Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Varanasi the Eternal city

      Varanasi, the eternal city as it is called had different meaning to me being a flier. Mostly we used to land at Varanasi for refueling which used to be quite quick. the very good Samosa's which the Airport Canteen served was an added bonus. Ofcourse we used to land during Mango season for the "Dusseri" mangoes as it used to be cheap and tastier.
    So it was one of those VIP trips and we have to spend a day extra. Myself and my senior colleague  Sainani went to visit the famous Shiv temple and were utterly disappointing at the dirtiness all around.But to me the most blood boiling thing was the presence of Gyan vapi Mosque inside the sanctum of the holy Shiv temple. and most  of the Idols   were lying in a disorganized manner nearby. I failed to understand the adamant attitude of the Muslims of this holy city who should have handed the Mosque to the temple authorities long time ago. When an Indian Christian like me felt so agitated, I could understand the feeling of ordinary Hindus from all over India who are visiting the temple complex due to interior tourism. In fact BJP should preserve this anachronism as it must be fodder for its growth.Now with Modi standing from this place, many workers visiting this temple city will become BJP's loyal supporters.
   Myself and Sainani then visited the surrounding bazaar which was selling perfumed supari in various colours in very cheap rates.Also snack sold in road side dhabhas were tasty and cheap. Then we entered the ghats and Sainani visited a Panda who told about his ancestors.Then we did a great thing. Hired a local boat which was rowed by a young Muslim boy who took us to a small island in the Holy Ganges. I asked Sainani to take a dip and his sins will be forgiven .He retorted I am confusing 'Kasi" with Varanasi. That was his knowledge and he was thrilled when I told him Kasi and Varanasi were the same. He had a dip and the rowing back was very peaceful in twilight and watching all the ghats. One can easily feel why Varanasi is called the Eternal city, a city which people believe to be may be nearly 5000 years old

Friday, March 07, 2014

Ukraine, Russia and India

        Non alignment is immoral is what John Foster Dulles called India's policy. We were not part of CENTO/SEATO as Pakistan was;but essentially Indian elite was pro west as none of their children went for studies to Soviet Union nor Communism  was followed except by the communists. Pakistan got its  Sabres and so also F 104 star fighter from the USA as gift. India had its Gnats but every one knew that it is no match to the Star fighter.It is then Leftist Defense Minister Krishna Menon turned to Soviet Union and got MIG 21 deal with complete transfer of technology.But  it infuriated the Indian  elite in Business, Media and Bureaucracy especially the import lobby in Defense forces.There was this virtual salvo against Krishna Menon as MIG 21 was one of the top line fighters of Soviet union and also in the world at that time. Soon we had IL 14s, AN12s, MI4 helicopters etc etc.The clever way USA used to inject one system into one client state  which used to be compensated by EU countries in the third world who have disputes with the client state was  broken . The Veto of Soviet Union was the one which used to save India from Kashmir plebiscite demand and various other pin pricks we used to get in UN from western nations. India used to be completely isolated except support from Bhutan with regard to issues affecting our security like the Goa operation, Hyderabad independence and ofcourse 1971 war where we were forced to have a Friendship treaty with Soviet Union which stopped the hostile Chinese from intervening as they did in 1965.
     This past history is relevant today as Russia faces a tricky situation in Ukraine. A democratically elected Government was thrown out and Pro EU leadership was installed in Ukraine through covert action.The Americans are trying the same thing in Venezuela now as they did in Syria. But in Ukraine they did something which goes to the heart of newly created Russia whose Black sea fleet is located in Crimea which is part of Ukraine.Crimea not only has 55% Russian origin citizens but also 12% Tartars who also support the Russians. What EU did in Ukraine or what Russia is doing in Crimea may not be legitimate but it has opened a soft under belly of Russia.
   Now it is here India has to take a stand which must stand out.Russia has no land border with India. It has given us latest Cryogenic engines when west was scuttling our ISRO plans. While US tried to sell us refurbished F16s for the MMRCA deal, Russia is now collaborating in fifth Generation fighter. Russia has a land border with China which once flared up.Even two days back Americans were gifting $300 million to Pakistan military.I feel it is in our national interest to support Russia when the world media is out to bamboozle it.The present Indian government may not be able to do it. I think Modi the BJP nominee can take the gauntlet and give a statement in support of Russia which will stir things up a bit. Khobargade affair, Generic drugs, Solar panel dispute in WTO etc etc will all vanish if only Modi stirs things which will give India long term benefits.