Chanakya’s New Manifesto by Pavan K.Verma-A Book Review

The Republic of India was born on 26th January 1950 after Hindustan gained independence on 15th August 1947. These two marvelous events are the important highlights of India’s history, results of a exhaustive meticulously fought revolution. Jump to modern day India. We are in the middle of a transformation, a revolution if you will. Yet, what we are missing is a concise pathway to follow. The struggle for independence, although never backed by a document, always followed a principle. The principle of non violence, ahimsa etc also cumulatively known as Gandhi’s principles. Somehow this book is exactly what we need right now.

Author of Chanakya's New ManifestoThis 247 paged novel is an excellent book by Pavan K. Verma. Before I dive into how the book is and how it deals with India’s needs perfectly, a word about the author. Mr.Verma is an ex-civil servant who took voluntary early retirement from the Indian Foreign Services and now leads an actively involved public life. I believe these credentials are enough for him to provide an accurate commentary on the topics this book covers.

Inspired by the great Vishnu Gupta or more commonly known as Chanakya’s Arthshastra, this book lays down a blueprint of systematic changes India needs to become a superpower. It clearly lays down five key areas which are down in the dumps and are in a desperate need for improvement. Mr.Verma, in a concise and precise way, first details the current situation in that sector, tells us how this problem came about and what its roots are. Thus, after establishing a firm background and working knowledge of the topic to be dealt with, Pavan elaborates on the changes he thinks are needed while backing each one of them with a sound and logical reason(s).

The only flaw which I could even possibly relate to this book is extremely remote i.e. it didn’t debate the cons of the plans laid down in the book. But in the author’s defense  he ends the book by humbly saying that these points are not perfect and should be debated. So, no harm done. This along with a grammatical error or two, the book is perfect.

Chankaya's New Manifesto

As a whole, the book is something India desperately needs right now. We are plagued by inefficient governance, archaic policies, slow judicial mechanisms, a corrupt system and a lax bureaucracy. Although we have an enraged population, anger is not what will change the system. People hate corruption but have no way to fight it. This book presents an idea, an implementable idea. Something for us to follow and do. The X factor lies in the fact that the author himself has been in the very system he is trying to change. As he is already aware of its nooks and cranny, his ideas lay out the battle plan to combat them as well. I don’t say the ideas of this book are perfect as that perception differs from person to person in a free and independent society like ours. All I am saying is that like those fancy self-improvement guides we buy, this book is a nation-improvement book. We have the blueprint, we want the change. All that’s left to do is, ironically, is to do!

Like: Clear, concise, precise, effective, well planned, well thought out, reasonable logic
Dislike: Nothing

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The Gawkadal Massacre

Look at the grief of a commonerWith nearly two-third of January gone and almost all of our new year resolutions broken, the day of 20th January 2013 dawned to the 23rd anniversary of a brutal, ghastly incident which ironically most people don’t know about. I confess that even I was among those who didn’t know about this incident until some of my Twitter friends alerted me. So to that entire generation which doesn’t even know where Gawkadal is, here’s a summarised account.

On  the night of 19thJanuary 1990, Mr. Jagmohan was appointed as the Governor of Jammu and Kashmir, despite wide disapproval from the populace as well as the state government. In fact, the state government led by then Chief Minister Farooq Abdullah, resigned in protest. The very same night, the CRPF (Central Reserve Police Force) carried out unwarranted raids and inspections in Srinagar and arrested thousands of innocent people. Next morning when the word of the arrests got out, thousands of protesters poured out on the streets in anti-government marches, much similar to the outrage over the recent Delhi Gang Rape incident. In the evening, the protesters reached Srinagar’s wooden bridge over the Jhelum River named Gawkadal Bridge. To control this supposed unruly crowd, the CRPF opened fire on them, resulting in the death of 51(government toll) or 281(estimated toll). Also, thousands of people died as they had jumped into the river out of fear and drowned.
CRPF arrests protesters in Srinagar
23 years later, Kashmir still awaits justice. The police buried the investigation as “untraceable” and Delhi did everything to bury it. After all which government would want to have this on their resume? But the truth of the matter remains that this incident was no less brutal than the horrific Jallianwala Bagh massacre. Anyone devoid of sympathy, here’s a food for thought. Hundreds of people died before seeing the Internet. Many kids were orphaned just because some idiots in Delhi wanted power. Women were widowed because the government lacked the balls to take on a peaceful protest headfirst. As the 21stCentury citizens of India, we have learned to show our displeasure and annoyance at the government. But our forerunners were brutally massacred and ironically, almost no one knew. All I ask for is awareness, sympathy and respect. Awareness about this disgusting use of fascist fanatic force to crush the voice of the commoners. Sympathy for the original protesters who bravely gave up their lives for something they believed was right. Respect for the entire population of Kashmir, where (and I quote), “Every prayer is to beg god for a moment of peace in his heaven on earth.
Child Kisses Memorial Stone of Gaw Kadal Massacre

The need of the hour is crystal clear. India is awakening and the iron is red hot, ready to be struck. It’s time we change. I hope we change. Soon, Fast and Now.

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Changing Seasons; Spring Of Progress Or Autumn Of Decay?

Don’t be fooled by the lofty title, it’s the theme of a particular international diplomacy event coming up in the next few months(Namely TEIMUN found at http://teimun.org). However, the question posed was impertinent and my heart demanded it be answered. Here’s my take on it:

“The woods are lovely, dark, and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.”‘

Today, when the world stands at the cross roads of diplomacy and tact, I am sure that peace shall be achieved if each global citizen makes these beautiful verses their motto.
If 2011 was turbulent, 2012 promises to right the wrong. The world was threatened by nuclear weapons, but the threat is set to be nullified via peace talks at Seoul. If economic troubles were what gave us sleepless nights, financial agreements and stronger trade ties are set to fight. Today’s world, buoyed by the inspired need for peace and the young generation’s zeal for justice, has emerged on the path for a supreme civilization. The Arab Spring revolutions were not an indicator of instability. Rather, they showed the human tendency of not being suppressed. Although we have lived through an extremely incumbent period, it had its merits as well. Terrorists were nabbed or killed; Dictators overthrown and long standing issues were finally solved (and if not, were close to be resolved). Thus, as a citizen of the global community, I proudly believe that the changing seasons are not an autumn of decay but rather the spring of progress. The transition may be rough but salvation is definite because no battle was won without some pain. As technological improvements continue to bring us together, we as a civilization continue to bond together in a blanket of oneness.
To conclude, I reflect on Shakespeare’s immortal lines,
“All the world’s a stage, 

and all the men and women merely players”

If all of mankind is merely but a player in the bigger theatre, let’s not squabble over materialistic gains but instead, rejoice in the beautiful music and rhythm of peace and harmony.
Changing Seasons; Spring Of Progress Or Autumn Of Decay?

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Censoring of the Internet, Right or Wrong?

For the past few days, India has been in an uproar over an outrageously bold idea by Mr.Kapil Sibal according to which the Internet should be censored. All of the NETizens have struck back tagging it from a vicious attack to the blabbering of a stupid bafoon. However I am somewhat in favour of this (Hold your guns people, let me explain). Although I am totally against the censoring of posts which affect a cause or a movement or something which is impersonal to the extent of us expressing our right to free speech, I wish to point out that the same rights protect all of us and them.Censoring of the internet to ban child pornography, virus-infested pages and sexual harrasement (fake or real naked pictures that are circulated faster than the speed of light) is viable, wanted and if implemented, is definitely appreciated. However when the government wishes to stop us from fighting for what we really believe in and has no ramifications to the morality of a proper society, outrage is expected and applauded for.Let me back up with an example.A few days ago, when I opened Youtube, the featured videos list included “School Girl Raped In the Toilet” and “Bollywood Actress Nude!”.This shocked me to no extent because that was the day when Mr.Sibal announced his censoring idea.It shames me to say that politicians are more worried about a teenager’s status update regarding his corrupt nature than a the outrageously bold manouver of destroying the image of an already victimised teenaged girl whose pain and anguish is not describable in words.

So, I just wish to sum up with an advice to all of us (not you but us because I am as much a part of the internet as you all are). Instead of fighting the idea of internet censoring,let’s fight for the censoring of things that need to be censored;and while we are at it, let’s start using the “Report as Spam” button which we are given.Now to the NETizen named Kapil Sibal, I will just say one thing.”Chill Dude! Post all your ideas on forums,discussion boards or as your own status on social networks,check the response and then start off with media interactions because you know what?WE choose you;You don’t get to choose us!”

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