Friday, March 17, 2017

True Patriots

A True Story received from another source.


"My Dad was posted to a small Air Force unit at a place called Barnala in Punjab in the late seventies. I have grown up with Sikhs all my life. While there may be numerous  Santa Banta jokes, Indians have always been proud of their Sikhs. These martial people ensure that at least one child in their family joins the Armed Forces. For centuries they were ostracised and faced religious persecution. Wearing a turban was for them, a matter of pride and honour and they would rather have their heads cut off than be forced to take it off as an insult. 
 
The Punjab has been a battle ground for thousands of years because that was the easiest way to enter India for the many invaders India has seen. During numerous wars, Punjab's farmers have seen armies roll by and seen fighter aircraft engaged in dog fights in the sky. For them war was a regular occurrence, something to get used to.

This is a story from the late seventies, as narrated to me by my father who was himself an Air Force officer. His unit at Barnala, (small town in western India in Punjab) had received news about an air crash. An Air Force aircraft had been hit by lightening and disintegrated mid air. The next day my Dad was put in charge of a recovery party to go and bring back the dead and salvage what they could from the aircraft to ascertain cause of the crash.

When the convoy reached the tiny village, my father found that the village had organised itself well in time, since they knew that the military would come calling to claim it's dead. All work in the fields was stopped and the entire village resources were placed at the disposal of the visitors. All the village bullock carts were lined up and the village women had prepared food for everyone.

The aircraft and it's occupants had been scattered over a large area and body parts were strewn helter skelter over a huge area. The recovery was very difficult, since trucks could not enter the soft soil of the fields. Bullock carts fanned out and the recovery began in earnest. It was late afternoon when the last of the body parts were brought in and the task of putting together the gory jigsaw was completed. No one had the stomach to eat any of the food prepared by the village women.

The bodies were laid out in a row in the village square and that is when my father realised that in their hurry to reach the village, they had completely forgotten to bring shrouds for the dead. Without hesitation, in true Sikh tradition, all the men took off their turbans, saying,"it is a matter of pride for us to do this, since it will be used as kafan (shroud) for our fallen soldiers".

That was the day, poor farmers in the Punjab proved what being a true patriot and human means. THIS IS A TRUE STORY"

Thursday, March 16, 2017

For All Those Demanding 'Azaadi'

We the people of India gave ourselves the Constitution. The original version and the amended version of the preamble are both placed below.


The Original and the Amended Preamble to the Indian Constitution


This Constitution gives us the liberty to express our thoughts, or the Right to free speech.

When you demand 'azaadi' (independence) from India, you are in effect saying that you do not believe in the Constitution of India.

Who then is giving you the right to free speech?

How can you speak what you want in a country, from which you want independence?

Who is going to guarantee your rights?

There is thus a need for such people to rethink about how to use their rights.

The Constitution is your greatest protection; do not play with it.

Friday, March 10, 2017

Need of the Hour - A Strong National Opposition Party

Disclaimer: I am a great fan of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. 

Why?

I admire him for what he tirelessly & intuitively does for the nation and for the people of India. I admire him for his ability to awaken the feeling of 'being proud of who we are' amongst most ordinary Indians, from all walks of life. I admire him for his plain speak, without dishing out uncalled for 'freebies'. I admire him for his ability to connect with ordinary Indians and carry them along, despite hardships - how else would an exercise like demonetisation have gone through trouble free, despite all political parties and media houses protesting against it and trying to build public opinion against it. I admire him for taking all the criticism & barbs thrown at him as PM without letting up on his work.

I don't see any other person on our political landscape who has the capability and the will to lead India out of the mess that we are in. The reason for this is not far to seek. Narendra Modi, a chaiwallah, started from a very humble background, worked his way up the political ladder, and more importantly has not forgotten his roots, like most politicians (and most of us too) do when they get a foothold on the political ladder. What is the mess we are in? 

We have one of the fastest growing economies but we have the poorest people too who do not have access to basic needs of survival - clean potable water, adequate food to survive, basic shelter, rudimentary health care; in short the basic means to live a decent life as humans. Leaders and Prime Ministers over the years have brushed aside these facts and have been content with mere slogans like 'garibi hatao' while filling up their own already full coffers, without ensuring implementation of the major part of those slogans. They permitted money to be siphoned off from schemes and encouraging corruption. Corruption came to such a pass that the Prime Minister and his cabinet, in UPA-2, instead of hanging their head in shame, kept justifying the same in terms of coalition politics, as also negating the charges and misleading the nation. Our national scene could not have been more dismal.  

A leader comes on our national centre stage who does not feel ashamed to galvanise the nation on these basics. He starts his term with bowing his head at the portals of the temple of democracy, our parliament. He lives by the tenets of our Constitution. He has no charges of corruption against him. He works tirelessly. He has ignited the imagination of the people of India and also of people living all around the world, on to the possibilities that India holds. He is a workaholic who works tirelessly to take India to its rightful place in the comity of nations, while ridding our nation of the various ills, the major ones being lack of self confidence, corruption, and putting the equations right - he calls himself the pradhan sevak, and demands the same of his government. Jawahar Lal Nehru had coined the phrase 'public servants' but in due course all government functionaries turned into rulers with the citizens treating them like mai baaps. The symbols of the state started serving themselves while ignoring the needs of the citizens that they were required to serve.

PM Modi is working hard to change this equation and make his government function 'for the people', the actual raison d'etre of democracy, phrased centuries ago in the words 'by the people, of the people and for the people'. We have followed the first two meticulously over the years, except during a short duration of emergency, but the third one has somehow been forgotten over the years. Our rulers demand protection from the same people they are required to serve and protect. What an irony?

I found this video in which actor Anupam Kher gives out the reasons for his being a Modi fan or chamcha (spoon) as he puts it. My views are nearly similar.

video


I am also aware that PM Modi is human too and must be having a lot of shortcomings, like all of us. However, his actions as PM are totally above board. The BJP is like any other political party and would resort to the same things without a strong leader like Modi. It is thus important that we have a strong opposition in the country. The Congress has not done anything to listen to the voice of the people of the country who have rejected them time and again. This speaks of very poor or self centred leadership. 

The UP election results are awaited but all exit polls are pointing to a rout of the Congress. Except for Punjab, the results in the other four are also expected on similar lines. Punjab may be a face saver for the Congress because of Capt Amrinder Singh. There is a crying need for the Congress to revive under new leadership, but the Congress thus far has not believed in introspecting about why the people are rejecting it; they are too busy plotting, and trying to find holes in whatever the government does, whether it is demonetisation, the strikes across the border, the ISIS, etc. 

High time the Congress re-invented itself under new leadership, to provide a viable opposition to the juggernaut of the BJP. This way they would  be doing the greatest service to this nation. I had blogged about this earlier too, immediately after the Maharashtra civic poll results were announced at the following address:

A strong national opposition party is needed in India 

The most relevant point has been as follows: "11 March 2017 will be a watershed day for India. In case the BJP makes further progress in the five states and the Congress trips even more, it would time for the Congress to immediately call for a change of leadership at every level; preferably changing over to a leadership that is connected with the grassroots level. Suave, urban, Delhi based 'leaders born with a silver spoon' who are totally out of touch with India will have to be sidelined. This would be in the best interests of the country. India deserves a better opposition." 

Thursday, March 9, 2017

A Brilliant Article by a Thinking Mind - Dawn Newspaper

I have always felt that every thing in our universe is interconnected, maybe because my belief system has always emphasised 'Vasudaiva Kutumbukum' (a Sanskrit phrase found in Hindu texts such as the Maha Upanishad, which means "the world is one family". Anything that I do to hurt you will eventually come back to hurt me too; such is the nature of our interconnectedness. 

Also, it is my belief that human beings are the most intelligent species. However, we humans may do irrational acts for sometime to spite some one else, but in the end when the 'chickens come home to roost' we will perforce have to come together to find solutions to problems that are actually common, but may have seemed to be disparate. 

There is nothing more precious than the God-given gift of life; my belief system has nothing to do with this gift; my belief system is based purely on my family at birth, in nearly all cases. 

Terrorism today is trying to snuff out that precious gift, based on a mistaken or misshaped narrative that has not kept pace with time and place. Also, there is no such thing as 'good' and 'bad' terrorists, as some have opined and that too professionally. There is a need to change/ reform these mistaken/ misinterpreted narratives.

It is also true that change/ reform cannot be imposed from outside, but has to happen from within - be it a country, religion, or a person. The external stimuli can only provide the trigger and spur the change/ reform, if one is perceptive, and positive. Anjum Altaf's article in the Dawn is one such internal voice of reason that I do hope will resonate with the people of Pakistan. I can only hope that such voices grow in numbers, and in strength, such that the large, and loud, chorus can help transform his nation.

This brilliant article is very logical and is trying to hold a mirror to his nation, and to its institutions and people. I reproduce the same below, in full.


Locating the Enemy

by
Anjum altaf





I SPEAK as a layperson not as an expert on the subject and so may be missing a lot but I have a strong feeling something is very wrong with the way terrorism is being combated in the country. If I am mistaken, and I fervently wish I am, I would really appreciate someone explaining what might be going on.
Ever since the recent spate of suicide bombings a feverish campaign has been launched against terrorists and if reports are to be believed over a 100 were eliminated in just a couple of days.
What puzzles me is how the terrorists who have been eliminated were identified and located so quickly. Did we always know where they were but were letting them be for some reason? If we were letting them be was it because we did not have enough evidence they were involved in terrorism? If that is indeed the case, how could we just go ahead and eliminate them without conclusive evidence? And, if we did have the evidence and knew where they were, why did we not arrest them and establish their involvement in some sort of a normal civilised manner?

It is quite hard to believe that our enemies convinced us to create these monsters.


These questions, as I have said, are very confusing and I cannot help but think that we are not being told the truth. Either that or our rulers have attained such a unique state of incompetence that they too do not know what they are doing. Both alternatives are frightening and frankly unacceptable. Once again we are faced with what we might call our enduring condition, the Bin Laden phenomenon — did we know or didn’t we? Neither answer does us any honour.
It seems to me that the frenzy of maniacal activity is just intended to convey an impression of steely determination and purposeful action in order to placate the public and buy time. Who knows how many innocent people are being sacrificed to keep up this charade. In the meanwhile, we are subjected to inane statements that the opening of the new Islamabad airport would promote the soft image of Pakistan and holding a cricket match would convince the world that the country is safe from terrorism and bring superstars flocking back to the country.
I fail to understand how spending hundreds of thousands of dollars to bribe a handful of foreigners to play a game in a nuclear bunker can be convincing proof that the country is back to normal. Or how announcing that a permanent force of 15,000 military personnel needs to be deployed to protect a trade corridor would reassure investors that the country is safe for business. This is self-delusion carried to absurdity.
And what should one make of the resolve that terrorists would now be pursued into other countries? How would one respond if some other country takes that as a licence to pursue terrorists into our country? This is jumping from the frying pan into the fire, potentially pushing the entire region towards a conflagration. Is there someone thinking before shooting off at the mouth?
Add to that the spate of accusations that our enemies are exacerbating our problems because they do not wish us to succeed or even to hold a cricket match.
Much as one would like to swallow this line it is really hard to believe that it was our enemies who convinced us to create these monsters in the first place.
Or that it is our enemies who are forcing us to discriminate between good terrorists and bad, between real terrorists and mere sectarian killers, and between terrorists and philanthropists who rush to help the poor and needy in times of floods and earthquakes when the state fails to do what it is supposed to do.
Is it all that difficult to comprehend that people can be philanthropists and terrorists at the same time if an ideology can be made to seem ‘compatible’ with both activities?
It is hard to understand why we can’t approach these matters with the normal process of state-to-state collaboration to eliminate terrorism from the region which would be a win-win outcome for all.
Or maybe it would not. Otherwise why do we seem to be in this game of ranking terrorists along some scale of goodness or usefulness? If that is indeed the case, could someone have the courtesy of taking the nation into confidence, explaining how some terrorists are better than others and what we are aiming to do with the good ones?
And while we are being made wise to that could we also be told if we are succeeding or not and how far we are from the grand objective we have set for ourselves, whatever it is?
A failure to provide convincing answers can only lead to one conclusion: We have met the enemy and he is us.
The writer is an economist.
Published in Dawn, March 7th, 2017

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Arvind Kejriwal - The Anarchist.

Yesterday, I was watching news on the Sahara Samay National channel. The news broadcast had the usual advertisement breaks in between. Nothing out of the normal thus far. What was different was that during the ad breaks during this entire news bulletin there were only two advertisement clips, which were repeated ad nauseam. Both had only one actor - the CM of Delhi, Arvind Kejriwal. What he tried to convey to the people at large was shocking to me.

He was trying to highlight his achievements - AAP is Kejriwal, and Kejriwal is AAP. He stated that he had promised 'free water, and half electricity bills and that he had fulfilled his promise. He also went on to give you a breakup of what that electricity would have cost, if you lived in another state. He also bragged about providing free water.

In the second clip he spoke about Mohalla clinics - air conditioned with free medicines for all. The Delhi government hospitals have been upgraded, and again free medicines. Government schools being brought up and that teachers are being sent abroad with an aim to providing quality education to all in government schools. A very noble thought indeed.

In essence, his justifications were only the 'free' that he had provided the people of Delhi.

I have been thinking on this issue of 'free'. How can some one give any thing free in this age, in India at least. Every system costs money in terms of capital costs involved in setting up the infrastructure for the system; the normal wear and tear, and consequent replacement costs; employees to run the system, and their salaries; day to day running expenses, including office and other space; transportation costs, etc. How can some one setup, run and maintain all this without charging at least the actual cost to the consumer. Instead of educating the consumer, it is politically expedient to provide free stuff but how long can this continue. Every system needs to be maintained and replaced someday. Where will the money come from then. I thought a person who has worked with the IRS would at least understand all this. However, his advertisements have convinced me that he is hood winking himself and the people of Delhi. How can rational people be so gullible, as voters? There are indications, from the punter community, that he is likely to form a government in Punjab.

Taking the case of water. In case one is permitted to go to the Yamuna and tap the water directly for himself, then no costs are involved. However simplistically speaking, if you collect the water in a reservoir through pipes and pumps, treat it, and then supply it through pipelines laid on the ground and finally dispose off an equal amount of the same, now as waste water after duly treating it, THEN surely large capital and running costs are involved. Who is paying for those costs? Where are you subsidising these costs from? Some revenue has to be generated to offset these costs. How are you going to generate that revenue or you once again going to agitate that the Central government is not covering your irrational expenses, without caring to balance the books of your own state.

Courtesy: Google Images

I cannot forget his image of climbing up on a electricity pole and fiddling with the electric wires. Those images have now all been acquired by Gettys Images and are not downloadable. This one is on a similar pattern - a person aspiring to lead is asking and showing people how to sabotage systems. Beyond me!

He is an anarchist, and he himself confesses to it. Is he fit enough to lead as an unconventional person and an anarchist?

I would love to hear the views of the people of Delhi.

Worth Repeating - An Insightful Quote, from September 2008

M J Akbar in the Times of India, September 2008

 "Terror is testing the resilience of the Indian government and the sagacity of the Indian people. The first is in shambles, but the second is holding up. The will of the people has become the safety net protecting the Indian state from the wont (a slightly archaic English word for normal behaviour) of Manmohan Singh and Shivraj Patil". 

Very well said Mr Akbar.

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Terrorism in Present Times - A View

In 1979, USA sought Pakistan's help in ousting the Soviet Union defence forces from Afghanistan, which had been occupied by the Soviet forces during that year, on a so called invitation from the local Afghan government. Specifically Pakistan was to train mujahideens to undertake an armed struggle against the Soviets and the local Afghan government. Pakistan was more than willing to undertake this training task in order to receive aid/ help from the USA. This task required the use of the Pakistani state instruments. These were thus used to train the mujahideens (plural for mujahids, meaning 'the one engaged in jihad'), who were to be eventually used to fight against the Soviet forces. 

These trained mujahideens were thereafter deployed in Afghanistan; they were highly decentralised, much like the Afghan society, and fought against the Soviet forces and the forces of the Democratic Republic of Afghanistan for a period of 10 years (1979 - 1989). During this period, mujahideen forces caused serious casualties to the Soviet forces, and made the war very costly for the Soviet Union, literally forcing them to withdraw its forces from Afghanistan in 1989. Chaos followed the withdrawal of the Soviet Union in which the mujahideen captured a number of cities and districts. There was infighting amongst the various groups and warlords, and chaos reigned. After several years of devastating fighting, a village mullah, Mullah Omar, organized a new armed movement with the backing of Pakistan. This movement became known as the Taliban (meaning students in Pashto), referring to how most Taliban had grown up in refugee camps in Pakistan during the 1980s. These Taliban were taught in the Saudi-backed Wahabi madrassas, religious schools known for teaching an orthodox interpretation of Islam.

The success of the mujahideen against the Soviet forces, as also the experience gained by the Pakistani establishment in training such elements, first as the Mujahideen and then the Taliban forces, led them to seriously consider terrorist activity as a viable instrument of state policy. This thought process has been responsible for the jihadist ideology to have spread throughout Pakistan, and is thus the direct result of policies adopted by the country’s military leadership, as also the political leadership. 

Pakistan subsequently has supported and tolerated a number of terrorist groups and has also come up with a philosophy of 'good' and 'bad' Taliban. 'Good' are those groups that further Pakistan's foreign policy goals and do not threaten the Pakistani state or wage war within Pakistan's borders. These groups include the Afghan Taliban, the Haqqani Network, the Mullah Nazir Group, Lashkar-e-Taiba, Harakat-ul-Mujahideen, and Jaish-e-Mohammed. These groups conduct numerous heinous acts of terrorism in the region, and are directly responsible for acts of terrorism and killings, but are supported by the Pakistani state.

However, a terrorist is a terrorist; he does not conform to the definition of good and bad. He excels in spreading terror because that is all he thrives on. Over the past few years Pakistan has been directly affected by these terror activities, as the chickens have come home to roost. The people of Pakistan are now trying to find answers on how to stop these deadly acts across their own soil. It is a good sign that some sane voices have started to publicly speak against their own state policies. Hopefully these voices will grow in numbers and volumes to make the establishment rethink on their policies, as only people from within the religion/ country can speak to make a difference. No one from outside the religion/ country can do this much needed task.

A sane voice has given out the need for a counter narrative to the narrative being taught in the madrassas, as also the wrong policies being framed/ accepted by the establishment. I do hope more sane voices are heard in the near future to help us rid the world of this scourge that hurts humans and humanity, irrespective of personal beliefs.


video

Javed Ahmad Ghamidi has in this video stated that the teachings being imparted in the madrassas are directly responsible for the state of affairs. He has listed four of such teachings that are directly responsible for terrorist activities, by people who follow his faith. These four are as follows: -
  • Anyone who performs Kufr (denial of truth, the basic articles of faith within Islam), Shirk (Acts of worship to anything besides Allah), and Irtidad or apostasy (Rejection of one's faith in Islam) are punishable by death, and every one has the right to execute the death sentence.
  • Non Muslims have been born to serve and have no right to rule. Every non Muslim rule is Najayaj (unlawful) and therefore when the Muslims gain enough strength they have the right to topple the same.
  • Many different Muslim governments are not envisaged and thus correct. There has to be only one Muslim Khilafat (Caliphate).
  • Modern nation states are Kufr (Denial of truth, as per Islam)
Any one who has been exposed to such teachings since child hood would react the same way as the present generation of terrorists like the ISIS and others are doing.

The way out as per him, is that the civil society of Pakistan, and other Muslim nations, have to form a counter narrative to the one that is being taught in these madrassas, one that teaches the true import of Islam. Also, he feels that the civil society needs to pressurise their states and governments to follow education policies that give the basic right of 12 years of broad based education to every child, before the children are made to specialise in any field, be it medicine, engineering, religious teachings or any other field. He opines that a 5 to 7 years old child should not be admitted directly to madrassas for becoming a religious scholar. As per him, friday prayers have become political tools in the hands of the rulers. In case this is not reversed mosques will become hotbeds of political activity rather than remain as the place of worship to Allah.


Tuesday, February 28, 2017

What is the date today?

India, 1989 - Going abroad was a dream, and going to the USA was considered as the biggest of them all. Even though the US dollar was relatively cheap at Rs 17 to a dollar, one did not have enough rupees to buy a few hundred dollars needed for the trip. And even these few hundred were tightly controlled by the RBI, and duly stamped on your passport.

I was to undergo staff course at Maxwell Air Force Base, in Montgomery, Alabama. Government regulations only paid for my ticket and stay for the 10 months that I was to be there; rules did not permit payment out of public funds for the ticket and stay of families abroad, if the duration was less than a year. Considering this to be a 'once in a life time' chance for my family to travel abroad, we decided to fund the ticket and stay there funded by our personal savings. My tickets for 10 June 1989, from Delhi to Washington, were booked by the Air Force. I booked the tickets for my wife and two children on the same flight through a travel agent. We thus travelled together up to Washington DC. I was to report at the Indian embassy on 12th  June and thereafter proceed to Montgomery, Alabama. We had thus planned that my wife and kids would visit relatives in Pittsburgh and Houston until I settled down in Montgomery, found a suitable furnished accommodation, bought used furniture, and a car, before they would join me at Montgomery.

My class schedule started as soon as I reached the base. However, the evenings were free and so I could go around looking for a flat. Transportation was an issue in this new place; I had got maps of the town and had marked out places where decent and reasonable 2-bedroom flats were available. My brother in the meanwhile, bought a used car for me, but it had to be picked up Pittsburgh. I did that on the first free weekend; Greyhound journey to Pittsburgh, half an hour driving lesson with my brother on how to drive on the ‘wrong’ side and I was ready to drive back the next day. With a car at my disposal, it became easier to cover more area and I managed to find a decent accommodation in no time. Furniture and TV was bought from an Egyptian officer who was leaving, after completing the previous course. The home was now ready, waiting for the family.

In this process of moving in to a new country with one suitcase, getting used to driving on the 'wrong' side of the road, travelling to pick up the car, going to work and attending classes every day, looking for a decent yet reasonably priced flat in the evenings, and buying all else needed to setup home in a foreign land, I had lost track of the dates. 

When everything was finally ready I called my wife, who was now in Houston, to give her the good news. It was morning. She was excited. We spoke for a bit and then I called off, as I had to head off for classes. We would normally speak once in a day to update each other on the day's happenings. I was thus a little surprised when I got a call from her in the evening. I asked her why she had called, as we had already spoken in the morning. I informed her that I was in the process of organising her move from Houston to Montgomery on Sunday, 25th June. She appeared a little off beat, and I wondered why, but could not guess. with so much on my mind. She asked me the date, and I blurted out 22nd  June. I hung up thereafter. After a few minutes, I again get a call from her. This time I was totally puzzled. My hello was answered by a very hurt voice from the other side. What day is it today? Thursday, I responded. I could guess from her silence that there was more to it than just the day and date. I knew that something was wrong, and then it dawned on me - today was our wedding anniversary. "Happy Anniversary", I said, but the damage had been done, and I wasn't even there to stop the flow of tears of hurt. 'How could you', she felt, and 'How could I', I felt. She has not forgiven me till date, for this monumental blunder on my part. I have not forgotten our anniversary ever after this.

Monday, February 27, 2017

Farooq Abdullah's Security Cover


video


After listening to the views of this ex-CM of J&K, and a former Union Minister in the Government of India, it is evident that he agrees and sympathises with the young people from his state who are demanding freedom. I do not understand this man. When in power, he enjoys the perks of the Indian Constitution. When out of power, he supports, and speaks, the language of the people who wish to attain freedom from India, and has also stated that "we are with you" to the Hurriyat people.

I strongly feel that his stand in this video is shameful. As a first, the Government of India should withdraw his Z security cover. Let him then roam around freely in J&K mixing with the youth whom he supports. I am certain he would be the first one to go away to UK, like he generally does when the situation in his state becomes too volatile.

India does not need turncoats like him to be protected, at tax payers expense, from the very people they support.

Friday, February 24, 2017

Maharashtra Civic Poll Results

News article from the -------------Times of India, 24 Feb 2017


"The results are a major boost to the BJP, which swept eight out of 10 corporations in the state that went to the polls, and a serious setback for the Sena in its bastion, Mumbai, where it was born in 1966. Though it held on to its Marathi votebank, it failed to come within striking distance of the majority mark of 114 in a house of 227 and was matched in tantalizing fashion, as the day of counting progressed.


But with the two parties falling 28 and 30 seats short of 227, all eyes are now on the possible permutations and combinations that could help one of them win the mayoral election, unless they now choose to bury the hatchet and join hands.


Elsehwere, the BJP was the single largest party in Ulhasnagar, Nashik, Pune, Pimpri-Chinchwad, Solapur, Akola, Amravati and Nagpur.


The BJP had conducted a vociferous campaign against rampant corruption and alleged lack of transparency in the Sena-dominated BMC and harvested the anti-incumbency vote despite having been a junior partner in the ruling alliance in the corporation.


For the 25 zilla parishads, BJP won 397 of the 1,509 seats for which polls were held. It was followed by the NCP with 336, Congress with 293 and Shiv Sena with 259. MNS got one and others 147. Results of 76 seats were still awaited.


For the 2,990 panchayat samiti seats, BJP won the most seats, 803, while the NCP got 630, Congress 555 and Sena 538. MNS pocketed just two and Others won 281 seats. Results in 181 seats were awaited at the time of going to press."
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

As the civic poll results in Maharashtra are being streamed, it is evident that of the two large national parties, BJP has made substantial gains, and the Congress is slowly but steadily being wiped out from the landscape of the country.

BJP with its agenda of development, governance and 'no corruption' is appealing to the people of India at large. People were absolutely at their wit's end after witnessing very large scale corruption during the UPA-2 regime. The BJP's track record in the last 2.5 years has been generally corruption free.

Congress has not served with distinction as the largest opposition party in the parliament. It has served more as a hindrance to the smooth functioning of the parliament rather than as a responsible opposition working towards nation building. It has opposed every move by the government on very flimsy grounds, which the people of India watch with dismay, thanks to live proceedings being broadcast on TV. This can only happen due to very poor leadership. 

It is very sad to see the demise of a political party with a rich heritage and a deep legacy wasting itself, due to lack of good leadership. Not only is it sad but it is also not a very good thing for our democracy; a strong opposition is the cornerstone of effective functioning of the parliament. Decline of the Congress is thus not healthy for our country.

The Congress has relied very heavily on the Nehru-Gandhi name, and legacy, for far too long, without effectively performing, so as to meet the aspirations of an India that has broken free from the shackles of licence raaj and a mai-baap government. The Congress leadership had not been able to contain corruption, or provide effective governance in UPA-2. The role of the PM as leader of the government left much to be desired. His personal integrity is above board, but as a leader he failed, and he failed miserably. 

As an opposition, and that too after a bad very bad rejection by the people of India, they are performing abysmally. There does not seem to be a plan to introspect, as the party is not willing to call a spade a spade. There is a crying need for a change of leadership within the party. The party cannot survive on a legacy that has long been eroded by their collective misdeeds. The Congress has to remind themselves that democracies are 'of the people, by the people, and for the people', The people of India are giving them verdict after verdict, but somehow instead of introspecting, the party is going on the offensive, sometimes on issues that border on the 'anti national' too. The people of the country are wise; the leaders have to listen.

11 March 2017 will be a watershed day for India. In case the BJP makes further progress in the five states and the Congress trips even more, it would time for the Congress to immediately call for a change of leadership at every level; preferably changing over to a leadership that is connected with the grassroots level. Suave, urban, Delhi based 'leaders born with a silver spoon' who are totally out of touch with India will have to be sidelined. This would be in the best interests of the country. India deserves a better opposition. 

A revitalised Congress can be that better opposition with a leadership that is connected with the people of India.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Life Changing Thoughts

I picked up these quotes from another source and put them here, as I liked them, and wanted to create a ripple, as Mother Teresa says in the first quote, so that these positive thoughts can reach some more people in our world. You never know who needs inspiration!

1. "I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the water to create many ripples." -Mother Teresa
2. "I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel." -Maya Angelou
3. "Whether you think you can or you think you can't, you're right." -Henry Ford
4. "Perfection is not attainable, but if we chase perfection we can catch excellence." -Vince Lombardi
5. "Life is 10 percent what happens to me and 90 percent of how I react to it." -Charles Swindoll
6. "If you look at what you have in life, you'll always have more. If you look at what you don't have in life, you'll never have enough." -Oprah Winfrey
7. "Remember no one can make you feel inferior without your consent." -Eleanor Roosevelt
8. "I can't change the direction of the wind, but I can adjust my sails to always reach my destination." -Jimmy Dean
9. "Nothing is impossible, the word itself says 'I'm possible'!" -Audrey Hepburn
10. "To handle yourself, use your head; to handle others, use your heart." -Eleanor Roosevelt
11. "Too many of us are not living our dreams because we are living our fears." -Les Brown
12. "Do or do not. There is no try." -Yoda
13. "Whatever the mind of man can conceive and believe, it can achieve." -Napoleon Hill
14. "Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do, so throw off the bowlines, sail away from safe harbor, catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover." -Mark Twain
15. "I've missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I've lost almost 300 games. Twenty-six times I've been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I've failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed." -Michael Jordan
16. "Strive not to be a success, but rather to be of value." -Albert Einstein
17. "I am not a product of my circumstances. I am a product of my decisions." -Stephen Covey
18. "When everything seems to be going against you, remember that the airplane takes off against the wind, not with it." -Henry Ford
19. "The most common way people give up their power is by thinking they don't have any." -Alice Walker
20. "The most difficult thing is the decision to act, the rest is merely tenacity." -Amelia Earhart
21. "It is during our darkest moments that we must focus to see the light." -Aristotle Onassis
22. "Don't judge each day by the harvest you reap but by the seeds that you plant." -Robert Louis Stevenson
23. "The question isn't who is going to let me; it's who is going to stop me." -Ayn Rand
24. "If you hear a voice within you say, 'You cannot paint,' then by all means paint and that voice will be silenced. -Vincent Van Gogh
25. "Build your own dreams, or someone else will hire you to build theirs." -Farrah Gray
26. "Remember that not getting what you want is sometimes a wonderful stroke of luck." -Dalai Lama
27. "A person who never made a mistake never tried anything new." -Albert Einstein
28. "What's money? A man is a success if he gets up in the morning and goes to bed at night and in between does what he wants to do." -Bob Dylan
29. "I have been impressed with the urgency of doing. Knowing is not enough; we must apply. Being willing is not enough; we must do." -Leonardo da Vinci
30. "When one door of happiness closes, another opens, but often we look so long at the closed door that we do not see the one that has been opened for us." -Helen Keller
31. "When I was 5 years old, my mother always told me that happiness was the key to life. When I went to school, they asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I wrote down 'happy.' They told me I didn't understand the assignment, and I told them they didn't understand life." -John Lennon
32. "The only person you are destined to become is the person you decide to be." -Ralph Waldo Emerson
33. "Everything you've ever wanted is on the other side of fear." -George Addair
34. "We can easily forgive a child who is afraid of the dark; the real tragedy of life is when men are afraid of the light." -Plato
35. "Nothing will work unless you do." -Maya Angelou
36. "Believe you can and you're halfway there." -Theodore Roosevelt
37. "What we achieve inwardly will change outer reality." -Plutarch
38. "Control your own destiny or someone else will." - Jack Welch