We are talking of only of the next elections!
Not anything of any big deal growth agenda?

See Barack Obama’s second inaugural speech. Obama has outlined a vision. A vision for all-round growth, universal healthcare, big spending and also promoting global stability and global peace.

Fighting climate change challenge etc.
We are basically a talking nation, it seems.

US President Barack Obama has been now in his second term. See his agenda. There is something to write home about what the American President has outlined as his second term agenda. The American society and politics is such that there is a wide polarisation of society there.

There are racial issues, there are violence issues.
See the gun control measures that a country like America needs to enforce and yet the President or his initiatives that often don’t work to the satisfaction of all sections.
There is the rightwing Republican Party. They are as prejudiced as any about the

President’s some of the more progressive policies in healthcare and equal opportunities for the minorities and employment generation initiatives.

America is the world’s biggest power, economically, politically and militarily. We have make concessions for that. So, world peace and war challenges give America a distinct advantage and the rest of the world must make concessions for that unique power and leadership.

Yet Obama for the first time has talked of taking on the climate change issue. An issue on which the Americans are seen as a highly irresponsible nation which denied the climate change for the simple reason that it was in conflict with the business and industry lobbies.

So too the other “irrational” issue of science teaching in such matter like Darwinian Theory of evolution.

Yet, we see here is a President who wants to reach out to a wider audience, why even to a world audience, as he should given the fact that after all the USA is the world’s most powerful nation and also a great economy and military power. There are issues of global security and global stability. So, everyone, why every country, big and small, is concerned about what the USA does and what the USA thinks about the big issues of the day.

So, China comes in and also other nations like Iran which is embarked on nuclear bomb-making and as such it concerns the rest of the world.

Where does Indian come in all these deliberations?
Alas, we are not a nation led by able leaders.

We are caught up with small issues, in fact petty issues of elections, and the elevation of a dynastic heir in the face of so many gross distortions of truth.

As one pointed out recently, quoting the famed Russian author and thinker, Alexander Solzhenitsyn “one word of truth outweighs the whole world”.
This, we have to remind ourselves as heirs to the legacy of Mahatma Gandhi!
Is there any such big vision before India today?

Are our leaders talk the truth or truths in their day to day posturing, be it political reforms or economic reforms?
Even China is talking of reforms and also taking on issues of great concern like pollution and environmental degradation.

In India we neither talk of political reforms or economic reforms in a more fundamental manner.
Where is the economic vision?

Where is the participation of the larger sections of people?
Even the middle class in India is now on a disillusioned path.
The fight against corruption saw the educated and motivated urban middle class had taken to the streets.

Te Anna Hazare movement galvanized people to come out and question the government’s true intentions on fighting corruption.

Is there one word from the top leaders, even from the newly nominated Rahul Gandhi as the vice-president of the Congress party, his intention to take on the corruption issue, is there any promise to enact laws like Lokpal and Lokayukta for the country, for the new generation, for the youth to take the leaders’ words seriously?

Is the new social unrest platform now part of the political agenda?
The Justice J.S.Verma panel report must give the new set of leaders, both in the Congress and also in the newly elected Rajnath Singh-led BJP a new priority in the agenda for the next general elections.

There must be some bold and clearer vision before the next elections become the hot issue in the coming days and months.

But when it comes to social issues there are similar issues to what we face in India.
The one difference is articulation. The US President is able to articulate his vision and his priorities clearly.

The Nobel Prize winning economist and popular columnist, PaulKrugman has commentated there is the demographic and the cultural wind at the backs of the democratic backers in the current scenario.

As such, for long America, since the times of former president Harry Truman, universal healthcare was a long-time goal. This, right now, under Obama it seems an achievable goal. Of course, it is not an easy measure in America where health insurance is a highly dividing issue. Who pays for the insurance premium?

The rich don’t ant to pay tax for the poor protection! This is America!
Not so in India where politicians make any number of promises knowing well they, the promises needn’t be kept and broken during the next elections!
Another big issue in the USA is inequality.

What Obama has said in his second inauguration speech is very much relevant for the Indian audience too.

There must be truth and dedication and much more, there must be genuine desire to ensure there is opportunity for everyone.

Democracy in India must be conducted in a more open and more truthful manner.
India has a big challenge. The challenge comprises many parts: no less economic and so too no less political credibility.

This will be tested in the next general elections.
Who will make it to be Prime Minister’s post is just a minor issue.
What matters is how the Indian people decide the outcome of the next elections.
India has changed.

It might not tolerate a narrow, dynastic succession alone.
There are many challenges. Many parties, many capable leaders and so too the next generation, the voting population too much more astute and much more open-minded to decide what is good for the country and for the Indian people as a united  voice of the second most big nation, with a billion and odd people on the planet.

What new to be said about him?

Dr.Verghese Kurien, the public face of India’s milk revolution, is no more.

He had left his imprint on the lives and fortunes of every Indian village, every rural household in a very significant manner that Indian villages, Indian rural landscape won’t be any more poverty stricken, thanks his milk revolution, the Amul brand would continue to inspire generations of Indians to come.

As it has been pointed out by many writers, many obituary writings and even by Kurien himself on many occasions there were other kindred spirits, Tribhuvandas Patel, Dr.Balagaya, who from the very initial days of the Kheda milk co-operative dairy days, it was these three original trinity, so to say, who struggle hard to make the dairy history of India such an outstanding success story.
The time of Kurien’s passing away is also a reminder, if reminder is needed, how we, as a nation, have failed such dreamers like Kurien.

While men like Kurien fought hard against so many odds to grow the dairy co-operative such a success story, we have today leaders, so many who are really brilliant and competent and clever men and women and yet why we have made such a sorry state of affairs in India?
Why we have failed to today when our predecessors had succeeded?

Why corruption is eating our vitals?

How Kurien was able to grow a grassroots institution into such a self-sustaining, transparent success.

True to our colours, so to say, we have chosen to ignore Kurien, nay many like him, to be reocgnised by the state!

What an irony! How it speaks of our status as little men and women in big places?

Everyone had had their say. The government paid any new homage to the memory of Dr.Kurien who at the ripe age of 8o passed away quietly, almost unsung and unnoticed.

This is not to hurt anyone or sound a sore note.

The point is that Dr.Kurien was a great institution when he lived and built up what became the world’s most successful co-operative milk co-operative that goes by the famous brand of Amul.
Amul is now a byword for all that is great and best in Indian achievement in the post-Independence India.

But then what thoughts come to our minds when we read and recollect all that Dr.Kurien had done and left behind him?

It is the sheer stupidity of what we are doing now?
Are we in anyway inspired by such examples like Amul?
First, we became so ungrateful to our achievers, right?

Anyone, from the high Rashtrapathy  Bhavan to other high offices  down to the grass roots to recognize Kurien, to give him a Bharat Ratna or made recommendations for  a Nobel Prize or any such international recognition?

On the contrary we seem to revel in scams and scandals!
In many states the Amul d model even exists. Only a few states have successful state level milk co-operative models in place.

What have we done so far?
Even the state level co-operative banks are in disarray.

The state, Maharashtra, the home of sugar-cooperatives, also the most known state level co-opeative bank are all mired in politics.

Kurien, we at the Vadamalai Media know well and know his views and his visions (he had contributed to our publications and granted interviews and we had also met him and many of his relatives are known to him) and Kurien had a bigger vision for the country.

He wanted to promote the concept of co-operation to all spheres of national life, banks and even many distribution services like electricity, tree planning and other ventures, he had also developed close interaction with other visionaries(among whom is the late redoubtable Ravi Mathai, another unsung hero).

The tragedy is that we Indians didn’t know how to recognize talents.

We are a nation nurtured by the British colonialism and one characteristics of colonialism is to instill a sense of inferiority, slavish mentality, subservience and much else.

So, we always aspired to be clerks, a nation of cringers for service under some masters, foreign or native and we see this disability still eating into our vitals as a nation, as a society and a people.
So, we never thought anyone who dared to stand up, question and fight the system can succeed.
Kurien was a born fighter, a born independent-minded and so he stood up the every bureaucracy that had held back our progress in many other fields, not to speak of the co-operative system.
Did anyone, among those who paid tributes to Kurien and wrote about him remembered the early pioneers of co-operatives? Either Indian or foreign?

It was Allan Octavian Hume, the founder or the Indian National Congress who first saw the very poverty and miseries of the Indian peasants who thought of serving Indian peasantry through his various efforts. When those efforts failed and only when he realised he must do something and that was how the Indian National Congress came about.

It was Kurien’s firm belief that the co-operative efforts can impact the perennial poverty to which the Indians were prone to.

Poverty, famine and mass deaths were the characteristic of Indian history during the British period of Indian history.

So, co-operative dairying, Kurien went ahead and proved its success made the whole world to stand up and take notice.

In Europe and USA too there are big co-operatives, especially in the milk procurement and distribution sector.

It is to Kurien’s credit he took along all the Prime Ministers along with his vision. Lal Bhadur Sastri was one such early convert to Kurien’s vision, so too Nehru and later, Indira Gandhi.
It is thousand times a pity that the late K.R.Narayanan, the then Rashtrapathy, proposed to the then Prime Minister Vajpayee to award Kurien the distinction of a Bharat Ratna. But then(may be even now)  narrow considerations(BJP conferring such a distinction on a person belonging to a certain religion) led to the proposal later being “taken back” by the Rashtrapathy, as it was the protocol for such proposals.

But then what about the other Rashtrapathy’s who came after Narayanan?

It is a moot question.

Even now, it is not late to award such a distinction on Kurien posthumously.

It would be a fitting gesture.
Co-operation is a noble concept.

It is the more mighty weapon for the poor and the weak sections to organise themselves in several areas of activity.

Co-operative credit societies function many states and also apex co-operative societies at the states level.
But the proposal for a National Co-operative Union as an apex bank at the Delhi level never saw the light of the day.

Even now it is not late.

There are among us very distinguished co-operators/leaders who can be consulted and a national level committee can be set up to strengthen and take forward the co-operative concept. There are very many industrial co-operative ventures in many products and services.

There is a very ambitious, historic co-operative in such areas like textiles and weavers are very much neglected lot.

All these current issues can be tackled with wisdom and serious commitments to high principles like co-operative ventures.

Even the Nabard bank is needing some such co-operatisation.

It is time to think on such lost opportunities and also make a heroic bid to bring back high principles of equity and justice and equal opportunities in a wide variety of fields, including agriculture, distribution, the Bangalore based co-op venture of distribution of vegetables and fruits is one such venture.

There are many other such examples.
We need leaders who can dream and dream about a beautiful India.

Long live Kurien’s memory.

Image Source : businesstoday.intoday.in

Now, a lonely figure of pity and much sympathy?

Who thinks of India? Who thinks for India?
What is the big picture for India?
Indian democratic system in crisis?

Big bang economic reforms made news. This was for a brief time.
In just 2 years! From 2010 to 2012, what a fall!

Then he was much admired by the domestic and foreign press. Today, he is called all names. The domestic scene suddenly had become hostile for him!


What else, just the series of scams, the latest the mega scam, Coalgate scam!

Instead of attending to this politically damaging situation, the PM, of course, under the pressure from Sonia, had resorted to diverting the nation’s attentions. He had joined the economic reforms blitz under the impression that people can be diverted and even cheated for another term!

Oh, this might proved costly to the Prime Minister, the party and the people!

The coalition partners, Mamata quit the government. The other allies showed their true intentions. They are in the government more out of compulsions of the need to survive, rather than to advance any positive reforms forward. Practical politics demands great integrity and true commitment?

PM is speech didn’t go uncriticised. Veteran BJP leader and a former finance minister, Yashwant Sinha in response to PM’s reference to the economic situation in 1991(when Sinha was finance minister under Chandrasekhar) Sinha retorted: Singh in eight years where he had brought to the economy today?

Yes, India is a big country and our economy is also big and it is not easy to promote groth, especially, after the world economy is also in a slowdown mode, US and EU are also in slowdown. So, in India too, just by announcing “big bang” reforms, FDI in retail and aviation, our economy might turn into a miracle.

What about the political part? Corruption and fall in governance?
And the tenure of the present PM?

So, this is the big question and the big challenge. Everyone, weak-hearted and weak-willed fail to ask in this country.

Where are the brave hearts? This is the question every citizen of India now asks. Please identify some 100 such souls, India would be changed!

Will the ruling coalition survive after Mamata’s exit?
What is the cost of political instability?

India is not driven by any big vision. There is no world view for India.

No one, we mean, no big leader of any stature, think of India in the larger context of the world. No one Indian leader has talked of India as a big country, a big power, a regional power, not even we compare India with China. There is no big goal of India growing as fast as China, or as a big democracy vs. China as an one-party rule.

We seem to shudder at the thought of India as a big democracy. A country driven by any over-arching ideology. Ideology not as a restrictive doctrinaire ideology. But as a liberal, open society.

Unfortunately, the Indian National Congress, the great party, the great national movement is no more a party like other parties.

It has become a mother-son one family party.

See, there is no functioning PCC, AICC and even the CWC. All given up in favour of a coterie, a clique almost. See the core group of the Congress.

PM, Sonia A.K.Antony, FM and Ahmed Patel! That is all. No one in this has a mass base, enjoying public support, unless you call Sonia’s hire-a crowd as mass base!

Yes, it is very untimely to rake up these issues but then where do you go for searching the truth, so to say?

See, how the country is now held together. Congress with its 205 MPs and cobbled together a coalition, all the partners, like Mamata now, are very prickly, unreliable leaders. See once the government became shaky, how the allies reacted. Pawar went silent, DMK chief back at his brinkmanship and Mulayam and BSP held under some captive blackmail by the ruling party itself with the CBI sword hanging on their heads!

Is this all to India? As an idea, as a nation and as a people and as a modern secular and open society, help up as an example to others, In Asia and in the rest of the world.

American Presidential Election

It is here we like to draw the attention of readers and even thinkers, to see what the USA stands for as a great world power. The on-going Presidential elections, I would say, as an education to the world! This, to me at any rate, is like a distant echo of what Pericles said 2500 years ago of Athens as an education to the then world! Yes, democracy, freedom and individual liberty are all the touchstone of the American open society. Where the Presidential candidates  are selected through the primaries, then they are endorsed by their party conventions, then a public debate, later a TV debate in which the respective candidates put forth their polices and promises for the people.

See the American democracy’s total transparency, the citizens’s rights to question and scrutinise their candidates all the weaknesses and strengths.

Here we have fallen back. Fallen back from past standards. There is too much of an arbitrary power exercised by both the party president and the Prime Minister. How the Coalgate corruption could have taken place, if the governance mechanism was in place?

What limitations the PM lately displayed? So, the media, the party insiders and others didn’t rise up to the expectations of the people? Is Sonia tolerated too much and too long?

Someone must bear the cross. Some heads must have rolled. So far nothing of such thing had happened. So to hide the misdeeds, to divert public attention, this flurry of reforms?

So, these announcements are palliatives. We need basic structural political reforms. Many of the big-time reforms, Constitutional reforms, party reforms, the CEC reform proposals are need to be taken up and put before the people, promised made and a fresh mandate must be sought.

Manmohan Singh’s flurry of activities, a rise in fuel prices, FDI in retail and aviation and now the rise in PDS sugar prices and many more in the pipeline is certainly not in the typical Manmohan line!

This is not vintage Manmohan, this is a Prime Minister is a desperate situation. He is known not as his own master. So, there must be some other factor or factors to push the PM around. That much is sure.

But now, what are the immediate implications? Or, the long and medium term lessons?
Yes, there are many issues of deeper impact in the way this government finds itself and likely to move or forced to move and manages to survive.

By all estimates, everyone agrees this government might survive till 2014, the next elections. But is it any big news?

No. It is simply a situation today that is invited by the ruling party, namely, the Congress. Without mincing words, one can say the single most reason for this pathetic situation is none other than Sonia Gandhi.

It is she as the arbiter of the great issues that she has to take moral responsibility. Whether she likes it or not, Sonia has led the party to near ruin.

Yes, what is now left for her to do, give the current developments?
Almost she stand alone, in fact she stands isolated.  She may now go from one crisis to another.

In 2004, the Congress got 145 MPs. In 2009, the party got 206. The party toyed with the Left, later it toyed with Mamata, of course there was no alternative. Sonia wrote off the many PCCS as of no use. One was the TN PCC. She went out of her way to court the DMK and she even ignored the feelings of the Congressmen, the bastion of such titans like Rajaji and Kamaraj and in the place of such a home of the traditional Congress supporters she followed the ruined path of courting the DMK, she did the unpardonable sin of visiting the DMK chief in his own office, offending the sentiments of the Congress bastion at Satyamurthy Bhavan.

In fact, Sonia had such unpardonable sins in other PCCs as well, particularly another time-honoured bastion, Bihar, the home of so many great Congress souls.

In West Bengal, another great state where Sonia’s contribution to the nurturing of the party is almost zero. In fact, she sat tight in Delhi and cultivated the cabals, as they were, to cultivate the image of an imperious leader with no qualifications whatever, except a family name that too now, sadly, is in visible decline.

As for her dynastic ambitions that s too seems to have fallen into dustbin of history. Her son is nowhere in sight. On the other hand, one by one the blackmailers and the self-seekers are out in full display.

How to describe Mulayam Singh Yadav. A great pity and a pathetic sight. He chose to hold hands with the Marxists and the Communists along with one or two lost names, a Naidu or a Gowda for old time’s sake.

What is this Third Front suddenly on display? How sure or committed are these old war horses to forge a new Third Front?

No logic, no sense of time, no history. In fact, the Third Front is nowhere to be seen again after the one day display and mute gathering on a public platform. The other platform, the BJP led show at Jantar Mantar is also without any logic or commitment. Yes, any political party needs a theory and a strategy.

India is such a big country, big economy and a big international market for the FDI to flow in, we need a very solid two party rule, two party system or two broad coalition platform that can only hold the country together.

The small parties, the regional and chauvinistic parties, the caste and communal parties might be there but they have to be subdued by an over-whelming ideological divide, a Right and Left sort of political formations, we see in the Western democracies.

Image Source : http://vedaprakash.wordpress.com

India, America and China
Democracy is expanding in the world!
Freedom is also expanding in the world?

Yes, seems to be the current mood we find in large parts of the world. Even in the former Communist, Soviet Russian states, we find there are elections and also of course, internal tensions and even violence.

The Middle East. Now, in the current focus, we see first the rise of the Arab Spring and now, in the wake of what is happening in Syria and also in Iran, there are new tensions and even wars and much loss of life there is however, there is a definite trend towards more freedoms open to the citizens. Even in Myanmar, we see there is a definite change of heart in the rulers there.
China today

In China in particular, the last week of September and also the next one month, the next once- a- decade change of leadership has evoked worldwide attention to how modern China has changed.  In fact, China today makes more news abroad than even within itself, it seems! The current duo, Hu Jintao and When Jiabao seem to be very moderate leaders who have projected images of outward-looking, cultivated and also encouraging gradual evolution of very democratic and freedom-loving individuals.

In Shanghai and Beijing, one sees much individual happiness on the average Chinese citizen’s faces, well-fed and well-endowed, and also enjoying the Western fashions and good things of life.

US Presidential elections, an education for the world

America, the bastion of democracy, seems to have some definite written Constitutional guarantee of two-term Presidency. So, we see the on-going Presidential elections that, in one word, an education for the world. An education in democratic education, we mean!

As for China, though it is a one party Communist dictatorship, for all practical reasons, however, China seems to be changing, moving towards a rather unusual manner towards some form of an open society and an internally driven democratic change.

Yes, once in two years, there is now a change of government at the top, this would be the fifth generation of leaders who would be taking over power.

Headlines in the London FT Weekend (Financial Times)
Of course, there are still tensions within China. The latest dramatic news that hit the headlines newspapers worldwide is the fall of Bo Xilai, the powerful leader, an aristocrat, charismatic leader whose wealth and influence is such that he had sent his son to Eton College and Oxford and now at Harvard.

Yet, his ambitious bid for power had led to his downfall. He is expelled and faces trial. His wife already faced trial and a suspended death sentence for a murder and this shows China is yet to graduate towards an open society and a free judiciary and freedom in the Western sense.
Now, what about India?

Our democracy and our freedoms?

Of course, India is a liberal open society where every citizen enjoys freedom and a range of fundamental rights which are guaranteed by Constitution and a free judiciary. This is India’s glory.

However, our democracy, after 65 years of practice, is yet to give a smooth constitutionally sound transition path. We face three assassinations of leaders in free India. Now, we also face the uncertain prospects of a dynastic succession. UK and other free countries?

Wiki leaks Founder Julian Assange
In UK, there is the case of Wiki leaks founder Julian Assange who had taken asylum at the tiny London Ecuador Embassy since August 19 and yet the UK government refuses to guarantee of free passage to his freedom of movement.

Assange accused the USA, its President Barack Obama for persecuting him for not granting him his freedoms. Assange says his Wiki leaks led to the Arab Spring. While America takes credit, Obama for taking personal credit for the Arab Spring which, says Assange, is not justified.

He accuses the world newspapers which made roaring headlines from his cables, now have abandoned him in his moment of search for freedom!

We seem to be living through some momentous times, it seems.

Image source : edition.cnn.com

Prof.Joseph Stieglitz speaks about Mamata Government’s land policy
Prof.Amartya Sen  keeps mum for far too long!

Prof.Sen has a duty to West Bengal!

When the state is burning, almost! Prof.Amartya Sen is typically a Bengali bhadralok, that is, he is well-educated and a Nobel Laureate at that and as such he had brought to much glory to his native Bengal, the home of the Bengal renaissance and much else that had impacted modern India.

He is looked upon by the whole of Bengal, may, the whole of India and Asia, why, even the globalised world when it comes to seeking light and wisdom for much of the world’s  economic problems.
Prof.Joseph Stiglitz, a fellow Nobel economics prize winner was recently in Kolkata and   Stieglitz known for speaking out his mind very clearly and openly was asked about Mamata Banerjee’s land acquisition policy for industry. The CM is known for her policy not to acquire land for industry by the government agency and leave it to the individual farmers.

We all know what happened to the famed Tata Nano  small car project. Half way through the project Mamata created a stir that led to the abandonment of the project and the Tatas quit Bengal.

Now, Prof.Stiglitz while in Kolkata said clearly and that to make farmers who are small and marginalised lot in Bengal and when many farmers sold the land as in the case of Tatas, a few  were unwilling and Mamata exploited their sentiments and made them obstruct and finally the entire 1000 and odd acres of land had to be abandoned.
This obstruction, Prof.Stiglitzs calls it the “hang-up” problems.

While the American Nobel laureate ,known as much as Sen, for his poverty index and happiness index(both Stieglitz and Sen were called by the French President to give him advice to enhance happiness as much as prosperity) the case of Amartya Sen is rather curious, to say the least.

While Sen had built up an enormous reputation  for his unique theories, his public  stand on many burning issues is rather very insensitive, if we can say so with some degree of objectivity.
Sen comes Santiniketan and he has a home there and he visits his home regularly and Santiniketan is in the Birbhum district of West Bengal, neat to the Burdwan district where the current rape of an unfortunate woman is making news in Bengal.

Mamata, known for her erratic ways, called the rape untrue! And much more. In the very Burdwan district there have been recently some few farmers suicides, about 31 deaths since October and there have been graphic descriptions of these unfortunate poor farmers, with names, village addresses and their photos in newspapers inside and outside Bengal.

And yet the CM calls the deaths not true!

Not only that, the CM also ignored the deaths, a series of such infant deaths in Kolkata hospitals!

Only those who know the rural Bengal can understand how bad it is.
Prof.Amartya Sen comes from the very heart of this rural Bengal.
He is fully aware of the pathetic conditions under which the people suffered for long.

Sen sometimes claims himself to be on the Left!
This used to be a fashion in Bengal for long.
That was long time ago.

Knowing well Sen(as we do) he is rather a very  deeply committed moralist and so others too claim him.

As such we should expect Sen to speak out, to give his own shooting touch for the poor victims, the families of the unfortunate  infants, the families of such unfortunate dead farmers.

May be he must be knowing many of the people we are talking about here. He lives there and he has also been conducting some research about primary education and primary healthcare in that area.
He runs a trust expressly for that objective.

With all that work he has done  to remain silent in the face of such a mounting chorus of protest about the CM’s total insensitivity is  something one feels puzzled.

Recently there were visitors to our household and the subject came up; why Sen maintains such a stoic silence?

The visitors were equally puzzled!

What is morality if it is cowardice in the face of such human tragedy?
One wonders.

It is time Prof.Amartya Sen takes a stand and speaks out his mind and gives the right guidance.

Unfortunate. In our country, our economists ,mostly they are officials very soon in their careers or they become silent and succumb to submission to authority and falls for the temptations of office, perks and prizes and decorations!

Image source : articles.businessinsider.com