Dear Mrs.Nandakumar,

Namaskaram for both you and Sri.Nandakumar,

Thank you for the long letter. I read with interest.

Soon after I left to attend a Poland Festival in India held at the Bangalore Alliance Franchise. It came as a revelation to me to know how the Polish nation and the Polish people were brutalised in the two world wars and even before. The current Polish Ambassador and the former Polish Ambassador who was incidentally a great Sanskrit scholar and who studied in Benares, and other Polish scholars spoke with great insights into the German and Russian brutalities and they said compared with their experience Indians were lucky to have the British as their masters and rulers etc.

And much more important came to be as a revelation was the fact that since Poland was wiped out of the map for some 126 years, the Polish people relied on their culture only, their arts, language, literature.

So, Polish poetry got two Nobel Prizes within 16 years of each other! Polish poetry was all about the darkness and their suppression of man while, said one participant, in the South of India, we never had any war experience nor any  brutality of politics and hence our literature and our poetry is all so shallow and even silly enough! Anyway, I wanted to incorporate this point in my introduction which I sent you the other day.

Now, Shenbi and Kartik, after we visited you have mooted the idea of you write a monograph on our family, not on me alone, they say! They will in their own manner would talk with you.

As for me, this much I wanted to share with you here.

You may or may not know how my life had gone through! I went to Oxford with great idealistic fervour! That fervour had been in a way, the source of all my troubles and tribulations in my life path!

I became attracted by Pandit Nehru since my Santiniketan days, Nehru used to come to Santiniketan every years, all the four years I was there and so I became closely drawn to his personality.

So, at Oxford I became easily attracted by politics and that is how I debated at the Oxford Debating Union, befriended Kingsley Martin, the editor of the New statesman weekly and so on and so forth.

When Indians before and after me and even in my times, were always drawn towards service in the government I rejected and chose for a radical heroic activities. That of course had its ups and downs and of course my becoming the MLC was the high point and becoming closer to Kamaraj till his last days was also a consolation.

Now, what I have achieved?

I had tried to be different from the generation of Indians who went to England, trained as barriers or ICS and became servants of the government. This I defied.
Now, even after me when Kartik went to Oxford and when he came back I was very keen that he pursues an independent entrepreneur career so that he retains his independence and does much public service.

Also, knowing our social background, I mean both the Tamil society mentality, we somehow pretend to know many things but remain subservient to superiors, when the Whiteman ruled we were happy to master their language and serve them, now after they left a new type subservience has overtaken us.

So, if you see my writings, journalism or poetry or any other, in English and Tamil, you can see this struggle to free myself from my countrymen’s syndrome. I have paid a very high price for all this pursuits.

May be you can study my writings from this point of view and when you write you might bring this side of my personality.

May be there is no one at present as you are to know me through my writings and activities.

May be we may sit for more meetings and exchange views and then you might be able to concentrate on this side of my thinking and activities. I have strayed far from what I came to say! Now let us take leave.


With warm regards,

Yours sincerely,


Needs to be raised high!
Prime Minister out of hospital and still recuperating!

Yet unwilling to delegate authority to his colleagues!
Eight or nine Cabinet positions kept vacant!

No deputy Prime Minister nor independent Finance Minister!
What is happening in India? To the Indian democracy?

To India’s image abroad?

Sending out routine officials as ambassadors to major countries is a step in moving backward. Fighting shy to engage with the new US President Barack Obama is a telling instance.

The UN President Barack Obama has been a refreshing experience in international arena and the very outlook for the international scenario is full of hopes and optimism.

In this context and also in the on-going economic crisis and recession, India must be seen playing its due role. Once India was a big player on the international scene. Not anymore.

After Manmohan Singh came along, there is a perceptible dip in the image of India abroad.

Except that he signed the Indo-US nuclear deal, there is nothing more now. Even the nuclear deal is now no news considering the economic recession has taken a heavy toll on the nuclear programmes, not just in the USA, even in France and other nations.

The signing of agreements by India with Russia and now with France and the visiting delegations from the US nuclear industry are all in cold storage considering the economic recession had dried up any invest proposals there were touted before. So, there is practically no action on their Indian front on some of the crucial economic and diplomatic fronts. Indian diplomacy is as good as being nothing more than mere whispers.

Poor man, the Foreign Minister Mr.Mukerjee.

He is unnecessarily being burdened and even punished by over-burden. He is saddled with the very crucial Finance Ministerial portfolio he handled some 25 years ago.

Is this political wisdom? On the part of the Prime Minister or Sonia Gandhi?

The country is being denied the very many opportunities that are open to talents, both seniors and the juniors in the government and outside.

When the British press came along with the British Foreign Secretary, David Miliband, they went to Amethis, Rahul Gandhi’s constituency. The Brits were curious to find out how the young Gandhi views the world. The British press asked Rahul Gandhi pointed questions on Afghanistan, Iraq and other hot spots. The young Gandhi couldn’t answer questions from the inquisitive British pressmen.

That was big news in the British media. Not here. Here we have a very cowardly press.

The British Foreign Secretary, Miliband, now confesses he did mistakes in India where he talked very rudely and treatedly also rudely the very senior leaders like the Prime Minister and the Foreign Minister, the Whiteman wa shalf their age and yet he behaved as if he was their master!

So, I feel that India must send out even Rahul Gandhi and men of his age to some assignments to foreign countries as our ambassadors. So that they would bring back their experience for the benefit of India.

Even as it is, there is a need to give ministerial berths to senior leaders like Digvijay Singh and Veerappa Moily and other senior leader’s Cabinet posts. They will give the right leadership to the officials. Now, officials dominate the policy drawing and policy implementation. In fact, there is not much of a policy. No new and innovative policies for many ministries.

Even as it is that one person cant master many portfolios, one has to have time to think and learn. This ailing Prime Minister and insecure Party president are not willing to give to others.

A great pity injeed. To that extent Indian polity suffers and also India’s image suffers abroad.
Send out public figures as ambassadors. India must send out public figures as ambassadors to the UK and USA and other big countries!

Just now I read that the Indian government had sent out two officials as ambassadors to the USA and Pakistan. Even to other big countries like Russia or China or high profile countries like France and Germany we don’t know who India’s ambassadors are.

All this is in a pattern under Dr.Manmohan Singh.

Mr.L.K.Advani may be right or wrong when he said that Dr.Singh is the weakest Prime Minister India has had. But certainly, under Dr.Singh India’s image abroad is not at all high. Somehow, the Prime Minister true to his image has downgraded a number of otherwise high profile assignments in the service of India. Under Pandit Nehru, we used to have high profile ambassadors to big countries. To the USA we have had men like G.L.Mehta, to UK of course we have had V.K.Krishna Menon, to Russia Dr.S.Radhakrishnan and to China, the historian, K.M.Panikkar.

Even under Morarji Desai, we had Nani Palkhivala to the USA.

The point is that even in other such big jobs like, say, the chairman of the Planning Commission, we used to have public figures, C.Subramaniam, under Janata Dal, Ramakrishna Hegde. Only public figures can articulate and become the public face of their office and their responsibiltiies. Not faceless officials. Now, there are too many such faceless officials crowding the South bloc corridors!

All news from Delhi is about postings and transfers! Is this a big deal? What is great about the new bureaucrats at RAW or IB or CBI? Why write reams of columns in edit-pages and waste the public attention.

Unless you have great men, great minds in high offices, how can you generate great thoughts and ideas? Prime Minister and Sonia Gandhi must give some attention to what I am saying here. We invite reader’s reactions to what we have suggested here. Let us all have open minds. Let us all debate how we can raise the image of India abroad.

Somehow, under Singh and Sonia Gandhi we have had the sorry spectacle now that most high profile and even ceremonial public offices are held by very poor public figures. They don’t measure up to the public expectations. The public don’t feel inspired. Public confidence in the holders of such high profile public offices is at an all-time low.

All these thoughts don’t reflect of course any personal deficiencies of particular individuals.

The point we want to convey is that a great democratic country like India, with vast divergencies, and a great tradition of leaders like Gandhiji and Nehruji must be very careful in the selection of persons to occupy such public offices.

What is unpardonable is that Sonia Gandhi seems to have an aversion for highly talented persons. Otherwise, why she even doesn’t think right to fill up even the Cabinet offices of crucial ministries., as many as some eight and more such posts that is left to remain vacant. At a time when Mr.Pranab Mukerjee and other ministers are burdened with additional charges. What is the wisdom behind such decisions?

And also resorting to giving ministerial jobs to those who held high Constitutional posts, like CEC and Supreme Court Chief Justice?

Now, as for the ambassadors, it is very important that we send out not faceless officials as a matter of routine postings. We need to send to the USA and UK and other major countries highly respected public figures, individuals in their own rights some achievers, preferably outside the government machine and also individuals who can articulate India’s manifold achievements. In history, arts, in Constitutional matters and even in such fields like public service, NGO work and other social service sectors.

Outsiders must know the highly talented Indian individuals, even entrepreneurs are preferred.

Such assignments are in the nature of things are often short-term assignments and therefore it would be easy and also preferable to cast the net wide and far and must be able to locate a galaxy of talents to be shown to the outside world. Even artists and intellectuals can make a lot of difference.

Somehow, the government and Sonia Gandhi must give some thought to this suggestion.

Also, why Sonia Gandhi is shy and reluctant to give opportunities to her own party colleagues, some of whom are former Chief Ministers and also senior leaders as Cabinet Ministers?

They would fill the slots excellently. A Finance Minister, a broadcasting and information minister must be a high visible figure. So that his or her speeches and articulations would have great impact.

Even our national academies of literature, arts and music must have such high profile figures and they too can be given some crucial diplomatic postings.

Media persons too must be promoted to represent India on crucial occasions.

To keep the persons, be it state level seniors in the same states, not even giving them such assignment like Governors is a sort of sadism only and we have to learn to become more generous and forthcoming.

Senior Congress leaders must be given assignments like working presidents of the Congress party even at the Centre. One for the Southern region, one for the North, one fort the West and one for the East.

Even otherwise, the Congress party is devoid of any talented persons at the top. Why Sonia Gandhi should be so obsessed with her own narrow coterie and other nominated persons around her. Let her show her magnanimity and call for these seniors who are all languishing and feel so frustrated.

That is one reason she is forced to resort to suspension and at the same time forced to revoke her suspension as election approaches.

This is too bad and invites only ridicule and only exposes the limitations of the people surrounding her.

This also doesn’t lead to clean and a transparent sort of politics but only to political intrigues and manipulation behind the scenes by those who have bested interests to serve.

This is no clean politics or an ideologically committed politics.

It is a pity that Dr.Singh has led to the current downfall of the great many public offices.

All this is said with no ulterior motive whatever. Only India’s image abroad matters. Let us make India a great country.

The UN reforms and very many changes under Barack Omaba are going to shape the world events. Let India plays its due role in such historic times.

Let Indians realise that we are a great nation. Indians deserve better types of leaders too!

What our schools and universities teach in the sciences?

Charles Darwin

This is the year of Charles Darwin’s 200th year anniversary. February 12, 2009, was Darwin’s 200th birthday. And the 150th anniversary of The Origin of Species falls this autumn.

There are a spate of articles and even books on Charles Darwin, about his theory and also much about what he said and what his evolution theory means today. We wondered: do our Indian schools, colleges and universities care to celebrate this momentous occasion? Are there debates and celebrations? What sort of sciences is being taught in our education system?

Of course, we don’t have any information, as we have seen in the newspapers or the TV channels, Newspapers and magazines, more so in the regional languages, are in a sorry state if we take the Tamil language media as a case in point.

There is practically no single article or debate or any controversy about Darwin’s theory or about what is evolution, if it means anything to the younger generation or ironically for the more mature audiences?

That must give us, educators and the otherwise more elite groups of the middle classes and others heading the more responsible bodies like the universities. What we see is the opposite of sheer trivialization of living. Advocates in TN are on the rampage. Activists in Karnataka are on the rampage of another kind. The Ramsena are out on attacking young women who went to enjoy themselves in a pub. There are other activities that hit the headlines.

In the distant world, the situation seems more tragic. In the Swat valley in Pakistan, the girl’s schools are being closed down by the Taliban. In the more developed and more enlightened world, there are different types of debates when it comes to discussing Darwin and his theories.

Richard  Dawkins, the living expert and exponent of evolution, the author of such landmark books like, The Selfish Genes, God Delusion and other controversial best-sellers, argues in The Times Literary Supplement(TLS February 13 2009)in reviewing a latest book on Darwin theory(Why Evolution is true? by Jerry Coyne, OUP) says there are certain timely  questions. And they are rather very serious questions! What are they?

Dawkins says people ask not just ordinary people, great scientists and philosophers. They ask: evolution is just a theory, one more theory and it can be equally false as any theory is supposed to be capable of falsification.

For Indian readers who might not be experts or philosophers the current think, since the days of Karl Popper is: a theory’s worth is that it is true or capable of being true only as far as it is capable of being falsified, till it is falsified!

Is evolution a science theory? Then, more so it is such a scientifically capable of being proved and then only it is a science theory. In fact, there are very serious thinkers who argue that logic and evidence is not enough to prove a theory. There are believers who say why suppress the “intuitive mind” with your logic and evidence? It is a male and masculine oppression of otherwise spiritual mind! The church, religious groups in the USA, the advanced society in the world (?) raise such objections to teach evolution in the US schools!

Yes, Dawkins quotes statistics to show that in the UK 69 per cent of people(MORI poll)want evolution to be taught in schools, while in the USA(Pew poll) 40 per cent believe that evolution is not rue and that the world existed as it is since the beginning of time.”God created human beings within the last 10,000 years or so”(Gallup poll).

There was a discussion group of science teachers in the USA, they met at the Centre for Science Education at Emory University in Atlanta and they exchanged notes and they were very revealing. Students “burst into tears”! For what?

For teaching evolution! They wanted to be taught “creationism”, “intelligent design”, another terms for God created the world, as taught by the Bible and other religions.

Islam and Christianity oppose teaching of evolution. So, what do you do?

What is happening in the Indian schools? What is the stand of our various religious groups?

So, the teaching of science, the discoveries of genetics and much else that had helped the evolution of biological sciences, the great many progress we have made in medicine, drugs and the treatment of various illnesses and diseases need to be  studied and taught in the class rooms and outside on the public platform.

There is much interesting material on Charles Darwin, a wonderful man, a human being. His life and work inspires and anyone who reads him in the year of his bicentenary would be much benefitted.

We hope our educators, our universities, our colleges and schools would wake up. And set time apart, from the bustle of our exam schedules and much else and devote serious time for teaching and learning about the greatest discovery of man, a study of his own past and his own potential future.

There is nothing more, nothing else to study in the year of his anniversary in our schools and universities.

Image Source:

Sharad Pawar juxtaposes his moves with Congress and also with Shivsena and Samajwadi Party!

What really Sonia Gandhi knows about the Congress party position in the States? She depends upon immature and selfish elements as well as undependable allies like the DMK.

NCP leader Sharad Pawar held a meeting with Shif Sena working president Uddhav Thackeray in Mumbai.  Sources in the Sena claimed the “process of political realignment has been put on the fast track”.

The Sena is already negotiating a deal with the Peasants and Workers Party.  The outfit has several pockets of influence in the state.  The development must be distressing for the Congress and the BJP as the state accounts for 48 Lok Sabha seats — second only to Uttar Pradesh.

Sharad Pawar and the SP leadership have been plotting a political plan to isolate the two leading national players and create a wider space for the regional parties after the polls.  Although the BJP is keen on being part of the proposed Maharashtra grand alliance, both Sena and the NCP are lukewarm to the idea.

The Congress had recently rejected suggestions of the allies to fight the coming round under the UPA banner.  This “we can strike out on our own” vanity has only reduced the trust quotient within the ruling side.

Letter to Sonia Gandhi

Date : 24.01.2009

Mrs.Sonia  Gandhi,
The Indian National Congress,
24, Akbar Road,
New Delhi-110 011

Dear Mrs.Gandhi,

Sub: The Congress party affairs-

Need for a new definition of liberal democracy and open society

I take this opportunity to write to you about the state of the party at the all India level and also in some states, in particular the state of the party in Tamil Nadu.

Just now, I had gone through the book, the “Indian National Congress since Independence” by Prof.Johari and the book is a compilation of all the speeches of the Congress Presidents since Independence.

I was fascinated and touched at the same time by such names and their stirring speeches of such leaders like   Pandit Nehru, P.D.Tandon, U.N.Dhebar, Sanjiva Reddy, D.K.Barooah, Indira Gandhi, Rajiv Gandhi, Sitaram Kesri and  of course by your good self.

This is a book that must be made a compulsory study for all ministers and the office-bearers and members of the AICC. Not the least, all the PCC presidents and even the DCC presidents and party enthusiasts and young members of Parliament must go through the pages of this timely book.

I was just recently at the TNCC headquarters, the famed Satyamurthy Bhavan in Chennai and what I saw was a pathetic sight and it almost brought tears to my eyes. I had had such close association with the premises the stalwarts who straddled those steps and halls.

The great Kamaraj and his close followers had adorned the chair there and I myself had had my political training under the great Kamaraj, who was our supreme leader and a great colossus and in his time Tamil Nadu was the bastion of the Congress ideals and visions for the entire country.

Tamil Nadu led the country in some crucial moments of Indian history, the supreme sacrifices of VOC, poet Bharati and others, the very brain power of the Tamil leaders had left its imprint on the ethos of the Indian National Congress. Rajaji and Kamaraj were all India leaders and their wisdom and experience gave the Congress party its unique imprint that touched the lives of millions of the ordinary workers as well as the tall leaders in different parts of the country.

So, when I saw an empty building where there was not a human soul was a terrible experience and a shock indeed!

To cut the story short, I, as a Congress party man for some half a century, I had the privilege of standing near Pandit Nehruji as a student at Santiniketan, I cant think of doing anything else except to give my life and time only for advancing the ideals of Gandhi, Nehru and the number of great men and women who worked for the national movement and the party and they all left their legacy behind without excpeting any rewards for their labour.

Now, I only want to request you to give some thought and even set up a committee of people who don’t have any office on date to go through a process of examination of the ways in which the party could be turned into an all Indian organisation with a new set of ideals and visions and a work schedule.
India is at a critical stage, in the world stage and also inside the country.

The Indian polity is held together not by any well-articulated vision or set of a belief system in a basic ideology.

Our democracy is falwed, there is no basic democratic process at the heart of India, and the parties are not constituted through any ethical and moral principles nor are the government constituted through democratic procedures.

No one, either at the top or at the elite or intellectual levels speaks about what holds India together? What ideology holds India as a people?

I believe we have to articulate a basic ideology. In Nehru’s time there were debates and even ginger groups, under Gulzarilan Nanda, even Indiraji had a ginger group with S.N.Mishra or even there were men of stature like Sampurnanand who discussed the nature of Indian Socialism as it prevailed then. Nehru coined the word” Vedantic Socialism”!

Now, we don’t have any articulation even about our liberal economics.

What our liberalized economic mean to the elite or to the common man? No articulation!
I would say that today Indian democracy is one or it should be one of a robust liberal democratic order.
Liberalism is an old word and we should redefine to suit our times. Or we call it a new liberalism.
Our ethical beliefs must be strong and binding.

We choose persons not based on their service to the nation! How tragic? This patchwork coalition governance where values of all sorts have collapsed. History won’t pardon us.
So my plea for more broad based state units, more broad based AICC etc.

One I think very important is to restore the inner party democracy, autonomy for the state units and a new articulation of the basic ideology of the party.

There must be an ethical core to the party’s ideals and vision.

In this regard, I like to impress upon you that in TN, as a test case, we must allow the state unit to call for a wider base of party old hands to gather and deliberate on the strategic shift we need in TN to make the party to stand apart from the current vie-like grip in which the party is held as a ransom for the DMK help to the Centre.

I don’t want to embarrass you or others. That is not my intention by the least.

But it is also my duty to point out that we can’t run the party affairs as we have managed so far.
After all, no one is immortal and the next generation would surely decide things in their own light. But we have to leave a legacy behind! We have to guide only by moral principles.

Today, the insiders of the party have become the outsiders!

Instead of accommodation and humility the new comers are resorting to disciplinary action and expulsions, or exclusion or ignoring the real people with a mass touch.

Sycophants are crowding the place and the party is losing touch with the impulse of the common people.
I intend to call a meet of the old Kamaraj loyalists. I like to request you to give your consent to gather the Kamaraj followers in the premises of the Satyamurthy Bhavan for exchange of views as to what should be the party’s future course in TN. This is mora symbolic gesture than anything else. That much I can assure you.

I hope you would give thought to what I have articulated here and allow us to gather in the historic premise as a token of our dedication to revive and revitalise the party as a great democratic force.

I have attached herewith a column I wrote for my weblog ( for your immediate attention.

With warm regards,

Yours sincerely,


Photo Courtesy :

Yes, says the new US President! See, agriculture is not just a job!
It is a way of life, a belief system, you know?

Yes, we have been running this magazine for years now. What is our experience?
We find that agriculture in India is being neglected by all sections of society. The government is interested to produce enough foodgrains to feed the Public Distribution System with an eye on the vote banks! If there is a food shortage or a food riot then any government would fall.

Yes that is how the Soviet Russia feel, you should know!

Also one more reason why Russia broke up was the fact that the Russians started importing food from the USA for years and when Gorbachev came to power, it was almost fully dependent upon the US foodgrains. All this has been fully written about and documented enough.

Even India was dependent upon the US food gift and only later we became with the Green Revolution somewhat self-sufficient in food production. Now, we have in fact some surplus food of sorts.

But the irony is that suddenly owing to our total neglect of the agriculture sector, owing more to the urban nature of our political class we have neglected the rural India and that is why we see a continuation of the farmer’s suicides.

Even the departing Lok Sabha Speaker, the redoubtable Somnath Chatterjee says that the Lok Sabha didn’t debate the farmer’s issues properly and there was always confrontation whenever the issues were raised.

It is a pity that in India which is supposed to be largely rural and about 60 or more percentage of people are engaged in farming as a source of livelihood, the agriculture policies are debated and shaped by bureaucrats or bureaucrats turned scientists and   our successful agriculture spokesmen like Sharad Pawar has become a big businessman and he speaks for vested interests like the sugar lobby.

Pawar with due respect to his age and attainments, we have to say he hasn’t gone on to become the symbol and hopes of the millions of farmers across the country. He is seen as a Maratha strongman and we wish him well.

But again there are other farmers spokesmen and they are all dispersed and not organised into a powerful, all India Farmers Union as we have powerful Farmers Unions in EU and in the USA.

We have seen the UK Farmers Union office in London. What a huge setup it is! We don’t have anything like that.

We in India need such a powerful farmers lobby. This is democracy and we need powerful lobbying to get the sector’s demands met.

We at Vadamalai Media act as the powerful articulators of the farm sector, farmers aspirations and hopes and this we have been doing it for years hoping that the awaken farming sections would come forward to give their support by way of more subscriptions from farmers associations and farm industries sector.

One good news is here now.
That is the new US President Barack Obama has given his budget and that is supposed to be the biggest redistribution of wealth in US history.

One of the key components of Obama’s budget is a reduction in US farm subsidies!

US farm subsidies, the highest ever in history, is one of the key reasons why India is not able to save its farmers by boosting its agri exports and extending other concessions to our farmers.

This is a serious matter and needs separate discussion.
A 3.5 trillion budget, to tax the rich heavily and, a one trillion tax rise are sure to hit the concentrated wealth lobby of the US and there is going to be resistance to Obama’s proposals.

But the man deserves the world’s poor’s moral support and much more, understanding the issues that confront the world today.
US deficit, at 1.75 trillion, more than 12 per cent of the US GDP, is said to be the highest since the Second World War.

He targets farm subsidies and that is again unprecedented. There are rising anger and much irrational fears in the US corporate world.
But a leader must take some gamble, and gamble it is, say his critics.
In India we see weak responses.
There is no leader who thinks. All our current crop of leaders is followers! Followers of whom?

Readers can draw their own conclusions.
We don’t feel proud of our own people. Our ministers, see most of them are not even politicians, they are all drawn from urban professions, so many successful or otherwise, lawyers, these people live in Delhi and the ministerial jobs given by a pleased Sonia Gandhi comes in as a perquisite!
Minister’s jobs are great privileges.

Minister’s jobs must be given to political people, people who come from the people themselves, from the villages.
There are some 7 or 8 crucial Cabinet portfolios that are kept vacant.
Why Sonia Gandhi does things like this?

The Prime Minister is handicapped and now sick as well.
Poor Pranab Mukerjee is overburdened and his current budget is nothing but an election propaganda announcements.
How do you expect the country feel enthused?

We needed change on the lines of what change Obama promised and now he gives!
A refreshing change is what India needs.
So, agriculture, farming, rural India, we have to look forward with hope and confidence and the spread of education in the countryside, the education of girls and empowerment of women are all the hopes for a prosperous India and the vibrant countryside!