26 May 2019

2019 National Election and Modi-Shah's BJP

In 2014, BJP won 282 seats and reduced Congress to 44 seats. It was only the second time that a party other than Congress had won a majority. And it was the first time in 30 years that any party had won a majority. How did this happen? Economists gave 4 reasons:
1. 12% inflation
2. Low job-creation
3. Massive corruption scams
4. Modi's 12-year track record as Gujarat CM – and promising the same for India.

This looked like a logical explanation. Then the 2019 election should have been a return to the 'normal' state of elections in the coalition era (1989 onwards). That is – BJP should have got around 200 seats and Congress should have got around 100 seats. Instead, BJP got 303 seats and Congress got 52 seats. What does this mean?

It means the above explanation for the 2014 election was wrong. BJP's majority (and Congress's decimation) was not just due to the above 4 factors – which were temporary in nature. Instead it was also due to something far more fundamental and long-term in nature. And this was the transformation of BJP from a semi-national party into a real national party (what Congress was till 1989) – under the leadership of the Modi-Shah duo. The process started in 2014 (with Shah focussing on Uttar Pradesh) and continued in 2014-19 (with Shah focussing on the whole country). That is – during 2014-19, Amit Shah extended his 2014 Uttar Pradesh model to the whole country.

There is another story here, of course. In 1998-99, BJP first formed the government under Atal Bihari Vajpayee. In 1991, P V Narasimha Rao had started India's journey towards a free-market capitalist (FMC) economy. During 1999-2004, Vajpayee continued this journey by carrying out FMC reforms. Now FMC reforms lift poor people out of poverty – but the process takes longer than 5 years. And poor/illiterate people are the majority in India. As a result, BJP/NDA lost the 2004 election (much to the shock of economists).

Cut to 2014. Narendra Modi had run Gujarat for 12 years as an FMC reformer. So economists expected him to continue the same as Prime Minister. But Modi had learnt from 2004 that India is not Gujarat and so a purely FMC approach would not win the 2019 election. So he pursued a two-track approach. On the one hand, he carried out economic reforms – Goods & Services Tax (GST), Insolvency & Bankruptcy Code (IBC), Ease of Doing Business (EoDB), etc. These reforms strengthened the Indian economy – and will lift poor people out of poverty (after some time). On the other hand, he also carried out pro-poor welfare schemes – giving houses, toilets, gas-cylinders, etc to the poor. These schemes made poor people happy – by immediately improving their quality of life.

A nationalist party must make the country strong. But it must also win elections. It can make the country strong only if it is in power – not if it is sitting in the opposition. So Modi's two-track approach aimed to achieve both these objectives.

But this governance approach alone would not win the election – even with its pro-poor welfare schemes. Because having a good product is not enough; you also need a good distribution network – to take your product to your customers. Good business = good product + good distribution. Similarly, good politics = good governance + good organisation*. So a complimentary organisational approach was also needed. And Amit Shah did this by aggressively expanding BJP's organisation machinery. He took BJP into the East. He made BJP reach out to poor people – who had benefited from Modi's welfare schemes. He made BJP reach out to lower castes, Dalits and Adivasis. Thus he expanded BJP both vertically (socially + economically) and horizontally (geographically):
BJP's Base
Before Modi-Shah
Under Modi-Shah
1. Geographic
North + West
North + West + East
2. Economic
Middle Class
Middle Class + Poor
3. Social
Upper Castes + Lower Castes
Upper Castes + Lower Castes + Dalits + Adivasis

Therefore the 2014 election gave us a glimpse of BJP's long-term strategy under the Modi-Shah duo. And the 2019 election has shown us its culmination.

*The complete equations are:
1. Good business = good product + good distribution + good marketing
2. Good politics = good governance + good organisation + good campaigning

17 May 2019

Life, Change And The Self


Everybody always talks about how the world is always changing. True. But the equation of your life has two major variables: the world and YOU. And people don't talk much about how you also keep changing. Change in this variable is simply assumed to be a continuous increase in knowledge level - which is due to accumulation of knowledge, which in turn is due to experience. As if man is a vessel that just keeps getting filled. But it's not only that. The 'vessel' itself keeps changing. That is - not just what we know but also what we think, what we want, what we like, etc (basically who we are) keep changing continuously.

So dealing with a 'fast-changing world' is the easy part. It is dealing with a continuously changing YOU that is much more challenging - and therefore much more exciting . . .

07 May 2019

Surf Excel's Holi Ad

Surf Excel made an ad for Holi, and media praised it for 'promoting Hindu-Muslim harmony'. Some people questioned the ad - and media called them 'trolls'.

The ad shows an apartment colony on Holi. The children of the colony are bombarding people with colours. Then a girl comes and tells them to throw colours at her. She keeps doing this till all their colours are finished. Then she calls somebody out. He is a boy wearing a skullcap and white kurta-pyjama. She goes with him to a mosque and he goes inside to pray.

On the face of it, it seems to be a nice ad that promotes positive feelings/relations among people of different religions. Now let us look at it a little more closely:
1. If it weren't for the girl, the children would have ruined not just the Muslim boy's white clothes but (more importantly) his trip to the mosque and his prayer. The apartment colony is India and the children are Hindus. So:
a) Minorities (Muslims/Christians) have different circumstances and therefore special needs.
b) Hindus are ignorant of this and hence trample on Muslims/Christians' special circumstances/needs.
2. Children suffer from ignorance - so Hindu children ill-treat Muslims/Christians due to ignorance. But adults don't suffer from ignorance - so Hindu adults ill-treat Muslims/Christians not due to ignorance but due to bias/prejudice.
3. The girl is a liberal who protects the Muslim boy and opens the eyes of the Hindu children. Similarly, liberals protect Muslims/Christians from Hindus and educate Hindus about their bias/prejudice.

01 May 2019

Thought/Thinking: Left Vs Right

Indian Leftism is nothing but hatred - ie, hatred of Hinduism and Hindus. But they call this hatred as 'thought'/'thinking' and themselves as 'thinkers'. Unfortunately the Indian Right has swallowed this falsehood - and therefore sees thought/thinking as an enemy. But the real enemy is hatred. Thought/thinking has been the foundation of India and Hinduism for 5000 years. It is also the most powerful weapon in the war against hatred.