ibnlive » Blogs

Kiran Batni
Friday , March 13, 2015

AAP's ideology of cleanliness is not an ideology at all


0IBNLive IBNLive Google Buzz

Immunity from realpolitik, which is a fancy word for the give and take behind the scenes, was the central campaign message of the Aam Aadmi Party. That message has been completely destroyed after the sting operation involving none other than the self-appointed icon of political cleanliness in India, Mr Arvind Kejriwal. There are cartoons out there with the Kejriwal bee stinging itself. As if to add to the party's woes, two of its top leaders, Prashant Bhushan and Yogendra Yadav, expelled from the party's Parliamentary Affairs Committee, are engaging with the volunteers and explaining how they did nothing wrong. Their courage seems to indicate that Bhushan and Yadav have less to hide, and less reason to hide, from the public than Arvind Kejriwal. The problem with this whole experiment called AAP is that, in the absence of an ideology, the public is made to switch meaninglessly between parties....


Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Why Mohan Bhagwat is both right and wrong about Mother Teresa


0IBNLive IBNLive Google Buzz

On February 23rd, RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat reportedly said the following at Apna Ghar, a charity and service organization in Bharatpur, Rajasthan: "Here we will not provide service like that rendered by Mother Teresa. It is possible that her kind of work was good but there was a motive behind that service. It was to convert those she served to Christianity. Someone wants to convert others to Christianity, that is another thing, but to do it under the garb of social service is to devalue that service. Here, nothing like that will happen. In our country, social service is done like this, selflessly, completely selflessly." Political parties and commentators opposed to the Sangh Parivar have unanimously criticized him for this. There are very few points on which I tend to agree with the RSS, but that doesn't require me to reject everything he has said here. Of....


Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Why did AAP win Delhi? Can AAP do to the rest of India what it did to Delhi?


0IBNLive IBNLive Google Buzz

Among many answers to the first question, one must stand out as important: the party had its ears to the ground, i.e., it spent most of its time listening to those at the bottom of the pyramid of power instead of imposing the images and words of supermen from above. That they didn't have any supermen in the first place helped them become popular with laypeople, providing them an impression of flatness of organization and ideology. Everyone, it appeared, was welcome to AAP as long as they weren't with "the bad guys". But organizational and ideological flatness within AAP is a myth. It was stated in exactly these terms by some, who left the party, but one doesn't need a proof for it; it's a truism. Any well-run political party must have a command and control structure, and those who command and control must, in a well-known hierarchy, be....


Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Hindi imposition on south India: then and now


0IBNLive IBNLive Google Buzz

This Republic Day will be a special one: it also marks the completion of 50 years since widespread anti-Hindi agitations rocked South India, with Tamil Nadu at the lead. These agitations, which led to several deaths and police actions, forced the central government to continue official-language status to English in parallel with Hindi. Hindi chauvinists, even to this day, think this illustrates the greater love of South Indians for a foreign language, but they are mistaken. What South Indians want is not English, but their own languages as official languages on par with Hindi. Only, the conditions under which such a decision could have been taken in Parliament had not presented themselves when the constitution was being drafted. If one analyses the events that led to the formation of the Indian Union, it becomes clear that South India participated in it rather unwillingly. Even the uprisings against the....


Saturday , October 18, 2014

Bangalore to Bengaluru: The untold story


0IBNLive IBNLive Google Buzz

While the 'national media' is fixated on things of 'national importance', the media in Karnataka, both Kannada and English, is abuzz with the news that the Centre has agreed to the Government of Karnataka's proposal to 'rename' several cities in the state. Bangalore is now officially Bengaluru, Mysore is Mysuru, Begaum is Belagavi, and so on and so forth. Despite all the hype, celebrations, and the occasional mention of the late UR Ananthamurthy's name (he stood for this cause), it's important to pause and understand what exactly has happened here. Are the names really new? Who are they new to? In which language or languages are they new? All in all, does it matter? These names, Bengaluru, Mysuru, Belagavi, etc, are not new to the people of these cities or of Karnataka as a whole. Nor are they new entrants to the Kannada language. Nobody has ever used....


Monday , September 29, 2014

Who created Jayalalithaa?


0IBNLive IBNLive Google Buzz

J Jayalalithaa, born in my hometown, was the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu on the day she was convicted in a disproportionate assets case: 27 September 2014. That is to say she was found guilty of possessing more wealth than she could have legally made. This is a classical case of operational corruption, i.e., corruption in the operations. But could it have anything to do with the overall political and economic structure in which she found herself? Is individual corruption independent of the primitive corruption in the foundations of a pre-designed system? Perhaps all the reports of the 'Amma empire' collapsing like a deck of cards have a clue. She had a larger-than-life image which is now nearly destroyed, but let us focus on the fact that she actually had one. What prompted her to display such an image of herself? Why did she have to appear like a....


Tuesday , September 23, 2014

How not to sell the Vedas


0IBNLive IBNLive Google Buzz

'Pride is the fuel,' says Amish Tripathi, 'that will help us build our nation' (Vedic learning is no one's preserve, everyone's pride, Times of India, 21 Sept 2014). And what does any right-thinking status-quo-ist do when such is the assumption and a nation is given? He looks for an object of pride and hard-sells it. Tripathi sells the Vedas, asserting that all Indians must take pride in them. Why exactly should we do that? He cannot possibly say 'because we have to build our nation' - the object of pride must have independent validity - so he goes on to argue that it's because 'all groups in the subcontinent today have descended from the ancient Vedic people.' What exactly do the geneticists say? In a 2013 study titled 'Genetic Evidence for Recent Population Mixture in India', published in the American Journal of Human Genetics, Priya....


Friday , September 12, 2014

Hindi as Putonghua


0IBNLive IBNLive Google Buzz

It is often difficult to separate out jealousy and enmity. While Narendra Modi's attack on China for its 'expansionism' is widely understood not to increase friendship between India and China, that's not the full story. There is jealousy in it, too. The Government of India has always secretly craved for Chinese-style control on the diverse peoples of India - and that's internal 'expansionism'. Not surprisingly, it forms the foundation of the Indian elite's Idea of India. How nice it would have been if, for the outer world, the Government of India could openly claim complete racial, linguistic, and ethnic homogeneity within India! How nice it would have been if the Many voices of the Many Indias could be made to disappear and instead, the One voice of One India could assert itself on the global stage! Wouldn't that be the roar of the Indian Lion no force on earth....


Saturday , August 16, 2014

Dear Mr Modi: Doing good doesn't always require doing


0IBNLive IBNLive Google Buzz

Those carefully chosen words yesterday, repetitive at times but emotional and patriotic to a fault, did not come from a faker. Narendra Modi really wants to do good to India. If there's one Prime Minister who takes his job seriously and has the ability to convince listeners of his ability to deliver, it's him. But what India needs, in its current position on the march to becoming a real democracy, is not Prime Ministers who can deliver but a dream-team of statesmen who can rewrite the Constitution clarifying what is none of the Prime Minister's or central government's business to talk about or deliver. Perhaps the biggest disadvantage of Independence Day is that it convinces almost everyone that independence has been achieved: when a billion and a quarter celebrate an event, it must have occurred. However, what we've really achieved is not independence as in Gandhi's Swaraj, which is....


Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Another way to look at Hindi chauvinism


0IBNLive IBNLive Google Buzz

As Narendra Modi rose to power, the sword of Hindi imposition inched closer to Indians. Over the past month, there were many debates on television and print media about this growing menace. Despite innumerable clarifications, including one by the Gujarat high court itself, commentators are not found wanting who still put forward the unconstitutional claim that Hindi is the national language of India. Their argument always moves, with various degrees of what they construe as patriotism, towards telling those who don't speak Hindi that they ought to in order to be good citizens of India and strengthen its unity and integrity. That India which needs to impose Hindi must die. I have said this many times before, and I have explained the reasons why it needs to, in my book, The Pyramid of Corruption. In this article, I'd like to examine this view of these Hindi chauvinists from....


IBNLiveIBNLive
IBN7IBN7

More about Kiran Batni

Kiran Batni is an engineer turned researcher in political and economic philosophy and the author of 'The Pyramid of Corruption: India’s Primitive Corruption And How To Handle It'.

IBN7IBN7

IBN7IBN7
IBNLiveIBNLive