By Ajit Sahi
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is on a roll. A smattering of opinion polls has forecast a mammoth win for it in the ongoing Lok Sabha election. If that happens, the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) would return to power in New Delhi next month after a gap of ten years. It is claimed that the BJP’s prime ministerial nominee, Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi, has so electrified the hundreds of millions with his promise of great governance that the incumbent Congress party-led government at the Centre would be ground to dust and blown off. The prophecy may well turn out correct, for who knows what lies in the future? But to make their living, middlebrow analysts such as this writer, who are endowed with neither clairvoyance nor the telepathic vision that can spot metaphorical waves, must stick to the humdrum of past electoral records. In the BJP’s case, that data doesn’t inspire much confidence in the 121 seats that voted on April 17 in the largest of the nine phases of the Lok Sabha elections. The NDA must win in Karnataka, where all 28 Lok Sabha seats voted on 17 April, as well as in Rajasthan, where 20 of 25 seats polled that day, Maharashtra (19 of 48 seats), Uttar Pradesh (11 of 80 seats), Odisha (11 of 21), Madhya Pradesh (10 of 29), Bihar (seven of 40), Jharkhand (six of 14), West Bengal (four of 42), and Chhattisgarh (three of 11). But vote shares in past elections suggest the NDA is on weak ground in the 17 April seats of at least UP, Karnataka and Bihar. Karnataka Routed in the 2013 assembly elections after ruling it for five years, the BJP believes former chief minister-turned-rebel BS Yeddyurappa’s return to it has put it back in the reckoning for the Lok Sabha. Much before scams in mine sales led to his downfall, BSY had scripted the BJP’s maiden assembly win in 2008 and also its triumph in 19 of the state’s 28 Lok Sabha seats a year later. Narendra Modi at a rally. AFP. Such had been his grip over Karnataka in 2009 that the Continue reading
Modi’s critics belong in Pakistan – The Hindu
Practicing untouchability in the twenty-first century? Casteism in pervasive even in this highly literate tech-society in India!
Earlier, there was another instance in 2011 when another man (a Gowda Saraswat Brahmin or GSB, whom the traditional brahmins consider not to be real brahmins!) was asked to leave the eating place in Udupi Sri Krishna Temple!
18 Apr. Christians keep Holy these seven days. This Holy Week began with Palm Sunday, commemorating the triumphant entry of Jesus into Jerusalem, when he was welcomed by crowds, hailing him as the King of Peace and singing Hosanna (jai!)
Then, within a few days, things turned for the worse. Jesus was betrayed by the very people who benefited from his compassion and love. His own people arrested him, charged him with treason (since the Romans refused to interfere with the Jewish religious matters, fearing the huge crowds gathered for the great Sabbath (Yom Kippur) in Jerusalem. Finally, the political conspiracy worked in favour of priests and pharisees.
That final journey of Jesus began with a final dinner (The Last Supper) of Jesus with his disciples, where he showed them what is true greatness: bending down and washing his disciples’ feet and wiping them with his own towel. On this occasion, he instituted the Eucharist, which we call the Holy Mass – pre-symbolising his total self-sacrifice; in doing so, Jesus also instituted priesthood, another sacrament.
After this, he goes with disciples to the Garden of Olives to pray, since he had sensed the terrible danger to his life. That is what we celebrated yesterday in Maundy Thursday. It is there, he was betrayed by his own disciple Judas Iscariot, and sold for 30 silver pieces. Then on, it was all about jews, pharisees (priestly class), and the high priests, together with the Roman administration which was ruling Palestine, then.
Jesus was tried on false charges, accused, abused, tortured, scourged, plaited with thorny crown, given a cross and made to carry it to mount Calvary. There, they crucified him, among two other robbers, and finally Jesus forgives those who persecuted/crucified him, and gives up his spirit. That is Good Friday. At our celebration of the Passion of Our Lord, at St Joseph’s College, Bangalore, I presided, with passion sung by Fr Louis, Sch Amos and self. After the Passion narrative, I reflected on pain and suffering.
Now, we wait for the Resurrection, when we will celebrate His triumph over death, hatred, enmity; his coming to life again. That is what we celebrate tomorrow during the Easter Vigil on Holy Saturday. Sunday following this is Easter Sunday when one of His women disciples first discovered the empty tomb, where Jesus was buried. And later, Jesus made his presence felt once again among his scattered flock, and filled them with new life, courage, and hope! It’s all about hope!
17 Apr. There is already some serious search on this blog. Besides their interest in NDTV’s Group Editor Barkha Dutt (I don’t know why so many are after her!), they look for SSLC results.
It is a bit too early to look for results now! The results are expected to be declared in approximately two more weeks. And then, this is the website to look for: http://www.kseeb.kar.nic.in/
No doubt, I won’t disappoint you; will give updates as and when they come in!
In the meantime, keep your fingers crossed for the results of the 16th General Elections. Today was the fifth of the eight phases of Lok Sabha polls; and Karnataka, whose all 28 constituencies went to polls, witnessed a low turn-out: a good sign for BJP and its ambitious prime ministerial candidate (please, don’t get me wrong! That’s a knotty statement!) And if this trend continues in the remaining phases (because the BJP expects all their social media devotees to be carried away right into the polling booths), they would have repeated an extremely costly blunder after the disastrous 2004 (India Shining) campaign. Well, this time the big corporates’ Rs. 10,000 crore (= 100 billion rupees!) is at stake on one man who can bull-doze anyone at his own whims and fancies! And if that happens, I would be sorry for all the corporates and the media-naysayers -who see nothing good outside this one man’s bluff!
Christian leaders condemn Modiâ€™s ignorance on anti-Christian attacks | UCAN India
It is not surprising that BJP’s prime ministerial candidate and a die-hard right-wing hindutva flag-bearer narendra modi has sold his ignorance again. Often in the past, he has done this regarding female child-malnourishment (“they are beauty conscious, hence the don’t drink milk”!), rampant unemployment, scarcity of water, hindutva right-wing riot which targeted tens of thousands of innocent Muslims and killed over two thousand of them (besides other heinous crimes against women and unborn babies), and many more! And this time he feigns ignorance about the crimes against Christians, their religious symbols and persons his government and predecessors must take responsibility for.
Latest is: modi skirted the question (on a TV channel) regarding crimes against Christians, saying he was unaware of such crimes!
Should such a man be elected to the highest executive post of India? Many believe he should be behind bars, and contest elections.
Here is the response by some Christian groups to his TV interview:
The BJPâ€™s prime ministerial candidate made the remarks in a television interview last week.
MH370 ‘hijacked and in Afghanistan’: Russian intelligence source claims passengers and crew held hostage
15 April. Now, that’s very strange, though not totally impossible!
The disappeared flight (08 March 2014) MH370 seems to be hijacked by Afghanis “terrorists”, if this report is true! Unknown terrorists are said to have taken control of the missing plane and forced it to land near Kandahar
A Russian newspaper has claimed that Flight MH370 was hijacked by “unknown terrorists” and flown to Afghanistan, where the crew and passengers are now being held hostage.
The extraordinary comments, attributed to a Russian intelligence source, appeared in the Moskovsky Komsomolets newspaper.
The source told the paper: “Flight MH370 Malaysia Airlines missing on March 8 with 239 passengers was hijacked.
“Pilots are not guilty; the plane was hijacked by unknown terrorists.
“We know that the name of the terrorist who gave instructions to pilots is “Hitch.”
“The plane is in Afghanistan not far from Kandahar near the border with Pakistan.”
According to The Daily Star, Moskovsky Komsomolets also claims the passengers have been divided into seven groups and are living in mud huts with almost no food.
Twenty Asian passengers were said to have been smuggled into a bunker in Pakistan.
It is also claimed that the terrorists are possibly seeking to bargain with either America or China .
The news, perhaps unsurprisingly, has not been confirmed by authorities either in Malaysia or China.
Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 disappeared soon after taking off on March 8 from Kuala Lumpur bound for Beijing.
It had 227 passengers and 12 crew on board, triggering a multinational search that is now focused on the Indian Ocean.
On Friday, the Prime Minister of Australia, Tony Abbott, has said he was “very confident” that signals picked up by search teams in the Indian Ocean were from missing Flight MH370′s black box.
During a visit to Beijing, China, he told the the Australian Broadcasting Corporation: “We have very much narrowed down the search area and we are very confident the signals are from the black box.”
A fifth signal was detected by search crews on Friday.
The signals will eventually allow them to determine an exact resting place for the downed Boeing 777.
They will then send down a submersible vehicle to plumb the depths of the ocean for the black box.
The ‘pings’ emitted by Flight MH370′s black box are soon expected to fade, more than a month after the plane, which was carrying 227 passengers and 12 crew, disappeared on March 8.
Can Narendra Modi not fix anything? The answer is “definitely not!”
Without fixing, the “badly” prime ministerial aspirant, just can’t go public. The latest in the series of ‘fixed’ is his interview with India TV. Poor, Editorial Director Qamar Waheed Naqui!
Modi effect: 2,000-odd RSS shakhas sprout in 3 months
Lucknow, April 13, 2014: For the last three months, Ravi Tewari, a 22-year-old engineering student, has been waking up at 5am, putting on his white shirt and khaki shorts and rushing to a nearby park for the morning shakha of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS). His family is surprised. No one in the Tewari clan has ever been with RSS. So, the family can’t quite figure what is driving Ravi to adopt this punishing morning drill.
“I believe in Hindutva,” says Ravi. “The country needs reforms. Who other than Narendra Modi can make it happen? The youth needs something to look forward to. They also need to take up more responsibilities to change things and the shakha is the best place to learn how to do it.”
Ravi speaks with a sense of purpose that only a new convert can have. He had never dabbled in politics before he joined ABVP, BJP’s student wing, a few months ago. And there are thousands like him, he says, neo-converts who have breathed new life into RSS after Modi was named the BJP’s PM candidate on September 13 last year.
Suddenly, the organization which was becoming moribund and seen to be out of tune with the times, is growing. In less than three months, more than 2,000 shakhas have sprouted across the country. By the end of 2013, there were 44,982 shakhas in India, of which 8,417 were in UP alone.
The numbers had peaked in 2004, when there were around 51,000 functioning shakhas. They shrunk during the UPA tenure, hitting a low of 39,283 shakhas in 2010. But as scams broke out, and UPA 2 went from one low to another, there was again a renewed, interest in shakhas, with a sudden burst in post-Modi months.
Kripa Shanker, who heads the RSS publicity wing for UP and Uttarakhand, however, says that it is not a seasonal upsurge. He claims the number shakhas did not decline after 2004. “It’s just that people are becoming more aware of our work.”
“More and more young people are coming forward and joining shakhas,” says Atul Singh, who heads a newly established shakha in Lucknow. What do the shakhas do? “They focus on character building, idealism, discipline and, of course, Hindutva. We are creating awareness among people to vote for a ‘suitable’ political candidate,” he said; ‘suitable’ of course being shorthand for Modi.
“The surge clearly shows how the attraction of power is working for RSS,” says a Sangh activist who did not want to be named. “Students associated with ABVP have joined in large numbers over the past six months. Besides, people who were inactive in the past few years have become active again.”
“Shakhas are now much more organized,” says an ABVP leader. “Most shakhas now have ‘gan nayak’ — a functionary who is supposed to wake up swayamsewaks in the morning and bring them to the park — and ‘gan shikshak’ (group teacher), who trains the members. This was not the case some time ago.”
Ashok Sinha of the RSS’ publicity wing says the Lok Sabha elections are like a national festival for the Sangh. “Our activities increase during elections but this doesn’t mean we do not work at other times. Shakhas focus on personality development and social inclusiveness and what better than the involvement of young,” he says.
Associated with the RSS since his childhood, 76-year-old D P Singh, at present the sarsanghchalak (head) of west UP, says, “Shakhas are not meant to bring in a revolution. They help in the character-building process. The participation of youth in shakhas is like fresh flowers being offered to God. One doesn’t offer dry flowers while worshipping, no?”
- Times of India
It is nice to have friends like Mr John Thomas, who use the internet to good effect – for education, information, and awakening! I am re-posting his Facebook post on media, here. It’s worth the read for the wealth of information it contains, and the source.
Since it’s anyway the silly season where you’re hearing the same thing over and over, here’s a juicy red-herring for my media-interested friends, hot off the internet.
At a time when there will be a change of guard for Indian leadership, a lot of movement is also going to happen in the media. Arnab Goswami’s contract with Times Now is set to end this November and a brand in himself, Goswami is now exploring better opportunities Continue reading