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Great Indian election drama; J&K is new hotbed for Dynasty Raj

Abhinav Verma

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Kashmir elections

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If politics is a game of power, than no one is ready to pass on the baton other than to his own family, has exactly become evident in Jammu and Kashmir, India this election season. The state has turned into a hotbed for dynasty raj with several sons, daughters and kin of powerful politicians all set to contest the assembly elections- many of them making maiden tryst with destiny.

A close analysis revealed that around 15 sons and nephews of political leaders have joined fray in this election by securing party mandates on the basis of their family background. Shockingly, the strong outburst against the Dynasty Raj by Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi, notwithstanding, the Bhartiya Janta Party (BJP) has apparently relaxed its tough stand for the party’s J&K president, Jugal Kishore Sharma, who has handed over the baton of Nagrota candidature to his brother Nand Kishore.

The party high command has already put its seal of approval leaving many party contenders, including Dogra Royal family scion, Ajat Shatru Singh to fend for themselves. Ajat had recently relinquished his MLC seat on NC nomination and left the party to join BJP.

Even as speculations were rife that Ajat would get BJP mandate, the party preferred Nand Kishore Sharma reportedly after the MP and state president Jugal Kishore Sharma build pressure for his candidature.

Party insiders told that Jugal Kishore has played significant role in grabbing mandate for his brother Nand Kishore, who is supposedly a ‘naïve’ in politics without having much following. Political observers said that BJP has reserved ‘dynasty raj’ as a strong offensive to attack National Conference and People’s Democratic Party during the assembly election campaign, however, the party has itself deviated and followed the line of other dynastic parties of the state.

Nanad Kishore will make his political debut in upcoming polls as by the influence of his brother Jugal Kishore he got the mandate from Nagrota constituency, party insiders said. They added that BJP has two experienced candidates including Chander Mohan Sharma and Ajatshatru from Nagrota assembly segment, but the party has decided to file fresher Nand Kishore.

They added that Chander Mohan Sharma was a senior worker associated with the party for last many years. Dropping of Chander Mohan Sharma has evoked strong resentment among his supporters. Similarly, Ajatshatru, who joined BJP early this month, has represented the constituency on National Conference after his win in 1996 elections.

BJP spokesperson Arun Gupta said that the party has given mandate to Nand Kishore after noticing his work. “Nand Kishore is known in the party due to his work not as a brother of MP Jugal Kishore” Gupta said.

Apart from BJP, many dynastic politicians are making debut in the politics through these elections, while others have already made their mark.

The politician sons, daughters and nephews, who would make political debut in this election, are Salman Anees Soz son of JKPCC chief, Prof Saifudin Soz. Anees , Javaid Beigh, nephew of Member of Parliament (MP) Muzaffar Hessian Beigh. Both of them are contesting from Baramulla segment.

Two sons of former deputy Chief Minister and veteran Congress leader Mangat Ram Sharma, Subhash Sharma and Rajneesh Sharma, are also ready to make debut in politics.  Interestingly, while Mangat Ram Sharma quit Congress party to join PDP, his two sons are contesting elections on the mandate of two different parties.

Elder son Subhash is People’s Democratic Party (PDP) candidate from Kathua assembly segment, while Rajneesh is the Congress candidate from Bani, represented by his father thrice.
Another politician son trying his luck this election season is Vikram Mahlotra son of senior Congress leader and Chairman of Legislative Council, Amrit Mahlotra. Vikram is seeking election on Congress ticket from Jammu east constituency.

Dr Hina Bhat, who is being projected by BJP as its face in Kashmir Valley, is contesting from Amira Kadal, nonetheless being daughter of Mohammad Shafi Bhat, one time National Conference (NC) legislator and now a Congress leader.

Others have inherited the political legacy of their family include Akram Choudary, son of former minister and CLP leader Mohammad Aslam Choudary. He is candidate from Surankote. Aziz Munshi, son of former minister Munshi Habibullah, he is BJP candidate from Kargil, NC candidate from Duroo Farooq Ahmed Gania is son of former minister Mohammad Akbar Gania , Nazeer Ahmad Khan son of former minister Sarfraz Khan is Congress candidate from Beerwah Budgam, Manzoor Ahmad Zargar son of former PDP Minister Aziz Zargar. Manzoor has joined Congress and the party has fielded him from Noorabad constituency.

Likewise, Sheikh Ishfaq Jabbar, son of former minister Sheikh Jabbar, a close associate of National Conference founder Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah is contesting on NC ticket from Ganderbal. Ishfaq had initially joined Congress, but is now contesting on National Conference ticket and has replaced Omar Abdullah from Ganderbal.

However the dynastic raj in Jammu and Kashmir has flourished utmost in strongest political families of the state, Abdullahs and Mufties with the former having already produced two generations of politicians, Ministers and Chief Ministers. Omar Abdullah, present Chief Minister had in his family two chief Ministers, his grandfather, Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah and Father Farooq Abdullah, besides many uncles as Ministers and politicians.

Omar joined politics in 1998, as a Lok Sabha member and he took on the mantle of National Conference from his father in 2002. Though he faced defeat from Ganderbal during 2002 state assembly elections, four years later, he contested once again from the same seat and won in the 2008. Mehbooba Mufti Sayeed is the daughter of former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed.  In 1996, assembly elections Mehbooba became one of the most popular members – elected from Bijbehara on an Indian National Congress ticket.  Mehbooba Mufti was a member of the 14th Lok Sabha (2004-2009), representing the Anantnag constituency of Jammu and Kashmir. Her party, PDP, failed to win a single seat in Lok Sabha elections in 2009 and she did not contest that year herself. But in 2014, she was elected again to Lok Sabha from Anantnag constituency.

The Author is a working journalist and also a student of Mass Communication and Journalism. As a reporter, he has covered wide range of stories, including conflict, border issues, health and natural calamities. Contact: [email protected]

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Humanity Endures During Coronavirus Pandemic

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Photo by Press Information Bureau, Government of India

The world changed exponentially since the pandemic broke out. We changed too. Emotions are running high. We have learnt to take one day at a time and have stopped expecting changes to happen overnight.

“COVID19 is menacing the whole of humanity – and so the whole of humanity must fight back”
A clarion call from United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres is a call to unity and solidarity. Already plagued by natural/manmade disasters and wars, many countries seem to bite the dust for want of resources in the fight against the virus. Warning each other against complacency is appreciable but never a blame game to cover up a dysfunctional response. Not all update themselves on the governments, new economic policies and R&D on Covid vaccine. Many we come across seem to be making wise individual choices. No matter how badly the tiers of government fail us, there will always be thousands of people working to make things better. Besides, finding reasons and faults on policies for the spread doesn’t help. A virulent strain of flu had managed to spread within a few months to the remotest corners of the world infecting half a billion people – more than a quarter of the human species in 1918 long before the current age of globalization.

Separating, alienating and forswearing the endless moments of contact that knit society together thrust us into frightening new realities. The good is still there. Social distancing is nothing but taking a step back to literally give breathing space to others. Going by news & views, we understand that amid concerns of rising numbers of positive cases in frustrating circumstances, acts of kindness and solidarity are burgeoning. Yes, it’s been extremely sad and sobering to watch this all unfold, but watching people share resources and supporting one another in every conceivable way has made us feel more connected to our local communities. Whether singing a song together out on balconies, getting groceries for the elderly or calling a friend to alleviate anxiety and fear, each one I know play a part and take comfort in a sense of togetherness. We are steadily aware of our limitations yet don’t hesitate to free our wells of compassion. Do we think twice and thrice to make an online contribution to save the lives of people we don’t know and will never know!

Sadly, it has taken an invisible virus to help us belive once again that we are strongest only when we have the welfare of others in our mind. Halfway through quarantine and self-isolation a phone call, a kind word, an opportunity to reach out, a breeze, bird calls, one good news and loss of a loved one, we are hit with the necessary humility and awe we ought to feel and appreciate just how beautiful our world is and precious life is.

Post pandemic recovery will be better and bigger if life goes on with this beautiful idea, of humility, inwardness – as an ethical relationship, for the sake of others. For better or for worse, we have learnt that one can’t be an island unto himself. Lives are intertwined and are bound together. We, humans produce more rubbish than any other species. The growth in the human population is part of the explanation, but cannot account for all of the extra rubbish, a result of haste and greed both which almost skinned humans of humanity.

Unity among countries must ensure that all countries are equipped to trace, isolate and treat people infected by COVID-19. Only a global effort can avoid the collapse of any country’s medical system. Sanctions that affect health care should never be imposed. Development in one part of the world should not rob another country of it’s resources. Humanity gains the upper hand over invisible predators through the sharing of reliable scientific information, global solidarity, vaccinations, antibiotics, improved hygiene and a much better medical infrastructure. Today,it doesn’t take too much to figure out that global sharing and caring is the best defense. The Jing Si aphorism, “Good actions require everyone’s cooperation. So let’s not cling to personal biases” holds good for all times.

Stories of good samaritans are aplenty. To know humanity is still alive and kicking and is at it’s best when united assures us that we’ll come out of this “abnormal” time with a new normal. In their own unique ways, humans respond to protect life and health and ensure respect for fellow beings. ‘single-nucleotide polymorphisms’ are no joke. From handing over meals, survial kits, medicines, home made masks to calling on an old couple across the street, everything is humanity in action and it is the power of this humanity – humane behaviour towards other humans – that we seek to celebrate, improve and increase, especially during crucial times. Remember “A person with a generous heart and compassion for all beings leads the most blessed life”.

With thousands of migrant workers taking it on their chin, vehicles filled with food and ration along highways reach the needy and stranded and canteens serve free food. Rays of sunshine! We see through hypocrisy and deceptions, hear excuses for inefficiency, inadequacy and inflexibility and within the tumult and uncertainty we are doing much, much better in life than we thought we can. Quietly. Kindly. Gently. Being able to spare a part of us to help someone live is worth being thankful for. ” Giving with an expectation for return brings misery”. May we give generously, but don’t guilt ourselves if we can’t. If we have nothing left to spare, let’s go slow and kind.

The world is being taught a lesson, the harder way. This lesson is not about rich and powerful versus poor and powerless but about leadership that treasure the common wealth and common good, above private greed and profit and above protecting the privileges of a handful elites.

None of us are actually going anywhere. Might as well stay. The conclusion we draw from this crisis is that all humans matter equally, that we need to give a hand, raise one another, flourish or perish together- no matter what our limitations are, we’re capable of a great deal. This virus backlash is nothing short of a fleeting lesson to all leaders about how sane, humane societies should function all the time. Those who regard themselves as wonderfully favored of leadership, power and pelf are called to do great things. Anything that constantly arise to cause conflicts or disunion must be questioned, criticized, denounced and judged.

Be it a forced contemplation of our mortality or a sudden urge of self denial or an awareness of the passage of time and life, this screeching halt is proof that humans are designed to be more productive when connected, even in isolation. So, not all hope is lost. The time has come when we must know for ourselves why we believe in humanity as we do.

“Do something good for somebody today; the people who are trying to make the world worst aren’t taking days off.”

Gestures to honor humanity are varied, aplenty. A flypast in India is a cruel joke on the already tumbling down economy and on the selfless humanitarians who spare nothing to reach out. We can only wish the trail of showered petals, if showered will guide the departing victims of COVID19. Flying past/over ground realities is a highly irresponsible act of governments. Also, a misuse and mismanagement of meagre resources.

Was it a premonition that urged saint Thiruvalluvar, celebrated Tamil poet and philosopher to get on with kural 578 which when translated into English goes as

” The world is theirs (Kings) who are able to show kindness, without injury to their affairs, (administration of Justice).

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Congress’s Electoral Enervation

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BlakeShramster / CC BY-SA

Lately, the Grand Old Party of India has been suffering from severe political lacerations. It is bleeding profusely but it still refuses to recognize and feel the pain of its grisly wounds. The Congress party is obstinately practicing political podsnappery and this is further eviscerating its relevance. Slowly and steadily, its ideological roots are being chipped away. We are witnessing a kind of dilemmatic democratic party, which is strangulating in the ever-shifting tectonic plates of Indian politics. The fresh act of defection by Jyotiraditya Scindia foregrounds the ideologically weak aura which now surrounds the Congress.

In every period of its history, a particular type of ideological encrustation surrounded the Congress and illuminated its charm among the Indian voters. This ideology rooted it firmly in a vast network of ideologies. This ideology, for the most part, has been secular and liberal and acted as a strong bulwark against a xenophobically framed anti-secular strategy. But now, this prodigious party has shrunk to a miniscule group. This cataclysmic contraction has happened primarily due to the elitist imagery to which it was tethered. Congress’s political rivals portrayed it as an inherently elitist group by harping on its corruption scandals like the Satyam Scam, Coal Scam, Chopper Scam, Adarsh Scam and Tatra Truck Scam. All this overemphasis on the financial impurity of the Congress led to the citizens believing that the Congress party is an aristocratic admixture of kleptocracy and bogus secularism.

The political dynasticism of the Congress further solidified this elitist imagery and soon, Congress became the ‘suit, boot ki Sarkar’. The usage of the aforementioned epithet successfully established the presence of the Congress party as a technocratic liberal party, accustomed to high-handed bureaucratic methods of administration. The attribute of a ‘pro-people party’ was snatched away from the Congress and it was represented as a technocratic group, largely unconnected from the material conditions of the citizens.

Apart from the political and financial palm-greasing, the Congress has also been disemboweled due to its confounding ideological quagmire. The Grand Old Party is stuck in a regal fort, where it is continuously wavering between a secular strategy and a thinly-veiled contrivance of religious pandering. It has already flip-flopped on its ideological plank by pitching Rahul Gandhi as a religious leader which actually backfired because people at once understood that he had suddenly become a synthetically Hinduized leader.

And now, it is lending its support to the Anti-CAA protests and has all of a sudden, arrived like a knight in shining armor, chaotically shouting secular slogans. Opportunistic acts like these cause severe trust deficit and the party incurs widespread odium for its electoral opportunism. So, due to the Congress’s ideological shilly-shally, its attempt to provide guidance to the Anti-CAA protests is seen as a crude act of politically hijacking the protests. To say succinctly, the Congress has been utterly passive in reacting to some major political events and has not even tried to extend its sinews to drag itself out from the quicksand of financial dissoluteness and ideological vacillation.

Due to all the above mentioned iniquitous inadequacies, Congress is withering and losing its elephantine presence on the electoral platform. This is the most appropriate time for the Congress to recognize its Achilles heel and try to overcome this deficiency. The defection of Jyotiraditya Scindia highlights the fact that now, an ideological string no longer ties any Congress member and the party needs to alter its highly feudal organizational structure which is identical to a form of royal structure, based on monarchical munificence. The Congress party can utilize the following remedial measures to perform the medical operation which is indispensable for it to regain its health.

Constitutional Struggles

It should try assiduously to interconnect itself with the common masses and change its political behavioral pattern by staging what can be called ‘constitutional struggles’. These constitutional struggles will essentially be democratic demonstrations, aiming to recover the lost sheen of the constitution. These protests should be able to blend constitutional patriotism with a Gandhian non-violent idea of struggle. In this way, the Congress party would be successful in politically fructifying its vast receptacles of historical significance and will harmonize its history as a torchbearer of freedom with the present calamitous conditions. One important reason behind the need to make Mahatma Gandhi the vanguard of Congress’s recuperation struggle is the vast space which he occupies in the collective imagination of the Indian citizens. By spotlighting Gandhi, the Congress party can easily initiate a resistance movement whose objective will be to find the Gandhian truths in this age of political prevarications and fabrications.

Change Organizational Configurations

The Congress party needs to change its organizational configurations. The sybaritic structure of dynasticism should be superseded by a bottom-up approach which is decentralized. The present organizational architecture is extremely centralistic and all the members of the Congress party are seen as the supine members of a sycophantic entourage, revolving around the singular nucleus of nobility, which has invariably been the Gandhi family. The senior members of the Congress party such as Ghulam Nabi Azad, Ahmed Patel and Manmohan Singh are depicted as the servile stooges of the Gandhi family who possess an unbreakable fidelity to the dynastic autocracy of the Congress party. The congress leadership is also currently rudderless. During the elections, it played the role of a dabbler. After Indira Gandhi, all the Gandhis (Except Sanjay Gandhi) were reluctant politicians. They were compelled because the Nehru – Gandhi name was associated with the party. All these aspects of party functioning need to be radically changed so that non-Gandhi members are not seen as mere appendages of the supposed undisputed overlord which is the Gandhi family. (3) A coherently unified ideological political programme needs to be built. The lumbering party is in a state of delirium and is unable to properly specify its political stance. It should solidly settle this predicament by choosing to continue with its former political posture as a truly secular and democratic party, committed to constitutional values. If this operation is not undertaken, the Congress will be finally consigned to the political graveyard, where it will die with its shambolic ideological structure.

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5 Ways to Strengthen Sibling Bond

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siblings relations

Blood is always thicker than water. This is one of the most appropriate proverbs one can find.

Blood relations always prove to be the most important and everything fades away when it comes to your own blood. Sibling bond is one of the closest bonds one can have.

During childhood any child with a sibling can understand that bond and feel the closeness on that bond. In Spite of endless fights, disagreements, siblings love each other the most and are very protective of each other.

It is very easy to maintain this bond while you are younger and living together, the challenge comes to maintain that bond while you grow up and start moving towards your own social and domestic life. Here are some tips how you can strengthen your sibling bond while still handling your work, social and domestic life:

1. Plan Holidays Together:

Make a pact that every year you all will get together and plan a holiday either with family(if married) or just all the siblings together. it will make sure that you are taking time out for yourselves and not getting faded in everyday life.

2. Have a Private Group Chat:

Siblings can make sure that you all initiate private group chats and make sure you share your everyday routine, happiness, problems etc in order to keep everyone in the loop of your life.

Group chat makes sure that you are catching up on each other on an everyday basis and is a constant part of each other’s lives.

3. Send Gifts to Each Other:

Siblings can plan to send each other gifts on different occasions that will help in building a close relationship with each other. Sometimes, it is possible your sibling might be based far away or in a foreign country. There are so many online platforms available where you can send a gift to your siblings whether its online birthday cake delivery or online rakhi delivery etc. everything is available on online portals.

4. Help each other in Reaching Goals:

Siblings are the most important people who can push you towards your goal. Siblings can encourage each other towards what is the best course to take for a bright future. Sometimes a sibling can recognise your potential much faster than you yourself can. Thus it is important that you share your goals and aspirations and listen to each other in order to go forward in your life.

5. Cultivate Friendship:

It is very important that siblings should cultivate not only sibling bonds but become best friends and should be able to confide in each other. This is only possible if they work on developing only  siblings but a friendship bond. A good friendship will ensure that it becomes very easy for siblings to communicate with each other and discuss any issues they might face. It is important that the friendship is of a level that when one sibling needs help they should reach their sibling in the very first course.

So, these were some tips that can strengthen your singing bond. If you follow these tips, you can make sure that you will become best friends with your siblings and will have a great relationship despite a life of your own.

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