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Question

Greetings, Mr. Vir Sanghvi,
as an observer of Indian Politics for 11 years now, one question has always been nagging me-
Had Mrs. Indira Gandhi survived through 1984 elctions, would she have got another term or would Mr. Chandra Shekhar have become Prime Minister much earlier than 1990?
Also how was the mood in the country after Operation Bluestar? Was it supported by common people?

Posted By: Wingong Lingou  |  Posted On: 05 Apr 2020  |  City: Cape Town

Answer

 I am not sure that Mrs Gandhi would have won in 1984. Judging by Assembly election results, the Congress was on a downward spiral.
 
The mood post Bluestar was nauseating and disgusting. All parties hailed the operation as a major military triumph even though, in military terms, it was a debacle. Only Chandra Shekhar spoke out against it and was shunned by his colleagues. 
Doordarshan featured people like General Brar night after night and portrayed him as the conqueror of the Golden Temple. (Read Mark Telly's Amritsar for a detailed account.)
 
Nobody showed any sensitivity to Sikh sentiments. Most moderate Sikhs were horrified by Bhindranwale. But the government response in the post Bluestar phase upset even the moderates. 
 
Most people date the beginning of Hindu politics to the Bahri Masjid. I date it to the Punjab conflict. 

Question

Hi Vir, Your article on vegetarianism is quite intriguing & moral conclusion is bang on. The topic itself is very delicate and quite ancient. The curiosity
1. Why would using animal products (milk etc.) be equally bad for environment?
2. Any thoughts from religious & nutritious view point? Maybe there's unique protein element and effect on parasympathetic and sympathetic nervous system?
3. It's only Godmen / Priests who promoted vegetarianism - no religious text said so...e.g goddess Kali-Thou

Posted By: Mohit  |  Posted On: 12 Feb 2020  |  City: Toronto

Answer

 I am sceptical of the religious justifications for vegetarianism. As you correctly point out, ancient India was mostly non-vegetarian.
 
The environmental argument is strong. The breeding of animals for food (especially cows) has been shown to have detrimental affects on the environment. My point is that whether you breed cows for steaks or for milk, it doesn't make that much difference to the environment. Hence, the case for veganism.

Question

Congress and the BJP face off electorally only in Assam in 2021. And then we will have number of state elections as we build towards the 2024 general elections. How would access the progress congress party is making since their defeat in May 2019? They do have enough time to build a formidable organisation by the sense one gets they have even started the process. Your thoughts?

Posted By: MANISH KISHOR SHARMA  |  Posted On: 27 Jan 2020  |  City: DELHI

Answer

 It is possible that they have started the process though I have to say, in all honesty, that I believe that they have wasted these months. 

Question

Hi Vir,
Having read your piece long back where you suggested that India should be the natural home for all Hindus (read persecuted), Do you maintain the same views?

Posted By: Piyush Badiyani  |  Posted On: 26 Dec 2019  |  City: Vadodara

Answer

 Yes, I stand by everything I wrote in that article. 

Question

I remember you supporting the notion Hindus from Pakistan should be given Indian citizenship without any fuss. so do you support Modi government's new CAB on that line. a article from you would be much appreciated.

Posted By: Gaurav Goel  |  Posted On: 10 Dec 2019  |  City: Harrow

Answer

  I have already written about this and my position remains broadly the same. However, I have never said that Muslims should be denied refuge. Nor have I said that India should make laws about citizenship based on religion. 

Question

Please share your views about the new netflix show "Game Changer". What do you think about plant based diet and what are some ways to ensure vegetarian diet is balanced?

Posted By: Pratishtha   |  Posted On: 07 Nov 2019  |  City: Bangalore

Answer

 Sorry, have not seen it.

Question

Unless I'm mistaken you have been a strong Labour supporter your whole adult life. Does Jeremy Corbyn's strongly pro-Pakistani and anti-Indian stance on issues such as Kashmir concern you? Historically, why have the concerns of India-origin voters in the UK been completely ignored by Labour in contrast to the great importance given to the concerns of Pakistan-origin voters?

Posted By: Shalini  |  Posted On: 11 Oct 2019  |  City: Hull

Answer

 You're mistaken. I have not been a Labour supporter my entire life. I just don't have much time for the Tories.

Question

People including you put Modi and Indira in one category in terms of their power. But isn't there an additional way in which they are very similar? Having won huge election victories they both seem not to have had any substantive, detailed strategy or vision for India, but instead were/are content with just moving from populist trick to populist trick and show of power to show of power to retain popularity...

Posted By: Sruthijit  |  Posted On: 10 Sep 2019  |  City: Dubai

Answer

 No, Indira had a left wing vision of India. Modi has a Hindu vision of India. You're welcome to call it populism. But the changes they have made altered the country profoundly. 

Question

Hi Vir, Have found the just-out Savarkar biography by Vikram Sampath fascinating. Savarkar's rationalist critique of Hindu superstitions and cow worship, his almost Ambedkarite attack on the caste system makes it clear he wasn't in the RSS mould at all. Shouldn't liberals, especially today, take these "shades of saffron" more seriously? I'd love to see India get a non-crackpot (i.e. non RSS/Dinanath Batra-type) political Right with intelligent ideas...

Posted By: Soham  |  Posted On: 10 Sep 2019  |  City: Mumbai

Answer

 Here's my question. Shouldn't the RSS realize that at heart he wasn't one of them and stop venerating him? Let's sort that out first and then we will worry about liberals. 

Question

Hi Mr Sanghvi, tried the butter chicken at Daryaganj Aerocity today, only because of your recommendation. I didn't like it much, infact very little. Loads of tomato gravy and grilled chicken pieces in it. Not happening. I'd take a good dhaba any day. Or actually my mom's who roasts the chicken for hours on slow coal fire before building the gravy. Anyways, pls keep suggesting good places. Wait for your recommendations always..

Posted By: Veenu Grover  |  Posted On: 08 Sep 2019  |  City: New Delhi

Answer

 Fair enough. Respect your view.

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