Tag Archives: corruption

INCREDIBLE INDIA http://www.dnaindia.com/india/analysis_reality-does-not-match-incredible-india-ads_1520050

INCREDIBLE INDIA

Nowadays, in every hotel, every railways station, every government office, you can find posters selling « Incredible India ».

I have been a defender of India for many many years, but the Incredible India campaign does not always match the reality on the ground.

Take visas, for instance. Because India’s intelligence agencies did not do their work properly and Headley was able to move around freely around the country, preparing the 26/11 terror attacks, visa rules have been tightened to such an extent that it has become ridiculous. Recently I asked for a visa for my assistant, a French lady, who likes India, and wants to work in India. She would help in the making of La Revue de l’Inde, the only magazine solely devoted to India in the French speaking world, and which props-up India as the natural, liberal and democratic alternative to China… The Indian embassy in Paris offered her a 3 months visa! Visa rules in India are nehruvian and outdated. The Chinese have understood that one needs to open one’s doors if one wants investments. Incredible India!

Take railways. 20 years ago one had to wait for a long time to get a confirmed berth on the Ranikhet Express which connects to two of the most popular hill stations in northern India: Nainital & Ranikhet. Any change? When we booked our tickets, we were waitlisted 12 & 13. A month later, we were still 12 & 13! Lalu Prasad & Mamta Banerjee might start new trains to please their constituencies, but they do not increase the existing capacities and as a result Indian railways have hardly progressed in 20 years, whereas again, the Chinese have clean, comfortable and fast trains. I say fast, because when we finally got confirmed berths on the Ranikhet express, the train was seven hours late and took 14 hours to cover the 378 kms that separate Delhi from Kathgodam, which makes for an average speed of 19 kms an hour. Incredible India !

India is the largest democracy in the world, they say. Is it at the moment? Reliance claims the Government has asked them to spy on a 100.000 phones. What about the other operators? How many phones is this Government spying on? The CBI blatantly lets go of Quatrocchi the only man who could implicate Sonia Gandhi in the Bofors scam, but goes out big time after Hindu ‘terrorists’. There is some progress though, because a few people are beginning to point a finger at Sonia Gandhi (Raja must have shared some of the scam money with the Congress for their election campaigns and we all know that Sonia holds the strings of the purse – hence her immense power), whereas before nobody dared, for fear of some goons ransacking their office or even being killed. Incredible India !

Speaking of mobiles. The 2G scam is not only about mobile operators paying bribes to Mr Raja to buy bandwidth at throwaway prices and sell them a month later at huge profits to foreign companies, as Tata did to Japanese Docomo, it is also about them thinking they can get away with anything and employing strong arms tactics to recover unpaid bills. I have been a customer of Essar, (then Hutchinson, then Vodafone) since 1997, when I paid a deposit of 5000, which is worth at least four more today. In 2008 my 11 year on-time paid connection (9811118828), was arbitrarily disconnected by Vodafone for a disputed bill of Rs 2000 (of unwanted adds while in Bali, which one of the then Hutch executives had agreed to waive). Then on 10.3.10, I received a call on my new mobile from sub-inspector Kripal Singh (08010649949), who said there was a non bailable warrant against me for unpaid mobile bills. He gave me the mobile number of a lawyer at Delhi’s Tees Hazra’s court (09540602039) and that I had to pay him an amount of Rs.7,500/- before 5 PM, otherwise I would go to jail. Most people pay out of fear. Incredible India!

What about banks? There is so much cheating in India by rich people (like Hassan Ali, who has just gone to jail though it is known for years he has 4 fake passports), that the low income lawful customers pay for them. Since five years foreigners can own property in India or even have 100% shares in companies. I am a PIO, so I have every single right that any other Indian have, except to vote. But try opening a trust account, even in a private bank like HDFC. It’s just hell, as your are mistrusted at every step, a hundred forms have to be signed, copies of your PIO have repeatedly to be given and every request starts with a no, no, no. The tragedy in India as it is so centralized with the Government breathing with a million rules on everyone’s necks, that private initiative is stifled, because everybody is so scared that they go even overboard in denying you. Incredible India!

If only Indian politicians could hear what ordinary Indians are saying about them. Our driver in Jaipur who is paid 5000RS a month by a hotel that charges 22.0000 Rs a day for a room, says with a smirk as soon as we get in his car: “India, My India, Incredible India, but everybody is corrupt Sir, I hate them all”. Incredible India!

Good journalism should always balance criticism with positive outputs so that one’s readers should not feel that the world is bleak and hopeless. Let me say then, that India has shown again that when in extreme distress, it can raise its head and correct its headings. The judiciary and the press are fighting the incredible corruption cancer that has taken over Indian politics and some accountability is being primed at the moment.

In Jaipur again, I stumbled in a stadium with over 100.0000 people, many of them youngsters, singing, dancing, breathing, and meditating with Sri Sri Ravi Shankar during the occasion of Shivaratri. That was amazing: Incredible India.

Fgautier26@rediffmail.com

Editor in Chief of the Paris-based La Revue de l’Inde and author of “A New History of India” (Har Anand, New Delhi)

KARMA AND THE 09 INDIANS ELECTIONS

Each nation, like the human soul, packs karma in each of its lives or cycles. Good karma or bad karma have one unique characteristics: they are like a tiny seed, bearing their fruits ages or cycles later, often giving the impression to the ignorant mind of total injustice done to innocent souls. Thus the individual who seems to suffer unfair circumstances in this life, may be paying for a bad karma done dozens of lives ago. In the same manner, a nation which appears to suffer inexplicable hardships: persecution, earthquakes, great natural catastrophes, dictatorships, may be amending for a karma accomplished centuries ago. The Tibetan people’s plight seems to be a good example of this phenomenon. Here is one of the most harmless, peaceful, adorable culture on earth, spiritualised on top of that, who suffered and is still suffering the worst ignominies at the hands of the Chinese communists, who have eradicated their culture, razed to the ground hundreds of ancient and marvelous temples, killed either directly or indirectly – concentration camps, torture, famine – more than one million of this adorable people! Why? The Dalai-Lama, himself, one of the last great spiritual figures of this era, admits that it was because of an ancient “black karma”, bad deeds. Was it feudalism? Was it not opening itself to the world for so long? Or misuse of Tantrism? Who knows and who can judge? But it’s a good bet to say that there is probably no total injustice in this world. Everything springs from a mathematical, ultra-logical system, where one gets the exact reward one deserves, which bears no moral connotation like in Christianity. That, is called Karma.

There is also another wonderful concept in India, that of Dharma, which is the path of righteousness and living one’s life according to the codes of conduct as described by all ancient scriptures. It means “that which holds” the people of this world and the whole creation. On the other side, a-dharma is what makes people stray from the path of compassion, love, togetherness and that which creates hate, corruption and selfishness. As in a human being, a nation can choose a dharmic path or an a-dharmic one. The dharmic path, whatever the pitfalls, ensures the survival of the soul of a nation – which has been India’s story so far; and the a-dharmic one, the fall of even the greatest of civilisations, whether Rome, Greece or Egypt. Today for Indians, dharma is choosing between forces that are attacking India’s spiritual legacy and forces which will help preserve it.

Then we have the notion of the Avatar and the Asura in ancient India. As the avatar or the Vibhuti is direct incarnation of the Divine forces, the asura works against Dharma and ushers an era of a-dharma. It should also be emphasized that there is no such thing as the utter evil and absolute good of Christianity or American films in human beings: often the asuric beings seem to embody some good, whether it is charity or even secularism.

At this very moment, Indians have been asked to decide their future by electing a new Government. Sometimes, it is said that people act out of ignorance. But this time it is not so: Indians have been warned repeatedly in the forms of monstrous terrorist attacks, one after the other, that something is terribly wrong. They have also seen how the whole system is deteriorating, that cynicism in politics is the rule of the day, that their own Media is terribly biased and can be bought, that ancient values are being lost quickly by the way of Christian conversions, wildcat westernization and the sprout of Islamic fundamentalism. So, ultimately Indians are being given the choice to vote decisively for their future. If they do opt for the repeat of the same government which has ushered all these forces, out of regional, caste or religious pettiness, selfishness, or plain indifference, it can be said safely that somewhere they will do it consciously. They will have then to bear the consequences of their choice. That is called Karma

Then Sir Aurobindo’s words will echo down the ages:
“There are moments when the Spirit moves among men and the breath of the Lord is abroad upon the waters of our being; there are others when it retires and men are left to act in the strength or the weakness of their own egoism. The first are the periods when even a little effort produces great results and changes destiny; the second are spaces of time when much labour goes to the making of a little result. It is true that the latter may prepare the former, may be the little smoke of sacrifice going up to heaven which calls down the rain of God’s bounty.

Unhappy is the man or the nation which, when the divine moment arrives, is found sleeping or unprepared to use it, because the lamp has not been kept trimmed for the welcome and the ears are sealed to the call. But thrice woe to them who are strong and ready, yet waste the force or misuse the moment; for them is irreparable loss or a great destruction.”

fgautier@rediffmail.com

A convenient forgetfulness

Thursday July 31 2008 07:58

Source: The NewIndPress

I HAVE a friend, who happens to be the editor of a large circulation Indian newspaper, who advised me that the best way to write an article was to start with something positive, so as to make people feel happy.

It is good advice, and I have tried to stick to it, because not only are there so many negative events happening in the world, but also the media, both in India and abroad, thrives on sensationalism, on negativity, on falsehood even.

This week, however, it is going to be difficult to start this article on a positive note, as my heart — and the heart of so many ordinary Indians, who are not politicians, who are not journalists, who are not part of the Intelligentsia — is heavy and sad.

Let us say then, that I did start positively by mentioning my friend’s advice, which I still deem as the right one — and that I will speak of silence, rather than of noises and fury. There was a deafening silence, after the UPA won the vote of confidence in Parliament, on the part of the Press and Indian politicians, on the ways and means used to secure that vote. In the flush of victory, everything was forgotten on how MPs were bought right and left through a certain party, with money from a certain business house that needs favours; everything was forgotten on the extremely sad and debasing spectacle of the Parliament which is worse than a fish market.

There was a deafening silence on the role of Rajdeep Sardesai and his channel CNN-IBN’s role in helping the Congress win the vote. Sardesai sat on a sting tape which clearly showed someone who was close to Amar Singh handing over a crore to BJP MPs. If the tape had been aired it would have immediately led to the postponement of the trust vote and the UPA would have ultimately lost it. Instead, he handed it over to the Speaker only at 5 pm, knowing that it would be too late and that most likely Somnath Chatterjee would avoid taking immediate action.

There was deafening silence on the role of the Speaker as well. Should he not have satisfied himself on the veracity of the allegations before allowing further proceedings in Parliament? Should he not have deferred the trust vote?

Posterity will also judge him on the ‘History’ museum he built in the Parliament annexe which shows Indian history starting with Asoka, continuing with Akbar, and more or less jumping to Subhas Chandra Bose and Nehru, without any mention of the great political and spiritual leaders, from Kalidasa to Sri Aurobindo, from Sri Krishnadevaraya, the last king of the last great Hindu empire, that of Vijaynagar, to Bal Gangadhar Tilak, a true nationalist. So much for the communists’ view of Indian history.

There was a deafening silence on the part of the business community on the ethics of what has happened in the last two weeks. One can understand the silence of an Anil Ambani, who stands to directly benefit from the deals made by Amar Singh with the UPA. But what about others who may be swayed by the prospect of doing big business with the Americans, or by the possibility of the government going for last minute liberalisations, after it got rid of the communists’ hurdle.

There has been a deafening silence on the part of the government and the press after the Bangalore blasts and then the 17 horrible Ahmedabad blasts. Does the UPA think that the common citizen of India does not understand that on the one hand, if the Government of India keeps pointing the finger at Pakistan’s ISI, or at some Bangladesh outfit, it is to deflect the fact that most of the recent terror attacks have been perpetrated by Indian Muslims, with or without Pakistani or Bangladeshi (or al-Qaida) help?

It is not only a matter of vote banks in times of coming elections, but also the fact that politicians in India want to keep a blindfold on their citizens and pretend that nothing is happening.

Does not the government, on the other hand, understand that we have all become cynical about its usual conduct on these occasions :

a) condemn ‘in the strongest terms’ this ‘barbarous act’;

b) appeal for calm and ‘communal harmony’;

c) give a few lakh each to the families of the deceased or injured, so that they shutup; and

d) never catch the culprits and go on as before till the next terrorist act.

But look at America. It has not suffered a single terrorist attack since September 11, 2001. Which Indian politician wil have the courage to call a spade a spade and tackle terrorism with determination?

The scriptures tell us that we are in Kali Yuga, the ‘Dark Age’, the time where people are the furthest possible from God. Can India even go lower than what we have just witnessed in the past two weeks? Yes it can! Yet we need all to hope and pray, for if the Light in India dies, if this country sinks deepest in debasement, corruption, cynicism, if India becomes totally Americanised at the hands of the so-called nuclear deal,then many of us love will be doomed in the long run.

( Francois Gautier is Editor in Chief, La Revue de l’Inde) fgautier26@gmail.com