Thursday, November 9, 2017

There is a Reason Why the Army is Being Called Upon to Rebuild the Elphinstone Bridge

A few days ago, India’s Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman asked for the help and aid of the Indian Army to build a foot-over bridge at Mumbai's Elphinstone Road Railway Station. As you’d recall, the bridge at Elphinstone Station was where a tragic stampede had occurred a month ago, one that left 23 dead and 50 injured. Needless to say, the stampede was an incredibly tragic event that casted a dark cloud over the Dussehra celebrations that were scheduled to take place the next day.

Ever since the Defence Minister, along with Maharashtra’s Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis and Railways Minister Piyush Goyal, announced that the army will be utilized to help rebuild the bridge, the opposition and liberal sections of our media haven’t wasted a second to criticize this decision by labelling it as being disrespectful to the army. First of all, I can’t help but laugh at the irony in all of this. The same opposition that has never cared about the interests of our Indian soldiers, that was questioning the validity of the surgical strikes our soldiers had carried out against Pakistan and the same liberal media that was oh-so sympathetic to the plight of Pakistani actors and now wants to debate whether or not we should even stand for our National Anthem, are suddenly talking about what constitutes disrespect towards the Indian Army. I’m sure I’m not the only one who sees the absurdity and hypocrisy in all of this.

If there is one thing that the BJP, or the Central Government for that matter, can NEVER be accused of it’s disrespecting the Indian Army. In fact, the ruling government’s decision to look towards the army to help rebuild the Elphinstone Bridge (as well as two additional bridges) is a decision that actually makes a lot of sense – if one were to look at it objectively. For instance, if the army is called upon to build these foot over bridges, a gamut amount of time will be saved as the lengthy tender processes will be done away with. As such, the quickest way to rebuild the bridge, and thereby make things easier for commuters, is to utilize the help of the Indian Army. Additionally, the army has an incredibly efficient and effective track record of developing infrastructure, as evident from the multiple times they have been called upon to do civilian work in the past (many times during the regime of the UPA Government itself).

Whenever a natural disaster or tragedy has occurred, the army has always been called upon to help with the rescue and rehabilitation of victims. So this so-called notion that the army cannot be called upon for any work that doesn’t constitute border security is inaccurate. It also seems like the Congress has forgotten that, back in 2010 when the Commonwealth Games were about to begin in Delhi and a foot over bridge had collapsed near the games village a week before the inauguration ceremony, the then UPA Government had to call the army to help rebuild the structure in just four days in order to make sure that it would be functional for the Commonwealth Games and that India wouldn’t be embarrassed in front of the world. Additionally, in February of this year, the army was called upon to help the Public Works Department in Thiruvananthapuram (a state ruled by the opposition) with the construction of a bailey bridge. Also, in August this year, the army was yet again called upon to help rebuild a railway bridge that was damaged in Bihar (another state that, at that time, was being ruled by the opposition).

The opposition and liberal media’s selective outrage and muddled memory is nothing new. It’s yet another attempt by them to score political points against the ruling government. Given the opposition’s frustration at not being able to defeat the BJP in elections, it’s not surprising to see them resort to such tactics. Having said that, for anyone to politicize the tragedy that occurred on Elphinstone Bridge, be it the opposition or sections of liberal media, is disgraceful, deplorable and demeaning to the victims and their families. The opposition should understand that some incidents are sacred, and they should never be used as planks to score political points, as desperate as the opposition’s situation may be. 

उद्यमेनैव सिध्यन्ति कार्याणि मनोरथै
हि सुप्तस्य सिंहस्य प्रविशन्ति मुखे

Only with industry and effort is work done,
Animals never themselves dare enter a lion's mouth.

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

I ask this question to the Congress leadership “Is the food of Rome forced on the streets of India ?”

If you haven’t been living under a rock for the past few weeks, you’d be aware of the calf-slaughter incident that took place in Kerala a few weeks ago. This outrageous and blatant disrespect of Hindu sentiments, that was carried out by youth Congress workers, was perhaps the most vivid and illuminating example of the opposition’s selective secularism. Why the Congress workers decided to carry out this public display of ridiculing and mocking Hindu sentiments is something I’ll explain later, but the fact remains that this political stunt has, once and for all, exposed the opposition’s (and even the so called liberal media’s) communal agenda.

The Calf Slaughter in Kerala is Proof of the Opposition and Liberal Media’s Communal Agenda.

First, let me just make one thing very clear – I do not believe in policing someone’s personal right, as well as choice, to eat whatever they like to eat. And as it happens, the Central Government isn’t interested in doing so either. The Central Government has only recommended a ban on the sale and purchase of cattle from animal markets for slaughter, and the primary reason behind this has got more to do with health and hygiene than it does with communal politics. There are many illegal slaughterhouses around this country that are shoddily maintained and they engage utterly unhygienic practices to produce meat (these also include the ones that the UP Government had proposed to shut down). Now it goes without saying that our Government is responsible for the health and well-being of all its citizens, and so if it is brought to its attention that unhygienic and unhealthy food is being processed in slaughterhouses, there’s nothing wrong with the Government wanting to shut them down. Illegal and non-complaint slaughter houses have to be immediately shut down and that is precisely what the Government has been intending. Central Government, State Governments and Municipal Corporations have defined rules for Slaughter houses and the hygiene & factory inspectors have to maintain the legal standards.

Again, let’s not forget that the Government has not passed any legislations that have called for a ban on consumption of beef. In fact, anyone who has been keeping a track of all the legislations that have effectively banned the slaughter and consumption of beef in recent years will let you know that it’s the state governments that have passed such bills. Be it Maharashtra or Haryana, it’s the state governments (and not the central government) that have banned beef in their respective states. It is well within the rights of the democratically elected state governments to pass such legislations, just as it is within the rights of Kerala and West Bengal to not pass such legislations. Now in case anyone does have a problem with the beef ban being enacted in their state (by their state governments), they can always look towards legal recourse as a possible solution. The Indian Judiciary is one of the most respected ones in the world and there is no reason whatsoever for the Congress (or any other party for that matter) to mock Hindu beliefs by resorting to such kind of calf slaughtering protests or sponsoring so called Beef Fests in campuses instigating students. While it is legitimate to keep own views in democracy with respect to beef eating, why are certain political parties not respecting the sentiments of Hindus and resorting to appeasement of Muslims? I have a question here – What if the students of Jamia Milia Islamia or Aligarh Muslim University or JNU want to consume pork in campus? What will be the opinion of the so called fake representatives of the Muslim sentiments?

Also where are the so called Animal rights activists & PETA Activists who protest against customary Jallikattu in neighboring state of Tamil Nadu but are absent when there is a brutal display of cruelty against animals by slaughtering a calf  on the streets of Kerala by Congress workers just to spread hatred against Hindus and appease the Muslims .

Additionally, one only needs to look at the recent election wins registered by the BJP in multiple states (including their historic mandate in Uttar Pradesh) to gauge the mood of the nation. If the people of this country are deciding to heavily vote for the BJP, despite being aware of the party’s position and policies, then shouldn’t that be a cause of concern for all those who are trying to hurt Hindu sentiments just to make a political point? Finally, let’s not forget what the actual motive behind Congress’s barbaric stunt was – to communalize upcoming elections. And it’s not just the Congress that has this agenda, even certain sections of the media are complacent in this and it doesn’t take rocket science or one to be Einstein to figure out what’s going on here. The opposition led by the Congress and sections of the liberal media have twisted the issue and taken a health and hygiene based recommendation by the Central Government and hijacked it to communalize and divide the people of this country. This has been their agenda all along, and has become a means for them to showcase their selective secularism and mockery of Hindu sentiments. It remains to be seen how successful this ends up being in the long run, but considering the BJP’s string of victories in recent elections, the Congress and the media might be in for a rude awakening. After 70 years of Independence, it is the existence of Congress which is challenged . 

Is the Congress high command disrespecting the feelings of majority in India and I ask this question to the Congress leadership “Is the food of Rome forced on the streets of India ?”

Saturday, July 29, 2017

The Plague of Selective Secularism is Spreading Across our Country

The Plague of Selective Secularism is Spreading Across our Country

As you must have already seen or heard on the news by now, a few days ago I was subjected to a horrible and unnerving incident at the Chhatrapati Shivaji International Mumbai airport that has still left me wondering about the so-called ‘secular’ fabric of our country. Now as news coverage is never able to accurately capture any incident, I wanted to let you know exactly what happened and why I had a problem with it. The gist of it is simple – my wife and I were making our way to Delhi from Mumbai and were about to board our flight when we came across a group of Muslim men who were sitting down near the boarding pass counter and reading the namaaz. Now these men were actually blocking our pathway and doing so in an area that was causing a lot of inconvenience to regular passengers. And if that wasn’t bad enough, when I complained about this to the CISF officer in charge, he not only ignored my grievances, but actually started speaking to my wife and I in a rude and derogatory manner. He didn’t even shy away from hurting our religion sentiments, even though he was being so protective of other’s religious sentiments. This display of selective secularism has raised enough red flags in my mind that I’m compelled to pen down my thoughts in this blog.

First of all, let me just reiterate something I’ve always maintained – I have NO problem with any religion. This issue, and why I decided to raise my voice against it, isn’t even about religion to begin with, rather it’s got more to do with the plague of selective secularism that is spreading across the country. Take for instance the location where this incident took place - the airport. Now last time I checked, the airport is NOT supposed to be a place of worship in the first place. Yet, there are certain provisions that are actually made to make sure that the religious sentiments of specific communities are not hurt. If one wants to read the namaaz at the airport, there are specific rooms that are provided for to do just that. But for people to read the namaaz in the middle of the airport, right next to the boarding pass counter, should not be acceptable.  

And if this apparent flouting of rules and norms is acceptable for one religion, then it should also be acceptable for all religions – which was the point that I was trying to make. Just ask yourself one question - if a group of people can be allowed to sit down in the middle of an airport to read the namaaz (despite causing grievances and inconvenience to other people), then shouldn’t people also be allowed to sit down and block that same pathway to conduct a puja? If so, why did the CISF officer in charge have such a problem with my sitting down, so much so that he started misbehaving with me and my wife in a derogatory manner?
It wasn’t until the head CISF officer came and apologized to my wife and I that I decided to let the matter go but by then we had missed our flight. I hope that if any good comes out my plight, it’s that people start understanding that no religion can and should be given such special liberties at the expense of others and if such special liberties are to be given, then they should be given and accorded to ALL religions. After all, isn’t that what ‘secularism’ is supposed to be all about? 
Unless I didn’t get the memo on the new definition on secularism, I wouldn’t like to think otherwise.

सदयं हृदयं यस्य भाषितं सत्यभूषितम्
कायः परहिते यस्य कलिस्तस्य करोति किम्

(What harm can Kalipurusa do to him whose heart is full of kindness, whose speech is adorned with truth and whose body is for the good of others.)

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Keep In India: Why It’s Absolutely Vital For Us To Ensure That Our Data Stays Within Our Shores

At the India Today Conclave 2017 held in Mumbai, noted Industrialist Mukesh Ambani spoke about the absolute necessity of protecting our data and ensuring that it stays within our shores. To ensure that that happens, he talked about how it’s imperative that we launch a ‘Keep in India’ campaign, one that complements PM Modi’s dynamic ‘Make in India’ and ‘Digital India’ campaigns. Having already stated my views on this before, I couldn’t agree more with Mr. Ambani’s pragmatic assessment as there are countless benefits that we, as a nation, would reap if we ensured that all domestically generated data is retained within our borders.
These benefits include, but aren’t limited to, an increase in inflow of investments and international talent, a decrease in outflow of domestic talent, and a paramount increase in job creation. Then there are also, as Mr. Ambani rightfully pointed out, reasons pertaining to national security and sovereignty conditions that further add to the necessity of launching a ‘Keep in India’ campaign. Additionally, this initiative can also help us prepare for the Digital Age that the world is being ushered. How so? Well, it can ensure that we develop the necessary human capital needed to maintain our leadership position in the field of technology for future generations.
In one of my earlier blog posts from 2014, I had talked about how upsetting and frustrating it was to see that India was globally ranked 29th in a list of 30 countries for business attractiveness. I had also stressed on the need for a Policy environment that is conductive to growth for both the enterprise, as well as the entrepreneur, and one that gives big enterprises enough motivation to set shop here. Now ever since the BJP and Prime Minister Narendra Modi came to power with a thumping majority, things have gotten a lot better. The ‘Make in India’ and ‘Digital India’ campaigns have, to a great extent, helped create this pro-entrepreneur environment that has made India more attractive in terms of energy infusion, land and infrastructure, and capital infusion. But most, if not all, of this progress that’s been made in the last 3 years will be for naught if we don’t ensure protection of our domestically created data.
Now fortunately for us, there are many ways one could go about to ensure the protection of our data. For starters, as already mentioned above, launching a ‘Keep in India’ campaign will go a long way in informing, educating and motivating in-house developers and entrepreneurs about the need and importance of keeping domestically created data within our borders. Apart from that, the government could also draft some policies that would make it more difficult for companies that first generate ad revenue out of Indian data, and then set up Data Centres in foreign countries. Finally, we need to support our Prime Minister, in every way we can, in all of his endeavors related to ‘Digital India’ as we are extremely fortunate to have a leader like him, one who understands technology and all of its multiple benefits.
We are now living in a day and age where data and information wield unquestionable power. In the decades to come, they wouldn’t be any less important or desirable as a tool of power than even oil. As such, if we, as a developing nation vying to be the next superpower of the world, are to realize our full potential, we need to capture all of the benefits of the Indian technology revolution that we are currently a part of. And to do that, we need to ensure that data remains in India.
उद्यमेनैव सिध्यन्ति कार्याणि न मनोरथै: ।
न हि सुप्तस्य सिंहस्य प्रविशन्ति मुखे मृगा: ॥
Only with industry and effort is work done,
animals never themselves enter the lion’s mouth.

Friday, June 9, 2017

Turning the Tables: Why Trump’s America could learn a thing or two from the Modi Government

Recently, I was in the US for some work-related purposes. Having stayed in Chicago, a few things quickly grabbed my attention. While I was certainly in awe of all the buildings that were the result of Donald Trump’s genius (the Trump International Hotel and Tower in Chicago being one of them), I couldn’t help but notice how the rest of Chicago was largely lagging behind when it came to infrastructure. There were bridges that were rusting and falling apart, abandoned factories that resembled ghost towns and roads that weren’t well maintained at all. Considering the pride President Trump, and America itself for that matter, takes in its infrastructure, I found it incredibly ironic to see one of the largest and most popular cities in the States not being up-to-the-mark vis-à-vis government infrastructure.
Now let’s contrast this to the recent developments that have been made by our own Government and, in particular, the honourable Minister for Road Transport and Highways and Shipping, shri Nitin Gadkari. Recently, he raised the bar for developers of the 10,000-crore Eastern Peripheral Expressway, announcing that commuters would be able to effortlessly drive at the speed of 150 Km/h without having to face any hurdles on the road. In fact, he even said that driving on the Eastern Peripheral Expressway is going to be so smooth that one could pour themselves a cup of tea and not spill a single drop, despite the car being driven at a speed as high as 150 Km/h. Additionally, he also said that the NHAI will consider adding a layer of bitumen on concrete highways to prevent tyre bursts and crashes, as is the case with some road stretches abroad, in a bid to make expressways and highways safer for pedestrians, cyclists, motorcyclists and other vehicle users.
There’s a great sense of irony in what’s happening in the world right now. While on one hand Donald Trump stresses on enforcing an ‘America First’ and a ‘Make in America’ policy, all the while major cities in his country have areas that are being shoddily maintained. Meanwhile, the Indian Government continues to make new strides in different sectors including, but not limited to, health, railways, roadways and urban development. But it’s not just the irony that I’m trying to highlight here -  this is also another strong sign that it’s not time we too took a cue from Mr. Trump and decided to implement a ‘India first’ and ‘Make in India’ policy in ALL sectors.
The need for adopting a preferential market access policy could not be stressed enough. We’ve already proven that we are more than capable of developing this country on our own, so why not take things a notch further and implement the PMA policy that will promote homegrown talent and not limit their opportunities at the expense of international organizations? After all, shouldn’t our priority be towards our own citizens first? Additionally, enforcing this policy will help ward off concerns about product quality and security, will help reduce the balance of payments deficit in electronics and perhaps most importantly, will help create new employment opportunities in the manufacturing sector.
In closing, I’d just like to make one crucial point – In a time and age when the world around is constantly becoming more self-centered, with nations (Be it the post-Trump USA or the post-Brexit United Kingdom) electing to put their interests above globalized politics and policies, there’s no reason why a potential superpower like ours should stay behind and not look out for our own best interests.

आशायाः ये दासाः ते दासाः सर्वलोकस्य
आशा येषां दासी तेषां दासायते लोकः ॥

(Those who are the slaves of 'desire' are slaves of the entire world. But world itself is the slave of those to whom 'desire' is a slave.)

Saturday, March 18, 2017

India Celebrates a Saffron Holi: Why BJP’s Sweep of Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand is a Game Changer in Indian Politics

On 11th March 2017, India decided to celebrate Holi a couple of days early, with saffron being the most popular colour of choice. Whether it was the heartland of Uttar Pradesh, the hills of Uttarakhand or the northeastern state of Manipur, the BJP made decisive gains across the board, once again reinforcing the fact that Prime Minster Modi, and the party itself, is currently enjoying a popularity that is unrivaled. 

While the victories it scored in all three states are equally impressive in their scale, the one it registered in Uttar Pradesh is, without question, the most stunning. The BJP, under Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s dynamic leadership, as well as Amit Shah’s ingenious campaign management, won a landslide 325 seats. This victory becomes even more incredible when one takes into account the vote share that the BJP won, a whopping 39.7%. When you compare that to the vote share of the SP, BSP and Congress, none of them could even cross the 25% mark. Winning a 3/4th majority in any election is no mean feat, but to win one in Uttar Pradesh, a state that has a population of more than 200 million (more than that of Brazil, England, Australia or even Pakistan) and one that is diverse across the board, is evidence enough that by and large, the country is rallying behind the policies, ideologies and leadership of the BJP.  
Moving further north lies another state where the BJP won a landslide victory and took one more step towards fulfilling its vision of achieving a ‘Congress Mukth’ Bhaarat. In Uttarakhand, BJP won a stunning 57 seats, compared to the Congress’s mere 11. Such was the scale of the Congress’s defeat, that sitting Chief Minister Harish Rawat lost elections from both of the seats that he was contesting from. And if we were to go to the eastern most corner of the country, the results in Manipur are perhaps best reflective of BJP’s pan-India growth as it went from winning zero seats in 2012 to 21 seats in 2017.  
Finally, with these results, all those myths of there being Muslim, Dalit or Jat vote-banks, ones that would only vote on the basis of religion or caste, are officially debunked. When you receive a mandate of this scale and magnitude, you can’t do so without support that cuts across lines of religion, caste and class. One look at the seats that that the BJP won reinforces this fact – they swept urban as well as rural regions, areas with heavy Muslim and Dalit populations, they swept the suburbs of Noida, the Congress bastions of Amethi and Raebareli, as well as all seats in Lucknow. Simply put, BJP received votes from all sections of society and considering its scale of victory, parties that solely relied on either communalization (Samajwadi Party, Congress) or caste politics (BSP), have been given a resounding reality check by the people of Uttar Pradesh. Additionally, this was also an election that has now, once and for all, made it clear that dynastic politics and parivar wad simply won’t work anymore. Apart from the symbolic losses of the congress party in Amethi and Raebareli (supposed bastions of the Gandhi Parivar), Mulayam Singh Yadav’s bahu Aparna Yadav also lost from the Lucknow Cantonment seat by 30,000 votes.  
There were, of course, setbacks that we need to pay attention to as well. The mandate in Punjab was certainly disappointing, although it’s never easy to win elections when you’re facing 10 years of anti-incumbency, and our performance in Goa could have been better. We need to learn what went wrong there and course-correct our mistakes. With the reinstallation of Manohar Parikar as the Chief Minister of Goa, the first step in the right direction has already taken place.

Of course opposition parties such as the BSP and AAP are not able to fathom the scale of their own losses and so, in a bid to feel better about themselves and their political future, are conveniently trying to pin the blame on “malfunctioning EVMs.” Isn’t it funny that when a mandate goes against them, only then do the likes of Kejriwal and Mayawati raise such concerns? When they win elections decisively, such as in Delhi in 2015, malfunctioning EVMs are never brought-up? 
In the end, however, the fact remains that BJP has formed the government in four out of five states, and despite all the manufactured noise that was raised against demonetization, despite all the tall claims that were being made against PM Modi’s development work, the Indian voter has given his thumbs up of approval and that too decisively.  

अक्रोधेन जयेत् क्रोधमसाधुं साधुना जयेत्
जयेत् कदर्यं दानेन जयेत् सत्येन चानृतम्

Conquer anger by calmness, evil by good,
miserliness by charity and lies by truth

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

All You Need to Know About the Uttar Pradesh Elections

The Uttar Pradesh elections are now just round the corner (the polling in the first phase begins on 11th February), and it seems like within the last few days, countless new (albeit not surprising) developments have taken place. The biggest, and perhaps most significant, of these being the announcement of an alliance between the Samajwadi Party and the Indian National Congress. There had been rumors flying around that, whenever Akhilesh Yadav wasn’t busy diffusing his family crisis, he was holding talks with senior congress leaders (including Priyanka Gandhi no less) to finalize seat-sharing arrangements. Now that the cat is finally out of the bag, it becomes important to discuss what the implications of this alliance are going to be. 

Whether this tie-up helps or hurts Akhilesh in these elections remains to be seen, but there are clear messages that it sends to the populace of Uttar Pradesh that is going to start casting its votes from 11th Feb. Firstly, it makes it clear that Akhilesh Yadav, and by extension the Samajwadi Party, have no confidence in their chances of winning elections on their own. Perhaps they are aware of the anger the people of Uttar Pradesh harbor for the utter lawlessness and misrule they were subjected to during the last five years, or maybe they are worried about the surge that BJP is currently enjoying in Uttar Pradesh (further boosted by Prime Minister Modi’s actions to combat black money), but one thing’s for sure, Akhilesh Yadav is in panic mode. 

The second message it clearly sends to the people is regarding the platform on which the Samajwadi Party is actually contesting these elections – one that reeks of communal and caste politics. By tying up with the Congress (which hasn’t been a major stakeholder in Uttar Pradesh for decades now), Akhilesh has made it clear that he is solely aiming for a polarization of votes on the basis of religion and caste, and not necessarily interested in getting votes on the platform of development. This is further evidenced by the fact that, apart from rampant nepotism (both the SP and the Congress excel in Parivaar Wad), the two parties have nothing in common. As far as the Congress is concerned, this is yet another opportunity for it to ride the coattails of a more politically relevant party in a state where it doesn’t stand a chance of making any strides on its own. How else could one explain a so called ‘national party’ agreeing to contest on just 105 seats? 

The BSP too made its fair share of news recently. Always notorious for giving those with criminal backgrounds tickets for contesting elections, Mayawati welcomed former gangster Mukhtar Ansari to her party. Ansari defected from the Samajwadi Party and decided to join BSP after Mayawati gave him, and two of his family members, three seats to contest elections from. While Ansari will be contesting from Mau, his sons Abbas and Sibagatullah will be contesting from Ghosi and Mohammadabad, respectively. This recent update is particularly significant because it proves that the BSP has no intentions of reducing UP’s alarming crime rate and if voted to power, will only lead to more lawlessness and corruption. It also proves that it’s not just the Congress and the SP that believe in Parivaar Wad as BSP too doesn’t mind abiding by that policy.  

If it wasn’t clear enough before, it has certainly become so now – the people of Uttar Pradesh have only one viable party that they could vote for, one that would combat corruption and lawlessness, not fill up the entire state cabinet with members of one family and only contest elections on the platform of development. In fact just recently, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar had said that he was ‘upset’ that a mahagathbandan could not have been formed in UP and that he was praying for the victory of the SP + Congress alliance. If that doesn’t reinforce the fact that this is a BJP vs All election, nothing else will. As such, it becomes absolutely imperative for the populace of UP to cast their ballots for BJP if they want to see their state put on the path to progress and prosperity.

अभिशेको संस्कार: सिम्हस्य क्रियते वने |
विक्रमार्जिता सत्वस्य स्वयमेव मृगेन्द्रता

There is no official coronation ceremony held to declare lion king of jungle
He becomes king by his own attributes and heroic actions