Friday, November 23, 2012

Tragedy is when the Government mocks the very institutions that are created to help it 'Govern'

"Mr. CAG, where is the Rs. 1,76,000 Crore?" taunted Manish Tiwari who is recently promoted to head the Information and Broadcasting Ministry. He's the same Manish Tiwari who said, "Anna is deep into corruption from head to toe!" during the first wave of anti-corruption movement started by erstwhile Team Anna; a comment for which he had to apologize later.

Today, the bigwigs of Government are questioning the reports and findings of CAG, an authority established by the Constitution of India, which the Government is supposed to protect and execute. The institutions like CAG are given such stature and authority so that they can ensure smooth functioning of the Government, but at the same time, warn the Government if there is any discrepancy in it's actions.

CAG performed the same duty when it exposed the various scams like CWG, 2G and Coal Mining. But it seems like the Government is over-loaded with it's self pride and esteem that it cannot accept anyone pointing fingers at it's functioning, even the institutions enacted by the very constitution it is there to serve.

Image courtesy to the original creator

Isn't it like cutting the very branch you are sitting on? Isn't it un-constitutional? Not only CAG, present Government has also commented on the decisions and the advices of the Supreme Court in past, asking it not to interfere in the working of executive. Couple of days back, the Supreme Court slamed Government for being casual on the 2G auctions. Many believe and it is quite clear that it is a deliberate attempt by the Government to purposefully fail the 2G auction to save it's face and undermine CAG.

The incidents like these exposes the actions and the way of thinking of people who are actually unfit to govern the Nation. Not all of them are corrupt, but we have to observe the play and ensure that the people with incorrect mindset, wrong intentions and who are incapable of taking India to next level should not be sitting in the temple of democracy we call The Parliament.

The constitution is made to serve the nation and to serve us, and like Government and the politicians, we the people of India also have a duty towards it.

Jai Hind!

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Why the flag of Indian Navy still reminds us of our colonial past?

Have you noticed the Flag of Indian Navy (Indian Naval Ensign)? See it below and you will notice that it's another souvenir that the British left for us. The Red Cross having National Emblem at it's center and Indian flag at the top right corner resembles the Royal Navy's Ensign in every way. Doesn't it rings question in your mind that why are we still bearing the burden of our past? I've got few of the answers for you!

Left: Indian Navy Ensign | Right: Royal Navy Ensign

Navy's present ensign does has a little history attached to it. Indian Navy Flag was first displayed in 1950 which was same as the present flag minus the Emblem at the center. Which means they just replaced the Union Jack with the Indian National Flag. 

Thankfully, we are not the only ones since then, having this burning question in our minds that why did nobody thought of removing the British heritage (red cross) from it? The question must have aroused which finally led to a change in 2001. From 15th August 2001, a new ensign was introduced which was not having the Red Cross; instead it had a blue coloured Crest of Indian Navy at it's bottom right (pic below).

Indian Naval Ensign from 2001 to 2004

But soon it was noticed that the design has a flaw as the blue color of the crest is getting visibly submerged in the blues of the ocean and the sky which made the flag hard to spot from a distance. This led to another change in the design but what's surprising this time was that the thinkers of then brought back the Red Cross in the design and just Indianized it by putting our National Emblem at the middle. 

This new flag is the official Naval Ensign of India since 25th April 2004 till present day. I found two news articles from 2004 stating the change. You can read them here and here.

The whole point of raising this issue is the feeling that we have when we see the present Navy Flag. It reminds us, in bold letters, of our not-so-glorious colonial past! My question is that, if you really had to change the design of the ensign in 2004 because of the technical flaws, why did you go back to the old one making the whole story meaningless? It's like admitting a mistake committed in 2001 when the ensign was changed for the first time since independence. It's like sending out a message that you are very proud of your colonial past and you cannot let the memories of it fade away!

Were we so deprived of good designers at that time or nobody actually took the pain of being creative? Apart from the Navy, the flags of the other entities of the Indian Armed Forces are also very basic with minimal design (though they do not carry colonial memories). A good way to get a good design is to outsource it to the Indian public, like what they did with the Rupee Symbol and couple of other things. It really works and proves that a billion strong India cannot be short of talent in any walk of life, it's just about putting the right talent at right place!

Jai Hind!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Mango People in Banana Republic: A psychological analysis!

Mr. Vadra's infamous five-word sentence did cost him his Facebook account! He must be hoping if undoing the DLF affairs could be so simple as deleting the FB account! But the point is whether he really wants to undo it? Is he thinking of it as a bad dream from which he wants to wake up as soon as possible or are these just few dark moments in his otherwise sunny life? If we sit back and do a little psychological analysis on that fruity phrase he said, we would feel that Mr. Vadra is not on the same page as his fellow congressmen on this matter.

If he were, then why would he make mockery of an issue which has already set every senior congressmen's back on fire? When you are the glowing face of every news channel on National Television, and when every media person is trying to get your word on the issue, even a naive person would think 10 times before saying anything that could be taken against him; silly humour being the last thing amongst it!

Image courtesy: to it's original publishers.

Then why on earth he did it? Maybe it's just one stupid little mistake he made but even mistakes are not made out of vacuum. It's probably the over confidence and lack of fear gripping the first son-in-law of the country that is making him feel above the "mango" people and out of reach to the laws of his "banana" republic! And I am damn sure he never wikied the term banana republic, the first few lines of which I will leave you readers with...

banana republic is a politically unstable country that economically depends upon the exports of a limited resource and usually features a society composed of stratified social classes, such as a great, impoverished working class and a ruling plutocracy, composed of the élites of business, politics, and the military.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

India’s T20 World Cup ouster: Did they try hard enough?

Yes, I am disappointed like we all are by the fact that we are no longer in the contention of that World Cup Trophy, but what’s more heart breaking is the way it happened.

I’ll put simple facts here. Dhoni said in the presentation that we missed some opportunities to score more runs but I say that the real opportunity missed was during the second half of the match.

We did quite well to take early wickets but when the South Africans tried to stabilize and were nearing hundred, no special effort was seen on Dhoni’s part to stop those easy flowing singles. Those runs really took the chance away from us. While the commentators kept on saying that he should bring more fielders into the ring, nothing of that sort was going into Dhoni’s mind.

It was make or break time. We were all clear while watching the match that India should play for qualification. A victory without that is of no significance. If you have seen those overs when South Africa was nearing their hundred, you will agree that it did not seem like India was playing with the target of 121 in mind.

Now, this world cup journey might very well look close to satisfactory on papers, as we only lost to Australia and it required a bit of luck to enter the semis, but those who have witnessed the live action would know that more could have done.

Now, Dhoni always has his excuses with him. Right after he lost the toss, he said he would have also fielded first as it’s good to have a target in front for the qualification perspective. That’s correct but that does not mean it’s the only way out. The aim was to achieve the target, which today was to qualify for semis, not just to give a decent performance.
We live the game here in India; it’s not taken as just a sport here. The fans, even today, modify their ongoing routine to watch India play and while doing that they do not expect anything less than 100% from the team. Those who say, “it’s just a sport”, should keep this in mind.

I hope the Indian captain will understand it soon enough and he’ll stop thinking that “enjoying in the field irrespective of win or loss” is enough!

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Hanging out with Narendra Modi

I have heard a lot about Narendra Modi, the bad things and the good things; about Godhra and about Governance; of culpability and of capabilities.. the list is long! In today's time, when everyone around you is pushing you to make an opinion about things favourable to them, the better way is to experience and observe things on your own before falling for any fallacy. 

Such was a chance when I got to know that Mr. Modi is doing Google+ Hangout! The news was exciting in itself at the times when the Government is blocking file sharing websites and monitoring social networks; here is a politician on the contrary who is trying to tread upstream!

When I joined the live telecast, it was more than half over. I watched the remaining live telecast first and then went through the recording of what I missed. I must admit that I was amazed at the variety of topics that were touched and the manner in which they were responded by Mr. Modi.

He started off his address after Ajay Devgan gave small intro about the hangout session. The program was portrayed as a part of Swami Vivekanand's 150th Birth Anniversary Celebrations and in is inaugural segment of speech, Mr. Modi remembered Vivekanand and his dreams of making India a global power. I like the way he dreams big!

दर्द एक बहुत बड़ी शक्ति है...
(Pain is great power)
When a person talked about how China has surged ahead of India in the first decade of the 21st century which belongs to countries like India and China, Mr. Modi welcomed the pain portrayed by the asker and said that this pain which we Indians have in our heart (that is: why the country is not progressing) is the real power which will help us progress.

In the same question, he talkes about how India is considered as the land of knowledge and wisdom since ancient time and reminds that the present age is again Information Age and India will definitely show it's supremacy again and will work in the direction of vishva kalyan (betterment of the world).

I would like to stress upon the Indian values highlighted by Mr. Modi, which not just talks about betterment of oneself (common western thinking) but for all. It's music to the ears when a leader gives importance to our culture and values.

He talkes about IT revolution in India which projected India as a global force in the world stage and that feast was mainly achieved by the youth which forms the major part of Indian population at present. He reiterates the importance of channelising the youth force that the country has in abundance.

Indian Institute of Teachers Education
He informs about a new initiative that Gujrat has taken to produce a pool of teachers on the lines of IIMs and IITs with the vision of producing quality teachers which will attract big universities and educational institutions around the world. He also tells that when Indian teachers will teach in universities all over the world, they will also take with them the Indian values and culture and will spread that in the world. This knowledge will in turn benefit the world as a whole.

Image courtesy -

Secularism means India First
When hit upon by a question on secularism, he says that his definition of secularism says  "keep India first". The thought feels right even in the present context. In a country having number of religions and casts, what can keep us united is the thought of keeping the nation above our religion. The thought may feel inconceivable to few but it makes complete sense.
He talks about how Indian culture is secular at it's very roots. How it teaches us to think of everyone before 'us'. How it aims for Vasudev Kutumbakam and urges us to work in that direction. He says, if anybody tries to teach secularism to our country which has such cultural and moral values, it is a pure insult for us. He also says that the vote bank politics has endangered the threads of secularism in the country and the day when it will end, the world will see and understand the secularism of India.

राजनीति मक्खन पे लकीर करने वाला काम नहीं है , पत्थर पे लकीर करने वाला काम है
(Politics is not about making an impression on butter but to make a impression on a stone)
When asked about the distance of Indian youth from politics, he says that politics is not bad in itself and urges youth to come forward and join politics. But he advice that don't come into politics with the motive of becoming someone; rather come into politics to do something. Something for the society and for the people; to bring a change. If you will be able to do that, probably the public will also make you somebody. That very well reiterates the visdom of Geeta which says "कर्म कर, फल की इच्छा मत कर"! (Do your work without thinking of rewards)
I particularly like the thought which I will rewrite in Hindi, 
"बनने के सपने देख करके राजनीती में नहीं आना चाहिए, कुछ करने के सपने देख करके राजनीती में आना चाहिए. मैं भरोसा देता हूँ, आप कर भी पाएंगे और हो सकता है जनता आपको भी कुछ बना कर रहे."

आत्मा  गाँव की बनी रहे और सुविधा शहर की विक्सित हो
(Soul should be of village with the facilities of a city)
Mr. Modi talks about "rurban" concept which is the combination of rural and urban development. While replying to a question about urbanisation, he boasts of 17 thousand odd villages in the state with 24 X 7 power supply and broadband connectivity. While replying to the same question he also talks about beautiful vision of healthy competition between various districts and states of the country which will put them into expressway of growth. 

Pro-people Pro-active Good Governance (P2G2)
Mind the important lines, "सरकार का काम Fire-Station की तरह, Fire-Brigade की तरह कही आग लगी और जा कर के बुझाना नहीं है, सरकार का काम है advance में चीज़ों को समझना, advance में चीज़ों को अनुमान लगाना और उसकी व्यवस्था को करना "
(Duty of the Government is not to do the fire fighting once something goes wrong, but to understand and analyse things well in advance and prepare for that)

भारत इतना सम्रद्ध हो की अमरीकी लाइन लगाकर भारत का वीज़ा मांगे
(India reaches to a level where Americans stand in a queue to get Indian visa)
While answering a question from an NRI on visa, he said, he dreams of such an developed India, to visit which Americans will have to stand in a visa queue. Mr. Modi was earlier denied visa on communal grounds and for ordinary Indians as well, going to US for work or even for study is no easy task these days.

मेरा गुजरात भारत की सेवा में पूरी तरह कोशिश कर रहा है
(Gujrat is putting it's best foot forward in the duty of the nation)
... are few words which he speaks next in the above context. I want to highlight these with reference to the leaders like Raj and Bal Thakre in Maharashtra who cannot see beyond their backyard. I pity those leaders of states who consider their state bigger than the country and try to build a vote bank on such basis. They are like frogs who cannot see out of their well.
विश्व भर में फैले हुए भारतीय समाज को भारत की शक्ति का एक हिस्सा मानना चाहिए और हमारी सारी भारत की विकास की व्यूहरचना में उन शक्तियों को जोड़ना चाहिए ! (We should consider the Indian diaspora spread all over the world as power to the nation and should include them in the development plans)

भारत बहुरत्न वसुंधरा है
(India is a land of multiple-talent)
A university student asked question on brain-drain to which Mr. Modi presented a different opinion. He said India is never deprived of talent and intellect and he presented his views in such a wonderful way that I urge the readers of this post to hear them in the video enclosed with this post (at 46:00). He says that it's good that Indians go around the world and glorify the nation they belong to by their intellect and talent. We don't need to be defensive in this case. India has a lot to give to the world. Why should we become so narrow in thought and approach that talent should not go out of India. He talks about world as a family which is well written and stressed in our sacred texts. Loved to hear this perception.

The later half of the hangout, new set of people joined in and asked their questions. Mr. Modi talked about the situation of black money and why it should be brought back. He talked about how Gujrat managed simultaneous growth in industrial as well as agricultural sector. He explains how the change in agriculture has been brought by listing the measures his regime took in the past years. He also talked about his habit of sleeping less and how he manages to keep the energy levels up by practising yoga and meditation.

Gujratis are best tourists but Gujrat was never a tourist destination
He highlighted the contribution of Amitabh Bachhan as a ambassador for tourism in Gujrat and how he worked for it without charging a single penny. He told that tourism is given a priority in the state and many new tourist destination are being developed and new possibilities are being explored.

Change in mindset is required
"People who say it cannot be done should not interrupt those who are doing it".  Such sentiments were portrayed by Mr. Modi in the answer to the next question which I can relate to everyday tea time chat with colleagues, few of which keep saying phrases like "sab chor hai" (everybody is fraud), "kuch ni ho sakta" (nothing can be done) etc. He said those kind of people who have such a negetive mindset cannot contribute anything and a vision and conviction is required to tread the path of growth.

When more than half of the Nation was in darkness, Gujrat was generating surplus power
I happened to be in Rajasthan when the in-famous dual black-out occurred in the country due to the failure of Northern and Eastern Grids. Though it didn't effect the health of the Nation much as the power backup infrastructure is already in place at the unit level, thanks to the frequent power cuts and the electricity shortage we have; still it made headlines even in the international media who took it way too seriously!
I heard it back then as well that Gujrat is only state in northern India which was entirely unaffected by the major power crises and the news was definitely impressive. In the hangout, Mr. Modi informed about the solar power projects he has started (despite having enough power), one among which includes covering of canals with solar panes (which already made news)! He was correct when he mentioned that it is necessary to explore the alternative power sources other than coal, on which Indian power sector is largely dependent.

When I think of the hangout as a whole, it sometimes gave me feel that it is scripted which means that the questions and answers were pre-planned. Though the thought is debatable even inside my mind, and even if it is the truth and the purpose of the hangout is to advertise the vision of Mr. Modi, I must admit that I am highly impressed with his vision and thoughts. And if he is doing what he claims to do and does what he envisions, in future, I can definitely say that the country (or at least a state of it) is heading in the right direction.

In the end, I will leave the readers with the couple of lines that "Mr. Modi" said while answering the last question of the hangout!

बनने के सपने कभी मत देखो, कुछ करने के सपने देखो, करते करते बहुत कुछ बन जाओगे!! (Don't dream to become someone, only dream of doing something good. You'll automatically reach the heights in the process.)

आज गुजरात की जनता ने मुझे जो जिम्मेदारी दी है, उसी जिम्मेदारी से मैं ऐसा काम करके दिखाना चाहता हूँ ताकि मेरे देश में एक विश्वास पैदा हो कि हमारा देश भी बहुत कुछ कर सकता है! (People of Gujrat has given me a responsibility. I want to use that in doing such work for the state that generates a positive belief in Nation in the direction of growth).