Noel Ellis's Official Blog

I wield the pen to explore the vastness of the human mind

Category: Finance minister

CHAI LASSI AND KHICHIRI WHEN MIXED MAKES GST

I am totally enlightened after a marathon session of changes in the GST announced by the FM yesterday on TV. So far so that even if I don’t like to pay even a pai as tax I have been motivated to pay advance GST till the time this government’s tenure is over. You may ask me why? Well, let me pay it and be done with it. Tomorrow if the council decides to increase the rates I will just have to pay only the difference, in any case if tax rates are lowered I am on the safe side. Thora ziada de bhi diya to koi vanda nahi.

I used to love saying abracadabra, as what will come out of jaitley ki kaitley is never known. The kaitley is symbolic for dishing out chai, isn’t it. Naturally when his boss is an expert on this beverage his FM better dole out the best but I found him making lassi earlier and now it is khichri of kinds.

Actually my mind got all mixed up with this fresh GST announcement. I also found GST being diluted in a way or was it catering for some state elections. The spiced up concoction which was laid for the country turned out to be unpalatable for many. Thus as the lady of the house does on the quiet, once she gets the taste of it she tells the bai thora pani daal do. Two things happen then. The same now can be eaten with ease by more people & many can be satisfied with the quantities given out. The choice is spicy khichri, less spicy khichri or watery khichri. You better eat what is served. Right!

In the same breadth, I have an apprehension that if the govt finds that the tax collection is reducing now, as now government will be collecting Rs 20,000 crores less, so how will this loss be made up. Possibly some khichiri ingredients might be tempered with. Say if you can afford a room of more than Rs 7000 a night clearly indicates one is in the top bracket of pay packets, therefore, the government may tell you to pay additional before you check in. Government will make up its numbers by hook or by crook. I have decided I will find a relative or a friend in case I have to go somewhere, Jaitley ji you can keep spicing up your khichiri, I will find a jugad to circumvent it.

I have also decided not to use after shave. Sir, I shall go back to the good old days to use “Fitkari” after shaving. Perfumes I cannot afford. I shall try not to smell bad so you better provide me AC trains to commute. Reduced taxes on Chewing gum may only reduce bad odour from my mouth.

You will be glad to know that I don’t pay any “sin” tax. I kicked the habit of smoking and drinking long ago. The beauty is that you cannot charge me tax for calling you names. Till date I tried my best, worked hard and sincerely paid my taxes. I could never reach the figure of One crore including assets and property in my name. Business acumen I do not have but the only business I love to do is to love my country. A few lakhs which I have saved for enjoying in future I might as well use up fast or else tomorrow you might levy another tax on me.

I find that what you do is smart jiggrey-poggrey of words. The council you have created is responsible for all that you announce and not the government per se. The centre has 1/3rd votes, rest 2/3rd are with the states. Every state has one vote irrespective of its size. Decisions are made by 3/4th majority. 18 states you already have in your kitty. Life is balle balle for the government. BJP states cannot say no, centre government votes are secure then if you mix water in the khichiri or ghee makes no difference. Even if the Khichri becomes all meshed up due to overcooking that no ingredient is recognisable makes no difference either as there is no way one can avoid it.

My only humble submission to you is sir; I don’t mind you experimenting with the country’s money. However, the common man needs respite from exorbitant prices of everything. He wants to taste this khichri but the poor fellow is not capable to reach the dining table. The government can if it wants to add the best of tarka but why is the government taking back so much tax from us. Besides why are the basic ingredients like dal, chawal, namak, haldi getting out of hand of a common man? I wonder!!!!!!

JAI HIND

IN CONVERSATION WITH CATHERINE

Catherine and I were driving down to Alibaug over the weekend when we struck up a conversation. I was listening to the stereo and my wife was appreciating the music system and the stereo effects. Catherine was not enjoying the drive at all; actually the same was the case with me. Reasons were many. One was the dilapidated condition of the road and the pot holes. Besides, the village dogs accosting us barking at their loudest and snarling with their dirty teeth. Hens along with their chicks thought the road was for them.  Worst of all was the chaotic traffic jams. Above all the weekend crowd who were pouring into our territory by the dozens. They were blocking traffic in garb of purchasing something or asking for directions in these narrow alleys. Quite a frustrating kind of a drive it was all in low gear.

I ignored her and kept my concentration on driving but there were pieces of the conversation which kept striking me again and again as she asked me the first question. Have you paid road tax? I said yes and that to a hefty amount. After a pause she asked me, why are there so many pot holes then? I had no answer. She told me, Noel, please take me out on a long and majestic drive, where the road surface is smooth, maybe on expressways where the thrill of driving can be enjoyed. It appears that here every time we venture out she is worried about checking out how long will the suspension hold and she told me that this way it won’t take long to give away. I just kept quiet and listened.

The next question she asked me that do you pay toll tax? I told her yes and where ever my ID card works I don’t. She said never mind, you have actually paid life time toll tax by serving the Indian Army, so I won’t ask you again, however, she continued to say that where does this toll money  collected  from the other vehicles disappear. I said I don’t know and continued focusing on the oncoming traffic and the huge potholes.

I was wondering to myself, that last year I saw lot of work going on this road. I used to have a smooth ride but where has the road vanished. This must be happening year after year and taxes which were being collected going down the drain. I again started to listen to the stereo and this time I changed the channel of my choice. I got lost in the music and lyrics as we were getting close to our destination.

Catherine was in a chirpy mood and threw another question at me. She said do you pay income tax? I replied in the affirmative. I am sure that some portion of that must also be allocated to the development of infrastructure in this country. I said surely it must be the case, I am not sure of the percentages. She appeared to be questioning the government head on. She continued to quiz me, see why there are so many accidents on the road? I said reckless driving! She said yes, just then two bikes whizzed past overtaking us from the wrong side and missed hitting us by a whisker. The basic reason is that the infrastructure is not being planned as per our expansion of population she said. I could not agree with her more. Her observation was that our population is exploding and so is purchase of vehicles but government is not making better and broader roads. I said yes. After a while she said, it is time for the government to wake up and I just kept mum.

A little ahead Catherine again poked me. I said now what and she said, you pay income tax, professional tax, GST and all the other taxes which the tax man can think of. I replied to her that it appears that you have got hold of a book on finance. She wanted to know where each and every pie went. I actually didn’t know. I looked at the setting sun from out of the window and thought to myself that yes she is right; over these years I couldn’t even hide one paisa of my income and all my taxes go down the drain, without much of accountability and returns.

At last Catherine blurted, I don’t want to be a dented and painted car for no fault of mine. I told her that I shall definitely convey her concerns to the people who matter. I then requested her to just keep quiet for a while as my wife watched the moon rise from the other side. I switched over to John Denver singing “Country Roads, take me home”, on the car stereo.

JAI HIND

SANTA TO GIFT OROP TO VETERANS THIS CHRISTMAS

Yesterday was the blackest day in my life when because of the Green Tribunal many of us who adorned the Olive Greens, Whites and Blues for the best part of our lives were evicted, manhandled and transported in the shabbiest manner from Jantar-Mantar. They did not spare even the ladies who lost their husbands in service of the nation. Well, in garb of the Supreme Court orders, where only “your honour” work, the police did the most dishonourable thing. They had no choice but to obey orders, so be it.

Law is equal for everyone, isn’t it?  So, in the same breadth had OROP been given the way it was envisaged and passed in the parliament, as it is given to other Government services, there was no reason for the veterans’ to sit for more than 860 days and demand parity, as if we are beggars.

Be that as it may, there are two ways of doing things; one is the gentlemanly way which has been exhibited by the veterans’ community till date. The other way can now be something how the Jat agitation or the Gujjar agitation was done. We have always given our services in “Aid to Civil Authorities” whenever the need was felt by the nation and when the civil administration had completely failed. Do we need to prove that you guys have been failures time and again as far as running administration is concerned during time of crises? I am sure the community which already has OROP needs to justify why they deserve it and why ex-servicemen have been deprived of the same for so long.

This nation is constantly facing external and internal enemies. We understand what the government must be going through to sort out issues internationally and regionally. That is why we are agitating peacefully. We have borne the brunt of external aggressions and internal disorders by laying down our lives in service of the nation with no questions asked. Here you treat us so dismally. Though we do not adorn the uniform anymore, we are capable to fight for our rights in a different manner. Will it be acceptable? The government is pushing us to the wall and time now is ripening for retaliation. Hope the time never comes! If the Government can speak to terrorist organisations, what wrong have the veterans done?

We have till now been fighting for the Izzat & dignity which is due to us. Now why should we hesitate to fight for our well deserved money also? We should get our dues or be capable to extract the same any which way. If the government gives it upfront, we have no issues, if it doesn’t then be warned that we have the acumen to do things differently. Say, if we disrupt Delhi for the same number of days as this agitation, there will be utter chaos in one day only. If need be let there be bloodshed on Vijay Chowk. Let the President who passes by it every Republic Day and there after enjoys beating the retreat ceremony at the same place should feel jolted to sit on the blood of veterans who always bore true allegiance to the Tri-colour. Let him also realise that it is time for him to intervene, as we the veterans have no choice left but to look up to the Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces for his personal indulgence now.

Spending time on holidays with jawans is appreciable Mr PM. Madam RM, I had requested you to at least go and meet these veterans once. Had you done it, this stage would have never come. I wish it happens that instead Generals you put civilians as the commanders. Can the Chief downwards till Brigade Commanders be civilians? Chose your best Mr PM, let us see then how the integrity of the country is maintained. I know my argument is preposterous but I am convinced that we will be given OROP within two days. Let us see equal sacrifices from all those who are bent upon to block our right.

In the true spirit of the uniformed community, I think the Prime Minster should be contacted to give veterans an audience and explain to us the reasons for delay in implementation and why the deviation from what was promised in parliament. Let the RM be in attendance which I think can be arranged.

Christmas is coming, so one national holiday should be spent with the veterans. Hope PM becomes Santa Clause for us. The Presidents’ bodyguards could be requested to loan a buggy and some horses instead of the sleigh and the reindeers. Let him come dashing through the Delhi fog, on a one horse open sleigh and wish us Merry Christmas and grant us the correct and well deserved OROP. Will he? I wonder!!!!!!!!!!

JAI HIND

PM SHOOTING RAVAN

It was very funny to watch Modiji shooting an arrow from the hip on dussera. I am more accustomed to him shooting volleys from the lip. Imagine, Modiji in a trench along the LoC, Pakistan (Ravan) attacking and PM desperately trying to fire his gun. Twice it misfires and the third time Modiji picks up loose bullets and throws them at the enemy. Like all good stories end, the enemy would have suffered heavy casualties and retreated, for all is well that ends well.

It reminds me of my WT (weapon training) lessons while learning our basics of 7.62mm SLR.  It was called “Rokon ko dur karna” (removing the faults). Any mechanical thing can fail, so the “ustad” used to howl,” rifle theek fire karta rukta”, (rifle stops while firing), you just had to cock it and press the trigger, 98 times out of 100 the damn thing used to fire. Then he used to say “fire nahin” (no fire), you were then supposed to check the magazine, you could have an empty magazine, reload, cock the weapon and fire. There was one very funny command called “ Ek do round ke baad rukta” (stopping after one or two rounds) and you like a monkey said “gas ki kami” and turned the gas regulator with a funny looking tool and continued firing. Then there was one command called “fir bhi fire nahi” (still your rifle doesn’t fire), then you had to check the ejected round and check the “Painda” (base) of the round and shout “Painde pe chot nahi” (no strike on the base) and then you stripped the weapon and changed the firing pin as you were taught to say “toota hua firing pin”. Good old days they were and we practiced like hell.

One used to dread in case of war or insurgency while engaging the enemy if you have a toota hua firing pin. Then you had only one choice to dauro, leto, rengo aar pakrao, firing pin change karo aur wapas fire karo. As luck would have it I only handled an AK-47 in J&K and Manipur, I never had to go through even one “rok” (stoppage) ever. Lucky me!

PM Sahib the reality is that there are many “roks” everywhere in our systems. There are “kaidas-kanoons” (rules and regulations) but no one knows how to get things done the proper way. It ultimately boils down to throwing the arrow rather than releasing it properly. This I say in terms of all the things like GST etc which are being implemented. Everyone has agreed that this (GST) needs to be fired but none of the so called experts know how will it work or how it is to be implemented. So rather than firing it “by the “seekha hua tareeka” (learnt way) as they call it in the fauj, they experiment with it. If it hits the target, well and good, if it doesn’t then they tweak the system (improvise). In the mean time our own forces (common man) suffer as they are not sure what to do in the interim.

Be that as it may, had such a SNAFU occurred in the army there would have been hell to pay? From the Table orderly to the Safai wala everyone would have been on a route march from Kashmir to Kanya Kumari and back. PMs Bow doesn’t shoot an arrow, Impossible! The person who made it would have tested it; the CHM would have tested it twice. From the Senior JCO, the Company Commander and the CO up the ladder everyone would have checked it. The Commander would have given a demo to the GOC on a FMR (Field Miniature Range) and finally the Corps Commander and the Army Commander would have been shown a live demo on the field firing ranges, where contingencies like this would have been catered for.  Even Chief’s ADC would have confirmed that all systems are working fine. A stand by arrow would have been fired and the Engineer regiment would have already catered for a demolition charge under the Ravan. How dare the arrow misfires?

Jokes apart, the reality is ladies and gentlemen, even if one has to fire dummy rounds it needs practice. So Modiji, there are big lessons for you. I know you have many things to fire for the good of this country thus lesson one, a rehearsal and a practice is definitely required. Lesson number two, get out of this notion that everything will fire perfectly because it is being fired by the PM. Things can go wrong at the last moment courtesy your advisors. Lesson three; you did not have a proper plan B in place otherwise you wouldn’t have to improvise by throwing the arrow. Lesson four, your civil Mehakma needs to pull up their socks. At such a level blunders like this are unacceptable. The PM is live on every channel shows India in poor light. Lesson six; please do not take everything and everyone for granted. Lesson seven, your confidence in tackling the situation was good but you cannot rely on instincts and take chances like this with a nation of 125 crore.

You as the top leader have to fire and fire for effect sir. Every word you fire, every policy and legislation has to be for the good of this nation. I the common man shall be observing the balance of this government’s tenure closely. We still give you the benefit of doubt. Our expectations are banking on your decisions and crack shooting Sir.  I know you are working overtime and very hard but when you fire let it be “ek goli ek dushman” (One bullet one enemy). What bullet you got to fire and who is the dushman I leave it to you to figure out. Have you understood my message? I wonder!!!!!!!

JAI HIND

JAITLEYs BREW

My views on the FMs press conference after the GST council meet

 

My dear Mr Jaitley

I have been thinking of you lately

The financial jiggrey-poggrey you do

Which only you and your staff know

Leaves the common man wondering hopelessly

 

The tax burden is such

The common man can’t do much

Except paying and shutting shop immediately

 

Your intelligent looks

Would shake any crook

To give what he took

To sew or to cook

Or else get booked indiscriminately

 

But tell me one thing

The surprises you spring

Are they meant to stream line

The sales and buying

Or is it to torture us financially

 

The traders are unsure

To follow rules or wait some more

For you to make up your mind

To save them from the grind

Which may leave them broke ultimately

 

The concoction you brew

In your kettle which isn’t new

Is giving everyone the aches at wrong places

So decide once for all

What tax is for what all

Rather leaving everyone conjecturing seamlessly.

 

The GST appears to be a pain

We don’t know will it be a boon or a bane

But one thing is pucca

The way you are giving jhatkas

The public is going insane

 

You demonetised we bore

GST added to the woes

To lump it or dump it

Left no choice with 125 crore

 

Be nice to us Mr Jaitely

Your decisions off lately

Are screwing the common man galore

Kindly give no more spins

Let us see achhe din

And be grateful to this nation immensely

 

JAI HIND

MY CREDIT CARD

At times I wonder I should have taken more interest in Maths in school. Today when I listen to the FM as he quotes figures left right and centre I just nod my head. My course mates have been talking since morning of figures of commutation of pension, gratuity, NFU for non functional people like me or whatever it means. I do try my best to understand them but I can’t make head or tail of it. I think it is a mental block and I feel let the block stay this way. There will be some “Good Samaritan” who will work out the calculations for many of us. I am being honest so am confessing my phobia of such calculations as they are a nightmare for me.

What ultimately matters is that sweet sound of “Ting” which rings on the mobile indicating there is a sms and you find your account 3232xxxxxx4343 has been credited by X amount. What else do you want man. My agenda thereafter is to see how to spend that amount at the earliest and be done with it. Why should I bother the bank to take the pain of keeping it for me? The bankers have better things to do I suppose. Good that they have given me and my wife a debit card; I have recently started to use it also. I only had known to use it at the ATM machine to draw cash. Don’t ask me about a credit card. I will die with tension when I will be told the same amount you spent today will be have to be paid in 45 days. Why not pay now and sleep well, after all you can’t avoid paying. My story starts here.

Moment you default on credit card payments all hell breaks loose, I believe. Someone told me that the interest rate is about 35% or something. A person like me will be a permanent defaulter, reason being if I keep seeing money in my bank I shall keep spending it. Further, if I have to keep reminding myself that I have to pay back means I have taken “udhaar”, which is against my principals. If a toaster has to be bought, buy it and finish off with it, why delay paying for it. Why do we have to keep adding award points for future purchases or for that matter get a gift voucher at an eatery for a paltry discount of 500 bucks? My goodness, can’t we un-complicate life.

Well in our pay brackets people generally can afford credit cards. It means you are already well off, if not very well off. In most of our cases less mine children are generally settled and working. Many spouses are working too. Most of us are on re-employment or second employment. Still if we have to think buying things on credit, it doesn’t gel with me. If one is buying a car say, then a loan is the best option. Simple! One can keep arguing that when it will be a rainy day and when you may not have money to pay then the credit card will come in handy. Banks will lure you with zero charges in the first year and thereafter charge you a hefty amount as an annual fee. If you can afford annual fees you might as well clear your debits. Yes, the card may come with free insurance of ‘n’ lakhs. One feels happy chalo at least insurance is there. Then they will offer you one complimentary free ticket for a movie which you can’t go to watch within that stipulated time. You end up opting for a useless air bag instead, convincing yourself that you will use it during air travel possibly twice a year.

I have a few friends who play with money. Let me explain, pay one company with a credit card today, wait for 45 days or whatever is the maximum free limit of time and pay this credit card bill with another credit card. Such people have at least 4-5 cards and they rotate their money. They will give a cheque to someone and then online put in a request for stop cheque and then play with that money again. I wonder how they keep a track of how much to pay, to whom and when. I would definitely get all mixed up. Not my cup of tea at all.

Let me confess to you truthfully folks that I one day had decided to get a credit card. So I called up the help line and with all formalities completed they told me after a month that sorry sir, the courier company has refused to deliver it in the place where you stay. I gave them an option that can I give my friends address in Bombay; they said no, your address needs to be verified. I said ok, I can collect it from your nearest branch which is about 20 kms away, I offered. They said sir but you don’t have an account there. I got fed up and told them that you are ready to give me a credit card on my  account which is in New Delhi and can’t deliver it to a place convenient to you and me, so keep the damn card with you, thank you very much. I decided to hell with credit cards since that day.

I know my “giani” (know all) friends will come down heavily on me all guns blazing. I am also expecting a call from at least ten banker friends who shall read this and promise my new card home delivered free of cost tomorrow. But what will I do with it, my bai doesn’t accept them, my machhi wali refuses to entertain me with it, my kiryana wala doesn’t know about it, my coconuts are home grown and free, basic gadgetry for my home I have already, my wife is not a shopping enthusiast, the village liquor chap gives beer only on cash, my ATM is happy with my debit card, so should I still go in for a credit card to complicate my simple life. I wonder!!!!!!!!!!!

MY NEW DEFENCE MINISTER

Wallah! At last India has a permanent Defence Minister after a long wait and amidst so much of speculations. Congratulations ma’am and welcome to a different world. Things are different here and things are done very differently in the Armed forces. I am not using the words defence on purpose because you will get a first hand feel of its enormity once you get on the chair proper. You will have the three services Chiefs at your command to give you the correct picture of things on ground and national security. They will also tell you how things are on paper. If you will have a heart to heart talk with them they will reveal to you how they are actually functioning with all that they have. Madam, trust them and listen to them. I wish you all the best.

Well let me not get into the 3Cs of criticizing, comparing and complaining mode from the very beginning. I am sure all your predecessors would have contributed their bit in nation building and with special reference to defence. You have got a fresh slate and a fresh charter. You also have come in here in the third year of the government so the ball must have been set rolling in any case by now. I am sure budget will not be a constraint even if you have to walk in into the FMs or the PMs Office or is this asking for too much on the second day in your office. So let me assume that you will take that liberty as and when the need arises but on the other hand I would request you to change the way the defence ministry works and that its rigid protocol. You will find it on every file, the seniority in which people will put their remarks on each noting sheet. Ma’am I want you to go to the three service Chief’s offices rather than them coming to you.

Imagine what commotion you will create in the corridors of South block if you walk up to the Army Chief’s office. Let me tell you ma’am the sandwiches served there are too good. They will be served with so much of love and affection that you may ask for more. Madam you will see people running to hide all maps with those huge curtains in the Military Operations room, later realising that you will be the one giving directions soon as to which part of the map to obliterate or pound and with what intensity. Suddenly, you may find pink napkins in the corridors of South Block. Madam jokes apart, you have yourself to feel the warmth that the men & women in olive greens, sky blue and white will shower on you. They are looking for a fresh face as they have had too many stain marks from spilled goan curry, Chai from Jaitley’s ketley and rancid coconut oil on their documents.

Madam Minister, another thing I request you to change is the perception of an iron wall between the MoD per se and the people from the services. If a gun has to be used by the Army man, an Aircraft by the fly boy or a submarine by a mariner then who should have the last word in its procurement. Please involve the user in every phase ma’am because to tell the difference between a smooth bore gun and a rifled gun your technocrats will give you but for a man to survive on the battlefield and hit the target in varied terrain and weather will only be revealed by the user, I hope you will agree. Please let there be a change where the well walks up to the thirsty rather than the other way around. If anyone in uniform does hanky-panky or misappropriation of money please skin him alive. He doesn’t deserve to be in uniform but if the same is done by someone in white collars, you may decide appropriate punishment.

The biggest thing I ask of you madam is the restoration of our IZZAT. I do not want to get into the naam, namak and nishan part of it. But our prestige, our honour, our self esteem needs a definite boost. Why do we in the forces get a feeling that we are children of a lesser God? Madam our ex-servicemen are sitting on Jantar mantar peacefully till date. They are old, many infirm and not in their best of health but are conveying their feelings to this nation that for what fault of theirs they still have to bear the heat, rain and cold after doing their time in hell. Madam do go and just say a hello to them. Probably your predecessors never had the time or inclination to meet the veterans and the veer naris.

One more thing ma’am, please do not change your ministry like my wife changes her dresses. By the time you get the hang of it your tenure will be over. Do a good job and help me to vote for you in 2019 again to see you at the helm of affairs in the same Ministry. You will see many Chiefs change during your tenure but the ethos and dastoor of the services won’t change. Let them hold their head high and give you all their support. Visit doklam next week end, I would say visit every theater of operation, ask the commanders there what are their typical issues and resolve them then and there. Issues could be operational or administrative like infrastructure, health care, accommodation, equipment, morale anything under the sun. Madam another thing I am skeptic of is the DRDO, reason I don’t know but the perception says there is something amiss. We still wait for our Main Battle Tank, a state of art rifle to say the least. We want Israel and Russia to use equipment made in India is what I ask you.

At the outset let me again welcome you to the uniformed part of it. The non-uniformed you have to take care of. I can’t say I wish you were Ex-NDA but madam I expect you to be one. You need to be a flier, a commando, a paratrooper, a deep sea diver, a tank man, a sailor, a Commander of men and women in all varied terrain and weather. Madam above all you will have to have a heart of gold which beats in sync and tune with the armed forces. I wish we sort out Pak in the next three years to start with. Good Luck and God Speed to you. Have I asked for too much? I wonder!!!!!!!!!

JAI HIND

CHANGE THE GOAL POST

Let us start with an assumption that we are going to use nuclear technology for peaceful purposes, nothing wrong, most of the countries are doing it. What if I say that the same nuclear technology will also be used for making bombs as a safety and security measure for my country? I sign all declarations and prove to the world that our intentions are very pious & holy but this needs to be done for the country, nothing wrong in it again. Well, time passes everything is fine and one fine day one bomb explodes and people die at a very large scale.  You then say that actually this bomb had an alternative use for a long lost dream of India called population control. You start justifying it by saying; see how many people we have reduced from this earth and from India in particular. How beneficial it is to the country, so many lesser mouths to feed, so much lesser burden on the economy and infrastructure so on and so forth. Everyone wonders if the minister justifying the explosion is in his senses or out of his wits.

What has happened here is that there has been a change of not only the goal post but change in the game itself. The venue changed, the rules and regulations were tweaked as per circumstances and in fact there was nothing original left as to why we started this whole nuclear exercise in the first place. We kept testing the waters and kept adjusting our aim and destinations as we went along as per our convenience. We used political jargon, some facts and figures, some percentages and some decimals to create an impression that what we are presenting to the public is correct and convincing. Poor public which is naive, illiterate and actually is not concerned because if the gareeb janata keeps getting his roti somehow, achhe din or no achhe din, he continues to believe in his political masters. They make, bend, change, tweak, modify and then justify the rules with sugar coated figures.

Well that was my aim to confuse myself so I started with the nuclear example and have still not revealed why am I writing all this. Well folks, I happened to hear our very dear Mr FM & DM briefing the media on the RBI report on the effects of re-monetisation I suppose. At the end of the day the whole exercise of demonetisation aka re-monetisation was done as the colour of the old notes was not matching the PM dresses. In the bargain if the tax payers base of the country increased by 17.971%, well what is wrong with it. The hundreds of tonnes of raddi collected in form of old 500 and 1000 rupee notes will be now handed over to the wall paper industry to change the colour of the walls of the North and South block. The black money which was supposed to come pouring in is still stuck in some foreign land and nothing in black could be retrieved. The cash less changed directions to less cash and the figure quoted was also in fractions of a percentage like 15.237%. Who knows how this figure has been calculated or arrived at and how accurate it is. At least I am not interested. The militants were supposed to be hit by demonetisation but they continued their demonization. Yes the only people who hit them were the armed forces and they shall continue to decimate them.

Added to this chaos of demonetisation came GST. What good it is to man or beast and what services it is taxing that no one is clear to be frank. Now we actually have a demonetised GST economy. The world economists are pondering over it as a special case study to find out how is it going to affect the coconut exports of Maldives as they are convinced that in India nothing has changed. Why I say this is because the trains keep derailing killing innocents travellers, children are again being massacred in hospitals. Babas and Baby’s keep ruling the roost. Bombay and Delhi cannot get over the deluge of rains. Pakistan continues its nefarious activities as usual. China is doing what it wants to do. I am where I was, except for my increasing weight I can find no change in me or my environment around.

It is not surprising at all because the FM handles the defence budget; he is also the DM. In the same breadth, he must be handling the home budget also so he should be the home minister too. I am not surprised that they have amalgamated the rail budget into the general budget but then where is the need to have a railways minister? If FM is going to handle all the money then why have so many ministers floating around. Here I find no logic as the people who are experts in their fields especially defence find themselves not even in the playing eleven of the game. They have been kept merely as extras. Which game they are going to play that the PM will decide? How long they will play that game before shifting to another sport that too is left to him? It is as simple as the cabinet reshuffle. From HRD to textile to another ministry in three years is like Mithali Raj shifting from cricket to badminton to boxing. Then we will expect her to win every game for India, while Sindhu and Mary Kom are told to play kabaddi and do sailing. What is the difference in sport a, b or c?

Well friends, this is not the first time the goal posts have been changed in this country. It was all started with good intentions like the surrendering of gas subsidy. Opening of the bank account was the next initiative. How far has it been really successful that Bhim, Paytm or such portals will tell? Kashmir boils with no goal post in site. Achhe din are just games people say but don’t play.  Will all these exercises bring some peace if not ache din with or without a changed goal post in the near future? I wonder!!!!!!!!!!!!

JAI HIND

 

JAI HIND & JAI KASHMIR

I got a chance to listen to the PMs Independence Day speech only late in the day. The phrase that caught my ears was “Na Goli se, Na Gaali se Kashmir ka masla hal hoga Kashmiri ko gale lagane se” and words to that effect (Neither with bullets nor with abuses can we resolve the problem of Kashmir; it can be resolved only by embracing them). Well PM Sahib, I have an issue here with what you said. On one hand you say that you won’t leave any “ATANKWADI” or his supporter, right. On the other hand you want to embrace Kashmiri’s some of them who are militants. On one hand you see a role of security forces; on the other hand you don’t want to fire a bullet. On one hand you don’t want to talk to Pakistan till it behaves as they understand only gaali’s, right. You also want to teach Pak a lesson for what it does in Kashmir. You want peace and prosperity in Kashmir without getting the elected representatives of Kashmir moving. Now you come out with this goli-gaali Jumla. I am now thoroughly confused sir, what do you mean and how do you propose to do what you say?

You want the Central Government to work hand in glove with the state government, right. If I understand correctly that funding to Kashmir that has been going on till now shall continue like hither to fore, right. Everyone will know the package you announce but no one will know how it will be utilized. The Kashmiri politician will know where and how it has to be utilised but the Kashmiri population you want to embrace will not know where the hell this fund has gone. The State government will demand more and you will give more from your benevolent funds that you have at your disposal. I as a tax payer and a contributor to your funds will never know on what scheme was this money spent on ever. Your FM will account for every “paai” he releases and announce it to the world but how much will be swindled, mis-utilised and seep out of the system, no one will ever come to know. I don’t have to remind you about terrorist funding Sir, which needs to be eliminated too.

I had seen border roads organisation working and maintaining most of the roads in Kashmir, if I am correct. Most of the infrastructure projects like the rail and major highways funded from the centre employ maximum locals, right. How much more infrastructure they require can someone give a road map? Why is the Kashmiri so lethargic? Why is the pace slow? Is it because the local contractors are slow? Or is it because of the sluggish attitude of the Kashmiri people? Or is it the threat to any project by the militants which slows projects? Is it lack of supervision at the governmental level and accountability of the officials? I have seen myself, people working on projects having cups after cups of tea, discussing everything under the sun, closing shop early to reach home before sun down. PM Sahib, can a reality check be done how work is done there? You are in for surprises, if not shock.

Do we have a dearth of infrastructure companies in India? Answer is no. Then why can’t they work in Kashmir, if Kashmir is part of India? Why can’t the labour be taken from rest of India to expedite projects ultimately an Indian is working on an Indian project. Why a company has to work at the Kashmiri pace which is like get up in the morning, warm up your Firan with a Kangri, wait for the blood circulation to increase, smoke a few biris till mood to work sets in, curse the world around, look for fire wood and gucchi the whole day and by 3pm pack up and head back home. Winter months as it is there won’t be any work due to snow. During monsoons the rains stop projects, rest of the months there is hardly a window to work and one has to catch up on gossip. If GREF can take labour from Bihar and build the Tangtse-Pangong Tso road, what is the problem in Kashmir. Is work the problem or is it the work culture? I believe no one is marked absent after all it is welfare of Kashmiris.

I say, catch hold of all the stone pelters and tell them to crack boulders for the next road project. Pay them the same amount they get for pelting. Give them food and shelter till a project is completed but make them work. Question is that is he willing to work? Will he contribute to the progress of Kashmir he has dreamt of? I further say, you want to agitate; you want to protest, do it after 10 years and during this time work dedicatedly for what Kashmir needs. Let there be power generation all over. Let there be cold storage chains professionally managed all over. Let there be best of fisheries, saffron and fruit production. Let there be a full scale furniture industry, woollen garment industry, fruit canning and pickling industry. Let train and plane loads of cargo be flown in and out of Kashmir. In case of landslides and road blocks, let everything go by alternate means of transport. Is it possible?

My idea may sound absurd, bizarre, ridiculous or even silly but it is an idea worth thinking of Mr PM. Make the representatives of the people of J&K accountable to their own people. Embrace the people once they are willing to work on their dream projects. Shake up the typical lethargy of the people and let them be handled professionally. Pay them when they work, pay them on the quality of output they produce. Let the security forces help them to create an environment for their own betterment. Weed away the “gaddars” and traitors. PM Sahib you will get jhappis if your vision is made into a mission.

Let tourism flourish. Engage locals to provide security to all visiting Kashmir. Let the security forces become friends of Kashmiri people. Help the forces change Kashmiri outlook towards India and life. Let prosperity come and then let the goli be only for Pakistan and the traitors. Let gaali be only for terrorists and their supporters and jhappi for the common Kashmiri people who have been torn apart from this strife due to utter neglect, lack of vision and transparency. Create a framework for them to accept the tri-colour from their heart. Give them the dignity they deserve. Your change of stance from gali to jhappi without goli will materialise soon. Take a decision, now!

Will I ever hear JAI HIND-JAI KASHMIR there, I wonder!!!!!!!!!!

 

BAN EVERYTHING CHINESE

I have been seeing posts and videos saying that let us stop buying Chinese products. This Diwali we shall not use any lights or Rakhi’s made in China. Instead some people are emphatically propagating to buy pure Indian products only. Well, we have been hearing of make in India, made in India, made for India, made by Indians and many such slogans. The reality is that we in India do not make goods which match the prices of Chinese goods. What we make don’t even last as long as a made in China product. The quality in our products is lacking. Cost of our product is also unaffordable, thus forcing us to look for alternatives elsewhere. We Indians also have a tendency to buy products which have an imported stamp. It may be made in Korea, US or Timbuktu; we love to buy that stuff or am I conjecturing too much. This, the inner voice in you can only tell.

Let us see the car purely made in India. The poor Ambassador has finally died its own death. The old work horse of the taxi people and the Indian Army, Hindustan Motors finally shut shop. HMT watches, where are they? I wore one with pride many moons back. Today, we hear of Bharat-Benz, Maruti-Suzuki, Ashok-Leyland, Swaraj-Mazda etc. These names are related to a foreign product or are in partnership with them. So are many of the banks. The Fords, Toyotas, Mercs and Hondas are pure foreign brands. Computers too are assembled in India. Name a brand which is pure Indian in mobiles or doesn’t use imported products in its components. For industries many chemicals are ex-import, technology is ex import, raw material too is ex import. Lesser said the better.

Take apparels, take cosmetics, take any product and you will find a foreign hand in that. I am not propagating Baba Ramdev products, though I love his biscuits and Sarson ka tel but just food for thought that we love to enjoy all things foreign. How many of us wear Khadi? I am sure there would be many. Our markets opened up, our currency stood its ground and products which were unheard of in India now are available at affordable prices.

Take the defence equipment. Aircrafts are American, French or Russian, tanks are Russian, missiles from Israel; war ships and submarines are from Britain, Russia or France. Bofors is ex import, Tatra is ex import, BMP is ex import, most of our ammunition is ex import, special clothing is ex import, parachutes are ex import but our land is indigenous. AK-47, bullet proof jackets are ex import, but our spirit to operate all these is pure Indian. We just won the tank competition in Russia standing first amongst 19 countries driving and firing the Russian T-90. I salute all our tank men in black dungarees for this achievement. We adapt ourselves to any equipment very quickly and master its use.

If we talk of the trade deficit with China, it stands at around 46.7 billion dollars today. My goodness Gracious Lord, this must be many ship load full of dollars. How will we get out of it? How will we reduce it? How will we find means to balance it out? Well there are many economists who will work it out for us. The figure of those many billions appears as if India has to pay back China that amount. If we don’t pay we all are going to die by the Chinese torture method. The feeling this word trade deficit gives me is as if we are sunk and the burden to return that money back is my responsibility. Soon time will come when the atta we eat would be Chinese. As it is they are making artificial rice, eggs and vegetables. Well, I have the PM & the Industries Minister to look into the specifics of trade and the Finance Minister to pay for all that. Should I bother?

Be that as it may, the fact of the matter is we are importing more and exporting less. This doesn’t mean that we are not paying for what we are importing. Only thing is that we are not earning as many dollars as we should be earning through export. Let us start producing world class stuff so that it gets consumed within the domestic markets and meets the needs of our population and export. Today, if we even have to import dal, wheat and onions, isn’t it an irony. We have not been able to make cold storage chains to preserve our surplus. Our grains rot in FCI godowns and we talk of trade deficit.

Well friends by just boycotting Chinese products we are doing a lot of harm to the traders who have already paid for it. The item is already in India, it has been paid for because we only demanded it. Some trader facilitated it. We got things at price of dirt. The trader also made a profit. It did not hurt your pocket either and now suddenly you say that don’t but anything made in China. Is it fair? Let’s give a date after which all Chinese imports officially are stopped? Traders to dispose of items till a particular date, then take him to task. I say let us stop buying anything imported. Period!

Let us get after the government to set up a mechanism so that imported items are banned till the Indian mindset gets used to using and enjoying everything Indian. All trade deficits will evaporate. Today we export Iron ore. Is there a justification for it? Why this product can’t be used in house and iron made cheaper for iron and steel industry to flourish. Why do we allow import of scrap and kill this industry. Then as a stop gap measure we increase the import duty on iron scrap so that the domestic market picks up. This is only a knee jerk reaction with no long term strategy in place.

Well it is not as simple as I am portraying it. Can we exchange products for manpower? I don’t know. By boycotting things won’t resolve issues with China. By setting up a clear goal for use of Indian products vis-a-vis Chinese and other imported products can we sort this out?  China has banned whatsapp and twitter. Do it in India and see the results. Half of us will be on the verge of committing suicide if not murder. I have also seen posts on calculations of the number of products, revenue generated from it and how if we stop it will hurt China. Agreed, if you don’t buy from one shop then you have to have an alternative. Similarly, China will look for another client for its products. It definitely has the capacity to survive without selling to us. So let us make classy Indian products at affordable prices for the common man. Can we? I wonder!!!!!!!

JAI HIND

PAY COMMISSION AND ARREARS

Effects of the seventh pay commission have percolated to the political class. The pay of an Undersecretary may be more than the MP now. How can this be palatable to the Mantr ji? I heard one of the MPs saying that we have to maintain three houses, one at Delhi, one in the constituency and one own home. Government needs to pay us for the taam-jhaam therefore I need a pay hike. How is Jaitley ji going to get this money is his baby. Who all will be squeezed is the FMs problem? The FM is looking towards me, why me sir? Get hold of Malya and gang please.

Let me tell you how I felt after the implementation of various pay commissions. Initially, I felt elated and jumped up and down my bed on receiving my pay slip. This happiness used to last a very short while, around six to seven months. Then inflation used to catch up and we were back to square one. We turned back to looking at the prices in the menu card first and then deciding what to eat rather than the other way around. I remember I had to compromise while buying my first car. I was falling short by 25000 and had to pick up a non AC one. No regrets though, we drove it like hell and she was my darling for more than ten years.

I remember my rank pay got stuck as there was some issue way back in 1987. I had picked up as a Barsati Captain in 1987 with just two years of service. The rank pay then was 200 if I remember correctly. In those days mess gave us khana and mess was home so pay never bothered me. Later I got married and got posted to high altitude. There, food was plenty, expenditure was negligible and the bank used to be our unit Baniya and his famous note book in which he used to write every hisaab-kitab our pass book. I was in Ladakh then and baniya used to get us all what we needed. My only expenditure used to be on fags. In those days the DFR dollars used to come in handy. Another bank used to be the field cashier. I remember carrying lots of field cheques to Leh for many officers when on pay collection duty. I had to cross Changla pass many a times to get pay.

Soon I got posted to a place near Dehradun. One fine day accumulated arrears with pay around 40,000 got released in 1992. I almost jumped through the roof. I showed my pay slip to my wife, she too rubbed her eyes at least 20 times to see whether the figure had a comma or a full stop after 40. We started making plans as if we could buy the whole world. My wife said save half of it, so next day I went to the field cashier and withdrew the money. He gave me bundles of 10 rupee notes from the RTC. I rushed straight to the post office and bought NSC certificates worth 20000. In those day’s money used to double in five years. That was my first and last investment for more than 3/4th of my Army service.

I carried the rest of the bundles in my brown VIP briefcase, with a suspecting eye on everyone. I laid those 20 bundles in front of my wife on the small coffee table and asked her have you ever seen so much of cash in your life. I still remember I could hear her heartbeat sitting across the table. Well, like a chivalrous man I said all yours and she picked them and hid them in the cupboard under her third sari, well that was all she had then. We bought a new lock for that cupboard and watched it every night. We used to bring out the notes sometimes and count them and as luck would have it I always either counted one extra or one less. Then she used to recount it. I used be sent back from parties to go and see if the house was ok. I used to quietly go down to the bar. Refill my drink, come and say all is well. We were posted in such a remote place where leopards used to visit our quarter guard not far from our house quite often.

Well, next weekend I put my name on the bus to Dehradun and we had made up our mind to buy a VCR. I had just bought a BPL-Sanyo TV and this would compliment it. Moment we touched Doon we hired a taxi to Mussoorie. On our return we went to this big VCR/TV shop close to the famous “Moti-Mahal” restaurant. We picked up the best one which cost us around 14000. We asked for a guarantee, the shopkeeper said there is none on imported stuff. In case something goes wrong we shall repair it. I told my wife let us take a chance, she reluctantly agreed. From there we rushed to Kumar sweets at Ghanta Ghar and picked up “Ras Malai” and stick jaws. We were going to stay with one of our relatives. First thing I told them that tonight is movie night; get as many cassettes as you want to see. We finished dinner and inserted the first movie. My happiness knew no bounds as the clarity of the video was impressive. I told my wife to get the sweets to celebrate our moment of joy and we gave everyone a bowl of Ras Malai.

Believe you me my heart sank as the first spoon of the tasty Ras Malai went into my mouth. I saw smoke rising from the brand new VCR. I jumped and switched it off but by then it was too late. I looked at my wife who had turned into a statue. That night was the longest night for both of us. We would have kept awake watching movies with the family but that night we were consoling each other as tears of my wife were unstoppable. We had a quick breakfast and caught the first Vikram to Ghanta Ghar and by 9am we were at the shop. The assistant came at ten and half an hour later came the owner. He saw our faces and understood and I meekly said that the VCR got burnt. This man was cool and said chotu get another one from the attic. My wife said no we will take a VCP instead with a proper bill and guarantee. I had no choice but to agree and bought a KRISONS VCP. We were sceptic but it gave us fantastic service till the VCD mania took over.

Hard earned money can become hard burnt money in seconds. That was a lesson for me in life and I carry it with me still. Nothing without a bill otherwise be prepared to take a chill pill. Are you guys and gals listening, I wonder!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

IN CASH AND BODY BAGS A SOLDIER PAYS HIS TAXES

 

I was going through the summary of the GST bill sent to me on social media. I came to know that it has been tabled as a “money bill”. Well it is all about money going out of my pocket so I tried to find out what does it mean. Folks I gave up moment I saw the text of the money bill. I suggest don’t waste your time looking at it. The gist is that Rajya Sabha has just to go through certain paces for formality sake on such bills. People there may fret and fume and pick faults in the bill but the last laugh will be had by Sir Jaitley and his team in the Lok Sabha as they can show a “THENGA” to the upper house. What the states are going to do is obviously clear. Resistance might be there from only non BJP states, so dear common man will it be good, bad or ugly for you, time will tell.

Be that as it may. I would like to know, will there be only one tax on my Colgate and Thums up? Not that I use any. Will my carry home income increase with this bill? Will my income tax reduce? Will goods be cheaper? Will availability of items increase from the PM to my Bai who may prefer to use a “daatun” instead of paste. For PM Sahib it is herbal and natural besides Baba Ramdev recommends it and for my bai it’s free and readily available from the jungle. No VAT and this that needs to be paid.

FM Sahib, you pay me a pay/pension depending whether I am serving or retired and you tax it at source. I have no issues with that. Then you lay down how much will be tax free and how much won’t be. No issues with that too. Then you lay down income slabs on a sliding scale, I grant you that also. You also give me ways and means to save my money under 80-100cc category or whatever. Tell me one thing, if I have to earn to save why I earn in the first instant. If I have to earn and put it back in a scheme then why is my pay scale fixed? Why don’t you lay down that this much amount will be reduced, this will be put in compulsory saving till you retire, and this much I will take back for the government? Period! Why do you want me to fill forms and show you how much you gave me and how much I owe you and how much I have paid you back, and in case if I don’t pay by 31st March you further add a penalty to it. What nonsense this is! My pay scales are fixed by you, then why keep deducting. Do it once for all and save me this tension of filing returns. Half the times I am posted at places where you don’t provide me the net and most of the times how hard I try I can’t make out head or tail what to fill in where, though you claim filing is a cake walk. My foot! Please save me this agony also sir like you are doing for the GST. Tax me once and then let me relax for life time.

I have some more issues with you sir. OK fine you tax my pay, pension now you tax my pension plus pay as I am now working for a corporate. Firstly, you put me at a disadvantage when I come to the civil world as I am seen as a person with double income. They don’t realise I gave 25 years or more for this nation unflinchingly and earned my pension. Secondly, certain people don’t want to pay taxes as they say most of it goes in the pay and pensions of people like me and the balance goes to feed all “sarkari damads” like the parliamentarians. Out of every rupee only some part reaches the beneficiary rest is siphoned off due to your enacted laws and poor administrative controls. I can forgive them as they know not what they say about me but you all need to find answers for your part.

If I have paid you the tax which was due on my pay and say I save some of it which I put it in FD, you charge me tax on its interest also. What the hell? Then you add that interest to my rest of the income and tax it again. If the scale tips over to the next tax bracket there is a quantum jump on the tax which I have to dish out. I decide to buy a house from my savings. I pay you tax again including all swach bharat, beti parhao, kissan cess etc. The bank’s loan me the amount and charge me interest where as my pay comes in that bank only.  You give me a tax rebate equivalent to peanuts on housing loan, where do I go? When builders fund you and your parties then no one opens his mouth but the builder opens his mouth wide when he charges me with all taxes and cess’ and half the thing he wants under the table. I buy a vehicle and for that I pay registration fee, insurance, road tax, environment tax and you name it. I paid so much of income tax to built roads then you charge me road tax besides you don’t let me off without paying toll tax too. Is it right? I go to a dhaba I pay no taxes on what I eat. I go to a restaurant and the last five lines are taxes and charges for what I ate. Depending on the type of eatery, they charge many times the amount for the ambiance and a waiter and you want me to pay the government of India for giving my daughter a treat. Isn’t it ironical FM sahib? I don’t mind paying for a rail ticket as the railways have definitely improved; unfortunately there has been an accident today.

If you really see the soldiers, they actually are paying taxes to the nation by putting their lives at stake for you people who don’t understand their worth and treat them as cannon fodder. One political decision to sort out Kashmir has been delayed by you for donkey’s years. How many more body bags would be sufficient? How many lost legs and limbs do you want? How many widows and orphans do you want for this nation to run in terms of taxes my dear sirs? Don’t we protect you in the close cordons when you as MPs move around in bullet proof cars? A man hangs on to a modified footrest to protect you and still you want us to pay taxes. If you are the chosen one of the people why do you need any protection from your own people?

You have one rank called MP, with one pay and one pension. You thrive on our money and want us to pay you both in cash and body count, how sad! You keep getting paid as you never feel like retiring. We soldiers take oath to dedicate ourselves to the nation even at the peril of our lives and you people want us to perpetually remain in peril and continue to be martyred without you people being harmed. We obey the rules laid down by you and you snatch away what we earn. We are still magnanimous to give you back enough in taxes and personal sacrifices, which you mismanage for obvious reasons. Some of us luckily survived, we have grown old and weak and silently sit at Jantar Mantar peacefully to make you realise that it is high time you gave us our due sirs. Are you listening yea members of parliament? I wonder!!!!!!!!!!!!

DECISION OR INDECISION

One more Paki attack, another assault at our sovereignty, more bodies mutilated, a few more widows, more humiliation, pressure by politicians and peaceniks to show restraint till it is right time to resume talks, some pause before retaliation, some more salutes to the martyrs, some more friends draped in the Tri colour consigned to flames, some more media coverage, only kari ninda,  hectic parleys behind closed door in Delhi,  party spokespersons on  TV channels with verbal diarrhoea, more frustration for the Commanding Officers who may have been sacked by now, just some more of the usual stuff as we are now used to it in India.

I am not sure if the PMs agenda is sab ka saath. I find there is hardly any saath with the armed forces. Sir, what wrong have they done if I they have chosen the profession of arms? People can be safe in their beds every night, read stories to their children even if they come back late. But all those who sleep in their beds because of us including you, do not treat us the way we should be treated and looked after. We obey orders, right or wrong we don’t question. We charge at the enemy with full consciousness that these could be the last few moments we are breathing without a second thought. We forget we too have families. We keep the nation first. Even if wounded, we ensure that our comrades’ reach to safety before it is too late. We carry our dead and wounded out of battle at the peril of our lives knowing that risking our lives for a fallen comrade may lead to death. That is the spirit we function with. Where is this spirit in the political and bureaucratic circuit? We feel betrayed when we don’t find your saath. Is it because we are not your vote banks?

Decision now is delayed from your side Mr PM, if you want vikas then two things we need to sort out straight away, one is Pakistan and the second is Kashmir. Vikas of this country is directly proportional to the strength you give to the armed forces. The way you develop and nurture your armed forces will pay you dividends. I am not making this up, you may see the world history and realise that the more powerful you are militarily the more people respect you across the world. Our senior generals have been crying hoarse to change gears. Too long the vehicle has been idling in neutral. First of all let us have a Defence Minister who understands D of defence. I would rather say have a person who may not know politics at all. If people without defence qualification can look after defence or finance then I have no doubts that a person with a defence background will definitely do a better job. Just get your finance minister on his toes to allocate what is needed for the forces.

We are just past the half way mark of this government’s tenure. I am sure there would be someone keeping a count of the body bags vs infiltration bids foiled vs cease fire violations done by Pak in this period. I am not counting the violence and this latest spate of separatism in the valley. Mr PM let me be frank, if there has to be an all out war or even a localised action with Pakistan, give the orders now. My apprehension is that you may delay this decision till as late as you’re campaigning to start for the next elections. I can assure you I will not vote for you if my prediction is true. You scored enough points in the UP elections on the surgical strikes; I feel it is unfair to gather public sentiment to win elections firing form our shoulders. Let me in the same breadth tell you, because you had unflinching faith in the armed forces to deliver during surgical strike you got the guts to give a decision to let us go. Remember, we are reliable and respectable people. We don’t do politics on the lives of our men. We do what we say and say what we mean. We don’t ask for votes, we don’t want cheap popularity, we just want decisions. We want your backing; we want your support to sort this menace called Pak. Kashmir being purely political, we leave it to you and your ilk.

The hurt caused by the wounds given by the enemy heal in due time, though some scars are left to remind us of the duel we fought. The scars caused due to indecisions from the head of “our own family” are far more hurting. India has paid a heavy price till date for indecision of various governments and needs to recover every inch of ground lost and every paisa that we have wasted in this proxy war. The cost of war has to be borne by us. We have already paid too much interest over the years; time now is ripe to settle the “principal” once for all. Few militants gave our MPs run for their money when they attacked parliament. They sent complete forces to the borders for one year just to count the sand dunes it seems. Kargil happened and we had to win what was ours back at such a heavy cost. We pardoned them in 1971 & 1965. Enough is enough. Let take back what is ours in 2017 as was decided in 1947. It is now or never. Armed forces are ready but are the dhoti and tie walas ready?

I am not a war monger but my heart aches form everyday news of my comrades falling in the line of duty. I as a veteran today have a feeling that if the indecision to act against the enemy keeps prolonging, frustration within the forces will reach its peak, tolerance levels of the forces will go down. Consequences will be that there could be fewer people joining the forces. There would be more martyrs than the living to be saluted. The rogue will keep showing us a thumb every day and we will keep taking it lying down. This may also lead to a collapse of a well oiled, obedient, disciplined, uncomplaining, professional, fearless team of dauntless men and women of the Armed Forces.

If the relationship of the forces and the government has to continue like this then there is a famous quote stating “We the willing, led by the unknowing, are doing the impossible for the ungrateful. We have done so much, with so little, for so long, we are now qualified to do anything, with nothing.” Will you prove me wrong Mr PM, I wonder!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

INDIA AS I SEE IT

It is high time for us to think of India, for India, by Indians otherwise we are heading towards disaster. All our make in India will be break in India. People in Hawai Chappals, will sit on Daryai Ghoras and never see the real Hawai jahaz. The political party in power has its agenda clear to win all elections, fine, I have no issues. But what I perceive as a common Indian citizen that the highest political machinery is busy in party promotion agenda like in Delhi and Mumbai municipal elections. The focus on India seems to be getting blurred in the bargain. This is where I am going to draw your attention today.

We are a vast nation is an idiotic statement to make. We have numerous problems is also foolish to say. We have diverse culture, languages, dialects, weathers; terrain is an understatement to make. We have porous boundaries with many nations and a few of them are hostile is an obvious fact. We have Terrorism, Insurgency, Naxalism, and Maoism besides “goondagardi” across the length and breadth of this country. Then we have so many castes and tribes scheduled or unscheduled is a different issue altogether. Unscheduled are those who after taking benefits and privileges’ in one generation misuse the reservation policy for their sons and daughters of subsequent generations, thanks to our reservations policy. Our major part of the country is affected by floods every year the rest with drought. Our agricultural sector is in a mess, our education system ranges from Madarsa’s, to ved-vidyalas, to convents, to Government schools, to International Schools.

Our elected representatives are history sheeters (so what charges have not been proved) and many are illiterate so to say. We employ lawyers for finance, engineers for defence, aviators for power, uneducated for HRD, what an irony. We suffer from fraud, bribe, donations, trickery, adulteration, as a national disease. Corruption flows in our blood and is part of our DNA. We bribe Gods, offerings are offered as “conditions apply”. We have interstate problems. We have gender related problems. Our population ratio is skewed. We are short of power. We have poverty and unemployment only as an election issue and part of every manifesto. We built infrastructure with no aim. We copy many policies which failed in other countries. We have a shortage of security force but no shortage of population. We lack a national security doctrine. We do not have a defence minister on paper. The one we had evaporated overnight. We are a land of sadhu’s and saints. We have everything but nothing with us. We can’t even win medals in sports, unless it is a Bak-Bak competition.

There is also one strata of population who go for shopping of their undergarments to Europe. They drink Jamaican Rum only in Jamaica. They get disturbed if they see a beggar touching their car. “Dirty ho jata hai”. We have NGOs and individuals donating millions in charity. We have religious institutions earning in millions & feeding millions. We are basically a concoction of only one of its kind of society. The beauty is that we still remain India. India still has not collapsed under its weight of problems. We fight with each other; we fight with our neighbours, within our states and within countries but desire peace and tranquillity. We appear unified, but are split into splinters of caste, creed, religion, region, gender. Democracy is not allowed to function, constitution is made a mockery of by states like J&K. Judiciary is overburdened that they now tell us what to eat, what to wear, what to see, what to talk. Soon we shall find bedroom rules too. Media has gone berserk covering, debating and discussing everything which shows our country in bad light without them realising how much disservice they are doing to this nation by washing dirty linen in public. Media has gone international; in fact, one shot on the mobile is as good as a whisper to spread a hearsay or rumour.

We have religious fanaticism, from protection of cows, to religious conversions, to fatwa’s for all and sundry. We want to be modern and progressive in outlook, but traditional and conservative in practice. We want to bring people to invest and make in India, but do not want to cut down the red tape. We want foreign collaborations but want to control the stakes and distribution of profits. We want to safeguard our policies, our systems and money at our terms and conditions. We have been just pussy footing while dealing with our enemies both internal and external recently. We oppose policies because we as a political entity are in opposition; we only know how to pick faults everywhere. We won’t suggest improvements. Politicians do not want to control the bureaucrats, fearing their strong lobby. We lack political accountability. Basically we are a nation of chalta hai kinds. We think of too many consequences. We delay in taking decisions. We are more interested in what the other chap is not doing. We are basically Hippocrates of kinds. We are not true to ourselves and our Gods, then how can we be true children of India.

We dream of an ideal nation, “sone ki chirya” (Golden Bird). We dream of housing for all. We dream of education for all. We dream of justice for all. We dream of security for all. We dream of food for all. We dream of transport for all. We dream of monetary stability for all. We dream of jobs for all. We dream of water and electricity for all. We dream of no war with anyone. We dream of health for all. We dream of welfare of all. We dream of everything which is required to live as an ideal society and a nation. But we want a third party or a miracle to do the dirty work to achieve the aims. Our national fabric is weak. We can’t stand for our national anthem; we don’t want to sing our national song; we don’t want one constitution, we don’t want uniform civil code for all, we are a big drastically divided family, where everyone is on his own, doing what one feels like at his own convenience, fighting with everyone if the comfort levels are broken, cursing all and sundry, and still surviving as a nation. My dear “Deshvasio”, till when can we continue polluting our hearts, minds & soul of this country, I wonder!!!!!!!!!!!!!

 

DEAD MEN NEVER SPEAK

I am deeply saddened and hurt by this barbarous killing of our CRPF jawans. I shall not dwell on what went wrong and who is responsible for it. Media has got enough knowledge and expertise at their hands to feed the country with minute to minute detail now. Like in movies if action doesn’t sell, then tragedy does, so they land up covering the funeral ceremonies and heart breaking interviews of parents, wives and saluting children. We demand it and they show it, but do we learn our lessons? Do we put things in order? Do we respond appropriately after any such incident? Do we put fear of God in those dastards? If we put in or sincere efforts we can drastically reduce the body count for sure. Do we want dead men or do we want men alive to eliminate such kinds of menace? Do we want chest beating wives and silent tears of parents? Or do we want only academic debates, “kari ninda”, promise of strong action, review of everything related to security. If pressurised, resign and go to the animal husbandry portfolio. Let us decide.

I was reluctant to write on this issue but I got shaken up when a Chief Minister and his cavalcade zipped passed the remains of the martyr. For me this man in a wooden box should have been the VIP. Had I been a CM, I would have definitely asked, why this hearse is moving at this odd time. I would have been canny enough to note that it is a forces vehicle. I would have understood straight away why this vehicle is laden with flowers and people in ceremonial dress are accompanying it. Even if had to hurry, I would have alighted, saluted the coffin and from the scores of bouquets in the dickey of my car; I definitely would have laid one, offered my condolences then and there. Being from the forces I would have passed orders to all districts that there could be no bigger VIP than this, clear all roads for him. I would have followed behind to see the martyr off as a mark of respect for a man draped in the tri colour proceeding for his next assignment. I would have ensured the DC reaches for the funeral with the benefits that a state gives to sons of the nation. Well this is the least I could have done.

What must this man inside the coffin thinking of? Lying there asking questions to all the politicians and his superior officers. Why have you sent me into this dark dungeon? Could you not tell me in advance that there were 300 Maoist waiting for a 100 of us? I had weapons, I would have sorted them out. Now that you have withdrawn my weapon also and put me to sleep in this box, how will the rest of guys manage without me? The only good thing in here is the smell of flowers, as I have been used to the smell of sweat, grime and blood through out.

Mr Home minister, where are you? You have ensured that I become an unfortunate casualty of your callous attitude and diluted efforts. You have not pushed the government and the PM enough to get me all that I need to conduct operations. Why did you not give me good leaders who would have mentored us and guided us? Yes, now as a dead man let me confess, I became callous as nothing had happened since quite some time. I took things for granted that our intelligence systems will warn us of an attack and that did not happen. I was slow to react as I was not mentally & physically prepared for such an assault. Yes, I did not follow SOPs. Yes I did not keep adequate look outs but why did I not do so? Did I become overconfident?  Mr Singh for me I cannot dare open my mouth against you, but now that I am in this box please feel my vibes what I am telling you is the bare truth. Sir things are not right, things are not the way they are projected to you, and things are bloody cockeyed & wonky. Take action now, or be ready to salute more of us.

To be shot while having a meal is the worst death. Weapon un-cocked, lying to the side, maybe put along a tree trunk, water bottle in hand, washing my face from the dirt and dust of the day’s work, Cursing my quarter master for not issuing me my size of boots, cursing the langar commander for the oily puri, cursing my senior who stopped my leave, cursing my CHM for detailing me for another patrol tomorrow, cursing my chacha who is grabbing my land, cursing the ‘patwari’ who is not doing the “patta’, cursing the tenant for not giving rent, worrying for my wife who is due in two months, concerned about my mother who is hard of hearing, remembering my sister who should be married this year, remembering my son who goes to an English school, cracking a joke or two with my comrades, peeking in my wallet for a glimpse of my son and wife, remembering my friends and their pranks’ in an mango grove like this. Instead of the chowkidar here came the Maoist with real guns. I ran for life, left my food, could not wear my shoes, could not reach my rifle and before I could give a man to man fight, I was shot in cold blood.

There is someone who now has to take responsibility of four things. One, sort out how you are going to deal with Maoists & terrorism. There should be a clear cut policy. Two, stop this loss of life. Blame it on poor intelligence, poor leadership, not following SOPs not being trained, poor weapons & equipment whatever. Do what needs to be done now. If force is deployed, be a force to be reckoned with. Three, show due respect to the fallen. They are part of us, they were sent in difficult situations, they did what they could to the best of their abilities and they died for us and our country. Let us at least fold our hands and offer a small prayer when we pass by his hearse. Let us not leave his family alone. Four, my dear media, do your job; focus on the top echelons; it is political will that is lacking. Suffering of families may sell, but you don’t realise, how it would be if your family is shown live in such time of tragedy, it hurts. If you want to hurt, hurt the minister who heads the department. Tell him to keep his ninda in his pocket and take out the action plan from his file.

My salutes to you brave hearts, my sympathies and condolences with the bereaved. Please accept my kari-ninda Mr HM and PM for your inaction. You guys appear to be very busy in elections for municipalities, whereas we sent you to worry about the nation. Sirs you have no right to play with our lives. The crux is that whether it is Kashmir or Maoists, the challenge is political in which the worst sufferers are the forces for your lack of will to take the bull by the horns. You will move on to a different agenda if you lose the next elections but the forces will continue doing what they are meant to do. They take an oath to lay down their lives for the nation, once dead they never speak. You guys take an oath of secrecy, only talk big but reveal no plans whatsoever to implement solutions. Will you for once listen to a dead man’s pleading voice? I wonder!!!!!!!!!!

THIS WAY TO KASHMIR

 

The Army officer who tied up a stone pelter in front of his jeep became the talk of the town. The only people who did not like it were the Kashmiri people and the peace nicks for Kashmir. 9 soldiers: 1000 plus mob is some ratio. Are the Kashmiri’s justified to stop forces from doing their polling duties? Was it fair to attack nine people, who under orders “not to fire” and could not have extricated themselves without help? Would the loss of nine lives solve the Kashmir issue? One thing was sure had they been left to fend for themselves and they would have come back in body bags? The worst kind of death is dying while not facing the enemy. To add to the tragedy is when being fully conscious of pain, of being hit repeatedly over the same wounds above all one knows that he is losing blood which will lead to sure death if not evacuated. Was it fair to send people for such duty with their hands tied behind their backs and guns on their shoulders as if carrying batons? These Kashmiri people were nothing but barbarians. If they did what they wanted to do then what our officer did was well within his rights to save his comrades. Choice was to save nine without loss of life or open fire to disperse the mob. Thank your stars my Kashmiri friends, you live today.

I scrolled the dictionary to find out what weapon could a stone be classified into. As per the oxford dictionary “a missile is an object which is forcibly propelled at a “target”, either by hand or from a mechanical weapon”. So rather than calling these people stone pelters they are missile pelters. I also know mob mentality is the most difficult thing to control. One idea, one spark, one thought converts a peaceful protest into a riot. One instigator is needed to trigger the process. One person can change the entire complexion of the mob. I see the Kashmiri’s have decided that the Indian forces have to be stoned. This implies that now the forces too need to change their tactics. If need be more force will have to be used and if the consequences are death of a few Kashmiri’s for their unruly conduct, so be it. One cannot take it lying down always and every time. Troops and their safety come first always and every time, especially while handling such unruly trouble creators.

Why should there be any death? Can any Kashmiri politician reply? Are they responsible in any manner to this nation and to their electorate in particular? They eat out of the Indian plate and chant slogans of Azadi. Is it justified and fair? Either don’t eat out of our “THALI” or don’t make a hole in it. They want subsidies, they want freebies, they don’t want fellow Indians to come their land, they don’t want infrastructure to connect them to India, don’t want Indian security forces, want autonomy of every kind, don’t want to come under the Indian flag, don’t want to part with the so called constitution of J&K, want to keep article 370, will continue to harbour, feed, support, hide, shelter, guide, protect, give refuge, and shield people who in their myopic view will get the so called freedom from a country so big that its many states are bigger than the country where militants come from. They also expect to defeat the Indian armed forces which are many times the size of the armed forces of Pakistan. If they think that a nuclear threat looms large and will be initiated if war is proclaimed due to Kashmir. My foot!

What do Kashmiri people actually want? Is it Azadi? OK Granted. Leave India and go take asylum where ever you want to. Want to join our Kashmir to Pakistan? Forget it. At least whatever is remaining with us will remain with us. Whatever has been grabbed from us will be taken back shortly. Whatever has been handed over to China by Pak will definitely be negotiated as and when the atmosphere and the time is right. But if you guys think that Kashmir can be annexed and made into a dreamland of yours with the support of any one, my second foot.

Do Kashmiri people want to avoid unnecessary loss of life? I am sure the answer is yes. If so then cooperate with the Indian forces and government Allow them to do their job which they are meant to do best. Let there be a democratic process. Stop the anti-India policy, stop running parallel governments, If you want to prosper with increase in tourism let infrastructure be built, let the abundance of fruits and flowers be an economic enhancer for your land, allow access to companies supporting agriculture, horticulture, pisciculture, white revolution, canning, jam and pickle making, cold storage facility providers, wood industry experts, animal husbandry and forest researchers from rest of India. If you want jobs, educate your population. Come progress with India. Hope you understand the logic.

The present Kashmiri political leaders and leaders of Hurriyat now stand exposed. Their antics now lay bare the way they are fooling everyone in India and themselves. They can now no longer sustain their pseudo stand. They cannot face you people thus stay in the confines of their homes. They do not believe in your cause so do not allow their children to be part of any protests. The only things they understand is that keep these cauldrons boiling and enjoy all the fruits that are pumped in to keep the fire lit under this cauldron of hatred. They are the ladle, which keeps stirring the bitterness within. They are the people who can keep telling the world what should be done but can’t do a fig themselves. They are cheating and leading you to hell. The sooner you guys emancipate yourselves the better. I am fed up of paying taxes which is either pocketed by these politicians or flow down the Indus and Jhelum wasted in giving away subsidies. You have been spoilt because we are giving you fish rather than training you to catch your own. Had the Indian government been strong enough to set the tone and tenor right for your state, it would have remained “jannat”.

How many generations will fight this war with us Indians as you call us? You haven’t got many generations left if you don’t understand peace. Allow all communities to live and let live. Pundits yearn to go back home. Let good sense prevail, give peace a chance and give India a chance to help you develop. Ladakh and Jammu are getting step motherly treatment courtesy you. Indian armed forces are adding to the body count for no reason. This is getting beyond tolerable limits. Time now is ripe to choose either this side or leave us alone and migrate to the land of your friends’ philosophers and guides. You will be welcomed very warm heartedly, given a royal treatment, fed, clothed and settled like their very first class citizens. If not then they may tie up a bomb laden waistcoat around you to meet the promised virgins in the name of the most holy. Is it understood? I wonder!!!!!!!!!!

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