Friday, November 23, 2007

Economic Disparity and Casteism – India needs another battle of Independence

Economic Disparity and Casteism – India needs another battle of Independence

INDIA SHINING was the platform of a political party that was vanquished in 2004 electoral polls. Because though India was shining but Bharat that is 77% of the population was NOT. And in Indian system of electoral collage with first past the post system , you cant win elections on the basis of the “Indian” electoral college. It has to be done with the support of the weak and fragile rural Bharat. The hi tech SMS and high octane Mass media campaign can not garner enough support to get one past the post.

The Economic disparity in that of the so called urban and laptop trotting yuppies and that of the country side peasants and proletariats is so wide that one cants see or perceive each others life style or predicaments. Both of them exist impervious of each other.
We have young BPO or KPO kids sporting their blue tooth enabled cell phones on one side of this chasm and farmers committing suicide because of mounting and non payable loans on other side. The unorganized workers , land less tillers, large 10% tribal population have little to reckon with the 9.4% growth. The trickle down effect to them is ZERO.
Providing of the basic human needs is the Primary responsibility of the state. Health and Education are the two very basic needs and not servicing this need is nothing short of criminal negligence of the Sovereign Democratic State.
We have non functional schools, ill spent funds in great and novel poverty eradication program viz., National Rural Employment Guarantee scheme that are lost in the SARAKAARI mire(A recent newspaper report stated that only 6% of the NREG funds reached the target beneficiaries) . All good intended schemes are lost in the cesspool of corruption.
Casteism , Religious fundamentalism are the ultimate bane of India. Scheming Britishers divided India into two segments and our own politicians have divided Indians into hundred cast based and similar other segments.
Mahatma Gandhi had said if Hinduism is to survive casteism has to be eradicated otherwise Hinduism would be eradicated. The brahminical class committed the sacrilege for hundreds of years to maintain their superiority, the politicians have done it TEN times more severe for their narrow parochial vote centric benefits.
Today the status as it stands no political party of any colour is prepared to bell the cat and disembark from the casteist band wagon. Rather each one is continually trying to add confusion to the chaos by dividing casts into sub casts, pitting them each against one another , rendering sarkari benefits to one and depriving another that makes them go at one another’s throat. We need a total paradigm shift to enable the political parties to come out of the morass of casteism. Nothing short of another freedom struggle to throw away this yoke of casteism is imperative and essential..

Recalling the clarion call of Jai Prakash Narayan of 1974/75 I perceive we need nothing short of another independence struggle or as JP termed it ‘TOTAL REVOLUTION’. Most of the efforts of any Government or political outfit are nothing more than ‘Band Aid’ approach to these deep rooted cancers. You need surgical intervention to root out cancer. ‘Band aid’ approach would only keep the wound festering. It is not going to be of any help.
Our freedom struggle was a total committed drive to root out slavery. Gandhiji had said ‘Independence is ability to resist a wrong and not transfer of Power from White to Browns’. We have to work towards devolving power to the have nots too. A poor illiterate citizen for petty crimes such as ticket less travel undergoes imprisonment of several years as an under trial prisoner. Whereas the Rich and Powerful get away with committing the murder in front of four hundred witnesses. The marginalized Bharat’s percepts of Independence is lost in struggle of procuring daily bread.
We need to embark upon a second battle of independence to complete the unfinished task of achieving FREEDOM and devolving power to the people at the bottom of the rung.
Extreme Economic Disparity such as one present in Indian society would never permit homogeneity. Haves and Have-nots would always exist and coexist. Yet the extreme profligacy of few viz., gifting a 125 crore jet to ones spouse as a birthday gift and majority subsisting on less then Rs.20 a day reeks of putrefied death of sensibilities. It is high time that the people living on the fringe too get counted in the process of NATION BUILDING. Gandhiji again had said ‘The Rich are nothing but trustees of the Poor. They are holding their wealth as trustees. If they do not return the same at some point in near future , the poor would have no other option but to seize it from them’. It seemingly appears to be an extremist’s slogan. Yet it was spoken by the MAHATMA the ultimate practitioner of non violence.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Pakistan and Emergency

Pakistan has been a failed state since its inception. This is the seventh Proclamation of Emergency beginning from Ayub Khan.
In India there is a wide spread condemnation of the recent proclamation of Emergency. For Pakistani’s it’s ‘Just Once Aain’. To them it’s a routine affair.
The current emergency was needed to save Pakistan and Musharraf and not Musharraf alone. The country has been in the throes of terrorism for quite sometime. After Lal Masjid fiasco, attack on Benazir’s cavalcade, the capturing of Pakistani soldiers by terrorists in NWFP and holding them as hostage for months amply indicated the impotence and helplessness of the Pakistani Government. The impending Supreme Court Judgment was only the last straw on the camels back.
Talibanisation of the society has been going on for quite sometime. Majority of the Pakistanis had favored and voted for a Shariah based constitution. The recent statement of Pakistani Cricket captain on TV that the entire Muslim world was supporting him was an extreme hyperbole and reflected a total Talibanisation of society. The national level cricketers have started to wear religion on their sleeves. Growing a beard, Praying enmasse in the Plane etc., depict a deep rooted fundamentalist attitude.
The current emergency seemingly has been proclaimed by Musharraf to get rid of the Mullas and ISI combine Raj. The flip side is that the person responsible for the things to come to such a pass is none other then Musharraf himself. Musharraf the predator can hardly be relied upon to be the deliverer. The concept of a Benevolent Dictator (A phrase given by Mr. Churchill) is absurd. All dictators' benevolence ultimately gravitates to his own kith and kin. Ideally state has enough Power to fight any unholy alliance such as this one. Musharraf had both the civil forces of state and army behind him to suppress any uprising. The state should be able to maintain law and order with in the domain of legal constitution. Any suspension of constitution , muzzling of press, suppressing of Judiciary speak of inherent weakness in the system. Musharraf inspite of being chief of army and president of state is a weak Head of State. He has been hunting with the hounds and running with the hares. He has been holding on to his seat of power only with an active support of the greatest ROGUE nation i.e., USA. Such people are seldom made of STERNER stuff.
Broadly there are only two ways to run any state. These are counting heads (democracy) or breaking heads (dictatorship). Democracy may not be an ideal form of Governance for an uneducated state like Pakistan, yet its a shade better than Breaking Heads i.e., proclaiming of emergency or Dictatorship.
I believe in Pakistan there has never been even a semblance of democracy. The Army with the mullahs have been ruling the state. When terrorists like MQM form a segment of the coalition Government, Emergency is a necessary culmination. Now Musharraf under the guise of emergency would try to shake of the Mullah regime. Godspeed to him. Yet Musharraf would be a bad choice to rule Pakistan unless he faces a PROPER ELECTION and obtains a popular mandate, which I doubt he ever would. Musharraf is a product of Pakistan Army. In Pakistan Army perceives it demeaning to go to people and seek mandate. They have an inherent right to rule or lord over people.
In India we have had a functional democracy since last 60 years. We continuously moan about its deficiencies. We quote Lord Wavell that “Indian can be ruled firmly or not ruled at all” desiring a more firm form of governance. A Democratic but Firm Government is the appropriate prescription for India. Inspite of all the deficiencies, the delays and corruption its lot better then any authoritarian or Army rule.
We have our own blind spots viz., ‘Criminalisation of Politics’, ‘Corruption in Bureaucracy and Legislature’, ‘In effective Judiciary’ and ‘sensationalisation of TRIVIA by an irresponsible MEDIA’ nearly covers the entire spectrum of any society.. All the four pillars of democracy leave much to be desired. Yet I would not even for a moment seek an authoritarian form of Governance as a substitute.

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