Political Reforms | Public Policy | Free Markets | Individual Liberty | Liberal Society

Those who are too smart to engage in politics are punished by being governed by those who are dumber ~ PLATO

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

'Coconut' Class of Sixty-Nine

Narendra Modi (NaMo) has brought upon a very strange situation and a dilemma to the vast and diverse fabric of Indian Voter. Firstly, he split the Indian Voter into two - with 31% in favour, who actually voted for him to be the PM, against the rest 69%. Secondly, just to maintain 'anti-Modi' position and keep this vote-bank intact, torch-bearers of these 69% have even started justifying 'anti-India' causes and activities.

31% are the early Bhakts (supporters / followers of NaMo) - term used with derogatory connotation by the Indian Sickular Intellectuals (ISI) . A very large part of 69% who voted against NaMo are actually innocent well-meaning voters, who simply got misled by anti-Modi narrative; an agenda aggressively pushed into the drawing-rooms and on coffee-tables, by the unholy nexus of Toxic & Corrupt Mainstream Media (paid by the Congress), Corrupt & anti-National NGOs-turned-Activists-turned-Politicians; promoted by the politically aspirational ‘Mullah-Marxist-Missionary’ advocacy-groups working on the ground. These groups & organisations are heavily funded to oil-up the anti-Modi machinery across India, by the international organisations whose main objective is only to disturb the socio-political fabric and create unrest across the globe. This is done  under the garb of protecting revolutionary ideas such as Democratic Rights, Human Rights, Animal Rights, Climate Change, Environment & Pollution Control, Civil Rights, Religious Freedom etc. This is a full blown industry by itself and a hugely rewarding one at that. This story is discussed in great detail on this blog under earlier posts from 2014 titled: AAP – Theatre of the absurd: a congregation of NGOs, Activists & Bored CEOs and India NGOnized 

We basically have been a very curious nation, always willing to experiment & adapt, with a ‘slave’ mindset - a perfect marketplace for the 'soft' industry of Faith, Culture, Activism & even Ideology. Therefore such imports from the West are easily consumed here, perceived to be more authentic, advanced & superior, as compared to the Desi stuff. Young aspirational Indian population, subjected to western education, remained blissfully ignorant of its own traditions, culture & history, started believing in everything Western: Ideology (Political-Economic-Business-Management), Food, Music, Education, Language, Media, Fashion, Lifestyle & even Culture.

'Coconut' Nation

Ten years under Sonia Gandhi led UPA-1 & UPA-2 regime (2004~2014), brilliantly chronicled by MRVenkatesh as ‘A Decade of Decay’, was the worst ever period of independent India. During these years, India totally turned into a ‘Coconut’ Nation. While the exterior always remained the racial Brown no matter what, the soul of India slowly converted from the rustic earthy natural shades of Brown to a Uniform White, as in Gora.  We have discussed Globalisation in an earlier post in great detail but in Hindi:  भूमंडलीकरण (Globalisation) और उसके तत्व ...


So during May 2014 LS elections, a large part of 69% anti-Modi Voter came from this ‘Coconut class’ - who obviously voted against NaMo.

Things started rolling from the day NaMo, the Desi Unwashed Outsider, arrived at Lutyens Delhi as Prime Minister, bowed & touched the steps of the Parliament. No Indian politician had ever shown this kind of reverence for the temple of democracy. 
Pradhan Sevak (as NaMo likes to call himself) finally assumed office and started functioning. 

Narendra Modi bows down, touches the steps of Parliament
Last thirty months witnessed a roller-coaster ride as far as NaMo was concerned. Media was judging NaMo & his actions by the hour, 24x7 & LIVE - calling him Names, cracking jokes on him, spreading lies, sharing distorted quotes & versions, ridiculing his speeches & mannerisms etc.; Basically entertaining the 69% of confused ‘Coconut’ constituent. 

Massive work done by NaMo & his Team at NDA-II during the first two years finally started to speak for itself and has helped change the direction of narrative. The size of 69% has since started shrinking, slowly but gradually. A fairly large part of this class is unable to openly support the Prime Minister, even if they actually want to. They are cases of ‘glass-half-full’: uncertain, afraid, stumped and dazed. The reasons for their apprehensions in openly supporting NaMo and the factors affecting this restraint can be broadly assigned to some of these: 
  • Intellectualism
  • Industry-Lobby network
  • Social Network
  • Political Ideology / Affiliation
These are some of the key factors & limitations for the ‘Coconut’ class not being able to openly come out in support of NaMo just yet. NaMo was aware of the fact that he can win over support of the Coconut-Class at home only after he has established himself as a World Leader globally. 
Sad, but true! 

Once the Ivy-League universities & Western media start appreciating the work done by Modi Govt, surely more and more of the 69% will cross over - that alone would provide them much needed legitimacy & justify their coming out with it. The way things are moving, that should happen real soon and we shall see a lot of broken coconuts around.


Lastly, this is how NaMo responds in one of his speeches in Rajya Sabha early this year:

"Safar mein dhoop to hogi jo chal sako to chalo,

Sabhi hain bheed mein.... tum bhi nikal sako to chalo,
Kisi ke vaasate raahein kahaan badalati hain,
Tum apne aap ko khud hi badal sako to chalo,
Yahaan kisi ko koi raasta nahin deta,
Mujhe giraake agar tum sambhal sako to chalo."

Friday, June 24, 2016


Reams of paper, Tons of ink, hundreds of megabytes were spent discussing Udta Punjab, thanks to controversy surrounding the ‘Cuts’ as desired by CBFC before granting certification. 

Most of the articles were pushed around by people who actually had not even watched the film and then the usual ‘Sheep’ started sharing those stories after adding their unsolicited comments and opinions.

Then came a tsunami of reviews, almost hours after release of the movie, as if some of them were hitting their key-boards while watching. Now that is sheer ’Need for Speed’ in this digital world of ‘realtime’ news. SPEED is the new Mantra and has gained lot more importance than the CONTENT. Gone are the days when “Content is King” used to rule the digital world. 'Need for Speed’ has completely consumed the concept of quality content. 

Having watched the film, I can say this with conviction that most of the reviews that I read were completely misplaced. Some reviewers could not even delve deeper into the subject and hence failed to understand & pick nuances of this brilliant film.
Let us now talk about the Film, without getting into mundane & boring issues like the storyline, the plot, the cast, credits and other trivia. For all of this, my loud and clear verdict is: 
Go, Watch! You will never regret.

The very first question one would ask after watching the film: what was the problem with CBFC granting Certification? I could not think of even one, and I repeat, even one scene sequence or a dialogue that needed to be censored. Everything fits in so beautifully and perfectly into storyline and the narrative. Thirteen changes and '89 Cuts' in the film as directed by the Revising Committee of CBFC were unwarranted and uncalled for. Total respect to the Judiciary once again. 

Clearly, Bombay High Court judges understood the film much better than CBFC. 

Udta Punjab is brutally honest in holding mirror to the society. WYSWYG: 'what-you-see-is-what-you-get' in the film. Be it the language, vices, corruption, drugs, mafia, police, music, entertainment, politician, exploitation of women, and everything else; as close to the reality as it can possibly be shown in a film. 

In spite of this huge opportunity at complete discretion of the director to include 'sex & violence' to the fullest in a film dealing with Noir genre covering Drugs, there is almost NONE. Compared to every silly and stupid film that comes pre-loaded with this package, always in the name of 'creativity', this one is rather CLEAN.

Punjabi Expletives, cuss words and crass language could be the only 'embarrassment' to the newly arrived urban elite, who otherwise may have no problems with the same filth dished out in English. This is original stuff in Punjabi, without any inhibitions. And yet, this is nowhere even close to the daily dose of nasty embarrassment through item-songs, adult-content, double-meaning comedy that we face, again, all in the guise of "creativity". 

The director, Abhishek Chaubey is not new to this genre and has some excellent body of work under his belt - Omkara , Ishqiya Dedh Ishqiya to name a few.

In terms of performances, let me first say this to the people who make jokes on Alia Bhatt : The joke is on you, guys! She is absolutely scintillating in this 'no-make-up' Dehati Girl role. For a Bollywood celebrity daughter, coming from upmarket South Mumbai, dialogue delivery with the accent and diction of Desi mixed with Bihari is awesome. This is second in a row, after the last release  Kapoor & Sons - with yet another brilliant performance.  

Shahid Kapoor delivers a power-packed high-octane performance - lives through the character of Tommy Singh and stays hyper and energised all through the movie, frame after frame. Complete justice to the role and character of Tommy Singh. 

The review will be incomplete without mention of Diljit Dosanjh, a brilliant artist from Punjab -  known as an Actor / Musician / Singer. He plays Sartaj Singh, the ASI who fights the System.  

The film leaves you with some serious thoughts, basically as takeaways so beautifully woven into the script and dialogues. 

Fuddu, The Loser!

The protagonist, Tommy Singh while on stage indulges in some serious talk with his cheering fans, roughly translates to something like this:
"I am no rockstar, I am just a loser. But you guys are much bigger losers than me. Because when I wrote some utter nonsense and delivered it as Music, under the influence of Drugs, you guys took it as Philosophy. You guys made me a Rockstar, a Hero at the age of 22, while I was always a loser. "
This is a real tight slap on the current crop of indi-pop overnight rock-stars, who basically copy music from retro-Bollywood in the name of 'inspiration'; and their Fans, who have no clue about what exactly they are cheering about.

Why this Kolaveri?

The film would not go down very well with Politicians and Police, as it exposes the nexus and shows their brazen complicity in crime. Without the tacit support and involvement of state actors, drug menace in Punjab would not go to the extent that it is today. That, combined with the upcoming assembly elections in Punjab, could possibly be the main reason for all the noise created and politics played prior to the release of Udta Punjab.

Drugs Di Maa Di

Zindagi Toh Sirf Apney Kandho Par Jee Jati Hai Dusron Ke Kandhe Par Toh Sirf Janazey Uthaye Jaatey Hain....

Read more at: http://inspirationalquotespics.com/shaheed-bhagat-singh-quotes-in-hindi-suvichars-thoughts/
Zindagi Toh Sirf Apney Kandho Par Jee Jati Hai Dusron Ke Kandhe Par Toh Sirf Janazey Uthaye Jaatey Hain....

Read more at: http://inspirationalquotespics.com/shaheed-bhagat-singh-quotes-in-hindi-suvichars-thoughts/
The film does not reflect poorly or insult Sikh community or Punjab in any way. Contrary to some of the initial reports had suggested, including objections raised by CBFC. In fact, far from it. 

Sartaj Singh, once a corrupt police officer who tries to fight the system after losing his brother to drugs, when questioned by his superior, replies - 
"it's not about you or me, it's about Punjab". 
In my opinion, that is a hugely patriotic statement and any Sikh or Punjabi or Indian would be proud to hear that a hundred times and will still get goosebumps each time.
 Zindagi Toh Sirf Apney Kandho Par Jee Jati Hai,
Dusron Ke Kandhe Par Toh Sirf Janazey Uthaye Jaatey Hain. ... 
Shaheed Bhagat Singh 

Read more at: http://inspirationalquotespics.com/shaheed-bhagat-singh-quotes-in-punjabi-bhagat-singh-famous-quotes/

Friday, June 10, 2016

100,000 KMs on Tata Aria ...

100,000 KMs, stopped by to capture this while on a highway! 

Before I talk about the Tata Aria and my experience of 100,000 KM journey with it, it would be necessary to go back in time and rewind to discuss how I arrived at this mean machine.

Earlier, I drove Tata Safari, about 120,000 KMs. Let us not try to look for any reasons into my fascination with Tata. To put it simple and straight - even today, I am a big fan of Tata Safari. 

Moreover, with a large family of Five to drive along, it turned out to be more of a necessity than anything else. Two very significant members of our family needed fairly large space. Zara & Marshal - the wonderful lovely couple of German Shepherd. They both loved being driven around and would jump onto the boot as soon as the rear door is opened; and Zara, would refuse to come out as she wouldn't like to be left behind.

Furthermore, being a family of ‘Nature and Wildlife’ enthusiasts, any opportunity of a small get-away and we prefer to look for an off-road destination.

Zara & Marshall in Safari - both loved driving around!

Lastly, this perennial problem of bad roads that really need a vehicle with a very high ground clearance.

It was a difficult choice to find replacement to Tata Safari from the available options at that time, within a reasonable budget. Having given up on my search, I had decided to go for Tata Safari again and called the showroom to enquire about it. The sales manager got curious to know more about a customer who wants to replace Safari with another Safari; and after a brief conversation he requested me to drop by at the showroom.

I walked into the showroom one evening and this monster was parked right there. I didn’t have to spend too much time at the showroom looking around the vehicle - so decided on the test drive and that is it. I found exactly what I was looking for in this cross-over as if, almost tailor made - Tata Aria Prestige 4x2. 

I have since put this machine through 100,000 Kms, across all kinds of terrains and difficult road conditions, including the foods in Chennai last November, when there were hardly any vehicles found navigating the flooded streets.

November 2015 - Floods in Chennai

Mudumalai Tiger Reserve


Four-wheel gears
Willys Jeep
Very briefly, I will talk about this growing rage of ‘four-wheel’ among the consumers. I had my initial driving lessons rather early in life, and that too on the hills and in jungles. Those days we used to get four-wheel system only in Willys and then Mahindra Jeep. From my past experience, having driven around all kinds of terrains & conditions, let me put it very bluntly that ‘four-wheel’ is actually not required in most of the terrains and roads open to public transport - NEVER. Unless one is actually living on coffee plantations, in the mountains or frequently visiting places like these, a normal city driver may never even use the 4-wheel feature in his lifetime.

So, these colourful, screaming and loud body-stickers of 4x4, 4WD or AWD are just plain show-offs from functionality PoV - moreover, they consume lot more fuel than a normal 4x2 transmission. 

Of course, these are path-breaking developments in automobile technology that allow one to go effortlessly ‘4x4 on-the-fly’ or use ’hill-assist’ - driving around today is that much safer, easier and effortless.


Talking about specs of Tata Aria Prestige 4x2:

Same engine as Safari - 2.2 L VTT DiCOR, generating max 138 bhp Power and 320 NM Torque - truly a mean machine. Ground clearance of 200 mm is ideal for any road condition. Massive 4.8 Meters of length is still easy to drive around and manoeuvre, given the sharp turning radius of 5.6 meters.
The driver seat with lumber, recline and height adjustments; plus the huge windscreen provides a complete view, just like a 70mm cinemascope. I haven’t seen bigger ORVMs for a panoramic view on both sides.

View from ORVMs
If you are looking for cosmetics and luxuries, probably this is not the car you would like. 

Let me however clarify that Aria is miles ahead and lot more improved from Safari, with respect to the interior cabin, design aesthetics & build quality. If driving is your real passion and you are willing to compromise on the little fringes, you would love to be at the wheel on Tata Aria. On the highways, at 140 kmph, it is a fine Sedan that moves effortlessly just like an Aria, with tyres well planted and in complete control. 

Turbo-boost at 100+ kmph or 1800+ rpm onwards is just amazing and feels like an aircraft taking off. 

Sathyamangalam Forest on Western Ghats

Road Behaviour & Balance: Once, driving at 120 km/h, I had to use brakes to actually stop within 20-25 meters; and my little princess sleeping on the second-row seats didn’t even realise. That is the kind of balance and road-grip expected of a real Cross-Over. 

On otherwise bad roads and off-road conditions, it quietly converts into SUV - rough and rocky terrain or steep ghats is where you actually get to know the Tourqe of this cross-over beast that still screams like a Safari - ’make your own road’ ! 

Bandipur National Park

The longest I have been at the wheel on Tata Aria was for about 620 KMs, and it did not feel like we actually drove that much - effortless and comfortable.

Driver and passenger seat is very comfortable, including the second row. Last row seats, for which I have heard negative comments for leg space - whenever I have had people sitting on the last row seats and driven them around for 2-3 hours, it was never a problem. Honestly, I never drove long distances with last row also occupied. 

Space provided inside is the first thing that hits everyone in this Car. Unfortunately, Zara & Marshal both are not around anymore - they live in our hearts and we cherish those days and fond memories of the years we spent with them as a Family and driving around.

Mileage: City driving conditions are so pathetic that they are not even worth discussing mileage on any car; but just to share the information on Tata Aria, average 8-9 km/l. On the highways, I normally get upto 13-14 km/l. The pic below was taken exactly at 100,000 km on Chennai-Bangalore highway, and when I checked the average fuel consumption, I was very pleasantly surprised - 16.7 km/l. 

Fuel consumption of 16.7 km/l at 100,000 KMs

Not everything is positive about Tata Aria. There are several issues that should be resolved and improved - some as follows:

Firstly, the projector headlamps assembly should come fitted with HID instead of normal bulbs. Even though with excellent ‘double-barrel’ head lights, overall visibility is not all that great on highways.

Handbrake is too hard to use and hence needs to be pulled all the way up, to be actually effective.

Overall high maintenance cost. Even after timely routine checks & service, the maintenance cost continues to be a dampener. The wear and tear of Diesel engine starts to show up after about 40,000 kms.
TATAs really need to pull-up and improve upon their extremely poor ‘after-sale’ service record. I had very bad time at Tata Concorde getting my Tata Safari serviced each time. After such a terrible experience and poor service, I had already decided not to take my Aria for paid services at TATA Concorde. But, they really make it difficult for outside service centres to obtain spares promptly and in time.

Remembering these lines in a song from the film Chalo Dilli
ये जीवन है Suffering , ये जीवन कभी सफ़र  है 
कभी सफ़र में Suffering , कभी Suffering में सफ़र है  ... 

Friday, May 27, 2016

Indian Liberals - Comrades in new Avatar ...

There are many Liberal think-tanks, Liberal Organizations and Liberal Voices across India, who consider public policy as their core line of activity. While some of these are Libertarian voices, who simply end with the coffee-table conversations, others from Classical-Liberal and Neo-Liberal ideology groups are able to actually showcase and present their work in the public domain.

Liberals are supposed to be highly Rational and Research Oriented in their approach. They are open to new Ideas and Viewpoints. Liberals are supposed to be Rooted & Inclusive. They keep an open mind to listen and respect different Point-of-View (PoV). Putting on top of everything else is the idea of 'Freedom of Expression' (FoE) is the true virtue of a Liberal mind. Above all, they are supposed to be honest to what they actually believe in - the Liberal Ideology.

Having been mighty impressed with the rich and traditional 'Liberal' values of India’s past and political history (for example: Swami Vivekanand, Swatantra Party of Raja Ji & Minoo Masani, B. R. Shenoy etc.), I have been a member of some of these Liberal groups & forums myself.

Therefore I say this with full responsibility that as a general rule, the current breed of 'Indian Liberals' carry NONE of the above virtues, of course there are always exceptions and I respect them.

Indian Liberals are in fact everything that is exactly opposite - they are highly Toxic, abusive to the core, tend to be more Exclusive than Inclusive in their approach (they block anyone with slightest of disagreement), they carry huge load of Ego, show least respect to FoE & PoV, have an Elitist mindset with no understanding of the real India, that is Bharat.

In short, they are nothing but ’Comrades’ in a new avatar - hence I call them Liberals with a ‘Gated Mindset’.
“The liberal idea of tolerance is more and more a kind of intolerance. What it means is 'Leave me alone; don't harass me; I'm intolerant towards your over-proximity.”
~ Slavoj Žižek

I have personally witnessed the kind of Poison and Negativity some of these aggressive Liberals dish out every single day, which is mostly based on here-say, some random posts on SM or at best some questionable source from a corrupt Media. I never see their arguments, data and research-notes based on hard facts & data, sourced from 'authentic' & 'credible' sources. Even the very definition of their sources being 'authentic' is sometimes completely misguided and misplaced.
During last two years of the current NDA2 government, which is commonly known as “Modi Government”, I do not recall one single productive or constructive argument or debate coming from these so-called “Civil-Society” or “Liberal-Intelligentsia” or “Neo-Liberal” representation. The voices from these quarters have always been rather shrill and stupid - always ‘liberal’ with loose comments on Prime Minister Mr. Narendra Modi - for his Suit, Shawl, Mannerisms, RSS affiliation, Hand-shakes, Election Rally speeches, and if they find nothing else then they go back to ranting over 2002 Gujarat.

But none of these 'Indian Liberals' , who otherwise claim to be the masters at public policy, have ever discussed, argued or commented on the Policies adopted and implemented by NDA2 - Modi Government.

The reason for this can only be one and that is - if one has to be really honest with the analysis, will have to acknowledge the fact that things are moving on the right track. The speed and the modality of policy implementation with some polemics could always be debated, but more or less, it is established beyond doubt that NDA2 means business. With reports like Narendra Modi government’s one-year report card scores itself high, it is very difficult to drive the debate in opposite direction, substantiated with Logic and Numbers.

Now there is a catch to this - the moment any of these Liberal johneys comment in a positive way, they will immediately earn the Label of a Sanghi or Bhakt, which they cannot imagine to carry even for a moment. These labels are coined & used by the anti-Modi establishment of MSM, Left-Liberal intelligentsia, civil-society clan of mostly Commies, serving the Gandhi dynasty. Sanghi or Bhakt is considered 'negative and derogatory' - these terms are used exclusively for people who follow and support Narendra Modi. 

Yes, you guessed it right - I have been called a Bhakt several times already and I have no quarrel with that.

So, coming back to the Indian Liberals, while we take a step back and critically analyze and study the performance at second anniversary milestone of NDA2 (Modi Government), the time has also come when we called their bluff and question the very existence of these Indian Liberal Think-Tanks (Oh, they so love to call themselves as one). If at all, they are totally dishonest to the Liberal ideology. Sheer contempt and utter lack of contribution of this “Gang of Liberals” to the 'Idea of India' renders them completely irrelevant and redundant in the current scenario.

Pic Credit: http://blogs.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/The-underage-optimist

Chetan Bhagat has a nice & easy way of putting across a difficult viewpoint and Anatomy of a ‘liberal’: Indian liberals do not offer solutions, they use the term as a class marker is surely one of those classics. I don't quite agree with all the contents of this article but can't resist sharing few lines that are actually spot on: (Emphases mine)
There is a reason why liberals are derogatorily referred to as pseudo-secular, pseudo-intellectual and pseudo-liberal. For their agenda is not to be liberal. Their agenda is to look down on the classes that don’t have the global culture advantage.

If, for instance, Modi and Amit Shah had gone to Doon School, or studied in college abroad, or at least spoke English with a refined world accent, the liberals would have been kinder to them.

We need people who have new ideas and solutions as well as a desire to be truly inclusive for all Indians. Hating Modi is not going to solve anything. Neither will looking down on the less privileged and their desires and aspirations. Instead, come up with ways in which Indian society can truly change.

If liberals and intellectuals in civil society can build consensus for reform, politicians will also act on it. If you are planning to become a liberal, be solution-oriented, truly open-minded and anti-elitist.
I must admit that I stopped taking Indian Liberals seriously after I saw their continued attack and pointless criticism of Narendra Modi, devoid of any substance and policy discussion. After two years of witnessing this comedy, I now consider them nothing more than cheap entertainment value in the chit-chat rooms of public-policy space.
Pic Credit: https://twitter.com/adarshliberal


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