Sunday, August 25, 2019

India, chooses its battles wisely in changing times

Three government officials of Nagaland arrested in connection with NSCN Khaplang terror funding case
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India is changing. Ok, it is not a mere rhetoric. At the outset, this is not something you'd see daily for it to be thought of / realize. Promise, won't bore you with numbers & theorems. So, read fully before judging.

Peaceful international climate is a prized art. Can be made possible with just one master sculptor. India had that for thousands of years. Now, slowly we're claiming it back. Some thoughts on how things are moving in unseen wheels of change. Like wise, the battles that India has started too, is not about Military might (though it has one!) True to its ethos, India will use Military as only the last option.

Halal: Some weeks back, there was some issue with a food delivery company. It was organic. People took it up. But, during course of it, it was made clear that how it is not religion neutral at all. Halal, for example, is said to be employing staff belonging to one particular community. And now, McDonalds has joined the controversy in India. Saying, they only serve Halal. Now, people in India are now asking, why should we be forced to consume which we don't want to & why Jhatka is not available? Righly so.

Slowly & steadily eroding the practice of Jhatka meat (or any non-Halal meat processing) - which means, slowly & steadily one community is holding sway on the multi billion dollar meat industry. Now, think. This is not just in India. Halal is almost prevalent everywhere across the world. See the point?

Unknowingly, we've started to accommodate what a minuscule minority has imposed on us for their dominance. Now, the majority is just asking politically incorrect & logical questions. Can you imagine what will happen if the halal meat industry is hit big time, world over? Will discuss at the end about it.

RuPay: The push & pull of global economy always is from the nation which controls maximum money. Of others as well than just of its own especially. Right now, Master Card & Visa have been unquestionably dominant over decades on payment gateways. THAT China's Union Pay tried to break. Without much success, Union Pay did make a dent. The ultimate competition came from Digital payments from India with the launch of BHIM by NPCIL. Ever thought about paying in foreign countries using an entirely Indian product like RuPay Cards and BHIM? That's what has happened. What this means is that anyone can get it even outside India. Pay using BHIM / RuPay cards. UPI in major financial markets of Asia (Singapore, UAE) & oil market of Bahrain, Tourist destinations of Bhutan & Maldives (rings a Chinese gong?) This is just a start. India has plans to extend this to other markets. With Hong Kong facing trouble, money expected to move to Singapore, Seoul, Tokyo & Mumbai, this move is critical and timely.

I leave it to your research on the amount of money across the region will enter our payments gateway in Rupee and in other currencies, which will strengthen Rupee and India at a macro level.

Whoever thought about this approach to getting leverage / say in global economy. Hats off!

GCC: From being recipient awarded highest Civilian awards of Palestine, Afghanistan, Saudi, UAE & Bahrain. To the trust of a friend to getting ports for Navy in Oman to building a port in Iran to rescuing people in Yemen. Last but not the least, getting the warmth of the direct link of Islam - King Abdullah of Jordan. India has friends made quite good friends across the region. Why & how did this happen? Energy security in exchange for food security. You think, in normal circumstances it was even possible for us to get heard? We're not a member of the grouping even today, a country with largest number of Muslims.

Gulf countries have realized that radical Islam is real danger to their survival & they can't let it grow beyond a point even if it benefited them in the past. Let this thought gain more weight and let more people welcome it.

Renewables: Gulf nations are not only securing their oil for future use. But also investing heavily in renewable. The global push & pull for energy requirements will actually slowdown as many nations are expected to follow renewable route to energy self-reliance. Of course, all in the umberalla reason of saving Planet Earth & environment. You get it, right? :-)

With India moving towards either a fully electric or a hybrid ICE vehicle regime by 2025, it is surely going to help change a lot in current paradigm. Of course, it will have its own niggles, but that's okay for a long term betterment.

India's solar alliance, remember? It has nations from as far as Pacific island of Fiji to Solomon Islands to Bolivia in South America to Sri Lanka to Uganda, Gambia in Africa. Just to mention the reach. It is spread across the globe. Big & small. Do the math if 77 Countries of the world with France leading the initiative in EU. Japan helping with funding & technology. Ever imagined how this will dent the thriving war industry which is after energy rich nations & territories?

Terrorism: Next theater of terrorism & war on terror is not Arabian peninsula or Asia. It will be Europe. UAE in Persian Gulf is turning to sustainable terms of nation building & eradicating the evil of terrorism. Even Saudi's Crown Prince is talking about women's empowerment, eradicating radical elements from the region and religion. Afghanistan is already blaming Pakistan on the issues of terrorism. A destabilized Pakistan will only create another IS in the region. Which is not good for ANY of the stake holders - for at least 2000kms radius! Russia & China are doing their own way. While we in the immediate neighborhood need to be sure that we don't end up bearing the brunt.

Hence all the above steps are necessary. How?

A radical doesn't become radical on his own. The radical has support of political islam. Political Islam is the one which opposes anything opposed to religion of Islam. Meaning, they set the rules.

Ask the following questions:

Who imposed halal on non-halal markets?

How was hawala transactions done?

How much oil money flow into India for nefarious activities, without any data / metrics / measure / anyone monitoring it?

Now, that game has changed. Now what will a radical do when funds dry up? As of today, a radical is mostly from unorganized sector without job security & is working for meager wages with more than two kids. Living in poor quality life in ghettos. The entire economy of him & his family is outside the system. With this pace of digital payments, the move from cash less (also an option) to less cash (only as an option) will transpire swift expected. This also means, more people into the system / mainstay economy. No parallel economy. This will demolish the radicalist's economy. This is why there was a lot of noise during demonetization in India.

Discount the religion factor out. Just imagine the potential of a parallel economy that is possible by selling meat alone in a country as big as India through halal in almost every store (as there is no other choice!) with almost complete monopoly. This is where the hit has happened.

Do you notice a faster degradation of Pakistan Economy post-Demonetization? I am not saying it is due to DeMo. But, can it be a coincidence? Is Pakistan somewhere burning itself out to bring down India? Is it fighting a losing battle? Come what may, Pakistan won't exist beyond a point. It is already existing beyond its expiry date. With GCC moving closer to India than Pakistan & FATF threat looming, game is coming to a close for them.

More payments through our payment gateway, with our Income Tax Department & Government agencies closely watching the funding from abroad, it is gold mine of data & threats would be more swiftly acted upon. There is no other way out.

With concerted moves, India, chooses its battles wisely in changing times. Didn't fight all the battle thrown at it. It chose the battle it can win & put all the thrust in those places. Unlike China, which is almost everywhere & bulldozing, India is slowly steadily negotiating with stakeholders & settling things permanently. The soft power giant, has started a war without firing a single bullet which it aims to win as well, without firing one.

Let there be a peaceful world. Let radicals be wiped off, from this beautiful planet.

Jai Hind!

Sunday, June 02, 2019

Modi win is opposition's foolishness

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Narendra Modi. The man who was hounded since 2002 for the aftermath of Godhra train burning attack / carnage till he became Prime Minister of India. Some even taunt that at him. But, wholesome credit goes to fantastic negative PR by media - free of cost. Why am I saying this now? Read on, you will know.

In the movie "The Insider" there's a scene when Don beats down Bergman in a war of words, makes a erroneous statement. Mike interrupts & corrects him. By saying those golden words: "Fame lasts 15mins, infamy lasts much longer." THAT, ladies & gentlemen, exactly what Modi did. He tried to beat the media in their own game. Through silence & capitalizing on misinformation. Think about it. What is the average duration of a news cycle? Depending on the news, it ranges from a few hours to few weeks. If it is of national importance, maybe a year or two. Which fool thought that they can sustain a news cycle for 15 long years? I mean, seriously? You think people are not educated enough to go & do their own research? Mistake #1: Underestimating collective intelligence of the people of an entire state of 5.5 Crores.

Fast forward to 2014. Media people didn't stop there. They went (down) on even further. Literally playing second fiddle to a section of polity in the Country. Little do they know they are being kept engaged in the battle so that Modi could win the war. (I will not divulge into it further, for obvious reasons.) From one issue to another they kept on teaming up with polity & were instrumental in spreading fake news, building fake narratives, making news where there is none actually, selectively playing up outrage that suits a particular ideology. They did it all. They were anything but neutral. They went behind fact checking posters, but felt it is not needed in bigger issues (like Rafale?) Mistake #2: Opposition kept itself busy in a battle perpetually without contributing anything at all, to winning a war.

The messaging. Opposition didn't stop itself to a large extent from going beyond criticizing Modi. The opposition crossed thin line almost on a regular basis. Modi capitalized it as well. By just not stopping them. Over time, thanks to free data, the noise the opposition made on politician Modi has turned against them & being seen as an anti-National narrative. Well, if you don't believe me, play a video of any opposition leader (from past 5yrs) to a person from rural India & ask him / her about it. You will know the reaction almost similar from Gujarat to Vijoynagar. Mistake #3: Crossing the line of criticizing Modi to turning anti-India interests.

Now, take a step back. Think. Name a single national leader who can oppose Modi skillfully, tactfully & effectively in Delhi as of today? Every single regional leader who had PM ambitions have been sent back to their home state and kept busy there. Was watching news today, Maratha strong man is ranting about EVMs, TN first family is spreading fake news on language. While visionary of AP, Behenji & her nephew are missing in action. Didi, these days is getting worked up far more frequently about a humble chant. Mind you, few weeks ago, these were the people whom media were propping as a Prime Ministerial Candidate. Just see the fall? Mistake #4: Placing wrong bets on wrong candidates.

Beyond cities, where one can often see anti-Modi narrative, hardly anything in rural India. People were more or less happy about what they get & were long prepared to re-elect Modi atleast a year before. Thanks to opposition parties, which failed to prove the scam & go to Courts. The Courts drubbing the opposition parties by saying that there is no scam in the deal was a final nail in the coffin. Some in Delhi may not believe, but in rural India, people still believe Courts & rule of Law. They go by the courts & not some activists. These activists have only damaged the credibility of opposition. Even today, open some print media & see the Op-Eds. Think. You think people are even believing what they're reading? Trust me, people are treating Op-Eds as WhatsApp forward with a name. Every line that is said there, is immediately googled & searched in twitter for facts about it. As of today, telling a lie itself is difficult. These activists are writing & printing it as well. How foolish? Do they even know people use Google? Mistake #5: Over dependency on activists & the fatal move to confront collective intelligence through a few handful of elites.

The next mistake is a biggest of them all. Which fool gave you the idea to confront a popular leader who won his own majority by using media & negative PR? Have you even learnt a lesson from Gujarat since 2002? By letting the media destroying credibility themselves, Modi directly started his connection with people. You may not find his schemes effective. But, didn't you notice the number of beneficiaries he created over 5yrs & how many ambassadors he had created by then? What Modi did was a masterstroke of sorts. Within a few days of taking oath, he started his Mann Ki Baat. Opposition laughed at him. But, guess what? All the intermediaries were getting eliminated & he genuinely made an attempt to connect with people. Have you ever noted the time when it was telecast? That too is significant. It is mostly telecast when people are at work. Why? Because, people listen to radio while at work & trust me - it hits your brain. The trust actually got embossed like in a rock on a PM by the citizens. You think throwing a stone at such a person at this moment when you have nothing to show with credibility that he is corrupt will work? You called bhakts. You mocked him. People thought that you are mocking them. Joke is on opposition here. Didn't the opposition see this wave? How come they kept on attacking PM when he is still going strong & ultimately ended up sustaining an anger on them for their sins? What has opposition done to regain their lost credibility over the last 15yrs? Mistake #6: Never launch an attack until you are ready or your opponent is weak.

Conclusion: This win by Modi is, as I see it, more an anger against opposition which it helped sustain by doing all sorts of foolish stuff. I refuse now to buy the usual "Modi is the only alternative" argument. Just because Rural India voted differently & have unmistakable trust on PM. As I see it, it will take three things to come back to power. a) Responsible opposition for next 10yrs. b) Responsible media which also publishes positive news on India. c) Stop doing foolish things until Modi himself leaves the seat as PM.

Guess what? All three will have to be satisfied which I don't see it happen for the next 20 yrs atleast.

Just in case if you didn't realize. I haven't even even once indicated / spoken about the demonetization, religion, surgical strike or any other factors termed as a success by people outside Lutyen's Delhi all along. The 6 mistakes mentioned above are good enough to make my point.

If you think, I enjoyed writing above fully? WRONG. It pains me to see such a fantastic country being taken down by a few opportunistic politicians. The 2 dozen politicians loitering in Lutyen's Delhi, from various parties who think it is them, who calls the shots - better think again. 2019 polls was more of a change that has hit them. It is people of this great rich country who have called the shot. The result was always a ticking time bomb for them. These two dozen people & a few dozen journalists & activists should be kept away from corridors of power by any party that wishes to come to power in the near future. As a democrat, I want a pro-India Opposition party in the first place. Right now I can't think of one. Sadly. I will celebrate only when that day comes. Am quite sure, I will see that day very soon.

Jai Hind!