Monday, May 26, 2014

N-talk shows up Sena; Modi needs to cut it to size

It is appalling that the Sena choose to assert itself with Narendra Modi by talking of exercising the nuclear option against Pakistan.

The comments, on the eve of the swearing of the Modi ministry, not only are inopportune but also shows up the shallowness of the Sena leadership on weighty matters affecting the nation. The Sena either has no knowledge of the cataclysmic consequences of the nuclear option, and the ability of Pakistan to survive a first strike and launch a devastating counter strike, or they lack the caliber to grasp such issues. Additionally, by talking like ruffians engaged in a street power game, they have shown themselves up as unable to provide leadership to the nation.

The very fact that the Sena, an important ally to the BJP and a key Hindutva party, was willing to think of an option that would send billions of living beings into oblivion, is even more worrying. Sena watchers may not be surprised at the statement but the callousness with which it was uttered makes it frightening to think the kind of leadership India is going to get.

Makes it all the more imperative for Narendra Modi to run a tight ship, and if need be, to press the eject button on allies like the Sena. The way the Sena has been carping about getting more cabinet berths shows it is more interested in power and pelf rather than good governance. Modi has made a good start by resisting those pressures. He should now slowly tighten the screws on the Sena and bring it in line -- he can do that; the Indian people have gifted him a majority for strengthening the nation.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

UPA's comeuppance but will the new claimants to the throne rise to the challenge?

The drubbing that the Congress is facing is just comeuppance for its hubris, lack of connect with the people, and last but not least, its ineptness. The last few years of UPA rule have been, to put it mildly, disastrous for this country -- in every front. Worse still, the common people had to suffer the humiliation of Congress worthies pontificating about everything under the sun, as if no one else had the wisdom to see things in the "correct" perspective.

Even when onion prices went through the roof, the UPA was unmoved -- because the engineers of that artificial price rise were none other than their own allies, the Nationalist Congress Party in Maharashtra. Its chief and Union agriculture minister Sharad Pawar is more focused on getting control of the lucrative cricket board in India. He  actually had the gall to tell journalists, who asked him about onion prices during a cricket-politics function, that it is not the time and place to ask such questions. The underlying contempt and message was clear: the common man can go to hell, who are you to ask?

Now that the common man is finally pulling the rug from under the feet of these racketeers and daylight robbers, the next logical step would be throwing them into jail.

Just like the tough rape laws, we need tough anti-corruption laws. Will the new claimants to the crown be able to rise up to the challenge?

Monday, September 9, 2013

Mumbai's top cop gets a tight slap from Thackeray but will he get the marching orders?

Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray has given a slap on Mumbai Police Commissioner Satyapal Singh's face, and rightly so. Thackeray asked the  city's top cop what is the need for a police force if Ganesh Mandals are to be made solely responsible for the security of women devotees.

Singh has the habit of pontificating about social issues beyond his grasp to hide the dubious record of his force in bringing crime and criminals under control in India's financial capital and his own ineptness in leading them. This time he tried to bite more than he could chew.

Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan gave a meek response that he will speak to Singh about his statement, a clear sign that nothing will happen and the cop will get away without even a rap across the knuckles. But it is time someone did something about this police force which has cut such a sorry figure. The only persons who can do that in the current political spectrum are the Thackeray cousins but they seem to be in no mood to grab power which is for their asking. Their mutual bickering will only let the effete ruling front get away with their follies.

If Mumbai has to be saved from further going down the spiral of crime and violence, a beginning has to be made somewhere and the top cop has offered himself as the most visible choice for that beginning. Will someone bite the bullet this time?

Monday, February 13, 2012

Why Iran may not be behind the Israel embassy attack in India

The bomb attack of an Israeli embassy car has, predictably, led to accusations that Iran is the perpetrator.
For those accusing Iran for the attack, the link is very obvious: a bomb was found and defused in an Israel embassy car in Georgia around the same time; Iran's nuclear scientists have been killed recently in similar attacks suspected to be carried out by the Moss and and that country had threatened to hit back ...
A U.S. commentator said the attack shows how panicky the Iranian leadership is to have carried out the attack in a country that has now become its main oil customer.
Well, it is not so simple. None of this 'evidence' actually is fool-proof it you look at them impartially.
Granted, Iran has said it will hit back but that is not evidence that country carried out these particular attacks. Not even the fact that there were two coordinated attacks in two different countries at almost at the same time. At the most that just proves Israel was attacked in a coordinated manner -- it could have been any one. Iran is just an easy suspect.
Now to look at another aspect that is largely being ignored as Western media push the official line of American and European governments ranged against Iran over that country's nuclear weapons program.
If Iran wanted to strike at Israeli targets, why should it do that in India and try to sever its economic lifeline? Iran or its proxies could have done that in any other country, as they have proved many times before. The Iranian leadership may be in panic mode, but they are not fools.
They could as well have carried out such a strike in any western capital and proved their point much more forcefully. And if they carried out the Indian attacks, they could have done it much more effectively!
So who could have been behind the attacks? It is much more easy to suspect western intelligence agencies if you look at the circumstantial evidence. It is they who want to stir up things and rupture India-Iran relations . India is now that country's major oil customer and has resisted western efforts to cut down buying its oil. India has even worked out a payments system that is not impacted by the U.S.-sponsored sanctions.
Naturally it is in western interests to cut off this economic lifeline to Iran. And they would have calculated that such an attack would create a situation wherein the Indian government is forced to cut off its trade links to Iran.
So what about the coordinated attacks? The bomb in Tbilisi, Georgia, was only an attempt to ratchet up pressure and show a 'pattern.'
Well, both attacks failed. Could the western agencies have been so unprofessional? No, but the same applies to Iran; they may be technologically behind the west, but when it comes to such clandestine  attacks they have proved that they can strike at will, and effectively.
The failures just show that the brains behind the attack employed some ill-trained proxies. Why should that be Iran?

Saturday, February 11, 2012

The world has changed, and it's payback time for British colonialists!

A column and a news story from the Economic Times have provided fuel for this article -- again on British aid to India.
First, Swapan Dasgupta writes about how British perception of Indians have changed over the decades as India's riches grew and Britian's declined. This is throwback to a few centuries earlier, or almost, when India's riches attracted the attention of the robbers in London.
Britain has, right from 1947 when it was forced to give India its freedom, tried to weaken this country and deny it its rightful place in the comity of world nations. That country's sole claim to fame is the wealth it plundered from the rest of the world, mostly India, and the way it brutally killed and pushed to poverty millions of people all over the world.
It has since then tried to keep India and the developing world weak through a variety of instruments, like the Commonwealth of Nations and British aid.
British aid in India has now become a joke, with India saying it does not want it and Britain says it won't stop giving it!
Clearly, there is something nefarious about the whole thing. British aid is going to cultivate Indian lobbyists, throgh non-profits and aid projects for the poor that actually line politicians' pockets.
But this time, with India opting for the French Rafale fighter, it is clear that British bribery is not working. India's decision to go for the Rafale is a sound one, and the Brits just cannot stomach it. As in the Mughal times, now they are hoping to overturn the Indian decision by greasing politicians' palms. The danger with India caving in is that buying British defense hardware will keep in place the unequal relationship that has existed between Britain and India. More importantly, it will help India's riches flow into Britain, again, setting off another round of financial exploitation.
The question that we Indians should be asking is why should we let these robbers get away with what they want. Any India politician who tries to scupper the Rafale decision and give the fighter contract to the Brits should be tried and imprisoned. The Brits' statements on tying aid to fighter contracts is enough evidence for that.
Britain should be let to die a slow, painful death, like the one it forced on many poor Indian artisans and farmers a couple of hundred years back. Those gruesome stories are equally horrible to the Nazi holocaust, just that the Brits were the winner of the World War II and were painted angels in history books.
If India wants to help any country in the West, it should be the United States. The steady stream of jobs that has come our way from the United States is responsible in a major way for our prosperity and economic rise. And we should try to reciprocate by giving the some arms contracts that will help them generate and keep jobs.
True, the United States has sided with the Paks several times but it was not with the aim of economic exploitation -- as was the case with Britain. The Americans were guided by their strategic calculus than economy in such decisions.
The second story is about how the Taliban has promised to capture and kill Prince Harry when he returns to Afghanistan. While we should not condone killing or threats of killing in any way, this statement from the Taliban shows how much the Brits have lost respect, and power, in the region.
They had kindled some of the world's worst, simmering conflicts during their colonial days and continued to stoke them by siding with one or the other party. Now is payback time!
This is called the wheel of Karma. For several generations of Indians who were pained to read about British atrocities and exploitation, with a feeling of helplessness, it is a time of joy. The Brits are getting it back!
With the power of the Internet the people of India can now make sure that our politicians cannot be swayed by British 'aid'. And we have nukes and long-range missiles now if the Brits every try any of their usual shenanigans.
Meanwhile, there is hope that it will not be easy for the Brits to swing the fighter contract their way -- read this article by Rajat Pandit in the

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Karnataka MLAs caught watching 'porn' -- but why the furor?

I am amused by the controversy over legislators in Karnataka allegedly watching porn on their mobiles inside the Assembly.
My question is, why make a ruckus after you have elected such people? We have long ago forgotten our responsibilities as free citizens in a democracy who can choose the people who will lead us. At the time of exercising our choice we go by all narrow considerations such as caste, creed, religion, etc. Little do we care about the suitability and capability of the person of our choice, or his moral integrity.
And suddenly things like this happen, we act surprised; we clamor for their resignation!
We get only the rulers that we deserve. Most of the people who kick up dust over this themselves are not averse to watching porn when they get the opportunity. They are pained and outraged only if the porn clip happens to be about a woman in their life, like a wife or a daughter. Anyone else is acceptable.
So why should they think the representatives they elect will be any different?
Then there is the media. Most journalists are as culpable as the average man, or the 'erring' legislators, when it comes to such things. As a journalist friend in New Delhi tweeted: "anointed saints of the press club, are we?"
The funniest part of this whole episode, to me, was the explanation offered by one of the legislators: it was scenes of rape that he was watching!

Monday, February 6, 2012

Say 'no' to UK aid; it's a tool to dictate to India

It seems the UK is still in colonial-master mode if the controversy over that country's aid to India is anything to go by. Britain gives India about $280 million in aid, puny by India's standards and Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee said as much.
The latest round of controversy is about how India spurned the Eurofighter Typhoon for the French Rafale, despite receiving British aid.
This has been a typical British tactic -- give India aid and use that leverage to make us buy their arms. Think of the Sea King helicopter deal. India bought those for our armed forces from the UK, and soon enough that country stopped the supply of spares over India's nuclear program. The fleet was grounded, hobbling the Indian Navy's anti-submarine and fleet air arm capabilities.
The current statement from British politicians, and I am sure behind the scenes maneuvers by the UK government, to tie that country's aid to India's fighter purchases rekindles memories of that humiliating episode. We should never ever buy British weapons; that country has a history of siding with Pakistan and trying to dictate our foreign policy. They just want Indian money to keep flowing into their coffers.
And I am surprised by all this outcry in Britain over 'aid' to India: after all that country's riches are a result of centuries of plunder of the East, especially India. Now that the cash-flow channels are slowly getting blocked, they want to open up new ones to keep the money flowing.
New Delhi should ask London to keep its aid, or better still, give it to the Pakistanis. Those guys are faster when it comes to payback, just they they prefer to pay back in kind -- in the form of terrorist bombs!