In India Decides, you have given a complete picture of the country’s kaleidoscopic politics. Indeed, there seem to be as many parties in the fray this time as in all previous elections combined. And like you say, any of the regional parties could play kingmaker or spoilsport. While such a split decision making scene is not a good thing, it may not be entirely bad for the country. In the past before coalition politics became the order of the day, one single party, the Congress, had a field day. It not only paid scant attention to the states, it arranged for the unfair dismissal of non-Congress governments in various states. Today, it’s the states that are benefitting. A party like DMK has changed sides twice and has been ruling unbroken for 10 years. Clearly, its state, Tamil Nadu, must be reaping the economic gains, not counting other benefits that accrue from power at the Centre. The days when UP and Bihar ruled India are over. That’s true democracy.
The kingmakers have arrived, and trust me they will make India ungovernable. Economic progress and social improvements will take a back seat and the Prime Minister will be busy keeping the coalition members happy. All scientific projects will get the step-motherly treatment and money will be diverted to loan write-offs, and other meaningless projects that will only benefits the corrupt of the land. Be ready for perhaps the worst government since the British.
Nitish Kumar will not only be kingmaker, he could end up wearing the crown himself. As of now, outside the Congress and the BJP he’s the only candidate that seems to be totally selfless and untainted by corruption. In fact, he is cleaning up Bihar — no mean achievement in a state where Lalu Prasad institutionalised corruption and virtually gave it a folksy appeal. Nitish will be welcomed by the middle class because he has ideas, which the current crop of leaders lack. However, for Nitish to get to the top of Indian politics, the Congress has to lose big.
The success of the Scomi Group in bagging the contract to build the over Rs 2400 crore Mono Rail project in Mumbai should be welcomed by all Indians. Two reasons. One: Malaysia is a rising power economically, so India should make it conditional on the Malaysians to grant similar contracts to Indian companies. This quid pro quo is quite normal globally. Imagine, billions of dollars moving back and forth between the two countries. Two: By giving major projects to a country which has 8 per cent Indians, New Delhi ensures fair treatment of Indians in that country.
AMERICA FAILING TO FEED
Hungry America is a timely account of a country that is virtually on its knees. Imagine, the US spends trillions on wars yet a 10th of that could feed everyone and abolish poverty. The Greeks have a word — hubris — which means tragic pride which causes the fall of a great hero. Indeed, that’s precisely the problem with America; in its greed to corner the world’s resources, it is now witness to its own decline. All the military power at its disposal won’t come to its aid now. Those $2 billion stealth bombers are such a horrible waste.
NO BUNKING HISTORY
Gandhi at War was a brilliant piece because it showed a side of the man that only a very few would have known. His struggle against the nascent Apartheid movement shows M.K. Gandhi was ahead of his time. India should publicise the fact that Gandhi led an ambulance corps that saved hundreds of African lives at a time when the British and the Boers were treating black people like cattle or worse.
INDIA EMPIRE has added a slew of new sections and there’s a lot more to read these days. Truly, yours is complete magazine that gives NRIs as well as residents much to crow about! Please include more on tourism as most Indians outside are on the lookout for interesting places.