Its been a some time since I wrote my last blog post. I had been very busy with my research and hardly found any time to comment on the recent happenings. However, these two weeks have been really depressing as far as India is concerned. After a long time, the events in my country have finally managed to make me feel pessimistic about India and her future. Let me explain why this is so.
Let us start with some events that are part and parcel of the progress of any nation - failure of GSLV to launch Insat-4C into the space
. The total annual budget of the Indian space program is $722 million
. For understanding the value of $722 million per annum in terms of space research, we should compare this amount with the annual budgetary outlay of Nasa
and that is $16.5 billion
. Indian Space Research Organization
(ISRO) has done a commendable job till now to bring India, an impoverished nation of 1.1 billion people, into the forefront of space technologies with one of the smallest budget among all the space powers. Moreover, Indian space program has always been spurred on by projects that truly benefit the Indian people. In many other nations, space programs are primarily guided by the military. India's space program has always had a civilian face. The success rate of the scientists of ISRO had been quite commendable as compared to many other nations like Japan who can afford to throw more resources at their own space program to take technological lead.
However, all this came to an end when Geo-Synchronous Launch Vehicle (GSLV) failed to put Indian National Satellite - 4C (Insat-4c) into the geo-synchronous orbit. This kind of event is actually expected in space research. As a researcher, I know, how difficult it is to master the intricacies of a complex system with a single shot. The cycle of theoretical foundations, simulation trials, prototype development, experimental testing, modifications based on simulations and experiments, and final product takes many cycles to result into an error free final product. Somehow, ISRO was bucking this trend till now. Finally, the law of averages caught up with them.
The question to be asked is why is this failure a blow to the Indian space program? This is because India is a very poor country. The amount of money spent on the space program might be miniscule by the standards of developed economies like the USA, but it is quite a bit compared to the Indian standards. Every rupee spent on the space program has to withstand the criticism and the scrutiny of people who want that money to be spent in other areas. When many people are competing for limited resources, as is the case with India, these kind of failures provide a blow for future funding. The space program is seen by the majority of the people in India as something esoteric. Having a healthy success rate in projects undertaken by the space agency - ISRO, is crucial for the strings of the Government of India (GoI) purse to remain open in the future.
The next incident that I want to comment upon are the Mumbai blasts on 07/11/2006
. Mumbai is the city of dreams for the Indians. It is the city that churns out the Hindi films of India. They say that even a garbage collector and dealer in Mumbai earns Rs. 30000/- per month. The city is the financial capital of India. Mumbai contributes 27% of the total revenues collected by the GoI in the form of various kinds of taxes. Of course, the reason for this might be the location of the offices of various corporates in Mumbai irrespective of the location of their manufacturing facilities. To make a long story short, Indian economy depends on Mumbai like no other city - not even Bangalore or Delhi.
In 1993, Dawood Ibrahim
and his underworld gang, in collusion with the ISI
, detonated 13 bombs, killing more than 250 people. These blasts were supposed to be in retaliation of the communal riots between Hindus and the Muslims that followed the destruction of the Babri Mosque in Ayodhya, Uttar Pradesh, India. Many of the guilty in those blasts were arrested and tried in the courts of India. However, the mastermind escaped from India and is considered to be safely residing in Pakistan nowadays. Pakistan officially denies his existence. Recent events like Dawood Ibrahim's daughter marrying Pakistani ex-cricket player, Javed Miandad's son, in Dubai add fuel into the fire burning in the heart of Indians.
On 11th July, 2006, the terrorists struck Mumbai again. This time, they exploded seven bombs made out of RDX. The nature of the explosives suggest that elements outside the country are involved in this incident too. The Pakistanis have demanded "non-prejudicial"
evidence from the GoI in order for them to think about taking steps against Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT), the Islamic terrorism group operating out of Pakistan. Pakistan claims that GoP has banned LeT and they do not operate from their soil. According to some other commentators, the ban on LeT is just an eyewash. Currently, the investigation about the bombings is still going on. Lot of evidence needs to be collected in order to identify and prosecute the perpetrators in the court of law. Mumbai Police have arrested four individuals
so far. They all seem to fit the pattern of the "Islamists Gone Wild" in India. In my opinion, the main culprits have already gone outside India and looking at India's track record of hunting down wanted men in foreign lands and bringing them in for justice, I doubt if we will ever catch the real culprits behind this heinous incident.
The media reports and the ongoing investigation seems to also suggest that the Student Islamic Movement of India (SIMI) might have cooperated with the LeT to carry out the latest round of bombings in Mumbai. SIMI has become the breeding ground for providing local cadre to the Islamist terrorist groups operating across the borders. The motivation for the bombings seem to be either to avenge the Hindu-Muslim communal riots in Gujarat in 2002 or to force the hand of GoI for solving the Kashmir issue. LeT cadres are one of the most fanatical among all the terrorist groups operating out of Pakistan. They have never shied away from announcing their hatred and the desire for destruction of the Jews of Israel and the Hindus of India. I will reserve commenting on this issue till more evidence surfaces in the public domain.
In the meantime, the media in India, especially the English Language Media (ELM), has gone bonkers by invoking the hallowed spirit of the Mumbaikars. It seems that Mumbaikars are really equivalent to the immortals as they do not care about their lives. They seem to have nerves of steel. According to the ELM media, the ordinary Mumbaikars are so devoted to their work that they do not care if they drown in the flood waters while going to their office or get blown up into pieces by the Islamist radicals. All they care about is how the economy of India should keep running on all cylinders. They are willing to sacrifice themselves for that.
In my knowledge of governance, one of the reasons why the citizens of a country pay taxes to their government is so that the government can ensure security for its citizens. GoI has failed in this responsibility completely. It is time that the hard working Mumbaikars stop paying their dues to the GoI till the government decides to figure out what is more important - safety of the citizens or winning the next elections.
At this juncture of writing this post, I have become so angry that I have decided to use words that are not exactly suitable for written English in the public domain. Please bear with me on this. GoI is ruled by the left-center party, Congress(I), headed by the venerable Dr. Manmohan Singh and Mrs. Sonia Gandhi. When Dr. Manmohan Singh was chosen as the prime-minister (PM) of India, I had lot of hopes. He was the architect of the reforms in the early 90s that boosted the Indian economy. But after more than one and half years of governance under the leadership of Sonia Gandhi and Manmohan Singh, I feel that Congress(I) has still remained the party of assholes irrespective of the change in leadership. It is filled up with old men with retrograde ideas.
Each of the leaders of Congress(I) have their own power base and they cater to their power shamelessly. Arjun Singh revived the issue of reservations in the higher education in order to challenge the power base of the PM. He created a furor across the nation with his ideas about the reservation for the OBCs (Other Backward Castes) in the institutes of higher education. Meira Kumar wants even the private sector to introduce reservations. I do not want to get into the merits of this issue because of the constraint of space and time. I will end my rant about reservations by saying that any policy that encourages entitlement among sections of the population based on their birth is anathema for me. There are many ways to uplift lower castes and provide them opportunity for mobility across the socio-economic layers of India. I can discuss about them later on. However, reservations in the education and the job sector is not one of them.
Shivraj Patil - our home minister, is another sample in this government. The bastard is clueless when it comes to handling the security issues facing our country. The statements made by him after the Mumbai bomb blasts were pathetic and I am being kind here. National Security Adviser, M K Narayanan, has started whining like a pig
nowadays instead of formulating a credible anti-terrorism policy. Does he think that USA is responsible for solving the security issues of India? Let me put the attitude of Indians in perspective to the events happening all around the world. It will give you an idea about how pathetic we are.
Two Israeli soldiers are abducted by Hezbollah and Israel sees this as a declaration of war by Hezbollah. They provide a show of strength in Lebanon. The message is clear - "if you decide to mess with us by providing space to our enemies, we will take you out." The citizens of India are attacked repeatedly in temples (Sankat Mochan, Varanasi, and Akshardham, Gandhinagar), institutes of higher learning (IISc. Bangalore), and railway systems (Ahmedabad, Mumbai etc), and all our government does is utter platitudes about how fucking great we are in maintaining peace. The first statements that came out of the morons running this government after the Mumbai bomb blasts was how the peace process with Pakistan should not be affected by this. Fuck the peace process if we can not take care of the safety of our citizens. The media keeps on invoking the resiliency of the Indian people to hide our callousness and cowardice.
I agree that India can not take a drastic step, as Israel took against Hezbollah, against Pakistan because Pakistan is a nuclear power. Moreover, we have to accept the fact that we are a soft country. Our citizens do not have the mental toughness that the Israelis possess after facing down the Nazis in World War II. The question that I would like to ask is what prevents us from selectively targeting the terrorists in foreign lands using covert operations? Why do we not invest enough money and resources in gathering intelligence and eliminate the terrorists? Why do people seem to get away by attacking Indian citizens again and again? Is this some sort of a fucking game to the Islamists? If it is, let us raise the stakes and take this game to them. Indians, with a strong leadership that does not play appeasement politics, can turn the tables against these vermins who are a blot on humanity. And it seems that the Congress leadership under Manmohan Singh and Sonia Gandhi does not seem to have the required balls of steel to pursue this kind of policy. What a tragedy for us! I also think that we deserve all this because it is our people who have elected these monkeys and put them in power. Indians truely deserve better.