Paush Krishna 4 Vik Samvat 2069. Yugabda 5114: January 1, 2013

1. FESTIVALS: Saraswati Panchami, Shri Panchami or Vasant Panchami, the fifth day of Magh Shukla paksh, falling on February 15 this year, is dedicated to Maa Saraswati, the Goddess of knowledge, music, arts, science and technology.
Traditionally during this festival children are taught to write their first words, known as Akshar-Abhyasam or Vidya-Arambham. Schools and colleges arrange pujas in the morning to seek blessing of the Goddess.     People offer food and arrange rituals for Mata Saraswati. People can also be seen donating books and other literary material to the poor.
As the day marks beginning of spring season after the end of chilly winter, people don yellow dresses and cook yellow coloured rice or other eatables, in conformity to yellow mustard in the fields.
2.  'KUMBH MELA' THE GREATEST SHOW ON EARTH: A four-year study by British and Bharatiya researchers, led by Nick Hopkins at the University of Dundee, Prof Stephen Reicher at the University of St Andrews, and Prof Narayanan Srinivasan at the University of Allahabad has described the Kumbh Mela as an incredible event and the "greatest show on Earth".
"Sometimes we look at the Mela as an exotic event and focus on how different the pilgrims are from us. Our work shows how the pilgrim experience has lessons for all of us about how to create a good community and to ensure that people thrive in the community," Hopkins said.
The Kumbh Mela attracts worldwide attention as a remarkable spectacle: millions of pilgrims bathing in the Ganges, parades of gurus on thrones, flanked by naked Naga Sadhus smeared in ash.
"By all the tenets of conventional wisdom, the Mela shouldn't work. It is crowded, noisy and unsanitary. One might expect people to be stressed, quarrelsome and conflictual. Yet the event is harmonious and people are serene. Studying the Mela has forced us to reconsider many basic beliefs about how people function in society," Reicher said.
Narayanan said, "This has been the largest ever social science collaboration between the UK and Bharat and possibly the most successful. This year, the kumbh is being celebrated at Prayag from Makar Sankranti Januaruy 14 to Mahashivratri March 10.
3.  Tai-Khamptis celebrate Poi Pee Mau fest: The Tai-Khampti tribe of Arunachal celebrated the Poi Pee Mau 2107 (2012) festival, the biggest occasion of the year, at Namsai in Lohit district on December 14. Chief minister Nabam Tuki inaugurated the festival. This New Year festival is celebrated by the Tai-Khamptis to showcase their rich culture and tradition to the world. As many as 26 cultural troupes performed at the festival.
The beating of dhols and gongs mesmerized everyone present at the festival. Several events, including cultural extravaganza, traditional sports, food festival, fashion show and musical night marked the four-day Poi Pee Mau celebration.
4.  ‘NATION FACES THREATS EQUALLY FROM CHINA, PAK AND BANGLADESH’: DR. MOHAN BHAGWAT –Bharat  is increasingly facing a “threat” from China as it is expanding its influence on all four sides of the country, said  RSS  Sarasanghachalak Dr. Mohan Rao Bhagwat. “Bharat not only faces a threat from China but also from Pakistan and Bangladesh as well,” Dr. Bhagwat said at the concluding session of three-day camp in Shatabdi Nagar in Madhavganj near Merath on December 24th.
Regarding the gang-rape of the 23-year old para-medic student in Delhi, Bhagwat said, “It is a matter of great concern that in the capital city, girls are not safe though there is no need to be disheartened, we just need to think of solutions.”
5. RELEVANCE OF SWAMIJI’S VIEWS ON EDUCATION TODAY - DATTATREYA HOSBALE: “Swami Vivekanand stressed on National consciousness, character building and man making to be inculcated in Bharatiya youth through our education”, said RSS Saha Sar-karyavah Dattatreya Hosabale in Bhopal while delivering the key-note address at Dr Shankar Dayal Sharma Creativity Felicitation ceremony of Madhya Pradesh Hindi Granth Academy on December 18. The writers were honoured with a shawl, certificate and a cheque of Rupees thirty one thousand each.
Quoting Dr Amartya Sen, Hosbale said that Nehru did not accord due importance to education. Recommendations of various education commissions constituted after independence were not implemented. Sufficient funds were not earmarked for education. During struggle for independence Pt. Madan Mohan Malviya established Benaras Hindu University. Lokmanya Tilak and Agarkar did commendable job in Maharashtra and Rangahari in south Bharat toiled hard in this direction. But after independence, education was not given its due Priority. In Kerala, the leftist government changed the character of Samskrit University. Swami Vivekanand used to say that Samskrit is the storehouse of knowledge. Swamiji said that education is the manifestation of inner perfection of a man.
6.  THOSE WHO DO NOT LOVE BHARAT SHOULD LEAVE: INDRESHJI, member National Executive Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh advised those who do not love Bharat to leave the country. He was speaking at a function of Hindu Jagran Manch in Kanpur on December 17. Bangla-Deshi infiltration into Bharat is the dream of Bangla Desh to create a greater Bangla Desh. Pakistan and China have also occupied great parts of our territory.
Swami Vivekanand had long before warned that China may enslave us if we do not arise. Cheap Chinese products are fuelling unemployment in Bharat. We organized ‘Sarhad ko Pranam’ programme to instill patriotism in our youth. We made a 74-km human chain on the Bharatiya borders. Indreshji also released a special souvenir felicitating the Shahids” He said.
7. KNOW BHARAT AND BE BHARAT: Calling the youth to understand more on our nation and its legacy, RSS Akhil Bharatiya Prachar Pramukh Dr Manmohan Vaidya called upon the youth to ‘Know and Be Bharat’, at a function  held on December 20 at Jodhpur for young thinkers, to commemorate Swami Vivekananda’s 150th birth anniversary. Commenting on today’s education policy, Dr Vaidya said that it teaches to earn money but it is not showing the correct way to live. He stressed on adopting four aphorisms as: Believe in Bharat; Know Bharat; be Bharatiya and Make Bharat.
8.  HINDUISM THIRD LARGEST RELIGION OF WORLD: PEW RESEARCH--Hinduism is the third largest religion of the world after Christianity and Islam and 97 per cent of all Hindus live in three Hindu-majority countries – Bharat, Nepal and Mauritius, according to a study.
Bharat, which accounts for majority of world's Hindus, is also home to almost all the major religions of the world, the research said.
Pew demographic study – based on analysis of more than 2,500 censuses, surveys and population registers – finds 2.2 billion Christians (32 % of the world's population), 1.6 billion Muslims (23 % ), 1 billion Hindus (15%), nearly 500 million Buddhists (7 % ) and 14 million Jews (0.2 % ) around the world as of 2010. In addition, more than 400 million people (6 %) practice various folk or traditional religions, including African , Chinese, Native American etc.
An estimated 58 million people – slightly less than one per cent of the global population – belong to other religions.
9. Google doodles ON Ramanujan’s 125th birthday: Google had marked the 125th birth anniversary of Bharatiya mathematician Srinivasa Ramanujan with a doodle. The maths wizard was born on December 22, 1887 in Erode, Madras Presidency (now Tamil Nadu) and his birthday is celebrated as National Mathematics Day by the Bharatiya government.
Ramanujan was a mathematics prodigy who was introduced to formal education in the subject at the age of 10. By the age of 12, he had finished books on advanced trigonometry and went on to discover his own theorems. In his teenage years, he carried out research on Bernoulli numbers and the Euler-Mascheroni constant.
The doodle showed a Bharatiya child etching out geometrical figures and linear equations on the ground using a stick as other children watch on. At the bottom of the Google doodle for Ramanujan's 125th birthday is the numeric value of Pi to the 21st decimal point. The logo of Google is created out of geometric figures like triangles, circles, semi-circles and squares.
10.  SEMINAR ON NEPAL-BHARAT RELATIONS: Nepal Bharat Sahayog Manch organized a two-day international seminar on ‘Nepal-Bharat Relations: Consolidation and Exploration of Prospects for Extended Cooperation’s’ at New Delhi on December 14 and 15, 2012. The seminar saw speakers from Nepal and Bharat, comprising of eminent figures, who have had glorious performance record and experiences in various spheres of life including education, social work, diplomacy, administration and so on. The seminar had intense deliberation on historical and cultural relations between Bharat and Nepal, and made an assessment of where the relations stand today. Important suggestions too were made on areas that need more concentration so that the relations consolidate further and newer avenues of cooperation unfold.
11.  BHARATIYA MBA’s ON TOP OF THE WORLD: “Students at Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore (780) and Indian Institute of Management, Ahmadabad (767) have the highest average GMAT scores in the world, well ahead of the leading US institution Stanford (730), and INSEAD in Europe (704),” said QS Applicant Survey, conducted by QS Global. Bharat’s IIM Ahmadabad is notable for the extraordinarily high average GMAT scores of its students, with its figure of 767 exceeded only by fellow Bharatiya institution IIM Bangalore (780). Even though on a global level, in terms of employer recognition three clearly pre-eminent institutions are INSEAD–France, Harvard Business School and London Business School Bharatiya B-Schools: IIM – Ahmadabad and IIM – Bangalore have the highest number of students with highest average GMAT score, the survey said.
12.  BHARATIYA-AMERICAN in Obama team on development: The Obama administration has appointed Smita Singh, a Bharatiya-American as a member of the president’s Global Development Council (GDC), established in February through an executive order of the president. Along with Singh, Obama also announced names of eight other members of the council including its chair Mohamed El-Erian.
Singh was the Special Advisor for Global Affairs and the founding Director of the Global Development Programme at the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, where she worked from 2001 to 2010. From 1998 to 2001, she was a scholar at the Harvard Academy for International and Area Studies.
13.  5th World Ayurveda Congress and Arogya Expo in Bhopal: "Ayurveda is the basic foundation of our medicine system. It is our traditional heritage and it will always be there. We can cure the disease from the roots with the help of this miraculous medicine system and can achieve complete health.” said former Union Minister Dr Murli Manohar Joshi, while inaugurating the 5th World Ayurveda Congress in Bhopal on December 8. National president of Vijnana Bharati Dr Vijay Bhatkar presided over the inaugural ceremony. The Congress and Arogya Expo were held at Lal Parade Ground of Bhopal from December 7 to 10. One of the main highlights of the Expo was Central Government’s AYUSH pavilion sprawling over an area of 10,000 square feet. Many private Ayurvedic and homeopathic pharmaceutical companies, research and development organizations also participated in the Expo.
Around 150 delegates from every nook and corner of the world attended an International Delegate Assembly and discussed Ayurveda education, syllabus construction with international coordination. An Ayurvedic Medical Camp was inaugurated by Padmashree Dr Devendra Triguna. The camp provided treatment and consultation to pre-registered 1,500 patients.
The Congress also hosted six scientific plenary sessions, 30 scientific parallel sessions and a continuous scientific poster session. Thirty experts contributed in the plenary sessions including scientists from Europe, USA and Australia. Several important international universities like the University of California, Los Angeles, University of San Francisco, University of Minnesota, Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology were represented in the Scientific Sessions.
The valedictory function was addressed by RSS Sahsarkaryavah Suresh Soni and Chief Minister Shivaraj Singh Chauhan. Chauhan assured that whatever conclusions derived from the congress, he would try to apply them in the State. Shri Soni said now Ayurveda should be taken out of the experimental laboratories and brought to the life of common people and in their houses.
14.  ‘Karnataka Prevention of Cow Slaughter and Preservation Bill-2012 PASSED: Amid high opposition by Congress and Janata Dal MLA’s, in what can be termed as an extremely decisive movement, the Karnataka legislative assembly has passed an anti-cow slaughter bill. The bill known as ‘Karnataka Prevention of Cow Slaughter and Preservation Bill-2012‘, has been introduced December 13, the last day of the assembly session. This means that any animal falling under the category of bovines, will not be slaughtered within the state.
15.  BHARAT’s FIRST AND UNIQUE COW SANCTUARY: Madhya Pradesh chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan today laid the foundation stone of the Kamadhenu Cow Sanctuary at Salriya village in Susner tahsil of Shajapur district on December 24. Large-scale arrangements will be made to conserve and augment animals of Bharatiya bovine species in the sanctuary keeping in view respect and honour commanded by cow in Bharat since ancient times. Spread in 472 hectare area, the sanctuary will be developed in three phases. Five hundred shades will be built for bovine animals in the first phase. The Forest Department will run large-scale fodder production scheme here while arrangements will be made in the sanctuary for manufacture of insecticides from cow dung and urine.
16. BHARAT TO OFFER JEWISH TOURISTS PILGRIMAGE CENTRES: After pushing for Buddhist, Sufi and Sikh circuit, the Union Tourism Ministry is now eying to tap Jewish tourists by opening Jew pilgrimage centers in cities like Kochi, which once boasted of a thriving Jew population. “We are in the process of identifying the Jew pilgrimage centers for the benefit of the Jew tourists who are keen to visit places relating to their religion. We will provide better travel facility to such tourists similar to other religious tourists such as Buddhists,” said Parvez Diwan, Tourism Secretary at the roundtable on pilgrimage tourism organized by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) in Delhi recently.
17.  Arif Khan rues absence of Uniform Civil Code: The India Foundation organized a spirited debate on December 19 at India International Center, on the contentious issue of Uniform Civil Code and release of “Judiciary, Gender and Uniform Civil Code”. Speaking on the occasion, the chief guest Shri Arif Mohammad Khan, a former Union Minister and eminent thinker rued the absence of a Uniform Civil Code in Bharat. He alluded to the infamous Shah Bano case from 1986 which had ignited a furious debate on the feasibility of having a code that applied to one and all, and had divided the country on secular lines.
Khan said the Bharatiya government lacked the will to have a Uniform Civil Code in the country; he quoted extensively from the Koran saying nowhere in that holy book is the provision of a husband uttering talaq three times and dissolving a marriage. Other speakers in the seminar were Prof. Arvind Sharma and Com Carpentier and Dr.Vinay Sahasrabuddhe coordinated the discussion.
18.  BHARAT TESTFIRES ASTRA: Bharat successfully test fired its indigenously developed beyond-visual-range Astra air-to-air interceptor missile from the integrated Test Range (ITR) at Chandipur in Odisha on December 21. "The mission was successful. Today the missile was tested from land" ITR director M.V.K.V. Prasad said. He added that it was a development trial of the missile and the target was an unmanned aerial vehicle which was flown from the same base few minutes before the launch of the missile. Astra is envisaged to intercept and destroy enemy aircraft at supersonic speeds in the head-on mode at a range of 80 km and in tail-chase mode at 20 km. 19. N-capable Prithvi-II missile successfully test-fired: Bharat, on December 20, successfully test-fired its indigenously developed nuclear capable Prithvi-II missile with a strike range of 350 km from a test range at Chandipur near Balasore in Odisha. The surface-to-surface missile was test fired from a mobile launcher in salvo mode from launch complex-3 of Integrated Test Range at about 9:21 am. The launch of the sophisticated missile, conducted as part of operational exercise by the Strategic Force Command (SFC) of the defense services.
20.  Village in Veerappan country says no to caste in marriages: Many households in Kalithimbam, which doesn't have electricity or other modern facilities, have daughter-in-laws from other communities other than the Oorali tribe. Many young men from nearly 300 families in the village travel to cities like Coimbatore and Erode for work and fall in love and marry girls who they meet there.
At a time when the rest of Tamil Nadu is witnessing a ganging up of non-dalit groups against inter-caste marriages, Kalithimbam takes pride that it has over 40 daughter-in-laws, born in dalit as well as backward communities.
This wasn't so always. The change in mindset came about two years ago after a series of suicides by young men, whose families had opposed their romance with girls outside their tribe. "The suicides shocked our village. Why should we allow our children to die just because they find life partners outside the community? Now the village is conducting each and every marriage with celebration without considering whether the bride is from the tribe," says B Geetha, a woman political activist in the village.
All the villagers then took an oath not to oppose "love marriages". If the bride's family opposes the romance, village elders take the responsibility to persuade the girl's family and solemnize the marriage in front of the Perumal temple in the village.
The village also has no opposition to their girls marrying outside the tribe though there has been no such alliance yet. The villagers don't accept dowry.
21. Top U.S. Innovation Award for BHARATIYA-American: Rangaswamy Srinivasan, the renowned Bharatiya-American inventor at IBM, has been nominated by U.S. President Barack Obama for the prestigious National Medal of Technology and Innovation.
Along with Srinivasan, President Obama named 12 eminent researchers as recipients of the National Medal of Science and 10 extraordinary inventors for the National Medal of Technology and Innovation, the highest honours bestowed by the U.S. government upon scientists, engineers, and inventors.
In 1981, Srinivasan discovered that an ultraviolet excimer laser could etch living tissues in a precise manner with no thermal damage to the surrounding area. He named the phenomenon Ablative Photo Decomposition (APD). Srinivasan and his co-inventors ran tests using the excimer laser and a conventional, green laser to etch organic matter. They discovered that while the green laser produced rough incisions, damaged by charring from the heat, the excimer laser produced clean, neat incisions.
Inducted into the U.S. “Inventor Hall of Fame” in 2002, Srinivasan has spent 30 years at IBM’s T.J. Watson Research Center. He has 21 U.S. patents under his name and received both his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in science from the University of Madras, in 1949 and 1950. He earned doctorate in physical chemistry at the University of Southern California in 1956.
22. Tata BHARAT's best-known global brand: An Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (Assocham) survey said the $100-billion Tata Group was perceived to be Bharat's best-known global brand within and outside the country. "Ratan Tata occupies the well-deserved iconic status. He has taken the group from largely a Bharatiya family-owned business house into a professionally managed global conglomerate," the survey said.
About 77 per cent of those who participated in the survey said they were confident Tata's successor Cyrus Mistry would be able to steer the group well. The survey was conducted not only in Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata and Hyderabad, but also in London, New York and Singapore.
23. ABVP’S 58th NATIONAL CONFERENCE STARTS IN BIHAR:  Akhi Bhartiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP)’s 58th national conference was inaugurated at Jai Prabha blood bank maidaan in Patna on Decemeber 26. The chief guest was Government of Bharat’s former secretary, J C Sharma.  “Any country’s development is measured by its education system.We had the best education system. Students from 44 countries studied in Nalanda University. Even today around 30,000 foreigner students are studying across Bharat.”
Prof P Murali Manohar from Hydarabad has been elected new national president of Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad for the year 2013and Umesh Datt was reelected general secretary.
24. China turns to BHARAT for lessons in social sector: It ranks higher on most indices and is notorious for its massive bureaucracy. Communist China has turned to Bharat to learn how to better deliver key social programmes to its citizens and to improve its civil services. It was to study the country's mid-day meal (MDM) scheme and integrated child development scheme (ICDS), which are the world's largest school lunch and early childcare programmes.
China - where the rigorous civil services examinations that most Asian countries use originated in the 7th century AD -also wants to pick up tips from Bharat's administrative services to improve and update its governance services. Bharat's stock market has also caught the attention of the Chinese.
25.  Physically challenged cadet realises Air Force dream: All set to don the colours of the Bharatiya Air Force (IAF), a young cadet’s promising career was cut short in a flying accident during his training, leaving him paralysed below the waist. But he did not give up his dream to serve the IAF.
The accident had occurred during Flight Cadet R.K. Herojit Singh’s training at the Air Force Station, Hakimpet. The IAF Chief, Air Chief Marshal N. A. K. Browne sought special approval for retaining Mr. Singh in ground duties and strongly recommended his case for commissioning, after further training of six months.
Allowing him to work from a wheelchair, the IAF believes Mr. Singh is fully fit, highly motivated and competent and his present condition and likely future condition will not impede efficient functioning as an officer in the accounts branch.
26. FIIDS CONFERENCE AT WASHINGTON DC: Ambassador Arun Singh, Deputy Chief of Mission at the Embassy of Bharat in Washington, DC, described Bharat -China relations as one of the key relations for the peace and prosperity of Asia and the world today. He was inaugurating a conference organized by Foundation For India and Indian Diaspora (FIIDS)’ conference on “India- China Relations: From Conflict to Collaboration 50 years after 1962 war on December 15 at Washington DC.
Many renowned scholars, academicians, strategic experts, both Bharatiya and non – Bharatiya participated in the conference. Notable among them were CIA Deputy National Officer for Tri-National Threats Mr. Glen Carle, Dr. Felix Wang, from Foreign Policy Research Institute (FPRI), Philadelphia, Prof. Ved Nanda (International Law - Denver University). Ex Ambassador of Bharat, Dr. Har Swarup Singh, Dr.Yashwant Pathak from University of South Florida, and others.
 27.  ‘SITA RAM’ WINS CHICAGO’S HEART WITH FUSION OF MUSICAL STYLES: The Ramayana, in all its regional variants across Bharat, has been traditionally enacted within a festival and celebrated as one, the best known being the contemporary Ramlila. Chicago’s “Sita Ram” world musical sets this timeless festival on America’s glittery Main Street, with white acrobats somersaulting amidst Bharatiya  dancers assuming sculptured Bharata Natyam poses to exotic beats and melodies. To ensure audience immersion, the aisles are often completely filled with choir singers.
Commissioned by Josephine Lee, president and artistic director of the Chicago Children’s Choir, and originally staged in 2006 by David Kersnar at the smaller Lookingglass Theatre for 29 performances, the show has been expanded to 200 singers, actors, dancers, acrobats, etc., for its 2012 version that played at the larger Harris Theater in Millennium Park Dec. 14–15. Natya Dance Theater, led by Krithika Rajagopalan, adapted the element of Hindu dance, while Inappropriate Theater provided the acrobatics. This is the Ramayana’s first production by non-desi high school children, often from underprivileged families. “Sita Ram,” Chicago’s transformation of the Hindu epic into a world musical for a cosmopolitan American audience.
Rama (Jonathan Shew) and Sita (Aja Goes seem the ideal American couple while Gabriel Ruiz excels in transforming veena-maestro Ravana into a contemporary rock artist. The shining black gem in “Sita Ram” is Hanuman, played by Children Choir alumnus Isaiah Robinson. “Sita Ram” will be performed in the cities of Jaipur, Delhi, Bangalore, Agra and Chennai in late January.
28. VHP’s tribute to Sadguru Jagjit Singhji Maharaj: Vishwa Hindu Parishad expressed deepest condolences over the demise of its founder member and Namdhari Saint Sadguru Jagjit Singh Maharaj. In a condolence message on December 13 VHP patron Ashok Singhal and other senior leaders termed the departing as a great loss to the Hindu society in general and the Namdhari sect in particular. They also said that the passing away of the great saint is a great loss to the VHP as he was the last surviving member from amongst the illustrious founding fathers of this global body of Hindus.
29. SHRI VISHWA NIKETAN: Visitors: Shri Ramyavaran & family – Australia, Ma. Dr. Ved Nanda, Dr.Bhishm Agnihotri – USA, Smt and Shri Govind Sevani UK Pravas: Shri Ravikumar, sahsamyojak Vishwa Vibhag will be visiting Singapore and Australia in Jan – Feb. Dr. Sadanand Sapre sahsamyojak Vishwa Vibhag is in Kenya after finishing his tour to Mauritius and South Africa.
FOOD FOR THOUGHT: We, as a nation, have lost our individuality and that is the cause of all mischief in India. We have to raise the masses… … … One vision I can see clear as life before me is that the ancient Mother has awakened once more, sitting on her throne, rejuvenated, more glorious than ever. Proclaim her to the entire world with the voice of peace and benediction. – Swami Vivekananda.

Those worried about him first need to set their own house in order
Pratap Bhanu Mehta
Bharatiya democracy is governed by cold hard calculation, not hype or mere moralism. It does not offer the comfort of unalloyed virtue or simple ideological shibboleths. It is not swept up in waves where power rolls on unchallenged. Even amidst great triumphs, there are reminders of the fragility of power. Both the BJP and the Congress can draw satisfaction from the results in Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh respectively, but neither should make the mistake of seeing an irrevocable trend. Indian politics will be a story of eternal improvisation. It will subvert fixed assumptions.
Electoral identities are becoming more complicated. Building victories is about more than just caste arithmetic or knee jerk anti-incumbency. Voters are looking at a complex calculus of well being. It is also clear that economic reform, at least, is not a dirty word in mass politics. It would be premature to interpret the Congress victory in Himachal as rubbishing the idea that there is no space for anti-corruption politics. But it suggests that anti-corruption politics will have to be a real alternative on the ground, not just an abstract idea.
There is no question that Narendra Modi’s triumph is an emphatic political achievement. He, like a handful of other chief ministers, brilliantly grasped the fact that Bharatiya politics is deeply aspirational. It rewards governance. Each state has a peculiar local texture. But in his victory, there is now a hint of the challenge every political party is facing. He swept urban and fast-growing semi-urban Gujarat, but had a little more of a fight on his hands in rural Gujarat. We can parse this fact in many ways. But it does suggest this: In addition to the usual requirements of politics, local leadership, organisation and political judgement, a sensible party will have to fine tune its message to cater to both a rapidly surging Bharat and those moving ahead less swiftly. Rahul Gandhi, inexplicably, consistently overdoes it in one direction. His rhetoric offers very little that is aspirational. His is a vision of Bharat as permanently dependent upon and confined to welfare. He does not display a trace of self-belief in India’s possibilities. Modi may be presumptuous in the other direction, but for his constituents, he speaks to the future.
Modi’s prospects now depend on how much more our politics hurtles towards bankruptcy. One reflection of this bankruptcy is that attacks on him have a self-incriminating quality. Think of the charges. Modi has a cult of personality. In most political parties except for the Left, the individual leader looms larger than the party. Modi is a propagandist, a master of hype. True enough. But is this charge credible when, for decades, one family has used state power at the national level to stamp its name on every scheme, every space it can find? Modi’s development achievements are exaggerated. Of course, Gujarat’s development record is not what Modi claims it is. But the attribution of causality in development is always complex. If the Central government had been subject to the kind of scrutiny Gujarat has been subject to, our economic history would have been entirely different. It is an achievement that at least he shifted the debate to every tortured statistic one could find. He has no commitment to free expression. But how many others would pass the test of liberalism? Gujarat is an environmental disaster, we declaim. Compared to which other state?
Modi cannot be exonerated of marginalising minorities or worse. But consider this. The secular-communal divide in Bharat, except at the extremes, is not so much a divide between two different species of citizens as a fissure running through most of them. This divide is activated by circumstances. It is not a structural fact. Second, we hope that the law will take its course and deliver justice. But Gujarat has, at least, been subject to serious court scrutiny, direct SIT investigations and so on. Even if they technically exonerate Modi, the political culpability remains. It is a political handicap he still needs to overcome. You can look at the convictions of Modi’s cabinet colleagues and point to those as proxy proof of his culpability. You can also look at them and wonder why so many Congress cabinet ministers still have not been made to answer for 1984. The point is not to use 1984 to politically exonerate Modi. The point is that it is hard to attack evil when we so widely condone it in other contexts. Third, the social and political isolation of Muslims is a large, complex phenomenon, in part a product of the tyranny of the compulsory identities the Congress has produced. It is also exacerbated by the fact that friends of minorities like the Samajwadi Party are running no more than protection rackets for them, depending on a permanent tutelage. Unfortunately, attacking Modi has become a way of disguising our larger complicities. It is more about assuaging our guilty conscience than setting things right. No wonder the attacks lose their sheen.
Modi is now the preeminent face of the BJP. Some fear that what the BJP might gain by internal coherence under his leadership, it loses in its ability to attract partners. I suspect this is also a shifting game. The BJP has other accomplished chief ministers. Modi is not so much a three dimensional character as an idea. He represents a longing for centralisation in an age of dispersion, decisiveness in a milieu of indecision, growth amidst a fear of stagnation and government in the face of raucous democracy. He is not adorned with elevated liberal values, or a deep concern for democratic diversity. But he may still prove a rallying point against a decaying plutocracy.
But Modi’s path to a greater national role is still fraught. No chief minister has been able to make an easy transition to national politics. No one can hope to govern India if they are incapable of a statesman-like synthesising capacity. No one can govern India for long if they make minorities feel insecure. And popular acclaim notwithstanding, it has to be said that Modi has not yet given evidence that he can make the transition to a genuine statesman. What gestures will it take to send a credible signal in that direction? Will his reinvention run up against the wall of his own personality? Or perhaps, more than these questions, his acceptability will turn on a different judgement. Do you trust the logic of Indian democracy to, in the end, soften the most congenital of prejudices? Or do you fear that democracy will give them free rein? But those worried about Modi need to set their own house in order.
(The writer is President - Centre for Policy research, is contributing editor, ‘The Indian Express’ IE, December 21, 2012.)