How to make Macaulay turn in his grave?

History (or is it divinity?) has presented the Modi government with an opportunity of a millennium to set right the historical wrong that began in 1835.

Lord Babington Macaulay wrote the now infamous minute in that year to ‘ create a class of people who are Indians in colour but British in blood and tastes’. This he sought to achieve by introducing the English education to the masses thereby helping them overcome the ‘superstition ridden Sanskrit and Urdu based oriental education’.

Even Swami Vivekananda had this to say about the English education in India:

A negative education or any training that is based on negation, is worse than death. The child is taken to school, and the first thing he learns is that his father is a fool, the second thing that his grandfather is a lunatic, the third thing that all his teachers are hypocrites, the fourth that all the sacred books are lies! By the time he is sixteen he is a mass of negation, lifeless and boneless. And the result is that fifty years of such education has not produced one original man in the three Presidencies

Macaulay was quite successful in his efforts and the ‘class’ of Indians created by him, a representative being Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, ensured that the same education system was followed even after the British rule ended in 1947.

The universities and higher education sites created were far removed from the Indic thought base and were taking pride in continuing to deride the Indic value system.

Academics and media personnel who graduated from these ‘centres of excellences’ continued to propagate the hundred year old colonial value system proposed by Macaulay, with the result that all pillars of the country, from academia, to media, to judiciary were inundated with Nehruvian secularism trained aka brainwashed souls that continued to deride the Indic cultural values of the civilisation that was Bharat.

Now, the judiciary, with its totally uncalled for judgment in the Sabarimala case, has cut open the civilizational wound of a billion people.

With Kerala up against the regional and last communist government in the country, Prime Minister Modi has a golden opportunity to set right the historical wrong done by Lord Macaulay.

By bringing in an amendment to the constitution that the Judiciary can not interfere in the tantric rituals of temples, PM Modi would be able to set in motion a series of follow up measures by the other regional governments in India. And that would result in de-macaulaizing India, thus cleansing the nation of the macaulaian virus.

I feel that the centre is waiting for the state government to fail completely before acting decisively. Until then they would appear to keep mum under the oft repeated maxim ‘law and order is a state subject’. Pinnarai Vijayan, Kerala’s Chief Minister and his communist government are doomed, in any case. If they act against the verdict, it would amount to contempt of court; if they don’t act, then it would become a law and order problem coupled with loss of faith from the majority community in the state.

So, what Mr.Modi needs to do is: Wait now but act afterwards, decisively, with an amendment to the constitution and an ordinance. While an amendment would help keep the judges at bay, an ordinance would send a powerful message to the people at large that the government would not sacrifice its Indic support base just to score some brownie points from the ‘sick-ul-ar’ media ( that has not been forthcoming, anyway).

I expect Congress and is allies to oppose the ordinance and amendments  in the winter session of the parliament. But I also expect the Congress MPs from Kerala to oppose the party’s stand, if it chooses to oppose the ordinance. I also expect the ‘allies’ or what ever is left of them not to join ranks with Congress to oppose the ordinance as that act would further alienate them from the already aggrieved masses of the majority community.

What if the Modi government has been keeping silent in the Sabarimala case as the case might not have as much national repercussion as a favourable verdict in the soon to be announced Ram Jenma Bhoomi case? In such a scenario too, I would welcome the central government’s silence now, for if they oppose the Sabarimala verdict now and bring in an ordinance, they would be compelled to bring in another ordinance to overturn a possible ‘favourable’ judgment in the Ram Jenma Bhoomi case.

Having said this, I don’t expect the communist government of Kerala to bring in an ordinance to pre-empt the center into endorsing the same. Just in case better sense prevails and the state government brings in the ordinance, I would still welcome it, for that would ensure a surefire funeral to the already dead philosophy of communism in India.

In any case, it is time for a grand funeral for the minute of 1835 and make Lord Macaulay turn in his grave.

History doesn’t give a second chance.

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‘நான் ஏன் நரேந்திர மோதியை ஆதரிக்கிறேன்’ – நூல் வாசிப்பனுபவம்

மாரிதாஸின் ‘நான் ஏன் நரேந்திர மோதியை ஆதரிக்கிறேன்’ என்னும் நூல் ஒரு சாட்டையடித் தொகுப்பு. திடீரென்று முழங்கும் இடி நம்மை எப்படி துணுக்குறச் செய்யுமோ அப்படிச் செய்கிறது இந்த நூல்.

மாணவர்களின் கேள்விகளுக்குப் பதிலளிக்கும் விதமாக ஃபேஸ்புக்கில் பதில் அளித்து வந்த மாரிதாஸ் அவை அனைத்தையும் ஒன்றாக்கி ஒரு நூல் வெளியிட்டுள்ளார். அதுவே ‘நான் ஏன் நரேந்திர மோதியை ஆதரிக்கிறேன்?’ என்னும் படைப்பு.

பிரதமர் நரேந்திர மோதி பற்றிய நூலாக மட்டும் இல்லாமல், திராவிட அரசியல், இடது சாரிகளின் துரோகங்கள், தேசத்தைச் சீரழிக்கும் அழிவுச் சக்திகள் என்று பல்வேறு தளங்களையும் தொட்டுச் செல்கிறது இந்த நூல்.

ஒவ்வொரு தலைப்பும் ஒவ்வொரு கேள்வியுடன் துவங்குகிறது. கேள்விக்குப் பதிலளிக்கும் முன் கேள்வி தொடர்பான சில வரலாற்றுத் தரவுகளைத் தருகிறார் ஆசிரியர். சில கேள்விகளுக்குப் புள்ளி விவரங்களைக் கொண்டு துவங்குகிறார். இவ்வாறாக, வாசகனை பதிலுக்காகத் தயார் செய்கிறார். பின்னர் தனது வாதத்தைத் துவங்கி, கேள்விக்கான நீண்ட பதிலாக எடுத்துரைக்கிறார். மீண்டும் அப்படி ஒரு கேள்வி கேட்பதற்கான வாய்ப்பே இல்லாத வகையில் அமைந்துள்ளன பதில்கள்.

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மோதியை எதிர்ப்பதையே தொழிலாகக் கொண்டுள்ள ஊடகம், அவர்களுக்குப் பண உதவி செய்யும் மத மாற்று நிறுவனங்கள், அவர்களிடம் வாங்கி உண்ணும் இடது சாரிகள், அவர்களுக்குத் துணை போகும் திராவிட இயக்கம் என்று ஒன்றுடன் ஒன்று இணைந்து செயல்படும் தேச விரோத இயக்கங்கள் பற்றியும், அவர்களது எண்ண ஓட்டங்கள், செயல்படும் விதங்கள் என்று பல செய்திகளைச் சித்தரிக்கும் கருத்துப் பேழை இந்த நூல்.

பண மதிப்பிழப்பு விவகாரத்தில் பாதிக்கப்பட்டவர்கள் கறுப்புப் பணத்தைப் பெருமளவில் வைத்திருந்த அரசியல்வாதிகளும், ஊடகங்களுமே என்பதையும், அதனாலேயே அவர்கள் பெரும் கூச்சலுடன் ஓலமிட்டழுதார்கள் என்பதையும் எளிதில் புரியும்படி விளக்குகிறார் ஆசிரியர்.

திராவிட இயக்கம் என்பது வெறும் பித்தலாட்ட, ஊழல் கொப்புளிக்கும் இயக்கம் என்பதைப் பல உதாரணங்களுடன் விளக்கும் ஆசிரியர், அவ்வியக்கங்களால் தமிழ் எவ்வாறு எந்த வளமும் பெறவில்லை என்பதையும் தெரிவிக்கிறார். தமிழை வளர்ப்பதாகச் சொல்லி அவ்வியக்கத் தலைவர்கள் செய்த ஊழல்கள், அதனால் தமிழ் நாடு அடைந்த கீழ்மை என்று விரியும் நூல் தமிழ்ச் சூழலில் இன்றியமையாத மைல்கல்.

ஈ.வெ.ரா. தொடர்பான பகுதிகள் சுவாரசியமானவை.  ஈ.வெ.ரா.மீது எழுப்பப்பட்டுள்ள மாய பிம்பத்தைத் தகுந்த தரவுகளுடன் உடைத்தெறியும் ஆசிரியர், இந்துமதம் பற்றி ஈ.வெ.ரா.விற்கு எதுவுமே தெரிந்திருக்கவில்லை என்பதையும் நிறுவுகிறார். மனு ஸ்மிருதியின் சில பகுதிகளை மட்டுமே ஆதாரமாகக் காட்டிய ஈ.வெ.ரா.வைத் தோலுரிக்கும் மாரிதாஸ், வைக்கம் போராட்டத்தில் ஈ.வெ.ரா.வின் பங்களிப்பு எதுவும் இல்லை என்பதையும் ஆணித்தரமாகக் காட்டுகிறார். வைக்கம் போராட்டத்தின் இறுதியில் காங்கிரஸ் சார்பில் ஈ.வெ.ரா. பங்குகொண்டதைத் திராவிடக் கண்மணிகள் ஏதோ ஈ.வெ.ரா. தனியாகவே நின்று போராடியதைப் போன்று பேசுவதை வெளிச்சம் போட்டுக் காட்டுகிறார். சாதி ஒழிப்பில் ஈ.வெ.ரா. தமிழகத்தில் எந்தவொரு போராட்டத்திலும் ஈடுபடவில்லை என்பதையும் ஆசிரியர் சுட்டத் தவறவில்லை.

ஆங்கில ஆட்சியால்தான் நாடு ரயில், போக்குவரத்து, மின்சாரம், கல்வி, வணிகம் முதலியவற்றில் முன்னேற்றம் அடைந்தது என்னும் பொய்யை முறியடிக்கும் வகையில் அமைந்துள்ள பகுதி, பல தரவுகளை எடுத்து அடுக்கிக் கொண்டே செல்கிறது. ஆங்கில ஆட்சியால் விளைந்த பொருளாதாரச் சீரழிவு, கல்வியில் தேக்கம், பஞ்சங்களின் கோர தாண்டவம், அதில் மடிந்த கோடிக்கணக்கான மக்கள் என்று விரியும் பகுதி, ஆங்கில ஆட்சியின் அடிவருடிகளுக்குச் சாட்டையடி.

யூதர்கள், இஸ்ரேல் பற்றிய பகுதி, அனேகமாக எந்த இந்தியப் பாடத்திட்டத்திலும் இருக்க வாய்ப்பிருக்காத ஒன்று. பாரதம் இஸ்ரேலுடன் கொண்டுள்ள உறவைப் பற்றி அனேகமாக எந்த ஊடக வெளியிலும் இடம் பெறாத செய்திகளை அளிக்கிறது அப்பகுதி.

ஒரு நிறுவனம் எப்படிச் செயல்படும், அதற்கான செலவினங்கள் யாவை, நிதி ஆதாரங்களை நிறுவனங்கள் எவ்வாறு திரட்டுகின்றன, இவ்வாறு தனியார் நிறுவனங்கள் செயல்படுவதால் நாட்டிற்கு எத்தகைய நலன்கள் விளைகின்றன, என்னென்ன காரணங்களால் இடதுசாரித் தொழிற்சங்கங்கள் தனியார் நிறுவனங்களை எதிர்க்கின்றன, அதன் வழியாக எவ்வாறு தேசத்திற்கு எதிராகச் செயலாற்றுகின்றன என்று தெளிவான விளக்கும் பகுதி தற்காலத்தில் எதற்கெடுத்தாலும் ‘போராட்டம்’ என்று குதிக்கும் இடதுசாரி சார்ந்த குழுக்கள் பற்றிய தெளிவான பார்வையை அளிக்கிறது.

பிரதமர் மோதியின் வெளி நாட்டுப் பயணங்களினால் விளைந்துள்ள பல பயன்களை எடுத்துக்கூறும் பகுதியில் இந்திய-ஆஸ்திரேலிய-ஜப்பானிய-அமெரிக்கக் கூட்டுறவால் விளைந்துள்ள ‘Quadrilateral Alliance’ பற்றியும், சீனாவின் OBOR முலம் விளையவிருக்கும் தீமைகள் பற்றியும் பேசியிருந்திருக்கலாம்..

இப்படி ஒரு நூலை எழுதுவதற்குப் பெரும் மனத்துணிவு வேண்டும். அதனினும் நிறைய அறிவு வேண்டும். தகவல்களைத் திரட்டி, ஒன்றோடு ஒன்று இணைத்து, தொடர்ச் சங்கிலி போன்றதொரு நிகழ்வுச்சங்கிலியை உருவாக்கி, அதனை அலுப்புத் தோன்றாவண்ணம் வாசகர்களுக்கு அளிக்கத் தெரிந்திருக்க வேண்டும். இவை எல்லாவற்றையும் விட, பாரதத்தின் மீது ஆழ்ந்த அன்பு, பக்தி இருக்க வேண்டும். இவை அனைத்தையும் பெற்றமைக்காக மாரிதாஸ் அவர்களுக்கு வாழ்த்துக்கள், 120 கோடி இந்தியர்களின் சார்பாக நன்றிகள் பல.

இவ்வளவு தரவுகளுடன் எழுதினாலும் ‘நான் எழுதிவிட்டேன் என்பதால் நம்பாதீர்கள். இத்தரவுகளைச் சரி பார்த்துக் கொள்ளுங்கள்’  என்று சொல்லும் ஆசிரியர் ‘எப்பொருள் யார் யார் வாய் கேட்பினும்’ என்னும் குறளை நினைவுபடுத்துகிறார்.

இந்த நூலை எழுதியதற்காக மாரிதாஸ் அவர்களுக்கு நமது சிரம் தாழ்ந்த வணக்கங்கள்.

வலம் இதழ்

பிரமர் மோதியின் இந்தோநேசியப் பயணம்

மாணவர்களே, பிரதமர் மோதியின் இந்தோனேசியப் பயணம் பற்றிப் பார்க்கலாம்.

இந்தியாவிலிருந்து இந்தோனோசியா வெறும் 350 கி.மீ.தான் என்பது உங்களுக்குத் தெரியுமா? ஆம். நிக்கோபார் தீவிலிருந்து சுமத்ரா தீவின் சபாங் துறைமுகம் வெறும் 350 கி.மீ. தூரமே.

1950ல் இந்தியா குடியரசானது. அப்போது குடியரசு தின விழாவில் இந்தோனேசியப் பிரதமர் சுகர்னோ சிறப்பு விருந்தினராகப் பங்கு பெற்றார். நேரு, சுகர்னோ இருவரும் சேர்ந்து இந்தோனோசியாவில் பாண்டுங் மாநாடு நடத்தினர். பாரதத்திற்கும் இந்தோனோசியாவிற்குமான உறவு ஆயிரம் ஆண்டுகள் பழையது. ஒதிஷா மாநிலம் இந்தோநேசியாவுடன் 1000 ஆண்டுகால வர்த்தகத் தொடர்புடையது. இன்றும் ஒதிஷாவில் மகாநதிக் கரையில் ‘பாலி யாத்ரா’ என்னும் திருவிழா நடக்கிறது. பாலி இந்தொனேஷியாவின் ஒரு தீவு.

‘சாகர் மாலா’ என்னும் திட்டம் பற்றி உனக்குத் தெரிந்திருக்கலாம். SAGAR (Security and Growth for All) – பாரதத்தின் மிக முக்கிய திட்டம். அரபிக் கடல், இந்தியப் பெருங்கடல், வங்காளவிரிகுடா, மலாக்கா பிரதேசம் என்று விரியும் இத்திட்டம் கடல் வழிப் போக்குவரத்திற்கு மிக அத்தியாவசியமான ஒன்று. சமீபத்தில் ஈரான் நாட்டில் மோதி அவர்கள் சபர் துறைமுகத்தைத் திறந்து வைத்தது நினைவிருக்கலாம். அங்கு தொடங்கி, மலாக்கா வரையிலான எண்ணெய், கச்சாப் பொருட்களுக்கான கடல் வழி விரைவுச் சாலை அமைக்கும் முன்னோக்குத் திட்டமே அது. அதில் இந்தோநேசியாவின் சபாங் துறைமுகமும் அடக்கம்.

தற்போதைய வருகையில் சபாங் துறைமுகத்தில் ( 40 மீட்டர் ஆழம் கொண்டது) இந்தியா சிறப்புப் பொருளாதார மண்டலம் அமைக்கவும், கடல் வழிப் போக்குவரத்தை அதிகரிக்கவும் ஒப்பந்தங்கள் கையெழுத்தாகியுள்ளன. இதனால் சீனாவின் OBOR – One Belt One Road – முயற்சிக்கு எதிரான (அ) ஒப்பான வணிகப் பாதை அமைக்கும் முயற்சியில் இது நல்லதொரு முன்னெடுப்பு.

அத்துடன் சபாங் துறைமுகத்தில் இந்திய கடற்படைப் போக்குவரத்திற்கும் வசதிகள் பெருகவுள்ளன. அந்தமான் நிக்கோபார் தீவுகளில் இந்தியாவின் விமான,கடல் படைத் தளங்கள் இருப்பது, அதற்கு அருகில் உள்ள சபாங் துறைமுகம் வேறு பக்கம் விழாமல் இருக்கவும் இது முக்கிய முன் முயற்சி.

Nehru Sukarnoஇந்தோநேசியப் பிரதமர் ஜொகோ விதோதோவின் Indian Ocean Rim Association என்னும் கடப்பாட்டிற்கும் இந்தியாவின் உதவி கிடைக்கும் விதமாக இம்முறை பிரதமர் மோதியின் வருகை அமைந்துள்ளது. முன்னர் ஜோகோ விதோதோ 2016லும், 2018லும் இந்தியா வந்திருந்தார் என்பதையும் நினைவில் கொள்ள வேண்டும். 1995ல் இந்தோனேசியா இந்தியக் கடற்படையின் MILAN என்னும் சேர்ந்து பணியாற்றும் நிகழ்விலும், 2002ல் CORPAT என்னும் ராணுவப் பயிற்சியிலும் ஈடுபட்டுள்ளது நினைவில் கொள்ளத்தக்கது.

இந்தோநேசியாவுடனான இந்திய வர்த்தக மதிப்பை 2025ற்குள் 50 பில்லியன் அமெரிக்க டாலர் அளவிற்கு உயர்த்துவதற்கான 6 ஒப்பந்தங்கள் கையெழுத்தாகியுள்ளன. ராணுவ ஒப்பந்தங்கள் பற்றிய முழு விபரங்கள் பாதுகாப்பு காரணமாக வெளியிடப் படவில்லை என்று அறிகிறேன்.

modi jokowi arjuna statueதென் சீனப் பகுதியில் சீனாவின் அச்சுறுத்தலைச் சமாளிக்கவும், அமெரிக்கா கிழக்காசியாவில் இருந்து சிறிது சிறிதாக வெளியேறுவதால் ஏற்படும் பாதுகாப்பு அச்சுறுத்தல்களைச் சமாளிக்கவும் இந்தியா ஆசியான்(ASEAN) என்னும் அமைப்புடன் இணைந்து பணியாற்றுவதை உறுதிப்படுதுதும் விதமாகப் பிரதமரின் வருகை அமைந்திருந்தது.

இந்தியப் பிரதமரும், இந்தோநேசியப் பிரதமரும் மிக எளிமையான பின்புலம் உடையவர்கள் என்பது உற்று நோக்கத்தக்கது. இரு நாடுகளும் காலனீய ஆட்சிகளின் கோரப்பிடியில் சிக்கிச் சீரழிந்தவை என்பதும் ஒரு ஒற்றுமை.

Dear brother from minority community

I am pained beyond belief to have seen a three minute video of two religious heads of a religious denomination spewing venom on Prime Minister Modi and BJP leader Amit Shah.

One has the right to his own opinion. But as a religious leader, one has the responsibility not to fall prey to crowd induced euphoria and (mis)direct followers in a particular direction.
In this case, the two were asking the followers to chant a certain name for the downfall of PM Modi. All this, in a meeting called to ask for a secular item – water.

One preacher even went to the extent of asking how could Kanyakumari have an enemy of the majority community in the constituency, as its MP? He further said that had the community chosen an MP from its own religious denomination, the Inaiyam port would not have happened.

I know that leaders of minority communities (mis)direct gullible followers to vote in a particular pattern. But until now these have happened inside places of worship and congregation. But a preacher spreading such a message in an open forum is an ominous sign.

My appeal to brothers & sisters in the minority community:

Go ahead and don’t vote for Prime Minister Modi, vote for Rahul Gandhi or even Karunanidhi. But, do so on your own volition. Don’t let devious preachers herd you as cattle, for they are acting to fulfil their master’s wishes – this time it is money, foreign governments and mercenaries.

My dear brothers and sisters in the minority community: We have been brothers and sisters until now. Preachers come and preachers go, but we are brothers for ever. Don’t let the chord of trust break.

When your preacher calls your elected representative an enemy of your community, they are not only insulting the member of parliament, but are also deriding the collective wisdom of the people who have voted the person and made him their representative.

Time to get out of the preacher’s spells and think for yourselves. Your preacher has no business directing your secular thought. In fact, it is your right not to be directed, in a particular way, to exercise your constitutionally given right.

Never were P.C.Alexander, K.M.Cherian, Abdul Kalam, George Fernandes, Varghese Kurien et al seen in their religious shades. They were seen as exemplary citizens and role models for every one to emulate. Let us build more of this lot and less of the preacher (c)lot, for the latter are parasites that feast on communal divisions and societal disruptions.

Breaking trust is easy. Tearing down communities is easier. Rebuilding is difficult. Don’t let our pluralistic society become a polarised one. #VandeMaataram.

A note to the Centre

Nothing can be farther from truth than the belief that the Left, in India, is dead. When it was in power, it at least had the chains of a modicum of responsibility. However, even as late as the disastrous UPA-1 experiment, they resorted to blackmail politics and had no qualms in enjoying power without responsibility. Nuclear deal is a case in point.

Now that it has been decimated in all the states in the recent elections, chances that the left would resort to the university-chaos technique, are more. The chaos experiment has produced great results for them in JNU. With the incendiary environment in Tamil Nadu, aided amply by the unaccounted erstwhile Tiger money and demise of a strong state CM, the left inspired chaos-theory could gain ground. Religious NGO led funding is always at hand, just in case there is a shortage (Eg: Kudankulam, Marina, Neduvasal).

The Centre should act as a strong central govt, crack the whip, and rein in the anti-national elements with all the force it can muster. The state of Tamil Nadu has long suffered from absence of governance and orientation towards the national mainstream.

When the center does something for TN, talk about it, in Tamil, in Chennai and in all other places. Ask central ministers to conduct press conferences and answer questions. Show that the party is definitely a party with a difference.

The BJP needs to provide credible, young leaders in the state, who are grounded in the nationalist ideology, can articulate better both in Tamil and English, with the force necessary, in the national and local television channels, have a better connect with the students and youngsters, and, in general, represent the new generation.

And, for God’s sake, eschew tinsel sentinels. TN needs change not only in the body, but also in the soul. Hence no more tinsel souls in a new body, please. And no cut-out / banner culture please.

Mind it. The Left has nothing to lose but everything to gain from a disoriented Tamil Nadu that is looking for another ’cause’ to fight. A Left gain is not good for the nation.

Walking in the night

Had to take my son to a clinic at 2:30 AM, for he had a cough that didn’t seem to subside despite medication. The weather was pleasant and I thought a walk would do him good.

We crossed Blocks 508 and 507. Two women, carrying laptops, were returning from work. On the road over-bridge on AYE, two couples were returning home after a night out.

The walk was pleasant and helped the child. We reached the clinic at 3 AM, registered with the lone lady receptionist at O&M, and, when walking back home after consulting with the doctor, we passed a food-court where 5 people were having a late supper ( or was it early breakfast?).

Again, on the over-bridge, we met a lone lady walking past us. Just to make sure, I checked if her feet touched the ground.

A ten minute walk and we met one more couple getting home probably after a party. In the void deck under Block 508, a lady was typing vigorously on her smartphone, alone.

Lee Kuan Yew once said that it would require 300 of his clones to work in tandem to make India a Singapore, for India was not a county but a 5000 year old civilization. Any idea is utopian, unless it is achieved.

I pray to god to shower  Modi with 300 LKY Power  to realize Gandhiji’s dream of getting  sisters in India return home safe, even if they walked alone, adorned with ornaments, at the dead of night.

Like they do in Singapore.

India Rising – a book review

This book is a compendium of various facets of India, from a Singaporean perspective, by an author-journalist who was part of all the facets. The book is not only interesting but also riveting as the author, Ravi Velloor, has dealt in detail, each one of the above facets.Even though the book is detailed, it doesn’t test our patience, as the lucid presentation lures us into the book and the details that it contains.

The book covers the happenings in India between 1998 to 2015. More focus has been on the UPA-I and II periods and the roller-coaster ride that the country went through under the regime.

Ravi Velloor talks about the Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement between India and Singapore, the behind the scenes negotiations that took place to enable that, the role played by former PM Goh Chok Tong, and the necessity of cooperation between the two democracies.

The India-US relations, how the US began to lure India into its fold, how the partnership cemented, the background on Indo-US Nuclear Deal, the stupid role played by the communists in trying to stall the deal, how Manmohan Singh ensured that the deal was made – all these are captured the sequential manner  in which these occurred. Lots of insights here on how Singh ensured the deal got through.

The book talks in detail about the state or the lack of it in Pakistan and how the nation was behind the Nov 26, 2008 attack on Mumbai. The detail on the young Singaporean lawyer Lo Hwei Yen who was killed while on her one day work visit to Mumbai would bring tears to your eyes not only because of the dastardly nature of the attack but also because of the journalistic ethic that the author displayed when he didn’t want to look at the naked body of the victim, as he thought that would have amounted to violation of privacy of a lady. Such journalists are a rare breed in this era of Twitter journalism.

5188ewqcnyl-_ac_us160_fmwebp_ql70_The author is highly critical of Shashi Tharoor for his flamboyant methods to woo international opinion to favour his elevation as UN Secretary General. Tharoor comes out as selfish, attention seeking and always-after-power type in spite of his ebullience and erudition. Tharoor, in order to win over the confidence of Sonia Gandhi and get her support to get India’s backing for his position, goes to meet her in person, carrying a biography of Nehru that he had written. Despite the Indian external affairs ministry’s misgivings in fielding Tharoor, just because Sonia Gandhi approved his nomination, India backed him, and in the process got disgraced when the US sided with the Korean nomination, Ban Ki Moon. Condolezza Rice’s comment on Tharoor is all the more damaging. Tharoor becomes the case of a person who put himself ahead of the nation.

Sri Lankan equation makes an interesting reading. That the LTTE dug it own grave is all the more evident. But some genuinely sympathetic exchanges from Rajiv Gandhi to Prabhakaran – the former gave the latter his bullet proof vest – were discarded by the LTTE and today the terrorist organization doesn’t exist. This section explains in detail how the LTTE didn’t get the post 2001 international situation at all and this, coupled with Indian animosity, ended in the downfall of the Tigers.

While dwelling on Tigers and the final phase of assault, the author explains in detail as to what happened prior to Karunanidhi’s bizarre half a day ‘fast-unto-death’ when he had prior input from P.Chidambaram that there would be a temporary cessation of hostilities.I would only recommend that at least this section be translated into Tamil and circulated in Tamil Nadu. The sequence of event is as below ;

  1. Elections are underway in India. Polling in TN was to have happened on 13-May.
  2. Congress govt worries that any news of Prabhakaran’s death would jeopardize the polling in TN against Congress-DMK combine.
  3. Shivshankar Menon and Narayanan travel to Sri Lanka to ask them to stop hostilities for a couple of weeks.
  4. Sri Lanka agrees.
  5. P.Chidambaram conveys this to Karunanidhi.
  6. Next morning, on 28 April 2009, Karunanidhi announces a ‘fast-unto-death’.
  7. Sri Lanka announces ceasefire the same day.
  8. Karunanidhi declares ‘Victory’and calls off ‘fast-unto-death’.
  9. Polling gets over on 13-May.
  10. DMK & Congress get elected.
  11. Prabhakaran is killed on 19-May.

Conspiracy, self-centric policies, avarice, intrigue – the characteristics that Karunanidhi symbolizes, are shown in the above approach. The author captures it all.

Ravi talks about the ‘Mallu Mafia’ – the bureaucratic stranglehold that the Malayalee bureaucrats – TKA Nair, M.K.Narayanan, Shiv Shankar Menon – had on the govt, the politics that unfolded, the power struggle in the bureaucracy and after-effects thereafter.

Anthony, India’s worst defense minister ever, is dealt with in a separate chapter. As a result of the Right to Information Act, bureaucrats become averse to taking any decision and begin to pass on the buck. This strangulates decision making and puts purchases for armed forces under scanner. Meanwhile several mishaps take place in the naval force. The defense minister blames the then Naval chief D.K.Joshi and accepts the latter’s resignation in the most ungraceful manner. The UPA government under Singh had not only institutionalized corruption but also defamed the armed forces. The then Army Chief V.K.Singh’s retirement age episode took place in this period. The author has captured all these in minute detail.

What is shocking is the reason attributed to Anthony’s actions. Under fire from all directions on different scams related to 2G auction, Coal, Commonwealth Games and Aadarsh Building, Anthony was expecting Manmohan Singh to resign so that he could take over the reins.

There is an imbalance in the author’s treatment of a scam pertaining to a Singapore company in an Indian arms deal. Anthony had black-listed the company. The author loses his balance here and starts his mud-slinging on Anthony. It is a different matter that Anthony deserves not handfuls of mud but mountains of it. He makes a startling revelation that Manmohan Singh had early stage Parkinson’s disease and hence was not as active when he was Prime Minister and often looked wooden even in public appearances.

Ravi also talks about the ‘prince-charming’ who has been in eternal wait – Rahul Gandhi. He some how claims that Rahul is an exceptional listener, a voracious reader and an eager learner. None of what Ravi says has been visible sofar. He even says a Singapore minister had spent a day with Rahul and was enchanted at the latter’s curiosity. Ravi could have said more on this episode. The claim that Sonia Gandhi is also a voracious reader is news.

There is an interesting bit on Sonia Gandhi’s refusal to accept the Prime Ministership listening to her ‘inner-voice’. It turns out that it was Rahul Gandhi who argued with Sonia not to accept the position as he felt the position was too risky. Natwar Singh who was party to the conversation confirms this to the author.

Another interesting tidbit that we gather is that Rahul had come twice to Singapore and to spend some time listening to the legendary Lee Kuan Yew who had asked him not to hurry for position, to surround himself with smart and reliable folks and be ready when the time comes. Looking at the kind of folks that Congress has, it seems Lee Kuan Yew’s advice would remain an advice.

The author also covers the wholly unconstitutional National Advisory Council with Sonia as the Chairperson that had enormous powers even on the Prime Minister and the complete compromise that Singh had to resort to in order to please Sonia and her coterie and similar such items in this book that send shock waves over one’s spine.

The author concludes with Modi, talking about his performance in Gujarat, his gradual ascendancy in national politics and then becoming PM at last. An essential book on India through the eyes of an outsider who knows more people inside than the rest of the insiders.

Why I like demonetisation

Demonetisation – the art of making money worthless. PM Modi has made money worthless and the pursuit of that, even worthless. But that does not mean he would not be raising taxes, for his govt runs on taxes alone.

So, what is fantastic about this exercise of making the money worthless?

Well, your ward’s councillor, the primary school drop out who has two Toyota Innovas and who hangs out with a platoon of able bodied goons who are clad in gold ornaments the size of a bicycle chain,  is nowhere to be seen for the last 3 days since the announcement was made.

You see the leader of the opposition, if you can call him so, stand in a queue in front of an ATM to draw cash like you do. How many times in the past have you seen this happening?

The multi-billionaire, who has at least two cars, and who has not been seen in the public as he has always spent his time inside of cars and planes, has come out to stand in front of an ATM to draw cash.

The politicians who have never cared about the poor have suddenly started talking about the trials and tribulations of the poor as the 500 and 1000 Rupee notes have been withdrawn. You can understand that they are not talking about the poor but about themselves, as they don’t know what to do with the sacks of cash held in their vaults.

The one feature that is striking in this exercise is that, even if you have loads of 500 and 1000 Rupee notes, you don’t have cash unless you have small change.

Even if  black money is not eradicated in full, just because the above worthies have been made to come out of their hideouts, I support the #demonetisation.

Finally, as a B.Tech holder with 20 years of work experience, the Nanganallur flat that you were wanting to buy for your parents for keeping them closer to the temples – it is going to be a lot cheaper and you would not be forced to shell out all you savings for that. Instead, the builders would be after you, for the first time in many years.

For all the above, I support #demonetisation.

Jai Hind.

 

The Singapore connection

‘Nobody owes Singapore a living,’  the legendary Lee Kuan Yew said. He wanted Singapore to be nimble and agile and make its living in this fast, competitive world and designed Singapore to be so, nimble and agile.

Bereft of natural resources, Singapore has to depend on the world for its existence. That being the case, the country needs to be run like a company to be profitable and stay afloat. Therefore, Singapore makes money from all its inland transactions. Money generated thus, after the necessary welfare expenditure, has to grow to meet the needs of a future Singapore. Hence, Singapore grows its investments abroad.

Singapore invests its excess abroad through two Sovereign Wealth Funds – Temasek Holdings and Government Investment Corporation(GIC). These two companies invest the surplus money that Singapore has in other companies – both Singaporean and foreign. This results in capital appreciation and long-term returns by way of dividends.

Temasek and GIC have two unique approaches. These two funds hold a stake in most of the government and private companies in Singapore who in turn have stakes in companies abroad. The two funds also directly invest in foreign companies and stock markets.

Take an example. Temasek holds a stake in SingTel, the biggest telecom operator in Singapore. SingTel, in turn, holds 40% stake in AirTel of India. AirTel, in turn, has investments in South Africa and Nigeria in addition to substantial telecom operations in India. So, as India’s economy grows, AirTel grows, and as a result, SingTel grows which results in Temasek reaping profits.

In case SingTel needs funds for further investment in AirTel, it borrows from DBS Bank, another state-owned bank in Singapore. And Temasek holds a stake in DBS as well. So, it is a matter of perpetual investment where money moves from one state-owned firm to another, but reaping profit all the way. India provides a fertile ground for such an income to these state-owned companies of Singapore.

Recently, India mandated foreign banks to have subsidiaries in India if they wanted to enjoy the government securities business; earlier they were operating as branches of their overseas operations. While some banks didn’t take this offer, DBS and Standard Chartered have lapped this up and have set up subsidiary operations in India. What they gain is, even more reach into the Indian mainland and business opportunities in consumer lending and eventually entry into corporate banking space. And the sweet-spot is the millions of dollars in Indian government securities. Is there any more sweet spot? Yes. DBS India and Standard Chartered India would be wholly owned by DBS Singapore and Standard Chartered. Temasek and GIC have holdings in DBS and Standard Chartered, thus helping maintain a stable and prosperous Singapore. And that is its gain.

Temasek and GIC have further interests in India- health care and housing. GIC has invested S$100mn in Vasan Eye Care, an eye care operator in India. The resonating is very straightforward. India, because of its growing middle class, is expected to be the diabetes capital of the world. Hence, the wealthy middle class is expected to be affected by Diabetic Retinopathy in the next ten years. And Vasan Eye Care, with an increased regional presence in the southern India, is expected to reap the benefit of eye treatment. This much analysis is done by Singapore’s state sovereign funds prior to investing in India.

Lapping up the opportunity in luxury housing for the emerging middle class in India, Temasek has entered into a joint venture with India’s leading builder DLF Ltd, to develop such housing projects in New Delhi. This is a long term plan and is likely to continue for the next 10 years. It has also invested $1 bn , as of 2Q 2015 in assets such as Sun Pharma, Glenmark, Crompton Greaves and Oberoi Realty. During 2014-2015, Temasek invested $1 bn in 10 different trade transactions in Global Health, Intas Pharmaceuticals, Snapdeal and data analytics firm Manthan. Temasek’s older portfolio includes Godrej Consumer Products, Bajaj Corp, ACC and Adani Ports.

What is more, Temasek has two offices in India – Chennai and Mumbai-employs 22 investment professionals who do the investment analysis and deal making. Out of $226 bn in AUM, Temasek’s India portion alone is $10 bn and that is growing. Temasek’s India head Promeet Ghosh expects this investment to grow in the FMCG, Telecom and Housing areas in India. Ravi Lambah, Temasek’s co-head for India, Africa and West Asia says, “When we started investing outside Singapore, we played for economic growth. So, first we went to China and then gradually moved to India. Initially, we did not have enough resources, so we started with banks, as they are seen as proxy for economic growth.”

Some might say that Temasek is an investment company and not a Sovereign Wealth Fund. In 2015, Temasek contributed $3 bn by way of its gains towards Singapore’s budget. That should answer this doubt.

With $31 billion of foreign capital inflows, India has surpassed China and the US to take the pole position in attracting largest FDI in the first half of 2015, a report in The Financial Times of London says. Out of this, $31 bn, Singapore is the second largest investor.

 

FDI Flow

No only the state-owned SWFs but individual companies from Singapore also work in India. Singapore has developed its water treatment technologies, in association with Israel – another water-starved nation- and is an expert in water management. Now it exports its water management skills to other countries to earn valuable foreign exchange.

FDI SGSingapore Airlines has a 49-51 JV with Tata Sons for Vistara Airlines, hoping to cash in on India’s domestic air traffic as well as traffic with South East Asia. Needless to say, Temasek has a stake in Singapore Airlines.

In 2013, Modi government in Gujarat awarded Singapore’s Hyflux a USD 420m water desalination project as part of a 30-year contract.

Surbana and Jurong Consultants of Singapore is involved in the master plan development of Amravati, the new capital city of Andhra Pradesh. The city is expected to be 50 times bigger than Singapore itself which opens up a whole lot of investment opportunities for Singaporean construction companies. Singapore Ascendas’s Ltd constructs many IT parks in India.

Sembcorp, a Singapore company, has a 49-51 JV with India’s Gayatri Projects to develop a $1.9 bn coal-fired thermal power plant in Krishnapatnam of Andhra Pradesh. Sembcorp has a 25-year power purchase agreement with the AP government. Temasek holds 49% stake in Sembcorp.

Singapore has been a bigtime customer for ISRO.

Gujarat has two SMART City projects under the Indian PM’s 100 Smart City projects. Singapore’s BCA is involved in the two smart city projects as well. The past relationship with Gujarat in water resources works helps Singaporean companies get construction contracts.

Besides getting Amravati, Singapore has got the contracts for constructing Ahmedabad and Jaipur airports. Jodhpur and Udaipur are getting the Singaporean advisory services to develop their tourism thus translating into surplus for Temasek and GIC, the custodians of Singaporean’s wealth.

The Singapore Brand has a lot of goodwill in India. Due to the immaculate execution and design standards, Singaporean companies offer a lot of value for money and are preferred by the various state governments in India.

Ten years ago, Singapore withdrew from a consortium to bid for New Delhi’s international airport. That was an ill-advised decision, for Singapore would have certainly made its mark if it would have built a Changi-like airport in New Delhi. Probably bureaucratic hurdles and difficulties in doing business in the then India made Singapore withdraw. In any case, that was a lost opportunity to showcase the Singapore brand in airport-building.

During the current visit, PM Modi conducted an investor conference in Marina Bay Sands that had 100s of CEOs in attention where he outlined the relaxations that he has brought in for investment in India. These directly translate into millions of dollars of investment into India which in turn is helping the Singapore economy.

One point PM Modi stressed was India’s part in keeping the sea lanes, from Africa to Singapore, safe which ensures the safe movement of oil to Singapore. The role of Oil in Singapore’s GDP composition  needs no mention.

Singapore recently joined the BRICS Bank spearheaded by China and India, much to the consternation of the US and western powers. And by doing so, Singapore has ensured that it gets a greater share in the BRICS bank funded projects in the BRICS countries. The century being an Asian one, it is only logical that Singapore joined the bank.

Singapore remains the largest investor in India and that is a mutually beneficial relationship. Over 6000 Indian companies have their operations in Singapore thus providing greater economic cooperation between the two countries. This also provides wider cultural exchanges between the two nations, thanks to the huge Singaporean human resource talent that is bilingual – Tamil & English, Mandarin & English. Singapore is a gateway for trade with China as well. Singapore’s huge Mandarin speaking, highly literate workforce are of immense help for Indian companies to expand in the east.

Lee Kuan Yew has mentioned this in his book: What is so unique about Singaporean work ethic? How is that seen in the world? For that, you need to go the United Nations. For any protocol related clarification or any clarification on procedures for conducting international meetings, many countries take the final word from the Singapore team. They are so given to perfection and meticulous planning that they can hardly go wrong.

Singapore doesn’t recognize anybody as a strategic partner easily. Recently Singapore and India signed a strategic partnership agreement when PM Modi visited Singapore. The strategic partnership will see regular high-level meetings at the level of Defence Ministers, the continuation of joint military exercises across all three service arms and collaboration in defence technology and co-production of weapons.

And this augurs well for PM Modi’s ‘Look East’ policy. He is travelling in the correct direction and speed to use Singapore as the spring board to success in South East Asia, for India has huge stakes in the South China sea situation. ONGC Videsh has oil drilling rights in that area.

Having Singapore as a strategic partner in conducting international business, the design of mega smart cities, public infrastructure works, ports, water treatment and management is only natural for India to do and PM Modi has been quick to understand and leverage Singapore’s expertise in these areas. Additionally, this is a mutually beneficial relationship while Singapore gets to utilise its skill for the betterment of the world and also gets to grow its reserves, India gets specialised skills from a genuinely skilled and interested friend, Singapore.

Modi’s part in this:

  1. Reduce red tape
  2. End bureaucratic inertia
  3. Eliminate corruption
  4. Boost investor confidence

Bureaucrats who have been used to being a hurdle in liberalising the country are giving way to enabling business. Indira Gandhi’s socialistic streak takes time to subside and is slowly giving way to a business-friendly bureaucracy, with the technology and management educated Indians taking up senior civil services positions. With an enabler like Modi, the four listed above should be achieved in due course.

More on what Modi has done to unshackle the legendary Indian bureaucracy, in subsequent articles.

References:

  1. http://www.sembcorp.com/en/about-quick-facts.aspx
  2. http://www.surbanajurong.com/
  3. http://www.temasek.com.sg
  4. http://www.straitstimes.com.sg
  5. http://www.rbi.org.in
  6. Various newspaper articles

Soniaji, fire your speech writer please

Dear Smt.Soniaji,

I am a dark skinned Indian from the south of the Vindhyas. Oh, yes, the same Vindhya mountain ranges in Central India. And yes, world exists and people still live in the southern part of India.

Just to remind you: India is where you had come to live as a daughter-in-law.

So, why am I writing to you in English? Well, I don’t know Italian. And, Mani Sankar Iyer, your speech writer, can translate this for you to understand. I could have written in Tamil, for Mani is supposed to know Tamil as well. But with his dubious mastery of English and an equally dubious sense of history, I very much doubt Mani would understand Tamil. In any case, no one in Tamil Nadu would be reading this letter. Hence, it really doesn’t matter.

I know you are naïve and hence read Mani gives you. But when you read in Parliament, please take care. All speeches are recorded unless or otherwise expunged. That your speeches are foolish because your speech writer is foolish, is known to us. But generations later, my great-grandchildren should not think that their great-grandfather had lived in times when the leader of the opposition was a nincompoop.

Take this example. Yesterday you had said this about the constitution:

“People who never had faith in the Constitution, nor had they participated in its drafting, are now swearing by it and are laying claim to it. They are now having a discussion on commitment to it. There cannot be a bigger joke than this.”

Yes, it was written 60 years ago. Rahul is 40+ and hence, by your logic, he is not eligible to take oath in the name of the constitution. Extend that logic and Obama could not have become Prez at all. And for England, there could be no PM, for there is no single written constitution.

Additionally, Ambedkar did not want the two words – secular and socialist- in the preamble of the statute book. He felt that he should not impose on the people what their means of conducting business should be. And he was quite right in his opinion. Here is the link to the proceedings in the constituent assembly. You might probably have known about the Constitution of India. It was discussed word by word in this assembly of scholars. Mani, by virtue of his being ideologically inclined towards Pakistan, might not have known about this august assembly. You could consult with Shashi Tharoor – the only guy in your party to have some sense of history in his speeches.

Here is what happened. On 15-Nov-1945, Prof.K.T.Shah from Bihar brought an amendment in the constituent assembly. He wanted to include ‘socialist’ and ‘secular’ in the preamble of the constitution. Dr.Ambedkar didn’t agree and had this to say :

“I regret that I cannot accept the amendment of Prof. K. T. Shah. My objections, stated briefly, are two. In the first place the Constitution, as I stated in my opening speech in support of the motion I made before the House, is merely a mechanism for the purpose of regulating the work of the various organs of the State. It is not a mechanism whereby particular members or particular parties are installed in office. What should be the policy of the State, how the Society should be organized in its social and economic side are matters which must be decided by the people themselves according to time and circumstances. It cannot be laid down in the Constitution itself because that is destroying democracy altogether.”

You had also said that the Congress realized the genius of Ambedkar and appointed him the Chairman of the drafting committee. Truth is, as usual, far from it. Ambedkar had to campaign for being added into the constituent assembly. It was Gandhiji’s magnanimity that resulted in Ambedkar being added to the august assembly. You might not know this, neither would anybody in the Congress. Please ask somebody to read you the memoirs of Jagjivan Ram. Let me also quote some more instances where Ambedkar was not interested in the drafting of the constitution as also some instances where he had ‘behaved’ properly with the British:

Dr.Ambedkar, 2-Sep-1953, Rajya Sabha Speech:

“People always keep on saying to me:’O, you are the maker of the Constitution’. My answer is I was a hack. What I was asked to do so, I did much against the will… Sir, my friends tell me that I have made the Constitution. But I am quite prepared to say that I shall be the first person to burn it out..”

British Viceroy of India to The Cabinet mission, 05-Apr-1946 :

“He ( Ambedkar ) thought that if India became independent it would be one of the greatest disasters that could happen..”

British Secretary of State for India to the Governor of Madras : 24-Sep-1933 :

” During the last two or three years I have seen a great deal of Ambedkar,and, like most of my friends, I have been impressed by his ability and his manifest desire to support the British influence in India…”

British Secretary of State to the Viceroy of India, 28-Dec-1932 :

” Ambedkar has behaved very well at the (Round Table ) Conference, and I am most anxious to strengthen his hands in every possible way ..”

Here is what the ‘Architect’ of the constitution had to say about the constituent assembly itself.

Dr.Babasaheb Ambedkar, All India Scheduled Class Federation, Bombay, 6-May-1945 :

“I must state that I am wholly opposed to the proposal of a Constituent Assembly. It is absolutely superfluous. I regard it as a most dangerous project… I do not see why a Constituent Assembly is at all necessary.Indians are not in the same position as the Fathers of the American Constitution were. So much of the Constitution of India has already been written out in the Government of India Act, 1935. It is my considered opinion that the proposal of Constituent Assembly is more dangerous than profitable and should not be entertained”.

BTW – be more careful with Mani. Two decades ago, he had promised to make Mayiladuthurai, his erstwhile constituency, a Singapore. Thank God that Singapore doesn’t know this, for they would sue Mani for damaging brand Singapore. Mayiladuthurai looks like Singapore of 1900.

Meanwhile, if you have decided to write the epitaph of the Congress, that is fine by me. As the party was founded by a European, A.O.Hume, it is only natural that it be buried by another European. But let it die its natural death. Your son, Rahul is hell bent on killing it. And in India killing is illegal while death due to natural reasons is acceptable. Just listen to his recent Mount Carmel School speech and you will know what I mean.

Probably Mount Carmel questions were asked by Indian girls and hence wouldn’t matter for you. Here is a US journalist on Rahul. As this is by a non-Indian, probably this might help.

I have an idea. Why not make Rahul the ambassador of North Korea? The intolerant PM would be too willing to accede to that demand, for there is no other way of decimating Kim Jong Un. Aamir Khan can keep Rahul company.

At least you could save the embarrassment of having to live with a half-wit son who doesn’t know which nation he belongs to, and files his income tax in the UK while being an MP in India.

First things first. Fire your speech writer. Else, start acting in Tamil films, for Vadivelu doesn’t star nowadays.

Yours Sincerely,
A dark skinned Indian from the South of the Vindhyas.