Wednesday, January 21, 2015

The failed discourse on Indian Science!

The following article was written for Niti Central. Pasting it here for reference:

The “Eminent Historian” rued in the Hindustan Times that “The Republic of India is not becoming a scientific power any time soon”. He cites recent utterances at the Indian Science Congress as examples. And also cites the lack of enough institutions to pursue innovation.
On Saturday, there was an op-ed in The Hindu “Scientists without a scientific temper”. The byline read – “India has not produced any Nobel Prize winner in science in the last 85 years — largely because of the lack of a scientific environment in the country”.
My mind immediately drifted to something I learnt in late 2010. The Nobel Prize for Physiology and Medicine in 2010 was awarded to two scientists whose research led to the world’s first “Test-Tube” baby to be born in 1978. The process is called In-Vitro Fertilisation (IVF) and is believed to be one of the biggest success stories of science.
The world’s second test tube baby was born after a mere 67 days, in India!  The research was led by Dr Subhas Mukherjee – who “along with Sunit Mukherji, a cryobiologist, and Gynecologist Dr Saroj Kanti Bhattacharya, worked on a method of in-vitro fertilisation that was used successfully on patient with damaged fallopian tubes”.
The website of Dr Subhas Mukherjee details how their method “was different” from those who won the Nobel Prize. And the website also painfully details another aspect – the lack of even abject support from the then Government in power. Leave alone support during the research, the then State Government even rubbished the entire research findings (after the baby was born). Dr Mukherjee committed suicide in 1981, apparently unable to take the insults anymore.
It was only in 2002 that the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) recognised Dr Mukherjee’s work! Ironically, a film made on Dr Mukherjee’s life received an award, but Dr Mukherjee’s work never got an award in our country! The achievement stands out because, it did not merely follow the research that led to the first baby. This was parallel research and the gap between the two babies is a mere 67 days!  I was very much surprised to learn about all this – because I don’t recollect being taught about this. I don’t recollect reading in newspapers or any article by “historians” that took pride in such a stupendous achievement by an Indian scientist as lately as the 1970s!
Back in 2004, there was this PPT that was being forwarded across Indians living in the US/elsewhere. The PPT spoke about how Indians have excelled in the past, and continue to contribute to the scientific excellence in the world (PPT mentioned the number of Doctors and Engineers working around the globe). One of the first slides quoted someone as saying (not verbatim) – “Sanksrit is the best language that computers understand”. I laughed – I mean, this is Sanskrit and the computer we are talking about. How on earth are they compatible? Why would someone say that? And why are our people randomly forwarding stuff that is potentially not true. Why this false bravado?
And then very recently, I read this fascinating piece that explained the commonality between the structure of Sanskrit and various programming languages in vogue. Reproducing just a couple of statements here:
“It has an astonishing property known as a “context-free grammar…Context-free means that the language is utterly unambiguous, and every sentence in it can be derived precisely from a set of rules. The computer languages that exist today…can be described precisely in a few hundred rules. This precision allows these languages (and Paninian Sanskrit) to be lexically analysed by a parser, which can then create a semantic tree structure that encodes the underlying ‘meaning’ of the statement (or programme).”
I’d strongly encourage you to spend some quality time in reading the above article to understand about the language structure of Sanskrit more (and to douse the curiosity on why Sanskrit is the best language computers can understand). I was never exposed to this kind of learning during my schooling – all we had to do was mug up “rama, ramao, ramah”; mug up shlokas and their Hindi meanings; dutifully reproduce them in the examination papers and score marks.
I visited Jantar Mantar in Jaipur in 2012. It blew me away that a few hundred years ago, our kings had a very good grasp of science and have also devised various equipment to study motion of the earth, sun etc. Most of the times Jantar Mantar is in the news because there is dharna in New Delhi near Jantar Mantar. Or worse, take a look at the image below. Photo taken by a friend - "Haryom Payal I love you". It is a pity that we have reduced the Jantar Mantar campus as an assembling point for dharnas, instead of making it a knowledge centre!

Higgs Boson is the particle that provides mass to other elementary particles, and hence, is also referred to as the God Particle. After an experiment in the CERN research facility in 2012, scientists announced that a particle consistent with the Higgs Boson was observed. Boson is named after Dr Satyendranath Bose – an Indian scientist. Do you want to know what the Indian TV media discussed then? I wrote in detail here, but the summary is this – they debated the existence of God, the conflict between science and religion etc. Not even a small programme on Dr Bose.
Or let’s take the example of another forte of our ancient sciences – Civil Engineering! At times, we at least see a cursory mention of Sushruta and his treatise – but we very seldom see a single programme explaining the greatness of our structures. It takes a National Geographic channel to make a couple of programmes, but our discourse never focusses on this brilliant past. Sadly, the only window of our architectural wonder to the outside world is that “monument of love“, which pales in comparison to the myriad forts; to the Ajanta and Ellora Caves; and to the Angkor Wats.
And now, we come to the Indian Science Congress of 2015 (the main reason why many liberals, historians, academicians are bombarding us with their bhashans!). When I first read what the Science and Technology Minister of India said that Pythagoras theorem was first used in India much before Pythagoras proved it, I laughed. And I wondered why people keep making these claims and give wrong headlines to the media. The likes of NDTV dutifully started their reporting too – and the usual bashing of the RSS, BJP, Sangh Parivar begun in earnest.
Until support came from unexpected quarters – Shashi Tharoor! He plugged his 2003 article in The Hindu  in which he cites a reference of a fascinating book written by an American writer Dick Teresi! It took research by an American writer to tell us the depth and vastness of Ancient India’s grip on science and mathematics hundreds of years before the Newtons, Eulers, and lo behold – the Pythagoras’s!
It still sounded a bit far fetched – but this set of tweets from one Vinay sealed it for me (and hopefully many others). A full read of this link is strongly recommended, for it delves into nice details – I am merely stating a pithy summary:
“Indians never sought “proofs”. We sought computational techniques than model/proofs. To this extent we were a “algorithmic” civilization. The Greeks loved proofs. Not us.”
When confronted with this, the liberals, academicians etc started to change track – now, it was no more about the Pythagoras theorem being in use hundreds of years before in India. It was now about this:
“Beauty about knowledge is that people in different civilisations often discovered similar things. No reason to claim West or India is superior”.
It wasn’t anymore about the actual mathematical studies that happened in ancient India – now that people became aware about books that spoke in detail about the same – the debate sought be moved around “sure, we were great, but so were everyone else”.
Speaking of the Pythogaras theorem - here's a link I came across on rediff. Fields Medal winner Manjul Bhargava explains to us how this theorem was in vogue in various civilizations right from 2500 B.C.! Maths enthusiasts would love to read this piece. 

The article in The Hindu plugged at the beginning had another byline – “The absurd claims at the ISC were an insult to the several real scientific accomplishments of ancient India”. I read the article with the hope that the author will illustrate some “real scientific accomplishments”. There were zero references to it.
Why Left-Libs failed Indian scientists?
The eminent historian in his piece says this, “Our ancestors had elaborated sophisticated methods of analysis” and proceeds to give zero examples of the “sophisticated analysis”. Or this article that ends by saying the claim of Pythogaras theorem is absurd! The irony is that this entire ilk had the past 10 years to enlighten us on these achievements, considering the fact that they flocked the educational scene of the country. But alas!
Thanks to social media and some very committed bloggers/authors like here and here, I was further enlightened to the ancient texts and specifics of ancient Indian sciences and mathematics (fibonacci series, cataract, plastic surgery, number theory, calculus etc – all of them were prevalent hundreds of years before “proofs” came into vogue!). Before this, all I knew was we invented zero and Sushruta wrote a book on surgery! Never ever was I exposed to this kind of specifics!
Or take the classic example of the mathematical genius Ramanujam – we are told he failed some subjects in school, but are seldom taught about his actual work! What explains this blatant ignorance? Again, thanks to twitter, I keep getting to know specifics of his astonishing work, but what about those who don’t have access to twitter? In many articles, Dr Jagadish Chandra Bose is parallely credited along with Marconi for inventing the radio – but we are never taught in detail about the genius of Dr Bose.
Liberals were dissing that a paper was presented in the Indian Science Congress 2015, which claimed that an Indian flew an aircraft 6-7 years earlier than the Wright brothers did. Social media told me that an experiment did indeed happen in 1895 in which an attempt was made to fly an aircraft – whether it was successful or not is still under dispute. But here’s my point – I didn’t know that we even made an attempt!
Leave scientific achievements in the distant past – our discourse does not even discuss the pride of our achievements in the recent past! So, does this all mean that we bask in our past glory, only fight it out on what we invented/discovered/pioneered, and not care about what the future is? Absolutely not! However, it is very important for us to learn the specifics of our past scientific achievements – it is important to get inspired that we have done this before and we can do this again. For example, the “eminent historian” refuses to see the impact Indian engineers have made to the world of IT. Sure, we did not do pioneering research but science is such a vast ocean – our contributions to the development of technology are phenomenal and something to be proud of; not something to be ashamed of! The pride in our past has to be the inspiration to our present and future. If someone is arguing that we merely bask in the past, he/she fails to lay the foundation for a bright future!
It is of course true that our education system needs to challenge the intellect of the students. There was an uproar a couple of years back when a question appeared in the physics paper of the erstwhile Andhra Pradesh. The students, parents, teachers, colleges etc claimed the question was “out of syllabus”. The board claimed that the question was “in syllabus” but out of the generally used text book! The administration had to bow down to protests by the parents and award grace marks to all students. The 600 odd students (out of the 1.5 lakh who wrote the paper) must have been devastated – but come to think about it, this simple reform will be a far fetched one! Just one question from the syllabus but outside of the text book – and look at how the analytical abilities of our students change when they enter engineering courses.
There are many other such simple steps that can be taken to enable better innovation; better analysis; better research capabilities. The Prime Minister himself has indicated this at the Science Congress – even giving suggestions that CSR funding may be diverted to science research in schools. This constant dissing of our past and present serves no purpose. Debating “science” and “history” only when the BJP is in power at the centre serves no purpose either!  We need continuous and constructive suggestion and articles – not rhetoric and lofty language! Or not when only Modi or his Ministers say something!

Monday, January 19, 2015

Indian Media navel gazing over Paris Attacks

The following article was written for Niti Central. Pasting it here for reference.

On the night of the dastardly terror attack in Paris, I (and many others) wondered instinctively: How long before prominent Indian Journalists will make a link between “intolerance” on twitter and intolerance” of the Paris terrorists?
There is a reason for this instinctive reaction for in the past  we have seen on several ocassions actual physical violence being equated to “lynch mobs” etc on twitter!
However, many of us were not ready for the shocking brazenness exhibited by sections of the Indian media .
It first began with this hypothetical question on twitter and this reply !

The protest outside Indian Express office being referred into this exchange was a protest against the illogical twisting of facts by Praveen Swami in that newspaper. This was just a protest – no vandalism happened, leave only causing bodily harm to anyone.
Our media, which thrives on criticising all and sundry,  abhors criticism of their ilk; criticism is seen as a way of curbing freedom of speech; criticism is seen as a lynch mob mentality and worse now, criticism is being equated to acts of terrorism ?
In fact, just today, one of the Divas from the above twitter exchanged plugged a blog on Economic Times. The author makes a point that one can totally dislike the cartoons Charlie Hebdo publishes; that one is fully entitled to still criticise those cartoons and not be frowned upon for stealing someone’s freedom of speech.
But this media diva who merrily plugged the above blog is well known for dislike of any criticism of say, a boring movie like PK!  double standards anyone ?
The Hindu wrote an editorial today and true to the expectation, have equated this act of “terrorism” to the “the fracas caused by Hindutva groups against the film PK”. What is the “fracas” – people who were hurt by certain scenes in the movie either demanded a ban or held protests outside theaters. Not one person was even hurt by this “fracas” – in fact the “fracas” ensured PK went on to gross a lot of money!
Now, who in their right analytical mind would want to equate non-violent protests with murder? Gruesome murder. Remember, the terrorists walked into the office of Charlie Hebdo and shot down 10 people who work there – merely because they felt offended by the cartoons these people drew and published.
But the most dangerous of all comments, in my view is in this tweet

The “yet” in the above tweet reveals the sick mindset of these people, hoping and pining for violence that fits their narrative. It’s like they are waiting for something like this to happen. It’s as if the ilk is yearning for communal tensions to pick up in the country, so that they can target Prime Minister Narendra Modi all over again. Right from the day PM Modi took over the reins of the country, these people have thrived on creating a false sense of insecurity in the country. Random, small events, in some remote parts of the country were over-blown repeatedly and this is not a one off phenomenon.
Sample this title of a recent television show anchored on the night of December 31 by one of the above mentioned media divas.
“Tonite 8.30pm @ETNOWlive: 2015: bold reforms or social disharmony?”
There is zilch evidence of social disharmony increasing in the country because PM Modi came to power – but this lot seems desperate to ensure that actually happens. Their sick mindset notwithstanding, these folks lose no time in taking the moral high ground and lecturing us on all topics under the sun based on random events across the globe.
While on this topic, it is also very important that we take note of the behaviour of some of these Media Celebrities recently when the Indian Coast Guard stopped the “Terror Boat” from Pakistan on the high seas of the Arabian. Even before all the facts of the sequence of events were fully established by the Government this gang got into action second guessing the whole Operation and going to the extent of labelling it as “fishy”. When the Indian Express reporting by Praveen Swami was challenged in detail, not only did he shy away from explaining his conjectures but he went on a Twitter blocking spree sparing none from fellow Journalists to random Trolls. From Karan Thapar to NDTV and that former Editor of The Hindu were all at it on “questions over the incident”.
Finally, their “questions” boiled down to two points  – NTRO did not follow procedure; and why didn’t the people in the boat come nearer to the Coast Guard boat and blow them up!
Which responsible media person speculates in this manner?
Which responsible media house second guesses in this manner without all the facts ?
Which responsible media pushes so badly for a “social disharmony” when little exists?
It looks like the Indian media elite was on a brief hiatus for about 6 months since the May 16th verdict. They are now back to their anti-Modi default programming, trying to create a negative impression about the Modi Government.
And yet, they continue to navel gaze with questions like  – “Does Press have freedom in India?” and “Is dissent being muzzled?”

KCR's love for Nizam...

The following article was written for Niti Central. Pasting it here for reference:

On January 2, national media was abuzz with KCR praising the Nizam as a “glorious king”. However, this is not the first time KCR has praised the Nizam this way. This news report in The Hindu dates back to 2007 – KCR has been constantly praising the Nizam thereby giving two hoots to the atrocities committed by the “glorious king”. In fact, KCR went on to add this – “Small mistakes might have happened – they happen in any kingdom”, and went on to justify the glorious rule of the Nizam by citing examples of infrastructure built by the Nizam! What are these “small mistakes”? For the uninitiated, Razakars were a private army raised under the aegis of the “glorious king” Nizam, and had committed untold miserable crimes on the population. Their primary demand was to merge Hyderabad into Pakistan and not India. A wikipedia reading would give you enough details of the “glorious king” Nizam.
This liking towards Nizam is very surprising. Komaram Bheem is an icon of the Telangana liberation movement. Various leaders of the TRS often cite him to glorify the history of Telangana. KCR himself has praised Komaram Bheem often. Guess whom Komaram Bheem was fighting? The rule of the “glorious king”! There are more examples on similar lines too. What really explains this paradox? Is it merely for infrastructure? Or is it to satisfy the ego of MIM? Or is this the age-old last resort of all secularists – say anything to get votes of the minority community? Or is it because he sees Andhra region having names of British rulers for some infrastructure?
One of the most striking features of KCR’s rule in the past 7 months is the acrimony he tries to generate through his statements. He once told that he will bury the media 10km deep if they write anything against Telangana. Quite often his speeches are laced with acrimony towards AP, and at times he uses harsh language against opponents. All this is justified by supporters saying that there is a section of audience that enjoys this and therefore he is doing what is right for the section! Much better is expected from a person of the CM’s stature.
Another argument has been that commentators should focus on real work that KCR is doing, and not focus on random statements! For both the new State of Telangana and AP, it is too early to take a call on how the governance is shaping the States. One of the primary reasons is that All India Service officers have just been allotted to both the States – thereby most departments were pretty much rudderless all these 7 months. KCR still spends considerable time in reviewing various projects, promising that Telangana will become a glorious State within 4 years (promises water supply to all homes, loan waiver to farmer upto 1 lakh, 24 hour electricity within 3 years etc). There were bad media reports on how pensions were being distributed, and the people of the State are yet to see any tangible benefits from the much touted one-day survey of the State! A few new programs have been initiated, but like mentioned earlier, it is way too early to comment on good or bad of KCR’s governance.
The situation is pretty similar in Andhra Pradesh too – the government is focussing on 2 main things – the promised loan waiver (which still hasn’t been implemented fully) and building a capital. Building a capital is an onerous task and the government is leaving no stone unturned to acquire lands in the region identified. Chandrababu Naidu’s major poll promise was to provide full waiver to all farm loans. So far, he has been able to fulfil only 25 per cent of his promise – so he still has a long way to go for the same. Incidentally, KCR also has fulfilled 25 per cent of his promise to waive farm loan, but somehow Naidu’s promise gets more media coverage than KCR’s! Andhra Pradesh also had to deal with the Hudhud super cyclone – parts of the State are still recovering from the huge damage this has caused. For a nascent State to have gone through such natural destruction is terrible.
There definitely does not seem be scope for KCR to tone down on his rhetoric. As far as governance goes – there is no alternative but to wait for at least 1 more year before commenting in detail. Until then – Jai Rhetoric!

Mamata and Delhi media...

The following article was written for Niti Central. Pasting it here for reference.

On May 30, 2010, thirteen coaches of the Howrah-Kurla Jnaneswari Express were derailed in West Bengal. A goods train later rammed into these coaches, resulting in the deaths of more than 140 people. Basically what happened was that the tracks on which the ill-fated train was, were removed by Maoists. After the train derailed, a goods train coming from the other side rammed into this train. Some would call this sabotage, some would call this a terrorist act. Either way, everyone would want the people behind this attack to be brought to justice. No one would even want to associate themselves with the perpetrators of this crime.
A couple of days after this attack, a PCAPA (People’s Committee Against Police Atrocities) leader had this to say:
“We are sorry. We never wanted these innocent civilians to die. Trust me, we targeted the goods train. But somehow, we were fed wrong information that the goods train would cross through this track and we removed pandrol clips from a long stretch. We did not want to harm civilians. There must have been some miscalculation.”
You read it right – the Maoist leader “apologised” for messing up their “target”. Anyways, the CBI made some arrests, and the State police also announced rewards for some leaders of PCAPA.
On August 9 of the same year, the then Union Railway Minister and President of All India Trinamool Congress, Mamata Banerjee held a rally in Lalgarh (the bastion of Maoists). Maoists are known for their call to boycott mainstream politicians and the entire democratic process as well. Typically, one would assume that a mainstream politician and holder of such high office in the Union of India would hold a rally defying them. But in this case, she did it with the support of Maoists and with the support of the same group PCAPA. The same group that has accepted responsibility for removing the tracks, and later “apologised” for their “goof-up”. Take a look at this picture – the PCAPA terrorist who has a Rs 1 lakh reward on his head is shown leading a gang to the rally of Mamata Banerjee.
Mamata and Delhi Media

We didn’t hear a squeal from any of the leading media groups. For example, The Hindu was quick to remind us in an editorial that Sadhvi Niranjan Jyoti holds a high office and therefore deserves to be sacked for talking whatever she talked about. No editorial admonishing the then Union Railway Minister for taking support from the very same group that derailed two trains and caused the deaths of 141 people.
Remember how we have been bored to death on how Modi walked out of a Karan Thapar interview? In May 2012, Mamata Banerjee was invited for a town hall interaction by CNN-IBN. A few students asked her uncomfortable questions. Her response? Watch this video:
She calls the students CPM cadre and Maoists. She not only refuses to answer the questions but also walks out of the interaction. Do you recall any media house picking this up? Do you recall any talking head of the media sermonising us on Twitter on how intolerant she is, and how such people are bad for democracy?
Of late, Mamata Banerjee and the West Bengal Government have been in the news for various reasons. Primary amongst these are the various and violent acts of TMC cadre against BJP cadre; growing terrorist activities in the State (that prompted a visit by the NSA himself); high profile arrests (MPs belonging to TMC) in the Saradha Chit Fund scam. Pretty serious charges all of these are – some might say.
Amidst this, last month, Sagarika Ghose, the very same person from whose interview she walked out, had this to say:
“Love her, hate her Mamata Banerjee is a natural born leader who gives as good as she gets. #Respect “
See that? Take a look at Sagarika Ghose’s timeline over the years – she is “shocked” over anything bad remotely connected to the BJP. But is fascinated by the acts of everyone else, even if they are clearly on the wrong side!
We haven’t heard a single demand from the media’s talking heads asking Mamata Banerjee to reign in her cadre. This lot goes all out demanding that Modi apologise for random acts of random people on Twitter (remember, no physical harm has been committed on Twitter!). We haven’t been witness to talk shows that remind us of the “high constitutional office” that Mamata Banerjee holds. Bombs have been found “allegedly” at TMC party offices and no demand for a statement from Mamata Banerjee has been demanded! Instead, there is happiness that she “gives as good as she gets”.
National President of the BJP, Amit Shah was denied permission by Mamata to hold a rally in Kolkata – no cries of “stifling of voices” heard from the media. It took the High Court to allow permission for the rally. If Sonia Gandhi was refused permission to hold a rally in Goa, I can’t even begin to imagine the hell that will break lose in the media. All this is ok because she “gives as good as she gets”.
Mamata Banerjee goes about blaming everything and anything on the opposition (sometimes it is the Left, sometimes it is the BJP). Her own MPs are being charge-sheeted in what is touted as one of the biggest scams in India. Cadre is enthused by her speeches blaming Opposition parties, maybe even they feel that she “gives as good as she gets”. Trinamool’s official spokesperson, Derek O Brien, goes about using words like “a$$ licker” on Twitter, but the media talking heads revel in such posh usage.
Recently, Mamata Banerjee used the phrase “pechoney baash”. It means pushing a bamboo up your rear. In any decent conversation, such usage is definitely an abuse. Here’s how one media talking head, Sunetra Choudhury of NDTV, reacts:
“my bengali friends will like this one- Mamata Banerjee just said ‘pechoney baash’ on TV :)) “
This sums up the problem with the discourse of our media. Terms like “high constitutional office”, “oath of office”, “decency”, “responsibility” etc apply only to those from the BJP. We all have seen how Mamta’s tantrums during her partnership with UPA derailed the progress of the country. We have been witness to her high-handed behaviour dating back to as early as 2010! We have seen traits of her dictatorial approach towards her opponents. We have seen her inclination to merely mimic the Congress in areas like minority appeasement. Yet, she is not even remotely held to the same high standards that a MoS is currently being held to. What explains this duplicity by the media?

Owaisi speaketh!

The following article was written for Niti Central. Pasting it here for reference.

“Muslims need development with dignity.”
Thus spake Asaduddin Owaisi in one of his numerous interviews in recent times. This is exactly the sort of loaded rhetoric that sent the Congress packing. What exactly does Owaisi mean by “dignity” for Muslims? Poisoning their minds with speeches like these? While the crowd response in these speeches is quite worrisome, does it behove leaders to talk like this? Isn’t it their responsibility to remove these vile thoughts from people’s minds? The Owaisi clan’s entire campaign was built around this hatred. Right from 2012, numerous videos have surfaced where such hatred is routinely spewed. Is this the dignity that Owaisi was talking about?
In another recent Press interaction, he made a hilarious claim.
“It (the Muslim vote-bank) was all a figment of imagination. The community always looked to leaders like Pandit Nehru, Indira Gandhi, Rajiv Gandhi, Nitish Kumar, Lalu Prasad and others.”
Out of nowhere, we get to hear the names of Lalu Prasad and Nitish Kumar as the leaders to which the Muslim community looked up to! For starters, no one enjoyed development when Lalu was the CM! One can perhaps comprehend him praising Lalu, but it is plain baffling that Nitish Kumar has become an icon to the community within no time! Owaisi of course, was making a political statement. Fresh from winning two Assembly seats in the recent Maharashtra elections, he now wants to spread to UP, Delhi and … lo and behold… Bihar! No wonder he is showering praises at Lalu and Nitish!
After the 2014 elections, Asaduddin Owaisi congratulated Prime Minister Modi for busting the “myth of the Muslim vote bank”. Hidden in his congratulatory message to the PM (and in his latest Press meets), is the fear that he is losing his grip on the vote-bank! The MIM leadership’s constant stress on the need for more representation from the community; their constant messaging that the dwindling representation is “not good for democracy” – all expose the fear that the community is moving away from their vice-like grip. And to somehow make attempts to get back the grip, the names of Congress leaders and regional leaders are being used freely now!
Recently, playing straight into the hands of people like those of the Owaisi clan, The Hindupublished a front page report saying that out of the 151 Ministers belonging to the BJP in the entire country, not a single one is a Muslim. It looks like the aim now is to actually build a Muslim vote-bank that will pander to the likes of Lalu and Nitish (I am still unable to get over this. How can anyone with an eye for development and dignity look up to Lalu Prasad?). The message for this has to be of simple design — create a fear that a dwindling representation means dwindling hopes of “dignity” and “development”! Create a fear that the BJP is out to destroy the awesome “development” models being followed by the likes of Owaisi and Lalu (and of course the Nehru-Gandhis).
Another oft-repeated demand of the MIM is reservations for Muslims. The demand has arisen because they feel that their community has not been given proper support, and hence has become downtrodden or backward etc. The chief reason for this is the very same icons Owaisi mentioned – Nehru, Indira, Rajiv etc! The Congress ruled the country and many States for decades altogether. MIM is in alliance with the Congress in the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation. The Mayor of Hyderabad is also from MIM. And yet, MIM rues the fact the community they represent is backward and therefore needs reservations!
Development means enabling proper education for the youth. Education that will aid in generating livelihoods. Dignity means encouraging young and old alike to cultivate positive thoughts about the development of the country and their fellow citizens; not pouring bile on other religions and their followers. The Owaisi itself clan operates colleges and a hospital in Hyderabad. The secret to winning is through enabling prosperity. The MIM knows this but is not bold enough to make it their key message. Hence the fallback on useless rhetoric.