|BJP on backfoot after Mumbai setback|
|Modi's charisma is gradually fading|
|Concerned as the BJP is over the stiff challenges which it is facing in the assembly elections, its worries will be multiplied by the party's setback in the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) poll.
What the outcome has shown is that the Shiv Sena had read the political tea leaves right by breaking its ties with the BJP and going it alone. Prima facie, it would have appeared to have been a foolhardy decision considering that the assembly elections in Maharashtra had shown that the Shiv Sena had conceded its primacy of place to the BJP, which was earlier its junior partner.
But the BMC results have restored the earlier equation between the two parties and put the Shiv Sena in the No 1 position again.
Why the turnaround? Has Narendra Modi's demonetisation gamble hurt his party? Or...|
|We Busy People..! |
|It is so strange; the whole idea of technology is for us to have more time to do all the things we never have time to do. Cars were meant to get us faster to some place. Computers were meant to help us get results faster. Elevators or lifts were meant to save us time climbing stairs, and so on and so forth, but it looks like we have only become more busier with less time for the real things in life:
There is a story where the devil called all his demons. He said, "We don't seem to be able to keep people from becoming spiritual and religious. We need to do something drastic about this, so steal their time, so they don't have time to be with God. This is what I want you to do, distract them!"
"How shall we do this? His demons shouted.
"Keep them busy in the non-essentials of life and inv...|
|Stolen gold: A ghost from the past that scares none|
|Media reports of a former officer dismissed from service for stealing money let off a quarter century later by the Armed Forces Tribunal. The Tribunal as reportedly asked the government to pay him Rs 4 crores as damages caused. The media report on the case says that the petitioner claimed that his search party in a military operation had recovered some 25 kgs of gold biscuits. These he says were appropriated by his seniors, among whom he reportedly includes the then corps commander. When he remonstrated he was accosted, brutalized, declared mentally unsound, shot at and finally dismissed from service.
The corps commander for his part in an interview carried alongside the article in a leading weekly clarifies that on hearing from the Adviser Home to the Governor that a theft had occurr...|
|Why we have no debates in India..!|
|With the kind of election tamasha that we have in our country, many of our esteemed citizens wonder why we do not have debates in our country like what they have in America with a moderator and both the candidates on either side, but I can imagine how such a debate will be:
Moderator: Where are both the candidates?"
Assistant: They are both with the cameraman sir. Candidate One is promising him a job with a government agency if he does not zoom in on the bald patch on his head and candidate two is slipping a two thousand rupee note into his hand to do so. Ah here they are sir."
Candidate One I will take the left lectern because according to my Vastu guruji it will be bring me luck..!
Candidate Two: My astrologer told me to stand on the left too because according to his astrological c...|
|Modi's Muslim bashing in UP Elections: Carrying forward the RSS legacy|
|As the multi-phased UP assymbly elections progress, Prime Minister Nadrendra Modi as the only mascot of BJP's campaign is becoming more belligerent in his communal polarizing rhetoric. Speaking in an election rally on (February 20, 2017) at Fatehpur, PM while raising the issue of appeasement of Muslim minority in the State by the current Samajwadi Party government he went to the extent of declaring that "Ramzan me bijli athi hai tho Diwali me bhi ani chahiye; Bhedbhav nhi hona chahiye (If there is electricity during Ramadan then it must be available during Diwali too; there shouldn't be any discrimination)…Gaon me kabristan banta hai to shamshaan bhi banna chahiye (If there is a 'kabaristaan' (graveyard), there should be a 'shamshaan' (cremation ground) too".
PM Modi was clearly targeti...|
|Never Grow Old..!|
|The last few days have been wonderfully different with an aunt of mine who has flown in from Canada, staying with me. Not for a moment do I feel she has grown any older than those days in childhood when I spent holidays with her. She still jumps from chair to explain point. Gestures excitedly like one of us and is as fit as a fiddle. Not from her are groans and moans of aches and pains, or complaints about the present day world. She is a present day person. She is eighty four and she still beats me hands down at Scrabble..!
Today she leaves back to Canada and I thought I'd lighten that sad thought with a few lively stories:
The quack was selling an elixir which he declared would make men live to a great age. "Look at me," he shouted. "Hale and hearty and, I'm over 300 years old."
|What is our Nationality: Indian or Hindu?|
|Debate around the words Hindu, Hinduism, Hindutva is not new. Recently the assertion by Mohan Bhagwat, the Sarsanghchalk (Supreme Dictator) of RSS that 'everyone living in India is Hindu' and that Muslims might be Muslim by religion but they are Hindus by nationality', is yet another interpretation of Word Hindu. He said that this is Hindustan so all those living here are Hindu. Both these, Hindu is a nationality and we are Hindustan are erroneous formulations in today's context and need to be examined from the point of view of Indian Constitution.
Bhagwat at times says that Muslim's way of worship-faith might have changed but their Nationality remains Hindu! Over nearly two decades ago when Murli Manohar Joshi, was the President of BJP, he had stated that we are all Hindus, Muslims a...|
|Sniff the scents and smells..!|
|Every morning after a brisk walk and a jog, I come home and take my dog for his stroll. We saunter down to a field and I allow him to sniff the different scents and smells while I sit on stone and wait. Today I allowed myself to sniff the scents and smells too. I smelt the trees, the ground and then I looked for the first time at plants breaking into the world, trees with new fruit and heard the sound of birds welcoming a new morning.
There was such sense of peace.
These sounds and smells and sights were there everyday. It was just that I had not taken them in. Never enjoyed the moment.
An Italian journalist, Renato Giuntini, once visited the great pianist Arthur Rubinstein. When leaving, the musician gave the journalist a box of his favourite cigars.
"I'll keep them all my life," sa...|
|Speak in our own voice |
|Why India must keep charge of its bilateral engagement with its largest neighbour|
|In mid-January, a week before he resigned as U.S. Ambassador to India, Richard Verma held an unusual dinner at his residence, inviting the Minister of State for Home Kiren Rijiju as well as the Sikyong, or Leader of the Tibetan 'Government in Exile'. It was a small sit-down event, and was clearly no 'accidental meeting'. The Ambassador could hardly have been working without the approval of the government, and if he had, the Ministry of External Affairs has chosen not to comment in the weeks that followed. What's more, the dinner follows a series of interventions by American officials on India-China issues in the past few months.
Mr. Verma made waves by becoming the first U.S. envoy to visit Tawang in Arunachal Pradesh in October 2016, a visit that drew a sharp response from the Chinese F...|
|Sweeping and Swabbing..!|
|Something I'm not too fond off and I'm sure many of you share my feeling is a sneezing fit. "Hoorashuuuu..!" I sneeze and its like my whole face has been blown into bits. I feel tenderly to see whether nose is still in place and eyes haven't popped out and then next big sneeze throws me a few inches into the air.
The culprit is generally house dust, and I wondered yesterday as I sneezed to glory where such dust could be springing from till I gently nudged big toe onto the corner of wall and floor and kicked out a spray of grime and dirt. "I thought you sweep and swab every day." I told the maid who I could have sworn I saw going with bucket and cloth from room to room every day.
"I mop the floor," she said. "Every bit of it."
"I don't sweep, I only swab!" she said defiantly.
|"WE have been busy in alienating the sympathies of free peoples ... the rights of a power, the rights of a nation, ought not to be invaded because it happens to have the misfortune of a despotic government," William Gladstone said in 1880. The systematic violation of these rights by the US is the cause of the turmoil Europe and the Middle East face today.
In 2003, analyst William Pfaff wrote: "Choosing to invade two Islamic states, Afghanistan and Iraq, neither of which was responsible for the [9/11] attacks, inflated the crisis, in the eyes of millions of Muslims, into a clash between the United States and Islamic society. The two wars did not destroy Al Qaeda ... The United States is no more secure than it was before. The wars opened killing fields in two countries that no one knows h...|
|Trump's Third class Travel..!|
|As I listen to Trump ranting and raving about immigrants, I remember my father telling me about travel in his days in our country. Those were days, he told me, when one hardly reserved seats when travelling but took one's chances, sometimes with family, in crowded, congested, claustrophobic third class compartments.
First you arrived, along with seemingly a million others on the platform, waited for yon smoke spouting train and as you looked with dismay at the doorway of each compartment, it seemed warriors, bristling with rage guarded each entrance, preventing entry. You pleaded, pushed, even pinched your first leg in, then the other. Shoved back by combatants on the steps, you thrust more determined, finally as train left the station you were perched precariously maybe, but victoriousl...|
|Universal basic income|
|There's a new idea that might be the solution to runaway populism. Well, it's not that new, really - it has been kicking around in left-wing circles for atleast a quarter-century - but it has suddenly gone mainstream. It's called Universal Basic Income (UBI), and pilot programmes to see if it really works in practice are being launched this year in four different countries.
It's populism that gave us Brexit in Britain and President Donald Trump in the United States. It could soon give us President Marine Le Pen in France. But the fundamental lie of populism is that it can "bring the jobs back". It doesn't even admit where they really went.
Indeed, in the 2016 presidential campaign in the United States neither candidate ever mentioned the ghost at the feast. Donald Trump promised to "bri...|
|All parties guilty of fielding candidates with criminal background|
|The cow is revered in India as a holy animal, but there is no holy cow in Indian elections. All political parties are the same. They harp on clean politics but field candidates with criminal background in large numbers. And the ongoing Assembly elections in five States are no different. The parties have again stuck to the trend of favouring criminality in politics.
More than 20 per cent of candidates in the first phase and about 15 per cent in the second phase of elections in Uttar Pradesh have criminal cases registered against them. In Uttarakhand, Punjab and Goa, the figure is the same at about 15 per cent, an analysis of the lists of candidates by the election watchdog Association for Democratic Rights (ADR) has revealed.
A close scrutiny of their affidavits filed with the Election ...|
|In defence of globalisation|
|Globalisation has become a much despised world today, thanks to the rise of Right in the US and Europe and growing sentiment against immigrants and refugees. Not long ago though, pundits, especially those from the West, prescribed it as the panacea to all the problems of the world. Open borders and free trade were endlessly showcased as the be-all and end-all solution for the struggling economies of the developing world. Capitalism was the ultimate road to salvation and deliverance from poverty and all the attending afflictions.
It was largely due to that long and concerted campaign, aided by the persuasive Bretton Woods twins, the World Bank and International Monetary Fund, that two of the biggest state-controlled economies, India and China, chucked the ideals of their founding fathers,...|
|Maybe there's no problem..!|
|We had all gone for a holiday once many years ago and felt that we had been insulted. My family felt angry as we drove back home. I didn't sleep well that night nor did I feel good the next day, and laughed only when I read this lovely story I am going to reproduce below:
One fine day, a bus driver went to the bus garage, started his bus, and drove off along the route. No problems for the first few stops - a few people got on, a few got off, and things went generally well.
At the next stop, however, a big hulk of a guy got on. Six feet eight, built like a wrestler, arms hanging down to the ground. He glared at the driver and said, "Big John doesn't pay!" and sat down at the back.
Did I mention that the driver was just five feet three, thin, and basically meek? Well, he was. Naturally, ...|