The Prime Minister in his Independence Day Speech made many bold and new announcements to lift the economy from the slowdown. These schemes like empowering the farmers with several hopeful positive supports are welcome.
Considering the tone and temper of the day and mood with the Jammu and Kashmir developments heavy in the background every Indian was in a receptive mental framework.

One of the key factors in the general economic slowdown is the rural distress and the agrarian crisis.

Indian agriculture is perhaps the most neglected sector in the country and now, given the flood devastation and the loss of lives and the need to attend to rescue and rehabilitation task the burden on the government resources is too high to think of any other aspect of the agriculture life and economy.

The average farmer is in distress and in great many handicaps. Let us say this to ourselves in the first place. Now, the issue of climate change and the latest floods and many land slips have accentuated the timeliness of the climate-related actions that are overdue. Unfortunately, the government has not come out in the open and said anything that make an impact on the minds of the concerned sections. The UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has added a new dimension to the fight against climate change.

The urban media is full of scholastic deliberations on green house gas etc. One important issue is that even such unthought out political action like free electricity to farmers has added to great land degradation, so too deforestation and such new unimagined consequences.

Politicians played their own negative roles in providing populist politics and these actions for so long let unchecked had contributed to the current crisis and the climate change debate.

If we can add here one more critical factor in farm distress is the consequence of a regressive land reforms such as tenancy act where the cultivating tenant in no more an actual cultivator but often an absentee tenant who take land long ago and now does many other things, not actual cultivation nor pays any rent, fair or unfair, the law permits him in his delinquency.

In TN in particular if you visit the temples in Thanjavur district there are notice boards prominently kept with the name of delinquent tenants, some of them bigger than any actual landlord? So too the land ceiling act that doesn’t allow an economical size and therefore most of the actual land parcels are below one or two hectares.

The BJP government simply talks in vague terms about doing this or that relief to farmers.

Actually what is their land reforms proposals? The PM has spoken many things about farmer’s reliefs, like crop insurance, actual cash transfer etc.
But not one has heard him deliberate on farm reforms in detail. There must be structured land reforms, given the very radical socio-economic and even cultural transformation that has taken place in the rural India.

As per one latest report on actual farmers, not just in India but also in the Western countries that average farmers’ age is advancing. No more younger age groups are forth coming to take up farming as a modern profession.

The harsh reality is that farmers are a very dejected lot, more debts, pushing them towards suicides, India iks one of the prominent countries in the rate of farm suicides.

What sort of talk we make when we talk of farmers’ policies? The very phrase doesn’t occur in any of the government policy documents.

There must be a drastic policy to prevent farmer’s suicides. The topic is very timely but stop at this. Second, the farmers must be made to feel they are respected and attended with great sensitivity by the society. If the farmers to the Weekly District Collectors’ grievances day how farmers grievances are solved or attended to?

There is a picture that we like to show to our readers. In one biography of the Austrian emperor, Ludwig Joseph, he is shown to have got into an actual farm and ploughing the farmer’s land! How much it would be if our PM or President stops on the wayside and gets a farmer’s plough and actually seen ploughing the mother earth’s soil, sacred soil! Then, the very ground level officials, high and low, must attend and answer the farmer’s issues on the smartphones, online and every farm households have educated young boy or girl!

Then, there is the agriculture media!
Do we have any policy to support such media outlets with suitable subsidies? Why you neglect the rural media?

The late trend towards partisan propaganda slant in ads and news distortions have made the matters worse! Let us show that as politicians, MPs and MLAs, we respect the farmers, we visit the villages?

The agri ministers must be seeing, they must travel and they must be seen by the people. Now, do you see any of these things happening?

Let us shed hypocrisy. Let us award farmers Padma awards and such other recognitions!

Agriculture is a vast subject. It touches our lives and actions and our beliefs and core convictions at many levels. Let us recognise the serious side of agriculture. No way otherwise!

What are the lessons of 2019 elections?
What are the implications for the second term?
So, it is death for the Congress party?

The exit polls have been dampening for one section and the NDA might be too much to be ready for their impact on the Indian mind! Yes, the 2019 elections have been a watershed, as they say. The redoubling strength of the BJP in the new opportunity might spell new developments and also new anxieties. The media is full of such anxieties, after looking around the world and the outside world and also the recent world history and events. “Is the cruellest month” said the great poet T.S.Eliot, the Nobel winner for his epoch making poetry. On April 25th Italy celebrated its Liberation Day! Remember on the April 25th, 1945 the Italian dictator, the fascist leader Benito Mussolini was disposed off from power. Today there is Rightwing resurgence everywhere, in Italy, Austria and even Spain. Is this an international trend? Thinking Indians can deliberate.

The only point we want to make is that today democracy is itself a word that is turned upwards down! In many parts of the world, politicians capture power, yes, through elections and also turn it towards an oppressive and suppressive instrument of state. Many features, many freedoms we hold dear might lose their meanings. So, there are so many sad things about democracy today.

How India would play its role and how it would earn its spurs in the comity of nations must be uppermost in many minds. Now, for the Congress party the message is clear. As this media has been focussing for long the Indian National Congress can’t remain anymore as family party. It can’t remain as one tied to Sonia Gandhi’s incompetence and for the ruin of a great democracy.

Please resign and go! This is the message. Restore inner party democracy. All the time servers and family retainers leave the CWC and other bodies. Go back and adopt a sort of Kamaraj Plan! That is the plain and blunt message! Criticism is the blood of life and democracy. Also came through the debate were the observations that the media in India is not a free world. And the pores are captive at many levels. Also there is criticism that the mainstream media, the big ones, both the print and the electronic media are in the ownership of the big industrial houses.

These are not new criticisms but now, after the 5 years of BJP rule the whole Indian media scene has changed. Anyway, the 2019 General Elections is an unprecedented event, so much violence and so much bad words and so much violations of model code of conduct and so much explicit bias in the EC and other agencies and so much bad blood and so much vulgarity and so much heat and anger is surely a blot on the good name of India, of Indian people.

We are not sure how the outcome of the election would turn out and assuming the takeover of power by the new government would give us some indication how the future of India pan out. For one thing, the level of public debate was debasing to say the least. Political morality took a beating and the good of the Indian people suffered an irreparable loss. All through the torrent of the rhetoric, mostly empty rhetoric not once, not for a brief moment we heard about the weighty issues of the day, weighty issues of the future India and the world is going to face. Indian agriculture, yes there were references to the agrarian distress?

But what response from the weighty people, the great leaders, the vociferous speeches of all the ambitious and aspiring Prime Ministerial candidates, can we take as the chief front runners to be Mayawathi, KCR, Chandrababu Naidu or Sharad Pawar all very able leaders no doubt. But can we expect from them some modicum of truth and honesty and perspective and vision and some degree of sobriety?

Let us hope so.

A Prime Minister to lead a country like, a great and diverse and a very ancient nation with so much to contribute to the world, we write on the Buddha Poornima day(!),so we have to couch our words with some duty to history. India should be able to win the confidence of the big and small nations. India under Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru days, V.K.Krishna Menon, his deputy used to say: India counts and Indian counts in the comity of nation. That was when India was poor, there were food shortages, we lived from ship to mouth etc. Poverty was widespread and Nehruji once said at a Santiniketan public meeting: The outside world asks: how can you develop? No resources then, after a small pause Nehruji would say: India has apanch varsha yojana hei, we have a five year plan, we would develop. And let the young readers of today also know.

By the side of Panditji sat none other than the great expert and intellectual, P.C.Mahalanobis, the author of planning and statistics then. It was P.C.Mahalanobis who laid the foundation for gathering statistics to draw up future plans! How thrilling and inspiring!

India did evolve in the years to come and today, after five years of so much rhetoric and much else we are talking like illiterate villagers, sorry to call the villagers to say so. They, the villagers might be the ones to deduce the outcome of the 2019 elections. Truth and honesty, humility and much else, the core values India is proud of, tolerance, decency etc are also values. To call the Godse as the patriot is the height of idiocy. So, Indian people are duty bound to safeguard democracy. Long live democracy!

What are our thoughts?

Freedom of the press and the freedom of the citizens and the future of Indian democracy!

These are all the basic issues of how Indian democracy functions in the country. The General Election, 2019 has thrown up many unprecedented other issues that have caused many ripples verging on the very frontiers of the limits of the Indian Constitution.

Elections this time has become desperate for the obvious reason that for the first time a party other than the Congress had succeeded in 2014 to upturn the apple cart, so to say by winning an absolute majority and this had changed the very perspectives of the tradition one-part dominated Indian democracy. But then times change. And many politicians of the old school, were upset and there is also the desperations on the BJP for retaining power.

So, this election sees fierce competition and the outcomes are the flow of funds into the system.Crores have been seized and the funds outside the EC ambit are many time more. So, there is demand for cash for all the voters. The has changed the whole game of playing fair in the electoral process. There are various private NGOs who are coming out with the many fault lines.

There are more crorepathis, more criminals and more dynasts in the grabbing process. The causalty is the fall in all norms of democratic standards. Some of the election rhetoric, of course, many caused in the heat of the platform frenzy with the mass of audience cheering wildly at the prospects of their favourite candidates promising victory have led to the orators to utter words and promises and even threatening the opponents, why even perceived enemies at the gate so to say, keeping our neighbour country in mind are all creating a new type of fear and uncertainty.

The Prime Minister himself had uttered words and phrases that amount to much uncertainty. To talk of nuclear weapons at such a time is clearly unprecedented. Also, the world over the terror attacks are happening almost uninterrupted, the UN seems to be almost defucnt, we are sorry to note and the USA in its own ways functioning as a sole authority to ensure peace. Is this the right time to talk of other lesser issues? Where is a sense of some security in the international sphere?

The West is now very divided. The UK is in its own way caught up with Brexit. The European Union seems unconcerned about issues outside its Union. The Middle East in great deal of turmoil. The civil wars have not abated. There is a long list of terrorist attacks in some of the Middle East and African countries. There is also a food crisis looming in some of these hot spots. The USA as the biggest power is not in a good position to play the leader of the world but it is also causing unilateral role in blocking for instance, Iranian oil to countries including India. As for China, with all its admirable achievements in the economic development sphere, its political arena is an anathema to liberal parts of the world. People have to live in a sense of peace and open society.

Open Society? Ah, how many in India today might have read of Karl Poppar’s “Open Society and Its Enemies”. Also, we haven’t heard of one word about liberalism!

Why, the election rhetoric of both Mr.Modi and Rahul Gandhi have been completely new and the standard of exchanges, to borrow a word from an editorial, “nasty”. What is the history of the world? It is a process of evolution from monarchy, to imperialism of all sorts towards Republic (Rome and Democracy (Athens).

Are there not lessons for all the people of the world to learn some wisdom and restraint from wars and war threats?

How can one leader threaten his own people and people in the other countries with a nuclear threat?

Now, the world is more fragile and more unsettled and more dangerous. Also, inside India, our mentality seems to have degenerated faster into one of name calling by each one of the politicians.

The very many institutions, Parliament, Judiciary and bureaucracy, why, the media, the Election Commission and the various other agencies like Income Tax and CBI and Ed are unusually active. Even the CJI, the top court is not spared. There are various undercurrents. What has so far appeared in the press gives cause for dismay.

It requires enormous wisdom of the Indian people, the various classes, upper, middle and lower classes irrespective of their educational and social distinctions to rise up as one man and vote out the undesirables, vote in the upright and morally strong leaders.

To save democracy and sustain it is our bounden duty.

That seems the one sure outcome, likely!  Congress, a new sort of oligarchy!
BJP’s build-up of allies shows anxiety and uncertainty!
Why, the Congress confusion at many levels leaves it not with much choice and maneuverability!

rahul-gandhiThe BJP party and government has had its rounds of allies build-up  almost complete.  In some of the major states like West Bengal, even in other Southern states like Telangana, Andhra Pradesh show that it has not much space to push ruling parties beyond some limits. TDP is out, KCR’s party too seem not very accommodative. In Kerala too the scope for BJP making any headway is very limited. In TN it is very plain that the BJP resigned to whatever was offered by the already weakened AIADMK which itself is seeking some help from the BJP for its very survival at least for the next two years till 2021.

If the incumbent party is simply allowed to survive both the AIADMK and the other small parties that would now like move more closer to
the current alliance tie-up, such parties like the CPI, CP (M) and the Thol Thirumavalavan party and others, both individuals as well as parties in existence like the DMDK and others would be only too happy to let them do and act in whatever manner.

As for the DMK-Congress tie-up too seems to be a patch up of mutual existence. There is no surety that the DMK-Congress might sweep the
elections in any certain manner. The 2014 election results must be a warning to the two parties and that may one reason why even the
Congress higher ups, not to speak of Rahul Gandhi or others like Ghulam Nabi Azad didn’t think it worthwhile to descend on the Southern state.

In one sense, the years of Sonia Gandhi at Delhi saw to it that the party was left to die almost a natural death! Just to please and
facilitate the DMK’s own agenda. The people of Tamil Nadu haven’t  forgotten such high corruption like the 2G scams and Manmohan Singh’s own contribution! The Congress party too now changed into a coalition of like-minded vested interests!  A sort of new oligarchy! Everyone is a leader, none is a party worker!

So, it is anybody’s guess how the DMK-Congress combine would fare.  So too other states. In UP, Mayawati took 38 seats, SP 37. The two have left out the Congress! In Delhi too AAP is out! So, what chance for Rahul Gandhi to lead the next government?

So, too in Maharashtra. It looks that the BJP seems to be resigned to an uncertain allies formation and given the aggressive nature of the Opposition parties united challenge, given the leadership of BJP leaders like Yogi Adithyanath, there is so much uncertainty and public perception about the very atmosphere in India with so many unpromised promises the BJP seems resigned to an Atal Bihari era of multiple allies joining together to give the BJP another chance. But this is again conjectural and the media is yet to firm up the public mood, given the latest sombre mood after the Pakistan’s brutality and that has given the Indian public a sense of heavy mental burden of living with so many unfulfilled promises.

The fallout of the GST and black money demonitisation is also there in a noticeable way. The media is subdued but at least one major South Indian mainstream paper, The Deccan Herald has given a detailed analysis about what happened in 2014 and what parties won what number of seats in every state.

As for the Congress case it looks still that the party has not yet given a firmer view of things. Rahul Gandhi did much than what a
leader of his age and experience could do. It is a measure of things that Rahul all alone had succeeded to galvanise the party and single
point attack on the Prime Minister Modi has unnerved the PM and very likely to shape up  the over-built up optimism and confidence of the

Yes, the BJP has the money and muscle power and the RSS could also play some role. But as for the Congress party, even the entry of Priyanka Gandhi, it seems at this point unlikely to shake the party’s looming lethargy and also the large concentration of vested interests, a rot of oligarchy with each one leader around the Sonia establishment to win her favour and catch her attention. It looks Sonia’s times are past a long time ago. The dynasty element is strong and it might not pull votes. The new generation, the 20-50 voters, the younger generation might not know all the greatness of the Congress party.

Today, the party is still burdened by its past sins. The large unelected units, from the CWC to AICC are all seem to be quite unrepresentative of the moods and opinions and the perceptions of the new comers among the large voters groups.

So, by looking at the small number of parties and also caste groups and the quota politics might give other parties, other than the two large partisan edges to carry the vested interests among the small caste groups a sense of indemnity with non-BJP and non-Congress parties only.

In one significant sense, a coalition government led by either one of the larger party or another acceptable consensus candidates, be it Chandra Babu Naidu or Mamata or even by Mayawati is likely to give a more open government without the disabilities to which one-person dominated party or government is likely to give a more broad-based leadership to the country and with better governance principles.

Very likely, it seems!
Rahul in the race for PM?
Very unlikely!
The ruling leading lights shout: It is PM vs. chaos! Opposition unity, a shame!

Defence_aeroplanePolitical issues are getting hotter everyday. Election outcome in 2019 is the major guessing game. There is less and less of tolerance and
Dissidence of any sort is not welcome. Because politics is grabbing of power, raw power at that!

What the people, the voters would show in 2019?

It is always easy to talk of global issues, in a sense. Be it high finance or trade or any other issues. So, we often see the Indian media reports that India would grow at 7.5 % while the world growth might slow down. Anyway such praise comes at times when the country needs some light and energy to life our spirits.

It is only when the Opposition gets its acts together and get the government functioning stalled as it has been happening in recent times, one gets a bit unnerved. After all we are a democracy, more precisely a Parliamentary democracy and that means some imposition of rules and discipline in behaviour in Parliament.

Again, the Opposition has lots of opportunities to disrupt the proceedings of the House and also, if the government is weak in its activities and that too in such high sensitive matters like, say the Rafale deal, then it is most likely the government looks very weak and defenceless and the Opposition seizes the upper hand.

Mr.Rahul Gandhi might not have put the government on fire but he has succeeded by concentrating on only one-point agenda of attacking the
Prime Minister, sometimes, by overdoing the same sort of attacks by over-doing the same.

This only has dented the image of the Central government as one that has lost its track and nothing to show by way of progress on other fronts. For example, the question of corruption is high on the agenda and also other sensitive issues have come to public notice recently. The CBI issues are man-made or systemic?

Surely, the CBI is only   the most critical and also directly under the Prime Minister’s portfolio. Surely this has dented the image of the quality of the Central government. The government acted very late and has led to too much waste of time and energy.

Surely, the PMO must take the blame and it looks the final solution is something that is far away. There can’t be any quick-fix here and the image of corruption and a search for clean image for the PMO is not in sight. The 2019 general elections might have come and gone and much water must have flowed since then.

So, the issue of corruption and also the related issue of the most suspect one is the postponement of the creation of the high office of the Lok Pal.

Really it is galling to imagine why we have showed ourselves as a nation of hypocrites, as people who don’t mean anything when it comes to high corruption when it comes to running our democracy.
The BJP, the main Opposition with a radically different ideology, one that is secular and so on  was harping for a long time an ideology, the
Hindutva that was to give an answer to all the questions, issues and very modern issues of social, economic and cultural perceptions.
Yes, the Congress was otherwise deficient, dynasty-focussed; it put the interests of a family above the larger country. This was a bit repugnant and not giving enough transparent and honestic public conduct.

A great nationalist party of long legitimacy lost its core values for the existence of a family’s interest and also giving rise of a succession of corruptions that became public scandals. Big guns were also involved and yet a weak Prime minister hand-picked from the ranks of bureaucracy and it became evident soon that no among of justifying would hide the fact that the PM candidate himself didn’t know he was chosen but he learnt from other vested interests! One scandal followed the other and in the coal scam, it was the poor bureaucrats, it is alleged, who were made the scapegoats!

The government became so scandalised that in the ensuing elections there were not enough right candidates and the party met with a historic low number.

Now, is the Congress ready to rise up to the new challenges?
It is doubtful it can rise up now. When other Opposition parties, now numbering some 19parties have come out with a show of unity. Yet, the past suspicions have gone away.

These suspicions only showed the absence of some key players.
Mayawati and Akilesh have joined hands. So too, it looks, Lalu Prasad’s RJD. Anyhow, even if Lalu wills his progeny with newly acquired power and opportunity won’t fall for Rahul as the likely Prime Minister and that seems a distant dream!

Surely the time is right, it seems for a new coalition in the 2019 elections and someone other than Rahul might be elevated to lead the country.

And that also seems right given the personality of Narendra Modi whose image, though somewhat dented, has not lost its sheen!

Also, the money power, the electoral funds calculations. Yes, you need funds and big funds and the current scenarios such that the BJP is far above the next party, the Congress is election funds tally.

Given the disenchantment of the moment it is only mature wisdom some new names and new ideas of a new coalition era to give stability and a new direction to the country.