The Indian Herald

The Indian Herald

April 28, 2016

BJP trains guns on Sonia Gandhi over AugustaWestland scam, Congress denies charges, calls it 'character assassination'

United Progressive Alliance (UPA) chairperson Sonia Gandhi has landed in a soup over the Augusta Westland deal.

The BJP has said that the conviction in Italian courts, clearly points towards a scam and serious irregularities on part of UPA government.

BJP leader Subramanian Swamy has said that Sonia Gandhi was allegedly involved in court proceedings of the scam in Italy.

The Rajya Sabha saw acrimonious scenes after Swamy raised the issue. It was in 2010, when the UPA had signed a contract with UK-based helicopter firm AugustaWestland to buy 12 helicopters for IAF for Rs 3,600 crore.

In February 2013, italian police had arrested firm's CEO and another official for paying briges to win the deal with IAF. After the development, the then Congress-led UPA government had cancelled the deal.

In the judgment, Italian court mentions conversations and there is a mention of 'Mrs Gandhi' and 'her closest advisers'. BJP has alleged that the Congress leaders were involved and has said that party should come clean.

The Congress has, however, said that it was during UPA regime that the AugustaWestland company was black-listed. It says that the BJP is acting desperately and is targeting Sonia Gandhi, unnecessarily. The party has claimed that it was character assassination.

TIH Bureau

HRD minister Smriti Irani's proposal to teach Sanskrit in IITs invites ridicule, social media users criticise plan to promote 'dead language'

Union Minister for HRD Smriti Irani is again in the midst of controversy and is facing criticism.

The reason is her plan to teach Sanskrit in Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs).

The proposal has met with ridicule, as Sanskrit, an ancient language of the priestly class among Brahmins, has never been a spoken language in India.

Yet, comes the bizarre proposal from the Human Resources Development Ministry. The population that can speak the language is minuscule and comprise mostly of Brahmin priests or students in Sanskrit colleges but even proficiency of the few thousands who claim to speak, is doubtful.

Twitterati reacted with shock. Many made fun of the proposal. However, there were some who wanted it to be revived as it is an ancient language and is considered to have an influence on other living languages.

The social media reaction on Facebook was equally unsparing. The reason is that Sanskrit was used by Brahmin priestly class and was never a spoken language among masses.

Even the priestly class didn't use it for conversation in ancient era, when Prakrit was the language of communication. The lower caste were not allowed to even learn the language and there was strict punishment for the 'crime'.

However, right-wing Hindutva groups have been proponents of the ancient language. HRD ministry has invited flak for several decisions in recent months. "Teach nuclear physics to students literature", wrote a Facebook user, to express his outrage over the proposal.

TIH Bureau

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