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Can Uttar Pradesh annihilate the NaMo opposition for another decade?

“The values of Sangh flow like blood in my veins… the day I die, I want to be draped in the BJP flag” whispered an audibly emotional and teary eyed Kalyan Singh to a huge gathering of party workers in the Jhulelal Park of Lucknow on January 22nd 2013. It was the homecoming of the prodigal son who had redefined Hindutva of..


The Punjab Exit Poll

“We have cleared all our dues to the banks by cash” said a self styled steel industrialist from Ludhiana, “our customers who buy steel from us have adjusted the money by depositing for future sales” he further explained. This was just days before Punjab went to polls and this is how the industrial hub of Ludhiana had coped with demonetization.


At the midpoint of Uttar Pradesh elections: Can there be a Saffron wave?

On Saturday evening, the 11th of February, when the import of BJP’s underperformance in the Jatland of western UP which went to polls in the very first phase began to sink in, there was a sense of déjà vuabout Bihar 2015 where again the party had begun to possibly stare at defeat from the throes of victory.


USHV fights back to keep the lotus afloat in Muslim dominated districts of Terai and Rohilkhand

“Save my honour” pleaded a teary eyed Savita Devi near the polling booth in the primary school of Murtazapur to all groups of men who were walking down the lane to cast their votes. Savita Devi is one of the scores of Jat women whose sons and husbands have been jailed for the Peda-Nayagaon riots of 2016...


BJP is not overwhelming like 2014, but is still in pole position after phase 1

[Disclaimer: 5Forty3 is not reporting, analyzing or projecting any exit-polls and is only making ground assessments based on reports from different parts of Uttar Pradesh].There are 2 great recent examples of electoral battles virtually coming to an end on the very 1st phase of a long election season. The first of course is 2014 general elections when BJP was so overwhelming on day 1 of polling


The NaMo wave 2.0 sweeps Uttar Pradesh

After the collapse of Babri Masjid on December 6th 1992, the central Congress government had arbitrarily dismissed all the 4 BJP ruled states of North India – Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Himachal Pradesh – to impose president’s rule. A year later, when these states went to polls, BJP lost power in three of those which effectively put a pause to all the ‘perceived’ gains of the Hindu nationalist movement.


Punjab at crossroads: a prosperous state in ‘invented’ turmoil

A group of Khalistani terrorists hijack a bus and communally segregate the passengers. 8 innocent Hindus are massacred mercilessly while the remaining Sikhs are left scot free. On that midnight hour when India was sleeping, Punjab had turned back the clock to bring old memories of a blood ridden partition to the fore again. This time, the war was not an external one with Muslims, but a battle within.


2014 was not the NaMo electoral Mount Everest!

"Unka program hai Indira hatao, mera program hai garibi hatao" those were the exact words uttered by Mrs. Indira Gandhi in a pre-election rally in 1971 when she unleashed the "garibi hatao" slogan that captured India's imagination. Between 1967 and 1971, Congress party led by Indira Gandhi (along with ally CPI in 1971) managed to increase its vote-share from 41% to almost 49%. In absolute terms,...


FIRST HINTS OF A NAMO TSUNAMI AFTER DEMONETIZATION

Five years ago, during the peak of Anna Hazare & Baba Ramdev led agitations against corruption, public anger across India was palpable. Literally millions of people in all cities and towns of India would throng local protest destinations with many of them joining in the evening after finishing their day jobs.


A SURGICAL SAFFRON SURGE IN HINDI HEARTLAND

Ukraura Mela is one of the many events of the Hindu festive calendar in eastern Uttar Pradesh during the Dussehra-Diwali season and is often seen as the platform to showcase the political power of various Bahubalis of Azamgarh. This year, during that Mela, there was a massive gun battle that resulted in at least a dozen people being injured. It was a mini-war between two huge Bhandaras organized by cousins Vijay Yadav and Pramod Yadav.


IS PUNJAB HEADING FOR A DIRECT TWO HORSE RACE?

We are suffering and the government is simply deaf to our woes” averred Surjeet Singh, a midsize farmer near the Bhagtawala grain market in Amritsar. He along with some 50 other farmers was sitting on an impromptu protest against the state government. A protest which had more than a 100 AAP activists and scores of journalists along with a few ward level Congress leaders.


THE ACQUISITION OF PROJECT NATIONALISM BY THE USHV ENTERPRISE

“It is not so manly to resign oneself to one’s degraded position or to sit weeping in the house like women, but it is our duty to strive strenuously to remove the cause of our misfortune” was a screaming clarion call of Tilak in his Newspaper, Kesari, in 1905. That was an India deep in slumber, resigned to her Karma of slavery to foreign powers. An India that simply had no will or means to fight back.


IN SEARCH OF A MISSING WAVE IN THE HEART OF A WOUNDED CIVILIZATION

Arre Naresh yaar ab tho bataa dey inko, ab tho main phas chuka hoon” (Naresh please tell them the truth at least now, now that I have been caught), a teary eyed Vijay Kumar is reported to have confronted Naresh Yadav in the Patiala police station on July the 5th. Vijay Kumar is the main accused here in the Quran sacrilege case of Malerkotla while Naresh Yadav is the Mehrauli MLA of AAP and also the “sah prabhari” of AAP’s Punjab affairs.


A SAFFRON COUNTRY WITHIN A COUNTRY PART 2: LOTUS BLOOMS AFTER 14 YEARS OF VANVAS

[This is a 2 part series on Uttar Pradesh elections 2017 based on Team 5Forty3 Survey conducted between June 28th and July 14th.]

In late May, BSP supremo, Mayawati had neatly divided the responsibilities of different castes among her lieutenants. Swami Prasad Maurya and R.S. Kushwaha where given the responsibility of bringing in Kushwaha, Maurya, Shakhya and Saini votes.


A SAFFRON COUNTRY WITHIN A COUNTRY: PART 1 – THE RISE OF A YOGI

[This is part 1 of the two part Uttar Pradesh election analysis based on Team 5Forty3’s survey conducted between June 28th and July 14th]

Today I am an independent woman who can take care of her children” says Prema Devi, a young Dalit Jatav ‘social worker’ near Kanpur who then goes on to add, “Mayawati ji gave us self-respect no doubt, but that is not enough to sustain our day-to-day lives; we learnt sustenance at our neighbourhood Swavalambi Seva Karya”. That Seva Karya is run by RSS in a nearby Seva Basti


1967 TO 2017: A BRIEF ELECTORAL BIOGRAPHY OF UTTAR PRADESH’S TRYST WITH HINDU NATIONALISM

Upjati chodo, Patel jodo” (forget the sub-caste and use Patel as the surname)

That was the biggest clarion call on that day in Lucknow when more than 2 lakh people had attended the Kurmi Rajnitik Chetna rally of Lucknow in December 1994, just 1 year after the SP-BSP government had come to power.


UDTA KEJRIWAL AND A NEW OPIUM FOR THE PUNJABIS

As Tommy ‘Gabru’ Singh is thrown into a prison cell full of young Punjabi addicts who start singing a chartbuster from one of his first Punjabi rock albums as an ode to their idol, he is told by another inmate that two of the singing lads had killed their own mother as she refused to pay for their drug. Gabru, with his widely dilated pupils looks into nowhere, unable to comprehend what he has unleashed,


WHAT 2016 COULD MEAN TO 2019?

Kanhaiya’s JNU movement becomes the harbinger of Communist revitalization in India”

“The grand revival of the Left in Modi’s India”


UNITED SPECTRUM OF HINDU ASSAM!

Immediately after the 2009 general elections many of the Urdu newspapers of India carried out their routine post-election exercise of publishing the lists of Muslim MPs elected to the 15th Lok Sabha. Most of these lists varied between 28 to 30 names listing out luminaries like Assaduddin Owaisi and Badruddin Ajmal among others. Curiously every Urdu publication had missed one name from the list,


THE BENGAL PUZZLE

“BJP is like a bride who has been getting ready with her bridal make-up for the last 2 years and we are still waiting to catch a glimpse of the bride’s face… I guess we won’t see her in 2016” avers Sudipto a 35-year-old techie from Kolkata who has been a life-long communist but had voted for Modi’s party in 2014. His words sum up the situation of BJP in Bengal as aptly as one could ever do. In fact, this is not just a one off anecdotal quote but a unique demographic-electoral reality


THE NORTH-EASTERN SUNRISE OF HINDU POLITY

In March 1977 there were 560297 registered voters in Mangaldoi Lok Sabha constituency of Assam which was among the rare seats that the JP movement managed to wrest from Indira Gandhi’s Congress Party that had won 10 of the 14 LS seats in the state contrary to the JP wave breezing across India. Almost exactly a year later when Hari Lal Tiwary, the sitting Janata MP, passed away, Election Commission of India


A BENGAL BLUEPRINT

This was the gist of the letter written by Maulana Muzaffar Shams Balkhi, a ‘Sufi’ saint in 1397 and it was addressed to Ghiyath al-Din Azam Shah, the third Sultan of the first Ilyas Shahi dynasty of Bengal. This letter also serves as a window to the prevailing demographic state of Bengal at the start of 15th century after 200 years of Islamic rule.


THE LAST 72-HOUR SYNDROME

On the 10th of November, the accepted logic among the BJP circles of Gujarat was that the ruling party is facing some resistance but would still scrape through in almost all the city corporations barring probably Rajkot. Less than a fortnight later, on the actual polling day on 22nd November, the picture had completely changed as the saffron party was even struggling in its citadel of Ahmedabad.


Being Salman Bhaijaan

As Salman Bhaijaan limps towards the barbed fence using a stick to support his gait with hundreds of people dotting the snow-capped hillock behind him, we are reminded of a non-descript Kashmiri mountain dwelling, albeit, on the other side of the line of control. It is a pivotal moment before the end titles are supposed to roll out.


Five Point Saffron Strategic Analysis of Bihar Polls

BJP must have a clear strategy to expose the blatant Muslim vote-bank politics of the opposition. A smart strategy for the saffron party would be to convert this election into a “development” v/s “return to jungle raj” election at the macro level while creating a Hindu v/s Muslim fight at the micro level by subtly campaigning for reverse polarizatio


Maggi, Maruti, Mandal and Mandir: the dying 80's brands in the Modi era

On a trip to Mexico in 1982, India’s then Information and Broadcasting minister, Vasant Sathe, discovered a communication strategy developed by Miguel Sabido of producing “telenovelas” (soap opera of the socialist world order) to promote social change and national development. Socialism of that era believed in these grand gestures of national magnitude that were supposed to alter societies through cultural manifestations and India’s “progressive thinkers” were no exception to such grandiosity. 


ISLAM, POP CULTURE AND THE DEMOGRAPHIC DEMON

That was a magical evening. That was an evening of joyous songs. That was an evening of hopeless romantics discovering the love of their lives. As hundreds of thousands of people gathered at the Champs-Élysées amidst neon lights and honking horns, there was unprecedented merriment everywhere. It was the greatest party that Paris had hosted since liberation day in 1944.


PROSELYTIZATION, AN UNNATURAL DISASTER

The ghastly sound of a strangely muffled drumbeat emanating from a sort of vacuum chamber just moments before the land shook coupled with the distant human cries of hopelessness arising from within the earth seemed real at times but more often felt like terrifying hallucinations. That was the nightmarish memory of the Killari Earthquake of 1993, when I was part of the small volunteer team from our town which had travelled under the aegis of the local Shakha of the RSS to


JAMES BOND COMMISSIONER, SUPERMAN HOME MINISTER AND THE JILTED LOVE FOR HONESTY

“Forensic experts could not come to a conclusion on the possible reason for the death (of IAS officer, D.K. Ravi)” a police officer has stated (in newspapers today) after going through the preliminary autopsy report at Victoria hospital. Probably, Victoria hospital’s doctors, forensic experts and investigators are all incompetent because just by looking at the body our very own James Bond, M.N. Reddi, the Bengaluru police commissioner, 


CAN MODI CONQUER THE DRAGON?

Ever since the sudden collapse of Soviet Union in the very early 90’s, there has been a large community of futurologists and political commentators who have tried with varying degrees of failure to predict the imminent breakdown of the only other remaining communist superpower, China. The inherent problem with such predictions is that no one can accurately time their assumptions about authoritarian regimes because of fundamental lack of political metrics 


THE CASE FOR AN INDIAN RIGHT INTELLECTUAL ECOSYSTEM

His body was placed on a raised chair in a sitting posture. From early morning, enormous crowds gathered to catch a last glimpse of their departed leader. People had started arriving in special trains from Poona and the entire area from Crawford market to Dhobi Talao was filled with a sea of sad humanity. All the mills and most of the markets were closed. It was as if the whole of Bombay had gathered together that day.


MUNAAFAA - THE MISSING LINK OF BUSINESSES TODAY

Recently Rajshri Productions celebrated 20 years of ‘Hum Aapke Hain Kaun..!’, which is undoubtedly one of the landmark Hindi films to completely revolutionize the business of movie-making in India. The economics of this film was way ahead of its time as it was the first Indian movie to breach the 100 Cr mark some 14 years before it became an industry norm


HOW THE INDIAN JUSTICE SYSTEM CONTINUES TO FAIL THE AARUSHI’S AND SUNANDA’S OF OUR COUNTRY

On a balmy May morning in 2008, Rajesh and Nupur Talwar woke up to find the brutally murdered body of their only daughter lying in her room. After discovering the body of the ‘prime suspect’, Hemraj, lying on the roof of the house a day later, the police were left scrambling to find the real culprits. Media reporters were seen sending live updates from the Talwar residence


Daylight murder of honesty in Karnataka

Some 9 months ago, Kolar, the Goldmine city, was suffering a fate similar to her bigger neighbor and the state capital, Bangalore. Kolar was full of garbage everywhere despite a desperate hunt by the city administration for landfills as the surrounding villages steadfastly refused to budge in their determination to keep the


THE 1989 ADVANI PARALLEL FOR MODI IN 2014

A major milestone of BJP’s history came about on September 25th 1989 when the party’s national executive met at the Shanmukhananda auditorium in Bombay. It was in the run-up to the 8th Lok Sabha elections that many opposition stalwarts and ideologues were trying to bring about an alliance between the BJP and the Janata Dal to oust the Bofors-tainted Rajiv Gandhi regime. The main stumbling block for such an alliance to fructify was V.P. Singh who had recently


HOW MAFIA RULES KARNATAKA

“I have zero faith in the state Congress government investigations and only have faith in the central government”, this was a crying mother’s last hope, a mother who had given education to her son despite biting poverty, a mother whose son had made her proud by passing the country’s highest civil services exams and becoming an IAS officer, a mother who had lost her son


BJP's 3rd List Analysis

Is there any correlation to the length of campaigning by candidates and the eventual result? The answer to that question is a bit complex, for if we take the few very recent examples of MP, Chhattisgarh Rajasthan and Delhi, then a definite pattern emerges – BJP had named its candidates well in advance in three of those


PHOTO FINISH IN DELHI?

Exactly 200 years ago, after Napoleon returned to power in March 1815, those who were opposed to him formed the seventh coalition and began to mobilize armies against him. Two such opposition forces under Wellington and Blücher assembled close to the north-eastern border of France which Napoleon had to then attack in what became famously known as the battle of Waterloo.


PART 3: DELHI, THE STATE OF BEING

“Main tho chaandi ki jooti maar kar vote loonga” (I will win by the sheer force of money power) was one of the favourite brags of Bawa Bachittar Singh a future mayor of Delhi in the run-up to the very first 1951 assembly elections to the city-state. Bawa Bachittar Singh was the official Congress candidate from Pahargunj area which was classified as Jhandewalan assembly


PART 2: AS DELHI VOTES TODAY

Abrupt political experiments that erupt out of nowhere are not new in India, although the media would want us to believe so. Electoral history has taught us that such neo-political experiments always begin with a sudden big bang that induces a temporary belief that politics has changed forever, but then end up fizzing out in a long whimper. 


PART 1: AS DELHI THINKS TODAY

On July 22nd 2008, the first UPA government faced its biggest challenge after the communists had withdrawn their support owing to the Indo-US nuclear deal and the opposition had moved a no-confidence motion. The situation was quite fluid then and many political pundits believed that the no-confidence motion could go to the wires like the Vajpayee trust vote of 1996 and 1999.


THE BATTLE OF NIHILITY IN NEW DELHI

yotsyamanan avekse ‘ham
ya ete ‘tra samagatah
dhartarastrasya durbuddher
yuddhe priya-cikirsavah

 – Bhagavad Gita Chapter 1, verse 23


TERROR BOAT SWAN SONG AND OTHER STORIES: AN UNDECLARED WAR ON MODI GOVERNMENT

Indian Express, one of India’s national English dailies, in a bid to prove the Indian government wrong has gone to the unprecedented lengths of apparently tracking down and speaking to Ayesha Bibi, the alleged mother of Yakboob Baloch who was supposedly the captain of the “terror boat” shot down off the Gujarat coast on January 1st. Obvious questions that spring to mind are who arranged these interviews and why should one believe some random


VICTIM NUMBER 40176 AND THE ASSOCIATED ECONOMICS

Bengaluru suffered a terror attack this Sunday evening which took another helpless victim’s life (in this case a woman from Chennai, the 38-year-old homemaker, Bhavani Balan), who happens to be the 326th civilian victim to have died this year alone in India. As per data published by South Asian Terrorism Watchdog, there have been 40175 terror casualties in India since the new millennium began in 2000.


A thesis on neo Islamic terrorism

Kafeel Ahmed, a PhD student working in the field of computational fluid dynamics, went ahead and tried to bomb the Glasgow International Airport in July 2007 and died due to burn injuries sustained in his failed terror attempt. Six years later, last week, Mehdi Masroor Biswas was arrested on various grave charges including section 


J&K PHASE 5: END OF A HISTORIC ELECTION AND THE BEGINNING OF A NEW ERA

After India’s partition in 1947, among many refugees who migrated from Pakistan were a group of 5764 families of Hindu as well as Sikh ethnicity, mostly made up of Scheduled Castes who poured in from Sialkot district of Pakistan as refugees into India. Today their total number stands at close to 2 lakh people – however, the question arises


THE THEATRE OF KASHMIR AND INDIA'S NEW STRATEGIC THINKING

A retired General from the Indian Army celebrates the wedding of his son by inviting as many of his ex-colleagues as he possibly can, creating an impromptu reunion of men from different divisions and different parts of the country. As the festivities wind down in the chilly November evening, the ex-army men gather around with their glasses of amber-coloured ambrosia, 


Can Kejriwal halt the Modi electoral Ashwamedha?

In recent memory, no political leader across the democratic world has enjoyed the kind of popularity and electoral success as the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Indeed, one can even argue that Mr. Modi has possibly received the greatest democratic mandate in the history of mankind in terms of the sheer number..


THE SIX MONTH SURVEY REPORT CARD

We conducted a unique experimental survey to commemorate six months of the Modi government wherein we combined an online poll spread across 9 days and an offline CATI survey done in 12 top cities of India. This survey had a simple questionnaire template of grading a minister with either a positive (good) or a negative (bad) vote in both the surveys (we also gave special importance to “no vote” or a “skip” 


J&K PHASE 3: THE BALLOT OF HOPE AFTER FIDAYEEN ATTACK

Zyada roozgaarmyaari taleembehtar sehat” (more jobs, quality education and better healthcare) – these are the three phrases you are likely to come across almost in a constant loop all over Baramulla town, once considered a separatist stronghold. Travel some 50-odd kilometers south-west to the Shahkoot, Pringal, Limber and Tathamulla areas of Uri assembly seat


J&K POLLS PHASE 4: THE THREE SCENARIOS

“D.P”, as he was known among friends in the political and diplomatic circles, held the then most important diplomatic position in India’s foreign policy matrix. He was a two-time ambassador to the Soviet Union, first in 1969 and then again in 1975, when India was a staunch ally of the communist superpower in a bipolar world, and was also the one who negotiated


J&K POLLS PHASE 2: A JOURNEY FROM VIOLENT SEPARATISM TOWARDS DEMOCRACY

We have bled and continue to bleed; but have the people of India shed a single tear for us? We have cried but nobody has listened to our voice. We would rather go to hell than stay with India“, a disillusioned Abdul Gani Lone had thundered in the year 2000. Always termed as a “moderate voice” of the Hurriyat, Abdul Gani Lone was also a four-time MLA 


The Six Month Survey

On May 26th this year for the first time after 30 years a government with a clear mandate took oath of office under the leadership of our new Prime Minister Narendrabhai Damodardas Modi. Six months later it is time to take a critical look at the Modi government’s performance in order to understand if it is living up to people’s expectations after that historic mandate this summer.


Second Coming: Genius v/s The Machine

[Second Coming is a regular column during the 2014 football world cup dedicated to my late brother] For 84 minutes of that match, El Diego was a marked man as the German number 8 was constantly shadowing him. The Argentine maestro had neither the space nor the freedom to make..


Kaala Patthar and the story of a new Indian Empire

More than two millennia ago, Megasthenes, a Greek ethnographer, explorer and ambassador of king Seleucus to the then Mauryan Empire, made possibly the greatest single observation about India that has never really been accorded due credit by our own historians for many centuries now.


Second Coming: Will football find a new emperor?

Cakravartin (Prakrit for Chakravarthy, the universal emperor) as a political idea in the Buddhist scriptures is a matter of considerable debate among historians, especially about its origins. While some historians argue that the concept of Cakravartin predates Asoka the great and therefore may have inspired him to imperial power, 


Second Coming: Of FIFA World Cup, the Southern Century and Modi’s football diplomacy

Brazil had prepared 22 gold medals with the names of the Brazilian players printed on them. FIFA chief, Jules Rimet, had prepared a speech in Portuguese to deliver after the final match. All Brazil needed was a draw to win the world cup. As if on cue, Brazil took the lead through a Fracia goal immediately after the half time which...


Second Coming: Tiki-taka is dead… long live tiki-taka!

For 90 minutes on Friday night, I tried to search for Xavi at the Arena Fonte stadium using a microscope, as he was invisible to the naked eye, but was unable to find him! That is the real story of the world champions in 2014. When the best central midfielder of the last decade hardlyFor 90 minutes on Friday night, I tried to search for Xavi at the Arena Fonte stadium using a microscope, as he was invisible to the naked eye, but was unable to find him! That is the real story of the world champions in 2014. When the best central midfielder of the last decade hardly....


Second Coming: Rediscovering Samba soccer from the ghosts of 82

Romance died on planet earth somewhere in the 1980s and technology triumphed over such mundane human indulgences as romanticism. Today it is hard to imagine a world before the advent of mobile, internet and satellite television when life moved at a pace that was measurable through simple ....


Second Coming: Argentina, the teardrop on a football pitch

At the fag end of an action filled first half, almost in injury time, Argentina, which is then trailing 1-2, gets a dangerous free-kick very close to the British goal at a difficult angle. Typically, this is David Beckham territory to deliver a angled free-kick into the goal, but unfortunately, At the fag end of an action filled first half, almost in injury time, Argentina, which is then trailing 1-2, gets a dangerous free-kick very close to the British goal at a difficult angle. Typically, this is David Beckham territory to deliver a angled free-kick into the goal, but unfortunately, ....


WELCOME TO THE MODI KINGDOM OF HINDUSTAN

Exactly 1350 years after the conquest of Multan by Al Muhallab ibn Abi Suffrah of the Umayyad Caliphate which set in motion a millennium of Indian slavery, Hindustan has found its deliverance in 2014. Today is truly the liberation day of a people who had made subservience to Dilli Sultanate a virtue, by their inherent inability to unite. It has finally befallen upon a tea seller


Constituency Watch on 17th April

Bangalore South (Karnataka): In this high profile battle of the Brahmins which has attracted all the eyeballs of India, Nandan Nilekani of Congress is taking on 5 time MP of BJP, Anant Kumar.


IS NARENDRA BHAI HEADING TOWARDS A RAJIV GANDHI LIKE MANDATE OF 84?

Once in every three decades, India changes its course and discovers hope. This is a political cycle that has been the theme of change for long now. In the 1920s, Mahatma entered the collective Indian consciousness and gave ordinary Indians a tangible, quantifiable metric to participate in the freedom movement. 30 years later, independent India’s first democratic elections were held in 1952


11 AM Analysis with Dr. Praveen Patil

The second major day of polling in the 2014 calendar also happens to be the biggest day when 122 Parliamentary constituencies spread across 13 states and union territories will elect their MPs. Early voting trends are quite interesting to say the least.


PROJECTIONS TILL 12TH APRIL POLLS

Northern and Vidharbha parts of this second largest state went to polls on the 10th of April and our survey had a sample size of 624 spread out in 11 assembly segments of 4 parliamentary constituencies. Our representative sampling was well spread out across the demographic profile of Vidharbha and included the following;

We then extrapolated the sample data to our own social profile


2014: THE ELECTION THAT CHALLENGED DILLI AND STILL EMERGED VICTORIOUS

A few years ago when a Lucknowi embroidery shop was being inaugurated in Godowlia, Varanasi, close to the Ganga Ghat, a bull forcefully entered the premises even before the red-ribbon could be ostensibly cut by a VIP. The owner of that establishment considers that as a good luck charm and allows that bull (the Nandi of Hindu beliefs) free access into his shop every day. As if on cue,


The Heartland Analysis

10 seats went to polls on 10th April in this highly polarized region. We tracked almost 60% of those seats closely to get a sample size of a whopping 1893 responses. This was a totally random exercise wherein we did not target any particular caste/religion or economic background during data collection. We used our revolutionary..


THE MOMENTUM STORY OF 2014

There is a strange myth among psephologists, electoral experts and even political analysts about the 2004 phenomenon which essentially involves a theory that BJP and Vajpayee were way ahead of Congress in the beginning of the election and then lost their way through the election campaign. Often the India Shining campaign is sighted as an example of how the momentum in an election shifts from one party to the other.


THE 11 AM ANALYSIS WITH DR. PRAVEEN PATIL: BJP SURGING AHEAD IN RACE

In a staggered election schedule of 2014, the 10th of April is probably important for its sheer beginning as most battles are half-won by making a good beginning. The spread of the first major day of polling is also important because of its heavy concentration in the Northern India, especially the Jat belt of Haryana via Delhi and into Western Uttar Pradesh. The Jat vote could be a crucial differentiating factor of 2014 which is the reason why the Congress party has taken a last minute decision 


3 factors of 3 PM on day 1

In Delhi AAP is now at the number two spot behind BJP. Although the overall lead of the BJP is huge (almost double that of AAP), AAP may still manage to salvage something so we will have to do a thorough constituency-wise analysis (which will be done as a part of our post-poll package within 48 hours after polling).


Good Evening India: Is NaMo Tsunami a reality?

What does the first day of 2014 marathon portray? It looks like the Tsunami called NaMo has more-or-less uprooted everything on its way in the Heartland which include Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Bihar and Jharkhand. In western Uttar Pradesh there is almost a sweep like situation for Modi’s “United spectrum of Hindu Vote”


Day one of 2014: The Assam Drama

On the first day of India’s most important election, we at 5Forty3 are traveling to the North-Eastern state of Assam, a very difficult geography to cover for our young team even under ordinary circumstances let alone in these historic elections. We have created some fantastic initiatives on 5forty3 to give you a great election trend coverage..


AAP – Electoral non-entity meets intellectual sophistry

At the very outset let me, as an election analyst, stick my neck out and make a simple, but serious prediction for 2014 – as things stand today, in the 16th Lok Sabha AAP is likely to have zero or near zero MPs! Why near zero? Because there is a possibility of a freak result here or there due to some local factors, but otherwise AAP as a viable electoral platform is dead on arrival for all practical purposes....


India’s tryst with new destiny will be Live on 5Forty3!

On the 7th of April 2014, post-modern India’s tryst with destiny begins. Will we really see a historic change in a nation’s life or will the status-quoists maintain their upper hand? Will India finally be liberated from the clutches of Dilli Sultanate after almost a millennium or will we once again be held captive due to the historic nonchalance of the naïve natives? ....


AAP – Electoral non-entity meets intellectual sophistry

At the very outset let me, as an election analyst, stick my neck out and make a simple, but serious prediction for 2014 – as things stand today, in the 16th Lok Sabha AAP is likely to have zero or near zero MPs! Why near zero? Because there is a possibility of a freak result here or there due to some local factors, but otherwise ..


INDIA'S TRYST WITH NEW DESTINY WILL BE LIVE ON 5FORTY3!

On the 7th of April 2014, post-modern India’s tryst with destiny begins. Will we really see a historic change in a nation’s life or will the status-quoists maintain their upper hand? Will India finally be liberated from the clutches of Dilli Sultanate after almost a millennium or will we once again be held captive due to the historic nonchalance of the naïve natives?


Is Narendra Modi peaking too early?

One of the pet theories that is doing the rounds among the political pundits of Dilli is what is known as the ‘early peaking’ theory being applied to Narendra Modi and BJP. There is, many argue, a historic precedent of 2004 when BJP and NDA led by Vajpayee lost the plot during the campaign season....


Frontrunner advantage and the importance of Western Uttar Pradesh

There is a strange commonality of stand taken by various political parties occupying the Left-secular space regarding a ban on opinion polls during elections this time. One of the reasons given by these parties is that poll surveys affect the voters, especially because all polls have a consensus about BJP being in command position....


The 1989 Advani Parallel for Modi in 2014

A major milestone of BJP’s history came about on September 25th 1989 when the party’s national executive met at the Shanmukhananda auditorium in Bombay. It was in the run-up to the 8th Lok Sabha elections that many opposition stalwarts and ideologues were trying to bring about an alliance between the BJP and the Janata Dal to oust the Bofors-tainted Rajiv Gandhi regime.....


Analysis of the 4th list of the BJP - Part 2: North India

he battle for 2014 will not be just about localized pulls and pressures of sub-regional satraps. Narendra Modi, by his aggressive 9 month campaign all over India, has ensured that a big part of the coming election will be about a national vote of governance where Modi is the central theme. Yet, one cannot fully wish away local factors in the..


Analysis of the 4th list of the BJP – Part 2: North India

The battle for 2014 will not be just about localized pulls and pressures of sub-regional satraps. Narendra Modi, by his aggressive 9 month campaign all over India, has ensured that a big part of the coming election will be about a national vote of governance where Modi is the central theme. Yet, one cannot fully wish away local factors in the election of MPs....


Analysis of the 4th list of BJP - Part 1: The UP 53

BJP came up with its 4th list of candidates for the LS polls over the weekend and it looks like finally the jigsaw is falling in its place. As would be the case with any political party, especially the frontrunner, there is some amount of heart burn among those who have been denied a ticket to fight elections, but overall BJP seems to have 


Analysis of the 4th list of the BJP – Part 1: The UP 53

BJP came up with its 4th list of candidates for the LS polls over the weekend and it looks like finally the jigsaw is falling in its place. As would be the case with any political party, especially the frontrunner, there is some amount of heart burn among those who have been denied a ticket to fight elections, but overall BJP seems to have avoided any major mishaps....


ANALYSIS OF BJP'S 2ND LIST

BJP released its third list of candidates for the 16th Lok Sabha election yesterday for two important states of Karnataka and Assam and 4 states where it can at best hope to simply put up a fight for second place in some of the seats – Odisha, West Bengal, Tripura and Kerala. The party is trying hard to avoid ticket distribution in the im..


Analysis of BJP's 1st List

As the election juggernaut begins for possibly the most important election since 1977, BJP announced its first list of 54 names late yesterday evening. Indian elections will be essentially fought at the local level, so it is not just Modi that matters for BJP, but getting each ticket right in terms of local equations is of primary importance...


SONIA GANDHI: THE AAKHRI MUGHAL OF CONGRESS

It was in October 2010 when a dozen MLAs belonging to the ruling BJP in Karnataka had rebelled against the leadership and were camping in a Goa resort that the local Congress leadership, whiffing the scent of power for the first time in many years, decided to explore the possibility of forming an alternative government with the support of the JDS. Siddramaiah had then emerged as the consensus candidate to head the Congress party delegation 


JHARKHAND STORY PART 2: THE POLL SURVEY

Jharkhand elections are usually decided by three M’s – Money, Muscle and Maoists – now in 2014 a fourth M dimension has been added to that mix – Modi. Everywhere one travels, one finds the evidence of the fourth M which has transformed the LS elections in this rich tribal state. In the last few weeks a host of IAS officers and top cops have resigned their high profile jobs


LOCAL BATTLE V/S NATIONAL WAR - THE NEXT STAGE OF ELECTORAL STRATEGY

Pawan Kumar Bansal, the corruption tainted former railway minister in UPA 2, is like a cat with nine lives, for he keeps getting a new lease of life every time he is on the verge of a collapse. Bansal’s political career should have ended long ago; in 1999 to be precise, when he had managed to get the Congress ticket from Chandigarh despite losing back-to-back elections in 1996 and 1998.


JHARKHAND STORY PART ONE: THE PREAMBLE

In the summer of 2004, as I travelled all over northern India and happened to be in Hazaribagh at the peak of election campaign to be a witness to Lalu Prasad Yadav addressing an election rally, I was awestruck by the sheer anger against the central government and the amount of cheering from the crowd for an opposition leader. A consummate politician enthralling the voters


THE 1996 WARNING TO 2014 AND THE BEGINNING OF A NEW ELECTORAL CYCLE

On a bright sunny evening 18 years ago, on May 7th 1996, when the solitary state owned Doordarshan was the only operating TV channel for all news, a nationwide exit poll was aired for the first time with much panache. The Congress government at the centre was hugely unpopular due to humungous corruption scandals of the previous years and BJP was the rising star of the 90s when it had two straight elections of tremendous growth – from 2 to 85 to 120 in 


KARNATAKA: THE CONFUSION OF ALTER-NARRATIVE

“This is almost a government of Mysore state, we, the people of north Karnataka, have zero investment in this government” explains Madhav Rao, a retired school teacher and an eminent sociologist of Hubli, who is widely described as a ‘Kuruba by birth, a Kshatriya by vocation and a Brahmin by intellect’. “…Our vote for Congress was a reluctant one,


Andhra Pradesh: A divided people in a divided polity

Nara Chandrababu Naidu holds an unenviable record in Andhra Pradesh politics, he is the longest serving leader of the opposition in the AP state assembly. This is at the heart of the problem for TDP today – a party that was set-up by thespian N.T. Rama Rao in March 1982 and won a historic mandate to rule the state..


UTTAR PRADESH, THE DARLING OF 2014

There is a funny anecdote doing the rounds in the power corridors of Lucknow that has been regaled at various political meetings in the last few weeks. As recently as in the last month of 2013, a well-connected and well-known businessman apparently approached the Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh, the young and ‘dynamic’ Akhilesh Yadav, for a large project clearance.


BJP in Media and the anti-hero syndrome

“What do you think went wrong for the Congress party… this is after all a huge defeat?” asked a young, black-bearded, Prannoy Roy to his three eminent panelists. “This is a big defeat but will have no bearing on our government at the centre and we will take corrective measures” answered the then deputy chairman of planning commission,....


THE 2014 ELECTORAL MAP OF INDIA PART 2: PROJECTIONS

In India, people are always found quoting anecdotes from their maids, taxi drivers, autowallahs et al. regarding the political wind blowing in the country. Often we are left wondering as to how such random anecdotes can hold any significance in a country of 1.25 billion people, for surely there should be an equal number of people who must be saying the exact opposite thing? Yet, there is innate wisdom in these random voices that we hear from time to time as this author has discovered


THE 2014 ELECTORAL MAP OF INDIA PART 1

Twelve Crore voters, if they decide to vote similarly, would determine the fate of India in 2014. Yes, as low as less than 10% of India’s total population hold the key to the future of a nation of more than 1.25 billion people. Such is the mathematical construct of our Westminster system of first-past-the-post democracy that a political party can rule this country by just about managing to get 12 Cr votes. Yet every day we get to hear such banal intellectual discourse based around 


WHAT 2013 MEANS TO 2014?

The four states that gave a verdict on Sunday could not have been clearer, but we can continue to obfuscate and try to mold the verdicts as per our own whims and fancies. For the media in Delhi and the intellectual elite it is the arrival of AAP that defines the victory which only goes on to show how shallow Delhi is, for it cannot see an India beyond the national capital. For the BJP supporters it is the ultimate wave in their favor,


THE HEARTLAND SECRETS: WHAT WOMEN WANT?

Indian elections are always measured in terms of different social coalitions and the relative percentages of voting by caste and religious groupings. For instance, minority voting (a euphemism for the Muslim vote) is possibly one of the most analyzed voting pattern in the history of Indian elections (so is possibly the Dalit vote). This slicing and dicing gives us a clearer measure to understand the electoral landscape, 


Exit Poll analysis and the story of 30 swing seats of Delhi

Congress had 54753 more votes than BJP in the 30 swing seats of Delhi assembly. Of these 30 swing seats, Congress had won a whopping 21, BJP 8 and BSP 1 seat in the 2008 election. With the new additional voters in 2013, everything else being equal, BJP would have needed just 27 thousand more votes in these 30 assembly...


PROJECTING A WAVE ELECTION: RAJASTHAN (POST-POLL ANALYSIS)

When a single dominant political trend attains near total predominance, wave elections ensue. Wave elections are possibly the easiest to predict once there is certainty, but could turn out to be a political analyst’s nightmare when wrongly judged. India’s biggest wave election was 1984, which was famously captured by Dr. Prannoy Roy (along with Dorab Soopariwala & Anil Lahiri) and it helped create one of India’s biggest news media organization.


RAJASTHAN, THE HARBINGER OF POLITICAL CHANGE IN INDIA

Rajasthan is a unique, one of its kind, state in India which has always been difficult to classify or typecast into a particular geography or demography. For instance, when the rest of India was divided into different territories by the British – a classification still followed by the Bollywood film distribution business – Rajasthan could not be fit into any of the zones and an independent territory had to be carved out purely for Rajasthan.


Congress Rule in Karnataka- An Assessment

Meet Krishnaveni, a widow and a migrant labour from Andhra Pradesh who has been living for the past five years with her mother, two children and a younger brother in Bidar, the border district of Karnataka and a bridge between AP and Maharashtra. Together this family of five have two BPL cards between them (mother and brother have shown themselves as a different family, even though they all live together) and are making roughly 500 rupees every month by selling government subsidized rice....


The Bollywood political symphony

During his college days, he would be found rehearsing for his stage plays at the Bhulabhai Desai memorial institute on Warden Road, Bombay. In the same compound was the office of Harkirtan Kaur, known to the world as the famous Hindi film actress, Geeta Bali. Observing his rehearsals, one day, Geeta Bali apparently remarked, “You have tremendous acting potential,....


The Big Surprise of 2014

When the Dalit Movement 2.0 was launched by a former sarkari babu of DRDO, these were some of the sample slogans that he bequeathed to the Dalits of early 80s India. The big shift from an Ambedkarite Dalit social psyche that Kanshi Ram envisaged had a core confrontationist constituency....


India’s conquest of Dilli

“Indian Prime Minister has emulated those (arty) film makers who sell India’s poverty to the world to garner awards” NarendraModi commented at Delhi’s Japani Park last Sunday. It was just a small but sharp observation by the BJP’s prime ministerial candidate in a hugely successful and widely applauded speech. This simple comment tells a story, a story of the battle between the elite and the ordinary, between the classes and the masses.....


Muzaffarnagar – Where Riots Turned into Pathology From Anatomy

A dozen daily wage farm workers and simple village folk were travelling in a tractor as usual from Mod Khurd village to Munjhera in the hope that they could get a better deal for their labor next day. At the entrance to Munjhera is a mosque on the roadside which everyone has to pass through to enter the village...


Populism v/s good economics, the real electoral debate

Ashok Gehlot is one of those leaders who is not blessed with a booming voice and neither does he have much passion to cover-up for such a falling, therefore his speeches are singularly unimpressive. When he addressed a gathering of a couple of thousand people informally at the circuit house, there was not even as much as a murmur of approval from the crowd....


2014 and the pipedreams of BJP

While BJP’s election campaign committee chief was trying hard to win over Hyderabad, there were two interesting developments unfolding in the neighboring state’s capital, Bangalore, and the national capital of Delhi. In Bangalore a frustrated BSY, looking for greener pastures, was being wooed by D.K. Shivakumar of the Congress. In Delhi, almost the entire top BJP leadership of the state unit had rebelled against Vijay Goel at Nitin Gadkari’s ....


The Road to Delhi goes via Delhi

“There is hardly any time to campaign, how will we even prepare for the elections?” questioned Moorarji Desai mournfully. George Fernandes even vociferously suggested that the opposition should boycott the elections as a mark of protest, for they had no chance of winning. Indira Gandhi, meanwhile was gathering mammoth crowds (sourced by sycophant local Congress leaders) wherever she went to address public rallies....


Why Should The Indian Right Rejoice And Get Ready For The Battle At The Same Time

In the 1972 Francesco Rosi classic Il caso Mattei (The Mattei Affair), there are two interesting conversations; at one point in the movie one of the character proclaims “the Italian economic miracle (of the early sixties) is mostly due to the great Enrico Mattei”, while at another point in the movie, another character avers that had the “dangerous Enrico Mattei succeeded,....


Modi in Chhattisgarh

A lesser known aspect of the communal riots in the immediate aftermath of the 1947 partition is the role of the Jesuits, Lutherans and myriad other Christian evangelists in the tribal heartland of India. Sensing a leadership vacuum due to the Hindu-Muslim conflict, many of the Christian missionaries working in the tribal regions had created an army of tribal Christians who were willing to take on their Hindu brethren....


MADRA: FOOD FOR THE HINDU SOUL

Sheltered by its snow-clad mountain barriers, Chamba is one of the most beautiful regions of Himachal Pradesh. Chamba has also had the rare good fortune to escape the successive waves of Muhammadan invasion, which swept away all monuments of old Indian civilization on the plains. The neighbouring state of Kashmir was once a centre of Sanskrit learning, until one day the barbaric invaders raped this beautiful land and destroyed everything....


Maha Kumbh and the Spiritual Interventions On the Political Landscape of India

Just a day earlier she was elected the Prime Minister of India and today the relatively young (aged 48) woman leader of the world’s largest democracy had travelled in an Asthi (ashes) special train to the holy confluence of three rivers at the Sangam. It was indeed a spiritual irony of sorts, for the Ganga, (Ganges), the Yamuna and the (mythical) Saraswati, all named after female Hindu Goddesses were welcoming the first woman leader....


Battleground India

Today there are basically three schools of thoughts in terms of analysing and understanding political currents. Even though each of these ideas might not be diametrically opposite to each other, they are definitely at variance with each other to some extent. The next electoral battleground of India will be shaped by an inter-play between these three schools of thoughts...


There Is A Modi in Town And You Cannot Ignore Him Any More

“I have come from the land of Gujarat, the land of Mahatma Gandhi and Sardar Patel” he said quietly with some visible discomfiture. “When we glance at India’s freedom movement, (we can make out that) two streams had influenced the movement”, this time he almost fumbles, unsure of himself. He then goes on to explain to the audience about the two streams of Indian freedom movement and their roots in Gujarat....


Milk Economy of India

Those were the pre-historic times, roughly around 6th century BC, when the cattle count in the Gangetic belt of present day eastern UP and Bihar had gone down tremendously due to slaughter – Goyajna (cow-sacrifice) & Govikarta (cow-slaughter) had become the order of the day. The tipping point came when king Prasenajit of Koshala decided to perform a great Yajna which would require the sacrifice of 2000 animals....


The Contrarian Political Currents of Karnataka

There is overwhelming electoral evidence to suggest that 21st Century Indian democracy is essentially about governance and development politics, rather than about caste or identity. Since the dawn of the new millennium there have been 77 electoral battles, both nationally as well as at the state level, and a whopping 71 of them have managed to produce a positive mandate of giving either a majority or near majority to one of the party or group.


An Open Letter to Modiji

First of all sir, accept our heartiest congratulations on your stupendous victory in Gujarat elections and on taking oath for the 4th time successfully as the chief minister of Gujarat. It is indeed unprecedented in the recent democratic history of India to win close to 2/3rd assembly seats in an assembly election for the fifth consecutive term. To put that victory in perspective,....


The Gujarat Electoral Calculus -Downloadble PDF

Predicting electoral outcomes in India is almost an occult science that involves a lot of mysteries like imagined caste-vote tilts and representative sample sizes that try to fathom voter perceptions regarding government’s performance et al. For a nation of 1.2 billion people with a million castes/religions/languages/ethnic groups, even after 65 years of independence,....


THE GUJARAT ELECTORAL CALCULUS

Modern day democratic process has a unique feature associated with it, that of psephological prophesising. Not only do we want voters to vote and elect their rulers/representatives but also we want to be able to predict the voter’s preference even before the vote is cast. In fact, many of the western democracies have such advanced psephological methodologies that at times it becomes difficult to distinguish between the actual votes and the exit-polls. India of course is still evolving its predictive techniques and still has a long way to go before achieving any degree of accuracy


The Gujarat Electoral Calculus : Part 2

Most of the past electoral data became redundant in Indian politics from 2008 onwards because of an exercise known as delimitation. This is the one single factor that has forced political parties, contesting candidates, psephologists and pundits to completely alter their electoral thinking. So much so that stalwart leaders had to change their geographical locations in order to survive the machinations of delimitation. For instance, just last month, the ghost of delimitation forced 2 of the tallest leaders of Himachal Pradesh to change their pocket boroughs and shift to totally new constituencies. Both Virbhadra Singh (5 times CM from the Congress party) and Prof Prem Kumar Dhumal (incumbent CM from the BJP) had to shift from their respective assembly seats.


The Gujarat Electoral Calculus

Predicting electoral outcomes in India is almost an occult science that involves a lot of mysteries like imagined caste-vote tilts and representative sample sizes that try to fathom voter perceptions regarding government’s performance et al. For a nation of 1.2 billion people with a million castes/religions/languages/ethnic groups, even after 65 years of independence, we are totally clueless about the percentage of population of different subgroups. In fact, for more than 50 years all electoral pundits have been quoting lefty-CSDS percentages for all sorts of population based permutations and combinations. What is even more heart-breaking is that most of the CSDS-type data is based on weighted representations of sample-sizes as low as interviewing 700 people in a state!


Advantage BJP In A Close Fight for Himachal Pradesh

As Himachal Pradesh has already voted last Sunday to decide the fate of Prof P. K. Dhumal led BJP government, it must be noted that this small hill state has never enjoyed such limelight in the national media in the past....


Two States and Four Outcomes

The first war of Indian independence in 1857 was a watershed moment in the history of British lordship over India. The initial success after the siege of Cawnpore (Kanpur), Lucknow, Meerut & Delhi had motivated the natives and victory seemed imminent when Bahadur Shah Zafar was declared the emperor of India. When Indians gained the upper hand in central provinces,...


The Festival of Democracy and the Temple of Vacuum

India’s tryst with democracy began in this small, beautiful, village of Chini in Himachal Pradesh, for this is where the first votes were cast in independent India’s 1st general elections on 25th October 1951. The first general elections were not just to elect parliamentarians to govern the republic of India but also to elect state assemblies. A total of 171747300 registered voters....


Obituary

Contrary to popular belief, the Indian National Congress was not founded to organize Indian independence struggle, far from it, the Congress was given birth to by the Theosophical society movement with the express objective of getting a share in the government for educated Indians. The radicalization of the Congress and its involvement with the mass movements for India’s freedom ....


The Capital Intrigue v/s The Real Indian Hangout

“This is a city of thieves and thugs, I will never return back here again” vowed Morarji Desai the 4th Prime Minister of India after he had to resign unceremoniously in the spring of 1979. Gujarati leaders have always had an uneasy equation with the national capital of India; the tallest among the Gujaratis, the Mahatma, believed real India was in its villages, while the iron man of India,...


Mid Term Polls And The Mood Of The Nation

The second half of August has seen 2 major nationwide “opinion” polls, one urban Indian poll and at least one major Arun Nehru style punditry to come up with state-wise LS seat projections for various parties and coalitions. At the outset it might seem like an academic exercise in wilderness, with no practical possibility of an outcome whatsoever, dwell deeper and it is easy to discern what everybody is attempting to do. Apart from these dip-test samples, there have been innumerable op-eds, newspaper columns, television studio discussions, blog posts and most importantly street-side tea-shop debates about the prospects of various political formations in the electoral arena. Then of course there is the parliamentary logjam and the talk of a possible en masse resignation of opposition MPs. There is a prevailing atmosphere in the country that is pointing towards an impending mid-term poll, which has been considerably enhanced by the chaotic economy of the country and mammoth corruption scandals coupled with headline inflation. 15th Lok Sabha, for all practical purposes, is a dead horse.


The Babri Cycle And The Karma Of Hindutva

“He was murdered in cold blood by RSS goons!” exclaimed the short balding freelance reporter to no one in particular, but the few hundred people who had gathered there early in the morning were shell-shocked by his assertions, possibly even more shocked than when they had first discovered the body lying in a pool of blood in the playground. Khan Baba was the genial old man who lived in the deserted 17th Century tomb known as “Jor Gumbaz” adjoining the “Shakha grounds” where kids (mostly “Hindu”) played cricket every day and left their cricketing gear with the baba for safe-keeping, who meticulously maintained a list of items and almost never mixed up their stuff. For an old man living in a decrepit mosque, Khan Baba was quite well off and never asked for any monetary assistance from anyone, but nobody knew where he had come from or what his antecedents were; the kids even peddled conspiratorial stories of him being as old as the Jor Gumbaz itself, but he could hardly have been in his early sixties.

 


Can Four Dots Make A Square?

In the second week of August leading up to the completion of India’s 65th year of Independence, when the whole world was immersed in its quadrennial global orgy of sporting indulgences to crown the reigning super power of the world to its preeminent position in the global pecking order, there were 4 minor events in India, which when sewn together could potentially formulate the destiny of India’s right over the coming years. Independently, these four events were shapeless dots that could well be forgotten by the time the monsoon session of the parliament comes to an end, for they were nothing but minor blips on the political radar of any astute antenna that is tuned to the politics of the right in India. But then, observing the right of India’s political firmament has its own pleasures of piecing together a jigsaw that is almost always never what it seems at the outset and invariably takes a shape of its own that could never have been preordained. The jigsaw of Indian right is an abstract of the multi-linear karmic outflow of the Hindu philosophy; it is an experiment to understand the multiple outcomes of a single event at one level and the interactions of multiple events to produce a solitary outcome at another level – nothing short of a special (political) theory of relativity.

 


Internal Sabotage: The Ghettoization of India and Delimitation

If India is really our country, it should stand up for us now. It is not a problem of Bodo or Assamese people, but of the whole country.” – Member of Parliament from Kokrajhar, Assam, Mr S.K. Bwismuthiary making a fervent appeal to his fellow Indians just a day before the start of the monsoon session of the Parliament.

Close to 4 Lakh people have been displaced from their homes and are living in more than 300 government camps, an overwhelming majority of them are indigenous Bodos. These government camps are mobile dens of contagious diseases like Malaria, Diarrhea, Scabies etc. The native Bodos & other Assamese have been displaced from their homes and have been made refugees in their own land by illegal migrants from Bangladesh. Let it be unequivocally stated that no other modern country on planet earth would have tolerated such a plight of its own people at the hands of foreigners, but for secular socialist democratic republic of India. For those Marxists & non-Marxists who had missed the repetitive farce of history, welcome to Assam, for here you shall get a second opportunity to see in slow-motion how the Pandits were systematically displaced from Kashmir – only difference being the Bodos/Assamese enacting the role of Pandits.


The Anna Politics and Electoral Discourse

The anticorruption movements in India of the last two years have met with great success among the populace, especially amongst the urban middle-class. It has been a political awakening of sorts for a class of people who were otherwise perceived (rightfully) as being increasingly indifferent to the politics of India and more concerned with the economics of livelihood and aspirations. 


Impact Of Drought On Electoral Politics Of India

Among all the elections held in democratic India, 2004 elections have been the most unique in nature for the stunning outcome that confounded everybody. It was unprecedented in India’s electoral history, for every pandit, political observer, psephologist got it wrong. Ever since, there have been myriad attempts to explain the results of 2004 by many schools of thought and a wide spectrum of opinions have sprung up among the intelligentsia and the internet warriors alike;


HOW SONIA GANDHI ROBBED SURJEET'S LANDS AND WHY GOURAMMA IS ANGRY WITH SHANTAPPA: THE MONKEY BUSINESS OF MNREGA

Near the Radha Soamy satsang, Parore, Kangra district, Himachal Pradesh: Surjeet Sharma, a Gaddi pandit belonging to the scheduled tribes of Himachal Pradesh, clearly remembers the year 2005, when he married a gaddan from Chamba. Year 2005 was momentous for the Sharma’s, not only because of the marriage of their only son but also because that year they had collectively made a decent profit in their fields and had brought their first automobile.


The Monkey Business of MNREGS

Surjeet Sharma, a Gaddi pandit belonging to the scheduled tribes of Himachal Pradesh, clearly remembers the year 2005, when he married a gaddan from Chamba. Year 2005 was momentous for the Sharma’s, not only because of the marriage of their only son but also because that year they had collectively made a decent profit in their fields and had brought their first automobile. Usually in Himachal, land holdings are modest because only a small proportion of the land mass is flat in these terrains and cultivation in the slopes is quite difficult, yet average yield per square meter is a lot higher than other parts of India 


Himachal Diary Part3: Evaluating Dhumal Government

A hymn from Rig Veda that refers to the forty year battle between the great Dasyu King Shambara – who supposedly had 99 fortresses across Himachal – and the Arya devatas led by Indra represented in the form of King Divodasa. Apart from the typical Deva-Asura battle that is portrayed here, what is of significance is that by the time this forty year war began, the Ahis (aborigines) and Danavas, variously referred to as Dasyus, Nishaads or Daasas ....


HIMACHAL PRADESH ELECTION DIARY – PART 2

It was 14 months since the siege had begun; the impregnable fort was blockaded from all the sides, supplies had dried up a long time ago, the besieged were subsisting on boiled grass. The unconquerable Kangra fort which had never yielded to any Muslim sovereign in India; Mohammed Ghazni who had plundered every possible fort/temple/city of India had failed to capture the fort, the Lodhis and Tughlaqs....


Himachal Pradesh Election Diary – Part 1

A young television journalist visits the make-shift tent of an army company which is regrouping after successfully capturing point 5140 at 17000 feet above sea level. She is typically looking for some good sound bites from a successful campaign....


The Mass leadership Doctrine

Historical Siddhartha Gotama (Pali for Gautama), shorn of the burden of Karmic previous lives of Bodhisattvas and liberated from the moral code of the Jataka narrative, represents truly the first mass-leadership experiment of India. In actual philosophical/metaphysical/spiritual terms, Buddha did not propose anything that was not already propagated by the Vedanta....


Why the Indian Right should embrace Hazare Movement

The bastardization of the Anna Hazare movement has now been accomplished. Political parties were always weary of it, now intellectuals and commentators on both sides of the divide are discovering their love towards constitutional propriety & parliamentary supremacy. This is a stupendously successful mass movement that has unsettled everyone....


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