a section of Indian journalism

Column–One

The public image of the Brahmins, for instance, is that of an affluent, pampered class. But is it so today?
There are 50 Sulabh Shauchalayas (public toilets) in Delhi; all of them are cleaned and looked after by Brahmins (this very welcome public institution was started by a Brahmin). A far cry from the elitist image that Brahmins have!
There are five to six Brahmins manning each Shauchalaya. They came to Delhi eight to ten years back looking for a source of income, as they were a minority in most of their villages, where Dalits are in majority (60 per cent to 65 per cent). In most villages in UP and Bihar, Dalits have a union which helps them secure jobs in villages.
Did you know that you also stumble upon a number of Brahmins working as coolies at Delhi’s railway stations? One of them, Kripa Shankar Sharma, says while his daughter is doing her Bachelors in Science he is not sure if she will secure a job.
“Dalits often have five to six kids, but they are confident of placing them easily and well,” he says. As a result, the Dalit population is increasing in villages. He adds: “Dalits are provided with housing, even their pigs have spaces; whereas there is no provision for gaushalas (cowsheds) for the cows of the Brahmins.”
You also find Brahmin rickshaw pullers in Delhi. 50 per cent of Patel Nagar’s rickshaw pullers are Brahmins who like their brethren have moved to the city looking for jobs for lack of employment opportunities and poor education in their villages.
Even after toiling the whole day, Vijay Pratap and Sidharth Tiwari, two Brahmin rickshaw pullers, say they are hardly able to make ends meet. These men make about Rs 100 to Rs 150 on an average every day from which they pay a daily rent of Rs 25 for their rickshaws and Rs 500 to Rs 600 towards the rent of their rooms which is shared by 3 to 4 people or their families.
Did you also know that most rickshaw pullers in Banaras are Brahmins?
This reverse discrimination is also found in bureaucracy and politics. Most of the intellectual Brahmin Tamil class has emigrated outside Tamil Nadu. Only 5 seats out of 600 in the combined UP and Bihar assembly are held by Brahmins(2006) — the rest are in the hands of the Yadavs.
400,000 Brahmins of the Kashmir valley, the once respected Kashmiri Pandits, now live as refugees in their own country, sometimes in refugee camps in Jammu and Delhi in appalling conditions. But who gives a damn about them? Their vote bank is negligible.
And this is not limited to the North alone. 75 per cent of domestic help and cooks in Andhra Pradesh are Brahmins. A study of the Brahmin community in a district in Andhra Pradesh (Brahmins of India by J Radhakrishna, published by Chugh Publications) reveals that today all purohits live below the poverty line.
Eighty per cent of those surveyed stated that their poverty and traditional style of dress and hair (tuft) had made them the butt of ridicule. Financial constraints coupled with the existing system of reservations for the ‘backward classes’ prevented them from providing secular education to their children.
Who are the real ‘Dalits’ of India?
In fact, according to this study there has been an overall decline in the number of Brahmin students. With the average income of Brahmins being less than that of non-Brahmins, a high percentage of Brahmin students drop out at the intermediate level. In the 5 to 18 year age group, 44 per cent Brahmin students stopped education at the primary level and 36 per cent at the pre-matriculation level.
The study also found that 55 per cent of all Brahmins lived below the poverty line — below a per capita income of Rs 650 a month. Since 45 per cent of the total population of India is officially stated to be below the poverty line it follows that the percentage of destitute Brahmins is 10 per cent higher than the all-India figure.
There is no reason to believe that the condition of Brahmins in other parts of the country is different. In this connection it would be revealing to quote the per capita income of various communities as stated by the Karnataka finance minister in the state assembly(2006): Christians Rs 1,562, Vokkaligas Rs 914, Muslims Rs 794, Scheduled castes Rs 680, Scheduled Tribes Rs 577 and Brahmins Rs 537.
Appalling poverty compels many Brahmins to migrate to towns leading to spatial dispersal and consequent decline in their local influence and institutions. Brahmins initially turned to government jobs and modern occupations such as law and medicine. But preferential policies for the non-Brahmins have forced Brahmins to retreat in these spheres as well.
Caste shouldn’t overwrite merit
According to the Andhra Pradesh study, the largest percentage of Brahmins today are employed as domestic servants. The unemployment rate among them is as high as 75 per cent. Seventy percent of Brahmins are still relying on their hereditary vocation. There are hundreds of families that are surviving on just Rs 500 per month as priests in various temples (Department of Endowments statistics).
Priests are under tremendous difficulty today, sometimes even forced to beg for alms for survival. There are innumerable instances in which Brahmin priests who spent a lifetime studying Vedas are being ridiculed and disrespected.
At Tamil Nadu’s Ranganathaswamy Temple, a priest’s monthly salary is Rs 300 (Census Department studies) and a daily allowance of one measure of rice. The government staff at the same temple receive Rs 2,500 plus per month. But these facts have not modified the priests’ reputation as ‘haves’ and as ‘exploiters.’ The destitution of Hindu priests has moved none, not even the parties known for Hindu sympathy.
The tragedy of modern India is that the combined votes of Dalits/OBC and Muslims are enough for any government to be elected. The Congress quickly cashed in on it after Independence, but probably no other government than Sonia Gandhi’s has gone so far in shamelessly dividing Indian society for garnering votes.
The Indian government gives Rs 1,000 crores (Rs 10 billion) for salaries of imams in mosques and Rs 200 crores (Rs 2 billion) as Haj subsidies. But no such help is available to Brahmins and upper castes. As a result, not only the Brahmins, but also some of the other upper castes in the lower middle class are suffering in silence today, seeing the minorities slowly taking control of their majority.
How reservations fracture Hindu society
Anti-Brahminism originated in, and still prospers in anti-Hindu circles. It is particularly welcome among Marxists, missionaries, Muslims, separatists and Christian-backed Dalit movements of different hues. When they attack Brahmins, their target is unmistakably Hinduism.


Column–Second

The negative propaganda has already started. Journalists and anchors cynically repeat the phrase “achche din” and no discussion is complete without the revocation and disguised ridiculing of the slogan. Such are the mind games the people in the media play.
The so-called fourth pillar of democracy in our country, especially the English media, has been farcical so far. It does not report news. It peddles news. It does not help you shape opinions; it is already opinionated. It does not help you form an ideology; it shoves a pre-cooked ideology down your throat whether you like it or not. There isn’t much choice available to you. Propaganda trumps over awareness. Often, the objective is not to spread information, but to spread misinformation. They don’t want to empower you through knowledge, they want to disempower you by misleading you. The alternative opinion is non-existent. You’re constantly fed falsities. Based on these falsities you form your political, cultural and social opinions. Based on these opinions, you support political parties. And then these political parties decide how you and your children live and what sort of future you and your children have.
If you remember the NDA days, the media was full of negative news. Farmers were dying. There was a screw-up in Kargil. Various scams were happening. The Kandahar hijacking fiasco. The attack on the Parliament. The coffin scam. The failed or sabotaged Musharraf meet. The Gujarat riots. There was scarcity of food. The public sector “temples” were being dismantled and sold to profiteering businesses. The economy was in doldrums. The entire “India shining” was in fact, according to the ever-hyperventilating English media, nothing but “India dimming further”. The result, despite great performance, the NDA government lost and the disastrous phase of the UPA-rule began. Nobody knows how long it will take for the country to recover.
But why is such an attitude reserved for the BJP — especially for Narendra Modi? Partly to be blamed is Macaulay who sowed the seeds of self-loathing and a monumental sense of doubt in our indigenous abilities. Partly also to be blamed are our elitist intellectual class.
There is a complete ecosystem of journalists, NGO-runners, ‘scholars’, ‘intellectuals’ and other such charlatans whose survival depends on the doles distributed by a quintessential welfare state. They help the non-performing Government shape minds and hence, consolidate its political base. In return, the Government distributes liberal doses of grants, concessions, allocations and preferential treatments among these people. They survive on each other. True development — development that actually improves the lot of the people at the grassroots level works against their interest. True development cannot be heralded without market, intellectual, cultural and scholarly liberalisation and when such liberalisation manifests, people are forced to compete on the basis of their abilities rather than their connections.
Narendra Modi, being a nationalist, would like his country to develop on the basis of its strengths and abilities rather than perpetually depend on costly and destructive welfare schemes. His ambitious plans are totally antithetical to the survival of the elitist class which has gotten used to getting a lot with little effort. These people have survived on connections, on the proverbial “jod-tod” for more than six decades. Many such generations have survived like this and one cannot expect them to change suddenly. So what are they going to do? They’re going to make every possible effort to make the country return to the same old system of “you scratch my back, I scratch yours”. The propaganda pitch is going to attain its crescendo.
Lots of exciting things are taking place with the arrival of the new Government. The economy is being overhauled, the education system is being restructured, institutions are being revived, bureaucracy is being revamped. Perhaps for the first time in the history of the country, people are experiencing actual governance. The political landscape is changing. People’s faith in governance is being restored. The country and its rivers are being cleaned up. Hard, difficult decisions are being made. Are these developments being covered by the media? No.

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madhav nalapat on modi

To avoid a Tahrir Square, Modi needs to deliver
India was about a year away from a Tahrir Square outcome when the BJP leadership declared Narendra Modi as its PM candidate.
 

Narendra Modi
ver the course of his career, Prime Minister Narendra Damodardas Modi has acted in a manner very different from the overwhelming majority of politicians, who are adept at saying what they do not mean, and of course meaning something quite different from what they are saying. If a correlation gets made between his words and his actions, a close match will be found. Hence it was with anticipation that voters across the country heard him repeat over and over again that as PM, he would ensure that accountability be fixed for the wrongs committed in the past. Other political leaders, including many in his own party, have happily conformed to a system where changes in government fail to ensure that those guilty of wrongdoing in the past be made to account for, and be punished for, their crimes. While frequent declamations get made about each other in public, in private the story is entirely different, with the credo being “You cover for my skeletons and I will do the same with yours, once elected”. The consequence was a deep cynicism with the way politics has been practised in this country, anger that spilled over into the streets and which fuelled Anna Hazare’s popularity, and later that of Prashant Bhushan and Arvind Kejriwal.
There are many who opposed Narendra Modi out of a belief that his ascent into Prime Ministership would result in a widening of civil unrest and social strife. Such fears are unfounded. It was the emergence of Modi in 2013 as the prospective Head of Government that damped down the cynicism pervading public opinion in the country. Millions saw street politics rather than elected assemblies as the best fora to ensure that the few who have squeezed them for so long as a consequence of their commas over state power be sent packing, from the cosy nooks of high office into prison. Had the Modi phenomenon not emerged out of the shadows, the millions of those actively disaffected throughout India, which had by the start of 2013 grown into the tens of millions and powered the Aam Aadmi Party’s spectacular rise, would have by the beginning of 2014 have expanded into the hundreds of millions and made this country ungovernable as a consequence. India was about a year away from such a Tahrir Square outcome when the BJP leadership wisely decided to ignore the ambitions of some of the party’s leaders and declare Modi its PM candidate. From that time onwards, while public anger at the ethical excesses of the elected remained, the focus changed from action in the streets to support for the then Chief Minister of Gujarat.
The ferocity of the attacks by Congress president Sonia Gandhi and her party on Modi, which is in contrast to the kid glove treatment meted out to the rest of the highest rung of the BJP, indicates that she had understood the potency of the Modi message of clean governance and economic progress. As for Arvind Kejriwal, his allure began to diminish the moment he switched gears and made Narendra Modi rather than Sonia Gandhi the target of his barbs.
The Modi wave has been caused by a tidal wave of anger — indeed, disgust — at the way in which India’s political class has made the making of money the prime objective of their politics. The lifestyles of the well-connected are testimony to the fact that unaccounted income has proliferated most among those holding high political office, no matter what party they belong to, if one excludes the now marginalised CPI and CPM. Each time Narendra Modi spoke of ensuring accountability for the depredations of this class, his support swelled. Now that voters have given him the mandate required to govern, they expect him to walk the talk. They expect Modi to bring to justice those guilty of looting the country for decades. Whether it is the way in which a CIA spy within RAW was facilitated during 2003-4 in his escape by colleagues, who escaped subsequent scrutiny, much less punishment; whether it is the way in which equity and commodity markets in India have been rigged to benefit a handful of insiders at the expense of the common man; whether it is the way monopolies have been perpetuated in key industries such as telecom by the tweaking of rules by compliant officials; or whether the way in which hawala operators are being protected by the high officials whose conduits they are, the condition of governance in India is abysmal.
Although some speak of a year-long honeymoon with Narendra Modi, that period is likely to last as little as six months before the public once again begins to lose faith in the election system and once more starts taking to the streets. Unless of course the new PM wields a steel broom to ensure that graft is cleared away and the guilty punished. A people cynical of politicians has placed its trust in Prime Minister Modi, and those who know the PM are confident that he will deliver on their hopes.

http://www.sunday-guardian.com/analysis/to-avoid-a-tahrir-square-modi-needs-to-deliver#.U5PNWueLoIE.gmail

 

How does a Military Man justify his existence? Does he have a job to do?

How does a Military Man justify his existence? Does he have a job to do?

*Some people still don’t understand why military personnel do what they do for a living. In my opinion, this exchange between Senators John Glenn and Howard Metzen Baum is worth reading. Not only does it make a pretty impressive and impromptu speech, but it’s also a good example of one man’s explanation of why men and women in the armed services do what they do for a living. This is a typical, though sad, example of what some who have never served, think of the military.*
 
*Senator Metzen Baum to Senator Glenn: **”How can you run for Senate when  you’ve never ever held a “real job?”*
 
*Senator Glenn: “I served 23 years in the United States Marine Corps. I served through two wars.
I flew 149 missions. My plane was hit by anti-aircraft fire on 12 different occasions.
I was in the Space Program. It wasn’t my checkbook,  Howard; it was my life on the line.
It was not a 9 to 5 job, where I took time off to take the daily cash receipts to the bank. I ask you to go with me …as I went the other day … to a Veterans Hospital and look those men – with their mangled bodies – in the eye, and tell THEM they didn’t hold a job!
You go with me to the Space Program at NASA and go, as I have gone, to the widows and orphans of Ed White, Gus Grissom and Roger Chaffee … and you look those kids in the eye and tell them that their DADS didn’t hold a job.
You go with me on Memorial Day and you stand in Arlington National Cemetery, where I have more friends buried than I’d like to remember, and you watch those waving flags.  You stand there, and you think about this Nation, and you tell ME that those people didn’t have a I’ll tell you, Howard Metzenbaum, you should be on your knees every day of your life thanking God that there were some men – SOME MEN – who held a REAL job.  And they required a dedication to a purpose – and a love of country and a dedication to duty – that was more important than life itself.  And their self-sacrifice is what made **this country possible. *
 
*I have held a job, Howard! – What about you?”*
 
*——–Total silence. 
Amen !!


 

Ajit Doval

 Ajit Doval, the National Security Advisor of India, is not a
> run-of-the-mill officer.  He comes packed with abilities to
> conceptualise strategies and plans that shall realise Prime
> Minister Modi’s dreams and national goals


> Just as Prime Minister Narendra Modi assumes office after a
> blitzkrieg electoral offensive that saw Congress and its
> allies vanquished as never before, the dishonest and
> inefficientbureaucrats
> in the
> South and North Blocks are scurrying for cover. At
> the same time, there are officers of unimpeachable integrity
> and enormous potential who were thus far ignored by a
> scam-ridden, dysfunctional regime headed by agentleman who would
> perhaps be remembered as the most unheard and unseen Prime
> Minister of India. Whereas there would be many brains of
> excellence in the Modi Team, India’s new National
> Security Advisor (NSA), Ajit Doval distinguishes himself
> from the rest in many ways. His appointment as India’s NSA
> sends a clear signal – nationally and internationally. It
> is a pointer to the Modi government’s resolve to free
> India from the internal and externalanxieties so as to
> create an environment of peace and progress on which the
> idea of ‘good governance and development for all’ shall
> flourish.

>  
> Ajit Doval is a man of exceptionally high IQ and uncanny
> abilities. He is doer, a fighter and achiever who has
> ventured and accomplished missions where few would dare. And
> it is not just ‘one of’ type of successes in his case. 
> The chain of his incredible success stories runs through
> some of the most dangerous and unlikely situations. Here is
> one incident that explains how he stunned us by giving a
> simple solution to a complex problem fraught with far
> reaching ramifications. The National Security Guard (NSG)—widely
> known as ‘Black Cat Commandos’ was flown in at night to
> flush out the terrorists from the Golden Temple Complex at
> Amritsar in May 1988. There were conflicting reports about
> the number and identities of terrorists inside the Golden
> Temple complex. There was no clarity as to what weapons they
> had and how many innocent civilians were inside the
> premises. Our initial brief from the local police and state
> administration left crucial questions unanswered. This irked
> us. Nevertheless, operational plans were drawn up and by
> late night, we were readying to storm the complex. Just as
> the assault was about to go, it was suddenly cancelled.  “Tiger
> for Two, Billa cancelled. Stand down and get back to your
> cordon positions,” Tiger (the Group Commander) ordered the
> assault squadron commander. (Billa was the code word to
> signal ‘launch’ of phase I of the operation). The
> operation was called off even before it took off because the
> Force Commander had received a rider from the Home Ministry
> – “No civilian casualties and damage to buildings will
> be accepted!”

>  
> Back to my position atop Temple View Hotel overlooking the
> Parikrama, we went into a huddle. All of us were eager to
> finish the operation as soon as possible and did not relish
> these restrictions being now imposed upon us from Delhi.
> Officers were now required to tell their Hit commandos –
> equipped with high precision shooting lethal weapons and
> trained to kill – to shoot but not kill! When Ajit Doval
> arrived there, not everyone knew him. Only a select few of
> us knew about this super cop’s incredible role in this
> operation. He gave us a first-hand account of all that was
> going on inside the Golden Temple Complex – the
> terrorists, sevadars, civilians, women and children; their
> falling morale, waning resistance, duels over options to
> surrender or fight and die and so on. These were valuable
> inputs. He had been inside the Golden Temple Complex rubbing
> shoulders with the most dreaded terrorists like Surjit Singh
> Penta, Karaj Singh Thande, Bhag singh, Chanchal Singh (all
> self-styled ‘Lt Generals’ of Khalistan Commando Force or
> KCF) and Gurjit Singh, the All India Sikh Students
> Federation (AISSF) leader. In utter disregard to personal
> safety, he moved around all over the complex even as bullets
> were raining from all directions. Much later, we learnt that
> he had disguised himself as an agent of ISI sent for their
> aid.


> After explaining the situation, the task and the
> restrictions imposed from top, we sought his views. He heard
> our predicament attentively. “Now, tell us”, the Force
> Commander asked him, “How the hell can such an operation
> be accomplished without collateral damage?”


> After listening to our problem silently, Ajit Doval smiled
> and looked around. His affable countenance, cool glance and
> naughty smile indicated he had something funny to say –
> and he did. He offered a solution that appeared too simple
> to be operationally effective. What would stun everyone
> later, however, was not the spectacle of battle but the
> simple, subtle tactics that culminated into a success that
> was lauded all over the world. Not only did we compel all
> the terrorists to surrender but also ensured zero collateral
> damage. There was no casualty or injury to any commando
> either. Doval became the first IPS officer to be honoured
> with ‘Kirti Chakra’ (a peacetime equivalent of the
> second highest military award ‘Mahavir Chakra).


> Op Black Thunder is but one of a long trail of incredible
> feats accomplished by Ajit Doval.  Idiosyncratically
> propelled from within, he has frequently endangered himself
> going beyond the call of duty and jumping into the jaws of
> Death. So often, he has infiltrated into the core of
> militant organisations and delivered crippling blows to
> disintegrate them. His role in disintegrating the Mizo
> National Front (MNF) Army humbled the ferocious Lal Denga,
> who himself attributed his defeat to Ajit Doval’s shrewd
> moves. His idea of befriending and converting terrorists in
> Jammu & Kashmir (J&K) into counter-terrorists was
> another unorthodox masterstroke that was initially
> criticised but proved to be a very effective measure in
> suppressing the rising tide of militancy there. Kuka Parray
> and his pro-India outfit Ikhwan-ul-Muslemoon were borne of
> this out of the box strategy launched by Ajit Doval in the
> terror torn state. Often described as a super spy, he does
> not reveal all he has been through including the years he
> spent in Pakistan. The humility and the ethical code he has
> followed all through will perhaps never allow us to peep
> deeper into all corners of his secret world. (NOTE: Specific
> details of Doval’s subtle advice and operational plans
> are part of official secrets, which cannot be revealed even
> today.)

>    
> Thanks to his diplomatic proficiency and deft crisis
> handling abilities, India has often retrieved many a
> critical situation from the verge of catastrophe. He was the
> Chief Negotiator to rescue the hostages aboard Indian
> Airlines flight IC 814 that was hijacked to Kandahar in
> December 1999.  His deft negotiating skills resulted in safe return of
> the aircraft and the hostages from the clutches of hijackers
> enjoying connivance of Taliban.

>      
> In his retired years, Ajit Doval has led a very fulfilling
> engagement as founder Director of Vivekananda International
> Foundation, New Delhi where you would find him always
> surrounded by a galaxy of research scholars, writers,
> retired bureaucrats, defence officers, diplomats – foreign
> and Indians alike. Workshops, seminars, panel discussions,
> book launches and presentations are the routine activities
> at this Think Tank.  A voracious reader, thinker and
> analyst himself, Doval is a storehouse of knowledge. His
> personal library at home would be envied even by academic
> institutions. To hear him speak on subjects as diverse as
> national security, international relations, socio-religious
> matters, trade and commerce, economy, energy, development
> and so on is always an enriching immersion from where
> participants emerge adding a new dimension to their
> knowledge.

>    
> Prime Minister Narendra Modi is a man with vision and dreams
> for a prosperous, powerful Bharat.  He is no
> run-of-the-mill politician. He has the capacity to visualise
> a distant lofty future and the will to achieve it. Ajit
> Doval, the National Security Advisor of India, is likewise
> no run-of-the-mill officer.  He comes packed with abilities
> to conceptualise strategies and plans that shall realise the
> Prime Minister’s dreams and national goals. Undoubtedly,
> India is in safe hands on its way to a glorious future.


> (Author and social activist Col Karan Kharb is a
> military veteran,who commanded an Infantry battalion with
> many successes in counter-terrorist operations.He was also
> actively involved in numerous high-risk operations as second
> in command of the elite 51 Special Action Group of the
> National Security Guard—widely known as ‘Black Cat
> Commandos’.)

> —