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March 22, 2009

Blame game, the favourite game of politicians

NO, I am not talking about cricket, football or hockey. These are the games meant for ordinary people. I am talking about extraordinary game that is played usually among politicians ie blame game. This is their all-time favourite game. The politicians leave no stone unturned in blaming their opponents.
Recently, Lal Krishna Advani, BJP’s prime ministerial candidate, at the party’s National Council meet said, “Politics is a slippery field. So whenever someone slips, people ask how we are a party with a difference. I still feel we are. The BJP is the only political group that is not run by an individual or a family.” On the other hand the Congress president Sonia Gandhi accused NDA of misguiding people in the name of Lord Ram and thus, according to her, the party is causing ‘grave damage’ by challenging India’s secularism.

Political parties in order to remain in limelight play this filthy game as a part of their political strategy. Politicians think that through this means they can hide their own faults and become ideal leaders for their voters, thus maintaining their reputation as well as not letting their supporters to slip out of their hands.

The Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh, Mayawati, celebrated her birthday on January 15 this year.

On her birthday, she declared some days should be observed on opposition leaders’ birthday. The days were ‘broker’s day’ or ‘dalal diwas’, ’slavery day’ or ’ghulami diwas’, ’dhokadhari diwas’ or ’cheating day’, etc. and she celebrated her birthday as ‘Arthik Sahayog Diwas’ or ‘Economic Upliftment Day’.

This timely ’blame game’ portrays that these leaders, who are holding very responsible jobs, only try to divert the mind of people from their past to someone else’s future. These are only some of the politicians who have successfully played this game. When the feeling to serve the nation and its people makes its home in our respectable leaders’ hearts, I can confidently say that this game will come to an end.

It may seem that we the people are crying for the moon but as true Indians we only want a responsible nation, not one which is misled by a number of political organisations, who work only for their own benefit.

The Pitaji-Betaji politics of India!

IN ‘THE Maharaja,’ the famous novel of Manohar Moolgaonkar written almost two decades back, the story revolves around a commoner who becomes a Neta after abolishing of princely states in independent India. The actual Maharaja gets reduced to a nonentity. The netaji very quickly acquires all the material goodies and some more sans the responsibility, which the erstwhile Maharaja had for his subjects. The theme of the book is that if democracy in India meant perpetuating another dynastic rule then what was wrong with original feudal system. At least it had evolved and had pedigree.
Today, when we talk of dynastic rule in independent India, straight away fingers are pointed to a particular political party. Reams of pages have been written in media as to how the prince in waiting is being groomed by the doting mother, meanwhile the seat of the prime minister is kept warm by stop gap arrangements. This may or may not be true but the fact of the matter is that all those who are doing finger pointing are themselves involved in the same game.

It is all right for those regional political parties where the chief Netaji was the founder of the party. One can understand these political parties, managed like family concerns with the family members becoming patrons and hogging all the limelight as also the plum posts. Young or old, all party workers joining and supporting such parties do so with full knowledge that they will always remain the second rung leaders. They are aware that their advancement will be dependent on loyalty to the said family concern. Unfortunately this virus is now affecting those mainstream political parties also which till now had a good record of grassroots leaders coming up through the rough and tumble of the street politics.

Recently, a very senior political big wig of a mainstream political party, throwing ideology and what have you to winds, left his party in a huff and joined his opponent of decades .The reason for this annoyance of netaji was his son being denied a parliament nomination for the general elections 2009, while another netaji of the same party got his son nominated. Janta Ki Sewa or not, one appreciates that, netaji is also human and ‘Putra Moh’ is something in India on which even Dhratrashtra the Kaurava King could not remain objective resulting in Mahabharata being fought. Nevertheless some norms on induction and propagation of such Neta Putras must now be defined. After all, as people’s nominee in democracy they will be representing the interests of a large majority of people. They must be capable.

The problem in Indian politics is that most of these Putras are not inducted because of their capability but are foisted. The neta putra does his initial education in a very shielded environment mostly outside the country. There he may not even be a member of the college level union. However, on his return, he overnight becomes leader of the youth brigade or some such thing of the Pitaji’s party without going through the rough and tumble of the Indian politics. The biggest irony is that except for mainstream parties all other regional satraps who today are leading lights in their respective parties have themselves come up the hard way? So why not their precious putras?

Today, India is the youngest country in the world. 640 million of its population is between 18 to 30 years age bracket. The education quotient is also highest in this age bracket. In the elections 2009 for the first time in the history of India this large young majority will now be voting. Out of this youth, more than 40 million will be voting for the first time. This youth of India has different priorities to the Pitajis and Taujis who are still bent upon contesting the elections as leaders. Thus, there is big asymmetry in the in the mental make up and beliefs of the leaders and the led. Current netajis at an average age of 60 plus, have a typical mind set and have outlived their utility. Unfortunately instead of retiring and giving way to generation next, they still want to cling on to power.

The Aam Admi, this polity of dynamic youth with all their ambitions and dreams yet to be fulfilled are being led by people who have passed their prime. This older generation, averse to any more risk taking is happy with what is currently going on and loathe to any change. What surprise then that goons of these old timer netas, the Taus and Pitajis beat girls in the pub or misbehave with young couples on Valentine day? All in the name of Indian culture as they had seen it in their lifetime.

Time has now come for Indian youth to assert itself. When the polity is so young, the political parties must be made to field young candidates to represent them and not infirm old timers. These people must be made to retire having played their innings. Only the young leaders will be able to properly empathise with the aspirations of the young population. Then only the correct solutions in keeping with the changed time and environment will emerge. Right thing to will be to have a judicious mix of young and old. The young netas must originate from the mass, a bottom up approach and not top down. The Pitajis wanting their wards to become politicians must induct them as a simple party worker. Let them rise through the ranks and learn the rope.


As for real leadership, if the Pitajis really want their sons to serve the country then they should opt for their wards to serve in the armed forces for a period of five years before joining politics. If not in the regular army then in the territorial army, as the famous cricketier Kapil Deo has recently shown the way. This will inculcate discipline and love for the country in the aspiring Netaji. This will also groom the budding netaji to face the trials, tribulations and hardships with the men he leads, enabling him to be a real leader of men.

It is worth mentioning here that the British have a tradition even today that the King in waiting has to serve in their armed forces for sometime. America, the world’s most prosperous and evolved democracy had General Eisenhower as its president and General Colin Powell as its secretary of state. The current Obama cabinet has two ministers, who are ex army generals. There are so many senators in US who are war veterans. In politics it should be deserving Bhomi Putras not Neta Putras who should be leading.

Indian polity at crossroads

With every passing year, the parliamentary system of the largest democracy of the world has turn into a system of politicians in power who are glued to their seats by popularising the socio- political propaganda in the mainstream electoral scenario aiming to heap up their vote- bank.


I attended a conference held by Symbiosis Institute of Media and Communication, Pune, on March 17, 2009, organised a unique seminar “Indian Polity at crossroads” at its Lavale Campus to give an overview of the changing trends in the politics and analysis the upcoming elections to the people at large. A day-long event was addressed by prominent speakers across diverse fields. Irfan Engineer, Atul Kulkarni, Col Rao, Arun Bhatia, Dr Jose Geroge delivered thought provoking ideologies.


The Lok Sabha Election 2009 remained the prime focus of the discussion. The active participatory audience was convinced with the view that however this time none of the political party is following the similar line of action for campaigning election manifesto, in fact focussing on the economic condition of the country. Not only the two major players in the electoral but also some small parties are pre- occupied flaunting their governance. Last year, during the State Assembly Elections, the highly anticipated election passed as a low key affair in all the 70 constituencies. Although, candidates and parties have spent exorbitant amount of money in media campaigns, rallies, billboards and at other such collaterals to woo and booze the voters.


It is the time for us as citizens, the future of the nation, to see the political scenario and ask ourselves what has the government done for us. Make the government accountable to its people. Why are we only considered as vote banks and not as citizens of the country who elect one amongst us to work for us? See around yourself and you will find that all the parties are coming out openly to criticise and lay allegations on each other. The democratic exercise of the election promotion has already started witnessing an objectable face by government in power singing Jai Ho! Nevertheless, what amuses is that the election manifesto of all the parties read as the hymns of the same note.


Well, it is the testing time for the Congress government which is reigning in the house for a full five year term! Will it be able to come to power again or lucky stars of some other party will shine? Congress takes it as an opportunity to resolve all the controversial issues in the nation pertaining to its position.


People are expecting the victorious party in the Lok Sabha elections to resolve the looming issues that still accounts to a major share of the problems in the nation. Inflation has badly hit the economy and no wonder the inability to check the ever increasing prices has become one of the aspects to judge the present government. Opposition parties, therefore, gets an edge over the ruling party and promise the citizen easy prices, affordable vegetables, low fuel and LPG rates and likes.


The counter and urban terrorism has turned out to be the real troublemakers in India. Rapes, molestations, robbery and murder have been increasing at an alarming rate. This might change the voting pattern and shift the paradigm. Security from anti- social elements and terrorist is the biggest challenge for any government that comes in power. These incidents clearly portray the lapse in Congress’s vision regarding law and order and police coordination. But terrorism in India is extremely complex. According to Col Rao, “In India, religion and political driven terrorism is so deeply rooted that it will not be eradicate till our politicians start performing as leaders.”


He also points out the fact that religion plays a pivotal role to increase the vote bank. Whether it is promising seats to Dalits, OBCs or minorities, political parties will do anything to gain votes. They would then shrug off from their statements once the elections are over. All these distinctions later take a form of mass agitation resulting in genocide like in Gujarat.


However, it is imperative to evaluate the nation on yet another parameter. A steady economic growth has been marked over the years. Infrastructure development is tremendous; an integrated transport system is being adopted. Government following the guidelines of Master Plan 2021, has already given half a makeover to the many parts of the country with Delhi Metro, numerous flyovers, foot over bridges, escalators, under passes and various similar projects at other cities.


With opening gates to Commonwealth Games 2010, India is adding another star to its already positioned trophy with Pune Youth Games, 2008 at the world map. “Nevertheless, if we as conscious citizens looked to the flip side of such events, we will find that our government is spending millions of dollars on organising these world- class events. Polishing already existing infrastructure, developing already developed parts and ignoring the down trodden at its core,” says Arun Bhatia, ex- IAS official and independent candidate from Pune.


Manifesto of all the parties’ promises to deliver education to one and all. But if we see the figures, Sarva Sikhsha Abhiyan has been a total failure. Nevertheless, we do not hesitate to boast of India being recognised as an emerging hub for education. Atul Kulkarni, National Award winning film actor says, “However, it is interesting to notice that education in India is not a process of learning but a mere task to gain marks, securing a degree and earning a handsome package by getting through a placement from some B- school!” He further adds that it is important for us as a citizen of the country to take some steps to make our nation work and prosper. Education is a long- term mission that can and will resolve all the corrupt practices in politics in India that originates from a man at the so- called political gaddi to a clerk in a passport office.


Bijli, sadak and paani are still the burning issues in the country.
And why don’t we take an initiative to ask our government servants to deliver the services that we are supposed to get. Health and Sanitation are also issues that need to be carefully dealt with. Government hospitals are still not equipped with new and comprehensive health care measures to serve the need of the ever increasing population. People are dying due to dengue, jaundice and malaria. As of now, the development of the country seems to be far away from the ground reality.


A distinctive vision must be set up to streamline and provide momentum to the increasing growth rate of India by working at the grass root level.


The election is the litmus test for any party to prove its prominence. It is the time for us to observe the execution of dozen new promises made by them. And most importantly, it is a time to cast vote, a vote to a right candidate. And if there is no right candidate, stand for yourself, your people and make a difference.


Atul Kulkarni rightly said, “You have to be in the system to change the system.”

Indian polity at crossroads

WITH EVERY passing year, the parliamentary system of the largest democracy of the world has turn into a system of politicians in power who are glued to their seats by popularising the socio- political propaganda in the mainstream electoral scenario aiming to heap up their vote- bank.


Symbiosis Institute of Media and Communication, Pune, on March 17, 2009, organised a unique seminar “Indian Polity at crossroads” at its Lavale Campus to give an overview of the changing trends in the politics and analysis the upcoming elections to the people at large. A day-long event was addressed by prominent speakers across diverse fields. Irfan Engineer, Atul Kulkarni, Col Rao, Arun Bhatia, Dr Jose Geroge delivered thought provoking ideologies.


The Lok Sabha Election 2009 remained the prime focus of the discussion. The active participatory audience was convinced with the view that however this time none of the political party is following the similar line of action for campaigning election manifesto, in fact focussing on the economic condition of the country. Not only the two major players in the electoral but also some small parties are pre- occupied flaunting their governance. Last year, during the State Assembly Elections, the highly anticipated election passed as a low key affair in all the 70 constituencies. Although, candidates and parties have spent exorbitant amount of money in media campaigns, rallies, billboards and at other such collaterals to woo and booze the voters.


It is the time for us as citizens, the future of the nation, to see the political scenario and ask ourselves what has the government done for us. Make the government accountable to its people. Why are we only considered as vote banks and not as citizens of the country who elect one amongst us to work for us? See around yourself and you will find that all the parties are coming out openly to criticise and lay allegations on each other. The democratic exercise of the election promotion has already started witnessing an objectable face by government in power singing Jai Ho! Nevertheless, what amuses is that the election manifesto of all the parties read as the hymns of the same note.


Well, it is the testing time for the Congress government which is reigning in the house for a full five year term! Will it be able to come to power again or lucky stars of some other party will shine? Congress takes it as an opportunity to resolve all the controversial issues in the nation pertaining to its position.


People are expecting the victorious party in the Lok Sabha elections to resolve the looming issues that still accounts to a major share of the problems in the nation. Inflation has badly hit the economy and no wonder the inability to check the ever increasing prices has become one of the aspects to judge the present government. Opposition parties, therefore, gets an edge over the ruling party and promise the citizen easy prices, affordable vegetables, low fuel and LPG rates and likes.


The counter and urban terrorism has turned out to be the real troublemakers in India. Rapes, molestations, robbery and murder have been increasing at an alarming rate. This might change the voting pattern and shift the paradigm. Security from anti- social elements and terrorist is the biggest challenge for any government that comes in power. These incidents clearly portray the lapse in Congress’s vision regarding law and order and police coordination. But terrorism in India is extremely complex. According to Col Rao, “In India, religion and political driven terrorism is so deeply rooted that it will not be eradicate till our politicians start performing as leaders.”


He also points out the fact that religion plays a pivotal role to increase the vote bank. Whether it is promising seats to Dalits, OBCs or minorities, political parties will do anything to gain votes. They would then shrug off from their statements once the elections are over. All these distinctions later take a form of mass agitation resulting in genocide like in Gujarat.


However, it is imperative to evaluate the nation on yet another parameter. A steady economic growth has been marked over the years. Infrastructure development is tremendous; an integrated transport system is being adopted. Government following the guidelines of Master Plan 2021, has already given half a makeover to the many parts of the country with Delhi Metro, numerous flyovers, foot over bridges, escalators, under passes and various similar projects at other cities.


With opening gates to Commonwealth Games 2010, India is adding another star to its already positioned trophy with Pune Youth Games, 2008 at the world map. “Nevertheless, if we as conscious citizens looked to the flip side of such events, we will find that our government is spending millions of dollars on organising these world- class events. Polishing already existing infrastructure, developing already developed parts and ignoring the down trodden at its core,” says Arun Bhatia, ex- IAS official and independent candidate from Pune.


Manifesto of all the parties’ promises to deliver education to one and all. But if we see the figures, Sarva Sikhsha Abhiyan has been a total failure. Nevertheless, we do not hesitate to boast of India being recognised as an emerging hub for education. Atul Kulkarni, National Award winning film actor says, “However, it is interesting to notice that education in India is not a process of learning but a mere task to gain marks, securing a degree and earning a handsome package by getting through a placement from some B- school!” He further adds that it is important for us as a citizen of the country to take some steps to make our nation work and prosper. Education is a long- term mission that can and will resolve all the corrupt practices in politics in India that originates from a man at the so- called political gaddi to a clerk in a passport office.


Bijli, sadak and paani are still the burning issues in the country.
And why don’t we take an initiative to ask our government servants to deliver the services that we are supposed to get. Health and Sanitation are also issues that need to be carefully dealt with. Government hospitals are still not equipped with new and comprehensive health care measures to serve the need of the ever increasing population. People are dying due to dengue, jaundice and malaria. As of now, the development of the country seems to be far away from the ground reality.


A distinctive vision must be set up to streamline and provide momentum to the increasing growth rate of India by working at the grass root level.


The election is the litmus test for any party to prove its prominence. It is the time for us to observe the execution of dozen new promises made by them. And most importantly, it is a time to cast vote, a vote to a right candidate. And if there is no right candidate, stand for yourself, your people and make a difference.


Atul Kulkarni rightly said, “You have to be in the system to change the system.”

Legalising ban on corporal punishment

REPORTS SUGGEST that the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights is looking forward to some changes in the law regarding children that would make it an offence for teachers to hit a child.


The commission recommends a suitable need to amend Section 89 of Indian Penal Code in order to legalise the ban on corporal punishment.


Section 89 of the IPC says, “Nothing which is done in good faith for the benefit of a person below 12 years of age or of unsound mind, by or by consent, either expressed or implied, of the guardian or the other person having lawful charge of that person, is not an offence....


As per the guidelines laid down by the commission any kind of slapping, pinching, hitting with a scale, rapping on the knuckles, making a student kneel down for hours, or making him run in the school grounds or locking the student in a room should be liable to legal action.


Till date these guidelines are being circulated in schools but only an amendment in the IPC will give them legal sanction.


While on one hand, these amendments aim at straightening the rights of the children but on the other hand the teachers are made completely helpless because we can’t deny the fact that this amendment is going to provide immense power to the children.


Therefore it is important for the panel which is going to finalize the decision, to rethink and make necessary provisions so the law is not misused by anyone.