Tuesday, August 18, 2009

A Silver Lining!

Since long, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka have been at loggerheads over the sharing of Cauvery waters. This contentious issue has created an unbridgeable divide between the two states. To make matters worse, politicians from both sides have tried hard to exploit the situation in their favour. Rabble rousing, on this issue, has been their pet job. This, has invariably led to, protests, violence, and looting in both the states. People were the ultimate victims of such sheer political opportunism. Loss of lives and damage to property hardly mattered in the mad race for power.

A recent development between the two states deserves a special mention. A statue of the great Tamil poet Thiruvalluvar was recently installed in Karnataka. The chief minister of Tamil Nadu, at request of his Karnataka counterpart, flew in to unveil the statue. This took place, despite strong protests by some lingual chauvinists in Karnataka. As a reciprocal gesture, a statue of a Kannada poet, Sarvajna, will soon be unveiled in Tamil Nadu. This show, given the will, political parties can transcend their regional bias to foster good will amongst people.

Sadly, such a rare development, has not found a mention in the front pages of our newspapers. Whereas a Bollywood actor being detained in New York airport, easily wriggles into the headlines.

However, as an Indian, I feel very happy about it.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

House of Commons and Lok Sabha

The Lok Sabha is India's equivalent to the House of Commons - both functionally and literally. However, there is a marked difference in the way the two functions. While the House of Commons is a stickler for rules, the Lok Sabha stands for everything unruly. The difference is so stark, that at times, i am overcome with a feeling of sadness. I feel sad because i see no hope of revival.

You can enjoy watching debates in the House of Commons. It is marked by exemplary behavior on the part of members. Each speaker is given due respect. The line of argument is heard with rapt attention. How much ever objectionable the point may be, there is no disruptions whatsoever. No cacophony, no out of turn yelling, no jostling leave alone threatening and scuffles. Clapping of desks is the usual norm of approval. Members vocally express their feelings with simple ayes or nays in chorus. It leaves a pleasant impression. This is how democracy should function.

Proceedings in the Lok Sabha are a far cry from all this. Anarchy rules the roost in the house. Members compete to outdo each other in shouting, running around, shoving, mocking, and even engaging in fisticuffs. A free for all situations is always waiting to happen. A cartoon in a newspaper, many years back, showed two disobedient children making a mess of the drawing room. When confronted by their father, they reply, they were merely playing parliamentary games. True it is. Lok Sabha proceedings have become a child’s play. It pays to be disorderly and chaotic! And the song goes" It happens only in India".

When Justice Dhingra, equated the Lok Sabha with a fish market members protested in unison. This means, we do what we like, leave us to ourselves. With no one to rein our members, we need to accept this as a way of life.

Meanwhile we must prepare ourselves for electing our representative for the 15th Lok Sabha!

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Politics of Alliance in India

The concept of alliances in electoral politics has always baffled me. Nowadays it amuses me to no ends. It is the crudest form of a self seeking exercise. Perhaps it is from this very concept that the saying, politics makes strange bedfellows, emanates.

Come election time and parties easily form these alliance of convenience. When one party enters into an alliance with another, they simply agree not to criticize each other. It is an understanding to overlook each others weaknesses. They gang up to target parties of other alliances - who in due course will become their partners, no sooner than a new re alignment takes place. This again supports another theory; there are no permanent friends or foes in politics. Doesn't it smack of sheer opportunism? Gullible that our masses are, they have been putting up with such nonsense for 50 long years. I wonder! How long will they still have to.

In the run up to the general elections, alliances have been struck and new formations emerged. But it all appears too contrived to be given any serious consideration at all. I am keenly waiting for the post-poll alliance scenario.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Pakistan's Imbroglio

When a government agrees to sign a peace treaty with those who swear by violence, one can well understand its abject helplessness and desperation. The state of affairs in Pakistan can only be expected, to grow from bad to worse. With the government hell bent on saving its skin, an aggressive group baying for blood and the common man caught between the cross fire, an imminent collapse is just waiting to happen.

The developments in the state remind me of the saying: One who rides a tiger cannot dismount. Successive governments have never shown the will to reign in fundamentalists group. So today it finds itself inextricably involved in a bloody war. It also reminds me of another old Indian saying: Those who dig trench for others fall in it themselves. Pakistan's obsession to foment trouble in India has back fired on them.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Obama and Hasina's Victory

I was out on official work last month, so i couldn't put forth my views. Nevertheless, I do remember all the important developments that took place during the time.

As i had predicted, Sheikh Hasina, scripted a great victory at the hustings. Bangaldesh was plunged into unprecedented turmoil by Khaleda Zia. It was just a matter of time before her policies were to be rejected by the people. It came a bit late because the country went to elections late. After Khaleda's exit, Sheikh Hasina's victory was a foregone conclusion. For India it bodes good, because she believes in fair play and has inordinate abhorance for the fundamentalists.

Barrack Obama's climb to the top post is of no use to India. Like a true American, he is expected to turn a blind eye to the sufferings of India at the hands of Pakistan backed militants. He is more interested in finding a safe passage for American soldiers, stuck in Afghanistan, than in uprooting terrorism from the region. All his moves, as of now, promise nothing.