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In the summer of 2014, the people voted decisively for:

Honesty over dynasty.

Development over decay.

Security over stagnation.

Opportunities over obstacles.

Vikas over vote-bank politics.

Indians were tired of our beloved nation being in the Fragile Five, where corruption, cronyism and nepotism made headlines instead of anything positive.

India voted to shed the baggage of the past in pursuit of a better future.

The mandate of 2014 was epoch-making also because it was for the first time in the history of India that a non-dynastic party was blessed with a complete majority.

When a Government works with the spirit of ‘India First’ instead of ‘Family First’, it shows in its working.

Over the last five years, the Indian economy has been the cynosure of the world’s eyes.

India has made remarkable achievements in sanitation coverage (from 38% in 2014 to 98% now), banking the unbanked, financing the un-financed, building futuristic infrastructure, homes for the homeless, providing healthcare for the poor and educating the youth.

Reflective of this paradigm shift is the fact that now, there is a Government that puts institutions above everything else.

India has seen that whenever dynastic politics has been powerful, institutions have taken a severe beating.

Parliament:

The overall productivity of the 16th Lok Sabha was a phenomenal 85%, which is significantly higher than the productivity of the 15th Lok Sabha.

Between 2014 and 2019, the Rajya Sabha’s productivity was 68%.

The Interim Budget session witnessed productivity of 89% in the Lok Sabha and a mere 8% in the Rajya Sabha.

The nation knows the numerical dynamics of both houses. It is clear that when a non-dynasty party in higher number its tendency to work more is visible.

India should ask- why was the Rajya Sabha not working as productively as the Lok Sabha? Which were the forces disrupting the House and why?

Press and Expression:

Dynastic parties have never been comfortable with a free and vibrant press. No wonder, the very first Constitutional Amendment brought in by the Congress government sought to curtail free speech. Speaking truth to power, which is the hallmark of a free press was seen as vulgar and indecent.

The recent UPA years saw the bringing of a law that could land you in prison for posting anything “offensive.”

A tweet against the son of a powerful UPA minister could land innocent citizens in jail.

Just a few days ago, the nation watched with horror when a few youngsters were arrested for expressing their true feelings at a programme in Karnataka, where the Congress is sharing power.

But I want to tell the Congress that no amount of intimidation will change the ground realities. Curbing freedom of expression will not change people’s poor impression of the party.

Constitution and Courts:

When the sun set on the evening of 25th June 1975, it took with it the democratic ethos of India.

A hurried radio address by the then Prime Minister showed the extent to which the Congress can go to safeguard the interests of one dynasty.

The Emergency made the nation a prison overnight. Even to express was to commit sin.

The 42nd Amendment put curbs on the courts, covering the Parliament and more.

It took a groundswell of public opinion to end the Emergency but the anti-constitutional mindset of those who imposed it remained. The Congress has imposed Article 356 almost a hundred times, with Mrs. Indira Gandhi herself doing so about fifty times. If they did not like a state government or leader the government was dismissed.

Congress’ contempt for the courts is anyway legendary. It was Mrs. Indira Gandhi who called for a “committed judiciary”, which seeks to make the courts more loyal to a family than to the Constitution.

This pursuit of a “committed judiciary” made Congress overlook several respected Judges while appointing the Chief Justice of India.

Congress’ modus operandi is simple- reject, discredit and threaten. If a judicial verdict goes against them, they reject it, then they discredit the judge and thereafter, talk about bringing impeachment motions against the judge.

Government bodies:

In a telling comment, former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi called the Planning Commission led by Dr. Manmohan Singh, ‘A bunch of jokers.’

This comment gives you a glimpse of how Congress treats government institutions.

Remember the UPA years, when the Congress questioned the CAG just because that institution exposed their corrupt shenanigans like 2G, Coal Scam etc.

CBI became the Congress Bureau of Investigation- it was used time and again on political parties just before crucial parliamentary votes.

Tensions were deliberately created in organisations such as IB and RAW.

A policy decision taken by no less than the Union Cabinet was torn into pieces by someone who was not a member of any ministry and that too, in a press conference.

The NAC was created as a body parallel to the Prime Minister’s Office. And then, Congress talks about institutions?

In the 1990s, a fictitious spy scandal was created in India’s premier space agency ISRO just to suit Kerala Congress’ factional politics. It did not matter to them that a brilliant scientist had to suffer due to that.

Armed Forces:

Congress has always seen the defence sector as a source of income which is why the armed forces never got the respect from the Congress that they deserved.

After 1947, every Congress government has seen multiple defence scams. They began with jeeps and then moved to guns, submarines and helicopters.

Every middleman is linked to one family.

When a top Congress leader calls the Army Chief a Gunda and is subsequently promoted in the party rank and file, it shows their scant regard for the forces.

When our forces strike at terrorist elements, Congress leaders accuse the political leadership of doing ‘Khoon Ki Dalali.’

When our air warriors strike at terrorists, Congress questions that too.

Congress’ own (lack of) internal democracy and sense of entitlement:

Political parties are vibrant bodies that manifest diverse public opinion. Sadly, Congress does not believe in internal democracy.

If a leader dares to dream to head that party, he or she is shunted out of the Congress.

The sense of entitlement can be seen in their conduct towards routine legal processes. At present, their top leadership is on bail vis-a-vis a major scam. When the authorities seek to question them on their dealings, they do not even bother to reply.

Are they scared of accountability or do they not believe in it?

Think wisely:

From the press to parliament.

From soldiers to free speech.

From the constitution to the courts.

Institutional insult is the Congress way.

Everyone is wrong, only the Congress is correct.

As you go to vote- remember the past and how one family's desire for power cost the nation so greatly.

If they could do it then, they can surely do it now.

Eternal vigilance remains the price of liberty.

Let us stay vigilant and work hard to strengthen the intuitions given to us by the makers of our Constitution.

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Why India and the World Need Gandhi
October 02, 2019
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The great leader envisioned a world where every citizen has dignity and prosperity.

Upon reaching India in 1959, the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. remarked, “To other countries I may go as a tourist, but to India I come as a pilgrim”. He added, “Perhaps, above all, India is the land where the techniques of nonviolent social change were developed that my people have used in Montgomery, Alabama, and elsewhere throughout the American South. We have found them to be effective and sustaining — they work!”

The guiding light whose inspiration got Dr. King to India was Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, the Mahatma, the Great Soul. On Wednesday, we observe his 150th birth anniversary. Gandhi Ji, or Bapu, continues to give courage to millions globally.

Gandhian methods of resistance ignited a spirit of hope among several African nations. Dr. King remarked: “When I was visiting in Ghana, West Africa, Prime Minister Nkrumah told me that he had read the works of Gandhi and felt that nonviolent resistance could be extended there. We recall that South Africa has had bus boycotts also.”

Nelson Mandela referred to Gandhi as “the Sacred Warrior” and wrote, “His strategy of noncooperation, his assertion that we can be dominated only if we cooperate with our dominators, and his nonviolent resistance inspired anticolonial and antiracist movements internationally in our century.”

For Mr. Mandela, Gandhi was Indian and South African. Gandhi would have approved. He had the unique ability to become a bridge between some of the greatest contradictions in human society.

In 1925, Gandhi wrote in “Young India”: “It is impossible for one to be internationalist without being a nationalist. Internationalism is possible only when nationalism becomes a fact, i.e., when peoples belonging to different countries have organized themselves and are able to act as one man.” He envisioned Indian nationalism as one that was never narrow or exclusive but one that worked for the service of humanity.

Mahatma Gandhi also epitomized trust among all sections of society. In 1917, Ahmedabad in Gujarat witnessed a huge textile strike. When the conflict between the mill workers and owners escalated to a point of no return, it was Gandhi who mediated an equitable settlement.

Gandhi formed the Majoor Mahajan Sangh, an association for workers’ rights. At first sight, it may seem just another name of an organization but it reveals how small steps created a large impact. During those days, “Mahajan” was used as a title of respect for elites. Gandhi inverted the social structure by attaching the name “Mahajan” to “Majoor,” or laborers. With that linguistic choice, Gandhi enhanced the pride of workers.

And Gandhi combined ordinary objects with mass politics. Who else could have used a charkha, a spinning wheel, and khadi, Indian homespun cloth, as symbols of economic self-reliance and empowerment for a nation?

Who else could have created a mass agitation through a pinch of salt! During colonial rule, Salt Laws, which placed a new tax on Indian salt, had become a burden. Through the Dandi March in 1930, Gandhi challenged the Salt Laws. His picking up a small lump of natural salt from the Arabian Sea shore led to the historic civil disobedience movement.

There have been many mass movements in the world, many strands of the freedom struggle even in India, but what sets apart the Gandhian struggle and those inspired by him is the wide-scale public participation. He never held administrative or elected office. He was never tempted by power.

For him, independence was not absence of external rule. He saw a deep link between political independence and personal empowerment. He envisioned a world where every citizen has dignity and prosperity. When the world spoke about rights, Gandhi emphasized duties. He wrote in “Young India”: “The true source of rights is duty. If we all discharge our duties, rights will not be far to seek.” He wrote in the journal Harijan, “Rights accrue automatically to him who duly performs his duties.”

Gandhi gave us the doctrine of trusteeship, which emphasized the socio-economic welfare of the poor. Inspired by that, we should think about a spirit of ownership. We, as inheritors of the earth, are responsible for its well-being, including that of the flora and fauna with whom we share our planet.

In Gandhi, we have the best teacher to guide us. From uniting those who believe in humanity to furthering sustainable development and ensuring economic self-reliance, Gandhi offers solutions to every problem.

We in India are doing our bit. India is among the fastest when it comes to eliminating poverty. Our sanitation efforts have drawn global attention. India is also taking the lead in harnessing renewable resources through efforts like the International Solar Alliance, which has brought together several nations to leverage solar energy for a sustainable future. We want to do even more, with the world and for the world.

As a tribute to Gandhi, I propose what I call the Einstein Challenge. We know Albert Einstein’s famous words on Gandhi: “Generations to come will scarce believe that such a one as this ever in flesh and blood walked upon this earth.”

How do we ensure the ideals of Gandhi are remembered by future generations? I invite thinkers, entrepreneurs and tech leaders to be at the forefront of spreading Gandhi’s ideas through innovation.

Let us work shoulder to shoulder to make our world prosperous and free from hate, violence and suffering. That is when we will fulfill Mahatma Gandhi’s dream, summed up in his favorite hymn, “Vaishnava Jana To,” which says that a true human is one who feels the pain of others, removes misery and is never arrogant.

The world bows to you, beloved Bapu!