Overview of Important Issues in India
India – the biggest democracy in the world – is going through a lot of changes and turmoil, both from within and due to forces outside. As a country, it is unparalleled in its diversity – cultural, religious, social, and economical as well as political. The way India has evolved since departure of colonial British in 1947 is not at all inspiring. Despite the celebration of August 15 as Independence Day and January 26 as Republic Day for past six decades, it does not appear that India has really shaken off its colonial past. Contrary to the expectation that Indians would rule themselves with their own thinking it turned out that Nehru and his team continued the style and demeanor of the White British and failed to look at larger issues faced by the newly truncated free state from the Indian (Hindu) perspective.
Today, India is globally recognized for three things: high poverty, high population, and high corruption. India is home to about one-third of world’s extreme poor, is set to become the most populous country by around 2022 beating China, and is counted among the most corrupt countries in the world where opening and doing business is a mountainous task. Doing business honestly in India is as tough as winning an Olympic medal, may be even harder!
In confusion people generally ask: Is India a Poor Nation or Emerging Superpower. “Both” is perhaps the correct answer.
India is an ancient country with very deep cultural and spiritual roots; they certainly influence not just Hindus and followers of other ‘dharma’ based philosophies, but also Muslims and Christians who follow ‘religions’ that originated in distant lands. The difference between dharma and religion is profound; it is elaborated below. India cannot be understood or run properly without sufficient understanding of its long ancient past. You can understand the US for instance, by restricting to past 100-300 years, but not India.
Issues covered on this long page are designed to provide in-depth understanding that often needs trips to the past to put things in perspective.
Contents on this page include:
1. The Legacy of Partition
2. Dangers of Global Islamic Terrorism
3. Communal Harmony and Distorted Secularism
4. A Terrible Mistake: Equating “Dharma” with “Religion”
5. The Unfinished Agenda of National Integration
6. Why Tribals and Naxal Issues Suddenly Became Important
7. Poverty in India
8. Population Stabilization
9. Governance Reforms
10. Right to Education
11. Economic Reforms and Liberalization
12. Global Warming
13. Economic Growth vs Development
14. Renewable Energy – Solar Energy
15. Significant Political Developments
1. THE LEGACY OF PARTITION
Partitioning India on religious ground was a nasty idea of colonial British who purposefully gave undue importance to some Muslims separatist who demanded a separate country in the name of Islam. It was designed to sow the seeds of long term future confrontation on the Indian sub-Continent after they departed. Leaving intact a giant nation would not be in the interest of future global political interests. The colonial looters would have been happier creating more fragments but could not find other sectarian leaders outside the Muslim community. For example, Christian missionaries had not converted sizable number of people into Christianity so they could not create another separate ‘Christianland’ for them.
Anyway, birth of Pakistan in the name of Islam was a great victory of a handful Islamic separatists, led by Mohammad Ali Jinnah whose liquor guzzling Westernized lifestyle was anything but Islamic. But historians tell that Islam is a great political tool to grab power – though people foolishly think that Islam is a religion (many naive and utterly ignorant people still want to call it the religion of peace!). Almost instantly, their political ambitions reached stratospheric heights – they just discovered that they can grab anything, in the name of Islam, even a country. Kashmir and Balochistan soon became victims of Pakistani greed of newly formed Islamic State of Pakistani – again in the name of Islam. People of these regions are still the biggest victims of Islamic violence even after almost 7 decades of India’s partition.
Partition fueled the communal disharmony, leading to massive blood-bath and mass migration of Hindus and Muslims from both sides. It gave wounds to lakhs of people that would take generations to heal. Wise people rightly say: Religious fanaticism is as deadly as the epidemics of Cholera, Malaria or Ebola. A lot of wise and progressive Muslims consciously chose to stay in India, away from fanaticism of some of their co-religions; they now feel satisfied looking at the pathetic status of today’s highly radicalized and backward looking Pakistani Islamic society. [You may want to read: Please Explain Pakistan to Me!]
Events of 1947-48 clearly revealed the ground reality of Islamic culture and threats associated with it. If this great nation could be divided in the mid 20th century in the name of Islam, today the threat is may fold greater looking the galloping Muslim population and radicalization through the Wahhbi Islamic funds of Saudi Arabia and Qatar.
Hindus – The Biggest Losers of India’s Partition
Commonsense demanded that if the country is being divided to create a separate nation for the Muslims, the other half should have been a Hindu Nation. But the power brokers of the Congress Party badly let the Hindus down. They were too myopic to see the future dangers of having a sizable Muslim community where tendency to grab power in the name of Islam can jeopardize national security.
Thus the biggest losers in the Game of India’s Partition were the Hindus – divided among numerous castes and languages, although united by threads of all pervading universal Dharma principles. Had they been a monolithic bloc (like Muslims or Christians) and united, they would not have allowed their ancient land to be divided. Else they would have made the remaining India a Hindu Nation. But what they got was a so-called Secular (supposedly religious neutral) India with a Constitution that ensured representation of Christians in the parliament (because they were privileged Christians) and the State favors to Muslims such the Haj subsidy continued.
So the so-called ‘Secular’ Constitution started off favoring Christians and Muslims – in the name of religion! It also failed to ensure Uniform Civil Code for all Indians – and allowed Muslims to have their own backward looking religious laws. So the whole idea of secularism – which is a Western concept that originated to keep State policies independent of religious (Church) dictates – as imposed on India was already loaded with favors to Christians and Muslims and neglect of Hindus, in the name of religion!
In the first 3-4 decades, the left leaning intellectuals and the West controlled press created a distorted impression that somehow Hindus are no more than uncultured and uncivilized people who practice barbaric caste system – similar to racial slavery. At least 2-3 generations of Hindus in free India grew up believing that everything connected with their culture and tradition is substandard – and that good, civilized and progressive practices only come from abroad (West)!
Simultaneously, Congress had party has discovered that Muslims vote en-bloc on religious lines, dictated by their Mullahs and community leaders. This was a good discovery. It meant – in order to corner Muslim votes just keep Muslim clergy happy who would issue a dictate from the Mosque. This started the Muslim appeasement politics and politician-Mullah nexus. Many constituencies have sizeable Muslim population where Mullahs dictate who gets elected.
This also works with Christians but being a tiny community they can’t provide enough votes to win elections. Of course, missionaries have been working hard to increase their numbers through conversions – allowed by India’s Secular Constitution!.
On the other hand, Hindus are neither so united around their temples, nor do they have the tradition of receiving religious dictates – unlike Muslims and Christians. This actually makes them naturally secular. Besides, they are generally electorally and politically passive. All this further ended up providing considerable leverage to Muslim and Christian communities in free India.
Before elections, Indira Gandhi and other ‘secular’ leaders openly hobnobbed with influential Muslim Mullahs such as the so-called ‘Shahi Imam’ of Delhi’s Jama Masjid whose dictate would generally come out in favor of Congress. So India’s “Secularism” degenerated into Muslim appeasement politics and fell into the lap of Muslim fundamentalists.
Start of Hindu Awakening
It is only towards late 1980s and early 1990s that Hindus started to wake up to the reality that Indian politics has firmly fallen in the hands of pro-Muslim and pro-Christian politicians (Nehru family sycophantic Congressis embraced Italian Christian lady Sonia as its new Empress, revolted by only Sharad Pawar who came out to form the NCP but glued with it to enjoy power) – and they are simply being taken for granted for their indifference and silence. If the Shah Bano case in the mid 80s glaringly exposed how low Congress can stoop to placate Muslim Mullahs and negate Supreme Court’s sensible justice to a poor Muslim lady, the mass exodus and massacre of Kashmiri Hindus in 1989 and lame duck response of Central and State governments was another eye opener that all is not well with India’s secularism – the 1993 Mumbai serial blasts only underscored the traditional belligerence of the Islamists.
They suddenly realized that they are politically voiceless and country’s agenda is firmly in the hands of fake-seculars and fundamentalist Muslims. But fortunately for them, the BJP emerged and Hindu organizations started raising their issues vocally and loudly. Advani’s country wide Rath Yatra in late 1990s had just one goal: Awaken Hindus of India. Alongside came the slogan: Garv Se Kaho, Hum Hindu Hain! It is still helping a lot of Hindus come out of their deep rooted inferiority complex, coming from the endless onslaught on their culture and beliefs at the hands of Left leaning pseudo-intellectuals for whom the West alone represents everything good. You may like to see some eye opening statistics from Indian Express – so many Moghul names still prevalent in Hindu dominated India. It is something Hindus and non-Muslims of India should think about.
Thereafter, emergence of global Islamic terror, the 9/11 attack in the US, Godhra train burning, 2008 Mumbai terror attack, never ending Pak sponsored Islamic violence in Kashmir and other events started convincing Hindus both in India and abroad that they need to get united and organized. Hindu organizations started getting more pro-active and vocal. They have started to get organized around the Hindutva agenda – that is truly secular. It wants to build a strong India around the theme ‘unity in diversity’ and that all faiths ultimately points to the same ultimate Truth; therefore, religion based politics is meaningless.
This new development has alarmed all fake secular and minority vote bank politicians who have been trying to polarize the country between majority and minorities. Modi’s victory and elevation to PM in 2014 is a big blow for them, since they have been painting him as Hindu devil since 2002 Gujarat riots. They will continue to label the BJP and Hindu organizations as ‘communal’ and try to instil fear among Muslims and Christians in order to get their votes, so that the politics of their fake secularism continues.
Let’s see if Hindus really wake up and unite to make India a strong, peaceful and great nation – or the Gulf funds and pseudo-seculars would continue to assist anti-nationals and traitors and keep weakening the country.
- 1a) THE KASHMIR DISPUTE
After separating from India, Jinnah started behaving as if Pakistan has a natural right on everything that is Islamic! Pak leaders’ obsession with this Islamic logic has not weakened a bit even after six decades; on the contrary, it has transformed into a kind of mania, particularly after losing half the country in 1971.
When the British left after 190 years of plunder, India was a conglomeration of 561 tiny princely estates rule by Rajas, Nizams and Nawabs – they were both Hindu and Muslim rulers. Their prime task was to collect taxes from the public on behalf of the colonial rulers. They had the option of joining either side or stay sovereign. Ideally, they would all want to stay sovereign but political reality demanded that they choose between the two sides.
Kashmir was also one such Princely State ruled by Raja Hari Singh who wanted to stay sovereign and did not join either side. Pakistan was hoping that it would come its way but Hari Singh did not make any move. In frustration and impatience, Pak troops along with some armed tribes invaded Kashmir and reached ominously close to Srinagar. Seeing no option, Hari Singh requested help from New Delhi. Military help was agreed on the condition that Kashmir would accede to India. Hari Singh signed the Accession Treaty and Indian troops were dispatched immediately. Invaders were driven away and on cease fire, India was in control of two-third Kashmir and the rest was under Pak control.
Strangely, Nehru decided to approach the UN to complain about Pak aggression. This made Kashmir an international issue, allowing Pakistan to become a party. A big mistake, in hindsight!
If Kashmir is still not fully integrated with rest of India even after 68 years, Congress Party’s directionless, indecisive and visionless governance should get all the blame. It even squandered the chance to push Pakistan out of Kashmir permanently in 1971 when 93,000 Pak troops were prisoners of India and a big chunk of Pak territory was under Indian control. The then PM Indira fell for Bhutto’s theatrics and verbal assurances and signed the Shimla Agreement in a midnight drama.
PAK SPONSORED ISLAMIC TERROR DRIVES OUT HINDUS
Year 1989, brought the worst form of violence in Kashmir Valley through Pak trained Islamic Jehadis. As Russian occupier of Afghanistan left, Pak diverted the jobless Islamic killers to Kashmir valley. Practically all Hindus Pandits (estimated between 2.5 – 4.5 lakh) were forced to leave – it was ethnic cleansing through Islamic terror and threat. It was a glaring failure of J&K State government and local Muslims to protect their Hindu brothers who lived there since ages. Rather than creating another Islamic force to counter Pak’s Jihadi puppets, they chose to remain passive spectators. It also exposed the hollowness of ‘secular’ doctrine of anti-Hindu Congress Party – today it clearly stands out as an anti-Hindu and pro-Muslim political Party.
The decade of 1990s showed the world how Islamic fanaticism can destroy civil and peaceful societies. Pak agenda is clear: cause as much violence and destruction in Kashmir as possible using its Jehadi brigade. If it can’t get Kashmir in the name of Islam, it must destroy Kashmir in the name of Islam! What a shameful and distorted use of Islam – the so-called “Religion of Peace”.
so-called “Religion of Peace”.
On the optimistic note, the year 2014 should prove an important milestone in India’s political history and bring solace to Kashmir also. The arrival of BJP government at the Center after the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, PM Modi’s special interest in Kashmir, and the formation of PDP-BJP government in J&K ushers hope for a better future of Kashmiri people. Economic development, better connectivity and job creation will automatically take heat off the Pak’s meddling in the Valley using Islam as an excuse. Article 370 is the biggest hurdle in integrating Kashmir with rest of India.
You may explore details of the Kashmir issue and how Pakistan has been trying hard to Islamize and internationalize the issue, on these pages:
1b) PAKISTAN GRABBED BALOCHISTAN IN 1948
Although Balochistan has no direct land connection with India, but people should know how Pakistani leaders’ political mind exploits the name of Islam for politics.
Just like Pakistan tried grabbing Kashmir in 1947 through direct invasion, it sent troops to Balochistan in April 1948. While it champions plebiscite in Kashmir, it had no shame violating Baloch people’s desire who clearly did not want to become part of Pakistan, in the name of Islam. Since 1948, Pakistan has colonized Balochistan and doing everything a colonizer does – plundering natural resources and oppressing people.
If the Baloch people are happy and free, as Islamabad claims, why huge build up of Pakistani troops there? Are Baloch people some inferior kind of Muslims compared with the elites of Pak Punjab? You may like to explore”
1c) INDIA’S “HEADACHE” CALLED PAKISTAN
Partition of British India was not just a communal birth of Pakistan; it was birth of a chronic migraine – a nasty communal Islamic virus that would hurt India for decades, in the name of Islam. The religious fanaticism that created Pakistan in the name of Islam, failed to keep the country intact beyond 1971 – when a dispute over results of a general election precipitated a civil war in the East Pakistan leading to birth of a new nation – Bangladesh. This fiasco was yet another indication that somehow modern democracy is not compatible with Pakistan’s understanding of Islam which looks backwards towards 7thcentury Sharia Laws for inspiration.
However, rather than taking steps to improve the foundations of its democratic institutions, Pakistan turned into something like a defiant child. It injected more Wahhabism into its version of Islam (highlighted later) and upgraded its “hate India” policy to “bleed India” mission!
Consequently, promoting Jihadi violence in Kashmir and internationalizing its claim on it became the sole obsession of its foreign policy.
Radicalization of Pakistan – Pakistan becomes Wahhabistan!
In the 1980s, Pak military dictator General Jia Ul Haq decided to change the “color” of Islam. In his desire to stand out loudly as a radical Islamic State of Asia and get accepted by the Islamic brothers in the rich Gulf nations, he opted for Saudi Arabia’s Wahhabism, which is utterly authoritarian and devoid of slightest tolerance. But that’s what a military general would choose. Russian occupation of Afghanistan offered the opportunity to try religious fanaticism against the communists. Thus, the US-Pak joint experiment began with setting up of training camps to produce Islamic Jehadi fighters who would wage Holy War against the Soviet army. The idea was to constantly hurt and “bleed” the Russians and make their lives “hell” in Afghanistan. In other words, make Afghanistan their Vietnam!
Thus, Al Qaeda, Taliban and other Jehadi groups were born. Russians left in 1989. The US and Pak felt elated at their brilliant “Islamic” success against the communists. Pakistan started diverting the “out of job” Jehadis to Kashmir to “hurt and bleed India”. Indian army was deployed in the Valley with extra powers. Cross border infiltration kept the Kashmir Valley “boiling” for almost the whole 1990s – it must have been the golden period of “Islamic violence” in South Asia and the most satisfying dream-come-true for Wahhabi Pakistanis (Insha Allah!!)!
Impact of the 9/11 Attack
However, Pak honeymoon with Islamic extremism was badly jolted by the 11 September 2001 attack in the US. During the last 10-15 years, Jehadi factories have been churning out terrorists as a matter of routine. Now the US wanted Pak to shut them. Arrival of US troops in Afghanistan searching for Osama Bin Laden made life difficult for the Pak government. It was forced to act against its own Jehadi children to please the US, while its civilian population was hysterically anti-American.
Pakistan extracted money from the Americans on the pretext of fighting terrorists but used it to fuel its proxy war against India. Within a decade of NATO’s war on terror Pakistan established itself as world’s terrorist Capital; it lost all its international credibility when Americans killed Osama Bin Laden on its own soil apparently without its knowledge! Even today, the perpetrators of 1993 Mumbai serial blasts and 2008 26/11 Mumbai attacks have safe sanctuary in Pakistan, while it rightly claims to be the biggest victim of terror groups it wilfully nurtured itself.
After the December 2014 Taliban attack on school children in Peshawar which killed over 140 children of Pak army men, it was hoped that Pakistan would go all out against terror groups on its soil. But Pak leadership still just can’t think of eliminating all terror groups rooted on its soil – after all many are valuable unconventional Islamic weapon against India in Kashmir.
Given the fact that Pakistan is now badly infected with fundamentalists and extremists, the global community is highly apprehensive about its nukes falling in the hands of local extremist elements or ending up in the Middle East.
Pakistan is perfect example of what happens when a State is run on the silly principle: “I exist to hurt others; not to make myself better.”
You may like to explore:
1d) EXCHANGE OF ENCLAVES BETWEEN INDIA AND BANGLADESH
15 August 1947 brought independence to all Indians and Pakistanis except those living the 162 enclaves along India-East Pakistan (Bangladesh) border. These 51,000 enclave dwellers got real freedom on August 1, 2015. Due to their peculiar geography the enclaves on both sides had remained badly underdeveloped and the ‘stateless’ existence had left people living there with severe hardships. Located inside another country the enclaves badly lacked basic facilities like sanitation, electricity supply, schools and hospitals.
The feelings of enclave dwellers can be succinctly summarized by this quote of late President APJ Abdul Kalam – “A dream is not what you see when you sleep. A dream is what keeps you awake!”
At the stroke of midnight connecting July 31 and Aug 1 of 2015, 111 Bangladesh Enclaves inside India and 51 Indian Enclaves inside Bangladesh got officially exchanged. It ended the 68 year agony of 37,369 Indian enclave dwellers inside Bangladesh and 14, 856 Bangladeshi enclave dwellers in India. All Indian enclaves were in Cooch Behar district of WB. While no one from the Bangladeshi enclaves (now part of India) chose to cross over, most from the Indian enclaves (now part of Bangladesh) decided to leave their ancestral land and shift to Indian Territory.
Enclaves existed across the Bangladesh-Indian border in the 4 states: West Bengal, Tripura, Assam and Meghalaya. India exchanged 17,160 acres of land for 7,110 acres from Bangladesh. In fact, there were not just enclaves but counter-enclaves inside enclaves and also counter-counter-enclaves – world’s only third-order enclaves!
The problem surfaced after the Rangapur district merged with East Pakistan in 1947 and the Cooch Behar district remained independent before merging with India in 1949. It was the beginning of identity crisis for the enclave dwellers.
Efforts were made in 1958 by India and Pakistan to ‘de-enclave’ but nothing materialized. However, after the birth of Bangladesh a ‘land boundary agreement’ was signed between the two countries in 1974. But the pact could not be implemented because it involved swap of land and population which needed amendment to Indian Constitution.
This hurdle was finally removed when both houses of Parliament approved the 119thamendment to the Constitution. The entire process of physical exchange will be completed by June 30, 2016.
Peaceful resolution of such a complex boundary issue between two neighbors and the bigger neighbor giving up some of its land set a unique example before the world. It also sent a signal to both Pakistan and China that boundary issues can be resolved peacefully given the honest will.
2. DANGERS OF GLOBAL TERRORISM
Several Islamic Jihadis from the ISIS launched a Mumbai style terror attack on Paris on November 13, 2015 killing over 130 people and injuring over 300. At least one Jihadi is believed to have recently come as refugee from Syria and masterminded by a Belgian Jihadi sleeper cell. It shook the whole Europe as the ISIS warned of similar attacks on Washington, London and other European cities.
Then on July 14, 2016, a fanatic Jihadi holding the first name Mohamed, drove a truck into crowd killing over 80 people and injuring many others in Nice, a beach resort in southern France. Then came an ‘axe’ attack on innocent people in Germany – by an Afghan youth; you can easily guess his religious affiliation.
Not long ago, a Russian airliner crashed killing all 224 tourists on board – now it is confirmed that it was also a handiwork of ISIS. Russia pledged to wipe out ISIS (typically seen as its effort to protect its close ally Assad regime in Syria – which the US and allies want to throw away). Iran also wants to eliminate the ISIS due to its own regional reasons, but the West doesn’t cooperate with it. However, there is no hope of wiping out Islamic terrorism as long as Western nations act selectively – distinguishing between ‘good’ and ‘bad’ terrorists.
Islamic Jihadi terrorism is a global issue that turned more barbaric with the creation of ISIS in the Middle East which has attracted extremist Muslim youths from around the world (variously estimated to be 15,000 – 40,000). Western countries are particularly worried that on return these trained and hardened Jehadis can play havoc in the society. Their fears appear to be coming true now.
There have been speculation of further escalation and spread of Jihadi violence towards South Asia (Pak-Afghan region is still a den of Islamic terrorists). India has to be on alert because neighboring Islamic Pakistan is already irreversibly infected with all kinds of radical elements and government has very little control on them. Besides, occasionally news of radical Islamic fanaticism also comes from eastern Islamic neighbor – Bangladesh.
There is the lurking danger of Pak’s nuclear devices falling in the hands of terror organizations – the ISIS has also made supporting noises. Quite possibly, it was just empty terror propaganda. But the seriousness of the issue remains. If some rogue Islamic elements in Pak establishment do help some terror group get nuclear devices, it can easily trigger scenario of a World War 3.
All Islamic terror groups derive their philosophical inspiration and justification from bookish and out of context interpretation of Islam. Saudi Arabia and Qatar are examples of countries that officially practice Wahhabism – one such self-serving and intolerant version of Islam. In reality, they only appear to justify the violence ridden lifestyle of Bedouin tribe of 7th century when the Prophet taught them Islam. So rather than changing their violent and unruly demeanor by practicing the essence of Islam, they go the other way round and justify whatever they do, as Islam!
For them killing, raping and terrorizing adversaries (including dissenting Muslims) is justified by ‘their’ Islam! [The Life of Mohammad] So we have plethora of Islamic terror groups who take delight on shouting “Allah is Great” after every heinous act against innocent people.
To any sane and rational mind, it’s the worst form of irrational and barbaric sub-human behavior. It surely helps to trace the origin and history of ‘Jihad’ that goes back to 7th century during Mohammed’s time, against the Arab during (622-634 AD). Here is how Muslim invasion of India took shape.
Saudi Arabia has pumped tens of billions of dollars through religious charities to propagate this radical Islamic cult around the world among Muslims for decades. As a result, most peaceful local versions of Islam across the world have been wiped out. It is no surprise that Islamic terror groups, regardless of geographical location, country and ethnicity, around the world appear to speak the same language of hate, violence, terror and destruction against their adversaries – in the name of Allah and Islam.
Thus far it has been a tradition among global leaders to reiterate after each terror attack that ‘Terrorism has no religion’. But hope that the Paris 13/11 attack will force Western leaders to see the reality. They must accept that all global terrorism has just one religion – ISLAM. When Jihadis shout while killing – Allaho Akbar ! – they are loudly declaring their religion. As Bangladeshi writer Taslima Nasreen puts it: Religion is the only thing they have! They appear to worship an Allah who is pleased by acts of violence and terror against innocent people – and becomes ‘greater’ with each heinous crime against humanity!
Both Shias and Sunnis indulge in terrorism as holy Jihad in the name of Allah. [Explore: Wahhabism: The Ideological Force Behind Islamic Terrorism]
Therefore, it helps to gain some knowledge about the Muslim world and the ‘religion of peace’. What makes Islam so Different? is what people wonder whenever they hear of Islamic hate preachers.
2a) GLOBAL MUSLIM POPULATION
Currently India has about 175 million Muslims (the largest Muslim minority in number terms) compared with Pakistan’s population of around 188 million. They form 14.2% of the Indian population (1.25 billion) – increased from about 10% in 1951. Of the total global population of about 1.6 billion, the largest number of Muslims lives in Indonesia (203 million, forming 88% of country’s population). Pakistan and India have the next largest Muslim populations in the world, followed by Bangladesh (150 million).
Fertility rate among Indian Muslims is estimated at 3.2 children per woman against the national average of 2.3. Pakistan (now almost 99% Muslim) also has high fertility rate – various estimates suggest it to be 2.9 – 3.6. Among all its neighbors, Pakistan is the fastest growing nation in South Asia after Afghanistan. Given the influence of radical Islamic elements, it is unlikely to bring down its fertility rate any sooner. Consequently, in next 10 years Pakistan should become the largest Muslim country, overtaking Indonesia with fertility 2.3. Indian Muslim population would be also closely following Pakistan’s. So by 2025, India should have world’s largest Muslim population – but as a minority!
Fortunately, Muslims in South Asia by and large practice humane version of Islam. Even in Pakistan, most Muslims are peace loving, leaving aside the extreme thinkers in the political circle who are squarely responsible for promoting terror groups as an unannounced state policy.
In terms of numbers, other major countries are Egypt (80 million), Nigeria (80 million), Iran (75 million), and Turkey (74 million). Around 80% Muslims live in countries where they are in majority. About 1 billion or 62% live in Asia pacific region, followed by about 320 million (21%) in the Middle East – North Africa and 245 million (15%) in the Sub Saharan Africa; Europe has only 43 million and Americas have just 5 million Muslims.
As of 2010, there were 4.8 million Muslims in Germany (5.8% of the country’s population) and 4.7 million Muslims in France (7.5%). In Europe, however, Russia has the largest Muslim population of 14 million, forming 10% of country’s population. Islamophobia runs very high in prominent European countries.
Globally, Muslims are divided between Sunnis (87-90%) and Shias (10-13%) but there are further divisions that complicate their sectarian relations. Terror is a common tactics among them. Both India and Pakistan have 10-15% Shia Muslims. Iran is the global hub of Shias, and the Sunni world generally looks towards Saudi Arabia.
The politics of oil rich Gulf region is dictated by the rivalry between Shia Iran (75 million population) and the cash rich Sunni Saudi Arabia (30 million population). If the Iran-US nuclear stand-off is resolved the Saudis will lose much of their shine for the US and the West.
2b) RISE OF ISLAMOPHOBIA
The 9/11 incident of 2001 filled Americans with anger and fear of Islam. It was an act they had never even dreamed of. In Europe, Spain and UK faced Islamic terror attack in 2004 and 2005. The year 2014 ended with the Peshawar Taliban attack on a school of army children butchering over 140 innocent kids. Year 2015 started off with the Charlie Hebdo attack and then massacres by Boko Haram in Nigeria and numerous other attacks around the world. On October 31, 2015 IS blew up a Russian airliner killing all 244 people aboard – IS accomplish in this act were 2 Egyptian airport staff. November 13, 2015 saw the Mumbai type attack on Paris killing over 130 people. It was the masterminded by a Belgian Jihadi sleeper cell.
These sleeper cells of Jihadis exist in most Western countries. For intelligence agencies, these are difficult to spot because the individuals involved are almost ‘normal’ Muslim citizens, without any criminal record.
Media also contributes towards Islamophobia when it sensationalizes terror acts and when it keeps playing such news dozens of times a day. Publicity is the lifeline of all terror groups – media makes it easier for them. They are succeeding in their efforts to polarize the world between the 1.6 billion Muslims and the rest.
Social media has emerged as the preferred channel for the ISIS and other terror outfits to spread their messages – it is also an ideal platform to brainwash and recruit future Jihadis.
Needless to say, around the world there is widespread fear of Islam as well as anger against it.
After the Paris terror attack, Muslim cab drivers were shunned by passengers due to fear and anger. Ordinary rational Muslims around the world, who form the majority of the Muslim community, are the worst affected after every acts of lunatic behavior of few Jihadis. They are ridiculed, laughed at and insulted – and become potential suspects in the eyes of non-Muslims.
Additionally, every act of Islamic terror spontaneously energizes the right wing elements in other communities. This makes life of ordinary peace loving Muslims still harder; they are constantly looked down upon as “suspects” and untrustworthy.
Islamophobia is not a problem of the West or non-Muslim countries alone; it is also oppressing the Muslim societies. In fact, terrorists have killed more Muslims in the name of Islam than they killed non-Muslims. When the Taliban, Al Qaeda or ISIS propagate their version of Islam, even Muslims feel Islamophobic because the imposed Islam is totally unfamiliar to them. You should also know how Islamophobia in Pakistan is suppressing Pak society. Here is another gory brand of Islam practiced by Islamic radicals ISIS Sex Slave Market.
Then there are politicians always lurking around to exploit people’s sentiments for narrow electoral gains.
2c) WESTERN OIL POLITICS AND RISE OF ISLAMIC FUNDAMENTALISM
How Unjust Western Oil Policies have led to Rise of Radical Islam
While we instinctly blame Islamic fundamentalists and Islam for all the terror and violence that we have witnessed since 2003 when Americans decided to invade Iraq. But we have to look into the traditional Western oil politics in the Middle East to understand why Islamic extremism started springing up so suddenly at the turn of the 21st century.
In the post colonial Middle East, practically all major events have revolved around one single issue: oil politics of the West. Thus, it is oil interest that led the West to support the most conservative Wahhabi country – Saudi Arabia. And Saudis started using the enormous pool of petro-dollar for propagating its radical Islamic doctrine around the world. As a result, all milder versions of Islam got slowly eased out by Wahhabi Islam from the Gulf funded Madarsas, particularly in poor countries.
Pakistan distinguished itself in translating Wahhabism into Islamic terrorism as early as in the 1980s when Americans decided to use Islamic violence to overthrow the communist Russians from Afghanistan.
Western meddling in the Middle East systematically destroyed the democratic culture and worked actively to have puppet regimes ruling different oil rich countries. Their unjust politics forced even the moderate Muslims to harden their stand against the US and its Western allies. For instance, roots of present day Syrian social mess can be traced back to overthrowing of democratic government in Syria. The West also scuttled democracy in Iran in 1953 to install a favourable king who was ultimately thrown away by militant Islamic movement in late 1970s.
How the West propped up Saddam against Iran and the dumped him is a very recent example of their mindset. Over 500,000 Iraqis have died since the US invaded their country under the false pretext of looking for Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD), which never existed! If justice prevailed in the international sphere, George W Bush should have been put on trial for mass genocide in Iraq, but unfortunately we live in an unjust world dictated by whoever has bigger gun.
While violence can’t be justified, but the general hatred against the US in the Gulf region is not hard to understand. All Islamic violence will instantly come to an end if the US and the West simply stop meddling in the Gulf for oil – but can you really change the historical mindset?
2d) IS INDIA SAFE FROM GLOBAL ISLAMIC TERRORISM ?
Apart from the regular nuisance of Pak sponsored Islamic violence in J&K and the unholy support of Pak army to help the home-grown Jihadi killers cross Indian borders, the rise of Islamic State (also known as the ISIS or ISIL) in the Middle East may also have some potential to cause extra Islamic violence in India. As ISIS penetrates into Afghanistan and Pakistan by luring various terror groups the threat to India will increase. Some terror groups in Afghan-Pak regions have already accepted leadership of ISIS, which aims to unite all terror groups under its banner.
However, experts say that although the reports of a possible ISIS threat should not be ignored, there is no need for panic. They point out that the ISIS has apparently seen quick successes in the Middle East because it did not meet any significant organized opposition from the faction torn neighbours and never faced the Western ground troops; the US and the West have restricted themselves to mere aerial bombing of ISIS locations.
In order to spread violence in the far off South Asia the ISIS needs considerable military muscle and a coherent army of Jihadi killers in the region; currently it lacks both. Even if some factions of Taliban and Al Qaeda in the Afghan-Pak region have joined ISIS they are likely to be bigger threat to the Afghanistan and Pakistan.
ISIS’s Jihadi operations in India will have to mainly depend upon the local support from the radicalized section of the Indian Muslim community; for instance it will have to rely heavily on groups such as the Indian Muzahideen and their sleeping cells. Bad for the ISIS: despite glamorizing its barbaric Sharia culture and attracting disgruntled Muslims from the Western nations response from India is not so encouraging. Yet, the possibility of another Mumbai type attack always remains.
According to Indian intelligence sources (and reported by media on November18-19, 2015), so far 23 Indian Muslim youth have gone to fight on behalf of ISIS: including 2 from Maharashtra, 1 each from Telangana and Karnataka, 1 Australia based Kashmiri, and 1 each from Oman and Singapore. Of which 6 got killed while fighting – 3 were from the banned outfit Indian Muzahiden (IM) including 2 who had earlier received terror training in Pakistan, 2 were from Maharashtra, 1 from Telangana (where notorious Owaisi brothers incite Muslims against Hindus).
They also prevented 30 youth from going to Syria and Middle East. About 150, mostly from South India, are under close watch of secret agents who have developed sympathy for IS terror ideology.
They have identified 5 states that could be potential targets for IS operatives: J&K, UP, Maharashtra, WB and Assam. It is remarkable that the gulf state UAE has been cooperating actively with India. It handed over 4 suspected youths to India who were trying to go to Syria and another lady Ayesha Jabin – an IS recruiter.
Given the huge Muslim population in India (about 180 million) their number is simply too insignificant – but, of course, given their destructive ability just a handful can create widespread harm as the Mumbai terror attack has shown. In fact, all radicalization in India must be ultimately blamed on cash rich Wahhabi Mullahs from Saudi-Qatar who have been trying to change the face of Indian Islam, since a very long time. In contrast, Europe has just 15 million Muslims – of which about 1/3rd live in France – but thousands have gone to Middle East to join IS Jihad.
Credit for the insignificant response from India fully goes to the nature of Indian Islam – which is more peace loving due to influence of Sufi Islam which is highly spiritual apart from the influence of 1000 million Hindus whose Dharma based lifestyle is extremely accommodative, peaceful and tolerant. After all, Indian Muslims are all ex Hindus who have to embrace Islam under hostile conditions for survival in the past centuries, particularly under 800 years of Islamic rule. They can never be as brutal as some of their Wahhbi counterparts of Arab world whose roots lie in the historic barbaric Arab tribal culture.
In contrast, the IS can easily find a vast pool of Jihadi recruits in Pakistan where dozens of state sponsored Jihad factories have been churning out a variety of ‘well-finished products’ for years!! The US doesn’t really mind if its development aid is used to feed terror against India.
Additionally, there are still rational Muslims like Maulana Madni who love this country and who would never allow Muslim youth to go insane or destructive, in the name of Islam:
You may like to explore: Is ISIS A Serious Threat To India?
2e) SOME DISTURBING TRENDS
How Islam can be used to indulge in irrational and unethical and immoral behavior can be seen from this Islamic character called Zakir Naik. This is what worries sane people of the world, not just in India. How violent mindset and Islam get connected, almost naturally, is seen from this another Islamic creature from Hyderabad.
Although the number of indirect sympathizers of radical Islam among Indian Muslims is hard to gauge accurately, there are some clear pointers to the eminent potential dangers:
- The cult of glorifying Muslim terrorists as ‘Muslim martyr’ has also entered India. It was glaringly clear when the 1993 Mumbai serial blast convict, Yakub Memon, was hanged on 30 July 2015. Hyderabadi Muslim fundamentalist leader Owaisi and likes of SP leader Abu Azami raised the dangerous logic: Yakub should not be hanged because he was a Muslim! Thousands gathered at the terrorist’s funeral in Mumbai as if he was ‘Muslim martyr’ who had only ‘performed his religious duty’ through the bombings that killed 257 people and paralyzed the city. In their opinion, it’s a typical terror tactics allowed by their version of Islam.
- Indian media is utterly irresponsible and can damage national interest – Yakub’s hanging revealed it in the ugliest fashion. Groups like the ISIS thrive on media coverage – immature Indian media has huge potential to become terrorists’ friend – knowingly or unknowingly. It might be interesting to investigate the role of Gulf Islamic funds in the corporate house that controls the ABP News in India.
- Saudi directed Wahhabis have recently taken control of around 75 Mosques in Kerala. Kerala is also the state where some radicalization has been clearly visible – when some Muslims mourned the deaths of Osama Bin Laden and Ajmal Kasab in the recent past. Occasionally, the ISIS flag has been sighted in public gatherings. Kerala is a state to be watched for potential Islamic violence on non-Muslims.
- Indian government has identified 12 states where some Wahhabi influence has been noted: Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Gujarat, Jammu and Kashmir, Karnataka, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Telangana and West Bengal.
Indian government is consciously monitoring the fund flow from the Gulf region, it has tightened visa norms for Wahhabi preachers from the Middle East, seeking help of Muslims elders in preventing Wahhabi activities in the Mosques and trying to counter ISIS propaganda on various social media sites.
Here is the Wahhabi agenda to radicalize Indian Muslims:
It is incumbent upon all Indian Muslims to keep away from the poison of barbaric interpretation of Islam and stay peaceful when criminal elements preach hatred against Hindus and revolt against the Indian state.
Do explore in Detail: Is ISIS A Serious Threat To India?
- COMMUNAL HARMONY AND DISTORTED SECULARISM
In the truncated “Secular” India, activities of radical Islamic elements, who could not go to Pakistan during partition but remained in India as Pak sympathizer, remained an ever lurking threat to communal harmony. It also often triggered fundamentalism on the other side. However, the ruling Congress Party leaders generally remained silent onlookers to their provocative or belligerent activities until forced to act – it was seen as unfair minority appeasement by the majority silent Hindus. The bitter memories of bloodbath following the partition served to sustain mutual mistrust in both communities.
In the later years, this appeasement transformed into minority ‘vote bank’ politics and distortions crept in the secularism as practiced – the anti-Hindu brand of secularism is still going on. After 68 years, “secularism” in India only stands for communal politics to corner Muslim or Christian vote banks. Of the two, the 14% Muslim “vote bank” is more lucrative; hence, they are the prime targets of politicians masquerading as “Secular”.
Most recently, on July 30th 2015 hanging of 1993 Mumbai serial bombing terrorist Yakub Memon brought on the surface the ugly face of distorted secularism when likes of 100% communal politician, Owaisi, and a section of irresponsible media tried to give it a communal color. They tried creating an atmosphere as if ‘Hindu’ Indian government is chasing an ‘innocent’ Islamic terrorist who was only performing his religious duty!
Allowing themselves to become pawns in the “communal” politics of deceptive “secular” politicians is the biggest mistake Muslims have made. It has actually harmed them more than anyone else. Indian Muslim community historically excelled in a variety of skills and cultural activities, but groomed as ‘vote bank’ for decades they increasingly sank into poverty and hopelessness. Funds for government schemes were, almost as a rule, siphoned off by the corrupt power brokers of the community with political connections.
After dumping the community into poverty the ‘Secularists’ then started demanding “reservation” for Muslims in government jobs alongside dalits and other backward communities. Thus, poor Muslims got pushed into the reservation politics also.
3a) TRACING ROOTS OF ‘SECULAR VOTE BANK’ POLITICS
The roots of the communal vote bank politics can be easily traced to Indira Gandhi era. Indira’s self centered politics not only ruined democratic institutions but distorted political discourse. Along with another SC/ST “vote bank” it became a standard political tool to win elections. The tactics soon spread to other parties – and “Secular” politicians started cropping up everywhere. Needless to say, these secularists merely pose of as champions of minority interests, win their votes and, of course, forget them afterwards.
These “Secular politicians” have badly polarized the country on religious grounds. Election times gear them to play their dirty politics. It often starts by accusing Hindu organizations of being “Communal” ! By now people know that if anyone is trying to malign the RSS or Hindu religious leaders, he/she is only trying to hide behind ‘secularism’ – hoping to corner Muslim and minority votes.
3b) SECURALISM IN INDIA
No sane person can deny that in a multi-religious society like India, secularism is a vital concept. People should have the freedom to practice their faith, customs and traditions peacefully, without fear or discrimination.
However, India did not become secular because Indira Gandhi inserted the word into the Constitution in 1976. India is secular because the 80% Hindu population is innately secular and highly accommodative. Hindus don’t practice any monolithic religion like Christianity or Islam. There is no ONLY holy book they read and don’t surrender to some ONLY god. Hindu scriptures don’t divide humanity into believers and non-believers, and demand that non-believers should be “converted” or decimated.
Hinduism is a collection of numerous sects with differing beliefs and faiths. Respect for diversity is inbuilt into Hindus’ life philosophy; they are taught to respect ethics and morality no matter which saint teaches it. Thus, Hindus are united by “universal ethics and morality” which is included in their eternal Dharma. Various faiths are seen as mere different paths to practice Dharma and reach the same ultimate truth, which may or may not be called god.
There is absolutely nothing in the dharma based beliefs of Hindus that encourages looking down upon or discrimination against outsiders or strangers. There are no outsiders, if you see humanity as one! Therefore, it makes no sense to teach “secularism” to Hindus.
On the contrary, the idea of “secularism” is very much required in a multi “religion” society because religions are by definition monolithic and discriminatory. Religions divide people into believers and non-believers and imposes “religious duty” to “convert” non-believers. This discrimination and “conversion” aspect of religions is what gives them the communal flavor.
The conversion game can be really devious; it is in reality full of deception. The image here is a typical example of how the Christian Conversion freaks operate to influence gullible masses. Their financial rewards depends upon no of ‘Conversions’ they affect.
Hinduism and other India originated philosophies – Jainism, Sikhism and Buddhism – promote life of high morality and are devoid of this “communal color”. Therefore, calling 80% Indians ‘communal’ is a display of intellectual bankruptcy and philosophical ignorance that Dharma and religion are very different things.
These 80% Indians get highly upset when they see Christian missionaries and Muslim preachers scouting for poor and innocent people for “conversions”. For sake of better communal harmony in India, their “Right to Convert” should be taken away by force of law. [Religious Crusades of the CIA]
3c) ARE MINORITIES SAFE IN INDIA?
This tiny section addresses the concerns of Western influenced people, particularly in the media. When an American or European journo raise such an issue, it is understandable because the Western made concept of “Religion” runs in their veins and where, for example, a Christian is naturally supposed to have a discriminatory mindset towards a Muslim. But when an Indian intellectual writes a piece with this mindset he/she is doing a great injustice to 105 crore non-Muslim and non-Christian Indians. It merely reflects a distorted or hollow understanding of Indian culture. A brief demographic comparison of India and Pakistan is shown in the image above; hope it is not too complicated for their communal mind!
It is the amalgamating influence of accommodative, peace-loving and often unassertive 80% Hindus that minorities in India enjoy a rare degree of social and political freedom. No doubt there are extreme elements among Hindus, but their scripture don’t make them fanatic to hate and decimate neighbors with different beliefs. Things like Holy Crusade and Holy Jehad to hate or dominate people of other faiths is a foreign concept for 105 crore Indians, not following Christianity or Islam. Until about 100 years after Christ, Christianity was largely spiritual – in fact, that’s what the saintly figure called Jesus taught – and people largely looked towards India’s highly developed spiritual practices for inspirations. But then political brains grabbed the newly created philosophy and started injecting their own versions and interpretations. Today, it is all costumes and rituals, in the name of religion – the essence totally disappeared.
Similar things happen after 7th century. For early Muslims, Prophet’s teachings were purely spiritual – meant to purify people’s hearts and minds and encourage them to lead a pious life. Sufis understood that and started leading life according to that. They never divided humanity or spoke only to “Muslim” followers, whatever they spoke (and they still do) was universal and meant for the whole humanity. But in societies not used to presence of saintly personalities, ignorant people reduced Islam to just a cult to the followed brainlessly – through rituals and costumes.
Perhaps the biggest mistake Indian Muslims have made is to not go whole-heartedly for “Sufi” branch of Islam which is perhaps the most spiritual, and thus most humane, form of Islam that respects people of other faiths too. Only Sufis, Pirs, and Fakirs can integrate people of all faiths and philosophies, and particularly the Muslim communities into rest of the mainstream. Instead, what is promoted in the Madrasas with Gulf funds, easily falls for radicalism – it has separative and disruptive flavor.
Here is the Russian perspective on minorities:
A more relevant question from Indian perspective is: Why minorities not safe in Islamic Pakistan and Bangladesh?
3d) ARE MUSLIMS IN ‘MINORITY’ IN INDIA?
Who should be considered a minority in India:
180 million Indian Muslims who form 14.2% population and still growing in number (fertility 3.2 per woman compared with the declining national average of 2.3) or less than 70,000 Parsees who are at the risk of extinction (fertility 0.8 per woman)?
To any rational mind, calling Parsees minority makes sense; handful Jews in India can be surely called minority. But saying that Indian Muslims are ‘minority’ defies all logic. Their population is more than the combined populations of two biggest Muslim countries: Egypt (86 million) and Iran (78 million). They are actually a full nation (almost as big as Pakistan) inside India. It is mere a part of appeasement politics by fake secular politicians when they call Muslims ‘minority’.
Here is a voice of sanity ignored by Indian media and pseudo-intellectuals:
If India is supposedly a ‘secular’ – religion neutral – country, then why use religion as basis for any classification or favor? One also doesn’t understand why do they keep putting Islam into every tiny social issue?
Realities of the modern 21st century society demand that Muslim leaders stop making demands in the name of Islam and learn how to live in a Secular State from Indian Parsees and Jews – who also practice foreign born Faiths. In fact, Parsees can teach a lot to the Muslim community – how to respect Dharma based tolerant Hindu culture to live peacefully and prosper through hard work and forward looking mindset.
Right ‘secular’ parameters to judge small and minor groups of people who might be living ignored or excluded are – poverty, physical or mental disability, socially boycotted (lesbian, gay, transgender), people living in difficult terrain, illiteracy, poor senior citizens without support, orphan / abandoned children, group of people persecuted on any ground (eg. Kashmiri Hindus who were driven out of Valley because they are Hindus by radical Islamists), etc.
Does Muslim community qualify to be called a ‘minority’ group on any of these really ‘secular parameters’?
The answer is a clear NO.
Poverty may be applied on Muslims, but they alone are not poor in India. In fact, none of the progressive and secular minded Muslims are poor. Religious ghettoization and indifference to modern education are main reasons of poverty among Indian Muslims. So backward looking Mullahs should take the blame for that.
4. A TERRIBLE MISTAKE ! EQUATING “DHARMA” WITH “RELIGION”
Yes, India made a terrible mistake when it equated its profound “Dharma” with the English word “Religion”. The wrong translation occurred because people used the phrase Hindu Dharma, Sikh Dharma, Jain Dharma and so on to describe these philosophies. In reality, it is utterly wrong to call the Hindu Dharma as Hindu religion, the Sikh Dharma as Sikh religion or the Jain Dharma as Jain religion.
Christianity and Islam are certainly “Religions.”
Comparing “Dharma” with religion is like naming football as ping pong ball because both are ‘round’ or because both are used to play sport! This ended up devaluing the culture and philosophy of over 80% of India’s population that did not practice foreign originated philosophies of Islam or Christianity.
‘Religion’ is strictly a narrow Western construct. It was coined to describe the characteristics of Abrahamic or Prophetic philosophies such as Judaism, Christianity and Islam. It is a “religion” when a separate super powerful and all-knowing entity called ‘God’ reveals the ‘Only Truth’ to a ‘Messenger’ which is written in a ‘Holy Book.’
As a follower, you are suppose to merely “believe” in whatever is told to you, accept an unknown and unseen ‘savior’ God who will ‘salvage’ you, or lead you to some ‘Paradise’, perform pre-fixed rituals and abide by the hierarchy of the religion. So, the English word “religion” denotes a specific “belief system”. Thus, Christians and Muslims have their own separate gods, separate “Holy” books and different rituals and traditions.
So, if you want to become a Muslim start “believing” in Muhammad or if you want to believe in the Jesus as your “Savior”, declare so and turn Christian. Simple! Isn’t it? It is all about “belief”. But you can’t be a Muslim and a Christian at the same time and if you can’t believe in “God” forget about being religious – in the Western sense! And then you can’t be selective – you have to allow the whole package to be imposed upon you. It’s a shut-mind affair!!
In contrast, India born life philosophies – Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, Sikhism etc – are simply different paths to practice Dharma, which is universal and eternal. Dharma is profound – it points to nature’s laws that govern all existence including human life, in another sense it points to inherent characteristics of things. The law of Karma is a vital theme of Dharma as it applies on human beings.
So, dharma already exists, you only need to recognize and understand it in order to lead a good peaceful life. Stating in simple words,
Dharma provides a universal world-view which orients people towards peaceful and harmonious living, among themselves as well as with nature.
Dharma is not a revelation by some supposedly super-natural omniscient entity. It was collectively discovered by spiritual scientists of ancient India; they were sages and rishis who devoted their lives to discover various aspects of Dharma and lead life according to it. Yoga and meditation were their prime tools for discovering higher dimensions of human living. They did document their knowledge in “Vedas” and other texts. However, nothing is imposed on you and don’t have to declare that you believe in them. There are no imposed beliefs or restrictions on how and what you think.
Needless to say, there are numerous paths to take you to ultimate reality; you learn and decide what is good for you.
In contrast, a religion restricts you. You can be religious only as long as you are a “believer” of that particular ‘belief system’. Typically, you have to believe in three concepts: presence of an omniscient and omnipresent God as an entity who rules the world, his “chosen” messenger (for example, Jesus for Christians and Mohammad for Muslims) for revealing the only “Truth”, and the Holy Book that contains the particular Teaching.
On the lighter note: nothing will go wrong if we start calling “communism” a religion, and create a theory that the ‘God’ revealed the ‘Only Truth’ to the chosen ‘messenger’ Carl Marx! We can add further: if you believe in Marx you will go to heaven after death, else you will face endless torture in the hell!! You can be still more ‘creative’ depending upon what you want to believe !
But after everything is said and justified; it is just an adopted belief after all !!
4c) CONSEQUENCES OF EQUATING DHARMA WITH RELIGION
Using the concept of ‘religion’ to interpret the Indian philosophies distorts their right understanding. Not because they are complex, but because they are being seen through a filtering glass. The most serious objection is that the 85% Indians get branded as communal, which is utterly non-sense.
The question of communalism arises only with ‘religions’ because they see humanity divided between ‘believers’ and ‘non-believers’. Discrimination against people of different beliefs is inherent in religions.
How can you apply the same logic on people (Hindus) who naturally live with differing viewpoints and beliefs?
In fact, people of India (Bharat) were not conscious of their “faith” until the followers of Christ and Mohammad came in. The word ‘Hinduism’ was coined by them from their perspective. They follow their personal beliefs and customs but also respect other saints and their followers. “Belief” was never a dividing line for discrimination. But the arrival of missionaries of the prophetic religions, their division of people between believers and non-believers and their “conversion” game changed all that.
What we are seeing today in the Pak-Afghan region and in the Gulf is the worst face of religion. Even Muslims are killing each other in the name of narrow faithlines. What Pakistan started doing in Kashmir since 1989, is also the same thing: inciting violence in the name of Islam.
Clearly, religion is only as good as the people handling it!
You may also like to explore: World Needs More “Dharma” and less Religion !
5. THE UNFINISHED AGENDA OF NATIONAL INTEGRATION
It was the first Indian Home Minister, Sardar Patel who used his political skills to merge over 550 princely estates into the Indian Union. It was natural that these rulers would be reluctant to give up power, but that’s what political realities demanded. In fact, Hyderabad was the last royal estate to get absorbed in India in the 1950s.
It is a matter of pride for all Indians that the NDA government is building a world class monument to honor the “Real Sardar” of India by collecting small pieces of iron from across the country. Such nationalistic things are not found in the DNA of Congress Party elites whose thinking and functioning very much resemble colonial rulers.
If Patel integrated princely states into one mainstream, many areas were still left ignored and neglected. These are the North Eastern region and tribal areas scattered across the country.
The colonial looters naturally governed India so that they can rob maximum resources to benefit Britain. Thus, for their own convenience they had left several parts of the country “ungoverned” and labelled them as “partially secluded” or “excluded”. These were primarily tribal areas with different tribes having their unique cultural traditions. These tribal areas became fifth and sixth schedule areas in free India with the idea of allowing the tribes to rule themselves as per their tradition and enjoy cultural freedom.
The North Eastern states have pockets governed under the sixths schedule that offers significant autonomy to local people. Tribals of rest of the country fall under the fifth schedule provisions of local governance; more correctly they come under the PESA Act that will be covered later. These are the areas where the left wing extremism took roots to become the biggest internal security risk for the country.
Then there is the long pending and sensitive issue of Uniform Civil Code – sensitive because leading Muslim bodies like the All-India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) squarely oppose it. Absence of UCC has prevented formation of a common Indian identity, away from the typical religious individuality. Muslim appeasement politics and backward looking Islamic clergy are the biggest hurdles in adopting UCC and allowing India to become a really modern democracy.
5a) THE NORTH EASTERN STATES
A vital unfinished business of national integration relates to the diversities – cultural, linguistic, and traditional – which are integral parts of Indian social fabric. In diversity India is more colorful than any other country or even continent. But it is ironical that a typical north Indian knows very little about the south and vice-versa, and most Indians know precious little about the North Eastern states, their people, culture and tradition. It is a shame that even in the capital Delhi there are ignorant people who consider their brothers and sisters from the North East as foreigners. This is frightening. Economic activities have significantly bridged the north-south gap but the North-East still needs to be integrated with rest of the country. Perhaps the best way to do it is to hold regular cultural festivals across India so that people of one state know about others.
The ways to go about assimilating them into national mainstream are improving connectivity and developing infrastructure to spur economic development.
Again this long overdue task has been undertaken by BJP’s Modi government at the Center. Steps have been taken to prevent discrimination against them and a special help-line has been set up to take care of their grievances.
You may like to explore: Birth and Spirit of the Sixth Schedule
5b) NAXAL VIOLENCE – THE BIGGEST INTERNAL SECURITY THREAT
Can you imagine a country that leaves a vast part of its territory ungoverned?
This is exactly what the Congress Party has done in its six decades of governance at the Center. It never occurred to these great ruling elites to take care of their fellow countrymen living is isolated conditions in remote hills and forests, leaving them at the mercy of forest officials who acted as if they were still employed by the agents of the British East India Company. The governance vacuum was filled by left-wing extremists called naxalites, who exploited the isolation of the tribals and injustices done by state officials and money lenders to strengthen their cadre. Their aim is to destroy the Indian State and replace it with a communist state following the Maoist ideology. Through all these decades the Indian government kept pretending that it was mere law-and-order problem.
They are now recognized as the biggest internal security risk for the country.
5b-1) The ‘Red Corridor’ and Maoist Violence
Over the years, they carved out a vast territory covering 92,000 sq km area, called “Red Corridor” by the media. It has grown dramatically in last two decades along the East coast right from Nepal to Tamil Nadu. In the early 1990s the number of districts affected by varying degrees of Maoist violence stood at just 15 in four states. This rose to 55 districts in nine states by the end of 2003 and to 156 districts in 13 states in 2004.
Maoists are currently believed to be operating in around 200 districts (of a total of 604 districts in the country) in 17 states. The worst affected states are Jharkhand, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, and Orissa. The poverty and backwardness of people in these forest covered areas has provided a fertile ground for the growth of Naxals/Maoists who have been gaining strength at every neglect of these people on the part of the governments.
Download the full report on Naxal/Maoist Violence: NAXAL_Report
5c) NON-IMPLEMENTATION OF UNIFORM CIVIL CODE (UCC)
For the third time this year, in October 2015, the Supreme Court asked the Central government whether it was willing to come forward with a Uniform Civil Code (UCC) to get rid of inconsistent personal laws for different religions and deny the right to equality. But it is an issue that Congress governments of past six decades have been evading, largely to please Muslim Mullahs who provide Muslim votes. Needless to say, for Indian Mullahs progress only means going back to 7th century Arab world and living under the so-called Shari’ah Law, even in the modern 21st century!
Actually, the issue of UCC dates back to the colonial period when the British applied a common criminal code on all but allowed different religious communities the freedom to have their own religious laws for personal matters. These different personal laws deal with the matters involving marriage, divorce, inheritance, adoption and maintenance in the respective religious communities.
While framing the Constitution these personal laws were debated extensively. Progressive thinkers saw them as divisive and wanted a Uniform Civil Code on all Indians – in order to create a unique Indian national identity and eradicate caste and religion based identities. But they were opposed on the ground that it would destroy the cultural identity of minorities (implying followers of 2 foreign faiths, Christians and Muslims!). Thus, a compromise was reached – the UCC was placed under the Directive principles (these are non-binding), but which the state shall endeavour to achieve.
Hence, we have Article 44 of the Constitution which says: “The State shall endeavour to secure for the citizens a uniform civil code throughout the territory of India.” And there is Article 14 which ensures right to equality.
In mid-80s the issue of UCC came under national lime light in the famous Shah Bano case. But Congress leaders failed to show any firmness in pushing forward the UCC agenda; instead they surrendered before Muslim Mullahs – betraying the cause of women empowerment and equality in the Muslim community.
THE “INFAMOUS” SHAH BANO CASE!
The Shah Bano case of 1985 stirred up a heated debate when the Supreme Court gave its verdict in favor of an elderly Muslim lady and mother of five, Shah Bano. She was divorced by her husband who refused to pay her maintenance beyond the period of iddat (three-month period after divorce in which she cannot remarry) arguing that the Muslim Personal Law allows only that much.
The Supreme Court granted her maintenance for life under Section 125 of the Cr.P.C (according to which he had to maintain her until she remarries or dies, if she has no means of her own for survival). The Supreme Court held that the Cr.P.C. was common for all and that she could claim maintenance under it. Thus the Muslim Personal Law could not be applied.
The Islamic clergy habitually made it a big issue and called it an assault on their holy Shari’ah law. PM Rajiv Gandhi soon went into ‘appeasement mode’ and hurriedly passed the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Divorce) Act, 1986 to nullify the SC verdict. However, later the SC nullified this Act and restored its verdict in favor of Shah Bano. Interestingly, many Muslims including the All India Shia Personal Law Board supported this order.
But the case badly exposed Congress for its non-seriousness to national issues of long term importance.
INDIA ALLOWS 5 DIFFERENT PERSONAL LAWS!
Thus we have several personal laws governing different religious communities.
The Hindu Marriage Act is applicable over people following India born Dharma-based life philosophies – Hindus, Buddhists, Jains or Sikhs. In fact, there are three other acts: the Hindu Succession Act, the Hindu Minority and Guardianship Act, and the Hindu Adoptions and Maintenance Act. They were all passed during 1955-56.
The Muslim Personal Law (Shariat) Application Act, 1937 for Muslims and the Parsee Marriage and Divorce Act that applies on the Parsees.
The Christian Marriage Act, 1872 is applicable on all Indian Christians (except in the state of Goa) and their divorce related matters fall under the Indian divorce act of 1869.
There is also a Special Marriages Act, 1954 which allows marriage irrespective of the religion of couple involved.
Implementing a Uniform Civil Code will make all these laws vanish and all Indians will come under a single law, regardless of religion.
It will make India truly a modern secular state, help eliminate Muslim and Christian ‘vote bank’ politics, reduce the burden the on legal system, and most importantly it will free Muslim women from the archaic, unjust and suppressive practices like triple talaq and male polygamy.
In fact, Goa can show the way. It has a Common Family Law which is also called Goa Civil Code and governs all Goans, although it allows some exceptions to some communities. It is certainly not a true Uniform Civil Code, but shows that it is possible to move towards a UCC, despite the bickering of appeasement politicians and vehement opposition of Muslim Mullahs.
You may like to explore:
6. WHY TRIBALS AND NAXAL ISSUES SUDDENLY BECAME IMPORTANT?
The reason Indian government was forced to pay attention to Naxal Violence is the corporate interest in the natural resources, mineral mines, and water reservoirs located in these areas for ”developmental” activities under the economic reforms started in 1991. Over 75 percent natural resources, mineral mines, water reservoirs are located in the remote areas populated by the poorest of poor – Adivasis (tribals). After neglecting these areas for decades and allowing them to become the den of Naxal violence, the State and Central governments suddenly became interested in them in the post-reform era.
However, rather than appreciating the eco-friendly lifestyle of the tribals and rewarding them for preserving the natural wealth, our rulers are throwing them out so that the rich and greedy corporations can setup industries and grow the GDP of the country.
[No one wants to think about the scenario, after say 20-30 years, when all the resources have been consumed by the corporates and their bottom-lines fattened? Yes, they will sell-off their businesses leaving behind the trail of ecological mess in the areas which have been kept lush green and preserved by the illiterate tribals since ages. Isn’t it pathetic?]
Deploying security forces ostensibly in the name of fighting Naxals is the usual trick employed by the governments. The real reason is to secure the resources for the corporate houses and help evicting the local tribals. But if the government is sincere about tribal welfare, it should strengthen implementation of the PESA Act of 1996 [Panchayat (Extension to Scheduled Areas) Act, 1996]. The Act extends the Panchayat Raj system to the Fifth Schedule areas and allows the tribal communities grass-root democracy by activating the Gram Sabhas (village assemblies). The Act empowers the Gram Sabhas to take authority over local natural resources also.
If the Act is honestly implemented, it will also render the Maoists baseless by allowing the rule of the law that protects the tribals. Once the tribal people get connected to the Panchayat system, they will have platforms to raise their issues and develop themselves. Unfortunately, so far the implementation of the PESA Act has been pathetic because no one (state government, forest officials, or politicians) wants to allow the poor tribals to rule themselves through their Gram Sabhas. They are more comfortable nurturing the interests of rich corporate houses. As the Union government is moving ahead with corporatization and adopting the US style corporate-led economy, the PESA, forest laws and the rule of Garm Sabhas and Panchayats will only remain paper laws for appeasement.
You may like to read:
7. POVERTY IN INDIA
India, the largest democracy of 1.25 billion people, is also the biggest center of poverty in the world – it is both widespread and intense. Today India has officially 363 million (or 29.5 percent) people under the poverty line, as against 407 million in 2004-05. This is latest claim of India’s Planning Commission in June 2014 after the latest Rangarajan Expert Group gave its report. Before its report, poverty was 22%. A brilliant game of counting the poor! It sure is a sick joke people of India are quite used to.
Good news is that the Planning Commission died in 2014 – Modi killed it!! He replaced it with the National Institution for Transforming India (NITI); its structure and role will evolve in the coming months. Demise of outdated Planning Commission is a good news for all who want a real bottom-to-top flow of ideas. The Planning Commission was rightly a gathering of ‘Bunch of Jokers’ in the eyes of late Rajiv Gandhi. It was a club of well connected bureaucrats who lived in isolation and enjoyed lavishly on public money. In 2011-12, its staff of 1160, ate away Rs 84 lakhs in “Chai-Nashta”!! Its elite bosses wasted Rs 34 lakhs in renovation of 2 toilets in 2012!! None of its privileged member would have known that over 60% Indians have no toilet.
The comprehensive Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI) of UK based Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative (OPHI) and the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) gives a better insight into the extent and nature of poverty. The MPI puts Indian poverty at about 53% (650 million poor).
While no one believes the official poverty data of the Indian government, it is fair to say that about 400 – 600 million people live in poverty. While there can never be agreement on poverty numbers, compare these numbers with the European Union and US populations of over 500 million and 320 million, respectively. These are huge numbers, by any standard.
India holds the distinction of having the most number of poor of the world – a super poor nation! Consequently, South Asia has become the world’s biggest center of extreme poverty. On the World Bank’s extreme poverty line of 1.25 dollars a day, there are roughly 500 million extreme poor in South Asia – most of it in India. The only other comparable pocket of poverty is the sub Saharan Africa, with 400 million people in extreme poverty.
Yet, India has about 100 and sub Sahara Africa 16 billionaires !!
Learn about 8 Reasons Why India is So Poor.
7a) EVER WONDERED WHY INDIA BECAME SO POOR
“A significant fact which stands out is that those parts of India which have been longest under British rule are the poorest today.” – Jawaharlal Nehru, First Prime Minister of India
The colonial British rule laid the foundation for a long term and chronic poverty in India after they departed – this is what Nehru is essentially saying above. The tiny state of Kerala in the southern India fortunately saw the least damaging influence of the British plunderers (there are many reasons for that) and is at present a unique model (in the world) of improvement in the quality of life through social and human development alone.
It was the traditional historic prosperity of India that attracted invaders from various parts of the world in the last 2000 years. Prior to the British, India had been ruled by the foreigners like the Kushanas, Turko-Afghans and Mughals. All of them gradually got assimilated into the Indian society and culture. They not only became absorbed in India but also protected and promoted Indian society, culture and economy. None of them systematically drained India’s wealth or resources to make another country prosperous.
But the British were different; they solely came to loot and plunder to make Britain prosper. The foundation of prosperity of all colonial powers of the past rests squarely on colonial plunder and/or slavery. The image shows how wretched and deceptive their tactics were. They not only took away natural resources but also destroyed social and cultural fabric of India, in the most organized manner.
Here is an eye opening article all intelligent Indians should read and ponder:
7b) POVERTY CAN’T BE PROPERLY MEASURED IN MONETARY TERMS
In 21st Century, poverty must be seen in the right perspective; not by some arbitrary income line fixed by so-called experts. Poverty must be looked, beyond income. Research of past few decades has firmly established that poverty cannot be properly understood in economic terms alone – divorced of social, cultural and political perspectives. People are social beings; processes and activities of the society affect their state of well-being. Studies of the problems of poor people and their communities have led to an understanding of poverty as a situation of several simultaneous deprivations, feeding one another. The new perspective sees poverty as a human condition that reflects failures in many aspects of human life – related to nourishment, employment, shelter, health, education, social and political participation, etc.
Perhaps the most fundamental definition of poverty comes from Amartya Sen’s capability theory of development: It see poverty as failure of basic human capabilities related to fundamental needs of survival. This approach has brought a paradigm shift in the development thinking around the world in the past two decades.
Sen’s ideas lie behind the development of the multidimensional poverty index (MPI) – created jointly by the UNDP and OPHI in 2010. It lays down a map of various deprivations people are facing; it provides very useful information for the policy planners. Several nations like Brazil and Mexico have adopted variations of the MPI technique for estimating poverty.
Seen in this comprehensive perspective, poverty becomes an issue of lack of proper social and human development. You may explore: Why Poverty? Let’s talk People Development
7c) MNREGA – WORLD’S LARGEST ANTI-POVERTY PROGRAM
Passed in 2005, the National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (NREGA) is the Biggest Anti-poverty Program in the World! In spirit, the developmental projects under the NREGA (now renamed MGNREGA; MG for Mahatma Gandhi) are supposed to be designed, planned and implemented by the gram Panchayats. Thus, this unique Act has the potential to revitalize the PRIs, giving impetus to the grass-root democracy, and also create unskilled jobs in rural India. This scheme has become the darling of the rural poor who can LEGALLY claim up to 100 days of unskilled work at the prescribed minimum wages. However, The real Potential of MGNREGA is yet to be Realized. Unfortunately, many states have failed to appreciate the potentials of this program. If implemented in fairness and in coordination with broader plans, MGNREGA can become the catalyst for transformation of rural India.
Poverty cannot be eliminated from the country without looking after the small farmers. Fascinated by text book prescription of eliminating all subsidies by the Western lenders, the government is bent on eliminating all forms of subsidies given to the farmers. This is simply disastrous: Western nations indulge in all manners of protections for their farmers and subsidize basic food items to keep food prices low and affordable. Their farming sector is not a major livelihood provider unlike in India. Offering ever increasing minimum support price (MSP) to farmers is an inadequate and inefficient way to help the farmers or to keep the food prices in control. Indian farmers need Income support, not just MSP.
8. POPULATION STABILIZATION
Why population of India does not stop growing – is a common question people want to ask.
They will be happy to know that in the past decade population growth has declined sharply. Further good news is that the birthrates are falling all over the world, not only in India. The Malthusian fear of overpopulation has gone bust already.
8a) CURRENT POPULATION STATUS
In June 2015, the Indian population is estimated to be around 1.28 billion, which is about 17.5% of world population. India is a young country: over 50% population is below 25 years of age and over 65% people are below 35. Currently, Indian population is growing at the rate of 1.25% per year – by about 15.4 million annually; the rate was 1.75% in the year 2000.
During the decade 2001-2011, the population of Muslims increased by 24% compared with national growth of 18%. It is lower than the 29% rise in the previous decade. Thus, Muslims now form 14.2% of Indian population, compared with 13.4% in 2001.
Assam witnessed the biggest rise in Muslim population, from 31% in 2001 to 34% in 2011. It was certainly due to illegal immigration from Bangladesh. For the same reason, West Bengal Muslim population 25.2% in 2001 to 27% in 2011. Uttarakhand also registered significant rise, from 11.9% to 13.9%.
Almost half (47%) of Indian Muslims live in just 3 states: UP, West Bengal and Bihar.
8b) CURRENT CAUSE OF POPULATION GROWTH
India’s population is growing not because people are having large families, but simply because there are too many people in the reproductive age group – population momentum. The right strategy to curtail such population growth is to delay all births. But sterilization camps are no more the right place to tackle the population issue; the family planning battle must be now fought on the social plane. The correct anti-dotes to population growth due to momentum are:
- Late marriage: Stop all girls’ marriages below 18. In India, about 47% girls are already married before the legal age of 18 and a significant proportion has already given births. This one action can bring fertility down immediately to 2 children per woman.
- Delayed pregnancies: Delay first pregnancy by 1-3 years after marriage, and
- Space further births: Keep at least 3 years gap between births. Often, quick pregnancies result from non-availability of contraceptives, particularly in the rural areas. Almost a quarter of all births take place for this reason alone.
Indian family planning officials will do themselves as well as the country favor, it they educate themselves on the issues of population momentum and also pay attention to what the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD), Cairo, 1994 laid down on the population question.
Now it is amply clear that girl Child marriages marriages is the biggest culprit leading to high population growth world over. In fact, early marriages, for various traditional and social reasons, have played a big role in propagating poverty through population growth throughout the world. At the core of it, lies the issue of women empowerment, which itself is powerful contraceptive.
Women’s reproductive behavior is strongly influenced by their educational level – more than economic development. Even some years of schooling leave a lasting impact on her future fertility. Because education is empowering.
8c) LATEST FERTILITY TREND
The 2013 Sample Registration System (SRS) statistical report shows that in the past decade fertility rate has fallen sharply – the total fertility rate (TFR) has fallen to 2.3 in 2013. For 2015, we can easily take it to be around 2.25. TFR indicates the average number of children a woman is likely to have in her life time. Experts feel that it will easily reach the target of 2.1 by 2017, definitely before 2020. At this replacement level, the country goes into the final phases of demographic transition, in which population first stabilizes, and then falls as TFR falls below the replacement level.
Experts think that India’s population will peak in 2050 at about 1.5 bn and the decline to 1.45 bn in 2100.
While the steady decline in TFR a welcome sign, there are sharp variations in TFR across states. 11 states have already attained the replacement level TFR of 2.1. The rest 9 are the drags. Among them are the most problematic populous northern states: UP (3.1), Bihar (3.4), MP (2.9), Rajasthan (2.8), Jharkhand (2.7) and Chhattisgarh (2.6).
Uttar Pradesh and Bihar already account for about a quarter of India’s population. Together these states make up 40% of India’s population.
West Bengal has the lowest TFR of 1.6; followed closely by Delhi, Punjab, Himachal, and Tamil Nadu – all at 1.7. Next are Kerala and Andhra at 1.8 and J&K at 1.9.
8d) WHY IMPOSING BIRTH CONTROL IS A BAD IDEA
China’s One-Child policy is often touted as a great success story in population control. Today, its fertility rate of 1.55 children per woman is even lower than many European countries, and much below the replacement level of 2.1 – where population stabilizes. The success, however, came with enormous social and human costs – it badly distorted the sex ratio and took away the basic human right of citizens to plan their families.
Son preference forced Chinese to abort girls to have son as the only allowed child. Present and future generations of Chinese will grow up devoid of knowing family culture or human bonds. Millions of “surplus” males and their needs has created a vast industry of trafficking of women/girls from neighboring countries like North Korea and Myanmar.
In India, even without state control on family size, sex ratios are very bad in Haryana, Punjab and Chandigarh because of strong son preference. These areas have less than 900 females for 1000 males – the worst in the country. The most female friendly state is Kerala, with 1084 females for 1000 males. It will be discussed below.
8e) INDIA WANTS TO INCREASE PARSI POPULATION!
The Parsi Community is Facing Risk of extinction
This surprises people who worry about rising Indian population which is all set to overtake China by 2022 to become the most populous country in the world. Indian government is concerned about the dwindling population of Parsis and has initiated a JIYO Parsi scheme at the cost of 10 crore rupees to encourage Parsis to give more births and change their mindset on marriage and family.
The Parsi community is an anomaly in India by all standards. Numbering just about 69,000 in 2001 (when official counting was done) and declining at the rate of about 12% per decade, the Parsi community is all set for extinction if things are allowed as they stand today. Currently, over half of the Parsis are over 40, a third of all Parsis are over 60, more than 30% of the community never marries and most couples are either kidless or have just one child. For every four Parsi deaths, there is just one birth – no wonder the community is evaporating.
Parsis are called “Parsi” because they came from Persia (Iran) sometime in the 8th and 10thcentury in order to avoid persecution in their homeland Iran at the hands of followers of Mohammad. Advent of Islam in the early 7th century brought miseries for them as Muslims spread towards Iran and threatened the followers of existing faith, Zoroastrianism. Zoroastrians had to flee for survival. They arrived in the Sanjan area of Gujarat coast. After first settling in Kathiawar they then spread south towards Mumbai.
India, the ancient land of Hindus, is still the home to the largest number of Zoroastrians estimated in the range 60,000 – 70,000; other countries with Parsi presence are the land of their origin Iran (25,000), US (11,000), Afghanistan (10,000) and Pakistan (5,000).
Given their microscopic numbers, Parsis contribution towards betterment of Indian society is simply awesome. Parsis have played leading roles in freedom struggle, business, politics, military and film industry. Dadabhai Naoroji is known as the Grand Old Man of India. His effort to press for end of British rule in India was exemplary. Tatas pioneered in establishing several industries that laid the foundation for industrialization and modernization of India.
Homi Jehangir Bhabha founded the Bhabha Atomic Research Institute (BARC) and initiated India’s nuclear program and laid the foundation for modern basic research as Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR). Parsee Natak Mandali set up in 1853 is easily seen as the initiative that laid down the platform for Mumbai’s Film industry. Sir Jamshedji Behramji Kanga, Nani Palkhiwala, Fali Nariman and Soli Sorabjee and India’s easily India’s formidable lawyers ever. You may like to explore
In December 2013, the Indian government launched a Jiyo Parsi (Live Parsi) scheme with two-fold motifs – medical assistance to facilitate pregnancies and counselling-cum-advocacy to change Parsis’ mindset. The fertility rate of Parasis is just 0.8 as against the national average of 2.3. It is interesting to mention that while Parsis community is shrinking India’s Muslim community is all set to become the largest in the world in next 10-15 years due to its high fertility of 3.2, beating Indonesia.
Indian Parsis are truly wonderful people. Unlike Christians and Muslims they don’t indulge in so-called religious conversions to increase their numbers for political gains. They neither demand special favors in the name religion. Their principles of peaceful coexistence vibe well with the ancient Dharma based culture of 100 crore Hindus who would like to have more Parsis among them. Indian Muslims have a lot to learn from Parsis – particularly how to respect Hindus and live peacefully among them without demanding special favors from the ‘secular’ state in the name of religion!
Let’s hope that the JIYO Parsi Program makes a difference and they again start flourishing. (You may also join the JIYO Parsi Program’s efforts on facebook: https://web.facebook.com/jiyoparsi)
8f) POPULATION FEAR IN COLONIAL INDIA
The colonial way to control population of India?!: You may also like to know how the British “ignored” famines in the colonial India as a weapon (instrument) for population management. During the shameful British Raj 30 – 50 million Indians have been estimated to have died in famines in 200 years of colonial plunder.
The post WW-2 years saw Western nations under severe grip of Malthusian population phobia. So much so that aid to the poor countries linked to performance in sterilization targets. In the 1960s, the topic even entered the presidential election in the US when the phrase “population bomb” was coined to depict the fast rising population of the third world countries. You may like to read
8g) KERALA IS UNIQUE: POPULATION CONTROL THROUGH PEOPLE DEVELOPMENT
The tiny state, Kerala, is a unique example of the power of people development; the whole world acknowledges and admires the wonderful culture and society of Kerala. It is also unique in the respect for women; it has the best female/male ratio in the country – 1084 female for every 1000 male as per the 2011 census (highest in the Kunnur District 1136 and the lowest in Idukki district, 1006). Compare it with the national average of 940 females. The next best is way behind; it is Tamil Nadu, 996 female followed closely by Andhra Pradesh with 993 female per 1000 male. Interestingly, the economically prosperous Haryana has the lowest sex ratio, 879 females. What stops our foreign trained scholars of New Delhi to learn from Kerala?
In fact, Kerala can teach a lot, both to India and China about how to look after its people and control the population. In the past 2 decades, neighboring Bangladesh has become another example of how in a short time social development and women empowerment can pull down fertility rates. Its fertility of 2.24 is almost reaching the replacement level of 2.1.
9. GOVERNANCE REFORMS
Every patriotic Indian is feeling the pain looking at the way politician-corporate-bureaucrat nexus has taken control over policy making and distributing country’s resources among themselves. The UPA-II regime glaringly displayed how shamelessly these elites can join hands to fill their personal coffers. Scams involved in the CW games and 2G spectrum and coal block allotments are the most glaring example how country’s natural wealth can be looted. This loot was done in the business-as-usual fashion; therefore no one is ashamed of it.
This is how the corporate world operates around the world – undermining laws of the land and using lawmakers to make laws to promote their business interests. India is among the worst governed countries in the world whose leaders rely on foreign dictates more than sane local voices. This slave mentality has not died even 6 decades after the colonial British left India; on the contrary it has only strengthened. All ills of the nation can be traced only to one thing: Bad Governance.
In fact, lack of accountability at all levels is at the core of bad governance in India and every problem emerges from it – whether Naxal violence, corruption, poverty, or even population. On the Global Integrity Index that measures governance and anti-corruption of nations, India fairs badly. It also points to weak governance due to lack of accountability of politicians and bureaucrats.
The most important governance reforms relate to the electoral processes, police and judiciary, bureaucratic and judicial accountability, and also strengthening grass-root democracy by seriously implementing the PRI and PESA Acts and making caste-based reservations history.
Political reforms and transparency in political funding is at the root of all corruption and bad governance. It particularly creates corruption at the top of the State hierarchy. Simultaneously, two urgent reforms are Police and Judicial Reforms. The police force is still operating in the colonial mindset and sees itself as a protector of rulers from the citizens! Poor and ordinary citizens are particularly vulnerable when they have to deal with the police and seek justice. Indian courts are atrociously slow that makes a mockery of justice. Rich can exploit loopholes in the laws and procedural aspects and can get away with practically anything.
Download the Full Report: Corruption in India
10. RIGHT TO EDUCATION
10a) SARVA SHIKSHA ABHIYAN AND THE RTE ACT, 2009
(Download the full report: Right To Education Act, 2009)
The right to education Act was put into force in 2010. It gave legal right of education to all kids in the age group of 6 – 14. The vehicle for implementation of the RTE is the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA). Since 2010 necessary changes have been made in the rule of the SSA to conform to the RTE requirements.
It is certainly a massive undertaking to cover children even in the remote habitations. But it must be acknowledged that a lot of children began to see schools because of this initiative, they would have never dreamed off otherwise. No doubt, shortage of teachers and quality of education is poor but shall we not celebrate the fact that average enrollment across the country is over 96%. If the government keeps its promise and raise expenditure on education to the tune of 5-6% of GDP, it will have a long term impact on the future generations.
No doubt, critics will keep asking the question: Does Right to Education mean Right to Schooling Only?
However, instead of cynicism it might be more helpful if we also look at the positive side of elementary education in India. And keep improving the delivery.
11. ECONOMIC REFORMS AND LIBERALIZATION
11a) SHIFT FROM SOCIAL DEMOCRACY TO CAPITALISTIC DEMOCRACY
Since 1991, the Indian government is occupied with economic liberalization, privatization and globalization. It marked a dramatic shift from a social democracy to capitalistic democracy. By design, the process is geared towards industrialization and corporatization of India in line with how the Western nations developed, disregarding the ground realities of the country.
Thus, poor and ordinary masses are no longer the focus of economic policies, now the rich became the center of attention. Like in the US, all minerals and natural resources began to be handed over to the rich corporate houses so that they can set up industries and create jobs. Further, they are given various incentives to set up industries while withdrawing subsidies from the farmers and the agriculture sector.
This is also driving rural to urban migration into cities that are already overcrowded. It is height of insanity to think that 125 crore Indian can be herded into towns where they will slave the corporate houses and drive Altos, eat pizzas and buy grocery from air-conditioned Malls like the Americans do.
In the new discourse, “subsidies” to the poor are seen as mere waste of public funds. No wonder, lakhs of farmers were forced to commit suicide in the past two decades. Government and politicians usually have nothing to offer to them, except lip service. This process is still going on and farmers’ suicide is no longer breaking news in the mainstream media.
11b) “TRICKLE DOWN” ECONOMY
Americans are particularly proud of this Reagan-Thatcher “trickle-down” economy. For all practical purposes, the new economic policies remain directed to the 25 percent population living in the urban areas. Rest of the larger India is expected to benefit only from the “trickle-down” effect.
This approach, though dictated by the IMF and the WB, is not suitable for a populous and poor country like India. First, this corporate led economic growth can not generate enough employment India needs – around 1 crore new jobs per year mostly for the unskilled or semi-skilled people. What’s the ground reality: Between 2005 and 2010, Indian economy only created around 30 lakh jobs!!
Second, promoting urbanization is absurd for a country where cities are already overcrowded. Modi’s idea of 100 smart cities is also flawed for the same reason. The core idea behind the current policies is to transfer people from the rural agriculture sector to urban industry and service sector to serve as cheap and exploitable labor force. Urbanization is OK for the West with its small population base where mechanized farming need fewer people in agriculture to produce food grains; the majority survives by working in the industrial sector.
Thirdly, by now most economists agree that this rich-centered “trickle down” economics only serves to concentrate wealth in top few hands and promote inequality. Vast pool of masses have very little to gain in this economic model. Do you know that just 1% richest people control as much wealth as the rest of us 99% !!! Explore how inequality is rising around the world due to the current Capitalistic model which is devoid of humanity:
11c) TRIBAL PEOPLE ARE THE WORST VICTIMS
It is a shame that we are displacing innocent and naive tribals from their ancestral lands (where they also act as natural custodians of resources and live in dignity with limited means) and forcing them to migrate to cities to become manual labors for the industry (and lead an exploited life without sense of security or dignity) – all in the name of development.
How about displacing people from New Delhi and Mumbai and forcing them to repair the ecological mess of mining activities of Vedantas, Tatas, Essars, JPs, and Ruias and clean the pollution of mega thermal power plants?
I think it is time that the “consumers must pay” rule should be changed to “polluters must clean”!!
12. GLOBAL WARMING
2014 is now officially the hottest year recorded in human history; and remember, it was a record set without the presence of El Nino. More bad news: 2015 is going to be hotter still! And currently it is only 0.85 degree increase over the pre-industrialization era. If we keep doing what you are doing now, climate will only get worse.
Almost daily sudden and harsh climatic events hit some part of the world – but TRP worried and corporate controlled news media blacks it out and continues to promote ‘consumerism’ and business-as-usual mindset through highly paid commercials.
Scientists have been long warning that if planet’s temperature rises over 2 degree Celsius by 2100, above the pre-industrial levels 2 centuries ago, earth’s climatic conditions would get catastrophic and irreversible. In fact, low lying and vulnerable island countries would want global temperature rise to be restricted to 1.5 degrees. But their demand was dropped by the dominant developed world in 2009 itself in the climate discussions in Copenhagen.
According to Professor James Hansen even a 2 ˚C rise will cause “major dislocations for civilization”. So what is at stake is the human civilization which is certainly not a trivial issue. Therefore, global warming should not be reduced to a casual coffee house topic.
As a result, in 2015, world crossed the 400 parts per million (ppm) of CO2 mark and still climbing – it was 325 ppm in 1970. Over the past decade, much has been talked about peaking it between 2015 and 2020. Yet, even towards the end of 2015 it is still a pipe-dream and is likely to remain so – realistically speaking. It doesn’t help when self-declared pseudo-experts from the rich nations claim: “We underestimated the risks… we underestimated the damage associated with the temperature increases… and we underestimated the probabilities of temperature increases”.
12a) WRONG CONCEPT OF ‘DEVELOPMENT’
Global warming is un-refutable “proof” of many things wrong in our environmentally and ecologically blind lifestyle. In many ways, it is a direct consequence of allowing industrial revolution to go too far – unmindful of how it is polluting the environment. Adoption of GDP as the basic measure of ‘development’ after the WW2 and blind pursuit of ‘consumerism’ to sustain the GDP growth made matters worse. It promoted an ecologically and environmentally blind lifestyle in the West. As the fad for this resource guzzling lifestyle started spreading around the world and GDP growth became the only metric of ‘development’, the environment took the hardest hit by greenhouse gases.
As a result, in 2015, world crossed the 400 parts per million (ppm) of CO2 mark and still climbing – it was 325 ppm in 1970. Over the past decade, much has been talked about peaking it between 2015 and 2020. Yet, even towards the end of 2015 it is still a pipe-dream and is likely to remain so – realistically speaking. It doesn’t help when self-declared pseudo-experts from the rich nations claim: “We underestimated the risks… we underestimated the damage associated with the temperature increases… and we underestimated the probabilities of temperature increases”.
What if the current business-as-usual greenhouse gas emission is allowed to continue?
The World Bank’s 2013 report, Turn Down the Heat, predicted that unless drastic policy decisions are taken the average global temperature will rise by 4 ˚C by the end of the century. Pricewaterhouse Coopers also predicts 4 degree rise. According to the International Energy Agency (IEA) we are heading for a 6 degree warmer world if we do nothing.
12b) CAN THE WORLD STAY WITHIN 2 ˚C SCENARIO (2DS)?
Ahead of the Paris conference, 146 countries have made pledges to cut their emissions (in the UN language it is called Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDC)) from 2020. For instance, India has committed itself to reducing carbon intensity of its GDP by 33-35% by 2030 (compared with 2005 levels) – largely through energy efficiency and adding up to 250 GW solar power.
China intends to peak its emissions by 2030. The EU is committing to cut its emissions by 40%, compared with 1990 levels, by 2030. The US has expressed to cut its emissions by 26% to 28%, compared with 2005 levels, by 2025 (but the US Congress is unlikely to approve any such thing, as it did with the Kyoto Protocol).
What is funny is that most countries including China, Japan and Germany will be also adding fossil fuel fired power plants. Russia will be expanding its industrial base – thus, has to expand energy base also. Therefore, the INDC numbers hide more than they reveal.
Clearly, environment experts are not amused by these commitments. They estimate that even if these pledges are fully honored (which will be nothing short of a miracle!), earth would still be warmer by 2.7 degree Celsius by 2100. Moreover, given the past behavior of big polluters particularly the US which never became part of previous global efforts to cut emissions, they remain highly concerned about safety of human civilization.
International Energy Agency (IEA) estimates that in order to achieve the 2DS scenario the C intensity of primary energy and energy intensity of GDP both have to be reduced by around 60% by 2050 compared with today. It means speeding up reduction in global energy requirement for development – from current 1.1% to 2.6% by 2050. The biggest challenge lies in reducing the global carbon intensity of electricity by more than 90%.
Scientists have calculated that in order to stay below 2DS only 565 more gigatons of carbon dioxide can be emitted by 2050. But oil companies have five times more reserves. A Nature report speculated that for containing global warming below 2 degrees temperature rise at least 82% of fossil reserves must remain in the ground.
Therefore, the vital goal of Paris climate summit or COP21 (of December 2015) will be to have countries agree to much deeper emission cuts and arrive at some mechanism to bind them to their pledges.
You may like to explore: Saudi Arabia Sees End of Oil Age on the Horizon
12C) MAJOR DISAGREEMENT
The block of developing countries has been maintaining all along that for the atmospheric CO2 problem, the fault squarely lies with the industrialized nations who became rich before other nations by burning fossil fuels to power their industrial development. Therefore, prime responsibility for drastic emission cuts lies with developed nations.
Besides, they want the so-called ‘developed’ nations to finance their mitigation efforts through a Green Climate Fund. It has been agreed few years ago that a corpus of USD 20-30 billion would be set up immediately which would increase to at least USD 100 billion a year by 2020. But it is just a pipe dream – so far less than a billion dollar has been pledged to it.
Of course, the so-called ‘developed’ nations want to evade their ‘historic’ responsibility both for cutting emissions and contributing to the Green Fund for under developed nations.
What makes the rich nations so arrogant is the simple fact: a New Yorker, a Londoner or a Berliner has more protective resources than a poor Bangladeshi, Nigerian or a Nepali. Of course, they won’t remain safe for long as climate change worsens in the future.
Moreover, they are more interested in waging wars and picking up conflicts around the world as a way to sustain their hegemony and to prop up ‘GDP growth’ when economy slackens. Fighting global poverty or global warming don’t make much economic sense for them.
12d) WILL UNITED STATES COOPERATE THIS TIME?
Armed with pile of deadliest weapons of mass destruction, the US is clearly beyond all international laws except on paper. Being a country run by the rich for the rich where democracy is merely a once in 4-year election ritual, it is highly unlikely that the US Congress will ratify anything its President or representatives agree in the Paris Summit. Leaving aside few sane and rational thinkers in the top echelon of United States, most of its decision makers can’t think beyond taking care of the vested interests of the powerful lobbies.
Their economic interests clearly lie in waging trillion dollar wars (for the wellbeing arm industry) – South China Sea and Ukraine can easily get ‘hotter’ to counter China and Russia apart from prolonging the ‘war on terror’ – and meddling in the Middle East (for the wellbeing of its super rich oil corporation). For the US, these are more profitable than wasting money on philanthropic things like taking lead in fighting global warming, or shelling out money for Green Climate Fund or showing leadership to fight global poverty.
Pragmatically speaking, there is no way of changing the ossified (rather fossilified) mindset of the US rulers. Although it is a superpower in wane but it is too early to expect any compliance from it.
Needless to say, once the US breaks the rule other so-called ‘developed’ nations would not remain ‘climatically responsible’ for long. So, let’s not put much hope on Paris ‘climate talk show’ and celebrate life as long as we are alive and safe from climatic disasters!
13. ECONOMIC GROWTH VS DEVELOPMENT
The biggest irony of our time is that we are totally confused about what is development. The culprits are the Western thinkers; they have reduced everything to material possessions, economics and economic growth. People and society are no longer the targets of development.
Can we call a man, who has accumulated a lot of modern consumer goods and lives in absolute comfort, developed? And having roads, highways, airports, bridges and skyscrapers decide social development?
This is precisely what the West is doing. It sounds really funny when experts boast of robust economy – mean good GDP growth – and ordinary people see hardly any perceptible improvement in “quality of life.” Then some time later you are told that the number of millionaires and billionaires increased in the previous year.
You are left wondering: whether to laugh hysterically because the GDP Grows “robustly” or to cry hysterically because GDP has hardly any connection with your well-being or improvement in wellbeing.
When I see people from some African country with 1/100th per capita GDP compared with average Americans US, I find practically no difference in their behavior as human beings. Leaving aside the difference in how much they consume every day and what type of mobile phone they use, they are equally silly, greedy, hostile or deceptive.
And this is a big worry for the thinkers of the world: Look at how much deadliest weapons the rich country – who call themselves “developed” – have amassed. The world doesn’t need such “developed” people, ready to invade countries and play dirty politics everywhere.
All human violence and environmental violence that we see in the world are the handiwork of these sub-mediocre and greedy “developed” people mostly found in the West or cash rich Gulf nations.
13a) WHAT IS WRONG WITH GDP?
Answer: Gross domestic product doesn’t measure people’s wellbeing; it is just an economic number.
The West has historically surrendered its wellbeing to the economists and then spread this fashion all over the world. Their only yardstick of whatever they call as development is the GDP – the sum total of all market activities. This gross domestic product (GDP) has to eternally grow, quarter after quarter and year after year. This is a “mirage” that the Western societies and their copycats must chase all the time. Else, “economic depression” is always lurking around. So the Western capitalism is a boom-bust economy. Needless to say, people are mere pawns to try to sustain the GDP growth. In past half century, this capitalistic economic model has lost all touch with humanity and reduced people to the status of “mere consumers”.
There is another more deceptive aspect of GDP: both good and bad things can increase the GDP, and fool people into thinking that economy is doing good.
Consider these oddities of GDP: Polluting activities increase the GDP because you are forced to spend more money in the clean up. Increasing crimes boost the GDP due to expenses on police, security, jails, are legal procedures. Wars and conflicts increase expenditure on weapons. None of these are healthy expenditure.
Thus, all wasteful or unnecessary or avoidable expenditures boost the GDP. No wonder, we have a borrow and spend culture of extreme consumerism. It is all about GDP, nothing about you!
Now consider this. As people tend to become self-reliant, the GDP is hurt. If you stop buying fruits and vegetables from the market and start growing them in your backyard, you are hurting the GDP. If you do Yoga and get good healthy and don’t fall ill, you will not be visiting the doctors and buying medicines – you are again doing injustice to the GDP. There is famous true joke: if you marry your maid who looks after your home and kids, you are reducing GDP. Because you will stop paying her !
There is no problem if GDP is used as just another economic parameter. But using it as primary indicator of progress is highly deceptive; it is killing the moral and social values as well as the environment.
Did you know that the so-called second world war helped the US come out of economic recession of the early 1930s.
Now guess why the US dumped several trillion dollars in its “war against terror” that started in Afghanistan in 2001 and in Iraq in 2003. Along the way it also faced a severe down turn in 2008 and spent enormous amounts in bail-outs.
It is my guess that since the Western economies are largely reaching a kind of stagnation – the GDP growth barely adds value to people’s life – they will look for conflicts and wars around the world. In the oil rich middle east, Islamic terrorists are already providing them excuse to keep the terror war going. Then there is Ukraine, North Korea and South China Sea.
It is easy to see that the “developed” West is also the most war crazy.
13b) SO, WHAT IS DEVELOPMENT?
These two pages should give you some flavor of sensible development which must revolve around people, not economy. Economy is just a tool to make people’s life better; it is silly to make the tool a national goal.
13b-1) Social Progress Indicator (SPI)
Wellbeing of people is better linked to social progress, rather than economic parameters. Thus, if right social parameters are measured, they will guide the economic development in the right direction, setting a virtuous cycle.
Social Progress Indicator (SPI) is an attempt in that direction. It provides a holistic, objective and outcome based measure of society’s wellbeing, independent of economic indicators. It checks the social progress alongside the GDP, for a country’s performance.
The SPI checks the three dimensions of social progress: Basic Human Needs, Foundations of Wellbeing, and Opportunity. Each dimension is made up of four equally weighted individual components. Incidentally, the United Nations has also identified three pillars on which the post- 2015 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) must rest: economic, social and environmental.
These three dimensions of the SPI roughly mirror the progression that most communities and societies go through in achieving higher and higher levels of social progress. The model draws heavily on previous literature, notably the capability approach pioneered by Amartya Sen, which emphasizes the multidimensional nature of wellbeing and the importance of freedom of choice.
The 2014 SPI analysis reveals striking differences across nations and highlights their weaknesses and strengths. In the 132 countries rated, India is placed at 102nd , Bangladesh at 99th and Pakistan at 124th. Top position went to New Zealand.
Last year, Paraguay adopted the SPI as its official measure of progress.
13b-2) The Human Development (HD) Approach
Since 1990, the annual Human Development Reports (HDR) of the UNDP have been promoting the idea of human development (HD) which is a people focused comprehensive development model. Commonsense also demands that people and their well-being should be the focus of development, not economy.
The HD perspective put people at the center of development. The idea of human development revolves around the basic theme: “People are the real wealth of a nation.”Thus, the prime objective of development is to create an enabling environment for people to live long, healthy and creative life. This was stated in the first HDR published in 1990. This is a remarkable paradigm shift in thinking about the poor; it sees poverty as lack of development.
Incidentally, the foundation of the HD perspective came from Amartya Sen’s capability theory of development. Sen argues that the purpose of development is to enrich human lives, not richness of economy which is only a part of it.
13b-3) Why India should Learn from Bhutan?
Bhutan’s development paradigm is certainly the most humane and considers all aspects of people – it goes to the extent of considering spirituality and cultural enjoyment apart from environmental health. Bhutan is the only country in the world that does not use GDP as a measure of progress; instead it uses what it calls the gross national happiness (GNH).
Way back in the 1970s its king declared that “Gross National Happiness (GNH) is more important than Gross National Product (GDP).” Therefore, Bhutan’s state policies are not made purely from the monetary or economic angle, as in rest of the world.
While Western leaders merely talk about worsening climate and decaying environment and shy away when it comes to taking concrete steps for fear of hurting their economies, this tiny Himalayan country of only 750,000 people stands out as a lone voice of sanity. While experts are busy dreaming of having a sustainable development model, but this tiny kingdom is already doing it; and it is doing so mandated by its Constitution!
But the Western development experts shy away from endorsing it and hide behind their usual obsession to be “objective”.
India, being a copycat country of its ex colonial master and still run by brown Britishers, can’t be expected to show muscles to adopt it. But mere reading about Bhutan and its GNH ideology is so refreshing when one look at the madness in the greedy material world.
14. RENEWABLE ENERGY – SOLAR ENERGY
Solar is the Future of India !
As the Pie chart shows, coal power dominates the power sector with 59% share. Renewable sources contribute just 13% or 33 GW: 22 GW from wind, 3 GW from solar energy and the rest from small hydro and biomass projects.
Recently, the Modi government has launched an ambitious plan for creating 100 GW solar and 55 GW wind capacities by 2022, apart from saving 20 GW power through energy efficient means. Besides its commitment to provide “Power for All” by 2019, Indian government has to also meet its future international commitment to reduce GHG emissions, although the framework of the agreement is currently under negotiations. Therefore, India must focus on renewables, particularly the solar power given abundance of sunlight throughout the country.
At present, Gujarat (929 MW) tops in solar power generation. It is the only state with more than 1% solar power in its energy mix. Other dominant states are Rajasthan (840 MW), Madhya Pradesh (354 MW), Maharashtra (287 MW) and Andhra Pradesh (235 MW). However, these states are catching up quite fast and bigger capacities are lined up for installation in 2015-16.
14a) GOVERNMENT INITIATIVES TO PUSH SOLAR POWER
Government’s ambitious plan to add 100 GW solar capacity in next 7 years means facilitating the land acquisition process, bringing more clarity to solar policies, taking steps to streamline and upgrade the existing power infrastructure and speed up creation of the ‘green energy corridor’ and arranging developer friendly financial assistance. In order to involve all states in renewable energy generation, it is also expected to come up with Renewable Generation Obligation (RGO) for the states.
For solar projects, 1 MW generation requires about 5 acres of land. Were India to install all its 100 GW capacity in the form of a big “solar farm”, it would require around 500,000 acres of land – three times the current size of the Mumbai metropolitan area.
Taking cue from the Charanka solar park in Gujarat, the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) has announced a scheme to develop at least 25 solar parks (each with capacity 500 MW or up) and Ultra Mega Solar Power Projects (UMSPP) (they are mega projects 500 MW or above), in next five years, across the country. Other renewable projects and manufacturing will also be allowed in solar parks.
Smaller parks could also be considered under the scheme in Himalayan states where availability of large tracts of contiguous land may be difficult and in States where there is acute shortage of non-agricultural lands.
If 100 GW solar power is created from a single mega “solar farm”, it would require around 500,000 acres of land – three times the current size of the Mumbai metropolitan area.
14b) REGULATORY CHANGES TO REVIVE THE FAILED REC MECHANISM
The market driven renewable energy certificate (REC) model for solar power projects has failed due to non-enforcement of the renewable purchase obligations (RPOs) – imposed on certain entities like the discoms who must buy a certain percentage of renewable power.
Now in order to revive the REC market, the regulator is taking some remedial steps.
- It lowered the price band of solar RECs from INR 9300 – 13500 to INR 3500 – 5800.
- It is planning to enforce the RPOs strictly.
- It will rationalize the ‘open access’ charges so that the independent PPAs from a solar project over open access could be cost competitive with coal.
Bookmark this blog for useful articles on solar energy: Living on Solar Power
15. SIGNIFICANT POLITICAL DEVELOPMENTS
THE REAL SIGNIFICANCE OF 2014 FOR INDIAN POLITICS
14a) THE REAL SIGNIFICANCE OF 2014 FOR INDIAN POLITICS!
End of Coalition Era
By all means the year 2014 will be remembered for changing the political discourse in the history of free India. It would be known for the charisma of Modi and strategy of Amit Shah. It marked the end of coalition governments at the center when the BJP came out as a single largest party with a clear majority (282/543) that installed Modi as the PM. Much credit goes to Shah pulling 73 seat out of 81 in UP without which BJP would not have reached the half way (272) mark.
It was a big blow to the political power brokers such as Mulayam Singh, Laloo Yadav, Mayawati, Mamata Banerjee, Karunanidhi, Sharad Pawar and their likes. They are all caste-cum-communal politicians. With just handful of MPs they had been dictating the fate and functioning of coalition governments for almost 2 decades. The common man and his interest has almost cease to matter, except for the words of party manifestoes.
It is also a badly needed course correction of country’s governance that revolved around the Congress Party since 1947 when the colonial British transferred power to it. Leaving aside the brief interruptions, it was largely a one family rule in the democratic India with over 1.25 billion citizens. Blame squarely goes to servile Congress politicians who can’t run the party affairs without blessings of Indira family. They have caused a serious distortion in the Indian democracy. Given the deep rooted culture of sycophantic behavior among Congress workers, no one knows when the party workers will start working towards ‘independence’ from this ‘royal’ family !! For all practical purposes, this power hungry family has hijacked the grand old party.
Fall of the Most Corrupt Government
It also removed the most incompetent and corrupt government since independence. The 10 years of Manmohan Singh as PM were the most unusual and demeaning governance free India has seen. Hiding behind him, the actual power was wielded by Congress supremo Italy born power hungry Sonia and her yet-to-mature son. Her superficial knowledge of India and sub-mediocre advisors has left the country feeling badly helpless and powerless. She showed no remorse or introspection while India was bleeding with scam after scam – as if she had literally decided to throw the country to “dogs.”
Demise of her incompetent rule in 2014 gave India and all its proud and nationalist citizens a deep sigh of relief. A question all Indians have in mind:
When would India change the law to allow ONLY naturally born Indian citizens with naturally born Indian parents to get into its Parliament?
Big Blow to the Communal Politics of Pseudo-Secular Politicians
Unfortunately, the minority appeasement ‘vote bank’ politics has entrenched deeply in our political system, so deep that most political experts have come to believe that you can’t win elections without appeasing minorities (which only means 14% Muslims). When Modi refused to follow this distorted cult and did not wear a ‘skull cap’ – symbol of Muslim identity – on a podium, he was vehemently criticized as anti-Muslim and “Communal” Hindu.
For their appeasement politics Yoga is communal and Ramzan is secular; the Kashmiri Hindu massacre, 1993 Mumbai serial blasts, and Godhra are non-issues, and 26/11 Mumbai attack was the handiwork of RSS, not Pak trained Jihadis! In fact, India’s so-called ‘secularists’ are really as irrational and socially disruptive as the Islamic Jihadis! In theri conduct, they are really as irrational as the Islamic fanatics.
A section of media (typically representated by journos Rajdeep Sardesai couple, Barkha Dutt and several others of their ilk), that also subscribes to this silly appeasement culture, had also joined hands with communal politicians (posing as Secular) for last 15 years in deriding Modis and Hindu Organizations as ‘Communal” and went on to the dangerous extent of coining the phrase “Hindu Terrorism” or “Saffron terrorism” in order to please Muslims who are always at discomfort when asked to explain global Islamic Jihadi Terrorism or the Islam connection of violence against non-Muslims or radicalization of Islam seen everywhere.
In fact, over the decades under the patronage of Congress and other fake secular politicians there is a sizeable intelligentsia that want to continue to take Hindus’ silence for granted, treat them as insignificant and want to become communal spokesmen of just 2 religious communities – Muslim and Christians.
As Modi became the PM in 2014, this highly powerful lobby started spreading sinister rumors that now Minorities (again read Muslims and Christians) are in big trouble because BJP, Modi and hence Hindus are in power! Such brainless and malicious propaganda against 100 crore Hindus (on whose tolerance and peace-loving life philosophy numerous diverse communities have been thriving in India since ages and even now they live in peace and harmony) on their own ancient land is nothing but an example of how people with alien software in their brains are enjoying irresponsible freedom in India.
This whole lot of anti-Hindu (even anti-India) mindset got vividly exposed recently when 1993 Mumbai serial blast conspirator Yakub was hanged on July 30, 2015. Ordinary Indians were aghast in disbelief and shame to see these fake ‘Seculars’ get united to save a convicted anti-national terrorist simply because he was a Muslim!
Hyderabadi communal politician Owaisi and Maharshtra SP chief Abu Azami shamed all patriotic Indians, including Muslims, when they demanded that Yakub should not be hanged because ‘he was a Muslim’. Distorted Secularists likes Digvijay Singh of Sonia Congress joined the foolish chorus and the pseudo-intellectuals of film industry (most notably Naseeruddin Shah who won considerable respect of all Indians for his role against Islamic terrorists in the movie ‘Wednesday’ few years back) proved they are as silly and gullible. Media houses like NDTV, AAKTAK, ABP NEWS etc endlessly talked about Yakub as if he was not a terrorist but a national Hero.
They all ignored the demise of the real Hero ‘people’s president’ Kalam and Gurdaspur martyr SP Baljit Singh, and massive floods in half of India where Indian army was heroically saving people’s life. Such is the power of Islamic lobby in India – which the world expects to behave as Hindu nation!
It was a highly objectionable and worrisome incident that should unite all patriotic Indians against these exposed anti-India creatures. They need to unite because the forces that broke India in 1947 in the name of Islam are again raising their heads, this time under the garb of fake secularism. Read [Why is Indian Secularism So Distorted?]
The “surgical strike” in Pakistan, in response to Sept 18, 2016 attack on Indian army by Pak infiltrators that took lives of 19 soldiers, also sent cold shivers down their spines! Paradoxical but true. After all why a mighty nation like India attack a tiny Islamic State called Pakistan !!
Arrival of an Assertive PM Who Knows India Well
With assertive, dynamic and vocal Modi as PM now India seems to have a leader. After Bajpai’s rule, Indians now again feel that they are governed by leaders who know India, its people and culture well.
Modi has already proved that he stands much above all in the political landscape of the country. His efforts to shape up the bureaucracy is clearly seen in creation of the National Institution for Transforming India (NITI) Aayog in place of the outdated and useless Planning Commission.
His almost mythical performances outside India and decisive handling of Pakistan and China makes Indians proud that they now have a world class leader – in fact, even his detractors agree that he has all the qualities of a true global statesman. His prompt handling of natural disasters in various parts of the country and even in Nepal assures people that they have a sincere friend as the PM.
But Modi is a big worry for fake-seculars (also called SICKULARS by many) and petty politicians whose career evolved through parochial caste and communal vote bank politics. Their ‘secularism’ squarely rests on being certified by Muslim mullah and Christian priest.
Wider Conspiracy Against Modi Government
Hence, there is a widespread campaign to malign Modi and BJP as intolerant (and Islamic extremism as normal)! Yes, Modi and most Hindus don’t want to see the continuation of fake-secularism (“sickularism”), appeasement politics or glorification of Islamic traitors on their ancient land. They want India to be truly secular with no religious favors to Muslims and uniform civil code.
For about 2 decades, the hate Modi and malign Hindu campaign was being steered by Sonia-Rahul’s Kitchen Congress in collusion with anti-Hindu and anti-India forces, Pakistan sympathizers, and gulf funded Islamic lobby. What started out as parliament disruption by Sonia Gandhi in the monsoon session to derail Modi’s development plans was part of a much bigger conspiracy with global reach. Without majority in Rajya Sabha the BJP government remains at the mercy of anti-development and anti-India forces to pass its important economic bills. Rest of the pieces soon became manifest as
- Social media campaign to paint Hindus as intolerant,
- Return of awards by Congress and left supported pseudo-intellectuals, Some OROP protestors also fell for this game (despite having their demands already met by Modi government),
- Whipping up anti-Hindu sentiments and communal disharmony over a minor events Dadri and Kalburga
- Intensification of Pak sponsored Islamic violence in J&K and higher decibel noise on International platforms
- Statements of warning over ‘India’s Intolerance’ by some American intellectuals and a global rating agency (apparently sponsored by anti-India Islamic lobby)
and so on…
Outside India, this malign-Hindu campaign is engineered by cash rich Saudi-Pak Islamic lobby under the leadership of Pak ISI.
Finance minister, Arun Jaitly, had rightly called it an ‘organized paper rebellion’.
Comedy Show of Writers Returning Awards Ended!
Please note that the “Grand Award Wapsi” comedy Show has ended with the conclusion of Bihar Elections! It was a grand success: around 200 awards were returned in protest against Intolerance of Indian Hindus !! No need to guess the funding – it comes from the gulf funded global Islamic lobby, in active association with Pak’s ISI.
If you are wondering…
Why no one came forward to return awards when innocent Sikhs were massacred in 1984, or when Kashmiri Pandits were driven out from Kashmir by Islamic terrorists, or when serial blasts took place in Mumbai in 1993?
… you are taking their ‘secularism’ too seriously! That’s why it called Sickularism.
I am amused – No one returned award when distorted brain Muslim fundamentalists were glorifying 1993 Mumbai serial blast convict Yakub Memon’s hanging.
I am sure one of these award ‘returnee’ will soon draw a cartoon of Prophet before Delhi’s Jama Masjid to get a taste of what intolerance really is!!!
BJP Gifted Bihar to Divisive Forces!!
After Delhi, BJP bungled badly again in Bihar – over-aggression of Modi huddled the opposition into solid unity and neglect of local and state leaders alienated it from voters. The opportunist “Grand Alliance” won 2/3 majority despite loss of vote share (from 45% in 2014 Lok Sabha poll to 41% ) and NDA lost badly even after increasing its vote share (from 16% in 2010 Assembly poll to 25%).
Thus, Biharis yet again chose ‘chara convict’ Laloo’s poisonous and divisive politics (played deftly) over Modi’s development agenda (presented in a sloppy manner). Bihar Election Watch and Association for Democratic Reforms discovered that 58% new MLAs have criminal background. Nothing surprising – it’s Bihar after all!!
If Laloo allows development in Bihar, other Indian states like Maharashtra, Punjab and Haryana will be relieved from the endless influx of Bihari workers that cause a variety of problems for local people there. The onus squarely rests on Modi-hater and appeasement politician Mr Nitish Kumar to develop Bihar and keep Biharis in Bihar now.
2017 Assembly Elections
The BJP and Modi got impressive majorities in UP and Uttarakhand; Goa and Manipur will also have coalition governments headed by the BJP. Punjab chose the Congress, since the Akalis had shamefully (or shamelessly, shall we say) turned the state into s “drug-state”. Now BJP’s numbers in the Rajya Sabha will improve significantly, easing the passage of important bills. This the real importance of winning UP assembly polls !!! Let’s see in what disruptive manner Sonia and her carbon copies behave in parliament now.
In Delhi, municipal elections re-elected BJP in all three municipalities – reducing arrogant AAP’s vote share to half compared to what it got in assembly poll. AAP rose too high on political scene suddenly; chances are bright that it would fall also too soon.
Demonetization of large notes and stand against “triple talaq” in the Supreme court have highly endeared Modi among the poor masses (who have remained exploited by the caste and communal politicians thus far) and Muslim women (the most oppressed segment of Indian society). This must be seen truly INTEGRATION of Indian society.
Anyway, let’s all hope that India gains freedom from poverty sustained in the six decades by the self-serving dynastic rule by a single family. The “privy” of this family and other privileged dynasties such as Karunanidhi’s, Mulayam’s and Laloo’s, should end now forever so that real democracy begins to germinate. Let’s also hope that India will be soon free from fake-secularists and pro-Pakistani divisive elements who have badly infected Indian politics, academia and media during the last decacdes.