Archive for December, 2013

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

Saturday, 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.

Is the Wave for Modi or Against Manmohan Singh

Friday, December 13th, 2013

Is the Wave for Modi or Against Manmohan Singh?

By

Col (Retd) Bhaskar Sarkar VSM

Website www.bhaskarsarkar.co. : twitter@COLSARKAR.com

Except in Chhattisgarh and Mizoram, Congress has been routed at the recently conducted polls for state assemblies. BJP and its supporters in the media are attributing its performance to the projection of Narendra Modi as the BJP’s prime ministerial candidate and campaigning by Narendra Modi. Like the Fox channel in the US is unabashedly against Obama and pro big business and the Republican Party, some media house in India (which can be identified by their pre-poll and exit poll predictions) and businesses big and small, traders and even foreign investors are rooting for Modi. Many others, politicians and laymen, are skeptical about the popularity of Modi and see the rout of Congress in the recent polls as the disenchantment of the electorate, particularly the educated young urban voters, with the performance of UPA II under Manmohan Singh.

Before we adjudicate, let us try to understand the reality.

Chhattisgarh (Seats 90)

In Chhattisgarh, BJP tally reduced from 50 seats in 2008 to 49 and Congress gained one to reach 39. The Modi loyalists claim that the BJP government won in spite of anti incumbency and the sympathy factor after the Bastar Naxalite ambush which wiped out most of the Congress leadership of the state because of the Modi factor. Congress loyalists claim that they have done better than in last elections against all odds and though they have 10 less seats, they polled just 1% less of the over all votes. If the local leaders had not been wiped out, they would have actually won. Modi skeptics actually believe that with better candidate selection and leadership, the Congress could have caused an upset.

Delhi (Seats 90)

In Delhi BJP went up from 23 to 32, a gain of 9 in 70 seats. Mr. Vijay Goel, the BJP president of Delhi had claimed that BJP will come to power with two thirds majority. Modi had many rallies. BJP, in spite of Modi’s best efforts and leadership change in the form of Dr. Harshavardhan, failed to win a majority and form a government. The performance pales in front of Kejriwal’s Aam Admi Party (AAP) making a debut with 28 seats. The AAP has come second in 20 seats and may well form the government in Delhi if re-elections are held. Modi loyalists are projecting the election results in Delhi as a victory for AAP and a defeat for Congress. They attribute the increase in the number of BJP seat to Modi rather than BJP’s CM candidate Dr. Harshvardhan. Modi skeptics will argue that the election results are a vote against the Congress and not a vote for Modi or BJP. They say that where ever the electorate has a viable alternative to Congress, either in the form of AAP or a regional party, they have voted for the same rather than the Congress. In Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan, the electorate had no viable alternative to Congress other than BJP, so they voted for the BJP.

Madhya Pradesh

In Madhya Pradesh, the BJP, contrary to indications of opinion and exit polls, increased its seat tally by 22 from 143 to 165 while the Congress lost 15 seats to drop from 73 to 58. Nodi loyalists claim that this increase is due to Modi. Shivraj Singh loyalists will argue that the increase is due to good governance provided by him. Modi skeptics will argue that the increase is due to three reasons. Firstly, the return of Uma Bharti to the BJP with her breakaway faction substantially boosted the BJP. Secondly, the Congress party in the state failed to act as an effective opposition and highlight the corruption and nepotism of the Shivraj Singh Government. Thirdly, the anti Congress wave in the center was just too strong for the state Congress leadership to counter.

Rajasthan

The result in Rajasthan is nothing short of a rout for the Congress. The BJP increased its tally from 78 to 162. In other words it more than doubled the seats it had won in the last election. The Congress on the other hand sank from 96 to 21, their lowest tally ever. Modi loyalists attribute the resounding victory to Modi’s campaigning. Vasundhara Raje’s supporters claim that the victory was due to Vasundhara’s charisma and popularity and the good governance she had provided when she was in power. This is largely true. Vasundhara lost the last elections in 2008 mainly because RSS worked to defeat her after a tiff with her over selection of candidates. This time the RSS leadership ensured that the local elements of RSS did not work against Vasundhara.

Modi skeptics believe that there are three reasons for the Congress rout. Firstly, Ghelot is not a charismatic leader but a manipulator. His administration was a total failure. He never shared a cordial relation with other Congress leaders of the state except his own coterie. He came up with many populist welfare schemes in his last year. But the people of Rajasthan kept asking why did he not introduce these schemes when he took over five years ago? Was he trying to bribe them to vote for him? The second reason was poor selection of candidates. In spite of Rahul Gandhi’s best efforts, a fair, merit based and transparent selection process which kept out those who had lost twice, those with criminal or corrupt image and the aged was not adopted. The emphasis was vote bank politics based on caste calculation, keeping power brokers and Ghelot loyalists happy. Vote bank policy flopped because Kirorilal Meena’s Party took away most of the Meena and Gurjar votes and BSP bit into the SC and Muslim vote. The third and perhaps the most powerful reason is that 33% of the electorate is under 35 and most of them abhor the scam and corruption tainted Manmohan Singh led government.

Manmohan Singh Effect

The Manmohan Singh government is ranked by the young voters as the most corrupt in the history of Indian politics. 2G scam, Coalgate, Adarsh Housing Scam, allegations against the NGO run by Salman Kurshid’s wife, bribery in appointments to the Railway board, payment of money to BJP and opposition MLAs to abstain or vote in favour of the Congress to win a no confidence motion at the end of UPA I, BSNL officials running an exchange for Dayanidhi Maran, allotment of land to Robert Wadhra; the list of scams is almost endless. These are neither investigated independent agencies and transparently, nor are the culprits brought to justice. Saying law will take its course is all right in legal terms. It took 23 years to convict Sukh Ram and 25 years to convict Lalu Prasad Yadav and his case is far from over. The inquiry report of Adarsh Scam has not been made public and no one has been charged. The delay in justice is not acceptable to the young voters. Elections are decided by perception of voters and not by judges of courts.

The Manmohan Singh Government is totally insensitive to public angst on issues like price rise, Muslim appeasement, safety of women, belligerence of Pakistan on the LOC, intrusions by Chinese Army in Ladakh and harassment of Tamil fishermen by Sri Lanka; crass behavior of ministers like Beni Prasad Yadav, S P Jaiswal, Sushil Kumar Sindhe and use of police to try to break up Anna Hazare’s Lok Pal Agitation and student’s agitation following the Nirbhaya gang rape case.

Manmohan Singh Government has done all it could to protect corrupt politicians. It even brought an ordinance to save Lalu Prasad and other from losing their seats in the Parliament after elections. It has ignored advice of the Supreme Court to bar convicted politicians sentenced to more than two years in jail from standing in election.

Manmohan Singh has been a miserable failure on the economic front. The India Rupee was 40 to a dollar when Vajpayee was PM. It reached 68 to a dollar under Manmohan Singh. His trade liberalization and trade agreements with China, ASEAN and others have raised our trade deficit to almost 200 billion dollars and current account deficit to record levels. Millions of tons of grain are allowed to rot. State owned oil companies are in dire financial straights. Air India hovers on the brink of collapse. Prices and adulteration of food stuff and medicines has reached unprecedented levels. Budget deficit is out of control. Modernization of armed forces has been shelved for ever.

Dr. Manmohan Singh is silent as Sphinx. He does not speak to the people or media and give his side of the issues. Criticism seems to affect him less than raindrops on a ducks back. BJP leaders have called him the weakest Prime Minister India has produced for years. Now even his party leaders and allies like Mani Shankar Aiyer and Sharad power has come out in the open with similar sentiments.

Conclusion

I, as a citizen journalist, can get away with making an error of judgment regarding the reasons for the rout of the Congress party in the recent elections. But the political parties, particularly the Congress, need to be honest and objective in their analysis or they will pay the price.

The Aam Admi Party has demonstrated that young, honest ordinary Indians can defeat political heavyweights in elections. If Sheila Dixit can be defeated by Kejriwal, so can Kapils Sibal. That is what young India wants. If political parties fail to get the message and continue in the same vein and select crass aging political heavyweights with dubious reputation as candidates against the AAP candidates, they can well expect some shocks.

The Lok Sabha Election of 2014 promises to be an enthralling contest between aging politicians of dubious credentials and educated, young, ordinary but honest and ethical pretenders. May we get a Parliament and government that will take India to a glorious future.

Congress Policy of Muslim Appeasement: Is it Working?

Tuesday, December 10th, 2013

Congress Policy of Muslim Appeasement: Is it Working?

by

Col (Retd) Bhaskar Sarkar VSM

Website: www.bhaskarsarkar.com : Twitter @COLSARKAR.com

Muslim appeasement has been at the heart of Congress’s vote bank politics almost from independence. As the elections became more and more competitive with BJP and regional parties gaining ground and other political parties like the CPM under Jyoti Basu, Samajwadi Party under Mulayam Singh Yadav, RJD under Lalu Prasad Yadav, JDU under Nitish Kumar, TMC under Mamta Bannerjee and BSP under M/s Mayawati adopting the same strategy, Congress began to loose its hold on power. This desperation led to greater and greater attempts at wooing Muslims which led to the following (not necessarily is chronological order):

1. Equating Hindu Terrorism of Abhinav Bharat with Muslim Terrorism of Indian Mujahideen and Lashkar e Taiba.

2. Forming the Sachchar Committee to recommend upliftment of Muslims and implementing some of its recommendations.

3. Pursuing Narendra Modi for the Gujrat Riots of 2002 while ignoring the burning of Hindu Karsevaks in a train compartment by Muslims at Gadra.

4. Pursuing the Irshat Jahan fake encounter case while remaining silent on thousands of other fake encounters by police of different states against Punjab militants, Naxals, Mumbai underworld etc.

5. Digvijay Singh claiming that the Batala House encounter in Delhi was a fake encounter.

6. Sushil Kumar Shinde, our honorable Home Minister, advising police not to harass Muslim youth implying it is all right to harass Hindu youth.

7. Repeatedly trying to provide reservation to Muslims in contravention of the constitution.

8. Mr. Kharge, Chief Minister of Karnataka, announced grants for poor Muslim women for getting married, leaving it to Hindu organizations to provide aid to poor Hindu girls while getting married.

9. After the communal disturbances in a village near Bharatpur, Rajasthan, The Congress Government under Ghelot suspended the SP and DM. Some Hindus are in jail pending trial while the Muslims are roaming free.

10. The Communal Violence Bill with its draconian provisions for Hindus literally breaks the straw on the camels back.

I may have missed out a few other instances of Muslim appeasement. Is the strategy working? I believe it is not working. The strategy is having a polarizing effect on the Hindu’s that is more polarizing than Narendra Modi’s speaches. More and more Hindu’s are voting for the BJP. It is also giving an opportunity to the Sangh Parivar and BJP to attempt to polarize the electorate on communal lines knowing full well that if they succeed, 87% Hindus will always prevail over 12% Muslims.

I recently asked a BJP supporter of Alwar what the thought of the local Congress MP Mr. Jitendra Singh, the Sports Minister. He acknowledged that the MP had brought laudable development to Alwar, 5 railway over bridges, excellent roads, locating two paramilitary facilities, introducing a double-decker AC train between Jaipur, Alwar and Delhi and planning to extend Delhi Metro up to Alwar. He is also considered honest and approachable. But he says that while meeting people, he is more cordial and sympathetic to Muslims.

Conclusion

Times have changed. 33% of the electorate is below 35 and the percentage is increasing. Instances of inter religion and inter caste marriages are on the rise. The youth want value based, clean politics and equal opportunities. That has been clearly demonstrated by the recent election results. Congress fielded 18 Muslim candidates in the recent Rajasthan elections, many of them in constituencies with sizable Muslim population. Not one of them won. BJP fielded 4. Two of them won.

In a democracy majority will rule. If the electorate is polarized on religious lines, the Sangh will prevail. If Congress wants to remain relevant to Indian politics, it must immediately withdraw the Communal Violence Bill and be even handed in giving sops to the people.

Congress may even consider supporting the constructions of Ram Mandir at Ajodhya. After all, if Jerusalem can be holy to Jews and Christians, Mecca can be holy to Muslims; Gaya can be holy to Buddhists; why can’t Ajodhya be holy to Hindus.