Tuesday, 5 January 2016

Goa: Perception vs Reality

Despite a majority population in Goa and in Arambol, being Hindus, the temples and architectural marvels are hardly talked about or find mention in news, historical references or tourist itineraries. It is the skewed perspective of a pro-West media and a pseudo-liberal tourism industry that popularises fairly recent architectures during the Portuguese rule. There is an urgent need to change the perception.
Bharat’s smallest state has been in the news for a host of reasons, mostly for wrong reasons. However, and sadly too, the news has almost always revolved around beaches, churches, cheap alcohol and molestations. Why, look at Pan Nalin’s Angry Indian Goddesses which won the BNL People’s Choice Award at the 10th anniversary of the Rome Film Fest. The film also picked up the runner’s up Audience Award in Toronto. Plugged as the first Bharateeya ‘female buddy movie’, with, a rape in Goa thrown in for effect, it went on to win awards much like Masaan.
Most recently, mining and the associated issues of “growth and development being affected adversely,” created ripples in Goa till the Apex Court had to intervene. Incidentally, the economy of the state is driven mostly by tourism and mining. With mining under pressure from all quarters, the focus has shifted to tourism. The state’s economic dependence on Foreigners vis-à-vis Bharateeyas to bolster the sector has been debatable though. Statistically, only a fraction of foreign tourists contribute to Goa’s welfare as compared to a colossal majority of Bharateeyas. And, the scales continue to tip even further, year after year.
For decades, tourism in Goa has been synonymous with rave parties, drugs and more recently, a pseudo-dependence on Russian charters and Israeli travellers. Next on the mind of tourists are the churches and towns reminiscent of the Portuguese and their occupation of Goa. And, that’s it. There is nothing else about Goa that grabs the tourist’s fancy. A whopping 66 per cent of the state’s population bear allegiance to Hinduism. Goa houses thousands of temples built by Hindu dynasties ruling for centuries, long before the Portuguese even had a home state of their own, yet the structures never find mention in travel guides or tour packages.

Now On Fast Track

Mangalyaan ensured that the admiration for Credible Bharat should grow, particularly at a time when the nation’s Prime Minister spoke with distinct pride about (MOM ) Mars Obiter Mission. Out of the 51 missions made across the world to Mars, only 21 had succeeded. And, Bharat got it right at the very first shot. And now Bharat has signed a MoU with Japan for Bullet Train.
So, Bharat is going to get its first bullet train and predictably, everyone is upset about it since the simmering bears an uncanny resemblance to the upsurge that followed Bharat’s maiden trip to Mars at a record cost of Rs 4.5 billion rupees (Rs 7 per kilometre) a fraction of what NASA’s own Maven cost the USA.
The cost mattered because it, in a way, muffled the cacophony a mission of this nature would elicit from “critics” anywhere in the world. Critics feel that “What was the need to spend money on going to Mars when there is so much poverty, lack of education, lack of good roads, lack of power and so on and forth…”
Mangalyaan ensured that the admiration for Credible Bharat should grow, particularly at a time when the nation’s Prime Minister spoke with distinct pride about (MOM ) Mars Orbiter Mission. Out of the  51 missions made across the world to Mars, only 21 had succeeded. And, Bharat got it right at the very first shot.
But that would never impress those whose agenda was, has and will be to thrive by showcasing Bharat’s misery to the world. Lobbies across minority communities spoke, and patronisingly too, about how Bharat managed to make the Mangalyaan Mission possible without the intervention of IITians . And how, the scientists responsible for MOM were, in fact, those from smaller institutions in towns across the nation and so forth.

Tuesday, 29 December 2015

Gandhi vs Gandhi

On December 9th 2015, when Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi proudly proclaimed that he would rather go to jail than apply for bail or sign a personal bond when he appears in court in the National Herald case ten days later, the mainstream media was swift to drew parallels between him and Indira Gandhi.
‘Like grandma, like grandson: Rahul prefers jail over bail’ screamed a Hindustan Times article. A Telegraph story too followed suit as it quoted Congress party sources as saying that Rahul would not seek bail as he is ‘convinced’ that the Narendra Modi-led government “plotted” the legal trouble for his mother and himself.
He tried hard to draw parallel with his grandmother, former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, who was jailed in 1977 by the Janata government of the time. Indira Gandhi’s arrest, then, helped bolster public sympathy as she defied arrest by Delhi policemen in what was alleged to be “vendetta,” by the Janata government. The Congress hoped that, in a similar repeat of sorts, Rahul’s move would fetch favour. That, however, didn’t quite happen as Rahul swiftly ate humble pie, paid up the bail of Rs 50,000 and walked. Announcing a resolve and living up to it are two very different things.
While bail is the prerogative of an accused in any democracy, as bail is preferred to jail, it doesn’t absolve the accused of guilt as is commonly and wrongly perceived. Yet, that didn’t stop Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi from walking out of court grinning at people and the media, claiming a victory of sorts. The symbiotic media, on its part, went on to report, of all things, that “bail was granted in five minutes”!!!
Now, the time in which bail is granted has little to do with the merits of the case. It is a preliminary procedure and has to satisfy a few tests to hold good. That bail would be granted was a given. Headings such as ‘The Congress turn legal setback into political victory in just three minutes’ leading to stories that elaborate a Congress stand and absolve it of implications seem like a parallel trial of sorts and qualify as ‘contempt.’ The issue is sub-judice and has to be treated in a manner such.

Tuesday, 15 December 2015

Tolerance is a Misnomer, Ahimsa More Apt

Bharat is credible because that’s the truth. Despite the world beyond its borders pitted against the largest democracy and a sea of dissidents within, threatening to derail the process, Bharat continues to surge ahead in the myriad indices that matter to the ‘developed’ world. Today, armed with a 5,000-year-old culture, five times older than the English language, Bharat is the world’s third largest when it comes to purchasing power parity and has the world’s third largest army. Bharat possesses the oldest mantra of all times i.e.the Middle Path that was evolved by Gautam Buddha 2,500 years ago and the Ram Rajya concept symbolic of the softening of a king’s otherwise-unrelenting stand.
The inevitable induction of Narendra Modi as Bharat’s leader with an overwhelming never-before-registered majority was fought tooth and nail by a parallel force that works with stealth and speed through non-Governmental networks professing to “address” issues as seemingly innocuous “yet crucial” as “climate change”; an “unbiased media” powered by politicians yet run by “Journalists” now being flayed as presstitutes and “paid media”; and Sections across the world whose interests are directly subverted by the ‘Make In India’ campaign.
The tolerance tattle was inevitable. With the Bharat’s economy picking up in the second quarter ending September 2015 and growing at 7.4 per cent during the quarter on the back of strong growth in manufacturing, trade, hotels, transport and communication services, there had to be a hurdle. So, on September 28th 2015, when a mob attacked and killed 52-year-old Mohammad Akhlaq Saifi, it was turned into an issue of national importance that had direct and dire relevance to the surge of “Intolerance” in Bharat. Bharat’s scholar, academician and former vice-chancellor of Kannada University in Hampi, Malleshappa Madivalappa Kalburgi’s murder on August 30th 2015 triggered a spurt of protests among nondescript writers across Bharat, returning their Sahitya Akademi awards.