Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Telangana: the last straw

India has been going through one of the most important phases in its political makeup. The government of India, today decided to initiate the formation of the new state of Telangana. This is the last of the of most remarkable events happening in India which herald the paradigm shift in Indian polity. India has been always defined as nation with multiple fault lines formed on the basis of region, religion, caste and language. The recent events have shown that India of today has moved on.

While region and language formed major political forces in the first few decades after independence, religion and caste became majorly important after 1989. The political effectiveness of religion and caste wore out quickly due to its excessive use in the past few decades. The last general elections show that they now constitute a force on a decline. Region and language played a big role in the southern states and the regional parties have cashed on them for about half a century. The Telangana issue finally manifests their downfall.

Today the only factor that matters in the hearts and minds of the Indian populace is their development. Some fear that Telangana has opened a Pandora's box and now similar demands will emanate from Vidharbha, Bhudhelkhand, Saurashtra,... The demand for smaller states is based on the hope for equitable development. Thus the issue today is about the greater decentralization of power and finances which presents itself as demands for statehood. At the time of freedom, the concern about keeping the unity and territorial integrity of India were supreme which lead to a constitution with a federal structure and a strong centre. Today, India is much more confident of keeping its flock together and hence there is a need to revisit the federal structure of the nation to keep in touch with the aspirations and needs of the current times.

PS: Telangana movement also reassures the people about the effectiveness of non violent Gandhian means of protest, something which was missing during the Gujjar aggitation, Nandigram or the Gorkhaland movement. But of course such means do succeed only if there is a genuine problem and considerable public support.

Some articles worth a read:

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Under The Surface

I am personally glad to see that Indian government has taken a very pragmatic view for solving political problems whether internal or with neighbours. Despite big statements that we will not talk to Pakistan, there have not been many occasions when people have been so optimistic about resolution of Kashmir dispute. The Manmohan Singh/ Sonia Gandhi signature is all over the modus-operandi of this process. The surface appears calm but underneath, a lot of churning is going on.

The first step towards resolution of Kashmir dispute was taken during the meeting of Manmohan Singh with Parvez Musharraf on the sidelines of UN general assembly[1]. Dr. Singh quietly laid down the basic rules of the game that 'maps cant be redrawn.' Surprisingly, Musharraf did not object to the idea but rather worked on it. Even more surprising the was that such a big agreement did not grab the lime light of media. It is believed that India and Pakistan almost came to an agreement on the Kashmir dispute [2] but then events unfolded in Pakistan leading to the oust of Musharraf and ending in 26/11 which robbed the governments of the will to take forward these agreements publicly.

Now quiet talks between the separatists [5] and some say between India and Pakistan [3][4] have proven to be more fruitful than, an all open to media, Agra like event. India has deftly encouraged the moderate leaders of Hurriyat Conference to have faith in the government and has build an international environment for the resolution of the dispute at the same time. The omens are clear. After a long slumber, the Organisation of Islamic Countries (OIC) wakes up when Mirwaiz Umer Farooq, the chairman of the moderate faction of Hurriyat Conference, meets them and OIC announces an envoy to Kashmir[6]. Thus giving support to Mirwiaz as a leader of Kashmir who can make things move and also bringing the Islamic countries on the table so that the final solution has the blessings of the larger Islamic world and hence making sure that no voices are raised in the name of religion after the matter is settled.

Later, Delhi decides to allow Mirwaiz to go to Pakistan and even China [7] [9] . Many saw the reference to Kashmir problem in Sino-US statement [8] as something harmful for India but it may turn out be even beneficial. China covers almost a fifth of the Kashmir claimed by India. It is also a major partner to the dispute due to its relations with Pakistan. The leverage of China and US with Pakistan can come handy, not to overlook the fact that US has a great interest in solving the dispute [9]. Also it looks like that the Gordian knot of fixing Indian border with both China and Pakistan may have to solved together as both hinge on Kashmir [11].

The Prime Minister is accused to be very unemotional on most of the occasions very unlike Vajpayee. But this very quality lets us move beyond stated positions and predictable public response to any provocation. All we can hope is that these efforts succeed and finally India can look beyond its neighbours.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

World at Threshold, India at Crossroads

Some physicist who explore the universe for signs of life believe that civilizations come in three types according to their technical and hence political progress [1]. It is famously known as the Kardashev scale:
  • Type 1: a civilization that is able to harness all of the power available on a single planet.
  • Type 2: a civilization that is able to harness all of the power available from a single star.
  • Type 3: a civilization that is able to harness all of the power available from a single galaxy.
In this scale from 1 -3 the Earth ranks as type 0 civilization, but also one which is on the threshold of becoming a type 1 civilization. Already, the concept of nationality has been diluted in many European and American nations. The domination on a global scale is not measured by the area captured by a country, but by the trade surplus and economic might.

It interestingly concurs well with the Asimov's novels giving an insight into the complex science of politics and control. Long gone are the era's of control through religion, when the writ of the Pope was stronger than any of the monarch. Soon as religion faded out as a tool of control, trade flourished and it was even more subtle but highly powerful tool for domination. Even after the collapse of imperialism and colonialism the western powers did not fade away. While the real economy of manufacture of goods and production of raw materials shifted more and more towards the east, the contrived concept of capital got concentrated more and more in the west. Thus enabling the west to secure their interests inconspicuously.

But nothing remains static, and now the world is again evolving to a higher dimension where trade and corporations matter the most and not the countries. The MNCs (Multinational Companies) already span the whole world and global trade deals are being hammered. Governments, at times, act just as a stooge for the corporate interests influenced by 'Lobbies.'

The pace of this change has not been even everywhere. Countries like India have not even crossed the threshold for such a change to occur. The threshold being the security of all its citizens in all respects, whether economic or social. It has been dragged along the world with a leash called globalization and liberalization. India still is dictated by strong regional, linguistic, religion and nationality bias.

Things are changing. NREGA and various social programs are changing the rural landscape. Internal dissent and conflict of interest of people with corporate interests is being recognized [2]. The problems with neighbors are being sorted out [3].

There are many challenges that the nation faces today which come in the form of choices we can take to make India "developed." One of the most subtle and yet formidable challenge is what economic and social model suits India the best? India is going through a demographic sweet spot, where the majority of Indians are young. But the sweetness doesn't end here. Majority of Indian population is still uniformly spread out all over with seventy percent of India still in the villages. We have a choice to make. Do we want a city centric model for the nation, or a village centric one? While the city centric model is easy to adopt as the whole of west stands as an example of it, the village centric one is more sustainable, especially for a billion people, and so, much more hard to build in the first place. There are almost no precedents in the contemporary world of village centric economic model leading to prosperity, but all we need to do is to dig up our past.

Instead of emptying out the villages into cities, we need to do the reverse. The goal of such an economy would be to have the level of incomes and quality of life better in the villages than in the cities. For this to happen, NREGA is not enough. It needs to be supplemented by PURA i.e. bringing the urban infrastructure to the door step of villages. This still, is an easy task. The bigger task would be to build an environment which could nurture small cottage industries. This environment must be built as on organic one rather than a parasitic one, that is fed on subsidies and the government's pampering of few, breeding incompetence. This task has no parallel in the contemporary world, dominated by mammoth corporates and their politics. Only guide can be the past where such industries flourished in India and produced goods better than those in the west. Of course this wont supplement needs of modern management and practices needed to make a enterprise efficient and profitable.

The least we can do at the moment is to complete the PURA and thus remove the physical barriers inhibiting the rural growth. The is also a hope that in this environment and soil, the rural enterprises shall themselves sprout out. After all nothing is a big surprise in India. If the Indian corporates could do it, so may the rural enterprises, given a responsive democracy devoid of "lobbying".

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Nobel prize for Bush and Obama

Recently former American president, the "famous" George W. Bush was in India. The usually reserved Prime Minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh, called Bush as "India's Great Friend" [1]. As ironical it may seem, but in reality the image of Bush as a dumb leader has been highly over exaggerated.

There is a thin line between humor and pain. All the skill, of comedians, is used to locate that line and present things in a lighter vein. In today's world, where almost anything can fall in category of racist, sexist, and many more ists, it is hard to find some mascot on which much of Hilarity can be based. Thus the world caught on the image of George W. Bush and thrashed it left and right. Today, there is hardly any household where the word Bush means only the thing growing on the ground. Majority of conversations invoke Bush to get a laugh.

In such an atmosphere, it is hard to make an objective evaluation of Bush's decisions and "wisdom." No one can hail him as a great statesman or world leader but the treatment he gets worldwide is also unjustified [2]. I cant help but see the similarity between Bush and Lepidus in Julius Caesar. After Brutus runs away from Rome, the triumvirate, of Antony, Lepidus and Octavius, starts killing the sympathizers of Brutus. For Antony, Lepidus was a donkey which is but used to carry the burden of gold. Lepidus would be used and respected as a donkey which carries gold. Lepidus would be used while he is useful and like a donkey will be put out to pasture (retired) once he is no longer needed (Lines 17- 27)[3] .

No good justification can be given for the decision to invade Iraq. But the criticism of this decision spilled over to many other issues. It in a way liberated Bush from the bondage that keeps a well respected person from making any bold moves, which may jeopardize his/her repute. With nothing to loose, Bush took on many elephants in the rooms of White House.

The decision to invade Afganistan and launch a broader war on terror was the first source of his unpopularity in the Arab worlds, which spread fast to the rest of the world and America. Could America have done without the war on terror, with holes exposed in the once impregnable American security? I would say, the answer is no. Though, I do not support the argument that to protect yourself, you need to harm others. But Bush was dealing with the anti american sentiment built up for over half a century of American hegemony in political and economic affairs of the world. It is my belief, that when every policy of a nation is based on the evaluation of its own strength and the weakness of others, it forms a elastic wall around its interests which can only be supported by its milliatry/ economic strength and opposed by the feelings aroused by unfair deals meeted out to the weaker nations. Thus any hole in this wall invites the influx of that hostility. A better example to validate this theory would be Israel, which would not be looked upon kindly by its neighbors if it weakens militarily.

The Bush era hit the rock bottom when it came to popularity of US in the world. Thus the Nobel Obama had a cake walk. No matter what he did, it made him look like a better president than Bush even if he pushes more and more troops in Afganistan, and the civilian causalities in Af-Pak peak. The work of Bush basically enables Obama to play the Nobel role. Yet one is Judas, the other is Jesus.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Gandhi Found Alive in 2009

There are many philosophical arguments about the real meaning of life. Many people do think that if the brain is preserved after death or if the entire personality and thoughts of a person are "uploaded" to a computer after death and then "downloaded" to a child's brain later on or more humanly, a computer simulates the actions of the entire brain thereon, then a person can live for ever [1]. While this idea may seem technically a very very long shot but philosophically it is quite interesting and personally convincing to me, that it is the persona and thoughts/ memories of a person that constitute life.

Gandhi was killed on January 30, 1948, less than an year after India attained freedom. It seemed then, Gandhi was just a "singularity" in the space time continuum of the world. Albert Einstein said “Generations to come will scarce believe that such a one as this walked the earth in flesh and blood”[2]. But speaking sixty one years after his death and on the day he was born, one can say that Gandhi was the most natural event, overdue for long, to happen in the world. Madness had gripped the world leading to inhuman treatment of majority of humanity, whether under the colonial and racial attitudes or during the World Wars or even now, proliferated under various modern euphemisms. It desperately needed a correction of course. In Gita, Lord Krishna says that

"Whenever and wherever there is decay
of righteousness,
O Bharata, And a rise of unrighteousness
then I manifest Myself!"

Whether one believes in this verse or not, one has to agree to words of Miss Slade (Also known as Mirabehn, daughter of a British Rear-Admiral, who lived and worked with Gandhi)"When we most needed it [presumably meaning during World War II], he offered the world a way out of madness. But the world didn't see it." [3]

Today, Gandhi still lives on in the minds of many many people around the world. His thoughts have been "downloaded" by many individuals across the globe. Though the simulation of his brain may not be perfect but still good enough to keep him alive.

It is at many times believed that Gandhi is invoked only at the election meetings or to commemorate his birthday or mourn his death. The appreciation for Gandhi and his ideals has come from some of the very eminent persons in the World, though the Nobel prize committee never thought Gandhi to be worthy of the Nobel Peace prize until the year of his death (Fortunately or unfortunately Gandhi is not in the league of Jimmy Carter and Al Gore). Albert Einstein had huge hopes on Gandhi uniting the world. He wrote in a letter to Gandhi: [4]

Respected Mr. Gandhi !
I use the presence of your friend in our home to send you these lines. You have shown through your works, that it is possible to succeed without violence even with those who have not discarded the method of violence. We may hope that your example will spread beyond the borders of your country, and will help to establish an international authority, respected by all, that will take decisions and replace war conflicts.
With sincere admiration,
Yours A. Einstein.
I hope that I will be able to meet you face to face some day.

While, the objective of World peace and Gandhian ideology may seem Utopian to many, it has achieved glorious results in India, South Africa and United States, to name a few. Today it was nice to see President Obama acknowledging the contribution of Gandhi to the American society and his own life as well [5].

But the most heartening examples of practicability and inevitability of Gandhian principles are demonstrated by ordinary people, not always sprinkled with political glamour to attract the attention of all newspapers.

The Gandhigiri clan is growing fast.
Prakash and Madakini Amte have been running a hospital, school and development centre in Gadchiroli district of Maharashtra since 1974. They preferred to serve the people in one of the tribal and most underdeveloped districts of India, in comparison to the serving in the private sector with a hefty pay. Prakash Apte is the son of Baba Amte, a Gandhian. The couple was greatly influenced by his work and carried on his footsteps. They received the Magasay award for community leadership in 2008.

Rajendra Singh, left his high paying job in Jaipur to solve the problem of water shortage in Alwar in Rajisthan, India. He was inspired by Gandhian view of village self sufficiency and local autonomy. He setup water harvesting tanks in more than 750 villages and helped the villagers maintain the same on their own. He is also a recipient of Magasay award for community leadership.

Rachel Corrie, a US national bravely stood against the bulldozers of Israeli army demolishing Palestinian homes at Rafah Refugee Camp. She lost her life in the course. This may seem to be not a good example of applicability of Gandhian thought. But Gandhi believed that it is the duty of a man to expose the evil. This event indeed did the same. Rachel was run down under the bulldozer. Many say that it was not an accident but a murder. The international controversy that ensued gave more fatal blows to the Israel's reputation than any of the thousands of bullets fired by Hamas or Fatah [6]. More than 30 songs have been written and many documentaries have been filmed in her memory.

It is not just the good and courageous work of individuals, who seem to validate the thoughts of Gandhi but also the pressing problems of today. Gandhi seems to have got it right on many issues. It may be the problem of urban mismanagement and slums, environment degradation or the ongoing strife between Pakistan and India[8].

He favoured small self sufficient villages as compared to monstrous cities. He felt that every village must be a republic in the sense of attaining self sufficiency. The large cities and industries should be there just to do the work that cannot be done in the villages. This small idea may seem impractical to many but it is not infeasible to build a vibrant economy on this principle. After all, India had been the largest economy of the world from 1st century AD to 11 th century AD and in the 18 th century with a 39.2% share of world GDP[7] and was based on village industries. I do concede that today, in such a setup the GDP of the nation may be less but the Gross National Happiness (GNH) would be immense. One may argue whether it is better to have an nation of few billionaires and many in penury or one with less money on the whole but happy citizens. Village economy would also have a natural answer to the problem of migration to cities and slums. Not only that, it would have a very small carbon footprint since it is the cities that destroy the ecosystem by immense scale of pollutants produced in an area too small for the environment to recycle it.

Many of Gandhi's views were not acceptable to many people, including some of his admirers. Gandhi's most inspiring quality, in my view, has been his ability to accept this. Under his leadership, ordinary men of clay were turned into heroes. He had collected the most remarkable men of the most disparate views under his leadership, who went ahead to build the nation. His leadership provided the nurturing environment for the personalities to develop as he was devoid of any fear of any one rising to a greater prominence than him, just because he never cared for the glory. His humble personality and fervent call for action united India of many languages, religions, castes and regions into one man. No wonder that India remained united despite many lamenting and hoping that India may balkanize. Even today, he remains one of the most strong uniting threads that runs all over India. No leader is as criticized but still revered on such a large expanse of land, culture and languages as Gandhi is.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

BJP: Working hard on the wrong Idea

One of the very useful adages in the sphere of research has been on how to do good research. It is a very simple one. 'Before working on a problem, make sure that there is a problem'. The saying is true at multiple levels and in many spheres. There is a common notion that Japanese take very long to take a decision but are very quick to implement them. This philosophy or style of working had led them to the most remarkable success in the era after The World War II. The Indian politics and the political parties can be studied very well under this theory.

Let me write on the party which has become the darling of the whole media these days and it can rightfully claim to have kept an army of journalists, camera men and what not in employment and given the infotainment industry a big boom in these times. I must confess that these days the BJP drama is doing much better than many prime time soaps. I also confess that though i am not an admirer of BJP policies but i do feel that there are many people in BJP and 'Sangh Parivar' (if they need to mentioned separately) that work very hard and are honest and dedicated to their cause. One person told me that Narendra Modi would not even entertain request of transfer from his bother, who works as a teacher in Gujarat. Such level of honesty in the current times must be appreciated. It is thus heartening to see a large number of people barking up the wrong tree and destructing the nation ad their own organization in effect.

I am not surprised that the largely lethargic, pot bellied congress that is bequeathed from father to usually even more inefficient son still does better than BJP. The main difference lies in the core idea of India both the parties have. While the idea of India Congress professes had been carefully and immaculately drafted by the committed freedom fighters lead by Gandhi who knew each stream that made up the colossal ocean of the country and had the moral authority, dedication and will to turn the course of any strong stream if they needed to. The Idea of India BJP jumped into was that of Veer Savarkar and the Hindu Mahasabha and RSS which were in thick of the murder conspiracy of Gandhi. Even in the early days after independence, Nehru was so wary of their designs that he discounted communism [which was a big scare in democratic nations that time] as a threat to Indian democracy and called upon such communal designs a the biggest challenge to the idea of India.

[Columnist A.G. Noorani quoted an encounter Nehru had in 1963 with young and senior foreign ministry officers. His foreign secretary Y.D. Gundevia reminded Nehru that the communists had won power in Kerala in 1957 and asked: ‘But what happens to the services if the communists are elected to power, tomorrow, at the Centre, here in New Delhi?’

Gundevia records: ‘He pondered over my long drawn out question and then said, looking across the room, ‘Communists, communists, communists, why are all of you so obsessed with communists and communism? What is it that communists can do that we cannot do and have not done for the country? Why do you imagine the communists will ever be voted into power at the Centre?’ There was a long pause after this and then he said, spelling it out slowly and very deliberately, ‘The danger to India, mark you, is not communism, it is Hindu right-wing communalism.’]

This explains much that is wrong in the BJP today. It is confused by contrived ideologies framed by persons who were never that involved with India or even Religion (Veer Savarkar was an atheist at one time). BJP wants to keep Veer Savarkar as its ideal and Hindutva as its philosophy but is it pains to recognize the two nation theory seeded by Savarkar and most emphatically put forward by Jinnah. Such a dilemma or inconsistency in the logical and ration system of thought can occur only because of the wrong assumptions and principles one started with. Infact one can say that proof by contradiction, the idea of India BJP has in mind is wrong. On one side it wants to demonise Jinnah and by contrived implication the minorities in India but also wants to follow policies and ideologies parallel to that of Jinnah's. Simply put, you cannot afford to worship Savarkar and demonize Jinnah at the same time.

It is believed that Shyama Prasad Mukherjee founded Jan Sangh just because he was not at ease with the ideologies and policies of Veer Savarkar and Hindu MahaSabha. BJP was supposed to be the off spring of Jan Sangh and the inherit the legacy of Mukherjee [who vociferously raised his voice against the political mistakes and concessions given by Nehru to Kashmir and stood as the stalwart of parliamentary democracy]. Instead BJP choose to take up the loaded legacy of Savarkar mired with blood of Gandhi and an ideology that provided completeness to the two nation theory of Jinnah. Such ideology in extreme has never been able to accept the secular, dynamic and diverse nature of the Indian system and always took Israel as its model of the state. Thus it left the current BJP leaders look like mavericks and to some extent rebels. This worked well in the late 80s and 90s when the state of the nation lead people to abhor the current system as a whole. Thus the populace saw the BJP rebelling against the system as trying to change things for better. Today, India is not the one of 80's but a confident nation with a lot of optimism. Even a destitute thinks that the future has a lot of good things in store for him and the current fragmentation of politics and it s percolation to panchayat levels has made the common man know the extreme power and strength of the current system and its ability to change their lives. The common belief today is that the idea and principles of Indian system are good just the implementation needs to be bettered rather than the expression of no confidence in the Indian system expressed int he lated 80's. Thus it is not fashionable to act like a maverick today. I think BJP looses more votes than it gains when a Modi says 'Aaj jo Desh ki Halat hai, uski jimedarr sirf Congress hai.'

Many people breathed a sigh of relief when the election result came out. For me there were two reasons. First that we would have a stable government and second that the rigid and antiquated left and the right of Indian politics shall see virtue in dynamism of thought and policy and change their course to a centre left and centre right position devoid of any unjustified grudges towards US or Muslims or irrational tilt towards China, Russia and Mythical and violent Hinduism. Not much could be said about the left parties as they dont like to hijack the prime time space but it is a disappointment to see the way BJP has chosen fr its salvation. In a constant ideological fight between the Jan Sangh and Hindu MahaSabha, Mukherjee and Savarkar, Vajpayee and Sudershan it seems the latter in all cases is wining. I cannot resist the temptation to use the Indian saying that ' Jab Geedhar ki Maut aati hai to woh shehar ki taraf dauta hai.' It seems to me that BJP has accelerated its pace towards annihilation by virtually expelling Vajpayee from the BJP. Today the finance minister, defense minister and foreign minister in the Vajpayee government stand out of the BJP and almost up in arms against it. All the sobering voices that once were attracted by the persona of Vajpayee are venting their frustration out in the open. Whatever little independence the BJP had gained morally from RSS during the rule of Vajpayee has been surrendered even when it was not asked for.

After the elections, the question was whether the BJP will adopt a more inclusive ideology and drop the H word. Many many people were skeptical of this but yet some were hopeful and counted on those out of the "Chintan" today. Now the question is whether the RSS will reform its ideology and it would be hard to fins many hopefuls for the same. But incase it does the advantage to the BJP, the society and the nation will be immeasurable. The RSS powers the cadre of BJP and hence if the word comes from the horse's mouth there wont be any fear of erosion of worker base (another anomaly in BJP that it has to say east to the cadre and west to the voters) and the catchment area of votes for the BJP basin will increase to give it a real national status. Such a correction of direction to this raging and energetic engine of dedicated persons shall lead to wonders in nation building and the society shall emerge as confident and united nation modern and rational in outlook due to the rich culture and past from which all the current values of secularism, acceptance of diversity and democracy arise rather than a inferiority complex stricken man wanting to imitate everything in the west without thought and reason. If this be true many like me shall vote for the BJP.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Apple ka mitha

Add ghee, laung +haldi and wait for some time......... add grated apple and cover and let it fry for abt 10 mins on low flame. After the thing is cooked add sugar and malai and dry fruits and ready to serve.

Kaddu mitha is also the same.

Kaale ka Mitha

In Ghee put one laung.... pissi hui elaichi and haldi and simmer. After some time add sugar and then milk and stir. Add Gari and dry fruits and malai and simmer till the consistency is nice. Add banna slices and boil for five mins...

Sunday, August 23, 2009

General Medicines

Combiflam-------------- inflammatory aches
Calpol---------------------Temperature and general body aches
Unienzyme------------ Indigestion (flatulence)
Sinarest/DCold(milder)----------------- Cough and Cold
Spasmmindon--------Stomach ache
Cobadex-----------------B complex
Pudin hara------------panacea for all stomach problems (2 stat)
Cetiz/Levocet-------Cetrizine ----------1 OD at nght in case of alergies
Azee/LAZ-------------1OD three days morning 15 mins before meal----------antiboitic
Enteroquinol--------loose motions-------2 stats (max three times one tab a day)
Zil-O--------- Tooth ache and stomach upset
Joshina----------------------Cold and cough
Diclowin plus------------- head aches

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Sudarshan Kriya

  • Vajr Aasan
Waist --------- 8 Times
Chest---------- 8 Times
Shoulders----6 Times

  • Bhastrika
20 X 3 times clenched fists
  • Aom
3 Times
  • Sukh Aasan X 3
Long----------------------- 20 Times
Medium------------------ 40 Times
Short ---------------------- 40 Times

Shav Aasan

Wednesday, August 12, 2009


Boil milk 1 ltr and then add 50 gm of Chawal (soaked) and then simmer till Chawal become soft and thoroughly mixed. Add sugar and Elaichi powder, etc. Need to stir occassionally.

Chocolate Pudding.
Bring milk to boil and add sugar. In seperate container mix corn flour with cold milk and add this to boiling milk and sugar thing. keep stirring till it becomes thick. add coc powder to boiled milk in separate container and mix it thoroughly and add it to the main mixture. Simmer for 2 mins and take it off the flame and stir during coolign as well. Garnish with what ever u like.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Making Dal

Tadka before boiling...
Dhule Ma ----if fried 4 mins, o/w 1 min------------5 times water
Dhule Moongi---if fried half a whistle, o/w just when it starts whistling------4 times water
Dal Chana---------7 mins------------------------- 5 times water

Moongi Chilka----- Sanson(solid) + Rye tadka+ half nimbu in perpared dal along with garam masala------just one whistle------- 4 times water

Tadka after Boiling
Saabat Masar------6 mins-----------------------5 times water
Saabat Moongi----10 mins---------------------5 times water
Ma------------------------30 mins---------------------5 times water
Rajma-------------------overnight soaked- 35 mins, o/w 50 mins--------------5 times(soaked), 7 times o/w water------------ masala of tomato and onions
Arhar--------------------just 1/2 whistle---------5 times water
Roongi---------soaked overnight 5 mins, o/w 10 mins--------- 4 times , o/w 5 times ------masala of tomato and onion

Kati(Sour) Roongi----- Boil Rongi(Whistle+ 5/10mins)----------tadka in sukha masala-----in separate bowl mix curd and sugar andput it in tadka and stir till it leaves oil then pour in it the boiled Roongi....... no tomato or onion

either chana masala tadka or normal tadka
Kale Chana-----------------soaked overnight 45 mins, o/w 60 mins-------------5 times, o/w 6 times---------- masaala of onions and tomato in both tadka.
Safed Chana---------------soaked overnight 20 mins, o/w 40 mins------------5 times. o/w 6 times water


Moongi Chilka (1:2 :: dal: chawal)---- water little more than double-----1 min----
Ma Chilka (1:2::dal:water)-------water little more than double------1min----

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Diversity is good

The importance of unity has been stressed on time and again in almost every sphere of life dominated by western thinking. The Physicists, Mathematicians and theologists all seek the unity of basic principles, system of logic and beliefs and faiths. The quest for unity has lead to remarkable achievements in Physics with the theory of everything having being propounded. Where as it is still to be seen if the theory of everything can be verified by practical examples or is it just a very elegant and beautiful system based on some axioms which may not be the one this universe is founded on? Mathematics has somewhat conceded that an axiomatic system cannot prove all truths. Since Godel proposed and proved the incompleteness theorem, it has been a subject of intense debate. Fortunately people are more liberal than Kronecker these days and varied interpretations of this theorem are allowed.

The realm of religion has been the most challenging one when it comes to the unity of system of beliefs. The western religions are dominated by the idea of monotheism and many people find it blasphemous to worship anything not in "the sacred book". The number of conflicts this idea has lead to makes me believe that it was fortunate that there was no central control over Hinduism, Jainism or Buddhism. There was no codified law or the book which had to followed in letter and spirit even f it was written for society and needs of man some 200o years ago. It is no wonder that the modern (read western) philosophies about nationhood consider India an exception which lacks unity of religion, language or history. The religion in India was never as entwined with the politics as in the west where the Roman emperor Constantinople found it necessary to have one draft of the holy bible and one form so that his empire can be consolidated. India had always been a mix of religions and religion has been something very personal not be the basis of political power. This rationale had come very naturally to the east. MJ Akbar points out that if religion was the basis of state then why do we have so many Islamic states and why not just one.

The religions of the west brought peace to the turmoil and the infighting between various tribes or to lend stability to the roman empire. With peace came the founding of large empires where tribes previously at war with each other lived in peace and the political and religious identity got mixed. Soon crusades and jihad became the religious duty of masses and the marriage of religion and politics was complete. The Caliphate and Popedoms controlled the political and the spiritual realm of all our lives. This mix became a very formidable force. While some would be able to revolt against the political heads when they feel wronged but the religion would prevent them from doing so. The chains of nationalism and submission to the will of God became the cause of slavery of humans.

The premise that uniformity means unity was absent in the east. Religions catered to the spiritual curiosity of man rather than a glue for peace, state and order. No wonder many theories sprung up each right in its own perspective and faltering in few. This spontaneous development of spiritual thought was very distributed and as interactions grew the more logical and more emphatically put thoughts carried around the region but with each step across the east lands one could find the variety that can only be found in every grain of Delicious khichdi. It was easy to challenge wrong practices and follow what one feels is right in this system as there was no over arching authority of the sacred book or Popedom. Hinduism was never a religion in the sense the west describes it. It is also believed that the term Hinduism was coined by outsiders and not Indians who used to describe the people in the lands to the east of the Indus river(called Sindhu river in old times) as Sindhus which became Hindu later on. Though orthodoxy creeped in the Hindu religion in time but true to its nature the rigid rituals were as diverse as the geography of India. Thus when India gained freedom, democracy was feared by many as the mechanism for the Hindus to force their rituals and customs to all citizens by the force of law. Quite to the contrary the aggregate or the intersection of all the diverse practices followed by Hindus in India ensured that the pristine and rational thought prevailed which allowed all to breathe freely with their own mix of practices until they fell into a broad framework fencing the the criminal or feudal mindset. In his book "The Swatantra Party and conservatism" H. L. Erdman wonders that though the Indian society is so conservative there has been no conservative party of significant might that has stood so for a long time. Conservatism and codified definitions of religion and nationalism leave out a very large chunk of Indians no matter what the definition is. Thus any process of uniformity covered up in the garb of unity falls into the minority view.

To understand India one has to shun the western ideas which have caused so much conflict. It is widely said that riots began only under the British rule India saw the first riots. This was not due to just the divide and rule policy of the British but due to the Western ideals which feel that everything can be easily broken into various aspects and fit into frames of religion, language etc. Thus the personal religion became the symbol of identity of persons and politics and lead to conflict. India can never be put into such narrow definitions as a Hindu state or a Hindi state or anything like that. It was very wise of our leaders to not succumb to the over marketed logic systems of the west based on unity is uniformity and that every state must have a single national language or culture. Though some uniformity is required for operational feasibility of law and state. Thus we had the Hindu Code bill as the Hindu laws regarding property and personal right varied from place to place and caste to caste. The other religions had more less uniform personal laws as they follow one book. The liberal stance of the hind code bill and its modernity proved that modern thought is not the fiefdom of the contemporary times or post renaissance period but could be the pristine thoughts of the old peaceful times when Bhudhha walked on this earth. Though we may have lost much of that purity and rationale of those practices into the "desert of dead habit " but still the intersection of all the practices do yield the underlying basis of these practices. While the other religions had decayed uniformly under a Pope or a Caliph thus making it hard to find the true reason for the prevailing practices and customs, the eastern religions decayed in various parts in different regions thus making it theoretically possible to get back the original information in the same way as we would have been able to obtain the correct message from many copies of the same message garbled in different parts.

Thus this diversity has proved a boon for us rather than the source of disunity. This diversity has abled us to keep our freedom in political as well religious realms and raise questions without the fear of some one invoking to be the supreme interpreter of God's will and words. We must strive to keep this diversity and also prevent nationalism, and other such concepts which invoke unjustified power in the hands of few, to be codified by the policemen of our society and nation and leave many many people out of its fold. I would like to end this article with quotes of two great Indian leaders on Nationalism and Patriotism.

"Nationalism is good in its place, but it is an unreliable friend and an unsafe historian. It blinds us to many happenings and sometimes distorts the truth, especially when it concerns us or our country." ----- Jawaharlal Nehru

"One must go through nationalism to reach internationalism, in the same way that one must go through war to reach peace" ----Rabindranath Tagore

"Patriotism cannot be our final spiritual shelter; my refuge is humanity. I will not buy glass for the price of diamonds, and I will never allow patriotism to triumph over humanity as long as i live. " ----Rabindranath Tagore

Thursday, June 4, 2009

The UPA-2 Road Map

I could see a halo around the text of presidential address given today ( The work outlined can really change the face of this nation. Just waiting to see whether the govt will walk the talk?

Friday, May 29, 2009

Chapter 1

  1. Gandhi says: 'Mahabharatha is not history; it is a dharma grantha. .... In this battle, moreover, the warriors were, on one side, the sons of Dharma, Vayu, Indra and Ashwanikumars and, on the other, a hundred brothers all born at the same instant. Have we ever heard of such a thing happening? ....the epic describes the battle ever raging between the countless Pandavas and Kauravas dwelling within us.'

  2. Besides Karna, Duryodhana had good men like Bhishma and Drona also on his side. This suggests that evil cannot by itself flourish in this world. It can only do so if it is allied with some good. This was the underlying non-cooperation that the evil system which the [Colonial British] Government represents, and which has endured only because of the support it receives from good people, cannot survive if that support is withdrawn.

  3. Arjuna is asking, not whether it is necessary that should fight, but against whom he has to fight. If he did not wish to fight, he would have told Krishna so on the previous day itself. Krishna could not give any advise other than he gave in the Gita to Arjun that he should not make a distinction between others and his kin. Had Arjuna refused to fight in the middle of the battle ground his army would have been trampled to death by a larger army of Duryodhana.

Some excerpts from Bhagvat Gita as interpretted by Gandhi

I am reading an book "The Bhagvat Gita by M K Gandhi" published by Diamond Books. I just want to record some the points that make a deep impression on my mind. I feel the interpetation of Gita by Gandhi would be most appropriate to study as he was the one who could realize the full potential of this great text and hence also didnot get trapped into bigotry and senseless contempt for other cultures and an arrogance for his own.

  1. Rules for studying Shastras:
    1. One must have a well cultivated moral sensibility and experience in the practice of their truths.
    2. One should not stick to its letter, but try to understand its spirit, its meaning in total context.

      For the second point he gives an interesting illustration:Tulsidas' Ramayana is one of the greatest works because its spirit is that of purity, compassion and devotion to God. He says 'an evil fate awaits one who beats his wife because Tulsidas has said in his work that a Sudra, a dull witted person, a beast and a woman merit chastisement. ' He explains that Rama never raised his hand against Sita, he did not even displease her at anytime (what abt the time he left her? I dunno, wish i could ask him). .... Ramayana was not composed to justify men beating their wives. It was composed to display the character of a perfect man, to tell us abt Sita, the noblest among chaste and devoted wives, and to delineate the ideal devotion of Bharath. He says "The support which the work seems to lend to evil customs should be ignored. Tulsidas did not compose his priceless work to teach geography. We should therefore reject any erroneous statements of geographical character which we may find in it." (I wanted to the mention the last sentence in the view of various controversies that surround us like Ram Sethu, Akhand Bharath and the location of birth place of Ram).

  2. It is the very beauty of a good poem that it is greater than its author.

  3. Did Arjuna's obsitnate refusal to fight had anything to do with non - violence? No. He had faught often enough in the past. In the present context he just did not wish to fight against his own kinsmen. Lord Krishna tells him 'You have already committed violence. By talking now like a wise man, you will not learn non-violence. Having started in this course, you must finish the job.' Gandhi further argues that had Arjuna had a general dislike for kiling anyone and had asked Krishna, the questions stated in Gita, the night before the battle he could have avoided bloodshed by trying to win over Duryodhana. Aksing the questions right in the middle of battle field changed the context.

  4. Duryodhana and his supporters represent the Satanic impulses in us, and Arjuna and others stand for Godward impulses. The Battlefield is our body.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Future Impeferfect: danger of wrong turns by Left, Right and Centre

I had voted for the Congress in 09 Lok Sabha Elections, but I am far from happy with these results. No no, I didn't wish for a absolute majority by the Congress on its own but quite the contrary. I have a bag of mixed feelings. While it is good for the country as present to have a stable government with a strong national party at the centre of gravity of the coalition and the complete rejection of Modi and Varun Gandhi style of politics and even to some extent the politics Mr. Advani had stood for and a longing for Vajpayee style of politics. I am quite concerned about the tectonic shift in the polity that has occurred. I am a firm votary of change one step at a time.

This rapid increase in the muscle power of the Congress scares me. It could only be explained by steroids of out of times left and right firmly clinging to their ideological positions which do not have any juice. But as the case with any steroids, this may have side effects for the Congress and the nation more importantly. It remains to be seen that this resurgence of Congress takes it to what style of politics:
  • The Nehru style where there is space for many many strong leaders at every level who make Nehru even taller whether they agree with him at every point or not. The democratic statesman who would never trade his principles for small gains or personal vengeance. The style where the adversaries are great leaders in their respect too and have great respect for each other irrespective of each other's views. The Congress which did not need a slogan to win elections but the constant effort of their government and party to make small positive changes every day in the lives of the citizens which accumulate to a good amount by the end of five years.
  • The Indira Gandhi style of politics, where any criticism is not welcome and can make you lose your position irrespective of whether the party or the leader has the right to do so. The style of politics which rules not by moral strength of the mission of changing peoples' lives but but infiltrating all institutions of governance and undermining them. The style of governance where Congress party can be described by the persona of a couple of leaders and a sham is put up as CWC (Congress Working Committee) where the supreme leaders appoints and sacks members at his own will. Where there is no space for two tall leaders because the sky is so low, hence no leader could be as towering as Nehru. (Actually I find Modi wrong when he says that the present congress party is 125 years old and thus crediting it with leading the Freedom movement. The present congress took birth in 1969 and the Congress which lead the freedom movement died then Congress(S) [it will be fair to say that Congress(s) was more in sync with the old Congress]).
Already the omens are pointing to towards Indira and not Nehru. Interestingly Nehru never caught the imagination of the average Indian as Indira Gandhi (ji, not putting a ji is considered blasphemy by some ) did. Thus it is not a surprise that the two Gandhi siblings often invoke Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi more than they invoke Nehru. The Congressmen have already become too complacent and arrogant with this victory. The infamous former chief minister of Maharashtra Mr. Vilasrao Deshmukh ( who truly lived to his name during his stint as chief minister with countless number of suicides and 26/11 and the Ram Gopal Verma bollywood tour he took after 26/11 ) has arrogantly stated that Congress should go alone in the assembly elections. He comfortably ignores the terrible performance of Congress led government in Maharashtra and that the Congress wins is more due to the presence of Raj Thackeray than any other person (even Rahul Gandhi).

Same is the case with the new generation of leaders in Congress party who feel no shame in over praising Rahul (ji of course) and giving him complete credit to the election win discounting the the good performance of the UPA government and bad performance of BJP opposition to his election campaigns. The sycophancy has already reached considerable level, if they set a new record can be better answered by the men who have seen Indira Gandhi's times. Mr. Sindhia goes even further suggesting that Rahul Gandhi should be made the prime minister right now not caring about the public mandate given in favour of Manmohan Singh that too when for the first time Congress declared its prime ministerial candidate before elections. It is sad but not wonder that no Congress leader would even say that no its Dr. Singh for whom we asked votes for and he must remain in power for full five years. I pity Mr. Rahul Gandhi that he is like a king of fables surrounded by foot licking courtiers who would not blink even if he goes in his birthday suit in the crowd but thinks that he is wearing the most beautiful robe of all. I hope Mr. Rahul drops people who even when of the age of his grandfather calls him ji from his group of advisers and inducts some who would be critical of him when ever he takes a wrong step. Else he must keep his ears firmly stuck to the opposition mics which may be able to give him some direction, but they always ruin their value by criticizing on every issue. I hope the democratization process started by Rahul in Congress does not get impeded by this win ( as it removes the stimulus to do so if viewed in that perspective) and he gets a good set of colleagues where he may be the first among equals and finds meaningful opinions rather than foot licking at every idea of his. I hope he be as lucky as his great grandfather Mr. Nehru during the early days of free India to have strong leaders (Patel, Rajendra Prasad, Raja ji, Kriplani, and many more) to keep him in check.

Even in the present times, statements from leaders like Mr. Deshmukh indicate that Congressmen who consider it their divine right to rule the nation, the governance may take a back seat as the Congressmen discover that its the same mundane job of running the government that they have been doing for the past 50 years (Precisely for the same reason the NDA government did well as they were in power for the first time and were less corrupt and had less inertia if we go by the adage 'Power corrupts'). I seriously hope that these situations remain just on this blog and people do vote for progress and not like olden days as sheep vote for Congress no matter how the performance is.

I shall talk about the left and the right later.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Indira Gandhi and Julius Caesar

For a many days this thought has been haunting my mind that how similar politically were the times of Indira Gandhi and Julius Caesar. Caesar rose to popularity by defeating and literally burning down Carthege. Nothing was held more in awe by the Romans than the Carthege civilization and Caesar caught their imagination by destroying their worst nightmare. This demi God status kindled the arrogance and ambition in Caesar to spur him to cross the Rubicon. What happened next was that in loud and thunderous applause the very thing the Romans prized above all was lost, the republic was lost.

Now lets take the case of Indira Gandhi. She rose to the stature of Durga (called by none other than Mr. Vajpayee) by disintegrating the Carthege of India. Despite being better in every sense than the later Indians feared it and more hated it. It took not much time for Mrs. Gandhi to cross the Indian Rubicon. Emergency was just like reaching the other side of it. Much happened before. Democracy was again lost in most flattering and almost foot licking applause. The bureaucracy and the corruption we all have to bear today was seedling of this era which was carefully nurtured by all parties and governments (state and centre) from thereon.

Both these political and historical figures died violent deaths and used violence to turn around their hopeless careers. Particularly the case with Mrs. Gandhi, just few years before the Bangladesh war the congress had split with all the stalwarts of the congress in Congress(S) (S stands for syndicate, the Democratic group which decides the major policy issues) the democratic congress, true heir of the Congress which fought for freedom. I don't know what would have been the fate of Congress(I) (I stands for Indira) if the Bangladesh war had not happened. Quite similar was the case if I am correct with Caesar.

The sad part is that things have not changed in a thousands of years and still fear and hatred are the strongest movers. I want to ask, could there had been a solution to East Bengal (Bangladesh) problem which would keep Pakistan intact? Would it have generated an immense good will for India in the hearts of Pakistani people and helped India in the longer term? I feel it would have elevated the status of India as a statesman and we would have had far more friendly neighbours who have more common with us than with any other nation on the Earth. It would have given a lot of peace to the region and possibly there would have been no terrorism and an amicable solution to Kashmir problem as well. I may be stretching it bit far but it is a very likely possibility. Today the situation of the Tamils in Sri Lanka is very distressful but Indian government never talks of creating a separate state for them even if it electorally the right rhetoric. I am not fully aware of the options the Government had then so I concede that I may not be right when I state the arguments in this paragraph.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

PM 's Resume

I dont think many of us would be able to match this even if we lived for 200 years.

BJP at Crossroads

The BJP has been steadily working to become a part of the main stream politics with respect to secularism, if one goes by their manifesto.

The Ram Mandir issue the manifesto says "The BJP will explore all possibilities, including negotiations and judicial proceedings, to facilitate the construction of the Ram Temple in Ayodhya."

It has a progressive view on the Waqf properties "The BJP will examine the recommendations of the Joint Parliamentary Committee regarding Waqf properties headed by Shri K Rahman Khan, Deputy Chairman, Rajya Sabha, and would, in consultation with Muslim religious leaders, take steps to remove encroachments from and unauthorised occupation of waqf properties."

Also far from the VHP rhetoric the manifesto says "The Ministry of Minority Affairs, today a stagnant source of toxic politics, will be revitalised into a hub for economic projects specifically targeted towards employment creation. There will be special emphasis on crafts and small-scale industries that have been traditional employers of minorities...The success stories of Muslims in sports, cinema, industry and a host of other fields, as individuals and team players, makes every Indian proud...Terrorism does not have a religion. Those who espouse terrorism have stepped outside the moral code of their religion into barbarism. We must lift community-relations from the morass of misunderstanding."

The other side:
It is very sad to note that there is an ideological war going on with the BJP. It has not been able to free it self from the clutches of the RSS and the Sangh Parivar.

While all nice ideas has been put up in the manifesto, the implementation of the communal agenda goes without any manifesto and without the mandate of the people. The case in point can be Karnataka and Gujrat where the chief ministers ask for votes on development planks but the parivar organizations run their organized gangs to polarize the society and terrorize the minorities.

This civil war in BJP can be best represented by the two stalwarts of BJP Mr. Vajpayee and Mr. Lal Krishan Advani. While Mr. Vajpayee was seen as a moderate who is proud of his culture and religion and is a through democrat and gentleman. Mr. Advani can be viewed as a hardliner who denigrates other religions and does not mind his crowd turning into a "vanar sena" and bringing a mosque down. While Mr. Vajpayee an eminent poet and a wonderful speaker built his political carrier patiently from 1952 and was elected to the post of PM in 1998, Mr. Advani chose a short cut to fame and rode the notorious rath tearing through the heart land of India and leaving a trail of bloodshed and an unforgettable wound.

Sadly today it seems that Mr. Vajpayee was a glorious exception to the rules of fame and hierarchy in BJP. Today, the Advanis call the shots and no one wants to make his name by treading a long and boring righteous route. It is sad to see that this trend continues more forcefully in the younger generation of BJP leaders. The biggest shame(not fame) Mr. Narandra Modi has earned is due to his connivance in the Gujrat pogrom. Being the most progressive CM is just a sham needed to deceive the middle class which does not find any merits in hard line hindutva. Gujrat is a state of entrepreneurs and was growing at the same pace as today long before Mr. Modi enetered Gujrat politics. Perhaps it could have done better if Mr. Modi was not there and Mr. Patel held the reins of power in Gujrat BJP. Today gujrat is socially divided into two parts Hindus and Muslims. The trade relations between the two have diminished to negligible. Had the polarisation of society not occurred Gujrat could have more inter co operation between industries and more trade. It is sad to see the Sangh foot lickers endorsing Mr. Modi as the Prime Ministerial candidate for the next elections. It is said that symbolism plays a very important role in India. That way there will be very few things worse than having leaders who wreck the communal harmony of nation leading it from the front.

Just recently Mr. B.L. Sharma Prem, BJP candidate for Lok Sabha Elections in Delhi, let out his frustration of not being able to compete with congress in Delhi by spewing venom against the minorities. This was a direct result of his arithmetic going wrong when the BSP candidate openly declared support for Congress.

On the more talked about issue, it took just a speech for Mr. Varun Gandhi to become influential in the BJP and be one of its star campaigners. The impact was so high that people started talking about Varun Gandhi vs Rahul Gandhi battle for PM ship in 2014. Just a few days before it was uncertain whether Mr. Varun will be able to retain his seat of not.

Is it so easy to get to the top in the BJP? Does every leader have to be baptized with these irresponsible acts to be elevated to a larger role in the party? How much trust can we put on the BJP manifesto which advocates moderatism? How should we read into the coronation of venom spewers in the context of moderation of BJP? What is real the intent behind the manifesto or the manifesto evident from these acts? Will any new Vajpayees like Ms. Sushma Swaraj, Mr. Chauhan and Mr. Raman Singh find larger roles in BJP based on their hard work and moderatism or will their jump to national centre stage be a compulsion of alliances like the case was with Mr. Vajpayee?

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Ideal Government Manifesto

The manifestos of the parties fighting elections vie with each other to get the epithet of most boring, uninspiring and lacking in vision or pragmatism. They seem to be more of the ghosts of the past and no fresh air of new thoughts is allowed. What are the pressing problems of India today? What is it that India needs the most today? It is very sad that election debates never move to these issues and are rather lost in the desert of dead habit discussing "emotions", "pride" and all other issues where one can speak for days and months with nothing concrete in the back of his head.

This is the incomplete list of expectations from a Utopian government that I think will lead India to progress.

1. Basic Education: The state of primary education in India is very bad. The lack of infrastructure, proper training to teachers, lack of teachers and political intervention in the curriculum are the major problems in this area. The government should promise that in five years every person shall have access to a school within 2 km of his house. The school shall have a proper (set some standards to be satisfied) play ground, classrooms, benches and black boards, cyber access and a good library. The curriculum making body shall be institutionalised and shielded from political intervention by parliamentary legislation and curriculum making exercise shall be completely scientific with inputs and scholars from all over the world helping in the process.

Adult primary eduction shall be taken up in a big way and every adult shall have access to evening school within 4 Kms of his residence.

2. Basic Health: The Government in co operation with private sector shall initiate and implement a legislation giving the fundamental right to good health to all its citizens and residents. The Government shall provide health insurance to all below poverty line persons and any enact law that no person shall be refused medical care due to lack of finances. In event of lack of finances the government (insurance agency) shall bear the cost or provide means for finances through easy loans or grants. Also there should be a primary health centre with in 5 Km of any person in India and a general hospital with 50 Kms. The private hospitals should be roped in to provide free health care to the financially weak.

General sanitation and hygiene issues shall be taken up on a large scale and within 5 years all open drains and other potential disease spreading areas shall be acted on.

Special care shall be taken of the new born and mother and free food shall be available for the pregnant, new born and mother as primary health centres to ensure healthy babies and low mortality rate.

Special financial incentives shall be given to families adopting family planning and counselors shall visit each primary health centre at least once a fortnight to advise parents about the health, education and future of the child.

Major co operation with Private sector should be there to implement above provisions effectively and strictly.

3. Food Security: The government shall enact and implement a legislation guaranteeing the fundamental right to food and freedom from hunger to all its citizens and residents. Any person shall be able to realise this right at the nearest primary health centre, where any famished person shall be given free food. The school should continue the mid day meal scheme and it should be expanded to evening schools for adults.

4. Water Security: The Government should enact and implement the fundamental right, of every resident of India, to access to portable water. Every Panchayat shall have a water cleaning plant.

The rain water harvesting shall be taken up in big way and every village and city shall have rain water harvesting and ground water recharging centres which shall save the amount of water equivalent to the consumption by the village/ city. In case the saving is less the consumption shall be brought down as well or credits can be traded for money with a city saving more.

5. Infrastructure: The government should enact and implement the fundamental right of every citizen to power and connectivity.
Every village and city shall be connected to the vast web of road networks in India by a 2- lane metalled road.

Every village and city shall have have 24- hour supply. The renewable sources of energy, the Indo-US nuclear deal, the shortcomings in the distribution network leading to 40% losses shall be exploited to realize this goal. A national master plan should be formulated and acted on in five years to realize this dream.

One India- One day connectivity goal should be realized so that any person/ commodity in any part of India can travel to any other part of India in one day in reasonable price. A network of faster travel like the magnetic rails should be realised with railways and other networks acting as support systems to realize this goal in a sustainable manner.

6. Poverty Elimination: Every citizen should be assured the fundamental right to protection from poverty. The current BPL standards should be made realistic by increasing the income limit for BPL families from the present 1970 's standards. Within 10 years this should become the fundamental right of very citizen of India. Avenues for education and employment shall be given to every such citizen and adequate professional training shall be provided. The list of such unemployed, skilled and BPL citizens shall be maintained and concessions shall be given to companies hiring such people.

7. Entrepreneurship: The environment for entrepreneurship and innovation shall be created by loosening all governmental controls and imparting training at school and college level to all students in entrepreneurship. The government formalities for opening up a firm shall be made hassle free and and a one day -one centre process for any sort of firm.

8. Fight against Corruption: The government shall take up fight against corruption on a mission basis. It shall set up a body of experts, with powers to change the procedures, to examine every information system of the Indian government offices and change them appropriately to mechanize the work or reduce the chain of work flow and impact of arbitrary whims of the officer. The system of checks and balances shall be enforced with power to every citizen to easily bring to notice any acts of corruption in any department of the government. The action against corrupt officials should not require consent from the government and intra departmental enquires shall be banned. The corruption sentences should also take into account the direct consequence of the mis deed. If it leads to death of a soldier due to bad equipment then the officers guilty should also be tried for the murder of the soldier.

Social audits should be mandatory and must be organized by every civil department twice an year. The duty to publish act must be passed and a independent body set up by the government shall decide what should published by every department and the deadlines for the same and take up cases of missing the deadlines or consciously hiding the public information.

Every budget shall also also have a larger document pin pointing to which place and for what project the funds have been released by the government. It shall be the duty of the media to inform the public of the particular area about the funds released for work in that area. Same information should be readily available to all public online and at appropriate government office and public representative.

9. Administrative Reform: The administrative reforms are long pending. The bureaucracy needs to be upgraded and specialized for different tasks. The general training imparted for the IAS is not sufficient. Long time back there was a talk of admitting student right after class 12 and then imparting specialized training to them with them parting in different directions after some time. This needs to be implemented.

The bureaucracy needs to be raised from slumber. Every work shall have a deadline and the citizens should be given a legal right to move the courts against the officers if no answer is provided for not acting on the application of the citizen. A commission should be appointed that shall decide the time frame required for every government work. Mechanization shall be undertaken where ever possible to speed up the process.

10. Political non intervention in Reservation: A quasi legal commission should be set up with experts from various fields which conducts surveys and estimates the backwardness of every caste or group on scientific basis and assign reservations for each group in various spheres of life. The commission shall be completely shielded from political intervention and be an institute in itself which shall be the final authority on all reservation issues. Any disagreement should be directly handled by the Supreme Court of India.

11. Judicial reform: There are a lot of pending cases lying in the courts for very long. To make the justice dispensing speedy a multi pronged approach should be used. Laws and rules which not codified properly should be either scrapped or rewritten. Specialized courts should be set up for offenses occurring with high frequency to enable the judges to have better expertize in the area (Financial crimes for example). People's campaign, to remove irrelevant cases and to have out of court settlement with arbitration in civil cases, should be launched. The number of judges in courts should be increased and mechanization of most of the regular procedures should be done to reduce the work load of judges.[thanks to arbitya]

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Fragmentation of Polity and Empowerment of Small Groupings

People have varied views on fragmentation of Indian polity. Industrialists, who have no other goal than to see their business flourish hope that single parties strengthen and the myriads of smaller parties loose influence in the policy making. Well this trend is well in sync with the global industry trend, even 60 years back when industrialist backed Hitler for a strong government and bolder policies which allow them to make most profit. Recently the captains of industry, flattered by Modi's policies of quick land acquisition and low interest rate loans (which are not available to farmers), openly proclaimed that Modi should be the PM of the nation. No wonder he may introduce a loan waiver for all the big industries.

Next come to the political analysts and psephologists. Some rightly feel that government looses direction when a motley group of parties come together to form the government. But they all agree that multiple parties have made the roots of democracy even deeper in our society. Also it makes the prediction game so much more fun. Sadly it also reduces the elections to a game of alliances and cold arithmetic.

In view of the Small groups, multiparty system has proved to be a boon. These days where there are triangular or more contests, the margin of votes polled for the winning party and the next in line is very small. This empowers the minorities (not just religious minorities but any group with small numbers but different demands). Also it makes the party more receptive to the needs of a larger section of people. Before they could easily neglect a group with 3% vote share but not today. The must take into account the demands of every section of the society. This is a very welcome development. Also the government formed is viewed as their government by a larger chunk of people. Though due to a disparate vote base the direction of the policies of the government and its stability may be shaky but such a democracy is very strong where every one has a stake in the government making.

I often wonder that when we wonder for more decisive governments are we actually indirectly craving for an autocrat to sit on the top of the government if not a dictator. Many praise Indira Gandhi for her decisive style but was it democratic and did it help the nation in the long term? much of the decay in Congress and subsequently in the nation is attributed to her dictatorial style. She started the system of nomination in Congress replacing internal democracy. She started giving rewards to bureaucracy based on their loyalty towards her rather than upmanship starting the royal rot of Indian babus. Is this what we want? Can we call Nehru or Lal Bahadur Shastri a strong leader in terms of what we today. Did they not bow to popular demands many times, whether it was the issue of the first president, linguistic re organisation of states or the issue of Hindi as a national language? Every time these leaders held the public opinion superior to their judgement the nation was strengthened beyond imagination. The only trick is when to bow to the public opinion and when to go against it? Had Nehru bowed to pressure against Hindu Code Bill, today would have been a very different one. Case in point is Rajiv Gandhi who did not uphold the principles of secularism in face of public leanings to the other sides. Whether is was the Shah Bano Case or the unlocking of the Ram Mandir ghost. Both cases he proved to be wrong.

It seems like that certain principles should be held more dear to the public opinion and personal whims should always be crushed under the weight of democracy. But who shall differentiate between principles and whims? Gandhi's Talisman is one device to help one out. Also if one recognises the need to conserve the diversity of the nation as a principle, many things are sorted out. Anything against this principle should be debated against in our minds and only after intense debate if it passes the Gandhi's Talisman one can be bit more sure that the idea may not be a bad one.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Ineteresting Articles

  1. Allies pile back-to-Left pressure on Cong:

  2. Chauhan and Atal dwarf Advani

  3. Advani didn’t want terrorists freed... Atal told me explain it to him, I did

  4. SUBVERSE | Pariahs in our own home

  5. Local issues trump "religion card" in Indian poll

  6. Legacy of the Raj (A very good article)

A possible but very absurd future

Indian politics can throw up a lot of surprises and absurdities. The present government enjoyed the left support for almost 4 years while the congress and left were adversaries in West Bengal. Consider this outcome. Both congress and BJP are not able to gather number from the existing UPA and NDA which is very likely. Also in Orissa and Andhra the thrid front gets a majority by a slither, very possible again, and need every MLA in their fold even the Communists. Take the case of TDP combine, if it goes with NDA in center, quite possibly the left will withdraw support at state level and pave way for a congress government in AP. Thus TDP must keep left happy and may have to grudgingly support UPA, from outside of course ;). Simmilar may be the case with BJD if Mr. Naveen Patnaik's vanity forbids him to ask for support from BJP in Orissa post poll.

Well a very complex machine indeed. But important to note such an outcome will be suicidal for the Congress. It will have to tone down it opposition in both Orissa and AP thus goign down the West Bengal Way waiting for BJP or another offshoot of Congress to take over. Also such a structure is very unsatble indeed, the national poilitics will be held hostage to local squabbling and removing even a small stone will make the whole structure come crumbling down. It may be wise for the Congress to sit in Opposition or rather support the third front for a brief time while it strengthens and oils its machinery for a mid term poll. It will be a unpopular move but never the less the only wise one possible. Actually Congress in Opposition will be a boon in disguise if a sane government can be formed at the centre. This will help the congress to have a greater leverage in negotiating with various regional parties since it has nothing to loose. But a extremely fascist government manipulating the system and spreading hate and carnage may spell doom for the congress. Thus supporting a third front government from "outside" may not be a bad option. It gives an immense amount of bargaining power and chance to strengthen the organization and when ever the auguries are good,just pull the plug.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Bhartiya Jan Sangh vs BJP, Vajpayee vs Advani

Bhartiya Jan Sangh (BJS) was a hindutva based party founded by Dr. Shyama Prasad Mukherjee in 1951. It existed till 1981 and then was transformed into BJP. Still there are a lot of differences one could point out in the working of two organisations.

Mr. Mukherjee was against the two nation theory all his life. But the Calcutta riots 1946, shook his beliefs a bit. Still he was not anti-Muslim in sharp contrast to Veer Savarakar. While in Hindu Mahasabha he advocated the entry of Muslims into the party but failed in his attempts. Later after the assassination of Mahatama Gandhi, Mr. Mukherjee left the mahasabha to found the BJS. He was the father figure for the veteran BJS members. Toady the BJP has gone the Savarakar way. The old guard of BJS including Mr. Vajpayee have faded. No wonder we see such a contrast between Vajpayee and Advani or Modi and Vajpayee. It is said that when Janta party formed government in 1977, the bureaucrats removed all images of stalwarts of Congress form the offices including the portrait of Pandit Nehru. Vajpayee was always critical of Nehru but yet was like Nehru in someways. When he entered the foreign office in 1977 and found Pandit Nehru's portrait missing he quickly asked that the portrait be put back in place. Even his obituary speech in Parliament after Nehru's Death was a very impressive one. These very facts of respecting his adversaries and other views made him a national figure in Indian politics. He was definitely a fan of Nehru, hence no wonder he felt flattered when people compared him with Nehru.

Vajpayee wisely kept out of any opportunistic politics played by Mr. Advani riding the rath to Ayodhya. Vajpayee even cautioned Mr. Advani that his ram sena may turn into vanar sena and lamented on the demolition of the mosque. The only unpardonable offence done by him was his shameful silence during the Gujrat riots.

Contrast it with Savarkar, Advani, Modi or present BJP in fact. Savarkar was the first one to propose the two nation theory and had completely communal views. His vision of India did not include Christians or Muslims. Opportunist he was, and hence hence he did not participate in any national movement whether non cooperation or civil disobedience or quit India. Rather he even influenced Hindu mahasabha to not only not participate in such movement but go against the very grain of it. He and the Hindu mahasabha were actively recruiting soldiers for Brtish in 1942 to gain favours from the British and expand their organization. Completely at odds with non violence preached by Gandhi Savarkar was one of the main accused in the murder of the Mahatma. Fearing backlash at that time RSS had tried to distance it self from Savarkar only to see his ghost returning to the organization with full fervor that his portrait is hung in the parliament hall along with Nehru and Gandhi.

Modi came to power in Gujrat replacing the Keshubhai Patel. Had Gujrat riots not happened BJP would have surely lost the election with a huge margin. But then the Nero took up his flute and not only looked the other side when Gujrat burned but his ministers actively helped the rioter and constrained the police from acting. No doubt the bloody harvest was sweet for Mr. Modi. He became the poster boy of Savarkar worshiping RSS and eliminated all opponents and even humbled Vajpayee. Soon he jumped onto the development plank and actively started portraying the hard earned achievements of enterprising Gujrati's as his own.

Mr. Advani has never missed any Rath which could him any momentary gains. Whether is was the nation breaking Rath yatra in 1990's or his comments on Ambedkar recently or his autobiography (don't think he could count on any historian of some standing to write positively about him ). While his own party veterans and founders were very critical of Ambedkar and Mr. Shourie shows no kindness to Dr. Ambedkar in his book "Worshipping false Gods", Mr. Advani did not have any qualms about lambasting the congress for being responsible for Dr. Ambedkar's resignation and he does not concede that it was the statesmanship of Gandhi and Nehru in particular and Congress in general that Dr. Ambedkar drafted Indian Constituion and was the law minister. While Nehru supported the Hindu Code Bill presented by Dr. Ambedkar, the hindutva gang (BJS and even portions of Congress) bitterly opposed it finally leading to Dr. Ambedkar's resignation. Also Mr. Advani 's autobiography is one of the worst blunders. The books raised many questions about the integrity of the person when he wrote that he was not informed about the foreign minister accompanying the terrorists, despite being the home minister that time.

Mr. Advani is really experienced in the rat race for prime minister ship. I feel that his sudden attacks on Dr. Manmohan Singh are a reflection of frustration of a man who tried for decades now to be the PM and even bowed at Jinah's grave and then ate his own hat, while Dr. Manmohan Singh a apolitical man of no dreams to be the prime minister became one so easily. Such frustration lead to the worst of the strategy BJP could ever have in a poll season. they attacked Dr. Manmohan Singh for the very values the ordinary Indian likes in him i.e. he is apolitical, soft spoken, consesus seeker and clean. It would have been hard to to sell this argument to the informed public when Dr. Manmohan Sing sports a six page resume that not even 10 people can vie with. On top of it, they told that Dr. Singh was inept at handling the global economic crisis highlighting the every fact that Dr. Singh is a world renowned economist and Mr. Advani is not. The final blow cam from the PM Dr. Singh who bravely handled the foreign exchange crisis in 1990's while Mr. Advani wept when hoodlums tore down the Masjid. Dr Singh bravely stood for Indo Us Nuclear deal while Mr. Advani opposed it just to see the government fall and sat over the Gujrat riots and Parliament attack. Clearly, lessons were not learnt from 26/11 when BJP tried to cash in on a national tragedy.

While both Vajpayee and Advani espoused the Hindutva cause one was patient, long sighted and statesman the other is frustrated, opportunist and very fickle. People have the right to support what ever ideology they like but not allowed to force it on us and create fear in the hearts by using undemocratic means.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

BJP-RSS Labs: Distorted past; perfect pill for violent future.

Well it wont be wrong to say that the memory of Indian voters is really short and yet they like to brag to about history and culture that was supposedly there 2000 years back. As we go for the 2009 general election I would like to refresh your memory and make us all realize that we stand today at cross roads where the idea of India may be at stake.

Last time when the NDA government was voted in power, the civil society and liberals had many nightmares during the six years of saffronization. The RSS initially modeled on the same lines as Hitler's Natzi party in Germany let out a blitzkrieg on the the idea of India and ravaged many important landmarks in the culture and history of India.

For the first time we could see a party with a communal agenda ruling the country and it made sure that even if it lost power it starts dismantling of very idea of India, built carefully grain by grain by Gandhi, Nehru, Bose, Tilak.... The young minds are often compared to wet clay which can be imprinted by anything they are taught in the innocent years of childhood. So to make the case strong for the Hindutva agenda and creating a false sense of unity among disparate Indian and gluing them with hatred for other communities, history text books were changed. As explained beautifully in "The Argumentative Indian" by Amartya Sen, the hindutva movement based on imaginary premises, needs to desperately re write the Indian History. The Hindutva movement needs to keep together its diverse components and generate fresh loyalty from potential recruits.

"The rapidly reorganized National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) became busy, from shortly after BJP's assumption of office, not only in producing fresh text books for school children, but also in deleting sections from books produced earlier by NCERT itself.... The speed of the attempted textbook revision had to be so fast that the newly reconstituted NCERT evidently had some difficulty in finding historians to do this task who would be both reasonably distinguished and adequately compliant."

The well respected historians did not look at such attempts to distort history kindly and came out openly against such malpractice [1]. Such a curriculum was prepared without the co operation of state governments which were mostly under non BJP rule at that time. Predictably the ministers from various state governments came out openly against safronization of education but BJP ruled states complied almost immediately.

In this distorted version of history the Indus Valley civilization was shown to be a part of the Hindu culture and renamed after the mystical river Saraswati. to prove the point archaeological evidence was forged and even after the forgery was found out the text books continued with the hindutva view. Chapters on liberal rulers like Ashoka and Akbar were toned down and more emphasis was given on the Hindu Muslim conflict and the massacre of Hindu's at behest of Muslim rulers. Very recently the Himachal Pradesh board [2] removed a chapter on eminent artist M F Hussain from the text books citing reasons that there are better local artists who should be known to the students. The true reason is an open secret i.e. the fanatical opposition of Hindutva groups to M F Hussains paintings where they accuse him of disrespect of Hindu Gods even after loosing the argument in the Supreme Court.

Such distortions of the Indian history have a potential of changing the liberal and secular Indian society into a very conservative and belligerent one. The manifestation of this country wide experiment by hindutva labs was evident during the Gujrat riots where the administration openly colluded with the rioters and the complete state machinery broke down yet the Nero, Mr. Modi, was christened the king and saviour of RSS and BJP and given more influence over the state and party affairs.


Monday, April 6, 2009

NDA vs UPA viz a viz Congress vs BJP

This election is most strange one. If you allow me, I would call it the quantum era of politics. There are no clear lines drawn between any two or three sides. You don't know who are your friends and who are your enemies and above all, effects of your actions may be very contrary to intuition and common sense.

It is a thrilling exercise to see the political situation evolve pre and post elections in India and even more so this time. The coalitions stitched together them selves are the first battle ground for various forces clamoring for influence in national politics. The force that binds these alliances is so loose that they virtually do not exist. UPA is a fit case to illustrate this theory. Its no secret that Mr. Pawar and Lalu, Paswan and Mulayam will happily shift to the third front if and when ever they get a chance. Such a chance will be bestowed only by the poor performance of Congress ("Their ally") and good performance of Third front and their respective parties. Congress very well understands this logic and hence is in no mood to relent in seat sharing talks with these parties. On the other hand things are smoother with Trinamol Congress and DMK. Well the logic is simple Mamata will need Congress in Bengal state elections and hence wont be able to play tricks after the election, also the only option other than congress present to trinamol is BJP (with no presence in state) which will hurt its vote base in liberal Bengal. The reason for fraternity between congress and DMK is the dependence of DMK on congress to be in power in State.

So now lets look at how has alliances at present worked for Congress. It seems congress has played well in most of the cases. The only thing that went bad was rupturing of alliance in Tamil Nadu which may hurt the party and the allaince in generall. In bengal Trinamol can be considered as an inseparable part of the congress alliance as it has no where to go at least until the state elections and even later if the party is not myopic. The alliance troubles in UP and Bihar are more for SP, RJD and LJP which are the dominant players. The congress on the other hand could have done marginally well in these states in alliance with these parties but it is these parties that stand to loose more and hence the UPA looses but congress may win by strengthening its moribund organisation in these crucial states. These developments also mark a end of Mandal politics which lead to the down turn of Congress and appearing of these parties on the regional scene. With their decline it seems that voters have shunned caste issues if not wholly but partly. This stance of congress seems very optimal since any strengthening of UPA at cost of congress or UPA where the allies are stronger will be harmful to congress as 1. Allies may switch to third front or demand important ministries in centre. 2. This will lead to down ward fall of congress similar to its decay in UP and Bihar with "allies" getting more and more dominant and asking for more and more influence and seats. Well the second reason also includes it alliance with trinamol in west bengal which has been seen as a sell out. But the shape of the alliance in state election will depend on the ground situation then and also the shape of the Central Government and utility of Trinamol.

Things are not very different for BJP and NDA as well. The same logic explained above lead to the hard bargaining of seats with BJD and the eventual break off. The seat sharing went ahead with JD(U) as the Bihar government rests on BJP support. But BJP without allies in South does'nt not bode well for the party as it has no base in the 3 Dravidian states and no goodwill (that congress enjoys in UP and Bihar). Thus it will see the allies driving a hard bargain.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Political Ironies- Coalition Politics brings up the level of Political debates in election 09

The bitter taste of 2004 election debates still remains in mind of a very few people. That was the election fought on the assumption that NDA will get a thumping majority and obituaries for congress were being drawn up though in not very kind words. Whether it was the issue of nationality of Ms. Sonia Gandhi or the Gandhi family in general, below the belt attacks disgusted most of the people. Well the congress victory of 2004 elections manifested the uncertainty of Indian elections and made many to eat their own hat.

The moral of the 2004 elections story was very well understood by all political parties. Today no one dares to throw obscenities at any prominent leader of any political party. You never know what rabbit shall come out of the election hat and what roles each one will have to play. Thus the debates have shifted, for good of all, to the policies and programmes, various parties follow.

Its heartening to see Mr. Mulayam Yadav and Mr. Amar Singh singing praises of Ms. Sonia Gandhi and Dr. Manmohan Singh and cautiously criticising Congress arty for its policies and management. They were the worst hit with 2004 election results. Having 39 MPs but no role in the center for 4 years hit them hard in the state elections where their non performance cost them not only the CM chair but also the very existence of the party. Thus both are very cautious not to repeat the 1999 folly of pulling out of the Congress stitched coalition and embarrassing Madam Gandhi.

Well, they are not the only leaders forced to follow etiquette. Lalu and Paswaan are also all sweet when they talk about congress and too sweet when asked about Madam or Dr. Manmohan Singh despite bitter seat sharing war that ensued in Bihar and Jharkhand. Very carefully the master politician Mr. Lalu has stitched a wider alliance with Mulayam Yadav and Paswan and has kept him self open to joining to joining UPA or third front which ever yields more profit. I wonder why people get surprised that this man turned the loss making railways into a golden bird. With such a large alliance, if they combined get more seats than Mayawati and third front does well, then Lalu may have a chance to fulfill his long cherished dream of getting prime ministership. Other wise he will be happy to join UPA and enjoy the spoils as before. Only possibility of Lalu out of cabinet is that either his party performs very badly in polls or NDA wins the election. In any case Lalu has done better than he could in these circumstances.

Well Mr. Nitish Kumar is not far behind in this game. There are already feelers of warming up of relations between congress and JD(U). One of the reasons that Mr. Fernandes was not fielded in lok sabha elections may be to make JD(U)-congress alliance more possible in future. Just to remind those who don't know, Mr. Fernandes is a bitter critique of the Gandhi family. Also one can feel the discomfort of Mr. Nitish Kumar working with the communal BJP, whch become evident by the fact that he has been more in news for criticizing BJP than congress. Rather he accused Lalu of being ungrateful to the congress. Really there are no enemies in politics and no place for hard feelings.

Same is the case Mr. Pawar who has (God knows how) kept good relations with the Congress, Left, BJP and Shiv Sena. but of late it seems that he has realized that the strenght of NCP on the ground doesn't go well in supporting his ambitions for the PM's post. Well but you never know, when Mr. Deve Gowda can be the PM why not Mr. Pawar. Well for this to happen he must keep Madam happy and not annoy any one else as well.

In the south the situation is pleasantly more complex and Madam Jayalalitha even more sweet when she talks about the congress. Well at stake is not just the central government but the state government as well. Congress support is crucial for DMK to stay in power in Tamil Nadu and this is the reason why congress had no hassles in seat sharing talks with DMK this time. But if the elections throw up a very bad result for the DMK, relations may warm up between AIDMK and Congress.

Well this phenomenon is not restricted to UPA or Congress wooing allies alone. BJD chief Mr. Patnaik may have parted ways with NDA for the time being but has kept his options open. Same is the case with BSP supremo Ms. Mayawati and to a lesser extent Mr. Sharad Pawar. AIDMK and TDP have always been vulnerable in this sense and may be the first ones to jump from the third front to the NDA bandwagon if things go well for the BJP. But it is worth noticing that BJP due to its ideology is more of a liability to the alliance partners in long term. Ms. Mamta Banerjee openly admits that her alliance with BJP did hurt her vote base in Bengal especially among the Muslims but also among the left leaning people who could have voted for Trinamol otherwise. Same is the case with JD(U) in Bihar which has been under the secular regime of Lalu for nearly 15 years. No wonder the first statements against any communal comments by the BJP comes from Nitsh Kumar. TDP also suffered due to its alliance with NDA as it lost rapport with Muslim voters. Hence the stance of these parties towards BJP is not that soft as that of other parties towards Congress. Interestingly and on the contrary alliance with Congress adds to the brand values of many parties in many states. That was the reason that SP was so bent on having alliance with Congress in UP despite congress having no considerable presence in the state. Alliance with the congress would mean a direct swing of Muslim votes in favor of SP and not only that recent articles in Hindu suggest that there is an immense amount of goodwill among people in UP for congress and high regards for Dr. Manmohan Singh. This may not be surprising considering the Indian nature of criticising those who are in the race for power in the state and praising those who are not major players as there are no reports of them misusing power (they don't have ). The reason is same for Trinamol allying with the congress and also for the compulsions of Pawar who must defend his secular credentials in light of friendly meeting with Shiv Sena helmsmen.

Though we all remain sceptical about the capabilities of our politicians but hats of to them for the way they adapt to rapidly changing situations and despite so many differences are able to provide stable coalition governments.