Mean­while, in Varanasi

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avoided in an elec­tion. Its choice of can­di­dates has been abysmal. Its in­sen­si­tive han­dling has up­set loyal RSS and party foot­sol­diers while alien­at­ing tra­di­tional sup­port groups.

Above all, there is a nig­gling feel­ing of be­trayal as the city, whose MP is the Prime Min­is­ter of 2017 In­dia, grap­ples with pot­holed roads, chaotic traf­fic, col­laps­ing sew­er­age and moun­tains of garbage. As I dodged me­an­der­ing cows, rick­ety cy­cl­er­ick­shaws and im­pa­tient scooter­ists to cross a vir­tu­ally nonex­is­tent road without be­ing run over, I won­der what hap­pened to the prom­ise of twin­ning Varanasi and Ja­pan’s an­cient city of Ky­oto.

Plans and an­nounce­ments abound. But for the es­sen­tial Be­narasi steeped in the spir­i­tual and cul­tural her­itage of a city em­braced by Shiva in all three forms — ter­res­trial (the old city is built on three rocks that sup­pos­edly rep­re­sent the prongs of Shiva’s tri­dent), aquatic (the Ganga that flows past the an­cient ghats) and ce­les­tial — these smack of the philis­tine ap­proach of out­siders who spend too lit­tle time here to un­der­stand, ab­sorb and ap­pre­ci­ate the rich­ness of the Varanasi pal­ette.

Like the de­ci­sion to ap­point Union min­is­ter Ma­hesh Sharma to over­see the re­gen­er­a­tion of Varanasi. Sharma is a Vashisht Brah­min from western UP with sen­si­bil­i­ties as dif­fer­ent from those of the Saryu­parin Brah­mins who dom­i­nate Varanasi as chalk is from cheese. He had LED lights in­stalled at the ghats that turned their war­mglit­ter into a ghostly white glow.

Af­ter protests from res­i­dents, the LED bulbs were cov­ered with yel­low pa­per, but the ghats have lost their old lus­tre. Now, res­i­dents are fight­ing an­other plan to paint the ghats pink to give them a uni­form look. Paint, ac­cord­ing to them, will suf­fo­cate the sand­stone and cause cracks, apart from de­stroy­ing the unique look of each of the 87 ghats.

BJP sup­port­ers whis­per of an un­der­cur­rent of rest­less­ness and anger. Probing deeper, el­e­ments of the mood in Delhi dur­ing the 2015 state polls are vis­i­ble. There’s in­dig­na­tion over the de­nial of a ticket to seven-term sit­ting MLA from Varanasi South, Shyamdeo Roy Chaud­hary, pop­u­larly known as ‘Dada’.

He’s be­come the Harsh Vard­han of Varanasi. Like Vard­han, who was forced to give up his Kr­ishna Na­gar seat in Delhi for Ki­ran Bedi, Dada was eased out to make way for a po­lit­i­cal green­horn and nom­i­nee of the new high com­mand headed by Amit Shah, Neelka­nth Ti­wari.

Dada has ac­cepted his fate grace­fully, much like Vard­han did. But sullen re­sent­ment is pal­pa­ble among the rank and file. They see his marginal­i­sa­tion as a mes­sage to the cadre that there’s no room for the old guard in the Modi-Shah regime.

Dada is not the only weak link in the BJP’s cam­paign to win Varanasi. Traders, who form a key sup­port group, are up in arms. De­mon­eti­sa­tion has hit them badly with all tra­di­tional man­dis — from the sari and jew­ellery bazaars to the grain, ce­ment and steel mar­kets — re­port­ing heavy losses over the last few months.

They feel dou­bly cheated af­ter 30,000odd traders re­ceived in­come-tax no­tices re­gard­ing their bank de­posits since Novem­ber 8. A lead­ing trader who has never strayed from the saf­fron fold main­tains that rage has mounted into a con­sen­sus that the BJP must be pun­ished for turn­ing on its core con­stituency in such a sav­age man­ner.

It bog­gles the mind that Varanasi can re­main un­touched if in­deed there is a wave favour­ing the BJP, as its cheer­lead­ers claim. But noth­ing is over till the EVMs are sealed and de­liv­ered. Polling here is in the last phase on March 8. “So, Modi still has time to work his magic and turn the tide.” That was a loyal voter’s part­ing shot. The idea that some as­sets are ex­tra­or­di­nary — of crit­i­cal im­por­tance to a com­pany — must be at the heart of an ef­fec­tive strat­egy to pro­tect against cy­ber threats. Be­cause in an in­creas­ingly digi­tised world, pro­tect­ing ev­ery­thing equally is not an op­tion.

The dig­i­tal busi­ness model is, how­ever, en­tirely de­pen­dent on trust. If the cus­tomer in­ter­face is not se­cure, the risk can be­come ex­is­ten­tial. Sys­tems breaches great and small have more than dou­bled in the last five years, and the at­tacks have grown in so­phis­ti­ca­tion and com­plex­ity. Most large en­ter­prises now recog­nise the sever­ity of the is­sue but still treat it as a tech­ni­cal and con­trol prob­lem.…

These de­fences, fur­ther­more, are of­ten de­signed to pro­tect the perime­ter of busi­ness op­er­a­tions. Our re­search and ex­pe­ri­ence sug­gest that the next wave of in­no­va­tion — cus­tomer ap­pli­ca­tions, busi­ness pro­cesses, tech­nol­ogy struc­tures and cy­ber se­cu­rity de­fences — must be based on a busi­ness and tech­ni­cal ap­proach that pri­ori­tises the pro­tec­tion of crit­i­cal in­for­ma­tion as­sets. We call the ap­proach ‘dig­i­tal re­silience’, a cross-func­tional strat­egy that iden­ti­fies and as­sesses all vul­ner­a­bil­i­ties, de­fines goals on an en­ter­prise-wide ba­sis, and works out how best to de­liver them.

A pri­mary di­men­sion of dig­i­tal re­silience is the iden­ti­fi­ca­tion and pro­tec­tion of the or­gan­i­sa­tion’s dig­i­tal crown jew­els: the data, sys­tems and soft­ware ap­pli­ca­tions that are es­sen­tial to op­er­a­tions.

From “Pro­tect­ing Your Crit­i­cal Dig­i­tal As­sets: Not All Sys­tems and Data are Cre­ated Equal”

Khaike polls Ba­naraswala

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