Saturday, December 17, 2016

Demonetisation - Thought Myopia, Pompous Ignorance and Scary Governance

Who Would Disagree

Demonetisation was indeed a bold move. It definitely shocked the corrupt. Hoarded money became useless in a day for the bureaucrats, Govt. servants, businessmen and the terrorists.

I am not sure about the constitutional validity of the secrecy and the sudden-ness of the decision, however, I don't think anybody would disagree with the fact that it was required to be a surprise.

Yet, I would stick out my neck and say that #Demonetisation is an example of thought myopia, pompous ignorance and a gigantic failure of the Govt. machinery. Such inefficiencies in the Govt machinery of 70 years is scary and unpardonable.

What are the problems with Demonetisation?

Cash Economy

India is primarily a cash economy where black money is not perceived to be a moral issue.

Giving a bribe is considered as an essential expense for personal and business favours. The marriage potential of a boy increases when he gets a Govt job with an opportunity to make 'outside money'.

Trading business thrives on black money because of inefficient / corrupt indirect tax departments and complex rules leading to ignorance and procrastination. It is impossible to purchase 100% of the products with gate permits and tax invoices for trading business. This creates hard-earned unaccounted cash with businessmen for future business and purchase. This un-accounted cash is very different from the black money generated from bribery and political corruption.

The unaccounted money in the businesses stays in the growth of the businesses and therefore powers the GDP of the economy, whereas the black money generated from bribery is hoarded in the shape of properties, gold, offshore deposits etc., and some part of it powers the consumption in the economy. Consumption is important but not as important as the building of the GDP of the nation.

Demonetisation has simply ignored the overwhelming cash economy and the various kinds of black money available in the country that is serving different purposes in the running of the economy of the country. It didn't understand the social and psychological meaning of corruption that has evolved in the Indian societies since Independence, before deciding on demonetisation.

Lack of Research

I wonder if the Government tried to understand the meaning of demonetising 85% of the currency in circulation.

When we understand the reality of the existence of the cash economy, it becomes clear that documented data with RBI and other Govt. departments would be insufficient for any conclusive understanding about the negative effect of demonetisation. So, it was absolutely necessary for the Government to have undertaken primary research at the 'mandis' and other business centres to assess the importance of cash, perhaps black transactions in the life of an ordinary citizen, and the quantum of societal impact of a sudden disappearance of cash. If that reality was taken into account, the Govt agencies would have found better ways to do demonetisation and remonetisation.

Lack of a Roadmap

BJP and its supporters are saying that demonetisation is part of a bigger roadmap and in the long run when everything else falls in place, the country will benefit. That may be true, but clearly demonetisation exercise per se didn't have a roadmap for itself.

Any project, however small requires a roadmap to successfully implement itself. It has a starting point and an end point. Demonetisation didn't have a starting point. It was announced without any preparation in the name of maintaining secrecy. For instance, the Govt could have printed new notes for Rs. 50, Rs. 100 and Rs. 500 from the start of the year citing any nationalistic reason without revealing the secrecy behind demonetisation. The Govt could have waived off the installation charges for POS machines, reduced the inter-change income for VISA / MasterCard, installed payment gateways and POS machines for all Government departments. All these steps could have never revealed the actual intention of demonetisation by the end of the year.

The way it was implemented reeks of a knee jerk decision following an emotional high of discovering a great strategy, thereby forgetting all restraints that a Govt process should have followed. It is clear that it was not decision by a regulatory system, but a decision from a group of people who are neither part of the bureaucracy, nor have the experience of the processes it follows.

No Consumer Understanding

Every society evolves in a certain way. India has evolved in a particular way too. Demonetisation simply ignored consumer behaviour and the need to understand the citizens of India. It didn't expect the creativity that can stem out of immoral minds of the corrupt value-less society of India. The power of money and the large population of Indians that had the weakness for it have wrecked havoc against the intentions of demonetisation to make black money invalid in one stroke.

Large sums of black money were shown as working capital, large sums of black money were deposited using idle accounts of dead citizens, Jan Dhan accounts etc, large sums of black money were paid for services in advance and large sums of money were shown as income of the current financial year paying the normal tax slabs. Some have used Demand Drafts to exchange old currencies. There would be thousand other ways utilised to convert black money into white money. It is no surprise that over 13 lakhs of 15.4 lakhs have already come into the banking fold as I write this on 17th December 2016.

Even the logic of introducing Rs. 2000 to quickly fill in the currency vacuum backfired, when immoral Indians found ways to siphon out new notes from the very banking system.  

Lack of technical knowledge

The fact that the size and design of the new currency note didn't consider the capabilities of the largest dispenser of cash - the omnipresent ATMs, is unpardonable. The blunder that lead to wide scale public inconveniences and to unnecessary costs to the banks' P&L in recalibrating the ATMs could have been easily avoided.

Thought Myopia, Pompous Ignorance

The execution of demonetisation was even more myopic that its announcement. It gave out the pompous ignorance of the Government and its agencies. It has made it clear that this Government has made the governance system of over 70 years weaker and useless. The manner in which rules were being changed that were at best reactionary, reduced the credibility of even the autonomous RBI and its Governor.

The honest and the poor Indians have now lost faith in the RBI, in the banking system and in the very currency. Still the pompous ignorants is living in a dream of hope that Mr. Modi  can do no wrong.

Scary Governance

Indian Governance, its bureaucracy has evolved, and is evolving from 1947 when we became Independent. It was structured around rules and protocols so that democracy is preserved, equality, secularism and justice is preserved. The processes of parliament and many other committees of checks and balances were thought to ensure that correct decisions are taken by the Government and the bureaucracy.

Demonetisation has brought to light a very scary scenario. A scenario where a single man, or at best, a group of men can overthrow the bureaucratic checks and balances to introduce to the public what they think is right for the public.

A scenario where sycophancy and fear of political power has reached dizzying proportion to make the whole bureaucracy look like fools. It was never so even in the heights of corruption during the Congress regime.


There would be a few good outcomes of demonetisation. Bank deposits would increase, and RBI may get at least a lakh crore of additional tender for the Government to spend on welfare schemes (hopefully). However, it is clear that not a single rich guy with the probability of having black money died of heartache. It is clear that counterfeits machines have started in double the speed. It is clear that the source of black money is not impacted, or perhaps not as impacted as it was intended.

It is clear that the poor had to ultimately bear the brunt of the ego of the powerful.

The scariest discovery of demonetisation is this new possibility of working around the established systems to introduce schemes that have such wide scale impact on public good and welfare.  Hope our intellectuals and our seniors would understand this dangerous phenomena and take appropriate steps to invalidate such drastic sudden steps powered by whims and fancies.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Burhan Wani

Isn't it amazing that a mere 22 year old boy, Burhan Muzaffar Wani is touted by the media, as the most dreaded terrorist for the large Indian state..

Isn't it alarming how his killing has affected the masses to come out onto the streets of Kashmir to throw stones at the Indian State? 30 innocent Indian citizens are dead. Over 150 have suffered bullet injuries. Over 50 will lose their eye sight forever. 7/8 police personnel too have lost their lives.

I have read in the media that he was the poster boy of new-age militancy, that he was intelligent and belonged to a well-off family of teachers, that he was proficient in using social media and managed to attract local youth into the separatist program in Kashmir.

What is responsible for making this young guy a terrorist? The story goes like this: One evening, Burhan had gone for a motorcycle ride with his brother Khalid and a friend when they were beaten up by personnel from the Special Operations Group (SOG) of J&K police. That was supposedly the tipping point. Burhan was 15 and a student of class X, when he left home to become a militant (in the eyes of the state), a separatist (in the eyes of a common Kashmiri).

In April 2015, his brother Khalid who was doing his PG in Economics was killed by the Army in an alleged fake encounter that left no bullet marks on his body, but smashed teeth and a broken skull. His only crime was that of being born as the brother of a Separatist militant.

Would these killings stop the separatist tendencies in Kashmir, in Assam, in Nagaland, in Manipur? Can we please sit and understand why do we have such separatist tendencies?

Most importantly, can we not consider him a Muslim Jehadi? Is it not that, his being a Muslim is just incidental. Before him, many educated Hindu separatists and innocents have died in Assam, many educated Christian Separatists and innocents have died in Nagaland, many Buddhist and tribal Separatists and innocents have died in Manipur.

One police officer in South Kashmir said, "What Burhan started won’t end with his death, it may get a fresh life with his death’’.

The Indian State will have a tough time if we don't understand the basic spirit of liberty and identity that guides humanity.


Assam is witnessing mass protests and effigy burning of the month old Chief Minister Mr. Sonowal over his toothless stand on the privatisation of the 12 oil fields in Assam. Ironically, he once fought with the people of Assam for 'Tez Dim Tel Nidiu' (will give blood, not oil).

oil fields auction assam sarbananda sonowal bjp
The supporters of Privatisation say that the protestors are ignorant and have no concrete reasons to protest. They are just wasting time and hampering development and creation of jobs.

I am however grateful that Assam has taken a stand on behalf of the whole country and has stood strong as an example to protect the country and its natural wealth from corruption and selfish capitalism.

Right from Govt. forcing ONGC to take the 450 billion dollar loan from World Bank in 1991 with the condition that oil fields have to be opened up to global private capital (when they could have easily raised capital instead); the controversial Panna-Mukta oilfields in Bombay High given to the Reliance-Enron consortium for a paltry 12 crores; false declaration of its actual potential, after ONGC had spent 7000 crores in getting that geological data etc (even Petroleum Minister Satish Sharma allegedly took 4 crores, ONGC top boss was involved); ONGC CMD S L Khosla joining Reliance after allegedly disclosing all 'work programme' through the then Director Mr. Ravi Bastia (who too joined Reliance) about ONGC's data about Krishna-Godavari basin. (Read the book - Gas Wars); allegations that one OIL CMD was directly involved in the giving out of Kharshang oil field to private ENI Group / Jubilant Group; to the disqualification of the auctioning of 214 coal blocks from 1993 to 2009 by the top judiciary in 2014 saying that "the entire exercise of allocation through screening committee route thus appears to suffer from the vice of arbitrariness and not following any objective criteria in determining as to who is to be selected or who is not to be selected."; it makes it evidently clear that the natural resources of India is in DANGER from selfish capitalist and corrupt officials/public servants/politicians (perhaps to fund elections). 

The supposedly learned are saying that OIL and ONGC have said that they can't operate these oil fields because of lack of technical expertise and that the fields are too small for big players. The Petroleum Minister said, “Many of the big oil sector companies do not have the technology or managerial skills to exploit small oilfields and so we are allowing firms that have the technology and skill to bid for them”. 

There is no truth in such statements. Can he produce the document certifying the first right of refusal by OIL and ONGC? One must read the editorial by an OIL employee today in Pratidin dated 11th July 2016. He says, 'there is an attempt to belittle the navratna OIL and maharatna ONGC with these false allegations'. He says, 'there is not a single instance that he knows when work has stopped due to lack of funds or technical expertise or infrastructure'. He further adds, 'when OIL has invested in exploration, excavation and even transportation of OIL/Gas from Sorojoni, baruahnagar, Dipling, Merem, Duwarmora and Jeraipathar, there is no question that OIL will now not be willing to do the only remaining work of taking out OIL/Gas' (and leave that to the private companies).

Guwahati-based political commentator and economic analyst Adip Kumar Phukan says, “That argument is wrong. OIL couldn’t work in the Jeraipathar field because of local resistance. The government failed to assure people about the safety of the Rohmoria embankment near the field. However, OIL is still extracting oil from Sorojoni”. 

Also, who says that companies eager to bid are small companies? The second biggest group of Korea, ENI Group etc are not small companies in any parameter. 


With the various acts like the Coal Mines Nationalisation Act of 1973, Oil Field (Regulation and Development) Act of 1948, Petroleum and Natural Gas Rules of 1959, Petroleum and Minerals Pipeline Act of 1962, the citizens of India had given the authority to the central Government to become 'trustee' of the resources so that the resources are not used for commercial purposes, so that the resources are only used for the common welfare of the society without commercial baggages. The Govt. cannot become the AUCTIONEER of the property. They do not have the right to sell or lease the property of the people to a private entity. 

In his petition to the Court regarding the Coal allocation, advocate Sanjay Parikh had referred to the 39th article of the constitution which says the Govt of the people is only responsible for the natural resources and therefore cannot be the auctioneer of the same.

The Supreme Court in its judgement relating to Coal Allocation has pointed out that 'The Coal Mine Nationalisation Act and further amendments in 1976 do not allow PSUs to mine coal for commercial use. The auctioning processes has therefore blatantly defeated the legislative policy in the Act'., and hence giving it to private companies may be termed as illegal.

This worry and the other concerns are evident in the emotions of the wide scale protests in the streets of Assam. Unless there is transparency, white papers being circulated in the public, we the citizens have to protest against such Govt. actions that may be detrimental to the welfare of the common people at large.

Protests are specially required when our minister Mr. Pradhan blatantly brags about Rs. 4000 crores coming to Assam's economy and not explaining how. It is specially required when there is public knowledge of corruption getting into the system of privatisation. It is specially required when there is no concrete reason the state cannot do the same work that a private company can.

When we have made acts that natural resources should not exploited for commercial reasons, the State can therefore exploit the natural resources by undertaking losses if needed be, for the common good of the people in providing electricity and employment. The funny question is why would there be losses, when private companies are so eager about these fields.

Lastly, Assam wont be left behind if these Oil fields are not privatized and in fact India will learn a lesson or two from Assam being a forefront leader in terms of opposing corruption and anti-national exploitation of natural resources. There are hundred other industries where private capital can bring in a change in Assam, namely Food Processing, Fisheries and Muga/Edi Silk.. 

Why are Governments so anti-national? 

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Muslims Marry Multiple Times. Bullshit.

I get baffled when some of my friends tell me very emotionally that Muslims marry multiple times and have 3-4 children from each of his wives, for I have only seen and heard Hindu men marrying multiple times and having children from them. Although it does not mean that my friends are wrong, yet it means that they are not entirely right. It is a loaded biased statement to attribute multiple marriages and many kids to a religious community.  

I am a Hindu and I have 12 maternal and paternal uncles / aunties. My wife has 23 uncles and aunties from her Grand Father and his two brothers. Let me tell you that I am not alone in this number game, and neither were our grand parents belonged to the Muslim community. I have also known Hindu men who had two wives. In the generation and times of our Grandfathers, polygamy was more commonly seen and accepted in the Hindu society.

Yes, there may be cases of polygamy in Muslim families as well. But is it fair that we target a religion for polygamy and therefore higher birth rates?

Constitutionally, polygamy was made illegal only around 1956 by Pt. Nehru and Mr. Ambedkar. So social changes take time. Statistically, the birth rate of a Bangladesh Muslim woman is lower than a Hindu woman in India. The difference is starker when that Hindu woman is from Bihar.

So, this population theory accusing the religion of Islam is bullshit. It is seen that societies belonging to the lower socio-economic classification in terms of education and income have higher incidences of polygamy and higher birth rates. Religion has no long term relation to birth rates.

It is a appeal to the general society that lets not get xenophobic and spread untruth about certain communities, and instead spread peace between religions and class, by reading history, social sciences and worldly current affairs.

Humanity is above all. Love is supreme. Peace is paramount.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Rongali Bihu: A very Happy New Year for me.

I started the first day of this Assamese Year 1424 by touching the feet of my parents, asking for their blessings; and giving them small gifts of love. I am blessed to have got this opportunity for the second time in my aware adult life. But when I look around, there are not many old parents and not many children who are as fortunate. They live far away from each other.

Families in Assam are separated today, separated for economic reasons looking for a better life, for a better livelihood. We separate for a better education, and then for the lack of an employment opportunity in our home towns. I separated from my parents at the small age of 11 years when I got admissions to study in the prestigious Sainik School Goalpara in 1987. From then, till January 2014, I stayed away from my parents and my close family in almost all the festivals. The separation was became starker after I had started working in a full time job from 2001. The separation is temporary when you are away from your family for higher studies. It becomes semi-complete when you start working separately from your family, and then becomes complete when you marry and raise your own family away from your parents.

It is only when I had quit my job in Mumbai, shifted to a small town called Duliajan in Assam, and started staying with my parents, in the house built by my parents, that I started understanding and appreciating the significance of a simple family life with your parents and neighbors. It is surprising that the idea of progress has somehow become an anti-thesis to a happy joint family life.


Everyone needs a house to live in, but a family of elders and children inside makes it a home. A home is where one learns the softer aspects of life. A school gives us technical education in various subjects. It makes us eligible for a career. A job gives us experience in doing a particular commercial activity, and gives us money in return. A home and a family gives us love, gives us unconditional support and teaches us the values and frailties of human life.

Our home and our family teaches us the values of tradition, of relationships, of money, of happiness and sadness. It lets us experience old age through the eyes of our grand parents and then our own parents. It makes us modest about the inevitability of the disabilities that comes with age. Most importantly, our family helps in binding us to the values. We may dislike the binding that a family builds around you when we are young and rebellious, but my impression is that we will cherish those bindings and strict rules, as we grow older and wiser.

Surely, our families cause a bit of heart-ache as well. For instance, I have come to realise that in every dispute between parent and child, both cannot be right, but they may be, and usually are both wrong. Interestingly, it is this situation that gives family life its peculiar charm.


There is no denying the fact that it is difficult to earn a good living in a society which is not doing well in terms of a healthy business environment. Assam and its economy could not flourish to give its citizens enough jobs and business opportunities. Secondly, our education made us 'un-suitable' for agricultural handwork and income. Agriculture being our primary occupation traditionally lost its charm as a career avenue and that caused a lot of strain on our societies and families. It became one of the major reason for the separation in our family systems. It led to 'un-naturally rapid' work-led migration from villages to urban areas in the state and outside the state.

Economic life in a village, staying with your family, was centred around cooperation and coordination. It was based on sweet (sometime sour) relationships. The whole village was a well-oiled support system for an individual in his economic, social and spiritual journey of life. In contrast, life in an urban area is isolated, individualistic and materialistic. Materialism after a certain threshold becomes competitive and leads an individual away from the cosy comforts of a family.

Also, the economic life of a village could not connect to the markets of the urban economy and the produce of a rural economy couldn't demand its rightful value in the globalised economy of today. As a result, the rural economy didn't get efficient. Adding to that was the land availability for a growing family. This was a concern in the smaller towns and villages closer to towns where land ownership was not enough for a growing family. Children had to move out in search of a career to other regions of the state, and mostly outside the state.

Lastly the manufacturing and the service sector didn't mushroom in our state due to various reasons which could have created many jobs for the youth of our families.


I want to tell my story in a small town with no family land, after living the life of a highly paid MNC employee in the most urban of urban cities, Mumbai; with a hope that perhaps it can be a thinking point to leave the logically obvious lucrative urban individual life.

It is quite obvious that I feel quite strongly that it is more fulfilling to be with your parents and your children growing up with your grand parents, grand uncles and aunties. I would never go back to Mumbai. I have been refusing lucrative job offers that have come my way to take me back to Mumbai.

I am happy. It is surprising even for my wife and so it may surprise you as well. I need to tell you that  that simple reason why I am happy is because I have made my life simpler, easy. My easy life like everybody else's, revolves around a few beliefs. My beliefs are just simpler and basic.
  1. Knowing to keep yourself busy is the first step to happiness.
  2. Although it is better if you get to do what you love, to earn a living, yet there is nothing worse than not doing anything for the want of doing something you love.
  3. Handwork and focus guarantees your objectives in life within a justifiable time frame. No point in getting impatient. 
  4. Your life is as good as the good that you do. Being good is about trying to be truthful, not thinking ill about anybody and not doing anything that may harm any third party emotionally or physically.
  5. Believe in the dignity of labour irrespective of the kind of labour that you put in. The society loves or hates you because of your character or nature; definitely not because of the kind of labour that you do.
  6. You become a better person if you can sacrifice your immediate happiness to take care of your parents and elders.

These are easy beliefs that everyone is aware of and the good news is that they work.

I had my plans when I left Mumbai. They didn't materialise, given that the complicated planning was done in Mumbai without studying ground realities of a small town, and my own abilities to organise a business. When you work for someone, you only acquire skills. You do not become enterprising. I didn't learn to become a businessman.

To keep myself busy, I had my fallback options ready. We had a small shop with a tailor and a few embroidery machine. My parents had established that shop to retail school uniforms and to take orders for embroidery. Since my parents had practically retired from the business, the shop was making losses. I was never involved in the business, but without a second thought, I started attending the shop. With time, the shop had its own ways to keep me busy. It gave me ideas that can be tried. I didn't care about the tag of being a shopkeeper and started investing time and money into the shop. I had the advantage of knowing computers that helped us plan better. I had the advantage of language and experience of living in Mumbai to get supplies directly from manufacturing hubs, in order to offer a competitive price for school uniforms. I could understand the intricacies of the business within no time and the business peaked up after the first 6 months.

It was easy and I was less stressed. More than that I was having breakfast, lunch and dinner at my home with my family: my parents, my wife and my two dogs.

I am happy with my easy life. I even take a nap in the afternoon once in a while. Even when I am busy, I am busy with my own work that matters to me directly. I get time to clip the nails of my parents, shave my dad's beard, visit my relative's place and get to know about my family history. These are small pleasures of life that completes your life.

Embedded below is a video of Jon Jandai who had given me inspiration about leading a simpler life and a happier life.

Monday, April 11, 2016

Bangladeshi Immigration is a non-issue for Assam.

A garment factory in Bangladesh
This Assam Elections will perhaps be the last election that will be fought on the issue of Bangladeshi immigration to Assam. In fact, I would stick my neck out and opine that we should not vote for people whose only agenda is against Bangladeshi immigration.

The reasons why poorest of the poor Bdeshi(s) had been coming to Assam, have ceased to exist. Why do I think so?
  1. Assam was a top 5 economic power when India got independence. Partition, high population
    density, cyclones, poverty had therefore pushed people to a more prosperous and proximate region, Assam. Today, Assam is in the bottom in terms of economic development.
  2. Earlier, land was easily available in Assam. Social resistance to accept them were lesser. Not anymore. Also, micro-agriculture is no longer as profitable. Perception wise, Assam does not offer opportunities anymore. It is not attractive.
  3. Other Indian regions like Mumbai, Bangalore, Hyderabad offers better opportunities for Bangladeshi immigrants than Assam in terms of jobs.
  4. Bangladesh is now the garment manufacturing hub globally. It is the 5th largest exporters of bicycles to Europe. BRAC has done wonders for employment. Enormous job creation and its percolating benefits have started working in Bangladesh. Assam (and India) is practically nowhere in comparison.
    A happy woman worker in Bangladesh
  5. Women employment (36%), women literacy (86% of males) is better than India's; fertility rate, most interestingly is lower than Hindu women in India. All social indicators of B'desh is better than India's which will have long term positive effects. (Interesting because lot of us think Muslims have higher fertility rates..haha!)
Hence I think it will be foolish to vote for any party which is claiming to stop B'deshi infiltration. It has stopped already.. To add, if VISA restrictions are lifted, Assamese will go to B'desh to work in those manufacturing factories as labourers.

So Vote Wisely. PS: I am not an anti-national singing paeans for a different country. I love Assam and India. I am just giving out information to prove that Assam needs development and jobs, million times more than a rhetoric of stopping Muslim B’deshi immigration, and accepting Hindu B’Deshi.

Bhagat Singh's 'Long Live the Revolution' and its relevance today.

Bhagat Singh - Long Live the Revolution
Shaheed Bhagat Singh always argued for the phrase 'Long Live the Revolution' (Inquilab Zindabad).

Once, a distinguished editor, Ramanand Chatterji ridiculed the slogan asking Bhagat Singh its exact meaning. He wrote, "when a desire is expressed for revolutions to live long, is it desired that the revolutionary process should be at work every hour, day, week, month and year of our lives? In other words, are we to have a revolution as often as possible?"

Bhagat Singh gave a brilliant response to this article which one must read, for it is relevant even today. He said, "Revolution is the spirit, the longing for a change for the better. People generally get accustomed to the established order of things and begin to tremble at the very idea of a change. It is this lethargic spirit that needs to be replaced by the revolutionary spirit. Otherwise degeneration gains the upper hand and the whole humanity is led astray by the reactionary forces. Such a state of affairs leads to stagnation and paralysis in human progress. The spirit of revolution should always permeate the soul of humanity.. old order should change, always and ever, yielding place to new, so that one good order may not corrupt the world. It is in this sense that we raise the shout: Long Live the Revolution. By long usage this cry achieves a significance which may not be quite justifiable from the grammatical or etymological point of view, but nevertheless we cannot abstract from that the association of idea connected with that."

In the age of the Internet, I see that we are moving away from revolutionary ideas to binary ideas: one or zero. Even though we know life is a shade of grey, we assume our beliefs in either black of white. Anti-capitalism is pro-communism. Pro-state enterprises is anti-capitalism. Anti-BJP is Pro-Congress. Pro-bangladeshi stand is pro-Muslim / a religious stand. Pro-kashmir plebiscite is anti-India. Not liking 'Bharat Mata Ki Jai" is Pro-Muslim or Pro Pakistan. Similarly, a short skirt means 'being available', and anti-short skirt means conservative. Having a boyfriend is not having a good ‘character’. Pro-housewife is against women independence. Pro-customs is against modernisation... and so on and so forth. These are kinds of binary justifications, Bhagat Singh believed, that make the society reactionary.

Bhagat Singh believed that Revolution can only survive in the shades of grey. Revolution survives in constant questioning of status quo. Revolution survives in finding those answers by reading books, debates and discussions. If we won't ask the questions then we won't find the answers.

Why a section of the students of one of the top universities find nothing wrong in the Azaadi of Kashmir?

What has led to the birth of ULFA, and why is it still alive after the Army (and political leaders) have used all its might, causing thousands of deaths, to annihilate its very existence?

Why is a private refinery, the biggest refinery in the Sovereign Socialist Secular Democratic Republic (Preamble) - India, when the top 5 profitable companies of the world are state run companies?

Why Muslims are considered a minority in the Sovereign Socialist Secular Democratic Republic, when religion should not have been a factor and when there are thousands of tribes and clans which are not only ‘minorities’ but also getting extinct by poverty?

What has made a nationalist Ahom (a royal tribe in Assam) not bothered about his long lost religious practices, but concerned about being a Hindu, which is not his original religion?

Why a general Digbol youth have not heard of ‘Raw Petroleum Coke’ when Digbol was the first plant in Asia to produce PetCoke?

Why is the Sericulture department of Lakhimpur College shut down, when Lakhimpur district used to produce the maximum silk (Muga) yarns for centuries?

Why is the FCI not buying a single kg of rice produced in Assam, citing higher moisture content, when distribution advantage within Assam of Assam produce far outweighs the storage disadvantage of high moisture rice?

What has made Bangladesh a garments powerhouse when its next door neighbour, (and a much less populated) Assam is languishing in its tears of poverty and unemployment?

With a broad objective held as sacrosanct, we have to keep questioning the status quo to arrive at revolutionary ideas to change the society for better. Bhagat Singh had equality of rights, opportunities, gender as his broad sacrosanct objective and dedicated his life to reading, questioning and sacrifice. A 23 year old Bhagat Singh once said, “Ma, I have no doubt that my country will be one day free. But I am afraid that the brown sahibs are going to sit in the chairs the white sahibs will vacate”. This I believe is the best example of an outcome that a 23 year old can achieve through ‘constant questioning’, ‘constant reading’ and with a ‘revolutionary spirit’.

Change is the only constant. Bhagat Singh said, “No change is possible without the destruction of the antiquated system. That was what stood like a wall in the way of progress. Philosophers had interpreted the world in different ways. But the real point was to change it. Revolution alone could do so”.

Long Live the Revolution.

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Travelogue: Ride to the Mayudia Pass.

Mayudia Pass, Arunachal Pradesh is one of the snow-covered passes in India that connects India and China. It is a treat for the adventure lover, with roads passing through highways, riverbeds, pebbled roads and small idyllic villages. Mayudia / Mayodia got its name from a Nepali girl, Maya, who vanished in the snow and could not be traced.

Mayudia Pass is accessible via Assam. If you are travelling by train, the end train station is Tinsukia. If you are flying, then book your tickets till Dibrugarh. You can come to Tinsukia, stay the night and then rent a car for the journey ahead. I won't elaborate on travel agents and such facilities, as this blog is primarily for riders (motorbikes and cars) who are looking for directions, lodging and other such travel information for their trip to Mayudia.

The last major town before Mayudia (Mayodia) is Roing. There are two routes to reach Roing in Arunachal Pradesh from Tinsukia which bifurcates at Rupai Siding which is around 35 kms of straight highway via Doomdooma. Rupai Siding is around 2 kms before the Rupai town.

Sadiya Route (NH-37):
Rupai Siding -- Sadiya -- Dholla Ghat -- Sadiya -- Shantipur -- Roing -- Mayudia

Tengapani Route (NH-52):
Rupai Siding -- Kakopothar -- Dirak Gate -- Mahadevpur -- Tengapani (Golden Pagoda) -- Alubari Ghat -- 27th Mile (NH-52) -- Straight 4 lane road through river beds up to a T-junction where you have to turn right to Roing -- Mayudia.

I would recommend the Tengapani route because of the river beds and the Golden Pagoda in Tengapani. The route is more scenic as well. One can stay for a night or two at the Golden Pagoda Resort which surely would be a beautiful experience. There are ample number of rooms and one can get accommodation quite easily.

Golden Pagoda Eco-Resort
Noi-Chenam, Tengapani, PO: Namsai, Dist: Namsai AP
9863399623, 9863316708

It is around 75 kilometres to Roing from the Golden Pagoda at Tengapani. The ride to Roing is fun and adventurous with a ferry ride at Alubari Ghat, multiple river beds with bridges being built on the highway and a sleek wide empty highway to speed up a little.

Mayudia is 50 kilometres from Roing and it takes 2 hours and 30 minutes for a first time driver. The common practice is to book a hotel room in Roing and leave for Mayudia in the early morning to be back by the same day. Most tourist guides would advise a one night stay in Roing. There are three hotels in Roing and the one that offers the cleanest stay is D.S. Hotel and Resort. You may call 08416088898 (M) or 03803-222678 (L) and book your room well in advance. It is a wit bit difficult to get rooms during the winters.

Mayudia is located in the Dibang Valley and is quite interior. The closest village is Tewari Gaon. It doesn't have any shops to buy any items of convenience. Fortunately, it has two lodging facilities without much amenities. One is the Mayudia Guest cum Coffee House, which was originally a restaurant but has been converted to have seven small rooms. Above the coffee house, there is a IB of the Forest Department.

We had met a young guy named Pasong (08670843198) who manages the coffee house and can help you find accommodation. The IB is haunted according to folklore, but we stayed in that IB without any issue. Yes it was a bit scary. It is managed by a Nepali old man by the name, Daju. He didn't carry a phone.

Mayudia, Arunachal Pradesh, Assam
Mayudia Pass, Arunachal Pradesh
You find snow in the Pass, which is 3 kms from the Mayudia Coffee House. The road to Mayudia is less traveled, narrow and dangerous with twists and turns. There is a village by the name of Tewari Gaon which is 22 kms ahead of Mayudia. One has to be quite careful crossing the snow laden highway. The road is covered with ice sheets and it is very slippery. There is no way brakes would work. Cars have to maintain a momentum at first gear to cross the ice laden roads. Bikers must be prepared to fall a few times crossing the pass. That is inevitable.

When you are travelling on your own, it may so happen that you have to stay the night in Mayudia because of bad roads or any other bad luck. So it is advisable that you carry enough food for a night or two. The coffee house and the IB offers basic food like Maggi. You may carry fresh chicken or meat. You can request for firewoods to cook your own meal.

The last fuel station is in Roing, but it is better to tank up in Namsai which is a few kilometres behind Tengapani Golden Pagoda. While going to Tengapani from Mahadevpur, there is a T junction which, on its left takes you to the Namsai Village. In the entrance of that road, there is this fuel station where there is a guarantee of getting fuel. Fuel is cheaper in Arunachal Pradesh as compared to Assam.

The last ATM is in Roing, but it is likely that they will be out of cash. So it is advisable to carry enough cash before entering Arunachal Pradesh. I travelled in December 2015 and surely things will improve with time.

The best time to come to Mayudia is from latter part of December to the end of March. It witnesses heavy snowfall in January and February, and it sometimes continues till April.

Happy Journey!

Few clicks to complete the t-blog.

Golden Pagoda, Tengapani, Arunachal Pradesh, India
Golden Pagoda Resort at night.
Mayudia, Arunachal Pradesh
Golden Pagoda at Tengapani, Arunachal Pradesh.
Mayudia, Arunachal Pradesh, Assam
On the way to Mayudia after Tewari Goan
Mayudia, Arunachal Pradesh, Assam
Riding along the river beds of Luit..
Mayudia, Arunachal Pradesh, Assam
The icy road at Mayudia Pass, Dibang Valley
Mayudia, Shela Pass, Arunachal Pradesh
The icy road at Mayudia Pass, Roing, Arunachal Pradesh
Mayudia, Arunachal Pradesh, India
Mayodia Guest cum Coffee House and the IB above
Alubari Ghat, Arunachal Pradesh
Arunachal Pradesh, India
On the way to Alubari Ghat, Arunachal Pradesh