Why the Nuke Deal is “Anti Muslim?”

A SURVEY conducted by the Samajwadi Party (SP) general secretary Shahid Siddiqui has concluded that 70 per cent of Muslims oppose the nuke deal “with the United States (US)”. This survey by Urdu weekly has increased the problems for SP, which is getting cosier with Congress on the deal. The Muslim clerics have also voiced the same opinion and have even thanked Mayawati, CM of Uttar Pradesh, for not backing the deal.

Indo-US Nuke Deal

The politics that is being played in last few days is totally stupid and of opportunism. If the deal allows India to conduct the nuclear test in future then there should be no problem in going ahead with the deal. The nuclear deal and other questions of foreign policy should be opposed or defended on their own merits. Sadly, both the government and its opponents have played fast and loose with the Muslim card, to the detriment of the community’s larger interest.

The deal was blocked by Left parties for long time and now when the Prime Minister has decided to go ahead with the deal, we are witnessing the Muslim card being played by the opposer of the deal. I have always felt that Muslims are always used by the political parties and the same is happening in this case as well. Muslim card has always been high on the agenda of the ’secular forces’ in the country. It is sometimes felt that if you follow a minority appeasement policy then you are a “secular” by default. Leading Muslim clerics visited Mayawati on July 2 and thanked her for not supporting the deal and urged the PM for not going ahead as it is ’anti Muslim’. This is really vexatious on part of the community and the political parties. Each political party, which champions the cause of Muslims is ’secular’ but if you voice a Hindu opinion you are automatically ’communal’. This secular versus communal politics is creating new ripples in political arena.

For the past three years, Mayawati has maintained a studied silence on the deal despite its supposedly “anti-Muslim” character. Now that an alliance between the SP and the Congress is looking increasingly likely, however, she is discovering she can no longer afford to sit on the fence. “The United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government is adamant to sign the nuclear deal with the US at the cost of much cheaper gas from Iran but Muslims would never accept the deal”, she declared at a press conference in Lucknow recently. MK Pandhe, a member of the Politburo of the Communist Party of India (Marxist), warned the SP against supporting the UPA Government on the nuclear issue because, he claimed, “a majority of the Muslim masses are against the deal”. So I just want to ask these political parties that whether their objections to the deal is based on some reasoning or just because it is “anti-Muslim”. If it is based on some reasoning then they can consult few experts and question the PM as well and seek clarification but if the opposition is based on some blind ideological obduracy then politics has reached yet another nadir in our country.

I will also like to ask few questions to the Muslims and parties that are dragging Muslims on this issue. What they mean when they say that “the deal is anti Muslim”. Have they studied the deal or blindly following their leaders’ opinion? The survey conducted by Urdu weekly also said that the 85 per cent Muslims called America their biggest enemy. I hope this is not the reason of the deal being ’anti-Muslim’. I would also like to press that the religion should take back-seat when their is an issue of national concern. But sadly that is not happening in India.

At this juncture I would also like to draw your attention to a survey that was conducted by The Indian Express, CNN-IBN and CSDS last year. The survey showed that the division among Muslims on the deal approximated the divisions in the larger population – 19 per cent supported the deal and 15 per cent were opposed to it. In other words, the survey found no evidence to support the argument of a monolithic ’Muslim opinion’ against the deal. Mayawati’s Muslim MLAs admit they know little about the deal – they aren’t alone, only 26 per cent of all those polled in The Indian Express survey admitted to knowing about it – but they all back their supreme leader. The majority of the population has no idea about the deal and yet they are backing their leaders. Muztaba Siddiqui, BSP MLA from Soroan in Allahabad, said the nuclear deal was “harmful for Muslims” because it had been made “with the specific purpose of harassing Muslims”. SP MLA Ziauddin Rizvi said that “The deal is an international issue and it will not affect the Muslims’ political view. Back home, our only focus is how to stop the RSS-backed BJP from coming to power.” With such doltish comments coming from the community’s leaders sums it all. And let me tell you that if these are the reasons behind the deal being ’anti Muslim’ then I support the deal at all cost.

The Muslim need to change their attitude towards the issues that concern the nation and should not declare everything ’anti Muslim’ on the basis of nothing. It is high time that liberal Muslims become the voice of their community and save their community from becoming a toy in the hands of selfish political parties. You just cannot expect the political parties to change their ways and they will always indulge in the ’secular’ politics.

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The “Inflation” Effect

The United Progressive Alliance (UPA) has completed almost four years in the office. Kudos to them for providing a stable government so far. The growth rate has been approximately 8.5 per cent according to the various reports. I don’t know what exactly this term “growth rate” means, but I have observed many changes in my daily life. The change has been very significant in the last few months post that populist budget.

Surging prices of vegetable, fruits and pulses hit the common man hard while dearer steel and metals pushed the inflation to a 40-month high of 7.41 per cent, prompting the government to take more price control measures like ban on cement exports, and now may be ban on steel exports as well. “Whatever I make, must be affordable to the common man.” These were the words of Chinni Krishnan, who is acknowledged as the father of the sachet revolution in India. But is the common man’s problem being addressed in our country?

Empty WalletBeing a student and living in the hostel, I need to manage my expenses well. Previously, my daily expenditure was Rs. 100, which has increased to Rs. 150 now, despite my having cut down my expenditure on some fronts. I have to ask my parents to deposit more money in my account now. My father, who has taken a home loan, has to pay more Equated Monthly Installments (EMIs) and the return period has gone beyond his retirement. The college has increased the fees citing more expenditure. The mess fees has increased following the rise in essential commodities such as vegetables, edible oils, etc. In all, my life has changed a lot in the last few months. It is not just me; in fact, all of us must have faced the heat of rising inflation week after week. The condition of the people who depend on the daily wages is much more pathetic because they are the first and the worst victims of inflation.

Despite this growth rate, the common man’s problems are not attended to. The cup of woes of the common man across the country seems to have reached its brim, with rising prices of fruits, vegetables and other essential commodities leaving a deep hole in the pocket, forcing us to re-frame his already back bending budget.

This is an issue, which is core to the Indian government right now as it knows that the soaring inflation, if not curbed will eat away the entire success story (if any), which it has woven since the past four years, certainly something it does not need when it is going to the polls. The Prime Minister has said that the government will try their level best to curb the inflation but that has not happened till date. The government needs to curb the growing price at the earliest; else it will have to face the consequences in all the upcoming elections scheduled later this year.

This government is definitely by the people but not for the people. I say that whatever reasons the government might give for inflation but the end of the story is that the common man does not have either the time or the money to read or know about that reasons. The failure to curb price rise and inflation has been a major blot on the government totally neutralising the 8-9 per cent growth rate. As the UPA completes its fourth year in the office, the government headed by PM, Manmohan Singh, may be known more for what it has not been able to achieve rather than what it has.

Image courtesy-Icelandexpress

Amend Constitution to Regain Voter’s interest

It is an undeniable fact that some serious measures are necessary for the smooth functioning of Indian democracy. All our efforts should be directed to make electoral processes simpler and easier to understand, so that people vote, and vote for the right candidate.Voters in QueueIndia is the world’s largest democracy. We have the highest number of voters. However, in the last few years, the number of people participating in the electoral process has gone down by huge numbers. While residents of rural areas come in large number to cast their votes, the same cannot be said about the urban people. It is shocking to see that less than 50 per cent of the people participate in the democratic process in which India takes great pride.

The learned and the right-minded strongly feel that there is a need to amend the Constitution, in order to attract more number of people and encourage them to vote. The politicians can be blamed for this trend as they have discouraged the people from voting, having made false promises year after year. The Constitution needs to be more electorate friendly as times have changed. The young population of India is getting more alienated, as they are getting busier with their jobs and shifting from one place to another.

The Government needs to think on new lines and make amendments with respect to the right to vote and bring some changes in the electoral process. In India, we have at least four to six elections every year. The expenditure incurred to carry out these elections results in sheer wastage of public money. Considering the present case, after the 2004 General Elections, there have been elections in at least eight states and there are a few more lined up before the 2009 elections. In this scenario, what happens is that the political parties are busy working on strategies for the next elections and cannot concentrate on the developmental policies and issues of national interest. This can be done by having all the elections at the same time, which will save public money, their time and enable our ‘netas’ to work on some worthy issues.

In India, the participation of young people in the election process is declining. One reason is that many young students move from their home location to other places for studies and subsequently get jobs in different places. Therefore they are unable to vote. Hence, proxy voting facility should be introduced, so that the people living in states other than their home states can also use their right to vote in that state. They are earning in that state and equally share the advantages and disadvantages of that state.

PAN cards could be an effective solution, they could serve as personal identity for all purposes and several offences could also be controlled.

The other important thing is that we need to make elections a simple process. For the convenience, we may think of introducing Internet voting. Healthy skepticism about Internet voting is good, but Estonia has shown how it could be a shot in the arm for a democracy. During the presidential elections this year, Estonians sat in their homes and offices, logged on to a particular website and used a smart card reader to vote. This can be introduced in India too. Though this media is vulnerable, but we can at least give it a try in the municipal elections.

Some serious measures are necessary for the smooth functioning of Indian democracy. All our efforts should be directed to make these electoral processes simpler and easier to understand and practice so that we can choose the right leaders.

Modi “Especial” in Gujarat

Gujarat elections results are out. Unexpected or Expected? Incumbent Gujarat Chief Minister, Narendra Modi and the BJP won their third consecutive term in Gujarat. First and foremost, there is no getting away from the fact that this is an out and out Modi victory. Narendra Modi becomes even more strong in Gujarat (assuming that is still possible) as the Keshubhai’s and the Shankar Singh’s have shown exactly how much they are worth – nil, nothing. (According to Our Fellow Blogger Comrade Chakra)

ModiTHE TREMENDOUS and outstanding victory of Narendra Modi deserves praise, because he stood for his principles and was never apologetic or changed just for the sake of elections as is being done by Indian politicians. He just gave his opinion distinctly, which was well understood by the people of Gujarat, and he has been voted massively by the people. This is a wonderful New Year gift to the BJP, to the people of Gujarat, and an eye opener to the rest of India.

Narendra Modi’s impressive show in the Gujarat Assembly elections today stunned the Congress amidst a debate on whether its president Sonia Gandhi’s “liars and merchants of death” remarks were a “tactical mistake” exploited by the Chief Minister. As long as the main stream party like the Congress indulges in hypocrisy as evidence in the preset turmoil in Punjab and mount disinformation that BJP is communal and drive them to a corner and spread the canard that anti-hindutva is the index of secularism, Narendra Modis will continue to win.

I quote from Barkha Dutt’s Prisoners of Past article that appeared in Hindustan Times recently– “A Modi-centric attack that dwells on the state-sponsored violence of 2002 only seems to rally public opinion around him. It’s the reason the Tehelka sting on the riots barely finds mention in the Congress campaign. The English media today is seen by the ordinary Gujarati as an elite conspirator who is out to tarnish his state. Big battles sometimes need quiet and low-key solutions. For there to be any dramatic change in Gujarat, the paradigm of public debate just has to move away from the riots of 2002. To ensure the future of Gujarat, we can no longer remain prisoners of the past.”

Nothing, not the rebel factor, not his haughty style of functioning, not the sidelining of the Sangh Parivar, not even the larger-than-life he created for himself, seems to have worked against Modi’s carefully calibrated brand of cultural nationalism, hinged on Gujarati asmita that tapped into the fear of the other. It has also shown, for the second time after Uttar Pradesh, that while a Rahul/Sonia rally may draw the crowds, it certainly does not draw votes. It has also vindicated that Madam’s strength is back-room machinations and she still has a long way to go before she becomes a potent force as a mass leader.

What is so special about Modi? This election it was Narendra Modi Vs Rest. There were numerous controversies that loomed before and during the election campaign but nothing happened. This election is going to have ever lasting impacts on national politics. Perhaps this election has made Modi’s persona even larger. Modi has ideas and Modi has vision. These are attributes often absent in many leaders and Congress just didn’t had any alternative to Modi.

At the recent National Development Council in New Delhi Modi was very clear that India knocking on 2008 should talk about economic criteria not religion. His presentation was that of a man who knows his economics. He was hitting out at Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh’s plans to earmark 15 per cent of funds under the 11th plan for minorities. He saw it as a move just to make Muslims happy. People were impressed with Modi’s speech and Modi’s attack. And he spoke on a lot of issues, about investment, development, education. Those present saw the visionary in Modi—the posterboy of Gujarati Asmita and beyond. This huge support that Modi enjoys is something that was not with him before. If Hindus find that they are victims of reverse discrimination when it comes to government development schemes. Modi is right. Which birdbrain came up with this idea? It must count among the most irresponsible that any government has devised and any idiot should be able to see that it will lead to the social tensions Modi predicts. In a process of wooing the voters we are going very far that may have dire consequences on our society. The problem in our country is that every move that government makes is motivated by “Votes”. Let me draw your attention to one more such happenings and that is of Taslima Nasreen. Last week the GOI tols her that she cannot be allowed to enter Kolkata and if she does she may be deported. She lives under virtual house arrest at an ‘undisclosed address near Delhi’ ever since the West Bengal government put her on a midnight flight out of Kolkata last month. Now, she has been told that this is the only sort of hospitality India can offer. This is the secularism of UPA? They are threatening Taslima Nasreen and not the one who are threatening Taslima. The problem lies that there is no proper understanding of “Secularism.” UPA and its allies uses it as it suits them. Sitaram Yechury has called for unity among “SECULAR PARTIES” after Modi won the elections today. Today if you speak a word about Hindus, then you are communal. In this quest of keeping “Communal Powers” at the bay we have seen how few states have been ruined (UP under Mulayam and Bihar under RJD, both places Congress supported the government). It is because of this bizarre understanding of secularism that a man like Narendra Modi is becoming acceptable to middle-class Indians even outside Gujarat. It would not have happened if Rajiv Gandhi had not foolishly accepted the claim of fundamentalist Muslims to their own personal law. It would not have happened if V.P. Singh had not added Mandal fuel to the fire. Any sort of reverse discrimination is not acceptable today to an ordinary middle class citizen.

For some, Narendra Modi is a demagogue. And in this case he is also not different to the others. If Rajiv Gandhi and Indiraji is not a demon then Modi is also not (Just look at the figures of riots of 1984 and 2002). I am not vindicating Modi on riots but just making a point of double standards and hypocrisy that is prevalent in today media and “Secular Parties”. In making him a demon the so called liberals have made Narendra Modi a national figure and let me tell you that no Chief Minister is as known as Modi even outside Gujarat.