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BJP seems to have lost its way

The Kashmir Monitor

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By Saba Naqvi

As a long-time BJP watcher, what is happening now is not making sense to me. Having suffered a setback in the assembly polls (in spite of a creditable fight-back in two states), in the days leading up to the poll results, the actions of the party cause confusion.

Yes, it’s clear that hard Hindutva is on the cards between now and the national elections that will begin in about four months. But hardline politics is also calibrated in ways that make sense – what we have now is utter mayhem, designed to put off the middle-of-the-road voter who bought the message of change and hope offered by Narendra Modi in 2014.

 

I write this piece after seeing footage of crowds gathered in Delhi on a call issued by the RSS and VHP to demand a law to build a Ram Mandir at Ayodhya, just days before the results came and the winter session of the Parliament began. As the crowds march on, they shout: “Ek Dhaka aur do/ Jama masjid tod do” (One more push/ bring down the Jama Masjid (of Delhi). I would appeal to the police to take action against those inciting violence, and to the Imam of the masjid to file an FIR.

Is Yogi Adityanath now the face of the politics of the BJP as he campaigned more in these assembly elections than the prime minister? I ask because the over-projection of Yogi Adityanath in these rounds of assembly elections, where hard Hindutva was not really a public issue, is perplexing.

Shivraj Singh Chauhan, who has given a creditable fight-back after three terms, said so in an interview to a leading national daily before voting day. He stated that issues such as the Ram Mandir have their place but are not important in assembly elections that are fought on development and economic issues.

Yet, there was Yogi, traversing regions that he does not rule, while a policeman was shot dead in his own state. He made memorable interventions such as ‘It’s Ali vs Bajrangbali’; “AsadOwaisi will have to flee when the BJP comes to power in Hyderabad”; “the name of Hyderabad will be changed when the BJP comes” and so on.

Borderline hate speeches by the man who is pressing ahead even as the reports from Uttar Pradesh are not encouraging for the BJP. Is he acting autonomously – or is this a strategy coordinated by the national leadership?

The huge mobilisation on the Ram mandir issues confuses as well. For the facts are simple – even if the BJP were to bring an ordinance declaring that a Ram mandir is built at Ayodhya, it would be legally overturned and not be possible to build it as a clutch of cases linked to Ayodhya are being heard in the Supreme Court. The schedule announced by the court does not match the election schedule where the BJP will be on test.

Why then is the RSS now upping the ante for the Ram mandir – even though it’s impossible for the Modi government to deliver? Is the Sangh too doing so as part of a coordinated strategy or just asserting its own powers?

Linked to this is another question. The current display of mobocracy in Uttar Pradesh, where a mob shot dead a policeman in Bulandshahr and in Delhi, where the mob made hate speeches suggest the script is mayhem. But is it a script or are Yogi and the RSS now acting as autonomous units and pressure points on the BJP dispensation at the Centre?

All of the above brings us to the next question – is the BJP convinced that invoking Muslim hate is all that is required to win elections? Especially, as in Assam, there has been resistance, even by sections who support the BJP, to segregate Hindu and Muslim Bengalis and there is always a limit beyond which polarisation does not work?

Beyond ideological issues, let’s move to another point – the sheer abuse the BJP heaps on its opponents. Does the BJP not recognise that heaping abuse and threats on Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi makes them the underdogs and evokes sympathy? And making a tasteless remark about the widowhood of a woman whose husband was assassinated is really bad form from no less a figure than the Prime Minister?

Beyond ideological matters, the exit of RBI Governor Urijit Patel suggests another kind of institutional chaos. After what has happened in the CBI, does the party think that the middle class is so enamoured by the idea of hating Muslims that they are comfortable with institutional degradation? Does the party not worry that a section of the middle class that supports the idea of a strong leader because it suggests order may get put off when they see chaos?

The day before the assembly polls result were declared, an NDA ally, UpendraKushwaha, who has three MPs in Parliament, quit the government. As a member of a caste-based party with some clout in Bihar, this is not a good sign for the BJP in a state where politics works strictly on the arithmetic of caste and community. Another NDA ally, JitanramMajhi, had already left and joined the opposition led by Laloo Prasad Yadav’s RJD. (The joke in Delhi now is that if the ultimate weather-wane Ram Vilas Paswan exits NDA, then it’s certain that the BJP is in trouble).

There is also a caste insensitive strategy currently on display in Uttar Pradesh, the state from where the BJP got most of its MPs. Across the country, Yogi Adityanath may be only understood as a Hindutva hardliner. But within UP, the other dimension to his persona is that he is a Thakur (Gorakhnath Mutt, of which he is the head, is a Thakur order) to add to which Yogi is not diplomatic.

Inside the state, therefore, the CM is seen as promoting what is referred to as ‘Thakur-vaad’. This puts off other communities.

A Dalit MP from Bahraich in the state, with the evocative name of SavitribaiPhule, quit the party last week, saying the party does not work for social justice. Is the BJP not worried?

Most significantly, the state is home to most of the country’s Brahmins, who make up 10 per cent of the population and are a significant voter bloc. There has been a traditional Brahmin-Thakur rivalry (Thaks make up 8.5 per cent) that has only been accentuated by Adityanath Yogi’s lack of tact or finesse. In 2014, differences of caste were papered over by the Modi wave. Now, the resentments are simmering.

The direction in which the BJP is moving therefore no longer makes political sense.

There seems to be a loss of control over institutions, cadre and most significantly, the chief minister of the nation’s largest state, who does not take instructions from anyone. When a party begins to lose the battle of perception, it’s hard to control the slide if you just respond with chaos and if autonomous power centres chart their own scripts.


The Kashmir Monitor is the fastest growing newspaper as well as digitial platform covering news from all angles.

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Tech-Film

Xiaomi has been working on improvements for in-display fingerprint scanning

The Kashmir Monitor

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By Nancy Cohen

Fingerprint sensors—modern tools of convenience or awkwardly placed tools that are just plain difficult for instant use?

Aamir Siddiqui in XDA Developers is no stranger to the shortcomings in present-day in-display fingerprint scanners. He thinks they have “a long way to go before they can completely and perfectly replace the conventional fingerprint scanners,” but he foresees change.

 

“In-display fingerprint scanners are fast gaining popularity, and we are surely going to see a lot more of them in 2019. While the current generation in-display scanners may not be quicker or even more reliable than the conventional fingerprint scanners, future generations of this tech will continue to improve on these areas to provide a better experience.”

Better news does seem to be in the wings; The Verge’s Sam Byford, who covers Asia happenings, reported on in-display fingerprint sensors being worked on by Xiaomi.
The news revolves around a new type of in-display fingerprint scanner technology which has been confirmed by Xiaomi President and co-founder, Lin Bin. GSMArena similarly described a “next gen under display fingerprint scanner.”

The new sensor will solve one big issue, and that is being unable to unlock the phone without having to look at the screen. User to fingerprint sensor: Hey, you’re reading one tiny tiny area of my screen. Just.

“This means you have to be very specific about where you tap your finger, and makes it almost impossible to unlock your phone without looking at the display,” wrote Hadlee Simons in Android Authority.

Byford reported on a video demonstrating a prototype phone with a new fingerprint sensor that has an active area of 25 x 50mm. Translation: users could unlock it more easily by tapping, Byford said, “within a much larger region than the thumbprint-sized scanners found on several phones released last year.”

Siddiqui similarly noted that “Xiaomi claims that you can unlock the phone without looking at the screen now, which shows off their confidence in the larger recognition area.”

Bam-boom. “You can set up your finger with only one tap and then unlock the locked screen with pressing pretty much everywhere,” said GSMArena. Since the active authentication area is 25mm x 50.2mm, said Simons in Android Authority, “it’s an exponentially bigger area than that found on commercially available in-display fingerprint sensors right now.”

GSMArena added, “According to Lin Bin, the unlocking area is 50 mm by 25 mm, which is more than five times the UD area now and over 15 times the standard scanner on the back, used by Xiaomi.”

On Friday, Ajaay Srinivasan, The Mobile Indian provided some background: “The news comes from a video posted on Bin’s Weibo account which revealed the latest implementation of the advanced in-display fingerprint scanning technology. The video reveals a Xiaomi prototype device feature a new fingerprint unlock sensor which spans for an area that measures at 50 x 25 mm.”

Dates? Byford said Xiamoi president Lin Bin did not mention when such a device would become a shipping product.

GSMArena noted what Bin had to say moving forward. If it has a “great reception among fans, the company will consider placing the scanner in future devices.”

If you have ever fumbled around trying to access your fingerprint scanner, you will appreciate this video, posted on January 15, showing Xiaomi’s improved access design where unlocking does not mean you are required to look at the screen.

Beyond the obvious advantage of being able to access the scanner more easily on the screen, there is another plus that was noticed by Sahil Kapoor in iGyaan: “Notably, the fingerprint sensor appears to be very fast and accurate.”

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Xiaomi Mijia Laser Projector 4K With 150-Inch Virtual Screen Launched in China

The Kashmir Monitor

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Although ordinary projectors are still a popular option, laser projectors have been gaining prominence in the last couple of years. These projectors are designed differently, allowing for a shorter throw area and the ability to project even in a well-lit room. The latest laser projector to make the news comes from Chinese electronics company Xiaomi through its Mijia brand. The company has launched the Xiaomi Mijia Laser Projector 4K in China, priced at CNY 9,999 (approximately Rs. 1,05,000). As the name suggests, the projector sports a 4K resolution on its virtual 150-inch screen projection.

The new Xiaomi Mijia Laser Projector 4K is the successor to the previous Mijia Laser Projector, which was previously priced at CNY 9,999 but came with a full-HD resolution. The latest product keeps the price and virtual screen size the same, but bumps up the resolution to 4K (3840×2160 pixels).

For now, the product is available as a pre-sale offer, and can be booked for an advance payment of CNY 100 (approximately Rs. 1,050). As with other laser projectors, the Xiaomi Mijia Laser Projector 4K can be placed near a wall or projector screen, and directly project onto it from a short throw. This allows for easier placement as compared to traditional long-throw projectors, along with a virtual screen size of up to 150 inches.

 

The Xiaomi Mijia Laser Projector 4K comes with built-in speakers, three HDMI ports, one USB port, and sockets for audio and Ethernet cables. You also get smart connectivity with the MIUI TV interface and a remote to control the projector. Unlike the TV range, the projector is a part of the Mijia brand from Xiaomi.

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Ultimate Ears Boom 3 Wireless Speaker with ‘Magic Button’ Launched in India

The Kashmir Monitor

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Wireless speakers come in all shapes, sizes and prices, but there has been a tendency for certain products and brands to stand out from the competition. One such popular brand has been Ultimate Ears (UE), the personal audio manufacturer owned by Swiss computer peripherals manufacturer Logitech. The Boom range from Ultimate Ears has been among its most popular lines, and the latest product from the line is the Ultimate Ears Boom 3. The new wireless speaker has been launched in India, priced at Rs. 15,995.

The Ultimate Ears Boom 3 is set to go on sale on Amazon India starting January 17. The product will be available in three colour options – Black, Blue, and Red. The speaker comes with an IP67 water resistance rating, which means that it is certified to survive significant exposure to water and dust, and can therefore be used safely outdoors. Interestingly, the Ultimate Ears Boom 3 floats in water, a feature that would appeal to a lot of buyers.

Another new feature on the UE Boom 3 is the ‘Magic Button’, which is said to make music control and playback easier. The speaker does retain the cylindrical design of its predecessors, although the styling has been refreshed. However, the familiar ‘plus’ and ‘minus’ physical volume buttons are still there. The USB port has also been repositioned to make charging the speaker a bit easier.

 

As the successor to the capable Ultimate Ears Boom 2, the UE Boom 3 was launched in August last year globally, and has taken a few months to see a launch in India. Interestingly, the UE Boom 2 is also still on sale for around Rs . 10,000.

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