Do dooni char

As we move slowly into the third year of Achche Din, the question of too many contradictions look to scratch Modi’s eventful reign. However, his personal report card should be a source of relief for a government carrying the liability as well as the responsibility of being a one man show-at least tangentially.

Controversies are a part and parcel of any government. In Modi’s case the issue is no different. The Vyapam and Lalitgate were talking points of every television news channel irrespective of national or regional variety about one year back.

It has not hurt the image of the Modi government or that of the Prime Minister himself. Unlike a nervous and fragile UPA II the government did not budge to the pressure that was being released by one group of the 4th estate and a highly inquisitive opposition.

Though the Prime Minister’s endeavours deserve credit, he has been unable to do a Vajpayee-make an extra effort to rope in the disgruntled elements. Besides, the tactical error has been to cede too much space to the Sangh Parivar. 

The FTII conundrum was highly avoidable with the government coming across as complicit and ambivalent. 

The issue of rewriting books based on the synonimity of hearsay stuff and tangible facts of history has made the educational policy more idiotic, mechanical and devoid of any logic.

However, even if the BJP has been losing elections and has made little headway in states where it never has had a solid ground, it is undeniable that the trust, but not hope on Modi is increasing every day. 

With the opposition more worried about the PM’s certificates, the people have already Made it clear that its trust will eventually lean upon Modi, who is still the 5 year long certified upholder of India’s tryst with destiny….


Judiciary- torchbearer or trespasser?

Lord Bryce once said,”If the lamp of justice goes out in darkness, how great is that darkness!”

Montesquieu tried to appear as a moderator in the tug of war between the various institutions of a functional democracy. The Separation of Powers proved to be a futile experiment as the difference between legitimate intervention and interference came to seen as highly spurious.

The present Government has been facing the flak from the judiciary on a varied number of issues. The most recent judgement on the Uttarakhand deadlock has made the government loose a quantum of self esteem.

The annexationist executive for now at least will look to avoid a scenario where the government finds itself in a flawed position. More so, because the government in the past could not materialise its NJAC agenda with Ravishankar Prasad accusing the judiciary of ignorance of the value of elected representatives.

But when the Parliament ‘elected representatives’ who cannot fare better even as a Sarpanch or a Panchayat Pradhan are MPs and the Temple of Democracy is recalcitrant-can we expect a reluctant judiciary? The quality of debate has followed a downhill, with speakers in Parliament coming with the additional burden of spraying pepper in their colleague’s eyes.

Derek O Brien of the TMC in an interview to Barkha Dutt used the idiom ” I will scratch your back and you will scratch mine” to underline the behind the door understandings between two pan Indian National Parties-a system of democracy that is slowly becoming truly bipolar in more ways than one increasing chances of botch ups.

The judiciary was bolstered with criticism by the Union Finance Minister of the Country. Incidentally, the Congress party alongside other political parties chose to remain on the side of the government.

History says when the political class unites, it is to save its own interests from getting squelched. When you get to see ideologically or opportunistic adversarial political parties coming together to press their demand for a pay hike, then you surely come to know the seriousnessof their self accaimed virtues.

The judiciary has also crossed the Lakshman Rekha in an attempt to come across as the ultimate authority of the Constitution. The tactical ball game played by the Judiciary in the First and Second Judge’s cases further prove the theorem of judicial activism.

Even the opaque system of selection of judges and politicisation of the judiciary is a truth that cannot be denied by the most ardent follower of the legal system.

But the seriousness of the government can be questioned with ease, even if the demanour of the judiciary in certain cases are instrumental in enterprising the dictatorship of the nyalyaya.

The government has chosen to bark when its interests looks compromised. The question of judiciary’s bias has been a permanent feature through the years. The repentance of Justice Verma on the misinterpretation of his judgement was used as a point of reference by Arun Jaitley in the Legislature vs Judiciary debate moderated by Arnab Goswami of Times Now.

Judges have been seen wining and dining in embassies which have raised eyebrows of many people. The West Bengal CM has alleged in the past that favourable judgements were being exchanged for money. A case was lodged against her because of the remarks.

But the political class still dominates the proceedings of the judiciary directly or tacitly. Grapevine has it that Gopal Subramanian was not promoted in the legal ladder because of his judgement which went against Amit Shah.

On a similar note, the Emergency was put in place mainly because of one judgement of Jagmohanlal Sinha. Seniority as a principle was breached in 1973 and 1977 in the process of the election of the CJI because the seniormost judges could not place the hat at the Ephemeral Dictator’s feet.

The judiciary needs modification for sure. But before that it is the Legislature that needs to go through (to quote JP) “total revolution.”

“Swamy & enemies”

The Congress Party is in a state of irreversible decline. This is the moot story one can hear in the lanes and bylanes of political grapevine. 

One can surely understand the condition of the party from a series of electoral setbacks and the Agusta Kickbacks have only legitimised the party’s ill famed mirage of corruption.

But the people by now are tired hearing of corruption as all political parties are brazenly involved neck deep in money laundering and other illegal as well immoral practises.

And the Congress Party is standing on the Dead Cliff. So even the people have no reason to stand  ‘wide jawed’ after hearing the allegations. The former Union Defence Minister has agreed to the fact that there was corruption in the #VVIPchopperScam.

And the BJP has chosen the right time and the apt person in its quest to bay for the Gandhis’ blood. The redoubtable Subramanian Swamy is more a mischief maker and has seldom made any headway in putting opposition political figures behind bars.

He failed to implicate  Chidambaram. The Gandhis for the time being can breathe a sigh of relief in the National Herald case. His truly ‘rubbish'(a word he uses frequently) remarks trying to draw a connection between Aamir Khan and other terror organizations give me enough reason to believe he is nothing more than a crackpot.

But he has been able to catch the pulse of the nation and the Mediagenic audience is making the most of Swamy’s gregariousness. The fall of the Gandhis from the citadel of infallibility has even forced the Swami haters to rally behind him for a common cause.

The Social media is the backyard  of the Right. And even trivial or fake information attacking the Gandhis and the Congress Party is going on the rounds. Many have cried foul mainly invoking the memories of media trial.

But there is a reason. For the last  seven decades, an inaccessible political family is suddenly being treated as a common entity, not a elitist one. The supra constitutional value of a family has now been devalued.

The fight of the Gandhis now is like the battle of any family trying to rinse off the stain. Their success or failure will decide the future course of Indian politics.

Till then like many others try to watch Rajya Sabha TV which recently has seen a jump of 900% in TRPs whenenever Swamy has fired his “unparliamentary” canons. News Channels are reaping windfall profits, the audience is getting entertained, those whose boredom compelled them to watch Sasha Grey in Parliament are sitting upright. Vigilance at last has returned. So Who complains?

2016 and beyond-a Factual analysis

If the CPM- Congress alliance strikes gold in this Bengal elections, it can actually mean doom to a number of political parties, especially the current ‘Modified’ BJP.

The Congress is content playing the second or the third fiddle with no desire to catch up. Their ekla cholo re efforts have not paid off in Bihar(2010) and UP(2012) and in 2014 it scored a duck in many politically relevant states like Tamil Nadu. 

But the question of sustainability of a khichdi sarkar in 2019 arises without any question. Though the Modi government has erred in a number of places, with its foreign poicy bereft of takers, it has fared well in policy enactment, which got botched up badly during the erstwhile regime.

But governance most of the times does not determine the political fate of a country whose political choice is highly divided.

But can the Bengal phenomenon repeat itself in all states. Not to forget that the Left in Bihar decided to go all alone leaving the BJP the opportunity to get some more seats. The Mahagatbandhan first lost Mulayam Singh and then had to let go Sitaram Yechury.

The experiment in Bihar could not be repeated in Assam. Even after the efforts of both Prashant Kishore and Nitish Kumar who according to Justice Katju should take Kejriwal as his deputy lest he becomes PM(yes you heard it right) tried their best to somehow bring the perfume baron Badruddin Ajmal and Tarun Gogoi on the same dias.

But they failed as an obdurate Gogoi decided to go it all alone. It is not a hidden secret that the Ahom CM deeply abhors the AIUDF founder. And the hands of 10 Janpath is still firmly on Gogoi. This blind, blunt faith of the the Gandhis has forced the Congress to pay a heavy price as its once potential successor to Gogoi, Hemanta Biswa Sarma defected to the BJP.

The eastern part of the country has seen many regional players calling the shots. But will the regional forces be able to forge any form of unity to challenge the much stronger BJP? 

The Bengal election to a certain extent has the answer. The RJD and JDU has chosen the Left over Mamata as their choice in Bengal. It can have wider repurcussions, as Mamata a few days back even indirectly hinted at betrayal of Nitish Kumar. In an aggressive tone, she said, “We supported them(RJD-JDU-INC) in Bihar.”

Though she by now must be mature enough to understand, give and take policy looks well crafted in human relationships, not in the hell of power. Mulayam plays the game of betrayal candidly. Sonia, Left, Mamata, Nitish all at some have at some point of time experienced Mulayam’s play of deception. 

2016 in every way is going to determine the fate of leftist politics, the future of the Congress Party and an overall effort to resurrect the destiny of the lost and orphaned UPA.

Indo-Pak, netas and the 4th Estate

The paranoia setting in on the current foreign policy of the government is dumbfounded. The hyper patriotic television today almost took out every claw to somehow make me xenophobic of Pakistan.

 Abdul Basit, the hawkish sound tempered high commissioner talked about no reciprocity and suspension of peace talks with India. Most people account it to be the spillover effect of an ‘Indian’ spy caught in Pakistan. It just looks like a repetition of history. Not many months back India called off the secretary level talks with Pakistan.

But can the Modi government be criticised for following a ‘fraudulent’ foreign policy vis-a-vis Pakistan? I doubt such a simplistic notion.

The media on either sides of the border always engage in pumping nationalism, to pressurize the government to follow a pattern where it will come across as ‘courageous’ , ‘brave’ and of course uncharitable to the counterpart. e.g? The 1999 Kargil war, The 1965 war in which both countries claim victory.

The theatrics play out amid raucousness and self righteousness with blinded vision to either logic or common sense. I remember, what Najam Sethi, a man who can be found everywhere- from dancing effortlessly in the cricket galleries to discussing politics on GEO News said about the Indian media’s 26/11 coverage and its effect on the Pakistani counterpart.

Najam is one of those who is severely criticised by various quarters for his “pro India stance.” He was also put behind bars by the I.S.I.

Sethi said,” The Pakistani media stood beside India after the attacks. But as the jingoistic histrionics gobbled up Indian media, the Pak media followed suit changing its tone and tenor.” 

This blind patriotism of media especially TV media tantalises the Anti Pak or Anti India feelings among their respective countrymen. TRPs and Nationalism behave as the long lost brothers of Kumbh Mela. But what gets grilled in the process is coexistence if not peace. 

The political parties like the television channels most of the times feels the need to come out as the beethoven of deshbhakti to make themselves appear to be patriotic.

In a recent statement, the Finance Minister of the country described the media as agenda setters who are digressing frequently from the original duty of the fourth estate.

The soldiers are getting martyred on the LOC. But one is not understanding even infrequently that the same is also happening on the other side. Someone who is sane enough to understand the situation is being seen as a traitor, or an apologist.

We have created a wall of falsehood where the other party is being seriously subjected to mistrust and cynicism. Indians are seeing the abortion of 26/11 investigation process as an evil design of Pakistan. 

Pakistan on the other hand is ‘falsely’ trying to show the world how India is involved in abetting Baloch separatists. But why? BECAUSE, there are too many interests involved. 

Both countries hold on to their ‘core principles’ with Kashmir bogey being raked up by one while Hafiz Saeed being the only issue for the other.

Bilawal calls for the capture of entire Kashmir, while the Congress Party which left its own PM Manmohan Singh alone after the Sherm-al-Sheikh ‘fiasco’ rants about the disrespect being caused to the Pathankot martyrs.

In many ways the relationship of enmity between the two countries will persist. Few handshakes and symbolic gestures here and there will not take away from the fact that the two countries will soon come to share the historical altercation of slugfest and mudslinging.

P.S- Well I am not a peacenik. The high decibels at my home have never allowed me to become one. However, I am sick of diplomacy which believes in placating a selective constituency of media and electorate first, oblivious about the interest of both nations whose prosperity to a large extent will depend on Khrushchev’s doctrine of 1956. 

The need of the hour is to understand that Pakistan’s martyr is being seen by India as its enemy and vice-versa. The value of a human life is much more than the army, the PM or the sovereignty of a nation!

Modi’s doom and Press punditry

The courtrooms are splurging in noise, so are the lawyers, the adjudicators as well as the mujrims. A death certificate has been issued. Twitterites as well as instagrammers have sounded the bungle. 2019 will be the year of Modi Mukt bharat. But we tend to overdrive as individuals, and more as political commentators. We make a mountain out of an invisible mole- more often because of the hysteria that media tends to create which indulges in both the pro and the con effect. The pro effect being political maniacs have a field day while self-obsessed mug “dikhaoing” news anchors of Noida can pursue their gossipy grapevine. The con effect remains that most of these punditry never materialise in a country of stark contradictions- saas bahu serials, Article 377 and MTV’s bold step to conceptualize lesbiandom. 2012 was a year which proved to be the most hilarious example of over punditry in the history of Indian state elections.

‘Akhilesh Yadav won a thumping majority against incumbent BSP. BJP came a distant third and the Congress under the “babalogs” fared in 6 more sits than its previous elections 2012. Privy to earlier year, everyone were abuzz about Rahul’s striking leadership in the General elections where a person called Salman Khurshid also won. The Congress backed almost 2 dozen sits. The Lutyens of the Capital was now considering the probability of Rahul becoming the next CM of Uttar Pradesh- UP was the ultimate rosy love of the anglophile PM of India in the 50s. 2012 UP elections showed the royal punditry had not come off age. Rather wilder possibilities were aired, greater coherence was shown in articulation, but what they missed in the full scenario were the installation to caveats-a must when someone discusses politics and politicians. Mulayam Singh Yadav was tamed down to be a possible PM of 2014 of a non-aligned political formation of 2014 with oddly 45-50 sits out of its catchment basin of 80.

The prophecies proved inaccurate, the intellectual allurements wrong. The Gujarat elections changed the mood of the nation 7 months later. I fear very strongly, the same mistake is being committed again, rather childishly and in an overtly thronging fashion. Almost every news channel is abuzz with the news whether there will be a tie up between the Dalit and the Yadav based parties in Uttar Pradesh – BSP and SP had been in alliance once in the 1990s albeit unsuccessfully. The fire has just got a bit wilder after a gossipy repartee came from the UP CM not denying the possibility altogether to counter the BJP. BSP has rejected even a modicum of a chance of such a bhaichara with the bhaiyaa of UP. But debates have gone ablaze in all political quarters. Few doubt the greatest onus to be put on UP elections waiting in 15 months. And it would also be the time when Modi will be directly challenged in the most populous and hence politically indispensable state where he held almost a 90% strike rate in 2014.

But are we predicting a Modi doom too soon? Yes. Because the BJP still is strong enough in its main bastions of Maharashtra, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and a probable comeback in Karnataka and a phantomic rise in Kerala. Every political election is won by votes and arithmetic. So chemistry may be a factor in running alliances, but not in winning the festivity every 5 years. Bipolar states with Congress on the opposite table may be a cakewalk for the BJP even in 2019. And trends have shown that growing political conscience imply voters to ply in different ideological preferences between general and assembly elections. Delhi being the foremost example where three different political weightages were given on 2 different political parties in a course of only 450 days. 18 months earlier we had a vanquished Nitish, today a jubilant one-almost the apple of the eye in the secular brigade which by the way believes in communalizing elections not on the basis of religion, but through the identityof caste. Because in India, we have only been taught communalism on the basis of religiosity and not on the basis of any other factorisation.

So to call the shot even before the match started is more a gamble, less a picturesque prophecy. Rather, it is like those numerologists and astrologers who predict but seldom prove a theorem, not a geometric but a political one.

Nehru and Tryst with Terrorism…

Nehru not only excelled in his so called “platonic relationship” with Lady Mountbatten, but also was a clear winner with his liberal values which included British mannerisms and may I add British scotch. The sanatorium of Oxbridge thought he grew himself into was an added advantage for the middle class which always has had a special succour towards the anglicised scheme of things along with the Playboy. But, such a liberal mind was the all in all at a time, when actors had to change their Muslim names to Hindu ones to get a break in the film industry. Alyque Padamsee, theatre luminary known for his extreme views on many things including fairness creams also illustrated the apartheid against the Muslims in now the Khan dominated fiefdom of post independent India.

Even then there were fissures hard to cover, there were right wing activists hard to suppress and there were hard lined terrorists who were abused and not eulogized. Nehru was the Prime Minister, when Nathuram Godse with indiscreet links to the RSS assassinated the Father of the Nation. A self-righteous guy called Madan Lal hurled bombs while Gandhi was carrying on his prayer in his ashram. But, still Godse and his vile towards Gandhi was not dispensed with. Rather, he was executed. And the man who “discovered India” treated an assassin as a terrorist and rightly so. Were there not right of centre voices then? Were there not any iota of intelligentsia who challenged the meek advocacy of the Mahatma towards resilience to a terrorist state? Of course there were. But justice prevailed.

RSS has never been a den where any right thinking liberal can mingle with its narrow mindedness and parochialism-something which has rounded off terror attacks on minorities. But, then how Asaduddin Owaisi becomes a saint like figure with his ultimate view of a biased judiciary and uncompromising segregessionist outlook towards religion? The hue and cry was nimble and indifferent till the AIMIM chief came into the radar and spoke how Yakub was being victimised just because he is not Maya Kodnani or Babu Bajrangi. How would have Nehru seen this? The man who vehemently opposed Jinnah’s gimmicks of communalising the already acrimonious communities-could he have endorsed that?

And when the left thinking liberals come out as the Owaisis fired the venom, we experienced the institutions which Nehru garnered and polished and recuperated getting abused, getting lowered in the eyes of public scrutiny. Indira did it at the times of Emergency, but the intelligentsia did it to sermonize its ‘rational’ militancy-capable of plaguing the face India is trying to project in front of the world. Because, Sunny Leone is not our sole ambassador in any case! The mutiny seems to have been propelled by some sort of testosterone charger, whose logic remains in the grey even now. Yakub’s death sentence was in the run for long. And somehow, the Karats and the Tharoors seemed to have been in the slumber. Perhaps for them the past year brought too many electoral challenges to find them some time.

Many opt for abolition of capital punishment. I lie in accordance with the view. But how many of the greats of protective humanism burnished their vanguard when Dhananjay Chatterjee, was sent to the gallows for raping and killing a minor girl called Hetal Parekh in the year of the 14th Loksabha elections? CPI(M), a party known for inconsistent stands at that time also had Prakash Karat and Sitaram Yechury with Harkishan Singh Surjeet as the General Secretary of the party. They never uttered a word on the measure of punishment which was being awarded. Even then there was a raging controversy in the Bengali media about the various discrepancies found in the case against Dhananjay. And here lies the irony. The man who was extremely feverish in sending Chatterjee to jail was Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee, the CM of Bengal along with his wife and daughter Suchetana. “His wife made an impassioned speech in favour of the hanging in a public meeting”. This is what the TOI had to say regarding Meera Bhattacharya’s statement. Civil rights group protested against the hanging. It is a different issue now that the fate of the Left in Bengal now hangs in disarray. If I memory serves me right, Mamata Banerjee protested against the drama of the then CM in the hanging of Dhananjay.

How would Nehru perceive the high handedness of a discussion which even his liberal mind of the 50’s failed to catch? The declaration of equality, sovereignty, fraternity is being challenged not by communal forces, but by storm troopers who are far more veiled in religious nepotism unaware of the idea India and its multi-cultural identity the first PM despite his loopholes championed. Yes according to me, hang till death is wrong, but the tryst with a terrorist of debating law, judges and a judgement is not going to serve any right……