The causes and effects of the Rafale deal

So the ticking time bomb has triggered a full scale explosion. The endless debates and punches and counter punches that has been happening over the course of weeks and months has given way to a full scale war. Finally, some light has fallen on the shadows of the dubious Rafale deal and it is not good news for the Modi government. The fact that Anil Ambani has been the beneficiary of an unholy deal between the Indian and French government has been brought to light by none other than the erstwhile French President himself.

Questions are raging over how a weapons manufacturing company was started by Anil Ambani just weeks before the deal was signed, HAL was sidelined and Ambani’s company was proposed as the only option by the Modi government as partner for the deal. But my problems and concerns go much deeper. I did a one year MBA program with an international business school in Shanghai. There I met people from almost every part of the world. I used to have a good time with a young Pakistani lad who incidentally knows the band members of Strings and I used to tell him that one day I will be in Pakistan and I need his help to meet them. The college had given me a fellowship and I used to work actively with the college staff most of whom were Chinese. My point is, I was not fighting with that Pakistani guy and the Chinese people I know. It made me realize that citizens of India are not at war with the citizens of Pakistan and China. When we, the people have no problems with each other, why do we have borders and armed forces? Why are the governments buying and manufacturing all the weapons? To protect the people from what?

Lets take the case of Jammu and Kashmir. It became part of India during Independence and then the war of 1948 broke it into two parts. I see reports about separatists indulging in violence and the plight of the Kashmiri Pandits and I wonder, why can’t the people who want to be with Pakistan go to PoK and the ones who want to be with India come to this side of the border? Wouldn’t that solve the problem? Why are the Indian and Pakistani governments not trying to resolve the problem? Why is the UN not trying to resolve the conflict? Same goes with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Every time I hear and see about conflicts and problems, I always wonder why people are not working towards solving these issues.

Coming back to the Rafale issue, my next problem is in the way the government eventually decides from which country and which companies to buy the weapons from. The three wings of the armed forces are more than well equipped to do their own due diligence and decide what their requirements are. All the government needs to do is to provide them the required funds and clear all bureaucratic hurdles for the purchases. But when the government overrides the needs of the armed forces and initiates deals as per it’s wishes, then something murky is definitely happening in the shadows. This is what caused the Bofors issue and now the Rafale issue.

During the 2014 elections, there was a rumour that Modi’s election campaign extravaganza expenses ran upto Rs. 20,000 crore. He was always seen travelling for election rallies in private helicopters of Gautam Adani. Now why would a corporate businessman provide the services of this private choppers to a PM candidate? It doesn’t end here. Wherever Modi used to travel to for campaigning, be it as far as Thiruvananthapuram in the south or Arunachal Pradesh in the east or Jammu and Kashmir in the north, he used to always return to Gujarat the same day itself. Those journeys themselves must have cost a monstrous amount of money. Why was Adani spending so much money on Modi? So it was clear that Modi was going to be the next PM. Now Modi has himself admitted to being a chaiwala (tea seller). So how does all of this reflect on him? Like the story of Kalidasa, an ancient Indian poet. Kalidasa was a stupid and ignorant woodcutter who was found by some wise men cutting a branch of a tree he was sitting on. These wise men had a grudge on a princess because of her haughtiness at her wisdom. So they dressed up Kalidasa, asked him to keep quiet, spoke for him and interpreted his actions and claimed to the world that he was the most knowledgeable guy in the world and managed to defeat the princess in a debate. The same seems to have happened with Modi as well. The corporate seems to have installed him as the PM to be at their whims and fancies and to get their business deals signed off without understanding anything and without asking any questions. The Rafale deal seems to be just one of them. If there were scams during the previous UPA government the present government itself is a corporate scam.

Now how did Anil Ambani and the Modi government manage to pull off such a deal brazenly without the fear of any repercussions? They thrive on the ignorance of people. Most people in rural India especially in the North do not have even basic facilities like drinking water and electricity. They do not even have enough education to spell Rafale properly. Political parties have been exploiting them every 5 years by baiting them with the offer of basic amenities in return for their votes. They get nothing after each election and since they are all stuck inside vote banks, they continue voting for the candidates from their caste, religion etc. Most importantly, political parties ensure that people do not get proper education. Education increases our understanding of the world and we start asking questions. Questions are the biggest threat to the existence of political parties. This is why government schools are in dilapidated condition in many of the states and private schools charge such exorbitant fees. The objective is to keep people away from education. This is why Arvind Kejriwal and the AAP party had to go through all sorts of dire situations and repercussions when they tried to revive government schools in Delhi. Five of the biggest Indian states from where maximum representatives go to the Lok Sabha (lower House of Parliament) are stuck in this situation. BJP won maximum seats from these states in 2014 which clearly reflects the pathetic condition of Indian democracy. The consequence is that apart from the fragmented urban voters, no one will question Modi about the Rafale deal. He can happily go and campaign for the 2019 elections in the rural areas of India. This is what emboldens political parties and the corporate to take the country and the people for granted in their quest for money and power.

Finally, why a deal for weapons manufacturing? Which are the most booming business industries in the world? Weapons, drugs, prostitution and trafficking in that order. What generates maximum revenue in the world? People’s fear and people’s lust. We need to look at nothing beyond the first movie of the Iron Man franchise. What prompts billionaire businessman and playboy Tony Stark to become Iron Man? Because he finds the weapons manufactured in his company Stark Industries in the hands of terrorists and he realizes that weapons manufacturers sell weapons to both sides of wars and conflicts. The best commodity for sale has become the human life itself. Anil Ambani seems to be thirsting to enter that realm of business and make some money for himself at the cost of human lives. This is why Kashmir, Palestine and many other areas continue to be conflict zones. More is at stake here. Financial institutions move in into conflict areas once some sort of deal for peace is made, invest money and basically enslave people’s lives in that region. If all conflicts stop, financial institutions and weapons manufacturers will have to close down their shops. The stakes are much higher than the comprehension of common people and political class is just a puppet in the hands of the corporate all over the world.

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India’s journey from 2014 to 2019 and beyond

The general elections in India are a year away but preparations and build up towards it has already started. The recent state elections in Karnataka was dubbed as it’s precursor or the ‘final before the final’. The situation is identical to how it works in the corporate sector. In a Business to Business (B2B) relationship, one party will usually be the client and the other it’s vendor or service provider. If such a contract is created for say 3 years, the vendor will not wait till the end of 3 years before trying to extend the contract. By the half way mark the vendor will start preparations and by the end of the 2nd year, they will initiate discussions with the client. They have a single critical objective which is to ensure that the client does not start evaluating other vendors. If the client starts evaluating other vendors, it means the client is not satisfied with the current vendor and the most likely outcome will be the contract not getting renewed and going out into the market. This is all about perceptions and the vendor needs to ensure that the perception the client has about them is favorable to them. The game of politics is also about perceptions especially in India since politics in India is governed by religious, caste and community based vote banks.

The tone of 2019 elections was set during the elections of 2014 itself. The 2014 elections were dominated by two factors, the scams that happened and were subsequently unearthed during the 10 year rule of the UPA government and the rise of Modi and his Gujarat model of development. The UPA government’s tenure was plagued by the financial meltdown of 2008 and it’s after effects. Indian economy did not experience the full blown effects of the situation like most countries did but overall growth of the economy became grinding slow. The GDP tanked, inflation and unemployment flared up and when the scams came out in public view, discontent against the government soared to an all time high. BJP did not have a prime ministerial candidate until about 2012 and was a headless party. Modi’s team took advantage of both these situations and used the Gujarat development model as the premise to project Modi as a national leader which worked remarkably well.

But as the trail towards the elections heated up, I realized that what was being projected about Modi and Gujarat weren’t hunky dory after all. From my neighbours who had moved to Gujarat, I learned that except some cities like Ahmedabad, nothing much had changed. Ravish Kumar of NDTV ran extensive coverage of some of the major cities and villages of Gujarat where there were no signs of any development. Most importantly, the perception that Modi becoming the PM will make all the problems go away and bring the economy back on the path of growth did not sit well with me because this was explained away by his Gujarat development model and was not quantified enough by facts and figures. This, especially after the country’s economy and stock market were getting affected even by variations in the valuation of the US government bonds. Modi’s much vaunted plan to bring back the flushed out black money also sounded hollow after Arvind Kejriwal, in a televised interview mentioned that the more urgent need was to first stop the flow of black money before chasing the money already funneled out of the country.

To summarize, the Modi chant never rose high enough to become a wave. The country’s GDP no longer seems to reflect the ground level economic conditions. A country’s GDP and inflation are related in 5 ways as per Investopedia (https://www.investopedia.com/ask/answers/112814/why-does-inflation-increase-gdp-growth.asp) and none of these conditions match India’s present situation. When crude oil prices were falling globally, India’s fuel prices were still going up and inflation along with it. Yet the GDP was being shown as growing which makes no sense at all. GDP growth can trigger inflation but inflation can never affect GDP positively. Also GDP and unemployment cannot rise together. Two major initiatives of the government, demonetization and GST have failed completely in their stated objective to curb the black money menace. Money laundering and loan defaulting by big time corporate players like Vijay Mallya which started during the UPA rule continued unabated during the last 4 years as well. All banks are struggling to cope up with increasing NPAs. Possession and auction notices of houses and properties along with the auction notices of pawned gold throng the daily national and local newspapers which tells the sordid story of how common man is suffering from lack of employment and earnings. To add to the woes, farmers across the country are taking their lives. But the rich have been getting richer despite all of this. In the last 4 years, India has been successfully added to the list of countries where 99% of the wealth is under the control of 1% of the world’s population.

The deeper impact of what transpired in 2014 is only becoming apparent now. BJP did not seek the support of other political parties to fight the 2014 elections. Instead, they chose to go on their own with Modi as their face effectively making him a single point of success or failure. Given the circumstances under which the elections of 2014 were conducted, I am inclined to assume that the INC did not want to win the election because they were helpless to stop the downward slide of the economy and they did not want to continue taking the blame for the economic conditions. I had realized in 2014 that if Modi wins and fails in the next 5 years, it will unite the opposition and it will become a battle between Modi and the rest of India. The country has seen the fiasco that unraveled in Karnataka after the state elections last month. INC and JD(S) which had fought the elections against each other joined hands to form the government and then started bickering over allotment of portfolios. So if the condition arises that so many regional and national parties unite to form the government in 2019, bickering among them over portfolios would rise to preposterous levels.

For political parties in India, elections have always been more about seizing control over power and money and less about governance. In the supposedly fastest growing economy in the world, election manifestos are still filled with empty promises to provide clean drinking water, electricity and education. How can a country’s economy grow when a large part of it’s population still does not have access to clean drinking water, electricity and education? These are the fundamental rights of every citizen of the country and it is the primary responsibility of the government to ensure that people have access to their basic rights irrespective of which political party is in control of the government. People should not vote over promises to provide them their basic rights. Arvind Kejriwal and his government claiming success in transforming the lives of the people of Delhi with cheaper electricity, access to water and improving the education and healthcare sector actually reflects poorly on the country in the world arena because in spite of Delhi being the seat of the country’s government, the sordid and miserable condition of it’s population for such a long time is getting exposed.

What will happen in 2019 elections and it’s aftermath already seems like a nightmare to me. Modi and BJP seemed to have assumed in 2014 that governing his home state for 12 years was enough credentials to govern the world’s most diverse country. Their spectacular rise and fall in the last 4 years have proved that they do not have the firepower to govern the country. The alternative is a united opposition with possibly the INC at it’s helm, united only with the intent to grab power. When it comes to Arvind Kejriwal and his party, all other parties unite against them because they seem terrified of his people oriented governance agenda. So they will keep him bottled up in Delhi itself. 5 more years of uncertainty seems to be definitely in the offing.

The rise and rise of Arvind Kejriwal

He was derided, ridiculed, dared, taunted, written off and threatened on his life. Remarkably, he has shrugged it all off like dust from his attire and has risen, like the Phoenix from the obscurity of it’s own ashes. Today, Arvind Kejriwal stands taller than most of the political figures the country has seen, but he is showing the commonsense to attribute the credit of his elevation to the people who have voted for him. The shadow of being a populist leader, of someone rallying people around him may never leave him, but ironically, it is this shadow that has captured the imagination of people and catapulted him to unprecendented glory.

The last one year has been a roller coaster ride for him. From riding an unexpected crest of success to hitting the bottom of a trough and rising stunningly to the peak again, he has seen and done it all. He has stretched the patience and imagination of even his staunchest supporters, but his middle class upbringing and family values, his untarnished character and his one-among-the-common-man image made sure that some people still showed patience in him, embraced him when he went back to them and accepted his mistakes and understood that he has the integrity to work for them.

The role of the opposition parties, especially the BJP has been immense in his elevation. From calling him a Pakistani agent to a naxalite who should live in forest and that too coming from the Prime Minister of the country, they mounted a no-holds barred barrage of abuse and venomous spite at him. But gone was that impatient man who wanted to run matters at his own pace. When dared to enter politics to clean the system, he had jumped in with all his zeal. The experiences of dealing with the highly treacherous political system and a few tough blows seem to have made him wiser and mellowed him down. He decided to take all the jabs, punches and kicks that were raining on him and little did BJP realize that by swaying away without responding, he was creating the impression of a harassed and anguished common man which stuck a vital chord with the masses. Trying to vilify him further with fake claim of money laundering in the name of election funds and his timely response to it with definite proof only seems to have endeared him even more to the people.

The tsunami of Arvind’s victory has left a trail of wreckage in it’s way. There are no heads to roll, the only ones responsible for this debacle are Modi and Amit Shah, no matter how hard the BJP tries to deflect the blame from them. Implicitly, Arvind’s rise poses serious problems for traditional political parties that have thrived on divisive caste and community based vote bank politics. People who believe Arvind is boxed in Delhi are completely misreading the situation. If he starts fulfilling his poll promises and I am sure he will, not just the people of Delhi, but people all over India will start seeing him as the messiah of the common man and approach him for his support in the fight for their rights. This is enough for AAP seedlings to sprout in different states. This poses a very real threat to all parties leading to the next Lok Sabha elections in 4 years. In a way, he has shown Modi the way ahead. By going time and again to the people, he has proved that in a democracy, true power is in the hands of the people and the people can make or break a political life in a single day. People want to know their leader well, they want to touch him and know him just like a common man. Unlike Modi who keeps a safe distance away from people, even in his own state, Arvind wades into crowd, even at the risk of threat to his life. He says the shadow of his death is always with him and the people are his best protectors. I am sure this is a very vital and poignant reason why people accept him so easily.

What I like about Arvind now is, he has started enjoying his stint in politics. He loves being called the mufflerman, a word coined by the BJP to poke fun at him but has since become his trademark symbol, he laughs a lot more, appears relaxed in tough interviews and has even appeared in a spoof video which makes fun of him. A man who can laugh at himself becomes a juggernaut that cannot be stopped and which today’s election results will amply support. What has drawn me to him completely is his ultimate objective in politics. He is looking forward to the day when all of his efforts will result in political and governmental reforms to such an extent that it will make AAP irrelevant. I fell head over heels with that perception. He wishes to live and die like an ordinary man. This shows how grounded the man is and after all the trials and tribulations of close to 70 years, looks like a simple, common man and his rag tag army of educated people is the ideal choice to lead the most diverse country in the world.

Pompous rise of the saffron brigade and the quiet rise of their alternative

This blog has been waiting in the wings for a while now. The democratic machinery of India has been busy at work, churning out a new government. I was just waiting to see the outcome of the elections. That BJP, the main opposition party would assume power was a foregone conclusion, especially after the business class invested so monstrously in their election campaign. After the 10 year rule of the Congress party when the country was hit by more scams than natural disasters and the vacuum of a strong leader left behind by the legacy of a sordid Prime Minister who was an intellectual without the wiles and guiles of a politician, there was a massive wave of anti incumbency and the need for change to revive a flagging economy. What doesn’t bode well for the people of the country is that they have simply voted for what is available as the alternative option. BJP and their supporters have been falsely equating the wave of anti incumbency with the presumed wave for their leader. That the Modi wave was a very well strategised and well orchestrated creation of BJP and execution of the media is a trick that most people, including people in the rural areas missed completely. The Gujarat model of development which Modi used as his trump card had it’s effects mainly on those states that are far less developed than Gujarat and are in really shabby state, but the irony is, those are the very states that send the maximum number of candidates into power every time. This was the key behind BJP’s resounding win. When a party is not voted to power, it means they do not have the confidence of the people and the time in opposition is meant to understand the needs of the people better, work for them, oppose the wrong doings of the government, inform the people and win their confidence. This is how the mandate of democracy is supposed to work. In the last 10 tainted years when rampant scams were unfolding, BJP, as the principal opposition party stayed silent and did nothing. When media unearthed the scams and skeletons started tumbling out, BJP created some noise in the Parliament but they did not do what they were supposed to do, go to the people. When an anti corruption movement swept the land, they kept silent and sided with the government against the movement, thereby exposing that their hands are equally tainted in the mire of corruption. When the country was looking for a strong leader and direction, Modi was completely silent and kept his distance. Then as election approached, he suddenly became the saviour of the country. People missed the facts that the charisma of Modi was just a creation of the media and that a party that cannot provide good opposition should not be trusted to give good governance. But the fact is, some party had to be voted to power and without an alternative, people voted resoundingly for BJP, that’s all. This election has been the most watched and the most intensely debated one in the country, primarily because of one party that has changed the way politics and politicians are perceived in India. Born out of the cauldron of anti corruption movement and forced to enter the mired political system to cleanse it, AAP has been the thorn in the sides of both the Congress party and BJP. After a stunning show in Delhi state elections where they narrowly missed getting the majority, they fell for the ploy of taking outside support of the Congress party and was discredited by BJP for taking the support of the corrupt Congress party. When they broke free, they were discredited for not performing when they had the chance. The strategy worked beautifully. Undeterred by the mistakes in their baby steps of politics, they decided to become a national party and fielded more candidates than any other party in the elctions. What is amazing is, without a party cadre, organization structure and funds they fielded more than 400 candidates without any taint on them which is unheard of in the world. This was a trial run for them, to see if they can garner the support of people across the country and get the people to come together for the causes they are fighting for. They have been successful beyond anyone’s wildest imaginations. As the country celebrates a new government, the fact remains that Modi has inherited a shambolic economy and even though he promises to flip the downward slide, there are many hurdles in the government and bureaucratic machinery that Modi may not be able to change. What is hurting India the most is the lack of flow of investments from abroad and from within the country. This is where AAP scores with their stand against corruption. The main reasons why the country lags in investments are corruption and bureaucratic red tapes. Eradicating these evils will automatically kick start the flow of investments, create job opportunities and ease inflation. This is the simple economics people have failed to understand. Modi, being a strong capitalist will never take a stand against corruption. By winning so comprehensively and by decimating all other parties, BJP has done AAP a huge favour. BJP has made themselves the single point of failure and if they fail to deliver on their pompous claims of creating a shining India, there is only one option left for people to go to, AAP. They are yet to realize that every mouth in the country talks about AAP, either in admiration or in contempt. The reason is, the whole country has sky high expectations of them and some people have hope while others haven’t been patient with them yet. It would bode well for BJP to start delivering on their poll promises or risk losing their credibility forever.

Why India needs to look beyond her current political system

This is the year of general elections in India. It is the biggest electoral process in a democratic country and the largest democratic country in terms of population will be casting their votes and choosing their representatives. Every five years, the world stops to watch this amazing spectacle. But the reality on the ground is far from being spectacular. India is plagued by vote bank politics because of which votes are fractured based on religion, caste, community, urban and rural divides. People are baited to vote for candidates by luring with money, alcohol and other “gifts” or are bullied into voting. Before that, people are paid money and then herded like cattle into vehicles and transported to election rallies to hear the leaders speak. This election has taken on new dimensions and is generating incredible interest and heated debates among people because of several reasons. An analysis of the major political parties will show why.

Congress, the ruling party for the past ten years has been in steady decline partly because of the turmoil in the world markets. But their bane has been corruption. The first five years of their government was considered to be good which is why they were voted back into power. But those five years were littered with scams in several industrial sectors which emerged out of the shadows during their second term of government. It is still a mystery why Congress needs to be under the umbrella of the “Gandhi” tag to stay relevant. They have strong and well educated political leaders in their ranks, but their party leadership under Sonia and Rahul Gandhi is weak and has lost touch with the ground reality of the country. Rahul, who is leading the party into the elections is inexperienced, has been disinterested in assuming leadership of the party, shows no inclination to speak on national issues and is showing complete immaturity when handling situations and when speaking to people.

BJP, the principal opposition party in India for the past ten years has largely been in political hibernation. They seems to have forgotten the rule of thumb of democracy. When a party is not elected to power, it means they had their shortcomings in understanding the needs of the people and the country and by sitting in the opposition, they have been given a chance to learn and prepare themselves for the next elections. When all the scams were going on, they chose to be silent partners with the Congress and only made noises inside the Parliament. They forgot that they were also responsible for going to the people and spreading awareness of the government’s misdeeds. A year from the elections, they suddenly found themselves faceless because of serious infighting among their own leader. So, one fine day, they decided to project Narendra Modi, the Chief Minister of the state of Gujarat as their leader. Then, funded by the business class who has plenty of their own interests in Modi coming to power, the BJP launched a massive media campaign to falsely project Modi as the messiah of development in Gujarat into the psyche of common people. Modi, a largely uneducated man, rose from the lower strata of society by working his way up through the ranks of the party and with the help of a Godfather turned foe. He wears designer clothes when addressing people below poverty line in large rallies and travels by helicopters provided to him by the business class which clearly shows his proximity to them. He maintains an army of people, to provide governance in Gujarat and even to write his speeches. Never comfortable talking to people other than addressing them in rallies, he avoids interviews with the media like a curse and has never shown his leadership qualities and inclination in standing up for national issues.

AAP, the new kid on the block born out of democratic turbulence. When scams and corruption reached their peak, a respected social activist by the name of Anna Hazare kicked off a mass civil movement by going on hunger strike to protest against the decay of the country. The educated urban community started pitching into the movement and from that cauldron rose a leader called Arvind Kejriwal. Not only did any political leaders including Rahul Gandhi and Modi show any inclination in taking a stand against corruption, they joined the chorus of the political system in ridiculing and deriding Kejriwal and taunted him to enter the political world and prove his worth. Thus was born AAP, a party made by the people for the people. Starting with a stunning debut in Delhi state elections after which they were coerced into forming an unholy coalition with the Congress, they were forced to quit after Congress joined hands with BJP in thwarting them from implementing key proposals in their election manifesto.

The political system has been fooling the common people of the country for the past 67 years. Nothing really changed after India’s independence, the country moved from colonial rule to the rule of the indigenous political class. The people are still treated as slaves. The only time people have power in their hands is when they vote and after that, for the next five years, they are largely left to fend for themselves. These political leaders, who are supposed to represent the people, rise up through the ranks of the political parties, not with the credibility of working for the people and the country. Every election manifesto of parties highlight growth, development and good governance. These are the basic reasons why we elect our representatives by exercising our votes. No parties are able to even fulfill their manifestos and they have nothing more to offer. Neither the political parties nor the people know what true democracy is.

Congress party has lost it’s face before the country and do not even have the credentials to stand in the elections. The Modi propaganda team has created the so called Modi wave and people across the country have been made to believe in it. Smaller regional parties and politicians tainted with corruption and crime are making a beeline to join BJP in the hope of gaining power. AAP, the only party that has pledged clean politics is plagued by people joining with an eye on contesting elections and it is becoming a bane for Kejriwal and his men to manage the burgeoning party. In his crusade against corruption, he seems to have missed the point that the political class will never allow him to have a level playing field. He will be ultimately pushed into playing vote bank politics after all. That is why the business class is in silence when he accuses them in public for being in connivance with the political class and creating large scale corruption. AAP is yet to formulate it’s views on many of the key issues of the country. Their only agenda till now has been tackling corruption, which I believe is right to a large extent because corruption has almost stalled growth in the country. But they have to do a lot more to be a national party with very less time, under the enormous weight of expectations and a burgeoning population which is increasingly getting disgruntled with them by surpisingly showing no patience towards them while they chose to stay mum through the tainted ten previous years.

The country needs strong leadership and someone educated, intelligent and wise of the world at the helm. The current vote bank politics, which has become an epidemic, must be eradicated. Election manifestos should cater to only four classes of people, the farming class, the business class, the working class and the class of people below poverty line. Development projects targetting these four classes will automatically result in the development of the nation. All government projects are now initiated only with the objective of reaching into the coffers of taxpayer’s money and there is no intent to do good for the country. A simple financial analysis will show how feasible any of those projects are provided true numbers are available but government numbers and calculations will largely be manipulated. This system has to be purged. The country desperately needs innovative strategies to get out of the hole it is presently in and none of the parties or their leaders seem to be capable enough to do that. Even though Modi is touted to assume power, his task of repairing the country is momentous which he doesn’t look to be capable of and he does not have a magic wand to wave off all the country’s woes. The way up looks to be slow, long and excruciating. This is why the country has to look beyond the short term and the existing political system for a better future.

The burning Indian political cauldron

My dad can’t stop gushing these days that politics in India has suddenly become interesting. He has good reasons for it too. What has been traditionally a two party battle with smaller parties eating the fringes of the vote pie has suddenly turned topsy turvy. One man, along with his band of a few good people have taken up the challenge to blow the wind of change across the land. What was branded as a motley crew is rapidly turning into millions and arrogance among the political class disintegrating into disbelief.

India, in all her glorious diversity, was a land ruled in parts by many and divided over every possible petty issues. In a way, colonial rule made us understand the importance of central governance and that was how we were able to form a central government after independence. It is fascinating to see how the pattern of freedom struggles in different countries from colonial rule looks so strikingly similar. People join hands in their blinded devotion for independence from foreign rule, but amazingly, it changes nothing about their mindset and the differences they have among themselves. Freedom fighters they were all, martyrs for the cause but ignorant about discussion, negotiation and governance. From this melee was born our own indigenous political class, to whom was passed on the baton of power and who have successfully maintained the legacy of colonial rule and added diabolically innovative dimensions to it.

These political leaders wanted and allowed the nation to be divided, so they could get their hands on power without stomping on each other’s foot. When children in schools are taught about this glorious freedom struggle and are told to idolize it’s leaders, they grow up without knowing that it was these same leaders who kept the country’s armed forces from procuring arms for the fear of military coup and it was the same leaders who tickled a neighbouring country into invading the land and then sent the unarmed forces to be butchered. More indignity was to follow, right from the time of independence when people were divided on the basis of their caste with the intention of polarizing vote bank and culminating in government declaring emergency to assume unlimited powers to stave off opposition to good governance and oppress it’s own people.

Opening up Indian markets to the world drove the final nail in the coffin. Corruption, that was in vogue became rampant as businesses started flourishing and money started flowing. New dimensions were added to polarising people, such as upper class, middle class and below poverty line. Corruption bred on the great Indian money rush, a diabolically sinister version of the great gold rush. In the unholy marriage, bureaucrats play the central role and politicians sign away documents favoring businesses and go home to keep staring at their burgeoning international bank accounts.

In these times of darkness and void, when people were forced upon the indignity of choosing between the less of the corrupt to represent them in government and then helplessly watch as their lives were slowly taken apart, a few people, people who paid their taxes and silently lived out suppressed lives stood up against the decayed system. They were outraged, humiliated and when none of it worked were challenged to enter politics and then practise what they preach. The political class made just one cardinal mistake. They challenged the free thinking, educated and enlightened people, catapulting the nation into a free wheeling battle of wits between the political class and the common man.

The supposed next generation leader of the grand old party of Indian politics accepts responsibility for the latest poll debacle, admits that much has to be learnt from the common man’s party and finds himself relegated to the political sidelines. The main opposition party, who were secretly in cahoots with the people in power and was on the cusp of a resounding election win on the anti incumbancy of people finds itself challenged by the same bunch of people who had requested for their help for better governance in the country. Their projected leader, a strong candidate not withstanding, albeit weakened by power hungry people in his own party has been handed a double edged sword. If he is wise enough, he would know by now that if his eulogized enigma doesn’t take his party to power, he will be banished to perpetual political oblivion by his own people.

Amidst all of this clamour, one man, an educated unassuming common man who stood up to the challenge when he was thrown the gauntlet to get dirty to clean dirt is rapidly becoming the beacon of hope of a nation desperate for change. He was derided by the political parties for the promises he made to people, but when he became the chief minister of the capital state and started putting his promises to action, political parties still keep deriding him and questioning his credentials while shamelessly trying to ape his ways of governance. It will not matter to him if he ultimately finds himself as the leader of the country or other parties finally adopt the ways of good governance and makes him and his party irrelevant. The objective will always be the greater good of the country and the people. World, behold as the greatest democracy prepares to extricate itself from the mire of the past and transcend into a new beginning.