Extreme Points Victory

We give up, this victory is symbolic in so many ways. BJP/NDA is now a truly national party/alliance with all the extreme points covered.

India extends 3200 km on the North-South axis and on the East-West axis. While in school we had to memorize the extreme-points trivia (lattitude, longitude,…). There was really never any use for this till now (and you heard it first here on BP).

BJP swept Gujarat (26 seats) and the Kachch (earlier Kutch) Lok Sabha seat which is the westernmost one.

BJP captured entire Himachal Pradesh (4 seats) in the far North and also emerged victorious in 3/6 seats in Kashmir, including the epic battle of Ladakh which was declared only at 11pm.BJP candidate Thupstan Chhewang won the Ladakh Lok Sabha seat in Jammu and Kashmir by a slender margin of 36 votes. He defeated Tsering Samphel of the Congress, and two independents – Syed Mohd Kazim and Ghulam Raza.  

BJP captured Kanniyakumari (Tamil Nadu) on the south-end of mainland and Andaman and Nicobar islands in the extreme South.

In the North-East, BJP partner NPF won the sole Nagaland seat, while another partner NPP won in Meghalaya. BJP won 7/14 seats in Axom and 1/2 seats in Arunachal Pradesh.



Pankaj Mishra fires back at neo-Hindus

Now truth be told we are quite unhappy, the people we supported lost badly at the polls.

However there is always this guilty pleasure just a mm below our grief, first the dynasty goes out of the window, next USA is caught with its diplomatic pants down and now, Pankaj Mishra comes in with his machine gun and starts blasting away all neo-Hindus to kingdom come (so, when did the word neo- become a gaali?). Too much pleasure, really.

But to give the master his due, this article is huge and long and really tedious….someone please read it in full in order to get the fullest pleasure. One of things to do (while watching the paint on your fingers dry) is to make out a list of likes and dislikes of St Pankaj.

Likes: Ambedkar, Arundhati Roy, Vikram Seth, Amartya Sen, Jean Dreze, DR Nagaraj, Anand Patwardhan, Rahul Roy, Rakesh Sharma, Sanjay Kak

Neutral (good/bad mixed): Nehru, Gandhi, Indira, Rajiv

Dislikes: Vivekananda, Ratan Tata, Mukesh Ambani, Jagdish Bhagwati, Gurcharan Das, Rajat Gupta, Ayn Rand, Arvind Panagariya, Chetan Bhagat, George Bush, Vlad Putin, Thaksin Shinawatra (why is that? TS is a true champion of the poor)

In A Suitable Boy, Vikram Seth writes with affection of a placid India’s
first general election in 1951, and the egalitarian spirit it
momentarily bestowed on an electorate deeply riven by class and caste:
“the great washed and unwashed public, sceptical and gullible”, but all
“endowed with universal adult suffrage”. India’s 16th general election this month,
held against a background of economic jolts and titanic corruption
scandals, and tainted by the nastiest campaign yet, announces a new
turbulent phase for the country – arguably, the most sinister since its
independence from British rule in 1947.

Back then, it would have been
inconceivable that a figure such as Narendra Modi, the Hindu nationalist chief minister of Gujarat accused, along with his closest aides, of complicity in crimes ranging from an anti-Muslim pogrom in his state in 2002 to extrajudicial killings, and barred from entering the US, may occupy India’s highest political office.

is a lifelong member of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), a
paramilitary Hindu nationalist organisation inspired by the fascist
movements of Europe, whose founder’s belief that Nazi Germany had
manifested “race pride at its highest” by purging the Jews is by no means unexceptional
among the votaries of Hindutva, or “Hinduness”. In 1948, a former
member of the RSS murdered Gandhi for being too soft on Muslims. The
outfit, traditionally dominated by upper-caste Hindus, has led many
vicious assaults on minorities. A notorious executioner of dozens of Muslims in Gujarat in 2002 crowed
that he had slashed open with his sword the womb of a heavily pregnant
woman and extracted her foetus. Modi himself described the relief camps
housing tens of thousands of displaced Muslims as “child-breeding

Boasting of his 56-inch chest, Modi has replaced Mahatma Gandhi, the icon of non-violence, with Vivekananda,
the 19th-century Hindu revivalist who was obsessed with making Indians a
“manly” nation. Vivekananda’s garlanded statue or portrait is as
ubiquitous in Modi’s public appearances as his dandyish pastel
But Modi is never less convincing than when he presents
himself as a humble tea-vendor, the son-of-the-soil challenger to the
Congress’s haughty dynasts. His record as chief minister is
predominantly distinguished by the transfer – through privatisation or
outright gifts – of national resources to the country’s biggest
corporations. His closest allies – India’s biggest businessmen – have
accordingly enlisted their mainstream media outlets into the cult of
Modi as decisive administrator; dissenting journalists have been removed or silenced.

Absurdly uneven and jobless economic growth has led to what Amartya Sen and Jean Dreze call “islands of California in a sea of sub-Saharan Africa”.
The failure to generate stable employment – 1m new jobs are required
every month – for an increasingly urban and atomised population, or to
allay the severe inequalities of opportunity as well as income, created,
well before the recent economic setbacks, a large simmering reservoir
of rage and frustration.

extensive moral squalor may bewilder those who expected India to
conform, however gradually and imperfectly, to a western ideal of
liberal democracy and capitalism. But those scandalised by the lure of
an indigenised fascism in the country billed as the “world’s largest
democracy” should know: this was not the work of a day, or of a few
“extremists”. It has been in the making for years. “Democracy in India,” BR Ambedkar,
the main framer of India’s constitution, warned in the 1950s, “is only a
top dressing on an Indian soil, which is essentially undemocratic.”
bedkar saw democracy in India as a promise of justice and dignity to
the country’s despised and impoverished millions, which could only be
realised through intense political struggle. For more than two decades
that possibility has faced a pincer movement: a form of global
capitalism that can only enrich a small minority and a xenophobic
nationalism that handily identifies fresh scapegoats for large-scale
socio-economic failure and frustration.

In many ways, Modi and his
rabble – tycoons, neo-Hindu techies, and outright fanatics – are
perfect mascots for the changes that have transformed India since the
early 1990s: the liberalisation of the country’s economy, and the
destruction by Modi’s compatriots of the 16th-century Babri mosque in
Long before the killings in Gujarat, Indian security forces
enjoyed what amounted to a licence to kill, torture and rape in the
border regions of Kashmir and the north-east; a similar infrastructure
of repression was installed in central India after forest-dwelling
tribal peoples revolted against the nexus of mining corporations and the
state. The government’s plan to spy
on internet and phone connections makes the NSA’s surveillance look
highly responsible. Muslims have been imprisoned for years without trial
on the flimsiest suspicion of “terrorism”; one of them, a Kashmiri, who
had only circumstantial evidence against him, was rushed to the gallows
last year, denied even the customary last meeting with his kin, in
order to satisfy, as the supreme court put it, “the collective conscience of the people”.

India’s first prime
minister, Jawaharlal Nehru, appears in the novel as an effective one-man
buffer against Hindu chauvinism. “The thought of India as a Hindu
state, with its minorities treated as second-class citizens, sickened
him.” In Nehru’s own vision, grand projects such as big dams and
factories would bring India’s superstitious masses out of their
benighted rural habitats and propel them into first-world affluence and

The Harrow- and Cambridge-educated Indian leader had
inherited from British colonials at least part of their civilising
mission, turning it into a national project to catch up with the
industrialised west. “I was eager and anxious,” Nehru wrote of India,
“to change her outlook and appearance and give her the garb of
modernity.” Even the “uninteresting” peasant, whose “limited outlook”
induced in him a “feeling of overwhelming pity and a sense of
ever-impending tragedy” was to be present at what he called India’s
“tryst with destiny”.

But then the Nehruvian assumption that economic growth
plotted and supervised by a wise technocracy would also bring about
social change was also profoundly undemocratic and self-serving. Seth’s
novel, along with much anglophone literature, seems, in retrospect, to
have uncritically reproduced the establishment ideology of
English-speaking and overwhelmingly upper-caste Hindus who gained most
from state-planned economic growth:
the Indian middle class employed in
the public sector, civil servants, scientists and monopolist
industrialists. This ruling class’s rhetoric of socialism disguised its
nearly complete monopoly of power.

As DR Nagaraj, one of postcolonial
India’s finest minds, pointed out, “the institutions of capitalism,
science and technology were taken over by the upper castes”. Even today,
businessmen, bureaucrats, scientists, writers in English, academics,
thinktankers, newspaper editors, columnists and TV anchors are
disproportionately drawn from among the Hindu upper-castes.
And, as Sen
has often lamented, their “breathtakingly conservative” outlook is to be
blamed for the meagre investment in health and education – essential
requirements for an equitable society as well as sustained economic
growth – that put India behind even disaster-prone China in human
development indexes, and now makes it trail Bangladesh.

Dynastic politics
froze the Congress party into a network of patronage, delaying the
empowerment of the underprivileged Indians who routinely gave it
landslide victories. Nehru may have thought of political power as a
function of moral responsibility. But his insecure daughter, Indira
Gandhi, consumed by Nixon-calibre paranoia, turned politics into a game
of self-aggrandisement, arresting opposition leaders and suspending
fundamental rights in 1975 during a nationwide “state of emergency”. She
supported Sikh fundamentalists in Punjab (who eventually turned against
her) and rigged elections in Muslim-majority Kashmir.
In the 1980s, the
Congress party, facing a fragmenting voter base, cynically resorted to
stoking Hindu nationalism.
After Indira Gandhi’s assassination by her
bodyguards in 1984, Congress politicians led lynch mobs against Sikhs,
killing more than 3,000 civilians. Three months later, her son Rajiv
Gandhi won elections with a landslide. Then, in another eerie
prefiguring of Modi’s methods, Gandhi, a former pilot obsessed with
computers, tried to combine technocratic rule with soft Hindutva.

Bharatiya Janata party (BJP), a political offshoot of the RSS that
Nehru had successfully banished into the political wilderness, turned
out to be much better at this kind of thing. In 1990, its leader LK
Advani rode a “chariot” (actually a rigged-up Toyota flatbed truck)
across India in a Hindu supremacist campaign against the mosque in
Ayodhya. The wildfire of anti-Muslim violence across the country reaped
immediate electoral dividends. (In old photos, Modi appears atop the
chariot as Advani’s hawk-eyed understudy). Another BJP chieftain
ventured to hoist the Indian tricolour in insurgent Kashmir. (Again, the
bearded man photographed helping his doddery senior taunt curfew-bound
Kashmiris turns out to be the young Modi.) Following a few more
massacres, the BJP was in power in 1998, conducting nuclear tests and
fast-tracking the programme of economic liberalisation started by the
Congress after a severe financial crisis in 1991.

The Hindu
nationalists had a ready consumer base for their blend of chauvinism and
marketisation. With India’s politics and economy reaching an impasse,
which forced many of their relatives to emigrate to the US, and the
Congress facing decline, many powerful Indians were seeking fresh
political representatives and a new self-legitimising ideology in the
late 1980s and 90s. This quest was fulfilled by, first, both the
post-cold war dogma of free markets and then an openly rightwing
political party that was prepared to go further than the Congress in
developing close relations with the US (and Israel, which, once shunned,
is now India’s second-biggest arms supplier after Russia). You can only
marvel today at the swiftness with which the old illusions of an
over-regulated economy were replaced by the fantasies of an unregulated

A transnational elite of rightwing Indians based in the US helped circulate an impression of an irresistibly “emerging giant” – the title of a book by Arvind Panagariya,
a New-York-based economist and another aspiring adviser to Modi. Very
quickly, the delusional notion that India was, as Foreign Affairs
proclaimed on its cover in 2006, a “roaring capitalist success-story”

assumed an extraordinary persuasive power. In India itself, a handful of
corporate acquisitions – such as Tata’s of Jaguar and Corus – stoked
exorbitant fantasies of an imminent “Global Indian Takeover” (the title
of a regular feature once in India’s leading business daily, the
Economic Times). 

A wave of political disaffection
has also deposited democratic social movements and dedicated
individuals across the country. Groups both within and outside the
government, such as those that successfully lobbied for the
groundbreaking Right to Information Act, are outlining the possibilities
of what John Keane calls “monitory democracy”. India’s many activist
networks – for the rights of women, Dalits, peasants and indigenous
communities – or issue-based campaigns, such as those against big dams
and nuclear power plants, steer clear of timeworn ideas of national
security, economic development, technocratic management, whether
articulated by the Nehruvians or the neo-Hindus.
In a major environment
referendum last year, residents of small tribal hamlets in a remote part
of eastern India voted to reject bauxite mining in their habitats.
Growing demands across India for autonomy and bottom-up governance
confirm that Modi is merely offering old – and soured – lassi in new
bottles with his version of top-down modernisation.

Modi, however,
has opportunely timed his attempt to occupy the commanding heights of
the Indian state vacated by the Congress.
The structural problems of
India’s globalised economy have dramatically slowed its growth since
2011, terminating the euphoria over the Global Indian Takeover.
Corruption scandals involving the sale of billions of dollars’ worth of
national resources such as mines, forests, land, water and telecom
spectrums have revealed that crony capitalism and rent-seeking were the
real engines of India’s economy.

His ostensibly
gratuitous assault on Muslims – already India’s most depressed and
demoralised minority – was another example of what the social
anthropologist Arjun Appadurai calls
“a vast worldwide Malthusian correction, which works through the idioms
of minoritisation and ethnicisation but is functionally geared to
preparing the world for the winners of globalisation, minus the
inconvenient noise of its losers”.
Certainly, the new horizons of desire
and fear opened up by global capitalism do not favour democracy or
human rights. Other strongmen who supervised the bloody purges of
economically enervated and unproductive people were also ruthless
majoritarians, consecrated by big election victories. The
crony-capitalist regimes of Thaksin Shinawatra in Thailand and Vladimir
Putin in Russia
were inaugurated by ferocious offensives against ethnic
minorities. The electorally bountiful pogrom in Gujarat in 2002, too,
now seems an early initiation ritual for Modi’s India.

difficulty of assessing his personal culpability in the killings and
rapes of 2002 is the same difficulty that Musil identifies with
Moosbrugger in his novel: how to measure the crimes, however immense, of
individuals against a universal breakdown of values and the
normalisation of violence and injustice. “If mankind could dream
collectively,” Musil writes, “it would dream Moosbrugger.” 

There is
little cause yet for such despair in India, where the aggrieved fantasy
of authoritarianism will have to reckon with the gathering energies
below; the great potential of the country’s underprivileged and
voiceless peoples still lies untapped. But for now some Indians have
dreamed collectively, and they have dreamed a man accused of mass

Link: http://www.theguardian.com/books/2014/may/16/what-next-india-pankaj-mishra



Ready for a change in the national anthem?

Narendra Modi concluded his victory speech in Vadodara by singing the national song of India. Is this a sign of the future? Perhaps with its large majority the BJP will want to force a vote on the national song/anthem? This will be a sure-fire way to permanently solidify the Hindu-Hindutva vote that has given Modi 71 out of 80 seats in Uttar Pradesh (holy smoke, really)!!!!

The national anthem was composed by a Bengali super-caste. There have always been unkind rumors that “Jana Gana Mana” was actually composed in honor of the British Emperor (poor Rabindranath Thakur sahib was forced to issue an angry denial but no matter).

The national song was also composed by a Bengali super-caste. “Vande Mataram” is set in a (past) scenario where the muslim invaders are devastating Bengal and the sanyasis (fakirs) rise in rebellion. In reality this was a rebellion against the British as much as the Nawab, which was brutally put down, but in those days Bankim Chandra Chattopadhyay did not have the freedom to criticize the British (he was a magistrate no less).

What is undeniable is that thousands (and we mean that literally) died in the freedom movement singing Vande Mataram. And muslims have been steadfastly opposed to singing a song that salutes Motherland (as opposed to Allah) and the historical context is also cited in support of this reluctance.

When there was time to choose the national anthem, Nehru, who despised the concept of a Hindu-Hindutva India, naturally favored the “secular” Jana Gana Mana (because it had a better tune!!!). What he did not foresee was that Jana Gana Mana is also in its own way is a prayer to almighty. And predictably enough there are religious groups who refuse to sing it. So what was the controversy all about?

Prof Amardeep Singh (of the late lamented Sepia Mutiny fame) had this to say about the controversy back in 2004. On one point he is not quite accurate, the edited Vande Mataram and Jana Gana Mana are officially Hindi songs and even word content wise they are 100% and 99% Sanskrit respectively, so the Bengali origin is truly masked. Amardeep prefers Sare Jahan se Achha as the national anthem, which was composed by the man who was the soul force behind creation of Pakistan- Iqbal. Now THAT would be a truly interesting debate to have.

The counter argument is presented by Vivek Gumaste who comments unfavorably on the action of BSP MP Shafiqur Rahman Burq walking out of the Lok Sabha while Vande Mataram was being played because “Vande Mataram is an ode to motherland. Muslims like me bend only before Allah, not before any other god.” 

The Hindu right has been casting aspersions on it recently (Datta cites Sadhvi Rithambara’s
“hate cassette” as well as websites like www.freeindia.org). The
reason: it was composed by Tagore on the occasion of King George V’s
visit to the Indian National Congress in 1911. Tagore was famously
ambivalent about the commission, and wrote the song as he did as an act
— he thought — of subversion. But I suppose it’s also possible to say
that the song, written to celebrate the visit of the English king, loses
some autonomy through that history.

Whatever the case, eventually the song would become
strongly identified with the nationalist movement. It was even
eventually adapted by Subhas Chandra Bose and the Indian National Army.
You can’t get more nationalist than that.

The critics of “Jana Gana Mana” would prefer to see it replaced by
“Bande Mataram,” also sometimes spelled “Vande Mataram”) composed by
Bankimchandra Chattopadhyay, also sometimes spelled as Bankim Chandra
Chatterjee. “Bande Mataram” (see the song here,
with translation by the poet Sri Aurobindo) treats India as a Goddess
to be worshipped. It was demoted from official anthem status, Datta
says, because orthodox Indian Muslims (probably also Sikhs, Jains,
Parsis, and Christians) would have had a hard time worshipping a
“Goddess” of any form, even if, in the song, the “Mataram” isn’t named
as specifically Hindu.

[And if that’s sexism, well, it probably is. But keep in mind that
woman-as-Goddess isn’t always a pro-feminist image — it depends what
kind of Goddess. But I digress.]

Finally, Datta makes a great point about the differences in the image of India in the two anthems:

But there is also an underlying reason that is really
responsible for the controversy popping up at regular intervals. The
words of Bande Mataram feature India as a homogeneous Hindu nation. Jana
Gana Mana evokes the country as composed of a multiplicity of regions
and communities united in a prayer to a universal lord.
After all, Bande
Mataram was composed by a colonial administrator who could only
visualize the nation in Hindu terms: religious identity was the only
available idiom for conceptualizing the nation then. In contrast, Tagore
had seen the riots that broke up the Swadeshi movement and had divined
the obvious: religious nationalism easily divided anti-colonial
struggles. Jana Gana Mana can be seen as one of the fruits of Tagore’s
search to find an alternate inclusivist definition for the nation.
Incidentally, it was one of the harbingers of a decade that was to see
Hindu and Muslim politicians draw together. In short, the two songs
embody different ideas, histories and aspirations of the country.

Personally, I prefer Mohammed Iqbal’s “Sare Jaha se Achcha.” I find
it easiest to understand (after all, the other two are Bengali songs
originally), and easier to sing than either of the others.


Why do some Muslims find Vande Mataram objectionable? The
answer lies in its supposed anti-Muslim fervour.
Certain clarifications,
however, are in order before one confers validity to this conclusion.
The song itself does not contain a single syllable that is derogatory to
Muslims or Islam. 

To be precise, the words Islam and Muslim do not
figure in the text at all.

Vande Mataram’s culpability stems not from its intrinsic
demerits but is a notoriety extrapolated by its inclusion (the first two
verses were penned years earlier) in Bankim Chandra Chatterji’s
revolutionary novel Anandamath.  

Even this charge of guilt by
association is a nebulous one as a careful reading of the novel
indicates. Set in famine ravaged Bengal of 1770’s, the novel outlines
the horrific atrocities perpetrated by the Muslim Nawab and the peasant
rebellion that it sparks. The anti-Muslim sentiment voiced in the
narration is an artistic depiction of robust native resistance to cruel
alien subjugation and cannot be interpreted in literal terms as a
Muslim-specific castigation.
Firming this belief is the subsequent
avatar of Vande Mataram as a rousing popular battle cry of the Indian freedom movement against British oppression.

Maulana Azad, the noted freedom fighter and Muslim scholar found nothing repulsive in singing the Vande Mataram.
Both Mahatma Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru who can hardly be accused of
nurturing Muslim phobia were perplexed by this illogical opposition to
the Vande Mataram, which was without a doubt India’s first choice for the national anthem.

In an article in Harijan dated July 1, 1939, Gandhi wrote:
“…No matter what its source was and how and when it was composed, it had
become a most powerful battle cry among Hindus and Musalmans of Bengal
during the partition days. It was an anti-imperialist cry.
As a lad,
when I knew nothing of Anandamath or even Bankim, its immortal author, Vande Mataram
had gripped me, and when I first heard it sung it had enthralled me. I
associated the purest national spirit with it. It never occurred to me
that it was a Hindu song or meant only for Hindus… It stirs to its depth
the patriotism of millions in and outside Bengal. Its chosen stanzas
are Bengal’s gift among many others to the whole nation.”

Nehru dittoed Gandhi’s feelings with this statement made to the
legislative committee of the Constituent Assembly on August 25, 1948:
”It is unfortunate that some kind of argument has arisen as between Vande Mataram and Jana Gana Mana.
Vande Mataram
is obviously and indisputably the premier national song of India, with a
great historical tradition, and intimately connected with our struggle
for freedom. That position it is bound to retain and no other song can
displace it. It represents the position and poignancy of that struggle,
but perhaps not so much the culmination of it. In regard to the national
anthem tune, it was felt that the tune was more important than the
words… It seemed therefore that while Vande Mataram should continue to be the national song par excellence in India, the national anthem tune should be that of Jana Gana Mana, the wording of Jana Gana Mana to be suitably altered to fit in with the existing circumstances.”

This recantation of history also serves to emphasise the
accommodative approach of the Indian government. Despite finding no
merit in the Muslim objection, and in an action that overruled majority
opinion, the government thought it appropriate to reject Vande Mataram’s rightful claim to being the national anthem. Vande Mataram was accorded secondary status as a national song, that too in an edited form to accommodate Muslim sentiments.

Current protests not only ignore this magnanimity but also suffer from a gross factual deficiency.

With regard to paying obeisance to the motherland, Shafiqur Rahman Burq notes: “Vande Mataram is an ode to motherland. Muslims like me bend only before Allah, not before any other god.” 

But again this is a subjective interpretation that not all Muslims
agree upon. In November 2009 when Muslim clerics from Deoband issued a
fatwa against the singing of Vande Mataram,
Gujarat’s first Muslim Director General of Police, S S Khandwawala  countered their stance with this riposte (Indian Express, November 15, 2009):

“I give a salaam to my mother every day before I leave home and also to my motherland…When we offer namaaz,
we bow down and kiss the ground, which itself is a salute to the
motherland. Religion never prevents a man from respecting his
motherland….If Hindus consider land as mata (mother), then
giving respect to the land is the duty of a true Muslims… not hurting
the sentiments of others and respecting all religions equally is also a
Muslim’s duty…”

Link (1): http://www.lehigh.edu/~amsp/2004/09/national-anthem-throwdown-jana-gana.html
Link (2): http://www.rediff.com/news/column/why-objections-to-the-vande-mataram-are-not-valid/20130514.htm



Little Satan sends love (not Great Satan)

Ho ho ho, it is 7pm Indian Standard Time and Washington is still silent (and angry).

OTOH, Netanyahu did call and pay his respects. David Cameron has mailed a personal invite to visit Britain, so has Tony Abbott in Australia. But the USA is still struggling for a response. This is speculative fun for layman like us, sure, but probably tense times for people who want US-India ties to prosper (between govt, not between people which will be strong always).
Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif telephoned Modi and congratulated him on his resounding victory in the elections. He informed Modi that he had followed the General Election closely, and invited him to visit Pakistan in future. On his part, Modi told Sharif that during the campaign, he had emphasized the need for India and Pakistan to fight poverty.

Sri Lanka President Mahinda Rajapaksa congratulated Modi on achieving
a great victory. He expressed hope that India and Sri Lanka will work
closely and further strengthen their strong ties.

The Prime Minister of Israel, Mr. Benjamin Netanyahu, also called
Mr.Narendra Modi to congratulate him on his victory in the General
Election. He said that he is looking forward to working with Mr.Modi and enhancing bilateral cooperation between Israel and India.

Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbot expressed the hope that
Australia and India will work closely to further strengthen the
bilateral relationship during Modi’s stewardship of the Indian
He said that he was looking forward to meeting Mr.Modi during the upcoming G-20 summit to be held in Australia.

British Prime MInister David Cameron congratulated Mr.Modi on his
emphatic electoral victory. He extended an invitation to Modi to visit
UK on his way to the BRICS summit to be held in August, 2014 in Brazil. He said that he was looking forward to meeting Mr.Modi at an early date. (ANI)




Indian election map (thanks google)

This is what a (tidal) wave looks like (map generated at 4pm IST). BJP wins a seat in Tamil Nadu (another seat won by partner PMK) while the DMK is rubbed out. BJP wins two seats in West Bengal, CPI(M) does the same. BJP wins Udhampur against “son of the soil” Ghulam Nabi Azad of the Congress.

Just five years ago in 2009, DMK had won 18 seats, while the CPI(M) and the Left bagged 15 seats in Bengal. How the mighty have fallen indeed.

In other news since Congress total count is not expected to touch 54 (10% of total Lok Sabha seats), there will be no Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha. In 1984, when Indira Gandhi’s murder resulted in 415 seats for the Congress the boot was on the other foot (BJP got just 2 seats).



Thatcher or Hitler?

America is seriously angry and bitter about Indian elections. David Cameron and Mahinda Rajapaksa are the only leaders who have so far welcomed the BJP victory. There is still no tweet from Washington.

Americans were hoping (just like us) that BJP/NDA will fall short of
absolute majority and that the secular front can pull together a wobbly
coalition. The margin of victory has probably left them stunned.

Also things are expected to get worse if/when Hilary Clinton is installed in the palace by the Potomac in 2016? She was the inspiration behind a “get Modi” campaign which did not pan out (see below) and now she will have an angry and bitter partner in Asia to thank for.

One thing is for sure: Modi will never get his US visa. We presume that the moment such a visa is issued there will be a thousand cases brought on behalf of Gujarat victims and for the visa being issued in violation of US law. 

So how do we expect Modi’s relations to develop (or not) with the USA? A few commentators have taken a close look and make some very interesting points. Kevin Lees brings up the Western perspective when he talks about Thatcher and Hitler. David Danelo is more respectful towards Indian/Hindu civilization and talks about the avatars of Shiva: benefactor or destroyer.
to maintain silence on granting a visa to BJP leader Narendra Modi, US
has said the heads of state and government are eligible for A1 visas and
no individual automatically qualifies for an American visa.

“Heads of state and heads of government are eligible for A1 visa
classification under the INA (Immigration and Nationality Act). No
individual automatically qualifies for a US visa,” state department
spokeswoman Jen Psaki told reporters.

“US law exempts foreign
government officials, including heads of state and heads of government
from certain potential inadmissibility grounds,” Psaki said when asked
about the possibility of issuing visa to Modi, whose party-led NDA is
projected by exit polls to form the next government in India.

While the Obama Administration continues its heralded pivot toward
Asia, it’s finding that Asia itself is pivoting in new and unpredictable

But from the U.S. perspective, Modi’s rise could be the most
challenging of all. Even though the bilateral relationship is now at its
lowest point since Obama took office, its current state could feel warm
and fuzzy compared to what lies ahead.
Among the priorities of the
Obama administration in its final two-and-a-half years, the challenge of
restoring strong ties with India should lie at the top of the Asia
agenda. No amount of pivoting will matter much if U.S. ties to the
world’s largest democracy—and, despite its current stumbles, one of the
world’s largest emerging economies—lie in tatters in January 2017.

The most beguiling aspect of Modi’s likely victory is that no one
knows exactly how Modi will approach U.S. relations. U.S. diplomacy is
at least partially to blame for that.

But the main concern isn’t that Modi might be denied entry to the
United States as the duly elected prime minister of a country of 1.27
billion people, or even that Modi might hold a grudge against the United
States and its European allies for shunning him throughout the 2000s.
Rather, it’s that Modi will favor relations with other nations rather
than focus on India’s relationship with the United States.

While Western
governments largely turned their backs to him, Modi spent the next
thirteen years inviting Chinese, Japanese, and Middle Eastern investors
and officials to his state, developing relationships that would
influence his foreign policy as India’s next prime minister.
Powell, the outgoing U.S. ambassador to India, got around to meeting
Modi for the first time only in February, and BJP officials grumble that
she has much warmer ties with the leaders of the ruling Indian National
Congress. Accordingly, the greatest peril isn’t necessarily that
U.S.-Indian relations will become hostile so much as that Modi will
simply ignore the United States and look to Japan, China and the Middle

Moreover, a BJP-led government would hold an incredibly different
cultural orientation than the outgoing Congress-led government. In an insightful piece for The Financial Times
last month, Indian-British economist Deepak Lal wondered whether Modi
would be a ‘Thatcher’ or a ‘Hitler’; he argued that, unlike the
Nehru-Gandhi family and other English-speaking, Western-educated,
secular elites within Congress, Modi believes in ‘modernization without
Westernization’. Lal ultimately concluded that Modi would be a
‘Thatcher,’ not a ‘Hitler’.

Many influential Americans have held the role in the past, including
industrial economist John Kenneth Galbraith in the 1960s, public
intellectual and eventual New York senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan in
the 1970s, and former Ohio governor Richard Celeste in the 1990s.
Powell’s successor should be someone of equally prominent caliber—it
wouldn’t hurt if the Obama administration appointed a high-profile
Indian-American businessman or even a prominent conservative whose views
might align more closely with Modi’s.


12 was Election Day in Varanasi, India, the holy, mystical city on the
Ganges River where pilgrims come for bathing and blessing—awaiting the
monsoon that will mercifully end May’s dry, dusty heat. Lord Shiva
claimed Varanasi as his home in Hindu tradition, and Gautama Buddha
preached his first sermon after enlightenment just north of the city.
Also called Banaras and Kashi, Varanasi has been continuously inhabited
for 4,000 years.
“Banaras is older than history, older than tradition,
older even than legend,” said Mark Twain, also noting the city, which he
visited in 1896, looked twice as old as all of them put together.

Varanasi’s appearance may have not changed
much since Twain’s visit, but the city’s political significance has—at
least for the 16th Lok Sabha, India’s five-year parliamentary
elections. For six weeks, and over nine Election Days, Indian news
media outlets have broadcast live from one polling station after
another. Narendra Modi, the Hindu nationalist and Gujarati economic
miracle worker from the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), must win a seat as
a member of parliament to be appointed India’s Prime Minister. Although
he is running in Vadodara from his home state of Gujarat, Modi is also
contesting Varanasi as a demonstration of his patriotism and religious
devotion. “Ma Ganga has called me,” said Modi, referring to the sacred
river where pilgrims bathe and reverently offer the dead, cremated

There is no comparable American analogy to
this fusion of religion, history, and politics. Imagine a U.S.
presidential candidate centering their campaign fortunes in a city that
was America’s version of Jamestown, Virginia; Vatican City; and Sumeria
Although other candidates oppose Modi in Varanasi—notably
Arvind Kejriwal, whose upstart Aam Adami Party’s anti-corruption message
resonates with many in India—exit polls indicate the BJP will lead
India’s next government and, on May 16, send Modi to New Delhi as Prime

What will a Modi victory mean for relations
between the world’s two largest democracies? Modi has an antagonistic
streak, and past calls have arisen from The Economist to Salman
Rushdie for his censure. In 2005, the United States denied Modi a
diplomatic visa for perceived (though unproven) involvement in Gujarat’s
2002 anti-Muslim riots when he was the state’s chief minister. Former
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton embarked on a “get Modi” policy while
in office, funding European NGOs on a quest to find mass graves—which
never turned up. Although President Obama appears to have quietly
reversed the isolation, Modi cannot easily forget being singled out as a
Clinton enemy. With Modi as India’s leader, a future Hillary Clinton
presidency would present a worst-case scenario for U.S.-India relations.

To his current and future human rights
critics, Modi can point to the increased Muslim vote for BJP in 2014, up
6% from 2009 according to exit polls. Additionally, in April 2014,
senior Pakistani diplomats expressed preference for Modi for Prime
Minister, saying he “could provide the strong leadership necessary for
peace talks.” Although no one suggests Modi sees all religions the
same—in a Reuters article last year, Modi was quoted comparing a
Gujarati Muslim killed in 2002 to a puppy being struck by a car—the
votes speak for themselves.  
To Muslims in both India and Pakistan, Modi
may represent the devil they know; a leader whose economic success and
reputation for leadership provides stability and confidence. More
importantly, given Modi’s Indian nationalism, these voting patterns
suggest India’s Muslims who supported the BJP see themselves as Indians
first and Muslims second.

The powerful Indian nationalist sentiment
Modi has tapped into draws upon allegiances and ties some Americans
might find troubling. At a May 8 BJP rally in Varanasi, Modi honored a
115 year old Indian colonel who served under Subhash Chandra Bose in the
Indian National Army (INA). Known to most Indians as Netaji, Bose was
recognized by the Axis Powers during World War II as India’s rightful
whose support he sought against the British to help India
achieve independence. INA soldiers fought alongside the Japanese against
the British in the Burma campaign, were defeated, and 300 officers were
tried for treason. In August 1945, Netaji (Bose) died in a plane crash
in Japanese-occupied Taiwan.

Outside of India, the INA’s legacy has been
mostly forgotten. But within the country—and especially among India’s
rising business titans—Netaji is revered. “I believe India would have
been a powerful exporter much before China if only Netaji had a front
seat in our policy making along with (Jawaharlal) Nehru,” said Infosys
Technologies founder Narayana Murthy at Netaji’s 114th birthday celebration. “Netaji was one of the most courageous leaders in India.”

It is the name absent from that list which
speaks loudest. Mahatma Gandhi, whom many Americans see as India’s most
important founding father, does not command the same respect throughout
his country.
Although Gandhi’s 1948 assassination inspired national
mourning, it was sponsored by the Hindu Mahasabha, the spiritual and
political forerunner to the BJP. The conspirators saw killing Gandhi as a
necessary evil, believing his policies would destroy India. In the
Hindu nationalist view, although Gandhi led a powerful nonviolent
resistance movement, he was responsible for giving away Pakistan,

setting India on a ruinous economic course, and promoting the country’s
cultural division into 22 official languages.

No one really knows how Modi will affect
India’s international relations, but his hardline conservatism and long
memory suggest he will be friendly towards countries who have
steadfastly supported India’s independence.
Ties to Russia have endured
since the Cold War, when India embraced the Soviet Union after the
United States supported Pakistan. In 2007, Japanese Prime Minister
Shinzo Abe visited Netaji’s memorial in Kolkata, a gesture Modi is
unlikely to forget.
Relations with China could benefit from India’s
economic rise, should India grow as a consumer market, or become
strained through geopolitical competition, if skirmishes occurred over
the Arunachal Pradesh or Aksai Chin border disputes.

In the Mahabharata, the epic Hindu
scriptures, Lord Shiva is depicted as a multi-formed enigma, embodying
both honor and brilliance as well as invincibility and terror.
supporters treat the 2002 violence—in which they tacitly acknowledge his
responsibility—with an Indian equivalent of a Gallic shrug: it was
unfortunate, they say, but sometimes good people are forced to do bad
things. His opponents respond, correctly, that Modi’s victory repudiates
Gandhi’s vision of religious unity, and is thus an Indian tragedy.
Shiva has many forms in the Hindu tradition, but the two most dominant
are as either a benefactor or a destroyer.

One of every five people—22% of the world’s
population—lives in either India or the United States. By 2025,
according to current projections, India will overtake China as the
world’s most populous country. “They are much the most interesting
people in the world—and the nearest to being incomprehensible,” Mark
Twain concluded about Indians. “Their character and their history, their
customs and their religion, confront you with riddles at every
turn—riddles which are a trifle more perplexing after they are explained
than they were before.”
If Ma Ganga could speak, she could not have
better explained the man poised to lead her dynamic and paradoxical
nation. Only time—or, perhaps, the sacred river—can tell which of Lord
Shiva’s many incarnations the devout Hindu leader will become.

Link(1): http://nationalinterest.org/feature/modi-win-loss-us-indian-ties-10475?page=show

Link(2): http://www.the-american-interest.com/articles/2014/05/15/what-does-a-modi-win-mean/



The Tyajya-Putra (son sacrifice) backlash

This is simply amazing. DMK is wiped out from Tamil Nadu!!!

It appears that kicking out a son from the family home (even if he is not very dutiful) does not elicit good feelings from the Indian voter. Cheating the taxpayers is also a problem but more of a diffuse one (all politicians are thieves etc.).

As an outsider we are simply delighted that the DMK dacoits have all been dust under the feet of her highness. You do the crime, you pay the time.

Now there is nothing else to do but worship at the feet of the ever-green Amma Mahadevi (if you are foolish enough to express the slightest dissidence the crawling beasties at the Madras Crocodile Bank will make short work of you).

After steering single-handedly her party to a splendid victory in Lok
Sabha polls, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa today admitted
there was no situation that facilitates AIADMK’s participation in the
central government.
An elated Jayalalithaa said AIADMK has emerged as the third largest
party in Lok Sabha and would “function as a responsible political

Meeting reporters as her party candidates established comfortable leads
in more than 37 of the 39 constituencies, indicating a clean sweep,
Jayalalithaa described the performance as “historic, unparallelled and

Commenting on the BJP’s impressive show in the polls, Jayalalithaa said,
“I wish the new government well. I wish the new Prime Minister well.
And I hope that the new government that will be formed at the Centre
will be friendly towards Tamil Nadu.”

She also thanked the people of Tamil Nadu for the massive mandate for AIADMK and also her party cadres for their hardwork.



333 (+192)
Shiv Sena
Apna Dal

59 (-175)

150 (-18)


Left Front
JD (U)
2014 Seats above are results +




Muslims salute Amma (and Akka) Mahadevi

There is a delicious, new flavor in the many-flavored two nation theory, one which was probably beyond the imagination of the founding fathers: muslims in India (third largest cohort globally) will, for the foreseeable future, be guaranteed life (and soul) protection by the grace of the pallu of an Amma (mother) and Akka (elder sister/Tamil, didi/Bengali), hailing from the supreme castes (Iyengar, Upadhyay) of the land.

A few years ago, before all the corruption shit hit the fan and ultimately helped destroy a 127 year old party, there were four formidable lady leaders who seemed all set for a long and distinguished innings on the roughest and toughest pitches. They were Sheila Dixit of Delhi, Mayawati of Uttar Pradesh, Mamata Banerjee of Bengal and Jayalalitha Jayaram of Tamil Nadu. They were still overshadowed by the pre-eminent Sonia Gandhi but it seemed like when the time was right (just around the corner) India will be led by an all-women “coalition of rivals.”

With the flames of modern Kurukshetras still burning in UP, Axom and now in Hyderabad, it appears that the only thing  that stands between the Hindu Brotherhood and the downtrodden muslim minority of India (redefined as the enemy who must pack their bags and leave for Pakistan and Bangladesh) are dear Amma (Jayalalitha) and dear Akka (Mamata).

While all the 50 different shades of green forts crumbling before the might of the saffron bahini, the M-J duo have managed an amazing 34/42 and 37/39 sweep of their respective strongholds. The opposition communists in Bengal and the original dravidas in Tamil Nadu have been crushed to almost full extinction. And yes, the BJP alliance has picked up seats in the most alien and unfriendly territory (now NOT to be branded as anti-India, however, Kerala still qualifies).
In an
unprecedented dismal show, M Karunanidhi-led DMK on Friday headed for a
rout in Tamil Nadu as its arch rival AIADMK was well set for a clean
sweep, surging ahead in 37 seats out of 39 seats.

spectacular performance by chief minister J Jayalalithaa’s party in the
hustings also decimated a deserted Congress and shattered what was
described as a “formidable” six-party alliance stitched by BJP to gain
foothold in this southern state.

The outcome of the election
was the worst ever for DMK after 1998 when it had won five seats when
the party-led United Front ended up with a tally of nine facing crushing
defeat at the hands of AIADMK-led NDA that scored 30 seats.

DMK bigwigs and 2G accused Dayanidhi Maran (Central Chennai) and A Raja
(Nilgiris-SC) and T R Baalu (Thanjavur) conceded enough ground to their
AIADMK rivals, virtually ruling out a comeback in the subsequent rounds
of counting.

The trends have come as a jolt to the four-decade
old party, which faced internal rumblings leading to the expulsion of
former Union minister and Karunanidhi’s elder son M K Alagiri, who had
openly campaigned against the party nominees.

DMK was aiming to
convert a perceived anti-incumbency into votes in the backdrop of power
cuts and drinking water shortage but it was ‘Amma’ all the way.

According to counting trends available for 37 seats at 12 noon, AIADMK
was leading in 35 seats including those perceived to be DMK turfs while
PMK and BJP were ahead in one constituency each.

forced to face polls alone with no takers for an alliance, put up some
semblance of fight only in Kanyakumari where the fortunes fluctuated
between it and BJP before the saffron party shot into the lead.

PMK’s Anbumani Ramadoss was leading in Dharmapuri, bringing cheers to
BJP alliance partners. However, BJP’s allies — DMDK, PMK, MDMK and KDMK —
seemed to be swept away in the ‘Lady Wave,’ as an AIADMK leader put it,
although Jayalalithaa’s national ambitions seem to have been cut short
by BJP’s good show across the country.




Indira reborn

1 Comment

Rahul’ abject failure means that Priyanka is Indira Incarnate.

My suggestion is that the BJP should create a uniform civil code that allows either party in a suit to opt into it and that would take precedence over the other family laws.
The results for the Indian election are resoundingly pro the BJP and the BJP are going to be an ascendant power for maybe another two elections. Who knows Namo might be a life premier; the wise rule foretold in the ancient sagas.

Congratulations to India

It’s been a clear victory for Modi (or rather PM Modi).

Furthermore for a country of such extraordinary diversity the mandate for the BJP is overwhelmingly clear. Other than that I think what will make Modi a somewhat decent PM is the fact is that he has no family but the Indian nation.
As a leader his whole life seems to be consumed by politics and statecraft. Congress should have followed primogeniture instead of patrilineal primogeniture.