Monthly Archives: August 2011

Democracy derailed as Anna yet to decide on Break fast

At last the Indian government agreed to table Janlokpal bill draft in the parliament on Friday, along with three other versions.

A huge moral victory for Team Anna, its scores of followers across the globe who have captured the media eye like nothing else. It looks all set that Anna will break his fast on Parliament menu, with prime minister and company acting as prudent waiters ensuring that the main course of JanLokpal is served well along with three similar sounding dishes oops bills.

The followers of this 74-year-old Gandhian rejoice in jubilation as the government of the day again lets the people down. By allowing these crusaders against corruption dictate the demands on an issue affecting 1.2 billion people and not the few million taking on the street or supporting via social media, it surely has let many down.

The overwhelming scenes unfolding on television screens proclaimed by some as massive victory by Anna, fail to state that this has yet been another failure on part of the government. Do those in the seat of power realise what precedent they are setting up with this; they show those riding on popular sentiment and media coverage a way by which they can sabotage the democratic set up and foster their force over the highest governing body — the parliament.

Imagine a scenario wherein those regular seekers of separate state, or reservation robin hoods, dosts of dams, friends of farmers and the likes manage to create similar scenes and citing precedence of Lokpal fiasco up the ante for their demands. Will the government of the day succumb? Is it right move to allow few men and women hold hostage everyone else who doesn’t sing in chorus their rants of anti corruption?

Is it justified that the parliament pays the price for the colossal disaster by the government of putting Hazare behind bars?

The move not only exposes the ineffective governance it shows that their isn’t any leader worth ones salt in the system who can take these people heads on. What the current crisis also show that the Team Anna though termed ‘Gandhian’ is acting as Dubya’s men, ‘my way or the highway’ has been their mantra.

This attitude also speaks a lot about their leadership which backed by apt management has given the government a run for its money or rather black money. Team Anna is behaving too high headed, despite not being representative of the entire population they are acting as guardians of the society.

With the PM reaching out to them and taking two steps forward they are still glued to their position. They should realise that this bill has been in the waiting for four decades, more than the average age of majority of their supporters. At least the current government is allowing them to participate and the bill can only be made better if debated and discussed with open minds.

After witnessing the mayhem, all one can say is may common sense prevail.

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Is there anything beyond Anna, Lokpal?

Anna Hazare, Civil society, now or never, Anna is India,India is Anna, pass it or go….. Lokpal, Jan Lokpal or a now a third shade to the Lokpal by another group of civil society.

Add a dash of the 24/7 media jamboree, peppered by splashes next day in morning papers and sms’s along with the social media flavour keep young India busy. Its been an over kill of an issue been pending for the last four decades.

Let me make it clear I am not against the drive to make an attempt to eradicate corruption from a country where in the C word forms a part of daily milieu of majority of us over 1.2 billion breathing in India.

But the this team Anna of few good men and women have made an attempt to sabotage the parliamentary democracy and trying to be high headed stating this way or no way, I feel it’s pushing the boundaries and trying to make the most of the meteoric rise that the stupid government error of taking Anna to Tihar presented to the Team Anna.

From getting a bed in the government maternity ward to the funeral grounds, Jugaad(a way around) is omnipresent and an alternate way of life, love it or hate it  but one can’t ignore Jugaad in India, it’s the way we are.

I hear in a television debate that one needs a sifarish(approach/favour) to sneak in easily and early into the Ramlila grounds, where the newly crowned people’s Gandhi is taking on the corrupt system. So the fact is that it isn’t merely system, but ‘we the people’ are very much party.

While all this is potentially a Treat of TRP’s for the news channels and an effort to create some extra ‘C’irculation in print and on web, the word is ANNA and nothing else.

In all this sections, barring a few journalists objectivity is reduced to something being a part of the Course book in journalism. News organisation that are virtually running a campaign to raise voice for strong Lokpal are ensuring that the my way or no way approach is gaining strength and if you are not supporting the demands of Team Anna you are outcast.

It’s about time Team Anna and media realises that how can this movement and government’s mismanagement has brought the issue to the center, why not make the most of the opportunity.

As of now it looks more like a clash of ego’s between the government who rightfully has earned the right to govern and the new breed of Public crusaders(achievers in their own fields) who till sometime back were almost non-existent in the big scheme of things.

Sensing this as a great opportunity  to earn some social points now another group of the in form Civil Society led by Aruna Roy &Co. have jumped in to make the picture even more chaotic.

The way out as I see is that given the opportunity at hand, both the teams along with a critical and objective role of media should try find some ways to reduce the corruption or at best make it transparent.

For I feel the cumulative corrupt practices that we all live with will take a few lifetimes to diminish.

So please enough of Anna praise, fasting and time lines,  can we puncture the inflated egos and talk sense on Lokpal .

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Tough road ahead for Cameron

Its one of the most testing time for the British Prime Minister. After Hackgate cut short David Cameron’s Africa visitt, it was the teenage turmoil that has ‘vandalised’ his vacation.

Back in London to restore peace on the streets of United Kingdom, Cameron faces a critical junction that will define his premiership. Barring the lone occasion of him admitting that in the hindsight hiring former News of The World editor Andy Coulson was a mistake; Cameron hasn’t backed out on any of his stand or for that matter policy issues.

Night four was relatively calm in London, but elsewhere in UK riots were on, but coming in on day four of mayhem after many parts of the Capital were vandalised is not going to do a world of good to the PM as he faces the parliament on Thursday.

With Labour deputy leader Harriet Harman on BBC newsnight already giving the crisis a political shade by linking it to the CUTS that are frustrating the youth and being a contributing factor to this outrage it won’t be an easy walk ahead.

Not just that the four letter word will bite as the role of cops the way they acted will go under the lens. The questions, why did this happen, are the cops in their present numbers and infrastructure in a position to handle any such overwhelming chaos in future, can such incidents be averted in future? And most importantly can the police afford to have CUTS.

Research by HM Inspectorate of Constabulary released last month suggests the police will  loose 16,200 personnel by 2015 and a total loss including that of the civilian staff will be close to 34,000. This according to BBC Newsnight will take the police strength back to what it was in 2003.

With the CUTS yet not imposed there have been two major violent protests in nine months is the prime minister going to rethink his strategy.

Apart from the policy matters and the debates in parliament which Cameron so far has defended showing admirable command his big test is will be to reinstall the faith of the man on the street, by securing them, their prospects and in the wake of ongoing crisis securing their businesses.

With his deputy and Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg being forced to cut short his walk through the streets of Birmingham after being booed by the public and the shopkeepers in London taking on themselves to guard their businesses it’s not a good sign for Cameron.

Facing all this is not going to be easy, but it’s about time Cameron goes back to the famous ‘Hug the Hoodie’ speech he gave on July 10, 2006.  He then said “there is a connection between circumstances and behaviour,” and merely, “Debating symptoms and not causes will not serve the purpose.”

It’s the latter advice he then gave the Labour government that needs his attention to hold ground in the long run.

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Olympic city torched

What the hell is going on? The Olympic city is being torched at will, police sirens haven’t stop blowing for last 72 hours, it’s been three days that London is on fire and at the dawn of day four the prime minister cutting his vacation half way says everything necessary to restore order will be done.

For second time in less than a year the cosmopolitan capital of the world has been hit by widespread violence.

First it was the students protest during November 2010 and now the there is the widespread loot on the roads. As someone pointed out, “seems London is on sale” and hooligans are on a ball.

Powered by technology and with the humane cops(not to take anything away from the work they have done over the last three days)  trying all civilised ways to stop the thugs, the results are far from desired.

What is striking similar to both these incidents is the involvement of youngsters and use of technology.

During the students protests the venues and strategies were planned using facebook and twitter, this time around it’s the security that BBM( black berry messenger) provides which is giving the hooligans the edge so far.

The images so far show that the rioters are predominantly youngsters not belonging to a particular community. They are targeting shops and looting stuff beyond their reach. It’s an indication of desperation, with CUTS announced, job markets shrinking, studies becoming costly from next year and not much bright prospects in sight the so far comfortable and well taken care of youth is revolting; revolting in anger and violently beyond control.

As a twitter message doing round sums it up: “The Youth of the Middle Eastrise up for basic freedoms. The Youth of London rise up for a HD ready 42″ Plasma TV #londonriots”

Coming from India, where Cops are infamously famous for using force to tackle even a group of handful of people its amazing to see them not use stern force to bring the city to normal. The home secretary Theresa May even refused the use of water cannons and the top cop is saying bringing in military is no option. PM announced that the number of cops on the streets will go up to 16000 today.

But will mere presence of cops install fear in the minds of the hooligans who are being supplied legal advice guidelines as they go on a rampage.

Help and support pamphlets being distributed among the rioters. While
covering the student protests a masked person came and handed me a leaflet giving details of whom to contact in case the cops got hold of me and the basic do’s and don’ts.
Similarly on twitter last night images of similar advice pieces were doing rounds.


It’s about time unprecedented action is taken by the administration. For a while put the human rights and high moral grounds on back burner. Those causing the damage to the city, the people don’t deserve this kind of soft stand.

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