Thursday, November 15, 2012

Strategy Details That Made Israel Win The 1967 War

Yesterday, I got a chance to watch some truly breathtaking videos about the 1967 war between Israel and the Arab neighbours like Jordan, Syria and Egypt.There is already well documented detail in the Wikipedia on this Six-Day War, with nearly 300 references, pictures, maps, links etc.

No, I am not a military strategy expert. I am not writing here the sequence by sequence of what exactly happened. But what I am going to highlight are the subtle tactical advantages Israel developed, which made it win the war in just six days, against incredible odds! Even the massive nations like China, Russia, India, USA have struggled for a long period to win, or come anywhere closer to a win, in wars.

So how did this very tiny nation of Israel do it in 1967? The details that I would be highlighting are from these six-part videos. They elaborate on how Israel's focus on details changed the balance towards it. Every army in the world is a professional unit, but the subtle strategic observations and tweaking, makes a huge difference in the final outcome. You can watch them when you get a chance. Whether you get time to watch them or not, if you read further here, you will get a clear idea of the importance of strategy.

Part 1:
Part 2:
Part 3:
Part 4:
Part 5:
Part 6:

The Odds Against Israel: 
  1. Israel was and is a very tiny nation. In 1967, its population was just around 27,00,000. That's less 1/3rd of today's Bengaluru city, to give you a perspective. So the number of able bodied men for combat would have been just a few lakhs, max.
  2. Israel is in a mostly desert location. Heat and severe water shortage can cripple it.
  3. Israel's opponents were far bigger and much more coordinated. For years, Egypt (33.4 million population), Jordan (1.3 mn) and Syria (5.8 mn) had planned a massive assault to finish off this tiny Jewish nation. The very creation of Israel, as a homeland for Jews based on historical claims, after World war 2, was not accepted by the Arab countries. To make matters complex, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Morocco, Algeria, Libya,  Kuwait,  Tunisia, Sudan and Palestinian Territories had given their armed support to the three warring Arab nations. So 1 tiny Israel versus 3 plus 9 Arab nations! A 2.7 million populated nation versus 40.5 million direct combat population, plus 10s of millions of expeditionary supporting population. A population disadvantage of at least 15 times.
    Israel (in blue) compared to Arab World, in size. {}
  4. Israel had some support form NATO led by US, but none of them in the direct combat. Whereas, Arab opponents were united and well coordinated. Essentially it was a Jewish versus Muslim ideological war.
  5. Israel was created just 19 years before this war. It is extremely hard to create a cohesion among the population when it was formed by people, mostly coming from a vastly different European nations. Language, culture and many more things had to be fused together onto their common religious background. On the other hand, many of the Arab nations had long history of continuous presence in their current boundaries, giving them a huge cohesion advantage.
  6. There were more odds, but these were the biggest ones. Essentially, if Israel messed up even one frontier of the war, among the three main ones, it would have been doomed. It is not like India or China wherein if a few million got affected in one part, the others can go help and rebuild. The entire nation was 27,00,000 in human count. You lose a few 10s of 1000s of soldiers and you are history!
So how did Israel pull off a spectacular victory, that too in straight 6 days? It was not the numerical superiority in planes, tanks, soldiers or guns.. but it was the tactical and strategical superiority built over the years. A classic case of how a nation can win, even when it has huge disadvantages described above.

Here are my top-10 strategical picks as to WHY Israel won so brilliantly:

All these picks were instrumental for a 1967 war. They were out of the box-thinking for that era. Keep that in mind. Many of these need to be improvised if they need to be used in 21st century.

A: Offence, the best form of Defence:

Israeli Plane Ground-staff
Advancing Egypt troops in Sinai and Straits of Tiran
The most critical decision Israel made, when the war was inevitable with much bigger and better equipped enemy, was that YOU start the war. You hit where the enemy is expecting the least, and when the enemy is expecting the least. This is easier said than done. Israel had only 206 aircrafts in 1967. Even the most experienced NATO under US guidance, would not run more than 3 missions per aircraft during a war, per day. But Israel decided to run up to 5 missions per day.

And how did they do it? They worked very hard on the logistics. They decided that making the ground staff efficient and quick, is the best way to send the flight back after one mission. This training and care for detail paid off. Planes ran 5 missions during the all important day one!

If Israelis had waited for the enemy to attack first, they probably had no chance to defend.

B: Aim for the runways first, not the planes:

Egyptian Airstrips Targeted
This by far clinched Israel the war. When the enemy  had more airstrips, and many more aircrafts, plus they already surrounded you from three corners, how can you win a war? Israel's answer was ingenious. They decided to not attack the planes of enemy first, but the airstrips. If the airbases have blown up airstrips, there is no way planes could take off. The next step would be to eliminate the the "sitting duck" aircrafts. This was not easy, they had to take off over 50 airstrips of Egypt within hours of day one. This had to be done with precision, speed and surprise. They did it! 80% of the runways and planes of Egypt were blown up in 12 hours, straight.

Once you gain air superiority, you have won half the war.

C: Air strike from the direction when the sun is over the horizon for the enemy.

Sinai approach mapping
This one was unbelievably well researched and orchestrated. Israel had to take pick a time to attack Egypt's aircrafts at Sinai desert first. They collected a large quantity of intelligence first. What time aircrafts are at high alert from Egypt side, what time they are at the base, how the shifts work etc. Finally they zeroed in on 7.45 AM on June 5th. That is the time during  June, when the sun is shining bright in the eastern horizon over the desert, making it very difficult to see that way. With Israel coming from North East, they would be making it very tough for Egyptian military to stare at them in the eastern horizon. They took the gamble. We will go all out attacking, at 7.45 AM taking the natural geographical advantage. They also had computed that at dawn, aircrafts of Egypt would be at high alert, but after some time, planes come down, personnel change, fueling happens and so on. Essentially, with years of intelligence, Israel had computed a window that would give them almost 100% airspace, with all Egyptian planes on the ground. And boy... didn't they cash on this home work perfectly?

D: Fly very close to the sea water, below radar's range:

Fly very close to water
Another big challenge was to keep the surprise factor. Before the attack Monday, Israel had pretended to drop the guard, by sending soldiers home for the weekend. Pictures of the them swimming & having fun with family was in Jerusalem Post. Arabs were a bit relaxed even though they were the one planning to attack first. But when Monday morning came, Israel had launched an all out war. If the Egyptian radars caught the Israeli Mirage planes heading towards Sinai, the game would have been very tough. So Israel approached from the sea. Flying at over 500 miles per hour speed, these war weapons had to keep an altitude of less than 100 feet! At that speed, it is a miracle that they didn't crash to the sea. Aim at the horizon, fly dead straight and not a second of distraction looking right or left. They practiced it and flew to perfection beating Egypt radars.  

E: Invent indigenous Desert warfare technologies:

Modified M51 Sherman Tank
In any war, if you are attacking, a numerical advantage of 3 to 1 is preferred. Otherwise, you will see lots of casualty. But here, Israel was in the reverse. It had a 1 to 3 disadvantage against Egypt in terms of tanks and other artillery. So they had to find very unique methods to even attempt this war beyond air strikes. What they did was phenomenal. They studied the desert terrain meticulously. They modified their M51 Sherman tanks, which were one generation behind Egypt's superior T54 and T55s. They modified them precisely to scale tougher sand slopes, get more traction in the loose sand, sustain heat and much more.
F: Map the desert and trap the retreating enemy:

Egypt retreat
Clean strike of a retreating Egypt tank.
 Then, they created a very detailed map of how to approach the desert, in a way they would surprise Egyptians and hit them from areas where they least expected. These preparations paid off. The roads or approaches from which Egypt expected Israeli tanks, were not used. Instead they used approaches that gave them strategical advantage.

Most importantly, they planned and anticipated the routes that Egyptians might take, if they have to retreat. Egypt troops were trapped between Bir, Gidi and Mitla passes.This was to cause maximum damage and force the enemy to surrender quickly.

G: Maximize damage of Enemy tanks with new methods: Napalm
100s of T54s and T55s destroyed in 36 hours

Napalm was the game changer for Israel here. Since Israel had achieved air control almost 100%, they could strike at will. Once the initial tank war resulted in heavy losses, Egypt was forced to retreat. As Israelis anticipated the routes of retreat, they trapped Egyptians and used Napalm bombs.  These were modified jelly bombs with thickening agent reinforced, which caused extensive damage by keeping the fire going even after the initial explosion. Again small innovation, and big payout.
H: Water, water and water. Drink lots of it:
In 1960s, drinking a liter of water per day was the norm for soldiers in wars. Since most wars were in Europe, the cold conditions had brought in these norms. However, Israel improvised drastically here. They brought in one liter of water per hour method in the hot West Asian desert climate. This was revolutionary for that era. With months of such preparation, even at 20 liters of sweat per person, per day, Israelis could fight out in the heat. Even though Egyptian soldiers were also very familiar with the terrain, they lacked this particular knowledge.
Egyptian soldiers surrendering

This made a huge impact in the Sinai desert war. When Egyptian infantry and tank personnel had to retreat, they had to walk up to 200 KM in hot desert. They neither had the one liter of water per hour practice, nor they carried that much supply in the appropriate containers. So the dehydrated Egyptian soldiers suffered huge losses.  

I: Intelligence, Intelligence and Intelligence:

Greenery around trenches at Golan.
Live broadcast of spy Eli Cohen's hanging, in Syria
With Egypt and Jordan taken off, with Jerusalem in its kitty, Israel had to scale the Golan Heights. If this is captured from Syrian control, Israel would have a big advantage in keeping Syria from invading Israel. But these mountains were trenched, hard and setup with three layers of defence by Syria. The only way Israel could even make an impact was to get confidential information on the artillery positioning on top of the mountain, as well as the trench information. This is where the most famous spy agency Mossad came into place. Eli Cohen was the most famous spy of Mossad, who used his Egyptian upbringing to infiltrate Syrian military deep inside. He passed on valuable information to Israel, but his biggest contribution was to convince Syria to plant trees next to trenches, for shade, so that soldiers were not sun-burnt.

Golan Heights Trenches
Eli Cohen got caught eventually, and was publicly hanged by Syria in a televised event. But his life did not go in waste. Syria had been trapped to setting up trees next to trenches in an otherwise bald Golan Heights mountainous terrain. Israel exploited this info to its best advantage firing exactly where they had to, causing maximum damage to Syria, in a very short time.     

J: Know which gun to use and where:
Uzi 9 mm light sub-machine gun

This may sound very trivial, but Israel paid attention to detail. When Syria was using the legendary AK-47 Kalashnikov assault rifles, Israel bought and customized Uzi 9 mm light sub-machine guns. Any military officer would have been perplexed with this as AK-47 was far superior in hitting the targets, but Israelis knew why they picked Uzi. The war was not going to be in the open areas, but in close cornered trenches. They needed a gun that would reload quickly, maneuver quickly and easy to shoot at short distance. Such a vital plan was rehearsed and well executed, giving Israel the coveted Golan Heights pass.

When you sum all the strategical advantages created by ingenuity, you will understand how a tiny little country won against massive odds, that too in six days straight.

Wow Israel.. Take a bow!

{Picture credits: Wiki and History Channel Videos - links posted}

Friday, October 5, 2012

Kaveri River Water Sharing : What Are The Solutions?

Kaveri or Cauvery river is one of the 7 holiest rivers for Hindus. In many Dharmic poojas, the water filled into the kalasha or holy vessel, is adored with a chant. "Gange cha Yamune chaiva, Godavari Saraswati. Narmada Sindhu Kaveri, Jalesmin Sannidhim Kuru". It essentially means the water being used for the worship of Bhagawan or Bhagawati, is as sacred as the combination of all 7 holy rivers.

Mother Kaveri's Statue. {Source: Deccan Herald}
Kaveri is the "Jeeva Nadi" or life sustaining river. It is very highly revered by both Kannada (also Kodava) and Tamil people. You can hear 100s of celebratory songs like the super hit song Kodagina Kaveri . You can also see many customary celebrations like Aadi Perukku which is a very special time for Kaveri delta people. In short, SHE is the mother for those who live along its banks.. and SHE is theirs! These people do not understand the artificial linguistic state formation boundaries, politics, courts and other systems.

But today, when you hear Kaveri, what comes to your mind? If you are a person from Tamil Nadu (or Pudhucherry for some part) the "villain" is a state to the north west, Karnataka. If you are from Karnataka (or to some extent Kerala), the "villain" is a state to the south east, Tamil Nadu. And, this is not something that is for just 2012 or 2007 or 2002 or 1991.. this is happening for over 200 years now. The holiest of rivers adored and worshiped as "Kaveri Maata" or Mother Kaveri, has become a humongous political, agricultural, legal, economic and propaganda fight in South India. It does not even leave students or movie industry folks..

Why did this happen? How did this happen? Is there any way out, even if the process is gradual?

For that some basics will be needed. No, I am not going to present every detail about how the dispute got magnified till this time. There are enough resources in internet, court papers, government documents and in media for you to read through. Also, if you are reading till here, most likely you have a special interest in this case, as for most India out of South India, this is just one of those "burning" issues that keep coming up again and again. Like Telangana, Amarnath Yatra, state border disputes and more. Not much interest will be left by now, for those folks. So this is for only those who have a stake in Kaveri water or those who want a peaceful south India in the long run. I am in no way an expert in this topic, but since I drink Kaveri water every day, I have special interest in learning more from my readers here. For that I will present what I have understood about the topic and seek your comments and/or corrections.

Map of the River:

Kaveri is born at Talakaveri in south Western mountains of Karnataka. After Talakaveri, you will find a long list of sacred places and temple towns all through its 765 KM flow towards south East, where it merges with Bay of Bengal. Out of this trek, 320 KM is in Karnataka and 416 is in Tamil Nadu. Some of the places are, Bhagamandala, Kushalnagar, Srirangapartna and T Narasipura in Karnataka. Then Mettur, Bhavani-Thirunana, Erode, Kodumudi, Karur, Tiruchirappalli/Srirangam, Thiruvaiyaru, Swamimalai, Kumbha konam, Mayavaram and Poompuhar in Tamil Nadu.

Kaveri River Map. {Source: jazztravels}

There are many tributaties of Kaveri like Hemavati, Shimsha, Arkavathy (now dry), Kabini, Bhavani, Noyyal and Amaravati. The majestic Shivanasamudra falls and Hogenikal falls are very famous tourist destination getting lakhs of people each year.

Dams and sizes:

Kaveri may be a small river among the 7 giant rivers of India mentioned above (with Saraswati dry now), but it does have many dams.

KRS Dam, Karnataka. {Source: InMysore}
But the two key dams to note are Krishna Raja Sagar dam in Mandya district of Karnataka and Mettur dam in Salem district of Tamil Nadu.

KRS dam, built in 1924, is 125 feet tall, 3 KM in length and can store a max capacity of 49 TMC of water. 

Mettur Dam, Tamil Nadu. {Source: Wikipedia}
Mettur dam, built in 1934, is 120 feet tall, 1.7 KM in length and can store a max capacity of 93.4 TMC of water.

Leaving aside dead storage capacity, you can assume that KRS dam can hold about 44 TMC of water and Mettur can hold about 88 TMC of water. So approximately, Mettur can hold twice as much water as KRS dam. Incidentally, KRS was built entirely by the great engineer Bharat Ratna, Sir M. Vishveshwaraiah and I have heard that he gave the design for Mettur dam too. One thing is in common. both are very vital dams and both are very old. One other important thing to note, all dams in Karnataka together can hold only around 10% of the annual water flow in Kaveri that is in excess of 725 TMC.


Kaveri water sharing discussions and disputes go back over 200 years. Right from the beginning of 19th century, there are discussions involving the Mysore independent princely state (now part of Karnataka) and Madras British Presidency (now Tamil Nadu). The two key agreements to note are from 1892 and 1924. There were other minor agreements too. While Karnataka kept asking right after independence to repeal these British era agreements and form new one, Tamil Nadu insisted on the same, as there was a huge advantage for it to keep them. So everything boiled down to 1991 tribunal interim order and 2007 final order from Indian government.
Details of Kaveri water sources, usage area and contentions. {Source: Wikipedia}
The table in the image above (click on it for a bigger display) shows the basin area, drought area, sources of water per each state's arguments, quantity sought by each state and what is currently in vogue per the 2007 Kaveri Water Tribunal verdict. The numbers are complex, and contentious. Lots of court paperwork exists for those who want to research further. If you see one of the rows showing the demand of states involved, the total quantity of water will be 157% of what is available during an average year. So it is impossible, to give what the states are asking, as the demand is too higher than supply.

But at a higher level, approximately, 30% of the water river sources are in Tamil Nadu and 53% are in Karnataka. Also, approximately 54% of the river basin area is in Tamil Nadu and 42% is in Karnataka. And finally, the Government of India appointed (chaired by the Prime Minister of India) and monitored tribunal says 58% of the water should be used by Tamil Nadu and 37% by Karnataka. To keep matters simple, I am not getting into Pudhucherry and Kerala's matters which involve the final 5% of water usage.

In reality, the core contention between the states is the source, usage and times of usage of water.

Crop and Rain Patterns:

Paddy cultivation in Kaveri delta. {Source: Indiawaterportal}
Paddy, Sugarcane, Ragi and Jowar are the four major crops grown along Kaveri river basin. Out of these, Mandya district of Karnataka and Tanjavur, Pudukottai, Tiruchirapalli and Kadalur districts of Tamil Nadu grow the most water intensive Paddy. Kadalur in TN is also growing the most sugar cane, another highly water intensive crop.

Domestic Water Consumption from Kaveri. {Source: Indiawaterportal}
When it comes to drinking water projects using Kaveri, it is mostly in Karnataka. As you can see in the image here showing water consumtion at urban local bodies, Bengaluru has a skyscraper literally. Many other towns and cities across south Karnataka depend heavily or solely on Kaveri for drinking water of urban population.

For those seriously interested in learning more about Kaveri delta's crop patterns, please refer to India Water Portal for a wealth of information.

In Karnataka, Mandya is the most blessed district as it grows very high quality crops using Kaveri. In Tamil Nadu, coastal Kaveri delta grows 3 crops in Kaveri delta. Jun-Sep Kuruvai, July-Jan Samba paddy and Oct-Feb Taladi. Kaveri delta farmers of Karnataka get rain only from SW Monsoon (Jun-Sep). TN Kaveri farmers get both SW and NE Monsoons (NE starts in Oct).

Main complaints from Karnataka:

1) Disproportionate Usage by Tamil Nadu: While only 30% or so water sources of Kaveri are from Tamil Nadu, why should it be allowed to use 65 to 70% of water each year, including the water that flows downstream anyway? Both are Indian states, and when Karnataka contributes to 53% of water to the river, restricting it to use only 37% or less of water is unjust.

2) Distress formula, drinking water and North East Monsoon: This is a major problem with Kaveri water sharing agreements and tribunals. There's NO practical formula when rains fail. For instance, in the year 2012, nearly half of rains have failed. During such years, distress has to be equally shared between the states. The Prime Minister, who heads the tribunal should not force monthly water to be released per regular year computations, when there is half rain as a regular year. What Karnataka farmers say, there's usually more water in early October in TN reservoirs than Karnataka (56 TMC in TN as of Oct 3rd, 2012, while around 46 TMC in KA). And it rains 2 to 3 more months in TN still. Why should central government side against Karnataka to dry the dams in October in such condition? Once water is left, it does not climb up gravitational pull to a upper riparian state. Some even quote UN A/HRC/RES/18/1 Human Rights clause to say that drinking water in Karnataka should be a higher priority than 2nd or 3rd crop being grown in Tamil Nadu, when water is scarce.

3) TN is a bullying neighbour, right from British era: Just today in the newspapers, an expert L Sandesh wrote Cauvery row: 200 years of oppression by Tamil Nadu. There are books, papers, documentaries and countless such arguments that Karnataka (and Mysore before) is made to suffer due to a lopsided British agreement which was heavily against the interests of Karnataka all along. Worse, terrorists like LTTE and smugglers/killers like Veerappan have bullied the state in an undemocratic way. Another point that keeps coming up in news papers is that since Tamil Nadu has India's largest number of registered regional parties, it has a bigger political muscle to use in Dilli against Karnataka, in the era of coalition politics.

4) Not allowed to expand or build new dams: This is also a common complaint. Karnataka has not been allowed to build/enhance any Kaveri dam for decades. Any irrigation or drinking water project, usually sees a court battle from TN. When the population of Bengaluru doubled in the past 20 years, the number of farmers needing water in 4 to 5 districts is very high, more water should be made available to the state that contributes over half of Kaveri water, is their argument.

5) Cultivated area mismatch: This goes hand in hand some of the above ones. There is no definite per district cultivated land area as the numbers keep varying. But at a high level, it is safe to assume that Tamil Nadu cultivates 2.5 to 3 times the area that Karnataka cutivates using Kaveri water. Some of this addition in TN was done in violation of the 1924 agreement that was in vogue till 1974, where max limits were proposed to both states. That is the argument of Karnataka farmers.

6) Water wasted at Bay of Bengal: In spite of all this heavy fight for TMC by TMC of water, lots of water gets wasted into the sea at TN. Why can't it be used more productively, instead of snatching more from Karnataka?

Main complaints from Tamil Nadu:

1) Violation of Supreme Court orders: This is the most popular phrase in any Tamil Nadu politics. Karnataka is a bad state that violates supreme court orders. Details are provided to show how crops are standing and Karnataka is storing water in the dams, but not releasing as per court orders or Tribunal orders. Note that there is a frequent plea to gazette the tribunal order and also to strictly monitor monthly release of water from Karnataka.

2) Violence and Disruption: In 1991, when the interim order of Kaveri tribunal came through, which was strongly opposed in Karnataka, riots broke out. 18 people were killed in this primarily anti Tamil Nadu riots. Small scale reprisals happened in TN too, but this terrible period under Congress government in Karnataka, is often cited as how intolerant and violent Karnataka people can get, when it comes to river water sharing. Also, since the most active national highway in southern India, NH-4 from Mumbai to Chennai, passes through Karnataka for a big 500+ KM distance, lots of vehicle movement disruption and damage happened in the past.

3) Manage your water sources better: Why punish TN farmers when Karnataka fails to take care of its irrigation and drinking water projects better? Clean up the lakes, revive other rivers, but don't reduce Kaveri water that is the lifeline of millions of farmers in TN Kaveri delta.

4) Karnataka gets more rain and has more water sources: Annual rainfall in Karnataka is 1248 mm.Tamil Nadu receives less than 1000 mm of rain on an average. Why not use other rivers in Karnataka and let Kaveri be used by mostly Tamil Nadu as it is done for 1000s of years? There are no major water sources other than Kaveri for central and coastal TN.

5) Insensitive neighbour: Karnataka does not care for Tamil Nadu people. By blocking Kaveri river, which is "our" right, it is turning the fertile arable land into desert. In here, you can see lots of videos and propaganda material showing that Karnataka is a bad neighbour. Listen to some of the speeches of politicians.

6) Can't Trust Karnataka and Wait till January: When KRS and other smaller Karnataka dams are close to being full in September, even though there is water in Mettur dam in TN, we can't trust Karnataka to hold our share of water till December or January, when crops need this water. That's why we need water to be released monthly.


Before getting into solutions, the most important ground realities to note are :-
  • Kaveri is a sacred river for all those who use it directly or indirectly.
  • Kaveri water has to be shared by all those who have a stake at it. This is for today, 10 years from now and even 500 years from now. 
  • There is NOT enough water in Kaveri already, to support the drinking water needs of over 2 crore people and the irrigation needs of 81,000 sq KM area. Compared to bigger rivers, 700-800 TMC total water availability here is low.
  • Only rivers connected to Kaveri area must be considered in computations and arguments. For instance west flowing rivers in coastal Karnataka get lots of rain, but can't be of any use to Mandya farmers or Bengaluru homes. Similarly, water sources in Tamil Nadu dependent on Kerala or Andhra Pradesh can't be discussed in this matter, as they serve other areas of the state.
  • No matter what politicians and other "my state only" organizations say, Kaveri river is NOT any one state's property. It has to be shared. Shared today, tomorrow and for ever. There is an entire generation of politicians on both sides, who have grown up doing "my state should get everything, you can go to hell" politics. That attitude does not help solve the vexed issue.
  • Since both Karnataka and Tamil Nadu are progressive states that are doing very well in the Indian context, a peaceful co-existence is a must. For that water is a very essential source which can't lead to tension and legal/street battles.
Now that we know some ground principles of peaceful co-existence, let's look into what can be done:

1) Conserve Water: There are 100s of ways both urban and rural population can conserve water. You can be assured that as years progress, as population grows in both states, there will be lesser and lesser Kaveri water available. Check out some ideas like these. Also, drip irrigation for paddy is a novel option to explore.

2) Rain water harvesting: I am glad that Bengaluru corporation is not going to give building plan approvals now, if the new homes/buildings being constructed don't have rain water harvesting. Even existing houses can implement this as this video shows in simple terms.

3) Removing silt from dams: Across both states, massive effort must be done to remove silt from dams. When there is capacity for x TMC, fill the dams fully when the rains come, so that those 4 to 6 TMC missed out per dam will make a big impact during dry months.

4) Reviving smaller rivers: One river that comes to mind easily is Arkavathy river west of Bengaluru city. When I was a kid, I used to drink waters of Arkavathy river supplied from Tippagondana Halli reservoir. Now the river is dead. Revival plans are hearty to note. Such small effort will go a long way in reducing dependency on only Kaveri. Tamil Nadu could start with Noyyal river revival immediately which is polluted heavily and hard to use. Both states should revive every possible river as every TMC of water counts!

Puttenahalli Lake in Bengaluru, Revived. {Source: citizenmatters}
5) Reviving lakes: Tamil Nadu for instance had 40000 lakes in the year 1960. By the year 2000, it had lost 10,000 lakes! That's a huge number of lakes lost to pollution, industrial waste and encroachment. There should be a war like attempt by NGOs, common people and governments to revive the life sustaining lakes. One such fantastic effort is happening now in Karnataka, at the Puttenahalli lake area. Everyone knows that 100s of lakes around Bengaluru got gobbled by real state. Revive them. Again, every drop counts!

6) Preventing precious river water wasted into sea: I personally don't know what percentage of Kaveri water goes into sea unused, but going by the comparisons I have seen for Krishna river, it must be high. Use every drop of this precious river's water. 100s of TMC of water can be added to use by practical use of every drop of water.

7) Growing less water intensive crops: As you have noted from the crops section above, massive amount of water intensive paddy and sugar cane are grown by Kaveri delta farmers. Anywhere from 55 to 70% of the total crops grown could be paddy. Keep in mind, Tamil Nadu has access to only 3% of the water in India. Karnataka has the 2nd largest amount of dry land in India after Rajasthan. Why grow so much paddy which requires lots of water? Switch to less water intensive, but good nutritious millets. Or switch to paddy varieties that use half the water per KG (from 5000 liters to 2500 liters) like S Anand, a farmer from Huthenahalli, Chikkajala, demonstrated. Since majority of Kaveri water is used for agriculture and that too for paddy, this solution alone can save lots of water and save both states!

A Farmer suffering drought. {Source: The Hindu}
8) Distress formula: Share the hit of nature equally: If the rains are down by 30%, both states should take a hit of 30% water for that month or season. Be good neighbours during tougher times. Every 10 years or so, there is a massive drought in Kaveri area. 1991, 2002 and now 2012 are examples. Don't fight it all the way till Supreme Court as it only worsens the relations. CMs should sit down and agree on a reduced water sharing and crop cultivation for that year. The central government should not be partial to either of the states due to coalition compulsions. Both are Indian states, and the PM can't favour one state over another. Blame games are not going to help anyone. A farmer without water for crops or a house without drinking water is going to suffer no matter in which state.

9) Understand the 21st century's needs of both states, not 19th or 20th century demands: Yes, before the age of Mettur or KRS dams, majority of the water was available for Tanjavur & nearby areas for crops. So obviously generations of farmers depended solely upon that. But now things have changed. There's Mandya irrigated heavily. There is a very fast growing Bengaluru city that needs more water than ever before. There are districts long before Tanjavur or Kadalur in both states that have started irrigating from Kaveri. There is Hogenikal kind of new drinking water projects in TN. Tamil Nadu insisting on 2/3rd or more of water, while Karnataka insisting on half of Kaveri water is just not working out. It's a small river again, for the crores of population it supports. Sit and decide how to handle around 725 TMC of total annual water available, in the best possible way. No one is a victim, no one is a villain, if farmers talk to each other directly. After all every farmer and every user of Kaveri water is an Indian.

10) Think of other give and take policies: For instance Karnataka buys water from Maharashtra, the upper riparian state, during dry season by paying certain amount of crores per TMC. In 2004, Karnataka paid 3.3 crores Rupees to Maharashtra to buy 2 TMC of water in adverse conditions. Maybe power in return for water during hard times, or a share in agricultural crop yield for water. Think outside the box. I have repeated enough that there is not enough water for everyone's demand, so innovative approaches need to be developed.

If you read it all the way till here, I hope you really got some clarity on what the issue is, why it keeps popping up so often, and what are the possible ways we can think positively and resolve the issues. After all, Indians sharing water with Indians, Indians not bullying Indians and Indians living peacefully with other Indians will not be disliked by anyone..except the generation of politicians or street organizations that have thrived using this conflict.

Thanks to my online friends who raised some of these points during discussions and also gave some ideas.

Do drop in your comments, corrections, and ideas. I am by no means an expert in this area, so I am always willing to learn from the knowledgable. All I wish is peace.. Shantih!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

The Incredible Paralympics

The glamorous and high performance Olympics is over. But don't forget, the equally incredible Para Olympics or Paralympics is underway.

When I watched the Chinese girl Lu Dong getting ready to start the women's swimming finals, biting a towel at the start as she has no hands, I got a bit emotional. It was incredible to see this girl without hands beat others who have hands and win gold!
The incredible Lu Dong. {Source:}

That was 5 days ago.

Yesterday, history was made from Indian perspective. A 24 year old poor village boy from Karnataka, made India proud by winning India's first ever Paralympics High Jump medal!!

Girisha Hosanagara Nagarajegowda won India's first medal in the London 2012 Paralympics, a silver, with a leg like this..
Girisha Hosanagara Nagarajegowda. {Source: Daylife}

Girisha delivering his Silver winning jump.{Source: Jagran}
Here's the video of Girisha Hosanagara Nagarajegowda winning silver for India at London paraolympics. Will get tears in your eyes, not just for him, but for all contestants for what they endure overcoming all odd.

It was a shame that no Indian TV covered live when Girisha won Silver. Paralympics is not something that any commercial channel would cover, at least in today's sports situation. His personal best was 1.60 at big events, but cleared 1.74 meters.

Do also read the entire interview of Girisha HN , before his Silver expedition at the Paralympics. Kudos to ING Vysya & Samarthanam NGO for supporting this village boy. Of course, he thanks Sahana Kumari, a high jumper from his own state who missed a medal in 2012 Olympics, but did wonderfully well to guide Girisha to win a medal!
How are you training and preparing for the event?
Girisha showing his Silver proudly. {Source: GettyImages}
GHN: I have been training here in Bangalore right from March, learning techniques under the guidance of coach Satyanarayana of Karnataka Athletics Association, Nikitin, a Ukrainian trainer employed with Sports Authority of India and Olympics-qualified high-jumper Sahana Kumari.
 How did you get to where you are, what was the qualification process like?
GHN: I come from a very poor family, from a village in Karnataka. Between 2008 and 2010 I was not able to take part in sports. Then I underwent the soft skills and BPO training at Samarthanam Trust for the Disabled. That turned things around for me. I was recruited by ING Vysya Bank. I worked at the bank. In 2012, I was in Kuwait for the Paralympics qualifier, with the Rs. 80,000 sponsorship from ING Vysya. I won a gold medal and qualified for the Paralympics. It was a dream come true for me, like attaining the fruit of penance.
I am one of the five athletes from all over India who qualified, and the only one from the south. I topped in the trials. I had to give up my job for the Paralympics training since it was not possible to take more than a 2-month break, and I was required to be away for six months. But I feel like I am a sportsman today. The outcome is secondary; I feel I have achieved something regardless. I hope this will be an example to others.
Indeed, he has set an example that will motivate thousands like him in the coming years.

Come.. Let's congratulate Girisha for creating history yesterday!

Monday, July 9, 2012

Lessons From Sadananda Gowda's Exit

Over the past few days, it became clear to Karnataka people that they would be having their third Chief Minister from BJP, that too in the very first term of the party's first ever government in South India.

"It's him" Gowda pointing to Shettar. {Source: IndianExpress}
We anticipated multiple reactions from all around India. The media portrayed it as more of BS Yeddyurappa's strong arm tactic. Most anti-BJP social media folks agreed with the media and went a step further mocking BJP. Congress party came up with a statement that BJP changes Karnataka CMs like cloths.. Funny that a party that had 14 CM swearing in ceremonies in Maharashtra in the past 30 years (ruling for 25 years), a party that had at least 12 CMs (including rebels) in Goa in 20 years, a party that had many cases of 3 or more CMs per term in Karnataka, AP, Maharashtra, UP, Bihar, Rajasthan etc., had to come up with utterly silly comment :)

In any case.. the focus of my blog entry is not media, not Congress and not those who don't like BJP. I personally believe that since both  Sadananda Gowda and Jagadish Shettar are of similar Sangh background, their administration and viewpoints towards the greater cause of Karnataka and India wouldn't be much different.  But this blog is for those who strongly support Sangh ideology and BJP, but confused over this particular phase of leadership change in Karnataka. It's for those who have had a varied opinion about this change of baton from Sadananda Gowda to Jagadish Shettar. It's for those who are questioning 'internal democracy', 'party with a difference', 'clean admin versus approval for corruption' and other topics, without knowing clearly what really happened with Sadananda Gowda.

I am not going to get into the topic of if this change in CM position is a good thing or bad thing. If you want a recap of what happened during the first BJP CM change in Karnataka from BS Yeddyurappa to Sadananda Gowda, check this out. If you have a bit more time to figure out where the infamous Reddy brothers featured in the whole episode, who were their "true" political business partners, you can check this out. This time, I am mostly focusing on why Sadananda Gowda lost his CM chair. Read on. Feel free to comment later if you have a different opinion.

“Give a man power and you will reveal his true character”, said Abraham Lincoln over 150 years back. We can modify it a bit in the current context. "Give a man CM chair and he will reveal his true colour".

And how did Mr.Gowda reveal his true colour? Here we go:-

1. Cozy up with the Opposition:

If I have to list the first reason why Sadananda Gowda became unpopular within BJP, it is his cozy up with BJP's nemesis in Karnataka, the Deve Gowda family's JDS party. 
DG with SG: {Source: Siliconcitynews}

Sadananda Gowda who was very vocal against Deve Gowda family in 2009, by comparing Deve Gowda to a Lashkar e Toiba Terrorist, was now going overboard to please the JDS party with the appointment Justice Chandrashekaraiah as the Upa Lokayukta. You can read through more on why this particular Justice was not liked by almost everyone else in BJP.

It's OK to have a pragmatic non-confrontational approach to governance, but not going overboard, that too in important nominations such as Upa Lokayukta position going against your own party.

Lesson learnt: Thou Shall Not Cozy Up With Opposition For Personal "Insurance".

2. Clearly going against his mentor and vocal in-party supporter, BS Yeddyurappa:

BSY "crowning" DVS in 2011.{Source: Daijiworld}
Anyone who followed the events of 2011 in Karnataka, would know two things:- a) that Santosh Hegde was very biased against BJP's first CM Yeddyurappa. b) and BSY strongly backed Sadananda Gowda as the next CM, surprising many caste 'observers'. But then came a very monumental event.Karnataka High Court not only provided relief for the targeted Yeddyurappa, but also threw out the entire chapter 22 of Santosh Hedge's mining report, which was the very reason for BSY's resignation in 2011. Understandably Hedge was "disappointed". But for an incumbent BJP CM, this was a huge statement in favour of the party. It essentially junked the entire media-Congress-JDS-Governor-Lokayukta attack on BJP on "illegal mining". But instead of celebrating this historic event when a retired Supreme Court Justice's report was junked at High Court, or at least keeping quiet in a dignified manner, our Sadananda Gowda remarked:   "There are still eight other cases pending against him!!". By any standard, this was a horrible back stab by Gowda to his erstwhile CM. Can you imagine any other party's CM going so overboard against his earlier CM? Sir, YOU touched Yeddyurappa's feet and took up the CM's position, and now went THIS overboard being opportunistic due to the feeling of chair insecurity? Naturally Yeddyurappa decided not want to "embarrass" Gowda and didn't campaign in Udupi Chikkamagaluru Lok Sabha by election. 

Lesson learnt: Thou Shall Not Back-stab Thy Mentor or Supporter.

3. To project GIM 2012 a success, looked down upon GIM 2010:

Yeddyurappa had worked very hard with his able minister Murugesh Nirani in 2010 to conduct the biggest ever Global Investors Meet (GIM) in the state. He had succeeded in attracting Memorandum of Understanding (MoUs) of over Rs.4,00,000,00,00,000. By any standard, that was a huge success. Close to a million jobs were to be created due to the investment promises. But then the illegal mining issue hit the roof. Mining ban was enforced by BSY govt under pressure. Since more than half of the investment proposals were related to steel, iron, mining etc., a lot of these remained promises. But even giving a big discount to that problem, quite a number of projects took off and are still in various stages of execution.

DVS at GIM 2012 with NRNM.{Source:  Hindubusinessonline}
Fast forward to 2012. Sadananda Gowda facing immense internal no-confidence-in-him issues, wanted to project 2012 GIM a much better event. The same Murugesh Nirani was with him this time. And sure they rocked! GIM 2012 attracted a whopping Rs.7,60,000,00,00,000 MoUs in 2 days! That must have been the biggest 2 day investment proposal ever in India, outside of Narendra Modi's Gujarat.

To a neautral observer, both GIMs were effective and in the best interest of the state. But how did Sadananda Gowda sum up "his" GIM in the backdrop of "his earlier CM's" GIM? "Yeddyurappa's GIM was an embarrassment!!". Is it Mr.CM? Your own party's government's GIM just 2 years suddenly became an embarrassment for you?

Lesson learnt: Thou Shall Not Take a Dig at Thy Own Government's Achievements.

4. Losing his own Lok Sabha seat in by election:

Earlier in 2012, BJP lost the Udupi - Chikkamagaluru Lok Sabha by election. It was not a huge defeat, but enough to shake their apple cart wherein they had won 90% of by elections since May of 2008. It may be too harsh to blame Sadananda Gowda for just one major by election loss, but there were two key reasons why this played out against him.

One is his ability to lead from the front. For those unfamiliar with Karnataka geography and caste equations, here is a quick course. Effectively the state is divided into three parts from political angle. The coastal & Malenadu (Western Ghats) region, the north and the south. The caste and other demography characteristics of each region differ drastically. The south for instance is dominated by the Vokkaliga (Gowda) community, who form around 16-18% of the state. You can see in green colour below the districts where the predominantly one caste party, the JDS, won, riding on this Gowda voting bloc during the 2010-11 Panchayat elections. Bengaluru city also falls in the south, and has its own characteristic which is not necessary to elaborate here. The north is dominated by Lingayats (Veera Shaivas). In over 14 districts, their might decides who forms the next government, which is substantial. Lingayats totally account for 1/5th of Karnataka, if not more. Even in the districts in grey colour above, they were almost fully behind BJP. The coast/ghats area is diverse, and a mix of many castes/communities. This is where BJP started its south India wave 25 years back, and since then has been a strong BJP base. The reason this demography was explained is to drive an important point. Without North Karnataka, which is BJP's strongest base today, there is no future for BJP in the state. Compared to North, coast/ghat areas (Gowda is from here) have smaller number of seats. Since BJP is not strong in the south of the state, it has to project a leader who has mass base in the north. Gowda did not stand up to that challenge, when he lost his own seat in the coast!

The second reason is kind of entwined in the above paragraph. When North Karnataka's Lingayats are 3 to 4 times more important for BJP's survival, compared to south, there is no way BJP can antagonize that voting bloc by continuing with a not-so-strong mass leader, who lost his own seat. If you already gathered it from the second point of this blog, you would have noticed that it was S Gowda's stupid utterance after Hegde report quashing at HC, that probably cost BJP this Udupi seat. These things play out big within the party and the high command would have noticed it too.

Lesson learnt: Thou Shall Not Lose Thy Own Seat. Winning Elections is a Must. 

5. Proclaiming that (Only) Vokkaligas made me a CM:

This by far was the most stupid game played by Sadananda Gowda.BJP's R Ashoka, himself a Vokkaliga, pulled out a massive 'Guru Vandana' program of Gowda community political leaders after nearly 16-18 years. Putting Congress, JDS and BJP's Gowda community leaders on the same stage, handling all ego clashes, was not easy at all. 

DVS facilitating Balagangadhara Swami. {Source: Pics4News}
Going to a meet organized by his own community/caste is not a big deal. All politicians do. Taking care of the community's Guru is always a good thing for a leader. But what Sadananda Gowda did was horrible. To either overcome his own insecurity within the party when the powerful Lingayats are going against him, or to cement a much stronger bond with his caste audience in the case of danger to his seat, he played stupid caste politics.

In front of a huge gathering, he said that he got the opportunity to become the CM only due to the efforts and blessings of the community. That irresponsible "credit" given to one caste, openly, probably sealed his exit right there.

Lesson learnt: Thou Shall Not Play Caste Appeasement Politics for Personal Survival.
6. Not hitting hard on SM Krishna, Dharam Singh and HD Kumaraswamy, when he had a chance:

Golden rule of politics. You hit hard when you have the power and the opposition is in the back foot. Did Gowda follow that when he had the power? It doesn't seem like.

Dharam, Krishna & HDK. {Source: OneIndia}
When the Supreme Court (SC) appointed Central Empowered Committee (CEC) came to Sadananda Gowda for details of illegal mining by the former three CMs of Karnataka, Gowda reportedly gave very casual response with dilute details. For any observer in Karnataka, it was obvious that illegal mining did NOT start in 2008 when BJP came to power. There was a long list of irregularities right from 2000 when SM Krishna of Congress was the CM. The same irregularities became worse during Congress' Dharam Singh's CM tenure and JDS' HD Kumaraswamy's tenure. For details, refer to many reports from 2000-2008 period, which includes nearly one year of President's rule by Sonia Gandhi & Manmohan Singh, via Governor Rameshwar Thakur. Every regime gave dubious licenses and every regime has tons of allegations.

When BJP, which is slammed by all these parties for "illegal mining", had its best chance to nail the former CMs, that too when a SC appointed team is knocking on its door for hard details, it was shocking that DVS went very mild and slow. In fact, this angered so many activists that one screamed "DVS is shielding Krishna, HDK, as they belong to his community!"   

Lesson learnt: Thou Shall Not Lose An Opportunity To Hit Thy Real Political Opponents .

So in summary:- 

I believe that Sadananda Gowda scripted himself an exit before completing even one year. He definitely was a clean administrator. A smiling nice gentleman in most cases. A person who did work hard to clear any 'corruption' image stuck to BJP's first ever south Indian government. But he made crucial mistakes, some of which are listed above.  My guess is that he felt insecure that he might lose his CM seat, and also got greedy to secure himself a longer run, when the party script was not exactly that. He had a clear role to play when his former leader got into trouble, but he tried too hard to script a change to that role, without taking party and MLAs into confidence.

These are some crucial lessons for Jagadish Shettar and any future Chief Minister in India, on how not to lose CM chair by playing your cards too quickly, and too erratically.

Your comments are welcome.All viewpoints are encouraged, when expressed in non-abusive lingo.

Monday, April 30, 2012

"Wake Up BJP" : An Open Letter to Nitin Gadkari

Nitin Gadkari
National President, Bharatiya Janata Party
13, Teen Murti Lane, New Delhi - 110011
Cell: +91 9821080522
Tel: 91 - 11- 23011027
Fax: 91 - 11- 23013027

The Friends of BJP on Social Networks.

Dear Nitin Gadkari ji,
  Namaskaar. This is a friendly letter from the social media friends of Bharatiya Janata party. We hope you are having a few minutes to read this important letter from people, who might still be fairly low on the hierarchy of voices that might be reaching you.

Why are we writing this to you? Because in simple terms, we genuinely care for the ideology Sangh Parivar stands for, the bright future India deserves, and most importantly, to give a fresh set of ideas to a party that claims to represent the "Bharatiyata", the core of India.

So what is in this letter that you don't hear from top level think tanks and strategists surrounding you? We think there's a lot. The suggestions might sound ordinary at times, but this is unpaid and unforced section of Young India speaking to you. A country where almost 2/3rd of the population is below the age of 35, their opinion is what is showing up in most of this letter. It would be your final judgment of course to take it or leave it, but just remember...these are the people who can make or break a large part of internet literate segment of 2014 voters of BJP.

So here we start, in no particular order:

1> Counter Attack: Turn back the clock a couple of months. Every news channel was on BJP's 'porngate' episode. Congress was conducting road show after road show, totally taking this negative publicity of BJP to masses. But what did BJP do when the infamous Abhishek Manu Singhvi CD came out? Yes, there were some restrictions he cleverly managed from court. But the entire social media knew what was happening. This was 100 times more serious a issue for the nation considering who and where parts. Did BJP take this in a big way to the masses? Did they conduct road shows? Did they make sure this is a big topic for news debates or editorials? In terms of intensity, BJP failed miserably we should say. Even for a seemingly fake case like Gujarat assembly porn watch, far more damage was done by anti-BJP forces at ground level. So sir, just eloquent parliament speeches can only go so far. BJP as a party is squandering serious opportunities like Rajbala's death during Ramdev's camp's midnight crackdown, AMS tape, ND Tiwari paternity case and Maderna case. No one is suggesting to hit below the belt or send un-parliamentary messages. But at least counter attack decently to get the core issue to the potential voters.

2> Scams and Propaganda: 2004-2012 must have been India's worst scam period. Majority of these scams are undoubtedly due to Congress party's misrule and their hapless "coalition dharma". Social media is well versed with details of CWG, President's land issues, 2G, Bofors, Coal gate, Karnataka Wakf Scam, Andhra Pradesh scams involving YSR family, Land grabbing in a number of Congress ruled states, Haryana land scam involving a reputed dynasty foundation, Mining frauds involving non-BJP ruled states and much more. How effective has been BJP here? When Congress has succeeded in equating Mining Scam = BJP, due to sustained propaganda, where is the PR arm of BJP? How much of the RTI support group muscle has BJP used till date? In states like Karnataka, where you have your own government, how many went to prison for Wakf Scam kind of massive loot? Yes, most people know that Congress is involved in these big scams, but where are the resignations? How many tainted CMs like Sheila Dikshit or their Ministers at state levels have quit? How many central ministers went on jail due to BJP's sustained efforts? Minuscule we must say. Yes, sir, as a principal opposition party, you can do a LOT better!

3> Media Management: If you have not grabbed this info by now, sir, electronic media for most part is termed as "paid media" in social media discussions. It's almost a synonym today. Such is the poor image and credibility of India's TV channels. One of the key reason being their rabid anti-Hindu propaganda and in particular anti-Sangh or anti-BJP propaganda. You can go through Karnataka Bhagavad Gita episode, UP's Sushma Swaraj and Mayawati "heartless" episode, or Delhi court's Mohan Bhagwat's Karkare episode. Media has been ruthless and loud in defaming BJP at every given opportunity. Most of the times, they get caught on social media like Twitter, Blogs and Facebook. But has BJP used that info? If yes, how effectively? When Karnataka Bhagavad Gita Abhiyana was projected as a state sponsored episode, why didn't BJP seek legal course against a prominent media house to prevent such recurrences in the future? When a TV program insulted 5 crore Gujaratis as "traditionally effete people" showing Narendra Modi's visuals, where was the noise from BJP? When Sushma Swaraj was misinterpreted, why didn't BJP seek a public apology from another media house? When lies are propagated that 2002 was India's worst minority dead-body count, why is BJP not talking about the unfortunate Nellie massacre from 1983 to give the truth to people?

Not countering the negative and baseless propaganda is hurting BJP, and also not projecting the pro-BJP news items. For example, many Christian candidates winning in Goa under Manohar Parrikar's leadership should have been a serious topic of discussion when it involves a "Hindutva" party per media created image. How come your strategists, friendly aspects in media and foot soldiers didn't take that to millions of homes?  When Karnataka chose its latest CM via secret ballot, that could have been projected as a US style primary, instead of what media projected as "puppet" selection. Where is the credit for superbly implementing Bengaluru Metro? How about Narmada canal wonders? How many even remember today driving on Golden Quadrilateral that it was Vajpayee's government that did wonders? Where are the positives from Chhattisgarh, Bihar, Punjab, Madhya Pradesh etc.? Web based Yuvai TV is a good initiative by some energetic individuals, but you have miles to run before you can catch-up anywhere closer to the grip anti-BJP ideology has on Indian print and electronic media. The media which gave serious negative publicity to one unverified Varun Gandhi speech, never did even 1% of that damage to Congress for a veteran Congress leader Kagodu Thimmappa's "cut Hindutva hands" hate speech.

Sir, in short, you need huge efforts on media management side. Own media houses, manage current media houses and work on creating a pro-Sangh alliance of broadcasting outlets. This is easier said than done, but you might not be gauging the ripple effect of negative publicity, day-in and day-out.

4> Image Makeover: Sorry to say this Mr.Gadkari, many in the young India we interact with, perceive BJP today mostly as a "B team of Congress". Per social media, the true opposition in India today are: a) Supreme Court. b) Social Media. c) Subramanian Swamy. The "3S Opposition" to be put it that way:) That's a serious problem you need to work on. Congress talks of secularism, you also do it now. Congress talks of socialistic populism, you also talk the same. Congress talks half-heartedly about Lokpal & other watch dogs, and you also do the same. Congress is a High Command driven decision making system, and you are also the same now. Congress talks of reservation, and you do that too. Congress talks of growth and you too do that. We understand that many of these are political compulsions. But where is the difference for a casual observer? The difference was evident 22 years back, but not anymore! You should be able to convey to a 22 year old voter, "what is BJP" and "how is is different from Congress" in 5 to 10 sentences. Can you do it sir?

More importantly, not just saying why BJP is "different". But living by that policy at all states that BJP is ruling, is far more important. If you stand for Lokpal, implement good Lokayukta policies across your ruled states. If you stand by for anti-cow-slaughter, then legally push the Governors who are becoming impediment for the same.

5> Projection of a PM Candidate: BJP is a democratic party, so there is always an opening for dissent or healthy competition. This is a great difference compared to a dynasty centric sycophantic setup on the Congress side. But since we have less than 18 months for campaigning to start for 2014 elections, you need to project your PM candidate soon. Project candidates for all key positions like Home, Law, Deputy PM (if any), Party Office bearers openly and clearly. Clarity is most important here, in spite of the inherent risks involved in projecting earlier. There's always a chance of polarization of the voters, but without a projection, BJP will be playing into the hands of Congress and media's negative speculations. We wish to inform you that the popular names for top positions on the social media are Narendra Modi and Subramanian Swamy for quite some time. Those two are more popular with young Indians than any of your Delhi based senior leadership. You can run online polls or surveys to feel the pulse better yourself.

6> Standing for Party Loyalists: Bangaru Laxman was in news, albeit negatively, last week. We are not suggesting to protect any corrupt or wrong-doer. But many voices on social network suggested that he was unfairly trapped, when he had no decision making capability as a minister or anything... worse, he seemingly offered a receipt too. Where was BJP's defence for him? Did you see how Congress stood behind P Chidambaram and SM Krishna when they have much worse charges? Did you forget that "Dalit" card is very powerful in India? To take this topic a step further, lots of people in young India feel that BJP has resorted to use and throw policy over the past few years. Kalyan Singh, BS Yeddyurappa, Uma Bharati, Vasundhara Raje, BC Khanduri are some examples of mass leaders who are either sidelined or under-utilized by BJP today. What we, on the social network feel, is that your party pays too much attention to what pro-Congress media plays out about your leaders. As a result, you are quick to succumb to media pressure or Congress propaganda. What you might not be realizing sir is that, you are getting trapped in their strategy to strip BJP off its mass leaders, the people who can win states on their shoulders. Yes, there will be charges against them, but you need to balance the "party with a difference" tag with "Indian rules that everyone else plays with". Hope you get our message. One of the loudest criticism of BJP's top 4 or 5 leaders today at Delhi, is that, they hardly can win any states with their strategy or charm or mass appeal. Don't get us wrong for this criticism. Ponder upon, why people are saying that.

By the way, if your party was sleeping, Sonia Gandhi, the UPA chairperson, was shown with up to $19 billion as assets by an influential Business Insider magazine. This is against just a crore or two of declared assets by the same person. Some quick maths indicate that that amount may be almost a crore TIMES bigger than Bangaru Laxman's amount in question. Yes, one crore times nearly sir.. Hope you ponder more on a huge missed opportunity!

7> Legal Muscle:  Who doesn't know Subramanian Swamy? Of course everyone knows this one man show, in the name of Janata party from Tamil Nadu. But here is the scoop. Have you wondered how a party, with zero MLAs and zero MPs in India, is almost bringing the mighty Congress empire to its knees via legal muscle? On the other side, BJP, a party with celebrity lawyers, has not done anything substantial to get this government on its knees. Be it CWG, or 2G or any scam worth its name, BJP lawyers are not fighting to give a fatal blow to any key minister of Congress. In fact, hush-hush talk on social media suggests that some key lawyers might even have worked in favour of some accused on the Congress roaster. Serious problem sir.. Take a deep breath and analyze the situation as well as the perception.

8> "Bharatiya" issues: We know that BJP is strongly for Kashmir pandits's return rights, hanging of anti-nationals like Kasab & Afzal, deportation of Bangladeshi infiltrators, bringing North East people to mainstream, among other sensitive but important topics. But sir, you can do far better. RSS has the world's largest grass root presence. Millions of volunteers are available to take the Bharatiyata message to lakhs of villages through them. In spite of them, if BJP is not able to educate an average Indian about the massive security & integration risks, resulting out of votebank politics. A simple example. Till earlier this year, most of us didn't even know about the plight of Hindu refugees from Pakistan Occupied Kashmir. Now when we hear the separatist views highlighted on English channels, we see the hypocrisy of sidelining the SC/ST Hindu plight in Jammu's refugee camps. Please work on the Bharatiya issues aggressively taking sincere help from the cadres.

9> Alliance in Key States: Many of us view the same sentiments here. There are over 240 Lok Sabha seats in TN, AP, WB,  Kerala,  Odisa and UP. That's just under 30 seats to half way of Indian parliament's lower house. Where are the allies of BJP here? If an election is held today, will BJP be able to win even 20% of these crucial seats? Without them, how can you dream of 2014? Congress has almost given 2014 to BJP on platter via a corrupt and inept regime. We are sure you have serious strategists working with you on this topic, but we just thought, we inform you nearly 2 years before the next scheduled election, as we see very little on the ground in these states.

10> Not wasting time: If you ever open a Twitter account and seek opinion on how to improve BJP's chances, we guarantee, this topic will come up. This particular topic is from those who are frustrated with BJP's recent attempts to portray itself as secular. The message from them to you is that you should focus on your Core Ideology. India is secular because Hindus are mostly secular. That's the truth. Take more advice from the super successful undercurrent of Indian society, the RSS. For many people like us, BJP is just one major project of the Sangh Parivar, among the 1,60,000 Bharatiya projects they have! Don't feel bad, but that's how young India that we interact with perceives your party. So don't ever cut the umbilical chord with the ideological nerve center.

BJP needs to first convince 82% of Indians, who are Hindus of all segments and castes, that it is their best hope. That's a huge challenge considering 64 years of systematic division of Hindu votes into innumerable caste and language vote categories. If you can manage to unite them, rest will fall in place. Your portrayal of Rama Rajya or Hindu Rashtra has been severely distorted as "Hindus Only" India by your detractors. We know that's not the case, but you have to do a stellar job selling that to your potential voters. We know on social media that Congress is severely "Minority first" ideology right from Khilafat movement days 92 years back. There's nothing surprising at all to a careful observers. But it's a joke that they can stand in public and term BJP as communal and claim themselves as Secular. This is even after Shah Bano or UP Muslim communal reservation speeches. This is where BJP failed big time. Correction time now! Primarily being pro-Hindu or standing for Hindu human rights, does NOT mean, being anti-Muslim or anti-Minority. Every country has major parties catering to the majority's wishes and aspirations. Opposing minority appeasement like massive (and un-Islamic) Hajj subsidy, is not opposing minority rights. Narendra Modi's all-inclusive development is just one example you can use with facts and figures, minus any rhetoric.

11> Engaging with Digital World: Social media may be in its infancy in India, but sir, let us assure you, it has already cut some major victories. Radia tapes were discussed by mainstream media due to social media pressure. Various riots were even reported because of social media trends. Numerous shady scams and shady acts like AMS CD, came out due to buzz on social media. BJP needs to use this nascent opportunity, like the successful Subramanian Swamy, via Tweeple conferences and weekly online chats to feel the pulse. This can also be used immensely to perpetuate the superb development efforts of various BJP state governments. We might be a few million on web today, and no way comparable to the 100s of millions in rural India, but the trend from here can only be one-directional. More strength to social media and we hope you become an early conqueror of this open space. As a first step, you can also instruct your IT cells to get key digests of social media's political topics, and circulate the gist among the decision makers of the party. We assure you, there's immense information out on Twitter, blogs and Facebook, that you can win any issue in a debate tomorrow! Encourage all your key leaders and parliamentarians to be on social media, and truly engage with the people when time permits. Most importantly, listen to BJP supporters and sympathizers, when they criticize your policies, instead of blocking them to shut their voice.

We hope you read till here, and more importantly realized WHY we are writing this open letter to you. Now please act precisely and in a timely fashion. You know it and we know it... the ONLY party in India today, that can win 3 digit Lok Sabha seats other than Congress, is BJP. Don't let down the folks opposing Congress..for India's sake!

- Signing off with a loud "Vande Mataram"
Your Social Media Friends.

PS: Read comments below for more from online friends on the same topic.