Sharad Pawar

When would Mufti and Abdullah be set free?

(This is a reprint from NewsBred).

India and Pakistan have started whipping up support in their corners as the Ring that is Jammu and Kashmir gets ready for a trade of punches.

Pakistan prime minister Imran Khan wants his people on the streets in solidarity against the rearranged status of Jammu and Kashmir while Narendra Modi is reserving the month of September for his ministers’ outreach to people in 35 state capitals and 370 cities.

The momentum is with India where Modi has secured a cheque of gratitude from a billion people and possibly from history too on the once intractable issue of Kashmir.  He has second guessed almost everyone including the global powers, jihadi nuts in the Valley and secessionists forces within India. It’s nearly a month and India hasn’t fired a single bullet in anger.

Imran Khan is relying on propaganda and the good offices of China without realizing that slaves could only stare at the feet, and not go at the throat of the masters. It has a good ranch of guerillas, terrorists and Talibans but to take on world’s second largest army, bigger than United States, you need stallion and not jackass. Mooting closure of airspace could only evoke yawn. His dream of becoming prime minister is now a raging nightmare.

India’s enemies are investing much in the hope that Muftis and Abdullahs would be free soon and hold court; Valley would be put to flame and Lutyens Media would manufacture sob stories. For the moment, they have nothing but the sham cry of violations of human rights and India’s federal-structure-in-danger to keep stoking the dying embers.

When would Muftis and Abdullahs be set free? My guess is not in next four weeks. Modi government prefers embarrassment to harm. Half measures would come back to bite. You don’t do PR exercise with enemies. If the world can turn one eye away on Xinjiang in China; it could as well the other on Kashmir.

There is incremental easing up in Kashmir Valley. Landlines have been restored. Independence Day and Eid were celebrated.  Journalists, despite the brouhaha, are getting passes to move around at will. Schools and Colleges have been reopened. It’s not to say Valley would be quiet.  Muftis and Abdullahs could pay a heavy cost if flutes and music alone is the noise in their backyards.

There are a few things which the Modi government must follow as gospel. One, learn to ignore the barking dogs. Valley and Lutyens Media would be shooting from both sides of mouth. They must not be allowed to set the agenda. Give them a damn. Two, this outreach to people in September can’t be one-off thing. People need constant repeats on facts. Lose no opportunity, be it face-to-face, social media, spokespersons or editorials in newspapers. This is the only war your adversary would be engaging you in; so treat it as one. Three, name and shame the enemies within who run contrary to India’s interests. Three generations of this lobby has fattened itself on Kashmir. The cat is too fat now; it must be made to shed some weight.

I suspect Centre has hit upon an ace in raking up some high profile cases. So mournful is media on P. Chidambaram’s custody that Kashmir has been put on the backburner.  The cases against Sharad Pawar and Ahmed Patel’s son too would shrink space on Kashmir. Heat has been turned on against Trinamool Congress (TMC). Three state elections in three months would further pull the rug under Kashmir’s feet. Why, when was the last you heard on “Jai Shri Ram” crimes and “lynchings”?

But this is just the first phase of preparedness. Kashmir is serious. Heads could roll in Pakistan’s establishment. Imran Khan could invite a fate similar to Nawaz Sharif.  General Qamar Javed Bajwa has to justify his extension. United States could change tack in case it can’t summon India against China, Iran and Russia. So don’t take your eyes off. India has to handle Kashmir in real time. It could take months, years and even generations. But a start, a good one at that, has been made. And the nation can’t be thankful enough.

 

 

Indian Cricket needs politicians and here’s why!

(This is a reprint from NewsBred).

Some solutions are worse than problems.

A thief with a criminal backlog was sentenced to seven years in prison for a $3.99 bag in California and it cost the taxpayers upwards of $50,000 to keep him there.

In Vietnam, the French colonial rulers decided cash rewards in exchange for rat tails. Only, the rat population multiplied as rat-catchers took the tails but freed the rats to procreate and produce more off-springs, and thus more tails.

Once during the British Raj, so big was the number of cobras in the Capital Delhi that a reward was offered for every one dead cobra. All it did was that people began breeding cobras in bigger numbers for bigger rewards. When a wiser British government woke up to the situation and scrapped the rewards, the cobra-owners released the venomous creatures and the Capital had double of its numbers.

The Odd-Even scheme to reduce air pollution is similarly unlikely to work for people in cities won’t bat an eyelid in buying another car and you would have more four-wheelers on the streets and thus more poison in the air than before.

Quick fixes don’t work and can go horribly wrong. One such mess has been created by Supreme Court through its appointed Committee of Administrators (CoA) to govern cricket in India.

We have a situation where those entrusted with administering the game have no experience of it and who, in turn, are reliant on those who can administer but are better served by a delayed solution.

We thus have game’s ownership without answerability in the hands of a few—the very crisis of transparency and accountability, checks and balances which Supreme Court sought to address in its landmark judgment last year.

In these columns, you have read enough about the blunders and double standards of CoA but do dread the hyenas who are moving in now that the lion has a mouth-clap and his claws are in wraps.

You have the instance of International Cricket Council (ICC), not long ago a stooge of Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), vowing to take away the 2021 Champions’ Trophy from India, and possibly 2023 World Cup, if it can’t secure tax-free events from the Indian government. No less, it also wants the deducted tax of 2016 World Cup restored in its coffers!!!

Supreme Court has opened the sluice gates for official break-up of the game in this country. The Law Commission has moved in with its recommendations that BCCI be made a “public body”, open to questions from the public under the Right to Information Act (RTI).

Bravo! So you could thus soon question why Virat Kohli  chose to bat first in the recent Wanderers’ Test. Or why the combine of Ganguly-Tendulkar-Laxman chose Kumble over Shastri when the latter was delivering gold by tons as India coach.

Once the BCCI’s status as private entity—under the Tamil Nadu Societies Registration Act—goes, BCCI would be subject to harassment and blackmail from all quarters.

The Competition Commission of India (CCI) has imposed a penalty of Rs 52.25 crores on BCCI for its anti-competitive conduct of denying access to the market for organization of professional domestic cricket leagues. The standard contract with any broadcaster, to protect its investment, has turned into a penalty for the BCCI.

Supreme Court had intervened after match-fixing scandal hit the IPL fields three seasons ago. The new administrators seem singularly ill-equipped to prevent a repeat—its’ anti-corruption unit chief Neeraj Kumar, former Delhi Police commissioner, doubts his bosses’ resolve to root out corruption. Neeraj Kumar is now set to retire on March 31, 2018 just a week before IPL gets going. All it seems is an invitation to scandals.

Cricket in India could only be run with a powerful figure as its head. Or the horses would bolt. You need close to 50 permissions to host a public event. You have situations where linesmen could hold up a day-night game with power cuts if extorted free passes don’t reach them.

We have our noses screwed on politicians in the game. But they have been great helmsmen in steering the ship at various dangerous bends in the river.  In 2011 World Cup, Sharad Pawar could clear the decks for the Wankhede Stadium when it was battling against a PIL and many such impediments.

Ditto his intervention in tax-cuts for the same event. Under him, BCCI once contributed Rs 50 crores to the Olympic fund. And Rs 12.5 crores to the football federation.

But for NKP Salve, the 1987 World Cup would’ve been a non-starter. Jagmohan Dalmiya and Inderjit Singh Bindra are credited with commercializing cricket in India but the real driving force was Madhavrao Scindia.

Dharmashala today is known more for its cricket stadium than for Dalai Lama. Private airlines (Spice Jet) have more daily flights than Air India for the destination. It’s firmly now on tourism’s map. In 2000, when Anurag Thakur took control of Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association (HPCA) all it had was a room, a table and a steel almirah. In a dozen and half years, the state now has four state-of-the-art cricket stadiums. The beauty of stadium in Bilaspur, running alongside a lake, would take your breath away. It’s the only association which has a five-star hotel (“The Pavillion”) of its own.

Another BJP MP Gokaraju Ganga Raju, and his services to Andhra cricket, could run into pages. In order to ensure that girls are encouraged to take up the game by their parents, hostels and scholarships are provided to them.  In every district of the state!

It’s all very well to suggest that the game must be run as a corporate, professional entity but it’s not produced by a mere wave of hands. Whereas a professional would retire for the day at 5 p.m, countless those—like one Bhatia in Nadaun Stadium, Hamirpur—work round the clock out of loyalty to their politician-lords.

Mere rubbishing the politicians is to deny them their dues. The fanciful corporate structure of an England or Australia is immeasurably more difficult in a bigger and more complex India.

As said, some solutions are worse than problems. Indian cricket, presently on auto mode, is hanging by the edge of a cliff. Everybody seems to have a say, nobody appears in control. Supreme Court would do well to reinstate those men behind the steering wheels who could reverse the mistake and drive Indian cricket to safety.

Express on JNU: Where’s video?

If you are an Indian Express reader you have just been told: you are the dumbest, stupidest, bumpkin, buffoon, idiot, thick-headed, retarded, imbecile reader on this earth.

It’s your choice to live with this tag, readers.

Or why would their lead story of today (February 28, 2016) “VIDEO IS OUT: Kanhaiya assaulted, breaks down, police duck for cover” has no relation at all with the real report, smug as they are with the pig that they believe you are, readers?

Now what this headline tells you: It is that there is video which shows Kanhaiya assaulted, breaks down, police duck for cover, isn’t it?

And what does the actual report tells you?: The report tells you that this video is a deposition of Kanhaiya before the Supreme Court panel.

Spotted the difference? (don’t tell me you are really what Express thinks you are).

So,

The Headline tells you there is a video of “Kanhaiya assaulted.’

The report tells you the video is of “Kanhaiya’s disposition” and not of assault.

In other words, Express believes that you stupid readers wouldn’t go beyond their headline (they actually know their worth, folks). Even if it is the lead story!

Now the next question which crossed my mind was how did they get hold of the video? A smart piece of journalism? That made me look for the SC panelists. One was Kapil Sibal (a multiple minister in the previous Congress government); another lawyer Vrinda Grover who is a board member of GreenPeace whose license to collect foreign funds has been cancelled by the Modi government. Actually Sibal has also been in the programme board of Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation which has been hauled over to Supreme Court by a writ petition.

I might be suggesting a NGOs+Congress+Marxists+Media collusion here but so dumb are you readers that I am confident I could get away with it without you suspecting anything.

There are usual suspects littered in this edition of Indian Express: Rahul Gandhi, Arvind Kejriwal, Admiral Ramdass, Sharad Pawar, Chidambaram, Nitish Kumar, our revered academic institutions voices (this time it’s missionary college St. Stephen’s principal), going after government on JNU issue. (Actually you must admire Mulayam, Jayalalitha, Mamata, Lalu, Shiv Sena to hold their tongues so far). Central minister Uma Bharti is actually lucky to get two paras in support of Modi, buried many pages deep inside the newspaper.

It’s a rogues’ gallery with Express passing the board-room bulletin as news for us asinine readers.

And don’t you believe anyone loves cricket in this country. On a Sunday edition, there is no front page mention of India beating Pakistan on a cricket field. Never mind this was India’s only seventh T20 match against arch rivals this millennium and that Virat Kohli played a knock which Sachin Tendulkar would’ve been proud to own up. (May be, showing Pakistan in a losing, poor light would’nt suit the agenda).

Fortunately, inside there is a full page interview of about-to-retire Delhi police commissioner, BS Bassi. He has replied on relevant issues but newspaper won’t put a word of it on the front page.

Bassi puts it as it is: without any spin, full of logic and reason. All those reporters and editors who have been baying for his blood, beat a hasty retreat. All that posturing went out of the first window. So here’s what Bassi said on key issues (it’s an abridged version of his quotes):

On The Actual Sedition Case: It’s an open-and-shut case (wow). Under section 124A of the IPC it’s a grave offence. It’s been declared valid by the Constitution. (For police) It’s an extremely easy case.

The law says: “bringing in hatred or contempt or exciting disaffection towards state by words or signs or visible representations.”

I am going to crack this case because I know these are the guys who have done it.

Please read the Kedar Nath judgment of 1962.

Country has to deal with issues in Northeast, Chattisgarh, Jharkhand and J and K. We have to have a law to deal with anti-national activities.

Debate happens within constitutional norms. But if it’s an anti-national activity, then it doesn’t remain a debate. Society survives because we respect our Constitution. If all of us start disrespecting our Constitution, the country will be destroyed.

Nobody is letting police do the job. Society as a whole should’ve cooperated with us.

On Kanhaiya, Journalists Beaten Inside Court:

Patiala House is a confined place. Use of teargas, lathi etc would have turned Patiala House into another Jallianwalla Bagh.  It’s a prudent practice which police followed. My prudent policing practices also tell me I should have some space to chase away trouble- creators…If I have no such place, it will turn into nothing but Jallianwalla Bagh.

No footage is available of Kanhaiya being beaten. Journalists were still able to cover the event.

I would call it a technical riot because a real riot means arson and people’s heads being broken.

On Journalists Being Questioned:

It’s our job to ask involved persons and seek their reactions (as part of investigations). The thing has been made bigger than the actual event.

There, you have it.

The thing has been made bigger than the actual event. A case under trial has been considered bigger than over two dozen lives lost in the Jat stir. The Jat Stir case that has an aide of ex-Haryana Congress Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda, in an audio, apparently egging on a Jat community leader to escalate the violence.  But that apparently doesn’t deserve any space in our beloved newspaper.

Don’t you think the front page deserved this headline (or even in inside pages):

JNU: It’s an Open-and-Shut Case, says Bassi

So we now know the devil who has been quoting from the scriptures. Who thinks bark is bigger than the bite. Who doesn’t know that it’s truth which can set it free.

So Shakespeare wrote:

The devil can cite scripture for his purpose;

An evil soul producing holy witness

Is like a villain with a smiling cheek

A goodly apple rotten at the heart.

In today’s world of deception and lies, truth is a revolutionary act. It’s up to us readers to hold the flag of truth high. And don’t be the fools that our newspapers think we are.