Why It S*%#s To Be a Moderate Muslim

Imtiaz a 31 year old well educated, upper middle class lawyer & a non practicing muslim from New Delhi, prays everyday for peace & hopes that he does not have to post on social media condemning the recent terrorist attacks in some part of the globe. His friends circle comprises of mostly Hindus & a few from the Sikh community. Although the Sikhs are a minority community as well, they can freely criticize the central government & the state. Imtiaz on the other hand, is viewed with scorn & derision, whenever he opposes the right wing policies of the Narendra Modi government. Any comment criticizing Modi guarantees hate filled remarks from right-wing Hindus across the country. The most common being “go to Pakistan”. He has to “compensate” for being a muslim in a non-muslim dominated country by openly supporting Indian army, India’s win in cricket (especially over Pakistan) & other competitions. It is well known that muslims are not “preferred” as tenants in hindu dominated housing societies. If a hindu sells his house to a muslim in a hindu dominated society, the other residents gang up against the hindu seller & coerce him to not sell his flat to a muslim. Even a stray comment complementing a Pakistani cricketer attracts nasty stares & nudges from his non-islamic friends. Shahrukh Khan & Aamir Khan were made to apologize for their “rising intolerance” remarks. Aamir Khan was dropped as the brand ambassador of the now nearly defunct e-commerce player Snapdeal. It is literally mandatory for every muslim now to post patriotic messages on Independence day & Republic day. On the other hand his Hindu friends have no such obligation to post anything to prove their loyalty to the country. But they too have to put up with their share of nasty comments for opposing the BJP government.




Not only does Imtiaz face derision from his Hindu friends, his overtly religious muslim friends too dislike him. Several muslims, especially those who are not highly educated, are poor & are overtly religious will hate people like Imtiaz for mingling with “kafirs”. They hate America for bombing their “muslim brothers” in Afghanistan, Iraq & Syria. They will not sing the national anthem or say Jai Hind as it is against the tenets of Islam. Love for islam supercedes their love for our country, which is why they won’y shy away from supporting Pakistan in a cricket match against kafir India. Terrorist attacks on American, Indian or Israeli soil leads to congratulatory messages amongst them. Any act of secularism invites it share of derogatory remarks. Salman Khan was issued a fatwa being a mullah in UP for worshipping Lord Ganesha, Mohammed Kaif was at receiving end of nasty comments for posting a pic of him playing chess with his son as chess is against the tenets of islam, Irfan Pathan was derided on social media for posting “unislamic” pics of his wife as her hands & face were not covered in the pic.
On being questioned about the veracity of the claims of such muslims being present in our country, Imtiaz says “Every community has it set of bad people. Islam is not different. Just because there are some Hindu groups attacking Muslims over beef, does not mean that all Hindus have the same attitude, isn’t it? Most of the people from my community are peace loving, law abiding & patriotic citizens. Unfortunately most of the muslims are from the lower strata of the society, who can barely afford a decent meal & can be easily brainwashed to embrace terrorism or join ISIS. Indian muslims strongly condemn the people & even the families of people who indulge in terrorist activities or join ISIS, as it brings disrepute to the entire community. We love India for the freedom it gives us. We would die for the country. But the recent beef related attacks, love-jihad accusations, hate filled speeches of some politicians does leave a bad taste”. On being asked whether he would sing Vande Mataram or Jana Gana Mana, he says ” Obviously. I secretly despise muslims who refuse to sing our national anthem. We have to put country first. It is the attitude of such muslims which brings the community disrepute across the globe. We can’t swim against the tide & expect to be treated normally”.




According to several muslims we interviewed, we were told ” the worst part of being a moderate muslim is neither are you accepted by the Hindus/Sikhs/Christians nor the religious muslims. Both pass nasty comments & speak condescendingly. We have to constantly prove that we are both – ideal Indians as well as followers of our faith. It does annoying at times”
On the other hand – Vivek, a resident of Kurla – a largely Muslim dominated suburb of Mumbai says ” During the Hindu muslim riots in Bombay in the year 1992-93, we were really scared for our lives, as most of our neighbours were muslim & there were very few Hindus in our colony. It was during such a tensions filled phase, when a group of our muslim neighbours came to our house & assured us of our family’s safety. We were told that someone from their community will safeguard our house & will not let rioters harm us. Now post this incident I have taken it upon myself to safeguard the interest of muslims. This time I will be the one stopping miscreants from entering a muslim household” he says.




The Opinionated Indian strongly believes that in order to safeguard the secular fabric of the nation, we need to protect our moderate muslim friends. Don’t hate them just for making anti-government comments, view them with an open mind. Do not force them to prove their love for their country time & again. Lastly trust them to do the right thing. One should not forget Sher Mohammed – a CRPF soldier, who was injured before killing five naxals in Sukma. Sher Mohammed is a greater Indian than all of us!

Sonu Tula Shiv Sena Var Bharosa Nahi Ka – Mumbai Needs to Put an End to The Shiv Sena Menace

Shiv Sena was formed by the Late Bal Thackeray in 1960’s. He fought against the growing clout of South Indians in Mumbai

Sonu Tula Mazya Var Bharosa Nahi Ka is a popular & catchy Marathi song. RJ Malishka – one of the most widely followed RJ’s in Mumbai used the song beautifully to taunt BMC for its long heritage of giving pot holed roads to Mumbai. The video shot in Red FM’s Lower Parel office, quickly went viral. Though nowhere does the RJ mention the Shiv Sena in the video – owing to Shiv Sena being the incumbent party running the BMC & having ruled the BMC for close to over two decades, the Shiv Sena took it as a personal insult. Instead of tactfully letting the video play out its shelf life, Shiv Sena corporators slapped a fine on Mrs Mendonsa – RJ Malishka’s mother for letting water accumulate in her plant pots, which resulted in mosquito breeding & threatened to raze a part of her building owing to construction irregularities. RJ Malishka was in New York, when this incident happened & wasn’t in the city to give a fitting reply to the BMC. Although she did tweet that she has 6 more songs ready & would not give up without a fight.




The Shiv Sena is a Maharashtrian Party founded in the 1960’s in Mumbai by the charismatic Bal Thackeray. He used Mahrashtrian resentment against the growing clout of the South Indian community to his advantage & became a name to reckon with. The fact that he was a cartoonist, a satirist worked to his advantage & this topped up with his superb oratory skills made people sit up & take notice. Shiv Sainiks as the partymen are known started thrashing South Indians in the city in offices, on the roads & other public places & asked them to stop the inflow of more of their ilk. Shiv Sena started demanding more jobs for ‘Marathi Manoos’. This was a time when India was reeling under the socialist policies of the Gandhi-Nehru dynasty. India was a poor country, where literacy was low & jobs were few. Thus the Shiv Sena had no difficulty in recruiting Shiv Sainiks who would riot or trash happless people at their leaders instance. Their loyalty to him was unquestioned. The Congress let the rise of Shiv Sena go unchecked, as they though of them as a good counter to the Communist menace which plaguing Mumbai’s factories. Even Shiv Sena’s detractors will agree that had it not been for the Shiv Sena, the city would have been under the vice like grip of the Communists & would have suffered the same fate as Kolkata – which once was India’s most prosperous city, but is now the least prosperous city amongst the 4 metros. The Shiv Sena for the longest time was Mumbai party, with hardly any inroads in rural Maharashtra. While the Shiv Sena kept winning BMC & Lok Sabha seats from Dadar, Vile Parle, Thane & other Marathi bastions, the Congress kept winning the state elections. The Shiv Sena’s crowning moment came in 1992 during the Hindu-Muslim riots, when Shiv Sainiks are alleged to have been involved in rioting, which led to the deaths of several Muslims in the city. Bal Thackeray pulled no punches while making inflammatory speeches against Muslims & instigating his people to riot against them. Despite having tons of evidence the law or the nation’s judiciary did not have the guts to arrest the party supremo. Shiv Sainiks labelled him the Hindu Hriday Samrat. Even educated Hindus in Mumbai coming from different parts of the country were heard saying “Had it not been for Bal Thackeray & the Shiv Sena, we would have been battered by the Muslims”. As expected the Shiv Sena – BJP swept the state elections for the first time in 1995.With the state & BMC under Shiv Sena control & BJP being the minority partner, Bal Thackeray was the uncrowned King of Mumbai. Due to anti-incumbency issues they lost the next state elections to the Congress-NCP combine, which went on to rule for 15 long years, before losing to the Shiv Sens-BJP combine on 2015. But this time, the BJP – owing to Narendra Modi’s charisma was the bigger party in the alliance & the Siv Sena was relegated to second place. To make matters worse, Shiv Sena couldn’t get a majority in the BMC election either, with the BJP coming a close second. Since 2015, the party or their leader – Uddhav Thackeray have never missed a chance to pull down the BJP on national or state level issues.




The electorate of Mumbai has been voting for the Shiv Sena mainly as an alternative to the corrupt Congress-NCP combine which has looted the state for decades. The Marathi Manoos hoped that Shiv Sena would fight for its right. But even a staunch Shiv Sainik will concede, that the party hasn’t done much for the Maharashtrians in the city apart from providing lip service. In fact they have in some cases come across as worse off than the Congress party owing to their history of violence. It is a well known fact that through the decades, any statement against Bal Thackeray or the Shiv Sena or any action which would hurt Marathi sentiments would lead to Shiv Sainiks barging into your office or home to blacken your face & beat you up. Shiv Sainiks have damaged public property including buses, railway stations & stores promoting Valentine’s Day celebrations (Bal Thackeray thought Valentine’s Day is against Indian values & culture). Hapless people from UP who worked as rickshawallas, milkmen, laundry guys were thrashed Shiv Sainiks & MNS as they “stole jobs of poor Maharashtrians”. Bal Thackeray even spoke about the encounters of several mafia dons like Amar Naik & several others in the late 1990’s by the Mumbai police, referring to them as “Aamchi Mule” (our boys). People have perpetually lived in fear of the Shiv Sena. Shiv Sainiks are known to collect ‘hafta’ (extortion money) from illegal hawkers, restaurateurs, retailers across the city. Shiv Sena corporators are known to own tons of gold, despite earning a measly INR 10,000 salary. The source of wealth of the Thackerays is never questioned.You can file corruption cases against Lalu Yadav or Mulayam Singh Yadav or Jayalalitha, but no one has dared to filed corruption cases against the Thackerays. Despite batting for Marathi culture all his life, Bal Thackeray’s grand children are all English medium educated. Bal Thackeray kept taunting the Gandhis for their dynasty politics, but when it was name his successor, he nominated his son Uddhav Thackeray as the next party Supremo. this led to Raj Thackeray forming his won party. Although people wrongly assume that pot holes do not cause severe harm, one look at statistics will tell you much fuel is wasted & the fact that pot holes have caused several deaths The party & their workers have made tons of money through corruption in the BMC, mainly through kickbacks from road contracts. A road built with good material will earn Shiv Sena kickbacks just once, but a road built low quality material will earn you kick backs from contractors year on year seems to Shiv Sena’s ideology. This has helped them fund state & BMC elections for decades. Just like Congress, NCP, TMC, RJD, SP, BSP the Siv Sena is a a party which cannot let corruption die. It is an unsaid rule, that you do not go or say against the Shiv Sena. Be ready to face consequences if you dare to do so. Journalists, rival politicians all have been victims of the “Shiv Sena Style” bullying.
With the advent of social media, one thought things have changed drastically in India. With minute-by-minute updates available & people openly airing their opinions on various social networking sites, the Shiv Sena too has realized that their actions cannot go unquestioned in the digital era. The Nirbhaya rape case, Jessica Lal murder & outrage on social media has put fear in the minds of the Shiv Sainiks. With Marathi boys getting employment in malls/MNC corporations/e-commerce setups as delivery boys the agendas of the saffron party are largely redundant. An FIR against a Shiv Sainik may lead to him getting sacked from his daily job. It is an open secret that people of Mumbai dont fear Uddhav Thackeray as much as they feared his father. It is a fact that Bal Thackeray violent antics would not get him many fans in this era.
But when the Shiv Sena harassed an independent woman for airing her opinions & joking about the pathetic condition of roads in the city it crossed all limits of decency. Can’t one even joke or speak about issues affecting the city? Things haven’t really changed after all. The Shiv Sena still thinks Mumbaikars will continue to stay quiet & look the other way when Shiv Sena’s goondaism rears its ugly heard. What party targets & harasses a single woman? Truth be told the Shiv Sena is scared of public backlash in today’s digital age & tried to gag the RJ. they want to reimpose their fear in the hearts of Mumbaikars & hence reacted this way. They have made a blunder & we need to show them they can’t walk all over us no more. Every time they indulge in corruption which adversely affects the quality of Mumbaikars or when they harass us for airing our opinions we need to hit back.




Mumbai we need to let got of our “chalta hai” or “the city which never stops” attitude & show the Shiv sena or any other party which tries to suppress us that we will hit back. It is we who have voted for them & we will not let a party which harasses women stay in power. If they come in 10’s we will strike back in 1000’s or Lakhs.
As we speak several NGO’s & citizen forums are protesting against BMC’s response to RJ Malishka. RJ Malishka too is expected to give a befitting response as soon as she is back in the city. Several Mumbaikars have spoken against BMC & the Shiv Sena for their actions on twitter & other social media platforms. It’s time we do not let go of this momentum Mumbai & show the Shiv Sena that we had have enough!



Modiji, Punish Errant Gau Rakshaks & Save Your Legacy

In the year 2014, Narendra Modi – the reformer CM & famed for his Gujarat model of development of Gujarat was handed the mandate to govern the country till 2019. He was tasked with pulling the country out of stagflation, policy paralysis & corruption – terms synonymous with UPA2 administration. He vowed to make an India, for whose visa Americans will queue up for, double farmer income, give a befitting reply to terrorists, better India’s ease of doing business ranking & make India a prosperous nation. He promised “Acche Din”




The first year of Modi regime did not bring about the drastic change, that the government was expected to achieve. He probably did not expect the opposition to make life difficult by blocking each & every bill his government tried to pass. Apart from mining bill & Insurance bill, few bills were passed by the parliament. The opposition united to block the Land Bill from passing. The first two years were marked by huge announcements – Make In India, Swachh Bharat, Jan Dhan, Skill India etc. Out of these Jan Dhan got a very positive response from the public. But, the most prominent reform – GST continued to be blocked by the opposition. He also ensured that lazy bureaucrats who had a reputation for being laidback were forced to report to work on time, due to biometric attendance system introduced by PM Modi. Strict deadlines were given to all bureaucrats, by which work assigned to them had to be completed Meanwhile, BJP lost key elections in Delhi & Bihar. The astute politician that PM Modi is, he knew that he needed to act quick & out think the opposition. As he set the stage for GST to be passed in both the houses of parliament, he conducted to surgical strikes – one on Pakistan & the other on black money. Just when people were mocking Modi’s 56 inch chest remark, post several terrorist attacks, the army entered Pakistan territory to eliminate terrorist camps. Indians were overjoyed & the opposition was befuddled. Some lousy politicians went on question about the authenticity

Modi’s cabinet ministers have done an exemplary job in their fields

of the reports & demanded proof from the army. This made them less likable & further established Modi as a someone who wont take things lying down. Just when his approval ratings were at an all time high, PM Modi took a huge gamble by “demonetizing” 86% of the country’s currency in circulation. By doing this, he fulfilled his promise of cracking down on black money & corruption. The move received mixed reactions. This forced India to move towards cashless or digital form of payments. One can’t help but admire PM Modi for taking such a huge gamble just before the crucial UP elections, which were just a few months away. This goes to prove that Modi doesn’t fear losing power due to his reform measures. The voters in UP rewarded PM Modi for his hard work by giving him a landslide victory. UP once a part of BIMARU states is now slowly on the road to recovery under CM Yogi Adityanath. As we write this article India is a military stand off with China over the Sikkim – unimaginable till Manmohan Singh was our PM. The country is now growing at around 7.1% (6% under UPA2). India is now being hailed for being the fastest growing major economy. Reforms are being rolled out a feverish pace. Sushma Swaraj, Suresh Prabhu, Nitin Gadkari, Piyush Goyal etc are all doing exemplary work in their departments. Each outdoing the other. Although opposition supporters are swift in down playing Modi’s achievements when it comes to job creation or economic growth vis-a-vis Manmohan Singh, one cant ignore the fact that global growth has slowed down drastically. Besides PM Manmohan Singh left the economy in a very bad shape. The country was growing at 4.5% in 2013-14.



It is now a foregone conclusion that BJP will win the general elections in 2019, a fact even hardcore Congress supporters will grudgingly concede. Even in the unlikely instance of PM Modi losing the elections in 2024, he will be remembered for centuries to come, for his exemplary work & the development that happened under his regime. He is most likely to be the best PM India has or will ever have.

Yogi Adityanath must take measures to stop beef related incidents in UP. Hemust rein in extremist hindu outfits

But as we wax eloquent about Modi’s achievements, we cannot afford to ignore PM Modi’s shortcomings. Since the first few months of PM Modi being sworn in, hindu fundamentalists have been tarnishing India’s secular image. PM Modi too is guilty of indulging them, by taking little or no action against them. The government was stupid enough to ban beef in several states. Firstly, to impose your religious beliefs on the entire nation is fascism & secondly not imposing it in Christian dominated states in the north east & Goa stinks of vote bank politics. Why should the state decide my diet? What next? Ban all sorts of meat in Gujarat, AP, Tamil Nadu & Karnataka, because majority of the population in these states is perceived to be vegetarian? By enforcing such laws India is now being compared to intolerant countries like Saudi Arabia. Many hindu outfits are hailing the move & the move has received positive response from several quarters. The muslims in the country are being lynched on charges of cow slaughter by self righteous gau-rakshaks. Such incidents are highlighted by the western media & are damaging India’s image abroad. Surprisingly most of these incidents happen in UP – which was SP rule, but is now a saffron state. Till last year, Sanghis kept blaming the SP government for the situation in UP, but post the election victory in UP, BJP can’t blame SP anymore. CM Yogi Adityanath must ensure that the minorities are safe. PM Modi must make it his priority to stop such incidents. Just giving lip service won’t do!

PM Modi has the choice to either cleanse his image by taking immediate corrective action or tarnish his legacy as a leader who put India on the fast track of economic development, but who failed in maintaining the secular fabric of the nation.

 




Why the Nehru-Gandhi Dynasty Needs To Apologize To an Entire Generation Of Indians

When India gained Independence from the British in the year 1947, they had two choices – either join the Capitalist nations of the world headed by the US or to side with communist clique headed by the then USSR. Although it refused to embrace any ideology completely, it did lean more towards socialist ideology, which ended it making it less capitalist & less communist. This was all thanks to the socialist ideology of Mahatma Gandhi & Jawaharlal Nehru – the first PM of the country. Freedom for India came at a steep price – a price which was paid by an entire generation of Indians. India was largely influenced by Mahatma Gandhi’s philosophies. The Mahatma believed in living a austere life devoid of any luxuries & exhorted his followers to do the same. His favorite pupil of course was Jawaharlal Nehru.That the party workers wanted Sardar Patel as the PM candidate is a topic for another day. But. PM Nehru imposed his socialist policies on the nation.




The governments of Jawaharlal Nehru, Indira Gandhi & to an extent Rajiv Gandhi used to frown upon terms like profit, business growth & display of wealth in any form. Indira Gandhi went on to give away farm lands to farm laborers. Such populist moves generated a lot of god will for the Gandhi dynasty but had far reaching implications for Indians. The Nehru-Gandhi dynasty also introduced strict labor laws, License Raj & permit raj. Whereby, any honest Indian who dreamt of setting up a business empire or become the next Rothschild or Rockefeller, had to go through a long bureaucratic process to get a “license” to set up or expand his business. The logic that starting or expanding the business would generate jobs & pull people out of poverty was totally lost on the Congress party. For a generation of Indians, a government job/farming/ small retail store were the only career options.Due to FDI not being allowed int he country, MNC’s could not invest in the country. This lead to an increase in crime, unemployment & disgruntlement amongst the Indian youth. The only way for businessmen to grow their companies was to bribe a bevy of bureaucrats.The only people who prospered were politicians, gang lords, government servants or businessmen like Dhirubhai Ambani who managed to mould the system to his liking. One may look at Mr. Ambani with disgust, but my question to these people is simple, what was a man like Mr. Ambani supposed to do? Wait his entire life, for the government to change its policies? Or forget his dreams & let go of his ambitions? Mr. Ambani was not the exceptions, all Indians started to think that bribing officials to get their job done was a easy way out. As a result corruption grew & became a way of life for Indians. The honest bureaucrat or government servants lived in poverty whereas the corrupt ones enjoyed all the material pleasures that life could offer. All the brightest Indian minds then started migrating to the US or UK post completing their education. The career path of Indians was to do whatever it takes to settle abroad. “Nothing can happen here” was a common refrain of a majority of Indians. Every Indian hoped to land a job in US, UK or the middle east to escape the poverty of their motherland. There was no hope the country ever prospering & becoming a developed nation. Bridegrooms settled abroad were hot property in the marriage market. The ‘NRI’ tag was a much coveted one. The country relied a lot of foreign aid.

Mao’s decision to liberalize China’s economy has led to China’s GDP per capita increase6 to $6500 in 2017 as compared to $162 in 1962. India’s per capita GDP is currently at $1500
When countries like Thailand, China, Taiwan, Singapore, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Indonesia were allowing FDI into the country post realizing that socialist policies aren’t enough to get millions out of poverty, which ended up in setting up of manufacturing plants across these countries & accelerating the GDP growth rates of these countries, the governments of the day in India continued to snooze. India got dubbed as the sleeping elephants, while these countries got dubbed as the “tiger economies” of Asia. While Nehru-Gandhi dynasty kept stashing their ill gotten wealth in bank accounts abroad, the country remained poor. The only things India was known for was its rich history & spicy food. Till 1991, the year India opened up its economy, the GDP growth rate stayed in the 4% – 5% range. These growth rates were condescendingly called the Hindu rates of growth. The per capita income of all the aforementioned countries barring China & Singapore has risen to $13000. The per capita income of Singapore is $35000 & that of China is $6500. Whereas the per capita income of India currently stands at a measly $1600. Barring a few PSU’s there are barely any Indian companies in the Fortune 500 list.
Indira Gandhi & Rajiv Gandhi continued to indulge in socialist policies & keep India closed to foreign investors despite other countries opening up.
It was only post opening up the economy in 1991 due to a repayment crisis, that the country started witnessing growth. Jobs were generated in the private sector, thus lessening the dependence on agriculture & allied services. The disposable income of Indians increased, they could finally dream of holidaying abroad, buy a car & an expensive house. The standard of living gradually improved. India’s $2 trillion economy is now the 7th largest economy in the world. But, there is still a lot of catching up to do. China’s economy now stands at approx. $13 trillion.
What befuddles us is despite of being Cambridge educated & witnessing the benefits of Capitalism first hand, Nehru chose socialism over capitalism. Congress supporters will point out that, post independence Indians were vary of foreign companies setting shop & colonizing us again like it happened with East India Company. They will also tell you, that USSR & other communist nations were faking data to show high GDP growth rates. But, when the rest of the world which included Communist China realized that socialism as a model was failing & adapted to the new environment, then why couldn’t India? Couldn’t Indira, Rajiv Or Sanjay Gandhi see that socialism had failed in India & strong reforms needed to be undertaken? Indira Gandhi & Rajiv Gandhi both had landslide election victories. Both had control over both of the houses of parliament. So much could have been done! What were they waiting for? You can’t help but wonder that, they probably wanted to keep India poor & under their control. Millions of Indians thank Indira Gandhi for nationalizing banks & providing employment. But truth be told, had FDI been allowed in the country, millions of jobs would have been generated anyway. This would have stopped the brain drain completely, which would have had a ripple effect on the country’s economy.




Supporters of the lengthy socialist phase will argue, that being closed to the outside world allowed India to grow it’s own set of entrepreneurs in every field, which is unlike a lot of the other countries mentioned in this article. But then again, did we have to protect our industries for 44 years? Weren’t 20 years enough? Even going by the logic of supporting home grown entrepreneurs, why did they tie their hands by imposing license & permit raj? Why were the top echelons taxed 97% under Congress rule?
The Opinionated Indian strongly feels that since the Nehru-Gandhi dynasty has enjoyed the fruits of their labor in getting independence for the country from the British, they also need to own for their mistakes & apologize to the nation. It is their actions which adversely impacted millions of Indian lives, for which they are paying a price till date.



Is Media Above the Law?

There was this old lady in my neighborhood, who wasted no opportunity in preaching others about morality & ethics. Any girl who dared to wear short clothes or was seen talking to boys was chastised by the grumpy old aunty. As luck would have it, her own daughter grew up to wear skimpy clothes, had several guy friends & even ended up marrying outside her community. On being questioned about the morality & upbringing of her daughter, aunty promptly asked the others to “mind their own business”


This anecdote is eerily similar to the story which played out last week, where the preacher of morality & anti corruption – NDTV, previously one of the most followed, respected & admired news stations of India (till Arnab Goswami conquered the Indian news viewer’s imagination) was subjected to raids by CBI. In fact, it was not NDTV offices, but its promoter – Prannoy Roy, who’s house was raided. NDTV & other left leaning media houses wasted no time in pointing fingers at the government & calling it fascist, out for vendetta & reminded people of the emergency. Their liberal supporters alike took to twitter & other social media platforms to voice their opinion.

Which brings me to our question. Are media houses above the law? Are they exempt from criminal proceedings in spite of mounting evidence of them indulging in criminal activities? If Vijay Mallya can be prosecuted for wilfully defaulting on his loans why can’t Prannoy Roy?

Modi government till date has no record of interfering/ threatening/ curbing media houses despite reams of newsprint spent defaming the central government over various issues. Whereas, it was the Congress governments during 1975 & Rajiv Gandhi era which had curbed the freedom of the press. 20 cases were filed against the Express during & after operation Bluestar. Prannoy Roy has blocked Malini Parthasarthy, the former editor of The Hindu – a left leaning newspaper on twitter, owing to her stance on the issue. Malini, was brave enough to call a spade, a spade & support the government on the issue.

Prannoy Roy is accused of wilfully defaulting on his loans & siphoning off a cool 40-50 crores in the process. CBI claims to have ample evidence on the same. NDTV reportedly took favors from UPA governement to waive the loan off due to financial issues & has been repaying by attacking the NDA government at every opportunity.

One would be lead to believe that the government is out to bully & pressurize every media outlet who dares to speak against them, but with no other media honcho being interrogated or raided, Prannoy Roy’s claims of being the victim of vendetta seem hollow. Prannoy Roy is just another sleazy, corrupt  fraudster in a suit. Or should we say, he is the English news anchor’s answer to Lalu Yadav!

The Opinionated Indian believes that Prannoy Roy should be tried just like any other criminal in this country & should be punished if found guilty. The government should not, under any circumstances bow down to pressure from the corrupt media- politician cabal.

 


Investing In Your Startup V Sticking to Your Job Connundrum

Post his joining a well known IT company in 2011, after being offered a 35% hike on his current salary, Raj Malhotra (we couldn’t have come up with a more stereotypical name) was on cloud nine. With annual appraisals averaging at around 15%-20%, Raj was dreaming with his eyes open. He & his wife – Simran (Duh!), who was also working for an IT company, were thinking of buying an expensive flat & starting their family. At 20% hikes YOY & 35% hikes whenever they jumped jobs, they would live lavish lives & retire rich. By end of December 2012, Simran & Raj moved into a fancy apartment with their newly born child. Although

high paying IT, telecom sector companies are now downsizing




the pay hikes that year was not as per their expectations, they told themselves that, things would definitely change for the better next year. A year later, they promptly bought a new car as well, after all they could afford it, with Raj’s new job at another IT company. Raj’s new company, was known to be a good paymaster & an employee friendly organisation. But the couple was shocked with another dismal pay hike during their appraisals, the next year as well. With their several EMI’s, they were barely left with any disposable income & barely no money to plan their trip abroad. The Malhotras weren’t lucky enough to post minute by minute updates of their vacay abroad on social media, like many of their friends were. We will work harder to get that promotion & then holiday abroad, they promised themselves. But, as luck would have it, instead of getting a promotion, Simran lost her job. The family’s income was nearly halved. Raj is now the sole bread earner for the family.

This horrifying story of the urban couple is similar to a lot of Indians, not just from the IT sector, but across all sectors in India. Post liberalization, Indians were accustomed to humungous appraisals & insane salary hikes on “jumping” from one job to another. All this has come to an abrupt halt, with downsizing in several companies. The average Indian appraisal is now reduced to 5%-7%, a far cry from the 20%-35%, that corporate Indian professionals are accustomed to. On the other hand, we are flooded with news items of people quitting their cushy jobs, or taking a small loans from family & friends to invest in their startup, only to magically get funded by investors, thereby turning the gutsy startup founder into a millionaire overnight! Which has made several Indians ask themselves ” Should I quit my job, & invest in my startup?”

In today’s scenario, it is a given that you have to be hard working & give your 100%, barring which neither will you succeed in business or in a corporate setup.

The Opinionated Indian examines pros, cons of each alternative & helps you arrive at a decision

Sticking to Your Job

Pros:

  • Like they say, “Salary at the end of the month is the biggest addiction”. No business can offer you the kind of security that a corporate job does. Home Loans, car loans are easier to get.
  • Your kid’s admission to top notch schools is a given. You have a fair idea, how much money you will retire with.
  • Even during a recession, you will continue to make decent money ie as long as you don’t get sacked.
  • Your income will mostly keep growing YOY.
  • Depending on the company you work for, you get perks such as incentive trips abroad, chauffeur driven car, money to buy a car, house etc.
  • You are responsible only for your profile ie the finance head won’t have to get into sales & vice versa
  • Companies today pay execs handsomely. You may end up making way more, than what you would make out of running your own business.
  • Pension & PF benefits.

Cons:

  • The harder you work the richer your bosses & company promoters get. Even if your company doubles its profits, you will make a puny part of those earnings.
  • You will always have a boss, who will tell you what to do
  • There will be pressure to keep growing the company YOY.
  • You may get sacked, without prior notice.
  • You may have to deal with office politics for promotions & good appraisals.
  • You may get transferred to another location.
  • Your company may make your work 14-15 hours a day for a pittance.
  • Your job might get monotonous.
  • Getting leave will always be a headache.
  • You can never be in the top 2% of the world’s richest or even super rich, if you are working under someone.

Investing in Your Startup

Pros:





  • quit your job & invest in your startup if you are confident about its concept

    You are your own boss. Nobody tells you what to do. Walk in/out of office when you want to

  • Your are an employer, not an employee
  • The harder you work, the better will be your returns.
  • No pressure to keep expanding your business. You can slow down, if you are content with your turnover.
  • You can borrow from your company for personal expenses & pay it back later.
  • No fear of ever getting sacked or office politics or appraisals.
  • Sky is the limit. You may end up, becoming a billionaire, if your concept is potent enough.
  • You decide when you want to holiday & for how long.
  • You leave something significant for your children or heirs. Your kids will have a solid foundation to rely on.
  • A salaried job will never get you the kind of respect that running a successful business will get you.
  • You can appoint a CEO. You can then sit back & relax.

Cons:

  • Your business may not work out & you may end up losing all the money invested.
  • Your business is your baby. You will have to be invested in mentally & physically, slogging 6-7 days a week, for it to succeed.
  • Angel Investors may put undue pressure on you to grow the company at an unrealistic pace.
  • You are responsible for the incomes of all the people in your company.
  • You may have to get into every aspect of your business, till there are enough employees to handle the various issues.
  • Your employees will always turn to you, for the final decision making. A decision will have to be made by you in seconds.
  • Your vision may/may not align with your CEO’s.
  • After making millions in one year. your business may run into losses or just break even for the next few years.
  • Not suited for everyone.
  • If it is a family business, you may have to take your parent/relative’s approval for literally everything.

Our Verdict

We are programmed to look only at the successful people & ignore the failures. Behind every successful entrepreneur are 100’s if not 1000’s of unsuccessful ones. Besides it takes a certain breed to survive in business. Unless you have a killer business idea & are ready to slog day in & day out for your business to succeed, it is better you stick to a job. Business is not suited for everyone. If you are not very motivated, are gullible, or laid back or not to ambitious, please do not venture into your own business & take up a corporate job.

But, if you are convinced that you concept will work & you are motivated to go all the way, please do go for it. else, you will always wonder, how your life would have turned out, had you taken that chance.

One option is, will be to do a bit of both. There are millions of part time business ideas, that you can try. The best way to earn more money & or be independent is to take up a teaching job. A teaching job over the weekend, can add up to 20% of your monthly income. With the growth in the number of colleges in the cities across the country, there is an acute shortage of quality teachers. Other lucrative ideas include, renting your property, or selling insurance. If a part time job doesn’t excite you & you have money to spare, you can invest in a startup through a crowd funding website like investmentnetwork.in or wishberry.in. This should satiate your urge of investing in a startup.

Lastly, the best thing one can do is spend 10-15 years at a big company & then join a small/medium sized startup with good funding as their CXO. If the startup grows, you grow with it at a rate which will never be possible in a well established company. Perks may include ESOP’s ie stock options – something even a big company may never be able to provide. In the event of the startup not taking off, all you need to do is look for another job. Remember to spend time speaking to the promoters before taking up that offer to join the startup, as a lot depends on the person running the show & the concept idea. Well funded startups can are known to offer 2X salary growth to their employees, so remember to ask for it!




Celeb Gossip – Womanizing Cricketer

He is one of the most loved cricketers in the country. He has several records to his name. He is worth millions & was the highest paid cricketer for more than a decade. Despite being one of the country’s biggest celebrities,with women dying to get his attention, he married his non celeb sweetheart. But, very few know that behind this carefully crafted image of being a successful cricketer, loving husband & father to two lovely children is a compulsive womanizer.

Sources claim, that even when he was representing the country, there used to be a steady stream of women into his hotel room, where the cricket team was accommodated. He was shrewd enough to never have an affair with a known celebrity, as that would harm his family man image. Even post retirement, he continues to bed beautiful women at his penthouse. One of his conquests include the wife of a famous industrialist.  He is known as the Tiger Woods of India, not only due to his talent on the field but off of it as well!

How To Build The Perfect Man Cave

As a kid, I had to earn each & every gadget that I wanted. I remember begging my parents for the latest video gaming console back then & my parents saying “We will buy it, only if you score well in your exams”. My marks determined whether or not I will be getting my hands on the latest video game or music system or mobile phone etc. Besides, one gizmo per year wasn’t enough. I wanted the latest video games, Smart TV, music system etc to build the perfect man cave – a place where I could come back after a hard day of attending lectures or working & treat myself to the latest movies or favorite music or the best selling video game or just sit back, put my feet up & read the latest best selling novel. I promised myself, that I shall buy all those things that I missed out on during my childhood. I am sure this is the story of every Indian growing up in a middle class urban household




So what are the essentials of building that perfect man cave? The Opinionated Indian will help you in building that perfect man cave. Here is the list of requirements.

  • Smart TV is the most important ingredient for a man cave

    Smart TV or Projector: In today’s world of online streaming apps, a smart TV is the most essential thing in your man cave. we recommend you to splurge on a Smart TV over any other gizmo listed in this article. A 42 inch or above model is highly recommended. Nothing adds to the ambience of your cave like a Smart TV does. All you need to do, post buying a Smart TV is to install all the online streaming apps on your phone & connect it to your Smart TV, voila! you can savor the latest movies, TV shows, news channels & sporting events on your TV. Alternatively, you can also opt for a projector for the big screen experience. Cost: INR 30,000 – 200,000

  • reading a book on your kindle while being seated on your recliner is as good as therapy




    Couch, Lazy Boy Recliner & bean bags: Now with your Smart TV in place, the next logical step is to buy a fancy looking couch, lazy boy recliner & a bean bag. A lazy boy recliner not only looks awesome, but is also the dream of every bachelor in town. The lazy boy recliner comes replete with many features like a massage function, USB connected, blue tooth enabled speakers, fridge etc. Cost: INR 17000-40000

  • Video Gaming Console: No true blue man cave is complete sans a video gaming console. It is the best gadget to entertain your male buddies over a few beers & pizza. Multi-player gaming nights are an experience to remember. Cost INR 32,000 – 40,000
  • home theatre systems enhance the movie viewing experience

    5.1 Home Theatre System: It is on the must have list of every movie connoisseur. No movie experience is complete without a home theatre system. We insist on a 5.1 home theatre system, since it provides the optimal level of movie experience. You can connect it to your smart TV & even watch your TV shows with the home theatre experience. The karaoke feature on some home theatre systems is a good way to entertain guests, when you are hosting a party.

  • Kindle: Nothing gives us more pleasure, than reading a book on your kindle while sitting on your lazy boy recliner & sipping chilled beer. With its long lasting battery charge & affordable price, Amazon Kindle is a great buy. Cost INR 4,999 – 10,999
  • Billiards/Pool Table: Although it is difficult to accommodate a billiards/pool table in urban Indian households, due to space constraints, it is a cool thing to have in your house. Cost INR 42,000-100,000
  • Refrigerator: A small or medium sized fridge in your man cave, to keep your beer chilled will be a good add on to your man cave. You can also use it to store ice or fresh fruit juices. Cost INR 4,000 – 26,000

With these things in place, your man cave will be the talk of town. No other living room, will ever be good enough for you!

 



Narendra Modi: The Unchallenged Emperor of Modern India

People call it the golden age of tennis. Not just because, tennis is being played at the highest level ever, but because of the intense competition between Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic & Andy Murray. Nobody can predict who’s year its going to be. Roger Federer dominated for a quite years & annihilated his opposition to rack up 12 grand slam victories, but the journey from 12th to 18th grand slam has been a difficult one, thanks in particular to Rafael Nadal. Roger Federer might do down as one of the greatest ever, not for his number of grand slam victories – records are meant to be broken after all, but because the legends he had to defeat to win those titles.

But, not everyone has to struggle as much as Roger Federer to retain their crown. Some struggle initially to reach the pinnacle of success & then manage to torpedo the opposition into oblivion. One such person is PM. Narendra Modi.

The fact that he walked away from his marriage & family to devote his life to this country is part of folklore. Hailed as one of the best CM’s in the country, what astonishes us is that he never held public office, before being made the CM of Gujarat. Ironically it was LK Advani, the very man who was overlooked by his party, in favor Modi as the PM candidate during the general elections of 2014. If stories are to be believed, Modi is not someone who forgets an insult. L.K Advani & Modi apparently were travelling in a car with two more people, when they happened to spot Mr Govindacharya walking. L.K Advani promptly asked then ordinary RSS worker Mr.Modi to get out of the car & walk to the venue so that Govincharya could be accomodated in the car. Truth be told, had L.K Advani been nominated as the PM candidate by the BJP, they would have lost & the country would have had to suffer another 5 years of gross mismanagement under the UPA & other secular cum corrupt parties.

Modi promised to cleanse India of corruption, strengthen the economy, bring back black money & reduce poverty. After three years, since Modi was given the mandate to govern the country, even PM Modi’s harshest critics will secretly admit, that Modi has left no stone unturned to achieve these goals. Jan Dhan, Swach Bharat, Make in India, surgical strikes, cashless economy & even the much discussed Demonetization are hugely popular moves. Despite changing the base year, the Modi government must be given the credit for getting the economy back on track. The economy is expected to get significantly better post introduction of GST.

Post the UP elections, it is a foregone conclusion that Mr. Modi will be given the mandate to govern India for another 5 years. But this article is not about glorifying Modi, it is in fact about the perilious situation of India having no strong opposition leader to stand up to Modi. All the leaders in the opposition across the country, have been badly wounded by the Modi wave. For a democracy to function at its optimum capacity, it is imperative to have a strong opposition. This helps keeps, the ruling party in check, barring which the ruling party gets a free hand to do as they please. In no way are we doubting PM Modi or his government’s intentions, truth be told BJP comes across as pious as Mother Theresa when pitted against the RJD’s or the SP’s of the country.

We list the steps to be taken by the opposition parties to get their ship back in order

  • Congress: The GOP needs to shun its anti hindu & corrupt image. The thought of a Congress MP conjures up images of power hungry, corrupt & laidback politician who surfaces once in 5 years. Congress needs to sack MP’s with corruption charges against them. The leadership has to make it abundantly clear that corruption, won’t be tolerated. Despite Karnataka, being the only major state where Congress is currently in power, stories of corruption in Karnataka never seem to die. To be concerned about the welfare of minorities is one thing & to give them way too much leeway in order to cultivate a vote bank is totally another. Congress needs to shed this pro minority & anti hindu image. Last but not the least, Rahul Gandhi & the Gandhi family needs to be sidelined. Can’t a 100 yr old party find one candidate outside the Gandhi family to lead the party? Why the obsession & dependence on that family? Due to the National Herald Case, corruption charges against Robert Vadra, Rahul Gandhi being the country’s  biggest joke, the Gandhi name is more of a liability. There needs to be a democratic structure in place within the party to elect their leaders.The party needs to realize that the modern voter is well aware of all government actions & is not as stupid of voters in the 1960’s to blindly vote for them. The party survived the exit of several politicians when Mrs Gandhi took over the reigns & edged out Sitaram Kesari. It is interesting to note, that Congress seemed to be in shambles during Mr. Kesari’s leadership, when PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee was the toast of the nation. One must give credit to Mrs Gandhi for getting the party back on track. Thankfully for them, owing to theirs being the oldest party in the country, voters will always have a soft spot for them. But, they have to transform & at a swift pace or else the GOP will be blasted into oblivion in a few decades time.
  • TMC: Mamta Didi’s party has recently won 4 out of 7 municipal bodies in West Bengal. Since the times Mamata Bannerjee has been the CM, her party the TMC, has been accused of being more left than the left. She is accused of employing the same old tricks of sending goons to beat up opposition workers, corruption, vote rigging, minority appeasement to stay in power. The state has no major achievement o boast of. Mamata must transform into a development oriented CM with jobs, economy, law & order before she suffers the same fate as Akhikesh Yadav.
  • BJD & JD: Naveen Patnaik & Nitish Kumar both have an image of being pro- development. Although there have been murmurs of corruption against both these parties, The Opinionated Indian truly believes, that if not for Modi, Naveen Patnaik & Nitish Kumar are the best suited for the job of governing the country. But Nitish Kumar does badly need to distance himself from RJD, barring which his clean image might take a beating.
  • Shiv Sena: It is an open secret that Mumbai’s BMC & TMC’s both run by Shiv Sena are hotbeds of corruption. The Shiv Sena is just as corrupt as Congress or UPA ally – the NCP. It needs to shed it corrupt & laidback image, or else face the wrath of the restless voter. In the recently held state & municipal elections BJP stunned the media & all political parties alike with their superlative performance. Despite coming second to the Shiv Sena in the BMC elections, it was the BJP who made waves with their performance. In spite of being an ally the party wastes no opportunity to criticize the BJP government at the state & the centre. It is the ally who criticizes the government more than the opposition. Shiv Sena has no achievements to speak about apart from criticizing the government. The once clear rulers are reduced to playing second fiddle to the BJP. Unwillingness to change will cost them dear.
  • SP & BSP: The SP needs to get their house in order. The infighting between father, son & uncle has damaged the party’s credibilty amongst the voters, BSP needs to come up with a new positioning apart from just being a Dalit & Muslim friendly party. If on ground reports are to believed, the SP & BSP should pray for a miracle for them to win or rather even put a decent performance in the next UP state elections, owing to the tremendous popularity of CM Yogi Adityanath.
  • MNS: The party which was tipped to erase Shiv Sena from the hearts of Maharashtrians is now in deep trouble. Several party members have quit, post the dismal showing in the general, state & municipal elections. The party lost the Nashik municipal elections (the only place where they were in power) to the BJP. Raj Thackeray needs to wake up from his slumber & set the agenda to get his party back on track.
  • NCP: The party dubbed as the Naturally Corrupt Party, too is going through a bad phase. With several party leaders facing corruption charges & faced with charges of mishandling the drought situation in Marathwada, the party needs to reorganize & stand a chance in the next assemble elections. Although we predict, it will be the NCP & not the Congress which will be BJP’s biggest threat during the next assembly elections.

If sources are to be believed even the combined might of all the opposition parties won’t pose much of a threat to BJP in the 2019 general elections. A nationwide alliance of opposition parties might be the answer, but seems highly unlikely. Imagine Shiv Sena-MIM, TMC-CPI(M), SP-BSP being in the same room! RJD-JD alliance has developed cracks & it remains to be seen how long the alliance will last. Rumors suggest JD might ally with the BJP in the next Bihar state elections.

Is it plain luck, hard work, political manipulation, aura of Narendra Modi or all of these factors combined is something which few can answer. But, he is in a position many would love to be in. Only Jawaharlal Nehru & Indira Gandhi have had the distinction of dominating the political scenario, like Modi.  History tells us, that there are very few leaders who have had the luxury of not having much of an opposition to contend with. The way things stand today, all that the BJP needs to do is to continue the good work it has done till now & not give the opposition a chance to bring it down.

Netflix Vs Hotstar Vs Amazon Prime Connundrum

Are you spoilt for choice between Hotstar, Netflix & Amazon? Is the confusion giving you sleepless nights? Are you dying to decide on which one to subscribe? Relax, you have reached the right place. I will answer the question plaguing millions of viewers across India.

If someone would have told me 2-3 years back that not in the very distant future, I would stop paying for my Tata Sky Plus HD connection, I would have probably wagered against it. After all, Tata Sky with its pause, play, record options, high quality formats & long list of channels was the coolest thing in Indian living rooms.

The advent of Netflix & other content streaming platforms has totally changed the way content is consumed in India.


Hotstar was the first major entrant followed by Netflix. Amazon Prime Video was launched a few months back.

Hotstar which was the first entrant is backed by Star TV – the network behind hugely successful Hindi TV shows. Thanks to the support of their parent company Newscorp, Hotstar has been able to purchase quality content from US & other countries.

The top shows on Hotstar include hits such as Modern Family, Homeland, 24, Fresh off the boat. Their biggest strength though lies in their HBO tie up, which allows them to add titles such as Sopranos, Veep & Game of Thrones – probably the biggest TV show on the planet right now. Users can also consume Hotstar’s huge line up of Hindi TV shows & movies. Hotstar also has a huge line up of sporting events including the IPL! It recently got Republic News on board. The deal breaker though is it’s limited movie library. At ₹200 per month it is a very good value for money buy. Hotstar can be accessed through its mobile app, Smart TV’s, google chromecast & through web. It is not compatible with Xbox One/PS4.

Netflix launch was one of the most eagerly awaited events in the country. When rivals in the content streaming segment like Hotstar, YouTube were charging no money for consuming their content, Netflix changed the rules of the game by charging a whopping ₹600 bucks for their monthly HD subscription.

Netflix boasts of a huge library of world class TV shows, movies & documenataries, stand up comedies from across the globe. The sheer size of its library dwarfs all of its competition combined! Apart from homegrown content including TV shows like House of Cards, Orange is the new Black, 13 reasons why, Bojack Horseman, Netflix’s tie with Marvel is its biggest USP. Netflix- Marvel tie up has led to extremely popular shows like Luke Cage, Daredevil, Jessica Jones & Iron Fist. Their tie up with Adam Sandler has yielded 3 movies. Hits not produced by Netflix include Better Call Saul, Gotham, Suits, How to Get Away With Murder, Broadchurch etc. It’s movie line up of English, Hindi & regional content is admirable. Netflix content is accesssible through their mobile app, smart TV’s, Xbox One, PS4, web. Netflix has recently started allowing users to download content on to their phones or laptops. The only reason why any urban Indian TV & movie connoisseur would not subscribe to Netflix is it high price. Hotstar clearly beats it when it comes to Indian content & Amazon Prime is way more affordable.

The last entrant into the online content streaming arena was Amazon Prime.

The biggest USP of Amazon Prime is its throw away price of ₹499 for the entire year! Which is way lower than Hotstar – ₹1200 & Netflix – ₹7200. Their content line up of Emmy winning TV shows like Goliath & other popular home grown content like The Patriot, Transparent, Red Oaks is impressive. The Mentalist series, good line up of Indian stand up comedies make the ₹499/year price very reasonable. Amazon Prime’s biggest strength vis-a-vis its competition is its movie line up. Be it Hindi, regional or English Amazon Prime easily has the best movie line up.The added advantage of subscribing to Amazon Prime is faster delieveries of your online orders from Amazon.
Amazon Prime is accessible through Smart TV’s, mobile apps, Firestick & web. Amazon refused to comment on when their tie up with Xbox One & PS4 abroad will be extended to India.

The earlier issue of not being accessible through google chromecast or Xbox One/PS4 has now been addressed by launching the Firestick.

If I were to pick a winner amongst the three I would definitely pick Netflix. Netflix wins hands down thanks to its huge content line up. If media sources are to be believed the library will only get bigger & better from here on. The local content in the Netflix library too will get a huge boost owing to their exclusive tie up with top production houses in the country

If I had to omit one from my monthly subscription – it would be Amazon Prime. Amazon Prime needs to better its English TV shows library.

But, as far as subscriptions are concerned Hotstar is the clear winner at 64 million & Netflix is at 4.4 million. Other rivals like Voot – which is no where in the race as far as content is concerned is at 13 million.

The biggest loser in this war of online content streaming players are Tata Sky, Dish TV etc who will have to come up with a way to deal with increasing number of urban English content viewing audiences who will stop paying for TV subscriptions.