Sunday, 11 September 2016

What About Whataboutery

Let's picture a  conversation between Gandhi and the British in  pre-independent India

Sounds stupid, no? Perhaps that's why the British didn't pursue that line of reasoning at the peak of their atrocities. Imagine a Raja Ram Mohan Roy resorting to this rhetoric when Sati was the norm rather than a social anomaly. Imagine him telling the wretched women something to the tune of, "But what about Muslim men who routinely murder their errant wives for infidelity with the sanction of Islam?" These might sound like laughably juvenile scenarios that could never possibly happen in a world of grown-ups who have even a hummingbird's ability to reason, but apparently, reason is a thing of the past. Welcome to Modi's India where "what about" is the currency in every discourse, no matter how serious the issue. The expression has become so ubiquitous we even have a name for it – Whataboutery. 
Rather pedestrian, but then so is the 'whataboutery' itself.
Whataboutery is such a powerful tool, that it is a staple in the arsenal of every lazy debater and social media foot soldier (remember, we talked about the sangh and social media). In fact, it has already toppled rationale and wit as the panacea for every losing argument. The more ridiculous your stand, the better whataboutery works. The shallower your argument, the more indispensable whataboutery becomes.
Zakir Naik is spewing bile against non-Muslims and inspiring terrorism. Damn that's a smoking gun! There just can't be any refuting that one, can there? I mean his speeches are all in public domain, his vitriol is as pervasive on YouTube as a teenage vlogger's iPhone unboxing video. How do you defend your messiah against such an armor-piercing shot? Easy, just try, "But what about Sadhvi Prachi? What about Parveen Togadia?" And just like that, you decimate all arguments the naysayer might ever have.
Similarly, how do you defend your master if he happens to be a Togadia who can't stop having very public wet-dreams about a "Hindu Rashtra"? Simple – What about Zakir Naik who claims Islam is the father of all religions and that Krishna and all other Hindu Gods came out of Islam? There's no way your stupid opponent is gonna withstand this assault of whataboutery even with all the wit and reasoning in the world at his disposal.
Pellet guns? What about terrorists? Ahmedabad? What about Godhra? Beef ban? What about pork (no matter how idiotic this one sounds, it works)? Ghar wapsi? What about "love jihad" (whatever that means)? Mother Teresa's charities for the destitute? What about the conversions? A Muslim girl celebrates Rakhi with her Hindu neighbor in Lahore? What about the Christian family killed in Pakistan for insulting Koran? You see, the sorcery is omnipresent and omnipotent. No matter what you throw at it, whataboutery tars over your intelligent, factual and relevant argument. Every. Single. Time.
Someone I follow avidly recently asked his followers a very inconspicuous open question: "How comfortable do you feel about the amount of nuisance and noise pollution in the name of religious festivities every year." This was not about Ganesh Chaturthi or Moharram in particular. This was as secular as it gets. At least to me. But then, we live in a country where questioning asshattery in the name of religion without offending anyone is not for the faint of heart. Into the valley of death did he valiantly ride. The very first comment to his post went something like this: "If I can handle the 5.00 AM assault to my ears in the name of morning aazaan everyday, I think I can also handle the once-in-a-year Ganapati inconvenience."  Self righteous, pompous 'Whatabouterartist'. Yes that's a word, I say it's a word. What about 'Whataboutery'? Haan.

Sunday, 4 September 2016

Saffron, lies and social media

We've all seen them - "Nehru died of syphillis, Indira flunked out of Oxford, Sonia the barmaid". Since we've flogged a dead horse blaming the British for our woes, attentions have now shifted to the Mughal era, a fresh villian, lots of juicy material. Images, videos 'articles' and tweets shared and reshared over Facebook, Whatsapp, Youtube and Twitter. Specifically engineered to the tastes of the Indian Middle class, these lies are designed to titillate, play to bias and foster hate in one fell swoop. The target audience, the disenchanted, conservative, conformist, underpaid Indian. Vikas looks at photos of Amreeka longingly, watches his neighbour pack his bags for the Holy Land and wishes it were him. 

Here is where Bharat's favourite Bhagwat steps in to convince the poor wounded fox that it is simply a case of khatte angoor. There is no better way to convince a man that something is good than to convince him something else is bad. The West is awful, they have no culture, they are immoral and by extension, we Indians are the bees knees. Behold, CULTURE (cue the temple bells). Great. Now to the next step. Give him a few villains. That's easy. Anyone not homogeneous. Anyone who has a better lot. Insert the slander, et voilà - Traitors! How dare they forsake our holy ways. How dare they think different. how dare they have! (how dare they drink or travel or enjoy sex).
It only serves to strengthen step one.  Done and done.

Then there is the other side of it, the positive lies. Images of digs from Ancient Egypt and Greece repurposed as lost cities from ancient India, images of train stations and airports from Europe passed off as Varanasi, an image of an Air India cabin and its crew doing the rounds as as a train under Modi's leadership,  the 'science' behind brushing your child's face with a cow's tail. It only gets more bizarre as you go on. Each lie designed to boost Vikas's previously shattered pride and sense of self. 

Step three. Disseminate the diatribe:
Well, praise be unto God! these days you can tell 1,000,000 foot soldiers what to think at the click of the button. Irony of using western gadgets, apps and Internet be damned, the sheep are too stupid to make that connection. Every retweet and share is a game of Chinese whispers, because Vikas must add his personal view and then Vinay will read that and comment and it snowballs from there. Frenzied nationalists who will go to any length to protect God and country (and cow). 

You'd think it wouldn't work, these lies are too stupid to work, too easy to refute. True and true, but you forget two things. 
1. If it's on the internet it must be true
2. Repeat a lie enough and it becomes true. 

It is a propaganda machine at it's finest. Goebbels couldn't have done a better job. (I'm pretty sure there's a shrine unto him somewhere in the belly of Nagpur). And that my friends, is how you destroy a legacy. 

Lately, with the canonization of Mother Teresa, the guns have been trained on her with renewed vigour. It is not the first time, and it will not be the last. She is one of their best targets to take potshots against the evil that is Christendom. Their best bet at furthering the 'Vatican agenda' narrative. So now you have the champions of all things saffron quoting Christopher Hitchens. You can't script better humour than that.

One might wonder why the saffron brigade is going after people who are long gone. Well, they hold a grudge. It was men like Nehru and Patel who saw them for what they truly were and had the foresight and wisdom clip their wings. Their dreams of a saffron nation shattered and their aspirations to power snuffed out. They fear women like Indira, who for all her sins, was the kind of women these chimpanzees dread, besides, the heretic married a non Hindu. FOR SHAME! Mother Teresa, well, you can't have the country appreciate something that isn't dipped in cow urine now can you? But these are stories for a different day. 

Disclaimer: We do not own any of the artwork used. 

Friday, 2 September 2016

Everything I Do, I Do It for You

This is wrong on so many levels, I don't  even know where to begin. And yet it's too tempting not to have a go. Before all else, how is it permissible to subject unsuspecting citizens to this monstrosity of a front page? Don't we all deserve to have a pleasant start to the day? Why such hideousness to ruin such an otherwise agreeable morning, a Friday no less? Modelling has always been the domain of those easier on the eyes. And yet, we, a country of over a billion, have managed to churn out this visual assault to represent us. Am I being obnoxious? I'm just getting started.

On a serious note, how is this even legal? Never mind, rhetorical question. Ethical? You must be high. But jeez, his desperation for attention still manages to gobsmack you despite its predictability. I mean how far could you go? Even a gas-station crack-whore is more discrete. She at least, leaves a little to the imagination.

Ever seen a sitting Prime Minister be this candid about his endorsement for a private business over its peers? Do we have a Reliance employee as a part-time Prime Minister? Or do we have a Prime Minister running part-time errands at Reliance? Either way, ethics are laughably out of context when it comes to Modi.

You don't have to be a Wharton grad to understand loss-leading and why it's illegal in a developed society. You might be unfamiliar with the term but you'll immediately recognize its common-sense wisdom. The term refers to a practice of offering products or services at a loss with the intent of killing the competition. Why is it unethical? Because nobody should be obliged to bear a loss in order to stay afloat against you. Maybe you have the reserves to take such a hit your competitor might not. It's no longer a level playing field. And it doesn't take a genius to figure out what Mr. Ambani is doing is exactly that. They have the reserves (what a coincidence gas and fuel just got costlier, no?) and they are using it to corner the market. This is exactly what they tried when they first entered the telecommunication industry with their "kar lo duniya mutthi mein" charade and got slammed for it by TRAI. This time around, they played smarter by conveniently calling the whole campaign a "test." Given how the country is orgasming over the offer like an orgy of middle-aged virgins, you and I both know this shit is anything but a "test."

So what do you do as a Prime Minister who, like all his predecessors, came to power on the promise of ethics and good governance? Easy, go prostitute yourself out for their cause! What can I say, the tug of the camera is not an easy one to resist! Besides, when the boss calls, the loyal lackey can hardly decline.

Problem is, everything has a loophole. If it doesn't, it simply isn't Indian. Loss leading? Sure it's illegal. But here we are. Prime Minister modelling for a private brand? Let's see what the Constitution – yeah, that stupid thing that's preventing our beloved Prime Minister from making India the lovely Hindu theocracy of his wet dreams – says. There's this thing called The Emblems And Names (Prevention Of Improper Use) Act of 1950. It says, and I quote, "...No person shall, except in such cases and under such conditions as may be prescribed by the Central Government use... for the purpose of any trade, business, calling or profession... any name or emblem specified in the Schedule or, any colourable imitation thereof without the previous permission of the Central Government or of such officer of Government as may be authorised in this behalf by the Central Government." This includes national leaders, especially the Prime Minister and the President. This is the Act that gave Mont Blanc a great deal of grief when they tried to use Mahatma Gandhi to sell their 3,000-dollar pens a few years ago.

But, you know, loopholes. You see that little part that says, "...the previous permission of the Central Government or of such officer of Government..."? Of course Reliance did nothing wrong here. They had the right permissions. And why not, when you have a lap dog  running the highest office in the country!

We are condemned to suffer many more obscenities like this over the next 3 years. So let's all learn to take the shame in our stride. We are, after all, Modi's India.

Wednesday, 8 June 2016

Sree Sree No Go Free Free

Sri Sri No Go Free Free

Earlier this year, close to sixty hectares of the Yamuna floodplains were cleared of a flourishing ecosystem in favour of the World Culture Festival. The event is not only a thumping success, but also gets an endorsement from none other than our honorable Prime Minister. At a time when putting an axe to a tree on your own property could land you in jail for no less than 3 months and cost you up to Rs. 10,000 in fines, a certain Mr Ravi Shankar proceeds to have thousands of them felled (read migratory birds rendered homeless or dead) for his three-day extravaganza. This Mr. Ravi Shankar of the Art of Living, the giggling godman we’re discussing here, just coughed up – very reluctantly – a Rs. 40 million fine for breaking the law after flat-out refusing any ownership until now.

How did we get here? Is there more than meets the eye? How do you get to uproot the environment on such a colossal scale in a country where an inconspicuous felling of a tree next to your house doesn’t go unnoticed? Let’s try to deconstruct this mess.

How Did He Even Get the Clearance?

At the heart of the story is the Delhi Development Authority (DDA), the governing body that green-lit the entire shindig. In Ravi Shankar’s defense, the event itself wasn’t illegal since a legitimate approval was already sought and secured beforehand. That means the buck stops at DDA, right? Well, if only. Some environmentalist was obviously not happy about the whole thing and decided to run it past the National Green Tribunal (NGT), the supreme governing body on all environment-related issues in the country – the green knights, if you will. Right off the bat, the NGT had the same question you and I have right now: How did DDA approve this event?

So they decided to have a little chat with folks from DDA and learned that the approval was granted because the event wouldn’t break any laws whatsoever. How come? Because the entire set was meant to be a 1. temporary structure, something existing laws don’t forbid. Besides, the permission was granted on a 2. twenty-odd hectare parcel which wouldn’t be a big enough impact on the overall ecological balance of the floodplains. And (last but not the least) 3. projected footfall. You see, people are bad for the environment. They mess with it, they destroy it, which is why the fewer, the better. That makes it imperative that an approving body entrusted with the environment take into account the number of people being expected to stampede the place in question. While seeking DDA’s nod, Mr. Ravi Shankar’s representative had assured a footfall of between three to four hundred thousand a day.

Fair enough, these look like reasonable parameters right? WRONG! When NGT had a team recon the venue, the site seemed a tad bigger than what it should be. Almost three times bigger! Now that’s not right, is it? Another anomaly NGT discovered was in the projected footfall. The submitted number seems a bit odd given all AoL advertisements have consistently boasted expecting at least ten times that in attendance. Now, I understand you cannot be too precise with data like that, especially when projecting, but a ten-fold difference between what you’re expecting and what you’re telling the authorities does sound a wee bit shady to us.

Another issue was around the verady to usy “temporary” nature of the event basis which the approval was secured from the DDA. The planned stage, touted to be the biggest of its kind in the world, would stand no less than a hundred feet high! NGT observed it would be impossible to erect a contraption of that size and scale without digging significantly deep and affecting the ground integrity of the area. So even if the structures would be “temporary” their impact on their surroundings wouldn’t.

The NGT had sufficient ground to move against Mr. Ravi Shankar’s little ‘soirée by the sacred stream’

Fait Accompli

Given the little game of Chinese whispers we just saw played between DDA and Ravi Shankar, it’s easy to see how the plot was missed. Again, as NGT discovered, that doesn’t sound like much of an excuse given DDA did once cancel the NOC they had issued to AoL. Why? Because they learned about the discrepancy on the footfall numbers well in time. That should sound like a good move finally. But alas, for no reason we can make any sense of, the NOC was granted again by the same DDA soon after. And if you’re wondering why, you’re not alone. NGT was too which is why they posed the question to DDA.

While the blame game played out between DDA, NGT, and AoL, something was already going down on the banks of the Yamuna and nobody noticed. The stage was being cleared for AoL’s anniversary bash (which is exactly what this event was all about) – down came the trees and up went the scaffoldings. Birds? Sorry folks, you may just do us all a favor and die. Thank you very much. Are you wondering why NGT didn’t step in to stop this destructive joyride of Ravi Shankar? The answer, in their own words, is fait accompli.

Fait accompli is a French expression that literally translates to ‘something that has already been done and cannot be reversed.’ Quite a handy little phrase, isn’t it? NGT observed that the preparations were already at too advanced a stage for any pause to have a positive impact on the environment. The damage had already been done. Irreversible damage. The best one could do now was clean up their act after the event and try, as far as possible, to restore the place to its previous state. That’s exactly what, in its infinite wisdom and prudence, NGT ordered Ravi Shankar to do. “Clean up after yourselves, do not make more of a mess, and leave the place as unharmed as possible. Oh, and also, pay a fine once you’re done. You didn’t think you were going to get off the hook with a mere reprimand, did you?” The fine amount was pegged at Rs. 50 million which was to be adjusted after a post-event final assessment of the actual damages to the region.

So the spectacle of Ravi Shankar’s vanity was back on track for everyone to bask in. And boy, was it a spectacle! Not sure if the sub-continent has ever seen a cultural gathering of that size ever before. People flocked from every corner of the world. In came the celebrities and the spotlights. From Narendra Modi to Arvind Kejriwal, the event saw political creatures of all shapes and sizes. Around 1,700 guys were enlisted for traffic management alone. That should give you an idea of the scale of this event. This was serious stuff.

At this point, given the fact that AoL did succeed in securing an NOC from DDA, it would be quite unfair if the latter were spared any consequences for their oversight. The NGT felt the same way which is why a fine of Rs. 500,000 was also imposed on DDA for not carrying out its statutory functions, i.e. carrying out pre or post approval site-inspections. How’s that for justice? Another Rs. 100,000 was also slapped on the Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC) for not having held the event organizers accountable for the proper management of solid and liquid waste before granting their nod.

The Ministries of Water Resources and of Environment and Forests were also pulled up at the court but let off with a slap on the wrist. The High Court agreed with NGT in that the event, despite being temporary in principle, would have a permanently damaging effect on the floodplains given its sheer scale and must have been treated as such. The court labeled Ravi Shankar’s theatrics an “ecological disaster.”

I’d Rather Go to Jail Than Pay the Fine

This is what Ravi Shankar had to say when the time for reckoning finally dawned upon him. The event took place as planned only because it was too late to reverse the damage now. But while greenlighting the whole thing, the NGT had imposed a fine on the organizers as punishment. This fine was initially pegged at an interim amount of Rs. 50 million. Later, however, it was corrected to a little over Rs. 40 million after post-event assessments were carried out.

This is the point where Ravi Shankar decides to turn the revolutionary and flat-out refuse to pay up. In his opinion, if anything, the event had left the Yamuna floodplains better off than before ecologically, experts on the subject be damned. Here’s a list of arguments his laughing lackeys have presented in his defense over time. This is where logic and integrity are sacrificed on the alter of maniacal fanaticism.

Argument #1: “The NGT should not have gotten involved since this was a temporary event and the Art of Living had secured all required permissions before moving ahead with the plans.”

That’s akin to saying your dad shouldn’t have punished you something for since your mum already gave you a free pass. And besides, as already stated above, the NGT already clarified to the court why this event could not be considered temporary de facto. How does being temporary matter if the rammifications of your actions are irreversibly permanent? As for the permissions having been secured beforehand, those permissions should stand null and void the moment it was proven that they had misrepresented their footfall numbers in the application process. Furthermore, the permissions were granted for only 20-odd hectares, not three times that area that you decided to encroach as if it always belonged to you.

Argument #2: “The NGT never imposed a fine; the 50 million being talked about is the amount that Ravi Shankar offered to pay the government as compensation to develop the neglected and polluted wasteland.”

Fines imposed by a court can hardly have any semantic ambiguity, definitely not on this scale. When a court imposes a fine on you, it’s a fine. Not charity, not a donation. It’s a straight-up penalty. And so far as “developing the wasteland” goes, a thriving ecosystem hardly counts as a wasteland, and uprooting it is not development. Even if it were (WHICH IT ISN’T), were you asked to? And besides, since your structure was temporary, wouldn’t said development also be temporary? As in, will be reversed when your little rave is over?

Argument #3: “The Yamuna floodplain has not been damaged as per experts, and awaiting elaborate testing, it actually seems to be in a much better condition than before The Art of Living took it upon itself to clean the area.”

What experts? The ones you hired to parrot out your rhetoric in your defense? Or the ones that were enlisted by the NGT under court supervision to do what they are supposed to do? You only cleaned up after yourselves because you were “asked to.” That was no charity. And speaking of cleaning up, not everything can be reversed – not the trees that were uprooted and the birds that were killed or rendered homeless. You can’t pollute a river and then “clean it up.” These damages are lasting. They are permanent.

Argument #4: “Many permanent structures have been allowed to be built on the Yamuna floodplain over the years, and neither activists nor NGT has protested or halted these constructions, making it all the more obvious that this whole issue was an attempt by certain groups to defame The Art of Living.”

This is a classic case of shifting the goalpost. How does someone else committing a crime legitimize yours? And besides, who cares about Art of Living enough to defame them? These guys, up till now (to those who vaguely knew of them) were a bunch of harmless eccentrics laughing their way through life. Most of the world lived (and continues to do so) in happy ignorance of their existence. To claim that there are motives to derail the laughter is ridiculous on so many levels.

Argument #5: “The fact that media even resorted to used cropped or outdated images in their reporting to intentionally paint a distorted picture of the event and The Art of Living also leaves one to wonder about the intentions and forces behind this style of reporting.”

Cropped or outdated images? Why is it that an image showing your destruction can be called doctored and ones showing a “clean” Yamuna can’t?

Moral of the Story

Finally reason prevailed and on June 6 this year, the godman succumbed to our country’s legal system, paying up the Rs. 47.5 million fine. Although his followers continue to trash the judgment, that hardly matters now. At the end of the day, justice prevailed and that’s a victory for not only us citizens but also for mother nature. Nobody, no matter how influential, should ever get to escape the consequences of their actions. Especially not when it comes to playing with a fragile biodiversity.

The moral of the story here is that while Ravi Shankar was mandated to clean up the festival site, the government has a much more crucial cleaning up of its own to do. This fiasco has brought to light a gaping hole in our system. The breakdown in communication between different governing bodies and public authorities is unacceptable. It is dangerous. The laxity with which approvals are granted without any thorough assessment or review is unacceptable. If we are to fight crime better, we have to be far more prudent than this. Had the DDA and DPCC been wise enough, this entire mess would have been avoided and Yamuna would have thanked us for having saved it from an irresponsible and reckless show of power.

Thursday, 26 May 2016

BharaTRASHtra – An Introduction

The Ugly Face of Communal Politics

“Ek bhay hoga unke andar. Hamara terror hoga unke upar, unke gundon par"
“Ek bhay hoga unke andar. Hamara terror hoga unke upar, unke gundon par"
In yet another shocking instance, a member of the Bharatiya Janta Party, has made a public statement, which not only explicitly targets an entire community, but is also violent in its nature. There can be no misunderstanding his words. We would like to take a minute to discuss the implications of this brazen act by Rampal Singh Pundhir who, as reports suggest, seems to have his eye on an assembly seat from Deoband.

To begin with, the Indian Penal Code is very clear on the issue of provocation of violence or communal disharmony by spoken or written word or other means. It is unacceptable that a member of the ruling party make public statements that flagrantly disregard the written law of the land, more so, since he is apparently contesting upcoming elections for public office. There should be ramifications. According to the law, this individual can be imprisoned or fined for this hate speech. But also, if the ‪BJP‬ wants to begin to regain its credibility as a national party that is not communal, they must, distance themselves from sinister elements like Pundhir and dismiss him from the party.

Secondly, the question begs to be asked, where is the public conscience? Are Indians communal by nature? The answer is no. India has always embraced diversity. Indians know how to live in harmony with each other. So, why are we allowing fringe elements like Pundhir to hijack our national debate. Indians must not sit in silence. We must collectively speak up. With all due respect to our Prime Minister Narendra Modi, we must point out that his silence can be construed as acquiescence. It was not too long ago that India collectively said "No" to the congress party and a good leader like Dr. Man Mohan Singh because of his silence on wrong doing within the Congress Party.

What is absolutely deplorable is the fact that Rampal Singh Pundhir, is trying to incite violence and disharmony in a place like Deoband. Deoband has reputation for peace. Which is noteworthy given its proximity to Muzaffarnagar. Why then, is Mr Pundhir trying to stir up trouble in a peaceful area? His aim is not to quell violence but to spark it. This cannot and must not be ignored. He is an enemy to Indian values, the Constitution and the very idea of India itself.

Monday, 23 May 2016

Do Degrees Matter?

No. They don't. They have simply become the accepted currency of formal education. They tell us where an individual went to school, what he studied, and for how long. It's shorthand for ascertaining what the individual (supposedly) knows and his calibre.

You go to school, then you go to university, it is convention. But does it define education? No, it does not. While conventional education certainly has its place, it is not the only means through which one can become learned or experienced.

So why do we care if Prime Minister Modi is a conventionally educated man or not?

The short version is we should not, we should judge the individual based on his track record, his capabilities and his output. Not only that, but he is not legally required to be a graduate to hold office so it's moot anyway.

However this is just one side of this conversation. The real issue here is not whether his educational background qualifies him or not. The real issue is whether the Prime Minister of India has lied under oath. He has stated on a sworn affidavit that he holds. Master of Arts.

Let us put our loyalties aside for a minute and understand the gravity of the situation. When you declare something on an affidavit, you are pledging under oath to the courts of this country that the facts you declare are true to the best of your knowledge. It is sacred. It must be respected and the sanctity of oath must be upheld.

If it is a question of lying under oath then we must understand that this Prime Minister has made a mockery of our legal system. He must be held accountable. He absolutely must. For this system to work, even the greatest among us must bow to the law. We must hold every citizen to the same standard and we MUST put an end to giving people a free pass, no matter how small the transgression. The degree or lack thereof is trivial, what is grave and unforgivable is if our Prime Minister knowingly swore to a falsehood and thereafter has committed acts of forgery in an attempt to cover the falsehood.

The trouble this writer is having is in placing any trust in the degrees that have been produced now and let me make my case. I would like nothing more than for my faith to be restored in the Indian politician. I would truly like to believe that we as a country are still capable of producing great leaders, leaders with integrity and an unwavering moral compass, capable of steering this nation in the right direction. However, with every passing day my hopes are diminishing when I review the facts before me.

To begin with, Mr Modi has repeatedly changed his own story when interviewed at different times in his career. At times he was a simple high school pass, at times he holds an MA. If you ever ask me my educational background, my story would not change, it would be consistent. As I am sure would be the case for you. An absolute truth does not change, not ever. The sun rises in the east, the earth is a sphere (well almost), I was born in 1985, my dining table is wood. These are absolute truths of varying degrees of import, my story with regards to them cannot change. It is only when you begin to tell shades of truth or lies that the version is subject to change depending on convenience. Mr. Modi has not been consistent with his story, not with his education and not with his marital status, and that, my dear reader, should give us pause.

Now let us come to the documents that have been provided. Each document itself is rife with discrepancies. From not being available to suddenly being available, to having a questionable roll number and listing subjects that did not exist in that faculty.

These are questions I would like answered. Because if Prime Minister Modi could unequivocally dispel the fog surrounding his newly furnished degrees it would serve to ease our minds at least that he has not perjured himself or committed forgery.

At this juncture we must forsake political loyalties and instead be loyal to India. This means that we hold our elected leaders to the highest standards of integrity. I ask my readers to introspect. Are we really doing that right now?