thought that water could be the reason why our farmers commit suicide? Do you know that India uses more groundwater than collectively used by China and the United States? Or how much of our surface/groundwater is used up by multinationals such as Coca-Cola?
Let’s see if these facts make any difference to you: In most Indian cities, the difference in demand-supply is a yawning 70%. Imagine what happens when 500 million more people join our cities by 2025.
Ok, let these facts below sink in:
- Water tariffs are lowest in India’s urban centres. In cities like Delhi and Mumbai, water is supplied at Rs 0.5 and Rs 1.6 per cubic metre. However, marginal poor in cities of India—some 170 million—end up paying to water tankers etc through their nose. It’s up to 20 times to what the rich pay and that too from unreliable sources.
- Almost 80 per cent of the water leaves cities as a waste of which less than 20 per cent is treated. The rest pollutes rivers, lakes and groundwater. Meanwhile, the government subsidy for water keeps accumulating at over a billion dollars a year. That’s a double whammy for poor. One, they don’t get water. Two, what they get is literally the untreated sewage flushed down by the rich.
- 82 per cent of our villages rely on groundwater for domestic use. Now, this groundwater is being extracted by water tanker economy which in six big cities itself is worth over Rs 100 crores. Then there are packaged-water companies; the soft drinks multinationals to suck it dry. For instance, there is a long-standing conflict between Coke and the Placimada village panchayat. Groundwater legislation in states such as Rajasthan, Maharashtra, Orissa and Himachal Pradesh actually work against villagers’ access to groundwater. Over-extraction has left to “well-fields” around Indian cities.
- Given the situation, the surface water would have to contribute no less than 65% of our total water requirement in decades ahead. This requirement is just not for residences. Your electricity supply and industries need water too. But where are the ponds and tanks? Marginal rivers have run dry due to encroachments by building mafia and conniving municipal administration. And have I forgotten the polluted major rivers?
- On paper, mega cities like Delhi and Mumbai receive almost enough water today. But that’s on paper only. No account is made of leakage, faulty engineering and poor maintenance. Mumbai hardly harvests its water. Governments as usual wake up late. For example in Gurgaon, a major water supply network was only built 20 years after all those high-rise buildings had come up.
- All this will leave a huge burden on our farms to produce enough food to meet demands by 2050. Since our cities take in a lot of cereals, our food output may have to rise 50% over present levels. Farmers are thus encouraged to grow crops that result in improved profits. But to grow rice and wheat, the water supply is grossly insufficient. According to an estimate, a whopping investment of Rs 560,000 crores would be required for irrigation networks in the next three decades.
Just imagine the scenario. Protests, riots, torching and bloodshed in our cities. Wildlife near extinction. So the likely fate of vegetation and rivers itself.
The irony is, India is one of the wettest countries in the world. Between Cherrapunji’s 11,000mm and Jaisalmer’s 200mm, India averages 1170mm of annual precipitation. Just half a century ago, India was acknowledged as a water-rich nation. Now several regions have turned into deserts.
So if you are moved to do your bit on water, read these two pieces. Both stress on water-harvesting. The first one deals with how lack of it has brought Chennai to its knees. The second one is a few noteworthy examples which could show you the light.
Do your bit and we could raise a glass to it! And don’t you tell me you don’t love your kids.
(This is a reprint from NewsBred).
Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury looks funny in the video. I mean buttoned sleeves of a tightly-fitted white shirt with matching trousers tucked under a jeans belt near his navel, dyed remnants of what were once hair, he looks every inch a babu (clerk) we meet in dusty government offices. Very few prefer such an appearance at 63, certainly very few politicians. He could learn from the likes of Digvijay Singh, Abhishek Sanghvi, Kamal Nath or MJ Akbar who reserve their flamboyance within private walls.
But Chowdhury is no one’s Keshto Mukherjee, the drunk-comic in yesteryears’ Bollywood. He has been of invaluable use to Congress since 1991 when he cut his teeth in politics under Rajiv Gandhi’s regime. In just one generation of Gandhi dynasty, he has risen to be the leader of Congress in the Lok Sabha. There must be something about the man who could question “Why Rahul Gandhi and Sonia Gandhi are sitting in the parliament and are not behind jail” or abuse Prime Minister Narendra Modi and still earn no rebuke from his Congress high command. All within a few hours of being asked to be the leader of his party in the Lok Sabha.
Chowdhury is in the news for he has blamed his Hindi for the abuse hurled at Modi. So did Sam Pitroda, Mani Shankar Aiyer or for that matter Congress president Rahul Gandhi himself who kept fiddling with his mobile while President Ram Nath Kovind addressed the Parliament recently. Gandhi’s ingenuous darbari (courtier), Anand Sharma guessed Rahul baba was looking at the English translation of Kovind’s difficult Hindi words. So be it.
I now bring Shashi Tharoor into my theme which is different from offering my shoulder to a tearful man who has been overlooked as Congress leader in Lok Sabha. If I needed to lend a helping shoulder, I would’ve gone for Manish Tewari. Both Tharoor and Tewari must be sheepish around their 10-12 or whosoever is left among lackeys. But then when has talent been rewarded in Congress? They could’ve learnt from the fate of a Sachin Pilot or Jyotiraditya Scindia who are answering to old fogeys such as Ashok Gehlot or Kamal Nath with a straight face. The drubbings in Rajasthan and MP have mattered little; they are still in the groove.
I bring Shashi Tharoor on the matter of Hindi which happens to be the one issue holding this piece together. The man under a cloud on his wife’s death once confronted Sushma Swaraj in Parliament when Hindi was being pushed to be an official language in the United Nations. There are six official languages in UN—Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian and Spanish. Hindi, despite being the fourth most spoken in the world, is ignored. Nations such as Fiji, Mauritius, Suriname, Trinidad & Tobago and Guyana who could support Hindi, are fighting shy of expenses involved (The procedure, translations of files, letters, drafts etc would cost a few hundred crores). Tharoor objected to Hindi being pushed as a national language in the UN when it’s only an official language in India. (Talk of tomfoolery!).
Tharoor would’ve none of it even as Swaraj pointed out at least two prime ministers, Atal Behari Vajpayee and Narendra Modi, for having addressed the UN in Hindi. That, when visiting dignitaries speak in their local language (other than English), Indian representatives too prefer speaking in Hindi. Tharoor was to argue: “Why should we put our future foreign ministers and Prime Ministers who may be from Tamil Nadu put in a (awkward) position?”
It’s only incidental that all the names who have had faux pas on Hindi are from Congress party. No, no, I am not trying to drive home the point that they have something against Hindi, Hindu and Hinduism. I am not a (Randeep) Soorjewala who would take a shot even if it is below the belt. Mine is a larger point: Why speak Hindi and later apologize if you are not good at it? Or even a Hindi translator around you would be a discredit to your “secular” pretensions?
The fact is you can’t avoid Hindi and hope to rule India. One/third of the country is Hindi-speaking. Over 45 crores in a population of 1.30 billion. Most Indians, even if they are from north east, south, east or west understand Hindi. Would the same be said about Tamil, what say Mr Tharoor?
So speaking Hindi is a compulsion for politicians, even the reluctant ones of Congress. It’s another matter they speak in haste and repent at leisure. Till they get better at Hindi, expect such gaffes and the entertainment that follows.
There is a new narrative by the DALALS (Devious Left and Lutyens Scribes). It’s not about the fresh round of communal violence against Hindus in West Bengal where the Mamta government is seen overtly as pro-Muslim. It’s not even about the Facebook post which was used as a handle to beat Hindus with. It’s about the constitutional propriety of Governors who are accused of acting at the Centre’s behest.
The usual suspects such as Indian Express (their edit today, see image) and Rajdeep Sardesai have dumbed down the reprehensible Bengal violence to a debate about how BJP-appointed Governors are causing mischief. They have dragged down the Tripura and Puducherry Governors to connect dots and conclude that India’s democracy is in peril.
This is not as much ingenuity as the brazen, brash conviction that their echo chambers would drown out any voice of reason. That nobody would question them, like how come Governor Ram Nath Kovind earned so unabashed a praise from Modi-baiter Nitish Kumar in Bihar?
Said Nitish: “Kovind has discharged his duties in an unbiased manner as the Bihar Governor. He has worked as per the Constitution and upheld the dignity of the Governor’s post.”
This from a Chief Minister of a state which handed over a humiliating defeat to Modi in 2015 Bihar assembly elections, just a year after the BJP’s euphoric triumph in 2014 General Elections.
These DALALS have also swept under the carpet the unequivocal support which West Bengal Congress state chief Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury has offered to Governor Keshari Nath Tripathi.
As per Chowdhury, he had no “valid reason” to demand Tripathi’s recall and said he had found the Governor to be a “thorough gentleman and affable person.”
Yet, these inconvenient truths don’t suit the DALALS. That these voices of conscience have come from bitter Modi foes matter least to them.
A few questions, which hopefully would drill a hole through their echo chambers and if nothing else alert citizens about these devious forces at work, are thus;
(a) What’s the exact nature of this conversation between Tripathi-Mamta? And if the DALALS are not privy to this private telephonic talk, what makes them pitch for Mamta and not Tripathi?
(b) While accusing BJP Governors for undermining democratically elected state governments, what makes DALALS give clean chits to Mamta, Arvind Kejriwal or Akhilesh Yadav governments who are under scanner from investigating agencies of the land? What makes them believe these leaders are upholder of democratic traditions?
(c ) Why these DALALS have no stance at all on this communal violence in West Bengal? Why they never call Mamta by name? Why this studious stand to avoid word “Mamta” all through their writings?
(d) Why no question has yet been asked to Mamta about her silence on the “triple talaq’ issue? Come on you champions of feminist causes. Don’t show your menstrual cramps.
(d ) With the known Jihadi presence in neighbouring Bangladesh, why these DALALS have not stopped to question the threat of Jihadis turning West Bengal as their base for further attacks on India’s sovereignty? Why this studious silence?
(e) Failing this, do they want a story similar to Kashmiri Pundits be repeated in Bengal? Have they paused and dreaded the consequence of such a migration? And its devastating effect on the India we know?
Instead of addressing these grave issues and questioning Mamta’s role through all this, these DALALS have trained their guns on Tripathi, an octogenarian without a whiff of controversy during his long career in public eye. An esteemed poet and writer, Tripathi’s commentary on The Representation of People Act, 1951 is still held in high regard.
The obfuscation by DALALS could have been comic if it was not this tragic. There could be no Ramchandra Guha or Pawan Verma invited on TV debates since the matter itself has been given a quite burial.