With pay and allowances hike of 300 percent for Indian MP’s , an Indian member of parliament would be getting 68 times in relation to per capita GDP: while on the same basis a Japanese MP gets 6 times and an Italian MP 7 times. Even an American senator or member of House of Representatives gets 35 times. How strange and unreasonable when India is still having 35 percent citizens who live below poverty line of which atleast 15 percent i.e. half do not have guarantee of two course meal of simple rice and Daal(pulse) or Daal and Roti and quite a number of them commit suicide because of inability to feed themselves and their families because of drought, debt that they cannot repay or just poverty.
It is also well known that more than half the number of MP’s in India are crorepatis. Why should they need 300 percent increase in their salaries and perks? Even MP’s like Lalu and Yadav demanded forcefully further 10 percent increase besides 300 percent increase already approved by cabinet. To continue to get their support the government of India has acquiesced to their demand though on August 25 when the Bill to hike the salaries and perks of MP’s was tabled this 10 percent hike was not included but, it is said that it is likely to be accepted in due course at the time of implementation of this cabinet decision approved by parliament.
Besides the salaries, perks are quite comprehensive, which, too, have been revised and enhanced. Constituency allowance has been doubled from Rs 20,000 per month to Rs 40,000 plus Rs 10,000 pm increase in pension and office allowance of Rs 40,000 pm. This is not all. He gets rent free bunglow with furniture, telephone, internet etc in Lutyens New Delhi on prestigious roads like Aurangzeb road, Ferozshah road or spacious accommodation in roads east and west of Rashtrapati Bhawan with Rs 2 lakh and one lakh per month rental value. All these increases will result in overall expenditure of Rs 142 crores per annum while lumpsum one time expenditure will be Rs 118 crores for paying salary arrears since 15 Lok Sabha was constituted. Hike in pay, allowances etc approved will add to on MP’s cost to Rs 37 lakh a year or Rs 3 lakh more each month. In addition an MP will get 34 single air journey tickets a year costing Rs 5 lakh and unlimited rail and steamer travel.
Impact of all these hikes in MP’s salaries and allowances will have on MLA’s. Already Delhi administration has approved increase of 200 percent in pay and allowance of each MLA. There is likely to be demand for similar hike in pay and allowances for MLA’s in all the other states and union territories of India. This demand may create difficulties for some states who may demand help from centre to implement as this demand by state MLA’s is due to hike in pay and allowances of MP’s to more than 300 percent. On 27 August Lok Sabha voted for revised MP’s salary and pension bill, not taking into consideration requests and demands for enhancement. Parliamentary affairs minister Pawan Bansal admitted the need for a mechanism for enhancement of salary and perks of MPs though it was a verbal assurance. It is hoped that this mechanism, which may take into account the rise in cost of living and impact on MLA’s of all state government, will be worked out in consultation with states etc and be announced.
This is a book based on primarily on Chinese aggressions and uncalled for War against India. Prior to 1962, Chinese PM Chou Enlai developed most cordial relations with Indian Prime Minister Jawahar Lal Nehru. The welcome accorded in 1955 to PM Nehru was so well organized that millions of Chinese gathered on roads to greet him and India, as per direction of Chinese government. It was unprecedented as so far never the Chinese PM along with a foreign countries PM, even that of USSR, travelled in open car, accepting the greetings along with Indian or any foreign PM or head of State.
Pt. Nehru was so excited that on return to India, of all the persons he wrote a letter to Edvina Mountbatten wife of Governor General of India belonging to UK a foreign country after independence. It was because Nehru as PM of independent India, contrast to being a British colony, treated Lord Mountbatten almost as if he was supreme power and not a titular head and thus Pandit Nehru’s boss. Here are few extracts from letter:
“I had a welcome in China, such as I have in big cities of India and that is saying a great deal. I do not think there was any precedent for it in China. The welcome given to me was both official and popular. It is said probably correctly, that a million people took part in it on the day of my arrival in Paking”
Nehru further wrote: “It was not only the numbers but their obvious enthusiasm. There appeared to be something emotional in it” He concluded the long letter running into more than a two typed pages that at many functions in his honour attended by “as many as 700 or 800 guests of all types apart from the official hierarchy and the diplomats, there were scientist, medical men, professors in the colleges etc, actors and actresses and specially honoured workers at the end. Even there was genuine enthusiasm. I would have been less than human if I had not been influenced by all this.”
Panditji was so led or (eventually) misled by Chinese reception given to him that he wrote to the Chief Ministers of India praising China, saying that “China entirely for its own sake wants peace”.
Just after 7 years in 1962 all hopes of Pandit Nehru of peaceful relations with China dashed when China attacked, after invasion of Tibetan area intrusions in Ladakh, and launched attack on India, that too, without any negotiations by Chou Enlai with Jawahar Lal Nehru. It was a big betrayal by China which deceived (keeping in view unprecedented welcome to Nehru in Paking in 1955) .
When the intrusion in NEFA of Indian territory by Chinese troops started, Pandit Nehru our PM and his Defence Minister Krishna Menon never took it seriously. Nehru left for official visit to Ceylon saying I have ordered my army to throw Chinese troops out.” Our inexperienced Defence Minister, who was known to be arrogant and never spoke or heard Army Generals quietly and courteously, felt helpless and could not function as Defence Minister to order and accomplish the mission of ‘ throwing out Chinese troops’. Details of this humiliating war and its consequences are well known. Ultimate result was shocking not only for Indian people but for Pandit Nehru who could not bear the disgrace and deception at the hands of Chou Enhai’s China and succumbed and died in a couple of years.
Arun Shourie who was minister in BJP Government under PM Vajpayee had access to confidential papers and so he wrote this book which is quite authentic, his conclusion is, as the title of the book suggests authentically and forcefully- ‘Lessons Chinese taught Pandit Nehru but which we refuse to learn.’ It is apt to conclude this brief review with quotation from Arun Shorie as under:
‘Why and on what reasoning did he scotch all warnings- those of Sardar Patel, Rajaji, Shyama Parsad Mukherjee, Acharya Kripalani, MR Masani, young Vajpayee and every officer who took courage to document what the Chinese were upto in Tibet and along our entire border?
Pandit Nehru and India should have strengthened the NEFA with best troops and best equipment when China had invaded Tibet and even occupied areas of India in Ladakh and Aksaichin after having built roads. We must be vigilant and avoid such a catastrophe in future for the sake of India, so that we are not deceived again by China or Pakistan or any other country.
India is hosting CW games in October 2010. Preparations have been going on for more than a year. Organization Committees Chairman Suresh Kalmadi has been in picture for last three months. For quite some time Kalmadi refused to comment on corruption in his organization of which he was Chairman. He also refused to appear on T.V but when recently he appeared in T.V he tried his level best to deny any charges of corruption though three members of OC had been forced to resign indirectly accepting their guilt , his close aides T.S. Darbari and Sanjay Mohindroo and another.
Most disturbing was Kalmadi’s persistent denial of any knowledge about payments made to a London based company AM Films. Now the proof of this dubious payment made to this firm has come to light as the file is signed by him. This proves beyond doubt that Suresh Kalmadi authorized the payment to A M Films though earlier he had asserted a number of times that as Chairman of Common Wealth Games organizing committee he took “no financial decisions.”
Kalmadi had asserted that Indian High Commission in London had recommended payment to A M car and van, sister organization of A M Films. But infact payment was made much earlier in August 2009 for a fleet of cars and signed by Kalmadi’s close aides Darbari and Mohindroo. Facts about unauthorized payments are slowly coming to light with the help of Media. Accordingly opposition is demanding clarification about so called loot deception and corruption in OC and its Chairman. There is resentment or displeasure by Queen British government for reported delay in completion of a member of projects relating to CW Games and often reported in Indian media about corruption particularly in relation to Indian’s owned London firm A M Films. Indian High Commission in London is also perturbed.
Recently there has been in Parliament, by the entire opposition of Left and Right political parties. BJP, in particular, demanded probe to find out the main causes of corruption and the persons responsible and involved in it. When minister of sports M.S. Gill, said that the BJP could file RTI to get complete details, these remarks of Gill provoked BJP and all its MPs stormed out, because Gill refused to explain or skirted about the delays in completion of work which was also shoddy and also about corruption. Though Gill in his speech in Parliament agreed to a thorough enquiry in all the allegations but only after the CW Games were over. This made the opposition restless and even some congress ministers and members felt let down by Gills explanation. Gill also said that the Enforcement Directorate had been asked to probe charges against Organization committee of CW Games headed by Suresh Kalmadi, in view of doubts raised by Deputy High Commission of India in London. Gill claimed that sacking of T.S Darbari, a close aide of Kalmadi, was at his instance. Shri Akhilesh Yadav, an MP even want so far as to say that so called thorugh probe, about corruption and shoddy work, after the Games, will meet the same fate as Bhopal tragedy probe. It has been reported, and has been shocking, that because of filth and water lagging due to digging in many areas for Common Wealth Games projects, the area has become breeding ground for mosquitoes and is the main cause of spread of Dengu fever which has already claimed a number of lives. 19 new cases of Dengu had been reported by doctors on Wednesday August 11, 2010.Opposition parties in Parliament both of Left and Right want immediate action against the OC members and others including its Chairman Kalmadi and other guilty to be at least removed and replaced immediately though they may be punished after the Games. But the UPA II and the Sports Minister MS Gill, in particular, do not agree, as it will tarnish the image of ruling UPA, the congress in particular.
It is only after about three months that Prime Minister, on 14th August 1947, woke up to say that there will be thorough probe and promised severe and exemplary punishment to those guilty of corruption in
Suresh kalmadi led organizing committee of Commonwealth Games organization. Prime Minister reiterated this pledge in his speech on August 15 at Red Fort, It is now hoped that effective steps will be taken to complete in all spheres the structures required for Commonwealth games in time to bring honour to India.
For months, CBI and indirectly central government have been targeting Amit Shah Minister of State for home in BJP’s Gujarat government and known to be close to the Chief Minister Narendra Modi. T.V and press have been highlighting Sohrabuddin case, so closely and consistently as there was nothing else in India and world to be reported. CBI had decided to put behind bars Amit Shah but CBI Court on August 4, 2010 rejected the plea of CBI for remand of 5 days saying that note submitted by CBI against Amit Shah “was not sufficient even to prime facie establish that he is an accused” on the basis of arguments by senior advocate and BJP MP Ram Jethmalani. This judgment of CBI court by additional Chief judicial magistrate A. Yadav is a set back to CBI and helpful to both Amit Shah and Gujarat CM Modi also indirectly it gives boost to BJP.
New revelations about Sohrabuddin’s past in terrorist activities have come to light. It is almost confirmed that this Sohrabuddin is not an ordinary criminal or a murderer but he has been having links with and had been associated with notorious terrorists, Chhota Dawood alias Sharif Khan who was a henchman of Dawood Ibrahim. Later Sohrabuddin joined the other notorious henchman of Dawood, Abdul Latif Sheikh, who was entrusted with spreading terror in Gujarat. Latif had entrusted with safeguarding weapons, sent by Dawood to spread violence in Gujarat in 1994 which included 24 AK-47 rifles, 100 grenades, many pistols and vast amount of ammunition, which was recovered by Gujarat police from a well, following his arrest under TADA. Sohrabuddin was arrested and remained in jail for five years. After release from Jail by Supreme Court order Sohrabuddin once again took to murders, extortion and all types of crimes.
What Narendra Modi, Chief Minister of Gujarat meant by saying that centre treats Gujarat as an “enemy state”? As Gujarat is integral part of India like any other state it was not appropriate for Modi to use the word of “enemy state” because enemy state is an independent country which is waging war against India and spreading terrorism and is inimical to India, like Pakistan. Modi infact, it seems, meant that congress and central government are hostile to Gujarat because it is a BJP run state. Similarly Modi and BJP have no faith in CBI which they consider Central Bureau of Indira Congress. As BJP is the only major political party which had once formed central government and ruled India under prime ministership of Vajpayee, so congress has been fearing since 2000 that BJP may not overthrow Congress government of UPA II and once again come to power.
In contrast Congress government and CBI have done nothing during last 26 years to convict the criminals, including congress leaders congress workers and police offices and personnel who instigated and joined in anti Sikh riots and massacre of thousands of Sikhs in 1984- not a single congress politician or Congress worker or policeman has been convicted or jailed despite so many commissions. Even in Gujarat, Muslim criminals who burnt the train killing 76 Hindus, not a single criminal has been sentenced but Amit Shah home minister of Gujarat along with many Police officers including DG police have been arrested because of the so called fake encounter to kill hardened criminal and murderer, Soharabuddin.
To sum it up Gujarat is not an enemy state. It is one of the States of India which have non-congress governments like UP, Bihar, West Bengal, Orissa. It does not seem proper to arrest and grill for a number of days Amit Shah, minister of State for home in Gujarat as per CBI Courts judgment. DG Vanzara was, it has been reported in the press, one of the best police officers, famous for taking strong action against terrorists. It has been reported that DG Vanzara and his team of dedicated police officers and personnel were successful in getting 250 terrorists convicted, thus making Gujarat free from terrorists and terrorism. Congress and central government as well CBI should ponder over these aspects in view of their services to Gujarat and India for eliminating terrorism from Gujarat and making terrorists fear and therefore curb terrorism from whole of India.
This is the most famous and perhaps the best book written by former Asst Secretary General of UN and former cabinet minister of India. As Shashi writes frankly without inhibitions a number of politicians and even writers and intellectuals get agitated. As a result Shashi Tharoor became controversial as a writer as a politician and as an intellectual. Accordingly he had to tender his resignation from the coveted ministership of UPA. Basic facts about India, its past and future, despair and hope are as under:
Most important development from midnight of August 15, 1947 to present day (millennium) is economic development. Under Nehru era because of socialistic pattern of society and state central of industries the economic growth was virtually static. It is only after Narsima Rao included in his cabinet brilliant economist Dr Manmohan Singh who had been in World Bank before coming to India as governor of Reserve Bank and ushered a complete change in economic systems. Economic growth jumped to 5% of GDP to 8.7% and was about to touch 10% of GDP. In Shashi Tharoor’s words country’s dynamic growth, averaging 5.9 percent annually at the cusp of the millennium and rising to 8 percent by 2007 with talk of even 10 percent in the next 5 years and “India’s gross domestic produce is rising so rapidly that it increases each year by amount that exceed the total GDP of Portugal or Norway.” The other significant fact is that “ India’s foreign reserves in 2007 exceed 140 billion dollars enough to cover fifteen months” worth of imports sixteen years ago, the country had to mortgage its gold in London because the foreign exchange were dry”.
Shashi Tharoor is against fundamentalism or communalism, whether it is of Hindus or Muslims. Though Shashi says he is a Hindu and is proud of Hinduism, its thousands of years old culture. In his own words: “I, too, am proud of my Hinduism. I do not want to cede its varieties to fanatics. To discriminate against another, to attack another, to kill another, to destroy another’s place of worship on the basis of his faith is not part of my dharma, as it was not Vivekananda’s. It is time to go back to these fundamentals of Hinduism. It is time to take Hinduism back from fumdamentalists.” Tharoor blames Muslim communalism, under Muslim League before and after independence and the partition of India and partition riots engineered by Muslims first in Bengal and then in Punjab, for the “ Hindu resurgence is the mirror image of Muslim communalism of 1947” Shashi Tharoor elucidates in few words. “Hinduism is a civilization not a dogma”. About bombing by Muslims in Bombay, in particular and elsewhere in India, Tharoor rightly and optimistically says “Bombs alone cannot destroy India, because Indians will pick their way through the rubble and carry on as they have done throughout history.”
Inspite of wide spread corruption all over the country in administration from villages, Tehsils, Districts, Provinces and the central government, inspite of separatist tendencies here and there, inspite of threats by neighbours like China and Pakistan, India will march ahead. In Shashi Tharoor’s words: “Corruption, violence, sectarianism, the criminalization of politics and widespread social tension all mounted during a period when a degree of economic liberalization opened up a new entrepreneurial ferment.” Shashi Tharoor is very optimistic about India’s future and rise in the comity of nations amongst the top 3 or 4 nations despite, at present, about 60 percent people living below poverty line because there is continuous rise in the jobs for all technocrats, doctors, business managers, farmers and even all types of labourers, organized or unorganized. India is definitely going to shine come what may.
It is apt to conclude with Shashi Tharoor’s own words, “New ideas emerging from new experiences refresh and alter traditional ideas based on old experiences but do not replace them. One does not have to believe in the cynical view of history to accept the upanishdic idea of constant rebirth of the timeless. India is arguably the oldest continuing civilization in the world, one that in essence has throughout remained connected to, and conscious of its own antiquity (whereas Greeks, Egyptians and Persians had to rediscover or reinvent a past from which history had ruptured them). Secularism can only be effective when reconciled with and assimilated into, this continuing civilization” but “ Indian secularism should mean letting every religion flourish rather than privileging one above the rest, while ensuring that tradition of dharma infuses both in public policy and private conduct.”