Friday, April 8, 2011

Main bhi Anna Hazare !


Anna Sahib enters the fourth day of his fast and declares a “Jail Bharo” movement across the nation on 12th of April even as the Government hardens its stand on the “jan lokpal bill panel”. The government calls it coercion politics. I am not sure what they meant and if they expected a 72 year old social activist along with millions of other ‘jagrook’ Indians to BEG for a genuine and just demand of the Indian people, which has been swept aside by successive governments and prime ministers, decade after decade, to save their glorified bottoms fed and bred on the taxpayers money. Kapil Sibbal declared today that no politician would be allowed to be a panel member, if a civilian chairs the panel. What audacity and ego of an elected representative, who finds it inappropriate and below dignity for a member of the parliament to perform under the chairmanship of a civilian, who incidentally allowed the politician with an opportunity to represent the civil society in the parliament!! Kapil has rejected the names (Justice G.S. Verma & Lokayukta Santosh Hegde) suggested by the Civil Society. Sibbal wants a leading politician (read one of the thieves) to head the panel, to be entrusted to set-up an anti-corruption body, which would end corruption in India and bring all corrupt organizations, politicians, public service officials and Babus (read the pack of thieves, looters and dacoits) to justice. Can you imagine the fallacy?

Let the Government ignore the signs to it own peril. Let them underestimate the growing solidarity amongst the citizens, cutting across all sections of the society and all parts of the geographical territory at their own risk. Let them wait for the time when a Jantar Mantar is transformed into a Tahrir Square.

As per the Indian constitution these lawmakers selected to various legislative bodies are mere servants of the Indian democracy and Indian people. They are not the masters of the people, certainly not monarchs of the land. They are simply the elected and paid bearers of the wishes of over a billion Indians. And this is no emotional statement of frustrated Indian tax payer … this is a fact as per the Indian constitution, celebrated as the most sacred testament of Indian democracy!

Very few of us are aware of the constitutional name of this great country, as mentioned in the Preamble. But we should be since it’s not just a name, it’s the summary of what our founding fathers wanted us to become post independence. It underscores the rights and values the India society, its people and the nation as a whole is expected to enjoy, receive and deliver – “Sovereign Socialist Secular Democratic Republic of India”.

Sovereignty:

How it should be –  India is supposed be the supreme, independent authority of its territory, has complete and sole rights in deciding, determining and executing all policy matters of national relevance - civil, political, military, economic, territorial integrity, India’s foreign policy, et all. No other country, groups or any foreign and external entity can direct, determine or influence our policies.

How it actually has been – Ask Montek Singh Ahluwalia (America’s primary conduit for influencing Indian policy matters, directly or indirectly related to American and its allies’ interests, globally), and a host of other Indian lawmakers and public service Babus.

Socialism:

How it should be – The principle of socialism says that the State should strike to achieve the greatest good for the greatest number of its people which is essential for the purpose of establishing an egalitarian society.  The Indian Constitution makers opted for a path involving slow, regulated and planned growth to ensure inclusive socio-economic development of the nation, and with the idea of establishing a welfare state where all policies, regulations and government activities are expected to be designed and directed towards the development and welfare of the masses. Indian constitution emphasizes the need for ownership, control and distribution of national productive wealth for the benefit and use of the community and its components and condemns any system or machinery of misuse of its resources for selfish ends.

How it actually has been – India houses a third of the world’s poor. The Arjun Sengupta Report (from National Commission for Enterprises in the Unorganised Sector) states that 77% of Indians live on less than 20 rupees a day (about $0.50 per day) while the N.C. Saxena Committee report states that 50% of Indians live below the poverty line. As per World Bank estimates, by 2015 (almost 70 years post independence), an estimated 53 million people will still live in extreme poverty and 23.6% of the population will still live under US$1.25 per day!

We indeed have a very very slow growth pattern but certainly not an inclusive one (consider the Indian socio-economic scenario which is ridden with gross inequalities). A super-power with nearly half of its population reeling under extreme poverty. An egalitarian nation, ranking very high on global corruption index, with black money stashed in foreign banks amounting to multiples of India’s massive GDP. A socialist country with its annual military expenditures amounting to more than thrice that of the money required to allow two square meals a day for a year to nearly 600 million people of this country. Mera Bharat Mahan!!  

Secularism:

How it should be – The constitution urges the lawmakers, governments, legislative and administrative bodies to by and large remain indifferent towards religious influences, whilst policy making. The constitution seeks to promote religious pluralism in India where practising his or her religion of choice is a fundamental right of every Indian citizen. Each Indian is also required to abide by his or her fundamental duty of respecting all other religions practiced in India along with the rights of their followers.  

How it actually has been – We still get political parties winning elections promising more Mandirs uprooting Masjids. We still have people exercising democratic rights in the name of Jihad!! We still have politicians, public servants, and extremists behind the veil of NGOs and socio-religious groups fanning religious riots and mass murders as a matter of state’s strategy, while successive governments, administration and judiciary turning a blind eye to all such gross violations of basic human rights in India.

Democratic:

How it should be – Of the people, by the people, for the people.

How it actually has been – Do I need to say anything on the wonderful D-word, used, re-used, misused and royally abused, day in and day out in the parliament, legislative assemblies, public forums, political rallies, media, and every other platform made available to our fiery Netas and Netris .  The only time I see the politicians and Indian lawmakers talk about, promote and practice democracy are when they are caught in crisis or when they can visualize an impending electoral gain that can be derived from it. 

The Indian lawmakers, the executioners, the reformists, the regulators and the champions of democracy are all selected (not elected … remember, we just vote for/make a choice amongst the lot presented to us by political and administrative outfits … that’s hardly a choice), and are accountable to the centralised power centres and political aspirants. Hence the deeply entrenched corruption at all sections and levels.
Our democracy is anything but of the people, by the people, for the people.

Republic:

How it should be – It implies that India is not a monarchy, that it’s an independent territory and not a dominion of any other nation. That its people have the right to self determination, right to select its own representatives to run the country, right to enjoy all the national resources, duty to protect territorial integrity and the dignity and rights of its fellow citizens. That it is the people of this country who are the collective owners of its prosperity and well-being.

How it actually has been – I leave it for my readers to judge on how we have fared as a Republic.

Jai Hind !

Our national motto has been Satyameva Jayate. Time has finally come for truth to reign supreme. Time has come for us to seek justice, seek the truth, seek the correct interpretation and execution of the Indian constitution.  Time has come for us to rise and say “Main bhi Anna Hazare”  






Pics courtesy: The Times of India

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