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An Indian’s Choice of First 20 Smart Cities January 29, 2016

Posted by simarp in : India , add a comment

Just being Indian, I would’ve loved to see these twenty cities as the first 20 smart cities in India. No religious, no political, only an understanding of what may work best for India has guided me to put this list on my blog.   These cities can act as counter magnets and also would cover and develop skills for all kind of cities.

  1. Srinagar – This city has least grown in last 30 years, need to bring it up to speed and take it ahead of others.
  2. Tirupati – Look at amount of people who go there every year. Exposure to people from all over India on how a smart city works would encourage others to take initiative in their cities too.
  3. Chandigarh – Fairly smart, serves as a hub to three states.
  4. Delhi East (NO, I stay in Delhi west :) – This is the worst Delhi among 4 broad zones, barts of it are probably among the worst in India. Bringing it up as a role model is needed and would be a huge learning curve for concept of smart cities.
  5. Gurgaon – Among all new cities. this one is most broken and most inspirational. Making Gurgaon work would mean giving India a global image.
  6. Ajmer – Again it is people and people from all walks of life and all religions, lot of transit population and a historic city to boot.
  7. Gwalior – Small city, great opportunity, can be a counter magnet to Delhi in its own small way.
  8. Varanasi -  oldest living city in the world and the city which has given us a Prime Minister.
  9. Agra – If Agra works smartly, it can pull 20+ million global tourists on its own.
  10. Gaya – Let the Japanese come, let the Chinese come, let Buddhists from all over the world see this city as their spiritual capital.
  11. Darjeeling – Tea tourism can bring wealth and lift up this whole region, specifically Sikkim and north Bengal.
  12. Shillong – Beauty of this city and the opportunities to make it happen are immense, the Cherry Blossoms need to be seen.
  13. Naya Raipur – A brand new city, a brand new capital – if it made smart now, it will grow very fast.
  14. Vishakapatnam – How do we manage our coasts, this can be the show window.
  15. Mangalore – What is Karnataka without Bangalore? Let Managlore develop as a food hub and recreation hub not only for the messed up Bangalore but also act as a counter magnet to it.
  16. South Goa – Preserve pristine beaches and make it an elite tourism destination and a big money earner for the state.
  17. Gandhi Nagar – A city which refuses to happen and is always playing a second fiddle to Ahmadabad.
  18. Kochi – Did I hear somebody say PPP, this is where it will come and grow.
  19. Portblair – Not many know it is India’s outpost in the Indian Ocean. Let us get Singaporeans, Malaysians, Indonesians make it their favourite destination to explore the Andamans.
  20. Madurai – Has potential to develop around the whole of south south of India.

 

 

 

 

Aam Aadmi Party Must Dodge A Scoial Media Disaster in Punjab? January 14, 2016

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It looks like that  Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) is doing a tactical blunder by giving importance to Arvind Kejriwal over the spirit of AAP. In Punjab and in all other states, what AAP needs to sell is AAP as a concept and not Arvind Kejriwal. Arvind Kejriwal is sold and sold well. He cannot be CM of 10 or 20 states. Overselling Arvind Kejriwal is going to damage AAP, exactly in the same way overselling Narendra Modi damaged BJP in Delhi and Bihar and also to a large extent in Maharashtra and Jammu and Kashmir. In J&K if BJP would’ve projected a Muslim CM candidate from day one and in Mahasrhtra Devendra Fadnavis, game would have been very different. Even in Delhi had they opted for a local BJP leader, for that matter even Vijay Goel, they would have performed better.

#HopeofPunjabKejriwal is a brain damaged #tag. Instead of this they must consider #AAPDaPunjab. Everyone knows that it is not going to be Kejriwal who is going to run Punjab, sp why project him larger than the party.  If AAP has to replicate BJP’s mistakes on social media, it will get the same result. If they project Sucha Singh Chottepur or Bhagwant Maan, it would create a very strong wave in favor of AAP, both are CM material and well respected in the state. Both have worked very hard since they got elected as MPs. They can even think of some other candidates who could be the face of AAP for Punjab. In the run up to the elections, Arvind Kejriwal must consider leaving post of Delhi CM and Getting Manish Sisodia to run Delhi. This would have a mind blowing Social Media impact and would put him at par with Narendra Modi Ji or even ahead of him in Social Media warfare. AAP must also consider pushing a CMDelhi Twitter account and FB account completely independent of Arvind Kejriwal. That account can later in the day be utilized to position new CM.

Social Media is a 100x Chessboard, if you don’t keep backups, game is over before it has started. The way AAP is currently handling its social media, it looks highly influenced by BJP’s strategy which was initially put in place, that strategy is no longer working for BJP hence has no chance to work for AAP. AAP must develop a strategy around itself, keeping its constraints in mind. AAP needs to be less vulnerable and more encompassing.Congress has tried to counter BJP but has failed misreably, AAP has had tremendous success so far, but it may run out of luck if it runs out of sensibilities.

AAP also needs to project itself as more inclusive, which is a surprise anyway and may not have been a need if SM would have been inclusive as the party claims itself to be.

Let us wrap up Nehru, once and for all January 13, 2016

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Looks like someone in the Government sincerely said that we must look at folding up or renaming or re-positioning all Government organizations, establishments and autonomous bodies associated with Nehru-Gandhi family. The work has started in all earnest. 2.5 lakh Nehru Yuva Kendras are being repackaged. The repackaged Nehru Yuva Kendras would have Vivekananda’s soul and Pandit Nehru’s body. Yes, I reconfirmed that is what the new packaging is all about. So Pandit Nehru’s soul has a challenge bigger than how he looked, looks are OK, soul is not. Interesting! India is being divided, in a subtle manner, Pandit Nehru’s legacy is being contained by his being a Congress party representative and  Swami Vivekananda’s legacy is being claimed by BJP as one of its own. Rani Laxmi Bai, Shaheed Bhagat Singh & Chandarshelhar Azad are all being claimed by BJP. To add to the secular flavor, BJP is claiming legacy of Ashfaqullah Khan also. I am sure someone was sitting with a checklist:

Multiple Hindus? Done Sir.

One Muslim? Done Sir.

One Sikh? Done Sir.

One Hindu Women? Done Sir.

No Christian? Right Sir.

The way India is running now, we are inventorying almost everything and dividing it. Amazing, how tolerant we as a nation are.

Next in the line can be Jawharlal Nehru Stadium, now the body would remain Pandit Nehru’s but soul may belong to Rajvardhan Singh Rathore, of course all those who are alive can keep some of their soul with them and lend the remaining for a noble cause, and here is no need to even claim, he is a BJP man anyway.

Jawharlal Nehru University can do with the soul of Dinanath Batra (same way Batra Ji can keep some of his soul for remaining years), the legendary Shiksha Bachao Andolan Samiti  founder, after all he succeeded in convincing Penguin to pulp Wendy Doniger’s, The Hindus: An Alternative History.

We must also consider Nehru Park in Delhi, can it have the soul of Nathuram Godse?

Jawhar Vyapaar Kendra would do much better with the soul & spirit of Dhirubhai Ambani.

While we are at it, Jawharlal Nehru Port Trust (JNPT) can get soul of Bangaru Laxman, his soul must have stopped searching itself any more.

This is an enriching exercise, identify an organization, park, city, auditorium, stadium, hospital, airport, seaport – whatever which has a government connection and Nehru in its name and bring in a new soul. Why develop a new institution, just replace the soul, brilliant, quick easy and tremendous mileage and good business. Only sending one photograph to each of the 2,50,000 Nehru Yuva Kendras is a business of minimum 50 Crores. Helps printers and art-framers, raises employment. Moreover the government is sure that there won’t be any corruption scandals or mishaps or delays which creating a new institution must live with.

Once they are done with keeping Jawhar Lal Nehru’s body and replacing his soul in over 500 institutions, buildings, roads, ports and awards, they can start on Indira Gandhi and once done with replacing Indira Gandhi’s soul they can focus on replacing  Rajiv Gandhi’s soul. Between these three around 5,000 + institutions & roads can have new souls. Lot of work for a government to do in four years. They would have to be careful to keep Sanjay Gandhi’s soul intact, his soul has no issues as its soul keeper Maneka Sanjay Gandhi is a revered BJP Minister.

Great! Wrongs can only be done right by doing more wrongs. Brilliant! Lesson learned. India is a great and progressive country where there is no victimization and new development begins from renaming, new letter heads and new photographs.

 

 

It is in BJP’s Interest To Not Join Mehbooba Mufti’s Government January 11, 2016

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I don’t believe in building suspense. For me it is is important to let the conclusion be known first so as those who have time to read me know whether it is worth a read or not.

I am sure it is in BJP’s interest to not be a part of Mehbooba Mufti’s Government in Jammu and Kashmir. This would allow them to play their Hindu card in UP elections and at the same be seen as victims despite trying to form a secular government with PDP.  Mehbooba Mufti is as right-winger Islamist as BJP’s spiritual master RSS is a right-winger Hindutva organization. Sooner or later this political equation has to collapse, if it collapses now it is a blessing in disguise for them. With no baggage of having an alliance with a radical Muslim party they can plan and do their calculations for Kerala, Tamilnadu, West Bengal and Uttar Pradesh. In all the four states BJP stands to gain without PDP. With PDP they are bound to suffer and many BJP supporters may not step out to vote at all.

Further BJP can start an agitation for a Jammu autonomous region within J&K with its own local government, which they are sure to start with, maybe they can even consider bifurcation of J&K into three states. If all goes well they can run Jammu & Ladakh both. Staying with Mehbooba Mufti is a big liability and her every speech is going to hurt them more. Mufti Saheb’s funeral exposed lack of people’s will, wish and blessings or PDP-BJP alliance. This is no rocket science and Mehbooba Mufti is bound to get very aggressive over next few months to protect her radical Muslim vote-bank.  Once that starts happening it will be impossible for BJP to escape from owning responsibility for what all is going majorly wrong with the state.   Moreover the way things are, number and intensity of attacks in Jammu region are likely to significantly mover up the danger zone. With BJP in power as a partner, it would be responsible for the attacks and if there is a double digit or a triple digit loss of Hindus, almost all the four states would see BJP suffering badly.

BJP has made a point by forming a Government in J&K and not being untouchable for almost anybody in the political system, except left, now is the time for it to book profits and move on.

Ajit Doval and The Art of Political Negotiations January 11, 2016

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Those who are claiming that Ajit Doval messed up Pathankot either have a vested interest or just don’t understand how political negotiations work. I can’t help about those who have vested interests but this is how political negotiations work – Doval is a keen exponent of the famed Chanakya Niti/Policy of “Saam Daam Dand Bhed”.

Saam stands for asking, suggesting and cajoling.

Daam is all about buying the other person out, you can say bribing in contemporary terms or settling it financially. It can also be defined as Carrot from Carrot & Stick approach.

Dand/Dund   means to make someone pay for it punish for the act they have done. Stick from the carrot & stick approach.

Bhed is blackmailing or exploiting weakness of the other after researching the same and using it as a currency.

If one looks at Doval’s career graph it is dotted with known and speculated instances of Saam, Daam, Dand & Bhed and at times a mixture of those and seamless movement between those. He uses all the four on the basis of personal assessment of what is likely to work best. Unverified reports suggest that Doval has had a role to play in all negotiations of Indian Airlines/ Air India hijacking during his tenure, some specialization.  Ajit Doval is also often criticized for not succeeding in getting Dawood Ibrahim despite being undercover  for several years, but one can’t blame him for not trying hard enough. But then his execution of Chanakya Niti has displayed far more successes than failures.

The only other parallel of Chanakya Niti during my lifespan has been Dhirubhai Ambani, he used it to his benefit and also of benefit of his shareholders by default. Who was better is not a question at all, Ajit Doval used his skills for his country and Ambani used it for himself, so not comparison there.

 

SpiceJet and Systems January 10, 2016

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I am not very fond of SpiceJet but this time I liked the way their systems worked. On January 8th all flights from Delhi were getting cancelled, the airport was fogged out, but SpiceJet kept in touch with its passengers. Flight kept on getting rescheduled and messages reaching with sufficient time window to decide whether to leave for the airport or cancel. Our flight departed 5 hours late and I am told that we were lucky that we had opted for SpiceJet as others had cancelled lot of flights. SpiceMax is a good feature and value for money. You get snacks plus additional leg space for Rs 500.00 works.

On our way back there were no SMS messages, we were wondering whether the flight is going at all or not. We were told that their automated systems trigger in only if the flight is getting delayed, if the flight on schedule they don’t even  send one message, it is part of their low cost approach to business. Works.  Turnaround time was real short at the airport and aircraft was fairly clean for next “load”.

I am pleasantly surprised at real quick recovery of the airline and on time return flight. Crew was friendly and food was OK. Of course Indigo food options remain the best, but SpiceJet is fast catching up.

I am sure to consider SpiceJet as an option every time I fly again. It makes me wonder if SpiceJet could be saved, why no one came forward to save  Kingfisher Airlines, they were much better in service and were a great brand too. Maybe there was something seriously wrong with them which made them not worthy of a turnaround.

 

 

Incredible India and Aamir Khan January 7, 2016

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If you are endorsing a product, you can’t be belittling it.

And, if you belittle it you can’t expect your masters to keep you as a brand ambassador.

Even if you do something inadvertently which questions that brand or damages it, the least you can do it is to voluntarily offer to disassociate yourself from it. If the brand owners  believe in you still, good for you and if they don’t, feel sorry and be careful next time.  You can never betray what feeds you. Simple. Straight. Unambiguous.

Brands are difficult to create and brands are known by the attributes of its ambassadors. In case of Incredible India there were lot of brand adjustments and compromises made to link up Aamir Khan with Incredible India. Also tons of money was paid for the same, Aamir Khan was engaged for the edge he had displayed in the past. It is that edge which got him the job, so that edge becomes non-negotiable attribute and he has to protect that. In going aloud with his intolerance statement, though it was not as much of it, he compromised that edge, the edge of his credibility, the edge of his commitment and the edge of his professional ethics. These compromises are big compromises. I think he underestimated people’s intolerance level towards these statements, well meaning or not, this is where he lost his edge. He also underestimated reactions to the religion he is perceived to follow and association with statements he made.

If he was not associated with Incredible India he had no duty and obligation to protect that brand, as he was associated, it was a role he didn’t play well. So, he had to be punished.

Hope celebrities learn that endorsing a brand brings in money and responsbilities both, they just can’t keep the money and wish away the responsbilities.

 

Whose National Anthem Is It Anyway? January 7, 2016

Posted by simarp in : India , 2comments

If you are thinking whether to stand during National Anthem or whether to sing along or not while the National Anthem is being played, you have a challenge of patriotism anyway.  Definitely you are not secular in your mindset and definitely you have some lack of clarity about where your responsibilities to your religion and your nation overlap. Your religion has to be independent of your National responsibilities or duties and vice-versa.

If you don’t get pride by singing National Anthem, it is time for you to move to a country whose anthem inspires you. To me India’s National Anthem has played a key role in shaping my patriotism and love for my nation. It tells me that we are a historically connected and culturally co-joined nation. It tells me that as a nation we walk together and succeed together.  It also tells me how it is possible to write in a language which is largely made up of common words in all languages of India.  National Anthem is in  Bangla and Sanskrit and the words stitched together have the same meaning across our nation.

In my humble opinion. There is nothing in National Anthem which can offend anybody’s religious beliefs, however if someone really feels that the Anthem does, he or she must look for a country whose Anthem is in sync  with their religious priorities. Till they find a country to call their own, they  can continue respecting their host country’s Anthem and standing for it. They mustn’t oppose it, disrupt it or walk-out. That is a big no and that hurts those to the core who are one with the nation and its Anthem.

Pathankot Attack or India Under Attack January 2, 2016

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We look at terror with a very myopic vision in India, we see an attack at an Air Base in Pathankot as a Pathankot Attack. The whole media, the whole Twitterati are talking about Pathankot, where is Pathankot? Pathankot is in India. It is India under attack and not Pathankot or India’s part of Punjab. We belittle our own soldiers when we do not go all out in our condemnation.

It is so sad that Honorable PM of India who is otherwise hyper-active on Twitter chooses silence when chips are really down. What was wrong in his connecting with people the minute the attack happened by saying,  this is unacceptable and instructing Nawaz Sharif to hold his men. At the same time the PM of India must check with BSF and armed forces on what all more can be done to stop infiltration from across the border.

Our media needs to be pulled up for writing “4 terrorists and 2 soldiers killed” in one sentence. Our soldiers have not been killed, they have been murdered inside their home. When would our media get it, we don’t know.

I, personally, still feel that our PM stopping by at Lahore was a good gesture, it is gestures like this which allow for hope to live. At the same time, it is also important that we must show our resentment in unlimited measures too. We must demand that Pakistan hands over families of these terrorists to India for interrogation. We must up the ante. We must demonstrate our capabilities by ensuring that Minar-e-Pakistan is all plastered with down with terrorism slogans and an Indian hand is visible. We must demonstrate our strength by hosting a Government of Baluchistan in Exile in India and allow that Government to have its first Embassy/ High Commission in India.

India needs will. And it needs it now.

 

 

Congress was amply rewarded for 1984 Anti-Sikh Pogrom November 29, 2015

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There is a lot of talk today about ‪#‎IndiaIsTolerant‬ & ‪#‎IntoleranceRising‬, two tweets or comments later I am reminded of 1984 and asked, “have you forgotten what Congress did to Sikhs?” The intent of the other person is to play then&now or some crazy game, but he/she touches an open wound and it is blood flowing all over again. I have an answer, once or twice I have managed courage to share it, most often I just say that you can’t even force my dead body to vote for Congress.

Here is my answer.
Yes it pains, what Congress engineered was horrendous and the fact that it has gone unpunished and in the process making a whole community of lions and princesses at times wonder, where the lions are? But the pain doesn’t end there, it just begins, the blood has just started flowing.

The worst for Sikhs and Secular India didn’t end on November 5th, a big hole in secular fabric of India emerged. Elections were announced and Congress mobilized huge rallies to share how “Sikh Guards” killed Indira Gandhi and worked to divide the society on religious grounds. Every evening on Government Controlled Door Darshan television, leader after leader, unabashedly talked about “Crime committed by Sikhs” and how “Sikhs were dully punished”.

Shame for India, they succeeded. Rajiv Gandhi’s “theory” that “when a giant tree falls….” was vindicated. Delhi, where the worst massacres happened, rewarded him with all 7 seats. Yes, rewarded, that is the word, that is the blood, that is the pain, that is the trauma. Haryana gave him all 10. Himachal all 4 and Uttar Pradesh 83 out of 85 seats.

Democracy did win that day, but it was at the cost of secularism, inclusiveness, and legitimacy of anti-Sikh pogrom. There was no rigging, the mood of the nation was that what happened to Sikhs was deserved by them and now we should move on. With 404/533 seats, Congress and Rajiv Gandhi had no reason to think about Sikhs, the “nation” was with them. That is the pain which lingers and even if a day comes when justice prevails, this pain still won’t ebb.

I ask myself, if it was why not then why now? Then who were all those people who gave Congress 404 seats. Who stamped Congress & Rajiv Gandhi’s Pogrom against Sikhs as legit? Blood oozes and pain lingers.