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.

Friday 29 April 2016


India has denied visa to three Chinese rights activists who were coming to India to participate in a conference that started yesterday in Dharamsala, the seat of the exiled Tibetan government in India.

The four-day conference, 'Strengthening Our Alliance to Advance the Peoples' Dream: Freedom, Justice, Equality and Peace', has been organized by a US based pro-democracy outfit, ‘Citizen Power for China’, led by exiled Chinese rights activist Yang Jianli, and is being attended by some 100 delegates from around the world.

After the row over the visa denial issue and its global media coverage and a widespread outrage, the organizers of the conference have decided to say no to any sort of media coverage. Media has not been allowed to the venue. Participants would not talk to media about the conference. And there would be no press releases.

So, in a way, nothing would come out.

And that is, again a bad publicity for India, after the visa U-turn issue.

Because, as reports say, the conference is being attended by many Chinese dissidents whom China would go to any extent to see behind bars or execute, i.e., Tibetans, Uighurs, Falun Gong members and Taiwanese. The same was confirmed by Dolkun Isa, a Germany based Uighur dissident from China, with whom this whole visa U-turn row began.

An open media interface of the conference could have told the world that India was indeed right when it decided to cancel visa of Dolkun Isa, Lu Jinghua and Ray Wong on technical grounds and it was not under the Chinese pressure, as the message has gone, in India, and globally. Democracy is long dead in China and human rights are as flimsy as Chinese leaders’ promises for political reforms. A discussion on it in Dharamsala and its open media coverage would have helped dispel the notions that India bowed under Chinese pressure and cancelled visas. After all, it is not that no Chinese dissident is participating in the Dharamsala conference.

The coverage in international media, first on India granting visa to Dolkun Isa, against whom aC China influenced Interpol Red Corner Notice is out, and then withdrawing it in the 11th hour, is a testimony to that.

National and international media, which was praising India for issuing visa to Dolkun, drawing parallels with the Chinese veto in the United Nations on declaring Masood Azhar a terrorist, started mocking India when India cancelled Dolkun’s visa.

Though, on its part, India said it was on technical grounds, as Isa had applied for a tourist electronic visa whereas he was coming to attend a conference that requires additional clearance from the Home Ministry, and that India had taken this decision unilaterally and there was no Chinese hand in it, the same day, China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued a statement that said China indeed had approached India with its reservations on visa to Dolkun Isa.

To continue..

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey -

Thursday 28 April 2016


Apple sales are down, for the first time in 13 years. iPhone shipments are down 16% to 51 million units in the last financial quarter. Sales are down 13% to $50.6 billion. Apple stock is down around 7% wiping out $40 billion in value in a single day when Apple announced its sales data.

Apple CEO Tim Cook, while presenting the figures, reiterated his concerns about saturation in the smartphone market.

And indeed it is happening. The latest report by the market research firm IDC, on April 27, a day after Apple came out with its earnings, shows that the global smartphone market remained almost flat with just 0.2% growth in shipments in the last quarter.

While it concerns every smartphone maker, it should be more worrying for Apple. 

Its main market, the US, is near saturation. It growth driver, the China region, saw a whopping 26% decline. And Apple is not even 2% of the market size in the world’s third largest smartphone market, India, despite being in the country for years. Apple has ignored India in a questionable pursuit to establish itself as a premium, upmarket brand, thus missing out on the opportunity to create a solid base in the country.

India is projected to overtake the US next year to become the second largest smartphone market as Morgan Stanley concludes. And the distinction the Indian market has now is while China’s economy is slowing down, India is now the world’s fastest growing market. 

Add to it the demographic dividend - according to the Morgan Stanley report, smartphone market in India is still just 18% of its population with 225 million subscribers.

So, there is a huge potential to tap – with the right kind of mix – like an ever increasing base of Middle Class, a fastest growing economy with over 80% tele-density and a young population base. India has already the world’s largest youth population of some 360 million people in 10-24 age-group and the country will be the youngest nation demographically by 2020.

So, all you have to do is to remain there, as a sincere, responsive brand when the growth takes off. And it is happening in the Indian smartphone market now.

Apple is now pushing for its presence in volume segments in India with the recent launch of iPhone SE but it is too little too late, and again, is coupled with a poor insight. In a price conscious market like India, that is projected to be the world’s largest middle class by 2030, no one would go for obsolete versions of iPhones or an exorbitantly priced substandard product, iPhone SE at over $500, when other vendors including Samsung and Chinese entrants are offering world class products at much cheaper price points.

Samsung is present with a flagship product in every pricing segment in the Indian smartphone market while the top-end models of Xiaomi, Gionee, Lenovo, Oppo, Vivo and Micromax, all are priced at around $400.

Apple needs to follow the basics of branding here. Apple needs to earn people’s respect in India. The astronomically priced iPhone is certainly not an exciting prospect for an Indian smartphone user, especially when those with access to the US and other markets can have the gadget for a much lower price.

Samsung, the South Korean behemoth, sits here at the top, with a comfortable margin from its nearest rival, a home grown Indian company, Micromax.

While Apple has failed with its strategy in the Indian market, Samsung has adeptly captured it.

And the fact that Samsung’s top-end smartphones are priced at around $800, near iPnone’s around $900-1000 tag, and that in spite of that they sell well, makes Apple’s marketing strategy in India even more a pathetic case study. Samsung has 24% market share in the smartphone segment in India while Apple is not even 2% and it tells a lot.

India is the market now the world is looking at, for smartphone, or for every other segment the market consumes. Analysts say the Indian smartphone market today is what China was five years ago – with immense potential of growth.

Apple seems to have missed this growth story. And its current marketing strategy in India says the company have learnt nothing from that.

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey -

Wednesday 27 April 2016


Sales are down, the profit basket has shrunk, for the first time in Apple’s last 13 years, after 2003, in the last financial quarter. And it is driven by a massive drop in iPhone sales – the first time ever in the iPhone history. And everyone is writing about it.

Why it is so significant to write volumes about it?

After all, it happens with every brand, especially when it is about a tool of technology - as every pioneering technology is bound to become obsolete with time. 

But Apple is different – for the way it has created a visible brand perception around the world – something that we can sum up as ‘beauty with a brain’ concept – something unheard of before Apple brings its products – yes that has been the unique hallmark of Apple making its products since Macintosh in 1984 stand out in the market – creating a cult following – that reached to phenomenal levels since the iPhone launch in 2007.

But the ebb is coming now.

Because of its over-reliant on iPhone only!

The first quarter slump in iPhone sales is here and it is massive – 10 million units – from 61 to 51 million units a year ago.

The Apple story since 2007 is the iPhone story – the smartphone that took the world by storm – registering stupendous growth year-over-year – from 3.7 million units in 2007 to 231 million units in 2015 – that is staggering over 600%.

In fact the world’s biggest listed company is solely dependent on iPhone for two thirds of its revenue. iPhone has made Apple the biggest corporation on Earth.

But that cannot last forever.

Unless Apple comes with another blockbuster product or some blockbuster enhancement to the existing line of iPhones!

Because, it’s largest market in the US is nearing saturation.

Because, it’s second most important market in China is the chief culprit in bringing down its revenue – 26% down in Hong Kong and Taiwan and 11% in mainland China.

Chinese companies are fast emerging as Apple’s alterative for ‘beauty with a brain’ smartphones with much cheaper prices and can replace Apple easily in a market that has been Apple’s growth engine. And we should always remember that China is a protectionist regime and would see interests of its home grown companies first.

Because, Apple has failed to capture the third largest smartphone market in the world, i.e., India. Apple's market share in India is still less than 2%. Moreover, according to a Morgan Stanley report, India is projected to become the second largest smartphone market by 2017 overtaking the US.

Though, after faltering for years, Apple is now trying to tweak its strategy in India, offering older versions of iPhones for lower prices or launching the cheaper iPhone SE. But that is not working. The impression goes that Apple sees India as a dumping ground for old versions of iPhones. At $500, iPhone SE, a low priced version with a smaller screen size, and resembling much older iPhone 4S, was again a failure. People can have a much better smartphone than iPhone SE at a much lower price in the Indian market.

For most Indian consumers, they may still see beauty in the iPhone range but they fail to find any brain there.

Though for different reasons, the trend is spreading across the world - in other markets. Apple has been able to maintain the beauty quotient of iPhone but cosmetic measures like enhancing screen size or upgrading camera or operation system or introducing a personal virtual manager or even a biometric identification system with touch ID fingerprint sensor are now proving inefficient in keeping the 'brainy' tag of iPhone intact. These technologies are good but can't act as differentiators for your brand identity because everyone else is also coming with them. 

So, where is the new market for Apple – that can sustain its astonishingly high market capitalization and revenue figures?

So, unless Apple comes with something new, an innovation sort of offering a gadget that we see in Sci-Fi flicks, means it is ahead of the competition and thus creates new markets for its products in not so ‘price conscious’ markets like India, the trouble is going to grow.

A crude way to say that is, people have become sceptical of Apple’s motives, after just marginal enhancements in every subsequent generation iPhone, without offering any breakthrough.

iPhone is fast losing its ‘beauty with a brain’ tag. The law of average is catching up with it.

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey -

Tuesday 26 April 2016


I had the fine luck of watching 'London Has Fallen' last night - and after watching the movie (it doesn't matter if it was in random shots), I could not stop myself from writing about it.

Okay, I decided I would not go too deep as it will reduce gravity of my words. I decided to keep it direct - but with a bit of haziness. After all, we all exist in greys - with only occasional interactions with extremities.

The obvious first step or the first brush on penning some words about the movie was going for that little birdie on Twitter. And here a shocking revelation was waiting for me. When I tried my tweet with the hashtag #LondonHasFallen, I found that I was the first person using that hashtag.

Now, it was the first natural hashtag that people should have gone with while writing about the movie. Why they haven't sounds a bit strange. Anyway, I 'created' the #LondonHasFallen hashtag (and felt good on creating something) and went ahead with my tweet.

Now, it is the time for my reflections on the movie:

Well,  first of all, the movie is of epic proportions - the kind of destruction, and that too of London, and that too not by supernatural heroes, but by terrorists, is unprecedented.

No other producer or director can think to show London fallen to this extent. No actor can expect that the creative freedom to show destruction can be taken to this extent.

No producer, director or actor can be so unbelievably bold in killing most of important world leaders in one go - an act that #LondonHasFallen does so efficiently.

And where the mastery lies - in the manner all world leaders have shown to be executed - quickly, swiftly (and unbelievably).

The conspiracy has been shown so adept and meticulous that you can see a French President is shown taking waterways to reach London (without the routine entourage and security) or an Italian power couple giggles and ogles from a building and so on.

The meticulousness goes to the next level as the film shows the main protagonist and the side protagonist (here the US President) on the run and terrorists find men and eyes in every part of London virtually hijacking the city - where all layers of defence - aerial or ground forces or from Thames are shown completely fallen - with no trace of their activity.

And when so much of filmmaking talent is oozing here, brimming over, in fact, is spilling over, who cares about CGI or special effects or acting. The epic level of disaster on display takes care of everything. The movie leaves no time to think about storyline, character development or points of logics/ill-logics/bad logics/silly logics/funny logics.

Certainly, the movie that has earned thrice of its budget will remain a 'lone' achiever for the years to come. After all, it is rare to see so much of talent - in acting, directing and cinema-making - coming together on a single platform.

Thanks folks for giving us this filmmaking gem - a class act - like a 'lone wolf' - a study in point - that will be read again and again.

The film should rightly be spelt as 'Lon'e'don' Has Fallen in its respect.

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey -

Monday 25 April 2016


VIP or celebrity brand endorsement is a sensitive issue. And now it is being realized the world over to the extent of enacting legislations. Countries from America to Europe, even China are coming with stringent norms of who can endorse a brand. Even India is moving ahead in this direction positively.

The thrust behind such moves is to safeguard the consumer from misleading advertisements and thus products. On a larger canvas, it is about breach of trust because a consumer decides to buy a product a celebrity endorses based on his trust on the person that he believes reflects in everything associated with him.

That is the underlying common sense wisdom - the commonsense wisdom, that forces global brands to dissociate with brand ambassadors of global fame if something 'not as per the norms' happens - be it Tiger Woods or Lance Armstrong or Oscar Pistorius or even Amitabh Bachchan back home.

They all had negatives happening in their lives when sponsors shunned them - because it would portray their brand in negative hue.

This commonsense wisdom applies on every branding exercise - especially when you are speaking for communities, societies, places or countries - in social spheres - in cultural spheres - in political spheres.

So, when India chooses an Amitabh Bachchan (though Bachchan has denied it now) or a Salman Khan to represent the country (and not some tangible brand) globally, you can only rue about it.

No doubt, Amitabh Bachchan are larger than life film stars in India and they have a sizeable following overseas, even if limited to the Diaspora Indians.

But they have their fair share of controversies.

If Amitabh Bachchan has had controversies like episodes of his political career and Bofors row, his claim to be a farmer to get farming land to tax evasion allegations against him and his name coming up as director in companies in tax havens, as the leaked Panama Papers suggest - Salman Khan is deeply entangled in court cases  - ranging from hit and run killing and maiming people to kill animals to rowdy behaviour on display many times in personal and public life.

And that makes them imperfect for any branding exercise to represent India internationally. It is true that for Indian film industry, there will be no Amitabh Bachchan and Salman Khan and that is uniqueness of their respective brand appeals. But this appeal is restricted to commercial products only.

When it comes to representing India globally through an advertising campaign like the Incredible India, Aamir Khan should come first and not Amitabh Bachchan. Aamir Khan, the previous Incredible India brand ambassador who didn't charge for the campaign, so far has had an impeccable personal and professional life and he is known as a socially conscious fellow.

The denial that has come from Amitabh Bachchan now, after the Panama Papers controversy, should have come earlier, when his names started doing rounds for the next brand ambassador of the Incredible India campaign. That would have enhanced his credibility. But he chosen to remain silent then, for reasons, though we can gauge, only he can clarify.

When it comes to representing India at the Rio Olympics this year, any sporting legend like PT Usha should be considered and not Salman Khan. Appeals like Salman Khan would compensate for popular appeal and youth connect do not hold any ground. Salman Khan was chosen as AIFF (Football) brand ambassador in 2009 but we know nothing has moved on the ground as far as Football's popularity in India is concerned. 

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey -

Sunday 24 April 2016


It was a sceptical smile
Not sure of
Whether to go for it
Or let it pass just like that
Life so far
Had been a tale
Inked and sung
But with long pauses as well
When sentiments betrayed
And trust was treaded
The colour was so dark
That it took years           
To get to that hinge
To see through the layers
Of life and of living
 Yes, smile is liberated again
But scars remain
Reminding of that darkness
And of duplicities
Life inks its tales again
And look for stories
But layers desist pauses now
And when you came here
Promising to stay
It questioned more
Than healing those scars
It’s probably not your fault
But it’s not even mine

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey -

Friday 22 April 2016


‘Let’s do it’ the other day you had decided
When you were left haunted and aggrieved
Pulled down by life’s routine and its uncertainties
Even if still in company of your rebel oddities
The other day when it had climaxed for you
The cacophony and a spilled over moronic virtue
The layers had suddenly lost their identities
Living was being held ransom to vague necessities
The other day when you had found yourself trapped
Into a dark alley of nihilism, and totally gagged
Your voice was lost into voids of nothingness
Your thoughts failed to speak from that mess
The other day when sense had sucked sensibility
And you were in desperate need of some brevity
To breathe free, to see why it had come to this
‘Let’s do it’ was a pledge by a life held in this abyss


©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey -

Thursday 21 April 2016


Two globally accepted power-lists, published by Time and Fortune, two highly influential magazines, both from the stable of same media house  - 'Time 100: The 100 Most Influential People' and 'Fortune's World's Greatest Leaders' - have one thing in common this year - and it will lead to many headlines and analyses, not only in India - but even in the international media.

Narendra Modi is absent from both of them - while he featured on both of them last year.

What does it tell?

We are bound to see debates and discourses on this prospect.

'Time 100 Most Influential People 2016' that came out today is the 2nd list of the year after Fortune's List of '50 World's Greatest Leaders' which came out last month and featured Arvind Kejriwal, and since then Arvind Kejriwal and Aam Aadmi Party are busy taking credit for a successful first year in governance, including the much controversial 'Odd-Even' scheme of traffic rotation.  

In 2015, Narendra Modi was featured in 'Time 100 Most Influential People 2015' list under 'Time 100 Leaders' category and Barack Obama had written a piece on him titled 'India's Reformer-In-Chief'.

This year, in 2016, though there are six Indians in the list, including Raghuram Rajan, a globally renowned economist and RBI chief, who is certainly not on the best terms with the NDA government, there is no Narendra Modi. Other Indians include Google CEO Sundar Pichai, Flipkart founders Sachin Bansal and Binny Bansal, actress Priyanka Chopra and tennis player Sania Mirza.

His absence becomes more noticeable because the important names from the last year's list, i.e., Barack Obama, Vladimir Putin, Xi Jinping, Hillary Clinton, and Angela Merkel, are there in this year's list as well.

Fortune's 'World's 50 Greatest Leaders' list came out last month. It was topped by Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos. Amazon's is the pioneer and the world's biggest retailer of the e-commerce segment and is poised to the take top spot in India. Delhi's chief minister and Narendra Modi's arch-rival Arvind Kejriwal is the only Indian to feature in the list (ranked at 42).

That is not a big deal but it becomes important when we see that Narendra Modi was featured at quite high on this list in 2015 - at 6th spot. Okay, even Barack Obama is not there. But then, he was not there even last year. So, it many depend on the criteria for short-listing used by the magazine. But again, there are many from the last year's list who feature in the list this year as well.  

Narendra Modi's political adversaries would certainly exploit this as a fodder to munch, a trend of prime minister's waning popularity. And it couldn't have come at a worst time than this - today, when the Uttarakhand High Court dealt a body blow to the BJP led Union Government by setting aside the President's Rule in Uttarakhand - using some tough and acidic remarks for the Union Government for sabotaging democratic norms - a historic decision that every democratic soul would love to see ratified by the Supreme Court when the Centre approaches there.

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey -

Wednesday 20 April 2016


What is it about dying in Varanasi (or Banaras or Kashi)?

Death is an event in life that though sums up everything for a life, leaves a lifetime of thoughts and afterthoughts for others who are associated with the departed. It leaves a void that remains there, throughout. The pain, that is unbearable initially, becomes a way of life with time.

That is what happens with death in every normal human life – even for people of this eternal city – one of the oldest living places – a living mix of spirituality, religion and a living weaved around them.

But for people from this eternal city who care to go beyond their routines to know what Varanasi stands for, what Kashi means and why it pulls everyone from across the globe who look for ‘questions into life and death’, death brings more meanings about it than they already know.

For many, death is a way of life in Varanasi. It supports many families. The business of death sustains lives here. And it has continued for generations.

For many, it is the spiritual realization that shows them the way ahead – clearing the clouds of ambiguities and dichotomies. For all Banarasis and many outside the city, dying here, in this city of Lord Shiva, is the ultimate nirvana, a freedom from the cycle of rebirth, the Moksha, the core of Hinduism/Vedanta philosophy.

For Banarasi folks and visitors/tourists/pilgrims, the Lord Shiva, Ganga and death association (The Holy Trinity of Hinduism) with the city and its addresses, especially the Varanasi ghats, including the two eternal cremation ghats, Manikarnika and Harishchandra, are a must visit. Many visitors of the city, in fact, make it a point to spend quality time at these two places while the ordinary Banarasi has countless strolls of them in his lifetime.

For thinking folks, it leaves an indelible impression.

And that imprints an equally indelible reality of death – the only certain event of life.

Sitting at these two ghats makes you feel ‘not low’ but poignant about a life’s uncertainty and its only defined fate – death. One can see through layers of illusions. The introspection and retrospection here, in those moments, are most objective that one can have.

And it all happens wrapped in the fundamental tenet of living – what lies beyond and what goes with you. One doesn’t need to be a sage to ponder over these aspects. The atmosphere there begins the thought process in you.

Visiting Varanasi looking for questions of life or spending time at its round the clock working crematoria doesn’t change the way you live but its changes fundamentally the way you think – that how to sift reality from countless illusions your soul is trapped into. 

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey -

Tuesday 19 April 2016


Acts of political apathy and their cruel symbolisms continue unabated – midst a deepening crisis that has forced thousands of farmers to commit suicide – in one of the worst drought seasons – displacing millions in India internally – in 10 Indian states in North and Central India including parts of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana.

And the problem is only exacerbating with the intensifying heat wave as mercury is soaring up. Heat wave has already claimed many lives in the affected regions.

A case study from Beed in Maharashtra came today where a Class 5th student died while fetching water from hand-pump. According to her family members, she was helping her family to get water and had repeated trips to the hand-pump where she collapsed. Beed in Maharashtra is one of the worst drought affected districts in Maharashtra (and India). In fact, we can say it is another Latur of Maharashtra.

Rather, we should say there are many Laturs in Maharashtra that need comprehensive government intervention to win over this tide of nature’s fury.

But how can we take the government seriously to the extent that all will be set right henceforth – because this nature’s fury is man-made as well?

And to add to the drought of political trust that we have towards our political fraternity, there are continued acts of insensitivity by some of our senior-most politicians – chief-ministers and ministers.

Now, it may be true that these ministers and chief ministers may not be aware that thousands of litres of water was wasted making helipads for them or in makings roads dust-free for them but when it comes to political branding based on symbolism, no one goes into the nitty-gritty of what lies beneath. It’s all about what looks on surface.

And on surface, the message that went was that the political class was not acting proactively to end people’s misery but was rather forced to act because of electoral compulsions – after Eknath Khadse (senior Maharashtra minister), Siddaramaiah (Karnataka chief minister), Akhilesh Yadav (Uttar Pradesh chief minister) and Pankaja Munde (again a senior minister from Maharashtra) were seen wasting water or exploiting their visits to drought hit areas as ‘drought tourism’.

Much has been written about drought in Maharashtra and Uttar Pradesh’s Bundelkhand region with consecutive years of drought. The crisis is also deepening in Karnataka with drought now spread to as many as 19 districts of the state. The politicians should take a cue from Pankaja Munde selfie incident that was otherwise a perfectly normal human response but for a human crisis perpetrated by drought. Pankaja Munde would never have imagined the incident would be painted like this.

But here it is. And so are the helipad incidents related to Eknath Khadse and Akhilesh Yadav or a dust-free road for Siddaramaiah!

In the season of India’s worst drought, it may also lead to a drought of political trust among common men and it should be a clear and present danger for our political class – as every coming year this or that state assembly election or some bye-election or some local body election is due.

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey -

Sunday 17 April 2016


If Eknath Khadse is emblematic of how crassly insensitive our politicians can become, can be, the row over Priyanka Vadras' (or Priyanka Gandhi's) house rent is equally disturbing.

The only thing is, we have forgotten 'getting disturbed' over such 'undemocratic developments'.

Not so long ago, a senior party leader of Congress, the party of Priyanka Gandhi's mother Sonia  Gandhi and her brother Rahul Gandhi, Mr. Kapil Sibal, had taken a house in the same tony location, Jor Bagh, though certainly not as posh and VVIP as Priyanka's house is, and less than half in size, for a whopping monthly rent of Rs. 1600,000 or Rs. 1.92 crore a year.

Now, let's jot down the obvious:

Priyanka Gandhi pays a 'super' subsidized rent of just Rs. 31,300 a month for her Type VI house in Lutyens' Delhi.

The house measures 2765 sqm in size and reports say that no such big house with all its natural extensions like lawns and amenities is available for rent in the area Priyanka's house is located.

If we go by the reports of sky-high rent being paid by Kapil Sibal, the minimum that Priyanka Gandhi needs to pay as rent around Rs. 35 lakh a month. And even then, the rent cannot match house's expanse and location.

Priyanka Gandhi was given this house in 1997 at a monthly rent of around Rs. 53,000. Her request for subsidized rent was accepted in 2002 and her rent was fixed at 8,888 by the then Atal Bihari Vajpayee government. Now, the person who fixed it can only tell us about this interesting combination.

The revelation here is, the loss to the public exchequer since 1997 - because even a rent of Rs. 53,000 a month for a larger than life bungalow in India's most VVIP zone in Delhi, a city where people are cursed to live in cramped houses and flats, was a jaw-opener for anyone - for its sheer meekness.

Let's go by the simple logic - that we common folks have to shell out 10% more every year on our housing rent. That makes it roughly around Rs. 350,000 a month after these 20 years - for Priyanka's Rs. 53,000 in 1997.

Her current house rent of Rs. 31,300 is more or less in line with this 'annual 10% hike' norm. So, it is a direct loss to the public exchequer - running in millions - when India's successive governments have failed to define a proper poverty line in the country  - a political class that still accepts the wisdom of expert panels that find a person above poverty line if he earns Rs. 40 a day or so (Rs. 32 rural and Rs. 47 urban) - even if Rs. 40 cannot earn a decent one time meal on the prevailing market prices.

Like the Bombay High Court said while hearing the petition on water wastage by BCCI on conducting IPL matches in Maharashtra - that it was criminal that BCCI was wasting hundreds of thousands of water in every IPL game when Maharashtra was facing the worst drought of 100 years, when people were not getting water to drink and bathe - this, too, is criminal when poverty, quality literacy, education and healthcare still need critical attention.  

How can this paltry sum be justified by anyone, let alone by the party that has been in power for some 60 years of India's 70 sovereign years?

How can Congress counter this when a simple two bedroom house less than 100 m in size in Delhi costs around Rs. 20,000 in monthly rentals and its goes up to around Rs. 50,000 or so in many upscale areas?

How can Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi justify that Priyanka Gandhi indeed needs a 'super' subsidy for her housing rent when Robert Vadra, her millionaire husband, claims that 'he always had enough and he didn't need Priyanka Gandhi to enhance his life'? 

But nothing will move folks, except some hue and cry. It will die down soon. That is the state of affairs in Indian politics. That is the standard here.

Be it BJP for Eknath Khadse or Congress for Priyanka Gandhi - the colours fade into oneness, the lines blur when it comes to 'certain' political compulsions. It was a BJP government in 2002 that had 'super' subsidized Priyanka Gandhi's housing rent. It was a BJP government that had retained Robert Vadra on 'no frisking VVIP list' at the country's airports in 2014 in spite of strong reservations. It is a BJP government in Maharashtra whose minister has made mockery of farmers' plight by wasting precious water even if his chief minister says in the Bombay High Court that the IPL matches could be taken out of the state to save water.

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey -

Saturday 16 April 2016


They are quite a lot, in our kaleidoscopic politics, be it any party, including its newest entrant, Aam Aadmi Party, though the malaise there has not reached chronic levels.  

In fact, if any factor that has been a constant irony in an otherwise robustly functional Indian democracy, it is about our politics, that has dragged us back, that has let us down.

Yes, there have been and there are good politicians but they have always been a rare breed.

Most have been – like in the category of Eknath Khadse – being parasitic on us – even if we are being forced to die – because our politicians have not been able to take us away from the pangs of an agricultural economy dependent on rains – even if we have seen almost 70 Independence Days.  

When Maharashtra and India are witnessing one of the worst drought years, such apathy, such callousness can only be expected from a politician. Mr. Khadse saw it unfit to take even 40 minutes of road, even if he was rushing to take credit over dead bodies. Yes, Marathwada and Vidarbha crisis is as much man-made and as it is nature inflicted.

IPL was a symbolism. Its court-forced shift from Maharashtra for wasting water in maintain pitches when the state is reeling under severe drought is a lesson for everyone to get back to the business of humanism, to get sensitive to the cries of people dying, to contribute as a social obligation for your place in society.

But who will tell this to our politicians, politicians with their fiefdoms who are as much a culprit as nature in forcing droughts in lives of the common men of this country. The biggest water guzzler in Maharashtra, the sugarcane industry, has names of some of the most prominent Maharashtra politicians as its barons.

Yes, they employ thousands in their factories, but are they beyond this basic tenet of social behaviour – that you have to care for the survival of your fellow human-beings. In fact, it becomes all the more imperative for them to come up with alternatives to compensate for the cruel exploitation of natural resources, in this case water, in a drought year, as they are from the bunch who is entrusted with writing policy guidelines in crisis hours – like the Maharashtra drought of the these days.

But our politicians have made it a habit to fail us, even if we try hard to repose our trust in them.

What Mr. Khadse did was akin to mapping another level of bad politics, something that politicians like Mr. Khadse feel adept at. Books and articles have been written on how a drought is eagerly awaited by bureaucracy and politicians in India – with free flow of resources and credit to exploit.

IPL’s forced shifting from Maharashtra is a defining moment for all of us and Mr.  Eknath Khadse should have thought 100 times before going on his ‘helipad bravado’ that wasted some 10,000 litres of water, 10,000 litres that are lifelines for many families. He could have taken a road journey to receive the water train. Showing a bit of sensitivity would have only helped him in claiming his share of credit in this season of photo-ops, drought-politics (and water politics).

But only if they care! But only if our politicians care for what we think!

To continue.. 

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey -

Friday 15 April 2016


I am a city, your city
Whether you came to my life
Or I became a part of you
It is not just about that
Even after a distance of years
It seems
We have stayed back there
For each other, waiting
For that relaxed evening
When we would sit together
With Ganga
And would talk to thoughts
If you look for me
I, too, call for you
Yes, if I am incomplete
I am complete as well
I think so when I feel
I don’t find a companion
Like you in my lanes anymore
Meeting you was like
A daily event in life
You left
But the connect remained
To revive that feeling again
I am a city
Once involved in your life
Residing in your heart
We both seek
Those moments now
And life in those evenings.. 

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey -

मैं एक शहर हूँ, तुम्हारा ही हूँ..

मैं एक शहर हूँ, तुम्हारा ही हूँ
तुम मेरी जिंदगी में आये थे
या मैं तुम्हारा हिस्सा बन गया
बात सिर्फ इतनी सी नहीं है
इतने बरसों की की दूरी के बाद भी
लगता है
हम दोनों एक दूसरे के लिए ठहर गए हैं
एक दूसरे के इंतज़ार में
के कब वो पुराने दिनों का साथ
फिर से सुकून भरी शाम ले आये
वो गंगा का साथ और ख्यालों से बात
तुम मुझे खोजते हो
तो मैं भी तो तुम्हे बुलाता हूँ
हाँ मैं अधूरा भी हूँ, और पूरा भी
ये मैं सोचता भी हूँ, और नहीं भी
जब तुम सा कोई हमसाया
मेरी गलियों में दिखाई नहीं देता
और तुमसे तो रोज़ का मिलना था
तुम गए पर साथ न गया
एक रिश्ता जो रह गया
फिर से वो एहसास जिन्दा करने को
के मैं एक शहर हूँ
जो तुम्हारी जिंदगी में शामिल था
जो तुम्हारे दिल में बसता था
हम दोनों ही उन पलों को ढूंढते हैं अब
बस तो अब उस दिन का इंतज़ार है
जो हमें हमारी शाम फिर से दे जाये..

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey -