15

9th Year Anniversary

9th Year Anniversary

Its 9th day of June and my blog, ‘The Contemplation Of a Joker’ completes 9 years of its existence. Yes, today is its 9th birthday. 😀 Happy birthday to my blog.

By that logic, it belongs to the Zodiac sign Gemini. Some of the characteristics of a Gemini are that they are surprising, unpredictable, adaptable and indecisive. 9 years is a long enough time to figure out that these features totally align with my blog.

It has been surprising with the kind of content it dishes out. Totally unpredictable with the frequency – it has successfully completed an AtoZ challenge and there were times when it didn’t come up with a post in six months even.

Adaptability is one of its key features as to the various genres it has catered too. Some might see it as a negative but I would like to believe, it is a positive for my blog till it figures out and carves out a niche for itself. It is at times indecisive when it comes to picking and sticking to a theme while undertaking a challenge.

I still remember the day when I started this blog. I wanted to reach out to an audience and test waters before actually taking the writer/author route. While I have still not fully taken the plunge I am happy with the progress my blog has made. I know…I know it has been slow, but at least I never gave up.

The last year…the 9th was the best year for it as it saw the most number of posts being published and saw a better consistency and hence a better Alexa rank. While blogging, on the whole, is on a decline with fewer and fewer money being pumped in by the brands but I still believe that if you keep publishing quality content you will develop an authentic readership however small it may be.

A couple of days back a blogging community-based platform, Indiblogger declared that they would be going offline and shutting down operations. I was shocked and a bit heartbroken but I could see it coming with more and more of such platforms closing down. Last year it was Blogmint and this year it is our beloved Indiblogger.

Indiblogger was famous for its blogging challenges and competitions; some of them had literally big prizes. All these years of blogging it was a constant companion and these challenges kept motivating to come up with better content. Some of my best work has come as part of these challenges only.

Their Indimeets will surely be missed by the whole community. They hosted some of the best blogging meets hosted across the country and gave a true opportunity to make friends with the faces behind the blogs we visit on a regular basis and have made a bond with them.

I remember winning a PS3 at one of those Indimeets and now since they are going away forever its meaning has become even more for me. Indiblogger – you will surely be missed and thank you for being such an important part of my blogging journey. I dedicate this birthday to you.

I also want to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has been a part of my blogging and writing journey – the ones who regularly visit and comment on my blog, the ones who have just read a post or two, the ones who motivate to do better work, the ones who painstakingly review and read the initial drafts, the ones who don’t read at all but still are gracious enough to share my posts. I thank you all ‘Dil se’.

For all those who have been a part of my blogging journey,

For all those who read my posts,

For all those who regularly share my posts,

And

For all those who still believe in my writing…

It’s not a goodbye,

But it’s a GOOD BYE.

Thank you ALL 🙂

Manas’ Sameer’ Mukul

 

Advertisements
8

M – Media | #AtoZChallenge

M – Media | #AtoZChallenge #BlogchatterA2Z

There are four pillars of the Indian Democracy – Judiciary, Executive, Legislature and Press. With the evolution and with technology taking over along with the bombardment of media houses and news channels, I believe the fourth pillar can now be called ‘Media’.

The main role of the fourth pillar is impartial reporting and creating transparency of how the other three pillars are performing, spreading awareness till the last village of India and informing every citizen what is happening in the country in the political, economic and social spectrum.

In an ideal democracy for proper functioning, all these pillars should perform efficiently and independently. Each of the pillars should be given equal importance and no one should dominate any other. In America, judiciary overpowers everyone and in UK it’s the legislature that is the dominant force. Hence the question arises – Is the media playing its role properly?

Ownership of media houses plays a critical role in deciding which way their narrative and propaganda will be inclined. How can one ensure transparency, honesty and fairness when the owner of an established and renowned media house gets a Rajya Sabha ticket from a political party? It is impossible to expect it.

As of now, there are more than 400 news channels including regional language ones. This makes them among the most powerful tools and with its activity becomes the center of every other pillar; their integrity holds even more importance. But everyone has their own loyalty and their own agenda.

With the advent of social media, the touch points are massive and uncontrollable. They have taken over the courts as well through their way of media justice and media trials. They are pronouncing decisions even before the matter reaches a trial court. This rising trend of handing out verdict isn’t democratic in any sense.

Even managed properly it has some positives too. Movements like ‘MeToo’ movement gathered momentum and unearthed so many heinous habitual offenders because of social media and its reach. But then again, their job is to report and then let the law take its course. With the majority of the population engaging in trolling, its usage is becoming tremendously taxing for mental health.

Something that started as a boon to the society has started turning into a bane – and it is not long before social media will lose the ‘social’ aspect of it.

Media should be playing a more progressive and constructive role in a developing country like ours, which is going through a major transition phase. They should be the voice of the largest democracy in the world and take ownership of their issues and causes. Instead, the media does the exact opposite by simply curbing the voice of the common man and creates noise about the existing propaganda and narratives.

A poor urchin falls into a bore well and everything comes to a standstill for the next 48 hours. A leading Bollywood celebrity visits court and the media goes into a frenzy. The last time something like this happened, the SC was handing out a verdict on a CM but there was hardly any coverage. I am now sure that when something like this happens, the deafening noise is created to subdue a very important matter directly concerning the public.

If you are dedicatedly running shows on the happenings of daily soaps and then I will not shy away from saying, but that’s not reporting – that is bullshit entertainment for TRPs. News like where a monkey pulls the tail of a lion – I think these sort of programs should be left to animal planets of the world.

For hours they run advertisement shows of God men just because they are paying you massively, forgetting that in a way all they are doing is promoting superstitions.

Wait for the cricket world cup to start – Instead of reporting about the matches, the newsrooms will convert into cricket pitches where every tom dick and harry would be advising what should be the next move of the captain. The educated class, at least, should understand that these are just mere diversion tactics so that the people of the country are distracted from the real issues.

They were supposed to report the news rather than creating news. These days they are just looking for opportunities to create news without even checking the credibility of the information and in the process, giving rise to a new vertical of ‘Fake news’.

Since the use of the word ‘pseudo’ is in fashion I think I can take the liberty of calling many of the news anchors behaving like pseudo spokespersons of the political parties. There is hardly anyone left who can be termed as a neutral reporter who is trying to present a piece of news as per facts.

Read the book, 1984 by George Orwell and you will understand how the media is used on a day-to-day basis by the political machinery to brainwash you. Imagine if social media and the current army of trolls would have been present during the times of Hitler. Honestly, no one can visualize the rampage it would have caused.

Media is supposed to raise voice against oppression and against the current establishment. They should raise voice against the narrative like casteism and Hindu-Muslim divide; rather they are the ones fuelling it. There is hardly any reporting of educational issues, farmer issues, and healthcare issues.

The irony is that on the launch of a new food product there will be hundreds of media personalities covering it, but there would hardly any covering the real issues of those who are growing it.

It also speaks a lot about what kind of viewership it is getting. Higher TRPs for such content means that people are hardly concerned with real issues. It is a high time that we think real hard about what is the kind of content we are watching and what are the issues that directly affect our lives otherwise it will be too late and all we will become are stooges of this maddening noise.

With one pillar so pathetically losing its credibility and integrity it is not long before, the foundation of democracy will be under threat and the signs of which are already becoming more and more visible.

For all those who use social media,

For all those who hate trolling,

For all those who watch the news for news,

And

For all those who are worried for the current state of media…

It’s not a goodbye,

But it’s a GOOD BYE.

Manas ‘Sameer’ Mukul

This is the 13th 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 ‘N’

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.

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.

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.

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.

 

14

D – Demonetisation | #AtoZChallenge

D – Demonetisation #AtoZChallenge #BlogchatterA2Z

If this topic interests you – please spend some time on a more elaborate post on Demonetisation that I wrote ten days after it was announced on November 8th, 2016.

Why I want to discuss it because I believe since emergency in 1975 this was one such move where each citizen of the country was taken-for-granted. It deeply disturbed me, what is even disturbing is the silence of the educated class that understands the perils of such moves. They are just for political gains. Even the economists who support the ideology of the current party in power agreed to the fact that the GST implementation was in haste leave alone the execution of demonetisation.

We now have proof that demonetisation was implemented like a joke. Just to create a furor of slogans stirring the sentiments of nationalism with no end result. Has anyone noticed that there is no mention of it in the political rallies this election season – it’s like the Gujarat model, which even Gujarat is not talking about.Demonetisation was declared with these major objectives:

Curbing black money

Niti Aayog member and senior economist Bibek Debroy had said, “approximately Rs 1.6 lakh crore – 10% of the demonetised currency – would be extinguished and not come back into the system.”

The fact of the matter is as per the RBI report released in August 2018 that 99.3% of the demonetised currency or roughly Rs 15.31 lakh crore was returned and back into the system. The finance minister keeps stating that they are looking into the accounts and going after the culprits. How many people did you see going to jail on black money? Frankly, there is no data, yet, released that can give a suggestive account of the amount of Black money currently in the system.

Counterfeit Currency

There is again no data released that out of the total currency that returned to the system how much of it was counterfeit currency. But there is definitely data available suggesting a sudden spike in counterfeit Rs. 50 and Rs. 100 notes. The Rs. 50 counterfeit note has grown by a whopping 130%. So what now, are they going to demonetize these all as well?

Corruption

After my father expired in 2017, I have been visiting government offices and courts on a weekly basis for some work or the other. The system stands as it was in the pre-demonetization era. Corruption is as rampant as it was; the only difference being the thinner Rs. 2000 has replaced the thicker Rs. 1000 in bribes.

The election rallies are in full swing. Do you know that the ruling party has booked about 60% of the charters and helicopters? There are a plethora new five star offices being unveiled – about 51 of them will be inaugurated in UP alone. Are you sure all this is done with white money and no corruption?

But nobody dares to question the government.

Terrorism and its funding

Between 2014 and 2018, the number of civilians killed in Jammu & Kashmir has risen by 35.71%; the number of security persons killed has increased by 93%, and the number of terrorists killed has seen a rise of 133.63%. In Naxal-affected states, terror incidents are down 45% but the number of security personnel killed is up a massive 82%, according to data from the South Asia Terrorism Portal or SATP.

Do I need to present more data on how terror is still on the rise?

The government kept on changing ‘goal-posts’ after goal posts citing as objectives of demonetisation. One of them which was never mentioned in the speech of November 8, 2016, was ‘Cashless economy.’

Cashless Economy

Cash in circulation (CIC) has jumped by 19.14 percent to a record high of Rs 21.41 lakh crore as on March 15, 2019 from the pre-demonetisation level of Rs 17.97 lakh crore on November 4, 2016, indicating that cash is back in the reckoning in the financial system. To their credit the cashless transactions are on a rise too but honestly, the figures reveal that it has less to do with demonetisation. In fact, if you force everyone to use a single medium for transactions then the data related to that is not giving a clear picture.

The illiteracy of the banking officials on digital payments front has been beautifully summarized by BP Kanungo, deputy governor of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI). On Tuesday (May 29, 2018) in Mumbai he said, “…(There is) lack of consumer awareness not just on the various payment options and features available, but even on the grievance redressal mechanisms available. This illiteracy transcends all geographies and regions, not just rural or semi-urban, north or south, and is equally true of the staff at the front desks of bank branches.”

How much did it cost:

The RBI spent close to Rs 13,000 crore over the next two years to remonetize Indian money market in post-demonetisation phase.

According to the Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy (CMIE), demonetisation caused loss of about 15 lakh jobs with an immediate GDP fall of around 1.5% that cost another Rs 2 lakh crore to the system.

Ironically RBI wasn’t able to count the returned currency for nearly two years. In fact, there is a shocking report that suggests that RBI doesn’t know how much money was put back into the system.

Please don’t forget the losses of more than 100 lives that it took, the loss of two RBI governors and one ‘confidante’ economic advisor and the loss of credibility in banking system cause of this futile exercise

Touted as one of the greatest financial moves ever – Something that was talked about as a Masterstroke turned out to be a ‘Hit-Wicket’.

For all those who love cash,

For all those who stood in those ATM queues,

For all those who have lost faith in banks,

And

For all those who think it was for political gains…

It’s not a goodbye,

But it’s a GOOD BYE.

See you tomorrow with another issue related to the upcoming elections.

Manas ‘Sameer’ Mukul

This is the 4th 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.

D – Demonetisation

Read the previous post here

A – Anti-National

B – Banking

C – Climate Change

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

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.

19

A – Anti-National…???

A – Anti-National…??? #AtoZChallenge #BlogchatterA2Z

The General Elections of India 2019 have arrived and wherever you go around people are discussing about it. The floodgates of atrocious amounts of spending have been opened. The political parties are working on war mode trying to convince every voter to vote for them. It is something that touches everyone’s lives whether he/she is a voter or not.

The main reason why I chose this theme because this is the first time in independent India’s history that a PM and his office hasn’t organized an open press conference in his entire term of five years. Now I believe that is completely against being democratic.

I wrote two articles one before the General elections of 2014 and one after Demonetization. Both were well received and those gave me the confidence that I should go ahead with the theme of IPL – Indian Parliamentary League and try to highlight some topics relevant to the elections.

Let’s begin with some stats:

General Elections 2014 saw a record voter turnout at about 66.3% with the leading party BJP getting around 31% of the vote share. If the maths is correct that is just under 21% of all the eligible voters i.e. 79% of the voters didn’t vote in favor of them. But sadly that is how democracy works.

The majority party forms the government and whatever policy and decision-making they do affects the life of each and every citizen of the country even if you aren’t of the voting age. The beauty of democracy does not lie in this – it lies in the fact that every citizen gets the right to question the government of the day.

There is a reason why elections happen every five years. For that same very reason, the parties in power should fight on their performance of the tenure and oppositions can either counter that or make newer promises. In any case, the citizens should ask the right questions on issues that affect their lives directly.

If the ‘hand’ has the blood from 1984 then the lotus is also stained by the pogrom of 2002. Nobody is spared – it is the common people that suffer and die. But if the people of the country voted them, again and again, that means they forgave them. Just ask yourself who is in power in Punjab today. Similarly, when the current PM got voted to power that means the population forgave him for his deeds. Simple.

Now move on and find the issues that are really important and directly concerning the people rather than just using your machinery of propaganda to win elections.

When you question anything they begin with reminding the deeds of the past. To the credit of the current govt. in power, they have been successful in setting the narrative and anyone who either questions the government or doesn’t agree with them is tagged ‘Anti-National’.

The most overused word from the past five years without even understanding the gravity of it. The British used it against freedom fighters, in fact, they brought a sedition law in place as a countermeasure and harass Indians. Today the sedition charges are being slapped upon as if distributing candies.

Let’s assume that 50% of the people are with you and don’t want to question but the rest 50% still have their rights – you can’t go ahead naming everyone as Anti National.

After the recent ghastly Pulwana attack and on the question of whether the country should play cricket with the neighboring enemy, the insanity went to unprecedented levels. The followers went on to even tag people like Sachin Tendulkar and Kapil Dev as anti-nationals. Can you believe that? They wouldn’t have contributed to the national cause in their whole how much people like Tendulkar have done in a day.

I never like to publicize but since the atmosphere is such that I know I might also be tagged as one. Hence would like to highlight what I do as my bit to contribute to the nation. I, along with my mother, run an NGO where we donate medicine, food, and water to the patients of Leprosy on a monthly basis. We have supported and facilitated the marriage of unprivileged girls in every possible way including complete financial support. This number runs in double figures. For the past couple of years, we have started planting trees as well. I can go on and on but that’s not the point.

All this work is done without even taking a single penny as a donation for my organization. The sad thing is that the pervading tone is such that if one doesn’t highlight then he risks being Anti-National.

Even most of the media houses that are responsible for raising these questions are being abused as presstitutes. The irony is that 90% of that media corroborates and bow down to the current dispensation itself.

My father always encouraged us to ask more and more questions since we were 3-4 years old. Remember how in our school days during every lecture the teacher will push us to ask more questions. Sarcastically, the ones daring and asking don’t know that when they grow up there is a high probability of them being declared Anti Nationals.

I believe it is setting a really negative dangerous trend for the future governments and democracy will become a joke. In fact, I was warned not to write on this theme considering the aggressive aura that is prevailing at this moment.

Hopefully, I will survive to see it through the month and the challenge and will finally be able to vote.

A hopeful National.

For all those who believe in voting,

For all those who believe in democracy,

For all those who believe in elections,

And

For all those who believe they have the right to question…

It’s not a goodbye,

But it’s a GOOD BYE.

See you tomorrow.

Manas ‘Sameer’ Mukul.

This is the first 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.

‘A – Anti-National’

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

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.