Nitish visits ruins of socialist shibboleths – Ravi Shanker Kapoor

Nitish visits ruins of socialist shibboleths – Ravi Shanker Kapoor

Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar tried to achieve many goals at the recent rally in Delhi, but the portrait of the ambitious leader that emerges is not very flattering. As we shall see, his objectives, statements, and demands lack any novelty; any chief minister of any state could have said similar things 10, 20, or 30 years ago. It is an open secret that Kumar aspires for the office of Prime Minister, something that is being viewed with expectation by ‘secular’ parties, including the Congress. There were enough hints of Kumar’s ‘secularism’—many Muslim supporters sitting in the front row, an Urdu prayer, a placard thanking the Bihar government for providing land to the Aligarh Muslim University, and so on. The dominant theme, however, was his reiteration of the demand for the special status for Bihar. Unsurprisingly, histrionics were the hallmark of his address: “We are not begging for special status. It is our right.” In a bid to elicit support from Chhattisgarh, Goa, Jharkhand, Orissa and Rajasthan—the states which have earlier sought special status—Kumar said, “We are happy that UPA government has agreed in-principle to grant our demand. But now we want it to be implemented soon. Do it now or it will be inevitable after 2014 elections. Only he who holds the hands of backward states will sit in Delhi.” Kumar’s bombast and symbolism emanate from his dirigiste ideology. The basic premise of this ideology is that only a few divinely ordained Wise Men and Women in New Delhi know what is good for the country and the people. They are in-charge of all the resources; in their wisdom, they distribute or redistribute these resources to states which, in turn, have their own Wise Men and Women. Growth, development, progress—everything is a function of the wisdom of these divinely ordained beings. Problems do arise because of the differences among Wise Men and Women, despite their divinity. But these problems, according to the dirigiste canon, can be resolved by fine-tuning the terms of engagement. The fundamental flaw of this ideology is that the supposedly Wise Men and Women happen to be politicians, bureaucrats, and hangers-on; and one has to be gullible to expect wisdom...

On the language policy of the Civil Services Examination 2013 – Aaditya Gore

On the language policy of the Civil Services Examination 2013 – Aaditya Gore

The Union Public Service Commission announced its Civil Services Examination notification dated 5th March 2013. The new policy vide the notification made it compulsory for a candidate to have graduated in the medium of the language other than English or Hindi in order to avail of the option of taking the Civil Services Main examination in that particular language. It also made it compulsory for there to be a minimum of 25 candidates opting for taking the examination in that language to be able to exercise the choice, failing which the candidate would have to take the examination in English or Hindi. The notification also made the hitherto qualifying English language paper a scoring one among the other papers which led to protests from all over and this move was criticized as as being insensitive towards the weaker sections. After a furore in the Parliament, the language policy regarding the Civil Services Examination is put in abeyance[1], according to Hon’ble Minister of State for Personnel and Training, Mr. V. Narayansamy. The recommendations of the High Level Committee headed by Prof. Arun S. Nigavekar, former Chairman, UGC with a view to making the Civil Services main examination ‘more relevant to the present day,’ according to the Hon’ble Minister[2], were approved by the government[3]. Although some of the reforms in the new pattern include greater emphasis on General Studies, that has hardly been a contentious issue in this case. The real bone of contention lies in the conditions laid down for a person to be able to take the Civil Service Main examination in a language other than English or Hindi. Some of these conditions, according to the 2013 EXAMINATION NOTICE NO. 04/2013-CSP DATED 5.03.2013[4] are cited from the notification : “(iii) Candidates will have the option to answer all the question papers, except Section 2 of the Paper-I (English comprehension and English précis) in English or Hindi. If the candidate has had his/ her graduation in any of the following language mediums using the particular language medium for qualifying the graduate level examination, then he/she may opt for that particular language medium to answer all the question papers, except Section 2 of the Paper-I (English comprehension and...

Ramesh chains entrepreneurship – Ravi Shanker Kapoor

Ramesh chains entrepreneurship – Ravi Shanker Kapoor

The disingenuousness that the enemies of freedom employ to promote their illiberal ideas is astonishing. Worse, masquerading as the champions of the poor, the ‘marginalized,’ the ‘downtrodden,’ etc., they also get away with their sophistry. Rural Development Minister Jairam Ramesh attempted something similar recently; he should not be allowed to escape unscathed. In an interview to The Economic Times (March 12, 2013), he said, “Unleashing the animal spirits is all very well but it has to be in an ethical framework. Markets is (sic) all about morals, trust, adherence to laws and I think an obsession with animal spirits to a point of ignoring these larger issues that govern the functioning of markets is not good for the country. You must unleash the animal spirits but do it in a manner that the animals don’t become man eaters.” Quite apart from the impropriety of taking a dig at his figurative boss, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Ramesh sought to create a chasm where none exists. For Singh had used the term ‘animal spirits’ figuratively—to express the zeal and zest of entrepreneurship. And this does not fit into the scheme of things of Sonia Gandhi, Ramesh’s real boss. According to Sonia’s ideology, which is Nehruvian socialism in a new garb, entrepreneurship is a trait mankind is better without. The fact, though, is that this trait gives human beings power to become prosperous, spread prosperity, and overcome obstacles. For this very reason, enterprise is anathema to Sonia and her loyalists like Ramesh. Hence the disdain and suspicion for free enterprise. And hence the jihad against economic liberty and market. Owing to their pathological hostility towards entrepreneurship, the ruling elite are unable or unwilling to understand many important facts, one of them being that entrepreneurship is not the prerogative of the rich, capitalists, tycoons, etc. It is found in all sections of society in all countries. It is not just the earls, barons, and scions of corporate aristocracy who plan and run new businesses; the local eateries, bakeries, shopkeepers, owners of micro and small industries, etc., also conceive new ideas and execute them. At any rate, all major industrial houses began as small; it is with time that...

Can India and Pakistan make Peace – Agha.H.Amin , Major (r)

Can India and Pakistan make Peace – Agha.H.Amin , Major (r)

Utopians in India are jubilant that Pakistan has made peace with India. Nothing in reality can be farther from the truth. The recent sudden angelic desire on part of the Pakistani establishment to make peace with India has nothing to do with any major shift in Pakistans foreign policy written in the Pakistani military headquarters popularly known as the GHQ. The Pakistani apparent shift is merely a tactical response to extreme confrontation with the US over perceived US view that Pakistan is playing a double game in Afghanistan. This is similar to Musharrafs flirtation with India from 2000 to 2007 which in reality was a gambit to prevent a two front war with Afghanistan occupied by the USA and a hostile India in the east. The real picture of true intentions of the Pakistani military will emerge when the US withdraws from Afghanistan. This will be the time when the Russians ,Iranians and Indians will have no choice but to support the Northern Alliance against Pakistan sponsored Taliban who regard all Shias, Ismailis,Non Pashtuns,moderate Pashtuns as infidels who deserve to be massacred. The Pakistani politicians are a compromised manipulated lot who are under firm control of the Pakistani military thanks to the politicians own massive financial corruption.They will do what the Pakistani generals tell them whether it is the PPP, PML or any new party like Imran Khans Tehrik i Insaaf. Pakistan will remain the same state run by an army rather than a state with an army.The Pakistani generals will control Pakistans politics and foreign policy and Pakistan India relations will remain a mix of an uneasy and an unpredictable peace. Pakistan will remain embroiled in an ever continuous civil unrest.Baloch will be gunned down by the Pakistani military while Pakistans politicians will remain the puppets of the military that they have been since 1977. Terrorism will remain a tool of foreign policy while the Pakistani military runs the Pakistani state under a facade of PPP or PML or Tehrik i Insaaf. By that time Pakistani military will be hoping to achieve all its objectives– 1. An extremist dominated Afghanistan. 2. A Balochistan fully fragmented and crushed. 3. A Pakistani political party leading...

A Gandhian who died Unknown, My Gandhian Grandfather – Waheed Ur Rehman

A Gandhian who died Unknown, My Gandhian Grandfather – Waheed Ur Rehman

As a child, growing up in Pulwama , a fruit farming district in South Kashmir,  I spent many of my formative years in the company of my grandfather, Haji Ab Rehman,  in a spacious home filled with a large and loving extended  family.  I was the grandson  who liked to rush to replenish his hukka when the water ran dry. Filling up his hukka gave me the opportunity to linger by his side, stay close to him, listen to his rich resonant voice and drink in the stirring political discussions of the day, that he and his friends engaged in. I did  My grandfathers’ compassionate, inclusive, farsighted vision for civil society and democracy has guided me throughout my life, from my earliest childhood memories until the present day.  I hope to continue on his path. Haji Ab Rehman Para was a kisaan, a grower of apples and cherries, a  shepherd  and a reputed social leader of our area. His journey in life has been unbelievable belonging, as he did,  to a poor family owing a small patch of land, with a hardworking wife and seven children  He worked diligently across the country promoting the apple business and was among few people who literally raised his apple crops year after year, in south Kashmir.  Through his perseverance and business acumen, he became prosperous. He provided well for his wife, children and extended family at the same time  as he also never failed in his generosity towards those genuinely in need. When I come to think about it,  there is a lot of fake religion in our Valley.  There are many people in our Valley who are pious and  pray.  They talk religion but they don’t walk religion.  They don’t practice what their faith teaches them.  In other words, they just give lip service to their religion. In contrast, Haji Ab Rehman Para walked religion in his every step.   For example, he was far ahead of his time in his views on social emancipation of women. I remember him as a man of eloquent words, but more than his words, my grandfather was a man who put his thoughts and ideas into daily practice, on behalf...

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