Sunday 13 May 2012

Next change, lights out and cell phones off in 2013 (Sunday Guardian)


More than 200 million people will have their cell phones go dead on them within 2013, courtesy Manmohanomics. PTI
Andimuttu Raja, the same as former Chief Justice K.G. Balakrishnan and former BJP president Bangaru Lakshman, is a Dalit. Although the "liberal establishment" in Delhi, a group liberal in helpings of spiritual solace at embassy parties across the capital, considers itself free from ancient prejudices, there are not many neo-Buddhists within its ranks. That injustice was done to Dalits in the past is no secret. They were treated execrably, and hence have the right to affirmative action so as to bounce ahead to the core of national achievement. It was Nehru who in his discoveries found out that Muslims were discriminated against by the Mughals and Christians by the British, and hence the insistence that both minorities be given special privileges "in order to make up for past wrongs". What these wrongs were — and which were not equally shared by their Hindu brethren — has never been specified.
Through its policies and its propaganda, by repeatedly seeking to tell minorities that they are different from Hindus — when the fact is that all citizens have common basic needs and aspirations — the UPA is generating the same psychology of victimhood that has had such toxic effects in Pakistan. Instead of India becoming the location from where an inclusivist agenda spreads to neighbouring states, it is the divisive policies and politics of Pakistan that is drifting into this country, creating in the process a growing distance between communities that often get expressed in toxic form in SMSes and in emails. Neither Muslims nor Christians have at any stage of Indian history suffered any worse discrimination than those suffered by the rest of the population. Hence the logic of including them within the basket of those requiring affirmative action defies explanation. However, separating them from Hindus by giving them reservation denied to the so-called "majority" has not been the only less than optimal policy of India's first Prime Minister. Another was to give the "commanding heights" of the economy to the state sector. Nehru sought to ensure that the plums of the development process remained wholly in the hands of the government. He sought a system of governance as total in its power as that which was exercised by the British, and he succeeded. To this day, a citizen of India is forced to genuflect before the portals of one state agency or the other in order to get permission for the most routine of tasks. Small wonder that this has generated illicit income on a gargantuan scale, mostly in the hands of politicians and officials, and that they are now on a spree to reclaim the vast powers that they had before Narasimha Rao's partial liberalisation of the early 1990s. Since 2004, Manmohan Singh has reversed almost every reform that he participated in during 1992-96, with no apparent unease or demur.
Should Manmohan Singh last into 2014, he is likely to witness public discontent on a scale never before seen in independent India. Lights are likely to go out across more than 40% of the country, because of slippages in power generation and distribution. Chennai, with its 8-hour power cuts, is giving a glimpse into what citizens in Mumbai, Delhi and other large cities will experience by mid-2013. The other sector that is expected to collapse as a consequence of "Manmohanomics with Sonia characteristics" is telecom. There are more than 550 million mobile phone users in India. Should the industry continue its race towards disaster, more than 200 million of these will have their cell phones go dead on them within 2013. India will be brought back into the "Golden Age" of Garibi Hatao, when Indira Gandhi converted a poverty-stricken country into one of the wealthiest in the world. Once the power goes out, cell phones go dead, and travel be made too expensive for ordinary citizens because of the steady fall in the rupee (which may touch Rs 90 to the US dollar before 2014 at the present rate of devaluation), hopefully the Government of India will ensure that Doordarshan gives viewers a 24/7 fare of "Sayings of the Nehrus", words of wisdom that will include all the speeches of Sonia Gandhi. Private channels will anyway have shut up shop, given the new imposts sought to be levied on them. Not that those responsible will care. Already, they spend more time abroad than in India.

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