Follow by Email

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Gujarat Elections: Impregnable

(This article is published in Organiser magazine 12-11-17 issue)

Finally election commission set ball rolling on last 25th October. Gujarat is going to have elections in two phases. First phase on 9th December will see Saurashtra, Kutch and South Gujarat voting on 89 seats. It will cover 19 out of 33 districts. Second phase on 14th December will be for North Gujarat and Central Gujarat voting on 93 seats in remaining 14 districts. Results will be out on 18th December 2017.

While it was seen one sided game till Rajya Sabha elections. Congress was facing revolt by its opposition leader in assembly, Shankarsinh Vaghela. His supporters were demanding to declare him CM candidate. Shankarsinhjee was also demanding to declare candidates early so that they could get enough time for campaigning. He sought to implement report prepared by ex defense minister A. K. Antony on wake of debacle in Lok Sabha elections. Posters war began in Congress. Some posters were saying: Bapu aave chhe. (Shankarsinh Vaghela a.k.a. Bapu will be next CM) Some were saying: Bharatsinh Solanki aave chhe.  But Congress high command didn’t succumb to Shankarsinh Vaghela group’s demand. And after one meeting of his supporters on 24th June, Shankarsinhjee announced he would quit congress on his birthday 21st July.

Congress mlas who were seemed to be Shankarsinhjee supporter began to defect one by one. 14 mlas resigned from Congress before rajyasabha elections. BJP gave Balwantsinh Rajput, congress mla who defected to BJP ticket of Rajya sabha. He was seen candidate against Congress stalwart Ahmed Patel. Suddenly Congress woke up and hijacked their mlas to Bengaluru five star resort. Agnet of Ahmed Patel and veteran Congress leader Shaktisinh Gohil allegedly played tactics in which Shankarsinh Vaghela group mla Raghavjee Patel and Bholabhai Gohil got trapped. Their two votes were cancelled after a long suspense that continued till mid night involving election commission at Delhi and Gandhinagar. And finally result was out with Ahmed Patel victory by just half vote which is challenged in court by Balwantsinh Rajput.

Dubious Victory
This victory has boosted up Congress moral. North Gujarat was facing flood and heavy rain. While Gujarat CM Vijaybhai Rupani and health minister Shankarbhai Chaudhary were in North Gujarat for five days to help flood victims, while Congress’s 44 mlas were enjoying in Bengaluru hi fi resort. Even though, after victory ‘Vikas Gando thayo chhe’ (Development has gone mad) messages got circulated and anti BJP campaign was peaking up. Rise in Petrol-Diesel prices, loan for Bullet train, very poor condition of roads, GST were being opposed and many people also joined in this campaign allegedly run by Congress I.T. Cell.

Even though, roads are subject of municipalities (which are BJP controlled), BJP national president Amitbhai Shah had to promise roads would be fine till October which showed Congress campaign success. Picture was good for Congress till 21st October. But it has started changing from the same day. On this day, Alpesh Thakor, who agitated for OBC and SC-ST went to meet Rahul Gandhi at Delhi and declared he would join Congress. Dalit leader Jignesh Mewani also declared he would support Congress. Hardik Patel also gave indications of supporting Congress on same day.

Split support
Thus it was clear that all three agitations were supporting Congress. Hardik Patel who fought for reservation to Patel community in OBC quota suddenly changed his stand and publically told: “No problem, if Congress doesn’t give reservation to Patel, but we will see BJP would not come to power.” He also talked he was ready to see any Dalit or Muslim leader becoming CM but BJP mustn’t come to power.

Similarly, Alpesh Thakor fought for strict implementation of liquor prohibition. But Mohansinh Rathva who became opposition leader in assembly after Shankarsinh Vaghela quit Congress appealed thakor community members to drink liquor if offered by BJP and vote to Congress. It was in presence of Rahul Gandhi and Alpesh Thakor! It was clearly violation of law. Alpesh Thakor didn’t oppose this at that time and even after that rally.

Media showed Hardik Patel secretly meeting allegedly Rahul Gandhi and coming out with begs. BJP alleged that Hardik Patel had secret deal with Congress. Two big PAAS (Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti) leader Varun Patel and Reshma Patel also changed their hearts and joined BJP!

After this sudden change, it seems these agitation have divided Patel and OBC community, specifically Patel community. Before agitation there were two sub castes- Leuva and Kadva. But after Hardik Patel support to Congress, it seems there are two more divisions- PAAS (Pro PAAS) and NaaPAAS (Naapaas means failed but in this case it is anti PASS). Opposition to Hardik Patel and Alpesh Thakor by their respective communities show that wise members have realized that these leaders, be it Hardik, Varun, Reshma, Alpesh or Jignesh have befooled them on name of communities.

Flimsy Ploys
Allegations by Narendra Patel, PAAS leader that BJP tried to buy him with one crore rupee and after then one audio clip telecasted by media heard Narendra Patel speaking to unknown person about entry of Rs. 25 lakh in his name though he didn’t receive any money. He was telling that Rs25 lakh was described in a diary as a part of the grant received by Mehsana District Panchayat, which was given to PAAS Committee of Mehsana and North Gujarat. He quoted one Pahlaj bhai who told him that he had given the money to three people on receiving a call from the State Congress. Patel was even heard saying that he would speak with state Congress president Bharatsinh Solanki and ask him about who was given the money. Later in the clip, Patel said that he received a call from Patel reservation stir leader Hardik Patel, who asked him not to talk about the matter to anyone, and also asked him not to make an issue of the same.

These events have created bad image for agitators and Congress. Congress is again alleged to play same caste politics. In 1980s, Congress leader Madhavsinh Solanki played KHAM (Kshatriy, Harijan i.e. dalit, Adivasi i.e. tribal and muslim) theory successfully. This time Congress is applying POD theory where P stands for Patidar, O for OBC and D for Dalit.

Chinks In Congress
But taking support of these three young leaders will not be easy task for Congress. After Alpesh Thakor joined Congress, it is said that Congress had to rethink for candidate on 60-70 seats. It was said that Alpesh had a meeting with BJP president Amitbhai Shah where he demanded deputy CM post for his father and 16-18 seats but Amitbhai rejected his offer. So it is clear if Alpesh has joined Congress, Congress must have accepted his demands. And it will create dissatisfaction among Congress leaders. Congress is known for factionalism at times of election and it is one big reason behind its successive four defeats. Two suspected ISIS terrorists were arrested from Surat. BJP alleged that one of the terrorist, Kasim Stimberwala was working as laboratory technician at Sardar Hospital In Ankleshwar. Ahmed Patel was trustee in this hospital. BJP demanding Ahmedbhai’s resignation.

BJP's game

On other hand BJP is also highlighting development work done at center in leadership of PM Narendra Modi and at Gujarat in leadership of ex CM Anandiben Patel and current CM Vijaybhai Rupani. This includes completion of Narmada yojana, Sauni Yojana, Mukhyamantri Yuva Svavalamban Yojana, electricity, irrigation, actions in favour of farmers and tribals, better road connectivity, R0-Ro ferry service between Ghogha-Dahej, bullet train etc.

Election rallies have just started. Model code of conduct is in force since 25th. Rallies may change whole campaign. Congress is raising same issues like past four elections- i.e. unemployment, poor education facilities, injustice to farmers-dalits-tribals-women, undue favour to 4-5 industrialists. However Rahul Gandhi is adopting new strategy. In past, he/Sonia Gandhi used to come, address rally and then leave. Now Rahul is staying here for three days. He is travelling to villages, talking to farmers, tribals, women, youths. He has accepted he is not good speaker as Narendra Modi is. So he has adopted this strategy.

As this article is being written, Rahul has arrived in south Gujarat. He has visited Saurashtra region and central Gujarat. Narendra Modi has been visiting Gujarat since last one year. He has been here for all development work inauguration or commencement.

It will have to be seen which strategy wins. 

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Hamid Ansari: Thy name is controversy

Hamid Ansari defamed nation while ending his term as vice president by saying that muslims in Bharat feeling sense of insecurity. His qualification which made him Vice President was that he was Sonia Gandhi's favourite. If Sonia Gandhi's wish could be fullfilled, his statement about muslims insecurity in this country could be as president. Yes, he was first choice of Sonia Gandhi as president candidate. But it was Pranav Mukherjee, then finance minister who played brilliant game. He made Mulayam Singh Yadav to lobby for APJ Abdul Kalam. On this, Mamata Banerjee also came forward in suppprt of Kalam. BJP which made Dr. Kalam president in year 2002 would also have supported Kalam again.

This made Sonia rethink on making Hamid Ansari as president candidate as it would have brought embarassing defeat for UPA. This brough Pranavda in picture. Pranavda convinced Sonia that he would be able to bring majority parties support in his favour. And Pranavda had and has good acceptance acrooss all parties. He won president election. And it was good fortune of our country that she didnt get such communal and biased person as president.

In December 2011 on last day of rajya sabha session, Anna Hazare's agitation had forced to bring and pass lokpal bill but Congress was not willing to pass it. Atleast not at that time. Rajdeep Sardesai headed CNNIBN broke news that Congress had plan. Under this plan, Congress's ally RJD's mp Rajneeti Prasad stood up and as per fixing, he tore bill around mid night. Congress started disruption.  Opposition leader Arun Jaitley requested to extend session as they were ready to sit all night for lokpal. President Pratibha Patil was kept in loop for continuation of session and Times Now channel had president's office SMS confirming this. President was also agree to let continue session post mid night. But Hamid Ansari played as puppet of Sonia Gandhi's puppet UPA govt. He adjourned session sine die. The day 30th December 2011 was registered as major black spot in Bharatiya democracy's history, specially in history of vice president who is also Rajya Sabha chairman.

It didn't stop there. Hamid Ansari is known for his gross communal stand. He (and Sonia-Rahul Gandhi also) used to remain absent in Yod day events. Not only that, he didnt allow yog day event to be telecasted on RSTv i.e. Rajya Sabha tv channel run on public tax money.

He was also not seen saluting on republic day when national anthem was being played on flag hoisting. 

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Regulation for affordable education

(My article on regulation brought by Gujarat government on school fee in Organiser, dt. 25 June, 2017)

Schooling is necessary but schools have become a luxury, especially the private schools. It is welcome to have one’s child education at a private school but school fee is matter of big worry.  According to one Mumbai- based tabloid, seventy students of a school were expelled by the management. Reason?  Due to parents’ opposition to school fee hike.

According to national sample survey in 2015, education cost from Primary education to Post-Graduation has soared by 175 per cent.  In Mumbai, as per one estimate, pre schooling fee is higher than MBA fee! As per a report, one school charged Rs. 4.55 lakh as fee till last year, which was raised to Rs. 7 lakh this year! On the other hand, middle class person’s salary or SME’s revenue gets increased generally from 5 to 10 percent yearly with which he has to run household. MBA fee in private college is Rs.5-7 lakhs per year. Fee of one Nursery School in Mumbai was Rs 45,000 in year 2009. This was raised to Rs 93,000 this year. Parents also have started a missed call and WhatsApp campaign to gain support for agitation against the school fee hike.

According to the Maharashtra Educational Institutions (Regulation of Fee) Act, 2011, a private school can propose a fee hike six months before the academic year and must seek nod from the Parents Teachers Association’s (PTA) executive body before implementing it. According to parents, one of the major drawbacks is that even though the act prohibits schools from hiking fees more than once in two years, it does not put any cap on the hike. They want the act to define upper limits for the hikes.
But this problem is not limited to Maharashtra only. It is pan Bharat problem. Privatisation of education gives more option to parents, but in the name of facilities, schools demand sky-touching fees. Let’s talk about Karnawati. Private schools here charge fees ranging from Rs. 50,000 to Rs. 5.5 Lakh! Issue is not only fee, but schools demand donation/capitation fee. They force students to buy uniform, books and other things from certain specified shops/show rooms. Recently a school ordered students to wear only Adidas brand shoes!

Even after this scenario, according to Legatum Prosperity Index, Bharat is nowhere near top ten countries in education field. Bharat ranks at 92 which is far behind the other developing countries such as Phillipines (76), Malaysia (51), Sri Lanka (59).

If school education is such costly, how can we expect students to have higher education? There is RTE act for poor children. But its implementation is very poor. Schools don’t obey this rule. As per report of last year, parents complained that eight schools of Rajkot denied admission to 26 children. In Karnawati, parents strongly protested against admission given in schools which are at long distance from home. According to this law, children applicable under RTE must be given admission in the school which is 6 KM away from their homes. But 7,000 children were given admission in schools which were more than 6 km away from their homes. One resident of Asarwa, Karnawati has his child’s admission in school 25 KM away from home!

But Gujarat Government has made a bold initiative regarding school fee. It passed Gujarat Self Financed Schools (Regulation Of Fees) Bill, 2017 on March 30. Under this law, all Primary, Secondary and Higher Secondary schools affiliated under CBSE, International Board, ICSE Board and State Board will be covered. The State Government decided maximum ceiling fee that schools can charge. For primary it is Rs. 15,000, for Secondary it is Rs 25,000 and for Higher Secondary i.e. std 11 and 12, it is Rs 27,000.

While tabling bill, education minister Shree Bhupendrasinh Chudasama said, “Donations are being forced beyond imagination. Schools decide which brand of shoes to buy and from which shop. The sale outlets of these brands are set up within the school compound and the parents are forced to buy uniforms, water bags, shoes, school bags, etc. If rules under this new law are not followed ,there is a provision for fines ranging from Rs 5-10 lakh and cancellation of affiliation.

When contacted on phone, Education Minister Shree Chudasama said, “This bill is not against private schools, but at the same time, any system can’t be run uncontrolled. How can a parent having Rs. 5,000 to 10 ,000 monthly income afford paying fee of Rs. 5 lakh to Rs. 10 lakh?”

Under this legislation, a Fee Regulatory Committees will also be formed in four zones of Gujarat that will keep a tab on the school fees. Committee will be headed by retired District Judge. Gujarat Government is firm to implement this new Law from this academic session itself.

However, school administrators are opposing this law. Some of them have challenged this law in Gujarat High court. They argue that fee decided by the government is very low. The Government has not considered the education given with quality and facilities, salaries paid to teachers and other staffers. But those who are aware of education sector know better that teachers in private schools have one salary on paper and other given actually.  Apparently, they want to pressure the government as well as parents as academic session has been started from June. Under this law, there is a prohibition on charging any donation or capitation fee. If any parent pays donation voluntarily, he/she has to inform Fee Regulation Committee.

Shree Bhaskarbhai Patel, spokesman of Gujarat State School Management Association says, “It is very clear. Education is in concurrent list in constitution. What type of education should be there, rules regarding teachers, school fee are subject to Government decision. Private schools have crossed limits regarding fees. Education has become business instead of service or mission. So restrictions are necessary.” Bhaskarbhai thinks that this law is applicable to schools falling under CBSE also.

Dr Akshay Aggarwal has his broad opinion on education. Talking from Canada, former Vice Chancellor of Gujarat Technical University (GTU) says, “Education  has been commercialized all over the country. 90 percent education is in hands of private managers. Education has become very costly for poor and middle class children. Very few children come forward for getting education in good schools but they go abroad for better prospects. Many children have to strive for good education. In present situation, government regulation was  the only solution. We have our dress torn and we wear it with darn. This will not lead to better production of citizens. We have to think about education system from very roots. We have to make policies which reflect our country’s ancient heritage and culture instead of coping foreign policies.”

Good thing is that Central Government is mulling over Gujarat model to slash school fees across India. According to a report of CNBC Awaaz, Union HRD  Minister Prakash Javadekar has asked for the details of the Gujarat Self-Financed Schools (Regulation of Fees) Bill 2017.   

Donating for soldiers

(My article on Janardanbhai Bhatt and Rakshaben Dave from Bhavnagar donating for soldier hefty amount for soldiers published in Organiser on 28th May 2017)

Really, our nation is changing. There is lot of talk and care being expressed for soldiers nowadays. But opponent views are also being expressed against nationalists. They say - nationalists are doing just lip service. Actually they are nothing doing for soldiers. Anti nationalists are not right.

Generally at war time, many charitable organizations or NGOs start collecting donations for soldiers. We had witnessed such events at time of Kargil (1999) war. But right now, no war is declared officially. Even then, people have come forward for donating for soldiers.

Bhavnagar is known for social service works. It is railway terminus. So many times mental patients travelling in train are dropped here and many persons and organization work for them including giving bath them. Bhavnagar is called ‘Ganda nun Gaam’ (city of mental persons) in lighter vein but real reason is care being taken of mental persons done here. Shishuvihar and late Maanbhai Bhatt are also known for such works. But at present three persons have come forward for cause of soldiers. They are Janardanbhai Bhatt, Rakshaben Dave and Nimeshbhai Trivedi. They all belong to Bhavnagar.

Among them, Janardanbhai Bhatt is highest donator. He has donated whooping Rs. 1.02 crore for soldiers! And that is too when he is living on pension! How could he afford for such huge amount? How can he have such big amount for donation?

Generally, when one have such whooping amount of Rs. 1.02 crore, what he/she may think to spend this money? Answers will be according to sex, age and hobby of person. One may think to buy a flat. Other may think to buy luxurious car like BMW. One may think to go on foreign tour. Person like Mukeshbhai may think how to convert this crore amount into Abaj (billion). If person is lady, she may think to buy costly sarees or dresses or she may think to have beauty treatment or surgery to look more beautiful.

But Janardanbhai Bhatt who is 85 years old has donated such big amount without hesitation.  He says on telephone, “When our country is passing through severe crisis, it is our duty to do whatever we can do at our level.” Janardanbhai Bhatt is retired SBS (State Bank Of Saurashtra, founded by Bhavnagar maharaja which was merged in SBI) clerk. He joined this bank in 1954. In year 1962, Janardanbhai established an employees’ union. According to him, his union is non political. In 1970 bank G.M. late B. K. Chatterjee suggested, “Janardanbhai! You are doing lot for union. Why don’t you start contributing for society also?”

This suggestion made Janardanbhai thinking for society. Actually Janardanbhai is also a swayamsevak of RSS. He used to go in Neelkanth Shakha which was being held at Ruvapari Darwaja, Bhavnagar. For study, he discontinued going in shakhas, “But,” he says, “My all society service work is due to “Samskar” of RSS which I learnt in shakha- honesty, sincerity, integrity, devotion and dedication.” He has worked with Chandabhai Dave in union who is among pioneer swayamsewaks.

So from 1970 Janardanbhai started doing social work like gifting sweets, fire crackers to orphanage children. (Liberal-leftists bombard messages on Diwali/hindu festivals for not celebrating festivals and donating needy children but they don’t know there are many persons like Janardanbhai who are doing social service anonymously.) Janardanbhai’s union donated Rs. 1 lac to electrification of hindu cremation center. He inspired his union members to do relief work at time of Junagadh flood or Machhchhu dam disaster.

Janardanbhai has done this work and is doing because he has great support from his better half Padmabahen who is Swadhyay Pariwar worker. Both got married in 1955 and since their marriage life has become inspiration model for many couple. Janardanbhai says, “She has never demanded to go on tour of Mahabaleshwar of Panchagini. She has always stood firmly with my decisions.”
Janardanbhai had donated Rs. 6 lac for dialysis to Bajarangdasbapa Hospital, Bhavnagar. Her wife gave Rs. 16 lac to same hospital next year in memory of her parents. Janardanbhai says, “Samsar rath (chariot) can run smooth only if both wheels are good and equal. We have no such desires for worldly pleasure. We never went to have dinner or lunch at hotels. We never went on picnic. Yes, when I retired from bank service, I visited Shree Somanath temple to pray.”

Janardanbhai has no siblings. He has no child even. So, there was no opposition from family for his huge donation for soldiers. Instead, family members also pledged to donate as per their capacity. Janardanbhai could donate such big amount because his friend’s father advised him to invest in stock market long ago. This investment is now giving good returns. Janardanbhai had decided to run household on just pension income. He had prepared a will paper in which he decided to contribute for society and nation but sudden situation after Kashmir and Sukama attacks demanded him to implement his will partially.  He has proposed to SBI for opening a bank account in which minimum Rs.5 will be cut from salary of bank employees and deposited per month. Many employees have shown their wish to contribute Rs. 100, 500 or 1,000 per month! Janardanbhai was of view to donate online but friends and colleagues suggested donating publically so that many would get inspiration.

After his initiative, significantly two persons came forward for donation. One is Rakshaben Dave. She is also retired professor. She has donated Rs. 1 lac! One Nimeshbhai Trivedi donated Rs. 25,000.

Rakshaben says on telephone, “When news of video of soldier complaining about food served to them broke out, she could not take her meal. I thought what could be done for them? Then I heard news that soldier was detained.” Rakshaben thought to do something for soldiers but didn’t know how to do. She is very spiritual person. She is unmarried. She was HOD of Gujarati at Mahila College, Bhavnagar. She has written more than 70 books on Hindu dharma. So she thought, “When there is will, she will found way also.” And then news came from Ashokbhai Pandya, a colleague of Janardanbhai Bhatt about donation. So, Rakshaben donated Rs. 1 lac with help of Ashokbhai Pandya. She is now thinking to donate Rs. 1 lac more on Raksha Bandhan.

In year 2013, I had read a golden thought behind a public bus. It can be loosely translated as: If you can give up from hand, it is called ‘Tyaga’ (Sacrifice), but if you can give up from your heart, it is called ‘vairagya’ (ascetism). These people have done both things. Vandan to such souls


(My article on Amul Vs Kwality Walls hot war about ice cream published in Organiser on 14th May 2017.)

Summer is on in full swing. Scorching heat makes people sweating. And in this hot climate, it is obvious that people will go for more and more cool food-drink items. When we talk about cool items, first item that comes in mind is ice cream. But wait! What is ice cream? Which item can be called ice cream?

The question arose because there is ‘hot’ war going on between so called ice cream maker companies. This war is started by Amul or say Gujarat Milk Marketing Federation Limited (GCMMF). GCMMF sells its product under Amul brand. Amul ad tells that Amull ice cream is made from ‘real milk’ where as ‘frozen dessert’ is made from vegetable oil. Although ad doesn’t name any brand, it has irked HUL- i.e. Hindustan Unilever Limited and Vadilal dairy international. Both have common interest in this dispute.

GCMMF says that Amul ad is to make consumers aware about difference between ice cream and frozen desserts.

Marketer of ‘Kwality walls’ HUL says Amul’s ad is misleading.

First of all, why so much hue and cry about frozen food item? Why does it matter you call it ice cream or frozen dessert, people may ask. There is difference. As per Oxford dictionary, ice cream definition or meaning is, ‘A soft, sweet frozen food made with milk and cream and typically flavoured with vanilla or other ingredients’.  And what is that you call dessert? As per Oxford dictionary, dessert is ’sweet course eaten at end of a meal’. So here difference lies. If soft sweet food made from milk, it is called ice cream, but if it is made from vegetable oil, it can’t be called ice cream. It can be classified as frozen dessert. Frozen desserts look and taste like ice cream but they can’t be called ice cream.

Now let’s turn to Food Safety and Standards Authority of India. As per this institute’s regulation 2011 (part 1), the definition of an ice cream, kulfi or softy ice cream means that the product is obtained by freezing a pasteurized mix, prepared from milk and /or other products derived from milk with or without the addition of nutritive sweetening agents, fruit and fruit products, eggs, etc.

Frozen dessert means the product obtained by freezing a pasteurized mix prepared with milk fat and/or edible vegetable oils and fat having a melting point of not more than 37.0 degree C in combination and milk protein alone or in combination/or vegetable protein products singly or in combination with the addition of nutritive sweetening agents.

Health experts say that frozen desserts are harmful than ice cream as frozen desserts contain traces of trans fats and saturated fat of 5.8 according to their label. Generally saturated fats are recommended to avoid. American Heart Association believes that our body naturally produces all the LDL cholesterol you need. Eating foods containing saturated fat and trans fat causes your body to produce even more, raising your blood cholesterol level. But a medical website WebMD in its article titled ‘Saturated Fats Not So Bad? Not So Fast, Critics of New Analysis Say’ says that as per Annals of Internal Medicine study, Saturated fats, long thought to raise heart disease risks, had no effect. Researchers looked at 72 published studies on fats and heart disease. The studies involved more than 60,000 people from 18 countries. But wait! This article is dated 20th March 2014 where as American Heart Association’s article was reviewed on April 2017.

Now let’s turn to message going viral on social media. Message tells that Amul has won lawsuit against Kwality Walls and some other branded icecream makers. Message also contains a leading newspaper web link. But this news is of year 2012. And news was, Advertising Standards Council Of India, self regulatory body of advertising industry has told consumer goods major Hindustan Unilever to stop mentioning its Kwality Walls brand as ‘ice cream’ in certain advertisements following a complaint by top ice cream brand Amul.

But talking legally, game is not over. HUL has filed a case in Mumbai High Court accusing Amul of disparaging frozen desserts and its product Kwality Walls by trying to imply that these are made with vanaspati or hydrogenated vegetable oil. Since Kwality Walls is made from vegetable fats and not hydrogenated oil, and is a market leader in frozen desserts, its product is “disparaged” by Amul ads.
Justice S. J. Kathawalla suggested changes that could be made in Amul ads so there can be compromise between two companies. The judge suggested that the makers of Amul ice-cream should change the wording in their TVC’s voiceover. He also suggested change the way frozen desserts are visually depicted in all their ads from a semi-solid to liquid oil.

GCMMF’s counsel Ravi Kadam said he would put it to Amul to consider the first suggestion. However, HUL’s counsel Birendra Saraf, raised further objections, saying he would be satisfied after they have a look at the modified ad.

Kadam defended that it was the multinational company’s burden to prove that consumers would be misled by the words “vanaspati tel” in Amul’s advertisements. “The dictionary and Google both show that vegetable oil translates to vanaspati tel”, Kadam argued. “The public understands this equivalent and the dictionary shows what the public understands. The burden of proof is on HUL to show that the public does not understand (this translation).”

But concern is not only limited to health aspect. It involves price too. In a petition filed two years ago on, it is argued that As Desi Ghee (derived from milk) costs about  Rs 300/kg, while vegetable oil costs about Rs 80/kg, the retail price of frozen dessert should be much cheaper than ice cream. So, as per this petition Kwality Walls frozen dessert price should be lower than Amul ice cream if Amul’s claim is true, but Kwality Walls price range is almost same as Amul.

Economic Times quoted R S Sodhi, managing director of Gujarat Co-operative Milk Marketing Federation, which owns Amul brand as saying, "Most brands mention frozen desserts in small letters and push the category instead of advertising it as dessert." He says dairy fat costs Rs 300/kg, while vegetable fat is Rs 50-60/kg. "Frozen desserts play with huge margins and cheat consumers."
Actually this war is about changing perception also. And this is due to rising market of ice cream and frozen desserts. According to market research company Euromonitor, Bharat’s ice cream market was Rs 8,500 crore in 2015 and  it is set to double to Rs 17,000 crore by 2021. Last year it grew up 20 percent. This market has approximately 10,000 players but there are ten major companies vying to occupy top place. They are Amul, Vadilal, Mother Dairy, Cream Bell, HUL, Havmor, Nirula, Arun, Dinshaw and Top ‘N’ Town.

Advertise experts say that there is nothing wrong in Amul ad. Amul ads are quite popular, particular those one featuring Amul girl. Hoarding ads have always fun at current affairs. For example, one ad showed young man looking like Rahul Gandhi and it had text- Born in India. Bread in India. Amul – Foren khaao! One ad featured a person looking like than minister Shashi Tharoor and said- ECOWNOMISE- Amul for posterity, not austerity. When Anna Hazare fast was going on, it showed a girl offering bread-butter to old man looking like Anna. Text said- Kha na Hazare! Amul Lok priya makhan.

Dr. Verghese Kurien who is known as father of ‘White revolution’ (Shwet Kranti) had transformed Bharat from milk deficient country to world’s largest milk producer. He was founder of Gujarat Cooperative Milk Marketing Federation Ltd. This institute has become Bharat’s one of the largest food product marketing organizations with annual turnover US $ 1 Arab (billion) in 2016-17. It is the Apex organisation of the Dairy Cooperatives of Gujarat, popularly known as ‘Amul’.  Its daily milk procurement is approx 1.80 lac lit per day from 18,700 village milk cooperative societies, 18 member unions covering 33 districts, and 36 lac milk producer members.

Amul ethos have these characteristics -  dedication, integrity, responsibility, pride in work well done and pride of participation in an admirable enterprise, loyalty, a boldly innovative approach to solving problem. Amul has become world’s 13th largest dairy. Now it is going to sell vegetables and fruits in Karnawati.

It finds blessing in disguise. Recently when Supreme Court ordered ban on liquor sale on high ways, opposite view takers argued that it will be loss of revenue and it will effect 10 lac jobs and thousands of liquor shops and bars. But the Managing Director of Gujarat Cooperative Milk Marketing Federation (Amul) - India's largest dairy cooperative - had invited the 16,000 affected liquor shops to open milk bars instead via a tweet.

Purhaps Amul believes in Pio Aur Jio, not in Pio Aur Maro!


(My report on 'Decolonisation of Indian mind' seminar held by Bharatiya Vichar Manch on 15-16 April 2017).

The two day national conference on ‘Decolonisation of Indian Mind’ organised by Bharatiya Vichar Manch was duly attended by intellectuals from 19 states

Jaywant Pandya  from Karnawati

“Our knowledge  has  increased by this seminar but we should not keep it to ourselves. We should connect with masses at places like colleges, universities and study one subject over a period of time.  We have to make the general masses aware about  decolonisation. People from other states also should organise such seminars”, was the message of RSS Sarsanghachalak Shri Mohan Bhagwat in his concluding remarks at the two day national conference on ‘Decolonisation of Indian Mind’, organised in Karnawati (Ahmedabad) on April 15 and 16, 2017. Bharatiya Vichar Manch which is celebrating its silver jubilee year was the organiser. Seminar was unique in a way because although it was about ‘decolonisation of mind’, modern technology was used. Registration and payment of fee was done only through online. More than 800 persons got themselves registered out of which 683 people were present on the occasion. It was truly a national seminar, as said by Shri Mohan Bhagwat as there was  representation from 19 states of Bharat.   

Shri Bhagwat further said that the Bharatiya Vichar Manch organises such seminars every year. Its purpose is to change direction of dialogue-deliberation of the country. The discourses given by speakers are of very high level not due to their study, but because they have come from their heart. For this, they may have suffered but they have not got deviated from their paths. We have to prepare ourselves like those speakers to win intellectual war. We have to fight collectively, Shri Bhagwat emphasised. 

We have to decolonise ourselves first. Shri Guruji said that Marx talked about violence because he saw atrocities. Thus Guruji was able to see compassion behind Marx’s thoughts. We must keep Sarvesham Avirodhen (we accept everyone without resistance) vision in mind, said Sarsanghachalak.  
The occasion was marked by the presence of galaxy of speakers.  On first day, the ball was set in motion by Shri Suresh Soni, Sahsarkaryavah of the RSS. In his keynote address he said, “Dialogue and brainstorming is a very old custom of Bharat. Extracts of such process were thrown away without shedding a drop of tear if such extracts were found useless. When a civilisation attacks  another, that civilisation influences the mind of defeated people. Old system is broken down. Danger of full destruction arises. At that time, one group comes forward taking inspiration from original elements of defeated civilisation. Arnold J Toynbee a British historian called this group as ‘Creative Minority’.” After explaining the process of intellectual colonisation Shri Soni suggested the remedy of ‘Self realisation i.e. Atma Sakshatkar. According to him the prescription given by Pt Deendayal Upadhyaya is the key, “Make whatever is foreign in tune with our ethos and whatever is domestic, retune it as per changing times.”  

Prof Kapil Kapoor, former Pro Vice-Chancellor of JNU, spoke on ‘How to De-subjugate the Mind’.  He elaborated that even though, our countrymen are multi-linguist, multi-religious, but our Chaitanya (consciousness) is one. That’s why we think alike. Our civilisation is knowledge centered, he said.
Indumati Katdare spoke on ‘Bharatiyakaran of Western Influenced Education’ and gave a call to start from our houses as families are the biggest centres of education. Smt Indumati who is Chancellor of Punarutthan Vidyapeeth gave a call for striving for autonomy of education from governmental intervention.

Dr AK Singh former Director of School Of Translation Studies and Training, IGNOU presented his thoughts on ‘Decolonising Education in Bharat’. Dr Singh highlighted the fact that since Independence movement itself many people spoke about need for Indianising education. Giving example of Dr Syama Prasad Mookerjee, he said that Dr Mookerjee who was a great educationist who stood for the holistic approach for education in his speeches and propagated the idea of introducing mother tongue even in courts, hospitals, government offices etc. 

In the session of Art and Culture Prof Kapil Tiwari, former Director of Adivasi Lok Kala Parishad, Bhopal and Dr Chandraprakash Dwivedi a wellknown actor, director and script writer were the speakers. 

Prof Tiwari while speaking on ‘Folk Art and Folk World: Way of Freedom from Decolonised Mind’ made an emotional presentation on tribal way of preserving knowledge. He said, “Knowledge that is considered as most invaluable is not that is written, but that is transmitted verbally. Upanishad, Bhagavad Gita, or for that matter even the Quran etc all are transmitted verbally.” He argued that not whole Bharat is trapped in colonisation. Our tribes are untouched from so-called modernism. They are totally decolonised. They believe in nature. They preserve nature.  
Dr Dwivedi while deliberating on ‘Drama And Cinema: Way Of Freedom From Decolonised Mind’ said, “Our cinema has become more and more irresponsible. Bharat is invisible from TV after 1992. In Hindi film industry people say, ‘We are living with market driven forces.’ Shooting is done in foreign countries. They want to make us feel ashamed for our customs.” We need to come out of our forgotten Bharat mindset to Indianise  our cinema. 

On second day, Prof. Prasanna Deshpande, Assistant Professor, Department of English, Fergusson College, Pune spoke about the danger of neo-colonisation arising in the name of decolonisation. According to him, students are incited against  our own country in the name of ‘cultural revolution’ of new-Left. Taking the instances from IIT Chennai, JNU, Jadavpur University, Kolkata, Hyderabad Central University and elaborating the deconstructionist rationale behind the events like Slut Walk, Kiss of love, Yes I bleed etc, he explained that the failure of Marxism is being re-invented with  the cultural revolution, which focuses on destruction of the culture. 

Dr Makarand Paranjpe, presented his views on ‘Swaraj and Hindu Samaj: Beyond Decolonisation And Secularism’. He stressed that problem of translation is basically the problem of religious conversion. We have no word for ‘colonisation’ or ‘decolonisation’. So Hindi word ओपनिवेशिकता is not proper word for ‘colonisation’ because we have never made colonies.  He said Sri Aurobindo, Lokmanya Tilak and Mahatma Gandhi talked about ‘Swaraj’. They provided new categories such as Sanatani,  Sah-Sanatani, non-Sanatani and  anti-Sanatani to understand the  larger discourse. 
Shri Prafulla Ketkar, Editor of Organiser spoke on ‘Decolonising Governance’ in which he highlighted the fact that thinkers coming from all streams found that decentralised model of governance is most conducive to the Bharatiya society  since contemporary parameters of participation and  distribution are also in tune with that. 

Dr Shankar Sharan, former Assistant Professor at NCERT spoke on ‘Political Science and Current Situation in Bharat’. He said, “At the time of attacks by Ghajani, Bharat was very much developed in materialistic sense. We must be cautious about protecting our civilisation. Development in GDP, sensex, technology is not enough.” 

Prof Rakesh Sinha, wellknown face on TV debates, spoke on ‘Discourse on Decolonisation—West and East’ in which he argued for more aggressive and positive approach towards decolonisation. He said, “We are  victims of micro narrative. We have to adopt metanarrative. We should do something so that Vedas, Upanishads are taught in the Harvard University.”

On this backdrop, the call given by Sarsanghachalak Shri Mohan Bhagwat in his concluding remarks, to take the discourse on decolonisation to the larger masses is significant.

Bharatiya Vichar Manch is planning to bring out a publication out of this deliberation in coming days, which will be helpful in taking the issues  pertaining to colonisation and  decolonisation to the intellectuals  and masses.                                

Report: ISIS agents caught from Saurashtra

(My first English article published in well reputed Delhi based English weekly Organiser. It was published on 12 March 2017)

It was 26th February again, the day when 59 innocent Hindus were burned to death in well planned conspiracy. After 15 years, another major conspiracy to kill Hindu devotees at famous Maa Chamunda temple of Chotila was planned but thanks to Gujarat government and specially ATS who nabbed two ISIS operatives from Rajkot and Bhavnagar and major terror attack was averted.
It was Sunday, generally known as no news day. In afternoon, news channels started flashing two ISIS operatives being arrested from Gujarat. They had planned to conduct ‘lone-wolf’ attack in the state. According to Gujarat ATS, arrested persons’ names are Waseem and Naeem Ramodiya. Both are brothers. They are not low educated persons, but highly educated persons. Wasim is having MCA degree and Naeem is having BCA degree. This shows how ISIS and other terrorist organizations are influencing highly educated persons too. And more shocking fact is that they were not directly recruited by ISIS but they were impressed by ISIS ideology through pro ISIS material on internet during last two years. This situation demands ban on pro ISIS literature on internet by Government. After impressed by ISIS, they attracted to work for ISIS and came in contact with ISIS through Skype, Telegram, Twitter and Whatsapp.

They were also in touch with ISIS’ controversial preacher Mufti Abdus Sami Qazim. Qazim was arrested by NIA in last year. Incidentally, it was also month of February. According to ATS ACP B. S. Chawda, “They were on our radar since last three months. When we arrested them, they were in process of making an improvised bomb to carry out lone-wolf attacks.”

What is lone-wolf attack? When any person tries to attack violently without joining any group or without assistance of any group, it is called lone-wolf attack. Generally terror attacks are committed by a terrorist organization in which organization, either based in Bharat or in outside Bharat manages various persons linked to each other, known to or not known to each other. In this regard, lone-wolf attack is more dangerous as you don’t know person who gets impressed by ISIS so called philosophy and tries to attack on his own. So it may be difficult to catch this type of single or couple terrorists.
"They were attracted to ISIS two years back and started taking interest in its activities. They were in contact with main ISIS persons as well as unknown handlers to get guidance. Evidence collected during raids, including some audio clips, established that the duo were having links with the terror outfit," said Inspector General of Gujarat ATS, J. K. Bhatt.

During the raids, police seized computers and mobile phones with jihadi literature, knife, gun powder and masks to hide their identity during terror attacks. They have been charged under IPC and Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) and Explosive Substances Act.

Following intense questioning, the Ramodiya brothers — Waseem and Naeem —have reportedly revealed that they had twice attempted to carry out a terror attack. Their first attempt was to kill a person while the second was to set ablaze a vehicle. After these unsuccessful attempts, they had planned to attack the Chamunda temple at Chotila. On December 5 last year, there was a hoax call received at the temple about a bomb being planted there. They confessed that they were to make bombs. Rajkot was on their target. They also visited Chotila. They learned to make bombs through internet. They had planned to plant bombs in Trikonbag and Gundawadi areas of Rajkot. Both were sent to 12 days police custody.

Gujarat police is not ruling out the possibility of others being involved in the ISIS terror module. The Gujarat ATS has also recovered three-four pen drives, three mobile phones, books believed to be written in Arabic language, and print out of chatting from the Ramodiya brothers. Gujarat police have now approached their Uttar Pradesh counterparts to hunt for more suspects in this case. Sources in the ATS claimed that a call intercept had revealed Waseem telling Naeem that he dreamt of slain al-Qaida kingpin, Osma bin-Laden.

Both brothers were in contact with ISIS men in Syria. They had planned attack at various Hindu religious places including Chotila and also cutting necks of ‘kaafir’ (word for unbeliever in Islam). ATS has intercepted 173 call records of Vaseem with handler.  As per one phone record, Waseem informs to Qazim, “Waseem muqammel kaam karne ke liye taiyar hai.” Qazim asks him, “Kill kaafir and shoot video.” In reply, Waseem says, “Ek kaafir ki katla karnee hai jo shahar se 30 km dooree par hai. Wahan inka (Hindus’) bada famous mandir hai.” In another conversations, ISIS bosses in Syria ordered Waseem, “Kuchh aisa kaam karke dikhao ke Allah khush ho jaye!”.

Gujarat ATS got shocking details from computer of Waseem in which ISIS’ sent news. Message in news was that they had to wipe out US and Israel. If they wouldn’t do it, Muslims in Syria will be wiped out. But they wouldn’t let this happen and would destroy US and Israel. Christians would convert to Muslims and would join with them.

ISIS agents use to keep propagate so called brutality on Muslims and injustice to them through cds, audios and books. ISIS agents use to provoke to attack Hindus, explode bombs on Hindu religious places.

But it was not just ISIS handler Qazim who was guide and ‘instigating’ factor. It was Waseem’s wife Shahjeen too. As per new reports, Waseem visited Chotila on 24th February. But Waseem called Shahjeen and told that he was feeling nervous. He felt attack was not going to succeed. At this point, Shahjeen told Vaseem, “Kaafir ke saamne ladai hai. Allah tumhara saath dega. Gabharaya vina kaam purun karee naakh. (Go ahead without hesitation.)” She also told, “Dhadaka kartee vela e koi aadun aave to tenan mathan vaadhee naakhje. (Cut head if someone comes in way of attack.)” However, it is surprise that Shahjeen is not arrested still.

Waseem had facebook account on name of ‘rebel rebel’. He had put profile picture in which one terrorist can be seen with gun. He has written in cover photo “Let dooms happen, let anything happen to me, I love you.” He has posted many posts related to Islam. He has posted against demonetization decision of Modi government too.

Waseem has studied in Saint Mary School. He used to work at a Rajkot-based graphic designing firm after completing his MCA, while Naeem used to work with a ship recycling unit in Bhavnagar after completing his BCA. Naeem was fond of “Counter strike game” and used to go to play this game in Game Zone at Samskar Mandal, Bhavnagar.

Both brothers’ father Areefbhai caught unaware about his sons’ terror activities. When ATS raided his house located in Moradiya area of Rajkot, he was shocked. Areefbhai is said to be living simple life. He was speechless when he heard from police and slapped his son three-four times. He said he would have to consume poison due to his sons’ terror activities. Areefbhai is retired steno typist from Saurashtra University. He retired just two years ago. He used to serve as cricket umpire in Saurashtra Cricket Association’s district level matches.