When the left exposed its hypocrisy by attacking PM Modi’s tweet on Shivaji Jayanti

Monday 19th February marked the 369th Birth Anniversary of Hindu emperor Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, and as a result, tribute poured in from various sections of the Indian political sphere, which included Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The PM decided to give a personal touch to his wishes by tweeting out a 1.35-minute video:

The video contained pictures and small clips of PM Modi paying to tribute to the legendary king, along with an accompanying audio containing rapturous chants of “Jai Bhawani Jai Shivaji” and a voice over of the Prime Minister’s speeches about Shivaji.

The gesture was enthusiastically welcomed by Twitter users as signified by more than 8,271 retweets and 35,690 favourites garnered by the tweet. It though incidentally also managed to generate criticism among a section of what some might say a predominantly leftist twitter base:

As uncovered by minute analysis by the aforementioned twitter users, one of the embedded pictures in PM Modi’s video supposedly showed him sharing the stage with Sambhaji Bhide:

Modi sharing the stage with Sambhaji Bhide 

Sambhaji Bhide, who is the founder of Shiv Pratishthan Hindustan, has incidentally been named as an accused in the Bhima-Koregaon violence which broke out, in the backdrop of celebrations to mark a British victory over Peshwas. As reported, Bhide was accused of desecrating a Dalit icon’s samadhi along with BJP leader Milind Ekbote.

This became the focal point of the attack against the PM, about how could he share a picture of his sharing a stage with Bhide when the latter is accused of insulting Dalit icons. But things aren’t as simple as they look.

Even though accusations were levelled against Bhide, a few days later it was reported that the police had failed to find any evidence against him, regardless of which media housed decided to “indict” him.

Come February, the police had managed to collect sufficient proof against Ekbote to supposedly warrant his arrest, but were nowhere close to nailing Bhide as the police couldn’t find anything linking him to the violence. Subsequently, an arrest warrant was issued against Ekbote but nothing was mentioned regarding any evidence against Bhide or his status as an accused.

Consequently, based on the above facts, no evidence seems to have been uncovered against Bhide till date, which might turn this episode into becoming a classic case of the left’s hypocrisy.

The leftist establishment as seen in the past has been very “kind and considerate” towards those accused of crimes including serious ones like sexual offences. This “kindness” is also seen in the form of being silent when one of their own like Tarun Tejpal is accused of sexual assaults.

The left ecosystem is further seen showering its benevolence on sexual offenders by outright mainstreaming them, via various measures like lit-fest invitations. Things are so degenerate that it’s an open secret how sexual predators camouflage and waltz around as ‘liberals’.

So why does the same ecosystem not have enough consideration for someone like Bhide who has neither been arrested nor has any clinching evidence been uncovered against him? Why did no one from the left try to shield him when he and the Prime Minister were attacked via the latter’s tweet.

Is it merely because of the saffron identity that he isn’t afforded the same standards which are set for the members of the cosy club? And does the left not realise that it is glaringly exposing its hypocrisy by choosing to make someone look more innocent or guilty based its convenience.

Controversy over Imran Khan’s third wedding not being in accordance with Islamic rules

Rumours are that Khan married Bushra when she was observing her iddat period.

Imran Khan, a Pakistani politician and former Pakistani cricketer, who recently got married for the third time, to faith healer Bushra Maneka, has found himself in middle of controversy. As reported by Geo TV, the wedding took place in the first week of January and not on 18th February as reported in media.

The report, which was originally published on 6th January, broke the news of Khan’s third marriage, which Khan dismissed as Sharif family’s vendetta against him.

He did ask his supporters and well wishers to pray that he finds his personal happiness which, except for a few years, he has been deprived of.

In little over a month of the above denial, Khan solemnised his marriage with Bushra, a mother of five and former wife of a government servant. According to the Geo TV report, Bushra’s friend has claimed that the wedding couldn’t have taken place in January since Bushra’s iddat period (the period of waiting for a woman must observe after death of her spouse or divorce, during which she may not marry another man), which is 90 days in Pakistan, got over on 14th February.

Geo TV claims that while the iddat period got over on 14th February, Khan had proposed to Bushra back in January, i.e. when she was still observing the iddat period, which is not allowed as per Islam. However, as per some Islamic school of thoughts, the proposal during iddat period is prohibited only when the woman is a widow, not a divorcee.

Jang/Geo TV group has been at loggerheads with Imran Khan of PTI for some time now. In January this year, the group sent a legal notice to Khan demanding he issues an unconditional public apology and pay Rs. 1 billion in ‘token’ damages for making allegedly defamatory statements against Jang/Geo Group, its CEO and Editor in Chief since last four years.

No, other states aren’t ‘funding’ loan waivers for Uttar Pradesh farmers as claimed by Rahul Gandhi’s Data Analytics Chief

At a time when the Prime Minister is working towards uniting the various castes, creeds and communities it is indeed tragic to see tensions being spread by wily politicians with the held of fabrications, lies and deceit. It is also my observation that the so-called left liberals, who constantly accuse the BJP and RSS of fanning caste and regional tensions, are the first to mention a particular persons origin or region to divide us Indians, especially when it suits their narrative.

One such old article written by Praveen Chakravarty in June 2017 caught my attention. Coincidentally this same person is now heading the “big data analytics” division for the Congress party as informed by Mr Rahul Gandhi himself.

In this “data backed” study, to summarize, the author claims that Uttar Pradesh shall be funding loan waivers through the grants it receives from the devolution to states from the Central Government and thus it is the people from four major states (Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra and Gujarat) who are contributing maximum to central tax revenue shall be funding this loan waiver.

Without commenting on the economics of loan waivers, I wish to state how wrong this particular claim is. This is far from the truth. For this one needs to look at the budget documents provided for by the Uttar Pradesh Government. Which can be accessed here.

Total size of the loan waiver: Approx 36,000 Crores

The total revenue of the state of Uttar Pradesh on its own is Rs. 3,19,397.43 crores as can be seen from the Budget Summary in point 1.

 

The total surplus after deducting all expenses according to the Budget summary (point 13) is Rs. 12,278.80 crores

 

 

The reduction in Power Sector Allocation according to the Budget Document (Page 36) is Rs. 17,728 crores.

The total funding for waivers has been achieved by :

1. Reduction in allocation to power sector from 34,602 Cr to 17,728 cr and

2. By attempting to achieve higher revenues from earlier budgeted ones. Earlier estimates had targeted revenue of 2.69 Lac cr which now was estimated to be 3.19 Lac crores.

From the above its clear that Uttar Pradesh Government is funding its own loan waiver and it is not being funded by some farmers from Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu or Gujarat.

The fact that the explanation is so simple, the data so easily available and the analysis to elementary brings us to a larger question. Why are people cherry-picking data and peddling unfounded analysis? Why are people creating such issues? I leave it to readers to understand and question such things. We shall achieve bigger things when central government and the states work together to bring a new India for Indians. Today we need reasons to be one and not reasons which divide us. New India can and should be built on collective efforts of every state and its constituents.

But perhaps the greatest irony of it all, is that the man who seemingly failed at interpreting such basic data, has been employed by Rahul Gandhi as the chief of “big data analytics”. I believe we can only wish Rahul Gandhi the best and chuckle in private.

Woman alleges assault by Congress’ Mohammed Nalapad Haris and his supporters, indicts silence of Media and Police

The recent news of a violent assault by the Congress MLA’s son Mohammed Nalapad Haris on a youth in a pub has made national headlines. However, a case of alleged assault by the same individual and his supporters on a woman named Poornima had been totally ignored by NGOs, police and media. The lady claims that she had tried to file a complaint against Mohammed Haris and his supporters, but did not get help from any quarters. The woman had also alleged that she had received death threats from Haris’ supporters for trying to file a complaint. The video was posted on the page ‘Mangalore Hindus’ yesterday.

The summary of the contents of the video is below :

The woman in her video said that she accepts the hue and cry over the incident involving Mohammed Nalapad Haris. She also says that the awareness in media and opposition parties in an election year is also quite visible. But the woman expressed regret that nobody in politics or media had tried to secure justice for her when she had been allegedly assaulted by Mohammed Nalapad Haris and his supporters in an NGO conference. She claimed that Haris and his supporters tried to assault her and smashed her phone. She said that all media-persons at the event were mute observers.

Poornima went on to say that the Cubbon Park police denied registering the case when she approached them for justice. The police had claimed that the location of the harassment, Canopy hotel did not come under their jurisdiction. They asked her to file a complaint with nearby Halasuru police station. When she approached Halasuru police station, the police allegedly told her to go back to Cubbon Park police station. In this way, she was made to tour police stations hopelessly. She also said that her complaint had been torn and thrown into the dustbin in her presence after the police got a call from the MLA. She asked in the video, whether the police had lost their morality.

The journalist went on to criticise Hindu organisations like Sri Rama Sena and Bajrang Dal who also refused to support her cause. When she approached them, these organisations asked her to assemble 500 or 1000 people and said that they would join later. She questioned as to why these NGOs existed in the first place if she had to assemble all the people. She also criticised these NGOs for protesting against Haris after the recent sensational incident. Poornima asked their organisations to dissolve if they can’t help a woman.

When she did not get justice, Poornima approached media to highlight her case. But none of them agreed to report the incident. “Had the media been fixed by Haris?”, she questioned. She also alleged that Haris’ supporters had threatened her to slaughter her on the roads for trying to file a complaint.

Towards the end of her video, she said that time is the best teacher, and everyone who has done mistakes would eventually face the wrath of fate. She also requested all politicians to be humble and serve the people rather than display the power of their position.

If the contents of this video are to be believed, it shows how people, police, politicians and NGOs are apathetic to support an individual trying to secure justice when assaulted by influential persons with political backing. One has to wait and watch if the so-called media and police take note of these allegations and deliver justice to an assaulted woman.

Editor’s note: A previous version of this article erroneously identified Ms Poornima as a journalist. It has come to light that she was associated with an NGO called Jaya Karnatak. The article has been updated to that effect. 

Ornaments worth Rs 30 lakh stolen from historic Shiv Temple in Haryana

The historic Mahadev Shiv temple situated in the Saketri village of Haryana’s Panchkula, was broken into during the wee hours of Monday, which resulted in the theft of ornaments worth Rs 30 lakh.

This loss was uncovered at about 4 AM on Monday when the priests while coming to the temple for prayers, noticed the doors of six inner temples open. Of these six temples, two were of Lord Shiva and one of Goddess Durga, Lord Ram, Lord Hanuman and Lord Krishna each.

As per a temple priest, he came to the premises at about 4:45 AM and while opening the gates of the Shiv temple, noticed the locks lying on the floor. Subsequently, five other temples were noticed to have been broken into and just one was left untouched by the thieves.

Soon the members of the Shiv Mandir Navdurga Charitable Trust, which runs the temple was called by the priests which assessed the damage. The President of the trust Kesho Ram Gupta, noted that gold and silver ornaments like 16 crowns, armlets, diadems, necklaces, nose rings, two silver kalashas, snakes and 16 silver umbrellas were stolen. Besides this, the thieves also stole a silver flute of Lord Krishna and made away with cash worth Rs 8,000. The total monetary loss, as a result, was pegged at Rs 30 lakh.

It was speculated that such a theft could happen during Shivratri and as a result, guards were deployed at all the gates and 32 CCTV cameras were installed. Surprisingly when the incident happened all the guards were sleeping. The CCTV footage though recorded six thieves breaking into the temple between 2:30 – 3:00 AM on Monday.

As per ACP Anshu Singla, an FIR has been registered in this matter and investigations which includes a collection of fingerprints by a forensic team, are underway. As per the police, the thieves might have entered the temple via a hillock adjoining the temple. They also suspect the involvement of an insider.

This episode has predictably shattered the priests and devotees who have expressed extreme sadness over the news of this theft. The President of the trust has in the light of the matter assured action against the guards and has claimed that they would in the future hire professional security persons.

Such plundering from ancient Hindu temples is unfortunately not new. In December it was reported that priceless Ashtadhatu idols of Lord Ram, Goddess Sita and Laxman were stolen from the ancient Ramjanki temple situated in Amkheda village of Uttar Pradesh’s Jalaun district.

Even though such a targeting of Hindu temples seems to be becoming a regular affair, it remains to be seen whether a section of the media deems this as a case of rising intolerance in the country. Just like back in 2015, news reports had emerged which quoted Indian Catholics as blaming rising intolerance for alleged cases of “arson, burglary, vandalism and stone-throwing” and were linked by the media to the Modi government’s rise to power.

Truth about Nirav Modi’s loan turned down by SBI for visiting in lunch hour

State Bank of India

On 20th February, Economic Times ran a story that Nirav Modi, prime accused in the multi-crorePunjab National Bank fraud, had first approached State Bank of India, but couldn’t get a loan as they were having a lunch break.

This story, which was published with the byline of the author, Shashank Tiwari, says how Modi had approached SBI in footsteps of ‘his mentor Vijay Mallya’. But he couldn’t get the loan as the employee was going for lunch. There has been a running joke that SBI employees take extended lunch breaks and hence whenever you visit an SBI branch for any work, getting a ‘lunch break’ as an excuse for not doing work immediately is accepted. Of course, it is a joke and we are no way implying incompetence or laziness of SBI employees. However, the news above is not really news, but a satire, form another website of Times Network, a satire page called ‘mocktale’.

The satire piece was mistakenly taken as real news and re-published by Economic Times without fact-checking. After alert Twitter users pointed out, Economic Times deleted the tweet, but not before screenshots were taken.

This is not the first time satire has been mistaken for real news. Earlier, we had written on mainstream media and the lost art of satire. It talked about how satire by columnist and scientist Anand Ranganathan has been picked up by mainstream media as real news more than once.

Perhaps the blame to media houses mistaking satire for real news should go to Rahul Roushan who founded Faking News, one of India’s first satire websites. One of the fake news titled “Unable to attract even a single girl, frustrated man sues Axe” was taken as seriously by mainstream media houses.

Now, if only mainstream media houses have tried to check facts before sensationalising, or even had a sense of humour, we wouldn’t have to spell out sarcasm to them.

Rahul Gandhi must answer why his Data Analytics Chief is sneering at poor farmers and creating discord

On Feb 5, 2018, Congress President Rahul Gandhi took to Twitter to announce the appointment of one Praveen Chakravarty as the head of the party’s Data Analytics Unit.

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Anybody who is even vaguely familiar with Congress culture will understand what a huge deal it is to be welcomed with a publicized handshake from Rahul Gandhi himself. Suffice to say Praveen Chakravarty will play a key role in shaping the Congress party’s strategies and policies going forward.

However, it seems that Mr Praveen Chakravarty has, in the past, made some highly controversial observations regarding economic policies that are intended to directly benefit the poorest of our citizens. Sample this piece, which we wrote for Bloomberg.

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This was written in June 2017, shortly after loan waivers were announced to farmers in the state of Uttar Pradesh. The divisiveness is apparent from the headline, which is a shameful attempt to pit the poor of various states against each other. More shockingly, he writes thus:

1.5 crore farmers of the state of Uttar Pradesh (UP) were granted a waiver of their agriculture loans, totalling Rs 36,000 crore or $5 billion by the UP government. The farmers of UP did not need to indulge in creative protests for these loan waivers. They were just rewarded for voting the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) into power in their recent state elections. The TN farmers are still protesting, to no avail.

See the mocking tone in the words: “The farmers of UP did not need to indulge in creative protests for these loan waivers”. 

Seems like Rahul Gandhi’s Data Analytics chief demands that suffering farmers should have set up some kind of amusing spectacle for the ruling class so that they could “earn” their loan waiver. What kind of heartlessness is this?

The heartlessness is followed in the next line by his obvious irritation : “They were just rewarded for voting the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) into power in their recent state elections.”

And he concludes his paragraph by pitting the hardship of one group of farmers against those of another: “The TN farmers are still protesting, to no avail.

If there was ever a display of arrogance, privilege of wealth, condescension towards the poor and the policy of divide and rule all rolled into one, this is it.

It should be remembered that Rahul Gandhi himself, during his campaign in the UP election, had promised loan waiver to farmers along with making several other promises. In fact, he did an entire yatra on this issue from Deoria to Delhi. He even called it the Kisan Yatra.

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So, did the thinking in the Congress Party regarding loan waivers suddenly change simply because the people of Uttar Pradesh chose to rebuff Rahul Gandhi’s advances?

Considering that Praveen Chakravarty is now a key man in the party, the Congress and Rahul Gandhi should clarify what their stance is on loan waivers for Uttar Pradesh farmers? Are they for or against it? Do they think that UP’s farmers deserved a helping hand from the state or not?

Or are they waiting for UP’s farmers to hold a protest that is “creative” enough to amuse the people in the top echelons of the Congress party and melt their hearts?

The rest of Praveen Chakravarty’s article is packed with sentences intended to rub the noses of people of India’s poorest states into the ground. Such as this:

The average Bihari gets back a whopping Rs 420 for every Rs 100 that he or she gives while the Maharashtrian only gets back Rs 15. … Out of every Rs 100 that the average resident of Maharashtra, Gujarat, Tamil Nadu, and Karnataka contribute to the Centre in taxes, three-quarters (Rs 75) of it goes to help the other states and the Centre. On the other hand, for every Rs 100 that the average resident of Bihar, UP, Orissa and Madhya Pradesh contribute, they get back roughly Rs 200. ”

Now that Mr. Chakravarty is head of the Congress’ Data Analytics unit, I think we deserve to know what he feels the numbers should be. What does the Congress think? By how much should the benefits for states such as Bihar, UP, Odisha and Madhya Pradesh be cut?

Mr. Chakravarty ends with a fairly clear advocacy for cutting benefits to the poor in these states:

It may be tempting to interpret the economic disparity among India’s states as a case for more redistribution from the richer to the poorer states. But given India’s unique political and social diversity, it will likely be counter-productive with adverse consequences. ”

Decisive words:

Counter productive with adverse consequences

Their views on farm loan waivers in Uttar Pradesh and welfare programs for the poor of states such as Bihar, Odisha and Madhya Pradesh.

We don’t expect a sympathetic attitude from the Congress Party towards the poor. No other party has benefited so much from the poverty and backwardness of India. But I think we deserve a clarification from Rahul Gandhiji. Does he find welfare programs for the poor to be “counter productive with adverse consequences?” Yes or no.

Justin Trudeau to meet Capt Amarinder on 21st : Course correction after cold shoulder by Modi government?

Canadian Liberal Party leader Justin Trudeau arrives at a victory rally in Ottawa on October 20, 2015. Canada is "back" on the world stage, newly-elected prime minister Justin Trudeau said Tuesday after a landslide victory that ended nearly a decade of conservative rule. "I want to say to this country's friends all around the world, many of you have worried that Canada has lost its compassionate and constructive voice in the world over the past 10 years," Trudeau told a rally. "On behalf of 35 million Canadians, we're back" AFP PHOTO/NICHOLAS KAMM (Photo credit should read NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images)

The Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is scheduled to meet Punjab CM Captain Amarinder Singh during his visit to Amritsar on Wednesday. Earlier, the Canadian PM had refused to meet the Punjab CM owing to Captain’s strong stand against the Khalistanis.

According to reports, the Canadian High Commission was initially hesitant about the meeting the Punjab CM. But Trudeau, after landing in Delhi on Saturday, took a call to reach out for a meeting. The Ministry of External Affairs has sent out a fresh itinerary to the Punjab government on Monday regarding the Canadian PM’s visit to the state. The new itinerary also includes an interaction between the visiting PM and Punjab CM scheduled on Wednesday.

Captain Amarinder Singh has tweeted about the meeting:

The meeting is expected to take place at Taj Swarna Hotel in Amritsar at 12.40 pm when Justin Trudeau is scheduled to reach after visiting the Golden Temple and Partition Museum. It will last 20 minutes. According to a  report in The Indian Express, sources inside the Canadian government have said the agenda is open-ended and they expect the concerns and sensitivities from the Indian side to be conveyed appropriately. Trudeau is expected to meet PM Narendra Modi in Delhi on Friday for bilateral talks. During his visit to the Golden Temple, Trudeau will be honoured in a special programme by the Shiromani Gurudwara Prabandhak Committee (SGPC).

In the past Captain Amarinder Singh had refused to meet the Canadian Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan Singh accusing him of being a Khalistan sympathiser.

Earlier there were several reports in the media about the Canadian PM being given the cold shoulder and neither PM Modi nor UP CM Yogi Adityanath coming to receive Trudeau. Congress leaders were also criticised for failing to stand up for their elected CM.

Veteran journalist and political commentator Kanchan Gupta has reacted on Twitter regarding the news:

There are speculations that whether Trudeau, after receiving a ‘not so big’ welcome by the Indian Government, has corrected his course.

Decoding the India-France G2G Rafale deal- Why it is not a ‘Scam’

The failure of communications on the part of the Modi government aside, it is astonishing that opposition parties led by Congress President Rahul Gandhi and their vile media cronies are severely indulging in mudslinging the government for a contrived Rafale-‘scam’.

Unfounded allegations are being made regarding the procurement of 36 Rafale aircraft in fly-away condition from France. This would typically not have merited a response but for having the potential of severe damage to the national security by repeatedly perpetrating the misleading, irresponsible statements.

Let us examine the validity of each such claim by understanding the procedure and also breaking down the deal, claim by claim.

1. Doubting the Procedural Malfunctioning:

Since 2002, the procurement of all major equipment, weapon systems, and platforms has been governed by the Defense Procurement Procedure (DPP).

In 2013 DPP, the UPA government enacted Articles dealing with Inter-Governmental Agreements (IGA). The DPP does envisage situations where it allows procurement under IGAs from “friendly foreign countries which may be necessitated due to geo-strategic advantages that are likely to accrue to our country” and recognizes the fact that such procurements do not strictly follow the standard procurement procedure.

The procurement, based on these IGAs, do NOT require (Cabinet Committee on Security) CCS clearance, just the clearance of a Competent Financial Authority (CFA), the CCS in this case.

The claim is that no ministry or Cabinet body was consulted before Prime Minister Narendra Modi committed India to the Rafale purchase on 10th April 2015. The fact is that the CCS takes decisions concerning all such acquisitions on the recommendations of the Ministry of Defense (MoD).

The deal is in accordance with the DPP in all aspects including mandating, conducting and monitoring of negotiations and seeking all necessary approvals, including that of the CCS, before entering into the IGA.

2. Price-Specification Details:

The opposition’s next demand with the GOI is that the “India-Specific-Upgrades” to the fighter jets, be also made public. Now, this is not only unrealistic but utterly foolish. Either they are trying to fool the people or making a fool of themselves.

These details would also come under the ambit of the Article 10 of the bilateral India-France Security Agreement of 2008 signed by the UPA Government. Also, it is difficult to recall any such instance of the granular details of the price breakup ever being disclosed.

In keeping with confidentiality requirements, the UPA Government had also expressed its inability to divulge commercial aspects of defense deals, disclose the price of various defense procurements in its responses to Parliament Questions stating, “Divulging details in this regard on the floor of the house would not be in the interest of national security.”

Examples:

Why play cheap politics now?

3. Why no reconsideration of Eurofighter?

In another effort to twist facts, the Government is asked by Congress President, why it did not conduct negotiations with a Eurofighter representing a competing fighter aircraft. It seems to have been conveniently forgotten that the then UPA Government itself had rejected Eurofighter’s unsolicited offer made days after the closure of the bid process, and declared Rafale (DA) as the L1 bidder and had commenced negotiations with it in February 2012.

4. Why 36 and not 126?

What was the need to discard negotiations for 126 Rafale aircraft from DA, out of which 108 were to be made in India and to opt for the outright purchase of 36 aircraft from the same company?

The DA’s aircraft was selected after a long and unblemished process of evaluations and trials by IAF during 2009-10. The price negotiations for the acquisition of 126 aircraft started in 2012 that ran into a stalemate till 2014.

The squadron strength of the IAF kept depleting, with no immediate prospect of new acquisitions. We have hostile neighbors; hence we needed the aircraft and quick. Given this perspective, it was perhaps a pragmatic decision to call off the negotiations.

5. Exorbitant Price?

The comparisons between the per unit price at which the NDA Government has signed the contract in 2016 and the per unit price at which the UPA government was negotiating the deal for 126 aircraft, are not at all tenable. Another reason why it cannot be directly compared is that the deliverables in the two cases are entirely divergent.

The fact is that the approximate acquisition cost of the Rafale aircraft has already been provided to the Parliament. The total Rafale Deal Value is Euro 7.88 Bn (Approx Rs. 59,630 Crores), and here is the deal breakdown:

Unit Cost: Euro 91.7 Mn (Approx Rs. 688.30 Crores) Per Aircraft x 36 = Euro 3.30 Bn

Weapons including SCALP ALCM (Air Launched Cruise Missiles) and METEOR BVRAAM (Beyond Visual Range Air to Air Missiles)   – Approx Euro 710 Mn

Performance-Based Logistics Support – Approx Euro 350 Mn

India Specific Enhancement (ISE) – Approx Euro 1.7 Bn

Infrastructure (Creating world-class BASE level, maintenance operations, state of the art climate controlled hardened air shelters, maintenance support setups at both bases for both aircraft) – Approx Euro 1.8 Bn

These costs are one-off and will not be incurred for any future batches. It also includes AMC of simulators for ten years and training of IAF pilots and engineers.

The most significant drawback of the present Rafale deal is small ordering quantity; 36 against a total requirement of 189 units (126 + 63 units follow-on clause). It can be addressed by additional follow-on orders that, without any doubt, would benefit immensely from these new conditions.

The 2016 deal is for highly advanced versions of the Rafale (F3+), highly customized to operate in Indian conditions, compared to the original MMRCA was for the F2 version minus any Indian specific upgrades.

In the earlier proposal of the UPA Govt., which ended in a stalemate, there was no provision for transfer of technology but only to manufacture under license. Another point of departure from the original deal is that the NDA’s Rafale deal includes 50% offsets as opposed to earlier 30%.

Furthermore, the NDA Rafale deal includes a comprehensive Performance Based Logistics (PBL) agreement wherein DA is legally obligated to assure that 75% of the IAF’s Rafale fleet is available for operations at any given moment in time. For comparison, in 2015 the IAF’s SU-30MKI fighter fleet had an availability rate of less than 50%.

It is true that in the absence of a system of proactive disclosure of the defense deals have not helped matters and the procedural requirement is only to assess the reasonableness of the price quoted by the vendor.

However, to form a definitive opinion about whether or not the price, in this case, is reasonable, it is essential to see how it compares with prices offered to other buyers.

Qatar – The Rafale purchase price per unit including weapons, infrastructure, and training, but without country-specific enhancements. – Euro 262.5 Mn.

Eqypt – In a similar deal for purchase of 24 Rafale fighter jets Egypt had to shell out 5.2 Bn Euros. Unit Price – Euro 216.7 Mn.

Even if we include the one-off costs in case of India, the per unit cost comes to Euro 218.8 Mn. So, where is the price mismatch?

6. Why Reliance and not HAL?

So, does it finally boils down to the selection of Anil Ambani’s Reliance Defense (DRAL) as the Indian Offset Partner (IOP) by Dassault?

First, why not state-owned Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL)?

In 2011 the US Ambassador had flagged the acute disrepair in HAL including lying & pilferage. The potential for HAL to successfully partner with US firms on a truly advanced aircraft remains untested and suspect,” US Ambassador, Timothy Roemer. Dassault has also been concerned over HAL’s capabilities.

It’s not the NDA government that refused HAL rather DA was reluctant for not being convinced about manufacturing ability of HAL and therefore unwilling to take the liability of the jet made by HAL.

Despite that at least till 2015, the NDA government tried to get DA to accept liability for the HAL manufacturing.

Now let’s look at the claim of Modi government favoring the Ambanis.

We do not know if Dassault intends to discharge the entire obligation only through DRAL. The offset contract is between the MoD and the vendor DA, and the MoD has no role in the selection of the IOP by the vendor.

Under the contract, DA and its Tier-I/II companies have to discharge an offset obligation of nearly Rs 30,000 crore. They need able IOPs who can fulfill this mammoth obligation.

Considering that the vendor carries the full responsibility for discharging the offset obligation, it would be odd to believe that Dassault would choose an IOP who cannot deliver. It will expose DA to the risk of defaulting on its offset obligation that entails penalties and much more.

Conclusion:

Though, I have no doubts that the situation could have been handled better. The fact is Congress party, and its mouthpieces in media are raising questions based on prejudiced perceptions rather than the hard facts.

Price wise the NDA Rafale deal is not only unquestionably reasonable but far superior to the earlier UPA estimation. If one looks into the 2016 agreement in its entirety, it can be firmly reiterated that the deal secured by the Modi Government is better in terms of capability, price, equipment, delivery, maintenance, training, and everything than what was notionally negotiated by the UPA Government in a process it could not conclude in ten years.

Instead of admiration and applause for the attempts to modernize the armed forces, these nefarious campaigns based on unfounded allegations, crafted assumptions and labeling it a “scam,” especially in such delicate defense procurement, have both real and very damaging effect.

Sources:

Everything You Wanted To Know About The Rafale Deal But Didn’t Know Where To Ask

Ministry of Defence: 07 FEB 2018 5:28PM by PIB Delhi

Indian Air Force pitches for 36 more Rafale Jets, follow-on order will result in 40 percent savings – Defence News India

IAF pitches for 36 more Rafale fighters after it gets the first 36 from France – Times of India

Qatar, France Complete Dassault Rafale Fighter Jet Deal

All you need to know about Rs 59,000 crore Rafale deal between India and France

SO WHERE IS THE SCAM? The reality of the NDA’s (now) controversial 2016 Rafale deal

An Examination of the Rafale Case: The Old Non-Deal and the New Deal

(article first appeared in MyInd.net, by @shwetankbhushan)

Delhi Chief Secretary gets beaten up by AAP MLAs at CM’s residence, CMO denies allegations

AAP Chief Arvind Kejriwal

Delhi Chief Secretary Anshu Prakash has registered a complaint with the Delhi Lieutenant Governor (LG) that 2 MLAs of Aam Aadmi Party assaulted him at Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s residence last night. MLA Amanatullah Khan and MLA Saurabh Bhardwaj have been accused of assaulting the Chief Secretary.

As per reports, a meeting was scheduled at Chief Minister’s residence at midnight last night. When Prakash raised questions regarding AAP government’s excess spending on advertisements, Kejriwal’s aides got enraged and matters allegedly escalated to fistfights.

There are reports of not only Amanatullah Khan having kicked and slapped Prakash, but even Kejriwal himself assaulting Prakash. Arvind Kejriwal has also reportedly hurled filthy abuses towards Prakash.

Khan, however, is denying the assaults and, like every other thing that goes wrong in the national capital, blamed it on the BJP.

Another AAP MLA, Saurabh Bhardwaj, who is best known for a demonstration of EVM hacking with help of a toy EVM, is also accused of assaulting the Chief Secretary. Bhardwaj, in his defence, has blamed the Centre and accused the Chief Secretary of being ‘non-cooperative’.

Meanwhile, AAP has denied the allegations and counter-accused Prakash of abusing the MLAs who were present in the meeting.

In a brazen display of arrogance, Aam Aadmi Party’s official stand on this issue is not only denying this episode but also accusing Prakash of putting these allegations on behest of Centre and BJP.

Bhardwaj, one of the MLAs accused of assaulting Prakash, took digs at IAS Association which is holding meeting for the alleged abuse of power by his colleagues.

Note: This is a fast updating story and we shall update it as and when new information pours in.

Congress MLA’s aide tries to set a government office on fire, MLA makes excuses

The lawlessness in Karnataka after the takeover by Congress party in 2013 has been on the rise. Murders of BJP activists, communal clashes, a recent incident involving youth Congress leader Mohammed Nalapad Haris have been a testament to this fact.

Another shocking case of a Congress MLA’s aide named Narayananaswamy trying to set a government office on fire with a bottle of petrol has come to light. The video posted by local channels show Narayanaswamy splashing petrol from a bottle in the BBMP (Brihat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike) office at Horamavu (Bengaluru).

The reason for this rogue behaviour is the official’s refusal to comply with his demands. The official had reportedly refused to provide a fake ‘khata’ (land document) as per his demands. Narayanawamy is also the block president of KR Puram (Bengaluru). As per reports, the Congress MLA Byrati Basavaraj, who is Narayanaswamy’s boss, is a close associate of Chief Minister Siddaramaiah.

When the channel TV9 Kannada called up the MLA Byrati Basavaraj to ask for this response, he refused to take responsibility for his aide’s actions and claimed that he is a normal and respectable citizen. He said that his aide had acted as he did because of ‘deep grief’. When the channel asked if other citizens should also take a bottle of petrol to get their work done, he tried to dodge the question. He remarked that the anchor was talking too much and tried to shirk responsibility.

Will Siddaramiah bring the law and order situation in Karnataka under control and punish rogue elements within his party? We need to wait and watch.

Hardik Patel addresses a rally full of empty chairs in Bhopal

Hardik Patel, the leader of Patidar Andolan Anamat Samiti (PAAS) addressed his first public meeting in Bhopal yesterday. However, it turned out to be a flop show as most of the chairs remained empty throughout.

Hardik addressed a public gathering marking the 388th birth anniversary of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj in the BHEL Dusshehera Grounds. Several other community leaders such as Congress National Secretary Kamaleshwar Patel and MP state Women Commission Chairperson Lta Wankhade were also present. On Sunday State president Mahendra Patidar had made a claim that one lakh people belonging to the OBC community will take part in the public gathering. State Presidents of the OBC communities from Gujrat, Jharkhand, Telangana, Delhi, Tamil Nadu and Rajasthan had also participated in the meeting.

However, the public participation by the people of the community was not as the leaders had expected it to be. Empty chairs and vacant tents dominated the meeting.

Image credit : Dainik Bhaskar

Initially, chaos broke out at the stage as the people gathered there climbed on to the stage to greet the leaders despite repeated requests from the announcers to maintain discipline. Security personnel had to push people down.

Another disturbance followed when the community leaders, who also belong to political parties started praising their respective parties. Congress leader tried to highlight the works of Congress but he was stopped by the people who said.” this is a community meeting, please don’t make it into a political ground.”

Hardik Patel, on the other hand, said that the empty chairs are there because obstacles have been placed to stop the community people from coming to his meeting. He added that there are one crore people, from the Kunbi and Patidar community in Madhya Pradesh and the Shivraj Chouhan led BJP government has deliberately inducted a member from their community into the council of Ministers in anticipation of his visit.

He added that when he began his rallies in Gujrat, initially there were very few people there too. But now his meetings have seen numbers in lakhs. He said some people in the state will have a sound sleep at night after reading Hardik Patel’s rally was a flop show and he is delighted that he is the reason for sound sleep for some people. Patel further added that he is a revolutionary who gives sleepless nights to the tainted lot.

Hardik Patel asserted that he is not at all disheartened by the low public turnout and he will keep coming to Madhya Pradesh in the upcoming months. MP has state assembly elections due in November-December this year.

According to reports, the meeting was organised to raise socio-economic conditions of the community but the community leaders thronged the venue with their convoys of SUVs.

Earlier, Hardik had also visited Kolkata and promised Mamata Banerjee that he will campaign for her.

CPM worker arrested for murdering Youth Congress leader also a prime accused in RSS worker’s killing

A Youth Congress leader named M Shuhaib, was hacked to death in Kerala’s Kannur district on 13th February. The leader as a result of the attack suffered critical stab wounds and succumbed to his injuries.

The Kannur district, the hometown of current Kerala CM Pinarayi Vijayan, which has already become infamous for the murder of BJP workers and its youths joining ISIS, some might say seemed to have found a fresh prey in the form of Congress leaders.

The law and order establishment in this matter acted swiftly and apprehended two CPM workers named Rijin Raj and Akash Thillankery in connection with the murder. It was rumoured that the accused were hiding in an establishment belonging to the CPM and decided to surrender once the raids intensified. The raids included 300 policemen led by Kannur district police chief G Siva Vikram, searching CPM strongholds in Kannur.

Since the arrests, further details have started to tumble regarding those arrested which includes one of them being a prime accused in the murder of an RSS worker.

As reported, the accused Akash Thillankery was a member of the CPM’s cyber wing and used to actively promote the party on social media. What might further raise speculations about Akash’s closeness to the top CPM brass is that pictures have emerged of him along with current Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan:

Akash Thillankery with Pinarayi Vijayan Via Deccan Chronicle

Besides this supposed closeness with CPM leaders, Akash Thillankery is also alleged to be the prime accused in the murder of RSS worker P Vineesh, who was killed in 2016. As per local reports, besides Akash, Rijin Raj (the other person arrested) and their friend Sreejith are also an accused in RSS worker’s killing. Sreejith was arrested by the police on Saturday. 

Besides being an accused in the murders of RSS workers, Akash as per reports was also captured on video chanting provocative slogans against the RSS workers like, “The knife that hacked Vineesh to death has not been thrown into the Arabian Sea. It has not gathered rust. Now, who wants to hit us”, while participating in a local CPM rally.

Lalu’s son Tej Pratap vacated his official residence claiming Sushil Modi and Nitish have let ghosts loose

Tej Pratap sometimes likes to role-play as Lord Krishna

Tej Pratap Yadav, former Bihar minister and son of RJD (Rashtriya Janata Dal) chief Lalu Yadav, who dropped out of school after failing his 12th board exams, has vacated his official residence claiming that Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Kumar Modi have let ghosts loose in the house.

As former Health Minister of Bihar, (before the unprecedented drama which following break up of Mahagathbandhan), Tej Pratap was allotted 5 Deshratna Marg, a three-acre compound, as his official residence. However, in wake of finding the house haunted by ‘ghosts’ ‘released’ by Kumar and Modi, Tej Pratap has decided to vacate the house.

Tej Pratap’s whimsical behaviour is not unknown. Some days he likes to walk around with a flute, visiting temples, in a ‘Krishna-avatar’ because of his beliefs in the divine intervention.

Tej Pratap sometimes likes to role-play as Lord Krishna

While he was asked to vacate the house after the Mahagathbandhan broke last year in July, it took the trauma induced by ‘ghosts’ let loose by Kumar and Modi to get Tej Pratap to vacate the house.

Let it be known that this is not the first time Nitish Kumar is accused of letting loose ‘ghosts’ on the Yadavs. Back in 2007, when Lalu was asked to vacate his residence at 1, Annie Marg, a few palm trees shook when a plane flew really low. Lalu, who was supervising renovation work, believed Nitish Kumar, who had become the Chief Minister in 2005 defeating his wife Rabri Devi, had unleashed ghosts on him.

Well, since legal notices are ineffective in getting politicians to vacate their official residences after they are no longer entitled to them, ‘unleashing ghosts’ may not be that bad an idea.

People like Prakash Raj and Siddharamaiah have a lot to answer as the questions surrounding Mohammed Harris incident rise

Siddaramaiah’s repeated governance failures keep giving reminders to Karnataka citizens that all is not well in the state. Every time people give him the benefit of doubt, Siddaramaiah reinforces the belief that he and his government are completely incompetent in handling routine matters of governance. Especially in the recent past, he has reinforced the belief that Karnataka has become a state that has descended into the worse form of lawlessness and the state just couldn’t care less.

The recent incident of Congress MLA’s son Mohammed Harris Nalapad assaulting a commoner is a case in point. The issue was flashed in the media promptly and has created quite an uproar on social media.

Karnataka Home Minister on Sunday morning had given a deadline to Bengaluru police to arrest the guy by evening. Unsurprisingly, the police failed to do that. This is not because he went into a hiding in a jungle. Far from it. He was in a 5-star hotel in the heart of Bengaluru. And it is certainly not like no one knew about his whereabouts. Rajya Sabha MP from Karnataka Rajeev Chandrashekhar, in fact, tweeted about this. Moreover, he explicitly suggested the way to nab him:

That the police failed to arrest him is a minor lapse in the scheme of things. On Monday morning, the crook arrived at the police station like a royal and the police were waiting for him. Images of him coming with friends or bodyguards aired across all Kannada news channels. It seems like the entire event was perfectly staged.

By the time the crook came to the police station, there was a huge crowd gathered. This crowd comprised of people from all parties viz. Congress, BJP and JDS. One fails to understand why the Police didn’t find out the reason for the crowd to gather right in front of the station. Are they so incompetent? Or were they instructed to wait for the crook to surrender?

One must remember that “he surrendered” looks more politically positive headline in this election season than “he was pulled by his hair by the police”.

Now on to the mystery about why he was not arrested immediately. Rumours are afloat that the crook was given time to erase all evidence. Now, presumably, police will not be able to find the CCTV footage of hotel or hospital, where this crook assaulted the victim twice. There will soon be no incriminating evidence. Personnel in hotel and hospital would be bought – after all, he is a rich, spoilt, notorious son of an MLA. They will also more likely prove that Vidwath (the victim) as a BJP mole. They will step it further by making this a secular/communal issue. After all, what better way to reduce any issue than bringing this as an anti-Muslim rhetoric.

Congress on its part has remained completely silent. The Home Minister of the state is nowhere to be found to explain the failure to arrest the crook promptly. Siddaramaiah is busy taking credit for the new projects to be launched by the Central government. The crook’s father – the MLA – is going completely scotfree. Why was he not expelled from the party? Why is no one asking for an apology? Why is the media not hounding him?

On a related issue, on Sunday there were many tweets shared about Prakash Raj praising this crook only in January this year. He said for this crook: “This is how a boy should be raised. He is a model youth”. This was all when the guy had posted Instagram pics with guns. Now, one of the biggest grudges Prakash Raj has against Modi is that when Gouri Lankesh was killed, apparently some ppl who were followed by Modi were celebrating her death. So, the newbie politician wanted Modi to condemn and apologize for that. Now, if he expects Modi to apologize for people who he follows on Twitter, doesn’t it mean that Raj should apologize for saying that this guy is a model youth? To show he is indeed serious about reforming the society, shouldn’t he quit making political statements. Of course, BJP should hope he doesn’t quit politics. The thing about loudmouth actors is that sooner than later, they will talk nonsense and get caught out. By the looks of it, Prakash Raj has just begun.

Gujarat Municipal Elections: BJP wins 47 Nagar Palikas, thumping victory in Narendra Modi’s hometown

In a welcome news for the BJP, the party has won 27 out of 28 seats in the Prime Minister’s hometown, Vadnagar, where it lost the Assembly seat in the recent elections. The BJP had managed to win the Gujarat elections for the 6th consecutive time but the opposition had targeted Modi for his party losing the seat in his own hometown. 74 municipalities in 22 districts went to polls on the 17th of February along with 2 district panchayats and 1423 gram panchayats. Initially, 75 municipalities were supposed to go into polls but the BJP won Jafrabad unopposed. The BJP had won 59 out of the 74 Nagar Palikas in 2013.

The BJP retained Gathda and Dwarka municipalities and snatched Chalala and Dhrol municipalities from Congress. The Congress, in turn, managed to topple the BJP in Salaya municipality. The Congress party scored a thumping win in Rajula municipality in Amreli by winning 27 out of 28 seats where it had won the seat in the previous Assembly elections.

Overall, the BJP has won 47 Nagar Palikas, down from its tally of 59 last time, and the Congress managed to increase its tally to 16 while independents have won 4. After a blip in the Assembly Elections, the BJP seems to have recovered lost ground in the local body polls.

Non-bailable warrant issued against Choksi in 2016, Siddharamaiah government did not act

Karnataka Chief Minister

Times Now has revealed that the Karnataka High Court had issued a non-bailable warrant against Mehul Choksi in 2016 which the Karnataka government under Congress’ Siddharamaiah did not act upon.

Karnataka Congress has responded to the Times Now’s expose by tweeting in defence of their Chief Minister.

Times Now had reported on unaccounted transactions between Anita Singhvi, wife of Abhishek Manu Singhvi of Congress, and Nirav Modi worth crores. Karnataka Congress conveniently twists their report to portray the news channel of going after normal transactions between individuals.

Earlier, Nirmala Sitharaman had accused the wife of the Congress leader of leasing out property to Nirav Modi.

After Rahul Gandhi’s own party member accused him of attending Nirav Modi’s hotel event in 2013, the role of the Congress in the fraud is becoming more and more evident. Despite the attacks on the media by the party, they will still have to explain why the Siddaramaiah government did not arrest Mehul Choksi after a non-bailable warrant was issued against him by the Court.

While Modi takes a tough stand for Captain Amarinder, Congress wants to hug Trudeau

PM Modi takes a united stand against pro-Khalistan separatists even as Congress snubs him.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who has repeatedly broken protocols while receiving heads of foreign countries, did not go to receive him at the airport himself when Trudeau and his family arrived in Delhi for a seven-day trip. Instead, Gajendra Singh Shekhawat, Minister of State for Agriculture and Farmer Affairs received him at the airport and his meeting with PM Modi is scheduled to take place on 23rd February. Pointing it out, Canadian columnist put out a tweet mentioning how a ‘low ranking official’ was sent to receive PM Trudeau.

In her following tweets, she mentions how this could have been because of Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s silence over his stand on pro-Khalistan separatists.

As per Canadian media reports, Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder has taken a strong stand and refused to meet PM Trudeau, whose cabinet minister he has publicly accused of being connected to Sikh separatist movement. In April 2017, Captain Amarinder had refused to meet Canadian Defence Minister Harjit Singh Sajjan, a known Khalistani sympathiser, during his visit. Hence, while Modi Government has not made it explicitly clear that they are registering their reservations against the Canadian Government’s implied support to pro-separatist movement, speculations are that the BJP government is taking tough stand against Canadian government’s treatment meted out to Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder as well as their non-committal stand against pro-Khalistan separatists. Yesterday, when Trudeau visited Agra, he was received at the airport by the district magistrate, unlike his Israeli counterpart, Benjamin Netanyahu, who was received by Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath at the airport.

While BJP government snubbed Prime Minister Trudeau for flirting with Khalistanis, Congress seems to be seeing it as an opportunity to take a dig at Prime Minister Modi. Congress social media head Divya Spandana said she would give Trudeau a hug because India loves Trudeau.

She even added a hugging emoticon, probably to show how sincere her hug to Trudeau was. However, soon enough she got called out for her ‘hugplomacy’.

Even journalists, who have traditionally been anti-Modi saw merit in the government’s stand, but not Congress.

Not just Divya, even Congress’ national spokesperson Sanjay Jha was busy undermining India’s united stand against pro-separatists, in support of Congress leader and Punjab CM Captain Amarinder.

Jha and Divya snubbed their own party Chief Minister just to bring down Prime Minister Modi, who stood up with Captain Amarinder, despite political differences. Wonder if Spandana felt the need to defend Trudeau, who is busy courting Khalistani separatists because she has fashioned Congress President Rahul Gandhi’s social media campaign to project him as next liberal leader after Trudeau.

With 1500 squatters kicked out from Lutyens bungalows, it might explain why its always Modi vs All

Yesterday, the Prime Minister inaugurated the BJP’s gleaming new headquarters on Deen Dayal Upadhyay Marg in New Delhi. Naturally, this event was highlighted prominently by most major news portals, channels and newspapers.

Predictably, there were also people on social media taking potshots at the PM and the ruling party, mocking them for making a show of wealth and asking why the party needs grand new headquarters. While these people were misinformed, I feel that it is unfair to call them trolls. Because the media at large has done a very poor job of informing the public about what goes on in Lutyens’ Delhi. This is likely a direct result of the fact that the media is closely involved with the exact same power elite that has benefited all these years from the colonial comforts of Lutyens’ bungalows.

So, here are the facts. Why is the BJP moving? Because there is actually a directive from the Supreme Court asking not just BJP, but all parties to vacate their Lutyens’ bungalows and move out.

Untitled.png

So, for any Modi baiters out there on social media trying to shame the ruling party, the BJP is not making a show of wealth. It is merely being the first and only party so far to comply with the Supreme Court order. Too bad for you.

And, for sure, the Congress Party has also been allotted space in New Delhi for its own office. In fact, Dr Manmohan Singh and Madam Sonia Gandhi laid the foundation stone for the Congress’ new HQ as far back as December 2009. And the Congress has done with this new space exactly what you would expect the Congress to do with anything it can get its ‘hands’ on. It took the new space *and* kept all the four bungalows that it was already occupying in Lutyens’ zone.

Their real election symbol is a closed fist, the open palm of the hand is just for show.

This also seems like an opportune moment to talk about the cleaning up that has happened in Lutyens’ Delhi since the Modi government came to power. In the first year itself, more than 460 squatters were sent packing out of their cosy Lutyens’ bungalows. Many of them had been staying there for generations, some approached the courts with appeals to let them keep their fiefdoms. But to no avail.

Ajit Singh, the son of former PM Charan Singh was squatting on a bungalow. He was locked out and his belongings thrown on the lawn.

Painter Jatin Das, the father of actor Nandita Das, was enjoying another bungalow in Lutyens. Evicted!

Have you ever wondered why Modi has no friends? Why it is always “Modi vs all”?

That is one possible answer right there. Only today, Kumar Ketkar was asking in The Print why Narendra Modi does not have an army of intellectuals defending him, unlike the Nehru-Gandhis. Dear Ketkar, this information may be of interest to you!

More than 460 evictions from Lutyens’ Delhi in his first year alone. But Narendra Modi was just getting started. By late 2016, the number of evictions had swelled to 1500.

Untitled.png

You know why they love living in Lutyens’ bungalows so much? Because of the colonial sense of privilege, the prestige and the fact that all of it comes for the low price tag of only around Rs 16,000 a month.

But, as The Hindustan Times reported,

the government came up with a rule, fixing 10% additional charge to the rent for the first month of overstay. For the second, the penalty goes up to 20%, and doubles each subsequent month until the charge reaches the maximum limit of Rs 10 lakh.”

The penalty doubles each subsequent month?

You can draw a graph and sketch the rising intolerance.

As I mentioned before, there are only a handful of articles in the media documenting this cleanup mission in Lutyens’ Delhi. There is even a whataboutist article in The Wire explaining how the Congress had been more generous in letting people, including BJP leaders, hang out in Lutyens’ bungalows in the past. But while scanning these few articles, I found this absolute gem of a quote in The Telegraph from an unnamed Congress MP.

The Congress had a long tradition of not implementing the rules so strongly.”

This quote should go on the Congress party’s flag. Now you know why it is always “Modi vs all.”

Musharraf admits to ISI cultivating terrorists, insists that it is the right strategy for Pakistan

In an interview with the Guardian, former Dictator of Pakistan, Pervez Musharraf, has admitted that the Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) helped cultivate the Taliban to counter then Afghanistan President, Hamid Karzai’s government, for harbouring officials thought to favour India.

“Obviously we were looking for some groups to counter this Indian action against Pakistan,” Musharraf said. “That is where the intelligence work comes in. Intelligence being in contact with Taliban groups. Definitely, they were in contact, and they should be.”

Musharraf also said that his government had tried to undermine the Hamid Karzai government in Afghanistan as the latter had helped “India stab Pakistan in the back.” The former dictator, Musharraf, said “In President Karzai’s times, yes, indeed, he was damaging Pakistan and therefore we were working against his interest. Obviously, we had to protect our own interest.” However, he has urged the Pakistan Government to mend ties with now Afghan President Ashrad Ghani Ahmedzai who he believes is the last hope for peace in the region.

Pakistan has been wary of the growing ties between India and Afghanistan which would shift the balance of power further towards India. Last year, India had sent its first wheat shipment to Afghanistan through the Chabahar port. The Chabahar port would allow India to bypass Pakistan for its trade with Afghanistan and enable Delhi greater access to Central Asia. Pakistanis see the Chabahar port as detrimental to their interests with some even calling it a security threat.

Musharraf also displayed his hate towards India although he claimed otherwise. He was also contemptuous of the favourable opinion towards India in western countries.

“India is the greatest democracy, promoter of human rights and democratic culture’? All bullshit,” he said. “There is no human rights. The religion itself is anti-human rights. In the rural areas, if even the shadow of an untouchable goes on a pandit, that man can be killed.”

Musharraf is convinced that India is trying to break up Pakistan again, reflective of the fact that the Pakistani establishment still has not recovered from the defeat inflicted on them by India in 1971. He accused Indian intelligence agencies of fomenting separatism in Pakistani soil. But after admitting that the ISI “should be” in touch with terrorists, he insists that peace should prevail. “The RAW of India, the ISI of Pakistan has always been fighting against each other since our independence. That is how it continued, it continues now also. It must stop, but it can only stop when leadership on both sides show the will to resolve disputes and stop confrontation in favour of compromise and accommodation.”

“Peace talks” coming from the man accused of murdering his own country’s former Prime Ministers and the man who ‘mulled deploying nukes’ after the Indian Parliament was attacked in 2001 by the very people he espouses, of course, is amusing.

As the numbers of surrendered ultras soar, in another massive victory, security forces gun down 20 naxals

It is being called one of the best operations in 38 years
Representational image

In a major victory for the Security Forces on Sunday, the special Director General, anti-Naxal operations on Monday told ANI news that they had successfully gunned down more than 20 Naxals in Chattisgarh’s Sukma district. As per the Director-General D.M. Awasthi, the security forces comprising of the elite Commando Battalion for Resolute Action (CoBRA) gave a befitting reply to the Naxals in the operation.

It was reported yesterday that the encounter started at about 11 AM in the Elarmadgu village, falling under the Bhejji police station region of Sukma and went on till about 5 PM. The heavy firing which accompanied the encounter, unfortunately, resulted in the death of two security personnel and injured six others. A road construction manager too was one of those who had perished.

The action against the Naxals on and off the battlefield has seen various positive developments in the last few years.

As per the figures maintained by the South Asia Terrorism Portal (SATP), the year 2017 saw a total of 150 left-wing terrorists getting killed. Apart from this, a total of 547 such Naxals opted to leave their violent ways and surrender. The state topping the encounter charts was Chhattisgarh with 78 deaths. Its Maoist bastion of Dantewada was what witnessed the most surrenders, clocked at 195.

2016 was even more fruitful in this aspect, with security forces killing about 244 Naxals and about 2281 chose to surrender. Chhattisgarh in this case too topped the charts with 133 Maoist deaths. 2018 so far has begun on a positive note and as per data updated till 11th February, a total of 18 Naxals have been killed and 7 have surrendered.

Here’s a chart of a total of Maoist deaths and surrenders in the past 10 years:

 

Going via a broader spectrum, from 2005 to 2018, a total of 2684 Maoists have been killed in encounters. The years have also unfortunately seen a very high number of civilian and security personnel deaths of 3062 and 1936 respectively.

Such a data analysis though might merely tell a part of the story as besides encounters, the Indian administration is using one of the most powerful weapons at its disposal – Development.

As reported in the past year, the development includes setting up of mobile towers and construction of roads. The construction of roads came in the backdrop of the Centre deciding to spend a whopping Rs 11,000 crore for providing road connectivity to 44 Maoist-affected districts, including Chhattisgarh’s Sukma, where 25 CRPF personnel were killed in a deadly Maoist ambush in April.

Besides this, it was reported how the Indian Railway had successfully started the first Express train in the Maoist bastion of Dantewada.

The ITBP jawans had given another jolt to Maoist aspirations by building a bridge over Tatoda river in the Maoist-infested Kaneri village of Chhattisgarh’s Rajnandgaon district, in just 30 days. This bridge before its completion was pending for about 9 years due to the Maoist threat and its construction was pitted to help around 10,000 villagers of 60 villages.

Ram Temple must be seen as a historical reparation by Muslims of India

In every civilised society, whenever grave historical wrongs are done by a particular community on another community, it is recognised and corrected to whatever extent possible. Apologies are given by people who have not committed the wrongs on behalf of their ancestors. It is important for Muslims to apologise to Hindus for all the temples destroyed by their ancestors. As the Ram Temple hearing has resumed, we need to tell the Muslims of India about the concept of historical reparations.

Examples and utility of historical reparations

In America, the white community has an affirmative action program for minorities and women. Similarly, in India, the entire Hindu community repents for historic wrongs done on Dalits and Adivasis. Therefore, we have made special provisions for their welfare and upliftment in the constitution.

Even the whites of South Africa who ran the oppressive Apartheid system confessed to their fellow citizens and made lasting peace through the truth and reconciliation commission. As a result of this honest exercise in acknowledging wrongs by the whites, the society was able to quickly heal and return to normalcy. As a result, violence and strife were avoided.

Wounds inflicted on a community in the past cannot be undone. But they can be soothed and justice can be done partially when acknowledged honestly and some corrective action is taken. If the past wrongs are brushed under the carpet or rationalised using some sort of logic, then the wounds of past fester forever. They will take an ugly form of hatred and culminate in violence.

Muslim community has been insulated from the wrongs committed by their ancestors

The RSS/right-wing claims that the Muslims who reside in India, Pakistan and Bangladesh were once Hindus and they have left their original faith because of conversion. However, this fact is plainly rejected by Muslims of India. They take pride in the Islamic empires that ruled India in the past. The recent example of Tipu Jayanti celebrated in Karnataka is an example for this. In fact, one of the reasons for partition of India in 1947 was the loss of prestige among Muslims as they had been reduced from a ruling class to a ruled class.

In spite of the bloody history of conversions, temple desecration and finally the partition, the Muslim community has escaped all scrutiny and criticism for their past acts. One wonders the reason for this studied silence on all the atrocities committed by forefathers of Muslims in India. Probably, it is done to preserve the secular fabric of India

The sole credit for festering wounds of the Hindus all over India is due to the firm conviction of the establishment to not acknowledge the historical wrongs of Muslims in order to ‘preserve’ communal harmony. Had these wounds inflicted by rulers like Aurangzeb/Babur, been acknowledged and addressed, we would not have had communal hatred and violence in India. Worse still, these ‘secular liberals’ strive to wash off or rationalise the barbaric acts of Muslims from history books.

We cannot defend the uncivilised destruction of the Babri Masjid. At the same time, we can’t deny the frustration and pent-up anger in the mob which culminated in the demolition of the Babri Masjid. Had it been addressed in the past, it would not have manifested in the form it did.

While the law takes its own course, at the same time, the country’s Muslims must not forget that their ancestors have destroyed hundreds (or thousands) of Hindu temples in the past. And, they must agree to give back a few sites as historical reparations to the Hindus of India. This will go a long way in generating goodwill between the two religions in India.

Communalism of majority more dangerous than communalism of minority – Nehru

When Nehru was addressing an open session of All India Congress Committee on 11 May 1958 said :

Communalism of the majority is far more dangerous than communalism of the minority

The Prime minister had also said that only through social cohesiveness could the nation make progress. But he had not understood that the social cohesiveness is not a one-sided affair. It must be a mutual feeling. Threats to social cohesiveness, including historical animosities must be addressed openly and honestly to make way for harmony. The festering historical wounds of Hindus has only been aggravated by this partisan attitude to the issue of communalism. This is the reason for the stupendous electoral success of BJP during the Ram Janmabhoomi movement.

Make way for temples in most holy sites of India

The Ram temple was questioned by many because it was buried under the ground. But there is something which is very visible and ugly reminder of Islamic oppression of the past. The Kashi Vishwanath temple (also known as Gyanvapi mosque) in Varanasi. How do the Muslims and secular politicians propose to gloss over this structure?

One would have expected Muslims to accept their mistake in demolishing the temple and handing it over to Hindus. But there is a case going on in this issue as well. But they go on to say that a mosque once built can never be destroyed or moved from its location. This is a lame excuse as we know that a mosque was demolished after payment of 35 lakh compensation to make way for a highway in UP recently.

All Muslims of India don’t share this feeling. The chief of Shia Wakf board, Wasim Rizvi has openly supported the Ram temple. There may be many more voices like him. The media and all other politicians must listen to them and start the process of healing historical wounds persisting among Hindus of India.

Congress MLA’s son Mohammed Nalapad Haris surrenders to police, gets a rousing welcome outside the police station

Yesterday, the Congress party had expelled the general secretary of its Bengaluru youth wing for six years after he was accused of brutally thrashing a person at a pub. The accused, Mohammad Nalapad Haris reportedly spent 24 hours in a 5-star hotel for a day before surrendering to the police this morning.

What is more surprising is that the goon’s father, Congress MLA NA Haris has not apologised for the incident. He accused the political parties of politicising the incident while speaking to the media. The MLA also claimed that he has asked his son to surrender. In addition to this, Mohammed Haris got a rousing welcome at the Cubbon Park Police station as his supporters had thronged outside the police station in large numbers.

BJP and JDS protestors were also present outside the police station. The police struggled to manage the crowds. The protestors demanded that the police must register a case under IPC section 307 (attempt to murder). They also suspected that the police would register a soft complaint that would allow him to escape easily.

The attitude of Congress supporters demonstrates the brazen support that Mohammed Nalapad Haris’ enjoys in Congress. Times Now reported that his supporters treated him as a hero and supported him in spite of his brutal attack on a citizen at the pub.

Dear BJP, it is time to include the glorious legacy of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj in CBSE textbooks

It has been almost 4 years since the BJP government came to power in the centre. The PM is an admirer of Chatrapathi Shivaji Maharaj. However, the HRD ministry in BJP has not really paid attention to an important exclusion in the CBSE/ NCERT textbooks that have been authored by left-leaning and communist educationists so far. For them, Akbar is the best example of a secular ruler in the entire history of India, but Shivaji is ‘communal’.

The love that our educationists and liberals have for Akbar and Mughals was demonstrated when Maharashtra government erased a chapter on Mughals from their textbooks. “The removal of the Mughal chapter from the textbook is nothing but the saffron agenda of BJP and RSS. It’s a pre-planned conspiracy“, claimed Samajwadi Party’s Abu Azmi. While his claim may have partial truth, the blackout of Shivaji from NCERT textbooks is definitely a conspiracy of Nehruvian secularists.

The exclusion of Shivaji from NCERT textbooks is not an aberration but a systematic exercise to infuse the concept of ‘secularism’ as understood by the Nehruvian establishment that has ruled India so far.

Have the framers of CBSE’s history syllabus taken a cue from Nehru?

Perhaps they have taken a cue from the godfather of ‘secularism’, Pandit Nehru’s book ‘Discovery of India’. Nehru considers the rise of Marathas as an example of Hindu nationalism. While writing about the great emperor Shivaji, he feels that the modern day Hindu nationalists are using him for revivalism.

In the post-partition scenario, perhaps, these educationists wanted to bury Shivaji forever so that Hindus would never find an inspirational figure of their own religion. Instead, Akbar was dished out as the sole symbol of secularism that Nehru sought to impose on Hindus of India.

In the book ‘Discovery of India’, Nehru writes (emphasis added) :

All over the widespread domains of the Mughal Empire, there was a ferment and a growth of revivalist sentiment, which was a mixture of religion and nationalism. That nationalism was certainly not of the modern secular type, nor did it, as a rule, embrace the whole of India in its scope. It was coloured by feudalism, by local sentiment and sectarian feeling.

The Rajputs, more feudal than the rest, thought of their clan loyalties; the Sikhs, a comparatively small group in the Punjab, were absorbed in their own self-defence and could hardly look beyond the Punjab. Yet the religion itself had a strong national background and all its traditions were connected with India.

‘The Indians,’ writes Professor Macdonell, ‘are the only division of the Indo-European family which has created a great national religion—Brahmanism—and a great world religion—Buddhism; while all the rest far from displaying originality in this sphere have long since adopted a foreign faith.’

That combination of religion and nationalism gained strength and cohesiveness from both elements, and yet its ultimate weakness and insufficiency were also derived from that mixture. For it could only be an exclusive and partial nationalism, not including the many elements in India that lay outside that religious sphere. Hindu nationalism was a natural growth from the soil of India, but inevitably it comes in the way of the larger nationalism which rises above differences of religion or creed. […]

Shivaji was the symbol of a resurgent Hindu nationalism, drawing inspiration from the old classics, courageous, and possessing high qualities of leadership. He built up the Marathas as a strong unified fighting group, gave them a nationalist background, and made them a formidable power which broke up the Mughal Empire.

The ideological foundation of ‘secularism’ as we know it today, was laid long back in a book that Nehru wrote when was imprisoned between 1942-46.

Future generations need to know about Shivaji and other Hindu kingdoms

If not for the internet or social media, many youngsters would not have been aware of the stupendous achievements and great values of Shivaji Maharaj. Outside Maharashtra, many people are not aware of Shivaji’s exploits against the huge Mughal empire. They are not aware of his administrative acumen and the system of ‘ashta pradhan’ (eight ministers) where each minister was given a ‘portfolio.’ Shivaji was not a bigot either. He had recruited Muslim soldiers in his army. He did not go around destroying mosques or killing innocent Muslims. Shivaji provided freedom of religion to his subjects. He was as secular as Akbar.

Similarly, the great kings of Wodeyar dynasty in Karnataka have been blacked out from textbooks. Wodeyars invested heavily in education, infrastructure, industrial growth and social welfare. In fact the premier research institute of India, IISc is built on land donated by Krishnaraja Wodeyar IV. Educationists have ignored Wodeyars and gave Tipu Sultan a central place in the history of Karnataka.

Thus, BJP that claims to be a party following the ideology of Hindutva, needs to correct this historic exclusion in our history syllabus. It needs to ensure that future generations of India learn not only about Akbar and Tipu Sultan, but also Shivaji and Jayachamarajendra Wodeyar.

UP: Woman lawyer claims Muslim ‘friend’ held her captive, tried to convert her religion and raped her

Woman accuses her Muslim male friend of trying to force religious conversion and rape.

A woman lawyer was allegedly held hostage and raped for a week by a man, who had brought her from Mumbai to Bijnor under the pretext of inviting her to his sister’s wedding. The woman is a high court lawyer and the accused runs a salon in Mumbai. Acting on woman’s complaint, the police have arrested the man.

According to reports, the duo came from Mumbai to Nahtaur where Faizal had allegedly held her captive, raped her and even tried to marry her after forceful religious conversion. The woman claims she somehow managed to escape and reached the police station, where she filed a complaint.

According to reports, the woman has claimed that once she was brought to Nahtaur, she was confined to a room, where she was mentally tortured and raped. She claims she was also forced to wear a burqa and attempts to forcefully convert her religion were made. They also planned to forcefully conduct a Nikaah of her and the accused on the day of his sister’s Nikaah. When she resisted, she was beaten up. She claims the accused’s family members were also involved in this. On Sunday when Faizal and other men of the house were out shopping for his sister’s wedding, the woman managed to escape. She has filed a complaint against Faizal, his father Nazaralam, brother Shadaab, mother Naseema and sister in law Ishrat. While Faizal has been arrested, the police are on the lookout for others.

Woman alleges being assaulted and raped in Tripura for ‘daring’ to leave the CPM

CPM itself accused of pre-poll violence in Tripura withdraws candidate alleging post-poll violence
CPM flags

The North Eastern state of Tripura which is one of the last communist bastions in India went to polls on Sunday. The run-up to the polls was marred by violent incidents which included, targeted attacks against the cadre of the BJP, a party which is trying to make serious inroads during the elections.

As reported, BJP supporters were allegedly attacked by at least 15 CPI(M) members in Chakmanghat area of Teliamura constituency. Before that the body of a BJP booth president was recovered from Barjala, Tripura on Sunday, merely days ahead of the polls. According to BJP’s Sunil Deodhar, who has been made in-charge of the state, this was the 11th Tripura BJP activist, killed in the last 13 months.

Such political allegiances have also resulted in religious persecution, with about 25 Muslim families in a Tripura village getting boycotted by their local mosque for deciding to support the BJP.

Now to print an even grimmer picture about the political freedom in the state, a DNA report has claimed that a Tripura woman was raped and assaulted for daring to leave the CPM. As reported, the victim on March 26, 2016, was heading home in the evening, when she was held by a goon who started to brutally assault her. Soon after when she started to lose consciousness he even allegedly raped her.

Come 2018, the victim still carries the scars of that horrid evening and has lost eyesight in her left eye. As per her, she was meted out this treatment because she switched over to the BJP after being a CPM worker for many years.

Incidentally, such brutal tactics against those ‘daring’ to leave the CPM have also been employed in another communist-ruled state of Kerala.

A few days ago a class XI daughter of a BJP leader in Kerala, Kasaragod district had sent out a help plea on Facebook to save her father who was getting death threats from the CPM. As per the daughter, the CPM cadre was miffed with her father because of his decision to join the BJP.

Hindu families that were driven out of Kairana during SP rule, start returning under Yogi Adityanath

The town of Kairana in UP’s Shamli district had seen a mass exodus of Hindu families, mostly business owners in past several years. Dreaded gangsters were roaming free who had made the lives of Hindu businessmen a living nightmare. Kidnaps and extortions were in abundant and 2014 saw cold-blooded and brutal murders of three business owners in broad daylight.

Haunting images of “Yeh makaan bikau hai” (this house is for sale )panted over many buildings and shops had become a norm in local areas and in the media. As many as 250 families had reportedly left Kairana to settle in villages of Haryana or wherever they could find a livelihood even as the Media tried their best to whitewash the Hindu exodus.

The reason behind the exodus was the free reign of gangsters in the town. Most notable of them was the gangster Mukim Kala. For years the AK 47 wielding goons of his gang had created an absolute mockery of law and order in Kairana. Mukim Kala even owned a weapons warehouse. The arrest of Mukim Kala had little effect on the situation as he still continued to run his extortion racket from jail.

Things began to change only after Yogi Adityanath took over as CM in UP. Under his government, the UP Police started cracking down on criminals like never before and several members of the Mukim Kala’s gang were either shot dead in encounters or arrested in rapid succession.

UP police arrested dreaded gangster Furkan in April last year. He was grievously injured in an encounter with cops. While Mukim Kala’s brother Wasim was killed in an encounter too, in January UP police had another major success when they shot down a noted sharpshooter Shabir in a fierce gun battle. Constable Ankit Tomar had attained martyrdom in this encounter.

UP police and the Yogi Adityanath led government had faced criticism and even notices by human rights groups regarding these encounters. But both the government and the police had made a resolute stand on the issue and the UP CM had even declared that the encounters will not stop.

While there has been a profound reduction in criminal activities in the area, the fierce and rapid action of the police has made the criminals fear for the consequences. Many criminals have surrendered on their own, fearing encounter while recently Kairana saw two renowned gangsters roam around the town carrying placards announcing that they will not indulge in unlawful behaviour in future.

A recent report in India Today mentioned that many businessmen, who had left the town fearing for their lives and safety of their families are now coming back. More than a dozen Hindu families have now returned to Kairana to restart their businesses. Ankit Mittal, a cinema hall owner who had moved his family to Haridwar, is now all set to settle back in Kairana again.

“This year, I will be bringing my children to Kairana to celebrate Holi. There is no fear; the situation has improved a lot. Earlier, when I used to visit Kairana from Haridwar, my wife would consistently be on the phone until I left from there. But now, even she is ready to return to Kairana,” Mittal told Mail Today.

“I had got an extortion call for Rs 5 lakh. In August 2014, three businessmen were killed on the streets in broad daylight. I could be one of them. I got my children admitted to a school in Dehradun and settled with my mother and wife in Haridwar,” he said.

Varun Kumar, whose own elder brother was shot dead by gangsters in front of their house is also positive about peace and safety being back in the town. He said to Mail Today :

“We shut down our shop after brother’s murder. But things seem to have changed a lot. There is no fear in the city; police have arrested most of the gangsters and even killed some of them. Now, we can hope for a better living.”

The small business owners, who are the backbone of the economy of the small town are now feeling remarkably safer. “The new government has made the change possible” is the common opinion of the residents of the city.

CBI arrests Rotomac promoter Vikram Kothari hours after false news of him fleeing the country surfaced

While the dust had not even settled on the Nirav Modi financial fraud and the ED was in the process of conducting raids, news trickled in yesterday about another businessman, Vikram Kothari, the promoter of Rotomac Pen fleeing the country after swindling Rs. 800 crores from various public sector banks.

The news of Vikram Kothari absconding was relayed by every major news agency there is.

As soon as this news of Kothari fleeing the country was broken, which turned out to be false later, the usual suspects started their cacophony about how Narendra Modi must answer.

Some didn’t even shy away from connecting the false news to demonetisation. The irony of it all is that Ms Dalal is the managing editor of MoneyLifeIndia and trustee of MoneyLifeF that deals with Finance news.

Soon, news emerged that Kothari was still present in Kanpur and hadn’t fleed the country at all.

While the news of his still being present emerged early this morning, news started trickling in about how the CBI was not only conducting raids in various locations related to Vikram Kothari but was also questioning the Kothari family.

The CBI has not registered a case against Rotomac pen promoter Vikram Kothari and has been arrested.

Now that the CBI has arrested Kothari from India, the media must be questioned as to what their source of this false news was.

As an evidence of human depravity, Twitter users followed by Congress wish death upon Goa CM Manohar Parrikar

Wishing Parrikar a speedy recovery.

Rumours are rife that Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar, who is undergoing treatment for food poisoning at Lilavati Hospital in Mumbai, has been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. While we hope that rumours are false and pray for Parrikar’s speedy recovery, Twitter has been abuzz with people wishing for the death of Parrikar, some of whom are followed by the official Twitter handle of Congress.

Not just on Twitter, many people on Facebook, too, celebrated the rumours of Parrikar being diagnosed with cancer.


This is not the first time people have wished death upon a leader just because they didn’t agree with them. Earlier, Suprateek Chatterjee, a columnist with The Quint had also tweeted death wish on Modi. That is not the only time The Quint has given a platform to people who go upon wishing death and political assassination. Vikas Malhotra, an author at The Quint, too preferred political assassination (of PM Modi) to create history. A Times Now journalist, Prashant Kumar, had also wished for the assassination of Modi. While The Quint has distanced itself from these columnists and removed their articles, no action was taken against Kumar of Times Now. Similarly, a columnist with Shekhar Gupta’s digital portal, The Print, also wanted PM Modi assassinated. She, later on, deleted her tweet before deactivating her account.

One wonders if Congress, which follows the Twitter user who wished for Parrikar’s death, endorses his views. A difference in political ideologies should not mean one ends up wishing death upon other.

A teenager’s suggestions on dealing with rationalistic youngsters who question Hinduism

An unidentified Hindu man praying
An unidentified Hindu man praying

I would like to begin by sharing a story :

I was once at a junior debating competition in Bangkok, representing my school (which is based in Dubai). After the main event, I had the opportunity to converse with hundreds of speakers from over 80 different countries over dinner. On my dinner table aside from myself, were speakers from Slovenia, Vietnam, Canada and India. Incidentally (as a part of the conversation), I was digging my bag for some book, when a copy of the Ramayana happened to be in there. One of the students on my table caught a glance of this. Till date, I cannot forget her response. In these exact words, she said:

“Oh my God, how do you read this bullshit?”

“Why would you say that?”, I asked.

She said, “You’re a logical person and you understand science. How can you believe in all this superstitious nonsense?”

The remarks bothered me.

It was truly bothering, that in a debating competition, where the most rational, logical and judicious students of different countries meet, a student said something as insensitive as that. However, what is most unsettling is the fact that the person who said that wasn’t a student from some other country who was unaware of Hindu beliefs. It was an Indian student, who came from a Hindu family in Delhi and thought it was ‘cool’ to downgrade her own belief system in front of the apparently “modern” foreigners. While this may have been her naïve attempt to score brownie points in front of the western students, I argue that there is more to it. Without any outsiders being around, we must consider that a lot of youngsters in India view their own belief structure as nothing but “superstitious nonsense” and I, unfortunately, bear witness to the transformation in mindsets and the trend of ridiculing your own methodologies with half-baked knowledge.

And so, we come to the first question: Why has this happened?

I believe that there are multiple reasons for why this has happened. One reason behind this trend (as I have expressed in the past), is the distorted education system that only refers to Hinduism when it comes to the misinterpreted ‘caste system’ and the radically altered Sati. They deliberately avoid the scientific, mathematical, spiritual, architectural and philosophical advancements made in India through Hindu traditions and belief systems. What this does, is it makes people attribute all the “social evils” (which came from misinterpretations of scriptures) to Hinduism and forget all the brilliance that did stem from Vedic principles. Therefore, all youngsters (including myself at one point in time) think of our religion as nothing but a primitive, unsound belief system. And so, one reason to blame the cultural erosion is the Indian education system.

Another reason is a lack of understanding among parents. As much as I hate to blame parents per-se, one cannot deny that often, parents themselves are unable to communicate their belief system effectively, either because they themselves do not understand their belief system, or because they find it difficult to appeal to their young/teenage children. Either way, they struggle to get the message across.

Whatever, the reason behind the rejection of Hindu principles is, I believe that there is a systematic approach that can help us override the barrier under the Indian status quo. Being a teenager who both understands a typical youngster’s mindset, and the basis for my own religious principles, let me tell you that the current generation is not one that will accept beliefs imposed on to them. They only trust what they find to be logical. However, since changing the education system will take time, how can rational people be made to realise the reasoning behind religious beliefs? How do students or elders communicate this to the logical Indian?

In order to answer this question, I would like to make you understand how I went about studying Hinduism, through a simple categorisation. What I did was simply draw a line between three things:

  1. Spiritual/Philosophical principles
  2. Applied principles/duties
  3. Unfounded practices

I would like to briefly explain these and then tell you about how important it is for us to ensure that we do not put them in the same bowl.

The first area is spiritual/philosophical principles. Here is where we need to understand what Hinduism fundamentally stands for. That involves, the concept of Karma, where you pay for your own thoughts, words and deeds, Vasudaiva Kutumbakam, where you fundamentally believe that the entire world is your family, principles like Advaita, where every being is the same and so forth. This category of philosophical principles, I believe is the most vital ground on which Hinduism stands. And if we make it absolutely clear that these are the core principles, it should do us the best.

The second area is applied principles. This involves the prescribed manner of living and the structure of life. Beliefs like the way in which a life should be lead, stages of lives, prayer, etc. All these come into consideration when you talk of applied principles. The idea of Yoga, Ayurveda and many such scientific, mathematical, architectural and other areas all stemmed from the application of Hindu beliefs. However, the same Hindu beliefs too make it absolutely clear that your duty/way of life can change drastically based on you Desha (country), Kaala (the time when you practice) and Paatra (the subject of your deed). Therefore, the duty of a person can very much change over time.

So far, both the areas seem quite approachable to the logical mind. However, we now come to the third area where we discuss the “superstitious nonsense” that the Indian girl was telling me about: Unfounded practices.

Now, it is extremely important for us to focus on the word unfounded. Because, the idea of Nazar, ‘Nails not being cut in the night’ and even many discriminatory superstitions are all very much cultural and have no Hindu basis. By this, I mean that no scriptures endorse these beliefs. It is simply people who happened to associate one thing with another. Many people have a “lucky pen” or “lucky shirt” even today. However, we do not associate that with a specific belief system or religion. While many practices that are cultural in nature have become essential to the practice of Hinduism and must be retained, practices which add no value to Dharma and have no mention in the scriptures can be done away with.

I once again stress the importance of not mixing these three up together. Because the moment we do that, many youngsters will tend to falsely believe that these baseless superstitions stem from Hinduism and that some primitive practices are made a compulsion. In fact, many missionaries have constantly capitalised on us mixing these up. They convert people by letting them keep a few elements of applied principles and all their unfounded superstitions the same and they completely change the spiritual belief system. Therefore, those who get converted believe that they aren’t losing much of their own religion, but in actual fact, they are.

I say that the main priority for us (while talking to rationalists) is to uphold the main principles of the religion. By upholding these fundamental principles, we enable them to understand the most important segments of Hinduism. These also happen to be the most logical ones and thus, will easily appeal to well-reasoned people. Upon establishing this we can then shift focus to the applied principles, which are not a compulsion but still have sound reasoning behind them. Practices like Ekadashi fasting, for example, Yoga, the kinds of food to eat, etc. can be introduced, yet not enforced. With this, we give people a choice: something Hinduism does as a matter of principle. And finally, when the rational mind understands this, you can optionally introduce the third category of superstitions, so long as you dissociate it with the religion.

In conclusion, the moment we keep these three categories separate and insist on the importance of getting the spiritual/philosophical significance of Sanatana Dharma right, my fellow mates who always downplay our culture, will stay by us and Hinduism will stand on its highest ground with a bright future ahead of it.

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