Showing posts with label Government of India. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Government of India. Show all posts

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

We, The Hypocrites!

These are interesting times we live in. 
Two things happened. Yes, three things I will never understand. 

First, the oldest democracy in the world allowed 2 of the worst people to campaign for their most powerful political position. 

Hillary Clinton, probably the most corrupt woman politician in the Western hemisphere, campaigned and lost against a first-time politician Donald J Trump. The Trump wasn't even taken seriously in an election that had candidates like Ben Carson (surely, they jest) and Bernie Sanders (who is still feeling the bern).

Midway through the elections, around the time, the rest dropped out, I realized that America was doomed. I kept predicting how Trump would win partly because I knew of the power of 'memory-recall' with all the free media attention (bashing) he was getting. He also had the money to bankroll his victory in swing States, much like Bush Jr. The Donald said things most people were itching to hear but didn't have the balls to say. He wasn't a typical
politician programmed to be politically correct. He was raw, uninhibited and didn't have much to lose. He was already using his donor's money to settle his legal disputes and anything else he got was going to stay with him. Trump is a powerful orator, not in the same polished league as Obama, but effective nonetheless. The upcoming First Lady not so much, but who gives a dump?

Trump never lied about his misadventures and rarely apologized for what he was. If you've watched the Comedy Central Roast of Donald Trump, you'll realize how the man is actually capable of taking much and giving it back in the same way.

Hillary, on the other hand, was at best a deceptive politician. Like her husband a couple of years ago, she flip-flopped. Period. If you take away the gender card that she (and her supporters) was playing, you'll realize she tried every dirty trick in the book to trip Trump. 
She kept giving excuses for the email server booboo. How can a Secretary of State of the most technologically-advanced nation not know how to use the official email system. How could she use the same server her husband would have used? If you know what I mean. 
She got people who Trump slighted to fire salvos from her shoulder. He is guilty, but trying to play the 'holier than thou' trick was dirty. 

The US Presidential Elections 2016 was perhaps that event in political history that will be remembered for many many decades to come. It's that point in history where 'The Superpower' that was famous for bringing democracy to the rest of the world slipped, tripped and came landing on its crown. They'll never know how bad it is until it's too late. It's that time when we all asked 'So you could only get these 2 guys out of a few 100 million to replace Obama?!!! WOW'. It's that political event that made the greatest nation on earth the laughing stock of the universe. 

No matter who was finally voted, it was going to be downhill from here. And now that you have rocked the vote, you better shut the eff up and learn to either live with it or figure the best way out. You can't pretend to not know this was how it was going to happen. I am pretty sure, we would've seen similar outrage and indignation if Mrs Clinton was voted to power. 
It's the End of the World, as we know it. 
********************************************************************************** Talking about the end of something, back in India, Prime Minister Modi declared 2 of the highest paper currency denominations invalid and all hell broke lose. What followed revealed the people that we are. There were mile-long queues at each (functioning) ATM and bank branch. Tempers flared as cash stockpiles vanished and anarchists took over spreading disinformation, and rumors. There are thousands of people (including the PM) saying how we should just grin and bear it for the sake of the greater good and this is but a temporary setback and then there are thousands who say this was a terribly timed, ill-planned move. The arguments from both the camps are quite compelling and that's the beauty of the freedom of speech. 
What I can't understand is why the panic? 
It wasn't like we didn't have debit and credit cards that we couldn't use. 
It isn't like we don't use the internet to buy things anyway. 
It isn't like we didn't pay bills online anyway. 
It isn't like we didn't have time until the 31 of March 2017. We did.

But like it is typical for us, 'we rushed with the rope and water as soon as we heard the bull was giving birth', the nation panicked and ran to our banks and then when things didn't go to the best of our satisfaction, we complained. When we did manage to get our hands on those new currency notes, we took a selfie and posted it online to gloat and dissect the design. Which reminds me, the way we love to scribble stuff on our currency, no matter how beautiful our bank notes are, the designs are a moo point.

Now, I am from neither camp. I am no fan of Modi because I have had the privilege of having seen a lot more world politics in societies that are better coordinated and motivated than ours. I know what Modi is doing right with his many travels abroad, is what our elected and business leaders should have done 60 years ago. When we have a nation of people who know how to debate endlessly on national television without knowing how important international trade (free trade agreement) is to a country's growth, then we know we have a nation of dumb-fu@ks. But I digress.

I do believe we need to delete corruption from our society. The sooner, the better.  But to achieve that, we need a radical improvement of how we think and perform at the grassroots. 

If this is so much of a speck in your eye, why don't you just transact online? Why can't we have a law which mandates every transaction over ₹25,000 to be done online? Why are we so militantly resistant about going cashless? 
Here's why - 

  • Because none of us will ever abide by all the laws and rules, if we know we can get away with it. Honesty and integrity is best defined as doing the right thing when you know no one's watching. 
  • Because none of us will ever refuse to bribe when a need and the opportunity arrives. And when we do earn our money in ways other than legal, we aren't going to keep them in INR. We stash them away as luxury apartments, Mercs, Beemers, gold, diamonds, and US$. Doh! 

We will continue to see posts of Modi-haters complaining about how this 'demonetization' is 'Modi's demonization of India' while the rival camp will gloat about how much this helped our economy. 
Most people, however, will say this should have been done with minimal discomfort. Sure, this attitude is exactly why generations of politicians and businessmen have managed to siphon off trillions of dollars right underneath our noses and out of the economy. We'd prefer that our lives are as pain-free as possible. This is exactly why we are still a developing nation almost 20 years behind countries like Singapore and Japan. 

It wasn't like he didn't say he was going to go tough on black-marketers. Modi promises more such changes to mop up every illegal rupee you earned, and seeing as he has delivered so far, it will bode well that you follow instructions and surrender because unlike in the US, he is here for the long haul. Ain't no term-limit here, Sahib.

Circa 2016
United States of America : Split wide open at the center because their citizens got fed up with politicians who thought they could get away with anything. Decades of white supremacy rhetoric has finally yielded its rich crop of hate. Fu@k 'Em!

India: A Hindu nation with a visionary head of government who wants to single-handedly gallop, hoping to change the way the rest of us behave and think. The only problem is  - He is trying to do in 5 years what Gandhi took decades to do. It will take us a few generations to change but we will get here. Damned if you do, damned if you don't.

Yes, with some exceptions we are possibly the only species who can think intelligently, speak rationally and still manage to bastardize the system.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

The land of two birthdays [28/365]

Don't you wish you had more than one birthdays in a year?
Well, if you're in India, chances are you'll know at least six people who have two birth-dates in a year. One, official and another real.

For the uninitiated, the official date is so that the parents could either advance/delay their child's entry into the coveted Indian education system. And the real one, well, is the actual date of birth that the child will eventually forget and have to be reminded by his parents every year.

Personally, I know more than a dozen people who have two birth-dates in a year. Lucky bastards. They get to enjoy the treats twice.
But will it pose any risks for that person as he/she grows up? Technically yes. But there are ways to get around it.
With the nationwide importance in school certificates and other such documents, the fake birth-date will be authenticated and unless you are actually looking to get more than one passport in your name, you could easily pass off your fake official birth-date as the real one. But the surprising thing is most people that I know who have a fake official birth-date also end up telling their friends and acquaintances that it is fake; when the friends and acquaintances call to wish them on their (fake) birthdays. I've been embarrassed on more than one instance when I've called to wish, only to be told that it is only their fake bday and their real bday is not until a few months down the line. Argh! How I envy these people.

But recently, the government of India realized one of its most senior Army Generals had two birth-dates too. (Read the interesting story here) VK Singh, at 59 is supposed to retire this year but wants to hang on for another year.
Now, two questions come to my mind.
Was the government snoozing all this while? In this age, where even MNCs have background checks on entry level employees, why didn't the govt do enough to check the veracity of his documents?
And, Retire a year later? What the f*** is wrong with the Sardar?
Most sane people his age (which aren't many) would love to hang up the boots and sit back in a lawn chair at a nursing home hoping to die in as much a dignified way as possible.

Ofcourse, one could argue that he gets to enjoy the salutes and the other perks that go along with the job, but with the Santa Singh fighting against the very government that is supposed to give him the pension benefits, he risks loosing everything.
If you ask me, he should be stripped of all his pre-retirement status and post retirement benefits right away for lying to the government and then fighting against it.

But this is not going to be the last time you'll hear of a person who has two birth-dates. Go to any Passport Offices and you'll meet with applicants whose passports have been declined/denied just because they had two birth-dates.

Happy Birthday to that!

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