Wednesday, August 22, 2012


We celebrated the 66th Independence Day on August 15. It is just a co-incident that the father of the Indian constitution Dr. B.R. Ambedkar was declared the Greatest Indian since 1947 by a well recognized poll conducted by the CNN-IBN TV Channel on the Independence Day itself. But where are we heading after 65 years of independence and 62 years of the proclamation and adoption of the constitution? The parliament is not allowed to function for the last two days by the opposition mainly the BJP on some matters of alleged corruption in the coal sector on the basis of the CAG report. They are demanding the resignation of the PM and his government. The government is ready to debate the matter in the parliament but the opposition is pressing for the resignation and is not interested in debate. It is a negation of the principles of democracy itself. It is not understandable why the PM should resign when he enjoys support of majority in the Lok Sabha. Does the opposition want mid-term elections? Why PM should oblige them? Why don’t they bring-in a no-confidence motion against the PM and his government and defeat them on the floor of the house, if they feel so strongly. Under the arrangements, CAG is a watch-dog to over-see the accounts and conduct audit on the acts and deeds of the government and report to government. The government is turn present the CAG report to the parliament where the PAC of the parliament will examine it and report back. This laid down procedure is not over and the opposition is interested in procedure. They intend to take the entire country to ransom – the itch to come back to power irrespective of the constitutional provisions to handle the situation. It is estimated that it costs two and a half crore a day to run the parliament and the current year alone 200 man hours have been lost in disturbances in the parliament so far. Are we heading for the “Grammar of Anarchy” as sounded by the Greatest Indian since independencece, Dr. B.R. Ambedkar.

The CAG report is important and must be considered in seriousness. In fact, while replying to the debate in the constituent assembly, DR. Ambedkar termed the office of the Audit and Accountant General as one of the most important powerful. We should be happy that the system is working. The CAG reports have the potential to bring the government to its toes. But we are not interest in the smooth run of the system due to vested interests and narrow political gains. It is a pity. Democracy would work only when we adhere to constitutional means and practices. Unfortunately, we are increasingly losing sight of these lofty ideals. The sooner we mend ourselves the better. It will good to listen to the warning given by Dr. B.R. Ambedkar in constituent assembly on November 25, 1949 in his last speech before the constitution was passed. He said “If we wish to maintain democracy not merely in form but also in fact, what we must do? The first thing in my judgment we must do is to hold fast to constitutional methods of achieving our social and economic objectives. It means we must abandon the bloody methods of revolution. It means we must abandon the method of civil disobedience, non-cooperation and satyagraha. When there was no way left for constitutional methods for achieving economic and social objectives, there was a great deal of justification for unconstitutional methods. But where constitutional methods are open, there can be no justification for these unconstitutional methods. These methods are nothing but the Grammar of Anarchy and the sooner they are abandoned the better for us. “

But unfortunately, the elite of the BJP like Sudhendra Kulkarni ( please see his article in the recent special issue of the Outlook magazine on the greatest Indian) and Arun Shourie ( of infamous book False Gods) are not inclined to recognize Dr. B.R. Ambedkar as a wise statesman who is as relevant today as it was before. This lop sided thinking is driving India to the brink. We must guard ourselves.

Thursday, August 16, 2012


The formal ceremony to announce the outcome of the Greatest Indian poll was held on August 14 at the CNN-IBN TV Channel in a filmy style. Shabana Azami who was the member of the Jury pronounced, with a sense of pride and gratification, Dr. B.R. Ambedkar as the greatest Indian since 1947 (sounds better than saying the greatest Indian after Gandhi) and conveyed her ADAB & SALAM to him. Amitabh Bacchan, Harsha Bogle, Shabana Azami, Madhuri Dixit joined the host Rajdeep Sardesai at the ceremony. Mandira Bedi conducted the show with great aplomb as the Master of Ceremonies. My congratulations and thanks to all of them particularly Rajdeep Sardesai, the CEO of CNN-IBN. I like a drink in the evening. My sense of elation in joining the celebrations ( as Mandira Bedi said that it was not only an announcement but was a celebration too) was so high that with the permission of my wife I took an additional peg while watching the programme on the CNN-IBN

Yet an unfortunate aspect, as I wrote in my earlier blog, is that the print media of India is totally silent. I have not seen a mention of the fact that Dr. Ambedkar has been declared the GREATEST INDIAN since 1947 with due process in line with an internationally accepted format by an established agency and an eminent jury. One of the leading dailies, Hindustan Times, on its front page on August 15 carried a story “Recognition at Last – Pak rights historical wrong, confers Nishan-i-Imtiaz on Manto” It speaks of the mindset of the intelligentsia. What a shame ?

मस्जिद तो बना दी सव भर में इमां की हरारत वालों ने;

मन अपना पुराना पापी है बरसों से नमाज़ी हो न सका !

Monday, August 13, 2012


"The hunt for The Greatest Indian has come to a Celebratory End! The votes are in and the people of India have spoken.

The Greatest Indian to have ever lived after Mahatma Gandhi is Dr.B.R Ambedkar"

This is the announcement made by the CNN-IBN news channel on August 11, 2011 as the outcome of the poll conducted by them along with History TV 18 channel and the magazine Outlook. It is good to be late than never -देर आयात दरुस्त आयात . This recognition of Ambedkar was overdue. The CNN-IBN schedule of programmes indicates that the formal announcement will be made on the Independence Day on August 15. Of course, it is a fulsome tribute to the great son of India and rightly so. The poll on the greatest Indian conducted, in line with such polls on the BBC, by the CNN-IBN and History TV 18 is appreciable. The media partner of the exercise, the magazine Outlook has done a tremendous work in bring out a special number –‘B.R. Ambedkar – Greater than Nehru’ which quite informative. My congratulations to the organizers of the opinion poll.

Three things come to my mind which I would like to share. One – to become the greatest Indian is a well deserved recognition of the worthy son of India, Dr. B.R. Ambedkar which shall be appreciated and accepted by all. Second, we shall tend avoid the controversy on comparisons of greatness like the greatest Indian after Gandhi or greater than Nehru. The fact that Ambedkar has topped the elite club of the greats by his own right, the other greats like Gandhi and Nehru and many more have become ‘one of the greats. The monopoly has been broken. Thirdly, it is clear that Ambedkar is not an icon of the dalits alone but a national hero. The earlier it is accepted the better. Yogendra Yadav, one of the Jury members, rightly said in his assessment “The selection (of nominees) as much about us…we still largely see through Nehru’s eyes. Dr. Ambedkar stands very very tall (despite being ignored by the main stream). He was just not a dalit icon but a scholar as well.”

Yet another thought before I conclude. It is the hypocrisy of the urban middle class. The Market Research Survey, one of the components of the poll for the greatest Indian, conducted by AC Neilsen ranked Ambedkar at number 6 out of the ten short listed. It clears spells the mindset of the caste ridden society. The Jury of the poll was high power and well represented by the intelligential and the upper crust of the society. The intellectual bankruptcy was at its best. Out of the 28 members of the jury only 6 voted for Ambedkar as against 14 for Nehru. Two of the Jury members voted for Patel and one for JRD Tata. Five members did not cast their votes. The Jury ranked Ambedkar at number 2 after Nehru. The popular vote clearly and decisively weighed in favour of Ambedkar with highest number of votes. In spite of all obvious odds, Ambedkar made it to the top in the final run. The final results would be formally made known on August 15. The media is silent. No national paper, to my knowledge, has picked up the event as news worthy. It is shameful of the so-called independent and free media.

उडाए कुछ बर्क लाला ने कुछ नर्गिस ने कुछ गुल ने;

चमन में हर तरफ बिखरी हुई है दास्ताँ मेरी,

उड़ाई कुछ कुमरिओं ने तुतिओं ने अन्द्लिवों ने ;

चमन वालों ने मिलके लूट ली तर्ज़े फुग्हन मेरी ,