Thursday, August 20, 2009

The Super-Villain Club

Things have come to a grinding halt on this tiny space in the blog-world ever since me returned willy-nilly to student life and shifted base to Chennai. I am beset, these days, with small, lame, insubstantial assignments that should be a walk in the park but take hours and hours. The victims of this atrocity are reading, blogging and other enjoyable pursuits that characterized those tough days as a dedicated corporate employee in Hyderabad.

Now that it's clear that I actually like this place, let me post a forward I recently received(I know-posting a forward is cheap blogging but still..). It's not unique but it seemed a very holistic take on the innumerable 'villains' that plague India.

The Ant works hard in the withering heat all summer building its house and laying up supplies for the winter.The Grasshopper thinks the Ant's a fool and laughs & dances & plays the summer away.

Come winter, the shivering Grasshopper calls a press conference and demands to know why the Ant should be allowed to be warm and well fed while others are cold and starving.

NDTV, AAJTAK, BBC show up to provide pictures of the shivering Grasshopper next to a video of the Ant in his comfortable home with a table filled with food..........

The World is stunned by the sharp contrast. How can this be that this poor Grasshopper is allowed to suffer so?

Arundhati Roy stages a demonstration in front of the Ant's house.Medha Patkar goes on a fast along with other Grasshoppers demanding that Grasshoppers be relocated to warmer climates during winter Mayawati states this as `injustice' done on Minorities........

Amnesty International and Koffi Annan criticize the Indian Government for not upholding the fundamental rights of the Grasshopper..........

The Internet is flooded with online petitions seeking support to the Grasshopper (many promising Heaven and Everlasting Peace for prompt support as against the wrath of God for non-compliance)........

Opposition MPs stage a walkout. Left parties call for 'Bengal Bandh' in West Bengal and Kerala demanding a Judicial Enquiry..........CPM in Kerala immediately passes a law preventing Ants from working hard in the heat so as to bring about equality of poverty among Ants and Grasshoppers..........

Lalu Prasad allocates one free coach to Grasshoppers on all Indian Railway Trains, aptly named as the 'Grasshopper Rath'............

Finally, the Judicial Committee drafts the ' Prevention of Terrorism Against Grasshoppers Act' [POTAGA], with effect from the beginning of the winter............. ***

Arjun Singh makes 'Special Reservation ' for Grasshoppers in Educational Institutions & in Government Services.The Ant is fined for failing to comply with POTAGA and having nothing left to pay his retroactive taxes,it's home is confiscated by the Government and handed over to the Grasshopper in a ceremony covered by NDTV**.

Arundhati Roy calls it ' A Triumph of Justice'.Lalu calls it 'Socialistic Justice '.CPM calls it the ' Revolutionary Resurgence of the Downtrodden '.Koffi Annan invites the Grasshopper to address the UN General Assembly. Many years later.... *

The Ant has since migrated to the US and set up a multi-billion dollar company in Silicon Valley.100s of Grasshoppers still die of starvation despite reservation somewhere in India.
As a result of loosing lot of hard working Ants and feeding the grasshoppers, .
India is still a developing country…!!!
I know this is a forward and deserves only so much respect, but the ingenuity here is amazing. NDTV celebrates reservation? I thought this was reality in their studios. And how brilliant is the move which brings Medha Patkar, Arundhati Roy, Mayawati, the CPI(M), Amnesty International, The Indian Government and POTA to support the same cause!!!

Enough said. Stop going over it again and again!
"As a result of losing a lot of hard working Ants...."

Friday, July 3, 2009

SPIN the verdicts

                                 The Daily Pheesh
                                 Friday July 1 2011

History was forged today as India's major religions buried centuries of acrimony to unite to form a single entity. The newly formed spiritual conglomeration, aptly titled SPIN(an acronym for Spiritual Power India) is the culmination of months of effort on the part of the heads of religious orders in India and has already been accepted as the governing entity by Hindu, Muslim, Christian and Sikh spiritual leaders. The governing body of SPIN shall, in accordance with the glorious heritage of post-Independence India, comprise 3 members from each of India's major religious communities. Swamy Vishweshwarananda, the head of the VHP, and proposed Supreme Leader of SPIN pointed out that the composition of the governing council was a resounding slap to thoe who believed that the VHP scorned other religions. "They are all Hindus anyway", he said.

It is believed that congregations of religious figures of all religions will gather in the near future to formally approve and sanctify SPIN. The Vatican, in a brief statement, greeted the formation of SPIN and termed it yet another step in the progress of the gospel of love and harmony.

SPIN sources categorically denied a rumour that the formation of SPIN is in any way, a response to the landmark Supreme Court Judgement legalizing civil unions between homosexual couples.DP

Image credits 1

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Speaker is a crybaby?

The last couple of days have been extremely newsworthy, what with Obama's speech and Prathibha Patil's speech and the threat of terrorist action and all. But some gems stand out even among the hullabaloo, rather are amplified in effect etcetc.

"Asked whether she gets angry and resorts to crying, she said: “No, I do not cry. But, like all other people, I do get angry sometimes.”

That was the media's classy query to Meira Kumar following her appointment to the post of Speaker. Somehow, I cannot visualize them asking the same question to Somnath Chatterjee or anyone of a similar persuasion in gender.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

10 hours of continuous TV watching and my winner is....


After hours of back-breaking research into comparative election coverage(fine, it was just the first two hours!), I conclude that NDTV 24X7 came out a marginal winner in the contest for the least annoying TV channel covering the election roller-coaster. NDTV's graphics were updated at a faster rate, were more clearer and the analysis was actually a bit more sober than that of its nearest rival CNN-IBN. The latter, which was affected by a keen desire to prove itself in its first general election, ended up being a bit too shrill and the analysis sometimes distracted the viewer from the updates that were coming in. Times Now was unfortunately a poor third as it lagged behind in speed and analysis.

Of course, all was not rosy with NDTV as well. One got to see Barkha Dutt's face contorting in every way possible pretty often as the camera was slow in moving away from her face while she was communicating with her team plus there were quite a few technical glitches. But these were only the superficial(and mildly entertaining) issues that the media exhibited. The real ones perhaps lie much deeper.

It is pretty obvious that while many of the exit polls predicted the direction of the results, they often went completely wrong in the specifics(which is why they failed to get the numbers). This could partly be the result of some genuine nervousness after the debacle in 2004(NDTV psephologist Dorab Sopariwala looked like he would have a heart attack till the results began coming out). Another reason could be the fact that national channels have abandoned the concept of reporting from the ground and often depend on correspondents who are stationed at state capitals and have access to political leaders alone. Thus the failure to see trends in UP and West Bengal, which considering their magnitude, should have been quite a bit obvious.

It is easy to understand why news channels are slowly abandoning the kind of reporting necessary to predict swings like these. Varun's Gandhi's antics are any day more entertaining and 'news-worthy' than shifts in the voting patters in eastern UP and it saves so much man-power when you can attribute the decimation of the CPI(M) to 'rural discontent' without exactly defining what it is. It is important that channels and media watchers keep these issues in mind and frequently remind themselves that getting the trends right is no achievement in itself when significant developments are completely missed out during the course of analysis.

Other mundane points.
1) Everyone seems ready to applaud and bid a warm farewell to L.K.Advani. This is utter crap. However much he 'tried' to modify his stance, India cannot forgive the man who led the march to demolish the Babri Masjid.
2) Karan Thapar is an awesome interviewer. He is also a bad anchor. The drama involved in his exclaiming mundane phrases like 'vote percentage' is seriously off-putting.
3) Barkha Dutt and Vikram Chandra are a very bad pair. They frequently kept tripping up each other. Me thinks there is some serious power struggles on at NDTV.
4) Times Now needs some decent support staff for Arnab Goswami. Poor fellow seems sagging from all that pressure.
5) Why was Lord Meghnad Desai a part of the CNN-IBN coverage? Why not Mandira Bedi the next time then?
6) Amidst Rajdeep Sardesai's brazen attempts to promote CNN-IBN, Prannoy Roy is more balanced any day.

The election season is as good as any to give out a spree of Katrina Awards and there are many who have qualified for the said honor, from the Amma of the South to Comrade Karat. But then, I look back and realize that since the award committee itself was living in quite a deluded world(I was quite sure of a hung parliament), it is perhaps time to forgive and forget in the best traditions of this election season. Chilllll!! :)

PS. A modified version of this post was first published at desicritics
PS2. I just found out that I was not the only person to have the bright idea of comparing the performance of news channels. The media watchdog website, The Hoot has a significantly more comprehensive piece on the coverage. But then, the Hoot is a media watchdog website. This is just the dailypheesh ;)

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Dunces of democracy.

The last lap of the prelude to the 'Dance of Democracy'(the real moves begin on the 16th) ended yesterday and courtesy this last phase, the voting percentages might just about match those of 2004. So that's it then! We live in a happy and fulfilling democracy! Hurrah and three cheers.

Once our hangover subsides, we may also choose to remember that it's been exactly 2 years since Dr. Binayak Sen was imprisoned by the sate of Chattisgarh on the flimsiest of grounds. Over the past two years, the case has crumbled bit by steady bit. And yet, the government or for that matter the judiciary have not only refused to withdraw the case but have even denied a sick man the right to medical treatment of his choice. Nobel laureates and British MPs(a bit rich considering Binyam Mohamed) have appealed for his release. There has been a decent amount of publicity and a lot of protest over the issue(including the now-inescapable facebook group). Despite all this, Dr.Sen is still in jail.

I am not one who would argue that publicity and news outrage should influence the way the government or the judiciary proceeds. However, considering the notoriety the case has earned, doesn't it seem sort of obvious that the government or the judges hearing the case would move in a slightly different manner, like say, with a bit more speed? If the establishment(the only word i can think of now) can allow a sore like this to persist so openly, don't all those words we have been repeating about accountability and the power of the press and other such things ring so hollow? And if this is the case with such a well-known figure, the fate of common-er citizens is well...

I like to believe I am not that naive about the way things happen in India. But I also believe that often, in the midst of the fairly comfortable existence many of us lead, we tend to believe and swallow the lessons we have been taught. We tend to believe it's a free country, a beacon of democracy amidst failed states and that with a lot of effort, anybody can make it good. These beliefs are not articles of faith for us. No one can be that dumb! But sometimes, grudgingly, with a lot of qualifications, we tend to sit back, look at ourselves and think..'You know what? This place isn't that bad after all'.

Perhaps, being 'political' implies taking off the goop that gathers around your eye while you are asleep!

A better way of phrasing it is the way Devina Mehta said it. Devina Mehta, who along with her husband was persecuted only because they were the financiers of Tehelka which had just, then conducted 'Operation West End'. Devina Mehta, who said:

"Now you realize that anybody out there is only there because nobody wants you inside. Any time somebody wants you inside [jail], you can be inside."

A couple of days ago, Iran, as repressive a state as any, released US-Iraninan journalist Roxanna Saberi after she was convicted in a spying case. It could have been due to US pressure or a 100 other reasons. The fact is if Iran can do it, is it really that hard for the Supreme Court of India?? Or do we need a letter from Barack Obama for this as well?

Ps Do read the story of Shankar and Devina Mehta from the excerpts of Madhu Trehan's book 'PRISM ME A LIE TELL ME A TRUTH: TEHELKA AS METAPHOR'. It's one of the most tragic instances of the point I have been trying to make.

Ps 2. Also check out, a website which is faithfully chronicling the case of Dr. Sen besides emerging as a rallying point for protests and public initiatives in his support.

Ps 3. The previous post I wrote on this issue(in the interests of context)

Friday, May 8, 2009

One week more.

It's only a week to the declaration of results and to be honest, I feel underwhelmed. On one hand, there is the relentless and suffocating, yet immensely absorbing coverage and on the other, there are the tons of sanctimoniousness thrown around by every 'concerned' celebrity. So it's no wonder that an avid spectator of the political scene like me is into hair-tearing mode by now.

My first brush with election coverage came in 1996 when I began watching the declaration of results because I was terrified after watching the movie Kalapani. Those were the days when Doordarshan ruled the roost and viewers had to do with the sober and controlled narration of news(imagine Arnab Goswami in Doordarshan). While I would never even dream of, or want a return to those times, I sure would love a reduction in the volume of coverage. Random shows with politicians spouting random answers to random questions is not my definition of quality news although most of what we get to see today is just that.
Arnab Goswami talks to Sachin Pilot and Rajiv Pratap Rudy on 'which party has gen next'!
Sachin Pilot talks about why the turnout in the fourth phase of the election is not so bad.
Rajiv Rudy goes on an extended rant about the Congress.

Instances like these will not, of course, stop me from gazing into the screen with the ardor of a mystic or from bitching, ranting and (hopefully) blogging about news programs but someday, some rare, far, remote day..don't we deserve better stuff?
But then, don't we deserve better politicians as well? :P

Friday, May 1, 2009

On May day again....

In solidarity with...

...the innumerable men and women who have lost their jobs or are in danger of losing them. In the belief that better times will come.

That said, it really is time there emerged some kind of forum for expressing the concerns of the employees in the software industry. Most managements and many employees consider union to be an unmentionable, vile word which reminds them of strikes and dharnas and sit-ins and so the idea of an organized union is perhaps a mere pipe dream. However, with employees being fired with hardly any notice and in the absence of any forum to help these ex-employees, it is becoming quite obvious that the union-free model of these corporates needs to be modified.

Of course, the question is-- obvious to whom???
(sort of)Happy May Day.

PS.Some info on the origins of May Day. Of course, one of the more interesting pieces I have read in this regard is Eric Hobsbawm's essay(which is referred to in the link) on the early May Day celebrations which appears in his book 'Uncommon People:Resistance, Rebellion and Jazz'. Check it out!
Image credits

Monday, April 27, 2009

Beware all ye shoe throwers..

                                 The Daily Pheesh
                                 Saturday April 23 2011

The passing out parade of the first batch of the National Shoe Guard was conducted yesterday with much fanfare at the NSG Academy in Kohlapur. Addressing the cadets, the Home Minister reminded them of the urgent need for the services of trained commandos and called upon them to strive to uphold the proud traditions of the security services in India. The first batch of the Shoe Guard will be immediately deployed in the security cover of public figures who require Z+ category protection. These elite commandos have been trained to identify restive figures in a crowd who might be potential show-throwers and have been given the authority to detain them. They have also been issued with high caliber slingshots and 15mm fiber stones to deflect shoes and other projectiles directed at public figures.

It is also rumored that in the event of a politician or public figure forgiving a shoe-thrower, the Shoe Guard Commandos are allowed to 'rough up' the offender in a 'restrained' manner for preventive purposes. Repeat offenders will be prosecuted by a special court and an amendment to the NSA to this effect is being debated in Parliament.

Politicians from across the spectrum hailed the inauguration of the NSG. The Prime Minister, in a statement, reminded the nation of the dark days of 2009 and 2010 when "...every notable public figure had to endure the humiliation of random individuals flinging footwear at him." He urged his fellow citizens to return to those days when shoes occupied their right place at the feet of people and all was good and happy in India.-DP

Image credits 1
and 2

Thursday, April 23, 2009

One year down the line......

74 posts.
a most erratic rate of posting.
an obsessive-compulsive desire to read stuff online and an abhorrence towards responding to it.
Wordpress envy!
How, Mr. Sullivan? How?

It's pertinent, at this juncture, to recollect my first post. Some things never change.

Ps. Thanks. :)

Saturday, April 4, 2009

"So let it be written, so let it be done."

Is it just me or do

Dmitri Medvedev

and Hu Jintao

look like contrite, earnest disciples of The Man who speaks?
These Americans are really desperate!

Image credits 1 & 2

Thursday, April 2, 2009

I is Back!

Phew. That was a long bout of bloggers' bloc. I have been silent even as a new disorder called karimullahphobia was discovered, fears were expressed over a government supported by "two fat women", a Modi besides the BJP butcher got more political coverage and a grandson took to mimicking the antics of his grandfather as though facial and nomenclature-al resemblances were not enough.Sigh. This Is the 'dance of democracy' and my rhythm is all awry!

Anyhow, better late than never, as the saying goes, and so I inaugurate my own chronicle of this election season which will be momentous for many reasons, not the least because I will be casting my vote for the first time. Yes, it took 6.5 years and the Mumbai blasts and Tata Tea to get me to fulfill my duty to Mother India, repay my debts etc etc. After all, it's for my children :P

First of all, Sidin Vadakut, hitherto known to me as a immensely amusing and eminently readable blogger, dispenses some useful gyan on some of the better sources of online information on the elections.

Then, there is the famous interview by Barkha Dutt of Sanjay Dutt and Amar Singh. It's an awesome piece and not just because Amar Singh and Sanjay Dutt are such natural partners(Amar Singh is stupidly eloquent and Sanjay Dutt is eloquently stupid). Those 41 minutes, with all the contradictions, the interruptions and vacillations, provide a fascinating view into some of the engines that run Indian politics. Amar Singh(who definitely was providing the cues for 'Munnabhai') managed to cast aspersions on the Congress, the Communists, Vir Sanghvi, the CBI, the Supreme Court and yet refused to go all out as he had to keep in mind the possibility of "doing business" with them. The only permanent enemy seemed to be Mayawati(with whom the SP has done business before). Most if the innumerable political parties that dominate India's political spectrum are of similar persuasion, negotiating an unending set of political and social permutations. Rank opportunism and greed play a huge part no doubt, yet these phenomena also say something of the inherent flexibility of representative democracy in India and the constant search and failure of organizations to forge the optimum social coalitions. This is why I suppose we 'adore' middlemen and fixers like Amar Singh and the late Pramod Mahajan.

Another interesting fact that struck me was how the Congress is benefiting from a perception shared by many regarding its 'weak' leadership. Manmohan Singh has been pilloried as the weakest PM ever with L.K Advani challenging him to a debate and making much of the lack of response. Sonia Gandhi, on the other hand has built up a reputation of being impossible to get through to. What is fascinating is that Sonia Gandhi's inaccessibility and Manmohan Singh's general good nature/weakness, while providing the impression of a vacuum, also permit ex-allies and potential allies to criticize and ridicule the Congress while exonerating Manmohan and Sonia from most of the blame. Notice how Amar Singh and Dutt make it a point to express the deepest regard for Sonia and Manmohan. The same strategy was recently employed with great distinction by the ever-ingenious Lalu Yadav.

So the regional parties and the Congress get to go all out against each other even as they try to reach adjustments. In the event of their failing to achieve the latter, they fight each other and post-elections, the whole paltan gets back together without any loss of face. Post-poll alliances, as Yogendra Yadav pointed out today, are what will most probably decide the fate of the next government and most of the protagonists of the drama have made sure all doors are open. Just like Amar Singh.

Of course, the downside to all of this is that(to quote Yadav) "sub-optimal alliances are always a sub-optimal option for the people.". Or to summarize, we are most likely screwed, but then, we are most likely screwed anyway!
Cheerful way to begin election analysis no?

PS. The interview is to be specifically noted for Amar Singh's reference to Sanjay Dutt's wife Manyata being "domesticated"(somewhere around the 23rd minute) and for Sanjay's own idea of the role of his wife(the 30th minute). But then, what is a little chauvinism among politicians?

Friday, February 27, 2009

The curious case of Ajit D-2

Some interesting reading on the case
Lawrence Liang(who has been declared "India's foremost authority on freedom of speech on the Internet", in, here and here.(sigh what a bad grammars!)

Dhananjay Nene asks some questions that occurred to me as well when i heard of the issue.
And here is another legal take on it.

And because in times of crisis and protest, we still must not lose our sense of humor, check this site out. You can freely borrow if you wish to heap scorn on the Shiv Sena, Barkha Dutt(who has become the default target for all freedom of speech arguments) or god forbid, the Supreme Court.

ps. NDTV has reported the issue and what a report!! I wonder if they selected their 'best' reporter for that!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

The curious case of Ajit D.

Sigh! It's been a long time and finally I have something to write about. After all, it's an issue of survival(hope that sounds apocalyptic enough).

The case of Ajit.D has lit up an Olympic Torch-ful of protest as angry bloggers and some elements in the press are howling(or in the case of The Hindu, soberly reporting) in protest and for good reason too. The Supreme Court following its tradition of oscillating between admirable progressiveness and downright stuck-in-the-mudism has delivered a verdict which is amusing and alarming at the same time. Here's a quasi-legal take on it.

There are a couple of things which confuse me though. First of all, is there no difference between a social networking site and a blog in 'legalese'? If there is and even if there isn't, why has the media and presumably the court(based on the reports I have seen) reported it as an issue facing blogs? I agree that these media are related and often overlap but are not the agreements that form the basis of use of these two media different? For that matter, how is it that orkut itself has not been added as a party to this case? There are innumerable issues here which touch not only concepts of freedom but also the working of websites, especially social networking sites.

Of course this does not imply that the main struggle, which is one against sheer stupidity and shoddy(oops i said the 's' word) judicial processes be ignored but let's hope this does not merely subside into yet another instance of the 'Outrage Industrial Complex' having a field day.

ps. Has NDTV24x7 reported the issue yet? Their website does not seem to have a story on the issue! I can imagine Barkha Dutt smirking
ps.2 Katrina Kaif, I believe, is a gracious woman..else I might be in a pickle

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Charity begins at..

                                 The Daily Pheesh
                                 Thursday February 1 2018

The Sree Parasuram Seva Sena(SPSS) is a charitable educational and moral concern which seeks to harness the values of our ancient civilization towards the greater good of our society. Though only 10 years old, the Sena is the inheritor of a tradition that stretches back to the glorious Indus Valley Civilization and seeks to ensure that this unbroken chain runs on for ever and ever. The Sena's primary initiatives are in the field of education and public service and it coordinates with a host of civil society organizations that share its values and principles. The Sena's educational institutions have been praised as models of the education of the future as they combine high academic standards with an ethical touch.

"Sree Parasuram Seva Sena schools and colleges have impressed me deeply with their commitment to the moral uplift of society. I urge all concerned parents to embrace the Sena schools for the sake of the nation and its culture"
Sri Vidhvesharahitananda
M.Litt, D.PHil
Educational expert

The Parasuram Seva Sena is proud to introduce two new courses for its able and dedicated students. They are:

1)B.Mp(Bachelor of Moral Policing)- Duration 1 year
This course seeks to instill the precepts of social activism in students and encourage them to realize the historical and cultural background of intervention in social affairs. The students will be instructed by a distinguished array of experienced faculty and will receive specific instruction from elite guest professors. A great deal of emphasis will be laid on field work. Male and female students will be permitted to attend this course. There will be no fees and students will be required to sign a bond pledging to serve the organization for one year
Eligibility-The applicant must be Hindu and healthy.

2)M.Mp(Master of Moral Policing)-Duration 6 months
This course will impart the philosophical background of social and moral activism to the students and prepare them to take up the mantle of leadership of social organizations in these troubled times. The students shall be granted access to senior functionaries and leaders of friendly social organizations and can learn from them in the best traditions of the guru-shishya tradition. This course is reserved for male students though exceptionally talented female students will be considered. This course will also be free of cost and students will be drafted to the higher levels of the SPSS.
Eligibility-The applicant must have a B.Mp degree and must be healthy and male(except for select cases.see above)

All donations made to the Sree Parasuram Seva Sena will be refunded by the Government of India.

Image credits

Monday, January 19, 2009

The Mask of Saffron Death

As Gaza burns(again) and a bout of Obamania breaks out(again), an interesting drama has been playing itself out in the corridors of India's own "party with a difference". While the origins of the conflict can be traced to the Gujarat elections or even to some grave comments made many years ago, the past couple of days have added some spice to the protracted trench warfare between the honchos of the BJP.

To summarize, ex-Vice -President Bhairon Singh Shekawat(probably inspired by Al Gore) publicly speculated on the possibility of his contesting the Lok Sabha elections. Now this would be bad enough were it not for the fact that the Hon.exvp made things worse by not very unsubtly pointing out his geriatric credentials and by snubbing the party president. Of course the party, quick to the defense of its crown prince and heir apparent(that's L.K Advani btw), shot Shekawat down only to land right into the midst of another controversy as prominent Indian industrialists(in a sign of times to come) recommended Narendra Modi for the post of the PM. The CEO of Gujarat broke his silence and finally endorsed Advani for the PM in characteristic style(he called it a conspiracy) and the dust has settled, or so it would seem.

The BJP has always claimed to be a "Party with a difference", a very dubious claim since it has its own version of the "foreign hand" that "guides" it. This control however has neither been complete nor harmonious and so the BJP has had to spend considerable time in confronting the issue of factionalism. It has been specifically difficult as the BJP has never really learned the two prominent ways whereby parties encounter factionalism.

1Neuter all middle level associates and concentrate power in "The Hand".(See Gandhi Indira)
2) Expel your opponents/Leave the party/Rejoin(See "The 101 Janata Dals").

The reason neither of these approaches ever worked for the BJP is that they contradicted with the party's image of being this sleek monolith. Of course it was never so and once the party tasted power(and infinite possibilities of patronage), the seams began unraveling at the speed with which one said Deen Dayal Upadhyaya. So in the best traditions of the second option mentioned
above, the BJP had its Uma Bharati,Madan Lal Khurana and most recently Kalyan Singhs. The first option never really took off as no single leader(including A.B Vajpeyee) was ever allowed to reach a position where he or she could effect a culture of complete cronyism. The question is: will things remain the same?

The BJP seems better placed than the Congress from the perspective of the next elections. But it is an indisputable fact that it's leadership is far from inspirational. Atal Behari Vajrayee is almost catatonic. Advani has become the national bore and very few among the younger generation of leaders has a significant base. It is at such a moment, when senior swayamsevaks go about proclaiming their seniority, that the allure of Modi seduces. He has been an "effective" administrator in every sense of the term making special efforts to reach out to the corporate world. It is possible that he senses such efforts are his best way to gain a degree of acceptability in the country.

Now there are a lot of issues at stake here,the two bad words of corporate responsibility among others. The most important one is of course the rise and rise of the Butcher of Baroda. There are been many who argue that Modi should be given another chance and cite his impressive record as a "development politician" over the past couple of years. Such arguments only remind me of an earlier set of arguments flung about in the mid-90's in the midst of Congress fatigue and Deve Gowda about how the BJP should be given a chance at power since it would at least be an improvement over the reigning horse merchants. The utter lameness of those arguments was proved time and again over the following years. It's an instance which must not be forgotten

The rise of Modi and a BJP which over the next couple of years might turn to him as their next saviour is a very chilling possibility. There have been innumerable reports of Modi's intolerance of dissent. One can visualise a BJP 2.0 somewhere in 2020, a triumphant Modi in charge enacting the option 1 to eliminate factionalism in the organization. It will be an endless march of Modi-masks who shall aspire for ghettoized development. A most disturbing thought.

Talk about the Mask of Saffron Death!

Ps.This article by Swapan Dasgupta in The Pioneer is splendid evidence in support of the above argument especially since he mocks arguments of this sort.