Friday, April 25, 2014

Wikileaks, Subramanian Swamy and the Truth


25th April 2014, 12:56 AM IST a very controversial tweet was posted in the micro-blogging site twitter.com by the notorious @wikileaks


This tweet created an uproar among the websites twitter users with various hash tags like #SwamyLeaks, #TraitorSwamy and #Swaymy420 trending high. So I thought of checking what lies within. Internet is really a superb tool. It really let you dig out the dead.

Now if you look closely at the tweet, there is a small link to it. This link will give the actual cable sent. Which, I think most tweepls forgot to check before trending hashtags.



Date on which cable sent: 3rd February 1977.

Period of Emergency: 25th June 1975 – 21st March 1977

This cable was hence sent during the emergency times.  As it is known to all, that during this “emergency period” Indira Gandhi the then prime minister ruled with no opposition role. And as Mr. Subramanian Swamy was a member of the opposition party Jansangh, I don’t see any way in which he would have any robust information on Indira’s plans.

Now to quote the content of the cable:
1. SEVERAL REPORTS SUGGESTING THE PRIME MINISTER MAY BE IN ILL HEALTH HAVE COME TO THE DEPARTMENT'S ATTENTION IN RECENT DAYS. IT HAS BEEN REPORTED JAGJIVAN RAM WISHED HER A QTE SPEEDY RECOVERY UNQTE IN HIS LETTER OF RESIGNATION. AN AFP REPORT FROM DELHI FEBRUARY 2 CITES AN INFORMED INDIAN SOURCE TO EFFECT SHE IS IN POOR HEALTH. HOWEVER THOSE CLOSE TO HER ARE ALSO REPORTED BY AFP AS EXPLAINING THAT SHE IS QTE SLIGHTLY INDISPOSED UNQTE. A FURTHER REPORT FROM DELHI INDICATES SHE LOOKED TIRED AND DRAWN IN RESPONDING TO JAGJIVAN RAM'S ANNOUNCEMENT. SUBRAMANIAN SWAMY SUGGESTED TO DEPARTMENT OFFICER TEN DAYS AGO THAT HE HEARD MRS. GANDHI WAS PROMPTED TO SET THE MARCH ELECTION DATE BECAUSE SHE WANTED TO SQUARE THINGS AWAY IN VIEW OF HER QTE FAILING HEALTH UNQTE. NEWSWEEK HAS A STORY SHE HAS TERMINAL CANCER AND THE SURPRISE ELECTION CALL WAS A WAY TO ASSURE THE QUICK SUCCESSION OF SANJAY IN THE NEXT 60-90 DAYS.
CONFIDENTIAL
CONFIDENTIAL
PAGE 02 STATE 024965
2. ANY LIGHT EMBASSY CAN SHED ON THESE REPORTS WOULD BE APPRECIATED. WOULD PRESIDENT AHMED BE EMBARKING ON A TEN-DAY VISIT ABROAD FEBRUARY 6 IF THE REPORTS WERE ACCURATE? ALL OF THIS SOUNDS LIKE OPPOSITION WISHFUL
THINKING BUT THERE IS ENOUGH SMOKE TO WARRANT
YOUR COMMENT.
VANCE CONFIDENTIAL
NNN
*** Current Handling Restrictions *** n/a
*** Current Classification ***
CONFIDENTIAL

Now if you look closely at the statement of regarding Swamy
SUBRAMANIAN SWAMY SUGGESTED TO DEPARTMENT OFFICER TEN DAYS AGO THAT HE HEARD MRS. GANDHI WAS PROMPTED TO SET THE MARCH ELECTION DATE BECAUSE SHE WANTED TO SQUARE THINGS AWAY IN VIEW OF HER QTE FAILING HEALTH UNQTE.

Co-incidentally ten days before this cable that is on 23rd January 1977 Mrs. Gandhi had herself announced  that fresh election would be held in March that year. So there is actually nothing political that Mr. Swamy shared with US which they already did not know.   

Now again if we look at the first few lines of cable
SEVERAL REPORTS SUGGESTING THE PRIME MINISTER MAY BE IN ILL HEALTH HAVE COME TO THE DEPARTMENT'S ATTENTION IN RECENT DAYS. IT HAS BEEN REPORTED JAGJIVAN RAM WISHED HER A QTE SPEEDY RECOVERY UNQTE IN HIS LETTER OF RESIGNATION. AN AFP REPORT FROM DELHI FEBRUARY 2 CITES AN INFORMED INDIAN SOURCE TO EFFECT SHE IS IN POOR HEALTH. HOWEVER THOSE CLOSE TO HER ARE ALSO REPORTED BY AFP AS EXPLAINING THAT SHE IS QTE SLIGHTLY INDISPOSED UNQTE. A FURTHER REPORT FROM DELHI INDICATES SHE LOOKED TIRED AND DRAWN IN RESPONDING TO JAGJIVAN RAM'S ANNOUNCEMENT.
Further
NEWSWEEK HAS A STORY SHE HAS TERMINAL CANCER AND THE SURPRISE ELECTION CALL WAS A WAY TO ASSURE THE QUICK SUCCESSION OF SANJAY IN THE NEXT 60-90 DAYS.
 This shows again that Mr. Swamy did not pass any health intelligence about Mrs. Gandhi to the US which they or the rest of the world did not know. They already had reports for this information.


What importance does Dr. Swamys statement really have in this context. I believe none. It is just a third person hearsay of a casual discussion, relating information which everyone knew. I feel that this statement 
Subramanian Swamy gave US political inteligence on Indira Gandhi's election strategy, health
is suspicious, questionable and may be politically motivated at times of the Lok Sabha Election -2014

I would also like to pass on a message to the Indian politically aware tweepls.

First of all, please don’t let foreign nationalists and nations decide the course of Indian politics. Our freedom fighters did not die to see this day. 

Secondly, I know Dr. Swamy is a member of the opposition party for congress supporters and supporters of the new party who love to do dharna. But please check you facts before posting anything. 

And finally there is another cable I would like to mention here about Dr. Subramanian Swamy.
He is also an ultranationalist. His xenophobic writings and speeches before the Emergency did not exclude the US. Swamy was the MP who broke open the ‘Migratory Bird’ controversy in Parliament in 1974. He spoke out against US and has been a longtime advocate of India going nuclear.
Note: The views here are personal. If you have any differences dialogue is the best way to resolve.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Reply to Dr. Frazer Mascarenhas S.J., Principal, St. Xavier’s College, Mumbai.

Letter by Dr.  Frazer Mascarenhas S.J., Principal, St. Xavier’s College, Mumbai. can be found here

 Dr. Frazer Mascarenhas S.J.



To,
Dr. Frazer Mascarenhas S.J.,
Principal,
St. Xavier’s College, Mumbai.

Sir,
Sub: Reply to your letter to all your alumni and students regarding the 2014 polls.

It is great to know that as per the EC’s request you have tried to motivate the students of your college to vote. But I regret to say that your mail seemed more of a bashing up of a particular political party than a motivational mail.

It really pains me that I have to reply to a highly qualified person like you but regrettably I think you missed out a point or two and exaggerated a point or two. Fortunately or unfortunately the constitution of India also provides me with the same freedom of expression so I am putting up where I defer with you in here. I have no intention to offend the principal of the highly reputed St. Xaviers, Mumbai with an alumnus of India’s most powerful people but it is necessary to clear some points.

You have correctly identified that this election has put up a very interesting discussions on public forum with special consideration of the Gujrat model. I think you have got a wrong impression that the projected Gujrat model has brought Gujrat at top in all aspect among the states of India. Here Sir, I would like to correct you. The projected Gujrat model speaks of its own development compared to what it was 10 years back to now. Although in this endeavor it has created some milestones for other states to see.

You sir have apparently also forgot to mention other models that are being talked about. Bengal model, Tamil Nadu model and Assam model to name a few. Here you may argue that Modi as chief minister of Gujrat is fore runner of the top post. But then sir you should also inform your student of a possible third front.  And also consider these models.

Sir, you talked about high dropout rates in the last 10 years in Gujrat. But you forgot to mention numbers - in 2002-03 Gujrat had a dropout rate of 45.48 but in 2012-13 it fell down to 7.08 (Class I-VII). A drastic improvement I believe. Also you forgot to mention a 10% increase in literacy 3, increase in enrolment ratio 4 and an exponential increase in number of secondary schools 5. Sir you also forgot to mention state programs like Kanya Kelavani, Shala praveshotsav and The chief Ministers Scholarship Program. In the higher education sector in the last 10 years 11 new universities and 400 new colleges have come up5. However sir, you seem to be offended on education in Gujrat because your institute did not get an easy entry into the state. I can’t comment much on it because I don’t have much knowledge about it.

Sir on the issue of tribal claims the Gujarat government had clarified even before the union government report with the statistics you provided was released. They had used four-layered superimposed digitized maps and satellite imagery along with GPS-based personal digital assistant (PDA) maps to settle claims. But unfortunately most claims were found to be false.6

Sir, when you mention Gujrat wouldn’t it be fair to also mention 24 hour electricity, Women Safety, Ambulance services, Water Management, Judicial Courts, no communal violence in 12 years, GDP and many more feathers to their cap.

Sir you seemed to commend the effort for “food security bill” and also evoked social scientists like Amartya Sen and Jean Dreze for it. Sir for your knowledge I would like to point out that Jean Dreze being one of the architect and Dr. Sen being his associate had no chance of opposing the bill. But sir maybe you forgot to mention the downsides of the bill the loss to the government, increase in inflation, shift in focus of agriculture production from actual demand, loss of private investment in agriculture field and most importantly the loss of initiative for an individual to work for excellence. Sir, you should also read Vivek Kaul and S. Bhalla on this issue. Maybe then even you may consider it an “election sop”.

Right to Information which is a modified version of “Freedom of Information Act 2002” has been rightly told by you to have been initiated and sustained by social activists. But naming just two of them will be a highly disregard to the rest.


Again Sir you tell that “A massive investment in health and education is sorely needed in our country of widening disparities and those who support big business and its unethical profits will never agree to such public expenditure for the masses”. Here sir I would like to get your attention to a fine example – Gujarat. I hope you don’t have any doubts about their support to big business houses. In the last budget of Gujarat a sum of Rs. 3850 crore was allocated for education (An increase of Rs. 1150 crore from previous year).7 This very state which already has 25% reservation for Economically Weaker Section in private unaided schools as per RTE has recommended to increase the number of seats nearly four folds (5,300 to 18,300 seats)8. In the health sector Gujarat has increased the fund by 24.18% (Total of Rs. 3800 crore) in this budget session.7

Sir, at the end of your mail you have told that “The prospect of an alliance of corporate capital and communal forces coming to power constitutes a real threat to the future of our secular democracy”.

Sir, of what little understanding I have, any corporate alliance with any government may it be secular or communal will be detrimental to the nation. Fine examples lies in the numerous scams like 2G, CWG, CoalGate etc. where so called a “secular government” acted for undue profits of corporates.

Apologetically Sir, please also take the pain to clarify if a so called secular party to woo voters of a specific community indulges in appeasement policies do you call it communal? Do you justify such act? If no, then regretfully I found no mention of it in your letter as this is a major issue affecting every Indian.  
Sir when you say to Support people who pledge to commit themselves to a pluralistic culture in diverse India do you think that it can be achieved by creating divisions among Indians. If No then sir why do we have minority institutes which give reservations to minorities? If such institutes admitted only on basis of merit then the institute would be supporting “pluralistic culture in diverse India”. Sir, is this not hypocrisy?

Sir, lastly I would also like to ask you that will you not ask your students to think about Inflation, Taxes, Internal Security, Foreign Policies, Women Safety, and tons of other issues before they go to vote. Is their vote only meant to get pseudo-seculars to power?

I hope Sir that I have not offended you with this letter as you and your students claim that your institute promotes debate and open thinking. And Sir, please if you really want to write a motivational letter for debate please do it with a neutral stand.

Thanking You.

Yours Truly
Dr. Ankit Agarwal.


References
1.       Enrolment and Drop Out Rate in Schools, Press Information Bureau, GoI http://pib.nic.in/newsite/erelease.aspx?relid=35612
2.       Despite high claims, dropout ratio in primary schools of Gujarat 7% , Times of India http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/ahmedabad/Despite-high-claims-dropout-ratio-in-primary-schools-of-Gujarat-7/articleshow/19130590.cms
3.       Gujarat's literacy rate rises by over 10%, Times of India http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/ahmedabad/Gujarats-literacy-rate-rises-by-over-10/articleshow/7838368.cms
5.       A sea change in education sector, The Hindu Business Line http://www.thehindubusinessline.com/features/a-sea-change-in-education-sector/article4746924.ece
7.       Government of Gujarat , Highlights of Budget 2013-14 http://financedepartment.gujarat.gov.in/budget13_14_pdf/Highlight_of_the_Budget_English.pdf
8.       Govt increases reserved seats for poor kids in pvt schools, Indian Express http://indianexpress.com/article/cities/ahmedabad/govt-increases-reserved-seats-for-poor-kids-in-pvt-schools/


Note: All views here are personal. If you have any difference then dialogue is the best way. 

Hope Dr. Frazer Mascarenhas S.J. does get to read this.

Letter by Dr.  Frazer Mascarenhas S.J., Principal, St. Xavier’s College, Mumbai. can be found here

Letter by Dr. Frazer Mascarenhas S.J., Principal of St. Xavier, Mumbai to his students

Reply to this letter can be found here



The approaching elections have brought an interesting discussion to the public forum on what constitutes human development and how it is to be achieved. The Gujarat model has been highlighted for our consideration. That is very apt because it puts in stark contrast two current views. Is the growth of big business, the making of huge profits, the achievement of high production – what we seek? Or is it the quality of life for the majority in terms of affordable basic goods and services and the freedom to take forward the cultural aspirations of our plural social groups that make up India?

Gujarat may be doing well in the first sense, although not as good as some other States in the country. But all the Human Development Index indicators and the cultural polarization of the population show that Gujarat has had a terrible experience in the last 10 years. Take the example of education: schools for the ordinary populace show abject neglect with a very high dropout rate in the last 10 years. Higher Education has not been allowed to move forward. To take just an example, St. Xavier’s College Ahmedabad, thrice NAAC accredited with an equivalent of the A grade, has not been able to gain permission from the Gujarat Government for Academic Autonomy, for the last 10 years and has finally won a battle in the High Court to approach the UGC directly for this status. Gujarat has also been the worst performer in settling claims and distributing title deeds to tribal people and other forest dwellers, as shown by the latest data put out by the Union Tribal Affairs Ministry. Till 2013, the State, with 15% tribal population, settled only 32 per cent of the claims, the lowest rate in the country.

Dr. Frazer Mascarenhas S.J.

As opposed to this, efforts like the Rojgar Yojana and the Food Security Act have been called “election sops”. However some of our best social scientists like Amartya Sen and Jean Dreze have supported these as necessary in the emergency economic situation the country and the world is facing. The country is grateful that committed activists like Aruna Roy and Shailesh Gandhi have worked with the Government to initiate and sustain the Right to Information Act which makes accountability possible. Corruption still needs to be addressed effectively but since it is so prevalent at every level of society, it will take civil society long agonizing efforts to root it out.

A massive investment in health and education is sorely needed in our country of widening disparities and those who support big business and its unethical profits will never agree to such public expenditure for the masses. In fact, the worsening situation of environmental degradation and depletion, in the lunge for growth and profit, shows up the real intentions of the greedy. None can withstand this, as seen by the many clearances given in a week’s time after the recent change of guard at the Central Environment Ministry, which had earlier tried to hold the line under a different Minister.

So what lessons does a reflection on the approaching elections teach us? The prospect of an alliance of corporate capital and communal forces coming to power constitutes a real threat to the future of our secular democracy. Support for people who pledge to work to take Human Development Indicators higher and who commit themselves to a pluralistic culture in diverse India – this is the hope for the future. No magic wand or divine miracles will come to the aid of the Indian people. Their reasoned choice of individuals and political parties who promise to work for a real quality of life for all, will see India prosper or flounder on the precipice. Choose well!

Dr. Frazer Mascarenhas S.J.
Principal


Reply to this letter can be found here

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Why I will NOT vote for TMC

With all the fanfare about the elections this time every Indian including those who are not yet eligible to cast their vote are thinking who deserves their vote. If I look around in Bengal I have a lot of options.
Parliament of India

·         Trinamool Congress -TMC (PM candidate Mamta Banerjee)
·         Congress (PM candidate Rahul Gandhi)
·         BJP (PM candidate Narendra Modi)
·         Left Front ((PM candidate- they are sure they won’t make it)

Considering the way TMC ousted the incumbent left government of 34 years they are an obvious option for many but this time I am sure I will NOT vote for them.

Bengal definitely needs development in all fields. The Bengal model what the CM of Bengal talks of is surely there but only on paper. In reality I have seen no difference. Maybe because I am no minority. Mamta Banerjee like her parent party Congress has tasted the vote bank politics and vouches for appeasement policies. In Bengal scholarships are meant only for minorities. Loans are meant for minorities. Minority religious leaders also get a monthly allowance form the state government. Minorities also get a special welfare board and monitory also get help to build houses.

 I totally would have agreed if she told that development was not possible because the left government left with no state funds and only debts to repay. But then she has increased all state taxes. Bengal is one of the few states which have 14.5% VAT on products. The state taxation and its policies is not a bit trader or consumer friendly. Property valuation has been increased to more than the transaction value. Fuel prices due to state taxation are among the highest in the country. Electricity rates are amongst the highest in the country.  I do understand that it is necessary for development but am I getting the returns?

Trinamool Congress Symbol
TMC also saw to it that no one talks against them - with what I would call refutation of freedom to expression. Ambikesh Mahapatra, a professor from Jadhavpur University was arrested for posting a cartoon on the chief minister. Authors from all over the world shamed her for that. Shiladitya Chowdhury who questioned the chief minister at a rally in Jangalmahal for farmer deaths was declared Maoist and arrested under non-bailable sections. The chief Minister also gave orders to remove major English and highly read Bengali newspapers from public libraries.

Ministers of the state who held high offices in the Sharda Chit Fund still hold ministries. Selling paintings became a mode of money transaction. But the depositors were the only losers. And everyone is almost sure that the commission has nothing to give them.

Bengal has forgotten what is law and order. Previously left made a mockery and now its TMCs turn. What is it when the CM herself goes to a police station to get two youths (Party Supporters) booked for hooliganism freed? I call it mockery of law and order. Election Commission agents whom all parties fear are beaten up in Bengal nothing needs to be told more. Women safety in a state ruled by a woman couldn’t get worse when the Chief Minister herself takes rapes casually and asks if all women in the state are getting raped and says to be done to dethrone her.

Mamta Banerjee, the TMC head, has not announced any pre-poll alliance in 2014 LS elections. So what are her plans for this LS? She surely can’t get 272 on her own. So either she is hoping for the third front or will be indulging in post-poll alliance – what is also called horse-trading. Let’s see the prospects of both.

Mamta Banerjee. Cheif Minister of West Bengal.
President of Trinamool Congress
Third Front – if this becomes the reality it will be the worst for the nation. Anything between 5-10 regional parties with leader having personal ambition will for a coalition government. Not one can be checked as loss of any one will lead the government to fall. Corruption will see its all-time high and governance it’s all time low. But for Mamta Banerjee this will be the best option. With the 30-35 seats (most optimistic number of 42 seats in Bengal) she surely will not become PM as others with higher numbers and similar ambitions will surely be there in the coalition for third front to take shape. But she can get portfolios such as finance and railways. She can definitely get anything cleared for the state from the center even something unconstitutional and which is goes along with her appeasement policies.
But as I stated it will be the worst for the nation and I can’t be part of this horrifying story of the nation by voting for TMC. (Think who else will be in the third front...  Phew...)

Post-Poll Alliance – she will have two options here Congress and BJP. She has been contesting against both these parties in the state. So option of any one trying to woo her post-election is slim. Optimistically thinking they do. Will she be able to deliver what is required? She could not get back even a part of the thousands of crore due with the state. Instead due to her unwanted temperament the center took most of it as payment for interest. We have previously seen her temperament where she will resign and withdraw support for issues like hike in fuel prices and then join back. As her patience has not been better but in fact have become worse since she became the CM I don’t expect anything better. And with a rival in coalition I don’t think Mamta can extract much form the two parties. So a better option for me will be to vote any of the two national parties directly because I hope that they may develop my constituency to retain it in next elections.


I have made up my mind whom to vote and definitely it is not TMC for the LS run up for 2014.


Note: The views here are personal. If you have any differences dialogue is the best way to resolve.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Crocodile tears of Congress

Recently a lot of tamasha was created by many of Congress leader, even their prime minister candidate - Rahul Gandhi on how BJP treated its leaders. A lot of huss and fuss was made when Jashwant Singh was refused the ticket from Barmer. During the Advanji episode even Congress leader were creating such a ruckus in the media and throughout their rallies.

I really did not understand why it really mattered to them whether or not they were given tickets or from which constituency they were given. They don't belong to your party so why interfere in their matter? If they really thought these two leader to be really honest and veterans then why have they accused them multiple times. Maybe then political gains were more important up keeping their dignity or national interests. (I am not posting any links here just search google for congress accuses Advani or Jashwant and you will get hell lot of results.)

But, are these tears that congress is shedding are for real. I was really curious that in their so called democratic party how veterans are treated. So thought of a search and this a bit of what I found.

As most of us are aware the INC was setup in March 1885 and the demand of "PURNA SWARAJ" was made in the 1929 Lahore Session but few of us will know that an INC veteran Srinivas Iyenger was expelled early that year when he demanded the same instead of home rule like others. A democratic party since then has not been supporting people with a different idea. It can also be recalled that many other freedom fighters who did not support Gandhiji and his non-violence had to resign from this Democratic Party with no support thereafter.

These are stories of the past. We don’t know the situation and better to leave the pre-independence era alone. But let see what has been in the recent time. 

Sitaram Kesari
March 14, 1998 Mrs. Sonia Gandhi took over as congress president. Her predecessor Mr. Sitaram Kesari was forced to leave his position in the most wrong way it can. Theories have it that he was locked up in a toilet and Mrs. Sonia Gandhi declared president by a select few. Even if he was not locked up as per the close aide of Gandhi claim he was definitely removed in the most unconstitutional manner.

Few may even recall why and how NCP of Sharad Pawar was created. When Sharad Pawar, P A Sangma, Tariq Anwar and a few others (all Veterans) raised objection to the foreign decent of Sonia what they got was an expulsion letter. Tariq Anwar was also manhandled by so called "Congress Goons" on raising the objection ( There is no room for free discussion in Sonia Congress )

Sharad Pawar in his interview to frontline had stated 
"If this is the way the party is run, no doubt we are relieved to be out of it. Look at Sonia Gandhi's speech at the AICC (All-India Congress (I) Committee). She said that only those who want to believe and follow her need be in the Congress (I). She virtually asked all those who question her on any matter to get out of the Congress (I). Is this not a fascist, undemocratic approach?"

Congress also had no sense of duty towards it non-gandhian ex-prime minister. P V Narsima Rao who died on 23rd December 2004 in New Delhi was also not allowed in to AICC building, leave alone cremation in Delhi. He had been flown to Hyderabad after Y S Reddy interfered and cremated there. Congress President Sonia Gandhi never ever mentioned or honored him as an ex-Prime Minister during his lifetime or then after.

While shedding their crocodile tears for BJP leader they even forgot what they did this election season. Shyamlal Pujari a senior congress leader from Uttar Pradesh was expelled when he raised questions about giving ticket to leader who have recently deflected to congress. ( CONG EXPELS SENIOR LEADER ). Sounds something like the Jashwant Singh Episode!!!

Congress leader should actually blow their own trumpets first before reaching out to others. A so called democratic party which is preaching others on how to treat veteran leader should first practice the same.

Note: The views expressed here are totally personal.