Category Archives: Politics

आज़ादी मुबारक हो….

independence day

By Joybrato Dutta

पसंद न था

खेतों में टमाटर प्याज़ उगाना

हैसियत में  नहीं

आज बाज़ार से उन्हें ख़रीदना

कभी सोचते थे

दुनिया को इशारों पर नचाओगे

आज सोचते हो

बिना प्याज़ टमाटर के घर में क्या बनाओगे

तुम्हे आज़ादी मुबारक हो

तुम किश्तों में कटते हो

कभी हिस्सों में जुड़ते हो

चाल है तुम्हारी नवाबों वाली

जाल में फंसे हो EMI वाली

तुम्हें भी आज़ादी मुबारक हो

गाँव के साथ तेवर भी छोड़ दिए

कड़ी धुप में अटल रहने वाला सर

आज AC कमरे में झुका दिए

भूख मिटाने के सपने देखने  वाले

आज दो वक़्त के आगे तुमने घुटने टेक दिए

तुम्हे भी आज़ादी मुबारक हो

कहीं कांग्रेस ने फैलाया जाल

तो कहीं माओवादियों ने किया बूरा हाल

प्रेमिका के साथ long drive का सोंचा

तो traffic jam और खड्डों ने टोका

अकेली बेटी को बहार भेजने से डरते हो

जवान बेटे को गाड़ी देने से डरते हो

कभी सिनेमा घर के बढ़ते rates

तो कभी auto-rickshaw के बढ़ते fares

बच्चों की फीस हो

या दिवाली में सिलवानी नयी कमीज़ हो

पेट्रोल के बढ़ते दाम

घर का बढ़ता किराया

सब ने मिलकर तुम्हे बंधी बनाया

ख़्वाबो के महल में आज़ाद रहने वाल़े

आज तुम्हे आज़ादी मुबारक हो

The Pursuit For My Voters ID

voter id

By Malathy Madathilezham

The article is a tad old but is very relevant to the day and time as well

I am an Indian citizen, true, but I haven’t had the opportunity to cast my vote till now. Just recently I completed my voters ID formality and am just sharing my experience.

Initially I and my mom submitted our forms at a nearby school on the given dates. The teachers were given the duty to help us in filling the form, etc. They were quite helpful and that experience was a pleasant one. The date allotted for us to complete the rest of the formalities was December 1st, 11 am at the Village Office at Maradu.

So, I took leave on that day. I was pretty happy cause I would be finally be able to Vote for the next elections and I had the copies and originals of all the prescribed proofs of Identity and address. We reach there well before the allotted time and there was a board saying we are to go to the community hall nearby. We go there and its utter chaos. In addition all eyes (even the women stare!) are on me and my mom, as if we are some alien creatures. May be its fact that I am wearing jeans (with a Looooong kurta though) and my mom is in her Kurti and Churidar, may be it’s that outsider feel that both of us still exude or just the attitude. But this is quite normal so we ignore that.

There are a number of counters (read benches and desks with some people with a self important air around them), but there is no order or boards indicating where we go first. So we just stand in the first queue that we stand. Thankfully it turns out be the right one and there are not many people in front of me. Thus we submit the receipt kind of thing there and are handed over a few more forms and asked to go to the next counter. We find out which one exactly is the next counter and rush there. On taking my form there, the lady says I need to give a reason why till now I did not apply for voters ID Card. So I write that down. Then she raises another objection that I need to have a ration card as proof of address and my passport wont do!! Or else I need to go to the village officer in the next counter and get a temporary residence certificate with my passport as proof. I go there and then he tells me this is not the correct ward number, or the house number and lot of other things which frankly I could not understand. Now I am really frustrated and angry and look at my mom. She knows I am about to blow my top. Then she asks if on the basis of her residence proof he could issue me one. Fortunately for him, he says he can do that. He asks me to make some changes here and there. And Voila! He issues me a temp residence proof. Then back to the same counter where the queue has grown long by now. She fills up some forms and sends me to the next counter.

The man at the next counter is kind enough not to ask too many questions or bring more objections. He signs the forms and sends me forward. The last counter was where the photos were being taken for the Voters ID Card. Now I think the old man in front of me liked the young photographer as he did not seem to keen on getting up from the seat. So some questions and answers later, finally I got my photo taken (I guess my photo will show the level of my frustration!). And thus ended the ordeal of finishing the formality to get my Voters ID.

What I cannot understand is, if the website of the election commission states some mandatory ID proofs are required and that Passport, Driving License, Statement of your Bank account, Ration card; any of these can be taken as proof of residence, then why this insistence of taking only the ration card as proof of ID. Why make life difficult for people like me who may not be fortunate enough to have one. You cannot question the fact that I am an Indian, I have an Indian Passport, and my driving license proves that I am above 18 years old. Instead of making procedures like these simple and uncomplicated why the tendency to make the experience difficult, tedious and frustrating?

An Emotional Letter To The Economist, Dr Manmohan Singh

manmohan singh--621x414

By Anupam Singh

Hope you are okay, healthy & kicking!

The Food Security Bill has been passed in Lok Sabha, but should I congratulate you?

No! I would rather congratulate Her Highness the visionary Sonia Gandhi for her Vote Security Bill. You know it better than anyone that its the worst time to undertake such a bill but you are helpless seeing the interest Her Highness has shown in it. Passing the Food Security Bill is good politics, passing it not is good economics. And we all know who wins the unfortunate battle of Politics Vs Economics, that too when the elections are lurking round the corner.

Sir, people have known me on social networking sites as one of your most vocal adversaries. I have hammered & bludgeoned you through my writings in letter & words for most of your tenure as the PM of India. But today, am in a different mood. I’m writing this letter to exhibit a different sort of emotion. Today, I sympathise with you & understand the predicament you must be going through. I know that when the world sleeps you remain awake to self-pity & imprisonment. Every morning while having the morning tea you helplessly ponder over India’s deteriorating economy. You represent a 100 million people but deep inside you are a loner. I know you might feel embarrassed reading this letter, thinking how could a young little chap decipher your state of mind so well.

Mr Prime Minister, I’m writing this letter to you based on some of my recent observations. In the Lok Sabha, Her Highness had to take the mantle into her own hands. She had to personally lead this initiative to get the bill passed because you, Mr Manmohan Singh, as a learned economist must not have been in its favour at this point of time. I know that you clearly understand the bearing such an act would take on the economy. Unfortunately for us, the highest moral ground you could take was to simply NOT BE IN FAVOUR because you don’t have the guts to steer the government policy as per your discretion.

Today, the nation is in a fix. Investors, who once entered into the Indian market thanking your liberalisation policies of 90s, are fleeing our market. The Rupee has stooped so low that its shamelessly in position 69 with the dollar on the higher side. An economy which boasted of high Forex reserves, healthy account deficit, growth & robustness not very long ago is caught in a quagmire. You know the state of economy far better than me but you can’t disagree my saying that the situation in India is of a crisis, an economic emergency.
Fortunately, the best person to sail us through these turbulent times is in the chair of the Prime Minister. You have done it earlier & most of us Indians are a fan of how you helped recover the economy in the 90s. I personally liked the manner you got the Indo-US nuclear deal done, infact that was the only time in your tenure that you looked in control of the proceedings.

Whatever the upcoming 2014 election results, there is no way you would be the next PM. And I must remind you that you’ll go down in history as one of the worst Prime Ministers ever. Leave aside opposition or the media, your own party will discredit you, disown you once your term is over & every congressman will label all that was wrong with UPA rule as the PM’s personal failure. This is what happened to Narasimha Rao & this is what will happen to you. History will repeat itself. I know you are not that bad a PM as the history books will project you, but you have neither acted with the dignity & style that a prime minister of the world’s largest democracy should have.

This economic scenario might be a threat for India, but I see an opportunity in it for you. An opportunity to salvage what you’ve lost. An opportunity to establish that the countrymen’s belief in you was not unfounded. Sir, doesn’t your heart bleed to see people’s loss of hope in you!

In a crisis like this, any country would have died for an economist to be at the helm of affairs. And no Indian has a better CV than you have as an economist. This is the last ditch moment to rise above your helplessness & break the shackles that tie you. This crisis can be a saving grace & blessing in disguise to help you unburden. The Food Security Bill is through in the Lok Sabha & it might very well help the congress garner some votes but will surely take away the last bit of respect people have in you. If you show the courage to stand & speak, the country, opposition, the media will speak with you in the same tone. No Sonia or No ruling party can overrule what the PM wants & stands for.

I really wish that the Prime Minister of my country gets a dignified exit with his head held high. And if you don’t I’ll continue bludgeoning you as my daily routine, you being my favourite object of ridicule!

You know, every Indian except the concerned person in power has a solution to any damn serious national problem. Giving unsolicited advice is our favourite pastime & I’m no less! So, Dr. Saab, I would conclude my emotional outbursts by advising you on how to resolve this economic crisis.

You have only two options Mr Economist..

1st)  Stand up for what you believe in. Take your cabinet in confidence. Talk to Her Highness. Take the bull by the horn. Stall the Food Security Bill. Follow the principles of good economics, leave the rules of good politics aside. The power is with you. You are still our Prime Minister & the most able man to ride this crisis.

OR..

2nd)   As your Commerce Minister has already suggested we might have to pledge Gold to save our economy as we did in 1991. My suggestion is why put the country’s Gold on collateral when we have so many highly qualified Gold Medallist economists in the government. Please collect your medals & we shall have enough Gold to sail us through. Furthermore, none of us would then say that your Gold medals are of no use.

So Mr Economist, take a stand or sell your Gold medals..!!

Your’s critically,

Anupam Singh

A Look Inside Myanmar’s First Real Year Of Democracy – 1

Jack Hoyle comes back with his second pictorial blog. From cricket, he makes a move to politics and democracy in Myanmar. Here’s his work behind the lens as Myanmar completes a year of democracy.

myanmar - 1

Monks await the arrival of The Lady, Aung San Suu Kyi. A reported 100,000 people flocked to hear her give a speech. It was the first time she had visited Mandalay since her release from house arrest.

myanmar 2

Aung San Suu Kyi was over six hours late, due to the huge numbers of people in the streets cheering along her motorcade. Monks huddle together to keep warm, while another spectator shields himself from the rain with a poster of The Lady.

myanmar - 3

A monk sewing.

myanmar - 4

Workers load a boat in Mandalay, shored on the banks of the Irrawaddy River.

myanmar - 5

A boy holds up a captured bird. This particular bird is often sold as street food along the roadside.

Myanmar - 6

Myanmar youths have found a new sense of confidence since the democratic reforms. Previously people, particularly the young, would have been persecuted for wearing such ‘daring’ attire, where as these days it’s a common sight.

The Youth Pulse: Talking to Mr. Rajesh Kumar, Youth BJP Leader From Bihar

IMG-20130823-WA0001

By Ankush Kumar

MSK and Ankush Kumar start a series of interviews, where we will showcase the views of our youth leaders and their connect with the Youngistaan.

Joining us today is ‘Mr. Rajesh Kumar’ convenor of the professional cell of the BJP for Bihar. He is a son of the soil, born in a village named Narhat, has done his schooling from there, did his engineering in Bangalore and MBA from Pune. He is currently the Zonal head for Frontline, a company that is into trading and investments. He also has other business interests but most importantly is an active youth leader for the BJP in Bihar.

Excerpts.

Ankush Kumar (AK):  Sir why did you choose the BJP and say no to the Congress or any other political party?

Rajesh Kumar (RK): The motto of this party is to work with a difference. It puts the nation as top priority, then the state follows and self is given least priority. They function in a democratic way, unlike the Congress where one family controls its policies. Hence I have chosen the BJP.

AK:  Since you believe in the democratic set up of your party, and the youth is desperate for change. How do you think you can sync your ideologies with the young voters?

RK: The youth has taken to the social media in a big way, any issue and every issue is dissected by them. They are disheartened by the current affairs of our country and its leaders. We as youth leaders want them to know that we empathize with them and we are ready to walk hand-in-hand and bring change to society.

AK: All political leaders say the same thing sir that they will bring in the change. Frankly most leaders choose politics to make money. How do you think this can change?

RK: I agree to a certain extent that most leaders have failed the people of India; they have minted money on people’s misery. But most importantly they have filled their coffers by dividing the nation on communal and caste lines. These leaders can never show us the right direction. They can just do minority vote bank politics. Our NDA Government in has Bihar managed to change that in the last nine years. We have ensured that people in the lowest strata of the society get educated. Because a well educated society can only curb the rampant culture of such selfish leaders.

AK: As you said that we need to educate at the grass root level, India spends very little on elementary education. What steps has the BJP youth wing taken to ensure that education reaches the grassroots level?

RK: As they say Rome was not built in a day. When NDA came to power in Bihar, our aim first was to eradicate the fear of the people by providing security and law and order. We youth level leaders first want to break the syndicate of these selfish politicians who do not let the weaker sections of society to progress. If you remember the induction of 2 lakh teachers happened during our regime. Cycles were provided to girl students to strengthen our education system.

AK: Last time I visited a few schools in Bihar and most teachers under the Shiksha Mitra scheme did not know basic general knowledge about our country. All this eventually hampers the image of Bihar. Even today the perception of a Bihari is wrong in other parts of India. How do you all plan to tackle this?

RK: See there will be some loopholes always. Even we have observed that selection of few teachers have not been up to the mark. And that definitely needs to be corrected. As far as perception is concerned, I don’t care what others think about us, because we too have opinions on them. For example, I believe Maharashtra has the highest crime rate. Furthermore, Maharashtrians haven’t remained in touch with their culture. So, before throwing stones at us, they need to get their own house in order. We are a state that boasts of the best brains, be it from the field of engineering, UPSC or any other. So you cannot judge us uni-dimensionally.

AK: The bitter truth though remains that these brains eventually settle outside Bihar. What steps can be taken to ensure that brain drain does not happen?

RK: Yes that is true! In fact, I too completed Masters from Karnataka. The truth is that the government of Bihar during the nineties in did zilch development. We had neither engineering nor medical colleges, nor infrastructure – no one was ready to invest here hence the intelligent minds decided to migrate. In the last nine years though people have come forward and through public and private ventures medical colleges are opening in the state. IIT came here so did AIIMS. When we came to power our first priority was law and order and once that was achieved we started focusing on other sectors.

AK: As you said your top priority was law and order, but in the past few months Bihar has witnessed terror crimes. How and why did this happen?

RK: Ever since we have split with the JDU, they have only been interested in saving their government. They focus on ways to demean us and harp on NDA’s achievements. The National security agencies had warned them of threats yet no action was taken. It’s a total failure of the state intelligence machinery. Bihar has hardly seen terror attacks based on communal lines, but these people sitting in Pakistan don’t seem to improve.

AK: I disagree here, terror has no face, innocent lives are lost be it any religion. Doesn’t this statement sends out a wrong message to the youth?

RK: Who says terror has no face? Ask a child on the road and he will tell you terror means Pakistan. Yes, I agree innocent people have nothing to do with these terrorists. But these cowards have repeatedly damaged our nation and its time we retaliate in the most appropriate manner.

AK: Elections are round the corner and social media gives the impression that Narendra Modi is going to become the next Prime Minister. It’s being tipped as a battle between Rahul Gandhi and Narendra Modi. What is your take on it?

RK: I would like to start with a proverb we use in our villages ‘kahan raja bhog kahan gangu teli’. Narendra Ji has been in active politics for the last forty years, thrice the awaam of Gujarat have made him the Chief Minister. He comes from the grass root level, whereas Rahul Gandhi, apart from his family, has no credentials.

He returns from abroad and is made secretary overnight. Wherever he has campaigned, the Congress has lost. He went to UP and they were reduced to 36 seats, he came to Bihar as the icon of the Congress and made false promises. What happened? They won just three seats. So those people who are comparing him to Narendra bhai have very little knowledge about politics.

AK: Sir as you say NaMo is incomparable to any leader, then why is there so much infighting in the BJP over his nomination for PM post?

RK: See, we are a democratic party; in our set-up everyone has the right to express his or her views and opinions. We don’t have unilateral power centers like the others; we have a system in place, where even a cadre-based leader can voice his opinion and if his demands are genuine, it will be acted upon. Families do not run us. I will give you an example here. Do you know the name of the father of Narendra Modi or Rajnath Ji? But the country knows the name of Rahul Gandhi’s father or Laloo’s son or Mulayam Singh Yadav’s family.

AK: As you said you are a democratic party, then why did your parliamentary board gag Shatrughan Sinha? Once gagging happens how is the party democratic?

RK: I am a son of the soil, likewise Shotgunjee too is. He commented on NaMo on the basis of ideologies and understanding of politics. I don’t want to comment on that. But I would like to say that before he comments on Narendra bhai he should gauge his own popularity. In his own constituency his banners were removed and NaMo’s banners were put up. We too have done our surveys and we believe the nation is with Narendra bhai hence he should and will be the man who will lead us in the next elections.

AK: Sir, if you all are so confident, why has his name not been nominated for the top post?

RK: As I said, we are a democratic party, and we function step by step. Right now teams are being formed in different states. Who will lead our campaigns in which state, who will handle what responsibilities. Once we complete the nitty gritties of the campaign we will soon announce the name of Narendra Modi jee as our Prime ministerial candidate.

AK: What is that one issue, that you think will help you regain control of Delhi?

RK: The issue of development is that issue. The youth wants change today, we still are using the same infrastructure that we used forty years back, that needs to change, we want to do politics of development. We are not interested in politics of religion or states or division. We have had enough of this. My appeal to the voters is to go by the appeal of Narendra bhai ‘Yes We Can’. Lets vote for change, let’s vote for development.

AK: Before I take your leave, one final question ‘ where do we see Rajesh Kumar’ in five years time?

RK: I want to live amongst my society, work for them, help them grow in life. Place me anywhere without any selfish reasons because I want to work for the betterment of my nation, state and system.

This was Mr. Rajesh Kumar, a rising star of the BJP from Bihar. Keep a tab on this space online for yet another youth leaders take on the Youth’s pulse. Till then signing off!

An Open Letter To Mr. Milind Deora

milind deora

Dear Mr. Deora,

Thanks for a great article in TOI of August 14, 2013. It was enlightening to hear the views of one of our elected representatives on a topic that’s close to the hearts of many a youngster in this country. However, some points you raised are worthy of a debate, the benefits of which you’ve extolled in your article, and hence a response was warranted. I will try to summarize your main points so as to keep the response closely tied to the article.

Point #1: Social media platforms do not allow for healthy debate, while our Parliament does.

This point of view is expected and unsurprising within the small minority amongst us who’re on the other side of the “Great Divide of Government of India”, but isn’t substantiated by facts. I call it the Divide because our governance system, from the Parliament at the top right down to the beat constable and peon in a sarkari office, is extremely hard to approach and get service from for a common citizen, which is the very reason for its existence. For the vast majority of the population of this country, it’s almost like a government for itself, by itself, and of itself.

Therefore, we do not hold the Parliament’s ability to hold healthy debates in any high esteem when we read reports that the number of hours that our Lok Sabha sits during its five-year term has been falling steadily, and reached the worst ever record in the 15th Lok Sabha (http://articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/2013-04-29/india/38902758_1_lok-sabha-budget-session-sittings). Not only that, this Lok Sabha is also on its way to achieving the dubious distinction of having passed the fewest bills in independent India’s history.

So where does the common citizen go to express their anguish about a non-functioning government? Social media. For the first time, there is a platform that allows every individual the opportunity to be heard by millions of other people, and we’re going out there in hordes to talk about the pain we all on this side of the Divide experience every single day. For the average person, Twitter and Facebook are less about popularity and approval ratings like you mentioned, and more about spreading the word about their experiences and finding common cause with others.

Point #2: Changes that result due to outbursts enabled by social media are not well thought-through

You reference the Arab Spring and Iranian Awakening and the Brazilian protest, but miss the protests on the streets of New Delhi during Anna Hazare’s campaign and after the 2012 brutal gangrape incident. But you make a valid point. Protests by people are usually looked upon as a threat by established governments, and the point being made is missed for the noise, and slowly the protest transforms into an us-vs-them battle. However, did our government react any differently during the protests staged in India? Did we ever get closer to getting a Lokpal bill enacted or a corruption-free government? Did we ever get closer to having the streets of this country safe for our sisters and daughters? Unfortunately no. And this lack of solution-building is not attributable to the use of social media, but to the absence of a sensitive, humble, and engaged leadership within our government.

Point #3: Social media encourages pretence, showmanship, and shallow posturing

Assume social media doesn’t exist in our country. Walk out on the streets like a common man and watch how politicians, top bureaucrats, and the rich and powerful of this country move. You will see beacons, blaring sirens, police and personal security pushing everyone else aside, or stopping them altogether. From the posh NDMC areas, try walking towards other parts of Delhi where the top government officials of our country do not live. You will notice that broad, tree-lined, spotlessly clean boulevards give way to congested, filthy, broken roads that have people, vehicles, animals all crammed into every inch of space possible. If this isn’t pretence, showmanship, and posturing, what is? It’s not about the tools we use, but who we are and how we think that creates the vices that you ascribe to social media.

You are a young and well-educated leader of this country, and we are looking to you to bring a change in our country. What we need is very simple – equal access to basic amenities like clean water, air, food, and adequate housing, and equal opportunity to fulfill one’s dreams, for every single citizen of this country. We hope you care enough for your country and its people to work towards this goal, and will not get lost in the distractions that power in our country carries with it in heavy doses.

Regards,

Sarvesh

Agent Media & The Secret Handshake!

election 2014

By Ankush Kumar

The Bharatiya Janta Yuva Morcha is brainstorming in Shimla. The dipped climate is ensuring that the heated arguments remain under check. Meanwhile the regional parties have already begun their share of yatras in their respective states to generate faith amongst their voters. Somewhere in the corridors of power in Gujarat NaMo is playing with the applications in the new android phone that has been just launched. In the middle of obnoxious statements by the lady in bleached hair Arvind Kejriwal is hoping for a miracle to happen.

The buzz and excitement is just beginning to escalate in the country as we head for general elections 2014. But one party has several machineries working for them in ensuring the loot continues for another five years. And helping them in their pursuit is none other than the media channels with a hopelessly stupid concept called the election tracker.

First it was the IBN network and now the Times News network. Both these channels have been doing surveys that are highlighting all the shortcomings of the current UPA government, hence giving them a chance to devise strategies to counter their downfall. They have also managed to highlight that the comparison between NaMo and Rahul baba is very miniscule. They have downplayed all the hype NaMo has generated, and upscaled the chances of Rahul baba.

In a way they are hypnotising the voters by telling them that it will be a fractured mandate hence vote for a party that can pull in more allies which obviously unfortunately is the Congress. But the agents shouldn’t forget ‘Yeh Janta sab jaanti hai’, jo India vote karta hai woh yeh sab news channels dekhte tak nahi hai’.

The creation of Telangana yet again drives home the point that the media agents are working overtime in ensuring that UPA comes back to power. The entire Leader vs. leader debate too is all hogwash. We all know how certain MP’s who control economies of our nation, irrespective of their awful performance at their respective constituencies do not lose an election. History tells us of various theories and stories where the secret handshake has been established. Last Lok Sabha elections Chidambaram won on recounting so did Laloo Prasad Yadav in the last state elections.

There is a theory that states that even AB Vajpayee was declared winner, when actually he had lost to Arjun Singh in a Lok Sabha election. The secret handshake is not just limited to elections, but also business deals, policy making and black money stashed away in foreign accounts. Irrespective of whoever comes to power, except for superficial change of guard not much is going to change in the country. If this sounds like too much cynicism, then here is a food for thought ‘ Why does Robert Vadra and his SPG security do not go through security checks at the airport’? And till date why hasn’t any one raised an objection to it?

PS: If you want to call a factsayer a cynic, I pity your school of thought J