Category Archives: Amrit’s Updates

Is journalism worth a soldier’s life?

In a tragic turn of events a soldier committed suicide when he became a target of a “string operation” carried out by a The Quint journalist.

Army jawan/sahayak Lance-Naik Roy Mathew was secretly videotaped by a The Quint journalist named Poonam Agarwal, talking about the menial jobs the “sahayaks” have to perform for the officers they’re assigned to. These jobs may including walking dogs, dropping kids to school, taking care of the garden and running errands that are not an official part of their duties.

Assigning sahayaks to higher ranked army officers is a British-era practice the army has carried on despite attracting criticism.

According to the phone calls made by Mathew to his wife, he was afraid that he might lose his job and there might even be a court martial on him for criticizing his seniors. He first disappeared and then later was found hanging from a ceiling of a room.

In the video, which is no longer available, Lance-Naik Mathew, though his face is blurred, could be heard answering to various questions posed by Poonam Agarwal, and while answering to questions he admitted that work that is not part of their jobs is done by the sahayaks (buddies). He wasn’t complaining, he was just starting it as a fact. The objective was to show how these soldiers are exploited by their superiors simply because there is no way to refuse.

The problem with the video was that Mathew was easily recognizable to people who knew him. He could be recognized by his voice, and even by his clothes. No special attempt was made to hide his identity. They just followed a simple procedure that would make his face unrecognizable to people who wouldn’t know him, but people who knew him would immediately recognize him.

Ever since the tragic incident came to light the way such sting operations are carried out is being questioned. Mathew was not a criminal. He was simply having a conversation as the journalist had befriended him without telling him for what purpose he was being talked to. This is fraud, especially when the person being featured in the video is an innocent citizen and hasn’t been informed what’s going on. Journalist Shiv Aroor has rightly termed this as near murder.

It’s public knowledge that soldiers of lower ranks are often expected to perform domestic duties for their superiors. This aspect of the army needs to be investigated.

If 70% of Indians are still paying bribes, the entire blame doesn’t lie on Modi

It’s obvious that when you promise certain things during your election campaigns and then somehow if these promises are not fulfilled, or if somehow it can be proven that they haven’t been fulfilled, your opponents are bound to bring them up at every opportunity.

This Quartz article, for example, talks about a Transparency International report that has found that nearly 7 in 10 Indians have to pay a bribe to get even basic jobs such as admission in government-run schools and availing hospital services done.

Of course the article compares the findings of the report with Modi’s claims that he is fighting corruption with all his might.

First, Transparency International isn’t an unbiased organisation. Second, even if this number is correct, we must remember what a system Modi has inherited. The supernova of corruption that had been created in the past 70 years cannot be controlled within a couple of years. Every system, every institution has been corrupted, including bureaucracy and judiciary.

Even the BJP itself is a part of this corrupt ecosystem.

This is the reason Modi isn’t attacking the corrupt directly. It will be of no use. He is trying to create a system where it may become difficult to follow corrupt practices. He is digitizing as many government procedures as possible. He is encouraging the poor to open bank accounts so that financial help can be sent to them directly. He is encouraging people to own mobile phones to stay informed. He is computerizing the attendance system so that babus are forced to come everyday and stay in the office. He is eliminating the paper work.

Establishing systems that thwart corruption are much better than attacking individuals.

Does it really take 400 L of water to make 1 L of cold drink?

It is surprising to know that 1 million traders in Tamil Nadu, according to this Time update, are taking cold drink bottles from Coca-Cola and Pepsi off their shelves because these multinationals are using up the state’s scarce water resources. The traders are replacing these bottles of cold drinks with local, fruit-based brands.

It’s quite surprising to know that it takes 400 L of water to make 1 L of cold drink. If this really happens, it is such a waste and something desperately needs to be done about this.

Actually it takes 1.9 L of water to make a small bottle of Coca-Cola but that is at the factory level. Activists in the state say that  sugarcane farming takes up lots of water. Coca-Cola is the biggest buyer of sugarcane in the country and PepsiCo is the third-largest sugarcane buyer in the country.  So if you add up the water used to grow sugarcanes, it comes out to be 400 L water to make 1 L of cold drink.

The problems with multinationals is that  they’re very disconnected with local problems and this is why inviting foreign investment is always a double-edged sword. It brings advanced technology to the country  and it also generates employment but since  these companies are not directly connected to the soil of the country, they don’t have any long-term interest in taking care of the local environment.

The same happens with web server farms The use of lots of water, lots of precious water.

It’s a blessing in disguise though. Bringing for the gold rings anyway is not good for health and it is good that people are being encouraged to consume beverages made of fruits. Though this may bring its own set of problems.

Why Indian engineering graduates don’t pursue engineering?

In the early 2000’s for some time I worked with GE and my superior was a chemical engineer. Once he boasted to me that he earns more editing Word documents than his friends working at ISRO with the same qualification. When I asked what about work satisfaction, he said he was satisfied as long as he was being paid could.

This Forbes article says that most engineering students in India have to seek employment in other realms because they don’t get paid much in the court engineering field. For example, someone called Abhishek Sharma says that an engineer gets 60% more in a software company compared to a conventional engineering-related company. After completing his engineering, this person is working as a business consultant, and I can totally believe him, considering my senior was perfectly happy editing Word files.

Muslim polarisation automatically means Muslim polarisation

The BJP is being accused of polarising the Uttar Pradesh elections, and it might be, says Minhaz Merchant in this dailyO article, but polarisation from the BJP’s side is mostly reactionary. We all remember that initially the BJP talked about only development despite a few of its fringe members raising issues of Ram Janm Bhumi and Hindu-Muslim issues.

But the problem is, unfortunately, the politics of our country is intertwined in the mesh of caste, religion, class and even regionalism. For decades, parties like the Congress have been deftly playing the communal card to pitch Muslims against Hindus and then reap political dividends.

The Congress and its various offshoots and partners in crime have been easily able to pitch the Muslim community against the Hindu community because one, the dynamics within the Muslim community are such that they constantly feel threatened, shortchanged, victimised and when not all these, aggressive.

Two,  Hindus on the other side are divided. There are caste divides, class divides and regional divides. You name it, and they have that sort of divide. So they are not a very strong, collective vote bank unless they are moved by a very big cause.  In the early 90s it was the Ram Janm Bhumi that brought Hindus together and suddenly catapulted the BJP to the position of a national party.

The Ram Janm Bhumi movement taught the BJP that if communalism works for the Congress, if it has the right cause, it can also work for the BJP, and it actually did.

The problem with the BJP is, even if it wants to stay away from the Hindu-Muslim issue, the other parties won’t.

Hindu-Muslim-Caste issue in India is like water and color on the day of Holi. It’s very difficult to remain clean on Holi when you go out: someone will definitely throw water and color on you. If not an adult, then a kid. If you want to remain clean, stay indoors.

The same holds true for Indian politics. If you want to stay away from these issues, then forget about becoming a significant political entity.

This could be the reason why Gurmehar Kaur is being raked up

Kerala has been the den of murderous communists for many years now. Our mainstream media does not cover the atrocities being committed in the communist-ruled state for obvious reasons: the left dominated media would not like to talk about the dark deeds of their masters.

BJP and RSS cadres have been mercilessly butchered in Kerala. People are beaten up, their houses and shops are burnt, their properties are looted and conditions have deteriorated to such an extent that even some leftist newspapers and publications have been forced to cover the barbarities of the communists in God’s own country.

As mentioned above,  in the mainstream news media, you won’t find mentions of BJP and RSS workers being hacked, tortured and hounded with unprecedented impunity. You won’t come across prime-time debates on why violence against RSS and BJP workers is not being checked. Even if violence in Kerala is mentioned,  both the sides are blamed,  totally distorting the reality.

To highlight the rampant  violence BJP and RSS workers are subjected to on a day-to-day basis in Kerala, a nationwide protest is scheduled to take place on March 1, 2017. This nationwide protest will be held to condemn the communist atrocities on BJP and RSS  workers in Kerala. According to various news reports appearing on the Internet,  RSS-affiliated  “Forum Against Communist Terrorism” is organising this  nationwide protest.

Here is the visual that I have received about the protest:

protest-against-murders-in-Kerala

If not for social media, these incidents of ruthless violence  would have never  been brought to the prominence.

Even on social media the communist cadres  cannot resist spreading their  hatred and encouraging  others to commit disproportionate violence:

Communist-violence-tweet

Sorry for posting such a violent  image  but I just want to show which are the people who are actually violent.

Now, the RSS is a very  large organization. It is spread across the country. If it wants to organise a protest, it can REALLY organize it.

The media would have been forced to cover  a protest march of such a scale.

They quickly had to come up with some sort of mitigating action plan so that people’s attention is  diverted, and the people seemingly affiliated with the RSS  could be painted as villainous.

This is why you see people like Seetaram Yechuri, John Dayal and Kaveetha Krishnan leading the drama from the front and the who’s who of the liberal  intelligentsia brigade  carrying out the PR exercise in the mainstream media as well as social media. The plan was that by the time the RSS organised its March 1 protest march, the attention would be diverted from the cruelties of the communists and an impression will be given that  the RSS-affiliated  folks are anyway roguish, communal and confrontationist and in some manner, hence, attract  the ire of the cadres.

They concocted a perfect  cocktail  of liberal tearjerking  melodrama. You have here

  • An innocent and sweet -looking girl
  • Daughter of a martyr
  • Victimised by the Hindu right-wing

They were so aggressive that even a small hint of disagreement  with the girl was immediately termed as “trolling the poor 20-year-old girl”.

But their party was crashed by some sports and Bollywood celebrities as well as people on social media. These people have been exposed to such an extent that  according to the last news coming about Gurmehar Kaur, she was withdrawing all her statements, whatever that means.

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Huffington Post removed my article and closed down my account

Some people don’t learn their lesson and yours truly  might be one of them. About a couple of years ago the chaps at Huffington Post unilaterally deleted my  “Why I support Narendra Modi” post. I should have learned my lesson. This time, after sending my last Amrit’s Updates I published a small  post highlighting how hypocritical the left-lib intelligentsia is, on Huffington Post. These guys are so efficient that the post was deleted  within 20 minutes.

I normally don’t  promote my articles and blog posts aggressively, but this time, I wanted as many people to know about what Huffington Post did, as possible. I sent DMs to many people on Twitter  and they all promptly  started posting  the news about Huffington Post removing my article.  You can read about the entire fiasco on this OpIndia update.

Yep, Tejaswi Yadav might be Bihar’s chief minister

Recently, according to this Asian Age update, Laloo Yadav’s wife who also stumbled her way into the position of chief ministership of Bihar while cooking dinner for the family one day, said that there has been demand that Tejaswi Yadav, her son, be made Bihar Chief Minister. Right now, as you may already know, the chap who is still learning how to wipe his nose, is the “deputy” Chief Minister.

And why not? The entire state of Bihar is basically the fiefdom of Laloo Yadav. Due to political compulsions, they are just biding their time. The coming together of Nitish Kumar and the Laloo Yadav clan was any way a very uncomfortable political adjustment both for Nitish Kumar and Laloo Yadav – in the past they have been archrivals and everybody had thought that his RJD was a nightmare of the past. But the suicidal public perhaps hadn’t had enough of his good old criminal gangs and had started feeling bored of the fact that they could move around in the evening after 4 PM without carrying a “tamancha”. They gave his party enough votes to put him in a position to inject his family members and close associates into the veins of the current government led by Nitish Kumar.

All these regional parties are basically localised replicas of the Congress party – some families running their dynasties. You have Laloo Yadav in Bihar, Mulayam Yadav in Uttar Pradesh, Badals in Punjab, and Karunanidhi in Tamil Nadu and so on, and of course, at the centre we have had the misfortune of the Nehru-Gandhi family.

The tragedy in our country is that even people don’t mind it. In the name of ideology, they are fine with various shady families running a reign of loot in the country. In the cities and urban areas, the so-called intellectuals and liberals are fine with supporting the Nehru-Gandhi family as long as “communal forces” are kept away. In urban and semiurban areas, it’s all about caste and religion. Somehow, the patriarchs and the matriarchs of these parties have figured out how to control emotional strings of people and reap political benefits from that. Narendra Modi is trying to dismantle these dynasties but it’s a long due process and the entire system is working against him.

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The schemes and freebies that made Jayalalitha “Amma”

I’m not sure whether this is a PR piece on Jayalalitha or a genuine attempt at throwing light at some of her schemes that made her “Amma”.

Why I’m cynical is that our politicians have perfected the art of being highly corrupt but still emerging as massihas of the poor. They scam away thousands of millions of rupees and then throw a few crumbs at the poor – and there is no dearth of the poor in the country – and then keep on getting elected, if not continuously, then in cycles.

But there are some people on Facebook and Twitter whom I ideologically agree with and they are admirers of Jayalalitha. She actually did some good work for the state of Tamil Nadu, they say.

The above-linked article lists many schemes started by Jayalalitha. For example, she started canteens where food was extremely cheap. She also distributed laptops to youngsters, although, the article says, many laptops ended up in the grey market.

I’m not very against freebies especially when they are given to the poor. The freebies act as a prop, or the push, provided these freebies are actually used for the good of people rather than using them as crumbs thrown to the birds just to attract them for the sake of entertainment (in this case, for getting votes). Food, anyway, should be highly affordable because if people are healthy, they can be more productive, although it is a double-edged concept.

The Jan-dhan scheme of the current NDA government under Narendra Modi is much better because instead of giving the doles to people, it empowers them by directly sending money to their bank accounts. This way, the middlemen are completely eliminated.

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What actually happened at the Ramjas College

This OpIndia report tells what actually happened at the Ramjas College. As usual, our mainstream media tried to paint the ABVP students as vicious villains and commie students from the JNU innocent victims whereas, it was the opposite. The truth was revealed on social media.

As you will see in the photographs, the perpetrator was turned into a victim and the victim was turned into a perpetrator.

Sadhguru’s logical explanation of yoga

Here is a video in which Sadhguru very lucidly explains to a very hostile interviewer about the qualities of yoga and how, you don’t need to belong to Hinduism or any other religion in order to benefit from it.

Look @ This Idiot Anchor Who Never Practiced Yoga Never Experienced it Taking Interview with a Prejudiced Mind !?! Jagi Gurudev Smashed Him…..:P

Posted by Bishnu Prasad Mishra on Sunday, February 19, 2017

Sadhguru rightly says that since a political party recognized as a “Hindu” party is aggressively promoting yoga, people are having problems with yoga and its origins from Hindu root.

He equates the concept of yoga having Hindu roots with gravity with Christian roots as it was a Christian scientist from the Western world who discovered and defined the concept of gravity. Just because a Christian scientist figured gravity it doesn’t mean people who don’t believe in Christianity start floating around.

In similar manner, because yoga has primarily Hindu roots, it doesn’t mean its benefits can only be enjoyed by Hindus and if people from other religions do yoga somehow, they compromise with their Christian or Muslim faith.

I am normally skeptical of gurus that try to portray yoga as a non-Hindu science/art/physical regime but I can understand the constraints. They need to counter religious heads of other religions because they tell their followers that practicing yoga would mean compromising their religions.

So, we find many Hindu gurus, especially when they are interacting with the Western people, de-linking Hinduism from yoga, just to ease them out.

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Does the U.P government give Muslims preferential treatment?

Narendra Modi has stirred up the hornet’s nest by his “agar kabristan to shamshaan kyun nahi?” comments and all the usual suspects are evaluating this statement as him throwing away the garb of development and coming back to the original communal agenda.

Stupid people. This is not the issue here.

As reported in this OpIndia article, the U.P. government actually gave Muslims preferential treatment while doing development work.

If this happened, such things were bound to happen, especially with the politics that solely depends on communal and caste-based politics. Why should they do development work in Hindu majority areas if the Hindus vote for them anyway and it’s the Muslims who constantly need to be appeased? The problem is with Hindus, not with political parties that exploit them.