Tag Archives: Indian Politics

India should have a consistent procedure for constitutional posts

SasikalaThe way V. K. Sasikala is about to become the next CM of Tamil Nadu despite the fact that the state already has a CM, is quite alarming. I’m not saying whether she will be good or bad for Tamil Nadu, all I’m saying is, her sudden elevation to the post of CM in one of the major states of India shows that you don’t have to follow a political procedure in order to become CM. All you need is political influence. All you need is the political power that you wield. Any post is open to you. This is quite dangerous.

Initially this modus operandi began with the Congress, with Indira Gandhi becoming the PM after Nehru and Rajiv Gandhi becoming the PM after Indira Gandhi. Since technically Sonia Gandhi couldn’t become the PM the mantle would have been thrust upon Rahul or Priyanka had they not been kids. Even when she couldn’t become the PM, Sonia Gandhi ran the country through a puppet PM, and it was perfectly normal for everybody. Our intellectuals and liberals had no problem with a backdoor power center. No mainstream journalist ever asked why she was running the country via the NAC?

Tragically, our media is all riled up with existential questions only when it concerns the BJP – and mind you, I’m not writing this because politically I support the BJP – otherwise, they just become reporting agents. They are “being dispassionately objective” personified.
Sasikala is elected as a legislature party leader by MLAs and lo and behold! She is all set to become the CM. No journalist worth his or her salt has asked how is it even possible in a democracy? What has been her political experience? Why is she becoming the CM just because she is politically influential?

I’m not saying if this should happen or not. What I’m disturbed about is that no TV news channel is asking what the heck is happening? They’re simply reporting it as if it concerns nobody. Let it be the BJP, and suddenly, we would have had a constitutional crisis of global consequences.

Even Rajiv Gandhi became the PM like that. Before Indira Gandhi’s assassination, he was a nobody in terms of politics. Then suddenly, since nobody outside of the Nehru Gandhi family can be portrayed as the biggest leader, he was suddenly catapulted by a tragic vicissitude and political opportunism.

Look at Narendra Modi on the other hand. For every position he has had to fight a tooth and nail battle. During 2014 he made a world record by holding 1800 big and small rallies in the run up to the general elections. Even before that he had been Gujarat’s CM for 15 years. Before that he had worked for the BJP and the RSS for many years just like any other volunteer.

Whatever you say about the BJP, at a larger level, there is no family feudalism. Before Modi’s ascent there were many big leaders in the party including Advani, Jaitley and Sushma Swaraj. Still, due to sheer hard work and political acumen he was able to become the PM, and, the inner dynamics of the party allowed him to leave everybody behind. Can this happen in other parties? I don’t think so.

But this is not about the BJP. What I am talking about is, like American elections, there should be a standard procedure for people to be able to occupy constitutional positions. Unless they follow that procedure, they should not be able to hold constitutional positions. This may cause disparities, given India’s unequal society, but keeping this in mind, some measures must be taken so that individuals don’t just popup from somewhere and become CMs and PMs.

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Review of Breaking India – Western Interventions in Dravidian and Dalit Faultlines

Breaking India – Western Interventions in Dravidian and Dalit Faultlines

Breaking India – Western Interventions in Dravidian and Dalit Faultlines by Rajiv Malhotra and Aravindan Neelakandan is a disturbing book and unless you’re actually receptive to the central theme, all that is described in the book you may construe as a conspiracy theory.

Through various examples and case studies the authors have explained how various individuals and organisations are constantly trying to break India on the lines of religion, caste and even race. These individuals and organisations involve anthropologists, scholars, historians, theologians, missionaries, extremists and politicians. Famous personalities, journalists, writers and activists are all part of this big conspiracy spanning almost a couple of centuries.

There are many reasons why when the Western colonisers came to India from the 16th century onwards, wealth wasn’t always one of the primary reasons. For examples, when the Germans came, people like Max Muller thought that the ancient glory of the German race could be traced in the Aryan invasion/migration. These guys were really stumped how such a backward and ancient-looking civilisation could create the Vedas and a complex language like Sanskrit? The only logic they could come up with was that the Aryans originally came from Sumeria and Europe and they were the ones who intermixed with the aboriginals and then came to be known as Indians in general and Hindus in particular. The ones who came from Europe to inhabit the northern parts of India were the original superior Aryans and whatever deformities had occurred they had occurred due to intermixing. Brahmins were the closest to the invaders and they tried their best to maintain the racial purity and this is the reason why people of the higher classes and castes are fairer compared to those who are not and they preferred not to marry and socialise with people of darker skins and flatter features.

The biggest drawback of this theory was that it divided the Indian society forever. There were classes in the ancient India, even up till the arrival of Western scholars, but castes were fewer. If you find mention of castes in mythological texts, the opponents of these theories claim that they were included later on so that people thought that such divides have existed since the time immemorial. Even the atrocities and clashes between upper and lower classes can be attributed to the ideological valleys created by such fallacious logics. The authors of the book claim that intellectuals, politicians, missionaries and scholars are continuously trying to create a Rwanda-like situation leading to a bloody civil war. Aside from Rwanda, they also provide a real-time example of Sri Lanka. In Rwanda, Brahmin-Dalit-Dravidian-like divide was created between the Hutus and the Tutsis that resulted in millions of deaths. A similar divide was created in Sri Lanka between Sinhalese and Tamilians and we all know what happened over there.

The information contained within the book is mind-boggling and also distressing. Of course a discerning reader already knows that some deeper conspiracy is going on to widen the fault lines and divide the Indian society as much as possible, but when the information is factually presented and when real names of individuals and organisations are used it becomes more disturbing. The authors chronicle various conferences, scholarly papers and prolonged campaigns used to not only disseminate and promote atrocity literature but also sow the seeds of hatred among various communities.

According to the book, there are many historians and scholars who claim that India is basically a collection of various races and there are very few things common, and whatever sense of commonality exists, it has been forcefully imposed on the weaker sections of the population. For instance, people living in a region like Bastar are not just culturally and regionally different from people living in Punjab, but they are racially different and hence, they deserve their own country. Such scholars believe that India should be Balkanised because there is no valid reason for it to exist in the present state.

Take for instance the Dravidian culture. According to the various theories floated by Dravidian scholars (based on the early Western anthropologists’ erroneous conclusions) the Dravidians are totally a different race, not even belonging to the Indian subcontinent. Around 1500 years ago there was a continent called Lemuria that was far ahead of its times, just like the mythical Atlantis, that connected Africa to India. When this continent submerged under the Indian Ocean and the Arabian Sea, these Dravidians came to inhabit the lower parts of India. When the Aryans started invading the Indian subcontinent they also came to southern India. Dravidians and Tamilians were simple, hard-working and unsuspecting people. They were easily overpowered and enslaved by the cunning Aryans who called themselves Brahmins.

These theories begin to take a bizarre turn when they claim that it were the Tamils that established the Sumerian civilisation and before Babel it was Tamil that was spoken all over the world.

To further make a dent into the historical significance of Sanskrit, many historians claim that Sanskrit came to India in the second century A.D. and it was brought to India by Christian missionaries. They completely ignore the fact that many of the Sanskrit texts that have been found existed even before 500 and 600 BC.

This fabrication is used to incite Tamilians against Hindus/Brahmins in particular and north Indians in general. In Sri Lanka, this conspiracy was used to portray Sinhalese as superior Aryan descendants and Tamilians, the real inhabitants who were overpowered by perpetual scheming and atrocities.

Through modern techniques and DNA sampling scientists have proved that these theories have no real basis and they are mere concoctions and motivated imaginations. Even ancient texts reveal that various parts of India have always been connected religiously, mythologically, culturally as well as socially. Despite concrete evidence to the contrary, historians like Romila Thapar keep on promoting their outdated and disputed historical conclusions in every international forum. Scholarly papers are written based on wrong facts, and then these erroneous papers are quoted in other scholarly papers and this is how seeds of wrongful history are sown, doing irreparable damage to the real Indian history.

Christian organisations play a prominent part in raking up cultural, religious and social divides to propagate their own ideologies. Their basic methodology is, weaken cultural roots in the name of secularism and then gradually expose people to Christianity. Billions of dollars of funds are channelised to support these missionary organisations. You will be amazed to find renowned and prestigious institutions and organisations pumping money into India to instigate one religion against another.

This book is a must read for every concerned Indian. It’s a bit lengthy and it seems to drag on but this is because they have documented in detail the processes and techniques used to create faultlines and divide people as much as possible. After reading this book you realise that everything that is mentioned in the book is quite apparent all around you. You will notice how mediocrity is purposely promoted in the name of liberal thought and experimentation. You will learn that criticising Hindu festivals and cultural activities is not just an ideological manifestation, it is a part of a prolonged conspiracy. You will need lots of time to read this book, but do read it.

Book review of Durbar by Tavleen Singh

A durbar is a court. This is not something like the High Court or the Supreme Court, this court normally constitutes of a king, a priest or a very high official presiding over a group of courtiers. Such a court is called a durbar in Hindi.

Durbar

Durbar by Tavleen Singh throws some light on the inner dynamics of a select group of people who frequent the power corridors of New Delhi and who control the strings of the destiny of the whole country like puppeteers. Although the book gives you a brief glimpse of the turbulent history of the country stretching from 1975 to the early 1990s, much of the focus is on the coterie surrounding the Gandhi family (right from Indira Gandhi to Sonia Gandhi).

Durbar begins with the assassination of Rajiv Gandhi and how even when in extreme mourning Sonia Gandhi gives a cold shoulder to people she doesn’t approve of. As the book evolves, so does Sonia Gandhi transition from a demure and unsure socialite into a mystical godmother who controls every fabric of the Indian polity despite loathing the politics of the country – somewhere she tells Tavleen Singh that she would rather have her children begging on the streets than initiate them into Indian politics. The book is called “Durbar” because the entire narrative revolves around the exalted social and political circle of Rajeev and Sonia Gandhi and how it wreaks havoc with the country’s socio-economical infrastructure. The book also tries to explain how dynastic politics is ruining the country because people who often inherit the power have no clue on how to use it productively.

Tavleen Singh herself was once a courtier of this coveted Durbar. She moved among and dined with the who’s-who of royalty, business, journalism and of course, politics. She comes from a family of rich Sikh businessmen who helped build the Lutyen’s Delhi and consequently came to own numerous prime properties in the heart of the capital where sometimes even the maharajas cannot afford to live. So she always had direct access to people the hoi polloi either see from a distance or on television. These people party everyday, drink finest wines and alcoholic beverages, meet up almost every evening, have their abodes in the poshest localities of the capital, and they have no clue of what is happening in the country. They don’t read much and they don’t even have much to talk about except for who is attending what party and what he or she is wearing. Despite being a part of this group, Tavleen Singh is able to remark on it as an outsider. Despite arriving at and leaving parties with future chief ministers and cabinet ministers and being friends with royal babes and babas, she begins her career as a beat reporter and has to cater to the whims and fancies of egotistical editors like MJ Akbar. She visits Taj and Oberoi just to have a cup of coffee. These are the groups and parties whose lights are people like Sanjay Gandhi, Rajiv Gandhi and Sonia Gandhi. The dynastic princes and princesses hold the courts and the courtiers sit around them listening to their inanities like fawning puppies.

In such durbars Sonia Gandhi is revered simply because she is from Italy and is of white skin. She’s not articulate, she is not smart, she isn’t even well-read. In her own Italian surroundings, she might even be considered as “downmarket”. But not in Delhi durbars where she can be the center of attraction mainly because of her skin and partly because she is the wife of one of the “princes” of India. People with white skin are considered gods and goddesses by Indians. When Tavleen Singh goes to South India to cover an election campaign, she is repulsed by the servility shown by people there to Sonia Gandhi; they create songs like “you have such white skin, you are a goddess.”

Every socialite worth his or her salt wants to belong to that inner circle, according to Tavleen Singh, and Sonia Gandhi randomly decides who belongs to this inner circle, and who is kicked out, and this is the basic discontent the writer seems to nurture. Suddenly when you realize this, you begin to feel, is this book about power and politics, or is it about the writer complaining about being snubbed by one of the most sought-after power couples of North India?

Of course the book isn’t just about Sonia Gandhi and her Durbar. It also touches upon the contemporary politics and mismanagement of that time. She gives a detailed account of what mess Indira Gandhi and her son Sanjay Gandhi created during the emergency. Almost every opposition leader was locked up. Houses were razed that resulted in slums of mega proportions. People were picked up in the dead of the night and vasectomies were conducted upon them in order to control the overwhelming population growth rate. Lower grade public servants wouldn’t get their monthly salaries unless they could arrange at least five people every month for vasectomies. The freedom of the press was totally curtailed. The integrity of judges was totally compromised. People were randomly rounded up by the police and thrown in jails for unspecified number of days and months. Major politicians were kept under solitary confinement for months, many among them losing their minds in the process.

She constantly laments the fact how beautiful Indian cities were totally destroyed because of the socialist mentality of the politicians after freedom. This is something I can relate to because I repeatedly comment on my blog as well as in Twitter and Facebook updates about why Indian cities and buildings in them look so drab and ugly. Now I know the reason: this was done purposely because attributes like architectural aesthetics, interior design and quality of life were looked down upon and even frowned upon. You could earn a visit from internal revenue officials for having more than two ACs in your house.

She expresses surprise at how it’s been the constant effort of the Gandhi family to keep the country as poor and desperate as possible. Even Indira Gandhi’s own constituency, Rae Bareli, is one of the poorest and most backward regions in the country. Politicians normally take good care of their own constituencies, but not in the case of the Gandhis.

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Most confounding is the way the Gandhi family handled the Punjab and Kashmir crisis. Punjab had no terrorism problem. The Sikh community was in a state of discontent because they felt cheated by the Hindu community for, during the language consensus, saying that their mother tongue was Hindi. In Punjabi they said: “saadi maatri bhasha Handi ae” — Hindi is our mother tongue. But this ice of disenchantment and distrust would have melted over the time. Akalis were the ruling party and Sanjay Gandhi and his cronies from Punjab were constantly devising ways to drill holes in the power structure of the border state. They weren’t worried about the circumstances and the price the country may have to pay. So they instigated this local preacher named Bhinderawale who traveled from village to village exhorting young men to give up alcohol and drugs, a problem that has reached exorbitant proportions in the state by now. Tavleen Singh writes that Bhinderawale was not even interested in politics and he wanted to concentrate on his own campaign. But Sanjay Gandhi’s cronies and friends constantly prodded him and eventually he gave in, creating one of the biggest terrorist problems in the continent. Just for petty political gains, they not only consigned the country to the flames of extremism, they also prepared for the assassination of Indira Gandhi followed by the bloodiest massacre of Sikhs since the Mogul rule – more than 3000 Sikhs were massacred right under the nose of the Congress rule while the state-run TV channel Doordarshan constantly broadcast “khoon ka badla khoon se lenge”: we will have blood for blood for revenge.

Similarly they goofed up with Kashmir. Everything was going fine and people were quite content the way things were. Then suddenly, out of the blues, they sacked the Farooq Abdulla government and reignited the Kashmir problem that has claimed so many lives till now.

With both Sanjay Gandhi and Indira Gandhi dead, and as it happens in dynasties, it fell upon Rajeev Gandhi to inherit the mantle of prime ministership. In which democratic country you become the prime minister or the president of a country for merely being the child of the previous prime minister or president? She attributes many of Rajeev’s failures to this inexperience and disinclination. Rajeev Gandhi had no intention of joining mainstream politics. His Italian wife abhorred Indian politics – she didn’t even become an Indian citizen after 15 years of being married to one of the sons of the Indian Prime Minister. And suddenly they were thrown into the political hotbed of one of the most culturally diverse countries of the world. As the couple grew politically, it began to distance itself from the old courtiers, including Tavleen Singh. Of course she being a journalist and her speaking up her mind also contributed towards the frost that came to settle between herself and Sonia Gandhi. The courtiers around the couple began to grow inexplicably rich, Tavleen Singh noticed, and she also noticed that Sonia Gandhi began to buy very expensive clothes and antiques while travelling abroad. She begins to say that something shady is going on but then stops just in the nick of time.

According to Durbar and many other books, every major problem in the post-independence India can be traced back to, one way or another, the Gandhi family. The way they imposed socialism upon the unsuspecting citizens, the way they nurtured poverty just to ensure the continuance of their political existence, the way they created regional, caste and communal problems to create various vote banks, everything coagulated into this grotesque mass of overwhelming misery filling up the country with illiteracy, backwardness, hatred and starvation. Every political, social and economic problem that we face today can be blamed on one single family. This may seem like an exaggeration, but scarily, this is a reality.

Surprisingly, Tavleen Singh cannot make out whether it was political naiveté and inexperience that prompted Rajeev Gandhi to lose the massive opportunity he got after the massive mandate he got in the sympathy wave of his mother’s assassination, or was it something else? Repeatedly she says that she isn’t sure whether the Gandhis are out and out corrupt and immoral or they are simply monkeys in possession of some powerful machinery handed down by the hands of Fate, that can be used both for development and destruction.

She constantly puts lots of blame on people around the Gandhi family for creating all this mess. Nowhere in the book she directly says that the Gandhi family criminalized the Indian polity by making it okay to hobnob with criminals for political ends. She isn’t sure whether the Bofors scandal was due to Rajeev Gandhi’s gullibility or if it was a straightforward criminal indulgence. Even when she talks about the capricious behavioral patterns of Sonia Gandhi Tavleen Singh seems to feel bad only because Sonia Gandhi had begun to snub her. In her own words, Sonia Gandhi could be an exceptional friend and would go out of her way to help her close friends, the way she helped Tavleen Singh on multiple occasions, even to the extent of sending clothes for her son when it became difficult for her as a single mother. Even for obvious questions, she throws lots of “Could he have done that instead? I don’t know.” I think as a clearheaded journalist she should know why people did things they did, especially people in the Gandhi family. At many occasions she seems to be blaming the advisers rather than the Gandhi family members and I think this is where sometimes she seems to lose track of the plot.

For a brief view of India’s history starting from 1975 this is a good book. It may leave you dissatisfied but it depends on what you are expecting. If you are expecting clear answers that this book may not satisfy you. If you want to read some gossip interspersed with serious political ups and downs, it can be an entertaining book. Not very good English, but the flow is good. If you want to start catching up on what’s been happening in India in its recent past, this book can be a good initiation.

Why doesn’t the Indian electorate vote for the right reason

I was just reading this article on a village in Bihar that has no electricity, no water supply and none of the facilities we take for granted like a health centre or a school. And this village is represented by Lallu Prasad Yadav, a walking and talking political nuisance and windbag. So I was just wondering, why couldn’t these villagers vote for electricity, water supply and a school, instead of empty promises and perhaps bottles of country liquor? For instance, get us electricity and water supply within the next two months and we will vote for your party, something like that. Getting electricity and water to a village within a couple of months isn’t impossible.

Most of the goons like Lallu are elected to power not because of their work, but the useless stuff they distribute and the pathetic promises they make during pre-election campaigns. You might say but then these villagers deserve what they get but that is not the point. Ours is a highly patriarchal society so whatever the males of the village do, the children and the women have to bear the brunt. Once country liquor or lose cash is distributed among these men they do not only vote for the wrong people themselves, they also make the women and the young adults to vote for the same charlatans (assuming they are not threatened into voting for wrong candidates by the henchmen of these charlatans).

These silly people don’t understand that they are prolonging their misery by focusing on immediate gains. But is this the only story? Is it about silly and stupid and backward villagers constantly trapped in their own imprecation of ignorance and greed? It might be (and that’s why recently I suggested that illiterate people shouldn’t be allowed to vote, but the issue is debatable), but the problem is not confined to backward Bihari villages. Even among the intellectuals and the middle classes dwelling in the cities and towns, the same problem persists: either they don’t vote, or even when they do, they have no clue whom to vote for.

We are not aware in terms of our rights and responsibilities. We see elections as just days when we have to go and cast our votes and then flaunt that little mark on the tips of our fingers. We are not politically conscious and we don’t have strong opinions regarding our politicians. We don’t realise that these politicians impact the way we and our children live our lives and spend our days in this country.

Our current political mess is simply because we don’t vote for the right reason whether we are living in villages or cities. We either vote indifferently as if we couldn’t care less who comes to power because basically they are the same (very convenient) or we can be easily incited/enticed. Both these problems have attained an alarming state. The political class isn’t going to do anything about it because it works in their favour. The more indifferent you are, the more corruption they can indulge in with greater impunity because they know  that your indifference is going to help them maintain a political status quo. But what if all the candidates listed are basically of the same variety? This is why it is very important to fully support movements like Anna Hazare’s. He may sound a bit loony sometimes but the fundamental approach isn’t misplaced. He is raising all the issues whether rightly or wrongly, that we should be raising as concerned citizens. Take for instance the right to recall. But that is another topic.

So unless we start voting for the right reason we are never going to get the sort of politicians needed to give us a balanced growth.

The importance of the Anna Hazare movement

Anna Hazare fasting

Anna Hazare started his fast unto death at Jantar Mantar to force the government take constructive steps to control the tsunami of corruption that is eating away the country’s growth like an epidemic. Being physically restrained I haven’t been able to visit the place but my wife attended the gathering consecutively for two days and she also took our daughter with her the day before yesterday. On my part I have been trying to make people aware through Twitter and Facebook as much as I can manage.

What has caught me by surprise is the resistance by some prominent public figures including journalists, popular bloggers, people enjoying great social media following and socialites. I’m not mentioning politicians and bureaucrats because they are the target of the current Anna Hazare protest.

Most of the resistance has come in the form of misinformation and misrepresentation and this is what is disturbing. I mean these are the people I have trusted and admired (although I don’t go overboard when it comes to admiring people unless they are sex symbols). The Pioneer, the newspaper I’ve subscribed to for more than 10 years now has been publishing plain lies. From next month I’m certainly switching over to Times of India because if I want to read trash, why not get a newspaper that at least has a Page 3 section (aside from publishing trash)?

Similarly online magazines and blogs are full of innuendoes and twisted facts. If nothing else prominent Twitter and Facebook users post indirect jokes and inferences that constantly try to create doubts among people. They are constantly trying to portray Anna Hazare and some bogeyman trying to introduce a draconian law that is going to push the country into the throes of dictatorship.

Frankly, I haven’t gone through the entire text of the Jan Lok Pal Bill but considering the kind of people associated with its contents I’m pretty much sure it can never be draconian. All their lives these people have worked — including luminaries like Kiran Bedi, Anna Hazare and Arvind Kejriwal — for a more open and just society and in no way they would associate themselves even remotely with something “Draconian”.

The current movement is about coming of age of the Indian Republic. In the times of reality shows and momentary uprisings to some it may appear as another middle-class time pass but this would be a great misjudgement. And anyway even if it is a middle-class uprising what is wrong in that? Any kind of uprising is better than no uprising. At least people are not sitting at home and watching their afternoons sitcoms. They’re coming out on the roads and expressing their anger. What more do you want?

The naysayers say that instead of bringing into existence a new authoritarian body we should strive to reform the existing system. No problem with that. But what have these people been doing till now? They have had a great presence. They have enjoyed some power. They have had public reach. They have had the platform with them. So far what has stopped them? Why haven’t existing systems been improved? A prominent journalist was saying that corruption is a nonissue? Why is it a nonissue? And even if it is a nonissue why haven’t these the so-called experts on democracy striven towards making it an issue? Now all of a sudden they are worried about the legislature and electoral system. Why do they never hit the roads when people like Pappu Yadav, A Raja and Kazimoni successfully become ministers?

If they are so averse to authoritarian bodies then why not do away with police stations, the Election Commissioner and the Vigilance Commissioner? In fact why have a Prime Minister who has so much authority? And if we can have these bodies then why not a Jan Lok Pal?

The country has been seething under the grip of massive corruption for years. Some say previously it used to be thousands of rupees and now it’s millions of rupees and hence the scale of corruption has increased. That might be the case but the value of the rupee has also decreased so the scale has pretty much always been the same. Ever since we got independence we have been ruled by corrupt politicians and bureaucrats and it is simply because nobody is breathing down their necks.

And there has been an all pervading connivance between politicians, business persons, journalists, scholars and intellectuals because everybody works to serve each other. Newspapers and publications enjoy political patronage and it is well known. The creamy relationship between business persons and politicians was made quite apparent by the recent Radia tapes expose and Ratan Tata himself recently admitted that he lobbied for A Raja. Similarly intellectuals and scholars get their studies funded so that they can create history and science to further political and communal agendas (for instance the Aryan invasion theory). The masses are perpetually misguided so that they never rise against the current government. Whether it is Left, Rright or Center every political party resorts to corruption and that is why there is so much resistance towards having a watchdog.

With the coming of 24-hour television and social media the game is totally altered. Previously as a common citizen the most you could do was write a letter to the editor to express your grievance and it was up to the publishers whether they published your letter or not. Television news channels and social media provide instant information consumption and information distribution tools. You can avail news immediately and you can disseminate your opinions and news immediately. Everybody has a mass reach in a big or small way. It certainly has its pros and cons but that is not the issue.

So naturally those who conventionally saw it upon themselves to “empower” people find themselves all of a sudden on the sidelines. Of course there are political and commercial motivations too.

Looking at the resistance objectively my personal understanding says there are political as well as intellectual agendas going on. All these people articulating their doubts against the Anna Hazare movement (some weirdos even termed his fasting as a form of terrorism — never knew Mahatma Gandhi was a terrorist!) have gotten used to representing people. Somehow they cannot come to grips with the idea that people can take up issues on their own and they don’t need journalists and politicians. A person who has no political or journalistic background can be a leader to and this is something they are unable to digest.

They also say that if you want to bring change then join politics and become politically active. Again nothing wrong in that. But do we have a conducive environment to be politically active? You will be beaten to death the moment you start your political campaign as a normal citizen and THIS is the reality of our country. It is very easy to say that fight the elections and then say something. Even an average election campaign requires anywhere between 15-20crore rupees. Can a common person get so much money without collaborating with the corrupt?

So first we need a system that is going to make politics redundant for those who want to join it to pursue their corrupt goals. They must know that after spending 15-20 crores they will not be able to earn 1500-2000 crores, or even 30-40 crores. Once they know they cannot earn the sort of money they want to earn by joining politics they will stop joining and this is when people who really want to work for the country will be able to join. Then they won’t require15-20 crores to fight elections. By merely being what they are they will be able to fight elections and win them.

But that is only going to become possible if we are able to break the current nexus between politicians, bureaucrats, business persons and all sorts of people who control the economy and the thought process of the country. It’s like antibiotics. You have two release germs in the body in order to kill the existing germs.

The Jan Lok Pal Bill may have some queer points here and there (after all people like Swami Agnivesh are associated with the movement and this is the same person who speaks on behalf of Maoists) but they can be easily ironed out as things move forward. If the country needs another surveillance body than let it be. Instead of intellectualising the issue and creating doubts among people everybody should work towards making the system more accountable.

My wife just told me that popular Bollywood dance directorFarha Khan is at Jantar Mantar and she’s saying that she’s not representing the film fraternity, she’s representing her 3 children. This is the philosophy we need to embrace. This is not a social phenomena and this is not a cultural phenomena. This is something that you have to decide for the sake of your children.