My Views

Hereditary Politics in India

Posted in Insight, Polity by dullar on January 14, 2011

PATRICK FRENCH in an interview to a magazine recently, while commenting about his new book said,

…..”I was quite surprised by the results when I did that survey of the Lok Sabha. I did not expect the data to be so overwhelming—the  fact that, for example, every MP under the age of 30 is hereditary. I don’t think it’s a bad thing having political families in any democracy. The problem really is the scale of what is happening. For instance, the quite inspiring grassroots leaders who came up in the past—certainly in the Congress—would have no chance of winning a ticket for a Lok Sabha seat now. You have this ironic situation where democracy is deeply entrenched and yet, at the same time, for the top reaches of certain parties, you have to be the son or daughter of an existing leader in order to get anywhere.”

And still Rahul Gandhi often gabble about the new line of leadership which has its inspiration and roots in youth of this country. He talks about the how youth should participate more in the party affairs. For what? As they know success in the politics is more about the family affiliations, godfathers, and hereditary genealogies rather than hard work and merit.

Politics is not a career in this country as there is no level playing field in here. Why do people shy away from entering the politics? Why is there a dearth of political talent in this country of overflowing academic talent?


Engineering Terrorism

Posted in Aside, Insight, Personal Musings by dullar on April 1, 2008

The recent revelations about the nature, psyche, and  educational qualifications of jehadis and terrorists are startling to me and many of my college friends. Should i feel unfortunate, ashamed, disgraced or horrified for myself that i can be a potent enemy of humanity. I may have that dormant seed which can be watered by some fundamentalist to turn into that tree of terrorism which will bear bombs, to be used by some against rest. Or should i feel happy that in case the possibilities of a full blown global economic recession come alive and strip me of my employability there is someone who can find talent in me, who can give me a job to make my life and destroy others’.

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India’s Standing (Kneeling) on Tibet

Posted in Foreign Policy, India and World, Insight, Relations with neighbours by dullar on April 1, 2008

In continuation to the earlier post i m trying to summarise India’s standing or say no standing on Tibet. India’s relations with China are guided by the “five priciples of of peaceful existence” better known as Panchsheel. Nevermind that China broke this pact in 1092 when it attaced India. The relations between the two countries has been unfriendly since then, only to find a reconciliation in 1988 when Rajiv Gandhi went China. resently border talks are going on to find an amicable solution to the boundary dispute in Aksai Chin and Arunachal Pradesh. India has already(in 2003) recognised Tibet as integral art of China, taking a long to realise that it can do little on this front and has no choice. But Tibet has proved to be a thorn in its foot yet again. Now what is India’s stand, what is the credibility of that stand, what are the future or present repercussins of it?

Indiais again treading a soft line true to its nature of soft power in the international arena. India does not allow political dissent to be raised from Indian soil towards China. It supports the religious and spiritual activities of the tibetan monks in India. But again it has allowed Dalai Lama to make Dharamshala its “capital in exile”, whether that is political or religious is for anybody to guess. India wants the political issues of Tibet to be solved by dialogue between Dalai Lama and China and is against any form of violence used from either side to put their points across.

India has isloated itself from the international community who has openly criticised the Chinese authorities for using excessive force against the monks in Tibet. Some of them has also threatened to withdraw from the Olymipics. Tibet is a kind of lost opportunity for India when it could have pressurised China through diplomatic means and by aigning with international community. Tibet could have been a sore nerve on China’s body politic in international arena from Indian perspective. It would have given a boost the confidence of Indian when it will sit in front of Chinese authorities for the border talks related to Aksai chin and more so for Arunachal Pradesh.

Where do they stand?

China, most populous nation inthe world, fastest growing nation in the world with above 10% growth rate, (one of)the most authoritative regimes in the world, has once again successful in giving jitters to the world, but (of course) for wrong reasons. With daily updates poured on the news websites related to the excesses of the chinese authorities on the eace loving mnks of Tibet there is something on which the interested readers is missing. What exactly is the bone of contention between the china and Tibet, what is its current status and what, afterall, everybody is trying to achieve or say think what they want to achieve.

Tibet(Dalai Lama)’s stand-

1)Want full blown autonomy on the lines of Taiwan and  Hong Kong under the rule of two authorities one nation. Beijing is not ready for this.

2)Extension of the TAR(Tibetan autonomous Region) to the adjoining provinces which contain sizeable population of monks(upto 60% of the total tibetan monks living in China). Again beijing is against this.

3) Operational autonomy in running the administrative, economic, religious affairs of Tibet.

Apart from refusing to give some breathing space to Tibetans Beijing has lived perfectly upto its image of authoritative, autocratic and communist regime of crushing the demands in some manner or the other.  There are other more subtle ways in which Beijing has undermined the standing of Tibetans in Tibet and world over.

1) Influx of huge numbers of Huns in the TAR who are imposing themselves economically, politically and demographuically.

2)Intrusion in the management of religious affairs of monks.

3) Quietly suppressing the political dissent in the region.

4) Potraying a friendly picture in front of world by promoting tourism and economy of the region whose benefits are reaped largely by the Huns.

5)Connected Lhasa to east by rail in order to facilitate quick and timely transportation of armed forces when required.

6) Pursuing a long termed policy and strategy of unifying and unforming the demographic make up of Tibet, This has seriously undermined the religious nature of the TAR.

7)Having captured the institution of the Panchen Lama, the second-ranking figure in Tibetan Buddhism, Beijing is preparing the ground to install its own puppet Dalai Lama after the present aging incumbent passes away.

And if somebody asks me where does India stand in all this, i would counter ask, does India has a standing at all, a standing which matters? For more curious readers i will try to deal this in a different post.

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Neighbour’s Nightmare

Posted in India and World, Insight, Pakistan, Relations with neighbours, Terrorism by dullar on January 17, 2008

Disturbing news from the India’s western neighbour are coming more frequently than ever. With Musharraf’s
loosing grip over the affairs of the country, people given up there trust in the polity and the military, civil
liberties curtailed to their new low, the situation in Pakistan is really grim. The military is seen as unable to the
danger that is bubbling under its western and northern borders. The terrorist activities backed by the Al Qaeda, and
the taliban groups are bleeding the army like never before. Its been yesterday that a fort has been seized by the the
terrorist groups from control of army in the north-west of the country. Army was too demotivated or lacked the power
to tackle the dullheadedness of the armed terrorists. Again few groups of millitia that had been trained by the ISI
have turned their guns to the mentors. Now when Musharraf was under pressure from US to curb the cross border
terrorism that Pakistan’s intelligence agencies were fomenting in Jammu and Kashmir and Afghanistan before 9/11,
the activities of training millitants have tobe slowed and lowered down by ISI. Now the monsters reared by them are
up inthe arms against their own establishment when these blood-thirsty monsters did not find a outlet for their long
reared killing habits.

Internal political and military reforms are the need of hour in Pakistan. But seeing the attitude of Musharraf, who
is not ready to give away his powers, whose unpopularity is all time high in Pakistan, and demoralised military the
hopes are grim. Although the elections are due on 18th Feb but there are few takers as far as their transparency is
concerned. General Kayani is trying to bring back some
to armed forces in his own subtle ways. Armiy personnels are strongly advised to remain away from the
political and civil affairs of the country. But country is far from the day when armed forces will mind only their
own affairs.

Pakistan being a country which hold nuclear weapons, there has been growing concerns across the world about the
security of the same. With growing influence of terrorist activities in the country and army loosing grip over
internal and border security, al qaeda pose the most potent threat to not only Pakistan’s security but also of
whole world. Although Musharraf dont want to
be dictated by Washington
as far as the secutiry of its nukes is concerned, but world community definately have
some credible responsibilities inthis matter. Pakistan’s nukes cant be taken as its own internal matter. This is
one of the main agenda of various candidates in US Presidential election campaign. World has a very close interest in
the security and peace in Pakistan. One of ways of ensuring that is to create strong international pressure on the
establisments in Pakistan to ensure credible and transparent election process. India seems to be silent in the matter
but it would not suit its long term interests.

Reservation for OBCs – Possible Solution

Posted in Caste, Insight, Policy, Polity by dullar on April 25, 2007

Validity of reservations for OBC in the higher education has attracted the maximum attention from all sections of society since past many months. Student agitations, doctors protest, executive-judiciary conflict have all been the part of this drama. With government has already amended th constitution and has come up with an act regarding the same, judiciary has acted on the PILs and raised serious doubts over the constitutionality of the reservation for OBCs. It will be better to discuss each and everything separately.

  • Reservations for OBC-validity of concept.

Makers of the constitutions has made various provisions for the positive discrimination and affirmative action under articles 15(4) and 16(4). It is well understood that the makers of constitution at that time carried the will of people. Even Supreme Court do not questions the concept of reservations for the socially and educationally backward.

  • Need of Reservation in Higher Education

Given the fact that there is already a reservations for SCs/STs in the higher educational institutions, then what is the need of extending it to OBC as well. The answer to it pertains to politics rather than the reality and need. Given that in 1992, reservations was brought at the first time in services under Art 16(4), and SC/ST, OBC were given reservations in the central and state public services, it swung the political vote banks in favour or against few political parties. It was a tool to gather the votes of OBC by putting them in the reservation bracket.

But over the last about one and a half decade, the number of jobs in organised public sector has decreased many folds. Even though the total numbers of jobs in public services in 1992 was also not much but it was certainly more than present . Further more the welfare that was aimed by giving reservations in services was only of token value and didnt meant much beyond a political rhetoric.

Present government has once again wanted to play the caste card and tried to lure the middle classes of OBC through extending the reservations to educational institutions because the avenues in public services are very meagre.

If we look at the reality over the reform period the conditions of middle classes, or say OBCs have improved substantially. They have benifited from the overall development of country and at the same time are also contributing to it. Social backwardness doesnt mean much in today’s economy driven society. As far as educational backwardness of OBCs is concerned that can be tackled by government at various levels and reservations in higher educational institutions can also be explored, but in a fair manner. A bottom’s up approach will do the country more good rather than pushing for peace-meal solutions.

  • Who are OBCs?

Latest NSSO report says the OBC are around 40% of the total population. Governement has relied on a very old data of 1931 census. The validity of this census has evoked maximum protest from the different sections of the society. It must be known that the backwardness is decided on the twin principle of social and educational backwardness. Supreme court has also asked government to come up with latest data in order to support its argument of 27% OBC reservation.

  • Question of Creamy Layer.

The governmen’s decision to implement the quota in educational institutions without delineating the creamy layer has been the eye of whole storm. Government’s stand that in educational institutions there is no need of delineating creamy layer has been ludicruous and unqualified. In fact such a thing will make mockery of whole concept of creamy layer. Court has asked the government to come up with latest figures as who and how constitutes the creamy layer.

  • Need for Caste based Census.

It remains ununderstood that why the government is shying away from a cast based census. It argues that such a process will divide the whole society and country on caste lines. Is this argument not funny? Is soceity presently no divided on caste lines? It will be in our wisest interest if will face this disease on our face rather than turning overselves away. Gail Omvedt has tried to put this argument sighting example of US where too a race based census took place. It is of utmost necessity that we diagnose the disease before addressing it.

  • Reservations and Merit

The argument that bringing reserations to institutes of higher education, especially institutes of excellence will make their cutting edge blunt. But this assumes the fact the merit lies in only in certain section of society. If the merit is decided only on the basis of certain all india tests then it will not be hasr to imagine that economically and socially forward sctions of students will out-perform their backward brothers. It is a well known fact that IQ and intelligence is a function of environmental and social factors. Its “nurture” which is more important than “nature”. Reservations is a tool which addresses such issues. If the matter is about the excellence and merit then respective institutions should decide a particular percentage, that students below which will not be entertained even though seats are unfilled. Such a thing is done in IITs. Like they dont let in SC/ST students which do not score above a benchmark level, even though seats remain vacant. Apart from it special coaching can be provided to backward sections of students in order to tackle the examination in a better way.

Final solution lies in the hands of judiciary. CJI has intervened yesterday and allowed an early hearing of the case on May 8th. Given that government is hell bent to get the reservations through the test of equality and justice and people are holding their positions, it will be of utmost importance that how judiciary upholds constitutionality and reasonableness of reservations.

Change in country side in India

Posted in Insight by dullar on April 21, 2007

Jan Breman, Emeritus professor in Comparative Sociology at the Amsterdam University, who is working and doing his research in villages of Gujarat, has some insights in the changing village society in India.

The main changes he counts are :

  1. Disappearance of agrarian bondage. It is replaced by completely casualised labour. This has disrupted the social security elements in village society.
  2. General Poverty levels has gone down over last few decades.
  3. The disparity between poor and non poor has increased.
  4. New type of consumptions has come in which make poor experience their inadequacy more sharply.
  5. Trickle Down Theory works for only those people who have atleast some assets. Landless are worst hit, and no trickle has effected them so far.
  6. Commenting upon religiosity in Gujarat, he points out, that there is increasing religiosity amont the upper castes/classes, but at the same time religiosity is decreasing in the lower castes/clases. They are becoming more and more individualistic and drifting away from the collective action.

This is a well known fact that with increase in urbanisation (which stands at 28% in India right now), the effects of it will surely be on the rural community. With reform period well into its 16th year, the disparities has seen to be increased. The gap between poor and not poor has also much felt now. With more and more privatisation and consumerism spreading, the gap between the type of consumers has also increased. A more wholistic approach rather than trickle is needed in order to spread the prosperity beyond city islands. Overhauling of whole rural set-up is need of the hour. President’s PURA(Providing Urban Amenities in Rural Areas) will be a great idea to implement to fill in the knowledge, information, and prosperity gap between rural and urban areas. Village livelihood support system in form of rejuvenated farming and agriculture, animal husbandry, dryland farming, improving quality of assets created, gainful employment, and far reaching energy solutions based on non-conventional form, informatin and physical connectivity will really improve the condition of village community, if properly implemented. It must be noted that all works under all these heads is going on but the pace has to be stepped up on war footing.

Cast(e) The Vote

Posted in Caste, Insight, Polity, Society by dullar on December 7, 2006

Is caste system real reason behind the agitation of dalits which rocked the nation from villages to parliament recently. It is not probably. The social and ritual basis of caste has become too old and sure to die a slow death, if not now, but surely in near future. In the social sphere, it is an issue, which has become very obscure and economic modernisation and process of globalization has kind of engulfed it. But in the political sphere the issue is much younger and has really become monster headed hydra with its tentackle spread all across the country. If there is common basis for the political parties and a common ideology for them, it is issue over caste and their percieved self interest under the garb of people’s conviction and interests. If Ambedkar’s presence is more felt than Gandhi and his ideas still guide the people’s actions and thinking intoday’s India then it is only because politics of this country is guided by votes and which, primarily on caste based manouvering. Reservation issue is another hot bed of caste based politics. Every repurcussion, good or bad emanates from these very basic facts. Media has a very obvious role in educating and awaring people about the whole damn issue but they too only builds fancy headlines out of all this just to make crispy stories and ready money.
It is not very long since we were basking in the romantic fancy of Gandhigiri, of Gandhi’s resurgence in 21st century, and now we have just swinged to the oppiste pole of Ambedkar and dalit politics, thanx to media driven propaganda. The very own idea that Ambedkar and Gandhi lies at opposite poles as far as idea of caste system is concerned is of limited literary value. But the truth that makes sense to realise is that both stood against untouchability, and for equality and social justice. And had either of Gandhi or Ambedkar been living today, it woudn’t have mattered to them as whose legacy is still driving the nation but all that they would have worried and mourned over was the caste based divisions in the society. Our political parties have made most when people have nothing but to loose. As sociologist Max Weber have said about ‘power’ as a zero sum game, the positives of slfish political parties is nothing but negatives of people of country. Former rules latter get ruled, former divides, latter falls apart.

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