Decoding BJP’s Big Win: Has UP risen above caste based politics?

 

Decoding BJP’s Big Win: Has UP risen above caste based politics?

BJP has won Uttar Pradesh legislative assembly elections with a mind-boggling never-before kind of performance. With BJP+ winning a total of 325 seats out of 403, it has emerged as the single largest party in Uttar Pradesh elections, 2017.

What makes this win more remarkable is the fact that no one was expecting it to be this grand. Neither the exit polls nor any political pundits predicted this huge win for BJP.

Decoding BJP’s Big Win: Has UP risen above caste based politics?

BJP workers, leaders and followers, all are elated, and why not? Combo of Modi and Amit Shah has delivered the impossible.  With Akhilesh’s Samajwadi Party(SP), and Mayavati’s Bahujan Samaj Part(BSP) losing many of their traditionally trustworthy seats to BJP; a question that is coming to everyone’s mind is, have Muslims and Dalits finally softened towards BJP?

Answer is not a simple yes or no here. It may only seem like Uttar Pradesh has risen above the caste and religion based vote bank politics. But, the reality is far more different. Then how come BJP was able to pull out a victory like Deoband?

Decoding BJP’s Big Win: Has UP risen above caste based politics?

I hate to use terms like ‘Muslim or Dalit’ votes; but if we have to understand the voting behavior of UP population then one cannot ignore these terms. As even if Muslim votes constitute only approx. 19% of the total votes; they along with the Dalits, have been a major force in deciding who will sit on the Chief Ministerial seat of Uttar Pradesh.

Surprisingly, other than BJP, all the other parties have tried to woo this 19% of vote bank. Be it congress, SP, or BSP; and they have done it successfully too in the past. The main reason behind this was that Muslims and Dalits have always shown a unified support to one of these parties in the past; giving the said party a major advantage in elections. Their collective support against the undivided support of rest of the votes had turned the tide in favor of their supporting parties in the past.

With SP relying on Muslims and Yadav’s vote; BSP on Muslims and Dalits; Congress on Muslims and rest (pandit, baniya, etc); BJP was mostly left behind to 2nd or 3rd place in vote counts.

Decoding BJP’s Big Win: Has UP risen above caste based politics?

 

This happened in past elections too. Once when Muslims and Dalits unified their votes to make BSP supremo Mayavati win the UP-CM post. But in her 5 year tenure all she did was to create huge statues of herself and Kanshiraam along with gigantic elephants in the name of beautifying UP. She did helped Dalits in getting government jobs but that’s it. Her lack of vision in doing something more long lasting for Muslim and Dalits, failed her miserably; as in next elections Muslims vote unified with Yadav’s to give SP’s babua Akhilesh Yadav a chance to become youngest chief minister of state.

Decoding BJP’s Big Win: Has UP risen above caste based politics?

Expectations were very high with this young and educated Akhilesh, but alas, he had the vision but neither controlling power of his own MLA’s nor the proper execution skills. He was not able to deliver much. When he said, “Kaam bolta hai”, only thing speaking was a single highway in his 5-year tenure as CM.

Decoding BJP’s Big Win: Has UP risen above caste based politics?

Furthermore, his split/no split drama with his father and uncle also divided the line between the true loyalist Yadav voters and the educated Yadav followers. This whole family soap opera looked merely a distraction to avoid embarrassing questions on lack of development. In-fact the old loyalist of Neta ji felt that babua has cheated on the legacy of his father. He is not the right candidate to take this party further ahead.

Decoding BJP’s Big Win: Has UP risen above caste based politics?

Akhilesh too didn’t delivered to his promises to his voters. Final nail on coffin of SP was hit by its alliance with Rahul Gandhi’s congress.

Decoding BJP’s Big Win: Has UP risen above caste based politics?

Congress?? What?  What to discuss about nonexistent things?

A non-delivering SP, and a non-promising BSP were not enough to stand against a fast-paced BJP lead by a charismatic leader Modi and mastermind king maker Shah.

Shah has chosen each contesting candidate by himself. Coming to his true form, he didn’t give a single seat to any Muslim candidate. His focus was neither Muslims nor Dalits, but the OBCs and rest of Hindus. This was deliberate as BJP know it very well that it is hard to impossible for BJP to get Muslim and Dalit votes.

Decoding BJP’s Big Win: Has UP risen above caste based politics?

19% of that Muslim vote has still not voted for BJP, but what the rest of the voters voted for is quite clear with the mandate. Jats, OBCs, Thakurs, Pandits, Vaishya etc. have turn the tables now. 19% don’t matter when you have more than 50% with you. This was the election between minority and majority; and this time majority was unified against non-development.

BJP can really cash it in future elections too, especially in coming 2019 election. But, for that BJP must truly deliver on its line of development – “sabka saath sabka vikas”. As in one interview Modi has himself said – if I will build a road, it will not be for Hindus only. Every religion, every caste will benefit from development. So, my focus is on development.

Decoding BJP’s Big Win: Has UP risen above caste based politics?

Let’s see if BJP can deliver on its promise. My hopes are high. What do you think?

 

Be a (Wow)Man

 

Be a (Wow)Man

We celebrated International Women’s Day yesterday, and instead of writing about women I wrote this article on men. Something is terribly wrong with me. 😛

It was not intentional though. As I started to write about what does being a woman feel like, how hard it is to be a woman; I just asked myself; is it easy being a man?

When I look at men around me, it feels like they are living a life of stereotype too. They are also not free. Not free to be what they really want to be. As soon as they step from boyhood to manhood, they are told to man up.

“Be a Man. Man up.”

Just imagine that you are saying these words to someone. What does these words mean to you? What is the message they convey?

Be a (Wow)Man

For me, the immediate thought was to tell someone to ‘be brave’, ‘be strong’, ‘be without any weakness’. In short, do not tell me what your problems are, face them yourself. You are a man. Do not cry. Do not show me your weakness. Do not let me see your pain. Do not show your emotions.

Absurd, right?

I am conditioned to think this way about what being a man means. Most of us are. Now for me, ‘Be a Man’, means nothing else than a stupid patriarchal statement.

Why stupid? Well, I don’t think that men are stronger than women. I know few women who are much stronger than most of the men. Being strong, physically or emotionally has nothing to do with gender.

Brave? You are not going to war anymore. You may go to war-room to confront your boss, but so are the women. In-fact when you were using a weapon to prove your bravery in wars, some of the women were bravely handling both house and outside work to feed their family. Bravery is measured by the size of enemy in front of you. you were fighting with another man; while women have always fought against whole world.

Be a (Wow)Man

Be a man, what does it even mean then?

Come to think of it, have you ever heard someone say, ‘Be a Woman’. I have never-ever heard anyone say it to me, and believe me I have heard so many suggestions…. Be a well-mannered daughter, to sanskari-bahu, be a loving wife, to a good sister, even a good cook… but never have I heard – ‘Be a Woman’.

I wonder if I say, ‘Be a Woman’ to my female friends, how will they react to it?

Women don’t have to be told ‘to be a woman’, unlike men, who may need constant reminders. Lol.

Be a (Wow)Man

Well, considering everything I can say that the only thing that can remotely sum up being a man is not to show your true emotions. Boys don’t cry, right?

Why and when did we put these criteria for being a man, that you cannot show your human emotions? Why would anyone want to be like this? Isn’t it hard to be such a man? Why to be a man when all it means is to be emotionless? Is it worth it? Worth being such a man?

Be a (Wow)Man

Be a woman, or be a wow-man. If all of this is confusing, then just be a kind and compassionate person.

That’s enough.

 

New Year, Old Me (Mostly)

New Year, Old Me (Mostly)

Welcome 2017. Happy New Year to you.

2016 was an eventful year. It was bad for some, worse for some and few lucky ones enjoyed it too… but one thing that I am sure of is that 2016 didn’t had any dull moment. It was a year of ups and downs; unpredictable and unimaginable things becoming reality, and some insanity coming into existence. This may or may not be a little pointy finger towards Trump’s win.

2016 was the year of Hermit, and it turns out to be true to its nature. A true Hermit it was, especially for me on a personal and professional level. A lot of introspection. A lot of things which were deep down and buried inside in me, surfaced out and were slapped on my face again and again, until I dealt with them. Insane, right?

New Year, Old Me (Mostly)

It was a year of awakening and realization.

If you went through some self-realization or some major upheaval last year, then you could be among the few lucky ones. Your life most probably is changing for the better. 2017 being year belonging to Wheel of Fortune; your destiny may have something better for you this year. Take it as a reward for all the crap you dealt with last year. Or, if you are like me, enjoy every moment; be it sorrow or joy.

If you think that I am going to unload whole Tarot or spirituality stuff all over you… no-no, no such intention. Although I may try that in some other post… well, I love to scare people.

New Year, Old Me (Mostly)
New Year, Old Me (Mostly)

For me, it was a year of observation. I was just a witness and observing, as all who were/are around me went through some major life S#@t last year. Every person I connected with last year went through such major life crisis; it was horrible to even think of the pain they must have gone through. It was hard for me too. Especially when you see your loved ones, your relatives, your friends, and some strangers who turned friends; go through painful life moments, and you are just standing there trying to think of saying something which will help soothe their pain, or give them a right direction. I tried my best, but kind words are not enough sometimes. I wish I could have a magic wand…. Coming to think of it, even if I will have a magic wand, I may not change anything. One thing that I have understood in past 2 years is that each person must go through his own s#!t in order to grow. No one else can do it for you. we can just share some kind words and be there when you need someone to talk to. You must do it on your own. One promise from me is that you won’t be alone.

New Year, Old Me (Mostly)
New Year, Old Me (Mostly)

Another promise, I will not change. Well, I will improve, but I will not change myself. I have reached a point where I am happy with the way I am, with everything in me. So, in 2017 too, my focus will be only on learning new things and improving myself, not to change anything in me. If you are not happy with the way I am now… well good luck waiting for me to change.

Happy 2017. Love you. ❤

 

 

When it looks like hate is winning

When it looks like hate is winning
When it looks like hate is winning

Good over Bad. Love over Hate.

These are the beliefs we all believe to live a hopeful life… a life to look forward to. We are taught to lead our life this way. If we do good, we will get good results.

Remember, what you sow, so shall you reap.

But, what if you see hate winning, and winning it like never-before?

What if you can reap exact opposite of what you sow?

Can it be a just world then?

Is it justice?

It doesn’t look like it. It doesn’t feel like it. It feels sick in stomach. Painful. Dreadful. Dark.

When it looks like hate is winning

Here is where I would like to stop you now. When you feel like this just remember that it is darkest just before dawn. We must go through the worst to reach our best. This is a simple rule of life… we must go through it. We must overcome it.

You know why it is said that hate can never win over love. Because, love never stops. Goodness never stops. We keep on loving. We keep on spreading goodness and love. In-fact we should spread more and more love as world now needs a lot of it.

Political scene is changing drastically almost everywhere in the world. This change is neither smooth nor expected. It is an apocalyptic change, and it is happening in every corner of this world. People around the world are bringing this change by their votes, by their say, and by their actions. Be it Brexit or current US election, or stimulated political environment in my home country India. This change is too much. Too much for us to handle and accept, and to adapt to.

We are just not ready.

Problem is not in these major changes but our inability to accept them.

Coming to recent election of Trump as next US President, before we start hating him (more), and declaring him as #NotMyPresident. Do think of certain points.

When it looks like hate is winning

First most, and most important one, he was not elected against a virtuous leader. It was not the fight between good vs evil. It was just bad and worse fighting with each other. You guess which is worse and which is bad. But, it was never a winning situation for USA, no matter who would have won.

Another thing which we need to consider is that, again, as whole world is going through major changes; USA need some major changes too. This election of a non-political and inexperienced leader proves that people want to see someone who is not part of the system, to rule the system. It could turn out disastrous or totally opposite, but we should keep an open mind.

With this election, Americans have spoken very clearly that they want to bring back ‘good old days’. Doesn’t matter if those good old days are going to be good for rest of us or not. They want to go back. They want someone with traditional values, traditional promises. Although seeing the lifestyle of elect president I hardly think he is an epitome of traditionalism.

Losing hope is never an option. If we are given this result, we must be hopeful that there must be something good coming out of it. Give him a chance. He has already shocked all of us; he may surprise us too. Do not lose hope. Instead hope for him to change his ways, his words, and his actions, for the betterment of this country.

When it looks like hate is winning

You win some, you lose some. Just make sure, you learn.

Always. Learn. Love.

 

 

 

Why Olympic Medal is more a dream than a reality for India

I was so keen to write this article; especially after Shobha De’s disgraceful remark on Indian athletes; but I decided to wait as I wanted the Olympics to be over first. Frankly, it does not make sense to postmortem something which is still active. Rather, let it get over, and then analyze on what could have been better.

Today is the last day of Rio Olympics, 2016. Till now, India has won 2 medals; one silver by PV Sindhu, and One Bronze by Sakshi Malik. Last day on 21st, I hope India will win some more; but honestly it doesn’t change the fact that out of 117 total athletes sent; largest delegation so far; we manage to get only 2 medals. It’s a shame.

If you are an Indian who is trying to convince yourself that Indian athletes are competing against so many odds and winning 2 medals is enough; then you should be really ashamed to undermine India.

No, I am not trying to be Shobha De here. Could never be. She is a disgrace. Every athlete who has made it to Olympics deserves respect and much more. I just want to put emphasis on why we Indians who are 1.2 billion in number, could manage to grab only 2 medals in a world level competing event.

Some of the comments that I have seen/heard from our expert panel of Olympic specialists on Facebook, are – Indian government offer no infrastructure to its players; Indian government does not pay enough money to its players; government is doing nothing to help create good Olympic players. Players live in poverty. There is no money after their sports life. There is no career for these players. Etc.

Honestly, some of this is true. But, only some of it. Problem is we do not see the big picture. When we say India is not providing good infrastructure to its players, we compare India with UK and USA. How can we ignore the countries like, Jamaica, Kenya, Netherlands, Kazakhstan, Ukraine, North Korea, Azerbaijan (I never heard of it before, my poor GK to blame), Ethiopia, Vietnam, Kosovo, Tajikistan, Malaysia, Lithuania, etc. They all are above us in the tally of Olympic medals, and if not all, then some of these countries are not as developed as we proudly boast about India. Mera Bharat Mahan.

Just for the sake of it, let us assume, that these countries are giving their players some extra support which India does not manage to provide just yet. Isn’t it shameful too?

Let’s not compare ourselves to these countries; so let’s go with the one on top – USA.

Do you know that there is no federal support for US Olympians? There is no sports ministry in US government. There is a non-profit corporation called US Olympic Committee, which manages Olympic programs and players. They are solely depended on generosity of American people and corporations for all their funding. They receive nothing from government, unlike other countries.

If you think that American players don’t need money, or they must be super rich. Then also you are wrong. There is one Michael Phelps or Simone Biles, who are earning in billions through endorsements; but you will find many athletes who work hard whole year and didn’t make it to top team, or just didn’t win any medals. Main income of these players is through endorsements. If your game is not popular, and you are not winning medals; you will get no endorsements, so no money. Most of the players are funded by family or friends, local businesses, or through crowdfunding. Some are given stipend by USOC. But, most of them who did not receive any funding; they have to do part-time jobs.

Gwen Jorgensen, I saw her Triathlon yesterday, she was an accountant. Jared Frayer, wrestler, is a coach. Jazmine Fenlator, diver, is a dog walker. Kerron Clement, Hurdler, do modeling. Emil Milev, shooter, is a teacher. Jonathan Cheever, snowboarder, is a plumber. Taylor Fletcher, Skier, is a waiter. Most of them are not coming from rich background. They come from families like mine and yours. Families who have gone bankrupt in order to support expenses of sports equipment and travel needs of players.  These players either do part time jobs, or are totally dependent on their family support. Life is not rosy even for USA Olympic athletes.

US government do give bonus to its medal winner. It is around $25K, $15K, and $10K respectively for Gold, silver and bronze winners. They also deduct heavy tax on these medals.

However, latest that I have heard is that Indian Government is giving 75Lakhs to Gold, and 50L to Silver winners. State government’s  gifts and other endorsements are an added bonus.

If you win a medal, you will get endorsements and gifts, just like athletes from other countries get. If you don’t get a medal but still stand out in an event; like Deepa Karmakar; you may still get good endorsements. But, what attracts these players the most other than playing for their country and winning medals and cash prizes, is a government job.

Indian government do spend less money when it comes to sports; but it is providing something much more valuable than that. Indian government-run organizations like, Railways, Army and Police; they consume these athletes in government jobs. In India acquiring a government job is more or less like winning a lottery. If you are a well-doing athlete, you may never have to go to office and still get your salary each month. If you are not doing well then you may get a data entry kind of desk job, but still you will get promotions based on your performance. In fact, colleges too give admission to students under sports quota. One of my friend get admitted to a reputed college in Delhi University based on sports quota, where I didn’t even when I scored much higher. But, she deserved it. She put her hard work and sweat in it, to win that sports reservation, unlike others who just use their caste. Our system does help sports players. It may not be enough for some of us, but for few it is all they need.

Have you ever thought about, why most of the Indian athletes are coming from poor background or villages of India? One of the reason is this government job. They don’t get good education, or other support; if they can just put all their physical strength in a sport and manage to get selected in national team; they do have a chance to get a government job. For this they give their all. They work hard, day or night. They struggle every step, and some of them manage to clench medal for our nation.

My question to you is – why not many players are coming from middle class, or upper middle class, or high-class families? Why not Shobha De’s daughter/son is competing in a sport? Why is your daughter not doing gymnastic? Why your son is not doing track & field? Why your sister is not competing in wrestling? Or your brother in discus throw?

Problem is we judge success of a person by the amount he is earning; not by how many medals they have won in a sport, or by how content he/she is with what they are doing. We want to make our kids engineer, doctor, manager, business person; but not sportsman, maybe a cricketer but not any other sport. We want them to work in a multinational company sitting in a centralized office; not sweat for India in an unkempt stadium. We want medals but we don’t want to be sports players.

Why Olympic Medal is more a dream than a reality for India

Even when there is a chance of getting a government job; there is a lot of toil which goes into making a Saakshi, or Deepa, or Sindhu. We expect our kids to study 20 hours in a day; but not to wake up at 5am and run 3 miles. For parents, if you are playing sport, you are evading studies and actually ruining your career. What is a career?

Our government has not built proper stadiums for our kids. Our schools do not have good coaches. We do lack infrastructure. We don’t have swimming pools in every society, we do not even have gymnastic poles accessible, no diving place, no biking lanes, no running track. This is a major deterrent in motivating our kids to pick up a sport. Whatever government provides through sports budget; that is eaten up by the bureaucracy and corruption. Level of corruption is at its peak, just look at the recent Narsingh Yadav controversy; or at commonwealth games corruption records. We play politics in sports. Those who are sitting on top of selection committees, they play favorites. These officials don’t even know how to fill paperwork for Olympics. They are not at all professional. One of the main reason USA wins so many medals is that their government is not interfering with the sports. It is the passion of people who is motivating and funding sportsmen. If only India could keep its politics aside from games.

We the people, the ones, who can afford sending their kids to sports clubs having swimming pools, we are not mentoring our kids for Olympics; and the ones who are preparing for Olympics, they can only afford rivers and local ponds to practice swimming.

Those who are winning medals for India, if you look at their background; they are either children of former sports players; or they are picked and trained by former players. A sportsman knows the passion behind it, and they want their kids to feel the same. They want to leave their legacy through their students. They invest not only their money but everything to make their kid a world-class player. They don’t get much in return, just a satisfaction of doing something for their country. They are the true patriots, unlike us whose patriotism can be seen only on Facebook and not in a field.

We live and breathe cricket. We have the world’s best cricket players. We play cricket not only in stadiums but on roads, in schools, everywhere. We are experts in giving advice to our players, and in criticizing them. We love it. So, how many world cups we have won in cricket so far?

We can consider cricket world cup, same as Olympics is for other sports, right? So how many world cups?

We don’t even have enough passion for cricket.

We can build world-class cricket grounds; but we can’t build world-class track fields?

It’s not that we lack talent. We boast of our diversity. We have strength and we have money too. We spend billions on cricket. Just think of it, what if we can pool money within a society and build a swimming pool, or donate to our local school so they can hire a good coach, or build a sports gym. Why don’t we take our kids for running in the morning? Motivate them for biking. Teach them not only how to swim, but also different types of swimming techniques. Why not enroll our kids in gymnastic classes? why not lead by example. Why not do all of these ourselves and inspire our kids to take interest in sports?

I see passion of sports in almost every family of USA. Parents play with their kids. They teach them. Weekends are reserved for family. Time to play sports. They swim together, they play ball together, soccer, tennis, running, biking. How many Indian parents take time out to play sports with their kids? We shake off our responsibility by sending our kids to cricket coaching and that’s enough sports for us. We ourselves don’t play. Why would our children be interested in any sport then?

It is not a government who makes Olympic medal winner. It is a coach, a parent, a partner, a local investor who helps in shaping a Saakshi, Sindhu or Deepa. Be that parent, be that coach. If you can’t be that, at least become a sponsor. A change in our attitude is needed, if we want to have Gold in our hands.

 

 

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