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Category: Freedom Team

The email of 23 December 2007 that started the Freedom Team of India

One fine day in December 2007, after having mulled over it for many months (FTI had long been been proposed in my draft book, BFN), I decided to take the plunge for the last time, to look for a liberal alternative for India. No one told me to do it. No one except Anil Sharma – among those I had initially invited – was 100 per cent dedicated to such an idea. But the team moved incrementally from then, as people like Shantanu incrementally got persuaded.

For the record, [a copy of the mail without names of the 28 persons to whom it was sent is available here: http://freedomteam.in/initial-email]:

==[from my Eudora records, which contain sabhlokcity.com emails from October 1999]==

From: Sanjeev Sabhlok <s@sabhlokcity.com>

Subject: Do you want to join the Freedom Team of India?

To: [email IDs removed]

1. Anil Sharma

2. Antony Joseph

3. Ashok Desai

4. Atindra Sen

5. Babu Joseph

6. BV Talwar

7. Barun Mitra

8. Bibek Debroy

9. JP (by then he had started the LS Party)

10. Nirvikar Singh

11. SV Raju

12. Rakesh Wadhwa

13. Suresh Anand

14. Parth Shah

15. Gurcharan Das

16. Sauvik Chakraverti [Note – I had tried to maintain good relations with him despite incidents of 2004-2006 or so]

17. Mehta (forget his first name)

18. Jal Khambata

19. Madhu Kishwar

20. Mohit Satyanand

21. Deepak Lal

22. Raj Cherubal

23. Ramesh Ramanathan

24. Shantanu Bhagwat

25. N Sriram

26. Yazad Jal

27. Swati Ramanathan

28. Ajay Gandhi

Dear Friends

I am starting a Yahoo Groups platform to support the potential Freedom Team of India that I refer to in my forthcoming book 'Breaking Free of Nehru' which is due to hit bookstores mid-2008. See details at http://www.sanjeev.sabhlokcity.com/breakingfree.html).  

The Freedom Team is a group of potentially 1500 or more selected people who will come together to spread the message of freedom in India over the coming years and decades. Membership will be by invitation or personal screening only. The preliminary criteria of membership are available at: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/freedomteam-india/ . Being a non-citizen, my role will be exclusively as a non-political facilitator. If things go well, the Freedom Team of India will attract high quality talent over the course of the coming years.

I am writing to you based on our previous interactions and my understanding of your work. If you are interested in being a part in this endeavour, please let me know. I'll then send you an official invitation  to join the group. Names of potential invitees whom I have missed out may please be sent to me.

Regards
Sanjeev
sanjeev sabhlok

 

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My message to FTI: Waiting for ONE person in India who believes in liberty

I just sent out this email to the Freedom Team of India.

=====
I've had the level-5 leader hypothesis for a long time, and it probably still makes sense. But the defining character of a successful political leader (perhaps even a business leader) is BELIEF.
 
Without TOTAL belief that you are right, you can't move people. 
 
Modi has a total belief in Hindutva and so he can move people. Arvind Kejriwal has total belief in his brand of socialism, so he can move people. Rahul Gandhi has no belief so he fails to move anyone; even himself.
 
India doesn't have a single leader on the ground who totally and WITHOUT ANY DOUBTS believes in liberty. The problem with liberty, of course, is that it is rather complex. Unlike simplistic ideas like Hindutva or socialism, it requires deep understanding of why liberty is needed, and why it TOTALLY superior to all other "goods". 
 
I've written a blog post today on this topic. I invite your attention to this post.
 
The vast majority of people I've come across are 2nd tier 'leaders'. They are a tail, that wags for anyone and everyone, and changes direction with the wind.
 
The day ANYONE in India forms a clear and 100 per cent belief in liberty, we'll start making huge progress on the ground. That day, (some) FTI members will stop doing "strategic" stuff and trying to piggy-back other groups comprising 2nd tier 'leaders'. That day, these FTI members will become TRUE LEADERS. That day, their FB posts and tweets will show they BELIEVE that their idea is RIGHT.
 
I firmly believe that SKC agenda is RIGHT. While I'm happy to take input from others for improvement, its direction and content is right. 
 
And ALL others are  WRONG. That too, is a very important point to note.
 
Unless each FTI member forms this 100 per cent belief – and is explain ALL details of the SKC agenda to the people of India – Indian liberals will remain onlookers to the CONTINUED DESTRUCTION of India by the socialists.
 
All those who fully and totally and comprehensively believe in the liberty (and the detailed system outlined in the SKC agenda) should remain with FTI. 
 
ALL OTHERS SHOULD LEAVE .
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Varun Arya’s excellent presentation at a seminar on Globalisation and Governance, IMS Unison University

Good friend and outstanding leader Varun Arya was keynote speaker at a seminar on Globalisation and Governance, IMS Unison University on 24 May 2014.

I requested him for the slides which I found to be excellent. I have requested his permission to share these widely.

DOWNLOAD HERE 

I particularly liked the following three slides (I've annotated with arrows to draw attention to key issues):


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Freedom Team of India no longer approves Lok Satta Party for its members

The Freedom Team of India has, after consideration of the actions taken by Lok Satta Party towards the end of its campaign in the 2014 General elections – of blindly singing praise of BJP and Modi – has decided to delist Lok Satta Party. This means FTI members joining LSP will now be automatically disqualified from FTI membership, and any existing FTI member of LSP will need to resign from LSP.

In early 2013, FTI had specifically disapproved socialist AAP for our members, leading ultimately to the termination of membership for three FTI members. (Our basic requirements do not possibly allow any FTI member to join Congress or BJP, or other such corrupt socialist party – just in case you are wondering why these "mainstream" parties are not mentioned).

The resolution passed by FTI in May 2014 reads:

FTI resolves that its members can join one of the following parties if they wish to pursue politics in advance of the 500 members assembling:
 
Tier 1 Party (totally committed to FTI's Sone Ki Chidiya reform agenda): Swarna Bharat Party
 

Tier 2 Parties: (Broadly liberal but where FTI members should influence towards SKC agenda) Swatantra Bharat Party and Navbharat Party
 
Tier 3 Parties: (Some liberal ideas, but not consistent and not to be directly supported. FTI members should either be able to change these parties towards SKC agenda and total integrity, or resign from these parties at the earliest): Bharat Uday Mission and Jago Party
 
Joining any party not listed above will lead to the automatic termination of FTI membership."

 

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Complete rejection of the JP model of politics. All Lok Satta Party leaders should consider alternatives

Lok Satta is effectively dead, becoming a branch of BJP. JP has not only directly supported BJP without ANY common minimum programme (completely contrary to his declared policy), he has pulled out all LSP MP candidates except in Malkajgiri.

"pulling out of the candidates from all MP seats except Malkajgiri constituency from where he was contesting the elections".

He has effectively joined BJPI invite LSP senior leaders to let JP go his own way. Resign from LSP and work towards the liberal party India needs. It is time for them to demonstrate that they stand for some principles.

Let's meet in July and work towards a liberal party.

I will NOT be inviting JP (or LSP) to this meeting now. It is over. JP is not a liberal and does not support liberty in India.

On FTI, as well, I'll amend my draft resolution that demoted LSP to the third tier of acceptable parties, to now seek the total removal of LSP as an approved party from FTI.

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Let Ramdev fall by his own sword, for betraying his own demands against supporters of black money

An extract from an email earlier toady
 
I speak for myself and have adequately explained the situation. I have no problem in changing my mind if Ramdev explains the entire situation in a cogent manner. Current explanation doesn't make sense.
 
Swabhiman is the key. The commitment to never compromise on basics, no matter what. Ramdev told me repeatedly that he has nothing but the chadar he wears and is absolutely ready to abandon everything and leave but that he will not compromise on principles. That is why I associated with him. It was a delight to find another person committed to principles. I assumed that his stand against black money and corruption is genuine. 
 
Ramdev himself told me clearly that BJP is corrupt. We had a very clear agreement that under NO circumstances I would, or we would, associate with BJP directly. Any such agreement would be incompatible with integrity. Sure, get rid of Congress, but also get rid of BJP.
 
If, we still felt after launching our party that we couldn't form government in 2014 we COULD consider seat sharing with BJP but on a common agenda and principles.
 
Yet, despite this, he switched without telling me, or without consulting me, directly to BJP. In doing so he did TWO things that are really problematic:
 
1. He supported a corrupt party.
2. He went back on his word to me.
 
I objected to this and have repeatedly asked that he return to the position of integrity he originally stood for.
 
But now the case the situation is far more problematic. He had DIRECT proof in this case of BJP's black money (which was seized by authorities). EVEN then he did not condemn the candidate /dissociate with BJP. The worst is that he then lied that such a discussion (recorded on TV) even took place.
 
So he has done FOUR things which are really unethical:
1. He supported a corrupt party.
2. He went back on his word to me.
3. He has turned a blind eye to DIRECT PROOF of BJP corruption.
4. He lied that there was a discussion re: BJP's black money. 
 
For such people he used to have a strong word: Gaddar. Betrayers of India. Looters of India. I have merely cited his own terms back to him. He also demanded death penalty for the corrupt. I have spared a demand for death penalty for the concerned BJP candidate.
 
I am merely following what HE said that he stood for, because I have stood for that the whole of my life and have no intention of compromising. 
 
I hope Indian scriptures haven't been teaching Ramdev immorality. Those who compromise integrity can't claim to have any self-respect, swabhiman. There is NO difference between those who loot the country, whether from Congress or BJP or any other party/group.
 
Question is: What punishment would he himself have wanted for someone who does these things:
a) supports a corrupt party and candidate
b) lies REPEATEDLY.
 
Let him announce (and accept) the punishment he himself would have demanded for such person. Let him meet his own standards.
 
After he has undergone his own self-inflicted punishment and penance, let him vow publicly to never support the corrupt again.
 
There is no direct relationship between BST and SKC Federation, which is a creation of the Freedom Team of India.  
 
The standards of FTI apply to SKCF, not the (low) standards of BST. We have a Code of Conduct and commit to total integrity. And self-respect. That's what we should aim for.
 
Please do not run after ANY person who supports the corrupt or repeatedly tells lies – even when caught red-handed in public. Stand on your own feet and have SELF-RESPECT. 
 
We are now the only few people left in India who have consistently DEMANDED total reforms and total integrity. Some people think that by compromising morals and supporting BJP they'll get rid of Congress and solve India's problems. They are on a slippery path and will never, in this way, help India.
 
In fact, Ramdev has created a huge mess today in India where not a single (major) good party is on offer. He squandered the opportunity of creating a party that stood for good governance and integrity. He is unlikely to get any such opportunity again in his lifetime.
 
I am, however, dedicated to creating such a party (and movement). Let's move on from the unpleasant saga of Ramdev.
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