Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Who runs India?

(A view of the various economic and political activities reveals that it is the Brahmins and Banias who practically run and control India!)
Sometimes one wonders how such a large country is run and who really runs it? Arundhati Roy calls India, “An Upper Caste Hindu Corporate Republic”! One would have thought that she may have been saying this in anger but an examination of various economic and political organisations reveals that she is 100% right. This has been already done in detail by Aakar Patel. The live mint, an e-paper of the Hindustan Times group carries an article in its April 8, 2017 edition by Aakar Patel titled “When will the Brahmin-Bania hegemony end?” The article which was first published in 2009 gives a detailed picture of the people who are really running India. It would be interesting to quote the facts given by Aakar Patel. According to him, India is run by Brahmins and Banias only. Brahmins, Banias and Jains altogether constitute less than 6% of the population.
Aakar Patel states that at the time of independence, India was politically run by a Brahmin (Jawaharlal Nehru) whose mentor was a Bania (Mahatma Gandhi). The chief minister of Uttar Pradesh was a Brahmin (Pandit Govind Ballabh Pant), the first chief minister of Gujarat was a Bania (Jivraj Mehta). Madhya Pradesh was run by a Brahmin (Ravi Shankar Shukla), Rajasthan was run by a Brahmin (H.L. Shastri), Kerala was run by a Brahmin (E.M.S. Namboodiripad), Punjab was run by a Brahmin (G.C. Bhargava) and Assam was ruled by a Brahmin (G.N. Bordoloi). In 2009 when the article was first written, only one state was run by a Brahmin that was West Bengal run by Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee. Incidentally, Shudras who are wrongly construed to mean untouchables are in reality peasants (Patels) and constitute more than 50% of the population.
In 2009, most of the states were politically under the control of Shudras. Andhra Pradesh was run by a peasant Christian (Y.S.R. Reddy), Bihar was run by a peasant Kurmi (Nitish Kumar) and Gujarat was run by a peasant from the Teli/Ghanchi caste (Narendra Modi). Haryana was run by a peasant Jat (Bhupinder Hooda), Karnataka was ruled by a peasant Lingayat (B.S. Yeddyurappa), Kerala was run by a peasant Ezhava (V.S. Achuthanandan) and Madhya Pradesh was run by a peasant OBC (Shivraj Chouhan). Maharashtra was run by a peasant Maratha (Ashok Chavan), Rajasthan was run by a peasant Mali (Ashok Gehlot), Punjab was run by a peasant Jat (Parkash Badal), Tamil Nadu was run by a peasant Vellalar (M. Karunanidhi) and Uttar Pradesh was run by a Dalit (Mayawati). Even though, the Shudras mostly control politics but the backbone of the country, the economy is now fully controlled by Brahmins and Banias. Regarding the hold of Brahmins and Banias on economy, it would be interesting to again quote Aakar Patel.
“The Sensex comprises the 30 largest traded companies of India. ACC is run by a Brahmin (Sumit Banerjee), Bhel is run by a Brahmin (Ravi Kumar Krishna Swamy), Bharti Airtel is run by a Bania (Sunil Mittal), Grasim and Hindalco are run by a Bania (Kumar Mangalam Birla). HDFC is run by a Bania (Deepak Parekh), Hindustan Unilever is run by a Brahmin (Nitin Paranjpe), ICICI Bank is headed by a Brahmin (K.V. Kamath). Jaiprakash Associates is run by a Brahmin (Yogesh Gaur), L&T is run by a Brahmin (A.M. Naik), NTPC is run by a Brahmin (R.S. Sharma), ONGC is run by a Brahmin (also called R.S. Sharma). Reliance group firms are run by Banias (Mukesh and Anil Ambani), State Bank of India is run by a Brahmin (O.P. Bhatt), Sterlite Industries is run by a Bania (Anil Agarwal), Sun Pharma is run by a Bania (Dilip Shanghvi) and Tata Steel is run by a Brahmin (B. Muthuraman). “Punjab National Bank is run by a Brahmin (K.C. Chakrabarty), Bank of Baroda is run by a Brahmin (M.D. Mallya) and Canara Bank is run by a Bania (A.C. Mahajan)”. “Of India’s software companies, Infosys is run by a Brahmin (Kris Gopalakrishnan now and Narayana Murthy and Nandan Nilekani before him). TCS is run by a Brahmin (Subramanian Ramadorai). Wipro is owned by a Khoja (Azim Premji). Khojas are Shia of the Sevener sect, converted from the Luhana trading community (same caste as L.K. Advani and M.A. Jinnah)”. “India’s two largest airlines are Kingfisher, owned by a Brahmin (Vijay Mallya) and Jet, owned by a Bania (Naresh Goyal)”. “Of India’s mobile phone firms, Reliance Communications (Ambani), Airtel (Mittal), Vodafone Essar (Ruia), Idea (Birla), Spice (Modi) are owned by Banias. BSNL is run by a Bania (Kuldeep Goyal) and Tata’s TTML is run by a Brahmin (K.A. Chaukar)”. “Cricket in India is run by a Bania (Lalit Modi) and before him it was run by another Bania (Jagmohan Dalmiya)”.
“Of India’s steel companies Essar is owned by Banias (Ruia), ArcelorMittal is owned by a Bania (Laxmi Mittal), Ispat is owned by Banias (Mittals), Jindal Steel is owned by Banias, Bhushan Steel is owned by Banias (Singhal), VISA Steel is owned by Banias (Agarwal). State-owned SAIL is run by a Bania (S.K. Roongta) and Lloyd Steel is owned by Banias (Gupta)”. “Of India’s cement companies, Ambuja is owned by Banias (Neotia and Sekhsaria), Dalmia Cements is owned by Banias, Ultratech and Vikram Cement are owned by Banias (Birla) and JK Cement is owned by Banias (Singhania). Hindustan Motors is owned by Banias (Birla) and Bajaj Auto is owned by Banias”.
 “Media in India is almost entirely controlled by Banias and Jains. Of the two largest English newspapers, The Times of India is owned by Jains and the Hindustan Times is owned by Banias (Birla). The third largest English paper, The Hindu, is owned by Brahmins (Kasturi Iyengar family). The Indian Express is owned by Banias (Goenka). Zee TV is owned by a Bania (Subhash Chandra Goel). Of the two largest Hindi newspapers, Dainik Jagran is owned by Banias (Gupta), and Dainik Bhaskar is owned by Banias (Agarwal). The Agarwals also own Gujarati daily Divya Bhaskar. The largest Gujarati newspaper Gujarat Samachar is owned by Jains (Shah). The largest Marathi paper Lokmat is owned by Jains (Darda). Rajasthan Patrika is owned by Jains (Kothari). Navbharat Times is owned by Jains and Hindustan owned by Banias (Birla). Amar Ujala is owned by Banias (Maheshwari)”.
 “Old economy, new economy: All economy in India is owned and run by two castes. The Brahmin used his monopoly on knowledge and the Bania used his high-trust culture of trade to become dominant. Their skills are world-class. Given the realities of capital formation, it is difficult for other castes to catch up soon”.
How is such a minuscule minority running such a huge country of the millions of poor without any massive rebellion from them? Interestingly, the present trend of heightened Hindutva using religion to declare India a Hindu Rashtra gives the clue. Here the saying of Karl Marx that “the Religion is the Opium of the poor” fits appropriately! It is being practically used by the rich in India to keep the teeming millions of the poor down under! But one wonders how long can this deception last? One day the poor will definitely reclaim their rights. Incidentally, that trend has already started!

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Yet another nightmare!

(Srinagar has once again passed through a nightmarish situation due to a sudden flood in River Jhelum. It is nature’s warning for a big one which may hit us soon unless preventive measures are taken on a war footing!)
Yet another nightmare!

Just two days of incessant heavy rain swelled River Jhelum to dangerous flood level. There was panic all over and many of the residents in the low lying areas such as Raj Bagh, Jawahar Nagar, Mehjoor Nagar and so on were panicky and alarmed. The panic increased when announcements were made declaring Red Alert in these areas. Some people shifted to safer places and others went upstairs taking their valuables along. No one seemed to be prepared to undergo a repeat of the 2014 horrible experience. The episode was unpredictable as there is no history of a flood during winter. One normally expects some flooding in July to September when monsoons spill over to Kashmir and the rain waters have the only limited channel of the River Jhelum because of the ripening rice crop closing all other water channels. Apart from the sudden rise in the water level, the drop in it after the stoppage of rains was very slow. There is only one possible reason for this behaviour of the River Jhelum, its extreme silting and the worse scenario in its flood spill over channel.
In a recent interview to local English daily, Sonam Lotus, the now famous meteorologist declared that there would be more floods! He said that the River has been left very little space to accommodate the flood waters. Most of the water bodies have been encroached by dumping of waste and construction of colonies. Just 100 millimetres of rain for two days resulted in a flood. He advised people to end encroachments and restore the flood basin of the River. After the worst flood of the century in 2014 one had expected that the first priority of the government would be to initiate flood prevention and protection measures on top priority. Hardly anything substantial has been done. According to the Chief Engineer, the Kolkata firm engaged for desilting has excavated less than one lakh cubic meters out of a target of seven lakh cubic meters. Hardly any substantial excavation has been done in the flood spill over channel. Reportedly, the firm has been put on notice. On the contrary obstructions in the form of low bridges have been created which act as dams during a flood and the waters spill over the banks. In fact, in the recent flood, the engineers had to cut one side of a bridge on the channel to allow waters to move ahead. The worst parts are the weak embankments. The last flood inundated vast areas including the posh colonies of Srinagar due to dozens of breaches in the embankments which have been weakened by numerous encroachments.
The only way to prevent the repeat of the destruction caused by the last flood is to take preventive and protective measures on a war footing. The dredging of the River to remove the silt and the deepening of the flood channel are the utmost priority. At the same time the embankments have to be strengthened. During the recent flood the engineers were not worried about the water level as it was much lower than the last destructive flood level. The main concern was the possibility of breaches in the embankments. Strengthening of embankments is not a great engineering marvel but a very simple job. One can either strengthen these at vulnerable places with concrete walls, boulder crates of steel wire and even the earth embankments can be strengthened by concrete piling. On the famous Karakoram highway, the Chinese have used pre-stressed reinforced concrete rods which have made the otherwise loose and unstable mountain walls fully stable. Similar technology could be used to strengthen the embankments here.
As regards dredging in the flood channel it could be done through mechanized excavators as the major portion of the channel remains dry. The flood channel could be easily deepened by 10 feet or so to increase its carrying capacity. This had been started in places but left halfway. A few dozen excavators (jcb’s) with a couple of hundred dumpers could finish the job in a few months. This is subject to someone at the top having the inclination and the will to do so. Tulip Gardens, Cable Cars, Golf Courses and so on are not as important as the flood prevention and protection measures. What is the use of providing all these recreational facilities if there is no protection against the devastating floods!
In fact, if the authorities genuinely and honestly undertake these works, the other side may also call a truce and exempt these activities from any shutdown! Here, one would like to point out an interesting dichotomy. People in general and especially the leaders of the popular movement have no faith in the present ruling set up. However, at the same time they expect them to undertake all the essential people friendly works! One often hears the comments that the government has failed to do this and that. But if one has no faith in the government and claims it to be a non-representative set up then how do we expect them to take various measures to save environment and protect people from calamities like floods? The ideal situation would be people on their own led by popular leaders taking all necessary measures to not only safeguard the fragile environment but also initiate protective measures including dredging etc. Well, that is a long debate. Our immediate requirement is safety through genuine and dedicated flood protection measures. Let us pray and hope the present rulers listen and undertake these on a war footing!

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Election “Balloon” deflated!

(Total boycott accompanied by gruesome mayhem clearly shows the oft bandied “Balloon” of elections has been fully deflated!)

George Bernard Shaw had said “Democracy is a balloon filled with hot air. Fools watch it when it rises and the clever pick their pockets”! This has been happening in Kashmir from the very start. The best excuse oft used by the Indian Government to get away from holding the UN mandated Plebiscite in Kashmir for its final settlement has been the holding of elections. It has been always portrayed as the substitute for the referendum claiming that the local people have full faith in the Indian democracy and are participating in elections to elect the local governments as well as their representatives in the Indian Parliament. It is true that many elections in the past have seen sizeable participation in spite of boycott calls. The common people have most of the time taken these elections to be a way to get their day to day facilities for carrying on the daily life. They have never construed these to be something to decide their ultimate future. In fact, in one of the recent elections, the slogan of “Bijli”, “Pani” and “Sadak” was coined. It was meant to convey that the people were voting for improving the power supply, water supply and the roads. These were the most essential items which had been neglected by the earlier governments elected by the people. Except during the period of militancy in the nineties, the boycott calls were hardly successful. The government still managed to get sufficient number of people to the polling booths by coercion or through inducement. The lowest polling percentage was only during militancy. There was rarely violence except during nineties when the militants attacked the booths and so on.
The present bye poll has seen a dramatic change. Apart from very low percentage probably the lowest in last three decades or so, there has been extensive violence. According to reports eight persons have been killed and scores injured some with pellet guns. There has been extensive physical intervention from the youth not only to prevent people from voting but even preventing the polling staff from discharging their duties. The violence and virtual mayhem during the polling for the Srinagar Parliamentary constituency in the three districts of Srinagar, Ganderbal and Budgam has been the worst ever seen in Kashmir during any elections held so far. In view of the violence, the other Bye election has been postponed. As stated Kashmir has been a witness to umpteen election boycotts from the time these were started here. Most of the time people preferred to stay home and did not venture out in response to boycott calls given by various parties. In spite of boycott calls some people would come out to vote in previous elections, especially the party workers of the candidates. In fact, there were many innovations when groups of people would be moved from one polling station to other to cast their votes. Nobody bothered and results were declared regardless of the riggings indulged in by various candidates. Recently, a very senior former Police Officer has publicly admitted that the elections in Kashmir have always been rigged. In fact, in many elections, candidates got elected without contesting, thanks to the returning officers rejecting nominations of all opposite candidates! This is first time that so much violence has taken place during polling. The headings of various newspapers reporting the events are reflective of the situation. “Black Day for Democracy”! , “Election Narrative Deflated”! And By (e) - Polls etc.
The most important question is why has this unprecedented violence taken place during an election boycott? The simple answer is that new generation of Kashmiri Youth, born and brought up in the conflict of the nineties of the last century are in no mood to compromise. Not only have they been brought up with the worst violence all around but have been subjected to continuous harassment right from the very start. The climax of that harassment gave birth to the symbolic rebel “Burhan Muzaffar Wani”! The long shut down with extreme violence following his death was like a Tsunami which swept the entire Kashmir Valley. A hundred persons killed, thousands injured and with hundreds losing eyesight. Thousands put in jails signifies the worst ever suppression of the people. The youth refused to compromise and they had only one slogan of “Azadi” everywhere. The additional resentment is the betrayal of the so called mainstream leaders who have always let down people in preference to power and material goodies. This was more than evident in the last Assembly election when the party swearing to keep the grizzly bear of Hindutva out of the valley simply hugged it with full force leaving the masses bewildered and shattered!
It is very unfortunate that the authorities in Delhi have not learnt any lessons from the last year’s uprising and are determined to crush the popular will with brute force. This is in spite of the fact that many intellectuals, political leaders, journalists and even top Army officers in the country have advised for restraint and opening of a dialogue with all stakeholders to sort out the basic political issue. This bye election should open their eyes. Kashmiri youth are now in no mood to compromise. Tragically, the fanatically motivated leadership is so much drunk with power that they may unwittingly by their violent actions initiate the disintegration of the country and Kashmir may become the fuse to light up that explosive fire.

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

The Hindu Rashtra and Kashmir!

(With the unprecedented victory of BJP in the U.P. elections giving rise to militant Hindutva proclaiming India to be a Hindu Rashtra, the relationship of Kashmir to India loses the very basic premise of accession!)
The Hindu Rashtra and Kashmir!

After the recent phenomenal success in the U.P. elections, the RSS is going full steam ahead to give practical shape to Golwalkar’s dream of turning India into a Hindu Rashtra. Even there is talk of holding the Parliament elections in 2018 itself to cash on the Hindutva wave generated during the U.P. elections. Slaughter houses and meat shops have been closed. Many Muslims are running away from some of the localities. The way seems clear for ushering in a real Hindu Rashtra within a few years. In keeping with Golwalkar’s edict, there is no place for non-Hindus in the India of the future. Muslims and other minorities would have to live as second class citizens. Golwalkar writes in his book, “We, or Our Nationhood Defined”, “The non-Hindu people of Hindustan must either adopt Hindu culture and language, must learn and respect and hold in reverence the Hindu religion, must entertain no idea but of those of glorification of the Hindu race and culture ... In a word they must cease to be foreigners, or may stay in the country, wholly subordinated to the Hindu nation, claiming nothing, deserving no privileges, far less any preferential treatment—not even citizens' rights.” This thought is now taking practical shape. So far there is no substantial resistance to halt the process of Hinduisation! The worst thing to happen is that even the judiciary including the country’s apex court has been forced to mount the Hindutva Bandwagon! The typical example is the highest court instead of itself giving a verdict about the dispute on the site of the mosque, asking the two communities to settle it by mediation!
Kashmiris are supposed to have supported the action regarding the accession of the State by the erstwhile Dogra Maharaja to the Union of India, in very unusual circumstances, through their undisputed leader of that time specifically on the basis of India being a democratic and secular country compared to Muslim Pakistan created on the basis of religion. They are supposed to have rejected the two nation theory advocated by Mohammad Ali Jinnah. Pakistan was declared to be an Islamic Republic, a home for the Muslims of united India! The creation of a separate country for Muslims was probably because of the apprehension that the Hindus in undivided India would persecute the Muslim minority. Till the recent takeover of the Indian Government by BJP with Narinder Modi as the Prime Minister, India was proclaimed to be a Secular and a Democratic Republic by various political parties including Congress which came to rule over it. Even BJP as part of NDA did not openly try to change that character. It is a different matter as to how secular and democratic it has been! However, in spite of much discrimination in practice, the nomenclature of Secular and Democratic Republic of India was continued. But now not only the character of the Republic but its very nomenclature is proposed to be changed by declaring it as a Hindu Rashtra, a home for Hindus only!
If India does really become a Hindu Rashtra, will it not automatically negate the very basis of accession of the State to the Union of India? A Muslim majority State has absolutely no basis to be part of a Republic based on Hindu religion. The first thing that strikes one is whether Mohammad Ali Jinnah was, after all, right in demanding a separate country for Muslims? Had he foreseen the ultimate goal of the Hindu majority of India in spite of its secular, progressive and democratic leadership at the time of its independence? Kashmir which is a Muslim majority state, does not profess an extremist religious ideology. Over the ages, it has been the most tolerant society. In fact, the religious tinge to its struggle has been caused by the extremist Hindutva elements in India. It is a reaction and a protest against overt and covert Hindutva from the secular and progressive Kashmir which has been a home for Muslims, Hindus and even Buddhists in the past. It has always been proclaimed to be the “Valley of Saints”. Throughout its history, Sufis and Rishis have been the most important and symbolic attribute of its character. Earlier, Kashmiri youth have been protesting with green flags and even Pakistani flags to irritate and frustrate Indian authorities but now they have a reason to demonstrate and protect their Muslim character to prevent the Hindutva onslaught. Even the so called mainstream parties in Kashmir which have been persuading people to be part of India have become uncomfortable by the tearing of the fig leaf of secularism. They have now been forced to acknowledge the Hindutva onslaught on Kashmiri Muslims through RSS! 
Unfortunately, the resistance against this onslaught from the secular and progressive sections of the society has been very feeble and mostly limited to some progressive educational institutions. During the worst period of the partition mayhem, Mahatma Gandhi had seen the only ray of light in Kashmir. One wonders what would have been his reaction if he was alive today. May be he himself would have asked Kashmiris to part ways with Golwalkar’s India!