Tuesday, 18 March 2014

Alleged foreign funding of Aam Aadmi Party

A friend sends me a long mail which allegedly "proves" foreign funding of AAP.

Here is my response to my friend.

Dear XXX

Thank you for sending this to me.

Regarding it, there are three things to consider:

1. Are ANY of our parties free of foreign funding? How much foreign funding comes in to BJP and Congress?

2. Which is a greater curse, foreign funding or looting by our own people (that is, by BJP and Congress)...

3. The material you have sent me may have some merit (I will go through it with a fine tooth-comb) but on first reading, it seems to be riddled with suppositions, allegations without proof, and allegations with "proof" (that should be checked) - further, it mixes up money given to individuals with money given to organisations.

And, just for the record, I don't support AAP because it is "perfect"; I support it because I don't want our country run by a criminal (that is, Narendra Modi - the case against him is set out, for example, in http://sabhlokcity.com/2014/02/modi-lied-through-his-teeth-to-sit-heres-irrefutable-proof). Nor do I wish to have other corrupt individuals in BJP and Congress running our country. I support AAP because it is the only party which is somehow in the tradition of Gandhiji, and supports a relatively simple lifestyle for political leaders, consults and respects the opinions of the people, and is willing to upset the established and corrupt ways of our political system. Also, just for the record, I think that its economic policies are quite wrong - but then I also think (for different reasons) that the economic policies of BJP and Congress are hopelessly wrong.

Politics is about the art of the possible; and AAP is the "least worst" alternative as far as I can see - for THIS National Election. The next time around, I hope there might be a better alternative.

In any case, I always support the underdog, the others have had their chances; AAP should now be given a chance.

warm regards


Saturday, 15 March 2014

Which was India's very FIRST "Ram Rajya Party"?

I don't know for sure, but the following might provide a clue (it is in FROM PURDAH TO THE PEOPLE (Editor: Frances Taft), by Padma Shri Laxmi Kumari Chudawat, Rawat Publications, Jaipur and New Delhi, 2000, page 128 - though, except for the translation of the name of the Party, all the material in brackets in the quote is mine):

"The first election to the (newly-constituted) Rajasthan Assembly was to be held in 1952, and the Rajputs organised (themselves in order) to prevent the Congress, which was committed to jagirdari abolition, from controlling the Assembly. So with great fanfare the Rajputs inaugurated a political party, called Ram Rajya Parishad (Ram's Rule Party) which co-operated with several other parties as well as independents to oppose the Congress. They were led by the Maharaja of Jodhpur Hunuwant Singhji"

That party did not get anywhere...

Saturday, 8 March 2014

Laxmi Kumari Chundawat, famous Rajasthani writer and former Member of Parliament, but already forgotten in the English-speaking world

Sheer good luck that, in a 2nd hand bookshop in Portland, Oregon, I came across a copy of Laxmi Kumari Chundawat's autobiography FROM PURDAH TO THE PEOPLE (Edited by Frances Taft), and promptly bought it because it looked so interesting as the memoirs of a Rajasthani writer from the last century (the book was published in 2000 - so not that long ago, but the Kumari was born in 1916, and was still living last year, as far as I can work out).

The curious thing is that a Google search reveals not only NO review of the book, but not even any other reference to the book - and only a couple of stray references to her as a famous Rajasthani writer (which, by the way, give the date of her birth as 1911 - apparently wrongly!).

Apart from being a famous writer, she was for three terms a Member of the Rajasthan State Legislative Assembly, and a Member of India's national Parliament from 1972 to 1978.

In any case, as a member of an Indian royal family, one would have thought that there might be some basic information on her: at least parentage and family, perhaps a list of her books and other achievements - but no such luck.

By the way, that Google search also led me to the Rajasthan Studies Group (now, apparently, defunct)....

I am unpopular for holding the view that the Internet is only a very partial source of information, specially on anything to do with the entire period before the rise of the Internet (say about 1995).

This book is evidence that the Internet is only a very partial source of knowledge even on the period up to the year 2000.

Anyway, I've just finished reading FROM PURDAH TO THE PEOPLE, and I find it very well told. Moreover, it reveals a wise and admirable woman.

FROM PURDAH TO THE PEOPLE should be compulsory reading for all Rajasthanis and for all Indian women - though it is of course far more widely instructive on a vast array of subjects from purdah itself, to Hindu-Muslim relations, sati, the contemporary influence of Jainism and Arya Samaj, and indeed almost all subjects impacted by the transition from pre-Independence to post-Independence Indian life, cultures, society and history.

An enormous pity that the book was published by a small outfit from Jaipur.

If any member of her family comes across this post, may I urge them to scan the whole book and put on the Internet.

If no other site is available, I will happily arrange for my own site to host it.