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 eternallyHindu, 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.
The raging debate in the US right now is on women’s rights on abortion. Its a very sensitive issue there where teenage pregnancies are not rare. And equally common are broken families, adoption, foster homes. The legislation expected could have political, social, economic ramifications. I never expected any nation to be so much alive and politically-socially conscious as the US, although I have been increasingly aware how mature and literate the American population generally is. And I am also surprised how the country is divided on opinion. Well balanced. I guess America has come of age. I respect the way they dissect a bill before it becomes a legal statute. The pro-life – pro-choice arguments are heated, and for reasons justifiable. How the population engages in healthy discussions and present counter arguments is interesting. There are campaigns, rallies educating masses and gathering support. Before the motion is brought to the floor of the house, the finer aspects are contemplated and analyzed logically in great detail leaving no room for misgivings. Witnessing the democratic way the entire construct is executed building momentum showed me how every voter’s or citizen’s right counts in democracy. I wish India is as mature, and not just the world’s largest democracy. We have to move things from grassroots level and our masses need to be well informed and opinionated. In coming months we shall come to know what will be the law of the land, but as of now the pros and cons are doing the rounds in the States.
I may be an outsider, but my family is American so it concerns me as much. I was not vocal on the matter during my recent visit to the US because, women there are extremely sensitive when it comes to women’s rights and issues especially when it comes to something as personal as women’s body. Precisely this is why I am Pro-Choice.
As a grandmother, as a mother, there is a lot I have seen in my life than the younger women of today who are raising banners for Pro-Life. They in all probability have no clue what they are talking about. How many of these women in twenties or thirties or still in teens will have the patience or mental strength to raise a spastic child or a Down’s syndrome baby whose birth could have been prevented. Leave alone the medical bills to foot. India has such Draconian laws that do not allow women to go in for Medical Termination of Pregnancy (MTP) when the foetus is twenty weeks. I have known a case when the ultrasound scan and other medical test reports showed anomalies in the second semester when the pregnant mother was forced to carry on with her term against her wishes, expecting the birth of an abnormal child. The couple have been raising a boy physically and mentally handicapped since his birth and now he is eight years strapped to his baby cot, fed through tubes. How many women who shout slogans arguing for pro-life will have the devotion, courage, financial backbone and/or strong heart and mind to go through what these young parents are undergoing. Their happy life as they knew it long since vanished with one scan report years back. A simple MTP could have done everyone good. Only, the detection came a couple of weeks later. Laws that are outdated need repealing. In this scenario, I do wonder how mature societies like the US can actually go on and frame constricting laws that can do more damage than bring in welfare to the society.
The religious perspective adds fuel to the fire as we can see. The Catholic church is not for termination of pregnancies.
What about teen pregnancies. Illegal pregnancies appear to be rampant in the US in underage women which can be constituted as ‘rape’ (as in any other country). How can any legal statute try to legitimize the birth of a baby born out of such unholy nexus. How can any law enforcement agency reserve the right to deny these victims their fundamental right to abort what they do not want or deserve. How many babies are abandoned in the trash can every year? How many end up in foster care? Is this what the state wants for our unfortunate unborn children and their poor unlucky mothers.
It is not just the US, it is high time even India revisits the law governing MTPs. If abortions cannot happen for valid medical reasons on completion of twenty weeks of pregnancy, then the screenings for anomalies at any stage is pointless. Quality of life is worth considering than quantity of life. These were media reports stating that government was considering allowing legal abortions until 24 weeks although there is no update on the issue. There is always misuse in some quarters but this is a small collateral considering the larger benefit on anvil. Govt of India can weigh allowing MTP upto 24 weeks consulting a medical bench when the mother’s life may not be endangered. Asking for sex of the foetus is illegal in India punishable with a sentence. This is to prevent gender-based crimes in the garb of MTPs. It seems to be serving the purpose.
at this moment my thoughts and prayers are with Sri Lanka.
Sri Lanka’s Karma: Imagine rendering homeless millions of Tamils, destroying their livelihood, killing entire family trees, dividing families, disabling/maiming the population, striking down their homes, systematically ethnic cleansing … how many thousands had to flee this tiny island country for safer havens. Here is an open secret: only Tamils will work, the lazy Sinhalese never can! You remove the Tamils, Sri Lankan economy collapse cannot be prevented. What an enterprising community is the Tamil population. Knowledge factory. Cultural ambassadors. Disciplined and hardworking. Balancing factor. Backbone of the Sri Lankan economy. An intelligent nation will capitalize the Tamil potential to full advantage. They are such a support system. A state of emergency has been declared in Sri Lanka. Humanity is suffering. My heart goes out to the aam aadmi in the elephant country. Prayers for the Tamil Sinhalese communities to stay united and come out of this crisis in better shape. With love from India.
Horrendous stories coming out of Sri Lanka. So near, yet so far. No I haven’t yet set foot in the island nation – i mean barring a dozen times I switched flights there whenever I flew Sri Lankan Airlines. So my foray into the country is limited to mere Colombo airport. No power, food prices soaring thousands of times higher, essential provisions and groceries no more affordable, school final examinations postponed for lack of stationary among other reasons, no oil and gas, no transport, no medical service, public utilities shut down, etc., etc. What about the Sri Lankan currency. Rajapakse – the one man to blame, sold Sri Lanka to China and even we in India are surprised, this doomsday has arrived a bit too early than expected. Common man is suffering. The issue is, when as a Thamizh I write on Sri Lanka, I could be suspected of not being neutral. I have no prejudice in the matter really. We in Tamil Nadu resented the thoughtless Rajiv Gandhi assassination, but except for handful of plotters, rest of the island Tamils had no connection with it all. The massive ethnic cleansing of Tamils that took place has shaken us totally because, we are right here separated by a strip of sea watching helplessly what is going on there. The remaining few Tamils are not happy. They are hit the hardest. To thwart India, Rajapakse played right into the hands of China. India is the big brother. May be bossy, but will NEVER HARM the SAARC countries, as simple as that. For this majority Hindu nation, Akaand Bharat comprised of the Saarc countries even if they have fallen apart from us over time. We still hold a moral responsibility toward these nations. Sri Lankan nightmare started with Hambantota port that is now entirely Chinese owned. Too late for the country to make amends. I have never and will never support extremist organizations. Still the way the slain Tamil leader’s young son was shot at point blank by the Sri Lankan army has a lot to say on human rights violation in the country. The boy was mere 7 years of age. To offset India, Sri Lanka joined hands with Pakistan and China. It is China that is most nefarious. The debt trap for Sri Lanka was so very carefully laid. It will be mammoth task to undo it. Can India step in: Where Chinese presence is there, India will move with caution and patience. Guess, India is already helping. Now in times of crises like these, the Sinhalese will realize how blood is thicker than water. With India, the Sri Lankans whether Sinhalese or the Tamils, have the historic umbilical cord connection that cannot be severed for eternity. We are culturally bonded, racially the same. What is Hindu Dharma without Ravana’s Sri Lanka. Where is China in all this.
Sri Lanka must be a warning to other SAARC countries such as Pakistan, Nepal, Maldives, Bangladesh and Bhutan on perils of getting entangled with China. Pakistan can forget Gwadar and the tract leading to the port city. Their own citizens must be personas-no-grata already in the region! Pakistan will see debt rising very soon and currency becoming worthless.
Nepal is the other jealous neighbour we have. The Himalayan kingdom landlocked with access only from India and China will learn a lesson like Sri Lanka in near future. Nepal still has the time to climb out of the debt trap. Bangladesh too. Bangladesh is not yet however that much committed to China, because Bangladesh trusts India basically and that could be a life saver for the Bengalis. Maldives is also courting China and will be facing consequences far sooner than we may expect. Bhutan is generally India-friendly. We will have to wait and watch.
The current Sri Lankan scenario must be ringing the alarm bells already in Saarc capitals.
As for Pakistan, Imran Khan is still a man I respect even if he has made a complete fool of himself over time. He is clearly unfit, incompetent, and is not cut out for politics. He did handle things bad perhaps. From India vantage point it suits us!!! But he has been verbal against India (in UN etc.,) (except for in very recent times). All that cannot negate what he did for his country as a gentleman cricketer: from founding their first ever cancer hospital. I understand it is a super. I was a great fan of his and my husband is still his huge fan. He recalls the day he watched Imran bowl in Chepauk cricket ground in good old Madras as a spectator in the crowd. The masses erupted and applauded for the wickets he took not for the India batting he says. Of course politics is a different ball game altogether. But the love we feel for Imran is still there. Politics is a sewer. It must be left to dogs. Imran must have realized this by now. Hopefully he comes to no damage once he leaves office. We in India fear for his life (i mean we middle class Indians!). The alternatives to Imran Khan do not appear attractive.
Around us is this chaos. India is still sailing smooth. You open social media: you see how the communists and leftists and liberals are commenting on our PM Modi ji. However even they know, we are okay so far because the captain who is steering this big vessel called India in rough waters is Shri Narendra Modi ji. He does what is best for the country. The quantum of loans he has paid back to the international lenders like IMF! The debts he has cleared for India. How he has overhauled as much as possible the Indian economy bringing everyone under tax net. You just cannot hide – or hide with success for long – in India now. He has streamlined processes, regularized everything and has made everyone accountable. GST! This is what I love about him most. There will always be a collateral, who is denying. I know Modi ji is a tough bargainer and he gets us Indians the best deal in every front. His life is devoted to India. Enormous respects for this selfless man who lives and breathes only for Bharat Matha. Even his critics have to give him that. As a citizen of India, I feel safest and securest when India is under the tutelage of Modi ji. As an NRI I realize how better we are treated and the added respect and recognition that have come our way. Diplomacy, thy other name is Modi. How he handled the gulf crises with UAE, Saudi and my second home – only we know. Never antagonized any arab country but got them do everything for us. In this moment, I have to think about Smt Sushma Swaraj, the lion lady who personally engaged in diplomacy with the oil states.
But India’s stability to a large extent relies on the equilibrium we have in our neighbouring/SAARC countries. Their economies have to flourish for them not to disturb us! India is a very strong and reliable ally. Unfortunately we are denied an engaging role to play in each of the SAARC countries for fear of our hegemony. India can play a constructive role as we did in Afghanistan. Our work speaks for us. After the US forces left, we are still remembered. Nothing goes to waste. I can never imagine India behave like the Merchant of Venice (aka China). Sri Lanka is now waking up to this hometruth. India is willing and waiting to invest in all SAARC countries. Let us grow and prosper together!
No, I have not been to Ukraine but I think it borders Georgia, of the erstwhile Soviet Union. From the Ural, we were shown the other side that was Ukraine. Vast, vast vestiges ran up to the distant horizons. Not many footfalls in this part of the world. Untouched mostly and unmarred by too much of human presence: this is what came to my mind as we made our way through the mountains to Gudauri ski resort. Normally you may expect the former soviets to be stiff and upright. But in total contrast, I met on the way rural Georgians who kept bees, gathering honey from floriculture and watched old row houses growing grapevines zip past in the countryside. My visits to Georgia and Azerbaijan gave me an idea of what the mighty Soviet Union must have been in some ways but disproved many other myths. One one side there were the so-called rundown block of flats but on the other were these snaking highways and gas pipelines as easily. Russian technology is different, not obsolete – at least in my opinion. I have not been to UK, but have visited the US although have covered only a fraction of the entire landmass, and I have been to a few European countries as tourist. So unlike others and in spite of all that I read in media, i have come to love the serene and calm environs of the former states of the USSR that are now republics on their own right. The engineering and technology are another level. Highway standards and automobiles are another standard but then I know that the first shuttle that flew into space was the Sputnik from the USSR. So I do have enormous respect for Russia even now. I don’t deny that communist regimes breed corruption as history has shown. More than corruption the autocratic rule is what can be truly oppressing. In Azer I even got a feeling that the public preferred being with Russia! Georgia however was different and was keen on joining the European Union at a future date. Georgians saw themselves as Europeans – a recent outlook only, even as the European governments have started flirting with George trying to establish business links. Azers felt closer to Turks and Iranis probably dictated by shared cultural ethos. Azer and Armenia have been historically at loggerheads. This is one more sensitive geographical spot so far as I can see that can blow up anytime, infused with hate and aggression. Mafia in Azer I understood was run by Russian thugs. Mafia in that entire region was under Russian control. Azers were of opinion they need Russian help to scoff at Armenia, the christian country that had tacit European backing.
In this scenario, I recall a visit from Kiev university of a professor of Economics (whose name I am unable to recall) to University of Madras. My major (in masters) was Econometrics and the year was 1990-91. He was a visiting prof who was on in the last leg of his lecture tour when he was in our campus. I guess I have blogged on this earlier but I will anyway do it again. The hindi picture ‘Brashtachaar’ was released starring Rajnikanth whose billboard he said, he happened to notice in every big city of India where he went for giving lecture. He said, when he understood that the meaning of the title was ‘corruption’ he was flabbergasted, because no way in the Russian dictionary this word existed! It was illegal and it could mean trouble. The professor was astonished at the range of merchandise and veggies and fruits that were sold across India. He said, he was taught that India was poor but the bountiful India came as a surprise to him. He felt, India was a very rich country, definitely better than USSR where the locals had to queue up even for buying bread. It was just before the soviet union came apart. Gorbachev was the president. He said, the USSR was breaking up anytime time and that he looked forward to it. I neither remember his face nor his name but the way he compared India with Russia – the gist, stays with me. He was all admiration for India. The visit was an eye opener to him. I did think of him Georgia and Azerbaijan. I realize the historic significance of his visit only in last few years. It was just the crux of time.
Since we have all read the book 1984 by George Orwell and we feed on the books fiction or nonfiction authored by writers from west steeped in capitalistic values, we also tend to underestimate the communists at the same time. To me Georgia and Azerbaijan came across as unspoilt countries, natural beauties not marred by greed and crass commercialization that plague Europe and the US. I wish both remain original to eternity. Life is tough no doubt, but it is tough for everyone, in every corner of the globe. Georgians happened to think that they have been held back from progress (read westernization), but they must know that they must count themselves lucky to have missed the bus. I hope Georgia doesn’t join the bandwagon of EU but rather stay different and outside the loop. But I agree the EU entry would open so many doors for Georgia.
Although the Russian technology is strange to us, being basically engineering men, my husband (civil & structures) and a family friend of ours (mechanical) could somewhat evaluate and compare their standards of engineering with others. They were very impressed with what they saw. Even the wine breweries and cheese I found to be the best in Georgia. Local cuisine was exotic and unlike anything continental. The entire experience for us was a novelty. Yet I was charmed by the old world laidback lifestyle of both Georgians and Azers. They could be poorer cousins of Swiss or Germany, but the peace and richness I found in these two countries was very reassuring. Churches and mosques were opened after the balkonization of the soviet union. Pristine environment. Tourists are already flocking to this part of the world as both the countries along with Ukraine, also opened their doors to the medical and engineering universities that are rated the best and could be at par with those in the US or UK. In another 10-20 years I have to admit sadly, that even these heavens will become regular thoroughfare losing their quiet magic. The precious gift they hold their citizens are not aware of. Instead they yearn for anything branded or imported from America.
I hope the professor is well and safe in Kiev. I have interest in Ukraine for this reason. All said, may peace prevail. We were only guests but the day we were leaving, our Georgian cab driver got us a bottle of red wine his wife had brewed with her owns hands and stocked in their cellar. It was well aged. That really moved me to tears. In Azer too, shook hands with very many kind rural folks. Human beings are the same everywhere.
How can Hyundai India be held accountable or responsible for Hyundai Pakistan?
Following the outrage in India after Hyundai Pakistan tweeted in support of Kashmir Day, Hyundai India has issued two apologies to the nation distancing itself from the controversy. Indeed like rest of my countrymen I got carried away by the Hyundai insensitivity. But then my engineering boss (my hubby) explained to me how any two (or more) franchisees of the same multinational company based in two (or more) different countries, may have nothing to do with in common and how they are far detached, and function as two (or more) entirely different entities having been incorporated as per the local laws of the host countries. The only connection between the two different arms in India and Pakistan in this case could be the parent company who may pass on to them technology or the assembly line. In India’s case, production is undertaken in Hyundai plants and Hyundai India also has captured an export market. Hyundai India has nothing to do with Hyundai Pakistan therefore. Moreover, social media may be handled by independent agencies for the companies. Hyundai factory is in Tamil Nadu, located very close to Chennai, at Sriperumbudur. For over 25 years, Hyundai has had a quiet and steady growth in India. They procure their spare parts from small scale Indian industrialists, and they provide employment to locals. I have friends who worked for the company. They are pretty decent. Never have the south Korean expats or the company voiced an opinion on Indian politics or economics or culture as our Indian govt and media may note. Fellow Indian citizens also must take note of this crucial fact which is vital to arrive at any judgment. Hyundai Pakistan may have deliberately incited the disturbance. We Indians come out with typical kneejerk reaction for everything. Pakistan is still a banana republic whose annual GDP falls short of one day trading volume at BSE in India. Hyundai Pakistan sells a reported 8000 assembled cars a year as against 800,000 plus Hyundai sedans sold in India mostly entirely manufactured locally. This must speak about the capacity of both the companies and the economies. Hyundai HQ in Seoul must have been unaware of the developments. In truth, they may not even be aware of ground reality or political equations in the subcontinent. Hyundai India has still come out with two back-to-back apologies and that must do. In fact as I see, there is no reason for them to apologize at all. Lever India, Nestle India, Pepsi India etc., have similarly no connection to their counterparts be it in Pakistan or in another country in the world. MNCs or Companies incorporated in India are mostly public listed companies with stakes even held by retail investors. Some like Hyundai, Honda etc., may be privately held. The scene we have in India is completely different from what they have in Pakistan. However, the backlash Hyundai has received in India must be an eyeopener for global companies that want to do business with India. This is why Narendra Modi matters!
And how the floodgates opened!
Why this apology may be important: Hyundai India, KFC, Dominos, Pizza Hut, Honda know of the ease of doing business in India as against a lawless country like Pakistan. Who is lining their pockets. Most of us NRIs do comprehend the dynamics of running-managing an MNC in different parts of the world. It is just next to impossible to do business without conflict of interests. The treading ground is treacherous. So sometimes, mistakes happen. In this case, what originated from Pakistan seems to be a well planned and coordinated INTELLIGENCE exercise, coercing the MNCs to issue statements in unison, not keeping with their policies. Very cheap stunt. Well, that has bombed in their own backyard now, so fellow Indians relax! What Pak would not have factored in must be this spontaneous Indian solidarity that made the MNCs in India buck down and issue apologies. Yet, admittedly it is a recurring practice that only Indian/Hindu sentiments are most disregarded. India is taken for granted by the MNCs who will never dare to repeat the chapter with China or Pakistan.
I opt to give the benefit of doubt to Hyundai India. I trust and keep my faith in them. Let us not judge them with one incident or rather one motor accident! They have a proven track record in India which is good. The Indian market for them is too precious to lose. It has been built for a quarter century with the goodwill of both the nations.
Once the dust settles on Hyundai matter, hopefully our PM Shri Narendra Modi ji will turn his govt attention to Netflix and Amazon Prime, the OTT platforms that India can do without.