It’s a great day today for the fans of literature and certainly a moment to rejoice its legacy for someone who has varied interests for his reading portfolio, from non-fiction to fiction, from strategic world affairs to spiritual affairs, from electoral analyses to poetry, from humanity to beyond humankind.

September 30 marks the birth anniversaries of three literary Greats from different circumstances and ‘genres’ of life that made what they are known as. One is from the 13th Century. Two are from the 20th Century. And one of them is still alive.

Rumi or Jalal ad-Dīn Muhammad Rumi, born in a family of eminent jurists, the 13th Century Persian poet’s popularity has cultivated a worldwide following and his work is being translated in more and more languages in the contemporary times. Wikipedia, quoting different sources writes that “he has been described as the most popular poet in America and the best selling poet in the US”, in a land far away from his birthplace in present day Tajikistan or Afghanistan or from his final resting place in present day Turkey. Much of the classical Iranian and Afghan music is said to be influenced by the Sufi Mystic’s poetry.

September 30, 2017 – December 17, 1273

Truman Capote: I was aware of Truman Capote and had a brief outline of his work, but never intended to or thought of giving more attention, until Philip Seymour Hoffman’s ‘Capote’ happened in 2005. For me, it took the genius in Hoffman to introduce me to the literary genius of Capote. Hoffman played Capote in the biographical drama based on ‘In Cold Blood’, a non-fiction crime novel as Capote described it, a work that made Capote the most famous author of his time in America. His troubled childhood proved out to be the formative period of his literary career.

September 30, 1924 – August 25, 1984

Elie Wiesel’s ‘Night’ came to me as a soul-stirring experience. Before it, I was largely focused on documentaries, visual media, news reports and studies on Holocaust to know more about the largest pogrom of modern human history, to feel its pain, to realize its message. But the experience after ‘Night’ transcended all and made the Holocaust memoirs the major part of my Holocaust reading, of the past, as well as the ongoing ones. The sudden change, from the peaceful childhood days to a life of utter debasement, where there were no children, no adults, no males, or no females, just living human corpses, waiting to be gassed and burned, in a matter of a few weeks, brings tears that don’t stop. The 1986 Peace Nobel Laureate is still with us. His life and work remind how debased the humankind can become and how resilient the humanity can come out to be.

September 30, 1928

RUMI-CAPOTE-WIESEL CollagePhotographs sourced from the Internet

It is indeed a day to look back on works of these literary Greats to express gratitude for staying with us, for enlightening us, for empowering us, for giving us peace, for giving us joy, for giving us the precious moments to reflect on.

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey –


As the two main political alliances forming the broad spectrum of the state politics in Maharashtra got over, with NCP quitting the senior partner Congress and BJP walking out of the Combine with Shiv Sena, the rush was to forge new alliances, to retain smaller allies, to find new allies.

Congress immediately announced Samajwadi Party coming on board with it, but a day later we came to know it was a premature announcement.

The BJP-Shiv Sena split saw increased bonhomie between Raj Thackeray and Uddhav Thackeray but there is no definitive word on the political rivals from the Thackeray family coming together.

BJP retained three of the four smaller parties of the Mahayuti, the grand alliance that contested the Lok Sabha elections, Raju Shetti’s Swabhimani Paksh, Mahadev Jankar’s Rashtriya Samaj Party and Vinayak Mete’s Shiv Sangram. These small parties carry significant electoral weight in different regional pockets of Maharashtra.

But the RPI(A)’s stand was not clear. Both, Shiv Sena and BJP, were trying to woo Ramdas Athavale given the significant chunk of Dalit votes in the state.

Dalits are around 12% of the population of the state and have been a traditional vote bank of Congress-NCP.

An alliance with RPI(A), a previous Congress-NCP ally, fragmented the Dalit votes in Western Maharashtra, Marathwada and Mumbai, regions where Dalits are a major electoral force.

The Dalit vote fragmentation led the BJP-Shiv Sena Combine win many seats that it had lost in the 2009 Lok Sabha elections.

And so there was a rush to win over RPI(A) and the BJP finally won it.

True, there are other Dalit political outfits in Maharashtra including three other factions of Dr. BR Ambedkar’s RPI (led by Dr. Ambedkar’s grandson Prakash Ambedkar), but RPI(A) is the largest one of this divided mess.

And it will certainly help the BJP in diverting more votes away from Congress and NCP, given the fact that the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) got 4% of the Dalit votes in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections.

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey –


Smart cities are to come into existence, or into functional mode, or into the operational domain from the public psyche of the Indians.

Now the need before that is to educate the Janata (or the Indian public) about ‘whats n hows’ of a smart city:

What is a smart city?

What are its characteristics?

What will happen to the people in a smart city who are not smart (or not smart enough)?

Are the people equipped enough to have what it takes to be the residents of a smart city?

How can they change and acclimatize?

What if a smart city doesn’t find smart users or conscious adherents, what will be the corrective measures/alternatives then?

Before unleashing the transformative power of the smart cities, the Janata needs to be educated and trained with the knowledge of the ‘knowhows’ of a smart city functioning.

The Skills Development Ministry can collaborate with the Urban Development Ministry on it.

After all, it is legitimate claim of the Janata to have a participative development of the smart cities.

Yes, infrastructure upgradation is an urgent need of India but it needs to be backed with solid feasibility and viability issues.

What will make for an Indian smart city, the clear and defined elements, need to come in the public domain soon, and hopefully, we will have that information soon.

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey –


India China bonhomie was in the air. It was in full throttle when the Chinese President was here earlier this month. And had a natural downslide after the visit. Even during the visit, yet another standoff on yet another Chinese incursion in Ladakh in Jammu & Kashmir, was in full swing.

So, if the Indian hospitality in making the Chinese President Xi Jinping feel at home will be remembered, it will also be remembered for the cultural elements that enveloped the bilateral tension under the wrap of a makeshift bonhomie.

So, if it was 10%, the wrap of the cultural bonhomie made it 50%. The personal touch of Narendra Modi and the Gujarat element took it to 75% (Xi landed in Gujarat to begin his India visit). And the rest was done by the media, making it complete, taking it to the absolute figure of 100%, so much so that long discussions were held out on the possible (say proposed) $100 Billion Chinese investment in India.

No one can say from where this $100 Billion investment figure cropped up which was nowhere near to the actual $30 Billion that Chinese President agreed on while leaving the country.

The two Asian nations and neighbours fought a war in 1962 and there have been very little in the name of diplomatic ties and high-level bilateral efforts. The general perception about political and public sentiments has been of hostility, bilaterally. India has had an all-weather ally in Japan, China’s historical adversary. And China has done all to prop Pakistan against India, India’s backstabbing neighbour.

But times are changing and economic compulsions are rewriting the global equations. And economic compulsions forced the two most populous nations, and thus the larger markets, to looks for options to explore the avenues of enhanced economic cooperation. A strong trade tie between the two nations has the potential to rewrite the world economic order and can offer a great leverage in bringing their populations to the level of a dignified quality of life.

Though China is much ahead, both India and China have been growing strongly and at higher pace than the world average. The markets in the both the nations need investors and buyers now and two big and mature markets sharing a long territorial border can throw a wonderful opportunity.

The border that has been the main bone of contention between the two nations inciting a war and numerous incidents of incursions and standoffs.

And one of such prolonged standoffs was in full flow while the Chinese President was on state visit to India from September 17-19.

But, thankfully, the induced bonhomie worked, at least during the visit, and the incident didn’t mar the prospects of the visit. Even MoUs for $30 Billion are practically a good deal to talk about given the patchy history between the two nations.

It will take much more than a bilateral Summit talk to bring India and China on cordial terms, and much is needed to be done. The ice will break slowly because the temperature has been frigid for decades.

For the moment, the border standoff in Ladakh, at Chumar, has been resolved and the troops will be withdrawn completely by September 30.

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey –


It is true the kind of overseas following Narendra Modi has cultivated has been unmatched for any contemporary Indian leader.

And he has done it meticulously and consciously.

The strong Indian Diaspora in many developed countries and a large Gujarati Diaspora in the US has been an added benefit to him, a Diaspora that has always been one of the major stakeholders of his ‘Gujarati Identity and Pride’ campaign. And that is what is being reflected in Indians giving him a rockstar sort of welcome at the iconic Madison Square Garden in New York City while writing this.

And it is a moment for every Indian to feel proud, especially after his appearance at the Central Park music concert earlier in the day, a gathering of almost 60000, most of them being American students. Though most in the audience would not know him, Modi was received well and his address in English was taken in the spirit of his message, ‘may the force be with you’.

But that doesn’t give anyone to go unhinged, to attack or abuse someone.

A senior Indian journalist was abused and assaulted by a person from a group of people gathered outside the Madison Square Garden to welcome Mr. Modi.

The sequence of events was caught on camera and what the world didn’t see clearly told what happened really. The whole episode was certainly in bad taste and a very bad publicity in the name of the Indian ethos if we see it in the context of the understated and biased reporting in the Western (and the US media) on Modi’s US visit so far.

No Indian including our prime minister would ever want to see such spectacle being created on a foreign land.

it is utterly condemnable, especially after the UNGA speech by the prime minister that emphasized on Indian philosophy and culture and talked of establishing and celebrating an International Yoga Day.

This is not at all about the Indian tradition of brotherhood and solidarity.

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey –


Time 31 MINUTES – (IST) – 8:20-8:51 PM

#ModiAtUN – So, Mr. Modi has been invited, and it begins, as expected, in Hindi

#ModiAtUN – India is in transition phase – highlighting the country’s philosophy and it’s cultural, historical and ideological legacy

#ModiAtUN – India’s ‘the world as one family’ philosophy – India stands for peace and prosperity in the world

#ModiAtUN – Strong faith in multilateralism – the world is witnessing strengthening democratic wave in Asia and Africa

#ModiAtUN – India-Pakistan – I extended friendly hand to Pakistan after coming to the power – I would prefer bilateral talks – in a free atmosphere that Pakistan must create without any conditions – his works imply the futility of raising the Kashmir issue at platforms like the UNGA

#ModiAtUN – Narendra Modi has come in his natural flow – let’s see how long, beyond the stipulated time, he takes it to

#ModiAtUN – India-Pakistan talks – onus is on Pakistan for creating peaceful, terror free atmosphere for talks – willing to engage in serious bilateral talks

#ModiAtUN – Why so many G-groups in spite of the UN? Why can’t we move to G-All? Even India is member of such groups – introspection on UN’s role in world affairs in the prevailing circumstances

#ModiAtUN – A country or a group of countries can’t dictate the world affairs and the world order anymore

#ModiAtUN – 20th century institutions in the 21st century – need for change and adaptability – what was then, needs to look back at to incorporate changes to work ahead

#ModiAtUN – Countries sponsoring terrorism, harbouring terrorists – unacceptable concepts like good terror and bad terror – takes on the Western world

#ModiAtUN – United front against terror is the contemporary global need

#ModiAtUN – The development works need to have the spread across the world – like Facebook, Twitter spread – we need to think in those terms

#ModiAtUN – India is ready to share its skills and technology for development of the humankind – emphasises on the culture of embedded nature conservation

#ModiAtUN – Indian legacy of Yoga and its influence on living and life – says let’s have an International Yoga Day – says let’s begin work on it

#ModiAtUN – The UN will be 70 next year – we need to observe this year to deliberate and discuss – on past – for future – for the UN reforms – at in 70th milestone in 2015

#ModiAtUN – Modi winds up his maiden UNGA speech emphasising on the need for the UN reforms including the UN Security Council reforms – India’s membership to the Council is a natural requirement in the prevailing geopolitical circumstances

#ModiAtUN – Narendra Modi took almost 30-31 minutesfor the UNGA speech – spoke some from written, some was extempore

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey –


The flow becomes copious and tries to stuff in as many points of the loyalty bonus as possible when the camera pans towards them!

Jayalalithaa, the ‘immensely’ popular Tamil Nadu chief minister, who rode back to the corridors of power in 2011, and repeated her electoral success in Lok Sabha elections this year, almost wiping out the main political opposition party in the state, the DMK, has been convicted in a DA case (or the disproportionate assets case –a term brought in vogue by the deeds of the Indian politicians facing corruption charges).

She was convicted today by a judge of a Special Court hearing her case in Bangalore, out of Tamil Nadu, on a plea, after she took over the reins of the state. She was convicted today in yet another corruption case, by a trial court, after 18 long years. Yes, like in the past, she can expect to walk out free from the higher courts, but that comes later.

And unlike in the past, she cannot remain the chief minister now, given a recent landmark Supreme Court order, that imposes the restrictions immediately after the ‘being guilty’ verdict is announced.

So, after 18 years – 18 long years, she is facing the jail term again, and see, who is celebrating in Tamil Nadu, another political family facing charges and allegations of huge corruption and misappropriations – the Karunanidhi family, as the charges and the ongoing probes say – many prominent DMK faces were in jail like Kanimozhi, Karunanidhi’s daughter or A Raja, former Telecom Minister. In fact, most of the central figures and the first political families in majority of the Indian states are facing corruption allegations/charges.

While writing this, the suspense over her sentencing continues. According to the legal experts, the minimum term that she faces in prison is one year, while the gravity of the charges and the subsequent judicial interpretation by the presiding judge can stretch it to the maximum under the terms of her conviction – seven years.

As of now, the unconfirmed reports say of a four year term and that she would go to jail tonight.

And as expected, as has been the trend in the politics of the South Indian states in such circumstances, the painted up faces and the made up emotions have taken up their positions. As expected, tears are outpouring and the administrative machinery is geared up to tackle the incidents of violence against the verdict of a democratic institution.

Amma’s (Jayalalithaa’s) supporters are crying out their hearts and it becomes louder and more vocal when facing cameras – Glycerine tears, like many claimed suicides after the sudden death of Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister in a helicopter crash on September 2, 2009?

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey –


Today I sensed the Life as it meant to be,
It was as if dreaming wild after a slumber..

As the eyelids met to see the sudden transformation,
When metaphors suddenly changed their positions..

The mind sounded eager to get attuned to the beat,
As my thoughts felt the rush of the metal heat..

The late night wind rushed untamed,
Pushing the morning rain to surge..

The figurative stillness was left numb,
Giving in to the normative wild newness..

Today I began to see the life as it was to be,
It was as if the prologue of a new hunting summer..

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey –


All this was expected, waiting to happen, and as the time was running out, today was the day, when it had to happen, as the last day of filing nominations for the October 15 Maharashtra assembly election is just on the day after tomorrow, on September 27, a day when prime minister Narendra Modi is scheduled to address the United Nations General Assembly during his much talked about official America trip.

The four major political parties of Maharashtra, Congress, Nationalist Congress Party, Shiv Sena and Bhartiya Janata Party, are going to contest the upcoming assembly polls separately (as of now).

We had two pressers today, by the BJP and the NCP, announcing the split. Representatives of both the parties said they tried hard to save the alliance. Likewise was the reaction from their ’till the last moment’ alliance partners.

The Mahayuti is no longer existent (as of now). The Congress-NCP Combine had its life till today.

Anyway, there is nothing much to read into that. After Congress’ humiliating loss and miserable strength in the Lok Sabha elections and the BJP’s stupendous (and unexpectedly overwhelming) show, it was written all over.

Sharad Pawar had issued warning to its senior partner immediately after the May 16 General Elections results that Congress needed to accept the reality and had to give more space to the NCP now. Though the BJP did not issue such explicit warnings, the messages and the feelers were always sent out. Congress’ two Lok Sabha seats from Maharashtra were half of the NCP’s four while the BJP was five seats ahead of Shiv Sena’s 18 MPs. Also, nationally, the party had won majority on its own.

It was also that there were emphatic voices in all the camps against breaking the alliances. The issue being dragged for so long tells us. While writing this, Congress is reacting on with its presser being addressed by the Maharashtra chief minister Prithviraj Chavan while Shiv Sena is expected to come with its formal response tomorrow.

There are already talks of further alliances and deals. Political theories and hypotheses are going to be the high talking points. But that will be tomorrow onwards (including the possibilities of reversals, if any!).

There were many who, in all the four political outfits, were thinking to test the waters separately after long periods of alliances. NCP-Congress alliance was 15 years old while Shiv Sena-BJP combine has had history of a quarter of Century with it.

Fighting polls together for so many years kept them away from assessing their power and their influence separately on their constituencies across the state. It was hard to say who wielded what influence across the state. It had become difficult for them to assess their situation in terms of real political growth; in terms of gaining and expanding the political ground.

Traditionally, as Congress and Shiv Sena were the senior partners of their respective alliances and had larger presence and a long history in the state, the assessment was not so imperative for them. But it could never have been so with the NCP and the BJP.

Though, the NCP was formed from the breakaway faction of Maharashtra Congress by Sharad Pawar, a major political figure in the state, its beginning was not smooth and the party was forced to join hands with Congress in the very first year, when the Combine had its first government in 1999. The Shiv Sena-BJP Combine has failed to form the government after 1995.

The status quo was maintainable as long as the status remained more or less unchanged – circumstances predicting continuation of the Congress-NCP government.

That was not so this time. Every survey predicted overwhelming victory for the Shiv Sena-BJP combine quoting the Modi Wave being the major factor after BJP emerging with more seats and an impressive performance in the state. The natural corollary to it was the doomed fate for Congress, an electoral rout, like it had in the Lok Sabha elections. So, the senior partners were no longer in the positions to claim their political seniority in the state.

And these equations gave the BJP and the NCP the leveraging power to bargain to have more seats to contest in the elections as well as the aspirations to go solo to assess and realize their own political ground.

As the bargaining could not come with the results expected, the voices advocating the ‘going solo’ mantra grew more and more demanding, and it ultimately got the upper hand today when the BJP and the NCP, one after the other, announced to walk out of their respective coalitions.

So, it’s an open political sky and a free electoral battleground in Maharashtra tomorrow onwards. And it has the potential of throwing in some U-turns.

It’s going to be interesting, for the Pundits, and for the observers.

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey –


Namaste, @MarsOrbiter! Congratulations to @ISRO and India’s first interplanetary mission upon achieving Mars orbit.

The Twitter handle (@MarsCuriosity) of NASA’s Mars Curiosity Rover, already on the Red Planet since August 2012, tweeted today to congratulate ISRO’s Mars Orbiter Mission (@MarsOrbiter) on successfully reaching the Mars Orbit this morning after over 300 days of journey. Launched on November 5 last year under India’s Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM), the Orbiter had left the Earth’s Orbit on December 1 to a Mars-bound journey.

And the achievement came with the words for the next stop on India’s roadmap for space exploration with ISRO tweeting its intention to launch its Rover on the Moon soon, with its second lunar mission, Chandrayaan-II, after the successful Chandrayaan-I of 2008.

And they will do it with more style and substance, irrespective of the debates and the counterpoints that other giants (read the USSR, the USA and the European Space Agency) reached Mars and Moon decades earlier, and that will again be a milestone achievement indeed.

Every big and small country, willing and investing in, is in the space race and Sun, Mars and Moon are the evergreen subjects, no matter if Mars and Moon were mapped decades earlier.

NASA’s Maven Orbiter, built at almost 10 times the cost of Mangalyaan, started orbiting Mars on Sunday. China’s similar attempt failed in 2011. Japan also saw failure in 1999. And there will be more attempts in the future.

India’s scientific might in the space exploration has been trendsetter and exemplary for the developing nations given the budgetary constraints. It becomes even more appreciable when we see it in the context of the extended periods of sanctions on high-end technology import and collaboration from the developed Western world owing to its nuclear tests.

Indian scientists have excelled in spite of the nagging constraints. India is undoubtedly a space power and no one but its scientific community can claim the legacy for it. Like its missile programme, its space quest has also been largely original. In fact, the Mars Orbiter Mission is totally indigenous, from concept to design to production to launch to final implementation today, all in just 15 months, and in the maiden attempt, and India is the first country to do so.

And with it, the Indian scientists have scaled up the nation higher in the ranking of the select group of elite space powers.

Indian Space Research Organization or ISRO’s Mars Obiter Mission or Mangalyaan has indeed come as a scientific triumph with many firsts for the scientific community of the country and with its frugal approach, it can prove out to be a cost-effective model of space exploration for further scientific quests and can motivate many other countries to collaborate with the Indian scientific prowess.

There is jubilation. And the celebrations are in the air. And it was good to see them being the talking points with their voices and faces inhabiting the media spaces for some days now and it was expected to continue today, and even tomorrow.

What is heartening that another big newsbreak today, of the Supreme Court cancelling all coal blocks allocated since 1993 (except four), couldn’t take away the space the scientists, Mangalyaan and ISRO deserved. Kudos!

Otherwise, who had, in the mainstream media, the space for names like A S Kiran Kumar, V Adimurthy, B S Chandrashekar, Mylswamy Annadurai, P Robert, Subbiah Arunan, V Kesavaraju, P Ekambaram, P Kunhikrishnan, S K Shivkumar, V Koteswara Rao, B Jayakumar, the people who formed the core of the Mangalyaan team along with the ISRO chairman K Radhakrishnan. The nation knew who was K Radhakrishnan but very few knew who all others were, working for months to make the mission a winning event.

It was refreshing to see the media and the nation talking about them, sharing the screen space of prominence in spite of the high stake political events like run-up to the Narendra Modi’s US visit or the volatile Maharashtra’s political alliance talks involving Congress, NCP, BJP and Shiv Sena or the Supreme Court cancelling all the coal blocks allocated since 1993.

And our scientific community has the ability to give us many more such moments. Indian scientists have done wonders across the globe and imagine what they can do in India if they get in terms of resources what their counterparts in the US or in Europe or even in China get.

Standing Ovation Sirs.. Namaste..


Photo Courtesy @MarsOribter

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey –