Thursday, January 29, 2015

Is Modi = MMS + Execution?

Manmohan Singh was instrumental in formulating the Indo-American pact on nuclear cooperation. But he could not implement it. Now Modi is trying to activate the agreement.

MMS had wanted Jaishankar to be India's Foreign Secretary, but had to oblige Sonia Gandhi and appoint Sujatha Singh instead. And now, Modi has made him the Foreign Secretary.

What will be Modi's next move?

Friday, January 23, 2015

Standard plea by high-profile accused / suspects

There are similarities between Dayanidhi Maran and Shashi Tharoor. Both were 'dynamic' and 'progressive' ministers in Manmohan Singh's cabinet. Both are well connected and wallowing in wealth.

There are allegations or suspicions against this duo. Maran is alleged to have misused BSNL's connectivity for his brother's TV channel. He is also alleged to have twisted the arms of Sivasankaran in the Aircel case. If these allegations are true, Maran had misappropriated public wealth and the property of a businessman. At the height of one's power, it is not unusual for a person to become blind to the distinction between public money and one's own property.

Tharoor is alleged to have obtained sweat equity of Rs.70 crore from Kochi IPL in the name of Sunanda Pushkar who subsequently became his wife. It is also alleged that when Sunanda was about to make public Shashi Tharoor's alleged 'shenanigans', she was done away with. Mismanaged carnal desires make one oblivious to immorality of unacceptable unethical behaviour.

Both VIPs have alleged that their staff were tortured and unlawfully treated by the CBI with ulterior motives. One wonders if they are aware that public perception is against them. 

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Sunanda Pushkar

It would now appear that the mystery relating to Sunanda Pushkar's death will remain a mystery for ever. Arun Jaitley has condemned media's inquisitiveness which according to him amounts to trial by media which creates enormous pressure on trial courts.

But the case will never reach the trial court for the simple reason that the victim is dead and trial proceedings will endanger the 'reputation' of a powerful former minister who is now a self-appointed ambassador for Narendra Modi.

This colossal indifference to the dead will remain a permanent blot on Delhi police which cooperated with the government and chose to ignore several smoking guns.

May justice rest in peace!

Friday, January 16, 2015

A Muslim point of view

"Muslims Shouldn't Pray
to Defeat Non-Muslims"
By Tarek Fatah,
 Toronto Sun,  January 13, 2015
One of the reasons I avoid attending Friday congregations at mosques is a specific ritual supplication uttered by Imams at many mosques in Canada and around the world, just prior to our formal Friday community prayer, the Juma'a.
In the supplication, the cleric prays to Allah for, among other things, to grant "Muslims victory over the 'Qawm al-Kafiroon,'" the Arabic phrase that lumps all non-Muslims — Jews, Hindus, Christians, Atheists, Buddhists and Sikhs — into one derogatory category, the "Kuffar", or non-Muslims.
This supplication is not obligatory. Not uttering this prayer would in no way adversely affect the holiness or solemnness of the collective community prayer.
I have long argued with my orthodox and conservative Muslim friends and family that at least when living among non-Muslims, we should avoid praying for their defeat at the hands of Muslims.
They agree, but it comes down to the challenge: Who will bell the cat?
Last Friday, the world was still in shock over the Charlie Hebdo massacre when news came that another jihadi terrorist had killed French Jews inside a kosher grocery store in Paris.
Enough, I said. I decided to ask friends to take the challenge to a local mosque and stand silently with "I am Charlie Hebdo" placards.
I wanted to encourage Muslims entering the mosque to join those Muslims who renounce jihad, denounce Islamist terror and stand by the right of free expression, even of people who insult our Prophet.
Only a handful responded to my call. Most of my comrades from our life-long struggle against Islamism were terrified and bailed out at the last minute. Only the president of the Muslim Canadian Congress, writer Munir Pervaiz, and two Kurdish exiles, Keyvan Soltany and Hadi Elis, braved the snow to stand beside me.
Inside the mosque, I was hoping that in wake of the Charlie Hebdo massacre, the cleric would have the good sense not to speak about non-Muslims as adversaries or enemies, but my hopes were dashed.
Far from condemning the acts of terror, the cleric, speaking in English, thundered that Islam "will become established in the land, over all other religions, although the 'Disbelievers' (Jews, Christians, Hindus and Atheists) hate that."
I could not believe my ears. There was no indignation expressed at the taking of Jews as hostages by a French jihadi that morning.
The imam did ask us Muslims that in reacting to insults we should take the example of Prophet Muhammad himself and follow in his footsteps.
The problem with that suggestion is that while there were indeed times when Prophet Muhammad forgave those who mocked him, there were others when he ordered them killed.
At the end of his "khutba" (sermon), the cleric repeated the ritual praying to Allah to grant Muslims victory over non-Muslims. That prayer is: "O Allah, pour patience upon Muslims, strengthen their feet and give them victory over 'Qawm -el Kafiroon' (Non-Muslims).
"O Allah, give victory to our brothers the Muslims, the oppressed, the tyrannized and the 'Mujahedeen' (those who fight jihad against non-Muslims)".
Then we all stood up in orderly rows, turned towards Mecca and followed the imam as he led us in the ritual prayer that is obligatory for all Muslims.
As I left, I knew I would not be returning to that mosque again.​

Tarek Fatah is a founder of the Muslim Canadian Congress, a columnist at the Toronto Sun, host of a Sunday afternoon talk show on Toronto's NewsTalk1010 AM Radio, and a Robert J. and Abby B. Levine Fellow at the Middle East Forum. He is the author of two award-winning books: Chasing a Mirage: The Tragic Illusion of an Islamic State and The Jew is Not My Enemy: Unveiling the Myths that Fuel Muslim Anti-Semitism.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Thuglak's 45th annual meeting

The 45th annual meeting of Thuglak readers was held at the Music Academy, Chennai on 14th January, 2015. Since neither parliamentary election nor the Tamil Nadu Assembly election is scheduled in the near future and scams have become rarer, it was expected that there would be thinner audience this time compared to 2014. But, surprisingly, it was not so. The event was also simultaneously webcast on (Deferred webcast also is available)

Cho initiated the proceedings sharp at 6.30 pm. Suspenseful expectations that gripped the patient audience just before the commencement was reminiscent of the Corporation stadium or Chepauk stadium atmosphere just before the first ball was about to be bowled in a cricket test match. Coincidentally, times were when the test matches would be held in Madras / Chennai during the Pongal season. Just as the cricket matches gave more fun and enjoyment than the accompanying holidays, Cho meetings give more thrill than holidays themselves.

This year Pongal is on 15th January and therefore, 14th was a working day to many. Despite this, the enthusiastic crowd was as thick as ever.

Cho started off facetiously observing that people cared either for physical fitness or for mental alertness and never for both. This was perhaps the only statement of Cho which might not have received the unanimous approval of the listeners. He attributed his present ill-health to absence of physical exercise.

Cho responded to questions posed by some readers of Thuglak. The readers were eager to know his mind on issues like the political future in Tamil Nadu, Modi's leadership, terrorism and secularism. Tamil Nadu's future politics, according to Cho, depended on the final verdict in Jayalalithaa's disproportionate assets case. If she is acquitted, ADMK would continue to dominate. Else, it would depend on who allies with whom. In his concluding remarks, Cho picked many holes in the trial court's judgment. The judge's reliance on a Patna High Court judgment in Lalu Prasad case dealing with the significance and finality of assessment by the tax authorities was criticised because the judgment was subsequently overruled by the Supreme Court. Justice Cunha's estimation of expenses incurred by Jayalalithaa in the marriage of her then adopted son as somewhere between the prosecution's assertion and defence's statement has no basis in law and hence is contestable. However, Cho refused to hazard a guess on what the High Court, and possibly the Supreme Court, will rule in this case.
Regarding the Congress party, Cho mentioned that whatever little support it had in Tamil Nadu is now with G.K.Vasan who has restarted his political party, TMC. Cho complimented Vasan for his straightforwardness and long-term orientation.

He was all praise for Modi's development agenda. In his view, based on world media observations, Modi ranks among the first 3 or 4 leaders in the whole world. Modi's sincerity and self-confidence were applauded. Modi's strong response to terrorism and Pakistan's aggression is in sharp contrast to UPA's pusillanimity. Pakistan's renewed attempt to internationalise the Kashmir issue is a reaction to Modi government's boldness in countering invasion and terrorism.

Cho mocked at attempts to reduce secularism to vote-bank arithmetic. He was equally condemnatory of puerile attempts made by fringe elements to provoke backlash against religious minorities. Cho suspected that these elements are trying to sabotage Modi's developmental efforts from within. He opined that it was unfair to make Modi accountable for this mischief. (This view was strongly countered by Jawahirullah who was one of the guest speakers. The other two were H.Raja of BJP and D.Raja of CPI).

Prof. M. H. Jawahirullah Tamilஎம்.ஹெச். ஜவாஹிருல்லாஹ் (born 1959) is an Indian politician and incumbent member of the Tamil Nadu Legislative Assembly from the Ramanathapuram constituency. He represents the Manithaneya Makkal Katchi party.[1]He is also the founding member and present leader of Tamil Nadu Muslim Munnetra Kazagham.)

(H.Raja is a National Executive Member of BJP)

(D. Raja is a politician and the member of Rajya Sabha from Tamil Nadu. He is from the Communist Party of India(CPI) and he is the National Secretary of the Party since 1994)

Cho was amused by the tendency to fault Modi for all our ills and to attribute any positive development like reduction in inflation rate to extraneous factors.

Cho was predictably critical of Karunanidhi's opportunistic politics, co-habitation with NDA and UPA with equal ease to suit his 'family' constraints. He also appreciated the grand old man's sustained survival in politics despite many challenges, personal and political. He would not write off the DMK as a political force. Its future depends on the verdict in Jayalalithaa's assets case and probable alliances.

All three guest speakers spoke forcefully and with conviction. The first to speak, Jawahirullah found the gap between Modi's pre-election utterances and post-election action dismaying. He ridiculed the 'swachh Bharat' campaign as a marketing ploy. Cho's counter was that symbolic deeds are also necessary to change societal habits. This counter was later supported by H.Raja. Jawahirullah questioned central government's inaction in retrieving the fishing boats seized by Sri Lanka. The central government's move to 'take full credit' for release of Tamil fishermen by Sri Lanka attracted his ire. 

H.Raja spoke about 'convoluted secularism'. He gave some statistics from Kerala to drive home his contention that unequal treatment of different religious institutions would torpedo social equilibrium. Though H.Raja was certainly very eloquent, his job was made much easier since Cho had all praise for Modi and RSS. Cho gave examples of RSS' commitment to national interests.

D.Raja of CPI was expectedly critical of 'capitalistic methods' of the NDA government. He questioned the legitimacy of the NDA to govern since it received only 41% of votes and therefore 59% was against. This fallacious argument attracted a strong rebuttal from Cho who exclaimed that probably 95% are against the Communists. D.Raja referred to the consistent struggle of communist movements against all types of terrorism including the Khalistanis. (He was lucky that no one made an inconvenient reference to Maoists.) He pleaded for more government initiatives to help the poor. He quoted from Thomas Piketty's 'Capitalism in the 21st century' that there is now unprecedented economic inequality.

D.Raja strongly objected to de-prioritisation of MGNREGA by the government. This, he asserted, proved Modi government's 'anti-poor' policy. Cho combatted this argument saying that MGNREGA as it exists is only a cornucopia of corruption and that the government is rightly trying to reform it. D.Raja voiced his concern over the government's pro-FDI policy. In the same breath, he also criticised the government for not enabling the continuance of Nokia factory in Tamil Nadu. Cho responded that the Nokia issue was a creation of earlier UPA government and Modi cannot be blamed. Perhaps he missed an opportunity to point out the paradox of simultaneous anti-FDI and pro-Nokia arguments. Cho batted strongly for more FDI.

Finally, Cho signed off hoping to continue the traditional meeting next January. As usual, every one stood to attention when the national anthem was sung.

Friday, January 09, 2015

Murder, most foul and investigation, most tardy

What was as clear as sunlight to most Indians on 17th January, 2014 is now 'suspected' by the Delhi police. It has taken almost a year of police inaction to discover that Sunanda Pushkar was murdered. Subramanian Swamy was among the first to call it a 'gruesome murder' which it really was.

Despite tell-tale pieces of evidence and damning accounts of Tharoor's domestic help, the former minister continues to feign incredible innocence. It is obvious that police was prevented from doing its job in time by the then government at the centre.

A dead victim rarely gets justice. It continues to be unlikely that the murderers and their accomplices are brought to book. The MP's shameful complicity in the murder is an insult to the parliament and to voters in Thiruvananthapuram.

Today's editorial in The Hindu is an understated reference to Shashi Tharoor's guilt:

Sunday, January 04, 2015

The Hindu

There are many in Chennai who are 'addicted' to The Hindu and treat any developments in or to The Hindu as personally significant. Such readers are now unpleasantly intrigued by what is happening in the still developing story of Rahul Panditha's exit from the newspaper.

Rahul Panditha  was till recently the OP-ED editor of The Hindu. A renowned journalist, he was deemed a prize catch for the newspaper in March, 2014. Last week, he resigned and placed his resignation letter in the public domain. He was offended by the Editor Malini Parthasarathy's micro-management practices which he termed as illogical and stumbling blocks to journalists. His exit follows, though not in a connected way, those of Siddarth Varadarajan, P.Sainath and Praveen Swamy. (Readers are wondering when Suhasini Haidar will depart!)

The Hindu has not reported the details of Panditha's abrupt resignation. It is not expected to report either. But it has published a letter from CRPF IG questioning the veracity of various reports filed by Panditha. The newspaper has also regretted "any inaccuracies" in the reports. Panditha wonders in the social media why the newspaper did not consult him on inaccuracies if any.

In this situation, it was perplexing to hear N.Ram expound the concept of 'Freedom of the Press' at Srinivasa Sastry Hall, Mylapore on 3rd inst.

Thursday, January 01, 2015

Subramanian Swamy and IIT Delhi

We have every right (and perhaps every reason) to demonise Subramanian Swamy (SS). Exercise of this right does not obligate us to overlook some interesting facts and legal nuances.

1) SS became the Professor of Economics in IIT D on the unanimous recommendation of a 9-member selection committee headed by later-day prime minister Manmohan Singh. (Is this one of the reasons why SS has a soft corner for MMS? Is this also not one of the many blunders committed by MMS?)

2) 20th Feb, 1991 judgment of District Court, Delhi which continues to be in force says, "the appointment of SS was illegally, arbitrarily and with malafide motive terminated by IIT D. "(Quite a certificate). The sub-judge declared the termination order as null and void and asserted that SS was entitled to be treated as continued in service without interruption. (This is why SS claims that deduction of remuneration from elsewhere as required under Fundamental Rule 54 is not applicable. The Rule is applicable in cases of reinstatement; there is no question of reinstatement when the court has contemptuously dismissed termination. This looks more like logical conclusion and less like legal quibbling.)

3) As HRD Minister, Kapil Sibal wrote to SS on 25.02.10 that the government was acting under Rule 54.

4) SS has filed a petition in the Delhi High Court praying for a decree for recovery of salary from 12.12.72 to 21.05.91 (SS resigned on this day) which comes to Rs.19.50 lac, alongwith interest at 18% from 1991 till date. (Why is it that SS is not claiming interest for each and everymonth's salary from the respective month itself? This unclaimed interest amounts to about Rs.30 lac !)

5) IIT D applied for rejection of this petition on the ground that limitation had expired and the suit was not valued properly for court fees. (When you have a weak case, should you clutch at a straw?)

6) IIT D Alumni Association stands behind the Director and has protested against "his resignation for personal reasons". Did these alumni or the-then students protest when a Professor was sacked arbitrarily with malafide intentions?