Thursday, October 31, 2013

WHO OWNS SARDAR PATEL'S LEGACY? What does the tallest statue of Patel indicate?


Who owns Sardar Patel’s Legacy? Every Indian. But, both the PM and the PM aspirant were owning the Sardar’s legacy separately – which was ridiculous.

The PM says – “Sardar patel was a Congress man. And I am proud to be a member of a political party with which he was associated.” Did Sardar Patel belong to the same Congress Party to which Dr.Manmohan Singh belongs? Absolutely not. Does he not belong to a congress party which imposed Emergency in India? Does he not belong to a Congress party which was responsible for large scale anti-Sikh riots in India? And - did he ever belong to the Congress Party when Sardar Patel was around? 

In reality - Congress party and BJP both have undergone tremendous changes from 1947. Mahatma Gandhi had recommended dissolution of  Congress Party after Independence, only to avoid this crisis of Identity. In accordance with Mahatma’s wishes, the then congress should have been  dissolved and people in Congress should have been allowed to float their own Political parties to fight elections in Independent India. If that had happened, who would have been in which Party is definitely difficult to guess. Sardar and Nehru may have floated 2 different Parties ; or stayed in same party. Who knows?

Since 1947, Congress has been changing  and changing with every Prime Minister. Nehru’s era was a distinctly socialist era and had reasonable level of democratic values in it. When Morarji came around, supported by the elders of Congress like Kamaraj Nadar, the Nehruvian Policies were continued. But, when Indira Gandhi came, all those Policies got dumped like household waste. 

Nehru would never have reneged on  the promise made to the erstwhile princes – by arbitrarily abolishing the privy purses , which was hardly Rs.5 crores. The nation should have been grateful to the princes – at least till their life time, for the sacrifices made by them in favour of a united India. I was a small kid by then. But, I could never stand or understand the absurdity of a nation going back on its own promises. Satyameva Jayathe looked a farce to me – as Government itself was going back on its promise.

Nehru was a perfect democrat, Greatly honest and admirably Gandhian. He was a true National leader. He was not sectarian in any sense. Neither caste nor religion nor region nor language could make him differentiate his people.

But, Nehru’s failing was - he was not equal to China’s challenge. In fact, he did not understand the Chinese ambitions. From Nehru’s time to Manmohan Singh’s time, the Congress never took sufficient steps to equal China. It could have; but, it didn’t. In Nehru’s time, it was only territorial aggression and occupation. Now, Chinese products are dominating Indian market and are posing huge economic challenge. It is becoming increasingly difficult to find Indian Products in India. Congress is not even close to understanding the implications of this economic occupation by China in India.

It is time that India strives to grow taller than China. It can. It must. We can’t be killing our soldiers through the hands of a smaller country like Pakistan and  grumbling always about it. It is shameful. Pakistani non-state and state actors must be afraid of even stepping an Inch into India for any anti-Indian activities. That must be the Image of India. India needs that Image. Not its present Image of always grumbling of losing its Soldiers’ heads to Pakistani actors – state or non-state.

Bank Nationalization by Indira Gandhi was good and needed. But, whoever owned the Banks back then, should have been paid back their invested monies as sufficient compensation. Till Nehru lived, he always stood by the premise of Just Compensation. But, not Indira Gandhi. She stood for acquiring anything, with any paltry compensation, which is not just.

But, Indira Gandhi did a number of good things for the poor of the country through the nationalized Banks. This said - the way she dumped all the Congress Old Guard, who fought for Independence by the side of Nehru – does not definitely belong to the Nehruvian Congress.

When Indira Gandhi promulgated Emergency and was later assassinated, a section of Congress showed its ugliest face in the anti-sikh riots. This too was Congress. Is it not the same congress which perpetrated these religious riots pointing accusing fingers at Modi for the 2002 incidents, which were very localized and the handiwork of a few enraged people.

Bank Nationalization and Bangladesh creation were her great contributions to the stability of India, while absolute aversion for any criticism from any one was her single, most negative quality. How she treated the Old Guard of Congress, the princes who gave up their kingdoms and the entrepreneurs who had started the banks in Pre-Independence days was shabby enough. 

Graceful Politics disappeared with Nehru. Indira Gandhi did not stand for any such Graceful Politics. That obviously shows, Mahatma Gandhi’s, Nehru’s and Patel’s Congress was different – from Nehru’s Congress and Nehru’s Congress was not the same as Indira Gandhi’s Congress. When Indira Gandhi was assassinated and the anti-sikh riots happened, whose Congress was it? P.V.Narasimharao may have expressed regrets. But, he was himself dumped by Congress most unceremoniously. It is difficult to say that PVN represents Congress as its head.

Rajiv Gandhi’s Congress was a capitalist congress. He tried to promote Private Industries once again. It was an era of economic liberalism, trying to do away with licence- permit Raj, which existed till Indira Gandhi era. Indira always wanted more and more state control, whereas, Rajiv wanted private entrepreneurship to assist in  economic progress of the country. The assassination if Indira was tragic and that of Rajiv more so. Rajiv would have been a PM, but for his assassination. But for one or two stray incidents, Rajiv was far more accommodating of criticism and far more democratic than Indira Gandhi. How can both the congresses be considered the same? They were as far apart as North and South Poles.

P.V.Narasimha Rao was PM but had no clout on congress. He owned the Government but not the Congress. The Congress came under Sonia Gandhi. Sonia did not know Governance and did not contribute to it at all. It was PVN all the way, assisted by good people like Dr.Manmohan Singh, who were also , namesake, congress leaders, but without following.

PVN contributed to country’s progress in a great way. To some extent, he also made up links with the main Opposition party, the BJP, through his friendly ties with its leaders like A.B.Vajpayee. Their friendly co-operation was pulpable always in Parliament. PVN removed more and more shackles on economic progress. But, he got dumped by Congress ultimately. It was so-unlike of the Nehruvian Congress.

Dr.Manmohan Singh, as the head of UPA I was effective in governance. But, the family of Soniaji was controlling the Congress and Dr.Singh had no say in Congress at all. From the times of Indira Gandhi, the state congress leadership in all states was weakened to such an extent, that there was no mass leader in congress in any state. 

Dr. Singh adopted strong economic Policies and the telecom revolution, which was started in Vajpayee’s times, bore fruit. To some extent, UPA I’s success was due to the strong foundations laid by Vajpayee’s Government. But, the agility with which it was continued by Dr.Singh needs to be appreciated. The RTI Act is itself a Great contribution from Dr.Singh. 

UPA II has been a disaster. The credit for this should be shared by Congress and its allies both. If transparency is a virtue of Governance, the only thing that was transparent in UPA II was the level of corruption and the brazen attempts to use state machinery to suppress criticism and shield corrupt people. 

Whether it was Team Anna or Baba Ramdev, they were not initially against Congress. They just wanted a Lok Pal to deal with Corruption and wanted Government to bring back black moneys. Their agitations were perfectly peaceful and Gandhian. Nehruvian Congress would have implemented Lok Pal in the face of such  demand which was not only Popular but was made by respected personalities.  But, all that Congress and UPA II Government did was to put all the state Machinery behind them – to discredit them. The result is – (i) Arvind Kejrival entered into Politics and is well on his way to become the Majority party in Delhi displacing Congress and BJP both, and (ii) Baba RamDev is now the best crusader against Congress and in favour of the BJP in all Northern states, apart from Modi himself. 

The corruption scandals are legion. I don’t think, we have seen the bottom of any of these scandals as of today. No money trail has been investigated in full. No one has been punished as yet – except Lallu Prasad yadav – and the credit for that goes to a single Individual called Rahul Gandhi and not Congress. The full Political class was shamelessly behind Lallu and his corruption. That shows the degeneration of the Political class and the justification for the rise of Arving Kejrival.

Congress was also seen accusing all regulatory bodies like Election commission, Supreme Court and the CAG, when in fact, these bodies were trying to bring back a semblance of  rule of law into Governance. CAG was identified with opposition – which was ridiculous. Supreme Court too got criticized for so called Judicial activism, when it was only correcting legislative opportunism. If Election commission suggests right to reject, it was not acceptable. When SC says that criminal Politicians can’t stand for elections, that was not acceptable. 

There is too much nonsense of this type in Congress right now – and if Rahul comes up with a young team to cleanse congress first, the country may yet give him thumbs up – even if he is far less experienced and far less capable than Modi.

So – my own view is – Sorry, Dr.Manmohanji, You don’t belong to that Congress which had Nehru and Patel. You belong to Soniaji’s and  Digvijay Singh’s Congress. But, if you too can muster enough courage to call the bluff of the nonsense politics in Congress, you may yet get thumbs up from the country.

But, all this doesn’t mean, Modi is very right about Sardar Patel. I don’t think, we could say today – had Sardar Patel been our first Prime Minister, things would have been different. This too is ridiculous. We lived with Nehru for the longest time. India voted for Nehru, like it never voted for anybody else later. India loved Nehru. Sardar Patel was the next best choice. We  cannot undo that people’s choice of decades in favour of Nehru today and say Patel should have been our first PM. Patel’s contribution to uniting the country was tremendous. But, he did not live long enough to ensure further the country’s unity and progress, with his admirable administrative skills. 

So, all this means that – Dr.Singh is terribly wrong to say that he is proud of belonging to a party to which Sardar Patel belonged and Modi is terribly wrong to say that had Sardar Patel been our first PM, India would have been different.

In the same way, RSS and BJP of today are much different from anything that existed  at the time of Mahatma Gandhi’s Assassination. There is just no point in  Godse’s Individual act being attributed to any organization of that time and it is absolute fallacy to accuse Individuals who are born much, much later than Gandhi’s death for Gandhi’s death.

It is just like blaming Indira Gandhi’s assassination on all Sikhs and pursuing them and rioting on them. This blunt comparison must make both Congress and RSS realize that both must come to live in today’s India with today’s Indian aspirations. No one in India must ever be seen to be justifying Godse’s act in assassinating the father of the Nation. I hope RSS doesn’t. Also, it must come out of its Hindu Nationalism concept – which is unnecessarily damaging its own otherwise, great reputation. Let everyone be a Good Hindu, Good Christian, Good Muslim according to his religion and all be good nationalists. The problem is, once someone catches a hot potato, it becomes difficult to leave it. Huge Egos and fear of condemnation makes people justify earlier wrongs. It requires huge honesty to admit past / present wrongs and come out of it gracefully.

Likewise, Congress must never ever be seen to be justifying Anti-sikh riots (or the Emeregency etc which preceded it). Congress must never ever attribute the Godhra tragedy or Ahmadabad riots to Modi personally, when, Modi’s regime very actively and very clearly pursued the investigations and got the actual culprits punished, which the Congress has not done so far in respect of Anti- Sikh riots. How many of these riot victims were compensated? How many perpetrators were punished? Saying regret, is not enough alternative for these acts required by Law and Justice to the riot victims.

We must all own the legacy of Nehru, Patel and Subhas Bose. Modi also owns their legacy.  It is good that the PM and PM aspirant came on a single dais to own his legacy. I wish to see them in ROLES REVERSED in 2014 – but behaving gracefully like PVN and Vajpayee. India needs this at least for 60 months.

The tallest statue of Sardar Patel (182 Mts) reflects what Modi will strive to achieve if made the PM. India needs such great Monuments for the great leaders of our freedom struggle - Gandhi, Nehru, Patel and Subhas Bose. Why can't we have world class statues for these world class leaders?
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Saturday, October 19, 2013

MALALA YOUSUFZAI - Most Courageous (and Famous) 16 Year Old Girl from Pakistan - who Missed Nobel peace prize by a whisker?


The Most Courageous (& Famous)
16 Year Old Girl in the world


This Brave, young girl, Malala Yousafzai, of Pakistan, is really, really a rare species, from Pakistan.

In regard to the Burkha (veil), which her mother also wears always, Malala says this : My mother used to tell me when going to market, “cover your face; cover your face; see, that man is looking at you;  this man is looking at you...” and so on..

Malala told her mother, “but, Mom, I am also looking at them.”

Isn’t this a simple, stark fact? I don’t know why Muslim men who want to cover their women in Burkha do not see this reality; this other side of who is looking at whom and who is not!

In India, the government would probably say, see, this is the personal law of the Muslim men that gives them the right to cover their women in Burkha. 

But, how come, no one ever thought of this point of view of Malala? May be, the Muslim women know the contradiction in this practice all the time..but, they can’t help it one way or the other.

Malala says,

“they (the Al Queda Men) could only shoot my body, not my spirit ; not my ideas; now, I know my ideas will live always, so many supporters are there in so many countries.

Earlier, I was afraid of death; but, now I am no more afraid of death....”

”in Pakistan, women are encouraged to become Doctors or teachers..not anything else....but, I want to become a Politician..I want to become the Prime Minister of Pakistan..a Doctor for my entire nation...that way, I can cure an entire nation...”

I heard this interview  with Malala Yousafzai just today and it was really, really, refreshing..all original thoughts...all forward looking.. So, I went on to search on Youtube and found her other speeches and interviews, some of which I heard. I do wish to hear her other interviews and speeches soon.

She speaks beautiful, sweet, simple English. 

She says, Taliban must tell the world what they want to do. Killing people the way Taliban is doing  is not Islam.

People of Pakistan did rise up against the shooters of Malala and in favour of Malala.  Malala is thankful to all of them. She wants to go back to Pakistan, after getting education in college and University and make herself more powerful to face the unjust practices in Pakistan.

She says – 

She loves physics because it tells us all truths and laws about how the universe functions.

Education of all children is important for her .

Reasons for Parents not educating their children, according to her, are – No.1 is Poverty – those children in Pakistan have to do child labour, earn for family; Second is -cultural norms; in the name of religion, people are not educating girls. We can and must change their mindset, she says.

Malala has a fantastic theory for dealing with terrorists. She says - Terrorists are doing their job easily; They are changing others’ mindsets easily. Why can’t we?  We must also struggle hard, harder than the Taliban to change their mindsets.

She says 

- It is the duty of every person. If I cannot do anything else in any better way – I can at least speak. Let us support the cause of is the only solution.

-Fighting terrorism is not through Guns. Much money is spent on guns, tanks etc. We need to spend the same money on books and schools. She says, organizations and Governments are spending huge moneys on Aids and many health issues etc. But, if same money is spent on education, we would be enabling people to take care of themselves very easily. 

She appeals to all people and organizations - Work for education for every child. Take education seriously.

Reflecting on her own personal life – she tells all - If you want to stay at the top, you must struggle hard; work hard; 

Reflecting on how life was back in her village in Pakistan – she says, life was so beautiful and peaceful; then, the villains came; they snatched our normal life....If you hear no one is killed today, that is the news in Pakistan now.

She says - I am just dreaming now – that every girl and every boy is going to school. Today’s dream becomes tomorrow’s reality. If you are honest and sincere to the world, the whole world will be true and sincere to you......Make education your top priority. With education, they can fight all other issues themselves.

She goes on like this. Absolute clarity marks her every word. She was born on 12th, July, 1997 in a terrorist infested province of Pakistan. She is 16 now. But, her fight for her own education and for women education in general started from age 11.  
On 9 October 2012, two Taliban Gunmen came to her school, found her leaving in a school bus,(she calls it Dyna) and shot her in the head and neck – to kill her. She thought she was dead. She had fainted and was seriously injured. It was with great difficulty and with lots of help from people in Pakistan and England, that she was restored to normal health in a Hospital in England. When she came back to life, she thought she was waking up from a dream. She loved to go back to school again. So, she joined a school in England – which was so different from Pakistan. She says - it is rare for girl children to get opportunity to go to school in Pakistan.

Many things have happened to her in her life, since she was shot by the Taliban. Many people rallied around her and ensured that her voice is heard all over the world. This year, she missed the Nobel Peace Prize by a hair breadth – probably. But, she will continue to be in the reckoning for the prize in future years also. She has spoken at the UN; she was featured on Time Magazine ; She has spoken on many TV channels and international media – all on her cherished, dream topic of Education and especially, women’s right to education.

Her fight has a long way to go. There is no need to mention here all her trials and tribulations. It is there all over the Internet. She has undergone enough suffering. She has faced the deadliest assaults on her. But, this assault has strengthened her resolve to fight for her cherished goals of women’s education and education for all children.

We must understand that - Pakistan is not all Taliban. There are so many humane, Muslim Clerics  and humane Muslims in its population. We understand that, on 12 October, a number of Islamic clerics came together  in  Pakistan to issue a fatwa against her assaulters. But then, Taliban is undeterred by these fatwas and has reiterated its intention to kill her and her father too, for supporting her so totally. 

As many people say – Pakistan is at war with itself, with its own home-grown terrorists. Tackling these terrorists is not as easy as Malala thinks. They won’t read, and they won’t allow others to read as well. In fact, the whole Islamic world seems torn between moderates (who are the vast, silent majority) and the fundamentalists and terrorists (who are the aggressive minority).Tackling the fundamentalists and terrorists requires many approaches.

Educating the child is of course the most important way – of weaning the child away from fundamentalism and terrorism. But, education has to be secular, logical, analytical and humane – so that the educated child knows how to look at religion – in fact, at all religions.

Today, in religion, it is my way or the High way – with these fundamentalists and terrorists. No one tries to look at other religions with respect and curiosity, which are the minimum requirements to understand the other religions. There are practices in every religion – which are inhuman and illogical. Some criticism must be permitted and supported by the moderates, if religions have to become really humane.

But, the fear of THE BOOK, fear of the GOD, fear of HELL, and more importantly, fear of the priest – make even the most logical persons to shy away from criticizing the inhuman and illogical practices in their respective religions. In Islamic world, these are more accentuated. A Christian, a Hindu or a Buddhist can look at his religion logically, criticize it and get away with it. But, not a Muslim. This is the problem, despite the fact that the vast majority among Muslims are Moderates. This is because, the fundamentalists and terrorists use force, violence, and punishment, at will, and they come together to form powerful groups, while moderates remain in disarray always.

Malala says, the terrorists should tell us what they want to do and want to achieve. While this is not easy – it is definitely easier to educate every child into secular, logical, humane education. It is high time that every nation understands the best practices of every religion, rather than confining itself to its own religion. For instance, Many in Islam and Christianity think that Hinduism is all about Idol Worship and that there are many Gods according to Hinduism. This is absolutely false. 

Hinduism accepts essentially, an imageless, formless supreme entity only – but, for attaining to that supreme entity, we can use different types of methods, each suitable to our particular mindset. An evolved person in Hinduism actually sees God within himself – which doesn’t mean he looks down on others. He sees the supreme entity in himself and in all that is around him. Hinduism suggests many, many different paths of worship. And, these are most ancient and highly logical. Instead of studying them and understanding them, other religions indulge in conversions, and idol breaking etc.

This is what Gandhiji also pointed out in many of his speeches and writings. The purpose of mentioning this here is – Education must free our mind from all fears, from all absurdly illogical assumptions – and yet rise above logic to - see the truths beyond the physical world, experience them personally and individually and attain to the highest level that the supreme entity ( call it by any name you want) is beckoning us to attain. The priest of any religion – is not the best mediator required between us and the supreme entity.

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