The best way to know the self is feeling oneself at the moments of reckoning. The feeling of being alone, just with your senses, may lead you to think more consciously. More and more of such moments may sensitize ‘you towards you’, towards others. We become regular with introspection and retrospection. We get ‘the’ gradual connect to the higher self we may name Spirituality or God or just a Humane Conscious. We tend to get a rhythm again in life. We need to learn the art of being lonely in crowd while being part of the crowd. A multitude of loneliness in mosaic of relations! One needs to feel it severally, with conscience, before making it a way of life. One needs to live several such lonely moments. One needs to live severallyalone.

Saturday 31 January 2015


It’s Spring already
But I don’t see colours
The landscape is white
The joy is shadowed
And bereft of love
It’s still biting winter

The springtime is here
But bereft of love
Its yellow is blanching   
And in its still shadow
Time has remained  
Frozen by a rigid frost

Where is the warmth?
Where did the love go?
Who stole colours?  
Who betrayed my Spring?
Teasing me, from depths
The cheerful winter asks

Questions linger
Answers cry to deceive
Memories refuse to leave
Again in a Spring
Robbed of its beauty
Bereft of its love

In the season's dew
Missing its yellow Hue
My Spring is still cold
And bereft of love
In the wintry dew
The air is now restless 

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey - 

Friday 30 January 2015


As expected, the day was open. As expected, there were inside stories. As expected, Sujatha Singh’s resignation letter found its way to the media. And as expected, there was the war of words between Congress and BJP.

The turf for the controversy that was laid Wednesday night when the Narendra Modi government removed Sujatha Singh with a terse order that ‘that curtailed her tenure with immediate effect’ gained further ground on Thursday and got the concluding part on Friday with Sujatha Singh opening up and clearly speaking out her grievances.

In effect, it is going to change nothing.

The decision has been taken and implemented and the new Foreign Secretary, S. Jaishankar, has taken charge. The facts - that Mr. Jaishankar was the first choice of even the former prime minister Manmohan Singh when Sujatha Singh, a year senior to Mr. Jaishankar, was made FS in August 2013 - and that Mr. Jaishankar’s exposure to the P5 countries as well as his stints with Japan and Sri Lanka that gives him an upper hand in Modi’s scheme of things for Indian foreign policy centered on having broader engagement at the world stage – further shorten the life of the controversy beyond two-three days on ‘newsworthiness’.

Yes, but it does validate the premise that left us in bad taste – owing to the unhealthy ‘suddenness’ of the unceremonious exit – the way she was forced to resign - and the timing of it – Barack Obama left India on January 27 afternoon and the order came around 10 PM on January 28.

A Foreign Secretary is sacked immediately after a highly publicized and successful event of Indian foreign policy when no one was talking about it, when no one had expected it – it was bound to get questions and was a fertile ground for controversy ahead.

Even if she was already sidelined as the insider accounts say.

Even if she was not willing to step down as the insider accounts said and as was validated by her account today – the Narendra Modi government clearly erred here.

The argument that Mr. Jaishankar was retiring on January 31 and it was necessary to appoint him before that date falls flat when we go by the example of Nripendra Misra, Principal Secretary to Narendra Modi, who was appointed after retirement, even if meant bringing a Bill in the Parliament.

If the government had so made up its mind long before this unceremonious episode as the insider accounts say that she had fallen out of favour and was not being consulted on important issues like ‘cancelling the India-Pakistan FS talks’, it could and should have done it much earlier. After all, it was in August that the talks were called off.

Now, there can be an argument that as Narendra Modi was much impressed by Mr. Jaishankar after his successful US tour in September 2014, it was logical that Mr. Jaishankar would remain the Indian envoy to the US till completion of Barack Obama’s India visit as the chief guest of the Republic Day Parade, and therefore it continued with Mrs. Sujatha Singh.

But if we take that as a possible reason, it further validates that the ‘sudden decision’ could have been avoided. She could have been told in the similar clear terms earlier that forced her to write the resignation letter on January 29. Or if the government waited for so long for the reasons known only to it, it could have waited for some more days with the last call made to Sujatha Singh to make her mind to move. After all, with the government on his side, no one was going to stop Mr. Jaishankar from being the Indian Ambassador to the US even after his retirement date.

The ‘Sujatha Singh resignation’ controversy is not expected to play out longer than tomorrow or the day after tomorrow but it is going to remain there with her genuine question that she asked in an interview today - “My reputation is being maligned, my record being trashed. Why was this necessary?”

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey - 

Thursday 29 January 2015


Did Foreign Secretary Sujatha Singh resign or was forced to take voluntary retirement or was sacked?

Final hours of January 28 broke the news that kept the airwaves and online platforms busy for coming some hours, giving thus the major news story for January 29, i.e., today.

The news story was in making for quite some time with a Rediff story in December but was never near confirmation until this happened the last night.

And the timing was to blame for it.

A Foreign Secretary’s term is ‘curtailed with immediate effect’ just the next of Barack Obama leaving India after a successful visit by a government that is in a celebratory mood with the outcome of the visit!

So, there will be inside stories, extending what we have been reporting and writing so far based on sources-based information.

There were stories like the External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj was backing Sujatha Singh, a 1976 batch IFS officer, to let her complete her term that was till July 31, 2015, as per the terms of the service agreement. A Foreign Secretary of the Government of India has a fixed term of two years and she had taken charge on August 1, 2013 replacing the retiring FS Rajan Mathai then. While assuming the FS office, she was due to retire the next year and was given extension last year.

Interestingly, when the government was looking for the successor of Rajan Mathai, Dr. S. Jaishankar, a year junior to Sujatha Singh, a 1977 batch IFS officer, was prime minister Manmohan Singh’s first preference. But Dr. Singh had to relent as Congress was not willing to overlook seniority and favoured that the due administrative process be followed.

Probably, the reflections of the strong protests by the Foreign Service officers in the aftermath of a huge controversy that had erupted after Rajiv Gandhi had sacked the then FS A. P. Venkateswaran in February 1987 just after 10 months of assuming the charge was lingering in the minds of Congress strategists.

India Today magazine had written on it terming it ‘an avoidable blunder' – History will record it as Rajiv Gandhi’s most insensitive blunder, a public gaffe of such grave proportions that even his supporters were left stunned and speechless. The choice of venue: a nationally-televised press conference attended by representatives of the Indian and international media, apart from Venkateswaran himself. The timing: a period of increasing resentment in the bureaucracy against the prime minister’s petulant outbursts at high-ranking government officials. The target: the senior-most official in the Ministry of External Affairs and arguably the most efficient and dynamic incumbent the country has had.

Or the more recent 2006 controversy when Shivshankar Menon was appointed FS overlooking seniority of 15 IFS officers that had seen senior diplomats like Rajiv Sikri, Secretary (East), Veena Sikri, Rajiv Sikri’s wife and High Commissioner to Bangladesh and Ambassador to France, TCA Rangachari, resigning.

But why Manmohan Singh was favouring Mr. Jaishankar was based on merit only, something that can be said with Narendra Modi’s decision as well.

In July 2013, when the decision to appoint the next FS was in final stages, Sujatha Singh, daughter of former Intelligence Bureau director and former Governor T. V. Rajeshwar who was close to Sonia Gandhi, was Ambassador to Germany and S. Jaishankar, son of one of India’s foremost strategic affairs analysts, K Subrahmanyam, a former civil servant, was heading the Indian Embassy in China.

Apart from having spent a large time in Indian missions overseas, Mr. Jaishankar played key roles in negotiations on India-US Civil Nuclear Agreement and in defusing the India-China border stand-off of 2013. He got thumbs-up even from the Chinese – One Chinese official said Mr. Jaishankar had garnered a reputation for “straight talking”, particularly during often tense exchanges over issues over China’s visa policy or the boundary. During talks with visiting Defence Minister A.K. Antony, Defence Minister and PLA General Chang Wanquan broke from the script by singling out his role in helping defuse the Depsang stand-off, saying he spoke “like a soldier more than a diplomat,” according to one official who was in the room. (The Hindu, December 2013).

The report from The Hindu summed up how successful Mr. Jaishankar’s stint in China was – When S. Jaishankar steps down as India’s Ambassador to China on Saturday after a four-and- a-half year term, he will end his eventful tenure as the longest serving Indian envoy to the Middle Kingdom.

Also, Mr. S. Jaishankar’s more diversified overseas exposure with the block of counties that mattered more for India in the prevailing geopolitical circumstances coupled with his expertise in Nuclear Diplomacy (Mr. Jaishankar did his Ph.D. from JNU with specialization in Nuclear Diplomacy) that had its approval with framing of the Nuke Deal would have pushed Dr. Manmohan Singh to go for him at a time when India-US ties were on a downward slope and the stalled Nuke Deal was proving to be the stumbling block.

But then, Dr. Singh could not do it. And Narendra Modi has done it now - with favouring elements like these is no issue of seniority as Mr. Jaishankar is due to retire from IFS on January. 

Mr. S. Jaishankar’s overseas exposure with P5 countries like Russia, the United States and China, his stints in Japan and Sri Lanka would certainly be having more takers like Mr. Modi than Mrs. Singh’s overseas exposure that includes West Germany, Ghana, France, Thailand, Italy, Austrlia and unified Germany. Even while in India, Mr. Jaishankar spent seven years with the Americas division of Ministry of External Affairs – as Under Secretary from 1981 to 1985 and as its head from 2004 to 2007, when the India-US Nuke deal was framed.

The conditions that made Dr. Singh to push for Mr. Jaishankar are even more relevant for India now with the current dispensation’s big move on diplomacy front presenting India on the world stage as a global power with equal status as the big powers. Right from the inauguration of his government, Mr. Modi has dictated the terms of Indian foreign policy. He is engaging with the SAARC countries and with the United States with similar sincerity and urgency and an administrator like Mr. Jaishankar can prove an efficient taskmaster. 

Then, there are two successful bilateral Summit visits that have put the worsening India-US ties back on growth track – Mr. Modi’s visit to the US in September 2014 and Mr. Barack Obama’s to India in January 2015 – during Mr. Jaishankar’s term as the Indian Ambassador the US – to add to Mr. Modi’s decisions to bring him in. It was said Mr. Modi was quite impressed with Mr. Jaishankar the way he managed the PM's visit in September 2014. 

Mr. S. Jaishankar is taking charge today. There is nothing wrong with his appointment and his suitability for the position.

But, the timing is certainly wrong, until ‘saying so’ is proven wrong by some inside story. Even if Mr. Jaishankar is to retire in two days and there can be an urgency to appoint him as the next FS before that date, it doesn’t justify the way Sujatha Singh was told to do, even if she had fallen out of favour and was kept out of important decisions like cancelling India-Pakistan FS talks in August last year. If the government was forced to take this step due to the reasons that it better knows (including Sujatha Singh’s refusal to demit the office), it could have done it earlier, avoiding adding the element of unceremonious exit that certainly looked bad in taste.

It’s an open day ahead today for developing news elements and conspiracy theories on the issue with varying insider accounts waiting to be laid down and thrown in public domain.

Will Sujatha Singh speak on her retirement?

Or will she speak out on ‘immediate curtailment of her tenure’ as the order of the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet says?

Or will she remain silent with a formal statement, as she was past her retirement age, and would not like to see the issue escalate in some big controversy? 

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey - 

Wednesday 28 January 2015


No doubt it was a visit driven by positive sentiments that added further positives during its course, setting the mood of the future discourse.

Barack Oabam's visit to India, with some historic firsts in India-US ties like Obama becoming the first US President to visit India twice while in office or the being first US President to be the chief guest of India's Republic Day Parade, was successful on many vital counts.

It extended the streak of bonhomie that was successfully injected in worsening India-US ties during Narendra Modi's September 2014 US visit.

It successfully built on the developments thereafter, Modi further meeting twice with Obama, in Myanmar and in Australia during multilateral meets, and backdoor negotiations on contentious issues like the civil nuclear deal.

It renewed the India-US 'Defence Framework Agreement' with co-production and co-development ventures.

It emphasized on the balancing act in Asia-Pacific and Indian Ocean geopolitics with India's growing role and growing collaboration with the US in checking the Chinese ambitions.

It saw Narendra Modi assuring Barack Obama and the US businessmen that India would remove the whims of red-tapes and Modi would personally look after the execution of proposals and projects.

It saw Barack Obama assuring India to look into Indian concerns on H-1B visa issue. H-1B visa is the route for opportunities for Indian techies in the US and Indian companies have been raising concerns ever since immigration reforms were initiated by Barack Obama.

It saw commitment of $4 billion by the US to start new initiatives.

It saw the personal chemistry between Narendra Modi and Barack Obama reaching to the next level where Obama promised to come back to India with his daughters and assuring that the ties would continue to prosper even if Obamas were not in the White House.

It saw two vital protocols broken to extend the commitments at personal level - first, Narendra Modi broke the protocol and received Barack Obama at the airport. Second, Barack Obama ignored the requirement of his security details that 'he should not be in open air events for more than 45 minutes' and stayed for the complete duration of the Republic Day Parade.

And above all, it was not without the signs of 'checks and balances' - on the lines of the visit being 'transitional if not transformational' as the US Deputy National Security Advisor Ben Rhodes had said before the visit.

The long and checkered history of India-US ties indeed needs a gradual and transitional approach to cement the ties further - watching and fine-tuning the responses while on the move - testing the waters to see if the 'ambitions to become the global partners' come along with the assuring developments of 'being all-weather friends'.

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey - 

Tuesday 27 January 2015


70th International Holocaust Remembrance Day

January 27 is the International Holocaust Remembrance Day - observed each year to commemorate the victims of the concentration camps - to remind us of the horror that had been made a way of life for millions in some 300 concentration camps in Germany or in German occupied territories.

Some 7 million of these many millions were killed in these forced labour camps that also doubled as death factories, the so-called extermination camps - employing death as a tool to intimidate, to propagate, to indoctrinate, to manipulate humans into soulless creatures and to kill - randomly, systematically, methodically.

In these death camps, fellow human lives were made objects of derision, subjects of sadistic pleasures, trophies of 'shoot at will' shootouts and raw material for German industries. Including children, they were mere subjects for dangerous scientific experiments.

The Germans of Nazi Germany mastered their ways to quench their thirst and lust for human blood my bringing mass murder machines and technology - gas chambers coupled with electric crematoria to these camps.

The highly organized machinery to exact the 'cleansing' as forced by Adolf Hitler and his band had set targets to kill 'minimum this many' on a day.

In these camps, the human subjects, were pushed to such extremes that they had forgotten what a human life was, what life they had lived some years ago - to accept a lowly life subservient to the whims of the masters of the so-called superior race who lorded over them in the camps - to follow a life where they did not have relations, no sons, no daughters, no wives, no husbands - to live a life without expressing hunger (starving to death was strictly practiced, even children were not spared), love, pain and suffering - to become fearful animals living always in the shadow of death - to the extent that death became the only liberator.

The methodical process in these camps began with the basics - by wiping out names replacing them with numbers and thus eliminating existences - and went to the satanic levels of corrupting human minds where a brother would kill a brother for a loaf of bread or a piece of cloth.

On January 27, 1945, the largest of these, Auschwitz II - Birkenau, was liberated by the Allied Forces.

Estimates say some four millions lives were annihilated at Auschwitz.

Today is the 70th anniversary when the killing machinery at Auschwitz was finally shut - but with multitudes who were still dying.

The scale of human debasement and the loss of human lives in these camps are so beyond human history and are so shocking that even the 700th anniversary would need us to react in the same way as we react today, as humanity reacted when it came to know the reality of these barbed-wire camps, as the Allied Forces set on liberating them - piled up human carcasses, in mounds of thousands, charred corpses, starved, skeletal survivors who had gone beyond such thoughts that if they were sleeping in a room full of dead or if they were having no clothes on their bodies.

They were just bones, frail bones, irrespective of the age-group. The flesh was the first thing that Hitler's soldiers chopped from inmates' bodies to stuff their platters.

What happened then, in these concentration camps - must never be forgotten - because it is important for us to remain 'us', the human-beings - the first and the foremost principle of being a human - to see others as 'as equal human beings as we are'.

It is important for humanity to revisit these images - again and again - randomly and regularly.

It is important that generations to come have access to these images to know how devil human thinking can become and what it takes when it gets to that.

Holocaust literature, Holocaust documentaries, Holocaust TV shows, Holocaust movies and Holocaust related events like this must be made important elements of 'exposure to history' for everyone in every society.

There are documents. There are enactments. And in good numbers.

But the most important are the tales of survivors, the books by them and the books on them, and the images of the camps, still and moving. In case of images, we need to rely mostly on visuals shot by the Allied Forces.

Though marred by geopolitical compulsions, some of the real footage of the concentration camps as the Allied Forced were liberating one after the other, have found their way into the public domain.

But the larger part of the thousands of hours of footage is still lying in archives. It is needed to be taken out and put in public domain.

And there is some positive news on this. An important project that was shelved after some months into making in 1945 on 'factual survey of the concentration camps', the most direct and detailed one, has seen some restoration and release of some of its footage after 70 years with the documentary 'Night Will Fall'.

The documentary, with so-far unseen footage, including of Auschwitz, reflects on the efforts to shoot and record the concentration camps by the British government with the movie project 'German Concentration Camps Factual Survey' that was never completed though some related footage was available with 'Memory of the Camps' and some other productions.

Image courtesy: Collage prepared from images sourced from online resources

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey - 

Monday 26 January 2015


I would ask this question regularly in my childhood while looking at, reading or trying to understand, that who was this grandpa.

He looked familiar, by his outlook, and funny enough to keep me with him with his glasses and bushy but carved moustache.

Eyes would go to that the pocket corner first while scanning the newspaper, after all who reads them in carefree and free days of childhood, to find what the grandpa-next-home would have come with to tell us next, irrespective of my level of understanding.

But even in those days of  privileged 'lack of understanding', the grandpa and his corner was fairly understandable and engaging most of the time.

And with time, with growing exposure to the experiences of life, even this 'lack of understanding' was flattened out.

While deepening understanding about the essence of the 'being of the grandpa'.

He was the ubiquitous, affable, lovable and quintessential Common Man, brought alive and made perpetual by R K Laxman, from the class of the legendary cartoonists of India, who passed away today at 94.

In childhood, if he made for the triad of 'Chacha Chaudhary, TV adaptation of Malgudi Days, creation of his elder brother R K Narayan and the Common Man' - one of the many outlets to pack as much content in my buzzing mind as possible - with growing adulthood and the subsequent years in life (and even now) - he was and has been among the primary ingredients of the daily dose of meaningful humour, satire the R K Laxman way - sometimes direct, sometimes subtle, at times both - but always enjoyable, always thought-provoking and always to-the-point.

R K Laxman's 'Common Man' is among the most influential symbols of 'cartoons being a serious tool of satire'.

And his Common Man has stayed 'uniformly and brilliantly serious enough' for decades to pull our attention, to push us to think, to make us smile on forced  absurdities, excesses and trivialities.

The uncommon creator of the equally uncommon 'Common Man' breathed his last today after an illustrious career spanning decades where 'he said' and we 'listened to him'.

But the common man is so quintessential to our existence, so imperative to our thinking and so intrinsic to our day-to-day lives that 'The Common Man' is going to stay with us forever - the best possible tribute to an artist - in this case, a legendary one, in league of his own - R K Laxman - Rest in Peace Sir. 

Images: R K Laxman's cartoons and images sourced from different online resources 

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey - 

Sunday 25 January 2015


In the annual tradition, the Government of India today announced its 'Padma' awards recipients.

And the nine Padma Vibhushan recipients, Padma Vibhushan is India's second highest  civilian honour, include two prominent faces of the Indian film industry or the Hindi language film industry - Dilip Kumar and Amitabh Bachchan.

And these two names come with a first - before them, no other actor from the Hindi films had been conferred India's second most prestigious civilian decoration.

Interestingly, the 2012 Padma Vibhushan decision had seen controversy when an RTI reply revealed that these two names - Dilip Kumar and Amitabh Bachchan - were in the initial list of 37  names of the search committee but were not in the shortlist of 20 sent to the award committee. 

Before 2015, though India recognized its artists including those from the entertainment industry, very few came from the mainstream entertainment industry (to say, mass entertainment), and certainly none from the class of actors who drive the focus of the world's largest film industry - the Hindi cinema of the Mumbai based film industry.

An analysis into the Padma Vibhushan awardees so far, from 1954 when the awards were given the first time, returns with 55 awardees recognized for their contribution in 'Art'.

And just eight of these are from the 'craft of cinema-making - V. Shantaram, Satyajit Ray, Lata Mangeshkar, Hrishikesh Mukherjee, Asha Bhosle, Adoor Gopalakrishnan, Zohra Sehgal and Akkineni Nageshwara Rao.

On further narrowing down the list, we see that only five have been from or having association with the Hindi language film industry - actor, filmmaker and director V. Shantaram, director Hrishikesh Mukherjee, singers and sisters Lata Mangeshkar and Asha Bhosle and actor and choreographer Zohra Sehgal.

All others come from the fields of art like classical music, classical dances, fine arts and paintings and literature.

For the fields from the 'craft of cinema-making', Bharat Ratna does give better comparative results.

Since its inception in 1954, Bharat Ratna has been conferred on 45 individuals so far including three from the 'art of cinema-making' - Satyajit Ray, M. G. Ramachandran (actor-turned politicians and Tamil Nadu's chief ministers) and Lata Mangeshkar while Padma Vibhushan has been conferred on over 300 people with just eight names to count. 

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey - 

Saturday 24 January 2015


BJP is trying to address the twin issues of middle class concerns and youth preferences by inducting Kiran Bedi, a former IPS officer who also happens to be India’s first woman IPS officer, a social activist running two non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and a former colleague of Arvind Kejriwal in ‘India Against Corruption’, an outfit that was formed by coming together of civil society activists to launch the anti-corruption movement of 2011.

And it is based on perceptions built around her, based on the mix of her career so far. We are yet to have any projection or assessment of Kiran Bedi’s credentials in terms of pre-poll or leadership choice surveys.

Perceivably, Kiran Bedi has a middle class and youth connect based on her background, her career as a police officer and her social activism engagements. She was one of the prominent faces of the 2011 anti-corruption movement.

She is known as someone who even took on a prime minister when Indira Gandhi’s vehicle violated traffic rules. She had an image of a tough and honest cop. She has been active in social sphere with her NGOs. From Amritsar to Delhi, she took on the might of men in a patriarchal society and became India’s first woman IPS officer. Thereafter, she made a successful career, though it had its share of controversies, but certainly, on mass appeal, the positives carried more wait.

Like, as it is seen, followers of the honest of the lot are victimized by the System, Bedi too alleged victimization and took retirement in 2007 before her time after she was bypassed and a junior officer Y. S. Dadwal was appointed Delhi Police Commissioner.

A life with developments that appeal to the middle class and to the youngsters!

Add to it the element that Bedi’s victimization came when there were Congress governments, both at Centre and in Delhi.

The added benefit is, being a women candidate - BJP will look to further mobilize the women voters to its fold – building on Narendra Modi’s popularity with women voters.

With Kiran Bedi, BJP strategists would be hoping to appeal to these three votebanks – middle class, youth and women.

The only catch is – Kiran Bedi’s elevation is based on perceptions around her with almost no time and no exercises to taste how these perceptions play out in the electoral arena. She was made the commander of the final stage of the battle when elections were already announced and were just 22 days away.

It may work for BJP – or it may backfire.

After all, her criticism of Arvind Kejriwal on joining politics, her criticism of Narendra Modi and BJP in past, then her new-found love for BJP and her steadfast appreciation of Narendra Modi coupled with controversies like allegation of producing inflated airfares and allegations of subversion of rules in allocating medical seat to her daughter are the issues perceived negatively by many from the middle class and young age-groups, male or female - especially the educated of the lot.  

A BJP majority in the Delhi Assembly Election 2015 would depend on how such voters assess Bedi’s prospects - based on her present and past.

Watch out for February 10, the counting day.

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey - 

Friday 23 January 2015


Reading it is refreshingly engaging.

By the nature of the issue in question, some Supreme Court judgements become landmark, redefining the way the matter concerning the issue would be seen in future.

That is going to be the case with Cricket after the yesterday’s verdict by the Supreme Court of India. Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), an outfit draped in secrecy so far, manages affairs of cricket in India and is largely responsible for bringing bad name to the game, a game that has been a mass phenomenon in India, making Indian cricketers and the Indian Board richest among their peers in the world fraternity.

The IPL Spot Fixing Verdict by the Supreme Court Bench of Justice T. S. Thakur and Justice Fakkir Mohamed Ibrahim Kalifulla has the potential to change the way BCCI has managed the affairs of the game so far, and is for good, aiming to bring and strengthen the elements of transparency and answerability in cricket's administration in India.

The some 130 pages verdict focuses heavily on cleaning the game with observations like:

“Such is the passion for this game in this country that cricketers are seen as icons by youngsters, middle aged and the old alike. Any organization or entity that has such pervasive control over the game and its affairs and such powers as can make dreams end up in smoke or come true cannot be said to be undertaking any private activity.”

“The BCCI has in no   uncertain   terms   declared   its resolve to protect the fundamental imperatives constituting the essence of the game of cricket and its determination to take every step in its power to prevent corrupt betting practices undermining the integrity of the sport including any effort to influence the outcome of any match. Unfortunately, however, the amendment to Rule 6.2.4 (allowing BCCI administrators to have commercial interests in BCCI products like IPL) clearly negates the declarations and resolves of the BCCI by permitting situations in which conflict of interest would grossly erode the confidence of the people in the authenticity, purity and integrity of the game.”

“An amendment which strikes at the very essence of the game as stated in the Anti Corruption Code cannot obviously co-exist with the fundamental imperatives.”

“Conflict of interest situation is a complete anti-thesis to everything recognized by BCCI as constituting fundamental imperatives of the game hence unsustainable and impermissible in law.”

“The question is whether the BCCI can afford to see the game lose its credibility in the eyes of those who watch it, by allowing an impression to gather ground that what goes on in the name of the game is no more than a farce because of sporting frauds like betting, match fixing and the like.”

“Can the BCCI live with the idea of the game being seen only as a means to cheat the unsuspecting and gullible spectators watching the proceedings whether in the stadium or on the television with the passion one rarely sees in any other sporting enterprise.”

“BCCI's commercial plans for its own benefit and the benefit of the players are bound to blow up in smoke, if the people who watch and support the game were to lose interest or be indifferent because, they get to know that some business interests have hijacked the game for their own ends or that the game is no longer the game they know or love because of frauds on and off the field.”

“There is no manner of doubt whatsoever that the game enjoys its popularity and raises passions only because of what it stands for and because the people who watch the sport believe that it is being played in the true spirit of the game without letting any corrupting influence come anywhere near the principles and fundamental imperatives considered sacrosanct and inviolable.”

“All told whatever be the format of the game and whatever be the commercial angles to it, the game is what it is, only if it is played in its pristine form free from any sporting fraud.”

“The fundamental imperatives, to which BCCI is avowedly committed in the Anti Corruption Code, cannot be diluted leave alone neglected or negated.”

“BCCI is a very important institution that discharges important public functions. Demands of institutional integrity are, therefore, heavy and need to be met suitably in larger public interest. Individuals are   birds   of   passage   while institutions are forever. The expectations of the millions of cricket lovers in particular and public at large in general, have lowered considerably the threshold of tolerance for any mischief, wrong doing or corrupt practices which ought to be weeded out of the system.”

And as a natural corollary, major part of the verdict deliberates on addressing the issue of ‘conflict of interest’ and its unethical realms engulfing BCCI and how BCCI is answerable to the people of India with its ‘public duties’.

“The functions of the Board are clearly public functions, which, till such time the State intervenes to takeover the same, remain in the nature of public functions, no matter discharged by a society registered under the Registration of Societies Act.”  

Cricket has been like a religion in India. If we have discourses like ‘cricket’s ungentlemanly avatar’ or ‘cricket losing popularity in India’ or ‘cricket is no more a religion in India’, BCCI has to carry the blame for it, because in the blind rush to maintain a tight grip on its culture of secrecy and ‘cronyism’ and to further the vested interests as with commercialization came the increased wealth creation opportunities, the BCCI top brass started going even lower, breaking all norms of probity and N. Srinivasan was its worst manifestation.

That worst manifestation saw its spell lifting yesterday.


©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey - 

Thursday 22 January 2015


The seven questions the Supreme Court deliberated on to lay down the roadmap to the further course of action to clean BCCI, to cleanse Indian Cricket to take the IPL Spot Fixing probe to its final conclusion are:

1. If BCCI comes under judicial review?

The apex court says yes. The Verdict reads - BCCI may not be State under Article 12 of the Constitution but is certainly amenable to writ jurisdiction under Article 226 of the Constitution of India.

2. If Gurunath Meiyappan and Raj Kundra were team officials and if they were involved in betting?

The court says yes to both.

3. If Gurunath Meiyappan and Raj Kundra were team officials and if they were found guilty, what would be the future course of action?

The verdict copy reads - The misconduct against these two individuals is actionable as per the relevant rules to which we have referred in detail. Not only that, we have held that action under the rules can also be taken against the franchisees concerned. We have noticed that that the quantum of sanction/punishment can vary depending upon the gravity of the misconduct of the persons committing the same.

4. If N Srinivasan was involved in covering-up the IPL Spot Fixing episode?

The court says no - but not without making scathing remarks on Srinivasan's overall conduct, putting him in the dock. The verdict says the allegation wasn't proved but it doesn't mean the allegation was baseless. The court does accepts the 'element of suspicion' on the part of Srinivasan's conduct in the spot-fixing cover-up affair.

5. If the BCCI amendment of its Regulation 6.4.2 allowing its administrators to have commercial interests in IPL, Champions League and Twenty-20 was legally unethical and unacceptable?

The court says yes, it was 'legally bad' - The Amendment to Rule 6.2.4 permitting Administrators of BCCI to acquire or hold commercial interests in BCCI like IPL, champions league and T-20 held to be bad.

The court struck down the amendment saying Srinivasan's simultaneous roles as the BCCI chief and IPL team owner were a clear-cut case of 'conflict of interest' and the conduct was not acceptable and Srinivasan needed to choose between BCCI and IPL.

6.  If Sundar Raman, the IPL Chief Operating Officer (COO) was guilty?

The Supreme Court has ordered further probe on Sundar Raman's role in the IPL Spot Fixing scandal, placing him firmly under scanner.

The verdict elaborates:  Mr. Sundar Raman was, and continues to be the Chief Operating Officer of IPL. He has held and continues to hold a very important position in the entire system. On his own showing he was dealing with practically all aspects of organization of the game, including facilitating whenever necessary the appearance and participation of celebrities and organizing tickets, accreditation cards and such other matters. He was, therefore, the spirit behind the entire exercise and cannot be said to be unconcerned with what goes on in the course of the tournament especially if it has the potential of bringing disrepute to the game/BCCI.

We are, therefore, not inclined to let the allegations made against Mr. Sundar Raman go un-probed, even if it means a further investigation by the investigating team provided to the probe committee or by any other means. Truth about the allegations made against Mr. Sundar Raman, must be brought to light, for it is only then that all suspicions about the fraudulent activities and practices floating in the media against the BCCI and its administrators in several proceedings before different courts can be given a quietus.   

7.  What should be the future course of action - on cleaning BCCI and cleansing Cricket run by it and taking the IPL Spot Fixing probe to its finality?

Giving directions on N Srinivasan, Sundar Raman, Raj Kundra, Gurunath Meiyappan, Chennai Super Kings, Rajasthan Royals, BCCI and IPL Spot Fixing episode - the court formed a three member committed to be headed by R. M. Lodha, former Chief Justice - to probe the matter further and to come with guidelines on revamping BCCI - with a deadline of six months. Ashok Bhan and R. V. Raveendran, former Supreme Court judges are other members of the committee.


©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey - 

Wednesday 21 January 2015


My reflections on life – in quotes (XCV)
“Focus on in real time,
..on three days,
..yesterday, today and tomorrow.
You are what you feel about yourself today,
..what you want to feel about yourself tomorrow,
..based on..
..what you felt about yourself yesterday.”


"Focus on in real time - on three days - yesterday, today and tomorrow. You are what you feel about yourself today and what you want to feel about yourself tomorrow based on what you felt about yourself yesterday." 

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey - 

Tuesday 20 January 2015


The factors having their origin in the politics and governance of the main political rival Congress that helped Modi Factor become Modi Wave/Modi Charisma in the Lok Sabha polls - full-blown and corrosive anti-incumbency against the Congress led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government, allegations of massive political corruption on many leaders of the UPA government with huge scams and piling up court cases, always going up prices and the arrogance around allegations of disproportionate assets of Robert Vadra - are not there to exploit in the run-up to the assembly polls in Delhi, slated to be held on February 7.

Congress was BJP's main target in Delhi in 2013 when the Modi Wave was still in making. But Sheila Dikshit's Congress government of three terms paid the price of allegations of political corruption, arrogant statements of ruling politicians including Sheila Dikshit and the anti-incumbency wave against Union Government in the 2013 assembly polls.

But the elections threw an unexpected challenger in Delhi's political arena - Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) - with faces from the massive anti-corruption movement of 2011. AAP emerged as the second largest party denying BJP a clear majority and later on forming a short-lived government with support from Congress.

In the 2014 Lok Sabha polls, riding on the Modi Wave and on the 'deserting act of Arvind Kejriwal, the chief minster of 49 days', BJP won all the seven Lok Sabha seats and was ahead in 60 of 70 assembly segments.

AAP is the main target now. But BJP does not have the factors that were there then in 2013 assembly polls and in 2014 Lok Sabha polls that helped BJP to charge, to attack the main rival in clear terms.

Arvind Kejriwal's government was aborted by Kejriwal himself in just 49 days, for which he apologised later on. Being short-lived, there is no anti-incumbency against Kejriwal and Aam Aadmi Party. Additionally, Kejriwal did deliver on his promises of taking on corruption and started on giving relief on power and water tariffs, even if from temporary measures.

And add to it - before Kiran Bedi's crash landing in BJP and her swift coronation as the party's chief-ministerial face - Arvind Kejriwal enjoyed a position in Delhi that Modi had enjoyed in the country in the Lok Sabha polls - Modi had no rival prime-ministerial candidate and Kejriwal so far had no rival chief-ministerial candidate. And we are still not sure how effective Kiran Bedi would be in taking on Kejriwal. She was crowned only yesterday with polls just 18 days away midst the reports of anger, displeasure and factionalism in Delhi BJP over her induction and ascension bypassing many senior leaders.

Yes, Kejriwal's short-lived government had many shortcomings. But a rational mind may think that if the mainstream politicians can be given chances in spite of the serious allegations like rioting, corruption, misappropriation of the public office, nepotism and even murder and rape, why can't and why shouldn't these folks and the political experiment associated with them be given a chance, a full five years?

After all, the country is looking for the change in its political culture and the discourse around it and such experiments should be welcome.

It is in many voters' mind. It should be in AAP leaders' thinking. And it should be in thinking of the BJP think-tank.   

 ©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey -

Monday 19 January 2015


To maintain the track record of impressive victories that began with the Lok Sabha elections in May 2014 when BJP became the only party since 1984 to win complete majority on its own, BJP needs to win the Delhi assembly polls slated to be held on February 7.

After the spectacular show in the Lok Sabha polls, BJP won Haryana and Jharkhand assembly polls in equally remarkable feats and performed brilliantly in Maharashtra and Jammu & Kashmir. BJP has majority governments in Haryana and Jharkhand. Reversing the trend, it is now the senior partner of Shiv Sena in the Maharashtra government. And in Jammu & Kashmir, it is the second largest party in the hung assembly verdict.

And one streak has been clear all through this - it was the projection of Narendra Modi that helped BJP reach these heights of electoral achievements and political victories. BJP was projected to race ahead of others but was never seen achieving majority on its own. Even the BJP strategists had not thought so.

Narendra Modi was the BJP face in an electoral battle where the nearest rival prime-ministerial nominee was nowhere near to him in popularity. And he worked well to mobilize opinions on supporting factors like sky-high anti-incumbency against the UPA government and political corruption. He mapped the country with intensive campaigning and his influential oratory.

The Push that Narendra Modi and BJP got by the Lok Sabha verdict worked for the party in the four assembly polls and again Modi was the face of the party every time, in every state, and not the chief-ministerial nominees.

These five victories helped Modi become much larger than BJP. And to win Bihar, where elections are scheduled later this year and Uttar Pradesh in 2017, BJP needs Modi's charisma to work on, to let Modi remain larger than BJP, irrespective of the thoughts on its long-term projections.

BJP is in absolute minority in Rajya Sabha and to push its legislative agenda effectively, it needs bigger states like UP and Bihar with handsome victories, replicating what it did in the Lok Sabha polls winning around 90% of the LS seats in the two states. A thumping victory in these two states will make BJP much more stronger to claim political constituencies in other states, either on its own, or with new allies.

But going by the experiences of the three bypolls between the Lok Sabha polls and the Maharashtra and Haryana assembly polls, where BJP lost and lost spectacularly and had its allies taking on the leadership of BJP and questioning Modi on his 'waning' charisma, trying to nip BJP's ambitions of emerging as the major player in the Indian states in the bud, any loss in an assembly poll would have compounding effect. The final chapter in BJP-Shiv Sena split saga was written with these bypoll results in the background.

And if the state in question is Delhi, then this compounding effect is compounded even more.  BJP has been a strong force in Delhi. It formed the first state government in 1993. BJP is ruling Delhi now through the Lieutenant-Governor.

And Delhi is India's National Capital - with an educated, middle-class voter base that reacts more rationally - the votebank that Narendra Modi has been talking about.

Now, if Delhi voters reject Modi for Kejriwal, within a year of the grand show of the Lok Sabha polls, it will come as a severe blow.

It will send the message to the nation that Modi could not deliver where Modi had to be most effective, in Delhi, denting the Modi Factor, painting it in a dull hue.

And it is a real possibility, even BJP realizes it. Even a hung mandate would do the same for BJP. Arvind Kejriwal would be suitably positioned to form the government again then. It will be an electoral setback, symbolically much more potent than the bypoll losses.  

And BJP is trying to keep Narendra Modi away from such possibilities, away from the electoral calculations of the Delhi assembly polls 2015.

Crash landing Kiran Bedi in BJP when elections are just three weeks away may well be a part of this strategy.

But would it help, in case Arvind Kejriwal becomes the Delhi chief minister again, and that too with the allegations of being a deserter who kept Delhi without a government for a year derailing thus the development of Delhi?

Or is it a part of long-term thinking and larger strategy?

After all, with time, anti-incumbency is bound to build against the Modi led government. We have had some path-breaking ideas, some breakthrough policy statements and some honest looking changes in the overall governance process but the time is coming when questions would be posted on their delivery.

For delivery, Modi needs to focus in Delhi. And the process has to begin somewhere and Delhi's questionable prospects for BJP may be the beginning point.

After all, with passing time, and with anti-incumbency creeping in, Modi cannot be the face of the party in every state where polls are due. It needs the regional leaders, the states leaders, and Delhi could be the beginning of this exercise that needs to culminate with assembly polls in UP and Bihar.

And in both scenarios, the need to make the move would have acquired accentuated scales with ‘much less than expected turnout’ in the January 10 Abhinandan Rally, that was marketed in the name of Narendra Modi, launching BJP’s Delhi poll campaign – and – with Aam Aadmi Party’s ‘yet another successful hit and run smear campaign’ targeting Delhi BJP chief Satish Upadhyay of ‘having nexus with the power distribution companies or discoms of Delhi’ and we all know that the power discoms of Delhi have amassed, over the years, good enough share of negative publicity.

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey -