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Thursday, July 24, 2014

Gaza Crisis: Jews Shouldn't Pay Price For Zionist Chutzpah


The atrocities being committed on the Palestinian people during the Operation Protective Edge, makes one wonder how a civilized nation could go about killing hundreds of civilians, especially children and claim it is an act of self-defence. The graphic images, videos and individual testimonials paint a grotesque portrait of a genocide with racist overtones. Unlike other ethnic cleansing pogroms of recent times, such as Serbian genocide of Bosniaks, information of which wasn't available immediately, the IDF assault  is taking place in full public view. It requires remarkable chutzpah to continue pounding of Gaza despite international outrage and UN resolutions, especially since Israel came into existence through a similar resolution and  support of  global community. Ironically, the last racial global ethnic cleansing movement was carried out by the Nazi Germany under Hitler against  the Jews and as such the Jews would best understand the pain Palestine is growing through. Besides, the Arabs and the Jews have had relative cordial relationship for a millenia.  Even we were to disregard all these things,  it would still remain unanswered how God fearing Jewish people could indulge in such perversion  of their laws. ? But then Israel is a Jewish-majority secular state, not Halachic Jewish State. In fact, Israel is a Zionist state.

Friday, July 4, 2014

Modern Roots Of Sectarian Violence In Middle-East


The Middle-East cauldron appears to be on the verge of spilling over, presenting an unprecedented situation for world leaders. Unlike previous situations this is not a conflict between two actors,it involves numerous actors with varying agendas and objectives, with no clear statement of allegiance to any one ideological group or state. What began as the Syrian Arab spring soon turned into a civil war and gradually into a chaotic movement of bloodshed and strife. Although recent events have had a catalyzing effect in the flare up, the key to understanding the Middle-East jigsaw puzzle lies in history. To begin with, "the Middle-East" as such did not always exist, what existed was Arabia and then the Islamic empire. Although the entire history of the Islamic empire is rife with revolts,internecine feuds, it is the establishment of the Caliphate and its abolition that had larger ramification than others.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Aam Aadmi Party And New Politics

#ThankYouAAPians is one of the best hashtag I have come across this election season even if it is not that popular. In electoral-public discourse, we are used to winning candidates thanking their electorate (party workers mainly) but in this case, not only were the activists thanking each other, they were doing it on the day news channels were competing to project more number of seats Modi and BJP are expected to win and were particularly harsh on the Aam Aadmi Party. Yet the Aam Aadmi Party volunteers were as upbeat. The final results would be out two days later, but the AAP has already won the first battle. AAP is not a traditional political party, its success/failure should not be seen from the traditional perspective. Here are some of the things the established political class believed in and the effect of AAP's new politics.

They said, corruption has become part of our DNA, it cannot be fought on the strength of principles alone
 There is perceptible decline in petty corruption, government formation by nominees of corrupt corporates might buy them time but not a lot of it. But rest assured bribery is not going to be the same again.

The political class is too powerful, it cannot be challenged or made to change its ways by common folks through protests alone
 AAP decimated the Congress in Delhi and scared BJP to the extent that despite being the largest party it refused to form the government. In Lok Sabha election, AAP changed the rules of the game,supreme leaders of national parties no longer had luxury of safe seats. Kumar Vishwas in Amethi and Arvind Kejriwal in Kashi rattled Rahul Gandhi and Narendra Modi, there is no ambiguity on who won the war of nerves.
Further, political power is defined as the ability to bring out desired behaviour in other actors without the use of force or coercion. From this perspective, the sudden decline in availing VIP privileges by politicians of all parties, taking up issues they were reluctant to take up earlier and ad hoc altering of well crafted political strategies to tackle the latest thrown by Aam Aadmi Party vindicates the stand that the seemingly invincible political class can be brought to its knees by a motley group of honest individuals.

In coalition era, taking the entire political establishment from leftists to right-wing parties, going alone is a recipe for disaster
 AAP went without a bookish ideology, focusing more on the actual problems people were facing and working out plans on how to resolve them. Its pan-India presence today (within 2 years) fielding 450 candidates proves that you don't need a comprehensive political ideology to find following, you just need to understand people's problems, their aspirations and speak their language.


One way or the other a political party cannot exist without resorting to identity politics i.e. have backing of a community, caste or ethnic, linguist group that vote en block.
 This is the biggest victory of AAP, unlike other parties it just did not address identity factors in political discourse. Rather it stuck to its agenda of cleansing the political landscape,so the basic needs of the people could be met. Do note, it did not, like the Sangh Parivar,demand or suggest abolition of sub-identities, AAP just did not address it.


Contesting election requires an obscene amount of money some of which have to be unaccounted for or black money 
 This is actually part of the vicious circle that has gripped Indian democracy like a snake and continues to squeeze it. If corporate donate money to the the tune of billions, they expect the party to dole out favors to them in return. During Delhi Vidhan Sabha election, AAP's entire poll expense was less than what is spent in a single rally of Narendra Modi.
 Since AAP represents the common people, it sought funding from the very same people. Contrast this with the fact that traditional parties dole out cash to people to vote for them. As for overseas fund collection, it is the only party to have undergone High Court probe related to its overseas funding and has come out clean while both the Congress and the BJP have been found at fault.  I suspect AAP has perhaps willingly de-prioritized fund collection.

Winning election is the only objective 
Of course winning election is an important objective but not the only one. A true democracy is a continous process, voting for a candidate/party every 5 years is meant to decide who leads the nation but debates and deliberations,decisions taken and enactment of laws in the Parliament and State Assemblies, is democracy in motion.  
True representatives of people present inside the legislature or outside it, play an important role in the functioning of the legislature. But democratic process should not be limited to that alone. Other elements  such as media, corporate lobbies and at times, even foreign governments (most pursuing narrow personal interest) influence the parliamentary process too.  However, leaders with mass following, even if outside Parliament are more central to democratic process. Let us not forget that the UPA government was forced to bring in Jan Lok Pal bill during the Anna Hazare led-India Against Corruption movement and was hurriedly passed right after AAP decimated Congress in Delhi Vidhan Sabha election. 

AAP has done what other parties have not been able to do in decades (not even communists after nearly 100 years)  not because it had abundance of funds or was harping on ultra-nationalist sentiment or anything that other parties would count on. It has been possible only because AAP's call for anti-corruption,non-communal and transparent politics found resonance in like minded Indians who found the campaign worth devoting time and effort towards, even if it meant leaving high paying jobs, business ventures and comfort to walk in the hostile streets of Amethi and Varanasi, interacting with the people, no fiery rhetorics but plain talks. Others in lesser known cities and rural areas were spreading the same message, spending money from their own pockets and braving hardship and at times difficult terrain. A year back, AAP had hardly any network of workers outside Delhi, even today it doesn't, but what it has is an all India body of volunteers networked by the idea of Swaraj. By definition, AAP has succeeded far more than any other party can imagine and it was won by the AApians and for the AAPians. 
So #ThankYouAAPians        



Thursday, May 1, 2014

The Curious Case Of Modi Acolytes

Why won't you support Modi ???
That's a question my friend actually posed! The answer lies embedded in the question. In a democracy, anyone who believes support needn't be won over and can simply be demanded, doesn't understand the essence of democracy. This mindset has previously be seen in Bajrang Dal, VHP, Shiv Sena cadres (feel free to add Musim, Christians radical groups  to do the balancing act :P) but now it seems to be spilling over to the educated middle class who may have been rightists from the beginning but refrained from making these kinds the of demands publicly.

Now, coming back to the question of supporting Modi, lets go through his accomplishments apart from his failure in fulfilling moral responsibility during the 2002 riots (since in legal process, the SIT has found no evidence of him being party to the massacre of Muslims after Godhra train carnage ).
As the Chief Minister, he cannot claim to be absolutely clean after his minister, Maya Kodnani was held guilty of slaughtering innocent people, by the court and has been sentences for life. In Tehelka tapes based on which both Maya Kodnani and Babu Bajrangi were sentenced to life, there is not a single BJP/VHP/Bajrang Dal activist involved in riot who has not stated involvement of Modi. The SIT may have found evidence insufficient but there is little doubt in even his biggest followers mind that he is really uninvolved.  As a matter of fact, it is his claim to fame.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Decontextualized Discourse: The Clean Chit

The clean chit in current discourse refers to a unique certificate of accomplishment or rather non-accomplishment of sorts which has a lot of relevance in the political landscape but as a political concept, it belongs far more to the lexicon of  Orwellian dystopia rather than in the cacophony of our chaotic democracy. When common folks are exonerated by a court of law, the act is referred to as acquittal,  however, if the person in the dock happens to be powerful a
nd rich, especially, politicians and businessmen the term then used is clean chit (largely an Indian English word). The clean chit when issued to a person entrusted with constitutional responsibilities, originally meant that the moral and characteral integrity of the person was beyond doubt and the person has fulfilled her/his constitutional and moral obligation. It had very little to do with laws and jurisprudence.  Ordinarily, when a person is not found guilty of having committed the crime he is accused of , s/he is declared "innocent" but in case of high profile politicians and businessmen the term innocent is seldom used by their followers, may be because the word appears more suited to apply to weaker individuals. Interestingly, the term "innocent" is seldom used, most likely because it is loosely associated with weakness.

Now what better example can there be on the question of clean chit, other than that of Narendra Modi, except that the clean chit given to him isn't clean at all! A detailed reading of the SIT report reveals the fact that Modi was left off not because he had acted impartially or according to his constitutional obligation but because of lack of evidence against him. However, the SC appointed amicus curiae in the final report stated that prima facie a case was being made out against Modi for promoting enmity between communities and threat to national integration. Besides, how can a Chief Minister claim to be clean when his Women and Child Development Minister is convicted of massacring innocent women and children, his aide being charged for triple murder and senior IPS officers languishing in jail for fake encounters.

However, I digress,in the original context, taint implied allegations only, it had more to do with morality than legality. When the allegations are proven, they become facts and the person is penalized. However, today "the clean chit" implies immunity from further legal prosecution, moral responsibility is no longer a factor. And worse, it also acts as a gate pass to climb to higher echelons of power using past wrongdoings as stepping stones. Again, Modi's political career encapsulates the essence of this contextualization. What is his claim to fame ? Even if we attribute the so-called "economic and infrastructure development in Gujarat" entirely to his leadership, the fact remains that he is known more for the allegations made against him related to Gujarat  riots of 2002. Ask yourself honestly, when did you first get to know his name ?   The answer most likely would be , in the aftermaths of the riots. By neither apologizing nor shedding his hardcore Hindutva avatar Modi keeps his hardliner support base intact. When talking with others he totally ignores the 2002 riots issue to give out the impression he is completely business oriented,

While it is apparent why he poses as a pan-Indian business friendly leader, Modi 's refusal to apologize for 2002 killings,  fake encounters (of alleged Muslim terrorists), his puppy remark and the like are aimed at ensuring support of ensuring that the traditional Hindutva votes which catapulted him to forefront remained with him. The "clean chit" is only supposed to silence his critics and attempt to get the top job without too many objections being made.