Monthly Archives: October 2012

Modi as Prime Minister?

If there is one politician who has the most dedicated and loyal fan base across the social media sphere, it has to be the Gujarat chief minister and a wannabe prime minister candidate of the BJP, Narendra Modi. One would hardly find anyone critical of his policies and personality on Facebook and Twitter. His speeches, his cartoons figures mocking the cartoons figures of other politicians are shared with pride by people.  As he gears up for his campaign for Gujarat elections and I presume he will win, given there is no one as charismatic as him in the Congress Party at his state, his next logical step after winning the elections would likely be establishing his candidature for the Prime Minister.

But I do have certain reservations on Modi being India’s Prime Minister. Given a chance, I’d rather prefer an incompetent and corrupt government in this country than to see Modi leading this country. Strange you might feel on my point of view. But let me justify my statement. Corruption leads to loss of money, whereas spreading hatred leads to loss of lives. Modi is too good in spreading communal hatred and god forbid if he becomes PM of India, he’ll get a chance to impact on national level .The better option would be a non-corrupt and efficient party which is very unlikely in the present circumstances.

My perception has nothing much to do with Godhra (even the congress regime had 1984 anti-Sikh riots) or his ideology. But it is more about his personality, his chilling ambitions and his style of functioning. His personality is that of an authoritarian and he rarely entertains contradictory views. Is there any other BJP leader from Gujarat whom you are aware of? His style may work in a smaller state but when it comes to national politics and the coalition era we have now with so many small political parties bargaining for policies favoring, authoritarianism does not have any space.

Modi does not entertain dissent coming in from the party members as well as government officials. If there is one word on the way of functioning of Modi, it would be fear. Fear to acquire votes, and fear to get his policies cleared off without any objection. The opening up of various criminal cases against civil servants who have spoken against his policies during godhra times and elsewhere is another such example of his arrogance.

I guess all of you might throw upon the example of development works in Gujarat being Modi’s strongest point. But Gujarat has always been a developed state. Business deals and profit-making runs in the veins of the Gujarati people. So with or without Modi, Gujarat would have been a prosperous state. On the contrary, according to the third National Family Health Survey over 41 percent of Gujarati children less than three years of age are underweight, which is worse than the national average. Over 55 percent of Gujarati women in the 15-45 age group are anemic. Among the industrial states with a high per capita income in India, Gujarat ranks pretty low on health and nutrition.

There is this perception that the two faces of Narendra Modi, i.e being an able administrator and a religious chauvinist are orthogonal to each other. My perception is they both not only share a close relationship but are needed for his existences. Together they form the core of a programme in which one becomes a prerequisite for the other.

As for his tough image, I believe we do not actually need tough leaders but we need leaders with a heart and a brain. Modi has a brain, a poisoned one. Manmohan Singh has both but unfortunately he lets the high command of his party use it more than he does.

I don’t have many problems with Modi continuing as Gujarat CM for many more years to come. But his entry into national platform should be forbidden. This looks easier if we consider the present political structure of the National Democratic Alliance(NDA). A lot of allies of the BJP in the National Democratic Alliance(NDA) have certain reservations on Modi as PM candidate and  BJP getting a full majority in the next general elections is very difficult.

I know I am in a minority blogger (all surveys indicate that urban Indians prefer Modi as PM, thanks to all the scams of the government we have in power today). People are fed up with United Progressive Alliance’s (UPA’s) corruption. Even I want them out of power. But, will the alternative be any different?

Imagining a World – The John Lennon Way

There is a reason that the Beatles is the most celebrated band in the world. Apart from the fabulous music they created, they were blessed with two of the best songwriters that got them so many numerous hits – the duo of John Lennon and Sir Paul McCartney. Even after the breaking up of the Beatles, John and Paul separately continued to make some great numbers. This post is about John Lennon, or rather, one of the songs by John Lennon.

I do not have a particularly good ear for rock music (apart from a few exceptions). What I like songs with good lyrics. While I was watching the closing ceremony of the London Olympic Games 2012, I stumbled upon one such song. The music was slow and soothing and hence, it was easy to focus upon the lyrics. I liked the song immediately. The song was ‘Imagine’ by John Lennon.  Many of you might be aware of the song. For those of you who are not, thought I might share the same with all of you.

The lyrics go like this …

Imagine there’s no heaven
It’s easy if you try
No hell below us
Above us only sky
Imagine all the people living for today

Imagine there’s no countries
It isn’t hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion too
Imagine all the people living life in peace

You, you may say
I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one
I hope someday you’ll join us
And the world will be as one

Imagine no possessions
I wonder if you can
No need for greed or hunger
A brotherhood of man
Imagine all the people sharing all the world

You, you may say
I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one
I hope someday you’ll join us
And the world will live as one

The lyrics of the song were by far one of the best I’ve ever known. The hidden message of living in harmony and unison with each other, breaking the shackles of gender, class, culture, country, and religion is a tough thing to imagine. John Lennon imagined that. In an era where everyone cares about is my country – my life, he gave the symbol of one world – one dream.  The song is like selfless wish list of a child at Christmas. A perfect vision of a peaceful world. Truly only a dreamer could come up with such a creation.

If there is one song that I would like my kids to hear and learn as soon as they are old enough to understand the lyrics, it would be ‘imagine’. Thank You John for giving a wonderful philosophy and I wish someday the dream of the world you gave will be realized.

Oh, I actually forgot to mention the reason I wrote this blog today.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY JOHN!! You are being missed!

For the video of the song, see on the link below!  🙂
Imagine – John Lennon – London 2012 Closing Ceremony

Oye chotu ….

Very often in our day to day life, we get a chance to fall upon a person we know and call as chotu. We can find him at a roadside dhaba serving hot tea and washing plates, or at a cycle shop repairing the punctures of our vehicles, or near a bus stop selling balloons. I had a chance to stumble upon one such chotu, the same day when I went to a nearby village for my photojournalism assignment. I inquired him about his name, work, on whether he studies. He replied that he stopped his studies about 2 years back and since then has been working at the cycle repair shop.

I decided to look into issue of these chotus in more detail. Upon some basic research, I learned that the government of India in the year of our lord 2009 passed a bill which grants right to free and compulsory education to every single child in the country. There is another law which prohibits child labor. It states that children below the age of 14 should not be indulged in any hazardous physical work. There are some other provisions too, such as the mid-day meal scheme to provide an incentive to the children to go to school.

Inspite of all these measures, it has been estimated that about 12.6 million children (2001 census) in India are indulged in one or the other forms of child labor. The reasons might be plenty, there were no schools, there were schools but no teachers, the children were forced to work by their parents, they worked because they wanted cheap and easy source of making money and so on.

But the consequence of all these reasons is that without proper education and guidance, chotu has a very bleak future in this competitive world. The only option chotu will have after getting older is to continue the work in a similar field that he has been doing. Without skills such as English literacy and technical aptitude, securing higher skilled jobs is impossible and coming out of poverty would remain a distant dream.

To keep an economy prospering, a vital criteria is to have an educated workforce equipped with relevant skills for the needs of the industries. The young laborers today, will be part of India’s human capital tomorrow. Child labor undoubtedly results in a trade-off with human capital accumulation.

I believe India will truly be a developed country when we wouldn’t find chotus in the dhabas, cycle repair shops or bus stops but they would be in a place that would make them able to live a life of their choice. A place where these kids get an opportunity to develop physically, intellectually, emotionally and psychologically. A place called SCHOOL.

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