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Monday, June 16, 2014

Summer of 14

At the start of summer, I had written in this blog that how important this summer is mainly due to the elections. We eagerly await monsoons here in this part of world. Schools are set to begin next week. Transition of seasons makes you feel nostalgic about something as transient as time spent. I just remember New Year ringing in and we are almost half way down the road. First World War started 100 years ago. 20th century which shaped our generation is almost a forgotten just as the great wars, cold war, Berlin wall, opening of Indian economy and finally Y2k. Tinaeman square celebrates silver jubilee this summer. It was 1989 then. It was also 1989 when someone as unknown as Michael chang won French open and this year it’s known face of Nadal at Roland Garos. It was 1989 when i did my first Himalayan trek after 10th exam. It was 1989 when India had the last non coalition government and it is 2014 when we have same again.
25 years is a long time. It is a quarter of the century. It is also a one third of human life on an average. 

We 89ers (as we call them at school batch passed out in 89) have spent that much time in our education, career, and family life for those many years. This summer we had opportunity to revisit that in form of a nostalgic trip. Our gen next has grown to their primary school. I still remember day in 1990 when karsevaks were shot at and we heard BBC radio reporting then due to DD blackout. Rajiv Gandhi govt was on verge of ouster and protagonist was the dangerous man called V P Singh. To admit even thought leaders had imagined him to be real Hero forget about teenagers like me. But he ended up leading nation to disaster followed by some worst governments leading to 91 crises. 91 saw another good PM in P V Narsimharao who was force behind liberalization executed by Manmonhan Singh. India changed after that irreversibly.  BJP grew in 96 after failed 13 day experiment and 13 months one in 98.  Meanwhile people like H D Devegouda and I K Gujaral won the roulette.  NDA govt in 99 became first non congress govt to complete full tenure and had some great push towards infrastructure and development under Vajpayee prior to stumbling on India shining disaster. Last 10 years have been shambolic with India story at its rock bottom. Corruption at high , populist subsidies, direction less non decisive government out of coalition games.  I remember day in 1986 when we walked from school which was 7 kms away due to strike of transporters. That day as we passed by sarasbaug, we saw people distributing pamphlets of in Ayodhya movement. Latching to that movement, from strength of 2 in 1984 shok sabha till 288 on May 17th in 2014 much water has flown under Ganges.
After the resounding success of BJP under Modi on May 17th, I have been closely observing media, thought leaders, politicians who had put Modi under continuous scrutiny and abuse for last 12 years. In fact I never believed US and European governments to be so fool hardy to be influenced by these thoughts. But then west govt always have played in hands of hidden expansive religious agenda. All these people now had started being what i term as ‘cautionist’. These are very clever people. In every article or chat they proclaim to have open mind about Modi’s actions (which have been great and need to be lauded upon) , but every praise comes with a foot note of caution. So they have a chance to retreat to their original positions in case something happens in future which they have been scaring people about. But if things go as per development vision of Modi and Modi fulfils promises he made, then they don’t have to lose face. Maybe now only old congress stable of Iyers, Digvijays are still following ostrich policy but all those doyens of media, intelligentsia, and activists have fallen in place. Though some cried accusing Indian voters to be fantasists, but no one was there to hear these voices. Even foreign media saw a change in stance. Mankind has always been pro winner. There is no one who supports losers. But life is a great leveller. Losers have turned into victors and vice versa. What matters from now on is performance, performance and performance as Viday Balan said in dirty picture in different context. And within a month Modi has proven that he can do it. Though this month had strange controversies like Smritu Iranis education, Gen Suhaag vs V K singh, UP rapes, Pune killing, Beas tragedy and riots over fb posts ( seems some sinister agenda here as we face assembly elections in Oct), tragic death of Gopinath Munde and add to that bleak monsoon predictions and delay in monsoon. This government has its hands full mainly due to inherited economy. Hope Acche din aayenge. Only time will tell.
Analyzing the elections, no one predicted such a margin of victory. I think people were really fed up with inflation, lack of opportunities, corruption, non decisions on key issues. And young voters really made an impact. They don’t have any baggage of obsolete idealisms. They care only about growth and opportunities. They care a damn about history. One may also accede that polarization worked especially in northern states of UP and Bihar but a stage was set for decisive government without political compulsions. Modi had caught that imagination as someone who can be trusted to deliver on promises after 12 years of Gujarat (some may call marketing of Gujarat). I was initially sympathetic to Arvind Kejriwal and AAP to provide some option but somehow these people don’t come out as someone with honest interest to change systems. Many foreign supporters and arm chair philosophers have fought with me on various forums on putting BJP and Congress in same boat vs AAP.  I am also scared by their funding patterns which can undermine national security. But the AAP made a self goal by running away from Delhi and some arbitrary decisions to fight from Varanasi. The organization was young and needed time. Anyways they can still play a role of effective opposition as compared to some regional satraps or a dead party. They need valid policies not driven by egos, direction and should have patience. Their supporters barring few have vanished from social media for now. But am sure they are licking their wounds to return on every negative point about new government.  So for new government the mantra is to perform or perish.
IPL happened this summer. Some credibility was won back thanks to some intervention by court and involvement of Gavaskar. Initially no one cared but as we saw some terrific cricket on field by Maxwell, Miller, that catch by Lynn, people started being interested. There was some good batting by Uthappa, Pandey, some scintillating chases scripted by Pathan and Mumbai Indians, some tight bowling esp by Narine, Bhajji, some great fielding. Many young Indian cricketers did well.  I feel this was best IPL in terms of cricket and felt honesty in efforts. But then cricket is on sidelines for a month thanks to carnival in Brazil and already after first 11 matches we have seen some great action. Big names have delivered. Absolutely a treat till july 14th. Then we will change focus to an important series in England. Nadal created history and Wimbledon will be drowned amidst soccer action as it happens every 4 years. Shumacher is out of coma just to end on good news for sport lovers.
Pune voters have uprooted cong and NCP and same trend continued in Maharashtra. 42 seats is not a joke. That shows anger of people. Hopefully we will see govt change in Mumbai as well. But state politics has a twist in tale after Munde tragedy. LBT issue also needs resolution. And four months is long time. Pune has a minister, but no one has any say on BDP, Metro, Old city development plan, PMPML revival. As we near monsoons, concretization of roads has taken pace. I am not sure who is driving this and for what reason?
This was again hot summer worldwide, with lot of violence in Nigeria, Sudan, Iraq, AfPak, Egypt, Syria, Vietnam, Thailand, and Ukraine. Even Brazil had demonstrations against world cup. US had many gun attacks. Of course summer has just set in the northern world.

On personal side, I had lot of action both on leisure and work side. But as always it’s your children who are the happiest people during summer. This year was not an exception. Eagerly awaiting Monsoon to turn this part of world into heaven......
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