Bengal – Communists, Mamata Banerjee and the Hills

“I did not have any talks with them (GJM). They announced this unilaterally. They are with BJP and this seems to be a game planted by CPI(M)”

– Mamata Banerjee

“We have been saying from the very beginning that Trinamool and Congress are trying to divide Bengal by joining hands with forces like the GJM. Thursday’s development just corroborates our claim. The opposition alliance will have to give explanation to the people of Bengal for such a treacherous stand.”

– CPM committee member

“That stand (to supports parties who stand by the cause of Gorkhaland) remains unchanged, but under the present circumstances, ousting the Left Front is more important.”

– Senior GJM leader

If the above statements have knotted your brainwaves only to infer another set of loony culpability drama of the Bengal politics, then you are absolutely correct. However, this was an opportunistic incrimination and most of the rationales sited are partly or wholly fictitious with the core ingredient posing to be a fulcrum for the future of political and administrative stance in West Bengal.

As good as the blame-game looks, the scenario, conversely, doesn’t satisfy the detailing offered to the naked eye. The GJM, in contrast, is true to their version of the story this time and not fishing about flipping sides, grabbing incentives from the best of both worlds in this period of utmost desperation offered by the much anticipated state assembly elections. Evidently, it negates the self-righteous statement of Ms Banerjee and leaves a question mark to the ‘conspiracy theory’ of the CPI(M).

Despite thorough BJP support  (BJP’s minority appeasement policy) – the BJP-GJM alliance has come to an abrupt halt courtesy this out-of-the-blue declaration by Bimal Gurung and Roshan Giri. The BJP has reasons to be annoyed. Take this for instance. They left four seats – including Darjeeling, Kurseong and Kalimpong – to GJM in return for support of six seats in the plains. State BJP president Rahul Sinha said, ‘GJM’s decision is unfortunate. We have informed the party’s central leadership.’

If I remember correctly, then the Gorkha Janamukti Morcha, in 2009, extended reasonable support to the Congress candidate in the Darjeeling Lok Sabha assembly. So there’s hardly any question of shifting loyalties here. Albeit, the focus of the issue is that – why this constant maintenance of devotion to the Congress regardless TMC’s staunch anti-Gorkhaland stand. The answer is easy. Like the CPI-M and TMC, the GJM is itself not so fond of the idea of the occurrence of a Gorkhaland. It thrives on conflicting notions and wants to tread that way for until absolute political dominion. The CPI-M is against the idea of not having a stronghold in GJM’s territory, regulating from the Centre. That, obviously, doesn’t go in sync with the political ambitions of the GJM and hence the support for TMC, who, unlike the CPI-M, prefers to leave the hills alone and operate from the plains.

The GJM pronouncement has unnerved the Left parties which fear the GJM’s support to candidates of Trinamool Congress -Congress alliance will lead to division of votes in at least 12 seats creating troubles in the way of its candidates winning from there. Hence, the CPI-M swiftly seized on GJM’s statement of support to Trinamool Congress and Congress and dubbed it an alliance of ‘separatist forces’, in an attempt to bruise TMC’s or rather Mamata Banerjee’s image.

Written for The Broadmind

The Social Set Theory

The genesis

Casteism in India segregated the society into ghettos of isolation and exclusiveness, sealing humanity into insulated social divisions. Whereas the dying effects of caste identities are noted by theorists – but given the vociferousness with which casteism is often proclaimed, from political manifestoes to matrimonial columns, it gives rise to the illusion that the ancient caste system is still kicking away.

The caste system in its traditional form meant a functioning vertical hierarchy. According to the norms of this hierarchy, castes lower in status were routinely expected to work for those above them. It is not as if the subaltern castes endorsed the disprivilege and participated willingly in their own exploitation. If the caste system worked, it was mainly because the superiors used coercion quite freely and ruthlessly against the poorer castes. The caste system was ultimately enforced by power and not ideological acquiescence.

In modern India, these then oppressed castes are tagged ‘backward’ only on the basis of their formal educational qualifications, which are generally lower than those of the urban middle class. But we must note that they are numerically not insignificant and economically well-endowed by rural standards. One of the main reasons why political parties indulge in its own breed of backward caste politics.

Corruption in the Indian statehood is directly proportional to the number of policy mishaps and constitutional loopholes. Following the wave, both the administration and the subject in concern turn opportunist and rob instances of mutual discrepancies for individual kinship. And in this case, to smoothen the lower rungs of the society with reference to the higher stratus, a number of derivatives were procured which were less accommodating and more of a tool for repeated both-sided speculation. The cycle brimmed over and now the utopian ‘struggle for equality in India’ is more of a billboard art for the local Communist parties, than a theory under practice.

Samples of modern day discrimination

Even those who know very little about the Naxalite movement know that its central slogan has been ‘land to the tiller’ and that attempts to put the poor in possession of land have defined much of their activity.

Insecurity and exploitation of tenants is a widespread phenomenon, hence tenancy reforms of various kinds have been attempted right from the time of independence. While some States have banned tenancy altogether, some have provided statutory security against eviction, including preferential right of the tenant to purchase the land if the landlord wants to sell it. But instead of improving the lot of tenants, these reforms have only driven tenancy underground.

Indebtedness, also, is one of the chief causes of land alienation and forced labour. Indebtedness among STs (Scheduled Tribes) is particularly widespread on account of food insecurity, no availability of production and consumption credit through public institutions and corruption in the public lending agencies.

Prominent dodges

The enforcement of labour laws has always been tardy after the on-set of economic reforms. It is a matter of common knowledge that officers of the labour departments have unwritten instructions, since the 1990s, not to come in the way of profitable enterprise by insisting ‘too much’ on compliance with labour welfare laws.

The rudderless implementation of the PESA act, albeit partial and perfunctory, faces the first estoppel at the level of defining the ‘village’ that comprises the community, and ‘competence’ of Gram Sabha to manage the affairs of the community in terms of its customs and traditions. Once these ‘features’ are incorporated in the legal frame, the paradigm of administration at the village level would undergo a total transformation, with community at its centre and in a commanding position.

It should be recognized that there are different kinds of movements, and that calling and treating them generally as unrest, a disruption of law and order, is little more than a rationale for suppressing them by force. It is necessary to contextualize the tensions in terms of social, economic and political background and bring back on the agenda the issues of the people – the right to livelihood, the right to life and a dignified and honourable existence.

The determinant

The virus of casteist polarity is being injected with great vengeance even without the supposed ‘help’ of the constitutional and administrative injunctions. Caste awareness has been a notable and deciding factor for many underplayed election victories. Every election accelerates the tempo of the working caste consciousness. Increasing involvement in the political process seems to aggravate caste identification – thereby transforming caste into the dominant entity of partisan politics. In spite of repeated moral embargos, both in theory and practice, the social structure is dark and dismal. Conceptualizing mythical pathos for the mistaken modernities of the statehood is the worst that could happen, and that has taken place already.

Written for The Broadmind

Falsities of the Gorkhaland

“The Kalimpong DFO bungalow was where my father grew up when my grandfather was the DFO. I was pretty sad when my dad called me up the other day and said that it had been burned down by the mob. He was visibly distressed,” said my friend Jyotishka Ray, in a recent tête-à-tête.

GJM scorches Darjeeling down.

 

Between February 8 and 9, Gorkha Janamukti Morcha (GJM) supporters set fire to, and damaged, as many as 62 establishments and assets of the state government, causing losses that exceeds INR 50 crore, according to an assessment by the Darjeeling District Magistrate. Health Centres, motor vehicles, the SDO’s office, municipality blocks, eco-tourism resorts – nothing was spared. Yet, Roshan Giri, general secretary of GJM, put forward this press statement, “No, we have not started the violence. We are not indulging in violence. We are conducting our movement in a Gandhian way. Ours is a peaceful movement.” Quite offensive that poor Bapuji has to go through all the torment for that one innocent attempt at serenity.

Picture courtesy NDTV

 

When asked about coordination between the GJM and the state government to settle the issue, Giri replied, “We are for a political solution through talks, but the talks should revolve around Gorkhaland only.” Peek in a little deep, the word ‘political’ rings a bell. The ambition does not revolve only and only around the demand of Gorkhaland. It goes a step further and bats for the powerful authority of GJM in and around the demarcation of the hills of Darjeeling and an extension more.

Picture courtesy NDTV

 

The very formation of the GJM is a recent (2008) phenomenon with interests strictly based on the political sovereignty in Gorkhaland. Bimal Gurung, once the trusted aide of Subhash Ghising (chairman, DGHC), decided to break away from his wings and bank on Prashant Tamang’s (of Indian Idol fame) sway in the hills to overthrow Ghising from power and form GJM. Smart strategy, that. But as time passed by, the valid cause became an outright capitalist theory to usurp governing supremacy – with a little support from the BJP (in 2009), who pounces on issues at the most incorrect timings only to make it worse. But of course, that was an election strategy by the BJP to win over the minorities, which later was gleefully metabolised and excreted.

Sympathy oozes for the Gorkhas, who are putting their blind faith (and some kerosene buckets and matches) on whoever is showing them the dream of a separate state. But, sadness substitutes, when TMC bright minds like Partha Chatterjee call the violence in Darjeeling a ‘conspiracy’ of CM Bhattacharya to delay the polls. Had it been the 18th century, the Chogyals of Sikkim could have mummified him for us to see at the museum in Gangtok.

Written for The Broadmind

The Boredom(Political) Rant

Me and my car could have bagged rheumatism sitting still for three hours straight, waiting for the deities of West Bengal to lift the road block up. There is a fraudulent governing body reigning for three gaudy decades, and then there is an opposition who finds every solution (or at least pretends to) by stagnating stately developments and hullabalooing at the city’s heart. From fixating the roadside adda (chat) over chaa (tea) to regulating the course of midday traffic, TMC and CPI(M) do it all. When it comes to regular harassment and inconvenience, these two parties, however opposite in polarity, are popular soul mates.  And that’s just not me saying. After a considerable chat with the traffic guard at the Moulali crossing (in central Kolkata) he too seemed pretty cross at the galore of rallies and strikes. Jokingly said, “Kashmir mein baraf girta hai, yahan pe chakka jam hota hai.”(Like it snows in Kashmir, the wheels lie dead in West Bengal).

Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee’s CPM and Mamata Banerjee’s Trinamul know jolly well how to talk on the same topic in different harmonics and lay the blame for a crisis at each other’s door. Citu blamed Trinamul — part of the UPA government at the Centre — for the high food inflation that touched 16.91 last week as well as the petrol price hike. Trinamul paid back in the same coin, blaming the CPM’s failure to crack down on hoarding for the price rise. The epitome of naïveté and lack of common sense speaks bulks about the past, present and future of the state’s political standpoint.

Singur and Nandigram were relevant issues with a fringe more humanitarian interest than political. Though they turned out to be major milestones for Mamata Banerjee’s career, protests against them, in any form, would be justified with fluidity. But then again not every concern is Champaran scale and not everyone has the righteousness of the Mahatma. Satyagraha was a form of revolt at a time when our nativeness was perplexed, and a contoured attitude of mind was necessary. Clearly contemporary India isn’t directionless or opposition deprived to battle it out at the parliament. And oh yes, it has an indigenous parliamentary body, a judicial corpus and cabinet ministers peeking an assortment of departments. Before even the subject in concern reaches the Centre from the State, much uproar, boycotts, strikes and bus scorchings would have already taken place.

Saturation, super-saturation (yes, terms of chemistry which also shine on such occasions) don’t affect the nincompoops’ dictionary. They rant and thwart civility until the cloud nine ambitions are ‘granted’. Economics, demographics, domestic security apprehensions hold no worth at all. ‘Political-mendicancy’ is a term used when the Queen used to rule our country. Time it is replaced with ‘political-callousness’ or better just a descriptive ‘apathetic’.

Written for The Broadmind

A fighter’s fight and a few more clauses

The scenes were surreal. The spirit indomitable. Fire streamed through the streets of Egypt as the world watched the war cry for coup d’état. President Hosni Mubarak’s army stood by tanks covered with anti-Mubarak graffiti – ‘Down with Mubarak. Down with the despot. Down with the traitor. Pharaoh out of Egypt.’ When asked how they could let the protestors scribble anti-regime slogans on their tanks, a soldier genially replied – ‘These are written by the people. These are the views of the people.’

The US is watching from a distance. Not meddling too much, lest it ends up being considered accountable for the widespread authoritarianism in Islamic statehoods. Egypt was the first Arab country to join a peace treaty with Israel – the 1979 pact brokered by the Carter administration – and thus an important ally of the US. Also worth attention is Egypt’s military forces, the 10th-largest army in the world – and that Egypt has been the site for Operation Bright Star, the multinational exercises intended to boost the readiness of U.S., Egyptian and coalition forces. Egypt, as well, controls the Suez Canal, through which significant oil shipments are carried from the Red Sea to the Mediterranean, passing to Europe and eventually the U.S. $ 1.3 billion per year military fund, thereafter, at stake.

The US’s sudden stride towards supporting the Egyptian masses for their valour and criticizing Mubarak for the way, in which he responded to the demonstrations, is slightly paradoxical considering Egypt’s keyrole in its Middle East foreign policy. However the US’s ease and fluidity can be explained in simpler, deduced terms; for, even if Mubarak were to leave, those who replaced him could maintain Egypt’s long drawn transactions. Cairo wouldn’t like to shut down $ 1 billion annual aid money and hence, whoever bags the chair, would effortlessly say aye to Egypt’s peace treaty with Israel, confirming stability in the Middle East.

There possibly can’t be too many hassles for the United States to counter except that the prospect of a new regime in Egypt is more likely to peek upon the demographic interest and turn less sympathetic to the post cold war triangulation of the 1980s that enabled Mubarak to stay in power so long. Thereafter, the Palestinian Authority cannot see the situation in Egypt as a green light for negotiations. The gap between what Palestinian leaders said in the negotiation room and their public statements was well exposed in the documents leaked to Al Jazeera.

Yet, amid so much calculation, so many graphic schemes, multi-billion dollar treaties, and brainstorming by popular analysts – there’s the fortitude of the Egyptians which has kept the hope-flag flying; the yearn for liberty alive; the magnitude of justice soaring. The world around willingly gave up their nights’ sleep to stand testimony to the audacity of the brave, brave Egyptians. American fighter planes were buzzing up and around the Tahrir Square, yet more than 2 million roared against the oppressive Mubarak commandment. The National Museum in Cairo, the pride and heart of the city, a national treasure, though not fully intact, was protected by an adamant human shield. The thrombosis called Hosni Mubarak’s Power, is being countered by the unbreakable backbone of the masses, the dauntless stand of his own bulk of recruited security forces and the curse of the Pharaohs.

Written for IBNLive

Hu’s Gates-way?

The United States has been intimidated, embarrassed and bruised. All that in one single go. Ask Defence Secretary Robert M. Gates, if you may. Or perhaps Hu Jintao, who had an unbelievable tongue-in-cheek moment in communist China.

Gates repeatedly enquires about the unreported first flight test of the country’s new fighter jet, and a room full of bureaucrats maintain pin-drop silence. Mortified ‘American’ responds later, “I’ve had concerns about this over time and frankly it’s one of the reasons I attach importance to a dialogue between the two sides that includes both civilians and militaries.”

When almost half the world knew about the official J-20 flight testing courtesy popular portals and military analysts, the US experts’ posed to be nonchalantly clueless. ‘Civilian’ Hu Jintao asserting no knowledge whatsoever about this certified act, despite his chairmanship at the country’s Central Military Commission, is undeniably fascinating but not too compound to deduce. Deduction, in my more than just humble opinion, is as follows – Whatever we do in our own soil and with our own money is none of your profiled business. We will show you how obliging we are, but only in pen and paper. Take it or leave it, doesn’t matter much. Also, satire is not exactly our forte, but we don’t tread back to showcase our talent by a stab or two behind your democratic back. So, there.

Furthermore, the Obama exuberance gave away its insecurity issues by inviting ex-secretary of state Henry Kissinger to the State dinner. Yes, the man who led normalization of US ties with China way back in 1971 with Zhou Enlai and the cult, indomitable extremist Mao Zedong.

As the Chinese media reports correctly, this US-China meet is like ‘two elephants in a zoo’, a ‘frenemied outcome’. Communist mouthpiece People’s Daily-China tags the slight tinge of coalescence as a’ geopolitical miracle’, despite it being more of a transaction of sheer indifference and elastic suspicion, and quite understandably so.

Promises galore are not surprising either, or so says Washington director for Human Rights Watch Tom Malinowski. “So far, it’s just rhetoric,” he noted. “I don’t expect the Chinese government to make serious changes in its human rights practices… It’s a long-term effort.”

“President Hu has tried and failed to convince the world that China is open and democratic,” said Stefanie Rogers, operations manager for Students for a Free Tibet.

China’s emphatic venture to maintain double standards is going null at some fronts. Maybe it isn’t trying too hard or doesn’t feel the need to. The inference can be ruled by prejudiced arguments between the two options as long as the conclusion remains the same. World prowess, no matter what.

The Sinos are a tough hand to play with. Deal with them at your own peril. Sand promises and a non-cooperative temperament are the last things a country would look for in an alliance roster. Like their laws, neither do they make amendments nor do they confront civilization. Menace can be influential, and China clearly has proportioned its growth with monopoly, silence, unpredictability and applied hyponymy.

Written for IBNLive

About time politicians schooled themselves

The Devil’s Dictionary is a satirical reference book written by Ambrose Bierce. The book offers reinterpretations of terms in English language, lampooning cant and political doublespeak. Stopped at the word ‘responsibility'(for the sheer pragmatism invoked in it) – “A detachabale burden easily shifted to the shoulders of God, Fate, Fortune, Luck or one’s neighbor. In the days of astrology it was customary to unload it upon a star.”

Thinking on similar obverse, it appeared that ‘accountability’ is the nearest cousin to ‘responsibility’ – gurgling up a motion of “I don’t know” or “I have nothing to do with this” – it is just another expression of eschew.

This phenomenon of avoidance and refusal to liability reflexes is widely observed among the hounds of power and the substrates of the same. Politicos and the pseudo ultraists, to be precise. With a Caspian Sea of “Trust me. I will set things right” to leaping under the hedge after the roughhouse of the billet is not out of the trodden path.

Some tutoring is needed before they beat the trumpet of their party ethos; twirl that coffined founder’s quotes only to suit their respective objectives.

* * *

CPI(M) general secretary Prakash Karat will be schooling his not-so-young students five days a week with strict vigilance. No, they aren’t allowed to rant like his superior self. Not allowed to behave like they do in the Parliament. Hundred-percent attendance is mandatory. Sick leaves are out of the question. Curriculum — history, science, philosophy, economics and ideology. Frankly speaking, a very positive step towards the rectification of shortcomings within Kerala and elsewhere.

Now, if only other Indian political parties were thoughtful enough to impart some sense of education in a not-so-sensible political dais, then parliamentary logjams costing crores of forfeiture wouldn’t have taken shape at all. Also, the selection criterion is an absolute failure when it comes to the Indian state of political affairs. Refinement in selecting politicians to hold offices follows the process of majoritarian populism and not the one extraordinaire, invoking competition within the forerunners. A sense of contest produces better governance.

But in our national case, the thorough deficit of proper contestants mars the idea of yielding under pressure. This is, of course, directly proportional to the qualitativeness of the ones willing to take the lead or already with the bridle reins. While outside India (barring a few special cases), parties are more likely to choose qualified candidates rather than loyalists to run in contestable districts, therefore putting better politicians in office, it is a rather reverse process in India where jingoism is more important than insight, and the ones who are secular and circumspective are passed off as ‘sickular’ and ‘pseudo elites’.

There are measures which should have been considered long and ago. Nonetheless, better late (very) than never. Hence, what needs to be put forward and in practice are –

i) Transparency in the electoral process.

ii) Encouraging debates to facilitate election campaigns.

iii) Decisive factors for ticket allotment should consider bullet points like criminal record, basic education, on-field experience, etc.

iv) Lineage shouldn’t be influential to be voted to the office.

To paraphrase Oscar Wilde: “India is the only country that went from barbarism to decadence without civilization in between.” The civilization cycle was substituted by reformation, wound treatments and blocks of concrete foundation for a future unthreatened by security issues. We Indians are so bemused and appreciative of the Pacific power status that hardly do we check the alleys of our domestic system going to ashes. Our bewilderment towards the abrupt gain of amateur global recognition has blinded us to unfathomable depths.

Written for IBNLive

Of the Concentric called Scam

One scam after another. So many, that we tend to miss it when a day passes by without popular media coverage of corruptives. Fellow tweeter Rohit Pradhan (@Retributions) jokingly tweeted yesterday – “As an Indian it hurts my pride and self-esteem that no scam features my name. Can we all collectively do a twitter scam?”

I wonder whether our country’s public is becoming immune to corruption and lack of probity in public life. The dangers are there for all of us to see. The London ‘Economist’ observed many years ago that Emperor Akbar would’ve been very happy to see the current state of affairs in India (21st Century) as we are following the Mughal system of administration – everything is forbidden unless it has a permit leaflet attached to it; pay the price of bribery and get anything done.

The ringlet of Indian administrative functionaries is multidimensional. The problem of having so many factors affecting the assessment of governance is that sometimes and somewhere we miss out on qualitative approach as a working body. Practicality is to have minimum number of parameters to ease out the process of measuring the pros and cons of monopolized authority.

The general complaint about our bureaucracy today is that there are enormous delays and lack of proficient handling. Directly consequential of rusted laws which clutter the civil order, mainly. The reason for such disorganization is that there are a plethora of rules and regulations crowding the system. Our provisions are like cancer cells. They do not know when to die. As a result, obsolete rules and procedures congest the supervisory environment. The greater the number of laws, greater is the scope for red tape. Greater the scope for red tape, greater is the temptation for corruption. So it will be better if the lawmakers can have a look at the existing laws in the statue book and mark out how many of them can be done away with.

Effective opposition automatically checks corruption in the prevalent system and vice versa. To be matter-of-fact, opposition is more difficult than government. The easiest thing is just to oppose and whine without advancing any positive position. Necessity requirements are to put forward swift alternatives to back up the idiom of ‘rant’, show guts enough to stand up against domestic putrescence and avoid coalition on issues of systemic sleaze.

The foremost attempts to thin out corruption should be mechanization of accountability (repetitive, but holds stand), formulation of citizen-friendly jurisdiction and making justice speedier and inexpensive. With policies, which can sometimes be saving graces, it is found that (a) they are not implemented at all, and (b) even if they are implemented, they have counterproductive results. Take for example pro-poor policies announced every year by the prime minister. Neither do they yield expected impacts nor do they drift economic reforms. All in all, just a customary show of concern from the government in-charge.

The negative aspects of corruption are well-known. Maybe not well realized. It is anti everything progressive and pro every self cocooning structure. From caste discrimination forming political basis to legalization of judicially uncontrollable subjects, all are concrete evidences of the country’s belittled status. Authorities are unperturbed; country’s mass having their sensors blocked. Ignorance is one thing, and avoidance quite another.

Written for IBNLive

Multiculturalism equals Civilisation, Merkel

German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s statement, claiming the failure of multiculturalism in Germany has ignited concerns from the world over. Crux of the argument being – with seven million foreign residents living in the country and around three-thousand mosques standing tall, how can Merkel’s claims be so overtly self-righteous. Addressing fears of ‘German-ness’ being lost amid new mosques, headscarves in classrooms and Turkish ghettos in cities like Berlin, she added: ‘We feel bound to the Christian image of humanity – that is what defines us. Those who do not accept this are in the wrong place here.’

Constitutionally, Mrs. Merkel has been counteractive to her own state-laws. To highlight clauses 1 and 3 of Article-3 of the German Basic Rights, respectively – (1) All persons are equal before the law. (3) No one may be prejudiced or favored because of his sex, his parentage, his race, his language, his homeland and origin, his faith or his religious or political opinions. Forfeiture of the German Basic Rights cause cumbersome consequences. Hence Merkel could be tried at the federal constitutional court if some bright mind plans to be a pain and reports of her legislative thwart. But since her authority is strong and opponents are representatives of the minority factions, it is unlikely to take place, if not an impossibility.

Most organized political communities throughout recorded history have been multi-ethnic, a testament to the ubiquity of both conquest and long distance trade in human affairs. Thus, as far as Merkel’s statement in concerned – Germany cannot and must not have the benefit of parasitic existence. If the country is not to have shanty Turkish alleys, then the German president is also not ethically permitted to establish social and economic ties with Turkey (as it has been reportedly been doing). The world thrives on symbiosis and mutualism. Creating a complete isolation to this process has its set of downbeats too.

The history of ignoring national minorities in the New World is inextricably tied with European beliefs about the inferiority of the indigenous people who occupied the land before the European settlement. Until recently, they were viewed as wards or subject races, lacking political development to qualify as nations, incapable of self government and needing the guardianship of their ‘white superiors’. To site Germany’s history in view of Angela Merkel’s remark, Nazi Germany justified its invasion of Poland and Czechoslovakia on the grounds that these countries were violating the treaty rights of ethnic Germans on their soil. Therefore, the possibility of an annexationist background to the controversial comment is very much valid.

Such decent-based approaches to national membership as that of Mrs. Merkel’s, has obvious racist overtones, and is manifestly unjust. What distinguishes ‘civic’ nations from the ‘ethnic’ ones is not the absence of any cultural component to national identity, but rather the fact that anyone can integrate into the common culture, regardless of race and colour. Immigration and incorporation of national minorities are the two most common sources of cultural diversity in modern states. And if modernity implies to ‘civilization’, then factors like ‘polyethnicity’ and ‘multiculturalism’ should have no separate niche.

 

Peaceful coexistence is a joint venture. While the rule book of a nation should speak verses of tolerance, the multicultural minorities synchronously should reciprocate with the endeavour to learn the language and history of the residential society and participate in its social and political institutions.

 

In all liberal democracies, one of the major mechanisms for accommodating cultural differences has been the protection of civil and political rights of individuals. And I sincerely hope that Merkel’s statement calls for rigidity in the penalty for every law being truncated, not the contrary.

Written for IBNlive

Transacted transactions: The Indo-US joint

Remember the team that accompanied George Bush Jr. on his visit to India in 2006? It was relatively different from the one Barack Obama has opted for, and quite understandably so. The focus during President Bush’s tenure was strictly on the civil nuclear agreement – no sidetrack transactions in play. But with Obama it has struck a new chord or so says the ever-sure news agencies.Out-of-the-blue the US is anticipated to be highly interested in the Indian business market and the thus adjunct of the American Commerce Council.

Tweeting on an analogous subject I questioned about the participation of ERMs (Electronic Resource Management) via authorized US corporations, if at all. To which my friend on twitter Anthony Mitchell (Masters of Public Policy from Rutgers University and currently working as an IT executive), shot enthused observations and segmented details. Furthermore, in an in depth conversation off the public forum, the hoaxed presence of the Indo-US trade relations was drafted in a new, pragmatic contour. The constrictions measured, the pathogens detected.

If there is such a thing called transactional partnership or trade alliance existent between India and the US, then it is evidentially marked by corruption, lack of direct communicatives, transparency, open markets and, economic inefficiencies. Anthony’s take, “Corruption has been a problem, aggravated by the influence that local consular staff can exercise with Indian regulatory agencies in slowing down or halting the efforts of US companies to obtain approval for large projects in India. Each consulate employs a handful of local staff to answer questions and conduct research. The local staff is assisted in some cases by consulate staff or contractors funded by other US agencies such as the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The fact that much of ‘Team America’ consists of contract staff and local hires with little US-based business experience (or loyalty to their stated mission) dilutes the effectiveness of US efforts to boost exports to India.” With loopholes right under the nose of administrative functionaries, it is difficult to assert the future of effective economic ties with the nations in concern.

China’s financial growth has depended very heavily on FDI. However, the downside of this is that such FDI has discouraged local entrepreneurship and innovation – in contrast to India. Also, India’s capital markets operate with more competence and lucidity than that of China’s. Its legal system, though not exactly flawless, is able enough to obstruct attributes derogatory to the country’s economic bloat – again unlike China. Posing as a competition to the immediate Pacific weight counts for bulks, but India has its set of drawbacks too.

According to Anthony, “India cannot meet its 21st century growth objectives with a 19thcentury educational system. (India mainly being an agro-based economy)The agricultural sector is too labor intensive and inefficient to serve India’s requirements for affordable food. Current policies do a good job of keeping huge numbers of people on the land, but in a subsistence capacity that will not be sustainable for more than a decade.”

In auxiliary, property rights are not fully secure in India. Protection of private ownership being one of the foremost conditions of corporate judiciary, this deficit is certainly a threat to the country’s fiscal status. Apart from providing the regulatory framework, the Indian government usually opts for a backseat to the private sector. Whereas comparative nations, by contrast, stand to be gatekeepers, tightly controlling capital allocation and severely restricting the ability of private companies to obtain stock market listings and access the money they need to grow.

Contextual realities demand that India should make a constructive reappraisal of its relations with the US. But the scenario might not be reflective with respect to the United States’ dome of concentration. In fact, it is only to keep India in favored give-and-take hands that the US has been keeping the lure of an exemplary trade partnership at bay.

Conducting business in India is more time consuming and therefore more costly than doing business in other countries. The longer the sales cycle, the higher the risk for participating sellers.The Centre has set price caps and artificially limited competition and transparency in key industries. This has left India critically short of electricity, telecommunications services, and affordable insurance. With serviceable bureaucratic sectors and time-efficient policies, these deficits are likely to be encapsulated to give way for a smooth, functional outlook.

Even though there is no indication that the United States is seeking a dominant role in India’s economy, it is in the interests of all parties to reduce economic ineptitude. A collaboration between two adept foundations can be mutually beneficial. Venturing into guaranteed symbiosis with the trivialities of undulated negatives, is not asking for much. The US can do away with its political snobbery and India, thrive on an avant-garde book of commerce for brighter prospects. Everybody wins. The end, is just another beginning.

Written for IBNlive