ArpitGarg's Weblog

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Archive for February 2016

Budget 2016: Course correction from Modi Govt

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budget-2016.jpgI have been critical regarding the fiscal policies of Modi Govt. But this budget is a course correction and aims to fulfill poll promises. Personally for me this budget brings nothing to the table, but I am not the electorate that any party worries about anyways.

Small taxpayers have been benefitted. There is no change in Tax Slabs but small taxpayers have been benefitted via other means. That means higher taxpayers are excluded of any benefit, a popular move in sync with poll promises.

A great step for farmers and rural India, who voted en masse for Modi. Irrigation fund, Organic farming, soil health cards. Govt. has aimed to double farmer’s income in 5 years and have set aside money for that. Gram Sadak Yojana, Fasal Bima Yojana another one for the silent majority of our country.

Middle class will not be too much enthused by this budget and BJP might feel the wrath of their agony in coming elections. Maybe not that much as I think middle class vote is more than secured for BJP due to lack of alternatives.

There is a big push on construction which helps everyone from low wage labor to home buyers. I have liked the budget as far as I have seen. Will try and do a detailed study when I get time. But it’s a thumbs up from me to Modi and Jaitley. They have done a course correction after couple of embarrassing drubbing in Delhi and Bihar.

Written by arpitgarg

February 29, 2016 at 3:31 pm

Posted in Political

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ढाई किलो आलू और प्याज

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भूख लगी मुझे आधी रात को,
सोचा रसोई में रखा हो कुछ,
नहीं मिला कुछ, पड़ा था बस,
ढाई किलो आलू और प्याज।

नींद भी थी और भूख भी थी,
कुछ मिल जाए जल्दी से बस,
पेट की आग बुझाएं कैसे ये,
ढाई किलो आलू और प्याज।

कुकर चढ़ाने को हुआ जो मैं,
देखा कि थी सीटी नदारद,
खाना नहीं मिल पायेगा आज,
ढाई किलो आलू और प्याज।

छीलूं कैसे अब आलू को मैं,
चाकू कहीं जो मुझे न मिलता,
थक गए पेट के चूहे भी नाच,
ढाई किलो आलू और प्याज।

कच्ची प्याज ही खा जाऊं क्या?
ऊपर से पी पानी भर गिलास,
इस व्यंजन पर मुझे नहीं है नाज,
ढाई किलो आलू और प्याज।

बनाऊं दो प्याज़ा या आलू दम,
भूख नहीं दिख रही होती कम,
कुछ है गड़बड़, गहरा है राज,
ढाई किलो आलू और प्याज।

मुहँ में पानी, महक और स्वाद,
मेरे अंदर का भुक्कड़ मुखर,
सपने भी आते खाने के अब,
ढाई किलो आलू और प्याज।

Written by arpitgarg

February 21, 2016 at 2:40 am

Posted in Hindi, Poetry

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Pope just Trumped himself

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I don’t really like to go after religious figures as faith of a lot of people is concerned. But when Pope Francis on his visit to Mexico took a dig at Donald Trump by saying, “A person who thinks only about building walls, wherever they may be, and not building bridges, is not Christian”, I couldn’t but feel amused.

I have studied in a Christian missionary school for 12 years and have a lot of regard for the faith. But this one was hilarious. More than anyone Christians should be offended by what Pope just said. In fact Pope’s reflection in the mirror should be offended by the man. It was a self-goal. Before I begin, have a look at the image below.


You see a sanctuary surrounded by end to end wall, that’s the Vatican City, where Pope lives. It is the place of Christian faith. I have been there once and it’s majestic. But for Pope to question walls, reeks of bad judgement. To be fair he was just trying to be good to his hosts, the Mexicans, who have taken quite a beating from Trump of late.

Vatican City is 110 acres of walled enclave. And to me it’s fine. But Pope’s blooper seemed to have left a lot of his follower’s red faced. They are having hard time justifying the Vatican wall. In a bid to out-wit Trump, Pope has just Trumped himself here. Well happens to the best of us.

Written by arpitgarg

February 19, 2016 at 3:52 am

पूछो तो बतला दूँ मैं

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घुट घुट कर के जीना जैसे,
छुप छुप कर के रोना है,
पा कर सबकुछ खोना क्या?
पूछो तो बतला दूँ मैं।

आहट की राहत है क्या,
उसके चौखट पे आने की,
आँखों पे नमी की चादर क्यों?
पूछो तो बतला दूँ मैं।

बदल करवटें कटती रतियाँ,
पलछिन, लगे जैसे सदियाँ,
आवाज क्यों अटकी हलक तले?
पूछो तो बतला दूँ मैं।

खोजा तुझे मैंने कहाँ कहाँ,
बनके फ़कीर माँगा करता,
दिल बन पत्थर टूटा कैसे?
पूछो तो बतला दूँ मैं।

मैं सिसक सिसक के रोया हूँ,
पर आसूँ न आने दिए कभी,
क्या कसम तेरी मैं खा बैठा?
पूछो तो बतला दूँ मैं।

न दवा मिले, न दुआ सरे,
अंतर्मन अलग ही सुलग रहा,
है दर्द भरा क्या मन में मेरे?
पूछो तो बतला दूँ मैं।

शून्य को बैठा रहा ताक,
नापाक हुआ, न रहा पाक,
जो मन में दबाये बैठा हूँ,
पूछो तो बतला दूँ मैं।

Written by arpitgarg

February 19, 2016 at 1:53 am

Posted in Hindi, Love, Poetry

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Emotional Weakness: It’s a disease

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emotional.jpgIt’s a disease, It’s a disease. I have an epiphany. My whole life has not been my own life. I have never lived it on my own terms. I was led by a disease. I am an emotional fool. It’s one of the worst diseases out there. Scientists have not been able to find a cause for it and are years from a cure.

This disease, take over your mind and shrouds your judgement. It defines everything you do. It hypnotizes you to make you believe you are the master of your life, but you aren’t. A devil that is always on your back, whispering into your brain. It makes you weak, not kill you, but makes you want to die sometimes.

During tough times, this disease eats up your emotional immunity and shatters you. And it’s next to impossible to diagnose. You feel like you are doing what you believe in. You think you are doing what is right. But no, they are just the symptoms.

So what can you do? You can only take precautions. It’s a genetic disease, imbibed to your DNA. You can only suppress it once you know you have it and are strong enough to fight it. Never take snap decisions when in serious situations. You think you are doing what is correct. Maybe it is, maybe it not. But it is the disease that makes you take the instant decision. Ride it out for a while depending on the situation. Sometimes few hours, few days, few weeks. It lets the emotional fever subside and then you can take a rational decision.

I have struggled my whole life due to this. Recently I have been able to diagnose it. As a first step, I admit to myself that I have a disease. I have promised myself that I will fight and win over it. Don’t want to be the one that destroys myself.

Written by arpitgarg

February 18, 2016 at 12:01 am

Posted in Personal

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Trump Rhetoric: Vibrant Democracy

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trump.jpgThere has been a lot of hullabaloo in international media about a phenomenon called Donald Trump. Indian media has called him names; UK went ahead and had a discussion in the parliament deriding Trump. Gulf countries are too appalled by his rhetoric.

I have a different take on this. I believe Trumps rhetoric strengthens the democracy. Don’t start scoffing. Let me explain. First of all I don’t believe democracy has fulfilled why it was conceived. There is no power to people. Money abuse and Corruption has kept power in the hands of top few, both in US (oldest democracy) and India (biggest democracy). Do I have an alternative proposal to democracy? No. At this point we have live with it, but it has not functioned well.

Stating my lack of fondness with Democracy let me explain why I believe Trump’s rhetoric augurs well with it in its current form. After all what is Democracy? Power to people. When power goes to people to elect a leader, run their country, they will choose whoever they like. Now who will the people like? One they understand and who they think will do good for them and the nation. If people are supporting Trump, it means they like what he is saying. In the sense he is mirroring people’s views. Isn’t this what Democracy is?

Now one can argue, if it’s a correct thing for people to choose Trump. Are people doing the right thing? It would be calling the judgement of people in question. This will be to question the concept of Democracy itself. Remember, Power to People!

So you can question if Democracy is good or bad that is letting such a rhetoric from Trump flow. But what Trump is doing is a sign of vibrant Democracy. In the same vein, people berating Trump are also sign of bubbling Democracy.

No Harm, No Foul!

Written by arpitgarg

February 16, 2016 at 6:27 pm

Posted in Political

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JNU: No To Politics but Yes to Dissent

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sedition.jpgI have been very vocal against politics and strikes in Colleges and Universities across India. Specially when they are being subsidized by the taxpayers. Education and not politics should be mantra in Campus. If education is hampered, it erodes the nation building.

There are a lot of ways to control politics. Student body elections can be abolished. If not, then students getting only Top 1% marks should be allowed to contest student body elections. This will incentivize students to study more, if they want to run for elections. And there are numerous methods by which politics in Colleges can be controlled so that Education stays Supreme.

At the same time, I am also an advocate for dissent at Colleges, if students do not cause physical harm to anyone. What has become of JNU over the years is a mockery of Education. But there is a reason why Police do not enter Colleges and College authorities are the first responders and adjudicator for most issues.

College is a place where most students are developing their identities and gathering their beliefs. College years are the formative years when students search for what they want to be. Students decide what they want to become in life, they decide their political ideology, they decide which economic school of thought they want to follow etc. Students become part of heated debates; dissents etc. to open up their thoughts, get 360 degree view and enhance their understanding in life.

If students at JNU were in touch with sleeper cells or Hafeez Saeed then it is one thing, but the anti-national slogans by students does not mean sedition. They are coming to know of most things that were not known to them. They are understanding the concept of nation, democracy and many are struggling to decide what they believe in. It is an internal upheaval which they are going through. Do I support anti-India slogan. No. But I don’t think it should be sedition for students. To disagree with the Democracy, Constitution and our Nation is also a democratic right. More so for students for whom these are years to explore these concepts.

If there is a proof that students were colluding with terrorists, please take action and put them behind bars. But if it’s a case of slogans and dissent, I would rather say no to police action. Our constitution of which I am great believer, allows us the right not to have faith in it. Not having faith is not akin to committing a crime. Anti-national slogans should not be akin to sedition. Not at least at College Campuses.

Suppressing the peaceful dissent is akin to saying we live in a perfect world with no room for improvement. It’s akin to destroying the space for discourse.

Written by arpitgarg

February 16, 2016 at 5:46 pm

Why I like US Presidential Election Debates

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debate.jpgIt’s that time of the year again. In US, the primaries are going on to elect respective party nominee for Presidential Election in November. US elect president directly unlike India where MP’s are elected and then they choose a PM from among themselves.

What I like about US system is the Presidential Election Debates. Candidates come together for televised debates. They present their view and are questioned by other candidates. These debates bring out the real inside the candidate. In India we don’t even know what the projected PM really is. They just do election rallies, where they speak one way with no one to question them.

In US Presidential Election Debates, they are brought to shreds. Their policies, beliefs, everything is dissected. They are made to answer what they stand for. This helps people choose a nominee. But what it does most importantly is, take off the masks. Candidates can’t hide behind a well organized media campaign, they are left to defend for themselves.

This election season, which is unique for US in a lot of ways. Frontrunners for both Democrats and Republicans are people who criticize their own party and party men. Unlike earlier, there is a race to project oneself as an outsider. And debates let them do it better.

Debates help admit old mistakes and set the history straight. But for these debates, Republicans would not have accepted that Iraq war was a mistake. They would never have admitted that current ISIS grew out of that mistake. They would never have admitted that country is under 19 trillion dollars of debt. They would never have admitted that American Dream for Americans is dead and need to be revived. Debates helps admit and address.

I have always believed a leader should be a good negotiator. When you are on an international stage, a lot of deals are broken just based on the body language and talks. Here is where the debates are helpful to filter.

Also it’s too much fun to watch elders taking each other for the cleaners.

Written by arpitgarg

February 16, 2016 at 2:24 pm

Gandhi: To be or not to be

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gandhi.jpgLet’s go back to Circa of Aug 1947, when India got Independence. A new republic was born. And there was one man, Mahatma Gandhi around whom the freedom struggle was fought. There has been a debate over the years about Gandhi, what he did and his legacy.

Fortunately I have been brought up with both sides of the spectrum. My Maternal Grandfather (Nanaji) was a freedom fighter who fought alongside Gandhi. My Paternal Grandfather (Dadaji) was a businessman. Both had differing views when it came to Gandhi. Nanaji was a Gandhian in spirit and in practice. He had a big framed photo of Gandhi in his room. He praised Gandhi a lot for what he did for the freedom of the country. “Desh ko ajaadi dilwayi Gandhiji ne”, he often said proudly. He also related me stories as to how the freedom fighters were tortured in jails during British time.

Dadaji had a family business. According to him, life pre and post 1947 was poles apart. He was no fan of Gandhi. No so much for his role in freedom struggle. But what happened post that. Nehru was the damnation which led to destruction of the nation. Steep inflation and rise in crime rate were two things that he saw soon after Independence. “Son, there was a leadership deficit. He made Nehru PM, who had no plan at all. No plan at all”, he told me. Dadaji was not a political person, just a common man. “Ghee, Dal, Atta ka bhaav aasman choo gaya. Chori chakari, aam baat ho gayi. Angrezon ke jamaane mein yeh sab nahin tha. Kya faida hua?”, he often lamented.

They both were good and honorable man who never tried to impress these views on other people. This is what they thought and told to people who came to have a chat. I think both were true in their own regard. Gandhi was a unifier who brought a fractured nation together against British. At the same time, we all know how that freedom withered away with rampant poverty, corruption and breakdown of law of order.

Disclaimer: These are from my childhood memories to the best of my recollection.

Written by arpitgarg

February 16, 2016 at 2:24 pm

How PC culture has destroyed our Culture

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pc.jpgOver the years I have struggled with the PC Culture of being Politically Correct in what you say. When I saw politicians doing rampant corruption on the one hand but being praised in media for being PC, I was left puzzled. Discussions were more on what people said, than what they have done. And I never really was comfortable with this.

We have almost become a nation where media and elite hypnotize common people into believing this too. It’s like if you say, “We should not throw trash on roads”, you are a good man. It doesn’t matter if in reality you do throw trash on roads. Just say what is PC.

I think PC culture has destroyed our Culture completely. What PC does is to take you away from reality and not admit that there is a problem. If you don’t admit to a problem, you cannot address it ever. And that is what is happening.

The biggest of the PC was not addressing the rise of extremism. We have become an extremist country in how we think; there is a lot of anger simmering within. For last 20 years, we were too PC to admit to the rise of Islamic extremism. This led to the resentment and have exploded as Hindu fanaticism.

Our being PC has led to what we are saying today. We ignored the rise of extremism in our colleges, in our society; we let in illegal immigrants and were too afraid to admit it was even happening. One thing is very important here, it is mostly the affluent of the society who tends to be PC. And they are ones who are driving the policies.

There is a lot of resentment among common man against PC culture and has led to the regime change in 2014. People want food, jobs, security. PC culture prevents it from happening. Todays corrupt are too PC. They never say a bad thing. They only do bad things. Hence Modi/Kejriwal are berated for using bad words. But people who do bad deeds are celebrated for being PC.

As they say, you cannot fool all the people, all the time. Time for the demise of PC is here.

Written by arpitgarg

February 16, 2016 at 1:14 pm

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