The Candid Eye

June 17, 2009

Political parties match their symbols …

I stumbled onto this interesting piece of information about political parties in India by Hemant Sharma.

Q: Why is the Samajwadi Party’s symbol ‘Cycle’?
A: Because after a ban on English and use of computers, that’s all we’ll be able to afford
Q: Why is the Congress party’s symbol ‘Hand’?
A: To remind Indians that our fate is forever in the hand of one family
Q: Why is BJP Symbol ‘Lotus’?
A: Lotus is the symbol of Sarawasti and learning. BJP will educate us through the wisdom of Varun Gandhi and Pravin Togadia.
Q: Why is Mayawati’s symbol ‘Elephant’?
A: It’s a self portrait.
Q: Why is Jayalalitha’ s symbol ‘Two leaves’?
A: Because that’s what remained after Amma ate up all the fruit
Q: Why is DMK’s symbol ‘Sun’?
A: So that Karunanidhi can justify wearing shades indoors
Q: Why is Lalu’s symbol ‘Lantern’?
A: Because there’s no electricity in Bihar
Q: Why is CPM’s symbol ‘Hammer and Sickle’?
A: Because that’s what you will be using if they come to power
Q: Why is Sharad Pawar’s symbol ‘Clock’?
A: Because his time never seems to come

Q: Why is the Samajwadi Party’s symbol ‘Cycle’?

A: Because after a ban on English and use of computers, that’s all we’ll be able to afford.

Q: Why is the Congress party’s symbol ‘Hand’?

A: To remind Indians that our fate is forever in the hand of one family.

Q: Why is BJP Symbol ‘Lotus’?

A: Lotus is the symbol of Sarawasti and learning. BJP will educate us through the wisdom of Varun Gandhi and Pravin Togadia.

Q: Why is Mayawati’s symbol ‘Elephant’?

A: It’s a self portrait.

Q: Why is Jayalalitha’ s symbol ‘Two leaves’?

A: Because that’s what remained after Amma ate up all the fruit .

Q: Why is DMK’s symbol ‘Sun’?

A: So that Karunanidhi can justify wearing shades indoors.

Q: Why is Lalu’s symbol ‘Lantern’?

A: Because there’s no electricity in Bihar.

Q: Why is CPM’s symbol ‘Hammer and Sickle’?

A: Because that’s what you will be using if they come to power.

Q: Why is Sharad Pawar’s symbol ‘Clock’?

A: Because his time never seems to come.

PS: I will be on travel for next one week and I will not be having access to Internet.Hence,I will not be able to respond to your comments if any.

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June 5, 2009

Did Advani approve of Sachar Committee?

Filed under: BJP,Indian Politics — thecandideye @ 3:00 AM
Tags: , , , ,
And studiously refusing to turn the spotlight on the utter failure of his own leadership, the self-styled Iron Man called for scrutiny of below par performances in Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra. In other words, the man who owes his Gandhinagar victory to the efforts of Chief Minister Narendra Modi, is going to downsize the leader who, despite certain shortcomings, still stands tallest in the Hindu imagination.
Given the firmness with which acolyte Venkaiah Naidu rebuffed fixing responsibility for the rout to maintain the supremacy of ensconced non-entities, Mr. Advani will have to personally answer if he conveyed overt or covert approval of the Sachar Committee Report to Bihar ally, Janata Dal – United.
Specifically, Mr. Advani must explain why the BJP, at both national and state level, maintained studious silence when Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar issued an election manifesto which specifically promised that:
1] Bihar will implement the Sachar Committee recommendations for Muslims and
2] Support reservations to Dalit Christians (when Christians don’t have caste at all).
In the last decade, the BJP has viciously attacked all believing Hindus who asked why it compromised on core Hindutva issues (rebuilding the Ram Mandir in Ayodhya; abrogating Article 370; and implementing a Uniform Civil Code – something now sought by Muslim intellectuals like M.J. Akbar, who have disguised it as a request for a Muslim Code Bill that could liberate the community from the shackles of obscurantist religious and secular leaders). BJP stoically refused to even utter the word ‘Hindu,’ shunned all Hindu concerns, and all persons who lacked the agility to ‘move on’ from Hindutva.
The excuse was – compulsions of coalition government. The reason was – desire for the loaves and fishes of office.
The explanation that must now be forthcoming is – was the compulsion only one-way? Did the allies not equally desire power and the trappings of office, and were they not required to pay any price for piggy-backing to office with a larger partner? And did the BJP central and state leadership not realize or care that the Janata Dal – United was quietly and shrewdly expanding its social base at the cost of the BJP?
Did Advani give Nitish OK on Sachar Committee?
How could the BJP – which protested against the divisive agenda of the Sonia Gandhi-led UPA, as exemplified by the setting up of the Sachar Committee and its recommendations – not condemn and distance itself from allies who adopted the Sachar Committee? Was making L.K. Advani prime minister the ONLY agenda of the party in 2009?
This writer has previously spoken about the need for the party to urgently replace the non-performing state unit chief, Sushil Modi, a second-generation migrant from Rajasthan with no local roots or sensitivities, who totally subordinated the party to the dominant power, first represented by Lalu Yadav, and currently Nitish Kumar. I am therefore not surprised to know that Sushil Modi went along with the chief minister, as he will do anything to maintain his personal comfort levels.
But given the seriousness of the issue, some questions cannot be avoided:
1] What were BJP leaders from the state like Ravi Shankar Prasad and Rajiv Pratap Rudy (both party spokespersons in New Delhi) doing when Nitish Kumar campaigned on this promise?
2] What were Bihar RSS and VHP leaders doing when the manifesto was released and local newspapers reported the promise to implement Sachar Committee?
3] Why was this news kept so secret that the rest of us are learning of it only now that Nitish Kumar is actually planning to go ahead and implement this promise?
4] Is it possible that not one Bihar BJP leader read the JD (U) manifesto when it was released?
The last question is not polemical at all. Years ago, this writer personally asked Advani why the BJP manifesto included a promise to implement the Mandal Commission recommendations when the party protested the sudden decision of Prime Minister V.P. Singh. His reply was as stunning as it was illuminating – he said no one had studied the Mandal Commission Report properly!
Yes. They stuck it into the manifesto because they thought it was a winning issue, unaware of its poisonous potential. This is the same mindset that made them adopt Varun Gandhi after the Chief Election Commissioner advised them to drop him for his abominable speech – they thought he was a ticket to ride.
So, after the 31 May 2009 JD (U) national executive meeting (a regional outfit with national pretensions!), general secretary Shivanand Tewari insolently announced that the Nitish Kumar regime would not be shackled by the BJP’s Hindutva agenda. To rub it in, he added that the JD (U) has zero-tolerance for communalism, will not break-up with BJP right now (read Congress cannot make up the numbers in Patna), but will keep the window for change open (read will dump BJP and go for early elections if it thinks it can swing it in the Naveen Patnaik manner).
Dump Nitish fast
There is only one way out of this extreme disrespect:
1] BJP must immediately DUMP Nitish Kumar and bring down the Bihar government
2] BJP must immediately dump Sushil Modi and appoint a native Bihari as state unit chief
3] BJP will aggressively raise the banner of revolt against the Sachar Committee and its poisonous impact on Hindu – Indian society
4] Bihar must be made the karmabhumi, the new Kurukshetra for raising and revalidating issues of concern to Hindu society. As the native place Sita ji, goddess of the earth and wife of Sri Rama, Bihar is the most appropriate place for BJP to begin atoning for its sins of omission and commission, and preparing for the return journey to Ayodhya.
Jayalalithaa’s minorityism
The Advani clique will also have to explain its obsession with wooing and accommodating AIADMK leader Jayalalithaa at any cost.
For reasons best known to itself, a section of the party decided to woo Ms. Jayalalithaa despite her previous behaviour, and Ravi Shankar Prasad was deputed to take Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi to her Chennai residence for lunch. The much-hyped January 2008 Pongal lunch, arranged by an arrogant strategist, enraged bhaktas of the Kanchi Matham, who felt that the leader closest to the Hindu heart should not be seen in her company. But they were ignored; and Narendra Modi was not allowed to visit the Kanchi Matham in that trip.
To his credit, he saw merit in the Hindu angst and invited the Kanchi Shankaracharya to his state, where he was received with due honour.
These public relations exercises with Jayalalithaa proved futile as she refused to enter a pre-poll alliance with the BJP. Yet power brokers in Chennai kept talking about a deal with Jayalalithaa and kept promising they could bring her to the table post-2009 elections, even when it was known that some of them were refused entry across her threshold!
Mr. Advani will have to explain this keenness for Jayalalithaa even after suspicions arose that she may have converted to Christianity secretly, and that is why a Bishop performed service at her residence on Christmas last December.
Regardless of her personal religious affiliation, Advani must explain why BJP jettisoned Hindutva in its election campaign yet allowed allies to court religious minorities in an overtly communal fashion. The 2009 AIADMK Manifesto had a section devoted to minorities which stated that:
India’s uniqueness in the world polity is its secular fabric that has withstood the ravages of time. Today, several forces are working overtime to tear that fabric asunder and lower India’s image in the eyes of the world. To prevent such a situation, the AIADMK proposes the following:
– Top priority for addressing some of the long-standing problems of Dalit Christians for reservation
– Subsidy for Christians undertaking pilgrimage to Jerusalem
– All Souls’ Day to be made a Restricted Holiday
– Hostels with all facilities at nominal charges at towns of religious significance to Christian, Buddhist and Muslim communities in order to attract pilgrims from India and abroad
– All genuine security concerns of the minorities to be addressed and resolve to knit a homogenous, tension-free, truly secular social fabric.
This reads like a diatribe against the Hindu community, a kind of hate speech commonly associated with missionaries and news converts. It is for the AIADMK cadres to decide if, like the Tamils of Sri Lanka, they are willing to be ruled by leaders of a different religious affiliation, or if they will search for a Hindu Indian Tamil leadership when they find that the leaders are beginning to espouse a different political agenda. All that is in the future.
For now, BJP and L.K. Advani must apologise to India’s Hindus for brazenly cohabiting with Hindu-baiters in the name of political compulsions, and abandoning the Hindu cause on the battlefield of moha, lobha, ahankaar (illusion, greed, pride).
Advani must go
As Mr. Advani has refused to even formally accept responsibility for defeat in the recent Lok Sabha elections, where the party projected no issue before the electorate except his desire to be prime minister, BJP must quickly discard him and move on.
Unless BJP is actually functioning as a ‘Shadow Congress,’ there is no need to be guided by Congress precedent in the 1999 elections, as Venkaiah Naidu is doing when he says that Sonia Gandhi never stepped down then. The fact is that Congress did not change its leader because it is centered round a dynasty; BJP is supposed to be an ideological party.
Sadly, it has degenerated most disgracefully into a Cult of L.K. Advani. That Cult has failed to become the Religion of India – it must be allowed to wither away.

Far from examining the causes of its second electoral debacle at the national level, the BJP seems determined to go the Congress way, further consolidating power in the hands of the one man who led it to ignominy and opprobrium. Little wonder that L.K. Advani advised the faithful not to ‘exaggerate’ the scale of the defeat (doubtless because 116 seats are miles ahead of the 2 seat wonder of 1984!).

And studiously refusing to turn the spotlight on the utter failure of his own leadership, the self-styled Iron Man called for scrutiny of below par performances in Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra. In other words, the man who owes his Gandhinagar victory to the efforts of Chief Minister Narendra Modi, is going to downsize the leader who, despite certain shortcomings, still stands tallest in the Hindu imagination.

Given the firmness with which acolyte Venkaiah Naidu rebuffed fixing responsibility for the rout to maintain the supremacy of ensconced non-entities, Mr. Advani will have to personally answer if he conveyed overt or covert approval of the Sachar Committee Report to Bihar ally, Janata Dal – United.

Specifically, Mr. Advani must explain why the BJP, at both national and state level, maintained studious silence when Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar issued an election manifesto which specifically promised that:

1] Bihar will implement the Sachar Committee recommendations for Muslims and

2] Support reservations to Dalit Christians (when Christians don’t have caste at all).

In the last decade, the BJP has viciously attacked all believing Hindus who asked why it compromised on core Hindutva issues (rebuilding the Ram Mandir in Ayodhya; abrogating Article 370; and implementing a Uniform Civil Code – something now sought by Muslim intellectuals like M.J. Akbar, who have disguised it as a request for a Muslim Code Bill that could liberate the community from the shackles of obscurantist religious and secular leaders). BJP stoically refused to even utter the word ‘Hindu,’ shunned all Hindu concerns, and all persons who lacked the agility to ‘move on’ from Hindutva.

The excuse was – compulsions of coalition government. The reason was – desire for the loaves and fishes of office.

The explanation that must now be forthcoming is – was the compulsion only one-way? Did the allies not equally desire power and the trappings of office, and were they not required to pay any price for piggy-backing to office with a larger partner? And did the BJP central and state leadership not realize or care that the Janata Dal – United was quietly and shrewdly expanding its social base at the cost of the BJP?

Did Advani give Nitish OK on Sachar Committee?

How could the BJP – which protested against the divisive agenda of the Sonia Gandhi-led UPA, as exemplified by the setting up of the Sachar Committee and its recommendations – not condemn and distance itself from allies who adopted the Sachar Committee? Was making L.K. Advani prime minister the ONLY agenda of the party in 2009?

This writer has previously spoken about the need for the party to urgently replace the non-performing state unit chief, Sushil Modi, a second-generation migrant from Rajasthan with no local roots or sensitivities, who totally subordinated the party to the dominant power, first represented by Lalu Yadav, and currently Nitish Kumar. I am therefore not surprised to know that Sushil Modi went along with the chief minister, as he will do anything to maintain his personal comfort levels.

But given the seriousness of the issue, some questions cannot be avoided:

1] What were BJP leaders from the state like Ravi Shankar Prasad and Rajiv Pratap Rudy (both party spokespersons in New Delhi) doing when Nitish Kumar campaigned on this promise?

2] What were Bihar RSS and VHP leaders doing when the manifesto was released and local newspapers reported the promise to implement Sachar Committee?

3] Why was this news kept so secret that the rest of us are learning of it only now that Nitish Kumar is actually planning to go ahead and implement this promise?

4] Is it possible that not one Bihar BJP leader read the JD (U) manifesto when it was released?

The last question is not polemical at all. Years ago, this writer personally asked Advani why the BJP manifesto included a promise to implement the Mandal Commission recommendations when the party protested the sudden decision of Prime Minister V.P. Singh. His reply was as stunning as it was illuminating – he said no one had studied the Mandal Commission Report properly!

Yes. They stuck it into the manifesto because they thought it was a winning issue, unaware of its poisonous potential. This is the same mindset that made them adopt Varun Gandhi after the Chief Election Commissioner advised them to drop him for his abominable speech – they thought he was a ticket to ride.

So, after the 31 May 2009 JD (U) national executive meeting (a regional outfit with national pretensions!), general secretary Shivanand Tewari insolently announced that the Nitish Kumar regime would not be shackled by the BJP’s Hindutva agenda. To rub it in, he added that the JD (U) has zero-tolerance for communalism, will not break-up with BJP right now (read Congress cannot make up the numbers in Patna), but will keep the window for change open (read will dump BJP and go for early elections if it thinks it can swing it in the Naveen Patnaik manner).

Dump Nitish fast

There is only one way out of this extreme disrespect:

1] BJP must immediately DUMP Nitish Kumar and bring down the Bihar government

2] BJP must immediately dump Sushil Modi and appoint a native Bihari as state unit chief

3] BJP will aggressively raise the banner of revolt against the Sachar Committee and its poisonous impact on Hindu – Indian society

4] Bihar must be made the karmabhumi, the new Kurukshetra for raising and revalidating issues of concern to Hindu society. As the native place Sita ji, goddess of the earth and wife of Sri Rama, Bihar is the most appropriate place for BJP to begin atoning for its sins of omission and commission, and preparing for the return journey to Ayodhya.

Jayalalithaa’s minorityism

The Advani clique will also have to explain its obsession with wooing and accommodating AIADMK leader Jayalalithaa at any cost.

For reasons best known to itself, a section of the party decided to woo Ms. Jayalalithaa despite her previous behaviour, and Ravi Shankar Prasad was deputed to take Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi to her Chennai residence for lunch. The much-hyped January 2008 Pongal lunch, arranged by an arrogant strategist, enraged bhaktas of the Kanchi Matham, who felt that the leader closest to the Hindu heart should not be seen in her company. But they were ignored; and Narendra Modi was not allowed to visit the Kanchi Matham in that trip.

To his credit, he saw merit in the Hindu angst and invited the Kanchi Shankaracharya to his state, where he was received with due honour.

These public relations exercises with Jayalalithaa proved futile as she refused to enter a pre-poll alliance with the BJP. Yet power brokers in Chennai kept talking about a deal with Jayalalithaa and kept promising they could bring her to the table post-2009 elections, even when it was known that some of them were refused entry across her threshold!

Mr. Advani will have to explain this keenness for Jayalalithaa even after suspicions arose that she may have converted to Christianity secretly, and that is why a Bishop performed service at her residence on Christmas last December.

Regardless of her personal religious affiliation, Advani must explain why BJP jettisoned Hindutva in its election campaign yet allowed allies to court religious minorities in an overtly communal fashion. The 2009 AIADMK Manifesto had a section devoted to minorities which stated that:

India’s uniqueness in the world polity is its secular fabric that has withstood the ravages of time. Today, several forces are working overtime to tear that fabric asunder and lower India’s image in the eyes of the world. To prevent such a situation, the AIADMK proposes the following:

– Top priority for addressing some of the long-standing problems of Dalit Christians for reservation

– Subsidy for Christians undertaking pilgrimage to Jerusalem

– All Souls’ Day to be made a Restricted Holiday

– Hostels with all facilities at nominal charges at towns of religious significance to Christian, Buddhist and Muslim communities in order to attract pilgrims from India and abroad

– All genuine security concerns of the minorities to be addressed and resolve to knit a homogenous, tension-free, truly secular social fabric.

This reads like a diatribe against the Hindu community, a kind of hate speech commonly associated with missionaries and news converts. It is for the AIADMK cadres to decide if, like the Tamils of Sri Lanka, they are willing to be ruled by leaders of a different religious affiliation, or if they will search for a Hindu Indian Tamil leadership when they find that the leaders are beginning to espouse a different political agenda. All that is in the future.

For now, BJP and L.K. Advani must apologise to India’s Hindus for brazenly cohabiting with Hindu-baiters in the name of political compulsions, and abandoning the Hindu cause on the battlefield of moha, lobha, ahankaar (illusion, greed, pride).

Advani must go

As Mr. Advani has refused to even formally accept responsibility for defeat in the recent Lok Sabha elections, where the party projected no issue before the electorate except his desire to be prime minister, BJP must quickly discard him and move on.

Unless BJP is actually functioning as a ‘Shadow Congress,’ there is no need to be guided by Congress precedent in the 1999 elections, as Venkaiah Naidu is doing when he says that Sonia Gandhi never stepped down then. The fact is that Congress did not change its leader because it is centered round a dynasty; BJP is supposed to be an ideological party.

Sadly, it has degenerated most disgracefully into a Cult of L.K. Advani. That Cult has failed to become the Religion of India – it must be allowed to wither away.

From Sandhya Jain, the editor of Vijayvaani.com

May 22, 2009

Origins of the Srilankan Civil War

Filed under: Sri Lanka — thecandideye @ 3:00 AM
Tags: , , , , , , ,

The agony and suffering of Srilankan Tamils due to war have caused so much agitation and in some places violence in TN.Periyar Dravida Kazhagam even attacked the convoy of Army trucks in Coimbatore some days ago.See the video here. This act of PDK against Indian Army definitely needs to be punished.Whatever be the cause, this cannot be justifiied.Even the election compaigns had seen so many twists and turns from all the parties on the Srilankan Tamils.Jayalalitha, the AIADMK supremo also joined those people who demanded Independent Tamil Eelam in Srilanka.Each party tried to make use of this Sri Lankan Tamil issue to its advantage in the elections.

It is also worth to know about the Srilankan Civil War.Information in Wikipedia says that the government of D.S. Senanayake passed legislation stripping the estate Tamils of their citizenship in 1949, leaving them stateless.

The effect was to tilt the island’s political balance away from the Tamils. In 1948, at independence, the Tamils had 33% of the voting power in Parliament. Upon the disenfranchisement of the estate Tamils, however, this proportion dropped to 20%. The Sinhalese could and did obtain more than a 2/3 majority in Parliament, making it impossible for Tamils to exercise an effective opposition to Sinhalese policies affecting them. The main reason for the imbalance was that several multi-member constituencies elected a Tamil member of Parliament in a majority Sinhala electorate. The idea in having multi-member constituencies was to prevent domination of minorities by a future nationalist government.

The SLFP government led by Solomon Bandaranaike was sworn into office on a platform that of helping the growing population of unemployed youth who despite general educational achievement were disenfranchised by the ‘Sinhala Only’ language policy. A majority of civil servants under colonial rule were Tamil whose positions benefited from free English-medium missionary schools in the north and east of the island. When Sinhala became the official state language, many Tamil workers in government employment who were not fluent in Sinhala lost their jobs. The Tamil Federal Party led a group of Tamil volunteers and staged a sit-down satyagraha (peaceful protest). This protest was broken up by alleged hardline Sinhalese nationalist gangs.

Importing Tamil language films, books, magazines, journals, etc. from the cultural hub of Tamil NaduIndia was banned. Sri Lanka also banned groups such as the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagham and the Tamil Youth League. Culturally, Tamil Sri Lankans were cut off from Tamil Nadu. Foreign exchange for the long established practice of Tamil students going to India for university education was stopped. Equally, examinations for external degrees from the University of London were abolished. The government insisted this was a part of a general program of economic self-sufficiency, part of its socialist agenda, however most of the Tamil population did not accept nor believe this.

During the 1970s university admissions were standardized. This initiative took place to rectify disparities created in university enrollment during colonial rule.Under the British, English was the state language and consequently greatly benefited English speakers. However, the majority of the Sri Lankan populace lived outside urban areas and did not belong to the social elite, and therefore did not enjoy the benefits of English-medium education. The issue was compounded further by the fact that in northern and eastern regions of the island, where a largely Tamil speaking populace resided, students had access to English-medium education through missionary schools regardless of their socio-economic status. This created a situation where the large proportion of students enrolled in universities were English speaking Tamils, particularly in professional courses such as medicine and engineering.

The government policy of standardization in essence was an affirmative action scheme to assist geographically disadvantaged students to gain tertiary education. The benefits enjoyed by Sinhalese students also meant a significant fall in the number of Tamil students within the university population.At first, Tamil politicians pushed for a federal system through the Federal Party. This was met with suspicion and resistance from many Sinhalese.

In the 1960s, the government of Sirimavo Bandaranaike proceeded to nationalize most missionary schools in the country, secularizing them and changing the language of instruction from English to Sinhala only. After this, it became rare for Sinhalese and Tamil children to attend school together. Unable to speak Sinhalese, it became increasingly difficult for Tamil youth to gain access to civil service jobs or attend univerisities, and unemployment rose.

A mob went on rampage on the nights of May 31 to June 2 burning the market area of Jaffna, the office of the Tamil Newspaper, the home of the member of Parliament for Jaffna, the Jaffna Public Library and killing four people.The destruction of the Jaffna Public Library was the incident which appeared to cause the most distress to the people of Jaffna. The 95,000 volumes of the Public Library destroyed by the fire included numerous culturally important and irreplaceable manuscripts. Witnesses reported the presence of uniformed police officers in the mob and their involvement in the deaths of four individuals.

The concept of a separate nation, Tamil Eelam, was proposed by the Tamil United Liberation Front (TULF) in 1976 . TULF was a coalition of parties who went on to campaign in the 1977 elections for an independent state for Tamils in Sri Lanka. They won most of the Tamil seats, but the government later banned them from Parliament for advocating an independent state.

May 21, 2009

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