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UP – BJP’s new headache

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Big Problem in UP. If what is happening in UP, is any indication of times to come, there will be a serious issue in the country. The RSS never accepted India’s freedom, as it was based on secular values. The greatest injustice the British did to the sub-continent, even bigger than the Jalianwala Bagh massacre, is the partition. It was a partition not just of the land but of people. It caused a divide so deep that it still smoulders. Even now Hindutva elements believe that country has to be freed from other cultures. And it’s not just Muslims but other religions too that will face discrimination. No doubt that Gandhiji was martyred for his secular value or what was perceived as pro-Muslim attitudes. Gandhiji’s would have undoubtedly succeeded in bridging the gaps. Something that Muslims didn’t want.

We need leaders like Gandhi and Maulana Azad to contain the two religions. None are to be found.

What is the RSS agenda likely to be in UP?

  • Ethnic cleansing – Harassment of non-Hindus will continue.
  • Caste system – Re-establishment of outcaste and outdated caste traditions
  • Economic benefits – While the law of the country has provisions for the oppressed, in a federal structure the state government can create policies to disadvantage backward castes.
  • Women – Again, Manusmriti type of policies are to be expected where role of women will be more conservative

Yogi will seek to govern ( nay, rule)  as per the Hindu religious scriptures or rather the RSS interpretation of extreme form of Hinduism. Indoctrination and blind faith are just two characteristics of this culture.

Question is why has Modi agreed to the Yogi as the CM. As per reports neither of the two ‘gujarati gaddhes’ (Modi and Shah) liked the idea of Yogi as the CM. So, has the BJP leadership become weak, as the pro-Hindutva elements take control? Is the position of the pro-hindutva elements in BJP so strong that they are dictating terms? How does Modi plan to control them in the future? What does this forebode for the centre? Will Modi be able to control the Yogi at the state?

Again, will Yogi’s policies be so extreme that UP will become the chink in Modi’s 2019 campaign? More and more strong activism is needed in UP. Not only does the media need to be on guard, so does the opposition. The people in the state will have to be assertive and refuse to submit to the extreme measure that Yogi has started with. Already ‘vikas’ or development is being replaced by Hindutva development. Will this be the big decision that BJP will always regret?

Written by Karuna

March 19, 2017 at 4:39 am

Posted in Uncategorized

Morning mists

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Mists curling.

Spirit fingers

Unfurling.

Skeletal hands

Of bare tree branches.

 

Streams of fog

Enveloping

Thatched roofs

Hay bales all,

Scattered cow sheds.

 

Crows caw caws

breaking  eerie

silence

of morning mists

the blanketing white.

 

 

 

 

 

Written by Karuna

March 15, 2017 at 6:06 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Congress in crisis mode? Post 2017 assembly election scenario.

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Speculation is rife on #RaGa‘s disappearance from the media. If Rahul Gandhi appears daily, he becomes the target of all ridicule and if he doesn’t, his whereabouts become a subject of speculation.   

Does the Congress need new faces in the fore front? Gandhi is obviously not getting them there. The party image is badly battered as the bjp stakes claim in both other states, where Congress has emerged as the single largest party. As of now, the game is to say no to congress at any cost. It’s a desperately hungry bjp screaming no from every rooftop.

His campaigning did not garner votes in UP. His style and rhetoric had a negative impact. Though he engaged the audience, there was not much retention. I think the disconnect was wherein in spite of efforts to project himself as a UP boy, he was still not perceived as one or even as very capable. The perception is that he is managed by either mother or sister. Voters prefer a didactic strong approach and a man of the world as it seems. In cases, it could even be too much campaigning.

Would keeping a low profile help him? Obviously he has tried. Then, the media speculates on his whereabouts. Maybe the Gandhi family will be better off as a permanent remote control while party will develop new faces for the field. An occasional appearance would retain his mystique. Obviously when they get to know him upfront, people don’t really like him enough to vote for him. An image that is so bad that even P.K. could not fix it much.

In Punjab, the Congress leadership is strong. Congress needs to seriously develop regional leaders who have been around in the party for a long time as leaders in the forefront. With older leaders having ego issues and being miffed at insensitivity of leadership, there needs to be several points of control and contact. Congress better get it’s act together soon as TN and Maharashtra may see mid-term elections, if the current political scenario is anything to go by.

The test of strength will come now, as the party organization sinks into a crisis mode of sorts. This crisis apart from being an internal crisis is also in media spotlight with long term consequences. Essential for leadership to be visible and be seen as dealing with it correctly. Else the disappearances will be seen as guilt and give flame to rumours. Just as it is a test of leadership, a crisis is also a test for the cadre. The resolution of the organization to survive and succeed has to come from within the structure and not just from top down. Rajiv Gandhi always believed in the ‘Congress grass’ (which is actually used to refer to a local plant with white flowers like the Gandhi ‘topi’. And they itch when touchedJ), or leadership at the grassroots level. That is the approach that the Congress needs to develop more actively. Initiative from bottom-up rather than remain in awe and fear of the top or expectations from leadership to steer the ship.

The question is whether the Congress has a will to survive; has change agents and an open organizational structure. The very fact that the leaders hang onto one person and one face to seek continuity is a bad sign. What the Congress strategy will be to handle this crisis, remains to be seen. That strategy will either build it into a strong opposition or a weak party which will fade away. BJP remained in opposition for twenty years as it built its cadre actively among the Hindu majority and banked on right wing extremist organizations to do propaganda. Will Congress survive and expand its cadre and influence over the years? It should if it has any hopes of resurgence. A strong opposition will one day form a strong ruling party.

 

 

Written by Karuna

March 13, 2017 at 4:31 am

Posted in Uncategorized

Let People Decide

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crowds These political rallies are mind boggling. Look at the masses of people who just come out on the street.

To a large extent, it’s collective madness. People screaming slogans; waving flags jumping around one another and craning to see political leaders. People are even willing to take a few lathis.

This kind of group makes you wonder if they are the not-so smart people and whether they will vote with collective foolishness. However, in the book – “ The Wisdom of Crowds” by James Suroweicki, the author says:” The fact that cognitive diversity matters does not means that if you assemble a group of diverse but thoroughly uninformed people, their collective wisdom will be smarter than an experts. But if you can assemble a diverse group of people who possess varying degrees of knowledge and insight, you’re better off entrusting it with major decisions rather than leaving them with in the hands of one or two people, no matter how smart those people are.”

In short, mass voters make a correct choice as they are a diverse mix of informed; ignorant; wise and foolish people. It is better to let the masses decide than make a single or a couple of vote count. In an organization, the employees are better decision makers than committees.

This can be disproved in many cases. Take for instance, the referendum for Brexit. While UK suffers as it parts, will it work in the long run? Or the vote for Trump? Is that good at all for US? Collective wisdom can be questioned in many instances. But does that make a case for special voters? Or votes with more weightage?  It would be against the very concept of equality under law and democracy. That would be more like an oligarchy. Against the very nature of Fundamental Rights, which treats every voter as equal.

In U.P., the vote bank is huge. There are over 14 crore voters (2015 Jan) and the number of seats in assembly is 404 seats. The budgetary allocation for U.P is naturally equally large and runs into lakhs of crores. Thus, these voters become very important as U.P. elections will also decide the fate of the nation at a later stage in national elections as well. The leaders will have to trust the voter. It’s true that the north Indian vote bank rules the nation by sheer numbers and ot weight-age or any claim to superiority.

Crowd behaviour was interesting to note. Neither leaders were giving any speech but the crowd was simply there enthusing and encouraging the two young leaders, in their forties. They indulge in a lot of political sloganeering. Politicians are larger than life in our country. They are looked at with hope as saviours’ as ‘maai-baap’. This often creates unrealistic expectations of leaders.

I expect the vote to be sharply divided between the caste and class lines. The upper class rich brahmin vote is likely to go to bjp. The Muslim and lower class & caste vote is a divided vote as Janata Dal; SP; Congress and BSP ; RSP fight for it. Inspite of such huge numbers, there is  the likelihood of no clear majority.

The collectives vote is thus swung and easily influenced. The voters are not just influenced by their own foolishness but the collective foolishness of the group. A group which is led by some very shrewd voters who herd them like a dog it’s collective of sheep. The person whose only task is to control the voter. The voter who fervently queues up and casts his vote for the party that either doles out the cash or grips his mind with a vivid fairy tale, painting colorful pictures, thinking little whether tomorrow, the leader will have the ability to sustain him and the rest. The fervor he feels is more of induced fervor – the word vote, vote and vote echoing in his mind.

Source: Images -Wikimedia

Written by Karuna

March 5, 2017 at 4:49 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Defamation & electoral campaign tactics

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The definition of defamation is as follows –

“The action of damaging the good reputation of someone; slander or libel.”  – Google

Defamation is actionable in a court of law under section 499 of Indian Penal Code.

Assembly elections in 2017 are being held in five states. The campaigning started in December 2016. Over the years we have witnessed candidates’ mudslinging and accusing each other of various misdeeds. This was mainly via TV interviews or live speeches. The reach of candidates is now over social media. While Facebook and Twitter are live world-wide forums for people’s participation in elections process – they also became major targets for political parties to spread more hatred.

The official pages are being used more or less for party propaganda and expressing party views; manifestoes and thus campaigning and garnering support; unofficial pages and handles of major politicians are being used to troll; rumour mongering and most of all to defame.

The latest tool adopted by the bjp is faked videos rather than parodies. Parodies were started by Aajtak with their very popular –’So Sorry’ series. These are funny, light hearted videos which mocked all parties and showed a different side to issues. However, bjp is using edited videos with clippings and comments to mock and ridicule Rahul Gandhi. These videos are aimed only at Rahul Gandhi and no one else. Even clippings from speeches in Lok Sabha are used. The subtitles with transition screens which mock Gandhi are so bad that they can anger a supporter or anyone.

These videos are being posted to social media sites like Facebook and Twitter via handles like Presstitutes. The comments sections is full of outpouring of hatred from bjp loyalists. Initially, I was amused but some videos are so vicious that they amount to complete lashing and hate. I even toyed with the idea that they contain some code which is provoking angry reactions. That is not entirely unknown. It amounts to what the courts would term as public incitement against someone in order to hurt or harm. This kind of anger can spill over into an act of violence. This videos are not just defamation, they are cruel and workings of cheap minds. These videos are being circulated privately via messenger apps such as, FB messenger, WhatsApp, SnapChat, etc.

It shows the level to which the political campaigning standards have sunk. They are at an all-time low. Most parties are desperate to take down talented leaders. Each vote counts. Ballot box is the killer of big time names in the past. Still that doesn’t mean that tactics used can be so underhand.

Public incitement is actionable under law -Section 505 of IPC . In this instance, section 505(b) could apply.

EC needs to set up a code to regulate social media postings. Groups like Presstitutes need to be banned. Defamation and public incitement are both crimes and can be legally addressed.

 

Written by Karuna

March 2, 2017 at 5:30 am

Posted in Uncategorized

गुलामी

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सज़ा एसी

है यह प्यार

जो गुलामी से

तडपते सन्न दिल

के साँसों की

गूंज है

 

उसे क्या परवाह

आज़ादी की

जिसे

जि़ंदगी करनी

है बसर

उस प्यार के

बांहों की ज़ंजीरों में

 

 

आशिक की

हिम्मत कहाँ

कि ज़ंजीरे खोल दे

 

वह भी तो

बेबसों सा,

उसके गुलाम की

आँखों के जाम के

नशे में मदहोश सा

 

Written by Karuna

February 16, 2017 at 6:34 am

Posted in Uncategorized

शब्द निःशब्द

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शब्द निःशब्द समझे भी नहींं। रूठ के भाग गए बच्चों की तरह।

बह गए वह एहसास पानी और मिट्टी की तरह ।

अब वह लम्हे गुज़र गये ।

जब मन से  बातें  होतीं थी।

जब  मुलाकातें मीठी होतीं  – जब चंदा भी पैगाम लाता था।

जब बाते भी ज़रूरी नहीं थी – जब वक्त यूंही खो जाता था।

वह सपने जो आपने देखे वह शायद किसी और के थे।

हमें अब सपने देखने की फुरसत भी  नहींं; चाहत भी नहीं।

 

Written by Karuna

February 14, 2017 at 9:31 am

Posted in Uncategorized