Varnam blog

I have been guilty of not reading regularly the excellent blog maintained by Jayakrishnan Nair (‘Varnam’). He is part of the Takshashila Institution. I too blog on its ‘National Interest’ platform. So, he is a fellow blogger.

One has to learn from his single-minded focus on history and archealogical evidence pertaining to  civilisations. There is a wealth of learning waiting to be grabbed on his blog site.

I present two of the interesting blog posts that I caught up with recently. The second one is from last year.

You must note one style of JK. In the first paragraph of his posts, he states the existing position or hypothesis that he, then later in the post, either sets out to refute or validate. That first paragraph is not his view. He provides a quick overview/summary of the current ‘state of play’ on the subject.

This odyssey into ‘Varnam’ this morning happened because I was catching up with the emails that are sent out by Rajiv Malhotra (author of ‘Breaking India’ and ‘Being Different’) email group.

He had posted about a book, ‘Is Indian civilisation a myth?’ a book written by one Prof. Sanjay  Subrahmanyam, chair professor of Indian history at UCLA. The professor apparently tries to argue, according to RM, that there is no civilisational India. Bah! Of course, I am assuming here that RM had read the book fully and has captured its core message correctly.

If it were true, then even cursory evidence from Indian literature and the peripatetic lives and teachings of our saints would convey that India was a strong civilisational entity.

In its own small way, this aricle by Aatish Taseer refutes effectively the purported message of Prof. Sanjay Subrahmayam’s book.

Also, when we take showers, before we pour water over our body or head, we say a small sloka to invoke all sacred rivers and praying to them to come and be part of the water that we are going to pour over ourselves:

‘Gangaicha, Yamunaichava, Godhavari, Narmade, Saraswati, Sindhu, Cauvery Jalesmin Sannithim Kuru’. If nothing else, this sloka alone should establish the civilisational unity of India.

In their own small way – this is not likely new information for many of you –  Varnam’s blog posts revalidate how water (or its disappearance) played a central role in the disappearance of civilisations and kingdoms and countries. Modern India is hugely at risk on that score too. That was the fate of Harappa and Cambodia.

We should make ‘Varnam’ a habit. We will be wiser.

Timely and right

This blogger is personally pleased that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has chosen to announce that its Prime Ministerial Candidate for the 2014 Lok Sabha elections (it could come earlier) will be Shri. Narendra Modi, currently the Chief Minister of the State of Gujarat. It puts to rest all speculation. It allows the party leaders (assuming there are some, apart from Mr. Modi) and the cadre to focus on winning the elections rather than in backroom manoeuvring. It is really a pity that Shri. L.K. Advani is unable to see the straws in the wind that are obvious to many.

TGS would be happy to see Mr. Modi being able to form the government after the elections and lead the government. It would be better if it were with a comfortable tally of seats for the BJP without much room (no room would be a lot better) for the so-called allies to block sensible economic decisions.

If opinion polls are any indication, India is truly sick and tired of being ruled by a bunch of Anglicized politicians and elites who have never been and who are not in touch with India’s aspirations and priorities. If only a way could be found for them to secede from India completely and irrevocably….

Now that Mr. Modi is the candidate, I would be gladder if we get to know his true agenda on the following (partial and indicative)

(1) Fiscal populism (Food Security Bill, for example) and fiscal and other forms of cronyism

(2) On the development and nurturing of democratic and other institutions in the country that act as check and balance on politicians and those that create level playing field between producers/suppliers and consumers and among producers themselves (regulatory agencies, for example).

(3) On the elimination of criminality in and criminalisation of politics – criminals cannot make laws and if they do, no one respects them. That is what is happening in the country today.

(4) On devolution of governance and administration to the lowest possible unit of governance along with their empowerment (fiscally and otherwise) to be able to govern

(5) India’s national security interests and priorities – the last thirteen years (no typo here), for the most part, have been a history of weak-kneed appeasement of China and Pakistan. No one – friends and foes – has respect for the leaders of a weak nation.

(6) A time-bound plan of action (including on education) to ensure that India’s demographic dividend does not become demographic deadweight

(7) Citizens’ responsibilities towards society and to the nation – for the most part, Indians are probably the worst free riders on the State and the Society – and that is why Indian politicians, for the most part, behave likewise. It is all about rights and no responsibilities.

If he remembers the following, he would do just fine:

Those who want him hoisting the Indian tricolour from the ramparts of the Red Fort in Delhi on August 15, 2014 want him only for one reason: he is not from the Congress Party and he is not from Delhi.

(cross-posted at http://tgs.nationalinterest.in here)