Guest Post by BIHU CHAMADIA
Congratulations on the completion of two years of government. But I just want to ask a simple one line question. Completion of two years but at what cost? At the cost of increase in the number of farmer suicides, at the cost of creating war-like situations in educational institutions, at the cost of acting as a catalyst of widening the gap between hindu-muslim, at the cost of increasing imports and decreasing exports. Celebration on such a large scale because of course it is the first ever government in the history of the world to complete 2 years of governance ! With on-going crisis in the country BJP spends 1000 crores on a programme for this celebration. We would have no problem if this money was yours but sadly it’s not its ours. So now to all the tax payers who had problem with JNU raising its voice I ask you have you people become blind and deaf or are suffering from amnesia and forgot how to read and write.
Well, you speak well Mr Modi but the problem is that you only speak. You and your whole cabinet knows that each and every student of these educational institutes can give you people a befitting reply to all your one liners but we choose not to. People laugh at what your ministers says and say what a fool but I have a completely opposite view. You people are not fool you people are smart, very smart indeed. Your every policy and every one liner can have a nice reply. Continue reading Congratulations on the Completion of Two Years of Government: Reaction of JNU student, Bihu Chamadia
Guest post by Joyojeet Pal
Why the Silicon Valley (Generally) Loves Narendra Modi
“Indians are the most prosperous group in the United States of America,” said comedian Rajiv Satyal, the compère of the Narendra Modi speech at the San Jose Arena in the Silicon Valley on Sept. 27. No flash of Gandhian embarrassment stood in the way of the booming cheer that followed. Later on when repeated technical bungling (ironic next to the tech bombast of the setting) led the compère to step back on stage, he kept repeating this idea alongside “Bharat Mata ki Jai!” to keep the ardor up among the 17,000-strong crowd. There appeared to be a few thousand more outside, either supporting or protesting the event. Several U.S. legislators were present, including House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi.
Continue reading The Indiscreet charm of Narendra Modi: Joyojeet Pal
ऐसा तो गुजरात में भी नहीं हुआ था! हाँ! हमें 2002 की गर्मियां ज़रूर याद हैं, मस्जिदों में चल रही पनाहगाह की याद है, याद हैं गम से खामोश और समझदार आँखें जो हमें देख रही थीं जो उनका दुःख बँटाने आए थे वहाँ, कुछ घंटे, कुछ दिन, कुछ वक्त गुजारने, फिर जो अपने घरों को लौट जाने को थे क्योंकि हमारे घर थे जहां हम लौट सकते थे, घर जो आपका इंतज़ार जितना करता है उससे कहीं ज़्यादा दिन-हफ्ते उससे बाहर गुजारते हुए आप उसका करते हैं. वे आँखें जानती थीं कि हमारे घर हैं लौटने को और उनके नहीं हैं. वे अशफाक, सायरा, शकीला होने की वजह से बार-बार घर खोजने को नए, सिरे से उन्हें बसाने को मजबूर हैं, कि उनको और उनकी आगे की पीढ़ियों को इसका इत्मीनान दिलाने में यह धर्मनिरपेक्ष भारत,यह हिन्दुस्तान लाचार है. जिसकी हस्ती कभी नहीं मिटती, उस हिन्दुस्तान को बनाने वालों में कई को ज़रूर एक ज़िंदगी में कई जिंदगियां गढ़नी पड़ती हैं. एक घर के बाद कई घर बसाने पड़ते हैं. Continue reading ऐसा तो गुजरात में भी नहीं हुआ था: अपूर्वानंद
AJAZ ASHRAF writes: It is time we examined the society we have created before we invoke the rather trite argument of dynastic rule to stridently criticise the Gandhis and the Congress. No doubt, dynasty is antithetical to democratic politics. Yet, it is also true that dynastic succession is the norm outside the Indian political realm as well. Its sheer pervasiveness explains why people dismiss outright the hypocritical media outcry against dynastic succession to routinely vote pater familias to power, in state as well at the Centre. Continue reading Pot calling the dynasty black: Ajaz Ashraf
Guest post by ABHIJIT DUTTA
Once upon a time, a young politician – young enough to have a ‘baba’ appended to his name – came to Kashmir to build a bridge in Srinagar. Now as anyone who knows Srinagar knows, the city is filled with bridges. Some are famous, like Gawkadal, some are pretty, like Zero Bridge, and some are simply without charm, like the Abdullah Bridge that goes from fountain square to Rajbagh. There are several others too, each with their own unique character, their own unique relation to the Jhelum.
When he was told about the many bridges in Srinagar, the politician shouted, “I want to build a bridge.”
“But we don’t need a bridge,” said a man softly to him, wanting not to embarrass this well-meaning man who had come to Kashmir from aafar. In response, the young politician turned around and shouted once again: “I want to build a bridge.” Continue reading To Build A Bridge in Kashmir: A fable by Abhijit Dutta
In 2008 if you had said the Congress could revive in Uttar Pradesh you would have been laughed at. No party structure or caste base, you would have been told. In 2009, Rahul Gandhi earned perhaps the first laurel of his political career by proving critics wrong. He beat conventional wisdom by saying no to allying with the Samajwadi Party and the Congress won just 22 of 406 seats. Since then, Congress revival in UP has been taken for granted in many corners. Some pundits were predicting as many as 100 seats for the Congress this election. This speculation had a good basis: Rahul Gandhi always left crowds happy. And he flew on a helicopter addressing as many as 4 rallies a day. If you spoke to the people who attended his rallies, you’d be surprised by the amount of goodwill he created for himself. The rise in vote share despite the poor seat performance is proof for the rising appreciation of the Congress’ efforts to regain relevance in state politics. But then, what went wrong? Continue reading Why Rahul Gandhi’s Congress flopped in Uttar Pradesh
Guest post by DILIP D’SOUZA
Responding to Rahul Gandhi’s recent Wikileaked comment, Sadanand Dhume asks “What Terrorizes India?” (Wall Street Journal, December 20). It’s a good question that deserves an answer. Did Dhume answer it?
As is well known now, Gandhi said this to US Ambassador Tim Roemer last year: “The bigger threat [to India] may be the growth of radicalized Hindu groups, which create religious tensions and political confrontations with the Muslim community.” Dhume’s essay is a severe criticism of Gandhi’s comment, and in the end of the man himself. The criticism, I’m not particularly interested in: people have their varying opinions about Gandhi and that’s fine with me. But I wonder if Dhume has thought through the implication of his own title. Indeed, what does terrorize India, and Indians? Continue reading The Definition Shortchanges India
The Hindustan Times marked Rahul Gandhi’s fortieth birthday by tell us 40 things we “may” not know about “India’s most eligible bachelor”.
Nothing surprising about this. Why, don’t you remember how they told you 54 things about you didn’t know about Mayawati on Mayawati’s 54th birthday six months ago?
Why Hindol Sengupta Needn’t Fear Mayawati
Happy Ambedkar Jayanti
This article by me has appeared (.pdf) in the Economic and Political Weekly.
On 14 April this year party general secretary Rahul Gandhi launched the Congress’ biggest campaign to revive itself since 1989. The date was carefully chosen, Ambedkar Jayanti, because he is trying to win over dalit votes in Uttar Pradesh (UP). In 1989 the Congress’ support base in UP was made up of a rainbow coalition of brahmins, Muslims and dalits. The Congress has to woo these communities again to regain power in UP.
The brahmin community took to the now ruling Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) in small numbers in the 2007 Vidhan Sabha election primarily because there was no strong brahmin leader after Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Atal Behari Vajpayee became politically inactive. Brahmins see in Rahul Gandhi a potential “brahmin” leader. The UP Congress president, legislative leader and Youth Congress president in the state are all from the brahmin community.
Muslim support is no longer enchained to the Samajwadi Party (SP) because their bete noire, the BJP, is powerless these days in both the centre and the state. As a result the Muslim vote is being fought for, as a three-way contest between BSP, SP and Congress. BSP head and Chief Minister Mayawati’s stratagem is to therefore change her party’s core support base constructed out of the “brahmin-dalit” alliance into a Muslim-dalit alliance.
The dalits, wooed away en masse by the Kanshi Ram-Mayawati duo of the BSP for years, would be the hardest to win back for the Congress. In fact, a year ago the very idea would have sounded ludicrous. But today, Mayawati’s angry reaction to the Congress’ bid to woo dalits is indication that the Congress may be winning over dalits. How is this happening? Continue reading Rahul Gandhi and the Dalit votebank in Uttar Pradesh
The Congress Party will use the occassion of Ambedkar Jayanti tommorow to reach out to UP’s Dalits. Commenting on this, NDTV says, “Mayawati, who knows a thing or two about appropriating the Dalit legacy, is going on the offensive as well.”
Appropriating? Hello! You mean to say Rahul Gandhi is a Dalit and Mayawati a half-Italian, one-fourths Parsi and one-fourth Kashmiri Pandit, trying to pass off as an Allahbad Brahmin and collecting Dalit votes on the side?
Of course there will be other memorable celebrations, but they won’t be as ‘news-worthy’.
Tarun Tejpal to Sonia Gandhi:
And yes, as I bid you speed and strength, with the extra god by your side, may I make a final plea. You have given us of yourself, and of your son. Now will you kindly also give unto us your luminous daughter.
The higher you fly, the harder you crash. Kumari Mayawati has just learnt this lesson, and is finally giving her ever-expanding fleet of air-crafts some rest. There was clear evidence before the results were out that Dalits were not going to the polling booths to vote; if they did they wouldn’t be able to press any button other than the elephant. Dalit activists in UP had been telling me this for some time now. There were rumours that the UP police has also informed the administration of this trend. Continue reading UP’s Dalits Remind Mayawati: Democracy is a Beautiful