Showing posts with label Corrupt Politicians. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Corrupt Politicians. Show all posts

Tuesday, May 18, 2021

Stick No Posters

Let me be the first to call it - This is a modern tragedy of biblical proportions.

No, we aren't talking about the Coronavirus. I feel we are all talking about the virus a little too much while being distracted about the real pandemic in our lives - Corporate greed and Political apathy.

A year ago, as governments scrambled to contain the virus and contain us without our homes or in the case of India, throw millions of migrants out of their urban homes, we didn't flinch. 

If you haven't realized it, this is a Global War. Countries around the world have lost lakhs of citizens. If this were an armed conflict, people would have been outraged. We would have been on the streets campaigning and baying for the blood of our governments for their apathy. We would not have rested until the system changed. 

If this was a Hollywood movie, the American protagonist would have rolled out the big guns and then some to bring democracy and world peace. If this was a Bollywood movie, Salman Khan would have beaten the virus so badly the virus will need a vaccine. And he would have done all this while prancing around an actress 40 years younger. 

But what did we end up doing? 

We made tik-tok challenges and memes. 

We started having sports events with no spectators. 

We started making masks fashion statements.

And the enterprising amongst us made a yacht full of money. A few made their billions staking their millions on the coronavirus. As pharma, cryptocurrency, and IT stocks continue to make people rich, there is very little doubt there is money to be made out of misery, as long as you play your cards right.

When the dust began to settle down, our politicians did what mattered to them - Consolidate power.

A year ago, our PM shut down the country in the only way he knew - Primetime television with just 4 hours' notice. What ensued was a crisis the PM is still in denial about. 

Today, when we are losing 10000s of people a day, you'd think we've learned our lesson.

The short answer is - No.

The long answer is - We are so effing tired of the way our politicians have been governing us for the last many years. To be fair, it's been a very long time since any of our politicians had to deal with such shit. Barring Indira Gandhi, no other politician has had the cajones to handle a crisis like this. So Modi brought this upon himself. He never realized he could get effed over by nature. Or complacence, or even arrogance. 

We are so tired of the way our government doesn't make decisions based on science, facts, and rationality but instead based on how they perceive their ratings or a chance to remain in power will be. As politicians play roulette with our hope, we have lost the patience to listen. We don't want to clap our hands, turn off the lights, or clang vessels anymore. We don't want catchphrases, hashtags, and your bearded portraits in every government advertisement. 

We want our old normal back. We want our loved ones alive. We want you to vaccinate us, all of us soon.

We don't want to be discriminated against because of who we worship. We hated it when you targeted the few hundreds who attended the Tablighi Jamaat last year. It was a manhunt of epic proportions. The islamophobic amongst us refused to accept food when it was delivered by a Muslim man. We hate it when you allowed the Kumbh Mela to happen. We hate it that this led to 10000s of people getting infected and dying. We hate it that you restricted Muslims from celebrating iftaar during Ramzaan but had no qualms allowing 1000s on the Amarnath Yatra. 

We hated it when Manmohan Singh would speak so less. We hate it when you don't speak to us except when you need us. We hate it that you allowed rallies by the 1000s even when the second wave was well in. We hate that you'll probably not remember this tragedy and allow this to repeat in a few months.

We hate it that you are riled by posters (and people) that are critical of your governance. We hate it that you can't take criticism - even when it is entirely justified.

We hate it that you had several months to rebuild what was necessary and important but instead chose to sit back and do nothing. We hate it that you promised us and gloated to the world about how we are the Pharmacy to the world. We hate it that you didn't think of buying enough vaccines for all of us even as you launched the World's Largest Vaccination Drive. Sure, everyone loves a good hashtag. But not accounting for or even ordering for the number of vaccines makes it look like you didn't think this all the way through. I mean what kind of miracle did you think would happen when you innoculate just 3% of your country's population (as of 18th May 2021)? 

Come to think of it, our current administration is like an underachieving hormonal teenager. They love to dream big and fantasize about the mystical. Filled with untapped potential, they love to plan. But that's all they do. Once the fanfare and the applause die, and when they think about the hard work that lies ahead, they abandon ship to move on to the next big thing. Repeat cycle. But there is a glimmer of hope - if there is one thing that gets them to their knees, it is election time. Like a sex-craved teenager that can't think of anything else but satiating his own lust, politicians from our current administration will hug you, kiss you, court you, and make sweet sweet love to you. The rape begins once they've been voted to power. They will pit you against your neighbor and the neighbor's dog. All this to satiate their lust for unimaginable wealth that comes with power. Whoever thinks India is poor surely doesn't have a clue about the unaccounted wealth of our politicians and their sugar daddies. 

But that doesn't mean the opposition is any better. They just had it lucky. 

We hate it that we have to keep wondering about our government's strategy to govern. Motormouth politicians that live in denial want to say things are under control and that we can finally get to business. But we know that's not going to happen anytime soon. We are to blame too and we hate that too. We are too weak to get out to the streets and fight for a change and the easiest thing to do is to look the other way and continue mumbling under our breaths while living whatever subsistence of a life we can afford.       

We hate it that billions of dollars worth of aid and equipment from around the world lie at airports and seaports around the country just because our government banned foreign aid - in the middle of the pandemic last year. Surely, news of this apathy won't reach the ears and eyes of the millions of people and dozens of governments that donated generously to the Pharmacy of the World. We hate that you played vaccine diplomacy by shipping millions of vaccines to other countries while not ensuring we had enough for ourselves.
It's basic math, Mr. PM - 1.2 billion people need 2.4 billion vaccines. 

Today, as many countries in the West have figured out their strategy to fight, we are still floundering, badly. Our PM is MIA while we are dealing with a crisis of governance or the lack of it. 

As I read and hear about our government's reactive strategy that appears to mutate faster than the virus, I am sure there must be a Shakesperean play about this, or maybe we need to create one. Personally, I think the folktale of the Emperor's new clothes is the closest that fits. 

As our government stumbles from one grave milestone to another, my only hope is that months or years from now, we'll remember this - as the monumental fuckup that it is and hold the people accountable for this and make them pay. Not by jail terms. That's too mild. But by throwing them out of power and keeping them there. 



Saturday, April 20, 2019

Win!

The last 5 years swept by pretty fast. 
It feels fresh. It seems like I wrote about Modi just a few days ago. 

It seems like it was just yesterday we couldn't tolerate a PM who wouldn't speak and wouldn't be able to act decisively. We lamented about his puppet master and the scams of the Grand Old Party.

We just wanted to get him out. 
We thought it was the worst thing to happen to an economist. 
And we thought we had enough of scams and we deserved better.

And then we voted

We kicked out the Congress and brought in the butchers. er.. the BJP. The Hand gave way to the Lotus. Green turned Saffron. 

We cheered. Well, albeit cautiously. We weren't used to politicians who spoke with such gusto. 
Modi swept the quasi-literate off their feet by sheer technological brilliance and digital blitzkrieg. 

I personally know of bloggers who were offered close to 1 lakh per month (tax-free) to write up to 4 favorable posts a month about the BJP. 
I know bloggers who refused and then I know many who took the cash. I won't name them here for obvious reasons, but the lure of easy money was hard to resist. 

BJP mastered the art of PR and paid the Piper. 

Congress retreated to lick their wounds and for a while, it looked like the Saffron wave was all-powerful when it won one State after another across the country.

As Modi became the flavor of the nation, countries that avoided him like the Bubonic plague began to roll out of the red carpet and set the fine china. After a decade of seeing countries treat us and our PM with disdain, we were chuffed when we saw packed stadiums and world leaders fete our real First Citizen.
We couldn't thump our chest hard enough. Any prouder, and we would have wanted to adopt Modi as our son. 
We finally thought we got the leader we deserve. We finally thought we were the greatest nation on earth (Sorry Uncle Sam).

Sure, Modi is an amazing orator. By that token, every toastmaster should be a great politician. But not.
Sure, he did turn Gujarat around and we all wished, hoped and believed he would turn us around as well.
And like a diligent salesman going door-to-door, Modi spent a good number of his first year at office traveling, begging, cajoling, hugging, and fist-pumping for support. Mostly, he was still celebrating his party's 'hard-won' victory and rubbing salt into Congress's wounds. When he wasn't traveling on his on-site assignments, he was on 'Poll-mode' because his party was still fighting elections across the country and he was their star performer and pack leader. 

His penchant for erasing Congress would lead him to rename pan-Indian projects and schemes, repackaging welfare programmes, and clandestine dissemination of misinformation against his opposition. 

His campaign promised a lot. Not entirely his fault because like resumes, we've come to believe that manifestos are loaded with exaggerations, false claims, and dubious promises. Repeating them here again would be blasphemous and entirely inappropriate and unpalatable for my readers. 

Cut to the present.

Our economy is barely breathing.
More millionaires have fled our country in the last 5 years than any other country in the world.
We have millions of semi-literate graduates unemployed. 
Our farmers are distressed. And don't even get me started on our manufacturing sector.
Our Rupee has been sliding.
Every governmental institution has been rendered untenable.
Every citizen who dares utter anything against Modi or the BJP will be called 'Anti-national'.
Religious intolerance is all-pervasive.
And amidst all of this, our country has been split down in the middle. 

Yet, 'Bhakts' (the common botanical name given to Modi-maniacs) think Modi is the best and can't do anything wrong. 
They proudly ask and answer the question: "Has there been a single scam?"
Right after they answer this, they suddenly become expert political analysts who will tell you, in technicolor detail, about all the scams the Congress engineered. 
True. The Congress did loot and plunder for a very long time. But then, who elected them to power the second, the third, and the fourth time? Why didn't you challenge and change the government then?
Why didn't you revolt then?
Because you were too comfortable in your cushy lives.

Starting from when they won the General Elections in 2014, they antagonized the opposition so much that it was embarrassing to hear Modi thump his chest and proclaim victory. Fine Modi, we get it you won. Now get working for us. 
It is now apparent that the single-handed act of demonetization and unscientific implementation of GST shrunk the economy. I challenge Bhakts to prove me otherwise. What Modi did was the financial equivalent of an emergency. 

And scams?
Sure, how about the Rafale deal?
While there is no doubt that Rafale is a better aircraft for our skies, there is much more to the deal than meets the eye, and the desperation of our government to malign people who'd merely ask for more transparency is suspect. If I'd done no crime, I'd have nothing to hide and no need to malign anyone who accuses me of the crime. The truth will triumph. As we hear more of how the PMO circumvent protocol and intervened in the deal, Modi has realized we have cornered him and desperately wants to divert our uncomfortable gaze off him.
He and his cronies have polarized our society and allowed Hindus and Muslims to kill each other. Radicalized Hindus have found protection behind powerful Hindu politicians. Muslims have been left to defend themselves. 
The corrupt have been allowed to get more powerful under his rule. 
And terror? For someone who talks tough on terror, Modi didn't flinch when his party fielded the Malegaon blast accused Sadhvi Pragya (among other equally colorful convicts) in the current elections. 

Modi has perfected the art of etching the right memories into our minds. Like a trained parrot, he knows what he needs to repeat so that fiction becomes fact. After all, a lie often repeated becomes reality. 
Modi has conveniently glossed over unemployment statistics. 
His government has fudged inflation reports, among other reports about shrinking GDP. 
Modi has forgotten how he had promised to bring back black money from Swiss banks. The irony is not lost on how he has not only failed to bring back ill-gotten money but how billionaires have fled with more of our money.
Obviously, Modi can't remember OROP anymore, because nothing has really happened on that front.
Surely, Modi won't remember too many of his campaign promises because, hey, when you have been traveling and fighting elections non-stop for the last 5 years, you aren't going to remember every lie you've told, right?

Modi is, like most politicians, a very eloquent and accomplished Pakistan-basher. If you haven't heard of the term 'surgical strikes' before Modi made it a catch-phrase, I wouldn't blame you. He made it fashionable to taunt Pakistan. Something that only the BCCI did every 4 years.
Since the second airstrike, Modi has been doing the rounds trumpeting and proclaiming how he nipped terrorism in the bud. How 'his sena' has taught Pakistan a lesson. 
Can I ask you something, Mr. PM?
How is it that an ordinary citizen living in a 'proclaimed' war zone acquire the amount of RDX that killed 40 soldiers in Pulwama? Are you telling us that our Intelligence Agencies failed to flag such a purchase? Do you not know the suicide bomber was a radicalized Kashmiri and not a Pakistani? Do you know what that Kashmiri's family went through in the months and years until the bombing? Do you not know there are thousands of Kashmiri youngsters that our high-handed policies have systematically radicalized? If we really wanted to resolve the problem with Kashmir, we could in a matter of years. Starting with defining the International Border, we must begin to treat Kashmiris with the respect they deserve. But no. War-mongering is good business. Keeping us in a perennial state of fear makes great political sense.
Surely, none of our politicians will send their sons and daughters to the armed forces. Modi, like most politicians, have perfected the art of arm-chair activism and puppetry.

Modi, you are the elected representative of our democracy, but you aren't everyone's choice. In fact, you aren't even our first choice. You were but the lesser of the demons. The best amongst the worst. Unfortunately, you still are the lesser of the evil. 
But trumpeting yourself to be the voice of a billion people isn't fitting the stature of a true statesman.  By calling the armed forces 'yours' and belittling their sacrifices and taking credit for their prowess, you show the world how phony you are. How trivial you are!
By trashing your political opponents, and by claiming how insignificant your lapses and misses are compared to theirs, you are fooling no one but yourself.

Well, dear Bhakts,
Here are some facts for you:

  • India under 5 years of Modi has lost more jobs than in the past 30 years. Worse still, your Modi has scrambled to hide statistics that show this fact.
  • Demonetization and GST did nothing to curb black money. Instead, it helped the corrupt launder billions.
  • Universal Health Insurance is still a pipe dream. 
  • Farm Crisis. Enough said.
  • Aadhaar. Once the favorite pinata (when the BJP were on the other side of the fence), BJP not only expanded it but created unnecessary intrusions into privacy. 
  • Make In India. Again, a pipe dream.
  • The RBI and the CBI. Handmaidens of the [insert name of the ruling party here].
  • Lokpal, anyone?
  • Financial markets have been on a free fall for over 2 years now and billions in wealth have been wiped off. 
I could talk about unsustainable Mudra loans, poorly built free housing for the poor, (expensive) subsidized cylinders for the poor, artificially inflated fuel prices (even when global oil prices are at their lowest), countless cesses, non-existent electoral reforms, banking reforms (that gave away money for poor policies) etc. but you get the drift, right?

I've spoken to countless 'Bhakts', of all age groups and sizes, and realized one thing - They love to thump their chest and proclaim 'Namo Again'. However, not one of them can stand to debate based on unbiased facts and figures. They take refuge at how Congress looted our country. Yes, they satisfy themselves with the firm yet lop-sided belief that whatever happened in the last 5 years was way better than whatever happened for 40 years. A crime is a crime.

Our democracy! 
We are now having to choose between the devil and the deep blue sea. 
Many cherish the memory of Manmohan Singh. Those were simpler times. When our sons and daughters had a job, and our communities were truly cohesive and loved to co-exist. 
With the variety of politicians forming alliances to defeat BJP this year, in 10 years from now, we will remember Modi kindly as well. 

Most importantly, Modi has revealed the chink in our armor. 
He has revealed the blueprint to manipulate large sections of the country. 
His party has used the most basal instincts of fear, hatred, and ethnic divisibility to divide and rule us. 
Today, Modi and his bunch of cronies have shown how they want to win at any cost. They've tasted blood and boy, they love it!
Today, as Modi does the rounds dissing other politicians and selectively talking about how little India has gained, I want to remind him this - India isn't you, Modi. India has grown despite everything you have done to us.

The BJP realizes this - if they lose this round, they are going to be banished. Modi has created powerful enemies who are a lot more ruthless and less polished than him. 

So as we settle down and decide - 'Should I vote or not, because whether I vote or not, it won't matter, things don't appear to change.' 
Let me tell you this - There are people who didn't vote the last time and they thought it wouldn't get worse. But it did. And unless you've lived under a rock, it would have affected you adversely. 
So, please vote. Because we have the responsibility of saving whatever is left of India. 
But if you still believe you don't want to vote, I won't force you. Because in 10 years, when your lives have become truly miserable by the people you didn't vote for, then you will revolt. 

Because unless we put the fear of God in our politicians, what's happening in Paris and Spain will happen in India. The people will rise. 

Should we really wait until then?


Thursday, August 07, 2014

And that's the way the cookie crumbled, in July Twenty14... [Part Two]

Guess who's getting lucky? Thats right, at Rs 8 lakhs a night, estranged wife of Hrithik
Roshan, designer Sussanne Khan demanded Rs 400 crores ($ 654 million) as alimony.
With the way vegetable prices have been soaring, I am pretty sure she needs that kind of money to survive.

iPhone wannabe Chinese smartphone Xioami stormed the Indian marketplace and took a flipkart. Sold Out!
From humble beginnings as a startup in Bangalore, Flipkart has come a long way. Now based out of Singapore, it got $ 1 billion in additional funding. The very next day, Amazon announced it is pumping in $ 2 billion into its etail business in India. Sure, etail is still in its infancy here but have they bitten off more than they can chew?

In more aviation news, there were some more close shaves and near misses. Good year for Nat Geo 'Air Crash Investigation'.
Call it superstition or a lame attempt to reinvent itself, after a spate of high profile disasters Malaysia Airlines will now rechristen itself and seek new investors. 
In other disaster news, a massive landslide buried an entire village and if it wasn't for an alert bus driver, we would have been digging out corpses by now. The culprit? Rampant deforestation and soil erosion. Sadly none of this will shock any of us any more.

Afghanistan accused Pakistan of stoking violence. Who knew?!
ISIS hoisted its flag in Kashmir. Great! Another butt to kick.
Boko Haram tied up with Dawood Ibrahim and made good logistics sense.
A Japanese girl in Tokyo was arrested after she killed and fed on her classmate. Brings more meaning to the term - Peer Bonding.

Jane Goodall, known for her decades long work amongst chimps and great apes, predicted the apes will go extinct if we continue to poach and encroach. 

On the heels of the 'emotional contagion' experiment FB did on its users, OKCupid tweaked it's users data and preferences to test how potential partners would react. There goes my faith in the system.
And cementing my belief in the obvious, a research showed that the longer you remain on FB, the more depressed you get. Finally!!!

'Vijay Malya is an accidental defaulter and not a willful defaulter' Sayeth UCO, one of the bank who lend his now-defunct airline 1000s of crores as loan. 
Air India had an eventful month this month, when it launched flights on the Delhi-Moscow route for the first time in 15 years. 

VR Bhat, a freelance writer and a self-proclaimed RSS worker was sued for slandering a woman on FB. Quote UnQuote 'Women against Sanatana Dharma must be raped', he is the kind of scum that we don't need.
Dozens of factories that dumped their sewage in to the Ganges were ordered to be shut down. The first step towards cleaning up Hinduism's holiest river.

The Costa Concordia was finally towed away for dismantling and further east, children who survived the South Korean ferry crash testified against the captain and crew of the ferry.

In 'Weird enough to be News' news, 
  • An uptown bar in London conducted a pheromone party where participants could find their partner by sniffing 3 day old sweaty tee-shirts. No big deal. Indians in India have the pheromone parties every morning and evening when they use public transportation.
  • A Brazilian artist made dresses out of unused condoms. Thank God he chose the unused condoms!
  • After killing off Archie, the upcoming 26th season of the animation series Simpsons will see a major character being 'killed off'.
  • Bill Clinton got punked! By Indian government officials. The officials masqueraded a student from a better school as a child of the government school in Uttar Pradesh that his foundation supports. 
  • An Austrian priest was furious after he found out his church was used as a location for a porn film. The things pastors have to go through for us!
  • Want to have a threesome? Download 3nder, an app that allows you to locate that eager beaver for your romp. 
  • After kicking out every major business in the last few years, Mamatadi has gone to Singapore to convince industrialists to open shop in Bengal. Ha Ha!
  • Sikh basketball players where thrown out of the FIBA championship in China. Somehow the Chinese still manage to rub us the wrong way every now and then, huh?
  • Locally known as 'End of the World', a giant crater in the middle of nowhere in Siberia baffled scientists. Maybe the Americans could search for oil there but I digress.
Papa Mulayam poured out some ancient wisdom. Rapes are no big deal, until it strikes a lady in your family.

Honda fresh after the box-office hits of its City and Amaze introduced the Mobilio. Considering how slick Honda has always been with their product promotions, this could give Toyota, Maruti and Tata a run for their money. 
On the other end of the price spectrum, Porsche announced the launch of their luxury SUV - the Macan at Rs 1.11 crores. Sussanne, you can buy it.

In this month's 'Let's give a moment of silence' section, 
South African writer and winner of the 1991 Nobel Prize for Literature Nadine Gordimer passed away. 

In truly incredible news of selfless love, a Muslim husband in Uttar Pradesh donated his kidney to his wife. Against the wishes of his parents. 

Guess who is giving the Pride of our Nation, Sunny Leone, sleepless nights? No, not who you thought, but I like the way you think
Its Dana Vana. Like a moth to a flame, phirangis are drawn to Bollywood. 

Watch out for Ebola. Without a vaccine or a cure in sight, this virus has always been the most potent immunodeficient viruses in the world now. With a mortality rate of almost 90%, this is one virus that can become a epidemic really fast. Read more about the virus here.


Ok ladies, have you ever envied how we men can pee standing up? Do you dread using those crusted discolored Indian toilets? Well, worry no more. Introducing Pee-buddy. An unique use  and throw contraption that will help women pee standing up. 
Next Week: How to fart like a man.

Meanwhile, Harley Davidson decided to outsource production of all its bikes to India. The last frontier!

And in good news to those who remember their vehicle's mileage better than their partner's birthdays, Petrol will be less dearer by Rs 1.09/litre.

India's Foreign Minister, Sushma Swaraj, told the US Secretary of State John Kerry that we won't tolerate any more snooping. Maybe we should ask Snowden for more help

Adieus Good People of the World! See you all next month.


Thursday, May 15, 2014

24 hours!

In less than 24 hours from now, India will pass her leash over to her new master. 
Expect an anti-climax because we already know who our new master will be. But let's pretend we didn't know and examine the usual suspects.

Candidate Number 1 - Rahul Gandhi (aka RaGa, The Dim Wit, Women's Empowerment, Scion of the Dynasty) 

Surely, he was the late bloomer but hey, don't pile all the muck on him. He's not as stupid as he puts himself out to be. He's just inherited none of the political sauciness of his dead relatives or his mom. How many of you remember how we showered Sonia G with eloquent praises when she turned down the top seat about 10 years ago? She was the epitome of Sati Savitri.
While we have lost much of that emotion towards her in the decade because of the way she dragged her lame Italian feet, RaGa should have won our hearts with his dimples and village idiot speeches. 

So where did it all go wrong for the C Company?
I think we all know the answers. What excites and worries me is how the Dynasty knew this was coming but chose to live in denial. The government sleepwalked through much of the last 3 years. Our PM was the mute spectator in the back seat of a taxi where the drunk driver is fumbling for the keys. For lack of a better word, let's just say Manmohan was the scapegoat of nearly every frustrated insult and anguished complaint we had toward Sonia and her unique brand of divide and rule. 
RaGa doesn't stand a chance and only a sympathetic wave (if you know what I mean) can bring the Congress back to the seat of power anytime in the foreseeable future. And Rahul, please shave the beard off. It's concealing those cute dimples.

Candidate Number 2 - Arvind Kejriwal (aka The Giant Slayer, The Muffler Man)

Now, be honest and tell me - How many of you thought he would become the Delhi Chief Minister (even if it was for a brief period)? Exactly. 
He came, He Slayed, He Left.
No other party in the history of modern India has captured the imagination of a billion people the way his party of 18 months has. Ofcourse, he must give all credit to Anna Hazare who came like a whirlwind and vanished like a breeze. He struck oil by planting the impossible. The impossible thought that some day we can rout out corruption if only we have a new set of leaders. 
So while we are all celebrating the dawn of a new India, I think its wise to say Arvind has a lot to learn and governing a country is far easier than just writing an essay. 
Will he win any seats? He will. 
Not enough to make a government at the center but enough to nip at the heels of the Dynasty. 
We may be disgruntled enough to throw Sonia G and her bunch of cronies out, but not disillusioned enough to vote for the right ideals.

Candidate Number 3 - The Third Front (made up of the Fat Lady from Tamil Nadu, Fat Man from UP and other assorted misfits)

So these are the folks who didn't get called to play in either of the teams during recess and decided to create their own team. Just to humor ourselves, I would like to see them win. Because the gameplan is interesting - If elected to power, they want to rotate the PM's chair between themselves. I can't think of a bigger nightmare than this. 
But the truth is, and if you'd like to believe the exit polls, they might get enough seats to nip at the other heel of the Dynasty. 

Candidate Number 4 - Saving the best for last, Ladies and Gentlemen, may I present the Knight in Shining Armor, former Mass Murderer of Muslims and the only Indian Politician the US and the UK loved to hate until recently - Narendra Modi (aka NaMo, Former Tea Shop owner).

Reluctant as he was until a year ago, we all knew he always had the top post in the cross-hairs. So yes, like it or not, he is going to be our next Prime Minister and we are hoping he will do to India what he did with Gujarat. No, not the killing part hopefully but make us all prosperous and wealthy and happy and shining. 
Oh, like make India Shining like the Congress promised to do long back, but this time we are hoping he actually does it. 

Lessons the Congress can learn (wishful thinking)
  • Communicate. Honestly.
  • You screw us. We will screw you back.
  • Policy Paralysis. Google it. It will have a picture of the UPA.
  • Be consistent. Don't burn the midnight oil 3 months before the polls.
  • Go solo. Your alliances with regional parties with absolutely no vision was the last nail in your coffin.
  • Don't effing loot and plunder us. We will eventually kick your corrupt ass out so fast so far, your head will spin. 
  • Spare no expense in hiring the best spin doctors because you will need them.
Finally, now that the grand exercise of electing our next master is almost over, let's take stock of all the schit that flew, the bullets we dodged, selfies we shot and give ourselves a massive pat on the back. 

This is after all one of the rare instances when we show we can do something as massive and organised as this was with minimal bloodshed or embarrassment (no pun intended) in a peaceful way. I can't think of another democracy that can boast of this.


Friday, April 11, 2014

No, don't vote...

Its that time of the decade when politicians make hefty withdrawals from their secret Swiss accounts.
Its that time of the decade when the EC will seize mind-boggling sums of money, liquor and anything else the 'people' might need.
Its that time of the decade when laptop, mixer-grinder manufacturers and other businessmen will court the politicians.
Its that time of the decade (apart from diwali) when cracker manufacturers love. Double Bonanza!
Its that time of the decade when you will hear political fiction and fables.
Its that time of the decade when manifestos will be embellished by underpaid content writers and out of job copywriters.
Its that time of the decade when roads get a fresh coat of asphalt. Feast your eyes on them while they last
Its that time of the decade when you will see your politicians up close and personal. Remember to take their autographs

Yes, ladies and gentlemen, its time for the biggest song and dance routine in the largest democracy of the planet - The Great Indian Circus.

Interestingly, this time there are a lot of things that are different.
Call it the influence of our Arab cousins, we have become disenchanted and disgruntled. 
Corruption is no longer a closet topic and depending on who your daddy is, you'll either support it or defend it.

But like in everything else, we are very hypocritical too.
Ask around and chances are you will hear not many people are willing to vote.
Why? 'Because it won't make a difference'. 

When youngsters say this, I am flummoxed. When older people say this, I am exasperated. I remember that time when I lost my school captaincy elections by just 2 votes, and I begin to tell them how every single vote counts, but I am soon drowned out by their 'voice of reason'.

We all like it when we are handed out favors, when our bosses hear our suggestions (and when they are implemented), when our landlords listen to our complaints and act on them, when our apartment associations value our inputs (and our votes), when the local grocer gives us a little extra rice for that rupee you pay because you are regular, when we are rewarded for our performance at work after having worked for it. 

So when we love all this, why do we hate voting for our country so much?
Which part of the 'Corruption, Quit India' did you not like?

While many are celebrating how 100 million voters will vote for the first time, I ask what is the rest of the billion doing? Surely, we have more than 100 million who have chosen not to participate in the democratic dance this time too. 

Vote for the general elections this year, because this is probably the only ballot that will matter. 
Your apartment association cannot fix the creaking infrastructure. 
Your say in corporate affairs will probably earn you more, but if you don't vote, you're allowing the next batch of political scumbags to loot you of every last paise that you earn.
Your grocer might like you, but unless you choose the right politician, you will end up paying more for less. 

If you are still not convinced that you need to vote, I won't force you.
Cherish these final days where you could still read and write stuff like this.
Remember the days when petrol cost you just Rs25/litre.
When you could live an entire month with just Rs 15,000....
I could go on but you get the drift, right?

Get out and vote.
This is the time of the decade when you decide how your country and everything around you will be for the next 5 years. 
Make it count. 


Friday, November 30, 2012

Two funerals and a Party [335/365]

Having postponed writing for quite a while now, I think I have learned my lesson. November was an interesting month. Lots of interesting people dying, some getting killed. Others missing the point completely.

So it does look like the world will end soon.
Bal Thackeray died.
Finally!
The grand ol' man of Mumbai and the 'Savior of millions' finally packed his bags and left.
Predictably, Hell is all excited about the 'new hires'.
Tomorrow when he is buried/cremated and packed off, he will cause the last traffic jam in his life.
For an immensely talented person, he surely chose the wrong profession.
Bal T is an excellent example of what will happen when a person is influenced by the wrong ideas.

A couple of hundred kilometers away, we saw another death. Totally avoidable, yet an unfortunate example of how subtle and fleeting life really is.
When Chadha and his brother killed themselves in a shootout over a property, they left behind everything they lived for. While the families of both the brothers might want to put the past behind them and move on, killing each-other really didn't achieve anything.

Israel lost its marbles and decided to pound its southern neighbor. What's ironic is how powerful Israel is as an economy and a force to reckon. We have been struggling to keep our porous borders er.. less porous but Israel shows the way to keep its people and its country secure. The rest of the world can go to hell with their opinions and their fake pictures and reports.

Aarushi was in the news again. Apparently our investigation agencies are still digging for truth and found that the blood found on her pillow is not the same as in the murder weapon. Duh!
I wonder how much longer her parents will need to suffer the ignominy of seeing their daughter's life and death played out in the media like an Indian play.

Politics was in the news again.
With Arvind Kejriwal launching the Aam Aadmi Party, the other parties almost shat in their pants. It is definitely a risky proposition but considering how he has had much success in whipping up support, elections next year should be interesting.
As far as branding goes, I think he managed a coupe of sorts by naming his party this way, but what will matter is how honest its candidates will remain and how fast it can frame a political agenda. So far and by the admission of its creator, the party does not even have an economic plan for the country. Deja vu, anyone?
The more important question here is- Can one party change how India has been ruled for decades?
The unfortunate answer is No. Just as it took many parties with vested interests to plunder India in the years since our Independence, Arvind's AAP sounds more like a mango drink advt than a party that can stand against the monster it wants to fight.

On a brighter side, BJP expelled one of its own for daring to question its tainted leader. Not really surprising considering how we love to eliminate our opposition, this will be water under the bridge for the veteran.


Thursday, September 20, 2012

All Stop! [264/365]

Source: Mangalore Today
Bandh- One of Gandhi's only legacy that all political parties practice.

Many years ago, when I attended school for a short period in Kerala during the Gulf War, there would be an average of one bandh a week. Every single week. We used to have atleast 3 weekly off days, and as school kids this was simply amazing. I can't tell you how I loved listening to the radio in the morning when the newsreader would announce a State-wide bandh that day. Double that ecstasy if there was a class test on that day. YAY!

That was 20 years ago. Keralites gradually became weary of the frequent bandhs because of the way it held the State to ransom.
The High Court banned parties from declaring any more bandhs and urged politicians to figure a more meaningful way of non-violent protest. That gave birth to hartals. Not much has changed and there has been about 363 hartals in the 7 years since.

India was held at knife-point today by one of her main Opposition parties - Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) - to protest a litany of sins that the ruling party has committed.
If you ask me, there was nothing Bharatiya or pro-Janata in declaring a bandh that accomplishes nothing but mind-numbing losses to the national exchequer. It is said that for every day of shut down, the State and Central governments loose tens of thousands of crores in revenue. Not to mention loss of private business revenue. Ofcourse, no one is complaining since coming close to Ganesh Chathurti (yesterday) and the weekend (day after tomorrow), most Indians would have just taken the Friday (tomorrow) off to jet off on a 5 day impromptu vacation. Who's bothered if the country just lost about a 5th of its GDP because of the bandh?

It appears like our elected and non-elected representatives are waiting for a reason to shut shop. Having lived through a dozen such, it won't take an rocket scientist to figure out how this will turn out.

  1. The ruling party passes a bill/legislation.
  2. The opposition will fight for it. It does not matter what the legislation is or how it will help the nation. 
  3. The opposition will demand a rollback. Demand duly refused.
  4. The opposition will demand the resignation of every single minister starting from the PM.
  5. The PM will refuse to resign. 'Make me'
  6. Opposition declares a bandh.
  7. Bandh happens.
  8. The ruling party will not move a finger.
  9. Second bandh happens.
  10. Partial or complete rollback of offending bill/legislation.
  11. Opposition will claim victory.
  12. Repeat cycle.
As news hungry journalists prowled the nation for reports of violence, I saw a report about the unique way the government in Kerala approached the issues of increase in diesel. The citizens understood why the prices were hiked and the government simply lowered the tax that it charges on the fuel per litre and brought the burden down by just as much. This was one of the reasons why life went on as normal in a land where you'd have an average of one hartal every fortnight.

Which brings me to the question; Mr Advani, would you mind paying for the loss that this country has suffered because of the bandh you announced?
Meanwhile, Mr Gandhi is rolling in his grave at the way our politicians have corrupted a concept he popularized.


Monday, September 10, 2012

Cartoons that haunt [254/365]

Aseem Trivedi, an Award winning cartoonist was arrested for sedition and hurting national sentiments. Well, the only sentiments he really hurt belonged to politicians. This only proves that our penchant to punish our opponents and stifle voices of dissent goes all the way up.












Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Coalling it [241/365]

In the future, there wont be a single government deal that will be honest.
And the future is now.

Desensitized by the number of scams in the past five years, my head reels under the sheer amount of money that we have (lost). Whoever says India is poor must be flogged and sentenced to death for making unpatriotic statements.

While Coalgate is going to make much noise for the next couple of weeks or until the next big scam/scandal, I wonder how much we have learned from the mistakes our leaders have made until now.
A quick peek into our past- Nira Radia tapes, CWG Scam, housing loan scam, 2G spectrum scam, porngate, Barak missile scandal, Tatra truck scam, Ice-cream parlour scandal, Hawala scam, Kargil coffins scam, Adharsh Apartment scam, Toilet scam, Kinetic finance ltd scam, IGI airport scam, Granite scam, Land allotment scam, Bellary mining scam, BBMP scam, cash for votes scam and the list just goes on...
I will bet my last buck that not one of these will see justice. No, I'm not being cynical nor am I pessimistic. I am a realist.

As the ruling coalition and it's main opposition is locked in yet another battle, it is anybody's guess who will blink first. Eventually, it doesn't matter who sits on the moral high horse, because we are doomed.


Saturday, May 26, 2012

Against the tide [146/365]

How can a politician with no proven educational qualification or the means to generate revenue come to be the guardian and controller of seemingly endless wealth? The story of YSR Congress president S Jaganmohan Reddy make for an interesting chapter on wealth management (if not a Bollywood biopic.)

The son of former Chief Minister of the southern Indian State of Andra Pradesh YSR Reddy, Jagan as he is fondly called multiplied his income a 100 times in the few short years that his father was the chief. While his financial exploits were there for all to see, his father's political clout ensured that the Congress didnt move a muscle when daddy was around. Fast forward to Sept 2009, pappa dies in an accident and all hell broke loose.
A power struggle that threatens to divide the State ensued and the Congress party at the center in a sudden fit of morality and misjudged justice decides to replace the vacuum left by the hugely iconic YSR by a puppet.

Predictably, the son doesn't take this kindly. And rightly so.
Its a child's guess that the Congress party knew all about the dirty laundry and probably got a few goodies for themselves too. However replacing Jagan, with a puppet of their choice, without placating him first was a bad move. Surely, Jagan had his hand deep inside the cookie jar when his father was killed, but he knew how to play to the masses too. Floating his own flavor of the Congress party, he campaigned and fought for sympathy. CBI, the politician's tool of vengence swooped down to put him and his associates behind the bar. As if on cue, his party swept all the sympathy votes. That's one for Jagan, Nought for the Congress. 

While Jagan is admittedly the richest MP in the history of modern India, has the Congress bitten off more than they can chew this time?
Has India's most powerful lady met her match in Jagan?

While Jagan is clearly not as suave an administrator as Modi, he is smarter than Didi because he still has the sympathetic power of the people he rules.


Thursday, March 22, 2012

Litany of Shame [81/365]

In Christian hymns, there is a section in every hymn where a chorus is repeated.
The headlines today was a chorus of public shame.

Barely two months after a couple of BJP politicians were caught indulging in some forbidden pleasures, it looks like some in its party didn't get the memo to stop titillating themselves while in session. Legislators in the Gujarati Assembly were caught ogling at some eye candy on their iPads. (Read the enchanting story here)
No lessons learned there, obviously.

The CAG has estimated that the national exchequer lost about 10.7 lakh crore by not following standard and fair procedures while auctioning coal blocks between 2004 and 2009. So this officially becomes the largest scandal in Independent India. That's right, kids. 2G is no ji. (Path breaking news here)
No lessons learned there, either.

The government flip flops on gay rights. Again.
Cant teach them a lesson.

The chief minister of the southern Indian state of Karnataka delivers a populist budget.
Cigarettes and liquor prices have gone up. Diesel has become cheaper. Sports got the kick in the butt. And the city will become world class in one year (*yawn). Taxes have gone up on cabs and taxis and property is now cheaper. In short, DVS has waved his magic wand and spread his largesse to every one he could think of. With an eye on the elections, this is just what the people expected their elected representative would do.
And oh yes, our ministers get new iPads too. So this means they can now itouch their iporn too.

Amen!


Sunday, March 11, 2012

Land of the rising Son [70/365]

Akhilesh Yadav, son of Indian Political stalwart Mulayam Singh Yadav and seasoned politician himself recently made Indian political history when he was sworn in as the youngest Chief Minister of the north Indian state of Uttar Pradesh.

Armed with a Masters degree in environmental engineering from the University of Sydney, he is part of a new breed of sons and daughters following the footsteps of their political parents.

Winning the recently concluded elections by an overwhelming majority, the 38 year old politician and believer in Socialism has promised to revamp the state and his party and rid it of it's corrupt visage.
Unemployment (allowance), corruption, free laptops and tablets for students.
So as you can see, this manifesto is not any different from what any other politician has promised until now.

Asked how he plans on delivering on his promise, he replied he is bound to stay true to his manifesto and his constituents. Truly, the 'party is over, now bill is due'.
The promise however ran out too soon for comfort when Ministers with criminal cases against them were sworn in and the rest, as they say is a grim remainder of things to follow. He showed the door to bureaucrats faithful to Ms Mayawati while inducting many party favorites and old timers. (Read the grim turn of events here)
While politicians making hollow promises in a desperate attempt to win are never new or unheard of, what is surprising is how the Indian voters could still believe them.

Looking at how this is just the beginning of a process that would culminate in giving us new rulers in the next 10 months, this is just a trailer, the picture is yet to start.
 
Recommended Read:
The Akhilesh Shake


Saturday, March 10, 2012

Burning the bridges [69/365]

There is a very popular phrase in Malayalam which roughly translates like this:
'You can't force a centipede to stay put on a mat'. The phrase means to describe how a person simply cannot appreciate something good because he/she is using to crawling.

Mamata Banerjee, fits the description of a centipede that simply cannot appreciate the good fortune that she's had since the past couple of years.
As the Union Railway Minister, she took over one of the only government enterprise that was making huge profits, and turned its fortunes around to a situation where the government needs to hike fares.
What is it with Ms MB? I've seen politicians who have given up positions to take on higher position at the national level. But in a move that completely defied my logic, she gave up her plum role as the Railway Minister for the Union government to become the Chief Minister of an impoverished state. Duh!
And all this while she was still a Railway Minister, which she transitioned to a puppet of her choice. Smart move, lady.

Now, the Prime Minister would've sighed a breath of relief thinking he's got her out of his turban for a while. However Ms MB had other plans. She stonewalled every single diplomatic decision that he and his handler, Ms Sonia G took.
The latest of which is the 2012 Railway budget that Dinesh Trivedi presented.
The grouse?
It seems that Sir didn't stoop to conquer Didi's, as she is popularly known, heart before presenting it.
He rightly asked that fares be increased. In most cases the increase is hardly anything.
Didi is fuming. She wants his head on a platter ala Herodias. Mr Turban puppet and Handler puts foot down.

Didi is threatening to pull out from a delicate coalition which Mr Turban puppet knows could be detrimental to his government. My two cents- Mr Turban puppet should tell Didi to get the fu$k out and he should go to the polls. Chances are that Didi will never see the insides of the Parliament for a couple of years if she pulls out. And she knows this.
In a game of who will blink first which Didi has been playing for a few years now, we wait for the next set.

In the meanwhile, Mr Turban puppet has made his choice and approved the 2012 Railway budget and insisted that her puppet stays. Score!
Didi: 3
Mr Turban puppet: 1 (Advantage)

Recommended Read:
Wall Street Journal


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