Sunday, August 28, 2011

A New Day in India

Once in a eternity, a time comes in the history of a country when an entire generation declares that it has had enough of something. The moment that we witness today stands testimony to the  fact that this is the closest India ever got to a revolution that reached a logical conclusion without fizzling out, fading away or being hijacked. Here, I try to touch up some points seemingly missed by the popular coverage. 

  • A system that works: For all the criticism that the movement faced, including the allegation of being an arm-twisting parallel authority, the fact remains that at the core of the agitation was the acknowledgement and understanding that India has a system that works. All that needs to be done is to force those without willpower to do something that is long overdue. 
  • The mass appeal: All those who thronged the streets of Delhi and other parts of the nation were mostly unorganized masses, brought out on the street not by any mobilization campaign but by a realization that time has given them an opportunity to be a part of history in making, a chapter which promises to change the civic fabric of India. 
  • MY India, MY Pride: The sea of Tricolour was not inspired by any sporting spectacle or external fervor, but by an intrinsic pride in holding the Tricolour high; a pride that comes from belonging and a sense of attachment to the nation. Also, thanks to Naveen Jindal here. 
  • Lack of leadership: This was a flip side. At a time when the movement challenged the executive, judiciary and legislature, declaring openly that the three pillars have collectively failed to give the Indians a corruption free society,   those in seats of responsibility fumbled for answers. Even as the drafting committee was framing the bill, all the political parties without exception shied away from commenting. It is surprising that there was not one man from Parliament (which cleared the bill yesterday, unanimously) who could stand up and say "I support the bill and I will get it through". It needed one man to fast for 12 days to beat some sense of purpose in the Parliament. 
  • New Thoughts: A generation that is famously quoted saying that "Is desh ka kuch nahi ho sakta", suddenly woke up to the realization that the country demands change and is receptive and waiting for the change.  The movement convinced the youth that they can stand for change, that they can demand solutions rather than excuses. 
Long way to go even now. It will take  lot of willpower and a lot of efforts to reduce corruption before eventually rooting it out from both public and private sectors. But a great beginning made. Finally, after 8 drafts and 4 decades, it took a Gandhian to teach Gandhi's party some Gandhigiri. 

Hoping for a better tomorrow for my beloved Country. Jai Hind. 

Friday, August 26, 2011

Reply to another "open letter" to Anna Hazare, this time by Rajdeep Sardesai

The entire letter does not deserve a reply. Hence i scanned out the key points and replied in red.

Dear Anna,
In every battle there must come a time when you must call a halt. That time may well be approaching. The halt will surely come. In my opinion, It should come if Jan Lokpal Bill is taken well by the polity
The real danger though now is that a peaceful, non-violent movement runs the risk of being overwhelmed by what Dr Ambedkar, the great constitutionalist, described a fast unto death as, by the "grammar of anarchy." It was his opinion. Not necessarily be bought by others. Instead of acting on the matter, the idea is to have him break his fast. This is the problem with polity.
There have been some signs of this in the last 48 hours that are truly worrying. The gherao of the homes of Members of Parliament may be visually appealing, but it encourages an anti-politician 'sab neta chor hai' rhetoric that could further destroy faith in parliamentary democracy. Enough faith loss has taken place due to scams. Let some be restored with taking up of the Jan Lokpal bill because, clearly, that  is what the nation wants. The increasingly strident language being used by certain members of Team Anna - a term which creates the regrettable impression of you being surrounded by a coterie - is to be best avoided at a time when a rational dialogue is called for. Agree
Only two days ago, a colleague of mine was assaulted in the heart of the capital by a drunk biker gang waving the Tricolour and chanting 'I am Anna' slogans. Not related. Hooligans will be hooligans. Their behaviour should not be considered an indication of public sentiment
The sight of gangster Abu Salem's girlfriend Monica Bedi parading Mumbai's streets with an Anna cap should convince you of the dangers of reducing the fight against corruption to a well-choreographed prime time TV spectacle. Now I am baffled. Simply because someone tries to hike its TRP, the movement is bad?
But to ram through a Bill that has been hanging fire for decades within the space of a few days without a sustained and truly inclusive dialogue with all stakeholders would be self-defeating. There has been enough dialogue over the last two months. See where it got us.
Why not, for example, get the government to commit to a special session of Parliament in six to eight weeks on an amended Lok Pal Bill so that a new, well-considered law becomes a Diwali gift to the nation? Let the Government commit to this. Till now, nobody has. Else, there would not have been a movement on 16th August.
Post-script: I have framed a picture of our meeting earlier this week. The caption reads: "When zero met hero!". India is not Anna, nor is Anna India, but you are now an icon for millions. Please don't allow a personality cult to shadow your ultimate gift of common sense. Asking for removal of corruption amounts to loss of common sense? I see a lack of common sense in the statement.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Reply to 'Open letter' to Anna Hazare

I am too small a person to reply on Anna's behalf, but what who cares... here goes... Replies in Red.

Dear Shri Anna Hazareji,

Gandhiji never resorted to coercion to have his way. Coercion is not used even by ana. Yes, Gandhi employed non-cooperation which is similar to what Anna is using

He never used fasting to blunt his opponent to accept his views and ideals. Gandhi sat on a fast even to solve internal problems of congress, leave aside national issues, for which he fasted repeatedly.

He never abused the British whose rule he fought against (except for one odd remark about a ‘gutter inspector').  But you call the Prime Minister a ‘liar' because he has accepted the Cabinet decision not to include the Prime Minister within the purview of the Lokpal.  Point is, was Anna right when he said this? Yes he was

Dr. Singh is a team leader and does not impose his views on his Cabinet. He hardly has viewpoints. He has only post-activity remarks

This is functioning in the true spirit of democracy where the collective wisdom of the majority is respected as against one's own personal views. He is the Prime Minister, for God’s sake. He needs to have views and opinions for the people to know what he stands for. 

Did Gandhiji ever tell the British: “Come on, jail me,” when he went on fast. No, because he did not want to deny the British government its right to action. Jail Bharo Andolan was used many times by protesters including Mahatama Gandhi
Aren't you whipping up mob hysteria and anger just because the government has not accepted six out of your 40 clauses? Those six are core demands. It is not a fraction. 

Do you mean to say that there can be only your thinking and there shall be no alternative? Says who? Everyone says ‘corruption is bad’. Nobody has ideas on what to do about it. Anna clearly has more than anyone else in the country. 

Your silence about the mining scam in Karnataka is baffling. Why to mix issues?

But you choose to vent your righteous ire on the Prime Minister and his government! Don’t they deserve it?

You say you are not against democracy but against the government. The government, elected by the people can be thrown out at the next hustings. This is democracy. If you are in favour of democracy, why are you against a democratically-elected government that is given a mandate of just five years to govern? So we should be gagged in the time in between those 5 years?

You did a yeoman service, pushing the government to table the Lokpal Bill in this monsoon session. But you cannot say that ‘it should be my team's version and nothing else.' Why not? Does democracy have a compulsion on compromises?
You want to bring all three main pillars of democracy — the legislative, the executive and the judiciary — under the jurisdiction of the Lokpal to function as an effective single pillar for deciding on crime and punishment. Yes
The dance of democracy unleashed by you and your team has every danger of destroying our democracy. The protest is more democratic and, by virtue of signing the agreements, has the mandate of democracy. How, exactly, does it demean democracy?

Sunday, April 10, 2011

All is not Lost,,,

I remarked a couple of days back that Anna Hazare has dramatically exposed all that is wrong with the Indian society...

Pessimistic public that cries doom at the drop of a hat, blatant politicians (well, we were not able to trace 5 clean ones for the Lokpal committee... The lesser said the better), opportunistic media which indirectly helped spread the awareness to Pappu Yadav and indifferent icons (read Rahul Gandhi)

However, in such a backdrop, a resolute man (known otherwise to have set up a model sustainable village) has taught everyone a Golden lesson in the language known best to the Father of the Nation. The lesson is, 'All is not lost'.

Hope we never lose this lesson. Ever.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Emotional Atyachaar

It has been quite a while since I wrote about anything controversial... So here goes...

This show hardly needs any introduction... And is so predictable now. Lights, camera, action. Girl is a sweet person, comes to test her boyfriend of seven lives, a hottie sets off to trap him, they flirt around and there is a beep-covered breakup.  Cut. Now, how correct is it?

Assuming it is stage managed, which I feel it is. Then, I say its a masterpiece. Public loves senseless crap and hence deserves it when sm1 makes money by serving crap on national television.

But assuming it is not, many questions arise.

Legally, what is bindaas tv's business what any1 does with his bf or gf? They want to do sting operations to improve the society? Do them on bribe takers and publicity fakers.

Morally, there are three issues. Firstly, if sm1 distrusts his/her partner so much that he/she has to resort to a tv series rather than real life as an acid test, is there any point in a relationship in the first place? Secondly, I believe that emotions and relations get tested by themselves in life. If u test them artificially they are bound to fail since somewhere, the basic ingredient called trust is missing. Thirdly, every relation in life is just one mistake away from total disaster. Even if the suspect passes the 'loyalty test', the relationship has failed since sm1 felt the need to do the test. Does it really make any sense for anyone to do it?

I will say just one sentence in closing it. I am yet to see a TV series as sick as this. I feel that the only reason this works is because it has smooches and obscenities raining after every third frame.

But as I said, we the people love crap so much... TRPs will never be a problem for this show...