Anti-drug laws to farm laws to UAPA: How liberals declared everything as “draconian” in Modi era

Here for example is Shekhar Gupta, writing today in The Print:

It is so unique, draconian, impractical, ineffective, exploitative and prone to misuse that to use the familiar description for laws would be an insult to the ass.

So many adjectives in one sentence. What would make a veteran journalist such as Shekhar Gupta to abandon all the basic rules of good writing, not to mention those of decency?

Shekhar Gupta is writing here about the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) act. A law which has been around since 1985 but whose name most Indians would never have heard of until last month. Who knew that this law has always been such an existential threat to the Republic? And therefore, all of a sudden, it is time for all of us to panic. The headline of Shekhar’s article is no less alarmist: NDPS is a weapon vengeful state could use on you or your kids.

Did somebody say draconian law? Have you noticed how every law is ‘draconian’ these days? Everything is draconian, everything is genocide.

Consider this. There is the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act, or UAPA. Since 2014, there has been no end to the laments about just how draconian this law is. Which is weird, because public records show that it was enacted all the way in 1967.

What about the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA)? Draconian. What about the National Register of Citizens (NRC), first promised by Rajiv Gandhi as part of the Assam Accord? Also draconian. What about the three new agricultural laws passed by the Modi government? All draconian.

There have been anti-cow slaughter laws in many Indian states since the 1950s. But what about cow protection laws enacted by BJP governments in some states? All draconian. The first anti-conversion laws in India appeared in the 1960s. But if a BJP government enacts any such law today, it is draconian.

You can disagree with this or that provision in some law, but you can’t miss the pattern of exaggeration here. The 2002 riots in Gujarat were among the few in India to be ever described as a ‘genocide’ or a ‘pogrom.’ Did anyone refer to what happened under Rajiv Gandhi as a pogrom? Yes they did, you are probably thinking. That is because you are probably thinking only about the anti-Sikh riots of 1984. Did they ever talk about the Bhagalpur riots of 1989? Some 1000 people perished in those riots. And unlike the Gujarat riots, nobody knows exactly how many. There has never been a single conviction and nobody knows the name of the Chief Minister of Bihar under whom those riots happened.

Even to this day, all media descriptions of the Gujarat riots deliberately leave out the mention of the Godhra carnage. Or worse, they plant conspiracy theories about who was behind the carnage, despite the fact that the culprits have been definitively convicted by the High Court years ago.

Why? Because acknowledging the Godhra carnage would go against the narrative they want. Compare to “farmer leader” Rakesh Tikait sitting at the Press Club some days ago, coolly dismissing the lynching of 3 BJP workers at Lakhimpur Kheri as a natural reaction. The Samyukt Kisan Morcha then proceeded to suspend Yogendra Yadav for a month because he dared to visit the family of one of the BJP workers who had been lynched. Wonder who is draconian here, and who are the humanitarians.

The exaggerations hit an all time high last year, when liberals demanded foreign intervention against the Indian government for using water cannons to push back “farmer protesters” from the barricades. As it turns out, water cannons are used routinely in democratic countries around the world. They are used every week in India somewhere or the other. But in the hands of Modi government, the water cannon was suddenly an instrument for violating human rights.

You can argue about whether the state should be using water cannons. You can argue about whether we need a law such as UAPA. But you cannot miss the fact that our ‘civil society’ began making an issue out of this only after 2014.

And don’t forget the judicial system. Every common person in India knows that you cannot commit contempt of court. But that’s only because they are common people who have to stay within their limits. All of a sudden, you can pick up any newspaper or turn on any TV channel to see that contempt of court is rampant. Why? Because the most privileged in our country are not getting bail on time, preferably over the phone. As much as 67 percent of India’s prison population consists of under-trials. There are 4.5 crore cases pending in Indian courts. The Indian judicial system is a mess. But now it is okay to say that. What changed?

You have to suspect whether the real problem here is that liberals are having difficulty conceding the legitimacy of the Indian state, ever since the people chose Narendra Modi. And quite literally so. Soon after the 2014 election, you might remember a wave of liberal outrage against our first past the post voting system. How dare Modi come to power with 31% of the vote? What about the other 69%? After 2019, how dare Modi form a government with 38% of the vote? What about the other 62%?

Now, Modi did not choose our voting system. Modi did not make Sonia Gandhi come to power in 2004 with a mere 26% of the vote. In fact, Modi’s 31% in 2014 is the highest for any ruling party since 1991. Since its birth, the Indian Republic has used the first past the post voting system. Three generations of the Nehru dynasty have won the PM post and have been awarded Bharat Ratnas under this system. But that was different then, because it wasn’t Modi. Because it is BJP & Modi now, suddenly it is all bad.

It is all bad. The anti-terror laws, the anti-drug laws, the citizenship laws, the agricultural laws, everything. The first past the post voting system is bad. And water cannons are a human rights violation.

This pattern of undermining the Indian state extends beyond drug offenses, sedition, or CAA or NRC. What about someone who was convicted in the Mumbai serial blasts of 1993? Do you remember the headline “And they hanged Yakub“?

What is the end goal here, if I may so ask. If you reject everything from anti-drug laws to the voting system to the conviction of terrorists by the Supreme Court, what is left? Are you advocating for anarchy? Please clarify this. Because I assure you that it is not funny at all.

FATF grey list : Erdogan chose enmity with India, now Turkey joins Pakistan among failed states

Suppose that a group of people of various nationalities are gathered at one place. Suppose they begin discussing world affairs and the subject of Pakistan comes up. You can guess how they would treat the views of the Indian guy at the table. Some of his points might be valid, but you have to take his views with a bucket of salt. After all, he is Indian. You can’t expect him to be truly objective when it comes to Pakistan. Everyone knows that we are arch enemies.

Of course I could always sense this skepticism, when among colleagues or friends in America or Europe. But there is one thing I would always tell them, because I genuinely believe it. Half the problems in the world can be solved if people listened to India. I know it sounds self serving because I am an Indian. But I maintain that this fact is objectively true.

Consider this. Suppose that the west listened to us and announced a global boycott of Pakistan. Not just today, say decades ago. Half of all the bad thing that have happened in the West would never have happened. When there is a country that is unnecessarily trying to poke India, you can be sure that country will soon be a basket case.

You must have seen the news. Turkey is now on the watchlist for terror funding. Turkey joins its ‘brother’ Pakistan in receiving this high honor.

What else has gone wrong with Turkey? Well, pretty much everything. The Turkish economy has collapsed. Inflation is close to 20%. The Turkish currency is in crisis. It has been in crisis for years now. Do you know that Turkey’s GDP today is actually LESS than it was 10 years ago? Imagine that. Ten years and they haven’t grown even one bit.

And Erdogan wanted to be the new era Caliph…. rofl

I remember the late 2000s. They used to talk of Turkey as a rising economic power. A star in the MENA (Middle East & North Africa region). Turkey had an application pending to join the EU. A lot of people accused the EU of xenophobia for not letting Turkey in. Some even said that the EU would pay in the long run for not letting in what would soon be the most vibrant economy in the region. You can only laugh at this today.

Go back 2 years. You will find the Turks aggressively mocking India. Their leader Erdogan leading the charge against India over Kashmir. How did that work out for Turkey? Can you believe that the Turkish Lira today is worth half of what it was 2 years ago? Yes, that’s right. It is worth HALF.

Of course, it is not like India did this to Turkey. We are not that powerful yet. What I am saying is that the itch to go against India is a symptom that a country is about to go off the rails. And that is exactly what happened to Turkey.

And now Turkey is on the fast track to being branded a global sponsor of terrorism, just like Pakistan. Oh the plight of Erdogan, the great emperor, who wanted to rule a Caliphate stretching from Spain to Kashmir.

Also remember that back when Erdogan began picking fights with India, the liberal class in India developed a sudden fetish for all things Turkish. Right on cue, including one very intellectual and very liberal superstar. Soon there were articles in India describing how Indian audiences were falling in love with Turkish television and movies. The messaging was clear. Turkey is a great cultural superpower. We should all look up to Turkey.

I remember reading one of these puff pieces myself, on one of these news portals. The headline was something like “why Indians are going gaga over Turkish soaps.” Inside, the piece quoted like 10 Indian people who were apparently great fans of Turkish culture. And like 8 of the 10 names in that piece were …. you can guess.

Anyway. If you asked people ten years ago to name a modern democratic society from the Islamic world, they would probably have pointed to Turkey. Look how that worked out for them.

They have moved on from Turkey now. Their new favorite? Bangladesh. Yes, it is absurd to compare Indian economy to the tiny economy of Bangladesh. But why would absurdity stop our liberal commentators who used to go gaga over Turkey until a year or so ago? Just wait till the next superstar goes off to Bangladesh to showcase what a heaven it is over there.

Sheikh Hasina is emboldened too. Instead of apologizing, she cheekily tells us that India should not do things domestically that will make Bangladeshis angry. And the same class that was fascinated with Turkey is now fascinated with Bangladesh. It will end the same way as well.

Zomato, Fabindia, farmer’s protest, superstar’s son: what recent controversies taught me about the liberal worldview

Canceling people online is easy. In fact, that is probably what Twitter is for. In fact, if we did not cancel people online, what would the modern left do with all that free time? We go online to cancel people. It is what makes us better than all those who came before us, from Lincoln to Roosevelt, or even J K Rowling.

So imagine my surprise the other day when I discovered liberals raising their voice against this great internet tradition.

Economic terrorism? Those are some really strong words against people who merely trended a hashtag calling for boycott of a clothing brand.

If they are economic terrorists, what do you call a group of people who have now blocked the highways around Delhi for almost a year? The damage they have caused to industry and the livelihoods of people is in the thousands of crores. They say that unless the government accepts their demands, they will block road and railway traffic for as long as they like. For that matter, they organized a nationwide “rail roko” only yesterday. So what do we call these people?

I know. We can’t say anything to them. Even if they storm the Red Fort on Republic Day and plant their own flag. Even if they bring their own religious police and execute a poor Dalit farm laborer in full Taliban style, we cannot say anything to them. We must grovel before them. We must address them as “annadata,” the form of address that zamindars have always demanded from the peasants who toil on their land. That’s liberal privilege.

Let us examine more closely why the folks who trended the hashtag were angry with Fabindia. They were objecting to the term “Jashn-e-Riwaz,” which they felt was a rebranding of Diwali. All around the world, what you call something is a big deal. Because names are markers of identity and culture. If you take our names away, you are wiping out our identity. These days, even pronouns are a big deal. So why would liberals think it is too much for a group of people to trend a hashtag against what they considered to be a renaming of Diwali?

Okay, so Fabindia says that Jashn-e-Riwaz was not a reference to Diwali at all. I will take them at their word. If you can think of any other festival, celebrated around this time, that the accompanying photo seems to suggest, please let me know. In any case, this article is not about Fabindia, but about the online reactions on all sides.

Now let us see what happened here. This is from yesterday.

Apparently, some customer service representative at Zomato told someone that all of us should know at least a little Hindi. Along with that, she also quoted a longstanding myth from the Doordarshan era that Hindi is our “national language.” The customer, who apparently was based in Tamil Nadu, was not happy.

So what about the folks who were so outraged by this remark that they started trending #RejectZomato on Twitter? Anyone calling them “economic terrorists”? Never. Like those who called for a boycott of Zomato, the folks who called for a boycott of Fabindia were also anguished about their identity. One group was anguished about linguistic identity and the other about religious identity. What is the difference? The difference is liberal privilege.

What do we learn from this? There is identity politics and then there is identity politics. There is the identity politics that helps liberals win votes and there is identity politics that makes liberals lose votes. The two are treated differently.

Was the customer service representative wrong to say that everyone should know a little Hindi? Absolutely, yes. But was she some kind of govt functionary or big corporate executive? Not at all. She was a small time employee, making a humble living.

But liberals had no mercy on her. They wanted her to be fired. That too at this time of the year, just before Jashn-e-Riwaz.

Could the liberals not forgive her for making a mistake? Of course not. Because words like “mistake” and “forgiveness” are applied to the sons of superstars. Not some customer service representative who makes a few thousand rupees a month. I don’t know if superstar’s son is guilty or not. I suppose courts will decide. But I have seen liberals falling over themselves talking about “mistakes” and “forgiveness.”

As for the customer service representative, how rich and powerful is her dad? I am guessing not very much. So she has no luxury of making mistakes. She deserves no forgiveness.

We have now reached the single most important principle of modern liberalism. Browbeat those who have no power, but always grovel before the strong.

Sheikh Hasina is playing fast & loose on the genocide of Bangladeshi Hindus

In the year 1938, as well as for most of 1939, there was someone who was passionate about making peace. In fact, his pleadings for world peace were so effective that they were almost a legend. Every time he would bite off a piece of some neighbor such as Czechoslovakia, or swallow one of his neighbors whole, such as Austria, he would talk of his commitment to peace. And it usually worked, in that it managed to fool everyone else.

That man was Adolf Hitler.

Okay, so Sheikh Hasina isn’t quite the same as Adolf Hitler. But we live in an era of exaggerations, so why not? The template is the same. Become the loudest voice against exactly what you are trying to do. Take a look at this.

But also don’t forget what is really happening.

Ah, the mob! With a mind of its own, always undirected by anyone and enjoying zero political patronage. The mob always does the job that leaders who need to show their face on the world stage just can’t.

This year, they did not allow the Hindus of Bangladesh to celebrate Durga Puja. In nearly a dozen districts of Bangladesh, they attacked and destroyed Durga Puja pandals. They attacked even ISKCON temples and murdered devotees inside. In each case, their aim was exactly the same: smash the idols and kill the idol worshipers. No, they did not care that ISKCON worships Krishna and those in pandals were worshiping Durga. Note that Shri Krishna, born in present day Uttar Pradesh, is always seen with his cows. On the other hand, eminent intellectuals such as Amartya Sen define their Bengaliyat by who worships Durga. But the mob in Bangladesh did not ask whose god is from the much maligned ‘cow belt.’ The mob came for the idol worshipers.

Meanwhile, neighboring West Bengal celebrated the annual Durga Puja festival with great pomp and show. Some Durga Puja committees even made idols of Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee. After all, she stopped the cow belt outsiders this year. She deserves all the devotion she can get. They say that Durga Puja is just a cultural festival. In fact, it is a festival for all Bengalis, by which I mean all the Bengalis who live on this side of the border, where it is still 70:30. Across the border, not so much.

Where do you think Sheikh Hasina stands on all this? Or let me put it like this. What do you think a veteran politician, with 17 years of experience as Prime Minister under her belt, is likely to do? Is she going to side with the community that has 90% of the votes or the community that has 8% of the votes, especially in light of projections like this?

She is going to go out and tell the world that she is all for secularism and harmony. And on the inside, she is going to give a free hand to Islamists to wipe out the Hindu minority. On both fronts, she is being extremely effective right now.

On the domestic front, you know that Hindus can protest all they want. But everyone knows it is a lost cause. Just ask the Bihari laborers fleeing from Kashmir right now. Once the demography shifts, it is basically over.

On the international front, Sheikh Hasina already has it made. The tactical alliance between liberals and Islamists worldwide will protect her reputation. All she had to do was go up to the podium and denounce the anti-Hindu violence for the record. The global liberal media did the rest. They declared her an icon of secularism and progressive ideals. In fact, they will make this another occasion to bash up India’s reputation.

See? Sheikh Hasina spoke up against anti-Hindu riots in a dozen districts of Bangladesh. Remember the time when some drunk guy threw a stone at a church window in Navi Mumbai? Why can’t Modi condemn that?

Frankly, the hard part for Sheikh Hasina is to maintain a neutral expression while facing the camera, instead of bursting into laughter.

All over the world, the Hinduphobic template has been set by the left. They have marked out the Hindus as global villains. They have marked Hindu culture as something to be “dismantled.” The global liberal complex just rescued the reputation of the Taliban. Guarding the reputation of Sheikh Hasina is almost too easy for them.

And so they are on the job. They put disclaimers against the anti-Hindu violence in public and in private, they follow it with much glee. Along with that, they turn the issue on its head. Instead of asking questions to the government of Bangladesh, they ask questions to Hindutva forces in India.

Sheikh Hasina is sensible and secular, they say. She is the one who keeps radical Islamists in check.

I began by mentioning Hitler and how he came to be known for his appeals for world peace. Actually, there is more. When there were allegations that Hitler was putting Jews in camps, the New York Times correspondent reported that the Jews were being so well treated that they were actually gaining weight during their stay in these camps. Back in the day, the New York Times would tell readers around the world that Hitler is actually a moderate. That Hitler is the man who can keep the radicals in the Nazi party in check.

Look who put curbs on “zealous Nazis,” even “rebuked” those who discriminated against Jews.

Sound similar? Now please go open the New York Times for your daily intake of ‘liberalism.’

The illegal and unconstitutional Republic of Singhu is now a fully functional dictatorship.

I have heard of the Indo-Pak border, as well as the Indo-China border. But if you have followed the news at any point during the last twelve months, you would have heard of this mysterious frontier known as “Singhu border.” Where exactly is this Singhu border?

That is how it all began. In Nov 2020, a group of so called protesters, originating somewhere in Punjab, began to smash their way across Haryana towards Delhi. When they arrived, they set up their camps on the highways and cut off all access to Delhi. It was a spectacle. India’s capital was suddenly under siege. And folks on all sides of the political divide began to call it “Singhu border.”

Yes, it was an innocuous term to begin with. It had probably already been in use by locals, to refer to the border between Delhi & Haryana. But suddenly, like Doklam or Siachen, everyone in India came to know about “Singhu border.”

This is not an isolated example. Other terminology commonly used for military deployments, was soon in use. The protesters said they had arrived with “rations” to stay all winter and more. As if there is no rice, wheat nor dal available in Delhi. As if grain to feed the protesters has to be carted all the way from Punjab. But it fed into the mentality that the protesters are troops of some kind, who need to have supply chains and stores in order to stay put in hostile territory.

Go watch the coverage at the time these protests began. Folks getting on their tractors and caravans to report as if on some kind of border conflict. How many people in this caravan? How much food are you carrying? How do you plan to stay warm? How long do you think you can stay put?

The answers were in a similar tone. This or that group of farmers is doing “kooch” they said. And we swallowed it. If someone died anywhere for any reason, they were declared “shaheed.” We let these assertions go by unchallenged. If the protesters were delusional, we all reinforced it.

The government pampered them by letting them set up a no-go zone right outside Delhi. That was the biggest mistake of all, right on the lines of Shaheen Bagh. The folks at Shaheen Bagh had their own illegal security forces and even some kind of “passport control.” I can only assume there was something similar happening at Singhu “border.”

Soon, their language became even more militant. Every Republic Day, the Indian Army marches down Rajpath with a show of tanks and fighter planes. The folks at Singhu border wanted to parody this with their own “tractor march.” Riding their tractors as if they are pretend tanks, they entered Delhi. There they plowed into police forces, trying to crush them under their big wheels. They should all have been arrested then and there.

Incidentally, at the time, I had written an article explaining that a tractor may feel like a tank just because it is big and loud, but it is not. I had noticed a number of viral videos showing the tractors overturning as people tried to ride them at reckless speed. A tank is very stable; it has a low center of gravity. A tractor is quite the opposite. It has a high center of gravity and is therefore prone to overturn if you try to ride it like a fool. But who needs physics when you have ‘liberalism’? Or a hereditary zamindari that comes with caste based political clout. And mafia like control over hapless farm laborers from poorer states and backward sections of society.

Anyway, I digressed. The storming of the Red Fort on Jan 26 should have been a watershed moment. It should have led to a spate of arrests and immediate folding up of this so called movement. It did not. The government let it pass.

What do we have now? We have exactly what you would expect. The illegal and unconstitutional Republic of Singhu is now a fully functional dictatorship. All law is martial, enforced by a fanatical religious police. And we have a poor farm laborer, a Dalit executed in full Taliban style, limbs chopped off and strung up publicly to bleed to death. Like the new Taliban, these protesters understand the power of the internet as a medium. So they made sure that the gruesome killing was captured on video and put up on social media. That is Indian liberalism today.

All they want is an “inclusive” society, for they are “country boys” enforcing their ancient “code of honor.” No, I am not talking of the folks at Singhu. I am talking about how the head of the British military recently described the Taliban.

This brings us to the question of religion and what role it played in the so called protest and in the setting up of the illegal Republic of Singhu. From Day one, it was clear that the protests had a very clear religious dimension. The so called leaders of this so called movement welcomed this religious dimension. They celebrated it. They played the religion card enthusiastically to win support for their cause. They didn’t think twice about their supporters overtly displaying their support for Bhrindanwale. Even after their supporters stormed the Red Fort and planted a certain flag, they never once disavowed the religious card.

Religion and agricultural laws. It is the liberals who wove the two things together. And very explicitly so. Today when there is a horrific crime at the spot, the so called leaders of this movement cannot escape blame by pointing fingers at some religious sect.

Let’s ask this. Who brought the members of that religious sect there to guard the protest site? If the protesters saw themselves as civilians like the rest of us, they would have depended on the police to maintain law and order. But they didn’t. They saw themselves as an invading army out to seize hostile territory. That’s why they brought everything with them, from food supplies to their own armed forces, and presumably their own system of law.

Listen to the mediapersons talking to people at the spot. The protesters refer to the particular religious sect as the “fauj.” And they describe what happened to the poor laborer as a “sazaa.” Nobody challenges them on these assertions.

The liberals set up this illegal republic and its religious police force. They cannot excuse themselves now by blaming some religious sect. If Indian liberalism depends on armed religious police to make its case, then the gruesome murder of Lakhbir Singh is part of that liberalism.

There is also a message here for city dwellers, social media influencers, or anyone else who might be caught up in the sentimentalism around these protests. The image that these people have tried to project is that they are simple farmers, trying to protect their traditional way of life from the ruthless forces of modern capitalism.

In reality, these protesters are rich landholders who sit at the top of a brutal village hierarchy. These protesters did not jump out of some idyllic painting of village life, showing a man plowing the field with a pair of bullocks or a woman carrying a pot of water on her head. They protect a ruthless system that locks people into strict roles based on how they are born, into caste based and gender based roles. Look closely and you will realize that the man plowing the field might have wanted to become a doctor. The woman carrying the water on her head might have dreamed of becoming an engineer or a scientist. But the system that the zamindars follow does not allow for such hopes and dreams. Just see what they did to a poor Dalit farm laborer they suspected of stepping out of line, becoming a “government agent.”

Who can set the people free? Modern capitalism. Yes, modern capitalism, for all its faults, is what sets people free from the brutal feudal system. Remember the 1991 revolution? It was nothing less than a rebirth for the Indian nation. Everything around us is better today because of that moment. Who weakened the shackles of gender and caste? Who set our dreams free? It was modern capitalism.

But that revolution did not touch the agricultural sector. These three new agricultural laws are a way for economic reform to touch the lives of 55 percent of Indians who depend on agriculture. No, they don’t have to flee from the villages. They don’t have to live dismal lives in big city slums because they know even that is better than being a serf in the village. But the zamindars don’t want change. They want the old system to continue. They want everyone to live and die within the old informal system. Because it works for them (and only for them).

You know the word ‘annadata’ is an old form of salutation in the villages. Those who actually work the land had to use this salutation to address those who own the land. If they didn’t show the zamindars enough respect, the poor laborers used to risk being thrashed. That is the system the zamindars want to keep. That is why they have gathered at Singhu, demanding that we address them as “annadata.”

Go back and watch the video again, if you dare. Look into the eyes of poor Lakhbir Singh, begging for his life. And tell me now: which system do you like better?

The way liberals grovel, they have no right to call anyone else a “bhakt”

“This Navratri, a Gauri’s son is put in jail.”

Exact words from a liberal. And he wrote the same thing in two different languages, just so that the masters would notice.

I said this on Day 1, when everyone was telling us this was a big story. How big? So big that multi-million dollar media houses would not dare to name the superstar whose son had been picked up by the Narcotics Control Bureau. I said on that day itself that I have no interest in this story. Celebrities around the world get into trouble with drugs now and then. Basically, this happens anywhere you have a group of rich, spoiled people with more success in their lap than they can handle and/or deserve. So why should India be any different? And why should anyone care?

Initially, liberals appeared to be on board with this kind of thinking. Who cares if some rich 23 year old has drug issues? Let the law take its own course. We have much bigger things to worry about in our country. Some of them even floated the accusation that the BJP itself had been pushing the media to make a big deal out of this story, in order to take some of the attention away from the violence in Lakhimpur.

Then, the matter began the unravel. The foot soldiers of liberalism didn’t even suspect what their masters were up to.

All of liberal glitterati, led by Bollywood, began to grovel. So did the media, even the sepoys of the Washington Post and New York Times posted in India. From what I gather, even foreign newspapers are getting in on the story. India is “intolerant” because someone with a Muslim surname isn’t getting bail fast enough in a drug related case. That is how insane things are.

Now, the purpose of this post is not to complain about such morons. The purpose of this post is to ridicule them for groveling in front of some 23 year old who has achieved nothing in his life.

Okay, maybe he is young. Maybe he did something wrong. Or maybe he didn’t. I have no idea if he is guilty. I told you I have no interest in the case. My question is this: why are you liberals rubbing your noses on the ground in front of him? Whether he is guilty or not, whether he is young or not, we can all agree that he has achieved nothing in his life. Then, why grovel?

We all know the answer to that. They are groveling in front of him because his dad is rich.

They know that the rich parents must be aggrieved at what their son is going through. They know that the parents, however rich they may be, are emotionally vulnerable right now. So they prostrate before the rich dad at this time. Their fond hope: rich dad might remember their groveling, and at a later date, toss a lakh or too at them. Daddy has so many contacts that he can click his fingers and get these people gigs that might change their lives. And so they grovel before a 23 year old.

All of them, they grovel. Bollywood starlets, producers, journalists, columnists, so called public intellectuals, all…

And THAT is Indian liberalism. Pathetic and disgusting. With no moral fiber, no ideology. Not a bone of intellectual honesty nor self-respect anywhere in their body. Just a wiggling mass of worms, a disgusting jelly like blob of bootlickers.

And these people call others “bhakts.”

No, I do not even want to bring PM Modi into this discussion. He is Prime Minister of India, who worked his way up from a tea seller. We should not even compare him to some 23 year old who has done nothing in his life.

But think about this. If the liberals can grovel like this in front of some rich actor, think how these people grovel in front of real power. Think about how they groveled before the big business houses or political monopolies of old. Think how they groveled at the feet of the dynasty when they ruled for four decades straight.

Try this right now. Go to the Twitter timeline of any liberal right now. You will find something or the other from them about how great this 23 year old guy is. Now think how easy it must be to buy off these people with some scholarship or some third rate honor from an American university, a free trip to some Western country, or perhaps even an expensive watch or maybe even a ride in an expensive car.

Yeah, these intellectuals are out to ‘dismantle’ Hindutva alright… These intellectuals say they are out to speak truth to power. Ha! When they are turning tricks on every corner in the hope that some rich actor will toss them a dime…

Yes, there is sycophancy everywhere, including among BJP supporters, but nothing like this. See if you can get BJP supporters to compare some 23 year old accused in drug related cases to “Gauri’s son.” You can’t. Because BJP supporters, whatever their faults, are people of conscience. The BJP has a million faults and so do its supporters, but the so called “bhakts” are putting their conscience first. In fact, whenever the BJP veers towards sycophancy, such as organizing a grand welcome for PM on his return from the UN, you see “bhakts” quivering with embarrassment.

On the liberal side, there is no such thing. For them, a 23 year old with a rich dad is reason enough for them to rub their noses on the ground. There is no conscience, no honesty and no self-respect. There is only a desperate competition for crumbs…

Coal crisis: How global media is attacking India to reduce China’s embarrassment

The following is a headline from the UK based Financial Times newspaper on Oct 6

Notice the phrase “China and India.” But why? As the article itself would admit:

As of October 3, India’s 135 thermal power plants had just four days’ worth of coal stocks, down from 13 days on August 1, the power ministry said on Tuesday.

In other words, the “crisis” hasn’t even happened yet, at least by the time of the writing of the article. So how did the Financial Times work out that there is a crisis in “China and India”?

Okay, four days is not a very long time and maybe you cannot fault the Financial Times for looking a bit ahead. We will come to this. But first let us note the similar spate of articles about India’s looming power crisis in global media. Here is the BBC:

“Brink” of an unprecedented power crisis. So it hasn’t happened yet. And here is Al Jazeera on Oct 6.

Again, pay close attention to the exact words. India “faces” a growing crisis. So it hasn’t happened yet. But we already have the Financial Times, BBC and Al Jazeera warning us about what is going to happen. See the level of concern for India. See how much they love us and worry about us. Isn’t it touching?

Now, is there a problem with coal supplies in India at the moment? Absolutely. The Central government is having non-stop meetings with state governments, coal suppliers and all stakeholders to keep the supply chain from breaking down. Many mines have been flooded due to monsoon rain. In the international market, the price of coal (as with energy in general) has shot up massively. Power demand is surging with the economy showing a strong recovery. The festival season is here as well. A perfect storm. And so, Coal India is ramping up production, BCCL is racing against the clock. Basically, it is all hands on deck.

But the blackouts haven’t happened yet. We are on thin ice, but we are getting by. You cannot deny that.

Then why is the international media so interested? Why are they circling like birds of prey, eager to pick India apart?

Am I being too prickly here? Isn’t the media just doing its job, picking up early on a big story that literally affects hundreds of millions of people?

Yes, I would have said that. But only if I noticed a similar eagerness in the media to pick up on the much bigger and actually ongoing (instead of “looming“) power crisis in China.

In China, things are bad. When a power crisis happens, the usual thing is for factories to be shut down first. Household electricity supply is always given top priority. But in China, the trouble spread from factories to people’s homes at least two weeks ago. In many provinces across China, the government is switching off household power during the day, advising folks to make do with sunlight. Power supply at night is not guaranteed either, and people are learning to live with flashlights and generators.

The factory shutdowns in China have already impacted global supply chains. There are reports that the government in China is giving some preference to suppliers of the biggest name brands such as Apple and Tesla, just to maintain some appearance that things are fine. But you can’t fool everyone. Goldman-Sachs has already cut its GDP forecast for China. In other words, all the things that happen in the late stages of a crisis have already happened. Unlike India, where the crisis is still “looming.”

So how did the global media, if it was ever doing its job, miss the crisis in China? Why are they only talking about it only now that the blackouts are in plain sight, the factories have come to a halt and the GDP growth cuts have already been measured? Why didn’t they panic a week in advance like they did for India?

Show me all those articles in BBC and Al Jazeera and such warning about China months ago, counting down from a week before the crisis. I tried to find such articles dated from June, July or August. Considering how big the Chinese economy is and how vital their manufacturing is for the world, you would have expected the global media giants to be hot on their trail for the biggest story of the year.

I didn’t find anything. The closest I came was this story in Bloomberg on Sep 16, when the crisis was already running deep in China.

Did you notice the exact wording of the headline? And don’t miss the line below it: China poised for winter power deficit despite preparation. Be scared. Be very scared.

The most incisive observation I came across in recent years was this line I read somewhere: the pandemic didn’t change the world, it only revealed who is really in charge.

Maybe you are thinking: but India is a democracy. We are not China, where the only news that leaks out is how global factors are to blame for the problems in China. And how people should get ready for a crisis, despite preparation by dear leader Xi Jinping. In contrast, everything about India is in the open, despite what Freedom House says.

In that case, how about the United Kingdom, the home of the BBC?

Ah, the military. On the streets of a free country, distributing fuel to citizens. The first sign of a thriving first world nation, right?

No, this is not some British version of NREGA to give dignity to their soldiers with nothing to do after the surrender in Afghanistan. This is a full blown crisis. In many British cities, up to 90 percent of petrol pumps have run dry.

They say the crisis is not one of fuel itself, but of truck drivers. Apparently, these truck drivers used to be mostly migrants from poorer European Union countries. And now they have all gone home. Also apparently, there was no way to predict this crisis even four days before it happened…

Right, BBC?

So the global media couldn’t see the crisis coming in China. And when it came, they found themselves reminding people everywhere that dear leader Xi Jinping has been preparing for this. And that it isn’t his fault anyway, but the fault of everyone else. They couldn’t even foresee the day when the military would be needed to keep British people supplied with fuel.

But they have been on high alert about India. They have been looking out for us for weeks now.

One final thing. In this global energy crisis, where are our saviors? Where are our visionaries and our revolutionaries? There is another Friday coming up this week. I suppose a school strike might be in order. No Fridays for future to save us now?

Greta Thunberg leads a school strike and sits outside of the Swedish Parliament in an effort to force politicians to act on climate change on August 28, 2018 in Stockholm, Sweden

I know, I know. How dare I ask…

Air India privatized : The obstructionists who are trying to stop Modi on farm laws will one day be mocked by history

I was too young to remember any policy details of Atalji’s government. But as a news geek from a very young age, I did have some vague idea of what was going on. I remember the quote from Arun Shourie that it is not the business of government to be in business. Mostly because this statement was seen as outrageous at the time and thoroughly attacked by the opposition.

What else do I remember from the Vajpayee era? There was the disinvestment of BALCO, which was taken over by Sterlite. Oh my god, they said: the government is selling the country! Vajpayee’s ministry of disinvestment was seen almost as a ministry of treachery. It’s motivations were seen as suspect even by hardcore BJP supporters.

The other two things I remember from that era were about telecom and airports. They told me Vajpayee was privatizing both. Like I said, I am writing this mostly from memory, created by impressions I had at the time. By the time the privatization actually happened, the UPA was already in office. But it is Vajpayee who began pushing this mountain. Indeed, getting India’s bureaucratic swamp to consider a new idea is like pushing a mountain. And this is not even the modern bureaucracy that we still make fun of. This is the bureaucracy of 20 years ago… we applied for my passport in 1999 and received it in mid-2002! Tell this to the kids on Instagram today. Gosh…do I feel old…

Now imagine what it took to push this bureaucracy to consider privatizing airports. The leftists knew their enemy and recognized it from a great distance. They brought their thug armies on to the streets, creating a feeling of apocalypse. You have to give it to the leftists. They are habitually uncreative and unwilling to work. But they are extremely agile in recognizing when their way of life is being threatened.

Why am I telling this story today? Am I just trying to be a cranky old man rambling about the way things were? Perhaps just a little. But more than that, I am amazed at the way people are reacting to the privatization of Air India. When the government announced it yesterday, it seemed like a wave of delight ran through social media.

I am sure there are hardcore leftists in a corner somewhere, curled up with a book on Che Guevera, and sobbing away. But even they know their time is up.

How this nation has changed…

There was a time when we all assumed that having a sarkari job was the height of prestige. Today, I would say it is mildly embarrassing.

How this nation has changed.

This makes me wonder about future changes to come. The ball never stops, it keeps rolling. It should always be rolling from one generation to the next. It’s the sign of being a living nation.

I’m thinking about those who are 20 years younger than me. Kids who are on the cusp of finishing high school and about to start college. Yes, I’m going to call them kids. I bet their political consciousness is just forming. Like me back in 1999, they probably don’t know or don’t read most of the details, but they do have a general sense of what’s going on.

What do these kids see? They see people swarming on the streets to block something called “agricultural reforms.” They see an embattled government under siege by a highly vocal group. It’s actually a small minority, but they know how to make noise. Just as the big labor unions did in the Vajpayee era.

And ironically, that gives me hope.

Because these people will eventually give way. Seen through the lens of today, the only question that people would ask about Vajpayee’s reforms is why they were not done sooner. The obstructionists of that era are seen as villains today. Or perhaps more damagingly for them, as objects of mockery.

The farm laws need not have been such a big deal. But the obstructionists chose this as their defining battle. Very well then. One day there will be no more Modi sarkar, but the impression of this “battle” will remain in the minds of those growing up today.

The reforms of 1991 touched every sector of our economy, except for agriculture. One day, the reforms will come to the agriculture sector as well. It is inevitable. It may be under this government or under a future government. Maybe the kids of today will be grown up by then. And then they will ask: how come this was such a big deal when we were kids?

In some ways, those who are opposing agriculture reforms are actually doing Modi a favor. They are fixing in the minds of the people the image of Modi as the great reformer, the one who stood up to bullying by so called “farmer unions.” At one time, labor unions like CITU and INTUC could derail India whenever they wanted. Today, they are the punchline for jokes. The same will happen eventually to the “farmer union heroes” of today.

Yes, the historians will continue to write “history” and in that stuff, Yogendra Yadav and his cohort will likely be heroes. But the other side is writing the memories of people.

There is an irony here. The left controls long term memory, because they always write history. The right controls short term memory. I remember how these loser leftists screeched against Vajpayee for “selling the country.” But in the long game, this is still short term memory. Because no human being lasts forever.

In other words, how to convert this “long short term memory” into truly “long long term memory”? That is the question before the right.

There is a final turn of the wheel here. Because even “long long term memory” does not last forever. Beyond that, there is “long long long term memory.” This is a hundred year horizon, when the partisans of a previous era are all dead and forgotten. At that point, the things they argued over seem quaint and pointless to us. They can no longer stir partisan passions. This is what happens when you read say the history of late 19th century America today. Who would want to take sides today in some conflict over wage rates for railroad workers in Wyoming in say the 1890s?

Depending on how you view the world, you decide which horizon is most important to you. Ultra short term memory (till next election), short term memory (2 elections), long short term memory (1 lifetime), long long term memory (2-3 generations) or long long long term memory (4 generations+). None of these horizons is intrinsically more valuable than any other.

You decide. And sorry if I sounded a bit like Pratap Bhanu Mehta. Now that is someone you should always have contempt for, in every horizon.

This is not just your highway and your country, it is mine too

A lightly edited version of this article appeared as a column on News18 here.

The initial fog surrounding the events in Lakhimpur Kheri in Uttar Pradesh is now lifting somewhat. It appears that a car was attacked by protesters. Eight people are reportedly dead, which includes four protesters, one driver, one mediaperson and two BJP workers lynched by an angry mob.

How did senseless violence of this sort come to pass? Because, for over a year now, we have allowed a group of highly entitled people to spread anarchy everywhere around the national capital region. If they want to seize a road, a railway or a highway, they can. If they want to destroy mobile phone towers, they can. No laws seem to apply to them. They dictate terms to the elected government and to the Supreme Court from the streets. And also to common people, who are being held hostage in traffic jams and stopped trains all across northern India.

The needs of common folk who are just trying to live their lives, does not seem to matter. The needs of businesses, limping back to normalcy after the devastating second wave, do not seem to matter. In fact, they appear to be exempt from the pandemic itself, because no covid restrictions have been applied to them in the past one year. The message is simple. If you are someone who is creating value and/or contributing to the economy, you do not matter. Because there is someone blocking your way, armed with a slogan and a song, and who fancies themselves as a revolutionary. This makes them better and more important than you are.

They call themselves farmers, or even “annadatas,” the latter with an even greater sense of entitlement. And therein lies the rub. Because anybody can see that they do not represent all farmers, nor the majority of farmers or even a significant minority of farmers. The numbers make this obvious. Over half of all Indians depend on agriculture. If 600 million people had a problem with something, they would not need such guerrilla tactics, such as blocking this or that highway. They could bring the country to a halt within hours, and get whatever they wanted.

In other words, ‘farmers’ do not need to call for Bharat Bandh, because farmers are Bharat. The only reason these protesters are calling for Bharat Bandh and imposing it on others is precisely because they lack popular support.

So if not farmers, who do these people actually represent? It has been a year. There has been sufficient awareness around these new agricultural laws and saturation coverage in the media of the protests against them. If more people wanted to join, they certainly would have joined by now. The onus is now on the protesters themselves to prove that their agitation extends beyond a certain community, based mostly out of one state.

This is where things get even more complex. Simply looking at the images, it is impossible to miss that these protests are coming from a particular religious demographic, not farmers. And that is exactly what many of the subversive elements lurking among the protesters want from us. They want India to open up old wounds and revive Sikh militancy. They are daring us openly with images of Bhrindanwale, as well as Khalistan supporters shuttling in and out of their new bases in Canada and Britain, provoking people.

This is a trap, and it is a well-thought out one. If we comment on the religious identity of the protesters, the subversive elements will use it to spread further anti-India sentiments within the community. If we do not, we have to refer to them as farmers, and treat them as if they represent everyone in India who depends on agriculture.

The provocation has been consistent, extreme and reached its height during the Red Fort incident on January 26. Which nation would allow its seat of power to be stormed thus and their flag insulted on the day that commemorates the founding of their republic? On that day, the so called protesters chased policemen into a ditch with their big wheels. The violence in Lakhimpur is not likely to be the last.

This is a template that has been going around since the 2019 elections. First came Shaheen Bagh, then the Delhi riots, which the High Court now says were a pre-planned conspiracy. Now the so called farmer protests. Pick up a cause and rule the country through the streets. Or more precisely, overrule the mandate on the streets.

An early version of this approach was tested as far back as October 2019, with the highly misguided movement to save “Aarey forest” in Mumbai. As a result, the underground metro has been pushed back by at least four more years, during which Mumbaikars will face traffic jams and spew millions of tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, instead of using a cleaner, greener and more efficient public transportation system. But as long as you can write good protest poetry, who cares?

The roots of this lie within a group of people who think this country is not theirs any more, just because Narendra Modi won the 2019 elections. They have grappled with accusations of having a comfortable arrangement with the ruling class of sixty years, and living off the fat of the land. They cannot refute this allegation because it is so obviously true. They are grateful to suddenly have in their midst a handful of protesters with weather-beaten faces, which can help the liberal elite change their image.

And so they carry on, amplifying this so called farmer movement, giving it legitimacy in media and on the academic circuit, using their connections in India and abroad. Just yesterday, there was a police baton charge against protesting farmers in Hanumangarh in Rajasthan. Were the farmers in Rajasthan not hardworking enough or not human enough? Perhaps the problem is that they were not useful enough to the narrative that liberals were looking for.

They made a career out of protesting against lynching, but today they cannot even acknowledge the BJP workers lynched by the mob in Lakhimpur. Also note that when there is a law and order situation in Uttar Pradesh, there are no strange excuses made. Such as the state having a history of political violence, which apparently works as an excuse for the chief ministers of Bengal or Kerala. They do not care about the fires they stoke, whether in Kashmir or in Punjab. Because they are willing to let this country burn to the ground if it helps to stop Prime Minister Modi.

Elections will come and go, but the nation remains. This nation is its people. We the people: farmers, workers, professionals, students, entrepreneurs; we just want to keep going. Let us pass. Do not assume that the highway is yours alone. Because it simply isn’t. Pick up the constitution and read.

‘Mother of Democracy’ : India’s ancient republics need to be recognized for their place in world history

A lightly edited version of this article, written jointly with Sumedha Verma Ojha, appeared in The Indian Express here. The unabridged version is presented here.

On Sept 25, when Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressed the 76th session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York, he made an important historical point on the world stage. India is not just the world’s largest democracy, but also the ‘mother of democracy.’ This assertion would unsettle several long held Western notions about our world, and it should. The existence of proto-forms of democracy and republicanism in ancient India is part of the common heritage of humanity. And as such, it deserves an important place in our shared view of the past.

There are two pillars of the modern world. The first is science based rational thinking, and the second is democracy. Even China or North Korea, the most authoritarian of states, refer to themselves as people’s republics or for that matter, democratic people’s republics. If nothing else, this reflects the brand value of democracy in the world today. It is also telling that both scientific thinking and democracy are often believed to be Western inventions, reflecting Western ascendancy over our world.

In recent years, these beliefs have been challenged. There has been a move to recognize advances in science made in the past by non-Western societies as well as by people of color. The Pythagorean theorem, for instance, was well known in ancient India. It would be more historically accurate to refer to the Fibonacci numbers perhaps as Pingala’s numbers or Hemachandra’s numbers. But as names such as ‘Pythagorean theorem’ or ‘Fibonacci number’ show, the old beliefs, and the assumptions that go with them are still strong. As Joe Biden noted last year, they don’t tell you how a black man contributed to the making of the electric bulb. In a similar vein, it is time to fix the historical record on the origins of democracy.

The evidence for republics in ancient India has always been available in plain sight. In the Shanti Parva of the Mahabharata, republics (called ganas) are mentioned, along with the essential features of administering them and keeping them together. The earliest sources are found in the Vedas themselves, which describe at least two forms of republican governance. The first would consist of elected kings. This has always been seen as an early form of democracy, later practiced in Europe, especially in the Polish-Lithuanian commonwealth between the 14th and 18th centuries.

The second form described in the Vedas is that of rule without a monarch, with power vested in a council or sabha. Quite strikingly for its age, the membership of such sabhas was not always determined by birth, but often by those who had distinguished themselves by their actions. In fact, there is even a hint of the modern bicameral system of legislatures, with the sabha often sharing power with the samiti, which was made up of common people. The “vidhaata” or the assembly of people for debating policy, military matters and important issues impacting all, has been mentioned more than a hundred times in the Rig Veda. Both women and men took part in these deliberations, a far cry from the Greeks who did not even admit women (or slaves)  as full citizens of their “democracies” and only “ free men” could vote.

Other sources appear in the Ashtadhyayi of Panini, the Arthashastra of Kautilya, as well as a variety of ancient Buddhist and Jain writings. Panini states that while some of the city states (called janapadas) had kings, others did not. Buddhist and Jain texts list 16 powerful states or mahajanapadas of the time. These are divided into the rajyas (monarchies) and the ganas (republics). Kautilya’s Arthashastra even suggests various means for the Maurya emperors to undermine and ultimately conquer these ganas. After Alexander’s invasion in 327 BCE, Greek historians also record coming into contact with Indian states that did not have kings.

The Lichchavi state of Vaishali in particular, deserves special mention, because its existence is so well documented. Buddhist writings, in both Pali and Sanskrit, describe in detail Vaishali’s rivalry, and its ultimate defeat to the neighboring Magadha, which was a monarchy. The gana-sangha model of participatory governance practiced in Vaishali deserves to be at least as well known as the systems in the ancient Greek city of Athens.

It is interesting to note that the long battle of attrition between Magadha and Vaishali, which happened during the 16 Mahajanpadas era and resulted in the hegemony of Magadha was a fight also between two systems of governance, ganatantra and rajatantra. Both systems have deep roots in Bharat and had the Licchavis won, the trajectory of governance may well have been non-monarchical in the subcontinent.

How did Rajatantra and the Raja function in practice? Was it a “off with his head” kind of system with complete concentration of powers in one person? In Indic political theory and practice; no. 

Instead, any state is thought of as composed of seven elements, the first three according to Kautilya, are Swami or the King, Amatya or the ministers (administration) and Janapada or the people. The King must function on the advice and counsel of the Amatyas for the good of the people. The Amatyas are appointed from amongst the people (there are also entrance tests mentioned in the Arthashastra).  Indeed as per a famous shloka of the Arthashastra, in the happiness and benefit of his people lies the happiness and benefit of the King. Isn’t this the lodestone of democracy: good of the people? It can be postulated therefore that in India from times long past, the idea of the primacy of the people who make up a state, democratic ideals in fact, have been at the center of the discourse; perhaps we can think of a “democratic monarch”?

Of course, it would be unreasonable to expect republics in ancient India, as with the Greek city of Athens, to have developed full-fledged democratic institutions as we would understand them today.  As late as 1780s, when America was founded, voting rights were restricted to (white) males who owned property or paid taxes, which amounted to a mere 6 percent of the population. The idiosyncrasies of that old system are still visible today. When Americans vote in a modern presidential election, they are in fact choosing an electoral college which technically still has the power to overrule the people’s choice and select someone else as President. As with scientific advancement, democracy remains and will always be a work in progress.

Another criticism of the idea of India as “mother of democracy” would be that there is no surviving direct line between the ancient ganas and the modern Republic of India. However, the same applies to ancient Greek city-states, which have gone through several rounds of conquest and been under multiple empires. If the line survives, it is as a way of thinking.  The Uthiramerur inscription in Kanchipuram in Tamil Nadu, dated between the 7th and 9th century CE, records an elaborate voting system for self-administration. 

The stability of India’s democratic institutions is more or less an exception among post colonial states since 1945. In fact, India’s current constitution is older than that of several major European countries, including France, which follows a constitution created only in 1958. This stability of the Indian system is best explained by an ancient system of thought that contains expressions of democracy.

Somewhat perversely, the ultimate validation for India’s ancient republics comes from colonial era historians. They recognized the philosophical problems posed to their belief in Western supremacy and the idea of white man’s burden. As with Macaulay’s railings that ancient India had produced no usable knowledge, these historians tried to explain away the existence of such republics in desperate ways. At least one historian tried to put forth the idea that gana might have referred to a collection of animals!

Why is it so important in the 21st century for us to recognize the origins of democracy in ancient India? There are at least two reasons. First, India is a growing power on the world stage and there are responsibilities that come with that.  India has to offer its own narrative on world history, as well as provide the world with a vision that goes fifty, or even one hundred years ahead. For the world to see history through the eyes of an ascendant India, we have to highlight ancient India’s pole position in world affairs.

We as a nation are not aspiring upstarts. We are the nation that inspired great journeys, from those of Alexander to the voyage of Columbus. We are, as it were, the original shining city on the hill. 

The other reason of course is the gradual darkening of horizons, with the rise of China in world affairs.  There are apparent signs of fatigue and general loss of confidence in the United States. The power struggles of  the near future are becoming clear. It is also a struggle to define history and take it forward. At this time, an India that sees its own democracy as a pale imitation of an Anglo-American system is neither good for itself nor the world.