Monday December 18, 2017
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How Arvind Kejriwal’s fight against crony capitalism is similar to Pablo Iglesias new communist movement in Spain

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Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal addressing  the special session of Delhi assembly on (IANS)
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal addressing the special session of Delhi assembly on (IANS)

By Saeed Naqvi

The new poster boy of European politics could well be a pony tailed Pablo Iglesias, in a dark blue denim shirt, 40, leader of Spain’s new communist movement, Podemos, which threatens to end the two-decade-old rule of the right-wing Peoples Party (PP). Playing second fiddle to PP in Spain were the socialists. As phenomena, is there a similarity between Iglesias and Arvind Kejriwal of the Aam Aadmi Party?

Regional and mayoral elections last Sunday had Prime Minister, Mariana Rajoy, reeling against the ropes. Not only will Podemos now decisively have its candidates as mayors of the two biggest cities, Madrid and Barcelona, but it will be influential in most regions.

In their sixth year since the global economic crisis, Spain’s neighbourhoods (virtually like Residents Welfare Associations in India) protested against housing evictions, unemployment, austerity, above all, unspeakable corruption. Podemos which means “we can”, provided the ideological linkages across the regions. Where is such a linkage in India? AAP can, at best, be a model regional force depending on how it performs despite the sniping.

Syriza in Greece, Podemos in Spain, Nicola Sturgeon in Scotland, AAP in Delhi, are all part of a global trend.

Electorates in most countries, afflicted by the economic downturn since 2008, are feeling suffocated in the strait jackets of two party systems that have been imposed on them. These systems may have evolved over time but they are now being reinforced by powerful vested interests who have developed links of profit with the two parties.

This exactly is the situation in India too. Narendra Modi’s extraordinary success in May 2014 can be attributed to two major facts. The world’s biggest, most expensive media campaign, which lasted a full year, ever since Modi’s candidature was announced in Goa.

This campaign harvested the disgust against the triumvirate of Sonia, Rahul and Manmohan Singh. Yes, the Gujarat model was repeatedly, mentioned but it was nobody’s case that the Indian electorate had fallen in love with Narendra Modi. Whatever chance there may have been for a pro Modi scent in the air was neutralized by Sakshi Maharaj, Yogi Adityanath and the Sadhvi who divided the world neatly between Rama’s devotees and those she declared were bastards.

Consequently, the record mandate with which the Delhi electorate returned AAP, within 10 months of Modi being sworn in, rattled Modi and his cohorts.

Big Business had allowed the media it controls to pay attention to Arvind Kejriwal prior to the elections. If he won, they would still have the BJP and the Congress to play the balancing game with it. But the scale of AAP victory reduced BJP and Congress to ciphers in Delhi.

The electorate had transformed Kejriwal into a Gulliver and his colleagues into Lilliputians.

It was a piquant situation. Even as the multinationals, Indian corporate, Sangh Parivar, the middle class on the make, planned a binge for the next five years, the party was spoilt by the Delhi vote. Kejriwal’s visage had to be tarred.

A triumphant party, with control of South and North blocks, indeed the nation, stood trounced in its capital city.

The media, reasonable about Kejriwal before the elections, unfurled its fangs. First, Prashant Bhushan, Yogendra Yadav were boosted on page one of newspapers, on prime time shows, for two full weeks without a break.

Then cameras focused for a week on a man who climbed a tree and allegedly hanged himself. In a burst of investigative journalism, the media found an AAP minister with fake degrees. The allegation was never proved.

True, the union government has four more years to tire out the AAP government. But has the tipping point not been reached when the negative publicity heaped on Kejriwal begins to cast him as the David standing upto the centre’s Goliath?

In Spain the media likewise gave space to Podemos at the outset. But now that Podemos threatens to upturn the capitalist applecart by his victory, Iglesias himself expects the media to turn upon him.

Being Spanish has helped Iglesias and the Spanish left in general in a very special way.

“For us Latin America has been a fundamental reference point – we have worked in Bolivia, Ecuador and Venezuela.”

Iglesias said all this to Tariq Ali on www.telesurtv.net, increasingly a medium of choice as more and more serious viewers drift away from the mainstream, something AAP must learn in double quick time.

For want of space, I have not expanded on President Joko Widodo in Indonesia and President-elect Andrzej Duda who are not communists at all (in fact Duda is anti-Marxist) but represent the global trend to smash two party systems corrupted by crony capitalism. (IANS)

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Gujarat Elections: The Fight to the Finish between Congress and BJP

The counting of votes for the Gujarat elections will begin on December 18 at 8.00 AM

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The Gujarat elections have brought the BJP and the Congress in close contest with each other.
Women on their way to the polling booths in Gujarat on December 9, VOA News

 

  • The Gujarat elections have brought the BJP and the Congress into a close contest over the seats.
  • The exit polls predict a victory for BJP.
  • The counting of votes will begin at 8.00 A.M. on Monday, December 18.

The Gujarat elections, which were carried out in two phases on December 9 and December 14, will finally come to its culmination on Monday, December 18, as the counting of votes will commence from 8.00 A.M. The Gujarat polls, over which seasoned BJP politicians such as Narendra Modi and Amit Shah  have locked horns with the newly appointed president of the Congress, Rahul Gandhi, have been subjected to numerous speculations and predictions, ever since the two political parties have launched themselves into relentless campaigning for the various constituencies.

The Gujarat elections have brought the BJP and the Congress in close contest with each other.
Rahul Gandhi kissing his mother after being elected as the President of Congress on December 16, 2017, VOA News

Congress vs. BJP: Who will Win the Gujarat Elections

The campaign for the Gujarat assembly elections has been a vehement one for Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who has extensively referred to the growth index and other statistical details while enumerating the virtues of the BJP government. His developmental policies, such as the Ujjwala Yojana through which free LPG gas facilities were provide to households below the Poverty Line, have made him immensely popular among the women of Gujarat. Modi’s appeal as the ‘son of the soil’ has earned him support in the urban and commercial hubs of Gujarat, in spite of the brewing discontent over demonetisation and the imposition of GST. The BJP has also succeeded in securing the support of the tribal people of Gujarat, who were previously considered as a stronghold of the Congress.
However, with the trio of Hardik Patel, Alpesh Thakor and Jignesh Mevani, Rahul Gandhi seems to have infused young blood into the Gujarat elections, and has thereby attracted a significant number of young voters. Hardik Patel, with his political acumen has become a potential threat for the BJP, as multiple scandalous tapes of him as well as his aides have not decreased his popularity. In North, Gujarat, Saurashtra and Kutch, people seem to be disappointed with the BJP government, since the much-applauded ‘Gujarat Model’ has failed to solve basic issues in their lives, such as shortage of water.

 

The Gujarat elections have brought the BJP and the Congress in close contest with each other.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi addresses the voters at Kalol, in the outskirts of Ahmedabad on December 8, 2017, VOA News

Gujarat Elections: The Exit Polls

The Gujarat Polls of 2017 have often been hailed as one of the closest competitions faced by the BJP government during its 22 year long tenure as speculations are rife regarding who will win the Gujarat elections. However, in spite of the unyielding campaign by the Congress and Rahul Gandhi, the speculations hint towards another victory for the BJP in the state. An aggregate of nine exit polls in Gujarat show that the BJP is expected to secure 162 seats, while 65 seats may be secured by the Congress.

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Rise of PM Modi and roar of subversive forces

To counter PM Modi opposition leaders are desperately getting aligned with anti-India forces

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Narendra Modi
Prime Minister Narendra Modi (Wikimedia commons)

– By Salil Gewali

If your son makes friendship with the difficult and longtime enemies of your own family/clan then how do you describe him and how do you feel about your future? Will it not be likely to open the door to countless tragedies? But in India, such thing is now being openly celebrated. For past couple of years or more the political leaders of certain parties have been taking the wrong step forward in having closed-door meetings with the leaders of Pakistan/China. What transpires among themselves is obviously against the present government and the nation’s fundamental ethos. Those leaders have often been heard to be sympathetic towards the terrorists or those who “roar against the nation” or against its patriotic values. Yes, those leaders jump forward to defend them who wreak havoc with the “peaceful citizens”.   Some leaders are apologetic that certain NGOs/media/religious bodies should not be harassed in the name of fighting the terrorists and ISIS. This is how country’s leaders defend the dangerous postures of dangerous outfits. Will this trend not invite greater troubles to the nation in future?

One wonders how the apex judiciary of the country just allow the political parties to pour out their pent-up anger before the leaders of neighbouring countries who are always aggressively in the combative mood. Why is the Supreme Court silent on such blatant subversive activities?

Very recently, one senior leader of the national party even scoffed at Prime Minister Modi by calling him a depraved being “Neech”. What are the criteria for one being morally low? Has PM Modi fallen short any standards of the integrity since he works sincerely hard and formulates innovative plans and schemes for the greater welfare of the nation? Well, has he not been constitutionally elected by the people of this country? Why the media is less aggressive and more defensive for those “transgressors” who wield daggers behind the cloak.

Whatsoever be the political dispensation at the center, such open rebellion against the government will not augur well for the nation and its 1.25 billion citizens.

Salil Gewali is a well-known writer and author of ‘Great minds on India’. Twitter Handle @SGewali

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Beatles, Apple, Facebook knew India more than Indians

Famous non-Indian celebrities know more about India and its past

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The Beatles once visited India to know more bout its past and culture.
The Beatles once visited India to know more bout its past and culture. Wikipedia

-By Salil Gewali

Facebook’s Chairman Mark Zuckerberg had dropped a bombshell on the “secularists” in India during PM Modi’s visit to his campus in California. It’s all about the Facebook connection with India. Initially, it was never a bed of roses for what is now a household name “FACEBOOK” across the world. This world-famous ‘social networking service company’ had its own share of bad times. Revealing for the first time in the meeting at the Facebook office upbeat Zuckerberg told PM Narendra Modi that Steve Jobs, the founder Chairman of Apple, had advised him to visit a certain temple in India for blessings. The revelation may have caused heartburn to many. More so in India where so-called secular and snooty folks have long acquired a proclivity to look down upon their own culture, religion, and values while being appreciative of any bizarre customs and styles of the West. Yes, heeding the advice of his mentor Steve Jobs the depressed Mark had visited the temple and toured around India for nearly a month.

Facebook's CEO tells about India.
Facebook’s CEO tells about India. wikipedia

Well, the American techno-wizard Steve Jobs had himself spent over six months in India in 1974. He was here in quest of the higher meaning of life and spiritual solace. As understood, from early age Steve was quite haunted by a good deal of unanswered questions. Of course, his encounter with a book “Be Here Now” by Richard Alpert, a Harvard Professor, had opened up a gateway to the spiritualism of the East. This book had also introduced him to a mystic Yogi ‘Neem Karoli Baba’. That later inspired Steve to set out the journey for the East. As soon as Steve and his friend Daniel Kottke arrived India they directly went to meet the Guru in Kainchi Dham Ashram in Nainital. But to their disappointment, they found the Baba had already passed away some months earlier. Nevertheless, the urge to dive deeper into the spiritualism did not die away. They shaved their heads and put on Indian clothes and undertook an extensive meditation and yogic practices.

The most significant impact that had made upon Steve’s life was a book “Autobiography of a Yogi”by Paramhansa Yogananda. It is on record that he would read this book too frequently, at least once every year until his death, 2011. This book had given him the practical insight into what exactly this world is about and how a layman can prepare himself to realize the Supreme knowledge. The first-hand account of a Yogi with empirical approaches to know oneself this book by Yogananda is a smash hit manual now among the seekers of the Eastern spiritualism.

Yes, by dint of hard work, intuition and innovation Steve stood out as one of the most successful techno-tycoons of the modern times. As much known, Jobs was hardly possessed by the luxury of riches and materialistic vanity. He just regarded his entrepreneurship as a tool to awaken his dormant potentialities. The chairman of Salesforce.com and famous philanthropist Marc Benioff says with conviction — “If you want to understand Steve, it’s a good idea to dig into ‘Autobiography of a Yogi’.” It is this book which Steve’s family had given to all the guests as a last gift at his memorial service.

Here we can’t afford to ignore the Beatle’s fascination for INDIA as well. The band members that were basking in the opulence of materialistic riches and glory visited India (Rishikesh) in search of inner peace. They met with Sri Maharshi Mahesh Yogi and learnt from him Transcendental meditation (TM) who laid bare methods to feel true bliss within. Sri Maharshi is a big name in the West having a huge following that includes celebrities like Oprah Winfrey, David Lynch, Russell Brand, Hugh Jackman, Jennifer Aniston, Modern physicist Dr. John Hagelin, to name a few. The Beatle’s Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr often assist a Hollywood Director/actor David Lynch to organize the Transcendental meditation under ‘David Lynch Foundation’ across USA and the European countries. George Harrison later took refuge in Bhakti Yoga. The founder of ISKCON Srila Prabhupada showed him the pathway to the Supreme Consciousness.

What basically pulls the rational westerners to India is less known to Indians themselves. It’s shamefully paradoxical. From early 19th Century, the philosophical literary treasure troves and Yoga of India found more admirers in the foreign lands than at home. Indeed, the philosophy of the “laws of karma” and the presence of all-power-divinity within every being and everywhere — which any human being can realize irrespective of one’s caste, creed, nationality, and color, has intensely stirred the greatest of the great minds of the West. The ancient texts hold out a whole bunch of keys to unlock oneself and know his/her relationship with the Supreme Being which in fact seems very reasonable to the West. Further, the complex studies of world-view by Modern scientists are gradually arriving at the same conclusion what the ancient sages of India expounded over five thousands year back that ‘creation and creator are ONE’. Interconnection, inter-relation and interdependence among every individual particle/object, living or non-living, in the infinite universe — which is the fundamental tenets of the Eastern philosophy, provided a new light of wisdom to the the modern physicists like Schrödinger, Heisenberg, Julius Oppenheimer, Brain David Josephson, David Bohm, John Stewart Bell et al.

Well, Indian’s contribution to the western academia is immeasurable — though deliberately undermined or less discussed in India itself. It’s very worthwhile to recall a famous proclamation by our western master whom we hold in the highest esteem. TS Eliot, one of the most celebrated poets of the 20th century, asserts: “Indian philosophers’ subtleties make most of the great European philosophers look like schoolboys”.

Salil Gewali is a well-known writer and author of ‘Great minds on India’. Twitter @SGewali.