BAHUJAN: The Aam Aadami Party High Command has decided to cultivate the Bahujan Samaj vote by replacing Elvis Gomes with Rahul Mhambre
BY RAJAN NARAYAN
AND a few stray thoughts for yet another Saturday. For a Saturday following the week when the three new farm bills will be the death sentence of the farming community. For a Saturday following the week when the SSR drama is coming to an end with the announcement of the Bihar election. For a Saturday following the week when Elvis Gomes who quit as convenor of the AAP also lost his opportunity to be upgraded to the IAS. For a Saturday following the week when there seems to be total confusion on the organisation of the Indian Football League (IFL) schedule in November. For a Saturday following the week when people had to be reminded that the mask is not a scarf to be worn around the neck.
And a few stray thoughts on why the three food bills that had been pass by parliament will be the death symptoms of farmers. Whether it is demonetisation or GST, the country should first have the infrastructure for their implementation. In most countries of the West it’s the housewife or maid who cooks the food needed for the entire week. The food is stored in the deep freeze and separate containers and members of the family help themselves to whatever food they want to re-hat and eat.
Except perhaps for breakfast, lunch and dinner are invariably taken from the deep freeze or fridge and heated up for meals in the microwave or oven or over the gas stove. Goans because of over 500 years of colonial rule seem to have adopted the practice. Particularly, Goans belonging to the minority community. This starts from the raw material stage itself. Most westerners and upmarket Goans do not step into the slush of the Panjim or Margao markets. Perhaps the only exception is the Mapusa Friday market as it has such a wide range of products that it has become a tourism attraction.
MOST middle class and well-to-do now prefer to visit supermarkets or the malls that have come up in the metropolitan cities. While shopping they pick up deeply frozen fish, meat cuts, chicken and other non-vegetarian items. Many Goans who unlike in the rest of the country relish the famous Malabar parathas for breakfast. The exception is Punjab where they cannot do without their whole wheat shallow fried paratha for breakfast. A lot of the whole food cold chain depends on refrigeration. The fish that is caught mid-sea is transferred to refrigerated ships. From the refrigerated ships it is transferred to refrigerated trucks. From there they go to cold storages which are there at every corner of London or New York, and increasingly in Goa.
The consumer picks the frozen food from his or her favourite place and puts it in the deep freeze at home. The housewife or in families where both husband and wife work, a maid may come in once a week to do mass cooking for the entire week. A practice which has becoming increasingly common in Catholic homes even in Goa. There are local specialist cooks who go from home to home preparing whatever curries and food that is required for the week. Covid-19 has made the situation worse with most senior citizens and house wives reluctant to go cold to storages or supermarkets or malls out of the fear that they may get infected, or to avoid the inconvenience and long wait because of the Covid-19 security in place. One is constantly advised to enter the shop and maintain a metre’s distance, at least officially.
In most of India and particularly down south we have become accustomed to eating our lunch and dinner as freshly cooked meals. Also, in some cases the only concession made in families where everyone is out working is that all the cooking for the day is done in the morning, so that the left overs can be consumed at night. The three new food bills for passed are intended for highly westernised countries which have a proper infrastructure of cold storages to preserve the fresh food.
So that it can be eaten anytime but a warning! If you are using food purchased from the supermarket you must store it at home in the deep freeze compartment of your refrigerator. This way it will store for weeks without spoiling. Modi wants to convert India to London or New York overnight! This is not possible in a country where there is so much poverty that most citizens of India have to earn an income to buy the raw materials required to cook food every day. There is no question of their buying large quantities of food to store in frigidaire.
It is universally agreed that fresh food from farm to table is the most nutritious. If the extent of gastric problems is very severe in western countries it is primarily because of the tradition of consuming de-frozen foods. Unlike the average Indian who has to use the washroom every day and very often more than once a day; in fact, we find many western friends may go without evacuating their bowels for days at a stretch!
AND A few stray thoughts on the beginning and end of the Sushant Singh Rajput investigation melodrama. The excitement was rising by the day, because of the close approach of the Bihar election. The Bihar Chief Minister Nikhil Kumar who is in partnership with the BJP Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Modi who has been fanning the flames. It began as a simple suicide with the body of SSR reportedly (as per staff and police) found hanging from the fan in his room just before noon time. This lead to allegations by the family of SSR that he was their ladla beta who cheated, drugged and murdered at the behest of live-in girlfriend Rhea Chakraborty. At some stage Rajput’s sister entered the act, claiming that Rhea was responsible for her brother’s drug addiction.
FROM mystery suicide the focus shifted to the biggest ever drug scam in Bollywood. Gradually, all the big fish were implicated starting with Deepika Padukone to Karan Johar who owns Dharma Productions. The primary grievance accusation of SSR family was that the kingpins of Bollywood families were jealous of SSR’s success, he had played the role of MS Dhoni; and they started boycotting him and teaching him a few lessons in scorning Bollywood.
The theory is that it was this boycott that caused SSR to go into depression and which later was responsible for his suicide, if suicide it was. Fellow actor Kangana Ranaut who like SSR is an outsider, who never fitted in with the Bollywood mafia, joined the game and started abusing everyone in Bollywood starting with Mahesh Bhatt to Karan Johar.
While coincidently the main drug users were out shooting and holidaying in Goa, when the charges of storage, using and peddling drugs were aised, pointing fingers at Deepika Padukone and Karan Johar and their managers. But with the elections schedule in Bihar already being announced the temperature has started going down. The narcotics burea has declared that there is no proof to implicate Deepika Padukone in the narcotics case. Mere WhatsApp messaged do not constitute as sufficient evidence. The Narcotics Control Bureau has reportedly given a clean chit to Deepika Padukone, Sara Ali Khan (daughter of Saif Ali Khan) and Shraddha Kapoor (daughter of Shakti Kapoor). The Mumbai High Court ruled that pointing out that the mere use of the word “maal” does not necessary refer to drugs. As it was a common word that has travelled widely over generations and now become an expression often left out in polite conversation. Its meaning need not necessarily indicate the use of drugs but it could be a slang or code word for money, just wealth or alcohol, now even a derogatory reference to a young women.
As in “Kya maal hai!” which was an expression used by the controversial editor MJ Akbar (founder editor of `Sunday’ and the Foreign External Affairs minister of the BJP). I recall attending a party in Mumbai where a Singh bandu were performing at informal gatherings. The unique aspect of the Singh Bandus was that one of them was blind and the other was a senior income tax officer. Now talk of “Kya maal hai!” and drugs is ending. The only once still in trouble is Rhea Chakraborty who is still in police custody. The court has refused her bail applications. The one controversy that refuses to fade is whether SSR committed suicide or was murdered. The hospital which did the post-mortem does not have the pictures or full profile of the autopsy dissection.
With the end of the Bihar elections the noise particularly on Republic TV will cease and you will get to hear and know about other developments like the brutal rape of a 17-year-old Dalit girl in Agra and this will now usher in a fresh controversy as the BHIM Sena, an organisation of dalits, has taken up the issue.
AND a few stray thoughts on Elvis Gomes, former convenor of Aam Adami party receiving another shock. Elvis Gomes who was one of the most respected and popular officers of the Goa Civil Service was due for promotion to the Indian Administrative Service at the time he resigned and joined AAP. He was perhaps disgusted over the long delay in his elevation to the IAS cadre.
INDIAN GOVERNMENT SERVICES
TO understand this more clearly it is necessary to explain the administrative structure in the country. Every state in the country has its own civil service cadre which is in charge of various departments like health, industry, education, etc. Independently of the Goa civil cadre which used to administer the State there is also an Indian Administrative Service which is the topmost level of administration in the country and reports directly to the Home Minister.
The Indian Administrative Services include the Indian Police Service, the Indian Forest Service, the Indian Railway Service, the Indian Revenue Service which presides over revenue departments like income tax, the enforcement directorate and other financial services and even an Indian textile services which looks after the textile industry in the country as a whole.
The State Civil Service cadres report to the Indian administrative officers who are far superior to them in rank. The officers of the IAS are recruited directly by the Union Public Service Commission through a common example which is open to everyone in the country. In contrast the officers of the Goa Civil Service are recruited by the Goa Public Service Commission. There is provision for a quota where by after a certain number of years and depending on the efficiency of the State officer they are promoted to the Indian Administrative Services. The contrast in the status between the State service cadre and the IAS is that the central service cadre officers become collectors of a particular district directly after passing the exams.
In sharp contrast it is only ten or 20 years service that a Goa civil service officer can get promoted to the IAS. A lot also depends on the Chief Minister and his equation with the home minister. The Chief Minister can recommend the out of turn promotion of a Goa Civil service officer. The tragedy of Goa is that it was not until 1987 that Goa became a full-fledged state. Till then between 1961 and 1987 Goa was only a Union territory.
IN the case of Union territories all the top officials are recruited directly by the UPSC. At the time of liberation all the top technical account officers were either Portuguese or Goans trusted by the Portuguese administration. Which is why during the period between Goa’s Liberation and status as a Union territory and its declaration as a State most of the senior officers were outsiders.
Even now the top officers in the Electricity department and Water Resources department who were recruited through the UPSC as junior engineers and have reached the stage of executive engineers are not eligible for the post of chief engineer. The reason why Goa remained a Union territory for 26 years was because India is organised on a linguistic basis. Since Goa did not have an official language of its own till 1987 it was not entitled to its own quota of the national service cadres. Instead several small State and Union territories were clubbed together to form Assam, Goa, Meghalaya, Uttrakhand which are commonly referred to as AGMU cadre. I suspect that Elvis Gomes took premature retirement and became the convenor of AAP out of frustration over not being promoted to the IAS.
Ironically just a few days after he quit as convenor of AAP the new list of promotion to the IAS was announced and it was topped by Elvis. But, unfortunately since Elvis tendered his voluntary resignation from the Goa civil cadre, he is not eligible for the promotion that has come at last. Among the others who have been promoted is the high profile Goa Civil Service office and Commissioner of the City of Panaji, Sanjit Rodrigues.
I suspect that AAP may have come to the conclusion that it cannot make any progress in Goa with a Catholic as its convenor. There is a section within the AAP leadership in Delhi that also believes that the top leadership of the party in Goa is dominated by the GSB community. The Panaji candidate against Manohar Parrikar in 2017 election was Valmiki Naik, who was the son of Konkani mogi Datta Naik, who was not only a Saraswat but a friend and mentor of the late chief minister of Goa Manohar Parrikar. During the Panaji elections it is suspected that Parrikar went to visit an ailing Datta Naik, who was suffering from mild case of Alzeimer’s, to see if he could persuade his son to withdraw from the contest, as this would divide the Saraswat vote. Datta Naik who passed on recently needs to distinguished from the other distinguished Datta Naik of Margao, who is the founder of Commonwealth Builders and owns the popular Monginis franchise in Goa.
AAP’s Delhi leaders also apparently believe that the party in Goa should seek to mobilize the support of the Bahujan Samaj as Dayanand Bandodkar had done in Goa’s first election. It came as a major shock to the first prime minister of the country, Jawaharlal Nehru, and other senior Congressmen that the MGP under the leadership of Dayanand Bandodkar should have won the first Assembly election in Goa. Which is what made Jawharlal Nehru describe Goans as ajeeb for not voting for the party which had liberated Goa!
AND a last stray thought on the continuing increase in number of Covid-19 cases. Some doctors have pointed out that most Goans seem to use the mask more as a scarf, which defeats the purpose. If your mouth is left half open or loosely wrapped to enable conversation, it will obviously spread the infection to anyone nearby!