Monday, February 14, 2011

Any possibility of an Egypt-Effect in India?

Egyptian influence is spreading across the countries in the Mediterranean. Will that reach the Indian shores? The causes for the Egyptian anger are also present in India. Would that make the Indians rise up and teach a lesson to the rulers? This question has been analyzed by Ms Tavleen Singh in her article published in Indian Express dot com. (given below). Her argument is that the youth of India whose presence is significant would not tolerate the current style of governance.

In my opinion, the politicians of India have gone far ahead in devising strategies to keep their hold safe and strong. Revolts or uprisings or even weak murmurs can occur where there are 2 distinctively opposite interest groups, where one side must be pitted against the other, where one side exploits and the other feels let down. In the present scenario, there is a  3-C culture promoted by the politicians - 3-C of corruption, currency and castes. No youth of India today is growing up without taking a brush against any one of these or all of these. The 3-C has become an inevitable part of life. When every body is part of it in some way, who will rise against whom?

Let me give one example that I am seeing at the moment. The 3-C has penetrated the voting right also. In the wake of 2G scam, I am curious to know what the average citizen thinks.  I somehow sense that the voters in Tamilnadu are waiting in anticipation how much they would be offered this time for their vote. Ask a daily wager or  a street vendor or the maid servant. They are aware of the 2-G scam and the loot at different levels. They also talk about how such a loot has been done. But as soon as you ask them are they going to vote for the looters, they don't answer. They say they don't know. Why do they say so? Why can't they say with conviction that such a party should not be voted to power? There lies the strength of the looters. They have successfully wiped off the discriminating sense of right and wrong from the people. People have no issues with them if they share their loot even in a small way. This is the way our democracy is going!!

I have no hope on the poor nor on the rich and not even on the middle class. The middle class are happily picking up the colour TV due to them. All ration card holders are given free colour TV in TN. Everyone knows what a phenomenal waste of public money, the free color TV scheme is. But people take it because it is given free. The most common excuse is that it is our money coming back to us. The rulers make big money. By making the people become party to taking some money in this way, everyone becomes part of corruption. People's sensitivity against corruption or wrong doing is successfully blunted by the rulers in ways like this. Why would the people bother about who rules - a Ravan or Raman? It is enough they be given some small piece of the pie.




Sharing Egypt's rage

Tavleen Singh

Posted online: Sun Feb 13 2011, 02:02 hrs
Those of our political leaders who have paid attention to the protests in Tahrir Square must be spending sleepless nights. Not because a floodgate of public rage is about to burst open in Delhi or Mumbai but because the reasons for the rage are so familiar to us who live in the proudly democratic republic of India. Allow me to list a few similarities. Open loot of public money. Political leaders who become fabulously rich while ordinary people remain horribly poor. Dynastic succession. In our case this idea has roots so deep and wide that there is almost not a single political party that is not a family business. Then, as in most despotic Arab countries, we have followed economic policies that have created a small super-rich elite while the majority of our people live on less than $2 a day. And, just like Egypt we have a huge population of young people most of whom will move to cities and towns in the next twenty years.

These young people are not as easy to fool as their parents were but there is no sign that any of our political leaders have understood that they need to urgently modernise their methods and ideas. Our two main national parties are so old fashioned that they seem to have become comatose in a time warp. The Bharatiya Janata Party still believes that rabid nationalism is the way forward. It must be conceded here that Narendra Modi shows signs that he has understood that governance is more important. In the Congress Party, we do not see a single chief minister trying to find a new way. Perhaps, this is because he could lose his job if he did anything other than pay deep obeisance to the Dynasty that has converted our oldest political party into a very successful family business.

In this, the Dynasty is not alone. Every one of our smaller political parties is now a family business with the exception of the Bahujan Samaj Party and this may only be because Mayawati has (as we say in Hinglish) no issue. What is more depressing still is that none of these regional parties have gone beyond their old fashioned ideas of winning votes through caste, creed and criminality. They seem not to have noticed that young Indians have other aspirations. In the village in which I spend many months a year, I notice signs of newness every time I come here. Old type village shops that sold everything from spices to cloth have almost disappeared and in their place have come modern shops that specialise in what they sell. This week I noticed a 'bridel butey saloon' and a 'café' in the verandah of a family home. In the village pond a rural entrepreneur makes money out of paddle boats shaped like swans.

The only thing that has not changed in the ten years I have lived in this village are those things that can only change through improved governance. The village school is as shabby as it was and recently wasted money on a half wall that seems to have been built to spend some politician's unspent fund. Village roads remain in a state of disrepair till just before the rains when they are repaired only so they can be washed away again. And, all the villages in this part of Maharashtra dump their waste by the side of the main road to let it rot horribly in the sun. This method of waste disposal can be observed across rural India. In towns and cities, waste disposal is if anything, more unsanitary on account of the appalling state of municipal governance.

On the long list of things that can only improve with modern governance, waste disposal comes fairly low down. At the very top has to come an urgent and comprehensive attempt to do something about the shameful fact that half of India's children are malnourished. Things will only improve if the Government of India admits that its unwieldy and expensive child welfare scheme has failed. But, for this to happen you need people at the top with new ideas and so far they do not exist.

We may never have a revolution in India. It is not our way. But, what we could see in the not too distant future are increasing signs of violent social unrest. It is our good fortune that even our Maoists cling to an old and decrepit political idea. They are almost the only political force left in the world that thinks of Mao Tse Tung as a great leader and this is why their appeal is limited to primitive parts of India. But, unless our mainstream political parties make urgent changes in their programmes and policies they could become irrelevant by 2014. This might be our only hope.


Tamilan said...

No Madam, now Hindus have become such a suckers after being ruled by Muslims & Britishers for 1000 years, no one will lift a finger against our great (corrupt) Sonia & Co, M.k & sons.

Jayasree Saranathan said...

//Is the site accessible in India now.//

Yes. It became accessible at about 6 pm on 12th. I have given the update in that article itself. I came to know through several people in the know of how things work in the net, that it was a selective and deliberate blockage.

On castes, yes what we have is state-sponsored caste discrimination. In TN, this also has been exploited by the rulers for making money. For instance, I heard that in Public service commission exams, the unfilled SC/ST states are up for sales by the rulers. They do not fill these seats deliberately to make money.

Jayasree Saranathan said...

The latest update by technical people on the blockage of blogspot can be read here: