Tag Archives: Arun Jaitley

Insurgent Ambedkar and a New Moment in Politics

Both the Hyderabad Central University (HCU) and Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) events were “ultra-Left movements” also involving a small section of “jihadis”, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley contended on Sunday.

In the case of JNU, the predominant section of those involved in the agitation was “ultra-Left” barring a small section of “jihadis”, who had their faces masked during a demonstration on the campus on February 9 in which anti-national slogans were raised, Mr. Jaitley said.

The name of Dr. B.R. Ambedkar was “unfairly used” in the case of HCU, where protests erupted after the suicide by research scholar Rohith Vemula, he told PTI. (emphasis added. See full report in The Hindu here)


Ambedkar at the barricades, Express photo, courtesy Tashi Tobgyal
Ambedkar at the barricades, Express photo, courtesy Tashi Tobgyal

Ambedkar has become an insurgent figure today, breaking out of all the pre-set molds in which he was sought to be confined all these decades. He is no longer neither a mere Dalit leader, nor is he simply the Constitution-maker and constitutionalist who taught us to have faith in the law – the two comfortable and domesticated roles in which he has been presented to us so far by all interested parties and the powers-that-be. In the face of the new Sanghist/ fascist assault, he has broken his chains to come out on the streets, as universities and colleges across the country begin to reverberate with his spirit of rebellion. Ambedkar, the name and the face, is ubiquitous by his presence in all the struggles that mark this moment. Even as the struggle of the HCU students for justice for Rohith Vemula continues and the news of the first victory – their release on bail – trickles in, the figure of Ambedkar at the barricades gives the lie to Finance Minister Arun Jaitley’s claim above: that HCU and JNU movements were ‘ultra-Left movements’ and ‘jihadis’, and that “the name of Dr Ambedkar was ‘unfairly used’ in the case of HCU. How easy it would be, Mr Jaitley, to thus pronounce the dog mad and go about your business, and how embarrassing to have to confront Ambedkar facing your police and lathis, your courts and prisons. Continue reading Insurgent Ambedkar and a New Moment in Politics

Really Mr Jaitley, so you’ve won the first round of the nationalism debate?

Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley Saturday said the BJP has won the “first round of the nationalism debate” in the country as, according to him, “people who raised anti-India slogans till now have been forced to say Jai Hind, if not Bharat Mata ki Jai” – See full report in the Indian Express here.

Nationalism in Action, image courtesy Rahman Abbas
Nationalism in Action, image courtesy Rahman Abbas

So, Mr Jaitley,what exactly have you won or lost? Let’s take count.

(a) First, there has been no ‘debate”, for a debate is conducted in a free environment, not with threats of sedition charges, arrests, killings and lynch mobs on the rampage. So, here is an open challenge for round  two: Join any of us in an open debate – without any of your repressive props. Field literally anyone, the best you can produce on your side, including your party president who thinks the medieval Ahomiya king, Sukapha defeated the Mughals “satrah satrah baar” when Sukapha died in 1268 and Mughal rule was established only in 1526.  Watch Amit Shah in action here:

Continue reading Really Mr Jaitley, so you’ve won the first round of the nationalism debate?

What’s wrong with these headlines? (Answer – It’s Election time, Stupid)

Another disputed mosque sparks Ballabgarh riots” (The Hindu)

Ballabhgarh Communal tension: At heart of dispute lie a temple and half-built mosque” (The Indian Express)


Muslim families at Ballabhgarh city police station on Wednesday night after fleeing riots in their village.(Express Photo by: Gajendra Yadav)

This one image should be issued as a ceremonial postage stamp to commemorate one year of Modi’s rule. We have said it many times already, but here it is, once more, with feeling – this is a bloody, violent Hindutvavaadi regime, with a cool headed, coldly vicious master-mind at its head – he of the Swarovski eye glasses, the 10 Lakh Rupee Suit, the diamond Movado watch – he of the infinite silences on All That Matters.

Continue reading What’s wrong with these headlines? (Answer – It’s Election time, Stupid)

“Those Backward People” – Arun Jaitley and a Long Ugly History

Two days ago, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley sought to make a special mention of “poor, dalits, tribals, backwards, those who are landless.” The occasion was the the Land Acquisition Bill, which,

“we are bringing, as per that the industrial corridors which would be set up in the country, those backward people, the 300 million landless people would get employment opportunities,”

First, Mr Jaitley, what exactly is the mechanism your government proposes by which the “backwards” released from the land will be absorbed into industry? Is there a guarantee by the industry owners? Is there a provision for skill training in the same industrial corridors? Are there ITI institutes being set up? Forget these, is even primary or secondary education going to be expanded so that farmers’ children, at some point in the distant future can take advantage of the supposed industrial boom? Continue reading “Those Backward People” – Arun Jaitley and a Long Ugly History

Politicians Say the Darndest Things: The Ladies Finger

THE LADIES FINGER gives the finger to politicians and their charming attitudes towards women.

Yesterday in Parliament, Sharad Yadav, head of the Janata Dal (United) and member of the Rajya Sabha, tried to prove he was cool. During a debate on the Insurance Bill, he broke off to talk about south Indian women. What this had to do with the matter at hand is questionable, but here’s what the Indian Express reported from Parliament:

The women of the south are dark but they are… their bodies…”
At this point members sitting around him tried to bring him back to the topic at hand with cries of “Sharadji Bill”. But, Yadav was not finished yet and talked about the “dancing skills” of south India women.

Soon, Trinamool Congress’s Derek O’Brien frantically waved at Yadav to stop.

Want to bet that when he spoke of “dancing skills”, this is what he had in mind?


But it didn’t end there.

Read the rest of this devastating take down at The Ladies Finger.

Lobbying for a tax-free banana republic: Aditya Velivelli



Consider that an individual bought a house in 1992, made a few modifications, added a garden etc. and rented it out for the next 15 years. This would have brought the individual a steady stream of income over that 15 year period.  In 2007, the individual decides to sell the house and it fetches a much larger sum than it was bought for (considering real estate prices went up quite a bit during 1992-2007). The income tax department sends a bill for 20% of the sale price. This is the long term capital gains tax and applies to both residents of India as well as non-residents.

Now consider this.

In 1992 the Hutchison Group of Hong Kong invested in the Indian mobile telecom industry through a joint venture later named Hutchison Essar Ltd or HEL. By 2006, Hutchison expanded its presence into 23 mobile telecom circles.

In 2007, the Hutchison Group’s 67% controlling interest in HEL was indirectly sold to Vodafone for an amount of USD 10.8 billion. This transaction occurred through Vodafone’s purchase of shares in a Cayman Islands (offshore) entity. It was a calculated attempt by Hutchison and Vodafone to avoid paying tax on capital gains. Continue reading Lobbying for a tax-free banana republic: Aditya Velivelli

Freedom of speech in India is for the rich and the powerful

While freedom of speech and expression in India is under attack from all sides, have you noticed how the rich and the powerful can say what they like without getting arrested, facing FIRs and courts, hiring lawyers and so on?

While an innocuous tweet or Facebook status update can land you in police lock-up on a Saturday night or Sunday morning 5 am, a Digvijaya Singh can say sexist crap against Rakhi Sawant and get away with it.

Here’s another example from Twitter recently. Lalit Modi of IPL infamy, who wants us to believe his coming to India and facing the law is a security threat to him, tweeted that the BJP’s  Arun Jaitley would lose his deposit if he contested the Lok Sabha seat from Jaipur. (Lalit Modi thinks he’s the Maharaja of Rajasthan.) In response to that, one Ankush Jain replied… Continue reading Freedom of speech in India is for the rich and the powerful