Manmohan vs Modi

Disclaimer: I know I might get shit for this post (from the five of you reading it) so here goes – I do not condone Modi’s actions during the Gujarat riots, and very sincerely hope that he never becomes the Prime Minister. 

Comparing Manmohan Singh and Narendra Modi is not an easy task, nor is the comparison fair.

On one hand we have PM Singh, the man who ushered in economic reforms in India, and led us to the path of growth which got us to where we are today. Yet for the past seven plus years, so terrible has been the management of the country that some even wondered if PM Singh actually does anything. However, through all the muck, PM Singh hasn’t had a single direct accusation of corruption against him.

PM Singh has allowed the country to be so magnificiently plundered by his party members (in name of coalition adharma) that it might just turn out to be India’s lost decade of growth. The situation is such that the CAG unearths a scam almost on a daily basis, and people rose in unison to the call of Anna this summer even though his demands weren’t the most democratic ones. Plus the epic mishandling of the situation betrayed the competence of such a qualified man. From CWG to 3G, billions of dollars have been siphoned off by politicians. Money that could have pushed development. Money that could have saved lives. Money that belonged to us, the people of India.

Just like the scams, terrorist attacks have become a regular event. Mumbai, which has been the location for most of these, has witnessed 3 major attacks since 2006, claiming the lives of more than 400 people. Delhi, Pune, and other parts of the country have been similarly affected. I remember the year I spent in Mumbai, and how I would eye every unattended bag on the trains with suspicion. No one feels safe anymore. Plus we have politicians (read idiots) in Tamil Nadu who believe that the killers of Rajiv Gandhi (an 14 others) be not given a death sentence. While Indians die on a regular basis, we keep delaying the execution of two known terrorists, as sentenced by the Indian judicial system.

One the other hand is Narendra Modi. The man who bungled in epic proportions in 2002, but since then has unleashed such a wave of development work that (at least) some believe that he should be the next PM.

He watched, and some say even instigated, as violent mobs swept through Gujarat killing innocent Muslims in one of the worst riots India has seen over the last couple of decades. I do not believe that anyone who allows the citizens of the country to be killed should ever be allowed to lead it.

However, he mended his ways since then, and such has been the development and growth of Gujarat, that The Economist said – “So many things work properly in Gujarat that it hardly feels like India.” On the security front, Gujarat hasn’t had a single incidence of terrorism since the Akshardham attacks – attributable to good policing, considering Gujarat would have been high on almost all terrorist organizations targeting India.

We live in a democracy, and all said and done, we do place our faith in the election process, and Gujarat has given him a mandate, twice.

So here is the dilemma – who would you choose, and why. Manmohan did good work, and then allowed India to be looted, and its citizens to be killed (even if through inaction). Modi allowed people to plunder and kill, and then did good work.

PS: I know that “coordinated” riots and terrorism are not the same thing, but the root cause of both have either been deliberate inaction (in both cases) or mismanagement. A PM can’t wash his hands off the responsibility of keeping people safe. 

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Mighty push for Open Access

Apparently Harvard University has mandated that all research publications made by its faculty members be made available for “free” (as in free beer??) online. It is a mighty push for a movement which recently started gaining a lot of momentum.

In a move to disseminate faculty research and scholarship more broadly, the Faculty of Arts and Sciences (FAS) voted Tuesday (Feb. 12) to give the University a worldwide license to make each faculty member’s scholarly articles available and to exercise the copyright in the articles, provided that the articles are not sold for a profit.

However, if you read the discussion below the article, it is not very clear whether it would be available soon after publication, or there would be a time lag before it gets online for free.

Whatever the case may be, it is a step taken in the right spirit and right direction.

Link via: Mashable

Links of the day

First – this brilliant piece of Dilbert. It reflects what I have felt about IT security for a very long time. I am sorry guys, but you have a damn difficult job.

Dilbert and IT

Next. An interesting piece by the right-winged Hindutva defender Arvind Lavakre. Read the article, and it does put up some good questions.

Finally. A place for all right-winged folks. Offstumped by Yossarian.

Disclaimer: I do not condone the acts of Narendra Modi in Gujrat or those of Buddhadeb Bhattacharya in Nandigram.

Congress rocks!

From Rediff:

Besides Rahul [Son of Late Rajiv Gandhi], the other young leaders who have found places in the AICC secretariat include Jyotiraditya Scindia [Son of Madhavrao Scindia], Ajay Maken, Priya Dutt [Daughter of Late Sunil Dutt], Milind Deora [Son of Murli Deora], Sachin Pilot [Son of Late Rajesh Pilot], Jitin Prasad [Son of veteran Congress leader Kunwar Jitendra Prasada] and Sandeep Dikshit [Son of Delhi’s Chief Minister Mrs. Sheila Dixit].

Is it just me, or does everyone see a pattern here? [emphasis mine]

Sad state of Indian judiciary

I am extremely sad and angry.

A thing that any father and mother should never have to do. A couple loses their young child and go to a ghat to bury his body. The ghat is in a very sorry state with dogs digging up remains of buried bodies. Someone picks up the story and files a PIL. The Government promises quick action.

So what has enraged me. The lines below from the PIL (emphasis mine).

That the Petitioner being a staunch Hindu from upper caste with status in life and good family background along with his above mentioned cousin and family prepared the body of master Raghav for being taken to a crematorium for dignified and honorable cremation.

Doesn’t a Hindu from lower class without status is life, whatever that means, have a right to diginified burial for his/her child?