Wednesday, June 27, 2012

CNN-IBN, IBN7 - Criminally Communal Channels

There is something about our media celebs that makes them hate anything remotely connected with Hinduism or the Hindu religion. Any symbol related to Hinduism or their spiritual leaders or Gurus is an insult to the intelligence of these elites. Of the many media outlets that frequently ridicule Hinduism, CNN-IBN and its sidekick IBN7 are channels that are undisputed leaders. Not so long ago CNN-IBN’s Sagarika Ghose ran a fraudulent live show about SriSri Ravi Shankar and his campaign against corruption. It was a case enough to ‘Sack Sagarika. But just as in politics, nepotism prevails in the media too and she continues merrily on the channel, frequently spouting venom against Hindus, subtly on TV or more brazenly on Twitter. When the damage is done and she faces a backlash her typical response is to play victim. Here are some recent transactions by CNN-IBN’s Managing Director, Rajdeep Sardesai:

The tweet on the left was in response to many demanding coverage of the anniversary of Emergency on June 25, 2012. Now, what exactly does Emergency have to do with Babri? But unless a historic event of significance is not equated with some supposed ant-Hindu news Rajdeep’s equation is not complete. In reality, Emergency is a shame on the nation, destruction of democracy and is comparable with the tin-pot dictators of Pakistan, perhaps with Saddam Hussain, Pinochet or Idi Amin. Emergency was not an offence against any particular community. All communities paid a price. In contrast the Babri incident is one of many communal incidents in the country. If history is perspective, then Babri should be compared to Somnath and not to the Emergency. But such is the communal agenda of CNN-IBN.

On June 25 #Emergency75 trended all day on Twitter. So Rajdeep wants to know if tweeters will trend #Babri92 on December 6.  While he actually doesn’t suggest it, it’s almost as if Babri happened as revenge for Emergency. It’s alarming that those who pass off as editors in media outlets cannot distinguish between a national tragedy and a communal incident. The number of people killed or permanently disabled during Emergency will neither be known nor be ever revealed because our current media would prefer another Emergency. They would like a censorship of all voices in the social media and would delight in peddling only the voice of the Congress and their ruling allies. The Justice Shah Commission report on the Emergency was buried and lost till recently a writer (Era Sezhiyan) put the pieces together in a book.

Here’s another tweet from the same evening. Once again Rajdeep drags Babri and Gujarat 2002 to balance Emergency and the 1984 “Riots”. Mind you, he and others in the media continue to refer to 1984 as “riots” and Gujarat 2002 as “pogrom”. Most will disagree with 1984 being termed “riots”. That was a systematic killing of ONLY Sikhs in retaliation. It wasn’t a conflict in which both Sikhs and others were killing each other. Only Sikhs were being killed by Congress cadres. Still, what’s the connection? Unless the BJP’s so-called sins are called into the debate it is unfair to talk about Emergency. All the events Rajdeep talks about happened much after Emergency and aren’t connected in anyway. This is the media’s idea of “balanced” crap!

In another tweet Rajdeep laments being called a “pseudo-secular”. Why? Because he did a programme on 1984 on its 25th Anniversary and about Gujarat/Godhra on its 10th Anniversary. This is where Rajdeep comes across and establishes himself as an outright LIAR. And I do call him a LIAR. For long the media had buried 1984. It is only when the media was churning out lies about Gujarat 2002 that people wondered why a similar campaign wasn’t there for 1984. What the liar Rajdeep forgets is that from the day Gujarat riots started he, in whichever channel he was, has carried out a relentless campaign almost every day against the perpetrators and particularly Narendra Modi.The anti-Gujarat shows weren't on anniversaries - those were every week, every month, every year and still continue. Such were the extent of lies that media even reported as if February 2002 had 30 days and not 28. The stories are all in the open now and probably there is as much guilt that Rajdeep feels as other media crooks for stories about Gujarat.

If Narendra Modi were a Muslim I seriously doubt any of these channels would have mentioned Gujarat beyond 2002 or 2003. If Narendra Modi were a Congressman then Gujarat2002 would have been buried by the media as they did 1984. If Narendra Modi were a Congressman he would have been awarded a Bharat Ratna, streets would be named after him, airports named after him, govt schemes would be named after him. And would you see the media protesting? Make a wild guess! This is the communal nature of Rajdeep, Sagarika and all other bimbos in our mainstream media. Hate Hindus, magnify any Hindu crime and suppress the crimes of their paymasters, particularly Congress. Of course, when challenged about being anti-Hindu Rajdeep will claim he is a proud Hindu! Why? Because he eats beef! That’s his measure.

Now, while there have been frequent accusations of CNN-IBN and IBN7 being anti-Hindu and communal here is proof if you ever needed it. The latest catch in the 26/11 is someone called Abu Jindal. Umm…  no one seems sure about his real name! He is also called Abu Jundal, Abu Hamza and new names might crop up soon. On every channel and newspaper there is only one picture of his – the one with the same expression and the same check-shirt. Wait, all except IBN7. An observant tweeter (@AwakeIndian) sent me this TV grab from the channel. 

Out of nowhere you have Abu Whatever seen wearing a Saffron Kurta. IBN7 dressed him up him in ‘Saffron’ and that colour is symbolic with Hindus. The mischief behind altering a commonly circulated image is not lost on people. Of course, the journalistic-bimbo would disagree and suggest that isn’t Saffron but ‘Orange’. AwakeIndian also points to the saffron shirt the anchor is wearing but I wouldn’t read much into that. What exactly is the motive behind photo-shopping the image of a suspected terrorist? 

This can be a good case for a criminal act under section 153A of the IPC – Creating communal disharmony, insulting the religious sentiments of a community and so on. The managing editor of IBN7, Ashutosh, is also often accused of his anti-Hindu stance. Such acts only confirm the agenda of the CNN-IBN group as a whole. So Rajdeep, Sagarika and Ashutosh and their team can flush their ‘secular’ credentials down the drain and stop any pretensions. Their tweets, their images, their misguided sense of ‘balance’ have been frequently exposed. In the case of SriSri, Sagarika claimed it was a “bug” and a genuine “mistake”. Nobody buys that anymore. As with that episode I have to repeat: It’s neither an error nor a mistake, it’s just wilful deception. The sly, subtle and deceptive anti-Hindu campaign will continue on their channels.

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Monday, June 25, 2012

Sangma Slaps Karan 'TheTool' Thapar

In the American-Italian mafia business everyone had a nickname. Among the famous ones is George ‘Babyface’ Nelson. Then there’s the introduction to the GoodFellas: Nicky ‘Eyes’, Frankie ‘TheWop’ (A slur for those of Italian descent meaning  ‘Without Papers’), ‘Fat’ Andy, and the best one had to be when Henry Hill introduces Jimmy: “And then there was Jimmy ‘Two’Times’, who got that nickname because he said everything twice”. And the typical response by Jimmy TwoTimes: “I'm gonna go get the papers, get the papers”.

Sometime back I had already explained why the MSM is ‘India’s biggest mafia’. One of the ‘honourable’ members of this MSM just got a new nickname: Karan ‘TheTool’ Thapar. This was in his interview of Presidential nominee of Opposition parties, P.A. Sangma. Anyone who saw the interview would easily agree it was indeed motivated, sometimes in poor taste, and mostly ‘Karan The Tool’ clearly seemed to be campaigning for the other ticket, Pranab Mukherjee. Such is our criminally biased media that far from interviewing Sangma, The Tool was actually ridiculing him on many counts. That Sangma is an ‘underdog’ is not good enough reason for the media to campaign for Pranab, which they have been doing so far.

There’s a reason Justice Katju once said our so-called journalists are not well-versed in History (or Science or anything). Take a look at the picture on the left. The headline says “Dewey defeats Truman”. The man holding up the newspaper and smiling is definitely not Thomas Dewey the Presidential candidate against Harry Truman in 1948. Truman was the underdog in that election and almost everyone had predicted he would lose. No one gave him a chance. The presidential elections were held on November 2, 1948 and even before final results were announced the Chicago Tribune had released its early morning edition of November 3, 1948 with that headline. Many newspapers even ridiculed Truman’s campaign and candidature, just like Thapar The Tool and the rest of Indian MSM do with Sangma. A New York Times article editorialized that "If Truman is nominated, he will be forced to wage the loneliest campaign in recent history". Everybody loves an underdog. Fact: Harry Truman won the election. You won’t find a bigger slap on the media in history than that headline carried by the Chicago Tribune. But the likes of Thapar TheTool, CNN-IBN and others in the Indian MSM don’t seem to learn from history.

Even if a candidate is an underdog, even if the media favours Pranab Mukherjee journalists would tread a bit cautiously in making extreme statements. The Tool’s interview of Sangma smacks of arrogance, extreme bias, motivated and in very bad taste. Here are some of the questions and statements (in blue) from the interview  (Read the full transcript here):

Mr Sangma I have spoken to many people and practically all of them, including many of your sponsors, say that you have very little chance of winning. Then, why are you contesting..

I guess nobody taught Thapar The Tool, that in a democracy it is almost a ‘Sin’ to not contest elections and allow any candidate to be elected unopposed. This is the very foundation of democracy. But slaves like CNN-IBN, The Tool and others in the MSM want Pranab to be elected unanimously. Was democracy created for unanimity? Shameful!

Mr Sangma let me put it to you, people are fond of you, they indulge you, but they are laughing at the fact that you believe that you can win. Nobody believes it but you.

By sheer logic why was The Tool’s channel breaking so much sweat over Lee-Hesh and Tennis players for the Olympics. Does anyone seriously expect them to win a medal? What is the motive for deriding a person’s candidature? It can’t be mere bias or sympathy for the other ticket. It has to be a lot more than that. And those who play or contest elections must firmly do so with the belief they can win. If not, they should behave like losers like The Tool.

Are you a little worried that by standing in the face of such odds and they are incredible odds, you might make yourself a laughing stock?

A laughing stock? Where does such language come from? Only uncouth, uncivilised and badly reared journalists talk to a presidential candidate in this filthy language. I wonder if such journalists are becoming the speciality of CNN-IBN. In reference to BJP’s support for Sangma, The Tool comes up with this:

Mr Sangma are you reducing the killings in Kandhamal, the killings in Dang, the Graham Staines, as a few incidents?

And then morons like The Tool and his channel keep screaming about “Secularism” and “One nation”. What has Kandhamal got to do with Sangma’s candidature? Has The Tool asked Pranab about Emergency? Given that Pranab was directly involved in certain actions during that time? Has The Tool asked Pranab about favours and offences relating to benefits allowed to some corporate bodies?

Mr Sangma, even if you look at the BJP, who you said a moment ago had increased their support for you to 26-28 per cent, are using you… as a stepping stone over the bridge to Jayalalithaa and Naveen Patnaik. Mr Sangma you are a tool. You are a part of a strategy that supports their convenience. That’s why they are supporting you, not because they believe in you.

Those are not questions. Those are inferences and theories spawned by the interviewer himself. That’s CNN-IBN journalism for you. But Sangma responded with a resounding slap for The Tool: “You think we are ignorant of which media is whose tool? Mr Karan, you think we are ignorant of which media is whose tool. Mr Karan don’t talk about tools”.

Karan‘TheTool’Thapar:  Are you suggesting that my questioning is motivated?
Candidate PA Sangma:   Yes, yes, you are also a tool….

In trying to campaign for the Congress candidate Pranab Mukherjee, Thapar The Tool ended up making up an absolute fool of himself. I always knew that Thapar The Tool is a motivated, biased and a journalistic moron. Sangma just confirmed all of it and exposed him to the whole world. However, there is always this bright side. Given that the MSM is India’s biggest mafia, Karan Thapar has a first to his credit. He is the first one to be nicknamed by a Presidential candidate like in all mafias and the nickname suits him in many ways. He is now Karan ‘TheTool’ Thapar. He and CNN-IBN can celebrate! 

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Saturday, June 23, 2012

BJP - The Suicidal Bridesmaid

The last time India had ‘Strategic alliance’ discussions with the USA, it was advantage India all the way. India dictated what kind of technology should be freely made available to it by the US and they agreed. India also asked the US to get rid of their plans to park armed forces in the Bay of Bengal and the US meekly agreed. The US also agreed to support India’s plans on Internet censorship in the UN and ban service providers like Google, Microsoft, Yahoo and Twitter in the US instantly, if India ever demanded it. (The power of Zero Sibal!) The best part was India finally forced the US to declare Pakistan a terrorist state. All this was achieved by the smooth and tactful S.M. Krishna against a bungling Hillary Clinton. At the recent G-20 meet when our honest, principled and decisive PM met President Obama one could tell even from a great distance that ‘Obama’s legs were shaking with fear’. India’s position as the new superpower is now firmly established.

I know what you’re thinking! You’re probably thinking the crook has gone nuts!

'Black Lotus' - The Suicidal Bridesmaid
Alright, alright, none of the above ever happened. But I can dream, can’t I? And so can the BJP! Truth is, in a strategic alliance one is better off negotiating from a position of strength or, at worst, from a position of equals. The recent nomination of a presidential candidate, the fracas with JDU leader Nitish Kumar, a bullying Shiv Sena and many other issues have shown all the strengths of BJP with relation to its alliance partners. Alliances make any sense only if you are in power. I doubt you had an UPA in 1970, 1999 or pre-2004 elections. Just as the NDA was cobbled together in 1998-99 the UPA too was cobbled together in 2004. In both cases the alliance partners have frequently changed but the one on top, the one with ‘strength’ retained the advantage. Once out of power the NDA has been practically dead. This is the fake dream the BJP still lives with. This is the reality the BJP is simply unwilling to accept and act upon.Fact: Except for the SAD in Punjab and ShivSena in Maharashtra the BJP does not have any real long term allies. Now, in contrast, look at the formidable alliance the Congress has with either or all of the following players at any given time:

RJD, CPM, CPI, MIM, DMK, Samajwadi Party, Trinamool Congress, JD(S)-Karnataka, TRS (AP), CBI, ED, IT, RAW, NDTV, CNN-IBN, TimesNow, AajTak, HeadlinesToday, ABPNews (formerly StarNews), Indian Express, TOI, Hindustan Trolls,BSP (Mayawati), Christian missionaries, Islamic outlets, spurious NGOs AND, being in power, for a fair consideration,it can also rope in Nitish’s JD(U), AIADMK, even Naveen Patnaik’s BJD and Vaiko’s party in dire situations or if it comes to Marathi Manoos, even the Shiv Sena.

In case we forgot, the BJP even played T-20 (Term-20) matches with some of the Congress alliance partners for power. First Mayawati fooled them into a 20-month rule each. When the BJP’s turn came she dumped them. Then they played another T-20 with JD(S) in Karnataka who, after batting, refused to field. Dumped again! The outcome in Karnataka was a BJP victory without any alliances. That’s a first for the party in Southern India.

It doesn’t take a wizard to observe that the BJP in all its alliances where it’s the ruling party, it plays second fiddle. Bihar, Mumbai (Municipality), Punjab. Earlier the alliance with Naveen Patnaik also crumbled and the BJD came to power on its own in Odisha. That makes BJP the suicidal Bridesmaid!

Among its rare long-term allies the Shiv Sena is an out-dated, redundant party and doesn’t even add any value to a national party like BJP. This is what dismays its members and followers. Why does the BJP have any alliance with the SS when it’s not in power in the state or the centre? Foolishness! Despite the bad governance, all the scams and even 26/11, the Congress got a third straight term in Maharashtra in 2009 and is the dominant partner in its alliance with the NCP. Dominant is the key word. The one time BJP came to power in Maharashtra the dominant party was the SS. Since then it has been downhill for BJP in Maharashtra. So why does it still ally with SS in elections? Does it make any sense at all? So, if the BJP wants to assert leadership it has to go it alone in the state in the next election and any alliance with SS or MNS should be on the poll outcomes. Pre-poll alliances with the SS is nothing but suicidal. The SS has no respect from a majority of Maharashtrians and counts for absolutely nothing at the national level and in the rare instances it counts it goes against the BJP. Why play bridesmaid to this insignificant party? At best of times the SS behaves like those Kashmiri youths who store bagful of stones to throw at the slightest incentive at the BJP.

Now, where Bihar is concerned the JDU is now flexing its muscle perhaps because its leader, Nitish Kumar, has his own ambitions. Nothing wrong with that! But why should the BJP again be the victim? Simply because it is once again not the dominant party but the second fiddle. For a national party it’s better to sit in the opposition than to play second fiddle in a coalition. This is a lesson the BJP hasn’t learned from the Congress. It must anticipate that the JDUs and the BJDs are in principle more aligned to the Congress than to the BJP. Both, the JDU and BJD, are welfare-state specialists and are clones of the Congress. Their alliance is based on convenience, power, funds and not on principles. I’m sure this is not lost on BJP either. What kind of national party allows a man to dictate who will campaign in a state, who should be the party’s PM candidate in the future and who keeps defining ‘Secularism’ as frequently as he goes to the toilet every day?

In absence of a clear, unambiguous message to Nitish Kumar the BJP is once again playing the suicidal bride. Voters don’t vote on manifestos, they vote on the confidence and strength a party and its leaders exude, communicate and demonstrate. Tragically, the BJP management hardly seems to realise who represents that confidence, leadership and performance in their party. The other thing they would certainly know is that voters don’t often vote similarly in state and general elections. Congress which was thrashed in UP in 2007 came up with the largest seats for Parliament in 2009. Even Gujarat gives a better deal to the Congress in centre’s elections than in state elections. There is no reason to believe without SS or JDU the BJP wouldn’t score more in Maharashtra and Bihar where they have a much better standing than say a state like Bengal. Whether they declare Narendra Modi a PM candidate or not is hardly important. First they need to demonstrate they are at least a party capable of leading and performing and worth the votes without their sundry allies.

Given the complete disenchantment with the Congress and the UPA’s non-performance, scams and corruption there is absolutely no risk in going it alone in 2014 in states where their current or previous allies are a constant nuisance. Bihar, Maharashtra and Odisha are prime states ready for a solo run for BJP. In Punjab unless they get a majority of seats to contest the BJP must go it alone. In the state, it’s fine to allow SAD the majority but not at the centre. At no cost should they have a pre-poll alliance in these states unless they hold a substantial advantage in terms of seats to contest.

The artful photograph in this post, an imaginary dead woman underwater, is titled ‘Black Lotus I have just given it a new name. And the woman does look suicidal. Not much is different with the present BJP and its central leaders. Each time they are called upon to be tough, responsive and combative and to the altar to be the bride – They end up playing the suicidal bridesmaid. The worst part is their spokespersons keep appearing on and giving interviews to Congress alliance channels in the media. What is evident to even a stray observer seems invisible to the BJP.  NDTV, CNN-IBN, ABPNews have sworn their allegiance to the Congress. Some channels are even predominantly anti-Hindu. Just as they should take strong positions with their state-based allies they need to take a strong stand with the corrupt media as well. If they are truly a national party then it’s time to assert their leadership.

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Friday, June 22, 2012

A Different Corner

I often receive emails with suggestions or notes. Most of them would make a good article by themselves. Even some of the comments on this site are as good as separate posts in their own right. Here is one that I received from Chhavi Methi (@GuruMaata). Her note was titled "What I want". Surely, not the usual stuff you will see on MediaCrooks. Our govt has long buried the family planning and population control programmes from public attention. Chhavi talks about those and a few more things. I felt it was a good and different read and may not be different from what most of us want. Her note is reproduced here without any change. So read on...


Well, what I want is same as what all of us want! A better life for all!

I want an end to the corruption that is preventing a quality life to us. But I want to move beyond corruption... Move to a much higher level and ensure the protection of our mother earth! Only way we can ensure protection of earth is by doing all that is possible to protect our environment and to conserve our resources.

In fact, it is all related in a chain:>environment-->society---->population---->infrastructure--> scarcity --> corruption 

To break this vicious chain, we have to start with education. There is so much people that our mother earth can take care of. We are a way too many people already. Increasing population is one of the most important factors that cause damage to society, its values and environment.  Less people mean less demand of resources and therefore, less conflict among people and less damage to environment.

We have seen that population control has a direct relation with education. One of the main curses of our society is the illiteracy of our people. But when I say education, I want to go beyond simple literacy and include value education. Education must include awareness on moral values and social responsibilities. Only education would make our people understand the need to adopt population control for their own sake, their children’s sake and the society’s sake!

As I said reduced population will not only reduce the demand for more infrastructure and natural resources but also will increase the quality of our people.  It will also make us aware about the need to protect our environment.

To clean up our environment all the men in society must realise the need and work towards it.  We all have a responsibility to ensure least cutting of trees, not polluting the air & water etc!   It is saddening to see that even our so called educated people not caring about the environment. The poor and illiterate are ignorant but even the rich are uneducated and unaware in social matters! Thinking of environment maybe never plays on in their minds!

Take the case of Singapore.  No one dares not throw anything on the road or misuse environment indiscriminately. Is it only because you get fined there?  Or is it because there is social awareness among people?  Why is that same people when they come back to India do not give any care in maintaining the surroundings or to living as per similar standards?

Can we make it a compulsion that each of us does a spiritual course? Who is going to impose these motivational practices or should we be self- motivated?  But knowing Indians, I think it is not there in our blood!  I keep reading so many comments that we must change the society to remove corruption and other evils. But is that easy?

While we must work towards increasing education and awareness, and thereby bring changes in the society, can we wait? Any change in a society takes a long time to happen. How do we ensure faster action on these fronts?  I think we need to have stricter laws to ensure people live as per acceptable standards.  Guilty must be punished strictly and fast. We must make people respect and fear laws!

Together with strict laws, we must also ensure better infrastructure. Poverty and lack of facilities affects our environment badly. Our country and our governments do not lack money. Why can’t we ensure the best of roads, schools and hospitals for our people?
This brings me to my last point.  Any such changes require quality leaders.  Among the foolish wise men are born ......these wise men are leaders! They have the calibre to make the change! Of course, I’m hinting to our politicians, who are supposedly the chosen leaders! The onus, yes, lies on the leaders to provide direction to our country... Leaders must be educated and must have the power to make changes! Leaders need to think for the country and as voters, we must ensure that only such capable people end up as our leaders!

To conclude, I want our people and our leaders to keep the interests of all in their minds while taking decisions.  That would ensure fulfilment of my dream of a quality life for our people!


Tuesday, June 19, 2012

RBI's Cruel Intentions

Take a look at the images of the two coins on the left. These were reportedly issued during the rule of the criminal East India Company. Surprising! Considering the British had only two motives; loot India and spread Christianity. If you have these coins, treasure them. You are unlikely to see Hindu figures Vishnu, Lakshmi or the young Krishna on coins ever again.  Oh, don’t forget to look at the third image of a currency note. It has an image of a famous Hindu temple from Thanjavur (TN). You may never see such images on currency notes again either. Our secular govts have and are still working very hard to bury Hindu culture.

Since those days Mahatma Gandhi has silently smiled on all our currency notes. Not a bad idea. Post-independence MKG did want the Congress to be dismantled, so fair to say he was above petty politics. He was on our coins first and then is on our currency notes. Only the Queen of England compares with such a place on all the currency notes and coins of UK. 

Currency note with Thanjavur Temple
Then came times when we were proud of our agriculture and our farmers. Ears of corn or maize and the progressive farmer with his tractor adorned our coins and currency notes. While PM Shastri did say “Jai Jawan, Jai Kisan” I am not sure I have seen any symbol of our army or our soldiers on our coins or notes. I guess our soldiers have only one purpose mostly: Die! If they manage to survive a battle or war then most times life can get even more painful fighting for compensation and even normal pension. Never mind all that!

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has suddenly announced that ‘people from all walks of life’ want to see new figures on our currency notes. Umm… let’s see, they want figures like B.R. Ambedkar, Nehru, Indira Gandhi and Shivaji on our notes. Who are all these people from all walks? That’s a recent report in the EconomicTimes of June 17,2012. Alright, the demand for Ambedkar’s picture on currency notes is not new. It came from a relatively unknown NGO in 2010 as DNA reports.

The DNA report quotes: “Ambedkar was not only the leader of the downtrodden but was also the architect of modern India. And what better way to honour his contribution than to give him an esteemed place on the Indian currency,” said Saira Patel, general secretary of Mumbaikar Asanghatith Gharelu Kamgar Union, a NGO working with Dalits and Muslims in Andheri. Okay, Ambedkar has already been credited as “architect of the constitution” and slowly this has morphed into “architect of modern India” and in some poll by CNN-IBN he tops the votes as the ‘Greatest Indian’. Now, I can argue and debate all that but then I won’t be alive to write this post any further. So, let it be.

So we could say that NGO represents people from “all walks of life”, where Ambedkar is concerned, as RBI claims. I have no clue about the other “people from all walks of life” who want Shivaji, Nehru and IndiraG on our money. In the ET report RTI activist Manorajan Roy says: “Ironically , before the Mahatma , the Ashoka Pillar used to be the most dominant feature on our banknotes”. He tried to find out how and when the Mahatma took pride of place , but he drew a blank, with the RBI telling him there was no document that recorded the change . Silly Roy, how is he expecting the RBI to keep records of demands from “people from all walks of life”? That would be absurd, wouldn’t it?

In a time when the rupee is crashing, there’s economic sluggishness all around what inspires the RBI to think of images on our currency notes? I’m still wondering! 

Now, the images of all the coins and notes you saw were from prior to 2004. In case you forgot, 2004 is the year the Congress party came back to power under the UPA alliance. What have we had since then? Take a look at the images. The first one is that of the one rupee coin. And what does it have? That’s a cross from the Catholic Church, a religious symbol. Not bad, you could pay someone, drop it in a box at temples, mosques and churches and say “With blessings of the Lord”. Hmmm! After some protests by the so called Right wing communal fascists that symbol was scrapped. But that will remain in numismatic history forever. 

St. Alphonsa
Next, in 2009 we had the image of St.Alphonsa, the first of Indian to be canonized by the Catholic Church. I would say an honour that is fair. Still, a religious figure. I’m not sure millions of Indians even remotely know who St.Alphonsa is but it’s always nice to educate our unwashed masses on glorious religious figures under our ‘secular’ constitution. Oh, it doesn’t end there. Before that, we had the new 10 rupee coin where the Cross surfaced. I believe that is still in currency. What can I say! I am only reminded of Warden Norton from ‘The Shawshank Redemption’ telling illiterate Indians – “ I believe in two things – discipline and the Bible. Put your faith in the Lord, your Ass belongs to me”.

So what’s with RBI’s new intentions of Shivaji, Ambedkar, Nehru and IndiraG? First, the 2014 elections aren’t too far away. Shivaji won’t campaign and is universally respected in India, maybe more so in some places so I don’t think he’s gonna win too many votes. But hey, I am not sure about Ambedkar, Nehru and IndiraG. Our political parties have made these illustrious figures their political icons to divide the nation. There is no end to the number of streets, monuments, memorials, universities, airports and chawls named after these figures. Nehru and IndiraG, in particular, cannot be missed in India no matter where you go. Even buses in cities are under some JNURM scheme. The Congress would love to have them on our currency notes and coins. And there is Ambedkar. His legacy has largely been consumed by the BSP and to some extent the Congress. The election campaign can count his image on the currency notes as an important contribution and uplift of the lives of Dalits. Bingo!

In reality both Nehru and IndiraG are politically divisive figures, unlike MKG. Their contributions to India are doubtless. But there are certain issues that cannot be wished or wiped away. Nehru’s foreign and domestic policies and vision are mostly ground to dust. The taint of Emergency is a serious blot on the legacy of IndiraG. But symbols and symbolism are important, especially when elections are looming. Nominate Sachin Tendulkar to the RS, make him call on SoniaG, give him a house next to RahulG (which bombed, of course). Invite actor Aamir Khan, the new-born social reformer, to address parliament or give them suggestions. And put political figures used in election campaigns and to divide people on caste and religion on our currency notes.

Now, if MKG were alive he would ask RBI to burn all the notes bearing his image and put the farmer on the notes. Ummm… with a minor difference though! You see, our farmers are now known for the troubles they face and the exploitation at the hands of land grabbers and other politicians. Debts, suicides, lack of irrigation, droughts, poverty – you name it and you’ll find it in most farmer households. So I believe a pic, like the one I’ve put up, would truly be a symbol of this day and age in India. And what’s more? Each time you spend money it would remind you of the hapless farmer and his dire straits. I strongly recommend RBI use that image on our notes.

The other group that Shastriji ‘Jai’d’ has been  a long suffering one without proper due even in death or in serious injury. Politicians hardly inspire pride anymore. Nothing would do the nation proud in seeing a tribute being paid to the Amar Jawan in our currency notes. Neither the Kisan nor our soldiers are divisive forces. In fact they tend to unite people regardless of all their political and religious beliefs. We don’t need any more politicians on our currency notes. Figures that instil national pride would help.

But knowing how well many institutions have been destroyed under the current UPA govt. the RBI’s cruel intentions of politicising our currency may still succeed. This must be stopped. Of course, you have seen strong protests by our mainstream media against the designs of RBI, haven’t you? And you’ve seen all the TV news channels screaming against them, haven’t you? The only thing RBI hasn’t yet managed to say on our currency notes is “Vote for….”.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Watergate - 40th Anniversary: Lessons For India

This day marks the 40th anniversary when the first story of the burglary at the Watergate building broke. I believe the story has a lot of relevance to the current Indian political and media scenario more than ever before. The story had started as an unusual case of burglary and bugging and the rest, as they say, is history. This was the first report that appeared in the Washington Post then:

By Alfred E. Lewis
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, June 18, 1972

Five men, one of whom said he is a former employee of the Central Intelligence Agency, were arrested at 2:30 a.m. yesterday in what authorities described as an elaborate plot to bug the offices of the Democratic National Committee here. Three of the men were native-born Cubans and another was said to have trained Cuban exiles for guerrilla activity after the 1961 Bay of Pigs invasion. They were surprised at gunpoint by three plain-clothes officers of the metropolitan police department in a sixth floor office at the plush Watergate, 2600 Virginia Ave., NW, where the Democratic National Committee occupies the entire floor. There was no immediate explanation as to why the five suspects would want to bug the Democratic National Committee offices or whether or not they were working for any other individuals or organizations… (Read the full report)

Bernstein & Woodward during the Watergate scandal
It was because the burglary and the story seemed so ordinary that Bob Woodward, who was almost a rookie, was assigned to the case. Carl Bernstein was assigned to the story only later when it got bigger and together they combined to build what will forever remain one of the finest pieces of investigative journalism ever. The journey took them to hundreds of leads and people with the story often going cold and reaching dead ends. Their persistence did finally pay off. Their reports and other related incidents led to the only President of the USA ever resigning from office. As the story unravelled it became clear that Watergate was only a cover up. Ever since any major and minor scam and scandal has been suffixed with ‘gate’.

The real story was the massive spying, covert operations, destroying opponents, destroying evidence, misuse of election funds, slush money, misuse of FBI and misuse of CIA operatives. Even little Don Segretti famously coined the term ‘Rat F**king’ for the operation to malign and defame political opponents. Richard Nixon started the practice of recording conversations in the White House as a spying and blackmailing tool. In the end those very tapes ended his presidency. 18 minutes of those tapes were erased and could well hold the secrets to the greatest presidential crime ever.

In all 69 govt officials were charged and 48 found guilty and sentenced. Among the biggies were John Mitchell (Attorney General), Richard Kleindiest (Attorney General), H.R. Haldeman (Chief of staff for Nixon), John Erlichman (Counsel to Nixon), John Dean (Counsel to Nixon) and yes even Don Segretti went to prison. Secret informer Mark Felt, the late former Deputy Director of FBI, popular as ‘Deep Throat’ would reveal his identity only 33 years after the scandal.

So why is the story important to India? In the last many years many of our institutions and govt officials have been compromised and misused by the govt. It is quite Nixonesque in proportions. CBI, ED, IT, IB all of them seem to have become a mere tool for spying, defaming, framing false cases and in some cases even deaths under custody in the hands of the govt. Not even the judiciary has been spared. There have been cases where judges have been easily bribed to grant bail. There is the case of a High Court judge resigning under threat of impeachment. It may be shocking but none less than the former Home Secretary, G.K. Pillai, has admitted that IB is used for political spying (Read the story). Nobody in the media has even bothered to explain the recent fire in the Finance Ministry, what was the cause and what was destroyed.

There is just one tiny difference. Woodward, Bernstein and the Washington Post stood up to the threats from the govt and the White House. Deep Throat even told them: “Your lives are in danger”. In the current Indian scenario, our news media instead of exposing the govt’s misdeeds and hauling them over the coals have more or less become their doormats. In particular, media celebs on TV and print do the “Rat F**king” for the govt more than political operatives. Hit jobs, fake stories, character assassinations, paid news, outright lies, lobbying and the engaging of spurious NGOs and activists in their endeavour is what our news media is pretty much engaged in. Anyone in opposition to the govt has been fair game with even stories of imaginary coups. Journalists have been found brokering ministerships and have even indicated judges can be bought. Anyone fighting corruption or black money has been tarred with generous splashes of paints of taint. All to protect the most corrupt govt. India has ever seen.

In response to the frequent allegations in Watergate, Nixon once famously said "I am not a crook". In comparison to the misdeeds of our govt it does seem that he was far less a crook. They have not only corrupted various institutions but indulged in the biggest loot of the nation ever seen in a democracy and the daylight plundering of our natural resources. Andhra Pradesh is a great example of how our media turned a blind eye to the extremely corrupt YSR govt. YSR's son is now paying the price since he is no longer with the ruling party, not that he deserves any sympathy. So far, it has been the CAG and the SC that have been exposing the misdeeds of the govt. One can only hope they stay that way.  

It will take nothing short of a mini revolution to cleanse our corrupt media. At the risk of sounding repetitive and boring I can only reiterate that our corrupt media is the greatest danger to our democracy.