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Category Archive: India

Sorry, Modi, you can’t hide Amit Shah’s criminality. Censoring newspapers doesn’t work – any more.

Amit Shah and Modi seem to be working overtime to remove all traces of Amit Shah's criminality. This article published by DNA is no longer available. There is no explanation provided by DNA. The only logical implication is that this article – which was widely shared on social media – was inconvenient for the Modi government, which must have asked DNA to remove it.

But censorship doesn't work today. Thanks to Google. And the internet.

I'm re-publishing the copy retrieved from Google cache.


Thank you, Google!



The full text below, followed by the image copy. Let there be freedom of the press in India. Already one of the least free countries in the world, Modi wants to make India a basket case.

[Opinion] A new low in Indian politics

Wednesday, 9 July 2014 – 5:11pm IST | Agency: DNA

Late last week, a special CBI court adjourned the bail application of Amit Shah in the Sohrabuddin and Tulsi Prajapati fake encounter cases, accepting his excuse that he was engaged in political work in New Delhi. Shah, 49, the first serving Home minister of a state to have gone behind bars in a criminal case of murder and conspiracy had a legitimate reason to skip court hearings. He was presiding and taking part in day-long meetings in Delhi with senior RSS leaders and BJP functionaries who were all set to seal his fate as the next BJP President

There is a significant back story to his exemption which did find its way as a small snippet in the media but needs to be brought to light as Shah, the man who waved the magic wand for BJP in Uttar Pradesh, the PM’s confidante and the number two in the government now takes over the reins of the party. Amit Shah had twice in the past sought exemption from personal appearance citing political work, but the then CBI judge JT Utpat had found his excuse inadequate for the court to grant him relief. On June 20, while hearing the application, Utpat allowed the same but made a scathing remark “Everytime you are giving this exemption application without assigning any reason,” he told Shahs counsel. In less than a week, Utpat was transferred to a Pune court before he could preside over Shahs discharge application. Shah managed his way out with a tried and tested formula of transferring judges, practiced brazenly in his home state of Gujarat through his tenure as Home Minister.

As a journalist covering Gujarat extensively since 2005, as someone who exposed Shah’s role in the fake encounters in the state and who can claim to have knowledge of his political trajectory, I would not mince my words in suggesting that by appointing Amit Shah as the president of the party, the BJP has hugely disrespected the law of the land and signalled an all time low for the criminal justice system of India. For the cases against Shah are for crimes so gruesome that the cloak of political astuteness will be too short to cover it.

In its chargesheet filed in the Sohrabuddin fake encounter case, the CBI which had been investigating the case under the watchful eye of the Supreme Court of India had not just named Shah as one of the key accused and conspirators but also named him as the head of an extortion racket which involved underworld thugs, politicians and businessmen. In its submission before the apex court bench of Justice P Sathasivam and Justice BS Chauhan, the CBI stated that the minister was in cahoots with senior cops from Gujarat including the likes of DG Vanzara and Abhay Chudasama who had been sentenced for cold-blooded murder – concluding that Shah was a hardcore criminal. Shah was also chargesheeted in the murder of Kauser Bi, the wife of Sohrabuddin who according to the official papers was raped, sedated, killed and her body burnt and thrown in a river.

One could have well debated the merits of the CBI chargesheet and read political motives but for the fact that the Supreme court itself gave CBI the sanction to arrest Shah at the same time, coming down harshly on the Gujarat state police investigation led by the then top cop Geeta Johri for going slow and misleading the courts. If the SIT verdict on Narendra Modi’s role in the Gujarat encounters is to be held as the final word, by virtue of it being monitored by the apex court, it is baffling then that Narendra Modi who promised clean and transparent governance to this country and setting up fast track courts to look into cases of criminal charges against politicians has turned a blind eye to Shah’s criminal past.

Shah has been Modi’s confidante since his days as a pracharak in Gujarat and Maharashtra. With Shah's induction on the national scene first as the General Secretary of the BJP and now as the BJP President, Modi has risked his own political image for the sake of his ally and friend who has put to shame the best political pundits and strategists from North India with his shrewd manoeuvring. In the coming days, the party will have to prove its popularity not just in the by-elections of Uttar Pradesh but also in the forthcoming Assembly Elections in three states, the most significant being the battle for Maharashtra. Party insiders have stressed on Maharashtra being a prestige battle for Modi whose party swept the Lok Sabha elections a couple of months ago. Going by the minutes of the internal meetings held between Modi, Shah and senior heads in the BJP and the RSS, the Prime Minister has silenced his detractors in the party who were against Shah's elevation citing his ability to churn out big numbers.

Many in the Gujarat BJP believe that Modi has been under tremendous pressure by Shah to return the favours he has allegedly bestowed on his mentor in the last two decades of their association. It’s a well known fact that during Modi's rebellion against former Gujarat Chief Minister Keshubhai Patel and in his fight with the ex-Home Minister of Gujarat Haren Pandya, it was Shah who stood firmly by Modi's side galvanizing the cadres and leaders in favour of his boss.

As the second in command in the Modi dispensation, the youngest minister in his cabinet who held charge of twelve ministries including the powerful Minister of State for Home, Shah single-handedly thwarted all trouble that came in the way of Modi with his office getting the infamous tag of the “dirty tricks department of the CM”. It was under his tenure as Home Minister that the Gujarat police went on a spree of fake encounters in the state – holding regular press conferences for the media with the bodies of the alleged assassins on display. The officers would claim that the Gujarat CM was under threat from jihadists who were out to assassinate the man who brought back Hindu asmita in Gujarat.

While the chief minister managed to leave unscathed during the investigations of most of the encounters which were later pronounced as fake, Shah found himself listed as the prime accused in three encounters, his role in the other two being probed by the CBI with investigations in the case still on.

Another major dent in Shah's image came with his alleged involvement in the Snoopgate scandal, in which he is heard instructing one of his key lieutenants – IPS officer GL Singhal who was then incharge of the ATS, to carry on surveillance on a young woman. The tapes which were released late last year created a furore after it became obvious that Shah as the Home Minister of the state was using state machinery to snoop on innocent civilians, monitoring their moves. In this particular case, a young woman whose movements, including aspects of her personal life were being reported to the CM on a daily basis.

With such serious criminal charges against him, has Modi denigrated the position of the party president by handing over Shah the reins of the party. Would it now be safe to assume that Prime Minister Narendra Modi acted against the interests of the judiciary by rejecting the nomination of Gopal Subramaniam as a Supreme court judge as he was also the amicus curiae in the Sohrabuddin fake encounter case. Ever since the Prime Minister assumed office, ex-CBI directors including Ashwini Kumar and AP Singh who were at the helm of affairs in the CBI during the investigation of the encounters, find themselves being at the receiving end of Shah's wrath. While Kumar has stepped down as governor of Nagaland, AP Singh is reportedly under pressure to step down as member of the UPSC after the Income Tax department served notices to him and his family members in an investigation into alleged tax evasion by meat exporter Moin Qureshi.

These could all well be coincidences if one were to take a larger liberal view of the developments including the transfer of 89-year-old ailing governor of Gujarat Kamla Beniwal, who under her tenure locked horns with Modi and Shah over the appointment of Lokayukta in the state. But even if one were to dismiss these actions against officials, lawyers, judges who played significant roles in the criminal justice process involving Amit Shah as conjectures, will it not be pertinent to suggest that by appointing Shah as the BJP President, Modi has acted in contradiction to his promise of a free and fair government, which will have no space for vindictiveness. Hasn't Modi and the BJP under the guidance of the RSS just made the first attack on the principle of clean governance on the basis of which the party came to power? Prime Minister Narendra Modi needs to answer this one.

Rana Ayyub is a journalist and a writer. She tweets at @RanaAyyub
The opinions expressed in this article are the author's own, and do not necessarily reflect the views of dna​.

[click image to view a larger copy]

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Insects, insects everywhere, but we curl up our nose at this packet of protein. Totally avoidable malnutrition in India.

My first recollection of humans eating insects was in an English documentary (I forget its name) in which Africans were shown eating bees that they had extracted from an bee colony. They seemed to eat the bees together with the honey. Not very sure what I saw, it was when I was around 5 or 6 years old.

Later, one of our servants in Pune (when I was around 20) helped me remove the termite hills in our backyard. He always pocketed the queen termite and took it home – which was in our backyard – to feed his family. Apparently it was a delicacy. I don't recall his 'origins' but he was perhaps from some 'lower' caste or tribe.

In Assam I heard about (did not directly see) tribals who ate insects.

But Youtube is a real eye-opener. Now one can see not only how insects are widely eaten across the world but through google,find out much more than one ever knew before.

South East Asians are flourishing (IQ wise) by eating whatever proteins they can get, while South Asians have the world's lowest IQ and refuse to eat animal protein. Amazing stuff one learns from Youtube. This is called REAL learning.

In South Africa mopane worms are considered a delicacy:"One of the things that Solly most looks forward to about going home to the Limpopo Province is eating mopane worms." [Source]

"mopane worms can be soaked to rehydrate, before being fried until they are crunchy, or cooked with onion, tomatoes and spices and then served with sadza" []

"Dried mopane worms have become a multimillion-dollar industry, even exported to countries like South Africa and Botswana. They can be found in African restaurants in Paris." [Source]. This is a multi-million dollar business, so it is worth trying to grow in India, if only to export to other countries.



"The report identifies parts of India as being among several places where insects are already a part of traditional diets. The practice of eating them seems to be limited to tribal regions in Assam and central India. Bodos consume insects such as caterpillars, termites, grasshoppers, crickets, and beetles every day, according to Hazarika’s initial report. In fact, these insects can be considered a staple. They supply as much nutritional value in terms of proteins and vitamins even when preserved for later consumption. When Hazarika began his studies, his team identified 10 insect species commonly consumed by the Bodos. That number has now grown to 29." [Source]


The study reveals that the community consumes a total of 10 (ten) species of edible insects belonging majorly to Hymenoptera, Hemiptera,  Orthoptera and Coleoptera orders. The nutrient values were also found out. As regards the consumption is concerned the study showed that 60% are at larval stage followed by mature 25% and 10% adult and rest live respectively. [Source]


"We prepared a consolidated list of edible and therapeutic insects used in Arunachal Pradesh (N.E. India) by two tribal societies (i.e., the Nyishi of East Kameng and the Galo of West Siang). The list is based on thorough, semi-structured field-interviews with 20 informants of each tribal group. At least 81 species of local insects, belonging to 26 families and five orders of insects, namely Coleoptera (24 species), Orthoptera (17 species), Hemiptera (16 species), Hymenoptera (15 species) and Odonata (9 species), are being used as food among members of these two indigenous societies." [Source]


Bastar has insect-eaters too. And the insects are presumably very good! (if the foul mouthed Gordon Ramsay likes them they must surely be good).
Here's a GREAT commercial opportunity (only thing: we can't have mass harvesting of wild ants, as that will destroy the ecology. We need insect husbandry.



"Insects as a Delicacy and a Nutritious Food in Thailand"


Japanese are enterprising, as well.


"Edible either raw or lightly cooked in hot ashes, they are sought out as a high-protein food by Indigenous Australians. The raw witchetty grub tastes like almonds and when cooked the skin becomes crisp like roast chicken while the inside becomes light yellow, like a fried egg" [Source]


There are a number of books on cooking insect:

The Insect Cookbook: Food for a Sustainable Planet

Eat-a-bug Cookbook: 33 ways to cook grasshoppers, ants, water bugs, spiders, centipedes, and their kin

FAO strongly recommends insects in the diet

Edible Insects: Click to download

And this (click for the book).


Well, no, but  if hygienically processed and cleaned, and cooked according to the best recipes, I'm willing to try them out. And from what I hear, some of the insects are true delicacies. Some bugs are apparently tastier than prawns. Same texture, even better taste.

Why not?

In any event, it is important to explore this avenue of protein and food for mankind. And particularly for malnourished India, which is virtually floating on a sea of insects.

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“Why the IAS should pack up and go” – a booklet for free download

A batchmate recently wrote to me:

While I agree with most of your views and understand where you are coming from  are you not too harsh on the IAS?  There are as you agree many great individuals- honest, dedicated, hardworking- but for some reason the bureaucracy is failing collectively. Is it is only to do with one particular service, or it is reflection of the society as a whole- its value system, its attitudes and what it prioritizes? Are we not the product of the same society- so to expect that just because one has cracked any particular exam one would be very different from the norm is expecting too much. 

I have many (many!) issues with the IAS/ tenured services. Without understanding them it will be hard, if not impossible for someone to follow what I'm suggesting.

Therefore, in response I've compiled my writings on this subject to date (at least most of them – I keep writing on such matters in numerous places and don't have time to compile all such material).

I hope these writings are able to answer my batchmate's question and persuade him that India DESERVES GOOD GOVERNANCE. We simply can't keep doing what we did 65 years ago and expect different results. This is not about the PEOPLE in the IAS. That too (particularly after a point in their career), but it is mainly about the SYSTEM and incentives. People respond to incentives.


(This is a Microsoft Word version stored on Onedrive. Also available from the right-hand bar of this blog)

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Hindus agree that the buffalo is not sacred. Let there be a “EAT BUFFALO FOR HEALTH” movement in India.

I've discovered an interesting fact – that even the most fanatic supporters of the "sacred cow" hypothesis (it is a false hypothesis, but that's a different point) have nothing to say about the buffalo.

The buffalo is not "sacred" in India, or is just as "sacred" as a chicken. [Also this]

As a blog notes, "all the northern states have buffaloes now. Farmers have accept it because of clear increase in demand for buffalo milk and meat. There is no sentimental attachment to a buffalo" [Source]

Not only is the buffalo not considered sacred, it is sacrificed EVEN TODAY in many temples in Hindu India, like a chicken or goat may be sacrificed. (In the past even barren cows and bulls were so sacrificed, but that's not relevant to the point I have to make.)


From India Today – photograph of a temple from the outskirts of Guwahati

Kamakhya temple has buffalo sacrifice (Youtube). “Almost three to four  buffaloes are sacrificed at Kamakhya every month and dozens of them are slaughtered during Durga Puja festivities.” [Source]


There are regular sacrifices of buffaloes in some temples in Kerala, and there is massive consumption of buffalo/ cattle meat in Kerala.


Nepal, a purely Hindu kingdom, holds massive ceremonious slaughter of buffaloes.

The point I wish to make

I have no interest in people's personal food choices but it is clear that:

a) Regardless of the veneration (or otherwise) of the cow in India, the buffalo is NOT so venerated TODAY. (In the past only the MILCH COW was so "venerated", not barren/bull).

b) Significant HINDU populations in India (and Hindu Nepal) regularly consume buffalo meat.

c) India is forced to export its buffalo beef to the rest of the world since domestic consumption is very sporadic and poor.

d) India has THE highest rate of malnutrition among children in the world. There is massive protein deficiency.

I also don't like the idea of animal sacrifice (although I don't wish to dabble in people's religious beliefs). I prefer humane slaughter in proper abattoirs. Animals must be treated humanely. There is no excuse to treat them badly – even as food.

Solution: Let there be a EAT BUFFALO FOR HEALTH MOVEMENT in India which will lead to a new industry, improve the buffalo stock, and improve the nutritional status of our children.

A win-win for everyone. Without firing up the mad Hindutva fanatics who are determined to make India as backward as they possibly can.


“There has been a huge demand for Indian buffalo meat in China" [Source]. What's the point of this – when our own children are badly nourished, we are making China healther?

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Modi is almost certainly the mastermind behind the murder of Haren Pandya: further proof

The good thing about writing a blog is that over time some relevant people – while searching for specific information, perhaps – get to read it and comment.

In this case one Jitendra, who claims to be the "the closest relative of Haren" has provided a strong PUBLIC statement on this blog:

"Haren few days before his murder had told me that his life is in Danger from his political rival involved in controversy happened since last few months as he was knowing lots of political truth that might have turned the tables of the then ruler and the party."

As far as I can see, this is fully ACTIONABLE material by the Police – assuming they CARE.

There is absolutely no doubt – in my mind – based on strong evidence that Modi was the ONLY person personally threatened by Haren Pandya – particularly his disclosure to the Justice Iyer panel about what Sanjiv Bhatt was to confirm many years later: a meeting in Modi's house in which Modi asked the administration to go slow. Not only did Modi deny him an opportunity to recontest his seat in December 2002 (a seat he had held for 15 years), he tried to fully destroy his political career. Just when Haren was being politically rehabilitated by BJP in Delhi, Modi organised the killing.

And as Sanjiv Bhatt wrote on FB:

Modi is the ONLY man with mens rea, a motive. Haren Pandya's father has clearly pointed his finger at Modi.

This was a DIRECT political fight. Had Haren become powerful in Delhi, he would have destroyed Modi and seen him put behind the bars. [Note that Haren was not a saint by any means and was himself involved in mass killings - and should himself have been put behind bars.]

I know that most police and CBI are fully bribed so there is no possibility of ever finding the mastermind behind the killing of Haren Pandya (he is now visible to the whole world in open sight!). Unfortunately for Modi, in this case even his fully bribed High Court could not accept the nonsensical theory postulated by the CBI (and here I'm leaving aside the issue of Modi locking up an innocent man in jail for nearly a decade).

Why has Haren Pandya's murderer not been found yet?


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BJP has taken advantage of over Rs.300 crores in foreign funding through Sangh Parivar’s foreign affiliates. This MUST stop!

I have been conscientious from the beginning that the liberals will not accept any foreign funding. FTI is technically able to receive foreign funds (if it applies for FCRA exemption, it will surely be able to receive it) but has explicitly refused to do so. Similarly, there is no plan or possibility that SKC Federation will receive foreign funds.

But the Hindutvawadis are FLOODED in foreign funds.

India-based Sangh affiliates receive social and financial support from its U.S.-based wings, the latter of which exist largely as tax-exempt non-profit organizations in the United States: Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh (HSS), Vishwa Hindu Parishad of America (VHPA), Sewa International USA, Ekal Vidyalaya Foundation-USA. The Overseas Friends of the Bharatiya Janata Party – USA (OFBJP) is active as well, though it is not a tax-exempt group.

From 2001 and 2012, five Sangh-affiliated charitable groups (India Development and Relief Fund, Ekal Vidyalaya Foundation of America, Param Shakti Peeth, Sewa International, and Vishwa Hindu Parishad of America) allocated over $55 million dollars to their program services, funds which are largely sent to groups in India. [Source]

The problem is that these activities are being used to promote Hindutva – a POLITICAL ideology. 

I oppose all foreign funding of Indian political activities. This includes religious activities. Let all foreign Islamic or Christian money also be stopped.

Just like the Khalistani terrorist movement was funded by Canadian dollars, so also BJP's growth is being funded by "Hindus" abroad.

The huge distortion of public debate amounts to direct foreign interference in India's affairs, and must be brought to an end.

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