Monday, September 19, 2016

If India has to hit terror factories in Pakistan, be ready for a war with China!

It is about 32 hours since the attack on Uri army camp in India, by Pakistani terrorists. There is tremendous amount of anger in India, specifically in the sections of society which I normally don't see overreact on social media.

This was the front page of paper at my home - "We have had enough!"
Front page of New Indian Xpress, the day after Uri Attack

The overwhelming majority are screaming - Dear Prime Minister.. do something. do quickly..

  • That "do" can be full fledged war. 
  • It can be economic blockade.
  • It can be water stoppage for Sindhu and five rivers of Punjab going into Pakistan.
  • It can be surgical strikes inside Pakistan like India did inside Myanmar last year.
  • It can be as many as there are opinions on social media, papers and TV.

But the big question is.. Can India attack Pakistan this week?
  1. I am sure there is military will power. 
  2. I am sure there would be enough political will power. 
  3. I am sure India has plenty of financial cushion to do this. (Pakistan's GDP is smaller than just one state's in India - Maharashtra)
  4. I am sure internally there won't be much opposition to India for a small scale surgical strike. 

But still.. 69 years of handling of Jammu and Kashmir by India is something we have to look at right now. Can India afford to hit Pakistan where it hurts the most, for Pakistan's obsession with Jihadi terror export all these decades?

While I was looking for some pragmatic answers, amidst very loud war cries that I see in press, TV and social media, I happened to see this tweet set. A very thoughtful set of tweets by the user @vadakkus. From here onward, I am merely reproducing the fantastic probing analysis done by @vadakkus, with very little info from my side. Read it fully and then comment on what Indian government can do, should do, and most importantly, when to do. Vadakkus starts off a tweet storm on the entire Pakistan - India fiasco. There is more than what meets the eye here. And issue is NOT Kashmir. It also does not look like anything to do with Islam, Separatism, Human Rights, Army, AFSPA, Track 2 negotiation and many other things we hear on TV.

It is must deeper than that.. Geo politics!

Why is Pakistan obsessed with Kashmir? I have always wondered what makes Kashmir so attractive to Pakistan, that they are willing to keep the issue burning forever. What IS there?
{Prem Shekhar, a well known Kannada columnist informed a few weeks that Pakistan  had even offered to give up East Pakistan in 1950s, in return for Jammu and Kashmir on the sidelines of official discussions with India! So definitely it is not religion or Kashmiris.. it is much deeper than that. It was water sources then, but now much more deeper...}

Why is India so reluctant to hit back at Pakistan? Also why does India always seem to be unable to retaliate to Pakistan in kind (it should, totally) and pussyfoots around Pakistan, despite all the atrocities it commits in India from daily incursions in Kashmir to the Mumbai attacks. They spend too much money on all this and the country, despite no visible revenue-generating industry (terrorism no revenue) has managed to survive until today, develop nukes and has so much international clout? Where does it get its money from? Why?? Why is India reluctant to strike? There must be reasons.

Yes, water is an issue. The Indus and its tributaries. But where do they get money to keep the issue alive? There is more to this than water. Today, someone told me about this thing and I was stumped about how bloody obvious this is, and even then, NOBODY in India talks about this!

It is China... stupid.. It is China and CPEC: The "thing" is the CPEC: China-Pakistan Economic Corridor. If you look at it closely suddenly everything falls into place. Kashmir, Balochistan, India's unwillingness to strike, silence of international community, everything else. Pakistan is just a front.  

The real sponsor is hiding behind.

Maybe it is because Indian method of viewing everything in black & white. Pakistan sponsors terrorism to get Kashmir. It is not that simple. Pakistan kept the Kashmir flame burning until the 1990s to meet their ends, when China conceived the CPEC and decided to take over. A bit on the CPEC as no one seems to have heard about it. China has a huge geographic handicap: no access to southern world oceans.

So Chinese shipments from Europe, Middle East, Africa have to travel all the way around India, Malacca and ASEAN. China has serious problems with most countries in that region due to its aggressive military posture.

CPEC Need. Source - Twitter. Please excuse since J&K map is not as per India's standards.
Why Pakistan is so important for Chinese economy? What if China could get a route through Pakistan to access the Arabian Sea? That line in blue. Look at it, so much distance, money saved! That, is the CPEC. A corridor of highways and railways will run from Kashgar in China to Gwadar in Pakistan (Baluchistan) on the Arabian sea near Iran border. And ALL the infrastructure and associated stuff for CPEC will be constructed for Pakistan by China, free or cost or for negligible loans.

What is CPEC?Four Six-lane Expressways from north to south Pakistan, four different routes. All main railway lines being upgraded to 160 kph double. A six to eight lane super expressway Karachi to Gwadar and Hyderabad Innumerable coal, thermal, solar and hydro power plants all across Pakistan. All of Gwadar, including a mega international airport! Then Hospitals, schools, colleges, tech institutes, even a Metro line in Lahore!

And of course, the capstone: reconstruction of the Karakoram highway to six to four lanes. All projects listed here. Click, zoom and read.
CPEC Map. Source Twitter. Please excuse since J&K map is not as per India's standards.
But why is Jammu and Kashmir involved here?  Now, on the Karakoram highway, this is where it matters most for India. It connects China and Pakistan, though India! Through Jammu and Kashmir, which legally acceded to India in 1947 October.  This is a route map of the Karakoram highway (grey). Look at the top, inside the red circle. It is Gilgit Baltistan area of Jammu and Kashmir state, which legally belongs to India, but illegally occupied by Pakistan. Keep in mind, China also occupies illegally the eastern and northern part of Jammu and Kashmir - Shaksgam valley (gifted by Pakistan in 1960s) and Aksai Chin (occupied by China in 1950s when it annexed Tibet).

Karakoram highway location. Map from Wiki. Not per India's J&K map standards.
The highway passes through Gilgit-Baltistan, Pakistan Occupied Kashmir. The red line is the LOC. Pakistan and China are connected through Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (PoK for short). Pakistan calls this Gilgit-Baltistan area of Jammu and Kashmir, as Northern Territories sometimes. 

More on Karakoram highway: Soon to be a 4/6 lane highway through some of the world's toughest terrain. A high-capacity highway across the Himalayas!

Now, though the CPEC is a recent thing, the idea had taken birth long back. The Karakoram highway started building in 1959, opened in 1979! Possibly Pakistan had refused China access to Gwadar then as they could. But now they have no other choice but hand over to China.

Why CPEC? OIL: Gwadar is just 400 km away from Muscat and 500 from the Strait of Hormuz through which all Gulf oil passes. 12 hours at sea! Proximity to Africa: China virtually owns much of Africa today. Billions in investment, buys natural resources. Nothing better than this. Pakistan as a market: China will flood Pakistan and Gulf with its cheap products and make a windfall there too. Proximity to new friend Sri Lanka.If USA/UK (control Malacca strait - Singapore) or India in Indian ocean decide to choke it, China will have no problem as it has CPEC. 

But, all of CPEC and China's ambitions bearing fruit depends on the Karakoram highway. That depends on PoK continued to be occupied by Pakistan. 

Money Involved: With the CPEC, China has sunk close to 50 BILLION Dollars in Pakistan. Of course, China gets free access to all this infrastructure in Pakistan. With this, 20% of Pakistan's GDP is now Chinese. China has Pakistan now firmly by the b***s, so much so that Pakistan can now be China's 24th province. With so much invested and at stake, China wouldn't even think twice about ruthlessly suppressing any attack on Pakistan, because they own it now. 

Doesn't India know all this? Of course India knows all this. If we were to attack Pakistan, we would have to deal with China. Pakistan is small fry. China is not. 

Who would side with India? Mostly nobody. Why? Because China is involved. How international geopolitics work, most don't get that either. USA wants to support us because China makes it nervous. But US corporations are over invested in China, so Uncle Sam will look the other way. Russia - Don't even think about it. Putin has enough troubles at home, and India's pandering to Obama hasn't got him amused. Europe will sit just and watch (because China), and all of the Middle East will (clandestinely) support Pakistan for obvious reasons (Islam).

People think alliances between countries are forget like high school friendships - on emotional grounds of some sort - No. Not at all. International friendships are always based on "how can I benefit by allying", "what terrible can this guy do to me if I don't ally".

So, India will left out cold if it were to as much as touch Pakistan. We will mostly have to take on BOTH Pakistan and China. Mostly. Can India take on both Pakistan and China alone? From two (or three) flanks? We are surrounded by China's friends. What do we do? Dunno.

A bit more on the Karakoram highway: 1962, remember? What if the Chinese were testing the Indian waters before building the highway? China could've walked through India. Still, they withdrew. They were only testing India's resolve to defend PoK if it came to that. We have all but written off PoK. All Wikipedia articles tell all of PoK as "Pakistan". Not Pakistan administered", but Pakistan. Hurts :(

Here is the Khunjerab Pass (PoK): the "top" of India, the border between India and China, but now Pakistan. 

A sign in Pakistan Occupied Kashmir - Source Twitter
Here is the Karakoram highway near Gilgit in India (PoK) and under construction somewhere in the mountains. It should be obvious by now that China does NOT want India to reclaim its land lost to Pakistan in 1947 and 1948 - the strategic Karakoram ranges in Gilgit-Baltistan area of Jammu and Kashmir. It is as simply as that!
Karakoram Highway in PoK part of Jammu and Kashmir state. Pics - Twitter

Here is the entire map of the Karakoram Highway from Kashgar to Rawalpindi. Look where all it passes through. 
Karakoram highway map. Source - Twitter
China owns Pakistan for most part today: CPEC and all associated stuff are called "China-Pakistan Friendship" something or the other. No friendship there. Just Chinese business. China is not doing business with Pakistan. It is running its business in Pakistan. It is running Pakistan. China pays for protection. If things get push to shove, China can tell US: "We will nationalize your businesses if you don't tell India to withdraw". What will we do? 

What we should first realize is that there is no Pakistan. There is only China. Pakistan is just a front. We should deal accordingly. It is in China's interest to keep Kashmir burning. If there is peace in the valley, India MIGHT set its eyes on PoK. Chinese know that India has a strong Prime Minister today who can think of that. China does not want India to even think of getting PoK back. Of course, China did not light the Kashmir fire, but it certainly looks like it is them who keeps it burning that no consensus is reached. So, in addition to water, religion, ego, demographics and so on there is one more reason behind the Kashmir unrest: China and CPEC. 

Is dialogue with Pakistan sensible? It is utter foolishness to think that in such a case we can resolve this through dialogue! We talk one thing while issue is another! Issue is NOT what we think is the issue! We and our govt should first understand this. I am sure they have. Hopefully they aren't helpless. China is waging a proxy-proxy-deceptive war which we cannot understand or prove or blame. We need to mobilize some other way.

War with Pakistan? Vadakkus said at the end - I am not generally not a warmonger, but this has gone too far. We should strike. Do something. I only wish something be done about those 17 Indian soldiers who were killed without any provocation. They didn't have to die. Take on both China and Pakistan. Maybe. Can we? I don't know what we should do. Hopefully our hands aren't tied and someone is coming up with a plan to hit them. Hopefully. 

Baluchistan's role: Why Pakistan got all worked up when India raised Balochistan? Gwadar is in Balochistan. Much of CPEC infra passes through Balochistan. The CPEC is China's hope at lifting its sagging economy and securing its strategic position in the region. Its future maybe depends on it. Karakoram- Hindukush- Pamir region since ancient times been strategically sensitive. The Silk Road. China wants control of the new Silk Road. If India were to take PoK we would squeeze the Karakoram Highway shut. No more CPEC, Silk Road. China done for. That is the whole game. Highways are primary military conduits rather than civilian. Whoever controls the highway controls the region. 

Ultimately.. Pakistan's ultimate aim is to establish an Islamic caliphate. Apart from this China helps them through CPEC.  You might disagree with Modi et al but please support the govt right now in whatever action it takes. Politicking can wait. Wait two more months before taking any harsh decisions. Things might change post November.

What do you think India should do now, after reading this fully?

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Kaveri: Current Situation in Karnataka's Dams

Background: It is the second week of September 2016. A very bad week in south India. Lot of disturbance, violence, animosity etc. It is that season of the year where Supreme Court gets involved and Kaveri is a big topic. This year, it went way worse than the previous few years due to many reasons. 
  1. In 2012, I had written a comprehensive writeup on what is the Kaveri issue, what are the issues from Karnataka's side, what are the issues from Tamil Nadu's side, and how this can be solved in the long run - Kaveri River Water Sharing : What Are The Solutions? I had listed 10 solutions, based on what I read from experts. Now more solutions have come up too, like desalination. 
  2. In 2016, The same has been used in this better articulated Quora answer. - How can the Cauvery (Kaveri) river issue be solved?

For those who want long term solutions, and points of view from both states, please spend time in those links, and also check out references from each. You will learn a lot about actionable steps!

This analysis is Not for YOU: And those who are busy distributing violence videos, sarcastic or insulting memes, chest beating that Kaveri is only "ours", please continue doing that. Don't read this any further. Because my intention is not to discuss any point that is fruitless when it comes to final water sharing details. I am more focused on actual figures, statistics and actionable steps.

What is the water situation in Karnataka in September 2016? Now the rest of this writeup would be purely showing the water situation in Karnataka's Kaveri basin as of September 13th, 2016. This is fully using a fantastic analysis done by a Twitter user named V Vinay - @ainvvy . He calls himself a curious academic entrepreneur. Again, all the information provided from this point on wards, is only from Karnataka's dams, as I did not see any qualitative analysis or data from Tamil Nadu's dams. If you know, please share in the comments and I will update here.

Names of Dams: Mr. Vinay managed to download the daily inflow and reservoir levels at the 4 Karnataka dams: Harangi, Hemavati, KRS, and Kabini.

Water Measurements: Before getting into the data, we need to understand TMC and cusecs. For historical reasons, the measurement is in terms of cubic feet. 1 cubic feet is roughly 28.3 litres of water. cusec stands for cubic feet/second. Or as @sheksis joked, 28 Bisleri bottles/second... More relatable :)

What did Supreme Court say on 12th September 2016 in the modified order? 
The current SC order for example asks Karnataka (KA) to release 12,000 cubic feet of water every second. TMC is a thousand million cubic feet, which is a billion cubic feet of water. This is 1,000,000,000 = 109 = 1 billion cubic feet. Also, important to note that this has NO component of time involved here. It is just a measure of water. 

So if 10,000 cusecs of water is released for a day, it amounts to 0.86 TMC of water. 15K cusecs amounts to 1.3 TMC a day.

In Human usage terms: To get a sense for these numbers, how much of water is used for drinking, washing cloths, bathing etc. In other words how much water is needed for human in Indian terms, per day? It is usually taken to be about 100 Litres per person per day. This translates to a little over 3.5 cubic feet of water. Do not compare with other countries where more water is available per capita. @abhicrux said, 135 liters/person/day is used for standard hydraulic calculations. All uses included. Rural south India gets less than 100 liters today. So we will go with 100 liters on the average side per person, in a water starved south India. 

Drinking Water Needs of Karnataka's Kaveri basin: The estimated number of people in Bengaluru, Mysuru, Mandya and other Kaveri basin areas is about 1.6 to 1.8 crores. This amounts to about 0.063 TMC of water a day. Let's call it drinking water, even though it is for other daily use purposes too. Essentially anything that is not related to irrigation which is the primary user of Kaveri water. Note that not all parts of Bengaluru get Kaveri water. This computation is only for the areas getting Kaveri today.

Taken over a year, it amounts to about 24 TMC of water. This is the water that the state needs to have to take care of drinking water needs. Of course, there will be losses of all sorts, so the figure is likely to be more like 35-40 TMC. Losses are usually in the form of evaporation loss, distribution loss and leakage from dams and pipes.

Water in Dams of Karnataka: Now let us get back to the 4 dams. Harangi has a storage capacity of 8 TMC, KRS in Mandya district has 45 TMC. This is the biggest and the most important reservoir in south Karnataka. Hemavati has 35 and Kabini has 16. That totals to about 104 TMC that can be stored MAX by Karnataka at any given point of time. With around 750 TMC of water estimated for Kaveri river as a whole in a good monsoon year, this is about 14% of Kaveri water that can be stored by Karnataka, at any point in dams.

This is the capacity. Current levels as of September 13th 2016 are at about 5 in Harangi and about 10 in the remaining three. They add up to 35 TMC in total across ALL dams in Karnataka on Kaveri basin. All these are computed with live storage of water without getting into dead storage analysis (which amounts to water that can't be released from dam at the bottom). An additional discharge at the current levels of 12000 cusecs to TN over the next 8 days will mean 8.3 TMC of water. Since some of the water will surely be released for other purposes, and with some inflow, the likely level in 8 days is 25 TMC. Again 25 TMC in total across ALL dams in Karnataka on Kaveri basin. This 25TMC is what we will have to survive with until June-July of 2017 when you will see south west monsoon filling in dams again. That is at least 9 full months with 25 TMC of water, if no further rains happen :(

What about farmers in Karnataka? Forget irrigation using above mentioned water levels. Farmers are screwed in Karnataka for this year! You need 100 to 150 TMC of water for irrigation for rest of the year in Karnataka. Not sure if they could even get one full crop this year, while Tamil Nadu is planning for the second crop now, and might get a third crop also early next year. This is the fundamental reason why Karnataka was burning for days in September 2016.

Dynamics of Dams and Inflow Analysis: Let’s look at the dynamics of the dams. Vinay's data starts from 2011. So we have about 5.5 years of data. Here is a table of the total inflow into various dams. Kabini has small capacity but matches Hemavati in inflow.
As you can see, Harangi and Hemavati sit behind KRS, while Kabini is ‘independent’ and joins later.

Keep in mind that some outflow from Hemavati can be inflow to KRS, etc. Vinay focuses on KRS and Kabini to look at the data more closely.

Here is Kabini. Most of the water in the months of June to September.
And then the inflow dies down. Look at September. This time we are done through about 10 days. And the inflow has been a mere 1.5 TMC!
Likewise, KRS dam near Mysuru, has got an inflow of 3.3 TMC for the first 10 days of this month. Will it hit 10 for the month?

Then Vinay plotted the reservoir level and inflow for KRS. This graph is revealing. Notice how the reservoir level shoot up at monsoon (where the inflow is heavy) and how it progressively decreases until the next. There are small inflows in between, but noting compared to what happens during the monsoon.
And notice the 2016 inflows and reservoir levels. It is quite pathetic. So the usual inflow after monsoon will also be limited this year. Usually, post September of any year, the inflows are about 25-30 TMC. We don’t see it happening this time. But we don’t have enough data to predict.

What's for Karnataka for rest of 2016 and first half of 2017? It is going to be a very tough year at this side of Karnataka. Farmers are already ditched for 2016. Drinking water might be barely sustained at the current storage levels, for the next 9 months. See above graphs and inflow analysis.

Vinay says that Tamil Nadu gets two monsoons and has better groundwater than Karnataka. Some people are disputing this two monsoon theory, but what Vinay means is that Tamil Nadu gets both South West and North East monsoons. Remember Chennai floods in 2015? That was the North East Monsoon season.

After reading this analysis, it became very clear why Karnataka farmers and Kaveri delta drinking water users, are absolutely outraged at the current situation of draining the remaining precious water from dams. Every TV channel in Karnataka is saying the same thing - We have no drinking water.. why are we being forced to leave the remaining water for growing 2nd crop in Tamil Nadu? Drinking water takes precedence over everything else when it comes to human needs. 

Any Suggestion for Politicians of TN and KA? The two states need to demonstrate better sense than landing in court every time there is a distress. Lack of sagacity is the problem. For those who say the Supreme Court would have ‘looked’ at the data and come to the conclusion, Vinay says, he does not know. These graphs don’t seem to suggest so…

There is more in the data, but Vinay says that he will take it up on some other day.  Vinay got all these data using a simple python program… shouldn’t take more than 20 minutes for a programmer to write.

Let's stop here, hoping wisdom prevails all around. I don't think a blog or set of tweets can change politics, courts or tribunal happenings, but this is only meant for common people like you and me, to understand the dire situation in Karnataka today.

Source of Data for Karnataka's dams and water levels:

I wish I could find similar data on Tamil Nadu's dams starting with Mettur for September 2016, to see how good or bad the situation is for Tamil Nadu farmers. Again, if you have similar data from TN, please do share.

Thanks again, Mr. Vinay for a classic analysis.

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Meet Captain Naveen Nagappa - Kargil War Fighter

Jammu and Kashmir is again in news.

50 days of curfew, non stop media coverage, 10s of crores of Rupees coming from Pakistan to sponsor stone pelting, anti India slogans in the so called "human rights" events, with natural reaction against anti nationals from Desha Bhakta students on streets, and much more. So I attended the well publicized and very well attended Nilume event today in Bengaluru. This Nilume group is the most active group of Kannada bloggers today with 1000s of highly creative writers. I went there to understand the situation from three different angles:-
  1. One from police angle narrated by the former Commissioner of Police of Bengaluru city, Mr. Shankar Bidari
  2. Second from a researcher, professor and journalist angle narrated by the popular Kannada writer Mr. Prem Shekhar. He has also written books on Jammu and Kashmir.
  3. Third from a Kargil war veteran, Captain Naveen Nagappa, who fought valiantly to protect India's sovereignty in the Himalayan hills in July 1999.
I was thoroughly impressed with Mr. Bidari and Mr. Prem Shekhar's narrations. They covered the issue from human rights, army morale, history, blunders of Nehru, British and US bias, geo-politics and war perspective. They were outstanding. Between them, they spoke for over 2 hours, so I will try to narrate their talk a little later on Facebook and Twitter. I knew both of them and admired them for years. Awesome gentlemen!

Here, I want to jump straight to Captain Naveen Nagappa. Honestly, I did not know about him till date. Shame on me! I did not know about a valiant Indian army man who not only fought bravely at Kargil protecting us, but also survived a serious injury to tell us the story. But it is never too late. So you can learn more about him here..

It was January 1999. A young Engineer from Karnataka called Naveen had joined Indian Army, instead of going to do Masters Degree in Engineering. He had great dreams of protecting our Bharat and had become a part of 13th Jammu and Kashmir Rifles group. This was the group of Late Captain Vikram Batra, of "Yeh dil maange more" fame. This battalion got numerous awards during the war for supreme sacrifice. Our of the 4 Param Vir Chakras awarded during Kargil war, two were given to his JK Rifles unit.

While he was just getting started with his army career, General Musharraf and Pakistanis were planning and executing something sinister. They were breaking the Gentleman's agreement between India and Pakistan of vacating the 16000 feet plus altitude hills during extremely bitter winter periods. They were not only occupying the Kargil heights, but also were building bunkers and getting ready to shell Indian army's vital Siachen and Leh supply routes from Srinagar in Jammu and Kashmir state.

Things came out open in May 1999. But June Indian army was fighting to capture the hills back, one by one. When Naveen's team was sent in early July to capture a vital hill, he was put in reserve.
Point 5140 was where the big battle was starting. Captain Batra and team had already fought there, but Naveen was not given a chance to fight. His team was sending radio signal, including "Yeh dil maange more" kind of awesome slogans. But Naveen was not fighting in the open. He desperately wanted to.
 When his team was given a big task for 3rd and 4th July 1999, he went and pleaded his chiefs like General Yogesh Kumar Joshi. Naveen pleaded that he did not leave his chance for Masters in Engineering, and come all the way to Jammu and Kashmir borderline, to just stay in the reserve. He wanted to fight. His boss asked - You are here only for 6 months in the army. Not only your safety, but also the safety of 120 people who are with you matters, with your split decision. It is not easy. But Naveen did not quit. He kept on requesting and finally got the stamp of approval to lead a mission.

Super excited, Naveen was on the mission to liberate "Point 4875" near Kargil. Captain Batra had told Captain Nagappa one simple thing - "Naveen, you take care of your men, and they will take care of you". So Naveen started his expedition with JK Rifles' war cry - "Durga Mata Ki Jai"!
Location of Point 4875. Source:
We have heard more of Tiger Hill and other popular named hills. But a few of these numbered hills were vital to get to the top of Kargil mountains where Pakistanis had setup bunkers, so that they can be kicked out of Indian side of Jammu and Kashmir. So the battle started on 4th July 1999. Incidentally the day of Vivekananda and US independence too! Personally, I had just crossed oceans at 38,000 ft to get back to India that morning, but had no clue that supreme sacrifices were being made exactly at that time by the brave jawans of India.

Naveen and team had followed the same buddy system that army follows. Everyone who goes out in the night for attack, is paired with another brave soldier. Their job is to make sure that if something happens to one, the other would take care of it. Naveen had just seen his buddy suffer badly the previous night. But there was no going back. He had to fight on 4th morning, 4th night, 5th morning, 5th night, 6th morning, 6th night... They had to melt water from snow capped mountain for drink and eat some energy food carried with them. They could not move easily as the enemy was in higher location and had clear sight of them. But their mental power carried them. Why? They had heard about how Pakistanis had tortured Late Captain Saurabh Kalia and team who had gone on a fact finding mission earlier. They had heard about the gory details of brutally Pakistanis had taken out organ by organ of the brave Indian soldiers who were taken as Prisoners of War. They had heard about how after torturing in the most inhuman ways, Pakistanis had shot Kalia and team at point blank, before "returning" the bodies to India. When you hear such barbarism and brutality of your enemy at front lines, you just get the energy to hit back. No question of fear or family or tiredness. That was Captain Nagappa and team during those extremely difficult moments of July 1999.

They kept fighting bravely. And then a grenade landed in front of Naveen. He was trained on how to handle a grenade when it lands. Usually you have 6 to 10 seconds. A grenade can kill everyone within 10 meters radius. So the first instinct of Naveen on 7th July morning was to just pick it up and throw it away. But a body that has been fighting non stop for 100+ hours can't really throw a grenade back 100s of feet as they show in movies. Unfortunately, the grenade came back after hitting a boulder.. Now Naveen had 2 to 3 seconds!!

His thought was - Anyway the explosion will happen now. I have no chance of escaping. At least, let my upper body go back home in one piece, rather than piece by piece in a bag. So he hid his upper body from grenade and exposed only his lower body. Booooom.. the explosion happened and before he knew what happened, he was in severe pain. His legs were hit. But in a conflict zone, you can't just get away after being injured. Any movement will attract more bullets. So he controlled his extreme pain of both legs being damaged and still fought on. But his team observed and asked him that he should crawl from the mountain to the bottom slowly. He did not agree, but they convinced him that he had to do it as he was seriously injured. With great reluctance, Naveen left his team to fight further, and crawled back to the lower heights very slowly. As you can imagine, he would be in tremendous pain and losing blood rapidly. Still he made to the bottom. The first thing he did there was to remove his snow shoes which are below the knee, but above the ankle. And then he realized how hard he was hit as his blood turned a few feet of snow around him red! He had literally spilled half of his body's blood for Bharat Mata, in an un-named hill, 1000s of KM from his home.. what a spirit! Still he wanted to fight barely having consciousness.

Even there, you can't expect a quick evacuation as the enemy was a higher position, observing everything. So it took lot of time. Finally after hours, he was given basic treatment and taken to the nearest helicopter. With great reluctance, he had to head away from the fighting zone, in the army helicopter taking him to Srinagar. And when the chopper took off, at a lower height to avoid firing from higher hills, he was losing consciousness due to heavy blood loss. Just then his chopper flew past Point 4875 for which he almost sacrificed his life. And there the Indian national flag, the tricolour was flying proudly!! After watching it from the army chopper, under lot of sedatives to kill the pain, he finally closed his eyes in total satisfaction. YES!! My boys have done what I went there to do......... What a relief!
His mind was -

"Naveen.. You have left a legacy behind.. whatever happens after this is irrelevant. Whatever role you were meant to play, you have played. You have created history".

Then he spent 21 months in the hospital undergoing treatment. He had to undergo 8 surgeries. He got the Sena Medal. His spirit kept him going even when the bravest of human minds crumble when hospitalized for such a long time.

And he narrates one other thing from his hospital stay. The mother of his close friend from army came from Dilli to visit him. She had lost her son during the same battle. Naveen could not sleep the prior night as he did not know what to tell that Maa, about her son. He could not digest that fact that he was alive, but his close friend soldier had made the supreme sacrifice for India. She came and met him. He talked with his "aunty" with lot of respect. They talked for 2 hours, but she never asked about her son not returning. Naveen could not take it anymore when she was about to walk away. He asked her.. "Aunty.. I am extremely sorry that I could not get your son back, while I survived myself". She told in a calm way - "Naveen.. it is the best honour for a mother to see her son wrapped in a tiranga. I am proud of my son". No need to highlight that when Naveen narrated this today, he got loud claps from the emotional audience in Bengaluru.

Why am I writing all these 17 years later? Because when I was busy building my high paying corporate career in 1999, these young men, some younger than me, were busy shedding their precious blood drops for Bharat Mata. As I am typing this, I am sure 1000s are taking extreme risks in the Himalayan mountains, rough seas, dangerous central Indian jungles and much more. During every real estate purchase we do, ever mall purchase we do, every road trip we take, every party we enjoy, every cricket match we cheer for, every political rally we attend, every TV show we watch, every birthday party of kid we celebrate.... there is an Indian army soldier making a split second decision whether to sacrifice his upper body or lower body because that grenade is about to explode. Either he is facing the situation in real, or training hard in drills. Sooner or later that situation would come for many brave fighters as we are surrounded by internal and external enemies.

Hold these brave soldiers with the highest respect. We have NO IDEA of what they go through.. when you can't even take out your shoe for hours to check if your bleeding legs are still attacked to the knees or not, THAT is sacrifice for mother India. That is what 1000s of these Jawans are paying with their blood for our safety each year.

Oh.. did I tell you that all the tall promises politicians made to him - nothing has materialized till date :( You can hear his narration here, from an earlier event.

You can read about another narration of meeting with Captain Nagappa here. They have posted one memorable picture from Kargil times.

The next time you hear some nincompoop talk of "human rights" or "azaadi" slogans against these brave Jawans, just ask them to go speak to brave sons of Bharat Mata like Captain Naveen Nagappa in Bengaluru. I can take them personally.

Freedom is not free. It takes a lot of blood, sweat and tears to protect it. DAILY!

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Propaganda Against Venkaiah Naidu.

It has been a long time since I blogged on any topic. There were many chances, but I procrastinated and lost the interest eventually.

But today, I got a chance. So enjoy reading :)

Venkaiah Naidu flagging off Namma Metro. Pic: Indian Express
For the past week or so, social media in Karnataka is abuzz with Venkayya Sakayya (enough of Venkaiah) kind of messages. First there was a big column in Vishwavani. It was followed by other news paper reports and countless memes floating on Facebook and Twitter. TV stations also might be picking it up by now. The core message was to force BJP to not give Venkaiah Naidu, a fourth term to Rajya Sabha from Karnataka. For a casual observer, Venkaiah Naidu is usually in news whether in parliament or his rhyming word speeches, or his frequent photo ops for important events.

Initially I was  not interested in this. Didn't read or comment much on this. But when I saw that it was a well organized movement, just posted one casual tweet.

Of course, my focus was Congress supporters who were sending me tweets for a week. I knew quite well that BJP and JDS supporters were also in this campaign. But I thought I will handle them later :)

Posted a similar message on FB too. I thought it was just one off post on this topic and time for a good night's sleep.

I was surprised with the reaction. It was from all corners. Highly popular FB poster Vivek Shetty picked up this tweet and posted on FB where it went viral. Within hours, 100s of reactions started pouring in. I tried to answer a few dozen initially. Then it became difficult to keep up. Emotions were flying around.. Some abused me.. Small number praised me. Most argued that it is a bad choice to support Naidu.

The fact of the matter is - I have no favourites among the 12 Rajya Sabha MPs from Karnataka. Rather, I hardly care. For me Legislative Council, Rajya Sabha, Governors' offices and President's office are things that are mostly ceremonial. I don't spend much time talking about them. Hence I was very surprised at the amount of interest by youth, particularly the emotion part! How can anyone be so interested suddenly on as trivial thing as reelection of a Rajya Sabha MP? Every 2 years, RS keeps getting people coming and going.. No one really pays much attention, but this was different.

Here is how things went parallelly across Facebook and Twitter. Let me sum up.

I said: Indira Gandhi was also an outsider. So what's the big deal with Venkaiah?
They said: So you are saying BJP can do the same sins that Congress did? What happened to Party with a difference tag?

I said: Not that way. From when did we get so touchy about "outsiders" in Karnataka? Sonia Gandhi won in Ballari (which she dumped quickly). Many "outsiders" have gone to parliament from Karnataka. Why suddenly touchy about Venkaiah's fourth term?
They said: Lok Sabha is different from Rajya Sabha. Here you are nominating, and not getting elected directly.

I said: OK. Then how do you feel about Chikkamagaluru, Karnataka, born Jairam Ramesh going to Rajya Sabha from Andhra Pradesh? He was in RS for 12 years since 2004. Isn't that case exactly reverse of what you are opposing? How do you justify Manmohan Singh becoming India's PM from Asom's RS quota?
They said: Who cares? That is up to people from AP or Asom to oppose.

I said: So you are OK with Sonia Gandhi winning from Karnataka. You think it is their problem if someone elects a Karnataka born person to RS from their state. What is your core issue with Venkaiah?
They said: He does not work for the development of Karnataka. He is too partial towards AP.

I said: OK. Let's examine facts. You know that Karnataka has a quota of 12 RS MPs. Have you even examined how all 12 have done before shooting on Venkaiah?
They said: Again, he has not done anything for Karnataka. That's the point.

I said: Let's go to details. Here are the 12 MPs from Karnataka in Rajya Sabha as of May 2016. Number 9 is vacant as Vijay Mallya was allowed to quit a few weeks ago. Have you done any comparison of how Naidu has fared against the rest? Keep out "Bhakt", "Sanghi" and other blah blah from discussion. Let's compare people across all parties.
List of Karnataka RS MPs - May 2016. Source Wiki
They said: We know that Venkaiah has not given any money towards Bengaluru's development projects. See Vijaya Karnataka and other paper articles.

I said: Let's go straight to the parliament website. The link is here: Then dig into Karnataka MPs using the MPLADS funds. These funds are sanctioned by the government frequently, based on the amount requested for their constituency's development activities. Venkaiah has done a very good job in using 92.35% of the allocated funds, while Rajeev Gowda of Congress has a zero in the utilization percentage! How can you say Venkaiah is not working when there is an MP listed right next to him with zero development funds utilization in 2 years?
Usage of MPLADS funds by Karnataka RS MPs
They said: *Silence for some time*. Yes, it does seem impressive for Venkaiah. But he uses the funds in Andhra. He adopts villages there.

I said: As far as I know, the funds are for the constituency specified by the Rajya Sabha website. He can't use it in another state.
They said: Whatever..  He is too focused on AP. He adopts villages in Andhra, but not in Karnataka where he is an MP from.

I said: Are you sure? Just go to Sansad Adarsh Gram Yojana website and see which village he has adopted. It is from Devanahalli, north of Bengaluru city. He might have adopted a village in AP after the cyclone in 2014, but not under Adarsh Gram Yojana.
Village Adopted by Naidu

They said: Oh! We were told by 100s of people that he adopted Andhra village. Anyway... he does not speak Kannada. He does not talk in the parliament about Karnataka matters. He does not wish for Karnataka Rajyotsava.

I said: That's a valid point. We can tell him to wish. We can ask him to pick up matters. For that matter, even Sonia Gandhi who won from Ballari, does not wish for Rajyotsava as far as I have seen.
They said: Just because Congress does some mistakes, why BJP should do it? It was NDA that changed Rajya Sabha rule to elect people from other states.

I said: That's not what I know. MS Gurupadaswamy of Mysuru, got elected to Rajya Sabha from Uttar Pradesh (1966-72). Forget NDA, even BJP wasn't born!
They said: *Silence*. But it is wrong from federal structure. We should only send people who are from that state to Rajya Sabha. Enough of money bags and outsiders using our state and not doing anything for us.

I said: Just to give an instance (not comparing with Venkaiah in any way) - Dr. Ambedkar was from Bombay. Got to parliament from Bengal. Bengalis didn't failed to get elected from home state. Why should we help?
They said: Hmmn.. we were told that it was BJP that tweaked rules. In any case, both BJP and Congress are useless parties that surrender to Dilli High Command. We wish a regional party like JDS stands up for Kannadigas. High commands enforcing candidates in spite of opposition from people is not right.

I said: Do you even know the kind of people Deve Gowda's Janata Dal sent to Rajya Sabha?
They said: Better people than Hema Malini or outsiders that national parties send.

I said: What did the "local" Janata Dal do? Sent Sindhi Ram Jethmalani, Tamil MAM Ramaswamy and Telugu Kupendra Reddy to Rajya Sabha! Some said they even supported Malayalee Rajeev Chandrashekhar's candidacy (I don't remember properly). How do you justify them?
They said: Now you are deviating.. It is not about language. Reddy is local to Bengaluru at HSR Layout.

I said: So is Venkaiah now. He is a voter from Malleshwaram area. Indian constitution considers him as a resident of Karnataka. So what's the issue?
They said: Frankly, he does not speak for Karnataka issues. He never spoke for Kalasa Banduri issue. He is too focused on AP issues. Why doesn't he go there and get elected?

I said: Now you are talking about real issues. So far I had not come across any valid comparison to be made to other MPs. Let's go further. Let me ask 5 questions on how other MPs from Karnataka have performed recently in Rajya Sabha. Here I go..
They said: *Silence for some time*. You should ask the editor of papers who campaigned against Venkaiah to answer this.

I said: It is not about the editor of newspaper. It is about facts. If you are measuring Venkaiah using some parameters, why not ask the same for others? If you are opposing Venkaiah Naidu's Rajya Sabha reelection, oppose based on data. Show how other 12 Karnataka RS MPs have done better.
They said: This might be a game played by Congress with the help of Media in Karnataka. There could be reasons right from the dynasty at the center of whom Venkaiah is very critical. After media took over, BJP supporters too joined in.

I said: I have not seen anyone telling how Rajeev Gowda (zero MPLADS usage) or Rahaman Khan (no MPLADS used in 14 Mon) are better. How come no one is campaigning against them them? Development is for the state. Who does is secondary.

But as you can imagine... most have made up their mind. I only saw more arguments like he has not done anything, to vocal abuses.. I don't care much about abuses. That only shows the weakness of those who abuse.

But I left these discussions shaking my head.
  • Frankly, I don't care if Venkaiah Naidu goes to parliament from BJP again. 
  • Frankly, I don't care whom Congress or JDS send. At the end it is usually the most influential or money bags that become Rajya Sabha MPs or MLCs at state. We know that!
But what I care is:-
  • how much MPLADS funds is used to Karnataka, by those who are sent. 
  • I care how much attendance they have. 
  • I care about what kind of debates they participate in. 
  • I care about the end result - their constituency's development. What's the use of MPs getting reelected 3-6-9 times from their constituencies, but people continue to live in poor conditions? We have plenty of such examples in Karnataka.

It was too late by the time I realized that too many people have fallen to media propaganda. I have nothing against those who angrily reacted to my tweets or posts. At the end, I want the development of Karnataka, as much as they want. But I was more focusing on the parameters they used and the facts they checked. Some points might be valid, but the overall way in which Venkaiah was made a soft target was strange. Before I raised the data from Rajya Sabha website, most did not even know that there are RS MPs in Karnataka with low to zero MPLADS usage. Media propaganda is very powerful! A fair movement would have been to put all 12 RS MPs side by side, and show why Venkaiah failed in certain areas.

No one did that, or at least I have not seen it! If you did.. let me know. Naidu might be a big failure in reality, but no one is presenting that in a fair manner, with parameters that can be applied to other MPs too. After all, a state's development can't be done by one MP. It is a collective effort. Ultra regionalism without using data to compare MPs, can be dangerous in the long run. Every state would end up doing it, which hurts the nation as a whole.