Open letter: How can you justify killing humans in order to protect cows?

Open letter: How can you justify killing humans in order to protect cows?

(This is the full text of the Open Letter, an edited version of which was first published by Express Tribune) Dear Mrs. Vaidya, I saw your post on ‘Indian Liberal Intellectual’, through a dear friend of mine who is an ardent advocate of Hindutva. I must confess, before I begin to put forward my points- cum- reply on your ‘Indian Liberal Intellectual’ post, let me confess, I do agree with you partially considering the facts, but I do disagree with your intentions and also of those whom you support. And this disagreement in terms of intentions itself draws me to write this reply to your post. To being with you dedicate your post to ‘Indian Liberal Intellectual’, and blatantly describe them to be “neither Indian, nor Liberal, nor Intellectual!” Well Mrs. Vaidya, can you please define “Indian”, “ Liberal” and “Intellectual” so that we get some clarity on the issue and can examine your allegation of somebody not being ‘Indian’ ‘Liberal’ and ‘Intellectual’ can be verified. Or is it the case, that you subscribe to our Governments attitude where everybody in dissent is advised to go to Pakistan, or is it the case that your post is a corollary to the theorem put forward by new Government, if people are not going to Pakistan, just call them ‘not Indians’ or ‘pseudo-Indians.’ Mrs. Vaidya probably you have devised a new law to decide about the citizenship of this country. What makes a man pseudo Liberal Mrs. Shefali, condemning Dadri Lynching, if that is what makes a man pseudo liberal, then perhaps Mr. Advani and now the Prime Minister Mr. Modi is also pseudo liberal, as atleast for the sake of Bihar elections he condemned the Dadri Lynching. Yes you are right, when you point out that the prize money too should be returned by those who returned their awards, and I in no way want to justify or take side as to why the said prize money was not returned but there could be more than one reason for not doing so, and the very idea of returning the awards is to register protest, the sanctity of award is in award itself and not in...

Dynastic shenanigans….

Dynastic shenanigans….

The dynasty is following a scorched-earth policy. There is still scope for limiting the damage that is likely to be attempted in the coming days before the Election Commission embargo sets in. Whether the Prime Minister or the cabinet will muster the courage to finally put their foot down is difficult to say. Clearly the time has come for the President of India to exercise his constitutional mandate and step in to limit the damage.. ~ VINOD SAIGHAL The Statesman, New Delhi (10 February 2014) Pronouncements by the ruling party’s prime minister-in-waiting have been flying thick and fast, bestowing benefits to all and sundry from an exchequer that stands critically depleted. An example is the decision by the government after intervention of Mr. Rahul Gandhi (as per news reports) that the number of gas cylinders available at the subsidized rate should be increased from 9 to 12. There could hardly be any doubt that the concerned ministry knowing the parlous situation of the economy would have been opposed to it, as would have been the finance minister and the Prime Minister even if they chose to remain silent. After all, the extra-constitutional authority with no accountability has been running the government and for that matter the country by fiats from time to time. The question of non-conformity has almost never arisen for the simple reason that all the important ministerial appointments have been made by the UPA chairperson. They run their ministries at her sufferance. The Prime Minister falls into the same category. Even the crucial positions within the PMO are decided in the same manner. In the remaining period till elections are announced many more sops irrespective of whether the economy can withstand further shocks are likely to be announced. In the case of the increase in subsidized gas cylinders at a cost to the exchequer of Rs 5000 crore, the Reserve Bank Governor felt impelled to come out with an uncharacteristic negative comment against the government’s decision. It is not likely to have an effect on the cavalier dynastic shenanigans. Increasingly they seem to have abandoned the armed forces, thereby endangering national security due to critical shortages and the wellbeing of troops...

Waking up to Inflation

Waking up to Inflation

Ravi Shanker Kapoor After almost a decade of misrule, it has dawned on the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) that inflation is… well, something very bad. So, Finance Minister P. Chidambaram recently said that inflationary pressure and structural bottlenecks were hurting the growth process—something that was obvious to all but the entitlement-obsessed dogmatists. Chidambaram is little better than Rahul Gandhi who realized in the last week of December 2013 that fruits and vegetables should be exempted from the Agricultural Produce Marketing Committee (APMC) Act by January 15. The diktat to the Congress chief ministers was in response to the fact that fruits and vegetables have contributed much to food inflation. On the face of it, it is astonishing that a coalition that came to power for the sake of the aam aadmi remained oblivious to something that concern all sections of society, especially the poor. The numbers tell the story: retail inflation during four years (1999-2003) of National Democratic Alliance (NDA) rule was 3.1 per cent, while it was 6.1 per cent under UPA I and around 10 per cent under UPA II. These are the estimates by Zyfin, a financial information company. These figures prove beyond doubt that the UPA regime has been an unmitigated disaster for not only India Inc but also for the man in the street. Consider the irony: the fortunes of the grand old party revived on the premises that the NDA, under the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), was blind to the concerns of the poor, that it was preoccupied with growth and was insouciant about ‘inclusion,’ and that the need of the hour was ‘inclusive growth’—and what we get instead is jobless growth (60 million jobs during 1999-2004 and three million during 2004-10) and high inflation! Political consequences are also becoming evident; the GOP has been on a losing streak, despite its apparent solicitude for the ‘marginalized’ and the ‘downtrodden.’ So, now UPA grandees are waking up to such mundane issues like inflation and employment. They were so busy perfecting the right-oriented political philosophy and implementing its dogmas that it never occurred to them that high prices and dearth of jobs could hurt common people. The rural employment guarantee scheme,...

The Indecency of Decency

Ravi Shanker Kapoor That intolerance has become the defining feature of the governance becomes evident, if any more evidence was needed, from the so-called advisory the Information & Broadcasting Ministry recently issued to TV channels regarding Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s Independence Day speech this year. It may be the first ‘advisory’ in history that is accompanied with the threat of “penal provisions.” The ‘advisory’ said that “it had come to the notice of Ministry of Information & Broadcasting that certain TV channels attempted to denigrate the Office of the Prime Minister of India by constantly trying to compare the speech of the Hon’ble Prime Minister of India with the speech of other political leaders on 15th August, 2013.” The charge is based on two assumptions. First, “the Hon’ble Prime Minister of India” is a heavenly figure whose utterances need to be grasped in a state of reverence, while other political leaders are lesser mortals. Second, comparison is denigration. While the first assumption is anti-democratic, the second one is outright arbitrary. The prime minister is not a celestial creature with a divine right to rule. Therefore, the Ministry’s contention militates against even the suppositions of the government. And it surely is an affront to basic principles of democracy: the prime minister is one of us and is elected by us; he enjoys the high office so long as we, the people of India, deem him fit to rule the country; he derives his powers from our consent, and not from gods as many kings claimed to do in the past. As for the second postulate, equating comparison with denigration is as idiotic as it is arbitrary. In fact, it is nothing but an abuse of language, just as calling a threat an ‘advisory.’ The operative part of the Ministry’s advisory was in the third paragraph: “…as per Section 5 of the Cable Television Networks (Regulation) Act, 1995, read with Rule 6(1 Xa) & (i) of the Cable Television Networks Rules, 1994, as amended from time to time, no programme can be transmitted/re-transmitted on any Cable Service which contains anything [that] offends against good taste or decency; and criticizes, maligns or slanders any individual in person or...

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...

Is this the Budget we want? – Pankaj Bhatiya

Is this the Budget we want? – Pankaj Bhatiya

This budget has once again amply proved the fact that with changing economic scenario the annual budget has lost its prestigious status as the most important annual event in terms of economic policy announcements by the government. Nowadays it is just a mere briefing on income expenditure statement of the government in current and coming financial year. On one hand the economic value of budget is going down, the political value is becoming much more significant. How else can we explain the over emphasis on the women in this budget after the inhuman act in national capital few months back? The victim’s family in this case is yet to get the due justice but the central government seems to have already done its part by naming the proposed Rs. 1000 Cr fund for women security & safety after Nirbhaya. Was the Delhi gang rape case a result of insufficient funds allocated for women security in India? Even a lay man can answer this correctly. Another women centric announcement of setting up India’s first women PSU bank with a capital of again Rs. 1000 Cr in the same budget is clear indication that the congress party is trying hard to retrieve its much battered image after Delhi gang rape as otherwise there is no viable economic reason behind this announcement. Shouldn’t lot of other more pressing issues in banking sector have got precedence over a Mahila PSU bank?  Are women of this country not getting desirable banking services by existing so called male dominated banking sector? Is the fairer sex being discriminated in access to best banking services? We are living in an India where some of the biggest private sector banks are being successfully headed by women and there is no dearth of women in senior executive ranks in PSU banks as well. Moreover all these banks are there in market for the business and to make profits (I assume this is true for PSU banks as well in changed competitive scenario) and why and how the hell any of these banks would like to discriminate on the basis of gender. One of the major cheer factors of this budget is the containment of...

What if Rumi would have been a politician and a Law-maker? – Siddharth Acharya

What if Rumi would have been a politician and a Law-maker? – Siddharth Acharya

The article has been written as a tribute to sufi saint  Jalāl ad-Dīn Muhammad Rūmī and analyzing  the idea of presence of someone like Rumi in heated sphere of conflict between two warring nations India and Pakistan. “Be like the sun for grace and mercy. Be like the night to cover others’ faults. Be like running water for generosity. Be like death for rage and anger. Be like the Earth for modesty. Appear as you are. Be as you appear.” – Rumi Rath-yatra by Lal-Krishna Advani in 1990, Exodus of Kashmiri Hindu pundits, demolition of Babri Masjid, Godhra riots, Malegaon Bomb blasts, controversial 26/11 attacks and surreptious killing of Hemant Karkare, Vijay Salaskar and Ashok Kamte on the night of 26/11 somewhere has involvement of element of religion into politics, Assam riots and the latest one being AkbaruddinOwaisi’sferocious and hard hitting speeches in Nizamabads brought series of religious outrages back in our country. Evidently, elections are not far and every political party be it Congress or BJP and new stalwarts like Maharashtra NavnirmanSena and Majilis-i-Itihaad will not loose even a single opportunity to champion the cause of there regions and religions. Few of them will gain power out of this and others like always keep mum about everything in order to save there traditional vote banks. Communal politics laid its foundation long back during British regimeand still persists in Great Indian Political Theatre. The eminent jurist and reknowned lawyer in sub-continent like Mohammed Ali Jinnah and great laureate Mohammed Iqbal in search of own political identity diverged from Hindu-Muslim unity and still after sixty five years of Independence religion still remains an inevitable ingredient of political campaigns. Rumi had always spoken about the introspection of soul and by seeing all this he would have been shedding tears and regretting of even giving it a thought. Rumi said “People of the world don’t look at themselves, and so they blame one another.” Need of a Philanthropist Watchdog: In the subcontinent, the Sufis made untiring, selfless and incessant struggle for the spread of Islam. They devoted their lives and gave up their homes to champion the cause of Islam in a miraculous way. Neither did they resort to...

Cameron is right – Ravi Shanker Kapoor

Cameron is right – Ravi Shanker Kapoor

We have been so badly brainwashed by Marxist historians, who fatten on Congress patronage, and dogmatic intellectuals that we are unable to see the past as it was—and view it from the prism made of Leftist biases and chauvinistic absurdities. Unsurprisingly, there are subjects that occasion jingoistic spasms and orgasms among us. The Jallianwalla Bagh massacre of 1919 is one of them. UK Prime Minister David Cameron’s refusal to apologize for the incident has many of us angry at his supposed insensitivity. This was despite the fact that he called it a “deeply shameful event in British history.” Later, he justified his refusal to saying sorry. He rightly pointed out that the incident took place 40 years before his birth and it would not be “the right thing to reach back into history and to seek out things you can apologize for.” Cameron’s position is right because acceptance of the position of those who want to correct the wrongs of history would open Pandora’s box—more such demands, more unnecessary controversies, much unpleasantness between nations, groups, etc. To begin with, if the British should apologize for the 1919 outrage, and maybe the 1857-58 atrocities and the Indian conquest before that, why shouldn’t same demands made on Iranians, Afghans, and many other Muslim invaders? Nadir Shah, termed the Napoleon of Persia, is still remembered for his general massacre (qatl-e-aam) in Delhi in 1739. In one single day, March 22, the Persian Emperor’s troops killed 20,000 to 30,000 Indians. The Mughal king at that time, Mohammad Shah, abjectly begged for the stoppage of the carnage. This was apart from the plunder Nadir Shah and his soldiers perpetrated. The booty included the fabled Peacock Throne and the Koh-i-Noor and Darya-ye Noor diamonds. Such was the magnitude of the loot that Nadir did not need to tax his subjects for three years. Yet, neither Iranians have ever said sorry for the conduct of their ancestors nor has anybody in India demanded any apology from them. A few years later, the hordes of Ahmad Khan Abdali, who is regarded as the founder of the modern state of Afghanistan, descended upon northern India. In the Third Battle of Panipat (1761), the...

Vote and watch in Gujarat – Priti Jain

Vote and watch in Gujarat – Priti Jain

Accusations, allegations, denunciation, vituperation and defamations shun our politicians to the greatest abyss of their careers. They are highly talked about in the media, their parties become busy cleaning their mess up and they start measuring their words before speaking in public. And when the elections are nearing be it regional or national the action is manifold. With the upcoming elections in the state of Gujarat, taking place in two phases on the 13th and the 17th of December, the political one upping is in full swing. The popularity of the Modi government has been castigating the ill-efforts of the Congress party for a decade now. His new technological sprint in the form of 3D speeches and Google+ talks with the common man has certainly given him an edge over the opposition. No doubt this received a mixed response but somewhere down the line his experimentation is commendable. The congress may scream all it wants, disgracing him as a distant politician having no time for direct contact with the people; things are changing, unlike the wasteful tactics of Congress. If they believe in the mettle of direct contact, why have they been unable in stirring the masses? Narendra Modi has won over all the business tycoons and turned his state into an industrial haven. His state being greatly dependent on the agricultural and manufacturing sector, he took the right step in bringing in investment opportunities. Gujarat is a businessman’s land, so inviting potential investments is simply sustaining the statehood of Gujarat. Leadership can never be confined to giving speeches and setting goals, being an opportunist is equally important. A conventional economic model does not allow a state to continually depend on its primary and secondary sector. An increase in the tertiary sector is an indicator of development and growth. Modi did realize the urgent need to shift to this sector. The main and the only problem then becomes the inevitable prioritization of the latter. The failure lies in the balancing act. India itself has failed in the commensuration of the former sectors; let alone Gujarat. For one to be happy, the other person automatically has to be sad, so then what is this inclusive...

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