Should India Give Modi a Chance

March 27th, 2014

Should India Give Modi a Chance?

by

Col (Retd) Bhaskar Sarkar

www.bhaskarsarkar.com ; www.twitter@COLSARKAR

Many of my learned colleagues and friends keep telling me that we should give Modi a chance to be the prime minister and see how he performs. I have some reservations. I believe that Modi has dictatorial tendencies and is a front for the RSS and the Sangh Parivar. I believe that they have a hidden agenda of seizing power democratically and then perpetuating their hold on power by not so democratic means.

However, I may be biased against Modi and the Sangh Parivar. So I will take you through some pages of history and leave you to decide the issue.

Hitler

Hitler had a humble beginning. He worked as a carpenter and painter before joining the German Army as a private during World War I. After the war he joined the German Workers Party. He had remarkable powers of oratory and organization skills and quickly rose to be the leader of the party. He changed the name to Nazi Party (short for National Socialist German Workers Party). In 1920 he formed a cadre called Brown Shirts, a semi military organization to act as protectors in clashes with communists (Similar to the raising of RSS to act as protectors of Hindus). Because of his personal magnetism and political astuteness, he got funds and support from the German Army, industrialists, bankers, government servants and the people (Modi has similar support). He preached violent nationalism and hatred against Jews. In 1923 he attempted to seize power through a coup which failed. Hitler was jailed for five years.

In 1928, the Nazi Party rode on the wave of popular discontent against the ruling party and increased its seats from 12 to 106 in the German Parliament. No party had majority and political instability continued till 1933 when a coalition government was formed with Hitler as chancellor. Once in power, Hitler moved quickly to destroy the German democracy. With the muscle power of two million Brown Shirts, he assumed total control. By 1934, all political parties other than the Nazis were banned. A purge in 1934 by the Brown Shirts eliminated all his political rivals. Rest is well known history. Hitler oversaw the execution of millions of Jews, led Germany into World War II and committed suicide as Germany was defeated and devastated by the war.

(Source: Book of Knowledge, Volume 4, the Waverly Book Company Ltd, London)

Mussolini

Mussolini also had a humble beginning. He was the son of a blacksmith and became a teacher. He had migrated to Switzerland to avoid compulsory military service but was expelled for his extremely violent nationalist and socialist speeches. He fought World War I as a private. He founded his own party Il Popolo d’Italia and his own news paper. After the war he formed a cadre of ex-servicemen called the Fasci. His Facist gangs attacked political opponents and even intimidated the police. In 1921, he was elected to the parliament. After political instability, the government of Italy resigned in 1922. The king of Italy invited Mussolini to form the government. Once in power, he gradually eliminated all political opponents and reduced the King to a figurehead. Mussolini remained the dictator of Italy with the muscle power of his Fascist party from 1922 to 1943 when Italy was defeated during the World War II. He was killed in 1945.

(Source: Book of Knowledge, Volume 5, the Waverly Book Company Ltd, London)

CPI(M)

CPI came to power in West Bengal in 1977 under Jyoti Basu after winning the state elections. It immediately stared building its muscle power by enlarging the strength of its cadre and trade union. It also infiltrated the police and every other government organization. Joyti Basu retired as chief minister in 2000 but the party remained in power till 2011 by intimidating the opposition with the muscle power of its cadre and imaginative ways of poll rigging and booth capturing. The end came due to three reasons. Firstly, the people of Bengal were fed up with the domination of CPI(M) in their lives and the bullying of its cadres. Secondly, the Election Commission came up with the idea of phasing elections and using central para military forces to manage the booths and prevent rigging and booth capturing. Thirdly, Trinumul Congress under Mamta Bannerjee developed a cadre which out muscled the CPI(M) cadres. During their 34 years of dictatorial rule, the CPM exposed the inability of democratic elections to change governments and made a mockery of the Indian Constitution and rule of law. Industrial unrest and political extortion drove away all industries and reduced West Bengal to a backward state.

Modi and the Sangh Parivar

I find great similarity in the background and personality of Modi, Hitler and Mussolini. I also find great similarities between Hitler’s Brown Shirts and Mussolini’s Fascists and RSS and other elements of the Sangh Parivar. Modi, like Hitler and Mussolini, has started eliminating political opponents within his party, the BJP. Hundreds of crores are being spent on promoting the Modi Cult. He is determined to be the great Indian dictator.

RSS and the Sangh Parivar are intimidating BJP leaders. Advani was forced against his will to contest from Gandhinagar by RSS. BJP advertisements do not say “Agli bar BJP sarkar!” (Next government will be formed by BJP). They say, “Agli bar Modi sarkar!” (Next government will be led by Modi.) The BJP President, under threat from RSS took only 12 minutes to change his statement from “Agli bar BJP sarkar” to “Agli Bar Modi sarkar.” Hitler wanted to marginalize the Jews. Hitler believed in the superiority of the German race; RSS and the Sangh Parivar believe in the superiority of Hindu culture. RSS and Modi want to marginalize religious minorities.

Conclusion

I value my personal freedoms. I want to live my life in my own way. I do not want any political party or cadre to tell me how to conduct myself. I do not need RSS to protect me from Muslims or the Sangh Parivar to do moral policing. We have security forces and police to maintain law and order. I want real democracy. I want government of the people, by the people and for the people. I want free and fair elections. I am afraid my wishes will not be granted if Modi with RSS backing forms the next government in Delhi.

History has taught me that leaders who sneak into power by democratic means can murder democracy with the help of their supporting cadres. It has happened in Germany and Italy. It has happened in West Bengal and Tripura. I am afraid that it will happen all over India if Modi and RSS come to power.

If you do not agree with me, vote for BJP and bring Modi to power.

If you share my apprehensions about the hidden agenda of Modi and RSS, do everything you can to defeat BJP and Modi. All parties must unite to defeat them so that real democracy may flourish in our country. Defeat them to ensure freedom for yourself, your children and grand children.

Corruption, nepotism and crony capitalism can be controlled if value based politics brought in by Aam Admi Party flourishes. But if democracy is subverted by the party and leader in power, corruption, nepotism and crony capitalism will flourish unchecked. I would rather be a free bird than a parrot in a gilded cage.

Can Kejriwal be PM

February 27th, 2014

Can Kejriwal be PM

By

Col (Retd) Bhaskar Sarkar VSM

www.bhaskarsarkar.com ; www.twitter@COLSARKAR

A question that has been raised by some elements in the media and the established political parties is, “Does Kejriwal have the experience to be Prime Minister or even a chief minister? To answer the question all one needs to do is to look at history.

Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru

What was the experience of Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru when he became Prime Minister on 15 August 1947? A big zero. During periods when he was not in jail, he did lead the Congress Party. But he could have no experience of ruling any part of India because India was then under British rule. He was well educated and had vision of a great India. Except for being a supporter of corruption (e.g. jeep scam of 1947 involving V K Krishna Menon) , nepotism (e.g. making infamous General B M Kaul Corps Commander in 1962 leading to Chinese debacle) and crony capitalism (e.g. Dalmia Case of 1956; Mundra Scam of 1957; Jaynti Dharam Teja Scam of 1962 where Daram Teja’s company with a paid up capital of Rs 200 got a loan of Rs 200 crores on Nehru’s recommendation) and a neglecter of India’s defence preparedness, he did a pretty good job. He laid the foundation of a vibrant, modern, technology savvy and industrialized India. In fact his entire cabinet was without any experience. Yet most of them, except for a few like Mr. Krishna Menon, performed very well. Their assets were intelligence, knowledge, dedication and love for the country. It is because of Nehru that India has IITs, IIMs, AIMS and is a nuclear power and has sent a mission to moon and Mars.

Rajeev Gandhi

What experience did Rajeev Gandhi have when he became PM? He literally parachuted from a Boeing aircraft of Indian Airlines into the prime minister’s chair. Except for his handling of the Anti Sikh riots and the misadventure in Sri Lanka, he did as well as he was permitted by his unscrupulous council of ministers. Mr. Clean was snared into the Bofors and other scandals and the Shahbano Case and lost the election that followed. But he had the vision to introduce “Panchayeti Raj, integrate the villages into the national telephone network and brought in computers and to start information technology. His vision helped India to progress and become the world’s leading IT power.

Barack Obama

Barack Obama, the current US President in his second term was a first time senator before becoming the US president in 2009. His executive experience before becoming president is nil. Yet he did well enough to win a second term.

Manmohan Singh

Unlike the most inexperienced national leaders listed above, the most experienced Prime Minister after Indira Gandhi, Mr. Manmohan Singh, has been a total disaster. As a result of his weak character, (the only time he shows resolve is when it comes to hanging on to his chair), poor governance and benign tolerance of all pervasive corruption, he has brought the century old Congress Party close to oblivion. What use is experience when ones vision is restricted to finding corrupt ways to stay in power, when your leader has no pride in his nation and no control over his ministers? Why the Congress party chose him to be Prime Minister and persisted with him remains the most intriguing political mystery of our times.

Narendra Modi

Narendra Modi claims that he has experience for running the country. Does he? He has been the Chief Minister of Gujrat for over 10 years. But does that qualify him to be Prime Minister. As a Chief Minister he has the power to sack any of his ministers. He does not have to tolerate dissent. Does the Prime Minister have the power to sack a Chief Minister? A Prime Minister has to live with dissent and have the tact to still implement his agenda. Narendra Modi has dictatorial tendencies. His home minister, Mr. Haren Pandya with whom he had differences was assassinated. He has a convicted criminal in his cabinet and has a benign tolerance to corruption. He is a master at crony capitalism. He is close to the Adani Group and has granted them all kinds of sops. He refuses to make his relations with the Ambanis and his stand on doubling of gas prices clear. Yet, if the opinion polls are to be believed, he is India’s most favoured Prime Ministerial candidate. I am unable to understand whether Narenra Modi has been able to hypnotise the Indian voters with his election campaign and rallies (the source of the funding of these expensive political events is of course a closely guarded sectret) or the modern day youth is as dumb and gullible as their illiterate parents and grandparents.

Rahul Gandhi

Mr. Rahul Gandhi is unofficially declared as the Congress Party’s nominee for the Prime Ministership. His experience in government is zero. He is well educated and appears honest. He does not appear to be power hungry. Is that enough to make him a better Prime Ministerial candidate than Kejriwal? The fact of the case is that no senior leader in the Congress takes him seriously. He is having difficulty in getting anti corruption laws passed. He is unable to have the corrupt punished or even prevent them from getting party tickets for the forthcoming Lok Sabha elections. He is not in a position to explain the source of funds for his rallies or clarify his stand on doubling the gas price at behest of Mukesh Ambani.

Arvind Kejriwal

Kejriwal, as an ex bureaucrat has some firsthand knowledge of what goes on in the corridors of power. Kejriwal is intelligent (IIT graduate and IRS), honest and down to earth. He is not after money. (As income tax commissioner he could have made tons of it but quit to form an NGO). He is not power hungry. (He would not have resigned as CM of Delhi if he was). He is accepted by his party mates and the people as their leader. He is media savvy. He is fighting against corruption, nepotism and crony capitalism. Is he not likely to be a better PM than Narendra Modi or Rahul Gandhi?

Conclusion

A successful Prime Minister has to be a leader of men. He must passionately love his country and be ready to make sacrifices for his country. He must have the courage of conviction to stand his ground in national interest against foreign powers and domestic business and religious lobbies. He, like Lal Bahadur Shastri and Indira Gandhi, must be loved and respected by the ordinary people of India. He must be a man of vision capable of taking long term decisions which will benefit the country. He must be a man of compassion for the poor and down trodden. He must be the prime minister of all Indians, rich or poor; over privileged or under privileged; regardless of sex, religion, caste, community or political leaning.

We have many to choose from. We have the power hungry Narendra Modi and the petty leaders of regional parties who will fight amongst themselves when the time comes. (Have we forgotten that Chowdhury Charan Singh stabbed Moraji Desai in the back to get the chair in true Indian tradition? Have we forgotten that Chandra Shekhar stabbed VP Singh for the chair? Have we forgotten the miserable short reigns of Deve Gowda and IK Gujral?  We also have Rahul Gandhi and Arvind Kejriwal.

May we have the wisdom to choose the right person and his party.

Tale of Two Struggles

February 25th, 2014

Tale of Two Struggles

By

Col (Retd) Bhaskar Sarkar VSM

www.bhaskarsarkar.com ; www.twitter@COLSARKAR

Once upon a time some patriotic Indians took up the struggle to end British Rule in India. Most of young India or about 70 percent of Indians know very little or absolutely nothing about this struggle. To historians, the Sepoy Mutiny of 1857 was the start of this struggle. The details of this long and difficult struggle cannot be covered in a few pages. Suffice it to say that there were many greater leaders and many visions of what India should become and how the struggle for independence was to be sustained till the goals were reached. In this article I will only touch on a few aspects.

Bal Gangadhar Tilak was the first leader to demand “Swaraj” or self rule. In 1905 he said that “Swaraj is my birth right and I shall have it”. The British promptly put him in Jail. Mahatma Gandhi returned to India from South Africa in 1915 and started “Satyagragh” or civil disobedience to force the British to grant independence. Initial demands were for dominion status. But in 1928, Congress adopted the demand for “Purna Swaraj” or full independence. The struggle for independence led by Mahatma Gandhi and the Congress Party continued till 1947 when we finally became free from British rule.

Mahatma Gandhi, Pandit Nehru and the Congress party, and millions of known and unknown freedom fighters gave us independence. Pandit Nehru and the Congress party also introduced corruption, nepotism and crony capitalism which made “swaraj” irrelevant for the common man or the Aam Admi. Nehru’s policies of boosting higher education and industrialization saw a huge growth in the privileged classes. The “license raj” restricted industrialization to a few politically connected business houses, created monopolies and led to exploitation of the poor. Aam Admi had to wait another 17 years before Lal Bahadur Shastri recognized them with his slogan “Jai Jawan; Jai Kissan”. Indira Gandhi kept the focus on the Aam Admi with her slogan “Garibi Hatao”, 20 Point Program for rural development, nationalization of banks and foreign companies who refused to have 50 percent Indian shareholders. After Mrs Gandhi the common people were again pushed to the background and corruption, nepotism and crony capitalism filled the pockets of the political class and government servants (the Khas admi or privileged class) and the business class and the rich (the Amir Admi or the rich). The rule of the privileged, by the privileged and for the privileged and the rule of the rich, by the rich and for the rich has prevailed ever since and is practiced by all political parties.

Then from nowhere emerged an agitation led by Anna Hazare and the Civil Society called India Against Corruption in 2011. It demanded the passing of the Jan Lok Pal Bill drafted by Anna Hazare’s team by the parliament and launched an agitation in Delhi. The Congress government did its best to break up the movement and failed. They then manoeuvred the simpleton Anna Hazare by promising to pass the bill. But the struggle by the Aam Admi to eliminate corruption, nepotism and crony capitalism was taken up by Anna Hazare’s erstwhile lieutenant Arvind Kejriwal who floated the Aam Admi Party. The party made its first electoral foray in 2013 in the Delhi state elections and surprised all by winning 28 seats. The Aam Admi Party today carries the flag for all Indians who are against corruption.

I would like to share some interesting parallels between India’s struggle to free itself from British rule and the Aam Admi’s struggle to free itself from corruption and rule of the privileged, by the privileged and for the privileged.

Leadership

India’s struggle for freedom from British Rule was led in its final stages by Mahatma Gandhi, a simple man with no political or pecuniary ambitions. India’s struggle against corruption, nepotism and crony capitalism was led by Anna Hazare, a simple man with no political or pecuniary ambitions.

The political struggle for freedom from British Rule was led by Gandhi’s trusted lieutenant Pandit Nehru. The political struggle from corruption, nepotism and crony capitalism is led by Hazare’s trusted lieutenant Arvind Kejriwal.

Gandhi advised Nehru to disband the Congress Party after independence. Nehru refused. Hazare advised Kejriwal not to join politics. He refused.

Opposition to the Struggle

India’s struggle for freedom from British Rule had to defeat the opposition from the princely states and other privileged classes (the Westernized Oriental Gentlemen) and the British. Aam Admi’s struggle for freedom from corruption, nepotism and crony capitalism is opposed by almost all Indian political leaders, government servants, traders, business houses and multinational companies.

Reasons for Success

India’s struggle for freedom from British Rule succeeded partly because of its leaders but mainly because of the millions of known and unknown freedom fighters who smilingly gave their all for the cause. Aam Admi’s struggle for freedom from corruption, nepotism and crony capitalism will succeed if their leaders are determined to selflessly continue the struggle and if the people of India display the same commitment to freedom and are willing to make the same kind of sacrifices which our forefathers made to gain “Swaraj”.

Conclusion

My friends and countrymen! Lend me your ears. You stand at the crossroads of history. What you do will make the difference between a democracy that is of the privileged, by the privileged and for the privileged or a democracy that is of the people, by the people and for the people. Join the Aam Admi Party. Work for the Aam Admi Party. Contribute whatever money you can to the Aam Admi Party. Vote for the Aam Admi Party. Persuade others to vote for Aam Admi Party.

Aam Admi Party may not win majority in this election. But every seat it wins puts the corrupt and the privileged on the defensive and reduces corruption, nepotism and crony capitalism. Every seat it wins makes it difficult for the privileged to make the Aam Admi their unwilling “Das” (servant) or “Dasi” (maid servant). Have faith. “Hum Honge Kamiyab Eek Din”.

True Colours of BJP Being Revealed: Hope the Electorate is Watching

February 6th, 2014

True Colours of BJP Being Revealed: Hope the Electorate is Watching

By

Col (Retd) Bhaskar Sarkar VSM

www.bhaskarsarkar.com ; www.twitter@COLSARKAR

An article “UPS’s Failed Socialist Experiment” by Varun Gandhi, BJP National Secretary and MP ends with “it’s time to give markets a chance”. The article which has been published in Times of India Chennai on February 5, 2014 bears scrutiny. He adds, “Thanks to economic populism and subsidy raj, India is now the sick man of Asia”.  I am a regular listener to foreign news channels like BBC, CNN and Al Zajeera. I have never heard any of their journalists or experts call India, the “sick man of Asia”. I am not claiming for a moment that India has achieved the economic or human development growth that is commensurate with its potential. I would however like to submit that this failure is due to poor governance and not socialism. Let us take the issues raised by Varun Gandhi one by one.

Benefits of Subsidies are Captured by Upper Class and Large Farmers

Mr. Gandhi writes, “In the last decade the central government has spent almost Rs 11 trillion in subsidies – mostly captured by the upper class (fuel subsidies) and large farmers (fertilizers)”. I totally agree with him. But the distortion and leakage has nothing to do with socialism. It simply confirms the truth that Indian democracy as practised by all national and regional parties is “of the upper class, by the upper class and for the upper class”. This is where the Aam Admi Party needs to come in.

Fuel subsidies can be easily designed to reach the target segment of the society. Petrol used for two wheelers can be supplied after premixing it with engine oil and thereby making it unusable in cars. Only petrol used in two wheelers should be subsidised and petrol for cars should not be subsidized. To reduce the number of diesel cars and SUVs, the initial road tax should be made equal to the cost of the car. Subsidized LPG cylinders have been capped even if at 12 per year.

A “small farmer’s” card on line of BPL card could be used to ensure fertilizer subsidy reaches only the small farmers (holding up to 5 acres). Direct cash transfer of subsidies would ensure that subsidies reached only those targeted. However, the attempt to do the same by the government is being resisted by vested interest of the upper class through Supreme Court. The constitution should be amended to make the “Aadhar” Card compulsory.

Leakages in the Public Distribution benefit the community of shopkeepers, bakers and hoteliers, most of who are the upper class and supporters of BJP. The leakage can be easily stopped by direct cash transfers. But direct cash transfer of subsidies based on “Aadhar” Cards into bank accounts are being resisted by vested interest. There is a way of overcoming individual reluctance to “Adhar” card based cash transfer. Just pay 20% extra subsidy to Aadhar Card holders for a few months and get them to enroll. Another option is to link direct cash transfers to banks linked through the voter ID card or Aadhar card.

Grain Procured by Government Rots due to Lack of Storage

The rotting of grains procured by the government in its stores or during transit is simply poor governance and has nothing to do socialism. Just because some children die after polio vaccination or on the operation table does not mean polio vaccination or operations are bad. The real problem is lack of accountability in the government machinery. The other problem is that the upper class does not use grains supplied by Public Distribution system but grain from branded sources. So a government “of the upper class, by the upper class and for the upper class” has no interest in the matter and just do not care. This is another reason why we need the Aam Admi Party.

Stopping Pilferage of Electricity and Dealing with Non Payment of Bills

Pilferage of electricity is a national practice. Only about 20% India does not. The staff of electricity boards and Discoms provide direct connections to houses, businesses and industries for a bribe. No effort has been made to punish the guilty by making the offence non bailable. The poor cannot afford not to pay their bills. Their connections will be immediately cut. It is the rich and the powerful that do not pay their bills and still remain connected. The list of defaulters if published every month in news papers will be led by politicians, bureaucrats, industries and government departments. Since the government is “of the upper class, by the upper class and for the upper class” everyone is making merry at government expense. This is another reason why we need the Aam Admi Party. I hope Mr. Varun Gandhi cleared his electricity bill before writing the article.

Removing Stigma from Defaulting on Loans

I am not sure which loans Mr. Gandhi has referred to in his article. If it is agricultural loans to small farmers he is talking about, it is understandable. Farmers usually do not vote for BJP. BJPs vote bank consist of traders, businessmen and industrialists. It is surprising that he has mentioned the Rs 6.5 lakh crore sticky loans with Indian banks. It must have been done inadvertently. Almost all the beneficiaries of the sticky loans are member or supporters of BJP and are rooting for Modi as PM.

UPA & Socialism

I am not inclined to agree with Mr. Varun Gandhi’s assertion that UPA practices socialism. UPA is a divided house. The Gandhi family and some of their young followers and most members of the National Advisory council are left oriented and behind MGNAREGA, Food Security Bill, Right to Forest Produce Bill, Right to Education Bill etc. But the government led by Manmohan Singh, P Chidambaram and Monetek Singh Ahluwalia are hard core neo-liberal economists who do their best to serve the interest of foreign countries like China, US, Europe, ASEAN; big business, foreign investors and multinational companies. Liberation of imports, reduction of import duties, relaxing norms for identifying foreign investors to check money laundering, the entry of drug money and terrorist money into our economy, bringing in multi-brand retail without a care of growth of Indian industry and jobs is the work of these neo-liberals. This group has full support of BJP. In fact BJP supports neo-liberal economic model and is 100% pro business. After all, the core supporters of BJP are small and big businesses and traders. More the de-regulation, more the black money generation, less the taxation and tax compliance, the better it is for BJP supporters.

Conclusion

Mr. Varun Gandhi ends his article by appealing, “It is time to give markets a chance”. Markets have been ruling the Western World since the time of Regan and Thatcher in mid seventies. See the result. Inequalities have reached new peaks. Tax havens and the rich are flourishing and never had it better. America and Europe have seen their manufacturing sectors destroyed and unemployment at record levels. Many European countries have 25 to 50% youth employment. Unions have been weakened and become impotent. Slavery has been reintroduced in the form of economic slavery. The message from the market is work long hours for a pittance or stave. Middle class jobs are reducing and being replaced by low paid jobs in retailing and hospitality industries. More and more people in the developed world are going hungry or surviving on community kitchens.

Somnath Bharti is an Over Exuberant Anti Corruption Crusader

January 26th, 2014

Somnath Bharti is an Over Exuberant Anti Corruption Crusader

And Not a Molester or Common Criminal

By

Col (Retd) Bhaskar Sarkar VSM

www.bhaskarsarkar.com ; www.twitter@COLSARKAR

Somnath Bharti, the first time MLA and Delhi’s Law Minister is under attack from BJP and Congress Parties, the National Council for Women (NCW), Delhi Council for Women (DCW), lawyers, intelligentsia and parts of the media which are pro Modi and pro BJP. The hullabaloo is over an alleged run in with the police where he wanted them to raid some premises allegedly being used for prostitution and drug peddling. This was subsequently followed up by a vigilante raid by locals of Khirki Extension of Malviya Nagar which seven Ugandan women allege was led by Somnath Bharti. The BJP has promised to continue agitation till Bharti steps down.

Somnath Bharti has been accused on three counts; misuse of his official position, misbehaviour or abuse towards women and making racist attacks. Let us examine them one by one.

Misuse of Official Position

What did Somnath Bharti really do? He tried to persuade the SP of Malviyanagar to raid the premises which locals claimed were being used for drug peddling and prostitution.  He was only trying to use his position to stop criminal activity. He was not doing it for personal gain or to provide financial benefit to any kin, friend or party politician.

If misusing official position was really an offence, it would be difficult to find many official or politician who are not guilty of it. Instances of misusing official position by our honourable ministers and bureaucrats are so common and numerous that they would fill thousands of pages. I will give four.

When Praful Patel was minister for civil aviation, an airline flight was diverted to carry an IPL team to Chandigarh or some such place because his daughter was as manager in the IPL organization and wanted an aircraft to take the team there. The regular passengers were inconvenienced and the airline lost money. Media and political parties remained largely silent. There was no FIR and no investigation.

When Dayanidhi Maran was Minister for Communication, he got BSNL to set up a telephone exchange for his company and swindled hundreds of crores of rupees. The matter came to light when a BSNL officer blew the whistle after retirement. There has been no agitation by the Congress, BJP, Media or the intelligentsia for bringing Maran to book. The case has been forgotten by the media.

As per a report in Times of India, Chennai edition of January 24, 2014, the Supreme Court held the permission given to a private company to sell 40 acres of agricultural land acquired for setting up a private oil refining company in Kutch to another private company for profit as illegal and cast aspersion on the Revenue Minister of Gujrat Government for pressurizing the collector of Kutch to permit the sale. Supreme Court’s order was based on a PIL file by a Congress MLA. BJP, the media and even the Congress are totally silent about it. Perhaps they all believe in the adage “If you live in a glass house, do not throw stone at others”.

The Home Minister of Gujarat ordered 24×7 surveillance of a young woman while in Gujarat and outside by the Gujarat Police, CID, anti terrorism squad. The surveillance was speculated to be on orders of Narendra Modi. The woman was not a criminal nor alleged to be a terrorist. Is such surveillance permitted by law? Who footed the bill?

Misbehaviour or Abuse of Women

Seven women of African women have filed FIRs against Somnath Bharti. Bharti denies doing any wrong and claims that the allegations are false. The incident took place in front of a large gathering and has most probably been video graphed.  So why not wait for the inquiry. In any case there is no allegation of any physical contact between Bharti and the women.

The interest shown in the case by NCW and DCW appears to be motivated by extraneous pressures from BJP and Congress. How else would you explain the inaction of the same august body to the rape and setting on fire of a woman in a dowry harassment case and other ever increasing cases of gang rape in West Bengal and other states? The DCW is going to the Lieutenant Governor of Delhi to remove Bharti. It did not go to the Lieutenant Governor asking him to take action against the police for not taking immediate action against the accused in the gang rape and attempted murder case and not providing protection to the woman who had asked for it. Is Bharti’s misconduct more heinous than ignoring rape and attempted murder and not providing protection to a girl in mortal danger?

Making a Racist Attack

Somnath Bharti may have used racist and uncomplimentary language against the women. If he has, he did wrong and must immediately apologise for the same. However, video recording of the incident must be available and used to get at the truth.

Conclusion

Somnath Bharti is a bit of a loose cannon and needs to keep his temper and language in check. But that does not make him a molester of women or a rapist or a common criminal. He is at the frontline of the conflict between AAP and Delhi Police. And as many unfortunate victims know, the police are masters at framing innocent people. Whatever Bharti did, he did in good faith for prevention of crime and on the request of the inhabitants of Khirki Extension. Our honourable Prime Minister has submitted that the coal field allocations done by his ministry and under investigation by CBI were done in good faith and that he should not be held responsible for the Coalgate Scam. If the Congress is ready to accept that logic, why can’t they accept that Bharti acted in good faith and not for personal gain and order the case to be closed?

As far of BJP’s agitation for removing Bharti is concerned, we need not worry too much about it. There are many Congress ministers whose resignation BJP have agitated for and brought parliament to a standstill. The real reason for BJP and Congress gunning for the AAP is that they are worried that AAPs foray into the Lok Sabha elections could cost them vital seats and shatter their dream of forming the next government. The tension is getting to regional parties as well. Shiv Sena and Trinumul Congress leaders are also attacking AAP.

AAP vs Police Corruption

January 24th, 2014

AAP vs Police Corruption

By

Col (Retd) Bhaskar Sarkar VSM

www.bhaskarsarkar.com ; www.twitter@COLSARKAR

Arguably, the Indian Police is the most corrupt organization in the country. It is almost impossible for the disadvantaged members of our society to do anything without paying the police. We, the ex-servicemen are generally exempted from demands by the police. But even I have paid speed money to have my licence renewed and to have hypothecation removed from the registration certificate of my car. The constables who came for passport verification of a student I know took Rs 200. A SHO demanded Rs 30000 from an industrialist friend to carry out verification for his Tatkal passport. The SP of the district when contacted refused to intervene. Even a call from the MLA could not make the SHO change his stand.

Police throughout the country are engaged in a large scale extortion racket that brings in thousands of crores of Rupees every month. The police stations and Regional Transport Organizations (RTOs) are the main collection centres of the extorted money. It is a well known secret that the post of SHOs and RTOs are auctioned off to the highest bidders. Once posted, the SHO or the RTO is allowed to extort as much money as he can from pavement dwellers, street vendors, drivers and owners of taxis, busses, trucks, auto-rickshaws and small business. I have read in papers of labourers picked up by police on trumped up charges and the family being asked to pay a ransom. Cases of custodial death due to torture for not paying the ransom are not uncommon and go largely unpunished. If the wife of the person picked up ventures to the police station to enquire about her husband, the odds are that she will end up being raped at the police station.

The second source of earning for the police is protection money. This protection money is collected from known criminals and history sheeters like thieves, bootleggers, drug peddlers, women traffickers, history-sheeters, bars, massage parlours, gambling dens, illegal quarry operators, etc. to turn a blind eye on their activities.

The third and perhaps the most lucrative is money extracted from people accused for a criminal or civil offence. The police demand and collect money for carrying out shoddy investigation, ignoring or destroying evidence, intimidating witnesses to change their statements in favour of the accused or to register the offence under a less serious and bailable section of the IPC. They also take money from parties engaged in property disputes and for not implementing court orders. The most high profile attempt to bribe the police that made news in the media recently was the bribe of Rs 5 crores given by Narain Sai, son of self styled god man Asha Ram Bapu and accused of rape, to Gujrat police. Unfortunately for him, the four women police officers investigating the case refused the offer, reported the matter to higher ups and the media and turned in the cash. It was reported that Narain Sai had arranged for a total of Rs 13 crores for bribing police and politicians to bail him out of trouble. Circumstantial evidence even suggests that CBI is not averse to such payments. How else can one explain CBI’s recommendation to the trial court to close the Arushi-Hemraj murder case for lack of evidence? Unfortunately for the Talwars who must have paid crores, the court rejected the CBI recommendation and convicted them based on evidence available.

In return for the right to extort and collect bribes, the SHOs and RTOs must hand over the agreed sum to their superiors for sharing the loot. They are allowed to keep the rest. Ever heard of a police officer being prosecuted for possessing assets disproportionate to his income?

Police Politician Nexus

The police-politician nexus is age old, enduring and pan India. How else would you explain the fact the BJP and the Congress are against passing administrative control of Delhi Police to Delhi Government though they try to fool the people of Delhi into believing that they are for giving full statehood to Delhi. The reason is simple. The police department is a cash cow for the political parties and politicians. If administrative control of a major portion of the police is handed over to the Delhi Government, the earnings of senior policemen and politicians of Delhi, perhaps including the Home Minister, will fall drastically. Which politicians or senior police officer will accept that? Mr. Shinde, who started his career in the police as an ASI must be well aware of the stakes.

AAP vs Police

The Aam Admi Party is the first and only political party since independence to have declared war on corruption. After coming to power in Delhi, they have created an anti corruption helpline for the people of Delhi. They are also training the ordinary people to carryout sting operations. Their findings are that 70% of the corruption complaints related to Delhi Police. They have also carried out 1200 sting operations against the Delhi Police but are unable to process them for lack of cooperation from senior officers of Delhi Police and the Home Ministry of the Central Government. Delhi’s Law Minister is in trouble for trying to push the police to act against criminals. But Aam Admi Party has not yet given up. BJP is agitating against them. The Congress may withdraw support. But the Party has ignored these irritants.

Worst thing that can happen for the police and most politicians of India is that the administration of police is handed over to anti corruption crusaders like the Aam Admi Party, because the century old system of corruption and extortion which benefits the police and the politicians alike, may then collapse. Each and every political party is targeting the Aam Admi Party.

Conclusion

Kejriwal may try his best. But the Delhi Police will be bifurcated and efforts to curb corruption in the police will be successful only if the Aam Admi Party can come to power all over India. The Home minister, present or future, from BJP or Congress, from UPA, NDA or a Third Front will never allow it to happen. Who knows whether Delhi Police will ever be split and a major part handed over to the Delhi Government. Till that happens the “aam admi” or common people of Delhi and the entire country must continue to pay the police to persuade them to do their duty of acting against criminals and to allow them to pursue their livelihoods.

I congratulate Mr. Kejriwal and the Aam Admi Party for their fearless approach to rooting out corruption and request them not give up. They must continue to fight corruption in the police. That is the only way the real “aam admi” who try to earn an honest bread will be able to do so without fear or favour. That is the only way inclusive growth can come to India.

My request to the people of India is that if you have paid a bribe and are unhappy about it, go out and vote for the Aam Admi Party in all elections. If every family that has paid a bribe to survive the tyranny of the police-politician nexus votes for the Aam Admi Party, it will win every seat.

Neither BJP nor Congress under Manmohan Singh and its corrupt old guard can bring “Ram Raj” to India. Only Aam Admi Party can slay the Ravana (police-politician corruption) and bring “Ram Raj”.

Kiran Bedi May Vote for BJP but I Won’t; Here is Why

January 12th, 2014

Kiran Bedi May Vote for BJP but I Won’t. Here is Why.

By

Col (Retd) Bhaskar Sarkar VSM

Website www.bhaskarsarkar.com ; www.twitter@COLSARKAR

M/s Kiran Bedi has declared that she will vote for Narendra Modi as PM. Baba Ramdev has declared that he will campaign for Narendra Modi. But I will not vote for BJP. The reasons are given below.

BJP Is the Front for RSS

Today’s BJP is a front for RSS and the agenda of the RSS is to establish a Hindu Bharat and a Hindutya culture. This is established by the following:

1.       RSS forced BJP to amend its constitution to give Nitin Gadhkari, their favoured candidate for the post of BJP president, a second term.

2.       When Gadhkari came under corruption cloud and withdrew his name, they forced BJP to make Rajnath Singh the BJP president.

3.       RSS forced BJP to nominate Narendra Modi as PM designate ahead of Sushma Swaraj, the favoured choice of its allies JDU and Shiv Sena.

4.       It has recently directed BJP and Modi to take AAP seriously.

Mixing religion with politics is dangerous and leads to sectarian conflicts when the religious political majority tries to push its religious agenda by amending laws and curbing individual freedoms. See what is happening in Egypt, Tunisia and Turkey.

Hindutya means going back to Indian culture of ancient times. It means rule of elders and no equality for women. It means women must only dress traditionally and remain in the house. It means no partying, drinking and free mixing. It means no love marriages, inter caste or inter religion marriages. It means increased moral policing and honour killings.

BJP has no Ideology

BJP has not spelled out any ideology. Vajpayee’s BJP had five main points on the agenda. The first was “Swaraj” or good governance. It should be common to every party. The second was “Swaviman” or national pride. It should be on every party’s agenda. Vajpayee announced it to the world by carrying out atomic tests against the US wishes. Third was “Swadeshi” or “Be Indian; buy Indian”. Under pressure from neo-liberal businessmen and traders who are the traditional supporters of BJP, Vajpayee discarded it within months of coming to power and sidelined Govinadacharya, its main proponent. The other two; removing Article 370 and building “Ram Temple at Ayodhya” were rejected by its coalition partners.

Today’s BJP has no ideology; only one agenda; coming to power by creating a Congress free India. The agenda is unrealistic. Even if the BJP does succeed in winning the 2014 election (the odds are very much against it), it will have to deal with Congress ruled states. Congress cannot be eliminated.

Elections must be fought without hatred and violence. It should be like any other contest with sportsmanship and the magnanimity to accept that may the best team win. Peace and prosperity of India is more important than the fortunes of any political party.

BJP is Soft on Corruption and Criminals

BJP is soft on corruption. This is established by the following:

1.       It removed the honest Khanduri from the post of CM of Uttarkhand and brought in the corrupt Pokhriwal. But when opinion polls before state elections projected a rout for BJP, they brought back Khanduri just before the election. It was too little too late. BJP lost narrowly.

2.       Under pressure from AAP’s anti corruption plank, it removed Vijay Goel and projected Harshvardhan as Delhi CM at the last moment.

3.       It has brought back ex CM of Karnatak, Yedurappa, in spite of his corrupt image as the patron of illegal mining by the BJP MLAs, the Reddy brothers in Bellary.

4.       It continues with Gadhkari as a senior leader and Lok Sabha candidate from Nagpur. Gadhkari had appointed his driver as director of a number of his companies. There may not be any law against drivers and astrologers becoming directors of companies. But would you as an honest entrepreneur do such a thing?

5.       It made Abhay Sancheti, industrialist and investor friend of Gadhkari a Rajya Sabha MP while his brother Ajay Sancheti is involved in Adarsh Scam and Coal Gate.

6.       MP Minister Vijayvargia was caught on camera distributing Rs 500 notes before election and has been accused of corruption. He continues on the cabinet

7.       BJP had no hesitation in supporting the corrupt regime of the Chauthalas in Haryana.

There could be many more proofs of BJP’s soft attitude to corruption that I may not be aware of. BJP is also soft on criminals. Lokayukta has not been appointed in Gujarat. It has refused to remove a convicted MLA in Gujarat. It fielded over 25% candidates having criminal cases against them in Rajasthan elections and has no hesitation in doing so in any election.

There is little to choose between Congress and BJP when it comes to turning a blind eye to corruption and criminalization of politics.

Supporters of BJP include Goons and Vandals

Some elements of BJP are not averse to intimidating opponents by using muscle power. These elements caused the death of a professor of Indore, vandalized the gate of a manager of Tahelka magazine in Delhi, AAP office in Gaziabad and Prashant Bhushan’s chambers in Delhi. There could be many other such instances. If these elements can indulge in such acts when BJP is not in power, one can imagine what kind of reign of terror they can let lose if BJP comes to power. There should be no place for money or muscle power in politics.

BJP is not With Aam Admi

When not doing the biddings of the RSS, BJP is a party of businessmen, for businessmen by businessmen. That is why its India Shining Campaign lost to Congresses Aam Admi in2004 in spite of Vajpayee being at the helm. Modi is against MGNERAGA, Food Security Bill and Land Acquisition Bill. Kiran Bedi and Baba Ramdev are not aam admi. They are special.

Conclusion

Kiran Bedi was a senior colleague of Kejriwal during Anna Hazare’s Lok Pal campaign in Delhi. Kejriwal had the conviction and guts to take the plunge into politics. Kiran Bedi did not have the guts or inclination to take the plunge. Kejriwal invited her to join AAP and become Delhi CM. Kiran Bedi could not imagine AAP could form government in Delhi and declined. Now she is less of a celebrity than Kejriwal. Perhaps the colour of envy is saffron.

BJP as RSS’s front is a greater threat to secular India than Congress. Congress’s patronage to the corrupt and the criminals is unpardonable. So is their vote bank politics. But they can accept their mistakes and change their attitude. But the RSS dictated religion based politics of BJP with equal patronage to the corrupt and the criminals as by Congress will be disastrous. RSS could not change its uniform (resembling colonial police of 1932) in 80 years. How can it change its colours, accept a secular constitution and move with times.

I am Joining Aam Admi Party; Will You?

January 10th, 2014

I am Joining Aam Admi Party: Are You?

By

Col (Retd) Bhaskar Sarkar VSM

Website www.bahskarsarkar.com ; www.twitter@COLSARKAR

I have decided to join the Aam Admi Party. The decision may surprise most of my friends and relatives. But like most of my decisions, whether they proved right or wrong, it has been taken almost a year after the Aam Admi Party was formed and after due diligence. My brother joined the party in September 2013 and took part in the campaigning for the Delhi elections. But I preferred to wait and evaluate the performance of the Party.

I am a hard core nationalist and not a globalist. The prevailing anarchy in this country cannot be tolerated. Police and government departments like the income tax, customs & exercise, pollution control, etc. are acting as extortionists and associates in crimes. Corruption is all pervasive. Our arrogant politicians are doing whatever they please with public money and the nation’s natural resources. But what could I do? For the last fifty years elections have been won or lost with vote bank politics, money power and muscle power. I had no option but to vote for one of the existing parties. Political parties depended on big business and cut backs for party funds and as quid pro quo allowed them to misappropriate the nation’s natural resources or government funds by profiteering and evading government dues like taxes and electricity dues. In the process, the politicians, bureaucrats and government servants from heads of departments to the not so humble clerks and peons also feathered their own nests. Candidates spent huge amounts on election and started recovering their investment from day one after elections. While all this looting and extortion are going on, the “Aam Admi” or the ordinary citizen paid extortions or suffered. Natural resources of India were looted.

Then there was a break in the dark clouds that hung over the nation. It was in the form of Mr. Arvind Kejriwal and his Aam Admi Party. They promised to root out corruption and VIP culture. A bunch of novices without money power and muscle power or political experience took on the mighty Congress and the rampaging BJP under Narendra Modi in the Delhi elections. Some of the wise electorate of Delhi saw their opportunity to bring in change and voted for them while sceptics like me waited in the wings confident of their failure and voted for BJP.  They did better than their wildest dreams and expectation of their supporters and won enough seats to come to power. Their start in providing good government has been spectacular. I feel ashamed of my diffidence and for not having joined them earlier. I must not lose this chance to change the tone and tenor of politics and governance in India for ever. I am joining Aam Admi Party and will do whatever I can to see that they get enough seats in the Lok Sabha polls of 2014 to form the next central government.

Reasons for Joining

I am not a sentimental person swayed by herd mentality. I have very good reasons for joining the Aam Admi Party and am going to share the reasons with you.

1.       Aam Admi Party has promised to root out corruption. They have a workable strategy. They defeated corrupt politicians of all parties in elections, formed government and then went hammer and tongs against the corrupt. In Delhi they have shown that they mean business and can make a difference.

2.       Aam Admi Party consults the people before taking decisions.

3.       They have not yet become arrogant and do not have any hidden agenda like BJP’s Hindutwa.

4.       They do not practice vote bank politics. The other political parties practice vote bank politics which divides the people of this nations. Aam Admi supporters are from every section of the society, from every religion, region or caste. Their brand of politics unites India.

5.       They have promised to select clean and young candidates with the approval of the people. That may end the criminal-politician nexus and domination of muscle power in society.

6.       Since they are not corrupt, they can allow police reforms to take place. They can ensure that police becomes free from political interference wherever they gain power.

7.       Since Kejriwal is from the Indian Revenue Service, he would know how the income tax, exercise and customs departments carry out their extortion and put an end to it.

8.       Since they accept that they are political novices, they will evaluate and accept the council of experts in the fields of finance, defence, foreign affairs, economics, commerce, civil aviation etc. who are joining them in droves and strengthen our country.

9.       Since they do not depend on large corporate donations for their funds but on small individual donations, they will not be forced to provide quid pro quo benefits and ignore their misdeeds.

10.   Their clean and refreshing brand of politics is already forcing some of the other parties to adopt some of Aam Admi Party’s policies towards VIP culture.

Conclusion

I do not expect that corruption will disappear from India with the coming of the Aam Admi Party. Nor will every elected member of the Aam Admi Party be humble and untainted. But I believe that Kejriwal and his current team are honest in character and their intentions are honourable. How much they can deliver will depend on the kind of mandate they have. The kind of mandate they have will in turn depend people like me and you who must join the Aam Admi Party and their revolution to make a better India and support them with our time, money, suggestions and in every other way we can. This may the first and only chance to clean up politics. Those who love our India cannot afford to lose it.

Lastly, Lord Krishna said to Arjuna in Gita Chapter 4: Slokas 7 & 8, “Whenever spirituality decays and materialism is rampant in India; O Arjuna, I reincarnate myself. To protect the righteous, to destroy the wicked and to establish the kingdom of God, I am reborn from age to age.” I think time has come for God to send his representative to cleanse India of its arrogant, corrupt, self seeking politicians, bureaucrats, and government servants. Is Kejriwal the Gods representative to deliver us from evil? Who knows? Did those who studied law in UK with M K Gandhi know that one day he would become Mahatma Gandhi and lead India to freedom from colonial rule? Did the cellmates of Nelson Mandela know that one day he will end apartheid in South Africa; become their first black president and be accepted by the world as one of the greatest leaders of our times.

Miracles do happen. I missed being a part of the small one that happened in Delhi in December 2013. I want to be a part of making the big miracle of cleansing Indian politics come true. Do you???

(Even if you do not want to vote for Aam Admi Party in 2014 elections,

Please forward this mail to your friends and relatives.

Let them decide.)

No Tears For You Mr. Manmohan Singh: Only Contempt

January 10th, 2014

No Tears for You, Mr. Manmohan Singh; Only Contempt

By

Col (Retd) Bhaskar Sarkar VSM

Website www.bhaskarsarkar.com ; www.twitter@COLSARKAR

Times Poll published in Times of India of January 4, 2014, gave the public perception of Mr. Manmohan Singh’s performance as PM. 4% said excellent; 11% said good; 18% said mediocre and a whopping 67% rated the performance as disastrous. Yet he holds on to the chair as a leech holds on to its prey. His interview to the press on January 3, 2014 was a travesty of probity. It was one of those rare occasions where an eminent person evaluates his own performance and praises himself. Since he has tried to portray his performance as good, it is only fair that his critics should list out instances of non performance and malfunctioning of his government.

Economy

The high point of Mr. Manmohan Singh’s CV is his credentials as an economist. Let us therefore start with the performance of his government in the field of economy.

1. Exchange Rate. In 2004 when he took charge an US$ was about Re 44. Today after about 10 years of his being at the helm, the US$ is about Re 62. At one time it had dropped to over Re 68.

2. Current Accout Deficit. India’s current account deficit doubled from what it was in 2006 to US$ 365billion in 2013.

3. Trade Deficit. India’s trade deficit was only US$ 14.3 billion in 2004. It has increased to about U$200 billion in 2013. In other words the trade deficit increased 15 times in the 10 years with Manmohan Singh as PM.

4. External Debt. India’s external debt stood at US$121 billion at the end of December 2004. It has bounced to US$390 billion or more than 3 times during Manmohan Singh as PM.

5. Flight of Black Money. By international estimates, over 120,000 Crores of Rupees were taken out of the country in the past decade and deposited in various tax havens around the world. There can be no doubt that foreign banks and public sector banks had a major role in the money laundering. FERA was replaced by FEMA to facilitate money laundering. No visible action has been taken against any Hawala trader. It is the price of his economic liberalization.

6. Vegetable Prices. By his own admission, Mr.  Manmohan Singh has been unable to control prices. The government’s attempts to import onions to bring down prices was too little too late. The prices of vegetables have nothing to do with farmers getting more money as claimed by the PM as governments do not procure vegetables. Extreme price rise is due to hoarding and black marketing and represents failure of governance.

7. Free Trade Agreements & Reduction of Import Duties. This is another fad of the PM which has been disastrous for the economy. Trade deficit with China has grown from US$4 billion in 2004 to US$ 40 billion in 2013. With low technology, low cost Chinese goods flooding the market, Indian manufacturing is being destroyed and jobs are being lost. With FDI in retail being allowed and MNCs being allowed to import 70% of products sold, the state of Indian manufacturing and employment will further reduce.

8. Employment Generation. The GDP growth rate during Manmohan Singh’s tenure has been high mainly due to illegal mining, increased foreign investment and increased consumption. Actually GDP growth has little meaning as it does not distinguish between production and consumption, between growing food and producing whiskey and so on. Because the growth rate was achieved without increase in manufacturing and production, the employment generation has not matched the growth rate.  Growth has also not been inclusive.

9. Financial Regulation. Financial regulation under UPAI & II has been lax. Multi level marketing scams, chit fund scams, commodities exchange scam, etc have robbed the lay investors, pensioners, small investors of thousands of crores. Regulation of banks of banks has also been lax. “Know Your Client” norms have been flouted, money laundering condoned and banks have been allowed to accumulate over Re 100,000 crores as NPA.

10. Growth of Public Sector. Under Manmohan Singh, unlike in China, the growth of our public sector has stagnated and in some cases reduced. Public sector plays a very vital role in our economy and development of backward areas. It is the only tool for controlling profiteering by the private sector and MNCs.

11. Food Grain Exports. Millions of tons of food grain like wheat and rice are allowed to rot each year due to lack of proper storage. No attempt has been made to export surpluses possibly to keep world prices high to benefit foreign MNCs.

It will be seen from above that the decade with Manmohan Singh as PM has been the worst decade for the Indian economy.

Project Implementation

The Governments project monitoring and implementation agencies have been proved to be grossly inadequate.

1. National Highway Projects. Time and cost overruns are the order of the day. Over 400 highway projects have had to be cancelled or retendered.

2. Power Projects. Many power projects have been delayed. Some have not started even years after being given green light.

3. Railway Safety. Accidents continue to take place; AC coaches continue to catch fire. There is acute shortage of locomotive drivers and safety staff. A strike is looming. Who cares?

National Defence

1. State of Readiness. The last Chief of Army Staff lamented at the poor combat readiness of the armed forces. He was made to retract his statement but that does not change the reality of aging equipment, high unserviceable state, shortages of ammunition, missiles, anti tank weapons etc.

2. Modernization. The modernization plans of the Armed Forces, particularly that of the Army and Air force, are 15 to 20 years behind schedule. Hardly any effort has been made to indigenize defence production. Even non lethal equipment like TATRA vehicles purchased with technology transfer agreements are not produced in the country. Technology transfer clauses in defence contracts are not implemented. Artillery guns, anti tank missiles, helicopters, and aircrafts in use are over 30 years old. In fact no major modernization has taken place after Rajeev Gandhi.

3. Manpower Shortages & Morale. There is about 80% shortage of Captains and LTs. Men and officers do not play together. Officers and men are over worked. Morale is low. Officer- men conflicts have increased and could ruin the army. Bureaucrats keep playing one up-man-ship games with their service counter parts and even have been hauled up by courts on contempt charges for not implementing court orders.

Foreign Policy

We are a soft nation, softer than a banana republic. No country takes us seriously.

1. Policy of Appeasement. We follow a policy of appeasement. We give away islands and warships to Sri Lanka while they refuse to honour treaties or protect the human rights of Sri Lankan and Indian Tamils. The British PM brings up the issue of war crimes and genocide against Tamils but India remains silent. It even provides economic aid and trains its armed forces. India’s reply to export of terrorism by Pakistan and border violations by China is cowardly by any standards.

2. Inability to Protect Tamil Fishermen. India with the world’s fourth largest navy cannot protect its fishermen from being arrested and ill treated by foreign navies.

3. Kashmir Solution. The PM claims that he had almost solved the Kashmir problem. Why talk of the big fish that got away? Is it because we cannot catch even small ones? In any case what was the solution?

4. India-China Border Agreement. Some agreements were signed recently between India and China. Is the Indian Parliament if not the Indian people entitled to know what territories and rights have we signed away?

Action Against Corruption and Inefficiency

The 10 years of Manmohan Singh as PM will be remembered as the “Decade of Scams” in the Indian history. So much have been written and said about the scams that it may be adequate to list out the major ones like 2G Scam; Rs 450 crore telephone exchange scam courtesy Dayanidhi Maran; Coal-gate; Adarsh Society; Encroachment of Defence Land (12,000 acres of Defence Land has been encroached and no visible efforts are being made to remove encroachments); Rotting Food Grains scam whereby million tons of grain procured by the government are allowed to rot in the open due to inadequate storage; Illegal Mining Scams where mines have been allowed to operate without environment clearance and mine more ore or coal than permitted etc. Not only has the government taken no measures to reduce corruption but is going all out in protecting the corrupt by every means possible like penalizing whistle blowers, not giving sanction to CBI and other investigating agencies to interrogate and proceed against corrupt politicians and bureaucrats and all kinds of delaying tactics. The judicial system is also being crippled by not filling the vacancies of judges at various levels and not providing judicial infrastructure like court rooms, equipment like computers etc and non judicial staff.

Conclusion

The instances of non-functioning or malfunctioning of UPA1 & 2 are almost endless. The Prime Minister is the head of the government. He is fully responsible to ensure that the ministers appointed by him perform their duties honestly, efficiently and in the interest of the nation. He cannot pass the buck and say that he is not responsible for mala fide acts of omission and commission on part of ministers and bureaucrats. Mr. Manmohan Singh has not only failed miserably to control and guide his council of ministers, he has reduced the PMO to an office of influence peddlers and wheeler dealers; a post office for processing letters written to the PM by unscrupulous politicians, industrialists and lobbyists for granting illegal favours which are not in the interest of the nation.

Mr. Manmohan Singh can be credited with the dubious distinction of leading the Congress to some of its worst electoral defeats in history. He has done more to destroy the Congress as a leading, century old, political party than any BJP leader including Narendra Modi. He is totally unapologetical about his dismal performance and the damage he has caused to the nation and the grand old party. Amazingly, Congress High Command continues to have him as their leader.

No tears on your departure Mr. Manmohan Singh; only contempt.

Why this sudden fuss about Homosexuality: There are more inportant Issues that need Attention

December 14th, 2013

Why this Sudden Fuss about Homosexuality:

There are More Important Issues which Need Attention

by

Col (Retd) Bhaskar Sarkar VSM

Website www.bhaskarsarkar.com ; twitter@COLSARKAR.com

The amount of coverage given in the media about the Supreme Court ruling on homosexuality is amazing. It would appear from the hullabaloo that it is the most important issue facing our country at the moment, more important than rampant corruption in the police (Narainsain’s efforts to influence investigations against him), criminalization of politics, budget and current account deficit, coming elections etc.

History

Homosexuality is another aberration of individual freedom. Homosexuality, like other forms of sexual deviations and perversion are as old as the history of civilization. Various types of same sex relationships have existed for centuries. In China, during the Ming and Zhou Dynasties, females and males could bind themselves in contracts to members of the same sex. The occasions were celebrated with elaborate ceremonies. However, there was no religious ceremony binding the couple in matrimony. The first historical mention of the performance of same sex marriages in Europe occurred during the early Roman Empire. Emperor Nero is reported to have been ceremoniously married to one of his male slaves. But the so-called marriages between two Roman males or with a slave had no legal standing in Roman law. In 342 AD Christian emperors Constantius II and Constans issued a law, the “Theodosian Code,” prohibiting same sex marriage in Rome and sanctioned execution for those so married. Opposition to same sex marriage in Abrahamic religions (Judaism, Christianity and Islam) is based upon Old Testament passages that discuss the fate of Sodom (Genesis 19:4 – 19:11), Gods command that one shall “not lie with mankind, as with womankind” (Leviticus 18: 22), and direction that those that do “shall surely be put to death”. Same sex relations or marriages are not sanctioned in the Catholic Church or major branches of the Protestant Church. It is also not sanctioned in Orthodox Judaism or in Islam. Homosexuality is punishable by death in Afghanistan, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Sudan, with life imprisonment in Pakistan and severely punishable in many Muslim countries.

In 2001, the Netherlands became the first nation in the world to legalize same sex relations and marriage. Pope John Paul II, the previous head of the Roman Catholic Church, criticized same sex marriage when it was introduced in the Netherlands. His successor, Pope Benedict XVI has maintained opposition to gay marriage, and categorized it amongst “the most insidious and dangerous threats to the common good today”. Some Christian groups have been vocal and politically active in opposing legalizing same sex relationships and marriage in the United States. In 2009, a group of Christian leaders from various denominations issued the “Manhattan Declaration”, a statement that united evangelicals and Catholic leaders in fighting abortion and gay marriage. As of November 2010, the Declaration had been signed by over 475,000 individuals. The Islamic view of marriage is that it is a contract (Nikah) between two parties where the man offers protection and maintenance to the woman in return for exclusive sexual and reproductive rights. Same sex marriages thus cannot be considered legal within the constraints of a Muslim marriage.

Since 2001, ten countries, Netherlands, Argentina, Belgium, Canada, Iceland, Norway, Portugal, Spain, South Africa and Sweden have legalized gay marriage. Same sex marriages are also performed and recognized in Mexico City and parts of the United States. About 250 million people (or 4% of the world population) live in areas that recognize same sex marriage.

The word “Marriage” comes from the Latin word “matrimonium”, and is an institution involving a mother or “mater” (Latin for mother). The idea implicit in the word is that a man takes a woman in marriage so that he may have children by her. Calling a gay union a marriage is an insult to the ancient institution of marriage. The basic intention of our forefathers in creating the institution of marriage was to ensure moral discipline in society and to ensure proper care and development of children in a stable family and social environment.

Conclusion

Legalization of same sex marriage or decriminalizing homosexuality normalizes homosexual behavior and encourages it. Sexual perversions and deviations should remain under cover of darkness or behind closed door. There is no need to specifically proscribe homosexuality and make it a criminal offence. At the same time, it is dangerous for a healthy family and society to encourage deviant sexual behavior by recognizing gay marriage or encouraging Homosexuality.

Support for homosexuality is not universal either in the world or in India. It has been banned recently in Russia. A high court in Australia has overturned a legislation permitting gay marriages in a part of that country. The support in India is not universal. Most of the media seems to support homosexuality which is sad. Leaders of an election shocked Congress in search of votes has jumped to criticize the Supreme Court judgment but whether it will pay any dividends or will go against them in the next poll only time will tell. BJP leaders are studiously silent for fear of offending their Hindu fundamentalist supporters. Leaders of parties hoping for support of the Muslim electorate are also silent. Even the Aam Admi Party is silent.

Sexual freedom both normal and deviant has been acceptable for the intellectuals and the elite. It is also acceptable in most areas of the US and Europe. It has never been appreciated by the ordinary citizens or the middle class society any where in the world. It is the Parliament and not the Supreme Court which passes or amends laws. Let the new Parliament take it up. Making the offense non-cognizable may meet the needs of all sections of the society.