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Politically Incorrect…

October 31, 2014

DISCLAIMER: THIS IS A HASTILY PUT UP NOTE. I AM NOT AN EXPERT IN POLITICS OR HISTORY OR ANYTHING. NOT EDITED. WILL BE SUBJECT TO REVISIONS/EDITING.

And most importantly this is not to counter-attack anyone. Just a time-pass for me. Today has been a long day – boys at home doing group studies. Whole week I am cooking and cooking and attending classes and grocery shopping and banking. No time really. This is the only time I relax. There are books waiting to be read but I am INSPIRED(!) to write this. I am seeking anticipatory apology (like anticipatory bail (!)) in case this offends anyone’s refined sensibilities…

Moreover since there seems to be nobody in India to do this kind of gross summation theories and analyze and give inferences, I have taken the onerous responsibility to do it on behalf of fellow Indian citizens & media !!!  Right now I am also chatting my hubby online, having given food to son & MIL and been looking up some bank statements. Going down for kitchen clean-up and winding up shortly. Beforehand, I am hitting the ‘publish’ button, lets see lolz.

 

INDIAN POLITICAL HISTORY THE WAY I SEE IT (FROM LATE 1970S TILL DATE)

LEFT OR RIGHT I DON’T KNOW – ALL I WANT TO BE IS ‘STRAIGHT,  NOT CROOKED 🙂 🙂 🙂

 

Politics and Cinema used to be dirty words in my family. In fact it was like that in my entire neighbourhood in those days. In present times, political meetings within city limits are mostly banned except in the election season. In 1980s when there was very little entertainment otherwise for folks, political meetings weren’t were rare. My street regularly had one. We used to look forward to these in fact but being girls, we were asked to stay indoors whenever one such a meeting would be scheduled for the evening. In short, middle class families thought politicians and anything thats got to do with politics was automatically dirty and dangerous business.

ELECTORAL PROCESS AND ELECTORAL REFORMS:

T N Seshan, the election commissioner hailing from Tamil Nadu gets the credit for banishing loudspeaker campaigning and public meetings in metros with an iron hand. He also brought to an end political parties canvassing for votes by plastering posters on your residence wall. If any party does that, you can ask them to pay you for hosting their ad. The contesting candidates should not have been indicted in a court case and should submit an assets statement when filing in their application forms. A ceiling was fixed for candidates’ election expenses. The new electoral reforms brought in by Seshan are the main reason, the electoral process itself has turned out to be a disciplined affair in India. Its not a joke that about 800 million eligible voters exercise their franchise in an organized fashion, in a phased manner, as has been happening in India.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/T._N._Seshan

Seshan turned a new leaf in the history of electoral democracy in India. Ever since there has not been much of blare when it comes to elections to the world’s largest democracy. Now its all a quiet affair, the judgement passed by the citizens over the 5 year reigning period of the ruling party. Last minute campaigning is limited to maximum 1 month or so. All canvassing has to stop forth 48 hours before the actual election dates to enable the law enforcement agencies to take over and ensure that law & order prevails.

The Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) ushered in another wave of sea change to the method we elect parliamentarians. And our local assemblies. One of India’s best electoral reforms.

There are pros and cons associated with using EVMs but pros outweigh the cons. Hacking is not limited to EVMs, hacking happens to our mobile phones, systems, even bank accounts.How to secure EVM tamperproof is the question. EVMs also reduced the voting time in the 1 billion club nation of ours saving valuable manhours. Counting of 800 million votes is matter of minutes and results emerge in matter of a couple of hours which is a stupendous feat. Manual errors are also eliminated in the process.

Whereas the scene used to be chaotic until the 1990s to my knowledge. Indiscriminate campaigning in every nook and corner of the nation obstructing traffic, inconveniencing the public – these were something we the citizens were used to. Now everything needs an approval first which is good. There is some semblance of order to it all. I recall the counting drama in PS High school for Boys in Mylapore. It used to last for even days at times. How much EVMs have since simplified complicated issues.

ARMED PROTECTION FOR BOARD PAPERS & EVMS!

I have not seen the EVMs transported – but in the past before the advent of EVMs I guess the ballot boxes were opened right in the voting centers or at a close major one. With EVMs, things got consolidated and counting takes place in hardly a handful of centers secured by armed forces. For instance hundreds of EVMs can be processed in a single counting center and hence the number of counting centers in my city is well under half a dozen to speak of.

Once in my son’s school I have seen how the board exam papers of class 12 were transported: in armoured vehicles, with armed guards!  Some 100 m-200 m area is cleared on all sides 2 hours before the board exams start. No other classes can function during the exam hours in the school premises which function as board centers. The other school activities get scheduled for the afternoon session, after a 2 hour gap from the exam closing time. Board exam rooms are sanitized and sealed. Future of India lies as much in our Board Exam Answer Sheets as in Ballot Papers/EVMs.

Every 5 years India has been faced with general elections to the Lok Sabha (lower house of the parliament) but sometimes elections have been necessitated before term owing to dissolving of cabinets when weak coalition alliances had formed unstable governments at the center. Now this is a very costly exercise and it also dashes the hopes of the citizens.

One of my confusions during teenage was, how come India continued to be called a democracy when in fact we have had just a single majority party ruling at the center for decades without any alternative. Why didn’t we have 2 alternating governments like the US had republicans and democrats.

Parties and Symbols:

I don’t recall my parents or grandparents badmouthing anyone or anything in those days. From the first time I learned about elections – must be in late 1970s – 1979? – that Indira Gandhi lost after imposition of Emergency and its subsequent lifting, i remember something distinctly. Its the wall paint of BJP’s ‘lotus’ symbol and Janata Party’s ‘farmer with yoke’ done in our street. Recall utter disgust of my parents at that. BJP was of no consequence to anyone – the party has gone on from without votes for decades since independence. However I was not to know that then. The lotus symbol is what that stayed imprinted in my mind. But mostly there was everywhere the ‘hand’ symbol of Congress. It was the first time a non-congress party formed a govt at the centre but as a kid, I was not again aware of the impact. I do recall the fall of Morarji Desai govt and for the first time in my life, felt a mild fleeting sense of insecurity that I was hitherto not used to. It was because of what the elders were talking about. I think I was getting politically conscious ever so slowly….

(The dravidian party symbols are: 2 leaves for JJ’s ADMK and rising sun for KK’s DMK) (But the symbol i like the best today is the broom symbol of Aam Aadmi Party. AAP candidates came to my street wielding brooms canvassing for votes!)

About the emergency itself, I never heard of the word in 1970s. I recall hearing it for the first time in 1980s, very many years after the nightmare got over. I think it was taboo even to mention the word in those times.

1975-77 EMERGENCY AND AFTERMATH:

During 1977 elections, I remember asking my father which party he voted for. I was told that it was not right to disclose in public who we voted for. Within 2-3 years we had elections again and this time Indira Gandhi returned with a thumping majority. This time I knew, not just my family but the entire neighbourhood voted for Congress at the centre. The 1977 assembly elections for Tamil Nadu were won by newly formed ADMK for the first time and movie star-turned politician MGR (M G Ramachandran and mentor of JJ who also was her hero in many pictures) became our chief minister.

THE SRI LANKA DIMENSION AND HOW IT AFFECTED THE INDIAN POLITICAL SCENE AND THE NATION’S FIRST FAMILY/DYNASTY:

In 1980 or 1981, my mother’s school toured Sri Lanka. She came back to tell us horrendous stories of tamil shops getting looted and set on fire and blood flowing in the streets of Colombo. We were receiving Sri Lankan tv (Rupa Vahini) and Sri Lankan Tamil Radio in Madras then but there was no clue. Sri Lankans were starting to arrive by boatloads in the state as refugees. From millionaires and estate owners, the tamils of the island became paupers overnight and even worst, refugees.

TAMIL NADU GETS ITS FIRST TASTE OF VIOLENCE: NOT EVEN THE PARTITION OF 1947 OR THE SUBSEQUENT INDO-PAK WARS HAD TOUCHED US BEFORE:

Many srilankan girls joined my school. There were guest lectures by sri lankan tamils who fled to TN recounting their horror tales in Sri Lanka. It was the first time in my life i was hearing about anything violent. I as well as other kids had until then never heard of shooting or killing or anything such in our lives – we were a protected lot…. and also because India was a safe country back then and Tamil Nadu, especially Madras has always been a quiet heaven…

THE FIRST EVER CONSPIRACY THEORY WAS THAT OF SANJAY GANDHI’S UNNATURAL DEATH:

But in my 7th standard,I do recall getting news in school about Sanjay Gandhi’s accidental death in plane crash. In my school as well as in my home and in neighbourhood, it was the first time I was hearing about a ‘conspiracy theory.’ The death of the second son of the Gandhi family was rumoured to be the handiwork of someone dearest and nearest to him. It was unbelievable really to my young mind. Later on I heard of the justification stories in my teenage but at that point of time in class 7, it was too much for me to imagine.

My mother’s school toured Delhi before Sri Lanka and there is a picture of the entire group taken with V V Giri, in the presidential palace. Giri gave a free pass to all to travel back to Madras in I class train compartment considering the sort of school they were. But in Delhi station, my mother and her staff discovered, Giri, the president of India commanded no authority. The railways did not respect the president’s sealed and signed letter to the school and their special children and insisted on full payment. Said the railways officials, they only honoured onething – anything from Indiraji’s office! A flabbergasted mother of mine retold the story so many times in the following months – it was the first time yet again for me to learn how rules and regulations were so easily flouted in the north. That rules can be bent. That orders can be disobeyed and circumvented. This kind of indiscipline or insubordination was until then unheard of in my city/state.

My mother passed away when I started class 9. It was after she left that the Sri Lankan issue got extremely critical. Yeah one more first in my life. First ever death I attended – in my own family. Till the fateful day, my folks had shielded me so fiercely from all the ugly truths and harshness of life and reality.

THE SRI LANKA – INDIA UMBILICAL CORD CONNECTION: RAMAYANA CONNECTS US TO ETERNITY.

In 1983 I guess, the Raja Gopuram of Sri Ranganatha Temple in Sri Rangam, TN was built. The Sri Lankan president and prime minister pleaded with the Indian govt not to build the tower. It was there in the Tamil dailies and weekly magazines and other publications. Because legend had it that, as found inscribed in the scriptures and stone edicts in TN and Sri Lanka, Lord Vishnu (Ranganath) was directly gazing and gracing Sri Lanka from Sri Rangam. So any obstruction to his view in the form of tower would result in Lanka burning for very many years.

Gandhi and MGR however went ahead and completed the construction of the temple tower. Within the year got completed, Gandhi was assassinated, MGR got seriously ill and went into coma/paralysis and the jeer of the Sri Rangam Mutt expired. The Lanka burning had stated.

The then president (of Gandhi & MGR’s time) Premadasa was assassinated in Sri Lanka in late ’80s.

I don’t want to delve into Sri Lankan issue here. We were all kind of eyewitnesses or witnesses of conscience here as to what transpired in 1980s, and to the chain of events that culminated in Rajiv Gandhi’s assassination in May 1991. Thank God, my PG final year exams had just gotten over. I did not know the seriousness then. I learned gradually from friends and some ‘experts’ about the build-up leading to Rajiv’s assassination. Now like a jigsaw puzzle everything falls into its place. Now I can reconstruct very much from memory and with the aid of Google search engine, how the 80s progressively spanned out and how things led to one another…

1984 INDIRA GANDHI ASSASSINATION: its a coincidence today is Mrs. Gandhi’s death anniversary.

As for Indira Gandhi, i recall a day in my standard 11 when school was suddenly closed and it was announced that PM Indira Gandhi was dead. No further information. It was only through tv and papers and radio we learned she was assassinated.

Not much of violence or stray incidence in my city or state. Ours is mostly a dravidian state where we customarily vote for central parties during Delhi/Lok Sabha elections because we need to. Otherwise, votes are always for local Dravida parties.

A few months before Indira’s assassination I do recall reading about the successful ‘Operation Bluestar’ and Bhindranwale but again the single tv channel we had then was not the sensationalizing type the way we have tv channels these days. Morevoer tv used to be govt mouthpiece in those days. Not even the term ‘terrorist’ was born until this point of time in our history. I think the word used was ‘militant.’

During Indira’s death, I think they showed her body lying instate in Delhi for tributes for a continuous 3 days or so. Nothing else in tv. Slogans like ‘India is Indira, Indra is India’  and ‘jab tak suraj chand rahega, Indraji tera naam rahega’ rented the air. I think we enjoyed the tv show then. It was so macabre… if i think of it now. The hysteric chanting, the tension mood prevailing in the country everything added up to our excitement. I was too young still to think ahead about consequences I guess.

How one name was used to emotionally blackmail a nation: I do remember the elders getting concerned over what would happen to India without a Indira. She had had been around for too long – a whopping 17 years. It is ridiculous when I think of it today. How long can a surname give you a free pass in anything. But a dashing Rajiv Gandhi (who became the heartthrob in school for us teenage girls!) once again lulled the Indian voters into a kind of mass hypnotism wherein they believed dynasty is what keeps democracy alive and kicking. It is wrong ideology and to an extent the weak successive Janata governments had lent credence to thriving of such an unnatural and illogical belief system.

But there again was no news anywhere about the following unrest in Delhi in which the sikh community was targeted. May be my newspaper reported but even at that time, I was not much into politics (!) I was, but not like today. In those days, we had a somewhat watered-down interest in this kind of things.

The ZIA-UL-HAQ psychosis

I remember my friend Rupa, now in US, screaming and running home with the news of Zia-ul-haq assassination. We had the knowledge he was a tyrant and we dreaded him. I remember a few fire crackers going up in my city – it was the first time my city was celebrating outwardly the downfall of a monster.

Zia’s period is clearly in my memory – or vaguely clearly 🙂 I remember the insecure feeling India had then, i think he attended one of the cricket matches here in India. I think it was the time we were getting aware of Pakistan and its many problems tailormade to India (at that time). Now ofcourse Pakistanis have gone global with terrorism.

Rups and I and a few friends had started reading Illustrated Weekly, Sunday, India Today etc by the time. We were developing interest in politics. We were told, politics is a dirty word, don’t discuss it!

One thing I remember about a young Benazzir Bhutto as a first time PM – i think she was perhaps single then… I think Rups and I wanted her to marry Rajiv Gandhi after he would divorce Sonia hahaha. We infact spoke about such a stupid thing lolz. Crystal clear memory of that I have. For a brief time i think they were contemporaries.

THE 1986 SHARJAH MATCH THAT CHETAN SHARMA LOST: 

Cannot forget the last ball sent to sixer by Miandad. By this time our hatred for Pakistan became complete and a fixed part of our system. I remember watching the match live, and ROFC later (means Rolling On Floor Crying lolz opposite of ROFL)!!! 🙂 Rups was inconsolable. We infact wanted to break the tv.

Cricket diplomacy did not nothing to improve India’s ties with neighbours.

INDIA AMENDS HER MISTAKES BUT IT COMES A WEE BIT LATE…

It was only in 1990s rumours were afloat that Indira Gandhi had helped set up training camps in Mandapam near Kanya Kumari in TN for the LTTE arming them to teeth. In ’80s we tamils were forbidden from going anywhere near the place. For years even Rameshwaram remained out of bounds for us, even though in the year 1976, I recall visiting the island temple… and recall the train flying over the bridge over the sea…

But soon when LTTE grew monstrous, with crime rates spiraling in Tamil Nadu. Rajiv Gandhi who took over next realized the grave error and corrected it outright with an abrupt change in policy that did not go down well with the tamil ultras. The camps in TN were shut. The LTTE had overnight become unwanted anti-socials. The Sri Lankan tamils in the state were ‘guests who had overstayed the hospitality of their hosts.’ A series of events led the Indian govt to proclaim LTTE as a banned extremist outfit. 

What I respect about India is this recognition and willingness to correct faults and change stance. Being flexible. LTTE was a bad mistake but it did not take Indian govt and Tamil Nadu state govt more than 10 years to wean and free themselves out of the situation they had helped perpetrate. Mistake was done, but correction followed.

But back then in Indira’s regime, it did not seem like a mistake. The horror of the Sri Lankan tamils was real. The island tamils genuinely needed help. I am telling you this because we have seen millions of refugess come to my state, my city… My school gave free admissions to hundreds of girls – many orphaned with parents killed, homes looted… 

So those of us who have lived in those times in Madras knew what Indira engaged in was NOT a misadventure. India had to backtrack when LTTE overgrew astonishingly to their own detriment. Soon the tamils became outcasts in even Tamil Nadu. Indira or MGR did not live to see the monster they had unleashed in LTTE. They would have been in for surprise.

In 1989-90, my husband bought his first bike Yamaha on joining work. It went missing one fine day from a friend’s house where it was parked. The motorbike was found in Cuddalore in the eastern coast, some 200 km afar from Madras, abandoned at the roadside with its engine pulled out. The modus-operandi of the LTTE was getting clearer. More Yamaha bikes were stolen from around the state as it was said, 4 Yamaha engines would work a motor boat that brought in illegal Sri Lankan tamil refugees into the state in the late night hours.

But all this got national/international attention only with the assassination of Rajiv Gandhi. As the LTTE supremo Prabhakaran admitted, it was their costliest and stupidest blunder to antagonize India, assassinate a PM candidate and lose the trust of and fall out with mainland Tamils. If not for Rajiv, I can’t guess where we would have been headed.

Rajiv era will go down in history for the natural death of Punjab/Sikh militancy and emerging of modern India. I recall India asking US for the super computer in his time. When the US refused, Rajiv asked Indian scientists and techies to build one that they did with a grand success. India was starting to emerge as a software giant but back then we did not know it. It was a turnaround from Indira Gandhi’s times when she had kicked out both IBM and the Coca-cola from Indian soil.

Rajiv’s many blunders included giving safe passage to Anderson, CEO of Union Carbine in Bhopal Gas Tragedy case and Bofors scandal. IPKF remains to this date a debatable topic.

BJP BUDS…

Over the years we have discussed politics passionately in our place. I had north Indian neighbours from Mathura/Mumbai for a few years. Through them interestingly enough I learned more about BJP in my teens. My late teens were also the years for the first time I was learning that political parties could have religious leanings.

Until then, I was getting to know, my family always voted for the congress at the centre. For the first time I was aware there was an alternative. Someone reminded me in the Internet recently about Raj Narayan and Chikmagalur elections. And that made me recollect Indira Gandhi losing the 1977 elections to Lok Sabha from the Karnataka constituency after the emergency was lifted. Raj Narayan was very popular in those days but we thought he was like kind of a joker.

May be when I was in class 4 or 5, (studied at Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan until class 5), our school closed early one evening. We were told Jaya Prakash Narayan had passed away. Seriously I had no idea who he was then. Later we came to know he was one of the founder-leaders of Janata party.

It was much later in my life I learned that during the emergency, many Tamil politicians also were sent behind the bars including M Karunanidhi, our ex CM and DMK party president. After my marriage I learned my FIL was suspended during emergency when he dared to hoist the national flag in a village school, where he was invited to preside over the Independence day celebrations. My FIL worked as electrical engineer with TNEB. He was out of work for over 3 crucial years and was reinstated only in the early ’80s and therefore lost valuable service and promotions.

THE REGIONAL PARTIES COME TO RULE THE ROOST…

The ’80s were also a time when in nearby Andhra Pradesh the ruling Congress was upset by another local/regional party TDP – headed by another movie actor-turned politician N T Rama Rao. It is his prodigy that Chandra Babu Naidu, CM of Seemandhra is today. But Congress and TDP (with alliance pledged mostly to NDA led by BJP) have alternately governed Andhra at state assembly level also. So it was around this time I guess, the regional parties started gaining grounds in India. One by one, the congress party was losing its hold in the southern states. In Tamil Nad, the change came in the 1960s with DMK, the first dravidian party defeating the national party Congress for the first time since independence in local assembly polls. My granny used to say, that was the day bad time started for Tamil Nadu. Goes on to show much our grandparents revered the Congress party.

So by 1980s the pattern emerging was clear. The chances of a national party forming a majority government at the center were getting slender. An alliance with the regional parties was becoming inevitable scenario. It is heartening to note that BJP, without regional allies, have for the first time in decades formed such an enviable majority government at the center in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections. If you understand the complex mosaic called India, you will know what a feat this is.

COALITION DHARMA WITH MINORITY GOVERNMENT AT THE CENTER TO BE THE DESTINY OF INDIA IN FUTURE? Weak governments run the risk of becoming thriving beds for corruption and mismanagement. Coalition partners almost always blackmail the minority government of which they may be part of, or to which they may extend ‘outside support.’ This is what happened with UPA-II, the second time Dr. Manmohan Singh congress govt took over at the center in 2009.

I understand my husband’s great grandfather contested Lok Sabha elections for Swatantra Party floated by Sri Rajagopalachari (Rajaji) – India’s first Indian governor-general but he lost. He had switched alliance from congress to Swatantra influenced by Rajaji’s thoughts.

Kerala has always been a communist fortress – LDF and UDF alternating in power, sharing it with congress.

In Maharasthra, it was Shiv Sena which was a reckoning force, in Bengal there was the breakaway Trinamul congress, in UP there was Samajwadi party, BSP, in Bihar there was RJD etc.  But BJP and Congress still held stakes almost in all northern Indian states including in Kashmir.

Power is shared in Karnataka again alternately by congress and BJP at state assembly elections. It was Deva Gowda, our PM for a very short tenure from the Janata party who revealed to me of the Karnataka stake at national level. Until then I thought the central powers mainly belonged in UP.

THE ERA OF INSECURITY: A REGIME OF UNSTABLE CENTRAL GOVERNMENTS AND WEAK PRIME MINISTERS:

We Indians felt most insecure about Indian politics as Janata party leaders began tussling out for PM chair – from Deva Gowda to I K Gujral to Chandrasekhar to V P Singh. At that point of time, our (Indian citizen) psychology was like, the known devil Congress was better. I think India’s standing took a severe beating in international arena with this obvious greedy power play. As an Indian, I felt most ashamed about it at this time.

My north Indian neighbours were avid BJP supporters – rarest to find in India in the ’80s. They moved back to UP in early 1990s. They were strong congress -haters. In fact, bhaiya would even wear only the saffron coloured dhoti! Yeah he is my only Rakhi brother – his name is Prabhu. Lost connection with him now. Even now if I go to Mathura, i can find him with just his surname.

Many times after BJP started gaining grounds in India in the political scene, I have thought about my bhaiya. He is atleast 10-12 years older to me and my bhabhi is sweetest. Their children must be married now.

BJP LOSES OUT TO STRATEGY

We were in Andhra when BJP lost the elections due to anti-incumbency factor in 2004. The party had called for early elections by over 6 months feeling upbeat with good administrative measures brought in by Vajpayee governance. Chandrababu Naidu of TDP in Andhra and JJ of Tamil Nadu failed to make an alliance with BJP that benefited congress greatly. Moreover, BJP was dillydallying about the PM candidate. The general opinion was, Vajpayee was too old and indisposed. 

The same ambiguity about PM choice led BJP to disaster in 2009 elections.

So for 2014 elections, BJP were well prepared. L K Advani did not make a decent or quick exit giving way for Modi when it came to PM candidature. Modi had to weather the storm within the party to make it to the top, to be unanimously chosen for PM candidate. Now it was the turn of congress party to falter – they banked in yet again on the Gandhi name – without an ounce of conviction. That and corruption charges leveled against their ministries cost them the 2014 Lok sabha.

NRIs and PIOs CELEBRATE AND HAIL BJP VICTORY:

Recall here the BJP’s first heroic and historic win in 1999 general elections. I was at that time in Malaysia but we had internet at home. I can’t relate here how upbeat Malaysian Indians felt about BJP coming to central powers in India. It meant the world to them. Malaysian Indians, Singapore Indians, Fiji Indians, Mauritius Indians – mostly tamils actually – how much they love India is indescribable. We celebrated BJP’s electoral win in Malaysia with our friends. Indian community was gungho!

I was in Singapore when the Kargil war was imposed by Pakistan on an unsuspecting India by Musharraf. Musharraf who did not stop with that but went on with sanctioning 26/11 of Mumbai. Now has Karma catching up with him for past sins. Israel, what Israel. When a head of the state can sanction terror activities against another sovereign nation, what should he be called. How should he be dealt with. How many Pakistanis can openly come out and hang their heads in shame for Mumbai.

HOW MODI WAS MANIPULATED BY CONGRESS AND AN ANTI-HINDU MEDIA:

About Modi: In 2002, Modi was the newest CM of Gujarat. Not even in power for 2 complete years. First official post for him. Modi immediately did call for reserved/armed forces to contain the Gujarat riots. But he took 24 hours time to come to this decision. It is not suspicious or unexpected given his inexperience in governance/administration in any capacity in politics at that point of time. Ever since he has come a long way.

The media in India and abroad have been poignantly clear about one thing: omitting to mention that the Gujarat riots started with Godhra carnage in which a train was set to fire with over 50 hindu pilgrims by muslim vandals. If 1000 muslims perished, it is also true that nearly 500 hindus perished in the riots that followed. For the first time in Indian history, Hindus were fighting terror – after tolerating it for over 8 centuries. Subsequently India has seen many bombings including in Akshardham temple, Gujarat, in Hyderabad, in Bangalore, in Mumbai, in Delhi and in other various places.

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LEFT TO RIGHT:

Indira Gandhi nationalized major banks in India in the year 1969. Although the Non Aligned Movement was very much Pandit Nehru’s brainchild, Indian (congress) government has always had close military ties with erstwhile USSR (in the cold war era). Congress was left leaning, but Nehruvian socialism essentially meant a mixed economy where there was also a strong private industry presence alongside state control over industry.  India was/is therefore a Mixed Economy – or that’s what we are taught in school to this day. Public enterprises have always co-existed amid private entrepreneurship which is a curious pattern. Key industries like the iron & steel, railways (mostly transport), energy, banking etc were taken over by the government.

There are again mixed reactions to left leaning policies of Indira Gandhi era. For one thing, it also made India self-reliant, self-sufficient in many ways. I have seen dams, reservoirs, manufacturing industries (eg., HMT, HAL) etc developed in her times. Similarly the IITs, IIMs, the ISRO, IIS, AIIMS – all these were founded in Nehru-age. So Nehru was the dreamer, visionary. Indira carried forward his dreams. These fundamentals, basics are now the backbone of a resilient Indian economy, Indian nation that drive us towards betterment. However not everyone shares my opinion.

http://www.outlookindia.com/article/Chachas-Musty-CoatTails/292513

After seeing the Philippines model etc, I am relieved with the initial slow but stable decades we had with Nehru and Indira. By and large, the ’50s, ’60s and ’70s were peaceful – my parents’ generation was luckiest. This is inspite of the series of wars in the ’60s. The father-daughter combi did an excellent spadework if you ask me, but mostly they are blamed for creating a ‘clerical’ India. Theirs is one excellent case of dynasty rule I guess. Indira was moulded from a very young age by her father to fit the role of leading the nation.

India opened up with Rajiv Gandhi who would have taken it to the next level had he lived longer . Who can forget the day Maruti 800 was rolled out in the red carpet in a nation of drab cars like Ambassador! In the start of the 1990s world witnessed balkanization of the USSR. The cold war had come to an end and a very experienced congress leader P V Narasimha Rao took over as India’s PM in 1991. His finance minister was oxford PhD and Reserve Bank governnor Dr. Manmohan Singh. Under the flagship of the duo – a seasoned Rao and steady Singh, the first set of economic reforms was launched in the early ’90s.

I have only 5 years banking service but I reckon the time I worked was turning point in banking scenario in India or in general in Indian economy. Already some banks had ATMs in the city in Mount Road where I worked. In 1996 the historic AIBEA- NCBE-AIBOA settlement reached with the central government dealt with union issues. We were told, it was ‘do or die’ for the nation. By 1993, we already had monochrome computers in our bank. Key branches also received their first batch of computers. Private banks came into existence in a big way and amalgamations and take-overs became order of the day. I am told the union exists ‘naam ke vaaste’ today. 1992-95 was a period we went on a series of 2-day all India strike. I had the cyclostyled union circulars in my files for many year. Almost every day we got a union circular. By 1996, the union movement had succumbed and golden hand-shake scheme was introduced not only in banks but in all government undertakings. Simultaneously the software industry was experiencing a big boom. In 1992, my friends were already attending some crash courses in computer. Some already knew the program C.

I think India was opened up at a very strategic moment. The credit goes to Rao really.

Ever since the nation has witnessed disinvestment in key sectors and increased private participation like never before – from aviation industries to mining to banking & insurance and even defence (to a certain degree). However my sincere view is that, over years, over decades, the gulf between the haves and have-nots in India has only increased manifold. Sometimes one gets a feeling whether entire India is being sold out in piecemeal.

We refer to BJP  as right wing Bharatiya Janata, but in reality, who is ‘left’ these days.

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I grew up in a tolerant peaceful India. In my bank I have seen people from all states working. Since I was posted in HQ, we were interacting with various departments. There were officers and managers from Delhi, UP, Andhra, Karnataka, Kerala, MP, Bengal, Punjab, Maharashtra, Gujarat everywhere. Our officers dreaded transfers mostly to the north – especially to communist Bengal and Punjab (not because of militancy but because it was thought it is next to impossible to extract work from a sardarji. one tamil branch manager in Chandigarh tried to discipline a singh who was cashier and he was slapped hard across his face!).

The general opinion therefore has always been that, once you cross the Tropic of Cancer that divides India into north and south, as you progress north, expect law & order to deteriorate. And it gets worst and intolerable once you cross India’s borders: into Pakistan and then Afghanistan. 

To my conscience, I have always voted for ADMK – JJ’s party at state level assembly elections. For Lok Sabha, it is always for BJP or its allies.

I have seen with my own eyes how BJP has evolved over years. A lot is said about their leaders. One thing I can add is, they are still not yet corrupt – not the way congresswalas are. May be they will learn someday, but as of now, they lack the knack. However this does not apply to state level BJP governments as we have seen in Karnataka in recent years.

Even now we don’t discuss politics outside our homes. I am warned by my family not to share political stuff in social media. Politics is a taboo word for us.

My husband recently voted in Indian embassy for elections for posts there. Even this is a democratic process for us. He said it is done pretty much the same way like our Assembly/Lok sabha elections which took the NRI community by surprise.

I have been voting using the EVMs for over 10 years now. A billion votes. Okay, atleast 800 million votes. In my constituency alone there were over 30 candidates. I know how difficult it is to arrange everything. Electronic balloting has simplified the counting procedure and has eliminated manual errors and frauds. Its super cool to vote in an EVM believe me!

Our voting booth this time was in a corporation school in the next street. From previous day, the entire street was cardoned off and sanitized. No vehicles allowed in the last 500 m from either side. Senior citizens alone were given the privilege of being dropped near the gate but the vehicle had to leave in under 30 sec. Excellent arrangements. Hats off to the government staff and corporation officials who made the mammoth exercise possible and the operation smooth and successful. My friends working for insurance, banks etc also served as polling officers. If you are called for polling duty, thou shall not refuse! It is government order and refusing amounts to something like contempt of court.

Rajiv Gandhi lowered voting age to 18 years and ever since if I am in the city, I never miss voting. I have seen many PMs – from Indira Gandhi to Morarji Desai to Rajiv Gandhi to V P Singh to I K Gujral to Deve Gowda to Chandrasekhar to Narasimha Rao to Vajpayee to Manmohan Singh. I became politically aware only with Indira Gandhi’s assassination. With Janata Party, I was wary because of their inconsistency and incompetence. That was the reason congress could consolidate support and rule India for decades. BJP is the best thing to have happened to India. For one thing, it shattered the myth about dynastic rule in democracies. Modi is the hero because none brought India like this together under a single banner like he has done. He leads by example, by character he is head and shoulders above one and all. 

To my knowledge, to my conscience, Shri Narendra Modi is the best prime minister India has ever had. I don’t however have much to say about his team. I hope it does not become a one-man show at the center.

To Indian Muslims I ask this: If Gujarat is a reason for your contempt for Modi or Hindus or BJP, tell me why should we Hindus allow any muslim to reside in India after what we have gone through for centuries. Who is stopping you, migrate to Pakistan, the promised land or even Saudi Arabia. I wish the Indian govt awards 10 crores to each Indian muslim willing to QUIT INDIA. Sincerely wish.

INDO-PAK WARS

India has never glorified her wars or gloated over war victories – not in school text books, not to the nation.

1965 – So India won at the negotiating table, what a joke! Okay if that gives anyone some satisfaction. Winning arguments does not amount to winning anything real. My knowledge on Indian wars is from books, magazines and now from internet only. So far as I know, the 1965 war with Pakistan, initiated by Pakistan (as have all the wars between us) came to a close thanks to pressure from the west. India was about to crush Pakistan completely and take over Punjab with Pakistan suffering humiliating defeat and losses:

 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Indo-Pakistani_War_of_1965

The 1971 Indo-Pak war that led to creation of Bangladesh was also IMPOSED ON INDIA, not the other way around. With 3 million Bangladeshis murdered and 1 million Bangla women raped by Pakistani armed forces, it was the least India could do because once Bangladesh was with India -not for a century, not for a decade but for eons, for millenniums. I have eyewitness accounts to Bangla war of liberation. Our friends parents had seen the rapes and the killings with their own eyes. They pledge their loyalty to India ofcourse and regret the partition.

http://www.thehindu.com/books/books-reviews/brave-diplomacy-amidst-genocide/article5415254.ece

http://www.outlookindia.com/article/Indira-Gandhi-Is-A-Bitch–The-Indians-Are-Bastards/227789

I came to appreciate Indira Gandhi for the Iron Lady that she was, very late in life. She cut Pakistan into 2 pieces with such a surgical precision – and as a woman, I salute her. She took on the rabid dog Yahya Khan, Nixon and Henry Kissinger single-handed and taught them the lesson of their lives. If there is something I wish I hadn’t missed about in Indian history, it is Indira era. I was too young to know then the kind of shrewd statesman she was.

But Bangladesh is an unnecessary appendage no Indian wants – just like the Pakistan appendage. We are happy with the partition and in fact feel it is not complete. I think it is high time we give an option to both Indian muslims and Paksitan/Bangla Hindus to cross-migrate.

The Kargil war was the third war imposed by Pakistan on India and this time I was acutely aware of what was happening.

How can army generals become heads of state. Preposterous. Can Salman Khan become the PM of India? Can Sachin Tendulkar? Army job is like any other job to me – i can’t believe army people can have upperhand anywhere.

So far as I know, India has never gloated about wars, has not even attempted to clarify matters or discuss things. We have let things pass. Why should we try to build up a story unless we badly want one. What is the reason for anyone to trumpet about war victories unless you presume you need to.

India can win a conventional war with Pakistan anyday – I have no doubts about that. It is the nuclear conundrum that complicates the equation. We are a responsible nation not a banana republic.  We think years, decades, centuries ahead. If it is indeed going to be a full blown-out war with Pakistan, then at some stage it is possible that this war can go nuclear. In which case, over 50% of India would be destroyed but in the process entire Pakistan could stand out to be wiped off the world map. Do we want this.

Hindus are never war mongers – we are not genetically, culturally. But muslims are generally as Pakistanis have proved time and again. All 3 Indo-Pak wars were initiated by a reckless Pakistan ruled by thugs and scoundrels. 

And to this day Proxi-war by Pakistan and China continue at Indian borders – to destabilize the nation. Even a conventional war can be dealt with but proxy wars bleed you slowly and steadily. 

Who is Musharraf?

He is the army general who became PAKISTAN PRESIDENT having awarded Ilyas Kashmiri, a dreaded terrorist for slitting an Indian officer’s throat and presenting him with the severed head. GENERAL PERVEZ MUSHARRAF WAS NOT ONLY THE ARCHITECT OF KARGIL WAR BUT WAS ALSO THE SANCTIONING AUTHORITY OF DEADLY MUMBAI CARNAGE 26/11.

So what kind of head of the state was Musharraf. 

http://www.thehindu.com/news/international/musharraf-rewarded-militant-who-slit-indian-officers-throat/article22914.ece

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ilyas_Kashmiri

Dreaded terrorists having close links with heads of the state can happen where on earth?

What kind of sick society will glorify this kind of men.

I do not want to further elaborate on Indo-Pak wars. It is utterly disgusting. Makes me hate muslims that I don’t want to do. Old wounds reopened.

THE LOTUS COMES TO BLOOM…

I have heard of conspiracies but they are all political, behind the scene theories, proving which in concrete could be difficult. All propositions and suppositions.

The most cunning prime minister we have ever had was Smt. Indira Gandhi, the posterboy PM was Rajiv Gandhi(!), the pessimist was V P Singh and the smartest one was Shri P V Narasimha Rao. The poet and dreamer was Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee and the gentleman PM was Dr. Manmohan Singh. The ‘Aam Aadmi’ prime minister is truly Shri Narendra Modi. I think in my class 11 & 12 (1984-86), I was in love with the Prime Minister of India lolz 🙂 I won’t say Narendra Modi is 100% flawless- you will leave something in your wake if you have to make it successful in politics I know. I am not naive on that. But by and large he is dependable, strong and has character. He is hardworking, sincere and honest. He is a leader like none other. For those of us who missed Indira Gandhi era by a whisker, Modiji is here to show what stability and strength means. He is a feel-good factor for us Indians. If he does anything more, I shall be grateful to Modiji. He is there keeping us together, showing us we can – and that is more than enough for me.

So far power transition between successive governments has been smooth in India – not surprisingly. We are a civil nation. This nation is simply mammoth that none can take over. Armed forces are at the nation’s command and not vice versa. 

Can you name a single Indian PM who is a scoundrel like Musharraf or YAHYA KHAN.

Its not a feat that Musharraf was invited to the White House. Even Gaddafi and Osama Bin Laden were once US allies.

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THE KEY TO SUCCESS IS A CLEAN MIND, CLEAN THINKING, CLEAN ACTION – NOT SABOTAGE, SUBVERSIVE, SUBTERFUGE IDEOLOGY. Nations are built on foundations of character, principles, ethics and morality.

Indira Gandhi did her share of mistakes – for which the Nehru-Gandhi family paid with 2 generations.

 

 

 

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