This Dussehra, remember the ecosystem with many heads

Vijaya Dashami has a special significance for all of us. The vanquishing of Ravana and bringing back Sita Mata. This also means that I am supposed to write something of a “Dussehra special” post and I don’t tend to perform well under a sense of pressure. But I will try my best to share how I feel.

It does not take too much imagination to see what is the modern version of Vijaya Dashami  playing out in our midst. The ten headed rakshasa is the ecosystem that controls the flow of information… so that people are happy to bow down to the rulers who have kept our nation in poverty for 70 years.

In 2017, the “big” promise of “change” is that we will have toilets and electricity for all. Has anyone stopped to think how pathetic that sounds to people living in any developed nation in the world?

And yet, these ARE the big changes that we are all looking towards, because the “Bharat Ratnas” who ruled the country for decades could not give the people these basics.

And how did these Bharat Ratnas manage to rule for all these years? Because the ten headed Rakshasa was controlling the flow of information, allowing him to keep our Bharat Mata imprisoned.

Who is this Rakshasa? You would probably start by saying that it is outlets like The Hindu or the Indian Express. But it’s not limited to that. In fact, I would argue that these outlets are the least significant of all the ways in which the Rakshasa rules. The real problem lies with the crooks who have been planted at every single level of the bureaucracy and academia.

And what are the weapons that we may use against this Rakshasa? The weapon that we can use is the force of our dissent, the willpower to stand up against propaganda.

And like I always say, we have two big Brahmastras with which to fight the enemy:

(1) We have free speech, which is guaranteed by our democracy : The ten headed Rakshasa has the power to shout louder than us (because they have the money to shout louder than us). But what they do not have is the power to silence us. They can’t stop us from speaking. They have grafted a dynasty on top of our democracy, but they can’t take our democracy away. So let us not be silenced when faced with their propaganda.

(2) We have technology, which has empowered us all : The miracle of science and technology has put in our hands a weapon that the ruling establishment always sought to deny : a means to respond to propaganda. Today a lie generated by a dynastycrook outlet can be taken apart in a matter of seconds.

So this Vijaya Dashami, let us resolve to use these twin Brahmastras against the enemy.

Happy Dussehra.

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Untold story : How Modi’s demonetization and GST ruined China’s economy

We’ve all heard by now how the disaster of demonetization has pushed India’s economy into a tailspin. To add to the woes, there was the “hasty GST”, which started out as yet another Rajiv Gandhi dream,  and then was put in place on July 1, 2017, merely 7 years after Dr. Manmohan Singh’s government set April 1, 2010 as the deadline for implementing it.

As Modi has found out the hard way, you can’t rush big things. You have to space them out like the Gareebi Hatao promise from 1971. Or the Sardar Sarovar dam, for which Nehru laid the foundation stone in 1961, but work didn’t even begin until 1987.

Among the many disasters caused by Modi, I thought I would set the record straight by writing about a topic that has been discussed very little : the adverse impact of demonetization and GST outside our borders, specifically on China.

The following event went largely unnoticed, although it came so close on the heels of Modi’s now infamous decision to demonetize Rs 500 and Rs 1000 currency notes on Nov 8, 2016.

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I feel it is my national duty to speak up now, albeit a few months late. Or else all Indians and Chinese will have to again see Gareebi from close quarters … something they have never done since Indira/India Gandhi removed it in 1971.

As you can see in this Bloomberg video, the exports of India’s peers have sadly been in sync with India’s, showing the depth of the pain caused by Modi’s surprise move.

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While China was still reeling under the impact of demonetization, the second blow came in the form of “hasty GST”. Within a few months, the mounting economic and financial risks became too much and the Chinese had to face an insulting downgrade for international rating agencies.

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For the Chinese, it was most likely the Modi-Xi meeting at the BRICS summit that became the straw that broke the camel’s back, leading to the downgrade.

One more ominous sign was when the difficult economic situation forced the Chinese government to abandon development projects, such as a road in Doklam.

As a result of this demonetization induced slowdown, the Chinese government has had to undertake several diversionary measures to take public attention away from the economic situation.

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For those who might be interested in participating, the Popular Front of India (PFI) and the CPI(M) will be organizing tonight a #NotInMyName candlelight march from JNU to Xinjiang. An eminent ex-Vice President is expected to join as well on a journey to go back to his roots.

This outrage is only the latest in a series of measures that the Chinese government has had to take to focus majority anger away from the economy towards a perceived internal enemy. When the real story, of course, is that Modi sarkar is turning a blind eye to the suffering of young job seekers.

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For the Chinese, the need for finding an internal enemy in Uyghur Muslims is further increased by the fact that Modi sarkar is failing both on the domestic and the international front. Pro-BJP outlets such as Global Times are now reduced to begging the Chinese public to “properly understand” disputes and remain “cool minded” when dealing with neighbors instead of reacting emotionally.

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Just read the dovish words… almost mocking the Chinese public for demanding a “tougher stance”, asking them to observe “patience” and “somber judgement” instead.

Compare it to the fire breathing Global Times from 2 months ago and you know how deeply the hurt of demonetization has crippled the dragon.

We must stand up NOW and demand that there be an end to this organized loot and legalized plunder by the government. For this, we have to put back in place the 97.5% top income tax rate that the wise Dr. Manmohan Singh put in place during the 70s when he was Chief Economic Adviser to the Finance Ministry. You can look around on Youtube for his remarkably prescient speech where he explained how a 97.5% income tax rate has the potential to add as much as 2% to India’s GDP growth.

I don’t want to sound too nationalist for fear of being seen as intolerant, but I must say that if you do not speak up now, you will be failing your national duty. And for what it’s worth, you will be failing your international duty as well.

Firstpost publishes misleading headline using 2 year old sexual harassment data from UP

Look at this headline in this Sept 26, 2017 article published by Firstpost (in collaboration with IndiaSpend) and tell me what you think has happened:

A 33% rise in sexual harassment cases in Uttar Pradesh in the “past year”? And the data comes “as BHU students’ protest grabs national attention.”

This data could not have come at a worse time for the BJP government in Uttar Pradesh. What a shame! Surely Yogi Adityanath’s government should take the blame for this.

Go ahead and admit it : it’s Yogi Adityanath’s fault.

What the headline from Firstpost doesn’t tell you however is that Yogi Adityanath’s only fault here is not owning a time machine. You know, so that he could go back into the past and stop the crimes that happened under Akhilesh Yadav’s secular government in Uttar Pradesh.

Here’s the rest of the article : you know, the part that appears in half the size of the headline.

Wonderful! The data for the “past year” is actually almost two years old, coming from 2014 and 2015.

It is not hard to imagine what purpose such a headline is designed for. A quick scroll through a Twitter or Facebook feed on a mobile phone and the headline is all that catches your eye. Perhaps before you move on to see how your friends are celebrating Navratri. There, in that brief second when you couldn’t be bothered to click on an article and read the fine print, your mind would have registered fake information.

And I am fairly sure  Firstpost & IndiaSpend are smart enough to know that.

Just look at this tweet from IndiaSpend:

Or see the banner headline on the IndiaSpend homepage:

The agenda is obvious, is it not?

This is why the left liberal ecosystem places such extreme emphasis on the flow of information. For example, everyone has heard by now about the shocking case of children dying in Gorakhpur’s BRD Medical College. What you probably haven’t heard is this :

That’s right. The number of child deaths at Gorakhpur’s BRD Medical College has dropped drastically this year. From an average of 4095 deaths in the Jan-Aug period to 1285 deaths, a decrease of nearly 70%.

That’s the data journalism we never got to see. Because we all understand the agendas involved. Incidentally, “data journalism” is what IndiaSpend claims to do.

But wait, maybe India Spend can do some “data journalism” on deaths of children in Gorakhpur after all. Notice how the number of deaths in BRD Medical College rose from 3828 in 2014 to 4601 in 2015?

20% rise in child deaths at Gorakhpur BRD hospital in past year” : Now that is a headline just waiting to happen as far as Firstpost and Indiaspend are concerned. What do you think?

Can Saubhagya do for Modi what Jyotirgram once did for him?

There’s a lot of things that people would point to in order to explain Modi’s repeated victories in Gujarat. Communal polarization, for one and it certainly was a huge factor and pretty much the only factor in 2002.

But there was another much bigger factor  (especially in 2007) that the media rarely spoke about for obvious reasons : Jyotirgram project.

The 24 x 7 power that Gujarat got under Modi became the most lasting and most obvious symbol of development in the state. As Modi would say, when he first became CM in 2001, local people would say to him : At least arrange for some electricity during the late evening so that we don’t have to have our supper in the dark.

About 3-4 years later, no Gujarati had to be in the dark ever again. Is it any wonder that they gave Modi a 2/3 majority?

In 2014, Modi made Gujarat’s 24 x 7 power a huge talking point across Uttar Pradesh. People marvelled as Modi thundered : “In Gujarat, it is front page news if the electricity is going to shut off for 10 mins.”

Anybody who has spent any time in semi-urban or even urban parts of UP, Bihar or Jharkhand will know how amazing and wonderful that sounds.

The bottomline from elections is that Bijlee matters!

For 2019, Modi has already one engine firing at full potential : the Ujjwala scheme. Can you imagine how badly it sucks to have to collect firewood and then have that dirty smoke fill your eyes and nose and mouth all day long? Can you imagine the impact on voter minds when his house becomes smoke free?

He needs a second engine to ensure 2019. And Saubhagya could well be that engine, if implemented on war footing. Giving out free electricity connections to the poor will bring about a very visible change in their lives delivered by Modi sarkar.

In fact, Modi has advanced the deadline from March 2019 to December 2018. This will give him the spring in his step on the final stretch towards the election.

I think what I like best about Modi is that he never ever loses sight of elections. Sardar Sarovar dam gets inaugurated just before Gujarat polls, for example.  And oh… did you notice that the Bullet Train is supposed to be inaugurated in Aug 2022 before the NEXT Gujarat elections? It all seems to magically come together at exactly the right time.

This is the Modi-Shah difference to the BJP. Never ever lose track of elections. Vajpayee didn’t do that. He focused on running the Central government while the party collapsed in states. Yes, he pushed India into the 8% growth trajectory, but who benefitted from it? Sonia Gandhi and Robert Vadra.

This time, through fiscal discipline, the Modi government has built up a huge pot of gold over the last three years. Elections are due in 20 months and NOW is the time to begin spending it all.

This is good for two reasons. First, a philosophical reason. The government is not a profit making corporation. If the govt has money, it is supposed to spend it all on welfare of the people anyway!

The second reason we should spend now is pure realpolitik. Should a disaster happen in 2019, we don’t want to leave Chidambaram with a pot of gold to finance “Sonia Gandhi XYZ Yojana”, do we?

Hamid Ansari goes back to his roots

I think the Americans have a saying that goes like this : “The apple does not fall far from the tree.”

So what was an out of work secularist going to do after he is done working for Aligarh Muslim University, the Minorities Commission, being the ambassador to Arab countries and finally being Sonia’s choice for Vice President?

He would go back to his roots, exactly like Modi said.

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Well, of course he did! The question is why he didn’t face flak on mainstream media.

I know, I know… silly question.

Actually, even I was a little surprised that Hamid Ansari would attend a PFI event. I guess somewhere deep within, the mainstream media propaganda had touched a chord in me. At some level, maybe even I was convinced that somewhere within Hamid Ansari there was lurking a man of honor.

But no. He is every bit of what you would expect someone from the Ansari mafia family of Purvanchal to be. What is shocking is that hardly anyone (including me) knew for 10 years of his vice-presidency that infamous gangster Mukhtar Ansari had his relatives placed by the Congress party at India’s No. 2 constitutional position.

The name PFI sent a shiver down my spine. Just in case you haven’t heard, PFI terrorists have been the “sword arm” of secular forces in the south, killing numerous BJP and RSS activists in the last several years. And yes, the Kerala kingpin of ISIS was also a PFI guy.

Now, SwarajyaMag has compiled a list of PFI’s crimes here, but I will go ahead and mention the two that I remember most clearly.

The first is the 2010 case of chopping off the hands of a Kerala professor who apparently had been less than respectful to …. you know who. Of late, some desperate losers have resorted to pumping Keralite regionalism as some kind of counter to the BJP surge. If there is even one fiber of honesty left in their being, I want to ask them if the professor who got his hands chopped off was a true Malayali or not…

But then, when even the Commie CM of Kerala says that PFI is out to Islamize the state, you know how bad things are …

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The other terrorist act of the PFI that I remember clearly is the murder of RSS worker Rudresh in Bengaluru.

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I will reproduce the relevant part of the next news report in full, so that people know clearly what is the exact nature of the organization that is being legitimized by an ex-VP of India.

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Operation Murghi cut? Was this part of a plan to make India safer for Muslims?

Anyway …

I shouldn’t be surprised. What else did we expect from Hamid Ansari ji than to now go and attend a PFI event?

By the way, I noticed something else as well that I think no one is commenting upon. This event was actually organized by the Women’s Wing of the PFI! Did you know that the topic of the conference was “The role of women in making a humane society”?

Women, huh? See the photos and tell me if something looks odd…

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Of course.

This is what the India of Hamid Ansari’s dreams looks like. A place where the 9 crore Muslim women of India live as slaves who have no right to be seen nor heard. Even if it is an event organized by the “Women’s wing” to discuss the role of women in society!

That’s exactly what you would expect from a man who thinks that the decision on triple talaq should come from within the community.

 

Collected thoughts : the economy, Rohingyas, Mamata’s firmans and more

Sorry folks … I got all tied up for the last few days. Thanks for bearing with me! Even though I said there wasn’t much happening in the news, there was quite a lot I wanted to say. So here goes.

First of all, the economy. It seems the government is ready to come out with a stimulus package, as early as tomorrow perhaps. Which is great! Now I don’t fundamentally believe in the Keynesian approach of govt spending to boost economies, but here are two other things I believe.

  1. I do know that Keynesian approach gives short term boosts to economies.
  2. I do know that under no circumstances can we afford another 2004.

Over the last 3 years, Modi sarkar has broadened the tax base, pushed the informal sector towards formalization and built up a huge tax pot. The bottomline is that we can’t leave this pot to Chidambaram to spend on “Sonia Gandhi XYZ Yojana”.

We are very close to 2019 now … this pot of gold must be spent on huge short term measures that will guarantee the votes for 2019. Luckily, I have always found Modi to be very high on the politics of pragmatism.

Secondly, the Rohingyas. The bottomline is that they have to go. We have sufficiently many problems of our own and we cannot afford to bring in angry militant people from disturbed countries around the world. Worse, the so called “leaders” of the Muslim community have turned the Rohingya issue into a test of who dominates India.

I wouldn’t use a term like “domination”, but I will say that India is the home of the Hindus. Actually, much of our ancient homeland has been already taken from us and so I am really enthusiastic about hanging on to whatever is left.

Even before the plane takes off, they tell you that in an emergency, you must secure your own oxygen mask before helping another. I don’t even have sufficient interest in Myanmar to know whether Rohingyas are victims or perpetrators or both, but I am going to go ahead and say Hindus should fasten their own oxygen masks first.

By the way, here’s what I found out about the UN Human Rights Commissioner Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein who had the gall to criticize India over its treatment of Rohingyas. This Al Hussein guy is actually “Prince Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein”, a member of Jordan’s royal family.

Tell you what Al, as “Human Rights Commissioner”, you go convince Jordan to lift the ban on proselytization of your fellow Muslim Jordanians. Then, you can come and give India a lecture on how to treat illegal foreigners.

Mamata’s fumble on immersion ban and Muharram. I’m loving this one, especially watching the TMC government running in circles around the High Court. Not surprisingly, the secular press is full of articles empathizing with her so called “plight”. Why o why did Durga Puja and Muharram had to be so close together? Why did poor Didi not realize that the High Court would block her? How can we save Didi from losing the plot to the evil BJP?

Yeah… you fools keep saying that. Mamata knows *exactly* what she is doing. Punishing idol worshippers is one of the things that Muslims take extreme delight in. That’s what she was doing and she doesn’t care about getting caught.

Finally, on Gujarat elections. Dr. Praveen Patil says it’s a completely one-sided affair. I don’t believe that, but I would love to be badly wrong.

 

Modi government looking under pressure actually works in its favor

Of late, there has been a lot of nervousness among the right wing regarding 2019. It is hard to believe that it’s been just a month since the same RW thought they were sailing towards victory.

First of all, the economy and the extreme overreaction to a drop in GDP in a couple of quarters. I am not a highly fashionable economist and so I will merely point out this simple thing:

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Even the Right Wing has forgotten that in the Fiscal 2015-16, India had grown at its fastest pace in five years. Is it possible that all the big talking heads are missing out on the simple fact of the “high base effect”?

We’ll find all that out once the two difficult quarters : Apr – June and July – Sept pass. These were the two quarters when the economy stood still because of GST.

It goes without saying that the opposition will have a great time until we finally get to Q3 (Oct — Dec, 2017) of the current fiscal. But what you have to understand is that these few months are the best the opposition will ever get.

Have you noticed that the Congress didn’t actually oppose GST … they just desperately wanted it to be pushed back by another year? Why do you suppose that is?

It’s because they wanted these two bad quarters to happen in the last stretch of Modi sarkar before the 2019 elections. The problem is that (and they know it) over the next year, the Modi government will benefit from a “low base effect”.

Essentially over FY 2016-17, the government has paid the price for the economy growing at a five year high in FY 2015-16. Now, over the last two quarters of FY 2017-18, the government will actually reap the harvest for the slowdown in FY 2016-17.

The government knows this too. That is why they stuck steadfastly to the July 1 deadline this year. They wanted the difficult phase to pass well before the election year.

Let’s talk about the election now. As I say all too often, nobody can seriously predict an election 18 months in advance. What we can do however is look at the arithmetic and make an educated guess, like if Australia were playing Sri Lanka in a Test Match. Every election has its own dynamic, but the underlying arithmetic is always right … on average.

The BJP has three simple advantages going for it that will allow it to “dominate” politics for the foreseeable future.

(1) Among every caste, the BJP is at least second choice.  Today a Hindu will typically look to BJP and Modi unless a specific caste or regional leader blocks the way. A Yadav in Bihar is not averse to BJP, he is just more loyal to Laloo Yadav. As such, whenever a regional leader does not look to be in a winning position, his voters will go with BJP. This lets BJP walk away with pretty much all of the incremental vote.

On the contrary, the Congress has been eliminated as a voting choice among many castes.

(2) BJP has a much bigger national bucket than the Congress. This is the key difference between Modi’s government and that of Vajpayee. Even during the Vajpayee years, the Congress was dominating India’s politics. The Congress had won many many more votes than the BJP in the 1999 elections and while Atalji ruled from Delhi, the Congress kept winning state after state. At one point, it had 15 Chief Ministers.

As such, when the freshness of a BJP government wore off and there was a slight change in the air, the Congress had a comeback in 2004. Today the Congress’ strongholds of yore have withered away. Their 2004 victory centered around a sweep of Andhra Pradesh. In recent bypolls in Andhra’s Nandyal, I think the Congress got around 0.2% of the vote. In absolute numbers, I think the Congress couldn’t get even 1000 votes.

The BJP has also cleaned up the Congress from the North East. The Congress has gone out of reckoning in urban Maharashtra. Remember that the Congress merely got 6 seats more than BJP in 2004. That six seat lead happened merely because of the Congress’ better geographical spread. Looks impossible now.

(3) Voter wants a stable government of 272+ : If there is one undeniable trend in Indian politics in the last 15 years, it is the voter’s decisive preference for a clear mandate. When Uttar Pradesh handed Mayawati a shock majority in 2007, everyone thought it was an exception. But no, the trend continued … weak coalitions were rejected everywhere. The Congress tally of 206 seats in 2009 was a huge step towards single party rule. That’s before the voter gave Modi a clear majority.

That trend has remained intact well after 2014 and in some ways has actually sharpened. One sided sweeps seem to be more common today than at any point I can remember.

The Congress isn’t getting a one sided sweep in 2019. That’s for certain. Then who will get that one sided sweep? Who else?

The BJP’s Achilees heel is, of course, Mahagathbandhans. Maybe I am a contrarian, but the 325/404 landslide in Uttar Pradesh terrified me. Hopeless opposition parties who think they have nothing to lose are the biggest problem for BJP. Because that’s when they enter into grand alliances … simply to survive.

When Yogi Adityanath was made CM, I read it as a near desperate move by the BJP to at least try and put up a fight in 2019. Because there’s no other way the BJP could beat a united BSP, Cong and SP combine.

To keep the grand alliances from forming, the opposition must feel like they have a real chance. If opposition leaders fight 2019 like a battle for political survival, they will make all the compromises needed to win. And they will win.

On the flip side, if the opposition thinks they have a real chance, they will each begin to push their own agendas. Only then will the BJP have the chessboard it wants for 2019, with the opposition divided in at least three crucial states : Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra and Karnataka. One should also count Assam and Delhi, perhaps Jharkhand and maybe even Haryana.

A Modi sarkar that looks to be under mild pressure is a Modi sarkar that faces a divided opposition in 2019. And a Modi sarkar that is all set for a second term.

 

Stunned, shocked, saddened : Video footage of Mayaben Kodnani in Gujarat Assembly on Naroda massacre day

I try my best to stay aware of stuff and cross check everything. But there is always something out there that I have heard so many times over that I have ended up believing it without checking.

To give you a small example, I used to believe  in the popular fiction that the Amarnath cave was discovered by a Muslim shepherd. I think I heard that on Aaj Tak decades ago and never questioned it. The secular media all around us was naturally happy to leave this myth untouched.

It’s only when I came across @TrueIndology that I found out the truth.

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But that’s just a small example. Here is something else that I believed without questioning : the idea that Mayaben Kodnani did actually lead the mobs during the massacre in Ahmedabad’s Naroda area on Feb 28, 2002.

Okay, there is a court verdict that found her guilty of this. When that verdict came, I welcomed it. Anybody who murdered 97 human beings deserves severe punishment.

Now, it is well known that we citizens do not enjoy the right to question the courts. I just hope it is okay if I can now express my surprise / sadness at that judgement and hope that the court reaches a different conclusion this time around.

When Amit Shah appeared as a witness for Maya Kodnani the other day and testified that he had seen her in the Assembly that morning of Feb 28, 2002, I had to investigate further.

And then I came across this :

You know I like to think of myself as a political junkie, but I cannot believe I am only seeing this NOW! How is this video not on every single channel playing in loop?

(By the way, I know I have gone after Anand Ranganathan in the past, but after all his tweets over the last month, all is forgiven 🙂 Ranga dada now has a fan in me! )

I had to rub my eyes. The clock in Gujarat Assembly clearly shows 8:40!

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At 8:30 AM,  she was supposed to be in Naroda, directing a riot.

Here is what the court had to say about this unassailable piece of evidence the last time around:

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Then why did the witness for prosecution say that she was directing the riot at 8:30 AM?

I thought the credibility of a witness hinges on the ability to get details right.

I don’t know what the court will decide this time. But what I do know is that I should have known about this video earlier. I should not have accepted without question the media point of view that Maya Kodnani was 100% guilty as charged. And for that I am shocked, stunned and saddened.

 

 

Of Bullet trains and dams : those who stand in the way of development

I remember when Vajpayee was building the Delhi metro, the stupid Commie liberals called it a “bourgeois takeover of public space”.

No seriously.

That’s stupidity of such an extreme level that it can only be seen as its own parody.

Today, every city in India is dying to have its own Metro train. The seculars wanted Akhilesh to win the whole of Uttar Pradesh simply because he built a Metro train in Lucknow.

What we think today, they think tomorrow. One day, every state in India will be clamoring for a Shinkansen Bullet train. Mark my words.

Also, the Congress will one day market the Bullet Train as “Rajiv Gandhi’s dream”. Mark these words too.

For the last 3 years, I saw numerous potshots at Modi regarding : “Where are bullet trains? Where are smart cities?”

When Akhilesh lost Uttar Pradesh, one of his first taunts was at the PM’s Bullet Train dream, saying that voters probably wanted the Bullet Train more than his Lucknow Metro. Inherent in this statement was a taunt, a challenge… suggesting that Modi’s bullet train will remain a pipe dream.

But now they saw the Japanese Prime Minister come over to formally kickstart the project. The deadline has actually been advanced from 2023 to 2022. We even have a date : the first Bullet Train is supposed to run on Aug 15, 2022.

It is beginning to sink in among seculars that the Bullet Train is here and it’s going to be for real. Much more real than any of Rajiv Gandhi’s dreams.

So what do the seculars do? Of course they now abandon those earlier taunts and start bitching about the cost, the effectiveness, etc, etc.

First of all, let me tell you this. There’s a blistering fast Maglev train from Shanghai’s Pudong Airport to Central Shanghai. It covers 20 miles in just 7 minutes (can you believe it?) To my surprise, I found few people (other than eager tourists) ever want to ride the Maglev train.

Why? Because the Maglev train is goddamn expensive. That’s why!

The normal Subway train to Central Shanghai takes more than one hour, but everyone would rather take the cheap (and heavily crowded) alternative.

But you know what? It doesn’t matter. That Maglev train has paid for 10 times itself in raising the profile of China as an economic superpower. Every foreign correspondent who arrives in Shanghai … whether from Slate or the New York Times … tells the world about the blistering fast train at Pudong Airport.

I’ll tell you this : the Shinkansen train in Mumbai will shut up the ‘drain inspector’ types from the West who land regularly in India to complain about it. We may try to laugh off their efforts, but the truth is that their constant kvetching about India for 70 years has a serious negative impact on our economy.

It’s the same reason we need ISRO to land a probe on the moon. To leave the naysayers with their mouths wide open. And don’t forget how we inspire a whole generation of Indians to take pride in nation building through science and technology.

In the US, they had the “Sputnik Generation”. That was when America got freaked out by the Soviet leap into space. America did not rest until they put a man on the moon in 1969. The explosion of scientific and technical aspiration that happened in those decades gave the US a near unassailable lead in all things hi-tech.

We need our own “Sputnik generation” in India. Call it the “Bullet Train generation if you want.”

The naysayers can go suck a big one.

I found out today that Jawaharlal Nehru laid the foundation for Sardar Sarovar Dam in 1961!

When did the construction begin? In 1987! A full 26 years later! That cuts through the tenure of three Bharat Ratna winning Prime ministers from the Dynasty!

And we wonder how the Chinese left us so far behind.

On assuming power in 2014, one of the first things that Modi ensured was to raise the height of the Sardar Sarovar Dam. He deserved to inaugurate it on his birthday. Well done, PM and Happy Birthday to you.

Meanwhile, the “FCRA based dissent” can go to hell for all I care.