Modi and Yogi – Mid Term Update

Modi has changed gears! His government is now halfway through the term and he is still going strong. And just when you thought that he would relax and bask in the glory of the UP victory, validating his most ambitious move, DeMonetization, take a break from the relentless media scrutiny, he and Amit Shah announce Yogi Adityanath, the saffron clad, temple head of GorakhNath temple from the UP heartland as the head of their government in UP, the most tricky and historically important state of India. Lutyens Media Mafia was in a meltdown. They had got a rude shock of a BJP sweep just a few days, and now this bomb.

They were clueless. So clueless that they started asking opinions for taxi drivers and imaginary entrepreneurs on why Yogi? Next they took to twitter and asking for insiders on why BJP chose Yogi?

I am no expert on UP ground politics, just like I was not on US, but then you could see it coming. Hindus voted for a change and it was not just for development. The stories coming out of UP under the SP government were of Hindus living a nightmare – women not safe, cops indifferent. I rememberer talking to my friend in Goa and discussing the contrast of political climate between a state like Goa and UP. In Goa, who ever wins Congress or BJP, it not like matter of life and death unlike in UP.

So why Yogi?

Modi campaigns any election on 3 mains points.

1. Development
2. Pro Poor
3. Hindutva

He has been very vociferous on the first 2 and kinda let the 3 one be off the radar since he took over prior to the 2014 Lok Sabha campaign.

In his first two years, he has gone all in with the first two. Make in India, NHAI is doing good. Railway Ministry has been given a new life, Power ministries if lighting the dark parts of India that didn’t see electricity for 75 years since Independence. Foreign Ministry is doing a great. So great that, you can get in touch with the Foreign Minister using a tweet. Diesel subsidy was removed. On the Pro Poor front, he rolled out life and accident insurance for all. LPG gas connection for poor women. Funny thing is the we are a poor country and yet in 70 years of our history no one thought of getting these basics right. Swachh Bharat is pro poor initiative. DeMonetisation is a fight on corruption. He gave a relief to the middle class by halving the income tax rate from 10% to 5%. He is trying to push housing in tier 2 cities with lesser interest rates. He has been relentless with the message that his govt is a clean govt, working for poor and hardworking class and building a developed India.

So why Yogi. My best guess is that, it was time to reassure the core of BJP voters that they have not abandoned the Hindutva plank. And nothing says Hindutva than a saffron clad Yogi. And its not that Yogi is nobody. He is the most popular leader in UP. Infact, he was next only to Modi in the campaign plan. He has been 5 time MP from Gorakhpur. And he has hit the ground running. Banning illegal slaughterhouses, starting anti-romeo squads, banning the red beacon on govt cars. But you may ask – what about the moderates supporters of BJP living in cities across India? I think they will not be too alarmed with this choice. They care too much about first 2 points.

I think Modi and Amit Shah have identified Yogi as someone with potential. I believe that BJP is the only party that starts to groom next generation of leaders. Classic example is the TN where after Amma, it was a free for all. The next roster of BJP leaders will include Fadnavis, Smriti and now Yogi. I thought Parrikar was close, but he just didn’t want to go beyond Goa. The other leaders like Gadkari, Piyush, Suresh Prabhu are implementors who can get things done rather than generate mass public support. Who knows what kind of India will emerge in the next decade. But know matter how India evolves, BJP will have the horse no matter what the course India charts – the very likable Devendra Fadnavis, the feisty Smriti with a bit more of experience and the pure Hindu Hero Yogi Adityanath. Modi could have played safe by picking the BJP head Keshav Maurya but he chose not to. He wants to remind India that this is BJP. And if ever there was a verdict to push for Yogi than this was it. In this one move he and Amit Shah have squashed any narrative that BJP was becoming soft on Hindutva. And there is no other place to do this than India’s heartland, UP.

Yes, Modi has changed gears. But India, nothing is guaranteed. We remember the fall of BJP in 2004 all too well. BJP must not be complacent. 2019 will be BJP against all the rest. And the fight will only get dirtier.

Barack Obama

I have always maintained, two of the biggest underachieving politicians of the past decade are our Ex PM Manmohan Singh and the US President Barack Obama.

The following picture with Anthony Bourdain is an apt reminder of the Obama Presidency, plenty of Photo Ops, very little substance.


The history will always remember Obama as America’s first black president. Period! Nothing more. And that is the real disappointment. The high point of his presidency was the day he took the oath in 2009. Despite being the most powerful person in the world for 8 years, he never did anything substantial.

George W Bush Sr stood against Saddam, Bill Clinton tried to bring peace to the middle east- the historic occasion when U.S. President Bill Clinton stood in the background when Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin (L) and Palestine Liberation Organization leader Yasser Arafat shook hands don’t happen everyday.

oslo accords
oslo accords

George W Bush Jr will be remembered for standing on a mountain of rubble at ground zero with a bull horn comforting America in crisis.

George Bush Jr

Obama will be remembered for … ??? well, his colour of skin.

He had eight years to make a mark. But nothing! In a way, he has now paved way for Donald Trump – the anti-politician. American people have given up on politicians, and decided to throw their weight behind a businessman, who speaks his mind regardless of it being politically incorrect. They have taken liking to a person who has never held any public office, nor served in the army.

Not that I am against Donald Trump. Infact, I think, even I am fed up of the typical politician who value being politically correct over being just plain correct.

It’s time to throw caution to the wind and just give brashness an chance. What is the worst that could happen – Status Quo?!?

past posts
Obama Presidency
2008: King in waiting

English is a very funny language!

We have all heard this line, made famous by a certain Bollywood star 🙂 And he gave a series of brilliant example as to why is it…

Getting to the point of this blog, most of us must have seen and had a hearty laugh at the signages with wrongly spelled english. I too have had many laughs. Child Beer! But a recent one really got me thinking. Are these ‘misspelt’ words funny or actually brilliant. Think about it. Phonetically they are perfect. And mind you, ‘English’ is not our native language. It was thrust upon us by the British. It’s a different matter all together that today, we Indians, probably have the largest population speaking the Queen’s english.

But getting back to these signages. Think about those for a while. Most of them are done by small businesses, mostly in rural india, trying to target the people who might not know the local script. The guy writing the signages, probably has limited knowledge of english which is not his native language. Should we not admire the ingenuity of the guy who, armed with just 26 alphabets, spelling the words purely on how they sound, not knowing the intricacies of the language. Isn’t that amazing. Isn’t that how a language should be. Most Indian languages are! We write it as it sounds. Why did English as a language introduce so many exceptions! Shouldn’t we ridicule these exceptions rather than the person who makes an attempt to guess spellings on pure phonetics…

I wonder what the Spelling Bees make of this issue

India 2014

What an watershed year this was in the political sphere of our nation. The man who was touted as enemy number 1 by the Congress and all the news media houses of this nation triumphed in the most epic fashion. Narendra Modi won the hearts of Indians. All through his campaign he brought forth the naked truth of the so called seculars aka sickulars for the enlightened lot. He stuck to his agenda of development for all. He went hammer and tongs after 60 years of misrule of Congress (INC). And emerged victorious at the end. If ever one needed a example of how to beat the odds, Modi’s campaign of 2014 was it.

Not even me, a hardcore NaMo fan thought he could pull of the win. My realistic numbers were around 210-230. And I was expecting Amma to help him pull through in the Lok Sabha. But Modi and Amit Shah proved us all pleasantly wrong. For the first time since the 1984, had a national party won the clear majority to form the govt on its own. The last time that had happened was in 1984, against the backdrop of the assassination of Indian born head of Congress, Smt Indira Gandhi, a clear case of mass outpouring of the sympathy.

When on the 26th of May, 2014 the worlds most famous chaiwala, Narendra Damodardas Modi, took the oath to the Prime Ministers Office in the presence of SAARC leaders, for us – the NaMo fans, it was a moment of pride and joy. From that first Google Hangout with Ajay Devgan, to that inspiring speech at SRCC, and to that historic speech in Patna, NaMo went from strength to strength, uniting Indians who loved this nation, and who had watched helplessly as it decayed under Manmohan Singh. Modi instilled hope, and that all is not lost for us, and that we could still gather the pieces together and re-ignite the path to development and success.

Today, 6 months down the line, many more people have realized the dedication and determination of Modi to deliver on all that he has promised. With his charm, he has single handedly tried to bring forth a new image of India to the world. Be it his Make In India campaign, or the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, he effort to get a world yoga day, or his interaction with Indians abroad, and with other heads of state. Modi is revamping Brand India. He is making it more vibrant, young and positive. If the past 6 months are any indication of what lies ahead, than most definitely, the next 5 years are going to be most important in the history of this nation.

Achhe din anyone !?!

A tale of 2 movies

I watch very few movies in the theatre. I guess its the whole hassle of going to the movie theatre in a city like Bangalore that puts me off. Like book a ticket, get through the traffic, pay the parking, buy the way over priced pop corns, and mostly watch a ‘oh-so-ok’ type movie. No, I don’t really need that.

But it so happened that this past week, I happened to watch two movies – one is a typical cheesy rom-com – Happy Ending and the other – Interstellar. And boy, the contrast in the movies couldn’t be greater. Happy Ending was a typical run of the mill Bollywood movie and Interstellar was just a stellar statement of what movies could be, when done the right way. The incredible world that was created by Nolan brothers just makes you take a step back and acknowledge how far we can push the limits of what can be created on a screen.

Happy Ending was just a like a packet of instant pop corn, that we get at a supermarket. Same ingredients with different flavors – for a price – pop it in a microwave and its ready to eat. it doesn’t matter the brand making it. We all know what we are going to get.

Interstellar, on the other hand, wants its audience to pay attention to everything in the movie and then at the end, it pieces together all of it to give the audience an experience that they will never forget. I did not get all of the movie, but it made me curios to know more about the dimension of time, wormhole and the threat of extinction that we could face in the future.

The big regret was that I paid almost twice for the rom-com than I did for Interstellar. I so gladly wish it was the other way.