Stop tampering with the COVID data if you want to control it

Indian COVID 19 infection numbers went down last couple of days below 4 lakh but again reached well above 4 lakh today on 6th May. But, how credible are these numbers? Some of the states have a test positivity rate of 50% which simply means that governments are not testing enough. In absence of in-adequate testing, there is no enough data regarding the extent of spread and nature of this virus. In addition, a question stares on our face as to how are we going to design any strategy to control the disease if we do not know the extent of it?

The data does not tally up

I have read many accounts from both Indian and foreign media about how the data is not reported. They are mostly the ground reports from the cremation places or from the hospital deaths or from many other sources. I do not have any such survey access, but I tried to use some data correlation. And, it simply does not tally up.

Population of Delhi is 2 crore. Crude natural death rate for Delhi is 3.3 per thousand. That means in normal circumstances, when there is no COVID, 66000 people die in Delhi every year which implies a daily death of 180. This includes all religions using different modes of last rites. I don’t want to go in to the details of how many for which religion. My assertion is that In Delhi, all crematoriums and burials have the capacity to cater to this number of death daily and there is hardly any waiting time. In addition, in normal circumstances, there is no turn around time for completing the last rites. People are relaxed with all their cremation rituals that they do.

What is happening now. We have crematoriums working 24 hours and the waiting times are 4 to 8 times for the corpses to be burnt. In addition, at several places, the capacity of these crematoriums have been increased by expanding the areas of parking and other adjoining lands. This means, the throughput of the system has increased to an extent that even after the capacity has been increased ( by increasing number of burning areas or increasing number of burial places and reducing the turn around time per cremation/last rite), the waiting time for completing the last rites has increased 3 to 4 times. These statistics simply suggest that the total number of deaths happening is far more than 180 per day. for a 50 to 60 % rise in the number of deaths, the system will not be overwhelmed and the waiting time will not increase by 3 to 4 times. If we model this in queueing theory model, the numbers will be several times of the daily normal average. I do not want to make this a mathematical problem solving article so staying away from going any further in explanation. The only thing I would like to conclude is that Government’s assertion that there are only about 350 deaths in Delhi does not reconcile.

Data tampering creates mistrust in the system

People at the ground and those who are returning from the cremation or burial areas do not need the knowledge of queueing theory to know that the death numbers are very high. The may not know how high, but; the misery all around will only force them to think and assume the worst. If they can not look at the government for the truth, they will only start believing on rumors. It is in government’s interest to keep the system honest by publishing the true figures. We are not at war with another country where we have to manage our tactical positioning by controlling the spread of casualty numbers. We are at war with an enemy which feeds on negligence and complacency. Accurate information is the biggest weapon with the government to enforce appropriate behavior among people. If the data is questionable, the orders which are based on these questionable data will also receive cold response.

Only Truth – however hard it may be, always helps in finding a right path towards the solution for the situatiom.

Bengal Election is the best outcome for country

Bengal election is bringing unexplained joy to me. As a long term BJP supporter, I am a bit messed up in my emotions.

India has never been such a land of contrast and in-consistencies as it is today. There is a raging pandemic all around, while there is swarm of humanity flocking around electioneering leaders in state and local government elections. While on one hand there are long queues of corpses outside crematoriums and cemeteries, there are herds of hermits congregating for religious festivals. All of this happens while governments keep mandating rules of social distancing and face masking.

The government professes itself to be for the poor and by the poor and the same government evacuates thousands of people from pandemic infested Wuhan in China. The government forgets the difference between an evacuation from war torn country and an evacuation from a disease infested country. No country does an evacuation of handful of its citizens at the cost of entire population. Some of the reasons of spread of virus in India were also these flights which brought infected citizens from overseas – some of whom were able to sneak into the population due to poorly controlled quarantine system. The irony does not stop here. The same government brands these flights as “bande bharat” flights and creates an euphoria of nationalism – and; alas !!! the entire country applauds the efforts. What a contrast !!

So, what has these things related to my unexplained joy at Bengal election results? May be, I am also inconsistent in my thoughts, coming from the same stock of humanity. But, when I introspect a bit deeper, I realize that the Bengal election has given this BJP government at the centre a dipstick test of how far it is from loosing its credibility with the people completely. This is my government and I had supported and voted for this government. I still feel that the ideologies and policies of this party is best suited for the country; but, as they say, ” Power distorts and absolute Power distorts completely”. This government was getting distorted from its agenda. This was becoming too power hungry and away from the realities and pains of people. This was all because there is no credible opposition and it needed one for sure. Bengal election has given this government an opposition.

In last one year the government at the centre has lost lot of credibility. There was a day when the PM was treated as supreme leader of the country and at one single call the entire country did ” Tali and Thali and Deepawali”. That credibility is simply missing and if the PM were to raise any such slogan today, I am sure, that will bring out the hard truth. This Bengal election is a wake up call for the PM who thought, he should destroy all opposition from the country to rule un-hindered. This is one part of explanation to the joy that I am feeling from the results. The other part is my long term RSS association which clearly puts national interest at the top. At this time, when entire world is fighting a war against the un-known, you should not have raised an internal war of democracy. These elections could be postponed for 6 months to a year under the constitutional provisions. Focus on getting the mass vaccination come to a conclusion and then go for all kinds of elections. There was no hurry for these elections to be conducted. Please do not tell me that it was Election Commission.

I hope my prime minister has introspected now and is ready to do a course correction. The country still has a lot of faith on him – however the blind following would have definitely gone down. Please remember, Mr PM, every death in the country is being attributed or linked to your actions and your in-actions. So both in actions or in in-action, you are the people’s Messiah against this virus. Their joys are attributed to you as much as their pains – and at this time, the pain is much more than their pleasure.

Much is not lost yet. The PM has to figure out how to re-gain that confidence with the people. One of the immediate step in that direction can be to establish some accountability with people. His lieutenants have failed in assessing the situation and have misguided him. There is a need to establish responsibility and actions need to be taken.

In conclusion, I want to make one comment. This raging pandemic is like goddess Kali – enraged and angry. She always needs a sacrifice to calm down. This time also, she is asking for the sacrifice. Hello My PM; you have to decide, who is that sacrifice – otherwise you are going to be the sacrifice.

Governance without scientific sense

Prime Minister Modi had in one his very first speeches spoke about “Minimum Government, Maximum Governance” as the motto of his team. However, one thing became evident in his national address yesterday on COVID situation is that in an effort towards getting the balance between governance and government, his team has lost scientific approach to governance completely. A little close and wider analysis will show that it is not only the central government, but entire governance mechanism in India is far away from any scientific approach.

let me go back to last year same time. The COVID crises was knocking at our doors and travelers from all over the world were carrying the pathogen in their breath and lungs and lot of them getting past the airport screening un-detected. We knew at that time that this was a virus coming from outside and there are limited number of international entry points in the country. World over, countries increased surveillance at the airport, set up testing centers and additional checks. They also set up additional airport quarantine facilities so that the entry of virus is curbed and checked. In addition elaborate testing, contact tracing and isolation strategy at that time were also set up. India also created the airport checks, testing, contact tracing and isolation strategy, but when they looked at increasing graph of numbers, the government announced a national lockdown. the logic behind the lockdown was to stop any transmission and give government the time for preparation till any vaccine arrives on the horizon. People supported Modi governments’ decision and his and it was an unprecedented situation when one day Junta curfew was super successful.

Over next two months, people endured pain, huger, helplessness, misery, isolation and all types of curbs on their freedom, but they lauded the Prime Minister and the leadership who was determined to defeat the virus. lo-and-behold, the virus was defeated in January when PM Modi spoke at 18th convocation of Tezpur university ( and declared a victory over virus.

Was it too early to declare a victory? Mr Modi is our commander-in-chief in this fight against the virus. He lead us from front and shown to the world that ” India has arrived” and that ” We can do it” . Where are we now just 3 months from that day in January when we declared victory over Corona. We are found to be un-prepared, dying like fleece, our guards are down and no where to go. The Commander-in-Chief seems to have declared that this time it is the commanders in the respective territories who have to manage their fight.

it is such a tragic state and in all likelihood, the worst is still to unfold.

Can we hold one person, one party or one group responsible for this? I Don’t know. In democracy, people get the leaders they ask for and more specifically they deserve. If we look at last one year, the entire COVID response both from the government and the people at large seemed to be based on whims and dogmas, and completely away from any scientific understanding of data and logic. This is one thing which is symptomatic of the general masses in our sub-continent – and the government is not away from it.

The first case in India was reported on 30th of January 2020. The government of India proactively started screening travelers at the airports and also stated assessing the situation elsewhere in the world. There was no previous precedence to take any drastic action or any other pro-active measure at that point of time except for assessing the readiness of health infrastructure. By February, crises started unfolding elsewhere in China and Europe, and the reports of human misery became evident. Indian government did not have any experience of managing such large scale nationwide pandemic because there was no such incident in independent India. By March it was evident that India was not far from a large scale spread of the virus and there was a need to take proactive and reactive measures. So, it is a full year now and I want to assess if our government, our people and society at large have learnt any lessons from it.

First thing in this case was to realize that as a country we did not have capability to manage a large scale infectious disease pandemic of this nature. Do we have centers of excellence for epidemiological research and do we have experts who could provide with expert knowledge? We don’t. Do we have centers of Virology and deep expertise in that field? Probably some. People question me on this, but when I looked at how many Genome mapping facility are there in India, the picture becomes clear. There are only 10 Genome sequencing facilities in India of a population of 1.2 billion. That also the government turned to the importance of genome sequence of virus in December 2020 1. In any war, early intelligence is the key to success and in this war, identifying the genome sequence and finding out the nature, source and emerging mutation of virus is critical to the fight against virus. In Australia (although the case numbers are low) almost all positive cases are sequenced 2, In India, on the other hand, miniscule numbers are sequenced. I am not sure, if the genome mapping information forms part of our strategy against this disease.

So the question is, did we start any initiative to build this capability? Did we start any centre of excellence for research on epidemiology and Virology? Did we allocate money to set up genome sequencing facility networks? The answer is NO. There are 10 labs who have been working on their own initiative to map the variants. There was no government initiative till December when the government allocated these 10 labs as dedicated for genome mapping. All said, are we now sequencing enough samples to find the spread and mutation of virus? Scientists say – NO, it is just a lip service of what is needed. Normally we should be sequencing about 5% of positive cases, but we are sequencing in few hundreds3.

The obvious thought comes, how are governments taking decisions? Where is the expertise? Do they have experts and are these experts regularly consulted? Do these experts have enough data and intelligence to infer, conclude and recommend?

Every government in India, be it central or state, has set up a task force. The information is widely available on the internet and no need to go into any further details on this. The question is, are these task force allowed to operate independently to gather and analyze data? The sanctity of data is another serious casualty in this pandemic. We all know that the numbers reported by government and media is questionable because most of us will have their known persons who had COVID and who did not go for testing, or privately tested and did not report to avoid the irritants from bureaucracy. Secondly, there are serious disconnect reported between the COVID death numbers and the numbers at crematoriums and cemeteries and there are multiple investigations pointing towards questionable data being reported 4. The big question is how are these experts helping decision making? No doubt, they were blind sighted when the second wave, probably with the double mutant started spelling doom everywhere.

Let us come to the big question of who should decide and who actually decides restrictions and lockdowns? I must say that if I claim to know this answer, I will be a fool. But, let us guess what could be the answer.

Most of the countries that I have been following, there is a head of what we call as public health. In Australia we have Chief Medical Officer(CMO) at the federal government and also Chief Medical Officers at all the state governments. These CMO have overriding powers as most of the states have declared health emergency. Every time the Prime Minister or the premiers of states come to announce something related to COVID, the major decision are announced by the political leaders and explained by the CMO. These announcements are made along with the medical experts so that citizens know the ownership of the advice. They also know that the decisions have been taken by experts and these experts can be held accountable for their suggestions and decisions. The decisions and the rationale are then out in the public among the expert groups for wider scrutiny and debate.

The second most important aspect of decision making in these countries is the independence and autonomy of expert advisory. Take the example of Dr Anthony Fauci who has had his love-hate relationship with Trump, but he was unscathed and remained steadfast in his opinions and advice. Here in Australia also, Dr Jannet Young is chief medical officer of Queensland and she is in front of the media anytime there is any COVID-19 related information is shared with the citizens. They are held accountable for the decisions and that is why they have the independence of their views also.

Now let us look our Indian scenario. First lockdown was announced end of March 2020 for 3 weeks. It was announced at 8 PM in the night to start at mid-night the same day. There was no warning and no prior information of any sort. It was announced by The Prime Minister, all alone in a single telecast. No one had an opportunity to ask any question. What was the basis of that announcement, why was it done with just 4 hours notice, etc etc. Was enough preparation done for such a lockdown? What were the exceptions? At any point of time, at least 3 to 5% of population remains outside their homes. How logical it was to keep such a large population locked out of their homes for such a long time. How are these mobile folks going to manage to return to their homes? One of my friends was holidaying at that time in North India and he got stuck in Jaipur with no hotels closed, no food outlets open and no public transport to search for food. This is just an example from my experience, but on a national scale, such cases must be in millions. People follow the decisions when they feel that the decision has been taken with right intent. In public forums, the intent has to be shown through showcase of expertise and independence. In case of India, there was no way to believe that the experts were consulted and if anything goes wrong, there is an accountability with those experts. What followed was a brutal enforcement and massive humanitarian crises.

All through September 2020 till March 2021, the government gave entire population a feeling that everything was all good and the risk has reduced. Leaders after leaders announced victory over corona. While governments went on with business-as-usual with massive elections at state and local levels and religious festivals, people responded in a similar manner with marriages, birthdays, Diwali and Holi. Government did not think that it is a war within the borders and just like you do not let the guards down during peace time, you should not let the guards down here also. The surveillance and intelligence gathering, the genomic mapping of cases for any mutant variants should have continued, ,but nothing was done. Government had said that Lockdown gave it that crucial breathing space to build health infrastructure and embark on a rapid vaccination. There is no evidence of any such Infrastructure. No data on how many new hospitals have been created, no data on how many new medical colleges have been started and no data on how many new pharma research, virology institute, epidemiological centers have been opened.

In the current time, when the virus is spreading like wild fire and the community transmission is rampant in every nook and corner of the country, the government is saying that Lockdown is not the solution and it should be micro-containment strategy that state governments should follow. Several experts and strategists proclaim that a lockdown is needed. Cities are deserted with fear and scare and there is automatic silence on the streets. This is the time when a national lockdown will be able to break the chain and give a breather. But, national government is scared of taking the command of response in its own hand fearing similar fall out from last year. I think, government is in a better position to enforce a smooth and painless lockdown this time given that it has experience from the past. If a medicine has side-effects, but that is the only medicine available, you can not priorities those side effects over treatment – you will rather manage the side effects and administer the pill.

In a nutshell, a government which shy from realizing that governance can not be done without expertise in the relevant fields will only manage things on media and with lip services. The current pandemic is a result of a bigger pandemic that our country has been facing since long – and that is the lack of scientific approach to problems across all layers of governance.


  1. 10 regional laboratories identified for genome sequencing to detect new coronavirus variant | India News – Times of India (

2. COVID-19: what is genomic tracing and how does it work? – ABC News

3. India’s Genome Sequencing Program Is Finally Good To Go – So What’s the Hold Up? – The Wire Science

4. COVID-19 sweeps through India as doubts raised about reliability of official data – ABC News

Contemporary Bihari culture


The other day I was at one of my friend’s house for a casual dinner gathering of few closely connected families from all corners of India. The dinner lead into some music and subsequently to dancing. Every one was asked to dance to their regional song. For a Punjabi couple people asked them to dance on any Bhangra and they chose a sweet and popular Giddha song. The other marathi couple the demand was for marathi pop however they chose a sweet lavani song. When my turn came, no one knew any popular form of music or dance from bihar. They knew few bollywood songs ( mix of Hindi and Bhojpuri). Someone asked for “khaike pan banaras… “, some asked for “Jiya ho bihar ke lala…….”. The closest popular Bihari song that someone knew was ” lagawelu lipistic………..”.

This lead me thinking. The basic question in my mind was away from music or dance, but about the question of culture itself. How is culture of Bihar perceived outside Bihar? However, when I think about this question, the probe leads to another fundamental question – what do we know about culture of Bihar. (I am using the term Bihar as the old territory flanked by Himalayas in the north and chotanagpur plateau on the south flanked by river Sone and Ghaghara on west and Mahananda on the east).

As much as I thought over it, It gave me more questions than answers. This is the place which had one of the largest Universities in the world, this is the place where three religions took shape (Buddhism, Jainism and Sikkhism), this is where first concepts of democracy were tested, this is where Amrapali – the court dancer had the ability to argue with Buddha, this is the place where The Great Shankaracharya was defeated in knowledge by a women – and, I can go on. How come all of this is clouded by lewd and poor quality songs coming out of grade B and grade C movies. If you search Top 10 Bihari songs in youtube today, you will get the following

  1. Sadhe teen baje
  2. Lahangaa me Jangala laga du
  3. Hum cheej badi hain mast
  4. laharia luta e raja
  5. Ta dusre se kam chalbala
  6. ai ho dada kaisan piyawa ke
  7. netaji ego choli siya di
  8. saiya ke belna sankal ba

I feel sad to write some of the titles here. What happened to sweet songs of sohar, samdaon, birha; where are the great play songs of Bihari Thakur, the vibrant colours of mithila paintings and the local traditions of alha-rudal, pamaria, nat-kirtan – there is so much. Are the traditions of Sharda Sinha and Malini Awasthi loosing ground?

So, the point is – what do we do? Is there anything that is possible as a group? I may have my own point of view, but I leave this debate with all these questions and encourage all to think about it and write their views in similar post which we would like to post on this forum.

दावा… कोरोना अब खात्मे की ओर!

– नीरज कुमार झा

नई दिल्ली : फरवरी मार्च से लेकर लगातार पूरी दुनिया में तबाही मचाए रखने वाली महामारी कोरोना अब अपने अवसान की ओर है। यह अब उतनी प्रभावकारी नहीं रही और एक तरह से कहा जाय तो यह प्रभावी तरीके से खत्म हो चुका है। इसलिए, अब किसी भी तरह की वैक्सीन की भी कोई जरूरत नहीं है। यह दावा किया है अमेरिकी कंपनी फाइजर फार्मास्यूटिकल के पूर्व उपाध्यक्ष और मुख्य वैज्ञानिक डॉ माइकल येडोन ने। अपने एक लेख में डॉ. माइकल ने दावा किया है कि कोरोना महामारी प्रभावी ढंÞग से खत्म हो गयी है। अब कोविड-19 महामारी को खत्म करने के लिए वैक्सीन की बिल्कुल जरूरत नहीं है। खबरों के अनुसार डॉ. येडोन का कहना है कि लगभग 30 फीसदी आबादी में प्रतिरोधक क्षमता है और यह माना जाये कि वायरस की संक्रमण दर 20-30 फीसदी के बीच है, तो इसका मतलब हुआ कि 65-70 फीसदी जनसंख्या में इम्यूनिटी डेवलेप हो चुकी है। अर्थात महामारी प्रभावी रूप से खत्म हो गयी है और इसे आसानी से राष्ट्रीय स्वास्थ्य सेवा नियंत्रित कर सकती है। इस धारणा के आधार पर अब देश को सामान्य जीवन जीने की अनुमति दे देनी चाहिए। 

वैक्सीनेशन पर उठाए सवाल

30 सालों से ज्यादा समय तक नयी (एलर्जी और श्वसन) दवाइयों पर शोध करने वाले डॉ. माइकल ने कोरोना से कथित बचाव को लेकर वैक्सीनेशन पर भी सवाल खड़े किए हैं। उन्होंने कहा- आप उनलोगों को वैक्सीन नहीं दे सकते, जिन पर बीमारी का कोई खतरा नहीं है। वहीं, आपने उस योजना के बारे में भी विस्तार से नहीं बताया है, जिसके तहत आप लाखों स्वस्थ और फिट लोगों पर ऐसी वैक्सीन को लगायेंगे, जिसका मानव पर बड़े पैमाने पर परीक्षण नहीं किया गया है।  

ऐसे समझें… कैसे डेवलप हुई एंटीबॉडी

डॉ. येडोन के अनुसार यह समझना बहुत जरूरी है कि हर व्यक्ति, जो किसी रेस्पिरेट्री वायरस से संक्रमित हो, जरूरी नहीं कि उसके शरीर में एंटीबॉडी बने। वहीं कई लोग जिनमें पहले से इम्यूनिटी होती है, वो पूरी तरह से संक्रमित भी नहीं होते हैं। जबकि जिन लोगों में महत्वपूर्ण लक्षण थे, जो अस्पताल में भर्ती हुए, उनमें एंटीबॉडी विकसित हुई, लेकिन जिनमें कम लक्षण थे, उन सभी में एंटीबॉडी नहीं पैदा हुई। वहीं जो लोग कोरोना वायरस से संक्रमित हुए, उनके खून में टी सेल्स दिखीं, जो सार्स-कोव 2 के खिलाफ लड़ने में अहम होती हैं। इस प्रकार 65-70 फीसदी लोगों में इम्यूनिटी (रोग प्रतिरोधक क्षमता) डेवलप हो चुकी है।

Photo courtesy : google images

सामान्य ठंड के असर में भी मिलेगी पॉजिटिव रिपोर्ट

डॉ. येडोन ने कोविड-19 जांच की सबसे विश्वसनीय तकनीक विधि मानी जाने वाली आरटी-पीसीआर टेस्ट पर भी सवाल खड़े किए हैं। उन्होंने दो मूलभूत त्रुटियों को उजागर किया है। उन्होंने कहा कि सेज की पहली गलत धारणा यह है कि जनसंख्या का 100 फीसदी वायरस के लिए संवेदनशील था। यह हास्यास्पद है, क्योंकि सार्स-कोव 2 भले ही नया हो, लेकिन कोरोनावायरस नया नहीं है। अगर कोई भूतकाल में संक्रमित हुआ है तो उसकी टी-सेल इम्यूनिटी मजबूत होगी। कोविड-19 की पहचान के लिए आरटी-पीसीआर टेस्ट किया जा रहा है। यह तभी पॉजिटिव परिणाम देगा, जब व्यक्ति सामान्य ठंड के कारण संक्रमित होगा। 

इधर, भारत में कदम-दर-कदम टीकाकरण

भारत कोरोना वैक्सीनेशन को लेकर विस्तृत योजना पर काम कर रहा है। पिछले दिनों प्रधानमंत्री नरेंद्र मोदी ने राज्यों के मुख्यमंत्रियों से बातचीत में कोरोना वायरस की वैक्सीन को लेकर केंद्र की तैयारियों की जानकारी दी और कहा कि केवल वैक्सीन के भरोसे मत बैठिए। वैक्सीन कब आयेगी, यह वैज्ञानिकों के हाथ में है। फिलहाल राज्य, संक्रमण रोकने पर फोकस करें। सरकार ने विस्तृत योजना बनायी है। पीएम मोदी ने कदम-दर कदम टीकाकरण अभियान के बारे में बताया। कहा कि टीकाकरण अभियान लंबा चलेगा। इतना बड़ा टीकाकरण अभियान स्मूथ, सिस्टमेटिक और सस्टेंड हो, इसके लिए हम सभी को एकजुट होकर एक टीम के रूप में काम करना पड़ेगा। प्रधानमंत्री की इस डिजिटल बैठक में गृह मंत्री अमित शाह भी मौजूद रहे। मोदी ने कहा, कोरोना टीकों का विकास अंतरराष्ट्रीय और राष्ट्रीय स्तर पर अंतिम चरण में है। हालांकि, अभी भी हमारे पास कुछ सवालों के निश्चित उत्तर नहीं हैं। जैसे वैक्सीन की एक डोज होगी, दो डोज होगी या तीन डोज होगी। ये भी तय नहीं है कि इसकी कीमत कितनी होगी। इसे बनाने वाली कंपनियों में प्रतियोगिता है। डब्लूएचओ का भी हमें इंतजार करना पड़ता है। भारतीय मूल की दो वैक्सीन मैदान में आगे हैं, लेकिन बाहर के साथ मिलकर कंपनियां काम कर रही हैं।

– Varnan Live Report.

What next after Rafale – please don’t go shopping anywhere

Rafale is good, but does not provide any strategic advantage. Next round of strategic advantage for any force will come from drone technology and India should start investing in it so that few years from now we are self sufficient and pioneers in Drone based weapons

Entire India is jubilant with first Rafale key handed over to our Defence Minister and Ayudh Puja conducted in France with Chandan, Roli and Diya over the aircraft. The government is ecstatic and leaving no opportunity to reap the political mileage out of it. It is being portrayed as if Rafale is the “Brahmastra” that the country was waiting for – and any and every enemy is going to lick the dirt. Media across the ideological spectrum lauded the efforts by government to ameliorate the technological obsolescence of Indian Air Force. Shekhar Gupta( of “The Print” stated that he was happy to see that the aircraft museum that IAF had become, has got some shelves of modern equipment.There are others (Samir Shukla in TOI, ) who question why we need to buy this from other country even when we have spent billions in setting up institutions like IITs, IISC and DRDO etc. It is a serious point to be pondered over by all our think tanks and intellectuals as to why we have not been able to produce our own Rafale while these same engineers and scientists create new inventions elsewhere. It is really sad to see us exporting engineers and importing engineering.

I have, however, another point to make. Should India focus its intellect and money on building Rafale kind of technology and do a catch up with the other countries while other countries develop next generation weapons? World over, the weapon technology is moving away from creating big and giant weapons to focus on small and smart weapons. Should we not continue to buy current technology and invest in building new and next generation weapons so that we do not have to do a catch up in, say. 5 to 10 years from now? If we do not jump the step in building capability, we will continue to buy weapons which are outdated at a much inflated price and still remain under constant threat from neighboring China which is building its domestic capability at a much faster pace – and also from neighboring Pakistan which is able to get all weapons from China. 

Future wars are increasingly becoming autonomous and technology is going to be a big part of war capability. With all of undersea cables and satellite communications. And ever increasing accuracy of sensors do we really need a human pilot to go out in the enemy space? If that be so, do we really need such a big machine to fly so high up and then go down? Yes we do; but, not not a whole lot. Our future war is not going to be won on machismo and fire power, but on intelligence and maneuverability. Do we really need a submarine loaded with a squadron full of cadets to infiltrate the enemy squadrons? probably not. we have Sea Hunters which are 132 feet and designed to go off and do missions of up to 10,000 miles on a single tank of fuel with no one on board. World is talking about a squadron of air force with one Fighter Pilot supported by rest of un-manned drones. Autonomous infantry is another areas of weapon evolution where countries like USA and China are spending huge amount of order to  be focused in my writing and in order to bring the point, let me point to the fact that world over there has been increased spending on Drones by military establishments. Chinese company DJI has really taken over this industry by storm with its cheap drone manufacturing in Middle east. The U.S. military’s spending on drones is set to reach a five-year high. The Department of Defense Fiscal Year 2018 budget request contains $6.97 billion for drone-related procurement, research and development, and system-specific construction. The Pentagon is expected to ramp up its investment in unmanned aerial vehicles in the coming years as new capabilities come online and the U.S. military prepares for high-end fights against advanced adversaries.


Drone Spending by Function (

Annual spending on Dornes has been increasing and increasing at a much faster pace. what is more interesting to see is that the spending on Research and development in Drone technology is increasing at a a rapid speed. World over, defense establishments have realized the  importance of Drones for military usage.


Drone Spending over the eyars(

the proliferation of drone technology is expected to continue as countries like China, which has emerged as a major exporter of unmanned systems, to include armed drones, and others export drones around the world. 

We can not afford to have an IAF pilot engage in dog fight any more and a Mig 21 raising a lone battle against any other aircraft. Days of fighter aircraft engaging in dogfight with Military planes are over. Fighter air crafts are going to become more of a control and command center in sky connected intelligently to squadrons of drones, multiple satellites and to the ground command center. Drones are going to be foot soldiers ( or Wing Soldiers) in the sky. These drones can counter attack, gather frontier intelligence, do a suicide attack by self destroying themselves or do a precision attack to kill target enemy. Drone Squadron can be highly agile and super maneuverable force. At instruction they can fly very low, stay dormant for longer period of time and at the opportune time, overwhelm the enemy with sudden coordinated attach. Imagine a scenario where one IAF pilot on our beloved Rafale, within the Indian air space has a squadron of drones infiltrated kilometers in Pakistani airspace because they can fly very low. The IAF Pilot is the Operations In-Charge and commanding the drones supported by base command center on the ground. These Drones go-deep in the enemy territory and destroy the terrorist hide-outs, terrorists and if required destroy themselves to annihilate the targets. This narration is not science fiction but reality – our forces have to adopt the emerging technology. 

The point I am trying to make is that our government should realize that next war will be fought trough technology and not through muscle power. We have ample technology which we sell to entire world and unfortunately do not use for ourselves. Let us wake up to the reality and invest appropriately in research, procurement and production. Government of India  has looked at finalizing procurement of Drones from Indian companies worth $ 3 bn over next 10 years which is a good step. This is not enough. I feel there should be dedicated research on Drone technology and its usage and there should be investment in developing new technologies. We have all the ingredients and we can be the best in this area within few years. we need focused attention from the government. Fortunately, the government of the day is open to listen – and, I hope the government is listening. 
Another important point that the government should realize is that our countries immediate and more sinister enemy are the terrorist groups. These terrorists groups are adopting Drone technology at an alarming rate. Drone technology has made it possible for even the smaller insurgent groups to acquire capabilities to penetrate deep in to the territories without spending enormous amount of money or even its men. India is; therefore, in double danger from a lethal combination of a hostile neighbor and also from all the terrorist groups world over who have been targeting the country for last four decades. Research in Drone technology to generate credible anti-Drone technology is also of immediate urgency. 
Government of India does not have much time. The technology is evolving at such a rapid pace that India will be found catching up in another 5 years if it does not do something serious now. It will not be too far that Pakistan will get the technology from China, If we do not put a coordinated effort to become world leader in Military Drone technology now, In 5 years , Indian drone capability will be in a similar situation which IAF is today – old Mig 21 sent to fight superior F16. We do not want to celebrate any import of Drone technology – Mr Government. Knock, Knock – Hope there is someone who is listening. 







JNU – Did you insult a Guru?

गुरू गोविन्द दोऊ खड़े, काके लागूं पांय।
बलिहारी गुरू अपने गोविन्द दियो बताय।।

Above written couplet by Kabir gives a clear reason of why the article on this topic is tinged with lot of questions, few advice and slight anger. In a civilization where a teacher is revered higher than God, the controversy related to Dr Romila Thapar is unfortunate. I want to avoid being judgmental about any side of the controversy because the controversies these days do not tell the entire truth. My advice and demand from JNU is that they should come out clear from this controversy by publishing the facts and getting Dr Thapar to align with them publicly.

I am no fan of Dr Thapar. I feel scholars like hers have shaped the story of Indian History in away that has left lot of questions un-answered and which has also given people like me a world view where we have felt shame and humiliation regarding our past. This never mean that I will, in any way, support any humiliation of scholars of hers repute. She has interpreted the historical facts based on her knowledge, intellect and understanding and has followed the established scientific methodology.

She is one of the greatest scientists in the field of historical studies that India has ever had. She needs to be treated with dignity of a scholar. If I have to contest Dr Thapar’s views, I will invest my time, energy and intellect to build a similar capability and argue out my point of view.

India has a long tradition of intellectual debate (शाश्त्रार्थ). Let us be true to our Indian heritage and follow a path of debate than discord. Let us remember, Dhananda of Patliputra once disrespected a teacher (Chanakya) and we all know what happened to him in his lifetime. The great warrier, mahaveer, danveer Karna was not truthful to his teacher and he had to pay the price. A teacher is only a teacher and the views of teacher are followed or shunned. A true teacher does not follow an ideology; however, an ideology is inherited from a teacher’s teachings. Today, Dr Thapar’s views may be found in some political ideologies, but to blame that Dr Thapar follows some ideology is far from truth.

If JNU has a documented policy, wherein they follow this process of renewal of emeritus status, they should make it known to everyone and publish the current status of similar requests to other scholars.

I know that this process of having emeritus status to eminent scholars is followed by most of established universities and it is for the benefit of the university and the society to have great scholars continue to be associated with the universities. JNU should be clear that emeritus status is benefiting the university and not the scholar because scholars like Dr Romila Thapar does not have shortage of such honorary positions.

Writer’s Note:- In an age where print media is polarized, and no news can be trusted with the truth, my attempt is to safeguard a tradition of dissent. Learning through debate without discord and being able to agree to disagree with highest respect for each other. I would be delighted and enriched by your point of views.

|सम्पादकीय| …और बिखर गया जातिवादी गठबंधन

प्रधानमंत्री नरेन्द्र मोदी के विजय-रथ को रोकने के लिए उत्तरप्रदेश में परस्पर विपरीत विचारधाराओं वाली समाजवादी पार्टी (सपा) और बहुजन समाज पार्टी (बसपा) का जातिवादी गठबंधन लोकसभा चुनाव में करारी हार के बाद आखिर बिखर ही गया। एक-दूसरे को फूटी आंखों नहीं सुहाने वाले इन दोनों दलों ने इस गठबंधन में चौधरी अजीत सिंह की पार्टी राष्ट्रीय लोकदल को भी अपने साथ लिया था, लेकिन अब तीनों के रास्ते अलग-अलग हो गये हैं। इन तीनों दलों ने लोकसभा चुनाव में भाजपा के खिलाफ अपने साझा उम्मीदवार उतारे थे। इनका उद्देश्य सिर्फ नरेन्द्र मोदी की सरकार को दुबारा सत्ता में आने से रोकना था। प्रधानमंत्री मोदी ने उस समय यह भविष्यवाणी की थी कि यह गठबंधन किसी बड़े उद्देश्य के लिए नहीं, बल्कि सिर्फ चुनावी फायदे के लिए किया गया है और चनाव परिणाम आने के बाद यह बिखर जाएगा। मोदी की यह भविष्यवाणी बिल्कुल सच साबित हुई और चुनावी नतीजे आने के महज एक पखवारे के भीतर ही इस गठबंधन में शामिल दल अलग-अलग हो गये। बसपा सुप्रीमो मायावती ने हार का ठीकरा सपा पर फोड़ा है। मायावती के अनुसार उनके उम्मीदवारों को उत्तरप्रदेश में यादवों का समर्थन नहीं मिला तो सपा प्रमुख अखिलेश यादव ने अपनी विफलता यह कहकर छुपाने की कोशिश की है कि वह इंजीनियरिंग के छात्र रहे हैं और गठबंधन का प्रयोग किया था, लेकिन यह जरूरी नहीं कि हर प्रयोग सफल हो। लगता है कि अखिलेश उत्तरप्रदेश विधानसभा का चुनाव भूल गये, जब उन्होंने राहुल गांधी को अपनी ‘साइकिल’ पर सवार कर कांग्रेस के साथ गठबंधन किया था, लेकिन मतदाताओं ने उन्हें नकारकर भाजपा को प्रचंड बहुमत दी थी। मायावती की बसपा को भी इस चुनाव में जोरदार झटका लगा था और वह हाशिये पर चली गयी थी। लेकिन लगता है, इन दोनों दलों के नेताओं ने विधानसभा चुनाव में हुई पराजय से कोई सबक नहीं ली। अब बिहार में भी कांग्रेस-राजद के महागठबंधन का यही हश्र होने वाला है। इसके संकेत मिलने लगे हैं। लोकसभा चुनाव में करारी शिकस्त के बाद बिहार में कांग्रेस के अन्दर राजद से अलग होने की सुगबुगाहट तेज हो गयी है। कांग्रेस और राजद में दूरी बढ़ने लगी है। कांग्रेस कार्यकर्ताओं के साथ-साथ पार्टी के कुछ बड़े नेता भी राजद से अलग होकर अलग राजनीतिक पारी खेलने की वकालत करने लगे हैं। वे लोकसभा चुनाव में शर्मनाक हार के लिए राजद की नीतियों और फैसलों को जिम्मेवार बता रहे हैं। दरअसल, वर्ष 2014 में मोदी सरकार के सत्ता में आने के बाद जिस तरह से भाजपा का विस्तार हुआ, उससे सभी विपक्षी दल भयभीत हैं और यही भय उन्हें हर चुनाव में एकजुट होने पर मजबूर करता रहा है। इस लिहाज से देखें तो उत्तरप्रदेश अथवा अन्य प्रदेशों में विपक्षी दलों का गठबंधन किसी सैद्धांतिक जमीन पर नहीं, बल्कि भाजपा के भय से नकारात्मक आधार पर होता रहा है। जबकि नकारात्मक विचारधारा कभी भी दीर्घजीवी या फलदायी नहीं हो सकती। लोकतंत्र में मजबूत विपक्ष का होना भी बहुत जरूरी है, पर नकारात्मक सोच के साथ आज जिस राह पर विपक्षी पार्टियां चल रही हैं, निकट भविष्य में उनके लिए भाजपा के रथ को रोक पाना आसान नहीं लग रहा। इसके लिए सबसे पहले उन्हें जातिवादी मानसिकता से ऊपर उठकर देश की जनता का मन-मिजाज परखना व समझना होगा!

  • Editor.

मिथिलांचल की परंपरा को जीवंतता प्रदान कर रहा “झारखंड मिथिला मंच”

भारत विविधताओं का देश है। हर क्षेत्र की अपनी-अपनी खास सांस्कृतिक विशेषतायें और विविधतायें हैं। इन्हीं में से मिथिला-भूमि की सांस्कृतिक गरिमा और परंपरा अपने-आप में महत्वपूर्ण है। इन्हीं परंपराओं को जीवंत बनाए रखने का कार्य कर रहा है झारखंड मिथिला मंच।

लंबे समय से यह संगठन मिथिलांचल के पारंपरिक पर्व-त्योहारों के साथ-साथ कई सांस्कृतिक व सामाजिक आयोजनों के जरिए मिथिला परंपरा को जीवित बनाए रखने के साथ-साथ आज की नई पीढ़ी को अपनी संस्कृति से जुड़े रहने की सीख दे रहा है। इसी कड़ी में बीते दिनों हरमू की हाईकोर्ट कॉलोनी स्थित दुर्गा मंदिर में जानकी नवमी महोत्सव का आयोजन किया गया। इस अवसर पर बड़ी संख्या में कुंवारी कन्याएं पूजी गयीं। कुंवारी कन्याओं का यह भव्य समागम अपने-आप में आकर्षक बना रहा। ऐसा लग रहा था मानो छोटी-छोटी कन्याओं के रूप में मां भगवती स्वयं अवतरित हो गयी हों। कुंवारी कन्याओं को पैर-हाथ धुलाकर अलता, टिकुली, काजल आदि से वैष्णो रूप में उन्हें सजाया गया। फिर चुनरी और पुष्पा माला पहनाई गई। पूजन से पहले आदिशक्ति मां दुर्गा को मिथिला परंपरा के अनुसार पातरि दिया गया, जिसमें प्रसाद के रूप में पायस, पंच मिष्ठान, पांच तरह के फल कमल के पत्ते पर भोग लगाए गए।

इस अवसर पर मंच के पदाधिकारियों ने मां जानकी के प्राकट्य पर भी प्रकाश डाला। मंच के सुजीत झा ने बताया कि राजा जनक की पुत्री और मर्यादा पुरुषोत्तम श्रीराम की सहधर्मिणी माता सीता का जन्म नवमी तिथि को था, इसलिए समस्त मिथिलावासी इस दिन को जानकी नवमी महोत्सव के रूप में धूमधाम से मनाते हैं। उक्त कार्यक्रम का आयोजन मिथिला मंच के जानकी प्रकोष्ठ की ओर से किया गया था। इसे सफल बनाने में महासचिव ममता झा, आशा झा, निशा झा, उषा पाठक, निर्मला झा, सुधा झा, अनुष्ठा झा, जीबो देवी, रूपा चौधरी, मीणा सिंह, मुन्नी यादव, अवंतिका झा, निधि झा, इंदु झा, अर्चना झा, प्रमिला मिश्रा, चंदन झा, रेणु झा, अनीता झा, रानी झा, बबीता झा आदि की महत्वपूर्ण भूमिका रही।

Varnan Live Report