Thursday, September 04, 2014

Har Har Modi?

The lack of controversy since Modi government took over is stunning. There is literally nothing that is worth mentioning here. Granted, the opposition is decimated to the core and is completely voiceless. But Media is not and we all know how deafening these media crooks (aka Barkha Dutt, Rajdeep Sardesai, Sagarika Ghosh et al. ) can get. Yet, even they couldn't find muck to throw at Modi and his government. It is hard to believe especially when the last government was so infested with anti-government, anti-national types elements that media was getting news without even doing the show of reporting. The Manmohan government was like bunch of steel utensils stuffed in a a sack. Useless and constantly making noise. Anyways, coming back to Modi government, I think the lack of controversies is not surprising at all. It is a all together different paradigm unfolding right in front of us. I am not saying I could have predicted such lack of controversies when Modi took over the helm. But if one thing that can be said about Mod is this, the status-quo won't be maintained for most purposes. Old vestiges will be dismantled and corrupt fat of cronies and hangers will be surgically removed and moreover, governance will be implemented as it should be. The last point, and I will elaborate on it later with few telling examples, is by far the most important aspect that will define the next decade as the one where India will actually come close to attain its illusory potential.

Modi is not what Media portrays. He is not what people who claim to read the tea-leaves thinks he is. He is much better and much smarter. The biggest difference is, after more than 20  years, India finally has a shrewd politician at the helm. Apart from Indira Gandhi I think only P.V. Narasimharao qualifies as a true politician. Vajapayee ji was a great orator and a visionary and he definitely understood politics too. However, he was too much of a gentleman. Modi knows how to play politics, how to checkmate opposition and when to pick up fight. He has weathered too many storms. And most importantly given his lack of family attachments, he literally has nothing to lose.

The Media boomerang:
It was interesting to see how media crooks are completely surprised or at least feigning surprise at lack of accessibility to Modi government. Now, I know Manmohan didn't speak with media often but then that dude didn't speak at all! May be Modi is angry at media since he media virtually convicted and crucified of the crime that he did not commit but that will be trivial reason for Modi to shun media. He is a pragmatic man. He understands the power of Media and knows he cannot openly wage war against them. So he first picked and chose the media outlets he would talk to during the election campaign. Interviews and access was given individual journalists and regional news channels. He purposefully shunned people like Barkha Dutt and Rajdeep Sardesai - you know, the god-complex journalists. And second, he became a media house himself. He became his own propaganda machine. He is very active both on Twitter and Facebook. I have 'Liked' his FB page, where he posts sort of personalized pictures of himself in the middle of doing various things. For example, it was heartening to see him getting welcomed so enthusiastically in Japan from his Japan Album on his FB page. Now, one can argue that this can all be a big show but what is inarguable is that folks don't need media outlets to get news on Modi. They can get it from Modi himself. Just as in recently concluded general elections, Modi's direct communication with people will play pivotal role in shaping the image of him and his government in coming few years.

Media thought that they have golden keys to create and destroy public image of politicians. And they have wielded this power enormously over last twenty years and never so negatively and obsessively as against Modi. For now at least these media houses are floored in their own game.

The Radical Maverick?: 
Modi is neither radical, nor maverick. The only way to describe him is pragmatic. For example, any sane person would take the treatment US mated out to him personally. But Modi didn't. In fact, he has scored bunch of brownie points over US even before visiting them by making all correct statements. He knows that he is a PM of a country and he cannot let personal feelings and insults hinder him from serving the interest of our nation. Similarly, the economic rejuvenation was not an overnight task. So the budget pretty much stayed the same as Manmohan government. However, the key difference was the emphasize on quick decisions and focus on implementation. There is absolutely no need to reinvent the wheel as far as the financial and economic reforms are concerned. Scores of committees appointed by past government has laid down what needs to be done. There needs to be political will and fortitude to implement the reforms. I think that's why the big ticket items that many people expected didn't happen in first 100 days. Reforms has to be slow and existing infrastructure and bureaucracy has to be utilized to implement these reforms rather inventing new mechanism. Remember just because Modi is elected doesn't mean the famed babudom of India will certainly become efficient. It will be a slow process. So many things has to be done on so many fronts that everything cannot happen at the same time. So far we have judicial reforms already underway along with some part of labor reforms. The government administrative reforms have started with abolition of time-wasting attestation requirements. These steps, though not news headline worthy, are building blocks for bigger things to come. Plus, all this is to be done keeping election politics in mind. Remember there is no brownie point for being a great PM but not getting elected in the next term. So, some compromise in short-term will have to be there to ensure vote bank stays with Modi. In short, instead of watching each and every wheel of the clock, it will pay to see the bigger picture. The clock has started ticking after long time and it will move only forward this time.

Friday, July 18, 2014

An Unnecessary War

Iraq was was a personal experience. I was very involved in current affairs discussion groups in my college. So I followed the build-up to the war and then actual happenings in Iraq closely. I remember when Bush gave his ultimatum to Saddam in a dramatic and rather fake voice I happened to watch it live and happened to be barely 300 miles from his studio. I remember reading articles about possible connections between Iraq and Al-Quida almost year and half prior to the actual start of the war and remember thinking, wtf! I remember reading an NYT news story where the term WMD was first used. I remember the press conferences of Cheney and Rumsfeld and remember thinking that they are one, arrogant pricks and second, ‘liar liar pants on fire’. (Of course, the fire was going to drop on Iraq) I remember the photo of Powell dramatically holding a test tube in UN Assembly purported to be the proof of Saddam acquiring chemical weapons.  That photo will probably be engraved on his tombstone.
The ‘test tube’, which nobody in UN bothered to actually, you know, test, was considered then as the only credible piece of evidence against Saddam. Powell, a four star Army General, had such a stellar reputation that if he is convinced of reason to go to war then the consensus was that there must actually be a valid reason for the war. 

The test tube was fake and worthless. The evidence was actually an evidence of not having any evidence. The reasons for the war were always flimsy but conjectures were presented as facts, and predictions from experts were shoved aside as white noise. The war was simply a forgone conclusion by then. The wheels of war machinery were already rolling down the hill when Powell presented the test tube ‘proof’ to the world. So many billions of dollars were already invested. Moreover, so many billions more were planned to be invested in the war that, looking back, there was no way anyone could have stopped that war. It is often said that US goes to a war every 10 to 15 years. The factoid is somewhat true but to actually witness the preparations for the war rampaging through what can technically be termed as democratic institutions is a breathtaking. The chilling reality behind that fact becomes apparent. Terms like ‘Military-Industrial complex’, something that Eisenhower warned about more than 50 years ago, and ‘War Economy’ ceased to be academic. These terms came alive with godly wrath. It is like a storm is stirred by the devil where all we can do is to witness the fury and destruction.

War is just another happening for the folks in US. The news channels go hoarse over it for a month or so and then it became the middle story and finally a back story. What these news channels look for is some sort of interesting controversy in the war. The Haditha killings for example. It is rather morose reality that the society has resigned to war – something that country should resort to as a last option, being a frequently used option. As the Iraq war dragged on, the death toll kept rising along with delusional leadership of the government. The death toll of US troops in Iraq weren’t high compared to some of the prior wars US has fought. The Vietnam war had more than 58000 casualties. The Iraq was on the other hand had little over 5000 over the span of 6 to 7 years. It’s just that lives were unnecessarily lost. The war on terror had couple of other better suited candidates but those countries were considered as friends while Iraq was targeted as terrorist. Of course, Saddam deserved to die. But if we are talking about who is worse, then Saddam kind of takes back-seat.

The WMDs and chemical weapons were never found. The invasion stirred the delicate balance of shia and sunni sects of Iraqi society. The animosity was historic but the war provided the legitimacy to the senseless slaughter these sects resorted to. The elections were held, the Iraqi military was ‘established’ and ‘trained’ but the violence between these sects ebbed and flowed, constantly threatening to very existence of Iraq as a nation. ISIS is only the recent chapter in the flux. It will probably be defeated but the seeds violence will continue to sprout. One would only hope that the violence doesn’t spill over into rest of the world.

By fifth year of war the American society lost interest in the war.  There was historic Obama election to worry about, an financial crises of unprecedented scale to bear. The Iraq war ceased to be even the back story. The impetus for the war never explained and the end no one cared about. The empire that never considers itself as an empire, it its empire like arrogance has created another Afghanistan that rest of the world now has to bear. 

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Manmohan's Legacy

Discussing legacy is a tricky proposition. It is even harder when the past is still very recent and fresh. The nuances are obviously the first casualty but more than that, the emotions are still so raw that any analysis loses objectivity. In case of Manmohan though the dice on his legacy was cast the very moment he chose to accept his ‘selection’ as a PM of India. His term as a PM has still few days left but the narrative has long reached the conclusion.

By far and large Manmohan is usually considered as a clean and non-corrupt person. After Vajapayee, he may be the cleanest PM of India. The recently published book on Manmohan steadfastly holds the notion of him being absolutely non-corruptible. He has never received any bribes or monetary favors for himself or for his family and that he takes immense pride at it. Substantial majority in India also buys into this narrative. To be honest, I find that belief silly. The UPA regime has birthed scams of such a staggering scale that people like to take solace by saying at least our Prime Minister was not corrupt. It is as if Manmohan is a lotus flower amidst wretched sycophants of congress party. Though calling him a lotus flower is quite funny in current politically charged environment.

I think Manmohan is a vile old man who is morally and ethically corrupt. He is immoral because allegiance was to Sonia rather than to our nation. And he is unethical because in spite of knowing the rampant corruption that was happening under his watch, he refused to stop the corrupt or at worse, resign for his failure. A lifelong congress crony, his zeal to protect Sonia was his undoing and electing him twice was India’s.

When Sonia selected him as our PM, Manmohan clearly knew what he was getting into It was a master stroke on her part. Manmohan had a clean image and he was mostly a non-controversial figure. The regional parties could sell Manmohan to their constituencies easily and then could flock for an alliance with Congress. And that’s exactly what happened. Perhaps, Manmohan should not have agreed for this situation. If successful he, at best, was keeping seat warm for Rahul Gandhi or at worse, he would be a scapegoat for the Party’s failure. He knew that but he still opted for him. So his non-corruptibility is irrelevant. He was hungry for the power and decided to be the Prime Minister. Then, how can he not be blamed for all the despicable scandals that happened under his watch?

Ethics and morality are slippery concepts. But at root level, it is about setting self-imposed standards to abide by. Manmohan should have done scenario analysis and stress testing before accepting the Prime Ministership. That would have helped him in drawing a moral and ethical framework for himself.  For example, what would I do if a bill that I feel is good for the country is rejected by Sonia? Or as an economist, would I commit hundreds of billions of rupees that do not exist to a social reform package just because Sonia wants it? How much corruption would I tolerate and where do I draw the line and resign? Do I work for the country or Sonia? One can argue that his personal incorruptibility was his moral and ethical framework but being in a public serving environment his framework should include what he would do when people around him, people who work for him are to become corrupt.  I don’t think Manmohan did that. He did not take any measures to check unsavory activities within the government and limit the interference / influence of ex-constitutional authorities like NAC. So his personal non-corruptibility framework is not only inadequate but in fact, highly unethical. He may not have taken bribes for himself or for his family but he is corrupt in every other sense.

I keep asking myself, why didn’t he resign? His inabilities as politician are quite evident but any sane individual would say ‘f&*k this s^&t, I am leaving’.  Actually, he did use his ‘resignation’ weapon, as per Sanjay Baru’s book, during Nuclear Deal sign-off saga. The party and Sonia were not for the deal but Manmohan had already personally promised the deal to Obama and US. In this intra-party, intra-government stand-off Manmohan came out on the top in spite of intervention from Sonia. They obviously couldn’t afford his resignation. So the deal was signed. Alas, that was the extent of Manmohan standing up for something, being in charge. He went back to being a mute spectator after that.

There is an underlying reason as to why Manmohan acted the way he did. I touched this point briefly in the beginning. Manmohan wasn’t working for our country. He was working for Sonia. His allegiance was towards Gandhi family, not towards India. He was more worried about keeping Gandhi family intact than work towards betterment of India. That means him resigning would have endangered Gandhi family’s hold on power. Manmohan couldn’t possibly allow that; our nation be damned.

What kind of legacy Manmohan leaves? A not so great one, to say the least. Manmohan is nothing but a power-hungry, Gandhi family sycophant who presided over numerous scams and number of ghastly terrorist attacks; a morally corrupt and highly unethical individual who demoralized not just the government mechanism but also our armed forces. He and his government have left their incompetent and corrupt fingerprints on every facet of country. No one will remember A. Raja or Kalmadi, history will remember this as a Manmohan government. And as if this wasn’t enough then he will always be remembered as a person who handed baton to Rahul Gandhi. Yep, the tragedy just continues. 

Monday, April 28, 2014

Modi Tsunami? (Part II)

My last blog kind of left few things hanging. There were some obvious questions and rejoinders to be added. If Congress and Soniagress are so shrewd then how come they do not dismantle Modi for challenging them? What is the source of his power? And what’s next?

Before I dive in, let me reiterate. All this pravachan is with confidence that Modi will win this election handsomely and become next PM. If he doesn’t for whatever reason, voter fraud, voting machine fraud etc., then, well, we are in trouble.

The central government lead by Congress party approached the Modi ‘problem’ with two pronged strategy. One was to entangle him riots, fake encounter or some other flimsy legal case. Second, was to hammer him down through media. I am sure there must be a lot more that was going on behind the scene. For example, the recent Sunday Guardian article shed light on nefarious activities purported by Hillary Clinton as the foreign minister of U.S. She tasked NGO from Nordic countries to find mass graves of Gujarat riots. Even if a single bone was to be found, she was ready lodge a complaint to UN and put sanctions on India. And the article further mentions that this task was done with active help of couple of central ministers and it further insinuates that Sonia was supporting this clandestine mission. Apart from a hilarious instance where the search party mistook buffalo bones for human ones and prematurely celebrated, they did not find anything. And, that’s because there was actually nothing.  Even the Special Task Force Investigation (STI) appointed and governed by Supreme Court of India did not find any wrongdoing on Modi’s part in Gujarat riots. So from siding with anti-national forces to cajoling Supreme Court into action, the government led by Congress and Soniagress left no stone unturned on countering Modi through legal system.

Then they tried their best in attacking Modi through media. The relentless scrutiny of print and digital media on Gujarat and Modi was numbing. These people all but convicted Modi of crime against humanity. The media onslaught, they thought, would impact electoral success that Modi was enjoying. Nothing worked because there is a crucial difference between Modi and the Delhi ‘lutyenites’ as Tavleen Singh calls them. Modi has a very big mass base. He is not in power because favors are thrown at him by ‘high-command’. He has earned it – through his development, through his oration, through shrewd political moves - he kept connecting with people. In democracy people’s support tantamounts to having a combo of  Karna’s kavach-kundal and Arjuna’s Indra-astra. Pretty awesome I would say!  He keeps getting elected by people of Gujarat and his shrewd marketing tactics means he has loyal and vociferous supporters outside of Gujarat.

A more nuanced point to note - Since he did this on his own, apart from gratitude, he doesn’t owe any favors (or money!) to anyone. That obviously saves him a lot of time, which to his credit; he ably uses to make further development

There is another source of power. And that is his clean image. He does not have a single corruption charge against him. In fact, there is not even a single accusation against him. Even the fertile mind of Kejariwal couldn’t conjure anything. The best he had was the supposed cozy relationship between Adani and Modi. Of course, it’s altogether different matter that the land dealings of Modi were praised by the Supreme Court. Truth stands no chance against Kerajriwal! In this day and age where the scams have reached astronomical amounts, it is hard to find a clean politician with enough power to reach the PM post. His ‘wife’ lives on her own and Modi’s siblings make their money through jobs, that is, they own no businesses.
I hear the recently published book of Manmohan’s media advisor is quite illuminating in this regard. I haven’t had opportunity to read the book as yet but the reviews make it clear that Manmohan was systematically made redundant by Sonia and her ilk. Whatever power he had was mostly used towards placating government’s allies. The Congress, its ministers, politicians and all the leeches on it formed a kind of eco system that served them well, nation be damned. Especially after an unexpected victory in 2009, these people completely forgot that they are in Delhi to serve the people. They were busy fighting each-other and to curry more favors from Sonia. Pretty much all of them completely lost the track of Modi who was positioning himself for Delhi. They thought raking up Gujarat riots would be enough but unfortunately for them (and fortunately for us!), the dam wasn’t good enough for a tsunami.

And, this tsunami is about to wash off the shady, underworld-esque, sycophant, arrogant, power-drunk, corrupt, incompetent, nepotism and anti-national Congress government of Delhi

Friday, April 18, 2014

Modi Tsunami?

The elections are in full swing and the opinion polls are suggesting resounding victory for Modi and BJP. I personally do feel that BJP will get closer to 250 on its own. But this is not a math calculation. And, feelings have no value. Because if that was the case then Congress, with their listless, powerless, incompetent, morally and ethically corrupt PM (i.e. our dear Manmohan), would not have won the 2004 and 2009 election. In both of those elections opinion polls had suggested strong BJP current which was completely absent from the poll results! 

I hope the history does not repeat itself this time.

Election time usually time also brings the political vitriol to the surface. I think most of this criticism and back and forth of accusation is a staged drama. Especially in last couple of decades when the corruption went through the roof, you need to work with politicians / ministers from all parties to ensure one, you can continue the corrupt ways and second, to not to get caught. But at the same time to maintain the visage of political fight these politicians ‘fight’ with each other in front of crowd. It’s all good, except for the corruption of course. It is a good thing they fight only with accusation rather than guns. But this election is different. The hatred and contempt thrown Modi’s way is real. Politicians from across the country, save for the NDA allies, have pointed their guns towards one person. All these people, especially the ‘Soniagress’, genuinely hate Modi ji. One get the feeling that per these stooges Modi has no right to contest national elections. When Sonia says that Modi and BJP will destroy the ‘Hindustaniyat’, she means that. And in a way this is true too. Of course, her definition of ‘Bharatiyata’ is little different. I think she thinks true Bharatiyata is Bharatiya being slave of her.

Forget about 2002 riots, even if hadn’t happened, the opposition to Modi would have been equally strong. This is because he is sure to destabilize the coterie of Delhi, assiduously build by Congressites over last 60 odd years. And he will impact the Congress culture in two ways – power and money.
The cliché that power is money is true only certain extent. In Delhi, Congress cultivates power for survival. The equation works this way – hold on to the power at any cost and money –tons and tons of it, will follow. And, there is a time tested formula to get this equation right. In this power pyramid Gandhi family sits at the top, always. The source of money flows to them and power emanates from them. The power game becomes a game unto itself since serving people or nation takes the back-seat. As long as you are committed to keeping Gandhis in power, you shall prosper. This model is similar to Mughal structure. And just like Mughal Sultans would venture out to take ‘care’ of rebel appointees, Gandhis either sidelined or worse, killed the local appointees who gained too much power. (Rajesh Pilot, Sindia, YSR?) Moreover, the regional power brokers such as DMK et. Al also had to stay within their state borders. The Gandhis ensured that regional politician do not threaten their standing in Delhi. The Delhi was untouchable. Either they will rule it directly or in rare instances, their appointees would be put up as rag dolls. Another important tactic they succeeded in was handling the so called elites – media as well as social, within Delhi. They ably managed the media, the academics and so called ‘thinkers’ in Delhi through favors (inam!) and other such means.

Barring the era of P.V. Narsimharao government, this power structure remained intact. Even Vajapyee government couldn’t dent it. And then of course during the era of our ‘great’ Manmohan government, the la familia regained whatever power it had lost and then some. The generation of Congress politicians who owe their existence to the bread crumbs from Gandhi family now has their second generation in motion. The second generation obviously is more submissive to the Gandhi family than their elders. The cycle continues.
The hold of la familia can still be debated because power in and in itself is hard to quantify. But corruption is very apparent and dollar value can be put on the scandals. This is where the second act of Congressites regales in full glory. The corruption even by Congress’s standards has broken all records in last ten years. And if one looks closely then the actors in these biggest scandals includes not only the Congress ministers but also regional politicians. The ‘wealth’ so to speak is being distributed among the lesser actors. This may be because Congress had to share the illicit money to stay in the power or perhaps because scams were of such staggering proportions that they couldn’t possibly gobble it alone. In any case the allies as well as Congressites established a very successful business model of siphoning billions of dollars out of India. The power was still with Gandhis but the fruits were shared with everyone. For this business model to work staying in the power was paramount. No matter what the cost is, they have to literally rule Delhi.
And then there is Modi!

For last ten years Congress’s power over Delhi was absolute. The so called opposition i.e. BJP was either lost or silent. Congress did as it pleases as if the throwback era of Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi. But this year’s electoral change is not a merely change in winds but a potential tsunami that will wash off all the dirt that Congress has built in Delhi.

Let’s hope that tsunami actually materializes.

Friday, April 04, 2014

The Political Start-Up - AAP

Election is on everyone's mind. Whether one likes Modi or not, the undeniable truth is that his candidacy has forced millions of people to think or talk about up-coming election. It's an achievement in itself. One more factor that briefly threatened to make this election more interesting is emergence of Kejariwal and his Aam Aadami Party. Him winning Delhi election was a watershed moment and should rightly be celebrated as epitome of our democratic process. People voted for change, people voted for honesty and in the process, voters also slapped the entrenched political establishment. Though I am a Modi supporter (just in case it was apparent from my prior blogs!), I respected Kejariwal and hoped for his continuing success. But it proved to be a mirage. The ensuing events after Kejariwal becoming CM of Delhi were both unexpected and unfortunate. Instead of building on electoral success, Kejariwal actively undermined himself and opted to go short on himself. Kejariwal worked hard and relentlessly in his beliefs and I thought, he could achieve so much more. I already ranted about Kejariwal in my prior blog. No need to add more to it. But I couldn’t help myself from dwelling on opportunity lost.

I had extensive discussion on the topic of Kejariwal and AAP with a colleague of mine. Needless to say he is a staunch AAP supporter and he presented some valid points. It made me rethink about AAP and Kejariwal for couple of days but at the end it actually increased my resentment and disappointment for Kejariwal. My colleague made following points:

  • AAP is a start-up. The corruption has completely gone out of hands in India. People have just accepted corrupt and immoral activities as a new norm. AAP raises voice against it. In theory the party does give hope and strength to take a stand against status quo. 
  • AAP is not based on the caste, religion or regional politics. The party is concerned about making lives better by holding politicians and bureaucrats to honest and moral standards. 
  • AAP is a credible and positive counter-force to current crop of political parties that are deeply entrenched in Delhi circle.  
  • He understands that AAP is a no-show in this election but he is investing in AAP – a start-up with a hope that they will grow and pay good dividends to the electorate in next five years or so.   
Though I would think Modi ji also as a positive force that is about to destabilize the Delhi culture, all in all, I agree with my friend here. It’s a unique perspective that takes the long view of this moment. It also somewhat lessens the pain of watching Kejariwal faltering in this election. Discussions aside, the reality is quite different though. Even if we consider AAP as a start-up then the ideas or ‘products’ they are putting on the table are already not resonating with its customers i.e. with voters. And without new voters i.e. without fresh capital, this start-up will fold within next five years. 

I think Kejariwal and AAP made couple of strategic mistakes after their grand show in Delhi assembly elections. And it is bound to affect survival of this start-up. 
  • Kejariwal should have continued with his stint as a CM in Delhi. His antics and all, he showed his ineptness in governing a polity. He says he left the post for his ideals, for what he stands for. But if that is the case then he shouldn’t have joined the politics and stayed on course with Anna. Politics, apart from Ram-Rajya era, is another word for compromise. But a true good politician stays on course and ultimately achieves what he set for. The problems with Lokpal or with Delhi police or the interference of central government in Delhi government are not new. If he had shown that he could govern ably in spite of these issues then it would have shown to the voters that one doesn’t need to be corrupt to govern.
  • The second blunder, the biggest one in that, was to target Modi on a national level. Perhaps, he thought since Congress is going to lose this national election badly, his political opponent is Modi. But there are couple of inherent fault in this thinking. One, Congress was in power in Delhi for last ten years. Those ten years are littered with staggering level of corruption. People are fed-up with Congress lead scandals, lack of leadership and price rise. In short, voters are angry at Congress, not at Modi. I am not saying BJP doesn’t have corrupt politicians in its fold, they do but the fact is that under Modi, Gujrat has progressed quite a bit and he has provided stable and decisive leadership. And most importantly there is not a single corruption charge against Modi! The strategy to target Modi instead of further chipping away Congress voters by going after Rahul or Sonia or for that matter, Shiela Dixit is proving to be a grand failure.
Doing political mistakes is okay, any new entrant has a learning curve. But with his antics, Kejariwal has a very short rope to climb out of mess. I don’t think voters will be affording many chances to him. The sad part is, now that he has jumped into politics, he cannot go back to being an activist. Not only we lost an honest and effective activist but in the process, we did not even gain a honest politician either! 

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Mumbai Carnage Of 2008 - A Look Back

I have compiled few articles as well as videos that illustrate media's
perception towards Mumbai carnage. The media has uncontested power in
capturing the history through yellow lens of biased attitude, vested
interest as well as misinformation. Unfortunately, long after the
survivors, the victims and the preparatory are gone, it is the
imprints that media chooses to leave that will shape the history.
Earlier it used to the winners to write the history. In modern times
no matter who wins the contest, the only winner that emerges is the

1) The New York Times doesn't have brightest brains to cover India.
They have only couple of dedicated writers who routinely cover India
related news and Somini Sengupta happens to be the most printed
journalist from India. After getting the late start in picking up
events in Mumbai, Somini Sengupta came up with this 'brilliant'
article where she clearly demonstrates that the political fighting that ensued
post-Mumbai carnage is all fault of 'Hindu nationalist' B.J.P. and
specially of Mr. Narendra Modi – 'arguably India's most incendiary
politician. (

       She later quotes Mr. Yogendra Yadav  - guy with no known
qualification in statistics as well as proven record of predicting
wrong election results (Gujarat Elections, M.P. Rajasthan and Zarkhand

election as well as 2004 Central elections)  - according to whom
terrorism ranks lowest as decisive factor in the elections. In short,
all though BJP is trying to win votes over this incidence (and
Congress, the party happens to be in power is not) the Congress should
win the elections.

 Increasingly New York Times is hell bent on projecting the terrorist
attack as a fall-out of Kashmir issue as well as 'poor' treatment that
Muslim receives in India. It can't be mere coincidence that the pitch
that Muslim leaders as well as their 'secular' savior make finds its
echo into respected foreign media.

2) To my surprise in the same newspaper William Kristol wrote a sane
commentary on the behavior of 'pinko-leftists' among foreign media.

3) Take a look at this moron Shekhar Gupta - Editor in Chief of
national daily.  All though this interview was conducted long time
before Mumbai carnage, the questions that Shekhar Gupta asks astounds
any sane personality. Perhaps this kind of thinking line permeates not
only the press but also the political class. Unfortunately it is the
common man that bores the brunt of stupidity of so called

My favorite questions are "But why is your state a major victim? Is
it because Gujarat is next door? And • Do you think Maharashtra is
paying a price for being Gujarat's neighbor? The questions were in
regards with prior bomb-blasts that shook Mumbai.

4)  Our 'celebrated' journalist Barkha Dutta failed to recognize why
there is anything wrong in seeing Pakistani flags flying high in
Muslim communities in Mumbai

5) But all is not lost. Some of the articles, especially from Wall
Street Journal were of highest standard and presented the actual
picture from the ground.  Following article that chronicles this
macabre drama should be a 'must' read for all Indians.
(p.s. I am also attaching word file of this article)

As media frenzy reached its nadir the news networks were running out
of experts. Bright brains in CNN thought that Deepak Chopra would be a
good person to talk to about this incidence. Of course, Mr. Chopra
ever ready to let his steam off on TV at every given chance was at his
best in making mess out of an already messed up situation. WSJ printed
a well written, humorous and sarcastic opinions piece on Mr. Chopra's

Some of the good articles published by Indian media are as follows -:

M. J. Akbar – Editor in Chief of Asian Age, succinctly captured the
whole situation and provided glimpse of sanity in Indian media.

Same thing with Swapan Dasgupta in Forbes

It was surprising to see good commentary of current issue getting
published in Cricinfo. But kudos to them that they managed to capture
the reality as it is instead of getting polarized.
-----Gideon Heigh

I will  also request readers to regularly visit Mr. B. Raman's blog