EVM’s can be tampered, ‘proves’ Hyderabad’s engineer

Jul 17, 2009

Nagpur As the debate on reliability of Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) is going on, an election watch-dog and an NGO from Hyderabad demonstrated ‘tampering’ of EVMs and claimed that these machines could be easily manipulated.

Explaining the possibilities of manipulations and insertions of pre-programmed chips, Hari K Prasad of NetIndia and the NGO Election Group’s Convenor V V Rao said the chips are imported from Japan and there is a possibility of giving 60 per cent of total votes polled through the EVMs by one particular candidate (party) if the chips are programmed in such a manner.

Elaborating his point, Prasad told a gathering including reporters that in such a case, the first 10 voters who cast their votes can be the basis of manipulations. The particular party will get 60 per cent votes by manipulations as per the programme, they added.

The only way for making tamper-proof use of EVMs is using a verification tool which the EVM manufacturing companies should bring in.

Moreover, there should an automatic slip coming out immediately after the vote is cast like the transaction slip which bank ATMs gives after the use, he said.

Also read:

Lok Sabha Election, Congress and EVM fraud

There is a subdued ripple going around in news, articles  and blogs that all was not fair and square in the recent Loksabha Election 2009 which brought the Congress again into power. There are numerous refrences that EVM machines are not fraud proof and can be easily manipulated. Several countries have banned use of EVM.

It is interesting that Congress party would now complain about manipulation in the state where they did not do well. The question does arise whether the reverse is true. Was it manipulated in their favor in places where they had unexpected victories and their chosen oppositions were routed?

Does it call for some inquiry?

 

Voting machines ‘manipulated’ in Orissa polls, claims Azad

 

Bhubaneswar, June 18 : Congress general secretary in charge of the party’s affairs in Orissa Ghulam Nabi Azad Thursday alleged ‘manipulation’ of electronic voting machines (EVMs) had led to the party’s defeat in the assembly and parliamentary elections in the state.

“EVMs were manipulated during the poll which resulted in defeat of many Congress candidates,” Azad said in a press conference here.

The Congress won only 27 of the state’s 147 assembly seats and six of the 21 Lok Sabha constituencies in Orissa. The ruling Biju Janata Dal (BJD), led by Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, bagged 103 assembly and 14 Lok Sabha seats.

Azad met the candidates in the twin polls and reviewed the reasons of dismal show, constituency wise. After the review meeting, he also charged the BJD with misusing the official machinery during the polls.

“There was a wide-scale misuse of official machinery by the ruling BJD, which led to the debacle of the Congress party in the poll,” he alleged.

Azad blamed the BJD for converting the flagship schemes initiated by the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) into other schemes of state government, extracting all the mileage. He conceded the “last minute changes in leadership and failure to choose the right candidate” were also responsible for the Congress’s defeat.

The meeting was attended by all the candidates, district level office-bearers and other senior leaders of the party. However, Azad did not say anything about any likely change in the state unit leadership following the poll debacle.

— IANS

BJP’s defeat: the Hindu perspective

 

Arindam Bandyopadhyay

(also published in

http://www.blogs.ivarta.com/BJPs-defeat-The-Hindu-perspective/blog-289.htm)

The BJP has lost in the recently concluded Lokshabha 2009 elections. The political party, conceived as the face of Hindu interest has lost to the dynastic Congress Party. The people of India, the land of ancient Hindu civilization, with over 700 million electorate, arguably 80% of whom are Hindus, participated and chose not to elect the party that is accused of being communal and non-secular for promoting Hindu agendas and looking after Hindu concerns. Logically then one has to raise the following questions: Are there really any Hindu specific agendas? Are the majority Hindus disinterested in Hindu agendas and concerns? Or are the Hindus disenchanted with the BJP and believe that they do not represent Hindu interest in the way they should?

It appears that the Muslim community who dumped the Communists and the Laloos, Mulayams, Paswans and Mayabatis this time, have returned to the fold of the Congress with renewed hope that the Congress lead government will finally address their problems and concerns, rather than continuing with their appeasements policies for vote banks.  The small Christian community, empowered by the support of the ruling caucus of India as well as the international solidarity with the global Christian world and emboldened by their success in Orissa and Karnataka in recent times, had openly called for en bloc vote against the BJP. Post poll they are optimistic that it will “definitely benefit the growth of Christianity in the next five years”. Such calls for mass voting on religious lines are not perceived as communal in case of the minorities; it is defended as their religious freedom.

But despite the swings of minority votes, it is conceivable that, barring a few pockets in the country, most Indian who voted would still be from the majority population, the Hindu community. So are there any Hindu specific issues and if so why does it fail to be important to the Hindus? Religion to most Hindus is a private affair. Perhaps resulting from centuries of oppression, Hindus generally do not openly claim their religiosity. Even in socio-political issues related to Hindu interest, they hardly ever want to take any collective stand as a religious body but prefer to appear neutral and secular. Neither do they take interest in the consequences of religiously divisive politics.

India is a secular nation because Indian Hindus want it to be secular. Religious plurality is integral to the Hindu Dharma which is way beyond one scripture and one prophet and preaches “truth is one; sages call it by various names.” Hindu India had given shelter and coexisted harmoniously with the early Syrian Christians, Jews, the Parsees and more recently the Dalai Lama and had seen the birth of Buddhism, Jainism and Sikhism in its land. And this continued until the advent of the proselytizing Abrahmanic religions. Post-independence while Pakistan chose to be Islamic, India opted to be religiously secular and barring stray communal tension, in a land of one billions, have had a peaceful path of development.  India has the second largest Muslim population in the world and the Indian Muslims are the only Muslims in the world to enjoy sustained democracy. But India must also be the only country in the current world and even perhaps in history where the majority population, sacrifices their own interests and failing to take a united stand, allows the minorities to dictate terms. Hindus, largely socio-politically dispassionate,  fail to realize implications of such blatant communal calls like’ ‘Muslims must have first claim on national resources’ or the significance of the fact that their temple donations, instead of being used for uplift of the temples, its priests and its facilities are funneled to fund madrassas and Haj pilgrimage. Hindu parents are media managed to harm and hurt educational, employment, economic and business opportunities of their own children and grandchildren by giving their notes and votes to such political parties which shout from their political rooftops that they will give special preferences to Muslims and Christians over Hindu youth in matters of education, training facilities, government jobs, jobs under police and paramilitary forces, employment in banks and other public sector undertakings and bank loans, educational loans etc.

The unconstitutional, undemocratic and divisive politics of minority appeasements is not only depriving the Hindus of their rightful claims but is also fragmenting the country.

On the other hand, if and when Hindus raise any issue it is throttled as communal? Secularism has a different meaning in Congress ruled India.  When the Morarji Desai government moved the 45th Constitutional Amendment Bill in 1978 which, among other issues, defined secularism as equal respect to all religions, that bill was passed in the Lok Sabha, but turned down by the Congress majority in the Rajya Sabha. Is secularism a burden of Hindus alone? Do Hindus have to prove it at every step – in thoughts, words and deeds, casting their own religion, tradition and faith into oblivion? Is it communal to portray the glory of Pre-Islamic Hindu civilization or to demand an accurate Indian history to be taught to our children? Is it communal to call for a uniform civil code for all Indian citizens? Is it communal to challenge Bangladeshi infiltration or to integrate Kashmir to the rest of India? Is it communal to expect strong laws against terrorism and to see it implemented, irrespective of political affiliation, religion, caste or creed?  If a Hindus laments for the Palestinians he is lauded as a liberal but if he demands rehabilitation of Hindu Kashmiri Pundits or protests Hindu decimation in Bangladesh or Pakistan, he becomes a religious narrow-minded hardliner. If the Muslims riot for a Muslim cause like Danish cartoon or Saddam Hussein, it is defended as their religious sentiment but if Taslima Nasreen happens to speak of Muslim atrocities on Hindus, she is driven out of the country.

The Hindu majority cannot be unaware of these Hindu issues but they do not seem to be concerned. Even if they are, their voice does not reach the required decibel to penetrate the ears of authorities or to influence the media. Or else they allow themselves to be cleverly manipulated to maintain religious amity. Hindus are required to self sacrifice for communal harmony for the sake of national interest and minority rights protection.  The same is not required from the other religious denominations.

Each individual Hindu is been delicately trapped into this game of communalism and pseudo- secularism that the media and the politicos play with the mass, such that he or she is hesitant to fight for his or her own rights now, in fear of becoming branded as nonsecular.

The BJP or any so called ‘Hindu’ party or organization had never been any favorite of the media, neither has any Hindu cause ever been given a decent hearing by the self proclaimed judges of secularism. A demolition of (Ram) Janmasthan Mosque (aka Babri Masjid) is a subject of eternal condemnation because it gives an perpetual opportunity for Hindu bashing. One hardly sees similar criticism verbalized in defense of the Hindu issues of Amarnath or Ram Sethu. Hindu agendas, like control of temple funds and educational institutions, are dealt only with conventional formality because defending Hindu cause in India is equated with being communal. Most political parties and leaders are careful to appear politically correct by dissociating themselves from Hindu issues. They pretend to be ignorant or noncommittal even if the issue is of such national interest as terrorism and defense of the country or accountability of NGO funding or retrieving illegal foreign bank funds, lest they appear as against minorities. On the other hand, the same so called ‘secular and liberal’ politicians, leaders, media personnel’s, statesmen or activists are ever alert not to miss any opportunity to hog the limelight and get some brownie points by condemning Hindus on the slightest provocation. 

On the one hand, by continuously harping on special status and minority victim hood for vote bank politics, the secular brigade of post independent India, like their English predecessors, have successfully mixed the poison of distrust against the majorities, thus alienating the minorities from the national main stream. On the other hand they continue to divide the plural Hindu society – each individual is either a dalit, an OBC or a brahmin, a Marathi, Gujrati or a Punjabi, a Jadav or a Thakur, never a Hindu, never an Indian.

A lot has been written about the state of BJP in the post election phase. From regional to national and international news media, blogs, news articles, letters and editorials have flooded with analyses and advices, both from supporters and adversaries. Understandably many are obviously relieved to see BJP’s defeat. In some cases, the mood of gleeful over joy at their dismal failure is hardly suppressible. It is a defeat of Hindus and of Hindutva, a decisive blow to majority communalism, the rejection of the Hindu hardliners, the end of Hindu nationalism – claims the pundits. It was a vote for Congress on the basis of development and stability, they analyze. They fail to explain why there are several states starting from Gujarat which are developing rapidly in the country but are not blessed by the Congress government. India, as they say, is developing despite the government and thankfully so.

As for stability, the statistics on terrorism speaks for itself. Even before the Mumbai carnage of 26/11/08 in which at least 172 people died, in 69 Islamic terrorist attacks since 2000, there were 1,120 deaths. In 2007, the United States’ National Institute of Counter Terrorism calculated that between January 2004 and March 2007, the death toll in India from all terrorist attacks was 3,674, second only to Iraq during the same period. After each terrorist punch, India reels and falls, chants ‘zero tolerance to terror’ and assures to ‘bring all culprits to justice’, stands up wobbly, only to be knocked down again with the next punch.  The farce after the Mumbai carnage was there for the world to see and is still continuing. Not a single terrorist has ever been punished in India. The whole world knows now that India is a soft state, unable to take care of herself, but the government remains paralyzed from fear of disturbing the minority votes. The same paralysis also prevails in dealing with Maoist terror. Is that the stability we are counting upon?

The well wishers of BJP themselves are divided whether BJP should embrace Hindu interest more vigorously or shun it to present an acceptable face to all religious factions.  Those who want BJP to shed their Hindu character are forgetting that it is the Hindus who made BJP what they are now. Asking BJP to discard its Hindu interest would be endorsing the toxic propaganda of the pseudo-secular brigade that Hindu nationalists will ruin the country and retard its development. It would be naivety to think that the BJP, already branded as a Hindu nationalist party all over the world, can convince the minorities enough to get any significant share of their votes in future. The party has been trying to ‘reach out’ to minorities, but that hardly made any impact to their conviction. BJP in the process forgot the basis of its birth and the reason for its existence. On top of the failure to connect to the millions of Hindus who are sitting on the fence, unsure of their rights and ignorant of their collective political power, the party risks losing the faith of the millions of its Hindu supporters who looked up to it with an expectation of being a party with a difference, that will not hesitate or provide lame excuses to address the problems of the country, including those of the Hindus. The BJP has been accused to imitate others and try to appear ‘secular’ and shy away from their commitment to the nation and to the Hindus, which had brought them to power in the first place. They squandered their initial opportunity five years ago and then, without any media support of their own, failed to counter the relentless propaganda of the anti Hindu, pseudo secular media and politicians. They needed to convince the electorate that they wanted to build a strong nation with an essential Hindu character that had defined India civilization from ancient times and had identified it as separate from all other countries of the world. It would have been the proverbial Ram Rajya, based on Dharma, which included equal rights and benefits for all its proja or citizens, including the nationalistic minorities. They had to convince that they were capable of fighting all internal and external influences that would otherwise love to see India disintegrate. They had to provide the vision of putting the nation of India, ahead of all its fractions but they have been unable to do so. A lot of self analysis and introspection is required for the party to come back to their right path. The pseudo-secular intelligentsia and media which have tasted blood will try hard to ensure that there is no easy recovery and that is perhaps the first thing that the party has to counter.

But even if the BJP fail the Hindus and moves away from its ideology, should it be the end of the dream of the Hindus?  BJP is merely a blip, tumbling in its infancy, in the eternal history of Sanatan Hindu Dharma. Not too long ago the Hindus of Hindustan, the home of over 80% of the world’s billion plus Hindu population, used to find solace in the fact that Nepal was the only Hindu country of the world. They cannot relish the idea anymore. India is not a declared Hindu country but still is the land of Hindu civilization. The sons of the soil are either Hindus or mostly of Hindu ancestry, with a culture and tradition that perhaps distinguishes even an Indian Muslim or Indian Christian from its co-religionist abroad. It is that Indian-ness of the country, which is essentially a Hindu identity and its continuity that is in danger. That is all the Hindus have and they have to fight to preserve it, with or without the BJP.  India is at crossroad. The violent religious aggression of Islam and the more subtle cultural and religious invasion of Christianity to what is remaining of the once mighty Indian civilization are very real. The Naxal-Christian alliance is true no matter how much our media and politicians want to downplay it. India is the last bastion of ancient civilization that has resisted the aggression and maintained its continuity for millennia, because of the Hindus. Hindus have fought for centuries against foreign invaders, now it is time to clean their own house as well.

The political leaders and media should be careful not to play with Hindu sentiments with divisive politics. The people of India have successfully reduced the stature of the small players in this election. The big teams are thus warned to stay away from politics of minorityism. But to ensure that Hindus themselves need to be much more vigilant and socio-politically active. They need to verbalize their resentment and unite to fight together irrespective of their caste, creed and individual interest. Every swami or sadhu should encourage his followers, every temple should become grounds for sociopolitical awareness, and every Hindu gathering should be an opportunity of active discussion. Each and every person who cares for Hinduism and is proud to be a Hindu is to join hands. And above all, they need to be prepared for a long battle that can become ugly, for a noble cause.

Related posts:

Why Hindus lost faith in BJP

 Was BJP not Hindu enough?

One cannot but ponder on this issue even to the extent of questioning the judgement of the people in democratic India. Perhaps Indians remain still fascinated by the royal charisma of kings, queens, princes and princesses that they read in childhood fables as well as in the dynastic stories from their history lessons.  Not that it is restricted to Indians alone. The Kennedies, Bushes and Clintons are testimony to that.

However a large part of the credit of building up this dynastic appeal in the current age has to go to the media and page 3 intellectuals. A recent case can be made as to the glamorization of  such trivia as Priyanka Gandhi’s nose or Rahul Gandhi’s boxing lessons by the media.

 

Indian politics is a family affair

Sriram Karri

 

Parliament in India is so full of relatives, it seems democracy is becoming a monarchy by other means

The Indian parliament is full of relatives – more than ever before. Mothers and sons, fathers and sons, fathers and daughters, third-generation stars, wives, widows, in-laws, uncles and nephews. Has democracy become a monarchy by other means?

Over a decade ago, when standards of behaviour in the Indian parliament were nose-diving – what with acrimony, physical demonstrations, unparliamentary language, personal attacks and constant shrill bickering, a perpetual partisan divide and even occasional exchange of physical blows becoming the order of the day – former Bharatiya Janata party (BJP) prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee wished that Indian politics would live up to the age-old ideal of vasudeva kutumbikam (“all the universe is a family”). Today it seems that his wish has come true, and with a vengeance.

The biggest winner of the recent Lok Sabha elections was not the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) but rather the dynasty; a belief that democracy is and should be monarchy through other means. Every leader, sans party, beyond ideological divide, beyond left, right or centre, of communalism or secularism, is a votary of family rule, whose parliamentary seats are part of the family’s estate.

Relatives thrive in the Indian parliament today. Two mother-son sets, all four from one family – Sonia and Rahul Gandhi and Maneka and Varun Gandhi – from Congress and BJP respectively are divided on every other possible issue but still united in leading the family’s hold over political power.

Then there are four father-son sets. Ajit Singh and Jayant Chaudhary (Ajit’s father, Charan Singh, was a former prime minister); HD Deve Gowda and HD Kumaraswamy (Gowda is a former prime minister, while his son was chief minister of Karnataka); Mulayam Singh and Akhilesh Yadav (Singh was former defence minister and UP chief minister); and Adhikari Sisir Kumar and Adhikari Suvendu.

In all, 27 MPs in Lok Sabha today belong to prominent political families: sons, daughters, siblings, wives, cousins, nephews – highlighting the Indian political family business power, where parliamentary seats are heirlooms to be passed on.

In contrast, agriculture minister Sharad Pawar – ever a champion of empowering women – has her daughter, Supriya Sule, as a parliamentary colleague, while Farooq Abdullah (former chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir) will share treasury benches with son-in-law Sachin Pilot, and Abdullah’s son, Omar Abdullah, rules Jammu and Kashmir as chief minister. Incidentally, Pilot is son of the late Congress leader, Rajesh Pilot.

Another family who can give a run for their money are the Karunanidhis, in Tamil Nadu. Old man Karunanidhi, chief minister at 82, with three wives, has made eldest son Azhagiri and nephew Dayanidhi Maran ministers in the central cabinet, while son Stalin was made deputy chief minister in Tamil Nadu and daughter Kanimozhi has to make do with a merely being a member of the Rajya Sabha (Indian parliament).

The fountainhead of this tendency was the reign of three generations of Nehru-Gandhis; Jawaharlal Nehru, his daughter Indira Gandhi and grandson Rajiv Gandhi as prime ministers. While Rajiv’s widow, an Italian, Sonia (nee Manio) Gandhi refused prime ministership owing to sustained opposition by the BJP, her son Rahul is waiting to take over the mantle.

Chieftains and warlords have emulated that model across the nation. Some of the great Indian political families include Badals of Punjab, Yadavs in Bihar and Uttar Pradesh, Thackerays and Pawars in Maharashtra, Patnaiks in Orissa and Reddys in Andhra Pradesh.

There have been times when the death of popular leaders like MG Ramachandran or NT Rama Rao led to an open war of succession with widows, mistresses, son-in-laws, sons and second wives all fighting for their legacy. But today, like well managed corporations, families tend to handle their succession in a more orderly way.

A contrasting aspect is some unmarried and family-less leaders who have succeeded in India – Abdul Kalam, Vajpayee, J Jayalalitha, Mayawati, Mamata Banerjee, Narendra Modi – but no one knows if they will remain an exception or even prove to be a dying breed. In any case, they have shown little inclination to take up the cause of institutionalising merit over family.

Several families, like the Scindias, Thackerays and Nandamuris, have spread across parties. Bal Thackeray’s nephew, Raj, broke-up with cousin Udhav after a bitter succession war and started the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena party. Agatha Sangma, a young ministerial face in the Congress-led UPA government, is the daughter of former Lok Sabha Speaker PA Sangma, who led an anti-Sonia campaign. Central minister D Purandareswari, daughter of Telugu Desam party founder NT Rama Rao, and husband D Venkateshwara Rao (Andhra Pradesh state assembly) are with Congress, while her brother-in-law N Chandrababu Naidu and other brothers are in control of the TDP.

The erstwhile royal family of Scindia had the most famous feud of them all, where old mother Rajamate was a key leader of the BJP while her son, Madhavrao, was a senior Congress leader. After their deaths, Madhavrao’s son, Jyotiraditya, became part of the Rahul Gandhi brigade in Congress while Madhavrao’s sister, Vasundhara Raje, was chief minister of Rajasthan leading the BJP government.

Miera Kumar, the first woman and Dalit to be elected Speaker of Lok Sabha, still would not have made it were she also not daughter of former deputy prime minister Jagjivan Ram.

Family power in politics is nothing new to south Asia, where dynasties like the Gandhis and Bhuttos and Hasinas have held clout for generations. But with family name more important in politics than individual qualities or merits in India, it strikes at the very core of democracy. Grassroots activists and student leaders with no patronage matter little, and given the huge money and muscle power involved in elections, non-family upstarts can only dream of power from the sidelines. In fact, its impact goes beyond politics, with the reign of dynasties extending to most businesses, even Bollywood.

Hail the Great Indian Political Family! Jai Ho!

THE INDIAN ELECTIONS – NEW YORK TIMES

V Mitchell , New York , NY

It is truly the greatest show on Earth, an ode to a diverse and democratic ethos, where 700 million + of humanity vote, providing their small part in directing their ancient civilization into the future. It is no less impressive when done in a neighborhood which includes de-stabilizing and violent Pakistan, China, and Burma.

Its challenges are immense, more so probably than anywhere else, particularly in development and fending off terrorism — but considering these challenges and its neighbors, it is even more astounding that the most diverse nation on Earth, with hundreds of languages, all religions and cultures, is not only surviving, but thriving.

The nation where Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, and Sikhism were born, which is the second largest Muslim nation on Earth; where Christianity has existed for 2000 years; where the oldest Jewish synagogues and Jewish communities have resided since the Romans burnt their 2nd temple; where the Dalai Lama and the Tibetan government in exile reside; where the Zorostrians from Persia have thrived since being thrown out of their ancient homeland; where Armenians and Syrians and many others have to come live; where the Paris-based OECD said was the largest economy on Earth 1500 of the last 2000 years, including the 2nd largest only 200 years ago; where 3 Muslim Presidents have been elected, where a Sikh is Prime Minister and the head of the ruling party a Catholic Italian woman, where the President is also a women, succeeding a Muslim President who as a rocket scientist was a hero in the nation; where a booming economy is lifting 40 million out of poverty each year and is expected to have the majority of its population in the middle class, already equal to the entire US population, by 2025; where its optimism and vibrancy is manifested in its movies, arts, economic growth, and voting, despite all the incredible challenges and hardships; where all the great powers are vying for influence, as it itself finds its place in the world.

Where all of this is happening, is India , and as greater than 1/10 of humanity gets ready to vote, it is an inspiration to all the World.

— V Mitchell, New York , NY

BJP’S FAILURE: An Unbiased Observation

 

By Dr. Radhasyam Brahmachari

 

While BJP was in Power:

Before analyzing the defeat of BJP in the present Lok Sabha election, it is necessary to have a look how the Party came to power in 1999 with 183 MPs. One may recall that in the Lok Sabha elections held in 1998 the BJP led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) obtained a simple majority. This time, the BJP had allied with the AIADMK and the Biju Janata Dal besides its existing allies, the Samata Party, the Shiromani Akali Dal and Shiv Sena. Outside support was provided by the Telugu Desam Party.

The NDA had a slim majority, and Vajpayee returned as Prime Minister. But the coalition ruptured in May 1999 when the leader of AIADMK, Jayalalitha, withdrew her support, and fresh elections were again called in October, 1999. Within this brief period, BJP did two remarkable jobs that made it popular across the country. Firstly, it conducted the testing of the nuclear device at Pokhran and secondly, it fought the Kargil war with Pakistan in May-July, 1999.

These two achievements were hailed by the entire population who discovered a courageous fighter in BJP, capable of protecting the sovereignty and freedom of the nation and thrashing the rogue enemy state Pakistan, The people of this country gave BJP a hero’s welcome and, as a consequence, in the Lok Sabha election held on October 13, 1999, the BJP-led NDA won 303 seats. The BJP won an all-time high of 183 seats. Vajpayee became Prime Minister for the third time in his life, and Advani became the Deputy Prime Minister and Home Minister.

But the said image of BJP was considerably shattered when the NDA government shamefully submitted to the unjust demands of the Pakistani terrorists after the hijacking of the Indian Airlines plane, Flight no. 814 on December 24, 1999, and released three dreaded terrorists, most undemocratic way, from the Kashmir jail and one cabinet minister went to Kandahar, by a special plane, with those three terrorists and rupees 900 crores and a planeload of high explosive (to be used against India),.as ransom But after the hijacking drama, it would have been proper for the NDA government to order our army to cross the border of Afghanistan and our air force to bomb Kabul and Kandahar. And thus force the terrorists to release 174 passangers and 15 crew members of the hijacked plane. In this context, one may recall how the Russian government dealt with the Chechen terrorists who seized a school in Beslan in 2004.

On December 13, 2001, five terrorists attacked the Parliament House (Sansad Bhawan) in Delhi, It was due to the prompt and brave action of our security forces, six of whom sacrificed their lives, the lives of a few hundred of our MPs were saved. After this incident many of our commentators described it as a rape of our Parliament, or rather a rape of our democracy. Our military top brass advised the government to take immediate military action against Pakistan and hence to teach a good lesson to that rogue state. Some of our top army personnel commented that we had enough of talks, and time had arrived to act. So an army mobilization was ordered and our troops, with their modern sophisticated weapons were dispatched to the Indo-Pak border and were waiting for final signal from our leaders to cross the border. Our troops were waiting for months after months, but the NDA government failed to gather sufficient courage to give that final signal.

Ultimately troops were withdrawn wasting nearly three thousand crores of rupees, as the cost of mobilization and wear and tear of the sophisticated weapons. It is important to note that, had the NDA government conducted the military operation against Pakistan and taught that rogue state a good lesson, the people of this country would have given a hero’s welcome to BJP for the second time and they would have voted BJP to victory in the 2004 Lok Sabha election.

On April 21, 2001, Bangladesh Rifles abducted 15 Border Security Force (BSF) personnel into Bangladesh, They subsequently butchered all the 15 BSF men and carried their mutilated bodies like carcass of animals to return the dead bodies in an extremely humiliating manner. As a cover up of that criminal act by the Bangladesh Rifles (BDR), the government of Bangladesh said that our BSF men illegally crossed the Bangladeshi border and hence BDR captured and killed them. It is to be noted here that, even if it is admitted that the BSF men had entered Bangladesh illegally, it was proper for BDR arrest them and produce them in the court of law. In any case, they could not have killed them.

The most justified reply of the NDA government to this heinous crime was to give order to our army to cross the border of Bangladesh and march towards Dhaka, But our leaders, for the lack sufficient courage or for the sake of its newly adopted policy of Muslim appeasement, failed to take military action against even a small and weak nation like Bangladesh, On the contrary, they supported the claim of the government of Bangladesh that our forces had done a wrong and by entering Bangladesh without any provocation. Our PM sent his personal secretary Brojesh Misra to Dhaka to beg pardon on behalf of the Indian Government for the so called offence committed by our BSF personnel.

It is needless to say that all the above mentioned cowardice acts have completely shattered the image BJP had built up by fighting the Kargil War and testing nuclear device at Pokhran. And there is no
doubt that this loss of image had played a major role in its defeat in 2004 Lok Sabha election.

The Hindu Nationalist Party Turned Secular:

We should now have a look on the other activities of the NDA government during its tenure that lasted for 6 years. As a matter of fact, the BJP is a direct successor of The Bharatiya Jana Sangh
(BJS), founded in 1951 by Dr Syama Prasad Mookherjee and it was considered the political wing of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS). After the murder of Dr Mookherjee in custody in 1953, the BJS lasted for 24 more years, but never seriously challenged the power of Indian National Congress It is well known that in 1980, a group of top leaders of BJS, including Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Lal Krishna Advani, formed the new party, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the RSS duly recognized this new party as its political organ. So, it is not difficult to understand that “Hindutva” was the fundamental basis of BJP and its ultimate goal was to make India a “Hindu Rastra”.

So, before the Lok Sabha elections in 1998 and 1999, the BJP declared the followings as its professed goals. :

   1. No special treatment for any religious group or BJP would never resort to appease the Muslims for securing their votes.

   2. The Repeal of Article 370 of the Constitution, which prevents non-Kashmiris, including Hindus who have fled the area due to increasing terrorism, from owning property in the state of Jammu and
Kashmir.

   3. The Promulgation of a Uniform Common Civil Code, which create only one personal and civil law code for Hindus, Muslims and Christians.

   4. A Ban on Cow Slaughter, to honor the Hindu tradition of not consuming the flesh of cow, and prohibiting the consumption of beef.

   5. A Complete Ban on Religious Conversions

   6. The Construction of the Ram Janmabhoomi temple in Ayodhya,.

   7. To achieve the full territorial and political integration of Jammu and Kashmir with India. Presently over 40% of the territory is under the control of Pakistan and China.

   8. Identification of Bangladeshi Muslim infiltrators and send them back to Bangladesh and at the same time taking proper steps to stop infiltration of Bangladeshi Muslims to West Bengal..

   9. Rehabilitation of the Kashmiri Pundits, who have been evicted from their home land Kashmir and living as refugees in the refugee camps in Delhi,

But after assuming power, the NDA government did not take any initiative to implement any of the above promises. On the contrary, during his visit to Jammu and Kashmir, the Prime Minister Shri Vajpayee assured the Kashmiri Muslims that, so long he is the Prime Minister, the Article 370 would continue. During election campaign BJP promised that it would never indulge in appeasement of the Muslims. But after assuming power, NDA government increased Hajj subsidy for the Muslims and hiked the salary of the imams. Previously the Muslims pilgrims intending to go to Mecca to perform Hajj, had to travel to Mumbai and from Mumbai they used to fly to Jeddah at subsidized rate. But the NDA government arranged flights from all the major cities of India to Mecca and built rest houses, specially for the Hajj pilgrims, in all the major cities of the country.

While it was expected that the NDA government, after assuming power, would strive hard to implement the above mentioned national agenda and hence to consolidate Hindu votes, but on the contrary, it displayed a strong inclination to acquire Muslim votes by appeasement of the Muslims. They floated the idea that all Muslims are not anti- nationals and there also exists a large group of good as well as nationalist Muslims, who are to be brought under the banner of BJP. Which was as ridiculous and bogus as saying, “All cobras are not bad and there are good cobras as well.” On the basis of this newly invented ridiculous, baseless and bogus ideology, they started to appease the Muslims in a big way, especially in 2000-2001, when Bangaru Laxman became the president of the Party. It is needless to say that from this time onwards, the Hindus started not only to reject, but to hate BJP and its leaders.

As mentioned above, prior to the 1999 election, BJP promised to identify every Bangladeshi Muslim infiltrator and send them back to Bangladesh, But after assuming power, the NDA government, according to their newly adopted policy of Muslim appeasement, took no step in this direction. On the contrary, it adopted a serious anti Hindu step in this context. Previously, the Hindus who, being persecuted by the Muslims, were coming to India from Bangladesh were treated as refugees. But NDA government deprived the Hindus from this facility (which is the standing policy of the UN) and started to treat the Hindus as infiltrators, like the Muslims. In one incident, a Hindu housewife, to save her life from the Muslim goons of Bangladesh, was crossing the border by swimming a canal and the Indian security forces gunned her down. Due to this step-motherly attitude of the NDA government towards the Bangladeshi Hindus, lakhs of Bangladeshi Hindus are still not getting refugee status and hence any assistance from either the state or the Central government.

Another important promise made by BJP was implementation of the uniform civil code for all the citizens on India, irrespective of religion or other differences. In this context, it is important to
note that, a verdict of the Supreme Court in mid-2003 upheld the necessity of enforcing ‘common civil code’ in India, which could liberate India ‘s Muslim women from the shameful gender discrimination like polygamy and oral divorce. But the NDA government, in tune with its new policy of Muslim appeasement, did not take any initiative in this direction, because such a step would have displeased the orthodox Muslim clerics.

Most importantly, the NDA government remained not only silent regarding the construction of temple at Ayodhya, but opposed any attempt or any movement for temple construction. During its tenure Vishwa Hindu Parishad gave a call for a demonstration of the activists at Ayodhya. But to frustrate the effort, NDA government promulgated an ordinance so that police can arrest anyone found to purchase a railway ticket for Ayodhya anywhere in the country. In Kolkata, many VHP workers were arrested and put into police custody, while they were found to purchase railway ticket for Ayodhya at Howrah and Sealdah railway stations. It is really surprising that the NDA government took such step against the people who voted it to power.

When the author of this article asked a BJP leader about this affair, he said that most of the allies of the NDA are secular minded and hence if the government wanted to move forward any issue concerning the Hindus, they would withdraw their support leading to a fall of the NDA government. The question naturally arises — Did the Hindus voted BJP to rule for a full term at the sacrifice of the Hindutva issues? The leaders of BJP failed to understand that, had the government fallen due to an initiative of the BJP to fulfill its pre- election promises, the Hindus would have voted BJP again, perhaps more profusely, and help form the government. But our leaders preferred to remain in power at the sacrifice of its pre-poll promises and thus earned distrust of the Hindus. Many Hindus began to call BJP as “Biswasghatak Janata Party”.

Thus, without caring for the sentiment of the electorate, who voted it to power, BJP or the NDA government dumped all its nationalist agenda into the cold storage and at the fag end of its tenure started
to build roads, as if the voters had voted it to power for making roads. Prime Minister Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee was, perhaps, confident that the said road building and the economic reforms he had
undertaken, would return him to power again. But the poll results 2004 election reflected that he was wrong. He learned the bitter lesson that the Hindu voters did not make him the Prime Minister of India for making roads and bringing economic reforms.

During the 5 year period from 2004 to 2009, BJP has left no stone unturned to expose itself a truly secular party through complete renunciation of its Hindu identity. Its leaders failed to grasp that it drew strength and status from Hindu society alone and it was the Hindus who voted it to power. They failed to learn a lesson from the debacle of 2004 election. So, in stead of Hindutva agenda, they depended on good governance and development to win the 2009 election and kept silence about the most cherished Hindu issues like temple building in Ayodhya, scrapping of Article 370, enforcement of common civil code and so on.

Projecting L K Advani as the Prime Ministerial Candidate:

In this election, the leaders of BJP, without giving much thought, projected elderly Shri L K Advani as its Prime Ministerial candidate, whom a section of the Hindus have identified as a traitor quite a
long ago. Shri Advani is the man who, after the demolition of the old temple at Ayodhya on 6th December, 1992, said that it was the most tragic day in his life. Not only that, “Mr. Advani took the demolition of the contentious structure as a personal slight (he had promised the Supreme Court nothing would happen), and without any discussion with senior party colleagues present there, especially then party president Murli Manohar Joshi, resigned his post as Leader of the Opposition by faxing his resignation to the Lok Sabha Speaker and releasing the information to the press. The party was faced with an uncomfortable fait accompli”, writes Mrs Sandhya Jain in her recent article L K Advani: From History to Oblivion.

On 4th June, 2007, when Advani was visiting the mausoleum of M A Jinnah in Karachi, Pakistan, said that Jinnah was a great man and he was secular leader. When I asked a BJP leader of West Bengal, about that contentious comment of Advani, to my utmost astonishment, he supported Advani and said, “Advaniji was right. In fact, Jinnah was a staunch secular leader at the beginning of his political career. But later on Gandhi and Nehru spoiled him.” If this was the BJP-way of looking at things, who would rescue it from its imminent downfall?

Nearly 7-8 years ago, when NDA was in power, Advani said that the day of idealism is over, now the day is of new ideas. Or indirectly, he made it clear that BJP would no longer follow the Hindutva ideology as propagated by its parent organization RSS. Or the ideology which had been identified by Swami Vivekananda, Shri Aurovindo, Dr Hedgewar and Guruji Gowalkar as the sole path for the revival of this Hindu nation. All such utterances of Advani makes one to convince that Shri Advani and his coterie have dragged BJP, originally a political party of distinction with the aim for achieving a noble and lofty goal, down to an ordinary political party of petty and conspiratorial politics.

As a result, Hindus lost faith in BJP and its staunch supporters, on their poll-day, remained indoor and enjoyed a holiday. Only 25 per cent of the Hindu electorates turned up at the polling booths to exercise their democratic right and BJP suffered the obvious setback. Only God knows how many years it will take to recover this setback and get back the confidence of the Hindus again.

A few thoughts on India’s 2009 general elections       

Come Carpentier de Gourdon

21 May 2009

 

On May 16 I talked to two good friends about the results of the general parliamentary elections in India, which had just given the ruling Congress-led alliance a comfortable majority with the quasi-assurance of retaining power for the next five years. I knew the reactions of my two friends would be poles apart.

The first one, a prominent business promoter and adviser to the government on economic and industrial matters, was happy that both the Hindu nationalist opposition (BJP) and the Communist and other Left-wing parties would be kept out of power. The other, who belongs to the investment banking profession but holds highly unorthodox views, was gloomy. “The neo-liberal globalizing agenda just got a new lease of life” was his verdict.

I pointed out that the BJP’s political programme was not substantially different on economic issues from its Congress rival’s. He agreed and concluded that democracy tends to amount to Hobson’s choice, at least on critical issues where it generally offers hapless voters a choice between six of one and half a dozen of the other, as the saying goes.

The concern with the BJP of my first friend, shared by many in this vast country, is that the party’s ideology jeopardises the secular credentials which he believes are vital, not only to the nation’s standing in the world at large, but also to its inner stability and continuity. It is my experience that Indians of all parties, at least those who follow “Indic” creeds, are in their very vast majority, instinctively or intellectually secular or rather ecumenical. They see themselves as part of the cosmic family in which many beliefs and traditions exist with a valid claim to truth, at least in their relative space-time context, a concept that finds its scientific expression in quantic physics, but that Indian wisdom has professed for millennia. Many pious and scholarly Hindus, Jains and Sikhs feel that religion should not be mixed with partisan politics, though philosophy undeniably plays a seminal role in the Aristotelian description of politics. Therefore, they remain unconvinced by the attempts of certain Hindu nationalist politicians to promote notions of religious activism and policing borrowed from the semitic faiths that have come to dominate much of the world.

As many have noted, one cannot attribute the results of these elections to any single factor, political or economic, but rather to a combination of many local, regional and national issues, in decreasing order of importance. India has remained, as is most of mankind, an aristocratic society where a longing for dynastic power is pervasive. Largely irrespective of personal merits, the aura of the Nehru line still invests it with an image of order, stability and reliability. The very youthful country that is India is also attracted to a young leadership and Congress was able to catalyse that feeling in favour of the new generation of Nehrus, Rahul and Priyanka while the BJP sought, with questionable discernment, to promote a rival scion, Varun Gandhi. Despite its venerable age, the Indian National Congress was able to project itself as a party of the young, sophisticated, unprejudiced and worldly new generations, while the BJP, on account of its leadership, could not shed its image as a bastion of ageing, conservative, chauvinist northern Indian middle classes. 

More than meets eye

This being said, there is more than meets the eye in the Congress victory. My second friend is probably right when he says that the liberal globalizing oligarchy has a commanding role in the ruling coalition. Some of its stalwarts are sophisticated, western-trained economists and successful businessmen who put no hope outside the Eldorado of the Anglo-American world order in which they gleefully see India taking a high seat at the table.

They may not have internalized the fact that both the USA and its sidekick Britain look more and more like dead men walking and their downfall is merely a matter of time. Well, they tell me, better be the first to collect the spoils and replace them…The king is dead, long live the king.

Would India not be the best candidate to lead and preserve the relatively benign and open-minded international order built by the “free” Anglo-Saxon democratic powers during the last two centuries? Otherwise, will we not see instead the rise of much less predictable and reassuring hegemons such as China, Russia, some Muslim nations and Brazil with long traditions of totalitarianism or dictatorship?

There is much to be said about this apparently unexceptionable view. The “liberal” Anglo-Saxon powers have turned out to be less and less free and have shed their mask (or was it a fig leaf?) of benevolence in recent decades as they have assumed the trappings of Orwellian national security states or apparently soft tyrannies, plotting and acting to subvert, attack, invade, occupy and plunder more and more countries under all sorts of fallacious pretexts. To carry out those neo-colonial ventures, they invoke the age-old Judeo-Christian excuse of being threatened or victimized (by Communism, Nazism, terrorism, paganism, Islamism etc…

Let us not forget that semitic religions are historically rooted in persecution and oppression, real or alleged, be it flight, exile or martyrdom, and derive their legitimacy from them) and claim that they must proceed with their civilizing mission “urbi et orbi” and micro-manage other people’s affairs precisely now that they can no longer take care of the welfare of their own populations.

The US is trying to distract attention from its economic undoing by claiming that its survival, earlier jeopardized by ghost Iraqi WMD, is now imperiled by Taliban gunmen laying in ambush around the Khyber pass, while its near eastern satrap Israel invokes a purportedly existential threat from Iran in order to evade the Palestinian issue and other fundamental questions about its economic viability as a nation-state.

West’s pincer strategy

Imperial wars overseas provide a useful distraction from pressing problems at home and supply endless fodder to the lumbering military industrial giant machine. If there is one thing that the USA and Israel fear more than having many enemies, it is having no enemies left. They cannot be expected to forget about India in their great chess game for world domination and any party that rules in Delhi will only ignore or acquiesce this fact at its own risk.

The “West” may be described as attacking the “rest” by means of a “pincer” strategy, with one arm being the secular or atheistic doctrines of individualism and materialism entailing the rejection of native traditions, while the other is Christian missionary conversion. In the long term one may see those two apparently contradictory influences as complementary (and they evince the peculiar Anglo-Saxon combination of Puritanism and depravity) since spiritual vacuum tends to be filled by whichever religious offering is made available and supported by aggressive promotion.

Born-again fanatical Christianity, which bans all spiritual practices and beliefs to the exclusion of a “personal – and highly subjective – relationship with Jesus” has been one of the great beneficiaries of the loss of ancestral religious and cultural moorings in the USA and more recently in Latin America, Africa and certain parts of Asia, including China.

The fading of Confucianism and Buddhism in Korea paved the way for the birth and spread of the Moon Church and other rather bizarre Christian or non-Christian (i.e. Scientology) denominations that are in some cases used by US Intelligence agencies as recruiting grounds and support systems.

India must protect native faith

The prospect that India, under the unrelenting combined assault of American commercial “culture” and Biblical proselytizing, may lose large swathes of its traditional religious civilization to various forms of “materialistic imported monotheism” is unfolding in many areas and the Government should address that problem and not shun it with the excuse that religion is a matter of personal freedom and individual conscience. Governance is not just a matter of increasing the GDP, modernizing the armed forces or improving the welfare system.

If France for one has been able to adopt and enforce the legal notion of a “cultural exception” in order to protect itself upto a point from the Anglo-Saxon onslaught, there is no reason why India should not implement a similar set of measures with regard to its native religions and ways of life. Such an agenda should not be left to any one party, but rather can be a matter of national consensus. When regional ethnic groups and communities replace their traditional epics and legends with the Old Testament, they accept, in the guise of religious truth, the superiority of a foreign civilization and literature which enshrine the notion that God did not live on their native soil, but rather chose the Near East, and that their spiritual home is Zion.

Does India want to follow in the footsteps of so many nations in Latin America and Africa whose national cultures have become a mestizo or creole cocktail of Roman or Zionist Christianity with local lore? Those who say that it does not matter should reflect on the fact that the US-driven modern “value system”, adopted by Europe to a fault, despite surface differences, is neither tolerant nor peaceful, despite its claims to be inclusive and neutral.

Westernization, now known as globalization, comes with a growing panoply of practices and commandments that are mandatory and allow for no discussion, such as the promotion of homosexuality, same sex unions and parenting, abortion, “commercial” child-bearing (rent-a-womb), pornography, avowedly satanic “art” forms, blasphemy, widespread mood-altering medication and the rejection of traditional morality, along with the unquestioning acceptance of historical politically correct dogmas. Penalties are severe for those who object to ideas that used to be abhorrent to most just a few years ago, and which are now held by the opinion-makers to be the new revealed truths.

Many probably feel that such matters, important as they might be, take a distant second or third place to the economic and social priorities which face India in this day and age. However, many states and civilizations perished when they neglected existential long-term considerations of that order and accepted decadence as if it were an inevitable facet of growing prosperity. Elections tend to expediently focus on short-term interests and do not provide fora for philosophical introspection on the meaning and destiny of civilization and the conditions for its perpetuation and bloom. Those latter issues transcend personalities and economic programmes.

The author is convener, editorial board, World Affairs Journal