Showing posts with the label People and Society
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The Aam Aadmi and the Conundrum of Choice

2013 is drawing to a close, but the election season has just begun in India. 
Politicos are facing the Aam Aadmi conundrum. While some acknowledge it openly, others are loathe to admit it. On the other hand, the aam aadmi is facing the conundrum of choice between the untested, so-called wave, mixed bag politico, and the newly introduced non of the above (NOTA). We can't underestimate either of them. The last option may not be so effective, but it can result in close contests. Lot can happen in the run up to the parliamentary elections scheduled next summer. 
So, where does the Aam Aadmi stand? Aam Aadmi will expect change or may even force a change. If the hopes are not met, the aam aadmi will continue to earn the daily bread and face up to the challenge with a feeling of déjà vu of once again been fooled.
We can only hope or may be its up to each one of us to ensure that the we, the aam aadmi, are not left in despair.

Hope amidst Despair

Anger on the streets of the national capital and in the social media demanding speedy justice to the rape victim; this was waiting to happen. It's horrifying to even imagine what the harassed girl, boy, and their families may be going through. It's even shocking to hear people responsible to ensure safety of the citizens, writing off the crime as a stray incident. How can it be a stray incident, when several such acts of humiliation, harassment, and crime come to light every day? The fearlessness of the perpetrators is simply alarming. It's disillusioning to find police resort to water cannon, lathicharge, and tear gas attack on people demanding speedy justice, rather than assuaging their concerns. The indifferent attitude of the representatives and bureaucrats to the just concerns of the public defies all reasoning. People have shied away from talking about such crimes for far too long. It was almost like a social taboo to speak about certain crimes in public. Their anger…

The Missing Balance - Lit Fest, Controversy, Freedom and Feast

The literary fest: Authors and readers alike wait eagerly for such festivals. Debate, dialogue, readings and stories, the fest had everything that one seeks from an assembly of writers and readers. If acclaimed writers left their impression, Oprah Winfrey stole the show.
The controversy: What was the controversy about? Was it regarding the banned book or the person who wrote it? Was it regarding the sentiments of a particular religion? Was it regarding freedom of speech or expression? Was there an election factor? Whatever the reason, no one was interested in the solution. The so called ‘hardliners’ and the so called 'liberals' did not help the cause. Perceived and real threats made matters worse. The on and off approach of the government was on expected lines.
Ban is on the book, not the man: Is the author in question so influential to affect the wisdom of Indian people? The book is already banned. The author was scheduled to speak on a different topic. He had visited Indi…

2011- The Year That Was

We are into the final week of 2011, which has been characterized of revolutions and protests. Egypt is still witnessing clashes, crisis looms large over Syria, Iraq is facing after-shocks after withdrawal of U.S troops and Pakistan government reportedly fears another coup. Even Russian Premier Vladimir Putin, whose Presidential candidature appeared to be unchallenged at the outset, is facing protests at home. Japan faced worst ever earthquake and Tsunami, which triggered nuclear radiation from Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant. Thailand suffered terrible floods since late July, which caused loss of lives, property and livelihood. 
North Korea lost Kim Jong-il. The leadership of North Korea is now in the hands of a young Kim Jong-un and the world has to wait to see his approach to international relations and ties with South Korea. Way back in 1994, when Kim Jong-il took over the leadership of the country, the world hoped for a change in country's policy. Far from it, North Korea went …

The Last Fortnight

As we enter the last fortnight of the year, Christmas fever has set in. For many, an eagerly awaited holiday season is fast approaching. Shopping Streets are more busier than usual. Online shopping sites are busy wooing the customers with attractive offers, and spammers may well be busy designing ways to dupe people. For retail and hospitality industry, Christmas season is the gala time of the year, though brewing recession is playing the spoilsport as shoppers across Europe are trimming their spending plans. Whether people prefer to be austere or are in a spending spree, the focus is definitely towards family, home and holidays. Egyptians are finally voting for a new Parliament. Violence and clashes still continue. However, after a year full of revolutions and protests, it's time for peace and tranquility. Hopefully, something positive will emerge out of the current crisis. The countdown has begun for the next Presidential elections in the United States (U.S). Iraq gears up for …

The Debate Continues

After the FDI logjam, the focus has again shifted to the debate on the Lokpal issue. In one of my earlier posts, I said that it is still early to reach conclusions. Many years later, year 2011 would be seen in retrospect as a crucial year for Indian democracy. There will always be a debate on the ways and mode of debate, which will do the balancing act and ensure that the focus is on the resolution of the issues at hand. But, one of the greatest achievements of Anna Hazare's movement on the Lokpal issue has been that it has made the entire country debate and express opinion. The media has played its part. The Parliament respected the sentiments by adopting a 'sense of the house resolution'. The Joint Parliamentary Committee has tabled the report. Disagreements still exist and debate continues. What's happening today at Jantar Mantar has become highly significant with the participation of members of several political parties.The participation of political parties, fo…

A Global Community of Over 7 Billion

The global human population has crossed the 7 Billion mark today.. Significantly, it has taken just over 2 centuries for the global community to grow 7 times of their size from around 1 billion at the beginning of the 19th century to over 7 billion in 2011, and we may well double ourselves over the next century. A global community of over 7 billion. Remarkable progress, but grave challenges ahead. Read more on Insights.

Festival of Lights


Is the fight, Off the Rails?

In one of my previous posts titled "Cautious Optimism", I had emphasized on the need for civil society to tread with caution. By declaring the fight against one particular political party, they are in danger of derailing the fight against corruption. They have also provided opportunity for their critics to question their credibility. Instead, the team could have focused on creating awareness among people at the ground level, which was the next logical step and could have helped in fighting the menace. But then, nothing is perfect in this world. It's still early to reach conclusions.

Shelter for the Needy

With the overcrowding of cities, and the ever increasing gap between the have's and have not's, there is an urgent need for creation of shelter for the poor and the needy. People living in 'informal settlements' or 'slums' are forced to vacate, as and when construction and infrastructure work begins in those areas. This problem will continue, till the time we have enough development in the rural areas. The urban municipal corporations and development authorities must create alternative arrangements to provide shelter to the slum dwellers.

Ganesh Utsav

Ganpati Bappa Morya Agle Baras Tu Jaldi Aa. Having growing up seeing the Ganesh Pandals at every turn of the street in my home town, it has been heartening to see the same fervor down South, here in Hyderabad. Tomorrow, all roads will lead to @Tank Bund for Ganesh Visarjan. Now, we have to wait for the Navratri for another round of festivities.  The color and flavor change from year to year, and there is of course a bit of modern touch, but festivities continue to unite India. Proud and fortunate to be an Indian.

Ten Years After...

Tenth anniversary of 9/11. While U.S has been able to streamline security and prevent further attacks, many countries across the world are still dealing with the menace. The hype after 9/11 of increased international cooperation has not changed the situation on ground. In the contrary, there are fresh challenges in the form of cyber threat. It's time to revisit the issue, and evolve a global approach to curb the menace. The heads of state will deliver their annual speech in the UN General Assembly in the coming weeks. It's high time, that UN is strengthened and more feasible and practical strategies are evolved to fight terror.

Shun Insensitivity

Another attack, several dead, many injured, and this time, the target was the National Capital. As expected, News Channels were quick to telecast the visuals, the government and the opposition, both called for display of unity in the hour of tragedy. By early evening though, it was business as usual as the blame game started. Expert analysis on television pointed out the same weaknesses, that we hear after each attack. There was no news update, rather breaking news over the entire day.
Whatever the motives, an attack results in the loss of lives of innocent citizens, from all walks of live, belonging to different religions. Life becomes much greater challenge for those injured, not to forget the trauma, which may take several years to erase. Attackers also succeed in diverting the attention from critical issues facing the country. The debate on corruption took a back seat, and overshadowed a crucial and strategic visit of the Prime Minister to Bangladesh. The South-Asian neighbour, …

Trickle Down Effect

Corruption is deep-rooted and spread across all levels of governance. Will the creation of a strong Lokpal in itself eradicate corruption? Will creation of additional layers of inspection and stronger laws in themselves eradicate corruption? Perhaps, No. But strong laws and a strong overseeing agency at the highest level may have trickle down effect at lower levels of governance. Is compensation announced for farmers paid on time? Do all those injured in railway accidents get prompt compensation?
Are complaints made to the civic agencies acted upon without much delay? Is our present education and judicial system free of corruption. Are complaints made to the Police acted upon immediately? The answer for the above and many other similar questions is most often No. The need for a stronger anti-corruption mechanism has to be assessed in the context of the above reality. 
While Team Anna's tough stand on passing of their version of the Lokpal may seem unjust at first instance, we mus…

Cautious Optimism

It was Anna all over India over the last two days and still continues to be so. The massive support for the 74 year old Kisan Baburao Hazare popularly known as Anna Hazare attracted attention of the entire world. Earlier the government (or the Delhi Police as they claim), which arrested Anna on Tuesday morning had to back down amid protests across the country and order his release. However, Anna agreed to come out of Jail only after authorities granted permission to fast at the famous Ramlila Maidan for 15 days. Many question his stand on the Lokpal bill issue, and Parliament's power to frame laws is not questionable. But Anna's real achievement has been the awakening of the Indian citizen. The signs of change, which I wrote about on Independence Day was at full display over the last few days. Thousands of citizens participated in a candle light march at India Gate demonstrating their support to fight against corruption. As I write, people are organizing protests across the c…

Different Rules, Avoidable blunder

Strange it may seem, but that is the reality we are living in. When political parties call for bandhs, they don't worry about the inconvenience caused to the public. And when an activist calls for a peaceful fast for a cause, which he believes to be significant, government or concerned authorities cite possible law and problem as reason to deny permission. Many do not agree with all of Team Anna's demands. Parliament is supreme and no one is questioning that. However, it's the government's attitude, which is a cause for concern. The Parliament did not function and Ministers conducted an hour long press conference justifying their action. Ask a lay man and the answer would be: "Whatever happened was avoidable."

We are Better Different

We meet so many people in our daily routine. We connect with some, ignore others. We find similarities with some, and find some others awkward. We cherish the qualities of some, and criticize those of others. I mean to say, we meet people with attitudes, opinions, preferences, tastes, foibles and temperaments very different from ours. But ever wonder, that's what makes this world interesting. Life would have been so boring, if we all had shared the same characteristics.