Wednesday October 18, 2017
Home India Modi is still...

Modi is still the best bet for India

The petty level of Indian politics means some time regional satraps may seem to be good alternatives at the national level. However, national leaders with international perspective are needed for India in this era of globalization. - NewsGram

2
162
Narendra Modi ranks no 9 Most Powerful People

Even if Narendra Modi hasn’t lived up to the expectations which he aroused two years ago, he is still the best person for turning India into a modern and economically advanced country, argues Amulya Ganguli.

 The claim about modernity may seem odd considering that the medievalists of the saffron brotherhood constitute an influential section of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) and their affiliates like the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) – not to mention the abusive “Internet Hindus”.

Moreover, the hope that Modi will restrain them hasn’t been fulfilled. There are still elements who call for beheading those who do not chant a slogan which is used by the saffronites to check a person’s patriotism.

800px-Woman_harvesting_wheat,_Raisen_district,_Madhya_Pradesh,_India_ggia_version

Besides, the Sangh Parivar’s familiar aversion to beef is still in place, although the unavoidable modernistic trends have compelled some of the BJP-run state governments like Goa to allow the consumption of the forbidden meat.

If, notwithstanding these negative points, Modi is ahead of other leaders in the popularity stakes, as seen in an Economic Times-TNSA survey, the reason is his outlook, which is in sync with the 21st century.

Fortunately for the BJP, this evidence of belonging to the present times cannot be found in some of the others.

Consider, for instance, the credentials of Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, who wants to lead an anti-BJP combine at the national level to replicate the success of the ‘mahagathbandhan’ (grand alliance) in his state.

Yet, the retrogressive nature of his ideas shows that he cannot look beyond the familiar obsession of the Hindi-belt politicians with caste. Not only does he want his caste brethren to find employment in the private sector through quotas, thereby reducing this sole successful segment of the economy to another version of the loss-making public sector, Nitish Kumar is also in favour of expanding the ambit of reservations beyond the 50 percent limit set by the Supreme Court.

Inextricably related to this desire to boost the quota system is the Janata Dal-United chief’s conviction that catering for the backward castes on the plea of social justice is a surefire way to enable his party to win elections and for him to gain popularity.

He is not bothered about job creation via industrial expansion, but wants only to enable the backward castes, the main support base of the mahagathbandhan, to secure government employment via the reservation system which looks at birth and not educational certificates.

If Nitish Kumar’s ideas are implemented, India can say farewell to economic or educational progress. While the quota-based entries into official service will squeeze out the meritorious, the educational system will see a preponderance of those for whom caste is the route to a degree and not a devotion to studies.

If Nitish Kumar had endorsed the elimination of the wealthy “creamy layer” from the beneficiaries of quotas, it would have at least shown that he is not wholly focussed on electoral success and has some interest in taking everyone along, including the upper castes, in the task of ensuring the country’s progress. But he apparently thinks that such a demonstration of reasonableness will be detrimental to his position as a backward caste leader because it will make him vulnerable to the machinations of Lau Prasad and other votaries of caste-based affirmative action.

There is not a word, therefore, from him on industries, infrastructure, educational advancement, health facilities and so on. It is only about caste.

This is where Modi is different. Though he belongs to a backward caste himself – he is a ghanchi or teli – Modi almost never talks in terms of caste.

Nor of Hindus like others in the Hindutva brigade who want to give the community a status above all others in the country. Indeed, Modi has distanced himself from the saffronites to such an extent that he is the only one among them to have described Islam as a religion of peace, a concept which is anathema to the Sangh parivar.

There is little doubt that Modi has shown greater interest than any other politician in recent years in India’s industrial development. Hence his emphasis on projects like Make in India and entrepreneurial endeavours like Start Up India, Stand Up India, Skill India, Digital India and so on.

His predecessor, Manmohan Singh, also favoured market-oriented economic reforms and succeeded in effecting the fastest ever reduction in overall poverty between 2005-06 and 2011-12, according to the Modi government’s chief economic adviser, Arvind Subramanian.

But Manmohan Singh was stopped in his tracks by Congress president Sonia Gandhi, who feared that the “accidental” prime minister’s economic success will make him a hero and put her son Rahul Gandhi in the shade.

Modi has picked up from where the gentle sardar had left off and, ironically, facing resistance from none other than Sonia Gandhi, who has threatened to stall the goods and services tax, one of the key components of the economic reforms.

But the middle class, one of Modi’s major bases of support, is aware that only he can make the growth rate cross eight per cent, as Subramanian expects, and ensure a significant erosion in the levels of poverty. (IANS)

(Amulya Ganguli is a political analyst. The views expressed are personal. He can be reached at amulyaganguli@gmail.com)

2 COMMENTS

  1. Sitting in a coffee shop and uttering words on how politicians should work is quite easy but what he is doing is remarkable. For people who think that they have discernment: think what you are doing for your country, judge yourself and then come up with a verdict

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Next Story

Modi pens foreword for Hema Malini’s biography

0
18
Hema Malini

New Delhi, Oct 13 : Prime Minister Narendra Modi has penned a “short, crisp and sweet” foreword for “Beyond The Dreamgirl”, an authorised biography of actress and BJP MP Hema Malini.

The book, by former editor of Stardust and producer Ram Kamal Mukherjee, will be launched on October 16, when the “evergreen beauty” turns 69. Its launch also marks the celebration of Hema Malini’s glorious run of 50 years in Indian showbiz.

“Our PM has written very briefly in the book about his feelings for Hemaji. It’s short, crisp and sweet, not rubble and bubble. It’s an honour for me as an author and for Hemaji also that it is perhaps the first time that an active Prime Minister has written a foreword for a book on a Bollywood actor,” Mukherjee told IANS over the phone from Mumbai.

Having started her film career in 1968 with Raj Kapoor-starrer “Sapno Ka Saudagar”, she regaled movie buffs with roles in films like “Seeta Aur Geeta”, “Sholay”, “Dream Girl” and “Satte Pe Satta”. An accomplished classical dancer, Hema Malini earned the epithet of ‘Dreamgirl’ for her flawless beauty, and became a pioneering female superstar in an otherwise male-oriented film industry.

In 1999, Hema Malini campaigned for the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) candidate in the Lok Sabha elections in Gurdaspur, Punjab. She is now a BJP MP from Mathura constituency.

“I guess it’s all because of Hemaji’s credentials and contribution to art and cinema that Mr Modi agreed to pen the foreword. When I was interacting with his office, they were very happy that Hemaji did not just limit her talk in the book to Bollywood,” said Mukherjee, who had in 2005 released a coffee table book called “Hema Malini Diva Unveiled”.

“Beyond The Dreamgirl”, published by HarperCollins India, will give readers an in-depth look into her life.

“It is divided into 23 chapters, covering her childhood, teens, Bollywood, rise as an actor, romance, colleagues, marriage, her second innings, launching Shah Rukh Khan in ‘Dil Aashna Hai’ — which she directed — her ballet, her political journey and spiritual journey. There are two chapters dedicated to her daughters Esha and Ahana.

“She has also spoken about her Agra accident and her singing career. We have summed it all up with a chapter called ‘Bliss’. This book will also have Hemaji’s family tree, which has not been published earlier, and there will be a lot of exclusive unseen photographs from her personal, professional and political spheres,” Mukherjee said.

The ageless talent has shared an insight into her life with Dharmendra as well as spoken on political figures like Modi, Atal Bihari Vajpayee, L.K. Advani and Sushma Swaraj.

How did Mukherjee get Modi to pen the foreword?

“It was not something thought of when I started writing the book two years ago. I started my research and wanted somebody else to do the foreword,” he said, without naming the film industry person whom he had approached.

“It was almost like a miracle to have Mr Modi write for us. When I discussed it with Hemaji, her first expression was, ‘I hope you know what you’re saying. I know you’re under pressure, but I think you’re losing your mind’.

“When I said there’s no harm in trying, she said, ‘You try and do whatever you want to do’. Then it was a process.”

The writer feels it’s the actress’ constant effort in promoting Indian classical music and dance through her ballets on Hindu mythological characters like Durga and Meera, which Modi appreciates.

“I think Mr Modi liked her inclination towards classical dance and music and how she promotes it at international platforms. I think this is a USP of Hema Maliniji, apart from she being Hema Malini. And I guess that’s also what justifies the title of the book.”(IANS)

Next Story

India Demands Data on UN Staff Misconduct, Use of Immunity

0
4
United nations
India has demanded the secretariat disclose information about misconduct by UN staff. Flickr

United Nations, Oct 7: In an attempt to break the wall of silence around the crimes and UN staff misconduct and those on its assignments, India has demanded the secretariat disclose information about such cases and the immunity invoked against prosecutions.

Yedla Umasankar, the legal advisor in India’s UN Mission, touched a raw nerve here by criticising the UN on Friday for not vigorously following up allegations of serious wrongdoing by its employees who enjoy the equivalent of diplomatic immunity, a prized possession of its staff.

“It appears that the UN system itself may be reluctant to waive immunity even for serious misconduct carried out by its personnel while serving on its missions, so that such cases can be prosecuted by the host governments,” he told the General Assembly’s committee on legal affairs.

“Even a few of such instances or allegations of crimes committed by UN personnel is highly damaging for the image and credibility of the United Nations system and its work around the world,” he added.

His statement also touched on the practice of some countries that protect their wrongdoers at the UN.

Umasankar demanded that secretariat disclose how many cases of serious misconduct by UN personnel were registered and the number of cases where the UN refused to waive immunity to allow their prosecution.

He also wanted to know in how many cases the host country wanted the immunity waived so it can prosecute those accused; the number of times the UN asked the host country or the country that sent them to prosecute them; how many times it consulted countries before waiver of the immunity of their personnel and how many of them refused UN’s request to waive their citizens’ immunity.

The information he wanted does not cover the diplomats sent by member countries to represent them at UN bodies and enjoy diplomatic immunity with the nations hosting the UN facilities.

After scores of serious allegations of sexual misconduct by peacekeepers, especially exploitation of children, the UN vowed to uphold a policy of zero tolerance and began publishing data on such cases in peacekeeping operations including how they were dealt with.

Starting with the year 2015, it began identifying the nationalities of those accused.

However, it has not made public a roster detailing all the allegations and proven cases of serious misconduct across the entire UN.

While the focus has been on sexual exploitation and abuse reported on peacekeeping operations, Umasankar said that “at a broader level, the issue of accountability has remained elusive in some cases”.

He attributed it to “the complexities of legal aspects relating to sovereignty and jurisdiction”, the immunity or privileges that may be necessary for UN operations, and the capability or willingness of countries to investigate and prosecute the accused.

He noted that the UN itself cannot make criminal prosecutions.

While Indian laws has provisions for dealing with crimes committed abroad by its citizens, not all countries have them, he said.

Those countries should be encouraged and helped to implement such measures, he added. (IANS)

Next Story

Indo-Pak Peace Talks Futile Unless Islamabad Sheds Links with Terrorism, says Study

A Study by a U.S. think tank calls India and Pakistan talks futile, until Pakistan changes its approach.

0
52
India and Pakistan
India and Pakistan. Wikimedia.

A Top United States of America (U.S.) think tank, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace called the relations between India and Pakistan futile, unless Islamabad changes its approach and sheds its links with Jihadi terrorism.

A report “Are India and Pakistan Peace Talks Worth a Damn”, authored by Ashley J Tellis stated that such a move supported by foreign countries would be counterproductive and misguided.

The report suggests that International community’s call for the India and Pakistan talks don’t recognize that the tension between the two countries is not actually due to the sharp differences between them, but due to the long rooted ideological, territorial and power-political hatred. The report states that these antagonisms are fueled by Pakistani army’s desire to subvert India’s powerful global position.

Tellis writes that Pakistan’s hatred is driven by its aim to be considered and treated equal to India, despite the vast differences in their achievements and capabilities.

Also ReadMilitant Groups in Pakistan Emerge as Political Parties : Can Violent Extremism and Politics Co-exist? 

New Delhi, however, has kept their stance clear and mentioned that India and Pakistan talks cannot be conducted, until, the latter stops supporting terrorism, and the people conducting destructive activities in India.

The report further suggests that Pakistan sees India as a genuine threat and continuously uses Jihadi terrorism as a source to weaken India. The report extends its support to India’s position and asks other international powers, including the U.S., to extend their support to New Delhi.

Earlier in September, Union External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj in the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) slammed Pakistan for its continuous terror activities. She attacked the country by saying that India has produced engineers, doctors, and scholars; Pakistan has produced terrorists.

Sushma Swaraj further said that when India is being recognised in the world for its IT and achievements in the space, Pakistan is producing Terrorist Organisations like Lashkar-e-Taiba. She said that Pakistan is the world’s greatest exporter of havoc, death and inhumanity.

-by Megha Acharya  of NewsGram. Megha can be reached at @ImMeghaacharya.