H C Singh

Indian American Governors in the USA

It is great tribute to intelligence and adjustment of Indians in a foreign country, USA, to rise to such a coveted positions as to be governors of American states. Bobby Jindal was the first to be elected to US house of Representatives and then to become Governor. Equally, rather much more, is the achievement of an Indian-American woman, Nikki Haley to be nominated by Republican Party to become Governor of another American state. It is noteworthy that there are immigrants in large numbers form other Asian countries like China and Japan but none from their communities has attained high positions in American politics, not to speak of a Chinese or Japanese origin American becoming governor of an American state, though there are so called China towns and big Japanese enclaves.

Both Bobby Jindal and Nikki Haley were brought up by Indian-American parents as Hindu and Sikh respectively. Both got converted to Christianity of their own as they grew up. Bobby Jindal embraced Christianity when he was too young and studying in High school while Nikki Randhawa became Christian at the age of 24 when she had experienced racial discriminated by white American against non-white Americans belonging to other religions than Christianity.

Bobby Jindal married an Indian-American girl. Priya Jolly when he was 24. Nikki married an American Christian Micheal Haley, after a Republican had called her ‘rag-headed’. Thus Amarita Nikki Randhava thereafter became Nikki Haley though she was daughter of Dr. Ajit and Raj Randhawa, hailing from Amritsar, the holy city of Sikhs like Vatican for Christians. But Nikki and Micheal Haley were married twice, once under Sikh rites in the presence of Guru Granth Sahib and again under Christian rites performed by a bishop.

Nikki Haley though has been nominated by Republican Party to be Governor of South-Carolina state will be actually sworn in November 2010. There are bound to be jubilations amongst American Indians, particularly amongst. American Sikhs, besides her relations in USA and India.

Governor Bobby Jindal is now 39 years old, while Nikki Haley is only 38 years old. To be Governors of American states in their thirties is really a big achievement. To be Governor of American state has the status and powers of an Indian states Governor as well as Chief Minister, as Governor of an American state appoints his own Cabinet and other officials, they don’t have to be elected or nominated while in India Governor is mostly figure-head and is to act on the direction of President or Central Government while all power rests with the Chief Minister who is a political party’s nominee and has to follow the instructions and guidance of the Party.

July 7, 2010 Posted by | Achievers, Biography, India, Political Commentary, Punjabi, USA | , , , , | Leave a comment

Caste-ridden India – That is Bharat

After 60 years of 1950 constitution which abolished untouchability and ordained that reservations for SC and STs’ would be for only 15 years; it was felt that India would make progress in all fields – social, economic and political and India that is our Bharat will become a casteless society. Sardar Patel who was India’s first and best Home Minister had, besides supporting wholeheartedly India becoming a casteless society was opposed to reservations for so-called minorities. When some Muslim leaders had raised the question of reservation for Muslims in parliament Sardar rebuked them that India is a secular country and “those Muslims who want reservations can go to Pakistan”. It was then felt that in 15 years time there will be marked improvement in the living standards, education and employment of SC and STs’. But unfortunately our politicians and political parties did not pay any attention to these fundamental issues and were concerned with being in power or retaining power in politics. In 1964 India’s first PM Nehru died and thereafter there was struggle for Prime Ministership.

Thus in 1965 no politician bothered to think of or do anything for SC and STs’ so that there is marked improvement in their condition in society. It is unfortunate that politicians and political parties who have ruled India for the last 60 years, for political reasons and for political power more and more castes were being included for reservation, in particular the OBC’s. Thus instead of India becoming casteless society, today India is a caste-ridden society, a democracy in name only because democracy’s main features are equality of all citizens, no discrimination of any sort of Caste or Status.

How and why there has been deterioration in social, political and economic spheres during last 60 years? Why India, our Bharat, instead of going forward is going backward? Who are responsible for this reversal?

There are about 2000 castes of OBC’s in central list, though each State has a list of its OBC’s. There are some professions like that of Dhobi (washer man) which are SC’s in States of West Bengal, Bihar, UP and Rajasthan but are included in the list of OBC’s in Maharashtra. How can SC’s and OBC’s be considered one. There can be some other castes, particularly in Tamilnadu which may be SC’s there but OBC’s in other southern States or vice versa. How can OBC’s of all 2000 castes be considered backward when some are big landlords and prosperous businessmen or professionals. For example Badal of Punjab who is Chief Minister and his son Dy.Chief Minister can be OBC’s entitled to concessions. Similarly Hooda and Chautala of Haryana present and former Chief Ministers can come under reserved categories. The case of both Yadavas is similar. They have been ruling one State or other. There are many so-called other backward class (OBC’s) cabinet Ministers and Ministers in many States. There are Jats who are holding high position in Civil services, information technology, professors and principals as well as vice chancellors.

There have been occasionally murders, killing because of ‘Khap’ Panchayet’s objection to marriages in same gotra though same gotra marriages were declared legal in 1945 by Bombay High Court. This judgement is of great significance which has since been ignored though it was much before the codification of Hindu Code Bill. It is unfortunate that to gain political support former Chief Minister of Hariyana, Om Prakash Chautala and Congress MP Jindal are supporting the ‘Khap’ Panchayet’s ideology and actions and even want legal support. If somehow ‘Khap’ Panchayet’s get legal support this will mean, that our judicial system of justice will have no jurisdiction in ‘Khap’ Panchayet’s and thereafter in all Panchayets all over India though gotra politics is medieval : that will take India much more backward.

Latest unfortunate and ill-considered action of UPA-II government is inclusion of caste in 2011 census without bothering about its implications. Central leadership seems to have succumbed to pressure, particularly from two Yadavas, and allies. There are thousands of castes and tens of thousands sub castes. How these will be coordinated into four major castes? Moreover there are millions of citizens who don’t believe in caste system and do not and would not like to mention their caste for the census. There are 18,000 categories of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes listed in 2001 census.

 If India is to be a progressive and modern democracy it take steps, though 45 years late, to end caste system by 2025 so that India is determined to move forward and not backward. If a constitutional amendment is required, just as provision in 1950 Constitution that must be enacted. For this all parties must sink their differences and rise so that India advances like Christian dominated countries where there is no caste system at all. Even Muslim countries who have their problem of Burqa, have no caste system, thus no discrimination, all citizens being equal.

July 2, 2010 Posted by | Corruption, Hinduism, India, Indian History, Muslims, Political Commentary, Politics, Religion | , , , , , | 2 Comments

Unprincipled Politics And Corruption

 Present day Congress and its allies making up the UPA are perhaps the most unprincipled politicians. UPA strives to remain in power with the help and association of its erstwhile enemies like Mayawati, UP Chief Minister; Shibu Soren, Jharkhand Chief Minister; Mulayam Singh Yadav, former CM of Uttar Pradesh; Lalu Prasad Yadav, former CM of Bihar; and Mamata Banerjee of Trinamul Congress to name the few who have been changing sides, joining or supporting one political party or the other as it suited them.

Latest instance is the coming of Cut Motion in Parliament and voting over it. Had the Cut Motion voting gone against UPA, the government would have been overthrown. Feeling this possibility Pranab Mukherjee approached Mayawati for support to UPA government as and when Cut Motion came for voting. It is the same Mayawati who had been criticised in and out of Parliament for wasting public money in hundreds of crore rupees on erection of statues including her own. As there was likely to be a probe by Income Tax and CBI authorities on Mayawati’s unaccounted wealth running into hundreds of crores, she readily agreed and came to Delhi to get the support of all her party’s MPs for UPA government. Before the voting, Mayawati went on record telling the public and press that she had been rendering ‘outside support to Congress for the last ten years’. It was clear to even the blind that quid pro quo for the support in Parliament was closure of CBI cases against her. This amply demonstrates the depths to which public morality has fallen all around and how a politician can escape CBI and Income Tax probe for amassing hundreds of crores and also misuse of public money for personal or party’s gains.

Both Yadavs have succeeded in getting caste being included in the current census which is negation of 1950 Constitution which sought to abolish caste system. Mulayam Singh Yadav, too, was vociferous but did not vote against UPA government. There are many cases of unbecoming compromise by Sonia Gandhi and Manmohan Singh government for their survival. How long such undemocratic ways of getting such support will continue to tarnish the image of Indian democracy ?

Unless political corruption, if not completely eliminated, becomes much less, there can not be real progress in India and for it’s about 30 to 40 percent below poverty line citizens How can corruption end ? Politicians and political parties must determine not to favour corrupt and give them tickets for election as MPs or MLAs even for Councillors of Corporations. Unless politicians and bureaucrats are absolutely honest and clean in their dealings and do not accept lakhs and crores in bribes – corruption shall remain. In other democracies like that of USA and Europe there is negligent corruption and if it comes to light, the corrupt are instantly punished. Indian politicians and political parties should emulate their democracies and be honest and clean in their deeds.

The other factor that vitiates Indian politics and virtually all political parties is vote-bank politics. None of the major political parties of India are free from the stigma of vote-bank politics. Both Congress and Left parties have encouraged Muslim communalism to get their votes. Both the Yadavs have now demanded reservation for Muslims so that they get Muslim votes. They forget that after independence some Muslim Leaders of India, after partition, demanded reservation for Muslims. But Sardar Patel almost lost temper and told that those Muslims want reservation can go to Pakistan. For the sake of votes, they encourage communalism and partisanship and even those who have separatist tendencies. It is well known that Congress has been pampering Muslim votes and so is the case with leftist parties. While BJP has been pampering Hindu and Sikh communities to get their votes in areas where they are dominant.

It is suggested that an all party organisation be formed to save India, it’s democracy and its poor from the devastating effects of these two evils in Indian society and politics as outlined above. If they are honest some common solution can be found and honesty and transparency in political and bureaucratic circles can be ensured. Then alone India will be really great during next 20 years or so even ahead of USA and China and pride of all Indians as the biggest democracy and soon the biggest economy. Already in Information Technology India is virtually at the top. Wipro, Info Systems and HCL are the three world famous Indian Tech Firms with which foreign Tech Firms are keen to have greater collaboration. There are already thousands of Indian IIM & IIT educated teachers in USA other countries of the west who are pride of India.

July 2, 2010 Posted by | Corruption, India, Muslims, Political Commentary | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Untouchability in Kuwait !

 It was surprising to read an article in Readers Digest of April 2010 that out of population of 2.5 millions there are 80,000 “Untouchables” in the rich Arab country, Kuwait. The article is written by an American who had spent seven months in Kuwait. On reaching Kuwait he was taken by a local taxi driver to his own one room house in the outskirts of Kuwaiti capital. Nick Walker wrote this article from his first hand experience, observations and intimate friendship with these “Untouchables” called Bedoons, a corruption of the Arab tribe called “Bedouin”, the famous nomads.

Walker says that these Bedoons are ‘dirt poor’. They don’t get employment in refineries of Kuwait as they are not considered Kuwaiti citizens. In fact they are stateless persons since 1961 when Kuwait got independence. Prior to 1961 these Arabs now known as Bedoons came from neighbouring Arab countries as workers. Their descendents, now second and even third generation still are stateless, have no nationality, no passport and no rights what so ever in Kuwait even though they have lived there for more than 50 years. This state of affairs would be unthinkable and even unacceptable in any other country and does not reflect a modern nation-state. These Bedoons therefore have to accept menial and low paid jobs even though in appearance they are no different from any naturalized Kuwaiti citizens.

Nick Walker had spent three months with this Bedoon family, which was comparatively better off than other Bedoons because its head was a taxi driver and not an ordinary menial, whose condition is ‘miserable’. However, Walker is delighted to observe unlimited natural love and affection of all the family members of this Bedoon family and compares with quarrels , dominance of one member over another in the family of his ‘American girl friend of the time’ in California. In Walker’s own words :

‘Kadejah (seven year old youngest of four sisters) beams with delight as I produce a handful of Quality, Street Chocolates. I know what she is going to do- she takes one to each sister and then to her dad. She runs back and gives one to Hidari and hands me the flat toffee. Hidari slides one into a pocket’. Walker further adds ‘they all sleep in one room in a row. I think of Nina and Alex (children of his American girl friend) in their ensuite designer bed room – Kadezah has fallen asleep Hidari holds her, Ayadha supports her head and Fatima shadows her from the sun. I turn back to the front and realise I am crying’. It is touching contrast in love and affection in a ‘dirt poor’ untouchable family of Kuwait and rich American family of California.

Now, from where we began, about untouchability in India. After independence under 1950 Constitution untouchability was banned in India. At the time of India’s independence in 1947, India’s population was 35 crores. To end even indirect untouchability, reservations were made for Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribes in the shape of “affirmative action”. This is in contrast to Kuwait where in 50 years no provision in the Kuwaiti Constitution was made to eliminate or even ameliorate the “Bedoon untouchabiity”. In 2010 India’s population has increased three fold to 105 to 110 crores. Though 30 percent Indians are now estimated to be living below poverty line yet because of the affirmative action many from SC/ST have risen to Chief Ministers of State besides many other by value of education are holding senior posts in civil services. This dual policy “affirmative discriminative action” of ban on untouchability and reservations for lowest castes amounting to nearly 40 percent has helped in all fields to be equal to other citizens. There is natural love and affection in all families in India.

 As a first step Kuwaiti Govt abolish ‘untouchability’ so that there are no Bedoons.

 

July 2, 2010 Posted by | Untouchability in Kuwait | , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Difficulty of Being Good

Eminent Indian writer of English, author of ‘India Unbound’ has brought out in 2009 another masterpiece entitled ‘Difficulty of Being Good’, which is based on the philosophy of dharma as outlined in Mahabharata.

There is no doubt that it is very difficult and sometimes impossible to be good even in modern times because of competition in all spheres, injustice, corruption, favouritism, nepotism, particularly in countries like India where there is no compulsory education, no guarantee of employment, no doles for unemployed and no old age pension. Two basic ideas are ‘envy’ and ‘dharma’ as elucidated by Gurcharan Das after a thorough study of Mahabharata are given below from his book :-

“The Mahabharata tells the story of futile and terrible war of annihilation between the children of two brothers of the Bharata family. The rival cousins, Kauravas and Pandavas both lay claim to the throne. To reduce feud, Kingdom is divided but the jealous Kauravas are not content and plot to usurp the other half of the kingdom through a rigged game of dice. Yudhisthir, the older Pandavas loses everything in the game, the kingdom his brothers, his wife (Draupadi) and including himself to his rival Duryadhana. Yudhisthir’s wife queen Draupadi is dragged before Duryadhana in the assembly of nobles where his brother Duryadhana tries to strip her. After losing the game of dice and the kingdom and everything, Yudhisthir is exiled for 13 years, 12 years he is required to spend in forest and one year in the kingdom he lost, but in disguise so that no one can recognise him. During the exile Draupadi, presses Yudhisthir to raise an army and defeat Duryadhana and get back his kingdom and all the honour he lost by rigged game of dice. But Yudhisthira who believes in Dharma says that he had given the word he will honour it. Dharma is a ship that guides one to the farthest shore.”

Both the evils of envy and greed of following Dharma are relevant even today just as these have affected mankind for thousands of years. At the national and international level, envy and greed led to two great wars during 20th century. In 1st world war from 1914 to 1919 Germany tried to conquer the whole world and to become the only great power but was defeated causing death of millions and devastating almost all the European countries including Germany itself. But Germany did not learn lesson and under fascist Hitler once again embarked on the conquest of world, this time with the support of Japan, a rising Asian country. Hitler, too, met the fate of Kaiser William in the second world war 1939 to 1945. In addition Hitler’s fascist government had killed 6 million Jews in Gas Chambers. This time, even Germany was occupied by victorious Allies for a few years. There are the most horrible consequences of envy in 20the century. Had Germany followed Dharma which required the king or the ruler of a country to further interests of its subjects and those interests of the state or country? According to philosophy of Mahabharata if a king follows Dharma, there will be rule of law and justice and the king who follows Dharma is known as “Dharma raja.”

As there are enemies as neighbours as were the Kauravas in Kurukshetra war, it is difficult to practice ‘Dharma’. Practice of Dharma became difficult when there is war with an unjust neighbour like Durjyadhana. Accordingly India and Pakistan have been at war number of times because Pakistan never believed in ‘Dharma’ and does not believe even today because of its support to terrorism. That is why US President Obama has said that “Pakistan has cancer of terrorism” training and sending terrorists to USA to destroy Twin Towers and to India to attack Taj Hotel killing hundreds of innocent people, innocent men and women. So long as cancer of terrorism is there in Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iraq there can not be lasting peace in the world. Thus Muslims and Christians should follow Dharma in their dealings with countries and individuals. Then alone there can be peace and harmony in the world. Dharma and it practice is essential between individuals, too. Brothers should not fight for patrimony leading to court cases or violent deaths, which is happening. There should be ban on gambling, too. Dharma is: Be intent with actions not on fruits of action. It is difficult be good by both, countries and individuals. But that is essential in the modern world to avoid envy as between two cousins in Mahabharata and a war of annihilation like Kurukshetra war.

Towards the end of Kurukshetra war when only Durjyadhana remains alive and is in hiding, Krishna considered a God allows Bhima to kill Durjyadhana by deceit. In Gurcharan Das’s words “Krishna justifies it as without Krishna’s intervention, to kill Durjyadhana without deceit would not have been possible as Kauravas were great warriors. Krishna’s defence is that once peace talks failed and Durjyadhana refused to part with five villages to the Pandavas, the only thing that mattered was victory for the just side. Krishna now becomes grave and tells the victors: “Kaurava were great warriors and you could not have defeated in fair fight, so I had to use deceit, treachery and magic on your behalf” (page XXII of book).

It is evident from the above that even god Krishna, for the sake of justice for saving Arjuna and Drana used deceit and trickery from the above mentioned facts as outlined by Gurcharan Das from Mahabharata, it is clear that so long envy and jealousy are there and terrorism and suicide bombing prevails, there can not be peace and harmony between nations even in 21st century. Difficulty of being good for the nations and citizens will be there.

July 1, 2010 Posted by | Hinduism, India, Political Commentary, Religion, Terrorism | , , , | Leave a comment