A lady, around 80 years, wheelchair bound, in an old-age home, with no one to take care of her in desperate medical emergencies – should the state ignore such cases – especially when they are tagged and tweeted multiple times about it – especially when they tweet and retweet multiple times a day – showing their social media alertness and connect to the world?

If that happens so – it tells how insensitive our political class has become – and in this case, it exactly came out like this!

And the ‘very aam aadmi-esque Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) or the claimed harbinger of change in Indian politics, the Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) are to share the blame here.

The grandma in question here is 80 year old Mrs. Phool Mehta, an old-age home resident from Delhi’s Mayur Vihar Phase 1. She lost her husband some years back and has no son or daughters or any other immediate family. She has no regular source of income apart from some savings, barely enough to sustain her life in the old-age home. She finds it hard to meet her routine medical needs, that are many, so managing finances for medical emergencies, that require huge sum, is out of question. Anyway, somehow, it has been managed so far somehow, like it is going to be this time.

She has multiple health issues. She is diabetic. She takes blood-pressure pills. She met an accident some years ago that has left her wheelchair bound. She has plates and rods in her thighs and hands, one of which she cannot use properly. She has ulcer and continuous internal bleeding leads to periodic Haemoglobin reduction. Her Hb at the moment is 5.2. Her both legs and left hand are swollen and it is spreading to other parts of the body. Yesterday, we took her to a nearby hospital but it refused to take her referring her to some higher centre for specialized care. They said her heart was enlarged, had oedema and they could not take the risk of blood transfusion in this case. We spoke to some Delhi government hospitals, including LBS and GB Pant but they, too, refused, saying they did not deal with such cases.

Doctors told us that the window of time that she had was very limited and so we very trying hard to get her hospitalized in some big hospital yesterday only but no headway was coming in. She was in imminent danger of a renal failure. Out of desperation, I tried to use social media to reach out to the Delhi government and Union Health Minister JP Nadda. Though I did not have much hopes, because I know politicians use social media selectively, going by the content that furthers their agenda, I did try. And I tried multiple times.

Delhi’s chief minister Arvind Kejriwal (@arvindkejriwal), Delhi’s Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia (@msisodia) and Union Health Minister JP Nadda (@jpnadda) were tagged in all ten tweets that I shot yesterday, hoping they or someone from their team would respond to at least one of them. I also tagged @pmoindia, @sushmaswaraj, @atishimarlena, @raghav_chadha and @drkumarvishwas. But all of them, who are quite active of Twitter, couldn’t find time to look even once at my tweets. A friend even tagged Delhi’s Health Minister Satyendar Jain (@satyendarjain).

In an ideal situation, based on the founding principles of these parties, or the values they claim to live and die for, they would rushed to help. But I had expected, the help did not come. It reminded me of another ‘social media savvy’ Union Minister who never responds to uncomfortable or critical tweets – Rail Minister Suresh Prabhu.

Here are those tweets that I shot for Mrs. Mehta, the tweets that could find an alert from anyone in the Delhi Government or the Central Government. I do not want to go into a running commentary on moral obligations and ethical behaviour of our politicians because the episode is self-explanatory.

@msisodia : a 80 yr old old-age home lady in desperate need of medical help in Mayur Vihar Ph 1. Can some1 help?
12:29 PM – 18 Feb 2017

@ArvindKejriwal @msisodia @JPNadda : a 80 yr old old-age home lady in desperate need of medical help in Mayur Vihar Ph 1. Can some1 help?
12:59 PM – 18 Feb 2017

@ArvindKejriwal @msisodia @JPNadda 80 yr old oldage hom lady in desprate need of medical help in Mayur Vihar Ph1. Can some1 help? 3rd tweet.
2:44 PM – 18 Feb 2017

@ArvindKejriwal @msisodia @JPNadda 80 yr old oldage hom lady in desprate need of medical help in Mayur Vihar Ph1. Can some1 help? 4th tweet.
3:27 PM – 18 Feb 2017

@PMOIndia @ArvindKejriwal @msisodia @JPNadda 80yr oldage hom grandma in desprate need of medical help in MY. Can some1 help? 6th tweet.
4:35 PM – 18 Feb 2017

@ArvindKejriwal @msisodia @JPNadda @SushmaSwaraj 80yr oldage hom grandma in desprate need of medical help in MY. Can some1 help? 7th tweet.
6:11 PM – 18 Feb 2017

@ArvindKejriwal @msisodia @JPNadda @DrKumarVishwas 80yr oldage hom grandma in desprate need f medical help in MY. Can some1 help? 8th tweet.
9:25 PM – 18 Feb 2017

@ArvindKejriwal @msisodia @JPNadda @AtishiMarlena 80yr oldage hom grandma in desprate need f medical help in MY. Can some1 help? 9th tweet.
9:49 PM – 18 Feb 2017

@ArvindKejriwal @msisodia @JPNadda @raghav_chadha 80yr oldage home grandma in desprate need f medical help in MY. Can some1 help? 10th tweet.
9:49 PM – 18 Feb 2017

So it was all for us to try – and we had no option here to fail.

Thankfully, I was also trying my alternate network – of social workers and volunteers. And it was finally this network that came to our rescue – with timely intervention and help from Sai Padma, Vaishnavi Jayakumar, Sailesh Mishra, Abha Khetarpal, Rajeshwar Devarakonda, Dr. AB Dey of AIIMS and many others. With the coordinated help of these dots, the guiding lights here, from different parts of India, Mrs. Mehta was finally admitted to the Geriatric Ward of AIIMS this afternoon.

The doctors have put her on Oxygen. They will treat her for oedema next and then will go for her blood transfusion, some three units minimum that she needs to come to a sustainable level of Hb in her blood. Then she needs some time to stabilize. Hope all will go well now.













Think about it passionately
Life is in this moment
Beckoning you from restless altars
Sing along with it
Why can’t you write a new piece?
Go by your inner call
This crap was never meant for you
Okay, what was there has flown
Now is the time
Think about it
Write your mind, write your moments
Speak your life, jive with your soul
Let your senses prevail
Let your call be heard
Go by what you are for
Think passionately, act joyfully
Life’s romance was always here
In this moment only
Get along with it
It was always there, waiting for you



The article originally appeared on India Today.
Here it is bit modified.

Though describing the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) as the ‘bedrock of the US’s defense policy’, US Defense Secretary James Mattis had some tough words for his allies in the world’s most powerful military alliance.

James Mattis is on his first Europe visit after becoming the US Defence Secretary. Mattis was speaking during a meeting at the NATO headquarters in Brussels yesterday when he sent this stern message to other members of the grouping that include 28 countries including Germany, France, Canada, Italy, Norway, Spain and the UK.

According to Washington Post, Mattis said, “I owe it to you all to give you clarity on the political reality in the United States and to state the fair demand from my country’s people in concrete terms. America will meet its responsibilities, but if your nations do not want to see America moderate its commitment to the alliance, each of your capitals needs to show its support for our common defense.”

Mattis is following what his boss has always said that the US would no longer be the big daddy if other member countries don’t fulfil the financial obligations expected from them. While speaking at the US Central Command headquarters on February 6, Trump had reiterated his line from the campaign days, giving clear indications that it indeed was going to be the US policy on NATO. He assured the continued US role in NATO affairs but added the rider that other countries must scale up their spending and share the burden first. Trump has said that the US may not rush to defend the Baltic countries in case of a Russian attack if they don’t meet the financial obligations.

Mattis, a former US Marine Corps General and former NATO Supreme Allied Commander of Transformation, who has been picked by Donald Trump to head the US defense establishment, put before the NATO leaders the US demand in unequivocal terms.

And Trump’s demand is not part of any rhetoric here. NATO expects its member countries to spend 2% of their GDPs on defense but only five of 28 member countries meet this basic criteria, a CNN report says.

Trump feels that NATO has many problems and foremost of them is that it has become obsolete. During his London visit last month, before his inaugural on January 20, Trump had said in an interview that NATO had become obsolete because it was designed a long time ago and it was being unfair to the US as most other countries were not paying what they were supposed to pay.

Taking a cue from Trump’s demands, especially after his victory in the US presidential polls on November 8, 2016, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg had made a strong pitch for increased defense expenditure by the member countries while delivering keynote address at the NATO-Industry Forum on November 9, 2016. Since then he has been on it. A CNBC report published yesterday quotes him, “In my two phone calls with President Trump defense spending has been a main topic and he has strongly expressed his strong commitment to NATO, to the transatlantic bond but at the same time President Trump has in both the phone calls also underlined the importance of a fairer burden sharing. And I agree with him.”

Bulk of the NATO spending comes from the US and NATO admits that it is over-reliant on the US, another CNN report says. There has always been a gap between the US and other countries’ contribution owing to the huge US defense budget, that stood at $650 billion last year. It widened significantly after the 2001 terror attacks on the US. But Donald Trump wants to end that. No more largesse. Instead, he wants every member country to shoulder the financial burden in a revamped NATO with no appendages from past. The CNN report says that the combined GDP of other 27 NATO members is more than the US GDP, still the US defense spending is more than double of them.

So, the message is loud and clear. NATO will remain the bedrock of the US and the transatlantic community’s defense strategy if it mends its ways. Otherwise, Trump has already declared it obsolete.



US President Donald Trump has hit back on reports of his alleged Russia connection after the New York Times published an investigative report yesterday that claimed that Trump’s associates including his campaign officials were in constant touch with the Russian intelligence officials, something that the Trump team denies vehemently. In a series of Tweets, Trump has lashed out at his usual suspects, fake news media, Hillary Clinton and the US intelligence community, while praising those who sound plausible to his ears.

The fake news media is going crazy with their conspiracy theories and blind hatred. @MSNBC & @CNN are unwatchable. @foxandfriends is great!
5:10 PM – 15 Feb 2017

This Russian connection non-sense is merely an attempt to cover-up the many mistakes made in Hillary Clinton’s losing campaign.
5:38 PM – 15 Feb 2017

Information is being illegally given to the failing @nytimes & @washingtonpost by the intelligence community (NSA and FBI?).Just like Russia
5:49 PM – 15 Feb 2017

Thank you to Eli Lake of The Bloomberg View – “The NSA & FBI…should not interfere in our politics…and is” Very serious situation for USA
5:58 PM – 15 Feb 2017

Crimea was TAKEN by Russia during the Obama Administration. Was Obama too soft on Russia?
6:12 PM – 15 Feb 2017

Everything that puts him in a negative hue is utter non-sense, a part of conspiracy theories to promote blind hatred. The real issue, according to Trump, is how the ‘classified information’ is being revealed by the intelligence community, that he terms illegal.

The real scandal here is that classified information is illegally given out by “intelligence” like candy. Very un-American!
6:43 PM – 15 Feb 2017

Donald Trump’s former campaign manager Paul Manafort, who worked for pro Russian leaders in Ukraine, too has termed the Times report as absurd. Russia, too, as expected has denied the claims made in the Times report.

The Times report is based on versions for former and serving US officials and refutes the Trump team claims that there were no direct contact between the Donald Trump camp and the Russian intelligence officials. The American intelligence has submitted reports that Russian indeed tried to help the Donald Trump campaign in the US Presidential polls but no one was named and no evidence of Trump’s complicity was found.

Ever since the report got out, it has created a furore. Brian Fallon, press secretary of Hillary Clinton’s campaign, has termed it a ‘colossal scandal’. Her campaign manager Robby Mook has tweeted to ask ‘why the FBI sent a letter about Clinton but not about this?’ Renowned CBS news anchor Dan Rather has gone a step ahead and said that Trump’s Russian connection may be a bigger scandal than Richard Nixon’s Watergate Scandal.



It seems, after successful ICBM and other military hardware test launches, it’s now India’s economic progress that has left the Chinese power elite uncomfortable. After targeting the Indian government’s demonetization move, equating it with terms like ‘gamble with money’ and ‘failure’, it is now about Indian stand on the global credit rating agencies.

While presenting India’s annual Economic Survey on January 31, the Chief Economic Adviser (CEC) Arvind Subramanian had slammed the rating agencies. A PTI report quotes him, “How did the rating agencies behave? They despite all these risky developments they did not downgrade China and our rating was maintained six notches below China. This is a reflection on how these institutions work. You should question them.”

Global Times, China’s official mouthpieces, now has responded to it. An opinion piece by a senior economist writes in Global Times that ‘it is noticeable that S&P has not adjusted India’s rating since 2011, Fitch hasn’t done so since 2006 and Moody’s hasn’t changed since 2004. With its rating left at such a low level for over 10 years, India’s dissatisfaction and jealousy toward China seems understandable’.

Mark the words ‘dissatisfaction and jealousy toward China’ here. They tell the prevailing Chinese mindset. This opinion piece written by an economist has economic jargons and technical details to prove its point that ‘instead of being obsessed with the sovereign credit ratings themselves, India should take a more macro view so as to fundamentally find out the underlying problems and solve them’. Indian economists, too, have successfully used economic parameters and jargons to explain the bias of the rating agencies.

While presenting India’s annual Economic Survey, CEC Subramanian, had come down heavily on the credit rating agencies, accusing them of having a China bias. Questioning rating agencies’ ‘poor methods and inconsistent standards’, Subramanian had said that the sovereign rating agencies had consistently ignored India’s economic reform measures like GST, Aadhaar integration, monetary policy framework agreement and eased FDI regime, coupled with its commendable fiscal discipline and strong growth trajectory.

Subramanian had further said that the rating agencies failed to see that India’s economy was growing at a faster pace while China’s was slowing down, from an average of 10 percent to 6.5 percent now. China’s sovereign ratings, fixed years ago, remained same even if its economy came down. The rating agencies have done the same with India. The contention is the approach here. S&P raised China to AA from A+ in 2010 and it is still at the same level in spite of clear growth pangs in the Chinese economy. It scaled down India from BBB+ to BBB- in 2012 and remains stuck there despite clear signs of growth in the Indian economy that has made it the world’s fastest growing economy.

So, it is not about jealousy and dissatisfaction. It’s about a dignified, rightful treatment.

Unlike other emerging economies, India has an unique position. While others are struggling, fundamentals of India’s economy remain sound. And it is too big to fail or to be taken lightly. India is the world’s third largest economy in terms of purchasing power parity and the only bright spot, by all assessments, to drive the world’s growth in coming years, especially after China is slowing down. So there has to be this inevitable comparison. When it was so in heydays of the Chinese economy, then why not the same yardstick for India. India or Indian media didn’t rush to ridicule or mock or criticise China when the whole world was looking at its miraculous growth.

India’s economic adviser gave expression to some valid concerns, slamming the credit rating agencies with his ‘come back to assess us after half a century’ jibe. India has been raising questions on the rating mechanisms used by the credit rating agencies for quite some time. After Subramanian’s dig at S&P, in another move, questioning the criteria used by the rating agencies, Indian government has now asked Fitch to explain its rating methodology.



The article appeared on DailyO.

Here it is bit modified.

Alexei Navalny, who has emerged as Russian President Vladimir Putin’s most formidable political foe, has challenged Vladimir Putin again, in spite of the Putin’s ruthless drive to crush political dissent in the country. In an interview published in the Financial Times, Navalny has said that he is determined to contest in the Russian presidential polls due early next year, in spite of being convicted in a fraud case.

Navalny dared Putin after a court in Russia on February 9 revived an old sentence convicting him for embezzlement. The court, though sentenced him with a suspended prison term of five years, dealt a legal blow to his chances for running for the president as Russian law doesn’t allow a person convicted under criminal charges to run for any elected office. The court verdict was seen as a motivated step taken under the Kremlin pressure to remove the only credible name from the Russian Presidential race who could challenge Putin, and as expected, was widely panned by the international community.

Alexei Navalny is probably the most widely known Russian politician globally after Vladimir Putin. He has established himself as the rival pole of the Russian politics in an atmosphere where political dissent is not allowed and the existing political and electoral systems are there only to act as dummies.

Navalny has denied all the charges and even the European Court of Human Rights had found the earlier trial in the case unfair. Navalny plans to build pressure that can force the Kremlin to allow him for the Russian presidential polls. The Financial Times report says quoting him, “We will try to grow support in society until the Kremlin understands that it is necessary to admit me to the elections and the consequences of not admitting me will be even worse.”

It is a strategy that Navalny had adopted during the Moscow mayoral polls in July 2013. Then a guilty conviction for embezzlement had banned him from the mayoral polls. By then, Navalny had emerged as the foremost anti-Putin voice in Russia with an image of a political reformer and anti-corruption crusader and millions were hooked to his blog posts. He led the Russian protests in the aftermath of the Arab Spring mobilizing masses for ‘Russia without Putin’ protest rallies. Protests were organized in many parts of Russia against the continued rule of Putin in the country since 1999 but Putin effectively crushed every dissent after his won the Kremlin again in March 2012.

After protests in Navalny’s support, the court allowed him to run for the polls pending his appeal. It was then seen as done under the Kremlin’s pressure to gauge the public’s mood. Though Putin’s man won the polls, Navalny got over 27% votes. In Russia’s electoral history of rigged polls, it was a jolt for Putin as Navalny had no access to media outlets and he had no funding.

Navalny once again wants to mobilize the public sentiment to build pressure on the Kremlin to the extent that it forces Putin to allow him to run in the presidential polls, even if in the name of giving the electoral process some legitimacy. Navalny is going to open his offices in all big Russian cities within some months. He already has thousands of volunteers to work for his campaign and he is expecting a mass-level mobilization soon and its subsequent repercussion, “By the time we open our 10th campaign office, the level of pushback [from the authorities] will become clear,” he says as the Financial Times report.

But what happened with the Moscow mayoral polls in 2013 will make Putin and the Kremlin to take a tough approach on Navalny’s demands. It was a small bet then. Putin would not like to take that risk when it comes his Presidential bid that would give him Russia again for another six years, completing a silver jubilee for his unbridled rule, from 1999 to 2024.



The ‘Kim Nation’ under the efficient leadership of the third Kim, Kim Jong-un, extending the legacies of his grandfather, Kim Il-sung and father, Kim Jong-il, has fired another shot at its arch-enemy, the United States of America, with the successful test of ‘a cutting edge’ missile, details of which are not out yet. (Okay, this was the scene also in February 2015 when North Korea had conducted a missile test, though that an ‘intelligent, cutting-edge missile.)

On February 8 that year, the elite nation of the elite ‘Rogue League’ of the selected world nations, test fired an ‘ultra-precision’ anti-ship missile of highest technological sophistication (as it claimed). As was said, the third Kim was personally monitoring the exercise, timed before the annual joint military exercise of South Korea and the US, and commended his team for the ‘zero error’ technological expertise, and thus for sending a befitting warning to his rivals.

Then, it was a clear cut warning signal to the world under the leadership of the world’s most powerful person, Barack Obama, the US President since 2009, who had become an eyesore for the dear plump leader.

Now, it is to give a message, again to the most powerful person on the Earth, again the US President, but a different one, Barack Obama’s successor, who doesn’t believe in playing the world’s leader’s role. (Irrespective of the fact that his credentials to prove is leadership role back home look thrown in some perpetual crisis, thanks to his life and lifestyle.) Anyway volumes have been written on him and much more is to come.

As expected (as happens every time), the Sunday morning test launch by the ‘elite rogue’ is already a global headline, pushing the international media including the US into an overdrive, aimed at undermining the North Korean achievement by spinning stories on ‘design, effectiveness and technical details’ of the missile.

Weeks after the February 2015 test (and every time), reports and analyses kept outpouring. It always extends celebrations of these so-called supreme achievement in the hermit kingdom. The North Korean elite believe any sustained negative international media coverage is acceptance of their country’s increasing might. At the same time, the North Koreans also find the hollow rhetoric of the frustrated global forces including the US a good source of funny points to laugh over.

Hitting on the jack provided by this yet another lethal addition in the North Korean arsenal, the official North Korean media had then, in the February 2015, declared that Barack Obama was feeling so low with the beaming images of Kim Jong-un that he tried to hide his irritation by indulging in a senseless and gaudy ‘selfie act’.

KCNA, the North Korean state media had reported, “Though the partisan US and international media are publicizing the exercise as a promotional event for Obamacare, a health programme, the always credible North Korean intelligence sources say it was a diversion prescribed by Obama’s psychiatrist seeing his heightened level of frustration over the latest North Korean achievement. Now, as the US has no might to take on the supreme forces of North Korea militarily, its leaders are indulging in propaganda acts like this, where they vent their frustration by making gestures as if they are targeting out Supreme Leader, the Commander of the all powerful North Korean forces. Pity them.”

Obama’s successor, who sounds like arch-enemy and has vowed to undo everything ‘Obama-esque’, especially the Obamacare, has reacted on this North Korean act (or bravado, as the sense goes), in his trademark business sense, saying he is 100% behind Japan (South Korea, too, would be expecting some reassuring words). But there is no harsh rhetoric yet. The White House, like it likes to say, has said that it is aware of the missile test and is closely monitoring the situation.

It is being widely analysed and reported that it was a North Korean warning for Donald Trump and also an exercise to gauge how the next White House administration to be when it comes to dealing with the elite of the ‘Rogue League’. Let’s see how it plays out – like a ‘jack’ or a ‘hack’.








‘What is fake, what is genuine’ can be matter of rhetoric, deception, subjectivity or logic based on which side of the fulcrum you are.

When it comes to politics, it is mostly about rhetoric, deception and subjectivity – all impregnated in different hues of relativities.

And when it comes to a politician like Donald Trump, the 45th President of the United States of America, that also makes him the most powerful person on the Earth, it is always about extreme proportions of relativistic interpretations.

So, even if all the rational thinking souls, including some of the US judges (in fact all so far) think that the Trump administration’s a bad idea that would make the people of the US look fools before the world, Trump thinks otherwise.

And continuing his ‘otherwise’ stand, he is busy blasting the US Judiciary these days on his most preferred platform, Twitter.

While a crucial hearing on his travel ban was due in Virginia today, he, again, grandiosely, proclaimed that he would meet other in the court ‘to save his nation from some imminent threat’.

Donald J. Trump ‏@realDonaldTrump

Now it is ironical that the court, where he is looking for his saviour, is also the institution he so despises that he terms the whole US Judicial System as of ‘third-world countries’ and ‘rigged’.

But like it happens, apart from his dwindling support base, that has made him the US President to begin his term with historically low approval ratings, no one is buying his words, and that happened in the Virginia hearing as well.

According to media reports, the Virginia judge has ‘blasted Trump travel ban citing lack of evidence of any threats’, as a USA Today piece puts it. A Washington Post report, quoting the Virginia District Judge Leonie M. Brinkema, says that “the courts have been begging Trump to provide some evidence, and none has been forthcoming.”

“The presidential order, she said, “has all kinds of defects” and “clearly is overreaching” when it comes to long-term residents of the United States”, the Post report says. In fact, alluding to the freedom of religion, the judge goes on to question the motivation behind this ‘immigration ban’ decision saying that “there is some strong, colorful evidence that the motivations for this order may bump into the establishment clause of the First Amendment”, the report says. The First Amendment of the US Constitution guarantees the ‘Freedom of Religion’.

Trump’s travel ban order has seen some very tough, hostile reactions but this one, and that too from a federal judge, is the most stinging so far.

Trump has not tweeted (so far) on it. Let’s see how he reacts (or what he tweets)!