Loksabha election 2014! What a show of democracy! Kudos to the Indian electorate. Congratutalions to the millions who voted for a change.

And salute to the person who rose from a tea stall, worked through the ranks without personal ambitions, gathered name and fame as an able and dedicated administrator, amd worked, undaunted by relentless attacks of opportunistic subhumans over the years, with a singular mission of improving the life of his countrymen and a vision to make India ‘ek Bharat, shreshtha Bharat’.

This is a huge personal pleasure for me as a admirer of this great personality, since I had written some 5yrs ago, arguing for Narendra Modi as Prime Minister.

 

A prayer for Mr. Narendra Modi.

Arindam Bandyopadhyay, MD

Congratulations, Mr. Narendra Modi, for your stupendous success in the 2014 Loksabha election.

You have been chosen by the Almighty to lead India. The 1.25 billion people of India have participated in a democratic revolution, the largest in the history of mankind, to give you the unequivocal mandate. They have come forward, shedding their glooms and grievances, with the great hope and aspiration that achche din aane waley hai.

We are aware that the road ahead is not going to be easy. You have been successful, through work more than words, in instilling a sense of belief and confidence. Still a billion plus people will likely have an equal measure of expectations and some are bound to be disappointed for various reasons. There would definitely be other distractions. Your opponents, politically or otherwise motivated, though temporarily numbed by the election results, will make every effort for a comeback. You will still continue to be under the microscope and every action or word of yours will still be analyzed for any possible aberration. The sinking secularist will keep on clutching to the debate of secularism vs. communalism because that is their sole straw of survival. The news-traders will continue their tirade at every opportune moment. Moreover of the more radical elements, some would still prefer to stop you at any cost while others will continue to consider you as their ‘target number one’.

You have to overcome all these and many more. Our well wishes are with you.

May you remain focused in your vision for India first and restore her lost pride.

May you have the strength to reclaim India, her heritage and her tradition!

May Indians, under your leadership, restore the glory of their wavered, age-old civilization!

May you revive the sense of self-esteem and worthiness in every Indian’s life!

May India get the benefit of maximum governance, minimum government!

May you succeed in providing a transparent, positive and decisive administration!

May you remain unfazed in your resolution to eradicate the curse of discrimination and corruption from Indian life!

May you lead us to our swaraj again, through su-raaj and free us from the shackles of poverty and despair.

May you succeed in promoting development as a mass movement with your mantra of sabka saath, sabka vikas!

May all citizens feel uniformly Indian, irrespective of language, caste, region and religion!

May all Indians, enjoy the fruit of development for all and appeasement for none!

May true secularism, beyond gimmicks of iftar party and politics of skull caps, re-emerge and prevail!

May you guide Hindus to become better Hindus, Muslims to become better Muslims!

May India, as a country, stride into the 21st century, with the respect as a world power!

May the message of vasudhaiva kuṭumbakam, emanating from Bharat, attain its desired global acceptance!

We, the1.25 billion people of India, are with you.

May Parmatma bless you!

***

Advertisements

Let us not judge India through the eyes of the west. The west’s views and motives have been and will always be different. The biggest violaters of human rights and national sovereignties, throughout history, all over the world, now pretend to be the lawmakers and quality-setters of the world

What a joke?.

India should learn to stand up and pay them back in their own coin. Let them swallow their pride and come begging. Only this time we should make sure that we do not fall into their trap again.

 

Is India a nation of rapists and killers?

By S Gurumurthy

10th February 2013 12:00 AM

 

The gruesome rape and killing in Delhi in December last year had rightly set the nation on fire. The nation tried in vain to atone for the crime by show of unprecedented frenzy. But in its boiling anger the national mind did lose its balance and capacity for self-analysis. It flagellated itself; shamed its soul. The stentorian chorus led the mission to shame India, imaging the Indian people as misogynists on the whole. With the frenzy subsiding, is it not time to stop self-flagellating and start thinking? The world is asking whether India is a nation of rapists and killers of women. Only facts, not words, can answer this question.

With enthusiastic support from the Indian media, intellectuals and writers, the Western media almost made out India as a semi-barbaric society. An example. Libby Purves wrote in The Times UK that the Delhi bus rape should “shatter our Bollywood fantasies” of heady spirituality, adding that upright Europeans have ignored the Indian culture of “murderous, hyena-like male contempt”. What a certificate for a rising India that the National Intelligence Council of the US in its report released four days before the Delhi rape had predicted India to become one of the three world powers by 2030! An India crying in guilt had almost endorsed Purves.

Fortunately for India, a Western woman writer, Emer O’Toole (The Guardian, January 1, 2013) intervened and tore apart Purves and her likes. Emer wrote that Purves and others pontificate, with a sense of cultural superiority, as if rape is something that only happens “over there”—read India— and something the ‘civilised’ West “have somehow put behind”. Emer pointed out that while the BBC  reports, as if shocking, the statistics that a woman is raped in Delhi every 14 hours, which equates to 625 a year, in England and Wales which has a population 3.5 times that of Delhi, the proportion is four time larger: 9,509 against Delhi’s 625. Pointing out that The Wall Street Journal decries India for convicting just over a quarter of the alleged rapists, Emer says that, in the US, only 24 per cent of the alleged rapes even result in arrest, never mind conviction. How strange then is the report on India, she wonders.

Ten days later, even Emer’s data was found to be a gross underestimation of rapes in the UK. In an article in The Independent (January 10, 2013) titled “100,000 assaults, 1,000 rapists sentenced. Shockingly low conviction rates revealed”, Nigel Morris wrote: “Fewer than one rape victim in 30 expect to see her or his attacker brought to justice, shocking new statistics reveal.” ‘His’ attackers? Yes. In the West, women also rape men; a tenth of the rapists are women—something still rare in India. Nigel writes: Only 1,070 rapists are convicted every year out of 95,000 offenders according to the Office of National Statistics UK. As 90 per cent of the attackers were, like in India, known to victims, only 15 per cent victims complained—saying it was “too embarrassing”, “too trivial” or “a private/family matter”. While in the UK, a country which has less than 1/20th of India’s population, the total rapes top 95,000, the rapes in India in 2008, according to the report of the Central Statistics Office, Government of India, were far fewer—20,771.

The US is similar to the UK. The reported rapes in the US in 2006 were 212,000. If unreported rapes are added, only 5 per cent of rapists ever spend a day in jail in the US (National Center for Policy Analysis US Report No. 229). One of six US women has experienced attempted or completed rape (Colorado Coalition Against Sexual Assault: Statistics). More than a quarter of college-age women reported having experienced a rape or rape attempt since age 14 (Kolivas, Elizabeth; Gross, Alan, 2007). This is not to say that, on the scales of the ‘civilised’ UK, India can tolerate 1.6 million rapes, or on US scale (including unreported rapes) it can accept 3.4 million rapes. This is to point out that even if the UK is ‘less civilised’ like India, its total rapes should not exceed 1,000. And even if the US is as ‘backward’ as India, rapes should not exceed 5,200 there. But in the UK, it is 100 times India’s; and, in the US, it is 65 times India’s.

In Norway, the first ranking country in global Human Development Index (HDI), one in 10 women is raped (The New York Times, April 17, 2012). According to the BBC, rape per 100,000 population is the second highest in Sweden which is ranked 10th on the HDI scale and yet as the world’s best place for women! United Nations data shows that in Sweden the rape rate is 63.5 per 100,000. In the US, it is 27.5; but as more than four-fifths of forcible rapes in the US are not reported at all (National Crime Victims Research and Treatment Center Report July 2007), the effective rapes in the US will be more than 137.5 per 100,000! And what is the figure for India? Just 1.8! (See http://www.unodc.org documents on sexual violence). But, that rapes are far less in India is no matter of pride. It is a national shame even if a single woman is raped. For Indians have traditionally worshipped not only women gods, but women and girls in physical form as well, as gods. The contrast with the West is not to claim any cultural superiority, but only to point out how the Indian and Western writers who have written off India as misogynic have been blind to facts. And turn to the infamous case of four serial gang-rapes in two months in Sydney in 2000. It shook the world, but never made the Australians rapists in the eyes of the world.

More. Even gang-rape does not make news in the ‘developed’ West at times.

Emer compares the gang-rape in Delhi with the gang-rape in Steubenville in Ohio in the US, where, in August 2012, a 16-year-old girl was dragged, drunk and unresponsive, from party to party where she was raped allegedly by members of a high school basketball team. Contrasting the brutal Delhi rape and death which spurred Indian civil society to its feet, causing protest and unrest, bringing women and men into streets, with the army and the states of Punjab and Haryana cancelling new year celebrations, Emer says that in Steubenville, sports-crazy townsfolk blamed the victim. But for a blogger Alexandria Goddard, now being sued, exposing it, followed by The New York Times four months after the crime, the US might not have noticed the incident at all.

Still more. The demeaning picture of India is an extension of the long-held view that Indian traditions had made women inferior, and even led to decimating its girl children. Is this true? Look at the facts.

The gender ratio in mid-colonial India (1901) was 972 per 1,000; colonialism brought it down to 946 in 1951; modern India did it to a low of 927 in 2001. In 2011, it has improved to 940.

And in the most traditional, therefore “backward”, Bihar, the gender ratio in 1901 was 1,061, that is 61 women more than men; as late as in 1961 it was 1,005.

And now? 921! Urban India is lower at 924 to rural India’s 947; the ratios of the most modern Mumbai (822) and Delhi (823) are even less. The answer is obvious.

The more modern India is, the fewer girls it chooses to have. Who then is to blame for declining sex ratio? Modernity or tradition?

Will those who demean India introspect? Will they study the facts before commenting? Are they listening?

 

Western Blot

The rape record of ‘civilised and developed’ countries

US

44% of victims are under age 18.

80% are under age 30.

Every 2 minutes, someone in the US is sexually assaulted.

There is an average of 207,754 victims (age 12 or older) of sexual assault each year.

54% of sexual assaults are not reported to the police.

97% of rapists will never spend a day in jail.

Approximately 2/3 of assaults are committed by someone known to the victim.

38% of rapists are a friend or acquaintance.

 

UK

Less than one rape victim in 30 can expect to see her or his attacker brought to justice.

About 1,000 rapists are convicted every year.

90 per cent of rape victims said they knew the identity of their attacker.

15 per cent went to the police.

Between 60,000 and 95,000 people are estimated to be raped each year.

About one woman in 200 has been a victim in the last one year.

1 in 38 major sex crime leads to a conviction for the offence.

2 years is the average time taken for a court verdict when the accused contests the allegations.

On January 24, 2011, a Toronto policeman, Constable Michael Sanguinetti, was speaking on crime prevention at a York University safety forum in Toronto, Canada. He said: “I’ve been told I’m not supposed to say this: however, women should avoid dressing like sluts in order not to be victimised.”

That misogynous comment sparked a protest that grew into a global movement.  On April 3, 2011, over 3,000 women protesters walked to Toronto Police Headquarters. Although women were asked to dress in everyday, ordinary wear, many came dressed as ‘sluts’. The organisers, Sonya Barnett and Heather Jarvis, said: “We are tired of being oppressed by slut-shaming; of being judged by our sexuality and feeling unsafe as a result. Being in charge of our sexual lives should not mean that we are opening ourselves to an expectation of violence, regardless if we participate in sex for pleasure or work. No one should equate enjoying sex with attracting sexual assault.”

 

In India, the first ‘Slutwalk Arthaat Besharmi Morcha’ was in Bhopal on July 17, 2011; 50 attended. The next ones were: Delhi on July 31, 2011, and Lucknow on August 21, 2011.

 

The Common Misunderstandings 

 

“If women really want to, they can always say no”

Many women do indeed say no, but rapists do not listen. Some resist physically and do manage to prevent further assault, others suffer greater injury.

“Real’ rapes are committed by strangers in isolated places”

Most rapes are committed by known men, and in a familiar or private space such as the woman or man’s home, a hotel room, at work.

“Rapists are sick or perverts or sexually frustrated”

There are very few rapists who, when convicted, are diagnosed as having a mental health problem. It is not sexual frustration that underlies their assault, but wanting power and control.

“Only certain types of women get raped”

It used to be thought that only certain ‘types’ of women got raped: women who were sexually active, ‘provocative’, or ‘victims’. In fact, women of all ages and ‘types’ are raped, including children and grandmothers.

“Most complaints of sexual assault are false reports”

There is absolutely no evidence to suggest that there are more false complaints of rape than other crimes. And logic suggests that the proportion is probably less than say for theft, often used to support a fraudulent insurance claim.

“Women ask for it by the way they dress or their behaviour”

This argument suggests that women are responsible for sexually arousing men through their dress or ‘flirting’. Implicit within this view is the idea that men cannot control their sexual desires, and also that women should know this and adapt their behaviour accordingly.

************************************************************************************

 

Published in www.ivarta.com blog

Time to Modi-fy India

Arindam Bandyopadhyay

Enough is enough.

India is sick and tired.

We are sick of lies and deceptions, of scams and cover-ups, of promises and failures, of vote bank and divisive politics, of nepotism and sycophancy.

We are tired of the bickering, pompous politicians and their ignoble associates, the dynastic rulers, the family business of politics and the scams and schemes they manage.

We are appalled by the directionless and disengaged government, awestruck by its leadership or the lack of it, disgusted with its indifference to the need of its citizenry and terrified by its indecisiveness on matters as basic as internal and external security

We are mocked as the mango people of the banana republic. We are made to believe that the country is for the privileged and the influential and the rest only entitled to crumbs. People of debatable backgrounds are pampered as celebrities and those with dubious motives are lauded as activists. Separatists who openly preach sedition get away with open threats and get rewarded with free coverage of their freedom of expression.

Lawlessness is the norm. Our ill-trained police forces are made a laughing stock on and off the screen. Their sacrifices hardly raise any eyebrow. Our security forces are rendered toothless by politician with vested interests. We are made to believe that court cases are supposed to stretch for decades, that justice can be brought or manipulated and that for special convicts, jails can be transformed into five star accommodations. 

Our media has long forgotten its role in nation building, too preoccupied with TRP ratings and sensationalism. Biased and partisan panelists are involved hand in gloves, in the decadence, oblivious of all their accountabilities and commitments.

Even after 65 years of independence, we have not been able to provide the very basic requirements like water, electricity or education to the vast majority of our population. Issues such as pollution, sanitation, health, nutrition and infrastructure are plaguing the country. Yet crores and crores of rupees are misappropriated or embezzled, by unholy nexuses of politicians and their collaborators. No wonder politics happens to be the surest and quickest way of getting rich in the country. And no surprise that India rank 85th on the Corruption Perception Index (CPI), out of 180 countries. It is shameful that even a Prime Minister could do little but lament that only 15 per cent of all funds actually reach the common man.

We are tired of being poor. We are tired of hearing about garibi hatao and poverty lines, of schemes that are supposed to benefit the aam aadmi but do not reach them, of promises to eradicate the parallel economy and of assurances to bring back black money, stashed away in foreign banks. We are ashamed that a third of the world’s poor belongs to India and over 40% of India falls below the international poverty line of US$ 1.25 a day (2005 World Bank statistics).

We are tired of being called a third world country.

We are sick of the chalta hai mentality.

We want to break the shackles of stagnation.

We want change.

We are restless. Our frustration and desperation is visible. We have shown that we are not afraid to come out on the streets with posters and candle lights, to face the batons and water cannons, as during the fight against corruption or the protest against atrocities affecting women.

We are the largest democracy of the world, with a median age of 25 years and with around 70 percent of the 1.2 billion people under the age of 40 years. The generation which has been exposed to the world through television and internet feel that they have the talent to compete with the rest of the world. We aspire to improve our lot, prove our excellence and write our destiny.

We just need a leader to facilitate and guide us.

We want a statesman, unquestionably a nationalist who puts India first, and can stand up for her without being intimidated by international pressure.

We want a person with integrity, who is not only incorruptible himself, but also does not permit others to indulge in corruption.

We want a decisive, bold, no-nonsense leader, an able administrator who gets acknowledged even by his sulking opponents.

We want a visionary who can raise hope and nurture them, who can not only talk about our dreams of nation- building and skill development but actually walk the talk, setting up institutions to encourage research and innovations.

We want a dreamer who can envisage development that includes all and leaves none behind, who can rise above divisive politics and beyond caste, creed and religion. 

We want a leader who raises hope in the minds of a large section of the population from all walks of life and earns rightful appreciation within and outside the country..

Finally we want someone who is a proven achiever, who remains unfazed despite malicious defamation by enemies and whose path of integrity and excellence is unperturbed by the deceit and fraud of lesser mortals..

Let us get that leader.

Let us Modi-fy India.

My political satire published in Indiacause blog site of ivarta.com

Rahul Gandhi Ko Gussa Kyun Ata Hai

Arindam Bandyopadhyay

 

Mommy! Yeh kya hai? How did I become the head of the Congress coordination committee for 2014 Lok Sabha polls? Nobody asked me for my consent. Yeh to jabardasti hai.

Please, don’t tell me that this is about my future and the future of the country. Bhar me jaye……why can’t the country leave me alone?

Look, I did not mind becoming an MP since I know that I am a Mediocre Person. But I have resisted all temptations to be part of the government or be a minister, because then you are responsible and liable to be blamed for all the department’s faults. I do not want to give anybody the opportunity to humiliate me. I am smart enough to learn it from you! Akhir beta kiska hun?

I am okay with being the General Secretary of Congress – I can behave like a general without even knowing the job of a secretary. And I do not mind becoming the High Command in future. Ask my friends – they will tell you I like to be ‘high’ and can command right and left as long as I do not have to carry them out.

But why does the party keep on demanding more? How many posts can I hold? Can’t we have other leaders from this pre-historic party who can share some responsibilities? I know you do not like that idea because of the risk of other leaders overshadowing the family. But you have to understand that I cannot pretend anymore that I enjoy politics.

Is politics ke liye mujhe kya kya nahin karna para!

First they call me an ‘icon’. In this age, while ipod, iphone and ipad are pioneers in their respective field, my detractors can easily distort icon from the leader of congress to the head of the conmen – yeh mujhe bilkul pasand nahi hai.

Next, I have to fake myself as a youth leader when I am not a youth anymore. Is umar mein to Vivekananda aur Jesus Christ duniya chorke chale gaye theh.

I had to eat with Dalits and sleep in their house. I had to travel second class with people that Shashi bhaiya disapproved as cattles. I have to spend half my time holding meeting at places where I would have never gone otherwise. Moreover I have to do all of these with a smiling face.

Yeh bhi koyi zindagi hai! Forget about girlfriends, I do not even have time to visit London or Boston anymore, let alone go to mama-bari in Italy.

I know you will remind me that I am important! It is my destiny to become PM. Even our silent PM agrees with that, whenever he is allowed to speak. You will also tell me that my opinions count. I try not to behave or talk like a future PM. (Fortunately, I am blessed because it comes natural to me). But still the scribes keep on insisting? How am I supposed to know that nobody can understand that there is no difference between Kargil war with Pakistan and FDI war with Walmart?

Then look at the hullabaloo they created after I said that ‘Hindu groups could pose a bigger threat to the country than activities of groups like Lashkar-e-Tayiba’. What I meant was, since Hindus are the majority, we should make sure that they remain oppressed enough, so that there is never a possibility of Hindu terror. Now, is it my fault if ignorant people cannot follow my point? Why do they ask for my views then?

That’s the reason why I also avoid Parliament sessions. It is so boring, anyway. All they discuss are scams – CWG, 2G, CoalG(ate). And then they ask me ‘what is your opinion Rahul-ji’? Baap re, mujhe to chakkar aata hai.

Actually I am convinced that there is a deep conspiracy going on. First our party and its allies were being connected to all sorts of scams. Then they attacked our family directly. Robert bhaiya ko to kareeb band baja diya tha…thank God he could fence away, at least for now. All these Annas and Arvinds are their stooges. I know all of it. I am not a bachcha anymore and neither am I kachcha in politics, though  sometimes my oppositions tend to believe that.

And now Subbu uncle, who fondly calls me a buddhu, is accusing even you and me of fraud. This must be part of an international scheme. Otherwise why would, all of a sudden, even the foreign media start taunting us. How dare they refer to me as the Rahul problem? Can anyone otherwise explain why they suddenly decided to declare our famous ‘son of sardarPM as an underachiever?

I know who is behind all of these. It is the man from the west – i.e. the western state of India. All those vibrations from the vibrant programs, where they showcase their state, are shaking our roots here. No wonder they have him as their cover boy. And no wonder suddenly even our friends from UK are warming up to him.

I think you need to pull some strings. Otherwise all these conspiracies and foreign interests can bury us badly in coming elections. Can you imagine where my reputation, which is already heavily tarnished after losing Bihar and UP elections, will be, if we lose the Lok Sabha 2014 polls? Do you still agree that I should hold this post of the head of coordination committee? I think yeh dil maange no more.

Honestly I am also tired of this political role play, jo mere bas ka kaam nahin hai. Sometimes I want to live a normal life. Think about it – I cannot even party with my friends, without criticism. This is very unfair.

Besides if I ever become the PM, what will happen to our Garibi Hatao programme? Look, for example, at Amethi – my constituency. It can compete with anywhere else in India for its garibi. Even Bill Gates failed to turn it around. If I become PM and the whole of India utilize my expertise and try to emulate Amethi, how can we then implement Grandma’s Garibi Hatao program?

I think Ramu dada has probably figured out that India’s PM post is not the right position for me, though he mentioned it in a slightly eccentric way. I admire his cynicism in general but strongly object to his openly criticizing me as illiterate. Publicly bolna nahi chahiye thah …..

Seriously, I think we have to find some new strategies before even the aam aadmi (or mango people, according to Robert bhaiya) decide to dump us.

Why can’t people like Diggy mama or Sallu chacha try to convince Priyanka? They can also talk to Robert-bhai. He is famous now-a-days. And part of the family too.

And, don’t try to confuse me by telling that my father and grandmother gave their life for the country. At least they had some sort of a life going before they died. Meri to zindagi bhi abhi suru nahi hui. It seems that nobody cares whether I have the right to have some sort of a personal life. At least I could have used some sympathy for my enforced bachelorship. Has anybody thought that if I do not get married, what happens to the continuity of the family tree?

Mera nahi to kam se kam dynasty ki to socho!

************************************

Reading between the lines, are Muslim organizations in India changing their stance towards Narendra Modi (just in case he does end up becoming a more important person in the lives of Indians, beyond Gujarat)?

Are Muslims finally able to see through the ill-effects of vote bank politics, that most political parties of India have catered to them as minorities, ever since Independence?

For too long, the “Muslim victimhood” sentiment has been projected and propagated by political parties and their leaders for vested interest. Likewise, the fire of the post- Godhra riots of 2002, has been carefully kept burning with periodic fueling by these Modi-haters including the overtly partisan Indian print and news media.

The fact, as per the Parliamentary statement of the former Congress Union Minister of State for Home, that 790 Muslims and 254 Hindus were killed in the riots does not quite reveal a picture of Muslim genocide or pogrom as Modi-haters have tried to paint. Similarly, the fact that “126 persons were killed in police firing, of which 77 were Hindus”, according to the National Minorities Commission Chairman, John Joseph, also does not bear testimony to an alleged religiously biased police force, supposingly rendered inactive by orders of the CM to ‘let Hindus vent their anger’, as accused by so called whistleblower supercop, Sanjeev Bhatt. Investigations and court cases are still going on, but nefarious designs of bogus activists and vindictive opponents are getting exposed, eroding the credibility of the anti-Modi brigade. 

In the meantime in Gujarat, Muslims are reported to be drifting towards Modi and his party. “A stage has now been reached where the development oriented initiatives of Narendra Modi are drawing the Muslim community towards the party“, claimed Babi Sama,  who is the first Muslim woman to be elected on BJP ticket in the Municipal corporation elections in 2010.  Muslims have increasingly voted in favour of BJP  in those Gujarat elections as they also did in Bihar, a BJP alliance ruled state.

Muslims in Gujarat are reportedly joining the mainstream to be part of developmental politics, overcoming the years of anti-Modi rhetorics heaped upon them. And the message is spreading beyond Gujarat. The acknowledgement came earlier from former Deoband chief Vastanvi (though he had to pay a price for that).

Perhaps now others are also recognizing that nurturing the perceived victimhood image, hankering for privileges or heeding to appeasement policies has done more harm to the Muslim community over the decades.  Just as a reform in education is needed so also is a reform in mental attitude.

A demand for apology from Modi for a alleged crime that is still sub judice may thus actually be an face-saving attempt of cozying up.

 

Will accept Modi if he apologises: UP Muslims

Moradabad: Ahead of UP elections next year, Sunni Sufi Muslims have come under an umbrella to back reforms in madarsa system of education. The group which claims to have support of over 80 per cent of Muslims in India oppose deoband system of education calling it regressive.

Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi was on a token fast for peace and harmony in Dwarka in Gujarat on Monday and over thousand kilometers away in Moradabad in west UP, a section of Muslims coming together to make themselves heard. What’s the connection between the two?

Sunni Sufi Muslims have come under an umbrella to back reforms in madarsa system of education. All India Ulema and Mashaikh Board, which claims to have support of over 80 per cent of Muslims in India oppose deoband system of education calling it regressive.

President All India Ulema and Mashaikh Board said, “Sufi Muslims can conditionally accept Narendra Modi. If he says what happened was a mistake and would never happen again. Anybody who is ready to apologise, we will be soft on them.”

Deoband’s chief cleric Ghulam Mohammed Vastanvi was the last prominent Muslim who dared to come out in praise of Modi and he had to pay a heavy price, being forced to retract his statement, the over lakh Sufi Sunni Muslims who gathered here are aware of just how difficult it is to position themselves as in a liberal sense.

Ulema and Mashaikh Board say that the Sunni Sufi Muslims form nearly 80 per cent of the total Muslim population of India. Renouncing the deoband system of madarsa education as regressive, the Sufis say that wahabis in India promote views that poison young Muslim minds.

Distancing themselves from the hardliners within the community, the group with a sizeable support of Muslims favours reforms in madarsas.

With an attempt to redefine the agenda for Muslims, and the road ahead, this gathering with its eye on UP elections next year made it clear they cannot be treated as a single block of vote bank anymore. 

It is rare to read anything about Narendra Modi without the taint of the Gujarat Riots, especially from the English media of India. 

Recently Modi has been in the news for various reasons. 

First came the Supreme Court’s declaration of ‘NOT OUT’ on the appeal for his complicity in the Gujarat Riots.

This was followed by the report of the US Congressional Research Service (CRS) on India claiming  that Modi has much more potentiality than Congress’ Rahul Gandhi to become the next Prime Minister of the country

Then came his Sadbhavna Mission, which received widespread coverage in the media (may be more negative than positive, but still the media’s hype was noticeable), perhaps  overwhelming even some of the BJP leaders and obviously much to the frustration of the ruling Congress party.

The topic of  “Modi as Prime Minister” is again being discussed in the media (albeit with best efforts to add the appropriate twists and turns) and echoed in the political circles

Furthermore, the timing of the declaration of L.K. Advani about his own withdrawal from the PM race adds a different significance.

All in all, it does seem appropriate to start learning about Modi the person. But no one expects the initiative to be taken by NDTV, widely percieved, along with CNN-IBN, to be shamelessly biased, politically towards Congress.

Hence this one, published in NDTV,  is a genuine surprise. Perhaps it is not too early to say that the English Media is at least slightly confused and is preparing to change its gears and directions ……. may be in fear or anticipation  …….. of upcoming changing times. 

 

 

Narendra Modi on politics, poetry and Rahul Gandhi as PM

Sept 16, 2011

This interview is from Society magazine; its views do not necessarily reflect those of NDTV.

Meeting Narendra Modi was like meeting multiple personalities at one time. I have always perceived Modi as a man of steel having gone through fire. The constant picking and media barbs have not left him embittered. This could be attributed to his strong and courageous personality and being centred in spirituality.

Modi is the only CEO Chief Minister so-to-say who has corporatised political administration in his well groomed and well kept state! As I proceeded to Modi’s residence for a chat, en route, the typical attributes associated with a politician were all missing. No hangers-on, no party flags or king size cut outs, no party men shouting slogans while lounging around and awaiting a darshan of their party honcho, and no desperate security frisking. One enters a ‘peace zone’ of sorts when you step into his home surrounded by well manicured lawns.

As I was ushered into his neatly laid out home cum office, I saw Vivekananda’s bronze figurine tucked in the corner of his work station. The freewheeling tete-a-tete that followed gave an astonishing insight into the man, the mystic and the leader, rather than the controversial politician that Modi is made out to be. My initial apprehension, going by his public image of a darting and intimidating person, was put to rest at the very outset. Modi seemed cheerful, gentle and benign. There was no attempt to overpower and manipulate my thoughts, no overtones or undercurrents. Modi exuded brilliant command over the session, was clearly defined in his approach and was never caught off guard.

I make political statements only before elections. There is much more to talk about than my political opponents,” he quips. We agree. Here is a man who has become synonymous with dedicated hard work and administrative genius so much so that he is the only politician for whom a temple is built by his people. His state shines luminously as a model city. No doubt there are still issues to be addressed in the vast canvas, but Gujarat most certainly has filed past other states in showing an all round progress-industrialisation, infrastructure, tourism and a total turnaround.

The architect of this new and shining Gujarat, Narendra Modi, is surely someone you will either adore or despise but certainly won’t ignore. His political strategies that raised him from being a party worker to the Chief Minister for three terms in succession field him as a strong potential Prime Ministerial candidate from amongst the rest of the regional leadership. The writing on the wall is clear that if the nation chooses to vote out the Congress, Modi is the first choice of the people.

With the grim scenario that the nation faces today, the need of the hour is an able administrator who can fix the fractures within our system. Today, regional leaders like Narendra Modi, Ashok Gahlot, Sheila Dikshit and Nitish Kumar are in the public discernment as the ideal options for replacing their national counterparts at the helm.

With a proven track record of excellent governance in his kitty, Modi chooses to play the cards about his national political agenda only when the time is ripe. Among the disadvantages Modi faces is his love-hate equation with the media. And so, here was an opportunity to peel the stern communalistic facade, and peep into the man behind the iron curtain. Is he as blunt and intimidating as he seems from a distance? As ruthless as he is made out to be? As communal minded as he is perceived? What is his typical day like? Does Modi like to watch TV soaps and sob with them? When did he last take a holiday and where does he really like to unwind? Many such questions flooded my thoughts and my research furnished no insight into the man that Modi is. His political track record reveals him as an uncompromising and shrewd politician. Besides, the magnificent transformation he achieved in the eyes of his own people, from being an anti-hero to a hero, is a case study in itself. To the people of Gujarat, Modibhai, as he is fondly addressed as, is like no one else. They view him as a brilliant politician, an efficient administrator, an able strategist and ultimately, a competent leader who has staked all his might in serving his people. Indeed, all this and more is supported by the progress that Gujarat has recorded as a model state in the country with maximum NRI investment and all around growth. The accent is on ‘systematic, non-corrupt and good governance’ rather than mere tactics for political survival.

Modi is a proud man who can flaunt his report card and by quizzing him to talk about his state, you have turned him on, so to say! “In Gujarat’s model of governance, we have moved out of the traditional piecemeal actions and knee-jerk reactions. We now look at a whole new approach to the fundamental changes that would yield qualitative and quantitative leaps. My role is that of a facilitator and the real credit goes to Team Gujarat and the people of the state,” preens Modi. However, history can’t be recalled without associations of landmark events to fundamental authors. Like Gandhi and the freedom fight, Nehru and the Kashmir goof-up, Sardar Patel’s police action in the Razaka movement of the Nizam State, Indira Gandhi and the Emergency, and when it comes to Modi, you cannot finish the breath without remembering the infamous Gujarat riots.

Though the riots will continue to haunt Modi, he has made a conscious effort to heal the wounds and has worked in a sustained way to make the media take note of the immense progress made in the land of the Mahatma. His image as the ‘merchant of death’ is reversed to that of the ‘Sultan of good governance’. As shrewd and emphatic as Chanakya in his political arbitration and in the stringency of administrative competence, Modi is aligned in the league of the legendary Gujarat leader, Saradar Vallabh Bhai Patel.

However, Modi’s modesty is outraged at the comparison with the legend and he springs up in protest. “It is unfair to compare anyone with Sardar Patel. He was a great stalwart. We are lucky that his soul is there to inspire us. He was an iron man because he stood by his commitment to his ideology and thoughts. Even in the face of opposition to his stand, he never succumbed. No toothless ruler can rule the country,” he interrupts your thoughts.

Going to office is a rather academic activity for Narendra Modi. He has drawn a definite blue print for his people and his personal political agenda. His hours spent in the office are channeled towards proactive administration rather than for political sustenance, Probably, Modi feels best when he talks about his innovative governance, and his schemes are no mere eyewash. Looking closely, his schemes are universal in nature, not to be constricted by boundaries either. An offspring of a middle class family in Vadnagar in Mehsana district of north Gujarat where Modi completed his schooling, he was conferred his PG in Political Science from the Gujarat University. As a young man, he joined the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP), a student wing and was involved in the anti-corruption Nav Nirman Movement. After working as a full time organiser there, he was later nominated as its representative in the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

The upward climb had no stopping. But, amidst all the sound and fury, wouldn’t we like to know how his growing up years impacted Modi as a person? “I am just an aam admi, a common man. I live and think like a common man despite the trappings of power. My family background was very humble. My growing up was also nothing extraordinary. There were no unusual aspects to my life to have made me blossom into someone special. Neither my mother nor my father was the sarpanch of any village. It was a bewilderment to even know what it was like to be a Panchayat member. So, whatever is attributed to an ordinary man is applicable to me. I am happy with the small mercies of life. Even if a child tells me, ‘Uncle, you have done a good job,’ I feel joyous. And, the endeavour is to not do anything wrong so that you could be centred in joy,” proffers Modi. Modi likes to believe that he is driven by the will of God when he says, “I had not shown any temperament to be in mainstream politics in my growing years. Even now, administration within the government framework is an absolutely apolitical activity for me. I hardly spare one or two hours in a month for political activities. I am totally dedicated to my job. I don’t see this office as a political one. While you are elected to work, there should be no politics at all. If there is politics, it means you are a failure. You are not a Chief Minister for those who have voted for you but for those who have not voted for you.”

Usually, the day begins early for Modi. “I have been an early riser since the beginning. My initial life demanded labour and effort for survival, so I am very hard working by nature. I would toil more than my peers. Be it sports, theatre activities or even reading a book, I would feel I should read faster and more books than the others. Lazing around is not in my nature. Even today, I don’t avail a Sunday. I remember when I was a child, during the India-China war, 50 kilometres from my village; there was a railway junction from where the army was dispersing aid to the war field. I accompanied some young men who went there to serve tea and snacks and give a pep talk to boost the soldiers’ spirits. I didn’t know what exactly this whole act was about, but I was there,” recalls Modi.

A strong national fervour was bound to be embedded with such an exposure at such a tender age, and it sure did. Modi embarked on a political pathway with the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) and as a swayamsevak, he had to go underground during the Emergency declared by the then Prime Minister, Indira Gandhi. He joined the BJP in early 1987. “I helped maintain relations between the RSS and the BJP. In 1988, I was recognised as a master strategist of the party and was entrusted with the post of General Secretary of the Gujarat State BJP unit. Between 1988 and 1995, I successfully carried out two major projects of the BJP initiated by LK Advani-the Ayodhya Rath Yatra and the march from Kanyakumari to Kashmir. In 1995, I became the National Secretary of the party with the charge of five major states. In1995, the BJP came to power with a two thirds majority in the Gujarat Assembly. Since then, Gujarat is under the rule of the BJP. In 1995, I was promoted to the post of General Secretary (Organisation) of the BJP. I held the office till October 2001 and then became the 14th Chief Minister of Gujarat,” writes Modi in his introduction on Facebook.

“Being in the RSS, I got a chance to work at every level of the organisation, which helped me in building my character. Basically, I am not built only for politics. I am an ardent lover of nature. My interest is mainly culture and character building. Now, political instability has becomes a part of politics. You need diligence and commitment to succeed in politics,” says Modi. An avid reader, biographies of great men catch his fancy apart from philosophical books, and he unwinds by reading and writing poetry. “Poetry which had something to say about life and its varied facets used to captivate me. Now, I just flip the pages as that phase of my life is over. But, I have published my poems and the beauteous nature has always been my muse, my inspiration. I am a big environment buff and even in my own state, a lot has been done to protect and nurture the environment,” he muses.

Recalling his growing years, Modi says, “From a very young age, I have been writing books and I also wrote columns with pseudo names. During the Emergency, I used to run a newspaper, called Satya Samachar. I was barely 20 plus then and during that time, I would unearth whatever was censored, publish them and distribute copies as an awareness campaign. The government had also issued a warrant in my name. Recently, I wrote a book on the environment, titled, Convenient Action, which was launched by Abdul Kalam. It is about various environment problems and solutions and Gujarat practices all of them.”

Modi the Mystic

Modi revealed in a television programme that he lived in the caves of the Himalayas for four years before he made his foray into public life. To retain one’s composure on the face of a storm reveals one’s inner spiritual strength. “A stress buster is needed for the one who feels stress. For the one who has authored his life with detachment, where is the question of stress? I am a totally detached person. I am here, but I don’t feel I am a Chief Minister. I am a CM only when I sign on the dotted line. Even that is because someone has to take the responsibility,” he says emphatically.

Not one of the temple going politicians who always look to the almighty for solutions to problems of their own making, Modi says, “I am not religious. I go to the temple on the Gujarat New Year day. I can’t claim to be spiritual because it’s a very profound epithet. But, I like it when I get to read or hear anything related to the spiritual world. I have been practicing yoga and meditation for many years. Detachment is something I believe in practising for my spiritual self. In fact, with great difficulty, I have torn myself away from pursuing mendicancy in totality to be a part of this world. The call of the Himalayas has been put on the back burner. When the time is right, it is like crossing from one room to the other for me. You will be surprised to know that despite having lived in this house for 10 years now, until of late, I didn’t even know how the entire house looked. I only used spaces like my office, bedroom, dining room and the study. Only when recently there was a move to relocate my library did I take a tour of the rest of the building. That is what I mean by detachment. And, what makes me angry? That’s the problem. I don’t get angry, but have to enact anger in order to get work done.” (Laughs)

So, where does spiritually and politics bifurcate? “There is a problem only when they bifurcate. They should not be cut off. Gandhi was immersed in spirituality all his life and it is this spirituality that inspired him to serve the society. This inspiration sustains because it is a power. This is where we are erring,” he pontificates.

Moments to Cherish

Modi lives his life purely with an agenda for his people with no personal strings attached. However, were there any moments he stole for personal gratification amidst the dust and din of politics and work? He recollects, “After being the CM for two consecutive terms, I had two desires. One was to unearth my childhood friends with whom I had completely lost touch. One day, I sat up and listed all the names I could remember. I remembered them all but had lost track of their whereabouts. Some 35 names popped up. I wanted to invite them to the Chief Minister’s residence and share my childhood with them and also because I wanted to remind myself about the real Modi lest I lose sight of him. So, I spent time with my friends getting down-to-earth. They too felt that if I remembered and spent time with them after having reached where I have then I must be fine. So, that was my test. The other desire was to get together all the teachers in my lifetime and honour them. One of them was 93-years-old. I invited them here and organised a big function to honour them. It gave me immense happiness that I was able to honour and say thanks to those who have contributed their might in shaping me. So, I fulfilled both my desires and I am happy about it.”

Contributory Influences

An ardent bachelor, one hardly hears about Modi’s family. “On my birthday, I go home to visit my mother and spend a few minutes with her. That’s my only contact with my family. I left home when I was 17. And, I went back after 35 years. I left home in order to serve the society and the country. Then, I was drifting to different destinations and landed as the CM. I eat simple food-khichdi, chapatis, kadhi and stuff like that. I am a 100 per cent vegetarian,” he says.

“As a 13-year-old, I used to read Vivekananda. I don’t have a political background. I hadn’t seen the Chief Minister’s chambers before I became one. I had not seen the Assembly before I became an MLA. I didn’t know how a government functioned. I didn’t know anything. I was fortunate to physically visit more than 400 districts where I stayed overnight. That’s why I am conversant with the problems of Hindustan. Probably, amongst all the politicians, I have visited the maximum number of villages. I have visited more than 50 per cent of the state and for 35 years, I was only travelling all over. This has given me a lot of strength. This contributed to my vision for the state and has translated into the progress of the state in all sectors. The other thing is my temperament to write, and to think out of the box is my innate nature,” stakes Modi.

Pro Hindutva

Branded as the messiah and ambassador of Hindutva, Modi has had much at stake due to the image. However, he vindicates his core philosophy in his inimitable rhetoric. With a stern voice, he says, “The government’s work is to function in accordance to the constitution. I am committed to the constitution of India. Being a Chief Minister, I have to follow the word and spirit of what the constitution states. If I say violence is bad, what is wrong in it? If I believe that we must love nature, what is wrong? If I say, serve the poor, what is wrong in it? If I say, sarva pantha samabhav-no discrimination of religion-what is wrong in it? And, if this philosophy is called Hindutva then why should one feel shy?”

The Bachchan Factor

Even as Modi’s Hindutva has triggered controversy, there was a hullaballoo over the choice of the Big B as the brand ambassador of Gujarat. Unflustered, Modi simplifies the entire saga, “I was taking up the promotion of tourism in the state. Gujaratis are the best tourists but Gujarat was never a tourist destination. I wanted to change this because all the elements needed for exotic tourism are inherent here. So, someone had to do something. Around the time I picked up this campaign seriously, Amitabh Bachchan came to me as he wanted me to watch his film Paa. I liked the film. Then, we got chatting and he said I could count on him if at all there was anything he could do for me. I have no personal needs, but it occurred to me that if he could do something for Gujarat, I would be happy. He said he had only his voice and his face as his fortune. I immediately asked him if he would promote our tourism. He willingly agreed to do so and what’s more, he does not charge us a single rupee and has always given as much time as we required for the shoots without even once shifting or cancelling a schedule. This is sheer service to the state. What more can I ask for when someone gives so much love to my state? I repeatedly express my thanks to him.”

Genesis of Controversy

The ghost of the 2002 riots haunts Modi as a convenient silencer and a political weapon. To Modi, it is a dream to find a benign press that would put the past behind and pat him for his good deeds. So, being the blue eyed boy of the media is indeed on Modi’s wish list. The media, Modi feels, keeps scratching the wounds of the riots, not allowing them to heal despite the dramatic amendments he has made. “It would be good if I were liked by the media world,” he rues.

Personal and Political Philosophy

Political commentators feel that the veteran politician has all the exposure and experience it takes to shoulder the responsibility at the helm of the country with ease, if given a chance. Does he not see himself playing a bigger role in national politics? “For me, any remote villager from Hindustan, even if he is repairing shoes, is doing national work. Even if a small individual averts an impending accident, it is a service to the nation. I don’t believe that it’s only by holding certain posts that you can serve the nation. Even now, whatever, I am doing is service to the nation. It does not matter from where and how you do it. It is a media created trend that if any Chief Minister does good work, he has to be spoken about being fit to be the next PM. We have seen this happen in the case of Chandrababu Naidu, Karunanidhi, Sharad Pawar, ND Tiwari, and others. It is a very big club but I don’t want to become a member of that club. To me, as Raja Ranthidev said, ‘Neither do I desire to rule nor do I desire liberation or rebirth. If I do have any desire, it is to wipe the tears of the poor.’ That was the philosophy of our country. What better inspiration can we have than this? Whatever work is entrusted to us, the benefit must reach the last person in the periphery,” he says crystal clear in his thoughts.

National Politics

While the media is going hammer and tongs about the suitability of Rahul Gandhi to take over the leadership of the nation and Rahul himself making inroads at the grassroot levels to entrench his presence, Modi’s take on the situation is of everyone’s interest. “Well, I don’t want to discuss this. One has to first explore where the grassroot is. As for Rahul Gandhi having the makings of a national leader, analyse the ingredients needed for that first. It is not my job to analyse anyone. Everyone works in his own way. The country is watching the centre’s performance. The Prime Minister himself stated that he has problems and that he is constrained. After this, there is no need for any editorial debates about their performance. He has confessed he has his limitations,” he sums up.

Keeping Terror At Bay

One of the major achievements of the Modi government is its success at keeping terror at bay even though the state shares a boundary with Pakistan. Even as the Al Qaeda has administered a threat letter to Modi, he refuses to lend terrorism any religious association. He explains, “It is not in good taste to associate terrorism with any religion. Terrorism has no religion and you cannot associate it with humanity. Someone who is human can’t be a terrorist. Only the one who ceases to be a human being becomes a terrorist.”

Success Mantra

“Success is a relative term. By and large, success is measured in comparison with someone else’s. I feel success is something that satisfies your inner conscience and tells you that you have done the right thing. Success should not be measured on a scale. If I can please a person by some gesture then I have found success,” Modi believes.

Personal Style

Modi has authored his own style statement that is now world renowned. “Well, when I was travelling extensively, I used to take a small bag and keep all my stuff in it. I used to then wash my own clothes. So, just as a space-saving and soap economising measure, I used to chop away the long sleeves of my kurtas. That’s how the half sleeve kurta became my style statement. You can find the Modi kurta even in London and New York and also in our own Khadi Bhandar,” says he blushing.

Network

Twitter and Facebook are now public forums and no surprise that Modi is present there. How net savvy is the Gujarat Chief Minister? “The communication revolution has set in and there is nothing wrong in using these mediums. I am an avid user of Twitter, I use Facebook, I send emails, I keenly keep track of how this medium is developing. In this age, information is power and through social networking, you can get and disseminate information fast. I believe in keeping communication with people alive. There are rarely any calls I don’t return or mails I don’t respond to. I surf the net and read the newspaper early morning over a cup of beverage, listening to my morning ragas,” he says.

Leaving FootPrints

All those who have achieved prominent public presence nurture the desire to be immortalised for their deeds. Modi has made service his axiom. How would he like to be remembered in posterity? “I should be able to serve the poor even more. Why should I be remembered? Why should I have such a dream? I am not an idealist. You behold the Ajantha Ellora caves. They are immortal. Does anyone know who created them? So, my philosophy is, we have been given a mission, we need to finish it before we quit. As far as the work is remembered, it’s still acceptable, but what is the need to remember the person behind it? I don’t even have the stature to give a message to anyone. I am a very small person. I don’t have the right. But, I love this country and its people and I give them the assurance that whatever task I am entrusted with, I will never spare any effort to fulfill it. I will work as hard as I can.”

Men of steel are rare to find and here is one, self made. It’s time we saw Modi in a new light-as a catalyst of change and growth. Though he insists he doesn’t harbour great political ambitions, only time will tell if this iron man of Gujarat gets the opportunity to rule the Delhi darbar. 

Will any Anna Hazare or any anti corruption bill ever address the atrocities committed by the queen of corruption in India? Why does the media who raise a storm in support of Anna Hazare, (perhaps because Mr Hazare is felt to be ‘Gandhian’ and hence ‘harmless’) never bothers to explore these accusations of Dr Swami?  

One wonders if there was no truth in these accusations, why doesn’t Subramaniam Swamy ever get sued or threatened by the Gandhis, despite his lone fight for decades?

Thankfully Baba Ramdev is another person who has started to take a stance on the same issues. That raises the question whether Anna Hazare phenomenon was a deliberate attempt to dilute the ‘actual’ fight. Why is the Indian public, the political parties, the intelligentia or the media and even the judiciary blame only the PM for running a corrupt government, but is ever careful in avoiding questioning the leader of the Congress Party who runs the country by proxy, about her involvement, overtly or covertly in all the series of scams that is rocking the country?    

 

Dr. Subramanian Swamy seeking PM’s sanction to prosecute Ms. Sonia Gandhi‏

April 15,2011
PRESS RELEASE

http://janataparty.org/pressdetail.asp?rowid=60

Dr.Subramanian Swamy, Janata Party President and former Union Cabinet Minister for Law &Justice, today submitted a Petition of 206 pages, seeking from the Prime Minister Dr.Manmohan Singh the required Sanction to prosecute Ms. Sonia Gandhi under Sections 11 & 13 of the Prevention of Corruption Act. Sanction is required under Section 19 of the Act because she is Chairperson of the National Advisory Council with Cabinet rank.

In his Petition to the PM, Dr.Swamy has made out a prima facie case on documentary circumstantial evidence that Ms.Gandhi abetted Italian businessman and close family friend Ottavio Quattrocchi to obtain an illegal commission in the Bofors Gun Purchase deal, and then influenced the government of Prime Minister Narasimha Rao to enable Mr. Quattrocchi to escape from the country in July 1993.

Thereafter she directed the Union Law Minister in 2005 to enable Mr. Quattrocchi to get his London accounts de-frozen and decamp scot free with over $ 200 million [about Rs 1000 crores].

Dr.Swamy has also made out a prima facie case that Mr. Gandhi has illegally held in Swiss bank accounts illegal monies of about Rs. 10,000 crores received as a legatee in 1991 following Rajiv Gandhi’s assassination. He also produced an admission on record of the spokesperson of the Russian government that KGB had provided funds to Ms. Gandhi and her family, as also evidence that she had received commissions on Indo-Soviet trade, which were illegal under Indian law.

In his Petition, Dr.Swamy has also catalogued a list of offences prima facie committed by Ms.Sonia Gandhi since 1974 which shows that she is an habitual offender who deserves to be prosecuted and punished.
For Janata Party
(Pran Nath Mago)
PA to Dr.Swamy

 

 
15, April 2011

Dr.Manmohan Singh
Prime Minister as Sanctioning Authority
u/s 19 of the Prevention of Corruption Act (1988) [PCA]
South Block, New Delhi.

Re: Sanction to prosecute Ms.Sonia Gandhi, Chairperson (in Cabinet Rank), NAC, under Prevention of Corruption Act (1988).

Dear Sir:

1. Ms.Sonia Gandhi MP, wife of the deceased Rajiv Gandhi, was first appointed as Chairperson National Advisory Council [NAC] in May 2004. She resigned in 2006 but was re-appointed by an Order of the Cabinet Secretariat dated March 29, 2010, read with Order dated October 8, 2010 [Annexure 1].

2. As per Order of May 31, 2004 [Annexure 2] the Prime Minister’s Office will provide Central Government funds to meet the expenditure of the NAC, and service the NAC for its secretarial needs. Hence she is a public servant as defined in Section 2 ( c ) of the Prevention of Corruption Act (1988).

3. You, in your capacity as deemed appointing authority are therefore the Designated Authority under Section 19 of the Prevention of Corruption Act for granting Sanction to prosecute the said Ms. Sonia Gandhi. As you know, there are no laches or statute of limitations for prosecuting offences of corruption.

4. Your Sanction is required by me for prosecuting Ms. Sonia Gandhi on a private complaint proposed to be filed by me in the criminal court under Prevention of Corruption Act (1988), based on the materials available to me (and enclosed with this letter/application) with reference to two issues:

FIRST ISSUE:

5. Ms.Sonia Gandhi holds office which enables her to give direction to Government departments and Ministries and also call for confidential reports from CBI, and according to the then Union Law Minister, she can even call for files [Annexure 3]. She has been as Chairperson of NAC giving directions to several ministries and departments.

6. It is charged that she obtained for, and colluded with family friend, Mr. Ottavio Quattrocchi—an Interpol Red-Corner Noticee & a proclaimed offender under Indian criminal law, to obtain for him the pecuniary advantage from defreezing of his CBI-frozen account, thus committing offence u/s 13 (1)(d) of the PCA, and also conspired with Quattrocchi to enable him to escape prosecution in Bofors Gun Purchase scam.

7. Bofors scam that occurred in 1986 represents corruption in very high places and the key figure in the scam is Mr. Ottavio Quattrocchi, the Italian family friend and fixer. The then Prime Minister, Rajiv Gandhi was manipulated by Ms.Sonia Gandhi, his Italian born wife, to abet the crime in Bofors gun purchase committed by Quattrocchi against the nation.
8. Ms.Sonia Gandhi stationed Mr.Walter Vinci, her brother-in-law, in Sweden to influence her husband and then Prime Minister, when on a visit to Sweden to finalize the Bofors Deal. Also present in the same hotel was the Italian fixer, small arms supplier, and Snam Progetti agent, Mr. Ottavio Quattrocchi, [who was hailed as the catalyst in the deal by the CBI in their Letters Rogatory documents], and who had in return for a hefty commission prevailed on the Prime Minister to sign the deal before March 31, 1986.

9. Thereafter when the arm of the law began reaching near him, he escaped from India in 1993, then from Malaysia in 2002 via a rigged court judgment obtained by collusion with as yet unnamed parties and from Argentina— by the CBI fudging the records – all achieved under the influence exerted by Ms. Sonia Gandhi under three different and consenting Prime Ministers.

10. This is further confirmed in the interview conducted by Ranjit Bhushan of Outlook magazine [Annexure 4 ] in 1998 with Mr.Sten Lindstorm, the Chief of the Investigation Division of Swedish National Bureau of Investigation and Special Prosecutor of the Swedish Government into the Bofors payoffs. The Swedish National Audit Bureau which he assisted concluded after an independent probe that bribes had indeed been paid in the Bofors deal.

11. Lindstorm states in the interview, which has not been contradicted by anyone including Ms. Sonia Gandhi, that: “The Bofors Papers all point to the [Sonia] Gandhi family” and further that Ms.Sonia Gandhi should “explain how Quattrocchi-owned companies got such fat sums as payoffs from the Bofors deal.”

12. This report is corroborated by another interview given by Lindstorm to Chitra Subramanian [Indian Express, March 22, 1998] wherein he stated; “All information we had at that time pointed to the Gandhi link—Sonia Gandhi should place her cards on the table. The bribes have been traced to her friend and this is not something out of the blue. This is no coincidence.”

13. Headlines Today is in possession of the written statement of then Intelligence Bureau officer Naresh Chandra Gosain made before CBI Inspector Ghanshyam Rai on March 29 1997. Between 1984 and 1987, Gosain was posted in the Special Protection Group [SPG] of the then Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi. He was part of the escort team. Between 1987 and 1989, Gosain served as the Personal Security Officer or the PSO of Sonia Gandhi.

14. During the tenure of Prime Minister Deve Gowda in 1997, Gosain deposed before the CBI. This deposition has so far never been made public. Headlines Today dug out this deposition, in which Gosain talks at length about the close family ties between the Gandhis and the Quattrocchis.

15. In his testimony Gosain says, “Mr.Ottavio Quattrocchi and his wife Ms Maria Quattrocchi were very close to Mr Rajiv Gandhi and Mrs Sonia Gandhi. When Shri Rajiv Gandhi became Prime Minister, Mr. Quattrocchi and his family members used to visit PM house and the family members of Shri Rajiv Gandhi also used to visit the house of Mr.Quattrocchi.”

16. He adds: “In the initial period of Prime Ministership of Shri Rajiv Gandhi, the children of Shri Rajiv Gandhi used to stay at Mr.Quattrocchi’s house during the foreign visits/domestic visits of the Prime Minister. We used to perform our shift duties at the residence of Mr.Quattrocchi on such occasions. Sometimes, Mrs Sonia Gandhi has also stayed in the house of Mr.Quattrocchi and at that time we used to perform our duties there.”

Gosain goes on to add that Mr.Quattrocchi and his wife Maria enjoyed free access to the Prime Minister’s house. “At No. 5 & 7 Race Course Road, private cars were not allowed to enter inside the bungalow. Only the ferry cars of SPG, after severe security checks, used to carry such visitors from reception to porch and back. Mr. Quattrocchi and Mrs Maria Quattrocchi were very close to Shri Rajiv Gandhi’s family and they got free access to the PM’s House.”

He further added: “All visitors to No 5 & 7 Race Course Road were issued passes at the reception near the alighting point. Every time, a card was kept ready for Mr. Quattrocchi and his family members as and when they visited the PM’s house. Everybody in SPG posted at PM house knew Mr Quattrocchi and his family members. Hence, there was no question of identifying them.”

17. Ottavio Quattrocchi’s proximity to the Gandhis is well known. What is also known is this proximity continued even after Quattrocchi began to be linked to the Bofors scandal. What documents show is that despite the cloud of suspicion surrounding Quattrocchi’s involvment in the Bofors paybacks, he continued to have unfettered access to 10 Janpath, the residence officially assigned to Ms.Sonia Gandhi, which in itself makes her a public servant under the Prevention of Corruption Act.

18. It is important to recollect that by January 25, 1990, a team of CBI officials was already in Switzerland with a list of suspected recipients of the Bofors payback. According to a Frontline magazine story of the time, Ottavio Quattrocchi was the first name on that list. Between 1988 and 1990, the media too carried many stories about the involvement of Quattrocchi as a middleman in the Bofors deal.

19. It is clear from records that Mr.Quattrocchi was the direct beneficiary of bribe payments in the Bofors scam. It is now confirmed by the ITAT Report of the Hon’ble Tolani & Sharma Bench [Annexure 5 ].

The testimony of Mr. Sasi Dharan is crucial in further unravelling the proximity of Quattrocchi to Ms. Sonia Gandhi.. Sasi Dharan worked as a driver in Snam Progetti. Snam Progetti was an Italian public sector giant that was represented in India by Ottavio Quattrocchi. Sasi was Quattrocchi’s personal driver. He drove Mercedes No.DIA 6253. In his testimony before the CBI, Sasi details the frequent meetings between the Gandhis with the Quattrocchis.

20. In his testimony Sasi says: “Shri Quattrocchi and Mrs Maria Quattrocchi were very close to Shri Rajiv Gandhi, Sonia Gandhi and his family. I do not know what type of relation they had but Quattrocchi and his wife Maria used to frequently visit the house of Rajiv Gandhi and Sonia Gandhi. I knew it since 1985 when I joined service. At that time they used to visit the house of Rajiv Gandhi twice or thrice in a day. Whenever Sonia Gandhi’s mother or father visited India, I used to drive them to the house of Quattrocchi. They used to remain there for the whole day and Mrs Maria Quattrocchi would take them for shopping. They used to come to India four or five times in the year.”

21. What is clinching is the car log maintained by driver Sasi Dharan. In this log, Sasi details the exact dates when Ottavio Quattrocchi came to meet Rajiv and Sonia Gandhi at 5 and 7 Race Course Road or 10 Janpath. These logs are for the period 1989 to 1993. In this log book, Sasi Dharan has mentioned 41 occasions when Quattrocchi came to meet the Gandhis.

22. It is important to note that the meetings between Ottavio Quattrochi and Sonia Gandhi continued even after the death of Rajiv Gandhi in 1991 even as Ms.Sonia Gandhi remained as a public servant under the Prevention of Corruption Act.

23. According to Sasi Dharan, Quattrocchi came to 10 Janpath 21 times after May 1991. Considering the long financial dealings of Mr.Quattrocchi since 1976 with LTTE (the assassins of Rajiv Gandhi), this fact is a subject of a future application for sanction as well.

24. Sasi concludes by saying: “Shri Quattrocchi left India on the night of July 29, 1993 and on this day also I had driven him to the airport. At that time he did not have any luggage except one briefcase and he told me he was going for an urgent meeting. Usually, whenever Mr. Quattrocchi wanted the car, he would tell me in advance, but the day he left, he did not tell me (in advance)”. Obviously he had notice of his impending arrest by CBI in advance.

25. As a consequence of the misuse of her office and position, Ms. Sonia Gandhi helped Ottavio Quattrocchi not only escape from the country, and in 2005 even to withdraw $ 29 million from his de-frozen accounts and thus let off scot free.

26. Hence, it is prima facie obvious that Ms.Sonia Gandhi had misused her office [she was Life President in the Government funded Indira Gandhi National Centre for Arts Trust(IGNCA Trust) during 1991-2002] and thus a public servant with considerable influence in government to enable Mr. Quattrocchi to escape from India in 1993 and later in 2005 to benefit Mr.Quattrocchi to illegally gain monetarily at the expense of the Consolidated Fund of India, by defreezing his London accounts.

SECOND ISSUE:,

27. This complaint against Sonia Gandhi also includes the corrupt monies held under her control in the tax haven of Switzerland as a legatee of the corrupt money which was banked in the name of her late husband or deposited by her of funds obtained from the erstwhile KGB, the Soviet Union’s Intelligence Agency, or by sale of illegally exported antiques in the country. I retain the right to submit details of other illegal accounts in other havens such as Macao at a later stage in another application to you or before the court.

28. It is well-reported that Sonia Gandhi is the beneficiary of Rajiv Gandhi’s estate which includes the corrupt monies continued even now to be held in a tax havens. Why this money is held abroad (even if held as a trust to benefit family members) instead of its being held in India within the Indian financial system to benefit the nation is a question which Ms.Sonia Gandhi must answer.

29. Violations of FEMA have occurred as also under Prevention of Money Laundering Act. In case any transaction on this account which is not reported in the Income Tax Returns, and FCRA is also a violation. There may also be an issue of obtaining RBI prior permission for holding such large sums abroad if it is claimed to be a legitimate account.

30. It is clear that this wealth was not reported in Election Affidavits of Sonia Gandhi & Rahul Gandhi as a beneficiary of the monies so held [Annexure 6]. The total wealth of both Gandhis, as per their election returns, is just Rs 363 lakh, Sonia owns no car. “

31. When Schweizer Illustrierte a prestigious German language Swiss magazine alleged that Rajiv Gandhi held an illegal account in Swiss banks of about US $ 2 billion, neither she nor her son, protested, or sued the magazine, then or later[Annexure 7].

32. When major papers, The Hindu and The Times of India included, had carried in the year 1992 the official confirmation of KGB payments to the Rajiv Gandhi family, adding that the Russian government owned the payments in the disclosures, neither of the two Gandhis challenged or sued them [Annexure 8].

33. Nor did they sue Dr. Yevgenia Albats, a member of the official Commission on KGB Operations set up by President Yeltsin, when she wrote about KGB payments to Rajiv Gandhi and family in her book: The State within State [Annexure 9]

34. More than $ 2 billion in 1991 was being held by Ms. Sonia Gandhi as a legatee, or otherwise obtained by receiving stolen movable and immovable properties, monies and securities, kept illegally in tax haven banks of Switzerland and elsewhere, and which is disproportionate to her known sources of income. She thus has also committed offence u/s 13(1)(e) of PCA. It also attracts the IPC Sections for receiving stolen property.

35. The recent deposition of Hasan Ali, alleged to have siphoned money of the nation to Switzerland secret accounts admits to his close association not only with her but with Mr.Ahmed Patel MP and political adviser to Ms.Sonia Gandhi [Annexure 10 ].

36. Ms. Sonia Gandhi is also obviously culpable under Indian criminal law such as FCRA for the pay offs in the Iraqi Oil-for-Food scam of 2002. The United Nations had set up an independent inquiry committee under Dr. F. Volcker which found that the “Congress Party” headed by Ms. Sonia Gandhi as a beneficiary of a free oil quota from the now deposed and deceased dictator Saddam Hussein, which the beneficiary sold at market price through Marc Rich, the notorious swindler who had been convicted by a US Court for 350 years and several million dollars as fine. He was pardoned by US President Clinton in 2000 on Israeli Prime Minister’s intervention. He lives in Switzerland.

37. No one in Congress Party but Ms. Sonia Gandhi as party President could have been this beneficiary. The other beneficiary listed in Volcker’s Report was by name: Natwar Singh, who got much less [Annexure 11].

38. I reserve the right to further petition you to enlarge the scope of this sanction at a future date to include other violations and offences committed by Ms.Sonia Gandhi under Prevention of Corruption Act (1988), for which I will file with you a separate application if necessary..

39. But, in this application alone there is substantive prima facie evidence for an appropriate court to take cognizance of the offence committed by Ms.Sonia Gandhi under the Prevention of Corruption Act, and thus I seek your sanction to initiate the criminal law to prosecute her under the Act

40. Ms. Sonia Gandhi is habitually committing acts of corruption since 1972. On November 19, 1974, I brought it to the attention of the Rajya Sabha that Ms. Sonia Gandhi, then an Italian citizen had functioned as a benami insurance agent of public sector insurance companies, and giving her address as 1, Safdarjung Road, New Delhi which was then the official residence of the Prime Minister of India. She thus committed an offence under FERA. The then Prime Minister Mrs.Indira Gandhi subsequently informed the Rajya Sabha that following my disclosure, Ms. Sonia Gandhi had resigned from this agency earning commissions.

41. Between January 25, 1973 and January 21, 1975 she held a post of Managing Director of Maruti Technical Services on a salary despite it being an offence under FERA. But then she had become Managing Director of Maruti Heavy Vehicles Pvt Ltd with an even bigger remuneration. For neither post she had the necessary qualifications having never passed even High School. The Justice A.C. Gupta Commission appointed in 1977 by the Janata Party Government found her guilty of multiple offences under FERA and IPC.

42. In 1980 and January 1983 Ms. Sonia Gandhi then still an Italian citizen enrolled herself as a voter in the New Delhi constituency despite having been struck off the list in 1982 upon the ERO receiving a complaint from a citizen. She thus committed an offence under Section 31 of the Representation of the People’s Act read with Form 4 of the Registration of Electors Rules(1960).

43. Ms.Sonia Gandhi’s Indian citizenship acquired in record speed in April 1983 is vitiated by her incomplete answers to mandatory questions in the citizenship forms. She did not submit documents from the Italian government of relinquishing her Italian citizenship required for Indian citizenship, stating in the Form that it was ‘not applicable [Annexure 12].

Italian Embassy in New Delhi simply affirmed what she told them and hence that cannot be taken as a valid document of relinquishment for the purposes of citizenship. She also retrieved her Italian passport in 1992 after citizenship laws in Italy were amended which under Section 10 of the Citizenship Act (1955) means cancellation of her Indian citizenship.

44. All these facts stated above were put together and published in USA in a full page advertisement in the New York Times in 2008 by NRIs N. Kataria and others. The Congress Party unit in USA thereafter engaged the most expensive law firm and filed a $200 million defamation suit. However Ms.Sonia Gandhi refused to appear in the witness box and be cross examination. Therefore, Justice Emily Goodman of the New York State Supreme Court dismissed the suit since defamation suits in law have to be filed by the person claiming to be defamed, and therefore cannot be assigned to others [Annexure 13]. Ms. Sonia Gandhi had a case to rebut these facts, then why she failed to turn up in court?

(SUBRAMANIAN SWAMY)