• Narendra Modi’s psyche of overreach

    India’s intrusion into Pakistan’s Balakote enclave and China’s Doklam bulge will go down the annals of history as fiascos that cumulatively brought down the stature of India from a near global power to a sub-state pygmy. India’s foreign policy and electoral campaigning is pegged around arousing and cashing anti-Pakistan and anti-China sentiment. It is a bipartisan malice but is far more pronounced in case of BJP. Probably Congress has been duly humbled by the outcomes of Indo-China war of 1962 and India-Pakistan war of 1965. BJP is still on learning curve. Each of these fiascos was Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s equivalent of Napoleon’s Waterloo. War hysteria is now visibly on down slide. Respective High Commissioners are returning to New Delhi and Islamabad after ‘consultation’. Resumption of international train— Samjhota Express— and barter trade alongside forward movement on Kartarpur Corridor initiative and continuation of weekly communication at Military Operations Directorate level are the steps indicating de-escalation. As of now, Pakistan-India relationship is erratic; it needs an urgent and bold course correction. It needs to be managed in a professional way, circumventing the emotive pitfalls and historic baggage. Relationship is rather complex, and while suggesting a way forward there is always a risk of either over-simplification or overstatement. Overall, there is a need to enhance the crisis management capacity at bilateral level, focused on how can dialogue be made the sole and continuous method and how can its derailment by single, unexpected event, be avoided. A task easier said than done! Prime Minster Narendra Modi is poised to commit more follies to mitigate the impact of earlier stupidities hoping that same thing done over and over again may someday produce a different result. So let’s keep our fingers crossed at least till Indian general elections.

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    Modi! Still Itchy?

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  • Glorifying Self: Maintaining status Quo

    Gimmicks are a part of Modi style of politics. Rather they form the core of his strategies. His act of washing the feet of five sanitary workers and then tweeting it came as another of such acts. Irritated by his act many a social activists responded through tweets. Bezwada Wilson, our most dogged fighter against manual scavenging, who is convener of Safai Kamgar Sangthan, tweeted “105 people killed in sewer and septic tanks in 2018 alone. He kept mum.The deeper goal of RSS, Modi’s parent organization is to maintain the status quo as far as caste system is concerned. One of the major reasons for formation of RSS was rising assertion of dalits, inspired by Joti Rao Phule and Bhimrao Ambedkar. Dalits had started non Brahman movement in 1920s in Vidarbha region. This upsurge among dalits disturbed the upper caste; who rallied around to form RSS in 1925. RSS ideologue Golwalkar regards Manusmriti as glorious book which gave the laws to Hindu society, the laws which gives values for all the times to come. Ambedkar on other side went on to burn the same book as a symbol of opposition to caste and gender hierarchy. The system of manual scavenging began in early India, well justified by caste system and continued in medieval times as well. While the Muslim kings did introduce different techniques at places for water based disposal of excreta. As such the communal politics, as is its wont, is trying to propagate that since the Muslims used Burqua, women could not go out to jungles, they introduced manual scavenging. This is another way of putting the blame of internal problems to external source. This is far from true. Observation and research into the Mughal forts’ sanitation system shows that they had small outlets in the bathing rooms of Mughal forts which were used as toilets. The waste from these toilets was carried by gravitational force to the ramparts with the help of water. This technique has been seen in the Red Fort in Delhi, in the palaces of Rajasthan, in Hampi, Karnataka and in Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala.

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