6

K – KASHMIR | #AtoZChallenge

K – Kashmir | #AtoZChallenge #BlogchatterA2Z

Post World War II the British were left bankrupt. They started abandoning and leaving the colonies and in the process giving them independence. Lord Mountbatten arrived in February 1947 and was supposed to take till June 1948 to come up with the proposal of how India would be divided. He invited Cyril Radcliffe, a barrister who had never set foot in India before then and only gave him five weeks to do so.

He did it in a hurry and within two months a line was sketched on a map of the then India dividing in on the basis of the religion of the majority that resided in that area. Everyone knows that came at a price of more than a million lives and fifteen million displaced.

Maharaja Hari was a Hindu ruler of a Muslim majority princely state at the time of partition and he was to make a call whether they want to join India or Pakistan or remain independent. A kind of civil war broke out where groups of both religions want to eradicate the other one. The Maharaja then wanted help from the Indian government to fight the Pashtuns. The help was promised at a cost.

Though the politicians can claim and say that Kashmir was forever a part of India – it was not. It came under a signed agreement to side with India, so that India could send their military to fight the Pashtun infiltrators. The UN interfered and slowly by 1949 the war came to an end but the vote with which side Kashmir would finally go never took place. The UN then established the LoC, which was formalized in 1971 – India controls 43% of the land, while Pakistan and China 37% and 20% respectively.

If you go into the history of Kashmir, infiltrators forever ruled it whereas the original people of the land never got to rule it. I believe they were the most secular around the 14th century where all the three religions coexisted and lived in harmony.

The killing of Kashmir Pandits was a sad event which led to their mass exodus but equally horrifying was the killing of Muslim after independence which continued for more than a year resulting in a massacre that amassed somewhere close to 100000 deaths. Nobody knows how over the years the fight against a small group of Pashtuns has become a fight against the local people of Kashmir.

The current dispensation mentioned in their 2014 manifesto that they would look after rehabilitation of Kashmiri Pandits in their original land. I have hardly seen a single family being brought back. The irony is they were in power there for a decent number of years to at least show their will to do that rather than just slogans. Even shocking was the way they came in power, aligning with a party that is completely opposite to their core ideology.

I feel the ruling party, when they gave the mantra that they want to eradicate a complete political class from the nation, just focused on forming governments. They used any method possible to form a government whether it was Goa or NE states or even in Kashmir. What they don’t know is, after they have staked claim to form the government, how to govern it then.

The condition has been continuously deteriorating since they came into power with stats showing an exponential rise in terrorist attacks and people joining militancy.

After the recent terrorist attack of Pulwama, there was an outcry to boycott all the Kashmiris from India. Many of them fled back to their natives. Isn’t this hypocrisy of the highest order that you want Kashmir to be a part of India but do not want Kashmiris?

They stirred the nationalist sentiment and got the backing of a lot of people when a senior leader in the government announced that they will stop water to Pakistan. Honestly, that is a joke. As per the Indus water treaty, India can only at most stop 20% of the water that is flowing. Currently, there is no practical measure to even stop that much but you cannot simply change the natural flow of a river against gravitation. No one knows how many decades it will take before India can make enough dams to even contain 20%.

For the past seven decades under all the governments, there were conflicts. For some period it dies down but then it again aggravates. Nobody wants to understand the root cause of why the local common people are willing to pick up arms. Some say education is the cure but haven’t we seen even the educated do that. More than the education they require Inclusion and until that happens they will continue to keep doing so. It suits politicians on both the sides of the LoC that the conflict keeps simmering – if the issue itself will die what will they ask vote on?

My opinion is this issue will continue to boil. Even if Pakistan decides not to pursue it any further, China will not allow it. And if a day comes when China decides to leave Kashmir alone then also the western warmongers who just want to sell their weaponry on the name of national security will not let the conflict die away. Do one thing every time there is an attack in Syria, Palestine, India, and Pakistan or anywhere in the world, just check the stock prices of the arms manufacturers. They simply shoot upwards.

After decades of bloodshed, three wars, lakhs of deaths, millions of human rights violations that continue on a daily basis, whether India wins or any other country, the biggest sufferers and losers are the real people of the land of Kashmir who continue to live each day as if it is going to be there last.

Someone said that Kashmir is a heaven on earth, but I say if this is how heaven is, better call it hell and there might eventually be peace.

For all those who believe Kashmir belongs to India,

For all those who believe the killings should stop,

For all those who believe there is no winner in a war

And

For all those who believe there should be peace in the Kashmir Valley…

It’s not a goodbye,

But it’s a GOOD BYE.

Manas ‘Sameer’ Mukul

This is the 11th post for the #AtoZChallenge #BlogchatterA2Z. My theme in Politics Category is ‘IPL – Indian Parliamentary League’, where I would be covering some relevant issues with the General Elections 2019 through the course of 26 posts.

Read the previous post here: IPL – Indian Parliamentary League

Please do visit tomorrow for the next post with letter ‘L’

I am also taking part in the #AtoZChallenge #BlogchatterA2Z using another theme –‘Dubai – City of Gold‘. If you love travel head over to the Travel Theme and share your feedback.

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6

J – JINGOISM | #AtoZChallenge

J – Jingoism | #AtoZChallenge #BlogchatterA2Z

The first round of polling is officially completed for General Elections 2019. I have been following news and there have been continuous reports of EVMs malfunctioning in various polling booths. There is a trend emerging from the last two rounds of general elections, I have personally been a victim of it, that a large number of voters’ names are missing from the voter list. There were complaints all throughout the day where on average a number of fifty people per booth were unable to find their names. Would anyone look into that? I think its too late to take any corrective measures.

The new issue which I found in the news being reported today was that a massive number of people have reached out saying the ‘indelible ink’, which is imported from several countries, is getting removed in one wash itself. Now, this is something very serious. On one hand, people’s names were removed and on the other, if the ink goes off anybody can vote any number of times and in the end, it will be unverifiable.

What caught my attention today was a tweet from the ruling party’s handle.

Let’s not discuss the religions or faiths he might have missed…but even from their tweet its evident that they accept the secular structure of the country. But isn’t this selective of them to choose which religion they want and which they don’t. Why so much courtesy being showered on two other religions? I have previously stated and will again, since they had the majority this time around, please go ahead and declare it a Hindu state and the same majority will show you your real place.

Jingoism definition

As per Oxford dictionary:

Jingo is defined as ‘A vociferous supporter of policy favouring war, especially in the name of patriotism.’

Its origin as per Oxford is – Late 17th century (originally a conjuror’s word): by jingo (and the noun sense) come from a popular song adopted by those supporting the sending of a British fleet into Turkish waters to resist Russia in 1878. The chorus ran: ‘we don’t want to fight, yet by Jingo! If we do, We’ve got the ships, we’ve got the men, and got the money too’.

Jingoism is defined as ‘Extreme patriotism, especially in the form of aggressive or warlike foreign policy.’

A couple of days back the PM was reaching out to the first time voters from an election rally and was appealing to vote or to dedicate their vote to the martyr of Pulwama. Now, again and again, we have seen this since the time this ghastly attack took place how the current government is trying to woo voters on the name of soldiers. The Irony is that the CRPF personnel who were killed won’t be given an official ‘Martyr’ status. Forget about what will happen to their kids and family members after they are gone.

Just ask yourself is this the new India that you want to build or just another country like our neighboring countries with a saffron color to everything. Even the rainbow with only one color will lose its identity and beauty.

While nationalism or patriotism is fuelled by a love for one’s own country Jingoism is fuelled by hate towards a common thing. Jingoism doesn’t exist in individuality…it exists in a crowd. The mob culture of handing out the so-called justice is a prime example of it.

In fact, the basic concept of nationalism took birth in Europe during the industrial revolution where the core fundamental behind the formation of a country lies in the language they speak, the religion they follow and a common set of virtues they hate.

The ascendency of this phenomenon is complemented by the decline of other ideologies as well. The others who don’t have any inclination towards any particular ideology, but want to question, don’t do that for the fear of being termed Anti-National.

The sad reality is the party that was non-existent even during the war of Independence questions the patriotism of the opposition. Those who refused to hoist the tri-color at their headquarter question the patriotism of a party who was key to the Independence of our country. If there wasn’t any contribution by them, I think a certain individual should be stripped of the title ‘Father of the nation.’ Believe me, if the current model continues it will be a reality sooner than later.

Patriotism is very subjective – For example, when I was out of the country, my patriotism was towards my country. But when we are in our country doesn’t that gets divided into the states we represent. Don’t we have undeclared biases like North India v\s South India, doesn’t it gets reduced to your city when you are within a state? Long before India was constitutionally united didn’t the kingdoms or princely states fought wars amongst themselves, at that time every soldiers’ patriotism was towards the state he was defending.

The fanatic rise in Islamic fundamentalism propelled by western interests makes it a global phenomenon, which directly or indirectly favors the narrative of jingoism.

The new nationalism that is actually Jingoism is very dangerous for future generations. You have a look around the world and the countries which promote it – are they really on the course of development? Hardly, any. In fact, the very concept is outdated and takes the overall progressive thought process of the country decades and centuries back.

I am sorry to say this, but if Jingoism isn’t wrong, then Hitler was never wrong in all the atrocities he committed.

For all those who believe everyone is equal,

For all those who are patriotic,

For all those who are nationalistic,

And

For all those who hate Jingoism…

It’s not a goodbye,

But it’s a GOOD BYE.

Manas ‘Sameer’ Mukul

This is the 10th post for the #AtoZChallenge #BlogchatterA2Z. My theme in Politics Category is ‘IPL – Indian Parliamentary League’, where I would be covering some relevant issues with the General Elections 2019 through the course of 26 posts.

Read the previous post here: IPL – Indian Parliamentary League

Please do visit tomorrow for the next post with letter ‘K’

I am also taking part in the #AtoZChallenge #BlogchatterA2Z using another theme –‘Dubai – City of Gold‘. If you love travel head over to the Travel Theme and share your feedback.

15

I – Institutions Under Threat | #AtoZChallenge

I – Institutions under Threat | #AtoZChallenge #BlogchatterA2Z

Image ref: The Quint

Every government when comes to power is responsible for the proper and impartial running of the administrative and government institutions. The government inherits the institutions from the previous governments, takes decisions and makes changes for improvement in them for the proper functioning of the democracy. Sadly, the institutions have gone through irreparable damage during the last five years.

When was the last time you saw four senior Supreme Court judges conducting a press conference and highlighting the interference of the executive in the matters of the judiciary.

Judiciary

As soon as the current government came into power they passed legislation to set up a National Judicial Appointments Commission (NJAC), which would look into the appointment of judges. It sought to change the rules of appointment of judges and their transfers to the high courts and the Supreme Court by replacing the present system of the collegium. Though there are many critics of the collegium system itself but, the governments handling of cases of judges like KM Joseph puts them and their intentions under poor light as to why they want to change the existing system.

Article 50 of the Constitution, lays emphasis on the issue of separation of judiciary from executive: “The State shall take steps to separate the judiciary from the executive in the public services of the State.”

RBI

RBI, since its establishment in 1934, has been a crucial institution for the economy of Indian democracy. The government and the RBI governors have been on different pages since the start of the term of this government. The former RBI Governor Raghuram Rajan whose policies of stable interest rates and tight control of inflation were seen by the Government as anti-growth was in a constant rift with the government’s financial policies.

Urijit Patel, the governor who succeeded him, considered favored by the government, didn’t seem to be in cordial terms with the government. In fact, he didn’t even complete his term and ended it abruptly. On many key issues, the government went ahead without even consulting the RBI.

“Governments that do not respect central bank independence will sooner or later incur the wrath of financial markets, ignite economic fire, and come to rue the day they undermined an important regulatory institution,” RBI deputy governor Viral Acharya said in a lecture last year.

CBI

Everybody witness the recent battle of CBI number 1 v/s CBI number 2. The common man thinks that it was created because of internal conflicts but not many of us know that both were closer to the current PM and were favored officials. After the fight became, the government arbitrarily, and perhaps illegally, sent both of them on leave, and a third favorite was named as the interim director.

“Not all influence that is exerted by the political government would be found explicitly or in writing. More often than not, it is tacit, and requires considerable courage to withstand,” Alok Verma (original CBI no 1) said in his petition to the Supreme Court challenging the government’s order sending him on leave.

On a single day, there were 144 charges put against the members of the ruling party in Delhi, out of which the court rejected half of them in one go. These were all politically motivated. In another incident, CBI arrested an MLA of the Delhi government. He was acquitted around 10 am in one particular case and was picked up again by CBI by 2:00 pm for another round of discussion regarding another case. They have literally made a joke out of this.

As per a Guwahati HC judgment, there are even issues with the legality and constitutionality of CBI as an institution. SC put a stay on this order later. There should have been urgent hearing of this matter but it is just being delayed. CBI was always misused and is currently being taken to another level.

Election Commission

EC is an organization that is so pivotal for a fair democracy. There have been issues after issues where their credibility has been questioned, whether the delay in declaration of election dates to compensate for the delay in government declaration of plethora of schemes or just writing a love letter to somebody calling the Indian Army as ‘Modi-ki-Sena’ – the rules are being constantly flouted while the EC happily looks the other way round.

As of yesterday about 66 retired senior public civil servants had to write to the President about the improper conduct and functioning of the Election Commission favoring one party.

Income Tax & ED

Constant raiding of only members of oppositions leaves no doubt. I didn’t see a single raid being conducted when a mining baron from Karnataka made a spectacle worth Rs 500 crores for his daughter’s marriage just next to demonetization. I am not saying that it is wrong, but when only one side gets raided then it becomes quite evident.

The appointment of heads of CVC, UGC and many other institutions not based on merit but just favoritism has raised doubts time and again. The dilution of RTI and CIC has been helpful in further weakening the institutions.

The heads of these institutions giving verdict and taking decisions out rightly in the favor of the ruling party raise even more doubts. What confirms their loyalty to these parties is when just after their term is over they simply go ahead and join the party.

A governor openly supporting BJP’s stand and stating that Kashmiris should be dealt with harshly and that it is not a Part of India or another governor persuading people to vote to the current PM. If this is not the misuse of the institution then what is?

I will briefly discuss the subject of educational institutions. The agenda behind the new education policy document is the agenda of privatization, commercialization, and communalization. Its election manifesto had echoed the demand for spending six percent of the GDP on education but ironically the spending has been continuously falling down during the last five years.

Every time when they are questioned about undeclared emergency they divert the question to the emergency of 1975. What they don’t realize is that every time they do that they conform to the fact that there is an undeclared emergency. What happened in 1975 was terribly wrong and the government paid for it but what is happening right now is equally condemnable and threatening to the institutions.

What is even appalling is the appointment of RSS personnel in key administrative bodies. The sad reality is nobody dares to question and whosoever does is made to keep quiet.

You won’t believe from the moment I decided to pick up this theme, I have got feedback that people are afraid for me. Even a friend pointed out that they are even afraid to comment on the posts whether they agree or disagree. That is the times we are living in and the ruling party wants us to believe that nothing is under threat.

Somebody save democracy!

For all those who believe in democracy,

For all those who believe in the independence of institutions,

For all those who believe that favoritism exists,

And

For all those who know that institutions are under threat…

It’s not a goodbye,

But it’s a GOOD BYE.

Manas ‘Sameer’ Mukul

This is the 9th post for the #AtoZChallenge #BlogchatterA2Z. My theme in Politics Category is ‘IPL – Indian Parliamentary League’, where I would be covering some relevant issues with the General Elections 2019 through the course of 26 posts.

Read the previous post here: IPL – Indian Parliamentary League

Please do visit tomorrow for the next post with letter ‘J’

I am also taking part in the #AtoZChallenge #BlogchatterA2Z using another theme –‘Dubai – City of Gold‘. If you love travel head over to the Travel Theme and share your feedback.

4

H – Hindutva | #AtoZChallenge

H – Hindutva | #AtoZChallenge #BlogchatterA2Z

Hindutva is defined as, ‘An ideology seeking to establish the hegemony of Hindus and the Hindu way of life’ as per the Oxford dictionary. The current ruling party is synonymous with it. In fact, their rise to power was on the basis of Hindutva. A Supreme Court 1995 judgment defined Hindutva as “a way of life and not a religion”.

People like Vinayak Damodar Savarkar, K. B. Hedgewar and Syama Prasad Mukherjee popularized the term. It became the ideological base of organizations like RSS, VHP, Hindu Mahasabha and Hindu Sena. The lucidity of their idea lies in the fact that they think Hindus were the original inhabitants of this land.

Who were the original inhabitants of this land? The answer lies in the current fabric of India. Many reports and theories suggest that Dravidians were the original inhabitants. The Hindutva idealists would say that Aryans were the first. But didn’t the first chapter in our school history class was that one of the reasons why Indus Valley civilization was killed because of the migration of Aryans.

There is genetic evidence that suggests that the original habitats of India were some tribal and adivasis. Rest each and every person found on this land is a descendant of some old migrant from various parts of the world.

I often hear that we have never attacked or invaded any country…that may be true…but don’t say that our religion is free of violence. Even the epics of Ramayana and Mahabharata are full of violence and war.

Rather than finding out fallacies in other religions why don’t we first look inside and see what our teaching are and are we following it to the fullest? Weren’t things like ‘untouchability’ and ‘sati system’ given preference on the name of religion? But with time, education and protest, they were abolished. I sometimes think what outrage Raja Ram Mohan Roy would have faced in that era.

Making people like Yogi the poster boy of Hindutva is realistically and statistically detrimental to the society. Coining terms like ‘Love Jihad’ would definitely get you more votes but it thrashes the practical reality.

I don’t know how many of you know this – People like Subramanian Swamy who speak so much in favor of Hindutva forgot to teach the concept in his own family. His son in law is Nadeem Haider. I am all in favor of her daughter’s choice but then he should only preach what he practices.

I have witnessed the massacre that happened during the Babri Masjid demolition. Who does it help? For years the emotions and sentiments attached to the temple have been used by the ruling party for their electoral gains.

On the issue of Ram temple, they say that they will follow the top courts’ directions but on the other hand on the issue of ‘Sabrimala’ they give precedence to faith. Frankly, they follow the strategy that will get them more votes in that particular region.

By instilling the fear in the hearts of common masses that Hindus are under threat – they continue to commit and justify atrocities against the minorities and Dalits. 82% of the overall population is of Hindus and still, they want us to believe that we are under threat. I dare them to declare India as a Hindu state and they will come to know the real fabric of India.

Don’t forget that this strategy only works where there are people of other religion. The moment it shifts to Hindu majority places, their strategy shifts to upper caste and lower caste. It was these brutalities committed on these minorities and lower caste people that forced them to convert and seek solace in other religions. I would be blunt here, but if your concept and methods were so correct then why did even one Hindu leave and embrace the other religions.

For years I have been hearing that foreigners have ruled us for the last 1000 years. What they don’t teach and create awareness about is that barring the last 70 years the concept of India included current Pakistan as well as Bangladesh. Nepal and Afghanistan were formed during the 18th century, before that they were also the part of India.

Even in the current government, there is a trend to ‘saffronize’ everything down south. From traffic boards to road milestones…from billboards to government hoardings, things are being repainted using Hindi. Imagine what difficulty it causes an illiterate person traveling on the road, which is only aware of their regional language. The hypocrisy is that we would patronize a foreign language like English but would simply hate our own languages.

To be honest, without offending anyone, given the rise in the number of hate crimes on the name of religion and caste – it is believed that Hinduism is the oldest religion. That means if Hinduism wouldn’t have found roots the other religions would have never followed suit and the process to prove their superiority would have never begun. Just a thought!

The ‘Varna System’ was formed on the basis of what ‘work’ people did in society. My understanding of it is that it was or should have been horizontal where everybody was equal and was divided only on the class of work but unfortunately the ones who were making it wanted to place them on the top and hence the vertical understanding of the system percolated.

No true human forget Hindu would have taken sides with the rapists of a girl child irrespective of her religion. That is where it is really dangerous. Did anyone hear the condemnation from the PM or the top ruling leaders of the government.

If the previous PM was abused for taking orders from a certain family then everyone knows to which office in Nagpur the current PM bows down to. It is no one’s job to tell what a person should wear, eat, follow and marry to.

Nobody questions, which side they are actually on – They themselves are confused whether to go with Mahatma or Godse.

I pity those people who on the name of religion are ready to kill. No religion teaches that and if you do that then you know no religion. Even during the times when this land was getting formed, the fabric of the soul was secular. Let’s keep it that way.

For all those who are against hate,

For all those who believe everyone is equal,

For all those who don’t side with this ideology,

And

For all those who are flag bearers of Hindutva…

It’s not a goodbye,

But it’s a GOOD BYE.

Manas ‘Sameer’ Mukul

This is the 8th post for the #AtoZChallenge #BlogchatterA2Z. My theme in Politics Category is ‘IPL – Indian Parliamentary League’, where I would be covering some relevant issues with the General Elections 2019 through the course of 26 posts.

Read the previous post here: IPL – Indian Parliamentary League

Please do visit tomorrow for the next post with letter ‘I’

I am also taking part in the #AtoZChallenge #BlogchatterA2Z using another theme –‘Dubai – City of Gold‘. If you love travel head over to the Travel Theme and share your feedback.

10

G – Gau-Raksha | #AtoZChallenge

G – Gau Raksha | #AtoZChallenge #BlogchatterA2Z

Every term of a government is marked with certain events and happenings for which they are remembered forever. The term of UPA 2 was scarred by scams and corruption, while UPA 1 would be remembered for GDP growth even in the times of global economic slowdown and revival of railways. The NDA tenure prior to that brings the memory of ‘Agra Talks’ and ‘Kargil War’ and the list goes on.

The current term of the 16th Lok Sabha is about to end and the voting for the first phase begins in a mere three days. I will remember this term for sloganeering and jingoism but above all ‘Gau-Rakshaks.’ For the first time in the history of independent India, ‘Cow’ was the reason behind so many people losing their lives to lynching. To be honest, this term topped the popularity charts during the current regime.

A report by the data-based news organization, India Spend, found that “Muslims were the target of 51% of violence centered on bovine issues over nearly eight years (2010 to 2017) – and they comprised 84% of 25 Indians killed in 60 incidents. As many as 98% of these attacks were reported after the current government came to power in May 2014.” Only one incident each was reported in 2012 and 2013.

Around 56% of the persons attacked by these groups were Muslim, who accounted for 88% of those killed in this violence. In 2018, 100% of victims attacked in these hate crimes were Muslim.

There is a report on atrocities committed against Dalits and minorities that need to be tabled in both the houses on a yearly basis but unfortunately, this is the first time ever that the report was not tabled during the entire period of five years.

The last three years are also known for restrictions on livestock trade. While the government fiddled with this sector, the agrarian crisis deepened. The Dalwai Committee Report points out that the biggest contributor to the agricultural growth in 2004-14 was the livestock sector, which has never reported negative growth in the last 35 years.

“Thus, the livestock sector is likely to emerge as the engine of growth of the agricultural sector and can be relied upon for risk mitigation and minimizing the losses to the farmers in case of even worst outcomes from others sub-sectors. Previous studies have unanimously reported that livestock as the best insurance against agrarian distress as the sector is the source of sustained income and generates income more frequently than the crop sector,” the report says. And it is known by this time that across north India, due to the restrictions and raids from cow protection groups, livestock trade and prices have crashed.

There is a hypocritical stand on cow-beef consumption. While the ruling party condemns and bans it in Hindi belt, the same party and its party members consume it in the NE and southern states. It continues to the extent that they say they want to protect cows, whom they consider as mothers, but if you go around any city you will find so many living in stray pathetic conditions gobbling and eventually dying of plastics and garbage.

In spite of all this, India is about to become the largest beef exporter in the world, which includes 30% of cow beef currently being disguised and exported as carabeef.

With so many crimes and killings committed over the name of protection of an animal and the deafening silence around these issue from even the PM gives supports and encourages the psychos to carry on with their agenda. I still remember the day when Nitish Kumar’s government left the Mahagathbandhan to join back NDA – he tweeted within three minutes congratulating him. Can you believe that – but I have never seen him tweet on killing after killing. The sadder reality is that the ministers have honored many of those convicts on various stages.

In 2018 the SC said that “horrendous acts of mobocracy cannot be tolerated and cannot be allowed to become a norm.” “It has to be curbed with an iron hand… no citizen can take the law into his hands or become law on to himself,” the top court added.

Psychologist Upneet Lalli, deputy director of the Institute of Correctional Administration in Chandigarh, said, ““Society has an innate capacity for violence and it’s very easy to encourage this. Right from Twitter trolling–which is basically extreme verbal aggression–we are unleashing and encouraging violence in different ways and contexts.”

In the times when even the animals, vegetables and colors are being divided on the basis of religion, did anyone care to ask a cow to which religion it belongs?

For all those who love animals,

For all those who are against hate crimes,

For all those who are against lynchings,

And

For all those who believe if India needs to become a developed nation there should be a complete ban on such activities…

It’s not a goodbye,

But it’s a GOOD BYE.

Manas ‘Sameer’ Mukul

This is the 7th post for the #AtoZChallenge #BlogchatterA2Z. My theme in Politics Category is ‘IPL – Indian Parliamentary League’, where I would be covering some relevant issues with the General Elections 2019 through the course of 26 posts.

Read the previous post here: IPL – Indian Parliamentary League

Please do visit tomorrow for the next post with letter ‘H’

I am also taking part in the #AtoZChallenge #BlogchatterA2Z using another theme –‘Dubai – City of Gold‘. If you love travel head over to the Travel Theme and share your feedback.

12

F – Farmers’ Distress | #AtoZChallenge

F – Farmers Distress | #AtoZChallenge #BlogchatterA2Z

The last two years in India have been marked with continuous farmer protests all across the nation with some of them even ending up in violence. India is going through one of its major agrarian crisis since independence. The current government rhetorics always place the soldiers in the center. Every question directed towards them is something answered with National Security issues or soldiers.

I have earlier written this and will highlight it again today – each and every member of the society is important in the proper functioning of the society and efficient performance of an economy. The government keeps looking the wrong way while addressing issues related to farmers.

According to historic data, agricultural growth has much more impact on poverty reduction than any other activity like industrial growth. While they lay so much emphasis in their slogans on poverty reduction the facts tell a different story otherwise they would not have stopped so many reports from coming out. In fact, you will be shocked to know that the government hasn’t released any data on the number of farmer suicides for the past two years.

60% of India lives in farm households and about 55% of India’s total employment is directly related to agriculture, though it only contributes to 17% of the GDP. Many would say that I am stating these facts as a bias against the government in power but it is not me who is saying this.

The current government constituted a committee under Ashok Dalwair called “The Committee on Doubling Farmers’ Income”.

The first report of the Dalwai committee using inputs and research of over 100 experts has pointed out that India’s agriculture is currently in a deep crisis. And it says so because during 2004-14 the country’s agriculture sector witnessed its highest ever growth phase. The report calls it the sector’s “recovery phase”; a term it defines as historic.

“The agricultural sector grew at the growth of around 4% per year during 2004-05 to 2014-15 and the growth was quite impressive as compared to 2.6% per annum during the previous decade (1995-96 to 2004-05),” says the report. The average rate of growth on average for the past four years is around 2% only.

An official from the agriculture ministry says that the trend is very disturbing, “If agricultural labor is increasing in the country and number of cultivators is decreasing.”

The growth rate of farmers’ income on real price (which adjusts inflation) is 3.8% per year. At this rate, the ruling government’s target of doubling farmers’ income by 2022 will not be met. It will take at least 25 years from now to achieve it.

According to the Committee on Doubling of Farmers’ Income every year, farmers lose around Rs 63,000 crore for not being able to sell their produces for which they have already made investments.

Recorded incidents of agrarian riots jumped 670% from 628 in 2014 to 4,837 in 2016, according to the latest data released by the National Crime Records Bureau.

As a result, 76% of farmers would prefer to do some work other than farming according to a study, “State of Indian Farmers” conducted by The Centre for Study of Developing Societies (CSDS).

The study says that the benefits of government schemes and policies are being mostly given to big farmers having landholding of 10 acres (4.05 hectare) and above. Only 10% of poor and small farmers with average land holding of 1-4 acres (0.4 to 1.6 ha) have benefited from government schemes and subsidies.

It also highlights that 70% of farmers never heard about direct cash transfer and 62% of interviewed farmers were not aware of the minimum support price (MSP).

Approximately 22% of farmers survive below the poverty line. The continuous decline in farmers’ income, while championing the slogan for doubling income, shouldn’t be just another grand plan for a “new India”, because agricultural growth critically decides poverty reduction.

An NSSO (National Sample Survey Office) survey report says about 52% of the agricultural households in the country are estimated to be in debt. Another critical data shows that post demonetization the small lenders who usually took loans up to amounts of Rs. 200000 have dried up. The farmers usually took loans from the informal sector, which accounts for 40% of the entire agricultural households.

As of Jul 2018, in a reply given by the Minister of State in the Ministry of Agriculture & Farmers Welfare Parshottam Rupala in Rajya Sabha on the present income of the country’s farmers, the NDA government as done an official survey on farmers’ income in its tenure so far.

He also added they have based their calculations on a Survey report done in the year 2013 by National Sample Survey Office. The Minister said NSSO has not conducted any survey during the last one year and the Survey presented in Rajya Sabha refers to a Situation Assessment Survey (SAS).

One of the surveys shows that PM’s minimum income support of Rs 6000/year only account for 6% of the household’s total income.

There hasn’t been any data released on farmer suicides in the past two years. As of 2015, about 45 farmers committed suicide each day in India.

You will be startled to know that farmer suicides doubled in Maharashtra in the last four years according to an RTI reply. No soldier would be able to sustain without food. No amount of development will suffice hunger if the increase in farmer suicide continues on a yearly basis and the farmers start opting other modes of income.

Just ask yourself, “Are we asking the right questions?”

For all those understand the pain of farmers,

For all those who want better measures to be taken,

For all those who want an increase in farmers’ income

And

For all those who agree to the fact that there is a severe agrarian crisis…

It’s not a goodbye,

But it’s a GOOD BYE.

Manas ‘Sameer’ Mukul

This is the 6th post for the #AtoZChallenge #BlogchatterA2Z. My theme in Politics Category is ‘IPL – Indian Parliamentary League’, where I would be covering some relevant issues with the General Elections 2019 through the course of 26 posts.

F – Farmers’ Distress

Read the previous post here

A – Anti-National

B – Banking

C – Climate Change

D – Demonetisation

E – Elections, EB & EVM

Please do visit on Monday for the next post with letter ‘G’

I am also taking part in the #AtoZChallenge #BlogchatterA2Z using another theme –‘Dubai – City of Gold‘. If you love travel head over to the Travel Theme and share your feedback.

7

E – Elections, EB & EVM | #AtoZChallenge

E – Elections, EB and EVM | #AtoZChallenge #BlogchatterA2Z

Elections are a celebration of democracy. But in India they are more than that – the entire country comes to a standstill and whether you are buying vegetables on streets or enjoying a tea break in your corporate office, everybody is discussing the same thing, which party will win the next elections. Off late a newer trend has emerged with everybody going overboard on the usage of social media – people are losing friends, brothers aren’t talking to each other and strangers are bonding like anything only because of the ideology you support.

Cost of Elections

The General Elections of 2019 will be the costliest elections ever; it will cost an unprecedented Rs 50,000 crore ($7 billion), according to the New Delhi-based Centre for Media Studies.

During an event, the current PM once stated that the entire elections cost around Rs 4000 crore. Do you know that the entire cost of BJP’s campaign was in excess of Rs 5000 crore in 2014? By that logic, their entire campaign was beyond the total cost of the entire election process.

BJP’s hired fleet of aircraft and helicopters is the highest ever in Indian poll campaign history. The party has hired business jets like Cessna Citation XLS that cost Rs 2,80,000 per hour and Falcon 4000 that cost Rs 4,00,000 per hour. For its helicopter fleet, it has hired machines like Bell 412, Agusta 109, Agusta 139. These cost between Rs 1,80,000 and Rs 4,00,000 per hour.

BJP became the number one advertiser on television in the run-up to assembly elections in five states late last year, according to the latest Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC) data. Imagine the data around the general elections.

As much as 26 billion rupees will be spent on advertising in the upcoming elections, according to Zenith India, a firm that arranges for slots on TV and in newspapers.

There was another report suggesting PM’s rally in Bengal this week cost around Rs. 32 crores. Can you imagine that? I am not blaming only the ruling party. I am sure the other parties are definitely following the suit but do you ever think from where this money is coming? I hope you don’t believe that all of this is white money.

 

Electoral bonds

An electoral bond is designed to be a bearer instrument like a Promissory Note — in effect, it will be similar to a banknote that is payable to the bearer on demand and free of interest. Any citizen of India or a body incorporated in India can purchase it.

According to audit reports and income tax reports submitted by parties to the Election Commission, the BJP has been the biggest beneficiary of electoral bonds, garnering 94.5% of the bonds.

Donors of amounts below Rs 20,000 are allowed to be kept hidden legally. The current government’s electoral bond scheme allows even large-scale anonymous donations.

In an RTI response to Pune-based Vihar Durve, SBI said in 2018 it had sold bonds worth Rs 1056.73 crore in March, April, May, July, October, and November. In January and March 2019 the bank sold Electoral Bonds worth Rs 1716.05 crore, the response said. The sale shows an increase of 62% from those sold during 2018.

The biggest national parties declared a combined income of just 13 billion rupees for the year through March 2018 and the irony lies in the fact that no one is ready to disclose the source.

While candidates have a legal expenditure cap, parties can spend unrestricted amounts. No party wants to come under RTI and each of them want us to believe that they are the torchbearers of the fight against corruption.

EVM – Electronic Voting Machine

Every party or candidate that loses raises doubts on the functioning of EVM but honestly; it can be debated at length on its credibility. They have become the best scapegoats of poor performance. Recently union cabinet cleared the purchase of an additional 16 lakh EVM VVPAT machines at the cost of Rs. 3173 crores.

I tried to gather data around the number of countries using or have used EVM in the past. The maximum number I could collect was – 31 countries around the world use or have used EVMs for political elections.

Only 4 of them have used for voting nationwide – India, Brazil, Bhutan and Venezuela. 11 of them used in some parts of the country. 5 have pilots ongoing. Surprisingly, 8 of them piloted and did not continue. 3 used for a number of elections and then discontinued – Germany, Netherlands, and Paraguay.

Even the largest economy and the most developed nation, USA, resist it from being implemented. A TIME report quotes the US Election Assistance Commission Chairman Tom Hicks saying that the “primary reasons” paper ballots are used in most states are “security and voter preference”.

Do you want to know what is even more comical – GVL Narsimha Rao wrote a book, “Democracy At Risk! Can We Trust Our Electronic Voting Machines?”

In fact, Advani even wrote the foreword for the book. “I personally regard it significant that Germany, technologically, one of the most advanced countries of the world, has become so wary of EVMs as to ban their use altogether. Many states in the USA have mandated that EVMs can be used only if they have a paper back up. So manufacturers of electronic voting machines in the USA have developed a technology referred to as Voter Verified Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT),” Advani wrote.

I don’t want to even questions the credibility of EC. Every sane literate person knows the truth. T N Seshan was the only guy who tried to clean up the elections but it didn’t take long for the political parties to clean him up. Barring him, every now and then, the nimble EC doesn’t shy away from bowing down.

Just sit in silence for a minute and think – Are we really asking the right questions – or just like everyone else being swayed away with jingoistic slogans.

For all those who want cheaper elections,

For all those who doubt EVMs,

For all those who want parties under RTI

And

For all those who want cleaner elections…

It’s not a goodbye,

But it’s a GOOD BYE.

If you have stopped thinking come back tomorrow.

Manas ‘Sameer’ Mukul

This is the 5th post for the #AtoZChallenge #BlogchatterA2Z. My theme in Politics Category is ‘IPL – Indian Parliamentary League’, where I would be covering some relevant issues with the General Elections 2019 through the course of 26 posts.

Read the previous post here

A – Anti-National

B – Banking

C – Climate Change

D – Demonetisation

Please do visit tomorrow for the next post with letter ‘F’

I am also taking part in the #AtoZChallenge #BlogchatterA2Z using another theme –‘Dubai – City of Gold‘. If you love travel head over to the Travel Theme and share your feedback.