Bengal : They demanded education, but the police pumped them full of bullets

I have been aware of this incident for the last several days now. I considered blogging about it several times. Honestly, it has become mentally exhausting. To open the big big file of “secular crimes that must be ignored” and add one more to the list.

Here is the gist. Or perhaps we should call them ‘bullet points.’  The place is the small town of Islampur in West Bengal. Students there at a High School were demanding teachers for various subjects. But the state government didn’t care. What they got instead was an Urdu teacher. The students kept protesting. The police fired.

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As of now, the death toll has risen to two.

Who cares for these two kids? Nobody.

If you ask West Bengal police, they didn’t kill these kids. It is all a ‘conspiracy.’ Everything in Bengal is a conspiracy, or “saajano ghotona” (fake incident).

This famous expression “saajano ghotona” entered the Bengali political lexicon several years ago, when CM Mamata Banerjee famously said that the Park Street gangrape was a fake incident staged to defame her government. Hardly any candlelight vigils were organized and no feminist came forward to condemn her behavior. If a pro-Modi troll had said something of this nature on Twitter, there would have been global outrage.

I referred to mental exhaustion at the beginning of this post. How many times can I repeat the same exact thing over and over again? How many times can I point out that they cry for some suspicious “tribal rights activists” who are facing house arrest, but they look the other way when an actual tribal like Trilochan Mahato is murdered and hanged from a tree.

There are also reports that one of the key demands of the students was for a Bengali teacher. They got Urdu instead. Where are all the Bengali chauvinists who have sprung up all over the media recently with TMC support? All of them are hiding somewhere, eager to offer utter surrender of Bengali culture under the boot of Urdu language.

This is why I never have a jot of respect for any of these mushrooming linguistic movements in the country. They have nothing to do with giving space to India’s diverse identities, they are just Trojan horses sent to splinter India. Mention Urdu and they will surrender abjectly in no time.

Mental exhaustion aside, we have little choice but to keep highlighting these incidents. Is it possible at some level to finally wake up Hindus to the reality that a state of apartheid against them exists in this country? I have begun to doubt it. But we have no option but to keep trying. After all, everything is at stake.

 

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Can Ayushman Bharat be genocide? Ask elite journo Punya Prasun Bajpai

Prime Minister Narendra Modi formally launched Ayushman Bharat, now aptly renamed the Pradhan Mantri Jan Aarogya Yojana (PMJAY) at a massive gathering in Ranchi yesterday. Over 10 crore of India’s poorest families will be covered under this scheme, which approximates to over 50 crore or a whopping 500 million people who will now be covered.

It is practically redundant to point out that this is the largest scheme of such nature that the world has ever seen. But it is probably important to point out, as Modi did yesterday, that while some parties have ruled for 6 decades in the name of the “poor,” they couldn’t envision something of this magnitude to actually help the poor.

The key feature of this scheme is that it brings private competition into the mass market of Indian healthcare. This is something that deserves to be understood in full.

Until now, only the rich had access to private healthcare, while the poor were stuck with mostly lousy government hospitals. What was the underlying market reason for that?

Because, so far, there was no way for the poor to afford private healthcare at any sustainable price point. As such, there was no incentive for private healthcare providers to find ways to lower costs. Hence, private healthcare remained something marketed exclusively to the rich.

Things have changed now. Suddenly, every poor person in India has Rs 5 lakh of government money attached to them. This generates incentive for private players to cut costs and invite in this massive pool of new customers. The underlying economics is always the same, whether with mobile phones, computers or air travel. When you can reach out to a larger market, costs go down for everybody.

Ayushman Bharat, which covers 500 million people, could well turn out to be Prime Minister Modi’s greatest legacy.

Of course, because this is Modi, we can expect that starting today, the eminent liberals in our media will be on a mission to find glitches and shortcomings in the scheme.

Let me give you fair warning. Our media may soon inform you that Ayushman Bharat is NOT perfect. Unlike all those other schemes in the world that involve 500 million people. 

After all, the one thing that Ayushman Bharat does not cover is Modi Derangement Syndrome. The symptoms of this disease are a complete loss of logic, balance and reason. People in media, academia and intelligentsia who had it real good during the rule of Sonia Gandhi are particularly at risk. The progression of this degenerative brain disease takes people from hating Modi to hating Hindus to hating India and finally to a job at some outlet such as The Wire.

Let me give you just one example of an early sufferer who was displaying advanced stage symptoms in mid 2015 itself. Here is Punya Prasun Bajpai, then a prominent anchor at Aaj Tak, sitting down with Amit Shah to discuss the first year of Modi Sarkar (watch from 19:10)

Amit Shah: As far as marketing is concerned, it is a must. Unless I proclaim loudly on Aaj Tak that accident insurance is available for just Rs 12, how will people know about it and avail it?

P P Bajpai: Sir, these facilities that you want to provide after death; the public is wondering why your schemes cannot help when they are alive.

Amit Shah: What? Are you against the concept of insurance?

P P Bajpai : No, we are worried about getting two meals first…

Amit Shah: No seriously, are you against the concept of insurance?

P P Bajpai: We are against all schemes that push people towards death…

Amit Shah: Huh? Push people towards death… 

Kids, this is your brain on liberalism. This is what Modi Derangement Syndrome can do to you. You get so carried away in your hatred for all things connected to Modi that you might see strange visions of insurance being something that pushes people towards death!

I wonder what Punya Prasun Bajpai is thinking today, with Ayushman Bharat being rolled out for 500 million people. This must be a genocide, then? They all said it. Modi is like Hitler. And now the Ayushman Bharat holocaust is finally here.

I can imagine Punya Prasun Bajpai hiding inside his house right now, possibly throwing feces at a wall. And screaming uncontrollably that Modi is pushing 500 million people towards their deaths. And how the voice of balanced, unbiased journalists like him is being silenced.

What do you think he is doing?

 

Uttar Pradesh still frozen in time; BJP needs to move the needle

So I happened to catch the highlights of India Today’s new series “Political Stock Exchange” yesterday, which focused on Uttar Pradesh. Now, Pradip Gupta at Axis may have got Karnataka horribly wrong, but he has done enough good work as a pollster to be taken very seriously.

The Axis data from Uttar Pradesh confirms my suspicions, both good and bad, as a state frozen in time since 2014. How many people rate the performance of the UP govt as “good”?

It’s 41%

How many people feel Yogi is the best person for CM?

It’s 43%

Basically the same number. And 41-43% also happens to be the voteshare of BJP in both 2014 and 2017.

Who is second most popular choice for UP CM?

It’s Akhilesh at 29%, which is also the vote share of the Congress-SP alliance from 2017.

This shows how tough the situation on the ground is. It might actually be that not even a single voter has changed his/her preference since 2014. Before 2017, the media hoped and hoped that the Modi govt, then 3 years old, was perceived much differently in UP than Narendra Modi in the summer of 2014. But he wasn’t.

And after a year of Yogi Adityanath, things remain the same. No pro-incumbency. No anti-incumbency. ALL BJP voters are happy with Yogi. In ruling Uttar Pradesh for over a year, BJP has won no new friends and made no new enemies.

Which is remarkable. And an achievement in Uttar Pradesh’s complicated polity. Despite all the reports of Jat anger, OBC anger, Dalit anger, supposed Thakur dominance, Brahmin disenchantment, the BJP would probably exactly repeat its 73/80 if it faced the same political formations as in 2014.

But that’s where it gets terrifying, because it means the needle is NOT moving on the ground. Which means the new Mahagathbandhan of SP+BSP+Cong will prevail.

Amit Shah has to do something here, pull off some kind of miracle.

What can be done to move the needle? Can Ayushman Bharat prove to be the solution? The BJP is doing a big thing with Ayushman Bharat in Jharkhand tomorrow. It is an extraordinarily well managed effort, with the PM sending letters to over two lakh families directly. He will be addressing a massive rally in Ranchi tomorrow.

Can Ayushman Bharat be the proxy for what panna pramukhs did for BJP in 2014?

Let’s see what else is there. Everyone understands that Bhim Army chief was released prematurely for a reason. Mayawati’s irritation with Chandrasekhar is obvious … she could not have made that more clear. With the Congress and Chandrasekhar showing some interest in each other, will Mayawati feel threatened enough to snap alliances? She has already smacked down Congress in Chhattisgarh. As such, Congress’ flirtation with Bhim Army chief has already cost them one state. Mayawati is highly egoistic and insecure … the threat doesn’t have to be too big to make her go into a rage.

But these are limited efforts which can only marginally affect the outcome. Ditto goes for Shivpal’s new party. Yes, it may attract some rebels from SP who will be denied tickets due to the seat sharing arrangement with BSP. But with Mahagathbandhan vote share at 50% and BJP at 42-43%, how much can that change the fortunes?

One thing is certain. The BSP will wait for the outcome in the December elections before seat sharing talks are formally started. The BJP will probably get Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh and TRS will win Telangana. And with things the way they are in the North East, maybe BJP will get Mizoram, grabbing it from Congress. If TRS is inducted into NDA at that exact moment, the scoreline will read 4-1. And who knows? There is an article by Sanjay Kumar today (believe it or not!) that says Congress might lose even Rajasthan. When CSDS sees a chance for BJP, you have to forgive BJP supporters for seeing a glimmer of hope.

So, if the Congress is down and out after December, can the BJP bring the curtains down on them by busting the Mahagathbandhan in Uttar Pradesh? Possibly not, but at least it could try. One way to disgrace and discredit them would be to bring down the Karnataka government at the same time. Whatever else happens, simultaneous elections for Karnataka and Lok Sabha will mean a majority for BJP in Bengaluru.

But, to be fair, does the Mahagathbandhan really have any grace that you can show them in disgrace? Does Mayawati have any credibility that can be hurt in some way? There are only 3 ways to tackle BSP and they all involve amoral forms of realpolitik.

One, offer the BSP several heavy garlands in return for staying out of the Mahagathbandhan. The BSP Chief is known to have a fondness for them, no?

The second way is to reopen some forgotten corruption cases. Who knows some of the guilty may have gotten away?

The third option is to make Mayawati an offer she can’t refuse.

Which one will BJP take? The decision is due by Jan 31 at the very latest.

 

BJP now has a clear road in Chhattisgarh

I just have to start today’s post with some self promotion.

I had written in June that I simply do not understand why Mayawati would possibly ally with Congress in Madhya Pradesh or Chhattisgarh. If Congress wins, what is the gain for Mayawati? The only thing it would have done is raised the confidence and bargaining power of the Congress.

Wouldn’t Mayawati want the Congress to be as weak and desperate as possible when they negotiate the seat distribution in Uttar Pradesh?

And that’s exactly what happened. Mayawati set off a celebration of sorts among BJP supporters yesterday when she declared that she would contest Chhattisgarh in alliance with Ajit Jogi. While Jogi’s Janata Congress would contest 55 seats, the BSP would contest the other 35.

The way I see it is this. Rajasthan is very likely gone for BJP. Shivraj Singh Chouhan should win Madhya Pradesh. As always in Chhattisgarh, there would be slim margin between BJP and Congress, with victory going to the one with superior election management.

It is in this that the BJP had a bit of an advantage in Chhattisgarh. With Ajit Jogi out of the Congress, Raman Singh was the only credible leader in the state. Congress faces such as Bhupesh Baghel are simply nowhere compared to him. Add to that Modi’s extreme popularity in Chhattisgarh which should paper over some of the moss that is bound to gather with a state government in power for 15 years.

Even so, the margin in the state was slim even in 2013. Less than 1% actually. In a small assembly with seats decided by slim margins, the BSP joining hands with Congress could have brought doom for the BJP. At that point, the BJP’s only prayer would have been for Ajit Jogi to split votes. Even if Jogi took away 2-3% votes, BJP would win.

But things have turned out even better. Not only did BSP dump the Congress, the BSP signed up with Ajit Jogi’s Janata Congress Party, an alliance that might poll 6-7% votes or more. This turns the arithmetic clearly in favor of BJP. At the very least, the BJP now has got the best possible chessboard it could have wished for in Chhattisgarh. From this point, it is BJP’s election to lose.

It is not just about splitting off Congress votes. An alliance between Jogi and BSP actually creates a rather credible force. Not credible enough to win many seats. But definitely credible enough to mop up disgruntled ticket seekers from big parties. Who has the better discipline? BJP.

The BJP is much more likely to get its rebels to fall in line than the Congress. As CM for 15 years, Raman Singh has complete control over the state BJP. The Congress which still hasn’t settled on a CM face, has nobody who can exercise control over rebels. As such it is a given that the Congress will have many more rebels than the BJP. These rebels now have an attractive new destination to go to and hurt the Congress party.

Let us remember what happened last time. The Congress lost because of “local anti-incumbency” against its sitting MLAs, almost all of whom were renominated, but lost. They are not going to repeat this mistake again. Sitting Congress MLAs who get dropped are sure to go with Jogi and BSP. If the Congress keeps its sitting MLAs, it will face the same kind of local anti-incumbency as last time. No winning options for Congress here.

This is how Chhattisgarh has always been. Back in 2003, it was the late Vidya Charan Shukla, then in NCP, who split off Congress votes and gave BJP the win in Chhattisgarh. In 2013, there was a little known group called Satnami Sena that bit into Congress votes and let Raman Singh scrape through. Many eyebrows were raised when a tiny party such as Satnami Sena, with no resources to speak of, was campaigning with several helicopters (as many as eight helicopters, if I remember correctly). Where did the money come from? Your guess is as good as mine 🙂

Of course, in politics, it is never over until it is actually over. But I am willing to bet that this December there will be celebrations at “Ekatm Parisar”, the BJP’s headquarters in Raipur.

Let me finish this post on Chhattisgarh by paying tribute to the one Congress leader that I have always seen as a hero. That would be the late Mahendra Karma, the Congressman who led the Salwa Judum (the BJP deliberately picked a Congressman to head the Salwa Judum, a statesmanlike attempt to send a message that Salwa Judum is apolitical, formed in national interest with the sole aim of fighting Maoists). And the late Mahendra Karma led the movement with all heart and soul until he was martyred in an ambush by Maoists at Jhiram Ghati in 2013. Om Shanti.

 

Why conversion hurts : how conversion is a form of aggression against India

History matters. Especially when it is a history of imperialism, occupation, colonialism, genocide, mass murder and oppression.

One may ask : why is “conversion” such a sensitive topic for the Hindu right in India? Why is the Hindu right in favor of laws against conversion? What does the Hindu right have against people believing in a religion of their own choosing?

A working democracy requires that every person be entitled to their beliefs and obviously this extends to religion.  But that does not mean we do not recognize conversion (especially mass conversion sponsored by big money from abroad) to be a form of aggression against our nation and our culture.

Perhaps it is too pompous for me to use “we”. Obviously I do not speak for everyone on the Hindu right, perhaps not even for a majority of them, perhaps not even for a significant minority of them. So, let me tell you what I have gathered through personal reflection and reading the views of others on the Hindu right.

First of all, we have to acknowledge a clear difference between religions like Islam/Christianity and “Hinduism.” Here, “Hinduism” suffers the tyranny of the English word “religion.” The notion of propagation, of seeking converts, of constantly increasing the fold, is central to Christianity and Islam, which is what people were really thinking about when they talked of “religion.”

A cornerstone of the modern democratic state is that the government shall not sponsor a religion. These ideas arose from the American and French revolutions. In the United States, it is part of the First Amendment, the so called “Establishment Clause.”  Because religion was all about expansion, the idea was that the government shall play no role in this enterprise of increasing the fold.

But then, the term “religion” was then lazily extended to “Hinduism” in India. Can you give me a Hindi word for “religion”? In fact, I wonder if any Indian language has an exact translation for the English word “religion.” The word that is commonly used in place of “religion” is “dharm.” But pick up any page of any Hindu epic or scripture and you will see that “dharm” is hardly the word for religion. “Dharma” is more often used for duty or righteous path. In fact, most of the epics are quite literally about “dharm sankat,” two people whose duties bring them into conflict with each other. And oftentimes it is the same person who is conflicted between two different obligations/duties. Two different religions for the same person? I think not.  Dharm has nothing to do with religion. Period.

Since our Constitution is a hodge-podge of British conventions and a (shoddy) copy / paste job from various constitutions around the world, it is a document written with little or no reflection on underlying principles. The British lazily decided to say that Hinduism is a religion. Our founding fathers lapped that up without thinking. They found in the American Constitution the law that government should not sponsor religion. They copy pasted that too. And thus Hinduism became a victim of the word religion.

No thought was given to the fact that Hinduism is not a religion within the Western meaning, but simply a cultural inheritance. Hindutva or Hinduness is more like your relation to your parents. How would Hinduism possibly seek converts? That would be like asking random people to become your parents’ children. It’s nonsense. But those who wrote our Constitution made a Quixotic decision to ban the “religion” of Hinduism from seeking converts at government expense! Somewhat akin to banning fish from owning bicycles.

So our ‘secular’ Constitution wags its finger at us : don’t you Hindus dare ask for public money to convert others to Hinduism! It’s banned. Why would we ask for something so silly, whether with public or private money?

At the same time, again by lazily applying the word religion to Hinduism, our secular Constitution opened the door wide for *real* religions to pounce on the Hindus of India.

This is like putting a goat in an enclosure with two tigers. The goat doesn’t eat meat and so it doesn’t have sharp claws or teeth. The tigers don’t eat grass. A competition is only fair when it happens between things in the same category. First the Constitution misclassifies us and then tells us to go “compete.”  How?

If this was not unfair enough, it is history that makes it worse. Much, much worse. The history of conversion in India has always been shameful and often violent. For some 800 years, Hindu cultural identity was brutally crushed by Islamic invaders. Temples were sacked, plundered, desecrated, often repeatedly to rub in the humiliation. For centuries, Hindus were even forced to pay Jazia, a literal fine for not converting to Islam. A non-believer, or a kafir, was seen as less of a human being and required to suffer on account of that.

The Christian missionaries had roughly the same belief, even though they were probably not as brutal. Conversion to Christianity was inextricably linked to the racism and ideas of “white burden”. Conversion was supposed to be a civilizing mission, to root out our native identity and replace it with a new one that was supposed to be superior.

What a shame that it continues to this very day. And that people in responsible, democratic countries around the world, should be part of this.

Like I said, history matters. Context matters. For instance, in the US, it is quite common for expecting couples to find out the gender of their unborn child. The same is illegal in India. Because we have a huge problem with gender selective abortion. That’s why a doctor in India can and should go to jail for carrying out a simple test that doctors in the West do every day. Context matters.

Similarly, if you are sponsoring religious conversion in India, you are embracing the 1000 year history of brutal invaders and colonizers and imperialists. You should be in jail. For the same reason as Nazi propaganda is banned in Germany (and several countries of Europe) but is fully legal under American free speech laws. Because Nazi ideology sent 6 million people in Germany to concentration camps. That’s why the Germans choose to err on the side of caution when it comes to Nazi propaganda. On the other hand, the United States refuses to naturalize as citizens people who have been members of the Communist Party. Because the US came close to being annihilated by a nuclear holocaust sponsored by Communist Russia. History matters.

And before some liberal tries to discredit these well known histories with the red herring of caste, let me tell them that the resistance to religious conversion is grounded in tribal histories. You know Birsa Munda, the tribal hero who enjoys cult status in Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, Odisha and parts of Bengal? His whole movement was against European Churches and their ways of exploiting the tribals of the area. That is why they had him arrested and murdered in prison.

Yes, tribals were among the very first groups in India to recognize and resist the poison of religious conversion. Recently in Jharkhand, tribals rounded up a bunch of Christian missionaries and kept them in captivity until the police came to arrest them under Jharkhand’s strict anti-conversion laws. These tribals followed what is called Sarna “religion,” another simple cultural identity that has been unfairly labelled as a “religion” like Hinduism.

In fact, sections among the so called “Hindu upper castes” were much more seduced by the idea of becoming “superior” to their own fellow Indians by striving to become like the colonizer in every possible way. It is these people who later morphed into the parasitic Lutyens class. If you have ever wondered why NDTV types are almost 100% upper caste, this is the reason why.

So, conversion is a form of organized aggression against our culture, an effort to cut us off from our roots. It takes advantage of a misunderstanding of the term “religion” by those who wrote our Constitution and has a history that is soaked in blood and racism. And that is why conversion hurts.

Tripura’s new government tackles state’s drug mess, seizes 40,000 kilos of Ganja

We all know that the state of Tripura was discovered on March 3, 2018, the date on which the BJP swept to power in the Assembly elections. In fact, historians are still debating whether the region has always been a part of our republic or was added to the Indian Union in March, 2018. Since that day, our unbiased ‘national’ media has risen to the challenge of distorting, misreporting and lying about nearly everything from this newly found territory of the Indian Republic.

On any average day, you can find the bold explorers from Delhi media houses on a mission to find ways to discredit the new BJP Chief Minister Biplab Deb. Because the truth rolls off our ‘national’ media like water off a duck‘s back.

It is almost like responsibility for Tripura has passed from the hands of an ‘honest’ CM to the hands of the ‘honest’ media.

What the media won’t tell you is that the new government in Tripura has been on a mission to end the state’s drug problem. In six months, they have seized 40,000 kilos of ganja and vast quantities of other drugs. There have been 204 people arrested and CM Biplab Deb claims that most of them are related to CPI(M). A claim that is hardly surprising.

So how did Tripura get to be this way, a smuggling corridor for drugs from Myanmar to India? Here is the true picture, for which I had to go to The Shillong Times, a media outlet that is decidedly less fancy than Delhi based NDTV:

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The per capita income in Tripura grew from Rs 50,000 to Rs 80,000 (a 60% increase) in seven years despite no new industries and no real expansion in agricultural output. How was this miracle possible?

Who says Communists don’t believe in a higher power? In the case of Tripura, that ‘higher power’ might just have been druglords from Myanmar who wanted to export their product to India. The “honesty” of Manik Sarkar was possibly underwritten by drug smugglers over South East Asia. Nice.

And why did the druglords of Myanmar find such fertile ground in Tripura? Well, people need to eat, don’t they? And what other work was available in Tripura?

For decades, the people of Tripura were suffering a quadruple whammy : First of all, their state lies in India’s North East, which is often forgotten and neglected. Even today, some of India’s most prominent “liberal” faces like Shashi Tharoor refer to people from the North East as “hilarious” and “outlandish”.

Second, Tripura was an enclave, a tactical concession from the Congress to the Communists in order to secure the support of radical academics, intellectuals, NGOs, etc on the wider national ideological battlefield. Which means the state had no opposition to speak of.

Third, the rule of the CPI(M) brought with it political murder and thuggish intimidation of the usual kind that Communists carry out everywhere in the world. To be fair, the Communists are very open about their admiration for Stalin. They promise Stalinism openly and they deliver it as promised.

Fourth, because of the massive influence of the Communist Party among India’s journalists, the crimes of the Communists in Tripura not only go unreported, but are actively covered up by the mainstream media.

And thus, for decades, as the Communists ruled over Tripura, the state and its economy rotted away. Unemployment stood at a staggering 19.7%, the highest in the country. There being no private economy, the state government was practically the only employer, but paid near poverty level wages. State Government employees in Tripura were paid as per the Fourth Pay Commission. Just so you know, the Government of India convenes a Pay Commission approximately once every 10 years. This is why Government employees today are paid as per the Seventh Pay Commission. Except in Tripura. Over there employees were stuck with Fourth Pay Commission wages, i.e., 1987 salaries!

Have you wondered what life would be like if 20% of the people were unemployed and the lucky few who got jobs were receiving 1987 level salaries? People need to eat, don’t they?

And when drug smuggling is the only game in town, people living without employment and without hope have to do that to survive. Plus, when people are high on drugs, for a few moments, they might just catch a glimpse of the promised Communist utopia.

Is Rahul getting ready to give Delhi to AAP?

So Dilli Congress Chief Ajay Maken is going away. First we heard that he has resigned. Then, the Congress clarifies that he is “temporarily resigning for health reasons.”

Ummm…Okay…

Politicians are a hardy bunch of people. It is hard to see someone like Ajay Maken, in the prime of his political career, taking time off now… that too just months ahead of the big Lok Sabha election.

The possibility that he has simply been afforded a facesaving exit are much higher.

With Ajay Maken no longer in saddle, the Congress is now free to play second fiddle to AAP in Delhi. The only thing that could possibly have come between Congress and Kejriwal was Maken’s ambition to become Delhi CM. Truth be told, the man has done a good job for his party. He was handed a state unit that had been reduced to ashes … and through his dogged opposition to Kejriwal, he was worked to recreate a semblance of the old Congress in Delhi. Even without a single elected MLA, he has often looked like the more credible opposition party, as compared to the jokers in BJP’s Delhi unit.

The formula has been whispered around for a while now. Five seats for AAP and two seats for Congress. It is possible that Congress may even offer AAP 1-2 seats in Punjab to sweeten the pot.

Yet another state where the Congress is willing to be stepped over and become a doormat, just to keep BJP out.

I have been going back and forth over how I feel about the situation. On paper, Congress strategy looks great. Firm up the arithmetic, somehow get Modi out of office. The Congress believes that once Modi is ousted, it will be back to business as usual. The word ‘business’ being particularly important here …

The problem for the Congress is that all potential allies sense their desperation. They are determined to drive hard bargains and cause as much damage to Congress base as possible. These allies all realize that despite allying with Congress, their future lies in eating away more and more Congress votes. And that once Congress meets its prime ambition of getting Modi out, it will try to topple the same governments that are running with their support. To pre-empt that, the allies need to weaken Congress as much as they can while they still have the opportunity.

In a Mahagathbandhan, you know that somebody is going to betray you sooner or later. And you would like to be the betrayer rather than the one who is betrayed. So you undercut your “ally cum opponent” as much as possible so that you get the chance to betray them, not the other way around.

There is not much that BJP can do about this, except make sure that Rahul Gandhi remains a joke. No words are enough to explain how crucial this is.

Because the only thing BJP can do when faced with near impossible arithmetic is make sure the Mahagathbandhans hurt the Congress party base as much as possible. For this it is necessary that regional parties give the Congress the absolute worst bargains. For example, why should AAP leave 2 seats for Congress in Delhi? Perhaps Rahul Gandhi will agree to accept just 1 seat? This is why it is important to keep Rahul’s public prestige as low as possible.

With the Mahagathbandhans sure to be formed, all that BJP can do is make sure Congress gets to contest minimum possible seats. If BJP is 100 seats ahead of Congress, any alternative govt will probably not even last 2 years. At which point, the public anger against a crappy, unstable and indecisive government will be at boiling point.

We can debate whether Rahul is as ruthless as Sonia. My take would be that he is simply doing politics in a different era. With Modi being an effective communicator who engages so often with people, with the social media revolution, the possibility of creating a Sonia like mystique around Rahul Gandhi simply did not exist.

Otherwise, I will remind you of the time when “intellectual” Amartya Sen said how he had met Rahul for one day and thought he would make an excellent PM. The days of the compromised elite creating an aura around a politician by saying “I met him and he was awesome” are well and truly over. We can all see Rahul fumbling and stammering about his supposed yatra to Kailash Mansarovar. The clips are viral. Amartya Sen’s certificate cannot hide from us what a moron Rahul is.

So Rahul has yielded Karnataka to the Gowdas. He has wrapped up his party in Bengal. In Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, the party has given up all pretense of being a political force. Actually, the Congress does have some presence in Jharkhand, but they have chosen to become fully subservient to JMM.  I get the sense that he might even be open to offering Kerala to CPIM. And now he is giving Delhi to Kejriwal.

It’s almost like Rahul is more eager for a Congress mukt Bharat than BJP supporters are. Focus on that silver lining, tighten your seat belts … because 2019 is coming.

Rupee is stronger today vs Euro, British Pound, Canadian and Australian Dollars

Around this time last year, the anti-Modi brigade had coalesced around a certain narrative: that the Indian economy is in terrible shape. One JNU economics professor, in an interview published in Scroll, even argued that India was facing “economic collapse.”

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A year since that time, India’s GDP growth stands at a sparkling 8.2%, the envy of the world. We are the fastest growing economy, after all.

Want to hear a scary story? The JNU professor who predicted a collapse of the Indian economy is still employed at JNU, presumably drawing a salary at expense to the taxpayer … and presumably imparting his magical economic wisdom to a whole new generation of young students.

So what does the anti-Modi brigade, much chastised by the reality of the Indian economy, do next?  They grasp at straws, seizing on the recent weakness in the Indian Rupee versus the US Dollar.

So how do we judge whether the Indian currency is really weaker today than it was under ‘great economist’ Dr. Manmohan Singh?

The truth, as you will see, is that the Rupee is stronger today versus most major currencies than it was in 2013 (all currency graphs generated from http://www.xe.com)

Let’s begin with the EURO. Here is the 10 year chart:

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Just see the rising red line of the UPA disaster from 2009 to 2014. This is what Dr. Singh did to the Indian Rupee. At one point, the Euro was trading at nearly Rs 92 under his rule. Today the Euro is around Rs. 84.

Next, we come to the British Pound, another big global reserve currency other than the US Dollar and Euro.

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A nearly identical graph, showing the disaster that was Manmohan Singh. At one point under him, the British pound touched almost Rs 107. Today it trades at about Rs 94.

Okay, now let us take a look at other major Western economies: Canada and Australia. How has the Indian Rupee fared compared to them?

Let’s start with the Canadian Dollar (CAD). Let’s put up a 10 year chart and just look…

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Breathtaking! Just see the Rupee nosedive under Dr. Singh!

The increasing strength of the Indian Rupee under Modi is so obvious here that you would have to be a JNU economics professor to not see it.

The same story is repeated with respect to the Australian Dollar (AUD).

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Again the 10 year chart shows the absolute carnage of the Indian Rupee under Dr. Singh and the way Modi govt shepherded our currency and gave it strength.

Okay, next. What about the Japanese Yen? Could Dr. Singh, with his fancy economics degrees, have outperformed Modi here? Let’s find out.

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Okay, so Dr. Singh still lost, just not as badly as he did with respect to the Euro, British Pound, Australian and Canadian dollars. Under Dr. Singh, the Japanese Yen traded at a high of 72 paise, while it is around 64 paise today.

A defeat for UPA again, just not as shattering as its other defeats. Being the charitable person that I am, I’ll put this down as a ‘moral victory’ for Dr. Singh!

Next. Let us look at India’s peers in emerging economies, the so called BRIC group. Let’s start with the Brazilian Real.

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No competition for Modi here. Brazil, once seen as competitor to India during the years of Dr. Singh, has been left behind in the dust.

Next, we come to the Russian Ruble. This one is a feast for the eyes.

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Oh! It is almost like the great nation of Bharat was limping along from 2009 to 2014, not knowing what it was really capable of. Then, some magic happened in 2014 and immediately the whole nation took a quantum leap forward into a much stronger future!

The sort of quantum leap that you might expect if the nation was suddenly pulled out from under a clueless tea-seller and thrust into the able hands of a world renowned economist PM!

Oh wait…

I saved for the very end the chart for the Chinese Yuan.

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See the rock like stability of the Rupee vs Chinese Yuan under Modi. And just see what Dr. Singh did to it, see the years when the Yuan soared and the Rupee collapsed under UPA.

Can there be a more stinging indictment of the way UPA ran our currency into the ground? And now they use their minions in the media, intellectual and academic ecosystem to taunt Modi for the USD vs INR conversion rate.

In these charts, I’ve gone all around the world : all over the West (Euro, Pound, Canadian Dollar, Australian Dollar) to emerging markets (Russia and Brazil) and to Asian giants (China and Japan). Modi has outperformed Dr. Singh in every single one of them, often by massive margins.

So what is happening with the US Dollar and the Indian Rupee? It is now clear that it is the US Dollar which is stronger and not the Rupee which is weaker. If there was some problem with our economy, the Rupee would have been hammered with respect to other currencies around the world, not just the USD.

Now that we have established this, I am going to take the argument of Indian liberals to its only logical conclusion. They are not going to like it one bit.

Modi has done great, but guess what? Donald Trump has done even better.

Dear Indian liberals, I present before you now the two big champions of the World Economic League: Narendra Modi and Donald Trump. Take your pick. Who’s it going to be?

BJP has exposed Hardik Patel for the joker he really is

Around this time last year, if you had asked a liberal to name the sexiest man alive, it would have been a tough competition between Raghuram Rajan and Hardik Patel. But I believe Hardik would have won the contest. Fancy bullshit king from University of Chicago is one thing … and putting Modi on the defensive in his backyard in Gujarat is quite another.

So as Hardik Patel tore through urban and rural Gujarat distributing caste caps, liberals followed his every beat from his toilet to his bedroom. A liberal woman proudly declared how she shows Hardik’s sex videos to her 12 year old daughter. Instead of getting arrested and widely censured, her insane rant was published in the Outlook magazine.

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Here is the nonsense that came out in The Hindu.

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Without even clicking the article, I can tell you that it has been written by a well known fool by the name of Mahesh Langa.

Then the elections happened. And while the anti-incumbency and droughts did bite the BJP quite a bit in rural Gujarat, the party’s Hinduised, urban base held strong. This is the good karma that comes from real development. Having turned Gujarat into one of India’s most urbanized states, there are some 60 seats where the BJP simply cannot lose. With the majority mark at 91, this makes the BJP essentially invincible in Gujarat. Even the final tally of 99-80 in seats is a distortion of the big lead in vote share. Which means that with every successive delimitation of constituencies, the state of Gujarat will slip farther and farther out of Congress’ grasp.

The BJP swept through Surat, which was supposed to be Hardik’s stronghold. As I like to say, urban Gujarat is like the BJP’s family. Despite the teething troubles with GST, urban Gujarat did not abandon its own.

Much less for a casteist joker like Hardik Patel. After the election, the media mostly forgot Alphesh and mostly Hardik as well. After all, his much hyped “Patidar anger plank” had proved to be the biggest flop of the election. Of the HAJ trio (Hardik , Alpesh, Jignesh), only Jignesh continued to be in the spotlight due to his overtly Hindu,  urban Naxal cum JNU style of doing politics.

No wonder Hardik wanted to resurrect his career. The first thing he did was send a strong message of not joining Congress. Even he could see that being a Congi is practically a taint in Gujarat, a curse word.

Then he went back to his fundamentals. A “fast unto death” undertaken for reservation and farm loan waivers.

The Gujarat government which had been totally screwed over in 2015 seems to have learned its lesson this time. In 2015, with Modi still fresh as Prime Minister, the Gujarat government had come down on his “movement” like a ton of bricks. It ended up creating a genuine headache for the party. And let’s admit it: there was arrogance too … with Narendrabhai as PM, Amit Shah running BJP and Anandiben (a Patidar herself) as CM of Gujarat … the BJP thought it had the license to get away with anything. Especially on an issue of “Patidar pride.”

Unfortunately for BJP, nothing is “impossible” when it comes to politics.

This time, the BJP had the right approach … one of benign neglect, even slightly indulgent towards Hardik … giving him a long rope, until he exposes himself.

When Hardik began his fast, my biggest worry was that it would encourage elements within the BJP itself … possibly even you know who … to try and unsettle Vijay Rupani. After all, he had made his unhappiness clear on several forums immediately after Gujarat results until a phone call from Amit Shah himself put a lid on the matter. And if you ask me, I sort of agree with him. Rupani did not treat the man fairly. He has been treated worse than a tall leader, a lifetime RSS/BJP worker, should have been. That’s why I will not take his name.

But that did not happen. The party’s discipline held very firm. Meanwhile, Hardik went on a dance that made most people laugh.

I believe that somewhere around the 9th day of his “fast”, Hardik even wrote a will. This is also the time there were reports everywhere that Hardik was actually gaining weight as his fast progressed. Then, came the “official” announcement from Hardik’s aides that he had “lost 20 kilos.” Hmmm… okay. And after that, Hardik refused to allow himself to be weighed.

You decide what was going on. I leave it to your imagination.

There were no crowds. And for some reason, even opposition leaders did not show much interest except from some “communications” from Akhilesh Yadav etc. I don’t know how many took out the time to go and actually meet him. I think they sent letters of sympathy typed out by some secretary. The only people who actually went to see Hardik Patel were traveling beggars like Yashwant and Shatrughan.

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Speaking of traveling beggars, did Yogendra Yadav go? Does anybody know?

I believe that somewhere around the 12th day of the “fast”, Hardik was moved to hospital. Around the 19th day (if my memory is correct), Hardik ended his fast at the “plea of Patidar leaders.”

And thus the circus came to an end. Full marks to CM  Vijay Rupani for treating Hardik like a petulant child … letting him scream and throw a tantrum in the department store …  until he runs out of breath, realizes that no one else cares and packs up and leaves.

I must point out here that there is a difference between how one should handle urban Naxals and how to handle Hardik Patel.

With the JNU Naxals, the government should use a heavy hand. First of all, for national security reasons. Secondly, these JNU Naxals are the most unpopular people in India … you tackle them harshly and they will scream … and because people hate these urban Naxals so damn much, their wailing will only increase BJP votes.

Things are not quite the same when it comes to handling caste leaders. Sadly, caste is still HUGE in India. Complaining about it is of no use. It’s a reality around which one has to do politics. A Fadnavis like finesse is needed for handling such situations, not an Anandiben style imperiousness. Last time the BJP screwed up badly with Hardik Patel, but I am glad the lessons have been learned.

Rape accused Bishop : Catholic Church, Kerala govt and Indian liberals couldn’t care less

Did you hear that there is a tremendous nationwide shortage of candles right now?

Most probably this is one of the lingering effects of demonetization that wiped out small business in this country.

Not only is there a shortage of candles, there is a shortage of pen, paper and ink. In fact, there is even a shortage of paint in MsPaint software. Not to mention a shortage of internet.

How else do you explain the feminists who have NOT been out on the streets with candles for the nun who was raped 13 times by a Bishop of the Catholic Church? How else do you explain India’s cartoonists who can’t seem to find the pen, paper and ink to express their anger and “dissent” against the powerful Catholic Church?

Perhaps our cartoonists are all drawing cartoons somewhere but there is a shortage of internet and so they can’t find the means to upload their work to the web? Come on liberals, where is your imagination? Here is a Christian cross.

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Remember the cartoons showing Trishuls inserted into women’s private parts that were circulated when the Kathua case was at the peak of the news cycle?

When thinking about the serial rape faced by the Kerala nun, I see no dearth of ‘artistic’ ways of drawing the Christian cross to express my anguish over the incident. What is failing our cartoonists, journalists and commentators is not their imagination, but a disastrous lack of courage of conviction.

The rape accusations against Bishop Franco have been in the public domain and before Kerala Police for weeks now. During this period, the Bishop, various agencies associated to the church and powerful politicians have left no stone unturned to sully the character of the victim.

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The always prickly gang of feminists are observing an oath of silence on this one. They will speak up when the BJP govt does something outrageous, like making sindoor a GST free commodity.

The case in Kerala ticks the box on every issue that generally triggers our liberals and feminists. A powerful man, backed up by the establishment of a patriarchal religion, is accused of committing rape against a woman who was in his power. Big politicians and major religious establishments come out openly in favor of the powerful man and throw all manner of vile slander at the victim.

And just where is the “Akeli – Awara – Azad” gang from JNU? On odd days, they militate against celebration of Holi, checking water balloons for semen content. On even days, they roll into their burqa of secularism and disappear.

The problem for liberals in this case is that there is not the remotest possibility of dragging the BJP/RSS into this issue. It’s a Bishop of the Catholic Church … the Kerala Police is under control of CPIM government and the Bishop is in Punjab … where the police is under Congress government control.

What bad luck for the liberals that NDA should be controlling 21 states but the entire crime trail in this case just happens to be based in the handful of states outside Modi’s grasp.

If not in protest, Ravish should at least darken his screen mourning such bad luck.

Some journalists, in their defense, say that they have “spoken out” against the matter. Are you kidding me? I wasn’t born yesterday. We know the tone in which you have “spoken out” and we remember the tone in which the liberal establishment takes on so called “Hindu Godmen.”

Get a load of this:

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Oh look how convenient. Please stop covering them live. I guess it is better that people do not find out the real face of Indian liberalism. Go look for that person who may or may not be wearing a shade of saffron and give him the 24 x 7 coverage so that we can all agree on how evil Hindus are.

Or take this example of “speaking out”

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You can just feel the anger and the helplessness in that tweet, can’t you? Now if only Kerala and Punjab were both part of some kind of union, you know … something like a “Republic of India” … and the CPIM govt of Kerala could simply ask the Congress govt of Punjab to arrest this Catholic Bishop.

A Republic of India? No way our liberals are having that! It has “Republic” in it. The NBSA recently showed how to deal with Republic journalists who get sexually harassed on the street by left wing goons.

You know, I am waiting for the first celeb journalist who will tweet out that “Northies” like me should stay away from demanding arrest of Bishop Franco because we do not understand the secular and tolerant culture of Kerala.

Yesterday I happened to catch on Twitter a snippet of a primetime news show with a prominent female anchor. Before getting to the real crime and condemning the Catholic Church for its shameful behavior, she didn’t forget to criticize “the ones who were asking on Twitter.”

I couldn’t shake off the feeling that she might be more angry with Hindu RW on Twitter than with the rapist.

I couldn’t shake off the feeling that mainstream media has been dragged, kicking and screaming, to finally open its mouth on Bishop Franco due to incessant online outrage.

This is the truly disturbing part. Both during the coverage of the Kathua incident and the coverage of the Bishop Franco case, celebrity journalists have been more angry with Twitter RW than with the actual rapists. It kind of tells you what sort of people we are dealing with.