Wednesday, 30 October 2013

The Sardar & A Son of Sardar

Congress spokespersons Manish Tiwari, Anand Sharma, Digvijay Singh etc. have accused Narendra Modi and BJP of trying to usurp Sardar Patel's legacy, which as per them "belongs to Congress". This is because sharing the dais with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh for the opening ceremony of Shri Sardar Vallabhbhai Smruti Smarak, in Ahmedabad on Tuesday,   Narendra Modi said that the country's destiny would have been different had Sardar Patel become the first Prime Minister. He credited Patel, the first home minister, with uniting the country and said the same unity and integrity was under threat from terrorism and Maoism at present. Reading from a prepared speech, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh tried to question Narendra Modi's claim on Sardar Patel's legacy as he said that the late leader was secular and a Congressman and he was proud to be a member of the same Congress party that Patel was associated with.

PM and his Congress colleagues should realise that the Congress they represent today is not the same congress which won India's independence, which had people from different ideology like SP Mukherjee (Jan Sangha founder), Jaya Prakash Narayan, Ram Manohar Lohia etc. In 1969, Indira Gandhi was expelled from the Indian National Congress(INC), which won India's independence  & she formed break away Congress(I) and they all represent that Congress(I) only. Congress has reduced the present Congress to a single family dynastic organization headed by someone from that family or a stooge of that family. The other real heroes of India’s independence movement or even post independence India have been relegated by the present Congress in to oblivion. No leader who  participated in the freedom movement would now be wishing to identify themselves with today's congress. But patriot Indians have an inherent right to revere any national hero beyond the pale of the political hue he is coloured with because of association with a political party. Sardar  Patel is neither the property of Congress nor BJP. He is the pride and property of the Nation, who united India and if Congress had not come in Patel's way, there would not have been a Pakistan occupied Kashmir (POK) today. All of us know that every second building, stadium, road or program/project in every part of the country is named after Nehru, Indira or Rajiv Gandhi. In comparison one could count in finger tips, the instances where Sardar Patel's name has been used. Today as Modi has built the tallest statue of Patel, Congress has suddenly remembered that Patel was their man. Congress people behave as if it was only Gandhi and Nehru who got freedom for India and they are the torch bearer of their legacy and the entire India is the legacy left by them for the Congress. Modi never claimed that Patel was BJP’s legacy. It is only the Congress that has stated so (Manish Tewari’s interview to Times Now Channel). After Narendra Modi took initiative to revive Sardar Patel's importance as a national hero, the Congress is rattled and raising the issue of who owns Patel legacy. The fact of the matter is that personalities like Gandhiji, Netaji, Patel, Shastri, Ambedkar etc are not monopoly of the congress just because they happened to be congressmen. Mr Tiwari should be reminded that BJP has taken over from Congress the legacy not just of Sardar Patel but also of other national leaders like Bhagat Singh, Chandrashekhar Azad, Subhash Chandra Bose, Bal Gangadhar Tilak, Sri Aurobindo, Lala Lajpat Rai etc. That has happened because the Congress has marginalised all other great leaders except that of Nehru Dynasty. BJP  has also taken away from Congress many nationalist slogans like Vande Mataram, Bharat Mata ki Jai etc. The Congress no longer uses them for fear of losing a particular minority community’s support. All that the Congress party remembers and dreams about is Jawaharlal Nehru, Indira and Rajiv Gandhi. Let the Congress come out with data on how many schemes, roads, monuments etc. have been built or named for these 3 dynastic leaders and for the rest of the freedom fighters put together. Let the nation know and then open your mouth and claim the legacy of Sardar Patel. For all these years Congress had forgotten Sardar Patel. Allmost entire country has been named after Nehru, Indira and Rajiv Gandhi and when somebody else remembered Sardar and wished to commemorate his name, Congress suddenly woke up from deep slumber and started claiming Sardar’s legacy as if Congress had patent on Sardar Patel.
Here is a Congress PM,  who speaks of Sardar Patel’s legacy when his party has consistently ignored his  achievements for uniting India and never gave him his due respectful place in Congress’s history as much as to even forgot his birth anniversary. 31st October, is remembered by them for  Indira Gandhi’s death anniversary and not for Sardar Patel. Can any Congress leader honestly say that he/she ever placed a wreath on Sardar's Samadhi on this day? For the current Congress people, Congress’s history starts from Nehru and ends with Rahul Gandhi via Indira Gandhi, Rajiv Gandhi and Sonia Gandhi. Congress bestowed the Bharat Ratna on Sardar Patel in 1991 - 41 years after he died - but the same Bharat Ratna was given to Rajiv Gandhi  in the very year he died (1991)- such was their love & respect for Patel.
Mr. Prime Minister, why does  Congress think that they are having the right to distribute "SECULAR" certificates to anybody. People of India will decide who & what is secular and who & what is not. Patel was definitely not a follower of the current brand of secularism of Congress. This “fake secularism” is a gift of India Gandhi  to the Indian constitution and political culture during emergency. Yes, it’s a fact that had Patel been our first PM, Kashmir and other such problems would have never existed today alongwith a particular minority community appeasement policy. Patel opposed Nehru’s plan for reservation for Muslims in the parliament which resulted in the then Govt. withdrawing such a proposal. He wanted all communities to forget their religion & first become Indian with their undivided loyalty to the nation. Patel was brutally honest and said that people belonging to the minority community in the country should not try to ride on two horses. Patel also thought that the onus was on Muslims to defeat suspicions about the actions of some of their co-religionists in the pre-partition days. Congress should first explain to the people of this country, whether they are secular. If they claim to be secular, then how can the PM who represents this "Secular" party says things like "Muslims have the first claim on resources of this country. The word secularism has some respect and therefore please don't insult it. The politics of Congress to please a certain community as pure vote bank are very well known.
The Congress spokespersons are misleading the nation that Sardar Patel had a feeling of hatred towards RSS and he was instrumental in banning them. However, there are published documentary evidences available in the form of exchange of letters between Patel and Nehru to prove that this is a false claim. Nehru wanted to completely ban the RSS after the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi. But Patel argued that they couldn't do so because of lack of concrete evidence against the outfit and being a democratic country, issues had to be dealt with as per the rule of law. Infact, contrary to such false claims, Patel was instrumental in lifting the ban on RSS within 2 months. He even wanted RSS to merge with Congress and had a few rounds of discussions with RSS leadership. Even a resolution was passed by congress towards this effect but at that time Nehru was travelling abroad and on his return he refused to accept that resolution. But in 1963, the same Nehru invited RSS to join the republic day parade and march alongwith Indian armed forces, because he had just received a slap on his face from the Chinese. He was weak after his Chinese policy blunder and defeat in the war in 1962  - therefore friendship with RSS seemed fine then.  Modi has rightly brought about Sardar Patel's' resurrection which is too much for the Congress to digest and therefore started harping on old issues to cover its own follies. People are wise enough, not to be fooled by such utterances.
Today, on the 138th birth anniversary of Sardar Vallabh Bhai Patel, let’s revisit the entire intra-party power struggle within Congress on the eve of India’s independence and  figure out why he was deprived of the honour of becoming the first Prime Minister of India, given his proven track record of being an able administrator and a no-nonsense politician, in favour of Jawaharlal Nehru despite the overwhelming support he enjoyed amongst the country men and also inside Congress. By 1946, it had become quite clear that India’s independence was only a matter of time. The Second World War had come to an end and the British rulers had started thinking in terms of transferring power to Indians.  An interim government was to be formed which was to be headed by the Congress president as Congress had won the maximum number of seats in the 1946 elections. All of a sudden, the post of Congress president became very crucial as it was this very person who was going to become the first Prime Minister of independent India. The last date for the nominations for the post of the President of Congress, and thereby the first Prime Minister of India, was April 29, 1946.  And the nominations were to be made by 15 state/regional Congress committees, but not a single Congress committee nominated Nehru's name.  On the contrary, 12 out of 15 Congress committees nominated Sardar Vallabh Bhai Patel and the remaining three did not nominate any body’s name. Obviously, the overwhelming majority was in favour of Sardar Patel. So Gandhi conveyed to Nehru that no PCC has nominated his name and tried to make Nehru understand the reality. A shell-shocked Nehru was defiant and made it clear that he will not play second fiddle to anybody. Nehru coerced Gandhi into supporting him by saying that if he split the Congress, the entire independence plan would go awry as the British would get an excuse in delaying independence by raising the question as to who should be handed over the reins of power, Congress with Nehru or Congress minus Nehru. So Gandhi thought that it would be safe to ask Sardar Patel for making the sacrifice than to reason with a power-smitten Nehru. In fact, he had commented that Nehru had gone power-mad. Gandhi always knew that Sardar Patel would never defy him. So, he instructed Acharya J B Kriplani to get some proposers for Nehru from the Congress Working Committee (CWC) members despite knowing fully well that only Pradesh Congress Committees were authorized to nominate the president. When Gandhi told Patel to voluntarily step aside from the race for Congress president, he readily agreed. When Dr Rajendra Prasad heard of Sardar Patel’s withdrawal of nomination, he was disappointed and remarked that “Gandhi had once again sacrificed his trusted lieutenant in favour of the glamorous Nehru”. But Gandhi’s decision proved too costly for the nation.  First of all, Gandhi  introduced the concept of forced decisions by the so-called ‘high-command’ in Congress, which is now being followed by this political party for every decision making.  Secondly,  Nehru’s follies on Kashmir and China proved beyond doubt the fact that Gandhi committed a mistake in backing Nehru by showing utter disregard to overwhelming support from the majority of PCCs for Sardar Patel. Even two known critics of Sardar Patel conceded the point that Gandhi’s decision to choose Nehru over Patel was erroneous. Maulana Abul Kalam Azad confessed in his autobiography that was published posthumously in 1959, “It was a mistake on my part that I did not support Sardar Patel. We differed on many issues but I am convinced that if he had succeeded me as Congress President he would have seen that the Cabinet Mission Plan was successfully implemented. He would have never committed the mistake of Jawaharlal which gave Mr. Jinnah an opportunity of sabotaging the Plan. I can never forgive myself when I think that if I had not committed these mistakes, perhaps the history of the last ten years would have been different”. Similarly, C Rajagopalachari wrote, “Undoubtedly it would have been better if Nehru had been asked to be the Foreign Minister and Patel made the Prime Minister. I too fell into the error of believing that Jawaharlal was the more enlightened person of the two”. If Congress today says that nobody should doubt the wisdom of Gandhi in making Nehru the PM over Patel, then can they also explain why they forget the wisdom of same Gandhi who said that Congress should have been disbanded after India’s independence?
Mr.Prime Minister, is it not known to you how Nehru had treated a senior leader like Patel during his tenure, which has been documented by the people who worked with both Nehru and Patel at that time?  It was the exemplary skills of Sardar Patel,  which forced all the 550 Princely States to merge with Independent India. But still Sardar Patel, the then Deputy Prime Minister and Home Minister of India, was insulted, humiliated and disgraced by the then Prime Minister, Nehru, during a Cabinet meeting. “You are a complete communalist and I’ll never be a party to your suggestions and proposals,” Nehru shouted at Patel during a crucial Cabinet meeting to discuss the liberation of Hyderabad by the Army from the tyranny of the Razakkars, the then Nizam’s private army. “A shocked Sardar Patel collected his papers from the table and slowly walked out of the Cabinet room. That was the last time Patel attended a Cabinet meeting. He also stopped speaking to Nehru since then”, writes MKK Nair, a 1947 batch IAS officer who worked closely with Sardar and VP Menon his secy., in his memoirs “With No Ill Feeling to Anybody”.  Nehru was against sending Indian forces to liberate Hyderabad and tried to scuttle Patels plan and instead wanted to take this issue to UN. Had Patel not acted tough and inspite of Nehru’s objection liberated Hyderabad during the “Operation Polo”, we would have been having another Kashmir right in the heart of India today. The formation of North East Frontier Service under the Ministry of External Affairs by Nehru and the removal of the affairs of the Jammu & Kashmir from the Ministry of Home Affairs are the major reasons behind the turmoil in both the regions. This was done by Nehru to curtail the wings of Sardar Patel.  We would not have the Kashmir problem if Nehru had listened to the advice of  Patel and the then Army Chief General Kariappa to delay taking his complaint to the UN for three days so that the Indian Army could drive out the Pakistani invaders from Kashmir. Despite this Nehru referred Kashmir issue to UN, Patel totally opposed this and said "it is purely an internal matter and why should we refer this to UN". Patel also said, "if only Nehru had listened to my advice, not a single Pakistani would have been allowed to stay inside Kashmir even for a single day. Patel raised this issue in the Congress Working committee and Nehru & Patel were at loggerheads.  History has proved it beyond doubt that had Patel been the PM in place of Nehru, the country would not have faced the humiliation of 1962 war. Days before his death, Patel had written a letter to Nehru warning him about China’s nefarious designs but Nehru didn’t pay any attention to that letter.
Nehru started showing his hatred towards Patel as he always wanted only “Yes men” around him. Sardar Patel reconstructed the famous Somnath temple against the wish of Nehru without any state funding and when Rajendra Prasad, the then President wished to attended inauguration of the renovated temple, Nehru objected. But still Rajendra Prasad went ahead but Nehru was absent. However,  later on Nehru wanted to renovate the Babri Masjid at Government expense, a proposal Sardar had turned down as the  Home Minister. Sardar told Nehru that the Babri Masjid’s renovation was different from reconstruction of the Somnath Temple for which a trust was set up that raised nearly 30 lakh for the purpose. Government money was not spent - following which Nehru had to drop the idea (Patel’s daughter Maniben’s diary notes on September 20, 1950). MKK Nair wrote that Nehru’s personal hatred for Sardar Patel came out in the open on December 15, 1950, the day the Sardar breathed his last in Bombay. “Immediately after he got the news about Sardar Patel’s death, Nehru sent two notes to the Ministry of States. The notes reached VP Menon, the then Secretary to the Ministry. In one of the notes, Nehru had asked Menon to send the official Cadillac car used by Sardar Patel to the former’s office. The second note was shocking, Nehru wanted government secretaries desirous of attending Sardar Patel’s last rites to do so at their own personal expenses.
Congress has always sought to underplay the differences between Nehru and Sardar Patel, whose legacy gradually diminished with increasing stranglehold of Nehru-Gandhi family in the party since Independence.  But, excerpts from the diary of Sardar Patel’s daughter Maniben published as “Inside Story of Sardar Patel : The Diary of Maniben Patel” not only confirms the differences but also ruffles the feathers of present day Congress leaders with embarrassing disclosures. Maniben's diary reveals the deep regard Patel held Gandhi in and also his serious differences with Nehru on a host of issues including Hyderabad, Kashmir, foreign policy especially with regard to Tibet/China, Hindu-Muslim problems, the Nehru-Liaquat Pact and on corruption, socialism, centralised planning, Nehru's autocratic style of functioning etc. Indeed, Patel's differences with Nehru were both ideological and deep-rooted. In addition that  Nehru considered Sardar as a rival who could dethrone him due to Patel’s hold over the Congress organization and the respect he commanded from Congress leaders and the common people. However, Patel had no such ambition, particularly after he had given his word to Gandhi.
In retrospect, despite Nehru's love for great principles, his incapability to take decisions in time, his inability to work with colleagues like Patel, and his friendship with individuals such as the Mountbattens or Abdullah, who had their own vested interests, blinded him so much that he did not further India's national interests. The consequences have been tragic and the muddle he created 66 years ago still remains far from being sorted out. The nexus is between the Congress led, self-proclaimed liberal-secular class, supported by the caste based political parties and the plethora of foreign funded NGOs, who play one community against another in the name of  protection of human rights and poverty alleviation to ensure Congress continues to retain the power to rule India as it suits their interests. Historically, they have together tricked, suppressed, discredited any voice that tried to challenge them - Subhash Bose disappeared,  Sardar Patel side lined,  RSS became Gandhi's killer, Shastri mysteriously died in Tashkent, Jaya Prakash Narayan apparently poisoned in the hospital and they have been running the “Hate Modi Campaign” for a decade now. They can stoop to any low to retain their stranglehold on power. Patna blasts in Modi's rally are not coincidental. These forces can do anything to harm Modi as he has risen as the greatest challenger to the rotten dynastic rule, politics of caste & religious  divide, corruption & mis governance and everything else in the name of "secularism" and "pluralism". The congress trickster would do anything to continue the legacy of the dynasty to remain in power.

Saturday, 26 October 2013

The Onion Republic

Though price rise of all the essential commodities, inflation and depreciating rupee are making headlines in India, but prices of onion is going through the roof and showing no signs of falling. It is bringing tears to the eye of  common people in India and they are wondering,  if there is more to the situation than meets the eye. Onions are now costing nearly 300%  more this month than in the same month last year and is increasing with each passing day. From about Rs.20-25 a kg at the beginning of 2013, it increased to about Rs.50-60 in July-Aug and Rs.80-100 in Sept-Oct.  India has the world’s largest area under onion cultivation and in terms of production volume, is only second to China, accounting for 19% of global production.  In the past 10 years, between 2002-03 and 2012-13, onion production in India has jumped from about 42 lakh metric tons to 163 lakh metric tons i.e. an increase of nearly 400%. In the same period, India's population has grown by about 1.7% each year. Therefore, higher consumption by an ever increasing population can’t be the reason for demand-supply gap resulting in steep increase in prices. In the current year, the production is expected to be 10-15% higher than last year, as reported by the National Horticultural Research & Development Foundation, Nashik under the Union agriculture ministry. Exports have remained at about 10% of total production for many years and another 10% is consumed in the processing industry as reported by Directorate of Onion and Garlic Research, Rajgurunagar - another agriculture ministry organization. So, exports or use by the processing industry are also not the reasons behind shortfall in supply. Apart from some dip in supply because of a rainy spell in September causing damage to some crop and transport problems, the real reason appears to be the way the supply chain of onions work in India. The periodic hike in fuel prices resulting in jump in the Wholesale Price Index may be at best only a minor reason for such steep price hike.
This abnormal rise in onion prices is the direct outcome of useless and corrupt policies of Union Agricultural Minister Sharad Pawar. He has justified all the price rise and took no action to control the mafia that exists in the trade by simply saying that “I don’t deal with this. Govt. does not control onions and does not sell onions. Prices are determined by the market”.  Excellent, Mr.Pawar – if the Govt. does not control onion prices, what does the Govt. do? Just watch the prices of essential commodities shoot up? First, let market forces raise prices to unimaginable heights of Rs. 80-100 per kg, then 'stabilise' it marginally to lower prices of around Rs.60-70 and let middlemen and  through them the politicians, earn profits.   MCA, BCCI and IPL are of utmost importance to our nation, minor stuff like food prices are for the common man to deal with, we shouldn’t  bother you with such things. You are the biggest imposter and thief, responsible for price rise of vegetables, sugar and many other food items.  Natural calamities like rain and flood come and go every year,  production may marginally fluctuate  by 4-5%  but that can’t lead to increase in price by 300%. Pawar also said that he was not in favour of a ban on onion exports, as such a move will hit India's image as a global supplier of farm produce. Strangely, across the border in Bangladesh, Indian-grown onion is selling almost at 50% cheaper than in this country. When a kilo of onion is costing Rs 80-100 in Malda in West Bengal or all other Indian cities, it is selling for Taka 63-64 (Rs. 45-47) in Rajsahi, Chapai Nawabgunj, Baliadanga and Dhaka Mirpur in Bangladesh. Almost 2,500 tonnes of onion are being exported daily through the five export centres of West Bengal at a time when the Central Govt. is mulling importing onion to keep prices in check. Yes, this same Food Minister has history of importing the same onion at Rs.40 a kg, which was exported to other countries at a price of Rs.30 a kg and then sell the same in this country at Rs.50 benefitting the import lobby who contribute to the coffers of the political parties in power.
The middle man system in the supply and marketing chain of agriculture commodities has been fuelling the onion price rise in the country. It is only because of the nexus among the brokers, whole sellers, stockists, traders and politicians that common people are suffering. They are blocking the supply to the retail market to shoot up prices and make money by releasing the stocks when prices reach abnormally high compared to what the farmers get for their produce. Politicians and political parties have share in this as they utilize this ill-gotten money for their personal benefit and funding elections. Government can’t even touch them because of their lobby, election funding and influence.  Union Food Minister Sharad Pawar is a politician from Maharashtra and this state is the highest producer of onion in the country followed by  Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Bihar & Gujarat etc. Maharashtra and Karnataka contribute almost 50% of India’s total onion produce.  The Agricultural Produce Marketing Committee (APMC) Act, a state-level law that dictates where a farmer can sell and who can buy, is promoting cartelisation. Generally onion trade is routed through APMC .  90% of APMC affiliated whole sellers and traders of onion are controlled by the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) of Sharad Pawar. APMC Act has created a 'monopoly' of fixed number of wholesale traders against an infinite number of suppliers and consumers. Some traders have integrated forwards and backwards in the value chain - becoming, in the process, very dominant. Many onion traders are commission agent-cum-wholesaler’s order suppliers, forwarders-cum-store owners, and some are even transport or railway agent too. Such multiple roles by select few big traders have created monopolistic conditions. Lasalgaon near Nashik in Maharashtra is Asia's largest onion market, where traders buy stocks in auctions. Every time Pawar makes a comment at an opportune moment that there is scarcity of a certain food product due to low production, flood or draught etc.,  the wholesale traders take the cue from Pawar's statement. One can notice how onion prices rose from Rs.50 to Rs.70 within a day of the food minister's projection. Again recently,  Sharad Pawar owned “Sakal”  News Paper and “Saam TV” channel started creating atmosphere by giving news that onions are Rs.60 and would touch Rs.100 soon and next day price of onion reached between Rs.80-100 in different parts of the country. The real reason of shortage of crop is  the huge hoardings of onion by this lobby. But UPA Govt. can’t afford to displease or control him. After all, the few MPs of NCP are vital for UPA’s survival. This union minister caused similar anxiety at least thrice earlier and each time the price escalation has been irreversible. Pawar said on 2nd Dec’ 2009 that the country was facing a 70 lakh tonne shortage of sugar that would cause prices to rise, and they did. Until then, sugar was sold for Rs. 18 per kg but rose to Rs. 32 steadily. It is now available for Rs. 45. On 24th  Sept’ 2009, he predicted a shortfall in rice production, after which retail prices rose. He said a milk shortage would drive the prices up on 20th January’ 2010. And rates, which were stable for years, have been since revised every few months. Still he has the audacity to deny that wholesalers are hoarding or that a crackdown was necessary. As onion is routed through the APMC,  so if the government monitors who is buying it in bulk then hoarding can be prevented easily. The best way to regulate the price of onion is to have a dedicated monitoring agency overseeing it. Most of the reasons attributed for the price rise are not true. If farmers are getting only Rs. 30 a kg, how can it be sold for Rs.70 by the traders? The government needs to come out with strict guidelines on profit margins. Onions can be preserved for a few weeks and even those who hoard tonnes of onion for just a week can sell it for double the price in today’s market. The modus operandi of the brokers is simple. They extend loans to farmers for cultivation, faster than banks on condition that their onion stocks will be sold only to them. Farmers, who are fed up with the cumbersome process of obtaining loans from government banks, rely on brokers for loans. As per the agreement reached with the brokers, the farmers cannot sell their stocks by themselves. These brokers then collude with whole sellers to hoard this produce for release at the “right time”, which in their calendar means when they can make the most money from it. So even when there is bumper crop, neither the farmers nor the consumers are benefited and the only beneficiary are these middle men and their patron politicians. Around 27.5 lakh tonnes of onion were stored in the country for consumption in 2013. Of this, 15.50 lakh tonnes were kept in godowns in Maharashtra, 1-2 lakh tonnes each in Gujarat, Bihar, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan and Tamil Nadu. So, one can easily guess who is controlling the arrival of the product in the retail market. The onion price situation depends on production and market arrivals. Prices tend to peak during September-November and fall during January-March every year. Generally, onion storage gets depleted by August-September but by October new kharif crop arrive in the market. The average price in Lasalgaon even today is in the region of Rs.4,000 to Rs.4,500 per quintal. At this rate, the maximum retail rate should be around Rs.50 a kilo. But it doesn't work that way because traders manipulate the prices. Price of one particular consignment suddenly goes up for Rs.5,600-Rs.5,800 per quintal. This is deliberately done because after purchasing at this price, the traders set this price as their benchmark and then sell their entire stock at these rates. So, they are fooling both the farmers and the consumers. A report by the Competition Commission of India (CCI) on India's onion market, released earlier this year, has pointed at the domination of traders and 'commission agents' right from the primary mandis onwards, squeezing both the farmers at one end and the consumers at the other. This report clearly exposed the traders  colluding and acting like a cartel, the unequal relationship between traders and farmers and exports not being calibrated to domestic demand, all being perpetuated by loopholes in the rules. The only solution to this problem  is that the state govts. should directly buy onions from the farmers through their agricultural marketing agencies and  arrange to sale them to whole sellers at pre determined whole sale and retail rates to benefit common people. Also, when production falls due to various reasons the government should stop export and should have early warning system for alerting it for arranging import before prices could rise to sky high level. India also needs to add more warehouses, boost productivity and improve its predictions on output. CIC has also suggested  a short term solution to this abnormal price rise by advising the states to amend their respective APMC to allow for more traders. But this has not happened even in a state like Maharashtra, where the party of  Sharad Pawar, is in power and has a say in policymaking. And therefore, till Govt. takes step to break this unscrupulous cartel of politicians, brokers and wholesale traders - onion prices will remain nightmare for common people.  This onion scam currently going on is no less than a CWG or 2G scam. If 15 crore household in India uses 1 kg onion per week and the price is artificially hiked by Rs.20 a kg then 300 Cr.  is collected by this Trader-Politician lobby in a  week and if this price continues for a month, they become richer by Rs.1200 Cr per month. This amount is not taking into account onion purchased and used by hotels & restaurants, whose quantity is no less significant. No wonder, onion prices have sky rocketed over last few months as Elections are round the corner. So, is it wrong to say that our country has turned into an “Onion Republic”??

Sunday, 20 October 2013

Ma Ma Mia’s Escape Velocity

On 8th Oct’13, addressing a function on National Awareness Camp for Scheduled Castes Empowerment at Vigyan Bhavan, Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi said that the dalit community "needs the escape velocity of Jupiter" to achieve success. At another function at Talkatora Stadium to mark Dalit Adhikar Diwas, he described the dalits as the "reed ki haddi" or spine of the Congress party. He said that "Congress is the party for the poor, our opposition does not understand the problems of the poor. They don't go to their homes and hold their hands or discuss their problems”. Again on 17th Oct’13, addressing a public meeting in Shahdol in Madhya Pradesh,  Rahul Gandhi  referring to UPA’s Food Security Bill, sought to strike an emotional chord with ‘aam aadmi’ and tribals, recalling how his mother and Congress party President, Sonia Gandhi, was in tears at not being able to cast her vote when the bill was being passed in the Lok Sabha.  In his ‘Mere Paas Maa Hain’ speech, he described at length,  how his mother said that she had fought for the bill and wanted to vote on it and that she would not leave the Parliament till food bill was passed though she was seriously ill. Referring to BJP, he went on to say that “people think that if they build infrastructure they can fill stomachs" and that “in 5 years NDA made 2650 kms roads but UPA in the same time made 9570 kms roads”. He also said "some people say the government should be this way or that way. But for me the most important thing is respect. Has the BJP government, which has been ruling for 10 years here, has given respect to tribals? Has it respected women?  I don't have a political relationship with you, it's a relationship from the heart".

The above statements actually expose, how Congress party has managed to make reforms during their almost six decades of rule of this country since India’s independence 66 years ago. Despite the numerous reform policies made by his own party’s Govt., if the dalits &  minorities need an escape velocity of Jupiter then every Congress leader should actually hang their heads in shame for the way they mis-governed this country. Rahul has actually opened a Pandora’s box on whether the congress policies and rule has really helped any common man of this country let alone the downtrodden, whose cause Rahul claims to champion and has taken up to get people’s mandate in 2014 election for another term in power. We have never heard Rahul Gandhi speak on corruption on the CWG, 2G or the Coalgate scam. Such statements, made in isolation, actually reflects his state of mind and maturity. Can he also produce some calculations on the achievements of his party’s Govt. in last almost six decades? It is paradoxical that a man who comes from the Congress party and the Nehru-Gandhi family only remembers to talk about upliftment of Dalits and minorities just before the election, when they had almost six decades to address the state of poverty and emancipation of the Dalits and minorities. This new found theory of escape velocity is only an eyewash and a trap to confuse the poor, dalits and minorities and use them as vote bank. If  Rahul Gandhi and his party had genuine love towards them then there would not have been a community called dalits in India. Calling anyone Dalit itself is offending. Every human being should be equal,  irrespective of family lineage or profession. Coming as it did on the day particle physics won a Nobel prize in physics, this speech proves that Gandhi family and Congress party’s political physics is just a tool to emotionally hoodwink the poor and illiterate voters of this country to use them as vote bank and nothing more.

 Does he think that this country has forgotten another of his foolish statement wherein he said that “poverty is just a state of mind. It does not mean scarcity of food, money or material things. If one possesses self-confidence then we can overcome poverty”.   The poor and downtrodden in India should be provided with quality and skilled education, infrastructure & opportunity and thereby help them to live a dignified life. A subsidy makes a beggar out of the poor, which is demeaning. An income is what the poor need. There is an old saying that “Give a man a fish & you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish & you feed him for a lifetime.  Congress parties program and policies like food security bill etc. make them dependent on the politicians so that they will permanently remain as their vote bank and this Nehru-Gandhi family can rule the country for few more decades. They have made the whole system of governance populist, so that uneducated/semi educated people only fall for populist slogans. This monster has been created in the minds of a generation of voters raised on expectations of government freebies. It is widely perceived by Congress party and it’s allies that providing individual benefits rather than benefits for a society, whole district, state or the country, is the surest way to win votes, especially of the poor. Such individual centric promises are a natural progression from their well-known practice of purchasing votes by allurements of liquor & cash. It seems through these speeches, Congress party is trying to unfold another low IQ emotional, sympathy plot to win the next General Election. Otherwise, it’s difficult to comprehend why they are allowing Rahul Gandhi to make such obviously juvenile speeches again and again.  Now, to cover up for the humongous mis-governance and corruption of the UPA Govt., Rahul Gandhi and Congress party is also taking help of blatant lies. The UPA Govt. through an affidavit in Supreme Court had admitted that NDA Govt in it’s six years of rule was far ahead in road construction and infrastructure development than the combined tenure of all the Congress Governments since independence. And as regard to his sermon on respect, citing his and his mother's behaviour – somebody should remind him of how he behaved with the Prime Minister of the country with his 'NONSENSE' press conference and how his mother behaved with late Prime Minister Narsimha Rao. How can a person born with a silver spoon understand what is “Gareebi” - a night in Jhopdi of a Dalit or a speech assuring a Kalavathi, never to remember her again doesn’t make him qualified to speak on behalf of the poor and downtrodden of this country. Can he answer, why his mother didn't cry when spectrum was looted during 2G scam or coal blocks were allotted arbitrarily to benefit his party and leaders coffers? Actually Congress party is the “Jupiter” and this nation and it’s people need Jupiter’s escape velocity to rid itself off, almost six decade old mis-governance and misery of the Congress party and it’s allies.

People have made up their mind whom to vote for in next election and sadly for Congress, young India understands Congress’s ploy better than the previous generations and it’s a much more smarter India now. There is no sympathy wave this time around on which Raul Gandhi and Congress can ride the Nehru-Gandhi dynasty to power again. This Nehru-Gandhi dynasty is the root cause of all problems plaguing India today and they have inflicted more harm than any other enemy to this nation. In our chequered history, we were always called upon to make a political choice between two contrasting characters - Nehru or Patel, Indira or Morarji, Rajiv or Pranab, Sonia or Rao, an unaccountable Sonia or an accountable Manmohan, were the earlier dilemmas and now Rahul or Modi would be the question before us in 2014 - but in the hindsight it appears that either having been emotionally swayed or for being politically naive we had always picked the wrong one. Jawaharlal Nehru came to power side lining Vallabhai Patel because of his proximity to Mahatma Gandhi. Had we made Patel the first Prime Minister after independence, we would have been living in a different and much better developed, inclusive, equal,  just societal, safer and stronger India today.  When Shastri died, Indira Gandhi was catapulted into the post of Prime Minister in spite of having better, more experienced and capable candidates like Morarji Desai due to sympathy of some Congress members towards the Nehru family and also a  thought  of some senior but jealous Congress members towards Morarji Desai that they could more easily control a lady they thought to be a “gungi gudiya” (dumb doll). But she consolidated her power and finally split the Congress party in 1969 and converted it into an extension of the whims & fancies and insecurities of a single individual and a family. Thus started an era and a culture of “chamchagiri” in the Congress party. What was loyalty to the party earlier became loyalty to an individual and a family, which Deva Kanta Baruah, President of Congress in the mid seventies summed up as “Indira is India and India is Indira”. The lack of governance, appeasement of a particular minority community,  license raj combined with “mai baap sarkar” policies, giving illusion to the people that the state would arrange everything for free is a gift of her style of governance as the Prime Minister. She destroyed every democratic institution in this country - she dismissed 59 elected governments in states which didn’t toe her line, imposed emergency to save her prime ministership, the bureaucracy & police lost their independence and became handmaidens of the executive. Even she damaged the judiciary and wanted faithful judges. For the first time in the country’s history, government machinery came to be used for political purpose of the ruling party. She effectively killed Indian democracy. Indira Gandhi converted the Indian National Congress into a family business by first bringing her son Sanjay and after his death, his elder brother Rajiv, who till then was almost settling abroad after marrying Italian Sonia Gandhi. And thus Rajiv Gandhi became the Prime Minister after Indira’s assassination in 1984 beating a more mature and experienced politician like Pranab Mukherjee and brought with him a scam culture where almost every scam since then has an uncanny ability to find an Italian connection – be it Bofors to HDW submarine to black money in Swiss bank to Augusta helicopter of 2013. When Rajiv Gandhi was killed by a Tamil human bomb in 1991, courtesy the sympathy votes her widowhood earned for her husband’s party, Sonia became the kingmaker and had allowed Narsimha Rao, the scholar, statesman politician to be the next prime Minister. But  as long as he was only loyal to Nehru-Gandhi family and not to his duties to the nation everything was going well. But as sycophancy is not a scholarly vice, Rao stopped bowing to Sonia’s dictate and started governing the country by taking grip of Congress party and the Government. Sonia waited to hit back and when Rao failed to lead the Congress back to power inspite of  India’s destiny changing economic reforms, she found support from enough Chamchas to  first oust Rao and then Sitaram Kesari, for her to take over the party reins in right earnest. Her vengeance was such that  when Rao died, Sonia had ensured that his cremation was never given the status of an ex-Prime Minister  and since then the Congress party forgets all contribution of Rao to this nation similar to what her mother-in-law Indira Gandhi did to Lal Bahadur Shastri. But alas, President Kalam stopped her from becoming Prime Minister in 2004 and as such she installed Manmohan Singh as the puppet Prime Minister, keeping all the control of the party and Government in her hands. Sonia’s thirst for power is such that she has installed herself as the Chief of the National Advisory Council, a non constitutional but all powerful body who alongwith a few of her sycophants decide  and instruct the  Govt., how to run this nation without any accountability. This has brought to this country the most corrupt, criminal and anti -national government since independence. And now when the writing is on the wall that people are fed up of this Govt. and sure to throw them out in the next election, the mother-son duo is trying all tricks to hoodwink the people to believe that the dynasty completely understands and sympathises with the social and economic problems plaguing the common men and not at all responsible for the mis-governance and corruption of the UPA Govt. They want people to believe that if elected again in 2014, Rahul Gandhi as Prime Minister will end all their miseries. Therefore, all these drama from Kalavathi to having food in Dalit’s home to nonsense ordinance to Jupiter’s escape velocity to mere paas maa hain speech - towards achieving this single objective to continue the rule of this Nehru-Gandhi dynasty. That someone as intellectually handicapped as Rahul Gandhi could become India’s Prime Minister and that some people who are members or beneficiaries of Congress party and it’s allies enthusiastically endorses his candidature is one of our many descents from the times of the iconic Gandhi to that of his surname hybrids. Apart from the fact of his birth in the Nehru-Gandhi family, how is he qualified to lead the Congress party let alone the nation, can’t be convincingly explained by any member or advocate of Congress party. Such demeaning flattery of someone who has so far failed to distinguish himself in any field of human activity, is a reflection of bankruptcy of the Congress culture. Rahul Gandhi’s father was PM, grandmother was PM, great grand father was also PM . Both larger (China) and smaller (Israel) countries have become far more develop than India and still this Ma Ma Mia is blaming opposition - what an irony !!
If only our “aam aadmi” are “alive” to the fact that this Nehru-Gandhi Dynasty has been the bane of our country and it took a “chaiwala” from Gujarat, who is a dalit and who doesn’t need Jupiter’s escape velocity, to give a clarion call for a Congress Free India, should be determined to write an epitaph about this dynasty by not only defeating Congress and it’s allies in 2014 general election but must also ensure that Congress is cut into pieces and never able to get  near power again. The ecosystem built around the Congress garbage truck is massive. Once the hydra's head is cutoff, the backs of each one of the corrupted institutions need to be broken and rebuilt. Voting out Congress in 2014 is only the beginning and not the end. Let Rahul Gandhi’s mother cry once more, when the common men of this nation throw UPA out of power in 2014.

Saturday, 12 October 2013

Mahatma Gandhi & Nobel Prize for Peace

Yesterday’s announcement of Nobel Peace Prize has once again sparked the controversy of not awarding the same to Mahatma Gandhi ever. This has been a constant source of unhappiness for us- Indians inclined to view Gandhi as by far the most deserving candidate of the 20th century. A lot of debate has taken place for his omission from this prestigious award. So, what were the reasons for Gandhi not been conferred with Nobel Peace Prize and do we – Indians really need to feel aggrieved and deprived for such an act?
Mahatma Gandhi was nominated for Nobel Peace Prize 5 times - in 1937, 1938, 1939, 1947 & 1948. But during the first 4 times, British Govt. pressurized the Norwegian Nobel Committee not to award it to Gandhi as that would be seen as accepting British occupation of India as illegal and  also led to many more colonies asking for independence from the domination of various European powers. Please remember, many other European countries had similar colonial history viz., France, Netherlands, Portugal, Spain etc. and as such it was more due to political and economic reason that he lost out. It is noteworthy to mention here that the Physics, Chemistry and Literature prizes are announced by the Swedish Royal Academy of Sciences and the prize for Medicine by the Karolinska Institute but the Peace prize is announced by a committee elected by the lower house of the Norwegian Storting (parliament). So, political consideration while deciding the Nobel Peace Prize winner can never be ruled out. However, racial reason was also another major factor for not conferring Nobel Peace Prize to Gandhi as till about 1960, this award was confined mostly to Europeans and Americans and that too members of Christian religion only. In 1948, before the awards were announced, Gandhi was assassinated and Nobel Prize was never conferred posthumously – that was the rule. According to the rule book in force that time Nobel Prize could be awarded posthumously provided the winner belongs to an organization or he/she had left behind a will declaring somebody as the heir for receiving monetary benefits or recognition etc. So he missed again and forever. But that year, nobody was awarded this prize on the grounds that "there was no suitable living candidate". This is a testimony to the fact that had he been alive, that year’s Nobel Peace prize would surely been conferred on Gandhi but on his death, the winners list was silently but respectfully left open. Many Nobel Laureates for Peace  have themselves agreed that Gandhi should have been honoured much before they were honoured. The Dalai Lama, in his acceptance speech in Oslo on 10th  Dec’1989, described himself as accepting the award “as a tribute to the man who founded the modern tradition of non-violent action for change, Mahatma Gandhi, whose life taught & inspired me.”  Again both Martin Luther King Jr.  and Nelson Mandela, have always acknowledged that whatever they learnt and did was by following Gandhi.
A feeling persisted among some of his critics in Europe that Gandhi was pre dominantly an Indian nationalist. So, a lack of appreciation among European politicians and institutions towards the struggle for freedom among non-European people was the primary reason for not conferring Nobel Peace prize to Mahatma Gandhi. One of the proof of such an attitude prevailing among the committee members can be found in the words of one of the committee's adviser, Professor Jacob Worm-Müller during 1930s. He wrote a report on Gandhi, wherein he said, "sharp turns in his policies, which can hardly be satisfactorily explained by his followers. He is a freedom fighter and a dictator, an idealist and a nationalist. He is frequently a Christ, but then  suddenly, an ordinary politician". Gandhi had many critics in the International Peace Movement dominated by European politicians and thinkers and the Nobel Committee during 1930s and 1940s maintained that Gandhi was not consistently pacifist and that he should have known that some of his non-violent campaigns towards the British would degenerate into violence and terror. For this they gave example of  Chauri Chaura, in the then United Provinces. During the first Non-Cooperation Campaign in 1920-21, a crowd here attacked a police station, killed many of the policemen and then set fire to the police station. Another frequent criticism from such thinkers was that Gandhi was too much of an Indian nationalist. In his report, Professor Worm-Müller expressed his doubts as to whether Gandhi's ideals were meant to be universal or primarily Indian,  "one might say that it is significant that his well-known struggle in South Africa was on behalf of the Indians only and not of the blacks whose living conditions were even worse". The Nobel Peace prize was never awarded to any freedom fighter for leading his country and people for any freedom movement. Gandhi was seen first and foremost as a patriot. In 1947, the committee members comprising of the Labour politician Martin Tranmael was very reluctant to award the Prize to Gandhi in the midst of the Indian-Pakistani conflict and former Foreign Minister Birger Braadland agreed with Tranmael. They cited a statement by Gandhi during one of his prayer-meeting to make their point in refusing Gandhi Nobel Peace prize which was laughable. Based on a telegram from Reuters, The Times, on September 27, 1947, under the headline "Mr. Gandhi on 'war' with Pakistan" reported, "Mr. Gandhi told his prayer meeting tonight that, though he had always opposed all warfare, if there was no other way of securing justice from Pakistan and if Pakistan persistently refused to see its proved error and continued to minimise it, the Indian Union Government would have to go to war against it. No one wanted war, but he could never advise anyone to put up with injustice. If all Hindus were annihilated for a just cause he would not mind. If there was war, the Hindus in Pakistan could not be fifth columnists. If their loyalty lay not with Pakistan they should leave it. Similarly Muslims whose loyalty was with Pakistan should not stay in the Indian Union". This statement they used to indicate that Gandhi  had given up his consistent rejection of war.  It’s ironical that the reasons cited for not conferring the award on Gandhi were the main deciding criteria while awarding the first ever Nobel Peace Prize outside the Euro-American politico-cultural sphere in 1960 and it was not a coincidence that the prize went to somebody who considered Gandhi as his mentor and inspiration.  Therefore, the 1960 Peace Prize, to Albert John Luthuli, former President of the African National Congress, who had long engaged in a peaceful struggle against apartheid, was a ground breaking one in the sense that the Committee had finally found a laureate outside the limits of western civilization.
But I feel, Gandhi is much nobler without a Nobel. Why should this be a matter of regret for us Indians  and why should we strive for such accolades? Anyone familiar with Gandhi’s life would recognize that Gandhi never cared for such forms of recognition and it is in the fitness of thinking that Gandhi, who left this world with very little on him, should have been unadorned by any titles, awards, formal designations and the likes. The Nobel Prize would have made Gandhi small- as the historian Jens Arup Seip, acting as the committee’s advisor in 1947 and 1948 said, that Gandhi had left such an immense ethical mark on the world that he could “only be compared to the founders of religions”. Considering that its recipients have included naked imperialists such as Theodore Roosevelt, self-avowed terrorist such as Menachem Begin and Henry Kissinger - the architect of the secret bombing of  Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos, Chile etc., it would be doing Gandhi a discredit to place him in that company.  Colonization of the mind is more far-reaching than economic colonialism or  political domination and one pervasive form of such colonization is the fact that we Indians, as well as other people in the “developing” world, continue to look to the West to validate our lives and recognize our works & achievements to make them more meaningful. Our obsession with the Nobel Peace Prize that was never conferred on Gandhi is not so much inspired by indignation that he was overlooked as by the feeling that we think of our lives as incomplete until we have been given proper recognition by the West.  Actually, we should be relieved that Gandhi was not given the Nobel Peace Prize and by this very act, the world has placed Mahatma Gandhi many steps higher than all the Nobel Peace Prize winners combined.
Is it also a co-incidence that Leo Tolstoy,  one of the greatest literary figure in the world, whom Mahatma Gandhi considered as his Guru for teaching him the ideals of non-violent resistance, had also never been recognized with Nobel Prize for Literature?