THE DAYBREAK AT THE DASHASHWAMEDH GHAT: THE DAYSPRING LEADS TO THE GANGA (1)

A MORNING WITH THE GANGA GETS YOUNGER (6)

PHOTOGRAPHY

A series of sequential photographs of a Morning with the Ganga, travelling from the last phase of a night at the daybreak to the spring of the morning as it gets younger..

A Morning with the Ganga Gets Younger-11

THE DAYBREAK AT THE DASHASHWAMEDH GHAT – THE DAYSPRING LEADS TO THE GANGA

Varanasi is because the Ganga is.

The Ganga ghats in Varanasi are the lively ecosystems of human living where life is always in motion, full of vibrant shades defining the every moment of day in its inhabitant’s lives.

A morning with the Ganga is the quality time worth living every day and a memory worth revisiting every day.

Sharing the moments of a morning with the Mother River when a day steps from the slowing rhythm of the night to the energized urge of the daybreak to evolve into a fully blossomed morning – soft, caring and motivating – is an experience of the lifetime.

It is a story that can be told and retold every day. It is a story that remains forever young, with Mother Ganga, with the Ganga ghats, with its mysticism, with its spirituality, with its flow of being Banarasi, with people from every walk of life and with people who are an inseparable part of this ecosystem.

And it is equally riveting to capture the moments.

Come, and be enchanted.

Get interactive with Banaras Calling’s Facebook extension at:
http://www.facebook.com/BanarasCalling
Email at: interact@banarascalling.com

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/

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FROM THE GHAT-STEPS TO THE GHAT: THE DAYSPRING LEADS TO THE GANGA (2)

A MORNING WITH THE GANGA GETS YOUNGER (5)

PHOTOGRAPHY

A series of sequential photographs of a Morning with the Ganga, travelling from the last phase of a night at the daybreak to the spring of the morning as it gets younger..

A Morning with the Ganga Gets Younger-9

A Morning with the Ganga Gets Younger-10FROM THE GHAT-STEPS TO THE GHAT: THE DAYSPRING LEADS TO THE GANGA

Varanasi is because the Ganga is.

The Ganga ghats in Varanasi are the lively ecosystems of human living where life is always in motion, full of vibrant shades defining the every moment of day in its inhabitant’s lives.

A morning with the Ganga is the quality time worth living every day and a memory worth revisiting every day.

Sharing the moments of a morning with the Mother River when a day steps from the slowing rhythm of the night to the energized urge of the daybreak to evolve into a fully blossomed morning – soft, caring and motivating – is an experience of the lifetime.

It is a story that can be told and retold every day. It is a story that remains forever young, with Mother Ganga, with the Ganga ghats, with its mysticism, with its spirituality, with its flow of being Banarasi, with people from every walk of life and with people who are an inseparable part of this ecosystem.

And it is equally riveting to capture the moments.

Come, and be enchanted.

Get interactive with Banaras Calling’s Facebook extension at:
http://www.facebook.com/BanarasCalling
Email at: interact@banarascalling.com

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/

LOK SABHA POLLS: VARANASI ELEMENTS EXPECTED TO BE IN FOCUS

GENERAL ELECTIONS 2014

The day Narendra Modi declared to contest from Varanasi, the constituency became the most prestigious Lok Sabha seat in the country and so came to be the most important constituency for the political analysts and the media.

Now, regularly till May 16, when the results of the General Elections 2014 are announced, and intermittently after that, every possible aspect of Varanasi that can hit the viewers’ sentiments to score weightage and rating points, would be skimmed again and again, from every possible angle, to keep the storyboards and frames populated.

So, what are the elements going to attract (and attracting) the maximum attention?

— Varanasi as religious and spiritual capital of India and Hinduism

— Importance of the Varanasi parliamentary constituency for Eastern UP and adjoining areas of Bihar

— Being the religious capital of Hinduism and Narendra Modi being the most polarising figure for the Hindu votes, if Varanasi can help to mobilize the Hindu votes spread across a larger geographical area in favour of the BJP

— If Varanasi can help the BJP enhance its LS polls tally decisively

— Hindu-Muslim equation of Varanasi

— Hindu castes, their affiliations, inclinations and segregations

— Riots and aftermath – riots from 1989 to 1992 – before and after the Babri Mosque demolition

— Muslim localities, Muslim voters, their reactions on Narendra Modi, Arvind Kejriwal and other candidates

— How Varanasi has been a BJP seat in Lok Sabha polls since 1991 with an aberration in 2004 when Rajesh Mishra, former BHU student union president, won on a Congress ticket

— If Varanasi is not a safe seat for the BJP as Murli Manohar Joshi won by just over 17,000 votes in 2009

— The M-M factor – if Mukhtar Ansari fights and the Muslim vote polarisation – like Narendra Modi, Mukhtar, the don-turned-politician is also a criminal figure with cases lodged against him for acting to inflame religious sentiments during moments of crisis

— If Arvind Kejriwal can sequeeze out the Muslim votes (that seems a distant possibility if Mukhar decides to contest)

— Varanasi being the city nurtured by Kashi Vishwanath and the Ganga

— The Gyanvapi history and the Kashi Vishwanath Temple – and the BJP-RSS agenda in the past

— Banaras Hindu University

— Civic infrastructure of Varanasi

— Cultural heritage of Varanasi – Ganga Ghats, temples of the city, Sarnath, historical legacy of its places, its narrow lanes, Banarasi Saree, Paan, Banarasi sweets

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/

AFTER CRIMEA HAS FALLEN..

After Crimea has fallen: why Crimea and what next for Putin? – One of the most discussed issues of the global geopolitics these days – haunting the world leaders led by Barack Obama – and the analysts and experts!

While President Obama insisted again on Tuesday that the West would not recognize the annexation of Crimea, officials in the United States and Europe have privately concluded that Crimea is lost and that the real challenge is stopping Russia from further destabilizing Ukraine. – The New York Time, March 25, 2014

The global news media is full of such reports and analyses on the issue.

And every one realises the futility of the global response in the matter with ineffective steps like ‘kicking’ Russia out of the G8.

There has not been consensus on what should be the course of action. A military action was talked just in coded words, an option that never existed.

The most talked about option is (and was) placing economic sanctions given the Russia’s dependence on oil exports. But even here, the EU is (and was) not in favour of putting curbs on Russia’s oil exports as it depends largely on it for its energy needs.

Any economic sanction on Russia minus the measures to control the Russian energy flow out of its territories to Europe and Asia would be a damp squib. And exactly that happened.

And political and social sanctions have never deterred dictators history has shown us. They, instead, enjoy this isolation of the masses, something that enhances the efficiency of their propaganda machinery manifold.

Why Putinism can feel emboldened to spread beyond its Crimean coup has a valid rationale in the way the global community including its lone superpower and other major powers let Mr. Vladimir Putin annex Crimea. This bloodless coup is the perfect example of how spineless the global response can be as we have increasingly seen in recent days – be it in Syria or Bahrain or now in Crimea.

Vladimir Putin was already the ironman of Russia keeping the Russian voice firmly under his grip. Now, that he has virtually decimated every opposition in Russia after his latest stint as the Russian President that began in May 2012, extending his 12 years rule for another 6 years, he is looking for more, it seems.

Since the Year 2000 – it has been so, for the Russians ever since the world’s largest nation (geographically) came to know the President Putin and ever since 2008 when the Russians came to know that Mr. Putin planned to stay perpetually at the top of Russian politics and Russians’ lives.

After effectively routing the justified voices of dissent inside Russia, Putin emerged stronger and the dictator in him might have thought of raising its already fully expanded hood – going beyond Russia, in the name of the Russian pride (with USSR undercurrents) – after all, ultra-nationalism has been a proven tool of dictators to co-opt and buy out the dissenting voices back home.

Yes, there was opposition but he has effectively silenced them. Now he would be looking to consolidate it even further.

Russia saw some huge mass mobilizations against the latest bid of Presidency by Putin that he quelled using a mix of forces that left a deep undercurrent against him in the Russians’ psyche who were aspiring for change. Now, Crimea has given him the chance to win over even this. And he looks getting an upper edge here.

The Crimea trophy has increased his popularity like any thing making the life of his opponents, who still dare to take on him calling for political reforms and steps to introduce true democracies, very, very miserable.

The imperialist act of Putin in Crimea in the name of Russian nationalism has taken his popularity rating to over 70 percent, highest since he returned as the President in 2012.

Though we cannot say that the imperialist in Vladimir Putin is on the verge of getting maniacal, his twisted mind may be working on something like that, as the reports of his further interest in Ukraine say.

Russia, under Putin, has been adopting anti-global community view in cases of dictators. Its latest burning example is Syria. In the name of diplomacy and talks, he helped Bashar al-Assad continue with his repressive regime.

And like a seasoning dictator in the age of global economy, where Russia’s internal prosperity depends much on its oil and gas exports, the Putinims is getting more and more convoluted. He chose to expel his arch rival in the name of amnesty by releasing him from prison, a well thought propaganda exercise to show his ‘good human being’ side to world before the Sochi Winter Olympics. Otherwise the power Putin enjoys could have got Mikhail Khodorkovsky easily disappeared.

And this convoluted Putin is dangerous for humanity. He may be friendly for many countries including India, militarily and economically, but a dictator is always a mercenary for the humanity.

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/

ARVIND KEJRIWAL IN VARANASI: WORN-OUT NEWS, ISN’T IT? SO, WHAT’S NEW CROPPING UP?

GENERAL ELECTIONS 2014

Arvind Kejriwal is in Varanasi – worn-out news, isn’t it?

Let’s see what other interesting stuff he succeeds in creating to remain in news during his days of campaigning in the city the spirit, the flow of which is entirely different from the type of politics Kejriwal has been doing since December 8, 2013 when his Aam Aadmi Party delivered an unexpected performance in the Delhi assembly polls.

Arvind Kejriwal began his initiation in the Temple Town with its temples, a move that every worn-out class of politician (Kejriwal is fighting against, to cleanse the System free of them) aspiring to eke out a political career from Varanasi does.

He took a dip in the Ganga. He visited the temples of Kashi Vishwanath and Kaal Bhairav to have blessings. So, he tried to address the Hindu sentiments in the religious capital of Hinduism.

Now, the secularist in him needed to visit a Muslim religious place to balance the score as Muslims account for almost 17 percent of the vote share. But he fell short of planning here. He didn’t do it. (It tells he is not a fully worn-out politician yet).

The electoral Karma of Kejriwal then took him to the Benia Bagh Park. Benia Bagh is a congested Muslim locality with its narrow stretch of main road in a perpetual traffic jam mode. Even the passing traffic looks like a rally as one of my batch-mates from BHU said.

Being a Muslim locality, a congested narrow stretch of road and a small park should have made the park ideal choice for Kejriwal who would be banking on the Muslim votes to challenge Narendra Modi from the city to start his show.

Kejriwal led a road show to the park to gather the required crowd for the voice vote referendum on his candidature from Varanasi.

The road show on the narrow stretch of road from Lahurabir to Benia Bagh had more policemen than the public as the participants. And like the typical trademark Kejriwal events, eggs and ink were thrown on Kejriwal and his cavalcade (no other politician attracts perpetrators of these acts this much!).

It seems the failure to visit a Muslim religious place hit Kejriwal’s plan. His supporters had claimed to have a crowd of one lakh. The permission taken was for 20,000. The crowd in the park was sparse and remained thin till end when he formally announced to contest from Varanasi.

There are contradicting claims on the strength of the crowd but the consensus reads it about 6,000-8,000. But even if it was 25,000-30,000, that also was nowhere near to the claims. It was when much of the crowd was imported as reported.

The effect of all this was visible.

Kejriwal’s words and body language, at the end of his first day in Varanasi, said he had already conceded defeat – on his very first day in Varanasi – the thin crowd even in a Muslim locality – it’s written on the wall for him!! No tweets on the grand success of his rally last evening, was most unlikely of him.

But how can he accept it. That would kill the spirit of his party at a time when the election campaigning is entering its most decisive phase. He had to charge it up again to remain vocal, to claim many more claims.

To remain in news – yes, so after a dull first day – on the 2nd day of his stay there, a stay that should be more like a sojourn or a spiritual and religious stopover, for his itinerary so far, he came with his brilliant assessment yesterday, much like his voice vote referendum in the partially filled Benia Bagh park on his first day when he said Narendra Modi was losing in Varanasi and the BJP’s prime-ministerial candidate should concentrate on Vadodara, his second seat.

And so, we had his tweets yesterday, questioning and claiming, unlike his first evening in Varanasi.

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/

FROM THE GHAT-STEPS TO THE GHAT: THE DAYSPRING LEADS TO THE GANGA (1)

A MORNING WITH THE GANGA GETS YOUNGER (4)

PHOTOGRAPHY

A series of sequential photographs of a Morning with the Ganga, travelling from the last phase of a night at the daybreak to the spring of the morning as it gets younger..

A Morning with the Ganga Gets Younger-7

A Morning with the Ganga Gets Younger-8

FROM THE GHAT-STEPS TO THE GHAT: THE DAYSPRING LEADS TO THE GANGA

Varanasi is because the Ganga is.

The Ganga ghats in Varanasi are the lively ecosystems of human living where life is always in motion, full of vibrant shades defining the every moment of day in its inhabitant’s lives.

A morning with the Ganga is the quality time worth living every day and a memory worth revisiting every day.

Sharing the moments of a morning with the Mother River when a day steps from the slowing rhythm of the night to the energized urge of the daybreak to evolve into a fully blossomed morning – soft, caring and motivating – is an experience of the lifetime.

It is a story that can be told and retold every day. It is a story that remains forever young, with Mother Ganga, with the Ganga ghats, with its mysticism, with its spirituality, with its flow of being Banarasi, with people from every walk of life and with people who are an inseparable part of this ecosystem.

And it is equally riveting to capture the moments.

Come, and be enchanted.

Get interactive with Banaras Calling’s Facebook extension at:
http://www.facebook.com/BanarasCalling
Email at: interact@banarascalling.com

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/

BJP AND NARENDRA MODI ARE CIRCUMSTANTIAL CHOICES ONLY

GENERAL ELECTIONS 2014

Narendra Modi as the prime minister of the country and the BJP forming the next government are, at best, the choices forced by the political circumstances in the country.

Yes, they are not the ideal alternatives an informed Indian voter would like to look up to when he has a really different and worthy option to exercise his electoral rights. But that is not the case. Arvind Kejriwal and the Aam Aadmi Party did raise some hopes but they look more as aberrations now.

BJP, Congress, SP, BSP, DMK, AIADMK, BJD, NCP, TDP, JDU and every other national and regional party is riddled with the common pseudo-democratic practices parasitic on the Indian democracy. Every political party has willingly contributed to the increasing political criminalization and a chronic political corruption.

But being a country run by a Constitution led governing apparatus involving elections to elect the governments at regular intervals, the voters do not have any other option but to vote to elect someone to run the country.

And this need to ‘elect someone’ pushes for the best possible alternative available from among the pool of the political parties in the fray that may not be even up to the mark when checked on the universal standards of political probity.

Also, this decision to ‘elect the best possible alternative’ is always not take rationally. The illogical but important factors of caste and community are always on play.

As of now, we cannot bank on the pre-poll surveys for some finality on the outcome of the General Elections 2014, but there are strong anti-Congress sentiments across the country, across every electoral formation.

Almost every one accepts that, including the senior Congress party leaders who are leaving the party like a sinking ship is deserted or leaders like P. Chidambaram or Manish Tewari who are not willing to contest this time due to the fear of certain defeat.

And the BJP (and the NDA) being the only political opposition with an almost pan-India presence has gained enough traction to be projected as making the next government aided by a strong personality statement of Narendra Modi on administration, governance and polarisation factors.

People want change from UPA and Congress and that is why they are voicing their opinion in favour of Narendra Modi, BJP and NDA but that doesn’t make them the ideal alternative.

Rather, the political circumstances with anti-incumbency against the Congress leading the pack of the factors make the NDA the circumstantial choice of the voters.

If Congress is staring at a historical doom, it is because people are frustrated with its politics that it has practiced in the last 10 years and they do not want to see it in power again; they do not want to allow the Congressmen to decide on people’s lives this time.

And the way the BJP is accepting defectors from the Congress party and members from other political parties of the UPA alliance, is enough to tell us the voters’ compulsion to vote the BJP in.

A compulsion that always has this in-built dilemma to know if the decision taken was right or was a grave mistake!

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/

JASWANT SINGH DIDN’T DESERVE THIS

GENERAL ELECTIONS 2014

It is not about Jaswant Singh being some saviour for the people of Barmer. It is also not about the Barmer Lok Sabha constituency being some hellhole for its people who are desperately looking for a saviour and Jaswant Singh can deliver for them.

Yes, being a career politician of the BJP with a respectable presence in the national politics, Jaswant Singh certainly did not deserve this treatment, especially when his demand was not something about withdrawing Narendra Modi’s prime-ministerial candidature, something that makes Narendra Modi insecure.

Jaswant Singh should win from Barmer as an independent candidate because it would tell the BJP and Narendra Modi and other politicians that there should be more to the outcome of the electoral process than to mere ‘winnability’ of the candidate. Jaswant Singh should win to tell the BJP that Narendra Modi was absolutely wrong here.

Okay, we cannot bank on pre-poll surveys for some finality as of now, but there are strong anti-Congress sentiments and almost every one accepts that, including the senior Congress party leaders who are leaving the party like a sinking ship is deserted or leader like P. Chidambaram who are not willing to contest this time.

If Congress is staring at a historical doom, it is because people are frustrated with its politics that it has practiced in the last 10 years and they do not want to see it in power again; they do not want to allow the Congressmen to decide on people’s lives again.

But the way the BJP is accepting defectors from the Congress party and members from other political parties of the UPA alliance, is enough to defy that purpose of ‘people seeking change through these elections’.

Even in case of Barmer, a Congress defector who left the grand old party of India recently, was given preference overriding Jaswant Singh’s demand to contest his last election from his home constituency. And it is not with just this choice, many other controversial and worn out names of Congress and other parties have been fielded by the BJP.

Considering ‘winnability’ in elections is logical but it should not wash out the purpose of electoral mandate to bring the change.

The BJP strategists say the Congress defector is a Jat leader and can score a win by attracting the Jats who are the trend-setting chunk of the voters in the Barmer parliamentary constituency.

But given the strong BJP performance in the recently held Rajasthan assembly polls that gave the party 7 out of the 8 assembly segments of Barmer, a senior politician like Jaswant Singh could have easily won, especially when he comes from Barmer.

That tells us, apart from the mad rush on ‘winnability’, it was also the internal BJP muck including the larger-than-party presence of Narendra Modi that denied Jaswant Singh a ticket from Barmer.

The nation needs a stable government and strong prime minister that Narendra Modi can become but the nation certainly doesn’t need a larger than life prime minister who cannot tolerate the voices of dissent. Now, every one knows that Jaswant Singh is from the L K Advani faction in the BJP that Narendra Modi is persevering to make ineffective.

It is true no one has expected and no one should expect the BJP to follow the politics of probity. Like others, BJP is just yet another political party of the worn-out political system in India where taking a moral stand is seen as an outdated and irrelevant practice. And so this move from the BJP is not surprising.

Yes, but, Jaswant Singh’s win from Barmer would be a pleasant surprise and a befitting reply to Narendra Modi and the BJP.

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/

ARVIND KEJRIWAL: THEN AND NOW (AS HE COMES TO VARANASI)

GENERAL ELECTIONS 2014

Before December 8, 2013 happened that gave him the chief minister’s chair of Delhi, something that he had not even imagined, something that he later on sabotaged:

  • A person who was incorruptible
  • A person who braved adversities to take on challenges
  • A person who, though slightly confused, was fighting for a cause
  • A person who believed in taking on the System for the common man
  • A person who, no doubt, was ambitious, but his ambitions looked aligned to the cause
  • A person who was a good strategist and knew how to take on the politicians he was fighting
  • Though he regularly spoke beyond the threshold decorum of the situations he was speaking on, he never sounded incredible; his intent of sincerity was well received
  • There were complaints of him acting unilaterally but it was well within his perceived image of an honest social activist turned politician (and who doesn’t have idiosyncrasies)

After December 28 happened when he began his term in the office of the chief minister of Delhi riding high on the public trust something that he compromised after 49 days in the office. In these 49 days, he and his party (Aam Aadmi Party) were regularly involved in controversies that were like acts of blasphemy by him after the unprecedented trust shown in him by the electorate of Delhi.

The series of debacles (deliberate and uncontrolled) gave wave for him to manipulate the Delhi mandate to push his agenda of national politics.

The 49 days in the Delhi government and the days after that have given us valid points to question character and intent of Arvind Kejriwal and with each passing day and political controversy, the nations is looking at him as someone more and more as contrary to what he promised to be.

  • A person who could not remain incorruptible – it is not just about financial aspects – his acts of making false claims, his acts of supporting wrongs of his party members – his acts of not ensuring the highest standards of probity in the public life
  • A person who ran away from challenges – after the audacious and shameless act of (im)morality in resigning from the Delhi government – an act that compromised the cause of the common man – his political ambitions clearly overrode the aspirations of the social activist in him
  • A person who dared to take on the System to cleanse it – but very soon was co-opted by it
  • A person who made compromises easily to further his political agenda
  • A person with a dictatorial mindset – his increasingly dictatorial style of running his party as flood of such reports and regular exodus of his party members suggest – his incessant ‘I am always right’ rant – his increasingly visible temperamental, volatile and stubborn personality
  • A person who was a poor strategist who didn’t know how to value the trust shown by the public in him and how to make it the cornerstone of his politics
  • A person with all the traits of an Indian politician we all so deeply despise – his deepening style of ‘hit and run’ politics – charging others with wild allegations (without any proof, as has become his trademark) – attacking anyone who criticises him – using undemocratic words to threaten his critics (like his ‘jailing the media’ outburst)

A person who didn’t know how to practice of probity while taking on the corruption politicians – he increasingly looks one among them now!!

There have been disturbing changes on the outlook of the perceptible elements about the persona of Arvind Kejriwal in just three months!!

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/

THE DAYSPRING LEADS TO THE GHAT: A MORNING WITH THE GANGA GETS YOUNGER (3)

PHOTOGRAPHY

A series of sequential photographs of a Morning with the Ganga, travelling from the last phase of a night at the daybreak to the spring of the morning as it gets younger..

A Morning with the Ganga Gets Younger-6

A Morning with the Ganga Gets Younger-5

 

THE DAYSPRING LEADS TO THE GHAT – A MORNING WITH THE GANGA GETS YOUNGER

Varanasi is because the Ganga is.

The Ganga ghats in Varanasi are the lively ecosystems of human living where life is always in motion, full of vibrant shades defining the every moment of day in its inhabitant’s lives.

A morning with the Ganga is the quality time worth living every day and a memory worth revisiting every day.

Sharing the moments of a morning with the Mother River when a day steps from the slowing rhythm of the night to the energized urge of the daybreak to evolve into a fully blossomed morning – soft, caring and motivating – is an experience of the lifetime.

It is a story that can be told and retold every day. It is a story that remains forever young, with Mother Ganga, with the Ganga ghats, with its mysticism, with its spirituality, with its flow of being Banarasi, with people from every walk of life and with people who are an inseparable part of this ecosystem.

And it is equally riveting to capture the moments.

Come, and be enchanted.

Get interactive with Banaras Calling’s Facebook extension at:
http://www.facebook.com/BanarasCalling
Email at: interact@banarascalling.com

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/