POLITICAL TREND

The political trend in India kick starts and proceeds like a marathon but does not, or seems not to have finality, although politics is the oldest profession . Any political party definitely begins with or has good ideas, but ends up confused as to what is its goal. This may be because no party is given or left without opposition, to show or do what it has promised its people. Just like there are two sides of the same coin, every party has two sides good and bad. As soon as one party comes to power, the others are busy doing research to pull out all the possible loopholes and flaws to defame the seated power. The seated power would fight and fight to save their party. Anyone who would support its leader when he is wrong is welcomed into the party. All during his tenure, time is spent in looking over his shoulders to see if his supporters are there for him. If yes, then he is confident that he is the true leader or his position is safe.

Today India has innumerable Indians who want to serve the country by being the part of the system. Innumerable parties have been formed, each one with its own cause- fight corruption, help the down-trodden, spread education, good governance, equal representation for women, help the farmers etc etc. Everyone wants everything asked for. But how to achieve, what path, what methods-nobody is aware.

These are the questions which each political party in its tenure is attempting to study & find. But how sad! Term ends but no solution. The party ends up not by placing itself at the service of the nation but by placing the nation at its service.

Seychelles, a Victim of Sea Piracy

Seychelles is no more a paradise for rich holidayers and tourists. It has become  a hunting ground for  pirates, Somalian pirates. Their operational  area is from Seychelles to Mahe, gulf of Aden and Maldives.

The pirates’ target is any ship that passes by in their working area,  be it a merchant ship, a cargo ship or an oil tanker or even a passenger ship. Once they boarded a passenger ship which probably carried a thousand passengers.  Completely outnumbered, the dozen odd pirates were hammered nicely and thrown into the sea. So, they avoid  ocean liners.

What is their aim of  hauling up ships?  Their merchandise or oil?  None of these.  The ransom  money from ship owners for releasing the ship and  crew.  They demand millions of dollars and the owners find no  way other than paying up the amount  and getting the ship back.

The pirates do abduct crew and other passengers  sometime. The purpose is the same – ransom.  A retired couple set sail in their private yacht  one day. They had traveled hardly 60 nautical miles and they were cornered  and taken prisoners along with their yacht. It is not known where these two persons,  60 and  56 are.  Probably they are held hostage for any negotiation in the future.

The interception could place any where up to  Maldive islands.

Don’t the ships have any protection?  Yes, the Indian Navy does come to their rescue.  They did capture some pirates also and in some cases, after destroying their small ships the men were thrown into the sea to make them fend for themselves or die a horrible death.  The UK and American Navies also do help.  But then a distance of some 1500 nautical miles cannot be protected every inch.  The pirates choose their target and according to their timing.

The greatest sufferer is the Seychelles government and its people. Their tourist traffic has dwindled down to almost a trickle. No honey mooner or holidayer would venture into this area.  The island’s income is thus affected.

The other source of income is ‘tuna fishing’; tuna is exported to the European countries.  The  French and Spanish trawlers who do the fishing for the island have slowed down their activity.  So much so, from 2009, the catch has reduced by 30%.

Tuna processing and  canning system  in Seychelles is a highly automated one.  At one end of the conveyor belt, the trawlers unload the catch and at the other you collect the canned tins.  The factory has been producing 450 tons of tuna fish daily which has reduced to around 300 now. Some 3000 Seychellians are employed in the fishing industry. Not only the income of the Seychelles population has decreased  considerably but  also many have become unemployed as well. What will the  people do?

Why are the Somalians  indulging in this immoral practice?  They say, their fishing business from Gulf of Eden has been affected terribly due to poaching by other nations.  Next, the gulf has become a dumping ground for all kinds of wastes including toxic waste.  This has affected the health of the Somalians.  Thousands  suffer from mouth disease and stomach disorder.

Somalia is a very poor country and underdeveloped as well.  And yet people have to live.  What could they do?

In the circumstances, piracy appeared to be a very tempting and  a quick money earner method  and they had  grabbed the  opportunity. The Somalian piracy has the public’s support and not considered immoral at all.

The navies of other nations do capture the pirates and try them out in their own courts.  Recently there was an agreement among the nations that the convicted Somalians must spend their jail sentence in their own country and should be sent to Somalia after trial. Since the Public have given their open approval for the piracy , will this measure reduce piracy by any significant  percentage? Very doubtful.  We don’t know  what the Somalian governments’ stand is in this regard.  Are they for or against piracy?

Possibly thousands and thousands are indulging in this trade.  Suppressing or eliminating this  large scale professionals  is not an easy task through the small help the island gets from neighbouring nations. If  fleets of ships are deployed, it may be possible to eliminate the menace.  But then, isn’t this asking for the Moon?

The next alternative  for the exporters is to send armed escorts in each ship.  This should not prove very expensive at all. Since the pirates come only in small numbers, a  dozen odd  well equipped soldiers on board  could easily overpower the thieves of small groups. This seems to be the final solution at the cheapest cost. And the ship owners must consider this option in the interest of their own business and safety of their goods and crew.

 

 

The farce elements of Indian elections

 The election dynamics in India works in a very strange way.  Do you know a one percent swing of the electorate towards a particular political party could earn  them up to  ten  seats? Here is another down to earth example:  in the recent Assembly election in Tamil Nadu, India, the AIADMK party polled 39 % of the total votes and the DMK just 26%.  A difference of 13 % vote resulted in a stock  of 127 seats between the two giants?      

 So, every vote counts. The  election commission says that only 75% of the electorate cast their votes. Wouldn’t that absentee  25% mean a swing of over a hundred seats?

The Commission prepares a list called “Voters list” for every constituency.  This is considered a very sacred document  like it is equivalent to  the Holy Bible ! If your name is not in the list, you are a  nobody.  To be more blunt, you are not an Indian at all ! So sacrosanct the darned list is.

How accurate the voters list is? Very inaccurate. Dead persons’ names,  names of people who have  changed their residence, of people who have gone on transfer to another constituency,  appear there.  When you leave your rented house, you think in terms of changing your gas connection electricity connection, ration card, telephone connection and so many other things but no one  ever thinks of informing the election commission about the change of address. So, where is the accuracy of this so called sacred list? And changes take place routinely almost daily.

Less than 50% of the Indian population have  permanent houses/addresses  in the land. The remaining are floating population who may change residence every year or  after a couple  of years. If you are   not physically present in a particular house, the election commission  will ruthlessly remove your name from the list for the next election as if you are dead.  You are expected to get yourself enrolled, as it were, in your new location. You need all the time in the world to do this, which may include submitting an application form along with your photograph, proof of  residence and so on. You get so fed up running after the various steps that you feel it would be better to remain a vote less character in your own country.

With so many  imperfections in our electoral list, we boast to the world that we are the greatest democracy in the world and we had carried out a monumental  election so successfully.

On a casual exchange of notes with an Election official, he stressed that the Commission needs to know how many voters are available in a constituency, hence a list is a must.  Great. “Including dead persons and transferred persons?” I remarked  for which the gentleman  had no rejoinder.

It is sad that one thinks and talks in ancient ways in a modern computer world.

I would personally recommend that we go in for an all  purpose electronic  smart card which may  contain all your personal information other than your residential address and which records details of your participation in various elections and you should be permitted to vote from any place in India and in any constituency. [As of now, if you happen to be on outstation duty on the election day, you lose your right of franchise.  Why?]

The central government said in 2010  that they are preparing an unique identity card for every individual.  Where is it?  Will it take twenty years to complete and provide it to every individual?

In a democracy, it is vital that every adult votes in every election.  Abstaining   from voting,  should be considered a democratic sin.  100% voting is ideal but we need to have some slip  margin, which should not be more than 2 %. Accordingly,  98% participation should be the minimum.  We should work towards this figure. Only then we could claim that the elected candidates have the  popular support.

Washing dirty linen in public

I like the Election time, you know?  And we get plenty of it in a democracy.  Currently the elections  for  various types  of local bodies in different cities, towns  and villages of my State Tamil Nadu  are in progress.

 

Wherever I go I hear speeches and the loudspeakers blaring away varieties  of information., palatable and non palatable. Walls are plastered with slogans.  Right in front of my house, I see auto rickshaws  plying and a man reading  his election speech through a loud speaker fitted on the hood of the auto. The funny part is no body could make out  what the man  is trying to say; one can’t even grasp  the name of the candidate  because the auto  whizzes past your house   within 15 seconds.

 

But you get much more and  exhaustive information about the candidates and parties from the newspapers. It is only then we  come to know that  how bad   some leaders  or political parties have been  conducting themselves. They grab land belonging to  innocent people and even that of  the Government’s. The  leaders cheat the people   by false promises of jobs, transfers and promotions etc. The impeachers are blunt to the point and mince no words  in exposing the other’s  misdeeds. I wish one was a little diplomatic about these revelations. But no. They insist on calling a spade a spade !   Is this correct, you tell me? But then  this is legally allowed in a democracy.

 

Next, there is a saying that “All is fair in love and war and Elections”.  I am not sure if the third option I have quoted  is correct but someone did say, “It is all right…”

 

“But don’t such accusations tarnish the image of  the concerned candidate(s)?”  The answer is ‘yes’ and ‘no’ because the affected candidate will deny all the aberrations and turn the  gun on the accuser with more charges.   Two bullets facing each other, eh?  So, I should think it is a kind of tit for tat !

 

“In which case, who do they vote for?  Aren’t the voters influenced by a candidate’s bad history?

“No.”

“Did I hear a  ‘NO’?”

“Yes friend, indeed. The  accuser has as many skeletons in his cupboard as the accused ! Both are awful and unfit to be in the ruling clan. So, how do the voters decide who to vote for?  We will come to this point a little later.

 

Now about the election speeches.  Being local elections, you don’t see huge public meetings  but only roadside shows. The great advantage of these small sized meetings is that you can cross examine the candidate and  he has to answer your questions.  If he doesn’t, he loses marks.

 

In one case, a listener  asked, “Your  party has  not kept so many promises made in the past.  Why?  Some of them are over ten years old. The speaker candidate scratched his head.  This was a Waterloo test for him.  Then clicking his fingers he answered  like this:  You see the  election promise  you are referring to is only ten  years old;  we are still working on the three year and  four years brands.  So you have to wait your turn.  Be reasonable.  Things take time to implement, you know?  The crowd appreciated the answer and greeted him with applause.  And he won the elections too.

In another case, [this happened to be a General elections case], a questioner pointed out ,”You party has not nominated your  Prime ministerial candidate (because there was really no consensus and there were infighting for the post) and they got away  saying, “We will select a PM through a democratic process after the elections  and not force one on the people now.”  The  public lauded this response. ”That’s true democracy, isn’t it?” the voters hailed and the great  party won the General elections as well.

Lately, the parties have started announcing  a  number of freebies. [Even the Supreme court has permitted this !] There is  a competition in this regard. If one party offers one grinder mixer per family, another would offer one for each voter. Accordingly in some homes you may  find anything up to five mixers.

So, all this is good fun,  good rhetoric and empty words too. Nobody means what they say but say they have to. Having listened to many speeches  the voters indeed  would get confused about who to cast their vote.  One wag advises:  Toss a coin, brother.

 

 

 

Life after 26/11 Mumbai attack……..

Life after 26/11 Mumbai attack……..

Walking along sea line of Taj Mahal Hotel was a pleasant change for me,
from my routine work. Happened to visit Gateway of India in Mumbai after Mayhem created
by the terrorist.It was not a pleasant scene in the year 2008, when the terrorist had
burnt down Taj Mahal Hotel.

The Hotel is restored to its original beauty, with a heavy price tag. Things yesterday
had come to normal with so many people trying to earn their living on Gateway of India.
Only thing missing at Gate way was the pigeon’s, they had disappeared, probably peace is
not restored internally. Hundreds of visitors had come to this place on a weekend, with back
of their mind attack scenario.

The photographers were busy catching there customers for a quick photo session along
rock building and small toy vendors impressing the kids. A Small bunker vehicle was placed at corner
of the road and few policemen were trying to control crowd. The hotel is heavily guarded with obstacles
and partition. It was almost a heavily guarded fortress with very less space to peep in.

Everything was normal, as the Taj monument took me three years back,
I started recalling how building was on fire and army fighting with a bunch of butchers,
who knew nothing of their doing’s.  I could see narrow lanes along the hotel, which was very
difficult to access, cause you never knew what was store in. The smart terrorist had picked up a good
location to spread their bullets,  as you go further it was very difficult to track them. Oberoi
Trident has a much bigger space to move but CST station, is a real mess with so many people around.
They had made a good catch at CST station.

As I was strolling along the bay, I was getting a feel something big had happen here but still
people are fearless and moving freely along the Gateway. Mr Laden or who ever the person must had
a good laugh during live telecast of the attack, but not for long as he is buried in a sea grave
counting beads of dead.
Yes Gateway and Taj are now standing strong again with full glory hats off to our brave army,
and Army of brave Mumbaikars. History repeats again and again, but our enemy has still not learnt
their lessons.
Standing on the coast I could scream “I am proud to be an Indian”

Corruption ! You won’t be around for long in India

Corruption is the topic of the day on every lip.  More revelations are made daily about who the corrupt are, how much money and other assets they have amassed and so on. Amazingly, the persons whom we thought were honest and straightforward too have come into the list. It’s a stab at our back, isn’t it?

To eradicate this volume of corruption, we need to resort to several varieties of operations on the same human body one after the other. These operations have to be ruthless.

It would be useful to identify the reasons  how we have come to this sorry state.  Some sixty years back or immediately after our Independence in 1947, the politicians, bureaucracy  and the business community were   more honest.  One never heard of corrupt Indians. Yes, there could have been small time thieves including small bribe takers to give you a telephone connection or power connection or get some certificate signed etc. But never looters in   Lakhs and Crores prevailing  now.

There are two reasons, according to me, why corruption has grown in size  to heavy proportions and  become an uncontrollable giant. Politicians did not want to punish anyone for any kind of offence.  I remember, late  Mr. Morarji Desai, one of the Prime Ministers saying in the Parliament  that  “officers should be more tactful.”  In other words, the lower down clerks and supervisors and junior officers  were angels and should not be  blamed ever for any kind of  lapse by the officer cadre.

This kind of stand on the part of the government  gave rise to new work ethics. The low level staffs went about with their chest forward with a notion, “Nobody can touch me. I can do what I like and nothing would happen.”  And the officer cadre became totally demoralized and disillusioned.  They could not maintain  any kind of discipline and work efficiency  in their field of operation.  Since their writ did not run, they took a passive attitude and became silent spectators.

Next, our courts have been very lenient and soft on the offenders. I don’t think they punished even one guy for storing up illegal wealth.

The Indian Penal code lays down the maximum punishment for every  offence .  Most of these are restricted to some two years.  And many  citizens have worked out a strategy on  how  to condense the two years thing to two months or two weeks.  So, there was no fear of punishment in an Indian’s mind at all.

On the contrary, the law should lay down the minimum punishment and the maximum should be life term or death. One could get life even for a small offence like cutting the red signal at the  traffic point and in the process running over a small boy.

It is the British who discovered that an Indian is an excellent performer if you keep a bayonet behind his back and keep on pricking him with it once in a while to make it known to him that the iron blade is very much  behind him.  Punishment was  very stringent  during the British rule.

We relaxed these measures completely the day we got our Independence. As days went by it was the politicians’ ambition to remain in power till death and  therefore began to placate the voters who voted for him.  How on Earth could you punish a fellow who catapults you to the position of    power? As regard the big fish, the politician had a vested interest and allowed them to mint money left right and centre legal or illegal.

What we have to do to stem the rot is to lay down a time frame to finalise all kinds of cases.  I see no reason why a murder case or a death in road accident cannot be investigated within 48 hours and the culprit dealt with within a week. Let the court punish the guilty with the maximum punishment.  We should not hesitate to award death punishment.  The slogan that  “only the rarest of the rare cases should go to the gallows”, to my mind is a silly stand. “Life for life” must be our approach. .

Some years ago one of the governors in China was caught taking  a bribe.  He was hanged.

Let’s also hang the first few corrupt persons and inefficient workers and you can   rest assured that corruption and inefficiency  would be on their  way out.

The instant justice

In India, one could prolong any  court case for years and years.  Yet, the courts themselves proclaim  from  roof tops that  “Justice  delayed is justice denied.”

In one murder case, the court’s verdict was , “We don’t know who killed Arushi but  Arushi is dead.” Would the concerned parents accept such a judgment?

Shall we examine, why  the courts take so long in disposing of cases or do not arrive at the right decisions??

The  Prosecution may not have collected full details, especially in ‘murders’ and the Defence counsel  would  take advantage. When this case is taken up after a long gap, new evidence is produced or manufactured to give a twist to the entire charge.  Although a witness gives evidence  on oath,  he/she does not hesitate to tell lies. So far, no person has been punished for rendering wrong statements, which is an offence by itself.

So much so, people have lost faith in the Indian judiciary.

In  the light of above lacuna, when you read in the  newspaper that the verdict  in a particular case has been awarded within 24 hours and the accused has been punished as well, one feels overjoyed at the speed

A college going young man on a two wheeler, well dressed in shirt and tie, cut the red signal at a traffic point which was secretly being monitored.  The constable came out of his hideout, and asked the youngster to pull over. Many road users wondered how this custodian of traffic rules would deal with the offence.  The violator was asked stand on the edge of the road in full view of the traveling public.  Then  policeman gave an instant punishment.  “Do twenty five sit-up’s” he commanded.

The smart student had to suffer the humiliation.  He couldn’t protest over the verdict either.  But he promised the  policeman  that he would never  commit such a mistake ever again. He also gave an assurance other that he would tell all his friends in the college not to be adventurous.

See the result of instant punishment.

According to a news report in this morning’s papers, a sitting politician took the law into his hand, collected some dozen boys and thrashed them nicely in full view of the townsmen.  Their crime?  Eve teasing.  None of the boys protested.  The MLA  conveyed  that he wanted to protect all the young girls  in his constituency  from unwarranted and ugly comments by the males. With such an approach, would any young men or college boys dare pass any remarks  on the feminine gender?

We need to work on the concept of fast justice. For in