Monday, April 6, 2015

EDITOR'S COLUMN

Friends

We are into the new financial year beginning this April. The first full union budget was presented by the Finance Minister. By now, it has comprehensively been dissected by all those interested groups of stake holders, especially the haves with their network, to get more out of the system. The charge that BJP, the main party in the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) is a friend of business class has come to stay. Despite its anchors in TV debate and ministers and members of parliament  making all kinds of noises for the government and its budget being people friendly, the perception that it has the interest of business and corporate houses, has really stuck. While there was not much for the aam aadmi to celebrate in the central budget for 2015/16, the expectation of exemption limit increase was bellied. But the increase in service tax is going to hurt across the board. Instead of dropping wealth tax, there could have been rationalization of service tax regime on, what traffic could bear principle. The 5% tax cut for corporate was, truly speaking, not needed. This is clearly a business friendly move. But more than, what was there in the budget, what was not there, should receive more attention. Social sector spending has been sadly reduced. Expenditure on education and health has seen reduction in allocation, which is patently wrong and bad. How do you get empowered and healthy youth from this cut Mr Finance Minister? Corporate sector has hailed the budget as path breakers. Thus, it was clear that the budget was meant for them. In a democratic set-up a government is there for those who cannot have lobby. All others, businessmen, industrialists, with their trade associations and chambers of commerce always represented their interest at government level even the organized labour has its built in protection to look after its interest. It is the unorganized sector which needs succour from the vagaries of uncertain nature and governance deficit. This budget cannot be hailed as aam aadmi friendly. 
Month-in –Perspective has covered quite a few month’s happening with the comments it deserved.

Post Barack Obama visit to the country and his parting shot at India’s alleged intolerance of religious minorities and the subsequent remarks back in the U.S. has generated a debate in the country. Adding to the avoidable controversy was the New York Times editorial on the alleged silence of Prime Minister Modi. We have taken it up in the Focus to tell the NYT and its readers in the U.S and elsewhere that India is far better in its treatment of its citizens than the U.S., despite the fact that India is the most complex and bewildering country in the world.

Hope we have done justice to the subject on hand and that readers would find it worth their time. Rest are as usual. Please do revert with your inputs.

MONTH-IN-PERSPECTIVE

TAMIL NADU: Devoid of DMK/AIDMK political tu tu-mai mai -, and since Pose garden is quite with the Tamil Nadu queen Jayalalitha confined to home, not much news is emerging from Tamil Nadu. However, an incident that took place or did not take place in an Engineering Deemed University College landing up  in Madras High Court suddenly catapulted Chennai into a bit of controversy. “No ramp walks on campuses, rules Madras High Court” was a print media news, the other day. Anna University College of Engineering had conducted a fashion show with the help of corporate houses. Big money prizes were announced but not given to winners. A mother of an aggrieved student went to court claiming compensation from the college. But Justice Sivagnanam, while refusing to grant compensation, questioned the whole idea of these decadent fashion shows and what purpose would such shows serve?
It’s a good question and all serious educational institutes must address.
Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) these days is operating from Chennai. Because this is where the earlier boss of the BCCI lives and works. Hence, his looming shadow in the newly elected body to manage the murky affairs of BCCI shall continue to be there, court diktat or no court diktat. Court had said N. Srinivasan, the owner of Madras Cement and owner of IPL franchisee CSK (Chennai Super King), cannot contest for the post of President of BCCI. But the newly elected president the 74 year old Jagmohan Dalmiya is Srinivasan’s friend-in-need, now friend-in-deed.  So it’s a case of you scratch my back I scratch yours. This is another way of cocking-a-snook at judiciary.
Dalmiya was brought in earlier too at the instance of Srinivasan post IPL spot-fixing scandal as a stop gap arrangement. So, they have the interest of both in their heart. Septuagenarian Dalmiya is more than happy to play the ball for Srinivasan. Its big bucks in BCCI, and ‘some part will come to me too’ must be the Dalmiya logic, besides the high flying crumbs of office. Thus to say that BCCI is there to protect and promote cricket is a huge humbug and a hogwash. It is like service organizations, like Lions, Rotary etc. They too serve, but serve themselves more and dole out a small portion for others. Similarly in this cricket crazy country, the game will have huge following, and not many will break their head as to what happens to BCCI and its revenues, as long as its an enjoying cricket. But since, its earnings are from public domain, why should the enjoyment of earnings, which is free of income tax, should be left to a group of individuals, who among themselves decide the quota of the loot, to take home!? Its time BCCI is disbanded and made into a corporate entity where the interest of cricket players and cricket lovers are protected and promoted in the larger interest of the game, with inbuilt checks and balance against financial skullduggery. 

TELENGANA: Except Chief Minister Chandrasekhar, for his controversial remarks against Andhra Pradesh & centre nobody was making any news from Telengana. And comes the controversial M.P Asaduddin Owaisi with one of the most sensible talk by any Muslim leader in recent times. He is generally known to be a person always fishing in troubled communal waters and talking absolute rubbish. But this time round, he certainly had some pearls of wisdom for Muslim youth. “Best Jihad”, he told the confused youth “is that India’s educated Muslims give time to eliminate poverty from their ranks. Some youth search the meaning of Jihad in Google and they see only Hafiz Saeed, who is the biggest enemy of the country”. Responding to the attempts of Muslim youth to join ISIS, “You can’t break the law of the land. Why you want to go to Iraq or Syria? There are many evils in your neighbourhood, work to eliminate them” he has reportedly remarked. According to him “ISIS is a bunch of bloody murderers and rapists. They are killing people in the most brutal way by cutting their heads. They also burnt people alive. They are enemies of Islam. They have to be condemned”.
By any account this is the most emphatic denunciation of ISIS and its ways besides asking the Muslim youth to be socially responsible for the betterment of the community. By hindsight, it can be safely said, should the community take his advise seriously, there may not be any need for Sachar Committees and reservations. And days of police mindset of any terrorist being only Muslim will surely be over. Asaduddin Owaisi’s (AO) address need to be greatly publicized for the larger good of not only Muslims but also of India in general. Two cheers to AO.

MAHARASHTRA: In January 2010, Satish Shetty from the coastal districts of Karnataka, whose family is settled in Talegaon near Pune in Maharashtra was hacked to death. Satish was an RTI activist and was of immense help to local people in their day to day dealing with government department. Through one of his RTI application he had obtained details of some properties – 1100 Acres – which were fraudulently recorded in the land registry in favour of a friend of present union minister Nitin Gadkari. Reportedly this friend’s company Ideal Road Builders (IRB) had allegedly extended huge unsecured loan to the minister’s company. Satish Shetty lodged a complaint with authorities in Pune over this massive land grab. Just months after this complaint, he was killed outside his home.
Satish Shetty was a person who lived for Marathi Maanoos, died for Marathi Maanoos and ironically killed by Marathi Maanoos.
After over 4 years, CBI finding itself under huge political pressure filed a closure report in Aug. 2014.
But truth has its own way of coming into open. Suddenly an audio tape is surfacing to tell that one of the CBI officer publicly admitting that he is not being allowed to arrest anybody in the death of Satish Shetty. In a conversation with Mr Sandeep Shetty, the brother of Satish Shetty. Mr S P Singh, the investigation officer of CBI is heard saying in the tape that he is under tremendous pressure from the top CBI bosses who wanted the investigation stalled, and that money has changed hands between CBI officers and those who were responsible for the killing of Satish Shetty.
In the light of CBI closure report, and with the help of the audio tape, Sandeep has moved the court and Bombay High Court has directed the CBI to reinvestigate. Now that the CBI is under the new government and Nitin Gadkari is a senior member of the party in power, will there be justice to the soul of Satish Shetty? We have to wait and see.

UTTARPRADESH: More often than not, UP makes news for all wrong reasons. 28 years ago in 1987 Provincial Armed Constabulary (PAC) on May 22, after a curfew was imposed in Meerut city, reportedly took some 65 men in a truck soon after the Friday prayers at the Hashimpura mosque. 42 of them didn’t come back. A few days later reportedly their bodies were found in Ganga canal in Ghaziabad district. They were allegedly killed by PAC.
And it took almost 28 years, to fix responsibility or not to fix responsibility for the most inhuman annihilation of these men. 
On 21st March Additional Sessions Judge Sanjay Jindal from Delhi trial Court, freed all 16 policemen who were accused in the 1987 massacre. Reportedly judge expressed deep anguish over the killing and his helplessness in not been able to conclude conclusively to establish the guilt of policemen accused of the kidnapping and subsequent murder.
It is not merely a case of justice delayed but also a case of justice denied so very comprehensively by the inept system that goes by the name of governance. Indeed its been a travesty of justice to the victims and their families, who waited for almost three decades to have the last word on this sorry slice of India’s contemporary history. Where will the family of those killed go from here? It’s a question staring so blankly at these victims of time and circumstances. 
Reportedly it took some 9 years to file a charge sheet, by which time surely the PAC has covered its exposed track. In 2002, the case was transferred to a Delhi court and it took another 4 years to file charges. Nine years later, in 2015, all 19 accused were let free due to lack of sufficient evidence and the inability of the witnesses to identify the accused.
Under the circumstances, except, the PAC, and the UP administration of that time, nobody else can be blamed for this absolute miscarriage of justice. It is indeed a shame for all those who helped this denial of justice to those who appeared at the mercy of the system. If an average Muslim looks at the future blankly, can he be blamed after this March 21, judgement of justice Sanjay Jindal?!

NEW DELHI: ‘India’s Daughter’ the documentary by British film maker Leslee Udwin, did shock the conscience of the nation, at least immediately post its first exhibition through NDTV. Expectedly there were hues & cries all across the political spectrum so too to an extent, the civil society. Political establishment at the centre reacted rather instinctively without any cold application of logic. They banned the exhibition of the documentary.
Of course the reaction was apparently over the alleged glorification of one of the rapist. The documentary film was the result of a series of interview Ms Udwin had taken of convicts lodged in the high security Tihar Jail. She had interviewed seven convicts, 3 from the Nirbhaya rape case and 4 other convicts.
Obviously, as claimed by the producer of the documentary, there were enough paper works completed for the permission needed for the interview of the convicts. But may be there was no clarity on the purpose of the interview. Of course studying such cases for the purpose of policy initiative for handling cases as horrendous as Nirbhaya case is certainly a need. Such studies could be made available to the authorities, NGOs involved in social initiatives, women’s group, civil society forums and public at large. But a graphic presentation of the issue, as terrible as Nirbhaya, is an eminently debatable issue. The film maker could have been explicit about her purpose, and should have presented it before the jail authorities and home ministry officials, before it was made public. Was it an attempt at instant fame and fortune is something we may have to dwell. Of course media, as usual is up against the ban without being objective. Both the media and the political establishment could be accused of knee jerk reaction, which were in the larger interest, avoidable.
The obnoxious straight faced remarks by one of the accused blaming the victim, once again ignited the public protest and debate. Whole lot of women’s groups naturally protested against the film. Of course, everybody could have handled and responded differently for the larger good. Sadly that didn’t happen.
From sublime to ridiculous, is how the remark of former Press Council Chairman Justice Markandeya Katju can be dismissed. 
Always trying to be in the limelight by making all kinds of remarks especially after he became the chairman of PCI, after his stint as the Supreme Court Justice, Justice Katju has been a bit maverick.
His recent remark on his blog that, Mahatma Gandhi was a British Agent and Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose a Japanese Agent, did raise completely avoidable hackles. While it may be irrelevant as to the context of his remark, his observation is certainly very unbecoming of a Supreme Court Justice. Loksabha, which unequivocally condemned his blog remarks, should put it on record the nations outrage on this shameful and despicable use of words for the country’s two most revered icons and explore if any law of the land can be invoked against him for his wilful disparaging remarks on Mahatma. 
Emergence of AAP as a power to reckon with, with about 96% winning seats in Delhi, was justifiably tom-tommed as a game changer, a turning point, in Indian politics. Would it really be so? Or would that too go the way of other political parties? 
The recent removal of two, of nations best known conscience keepers, from the all important PAC (Political Affairs Committee) of AAP has severely dented the newest political sensation, in the public perception. There are all kinds of interpretation to the turmoil the AAP is going thru’. Some say it has no ideology. Some say it’s a group of activists who saw the political opportunity and jumped into the fray. Some say, its birth has not been through the normal process. Some say it is somewhat like Janata Party of 1977 and hence can fall apart, if individual ambition is not made subservient to the larger cause. None of the above description is wrong. There are elements of truth in all of them. But one thing is very clear as the sun in the day time. It is an answer to the multitude of Indians looking for a change in the otherwise corroded political landscape that India presents to-day. If the wiping out of Congress has indicated the absolute non-relevance of the party, the dissimation of BJP is a warning for them to mend their ways. Therefore AAP as a concept of political doctrine must survive at all cost.
Arvind Kejriwal, who has been seen as the central figure in the evolution of AAP, need to recognise that there are hundreds, if not thousands, who have given their utmost for the establishment of AAP. Hence, he necessarily need to walk the talk, that he is a humble AAP worker. Let not one’s ambition mock the hard labour of all else.
In the disturbed scenario, a rational sense of proportion has to win for the larger good. Issue is not AK vs YY & PB, issue is India of to-morrow. Has he forgotten his own words when he took oath for the second time when he called upon party members to eschew arrogance during his speech after being sworn in. It is pertinent to quote columnist Amulya Ganguli who said “The remarkable success in Delhi has bolstered Kejriwal’s innate authoritarianism and made him reluctant to share the spotlight with others like Yadav and Bhushan who are his co-equals in being articulate and intellectually sharp” Is AK “power hungry” as Anna said in the past! Some kind of a rapprochement appears to be in the air. Arvind Kejriwal must necessarily allow maturity to prevail, and should rein in those who initially      orchestrated the ouster of the duo.
This is not an issue of last month, but of one before that. It is here for its relevance than anything else. The historic victory of AAP in Delhi, is into the pages of political history of India. To say it is ‘unprecedented’ is to accept that there are not many words to describe the level or degree of its success.
We are all aware, how the currently the biggest political party had gone to town to tell the world that the loss in Delhi is not a referendum on its topmost leader Narendra Modi. Could that have been called the “height of sycophancy"? Well, it may be so. 
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, is the most powerful BJP man in the country, his ministers are at his beck and call. How on the earth they can blame him for the loss of Delhi election? It is indeed a referendum as termed by Shotgun Sinha a BJP leader of some name and fame. He had the 'courage' to say so, only because he has nothing to lose. He is not going to get any position under Modi. And being from Bihar, he is in ever demand for some nuisance value, not because of any contribution in public life. He is a typical politician opportunist, working only for himself, his family and may be even his cronies. But Bihar being what Bihar is, where Chaara Ghotala hero Lalu Prasad flourishes people like Shotgun would have some vote catching ability. Since Bihar shall be going for election in the near future, Narendra Modi may have to put up with likes of Shotgun. Indeed politics does have strange bed fellows.
One of the sillier decision of Narendra Modi has been the appointment of Smrithi Irani, as HRD minister. 
There were so many well qualified candidates in BJP, who had won as MPs, but why Modi chose Ms. Irani baffled just about everybody. Except some expression of surprise by some media houses and media men and women, there were no meaningful opinions expressed in the public space Ms. Irani, who is supposedly just a XII pass, simply isn’t a right candidate. With her age and experience in public life, was she ready to be a cabinet minister? is another moot point.
Right from beginning, conscious of her inadequate educational background, she kept poking her nose in the institution of higher learning like IIT etc. Remember Dr Ramadoss, the Health Minister in UPA I, who used to interfere in the administration of AIIMS and made the life of its director, an eminent cardiologist, miserable. Dr Ramadoss was only an MBBS and wanted to show his power. Similar is the case of Ms. Irani. Due to her inept handling of issues IIT Delhi director Shergaonkar had resigned, and now comes the news of Anil Kakodkar quitting the IIT, Bombay, as its Chairman of Board of Governors. Kakodkar is the former Chairman of Atomic Energy Commission and an eminent Nuclear  Scientist by his own right.
Of course some signal is coming that Ms Irani may not last in HRD ministry, since she has been dropped by the BJP president from BJP’s National Executive Committee. Sooner she is replaced as HRD minister, the better. 

JAMMU & KASHMIR: In recent times, the state has been in the news, some right, some not so right and some for patently wrong reasons. When, for the first time, post assembly election, two unlikely political partners came to form the popular government in J & K, there were many valid questions, as to the credibility and longevity of this association. Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and BJP were the unlikeliest parties to come together to form a co-alition government for both historical and political reasons. It took pretty long time of over 2 months after the election result, for both these parties to come to-gether with a common minimum Programme (CMP). After lot of uncertainty the coalition government came into existence on 1st of March. While we at I &C wishes this co-alition a full 5 year term with meaningful development, the question has already started coming up,  if it will last at all! The praise from CM Mufti Mohd. Sayeed while taking oath in the presence of PM Modi, about this ‘co-operation’ of Pakistan and separatists in the smooth conduct of elections in J & K, has indeed been an embarrassment to start with. Of course BJP, managed to contain its sense of outrage, whether it was not to rock the coalition at the first step itself or for power, it was not clear. Then comes the noise about the handing over of mortal remains of terrorist Afzal Guru from PDP MLAs. And then on March 7, in just one week of the co-alition govt., Mufti ordered the release of political prisoners with separatist hardliner Masarat Alam to be the first to be out of jail. There was an understandable outcry all over the country. BJP and its Prime Minister were taken completely off guard at this anti-national move of pandering to the separatists. Congress slammed it as “continuous adventurism’ of the PDP. Alam was arrested during the 2010 stone throwing unrest, for inciting youth in which112 Kashmiris were killed. Clearly Alam was not a political prisoner. But apparently Mufti had done some homework with some sinister design. After crying hoarse there appears to be some uneasy peace. While BJP certainly will not be anti-national in its dealing with J & K issue, BJP must make it clear to the nation, how are they going to handle PDP programme of mollycoddling Kashmir separatists, who get their inspiration from across the western border.

WORLD: “Never try to cover child abuse” was a veiled warning reminding the catholic clergy the world over, of their duty that “Families, all over the world need to know that the church is making every effort to protect their children”.
Pope Francis, the straight faced and straight talking and walking is a gift to the contemporary Christian world. There hasn’t been any like him in the recent past, concerned truly about the welfare of the humanity in general and catholics in particular.
Reminding the clergy about their duty to stamp out abuse of children in the care of church despite the fear of scandal, Pope Francis has demanded “close and complete” co-operation with the Pontifical Commission for Protection of Minors. which he has established at the Vatican. He was writing to the heads of national bishops’ conference and religious orders.
Mincing no words he wrote “Priority must not be given to any other kind of concern, whatever its nature, such as the desire to avoid scandal, since there is absolutely no place in ministry for those who abuse minors”. 
From the beginning, one issue Pope Francis took up vigorously is the cause of childern abused within the precincts of church, which has been for different reasons was not taken up seriously by Vatican. Hope, as Pope Francis says “Families could turn to church with confidence”.  
By far, the worst place in the world for minorities is Pakistan. This has been so, ever since the creation of this country. 
The atrocities of both majority civil society and their police against minorities, is not just limited to religious minorities, but also their own Muslim minority denominations as well as linguistic minorities. Their despicable blasphemy law has made life difficult for all and sundry, including their own members from the majority community. Indeed Pakistan is the most violent country in the world.
The recent bomb blast in two churches in the predominantly Christian area of Lahore where some 20 were killed on the close heels of the torching of some 100 Christian houses in an area known as Joseph Colony. This was sequel to an allegation of blasphemy against a Christian man.
The world led by US, which is making a hue and cry about some petty vandalizing of churches in India by some stupid religious bigots has not much to say, on this most inhuman society just across the western border of India. Where is this New York Times, which made a huge noise about the so-called silence of Indian Prime Minister on this vandalism?
Of course the double standard by international community and their media friends is the biggest stumbling block in the growth of equity in the treatment of humans of different races and religions the world over. There has to be stronger and unequivocal response from global powers for Pakistan to fall in line to protect their minorities.

FOCUS

NEW YORK TIMES –
KASHMIR & IDEA OF INDIA

It was not exactly, the famed Latin couplet Veni Vidi Vici. He came, he saw but did not quite conquer. Indians, at least most of them liked U.S. President Obama, since he is like one of them, a brownie, besides his oratorial skill and concern for the disadvantaged. He may still be the most liked U.S. President in India, but could have left the shore of India, post Republic Day celebrations in New Delhi, in a blaze of glory. But his parting remarks about secular credentials of India did leave an eminently avoidable jarring note in an otherwise a very successful journey to the world’s largest democracy. Then he followed it up in the U.S., at a meeting where he shared the podium with Tibetan spiritual leader Dalai Lama by mouthing similar unsolicited remarks. Of course, Dalai Lama, the spiritual head of Tibetans living in India, who has a first hand experience with the accommodation of exiled Tibetans across the country, ever since they left Tibet, post Chinese occupation of their mother land, did not join the issue to prove Barack Obama wrong. That was rather strange.
Coming to the remarks by President Obama, it may be, he was not very serious of what he was saying about the failure of secularism in India, unlike the New York Times (NYT) which published an Editorial comment. He, as it was largely believed in India, was only addressing the concern of a small interested section of Americans.
Coming to the NYT, it is important that, we need to reproduce the editorial of 6th Feb. 2015 for our readers to know, what the paper was harping on. NYT writes under the title – ‘Modi’s Dangerous Silence’ – “What will it take for Prime Minister Narendra Modi to speak out about the mounting violence against India’s religious minorities? Attacks at Christian places of worship have prompted no response from the man elected to represent and to protect   all of India’s citizens. Nor has he addressed the mass conversion to Hinduism of Christians and Muslims who have been coerced or promised money. 
Mr. Modi’s continued silence before such troubling intolerance increasingly gives the impression that he either cannot or does not wish to control the fringe elements of the Hindu nationalist right.
Recently, a number of Christian churches in India have been burned and ransacked. Last  December, St.Sebastian’s Church in East Delhi was engulfed in fire. Its pastor reported a strong smell of kerosene after the blaze was put out. On 2nd Feb., St. Alphonsa’s Church in New Delhi was vandalized. Ceremonial   vessels were taken, yet collection boxes full of cash were untouched. Alarmed by the attacks, the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India has urged the government to uphold the secular nature of India and to assure its Christians they are “protected and secure” in their own country. 
 There is also concern about the mass conversions. Last December, about 200 Muslims were converted to Hinduism in Agra. In January, up to 100 Christians in West Bengal “reconverted” to Hinduism. Hard-line Hindu nationalist groups, like the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) and the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), make no secret of their support for a “homecoming” campaign designed to “return” non-Hindus to the fold. More than 80 per cent of Indians are Hindu, but Pravin Togadia of the VHP says his organisation’s goal is a country that is 100 per cent Hindu. The only way to achieve that is to deny religious minorities their faith.
The VHP is reportedly planning a mass conversion of 3,000 Muslims in Ayodhya this month. The destruction of the Babri Mosque there in 1992 by Hindu militants touched off riots between Hindus and Muslims across India that left more than 2,000 people dead. The VHP knows it is playing with fire.
 Mr.Modi has promised an ambitious agenda for India’s development. But, as President Obama observed in a speech in New Delhi last month: ‘India will succeed so long as it is not splintered along the lines of religious faith.’ Mr. Modi needs to break his deafening silence on religious intolerance.”  
From the above editorial, there are a few things which appear clear as somewhat agenda driven. There are any number of media houses, both print and electronic, who make a living out of catering to a section of its readers. Their main objective is not to serve the larger purpose of educating the readers with the truth, the whole truth, nothing but the truth. While reporting as truth, they invariably end up interpreting the events to serve its agenda. In the ultimate analysis they succeed to a good measure, in keeping the society divided and not united. NYT is not the only paper, there are any number of Indian news papers, in both English and other Indian languages, who fish in the troubled waters to muddy it further, as much as it can. The purpose is, ‘it sells’.
Two areas, the NYT editorial stress, are the alleged attacks on Christian place of worship and the alleged conversion of Christians and Muslims into Hindu faith. It gives two instances of attacks on churches, but makes no mention, fortunately, of any attack on Masjids or mosques. Then it elaborately writes on the alleged conversion of Christians and Muslims. In fact, in the little over 400 words editorial, more than 250 words are spent on this alleged ‘conversion’ business of Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) or Rashtriya Swayam Sevak Sangh (RSS). Thus, more than the attack on churches, it was the so-called conversion that NYT appeared to have got worked up. Clearly, for NYT it was not a national priority of human rights. They appeared to be addressing ‘someone else’ concerns. If human rights violation is the only issue, then right inside their United States of America, it’s a daily happening, whether it is the white policeman inflicting it to a non-white or black or it is the whites only jury returning the verdict of ‘not guilty’ on those white policemen, or those innumerable attacks on blacks, Indians, and others by whites of U.S.A. Or look at the record of Guantanamo Bay tortures, or those black inmates of jails, being subjected to medical trials by injecting virus first into their body including HIV viruses and try medicine or conduct medical trials on them. The list of human right violation is endless across the breadth and length of United States of America. The recent publication of the heart rending story of a 14 year old black boy sent to the electric chair is a case in point (See Box). After over 70 years “Teenager executed in 1944 held innocent” was the print media news, date lined Columbia in South Carolina U.S.A.
NYT, you are naked. And, the very fact, that weak and vulnerable are exposed to violent discrimination by the police and the jury, is the most heinous form of human right violations. In a society where weak and vulnerable are not protected, what right it has of being called civilized? Indeed you have forfeited your right to sermonise India.
India is a country with 1300 million people. Covering a geographical area of 3,287,263 sq. kms with thousands of churches from Kashmir and Kanya Kumari, from Kutch to Kohima. NYT could site only two instances. Yes indeed, even two should not have happened, but then, the whole world need to recognise, that India is the most complex country in the world, and you ask any European traveller, he will vouch for it. In a country, with some ½ a dozen religions, 23 official languages, over 1600 dialects, the level of tolerance across the national spectrum is fascinatingly credible. It is to be seen to be believed. But the fact of the matter is, like in all human habitations, consisting of religious or ethnic diversity, there is bound to be a small section of idiots in all groups, be it Hindu, be it Muslim or be it Christian, up to some mischiefs.  Sometime they can be even diabolic, where Hindus cause attack on Hindu shrines, so that Muslims can be blamed. Similarly Muslims can desecrate a Mosque, so that Hindus can be blamed. Similarly Christian youths could stone their church so that Hindu boys can be blamed. It’s an ongoing one-up manship. There are vested interest, keeping such divisive elements alive & kicking. But look at the bigger picture. Listen to Prof. Mathew Ninan, a practicing Christian, Principal of well known Little Rock institutions in Coastal Karnataka. “We live in a pluralistic society. India is a country of diversity, a rich tapestry of colour, caste, culture, community, religion and language. It is the envy of the whole world. To live and let live in such a society is the best thing that can happen. People of all faiths, co-existing like brothers and sisters, is the very picture of a fairy tale land of milk and honey. The common man, even to this day, has no prejudice against anyone. He is law abiding, peace loving, helpful and friendly. He is a good neighbour and a great friend in need. Our country is full of such men, who belong to all sections of society. They are real patriots”, he had written while commenting on the infamous ‘Amnesia Pub Attack’ in Mangalore some years ago. Then you have this Dr Khalil Ahmed, managing trustee of Karnataka Zakaath & Charitable Trust, an educational support initiative for Muslims. While distributing scholarship to Muslim students, he had stated “There is no country comparable to India, when it comes to individual freedom. Only after travelling in these western countries including USA and Arab countries and see for yourself the reality, that one will understand the real meaning of Indian democracy. Look at neighbour Pakistan, where the state of minorities is terrible”. These are contemporary observations and there are any number of them including M J Akbar, George Fernandese and others. History is replete with westerners, like Friedrich Max Muller, the German Indologist, Dr Arnold Toynbee, the global historian, John Keay a Scott and a regular traveller to India, then our very own Sikandar Bhakt, a former Industry Minister with NDA, who had glowing description of India and Indians.  Hence India or Indians certainly do not need any lessons from NYT and their ilk. If an overactive, but at times, divisive media, do not indulge in muck raking, these passing shows of apparent intolerance shall pass too, and then there was no need for NYT to term Prime Minister Narendra Modi non-response as “Modi’s Dangerous silence”. And as expected our media and the opposition politicians, ever on the lookout for a reason to attack the ruling combine, latched on to the NYT barb, as if that was a certificate. Of course it is also true that wherever and whenever BJP comes to power, their unruly fringe take advantage of the political power to cause unease among Muslims, may be even Christians. There is this perception, and this perception, to a large extent, is not wrong. Hence, Modi and his handpicked Amith Shah has to take the call to rein in these stupid elements within the ranks and files of Sangh Pariwar. After all India belongs to Indians of all hues, not just RSS and its followers. Besides, it needs to be clearly understood, that VHP or RSS represent only about 1/4 of Hindus in India and not the majority of Hindus. However it is also true that, these organizations may have divisive agenda but they are not violent.
Coming to Kashmir, a Muslim majority state in India has a history of unrest and disquiet, almost for all the 68 years of free India. According to the available history until 1320, when it was ravaged by Chengez Khan and his men, it was a Hindu Kingdom with Hindu population. Being ruled by Muslim ruler, in later years demographic composition changed and kept changing to make it Muslim majority. There is no recorded history of Hindus converting non-Hindus to Hinduism. The Muslim majority continued, despite the change in rulers. After about 600 years of Muslim rule in Kashmir, it became a part of Ranjit Singh empire and then Dogra dynasty. However composition remained. The failure of Hindu monarchy to give welfare oriented kingdom, unrest led to people’s movement under Sheikh Abdullah, whose ancestors were Hindus. It is a fact, that unlike Hindus and Christians, Muslims by nature are more assertive, and slowly peoples’ movement became pronounced. India became a free country from the colonial yoke. In all fairness Sheikh Abduallah could have been the elected Chief Minister of Kashmir. But, because of powerless monarchy and Congress party politics, they succeeded in dividing Muslim leadership and this machination continued for all the following decades. Sheikh Abdullah passed away. He was a good man, but his ambivalence of being uncertain, whether to go with India for good or to opt for Pakistan did dent his relationship with Delhi. Of course 1951 election, got all seats to Sheikh Abdullah’s National Conference. When Jawaharlal Nehru, the then India’s Prime Minister, visited Kashmir to congratulate the Kashmiri people for their new found freedom, Sheikh Abdullah and his people hailed “Kashmir will go with Nehru and India forever”. Sheikh Abudullah always wanted to be with India, since Kashmir had already a first hand experience of 22nd Oct. 1947 ‘tribal’ attack from Pakistani side. Thus he had no trust in Pakistani leadership. Yet, his uncertainty about going all out with India remained a thorn in his relationship with India. Power hunger of the powerless monarchy with alleged blessings of New Delhi, political polarization led to the birth of different movements in Kashmir and it continued even to this day, with active help and participation from Pakistan.
Death of Nehru, in May 1964, became a watershed in New Delhi’s relationship with Kashmir. Shaikh Abdullah and Kashmir had lost a good friend. In early 1965, Sheikh Abdullah travels aboard on an Indian passport, with nationality mentioned as ‘Kashmiri Muslim’. Was this not an assertion? How was this cleared without the intervention of PMO? Delhi patriots had a point. For all that India did to him and his state, including fighting a war on their behalf, when it came to nationality, he didn’t want to be called Indian. While being abroad, Sheikh Abdullah did the most unthinkable. He met and spoke to Chou-en-lai, the visiting Chinese premier, in Algiers. This was seen as hostile act and his passport was cancelled. Waiting for the opportunity Zulfikar Ali Bhutto offered him Pakistani passport. Ignoring the Bhutto generosity Sheikh Abdullah returned home to India in mid-May. But the birth of Bangladesh in 1971 convinced him that Pakistan cannot be trusted at all. Instinctively Sheikh Abdullah realised that he and his Kashmir shall go with India. However he didn’t live long enough to see that happen conclusively. 1975 Feb., saw him back in power with the Congress help. But June, 1975 he was out of office due to emergency. 1977, Janatha experiment helped him comeback. He remained in office until his death on 8th Sept. 1982. The whole of Kashmir had gathered at Srinagar polo ground to say good bye to the soul of their revered leader. Laid in state, the body of Lion of Kashmir was draped in Indian tricolour. Yes, at last Sheikh Abdullah had died as an Indian and reportedly Pakistan had no comment to offer.
Looking back, it is clear that different leadership in India did not disturb the Muslim character of the state by not enforcing anything contrary to what was agreed in the accession treaty, including article 370.
Party politics continued to vitiate the politics of Kashmir. But there was an entirely unexpected development in Kashmir. Almost immediately after the installation of V.P.Singh government in Delhi, where PDP leader Mufti Mohd. Sayeed was made the home minister, his daughter Dr Rubaiya Sayeed was kidnapped in Srinagar by four militants, demanding the release of 5 terrorists held in jail. Farooq Abdullah the then state Chief Minister was firm – no surrender to militants. 1989 Kashmir was different, like most parts of the world. Islam did not condone terrorists and kidnapping. The release of Dr Rubaiya was therefore not impossible, felt Farooq Abdullah. But Mufti, as home minister advised the Prime Minister to release 5 terrorists. Within 5 days of kidnapping, 5 terrorists were released, who reportedly left for POK after the release. This one act of indiscretion on the part of VP Singh was the single most important factor that caused most damage to the body politic of Kashmir. Was Mufti, a disgruntled ambitious Kashmiri, who was a pain to three Abdullahs (Shaikh, Farooq & Omar) planning some long term coup? Was he playing a dangerous and diabolic game to promote himself and his family?
Come 2015, the big moment came for Mufti. His party PDP got the largest number of seats, followed by BJP. To the national amazement, they both formed the government. Before the election, an idea was allowed to go round, can there be a Hindu Chief Minister in Kashmir? Whole of Kashmir valley came to vote, only to restrain Hindu BJP from getting the majority. It is sad, that Kashmiris still see the issue as Hindu Vs Muslim. Of course this time round, PDP was the larger partner hence CM had to be from PDP. But in 2002 Congress and PDP formed the government in Kashmir, but PDP had insisted on its Chief Ministership, despite Congress having more number of seats. Arrangement then, allowed Mufti’s daughter Mehbooba larger role in state politics. Beginning with the release of terrorists for the release of Mufti’s younger daughter Dr Rubaiya, in 1989, the hobnobbing with separatists had been on the increase. The 2002 arrangement opened the door for increased activity. 2015 is the culmination, which led to controversial remarks by Mufti on Pakistani & separatists' co-operation for the smooth election, to the release of hard core separatist Mussarat Alam, there appears to be a design. 
Secular India, despite its 68 years of impeccable credentials, despite Pakistan being, what it was and what it is, Kashmiri mindset sadly did not undergo the desired metamorphosis.  The problem with the problem is the way we look at the problem. It is the reluctance of Muslim majority in Kashmir, that is at the centre of the problem, to go separate or wanting to go with Pakistan and not remain united with the Hindu majority India.
J.SHRIYAN

FEATURE

6 Reasons Why I Don’t Want India To Become A ‘Superpower’

JAIMINE BEZBOZNIK

Who will involuntarily pay the hefty price for the inflationary cost of maintaining a core nation?
Mainstream economists and politicians are always immersed with the illusionary episodes on ‘structural transformation’. This phase is “seen”, whereas I am certain that the mass tends to subconsciously circumvent the“unseen” side. This article is a critical attempt to rationally expose the “unseen” costs involved in making, maintaining and middling of India as a superpower nation.
I am not scorning the social efforts of the citizens, but holistically questioning the rationale of economic costs enlisted in the process of proselytizing the semi-periphery status (developing power) into core status (superpower). Nothing comes for free and so easy, as camouflaged by the politicians because the health of any master in the world is unhealthy without conscription of‘purchasing power’ of the subjects. Other things being equal, for any superpower, a mystical document called ‘social contract’ should always hail the principles of the Leviathan. Following are the crucial “unseen” reasons that I have chalked down to prove my scandalous assertion:
1) Nationalism is a religion, whereas government is its god
“Nationalism is a measles of mankind”, said Albert Einstein. The theme of nationalism is to indirectly convince the global society that “my humans are better than your humans”. To achieve the core status, in this so-called‘anarchic’ international system, propaganda efforts and imposed orders are the DNA of any nation. Without these two crucial parameters, nationalism cannot be cultivated and citizenry cannot be maintained. The health of nationalism begets mercantilism and discards the wealth of ‘free’ trade. Nonetheless, the ‘free’ labour movement is superseded by the fascistic nationalism. Ultimately, military expenditures exceed the cosmopolitan thinkers.
2) Collective egoism
“The word ‘We’ is as lime poured over men, which sets and hardens to stone, and crushes all beneath it and that which is white and that which is black are lost equally in the grey of it. It is the word by which the depraved steal the virtue of the good, by which the weak steal the might of the strong, by which the fools steal the wisdom of the sages. What is my joy if all hands, even the unclean, can reach into it? What is my wisdom, if even the fools can dictate to me? What is my freedom, if all creatures, even the botched and impotent, are my masters? What is my life, if I am but to bow, to agree and to obey? But I am done with this creed of corruption. I am done with the monster of ‘We,’ the word of serfdom, of plunder, of misery, falsehood and shame. And now I see the face of god, and I raise this god over the earth, this god whom men have sought since men came into being, this god who will grant them joy and peace and pride. This god, this one word: ‘I’.” — Ayn Rand. A truth is a truth, in the democracy, even if ‘majoritarian’ disbelieve it. Google: Voluntaryism.
3) Tax Terrorism
Are citizens enjoying something called ‘tax choice’? Is India able to tackle the inflation in her fiscal deficit, without pauperizing the society? Why is India unfriendly to a recent cryptocurrency called‘Bitcoins’? I see that citizens are paying three types of taxes: a) direct taxes, b) indirect taxes and c) inflation. “Inflation is taxation, without legislation”, said Milton Friedman. Keeping aside the apoplithorismosphic (fear of deflation) behaviour of RBI aside, I am forecasting that in order to superficially experience the core status, India cannot survive without tax terrorism. Tax terrorism‘builds’ the limb of a superpower nation, but ‘breaks’ the limb of citizens. The matrix of taxation is highly complicated, now. This ‘legal robbery’ (taxation) requires a Misesian revision, rather than a Keynesian approach. India should take an immediate note of this, before promising anything related to the optimum allocation.
4) Right to self-determination
No doubt there is ‘unity in diversity’. There is no catallaxy. “Catallaxy is the order brought about by the mutual adjustment of many individual economies, in a market,” – F. A. Hayek. ‘Unity from diversity’ is the need of the hour, but unfortunately a strongest social factor called ‘casteism’ de-motivates the scope of integrity. Rather than commenting on draconian political populist programme called reservation policy, I prefer to highlight that few regions like Kashmir, Manipur, Nagaland, Bodoland, etc. are legally intimidated at gun-point (for the process of integrity), and this political action is purely antithetical to catallaxy. To become a core nation, in practice, right to self-determine persist only on constitutional papers.
5) Crony capitalism
USA, the so-called superpower, possesses the highest debt in the world, albeit printing money out of thin air, and continues to lecture about human rights and democracy. China is “rising peacefully”, but are Chinese disdaining libertarianism? Asian Tigers are unable to claim their core nation status, without yielding up liberty in exchange for regional security. Are all these [core] nation-states able to enhance ‘perfect competition’, without ‘oligarchic’structuralization of their respective markets? I believe that “mondustrial policy” is the software applicable to add more fuel to the fire, in order to attain the core nation status. Mondustrial policy is a fusion of “monetary policy” and “industrial policy”, Â and it describes the Fed’s creation of new money during the 2008-2009 financial crisis in order to rescue certain firms, such as Bear Stearns and AIG, and certain markets, such as commercial paper and money-market mutual funds, “at the expense of others”, by purchasing securities and making loans. It was coined by Stanford economics professor John Taylor.
6) The Abenomics of Modi
“Power corrupts. Absolute power corrupts absolutely.” — Lord Acton. When newly elected Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe promised new deficit spending and pedal-to-the-metal monetary inflation, the proponents of superpower theory were excited. And indeed, debasing the yen seemed to work for a few months, with analysts saying Indian policymakers should follow Japan’s lead. Does anyone else have a sense of deja vu? Monetary debasement transfers wealth within an economy by subsidizing exports at the expense of the entire economy, but this effect is delayed as the new money works its way from first receivers of the new money to later receivers. The Bank of Japan gives more yen to buyers using dollars, euros, and other currencies, but this is nothing more than a gift to foreigners that is funnelled through exporters. Because exporters are the first receivers of the new money, they buy resources at existing prices and make large profits. As most have noted, exporters have seen a surge in their share prices, but this is exactly what one should expect when government taxes all to give to the few. Eventually, the monetary debasement raises all costs and this initial benefit to exporters vanishes. Then the country is left with a depleted capital base and a higher price level. The good news is that Japan does know how to rebuild its economy. It did it the old-fashioned way seventy years ago—hard work and savings. India is set to follow this path to attain superpower status. Nevertheless, PM Narendra Modi’s slogan “minimum government, maximum governance” is economically an expropriation of the ‘acting agents’ and is an intrinsic threat to the economic liberty of all.
I would conclude by saying that ‘human action’ (acting agencies) is a purposeful behaviour, or ‘Action is will put into operation and transformed into an agency, aiming at ends and goals, is the ego’s meaningful response to stimuli and to the conditions of its environment, is a person’s conscious adjustment to the state of the universe that determines his life.’ Such paraphrases may clarify the definition given and prevent possible misinterpretations. But the definition itself is adequate and does not need complement of commentary. What superpower theorists fail to realize is that the various measures that they suggest are not capable of bringing about the beneficial results that they aim at. On the contrary, they are producing as well as sustaining, a socialist state. Proceeding step by step, on this way to superpower, it finally reaches a point in which all economic freedom of individuals has disappeared. Heard about USA’s PRISM and India’s CMS?

Association of doctors with conscience
(A clarion call for their conscience to be the change and come together)

Prof. B. M. Hegde,
hegdebm@gmail.com

"If people let the government decide what foods they eat and what medicines they take, their bodies will soon be in as a sorry state as the souls who live under tyranny."
Thomas Jefferson

The Times of India of Sundays the 22nd February on page 14 had a report of the frustrations of about 78 doctors in and around Pune. This is a good sign and is an encouragement for people like me who have been fighting for this for four decades now. It was a coincidence that the same day there is a report from London about how the drug companies are fooling the medical world about the wrong drugs to make money. The drug in question is the infamous statin. There has been a dishonest science doing that job. Yesterday there has been a report on the wrong nutrition advice given by the American science for more than 40 years. In the year 1968 I had warned the public about the dangers of fat free diets and avoiding the best fat in the world-coconut oil. Now they say coconut oil is a panacea for most human ills! All this makes me happy as I have been able to see the truth coming out slowly but steadily.
I have been writing since the 1960s several books, thousands of articles, both lay and scientific, and delivering hundreds of talks. I was also happy to see one of my old articles being selected by an American portal to be aired, again today. Nothing could have been better. Reading the Times of India in the plane from Chennai to Hyderabad, I had the idea to form an association of like-minded people to work together to get better results. We have to educate the doctors, patients and the powers that be. Today I have also written an article on the Swine 'flu fraud. It is almost a full time job and, therefore, more hands would be ideal.
The problem is much more complicated than simply clearing one's conscience. It was nearly 90 years ago that some rich people in America saw the potential of producing chemical compounds from naphtha to control human illnesses-a very dangerous idea based on the wrong premise that the human body is like a machine built by putting organs together-a reductionist view. They worked their way through the then US government to get the medical colleges there audited for their authenticity. This greedy conglomerate was funding about 47 of the nearly 250 odd medical schools then. They had their staff on the governing boards of those forty seven colleges. They had one of their own retired staff, Abraham Flexner, a retired school headmaster as one man commission. He declared only those 47 to be authentic and scientific and the rest bogus! Thus was born the era of chemical drugs which rule the roost even to this day. A recent study by Douglas C. Wallace showed by elegant computer chip tagged analysis that  all chemical reductionist molecules are rejected by the body and are sent to the liver for destruction while herbal drugs are recognised as self and used! (Genetics 2008; 179: 727) Indian Ayurveda and many other systems have been in existence for times out of mind but were defamed by the infamous 1910 Flexner report.
Same is the story with other interventions. One glaring example will suffice. Coronary angioplasty is an effort which is not only a waste but could even lead to death of the patient! Except in extreme cases of intractable chest pain (which is almost unknown with present medical therapy and change of mode of living) and extreme reduction in heart's function, there is no indication for even coronary bypass surgery. Over investigations and over diagnosis are other methods of disease mongering. All in all the hapless patient is in for expensive journey through our system. If s/he survives all that we claim the credit. When things go wrong, as happens many a time, we still get our  by blaming fate for the mishap. In either case the industry wins the game.
The whole science of western medicine is flawed as the human body works as whole in consonance with its environment; we treat it linearly as a machine. We use dangerous chemicals as drugs making it still more difficult for the body to recover from any disease. This needs to be incorporated into the medical education field to control runaway economic disaster for funding agencies if the latter is the responsibility of the tax payer. Today private medicine has become a corporate monstrosity. But we doctors either are unaware of this or do not want to know that, as the change, we feel, might break our rice bowl!
Right thinking doctors must come together to debate all these areas and come to some consensus as to how to tackle these complicated issues? We must remember that a doctor is basically trained to keep the health of the public. We do very little by way of preserving human health. We have become sickness managers instead. Together we get more strength to fight the nefarious forces; single handedly I was fighting without much success. Together we stand, divided we fall. Arise; awake fellow medical professionals let us make a change for the better in this vital, area of human health and wellness. Please do not forget that while patients CAN survive without doctors, we, doctors, CANNOT survive without patients. Let us wake up before patients leave us like the rats leaving a sinking ship.

"The FDA protects the big drug companies, and is subsequently rewarded, and using the government's police powers, they attack those who threaten the big drug companies.  People think that the FDA is protecting them.  It isn't.  What the FDA is doing, and what the public thinks it is doing are as different as night and day."
Dr. Herbert Ley, Former Commissioner of the U.S. F.D.A.



LAST PAGE

DHAMMAPADA

Dr. M. V. Kamath
In the absence of an acknowledged gentleman of letters, to fill the Last Page  we are falling back on MVK’s writings.  His book – Letters to Gauri – includes some of his brush with historical wisdom. We are reproducing them with some sequential order for the benefit of our readers. – Editor

My dear Gauri,

I said in my last letter that the Dhammapada is to Buddhism what the Sermon on the Mount is to Christianity. I will come to the Sermon preached by Jesus Christ at a later stage. One writer has said that if all of the New Testament (which is that part of the Bible, holy to Christians) had been lost and only the Sermon on the Mount had managed to survive, we would still have all that is necessary for following the teachings of Christ. Similarly, he said, if everything else were lost, and only the Dhammapada survived, that was enough for the practice of Buddhism.
Dhammapada is  the Pali equivalent of  Dharmapatha – the path of Dharma, truth, righteousness and the central law of life. The Dhammapada is a map for a journey through life. The Buddha came to propound the Dhammapada after deep meditation, after fighting all temptations offered by Maya, the tempter. When he had attained enlightenment under the bodhi tree it is said that his personality was so radiant that he seemed like a God. He was asked: “Are you a God?”
“No.”
“Are you an angel?”
“No”.
“What are you, then?”
Replied the Buddha: “I am awake!”

What the Dhammapada provides is the wisdom of the Buddha. A few samples are as follows:
Our life is shaped by our mind. We become what we think. Suffering follows an evil thought as the wheels of a cart follow the oxen that draw it.
As rain seeps through an ill-thatched hut, passion will seep through an untrained mind.
Those who recite many scriptures but fail to practice their teachings are like a cowherd counting another’s cows.
Hard is to train the mind, which goes where it likes and does what it wants. But a trained mind brings health and happiness.
Long is the right to those who are awake, long is the road to those who are weary. Long is the cycle of birth and death to those who know not the dharma.
Better than a speech of a thousand vain words is one thoughtful word which brings peace to the mind. 
Better to live in virtue and wisdom for one day than to live a hundred years with an evil and undisciplined mind.
If you have no wound on your hand, you can touch poison without being harmed. No harm comes to him who does no harm.
Selfish bonds cause grief; selfish bonds cause fear. Be unselfish and you will be free from grief and fear.
People will blame you if you say too much; they will blame if you say too little, they will blame you if you say just enough. No one in this world escapes blame.
Bhikshu, empty your boat. It will go faster. Cast out greed and hatred and reach nirvana.

There is a chapter in Dhammapada in which the Buddha defines who a true Brahmin is:
Him I call a Brahmin who had trained his mind to be still to reach the supreme goal of life.
Him I call a Brahmin who has shed all evil, whose heart is pure.
Him I call a Brahmin who does not hurt others.
Him I call a Brahmin who clings not to pleasure.
Him I call a Brahmin who is never angry, never goes astray from his path.
You will see in all these sayings, Gauri, how much the Buddha valued dharma. To the Buddha not birth but character, determined who a Brahmin was.
In my next letter I shall be writing to you about Greece and one of its greatest son of all time, Socrates.

Your loving
Ajja