All hail authoritarianism

Authoritarians, no matter how they come to power – by a coup or elections, will do what authoritarians do – subvert freedom and human rights, promote a personality cult, encourage crony capitalism and doing long term harm to the nation. Removing them is also not easy. They destroy the systems put in place to check their power – judiciary, independent media. They use the brute force of the state to silence any criticism. It takes long period of struggle often decades to get rid of them.

In the coming days however, getting rid of authoritarian leaders will become almost impossible. The newfound tools of social media and the ability of spreading mass propaganda coupled with never-before-seen capabilities of surveillance will ensure that the majority of the people don’t even feel the need to protest and those who do are identified and dealt with swiftly.

Social media might be instrumental in organising many of the mass protests in recent past, but those capitalist platforms will eventually side with or give in to the governmental pressure and make it almost impossible to use them for anything but state propaganda.

But hey, if majority of the people are happy with the authoritarians, does it even matter if they take away the rights and lives of a few people?

The cutest thing about people who support authoritarians is that they think that the authoritarian leader will always be on their side.

First they came for…

Citizenship Amendment Act – what’s wrong with it?

The act is meant to give citizenship to persecuted minorities from Afghanistan, Pakistan and Bangladesh who have come to India before 2014.

The good

It is good that India is giving shelter and citizenship to persecuted minorities from neighbouring countries. That’s the right thing to do.

The bad

It does so on the basis of religion of the refugees. This is not good.

Why is giving citizenship on the basis of religion not a good thing?

Because India is a secular nation. Indian laws treat everyone equally irrespective of their religion. Once we start giving preference to people of certain religion and exclude others, we going down a slippery slop and setting a very wrong precedent.

How so?

CAA is to be followed by NRC – The National Register of Citizens. Everyone in India will be asked to prove their citizenship. How do you prove you are a citizen of India? The exact process will be laid out when NRC is implemented, but if we look at how it was done in Assam then it’s a problematic process.

It took 10 years and 1200 cores to implement NRC in Assam and in the end, no one was happy with it. More Hindus were not able to prove their citizenship than Muslims.

NRC, if and when implemented will mostly affect the poor. They are the ones who don’t have proper documents. If they can’t prove they are citizens, what happens to them? Enter CAA.

Under CAA, those who can’t provide adequate documents can still be counted as citizens if their religion is as per prescribed in CAA. Whom does it leave out? Muslims.

Amit Shah has gone on record and BJP has made it amply clear time and again that CAA is to be followed by NRC.

CAA+NRC is bad for the social fabric of the country.

Even CAA on it’s own is bad. Because it makes religion a basis of citizenship. This means India is a country for people of specific religions. This does not help a country in the long run. Just look at Pakistan.

In 1947, Pakistan was created as a separate country for Muslims. India, did not choose to be a country of Hindus. It adopted a secular constitution. (Thank Nehru, Ambedkar, Patel and other visionary leaders for that). Today, India is a flawed yet fledging democracy. Pakistan is an almost failed state.

Pakistan is controlled by the army via a puppet government. It’s economy is in doldrums and it is living on alms from US, China and wealthy Arabs. The country is rife with sectarian violence and terrorism. Religion has ruined the country.

With CAA, making religion the deciding factor in granting citizenships, we have taken the first step in becoming a mirror image of Pakistan.

Not good for the future of India.

We already know what happens when the government gives more importance to religious issues than economy, jobs and growth.

We are no longer debating the falling GDP growth rate, lack of jobs, poor quality of infrastructure and education. We are debating Ram mandir, citizenship laws, triple talaq, article 370 – all issues which have religion at its core.

If you are a BJP supporter, this is something for you to ponder over, what kind of India do you want for your children? A mirror image of Pakistan or a free, secular, inclusive India which treats everyone as equals regardless of their religion, caste, creed, language and gender?


Modi, RSS and secularism

Narendra Modi on his tour of Ireland saw children reciting Sanskrit shlokas and he had this to say – “Irish children here sang Sanskrit Shlokas to welcome me… In India, this would have raised questions about secularism”.

This is not the first time. Earlier too he had berated secularism during his tour to Japan. I am sure this is not the last time either.

What Modi is implying here is that seculars of India hate Hindus and they are against anything related to Hinduism. He is not alone in having such a myopic view of secularism. It’s an idea of the RSS. Modi being sanghi to the core is just rattling off what he has been taught.

In the west secularism means separation of church and state. That the government be separate from the religion and government has to be neutral in the matters of religion. In India though secularism has a slightly different meaning – the state is not completely indifferent to religion. India has different personal laws that apply to citizens based on their religion (something that creates a problem for us atheists). Indian secularism means giving equal space to each religion. Indian constitution treats all religions equally vs giving special treatment to one specific religion. That is where RSS has an issue with secularism.

RSS wants a Hindu Rashtra. A nation of Hindus, for Hindus, by Hindus. In 1947 Muslim League got its Pakistan, but RSS could not get its Hindu Rashtra. Instead what it got was a secular government headed by an atheist Nehru. RSS hates Nehru to the core to this day. However Nehru wasn’t the only secular in India. Majority of Indians are seculars. Live and let live is the mantra of majority of the Indians. That is another thing that RSS is not able to digest.

Hindutva is the guiding principal of RSS and their raison d’être. But RSS knows fully well they cannot win elections in the name of Hindutva. So they have to pay token lip service to secularism and ask for votes in the name of development and achchhe din. But in reality they hate secularism. They cannot see other religions being treated equally. They perceive any steps taken for betterment of religious minorities as anti-Hindu and try to paint it as such.

It’s a strategy of the Sangh to declare anyone who does not subscribe to their narrow ideology as being anti-Hindu, anti-India – a traitor. It’s a concerted effort by RSS and BJP to propagate the idea of secularism being anti majority. The term they have coined – sickukars – shows their mindset. According to them secularism is a decease. Another favourite term used by them is pseudo-seculars, although that term applies more to Sanghis themselves.

The term pseudo is used to describe something which pretends to be something but it’s actually not. For instance pseudo-science. Something which claims to be science but is not – like astrology or homeopathy. So Sanghis who claim to be seculars but in reality are not should be called pseudo-seculars. Narendra Modi is one of them.

I tried to engage with some of BJP’s Twitter human-bots to see what they reply. The stock copy pasted replies are an indicator of what RSS intends to convey.

RSS’s ideology is a poison, and to sell that ideology they mix it with nationalism. Message is clear – you can be a true patriot only if you are a Hindu, a vegetarian, worship cow, hate Muslims and Christians, recite Sanskrit Shlokas, perform yoga and do whatever else RSS thinks makes an ideal Hindu. If you happen to disagree with them – straightaway you are a traitor, anti-Hindu and the only place for you to be is Pakistan.

India needs Congress

Elections over, Modi won and how! Congress is reduced to its lowest tally of seats in history. And that’s a sad news. Although I am an AAP supporter, I think India needs Congress.

The dangers of a one party state are real and for everyone to see in the form of China. Modi’s idea of Congressmukt Bharat is frightening. As of now apart from Indian National Congress there is no other national political party that can balance out the force of BJP. Every other political party be it regional or National stands for something, Congress doesn’t stand for anything! Which makes them unique. It is nobody’s party and hence it is everybody’s party. Everyone can relate to it. And it can take up any issue and make its own. AAP is another party that has in its character to be everyone’s party but it will take a long time for them to mature and matter at national level. In the meanwhile we need Congress.

We also need BJP to keep Congress in check. Being a Congress only state for a good part of history hasn’t been good either. What I am trying to say is we need two major political parties at the national level. In the long run I would love to see AAP replace either of the two. Chances are it will replace Congress because BJP has its core fan base which will not be swayed by another party.

The time has not yet come for a Congressmukt Bharat.

In conversation with Arvind Kejriwal

You have seen Modi’s fixed Adalat, you have seen farcical interview of Rahul by Arnab. Now here’s an interview or rather interrogation by an openly hostile anchor and frequently asked questions asked directly by the people.

He’s not running away, he’s not blabbering unrelated things. He answers every allegation and clarifies every doubt. Do spend an hour and watch this. You may or may not vote for him but at least watch it.

A song dedicated to feku

Sun lo sari duniya walo

Kitna bhi tum zor laga lo
Karenge fekugiri hum
Jhadu mein dum hai to band karva lo

Feku all night, fekna all right
Fekna our right, fekampatti all night

Aaj trishul khulne do
Chaku talvaar chalne do
Tharre ki bottle pa ke
Dange shange karne do

Bajate raho pungi
Bajate raho pungi
Bajate raho pungi
Bajate raho

Danga all night, murder all night
Rapes all night, we do riots all night

Jisne bhi encounter karna
Aa jao mere state ke bheetar
Police lekar, sabki dhoko bindaas hokar

Jab media bajega loud, to sarkaar CBI bula legi
CBI se keh denge ye police walo ki chaal thi

Encounter all night, goli all right
Kadak image ke liye bhaiya everything is right

Bijli peena, road khana
Development ka gana gaanaa
Daddy ko tu kar de message
Vibrant Gujarat mein aana

Vikas ho raha bot bhayankar
Vikas ke gajab nazare
Dikkat hai bas ek baat ki
Debt mein doobe Gujarati bechare
Nikkar wale sangh ne yu lathiya utha rakhi hain
Aur kuchh to aata nahi hai narebazi laga rakhi hai
Nache dekh re kaise Modi Modi laga rakhi hai
Contribution to ghanta hai, aafat macha rakhi hai

Joothe daave all night, galat history all night
Radio, TV pe kehte we’ll set everything right

Feku all night, fekna all right
Fekna our right, fekampatti all night

We need to give Arvind Kejriwal a chance

Expect the unexpected from Arvind Kejriwal. When he was taunted by the politicians to enter the politics and contest the elections, nobody expected him to actually do it but he did. Nobody expected him to win, but he won. People didn’t expect and some like me didn’t want him to form the government with Congress’ support but he did. You don’t expect a Chief Minister to sit on a dharna, but trust Mr Kejriwal to defy the convention! And now he resigned unexpectedly because his Janlokpal wasn’t passed – it wasn’t even allowed to be tabled.

What Arvind Kejriwal is doing is he is defying the norms. He is challenging the conventional procedures. We are all so used to seeing the politics of a certain kind that we didn’t imagine that there could be another type of politics as well. We all used to think you can not win elections without money power or muscle power. No politician of any hue will dare to utter a word against arguably the most powerful businessman in India – Mukesh Ambani. And here is this guy fighting and wining elections without money, without goons and goes on to file an actual FIR against the mighty Ambani.

Whether what Kejriwal is doing right or wrong doesn’t not matter. At least not now. He needs to be given another chance at power with full majority just because the kind of change he has forced in established political parties. For the first time the established parties have been forced to sit up and take notice and even follow some of the methods of this new outfit with the topics and the mohalla sabhas and the need to cater to common man etc.

Now everyone is quick to jump the gun and deride Kejriwal for resigning and calling it showman martyrdom. But we need to understand what is Kejriwal’s goal. He did not enter into politics to provide good governance, or free water and electricity. He has a single point agenda of ridding India of corruption. He is a crusader against corruption. Janlokpal bill is one way to tackle the menace of corruption. And Kejriwal entered politics, won the elections and formed the government with that one goal in mind – to pass the Janlokpal bill, so if he can’t make the very law for which he became CM, it is really pointless for him to continue to be in power. What use is the power if you can’t exercise it.

We may argue that Janlokpal is not a magic pill that will end all corruption in India overnight. No it won’t. But it is a start. And Kejriwal wants India to make that start. He fought for many years – along with many others of course – for the Right To Information Act. Nobody thought RTI would be of any value. Certainly not the government so they passed it and see what a dangerous weapon it has come out to be. Corrupt are so terrified that they go all the way to murder the RTI activists. A lot of scams have been unearthed, and lot of powerful people have been tried because of the RTI. The corrupt are afraid. It does not stop corruption but it makes easier to find and punish the culprits. Same goes with lokpal. Today we don’t know what it might turn out to be. If with the help of Lokpal even if we manage to nab one powerful politician, it will be worth the effort.

Corruption is one of the biggest hurdles that this country faces. And here is one guy who says he has a possible solution. The least we can do is get our ass off the couch, go out and vote for him. For over 65 years we have voted all sorts of people into power. Let’s give this man one chance. If the Janlokpal bill fails to live up to its promise, we don’t have to vote for Kejriwal again. We can go back to our good old Congress and BJP and let them continue the way they have done.

Why Rahul Gandhi will never become PM of India

Rahul-Gandhi1I think Rahul Gandhi will never become PM of India. Because he doesn’t want to.

Indian National Congress is increasingly being run as a corporate entity where the promoters are letting professional managers run the day to day business, while using games and puzzle for entertainment, all from fun for corporate events online. Gandhi family may not be promoters of Congress but they are letting the Manmohans and Chidambarams and Mukherjees run the daily affairs while they pull the strings from behind without any direct responsibility.

Gandhi family is the glue that binds the Congress together. It keeps the egos of mighty leaders in check. It works two ways, in one way it fixes a supreme leader so there is no internal power struggle among the bigwigs for the top post and at the same time it removes a kind of glass ceiling and gives every leader an opportunity to aim for highest posts of the country – presidency or prime ministership.

Rahul Gandhi is inexperienced and naive and that gives comfort to other big leaders which in turn keeps them in Congress and keeps Congress intact. When there was no Gandhi at helm, Congress was in disarray and out of power. Sonia came and Congress came back to power. A party needs leader. BJP was disorganised till Modi’s emergence as the top leader. Having a single leader boosts morale of the grassroots level workers. It gives the party a face. Till yesterday it was Sonia Gandhi now its Rahul Gandhi. That’s why Congress needs a Gandhi – to be its face.

And then Gandhis give space to others to run the government. It absolves them of taking direct responsibility of government decisions and an escape route in case the government does something unpopular – like the convicted MPs bill scenario where Rahul Gandhi emerged as a saviour and called the bill rubbish after seeing the mood of the public. Day was saved. Rahul got to be hero and Congress saved the face.

Even if Rahul or Sonia may harbour PM ambition for Rahul, they can not risk pitting him against Narendra Modi. Rahul vs Modi is a lost battle as far as Congress is concerned and Modi has won the battle hands down. There is no Modi wave in the country but there certainly isn’t a Rahul wave either and there will never be. BJP and the Sangh parivar have systematically destroyed the image of Rahul Gandhi at least amongst the urban populace.

And it doesn’t look to me that Rahul himself has any interest in becoming PM. He has never taken any position in the cabinet. To me he seems a reluctant politician like his father. But he doesn’t have charisma of his father or of his grand mother and I believe Rahul knows it.

This is what I think but politics is a funny game. You can never be too sure.

Why don’t you say anything about anti-Sikh riots?

Whenever I post anything against Modi, someone will invariably remind me about the 1984 anti-Sikh riots. Why don’t you say anything about that? OK so let me make this very clear. 1984 anti Sikh riots pogrom, like the 2002 anti-Muslim one was an equally heinous crime against humanity. It was Congress party’s leaders who were responsible for enticing the mobs to murder Sikhs. It was a shameful event in the history of India and will remain so forever. Congress party will never be able to wash away the blemish. And with each passing day that the affected people don’t get justice and people like Jagdish Tytler and Sajjan Kumar are not punished – we, the people of India will continue to be a party to the crime. And the delay in justice will give an easy excuse to anyone to carry out more 2002s.

Rajiv Gandhi, made a statement – “when a big tree falls, the ground shakes” – as if massacring thousands of innocent Sikhs is justified because his mother Indira Gandhi was killed by a few Sikh bodyguards. For making such an egregious statement, Rajiv Gandhi too should have been tried in the court. Alas, he has been dead for more than 20 years now, so not much can be done against him but that does not mean we should keep silent when we see others making equally callous statements!

I am not against a party, I am against individuals. I have voted more times for BJP and it’s allies than I have voted for Congress. The reason why we talk more about 2002 these days than we talk about 1984 is because none of the people accused for 84 are being projected as future Prime Ministers of India. The person accused for 2002 is! Yeah yeah Rajiv Gandhi was made PM, but let me remind you again, he is dead now! If Congress was projecting Sajjan Kumar as PM (or even Rajiv Gandhi had he been alive) you would have found me voicing my opinion against him and then Congress people would have asked me hey why don’t you speak about 2002!

You can not shut my mouth about 2002 by bringing up the issue of 1984. No you just can not! If you say the person accused for allowing mobs to murder innocent humans is the best candidate for leading this country, then sorry – I don’t agree, as a matter of principle – no matter what party is the person from.

Communism is for lazy

I believe communism and all its flavours are against the human nature. We humans by nature are selfish. Its in our genes. That’s why we survive. Communism goes against this very genetic trait. Its unnatural. So its bound to fail.

Communist ideals may look rosy and may work in a society where there is a huge divide between the elite class and the poor. The ideals of equality and classless society will appeal to poor downtrodden class. But it won’t last long. After the initial rush of blood and revolution and all, the tempo will come down. People will tend to find the best return for their labour. If someone is better skilled, better educated and is better at doing something he would definitely want and deserve a larger share of return than those who are not as efficient.

So its not possible to have a completely classless society. There will always be differences. Not even five fingers are same. There will be people with varying degrees of skills and abilities and they will earn in proportion to their abilities. There will be morons and there will be intelligent people. And intelligent people will prevail in the long run. And people would want to retain what they have rightfully earned.

Nobody will give their best if they are not going to get in proportion of their efforts. If on a communist farm, every labourer is going to get the same share regardless of the work done, why would any single individual work hard or care for crops? If an Engineer is going to earn as much as a farm labourer, why should he take the extra pain of studying for all those years to be an engineer?

Communism is a false ideology. It sounds attractive to lazy dumb ass people who feel they are entitled to the same share of riches as the more intelligent, skilled and hard working people do.

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