Surely, the aam aadmi government must attend to this problem as the first and foremost priority!

If we write angrily, then, readers might imagine we write politics! No, we don’t write politics, we write the truth!

Is truth politics or politics can ever become truth?  That is the dilemma!

There is now a severe drought and the monsoons are delayed. Of course not much can be done by a government as far as nature’s playing truant is concerned.

So, we, like the Prime Minister”s Office, might have to simply wait and pray or curse the goods!
Now, there is this horrible news and pictures, visuals on the TV news channels about the severely malnourished children in the three or four districts of Madhya Pradesh. The visuals are very unsettling and the news about the deaths was simply unbearable.

What the highest and the mighty are doing?

Who asks these questions?

The print media is not exposing enough of this happening in the very heartland of India.
News channels do one great service, their exposures have an immediate impact on the viewers and their impact reaches everyone, including the ministers in Delhi.

But then, why there is no response, immediate or delayed from the concerned authorities?
So, malnourished children and their horrible deaths are now the hot news and they must be.
Let us hope the PMO would respond immediately.

Before we go over to the real constraints for the government, even the well-intentioned men and women at the Delhi’s plush offices are caught up by this horrible news, let us see what the malnourished children status everywhere is.

As per the FAO estimates that there are more than one fourth of India’s one billion people are undernourished, their number increasing to 230.5 million in 2003-05 from 199.9 million in 1995-97.

In a study published in the EPW by the well-known and well-admired Jean Dreze and others (Dreze is an enthusiast of the rural employment scheme for the new comers of this column), the population of India, of which 74 per cent of them has a per capita daily calories of consumption which is below the minimum norm of 2,100 kilocalories for urban areas and 2,400 kilocalories for rural areas.

There are more statistics and though statistics is sometimes quite boring we have to have this figures so that our complacent ministers might get some mental disturbance!

The finance ministry’s Expert Group (we have so many experts groups and we don’t know on date where the PM’s so many experts groups are now and whether they have been discontinued and the money saved or not, this particular expert group studied the agricultural indebtedness (anyone interested in such questions, anymore?), this group reported in July 2007, noted agriculture which provides livelihood for all of us (right?), there is an ironically growing hunger in the rural areas!

Yes, the food producers are the hungry people as well!

Even the farm households with upto 4 hectares (I am, mind you, quoting here an expert and a consultant to the FAO itself!), these households can’t earn enough from farming to meet the basic consumption needs!

More than 80 per cent of India’s farmers own less than 2 hectares each!
So, you can imagine the rural realities!

So, when a complacent government talks of aam aadmi, what credibility you would attach to such talks?

So, the new government has promised to offer you and me good governance? Then, what the government would do first?

To ensure the poor and the majority in the rural areas to get their basic needs?

So, enters Sonia Gandhi now, the latest hot news is that she chose to write to the Prime Minister to ensure the food security act, the minimum 35 kg at Rs.3 each.

Is she taking a leaf from the TN Chief Minister Karunanidhi to give free rice, almost as a sort of taking the ration rice and distributing free for whoever comes to take it?

No, there must still be a sort of order, a certain norms of basic common sense and the cheap food grains must really reach the most deserving.

Is this likely to happen?

There are so many administrative and logistical problems.
There are highly questionable practices by the states, in TN; there is a great deal of bogus ration cards distributed.

To get a ration card in India is the most difficult and complicated of administrative hassles!
A ration card is a man’s own identity and even a sense of self-dignity.
So, the free rice scheme will surely test Manmohan’s widely kept secret, he is a capable of administrator or a great deliverer of his promises!

Now, back to the main highway of truth!

According to the expert group report, the much talked about liberalisation-driven free market economic reforms hadn’t reached one critical sector. What is it?

It is the biggest sector. Namely, the agriculture sector where this endemic poverty, endemic hunger and the shame of all shames, the currently reported hunger by death by the malnourished Indian children! A tragedy? What else?

But do hear the anguished cries of these children or their households?

Very unlikely, given the mindset, the media conspiracy and the sycophants around the centres of power, in Delhi and in the state capitals.

Now, agriculture sector is not growing, right?

Yes, the farm output in the 1990s grew at 1.16 per cent annually, slower than the yearly population growth of 1.9 per cent, marking return to the situation of the 1970s.Now, the FAO says that the combined decline or stagnation or even decline of the agri sector also marks the FAO observation, though it might look paradoxical, that in India there is a stagnating per capital food availability, at about 2,400 kilocalories per day since the 1990s.

This observation of course goes or must go against the common sense political observers.
There is so much populist politics; the very current election also saw the populist politics winning the votes.

In TN, in AP even in Bihar and UP and Orissa and MP we saw well-governed states won elections and in all these states there is this sort of populist schemes, from free rice,free3 power to what else even free colour TV sets and yet we see the tragedy of malnourished  deaths of children.

Why?
The NREGP is said to have won the last elections for the Congress party, right?
So, now a free food scheme, a food security act and the distribution of grains and funds to the states might ensure a continuation of the rule of the Congress party?
That is a subject that must be interested and must be debated.

Rural India is still a complex picture, indeed.

To understand and make people safe from very many challenges would call for a much deeper vision and a deeper commitment.

Panchayat raj institutions must be made to work more systematically. May be food grains distribution must be done though some such PPP models.

Food is not just economics. It is also politics, it is also about power, empowering people, empowering people to share their freedoms and there is also a sense of citizenship and it is a very long process and a deeply moving concept, this empowering of the people, empowering of the individuals.

What is the status of political ideology in Indian politics today?
Congress gets a near majority!

Sir Isaiah Berlin

Sir Isaiah Berlin

BJP broken up, the Left broken in West Bengal, wiped out in Kerala
Dravidian fanatical fringe and Trinamul obduracy tilting at the Congress windmill
What ideological clarity drives the Indian polity’s strengths and value system? Are we a more confident nation now?

Or, are there some self-doubts?
As regards our belief systems and ideological commitments?

The way the new government, the Manmohan team seems to be going about its business of governance, it looks  it is all more   a sense of complacency is marking the “business as usual” approach of the prosaic business of  governance style that marks the Prime Minister’s body language, so to  say.

We don’t hear from the supposedly a more confident Prime Minister  anything substantial, be it foreign affairs, India didn’t react and respond in an adequate manner to US President Barrack Obama’s famous Cairo speech nor we hear about the Prime Minister’s visit to Russia to attend the Bric, Shanghai co-operation meet or about his encounter with the Pakistani counterpart.
Does India intend to play a role on the international stage? If, so what it is?
Nor we hear from any of the newly inducted ministers or the old hands who are all back in their old or new seats.

Do, we the new government, want to set the Ganges on fire, so to say?
If so let us hear about their inner workings of their ideological beliefs.
India must have an all-embracing vision?

A higher ideological clarity? A sense of feeling uplifted by the election victories and the likelihood of India becoming a more confident nation, building up its economy and the polity into a new higher plane.

Is India a liberal democracy emerging from its current governance norms? Or an absolute stance we find from the way our government is headed by a non-elected and sure enough a second time also nominated Prime Minister!

Or, the Congress party functioning as an absolute unelected and an undemocratic structure?
Even Rahul Gandhi might be called upon to explain and justify his legitimacy as a shaper of events, he is for all practical purposes is there because of his birth, not by merit. Any democracy has to have its own accountability system. What is the accountability system in Indian democracy?

Dynastic democracy is a fake and a repulsive concept in the modern times. Sure enough, there is more dynastic youth power today than the more equitably distributed youth power from across the economic and the social hierarchy of the peculiar Indian society and economy.
The poor is still a fairly large mass of people. There are also the large poor in economic deprivation.

The aim aadmi might prove very soon a joke, if we go by the latest reports about the malnutrition of the children in the four districts of Madhya Pradesh and the malnutrition deaths(as reported  widely by the TV channels, after nearly a month after the elections and the installation of the new government).

So, is our democracy genuine or an absolute state, the stance might be more benign, nevertheless it is an absolute stance  getting hardened within a facade of a democratic state?

These are some of the thoughts that come to mind when one stands up and looks at the broad Indian canvas and also in the background the looming events elsewhere in Iran, Russia and far-ff states, both big and small, everywhere where people feel the deprivation of freedoms, freedoms to migrate and getting integrated and there is the rising of racial attacks, specially now against the Indians, from Australia, Canada and even in UK.

Indians everywhere, all the world over, must be feeling a sense of belonging to mother India, the very concept of India as a democracy, as a more confident and as a more  secure place in the face of the very many new challenges.

In the  current economic downturn, there is every thought on every emigree Indian, a sense of nostalgia and the Indians might looks back and draw inspiration  from Indian values and Indian belief systems, our polity, our political values must all be based on a heightened sense of higher values, based on truth, transparency and a sense of decency and self-esteem.
How self-esteemed Indians are?

Do we care for legitimacy in many of the things we do? In politics specially?
Legitimacy, decent and honesty and political morality, political dharma or do we seek recourse for deviousness, in the name of democracy etc?
These are some of the questions that agitate an average Indian, agitate me as a concerned citizen and I like to seek some answers.

At least to clarify to myself.
I rise up and what I see? In India and outside in the world.

Inside India there is the rising of the Maoists. In the outside world there are the protests in Iran. Much blood is shed, unneccessary blood is let and the shedding of blood is wasted? Or, is there some cause about which we can legtimise the letting of blood?

The killing of poor and innocent people? Or, the highly educated and motivated youngsters, as in Iran?

See the events in Iran. What lessons we get from the Iranian uprising?

A fairly  democratic state, though in a supposedly a theocratic Islamic state, the second election of the incumbent president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad ,though he won and the elections though  fairly fought and won, faces the unusual opposition from a determined public, the youth and the women and the educated and the most articulate sections of the Iranian society.

Iran is a big regional power and what happens in Iran is likely to spill over into the neighbour states and even very likely beyond.

What is an ideology?  Why an ideology, at all?
An ideology is a system of thought, in fact, a systematic thought around a core idea. A core idea that gives a people or a country or a cause a coherent vision  that integrates and inspires and sustains a people, a nation or a cause for some hoped for utopia or historic destiny even. The modern  world saw the rise of  so many ideologies, the inter-war years also saw the consequences of certain evil ideologies. So, there is an aversion for  ideologies, anytalk of  ideologies. The very word, the concept of ideologies is shunned.
However, if we look at deeply no society can even now live without such a shared vision.
The triumph of modern democracy, now there are supposedly some 170 and odd democracies in the world, it is reported. Democracies in all definitions, even Arab monarchies are democracies, in some form or other.
Eve4n dictatorships conduct elections, regimes change owing to some democratic pressures etc.
India is a large democracy and it is justly praised the world over.
It is an unending quest. There can’t be perfect democracy, though the USA and the UK are the best democracies in so many respects.
There is legitimacy to democratic practices everywhere. So too the role of ideological debates.
India is  fairly a liberal and secular and open democracy and open society. This awareness must spread to wider sections of  Indian society.
A nation can’t live without a well-articulated ideology. Ideology is a heightened philosophy of life for a people, for a nation.

Iran is now at the very centre of the Middle East question, very much likely to shape world events.

Elsewhere, in Russia, after emerging from the events of 1989, the collapse of Communism didn’t produce a stable and secure Russia.

There are so many questions unanswered as far as Russia and its place in the world are concerned.

Russia
Events in India, Iran, Russia and elsewhere must give us an idea!

Politics is an area where events don’t stop. Time and tide don’t wait for anybody, right?
So are politics and the world affairs and where events bring everyday, almost every moment when men and nations have to grapple with events and shall we say, the moments of truth!
We live at such a time and at a moment, it seems!

In India the recent elections gave a verdict of the people. The verdict point to what truths, what trends in Indian politics?

Any leader or any thinker or a strategist or an analyst didn’t seem to have given us any idea of the broader trends or the fundamental truths, as far as I can search for it.
I didn’t find any such thinking coming out from any quarters.

May be, the BJP party, the major opposition party in the Indian democratic polity, seems to have raised some self-doubts if we can look at what the senior leaders in that party have got to say.

Yes, L.K.Advani, the senior most leaders has some thoughts on the topic. Advani has spoken about the basic thoughts and the problems and the doubts raised by the party leaders and insiders.

One critical concept has been the future of the Hindutva in the BJP party’s ideological   articulations and formulations. Advani admits, if what the news reports have given it correctly or not, the Hindutva concept has to be stated not in extreme terms. The concept has to be stated in “inclusive” terms, to commit itself to equal treatment to all communities, in particular, to the Muslims and the Christians and the minorities.

Then came the Varun Gandhi” hate speeches and the chief ministers taking exception to such speeches, speeches that were also held as the major reason for the party’s defeat.
Advani also spoke about not giving up the concept of Hindutva altogether.

So, there is this dilemma over the Hindutva concept as a term of BJP’s political ideology.
Advani spoke about “inclusiveness”, again a word or a concept used by the Congress party also, the “inclusive growth” in economic e terms is also used by Prime Minister Dr.Manmohan Singh.
So, this inclusiveness also needs to be examined.

Advani has also referred to couch the Hindutva concept in terms of cultural and civilisational terms.

BJP often talks of a cultural nationalism. This is also a difficult concept.

What is Indian nationalism, if it is not in terms of the entire peoples’ nationalist consciousness?
Who owns the cultural and civilisational nationalism? The entire people of India without reference to their religions and their castes and other divisive forces as things had evolved in the era of vote-bank politics.

Advani also spoke of a resurgent India. Why claim any monopoly over a resurgent India? A resurgent India again belongs to all of us, irrespective of any part of region or religions or castes or states.

The trouble with such a senior and experienced leader of the stature of Advaniji is that he often talks as if he needn’t explain things. He, for instance, also often talks, as he has now done also, as equating “Hinduism and Hindutva” as if the two concepts are the same.

Shall we plead with the senior leader that this is not so. Hinduism many would adhere to, Hindutva many may not equate with the Hinduism as a dharma or a religion or an ethical way of life.

Hindutva is a concept that is exclusive to the BJP, the RSS might have a brand like Hindutva to distinguish itself from other political or religious or social organisation.

Hindutva ,if I am right, pointedly points a finger to  those who don’t  constitute a Hindu nationhood, that is as the RSS founders have formulated and quoted many times, the Muslims don’t belong to the Hindu nation, right?

So, for clarity sake let us keep Hindutva for a particular political formulation and not confuse or equate with Hinduism that is a big and very different concept altogether.

Advaniji has many serious things and observations to make.
Yes, he is true to say and claim that in seven states the BJP won the elections, in a significant way. In

Now, the BJP is engaged in an intense soul-searching.
Jaswant Singh says the party must become “modern”. What is modern politics? He doesn’t say thing more in detail.

Surely, one modern definition of a political ideology could be it should be secular or modern or even a Westernised way of looking at democratic politics.

The Congress is a modern party, it has searched for inspiration from Gandhi and Nehru, if one represented an essentially Indian, even Hindu (Hind Swaraj of Gandhi) inspiration, the Congress also got lots of Western inspired ideological outlook, Nehru’s Western style democracy based on adult franchise, Nehru’s socialism, essentially the British Labour party socialism, the European socialist democratic experiences are all behind the Indian National Congress’s basic political ethos.

In fact, I wanted to start off with recent international events and somehow, the current Indian developments came in the way.

The Iranian unrest in that country with the death of a young Iranian girl had stirred the conscience of the world. The “twitter” generation saw to it, the video grab of the martyrdom of the 25 year old Neda Agha Soltan in the Tehran’s Freedom Square (Nilofar Square) had caught the instant attention of the entire world thanks to the Internet and the twitter generation of the Iranian youth.”Martyrdom is a powerful force in the world of Shia Islam”. Mourning on the third, seventh and the 40th days after a death form a galvanising cycle, writes an eye-witness observer. There also seem to be so many varieties of police and security forces in Iran. So too the very many layers of power structure within the polity there.

The mourners appeared all over the world and even in remote parts of the world. Why Iran’s new protests and it is almost a new revolution that could out shadow the older Revolution that over threw an oppressive regime.

Now, the new protests   seem to take unpredictable forms and the questions, basic questions being asked are: what is the meaning of this new protest, so widespread and so uncontainable even after the supreme spiritual leader Ayatollah Ali Khameni has pronounced the election results are fair and final and yet the protests have gone out of control and the authorities have to reset to more brutal measures including the death of the young protesters.

The new meaning is that thought Iran elections were democratic and the results are fairly correct and objective and yet there is this protest.

Many days after, the protests didn’t subside and the more brutal force is employed, the more sustainable the protests.

It is a popular protest against an absolutist stance of an otherwise democratically elected government.

The current youth risked death, as one young Iranian wrote, for the sake of “tomorrow’s children”!

The youth of Iran, a country that had seen very many ups and downs and still the country and its democracy is unsettled simply because the youth, even the general public, including the long-suppressed women of that great country feel the time has come to demand more freedoms.

Yes, it is an aspiration for a more open society, more civil rights, more civil freedoms and more a democratic society.

The extremism as spearheaded by the elected president doesn’t augur well for a more liberal world order.

What is happening in Iran might be the internal affair of that country, a friendly country of India and others. So, there is the diplomatic side and a diplomatic silence may be in order.
This is one aspect of a nation like India and we must appreciate for good relations with a friendly country like Iran.

But then there is a wider and larger side to the on-going ideological debates as for the sort of issues we can learn and sort out as far as democracy, a liberal democracy and the many-sided issues of economy, social justice and freedoms of citizens and the question of an open society and its basic issues.

India is an open society in the Western sense in which Iranian society is not.
What does this mean?

It means that there are great many issues for an open society to concern itself with and a great need for a country like to India to debate and get clarifications for the wider benefit of Indian people, perhaps, even for mankind itself.

Politics everywhere, especially after many years of the world getting into turmoil and turbulence, after the second world war and also after the 1989 collapse of the Soviet Communism and also after the experiences of the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre in Beijing.
Even the latest and later-day Kosava war in Yugoslavia raised many issues. Issues of ethnicity and the wars based on ethnic strife and new identities and new nations being born.
Now, after the 70th anniversary of the start of the second world war, as celebrated recently by countries of the Normandy landing celebrations, Russia raised the question of the truths about the war and the war dead.

Russia, as it was claimed by Kremlin, lost about 27 million Russian lives. May be  the bloodiest war, the second world war, the heaviest human loss  suffered by mankind and yet, there are still, as Russia claims,  countries that don’t rise above narrow national considerations and don’t share the common destiny of nations.

The West is still supposed to have a separate ideology, a superior ideology which countries like Russia and perhaps China too don’t have.

So, a liberal democratic ideology is what marks the progress of nations, the “end of history” debate we hear often about the collapse of authoritarian regimes as a sort of historical inevitability.

Where does India come in this debate?
Not anyone in India, not even a soul in India rather, seems to have been concerned about such questions!

That is the irony of the current times in which India seems to be passing through.
The sort of democracy we are practicing is not bad but not perfect by any means.
A democracy, like a society, must reflect on its core belief system, must be a source of inspiration for the citizens and we must be bound by a shared vision.
Now, we read almost daily about the highly questionable political means we sustain our democratic polity.

There are so many unacceptable realities. New MPs, a larger proportion than previously who are with criminal records, a large proportion of crorepatis and also the oligarchical nature of the political classes, driven by dynastic instincts is only one aspect of the unacceptable political morality we practise.

This is political expediency and not political morality.
Then are the very many issues that spring forth from such an immorality.
The absolute stance of the regime. Absolute stance that also spells a great deal of arbitrary exercise of power.

The sycophantic nature of the power centre and the establishment.
What conviction we carry when we talk glibly about the aam aadmi?
There are even now, the malnourished child deaths in Madya Pradesh’s three districts.
So much poor mass of people. So much of lack of commitment and even an agenda to tackle the distributive justice as distinct from the social justice.

What is our liberal agenda for the distributive justice?

The PM talks often and not in a much convincing way, about economic reforms. What are his economic reforms? Has he ever at least on one occasion has the PM articulated his vision?
Is he an ideologue? Does he believe in the Left-Centre or Right Centrist agenda?
Is he a liberal economist or neo-liberal economist, if ever?

Then, what is his political agenda?
Is he a political liberal? Or a liberal democrat?

We have to ask such questions and then only there will be clarity in our basic belief systems.
Otherwise, sycophancy is okay and so too the power games in which we are engaged and power games is another way of marking time.

Everyone seems to live for the one term of power or angling for power at any cost even when the second chance comes our way?

This is not the strength of India.
India has to have a coherent vision. India must draw from the past. Recent past. Distant past.
Even India’s evolution towards freedoms can be traced for some centuries. The British had had its resistance from the 1857 onwards, even from Tipu Sultan in the 18th century, the 19th century, then the early years to the mid-century when freedom came through bloodshed over partition.

We are just 62 years young in independence. I am not sure when I say we, the citizens, are yet to enjoy the full flowering of our personal freedoms.

There are so many obstacles, so many road blocks, so much arbitrary exercise of power from petty officials to the high and the mighty.

Today the place of liberty, personal freedoms, and the security of the state are all very vague and much undefined.

We seem yet to fear the state, fear our leaders, their subterfuges to serve us!
Modern day life offers so many distortions to traditional concepts like liberty and freedoms.
There is the highly commercialised media, print and TV and they go for brand-management of the powerful and the rich.

Now, politicians, following the lead from the corporates, spend in crores to build up their images. The Congress party spent Rs.150 crores on advertisements alone.
Then followed the brand building of individual leaders.
So too an obliging and very obedient press.

There is no exposes or investigative journalism we see in the West. Our reigning politicians are reigning gods, right?

So, much that is critical and substantial in politics gets lost in brain-washing by the ruling class or ruling cliques!

So, when the Kremlin appointed a “Truth Commission” I thought that we in India too need such a commission to establish the real propagators and the falsifiers of our history.
Our experts, be they the historians or the economists or the scientists, dont serve the citizens, they serve the state, the authority.

India can’t become a mature and different nation in a day. We have been accustomed to bow and salute the high and the mighty. Even now, we see the sycophancy, a very self-degrading sycophancy even from the high and the highly educated and highly ranked leaders.
In some other parties, they leaders are worshipped like reigning gods! They prostrate before them and fall at their feet!

So, how can a nation, not necessarily Russia or China but even a democratic India cant suddenly become a democratic nation?

Behind the facade, we seem to live like the old souls, slavish in mind and thinking and also slavish in our outward behaviour.

So much for a liberal debate and a liberal agenda!

The euphoria dips fast!
Small minds and small considerations seem to create problems?

Yes, not even the ink dried as they say. Within the first days of Parliamentary session, we saw the lineup of issues and the minds.

The BJP raked up the defence deals and the middle men with a link at the PMO.Though the PMO promptly denied any such links names and their activities tumbled down from the backrooms.
Even before one thought all was quiet came the CBI targeting the NCP and the CPI(M).So said the Hindu editorial which found fault with the timing and the manner of the CBI going about it.The CBI was always suspect and even now the CBI is suspect,in the new dispensation.
The Prime Minister, with all the big numbers behind the UPA is no more or no less a stronger man that he was in 2004.

There is a sort of doubts and suspicions between the top two,Manmohan -Pranab duo are assessing their  strengths.This time Pranab has a better bargain power with Mamata Banerjee behind him in one form or other.

Let us not forget that Pranab Mukerjee in his new avatar as the West Bengal Congress Committee which is unique among the other PCCS,there is a  vice president,Manas Bhunia, two working presidents Subrata Mukerjee and Pradip Bhattacharya.No other PCC has such a high-power composition of political weight and also elite charactrer.Only the WB PCC has organized such a two day chintan and also inviting all MLAs,DCCs and the panchayat presidents.

The grass roots organizations of the CPI(M) and Trinamul Congress  are such that the Congress cant take things for granted as other state PCCS do and in some states like TN where no one cares for the PCC or the TN MLAs and MPs and also the two Cabinet ministers of the Rajya Sabha members have diverse and often conflicting loyalties to not just the Congress president but also to the two rival Dravidian parties,DMK and the ADMK.

So,the West Bengal peculiar political currents and cross currents make Pranab Mukerjee this time a formidable politicallly powerful personality.Given his diplomatic and negotiating and fire-fighting skills the  observers would be only too keenly watching   how the inner party struggles work out in the days to come.

The PM must tread slow.He seems to be imagining  that he is now a freeman to decide things.He is not.First.his express choice for the finance minister was rebuffed.Rebuffed from within the party.Sonia seemed to have taken note and that is why he hastened to say that non-politicans are not welcome  into the Cabinet.

Second,the PM,unusual given his accustomed low profile,to give public expression to his finance minister to add programmes  for aam aadmi.This also seemed odd.Given the fact that the Congress would play to the aam aadmi and yet given the opportunities and also the wisdom that is needed  to devise a radical economic reforms programme,the PM knows only too well that the economic reforms success story would be written only when there is serious thought to a series of priorities,from growth rate to such major decisions like disinvestment to key reforms in all sectors,from agriculture to education to rural development etc.

So such an experienced leader and administrator like Pranab could only be expected to go on a systematic journey.

So,why annoy his deputy,as the PM did?

It is a mystery.May be in the days and months to come the real reasons would emerge.
Fiscal deficit, deregulation of petroleum prices and issuing of oil bonds,defence procurement and much more plugging the leakages in the proposed subsidized rice scheme and also the NREGA implementation.

Before these issues are thought out in some details,came the news of the CBI proceeding against the NCP and the CPI(M).

Why the timing like this?Before some time?And that too in an atmosphere when the CBI has not such a good reputation for objectivity?Already the CBI lost its credibility when it proceeded,off and on,against Mulayam Singh Yadav and Mayawati.

Now to take on the already badly hurt NCP and CPI(M)?

These are serious and sensitive questions.

Governors nowadays are also seen as political tools of the Centre.
New Governors are to be appointed and there is now a great temptation to play politics and very likely to antagonize the Opposition interests.
Now comes the bad news.

The PM is not seen by some insiders as open and objective and fair as he is seen.
The government has come out with fixed tenure for  some key secretaries at the Centre and the Chief Secretaries and DGPs in the states.

But so soon after he sat in the PM’s chair,the first thing the PM did was to play favourites to give extensions to his own secretaries,T.A.K.Nair,his private secretary and the Cabinet Secretary Mr.Chandra Sekar were given extensions,one for one year,the other for further orders.

This is the most damaging thing to do,if at all,to demoralise the highly bureaucratic environment around the PM and his government.

Then, the allies’ headaches.

The DMK has shown its real character.After having failed to get what portfolios it wanted it has started playing politics with the high economic policy making.

The DMK proposes to oppose the disinvestment proposals.That would please the Left and might even change the alignments in TN where the relations between the DMK and the Congress are no good and also where the CPI(M) and the CPI are desperate to desert ADMK and join hands with the DMK.

The Trinamul Congress too seems to be opposing the disinvestment and the deregulation of the petroleum sector policies.

So, the two allies, known for their irrational behaviour are going to create obstacles every time.

Younger age group captures the levers of power!
Indian democracy is real or just a facade of capturing power
By undemocratic Methods?

Indian democracy is becoming stronger? In what sense?
Is there democracy in the major parties?

Yes, the Congress got a near majority and is in power.
But the party is not genuinely democratic.
It is a made-up power management.

The BJP is in crisis.Why? There is a power struggle.
Younger age group wants to capture power.
So, Jaswant Singh and Yashwant Sinha sidelined.
Rajnath Singh wants to hold on.

Even the ruling party, the Congress doesn’t think it is important to evolve into a democratic party.

The Indian democratic system is getting what is called “Congressised”!
That is adopting so0me other means to keep the same person or persons in power, through all means.

Somehow, there is not a proper appreciation of the role of Opposition in a democracy.
No democracy, more so an open society, a liberal democracy or as they call in Western European countries, social democracy, the role of the Opposition party is well-appreciated and the leaders of opposition parties, be they of the Right or Left or Centre-right or Centre-left have their own contributions to enrich the political life in those rather advanced countries and societies.

Here in India, there is no such healthy outlook among the parties.It becomes often too personal.

We saw the slanging match between Dr.Singh and Mr.L.K.Advani.

Now, what is rather disappointing is that the Congress after the current elections had become a bolder party and tried to ignore the senior leaders who lost their number of seats expected.
Suddenly, everyone tried to hype the election results.

There was a concerted propaganda, brand management to boost Rahul Gandhi as the main face for the Congress win.

But very soon, if not already, realities will hit such image building.

Rahul couldn’t win in key states like Bihar, Orissa and Karnataka where also he toured intensively and his candidates didn’t win.

Also, as the sections of media had pointed out there is an increase in the number of MPs with criminal records, 153 of 535 MPs to be precise (as per the National Election Watch, 74 to be precise in the dock for the more serious crimes like robbery, attempt to murder, inciting communal vice and the like), 98 MPs failed to provide their PAN details, more correlates (Congress has 138 crorepati MPs). Of course all parties have crorepatis! Also remember, there are the states where the BJP won! In short people voted for also good governance records
Also in ministry formation there is an imbalance among the states, some lost out, some gained disproportionately.Also, among the incumbent new comers to the key ministries like HRD and Law we have to wait and watch.

Now, the critical question is the role of the Opposition.
The BJP is now facing an internal crisis.

BJP has a historic future and a historic role as a major all-India party and it can gain power if it puts its ideology into some modern jargon and substance.

Hindustan must gorses must be distanced and also a heavy dose of modern socio-economic content must come to the BJP ideology.

The shapers of policy in that party must be the successful chief ministers, not of course Narendra Modi, but men like real performers like Chauhan and Ram Singh.

Indian people, irrespective of castes, religions and even socio-cultural reasons voted in big way to the Congress because, as it is pointed out by experts, the SCs and STs and even the OBCs or some sections that their future lies in good education for their children, even English medium education and also other social security measures, if they voted for the Congress.
So, any big party or an all India party must have an all India outlook, a secular outlook, the business of narrow agendas, like caste, region and even some such divisive agendas are now bound to disappear.

We need a modern socio-economic agenda.
Let us call it the Center Left, Centre-Right or some variations of these themes, counched in modern jargon.

Ideology, political ideology is still relevant in India.Time has come to introduce some basic reforms, political reforms,like internal democracy within the parties,a healthy debate about the agenda-setting and also learn lessons from other more mature democracies.
The days of men like Narendra Modi or Karunanidhi are gone.

Even leaders like Sharad Yadav, Lalu Prasad Yadav and Mulayam Singh Yadav have to do some serious introspection.To speak against English and computers are suicidal!

Please,for heaven’s sake,give up such bad thoughts.So too the Hindutva.Men like Hegdewar and Guruji cant become political ideological pathfinders in this age of globalisation and when every segment of the Indian society is tuned to rising aspirations.

The BJP has a bright chance in the next round of elections.The party must rise up to the challenges.The BJP leaders must speak in English and in jargon that goes down well with the younger generation and even the Dalits.

The Dalits are as patriotic as any other section, can we forget this message?

We need political reforms too1
To make the distribution of wealth and also to create equal opportunities.

The National Election Waft is a body of  a thousand and odd NGOs started as an election monitoring body which itself was started by the Association for Democratic Reforms(ADR).This body filed a PIL  before the Supreme Court in 2003 which  decreed that every Lok Sabha candidate must disclose his or her full financial ,criminal and education background.
That is how; we now get to know the very background of our hon’ble members of parliament.
Now, the information assessed and computed by the NW is very interesting.We find a greater number of MPs with criminal background and also with an increasing assets tag!

From where do these MPs get their increased assets?

It is here the EC’s many efforts to control and monitor the expenditure of the election expenses seem to be ineffective.The average asset of an MP from Haryana is Rs. 18 crores and the average assets of 42 MPs from AP is an astounding Rs.15 crores!

So, there is a nexus between money power and the prospects of getting elected to the Lok Sabha.

There are other issues like MPs having committed serious crimes like promoting communal passions; enmities between communities…Even forgery against one Kerala MP, culpable homicide not amounting to murder against one from Indian National Congress!
So, what we are going to do?

Chief Election Commissioner Mr. Navin Chawla says there is urgent need for electoral reforms.A subject talked for long but short of action.

Another important political reform is to take up the Constitution Reforms Review report.Will the government takes it up?

There is the police reforms, including giving the CBI an independent role and also the state police.Justice Verma, among others, has given many such reform proposals.

Also, not to make senior members of the judiciary and the EC to become politicians!
There are other more sensitive issues, to make our democracy a more genuine one.
Then, there is the grave issue of political corruption, party reforms, to make the party funding more transparent.

Unless we take the political and electoral reforms, we will continue to have the disabilities of the present arbitrary exercise of power as a dominant feature of our polity.
The new law minister Mr.Moily says he would make the rule of law the dominant feature of our polity.Fine.But can he do it? That is the question.

He knows well or he must be making a declaration knowing fully well that he cant do anything about the current practices and the sort of tacit understanding between or among the stakeholders(read the corporate power and the vested  interests  within the dominant party,namely,the Congress)not to disturb the status quo.

So, just to harp on economic reforms, as our innocent-looking (sure he is not) PM is saying day in and day out, is only a cosy arrangement just to keep the poor where they are and allowing our corporate and vested interests to go on in a merry-making criminal and power-grabbing habits, is just to mock at the people who trust this government and voted it to power again.
We also just don’t forget that the voting percentage in this election is dismally low.As in South Mumbai and also in Delhi and elsewhere.

There must be some deeper explanation rather than some lame excuses.
There is a need for the way we change the voting system, deploy the IT tools so that people vote from their comfort of their homes.At least talk about the need for some such reforms openly.

Keeping mum is no excuse.Nor to go on doing just the routine things, as if the business of government is just to do things in a routine way, is not a good business for this government either.

It is the bureaucratic face of this government,so newly elected and yet you run for the same old tired faces,you rescue people from their due retirement and you just don’t even look out and see the abundance of proven talent from diverse fields.From the IT world to corporate world,from Narayana murthy to Deepak Parekh and Kiran Karnik,we have so much dedicated public men of so much selfless and impeccable character,these are the people any government must just invite,given them more challenging assignment,send them out as ambassadors to the USA and UK and elsewhere.

Let them talk and let them come out and come back with new ideas,let our talented Indians go to Iran and talk of the energy and gas pipeline,strategic partnership.
How does the government imagine that a retired bureaucrat would better safeguard the national interest?

Than men like Parekh and Karnik or Narayana murthy?

There is a vast pool of talent inside India and outside, in the USA and elsewhere.
They are all willing to come back and give their best to the country.

Please, we request Sonia Gandhi and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.Please draw talent from proven sectors.

Don’t think that whoever lives in Delhi are the only people whom you know.
Keep your eyes and ears wide open.

India is a great country brimming with achievers.
What Bangalore has done today, to become the eyesore of the world, to make Obama to say: No to Bangalore, yes to Buffalo”is entirely a handiwork of individuals without any government prop.

So, visit Bangalore, Hyderabad and interact with IIMs and IIScs and the Prime Minister must be travelling around the country and interacting with such talents.
Sitting in Delhi and doing a 9-5 job is no great leadership.

Unless, India deploys its talent to build a new vision for India and India takes up its position on the world stage as a confident nation, it would be a failure of leadership, we would assert!