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Modi in Trumps America

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Modi shall travel to US again,  later this weekend. His friendship with former US President Mr Barack Obama, is well documented. He has already traveled four times to US, met President Obama 8 on various occasions, state visit and summits also hosted President Obama during India’s Republic Day. He visited the White House and addressed the US Congress/Legislature, along with engaging with think tanks, Senators,  and that epic speech in Madison Square Garden during his previous four tours.

As trade and partnership strengthens between India  and US in terms of US Dollars, there is a possible reset if not renewal in ties. Mr Donald Trump is now the President of US. In their previous six months, both have more than just exchanged pleasantries on more than a few occasions.

Modi – Trump the case of perfect Anti-thesis.

Modi and Trump are near anti thesis to each other in terms on the personalities and how they have led their lives. Modi has been an avowed bachelor. He had a very humble background. He wanted to be monk in his youth.  He wears his RSS identity on his sleeve. He has been in active politics for more than three decades in the same political outfit. He was a rank outsider when he was elected to head State Gov of Gujarat. He won three elections there, he changed the face of Gujarat. He announced his candidature as PM and toured length and breadth of the country during the elections. It was an exhaustive campaign. He lead BJP to a historic mandate. BJP consolidated to a first single party majority first time in 30 years.

The US President, Mr Donald Trump is one of the few world leaders, elder to PM Modi. President Trump is infact the oldest President of USA to be elected to office. He and Ms. Clinton looked to have a close race but by the time counting of votes was complete, Trump lead Republican Party to 9 state governors, majority of senators and won US presidency for GOP. Trump is anti-thesis to Modi in a sense that he was born in a business family of America’s Financial Capital, New York, his father was into real estate business. He has married more than once. He was a real estate magnate, the host of a very popular TV show Apprentice, he has written books and settled commercial law suits. He has gone boom to bust to boom. He has operated casinos, airlines, hotels, beauty pageants and know keep the nuclear button under his thumb. His party affinity has changed more than twice. He was never elected to a public office before being elected for Presidency. Trumps shoots from his lip. Modi is tight lipped about the unrelenting criticism heaped on him. Trump is at best a loose cannon when it comes to exchanging barbs with Media. Modis response are measured and does n’t waver too much,  with President Trump … better sense may prevail.

When the world’s largest and the most powerful democracy meet this time to reset relations between respective Head of the Gov.  The corner stone of PM Modi’s foreign policy is India being a billion people, trillion-dollar economy, clocking highest growth rates in the world headed by a stable Gov. A trillion-dollar economy clocking 7% and more with opportunities galore in food, clothing, shelter and everything in between that mind can imagine. It is this proposition and projection that India is a willing partnership in development and progress and not pleading for monetary aid or alms. In short Gov is open for business.

Search for common ground.

Being in to business President  Trump has a nose for setting up a deal. When votes were being counted in USA for 45 President on 8 Nov 2016 at the same time, PM Modi declared large denomination notes as null and void, which was one of the most vigorous shake up of the Indias financial systems. The system was being burdened by excessive cash major chunk of which was unaccounted Rs 500 was one of the most counterfeit unit of Indian currency. PM Modi and President Trump are seen as disruptors – though nature, extent and direction of disruption is still to be agree upon.

When PM Modi and President Trump do meet, trade, investment, defence, jobs, visas would be some of the catch words. PM Modi is likely to meet more people in the Business-Bureaucracy circles of American Gov and this trip may not be about big public speeches a la Madison Square Garden. PM Modi would pull all stops to sell GST, Start Up and Skill India, Technology, Health, Education etc. The trip would be also about sizing up the changes and how to deal with them after President Trump took charge. Trump would be doing the same. Modi seems to have positioned himself well with systemic risks that world faces – Terrorism and Climate change. Both these factors Terrorism and Climate change warrants US India partnership on one to one basis, also warrants both working in tandem in multinational fora to address these issues. While PM Modis has been consistent in his stance viz a vis Islamic terror even before 9/11. The world now acknowledges that India has been bearing waxing-waning threats of Islamic terror and it’s not a localised law and order issue. The problem is International Islamic terror has moral support from various states in our region.

One knows that one dead fish spoils the pond.

Europe in particular finds itself on the receiving end of these Terror attacks though similar attacks in Asia and Africa may not draw as much either attention or condemnation.

This from Wikipedia “As of 2017, the Republican Party is documented as being at its strongest position politically since 1928. In addition to holding the Presidency (via Trump and Vice President Mike Pence), the Republicans control the 115th United States Congress, having majorities in both the House of Representatives and the Senate. The party also holds a majority of governorships (33/50) and state legislatures (full control of 32/50, split control of six others.”

Step back and re-asses agree on a way forward.

This tour may not see emotionally charged public rallies. It is hopefully that something concrete may come out of these meetings. PM Modi and Trump will meet again in G-20 in Germany two weeks later for G-20 Sumit. However, this is opportunity for both leaders to asses and express their respective wish lists, consolidate and expand whatever has worked out successfully. Discuss issues that are agreeable and address issues that can be worked upon. Indian diaspora obviously has their bit to do, as it is a key part of this engagement. Over the past couple of decades slowly but surely equation have changed and India and American set up are nearly forced to work together, this factor however is not likely to weaken or diminish any time soon.

Single fare double journey.

Modi mantra of single ticket double journey sees him visiting Portugal on 24 June and on 27 June and US visit sandwiched between these two trips, he will be in the Netherlands (and Portugal) for a working visit. These two countries are art of London Club aka Nuclear Supplier Group. There would be some discussion as NSG plenary probably anytime soon. China an authority in nuclear proliferation is block India’s entry and will continue to obstruct India’s entry in the London Club. However, seems PM Modi will continue to keep trying and rallying support for India’s entry.

Modi has already made trips to Germany, Russia, France in the last month and likely that NSG would have been raised by India and sought opinion and support for India’s entry.

Bahubali, the conclusion, a spectacular visual treat

Image result for Bahubali

After the spectacular success of the first version, expectations have soared on the sequel, more so because the release of second version got delayed by a year in comparison to the initial plan. Such high expectations is a double edged sword, because the audiences most of the times watch a movie and judge it based on the expectations and not on absolute basis. So with all the hype, expectations which got built up for 2 years since the release of 1st version, Rajamouli had to deliver a stellar show! and boy – hasn’t he delivered an amazing spectacle, a magnum opus that would make Indian cinema proud.

Image result for bahubali 2 images

The movie starts with the process of coronation of Bahubali as the king of Mahishmathi, who is sent into the Mahishmathi kingdom to go to different places to see and understand the problems of people which would give him the exposure needed to take charge of ruling the kingdom. As he travels across, he gets in touch with Devasena – princess of the adjacent kingdom of Kunthala. Bahubali falls in love with Devasena and joins her team by pretending as innocent normal person who needs work along with Kattappa. Then the story goes on with Bhallala Deva getting coronated as the king, Amarendra Bahubali getting killed, then his Son Mahendra Bahubali (Sivudu in the first version) coming back to take revenge on Bhallala Deva for the death of his father . Beyond that I don’t want to give the story away fully, and play spoiler for people who are yet to watch the movie. Of course the much awaited question for the last two years “why kattappa killed Bahubali” gets answered in this. As with all Rajamouli’s movies, here too there is a strong backdrop of emotions and loyalty.

Image result for bahubali 2 prabhas anushka pics

Few scenes stand out for the scale, imagination and the stunning visuals – coronation of Bhallala Deva as king – those 15 minutes right before the interval are breathtaking. The reverberating Sankskrit chants, exhibition of forces of the kingdom, the chariot that carries Bhallala Deva – the whole process of coronation gives one goosebumps.

The other sequence which exhibits the genius of Rajamouli and the team is the whole fighting sequence between Bahubali and Bhallala Deva at the climax. As per the reports, around 30 crores have been spent on the climax scenes and one could see the grandeur, effort on the screen. One get engrossed into watching these scenes forgetting what is happening around.

Image result for bahubali 2 prabhas anushka pics

Of course the traditional hindu stuff catches one’s eye – the song of Devasena on Krishna was shot with heart touching precision, devotion. The scene where in one of the fighting scenes – Bahubali applies Siva bhasma on his injuries would impress the devotees of Siva (applying bhasma as it has been told during ancient times has a medicinal value to cure injuries).  It has of course touched a raw never with the secular brigade that hates the mention of anything Hindu, but they don’t deserve any more attention here.

Image result for bahubali 2 rana

Image result for bahubali 2 ramyakrishna

Image result for bahubali 2 sathyaraj

Coming to the main characters, Prabhas and Rana as Bahubali and Bhallala Deva are mighty impressive with their performances. One could see on the screen the hard work they have put in, in maintaining their physic over such a long periods of time. Ramya Krishna as Sivagami, Anukshka as Devasena have given very strong performances, have more to do in this movie compared to the first version. Sathyaraj as Kattappa too is very impressive.

The background music along with songs are of top quality, Keeravani has done an outstanding job. Though compared to the first version – the songs fall just a bit short of expectations but that is more than compensated by the background music. VFX effects which have been worked upon by 30 odd studios across the world that came together, makes the visual experience – a once in a lifetime one.

The other thing that stands out in this movie is – usually it is difficult for a sequel to come out better than the first version. But here, one can clearly see that based on the feedback on the first version Rajamouli has tried incorporating the required changes. Few romantic scenes between Sivudu (the Bahubali character in first version) and Avanthika (role played by Tamannah) haven’t gone down well, and some portion of the first half was slightly a bit of a drag in the first version. But in this “Bahubali the conclusion” Rajamouli pulled off almost a flaw-less show.

One can’t help but imagine how it would be if a movie like this can be made on our epics like Maha Bharatha. This movie caught up the imagination so much that people have started making requests on social media to Rajamouli to make movies on our epics, history. It is very rare for a movie to take so many people spellbound.

The move has already collected more than 500 crores worldwide, as per the latest information – it is breaking all the records in the Hindi version too. The most striking number is it has collected 39 crores which is the highest collection on a Monday for a Hindi film, the second best is Krrish with 29 crores. With this momentum, it is poised to break all records in the history of Indian cinema. For a regional movie, this is a monumental achievement. Bahubali has broken the barriers and the notion that regional movies are “small”. The standards set by this will be difficult to break, it will no doubt make the other high profile film makers sit up and notice. A professional achievement like this should be celebrated, there should be no place for cynicism.

Assembly Elections March 17

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Manipur, Goa, Punjab, Uttara Khand and Uttar Pradesh are five states that went to polls in Feb-Mar 2017 and election results are expected on 11 march 2017. These are first elections after demonitization announced little after 8 PM on 8 Nov 2016. I have tabulated previous results of Punjab, Uttara khand and Uttar Pradesh.

Indian elections are simple in a sense, everyone who is above 18 years of age is eligible to vote for a candidate of a party, the candidate with most votes is the winner, the party with most winning candidates close to or greater that 50% of assembly strength + one seat is invited to form the government by the Governor of that state.

Anyone with fleeting interest in numbers should find elections fun to follow, lot of frenzy is thrown up in the air. However, this simplistic looking system of elections throws up more and more intrigue as you dig deep. Patterns emerge and variables that drive these elections began to indicate the motive forces that help us understand evolution of society. Democracy however may throw different results, sometimes very bizarre but strength is in accepting the, as they are and probably when the dust settled down, learn a few lessons and prepare for a struggle for next elections.

PM Modi has requested many to ponder upon simultaneous elections for assembly and Lok Sabha, there would be merits – cost effectiveness, demerits – no prolonged discussion based on test of Modi, no rambling etc from News Studios and OpEds.

Punjab Seat Share

Seats 117 13 117 13 117 13 117
Seat Share 2002 2004 2007 2009 2012 2014 2017
SAD 44 4 54 3 (29)
BJP 19 1 12 16
Cong 48 8 46 37
AAP 0 0 33
Other 5 0 5 2

Punjab Vote Share

Turnout  65.14 75.45 68 78.2 70.68 75
Vote Share 2002 2004 2007 2009 2012 2014 2017
SAD 37.9 33.85 34.59 20.3
BJP 8.68 10.06 7.15 8.70
Cong 40.9 45.23 39.92 33.1
AAP 0 0 0 30.4
Other 13.33 10.86 7.13 7.5

Uttara khand Seat Share

Seats 70 5 70 5 70 5 70
Seat Share 2002 2004 2007 2009 2012 2014 2017
BJP 19 3 35 0 31 5 (63)
BSP 7 0 8 0 3 0(7)
Cong 36 1 21 5 32
UKD 4 0 3 1
Others 4 1 3

Uttarakhand Vote Share

Turnout 54.3 63.1 53.3 67.22 61.6 65.64
Vote Share 2002 2004 2007 2009 2012 2014 2017
BJP 25.45 40.98 31.9 33.8 33.13 55
BSP 10.93 7.93 11.76 15.4 12.9
Cong 26.91 38.31 23.59 43.14 33.79 34
UKD 5.49 5.49 1.93
Others 31 12.4 NA 7.3 24.8

Uttar Pradesh Seat Share

Seats 403.00 80.00 403.00 80.00 403.00 80.00 403
Seat Share 2002 2004 2007 2009 2012 2014 2017
BJP 88.00 10.00 51.00 10.00 47.00 71.00
BSP 98.00 19.00 206.00 20.00 80.00 0.00
Cong 25.00 9.00 22.00 21.00 28.00 2.00
SP 143.00 35.00 97.00 23.00 224.00 5.00
Others 49.00 7.00 27.00 6.00 24.00 3.00

Uttar Pradesh Vote Share

Turnout 46.45 59.5 58.35
Vote Share 2002 2004 2007 2009 2012 2014 2017
BJP 20.08 22.17 16.97 17.50 15.00 42.63
BSP 23.06 24.67 30.43 27.42 25.91 19.77
Cong 8.96 12.04 8.61 18.25 11.65 7.53
SP 25.37 26.74 25.43 23.26 29.13 23.35
Others 22.53 14.38 18.56 13.57 18.31 6.72

How will the table get stacked up, we would know before 11 of March ends!

This is my attempt to crunch numbers a little better, understand the dynamics of economics (Roti-Kapda-Makan) and demographics (age, gender, average income) etc need to be balanced beyond rhetoric of inflammatory speeches and camera and mics zooming in and out and how and who does “market segmentation” better i.e. customise election campaign for that block, district, constituency, state etc.

The Thumb rules.

This is not in particular in the very order. I am trying to gauge possible outcomes of vote share based on past data. All the states will be evaluated on the basis of these following assumptions.

A party or a group with largest vote share will get maximum seats.

A sweep is a sweep only if it sustains in the next state/general elections.

Increased voter turnout is first indication of incumbent being voted out of power.

Leadership is the key. For e.g. in UP, before Modi was declared PM candidate BJP vote share was reduced from 22% to 16%. Under Modi it sky rockets to 42%. This is safe enough to conclude that Modi was that regional leader with little or no influence outside the state he was governing.

BJP winning 71+2 seats out of 80 was tsuNaMo which we may never see ever again in history of electioneering of this country. You could count number of non BJP winners in one hand after the results were decalared. The impact in Uttar Khand was similar.

Here are my calculations for possible vote share and seats

Party Vote Share Seats
UP=403 BJP 35.05 226
BSP 23.55 86
Cong 9.31 19
SP 21.03 59
Others 11.00 13
Punjab=117 SAD 22.37 13
BJP 8.67 7
Cong 37.37 69
APP 21.71 23
Others 9.88 5
UK=70 BJP 49.51 48
BSP 4.78 2
Cong 30.29 15
UKD 1.04 1
Others 14.38 4

 

 

Ratha Saptami

In my post on Basant Panchami, I had mentioned about how it kickstarts the festival cycle in Magh, which ends with Holi. Basant Panchami is followed next by Ratha Saptami, which as the name indicates falls on the 7th day of Magha Shukla Paksha( the bright phase). It symbolizes Surya symbolically turning his chariot drawn by seven horses towards the Northern Hemisphere, marking the transition from the Southern one. It also marks the birth of Surya, and is celebrated as Surya Jayanti.  In a way it marks the beginning of the harvest season and is an auspicious moment for farmers.

Historically speaking Sun Worship is rooted in most ancient civilizations. The Sun believed to be the giver of life, energy on earth was revered and worshiped in various forms.  One of the most sacred mantras of Hinduism, the Gayatri Mantra was dedicated to Savitr, the Sun deity. As per Hindu tradition, Gayatri is believed to be an aspect of Saraswathi, Lakshmi and Parvati combined together, and one of the main forms of Adi Shakti. Her 5 heads represent the Vedas of ancient Aryans and the Almighty himself. She is one of Brahma’s consorts, and is believed to be the source of all his energy which helps in creation.  The mantra is named after Gayatri, as it consists of 3 padas of 8 syllables, having 24 syllables in each stanza. The Sanskrit word for song or hymn is Gayatra, and Gayatri is the  feminine form of it.

ॐ भूर्भुवः स्वः ।

तत्स॑वि॒तुर्वरेण्यं॒

भर्गो॑ दे॒वस्य॑ धीमहि ।

धियो॒ यो नः॑ प्रचो॒दया॑त् ॥

om bhūr bhuvaḥ svaḥ

tát savitúr váreṇ(i)yaṃ

bhárgo devásya dhīmahi

dhíyo yó naḥ prachodayāt

“We meditate on the glory of that Being who has produced this universe; may He enlighten our minds” – Swami Vivekananda.

Savitr was one of the Vedic deities, and one of the Adityas, so called as they were believed to be the sons of Aditi. Celebrated in 11 hymns of the Rig Veda, he is sometimes associated with Surya, other times distinct. Generally considered as the divine influence of the Sun, it is believed he represents the sun before sunrise and after that it is Surya. Post the Vedic period though Savitr was not present, though invoked in the Gayatri Mantra often.

Symbolically speaking Ratha Saptami represents Surya turning his chariot or Ratha, drawn by 7 horses with Aruna as the charioteer towards the Northern Hemisphere. These 7 horses are also said to represent the seven days of the week, while the chariot has 12 wheels, representing the 12 signs of the zodiac and considered one full year. Ratha Saptami seeks the spread of cosmic energy and light from Surya. It is believed that Surya was born on this date to Sage Kashyap and Aditi, and hence is also marked as Surya Jayanti. It is also said that Bheeshma passed away on this day.

Rituals

Generally people take a bath in the river or sea, invoking Surya, and holding several Ekka leaves on their heads. Argyam, holding water in the palms is offered to Surya, in order to invoke his benevolence. These Ekka leaves are also called as Arka in Kannada, Jilledu in Telugu, Erruku in Tamil. And they are to Surya what the Tulsi leaves are to Vishnu. The shape of the plant is believed to represent Surya, and 7 leaves are placed on body during the bath-one on head, two on the shoulders, two on the knees, two on the feet.

It also involves doing a Puja with the Naivedhyam offered to him, along with flowers and fruits. The most commonly offered prayer is the Aditya Hrudayam,  a devotional hymn recited to Rama by Rishi Agastya, on the eve of the great battle with Ravana, along with the Gayatri Mantra. People in Mysore, Melkote carry the sacred Surya Mandala, icon of the God. Ratha Saptami is also an important festival in most Vaishnavite temples like those of Srirangam, Tirumala, Srirangapatnam, Melkote, as Surya is believed to be another aspect of Vishnu.  In Tirumala in fact Ratha Saptami is believed to be a Mini Brahmotsavam, where Malayappa Swamy is carried around the Mada streets in a procession along with Sridevi and Bhudevi.

Surya

One of the oldest deities in the Vedic tradition, he is mentioned in the Rig Veda as dispeller of darkness, one who empowers knowledge, good and all life. The Vedas specify Surya to be Prakriti the creator of the material universe, while in the Brahmanas, he is invoked along with Agni. In the great epics, Surya is the father of Sugriva, and the mentor of Hanuman in the Ramayana, while Ram claims descent from him, the Suryavansha Kshatriyas. In the Mahabharat, he is reverentially called at the beginning eye of the universe, soul of all existence, origin of all life, goal of the Samkhyas and Yogis, and symbolism for freedom and spiritual emancipation. Karna is the son of Surya, and is also gifted the impregnable Kavach by him, as well as the Kundalas.

Traditionally Surya is represented as a shining efflugence on a chariot driven by 7 horses, which are named after the seven meters of Vedanga- Gayatri, Brihati, Ushnih, Jagati, Trishtubha, Anushtubha and Pankti. His charioteer is Aruna, while the two female deities who flank him are Usha, the Goddess of Dawn and Pratyusha.

One of the most famous Sun Temples is that of Konark in Odisha, on this auspicious occasion do check out my write up on it here

https://historyunderyourfeet.wordpress.com/2005/07/22/konark-a-trip-back-in-time/

 

Thousand Plus Campaign

Rationale for a nationalised disaster response mechanism:

The humanitarian funding for disaster response is still largely controlled by western organisations, despite the fact that it is the national grassroots organisations which are the first to respond to disasters. The World Humanitarian Summit, held in May 2016 in Istanbul identified that less than 2% funding was reaching to national organisations. Consequently Grand Bargain and Cgarter4Change emerged which commit at least 25% funding to local organisations by 2020.

However, there are still many loopholes in the system which is being exploited by the big agencies. As the funding is drying up in traditional donor countries in Europe and Northern America, most of the donor agencies originating from these regions are registering themselves in growing economies in Southeast and South Asia, and have started doing massive fundraising. Most of the big organisations are now registered in India and legitimately a national organisation. Therefore, they are as much eligible to receive 25% funding from western sources as any homegrown Indian organisation. Who will be the winner in this race is not difficult to guess.

Moreover, these big western organisations have captured the local fundraising space too. According to a senior person from World Vision, the organisation’s annual budget in 2016 for India was INR 2016, out of which 60% was raised from India and that too primarily from  individuals.

Futile to say, nothing will change and the national organisations will continue being at margins if deliberate and disruptive attempts are not made. Humanitarian Aid International (HAI) – entirely an Indian organisation, has launched the Thousand Plus campaign to trigger this disruptive change.

What is this campaign all about:

We can’t predict timing of a disaster. However, whenever it occurs, a response should be launched as early as possible so that maximum lives could be saved, normalcy restored among affected population and faster recovery ensured.

HAI already has a platform of Indian organisation having decades of experience and competence to respond to different types of disasters. The Thousand Plus Campaign has been launched to establish a pool fund to the tune of INR 50 lakhs so that a response could be launched through partners immediately in the aftermath of a disaster.

Through this campaign, we are reaching out to Indians, other living in India or abroad to make a contribution of INR 1,000 or in it’s multiples. We need to reach out to 5,000 Indians to successfully establish the fund. Please click this to read more about  Thousand Plus.

Management of the Pool Fund:

HAI will retain only 5% of the funds received from individuals. This 5% will be used only for administering the funds, and not to pay salaries and benefits to HAI employees. The implementing members shall be allowed to use up to 10% for overheads which will be inclusive of paying salaries and benefits to humanitarian workers.

Please click HERE to read more about our accountability statement and how have we held ourselves accountable to the pool fund and during humanitarian response cycle.

Centre for Promoting Accountability – an independent financial institution, has kindly agreed to provide pro-bono support and monitor the funds. They will undertake monthly monitoring of the funds collected through the campaign and submit a report.

Join the Campaign:

HAI requests fellow Indians to join the campaign and help us to establish an Indian humanitarian architecture which is a counterweight to International organisations, still dominating the humanitarian sector. You can join the campaign through following ways:

  1. Make a contribution of INR 1,000 or in its multiples
  2. Promote the campaign among your circle
  3. Please give suggestions, how can we strengthen our system further so that it reflects utmost standards of quality and accountability

Please click here to make a donation now.  List of all individual donors shall be displayed on our website and they shall be periodically informed about the progress.

About HAI:

HAI is a social sector start up with a mission of harnessing the growing strength of India – political, economic and social – towards establishing leadership in humanitarian aid and development assistance. With an abundant skilled human resources with first-hand experience and expertise in social sector, HAI believes that India can better understand, relate to and offer solutions to combat hunger, poverty and violence in the world. India is now ready.

HAI aims to establish itself as a truly international humanitarian and development organization, rooted in India and raising resources from within and outside the country to alleviate poverty, hunger and vulnerability around the world. HAI is an ambitious venture by a group of highly experienced development and humanitarian professionals, committed to make a difference by creating a paradigm shift in global development assistance. Please visit our website to understand more about the organisation.

More more details visit us at: http://www.humanitarianaidinternational.org

or, write to us at:

info@humanitarianaidinternational.org

Acche Din vs Dystopian Wet Dreams and Sanjay Leela Bhansali.

Another ‘controversy’ has hit the land of Acche Din again. Okay the land of Burre Din for some. India’s very own  Dostovsky with a Camera and Megaphone-Sanjay Leela Bhansali is making yet another historical magnum opus  and was attacked by some  letterhead organisation called the Karni Sena while filming in Rajasthan. The facts and the jury are out, but the usual suspects have, as always gone on an overdrive. By the usual suspects, I mean the Acche Din Crew and  Burre Din UnitedGunga-Din and Rudyard Kipling, sincere apologies for the ribbing and the rhyme.

Bhansali’s current monstrosity (or muse) if you will, is speculated to be about the legend of Rani  Padmini (Padmavati) of Chittorgarh  and the tumultuous events surrounding her death (according to local legend & inscribed history she consigned herself to flames than be taken as a sex-slave by Islamic Marauder, Alauddin Khilji).While Bhansali is yet to adopt Quentin Tarantino’s methods of leaking the script of the film online and still shoot the film–some in the Acche Din Crew  on Twitter and the Karni Sena, appear to have a whiff of it or so they’d like to believe. Being the Krantikari organisation that Karni Sena is they promptly did what anyone with a script that offended them would do–attack the film crew while they filmed on their turf. I have one objection to this theory: How can you accuse Sanjay Leela Bhansali of having a script?  

This alleged attack has made the Burre Din United scream their lungs out about their dystopian wet-dreams that started on May 16th, 2014. In response, the Acche Din Crew have written a 100 blogposts already quoting facts and figures about how Bhansali is wrong about history, is a Bollywoodiya who wants to romanticise Medeival Islamic savagery in India and how the Dystopian Wet Dreamers are so phony and so totally full of shit. Somewhere along the line ISIS, Hindu Terror (yes!) and Hitler did make an appearance in this showdown as did Fascism etc. In this process nuance, irony, context and a whole lot of other words died a painful death.

Dear Burre Din United/Dystopian Wet Dreamers,

I completely empathise that growing up on Communist Propaganda and wearing Che Guevara T-shirts a has put you in a permanent state of protest against anything and everything. It’s cute how after cursory readings of 1984 and Animal Farm and watching the Greek Film Z, you are dying to have a similar situation in India. Yes, dying.  You tried manufacturing  a non-existent controversy at FTII, returned medals over “Intolerance” ,then like vultures you pounced on  Rohit Vemula’s suicide and even wanted  a fake gau rakshak story to be true. You made the recent currency-swap exercise seem like the Prime Minister personally injected the Bubonic Plague virus on unsuspecting Indians. Every-time you scream Hindu Rashtra, Fascism, North Korea or Banana Republic you appear to secretly want to live in a 1984. You want a Ministry of Emotional Engineering.You want your landlord to be a “Secret Sanghi Thug” and report you to the Thought Police. You wantHindu house owner to not rent his house to your Muslim friend. Why all of this? Because you have been romanticised to the idea of Dystopia by the establishment that you crave and follow. You have been romanticised to the idea of “Viva la Revolucion” . You want to be seen as up against a Powerful Establishment and Police State. That gives you the jollies. It’s a bit like in Rockstar, where Ranbir Kapoor’s Janardhan Jhakkad wants his heart broken to bring out soulful music.

Coming to why you are up in arms over Mr.Bhansali: Yes it is true that some of your fraternity have faced a lot of hardship over the last many years and if you insistonly since May 16th, 2014. Yes randrom thugs have threatened violence and forced you to do stuff that you wouldn’t want to do. It is absolutely shameful that these thugs asked for Pakistani actors to be banned for Ae Dil Hain Mushkhil but accepted the same for Kapoor & Sons made by the same producer! So yes, random folks can threaten investments of millions of rupees and when your balls are handed out to you like that it is hard to choose Freedom of Speech. Fully understand. But have you ever wondered why this is? Is this a special disease that came about since May 26th, 2014 only?

Now here, look at this list of banned films in India since Independence. More than 30 have been banned Nationally and many more at State Levels. You want to know why? This is the reason. Yes. The Cinematograph Act, 1952. You know who was the Prime Minister & then  Leader of the Parliament that passed it? The very icon of “liberal”, “scientific”,  “secular”  and “Modern” India–Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru. A year earlier, the beacon of enlightenment that is Pandit Nehru and his Government passed this amendment to the Constitution of India called the First Amendment that enabled the 1952 Cinematograph Act. In this amendment, “Modern” & “Liberal” Pandit Ji concluded that the unwashed masses of India are unfit to make independent judgements on what they would like to see,hear or speak about. “Modern” & “Liberal” Pandit Ji decided that anything that offends us, we will immediately resort to violence hence let us not see/hear/speak anything “offensive” . Now who gets to decide what is “offensive” for a billion people with so much diversity? A body of bureaucrats and other busy-bodies who have zero stake in creating anything that is publicly heard, spoken or seen. Unfortunately, the Indian State chose to protect group rights and restrict individual rights in 1951. So if a “group” can convince Pahalaj Nihalani or a Chimp that is officiating at the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) that releasing a movie will unleash violence or threaten morality”–the movie will be banned or these busy-bodies will make it hard for your movie to be released. It’s THAT simple. So yes, while you’re on Twitter masturbating about the frames in latest Cannes Palm D’Or  or frothing at the mouths on the lighting in the Berlin Golden Bear do think about the law that brings about this nonsense in our country. So Fight this. Not Hindu Fascism, which is close to being non-existent and is just your wet dream.  This is also not “Whataboutery”.  This is the reason why your movies get stalled. So even if this Government leaves in 2019 and a new Government takes over, they can still stop your movie. So your mocking “What about Malda” or “What about Soldiers dying” will not work.

Coming to the Acche Din Crew.

I fully understand that where you guys are coming from. Your angst about distorted history and about being brow-beaten time and again by the powerful Dystopian Wet Dreamer-establishment that has ruled since like forever. Facts and history though alleged to be a Right-Wing conspiracy, are mostly on your side. You want to create a “Right-Wing” ecosystem, much like the “Left-Wing” ecosystem and you want to propagate factual history as against distorted, racially motivated colonial baggage that we currently learn. With all of this on your side, why is that all the Acche Din Crew can come up with (like it has since time immemorial) is only “reactionary” material? Why are you constantly picking on Dystopian Wet Dreamers from Bollywood or Opportunists in Lutyens, Delhi on what they write and what they create? Why do you question Vishal Bhardwaj’s choice of story in Haider or Rajkumar Hirani’s story in PK? Sure it is democratic to question and criticise-but why can’t you make a movie that depicts your side of the story? There is a treasure trove of literature around politics & history to make tons of movies from. There will be willing production houses to bankroll these ideas.Why is that, the RW chooses to back terrible films like Buddha-in-a-Traffic Jam just because it has the most noble intent of exposing Maoist terror?. Vivek Agnihotri being refused screening at Jadhavpur University is NOT the same as Karan Johar being refused a CBFC certificate.You can constantly call out the hypocrisy of the Varun Grovers, Tanmay Bhats and Anurag Kashyaps but that can only be self-defeating after a point.

Yes one can be democratic and protest in a civil way through boycott of a film or book. Are boycott and outrage the only weapons the Right-Wing has? Why can’t the Right-Wing do something about creating the narrative/ presenting their side of the story? Swarajya and OpIndia are fine, but what about movies, arts, music, literature? One Bahubali or a Rudramma Devi is not going to change the narrative much. Why can’t someone adapt SL Bhyrappa’s Avarna into a film? Why can’t someone make a movie on the Ishrat Jahan files? Who is the Right-wing’s Leni Riefenstahl? The Dystopian Wet Dreamers have produced so many Riefenstahls already! Calling/generalising folks in Bollywood as un-principled, dishonest, money-grubbing, left-wing, Congress supporting, anti-Hindu is not going to get you anywhere. It will only make you more angry, bitter and ridiculous while they subconsciously and consciously continue to make successful propaganda films masquerading as art.

PS: You must be seriously deluded if you think you influenced (either way) the Khan triumvirate’s fortunes. Shah Rukh Khan is going through a lean phase in his career not because of a RW boycott of his films, but because his films are not sold on a large part of his audience.

Full disclosure: I voted for the man who said Ab acche din aane waale hain and will vote for him in 2019.

The Polarized battle of Uttar Pradesh 2017

(This is a post written by Suyash Bharadwaj, due to some reasons, am posting it here on his behalf)

Continuing my analysis of UP elections from (http://suyashtimes.blogspot.in/2016/06/uptight-battle-of-uttar-pradesh-2017.html), the 4 major parties of Uttar Pradesh tried to capitalize on their strengths as I predicted in the SWOT, several months back. However in doing so, they ignored various opportunities presented before them and also ignored their as well as opponent’s weakness. Summarizing how the events unfolded in the past few months.

The 4th Pillar experiment – Congress would never expect to win a full majority in UP, especially with no credible CM face and even more especially with the Gandhis at the helm. However they had additional stake, their plan was/is not to win the power in the state but stop BJP from getting it as the remaining parties BSP/SP have repeatedly supported it in the past during times of stress trust Vote. However to dent BJP, Congress would have to showcase itself as a strong 4th poll, so as to dent the chunk of UC (particularly Brahmin voters), not enough for it to win, but enough to make BJP lose across many seats. Congress appointed ‘star campaigner’ Prashant Kishore and also nominated popular, former Delhi CM as Brahmin face. On paper it looked good to get votes of Old Brahmins, traditional minority and Dalit voters of Congress and it looked like that the Congress might get back to double digit vote share and dent BJP in atleast a 100 seats.
The Brahmin Coup – Ever since 2013, there hasn’t been an election where BJP surrendered to Congress. BJP has been beaten only by other regional parties since 2013. So as in all other Post 2013 cases, the Brahmin Lao strategy of Congress was expected to fall flat and it fell deeper than the abyss. BJP’s heist ensured that the most popular Brahmin faces the Congress ever had were no longer part of it. Gandhi family loyalist Rita Joshi Bahuguna, and ND Tiwari were grabbed from Congress. These leaders won’t add much value to BJP but definitely puncture Congress. Scores of tier 3 brahmin leaders from Congress, BSP influxed to the BJP making it the sole choice of Brahmins who form 10% voter base. Congress alliance with SP has ensured that it would struggle to get remaining Brahmin votes which hitherto had been an old loyal votebank since Chacha Nehru days.. BJP delivered a punch to Congress’ core strategy of wooing Brahmins.
The Surgical Strike – One of the top 3 most important reasons why Nitish Kumar was able to reverse the early NDA winning trend was that he took Narendra Modi head on. His punch lines proved t be more lethal and between the 2 negative campaigns, his was the more effective. He was successful in showing Narendra Modi as a talking lion. He coined the word ‘Jumla Babu’ (man with no action but only words). He successfully raised suspicion on people’s minds and many of them started asking about 15 lakhs black money in their accounts, many others would ask about the Dal prices at Rs 230/kg. The surgical stike against terror camps in POK rebranded Narendra Modi as a strong leader. Over 90% across India and 80% in UP backed this ‘bold move’. This move alone boosted Brand Modi back to pre 2014 levels, thus leaving little room for his opponents. They were/are left in a state where both supporting and opposing this move would harm them.
The Carpet Bombing – Demonetization move in the November was nothing short of a shock Carpet Bombing. The aim was to get profit of Rs 3 to 4 lakh crores by rendering existing black currency as useless. The move would hamper individual residents across the country for the 1st 50 days but the profit cash of Rs 4 lakh crores would compensate the poor and the honest middle class voters through direct cash and tax benefits respectively. Lives were at standstill for the 1st 50 days and things normalized after that. However the much hyped cash surplus never came to the govt coffers as earlier estimated. The Govt.brought various micro checks during the process to counter the theft by Black Money hoarders but it seems that in the end, the latter prevailed. The actual cash surplus could be anywhere between Rs 40 thousand crores to Rs 1.6 lakh crores (as reported by different sections of Media). Whatever be the case of cash collection, the aam junta perceived this as a war against corruption and hence, despite difficulties supported this move. It is difficult to say for how long, the government would enjoy this sort of support. Things have normalized however there is no clarity on the benefits which the people would get for enduring those difficulties for 50 long days. If the govt presents a favourable budget on Feb 1 , 2017, the support would not dwindle as feared. However no announcement of compensation might turn a path breaking initiative to a risky, damaging event
The Old  Messiah of Media – Each election, an influential section of Media (Lutyens gang), picks up, backs and campaigns for a candidate who they feel might be the best placed to defeat Narendra Modi. Kejrial, Lalu, Nitish, Mamta, basically anyone who subscribes to their divisive ‘idea of India’. The gang was earlier backing Mayawati to destroy the neo Socialist party BJP. One would sympathize with the way Mayawati was tricked into this by the mafia. She was lured into stitching a non existent (but formidable on paper) alliance of Dalit-Muslims, who together form slightly above 40% of the voters. with some of the other backward caste voters and a few loyal Brahmin votes and seemingly become invincible in even a 2 pole race with approximately 45% of votes. Serious influx of strong leaders to BJP and the demonetization, destroyed Mayawati’s campaign. There wasn’t enough money to run a campaign at the same scale of coffer filled BJP and SP (who are in power at the centre and the state respectively). As a part of of her Dalit-Muslim strategy Mayawati gave more than 25% tickets to muslims, thereby substantially polarizing the elections. Mayawati was misled to believe that a volatile alliance of dlait-Muslims would lead her to the power. Such a social coalition was simply not possible for the simple reason that since pre independence days, any type of communal riots or genocides across the Indian sub continent has 1 definite outcome, the destruction of families and houses of Dalit masses as they bear the maximum brunt of Militant, aggressive communal rioters. A social coalition of Muslim and Dalits for power seemed like a friendship between a pack of wolves and a herd of deers to have lunch. Demonetization proved to be the final nail and Mayawati’s campaign was torn apart.
The New Messiah of Media – Post demonetization, he Mafia started to project a new Hero. All of a sudden, Akhilesh Yadav who was leading a ‘corrupt’, inefficient regime and was branded a Gundaraj party suddenly became a development icon and Youth King. All of a sudden 100s of crimes against women, law and order issues vanished in thin air and the Lucknow-Agra expressway became the symbol of Akhilesh’s development icon. The media mafia started to back Akhilesh since November 2016 for their usual Anti Modi protagonist role. After the unceremonious sacking of Mayawati, the Netaji junior sddenly became so great that the Mafia even discarded its one time hero, Mullayam Singh Yadav, wo attained this hero worship, since he opened fire on Pro Ram temple activists. The mafia played the inconsequential father-son fight (possibly staged) and showcased Akhilesh as a hero in the duel. ANother reason why Akhilesh was chosen and replaced ahead of Maya was his cosyness with perpetual Messiah Rahul Gandhi, for SP was all set to ally with Congress to keep the ‘communal forces’ at bay. Over the weeks the media mafia would project a backward, crime infested, migration prone Uttar Pradesh as more developed than the Western Europe and would do all to seal the deal. BJP won the war against media in 2014 but lost critical battles of 2015 (Delhi and Bihar). This battle, which is more critical than both Bihar delhi combined, could also be influenced by this powerful section of Media
The Mahagathbandhan – SP-Congress alliance is all but a formality now. With RLD and some other bit players like JDU, RJD, Peace Party all set to join. Is this mahagathbandhan as powerful as the one in Bihar? Purely based on 2014 arithmetic, the mahagathbandhan lags behind considerably. Talking of Mahagathbandhan, there were 2 other grand alliances, 1 in West Bengal 2016 and the other in Tamil Nadu 2016. All 3 had Congress as the common ally in the grand alliance. The green front was lucky in Bihar but failed miserably in the remaining 2 states. UP grand alliance has similarities to all the 3 Grand alliances.
Similarity with Bihar
1. BJP has no CM face, incumbent CM face is more popular than any regional BJP leader
2. BJP MPs of UP have hardly any work to show for to win people’s support with some MPs even speaking against the party
Similarity with West Bengal
1. Grand Alliance partners are a marginalized entities.
2. The fight is more multi cornered as in West Bengal as compared to Bihar
Similarity with Tamil Nadu
1. Uttar Pradesh is more like Tamil Nadu in dealing with incumbent governments
2. Congress on a decline with no captive votebank as in Bihar/West Bengal
The Arithmetic – Since May 2014, BJP has lost anywhere between 4 to 10% in the state assemblies (with states over 100 assembly seats or above 10 Lok Sabha seats). Should this trend continue the party would secure atleast 33.5% of votes which should normally be enough for a thumping win in a 3 way fight. However with the fight becoming more and more 2 and a half way, the winner must need more than 36% votes to win through. So far Brahmins (10%) and dominant OBCs except Yadavas like Kurmis, Koeris, Lodhs, Kushwahas and Mauryas, Rajbahars (18%) are firmly with BJP. Yadavas and Muslims (28%) on the other hand are firmly with the Congress-SP-RLD grand alliance. The Rajputs (8%) and the Jats (2%) are evenly split between BJP and the grand alliance. BSP onky has assured votbank of Jatavas (12%). SO the BJP and alliance start with a firm edge of 33% compared to BSP’s 12%. Ofcourse the degree of poalrization of these voting blocs and their actual turnout would change the equation a bit, the major balance of power lies with smaller OBC groups, smaller SC groups and smaller UC groups, who together form 22%. These small swing voters would ultimately determine who the winner is.
The Outcome – As of now, pragmatic rationalism suggests that irrespective of the alliance BJP is most suited to win the UP polls. The outcome is an assessment of numbers and trends. Actual results may wary depending on a lot of factors on a real time basis. However at the moment, the most likely outcome is below.
BJP 203 (36.5%)
SP 113 (22.5%)
Congress 37 (8%)
RLD 7 (2%)
BSP 35 (17%)
Others 8 (14%)
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