Monday, May 28, 2012

Indian Parliament turns 60 – Part 3 ‘Babudom’

I am trying to pen these lines for the blog at a time when the CBI grilling and arrest of Jaganmohan Reddy, son of former Andhra chief minister, Y S Reddy is being talked about nationwide. This is truly yet another picture of ‘parliamentary democracy’ as it is more than apparent that the Congress party has become vindictive in dealing with Jaganmohan, son of their colleague – who undoubtedly gave them 33 Lok Sabha seats from the crucial southern state. Junior YSR has declined to kowtow to the diktats of Congress high command and has floated a party of his own. The leadership in Congress is particularly upset – post UP polls – as dynastic politics has been well exploited by Jagan while the ‘crown prince’ Rahul G was handed over a shocker. But the bigger debate, I seek to touch upon this time is the misuse of CBI. That CBI timing is questionable is only one aspect of the faultline. The premier investigating agency has chosen to ignore the same cases pertaining to several serving Congress chief ministers in the state. The misuse of CBI pertains to surrender of the CBI sleuths and the top brass. Now, it also goes without stating that India has one of the worst levels of red tapes. In reality, the poor and the common people suffer most from red tape, the chief tool of the bureaucracy (and not at the hands of politicians that way). And these combine together to work as an incentive for bribery. Even during the height of Anna Hazare movement in August 2011; the common people’s complaints about corruption were against the lower level bureaucracy and policing. But lower level bureaucracy and even police force would tell number of times that there is a hard-crust and that a chain effect works in getting the ‘corruption bug’ stay on. But look around; you will find bureaucrats are everywhere – doing well and well placed. List out the Governors: we have chiefly among the former government servants. In 2008, former Union Home Secretary N. N. Vohra took over as the new Governor of Jammu and Kashmir replacing Lt Gen (retd) S K Sinha. Sinha was a BJP appointee; but such is their efficiency (read acceptability), he was continued by Congress-led UPA. There are several others former IAS officer and Culture Secretary Balmiki Prasad Singh (Sikkim), Nikhil Kumar, former IPS, (Nagaland), Lieutenant Gen Madan Mohan Lakhera, Governor of Mizoram Ranjit Shekhar Mooshahary, former DGP Kerala (Meghalaya), Gurbachan Jagat , former DGP Jammu and Kashmir (Governor of Manipur). There are others too, Nagaland Governor Nikhil Kumar’s brother N K Singh (a 1964 batch IAS officer of the Bihar cadre) is Rajya Sabha MP of JD-U. They also enter the think tanks. The Government run IDSA is a hub of babus both from civil and military service as well as from parliament secretariat. Even supposedly, privately and albeit run with Sanghi (RSS) ideology apparently, the Vivekananda Kendra is headed by a former Intelligence Bureau chief A K Doval. Even lately, former SPG chief B V Wanchoo took charge of Goa replacing Dr Shivinder Singh Sidhu, Governor of Goa, who had also served in as Guv of Manipur. Do not forget, not long ago, the UPA government burnt its fingers in defending the appointment of former IAS officer P J Thomas as the Chief Vigilance Commissioner. So, what’s the moral of the story? This country cannot be run without babus and retired babus ---- police/military and civil officials. Did our democracy ever ponder, why no top bureaucrat or secretary is ever raided like poor Jagan? Yes, occasionally the onetime powerful babus face cases as Gopi Arora, a Rajiv Gandhi loyalist during Bofors days, was in later stage chargesheeted. But what happened ultimately, one needs to be informed! Lest, I miss, even the incumbent Prime Minister is better known as a ‘babu’ only who had served under ‘Sir’ Pranab Mukherjee. But that’s the style of overestimated economist and underestimated politician. Ends

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Happy Birthday - A short story

(the short story has been used in website Happy Birthday The 6th of May would unknowingly haunt him. Initially it was once in a while phenomenon ….. something not regular but lately – in last six years or so – it has become the regular feature of his life. May 6th: birthday of Kakoli Sen, someone Dhruv always admired and believed there was the similar appreciation in reciprocation. It was on this day, he had spoken to her first. It was on this day …. after a year – they had parted ways – never to talk about each other nor to talk to each other – ever. Memories have been always like floodgates to Dhruv – easier to open and tough to close. He remembered the first tele talk. She sounded sweet and sexy ….. There was an air of precipitous urgency about her. She wanted him to get into the business of ‘affair’ and ‘dating’ as early as possible. But Dhruv was in no hurry. The idea of marriage never excited him in the first place. Thus, he had thought; there is time. Let me not hurry it up, slow and steady he wanted to win the race. Thus the talk would range from movies to holiday spots and as she was already into a part-time job writing for a mofusil newspaper; they did talk about working atmosphere in a news room. How senior scribes would simply stammer in front of the bosses or how the jobs for the young gals were often certain but punctuated with certain subtle riders? He was little amused. But then he agreed for a meeting. Then, a few more. Interactions soon resulted in mutual admiration for each other. Dhruv thought, he appreciated her looks, the physique and a promising career in media for her as his notion was that the media was just opening up and there lay a bright future. Dhruv was not sure of what Kakoli actually admired in him. But she would smile all the way in his presence. Importantly, she felt relaxed. The rays of the sun would cast some magical aura around the Coffee Corner and he would gauge that her mood would be turning festive. Today they could reap a rich harvest! Dhruv knew his own strengths and perhaps also his weaknesses. He started enjoying the manner the girl was turning towards him. It was not a love affair per se as the parents in both sides had tried to broker the business of ‘knot’ and had allowed them time and rope to go around together for a while. Dhruv was confident of himself. He perhaps could understand it pretty well that Kakoli hardly saw the other side of him. Dhruv could be mean spirited and extremely self-seeking at times. But Kakoli had fallen for the man. A charming and elegant personality – were perhaps only thing that interested her. A small town girl pursuing a modest ambition of an ordinary working journalist, she thought Dhruv would be the best person to anchor her life and career --- in a big city or probably also abroad. But on the other hand, it was not sheer career ambition that fascinated Kakoli about Dhruv. It was her genuine love that became the most motivating factor leading her towards Dhruv. One evening, she held Dhruv’s hand and invited him for dinner in her place. Dhruv was from a well to do family in a big city. He had undergone several good technical training and was planning a huge investment – assisted by his father, friends and well wishers – to set up a showroom of IT accessories. This would fetch good money, he was confident about the prospective venture. The shadows were lengthening in the fading light of the twilight hours and the tastefully designed flower garden was almost deserted except for a few married couples or odd pairs like them. The invite was followed by a good shower. It rained modestly for over an hour making the temperature more soothing. The sky was slowly overcast and black rain-laden clouds drifted across. As if washed clean by the rain, the trees in the house compound had acquired a pristine freshness. Dhruv felt the excitement more. The house was decorated tastefully. The string of mango leaves hung across the upper doorjamb, almost like a bridal ornament on the forehead! He knew this was meant as a good omen. He liked the ambience of the inner courtyard too. It had a homely touch of a small town average income household. The sky appeared bathed in white moonlight. The clouds have disappeared – as he discovered staring above – almost unmindfully. There were few chairs, a tiny sofa was added to the row of beds. The centre table had a good cover too. All these were probably trying to impress Dhruv that his girl-to-be, Kakoli, excelled in arranging chairs and beds for guests. There were several family members standing scattered to welcome him --- and importantly to get a glance of Dhruv, a talented young budding business entrepreneur, at least Dhruv thought so. Will all them start questioning him about the probable dates for engagement and marriage? But I would not commit anything in hurry, he tried to reassure himself once again. Taking his place in the designated sofa, Dhruv thought of a ‘war’ – but his apprehension was based on a rather erroneous prospectus. Any marriage will be as healthy as the man – he thought. The latent male chauvinism too came into play. But that’s the self-pride of a man! However, after customary exchange of pleasantries – it was again left as a bilateral meeting. This baffled Dhruv for a while. But it was Kakoli on the other side yet again playing a good hostess – taking care of his coffee, sweet lassi and then a grand dinner followed by ‘Gurer Ice-Cream’. “This last item is not home made…..,” Kakoli voluntarily clarified. $ More intense meetings took place since then. Kakoli was more than convinced that Dhruv would ultimately confirm their marriage. She was so confident that she did never bother to ask: “henn go amader biye hobe toh (Oh dear, we will definitely get married na?)”. Days passed by…. Days became weeks, weeks turned months. As expected Kakoli was feeling the pressure. The midnight tele-talk that she used to have with Dhruv, now that he has moved to the large city, having launched his company was no more a secret affair. Almost the entire township knew about the love-on-phone tale. So, now Kakoli wanted Dhruv to act fast, confirm their relationship and agree for the marital knot at an early suitable date. The wish was not unreasonable by any standard but never so from the point of view of Kakoli, who has grown fond of Dhruv and wanted to settle down with him. The plea more in the tone of a demand left Dhruv thinking. It was dark and hot outside though raining. A sharp wind blowing across gave the trees no peace. As if the wind would hit again and again against the window pane and roof. Somewhere, he thought the breeze was singing a song mournfully. Did he stand undecided? Or it was a case of no second thought? Or Dhruv was still in two minds and not sure of whether he really liked Kakoli or not? The man in love or not in live: men have to be men, Dhruv seemed telling his inner self. Slowly, he saw a flicker of light! Hmm …… He could probably guess his own intentions, plans, ambitions and expectations from life, love and life partner to be! The business acumen ought to be tested. Life, he knew is a journey – but it could not be traversed only with emotional baggage called love. It had to be oiled by money, prosperity and prospect of further property. But Kakoli could offer very little of that. That’s what his mind was telling. Heart had no place. It was the man in love’s understandings of the reality. Only a few days back, Kakoli had told Dhruv in advance that she would continue to work even after marriage. Well, that was no issue to Dhruv. He was like any progressive man; an educated young damsel should work if she intended to. But how could as her husband, he allow her to forego all her salary and other perks to the gal’s house. The poor in-laws had problems; they needed his wife’s income to support their family and more importantly ensuring education of her two younger brothers as also footing the medical bills of her father and an aging uncle. “This is not the way a son-in-law should be handled,” he told his own shadow reflecting on the sidewall wondered staring up at the sky. Dhruv finished his food and walked up to the balcony. The heat of the day was gone. There was a softer breeze even as the yellowish light flickered on the street from behind the bush of coconut and the large banyan tree. He was angry no doubt; but he was too tired to feel irritated over what Kakoli told him. The night was passing slowly; he returned to the bed room and thought it was time to go for a sleep, rather sound sleep. “Woi meye ta --- That girl Kakoli” is not worth spending the entire night, he told himself. Next day, he picked up the phone and informed Kakoli of his decision. “Look here, the kind of things we were expecting from our marriage is probably not happening. So I have decided not to move ahead,” he sounded very candid. There was a momentary pause on the other hand. Bengal is famous for the bold women, Kakoli thought for a while. She knew she has to bear this out. Coming so far ….. and then pushed to the wall and shunned. Well, the pride was hurt. But that’s not all. She was thanking her stars that she could know of the man, Dhruv, before the marriage. After marriage, probably things could have been more difficult to handle. Kakoli had to handle things for herself and her family. She tried to conceal her emotions. Staring outside – she saw a tiny sparrow like bird hiding in the thickness of leaves. The sun ray was gradually peeping inside. But she was not sure what she was really waiting for. @ Time flew faster. Months became year and years slowly made about a decade. Kakoli got married; on the other hand, Dhruv found for himself a girl from a well to do family. She brought in largesse, as he was sophisticated enough not to call them dowry. His life has turned into a routine and money minting system. Things poured in lavishly. There was enough bank balance and property in his name. His wife Nishta could not ever complain that her husband has not given her enough ornaments and saris. Everything was in plenty. Obviously, Dhruv too could not complain. He had everything coming his way. Everything lay on his table and bank accounts. Things lay is his cupboard too, but mostly untouched and perhaps also unappreciated. His accessories, clothes and money and diamond set often lay neglected. Human life often changes very fast. It was the same Dhruv who had shunned Kakoli and her emotions today realized life cannot be run by property, a booming business and bank balance. Walking up to the spacious balcony, he was holding his glass of wine. This is his every evening companion now. Nishta has turned too busy over the years. She had cocktails and social obligations. Occasionally, she also threw in party herself. But all these revolved around more for exhibition than ‘enjoying the occasion’ or every moment as Kakoli used to say. Nishta has her priorities of life and so there was no time for her husband. Staring towards starry night, Dhruv wondered about two birds moving around. Where do these birds go every night? More, importantly where do birds really go to die, mused Dhruv. Returning to his spacious room, he stared at the moon outside – trying to brave the darkness alone. Does moon too get scared when left alone in darkness, he unwittingly asked himself. He again turned towards his room and predictably was overwhelmed by the presence of costly decorative pieces, an aesthetic piece of painting on the wall brought from an exhibition in Paris and a few wrist watches and of course the bar in the corner. So much that he almost wanted to crush them. But man cannot do everything, he wanted to. “What have I done?,” he again asked unwittingly. He was remembering his morning meeting with a big entrepreneur from overseas. The businessman wanted to pump in some money in India. The project report was prepared about two months back and they had met during the day earlier only to give it final touches. To Dhruv’s surprise, the businessman invited me to lunch at his hotel and surprised him saying: “I will introduce you to my wife. She has been in this part of the city about 10 years back”. Dhruv was stunned as he knew the lady he was being introduced. Yes, that was Kakoli…. same yet again. Looked gorgeous and full of life. Kakoli’s husband intervened in their silence, “Let me introduce you both to each other …..”. Kakoli looked full of life, smiling and folding hands courteously. Her husband said, “You know, I was a pauper till I met this woman. She has changed my life. But the best part is she has remained how she used to be calm, composed and humane. I am the happiest husband, I swear dude”. “You know”, the businessman continued, “why I decided to sign the deal today. It is her birthday today… 6th May”. Kakoli looked that sheepishly shy, introvert and yet in control of things. "Happy Bbbbirthday !" Dhruv merely fumbled. Dhruv knew that’s how happy couples are made. He also realized how unhappy couples are made, like he and Nishta. Kakoli smiled graciously screwing her eyes up towards her husband – Dhruv realized for once none can beat that! Nishta has not even once given her that look. Kakoli sat on the nearby chair like an empress sitting at a distance --- evidently not knowing, how unhappy Dhruv has become since parting ways with her. She had no reason to bother about him. (ends)

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Indian Parliament turns 60- What's Netas afraid of?

The former cricketer Kirti Azad has proved that he is a fish of a different variety. On 15 May, he probably let down his new found friends the neta class but his cricket fans and fraternity colleagues should be proud of him. At least, this blogger wants to record the appreciation. Within days the politicians tried to play holier than thou and complained unitedly against what they said a conspiracy and a neo-fashion to denigrade them, the BJP MP from Darbhanga in Bihar blamed the neta class - politicians - for the evil of match fixing and other corrupt practices that had tainted the game of cricket and other sports in the country. “Cricket has been a religion in this country but as a former player I feel pained,” Mr Azad said in Lok Sabha during zero hour adding politicians of all hues “whether in this House or the other House” were to be blamed for all the negative things those got afflicted with the game. Many people, journalists or otherwise endorsed the remarks. Corruption has assumed alarming proportions when the cricket bodies started receiving money after 1996 and politicians made their entry into these bodies, Kirti Azad said even as the Agriculture Minister Mr Sharad Pawar, a prominent cricket official and former BCCI chief gave him a patient hearing. Azad's outburst left the fellow members almost stunned as only a day before speakers after speakers said the civil society and others were out in a 'neofashion' to discredit the politicians. Besides Mr Pawar, among top politicians Mr Farooq Abdullah and Mr Arun Jaitley are also associated with cricket management. Not to refer about the illustrious Suresh Kamadi, who has visited Tihar once. IPL reflects the baser instinct of cricket. Forget sports, it is a commercial entity with entertainment and if necessary get the skirts shortened further! In fact, nothing can be moe offensive for prestige of womanhood in India - the Matri shakti than these. Cricket also had a bad experience when Mandira Bedi appeared for commentary. It may be mentioned that MPs ranging from Mr Gurudas Dasgupta (CPI), Mr Sharad Yadav (JD-U), Mr Yashwant Sinha (BJP) and Mr Sanjay Nirupam (Congress) among others complained recently in parliament for general tendency in the country especially in the light of Anna Hazare movement against the political class. And only on May 13, 2012, celebrating the 60 years of indian parliament, they deservedly gave themselves credit for upholding democracy.... but at what cost. Importantly, the neta class is getting scared of how things are turning slowly. The Anna movement and the way people responded in August 2011, no doubt the Mumbai show was miscalculated, showed Indian politicians were heading for stormy days. The cartoon fiasco is only a reflection of that fear. United they stand --- exposed, to say the least. (ends)

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Indian Parliament turns 60

:: Need to balance between populism and responsibility When Indian Parliament celebrates 60 years of its historic inception on May 13, 2012; several key questions would mushroom in the minds of social scientists, political thinkers, the netas – political class themselves and of course the general people. I am deliberately avoiding the use of oft-repeated phrase ‘common man’ (aam admi) as the term itself has been rendered a tool of political abuse itself. Today people are getting disenchanted with the political system and as a result most worrisome questions those look for answers revolve around one single big question --- what would happen to the essence of India’s existence as a nation and as a practicing giant of ‘parliamentary democracy’ if people stay not only away from voting centres but get some kind of satisfaction in abusing the political class. In 2011, more than once the so called civil society – or to be precise a section of it – were found in direct confrontation with the netas and largely the Indian parliamentary establishment itself. Predictably, the neta class got together and took the shelter of ‘parliamentary privileges’ and sought actions against the erring individuals from Om Puri to Arvind Kejriwal. This blog column has no intention to hold brief for anyone. The confrontation in one form or the other is still on. But having said these, there can be denial that India as the world’s largest parliamentary democracy, today, is often known for being deeply troubled at heart. It is precisely at a crossroad and also at odds with many things it cherishes. The general refrain is that the country is now passing through a period that requires careful sizing up of its polity. But the electoral practice though is considered most suitable under the given circumstances is often abused by muscle and money power and thus wasted. The caste, religions and linguistic divisions not only throw up fragmented mandate, the root trouble is there is absolute lack of accountability, ethical approach and even history sheeters can comfortably make it to parliament. I am not sure of the approach the parliamentarians are going to take during the historical debate on May 13 in both Houses of parliament, but this issue needs to be addressed. Why in contemporary politics, we have no alternative between Mamata Banerjee and the Leftists? Or between DMK and AIADMK? – Similarly, why no room for a better choice between Samajwadi or BSP or even Congress and BJP? The ROOT PROBLEM IS LEADERSHIP CRISIS. If according to one school of thought (read voters, intellectuals and self-styled intellectuals) says Atal Bihari Vajpayee was the last leader of pan-India acceptance and credibility…. Why was he voted out in 2004? In 1996, Vajpayee himself once said, “I am often told Vajpayee is good as a leader but my party is not …… but have you all done to this ‘bhale Vajpayee’”. The candid reference was to the ‘politics of untouchability’ pushed as the national agenda. How do we then say, our parliamentary democracy has matured? (ends)

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

India has given Nagas everything: Rishang Keishing

An old-war horse of northeastern politics, Mr Rishang Keishing 92 is a staunch ‘nationalist’ wedded to the cause of Indian nationhood. Two times Chief Minister of Manipur between 1980 to 1988 and from 1994 to 1997, Mr Keishing has been Rajya Sabha member of the state. A Tangkhul Naga by birth, Mr Keishing, a surviving former member of first Lok Sabha in 1952, is one of the few politicians of his community who has often spoken against the demand of “Naga sovereignity”. I had interviewed him in 2009 in the corridors of Parliament and grilled him on the future prospect of long pending Naga peace talks and not surprisingly found him still sticking to his gun, urging for an “amicable solution within the constituional framework of India”. Well his argument, though earned him another round of criticism from his detractors, the veteran politician said, “why don’t everyone realize that this country (that is India) has given enough to Nagas and other northeastern people”. Interview with Rajya Sabha MP and former Manipur CM Rishang Keishing India has given Nagas everything: Rishang Keishing Excerpts: # As a veteran Naga politician how do you look back since you started political career as a member of parliament from the first Lok Sabha itself? Rishang: I do look at the rearview of the mirror of the car of my life. I am in this Parliament from the first Lok Sabha till now. We have seen a lot of things come and go. But as the problem of Nagas remain, I am really a concerned man. This country has given us enough but the political problem remains and violence is killing Nagas. # How do you view the state of Naga peace talks, which begun in 1997? There were lot of developments and efforts by Narasimha government to start the process and you also had a role as the Chief Minister of Manipur. Rishang: Yes, I am from Manipur and I am myself a Tangkhul Naga. My own tribe and some leaders are very active in Naga insurgency movement. You are right, we worked hard to start the peace process and Congress under Narasimha Rao started the whole process. But after the talks have begun, as state level leaders we had no role. It was purely between government of India and the NSCN leaders. # But this was 12 years back, now a question everyone interested in Naga affairs is asking what’s the progress? And amid these Naga leaders are reporetdly meeting people like Nelson Mandela? Rishang: You have a point. There is no denying the fact that we all don’t know what’s really being talked about. The talks are going on between the Government of India and the NSCN. But I take your question. If NSCN leaders are talking to the Government of India, I don’t find any reason why they should talk to Mandela or enyone else. Such talking to international leaders might not help the progress of the talks. # Are you then suggesting that there’s hardly any progress? Rishang: Is it important that I should say something like that. There’s hardly any progress as far as common Naga people’s awareness on the talks is concerned. And even if there is certain progress, we all don’t know. Look, as a politician I could be misunderstood. I am not saying as a former Chief Minister or as a MP I should know the details of the talks. But the talks should show some direction. I will be most happy if it is going on in right direction. # A few years back, your good friend and present Maharashtra Governor Mr S C Jamir had demanded that the subject matter of Naga peace talks should be made public. Do you also make the same demand from both the Government of India and NSCN? Rishang: I don’t what others have said in the past. But solution to Naga problem is everyone’s desire. Let them do the talking. But it should be in good direction. Earlier, there was talks about integrity of Naga contugous areas. Then that was stopped after violence in Manipur in 2001. Whatever, they talk, my emphasis is NSCN leaders should also look for a workable solution. # What do you really mean by “workable solution”? Can you elaborate on that? Rishang: Firstly, the solution should be acceptable to both – the Government of India and Nagas and the people in general so that there’s no major problem once we have a solution package on our table. Today we are in darkness. I am saying we need an amicable solution within the constituional framework of India. So far we state politicians either in Nagaland or Manipur have been taken into confidence. Well, we could come at later stage and I will give my opinion firmyly when that time comes. # So what’s your opinion? Any particular aspect that must be looked into? Rishang: Look, lifelong I have stuck to the integrity of India. If you are saying or doing anything on going outside Indian framework and sovereigntity, I will have nothing to do with it. Any solution has to be within constitutional framework and acceptable to all concerned. # You are really sticking to your well known nationalistic stance. I am not surprised anyway. Rishang: Why I should not? Why don’t everyone realize that this country, India has given enough to Nagas and other northeastern people. I am a most happy man in this country today. This country has everything and has given us everything. We have every concessions, every freedom and every means of best of education and development. This is going on for years and under present government of Manmohan Singh and Sonia Gandhi’s leadership we are getting a much better deal. That’s my point.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Gujarat Day -- Some Personal Musings

Even few years back, I never thought May 1, the Gujarat Day could excite me. The Journalism had fascinated me from the very beginning. One obvious reason for that was my intuition to know and study more about the unknowns. Meet the unknowns and travel to unknown places. The Gujarat and Narendra Modi phenomenon in my life --- both the riots of 2002 and the ‘development model, Sabka Saath Sabka Vikas’ --- is part of that adventure. I ought to be grateful to the profession of journalism for giving me the opportunity to work in and on Gujarat. Revisiting the state today and its socio-political history in the contemporary setting is thus very personal --- collecton of both good and bad memories. My first hand experience on Gujarat came rather in its unfortunate hours of 2002 mayhem. I bow down in gratitude before all those friends, police officials, social workers and netas of all hues – with whom I interacted during the turbulent period. Spl mention about those who helped me discharge my professional duty and later pen the book 'Godhra - A Journey to Mayhem'. My friends Anosh, Binu and Thomas Kutty Abraham --- all were always forthcoming. So was a initial reluctantly shy Basant Rawat. The 2002 riots is too strong and powerful influence in Gujarat graph that it can be erased by a decade of development model as is pursued relentlessly by the state chief minister Narendra Damodardas Modi, undoubtedly the principal protagonist in Gujarat polity. In 2002, the English media in particular in the country and also the western countries like the European Union and the US made their intention clear about their assessment about Gujarat, and more particularly perhaps on the people of Gujarat. My assessment as I recorded in my first book ‘Godhra- A Journey to Mayhem’ published in 2004 by Samskriti Publication, was that such merciless killings of a battered community – the Muslims - could take place only on a soil “fertile” with religious “prejudices”. There was truly a climax situation as hardliner communalism had assumed ominous spectre in a state, which otherwise took pride in a growth rate equaling that of China. The real challenge today lies in understanding and explaining well this paradox. Like any complex society, Gujarat poses special problems for a journalist not only while reporting communal violence, as was in 2002, but also when one is sitting miles away and years after that pogrom thinking about the state,its people, its political class and the 'development' under the vilified chief minister Narendra Modi. Unlike scientific inventions, in social science, there are hardly any drastically new and original ideas. Therefore, in more ways than one I base my observations on Gujarat to a plethora of studies, media reports, analysis by political commentators and of course the interviews I have from time to time with people including from both sides of the political divide. Gujarat is truly a proof of the statement that prosperity alone does not lead to idealism of secular values or modernization, tolerance and accommodation. The Human Development Report by United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) 2011 says that economic growth is no criterion of human development or a happy nation state. In Gujarat, the multi-pronged developments have come; but the social prosperity is not accompanied by human development or the moral order. According to some, developments would have come under any chief minister; and some others say like 'development'is visible in Delhi; it is not as much reflected in physical terms/infrastructures in Ahmedabad or other cities. In another report, ‘India Human Development Report’ released by the Planning Commission and the government of India, it was stated that despite impressive growth, Gujarat has not been able to reduce malnourishment levels, while Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, the two known most backward hubs in the country, have done better in improving the lot of their marginalized Dalits and tribals. Many say, the moral order as was understood traditionally and cherished in folktales is increasingly vanishing under the pressure of survival and challenges associated with so called modernization and materialistic comforts. This is no doubt a national and also a global experience. But in Gujarat, the core values are perhaps vanishing faster, I say this with no intention to hurt the sentiments of the locals and with all respect for the highly enterprising skills of the people of Gujarat. The joint families are breaking into nuclear ones sometime by design sometime by deceiving the simpleton and traditional parents. With modern education, what is expected is that legalistic moral codes would prevail. But the 2002 arson and loot carried on by the middle class displaying the baser human instincts only proved that there was complete collapse of social leadership. It was a case of virtual decay of the social values. When middleclass women including pregnant ones and youngsters in jeans took to looting of malls, the transformation was telling. The intelligentsia has also perhaps failed to appeal to the commoners especially on issues bordering religious belief. And under Modi, it’s largely alleged that there has been hardly any attempt from the state to introduce any coherent moral order. In fact, not only Modi, the vices like saffronisation of the village home guard and state police was near complete even under Modi’s illustrious predecessor Keshubhai Patel and the late Haren Pandya, whose murder is a keenly seen legal battle today. The social reforms could not come to Gujarat even in the 19th and the 20th centuries. When new societies like Brahmo Samaj set their face against what they considered extravagant, the people reviled them as “pro-Christian and anti-national”, according to a local historian Vijay Singh Chavda. And once VHP and other Sangh Parivar elements got the upper hand, the voice of tolerance, accommodation and respect for other religious believers vanished. “The intelligentsia were either threatened or suppressed” and only the likes of Pravin Togadia were at liberty to propagate their viewpoints. Like developments everywhere, in Gujarat too, the ‘development model’ of Modi has its share of gainers and losers. For obvious reasons, the Modi detractors are pinning down on the losses and negativity. Losers are generally from lower strata of the society – the landless and displaced. The affected belonging to poorer background economically and backward castes have been in the process also got marginalized and isolated in some pockets. (lets c the feedback, I could continue this further .....)