Smell of Change…

Archive for the category “MUSINGS”

‘Modi…Modi…Modi’ : Decoding the psychology beneath the universal chant

PM Narendra Modi addressing the Indian-American community at the Madison Square Garden


As the Prime Minister Narendra Modi, donning a saffron jacket over a full-sleeved peach Kurta and chudidaar pyjama, enters the Madison Square Garden stadium to address the Indian-American community, the palms of the 20,000-strong audience rose to hem their respective mouths that screamed a maddening chant – ‘Modi…Modi…Modi’ – a chant which has now become constant, endemic and universal. It’s a chant that has transcended the boundaries of castes, language, religions, sex and cultures within India and has now travelled overseas to cast spell on the minds of the powerful Indian Diaspora spread all across the globe. People are passionate in chanting the name and fanatic in defending its appeal.

It’s important to understand what makes Modi so special among his followers; why a man in his mid-60’s is considered the ideal among a population that is predominantly young; what makes people, who are traditionally mad for cricket and Bollywood stars, getting swooned for him. The answer lies in the intricacies of the time.

Today, India is an emerging superpower. It’s the biggest democracy, one of the largest economies, one of the biggest military powers, one of the few privileged nuclear-haves and a powerful conqueror of the outer space in the world. It’s the second largest market of the world in terms of demand and constitutes probably the best pool of human resource globally. It’s a global IT powerhouse and a world leader in software technology. The Indian Diaspora spread across the nook and corner of the planet has proved its capacities and the voices of overseas Indian communities have emerged as important voices within their respective countries and societies. Today, India has come up as the global favorite for trade and investment and no country in the world, howsoever mighty and resourceful it may be, can afford to overlook India.

Yet, India wasn’t a pretty picture because the nation as a political community presented a somber countenance. The nation yearned for a strong leadership. The political leadership, over the years was a dud and was short on the X-factor; it lacked initiatives and looked disconnected with time. The leadership was unimaginative, uninspiring and thoroughly disappointing. A good many Indians felt distraught, disgusted and disillusioned with the political process and looked away from it. People wanted a strong man in the helm of affair; the young India wanted a leader who could be youthful, assertive and decisive; the well-off citizens of the nation wanted a leader who could protect their wealth, the middle class wanted freedom from corruption, the youth wanted jobs and the poors and destitute in villages wanted creation of more opportunities to improve their life situations. But, the leadership looked lost and clueless.

A great number of Indians in India and beyond its boundaries had long back started to deconstruct the essentials of a true leader for the emerging nation and on the basis of this deconstruction, had constructed the image of an ‘ideal’ leader capable of providing leadership to the emerging power called India. Since long, they were looking for a person that could be cast into this image but there was none. Now, with the gradual emergence of Narendra Modi on national scene, the long quest of Indians, desperate for their ‘constructed’ notion of a leader, seemed to be over. Narendra Modi truly came out as the man of the moment and in him the restless Indians found the contours of a great leader India was poised to witness after a pretty long time. No wonder the desperate India cried out ‘Modi, Modi’ and soon it became a razing chant. The chant, renting the air in each part of the diverse nation he visited, symbolized the hope, confidence and optimism of a billion plus population around him.

Modi successfully cultivated his image as a strong leader. He used his resources well and marketed himself with immaculate precision. He built up his persona and over the years it grew well enough to fit in the mould of the leadership ‘construct’ that this impatient nation had so passionately created. He parachuted into this mould and customized himself as per its dimension. He sounded strong, bold and confident. He connected not only with the urban affluent society or with the job-seekers of small towns or with the salaried middle class and with the destitute villagers but also with the religious inner core of a deeply-religious society and talked unashamedly of the religion of majority – something which is considered next to blasphemy in a country fed on the constant doses of Nehruvian construct of secularism. He came up as an unashamed Hindu apologist yet beautifully camouflaged his religious appeal behind his leitmotif of development. Thus, the pied piper of Gujarat had captured the imagination of a billion-plus population. His machineries worked upon his successfully crafted image of a saviour and the masses fell for him.

Thus, the chant of ‘Modi…Modi…Modi’ is the cheerful rant and optimist roar of a zealous population long disillusioned with an inactive, non-performing political leadership and hence the cry will keep resonating the airs over the Indian sub-continent and elsewhere so long the dream merchant carries the potentials to deliver on his promises.

Krishnakumar@ThoughtPourri 2014


The Pied Piper of Delhi: History Lies in His Momentous Existance in Power

Thousands thronged the historic Ramlila Maidan on the sunny noon of 28th December to witness a great historic moment unfolding; it was a moment that carried the promise of changing the character of Indian democracy like never before. The hero of the moment, Arvind Kejriwal, who had upstaged a stunning debut in the Delhi’s corridors of power, was walking up the stage with six of his chosen marauders, who had slain veterans in the just concluded electoral battle of Delhi. Leading his pack, he climbed up the stage with somber countenance while his mind seemed focused on something far away from the immediate sight. Maybe he wasn’t thinking of the maddening crowd or of their victory chants or galvanizing placards eulogizing him rather he was thinking of the challenges ahead – the challenges that were made bigger by heightened expectations and, far more than anything else, by his own towering moral standards. Soon, he was uttering his oath with grit, determination and scrupulousness; after all, he meant each word of it.

The hero of the moment had well realized that the days of fiery speeches and lofty sloganeering were over and now it was the time to act. He always talked of action; while crying down the government of the day in streets he bandied about thousands of innovative ideas on governance and decreed that a will power to ACT on those ideas are the key to achieve swaraj. And now, it was his time to act on those ideas; it was his time to implement his cherished swaraj. At the moment, it was that element of action that was weighing heavily on his mind.

This darling of democracy had always been reiterating the view that governance is not a rocket science. And, of course, it is not. Governance is simple execution of few commonsense solutions as well as ruthless execution of few daring ideas that carry the potential to ease as well as revolutionize the socio-economic existence of the citizens. It doesn’t require geeks and policy wonks with crude technical expertise to make lofty plans rather few committed individuals with steel in their spines to implement some commonplace solutions aimed at common welfare. Looking at his and his team’s level of commitment to bring about the professed changes, it can be said that it should not be difficult for him to achieve those targets. The political environment is buzzing with innovative ideas; all it needs to have someone who can seize upon them and ACT on those ideas.

Here, the AAP leaders need to step in and prove their worth. The odds are stacked against them – They’ve come up against a hostile opposition, have no majority in the house and are still terrible greenhorns in politics; moreover the onus of governance has fallen upon their unprepared shoulders in the most unexpected manner by a conspiracy of circumstances and not by their own sweet volition. They were not yet prepared for the role; the electoral outcome caught them slightly off guard. Yet, they’re willing to take the bait; they’re willing to shoulder the responsibility. They’re the heroes of a new political order, the rising sun of a new dawn coming over the democratic landscape of 21st century India. They will rise and shine to the occasion. They’re heroes and heroes show their characters in adversity.

Many say they would fail but still they wish to give success a chance. They’re determined to give good governance. If they fail they would like to go down taking the battle in the enemy’s camp. They would expose the opposition; they would expose their unholy designs in bringing down the government. Hence, they have nothing to lose. They’re the proletariat of democracy in the 21st century India who are out to dislodge the formidable czars of power. They’re set to reformulate the political discourses of our time and are destined to redefine the agenda of modern politics. They will redefine the political morality and will dictate the terms of democracy on their formidable rivals in the days to come.

It has been a matter of a great political debate that how long will this government survive. Germs of destruction have been set in its very foundation. Well, the great experiment of the Amm Aadmi may come out to be a short-lived affair but it is going to change the tone and tenor of Indian democracy forever. The politicians will no longer remain the distant figures cut off from their surroundings, the politics will no longer be a byword for sleaze, dirt and scandals and the democracy will no longer remain the fiefdom of few dynastic despots or casteist-communal demagogues; the rules of the game will change forever.

That’s why the ascendance in power of the Aam Aadmi Party, which embodies the collective anger, frustration and disenchantment of the nation, is a unique moment in Indian democracy whose importance lies in its momentous existence in power. History lies in these very moments. It’s outcome is not that important.

The dreams of the Pied piper of Delhi will come to reality sooner or later.

Krishnakumar@ThoughtPourri 2013

1st prize in photography: WHAT YOU HAVE…WHAT YOU CAN HAVE

This photograph takeen by Ananyaa has won her first prize in the inter-CMS school photography competition on 31st October, 2013

This photograph taken by Ananyaa (My daughter, 10 Yrs) sometimes around August, 2012 has won her first prize in photography competition in the 10th International Youth Fest held at CMS school, Lucknow in November, 2013

The Philosophy behind the picture:

Like the butterfly in the picture here, there are many people in the world who are underachievers; they haven’t got what they deserved.

Most of us remain contended with what we have. Many of us fail to identify the opportunities lying before us. At times, we simply don’t care for the opportunities lying in front of us; maybe, we’re too afraid to take the plunge or maybe we get bogged down by our innumerable analysis, a great many of which happen to be unnecessary.

Like the butterfly, endowed with the strength to spread its wing and to hop to the beautiful twig lying ahead, we must identify our real strength and build upon it to achieve the best of the world we deserve.

Remember, the world doesn’t care for underachievers, nor is it kind to them.

Rahul Gandhi raises communal bogey in attempt to hit the BJP where it hurts most

Rahul GandhiAfter days of vacillating on it, Rahul Gandhi raises the communal bogey. In a public meeting at Churu, Rajasthan, Rahul came hard on BJP and in a head-on collision course it blamed BJP for inciting communal riots in the country which, he said, ultimately leads to terrorism. Thus, by putting the blame for communal riots and terrorism squarely on the main opposition party in the nation, he has tried to play the communal card with rich political dividend in sight.

To paint the BJP in communal colours has been the long-standing strategy of the congress party and it has worked many times in the past. But, Rahul Gandhi, in the run up to the 2014 elections, had been desisting from invoking it so far. Maybe because he understood that by talking of development and issues related to poor and youth he will be able to pull his party through in the coming elections. But, with pre-poll surveys across the spectrum repeatedly projecting the party to get the drubbing in the 2014 elections, desperation has started getting the better of him. Therefore, under the grip of panic, he chose to play the trump card of communalism hoping to polarize the nation along communal fault lines and sweep the windfall of minority votes.

But, the strategy is perilous – it carries the risk of communalizing the political discourse of our times. As it goes to ruffle the feathers of the BJP, the latter would certainly have a bone to pick with the Congress on this sensitive accusation. Though, the BJP of course is a party which has blotted its copybook by the demolition of the disputed Babri Masjid in Ayodhya and by many other actions that casts it in communal mould, it certainly would like to question the credentials of the congress in the communal-secular debate.

So far the BJP’s prime ministerial nominee, Narendra Modi treaded a cautious path by skirting the issue of communalism and he talked about positive issues like strengthening the bureaucratic-administrative functioning to lead development, economic growth and changes; he talked of creating structures for sustaining equitable growth that promised the fruit of development to the urban and rural societies alike. He talked about the issues of the middle class and the youth and tried to reach out to the Minorities promising them development and growth which had eluded them so far. He took the issues of corruption, nepotism and crony capitalism that has bled India in the past decades and promised a clean and efficient administration on the lines of his home state Gujarat where he’s been ruling since 2001. It connected him instantly with the middle class, the youth, the poors and to some extent, even with minorities. He talked tough and assured that he meant business.

The resurgent, restless India lauded him and the crowds cheered him with frenzied applause wherever he went. Over the time, his personality took the status of cult among his followers. This gave sleepless nights to Congress strategists who have always sought upmanship in the personality-centric politics of India.

In this tug of war, Rahul Gandhi found his grip slipping and this made him desperate. He has overexploited his welfare-oriented policies like Food Security Bill and MANREGA but finds the prospects of these policies returning votes very dismal. He knows he has nothing to talk on the development plank as each policy of his government is blotted by a scarier scam. Thus, the congress think-tank went overdrive to cut the BJP to size by playing the communal card. By slinging the mud of communalism on BJP they hope some of it would stick with them. Thus, they have chosen to strike the BJP where it hurts most.

But, by playing the communal card Rahul Gandhi runs the risk of exposing his own party’s records to closer scrutiny. The congress has many questions to answer on the front of secularism. One would be tempted to ask about Congress party’s support to organizations like Muslim League, Jamaat-e-Islami and SIMI and about its track records in various communal riots like that of Bhagalpur, anti-sikh riots of 1984 and the recent Assam riots. One would like to highlight the communal agenda of the party by upturning the SC judgement on Shah Bano in 1987, by standing behind the terrorist encounter of Batla House, by its plan to give the Muslims reservations in government jobs, by its recent administrative instructions to state governments to not arrest the members of minority community in matters of terrorist investigations and by its proposed legislations like the Communal violence bill where it shamelessly attempts to put criminality on the majority community in a riot situation and subjecting the members of the majority community to harsher criminal procedures for the same crime. The history of the Congress party in the post-independence India is a chronology of facts how the party has fomented, nourished and sustained communalism by exploiting the communal fault-line to its own political advantages. Rahul Gandhi would find himself on a sticky wicket if he is invited to talk on communalism in India and the role of political parties in it. Maybe, partially because of his banal oratorical skills, he would never be ready for such a public trial. Thus, he sees virtue in making ambushes from the sidelines.

Thus, short of ideas on development and change and with an aim to deflect attention from issues of corruption, price rise, unemployment and misgovernance, Rahul Gandhi pushes communal agenda to the fore. But, in the process, the positive discourse of the 2014 elections runs the risk of being hijacked by the chancy talks of hate.

Will the BJP Dump Narendra Modi after the Elections Lead to a Hung Parliament?

Narendra Modi

The latest round of Times Now – C voters pre-election survey for the 2014 Loksabha polls comes up with a widely-perceived conclusion that no pre-poll formation is going to have a majority in the parliament.

This survey brings forth three main conclusions: First, the ruling UPA alliance doesn’t have the ghost of a chance to come back to power in 2014; second, the main opposition NDA led by the BJP has made significant gains following declaration of Narendra Modi as the alliance’s Prime Ministerial nominee but there is no wave in his favour yet; third, the remaining other parties who are projected to share 240 seats among them are going to be the key players in forming the next government.

Out of the three broad conclusions, we’ll focus on the one concerning with the NDA. The latest survey that puts NDA’s figure to 186 has projected the BJP getting 162 seats in the pan-India tally. This is a significant rise over the past few months since the time Narendra Modi has been anointed to lead the NDA should it came to power. The projections show that the NDA shall fall well short of the half way mark. That’s true in the present context but we’ve to respect the dimension of time; the elections are still 6 months away which is a long period in politics.

Reputation has its own dynamics that builds up its own momentum in politics hence an astute politician vies for reputation that earns him goodwill and vote. Over the years Narendra Modi has earned the reputation of being a formidable leader who is blessed with tremendous political and administrative acumen and his fame is gathering greater momentum with each passing day. After winning three assembly elections hands down in Gujrat, Narendra Modi was seen geared up for larger role at national level. Hence, it didn’t surprise anyone when Modi, in teeth of all opposition, was chosen to lead the BJP in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections.

After months of churning, the central leadership of BJP understood it well that he was the only leader who carried pan-India Appeal and who could brighten the prospects of BJP in the hustings. He’s seen as a man whose appeal cuts across the boundaries of caste, class and regions and is venerated as someone who is strong, decisive and focused at his assignment. The young India adores him and the restless Indian masses, battered by corruption, inflation and misgovernance look up to him for panacea. The crowds throng in his meetings and people hang on his lips when he counts the sins of the government. As the burly demagogue rises to lash out at the misdeeds of the government the craving masses roar with approval and every time he cuts his stingy one-liners the crowd goes berserk. He’s the adorned deity in the art of oratory and his critics term him a rabble-rouser. But, he knows the art and science of connecting to the masses; he feels their pulse and speaks their language and thus he makes the maudlin masses of India fall for him. That’s why even his worst critics admit that he is the best bet for the BJP in the coming elections.

It’s being bandied about in some quarters that after the elections if NDA emerges the single largest formation looking short of a majority, the BJP would drop Narendra Modi in favour of a less controversial candidate who could be more acceptable to its potential allies so that NDA government could be formed. Well, apparently, it may look a workable solution should the NDA hoped to come to the powers. But, nothing can be more misleading and farther from truth than a hypothesis like this. It’s a calculated ploy by the Modi detractors and a malicious attempt to confound the voters of the BJP.

Why the NDA can’t drop Narendra Modi for the sake of forming a government is simple – this election, either from the side of UPA or NDA, is going to be a personality based election in which the personality and the aura of the person leading his alliance would be the determining factor. People would vote the BJP formation because of the sheer persona of Modi. After all, after suffering a decade of malgovernance and incompetence people are looking for a strong leader who could be bold, decisive and efficient. Narendra Modi is looked up as a leader who is believed to possess all these attributes and much more. His voters take him to be a wizard who has many cards up his sleeves to take on the myriads of the problems that plague India. That’s why NDA can’t replace Modi even if it wished to do so.

Secondly, it will be the greatest betrayal of the popular mandate and any government formed so would be illegal and ethically non-sustainable. The votaries of NDA who cast their vote for the alliance for the sake of Modi would stand cheated and would never forgive the arrangement.

Thirdly, even if such a government is formed it will live under the constant shadow of Narendra Modi. The government would be judged from the yardsticks of Modi’s functionality and its failures would become more glaring and apparent. It will become akin to raising Modi’s stature even higher among the masses.

Thus dropping Modi would be nothing lesser than a political hara-kiri for the BJP which will suffer a deficit of credibility for years to come. That’s why the BJP would never afford to drop Narendra Modi irrespective of how tempting the supposition might look from the vantage point of realpolitik.

Last but not the least, if Narendra Modi is able to pull off a sort of coup by plundering 200-something seats for the NDA, he’ll become taller than the tallest leader in the BJP and in the scenario no central leader will have the guts to ruffle his feathers by hinting the idea of a change of leadership.

Krishna Kumar@ThoughtPourri 2013

As the cyclone beats a retreat, the congress jockeys for position

As the devastating cyclone fizzled out the congress party moved in swiftly to claim credit for the massive evacuation efforts that resulted in remarkably lesser number of human casualties during the thick of the calamity. In a hurriedly called press conference at the party headquarters, the central minister for science and technology, Mr Jaipal Reddy patted the back of the UPA government and took all the credits for managing the disaster in a better way.

Notwithstanding the fact that the situation at the ground level was managed in an outstanding manner this time, the attempt of the congress to own the success singlehandedly runs contrary to the facts and amounts to politicizing a natural calamity for narrow political gains.

One may not be in disagreement with the claim of the minister that the government has made huge investments over the years in augmenting the technological capabilities of the metrological department. The minister must be speaking by the book when he said that the government invested rupees 750 crores that went into purchasing supercomputers, sophisticated radars and satellite warning systems that modernized the department making the job of metrological forecasting reliable. This certainly gives some merit to the minister’s claim that the UPA government was responsible for the successful evacuation of the masses enabling them to escape the fury of the cyclone.

Yet, the assertion of the congress needs to be taken with a pinch of salt because it is improper and wrong on two fundamental counts – facts and ethics.

Why the congress is wrong in taking credit of the evacuation drive is the fact that evacuation of such large number of people counting to 1 million can’t be possible without tremendous effort of the local administration, police and other state agencies. The state government administration personnel of both the states put in tremendous efforts to save the people. The Odissa government set an inconceivable target of zero death and it really meant it. People, like the collector of the Ganjam district who went without sleep for 72 hours to ensure relocation of nearly 1.5 lac people to safer places, are the real heroes whose herculean efforts helped the state governments in getting their ducks in a row. Hence, the attempt of the congress to take credit of the success singlehandedly without giving any credit to the BJD government is factually not tenable.

Further, it is ethically not proper to rake the issue of taking credit at a time when the dust raised by the storm has not yet fully settled. The governments still need to put in tremendous efforts in terms of manpower and resources to bring the cyclone affected areas back to track. All the people who are relocated from their homes are to be rehabilitated and, as most of them are terminally poor, they need to be set on their feet. Hence, this is certainly not the time to indulge in credit business. If the central government feels that it has invested in weather forecasting technologies, it is good; it is exactly what is expected out of a government. It is their job. To raise a hue and cry over a job which is expected out of the minister is nothing else but a sinister attempt aimed at taking political mileage out of a calamity. It shows desperation.

It is time to demonstrate our expertise and technological prowess in the field of weather forecasting to the outside world in an apolitical manner. It is certainly not a time to indulge in political rhetoric on what is essentially a non-political issue.

Krishna Kumar@ThoughtPourri 2013

Good Bye Phailin: The Cyclone Blew Over

Phailin, the massive cyclone that had built up in the Bay of Bengal on 12th October has now blown over and everyone in the nation is heaving a sigh of relief over the fact that this time around the cyclone died down without claiming much toll on human life. It happened not because the nature had pulled its punches by showing less savagery but because of a combination of reasons that happened to be primarily man-made.

The Bay of Bengal is feared for its violent cyclonic activities during the months of September–October; during this time around it has brought forth few deadliest storms to smash the eastern coast of India that have ended up into massive destruction to life and property. The loss to life and property had become so much a routine affair during these calamities that the nation had begun to take it for granted. The nation waited for death and destruction with onset of each such calamity.

Heavy toll on human life is common to all natural calamities in India. But this time when Phailin made the landfall on Indian coastlines, the script had been quite different; as the tempestuous wind roared across the coastal landscapes with mayhem written in its eyes, it was greeted with deserted villages and lifeless settlements. People had been relocated to safer places long before the cyclone hit the land. Thus, while Phailin wreaked havoc on infrastructure, agriculture and private and public properties, the human life remained largely spared. Though, the assessment on actual figures for destruction to life and property will take quite some time to crystallize, it is widely perceived that the figures of toll on human life would remain fairly moderate. It’s not a mean achievement considering that a cyclone of almost the same ferocity and around the same area had claimed more than 10,000 lives a decade back.

Well, there are four reasons why this time the things were different.

First, India has come a long way in scientific forecasting of weather. This time there was exact information about the date, time, location and ferocity of the cyclone that helped the two states of Odissa and AP plan their strategies and co-ordinate their activities well in time.

Secondly, it was the sheer will power of the governments and the various agencies involved in the rescue and relief works that helped them achieve their target of minimizing human deaths. The state of Odissa had formulated a policy of zero loss of human life and it went the whole hog in implementing this. First time in the history of India, a massive evacuation and relocation drive was taken up that ushered in a record 1 million people to safer places ensuring safety to their lives. The men on the mission stuck to their job in teeth of great adversity and put up a remarkable show of professionalism and commitment.

Thirdly, India has hugely improved in terms of infrastructures to deal with such natural disasters. Taking lessons from the death and destruction of the cyclone of 1999, the administration in coastal areas, in consultation with experts, had implemented several measures to deal with such unfortunate events. Many strong shelters were created and road and communication infrastructures were improved along the coastal areas to enable the people face the fury of nature with better preparedness.

And fourthly, the growth and penetration of technology went a long way in saving the lives of the people by equipping them well with the latest means of communication. Today, nearly a billion Indians use mobile phones whereas only 4 millions used this technology at the threshold of millennium. This strong network of person-to-person communication helped the people in understanding the true nature of the impending crisis and also enabled them in making their individual safety strategies. Moreover, we’ve a battery of TV news channels networks in India that, in their competitive overzealousness to come up with breaking news, sent 24-hour coverage on the great calamity to the households in villages and remote hamlets in and around the ground zero.

Such positive events would go a long way in boosting the confidence of the nation in dealing with the events of natural calamities and in mitigating the prospects of destruction to life and property.

Krishna Kumar@ThoughtPourri 2013

The Legend Hangs His Boots

There are few moments in history which come to be counted as watershed – these are those rare moments when time seems to stop to catch its breath and to grasp the magnitude of the occurrence. The announcement of retirement from test matches by none other than the God of Indian Cricket, Sachin Tendulkar, after he plays his 200th match in Mumbai is one such watershed event which will be ever remembered in history for its significance, consequence and force. Henceforth, the world of Indian cricket will no longer remain the same.

A day was decided when this was going to happen yet the nation wished this never to happen. Finally, the moment arrived and the master came out to call it a day. Instantly, a billion plus hearts stopped beating, a billion faces went somber and a billion voices went calm. After all, a living legend had chosen to walk into the pages of history leaving the nation emotionally orphaned.

The man who dominated the Indian cricket for nearly two and a half decades, is not only a cricketing hero but is a sorcerer who has taught a generation of Indians to stand erect on their spine, to stare into the eyes of mighty opponents and to hold their heads high with masculine pride; he’s leader who humbled the arrogance of dominating power and inspired the billion-plus nation to be aggressive and confident by shedding their inferiority before the global powers; he showed the nation how to be assertive leaving aside the humbleness of the Nehruvian era.

He’s among the few Individuals of the modern India who could be counted to have cast such a magical spell on the lives of the people that changed them forever. During many of the moments of despondency in the nation, he’s been the reason to cheer up; he’s gladdened the hearts of millions and brought smiles on their faces. Many will say it’s a chance but the resurgence of India coincided with the arrival and rise of this diminutive man from Mumbai. He’s helped the new India acquire confidence and self-believe which gets reflected into the character of the young generation. His legacy is amply visible in the present generation of the cricketers who reflect the confidence of the world champions. Many of these rookies have grown up watching him play and hold him to be their idol.

In the arena of the sports, he was nothing less than a prophet who proselytized millions into the sect of cricket converting the game into a religion. Gradually, he became the latest addition in the pantheon of divinity as his fanatic fans proclaimed him god. Success defies the law of gravity as it goes straight into the head. Yet, the anointment of god never got into his head and the man remained as humble and grounded as possibly the god could be. He’s of course the chosen son of god.

His accomplishment on the field has been an epical saga of valour and masculinity. He enjoyed playing his game and dominated the best of bowling attacks. The winner shows his character in adversity. He showed his true prowess against the most fearsome opponents. He went on playing the game and records kept tumbling one after another. By plundering his booty on the field, he re-constructed the record books and added voluminous pages into them. Statistics always stood in his way by bowing its head in subservience. He has been the lord of cricketing records and statistics.

Today it is a difficult moment; it’s difficult to imagine Indian cricket without him. It’s hard to believe that the proselytizing prophet of this game has made up his mind to hang his boots. He’s carried the faith of millions on his shoulder for all these years and fulfilled their aspirations. Who will the nation look up to with the same faith in the moments of despondency?

The god has chosen to walk out of our lives.

Krishna Kumar@ThoughtPourri 2013

#Escapevelocity: Rahul Gandhi Shoots from the Hip, again

Rahul Gandhi is a master of paradoxes; while people use metaphors to Make complex enumerations easy, he uses them to make easy discourses turn complex. That’s why each time he gives his maxims, his words find an instant flavour on the social media.

Yesterday at a special function in New Delhi, he opined that in order to progress, dalits in India need the escape velocity of the jupiter. Elaborating upon his point he said:

“Aeronautics mein ek escape velocity ka concept hota hai. Escape velocity matlab agar aap ne dharti se space mein jana hai… agar aap hamari dharti pe hai to 11.2 km per second aap ki velocity honi padegi. (There is a concept of escape velocity if you want to go into space from Earth… your velocity has to be 11.2 km/sec)… Agar use kam hogi to aap kitna bhi karenge aap space mein nahin ja sakte aur agar jyada ho gayi to aap nikal jayenge. (If it is less then you can’t go into space, if it is more then you will get away)…To Jupiter ki escape velocity kya hoti hai? Agar koi Jupiter pe khada hai aur Jupiter ki kheech se nikalna ho to use 60 km/sec ki acceleration chahiye. (If you are standing on Jupiter you need to go at 60 km/sec).””

He took the concept to the Dalit social mobility in the country and said, “Yahan Hindustan mein hamara jaat ka concept hai. Is mein bhi escape velocity hoti hai. Dalit community ko is dharti pe Jupiter ki escape velocity chahiye. (In India we have caste. Dalits need Jupiter’s escape velocity on Earth)… Yahan aap ko bahut jyada tez dhakka marna padta hai. (You have to push very hard),”
Within minutes of his remark, the twitterati logged on to their tabs and ipads to take a jibe at it. Soon #escapevelocity was trending high on the twitter.

Following are some of the pick-ups from twitter:

@RagxsBalunda: Dear #RahulGandhi , sorry bt improving the condition of Dalits is no rocket science #EscapeVelocity

@mysticliving: Ideally Rahul G should have been given Nobel Prize for Physics for applying #Escapevelocity for social upliftment
@krish0201: Wonder if all the dalits escaped into the space who would vote for the congress and its yuvraj in 2014?

@kalpsgr: Rahul Gandhi just missed Nobel Prize, if the #EscapeVelocity speech made earlier, sure shot nobel was his.

@bwoyblunder: About time Deepak Chopra admits that he writes Rahul Gandhi’s speeches #EscapeVelocity

@vbsingh60: Johny Lever, Raju Shrivastav n Kapil shud tighten belts. All hv tough competition from Rahul. #escapevelocity

@ishagupta29: Every time Rahul Gandhi speaks, the level of competition for who is the best comedian increases by 100 times. #escapevelocity

@Samurai911: Now waiting for BJPs vision of space program to be unveiled… After the #escapevelocity comment by Rahul Gandhi

@—kkr—: Space will be a better place thn Congress rule. RG is right this time. #escapeVelocity #Jupiter

Well, people tore into his remark as many thought that it, as usual, happened to be short on intelligence. That’s what the perception goes which is very aptly described in an article on the ‘Faking News’: “Rahul Gandhi repeats a quote by Einstein and everyone laughs…It no longer matters whether he says something while sporting a serious beard or after getting a youthful shave, people are now programmed to laugh at him.”

However, he was making a very valid point as he wished to highlight how difficult it is for the dalits to make social mobility. In fact the reality is that all the socially underprivileged groups have to toil hard in order to make a mark in life and rise high in social hierarchy. The path of upward mobility for them, indeed, happens to be full of challenging roadblocks. But, then he needs to answer who is responsible for this state of affairs. It is his party that has remained in power for most of the last 65 years; then why the congress couldn’t provide the required escape velocity to the dalits in India?

But, this is not the first time. Rahul Gandhi is very fond of shooting from the hips. It will be interesting to recall some of his past maxims – the not so palatable ‘Rahulism’:

“It is very difficult to stop every single terror attack. We will stop 99% terror attacks but 1 % of attacks might get through.”

“People call us an elephant.. We are not an elephant.. we are a beehive.. it’s funny but think about it. Which is more powerful? an elephant or a beehive?”

“Poverty is just a state of mind. It does not mean scarcity of food, money or material things. If one possesses self-confidence then we can overcome poverty.”

“If India is a computer, Congress is its default programme.”

“Politics is everywhere.. it is in your shirt.. in your pants.. everywhere.”

“Seven out of 10 youths in Punjab have a drug problem.”

“All the public systems – administration, justice, education and political are designed to keep people with knowledge out. Such a systeme promotes mediocrity.”

“My opinion of the ordinance is that it’s complete nonsense and that it should be torn up and may be the words I used were strong but the sentiment was not wrong. I am young….”

The yuvraj of the congress party, who is on a long drawn-out probation, is still wanting in the art of politics. While he is learning the nuances of the game, he kicks many occasional goofs ups that throws poor light on him especially when he is seen pitted against one of the best orators of the contemporary India, Narendra Modi; contrasting him, the latter is richly endowed with the gift of the gab.

At present, the showdown seems to be poised between the ‘Lord of the Gabs’ Vs ‘Lords of the Goof-ups’

A Political Mess Called Telangana: It’s Congress to blame

When important political decisions are made on the basis of ulterior electoral designs then what ensues is a mess. Today, Telangana is one such mess created out of sheer electoral miscalculations that is now boomeranging on its creators. What had once been a genuine mass movement of the people of Telangana, aimed at creating a separate state out of Andhra Pradesh, had been most callously left to degenerate into a political slugfest of the worst kind where no one looks to emerge the winner. The architect of this mess is the central leadership of the Congress which uncaged the tiger of Telangana only to reap few political dividends.

The creation of Telangana was an event just waiting to happen. It’s just an undoing of what had been done nearly 60 years ago in 1956 when the state of Andhra Pradesh was created merging the Nizam territories of Telangana with the newly created Andhra state. Hyderabad was made the capital of this newly created state. The people of Telangana never resigned to this merger and a passive movement for bifurcation of AP started which continued well into the 21st century. In 2004, the congress had made a promise to create Telangana state but it kept on sitting over the proposal till 2009 when suddenly the then Home Minister, Mr. P. Chidambaram woke up to this issue and announced to begin the process for creation of Telangana. Honestly, the congress never meant it. It was just a political gimmick. Just few days later, when protests erupted in Andhra against the decision, the congress backtracked. Then, in July 2013, just months before the general election, the Congress Working Committee passed a unanimous resolution to bifurcate the state of AP and sent the proposal to the government for beginning the modalities.

What happened suddenly that changed the heart of the congress?

Actually, the seed for the creation of Telangana lies in the internal political dynamics of the congress party in AP. Here, after the demise of the YSR, his son Jagan Mohan Reddy had, about the same time in December 2009, started pushing for his claims on the chief minister’s throne and to put pressure on the party he broke away to form YSR congress. To deflect the issue and to take wind out of Jagan’s sail, the congress in Dec, 2009 declared to begin the process of creation of Telangana. However, after protests erupted in Seemandhra (the remaining Andhra Pradesh areas comprising coastal Andhra and Rayalseema regions), the Congress dragged its feet. Thus, the reckless dabbling of the party in the affairs of Telangana had begun. However, the Telangana Rashtra Samiti (TRS) leader K. Chandrashekhar Rao had licked the blood and he intensified the movement. Thus, between 2010 to 2013, many people died in the movement and many students immolated themselves for the cause of Telangana. Then suddenly in July, 2013, the announcement came from the Congress to form the Telangana State.

The real reason behind the decision is the political calculation of the congress to cut the support base of Jagan Mohan Reddy, who is poised to make Congress lick the dust in the coming elections. Reddy, who hails from Andhra had earlier supported the creation of Telangana in the hope that the state would be never created. Thus, on this issue, the Congress wishes to expose Reddy of his double standards and by doing so it tries to cut its losses in the Seemandhra region which returns 25 MPs in the parliament. At the same time, by creation of Telangana it hopes to win support of the TRS in the Lok Sabha election and eyes to sweep the 17 Lok Sabha seats of the Telangana region. Moreover, the congress also hopes to cut Chandrababu Naidu to size who, also coming from the Seemandhra region, had earlier given his written support to create Telangana. Now, by opposing the creation of Telangana both these politicians from Semmandhra have opened themselves to the attack that they are running with the hare and hunting with the hound.

Creation of small states is a necessity and there is no denial from the fact that Telangana, despite its resources and riches, has suffered at the hands of the rest of the Andhra and hence, creation of a separate state is the only authentic solution to its backwardness and exploitation. At the same time, the people of Seemandhra too have genuine concerns regarding revenue, economy, their employment opportunities and their claim on the Hyderabad. Hence, what was required was to do a proper home work and to try to build consensus by smart negotiations before embarking upon the complex issue of bifurcation which the congress didn’t do. It is obvious that in its zeal to plunder political dividends, the Congress implemented its Telangana policy by fits and starts. The Group of Ministers (GoM) that has now been created to look into the settlement of legal, economic and administrative issues is nothing else than putting the cart before the horse. With election round the corner it is for everyone to see what this GoM is able to achieve within this small period. Of course, the Telangana issue is going to be one among those many legacies of this government which the next government will have to deal with.

Today, the whole of AP is in real mess where no one has the clue for a solution. After the announcement of Telangana, the Seemandhra region has been thrown into the cauldron of violent agitations with no hope of an impending solution. No one knows how to put the tiger back into the cage. Today, the people speaking the same language and following same culture have been put face to face. Language and culture no longer are the sacred territories to keep people together; today people are willing to cross over their cultural-linguistic boundaries in search of better opportunities.

Krishna Kumar@ThoughtPourri 2013

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