Monday, June 29, 2015

Event Management
Vasu Reddy From Chicago

It has been a very interesting June of 2015 for the BJP government in India.  Interesting the Government just got into its second year in power.  The first year in office of the BJP lead government was constantly focused on Narendra Modi and his travels and tribulations.  I especially like the Clean India, Clean Ganga, Girl Child and Education were my favorites outside of slew of good initiatives by the new government.  Weather repacked from the old government or the new initiatives by the Modi lead government, the first year of the BJP government was quite absorbing for the people of India and also the world.

This last few weeks have been quite different for the Modi government.  The never ending issues of the central ministers and state governments dragged into the old cricketing boss, supporting him with this visa status while living in exile in the UK has dominated the news and all of a sudden the media and the opposition has newsworthy fodder to start targeting the backbone of Modi lead government; scams.

Outside observers really can’t make a great deal out of a highly successful Indian entrepreneur who got into trouble and is living in exile in the UK having high level connections in political and business circles in India, and having friends in booth politics and industry.  He uses his old friends to help him with travel documents to travel away from UK to see his ailing wife and back to UK.  Obviously the current BJP government leaders in both center and state who were friends of the man who is a fugitive living in the UK, put a word in with the UK government to allow him to travel to see his ailing wife.  All this was done some time ago.  First, the man has been a fugitive since the last government was in power.  His travel albeit for a reason on humanitarian grounds should have been curtailed by the British authorities.  The British asking for references from senior level politicians from India, and also the Indian politicians providing the support for travel documents is all in the protocol between the two nations, and should have been handled through government to government channels.  Obviously the support documents submitted by the Indian politicians were within the requirements of the UK authorities to allow Lalit Modi to travel from UK and back to see his wife.

Modi has been vocal to the public and to his ministers and party men to toe the line of the party, and constantly vocal about any taint of a scam.  From the time he was presented as a candidate for PM, his credentials of a man who doesn’t need personal wealth, and also a man who is devoid of any money related scams was the first and foremost reason for qualification for the PM of India.  He has continued to focus on taint free management of India and its resources.  He is hands on with his government and its decisions and policies.  How did it happen that his senior minister make the decision to help someone who is a fugitive, especially that she is responsible for external affairs of the nation?

The previous instance of the state chief minister almost providing him support documents for Lalit Modi to stay in the UK, is far more of a personal nature as her family and his were friends.  It was also done several years ago, but could have been put in public domain to avoid any impropriety.  Before and after you enter politics you have family and friends, and it is natural to extend help to a friend.  But this incident could have been made public or the nature of communications through New Delhi and official channels to avoid a delayed embarrassment to the ruling party now.  Lalit Modi had a lot of friends and also a lot of resources.  He seems to continue to have a lot of resources.  He also seems to have itching fingers or self-destructive streak in him to constantly egg his old friends on a daily basis.  He is a tax evader and a fugitive for India, and India can simply ask the UK to send him home.  There is nothing stopping the current Indian government to take steps to bring this man to justice and bring him to face the law.

Why has Narendra Modi failed to be an event manager as constantly harped by the opposition parties in India?  In every positive action Modi took in India and internationally the opposition parties categorized him as an event manager rather than a leader of the nation.  All of a sudden both Modi and his government and also the opposition parties have switched the roles.  Modi is no longer an event manager, he is silent on the issue of Lalit Modi, and the opposition stopped calling him an event manager.

Modi as the leader of the nation should come out and say who, what, when, where and why on the actions taken by his ministers.  The grounds for humanitarian help is always a good cause, but is it applied to all the citizens of India? Or this becomes an exception for a privileged few?  Modi himself doesn’t belong to the privileged few of the nation to start with as his ministers who were of privilege.  Irrespective of the circumstance why were the senior members of the government ignoring the backlash that would come with such decision making?  Did they follow the protocol in issuing support documents to another government?

So many unanswered questions for the government.  Is Modi really an event manager?  Obviously not by this single incident of his ministers doing something that has caused global backlash on him and his government.  Whatever will be the actions taken by the government to bring Lalit Modi back to India to face the legal actions against him they will be looked as reactionary to the lapse of the government in providing travel support.  Weather intentional or humanitarian, Modi is not a great event manager.  For once the opposition will stop using the term to describe Narendra Modi as a great Event Manager.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Why Choose Politics?

Vasu Reddy from Chicago

Even before someone is a year old. The world starts looking at what you do, how you do things and why you do things.  It is meaningless to evaluate a little child, but with the availability of internet and telephony (at very little cost to the users) just about everything that we do is getting transmitted, and is available immediately and forever for scrutiny.  We simply google for anything and there it is.  One doesn’t need to tell their life story, it’s out there for just googling and dissecting.

While the internet brings information on to your screen with just a few key strokes. It also opens one’s life to the www.  If you are any kind of a public figure, then there is just about everything that you have done, documented for everyone to google.  The www continuously documents every bit of our history and present.  The simple search tools are of great value for learning and understanding.  The library of yesteryears is at your fingertips and on your computer.  In fact history, past and the present is relayed as is, and as things happen.  CNN started the trend of 27/7/365/366 reporting, and the coverage was most times unedited, unfiltered and reported thru the eyes of the reporter on the spot.  The events of 911 (which I heard on my car Radio driving to Miami, and then glued to the TV as it happened, Iraq war, now the ISIS and the in between Afghanistan and Osama Bin Laden, and all the strife around the world keeps the reporters and photographers very busy and well-travelled.  From isolated incidents of yester years, the killings and unabashed human carnage has been increasingly filling our viewing space.
One of the biggest viewership after the carnage and war, is the dirt digging of backgrounds on politicians.  From the American president’s birth certificate (the man is fifty years old and has been in public life most of his adult life) to the Indian prime Minister’s very young marriage, to who’s Kim Kardashian, all things are detailed in the greatest possible narrative.  The fund part of the coverage is not just simple reporting, what follows is continued coverage of every tidbit of information that is real and gossip, that is broadcasted all over the internet, radio and television, followed by the daily newspapers and magazines.  Until the next bit of reporting comes on the air, the channels continuously beat the last ounce of everything out of it, and then move on with the next sensational story.

While the ongoing and current events, specially the wars and disasters get great coverage, one of the great areas of aggressive reporting is often looking into the background and past referencing to anyone that is important (politicians mainly) or anyone that might begin to get public attention (again politicians mainly).  No information is sacred, and no one is sacred, no person related or friend or associate is spared and almost often the search is on for some dirt on the individual.
When you are a politician, or you want to become a politician the scrutiny is excruciating.  For a local level politician wanting to move to the national level politics, the media gives the X-Ray treatment from every angle.  The media doesn’t stop until they dig and dig into every aspect of the person’s life.  The media can and will twist and turn every event, every word, action of the individual in either good or no good.

The person under the intense scrutiny might not remember every instance of what the background reporting might stumble upon, and in what context.  In many cases the simple reactions to any of the instances can be simple human reaction.  But taken into the context of the media coverage today, a lot of gossip, hyperbole, and expert opinion gets added to the non-issue of yesteryears, and becomes political gossip of today.  After a series of intense debate by so called experts, the non-issue starts become something of a statement to defend.  Absurd but ruefully true.
Why would anyone want to be a politician?  Why would they want to be in constant scrutiny of the public?  Why would anyone want to be subjected to such public display of their private life?  Simple.  The power and adulation of the political office.

Monday, June 15, 2015

The Business of Killing

Vasu Reddy from Chicago

Outside of eat, drink and be happy, we also like the business of killing.  I am no longer sure of the word happy applies to killing, as we seem to be surrounded with the business of killing.  Where ever you live in the world, from the streets of Chicago, to worn torn Middle East, Asia and Pacific, and Europe and Africa, Australia and everywhere we live we seem to be obsessed with the killing business.

Most of my weekly columns don’t require any research.  They are mostly reporting facts as is, or opinions based on observation.  For writing this column, I spent considerable time looking for information on when did the human beings start this business of killing each other?  The internet has millions (may be billions) of references to our evolution, and along with the evolution into current human form, we also have a history of creating and using weapons.  Weapons to kill, what else?

A lot of time was invested trying to trace the first human conflict and invention of weapons.  All this stuff goes back to hundreds of thousands of years, and whatever little we can find on history of weapons and killing relates directly to about 500,000 years and the evolution of neocortex took place at the speciation of archaic homo-sapiens.  While this sounds more scientific and something we don’t want to dig into any deeper, it simply means that human beings brain began to process complex social phenomenon such as language and religion.  It was a long time ago when human beings as we are today when the creation evolved with brain large enough to appreciate and learn multiple languages and understand that we all might not be the same.  There it started, this whole business of logical thinking and illogical thinking, which leads into the business of killing.

I am a Hindu by birth, and believe in god.  Everyone in my family I believe are all believers in god.  Hinduism is also traced with a fairly long history, that predates any other religion is believed to be a way of life.  Our preachers and historians, and our elders all state the same; Dharma and Karma.  Simply agreeing to the oldest religion as the one which believes in reincarnation, it leads to the belief of being good and doing good, and you are rewarded with another human life which is in Hind scriptures as the most intelligent form of life on earth.

Not deviating from the business of killing (the author is not an expert on religion or history or anything else, except being a Hindu in the USA), our epics are all ending with the killing business.  We adore the Ramayana and Mahabharata, but they are full of great virtue of the revered Hindu gods and goddesses, and names of men and women who look up to daily, and pray for their blessings.  The stories which we have been telling for thousands of years, and we continue to read them, write them and practice them.  We love this mythology of our religion, and we cherish the values of the scriptures with the ever changing world, we hold them close to our daily life and in birth, in life and in death; in all instances we believe that the great scriptures are things that we live and follow.

Actually all religions that we follow and all religions we practice and follow are of similar practice.  People are asked to do well and be good in every religion, and then the interpretation of the holy books of each religion that we would like to embrace is what leads us to do what we do.  The business of being good and doing well is widely publicized, preached and asked to be practiced.  But what we are embracing is using our brilliance to fight and kill.  Much of the business of killing now a days is based on religious beliefs and disputed boundaries.

Us humans have been around for hundreds of thousands of years, and perhaps were at constant territorial conflict because of food or resources, and sometimes because of the opposite sex.  Only in the past two or three thousand years we have developed the fascination for killing in the name of geographic boundaries and religion.  In reality there are so many more of us on earth, and we continue to grow in population at alarming rates.  We are also developing ways to live longer and be more productive.  We are also finding ways to cut short our own life by the virtue of religion and geographic boundaries.  The business of killing seem to be blooming despite our ever expanding intelligence and comprehension.

Why are we in the business of killing? Only god knows.  Because outside of going to war for land grabbing, natural disasters are the only other reasons we use for mass killing is religion.  That’s the one thing only god can answer.  Every Holy Scripture preaches peace and coexistence, but those are the followers don’t want to practice it.  Why don’t we follow what we want to believe in?  There is no answer to this.

Monday, June 08, 2015

Better Leaders While in Opposition?

Vasu Reddy From Chicago

Indian politicians in the recent years have become more vocal while in the opposition.  The freedom of being in the opposition makes them bold and critical of every move made by the party in power.  Once in opposition the national and state and local leadership becomes very vocal and critical of every move made by the government in power.

A combination of available media outlets and the freedom of being in the opposition and also not having the responsibility of governing to the public, makes politicians experts on policy and governance.  Part of the aggression and analysis comes from the ability and time to analyze performance of the ruling party without the burden of governance.  Also a major part of the aggressive critique is because of the availability of information on every action of the government in power.

The available communications channels serve dual purpose; one – to get updated on everything possible instantly, two – react to whatever is being reported.  Adding to the instant availability of news and updates. The channels also broadcast commentary and opinion.  Most times the reporting is not objective, it is reactive and subjective to catch what is happening.  Many times someone is simply narrating what they see, as they see events happen.  This sometimes is not accurate, rather live narrative, and can be inaccurate.  But the viewer will latch on to any kind of negativity with which the information is being narrated.  This kind of reporting is often corrected as the details of the incident become clear.  Many times even after the corrections are aired to the reported events, the originally reported in accuracies will remain in the viewer’s mind, and most times the politicians are the group that latch on to the inaccuracies in reporting, and they certainly will spin them as facts, especially when the reports are about the opposing political parties.

This kind of opportunism is not limited to just the Indian politicians.  This is a common political phenomenon all across the world.  Politicians specially love to take reporting inaccuracies and twist them as facts, and add a bit of drama to the information and start story-telling to constantly use inaccuracies as facts.  Sometimes the debates on such inaccuracies take a life of their own and the inaccuracies start becoming facts, and be kept alive in the media until something else becomes a topic of discussion.

The opposition parties also have an advantage of the lection loss.  They all of a sudden have the time to reflect and react and repeatedly point to any deviation to election promises and manifesto of the party in power.  The opposition can be vocal in critique and knit pick on even at the programs that are in public interest.  It is great to be in the opposition as the public doesn’t hold you accountable.  You can make it a full time job to simply be a critic of the administration, and get the eye balls and attention.  The opposition also has a long sabbatical from governing, so that they can pretty much do and say anything that they choose to until the next election cycle.  Not being in power enables voice rehearsals, reviewing government actions, become active on networks as a political and social analyst and critic, all this while enjoying the freedom of not being accountable to public.

Pulse of the People Vasu Reddy From Chicago In the last couple of weeks I did predict that Modi will come back to be the prime ministe...