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‘Problem is we have too many leaders’: Sonia on UP debacle

March 8, 2012 6 comments

The lack of grace in defeat by the Congress is an indicator why its has not won a national election on merit for more than 30 years now.

Can calculations replace vision, imagination? Leadership blames - workers, organization, other 'leaders'. |  Cartoonist Keshav of The Hindu  |  Click for image.

Can calculations replace vision, imagination? Leadership blames - workers, organization, other 'leaders'. | Cartoonist Keshav of The Hindu | Click for image.

SONIA Gandhi today said that the Congress’s performance in the assembly polls would do no “damage” to the UPA government.

Sonia ruled out any possibility of PM Manmohan Singh stepping down as a result of the defeat. Asked about the Congress’s PM candidate in 2014, she said: “This is 2012.”

Sonia spoke to reporters after two and a half hours of one-on-one meetings with Congress general secretaries or incharges in states that went to polls, and with other senior leaders.

“The Congress party has got support below its expectations. We accept it with all humility,” she said.

“Rahul has already told you about UP. Our party organisation is weak in UP.”

On the party’s poor show in Amethi and Rae Bareli, Sonia said: “There have been such defeats earlier. It seems people were not happy with the sitting MLAs. The new candidates won.” Asked if the Congress was lacking leaders, she remarked: “I would say rather than lack of leaders, too many leaders, that is our problem.” (via ‘Problem is we have too many leaders’: Sonia on UP debacle – Indian Express).

It has taken some 15 years, but the CEC has been defanged. Salman Khurshid gets away  |  Cartoonist Kirtish Bhatt  |  Click for source image.

It has taken some 15 years, but the CEC has been defanged. Salman Khurshid gets away | Cartoonist Kirtish Bhatt | Click for source image.

What contempt?

After years of unquestioned loyalty, by all and sundry Congress ‘leaders’, Sonia Gandhi has so much contempt for them?

After not winning a national election for 32 years on merit (Rajiv’s victory of 1984 tainted by sympathy), Congress still blames the organization and party workers.

If a 150 year old party, does not have organization, who will? Way back in the 1970s, Congress was the only party with any kind of organization.

In the 1977 election, Congress was head and shoulders above every other political organization. Indira Gandhi used the same organization to make a brilliant come back in 1980 election.

If between 1984-2012, there has been a collapse in the organization, we know who is to blame.

But, now Sonia Gandhi blames these ‘too many leaders!’

Even if Sonia Gandhi’s allegations are true, there was no one to stop her from sacking, removing, inducting any one of her choice.

Sonia and Rahul's leadership is impeccable. The workers and other 'leaders' are to blame.  |  Cartoonist S.Nagesh in firstpost.com  |  Click for image.

Sonia and Rahul's leadership is impeccable. The workers and other 'leaders' are to blame. | Cartoonist S.Nagesh in firstpost.com | Click for image.


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Endgame for Manmohan Singh?

September 29, 2010 Leave a comment
(Montage courtesy - Sunday Magazine of Faking News dated 30 May 2010.). Click for larger image.

(Montage courtesy - Sunday Magazine of Faking News dated 30 May 2010.). Click for larger image.

Tom-tom drums

In the deep jungles of Indian politics, tom-tom drums are beating. Some people who know how to read these drum-beats are saying that the message reads “Rahul baba is coming … Rahul baba is coming …”

Will Indira Gandhi inspire Rahul Gandhi

It is some 15 months of UPA-II. Will it be like the 1971 election of Indira Gandhi. Leading a lame-duck, Government for two years, after a flurry of populist tokens, like abolition of privy purses, bank nationalisation, Indira Gandhi called for ‘garibi hatao’ and an election.

Will we see an ouster of Manmohan, installation of Rahul Gandhi as PM, another flurry of populist tokens – and an election in 12-18 months.

Going by personal experience, the few 2ndlook posts in the last 3 months, on Rahul Gandhi have had unusual traffic. Reader interest has been higher than what the content would justify.

Listening posts

A report in The Times Of India reads

our economist PM’s lack of leadership gets manifested best in his absolute abdication of responsibility on issues concerning the country’s economy … foodgrains continue to rot for want of storage space … even as Naxals continue to kill our forces at will … the home minister’s response suggests it to be a ‘law and order’ problem, Digvijay Singh thinks otherwise … as the killing spree continues, the government’s absentee railway minister addresses a massive rally at Lalgarh with Maoist support and even supports an investigation into the death of a Naxal commander.

Cartoon date - Sep 06, 2010; Cartoon by - Sandeep Adhwaryu; cartoon courtesy - outlook.com. Click for larger image.

Cartoon date - Sep 06, 2010; Cartoon by - Sandeep Adhwaryu; cartoon courtesy - outlook.com. Click for larger image.

Pranab Mukherjee disapproves of Mamata Banerjee’s antics. But soon the Congress’s own heir apparent takes a dangerous left turn. Addressing a massive tribal rally alongside a suspected Naxal leader, Rahul Gandhi talks of being a soldier of the tribals in Delhi … What is most unbecoming of the ‘honest’ Singh is his constantly looking the other way on issues involving gross corruption. No wonder then that telecom minister A Raja and CWG chairman Suresh Kalmadi have seemed to carry on their reported exploits with impunity.

India deserves a more ‘in-control’ PM … what makes the PM-in-waiting, Rahul, choose to remain ‘shielded’ perpetually? Has he done a reality check and concluded that he is not prepared for the job? Is he worried that he might face the same flak when his opportunity comes? What is equally surprising is that our ‘PM-designate’ is just as invisible on almost all important issues. (via No Nightwatchman’s Innings – The Times of India; parts excised for brevity.).

Is Rahul trying out his grand-mother's strategy? (Cartoonist - RK Laxman; Cartoon courtesy - outlook.com) Click for larger image.

Is Rahul trying out his grand-mother's strategy? (Cartoonist - RK Laxman; Cartoon courtesy - outlook.com) Click for larger image.

National Advisory Council (NAC) takes over

A web-zine, MeriNews in a recent analysis points out

The SIX-year old trusted political equation between Congress president Sonia Gandhi and Prime Minister Dr.Manmohan Singh is said to be under pressure. Since the revival of National Advisory Council (NAC), headed by Sonia Gandhi …

All these six years, perfect understanding was maintained among these two power centers. While Sonia Gandhi looking after political issues of Congress-led UPA Government; Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh was given free hand with regard to the affairs of the government. But the growing interest shown by Sonia Gandhi in the governance seems to be widening the gap between the two political titans.

At this juncture, the revival of NAC is seen as Sonia Gandhi’s efforts to take control over the administration on her own to pave way for the coronation of her son Rahul Gandhi as Prime Minister. …

Manmohan Singh  is taking all due care avoiding the media focus on himself. He has hardly given any full-length interview for any news paper or news channel. He is also not happy with the attitude of some ministers, who did not cooperate with him … only Home Minister P. Chidambaram interacts with the Prime Minister on a regular basis on all major policy issues. While all other ministers are trying to show that they are more loyal to `madam’ than the prime minister.

Manmohan Singh was upset when AICC General Secretary Digvijay Singh had written an article questioning Chidambaram’s anti-Maoists policy at a time when the government was facing crisis following 76 CRPF jawans massacre in Chhattiasgarh. Whether Rahul Gandhi will be allowed to lead the nation or some intermediate arrangement will be preferred, is yet to be seen. (via Has Sonia Gandhi-Manmohan Singh equation as a team ended?).

It wasn't easy then ... (Published on - Jul 14, 2010; cartoon by - Sandeep Adhwaryu; cartoon courtesy - outlook.com.). Click for larger image.

It wasn't easy then ... (Published on - Jul 14, 2010; cartoon by - Sandeep Adhwaryu; cartoon courtesy - outlook.com.). Click for larger image.

Insider knows

A BJP MP, Chandan Mitra, writing for The Pioneer, paints a similar picture. Some edited (for brevity) sections are reproduced below.

What happened in the Rajya Sabha on August 31, last day of the Monsoon Session … was probably the most incredible example of a Government under siege … from within. The … next day, the Parliamentary Affairs Minister sought to drape Congress MP Keshava Rao’s rebellion against … Kapil Sibal with the cloak of “inner-party democracy” reveals the … bewilderment. Later the same evening, … P Chidambaram and Digvijay Singh were back in the ring …this time over the term ‘saffron terror’. Was it mere coincidence that two efficient … Ministers — Mr Chidambaram and Mr Sibal — bore the brunt of Congress MPs’ wrath? Some … believe that … Mr Keshava Rao’s … access to 10 Janpath, the rebellion must have been staged … (knowing) that no consequences would follow.

leaders have begun jockeying for the post-Manmohan era. With Rahul Gandhi’s mounting visibility, carefully calibrated by sections of the media, Congress know it is a matter of time before the heir-apparent takes direct charge.

the Prime Minister sat through all five hours of the Nuclear Liability Bill debate in the Rajya Sabha. Congress MPs later complained they couldn’t even take coffee breaks because it would have been improper to gad off while he sat on impassively. From this unusual action it has been deduced by many that Mr Manmohan Singh is in the final stage of repaying his debt to Washington on the nuclear issue.

So now that the nuclear deal process is complete, Mr Manmohan Singh may prefer to walk into the sunset once US President Barack Obama’s visit happens in early November.

Proponents believe that 2011 or latest 2012 will be the year of transition … a political crisis may be deliberately stirred so that a fresh election has to be called to legitimise Mr Rahul Gandhi’s ascendancy since his mother believes electoral endorsement is what’s kept the dynasty going. Congress strategists have calculated that if an election is held within the next 12 to 18 months, with Mr Rahul Gandhi projected as Prime Minister, the party will win a majority on its own. …

some seniors in the party are already positioning themselves for such an eventuality — Mr Digvijay Singh for one [.] has been consistently making jholawallah-type noises … significantly, he has targeted Mr Chidambaram who is clearly doing his best to uphold the dignity and power of the Indian state. … Rahul is building a jholawallah team around himself, some inherited from his mother’s National Advisory Council, which now acts as a super-Cabinet, and the rest drawn from from across the globe, potential British Labour Party leader David Miliband included. I would rather have Mr Rahul Gandhi take over right now than permit his ambitious cohorts to inject chaos and disorder in governance so that they can herald the Crown Prince’s arrival into South Block as the knight in shining armour destined to ‘rescue’ India from drift. Who knows, maybe Ms Sonia Gandhi will time her ‘voluntary retirement’ to coincide with that so daughter Priyanka begins a long stint as Congress president! [Significant caveats and qualifications by the author excised for brevity. Read original, linked at the beginning and here to verify the credibility and degree of certainty of the analysis].

Remember! Congress has won just 3 elections in the last 40 years. (Cartoon By Sandeep Adhwaryu; courtesy - outlook.com; publication date - Jun 28, 2010.). Click for larger image.

Remember! Congress has won just 3 elections in the last 40 years. (Cartoon By Sandeep Adhwaryu; courtesy - outlook.com; publication date - Jun 28, 2010.). Click for larger image.

Which way the wind blows

The wide- coverage of Rahul Gandhi’s support  to Omar Abdullah by the media was indicative of the way political winds are blowing. Did Omar Abdullah with nearly 12-15 years of experience in governance need Rahul Gandhi’s certification? The shrill attacks on the Government using Commonwealth Games is another indicator. Will the Ayodhya judgement by the Allahabad High Court be used as a trigger for displacing Manmohan Singh?

Time will surely tell. In the meantime, Rahul Gandhi would do well to remember that the Congress has really won just three election out of ten in the last 40 years. No doubt, the Indian Voter exudes warmth towards Rahul Gandhi.

To assume that this warmth will translate into votes is immature.

Emulate Gujarat’s agricultural success – The Economic Times

Talk is cheap ... data talks

Talk is cheap ... data talks

Gujarat is a drought-prone state, with an irrigation cover of just 36% of gross cropped area. Increased water supply from Sardar Sarovar project, higher investments in check-dams and watersheds (as of June 2007, a total of 2, 97,527 check dams, boribunds and Khet Talavadi (farm ponds) had been constructed by the state in cooperation with NGOs and the private sector), and of course, good rainfall for the past few years has helped propel growth. (via Emulate Gujarat’s agricultural success- Policy-Opinion-The Economic Times).

Indian economic model

There is something interesting in the state of Gujarat. Sometime back there was a status report on finances of all state governments in India. The difference between Gujarat and the Rest of India was stark and telling. Very impressive.

While we have Westernized ‘experts’ saying that Indian agriculture is a dead end – and promoting a line of ‘there is no option apart from mega projects’, we have here in Gujarat the real solution to agriculture and water management. The Gujarat solution, which has been India’s way of managing water. Effectively, at a low cost, under the control of the people who use it and need it. Indian agriculture has a bright future – these ‘experts’ notwithstanding.

Which makes me think.

With Chief Minster’s like Yeddyurappa in the South and Narendra Modi fom the West, what BJP needs is two more Chief Ministers. One for the North and one for the East. To break the logjam at the national level. The last two electoral defeats at the national levels has seen BJP in disarray.

But at the state level it is a different story. More power to such Chief Ministers.

Scenarios and Outcomes – Indian Elections 2009

May 14, 2009 5 comments
Only if it was that easy!

Only if it was that easy!

Opinion Polls and India

The 2004 elections in India was a watershed – for opinion poll industry. After 20 years of work, the opinion poll industry thought that they had the models, the tricks, questionnaires and had the Indian Voter all figured out. 2004 changed that.

What looked like a certain victory for the BJP, turned out to be victory for the ‘no hope’ Congress Party – a surprise front runner. It was not just one opinion poll – but nearly half a dozen opinion polls that got it wrong. No wonder, this time around they, the opinion pollsters, were subdued when the Election Commission decided to finally implement the ‘no-opinion-polls-during-elections’ diktat.

Congress has its troubles!

Congress has its troubles!

That said, a post in India’s Times of India writes about how the diplomatic “grapevine will tell you, the entire diplomatic corps in New Delhi called the 2004 election results wrong — except the Russians.” I would like to know what methodology the Russians knew – and the rest of the world does not know about. Or was it just a fluke?

Unlike most Westernized ‘readers’ and ‘experts’, 2ndlook believes that the Indian Voter has been a smart voter – who has taken risks with ‘unknown’ parties and given opportunities to ‘risky’ elements. This has ensured that the Indian Voter has a large electoral choice – compared to the typical two-horse towns that passes of as elections in other countries.

This elections seems to centre around four scenarios.

Scenario 1

Congress wins between 170-200 seats. Their allies win another 70-100 seats. At the higher end of the spectrum, the combine will easily form the Government. At the lower end, the UPA combine will fall short of about 30 seats. This may not pose a significant problem. This is of course subject to who the winners of the 70-100 seats in the Congress are. That  will be the crucial factor.

Cricket and politics - whatta mix!

Cricket and politics - whatta mix!

  1. If Mamta Banerjee wins 15-20 seats, getting additional 30 seats from the Left Parties will be difficult.
  2. That may leave the Congress to look at the ADMK – if the DMK does not do well.
  3. If the DMK also does well, then Andhra Pradesh will hold the key. Will TRS /TDP combine break up and TRS will join the Congress? Will Chiranjeevi upset the apple cart? Or is that the Congress will make these Andhra parties irrelevant.
  4. NCP, Mulayam, Lalu and Paswan will possibly go quietly with the Congress in this scenario.
  5. If Mamta does badly and so does DMK, then Congress will have easy time – as the Left and the Third Front may simply fall in line and negotiate a good deal for themselves.

Scenario 2

BJP wins 170-200 seats. Their allies win another 70-100  seats.

  1. The biggest worry for BJP will be the President. Who will the President give the first opportunity to – in case of a close result?
  2. BJP will have a tougher time – as the Congress will try for the same allies.
  3. BJP has an advantage with an inside track with TRS, BJD, ADMK. Unlike the Congress.
  4. Will Shiv Sena rope in Sharad Pawar to join an NDA Government? Possible!
  5. How much of a chance does BJP have with Mayawati? Considerable!
  6. In this specific scenario, the big thing for the BJP will be the number of seats that the allies win.

Emosianal atyachaar!

Emosianal atyachaar!

Scenario 3

Congress and BJP get less than 150 seats each. One gets 130 – and the other gets 150! The Third and the Fourth Front get around 250 seats by themselves.

  1. BJP has said that it may partner with Congress to form a ‘stable Government! A BJP leader has gone on record saying the same!
  2. NCP leader PA Sangma has independently suggested that since there is “not much difference between the economic and foreign policies of these two parties and that their coming together could make India a “different country”.”
  3. The other thing will be a Third Front Government – which is seeming improbable as the two main forces for a Third Front, the Left and Telugu Desam’s Chandra Babu Naidu both seem to be doing badly. “Better a junior partner in a stable alliance like the UPA or NDA than a unstable Third Front” kind of thinking may win the day – and kill the Third Front.
  4. The Third Front may gravitate around Mayawati – whosesarvjan’ ideology is very Indic – and unique. Unlike others, who are talking about reservations, only Mayawati talks about everyone’s welfare. Her bit abouttilak, taraazu aur talwar … teeno ko maar jootey chaar’ is again something that is a very Indic and  a welcome development.

    This stereotype hides an interesting fact

    This stereotype hides an interesting fact

Scenario 4

The most uncertain outcome.

Congress and BJP get between 140-165 seats each – leaving just about 220-260 seats for all others. None of the three Blocs are close to a majority. The Third and the Fourth Front get seats in the 2:1 ratio. BJP /Congress  are not in a position to form the Government and neither do others!

Two possibilities – a rump party will form a Government depending on support from Congress or the BJP – a la Chandrasekhar, Charan Singh, Deve Gowda, IK Gujral et al. Or the BJP or Congress will cobble up a weak alliance – a Government that will bleed to death by a thousand cuts.

Getmo’ …

  1. Nitish seeks special status for Bihar
  2. Naveen Patnaik to back Cong govt at Centre
  3. Mayawati stands by Third Front
  4. Left ready to back Nitish as PM
  5. Cong indicates willingness for Nitish’s package formula

    Post poll alliances

    Post poll 'alliances'

  6. Did Maya ride to secret LK meet in M-800?
  7. DMK or AIADMK? Cong plays it safe, waits for 16th
  8. BJP eyes Naveen Patnaik & Chandrababu Naidu
  9. Will Ms. Mayawati be PM, wonders India’s Dalit capital
  10. Less seats for Left won’t make it drive hard bargain: Cong
  11. Meeting with Rajnath was not political, says Amar Singh
  12. Mad Woman Theory of Politics in India
  13. No 2007 repeat, but Maya tally to rise
  14. AGP wants Advani as next Prime Minister
  15. Congress to emerge as single largest party: Rajasthan bookies
  16. Congress may dump DMK, may not need Maya
  17. The Kingmakers
  18. Third Front a fractured front: Praja Rajyam
  19. Marandi’s party to maintain equidistance from NDA, UPA

PS – This post continued getting interested readers well after the result came out! Was it possibly because that as one reviewer put it,

Nostradamus

To begin with albeit a little late, is poll scenario analysis by Quick Tale. I call the post Nostradamus like because from the 4scenarios laid out in the post, the very first assumption became the election result. Comprehensive thoughts at: Scenarios and Outcomes – Indian Elections 2009

Scenario 2

Modi fails the Kalinga test – The Economic Times

April 20, 2009 9 comments

Nothing in our modern democracy, nor anything in our political culture that is over two millennia old, permits the ascendance of a ruler who lacks compassion for the people. In our myths, our history and our practice as citizens of a free and democratic country, there is no warrant for the exercise of unbridled power, or for a leader who fails the Kalinga test. (via Modi fails the Kalinga test- Opinion-The Economic Times).

Ananya Vajpeyi, teaches at the University of Massachusets, Boston. A ‘concerned’ NRI, she is cautioning her unlettered and unsophisticated‘desi brethren’ about the dangers of electing Narendra Modi. The basis of her fears – a highly critical (of Narendra Modi) article in a US magazine The Atlantic, by a influential journalist, Robert D Kaplan (extracted and linked above).

First and foremost, फ़िकर Not! Ananya. The Indian Voter knows what he is doing.

Secondly, and sadly, the hatchet job done by Robert Kaplan suffers from many infirmities – none of which you point out. What Robert Kaplan has done is use Narendra Modi as a human shield to attack India – secure in the belief that ‘no one will dare defend Narendra Modi’.

One – ‘Free’ India made bad and the wrong choices

Look at Kaplan’s statement on India’s post colonial choices “to protect the poor against the ravages of capitalism, which benefits only the majority rather than everyone”

Same difference ...
Same difference …

No one, but no one, in their right minds, (Kaplan excepting) will ever state that Capitalism ‘benefits only the majority’. Capitalism benefited a small minority, who were allowed to concentrate and control the means of production – and enrich themselves; usually through Corporations.

The quid pro quo is that the capitalists will in turn advance the agenda of the ‘rulers’. E.g. The English East India Company. American Socialists may differentiate themselves by calling themselves as Capitalists,  may offer anecdotal evidence of a ‘trickle down effect’ – better than the Eastern European Socialists, but it can hardly be called a benefiting the majority.

Also, India could never have chosen capitalism – as that would have required vast numbers of slaves. Capitalism, which died out in 19th century, as we all know, was built on the pillars of ‘on-shore’ slavery and colonialism. Kaplan either forgets (unlikely) or does not know (surprising) that India has never used slaves – in the last 5000 years of history.

All countries are socialists today ...
All countries are socialists today …

India’s post-colonial choices were a mix of pragmatism, necessity and accepted wisdom of the times – and Western pressures and influences that are responsible for more than a fair share of guilt in these wrong choices.

Kaplan conveniently forgets that economists like JK Gailbraith, Western institutions like World Bank, IMF, stampeded India (and Nehru), into some of these bad choices – which the West now claims were India’s own choices in the first place.

For instance, one of the worst choices made by India, tied to World Bank, IMF and US aid, was to follow the infamous population control policy.

Two -India is a paradox, cannot survive

Kaplan’s ‘deadly ethnic and religious tensions’ bit is again a case of selective amnesia. Would he like to trace the role of US and its client, named Pakistan, in the religious tensions that India manages today? Would he like to account for the US$ 3 billion that Indian NGOs receive each year – mostly from the West. These NGOs mostly, are a cover for proselytization or worse still, some of them are fronts for subverting or influencing Indian public agenda.

French youths face Paris riot police in Clichy-sous-Bois - Oct. 29, 07

French youths face Paris riot police in Clichy-sous-Bois - Oct. 29, '07

Or would he like to posit the fact that the West today has the lowest levels of ethnic, linguistic and religious diversity – and persecutes whatever little is left, like the Roma Gypsies for example. Would he like to mention any other country where such a large minority Muslim population, has greater freedom and opportunity, than in India? Would you like to suggest France instead?

India manages the aspirations of nearly 17 crore Muslims – which is equal to half the population of the entire US of A. Get a minority population of that size, and then Mr.Kaplan, we will talk about the Gujarat riots.

In case you don’t remember, a simple marker for persecution Kaplanbhai, is decline in populations. Has the Muslim population in India declined? Like the Native American population has or the post-bellum African-American population has declined (in comparison to the ante-bellum)? Or the Jewish and and Roma Gypsy populations has (ignoring the limited population recovery of Roma Gypsies in post WW2 West). Or the reduction due to genocide of the poor Congolese by the Belgian emperor.

Did you see such magazine covers in India, Mr.Kaplan?

Did you see such magazine covers in India, Mr.Kaplan?

Post colonial census started with a Indian Muslim population of about 11.2% – which has now crossed 15%. Is that persecution, Mr.Kaplan? Is the ‘perceived’ Muslim backwardness (as defined by the Sachar Committee report) an effect of Indian public policy or are social choices made by Indian Muslims, the cause?

All the “social homogenization that globalization engenders” I have seen in India is how Western culture and content (TV shows, Hollywood, etc.) continues to remain a flop show!

I have no clue where Kaplan gets his data or opinions from?

Three -The argumentative Indian

The Kalinga effect.

I always thought Ashoka’s change in heart was a universal lesson – especially for the war-mongering Desert Bloc killlers – like George Bush! Modi looked away while some (estimated) 2000 Muslims were killed in riots. George Bush was looking, everyday, at more people getting killed in Afghanistan and Iraq (20 lakhs (2 million) at last count) than in Gujarat. What about the various US Governors who looked away as more than 2000 killed in riots at Queens, Bronx and Haarlem?

Is it that only Indians (especially Hindus) are supposed to be moral, Bhai Kaplan? King Ashoka is a lesson in history for all war mongers – and not Indians alone, Mr.Kaplan! Is it that Indians will be always be held to higher standards – while the West (and the Desert Bloc in general) can keep getting away with murder, genocide and massacres?

Four -Kaplan ko kyon gussa aata hai or (If only Narendra Modi would apologize) …

Kaplanbhai has a brilliant idea for Indians!

He is suggesting we let Mr.Modi get away with the Gujarat riots, if he says sorry! By making a proforma apology!

Worry about the West, Kaplanbhai!

Worry about the West, Kaplanbhai!

Like the many false apologies, made or not made, after the genocide of Jews, Native Americans, or the Roma Gypsies or the Australian aborigines, and then get on with life. Ananya, you should know Indians better than Kaplan.

A common derisive Indian response to apologies is अँगरेज़ तो चले गए लेकिन, येह सॉरी शब्द यहीं छोड़ गए (the English have left, but they have left behind this word sorry). Indians will accept a change – complete and total change in behaviour! Satori! The flash! Indians will give a second chance to even criminals and robbers – without an apology!!

But empty apologies? Bad idea! Like Valmiki (the writer of Ramayana) did not apologize – but, instead he reformed! Or the many dacoits (Phoolan Devi et al) in the recent past, who were elected to the Indian Parliament.

Five -Kaplan in knots

Kaplan’s finds “migrants … Muslim, from throughout India have been streaming into Gujarat” and Kaplan also “encountered … alienation from India, evidenced by their withdrawal into their own communities …”

Two comments spaced a few paragraphs apart, and the contradictions become clear. If he cannot understand this anecdotal  ‘inconsistency’ he should either flag it or exclude it. What he is doing, is hiding it!

Six -The best of the trash

Obama and Modi comparison! Now that is interesting!

This is the only bit I liked in that entire article. Leaving his (one-legged, Godhra riots based) commentary aside, I would like to see a second Black person become a President of the USA. Just like there never has been a Catholic President, ever – except once, who was murdered!

Obama is tokenism.

In the last 60  years, in 15 US elections, only one bald US president has been elected – and only 5 bald presidents in the 233 years of Republican US. Seemingly, the US Voter and political system selects people with a headful of hair! And we are not even started on a woman president or a Muslim President! Worry about the prejudices and biases of the American Voter, Mr.Kaplan. India has had numerous Muslims in important positions – Supreme Chief justices,  Presidents (two of them, at last count), many Central Government Ministers!

It has taken nearly 60 years for Narendra Modi’s ‘right-wing’ Indian, ‘Hindu fundamentalist’ party to come to power – and lose it. They have been given opportunities at the states – and been suitably rewarded and punished – based on performance. The Indian Voter has voted the ‘Communists’ and the ‘Fascists’, fundamentalists and liberals, of all shades and colors – in and out of power. Indian Voters are smart enough and know what is good for them.

It is the American Voter, who is the concern, Ananya!

Seven -India – defeated and divided

Kaplan takes a misguided statement of a misinformed (by propaganda as education) Indian, Vijay Chauthaiwale, a molecular biologist that “They (the Muslim) conquered … we lost. The British conquered. We lost. We were a defeated society. We needed to come together as Hindus.” This is so juicy and tempting!

Would Kaplan take the word of an American molecular biologist on history as close-to-truth. If he did, The Atlantic, would throw him out faster than he can spell history.

Is this propaganda or opinion? History, it ain’t, Mr.Kaplan!!

Let us go to the ancient world.

The expansion of the Eyptian Slave Empire, led by their Pharoah Thutmose III,  was stopped at the Battle of Megiddo (1468 BC) – by an Indo-Aryan alliance of Mittanis, Amurrus and Cannanaites. It is the Battle of Megiddo, from which the Biblical Armageddon is derived, meaning, ‘mount of Megiddo’. The alliance led by “king of Kadesh with the support of troops and money from the Mitanni, the great power to the north,” was able to take on the might of the Egytian armies under Pharaoh Thutmose III.

Or the three important battles of the ancient world. Ramesis-II at the Battle of Kadesh!! Semiramis, whose Assyrian Empire, was finally dissolved after WW1, tasted a horrific defeat in her Indian campaign. The resounding defeat of Cyrus The Great at the hands of the Indo-Scythian alliance is rarely recounted in modern history.

More recently, Alexander’s retreat from India (which Kaplan also refers to, in his subsequent post) is too well known for me to repeat. The death of Crassus at the hands of Indo-Parthian General Suren is too grisly for Western tastes – and usually covered up, delicately. As is the defeat of Justinian’s Roman armies, at the Persian borders at the hands of Indo-Persian elephant army is not usually mentioned either.

The first foreign-Islamic ruler in Delhi, Qutubuddin Aibak, was in 1206 by which time large parts of Europe were already under Islamic rule for more than 400 years, from 8th century itself. Within 200 years, by 1400, the Ashvakans (these days known as Afghans) Lodhis and the Moghuls re-took New Delhi from the Khiljis – which ended foreign rule in India. Many Indians are still victims of colonial propaganda – which shows India as  ‘defeated society’. Kaplan is either a (unlikely) victim of this propaganda or a (most probable) part of the problem? Either way, bad job!

And you Ananya, should know better.

Eight -Small things that actually mean big things

He comments on how Narendra Modi wore “traditional paijama pants and a long, elegant brown kurta—ironically, the traditional dress of India imported by the Mughals.”

I got bad news again for you, Mr.Kaplan.

India is the only culture in the world to have unisex clothing. The plainsmen and women wore the 5-yard dhoti and saree – and the hills people wore the tubular top and leggings.  And this is one of the many things that Alexander’s armies learnt in India. Macedonian national dress is the salavaria!

Nine-Where would India be without the British Raj

Kaplan can’t resist crediting the British! His desperation to credit “The British, by contrast, brought tangible development, ports and railways, that created the basis for a modern state. … the British, despite all their flaws, advanced an ideal of Indian greatness”.

His Masters Anticipation - Uncivilized Indians fighting with each other like animals

His Master's Anticipation - 'Uncivilized Indians fighting with each other like animals

At the end of WW2, Britain was a superpower, intact with its huge colonial Empire – apart from the massive debt that it owed the US. With Germany defeated and Hitler dead, Italy in shambles and Mussolini hanged, Britain sat at the head of ‘high tables’ in the post-WW2 world (with the US), deciding the fate of the nations.

On February 18th, the lowly Naval Ratings from the Royal Indian Navy rained on the British parade – by raising the flag of Indian Independence. Britain did not have the stomach to take on the Indian Colonial Army, battle hardened and exposed to warfare in all the global theatres of WW2. They acquiesced and 18 months later the British were out. From then, to …

Britain today, a shell of its former self – with its manufacturing hollowed out, its agriculture in shambles, its economy on the verge of being relegated to the Third World is a huge descent. Much like Spain after Haiti.

In a 100 years after Haiti, Spain flamed out. By 1930, it was in the throes of a Civil War. And in Spain today, prostitution is national industry.

The Masters Glee 2 - Rubbing their colonial hands in anticipation

The Master's Glee 2 - Rubbing their colonial hands in anticipation

India has in the meantime, led by ‘men of straw’, has moved from being a ‘ship-to-mouth’ basket-case, to a significant economic and political success. Yet, the British colonial administrators needed to prove that only they could rule over India. Indians were after all ‘men of straw … of whom no trace will be found after a few years’. And they were led byhalf naked fakir‘. If Britain was indeed so good at its job, why can’t they do anything to save themselves from this terminal decline.

For all this, we owe a debt of gratitude to the British, Mr.Kaplan? Can you make up a better story please, next time!

Next time, Ananya

I could have easily made it ten or even a dozen falsities by Robert Kaplan – but does he deserve so much attention or time, Ananya? Will you rise to any two-bit of writing that denigrates India – using Narendra Modi (or someone else next time) as a human shield?

Are you Ananya, suggesting that international opinion should decide who the Indian Voter will elect?

Voting your caste

March 16, 2009 5 comments

When Yumm-Rika votes as Latinos, WASPS, Blacks, Asians, Gender, Age it is demographics. In India it becomes caste-system..

As Bal Thackeray once said, Indians don’t just cast their vote.

As Indians prepare not to cast their vote but “vote their caste”, as Bal Thackeray once said, our sadhus and sanyasis, mahants and maulvis, pundits and preachers must be rubbing their hands in glee.

Folk faith was common in the West too until the Age of Enlightenment and then the new economic order introduced by the Industrial Revolution led to mass education and material advance. That precursor of mental development encouraged the masses to aspire to elitist heights of thought and culture. In contrast, our elite is sinking to the level of the masses. India may lead the world in Information Technology and be able to send a man to the Moon, but the influence that the successors of Dhirendra Brahmachari and Chandra Swamy are increasingly gaining suggests that the intellectual revolution that is the essential key to modernity has passed us by. (via Sunanda K Datta-Ray: Voting your caste).

Caste by another name ...

Caste by another name …

Advanced West vs ignorant Indians

Now the US votes on the basis of gender (more women voters do vote for democrats), color (more Hispanics and African Americans generally vote Democrats), age (younger voters are traditionally democrats in larger numbers), religion (only one Catholic has become a US President), race (only WASP – White Anglo Saxon Protestants allowed real power).

Now Sunanda Datta K. Ray is a bad case of vacillation – sometimes pathos and sometimes bathos. Some of his columns (Have you eaten?) is memorable for its breadth – and then you see this kind of ignorance.

In US societal divisions are called demographics and is a matter of high academic interest.(click on this link to see an interesting device to gauge demographic effects in US elections). In India, the West uses a pejorative called the caste system. The US system has ensured that the US voter gets more (Republican) or less (Democrats) of the same swill. What choice does the US voter have? The Indian voter has created a choice for himself by voting for a wide range of issues, agendas and parties.

But then the Indian voter is unlettered, ‘uneducated’ and does not speak English – and Sunanda K. Datta Ray is possibly vernacularly challenged!!


Change in Voting-Age Population (VAP), 2000-2007: Selected Battleground States in 2008

State Total VAP increase Hispanic VAP increase
Share of Total VAP Increase
Selected racial/ethnic groups Metropolitan areas
Traditionally Republican States
Colorado 15% 32% Hispanics: 32% 47% in Denver
North Carolina 12% 53% African Americans: 23%
Hispanics: 18%
29% in Raleigh-Durham
25% in Charlotte
Virginia 10% 51% Hispanics: 21%
African Americans: 21%
Asian Americans: 15%
47% in Northern Virginia
(including exurbs)
Traditionally Democratic States
Pennsylvania 3% 44% Hispanics: 38%
African Americans: 24%
Asian Americans: 20%
40% in Philadelphia suburbs
Swing States
Florida 15% 40% Hispanics: 42%
African Americans: 19%
19% in Miami-Fort Lauderdale
16% in Orlando
14% in Tampa-St. Petersburg
Missouri 7% 48% African Americans: 15%
Hispanics: 13%
35% in St. Louis
20% in Kansas City
15% in Springfield
Ohio 3% 34% African Americans: 26%
Hispanics: 18%
Asian Americans: 14%
43% in Columbus
34% in Cincinnati
Note: Data for African Americans and Asian Americans are for non-Hispanic members
of these groups who did not identify with another racial groupSources: Population Reference Bureau, analysis of data from U.S. Census Bureau,
"Annual State Population Estimates with Sex, 6 Race Groups (5 Race Alone Groups
and One Group with Two or more Race Groups) and Hispanic Origin: April 1, 2000
to July 1, 2007," accessed online at www.census.gov/popest/datasets.html on
May 31, 2008; and "Annual Estimates of the Resident Population by Selected Age Groups
and Sex for Counties: April 1, 2000 to July 1, 2007,"
accessed online at www.census.gov/popest/counties/asrh/CC-EST2007-agesex.html,
on Aug. 31, 2008.

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