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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RIP by Mukul Deva-A Book Review

Mukul Deva, author of RIPToday’s India is defined by scenario which is disturbing. A corrupt political class which was used to ruling over the masses and fooling them, but is slowly meeting its downfall with the emergence of what I call, “the part-time street activist”. These new citizens of India refuse to accept the idiosyncratic standards of Indian governance and using mass-appeal techniques like social networking, protests and anshaans, have taken the country by storm. It is not news that India is changing. But a portion of the crowd believes the change is slow. This book is like wine to them.


This 286 paged novel is Mukul’s 12th novel. As I have not read any of his other books, I cannot comment upon the continuity of style, but this book is what we Indians like to call, teekhior spicy. The plot is pretty simple and straight forward. No detailed mysteries to be cracked or codes to be interpreted. Just a bunch of ex-army men wishing to eliminate corruption from their beloved nation as they swore to. How do they do this? By killing of the corrupt and jolting them into reactionary phases. The characters of the book are relatable as well easy to connect with. Deva has been creative with the real life inspirations as all the politicians and political parties referred to in the book, although slightly differently named, can be guessed in one go.
RIP(Resurgent Indian Patriots)The factor that drives this book is the honesty of the author’s thought process, brutal expression of ground reality and it’s impeccable timing( the violent revolutionary anti-establishment mood of the book is extremely similar to India’s reaction to the Nirbhaya gang rape case). The author is clearly a person who wishes to change India, but unlike Anna’s Gandhian movements or Kejriwal’s political outfit, he wishes to do this, Rang de Basanti style. A idea advocated by a growing group every day.
Coming to the bumps in the road, RIP, according to me is a bit too fantastical. The way the protagonists execute the key figures of the Indian political arena is yet believable. But the fact that they get away with successful assassinations of many important figures in a period of just 2 weeks, is slightly unrealistic. It is something that none of the major terror organisations have been able to pull off. In fact such a case has never been observed in history. That was one thing that put me off. Couple this with the over-the-top Bollywood like end; I was left feeling a range of emotions. Imagine that you’ve just seen an Anurag Kashyap movie which ends like a Yashraj flick. That’s what I’m talking about.
Overall, this book is an excellent read and is easy on the eyes as well. Mukul tactfully narrates the story through different POVs without any glitch or loopholes, a feat which is an achievement in itself. So to every angry young Indian out there who is seething at the government, rush to the nearest store (or just buy it online). A revolution is in the making.
Like: Easy to read, Revolutionary, Radical ideas, Matches the mood of the nation
Dislike:  A wee bit fantastical, Bollywood like over-the-top end

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Mango Man v/s Chotu Chidambaram(CC)

NOTE: This article was written by me for Whackk(

Mr. Ravi Srinivasan from Chennai was arrested by the Police for tweeting something that was apparently “offensive”. Surprised aren’t you? Haven’t you received a couple of “fuck-offs” and some choice words describing your female family members? Then why was this guy arrested? Arrey he dared to insult Karti Chidambaram, son of the Union Finance Minister, P Chidambaram. Now before we jump to conclusions, it is important to consider the facts and evidences before jumping to conclusion. So ladies and gentlemen, here’s the tweet by @ravi_the_indian (Please ignore his cheesy nationalist Twitter handle, he’s from Chennai!)

Considering this tweet where Mr. S says that K Chidambaram has amassed more wealth than Vadra, I totally agree with Chotu Chidambaram. CC has a clear case for defamation. It’s highly derogatory of Mr. S to say that CC has more wealth than Vadra! Can you believe the man’s attitude? Tomorrow he will log on to his nationalist Twitter ID and say that Sonia Gandhi is richer than Ramsukh Bhelpuri wala ! Even in that case, I will surely support Ramsukh bhai’s case for defamation.

Okay sarcasm aside, this atrocious act is a simple yet blatant example of the highly mundane and erratic IT laws our country currently follows. Laws and scams aside, even if we consider common sense, since when is it a crime to simply say that “A” has amassed more wealth than “B”? Just because you bring in the national daamad and the FM’s son, doesn’t change the basic premise. I admit that Mr. S had the intention and the context of alleging corruption, but again, how is it defamatory to assert claims of having certain reports? If such blatant laws follow, all whistle blowers will be under the constant threat of arrest simply due to possession of documents which may be perceived as “insults” or “defamatory” to other people. Not only is this the height of banality, but also a clear violation of Article 19 of our Constitution i.e. The Right to Free Speech and Expression. Political honchos argue that article 19 is subject to reasonable restriction and cannot be used to hurt/insult/defame/slander someone else. Agreed sirji but what about stating truths or opinions which are subject to reasonable proof?

Ravi was arrested under Section 66 A of the Information Technology Act (Amended in 2008). It’s the same act used by a certain Mamta Banerjee to arrest dissidents in her state. Oh! I’m so sorry for using the wrong term. She uses it to arrest “MAOISTS”. Thankfully this was a bailable offence and Mr. S was released. However, it has come to front that Mr. Subramanian Swamy, President of Janta Party, shall be fighting his case against CC. So, as of now, this matter is sub judicial.
However, the point I want to make with this not so good attempt at sarcasm is that Indian cyber laws are archaic and outdated. They are simply redundant and are tools, waiting to be misused by powerful policy makers who can afford the exorbitant legal expenses required in India. There’s been a massive uproar online against this arrest. CC has been labelled multiple tags, including another infamous “C” word. But this is not about a politician’s son being supposedly defamed. It’s about an ordinary businessman with some ordinary mango man views. I hope we change. Soon, Fast and Now. Javascript Disabled

This Ain’t Done BOSS- Cartoonist or Fake Celebrity

NOTE: This article was also published on Youth Ki Awaaz(

On 7th October 2012, Big Boss started with its new season. One of the participants on the show is Aseem Trivedi, an anti-corruption cartoonist from Kanpur,Uttar Pradesh. Recently, he was in the news for his arrest under the controversial charge of Section 124 of the Indian Penal Code i.e. Sedition. The arrest of this black-kurta and blue jeans clad artist caused uproar in the entire nation as the arrest was simply ridiculous in the very first place. Soon after, he was released but not before he clearly refused both bail and the defense of a lawyer. This left an image of Marxist revolutionary with a zeal for anti-corruption. The fierce enraged look soothed millions of egos in India, satisfying them of the fact that “Yes, the youth is doing something.”Alas, the dream was to be broken.
In a disappointing turn of events, Aseem Trivedi ended up doing what most sudden-risen-to-fame people do. He turned to the world of glamour. When this cartoonist shot to fame, our hearts zoomed with expectations. We had someone who could be compared to the revolutionaries of the yore. Someone whom most called “a firebrand”. Unfortunately, Trivedi’s decision to take part in a banal reality show which ironically is the most idiotic departure from reality we will ever find. In all contrast,Aseem Trivedi fought against corruption, wily politics and planned voting which are the core factors to succeed in the so called “Reality Show”.
Although our Marxist in Black or the Indian MIB says that he wishes to use the platform to take forward his message. The idiosyncrasy and stupidity behind this statement astounds me. This was never expected from a courageous cartoonist who had the guts to stand up to pack of hungry werewolves. Social activists, who wish to spread the message, are out there, on the field. Working, bit by bit to affect the aspects they wish to change. Arvind Kejriwal is burning bills to protest Electricity price hikes in Delhi. Prashant Bhushan is busy fighting the case for the Kudankulam Nuclear power plant in the Supreme Court while as a joint effort; both have carried on with their fight against corruption. Anna Hazare is busy organizing his next “INDEFINITE” fast. However, none of them are sitting in the luxury of a fully furnished massive house with some other celebrities, bickering over the task of the week.
Personally, it is my belief that India is on the brink of change. Very rarely do such moments arise in history when we have a concerned, well informed populace with dynamic, inspirational leaders to lead them. The youth always was important in such movements against improper governance and archaic disgusting rules. Now is a perfect time for change. The iron is red hot and the hammer is ready to strike. But if the carpenter himself is busy fighting with the “Yeh toh bada toing hai!” girl over kitchen timings and engaging in a shyari match with a certain Siddhu, I highly doubt the success of our struggle. I hope we change. Soon, Fast and Now. Javascript Disabled

Mere Baap Ka Hai-Dynasty Politics in India

Yet another scam exposed. Some new allegations rose. Welcome to India, a nation which is now so accustomed to the emerging of allegations that gossip session topics have shifted from “Mr. Walia” to “Mr.Vadra” now. In light of Arvind Kejriwal and Prashant Bhushan’s accusations, Congress leaders like Salman Khurshid have come forward to defend Mr. Robert Vadra using terms like “accusations are being raised against private citizens”. If some day Mr.Kejriwal or Mr. Bhushan alleges me of corrupt activities, will the Law Minister come forward to defend me? Am I not a “private citizen” too? Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the great political dynasty democracy of India. Although many may be quick to assume that dynasty politics is a forte strongly held only in the Congress, many other parties are guilty of the same.
India in its quest for freedom had fought the Royal Family of the Great Britain, which ironically was and is a dynastic monarchy. Our political leaders (I won’t demean the spirits of our freedom fighters by accusing all of them) slyly wove a dream for us. A utopia was projected to us where our leaders were not the oppressive mahjarajasof yore. Nor were the British oppressors to be our future leaders. We were to be a Democracy, a land where power lay with the common man.  Our Constitution also went on to give us that right. But for the sake of convenience, let us imagine that a general observer is asked to judge the style and form of our politics without any pre-hand knowledge of our so called “Democracy”. Even a stupid man would shout “Dynastic pseudo political rule” in response.
Let’s look at the facts. In 65 years of our Independence, we have had a Gandhi-Nehru family member as the Prime Minister for a whooping 37 years (Jawaharlal Nehru-17; Indira Gandhi-11+4; Rajiv Gandhi-5). This number goes up to 45 years if we include the reign of our incumbent Prime Minister. Ignoring this, let’s consider other perpetrators of the same crime. Meira Kumar, the current Speaker of the Lok Sabha, is the daughter of Jagjivan Ram, one of the old house freedom fighters of India. Her current constituency (the one she won in 2004 after losing from a different constituency in the previous elections) is Sasaram, the same constituency her father won 8 consecutive (nearly 32 years) terms from. Some may argue that it may be the political party’s influence. Well, Jagjivan Ram won these elections from 3 different parties. Sasaram is a clear case of sympathy electoral and the brewing of a political family. 
Moving on to someone who has remote ties with the Indian National Congress.  Jayant Chaudhary, the introducer of the key yet controversial Land Acquisition Bill, is the son of Chaudhary Ajit Singh, the current Civil Aviation Minister of India and Party President of the Rashtriya Lok Dal(RLD). But *wait for it* he is the son of Charan Singh, a former Prime minister of India. Between them, this father-son duo has held the constituency for 10 general elections out of the 15 Lok Sabhas yet. 3 generations of the same family, involved in super important political decisions of the nation, they are a clear case of “passing the knowledge on, but only to my son”. Another three generation long political family is that of the Abdullahs in Jammu and Kashmir. The family has between all three generations held the Chief Minister’s post for 27 years!
Another case is of the Patnaiks in Orrisa. Although the link is not crystal clear yet this lack of clarity is justifiable due to the turmoil in the state. Biju Patnaik, the name sake of the BJD( currently in power under Naveen Patnaik) and his son have shared Chief Ministerial post in Orrisa for a considerable time with the junior Patnaik holding on to the post for nearly 12 years(but it would be stupid to claim that it is only family ties at work here. Clearly, his policies had a positive impact in the state).

Showcasing the BJP, it is easy to say that there is virtually no case of dynasty politics there because the old farts up at the RSS and the Top Brass of BJP has never let future generations come up. L.K Advani is one person who is as old as the Sansad Bhavan! The idiosyncrasy stands for itself!  It would be important to note that many political leaders have openly began training and inducting their offsprings into politics. Mulayam Singh nurturing Akhilesh or Parkarsh Singh Badal deputing his tasks to his son are prominent instances. Cases of nepotism are prevalent too, with the Pawar duo at the helm of it. A not so good example would be the Thackrey outfits in Maharashtra.

I merely quote these facts to point out the irony in India today. We fought for years to through over tyrants. But before the rule of the foreigners, India was always under an empire controlled by a dynasty. The Guptas, the Mauryas, the Mughals, the Rajputs etc. Looking at the current scenario of polity in India, it is safe to conclude that India is returning to its traditional pre-British roots. Specific families controlling specific regions and holding power was something that was and in all probability, shall be a continued tradition. People argue by saying “Arrey doesn’t a politician’s kid have the option of joining politics?” Of course they have complete rights to. However, when you lose seats from all constituencies which your family is not related to, no offspring has the birthright of fighting an election from their parents’ constituency.
Personally, the oddity I experience is when I ask myself the question “Is this really what Indians gave their lives for? Is this the perfect world envisaged by our founding fathers? Are we really a democracy or are we a pseudo democracy hiding behind the veil of political handing down of power?” The answer to all these questions is simple disgust. Disgust at our political leaders for adhering to this. Disgust at our current generations members (including myself) for dismissing politics. Finally, disgust at our voters, for foolishly trusting families blindly.
Today, I grieve for the future of politics of India. I hope we change. Soon, Fast and Now Javascript Disabled

Politics Or LOLitics ; Time For A Change

NOTE: This Article Was Posted On Legally India(

For the past few months, the Twitter-verse has blown up with numerous trends such as #Election2012, #Rs35Lakh etc. Corruption and elections related scams are the most frequent ones. However, to my eye, these elections by far played a subsidised role when it boils down to actual administration. Correct me if I’m wrong when I say that these elected legislators shall only be responsible for passing bills for any current or future endeavour. However, the basic executors shall remain the same obnoxious, plenteous, corrupt individuals.

Does the road sweeper belong to a political party? Should he clean the roads only if Mayawati’s government is in place and should not if Congress had won? Due to over hyped media drives; we have come to believe that a particular political party may/may not do well. Let me explain with an example. Let’s consider the crime of murder. May it be the BJP or the Congress or the Maoists or the NCP or whatever, NO political party shall pass a bill saying “Okay, Murder Is Allowed”. Every entity shall endorse criminalisation to the extremist means. But, even if certain laws are constituted, they are just a meaningless and useless bunch of papers unless they are properly enforced! In Mumbai, it’s a criminal offence to travel in a local train without a valid ticket punishable with a fine of maximum Rs.500 or a year in jail or both. To an outsider, this may resemble perfection but only an insider knows how much the railway loses every year due to criminalist hounds just due to lax enforcement by the railway officials. Simply put, having the perfect laws is not the epitome of justice even though contemporary Indian society treats it to be so.

For example, let’s consider the CSA (Child Sexual Abuse) Bill passed recently. Hailed by activists, citizens and politicians alike, I admit it is a massive step forward keeping in mind the protection of the innocent victims. But on the flip side of the coin, a pessimist questions that what if this bill is enforced but not followed?  There are numerous cases where in even the police is completely unaware of the modernistic and so called “sacrilegious” and “culture-shaming” laws. Believe it or not such cases exist. Gay couples jailed because cops are unaware or somewhat more mainstream, a couple belonging to different religions not getting police protection despite orders from the High Court( detailed in an episode of Amir Khan’s Satyamave Jayte). Now it doesn’t matter whether the Lotus is in power or the Hand, the shitty implementation remains the same. So whatever the case may be, unless we fix the administration, even a supposedly perfect constitution won’t work.

Also, noting our despairing need of intelligent law officers, whether they may be judges or lawyers or anyone else. I’m not accusing anyone but all I wish to point out that there are many examples where in our law mechanism has churned results which border on the bizarre( A Boy cannot marry until the age of 21 and can’t have sex at 18. A girl can’t have sex till 18 and can’t marry till 18. Oh! But wait! If she is Islamic, she can be married at 15. Absurd right? Can’t vote, Can’t Drink, Can’t Have Sex but Can Marry)

Coming to the issue of the inefficient administration, many note it to be a vicious circle. Corruption, low salaries etc. are some of the numerous reasons brought in. But what we forget is that the bureaucracy functions as a group i.e. it’s impossible for a single civil servant to carry out any task alone. Even if a bureaucrat tries a radical breakthrough, lack of mutual support destroys him. Earlier, films carrying story of revolution were ultra-inspiring. But slowly, everyone realised that a film is after all a film, not reality. Dibakar Banerjee’s Shanghai too showcases the same issue highlighted which is failure of an honest civil officer due to mean powerful crooks and co-workers. So what’s the solution?

Tough to say. Should we go with the idealistic “I Change, You Change, Everyone Changes!” or stick to what has been happening in our nation from the past 65 years; “Iss Desh Ka Kuch Nahi Ho Sakta”. Should we blindly trust a political party and hate its rivals or join Anna Hazare in his undemocratic but democratic revolution? Personally, I would go with the idealistic change. It may sound optimistic or farfetched, but it makes far more sense to me when compared to the other possible solutions. Also, I did have a personal experience which fuelled my belief in this theory, the irony being, I inspired myself. Once a pair of old uncles from my community had come over and coincidently it was when Anna Hazare ji was fasting for the Jan Lokpal Bill. Just before departing, the topic of discussion was corruption (inevitably).At the door one of them said, “Corruption ka kuch bhi bolo sikhate toh hum hi hain na ghar pe (call corruption whatever you want, but at the end of the day, it’s we who teach it at home!)”.I said nothing but just before I shut the door, I proudly said, “Uncle jo bhi ho, mere mummy-papa ne toh kabhi nahin sikhaya (Uncle, whatever it may be, my parents never taught me that)” and slammed the door. Javascript Disabled

Another Person to Pres-N-Indent?

NOTE: This Article Was Posted On Legally India( And On Youth Incorporated (

The announcement of the candidature of the 13thPresident of India has shaken the roots of Indian politics. Alliances being broken, rumours being circulated and not to mention the ridiculous to the face of it opinion of choosing the Prime Minister as the President has turned the upcoming poll topsy-turvy. But in the wake of this chaos and madness, I would like to offer my take on a topic which has rarely been touched upon; “Does this really matter?”

I remember one Civics lecture where I asked my professor “Why do we need a President?” .After all, his powers were simply banal and virtually nonexistent. The nail in the coffin is that the post itself by definition is of “formal importance” and “works as a figure head”. Almost none of the decisions taken by the President are his/her own. I remember my Sir’s answer. “Arrey Beta, We were freed from UK but our political as well judicial systems remain similar. But India had nearly 635 Kings in 1947. So to avoid the mess among them, a post was created to match the monarchy of UK”.
As a keen reader, I always noted this; anything a President does, is on the advice of The Cabinet Of Ministers (headed by the Prime Minister). So basically it’s the ruling party’s will (to be blunt and crystal clear). Even shocking is the fact that the Constitution itself declares this particular issue.  Many people live under the impression that the President can overrule the Parliament. To them, I would just like to point out that technically the President DOES have the power to return a bill which has been passed in both houses(with/without suggestions), but is powerless to act in case the bill passes again(even without amendments). The President has to give his nod, no matter what. Such an issue was raised way back in 2006 when Dr.APJ Abdul Kalam sent back the Office of Profit Bill. Now, the Office of Profit Bill was one law MPs were desperate for. According to the constitution, No MP can hold an Office/Post during his/her tenure from which they may be benefitting or profiting. The OOP Bill added a list of nearly 50 exceptions to this rule which basically legalised the money-spurning of corrupt politicians. When Dr.Kalam sent back the bill with his suggestions, the bill was passed again in both houses (WITHOUT ANY AMENDMENTS) and Mr. Kalam was forced to sign it( although he did try to delay it by nearly 17 days but ultimately had to surrender).
A brief glimpse of history shows us that never has the President ever in history taken any major decision which was for the betterment of the nation. I agree there may be some exceptions but the crux of the matter is that our politicians get what they want to no matter what, so why the hue and cry over electing the President? Why is India so concerned over who shall sign the next bill the corrupt politicians throw at them?
What India needs is a honest, neutral President along with a modified constitution which gives the President some much needed powers. Nehru ji had justified this lack of authority by saying “ The powers if given, would create a rift between the Prime Minister, who is the Head Of The Democratically elected Prime Minister and the President, who was elected by an indirect system of voting.” But wouldn’t these powers give us a unilateral as well as decisive monitor over the top honchos of the nation who are more often than not brought under the ambit of our corrupt radar and are always proven guilty (2G Scam- A Raja; Common Wealth Games- Suresh Kalmadi; Coal Gate scam; Controversy over P Chidambaram’s Lok Sabha election and what not). Is it not our dream (and also Anna Hazare’s vociferous demand)?
In the previous paragraph, I stressed upon honesty and neutrality as a factor just because it would be of no good if our President was corrupt or party biased. We need someone with guts, someone with balls. We need someone who can shake up the machinery and actually command the power. Our current President, Prathiba Patil has a back history which is not known to us. She founded Pratibha Mahila Sahakari Bank in 1973 whose licence was revoked by the RBI in 2003(She is also one of the 34 respondents in a High Court case with regard to the misappropriation of funds). As Health Minister of Maharashtra, she had blindly ignored Human Rights by proposing compulsory Sterilisation of people with hereditary diseases. She apparently has also protected her brother, who is involved in a Murder case. If all this is not enough, we also know she is “insanely cuckoo” as she publically said that she has spoken to the spirit of Baba Lekhraj! I’m not accusing anyone but just pointing out the obvious. If I could find this in 2 hours via the Internet, imagine would a CBI investigation would do! The point that arises from these accusations is that having No President is any day better than having a bigoted, corrupt and mentally ill President.

Coming back to the crux of the matter, why is India going gaga over the next President when all he or she will do is “Sit, Sign Shit, and Then Shit”? Does it matter if it will be Pranab Mukherjee or Mohammad Amid Ansari or someone else? Logically, Yes but technically, No. Any party backed President is bound to favour one group over the other which is ethically as well as democratically incorrect. The same question pops in the Media 24/7: “Who will be the next President Of India?”.  It’s with great restrain I don’t shout “Please, a third grader with a modem could answer that; going by the current chain of events, it is bound to be a TMC, SP and Congress backed person who will eventually agree to all of Didi’s demands and pass the idiotic bills put forward by either the BJP or the Congress because no matter what, the bill will pass (if not in the first go, then definitely the second go). I guess all our MPs care about is collecting autographs. Or else what will justify their fight over choosing the next person to PRESS-N-INDENT their signature on a paper which says, The 13th President of India.
                                                                                                                                                               Javascript Disabled