PERUMAL MURUGAN IS A COWARD

Perumal Murugan, the writer is dead. As he is no God, he is not going to resurrect himself. He also has no faith in rebirth. An ordinary teacher, he will live as P. Murugan. Leave him alone,

since January 13th 2015 this Facebook post has generated considerable debate in the Indian media , The controversy over his novel Madhorubhagan, first published in December 2010 ,and his subsequent decision to quit writing is often portrayed as the brutal attack on freedom of speech guaranteed by our constitution by right wing groups . In the intellectual circles he is often equated with the victims of Charlie Hebdo massacre that took place in Paris on January 7th 2015 . .Comparing him with those brave souls who stood by their views till the end is nothing short of a crime , The magazine have stood by the cartoon of prophet Mohammed it published in 2006 and 2012 in face of all opposition including the attacks of 2011 . Though most of its editorial board were killed in the 2015 attack , it still fights the intolerant society that finds it hard to interpret its message . Perumal Murugan on the other hand quit writing at the slightest of provocations . According to him “a writer cannot function under threat or fear ”  and that was the reason of him writing his own obituary as a writer . This is nothing short of cowardice , as we are entitled to freedom of speech , so is our moral responsibility stand by it .He should have shown the courage to fight the communal forces conspiring against him and must have taken up the issue at the national stage . The biggest mistake he did was to attend the “peace meeting ” on the 12th of January with his caste and religious groups , rather than boycotting it .His unconditional apology thereafter was the greatest shame to the Indian constitution than what he is blaming others for . Post Independence , the constituent assembly was a battle field , the Hindu right opposed the Hindu Code Bill with all its strength both inside and outside the house , but our founding fathers never gave in , which in turn brought the religion out of its coffin.

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Humanity has a general tendency to oppose dissenting voices as soon as they here them , it will take time for them to debate and finally to understand . A true writer is one who not only creates works like  Madhorubhagam but also stands by it .We would find it hard to understand the practices prevalent in the past like the one at  Sri Arthanareeshwarar Temple , Tiruchengode , but it is for people like Perumal Murugan to present it to us . For example , the new generation among  Nair caste of Kerala are often ignorant about the practice of sambadham which was prevalent till a few decades back. If told about the polyandrous nature of their women in the past ,the first reaction would be the similar to what Mr Murugan received .But it will never alter the reality . A writer must be the brave conscience of the society , that is why Mr Perumal Murugan’s following affidavit at the Madras high court shows his cowardice.

I published my own obituary in my Facebook account. Whether others believe in the death of Perumal Murugan as a writer or not, I believe in it. A writer cannot function under threat or fear,

LAND ACQUISITION ACT

Today (17/3/2015) as i write this article (5:50 PM)  , the joint opposition led by Mrs Sonia Gandhi is making its way to the parliament house from Raisina hill  . This rare show of opposition unity is a part of the ongoing campaign against the amendments to The Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013 ,made by the NDA government through an ordinance in December 2014. To understand the issue  , let us analyze the various land acquisition bills so far.

1.Land Acquisition Act, 1894

The Land Acquisition Act of 1894 came into effect on March 1st 1894 . After independence the law was extended to the rest of India excluding the state of Jammu And Kashmir .The highlights of the bill are:

  • The act is divided into 8 parts , each relating to various procedures involved .
  • Part 2 deals with acquisition which include  preliminary notification in the official gazette by the district Collector , Hearing of objection , Declaration of land for public purposes (after objections are taken into account) , marking out and measuring of land and the final allocation of land .
  • In cases of urgency the collector can acquire the land without any of the following procedures after just 15 days of notification . In case of unforeseen emergency the period can be as short as 48 hours. The quantum of compensation in these cases would be determined by the collector himself.
  • Part 3 explains the reference to the court if compensation was found in adequate .
  • The quantum of compensation depends on – market value and the damage sustained by the owner. But these are to be neglected in urgency .
  • part 5 deals with the payment of compensation.
  • part 7 deals with acquisition of land for companies , which must be public sector enterprises or co operative bodies where the government holding is over 51% of share.

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2 .The Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013

This act which came into effect on January 1 , 2014 , was aimed at giving a humane , participative , informed and transparent face to the procedure of land acquisition. The highlights are:

    • It applies to public sector undertakings , infrastructure projects ,public private partnerships and private companies under taking public projects  .
    • For private companies consent of 80% of the affected families is required for acquisition while public private partnerships requires consent of at least 70% of the families.
    • The act is divided into 13 chapters,
    • chapter 2 explains the determination of social impact and public purpose . A social impact assessment study is to be undertaken in consultation with the local government ( panchayats and municipalities ) , which must be made available to the public . The authority responsible for the social impact assessment study must also prepare a social impact management plan to address the impact of the project.
    • The social impact assessment report will be evaluated by an independent multidisciplinary expert group , whose recommendations will be made available to the public.
    • chapter 3 restricts the acquisition of irrigated multi cropped land to safeguard food security.
    • chapter 4 speaks about the notification and acquisition along with the preparation of rehabilitation and resettlement scheme . It also explains the determination of the quantum of compensation along with the guidelines to adjust it to the market value.
    • chapter 5 deals with the rehabilitation and resettlement awards for the affected families , including mandatory employment to the members of such families.special provisions are provided for the SCs and STs .
    • In cases of urgency the collector can acquire the land without any of the following procedures after just 30days of notification . In case of unforeseen emergency the period can be as short as 48 hours.
    • chapter 6 explains the manner and procedure of rehabilitation and resettlement under a commissioner for the purpose.
    • chapter 7 says about the constitution of Monitoring Committees For Rehabilitation and Resettlement at the state and national level.
    • chapter 8 deals with the setting up Land Acquisition , Rehabilitation and Resettlement Authority.
    • chapter 10 explains the payment procedure.
    • If the land acquired remains unutilised for 5 years it would be returned back to the family or to the land bank of appropriate government.
    • The provisions of this Bill shall not apply to acquisitions under 13 existing legislations including the Special Economic Zones Act, 2005, the Atomic Energy Act, 1962, the Railways Act, 1989, etc.

3 The Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition,Rehabilitation and Resettlement(Amendment) Ordinance, 2014.

  • The provisions of the Bill was extended to apply to acquisitions under 13 existing legislations including the Special Economic Zones Act, 2005, the Atomic Energy Act, 1962, the Railways Act, 1989, etc.
  • Exemption from social impact assessment , consent and food security provisions for the process of land acquisition for strategic and development activities such as national security or defence of India including preparation for defence and defence production; rural infrastructure including electrification; affordable housing and housing for poor; industrial corridors; infrastructure
    and social infrastructure projects including projects under public private partnership where the ownership of the land continues to vest with the Government .
  • In order to ensure better health and educational facilities in the country, it is proposed to include private hospitals and private educational institutions in the definition of ‘public purpose’.

The amendment is being criticized for taking away the social impact assessment , consent and food security provisions . But the government stands by its decision as it believes these provisions would make the acquisition process faster , without loosing its pro poor appeal. The 2013 act is one of the finest pieces of legislation ever made in the field of land acquisition anywhere in the world , hence it is up to the current government to keep the true essence of that legislation in whatever decision it takes

INDIA’S OCEAN

Prime minister Narendra Modi’s visit to the two Indian ocean island nations of Seychelles and Mauritius may not have got the media buzzing . But strategically speaking , they are by far the most important ones he have undertaken . As our aspirations are expected to grow over the years , a better relation with our Indian ocean neighbors could prove a game changer in the long run . We are the only country in the world to have an ocean named after us , though the nomenclature may be accidental , geography has it that there is not a single landmass of notable size south of kanyakumari , making us the prime care taker and possibly the potential benefactor of its resources . With the rising east , the trade through this route is only set to increase , making us not just a global power but a significant player in the future multipolar world.

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The primary objective  of any nation is self preservation , with hostile neighbors to the north and west , India cannot have its coastline left undefended . unlike the pacific or the atlantic oceans , the level of militarization of the Indian ocean is still low , Though this could facilitate uninterrupted  free trade but in the longer run it could have fatal as seen with the rising piracy over the horn of Africa .T The united states and Britain do have a military base at Diego garcia in the Indian ocean , but the assertion of power over the entire region was limited, china was the first to initiate a long term military cum trade agenda for the region through the “string of pearls ” initiative . India had never shied away from showing its unease at the opening of a potential hostile front in the south , with the conflict over the control  of the south china sea now heating up ,  India  is compelled to assert itself in the region through its own security initiative. The SAGAR (Security and Growth for All in the Region) initiative , aimed at greater engagement with the Indian ocean region was initiated by The Prime Minister , under which the Indian government have signed MoUs for the development of assumption island( Seychelles) and agalela island  (Mauritius)  as trade and defense outposts . The Prime Minister’s visit also coincided with Seychelles and India launching a Coastal Surveillance Radar Project and commissioning of Barracuda into the service of the Coast Guard of Mauritius ,  our first steps to ensure maritime security in the region.

Indian ocean could indeed be India’s ocean if we could use its abundant resources to fulfill our growing demands , The blue economy project aimed at harnessing these resources was extended to these countries , so that our interests are met without harming the nations over the ocean’s rim nor the ocean’s ecology. our passive demeanor over the race for arctic resources has already put us in the back foot . A similar situation in the Indian ocean will be unacceptable , hence pioneering the blue economy initiative to explore the bounties of the ocean is the right step towards India’s resource self sufficiency.

The prime minister’s previous foreign visits were more hyped than the one discussed above , yet his subtle initiatives this time are going to reap huge dividends in the future for India as a nation.

MANJHI’S BIHAR

It was ironical , watching all the major news channels cater to the suave , urban , Delhi based audience with paparazzi style commentary on an election to a half state half union territory at the expense of a political revolution taking place at the same time in a state with population larger than Germany . The Bihar fiasco deserved better coverage  for its symbolism , that is , The self assertion of the oppressed maha dalits in a state with one of the worst inter caste relationships . The political ramification of this incident holds more importance nationally  than the aam admi party vs BJP hoopla . Though JD(U) civil war was reported , a detailed analysis of the subject was missing beyond Nitish Kumar and Jitan Ram Manjhi.

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Caste is still as relevant to the Hindu society as it was at the time of independence , Though talked about in hush tones these days , it is still observed with great vigor  . Bihar and Uttar Pradesh are most often cited  as the most polarized on caste lines  , ironically other states are no better . Manjhi represents that section of the state which lies below the intermediate castes who had restricted the benefits of affirmative action from reaching those below them and now holds power once held by the upper castes . In the 1990s they started filling up the vacuum created by the flight of the upper castes to large cities by acquiring property left behind , turning them into mini zamindars. on the other hand the dalits , for whom the mechanism of affirmative action have been in place never really benefited . As Jatin Ram Manjhi said he could have remained silent like other Maha dalit leaders in the fear of being sidelined by the yadavs and paswans , as was the case in Bihar ,  But through the coup he pulled over Nitish Kumar , he has broken the stereotype .His assertion against the OBC strongmen , who have become the dominant force throughout the country , could be seen as the culmination of the 65 years of frustration against the system which have become redundant . This could be the beginning of a revolution similar to the awakening of the middle castes which started in Tamil Nadu in 50s , but ironically this time it will be against them. Though the first steps towards this confrontation began a few years back in Tamil Nadu itself , it precipitated itself in Bihar.

This brings us back to the primary question of finding a  more practical solution to the caste problem , Laws could  work only till a point , beyond that it is up to the society . But Indian society from time immemorial have been passive , unless struck by a shock , either from inside  or outside. So we have a society where the numerically strong OBCs hold disproportionate amount of power thanks tto the constitutional safeguards without sharing it with people above or below them in the caste hierarchy . Upper castes rarely show their dissent , may be feeling themselves secured in their apartment blocks or may be due to caste guilt ( Indian counterpart of white guilt ) . It is the Scs who suffer , pushed against the wall , they are slowly turning against the system , In kerala this is manifested by the rise  in RSS membership among the Dalits as the OBCs here are the Muslims and are seen as the oppressors .To avert another caste crisis , at present we don’t have a Buddha or Gandhi amongst us, As long as we aspire to move forward , caste will always be the stumbling block .To this my question is –  Why not abolish the caste system and re engineer our society on a more egalitarian terms ? , This may sound naive but i am speaking with a clear precedent in mind . Till 1951 no one dared to touch the sacred Hindu laws , but  Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru and Dr.B R Ambedkar turned the religion around with a set of sane laws in the form of Civil code we follow today . why can’t we start a revolution towards a similar end ? . If it ever happen this could be the first of its kind , where a society transforms itself by a mass effort with out a cult figure , yes , I know  it is far fetched edging on lunatic , but having no choice , it is high time that we reinvent ourselves.

READ MORE

MORE TOILETS https://valluvanadtimes.wordpress.com/2013/10/14/toilets-or-temples/

IF YOU HATE CRICKET https://valluvanadtimes.wordpress.com/2013/11/17/the-other-half/

THE MEN BEHIND THE IDOLS

Indians have no dearth of gods .we have 330 million of them accumulated over 5000 years  and a few hundreds who got inducted recently . But the interesting fact is that once they cross the threshold of divinity , these erstwhile human beings  loss  all their human attributes and become objects of unconditional worship .If  anyone dared to dissect their life on a humanly scale he is subjected to inquisition ,labelled heretic and ex communicated . This remains the standard  procedure to silence those out of pitch voices who tries to examine the authenticity of fables woven around ancient figures or those surrounding  post modern gods like Gandhi and Nehru.

For those of you who may not be familiar with the evolution of Krishna cult centered around lord Krishna , it would be interesting to find that the Krishna we worship today is derived from three stories .one centered around an ancient king named Krishna from 1000 BCE , a folk hero named vasudeva from 200 BCE   and a vedic god named vishnu . If we look at Lord Krishna as a man , the most striking feature would be his mastery of realpolitik which was  instrumental in turning a family feud into  a war of epic proportions . This shrewdness and manipulation tactics of his, made him the favorite of bards who retold the legendary puru war a million times , With the absorption of the vasudeva cult centered around Mathura he became a folk hero and ultimately the god with him being identified as vedic vishnu . once this man attained godliness his imperfections were brushed aside or polished to be made compatible with the new stature . Hence his is thirst for power was renamed karma and his follies became dharma .  Even with all these reinventions over the years he shows human vulnerabilities through out the epic  the dilemmas he faced at the face of total annihilation in front of a magadhan army led by jarasandha , his brilliant military tactics throughout the Mahabharata war which in all cases sacrificed ethics for victory and most importantly as a political mastermind who won the war without even fighting.

This phenomenon of bestowing divinity to men still continues , post independence it was  Mahatma Gandhi’s turn . Gandhi is portrayed today on a scale which is nothing short of what  lord krishna enjoys , A human being with all the godly features who always took the right decisions , even it meant calling off mass agitations just when they were to bear fruits . But if we remove the veil we could find a whole new person to whom we can all relate to .we could easily relate to a man who was a staunch supporter of the empire (the system) , slowly discovering himself to become its greatest nemesis ,  But we rarely get to see that part of him in popular narrations. But why bestow godliness to every one ? Divinity was a weapon employed during medieval times when rationality was a taboo and banned , but today the times have changed we respect imperfections . The current hue and cry over Pandit Nehru could be seen as the final step of him attaining divinity . . The Nehruvian historians and the congress party must accept Pandit Nehru for who he was and not as what they think of him , His not so appreciable record in the economic front and the biased  foreign policy cannot be whitewashed . Even with these  he will be remembered as the man who built India brick by brick .

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ALEXANDER AND THE ANCHOR

History as a branch of academic research is the most spiritually liberating among the social sciences . It gives us a sense of belonging as we find ourselves interlinked not only to others around us but also to millions or even billions of men and women who came before us . The many versions of Indian History that have developed over the years still makes it a contentious subject , which is to be treated with care . There are the historians who adhere to the far left , others who are slightly left of the center and there is the right, sadly there have never been an attempt to develop a neutral , all encompassing path called the middle as far as Indian History is concerned . The problem with not having a neutral view point is the inability of the various competing stands to accommodate opposing views , making them stick to their initial versions , even though new findings might have proved the contrary  .Lets take an example ,  From the primary school level we were taught the tale of the great battle that took place in the northwest frontier province , between an Indian prince – porous and the great Greek conqueror Alexander , Usually  taught as a story of true morality , valor and friendship it got etched into our psyche . It will be many years before we understand the fact that the narration was purely European with no significant inputs , even porus the name of the Indian prince is the Greek version of Purushottama . The other startling fact is the significance of the above mentioned battle itself , not a single Indian source validates the war , almost all of them don’t even mention Alexander ( though Yavanas are mentioned a few times )  . Ironically , the war which Indian’s never remember happen have over the years become the anchor point in deciphering Indian history. The year 326 B C is considered as the only authentic point in the long history of nearly 2 billion people from where the history could be interpreted both forward and backward corresponding to the western history  , the Indian sources are brushed aside as fanciful exaggerations of some lunatic monks while equally mad rumblings of homer are celebrated  . Though this was another of the many propaganda wars employed by the British to authenticate their paternalistic rule , it still remains 70 years since independence .it is high time that we rewrite our history based on modern scientific approaches , so that it will become our history , not their interpretation of our follies.

iOur history starts with modern human beings settling  here nearly 35,000 years back . Evidences denote to them coming from the west , may be from central Asia or the Mediterranean . They first settled down in Baluchistan , and over the span of thousands of years they moved east and south , building stone age civilizations . The forested plains of  the Indus and its parallel river named t”saraswati” became the the first center of civilization in the subcontinent  . Saraswati during its youth was a mammoth river that flowed parallel to Indus from Himalayas to the Rann off kutch through what is now the Thar desert . It was fed by both yamuna and satluj making it the main trading route over the western plains ,This is what is now called the Indus – Saraswati civilisation , which is known for its first of its kind urban centers . Though most of the urban centers were on the bed of the dried sarasawati river , it took historians 100 years to accept its existence , this would not have been the case if the Indian records were ever considered as sources from Vedas to the great epic Mahabharata describes the river in all its glory . Before the satellite images showed the river tract in detail , western Historians and many in the far left dismissed the river as an imagination similar to the famed soma of the Vedas . They even tried to find rivers in central Asia and Afghanistan which were supposed to be the Aryan homeland . But with advancement in science and technology saraswati was reborn . The Aryan invasion theory is the next stumbling block , though genetic studies have shown a closer relation between the people of North and South India than with North Indians and people of central Asia , more research needs to be done in this field , that too without biases

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With the drying up of saraswati , the inhabitants of the cities and villages around it might have slowly abandoned them with a large part of them migrating to the ganga valley , the sudden surge in population  in peninsular India and the gangatic plains  right after the collapse of Indus cities corroborates this point. People re established their lost civilization in their new homelands and India  was reborn  , now with a wider geographical distribution  and the ganga valley became its epicenter . This brings us back to the question of 326 BC. The name “sandrakkottos ” is the villain here , which is translated by historians as chandragupta . As we know there are two chandraguptas who are prominent figures in the Indian history , one being a maurya and the other the Guptan king , both being the sovereigns when yavanas and mlecchas were on the ascend . Though sandrakkottos is now widely accepted as chandragupta maurya , many Indian records still leave it ambiguous .this is a span of nearly 500 years ,if we analyze the period after  the conquest and if sandrakkottos is taken as maurya , the history since then looks cramped with many dynasties overlapping each other , but if it was the gupta king it would loosen to a great extend . if true  these assumptions could move the Indian history back by a few hundred years .  The post mauryan history of India is so cramped with dynasties that the Hindu revival seems to have started just before the arrival of Muslim invaders . It is a known fact that a society in flux is the prime ground for new ideologies to thrive , Islam was never embraced on a wider scale and strangely the neo Hindus kept on fighting for over a millennia , which when compared to similar societies like Iran is extraordinary.   the description of the period between 5th and 9th century AD is illogical on many counts . one of the examples being the narration of the chola conquer of the gangetic plains , which appears true but cannot be accomodated in the current scenario. Pushing aside the Indian version of Indian history over time have proved fatal , Now it is time for us to recreate our history with no biases or political leanings away from Alexander’s anchor.

“THE HINDU” TOUCHES PATHETIC LOWS

With the people unanimously going against their daily dose of left wing ideological classes , THE HINDU touched new lows yesterday when it published a graphic representation of how CPI(M) could have fared better if our founding fathers had opted for proportional representation. If my history lessons are correct it was on the insistence of the left leaning intelligentsia at the time of independence that the system we have today was adopted and it was under the guidance of Pandit Nehru it blossomed.  what made Mr Ram and his colleagues to question our system all of a sudden? was it the emphatic win of  the BJP? or the decimation of the left ?? As a regular subscriber of the daily the second one seems to be the reason . The need for an electoral reform was first mooted on the may 16th by Mr D Raja of the CPI on NDTV which , the moderated Prannoy Roy brushed aside casually .Ironically it was discussed at great lengths the next few days in the “National newspaper”. The reports were overflowing with “expert opinions” made by the guardian angels of our democracy –  the “intelligentsia”  for the “much needed ” change as they were finding it hard to come to terms with the fact that the CPI was no longer a national party and was on the verge of losing their coveted party symbol .  “THE HINDU” , which left no stones unturned in berating the right , often equating Modi to Hitler , was seen going into a tizzy after may 16th , Not a single article was published appreciating the victorious team while the editorials were dedicated to the “QUEENS WITHOUT THRONES”  – J Jayalalitha and Mamta banerjee , The next day they went a step further by advising Mr  Modi on “how to rule” and published the much controversial article by Mr Gopal Krishna Gandhi.Prejudices it seem run too long in this family held newspaper , It took them 6 days to come to terms with what happened and they indirectly appreciated BJP’s achievements on the OP-ED page on 22/5/14 (today).

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My dad says that “THE HINDU” was actually the “national newspaper” in his college days, I too remember good impartial articles in the past , but the last two years was when it became the mouthpiece of the left . We know left is a dwindling species in India and their voices need to be preserved for a functioning democracy , but being a mouthpiece for them and calling yourself a “national newspaper” is sarcastic. There is a huge space for a national newspaper that gives unbiased and relevant news , which is what is expected from “THE HINDU” . There is going to be an upsurge of the right after the elections , we readers expect Hindu  to be neutral in such a situation . Hence the news paper must  shed its leftist approach and bring us stories which reinforce your  tag of  being “THE NATIONAL NEWSPAPER”.

foot note;

CPI(M) lost because of its inability to adapt with changing times and be fossilized in the 60s , how else can you describe a party chief who is a malayali speaking in English at Ottapalam (his home district) using a translator , Mr Karat , its time you admit the fact that you are just an intellectual and not a mass leader. coming to malayalees speaking English even Shashi Tharoor speaks fluent malayalam these days ( may be that is why he won).

SECTION 377 , THE KHOBRAGADES AND BJP

the two big parties in our country differ little in most aspects except the fact that the Bharatiya Janata Party’s emphasize more on Hindu conservatism. over time i have come to this conclusion that the party is thoroughly confused about what these traditional values are , the most recent being its reactions to the section 377 of the IPC and the khobragade affair.The party  which is trying hard  to parade itself as the “republican party” of India is virtually xeroxing the manifesto of the grand old party of the United States. First was the cultural chauvinism , then the love for free market and now it is homophobia , It is high time that the party re invent itself on Indian lines than blindly copying the western model of conservatism . The conservatism outside India is backed by monotheistic religions and cultures .They attend the Sunday mass , eat turkey on thanks giving for killing native Americans and shoot each other without provocation. India from the ancient times was plural in every sense of the word , whether it be faith , culture or sexuality . The third gender and homosexuality were a well accepted aspect of Indian life since antiquity , especially when we were at the zenith of cultural and scientific achievements. The homophobic stand taken by the party is utterly against the teachings of this ancient civilization , where epics praise Arjuna  for his one year stint as a transgender in Mahabharata and  In Kerala it is believed that Lord  Ayyapa was born from the union of Lord shiva and Lord vishnu  . It is ignorance that made Mr  Rajnath Singh call the whole issue a western import , but sadly it is the BJP’S  version of conservatism which reinforces Victorian values which are alien to thecountry.

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BJP’S stand on Devyani Khobragade issue is another ill placed decision . The Khobrgades as a family is still a mystery  , though  they own properties worth crores of rupees they were caught for under paying their maid and are now shouting their innocence from television studios , yes the way Dr Devyani was treated goes against the diplomatic immunities enjoyed by her , but siding yourself with a family which have corruption labelled all over itself will not go down well with ardent fans of Mr Modi . For millions Mr Modi is the messiah of change  ,but making statements in chorus with congress in support of the family  on this issue is a huge let down .