Sunday, March 20, 2011

Selling the Prime Minster.

Independent India has had 14 Prime Ministers. [List] , before Dr. Manmohan Singh, all 14 have had their own merits and demerits. Each and every one of them has a tale of their own successes and failures to tell, yet none of them were ever marketed so intensely by the media over a prolonged period as Dr. ManMohan Singh.

Why the incumbent Prime Minster has had to rely so heavily on media to make his presence felt in the country? What is it that he lacks when compared to others who occupied the august office of Prime Minister? Who is responsible for this state of affairs? 

Check with any Public Relations company or Brand Management outfit. Brand building is an extremely intensive process and there are time constraints in this if the exercise is not completed in the shortest possible time, it becomes very difficult to market that product(s).

Media has been involved since 2004 in converting Manmohan Singh into a cult of impeccable personal honesty and integrity. Now we are in 2011 almost 8 years yet there are more question marks against this Brand. There are inherent defects which were concealed willfully by the brand builders, even to this day they are operating in denial mode. Congress friendly media propounds three new myths. There have been numerous attempts made by media to somehow push this down our throat and gag us. People have not been able to swallow, that all the corruption and scams that have emerged could have been perpetrated without his knowledge; since I have no means of independent corroboration of personal involvement so would be improper to allege any personal wrongdoing.

However that does not mean as the head of the Cabinet and Government PM can be completely absolved of the responsibility or taint. There are acts of commission and then there acts of omission, the indictment would follow naturally. Further more the efforts by the media have become self defeating, since corruption in the media has been exposed and the public is justifiably incensed about what has come to light.

The hash realities have surfaced, every charge has been met with standard phrases “I Did Not Know.” “I am not aware.” I am Honest I have not indulged in Corruption.” Do these, would these assertions by Dr. ManMohan Singh wash with the people of India, leave alone the Political parties, guess not even Congress would buy these.

Pressing the PM - by Karan Thapar, Hindustan Times March 19th 2011 is yet another attempt in the same direction. Needless to say it is doomed to fail, far too much has come to surface and no cogent response has been forthcoming from the Prime Minister.

I am reminded of a couple of idioms that we were taught in school “Beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder.” “Handsome is he who does handsome.” Taking it further in the same vein! Is honesty to be measured only in terms of Money? I would say no, it should also be measured in terms of intent and action. Has Dr. Manmohan Singh passed the test of intent and action for being called honest? Emphatic answer is No he has failed himself and the nation by not acting and visibly demonstrating his intent to curb corruption, mere statement of intent to punish the guilty or no one will be spared, no longer impress Indians. 63years of history does not give us any hope that we are about to see a marked change or new path is going to be charted out to prevent corruption and punish those guilty of looting the country.

These are the comments posted on Hindustan Times site by visitors who have read the article by Karan Thapar  these are 6/57.




“What is one to make of Manmohan Singh? Is he a clean politician forced by circumstance to travel with a boatload of crooks? A radical economic reformer trapped in the wrong party at the wrong time? Or is he just plain incompetent and irresponsible?” "Our PM - zero to hero to Nero"

Latest update on 19th Nov 2011
“If PM is not the ultimate authority, then who is? It has been successfully passed to the Chairperson of the NAC, and the Congress President, Sonia Gandhi (full list of her “achievements” here). The NAC she leads is the parallel decision making authority when it comes to policy matters. Sonia Gandhi is the parallel decision making authority when it comes to political matters. Manmohan Singh is the decision making authority when it comes to maintaining status quo!”  Link

I welcome a debate and discussion on this…As always, please keep your tone civil, your language polite…no sweeping generalisations please and no personal abuse.  Thank you.

Monday, March 14, 2011

One more bites the dust???

“I have great satisfaction that my column was accepted as a brand by many HT readers and though I received brickbats and bouquets along the 15-and-a-half years span of ‘Between Us’, I spared no effort in pursuing legitimate and level-headed journalism. I joined this paper on September 1, 1995, as a senior editor-in-charge of Delhi and the NCR after my second stint at The Times of India.”  "It’s over between us for now"   by Mr. Pankaj Vohra

I must confess I am surprised that this column has been dispensed with by Hindustan Time. No I am not going to enquire into the reasons. This is a loss for me since it was a constant source of material for at least 1 blog post every week. We have not agreed mostly in our interpretations of the political situation, Mr. Vohra is one of those very few individual who unlike other neither blocked people from commenting on his column nor on his blogs.

It was a pleasant surprise that he did respond to my comments on one of the articles that he had written. Not many have the courage to interact with their readers. He was not rude to his readers even when he disagreed at least I have not been able to find any occasion.
I wish him all the luck and hope to see him soon a new avatar. Look forward to engaging him thru blogs. Something just don’t end.

Hindustan Times is indeed missing the services of Vir Singhvi.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Congress starts harvesting votes for forthcoming elections.

This is the season for harvesting votes; we have elections to 5 state assemblies coming up in the next few months. Little wonder that there are two articles in Highly Toxic oops Hindustan Times in one day. While I did deal with Mr. Vohra’s article last evening, now it is time to turn my attention to the next one “A dream gone sour” by Harsh Mander March 06, 2011.

It would be in fairness of things to let me unequivocally state violence of any and every kind is abhorrent and nothing can ever justify taking another human life for any cause. This idea of violence gets repugnant when educated individuals in various guises seek to reignite or prevent the healing process for reasons which have visible electoral benefits for the party they surreptitiously represent.

We are going to be reading many articles in the coming months on this very issue in the Hindustan Times, yes the authors will be familiar names who have made this their primary source of livelihood. Mr. Mander is not a journalist, he writes columns for The Hindu and Hindustan Times, and he has chosen to write on this topic, so it would be proper that we first familiarize ourselves with this gentleman. 

Who is Mr.Harsh Mander ? He is a social worker, writer. He is Special Commissioner to the Supreme Court of India to advise it in the Right to Food case on hunger and state responsibility, and Director of the Centre for Equity Studies. Visiting Professor at IIM, Ahmedabad on poverty and governance. He worked formerly in the Indian Administrative Service in Madhya Pradesh and Chhatisgarh for almost two decades. Last but not the least he is member of National Advisory Council. Yes the very same one headed by Mrs.Sonia Gandhi.

Now that we have the background information on the author as also his article, without wasting anymore time let us get down to analyzing the contents. This piece is deficient in credibility, for the simple reason the author is part of NAC therefore his leaning towards Congress is known hence he cannot be expected to deliver an unbiased reasoned account. The article has appeared in Hindustan Times which is known for frequently publishing works which aid congress directly.

Congress needs the services of others to reignite the Secular Vs Communal debate, since it was roundly thrashed in the Bihar elections, despite its persistent efforts this debate did not take center stage. States being governed by BJP/NDA are recording unprecedented progress, congress has only corruption to present, to the people of this country as evidence of it rule at the center and states. 

The temptation for a rebuttal on every point raised is overwhelming though not desirable as it would be making the post very long to hold attention of the readers. Author is an ex IAS and is well versed with the laws of the land, one fails to understand why he has not initiated perjury proceedings against those witnesses who have been found hostile or retracting their statements. It is easy to make allegations without evidence on hand and that is what Mr. Mander is indulging in, permitting his imagination a fanciful flight about the plight of Muslims in Gujarat debunking the findings of Sachar Committee which has explicitly stated that Muslims in Gujarat enjoy better economic status than in the rest of the country. Gujarat and Mr. Narendra Modi must be vilified regardless which state goes to polls. This is standard operating procedure for congress, its cronies in media and professed intellectuals.  

Ethnic groups world over tend to live in clusters, Muslims living together in Gujarat is not a unique phenomenon, it is found all over the country, though this state of affair is not desirable it is a fact for which Gujarat or the state government cannot be faulted. “I encounter such unhealed suffering among survivors of mass communal violence in Nellie of 1983, Delhi of 1984 and Gujarat of 2002."  Pray why has the author not focused on events of Nellie it is 28years since it happened, why nothing on 1984 which saw the worst Genocide of innocent Sikhs in Delhi 3000 killed in 3 days, justified by the then Prime Minister as “When a big tree falls earth trembles.” It is 27 years and justice for the victims is no where in sight. Why has the author not taken up the issue of nearly half a million Kashmiri Pandits living as refugees in their own country for past 22 years, as victims of ethnic cleansing? No sir your article is motivated and deserves to be trashed. 

“He (Mr.Narendra Modi) is celebrated by virtually every national corporate heavyweight for the rapid economic growth and ‘efficient’ administration offered by his stewardship of Gujarat. Yet, he refuses to apologise for the crimes of the dark months of 2002 and the complicity of his state administration.” This enduring affection that congress, congress friendly media and Mr. Mander are displaying for an apology for 2002 is bewildering, one fails to understand how an apology would mitigate what has happened in 2002.

The example before us is of the statement of the then Prime Minister in 1984 who justified mass murder of innocents Indians and friendly media underplays the event terming it as Anti Sikh riot, the term itself is misleading.  Mr. Mander is member of an extra constitutional body which has no sanction from our constitution. He who enjoy benefits by virtue of being a member of NAC! Hence any comment on the constitutional obligations by the author can only evoke mirth and laughter.

Secularism in India

The Preamble to the Constitution of India declares that India is a secular state. The original preamble did not mention the word "secular". It was added later by 42nd amendment in 1976. The term secularism in politics refers to the governmental practice of indifference towards religion. Though such bifurcation is not totally possible, still, secular politics attempt to prevent religious philosophies or bodies from influencing governmental policies. The philosophy that the Indian constitution upholds is a kind of secular humanism made relevant through a historical development of the ideology within the context of religious pluralism in India.
Indian concept of secularism takes is colour from Article 15 (Prohibition of discrimination on grounds of religion, race, caste, sex or place of birth), Article 25 (Freedom of conscience and free profession, practice and propagation of religion), and Article 26 (Freedom to manage religious affairs). These are among the list of Fundamental Rights of citizens. It is interesting to note that Indian Constitution merely states the behaviour of the State in terms of what it will not do (i.e. not discriminate based on religion). It does not say that the State has or has not a religion. It does not say whether State can or cannot participate in religion. It does not say whether State can or cannot spend public money on religious activities.

Even so, India recognizes laws based on religion. Hindus, Muslims, and Christians are governed by their own religious laws. Thus, India does not really fit into any text book definition of Secularism. It has, in fact, created its own brand of Secularism. Indeed, Supreme Court of India observed the same thing in the case of Aruna Roy vs. Union of India (SC AIR 2002), when it said Indian Secularism means ”sarva dhrama samabhav” and not “sarva dharma abhav” ( meaning, "equal feeling for all religions" and not "no feeling for any religion").

This concept of secularism which was to serve as a tool, has been converted into a double edged weapon by congress, while on one end it instill a sense of persecution and fear psychosis among the minorities, on the other end it accuse the majority community of being communal, thereby has been reaping rich electoral dividends. Law of diminishing returns has now afflicted this instrument, yet the import has not fully been registered by congress. Otherwise such individuals would not be encouraged to pen article so grossly biased.

I wonder if Mr. Mander would ever be troubled by his conscience for having published an article of this nature when he could have selected many others including Bhopal Gas tragedy of 1984, guess it would not serve the interest of his political paymasters hence it had to be Gujarat and Narendra Modi. How else could he harvest votes for Congress if the society was not polarized? Indeed a sad commentary on the author who claims to be a Director Centre for Equity Studies.

I welcome a debate and discussion on this…As always, please keep your tone civil, your language polite…no sweeping generalisations please and no personal abuse.  Thank you.