On this long page, an attempt is made for in-depth exploration of some of the important or deep-rooted issues facing India. For an ancient and highly diversified nation like India, historical perspective is necessary to understand the real significance and origin of various socio-political problems.
India – the biggest democracy in the world – is going through a lot of changes and turmoil, due to both forces from within and outside. As a country, it is unparalleled in its diversity – cultural, religious, social, lingual and economic. In fact, politically as well: China might have discarded communism and Mao’s ideology but India is still battling to root out the left wing extremists (called Naxalites) entrenched in its tribal belt called the ‘Red Corridor’! They represent the ground soldiers of the communist ideologues who live in the cities as professors, doctors, advocates, social workers and human rights activists and arrange for finance, planning, material and weapon support to the fighting cadre in the countryside. They wish to convert India into an authoritarian communist state. They find brotherhood in “ultra-liberals” who are more like anarchists who want “Azadi” from everything and “Azadi” to do anything, including breaking India into pieces!! Then there are Hindu freaks who claim to be “Secular” but take delight in their anti-Hindu agenda for vote bank politics. And together these privileged groups are so powerful that they can wake up the Supreme Court of India even at midnight when! The best part is, when they face criticism they come out holding candles to declare India “Intolerant”! The Islamic State of South Asia, Pakistan, loves these “special” Indian citizens as its allies against the common enemy – the Indian State!! That should be enough to underline the liberal credentials of Indian democracy – it is simply too free for freedom lovers!
“Dharma” Unites Diverse Segments of India
Indian diversity is really mind boggling. In fact, there is no other nation in the world with such extraordinary concentration of diversity. Who would know it better than the colonial British! Watching Muslim separatists carve out a separate Pakistan in 1947 and the cumbersome process of unification of 565 tiny kingdoms in the Indian republic, they were not sure how long India would stay intact without more divisions. [The Nizam of Hyderabad (lording over 80% Hindu population) had even gone to the UN to escape absorption in India!]. Besides, the mastermind of India’s partition, Jinnah, was always there to incite Muslim rulers of princely states to stay sovereign or join Pakistan, but his designs were foiled by Sardar Patel. [Explore: India’s ‘Unity in Diversity’ is Unique in the World!] The Hindu land of diversity is still going strong at 70 while the mono-cultural Pakistan broke in two pieces in 1971 and is inching closer to further fragmentation, or becoming a Chinese colony, in the very near future!
The unity of 1.33 billion Indians is firmly rooted in the highly liberal life philosophy of 1.1 billion Hindus – whose way of life is grounded in the ancient wisdom of “Sarva Dharma Sambhava” (respect of all faiths). Here, the word ‘Hindu’ is used in geographical sense – all Indians who follow India born life philosophies (followers of what are called Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, Sikhism etc). The common denominator of what they practice is “Dharma” which is similar to universal humanism where god-fictions (religions) or the childish absurdity of “my-god-is-bigger-than-your-god” or “my-god-is-the-only-God” have no relevance. Dharma is integrative and allows full freedom to think rationally and hold divergent views.
Perhaps the best person who really understood “Dharma” was Dr B R Ambedkar whose life was devoted to eradicating untouchability from the Indian society. If he chose Buddhism for conversion, he had the capacity to understand the Sublime teaching of the Great Buddha who taught “pure Dharma” to people – untainted by faiths and beliefs and away from the mumbo-jumbo of fictional god theories. The Buddha symbolizes attainment of highest form of purity through personal human efforts.
India’s Partition Contrasts Hindu and Muslim Cultures
Evolution of India and Pakistan after 1947 clearly highlights and contrasts the integrating Hindu philosophy of India and the divisive Islamic cult of Pakistan. It also shows why Gandhi inspires the whole world while the godfather of Pakistan remains obliterated as yet another Muslim separatist and why the world trusts Hindu India but not the Islamic State of Pakistan. Today, Hindu India stands for respect for humanity, while Pakistan symbolizes contempt for humanity! If Hindu India produced scientists, doctors, engineers and scholars practically from every segment of its highly diverse society, the mono cultural Pakistan became sole property of ethnic Punjabis and paradise for Sunni jihadi terrorists! India pushed for self-reliance, but despite the delusion of “Islamic superiority” Pakistan fell for a life of dependency – first on the US and Saudi Arabia and now on China, with frequent dole from the IMF. It appears ready to become a Chinese colony without knowing Mandarin but can’t think of friendship with India despite speaking the same language. No wonder Pakistan is an absolutely unusual country!!
In 1951, independent India’s population was 361 million (including 34 million Muslims); West Pakistan’s population was 35.3 million and that of the East Pakistan, 42 million. Since then the non-Muslim population in Pakistan has been shrinking. In contrast, in India Muslim population has grown up: from 9.8% in 1951 to around 15% today – and still growing strong, with the highest fertility rate of 3 children per woman as against the national average of around 2.2.
In India, the nascent democracy steadily grew in strength (except for the dark age of 2 year Emergency in mid 1970s). In Pakistan, democracy became a threat to the leaders of the politically dominant West Pakistan wing that brought in the culture of military rule since 1958. Contempt for democracy also broke Pakistan in 1971 – after killing of half a million East Pakistanis and flight of 10-15 million to India. Since late 1980s, Pakistan is busy promoting Jihadi violence in Kashmir to hurt Hindu India – another Pakistani absurdity!!
Decay of Indian National Congress
Immediately after independence, Mahatma Gandhi had advised dissolution of the Indian National Congress and forming two parties, each headed by Sardar Patel and Nehru so that Indian democracy gets grounded on healthy roots. But Nehru failed to appreciate the depth of his advice and Patel died soon. As a result, Indian democracy got distorted under a single party rule. And worst, by 1980s the Congress Party turned into a family owned private firm.
Arrival of vision-less Italian Sonia pushed the party to the fringe of Indian politics and degraded the political discourse to the level of filthy insinuations and lies. Her hate mongering against Hindus and Hindu organizations, in the garb of secularism, badly alienated her party from the vast majority of Indians. Today, her son appears to be a puppet of anti-national and anti-Hindu vested interests – a sure delight for Pakistan Establishment and Indian anarchists. But a challenge for India.
Towards the end of 20 century, India got identified by three things: high poverty, high population, and high corruption. However, the Nehruvian socialistic system gave way to capitalistic economy in the early 1990s. Since then a lot of people have come out of poverty and population growth rate has steadily declined.
India Under Modi: Honest and Inclusive Government
Narendra Modi – Honest and Hard-working Mass Leader
The 2014 Lok Sabha election victory of the Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) will go down in the history of free India as an important milestone. It gave a crushing blow to the Congress culture of putting Indira family above the nation and its dangerous anti-Hindu ‘secularism’. In 1947, India became free from the 1200 years of foreign occupation – 1000 years of barbaric Islamic rule and 200 years of British racial exploitation. But only in 2014, for the first time, the sentiments of majority Indians took the center-stage of national politics. Hindus got some hope of freedom from the rule of “anti-Hindu secularists”. But it would be naive to assume that their freedom is enduring because the anti-Hindu brigade has strong support from global jihadi Muslim funds and Christian evangelists. So, Hindus have to continue the struggle to unite and be politically relevant on their own ancient land!
Arrival of Narendra Modi as the Prime Minister, brought the culture of honesty, hard-work, dedication and respect for the country. His dynamic and charismatic personality, insightful understanding of Indian society, unparalleled skills to connect with people and forge personal ties with global leaders and the ability to take bold steps make Indians feel proud as Indians. However, the most perplexed people since 2014 are the middlemen of the power corridor; they went out of job, as benefits of schemes started reaching directly into the bank accounts of the beneficiaries. Today, along with Congress and the dirty secular brigade they are all fighting for their survival and trying to make a common cause in huddling together against Modi. They are hoping for return of the happy days of corruption, plunder of public money, policy paralysis and a spineless central government, in 2019.
Biggest Tax reform, Blow to Black Economy and Pro-Poor Policies
Modi government’s boldest steps include demonetization and implementation of the GST, the biggest tax reform in Indian history. Focus on the use of technology and digital transactions are changing the habits of financial transactions. The tax base has almost doubled. Demonetization gave a severe blow to the deep rooted culture of black money, despite the fact that over 99% notes in circulation returned to banks. Those sitting on piles of cash were forced to deposit it in the banks, and got exposed in doing so. It also disrupted naxal and terror finance, at least momentarily. No one has seen Mayawati and other politicians felicitated with garlands of Notes since demonetization!! Opposition politicians and Modi hater pseudo-intellectuals of the media only noted the short term glitch in the economy, ignoring the enormous impact in the long run. The ease of doing business Index markedly improved from 142 to 100 in four years. Modi also successfully launched the Clean India mission, brought electricity to even the remotest villages and provided gas connections to poor households. The Ayushman Yojna,called Modicare, is the biggest such program in the world, aiming to provide health cover to around 50 crore Indians. This single program should provide significant relief to the poor including farmers because the sudden medical expense has been a major factor behind their hardships. The next NSSO survey should reveal the impact of all these measures on people’s lives. In the meantime, it is heartening to know that India is no longer the World’s Poverty Capital!
Having a pro-women government brought hearty cheers for Muslim women – Modi government stood for their right of equality. 32 years ago, Shah Bano lost but in 2017 Saira Bano won dignity for Muslim women. The SC ended instant “triple talaq” on August 22, 2017. Yet, the clergy promoted malpractice did not stop completely. Not surprising, the Muslim clergy’s political hold got threatened and they raised the typical bogey of “Islam is under attack!” Their best friend, the Congress party did not support freedom for Muslim women. However, unable to pass the anti Triple talaq bill in Rajya Sabha, an ordinance has been promulgated by the government.
Modi Government’s Achievements since 2014
Modi government has shown impressive fiscal conservatism. It has consistently resisted the temptation to boost growth via pump priming. For the first time, there appears to be an efficient and honest government at the Center. The best part is that India has a truly “inclusive” government since 2014. New Delhi’s power corridor is free from power brokers and vested interests, as government aid gets directly transferred to beneficiary accounts.
- The Budget date was changed to February 1. The advancement from the last day of February ensures that the departments get more time to spend their allocated money.
- The Railway Budget, which was an annual event of great political opportunism and often a bargaining chip in coalition politics, is merged with the main budget.
- The Planning Commission, a luxury club of privileged bureaucrats, was disbanded. Now developmental vision is provided by the NITI Aayog through real experts.
- The insolvency and bankruptcy code implemented in 2016 laid out the rules for a court-monitored time-bound process of dealing with bad loans. This has already led to recoveries worth over Rs 4 lakh crore.
- Ease of doing index singificantly improved to 100 in 2018 from 134 in 2014. And Foreign direct investment (FDI) has gone up since arrival Modi government in 2014.
- Construction of roads and highways is happening at multi-fold speed compared with previous corrupt regime. Electricity situation has never been better since independence. Now India is fast approaching 100% electrification. Around 1.25 crore houses are built for the poor since 2014.
- The North-East India had remained almost completely ignored for decades. Realizing strategic importance of the region, Modi government has mainstreamed their development by increasing road, rail and air connectivity. The mainstream national media is now no more blind to North East India, for a change. It also lifted AFSPA from two states in the North East.
- For the first time, Indian army-men and their sacrifices are receiving due national attention in an environment of ‘nationalism’ and ‘patriotism’.
- Modi government sorted out the long pending complex border issue with Bangladesh by rationalizing it through territory exchange. It brought untold relief to people living in the border areas on both sides, paving way for easy movement and development in the border areas.
Contents on this page include:
1. Truth of Independence and Imperfect Partition
2. Islamic Plunder of India – 1000 Years of Dark Age
3. Dangers of Global Islamic Terrorism
4. A Terrible Mistake: Equating “Dharma” with “Religion”
5. The Unfinished Agenda of National Integration
6. Dangers of “Anti-Hinduism” (called Secularism) in India
7. Development Beyond “Economic Growth”
8. Poverty in India
9. Population Stabilization
10. Right to Education Act, 2009
11. Governance Reforms
12. Climate Change
13. Renewable Energy – Solar Energy
1. Truth of Independence and Imperfect Partition
Why was the Indian National Congress (INC) Formed
Most Indians grow up learning that the Congress Party gave us freedom by throwing out the British occupiers and that it was actually born for that purpose only. A common image on the mind is that the history of the Indian National Congress is “The History of the Freedom Movement”. But a little unbiased study of the history after the First War of Independence in 1857 would be somewhat unsettling to most readers.
British Officer Alan Octavian Hume, supported by Viceroy Lord Dufferin, conceived the idea of Congress. The idea was to prevent repeat of ‘1857’ like uprising with the help of a forum of “brown Sahibs” as unofficial British allies. Hume convened the first meeting of educated Indian elites in December 1885. It included 72 prominent Indians such as Dadabhai Naoroji, Pherozeshah Mehta, S Subramania Iyer, Dinshaw Wacha, etc and was presided by Womesh Chandra Bannerjee.
Bannerjee concluded his presidential address by emphasizing that “the Congressmen desired the permanence of British rule in India, and that their ultimate aim was only to gain a share in the administration of its government.”
Three years later, he emphasized that “the principle on which the Indian National Congress is based is that British Rule should be permanent and abiding in India.”
This club of loyalists was derided by the nationalists as an organization of Anglicized Indians and pseudo-imitators of English culture. Lala Lajpat Rai ridiculed the Congress as an institution of beggars that pleaded for charity from the Government. He knew that “the congress was created only for the purpose of saving the British Raj from any impending danger.”
Read in detail about the nature of Congress in the first 20 years.
Only after the turn of the century, the arrival of nationalists like Bal Gangadhar Tilak, Lala Lajpat and Bipin Chandra Pal (Bal-Lal-Pal) converted the Congress Party into a nationalists’ party. They dumped the culture of submissiveness and sycophancy and promoted Swaraj – self rule through strikes and boycotts. Partition of Bengal in 1905 provided them the opportunity to spread the Swadeshi movement among masses. Gandhi’s arrival on the scene in 1915 introduced the Gandhian angle and the national movement intensified further. The evolution of Congress before independence can be divided in three phases, dominated by the British loyalists (1885-1905), nationalists (1905-1919), and Gandhian (1919-1947).
Independence: Why the British decided to leave India in 1947
This is a particularly pertinent question because Gandhi’s ‘Quit India Movement’ of 1942 had already tapered off by 1944, lakhs of Indians joined the British Indian army despite Gandhi’s call for non-cooperation and there wasn’t really any compelling opposition from Indians that would necessitate a hasty departure. Here is the truth: when the WW2 ended, Britain had to consider two new realities.
One: The war with Hitler had completely destroyed the British economy (as of all allied nations) and it no longer had the financial and military potency to continue to rule its subject colonies. So, Britain would have quit India purely for this reason anyway. Thus, it withdrew not only from India but had to relinquish its entire colonial portfolio: It left Jordan in 1946, Palestine in 1947, Sri Lanka in 1948, Myanmar in 1948, Egypt in 1952 and Malaysia in 1957. For the same reason another colonial looter, France, got out of Laos in 1949 and Cambodia in 1953; it left Vietnam in 1954. Netherlands came out of its colonies called the Dutch East Indies, that gave birth to Indonesia in 1949. Without Hitler and his war, it would have taken several more decades for India and other slave colonies to see the light of freedom.
In fact, Britain was in such a bad shape that after the war, under the Marshall Plan for restoration of war torn nations, it had to be given around one-fourth of the total package to rebuild itself. Records show that the decision to quit India was already taken before end of 1945. Therefore, credit must be given to the second world war and Hitler as well!
Two: The weakened British were also alarmed by the military activities of the Indian National Army (INA) of Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose. Although defeated, it was eroding the loyalties of British Indian army-men and navy personnel. When the British charged 20,000 INA soldiers with treason publicly at Delhi’s Red Fort in November 1945, there was a strong reaction across the country. The trials also catalyzed the 1946 rebellion in the Royal Indian Navy, making the British further nervous. Since racial discrimination was rampant in the Royal Indian Navy and the service conditions were very bad, rebellion became a lurking possibility. Further, as the 23 Lakh Indian soldiers returned from the big War, the possibility of their involvement with the nationalists and revolutionaries became a nightmare for the British. They were concerned that if the Indian personnel in the army and police were to revolt, their 60,000 70,000 loyal White soldiers across India would be simply decimated. The uprising of 1857 had already given them a taste of such slaughter. Thus, they decided to save “White lives” by quitting India at the earliest opportunity. Therefore, major credit must go to the ignored Subhash Chandra Bose and his INA.
India Neglected Revolutionaries, Whom the British Feared
But, unfortunately, after 1947 Congress Party leaders projected themselves as sole freedom fighters and deliberately neglected the contribution of so many revolutionaries and other groups that stayed away from Congress due to its policies. It is highly ironic that Free India has national monuments to remember collaboration with British during the WW1 and WW2 and is part of “Commonwealth Empire” but nothing comparable to immortalize heroes of India’s first struggle in 1857, the Ghadar revolutionaries of WW1 era and Bose’s Azad Hind Fauz during WW2. It is a pity that today very few Indians can tell the racial and colonial significance of the Komagata Maru incident of 1914 or about the contributions of women revolutionaries such as madam Bhikaji Cama and many others who worked on foreign soil for India’s freedom from the colonial rule.
But perhaps the most maligned revolutionary is the iconic Veer Savarkar who became special target of the Congress leaders as part of their Muslims appeasement policy and “deceptive secular agenda.” Being a Hindu and Championing Hindu interests was turned against him for Muslim vote bank politics. The British sentenced Savarkar for 50 year jail term! He spent over 10 years in Kalapani (Andaman’s cellular Jail) and managed to come alive! His writings inspired revolutionaries like Bhagat Singh and Chandrashekhar Azad and the British always worried about his activities. It is a shame that even after 70 years of independence glorifying Hindu heroes is stigmatized or considered ‘not appropriate’.
This is a wonderful blog to learn about ignored Indian Heroes: History Under Your Feet
Why was India Partitioned?
Two Nation Theory
The seed of Islamic separatism was sown by none other than Sir Syed Ahmad Khan of the Aligarh Movement and the founder of Aligarh Muslim University. He proclaimed that Hindus and Muslims are two different nations who shared nothing except a common territory. Hence, Muslims should not be treated as a minority community (20%), instead they should be treated as a ‘separate nation’ at par with the Hindus! Amazing!! In the hands of power hungry politicians of the Muslim League (also propped by the British) it became a movement of Islamic separatism that ultimately led to British India’s partition and massive bloodbath.
Outside the Muslim League, this idea had little support and dominant Ulema rejected it. Other prominent Muslim leaders like Azad found it totally ridiculous and useless. But since the Muslim League was a British baby, the colonial rulers gave it disproportionate importance while protecting their own larger colonial interests. Therefore, right since the formation of the Muslim League in 1906, two movements proceeded simultaneously. One was the nationalist mainstream movement of Congress that wanted freedom from the British rule and the other was the separatist movement of the Muslim League that wanted separation of Muslims from Hindus!
Maulana Abul Kalam Azad criticized the idea of Pakistan saying “The word ‘Pakistan’ itself suggests that in the world some places are pure and others are impure. Islam recognizes no such division of territories. The Prophet says, ‘God has made the whole world as a mosque for me.’ Thus, the demand for Pakistan loses all force.”
For Dr Ambedkar the idea of Pakistan was “worse than useless.”
In the ultimate sense it was the power hungry group of Muslims, who exploited the name of Islam to get a separate piece of land to satisfy their personal ambitions, prevailed. But when the Chief separatist, Jinnah, got his ‘Pakistan’ as two pieces of lands, separated by one thousand mile of Indian territory, he mocked it “a maimed, mutilated and moth-eaten” Pakistan! Beggars can’t be choosers and he got what he deserved. The emptiness of the two nation theory arguments became evident in 1971 when the Eastern wing of Pakistan, became sovereign Bangladesh. In next 3 decades, it became the breeding ground of Jihadi terrorists and finally today it is internationally known as a ‘Terroristan’ – a paradise of Islamic terrorists. Highly corrupt and self serving politicians have brought Pakistan to the brink of bankruptcy while it stands isolated on the global forums. It has completely lost its credibility even among its Islamic Brothers of the Middle East. This is the right time that the Great “Allah” himself descends on the Pak soil and saves Pakistan from its Islamic self-destructive tendencies!
Congress Leadership failed on Three Accounts
In 1947, the Congress leadership failed on three accounts: first, it failed to prevent county’s partition along communal lines; second, after it accepted the idea of partition it failed to plan for perfect Muslim – Non-Muslim partition and third, it failed to plan for peaceful systematic migration of Hindus and Muslims over longer period of time. The imperfect and hurried partition of the country, following the absurd “Two-Nation” logic led to the unprecedented human disaster of the 20th century – over a million dead and migration of 12 – 15 million people. For India, imperfect partition means perennial risk of communal tension and a religious leverage for Pakistan in India. Can India develop into a really vibrant integrated democracy if 15% Indians with global support remain inclined towards isolationism?
Hindus – The Biggest Losers of India’s Partition
Undoubtedly, Hindus were the biggest losers in the Game of Partition. Had they been a monolithic bloc (like Muslims or Christians) and united, they would not have allowed their ancient land to be divided in such a silly and arbitrary way. Else they would have forced India to be a Hindu Nation – an automatic secular nation.
Many Westerners are surprised that Hindus did not demand compensation from Muslims and Christians for atrocities and social, cultural and economic damages inflicted upon them during the centuries of Mughal and British rule. They see it as a sign of irrationally high tolerance and accommodating nature of the Hindu society ever ready to give up its own interests. But then the depressed mindset resulting from centuries of humiliation and suppression was not so easy to wash away.
On the other side of the partition line, massacre of Hindus started the moment Pakistan was born. The best testimonial comes from Jogendra Nath Mandal, a Dalit leader and a Muslim League leader. He perhaps had not studied the history of Islam or remained dreaming of Muslim-Dalit unity. Accidentally, he became the first education minister of Pakistan! Yet, he decided to come back to India in 1950 looking at mass scale rape, conversions and killing of Hindu including his own dalit community. Mandal’s resignation letter to Pak PM tells the sordid story.
In India, Hindus were soon turned into ignored citizens by the ruling Congress politicians, as they discovered electoral benefits of clergy controlled Muslim vote bank. With the passage of time, the Muslim appeasement politics degenerated into plain anti-Hindu agenda. As Congress shrunk into a family owned private firm towards 1990s, the anti-Hindu rant became its sole electoral ideology, promoted as “secularism!” Comically, today the new “Royal Highness” of Congress is hopping temples, pretending to be a “Shiv Bhakta” or “Ram Bhakta” and doesn’t appear in public without a ‘Tilak’ on the forehead – after public display of his “Jeneu Dhari” Hindu status!! Yet, his aversion towards religious and social Hindu organizations continues. He seems to be competing in irrationality with Pakistan! Both feel threatened by a common enemy: Narendra Modi.
The Kashmir Issue: Kashmiriyat vs Islam
Nehru’s bungling in 1947, his daughter’s failure to settle it after the 1971 war in exchange of 93,000 Pak POWs in the Shimla Accord and Congress Party’s vision-less and indecisive governance coupled with its Muslim appeasement policy are primarily responsible for the current situation. If Kashmir is still not fully integrated with rest of India even after 70 years, it is all due to Nehruvian politics which lacked decisiveness in dealing with issues related to Muslims. India has made itself handicapped through article 370 and Ordinance 35A, thanks to Nehru’s brilliance in Muslim appeasement and buddy-ship with Sheikh Abdullah.
Pak agenda is clear: “If I can’t get Kashmir in the name of Islam, I will destroy Kashmir in the name of Islam!” This is standard historical Islamic logic of destruction. So, reflecting its Islamic credentials it wants to cause as much violence and destruction in Kashmir as possible using its home grown Jihadis – exploiting the Islamic connections across border. It doesn’t matter who dies in Kashmir – Hindus or Muslims. But today, Pakistan has little support for its “Kashmir Cause” on international forums. In the Pakistani world view, the 1971 break up of the country deeply hurt its Islamic Pride. The only way to recover some it Pride is by waging an endless jihadi violence in Kashmir and giving India “1000 cuts”. So, Pakistan is trying to win the Bangladesh war in Kashmir!
2. Islamic Plunder of India – 1000 Years of Dark-Age
The Biggest Holocaust in World History Happened in India
The word ‘holocaust’ triggers images of inhuman treatment and genocide of the Jews by the Nazis between 1933 and 1945. The Nazis killed 15-17 million people, including 6 million European Jews. Hundreds of movies have been made on this topic. Massacre of the Native inhabitants by the European settlers in the Americas, and the Armenian genocide by the Ottoman Turks are also in knowledge of people.
But the world’s biggest holocaust happened in India between 8th to 18th century AD – the period of Islamic invaders and rulers. Historian Professor K.S. Lal estimated that the Hindu population in India had decreased by 80 million between 1000 AD and 1525 AD – an unparalleled extermination of humanity in the World history. And it was the period before the start of Mughal rule in 1526 AD. One may disagree with the number but the scale must be surely astronomical because other historians also estimated gigantic numbers.
The Cult of Islamic Barbarism
The Mohammadans brought with them the culture of savage barbarism, never seen by people of this region. They proudly indulged in the ghastly conduct claiming to be the mujahids (holy warriors) and wanting to become ghazis (killers of non-Muslims) in the service of their Only God whom they called Allah. Throughout the 1000 years, the Islamist invaders repeated the same pattern of barbarism – mass slaughter, loot, rape, slave taking, capturing women and girls for sexual pleasure or trading and destroying temples – in the “Glory of Islam!” They measured their success by the size of the booty (plundered wealth), number of infidels beheaded, and from the number of women and slaves captured. [Explore: 1000 years of Islamic Jihad in India] The savages religiously followed the words of their Holy Book (Surah 9:29):
“Fight those who believe not in Allah nor the Last Day nor hold that forbidden which hath been forbidden by Allah and His Prophet, nor acknowledge the religion of truth even if they are People of the Book, until they pay the jizyah (tax for non-Muslims) with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued.”
Today’s Muslim terrorists are true photocopy of the barbarians of the past 14 centuries. Their understanding of religion appears to be limited to just a few Quranic verses mentioned in this video.
3. Global Islamic Terrorism
The Islamic quest to conquer the world is as old as Islam itself and Muslims, who practice Islam as a pure political ideology, have been fighting for territorial domination ever since. Bringing the whole world under one global Islamic caliphate is a 1400 year old dream of these violence loving Muslims. They call territory under their control and governed by Islamic laws, Dar al-Islam (The House of Islam): for example, Iran and Saudi Arabia; and the lands where they are fighting to promote Islam, Dar al-Harb (The House of War). They would continue to fight to expand the territories under Muslim rule at the expense of territories ruled by the non-Muslims. This is an endless war since the 7th century, it will go on until the whole world is under their domination. Rich gulf States like the Saudi Arabia have been spending a great deal of money to propagate their expansionist agenda using charities. Now the global terror outfits such as the ISIS, Al Qaeda and Taliban extensively employ the social media for jihadi propaganda, radicalization and recruitment.
The dream of global domination was badly shattered when the last Islamic Caliphate (Ottoman Empire, responsible for genocide of over a million Armenian people) was defeated in the WW1 in 1918, when Muslims lost the capacity to conquer whole nations as a time. Therefore, since then they have been trying to expand in small steps: one migration at a time and one terror attack at a time. Each committed Muslim is destined to wages jihad to convert, enslave or kill infidels. Here is why they kill in their own words.
What makes Muslims Prone to Radicalization
The 911 terror attack in New York in 2001 made Islamic terrorism a major topic in the global media. While politicians remained obsessed with political correctness, researchers around the world started studying psychological traits of terrorists and how they use Islam for radicalization. For instance, a prominent Danish psychologist says that Islam is quite different from other religions; it can be easily twisted to brainwash Muslims to accept dying and killing as trivial acts and ‘martyrdom‘ as a glorious virtue. They are taught to view people of other faiths as inferior, which breeds hatred and makes Muslim extremists far more violent than extremists of other religious faiths.
The cultural and psychological cocktail of anger, low self-esteem, victim mentality, willingness to be blindly guided by religious authorities, the tendency to segregate and discriminatory world view makes them distinct from rest of the humanity. In Islamic societies, the idea of “constructive criticism” doesn’t exist, and any disagreement or critique easily turns into extreme anger that can easily turn into physical violence. Particularly, the sharia loving Muslims in these societies lag far behind in the rational “understanding of human development, social progress and peaceful coexistence.”
Jihad Against the West
The 911 attack was a declaration of Jihad against the West by the same gang of Jihadi fighters that the US trained (with active support of Pakistan) to fight the Soviet occupiers in Afghanistan in the 1980s. It forced the American forces to move into Afghanistan. They threw away the Pak supported Taliban. And, they are still there in 2018. The jihadi violence, however, continues. In 2003, Americans and their NATO allies attacked Iraq to punish its dictator Saddam and converted the middle-east into a war zone. After a decade of senseless violence, a new Caliphate, the Islamic State (ISIL) was born in 2014 only to be defeated in 2017. The group is now emerging in the Afghanistan, right next to ‘terrorist paradise’ called Pakistan, with 200 million Muslims. This area is fast turning into the “Middle East” of the world!
Polarization: Muslims vs the Rest
The senseless jihadi violence around the world has clearly polarized the world: Muslims against the rest. Every act of Islamic terror strengthens the anti-Muslim sentiments in non-Muslims around the world. As a result, anti-Islam groups and political parties are emerging all over the world. Election of Donald Trump as US president from an anti-Muslim platform is a significant event and perhaps the best indicator of how anti-Muslim global politics is shaping for the future. His ban of immigration from several Muslim countries and recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s Capital point to new emerging world order. Even Europe that used to be liberal towards immigrants is now hardening its approach looking at the emergence of “no go” Muslim zones and aggression of “new arrivals”. Explore: A German View on Muslim Immigration
Here is some interesting info on Muslims’ behavior change with growth of their population.
How Unjust Western Oil Policies led to Rise of Radical Islam
Islamic terrorism in the Middle East should necessarily be seen in the context of Western meddling for oil control. Ever since oil was discovered in the early 1930s in the Saudi Arabia, practically everything in the region has revolved around one single issue: Western oil interests. Thus, the US and its European allies have been solidly supporting the Saudi Arabia which is the most conservative Islamic country that practices the Wahhabi cult of Islam. The Saudis have been using their petro-dollars to propagate this regressive and intolerant doctrine around the world, packaged as ‘True Islam’.
Post WW2 history tells us that the US and its allies have always promoted puppet regimes in the Middle East (like everywhere else) to serve their interests. In reaction, extremists and fundamentalists have emerged everywhere as defenders of people’s cause – and of course as defender of Islam. However, they only serve as sacrificial pawns in the complicated rivalry of the region. Yet, history shows that they never learn from their mistake, making the West happy!
4. A Terrible Mistake, Equating “Dharma” with “Religion”
Dharma vs Religion
India, the land south of Himalaya, is also the land of “Dharma” which permeates all Indian philosophies, including the most ancient Vedic philosophy. Dharma has guided the Indian way of life since the most ancient times. Invariably, all India born life philosophies revolve around ‘Dharma.’ It has no equivalent word in the foreign languages because nowhere in the world spirituality (the art and science of growing in piety and purity) was ever advanced enough to come closer to it. Dharma transcends all shallow boundaries of man-made faiths and beliefs, called ‘religion’ by the West. It dwells in the realm of ultimate reality, ultimate truth, ultimate human nature. Therefore, the difference between ‘dharma’ and ‘religion’ is profound.
It was a grave mistake when pseudo-intellectuals translated “Dharma” in English as “Religion”. It occurred because people used the phrases like Hindu Dharma, Sikh Dharma, Jain Dharma and so on to describe their philosophies. Strictly speaking, the word ‘religion’ can’t be applied to India born philosophies – Hinduism, Buddhism, Sikhism, Jainism, etc. They are mere different ways to practice Dharma – the reality of human conduct which is universal. None divides humanity into so-called “superior believers” and “inferior non-believers” as Christianity and Islam do. They are all integrative and demand open and responsible mind.
Equating ‘Dharma’ with ‘religion’ is like saying that a football is same as ping-pong ball because both are ‘round’ or because both are used to play sport! This has ended up devaluing the life philosophies of all Indians – who don’t practice Islam and Christianity – and has distorted the public discourse.
The word ‘Hindu’ is a geographical term for all Indians living on this part of the world where the knowledge of Dharma permeates, right from Kashmir to Kanyakumari and Meghalaya to Maharashtra. In fact, even before Christ and Mohammad when the influence of Dharma based culture extended to most of East Asia and to Afghanistan and beyond, foreign travelers saw just “One India” everywhere, despite widespread diversities in customs and traditions.
Early Christians and Muslims, who had to escape their homeland to avoid ‘persecution’ at the hands of their own co-religionists (!), found safe shelter and benevolent acceptance by good natured people on the Indian soil.
What is Dharma
Dharma merely points to the nature’s order that apply on all human beings. It is common knowledge that all are born, get sick, commit mistakes and die in the same way. If you hurt people it would sure come back to you in some painful form; if you are good to others you get rewarded with kindness immediately or in future. It’s natural law of Karma that operates on every human being – whether you know it or not, or believe in it or not. Dharma is like science. Both deal with what exists in nature. For the human world, Dharma is all about good ethical conduct, right human values and their practice in life. You take responsibility of your conduct and behavior. Thus, Dharma is always working, even in your ignorance! Your belief or disbelief in some imagined God makes no difference.
Dharma is the collective discovery of spiritual scientists – Yogis and Sages – in the ancient past. They discovered that everything is interconnected through some divine force that pervades everything and every being. Thus, Indians respect all forms of life as well as nature’s rivers and mountains and have the ability to find divinity in them, and see the whole humanity as one big family (vasudeva Kutumbakam) – disregarding the diversities and dissimilarities which are natural.
This invisible force later got personified by some who called it God. From here on distortions started emerging. Yet, the childish tussle of ‘my-God-bigger-than-your-God’ or ‘my-god-is-the-only-god’ has no place in dharma-way of life. The Western theist-vs-atheist debate is also irrelevant. For instance, Buddhism doesn’t recognize any almighty God – which is mere human creation.
In the past 2000 years, religious frenzy has killed more people than all the wars in the history combined. – Anonymous
‘Religion’ is strictly a Western construct and denotes a specific rigid theory. It was coined to denote the Abrahamic or Prophetic philosophies such as Judaism, Christianity and Islam. They all believe Adam and Eve as the first creation of God and beginning of humanity. Yet, each religion has its own imagined God, who conveys his teaching through privileged one (eg., Jesus or Mohammad) which gets written in a Book. Thus, 2000 years ago, some unseen ‘Only’ God conveyed something through Jesus Christ, Bible was written and Christianity was born. It was replicated in the early 7th century when another ‘Only’ God called Allah conveyed something through a messenger Mohammad that got written in Quran – it was the birth of Islam. And the ‘believers’ called themselves Muslim. Nobody knows who is superior: the Islamic Allah or the Christian God! But the useless tussle – “My-God-Is-Bigger-Than-Your-God” – would continue as long as there are ‘People of the Book’ on this planet.
A ‘believer’ has no choice, he must unquestioningly ‘believe’ in his chosen religion and consider everything outside, as simply False. Merely by believing, he become superior to the non-believers! An atheist has clearly no place in any religion. Further, one can’t be a Muslim and a Christian at the same time! The two are mutually exclusive. Further, Islam is a one way road: you can only enter, can’t leave it alive!
The biggest problem with religions is that they make people submissive and kill their rational thinking. Another serious issue is that of context-less or distorted interpretation of Words written centuries ago and imposing them on people through force. That makes ‘religion’ dangerous in the hands of distorted-brained people. They are people who have lost the capacity to think and behave like sane human-beings. This is the ugliest side of the man-made political science called ‘religion’ – and far too dangerous than even fascism.
Can Religion become Dharma?
When Jesus and Mohammad preached, their aim was to enforce ‘right’ human values in people so that they can lead ethical and harmonious life. When religions are practiced in the right sense as taught initially, they would be only pointing to the universal ethics and human values. This brings them closer to practice of Dharma or humanity! And fortunately, even now there are Jews, Christians and Muslims who grasp the core essence of their religion and are naturally Dharmic in their conduct!!
You may also like to explore: World Needs More “Dharma” and less Religion !
5. The Unfinished Agenda of National Integration
The Statue of Unity
It was Sardar Patel, the first Indian Home Minister, who used his political skills to merge 565 Princely States into the Indian Union in 1947. Having enjoyed patronage under the British for generations, it was natural that these rulers would be reluctant to give up power, but that’s what political realities demanded. It is a matter of national pride that a world class monument is ready to honor the “Real Sardar” of India. Hope the monument would not only inspire the feeling of nationalism and a sense of unity in India, but it would also attract much more tourists in Gujarat and spur the economy.
While Patel integrated princely states into one mainstream, there are still many things that need attention to further strengthen the country..
5a) The North Eastern States
The north eastern states are strategically important due to Chinese threat. A vital unfinished business of national integration relates to the seven North Eastern States, connected with the mainland India only through a very narrow strip of land – called Chicken neck. The Doklam stand-off with China glaringly pointed out the huge danger to national security from the communist neighbor. It is unfortunate that ever since 1947 the North Eastern states have remained ignored by New Delhi and people living in rest of the India know very little about the people and culture of these states. This is frightening. Connectivity and development are still big issues, despite significant efforts of Modi government since 2014.
Fortunately, Modi government recognized the strategic importance of North East and need for its integration with rest of the country. It has been taking thoughtful steps to improve connectivity and spur development in this region. The NDA government has certainly succeeded in putting the North East on the national agenda.
You may like to explore: Birth and Spirit of the Sixth Schedule
5b) Naxal Violence – The Biggest Internal Security Threat
The ‘Red Corridor’ and Maoist Violence
Can you imagine a country that leaves a vast part of its territory ungoverned? This is exactly what has happened right since independence. People in the remote tribal areas have lived abandoned by the government, which left them at the mercy of forest officials who acted as if they were still agents of the British Crown. The governance vacuum was filled by left-wing extremists called naxalites, who exploited the isolation of the tribals and the injustices done by state officials and money lenders. Congress governments never really showed any serious willpower to educate and absorb them in the national mainstream. The simple minded tribals served as mere vote bank for the politicians and as sacrificial pawns for the left-wing masterminds living in the cities – the urban naxals. Living disguised as human rights activists, doctors, professors, writers and lawyers these overground educated naxals arrange for material and food supplies and weapons as well as finances and planning. They keep alive the ideology as well as the violence, and of course the society and the country suffers.
Over the years, they carved out a vast territory covering 92,000 sq km area, called “Red Corridor” by the media. It expanded dramatically after the 80s right from Nepal to Tamil Nadu. In the early 1990s, the number of districts affected by varying degrees of Maoist violence stood at just 15 in four states. This rose to 156 districts in 13 states in 2004. It reached to 180 districts in 2009. However, sustained government efforts led to improvement. In December 2017, 105 districts in 9 states were under naxal violence, which is now reduced to 90 districts. However, just 30 districts contribute to 90% violence.
Of the 90 districts, the most 19 are in Jharkhand, 16 in Bihar, 15 in Odisha, 14 in Chhattisgarh, 8 in Telangana, 6 in AP, 3 each in Maharashtra, Kerala, and UP, 2 in MP and 1 in WB.
The government strategy includes developmental as well as the security aspects of the affected areas. Projects related to development include infrastructure, roads, cell-phone connectivity, bridges and schools.
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5c) Non-Implementation of the Uniform Civil Code (UCC)
Non implementation of the Uniform Civil Code (UCC) even after 7 decades is seriously undermining Indian democracy by perpetuating inequalities. It is an issue that the past governments have been evading – largely to please the backward looking Muslim clergy that controls Muslim votes. It is amazing that we have a British given common criminal code for all, but even after 70 years there is no attempt to build consensus to implement the common civil code and replace so many personal laws. These are laws dealing with the matters involving marriage, divorce, inheritance, adoption and maintenance in the respective religious communities.
While framing the Constitution these personal laws were debated extensively; the progressive thinkers saw them as divisive and wanted a Uniform Civil Code for all Indians – in order to create a unique Indian national identity and eradicate caste and religion based identities. But they were opposed on the ground that it would destroy the cultural identity of minorities (particularly, Muslims). Thus, a compromise was reached – the UCC was placed under the Directive principles (these are non-binding), but which the state shall endeavor to achieve. Hence, the Article 44 of the Constitution says: “The State shall endeavor to secure for the citizens a uniform civil code throughout the territory of India.” It must be seen along with the Article 14 which ensures right to equality.
The issue of UCC came under national limelight in the mid-80s after the infamous Shah Bano case, but the Congress leaders’ vote bank politics failed Muslim women.
Goa can be a good role model and can show the way. It has a Common Family Law which is also called Goa Civil Code and governs all Goans, although it allows some exceptions to some communities. It is certainly not a true Uniform Civil Code, but shows that it is possible to move towards a UCC.
Muslim Clergy – The Biggest Roadblock to the UCC
The biggest hurdle in implementing the UCC is the orthodox Muslim clergy – the darling of appeasement politicians who nurture them for vote bank politics. These maulvis have formed an elite club called the All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB). Their sole motto is to resist every progress in the Muslim community – in the name of Islam or Sharia. For all practical purposes, they remain mentally stuck in the 7th century Arab society. Most of them behave as if they are foreigners in India, representing some stone-age Islamic State. They are primarily responsible for the tendencies of ghettoisation and isolationism in their community that keeps them backward and separated from the mainstream Indian society. ‘Their Islam’ reduces women-folks to the level of commodity and personal property of men and degrades them as untrustworthy whose words can’t be taken as truth in the court of law.
6. Dangers of “Anti-Hinduism” (Called SECULARISM) in India!
It’s funny! How dividing Hindus on caste lines is called ‘social justice’, uniting Muslims is called ‘secularism’, uniting Christians is ‘assertion of minority rights’ but uniting Hindus is called ‘communalism’ in India. – Shefali Vaidya
In the amphitheater of India’s “secular” absurdity Muslims and Christians must dictate; Hindus must submit. It would embrace shari’ah and Vatican, but not Vedas or Gita and Ayodhya or Kashi. It made skull cap and namaj ‘secular’, but shunned yoga and meditation as ‘communal’!
Foreigners are amazed by Indian politicians and their unique ‘freestyle’ use of word ‘secularism’ to malign Hindus. Used to knowing secularism as separation or religion and State and Hinduism as a religion that inherently accommodates diversity, they just can’t understand why India’s ‘secular politicians’ donning Tilak on the forehead attack their own community and go into ‘secular silence’ when Hindu culture or symbols are mocked. They are almost awestruck when they discover that glorifying mass murderer Mughal kings is ‘secularism’ but even mention of Rajput or Maratha warriors becomes ‘communal’!
The Nehruvian secularism is plainly an absurd anti-Hindu ideology. While it aims to appease the minority community, in reality it empowers no one and brings injustice to all. Instead of uniting Indian society, it has been sowing seeds of fragmentation and alienation. In India, the word ‘minority’ is synonymous with Muslims; but Christians can be added when needed. These two communities are the privileged minority of India!
Until 70s, Indian politics was largely “minorityism” when Hindu interests were best treated through neglect. It was largely the “ignore-Hindu” brand secularism. Then during Emergency, Indira Gandhi inserted the word ‘secular’ in the Constitution in 1976 without defining the word. It was quite unusual because nothing had happened in the country to suggest that Hindu-Muslim relation was a major national problem. But her intentions became clear in later years when the Congress politicians began to polarize the discourse into secular-communal debate. You are secular if you take pro-Muslim stance, else you are ‘communal’ – a bad adjective.
The ‘secular politics’ of Muslim “appeasement” was on open display in the mid 1980s during the Shah Bano case when Rajiv Gandhi was the PM. Two years later, he banned Salman Rushdie’s book Satanic Verses (which neither he, nor his colleagues nor protesting mullahs had read) – much before the Islamic world could act! What appeared to be “Muslim appeasement” was in reality just “mullah appeasement” because they controlled Muslims votes. These politicians remained blind to the rights and dignity of Muslim women. When Jihadi Muslims drove away around 4 lakh Kashmiri Hindus from the Kashmir valley in late 1980s the ‘secular’ politicians went into ‘secular silence’!
Secularism turned “Anti-Hindu” since the 90s
Thus, the majority Hindus continued living as unimportant ‘ignored community.’ But then in the 1990s, the secular politicians became aggressive and Hindus became ‘undesired community.’ Indian secularism turned “anti-Hindu.” It became particularly evident after installation of Italy born Sonia Gandhi as “Royal Empress” of the Congress Party, who was alien to both Indians and Hindi language. Her secular buddies taught her Hindi through phrases like “Maut Ka Saudagar” and her son picked up street slang like “Khoon Ki Dalali.” The mother-son duo also learnt to maintain ‘secular silence’ over incidences like Godhra Hindu massacre or Mumbai terror attack. As more and more Congress Darbaris joined the anti-Hindu tirade, they began echoing Pakistani hate narrative against Hindu India! Whenever the open their mouth, it comes out almost like a ‘secular jihad’ against Hindus or Hindu India!
Many secularists also shun things like nationalism and patriotism. They also like to think of themselves as liberals, humanists, progressives, democrats, socialists and even atheists. The last four adjectives are borrowed direct from Marxist literature. Thus, secularism also became a subterfuge for Leftist agenda. Leftist intellectuals wrote ‘secular history’ of India that glorified Islamic invaders, Mughal kings and the British rule, sending local Hindu heroes into oblivion.
7. Development “Beyond Economic Growth”
Shift From Socialistic Idealism To Capitalistic Pragmatism
After the collapse of the global communist bloc in 1990, India also was forced to shift from the Nehruvian socialistic economy to private sector led capitalistic economic model. Indian economy was so fragile that for the first time, in 1991 India was forced to pledge gold with international lending agencies for loans – needless to say money came with attached conditions. It, thus, started the era of liberating businesses from state control. It was wonderful, except that now the humanistic approach to development gave way to economists’ favorite GDP growth model of development. From here began the obsession for GDP growth and the craze for evaluating everything in money terms.
The Fetish for GDP Growth
The development of a nation has several dimensions, but the money obsessed economists have reduced it to mere economic growth – measured in terms of the gross domestic product (GDP) which is just the sum total of all market activities. They have highly devalued the importance of wholesome human well being. As a result, people are now mere tools of economic expansion – first as labor providers and then as piggish ‘consumers’ with insatiable greed. It has also unleashed technological savagery on nature’s resources. The result is clear before us all: extreme focus on individualism, ever increasing social discord with degradation of human values and climatic and ecological disturbances.
Their model demands the GDP to grow eternally, quarter after quarter and year after year. ‘Produce more and consume more’ is the only wisdom. It is fueled and sustained by consumerism; in fact, obsessive consumerism using borrowed money. As a consequence, consumption has become the sole yardstick of development. When economists talk of research perhaps they only want to know newer way to convert ‘consumers’ into ‘bigger consumers’. But what we need today is Development ‘Beyond GDP’.
Looking at the state of the world, it is time that we put the concept of development in the right perspective.
What is Real Development
Perhaps the most comprehensive definition of development is given by Nobel winner economist Prof. Amartya Sen in his capability theory. Sen put people above economy. Amartya Sen’s theory is an eye opener for people who have grown up learning that GDP growth is the only meaning of development. Sen clearly highlights the dangers of equating GDP growth with development. He sees people as multifaceted human beings whose well-being depends upon both material and non-material needs. He sees development as the process of enhancing people’s well-being by enhancing their freedom and capabilities. His model is both comprehensive and flexible. Worldwide governments are trying to include his ideas to give proper direction of development.
In Sen’s approach, poverty is seen as lack of development which means denial of opportunities and choices for living a tolerable life. If in today’s world of sheer abundance people living in poverty, they are living in a system that denies them access to means to realize their capabilities. Today’s poverty is all due to exploitation and denial at the hands of those who have the power and authority.
You may like to explore: What is Amartya Sen’s Capability Approach of Development and Well-Being
An Eco-friendly Development Model – Bhutan’s Gross National Happiness (GNH)
The tiny Himalayan country of less than a million people has been following perhaps the most humane development model in the world. In fact, it is also in the true spirit of Buddha’s wonderful teaching. Its development model even has place for spirituality and cultural engagement along with environment health. Bhutan is the only country in the world that does not use GDP as a measure of progress; instead it uses what it calls the gross national happiness (GNH).
Way back in the 1970s its king declared that “Gross National Happiness (GNH) is more important than Gross National Product (GDP).” Therefore, Bhutan’s state policies are not made purely from the monetary angle, as in the rest of the world. Westerners are most intrigued by Bhutanese policy making because their brains are hardwired to plunder nature and cultural heritage to make money. While ‘experts’ are busy dreaming sustainable development models, this minute kingdom is already doing it, mandated by its Constitution!
8. Poverty in India
The 200 year colonial plunder of India laid the solid foundation for long term poverty in India. In 1947, when the plunderer British left India, they left 70 percent Indians in abject poverty and a tiny elite class that controlled everything. It was clearly among the poorest nations in the world. The situation continued for almost 4 decades as long as the Nehruvian socialistic economic policies continued. However, India was practically broke by the end of 1980s and it had to switch from agrarian to industrial-capitalistic model of economic growth in 1991.
Two decades later, poverty fell to around 30% despite population rising from 40 to 125 crore. Since then the pace of poverty reduction picked up. In 2016, the official poverty figure was down to 21%, the World Bank poverty line of $1.90 a day put it at around 12.4% and the comprehensive Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI) of 2017 estimated India’s poverty at 41%. The differences are due to different methodologies for counting the poor.
But positive news has started to arrive in 2018!
A study from the Brookings Institution, a US based think tank, has put poverty estimate for India at 5.3%. It listed India among countries where the extreme poverty is steadily falling. Using NSSO 201/12 data it estimated that about 44 people are coming out of poverty every minute and if the trend continues, then by 2022 India’s extreme poverty would be below 3 percent! It uses World Bank’s $1.90 a day poverty line as threshold for extreme poverty. If experts are to be believed, the latest NSSO data of 2017/18 should show a much bigger improvement!
It will be start of new poverty narrative!
These findings are based on the World Poverty Clock which is updated each April and October, to accommodate newest household surveys. The study points out that Nigeria has displaced India from the top position. At the end of may 2018, Nigeria had about 87 million (44% population) people living in extreme poverty, compared with India’s 73 million (about 5% population). If the trend continues, very soon the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) would again knock off India from its newly acquired 2nd position too!!
You may like to explore: 8 Reasons Why India is So Poor.
While these reports are reassuring, it must not be forgotten that poverty is actually a human development issue; not a statistical game.
Poverty is a state of constant deprivations, shortages, hardships and lack of well-being. In the extreme case, it is a miserable condition characterized by malnutrition, illiteracy, disease, squalid surroundings, high infant mortality, and low life expectancy. It is a state of powerlessness and voicelessness that is beyond any reasonable definition of human decency.
The one dimensional income poverty line, such as the $1.90 a day line of the World Bank does not tell anything about the hardships of the poor. They merely divide people into two: poor and non-poor. The extent of poverty depends upon where the poverty line is drawn. In reality, it is just a number game of experts to justify their arguments and publish papers.
Research of past few decades has firmly established that poverty cannot be properly understood in economic terms alone – divorced of personal, social, cultural and political perspectives. People are social beings; therefore, the processes and activities of the society affect their state of well-being. Clearly, there are multiple factors that often feed one another to trap people in poverty.
Fortunately, debates of past 2-3 decades have now established that poverty must be seen as a state of multiple deprivations, particularly deprivations related to basic essentials of human life. Therefore, poverty is as much about lack of proper nourishment, employment, shelter, health, and education as it is about involvement in social and political processes. Therefore, poverty must be seen from the angle of human development. A good attempt to gauge various deprivations is the multidimensional poverty index (MPI). It lays down a landscape of various deprivations people are facing, which is very useful for the policy planners. Several nations have adopted this measure to better reveal the nature of poverty in different regions.
The theoretical foundation for the MPI is provided by Amartya Sen’s capability theory of development: It see poverty as failure of the most basic human capabilities needed to live a tolerable life. Seen in this comprehensive perspective, poverty becomes an issue of lack of sufficient freedoms to lead a tolerable life.
9. Population Stabilization
Current population of India is around 1.33 billion (China 1.40 billion), which is about 17.5% of world population. India is a young country: over 50% population is below 25 years of age and over 65% people are below 35. Indian population grows annually by about 16 million. In the past decade (2001-2011), India’s population growth rate has declined sharply. In fact, the trend of falling birthrates prevails all over the world (except in some pockets), not only in India.
9a) Latest Fertility Trend
In 2013, the Sample Registration System (SRS) statistical report mentioned a sharp decline in fertility, to 2.3 children per woman. It is fair to assume that in 2018 it must have fallen to around 2.1. It means that India has already reached the replacement fertility level. It marks an important demographic transition, implying that the population would peak in next 30-35 years and then begin declining. Experts think that India’s population would peak in the range 1.55 – 1.60 billion around 2050, and then decline to around 1.45 billion by 2100. While achieving average replacement fertility at national level is a welcome sign, there are still regions where the fertility is still high. Highest fertility rate is in Bihar (3.4) followed by UP (3.0) which is also the most populous state in India.
Community wise fertility data revealed that population growth is largest in the Muslim community. During the decade 2001-2011, the Muslim population increased by 24% compared with national growth of 18%, although lower than the 29% rise in the previous decade. Thus, in 2011 Muslims formed 14.2% of Indian population, compared with 13.4% in 2001.
Assam witnessed the biggest rise in Muslim population, from 31% in 2001 to 34% in 2011. A big part of it must be due to illegal immigration from Bangladesh. For the same reason, West Bengal Muslim population 25.2% in 2001 to 27% in 2011. Uttarakhand also registered significant rise, from 11.9% to 13.9%.
Almost half (47%) of Indian Muslims live in just 3 states: UP, West Bengal and Bihar. These states are mentioned because the ISIS and Pak sponsored Jihadis generally look for local support in high Muslim density poor areas of these states. Now Rohingya Muslims have also infiltrated in these areas.
9b) Reasons of Population Growth
India’s population is growing not because people are having large families, but simply because there are too many people in the reproductive age group – population momentum. The right strategy to curtail such population growth is to delay all births. The correct ways to counter the population growth due to momentum are:
- Late marriage: Stop all girls’ marriages below 18. In India, about 47% girls are already married before the legal age of 18 and a significant proportion has already given births. This one action alone can not only bring fertility down significantly, but have several other positive effects.
- Delayed pregnancies: Delay first pregnancy by 2-3 years after marriage, and
- Space further births: Keep at least 3 year gap between births. Often, quick pregnancies result from non-availability of contraceptives, particularly in the rural areas. Almost a quarter of all births take place for this reason alone.
9c) India wants to Increase Parsi Population!
Parsis Face Danger of Extinction
This surprises population phobic people. Indian government is concerned about the dwindling population of Parsis and has initiated a JIYO Parsee scheme to encourage Parsis to give more births by changing their mindset on marriage and family. Unlike Christians and Muslims they don’t indulge in the politics of religious conversions to increase their numbers. Let’s hope that the JIYO Parsee Program makes a difference and they again start flourishing.
The Parsee community is an anomaly in India by all standards. Numbering just about 69,000 in 2001 (when official counting was done), it is declining at the rate of about 12% per decade. So in 2018, there must be only around 60,000 Parsees left in India. This community is all set for extinction if things are allowed as they stand today. What is their current status? Over half of the Parsees are over 40, a third are over 60, more than 30% of Parsees never marry and those who marry are either childless or have just one child. For every four Parsee deaths, there is just one birth.
Parsees are so called because they came from Persia (Iran), in the 8th and 10thcentury in order to escape the onslaught of invading Mohammadans. Their ancestors arrived in the Sanjan area of Gujarat coast and after first settling in Kathiawar they spread south towards Mumbai. Thanks to the humane and non-violent Hindu culture, they not only survived but flourished safely on the Indian soil. Most surviving Parsees live in India (about 60,000). Beyond India, they are in the land of their origin Iran (25,000), US (11,000), Afghanistan (10,000) and Pakistan (5,000).
Despite their microscopic numbers, Parsee community’s contribution in India is simply awesome. It has given many pioneers and Parsees have played important roles in the freedom struggle, business, politics, military and film industry. You may like to explore [9 Pioneering Ways in which Parsees have Shaped Modern India]
10. Challenge of the Right to Education Act, 2009
With the insertion of Article 21-A in the 86th Amendment to the Constitution in 2002, the free and compulsory education of children in the 6 to 14 age group became a fundamental right. It materialized through the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education (RTE) Act, 2009, or the RTE Act and became operational in 2010. Since its enactment, the RTE Act has been lauded and disparaged. There has been concern not only over its provisions but also about the lacunae in our school education system. Yet, the RTE Act is a game-changer as it puts the onus of children’s education on the government. However, the ‘compulsory’ and ‘state liability’ aspects need to be drilled into the mindset of the educational bureaucracy more firmly.
Although criticized as input-driven, because so far the RTE Act has remained focused largely on putting together basic infrastructure like provision for toilets, drinking water and classrooms, but having these facilities also act to spur awareness about their importance. Therefore, such cynicism is unwarranted.
Leave no child behind
Although the Act expected that various implementing bodies would aggressively ensure that each child is brought into the schooling system and also “retained” for eight years, there are still children on the streets, in fields and in homes. Mechanism to track dropouts and mainstreaming them into age-appropriate classes are still missing, even after eight years of its enactment. Once dropped out, the chances of their getting back into school become quite remote. Alongside, there are still children who never enrolled. The bulk of these are girls, disabled, orphans and those must earn.
Perhaps the most critical requirement, which has also got the least public attention, is the pupil-teacher ratio (PTR). It is impractical to expect quality education without this. According to the Education Department’s data, under the Unified District Information System for Education (U-DISE) database 2015-16, around one-third schools did not meet the requisite RTE norm. The percentage of schools that were PTR-compliant varied from 100% in Lakshadweep to 16.67% in Bihar. And this did not factor in subject-wise teachers at the upper primary level as this is treated differently in each State.
States shy away from recruiting more teachers to cut costs (higher salaries). The solution is clearly, increasing the budget allocation because teacher salary is going to be the most important cost for success of the RTE.
Proper Management of 25% Reservation in Private Schools
This is vital for inclusiveness. Classrooms of private schools should also reflect the socio-economic diversity. The initial reluctance of private schools to admit poor children (Section 12 (1c)) has been decisively set aside by the Supreme Court of India, High Courts of various States and by the T.S.R Subramanian Committee formed by the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD). Therefore, as a nation we are well past that barrier. Now it’s time to streamline the administrative difficulties faced by the private schools. Each year, over 2 million children benefit from this provision. As disclosed in the parliament, around 3 million children were enrolled under the RTE 25% admission policy in the year 2016-17. Implementation of this clause is at different stages of evolution in different states and UTs. Broadly speaking, they can be divided in two categories. One, those state who have either not notified the policy or have not made sincere efforts to implement it.
The second category consists of those states who are striving towards the implementation of the provision in letter and spirit, have met reasonable success, and are now grappling primarily with the issue of reimbursement from the government. Government is supposed to pay a pre-declared amount per student admitted in the 25% category.
The problem is the low budgetary allocation compared with the resource estimates submitted by the Ministry of Human Resource and Development (MHRD) to the Government of India. 7.16 million children were enrolled in the private schools in the 25% quota. Non receipt of reimbursement could potentially result in further reduction of school participation rates and even states backing out from implementing this provision as recently indicated by the state of Uttarakhand. Therefore, there is an urgent need to increase the budgetary allocations if the States are to reimburse schools who are admitting children under this provision. Then, there is the issue of per child cost calculation. States consider only the recurring costs and not the costs associated with fixed capital assets. There is need for clear-cut guideline here.
A law is only as good or as bad as its implementation. The problems need to be taken as challenges and solved.
You may like to explore: Issues and Challenges in the Implementation of the RTE Act
11. Governance Reforms
What is ‘bad governance’?
It is reflected in the presence of corruption, inefficient law and order enforcement, slow judiciary, lethargic or uncooperative bureaucracy, exclusion of weaker segments of society from the mainstream processes, suppression of basic human rights and freedom of speech, and so on.
India is still among the worst governed countries in the world, despite its rising status on the global scene in recent years (which is mainly due to the charismatic personality of PM Modi). The root cause is that since 1947 Indian leaders relied more on foreign concepts than building upon the indigenous wisdom and local strengths. The police force still largely operates with the colonial mindset and sees itself as a protector of rulers from the citizens! Poor and ordinary citizens still prefer to stay away fromit. Roadside poor vendors still can’t make their living without paying ‘hapta’ to the police-wala. Judiciary is painfully slow and is sitting on large pile of pending cases and the electoral reforms are stuck for lack of will – taken together we have an ideal recipe for lack of accountability, inefficiencies and corruption. BSP supremoMayawati, the fake secular and real caste politican, became notorious for selling ‘tickets’ during assembly and parliament elections; how she amassed so much wealth is an open secret.
Founded on the Nehruvian socialistic principles, Indian bureaucracy is still a big put off, particularly for the entrepreneurs and the business world. Although economic liberalization started a quarter century ago, it got mired in severe corruption during the 10 years of UPA regime. However, things are improving with the arrival of Modi and BJP government in 2014. Modi government’s focus on incorporating technology in governance is changing things very fast everywhere across the country. It has brought hope of good future. In just three years,Modi government has significantly improved the ease of doing business in India; India’s rating improved by 42 points, from 142 in 2014 to 100 in 2017. With demonetization, GST and promotion of digital transaction the corruption landscape and business environment of India are drastically changing. Most macro pointers are showing improvement and the image of India has undergone a sea change on the international arena particularly after Modi’s interaction with world leaders.
Lack of transparency in political funding is at the root of all corruption and bad governance. Modi government has planned electoral bonds to bring some transparency in the otherwise opaque funding of political parties. Although it is a good step but is grossly insufficient looking at how our political parties function. Things like the Lokayokta are not getting the serious attention they deserve. What is needed is the political will to change things.
However, the biggest reform is needed in the judiciary. Indian judiciary still revolves around the colonial laws created around 1860. For 90% people district courts are most important yet rather than increasing their autonomy they got dumped under the High Court. High Courts and the Supreme Court are out of reach for the poor masses. Justice is painfully slow and uncertain. Yet, no government or even the top judiciary seems much bothered about it.
Indian courts are loaded with pending cases and hence atrociously slow, making a mockery of justice for the common masses. Over 3 crore cases are pending in various courts; assuming one case affects 5 people, 15 crore people are ‘victims’ of Indian judiciary.
Slow judiciary has a negative impact on the business environment. Businessmen wants speedy disposal of disputes in the judiciary and when it doesn’t happen they have to find ‘round about’ ways to manage conflicts and stay in business. In different courts, there are 1.37 lakh pending cases related to direct tax and 1.45 lakh cases regarding indirect cases. It has locked up around 7.58 lakh crore rupees which is around 4.7 percent of the GDP. It highlights the urgent need for the judiciary and executive to come together and take steps for speedy justice.
Another ugly reality of justice is that the rich can easily get away with practically anything exploiting loopholes and ‘manage the system’ through high profile lawyers.
For instance, leniency given to Sanjay Datt and Salman Khan are two limelight cases from the rich bollywood industry. SunandaPushkar’s murder is likely to remain another mystery – and her high profile husband, ShashiTharoor, has ‘no worries’ whatsoever. The doctor Talwar couple managed to come out ‘innocent’ in the murder case of their daughter, Arushi. Ordinary citizen know how crime evidences can be destroyed or faked by well connected people. Liquor baron Vijay Malya easily ran away from the country and, aided by top legal brains, arrogantly mocks Indian justice system from UK! It is highly unlikely that Sonia-Rahul would ever face any hardship in the National Herald case. Robert Vadra, the great Damad Ji who calls India a ‘banana republic of mango people’, is also unlikely to be ever accountable for anything… the list can go on and on.
No wonder ordinary citizens make every effort to stay away from authorities and courts by not standing up. Having a prompt judicial system will have an all round effect. It would not only help in fighting crimes efficiently, but most particularly it would greatly boost confidence of the business world.
The recent unprecedented press conference of 4 SC judges is another significant pointer that all is not well even in the top judiciary.
Judicial Reforms must start from the Top
In mid January 2018, when 4 senior Supreme Court judges called a press conference to air their grievances it was a weird event for the country. It is absolutely unhealthy thing for any country to have senior judges airing their lack of confidence in the Chief Justice in public. It is also weird that the 4 judges did not resign before calling the press conference (PC). The Chief Justice also did not resign taking moral responsibility for having lost confidence of his colleagues. Such steps would have upheld the expected high moral values of the apex court.
Was PC the only option for the 4 judges? The dissatisfied judges could have called a meeting of all the 25 SC judges and raised their grievances in house. They could have involved some respected retired judges and tried to solve the ‘serious problem’ that in their eye was a ‘threat to democracy.’ Many even questioned their wisdom: Were they saying that they alone are ‘right’ and ‘above’ all other 21 judges of the SC?
In fact, if anyone else had talked to the media in this manner it would have instantly invited ‘contempt of court’ and summary punishment. But the SC judges clearly don’t consider themselves ordinary citizens which is highly objectionable. Regardless of the merits of their grievances, going public was not a wise step. Now high court judges may also start emulating them. They also made the functioning of Supreme Court a topic of public debate everywhere, like inflation and price-rise.
Moreover, their action attracted politicians – something very dangerous. Communist D Raja became the first to fish in the troubled water, followed by newly crowned Congress President Rahul Gandhi – perhaps the most superficial and juvenile brained politician in India. Fortunately, the government showed maturity and said that the judiciary should resolve its own issues.
Indian system is different from that of the UK that provided the skeleton for Indian judiciary and also from that of the US. In the UK parliament is supreme and in the US it is the apex court. In India, the Constitution is supreme and the three limbs – the executive, legislature and judiciary – are expected to work independently. None is expected to interfere in other’s area. The problem arises when any of them transgresses or doesn’t function properly.
Very often, while deciding cases, the SC has said that the other two – executive and legislature –are not discharging their duties properly and so it must take care of the matter. What if now the legislature or the executive say the same thing and take the matter in their domain? Can the government start interfering in judiciary because 3.5 crore cases are pending, there are long delays and the judiciary doesn’t appear to be doing anything about them?
Collegium System of Appointment
Until 1993, High Court and Supreme Court judges were appointed under sections 217 and 124, respectively, of the Constitution. The SC analyzed it the light of the principle of freedom of judiciary and concluded that the legislature or the executive can’t have any say in appointment of judges and adopted the collegiums system. No other democracy in the world uses the collegium system. In 2014, the parliament amended the Constitution and established the national judiciary appointment commission (NJAC). But the SC bench declared the whole exercise unconstitutional in 2015. However, it also included the dissenting voice from Justice Chelmeshwar, who has since been trying to bring changes in the functioning of the SC from within.
In fact, it also goes against the spirit of the Indian Constitution because there is no mention of such a system in the Indian Constitution. While rejecting the NJAC it did not cite any reason or pointed out which provision of the Constitution was violet by it. Thus, the verdict appeared totally arbitrary, undemocratic and unconstitutional. In rejecting the NJAC the SC forgot that it often cites from the British judiciary in delivering judgments – and in the UK judges are appointed by an independent commission similar to the proposed NJAC.
Strictly speaking, the Supreme Court only has the right to evaluate laws made by the parliament; it doesn’t have the right to ‘make legislation’ as it did in opting for the collegium. Did the parliament ever proposed a collegium? Never.
Most appropriately, the judicial reform should start at the top, perhaps with adoption of NJAC or something similar. Only then the extremely opaque functioning at the top can be made transparent and accountable to the public, of which parliament is the proxy.
In the light of the new development, the parliament should extensively debate on this issue in order to eliminate the potential ‘threat to democracy’ as the 4 honorable judges claimed in the PC.
Download the Full Report: Corruption in India
12. Climate Change
Why Donald Trump Is Running Away
Harsh climatic events have become regular around the world. Yet, media which is supposed to be the watchdog of reality talk about the climatic disasters in the typical business-as-usual manner. If at all it mentions natural disasters it is more to capture viewers’ attention to shower higher paid commercials on them. Ostrich mentality is clearly visible among the global leaders when it comes to the issue of climate change. Scientists’ warnings of restricting temperature rise to within 2 degree Celsius by 2100 now appear to have lost meaning.
By and large, it appears that the world has resigned on the climatic front. The US President Trump’s decision to pull out of the international climate deal reflects the widespread mentality of putting economic growth ahead, despite the looming climatic catastrophe. When he says ‘America First’ he sums up the sentiments of highly powerful elites of the business community whose greed for wealth is insatiable. Needless to say, once the US breaks the rule the other so-called ‘developed’ nations would not remain ‘climatically responsible’ for long. They would discover innovative excuses to ‘excuse’ themselves!
Wrong concept of ‘Development’
Climate change is un-refutable “proof” of many things wrong in our environmentally and ecologically blind lifestyle that demands that we keep consuming more and more. In many ways, it is a direct consequence of coupling industrial and technological revolution with unsustainable blind ‘consumerism’ – unmindful of how it is polluting the environment and disturbing the balance in nature.
A look at the ultrahigh per capita consumption in the so-called developed countries gives the whole story. Their ecologically and environmentally blind lifestyle has already played havoc on the nature and its resources. Ever increasing consumption to sustain their economic growth has put them in a bind; they don’t know how to decouple economic growth and consumption. As the fad for this resource guzzling lifestyle is spreading around the world the future is only getting more dangerous, not less.
As things stand, the developed nations can’t cut sufficient carbon emission because its hurts their lifestyle they also don’t want to help rest of the world. Moreover, they are still more interested in waging wars and picking up conflicts around the world to sustain their hegemony and to prop up their economic growth through arms sales. Fighting global poverty or climate change don’t make much economic sense for them.
In reality, what makes the rich nations so arrogant is the simple fact: a New Yorker, a Londoner or a Berliner has more protective resources than a poor Bangladeshi, Nigerian or a Nepali. Therefore, they are not going to be the first victims of climatic disasters. This is how visionless fools think. Ever increasing climatic disasters are certainly affecting the poor and ordinary people the most, but they also would not remain safe for long as climate change worsens in the future.
Therefore, let’s not take international ‘climate talk shows’ too seriously. Instead, celebrate life as long as climatic disasters allow us to live!
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13. Renewable Energy – Solar Energy
Solar Power is the Future of India
Modi government has ambitious plan for creating 100 GW solar and 55 GW wind capacities by 2022, apart from saving 20 GW power through energy efficient means. Besides its commitment to provide “Power for All” by 2019, Indian government has to also meet its future international commitment to reduce GHG emissions. Therefore, India must focus on renewables, particularly the solar power given abundance of sunlight throughout the country.
For solar projects, 1 MW generation requires about 5 acres of land. Were India to install all its 100 GW capacity in the form of a big “solar farm”, it would require around 500,000 acres of land – three times the current size of the Mumbai metropolitan area.
Taking cue from the Charanka solar park in Gujarat, the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) has announced a scheme to develop at least 25 solar parks (each with capacity 500 MW or up) and Ultra Mega Solar Power Projects (UMSPP) (they are mega projects 500 MW or above), in next five years, across the country. Other renewable projects and manufacturing will also be allowed in solar parks.
Smaller parks could also be considered under the scheme in Himalayan states where availability of large tracts of contiguous land may be difficult and in States where there is acute shortage of non-agricultural lands.
If 100 GW solar power is created from a single mega “solar farm”, it would require around 500,000 acres of land – three times the current size of the Mumbai metropolitan area.
Bookmark this blog for useful articles on solar energy: Living on Solar Power