Showing posts with label Dr Manmohan Singh. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Dr Manmohan Singh. Show all posts

Thursday, March 28, 2013

While I was gone... Part 2/2 [March 2013]

Picking up from where we left, here's the second installment of that wonderfully hot month of March.
totally unrelated picture...

Kerala - God's Own Country. We might have the lowest school dropout rates, but forbidden sex is still our Achilles heel. The Suryanelli Sex Scandal, an unfortunate yet pertinent remainder of our countryman's sordid story of orgies and gang-rapes reared its ugly head again. But then this scandal is not new. We have such innovative names to our sex scandals. Our most popular jokes are centered around the breasts and nipples. Our best comedy shows show men ogling at the sweeper/maid when she is sweeping the floor wearing just a blouse with plunging necklines and cleavage in cinemascope. The land where male tutorial teachers often flirt and have sexual relationships with their girl students.
Many years after the abuse, the victim and her family is still trying to wake up from the nightmare. They have moved towns, sold nearly everything they had, tried to change identities and desperately start life afresh. But no! Only convicted felons are allowed to reinvent their lives. I am ashamed to think of people who still hound them for juicy tidbits of information. They want to know if she enjoyed the surprise sex. Neighbors revile them like the plague, and the rich and powerful have victimized them. What's surprising is how none of this surprised me. I expected my countrymen to do this to her. I expected our politicians to call her a prostitute. I expected the prime accused and the dozens of co-accused to go on the lam. I can never expect the lady or her family to get justice. 

Ladies and Gentlemen, this is what we do to our women. We peddle them and then react with utter shock and surprise when we are accused. Can it be a coincidence that some of our biggest politicians and a popular comedian have been accused in sex scandals themselves. Surely not.

Earlier this year, as the victim opened the Pandora's box, tongues wagged and heads started rolling. Let's hope this year brings closure to the young lady.

Another lady that celebrated a momentous year was Mrs G. After 15 years on top, she finally got nostalgic. Wonderful timing, I say. Considering how her party has fared under her watch, she does not have much to gloat about. Infact Mrs G talking about the party's success is like Queen Elizabeth celebrating how she has brought prosperity to the British Empire. Yet, this was a good time for the greatest show of sycophancy in a democracy as our media elevated her renunciation of power almost to the level of sainthood. Argh!
While Rahul might be the splitting image of his father, he might be running into rough seas with his 'corporate' style. While any person in their right unmediated mind will be able to see through this charade, I wonder how much longer we have to endure The Family.

Behind every woman is a man who wishes he married her

Uncle Sam wagged his tail and promised to stand guard against the Axis of Evil. I am curious to know how any of this expenditure can help with the fiscal cuts that were supposed to clip the wings of its out of control defense budget. This shortly after N. Korea trained its guns on Uncle Sam. Korea? Sure, bring it on. Italy? No way. Can we have Iron Man, please?

The castration placards came out as another lady was raped in a moving bus by 3 men. How's the victim doing? No Idea. Deja-vu.
And a British lady lept out of her hotel room to escape an attempt to rape. I don't think she is going to be a glowing ambassador for Incredible India after this. The hotel owner and an accomplice was rounded up.
The accused will have meals and accommodation paid for by our tax rupees and be out before her physical wounds heal.
The six bastards who raped the Swiss confessed. Gee! What else did you expect? Its either this or No Money, if you know what I mean.
The CJI lamented how public sentiment against the juvenile was unfortunate. I see! Do you have a daughter of rapeable age, Mr CJI?
While I won't campaign for death, I would definitely want to campaign for stronger enforcement of tougher anti-abuse laws. Is that too much to ask?

And in news that will make our rapists feel good, a victim of a date-rape in Ohio testified she didn't remember anything that happened to her. If you ask, this is not surprising. America's promiscuity is no longer a secret. Her children have consensual sex as young as 9 and rainbow parties and sorority date rapes are a weekend past-time. Just Google for College Group Sex and you'd be amazed at how many videos there are.

Not the real thing..

Our poly-ticks spoke out against their favorite scapegoat - Dr Manmohan Singh. I am pretty sure he will need a lifetime of counseling when he is booted out next year.
Talking about terms, the ruling government in our western twin (not Britain, but Pakistan) completed its five year term in full. Its been that long?
It seems like just yesterday when Musharraf came over, had tea with our PM and invaded Kashmir. Kudos to them for even making it this far, because honestly, if we went through all that they did, we would have personally made sure Mrs G and her government was thrown out of the country, like how the Pakistanis do to their out of flavor politicians.
Like a drunk rolling on a bed infested with bedbugs, the Congress cozied up to Didi. Touche`
Modi sharpened his pitchfork and we mustn't stop talking about 2002. Even if the EU does.

In an shining example of how totally irrelevant and of how much time our young virile journos have in their hands (not to be taken literally), we had to read and listen to hours of 'Breaking News' on whether SRK and Piggy Chops have taken that crucial next step in their relationship. Gosh!
SRK? Seriously?! He is married, has two kids, is hired to dance for jigs and has been making awful movies for a few years.
Piggy? She is young, oozes sensuality, unmarried (that we know of) and can make any Indian male go (moderately) weak in the knees.
Why Piggy? Why?
I'd understand how you want to marry like Aishwarya and retire rich. Throw a stone out the window and you'll get a dozen single, dashing, young and salaried men to marry you.  But please don't marry that old man.

Wiki sneezed and parodied Sir Ravindra Jadeja. Sir Sachin awaits his turn.
Talking about parodies, creative juices spilled and Ford fired.

Poonam bathing and praying..

In other 'major' news, apun Munnabhai is finally going back to prison. Off came the gloves and superficial faux celebrities, some Page 9'ers and even a former lawmaker engaged in the very Indian tradition of sycophancy campaigning for clemency.  Amidst all the brouhaha, Kalnayak agreed to go back to prison. Well, the boy sure has matured, hasn't he?

And here's a peep into the Madhouse called Tamil Nadu

Australia had a washout and we all forgot about Dhoni's sins.
More work for Sunny, dahlings! There is something to learn from all this. While porn-stars like Sunny are trying to make a mark in mainstream media, we have 'no-good' wannabes like Poonam trying to make a mark in mainstream pornography. Call it reverse brain drain or anything you want, but Sunny made it rich because she looks good. Women like Poonam and Sherlyn have the most hideous antisymmetric faces I've ever seen. Pity we still can't repair a face like that. 

See you all next month, folks!

Sunday, March 24, 2013

When I was gone: Part 1/2 [March 2013]

The first half of March saw a torrent of 'Breaking News'. So much that I'm doing overtime just to get my head around this.
Here's Part 1 of what you missed.

As domestic airlines sold millions of cheap air tickets (with fine print), another MNC came under the scanner for alleged malpractices. Cadbury was found to be using an 'nonexistent factory' to avoid about $46 billion in taxes. While it has already been under investigation over its $19 billion takeover of Cadbury, this couldn't have come at a worse time. As India tries to rein in its yawning fiscal deficit and a last chance for the ruling party to fatten some of their own wallets, this may not be the last of such news.

Talking about news, Manmohan roared. Yes, you read that right! Delayed as it is, Manmohan 'the bonecrusher' Singh took a bite off the leader of the main opposition party, LK 'the lamb' Advani by pointing out how the Congress is still in power and the BJP is not. Well, seeing as how Modi is sharpening his pitchfork, Manmohan roared so late and too soon.

The world celebrated another Women's day and sticking with 'tradition', Indian men gang-raped women like it was going out of style. Handicapped or not, any vagina is fair game. So we raped women who were going through troubled marriages and touristy villages. There was some brouhaha and seeing how the cops rounded up the dicks who raped the Swiss tourist, I am positively certain the Swiss may have threatened to not return any of the money that our politicians have in their banks.
Women who were not raped where killed. Right in their mother's wombs. It was the same shame story of female infanticide and we are talking about just one Indian state. What happens in Maharashtra stays in Maharashtra.
India as a society is simply incapable of keeping its promise to end violence against women.
The problem is within our psyche. A few years ago, an email that did the rounds spoke about how emotionally strong Indian women are. While I won't deny our women are made of sterner and nobler stuff, I wonder why we are hell bent on 'taming' them.

Over the past couple of months, I can sense a collective pall of gloom, fear and loathe that has fallen over our women. Violence and abuse is not the stuff of raunchy Bollywood movies anymore. They are real, with every women. Every day.
The sheer magnitude of abuse will shame even the most holiest of us. If every victim were to register a complaint against every instance of abuse, I doubt if our justice system can wrap their heads around it. Our crocodile tears, our phony marches and empty promises must stop. Our customary banal celebrations of Womanhood and our wild accusations must cease. And we need to act soon because inspite of our best advertisements, our nascent tourism industry is about to die a premature death.
Official statistics from any Indian State is a mere fraction of what the real body count is. It is however a clear indication of how lawless our administration really is and how our country is littered with individuals with vested interests and contradictions.
As a signatory to the CEDAW - Convention of Elimination of All forms of violence Against Women, all the violence that has been allowed to happen in India, sounds like a cruel joke. So is when self-appointed guardians of the society decide to lend their weight towards the worthy cause of the guilty. 

Whilst the country was still haggling, one of the men who has been accused of raping Jyothi in the now infamous 'Delhi gang rape' was found hanging. My guess is that he decided to save all of us some drama (and show the way to the other five) by hanging himself. The country erupted. Most national newspapers spent reams of newsreel on him and autopsied his life in glorious public view. His former neighhours and villagers got their 15 minutes of fame and everyone forgot about the agony that Jyothi faced. While his lawyers said he was happy in jail, his family members helpfully pointed out that he was handicapped and hence incapable of hanging himself. Raping a defenseless girl? Yes. Hanging? No way! Ofcourse, we all know that his fellow prisoners could have raped him but then I doubt if he was unhappy about having the favor returned.

Korea's evil twin flexed its muscles, again. Fired a few missiles and got on the last nerve of Uncle Sam. My questions are:
1) Why do countries that say they have nothing to fear, still do things out of fear? Aren't they reaping what they sow?
2) How do countries like Korea and India have so much money to spend on arms and ammo that won't do jackshit in feeding their hungry millions? And how is it that their missiles 'fail' miserably when tested?

SRK was in the news again. In a convoluted show of misogyny, he declared that women in all his movies will have their names appear first. The problem is not the order of names in the credits of the film. Credits merely show the pecking order.
If he really wants to show respect to the women in his films, he will give her a meatier role in his movies. Ofcourse, directors like Srinivasan in the South have produced, directed and acted in movies where the female protagonist has a much more powerful role then the male. Does SRK have it within his over-inflated ego to make and act alongside a woman who has a better role than himself? I highly doubt if he would have been happy acting as Vidya Balan's onscreen husband in Kahaani.

Bitti, the Rapist, was found safe and secure working in a nationalized bank. After being on the lam for six years, an anonymous tip-off blew his cover. The story of how he raped, jumped bail, reinvented his life with a new identity, and landed a cushy job in God's Own Country will someday be the plot of a blockbuster Bollywood movie. Moral of the story- Well, there is none.

She may have never acted in a single movie yet, but that could not stop Poonam from celebrating her 22nd birthday by taking another well publicized bath, this time in the Ganges. Well, Americans have their Kim Kardhashian and we have our Poonam.

So talking about the much married Kardashian, she stayed in the news by expressing her indignation at accusations made by her former 'Made for TV' quickie-husband Kris Humphreys. For those who came in late, Kim and Kris were like two peas of the same pod. I am surprised they didn't have a love-child together. 

Worry not, for she has quickly and effectively corrected that mistake by having a baby with her current squeeze Kanye West. Touche`

India showed rare resilience and bravado when Italy announced it was not going to send its marines back to India to be tried. Dr MS bared his fangs and so did his puppet mistress Mrs G . Both of which surprised and humored us. Our courts followed with an encore and Pakistan might have felt good that we don't go through all this theatrics every-time they kill a few of our javans. The most India was known to do is cancel cricket matches. Call it the Italian Connection. Howwzat!
But don't let any of this make you believe that we are kind or caring towards any of our foreign guests

Congress washed its hands, both literally and otherwise, off its famous son-in-law and that was that. And the US of A saw another Bush rising

Our Catholic cousins got a new Pope. And online journal Cobra Post caught our banks with their gloved hands deep inside the cookie jar in what is arguably the most organized network of money laundering in the world. Our newspapers barely gave it any coverage. And as I write this post, RBI has already given the banks a clean chit.

So all in all, this was a really exciting month! Hurray!

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Theek Hai? [360/365]

What does a critically acclaimed statesman and one of the best minds of the nation have in common with all the other semi-educated, completely corrupt, socially inept elected representatives? Verbal diarrhea.

Today, Mr Manmohan Singh became the butt of a million jokes when his off-hand comment was inadvertently transmitted by the national broadcaster - Doordarshan.

He uttered the word 'Theek Hai' (loosely translated into 'Is this ok?') after delivering a minute long speech asking the nation to maintain peace after many days of public anger against sexual crimes.

While I admit I was surprised a man of his stature would show such disregard to something as grave as the issue he intends to solve, I think this remark will go straight into the Wall of Shame of Politicians who talk with their over-sized foot in their mouth.

Twitter and social media was ablaze with the phrase. The phrase revealed what most Indians suspected all along - The fact that no one in power really gives a crap for what we want.

The damage was done and while heads will roll for broadcasting the unintended gaffe, the nation surged with fresh anger against the remark. If the PM and his puppet master thought this speech would have pacified the millions, what it ended up being is a PR disaster.

Unfortunately this remark also proves what most outsiders have long thought about Indians- the 'anything goes' attitude that we are infamous for. While we are seething with righteous anger, I question those who have placed themselves on the moral high horse.
How many times have we gone out of our way to help someone without a selfish reason?
How many of you have done what is right even when it was not the most convenient thing to do?

The silence will be deafening.

In a strange quirky way, his remark is eponymous of what every Indian thinks, feels and believes by.
So what if that girl was brutally raped?
She is just a statistic and by this time next year, her family will still mourn her loss and we would have long forgotten the fight.

Sub chalta hai, theek hai?

Wednesday, December 05, 2012

Biting the Bait [340/365]

Watching the ruling party in action is getting hilarious.
In the 8 years that it was in power, it pretended to sleep, just long enough to sneak out and loot and plunder but seeing how its days are numbered, its trying to make amends. And how!

While I agree it took two American newspapers to do what Aaj Tak and India TV couldn't, it looks like the government machinery has been fed and oiled sufficiently to give a punch or two before it falls.
Among the slew of welfare schemes that were announced, the UPA decided to gift us what we have asking for all these years - FDI in retail.
But with the Congress and its uneasy bed-fellows readying to pass a litmus test in Rajya Sabha, this could be an exercise in futility. We'd probably not live long enough to see the economic benefits of foreign moolah.
Take China for instance, when the authoritarian communist government there decided to open its market to foreign investment, retailers of the world hurrayed in unison. They couldn't wait for a piece of the fat Chinese pie. A decade down the line, major retailers are shutting down stores and consolidating their businesses. One of the common arguments is that they over-estimated their potential and over-stayed their welcome.
Chinese consumers were simply not the same as the Americans back home.

We aren't that different either. From the Chinese.
We love a bargain. But can a videshi Big Bazaar keep us coming back? Maybe we have more discerning consumers here than in China, but I can confidently say that we have not been studied yet.
I support FDI and I think India needs to open her economy up. But we need regulators that must be impartial and prudent.
We cannot be the one stop for developed economies to dump their Grade B products. We should not be allowed to be a capitalist's guinea pig.

But then who's listening to a lone voice?
There's billions at stake here and while Walmart digs into its deep pockets to lobby, I have that distinct feeling that we are being offered as bait.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

The money-plant [270/365]

My girlfriend is an avid gardener. She loves collecting exotic species of plants and after two years of collecting and some TLC, our balcony garden is now the greenest of them all. We have flowers of every hue and size blooming every other day. Ofcourse, we also have the slimy slugs that invaded our garden a few months ago, but our balcony is truly a wonderful place to spend an evening.

While she loves flowering plants, I love creepers, specially one that is called 'money-plant'. I guess it is the name that intrigued me. Why would you call a plant that does not sprout money or serve any practical purpose such? My partner tells me that we are supposed to steal a money plant for it to work its 'aura' in our house. So after stealing the shoots of several money plants from friends and relatives, we finally have half a dozen money-plants on our two balconies. Ideally, this means we need to be rich by now.

Unfortunately, money does not grow on trees. And our PM just confirmed that. Duh!
So where exactly is all money in? Ofcourse in coal, iron-ore, spectrum and other resources of national importance. Nonetheless this statement has got the opposition rolling on the floor laughing. Real mature, I know.

Surely the PM meant well when he said we need to contain subsidies to propel our economy ahead. But I can bet he never imagined all the guffaws and limericks that he got for saying the truth.

Okay, so does the PM really need our undivided attention while he tries to bring peace into an unruly classroom when there is just 5 minutes for recess? I think he does. In one of my previous posts, I mentioned how parties that bring the nation to a grinding halt must be penalized. One of my reader was outraged. He wrote how I was being pretentious. He reasoned that the UPA doesn't deserve to be forgiven because of the way they have looted the nation in the 2 terms they have ruled. My answer: Well, so did any other party in power.

The truth is as long as we entrust our freedom and our resources to people who know they cannot be held accountable, we put ourselves at the risk of being cheated. This is as true as it is in India as it is the US of A. The only difference is the way we treat the guilty. In the US, a politician can bid his career adieu if he is proven guilty. Here, politicians are never guilty as long as they are in power. What happens when they loose power is a totally different story.

As long as we have people who think caste-based reservations and subsidies are necessary and as long as we have politicians who can't see beyond their own yardsticks, we are doomed to be citizens of a third world country.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Didi versus Madam [261/365]

No more Mr Nice Guy
Okay, I must admit. I had that feeling.

Do you have the feeling that someone important is actually reading your blog? Ten days after I wrote about how Mr PM needs to get his act together, he actually does it. Having announced FDI in multi-brand retail and airlines, he has in one masterstroke done what the country needed from him for several years.

While the skeptics ask 'Who are you and what have you done to the PM?', no one will privately deny that this has actually added shimmer to the Indian Dream.

Critics and armchair protesters will tell you how this is the end of Indian independence and how millions of people will be unemployed and yada yada yada...
Didi, the chairwoman of Indians Against Progress has already given a 72 hour deadline to the UPA government. Rollback or Else.
Or else what, Didi? You dont have the gallbladder to do shit.

I can't understand how allowing people who are interested in investing in you can be bad for you. Seeing how Kingfisher (not the drink) and Air India are barely breathing, I wonder how FDI can hurt them. If anything, something like this can actually open up employment to millions. NGOs like Unnati, who've trained thousands of people who would've otherwise added to social poverty statistics can actually be the change that we need today. The only reason why the government won't shut down sick airlines like KF and AI is because shutting them down can mean serious trouble for the economy. Reviving them with bailouts are simply not sufficient.

I'd like to see critics of progress do a reality check. Not take a protest march.
Our country can no longer afford to have politicians like Mamata. By the time we wake up tomorrow, Didi would have withdrawn her ministers from the government. While she has helpfully added that she will still support the UPA from outside, this is the UPA's chance to 'go down fighting'.

Advice to Didi: 'Take a hike'.
Advice to Mr PM: 'Dont stop and dont look back. Didi's taken a hike'.

Thursday, September 06, 2012

A tragic figure, indeed [250/365]

Source: The Washington Post
So the Village Idiot has spoken again.

In the second time in 3 months, the American media has played judge and jury and passed the verdict about our PM. The Washington Post wrote about our silent tragic figure-head.
Well, in their defense, they only stated the obvious. Which is also what is being used against them. The Prime Minister's Office (affectionately shortened to PMO) lodged a complaint against the media house.

While I can understand and stand by what Washington Post says are the reasons why India is slipping under the watch of its most illustrious statesman, the way the PMO took the cudgels was indicative of a polity that is out of touch with reality. May I share some statistics- Industrial output has shrunk, again. The Rupee is falling faster than an asteroid to earth. Let's not even talk about gas and fuel prices any more, and governance has not returned to the parliament since the last year. Public sentiments about our elected representatives have never been this low. Again, scoop-loving journalists from the US were simply holding a mirror to us.

A couple of years ago, an email exhorting the academic and economic accolades of the PM doing the rounds made us feel good to have a person of his stature heading our nation. From being the most accomplished, his fall from grace has played out in public like a big Greek tragedy. His silence and reticence has now become his downfall. From being a chef d'Ĺ“uvre, he is now our favorite scapegoat.

If the PM has obviously missed the bus to redeem his nation, it is only because of the unfortunate compulsions of coalition politics. Nearly every major legislature in the past 2 years have either been stalled or digressed.
The Post if anything is also an indicator that its not about the man anymore.
While I won't say if this is the last time Manmohan's name will be dragged through American soil, I would like to wait and see which of our patriotic news magazines take up our cause and publish a tit for tat about O. If it is any consolation, Mr Singh, the American media is equally acidic about their own politicians. Many of their politicians were glorified and pulled down and I dont see any harm in publishing something that speaks loudly what people whisper in hushed tones.

This story should wake us up. Our India is not shining anymore. There's no Jai Ho any more. What the nation needs is more action and less of the talk.

Never-mind the naysayers, its not too late and you still have a fighting chance, Mr PM.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

The mudsling [208/365]

Source: The Internet
Exactly when did we trade our balls away?
'Time', one of the North America's leading news magazine decided to shine it's moral torch on our politicians and featured a cover story on Manmohan singh which described him as an 'Underachiever'.
Great! now we've even got the village idiot calling us names.

While I am not sure what our politicians really think of this, many armchair activists took offence. And rightly so. Calling names and abusing India is our birthright. One that we fought for and won. A few weeks from now, Outlook will give 'India's answer to Time' by calling Obama, an Underachiever. Well done, India!

We don't need a magazine like Time or Outlook labeling our politicians. Never mind journalism that reflects our thoughts, neither can claim to have a moral right to even evaluate eachother's moral and political lives. By calling Manmohan an underachiever, Time has erred.
Reading the article, I could get the distinct feeling that the article was written by a journalist who didn't really care to know the person he was reviewing. His story was superficial and his theory mere personal opinions. It is true that Mr Singh has fallen from grace. Many times. But having read about him from people who knew him closely, I can say that he is more righteous than most politicians around him. If he has gone south in our moral compasses, it is only because of the unholy compulsions of the people around him. He was merely a puppet with many owners. As a person who rarely defended himself, he measured his words every time he spoke and that is the sign of a great statesman.
When Outlook did a tit for political tat, we came across as a bunch of people who'd rather fight a silly magazine than terrorists. Obama is certainly not an underachiever and surely many of the reasons why he is failing is very similar to what plagues our premier. If he has failed in his election manifesto, it is because he was either too naive or too ambitious. Either way you look at it, he was definitely one of the best president the country has had in a few decades. I doubt he would have been capable of wiping out America's debt or other social inadequacies in just one term. He was simply inheriting all of them.

Nonetheless, Time simply put a mirror to us. While I doubt if Mr Singh will delve on it, as a nation of people who are always out to please the West, the story was a slap on our emotional cheeks. While young Congress party workers burned copies of Time, Outlook took up our cause and proved that we are also a nation of sore losers.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

India: When History repeats itself

Unless you've been buried alive, you wouldn't have missed the loud groaning of a billion people against corruption.
For all those who thought Anna Hazare couldn't and wouldn't be able to replicate his fight against corruption nationwide, the events that have unfolded since yesterday has kicked their butt all the way back to 1947.

But the irony does not end there. What the British were 65 years ago, the Congress with their ragtag bunch of political crooks are now.

Surprisingly, the British are having their own litany of trouble with gang violence and such. Looks like the Great Britain is no longer 'Great'.

Coming back to India, where we are suffering from the birth pangs of yet another Freedom struggle, this time not against foreigners but against Indians who have looted us for way too long.
Those who ignore history are condemned to repeat it.
The irony is that we are fighting against a government that is led by the first family of politics - The Gandhi's.
How the family that once symbolized every virtue, pure and free became a concocted mix of greed, corruption, nepotism and oppression is something that we as Indians need to introspect.

Aug 16th, 2011 will forever be the day in Indian history when the second Freedom Struggle started.
A fight against a government that refuses to relinquish absolute power and shed all reason to oppress needs to win. We owe it to our children.
We may not live to see all the changes that this struggle will bring about. But we ought to have started it.
After having threatened, reasoned and cajoled Anna Hazare to abandon his plans of fasting until death, the government erred greatly by arresting him.
The first family of Indian politics should have known better than to stifle a nonviolent protest.

The Satyagraha as a peaceful, non violent form of public protest became a powerful
The idea was first mooted by the American philosopher Henry David Thoreau and it was Gandhi who effectively demonstrated the enormous impact of various forms of non-violent civil disobedience.

A peaceful gathering by disobeying prohibitory orders and courting arrest was one form. Marching to the seashore to symbolically make your own salt was another.
The most effective form of satyagraha was used occasionally, somewhat rarely, as a last resort — the indefinite hunger strike. One man’s fast would rivet the subcontinent and often deliver quick results, be it quelling communal riots or scoring a compromise with formidable opponents like the British.

Gandhi’s extraordinary capacity to rouse masses did not just bring freedom to India but also brought justice to blacks in the US through Martin Luther King Jr, an avowed follower of the Gandhian doctrine of civil disobedience. In South Africa, it was Nelson Mandela.

When non-violent public protests turn into mass movements, growing bigger by the day, it’s not easy to stop them. The nationwide protests against the Emergency that brought down Indira Gandhi is an instance, with an almost parallel example that originated in Egypt’s Tahrir Square and finally dethroned president Hosni Mubarak.

In India, the issue of the day is corruption. Rather ironically, it is the “clean and incorruptible” prime minister Manmohan Singh’s team that has lost face in the way it has handled the Lokpal Bill issue.

Barely four months ago, Team Manmohan agreed to include civil society members in the drafting of the Lokpal Bill in a frustrated attempt to bring Anna Hazare’s first round of satyagraha to a quick close.

From then on, every attempt was made to discredit the civil society members of the panel — from questioning the inclusion of the father-son legal team of Shanti and Prashant Bhushan and challenging their integrity right down to calling Anna a corrupt man.

Finally, Team Manmohan submitted a diluted version of the bill to parliament and in the intervening period, Baba Ramdev and his supporters were caned out of Delhi. Team Anna was warned that they would suffer a same fate.

This arrogance of the Congress-led UPA government was on display at every turn and as a final roll-out of the plot, the government decided to thwart Anna’s plans for a second satyagraha in Delhi from August 16. Twenty-two pre-conditions were imposed and finally Anna was arrested from his Delhi residence even before he could step out to proceed towards JP Park.

Today’s generation could as well imagine Team Manmohan as part of the British Raj at its wit’s end in trying to deal with Mahatma Gandhi.

If the British police had their Rottweilers, Team Manmohan has its equivalents in Congress spokesman Manish Tewari and senior leader Digvijay Singh who lost no opportunity to try and tear Anna to pieces. Calling Hazare a corrupt man, dismissing his locus standi as he was not elected by the people (unlike our great netas) and telling him how to — and how not to — conduct his protest, were all part of the strategy to scuttle the public crusade against corruption.

It almost seemed that Team Manmohan had won this second round and demonstrated how to effectively puncture a satyagraha. But they erred greatly.
With barely a year to go before the largest democracy in the planet goes into an electoral huddle, history will prove once again that freedom will prevail.

Gandhiji is surely squirming in his grave.

Saturday, July 09, 2011

Civil Servants or Epic Rulers?

In what seems like an anti climax of a sordid cycle of greed and power, our dishonored Premier along with his puppet mistress is going to shuffle the cabinet.
This after the government looses its second minister to irrefutable proof of nepotism and unbridled corruption.

Expected but isn't this a tad too late?
What were they doing all this while?

What surprises the heck out of me is that the political party who's ministers were caught, with their hands knee deep in the cookie jar, still has the nerve to ask (or even think)
that they need a representation in the team.
Are you kidding me?
Do you really want us to believe that you are innocent of all the billions that you've squandered?
Who writes this stuff anyway?

I had to pay a bribe of 200 bucks to file an FIR for my own driving license! The inspector was kind, almost warm to the point of offering me coffee. But when the time came to hand over my acknowledgement of the FIR, he held his hand out for money, with a sudden smile on his face. A smile that could wipe away all your tears. I had to give him 100. He looked at me and pat came his request for a encore. I started to protest but as I did, memories of how my police verification for my passport didn't go through because I refused to bribe, flashed. I relented. I came away poorer by 200 and the cop? Well, its business as usual. He had two other complainants to attend to. Ka ching!

All this even at a time when India is going through unprecedented levels of civil unrest against corruption.
We need to adapt an attitude of zero tolerance towards all kinds of corruption. There's no two way about it.

When my parents were working with the Ministry of Health, Kuwait, they always referred themselves as 'Civil Servants'.
We never thought of the term as demeaning or lacking any of the dignity that it is supposed to possess. Even the ministers there, albeit wealthy beyond belief, always respected and obeyed their constituents.

The world's largest democracy on the other hand is caught in between a shameful yet relentless cycle of greed, nepotism and bureaucracy.
Well, its not just politics anymore. Nepotism and undue favoritism has seeped into corporate world.

The accomplice to the crime of corruption is frequently our own indifference.
Our complacence with the status quo makes sure corruption is what sweetens the pot for any honest minister who keys to the vault.
We can go from one cabinet shuffle to another until the next general elections or we can just stop the rut here. Choose the right people.

Stumbled across a video that meant a lot!

When defenseless animals can unite against predators, why cant we humans fight against the most corrupt politicians alive?

We need a Leader with a spine. Are you listening, Mr PM?

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