Delhi was Indraprastha in Mahabharat from another plane of time. Delhi has been in the thick of things for centuries, believed to have been the capital of the Pandavas. India’s destiny is closely linked to how Delhi evolved with time. So the significance of continuing to have Delhi as India’s capital is understandable. Even so, why should not there be an alternative to Delhi. Today I was watching the you tube video of building plans for a new Indian parliament in Delhi. I was struck by a thought. Our capital city was also the seat of the Delhi sultanate. Aurangzeb ruled from Delhi. The British Raj functioned from Delhi where the viceroy’s residence was turned into Rashtrapathi Bhavan, the presidential palace, on India’s independence. India retained much of the colonial architecture from the British days and Delhi profusely was Mugal in make-up. I am yet to visit my capital city frankly! But from what I see in media I feel no soul connection to India’s capital. That kind of India is something most of us Indians cannot identify with. Lost is the Mahabharath umbilical cord to Delhi. Delhi is now more and more identified with its residual mogul imperialism. So average Hindu, especially a south Indian, can hardly connect to Delhi. We cannot reckon with our invaders from Middle east, Turkey, Persia and Afghanistan. Taj Mahal has got nothing to do with us. The south largely remained insulated to mogul invasions. Indian history still has the point of view of those who invaded and occupied India over native Indians. We seem to celebrate our invaders and we have forgotten our own golden ages of Chandra Gupta Maurya, Ashoka, Vijayanagara empire, Maratha empire and Shivaji, the Chera, Chola, Pandiya, Pallavas of the south. We have forsaken our ancient Bharat when our Maharajahs ruled just from the Delhi throne. Our history text books underplay local heroes and glorify the invaders. Good to have a multicultural society but not at expense of losing our own perspective. India’s Hindu heritage must be preserved. India’s soul is Hindu not anglicized or arabized. Delhi is hardly representative of the real Bharat. Why should not India have Her capital moved to, say, Orissa for instance. My vote is for this not-so-developed state of India which lies to our south east. The new capital city must not be raised over destroyed forests. Orissa and southern states were hardly touched by the Moguls in direct conflict even if some princely states down south could have become their vassals before falling in step with the British, the Travancore and the Mysore states being the glaring examples. Arcot in Tamil Nadu and Hyderabad in Andhra were administered by mugal vassals who reigned the region without winning a war. So south mostly retained the essence of Bharat without much of distortion. It is vital to build a capital for Bharat from where neither the British nor the Islamic invaders of India governed us. While we accept our pained history as it is, it is also important to break away from the slave mentality or the colonial mindset. We have to disconnect with our troubled past for which moving the seat of power to somewhere outside Delhi can be crucial. India is not merely the mugal empire or the british raj. India is an enigma and the Indian subcontinent is flanked by seas on three sides. We are a varied landscape and diverse population. We need to centralize things. The capital must be reachable, identifiable to all and by all Indian citizens. Even Andhra Pradesh or Telengana is a good choice to build our new capital. Tamil Nadu and Kerala may not be advisable because of easy access by sea. Orissa is a larger state and the capital can be situated far away from the coastline. Madhya Pradesh and Bihar have vast extent of reserve forest areas. We wouldn’t want India’s new capital to be built across our elephant corridors. Moving our capital to geographical center of our nation could give us better sense of inclusiveness in my opinion. Security issues need to be studied in detail. Just wondering!
That’s my takeaway today from international media. I don’t own this quote. I have borrowed the idea for my own contemplation in this private space of mine where I don’t have readers. So please don’t give it the plagiarist tag.
I can cite quite a few political and economic developments/fall outs owing to this so-called perception of popularity. And then there is the timing. Ruling governments do advance the general elections if the going is good for them to cash in on their reigning popularity or perhaps the perceived popularity among masses. They probably bank their decision on flash midterm poll wins and local Panchayat (civil body) election seats. Media role also cannot be ruled out. Media invariably become mouthpiece for those in power projecting a false reality with their own opinion polls, exit polls, expert panel discussions etc. The center is always on the spotlight. Sometimes this can backfire as it happened when the BJP government called for early elections in 2004, a good six months ahead of the schedule by December. The Lok Sabha and Rajya sabha (lower and upper houses of parliament) went to polls simultaneously in phases in the April and May months (as it is always in India – in some six or seven phases considering our geographical extent and the mammoth 1.3 billion population – we are the world’s largest democracy) that the ruling party shockingly lost on very narrow margin. Their record was unblemished in that 4.5 year period and they were riding high on the popularity wave. The exit polls and opinion polls were in their favour. Finally the election fiasco was pinned on anti-the incumbency factor. Had the 2004 general elections in India been held by December, BJP could have won the elections hands down. Ironically their constructive term had been rudely cut short by their own making. It was the very first time in modern Indian history that a non Congress government completed a full term at office at the center. The surprise Congress win put the nation’s oldest party back in charge for the next ten years. BJP finally returned to power only in 2014. In 2019, they were reelected to power.
Opinion polls and exit polls are but about a selected sample and they cannot be used to extrapolate general predictions about a future outcome. This is especially true of India where the electorates are huge. A slice of sample is hardly representative of a vastly varied and diverse and populous electorate typical of the Indian subcontinent. There are variations to consider and it is entirely possible that the sample collected and analyzed could be that standard deviation. However, in favour of TRP ratings, the media houses miss this simple logic. No wonder their projections are skewed and are drastically different from ground reality. The media did predict rout of the BJP once again in 2019 that the party went on to win on a massive scale unprecedented in history.
There is this take on our EVMs, the electronic voting machines which have come under introspection. It is ironically always the opposition that is weary of the EVMs. When Congress was at the center, the BJP blamed their losses on EVMs. Now when the BJP is at the center, the congress party would like to attribute their dismal rout on the EVMs that they found to be faultless and defended when they were elected to power. INdia’s population makes it advisable that the EVMs are operational in our general elections. Battalions of election officers are enrolled all across the country and the actual election exercise in India starts two years prior to the election date. Mooted by the Election commission of India, the classroom hands-on training for official staff kicks off months earlier, and the materials and the EVMs are prepared and plans devised with a roadmap for the upcoming elections finalized accordingly. Its a gigantic national exercise worth a Phd for interested political studies candidates. I would recommend foreign journalists to study our case with our government written consent. Last elections in 2019 were held in seven phases over two whole months for both the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha across our 29 states and 6 union territories. I have been casting my electronic ballot for over 20 years now. Its a great indigenous democratic exercise that India has perfected that even some first world nations have lost. Its not that easy to rig the EVMs and there are foolproof checks at every stage to rule out manipulation. Finally the manual voting is punched for the electronic vote that can be counterchecked for rigging if any party contests results. Even I have to agree that no one hundred percent foolproof system may exist when it comes to voting process. The EVM debate hots up every year before elections and there are the two sides for and anti EVMs as expected.
Sometimes the masses are taken for granted when it comes to their voting preferences or rather prejudices, which will not serve any purpose. Today in India, even the lowest middle classes or the BPL (below poverty line) families are politically aware and know the differences between the Lok sabha/Rajya sabha polls for the lower and upper houses of parliament as against the State assembly polls. You can see the way the public vote for the two. When it comes to Lok sabha elections, the masses vote for a strong center sometimes bypassing state interests. When it comes to state elections, they go for performing governments. Linguistic and regional politics take a natural precedence. If you are non performer, you will stand to lose your constituency in reelections. Modi is reelected not because of his BJP party or Hindutva alliance. Modi is winning because he is good for India and he has pushed for economic development raising our living standards. He has passed on benefits to rural India, the business community, to the common man and the industrial sector all at the same time never neglecting any quarter. Typically you can see the anti-government or pro-west or the left media focusing on nonperforming areas whereas his track records in reality may speak of a different story.
Perception of popularity breeding popularity sounds interesting! This is especially true of conspiracy theories. Brainwashing was happening all around in India during and after demonetization and GST introduction that without a shred of statistical evidence, based on media reports and on the rants and raves of the influential and opulent elite stashing black money, the public who willingly bore the brunt were made to wonder whether they were put to suffering to serve vested interests. The sacrifices of the common Indian on the street in this phase of time was phenomenal. Grudgingly the aam aadmi chugged along serpentine queues until the stroke of midnight for those freshly minted notes of currency in lieu of the old rendered useless overnight. The timeframe for tendering the old notes back to the reserve bank in exchange through commercial banks was limited. The lower middle classes I spoke to were happy participants in the exercise not grumpy always as made out by the media. The familiar leftists were on the discussion forums downplaying all that was received well in reality by the general janata. I am seeing how GST works only too very well and can recall the stiff opposition it met with. Now for whole of India, just one point tax and no more queuing up in the borders for our trucks: remember we are a 29 state country with trailers running on all-India permit. This saves time, precious oil, manpower and over all that double billing or double taxing.
As in Biden’s case, actions speak louder than words. The benefits realized will outweigh the criticisms.
Which is why I have totally stopped reading the Indian print media and don’t watch our mass media anymore. I directly discount our social media propaganda posts as well. Like fellow citizens I watch for translation of bills and/or legal statutes and accords and pacts into actual benefits for the public. I watch for the social development indicators. I will not gauge my country with the imported Audis. I measure my country with the locally made drab Ambassador which is the true indicator of my nation’s economic health. I don’t go by the stockmarket boom that can have no correlation with actual industrial growth and output. I go by the bonuses dispersed based on quarterly results booked by an FMCG corporation for instance. I go by the books. I look for the export quantum of wheat over imports. I keep tab with the varying interest rates. I watch for the infrastructural developments and how that directly affects my life. Metrorail saves the day for us and any government that mooted the project can hope for reelection. Not surprisingly the next state government is only adding more routes and further many kilometers to the viable project to win the popularity match. Today in India, whichever party is to form the government at the center or state level, they have got to perform. We cannot rule out bribes and red tape entirely from my country but the strong governments see to that this social corruption does not weaken the momentum of their economic engine.
You don’t have to be a literate to factor in the social indictors into your assessment methods to decide on who to vote for. I have seen how the mind of the blue collar workers functions. They are far smarter. They are even better politically aware. Nobody voted for BJP in Tamil Nadu, but the masses all got the Modi app in their phones and have subscribed to Modi health insurance! My maid’s mother received 40-60 radiations without paying a single paisa thanks to the state-central govt sops (still the woman died, can’t help) with the Modi health card and a driver’s aging father got a cardiac bypass surgery done for free at the state of art govt multispecialty hospital in Chennai with the same Modi card. The opinion on BJP is fast changing in the state. There is almost no Indian citizen today without at least a zero balance bank account introduced by Modi and the Aadhar ID is a great leveler.
Perform or Perish: now this is the slogan in India. This applies to any government that gets elected to office. Its not about Modi or BJP or Congress or even the State governments. Corrupt state governments are thrown out in the very next round of general elections. Perceptions can persist but practicality is different.
I record my gratitude to my Journalist-writer guru who is a big influence on my spectrum of thoughts. I am a housewife and I write for just me myself, still it counts. I am interested in learning anything and everything and this is an offshoot subject from mainstream that has relevance to today’s political-economic scene we have here in India.
A juicy bit of news: General elections date are not fixed just like that in India. Astrological consultations are done in alignment with the birth star of the leader of the political party to ascertain which date is auspicious to contest elections and from which constituency from whatever direction. It reminds of me of how Mahathir Mohammad of Malaysia used to fix election dates in consultation with astrologers in Malaysia as the locals would tell us. Mahathir’s grandfather was Kerala muslim who migrated to Malaysia. As far as Indian general elections are concerned, more than anything, believe me or not, the kundalini (birthchart or horoscope) of the PM candidate plays a vital role in deciding dates and even the winning of the polls!
Yes, the game of cricket overshadows all other sporting activities and achievements in India sadly. There are more sponsors for cricket than for any other sport. As the T20 world cup for cricket in underway in Australia, we also had some jubilant sporting news pouring in other parts of the world when fellow Indian sports(wo)men have made us equally if not even more proud. Indian junior mens’ team went on to win the Sultan Azlan Shah Hockey tournament gold cup in Malaysia. Indian Shooting team has had its best stint winning 15 medals including 5 gold in Changwon ISSF world cup emerging on the top of the table. Former world no.1 Saina Nehwal once again moved into world top 5 in Badminton women. And the icing in the cake is winning the French Open Tennis Men’s double by the Indian duo Chirag Shetty and Swastik Sai Raj Reddy that hardly made waves in the media. Add to that the men’s Badminton laurels and the Chess ratings. India has been having a phenomenal sporting time but none of these seem to catch the attention of the masses or our media which is deplorable. As much as I enjoy cricket I would really want our news channels and sports channels to cover more of Indian sporting taking place not only in India but also in all corners of the world. I can imagine what cricket is to India as I stayed tuned to the India-Zimbabwe T20 match with 90,000 other spectators watching it live in Australia this sunday. If so many thousands of Indians had to spend their sunday at the stadium watching the game of cricket, then clearly cricket is religion to us. The french open tennis men’s double win almost meant nothing to fellow Indians as I observe. Tennis is kind of popular in India with us regularly playing/winning mens doubles etc., with Leander Paes and Mahesh Bhupathy in the past and not to forget Sania Mirza. There has been a lull ever since our tennis stars retired I know. To rekindle the latent interest in tennis, its going to take a few more wins for the Reddy-Shetty pair. All said, hopefully we have unequivocal coverage for all sporting events in India in future in our media.
Rishi Sunak takes PM oath on Bhagwad Gita; heralds a new era in British history. Lights the Diwali Diya outside the 10 Downing street. The global Hindu has arrived. If not already with Sundar Pichchai, Satya Nadella etc., etc…
When India lost the 4th wicket I switched off tv in yesterday’s world cup T20 cricket match at MCG, Melbourne against arch rival Pakistan. Then a quick browse put the score at 80/4 with 70+ runs to score in 39 balls. Impossible but achievable I thought and went back to watching the match online. What a game of cricket that was. Virtual feast of batting from Virat Kohli who has been out of form lately. The pressure was building up immensely and the 90,000+ crowds in the stands jeered flagwaving adding to the tension in the air. After a point, it didn’t matter to me. The match was worth the money and time. Ravichandran Ashwin’s quickfire intelligence missing the wide won the match for India in the last ball. Exalted but I am no more that gung ho over cricket like I used to be once upon a time. I know this is still big Diwali 5000 wala for Indians glued to their tv screens across India. A win in the world cup mattered and more importantly against Pakistan. And today came the icing in the cake. Rishi Sunak becomes the first Indian origin prime minister of UK and media celebrates it as ‘reverse imperialism.’ Moment to cherish. 10000 wala nothing less! What a Diwali pataka!!! Brilliant fireworks. ISRO also, not to be outdone, launched a batch of 36 satellites including its heaviest for UK into space late last evening as Diwali gift for the nation! What a Deepavali India! Good job, well done! Proud of you Bharat! Happy Diwali everyone! Jai Hind!
Tamil Nadu Vs Gujarat
DMK vs BJP
Dravidian vs Aryan
Secular vs Hindu
Income generated from liquor business vs Zero income from liquor industry
Corruption vs Clean State
Shamelessness vs Pride
Irresponsibility Vs Growth and Accountability
Desh drohis vs Patriots
Tamil Nadu government reportedly earns roughly thirty eight thousand crores of rupees per annum from liquor industry. In fact it is a major revenue generator for the state. Instead of administration, our government glosses over brewing liquor and bottling and marketing the brand through TASMAC all across the state. You find the outlets even in posh malls of the city these days. No prizes for guessing who owns the breweries and the bottling plants: the same two or three political families who also own tv channels for propaganda mission that act as canvassing vehicles during election times. Again no prizes for guessing who will get licences for the TASMAC shops. The same old political cronies who will also be allotted prime housing plots and engineering college licences for licking the boot of the ministers. Welcome to Tamil Nadu the Dravida stronghold.
You have to see Chennai on friday evenings and saturday evenings. Queues in TASMAC disrupt traffic. The weekly wages of the poorest blue collar workers are completely and heartlessly sucked by the TASMAC. Have you heard of any other state or central government in the world that is engaging in liquor business. One level up: now TASMAC takes online orders and delivers at your doorstep.
Compare this to Modi’s Gujarat that at least legally earns zero income from liquor business. No liquor shops in Gandhi’s homestate since 1947. No breweries. No bottling plants. Contraband may flourish but the state’s coffers are not filled with liquor revenues. So Gujarat is one state in India where progress is not at the cost of the state population. When Gujarat can make it to the top as a dry state, why cannot rest of India.
Another big money spinner for Tamil Nadu is the Hindu Religious and Charitable board that has taken over most of the state temples for administration.
Tamil Nadu govt lays hands on hundreds of crores of rupees in Hindu temple funds to finance non Hindu causes and for running government. Boasting that they are atheists (who would anyway break fast during Ramzan with muslims and cut cakes for Christmas with christians) , why should they so desperately seek the Hindu temple funds. Such a monumental shame. Where is all this money going: Money from TASMAC that they wanted to close when Jayalalitha was our chief minister. Plus money plundered from Hindu temples. Do they have the honesty or guts to touch the church money or masjid money. Their heads will be rolling in dust should they attempt. COWARDS.
I can cite an individual case here. Earlier, FDs were made out in individual temple trust names from the collections thereof that went to Tamil Nadu Hindu Religious and Charitable board. Now the present government has allegedly ordered the temples to make out the FDs in the board’s names so that the temples cannot even claim their lawful collections.
From real estate to film production suddenly the political mafia is everywhere.
Why is the center unable to act against these daylight robbers.
The property taxes in the state have been hiked cent percent. For what. You see heaps of garbage everywhere remaining uncleared. Swachch Bharat kept Tamil Nadu tidy. Whose brainchild was that.
The lower middle class who voted for the DMK are feeling the pinch. Let them. When you sell your vote for money, you have to pay through your teeth for the entire term, which is what they are now doing.
The videos of ruling party members’ homes and sedans going up in flames and the masses indulging in vandalism and looting in the Rajapakse palace taking to the swimming pool in a finishing touch, are very disturbing. Contrary to feeling victorious, me a Tamil who is supposed to rejoice at these happenings, find myself immensely pained by the developments in Sri Lanka. Vengeance is best served cold, they say. The island nation at the foot of the Indian peninsula met up with its Karma finally but that hardly makes us Indians happy. The unruly mobs and the shattered economy and the breaking up of law and order are a grim reminder as to how easily we as society can degenerate into uncivilized uncouth brutes wrecking havoc in course of destruction. I am someone who never appreciated reading from ‘Sundara Kanda’ of Ramayana, about Hanuman destroying even the Ashoka Vana or the ‘vanara’ (apes) uprooting trees in Kishkintha in celebration of victory. And Sri Lanka is so closely related to us not merely geographically but also culturally. What a replay of scenes from the very Ramayana! It is like the monkey kingdom having a free run with the wily king ousted. The Rajapakses may seek asylum in India but that is the last controversy India may seek. The common man in Lanka is suffering without food, medicine, school and transport. In short, Sri Lanka has just collapsed at every front: economically, militarily and politically. He/she need not have to a Tamil. Whether Tamils or Sinhalese, they are all Lankans. This is the worst time in history for both of the ethnic races. Sri Lanka did not suffer such a cruel fate even when there reigned Tamil militancy. The current crisis is not wrought in by the Tamils. It might not be easy to cleave out of the mess they are in today, and I am no political pundit to predict how this can ever be done either. China of course is the one prime reason or the only reason Sri Lanka is finding itself in dire straits today. Add up corruption and you get the picture. And these are Buddhists and Buddhists are known for their principle of renouncing worldly interests. With Sri Lanka and Burma, we have the rare scenario of the Buddhist governments growing greedy and bringing tragedy to their own people. The complexities that we now find in Sri Lanka can make for a good case study and should serve as a warning for other nations stretching it too far. Even for India, this is like an alarm bell to keep things rolling. Keeping my fingers crossed and watching out for Sri Lanka. Haven’t been there strangely but we do have a connection with Lanka.
There is a legend about the Sri Ranganatha temple gopuram (tower) in Sri Rangam and Sri Lanka. For centuries the gopuram remained unbuilt because it was believed that Lord Vishnu in his sayana (lying) position was looking at Sri Lanka straight. If the gopuram would be built, then His protective vision will be blocked and Sri Lanka will burn (because of curse heaped on Ravana). But ex Tamil Nadu chief minister M G Ramachandran (MGR) completed the tower and got it inaugurated by the then prime minister Indira Gandhi. Within an year, MGR, Gandhi and the Sri Rangam (mutt) jeeyar all were no more. There was never long last peace in Sri Lanka after that. Successful Sri Lankan governments have been carrying out many ‘shanthi’ pujas to appease the Hindu gods because the islanders believe in the Hindu legend as they are part of our cultural history.
World can do with a single Hindu nation, no doubt. After all there are dozens of Islamic and Christian nations and even a Jewish one. There are Buddhist countries. It is of course sad that Nepal which was the only Hindu realm in the world has gone communist. India, where the world’s most ancient faith – the one and only unorganized religion the universe has ever had – has every right to proclaim Herself a Hindu Rashtra. India is the cradle of human civilization. Hindu dharma was born here and began flourishing right in our soil. Hindus are not warriors by race and have no significant history of invading others or enforcing their culture by sword as it has happened with the Abrahamic fold. India will be doing the world a favour by promoting soft power that is Hindu philosophy. We are not seeking a Hindu nation in Africa or America or Australia or Arabia or Europe. We are seeking a Hindu nation right here in India that we did not even seek during 1947 partition.
With strict enforcement of certain fundamentals of course, India can be Hindu desh by constitution. NO SPECIAL RIGHTS OR PRIVILEGES TO HINDUS ON BASIS OF BIRTH OR CONVERSION. EVERY INDIAN CITIZEN MUST BE ON EQUAL FOOTING BE HIM/HER A HINDU OR CHRISTIAN OR SIKH OR MUSLIM. The soul of India is eternally Hindu, no doubt about that. Even so, there are some disturbing posts in social media such as this one:
However I wouldn’t go by the vote count. After all, this is just limited to the world of Twitterati. Like exit polls that hardly predict exact election results, this post can be nothing more than the standard deviation, the variation we inevitably sample from a whole lot. Hopefully. This is a dangerous trend. It makes me wonder whether even aspiring for a Hindu rashtra is dangerous business. I guess it is unfair to expect India to stay neutral and secular when our minorities will stay opposed to family planning citing religious reasons, will refuse to come under the umbrella of one single common statute for all Indians irrespective of faith, etc. So when you expect to be governed as per your faith, it gives rest of Indians a sense of insecurity. Widespread missionary activity sponsored by foreign church and propagated by local evangelists is another reason why Hindus want to go for a constitutionally Hindu nation. In which case I would still want every Indian citizen to enjoy equal fundamental rights.
FREEWILL CANNOT BE THE PREROGATIVE OF ONLY THE SECULAR AND DEMOCRATIC STATES. FREEWILL MUST PREVAIL UNIVERSAL INCLUDING AND ESPECIALLY IN THE ISLAMIC BLOCK WHERE CONVERSION MAFIA MUST BE GRANTED A LICENCE TO PREACH AND PROPAGATE OTHERS WAYS OF LIFE. UNLESS AND UNTIL THAT CAN HAPPEN, THERE IS NO POINT IN SERMONIZING ON EQUALITY AND UNIVERSAL BROTHERHOOD. India and America and Europe allow and practise such a freewill. When reciprocation is denied, expect the curtailment of freewill in some pockets. Why cannot there be a Hindu banking in Pakistan or Saudi for instance if we have to have Islamic banking in India.
As a Hindu nation,
- India can deem christian conversion mafia illegal and punishable by law.
- Enforce strict family planning for muslims
- Maintain Hindu majority 80: 20 versus others/non-Hindus. India’s democracy is dependent on India’s demography. Now that is the golden rule.
- Remove the word ‘secular’ from our constitution in the first place. It was after all inserted by ex PM Indira Gandhi in 1976
- Stringent action against any Hindu who may provoke/assault non Hindus safeguarding minority rights and restoring in them a sense of security.
- No special concession for Hindus. All citizens to enjoy equal fundamental rights.
- Unfavourable support to Hindus will prove to be counter productive. It will dilute our quality and promote mediocrity and substandard. If Hindus have to survive, we have to cultivate a competitive spirit. The moment you eye concessions, your edge is gone. Meritorious must win. Even in our neighbouring country sometimes they let the best brains to prevail irrespective of their religious orientation.
Some of us have our children living in foreign countries. I wouldn’t rule a backlash!
Secular democracies are like joint bank accounts from who anyone and everyone can draw out indiscriminately. India is a classic case. But Islamic nations are private accounts and fixed deposits that none can touch. Tell me then why we must have joint accounts in that case. Why can’t the Hindu account become a fixed deposit, recurring deposit, private account locked for years, with zero withdrawal option! Just a thought to illustrate, what is expected unfairly of secular nations like India.
India can continue to remain a secular democracy when all Islamic nations in the world also constitutionally become secular democracies with their royalties suspended. Now that is fair game.
There is an old Tamil picture by this name. Bhaga Pirivinai means partition (of inheritance) when siblings go their way breaking the joint family home. Its a heartbreaking thing in most Indian families.
I originally wanted to review the pic ‘Partition 1947.’ It is directed by Gurinder Chadda, whose grandparents lived the nightmare of partition. Inspired by Domini Lapierre’s ‘Freedom at midnight” this story has been retold a million times as we know. So much so that the partition saga to us now has gone stale. Oversold. The same trains set to fire. The mob violence. The bloodshed. The mass migrations. But what really moved me this time was, the dividing of spoons and ladles in the viceroy’s kitchen in Delhi. I almost felt a tear sting my eyes when that went on. Tuba for India, the French horn for Paksitan. That kind of sharing of cutleries and crystals. Tableware and napkins. And even the encyclopedia. I have always viewed the two countries as two different entities, having been born decades after partition. Being a south Indian, you cannot relate to the border ordeals at all. But in that one frame I saw the nations India and Pakistan as one family for the first time. It was heartbreaking. It is always. I have been in a joint family home before we built our own nest. Right now with the empty nest syndrome. I just know how it feels. It wasn’t easy leaving the joint family at all. Yet someday the inevitability has to happen.
Blessed to have family far from the borders. I would ask my grandma how the day of independence was. ‘It was a government holiday, public holiday’ she would tell me flatly! There was a single public radio broadcast in Luz central in Mylapore I believe where the famous Nehru speech that began with the booming words, ‘when the world is fast asleep India will wake upto…..’ blah blah blah, was played at midnight from the Red fort, Delhi. Crowds gathered to listen to it. My family owned a radio I guess so they listened to the speech at home. I don’t clearly remember. I wish I had paid more attention to my gran. She said, sweets were distributed after flag hoisting and singing of some national songs. Not sure if it was our national anthem either. Some patriotic songs sung by locals. After sweet distribution, everyone went home waving flags, she said. She always mentioned to me it was a govt holiday as my grandfather worked for government! Then next day he went to work hahaha! This was how August 15, 1947 unfolded in real life to my family. No partition ripple was ever felt. Thank god there were no social media or mass media and news did not travel miles in seconds. South remained peaceful for that reason. Everybody simply went about their business. My grandpa was a commerce graduate who rode a scooter and who smoked and who loved to dress up in sherwani like a north Indian. He was a looker! Just another day in our family I guess. Only the war times were a bit tense I believe, especially the 1971 one. Even then there were only radio news bulletins nothing more. But nobody liked Jinnah. Yet my people always felt the partition was a blessing in disguise. We always want to remain a Hindu majorioty country and would not want to be defeated by a population jehad. Hindu families have shrunk in size.
I may be secular, democratic with an open mind, yet I know India has a chance only if we are 80-% Hindu majority. Our democracy lies in our demography. I would blame Mountbatten for his hasty plans and exit but I guess he cannot be held totally responsible for whatever happened.
Anyway, present generation couldn’t care less. Our this India of ISRO and Infosys and world CEOs are a making well after 1947. No Mogul can take the credit. Not even the British. I love India the way she is. As headstrong as me hahaha! Proud and defiant!
I don’t regret partition. It is the best thing to have happened to India. This culmination into partition that came after centuries of brutal invasions is a natural progression.
Yet the Bhaga Pirivinai is never easy. It leaves a bitter aftertaste. Years later when you revisit, you still feel the ache and longing in your bones. That is family. The partition trauma will stay with those in the border states.
Btw I had a terrific maternal grandma. Probably she ignited the political interest in me in a young age. Fifth class dropout who could read and write Tamil and English fluently. I remember her reading the book on Kennedy’s assassination. My mother and she were discussing the report. Now in this 2022 I can see what a phenomenal grandma I had. I will prove to be one too to my darling cherrie granddaughter!
PS: Celebrating the good old days in my pink legging today, made in Pakistan 😀
Agnipath does give me the jitters. Someone has put in exactly what was going through my mind. Unnecessary militarization of our young men and women. Dilution of military standards. On the other hand effective engagement of an otherwise idling youth population. Inspiring career option. This can change the way the Indian youngsters may be viewing India. There are other pluses: fitter and younger men and women for our armed forces. No industrialist who talks big about employment of the discharged military men has ever absorbed any ex-servicemen in their production line as history reveals. Unemployed (war) veterans are a baggage. Can we rule out in entirety a trigger happy 22 year old youth community from wrecking havoc when frustration mounds. Agnipath is a double-edged sword to be handled carefully. What would the young men and women who retire on four year commission do with a bounty of eleven lakh rupees each. Their mental maturity may not match their physical prowess. At 22, the boys and girls are still kids. They are to miss the vital years at university for which the military school training with honours degree can hardly be a substitute. They will be missing the fun and action and may not fit back in easily. A fourth of the Agnipath’s Agniveers may successfully get enrolled in our armed services and go on to make a career as army, navy or airforce men. It is the other three fourths of who we could be clueless. Agnipath may be a temporary solution to deal with the rising unemployment issue in the country. The world will get increasingly high-tech and automated, with machines taking over most of the jobs meant for execution by our labour forces. A very small percentage of human population will be the actual workforce in years to roll. One has to resign to such an inevitable fate not in very distant future. In a way perhaps, Agnipath can be a lifesaver but no way a permanent answer. Agnipath mandates clearing of basic and minimum criteria tests for recruitment. Agnipath may be ‘dream come true’ for millions in this country who aspired to get into military services but could not owing to stringent standards in commissioning. Our political thinktank must know, Agnipath will not pan out like the Demonetization or GST. This is an entirely different ball game with the nation’s security and interests at stake. For the moment I keep my fingers crossed. I am not happy or cheerful about Agnipath. To me Agnipath is a gamble that can go either way. Even if it can take off with a zing at the outset, one cannot rule out when the agnipath would boomerang right into our backyards. A lot of my countrymen may cite Singapore etc., where enrollment in military services is mandatory for their citizens for upto four or five years. The sooner it is done, the better. But India is not a dot on the world map like Singapore is. India is gargantuan. My only hope and relief may be that, we are simply too big for a coup to overthrow our government or hold our capital hostage!
When our Indian politicians and bureaucrats decide to shoot their big mouths off target, nobody can shut their nonsense and filth up. So damaging were the recent off-the-mark remarks that have sparked a fury in the Middle-east undermining India-GCC bonhomie that took years or perhaps decades to foster. So much so that our late external minister Smt. Sushma Swaraj could quote from Sanskrit at the OPEC meet where Pakistan was kept at bay. Foundation stone for Hindu temples in the Emirates were laid by ruling Arabs. Just imagine the clout India has been enjoying in the epicenter of Islamic fraternity. Millions of Indian citizens are gainfully employed in the gulf nations repatriating valuable foreign exchange over years. Indians own business enterprises, Indians run hospitals to supermarkets. Indians are successful entrepreneurs. Indians are doctors and engineers to shopkeepers and teachers. Indians are SAP professionals. Indians are bankers. Indian community is far better placed among the whole lot of expats – some 100+ nationalities, who constitute the workforce in various capacities in GCC countries. Indians enjoy unparalleled prestige and respect in the Arab world that took years and Himalayan efforts to earn. And a majority of Indians making a living in Islamic nations are HINDUS. India’s traumatic history has left some scars no doubt but we are now invested in mutually beneficial economic and productive activities in the Middle East, that has offset many a bad memory kept alive only thanks to our textbooks. In today’s context especially when world economy is sluggish and employers are cutting corners giving pink slip to long serving staff without batting their eyelids, GCC nations are doing a great job employing not just Indians but blue and white collar workers of every race, hue and faith without a discrimination.
We expat Indian Hindus feel safest and securest living in Arab countries over living in crime-ridden India. We are respected, treated fair and well provided with. We enjoy world class medical and other amenities for FREE. The Arab governments take good care of us. For most of us NRIs, it is the inevitability of returning to India for good someday that seems like a nightmare.
Exactly what is the contribution to Indian economy from the Silicon valley NRIs in the US. From the Patels of hotel chains. It is always the expats employed in Arab countries who fill India’s coffers with foreign currencies and gold bullion. It is the NRIs from middle east who drive the stock markets and real estates up with their substantial investments. Who is buying the gold bonds, debentures, retirement plans and insurances the way the expats from gulf nations do. Suppose the NRIs in the gulf nations are to be displaced, can India find suitable placement for every single one of them returning home. Its not just economics, employment in gulf also guarantees India longtime peace and spares India from civil-war like grave economic situations. The harsh truth is that, the core industry of India still cannot absorb the quantum of fresh graduates Indian universities are churning out year after year. Where will all these young men and women fit in. Partly Indian government’s headache finds a panacea in job markets open for Indian citizens in gulf countries. Unlike the US, UK, Australia and Canada who want only the creamiest Indians leading to braindrain in India, the gulf countries provide scope of better and fruitful engagement for our middle level grads and even factory and site workers. To absorb and train a healthy chunk of the core industry workers produced by India is the greatest service the GCC countries render to India. Once upon a time, it were the Keralites who comprised the maximum percentage of Indian expat community in the gulf countries. Now, there is representation from every corner of India in gulf nations. Representation found a new meaning, I mused, when I struck up a conversation with Bhutan women in a shopping mall in Qatar. There are the blue collar workers employed as site workers, chauffeurs, cooks, shop assistants, nursing staff etc., who may be otherwise jobless in India plunging the nation into misery and chaos.
Will Nupur Sharma or whichever loudmouth find jobs for millions of Indians gainfully employed in GCC countries, in India. What is the need to upset the applecart? Highly irresponsible. Years of diplomacy and political correctness and goodwill have finally come to a naught thanks to such an insensitive ignoramus. The cost of this hostility will be borne by the labour class and working class Indians working in GCC countries. Every single loose canon shot by careless Indian politicians damages the political goodwill hard-earned by the Indian diaspora over years. It only takes a moment of sheer callousness and thoughtlessness to destroy such a precious relationship that India has been traditionally enjoying with Arab countries. Our media guys are bastards. Jealous outright. They would rather see the NRIs suffer because these guys are now sweating it out in our tv studios. They will do anything to inflict damages. Then there are the TRP ratings for sensationalizing non-issues. India never took sides when the GCC countries were divided over Qatar. Top brass in India as well as GCC nations are aware of the significance of the strong ties enjoyed by both sides. It is time for Modi government to shut some loudmouths tight. India has been a great ally to Arab countries walking the tightrope, never missing a foot. Hopefully this matter dies quietly the soonest. India can do without these debilitating controversies. This is no good.
Is this a local Indian issue: May be. Media still has to play a responsible role. Sometimes the architects of riots are none but the Indian media. The ones who must be booked are the anchors who did the lead and the producers behind the stories.