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Queue Kyu Queue Kyu…and the theatrics continue…

 

Winner of Spicy Saturday Picks

Winner of Spicy Saturday Picks

Queue Kyu Queue Kyu…and the theatrics continue…

On 8th November 2016 around 8 pm, when most of us were finishing up our work for the day, some of us were on our way to home, some were already in the Tuesday temple queues, some were busy purchasing groceries for home, the current Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his nation-wide address announced that all the 500 and 1000 rupee notes in circulation will no longer be legal tenders from midnight. Almost everyone has termed this as Demonetization but in technical terms this is simply withdrawal of 1000 rupee notes and replacement of 500 rupee denominations. Let’s not get into that.

I don’t question the intention of the government…anyway you would come to know my stand on this by the end of this article. I, personally, am against corruption, unethical and illegal activities. Before you move further I must clarify that I do not belong to any political party and neither I am pro BJP nor pro Congress forget about the Kejriwals of the world. Everybody is the part of the same political system, which has and will continue to loot the nation. Most of the country present on social media has touted this as a bold move…a historic move…and what not. But I personally have my doubts with the vastness of a country like India about the execution required to make a decision a masterstroke.

I will begin by cataloging the four main points listed out by the BJP Government, which they have listed out as pillars for the so called ‘masterstroke’:

Issue of Black Money: This Black-money word in itself is very ambiguous. Even most of the literates don’t understand the difference between black money and black currency or black cash. Black money can be anything ranging from gold to property to stocks to money saved from tax evasion to cash collected without receipts to anything you can imagine gained or gathered illegally or unethically. According to a data from CBI Black money worth more than $500 billion is stashed abroad just in foreign accounts. Imagine what will it amount to if you include all the properties and other things already amassed with black money outside India. No investigative agency could even come close to an approximation for that…though some figures suggest that it is already running into trillions.

Allow me to delve into little stats from the Income Tax department of India. About 5-6% of Black money that is in India is in the form of Black Currency/Cash. This percentage would again lower down since IT dept has included ornaments as well in their calculations. If you put this in comparison with the total Black Money hoarded by Indians it would fall down below an appalling percentage of 0.1%. My first question is; what is the government really after…the 0.1% of the pie and that too at what cost?

Counterfeit Currency: Let’s move to the second argument of counterfeit currency. According to the data from government and agencies the counterfeit notes that are in circulation amount to about Rs. 400-500 crores. I know that in itself is a huge number but compared to a wedding worth Rs 500 crores it looks so miniscule. If you were really after this amount I have to say that the step begins to fall flat.

On many occasions I personally have encountered fake notes being dispensed from ATM machines. Isn’t this a failure of the banks, however small it may be, to at least take care of the notes that they are putting in the machines? Who will make sure that the new notes have features, which cannot be counterfeited? I have looked at the new currency denominations introduced and they do not come with such new features, so the process of counterfeiting will again begin. Wasn’t it a failure of the banks to keep a check whether the photos of these notes do not circulate on the social media because of which you had to take this decision in haste? What about the fake smaller denominations and fake Rs 10 coins? People who are hell bound in coming up with fake currency will find one way or the other to put them into circulation. Isn’t it a failure of the system again that how these sacks of cash on the first place cross the borders and get into the system.

Terror Funding: A lot of gung-ho is created around how this Black cash has a direct impact on terror funding. The PM said that the terrorists bring these with them from across the border. How many of you have ever heard this, that after neutralizing the terrorists, any huge amount of counterfeit cash has been recovered from them. They too are using the most advanced levels of technology. Still I believe that it does have effect on it. How come they use the electronic transfers that mean there are loopholes, which they are very easily able to exploit? Now when every average and poor Indian is standing in queues you have the means and machinery to check for every PAN…every account…every transaction, then why can’t it be used in the first place when the terrorist transactions are taking place.

It literally disgusts me the hypocrisy with which the social media and Alia Bhatt generation use martyrdom of soldiers to win their arguments. You can go and check stats that the highest contributors of terror funding are drugs & weed supply and piracy of Bollywood movies & songs. My question is to these new social media so called patriotic crusaders of India…Can you put your hand across your heart and say that you have never consumed any drugs or haven’t ever downloaded a song from songs.pk (it is a Pakistani website btw)? If you have then you are also part of terror funding, so stop blindly sharing things across social media without having the sense to check the authenticity of these posts. Why does every Bollywood movie release a day before on Thursday in Dubai, when the scheduled release is on Friday? It surely gives them an easy way to access to the content.

I guess it’s pointless to even discuss about drugs because it is one such thing in India that even the most elite and the poorest consume in different forms. You want to build a nation then just change yourself in a constructive and positive sense. What a pity and shame it is for our country that if the PM doesn’t come out with a campaign on cleanliness we aren’t even ready to pick up a broom and clean our houses…roads and cities. Let’s not digress.

Corruption: Moving to the most important issue, which the withdrawal of currency tries to address. Corruption!! Black money is just the end product of Corruption. It is corruption that creates Black Money and not the other way round. Corrupt practices can be done by white and legal money as well. If you try to clean up black currency by these steps and have no process and procedure in place to curb corruption people will find one or the other way to convert the same and come up with newer methods and it will continue to be in a repetitive cycle.

I have heard a lot of experts say that we know who are some of the biggest hoarders in the country, Why haven’t there been a crack down on them? What about those who converted the money into legal forms let’s say a week before the announcement and what about those who will begin to hoard in the denomination of Rs 2000. How many enquiries have you ordered when your own BJP member Gali Janardhan Reddy’s daughter’s wedding bill is estimated to be around Rs 500 crores when a common man is fighting a battle of Rs. 4000 on a daily basis? Everybody from media to government to people to agencies knows that he is one of the biggest Mining barons of the country but I haven’t heard any probe against him. Wasn’t this a mockery of the poor and a signal again that no one can touch these people or Does the government wants the country to believe that all that Rs. 500 crores is white money?

The government said it wants to fight against corruption when just the very next day after the announcement it said that no political parties should come under RTI. Why can’t the funding to political parties be transparent? Remember you only said that you want a Black money free India as an agenda of your Election campaign. One of the arguments you have given is that this move will make Elections cheaper. How can I believe a party on this stand when their spending on campaigning and marketing of General elections 2014 was more than the cost of the elections itself? The Indian Premier League is the biggest extravaganza of Business…Black money…drugs…and prostitution. But since it involves the religion cricket, the logic for India becomes everything else can be ignored.

Early this week only you came up with a new policy that would be formulated soon, where no investigative agency like CBI etc. will be allowed to investigate any central government employee without the government’s prior permission. Every Indian at some point in life would have come across a govt employee and hence s/he would be well aware of their honest and uncorrupt practices (sarcasm). Now what’s the guarantee on this that the government wouldn’t ever try to protect their favored employees?

A queue outside an ATM

A queue outside an ATM

Some other points which I would like to highlight here related to the same masterstroke:

Cashless economy: Mr. Arun Jaitley laid a lot of emphasis on how this would drive India towards a cashless economy. I am still trying to understand…a country, where 1/4th of it’s population is still below poverty line, where 55% earn their livelihood through agriculture, where 80% are employed in unorganized sectors, where only 2.6 crores out of 130 crores Indians have credit cards, where below 7% people are computer literate (a computer literate is defined by a person who can just switch on and off a computer), where internet penetration is around 15%, where 80.8% of the rural population is not covered by banks…what magic will be infused where one move will change and move the country towards cashless economy. People these days derive at consensus from social media, which again proves my point that what is the percentage of people that are there on these mediums and how can that be used to decide for whole population.

The first move should be to provide basic infrastructure where all this can be used. We don’t have proper 2G connectivity all across the nation and hence it is too ambitious to think India is ready for cashless economy. It was awesome of Reliance Jio to come up with data prices lower than potato prices, with the PM endorsing in front-page pics on every major newspaper. But wouldn’t it be more appropriate, if the data can be provided at these rates, then the government bodies like BSNL and MTNL should have taken such an initiative? I know most of the people don’t know but government bodies only provide the entire telecommunications infrastructure, then why can’t they enhance their reach first? You want a cashless economy what are the steps you took to increase the landline connections since the cables required and infrastructure was already in place? I guess you are being successful at this, as the poor villagers have gone back to the age-old system of barter.

Mismanagement of the highest order: It has been just 10 days since the announcement and the economic experts have come out in the open how this masterstroke might become nothing but a joke because of the epic proportions of mismanagement. The PM during his address mentioned how they had prepared for this for the past 8-10 months, which in one way explains the ouster of Raghuram Rajan, but it also highlights the sorrowful state of advisors or planners that the PM is surrounded with. If it was so well planned why more Rs. 100 notes were not printed in advance? I understand the secrecy angle but the ATMs could have been calibrated for Rs. 50 denominations or best at least the size of new notes could have remained same. The only thing I fail to understand is that, commoners like us might not have great understanding on these matters but the people in RBI and ministry should have better understanding than what they have displayed.

The time chosen to announce was highly inappropriate as the wedding season and the sowing of the new crop season is about to begin. If you could plan for 10 months then you could have taken couple of more months to counter in the loopholes that might be there rather than asking for 50 more days. On one hand you have allowed post offices to dispense and exchange cash but at the same time not allowed the rural co-operative banks to dispense. Plus all these 10 months you only planned without action since all the new notes have the signature of the newly appointed RBI governor Urjit Patel.

Everybody including some of your supporters has questioned the move to bring in a higher denomination of currency, which, by economics, fails the whole logic of this move. Lower denominations would have prevented people from doing transactions for large sums in cash and it would have ensured people to use the banking way but introducing a similar and a higher value denominations negates the whole move in one go.

You said India has about 200000 ATMs out of which only 120000 are operational. Why wasn’t it made sure that they are all up and running? India has about 678000 villages and almost every village atleast inhabitats about 300-400 person. Even the policy of village panchayat formation is on the basis that there should be a minimum of 1000 people in that village. If you really had thought it through to execute this at such a massive scale why didn’t you come up with elections like arrangements? You couldn’t because you knew there isn’t enough capacity to print this much cash.

The daily press conferences of Mr. Shaktikant Das, economic affairs secretary, should be broadcasted simultaneously on All India Radio and FM channels so that it has the maximum reach and one knows what’s happening on a daily basis. You stand in the queue in the night with some guidelines and by the time you reach the counter the next noon the guidelines have changed without being properly communicated.

I guess this is what happens when you have a very good lawyer taking care of the Finance Ministry.

Banks: Under UPA everybody said that CBI works under the influence of Government. I am shocked to see how the RBI is working under the influence of the current government. If you are a student of law and you know a bit of economics you would definitely know how many laws the government broke just to announce this order. So many legislative and judiciary procedures have been teased at.

The Economy and the banks would have benefitted the most, if major part of black currency that is out there had come back into the system. You could have extended the voluntary income disclosure scheme after the announcement. Why did you openly announce that whosoever declares more than 2.5 L would be scrutinized and about the 200% penalty? You can have done that secretly too, but by making a huge announcement you have shunned more people away and they are ready to burn or throw the cash away in rivers rather than making it a part of the economy.

I know it would make the banks cash rich and may help them clear off some NPAs but don’t forget that the same people whom you have forced to deposit, will withdraw the amount in newer currencies as well and you will get to know the correct picture only after March 2017. In fact one of the most interesting points is the cash that is being accumulated in banks as a part of this exercise, what’s the guarantee that it won’t be further lent out to bigger corporates? Why are the corporates biggest gainers of tax exemptions when they themselves are the biggest defaulters? Wasn’t this a failure of Banks that Vijay Mallya got crores of credits after credits without any repayments? Can a common person in India get loan after loan like this? What were the immigrations at airport doing when such a huge defaulter was leaving the country?

The banks are overloaded with work and I totally sympathize with them. Something has been forced upon them too. But they are happy doing their duties on the name of nationalism. They are saying that no other banking function would be performed in the meanwhile at least for this 50-day period. I want to know what about the other banking functions that have been stopped currently for these days, wouldn’t it be a huge backlog for the banks itself when they will resume normal banking functions? Don’t forget the election duties and the March closing.

Patriotism and Nationalism: There is a new movement started in this country especially from this year where on every instance in your day-to-day activities you have to prove your nationalism and patriotism. For every event there is a social media campaign on what pain the soldier goes through. I totally understand that pain as my father has served in the army for twenty years but this was never done earlier. Nothing pains me more to see a soldier get hurt but that doesn’t mean that for everything you need to bring in the soldiers to win your argument. With all due respect I know the armed forces’ role in the nation building and securing the country but I believe that everybody is important in this chain. You cannot say that a soldier is only important to this country and others are just free riders. A farmer is equally important and so is a bank officer. An administrative officer is equally important and so is a postman. An IT guy is equally important and so is a merchant. Everything in totality makes the whole machinery known as Nation move and function properly. If one wheel goes off…so does the balance. Stop patronizing everyone who has not served the country in armed forces. We all love and respect our armed forces and we are very proud of them.

An even newer trend is accusing anyone of anti-nationalism who questions the government. Democracy is ‘to the people’…’for the people’…’by the people’, so where does the question of anti nationalism arise. Even withdrawal currency move, if you question the execution then you are an anti national. Why does an Indian have to abide by what a certain political party or certain segment of society thinks as patriotism? If questioning the government or PM was a criteria for anti nationalism, then I believe everybody in their lives at some point or the other would have disagreed to a statement or a policy of PM or government. Does that mean everybody is anti national? Why Why Why!!!

I think Muhammad Bin Tughlaq would have also convinced everyone to move from Delhi to Daulatabad on the name of patriotism and nationalism otherwise why would everyone move.

Argument of Poor People: It deeply saddened me today to see a responsible citizen like Anupam Kher retweeting an article where it said that the argument of poor people was a very weak argument. I believe I have shared enough data to tell what and how much the poor and rural population exists in India and it is not a secret what they are going through on daily basis to cope up with this move. It’s very easy to sit in ACs…ordering a pizza online and posting on twitter to ask everyone that the trouble is just ‘a bit’. I challenge those people just to keep a fast for two days and they will understand how would the others be managing in queues. I am afraid; a farmer who survives every year on the crop which he sows for that season, wouldn’t be able to fight this battle till March. Be prepared for more suicides.

What about those who earn their livelihood on daily wages? For some it is a ‘mere’ 50-day period…but for some…it might turn out to be a lifetime. When loans and taxes more than 2 lakh crores can be waived off for the corporates in the past two years then why can’t it be done for poor farmers?

The Hypocritical Side: I have been taught from my childhood that the Supreme Court and Chief Justice of India are the supreme authorities in India. On one hand you want the public to believe in your fight against corruption and on the other hand you are making it sure that the Judiciary comes to a stand still. The SC itself has pulled up the government on multiple occasions including the CJI; who at least twice was very vocal of the same issue or the Bhakts believe that CJI is also a congress agent. But you continue to block…block and block.

You made a lot of uproar about Robert Vadra’s business transactions and security provided. I haven’t seen a single step taken against him. He still enjoys all the privileges, which he got under UPA governments. What are the actions on those whose names have appeared in Panama Papers? The Supreme Court on numerous occasions came down heavily on the Govt and RBI to make public the name of the largest willful defaulters of India…but I am yet to read a single name.

Pakistan is such a huge problem. Why haven’t you officially declared it as an Enemy state and stop all the privileges that it is enjoying on the name of a neighbor? Stop all the business transaction across the border with Pakistan but you also know the truth that thousand of tons of Onions are imported from them. Stop misleading the people how you want to save cows. I also worship cows but can the government explain why has beef export risen by 40% under their regime? Forget about the whole of India why isn’t the hyped Gujarat Development Model being replicated in at least those states where you have the 2nd and 3rd terms of BJP as government. Why was the common man asked to boycott Chinese decorative lights on Diwali worth Rs. 20 when the government is busy distributing contracts worth Rs 3000 crores to Chinese firms? I haven’t seen anyone from the twitter generation to boycott his or her laptops and smartphones.

Political mileage: It is really laughable of the government to say that the opposition does everything for political mileage. Politicians are out there to politicize an issue and use it to their advantage. Didn’t the government do the same with surgical strike when their hoardings in UP showcased the PM as Lord Rama with a bow and arrow without a single word on army or was it the first time that India did any surgical strike against Pakistan? I applaud the government for the same but don’t forget that earlier governments have also fought and won wars for the country with even braver prime ministers like Lal Bahadur Shastri.

If this was not about politicizing then why was this announced when you are on the verge of assembly elections in five different states? You could have it announced later, would have given you more time to prepare and would have saved you some indelible ink which now the Election Commission has also said is wrong to use in this case.

Blind Supporters: Won’t write anything under this as the supporters might find it difficult to read.

The people angle: The generation that is shouting the loudest…please go and ask your parents how they saved and saved to make you literate so that you can send a tweet one day. Do you think that everybody who deals in cash and in unorganized sectors is carrying black money? Why does every salaried employee try to save the maximum tax amount through bogus declarations? If everyone is so concerned with nation building then I believe no one should opt for any tax savings. Pay your complete tax and do your bit for the nation.

It’s the people who are corrupt and not the currency one should always remember. Get hold of them and you will curb corruption but not this way. Haven’t we heard about corrupt Income tax officers or sales tax officers? Now you are making them even more powerful without a proper check mechanism. This move ridiculously slaps everyone as hoarders of black money…with the real culprits still finding ways to swindle.

This social media generation is getting fooled time and again cause of marketing tactics, which they aren’t intellectually capable to understand. Biggest examples are Donald Trump getting elected as American President, BREXIT, Kejriwal getting elected. These were the same people who were marching and raising slogans at Jantar Mantar. I have all the rights to believe that the same is happening in this country now at this very moment.

The patriotic crusaders should understand that writing on notes destroys more currency, which amounts to more than the total counterfeit currency. RBI loses currency worth more than 2000 crores just because of notes that become unusable because of scripting on them. Shouldn’t we first change this habit of ours? There is a liquor ban in Gujarat doesn’t the same people who are supporting the move purchase liquor in Gujarat through illegal mediums? According to bhakts everybody is corrupt barring them. They are the biggest Messiahs out there who approve others of their nationalism and patriotism. I guess the government should also come out with AADHAR card like thing where they can have parameters for patriotism and whosoever qualifies can get a card to prove he is a patriot.

And the theatrics continue: I know he has been trained by versatile actors like Anupam Kher and Paresh Rawal and it is certain from the way he takes jibes on others during speeches. Why did the PM shed tears in one of the rallies after announcement? Isn’t it a kind of emotional blackmail? If you said that this is the biggest economic move that will change India then why to shed tears. Be confident and manage the things properly. Or is the value of a PM’s tear more than that of a common man who is taken apart daily by the scathing system? Wasn’t one of the biggest economic moves was Manmohan Singh’s declaration of LPG in 1991 as Finance Minister? I believe there wouldn’t have been an economy today if those steps weren’t taken place back then.

When PM’s 90 years old mother went to the bank wasn’t that publicity stunt? Doesn’t she stay with Modi’s other siblings or were they so busy that their mother had to go out? These are the most dangerous of tactics through which he is making everyone think that whatever life people are spending in queues would eventually turn out in their good and India would become a black money free country. What the people don’t understand is that the rich continues to grow richer and the poor continues to remain poor. This has always happened and in a shocking stat the divide between the rich and poor has increased since the Modi government came into power.

Even Smriti Irani was displaying the same level of theatrics when during a Lok Sabha session, speaking on Rohith Vemula she became more of a mother to him rather than her own mother and was severely criticized by Rohith’s own mother. She wants me to believe that justice has been served by setting up a one-man committee. One man cannot be mentioned as committee unless you are writing a joke.

In one of the latest speeches he even compared the 19-month (actually it was 21 months) period of emergency under Indira Gandhi with this 50-day period. So he himself agrees that the hardships caused, which are sold and packaged on the name of patriotism and nationalism is a kind of economic emergency. What he actually forgot was what happened to Indira Gandhi in the next election after the emergency. He himself has a policy that nobody in his cabinet should be above 70 years of age then I wonder how would he assume office as he would be so close to 70 by the next elections or that would turn out to be another gimmick.

Conclusion:

Stop branding that everybody who is questioning the move has black money. Some people are just not blind. I always thought that the PM, who always speaks about his humble background, would have his sensitivities attached to that class but I guess that is the section of the society which is the most hit.

I hope you will disclose at some point that to bring in these moves what all legal procedures have you skipped to announce the withdrawal of currency notes.

I know people and the blind followers will come and abuse. Some would even try to lynch me if this one goes viral but I am not afraid, instead would request you to try to raise the quality of your arguments.

I will end with simple logic that prevails in law that we can let go of many culprits but no innocent should suffer but I guess you only know your logic.

A quote from Chanakya

A quote from Chanakya

The first day of MBA taught me that every opportunity is not an opportunity until it is totally aligned with your strengths and resources. Similarly every good move is not good until it is implemented properly and serves the larger and common interest of people.

I would be the happiest if whatever I have written above; government proves me wrong in the future.

– A hopeful Indian

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2nd India Affiliate Summit

2nd India Affiliate Summit

India Affiliate Summit 2016

India Affiliate Summit 2016

The second edition of the annual gathering of affiliates marketing leaders in India – 2nd India Affiliate Summit (IAS16) – hosted by – IAMAIInternet and Mobile Association of India in association with vcommision was held on 1st and 2nd day of September of 2016 at the Leela hotel, Ambience Mall, Gurgaon.

The event gives a unique platform to marketers to discuss the innovations and dissect the implications of Affiliate Marketing. This has been an enriching initiative by IAMAI to bring Affiliate aka Performance Marketing industry together, providing educational sessions on the latest industry issues along with networking opportunities for affiliate marketers.

The India Affiliate Summit 2016 is designed to revolutionize the Affiliate marketplace in India. Spread across 2 days of networking & innovation, the Summit is segregated to provide you the opportunities to hobnob with fellow Affiliates & Brands alike, with the Affiliate Street being the main attraction. The Affiliate Street gave marketers a chance to immerse, converse and disperse insights on performance-based marketing.

Affiliate Street

Affiliate Street

IAMAI itself highlights on its India Affiliate summit website as to why one should attend the summit. Apart from lead talks, keynotes and group discussions, a lot of emphasis was laid on networking as well which was significant from the fact that the during the course of two days there were designated slots for networking.

Why to attend IAS 16

Why to attend IAS 16

The top affiliate marketing leaders addressed a variety of topics including;

  • Demystifying new age Affiliate Marketing
  • Cracking the Affiliate Marketing Code
  • Synergizing Brand building and Affiliate Marketing
  • Importance of data quality and Campaign Optimization
  • Means or the End: Last Click vs Multi Click attribution
  • Reality Check: Pitfalls of Affiliate Marketing
  • Mobile Affiliate Marketing: World of Apps, Pops, re-directs & advertising
  • Ordering its way to growth: Affiliate for ecommerce/food tech
  • Anatomy of perfect Affiliate Marketing
  • Navigating the Affiliate Marketing Ecosystem: Lessons learned and helpful hints
  • Into the crystal ball: New age drivers for Affiliate Marketing
How Shoutmeloud increased its revenue by 200% within an year

How Shoutmeloud increased its revenue by 200% within an year

In between the plenary session a lot of Lead talks were also there. One that stands out, me being from a blogging community, was of Harsh Agarwal, founder shoutmeloud.com. He spoke on how shoutmeloud increased its revenue by 200% within one year. Some of the other big names which were present at the summit were:

  • Parul Bhargava – CEO of vCommission
  • Aasheesh Marina – Search Quality at Google
  • Aashish Bhatnagar – Head of Mobile & Affiliate Marketing Shopclues
  • Abhilash Premanand – Mobile Marketing & Digital Marketing Specialist at BankBazaar.com
  • Amit Sharma – Head of Digital Marketing & E-commerce at Max Life Insurance
  • Ankur Singla – Founder and CEO of Helpchat and OneDirect
  • Anshul Srivastava – Head of Digital Marketing at BigBreaks.com
  • Anurag Gupta – Founder and MD at DGM India
  • Ashwiny Thapliyal – Regional Head of Sales India & Southeast Asia at TUNE
  • Swati Bhargava – Co-Founder at Cashkaro

To summarize the couple of days of India Affiliate summit; It focused on how Affiliate Marketing can help businesses and brands, how you can grow your business, networking with more than 1500 attendees and more than 70 delegates, what are the keys trends and what all things will hold the key to future as far as Performance Marketing is concerned.

I would like to take this as an opportunity to thank IAMAI and Blogadda for making it possible for me to attend the event on both the days.

Manas ‘Sameer’ Mukul

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10th India Digital Summit

10th INDIA DIGITAL SUMMIT – IAMAI

India Digital Summit

India Digital Summit

The biggest annual gathering of Digital leaders in India – 10th India Digital Summit (IDS) hosted by – IAMAIInternet and Mobile Association of India was held on 9th and 10th day of February of 2016 in the heart of our national capital, New Delhi, at the Lalit hotel. The event was a unique opportunity which saw many huge names, the smartest minds in market from the Digital and Marketing Ecosystem along with some new ones that have started surfacing and started knocking on the doors of success.

Continuing with the current government initiative of ‘Start-up India Stand-up India’, the event covered a vast range of topics aligning with the government’s agenda and with the current technological and digital space in the country. The top CEO’s and CMO’s addressed a variety of topics including;

  • Smart Cities Mission: A step towards Smart India
  • First Steps to Entrepreneurship – launching of a start-up
  • How health tech is on a roll?
  • Why Food tech industry is moving towards a new ceiling?
  • What the state of internet in rural India?
  • What is the future of Internet?
  • Education Tech – the revolution has added a new dimension to the education industry
  • Financial Inclusion – Advancing financial inclusion in India
  • How to scale up start up: Analyze, Attract, Implement and Grow
  • Travel Tech – The road ahead
  • What’s the state of Internet and women in India: technology to aid for gender parity
  • Mobile touch points across brand marketing
  • Marketing automation: Transforming the way the marketers work
  • How India is moving towards a cashless economy
  • Apps Development innovation required in India
  • Building a killer team – Ways to Attract, Hire and retain the right people
  • How is the technology giving a leap to financial institutions
  • The power of content marketing to drive Digital Media Campaigns
Deep Kalra, MakeMyTrip with Amarjeet Singh, OLX

Deep Kalra, MakeMyTrip with Amarjeet Singh, OLX

The Lalit provided the perfect setting for the event where the complete Hotel was covered in the flavours of India Digital Summit. There were four major halls where the leadership talks and discussions were taking place and a designated Exhibitors section. This time IAMAI – IDS gave an exciting opportunity to young budding entrepreneurs to come and present and pitch their ideas and start-ups in front of a panel of investors and market leaders.

Chairman TRAI at the 10th IDS

Chairman TRAI at the 10th IDS

The Exhibitors section had stalls of the major sponsors explaining their key offerings but the buzz was majorly generated by the ‘Startup Zone’ which was again a glorious opportunity for some start-up to set up their stalls and explain to visitors what their offerings were. It was great even for the new technology curious visitors as they were complimented with food and tea coupons depending upon the passes they were holding.

The Summit commenced with a welcome address by Kunal Shah, Founder & CEO, FreeCharge & Chairman IAMAI. It was followed by many speakers in different auditoriums including Umang Bedi, MD Adobe, Shri Ram Sewak Sharma, Chairman TRAI, Dinesh Agarwal, Founder & CEO Indiamart, and Deep Kalra, Founder MakeMyTrip. The first day concluded with the CEO’s dinner which posed as a terrific opportunity to connect and network with the key figures in the business.

Dinesh Agarwal of Indiamart at 10th IDS

Dinesh Agarwal of Indiamart at 10th IDS

Second day witnessed equally huge names from the digital ecosystem. Murugavel Janakiraman, founder and CEO CONSIM and Shri Rajeev Chandrasekhar, MP Rajya Sabha got the day underway. Nandan Nilekani graced the occasion with his presence and strategic inputs on how he is shaping the future AADHAAR and its inclusion in every aspect of life and hence economy. The day also saw the likes of Dippak Khurana, CEO Vserv, Amit Jain, CEO Cardekho, Kirthiga Reddy, MD Facebook India, Vijay Shekhar Sharma, Founder Paytm, and Rajan Anandan, VP & MD Google SE Asia & India. The valedictory address was given by Shri Jayant Sinha, MoS Finance government of India.

Nandan Nilekani at 10th IDS

Nandan Nilekani at 10th IDS

The second day concluded with the 6th edition of the India Digital awards which definitely glamorized the event along with recognizing the hard work of the techies for their contribution in the Digital universe.

Excerpts from the 10th IDS:

“Every Entrepreneur is a Social Entrepreneur in India. Popularity shouldn’t be a metric for success. Entrepreneurs should create value so that the VCs chase them. Our Favourite sport is jumping to conclusions. Great Entrepreneurship should not be like coaching classes, don’t always look for mentors.” – Kunal Shah, Founder & CEO, FreeCharge & Chairman IAMAI.

Nandan Nilekani with his mission on AADHAAR

Nandan Nilekani with his mission on AADHAAR

“Adobe is changing the world through digital experiences. The real differentiator is Customer Experience for products and services. Every Experience should be consistent and continuous. Experience is the new brand and customer journey is the new product.” – Umang Bedi, MD Adobe.

“Software should be made available to everyone as commodities for us to grow. Digital India vision can only be achieved if there would be connectivity all across infrastructure and internet.” – Shri Ram Sewak Sharma, Chairman TRAI.

Dippak Khurana of Vserv at 10th IDS

Dippak Khurana of Vserv at 10th IDS

“Scaling up is very individual and intuitive. Accelerators and Alliances are two very different things. It’s about repeat usage (churn) not new usage. Don’t try to provide solutions to everyone, be focused. It’s not about the ideas… It’s about the execution and Execution is a series of small ideas.” – Dinesh Agarwal, Founder & CEO, IndiaMart

“It’s totally about perseverance with your startup. Don’t have a plan B when you embark on your journey of a Start-Up. MakeMyTrip’s success is because of its TEAM. Please be aware of competition but don’t obsess over them. Competition is equally important…If u don’t have competition that means you are in the wrong space”. – Deep Kalra, Founder MakeMyTrip.

Irfan Khan Ceo Blogmint at 10th IDS

Irfan Khan Ceo Blogmint at 10th IDS

“Language support is very crucial for Internet in rural India. Affordable smart devices and affordable data is the key to take the Internet to rural India. We need the REASON for the person to come on Internet in rural India. Problem is content generation in regional language and because the content is in alien language there is very low discoverability Ambiguity is a key issue when it comes to translation. There should be standardization in taxes across country to support Internet in rural India. Consistency in network, spectrum n infra require for proper Internet in rural.” – Internet for Rural India.

Blogmint at work

Blogmint at work

“Constantly remind people of your mission and right Co-Founder is critical.” – Dippak Khurana, Founder & CEO VServ.

Chaaipani stall at StartUp zone

Chaaipani stall at StartUp zone

To summarize the couple of days of Digital summit; It focused on how digital transformation can help and give a tremendous boost to the Indian Economy both in urban as well as rural India,  which was in coherence with the current government’s initiative of ‘Start-up India Stand-up India’.

I would like to take this as an opportunity to thank IAMAI and Blogmint for making it possible for me to attend the event on both the days.

FlockChat at StartUp zone

FlockChat at StartUp zone

Selfie with Umang bedi, Adobe MD

Selfie with Umang bedi, Adobe MD

Manas ‘Sameer’ Mukul

4

To Travel is to Live

To Travel is to Live

Image Ref: Travelimg.org

“To Travel is to live” – Hans Christian Anderson

I have always believed that humans were born to travel… to reach out to places and experience them. But somehow we have found ways to confound ourselves in our lives by making it busier ‘n’ busier with things, which keep us stuck to one location. Some are lucky…their work gives them a chance to travel but then their travel is again restricted to the power-point presentations…hotel check-ins…and catching sleep in their flights. This is not the kind of travel I was referring to.

Travelling to a location is getting a feel of that place in every sense possible…from food to culture…from dressing to mannerism…from meeting new people to actually living with them to experience them. The more you travel the more your soul feels liberated. There is a unique sense of freedom attached to travelling which can only be lived.

Me at Manneken Pis

Me at Manneken Pis

Recently I have been lucky enough to visit countries outside India, which has been a part of conscious effort that I took to simply travel and literally live places after I met a life threatening accident in 2009. It made me realize that one never knows which one is your last day…so why not live each one to the fullest.

This June only I was travelling to Europe for the first time and that is when I realized that we ourselves don’t give respect and weightage to our heritage. I was standing in front of one of the most popular destinations in Brussels – The Manneken Pis and the crowd was going crazy to get them snapped with the creation. I too followed the suite but couldn’t stop myself from giggling at the fact that all these people were going mad for something which was smaller than the size of my head 😀 . The biggest disappointment came when I went to see the Mona-Lisa in person. I thought it would be a huge painting or something bigger than it actually is. I simply kept wondering what wrong did the other 2000 odd paintings do to do not deserve any attention as everybody was running to see ‘The Mona-Lisa’.

Image Ref: irisholidays.com

Munnar – Image Ref: irisholidays.com

The more I travel the more I realize that there is hardly any place in the world like our own country India which gives us so many diverse locations to visit. From world-class beaches in Goa and Pondicherry to the mesmerising Ladakh…from the soul soothing Rameshwaram to the serene honeymooning Munnar…we have it all.

We have our own ‘Scotlands’ in Coorg and mini France in Auroville. With Russian scribed menus and more Russians holidaying than in Russia we have a lot to offer in Goa. Even the Sunburns and VH1s could not keep Goa off its calendar. The cheap booze just adds the silver lining to Goa and Pondicherry.

Coorg - Image Ref: mouthshut.com

Coorg – Image Ref: mouthshut.com

If you are the spiritual kind then you are in the best country of the world. From Varanasi to Rameshwaram…From Haridwar to Jaggannath Puri…From Dwarka to Amarnath…it’s not about the location but it’s about choosing a deity and you are sure to find a historically beautiful place associated to that deity. There is even a temple in Ujjain where you’ll find liquor being served as ‘prasad’ to ‘Bhairon Baba’.

 

Image Ref: travelandmore.in

Image Ref: travelandmore.in

If you are a mountain lover I will fall short of words but India will not fall short of hill stations and snow capped ranges to take your breathe away. Whether it’s the north where you’ll have the ranges of Leh…Ladakh…Kashmir Valley…n so on…or in the north-east where there is a hill named after nearly every tribe that lives there. You need to be in Sikkim to understand what I mean by when I say ‘Soul Soothing’. In the west we have the sand laden yet chilling ‘Mount-Abu’ while the ‘Nilgiris’ giving an awesome cooling touch to the south.

Gokarna - Image ref: gokarnagreenland.in

Gokarna – Image ref: gokarnagreenland.in

Leave alone the beaches of Goa and Pondy…visit the beaches of Andaman and Lakshwadeep to be spellbound. Or if you simply want to enjoy the view with your chilled beer and no one in close proximity to disturb you then you have places like Gokarna and Kashif beach.

Somewhere in Kerala - Image Ref: www.scoopwhoop.com

Somewhere in Kerala – Image Ref: http://www.scoopwhoop.com

There must be a reason why Kerala is known as ‘God’s Own Country’ and the only reason is because of its natural beauty and breathtaking landscapes, which it holds. The backwaters in Kollam and Kochi are a treat for the solace seeking ones while place like ‘Waynad’ are for the rain lovers.

Talking of the rains how can we forget that India is the home for the place with the highest amount of rainfall in the world. Mawsynram holds this unique record with reainfall almost all round the year, in fact the state in which it is itself known as the ‘land of clouds’, Meghalaya.

Mawsynram - Image Ref: niejedztamjesli.wordpress.com

Mawsynram – Image Ref: niejedztamjesli.wordpress.com

If you talk about monuments and historical places you will be surprised that every other dot on the map of India holds a special place in history with its share of heritage and monuments on India’s timeline. We stand at Eiffel Tower in awe while forgetting our own Wonder of the World, ‘The Taj Mahal’ which makes the foreigners awestruck for ages. Even cities like Jaipur and Lucknow can boast off places like ‘Hawa Mahal’ and ‘Imam Bara’ respectively, which are architectural geniuses in their own way. Its about picking up a city and you are sure to find monuments or places to see at least for a day or two.

The TAJ - image ref: sqmegapolis.wikia.com

The TAJ – image ref: sqmegapolis.wikia.com

To add to all this…each and every place in India has its own Culture…Language…the kind of food we eat and even the colour of the soil. So before you decide to shell your big bucks on foreign lands…try giving India a chance…and I am sure you won’t be disappointed. And the biggest reason why we love our India because this is where our home is.

This blog is part of Blogger Dream Team

Manas ‘Sameer’ Mukul

0

The VILLGRO Fellowship

The Villgro Fellowship

Rich-Poor Reality

Rich-Poor Reality

I remember giving a presentation on 11th five-year plan during an academic session as a part of MBA curriculum and I don’t know how but I stumbled upon this pic while searching for an appropriate title slide and used it. I used this pic mainly because it is self-explanatory but how it subtly signifies that the governments have failed over the years to bridge the gap between the poor and the rich. Though for the past several plans one of their underlining objectives was ‘Inclusive Growth’ – Growth of every stratum of the society simultaneously…The rich getting richer but the poor also getting better. But instead of continuous efforts and so called plans I personally believe that we have come to a stage that the middle class has virtually diminished and has gone nearly extinct. The reason for this is that the rich is getting richer while at the same time the poor is getting poorer. Hence one of most prevailing questions arise how can we change this…how can we make the state of poor in our country from the current suffocating one to at least survivable.

Statistically speaking where majority of the poor population resides in our country…it’s mainly in the rural lands. There may be many ways but one of the ways that I believe is by starting more and more rural organizations where we can employ a lot of locals as well as the end beneficiaries at large should also be them. I know that there are many NGOs and government organizations working towards achieving the same but still the work isn’t reflecting in the number of success stories that we should ideally hear. I recently heard a bunch of guys coming up with an initiative of rural BPO and I thought that it was a great move. Neither everyone can be a farmer nor is every land that is rural, futile and fertile enough to bear crops.

There are more and more visionaries who are coming up with social enterprises whose main objective doesn’t lie in creating wealth for just them. They are surrounded by a more holy motive of betterment of the poor and how they can be empowered, how they can become the controller of their destinies than mere the rain gods.

But sadly to say the infrastructure, in every regard, I don’t think is that conducive and encouraging, where we can say that the environment is suited for such entrepreneurs and such enterprises. Most of them struggle with a lot of issues and one such issue is how to move ahead with such an enterprise and such a motive. Since there is not much that has already happened in this area…there are very few mentors and experts in the same field and category. But wouldn’t it be a boon for everyone who wants to dedicate his business and life to such a cause that he gets a platform to showcase his/her enterprise and on top of that get mentors and if possible investors for their mission. Someone to understand their idea and make it kind of their own and incubate it and take it forward like a corporate company.

The Villgro Fellowship

The Villgro Fellowship

Villgro is one such non-profit institution, which is giving a platform for social entrepreneurs and enterprises with innovative and technical ideas, whose underlying theme should be the betterment of society as a whole especially the underprivileged and the poor. They have come up with an awesome Fellowship program where they encourage people from all walks of society to be a part of it and showcase their innovative idea. They will provide total support and whatever guidance is required right from the incubation stage of the idea and project. They will nurture your idea like their own and in return teach you also the key aspects of running a social enterprise so that after the fellowship you can on your own run it in a sustainable manner which achieves its objectives and goals with which you wanted to start on the first place.

Fellow success stories

Fellow success stories

On the other hand in return you will learn a lot, since the program is designed in such a manner that you will get a lot of exposure through the other fellows, which will be a mix of international students with similar passion and such ideas. There is no dearth of recognition also, Villgro has won a lot of awards and appreciation for coming up with such a foundation that instead becomes foundations for other organizations and hence the credibility about Villgro and its Fellowship program automatically follows.

In the end I would like to mention a line from their website…’Change starts with ideas…when ideas become reality, they transform lives’. So, if you have an idea which you believe can change a lot of lives…Villgro is the place to go.

For more info please check out these links about the fellowship:

150318-Fellowship Posts-Rachana

 

Manas ‘Sameer’ Mukul

 

0

For the LOVE of the GAME


For the Love of the Game…

The oldest but the strongest memory that I have from1975 my childhood is of me holding a plastic cricket bat and my father bowling with a plastic ball in the small verandah of our house. He always reminds me that he saw cricketing signs and potential in me from the very beginning and hence made it a habit that I get a daily dose of cricket with him after he returned from office. He played the game at a respectable level and always egged me to do the same. Whether it was playing the game or watching it or following it over different mediums, both of us were cricket fanatics at least since my existence.

1979          I was just two years old for the 1987 world cup and hardly have any account of it imprinted but, by the 1992 world cup, I was grown-up enough to remember glimpses of it. I remember how my father made me sleep by 8 pm so that we both could get up by 4-5 am and catch the day match as it was being hosted in Australia and New Zealand. Our cricket love didn’t translate only to India’s matches. We watched most of the matches and cheered on not only for India but also for cricket as a whole.

Currently witnessing my seventh World Cup, again being hosted in Australia and New Zealand life has kind of come a full circle for me. I have seen cricket in colored clothing with white balls under floodlights for the first time. I have seen Jonty Rhodes fly to run out Inzamam and have seen the same Inzamam single handedly batting New Zealand out of the World Cup. I have seen the terrific South Africa, on their world Cup debut, being robbed of their place by the rain gods and some genius that formulated the then rain affected matches’ rules. I have seen a captain’s (Martin Crowe) masterstroke by opening the bowling with a spinner for the first time and using Greatbatch as a pinch hinter in the 1992 World Cup. If I close my eyes I can still see Wasim Akram’s hatrick and then Imran Khan, the cornered tiger, lifting the shinning crystal trophy.1983

I have seen two Sri Lankans (Jayasuriya and Kaluwitharana) opening the batting and destroying bowling attacks in the first fifteen overs. I have seen Amir Sohail intimidating Venkatesh Prasad after hitting a boundary and then losing his off stump the very next ball. I have seen the mighty West Indies being floored by the debutant Kenya after Richie Richardson failed to get them through. I have seen the Eden Gardens being decorated by plastic bottles and stones by the spectators to get the match abandoned and an in form Vinod Kambli in tears after the match was called off in the 1996 World Cup.

I have seen a cricketer1987 who was written off to play one-day cricket, score the most number of runs by a wicket keeper in any world cup by Rahul Dravid. I have seen Gibbs dropping Steven Waugh’s catch and then that lead to their ouster. I have seen Lance Klusener blasting attacks after attacks and then failing to score one run. I have seen a team (South Africa) draw a match and still being thrown out of the World Cup in 1999.

I have seen Sachin Tendulkar hit an upper cut to Shoaib Akhtar for a six and playing one of his best knocks though this was not one from his century of centuries. I have seen one of the greatest leg-spinner (Shane Warne) the world has ever seen, sent to home after being tested positive for banned substances. I have seen an associate member, a non-test playing nation (Kenya) reach the semi-finals of the biggest event in cricket in the 2003 World Cup.1992

I have seen two of the biggest cricketing nations, India and Pakistan, being knocked out in the first round of the World Cup with one of them resulting in a coach’s death which still remains a mystery. I have seen Dwayne Leverock of Bermuda shake the earth with his one handed diving catch. I have seen Ricky Ponting lift Australia’s fourth title in the 2007 World Cup.

I have seen Kevin O’brien score the fastest world cup hundred and chasing down a mammoth English total. I have seen Yuvraj Singh demolishing teams single handedly and win man of match award game after game. I have seen Australia not making the finals for the first time since 1992 world cup. I have seen the famous MSD six at Wankhede, which fulfilled Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar’s biggest dream to lift the 2011 world cup.

Over the ye1996ars I have seen many performances…many legends being made and destroyed. I know I am no cricketing expert but still one thing which really bothers me, is the standard of cricket that is regularly dropping. I know the numbers in the performances have been improving but that doesn’t mean that the standard of cricket that is being played is of the highest grade. Blame it on the newer and newer cricketing rules, which hugely stack against the bowlers or the pitches being prepared flatter and flatter or the grounds and boundaries becoming shorter and shorter or the cricket bats becoming bigger and bigger. Many will counter this, but to rest my case I won’t give example of Viv Richards the batsman or Wasim Akram the bowler but instead of Jonty Rhodes the fielder. I believe when Jonty burst on the international scene in the 1992 world cup he took fielding to an all different level which no one ever imagined but I’ll say, still after 23 years and six world cups later he is the greatest fielder the game ever saw. Many have come close but he is the one who still sets standards. If you observe the current world cup there has hardly been any match without a drop catch. Remember during 2011’s India Vs Pakistan match, Sachin was given three to four opportunities from Pakistan as if they were the ones who never wanted Sachin to get out.1999

Similarly, now if you watch other facets of cricket, the great players can be counted on fingers of a single hand whereas in earlier world cups every team had about three to four potential match winners who could single-handedly turn a match on its head. Even the same can be said about captaincy where a world cup leader was known by his decisions and performances. From Clive Lloyd’s leading from the front attitude to Kapil Dev’s inspiring a generation…From Imran Khan’s never say die attitude to Martin Crowe’s pulling a new rabbit-out-of-the-hat every other game…From Steven Waugh’s gritty attitude to Ricky Ponting’s aggressiveness…From Sourav Ganguly’s in your face attitude to Arjuna Ranatunga’s never back down strategy.

2003         Lets talk about bowling for a moment. Every world cup team had a great bowling line up in the past, and even if they didn’t have three to four frontline bowlers, they always had one or two world-class bowlers up their ranks. Remember when Zimbabwe defeated India in the 1999 World Cup they had Heath Streak and Henry Olonga in their side. But sadly that doesn’t reflect in the recent teams. After Wasim, Waqar and Akhtar retired no one seems to fill their shoes for Pakistan, Similarly for Australia and likewise for West Indies and every other team. For me the biggest downfall for West Indies was their inability to produce Fast bowlers of the caliber and class of teams that played till 1996. The last spinner who has an awesome record in all formats of the game is Daniel Vettori but sadly he will also finish this world cup and then we will be left with some part-timers who can just roll their arms over to complete the quota of overs. I guess by the next world cup we will have all the 11 players as batsmen and whosoever scores more wins.2007

I don’t think so I should discuss about all-rounders because I hardly see any genuine ones at this world cup, considering the fact that you can’t even consider Afridi as one these days. Its high time that we realize what impact T20s are having over the game.

I believe that for any sport to grow it needs heroes and super stars for the younger and coming generation to idolize them. Just look at the stars playing the 2015 world cup who are tipped to take cricket forward and become the next legends of the game, From Virat Kohli to AB De’villiers, from Hashim Amla to Kane Williamson, from Steve Smith to Shikhar Dhawan, all are batsmen with a lone Dale Steyn or Mitchel Starc here and there. If the game really wants to maintain the standard of the game it needs to produce stars in all departments. Otherwise you’ll have Virat Kohli breaking Viv Richards’ records and in a months’ time Hashim Amla doing the same to Virat, without being in2011 the same league in which you could keep Viv, Lara, Tendulkar, Dravid, Jayasuriya n the list goes on. They are legends because of the bowling they faced in that era. Viv Richards to have a strike rate of around 92 in that era is actually freaky. Just imagine what he would have done in this era when the many of the grounds don’t have 60-meter boundaries.

My humble request to ICC would be to make the game more competitive and this can only be done if there would be a balance between bat and bowl and then only there will be players who will go from good to great and great to legends otherwise it will be just like the present world cup, win the toss…elect to bat first and score more than 300 and make the match a big bore. Make it an even contest otherwise that day isn’t far away when the stars that rule the game will be very few and even fewer who appreciate the game, who follow the game and the ones like me who simply worship the game.

This blog is part of Blogger Dream Team

Manas ‘Sameer’ Mukul

0

IPL – Indian Parliamentary League

IPL – Indian Parliamentary League…

This year’s IPL is on…and is surely heating up. It is becoming more and more difficult which one to follow and which one to let go – Indian Premier League (Cricket) or Indian PARLIAMENTARY league and I felt that this would have been the most apt time for the Joker to come up with something after a long gap of eleven months.

A Year Back…

I shouted…Mummy…come here fast. We had just finished with today’s IPL (cricket) match she was about to go to bed…it was about 1 o’clock in the night. She came hurriedly and with an irritated look asked…what now…what happened!!! She got scared with the way I shouted ‘Mummy’. I said, “Nothing has happened to me…just calm down”…and at the same time pointing my finger towards the TV. A leading news channel was on…and the Breaking news was…three cricketers were caught in IPL spot fixing with one of them being an international star. I follow a lot of cricket and me being at home means that she also has to bear a lot of cricket on TV…but she enjoys it too…and hence follows it. She was more shocked than me to see the international cricketer’s name coming up in all this. She…astonished…looked at me. “I told u so…” with a smirk was my reaction. “But why…these guys have to do such things…as if they are not making any money…they are already earning loads…and still…” she complained.

Cursing them…she again went to her room to sleep…and shouted from there… “Now Mr. you go to sleep…no need to watch this fixed shit…it’s all rubbish…waste of time…waste of energy…and above all loss of faith in the game itself”. I switched off the light…and pretended that I have fallen asleep by not making noise…but sleep eluded me…and what happened got me thinking…serious thinking. While taking this stroll down the thinking lane…I don’t know when this thought crossed me that…what if the elections are rigged…what if they also decide that you rule this time…we will sit in the opposition…what if they fix here too…whether our vote ever gets counted or not. We will never know the truth till the day everything happens behind closed doors or on cctv footage… which again many believe is tampered or false. What we can really do and control is…whom to vote and whom to choose as our representative to lead us. But then again…

“If voting made any difference, they wouldn’t let us do it.” ~ Mark Twain

I guess when Twain wrote this he wouldn’t have known that one day it would be most relevant to the largest democracy of the world. What if the person you voted for never gets counted…even bigger question is who to vote to…the available options are all same just under the wraps of different ideology (as they say) but none practice them.
The 16th Lok Sabha…is turning out to be the most talked about Parliamentary League of the recent past with the social media at its peak…the touch points have increased and so is the reach…but are we really getting heard…or are we again getting lost and unheard in too much ‘Marketing and Advertising’ noise. I believe so…the campaigns…the advertisements…the issues were always there and more or less are still same…it’s just that the communications mediums and along with it the audience might have changed. But has the voter changed…has the demographics of those who vote have changed… the caste-ism and the logic for whom to vote irrespective of the nature and background of the candidates changed…My simple answer is NO.

This IPL (politics) for me is the one that is more focused on individuals than the parties and ideologies that they bring…leave alone the ground issues…around which the debates…discussions and elections should revolve. There are three main figures that are leading this marathon from the rest of the wannabes and unrealistic opportunists. One who has got all the popularity charts going…it seems as if everyone from a rickshaw puller to a software developer…from a mason to a CEO…is rooting for him to be the next PM – Mr. Narendra Modi…or as he is referred to as in social circuits…NaMo. The other one…who also has all the popularity charts going… but mostly for wrong reasons…I guess if anyone tracks the number of shares on social media of his blundering speeches, it would easily surpass anything that might be trending on twitter or facebook at this point of time – Mr. Rahul Gandhi…or…RaGa. The third one who you may say is a rookie in the field…but for me is a master at emotional marketing…he is like one who has just debuted for India…scored a triple century…and is immediately eyeing the Indian captaincy – Mr. Arvind Kejriwal…or…Kejru 😀 .

Then there are some…who are just there to fill up the spaces…but they sure know when to make their presence felt…specially…the Yadavs from UP & Bihar…some cine superstars turned politicians from our very own Tollywood, a self proclaimed messiah of the suppressed…again hailing from UP…the Behenji of millions, a Kumar…who literally transformed Bihar and how Governments functioned there…but with all the development and great work…he was bashed up just because he withdrew support from a One Man Army, a DiDi from West Bengal…who knows which button to press when and some old cranky…always cribbing gentlemen known as the LEFT. There are some more…but I don’t even consider them worthy enough mentioning here. Now you know why this should also be marketed as IPL – the Indian Parliamentary League.

Moving on…throwing a bit of light on the ideologies and the kind of governance that might come with these Super Heroes (remember these are just my views…so no need to get offended). Discussing NaMo…I’ll bring up the most common acquisition of Godhra pogrom in the last… let’s see what are the other issues people might have been missing regarding him and his style of governance which are getting shadowed by the so called development of Gujarat.

To begin with…if NaMo comes in power…BJP comes in power…and if BJP comes in power…NDA comes in power. Do remember the functioning of the previous NDA governments before you actually decide to vote for one individual…it will never be same. People voted for Vajpayee because he was the most respected and eligible of all the options available at that time. He was thought of being the most capable but ironically he turned out to be one of the weakest PMs ever. For those who are ready to vote this time and were in their early adolescence back then should ask their elders. Jayalalitha literally made a mockery out of a PM…he was there at her doorsteps every time she turned the knob and intensified the heat either to console her or to convince her not to withdraw the support. It was also under him and NDA’s rule that the tensions with our not so loved neighbor reached its supreme. He met Nawaz…then he met Musharraf…and what happened at Kargil is still fresh to our memories.

Secondly when NDA comes to power, extremists such as VHP and RSS too gets empowered. Many people hardly know that when NaMo began his political journey it was as a RSS activist only and people want to believe that he, whose whole thought process to begin with was based on those ideologies, would have changed (I doubt). Somehow these policing authorities get a feel that they have the authority to control what we do. From digging up cricket pitches to rampaging rave parties…they believe they have the right to do all. It all just happens because of the shrewd arrogance and the self-belief that nothing will happen to them if they go on doing such things. For me the simple solution is, if you are ready to ban SIMI…then you should be strong and bold enough to ban RSS, VHP etc. Either preach about ‘Hindutva’ with all courage or don’t preach about false secularism. From imposing restrictions on women…to increasing tensions with neighboring countries…to vandalizing stores and streets on Valentine’s day…they do it all…without fear.

Speaking of ‘Hindutva’, one key observation that I made during many of the NaMo speeches which were usually identical wherever he delivered was that many a times he ended up saying we are descendants of ‘Suryavnashis’ n ‘Chandravanshis’. I wonder if you start a sentence with such words…how can you signify secularism (still wondering). For the past twelve years after Godhra pogrom, he has been in power in Gujarat; people came out in good numbers to vote for him…but that population was Hindu majority. They always recognized him as their representative…as their leader and for me, this is the biggest proof that there is secularism only on the outside but deep inside the core still contains the same burning iron of ‘Hindutva’.

Moving on to the biggest topic that many people, who are his worshippers (blind), brag about him – the Gujarat development model. I have never seen so many people of other states come out and speak about a state’s development than the people of the state itself. Its simply because they blindly (again) follow what the marketing gimmicks and the paid media speaks. I have myself stayed in Gujarat for quite some time and let me tell you an astounding fact that you might not have heard from him or the worshippers…that power cuts do occur in Gujarat. I know this might be big news for some because they totally believed what was said in media and speeches…but the truth is ‘to know the truth of a land, you got to stay in that land’.

When you talk about growth and development…I believe it should be inclusive growth. Does the poor not have any right to be a part of the development…because there is strong proof in the land itself that when NaMo was busying developing the state for the past thirteen years…the poor irrespective of what God it worshipped…was displaced…was disturbed…and above all…was ignored. Only the big corporate and business houses (without naming any) that have their roots in Gujarat or are present in Gujarat grew larger and stronger. On the name of development – malls and apartments were erected, but no body has the slightest idea what happened to the poor who were simply tramped by those malls and apartments. It is like the China model…you only hear about the big five cities…about their development…about their progress…no one actually knows what is happening in the rest of the country. Similarly, one only hears about the Ahmedabads n Surats n Vadodaras without even getting a single feed on the Kuchchs n Bhujs. I wonder if that development model is so awesome…why are the other BJP ruling states not replicating the same model. They say that the state has the best development model in the country…I say the farmers are still committing suicide in that state.

One outstanding feature of Gujarat that you will hardly notice in other states is the occupation of people. Business community rules Gujarat irrespective of their religion. They simply follow – I’ll help his business grow…he’ll make money…which he’ll put in my business and help it grow. One unique thing I noticed there – on weekends the women hardly cook at home. The whole family goes out together to have the peculiar sweet ‘dals n kadhis’…thanks to it being a dry state ;).

They cry about Onion prices under UPA without remembering what happened under Vajpayee, when in 1997 it crossed 100 Rs per kg with a huge help from black marketers. They rue the fact about dynasty politics…when they themselves stack up Gandhis (Varun) amongst their ranks. They moralize about speaking Hindi and Sanskrit…when their (especially party president) kids are studying abroad. I hope they are not paying dollars or pounds to study Hindi and Sanskrit there.

They complain that congress ruled for 60 years… rubbishing the fact that, BJPs n NDAs have had their share of luck in the past and only because others were neither strong enough nor capable enough. They claim that RaGa is spending Rs 1200crs in election campaign without even realizing for a moment the Rs 5000crs they are speding on ‘Abki bar Modi Sarkar’…which in itself is more than the total cost of the entire elections process (Rs 3500crs)…forgetting that it’s all people’s money and… ‘Janta Maaf Nahi Karegi’.

This style of governance might end up making us a developed nation for 5 years but a weaker Democracy…and at what cost. People will say that UPA protected Vadra…but they should not forget that NaMo too protected Shah…or I should say both these people were protected with the twisting of administrative machinery…even sometimes against their will.

Finally the issue, which I believe has haunted NaMo the most – the Godhra pogrom (will try not to dig too much into it). No matter what the court says…no matter what anyone else says…but he somewhere deep down knows (or should know)…that people will not spare him of the massacre that took place. No matter how white his clothes be…the blood stains of the innocent will always come back to haunt him. I know many will come right back at me by saying that congress also did the same in 1984…but I guess they forget that no one who has been directly accused has ever contested for the most prized political position in the country. Pointing fingers at others won’t lessen one’s own gory acts. It was only us that brought congress back to power back then also…so it’s only us to blame to…I just simply hope that we are not repeating the same mistake again.

BJP always came to power like this always…but why they fail to sustain is because of their weak PMs and poor policies. NaMo has a strong personality for sure…but…don’t tell me that he wasn’t afraid. Otherwise he should have faced RaGa one on one in Amethi…and not taken a more safe and secure seat of Varanasi. Sushma Swaraj was brave enough to do it…when she took head on with Sonia Gandhi at Bellary. Even our Kejru is daring enough to do that…irrespective of the outcome.

Lets now move our focus a bit towards the title defenders of the IPL – United Progressive Alliance, which ideally should have been responsible for the progress of the country. It is quite surprising that such a weak government (UPA 2), which got thrashed daily for their decision making, actually survived their whole five years at the top. UPA literally had the chance of transforming India…and they did transform India…just that they misunderstood the meaning of transforming in the opposite sense. They gave scams a whole new definition with the staggering value of each one of them. One has to admire the sheer audacity with which they committed one after the other…fearing nothing. If corruption would have been traded in the share markets…I guess it would have peaked daily under UPA 2. NDA themselves rode high on corruption…its just that the media ten years back was not that active running behind TRPs… with only fewer mediums…and truer stories.

For a time even the CBI guys would have started believing as if they are a part of the cabinet and a separate ministry. Since its inception, CBI was a dummy…is a dummy. Every government that came to power used it or I should say misused it not for the sake of getting to the bottom of truth but simply for the sake of gaining political mileage over their opposition.

Their PM was the mutest PM ever…as if a TV never had a volume button…was still kept on mute…with the remote control in someone else’s hand. Manmohan was a weak PM in UPA – 1 and an even weaker in UPA – 2…so there is no difference there…he was never allowed to get into his own…but that doesn’t deny his credentials. The Gen Next who is busy gulping vodkas and smoking sheeshas …should know that he was the one who gave LPG to this country and economy…and I m not talking about cylinders. Still he should have been given the chance to speak ;).

On the other hand RaGa didn’t realise that he should check what all he speaks. It is not always just about polished vocabulary…one needs to be a good orator in todays media frenzy environment. If his speeches n interview were dumb…then the dolts who actually penned them down were even dumber…making even ‘dumb and dumber’ an intelligent watch. Ideally he should have taken a more mature role or a ministry…at least in UPA 2, something like, what Lallu Prasad did in UPA 1 and should have showed whether he can actually lead or not. But he, along with the 1.25 billion Indians, knows that he is destined to be the PM of this country…somewhere down the line. It’s just a matter of one assassination…as that is the normal cause of death in their family…and one out of Priyanka or He will be hoisting the flag at Red Fort.

The surprise package of this IPL…the Maxwell of 16th Loksabha…should be Kejru. He once again proved to the world that it’s all about packaging and Marketing irrespective of the product. Credit should be given to him for making a fool out of everyone who rooted for him and once again validating that anyone can, with a ‘Topi’ n ‘Jhaadu’, take Indians for a ride. The most ambitious of them all…who wanted to achieve the same, which took 30 years for others to achieve. Some of them like Mr. Temple Advani who spent their complete life with a motto (of being the PM one day)…might not live long enough to even see the end of 16th Lok Sabha…Kejru wanted to achieve the same in one go. From swearing on his kids to taking decisions by taking public opinions…he did it all. When he decided to take congress support to form the govt. in Delhi…on the basis of public opinion, I don’t think he has the right to resign without again taking the opinion.

The only reason he won was because people wanted a change. The voting was anti congress rather than pro BJP or pro AAP. Otherwise either the BJP or AAP would have won if the wave were to be believed. I don’t find the same wave in Tamil Nadu…nor in West Bengal…because it can never be about one individual.

Kejru tried to take a leap…the leap was good…he aimed for the moon…but somewhere during the flight he became overambitious n tried to reach the stars in the same leap…and that is where he faltered. I m sorry for him that instead of reaching the stars he is not reaching the moon…but will again end up from where he started. The only thing he did was he gave the generation, which reached the voting age just in this election…a lot of hashtags to use on social media ;).

How Parliament works !!!

How Parliament works !!!

Everyone’s focus is just how to win the elections…no one gives a thought…for the nation…for its development…for its people…for their empowerment. I hardly doubt whether anything will change even if the government changes. It is just the start of corruption. UPA laid the foundation…and the future governments will simply build on it…with the help of pure majority in the parliament.

A report suggests that half of world’s slaves are in India…so is anyone going to do anything about it? If we can feed and be the creators of super powers why can’t we ourselves do the same for our country? I guess slaves in India increase at the same rate, as our population is increasing or maybe even faster.

Our irony is we have been ruled n ruled n ruled and somehow we have forgotten how to rule ourselves…and till the time we don’t learn that…there will some or the other idiot ruling us and deciding what should be our course of life. It’s just that we don’t know how to rule…we are born to be slaves.

When we are born we don’t decide which religion to follow…whether to worship with folded or open hands…then why is it that some bunch of irrationals decides it on our parts…and our stupidity is that we let them do this on the name of religion.

We are hoping for someone to make happen the change for us rather than we being that change. Everyday the system causes so many people to be deprived of so many things that we should actually be thankful for whatever we have and that the blood still flows in our veins and we are not being taxed even for that. If actually and truly anyone wanted us to be developed…I don’t see any reason why we cant be…we would have been developed a long time back…but the truth is no one really cares.

If we really want to remove corruption then get hold of yourself…and become honest yourself…if you are not honest don’t expect it from someone…or someone to fight for your cause…because it was you who brought it in the first place.

I don’t say that the governments don’t work…the administration still does its work…I still believe and have faith that for every 90 people who are hell bound on doing wrong…there are still 10 guys to lay their lives for the betterment of everyone. It’s the politicians that make it dirty to fulfil their filthy motives…and the irony is we end up helping them.

This is an IPL because they are all the same…its just that some have different colour…some are good marketers…and some are from abroad. In the end the motive is that high priced seat by stooping down to any levels of bloodsucking…and we can just sit and be ready with our veins.

For all those who believe in politics,
For all those who hate politics,
For all those who want to be in politics,
For all those who want to have a better future,
And
For all those who want a better nation,

Its not a GoodBye…
But it’s a GOOD BYE…Aur han…be ready…one day he might just get up and make India a dry country.

Manas ‘Sameer’ Mukul

Note:-
I know many who will read this will question that this article is more anti Namo n anti NDA rather than being anti UPA or against any who claim they have a chance at the big seat at the centre…I’ll not give an explanation or justify myself…its simply that I guess they are the biggest force that is emerging to decide on the future of what is left of this nation.