A Play Acting?

Yes, the whole affair looked like a less than serious politics. All the actors in this are well-rehearsed and well-prepared for the day!

RahulAlso, they all looked very innocent (or controlled their own ability to look artificially serious!) and yet very sensitive to the subject of effecting a political succession in an open society and the largest democracy in the world.

There were no discussions whatever, no reports forthcoming about the whole ceremony and no news channels or newspapers carried any reports. May be they were not allowed to broadcast the actors in the play.

Is this, the way a national party of the history and tradition of the Indian National Congress should deliberate such a critical decision   were shown in a poor light.

For all practical purposes, the senior leaders around Sonia Gandhi surrendered themselves, their own self-worth to the very improper and even immoral autocratic decisions of the party leader.

If Indira Gandhi, the previous day could get only scant respect and attention from the nation, then, please at least for a moment ponder over our own fate if we surrender our own moral commitments and own credibility to remain dumb when duty called for some moral reflections!
The day before, November 19, is a still sadder day. It was the centenary of Indira Gandhi’s birth.

What a fall! There were no sign of any Congress leaders or Congress workers around the Samadhi. Only three leaders I could spot. Who are they? Who else? Rahul Gandhi and Pranab Mukerjee and Manmohan Singh! What a tragedy?

Indians haven’t matured; we remain immature and also very mean-minded. No one from the ruling party, the BJP or the government to pay homage to the former Prime Minister. Sonia Gandhi was elsewhere at her former residence 1, Safdar Jung Road.

This is what we choose remember on the death of a Prime Minister, though flawed in many ways, yet led the government with some energy.

No one cares to remember this is what retribution that would come their way too once gone from power. Anyway, another less than serious act was the ward of Indira Gandhi memorial award. Who gave and who got it?

Who else, again?

Pranab gave it to Manmohan Singh!

So, these worthies imagine they represent the country! Unfortunately for them, they don’t count in the eyes of the average Congressman or woman.

The event of the coronation of Rahul Gandhi evoked much mirth and a great of embarrassment.

The familiar faces, the more loquacious ones, the high profile and smug characters, the senior leaders, the ones whom we often see on the TV screens, the spokespersons too, were conveniently absented themselves. Even the ones whom we see on such occasions were not seen. Even the TV shots showed only the one side, the ones facing the cameras were just  the props, as they are, besides Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi were flanked by Manmohan Singh on the one side and the other side is occupied by A.K.Anthony. There was of course Mallikarjun Kharge and the others were back to the cameras. Karan Singh, Sheila Dixit, even Ghulam Nabi Azad one could identify. The proceedings were not reported or shown.

So, what happened? Rahul Gandhi was seen as shy and a bit uncomfortable in the chair. But otherwise, everyone seemed to have reconciled to his elevation. The election of the Party President was rather, it seemed, dictated by the compulsions of the Election Commission diktat.

The election process has to be completed by the end of December. So, the Party had to adhere to some date. It looked the Party was reconciled to announce the name of the next President well-before the  results of the Gujarat Assembly came in.

There were many explanations for the date. It was said that even if the Assembly results went against the Congress party, it was welcome, it was said. Why? Nobody explained and nobody cared to ask even.

Cynicism? Or, what else? Why this “don’t care” attitude? What else explains this tame conduct of such a momentous decision?

Otherwise, the elevation of what  is described as the Coronation, was, in fact, in tune with the nonchalant mood outside. The Bharatiya Janata Party seemed to have had a field day, for the party only called Rahul Gandhi either as Yuvaraj or the other description stuck in the popular mind. Otherwise, what the BJP was using in its election ads was considered a bit too much in the popular imagination. Outside, there were no crowds or cheering, also not many to play the role of spokes persons. Ghulam Nabi Azad, a familiar face was missing. It looked conspicuous. Tiwari, Anand Sharma or the loquacious P.Chidambaram was away. Even the perennial Surjewala was weak in defence.
It looked that everyone seemed a bit shy and avoided the TV cameras. Only the old face, Ambika Soni casually defended   the choice.

The Congress Party could not be in a more weaker moment when it was almost forced to make a hasty announcement when it came out with the long-delayed choice of the reluctant crown prince charming to the chair adorned by his mother, Sonia Gandhi.
Who doesn’t know that the Party is in its lowest ebb?
Everyone present in the room of the Sonia Gandhi residence was in an unenviable situation.

Rahul Gandhi was heavily promoted all these years and months by all sorts of people. Even Sam Pitroda, once known as a technocrat went over to Gujarat to campaign in the election there along with Rahul Gandhi.

I met Mr.A.K.Anthony many months ago at his Krishna Menon Road residence when he was, it was said, doing his usual assignment of preparing Antony report for the defeat of the party in 2014 Lok Sabha elections.

Only then I found out that this, his report, was a patch-up work.
He said honestly that he was given names to whom only he spoke and prepared his report.

This was the familiar, of course unfamiliar to outsiders, even the innocent and believing vast mass of cadre who took Sonia Gandhi seriously and followed her all these years.

I once wanted to meet Rahul Gandhi and also Sonia Gandhi. Only then I realised there is a criminal coterie around her. May be around Rahul Gandhi too, I didn’t know then.

Now, I have revised my views and opinions. Both the mother and the son have their own rings of advisers, may be well-wishers but then there are many other shadowy players whose names I don’t want to take here. These names were supplied to me later by others, inside the AICC and outside in various roles.

The AICC, the headquarters of the party must have been the normal official location for such high deliberations of the party must have been the place. But only if you have had visited the place then only you will know that it is largely deserted, none sits there for long and it is usually a place for the innocents who visit Delhi for seeking some favours. I have many stories to tell about these innocent souls!

Now, of course, there are too many armed sentries and too many SPGs around! The very air around the Congress worthies is very charged, very frightening.

How do you build the Congress party with such thin public fervour?

What ideology or what ideals are now drawing people to the party?
Only some very power-hungry, ambitious and very selfish groups abound. A sadly day indeed!

Let us at least recall the great names, the great sacrifices of those souls that made Indian freedom struggle so glorious. Let us resolve to transform our energies to reshape and redraw our destinies towards a world in which India could lead with the same old glory as shown to us by the innumerable leaders.

But lately, Sonia Gandhi’s decisions are neglected. Recently, the Bihar PCC chief was abruptly removed by Sonia. But 26 of the 27 MLAS revolted and dared to question Sonia’s wisdom. But let us admit that Sonia with all her limitations tried and succeeded to live like a dictator for life!

What is the Indian psychology to accept Sonia and obey her as if she was another Annie Besant or another Sister Nivedita.
Indians have their own low self-esteem? Or, what else? What is the quality of Indian sense of their own worth?

It is time India retrospects!

But the AICC is there to manage the funds and activities and also the secret agenda. The secret Agenda is to keep the President and her coteries ever in power.

The stakes are high of course. I also met the venerable Motilal Vohra and had an inkling of how real Politik worked. The point is there is an oligarchy of sorts and also a hierarchy of the party power structure.

There is no ideology or idealism of any sort in  the men and women around. It is power, funds and  the  power-grab seems to be unabashed and in a ruthless and blatant manner!

So, we have to wait and watch and draw our own conclusion about the future of the Indian National Congress. The next day the editorials in the major newspapers were all unanimous to reflect on the likely future scenario. All seem to say that the young man, Rahul is not a Prime Ministerial material, now or in the near future. He can’t be pitted against the incumbent Prime Minister Mr.Narendra Modi.

So, much would upon how Mr.Gandhi would perform and measure up to the many challenges, he is not able to even select PCC chiefs, not able to talk some sensible things about his own vision for the country etc.

Today, we have an altogether new generation of young voters, very  active in the social media space and also very critical of many of the serious issues, corruption-free and also very committed to certain basic values and goals.

How to forge Opposition unity, how to evolve a cohesive picture of a vibrant democracy and stand up to challenges from within and without.

Only time can tell. Sonia Gandhi has to be reappraised  by the Indian intelligentsia and also phantom figures in the party to play the role of proxy Prime Ministers.

Sonia Gandhi’s experiment, if you can so call it, undermined India’s natural evolution as a leader of the Third World. Only a duly and democratically elected Prime Minister can play an active and committed role. Mr.Narendra Modi himself is a shining example .So, as a long-time committed Congress man I am duty bound to warn those who are waiting on the sidelines to play such a role again. Please be forewarned. Desist from such  ambitions. India has the potential to play world-leading roles. So, I request genuine Congress men and women to think radically and save the party and thereby the country.

We need an honest self-appraisal of every genuine Congress worker before we come to join in this self-appraisal. We, Indians, shouldn’t fail in overcoming this moment of downfall for the Grand Old party.

This is the message from the new Abu Dhabi museum!
Look at Abu Dhabi universal new museum! There are lessons for India here!

MuseumWhat makes nations big and small? Not their geography or the population or its military power, it is a new set of universal values, new set of public conduct and also the public policy likely to elevate a nation on the international stage. Here are two examples of, what nations like Qatar and Abu Dhabi have done in recent times to elevate themselves to draw attention to what they can do for the benefit of the globe; in terms of mankind’s new aspirations and new standards of public conduct in the international arena. This is a model for small nations for what they can contribute to the universal appreciation of human values!

Indian obsession with America! This must end! It is time India learns to think differently and also look at other countries to learn to become globally relevant! Yet, Indians face discrimination in admissions to the US best universities! Indian citizens must wake up! They should learn to look at the world in a very different light!

Is America a global power? Asks a recent editorial in The Economist (November 11th-17th, 2017).Yes, America is a global power in the sense of its physical, material and military power. But says the editorial that America doesn’t champion universal values like democracy, human rights etc. After the Trump’s 12 day South Asia visit, the US harped on the theme of America first; this means in trade matters America puts its narrow national goal at the expense of any broader international good for all the nations.

Now comes the news that as for Indians, we are still the most obsessed lovers of everything American, including the university education there. As per a survey conducted by the Institute of International Education, Indians are prevented to compete on equal basis and that some extra scores in SAT are required from Indian students. This is practiced by even such prestigious universities like Harvard. As per statistics, China and South Korea have more students in the USA than India!

Yet, we see a certain perversity of mind, sorry to say so, by the Indian dominant classes, the big Indian corporates, the Tatas and Mahindras and Mittals and by the well-off Indians there to endow huge funds for research in managements and even to the study of languages.

We are sorry to say that while Indian universities starve for funds, we Indians go all the way to endow chairs in the USA universities. Why not endow such chairs in India and ask these universities to send their faculty for fixed periods? This will ensure more Indian students have access to the best minds to learn and nurture skills. Surely, this is a thought that must engage the Indian leadership. Also, India, while being the world’s largest democracy must emulate the histories of other mature democracies. The House of Commons is no more what it was once. So too the American Senators and Congressmen.
They are seen falling in personal conducts, British MPs charged with sexual misconduct and resign, American high officials alleged to have engaged with Russian officials and they interfere with American elections!

As for other big nations, China and Russia, we see many deficiences. As for democracy and democratic values, we at home must strive to set better standards. You become a global power, no more by military and other oppressive practices. But you win universal acclaim and appreciation by practicing what the world over admires: respect for human rights, observing the standards of international laws, be active at the UN so that you are seen as a civilized nation. Preserve culture, foster culture and also practice the highest standards on the international stage. Small nations, such as Qatar and Abu Dhabi have now drawn admiration from the entire world over by running the world’s most independent TV channel, Al Jazeera and Abu Dhabi, running a culture museum.

The Louvre Abu Dhabi is seen as a bastion against Islamic extremism and Iran. With this current priority, the LAD, is seen as the first universal museum to be built in the 21st century. This is the way for small nations but with big enough in resources and heart and mind!

Second, Indians are an agitated lot!
What is happening to countries as different as the USA and India?

They are all unhappy, disturbed and  so it goes! Americans are worried about their health, economy, trust in government, Hate crimes, Crimes, Wars and Conflicts, Terrorist attacks. High taxes, unemployment and low wages climate change and environment.
Now, what about ourselves, Indians?

Crowd with people on the street in Warsaw rush hoursIn India, agitations, the government statistics say, were as low as 3,106 in 2011. Now in 2016, it has shot up to 6,587! Student agitations? From 6005 in 2011 to 10,205 in 2016.

Govt. employees’ agitations? The ones who got the fat 7th Pay Commission wages? They agitated 14,218 times in 20111.Now,in 2016 their agitations  seemed to have doubled to 23,708. As an aside we can say it pays to be a government servant and agitate periodically!

What about political parties?

How can they lag behind other category of agitators? Political parties resorted to agitations some astounding 22,708 times in 2011.Luckily for the common man, the government servants beat the politicians only agitating, this time ,some 29,400 times in 2016!

Of course the unreported, almost ignored lots, the farmers, the labourers and students, farmers resort to agitations and also commit suicides, perhaps the media is so tired of the farmers, those farmers, and suicides are not reported either in the print or on the TV channels.

But then it is a democracy, every citizen is a free citizen.
So, please feel free to come to the streets and agitate!

Popular agitations are much preferred to no agitations. Otherwise you would see the Chinese style army tanks to come on the streets to crush the students, as it happened in Peking in 1989.

Americans have reasons to be  worried. They are a violent nation or a violent society, where every citizen carries guns, not one but a big number in their shelves.

Our fellow Indian returnees narrate how the gun-buying and gun totting culture has led to such brutal killings, the latest is one of the very many shooting sprees in the American cities!
May be the worries of fellow Americans are bound to rise with each day this violence -prone society also draws more of foreigners, as their citizens.

May be the biggest number of foreigners now on the American soil would be only Indians and Indians have cause to worry along with their fellow American counter-parts!

God forbid that Indians don’t import the American culture in violent culture. Let the worries to remain within the American borders. Let Indians learn more of the good American culture, openness, a sense of freedom and doing things in big ventures.

Prime Minister Modi’s major speech on agriculture

PMIt is nice to see that the Prime Minister Mr.Narendra Modi  made an impressive speech on India’s  agriculture sector and  India’s Food Processing   sector. Many things the PM touched and we welcome his observations.

The PM said how India’s potential  in the agriculture  sector is  such that we can produce diverse crops, from grains to fruits and vegetables to many other specialised  crops of such historical importance like spices, tea, coffee and many other rare spices that changed the very course of India’s history. The coming of Vascoda Gama to other colonial past is now we consider India’s traditional strength in the Indian agriculture sector.
The PM said that  private sector must invest in contract farming to strengthen our base to become a  strong player in the food processing sector.

Yes, this is a timely call.

There are many issues here, we all know. Agriculture &Industry Survey, singlehandedly, has been fighting for a place in the sun, so to say!

What does this call for the private sector to invest in contract farming mean, finally. Is it a call for the big corporates, or MNCs?

Or, it is a call for millions of our farmers, big, medium and small and even tiny farmers who are traditionally engaged in this segment?

We want to emphasise here, rather in some unpleasant manner, that unless you make investments in agriculture easy for the traditional farmers, it is going to be a call for some new distortions already that had led to over the years of our own Freedom that deprived the traditional farmers all their freedoms. Is there any incentive today to invest in farming activities?
This is of course an unpleasant question.

We like to submit to the attention of the Central government, no less the State governments as well that we have to relax the current rigidities that have crept into the various anti-progressive views of what the countryside is going through.
The per capita land parcels is becoming more and more unviable.
So, relax the regressive land reform laws.’

Make a ceiling a viable proposition. At least for the traditional big farmers you must allow a minimum of 100 acres. For specific high tech farming businesses you must still allow more acreage. Also make tenancy laws and other restrictive acts out of date!
Please allow the rural countryside a liveable place for new generation youngsters to live and invest and start contract farming and other rural businesses.

So, let us be clear about one thing. Don’t allow entry to MNCs and even Indian big corporates to buy our hundreds of acres of lands as a gift.

Once you allow the big corporate  there would be chaos in the countryside.

So, let the PM realise that no big corp0rates  would enter the countryside with co-opting farmers as shareholders.
Monopoly enterprises, please forbid entry into the small farmers intensive crops farming.

Yes, the secondary processing industries may be allowed investments.

One Amul co-op brought glory to India. So let Indians innovate and let Indian farmers learn to investment run co-ops on commercial basis.

Any MNC in food processing might ruin the nutrition basis of foods. Pepsi and Coco cola  have been proving how ruinous is  the entry  of MNC food giants and the health of the people, including in America.

So, any wise food policy must go beyond investments and 2,000 number of participants,200 companies and 30 countries must not lull us to give up on the health impact of some of the American foods! MOU’s worth 11 billion dollars shouldn’t let the hon’ble Minister Harsimrat  Kaur Badal into any missteps.(Photo of Harsimrat Kaur Badal).

Why such a question here?
Readers of Agriculture& Industry  Survey might wonder!

AISPlease hear our voice. Brand building has become such an obsession with the industry leaders that we have had a long time  that some big names kept coming in the media and on public platforms  those unsuspected readers, yes, and most readers of such magazines like ours, all devoted to some lost causes, might not see the realities of the world. You see ,after all money power matters in this highly materialistic world, where everyone doesn’t even bother about their own freedoms, self-worth or self-esteem, they all go by the crowd mentality and try to compete with each other in the same blinded frenzy.

We should know that we live in a world of illusions!

Once the big industry captain was held up as an icon. then came the corporate warfare, much dirty linen was washed in public, the corporate values were thrown aside and the court battles were fought, won and lost! What sort of corporate icons these people are! So too in recent times another corporate governance battle was  fought in a billions of dollars worth of an IT giant.

What corporate governance these people were bragging about. Yes, we have to be sometime less than polite to tell the truth to the common man, the unsuspect reader!

The much respected CEO, the Chairman of the Board was literally thrown out! What sort of corporate governance we are talking about here?

Then, to behold! The very gentleman who succeeded  the ousted Chairman came out with the report that the old team judged things correctly!

What this icon had to say? He has to sadly confess!

Is this a model of governance.

You see, our media industry is now undergoing  turmoil, the print newspapers are declining in attracting readers. Some of the great names are facing crisis.

In this environment where Internet, various devices are replacing news in a serious sense and social media is taking a revenge of sorts is diverting readers of traditional media towards instant news, titbits.

Now, comes the most damning indictment of the IT giants, Facebook, Google and other mass news portals are accused of spying and carrying Russian funded ads and that interfered with the US Presidential elections. And also, the IT news sites are also, very soon, would be found to be destabilising governments, there are allegations of Russian interference in European and US affairs.

This raises some serious issues.

What about  the largest good of the largest number of people?
Media, as we see, has a role to play. A more committed a more open-minded and let us say a more morally accountable role to inform, education and enlighten the peoples, not in one’s own country but also in the larger world community.

Otherwise who would serve the larger cause of the world?
How to tackle  the unceasing rise and spread terrorism?
These are some of the questions that public-spirited media must answer besides, championing the real lost causes?

You see ultimately brand equity is all about the character of the person who earns it. Unfortunately, in India, the peculiar colonial history of India had conditioned the Indian character only of some disabilities, an innate sense of inferiority etc.
Thus we find great compromises in the character of even the top names  of the corporate ladder. You find them compromising with their advertised values by seeking a licence or awarding a book by bending themselves low before an incumbent government. The media too is meek and willing to build up a person with an eye on some  rewards.

Thus media brands or media created brands don’t last even one’s lifetime! So, be warned!

How to combat poverty and hunger?

Right, who would champion the cause of the most disorganised, most divided farmers, the rural people, and the villages?
Anyone who stands up for such cause please comes forward!
We at Vadamalai Media had championed such cause. And yet what reward or recognition we had got so far?

Of course, we don’t work for any rewards, material or non-material.

We find fulfilment in reaching out to such  noble causes.
Our brand equity is just that commitment to larger causes.
Agriculture and education  are our  fields  of priority. We are there for now some half a century. So, this is our brand pull, our brand value.

So, please judge, gentle men and ladies  at the ladder of brand equity, take us also along with you! We have no aspiration s for any material rewards, please excuse us for saying so, rather it seem, with some less than politeness!