Of Cabbages and Kings

August 19, 2009

Javed on Jaswant and Jinnah

Jaswant Singh explained that Jinnah had two fears of Gandhi’s style of mass politics. First, ‘if mass movement was introduced into India than the minorities in India could be threatened and we could have Hindu-Muslim riots as a consequence.’ Second, ‘this would result in bringing religion into Indian politics and he (Jinnah) didn’t want that.’

Jaswant Singh pointed out that Jinnah’s fears were shared by Annie Besant and added that events had shown that both were correct.

An excellent piece by Javed Naqvi. Read the whole thing here.


March 24, 2009

The woman who fights back

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , , , — Chinmayi @ 1:04 am

Politicians rarely move me. But a woman my age who marches for something she believes, endures what many might see as debilitating humiliation, refuses the jobs and money offered in compensation and runs instead for elected office so that she can push for the policy changes she believes in, is a woman that I admire from the bottom of my heart. 

I hope that Laxmi Orang wins – it might mean that one corner of the world will be a slightly better place.

January 26, 2009

A fundamentalist Octogenarian Obama

Filed under: Across the Universe, Random musing — Tags: , , , , — Chinmayi @ 1:21 am

As I watch the young president prance about with that delightful fresh young energy about him and give speeches and orders that hold in them all the enlightened liberalism that this man brings to the office after his years as an academic, I am forced to recall another man far far away who hopes to convince people that he is India’s Obama. He is (virunlently) of the majority religion and is from one of the dominant castes. He is eighty and the last time he decided to emulate somebody, he apparently chose Hitler

This news article is old but I still giggle every time I think about it.

December 30, 2008

The wretched silliness that is politics

Filed under: Across the Universe, politics — Tags: , , , , , , — Chinmayi @ 1:54 am

As most of the world may have noticed, instead of working together at controlling the terrorism that clearly affects them both, India and Pakistan are squabbling away: allegations, denials, name-calling, grandiose demands, arresting eachothers’ citizens, concentration of armies on the borders, veiled and direct threats…the works.

The most interesting perspective that I have seen so far on what appears to be mystifyingly childish behaviour on part of both countries is Kuldip Nayar’s in ‘As things get messier’:

“Like Bhutto, Zardari assumed that he had all power. But he found that this was not so when the government first declared it would send the ISI chief to Delhi after having acceded to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s request in the wake of the Mumbai blasts and then was not able to do so. What should he have done? Admitted his helplessness in public? No ruler does. He could have resigned but Pakistan does not have a tradition of doing so. Knowing all this, Mukherjee should have refrained from asking who rules in Pakistan. This has further exposed the Zardari government. But then New Delhi’s problem is that it is under a lot of pressure to act after the terrorist attack on Mumbai. Yet, India might have strengthened Zardari if it had not posed the question that Mukherjee did… Zardari’s embarrassment is understandable. It is apparent that he came to know about the attack on Mumbai only after it had taken place.”

And there we are…with what appears to be an upcoming war on our hands, with the media in each country convincing everybody that the other country is an utterly unreasonable and dangerous security threat, more murdering as though the death-toll of the past few years has not been quite enough and (as I suspect is usual) it is all so that a few politicians can save face.

July 26, 2008

Can Somnath Chatterjee continue to be a member of parliament?

Filed under: Law, Made up theories — Tags: , , — Chinmayi @ 6:15 pm

Today, I had tea with two old friends and an old acquaintance. “I hear he can be Speaker, said the acquaintance (somebody I was briefly a little besotted with when I was a girl), but can he continue to be a member of parliament?”.

I am ashamed to say that I had not read the tenth schedule of the Constitution at the time and so had no clue at all.
Read it and you will see that Somnath Chatterjee neither joined another party nor voted contrary its instructions. So he can’t be be disqualified under the tenth schedule.

He can be removed as speaker only in accordance with the following:

94. Vacation and resignation of, and removal from, the offices of Speaker and Deputy Speaker.— A member holding office as Speaker or Deputy Speaker of the House of the People—

(a) shall vacate his office if he ceases to be a member of the House of the People;

(b) may at any time, by writing under his hand addressed, if such member is the Speaker, to the Deputy Speaker, and if such member is the Deputy Speaker, to the Speaker, resign his office; and

(c) may be removed from his office by a resolution of the House of the People passed by a majority of all the then members of the House:

Provided that no resolution for the purpose of clause (c) shall be moved unless at least fourteen days’ notice has been given of the intention to move the resolution:

Provided further that, whenever the House of the People is dissolved, the Speaker shall not vacate his office until immediately before the first meeting of the House of the People after the dissolution

July 22, 2008

Speaker Mahoday, there are wads of cash on my table

Filed under: politics — Tags: , , — Chinmayi @ 8:03 pm

Our country had a no-confidence vote today. Doubtless everybody know by now that the government won so the question of who will win is no longer interesting. For those who watched the circus on television (I exaggerate the entertainment-potential of a circus by comparing it to the indefatigable members of the Lok Sabha), a detailed description of the proceedings will pale in comparison to all the shouting, fist shaking and protest marches (yes, by members and inside the parliament house and during the debate) so I will not bore you.

Today however, the members outdid themselves. Three of them waved wads of cash in the house and proudly announced that they had been bribed. Since it remains unclear whether they were actually bribed or whether it is merely an allegation, there is no point in wondering about the fallout of the bribery. But I did wonder how they managed to smuggle all that cash into parliament. And also whether we are so far gone that three members of parliament are able to gleefully announce during a session of the Lok Sabha, on national television that they accepted bribes. And self-righteously denounce another party for giving them the bribe that they accepted.


The debate records are here. Unfortunately, the formidable control+f does not work on the page and you will need to scroll and read to find the portions you are interested in. The bribery bit comes towards the end. Sadly, most of the juicy parts have been struck from the record and are not reflected in the official transcript.

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