Monday, 28 December 2015

Narendra Modi's Surprise Pak Stopover- Stealth Diplomacy is New Norm for Modi

Narendra Modi's stop over at Pakistan on his return journey from Kabul to Delhi in order to wish Nawaz Sharif on his birthday and bless his granddaughter on the eve of her marriage in fact surprised everyone including the media in both India and Pakistan.
This stopover diplomacy was viewed in Pakistan as a pleasant surprise and everyone in Pakistan except the hardliners like Hafiz Saeed welcomed it. In India, most of the media channels and experts on security and foreign policy too welcomed the move. 

However Congress, AAP, JDU and Shiv Sena opposed the move. Shiv Sena is known for its anti-Pakistan stand and hence it's opposition was on expected lines. Even JDU's criticism was expected as for last two years the party has criticized whatever Narendra Modi has done.  Similarly Congress and AAP are competing with each other to slam any step taken by Prime Minister Modi and thus their opposition lacks credibility.

Some experts say Narendra Modi's Pakistan policy lacks consistency. But is that the case really? Those who follow Narendra Modi's foreign policy very deeply know very well that it's Modi's trademark style of diplomacy, where the opponent never knows what's coming next. 

In diplomacy, if the opponent knows your line of action, then you lose the advantage. When Narendra Modi invited all SAARC heads of states including Pakistan, everyone was surprised. The cancellation of foreign level talks between India and Pakistan over Pakistan envoy Sartaj Aziz meeting with Hurriyat leaders also surprised everyone. 

Since then the Ufa meeting and the joint statement, cancellation of NSA level talks, surprise two minute discussion with Nawaz Sharif, the NSA level meeting at Bangkok etc were definitely surprising moves as the experts too remained confused as to what was happening and what will happen next. 
The hallmark of Modi's policy with Pakistan is that he has taken bold and innovative out-of-the-box steps. Almost seven-decades old Indo-Pak problems can't be sorted out through conventional diplomacy and require innovative thinking.
Some important aspects of Modi's surprise visit are as follows:
1)      Narendra Modi indirectly attacked Pakistan for cross boarder terrorism while speaking at Afghanistan's new Parliament. Then he decided to make a stopover at Lahore. In this way he proved that he is a decisive and daring statesman who has full control over proceedings. The MEA too was unknown about his surprise visit till the last moment, which was proved when Sushama Swaraj hurriedly called the BJP spokesperson for a briefing. Pakistan got the message that Modi is a strong Prime Minister of India and only he can improve Indo-Pak relations, if Pakistan reciprocates. Pakistan must be convinced by now that it's Modi who calls the shots. He dictates his terms on when to invite, when to cancel or when to resume dialogue. Hence Pakistan needs to reciprocate and has to honour Modi's terms. So in a nutshell his Pakistan policy is very consistent in giving a proper message to his counterpart.
2)      Modi has invented a new method of diplomacy in creating friendship with the heads of states at a personal level. Be it the Japanese PM, Chinese premier, US President or the PM of UK , Modi has created a bond of friendship at the personal level with all. Relations between two countries always improve when head of states of both countries are friends at a personal level. However Modi also proved that despite personal level friendship, he can bargain very hard when it comes to national interest. His bargaining hard with the United Sates at the WTO and CoP climate change at Paris bears testimony to this fact. Modi has offered friendship to Nawaz Sharif which can be a great concession for him as he is already facing problems with Pakistan's internal polity. After being cornered globally on the terror issue, Pakistan desperately wants good relations with India. Even Pakistan military this time appears to be on board particularly in the aftermath of Pakistan's Military chief getting a cold shoulder by the United States during his last visit.
3)      Narendra Modi is already a global leader due to his persona and personal relations with powerful heads of states. In Kabul he has openly declared that India will keep providing assistance to Afghanistan in all matters including its security and defense. Pakistan who does not enjoy the best of relations with Afghanistan now, is very critical of any Indian involvement in Afghanistan. Narendra Modi visited Afghanistan, inaugurated its new Parliament built by India and addressed the Parliamentarians promising them of all help and yet decided to visit Pakistan. The message is clear. India will actively remain present in Afghanistan henceforth, but at the same time wants friendship with Pakistan. This is a statesman like approach.
4)      Most opposition parties have asked as to what India gets from this visit, as on the contrary Pakistan has benefited more as it's global image has improved following Modi's visit.  But the point is, India has always remained an elder brother to Pakistan and all its neighboring countries in the subcontinent barring China. While the elder brother is always expected to give concessions to the younger brother, the elder brother also expects the younger brother to reciprocate well and not to irritate him. So, Pakistan should refrain from meeting Hurriyat leaders to irritate India.

So to conclude, I can safely say that Narendra Modi's Pakistan policy is on the right track and is certainly neither whimsical nor inconsistent. This stealth diplomacy is a new phenomenon of Narendra Modi. Pakistan must realize that if there's anyone who can really solve Indo-Pak problems, it's none other than the decisive present Prime Minister of India, Shri Narendra Modi.

Thursday, 24 December 2015

Lies and Demagoguery of Arvind Kejriwal

When Arvind Kejriwal made entry into politics, he had promised that politics by him and his party will be very different from the conventional politics. People trusted him. He was appreciated by the public in the form of 28 seats that his party got during 2013 Delhi assembly elections where he formed government taking out side support of Congress.

After 49 days, he quit from the government with an ambition to become Prime Minister of India. Delhi people punished him for his ambition by not electing single AAP leader as MP from Delhi. Later on he apologised to Delhi public for quitting the government and promised that he will do real development of Delhi. Politicians apologising are very rare. Hence Delhi public trusted Kejriwal post his apology and gave him landslide mandate to govern Delhi.

Since then Arvind Kejriwal is really doing a different kind of politics definitely, although contrary to public perception. Public expected that the AAP government will be a honest, decent, development oriented, cooperative government. But Kejriwal had gone the other way breaking all kind of records and precedents in any democracy. He in fact proved himself to be a true anarchist.

He is perhaps the only chief minister in power who used terms like 'cowardice and psychopath' against the sitting Prime Minister of India breaking all kind of democratic decorum. Delhi assembly too broke all limits of decency when a chief minister at the floor of assembly demanded resignation of Prime Minister as if Delhi assembly is the opposition party of Parliament.
The everyday fight against L-G, Delhi Police Commissioner, MHA and Central government is very common. Not only Delhi CM and its ministers, but also all AAP party spokespersons consider themselves nothing less than deputy CM of Delhi. In this process it also broke all the confidence and trust of Delhi public.
Now its basic argument is it's a honest party. Is it so? If yes, then why 27 AAP MLAs are facing criminal cases against them? What Kejriwal did regarding this? Nothing, because he's too busy in finding corruption and corrupt in other parties through shoot and scoot medium.
However I would like to unearth how Kejriwal is speaking lie to shield his principal secretary Rajendra Kumar. When CBI raided Rajendra Kumar's office, Kejriwal said that CBI in fact raided his office. Despite CBI's clarification that it didn't raid CM's office, Kejriwal insisted that CBI had raided his office as per a direct instruction from PMO to save Arun Jaitley in an alleged DDCA scam. He also went to the extent of saying that one of the CBI officers informed him that PMO had instructed CBI to finish off all the parties that don't fall in line by 2018.
This is a grave charge. Kejriwal must give proof of this. He can't say that he can't reveal the source as he's not a journalist rather a sitting Chief Minister. If he can't give proof, then he is definitely speaking lie. Some say, Kejriwal can never lie. But I have proof that Delhi CM Mr. Kejriwal lied.
He repeatedly said that CBI raided his office. But a cabinet note on December 21st said that CBI raided the office of principal secretary, Rajendra Kumar, which is exactly what CBI claimed. However, this cabinet note was superseded by another note where it's written that CBI raided Delhi secretariat.
Point is simple even though there is an amendment in original note, it doesn't say CBI raided Delhi CM's office. Times Now news channel in fact showed both the notes to AAP leader Ashish Khetan for a response. But, Khetan didn't answers anything.
My point is very clear, if you speak lie to shield a corruption accused officer that too in public and floor of the assembly, then Mr. Kejriwal, I say with all responsibility you are the most dishonest chief minister of the country. Public sometimes commit mistakes when they give a mandate like 67 of 70 seats practically without an opposition to immature politicians. Intoxicated with the landslide mandate, Kejriwal is doing everything to bring disrepute to the Delhi government, office of Delhi Chief Minister and Indian polity.
People of Delhi and India are kind but not fool. If such thing continues further, people may not do anything at the moment, but will definitely teach them a lesson in future elections. Rajiv Gandhi, Prafulla Mahanta of Assam and N.T. Ramarao of Andhra Pradesh too had got huge mandate but rejected by the same public in the very next elections. It was because they didn't fulfil expectations of the public and took people for granted.

Finally I will advise some sincerer AAP senior members to counsel Arvind Kejriwal well. A hysteric, irresponsible and immature leadership always sends the party in to oblivion. People have great trust in AAP; they shouldn't insult public mandate and their expectations indulging in demagoguery..

Saturday, 19 December 2015

Congress plan to manufacturing victim hood will back fire soon

First manufactured intolerance, then manufactured issues for stalling the Parliament and now a strategy of playing the victim card in the National Herald case, Congress is doing everything it can to save the first family.

What the Congress is not realizing is that if it builds a tower over a weak foundation, it's almost certain to collapse! The lowly Congress got a fresh lease of life, when news channels exposed the alleged LalitGate scandal, which resulted in a complete wash-out of the monsoon session of the Parliament by Congress. Although the Indian public didn't appreciate the logjam in Parliament then, but found the BJP government equally guilty of not sacking Sushama Swaraj, Vasundhara Raje and Shivraj Singh Chauhan.

However at the fag-end of the monsoon session, Sushma Swaraj's aggressive counter attack on Congress on 'quid pro quo' put the Congress again on the backfoot where as Susham Swaraj recovered her lost image. Then the drama of #AwardWapsi on alleged rising intolerance by some self proclaimed intellectuals happened. At first, Congress remained behind the curtain to masquerade this award wapsi as a spontaneous revolt by intellectuals, but afterwards it came at the forefront and hijacked the movement, only to prove that the award-wapsi was politically motivated. However the Indian public remained divided over the controversy.

BJP's defeat in Bihar assembly elections gave the Congress a feeling of resurgence. When Prime Minister Modi took some noticeable conciliatory steps in reaching out to the Congress for smooth passage of the GST bill; it looked that Congress would act like a mature opposition and allow passage of  bills in national interest. But then came the National Herald case, where theDelhiHigh Court rejected the petition filed by Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi against the lower court's summons to them.

Congress took it personally! It's natural because sycophancy in the Congress is such that they always place Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi above all including the nation. Disruptions in the Parliament again started, this time alleging "vendetta" by the PMO, and Sonia Gandhi in fact went to the extent of saying that 'I am Indira's daughter-in law'. But they couldn't get support this time because of two reasons.

First of all the National Herald case is purely a case of corruption, where the court is dealing with it without any involvement of the Modi government.

Secondly, Sonia's threatening language of 'Do you know who I am?' coupled with disruptions of Parliament proceedings blocking important reform bills has started to irritate people.

Media, which is often critical of the Modi government and a bit soft on the opponents of Modi started asking questions to the Congress party. Not to forget Rahul Gandhi's blatant lies about his Assam temple visit and cancellation of the invitation to Kerala CM literally backfired. The Congress soon realised that stalling the Parliament on the National Herald issue would be counterproductive as even other opposition parties have distanced themselves in this case. That's why they have changed their tactics by manufacturing issues to stall the Parliament, due to which the winter session is almost sure to be washed-out.

Now according to sources the Congress is planning to play the victim card in the National Herald case in a big way. Rahul and Sonia might not opt for a bail bond as a result of which they might be sent into judicial custody. The plan is to replicate Indira Gandhi's act of going to jail alleging vendetta politics by Moraraji Desai government after the emergency era.

That's why Congress is gearing up for 'Jail bharo' movement by 2000 Congress worker in each block of the country as a mark of protest on 19th December 2015, the day when Sonia and Rahul Gandhi will appear at the Patiala House court in Delhi. The event is being planned to make it look like as if the entire country is protesting against the government. However, I think this plan is really ill-advised and sure to backfire. The reasons are as below:
The public is well aware of the fact that Modi government has nothing to do with the National Herald case. Also nowadays the public sees courts as more credible than politicians, hence they will neither accept stalling of the Parliament nor the drama of playing the victim by going to jail and protesting nationwide.

Not to forget the case of Arvind Kejriwal, who refused the bail bond and went to jail expecting public protests, which backfired seriously and Kejriwal had to submit a bail bond to come out of jail after couple of days.

Shouldn't nationwide protests by the Congress workers be seen as a way to pressurize and threaten the judiciary? Courts are more assertive now than they used to be during the days of emergency. So the concerned court in the matter may consider Congress protests as contempt of court. Then what would be the counter by Congress strategists? It's alright not to submit a bail-bond and go to jail. Question is for how many days Sonia and Rahul plan to remain in jail? The case would take several years to be disposed off.

Will Rahul and Sonia spend those several years in jail or will they opt to come out after a couple of days just like Arvind Kejriwal did? If yes, then how can the Congress justify it's victimization by this symbolic jail tourism by its chief and her deputy?

Point is simple, public can be fooled for a short period but not in the long run. People rejected Congress in 2014. The Congress should have acted maturely to ensure its return in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections after regaining public appreciation. But if it continues to indulge in making such immature strategies, which in the era of electronic and social media are sure to get exposed immediately, then I am afraid that people are likely to dump the Congress in such a way that it will find it very difficult to recover.

Mr.Kejriwal, Your promise of 'zero tolerance' to corruption sounds hollow

Seriously baffled at the CBI raids in connection with Arvind Kejriwal's Principal Secretary, Rajendra Kumar, AAP conducted a press conference yesterday to expose Arun Jaitley's alleged scam in DDCA as promised by them. However after their press conference nobody found anything new, which is not available in the public domain courtesy complaints by Kirti Azad, Bishan Singh Bedi, Maninder Singh etc.
Subsequently DDCA also addressed a press conference claiming that the report referred by AAP is in fact the report prepared by DDCA itself. (This squarely flattened Kejriwal's claim that CBI wanted to steal the report. Why one will steal a report if it's available readily?)

DDCA further said that Serious Fraud Investigation Office (SFIO) under UPA government had already investigated DDCA irregularities till 2013, where it found no fraud except some procedural lapses that are compoundable in nature and Arun Jaitley has no involvement anywhere in any scam in the DDCA. (I really wonder why Congress demanding JPC probe and resignation of Arun Jaitley despite SFIO under UPA government gave him a clean chit! Manufacturing issues to stall Parliament?) 

Later in the day Union HRD minister, Smriti Irani addressed a press conference repeating the same thing as DDCA said in a tougher language followed by Arun Jaitley's strong worded reaction taking on AAP along with Nitish Kumar and Mamata Banerjee who notwithstanding Kejriwal's highly unacceptable terms to Indian Prime Minister, stood along with Delhi CM in the name of sanctity of federalism. 

Let me come to this DDCA matter later and before that I have got some serious observation on Kejriwal and co. on corruption issue. I was really shocked to note when Ashis Khetan referred Rajendra Kumar as the most honest and distinguishable IAS officer available in India at the moment in a news hour debate with Arnab Goswami.

AAP leader Ashutosh too had claimed so perhaps expressing their frustration how an honest officer is being targeted due to political vendetta. Not only that, Ashish Khetan even challengingly said that when Arvind Kejriwal appointed Rajendra Kumar as his Principal Secretary, no vigilance case, complaint or anything objectionable was pending against him.

However he had been shown mirror by Arnab Goswami and Sambit Patra when facts were revealed that Arvind Kejriwal indeed was intimated by Vigilance Secretary that five cases of corruption and disproportionate asset complaints against Kumar were being investigated then. That's why MHA suggested Arvind Kejriwal not to appoint Rajendra Kumar as his Principal Secretary. Ashish Khetan then started speaking out of turn citing Arun Jaitley's case just to deflect this revelation.

Luckily in another TV debate 'To The Point with Karan Thappar', AAP leader Sourabh Bhardwaj silently agreed that Arvind Kejriwal knew that the cases were pending against Rajendra Kumar during his appointment as Principal Secretary.

My question is very straight to Mr. Arvind Kejriwal. Where is your promise of zero tolerance to corruption? Do you really know what it means zero tolerance to corruption? If you don't know, then let me explain you, zero tolerance to corruption means, as a CM you shouldn't deal with anybody against whom allegations are there unless he's proved 'not guilty'! Here, not only you have appointed Rajendra Kumar ignoring pending allegations and investigations against him but also you ignored Transparency International's letter alleging prima facie case against him. Why didn't you act when ACB referred the case to CBI?

Why Rajendra Kumar is so close to you for which you even shunted out Ashish Joshi because he complained against Rajendra Kumar at ACB? Is this your zero tolerance to corruption that you are trying to protect an officer facing severe charges? You even used highly unacceptable and condemnable language against the Prime Minister of India only because CBI raided an allegedly corrupt officer very close to you? What's your deal with Rajendra Kumar, Mr. Kejriwal? Is there anything fishy or you just shielded him because Rajendra Kumar too is an IITian like you?

But public is not fool. When Kejriwal changed his attack line from Modi to Jaitley everyone understood that he really has nothing (like scams, corruption etc) to attack Modi except rhetoric, rather he used DDCA scam to attack Jaitley. But the body language of Kejriwal proved that he was visibly shaken on CBI raids against Rajendra Kumar definitely for some unknown vested interests.

Now let me come back to DDCA scam issue. As per various media reports, Arvind Kejriwal's office already received DDCA scam report on November 2015. Then why it didn't expose earlier instead of exposing it through yesterday's press conference? Had he wanted any deal with NDA government?

Further upon Kirti Azad's question in Lok Sabha; Jayant Sinha, MoS under Arun Jaitley wrote a letter to Delhi government to investigate and submit a report. If Arun Jaitley's deputy openly asked you to conduct an investigation, then why Jaitley would be afraid of DDCA file with DelhiCMO?

Now, AAP during the press conference claimed to present the facts after assessing DDCA files with Delhi CMO. Are the files of CMO can be shared with party people? If yes, then what's wrong if CBI reads it?

Point is simple, Mr. Kejriwal your commitment to zero tolerance sounds hollow now. Rather you appeared shielding a corrupt people because of your closeness. I alone don't say this. Even Anna Hazare, your Guru also has the same opinion.

Wednesday, 16 December 2015

Mr.Kejriwal's Frustrated Outburst Against CBI Raids Deserve Some Questions

When I was about to leave home for office, I saw the breaking news in TV that ‘CBI raided Delhi CM’s office’.  Naturally I was shocked like everyone that how can CBI raid Kejriwal’s office? Kejriwal may be a bit immature politician but nobody would believe that he could have committed a crime for which CBI will raid his office. Is this a political vendetta by Modi government?

 My conscious didn’t approve this vendetta angle as I like all sane people of India aware how serious Modi government is towards passing the GST bill for which they are taking unprecedented conciliation initiatives despite defiant acts of Rahul Gandhi led Congress. Thus it can’t afford to raid a Chief Minister’s office particularly when the Parliament is in session.

I wanted to check whether Kejriwal’s residence also raided as the practice is whenever the raid is carried out, not only office but also the residence of the accused along with residences of some suspected relatives are also raided. I couldn’t get any news on that.

 In the mean time Kejriwal’s tweet came where he referred Narendra Modi as ‘Cowardice and psychopath’. These are really very strong words, un-parliamentary and absolute derogatory terms to a Constitutional office. Arvind Kejriwal who is holding a constitutional post under an oath shouldn’t have used such terms as it insults the Constitution itself.

By 3 O’clock the truth of entire story came out. As per various media reports, CBI had conducted raids in 14 places in connection with corruption allegation against Rajendra Kumar who is Principal Secretary of Delhi CM. The raids were conducted following a search warrant from competent court.
One Ashis Joshi (an IAS officer) complained against Rajendra Kumar during June 2015 at ACB, Delhi which is under control of Delhi government. As Rajendra Kumar is a senior IAS officer, ACB, Delhi referred it to CBI in July 2015. CBI took some four months for verification and when it had sufficient prima facie evidence, it applied for a search warrant from the court and upon courts approval it conducted the necessary raids.

Sources said that till now many objectionable documents including unaccounted cash and foreign currency have been recovered from the raids at 14 places.

Thus the case is a text book case of corruption on which CBI took action as per merit. Arvind Kejriwal and AAP member’s accusations are not only baseless but also motivated by petty politics. Therefore I have some questions for Arvind Kejriwal which should be answered by his party as he and his party definitely owes accountability to Indian public.

1) Mr.Kejriwal, you came to politics fighting against corruption and claiming transparency. Why you reacted so vociferously when CBI was taking action against corruption case? The case is neither related you nor of the period of your tenure. Why then you want to protect corruption accused officer?

2)  ACB is under you. Complain was first registered in ACB which is next referred to CBI. It means you are aware of CBI inquiry against Rajendra Kumar. Then why you react as if CBI is taking action against you despite knowing all facts. Doesn’t it prove that you wanted to do petty politics taking advantage of any situation just to fool the public?

3)  In Jitendra Tomar case you did the same thing accusing Narendra Modi doing vendetta politics, but later you had to be sorry knowing the facts behind Jitendra Tomar arrest. Why didn’t you learn a lesson then? Because had you learnt the lesson, you would have waited till the facts come out before accusing central government of vendetta.

4) Before taking Rajendra Kumar as your Principal Secretary, why due diligence was not made to check the credentials of Rajendra Kumar. It’s in public domain that Rajendra Kumar is involved in corrupt practice since Shiela Dikshit’s period. Do you rely on face than fact?

5) You have accused that in the name of Rajendra Kumar, CBI checked your files, although CBI denied it. But my point is even if CBI checked your files, why are you worried? If you are a clean person then you should welcome this and request CBI to unfold whatever they found objectionable in your file or if they didn’t get anything wrong. This could have increased your stature.

6) Why Rajendra Kumar is so close to you, for which you expressed anger and frustration even before knowing the fact? Is there really anything between you and Rajendra Kumar?

7) Finally, will you explain your reference to Prime Minister Narendra Modi as ‘cowardice and psychopath’? You are holding a constitutional post under oath and you are scolding a constitution office which is bigger than your office. How come you justify it? Are you and your ego is bigger than Constitution and it’s decorum? If BJP want it can bring a privilege motion against you in Parliament, how can you answer it?

The point is today’s polity is very low. The political intolerance to Prime Minister Modi is so rampant, that all opposition parties have forgotten the constitutional obligation forget about decency & decorum of a vibrant democracy. But Arvind Kejriwal is expected to be different from these conventional politicians. Unfortunately he stooped lower than any conventional disgraced politician of all times.

Tuesday, 8 December 2015

Here Is Why I Support Delhi Government's 'Odd-Even' Formula to Control Air Pollution

Delhi government's plan to implement the formula of 'Odd-Even' number plate car plying on alternate days with effect from 1st January, 2016 has drawn a lot of flak from many experts.

Delhi government came with this formula as it had to find an urgent solution to rising pollution level in the city following Delhi High courts' remark that living in Delhi is like living in a gas chamber. Many experts think that AAP government in a hurry proposed this plan without even consulting experts and stakeholders. A plan that is implemented in other countries, which also failed at some place, shouldn't be applied in Delhi, many experts opined.

However I think let's support the plan. If this plan had failed in some countries, it also succeeded in some countries' capital like London, Paris etc. Thus there is nothing wrong to experiment particularly when Delhi's killer air is choking.

As per some calculation vehicular pollution contributes around 86% of total air pollution in Delhi. It's also observed that on the day of Dussera when vehicular traffic was minimal on Delhi roads, the air pollution reduced 45% which is very significant. Thus this plan although not sufficient but will definitely reduce pollution to some extent. Let's discuss some of the concerns by experts.

Some experts say Delhi has around 28 lakh cars. Thus if the 'odd-even' formula is implemented then a sizable number of commuters to the tune of 14 lakh will have to travel by alternative modes like trains, buses, autos etc. Question is whether the mass transit system has the capacity to accommodate this load otherwise there would be gross chaos.
However I feel this shouldn't be a problem. No doubt Delhi's mass transit system at the moment has no capacity to accommodate this extra burden. But question is why Delhi's mass transit system doesn't have the capacity. The answer is lack of demand. The ever increasing car going commuters resulted in to less demand in mass transit system. If this formula is implemented then there will be demand of mass transit system.

When there is demand, there would be a definite increase in capacity not only in government sector but also in private sector. The metro trains would increase the frequency as well as number of coaches. Many private bus owners will increase number of buses because of demand. Even in a month possibly there would be number of air-conditioned luxury buses that would start rolling for high middle class and rich people.
No doubt initially there would be some chaos, but definitely in a month or two the culture of using mass transit system can be implemented. For such a good thing to happen, I don't think chaos for a small period has any cost.

Another concern is whether Delhi Police has the capacity to check violators of the system. Another concern is that it will increase bribery in lower police department. My point is, this shouldn't be a concern at all. You can't stop bribery even if you increase number of police personnel. Point is simple, engage special squads for checking and put hefty fines against violators. The fine should be so high that the violator would never dare to cheat again. Further when this system would become a culture I don't think car going people would like to be embarrassed by using wrong car on a particular day.
One more concern is that rich people can afford two cars, one with even number plate and other with odd number plate. But this is not a concern at all. The affording people have multiple cars. You can't stop those owning cars. Nor it's ideal to ban new car purchase or ban registration in Delhi. This not only violates one's fundamental right but also seriously affects government's revenue generation.

What government can do is to impose high tax on road permit to ply in Delhi. This way not only Delhi registered cars but also outside cars, which enters to Delhi will have to pay high tax that will discourage people to have more cars as well as to enter Delhi with outside cars. People will prefer Delhi taxi or its mass transit system to come to Delhi.
There would be two real concerns as per experts. The autos and taxis may charge steep price taking advantage of commuters' plight. Second, what would happen to ladies who use cars for office and to return home late in night? Both questions have simple answer that government has prime responsibility to address these problems. If some taxi or auto would be charging abnormal fare, there should be system where the commuter can complain and the violators must be punished.

For ladies compelled to use taxi or auto in night owing to problem of odd and even car formula, I would say government has the responsibility to ensure the safety of the car-owning-lady commuters exactly the same way as for non-car-owning lady commuters.
If government has the system to ensure ladies safety, these car owning ladies too will be safe when using taxi or auto. Thus I don't think matter of safety of ladies to be seen as a hurdle in this odd-even formula.

Now the question is whether this odd-even formula would address the issue of pollution in Delhi? Answer is, to some extent only. I strongly believe that unless the metro-cities are de-crowded, there would be no permanent solution. But yes, this formula can reduce the pollution to some extent and can develop a culture of using mass transit system. Therefore I support Delhi government's proposal despite knowing that there would be serious hiccups in initial stages.

Chennai disaster: It's time to de-crowd our metro cities

This post is featured in Spicy Saturday segment of the Blogadda

Chennai is practically drowned due to unprecedented rains, whose intensity broke all records of last 100 years. The pathetic condition of people belonging to fourth largest city of India is inexpressible. The rescue and relief work is quite impossible at the moment despite all out efforts by governments, various organizations and defense forces because the continuous heavy rain is making it infeasible.

Electricity, phone lines and all other communication facilities are severely hit. People are stranded at many places empty stomach. Overall it's a grim situation and rightly Chennai is declared as a disaster zone for the moment.

Tamil Nadu government which is helpless at the moment cites the unprecedented rains for this disaster, which also looks as an excuse for its unpreparedness to tackle this nature's fury. Is TN government right? I don't think so. Before this tragedy, in 2005 Mumbai was marooned disastrously.

Delhi is nearly choking due to severe air pollution. Kolkata, which is yet to face a serious natural disaster always appear to be vulnerable to natural calamity. In 2009 when cyclonic storm 'Aila' hitKolkatawith a moderate intensity (wind speed around 80 KMPH with gales of 100 KMPH, Aila mainly hit Bangladesh severely), the city almost collapsed. Just imagine if a cyclone with an intensity like 'Super-Cyclone' in 1999 or that of Phailin of 2013 had hitKolkatawhat would habe been the scale of damage. I am an Odia, who is well accustomed to the fury of high intensity cyclonic storms. My assessment is that if such a cyclone hit Kolkata, it would definitely kill millions of people apart from destroying the city of Kolkata.

Point is very simple, all four prime metro cities of India despite being considered most developed areas inIndiaare now vulnerable to natural calamities, which may lead to catastrophic consequences. No doubt each metro city has its own reasons for this vulnerability. For exampleChennaiorMumbaiare facing super-floods due to choking of the natural drainage systems or inadequate municipal drain capacity.

Delhi's killer air is due to heavy pollution emanating from large scale vehicular traffic, large scale burning of farm lands in and around Delhi (areas including Haryana, Punjab, Rajasthan and UP), industrial pollutions etc.

Kolkata's main problem is lack of infrastructure compared to its population. It appears that development of Kolkata has almost stopped since British left this place as their capital. The condition of all buildings, poles or other infrastructures are so weak, if a 1999 like super-cyclone hit Kolkata it would fly away the entire city.
Despite different reasons for vulnerability of these four metro cities (and practically other metro or urban centers), the common reason is ever increasing population in these cities, which is inversely proportional to the capacity. If this single reason is focused one can find many of its harmful bi-products that make the cities vulnerable. For example to accommodate this huge population one has to build houses, apartments etc. To give them job, big offices have to be built.

As this working population increases so the slums too increases. Now to accommodate everyone, one has to encroach (legally or illegally) the areas that are naturally required for drainage of rain/storm water. The 'Sukhi' or 'Mithi' river ofMumbaiis consumed in this process of developing a concrete jungle in Mumbai. Similarly many lakes inside Chennai had vanished. We often hear 'salt lake' of Kolkata, has anybody seen this lake in recent time (at least in our generation)? No everything had been consumed.

The increased population had to use increased vehicular traffic that results in to pollution.Delhihas the highest registration of motor vehicles in a day and accommodates vehicles from highly urbanized centers like Gurgaon,Noidaetc. Kolkata too had to accommodate large populations in its limited infrastructures thus compromising the capacity of the city to withstand the force of the nature.

Thus the very simple method to avoid nature's fury is de-crowding the cities. Method is simple but is it simple to implement? I don't think it's impossible either. But before that let's understand why these cities are being crowded.

Simple reason is lack of infrastructures like health care, educational institution, road connectivity, communication system, electricity in the non-city areas (rural or semi urban centers). In this modern era electricity, phones etc are no more luxury rather essential requirements of people. Also children's education or health care are prime concern for every parent now. These factors in fact incite a mad race of people to the metro cities.

There people's first aim is to get a house by hook or crook, not bothering about the capacity or environment of the metros. (However once settled they again start complaining about various other problems with authorities). Search for job, attraction to modern living or crisis in farm sector also force the poor people to move to metro cities that forms a large size of slums creating burden over the metro cities.
Thus to de-crowd the cities, governments has to focus on the real reason. Instead of pumping money in increasing further infrastructure in the metros, it needs to invest in its rural or semi urban areas. Quality schools, colleges or other institutions must be established in these areas. Advanced hospitals with quality doctors is not the only requirement for rural or semi urban areas rather it's a constitutional obligation of any government to its people be it from rural or urban areas.
Road connectivity is another requirement. Apart from that semi or medium industries that generate employment particularly related to farm sector would stop migration of poor people (basically farm laborers) to the metros. Indian agrarian sector is another sector that is largely ignored by successive governments and at present is in a precarious state. It requires urgent attention from the governments as it can generate huge employments with minimum investments.
Thus the remedy to metro's vulnerability lies at infrastructural development in rural or semi urban areas. If these developments are taken urgently with honest intent, not only the mad race to metro cities will stop, but also reverse migration from metros to villages will start. Ask any city-man, he would prefer to spend his retired life in a village atmosphere provided the village has all infrastructures nearby because of peaceful environment.

Will the governments or organizations focus on this subject of 'de-crowding cities'?

PVR national anthem controversy: Why I think the family is guilty as per social conduct although legally not guilty?

The PVR cinema national anthem controversy created a large scale debate in India. Many consider that the family indeed disrespected the national anthem by not standing up. On the other hand many did argue that legally it's not mandatory to stand up when the national anthem is being played. Some like the AIMIM leader Warish Pathan even tried to give the incident a communal color by saying that Muslims need not prove their patriotism by respecting the national anthem or such national symbols as by heart all Muslims are patriots.
But there are some facts which are indisputable. The hooliganistic act of the mob inside the PVR cinema is absolutely condemnable as they had no right to force or evict anybody from the cinema for any reason. The family, which had refused to stand for the national anthem really didn't commit any illegality and neither, was it unpatriotic. Patriotism is something that comes from within and no external exhibition is required to prove it. Also no Indian Muslim needs to follow some imposed rules to prove his/her patriotism. They are equally patriotic like every other Indian citizen.

But India is not a state which is governed by rule of law only.India has a heterogeneous population having a complex society. There are lots of social rules, customs, ethics, niceties inside this complex society which is very closely linked to the sentiments of people. Thus while being one amongst the society, one has to follow certain social rules and exhibit certain social conducts so that the emotions and sentiment of others are not hurt. These rules and conducts have nothing to do with the legal system and sometimes even contradict the law of the land, but still need to be observed to maintain the integrity and social fabric of this complex society.

For example, if a village is observing some Puja, in which majority of people are participating, if a person eats non-vegetarian food in front of the puja pendal, he might be legally right but very wrong as per social conduct. If in some society or club, people are observing a dress code, you can wear another dress legally but you are wrong socially. One can enter in to an office wearing Lungi legally but he would be guilty socially.

Similarly if there is a public congregation due to the demise of a popular person, you can laugh loudly legally, but you would be guilty of violating social ethics. Thus the basic point is that one must respect social customs and observe the ethics in order to avoid hurting anyone's sentiments. When one violates a law, he may not have such a significant impact on the society (if the crime is a petty one), but violating social conduct sometimes has tremendous impact on the society which even the law of the land may not be able to control, at least in the short term.
It's always said that human beings are anarchists by nature. This anarchist nature is always curbed by imposing certain rules and laws. But human sentiments are so volatile and unpredictable that they can lead to the worst of situations by even small provocations. Taking the example of communal riots, one can understand that such incidents which in fact are very inhuman can spark off due to hurt sentiments. The hurt sentiments could be due to vested interests or natural, but the results are always catastrophic.

Without going into such big humanitarian crisis, I can also give very simple examples. A truck mows down a person, but the truck driver is not at fault. However the emotions towards the deceased person are so high, that people torch the truck within minutes, while almost killing the driver. We always say that mobocracy and crowd justice are beastly acts, but again such mobocracy and crowd justice spark from an emotional outburst resulting from hurt sentiments.
A good citizen must realize that he has an obligation to the society in helping to maintain peace and order. No act of his, be it right or wrong should be a cause of hurting sentiments, provoking unrest, even though for a short duration.

Coming back to the PVR cinema issue, I would say that the family didn't do any wrong legally by refusing to stand-up for the national anthem. What they forgot was that the national anthem was being sung as part of a documentary in respecting the heroes of 26/11. Ordinarily in cinemas when the national anthem is played as part of the feature film, almost no one stands up. But here 26/11 is a very sentimental issue for all Mumbaikars. Thus refusing to stand-up, the family did violate the social custom and ethics which hurt the sentiments of other Mumbaikers, irrespective of cast, creed and religion. These hurt sentiments led to an emotional outburst and people started behaving like a mob. The PVR cinema authorities did the right job by asking the family to get out from the cinema hall as a further altercation might have led to serious consequences.

Wise people often remain careful not to hurt others sentiment. There are many intellectuals who are atheist by practice, but such people should not be criticized because they are aware of the sentiments involved in their faiths. The biggest example is Mahatma Gandhi. He was the biggest critic of untouchability in India. He advocated allowing entry of untouchables in temples. He vowed never to enter any temple unless the untouchables were allowed to enter into temples. He had a very clear conviction in him that unless the cast divide ends in Indian society, India can’t get real freedom. Yet, he never tried to enter any temple forcibly carrying `Harijans' along with him. He didn't want to end a social evil in violating another social custom that had emotional and sentimental repercussions during that period.

Thus the bottom line is that although the family in the PVR cinema didn't do any illegal act in refusing to stand-up for the national anthem, they are guilty of violating social conduct, which can abate serious violent repercussions.

Sunday, 29 November 2015

Nitish Kumar going the RSS way!

"I never expected Nitish Kumar to go the RSS way!” Banwarilal said in an angry voice while entering my chamber and sat in the front chair.

Banwarilal is a good friend of mine, who is a typical self-made activist. He always has his own peculiar logics and some of which are very genuine. He doesn't have too many supporters. Most of the times he comes to me just to express his anger as I am his only audience. (Unfortunately I had to oblige him always for friendships sake.)

"What happened man! Only a few days ago you had left Modi camp to join Nitish camp?", I asked coolly.
Banwarilal in an annoying voice said, "Don't mock me! You know why I became anti-RSS!"
Banwarilal had turned anti-RSS and anti-BJP after the beef ban had been imposed in some of the BJP ruled states. He has a clear view that nobody should decide what to eat and what not to. He is also critical of Khaps for the same reason as the khaps dictate what to wear and what not; even preventing girls from using mobile phone etc and his logics are most of the times genuine. I was really surprised on why he had suddenly become critical of Nitish?

He started saying, "You know, I am always for the fundamental freedom. I never accept anyone's moral policing to impose bans,"

"But what Nitish did to you man?" I again asked.
"Don't you know? Nitish is banning liquor from 1st April 2016?" He said looking into my face.
I said, "So what?"  I was still unable to get his point.

He said with an uneasy but angry expression on his face, "Who is Nitish to decide what one will drink or not drink? Isn't it an attack on our fundamental rights to freedom of choice? How can he become a moral police?"
I then understood his point and the sense of activism in him.
I tried to explain to him by saying, "Look my friend. In any case alcohol is bad for health. It was a pre-election promise made by Nitish. Hence it was his obligation to fulfill it. Anyways you don't drink alcohol, so what's your problem?"

"The Point is not whether I drink or not," He argued.

"The point is who is he to decide in a free democracy what a person drinks or not. It's the right of the individual whether he drinks water, juice or alcohol. Further you said it was his election promise, but how come I didn't know about it?" He further added.

"What would have happened if you knew about it?" I asked.
"Then I wouldn't have voted for him" He answered plainly.
I was really left speechless for that moment. Then I asked, "Do you really think that your one vote could have prevented him from becoming the chief minister?"
"No, I am not saying that," He explained.

"But at least I wouldn't have had that feeling of guilt, which I have today."

I shook my head helplessly. He stood up and said, "You will never understand my true activist emotions. Anyways I can't excuse Nitish for going the RSS way."

And then he then left my chamber.