Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Jawaharlal Nehru, Netaji Subash Chandra Bose, the RSS and the Myths of Modern India

A look at the world of politics, statecraft, diplomacy and books

Jawaharlal Nehru whom the Indian liberal worships as the very epitome of secularism and democracy based his politics on two huge and monstrous lies  both of which stand completely exposed today. The first was the state sponsored and encouraged propaganda the Rashtriya Swayam Sewak Sangh (the RSS) was behind the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi. So sustained and relentless was the aggressive campaign of vilification that even today there are "intellectuals" like Bipan Chandra, Mridula Mukerjee and a host of congress acolytes who carry this false notion like a mark of "secular" identity. The facts is that Jawaharlal Nehru was well aware of the dangers posed to Gandhi, especially after he decided to go on a hunger strike to get from the reluctant regime of Nehru the money owed by India to Pakistan. Nehru chose to ignore all the warning and on the fateful day when Gandhi was shot, Nehru must have been relieved as the nation's attention would now be focused only on Nehru and not Gandhi. In fact, Gandhi was reluctant to share the mid night hour with Nehru and his absence on August 15th 1947 suggests that Gandhi and Nehru had parted ways. While it is not clear if Nehru had a hand in the assassination, what is amply clear that Nehru knowing well that the RSS was not in any way involved in the crime chose to implicate the leaders of the nationalist organization in a crime that shocked the nation. By discrediting the RSS and its opposition to the formation of Pakistan and Partition, Nehru successfully deflected attention from his own failure to prevent the Partition and more pertinently by agreeing to Lord Mountbatten's request for an early date for Independence, Nehru ensured that an unprepared Nation was faced with the horrendous reality of violence and ethnic cleansing on both sides of the border. Nehru's lack of statecraft is clear from this example. However, he sought to vindicate himself by blaming the RSS.

With his younger colleague, Netaji Subash Chandra Bose, Nehru maintained less than cordial relations. Netaji was a towering intellectual with a first class degree from Cambridge University, unlike Nehru's "gentle man " pass degree, a successful passage through the ICS Examinations and Nehru was not a patch on this great man. In spite of the growing lure of Soviet style Socialism over his intellectual horizon, particularly in the 1930's, Nehru was astute enough not to take his socialism to the point of disrupting his relationship with Gandhi. In other words political expediency ensured that Nehru continued to pay homage to Gandhian ideals, whereas Bose was man enough to declare his opposition to the Gandhian methods. Bose escaped from Calcutta to Germ,any from where he continued the struggle for India's independence. And after the collapse of the Quit India Movement of 1942, the English decided to quit India but at at a cost" Partition and Quit. Netaji's contribution to India's Independence was beyond doubt of outstanding moment and was also an important element in the legitimization of the new Indian state which was born in 1947.Had Netaji been alive, Nehru stood no chance of towering over the Indian Nation like a colossus, of course, with feet of clay. The disappearance of Netaji was essential to ensure the survival of Nehru's regime.

On August 18th  1945 Netaji escaped to Russia via Manchuria and the plane crash theory was floated in order to cover up his tracks. Nehru was quick to declare Netaji dead and tried to appropriate the legacy of the Indian National Army by covertly suggesting that Netaji could be tried as a "war criminal" by the Allies due to his alliance with the Japanese Empire and Germany. There is some evidence to show that Nehru wrote to Clement Atlee suggesting that Netaji could be tried as a war criminal. It is against this background that Netaji decided to fake his death and escape to Soviet Russia. There are credible witnesses to that fact that he was seen in Russia, perhaps Siberia as late as 1963. The Mookerjee Commission also rejected the death in an air crash theory propagated by Nehru and his gang.

The recent revelations that the regime of Nehru used the Intelligence Bureau to tail the Bose Family and maintained total surveillance on the Sisir Bose Household comes as no great surprise. Nehru was mortally afraid of a return of Netaji.

Therefore the entire politics of Nehru in the post Independence era rested on two great lies.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Red Sander Smuggling and the tensions between Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh

A look at the world of politics, statecraft, diplomacy and books

The gunning down of 20 Red Sander smugglers in the forests surrounding the famed Tirupati Temple in Chitoor District of Andhra Pradesh has created a stir and politicians in Tamil Nadu have raised the issue of human rights violations and have accused the Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh, Chandra Babu Naidu of wanton killing. The record of Tamil Nadu Government on the human rights front is rather bleak. Recently the Minister for Agriculture Thiru Krishnamurthy was arrested for abetting the suicide, of the Chief Engineer of the Department who was forced to sign papers appointing men as drivers in the Department from whom the Minister had taken bribes ranging from 3 to 5 lakhs.  The record of the earlier DMK Government is no better. Who has forgotten the suicide of Bash, an accused in the 2G Scam and earlier the killing of DG of Police Mr Durai. The Dravidian Movement and its political offshoots has led to the growth of corrupt, fascist forces and both the DMK and the AIADMK are both tadpoles from the same cess pool. Such being the case the sudden concern for the rights of the tribal on the part of the Tamil politicians is not sincere.

Since 1967 the tribal areas of North Arcot District, the Jahwadi Hills have been neglected. There have been no schemes for the up liftment of the tribal. Even elementary schools are lacking in the area. As far as health facilities are concerned even the Primary Health Centers are not present. The entire social welfare budget of Tamil Nadu is spent on the landed backward castes who already dominate the political and administrative structures of the state. The tribal population has only the choice of choosing the path of ethnocide or eternal poverty and marginalization. Against this background, the sudden love of our Tamil politicians for the tribals is both ingenuous and hypocritical.

Red Sander is a valuable timber which is found in the Seshachalam forests and is listed as an endangered tree and whose cutting is forbidden by law. There is a huge demand for the products from this tree in East Asia for making furniture and also in the construction industry. The tribals who are kept in a state of abject poverty as a calculated policy of the backward caste dominated regime, are induced by politician to venture out into the forests and cut down the trees. It takes just 30 minutes for an experienced tribal to cut down the tree and debark it and make it ready for transport. The forest guards are usually  paid to ignore the entire timber smuggling. More than 20 men who were appointed as forest guards were killed by the timber Mafia and hence the AP Government decided to appoint a special task force. We must remember that the mass killer Veerappan was also  a timber smuggler, except that he chose the less lucrative sandal wood trees to cut. And he too enjoyed patronage on both sides of the border: The DMK regime in Tamil Nadu and the Congress regime in Karnataka. The AP Government decided to act before the menace became too great for the sate to handle. The YSR Congress, like its parent organization is a crime syndicate and its local leaders are political front for the smugglers.

The killing of 20 tribals is indeed extremely sad and deserves to be investigated. The fact is that in the past the smugglers have killed forest guards and even in this case the Special Task Force was attacked with bows and axes and the firing was resorted to in self defense. Of course, excessive force was used. However, the primary responsibility rests with the Government of Tamil Nadu which has not done anything for the welfare of the tribals and force them to make a living thus.

Saturday, March 7, 2015

BBC, The Nirbhaya Documentary and Indian Public Opnion

A look at the world of politics, statecraft, diplomacy and books

The Western World or the White world pretends that it is upholding a higher civilizational standard than the non- Western world of which India and China are the most illustrious icons. On what basis are such claims made. The fact that less than 65 years back, Germany killed 13 million people in the Concentration Camps, a record of barbarism that still remains unsurpassed, is generally ignored as that country is officially part of the so called West. The rising tide of racial discrimination in most European countries is again set aside and in UK, the internal surveillance of the Muslim population is reaching alarming proportions. In USA almost every week a man, usually a non white and generally derelict person is being killed by the trigger happy internal militia. And since the subject is rape, the percentage of women in USA and Europe who are raped is extremely high. In MIT, a campus survey found that 60% of the female students had complained of unacceptable sexual behavior on Campus. I are repeating all these facts not to cover up the enormous tragedy that shocked and traumatized  the entire nation. India set up the JP Verma Commission and tightened the laws and there is growing awareness of the issue of gender violence. Can the same be said of USA and Europe.

The BBC has produced and broadcast a documentary entitled, India's Daughter, which is based on a series of interviews with the killers of Nirbhaya. The dead victim of the tragedy is made to relive the trauma once again by the shamelessly titillating exposure given to one of the rapists who is under the sentence of death. It appears from the way in which the documentary has been edited, that the main purpose is to shift the focus of the debate from rape to the death penalty in general and that of the impending execution of the rapist killer in particular. I cannot understand how the UPA Government was so insensitive that it allowed the BBC to film the interviews with the killer and that to in Tihar Jail located in the Capital. Will the Indian Media get access to any prisoner awaiting execution in USA. One example will suffice: The American Government did not permit the Indian Law reinforcement personnel to interview David Headley Coleman even though he stands accused in an Indian Court for having planned and organized the 26/11 Massacre in Mumbai. That being the case, how is it that the BBC enjoys privileges that it is not entitled to. How was the filming allowed without the script being whetted.

India's Daughter projects India is an extremely bad light and that is precisely the purpose of the documentary. It seeks to portray India as a land of barbarians in which women are not safe and it needs the skills of a white film maker to hold a mirror to reflect the ugly face of India. India exploded in anger at what happened in Delhi in December 2012 and does not need a white woman to tell us or inform us of the ugly reality which stares us in the face. The arrogance of the BBC which justified the broadcast is unconscionable: it serves a real purpose of informing the world says BBC. Indian law which prohibits the name of the victim from being made public was deliberately and insensitively violated and the Government of India is well within its right to ban BBC from India for this one serious act. I think, the country must adopt a zero tolerance to such provocations. India law cannot be violated by foreign media. We do not have give extra territorial rights to BBC and their correspondents. India should force the BBC to ether publically apologize for the violation of Indian law or be forced to quit India.

Nirbhaya is a symbol of the kind of unspeakable brutality which no civilized society can tolerate. The BBC has no right to rape the victim again and again. Shame on BBC. It now turns out that the rapist Mukesh Singh was paid by BBC for this interview. In other words BBC made commercial profit out out this immense tragedy and paid the killer too.

Saturday, February 21, 2015


A look at the world of politics, statecraft, diplomacy and books

Alapuzha or Allepey is sometimes called Venice of the East. It was an important port from where spices were exported to all parts of the world in the medieval period. To facilitate the movement of spices, canals were constructed on which the typical long boats of Kerala used to ply. The beautiful Vembanar Lake, a large water body forms a breath taking and a scenic backdrop to this beautiful city. I had reasons to visit this city recently as I was invited by a student of mine to deliver the keynote address for a National Seminar in a College there. We spent three wonderful days and I want to share my experience with my readers> Here goes:                                                    
Norton Church
The Lighthouse
The Spice Warehouse
A House by the Canal
The Rajarajesvari Temple
A Beautiful Lamp
The Mullaly Market
The Sunset on the beach
Saint Joseph's College for Women which is doing a splendid job in educating girls
The Ambalapuzha Temple
The same Temple
An excellent place to get snacks by the Boat Jetty

The first Protestant Church built in 1816
The Altar of the Church
A view of the canal

Our trip to Allepey was wonderful and will remain in our mind for a long long time. Well worth a visit.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

One Part Woman: Perumal Murugan and his novel of Misrepresentation

A look at the world of politics, statecraft, diplomacy and books

Tamil literary scene is said to be vibrant and the recent novel by Perumal Murugan, One Part Woman is touted as an example of a renaissance in Tamil Literature. Caste is always simmering under the surface of Tamil society and the Dravidian Movement has made caste the central icon of Tamil identity and politics which valorizes a politicized linguistic consciousness. The Brahmin was the focus of much of the venom unleashed by the Dravidian Movement and even E V Ramaswamy Nayakkar or Periyar as he is fondly called made Brahmin bashing an acceptable part of Tamil public behaviour. Today when  brahmins has been driven out of Tamil Nadu and the intermediate castes which inherited the spoils of the Dravidian Movement and its politics are busy fighting among themselves and are united only against the dalit population. The ugly reality of Tamil society today is that caste is the only theme which writers want to explore. Murugan, a teacher of Tamil at Namakkal has published a novel which the intermediate landed caste of the Konku region, the Konku Vellalars, find extremely offensive. The novel, One Part Woman is set in the Konku region around the town of Tiruchengode, a taluq headquarters in Salem district.

Konku which consists of the hilly tracts of the Western Ghats was the last frontier of Tamil society and throughout its long history was bone of contention between powerful neighbours. The Pandyas, the Cholas and the Hoysalas all contested for supremacy over this region. Obviously the area has a violent and turbulent past which can be dealt with in a fairly interesting and engaging manner. However we do not find this novel doing either.

There has been outrage in Tamil Nadu against this novel. The writer/novelist in a dramatic facebook post declared that the novelist Murugan is dead and only a "stupid teacher" Murugan  is alive. This provided the signal for all the usual suspects of the Tamil Literary scene, N Ram, A R Venkatachalapathy, Meena, Chandru and others to rally in support of the author on the ground that his artistic freedom has been curtailed by the forces of "cultural fascism". Nothing can be more untrue than this. A conspiracy theory was floated that because the Vellalar Gounders are running Teaching shops in the form of cram schools in Namakkal that community is funding the anti Murugan agitation and the author played along by pretending to be a martyr to the cause of freedom.

There is a great deal of ethnographic information available about the Konku region and there is no material which supports the central theme of the novel that the Ardhanarisvara Temple situated atop a hillock near Tiruchengode was ever the site of the seedy scene that Murugan describes. He argues that women visited this temple to beget children and were impregnated by men who were not their husbands. Obviously the Konku Vellalar community is up in arms against the depiction of their women as unchaste and more pertinently, causing a veil of suspicion to fall on the  ancestry of the community. The Konku Vellalars are divided into 24 territorially  segmented nadu grouping as suggested by the ethnographic research of Brenda Beck. Under these circumstances it would be impossible for such a custom to be even plausible. A false and contrived social custom is sought to be foisted on to the Konku Gounder community. There is no historical or ethnographic material to even remotely suggest the existence of the surrogate impregnation that Perumal Murugan has described in his book. I do not contest his right to write rubbish, but let him not say that he has written a piece of social history in the form of a novel.

The language used in the book is vulgar and tasteless. Kinship is respected in Tamil society and the elder brother's wife is called anni. It is not possible for a brother to say in the context of Tamil society' "Just find out and let me know if my sisters-in-law will take care of that" (86). The context of this quote is so tasteless and vulgar that I have refrained from quoting it in full. And there are many such instances of vulgar, tasteless language.

On page 98 Perumal Murugan writes: At the peak of the celebrations all rules were relaxed. The night bore witness to that".

This book does not deserve the attention it has received. Of course, I do not say that it should be banned. It is just a piece of trash thta deserves to be ignored.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015


A look at the world of politics, statecraft, diplomacy and books

The victory of the AAP in the recently concluded polls came as a complete shock to many of us. While the victory of the AAP was predicted the scale of the victory was unprecedented to say the least. The BJP had won all 7 Lok Sabha seats in the May 2014 General Election with a vote share of 37.5%. There has been a slight fall in the vote share  but the BJP won only 3 seats leaving 67 seats to the AAP. What explains this debacle?

1 It is now clear that the projection of Kiran Bedi as the Chief Ministerial candidate mid way through the polls was a flawed strategy and doubly so because that move was not welcomed by the grass root workers of the party. Her high handed conduct alienated party workers and the net result she lost the Krishna Nagar seat, a safe constituency of the BJP.

2 The BJP went into the elections without a Manifesto and that meant that the people of Delhi did not know what to expect from the Party. The Vision Document released was largely a symbolic statement huge on rhetoric but short on specifics. Now in retrospect that was  a factor.

3 The BJP was on a roll winning state after state and had become used to the habit of winning and assumed that Delhi would be a piece of cake. The AAP has built a good net work of supporters in different localities and had the city well covered. A committed band of volunteers worked night and day to make the victory possible. The AAP was able to tap the misguided idealism of the youth who believe that the AAP brand of politics will augur change in India.

4 The BJP under the State President Shri Satish Upadhya was handicapped by the lack of support from the top duo of the Party, Modi and Shah. Satish Upadhya himself was denied a ticket to fight the Polls while defectors like Krishna Tirath were given tickets. The ticket distribution was faulty and there were far too many para troopers wafting from above queering the pitch.

5 The perceived "negative campaign" of the BJP against the much vaunted financial and ethical probity of the AAP is also touted as a reason. The fact is that the AAP is guilty of using shady and dubious finances during the campaign but turned its own misdeeds against the BJP. The AAP is very good at turning all criticism against its conduct as a trial between the forces of good and the forces of evil a kind of eschatology which may lead to short term gains but not long lasting results.

6 The BJP has lost and like a mature political party has started introspecting. The first clear indication of change is the reluctance to enter the dirty cess  pool of Bihar politics. The BPJ will  learn its lessons and get its house in order before the Bihar polls later this year.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Barack Obama in India: Republic Day, Nuclear Deal and Indo-US Relations

A look at the world of politics, statecraft, diplomacy and books

The Republic Day 2015 has quite a few firsts to its credit. For the first time in 66 years a serving US President was the Chief Guest at this important public event. And for the first time too significant political and economic agreements were signed, particularly the agreement on Civil Nuclear Deal. Let us put all this in perspective. A year ago, no one in India would have deemed it possible for a US President to be the Chief Guest on the occasion of the Republic Day. The commentators here have simplified the whole issue into one of "chemistry" between the two leaders. Nothing can be more wrong than this. USA has finally realized that India has changed and it is no longer possible to ignore India. The fact that USA was used to equating Indian concerns with Pakistan's sensitivities was the crux of the whole relationship, India was usually hyphenated with Pakistan. For the first time the joint statement issued after the talks made an unequivocal commitment to end terrorism and in the usual diplomatic parlance took a firm step towards ensuring that the 26/11 suspects are brought to book. I think this shift in US policy in the most important outcome of the visit.

The Civil Nuclear deal between India and USA was signed sis years back and there was little progress on the issue because of the "liability" clause in the Act passed by the Indian Parliament. The legality of the liability clause can be debated but the fact is that the BJP insisted that the clause which makes the supplier and not the operators of the power plants liable for the cost of any accident. The US power industry was naturally apprehensive about this clause and Modi was able to talk the US President into using his executive powers to iron out the differences. I think this is again a huge shift in US position. The fact that a Democrat has been able to muster the political will to make a huge shift in India's favor is a sign that Indo-US Relations are improving. I am personally in favor of a more even handed approach so that the Chinese Government does not get too highly perturbed over the growing ties between the two countries. However, the deal was struck within 7 months of Modi coming to power and this goes to show that in the domain of  foreign policy Narendar Modi has rare grit and talent.

The other important takeaway from the visit of Barack Obama is the US endorsement of the "Make in India" campaign launched by Narendar Modi. The long and dreary years of Congress rule staring with Jawaharlal Nehru saw India adopting a model of development which was based on the importation of technology in the knocked down version and the factories reassembled in India. The Ambassador car is a good example of this. Reassembly of kits, manufacturing on the basis of expired patents or process innovation were the hall marks of Indian industrialization. And this charade was called "thrust toward self sufficiency". Rightly has India rejected this model of development and Modi in his Make in India Campaign seeks transfer of technology, partnership and skill development all of which were absent in the Nehruvian model. The Make in India campaign  figured prominently in the Davos Meet.

The recent comments in China in which the Obama visit was sought to be downplayed has to be viewed seriously. China has very perceptively understood that there is a major shift in the very principles of Indian foreign policy. I am sure that Narendar Modi during his forthcoming visit to China will reassure  China that Indo-US relations are not directed at China and so far Narendar Modi has sent out all the right messages.

The Republic Day began with Narendar Modi paying tribute to the Indian Army at India Gate which was built by the British to honour the war dead of India in the Great War, 1914-18.