MAHARASHTRIAN IMPLOSION

SUN TZU

In the practical art of war, the best thing of all is to take the enemy’s country whole and intact; to shatter and destroy it is not so good. So, too, it is better to recapture an army entire than to destroy it, to capture a regiment, a detachment or a company entire than to destroy them.

Sun Tzu – Art of War

In recent times if one had to call out one of the better student and follower of the Chinese Philosopher & Military Strategist – Sun Tzu then I have no doubt it has to be Shri Eknath Shinde.

The suddenness of the move, without an iota of leak in the media is something that still baffles most of us. I mean to only hear about this after more than thirty legislatures reached Surat, is mind boggling. On the one hand it shows their level of disenchantment with the state leadership and on the other hand the play of ‘A Third Party’ in bankrolling such a dissent. Chaperoning the disgruntled / managed legislators from one BJP ruled state to another.

UDHAV THACKERAY / EKNATH SHINDE

However much the leader of the break-away section of the Shiv Sena espouse the cause of Hindutva for this implosion, I believe it was made possible by the application of the right amount of lubrication to make this friction bearable & possible.

However if one has to look back, this isn’t a one off case. There have been previous examples too where a political party has been broken away from its founding members. Two major such events have been:

  1. National Conference:
FAROOQ ABDULLAH / GHULAM MOHAMMAD SHAH

Sheikh Abdullah founded this party in the state of Jammu Kashmir. His son Farooq Abdullah succeeded him as the Chief Minister of the state after his death in 1982 and further went on to win the 1983 Assembly Elections with comfortable majority. A majority that was short lived as in 1984 his brother-in-law Ghulam Mohammad Shah  split the party to become the Chief Minister. As of today the party very much remains firmly in control of the Abdullah’s and a major political force in the state and the country. While Ghulam Mohammad Shah after his short tenure remains in the margins of Jammu Kashmir politics

  • Telgu Desham Party:
CHANRA BABU NAIDU / NT RAMA RAO

The Telugu Desham Party was founded by actor turned politician N. T. Rama Rao in 1982 in the erstwhile unified state of Andhra Pradesh. He was thrice elected as the Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh. The last election he fought was in 1994 wining 269 seats in the 294 seat Assembly. This huge majority and his tenure were cut short by his Son-In-Law Chandra Babu Naidu led revolt in the party. Chandra Babu Naidu replaced NTR to become the CM in 1995 till 2004 and once again from 2014-2019. NTR died in 1986. The reigns of the party firmly remains in the hands of Chandra Babu Naidu

The question is whether the revolt by Shri Eknath Shinde will be a short lived like that one of Ghulam Mohammad Shah or whether he will be able to hold on to his ground like Chandra Babu Naidu.

I have a feeling the answer to this question can only be answered by the third party involved in this whole implosion.

Rajya Sabha

Parliament of India

Last week Rajya Sabha elections were held across various states in India. While the whole process of camping, voting and delayed counting was going on, a dear friend remarked, “What a waste of taxpayers’ money!! Why this whole process of complicated counting of votes? Why not just have one House where the law makers are directly elected by We The People of India.”

I went whole hog and tried explaining him the process but I guess I wasn’t still able to convince him. So this one is for you my dear friend and like they say – शुरू से शुर शुरू करते हैं !!

On 3rd January 1949, the Constituent Assembly took up Article 66 of the Draft Constitution (Article 79 of the Final Constitution) for debate & deliberate to constitute a Parliament for India that was to comprise of The President and two houses – Council of States (Rajya Sabha/Upper House) and the House of People (Lok Sabha/Lower House).

Shri Loknath Mishra

Constituent Assembly member from Odisha Shri Lokanath Mishra moved an amendment to remove the term ‘Council of States’ from the Draft Article – he did not want an upper house. Since the Draft Constitution did not provide for such upper house, he saw no need for an upper house at all – “it was a waste of public money and time.” (Just the kind of point my friend put forth)

MA Ayyangar  –  A Constituent Assembly member from now Tamil Nadu and who later went on to become the Speaker of The Lok Sabha defended the need of The Rajya Sabha. He argued that parliament needed an upper house for the following reasons:

Shri MA Ayyangar
  • First, that politics must be a space for a range of people to take part; the upper house would be space ‘where the genius of the people may have full play’.
  • Second, the upper house would act as a check on any hasty legislation that lower house may pass.
  • Third, the upper house, unlike the lower house, would be permanently elected.

And the motion was accepted and lo and behold we have had the Upper House ever since.

It’s the way our Constitution provides adequate Checks and Balances. The no. of seats that each state is allocated is according to its population. Its members are always there to deliberate, discuss and approve/disapprove various important matters, case in point being to validate the Emergency under Article 352 for a limited period when the Lok Sabha remains dissolved.

A brute majority in Lok Sabha of one party does not end up becoming tyrannical and thus its actions are to be checked by the Upper House whose members are elected by the state legislature and have different considerations to look into.

Now let us look at the tables below. This data shows the number of seats and the share in the respective houses of the various political parties. For better understanding I have just taken the top 6.

LOK SABHA

Top 6DetailsSeatsPercentage
1BJP30155.7%
2INC539.8%
3DMK244.4%
4Trinamol Congress234.3%
5YSR Congress224.1%
6Shiv Sena193.5%

RAJYA SABHA

Top 6DetailsSeatsPercentage
1BJP9538.8%
2INC2911.8%
3Trinamol Congress135.3%
4DMK104.1%
5BJD93.7%
6AAP83.3%

While the top 4 parties remain the same in both the houses the next two are different. Even in terms of percentage points how different it is. While BJP on its own have around 55.7% Lok Sabha seats in the Rajya Sabha is way lower at 38.8%.

Ironically none of the other 4 parties besides the Congress are the allies of the BJP at least officially.

Rajya Sabha

In the 8 years of the NDA rule we have seen various controversial and questionable laws that it wanted to pass had to be put on hold due to its inability to garner nos. in the Upper House. Bills related to Land Acquisition and the Lok Pal  / Lok Ayukta which sailed thru the Lok Sabha were suitably amended by the Rajya Sabha.

Thus our constituent members had the foresight to envisage such a situation which necessitated the creation of Upper House.

One of the Sanskrit Shloka from The Mahabharat has been inscribed in the Parliament building:

” न सा सभा यत्र न सन्ति वृध्दा:, वृध्दा न ते ये न वदन्ति धर्मम्।

धर्म स नो यत्र न सत्यमस्ति , सत्यं न तत् यत् छलमभ्युपैति॥ “

Which means  –

That’s not an Assembly where there are no wise persons,

Those are not wise, who do not speak with righteousness,

That’s no righteousness where there is no truth,

That’s not the truth which leads one to deceit.

So let the people of our country be benefitted from the counsel and wisdom of the members of both the houses.

I hope my friend, I am able to convince you now.

The Rise of the House Help

I am the last of the generation and of a certain social milieu and thankfully so, that has seen that the domestic/house helps weren’t just people who were hired to assist the householders but rather there was a strict Master-Servant equation and set of principled do’s-don’ts that had to be adhered to.

Slowly and steadily these barriers are being broken down one at a time but I guess maybe living in a small town with a certain upbringing I didn’t see it actually being there.

I remember having a help to assist in with my kids with whom I generally made a statement about she being there when they grow-up.

“ज़िन्दगी भर भैया, यह काम थोड़ी करुँगी !!” prompt came her reply.

I was taken aback, for I thought was a done deal wasn’t one. She- who was from a neighbouring village, she – who had studied up till 12th standard – had her aspirations, dreams to fulfil.

She isn’t a one off case, if you look closely this is what new India looks like. Just a few decades back it wasn’t uncommon for two generations working together as domestic helps for a family. These families ruled over their fiefdoms by providing for these helps in return of loyalty and subservience which is a rarity now.

I believe it is a profession bought about not out of choice but of necessity (not if you are employed by the likes of people living in Antilia). Choice bought mostly due to lack of education and security.

This very choice have fed their families, educated the children and tendered the ill. A choice that helped them climbed up the social ladder one step at a time. A house helps son became a government teacher and another ones works as a manager in a private firm whose office is just next to mine.

Not only are they claiming their economic spaces but art too has started representing in a new light far removed from the Ramu Kaka variety. In the Amitabh Bachhan and Deepika Padukone starrer Piku we get to see how differently two generations interact with their domestic help Bhudan.

In  Rohena Gera’s Sir  we see a love story between Tillotama Shome, the actress essaying Ratna – a house help and her employer. Not the ones that fantasies and fetishes have been built on but a love story in true sense of the word.

Time we move on and realised they aren’t part of the sub-plot anymore but an integral part of our everyday being at least in India.

DEATH & GRIEF

Over the past two years the world has seen so much death and miniscule are those whose family has remained untouched by this pandemic. We all have lost a relative, a friend or even an acquaintance.

Alas life moves on for some and for some it comes to a complete halt with loss of one’s bearings but in either case what remains are the memories.

The moot question is how do we grieve?

George Bernard Shaw in The Doctor’s Dilemma: A Tragedy had said,

“Life does not cease to be funny when people die any more than it ceases to be serious when people laugh.”

So when we laugh or smile, do we ever stop grieving or has it just been pushed aside for the time being?

Is grief quantifiable?

Is shedding tears a true barometer of one’s grief?

A cousin of mine visited a salon immediately after her father’s passing away, for her hair needed some touch-ups in order to look ‘decent’ for the condolence meeting. Did she stop mourning because of this or her grief any less?

Is grief directly proportional to emotional and financial needs?

How long do we grieve or what should be the mourning period?

Are those 13 days enough for one to stop mourning?

Do the dead keep living in our memories forever?

If yes then how long before it just remains a faded memory?

While we mourn the dead, do we forgive them too?

Personally for me each time I look back at some dead people, their evil deeds eclipses whatever good memories I may have had of them.

Nothing explains these questions better than the below mentioned three movies that deals with the topic of losing a family member and how each one reacts to it:

  • PAGLAIT

This is a film about a young widow who is indifferent to the death of her husband and unable to grieve on her loss. On the other hand are her in-laws who can’t get over the loss of their son and sole bread winner.

  • RAMPRASAD KI TEHRVI

This one is about siblings arriving at their ancestral homes on the death of their father. Each one trying to ascertain their financial gains, supremacy and it’s the grieving mother who is left alone to decide her future and legacy.

  • KARKHANISANCHI WAARI

This one is a Marathi film about a family who undertake a road trip to bury the ashes of the family patriarch and the custodian of their family land. How each is on this trip for their own gains mostly financial while the wife of the patriarch gets no time to mourn as she soon realizes the patriarch has a mistress tucked away somewhere.

Each of these movies showcases death and mourning thru a typical Indian point of view wherein entire immediate and extended family huddle together to comfort the mourning family. But it’s also the time skeletons tumbles out of the closet, relationships redefined, some new ones forged and some old healed wounds scratched opened.

Dealing with death is never easy but it is always there, staring right across our faces – ALWAYS FOR EACH LIVING SECOND OF OUR LIFE.

SEX & GENDER

How times change and with it the things kids learn in school!!

The other day I was walking with my 12 years old son and he asked me the difference between SEX & GENDER? Luckily for me I knew the basic difference and the gaps were filled by him in broader terms. He knew these terms because as a 7th Grade student Sex & Gender studies are part of their curriculum and he learned about these terms that day itself.

https://www.instagram.com/p/CVvR2ndvWYx/?igshid=YmMyMTA2M2Y=

The National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) released a new training manual for teachers recently. The training material describes concepts such as gender identity, gender incongruence, gender dysphoria, gender affirmation, heterosexuality, asexuality, bisexuality, among various others, in detail.

The training material also lists out a number of practical strategies for making schools sensitive and inclusive for transgender and gender non-conforming children.

I am glad the schools are open and willing to teach and talk about topics like sex, gender and stereotyping.

According to the medical website www.medicalnewstoday.com 

“Sex” refers to the physical differences between people who are male, female, or intersex . A person typically has their sex assigned at birth based on physiological characteristics, including their genitalia and chromosome composition. This assigned sex is called a person’s “natal sex.”

Gender, on the other hand, involves how a person identifies. Unlike natal sex, gender is not made up of binary forms. Instead, gender is a broad spectrum. A person may identify at any point within this spectrum or outside of it entirely.

https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/232363

As a child of the nineties we lived in a world which was so different from today’s reality. The issues remained the same for a teen then and now but they were not taught and discussed this openly.

The children live in an era of information overload and as parents it becomes imperative that they are given the right tools to process this information.

Till not too long away I too was ignorant to these terms and found the terms he/him/his in some Instagram bio pretty amusing. Then I met a Gen Z, with whom I shared my amusement. As a vocal and woke Gen Z, I was given an immediate crash course on the new Gender Identifications.

And his recommendation led me to watch this amazing series called – Sex Education on NETFLIX. The characters face these questions with confusion, aplomb and denial. They use the terms that I was given a crash course of !!

Although the series is set in United Kingdom the feelings, angst and the confusion a young adult feel is the same everywhere. We are yet to reach their level of openness but at least the new curriculum is making that beginning and talking about it.

I am glad to see the change happening and hope our children grow up to become empathetic to the new normal.

Proud Congressman

मुझे भारतीय राष्ट्रीय कांग्रेस का सदस्य होने पर गर्व है.

मुझे गर्व है मैं उस दल से जुड़ा हुआ हूँ जिसने पंथनिरपेक्ष भारत की संरचना की.

मुझे गर्व है पार्टी के शीर्ष नेतृत्व पर जिन्होंने हार के बावजूद कभी अपने मूल सिधान्तों को नहीं छोड़ा.

आज के दौर में जहाँ शीर्ष नेतृत्व पर हार का आरोप जड़ना fashionable हो गया है. हम सब कांग्रेस जन को अपने अन्दर झांकर देखने की भी ज़रुरत है.

यह वक़्त है पार्टी को मंथन करने का इन निम्न बिन्दुओं पर:

  • कांग्रेस जन को एक तराजू में ना तोला जाए. समय है सच्चे और भितरघातियों में फरक करने का.
  • पार्टी के वफादार और नेता के वफादारों में फरक करना होगा.
  • ऐसे लोगों को चिन्हित करने का जिनकी पूरी राजनीती एक दुसरे को निपटाने में ही खप जाती है.
  • ऐसे सदस्यों को चिन्हित करने का जो चुनाव के वक़्त अपना कार्य क्षेत्र छोड़ कर ऐसे जगह लग जाते हैं जहाँ उनकी जान है ना पहचान.
  • सत्ता में भागीदारी चाहने वालों को सत्ता में पहुँचाने के लिए किये गए कार्यों का हिसाब देना होगा.
  • नेताओं को टिकेट वितरण से पहले कार्यकर्ताओं की भावना का ध्यान रखना होगा क्यूंकि ऊपर से थोपी गयी उम्मीदवारी कार्यकर्त्ता को हताश और मायूस कर देती है.
  • नेताओं को सुनिश्चित करना होगा की उनके अनुयायी पार्टी के अधिकारिक उम्मीदवार के लिए ही काम करें.
  • पार्टी की वजह से सत्ता सुख भोगते नेताओं को पार्टी का हित सर्वोपरी रखना होगा.

जब यह सब होगा तभी सच्चे कांग्रेसी अपने को ठगा महसूस न करेंगे और जी जान से काम करेंगे हमेशा के तरह.

जय हिन्द – जय कांग्रेस

दीपक सुखाड़िया

ECI

Respected Election Commission,

It has been a week since the assembly elections were declared in 5 states and today also marks the last day of holding virtual rallies.

In this past week new COVID-19 cases in these election going states have at least doubled:

StateNew cases on 8th Jan 2022New cases on 8th Jan 2022% Increase
Uttar Pradesh6401147352.31 Times
Punjab177359393.35 Times
Goa178937282.08 Times
Manipur761552.08 Times
Uttrakhand61030055 Times

In view of the stark rise in the Covid numbers will you continue to ban physical rallies??

If yes, then how will you punish the guilty?

With an abysmal rural net penetration of 37.74% how will the candidates reach the voters?

Wouldn’t this hamper the holding of free and fair election?

Some experts have said that the elections were to be blamed for Pandemic’s second wave last year. In Tamil Nadu state your office was publicly rebuked by a court for not taking action earlier to stop big public rallies there.

“Your institution is singularly responsible for the second wave of Covid-19,” the Madras high court had said.

You have the powers under Section 153 THE REPRESENTATION OF THE PEOPLE ACT, 1951:-

“Extention of time for completion of election.—It shall be competent for the Election Commission for reasons which it considers sufficient, to extend the time for the completion of any election by making necessary amendments in the notification issued by it under section 30 or sub-section (1) of section 39.] to eof  can be exercised only after an election schedule has been notified.”

Under Article 324 of our Constitution you can inform the government of inability to hold polls looking at the rising Covid numbers.

Sir, these are extraordinary times – times that no one living has ever seen or imagined in their lifetimes.

As a citizen of this country, I urge and plead you to reconsider your decision to hold these elections atleast for the time being till this third wave ebbs. I would rather see people queuing up to vote for candidates of their choice than standing in the lines to have their loved ones cremated. I would rather see voters selecting their representative than having to select whether to bury their loves on banks of Ganga or to let them float away in her water.

Regards,

Deepak Sukhadia

Save our Children

Just when we all were heaving a sigh of relief from the Covid Pandemic, the world is hit by another new variant of Corona Virus – OMICRON. According to reports this is more infectious and rapidly transmitted but the jury is still out on whether it is more fatal than the previous variant.

Luckily for the adult population of India most of us are vaccinated barring some morons who are still showing vaccine hesitancy through their warped logics. What is really worrying is the unvaccinated under 18 population of India which is approximately 75 million.

The only reason we were able to bring down corona cases, was the rapid vaccinations of 18+ after the second wave. If not been for the deadly and tragic second wave the Central Government would have gladly exported our share of the vaccines leaving us unprotected and dillydallied on the vaccination drive.

Look at the slow and absolute abysmal vaccination timeline in India:

  • 16th January 2021 – Frontline and health workers
  • 1st March 2021 – For all above 60 and for 45+ with co-morbidities.
  • 1st April 2021 –  45 +
  • 1st May 2021 – 18+

It has been 10 months since vaccination started in India but the government is still undecided for our children i.e. population below 18. They have lost out two precious years of their childhood away from schools and friends.  While some have returned to school there is always a danger to fall prey to this virus. As a paranoid over-protected parent of 12 year olds I am done with seeing my kids sitting at home and living a life in a bubble. There is no end in sight with this new variant.

World over countries have started vaccinating their children against Covid. How different are our children physiologically from them so as not to be vaccinated?

Why the over dependence on just two vaccines?

If countries can use other vaccines safely for over a year now, why and what is stopping us?

I urge and plead the government to fast track the approval of vaccines for the children and ताकि वोह अपना बचपन फिर से जी सकें !!

FAKE IT TILL YOU MAKE IT

Anna Sorokin

Ruja Ignatova

What does these two women have in common?

The former claimed to be a millionaire heiress and the latter started a multi-level marketing crypto currency. The thing that puts both of them at the same platform was their exceptional ability for exaggerated claims and fooling people out of their wealth.

They both believed in the policy “FAKE IT TILL U MAKE IT” unfortunately for them law caught with them before they could set free from their dubious past.

We all know of at least one such person with dubious and hyperbolic claims which has no bearing to their past and current situation. Being part of some organizations I see this all the time. The imagined closeness to persons in high positions and the overestimation of one’s influence is the life’s motto for some.

I know of a person, who changed their dead father’s profession of that of a contractor to a completely new one decade after his death to suit their then current political position. For some change in profession has been rolled on by the imaginary grandness of their forefathers. Sometimes the past is too uncomfortable or sometimes is doesn’t fit into the current scheme of things.

We live an age where social media is where images are created for the world to marvel at. The likes and the followers are bought and sold with aplomb. So if you have the resources at disposal, you hype up your profile or else you hype up an imaginary life. In either case the intention is to fake it till you place yourself in a space that you desire. Some make it and some don’t after all the art of faking is not for everyone to excel in.

Like someone said you can fake everything except money and you do not have to go broke faking it!!

HOW DO YOU REMEMBER ME

I heard this pretty interesting quotes some time back which says ”There is a truth that is mine and one is yours and then there is a third one which is nobody’s truth!!” and taking this further “we are never villains in our own story.”

I write this because just a few days back I heard about ‘The reason which a friend of mine had told some mutual friends about us drifting apart. It made me wonder how different can two people see things: things that may be inconsequential to one may be the raison d’etre for another. Maybe he had reasons to believe what he believes and I had mine to disbelieve them.

We drifted apart but have been friends though, for I strongly believe in that in life one should never burn their bridges because one’s path will eventually lead you to that bridge that you destroyed. We seldom realize life isn’t too short but rather its toooo long and there are no escaping people , even the ones you abhor, hate and loved and lost especially living in a small town.

We save numbers, add people on FB and follow them on Instagram and the whole rigmarole of reversing this process is difficult. Un-following / Un-friending and blocking serves their purpose but to a point only. They pop-up on mutual friends timelines and then there is stalking which some of us are experts at. The need to stay updated is a strong motivating factor, isn’t ??

Letting go doesn’t happen and why should it?? What if we become friends again?? Do we ignore and look thru each other or do we acknowledge each other. I am the latter variety. The grudge, the hurt will remain forever but so shall my ability to be friendly and civil. Like I said  – NEVER BURN YOUR BRIDGES !!

Till the time I return to the path leading to that illusive bridge, all I want to remember are the good memories and the interesting time we shared and yes there will be exceptions: People and memories that I wish to completely obliterate from my memory and that is a special place reserved for few ultra villains/vamps in my life.

So till them we all become evil in each other’s versions of the truth, let’s remember us in those happy times and let that be our forever memory.