Random Thoughts

Modi Era, New Partnership, Who Won WW2?

Modi Era
New Partnership
Long Life Indeed
Five Runs
Real Churchill
Who Won WW2?
Widener Library
Surprise, Surprise, Surprise
Matter of Choice

Modi Era

In history, eras are defined as much by leaders as by the critical interplay of dominant social, economic and ideological forces of the time. Which of the two is more important is a subject that has been debated inconclusively for years.

Nehru was the helmsman in an era when socialism was the reigning ideology and principles of governance in all areas flowed from it. Modi, on the other hand, marks the beginning of an era where ideology itself has become irrelevant and the popular — at times even populist — aspirations decisively shape the ideas of governance.

The fact that Modi and his government are not risk-averse marks an unprecedented brave new beginning in our country’s otherwise risk-averse history of governance. No other government earlier had dared to act what appeared at first sight a fool hardy venture. Many might have thought of it but none dared. No wonder when the coming generations speak of the passage of GST or demonetization or surgical strike across the border — all big events of profound significance — discussion would begin with the name of one person, namely, Narendrabhai Modi. Politically, if Nehru’s era would be identified with the overwhelming presence of Congress in the country, Modi’s would be identified with the preponderance of BJP. The opposition virtually didn’t exist then it is on the verge of being irrelevant for a long, long time in this new era. My hunch is that after the 2019 elections, the Congress Party will be reduced to the it-also-ran status.

The passage of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) may have drawn criticism from several quarters for being half-baked, but it certainly reinforces Modi’s image as someone who is not afraid to take hard calls which have the potential to be hugely unpopular. The idea of ‘One India, One Market’ marks a definitive new beginning in India’s taxation regime. It is going to touch the lives of all Indians in several ways and many won’t be happy.

It’s all too clear from the self-assured body language of Modi that India is not keen appearing as a meek global player anymore. The impression Modi wants to convey is that India has finally emerged from the wings and arrived as a world power to play its long-denied role.

New Partnership

It’s well-known how David Ben Gurion, the founder of modern Israel, entertained a deep, resilient respect for India. As an intellectual, he was deeply fascinated by our ancient civilization and its enviably inclusive culture. He earnestly sought India’s friendship. However, ever-eager to court the sensitivities of our spoilt Muslim minority our Congress veterans steadfastly extended a closed fist to a repeatedly extended Israeli hand. It goes, therefore, to the credit of Prime Minister to dare to become the first Indian prime minister to visit Israel, and thereby correct an egregious historical wrong.

The importance of Israel-India partnership cannot be overstated, more so in the post Cold War era. This bilateral tie is underwritten by an ancient civilizational connect, remarkable similarity in cultures, profound correlation between its dominant religions, shared democratic values and, above all, a close strategic partnership. The commonality and dovetailing of interests should have made Israel India’s most natural ally. Both countries emerged within a few months of each other as modern nation-states — Israel came into being on May 14, 1948, — faced similar challenges in nation-building process, coped with similar existential dilemmas on two-nation theory and has, above all, been confronted equally by the scourge of radical Islamist terrorism.

No wonder, therefore, Prime Minister Netanyahu, broke protocol to receive Modi at the airport, introduce him to each member of his cabinet who had assembled to greet him on the tarmac along with members of various religious orders.

The reception should shame us more into introspecting about the massive loss that we have suffered as a nation not willing to listen to pragmatism. Israel has so much to offer us in fields as diverse as water conservation, irrigation, innovations in agriculture, space technology, cyber-security, research and development in the fields of science, informational technology, startups, trade, commerce and most obviously defense collaboration. And it is willing to walk the extra mile in order to make it possible. But the fact that Modi had to complete an extensive outreach program to the Arab world before arriving in Israel points to the unfortunate slant Indian foreign policy had been subjected to.

And for what? Did India’s long and unstinting backing of Palestine bring any strategic benefits? It is held that Jawaharlal Nehru’s commitment to the cause of an undivided Palestine — even as Indian National Congress accepted the British decision to divide the nation on the basis of religion — forced him to reject Albert Einstein’s four-page letter as India voted against the Mandate Partition plan at the UN in 1947.We eventually recognized Israel in 1950 but without diplomatic relations.

Ben Gurion who convinced a reluctant Einstein to write the letter to Nehru, was forced to carry the burden of the unrequited relationship. He was a man deeply fascinated by Indian civilization. He was “enchanted by the Vedanta” and had studied “the schools of Sankhya and Yoga” and in his “bedroom in the Negev kibbutz carried only one leader’s portrait: Gandhi’s.”

In rejecting his hand of friendship and cooperation, Nehru felt he couldn’t afford to antagonize the Arabs given India’s large Muslim population who had chosen to remain in India instead of migrating to Pakistan. And yet for all of India’s efforts the Arab nations did not come to India’s aid even once during its wars and conflicts. But Israel did.

A former Indian Army chief VP Malik, for instance, recently wrote in the Indian Express, “I wonder how many of them (political parties protesting against Modi’s visit) are aware that in the wake of the India-China war in 1962, when Jawaharlal Nehru was prime minister, Israel had helped us with 81 mm and 120 mm mortars and pack howitzer artillery guns with ammunition desperately required by us.” Who else did?

Leave alone support, India has been repeatedly betrayed by the Arab nations on Pakistan and Kashmir. Whereas be it the 1962 conflict with China, wars against Pakistan in 1965, 1971 and 1999 as well as during sanctions against India after nuclear tests, Israel alone has been the nation to stand by us.

India’s Israel policy has so far been unfair, myopic, perverted and hypocritical. This was a much-needed course-correction, and Modi had the moral courage to undertake the long-deferred task.

Long Life Indeed

The prime minister tweeted his birthday greetings to Rahul Gandhi adding “I pray for his long and healthy life” I instinctively sensed there was more to this than immediately meets the eye. The longer Rahul Gandhi lives the longer he will be the head of the Congress and, therefore, the longer Mr. Modi will easily defeat the Opposition.

I’m surprised why the PM didn’t wish him immortality!

Five Runs

Can a batsman in cricket score five runs against one delivery? Yes, indeed he can. And for that there are usually two ways. The first is overthrow. If the fielders overthrow the ball to the boundary while trying to hit the stumps, the batsmen will get 5 runs {Single (1 run) + Overthrow (4 runs)}.

The second way is the ball hitting the helmet of the keeper. If the ball played by batsmen happens to hit the Keeper’s helmet, he will be awarded 5 runs.

Real Churchill

Generally, Winston Churchill is hailed as a great leader who led England to victory against the Nazis in the Second World War. What is invariably glossed over is the fact that he was a racist scumbag who single-handedly killed 5 million people.

Yes, he did kill 5 million people, by causing the Bengal Famine in 1943. In 1943, the crop yield in Bengal, India, was actually above average. Churchill basically took most of this food and shipped it to Britain to feed the already well fed soldiers for the war effort. When people in Bengal started to starve and die, British authorities in India called upon people to stop taking so much food. According to the pig headed British Prime Minister the only reason Indians were starving was because they “bred like rabbits”.

The Churchillian hatred for India didn’t stop at that. The US and Canada offered to help by shipping some food in, but Churchill actively intervened and stopped them. Overall, this caused the deaths of 5 million people, about the same as the number of Jews killed in the Holocaust.

Who Won WW2?

Of course the Allies? And led by Winston Churchill, they say. But if I say no and maintain that it was Germany who won, and hands down, would I be egregiously wrong? Let’s see.

It was Hitler’s ambition to make Germany the hegemonic power in Europe. Isn’t it today?

He aimed to destroy the Soviet Union and exterminate Bolshevism. Isn’t that a fait accompli today?

Nazi credo stood for the “eradication of European Jewry.” Today, 60% to 90% of European Jewish population has vanished on its own for different destination.

Goebbels predicted all of this in his Diary, in 1945: “The war may be lost, but at least we have the comfort of knowing we exterminated the stupidity of the European bourgeois world.”

Did Hitler accomplish these goals in the manner and order he wanted to? No, but they were accomplished nonetheless. History doesn’t work the way historical actors expect; it moves in zig zags and jumps stages. As the late Norman Mailer said, “Whatever else it is, history is a bitch.”

Widener Library

Harvard is famous for its Widener library. Harvard has the largest university library in the world with 17 Million volumes, 7 million of which are in the Widener collection.

What few people know however is that Harry Elkins Widener Memorial Library was made possible by a gift to Harvard University by Eleanor Elkins Widener, as a memorial to her son Harry, Class of 1907 “an enthusiastic young bibliophile who perished aboard the Titanic.”

Can I say had the Titanic not sunk, it would not have led to the grief that inspired this huge memorial gift?

Surprise, Surprise, Surprise!

U.S. President Donald Trump has had the least dishonest stretch of his presidency in mid-May to late-May, making a mere six false claims over 10 days. What probably helped that is that he took no questions from the media, and barely tweeted, during his long foreign trip.

Matter of Choice

Lately, I ran into a scientific finding in Los Angeles Times that may knock you off your feet. (Of course, I mean it only figuratively.) At least 80 types of fungi reside on a typical person’s heel, along with 60 between the toes and 40 on the toenail, reports the paper. “Altogether, the feet are home to more than 100 types of fungus, more than any other area of the human body, according to a study published in Nature.” Many of the fungi on our skin serve a very useful purpose, said Julie Segre, a geneticist and the study leader. “One of the major functions of healthy fungi is to prevent pathogenic fungi from adhering to our skin,” where they can cause athlete’s foot, plantar warts and stubborn toenail infections.”

“There’s something about toenails that fungi just love.”


More by :  Sakshi

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