Monday December 18, 2017
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Modi Vs Nitish: Will Bihar citizenry filter out the truth or get stuck in the political jumla?

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Friend or foe?

By Sreyashi Mazumdar

“By the skilful and sustained use of propaganda, one can make the people see even heaven as hell or an extremely wretched life as a paradise”– Adolf Hitler

Attuning to a similar fervor explicated by the aforesaid quote, Prime Minister Narendra Modi mesmerised the teeming crowd, hurling words or rather fleshing out his ammos directly targeting the new found Kumar-Yadav duo at the Parivartan Rally in Gaya.
With 4000 security personnel at guard and prominent BJP stalwarts flanking the political juggernaut, the rally in Gaya gave flashes of Modi’s efficient oratory and his penchant for words. His tweaked words and phrases, in an attempt at maligning the present chief minister Nitish Kumar gave the media a platter of toothsome acronyms like JDU: Janta ka Daman aur Utpeedan (The oppression and persecution of the people), RJD: Rozana ke jungleraj ka dar.(Fear of the jungle raj)
Amid Modi’s quite plausible and rational plans for the state’s development, there was a flurry of quips that weren’t sagacious enough to expound the truth. Amongst them is the following: Don’t give the people who have ruined Bihar in the last 25 years a second chance.
Poring over the statements sounded out by Modi, one would beg to differ from the maverick considering the developmental activities doled out by the Bihar government under the chief ministership of Nitish Kumar.
Decoding the contention
According to a report released by the ASSOCHAM on Bihar in the year 2013, the state has upped its status considerably despite its “huge disadvantage of the past baggage of laggard development“. The statistical record given by the organization pegged the compounded average growth rate at 20 per cent in terms of public investment between March 2003 – March 2013, while Gujarat lagged behind at 14.1 percent.
Further, the report also threw light upon the positive changes pulled in the state owing to the amount of public investment garnered by the state over the period of time. “It is the public investment which is ushering in the growth trajectory in Bihar, where the BJP is the junior partner to its NDA ally with the JD(U) in coalition that rules Bihar,” posted the report.
Moreover, economist Swaminathan Aiyar’s accreditation of the economic turnaround in Bihar owing to the sound law and order situation under Nitish Kumar in a report in the Mint clearly refutes Narendra Modi’s imagery of a destructed Bihar.
Bihar is a BIMARU state
Amid the lackluster states of Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Orissa etc, Modi’s hawk eyes are on a trail to register the anomalies prevalent in Bihar. Lashing out at the chief minister of the state, he said that both Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh under the leadership of Vasundhara Raje and Shivraj Singh Chauhan respectively have succeeded in fending off their BIMARU status.
“Bihar has hit the road on its way to economic recovery and among the BIMARU states comprising Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh, it has attained the top position in terms of growth rate with an annual GSDP OF 9.3 percent in the year 2013,” said ASSOCHAM Secretary General D S Rawat.
Taking a step ahead, Economist Jean Dreaze conceded to the improving circumstances in Bihar. He dilated his stand stating that Bihar has considerably cut leakages from the PDS (Public Distribution System) which came down from 90 per cent during 2000’s to less than 75 percent in 2011-2012.
“A combination of political will, empowerment on the ground and institutional reforms like issuing coupons to the beneficiaries which made embezzlement difficult for ration sellers have all helped”, said Reetika Khera, assistant professor of economics at IIT Delhi (an excerpt from the Mint).
Khera’s take on Nitish Kumar’s dedication and his relentless efforts on curbing the malpractices prevalent in the state confirms the veracity of the JD(U) leader’s potential as the harbinger of development.
Mr. Prime Minister seemed overly concerned over Bihar’s depreciating status but did he ever wonder why poor Nitish Kumar has been harping on a special status to be rendered to the state?
“Considering the fact that 53.3 per cent of Bihar population’s is below the poverty line, further, the state’s manufacturing growth being a meagre 0.4 percent as compared to higher numbers for Himachal Pradesh, Assam, Jammu and Kashmir, owing to the lack of private investments in the state, it becomes all the more important for the same to bear a special status”, reported the Economic Times report.
A special status would render an enhanced flow of funds into the state along with other brownie points such as freight equalization and increased availability of resources.
With Modi’s ostentatious promises reverberating the rally in Gaya, one might have overlooked the fact that it was NDA led central government which had denied a special status to the state like the former governments.
JDU means Janata Ka Daman and Utpeedan and RJD means Rozana Jungle Raj ka Darr 
Though, at the very first look, the acronyms might seem quite attractive and bewitching but the suppression and the jungle Raj which Modi is talking of might turn out to be an effective card in solving the electoral riddle. With the amount of support that RJD might garner from its Yadav counterparts and the acumen and deftness wielded by Nitish Kumar, the political union might end up bringing forth favourable changes in the state.
“No party wins elections only on development and Lalu’s track record in governance can be compensated if there is an authentic alliance which helps Nitish with Lalu’s large social base,” said Shaibal Gupta, renowned economist and member secretary of the Asian Development Research Institute based in Patna.
Gupta’s take on the political jointure gives an inkling of a balanced concoction wherein majority support with a chunk of prudent developmental policies might end up fetching Bihar the favourable status it has been looking for.
“He who fights with monsters might take care lest he thereby becomes a monster. And if you gaze for long into an abyss, the abyss gazes also into you”- Friedrich Nietzsche
Politics is quite similar to what Friedrich had to say on people fighting monsters. In an attempt at obliterating bad, we often get enchanted by the bad. Similarly, politicians in their efforts at fixing things rights end up taking to vicious practices.
The tussle between the political adversaries will inevitably encapsulate ceaseless episodes of mud slinging, with media houses nibbling on the jargons used by them in the electoral rallies yet to take place. However, the onus lies on the mango man.
Will the citizenry of Bihar filter out the truth or get stuck in the political Jumla (rhetoric) that lies ahead?

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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.