Friday, July 28, 2006

Telangana - Whose Cause is it Anyway

Seven years ago, on a cloudy but warm winter afternoon, a bunch of sophomores barged into our class. They finally managed to snatch a time to get themselves introduced to us, en masse in our classroom, in the typical engineering college way. A short bespectacled guy ordered us to introduce ourselves giving details of our school, intermediate college, academic aggregates and our future aims. We were a class of 60 and I am sure on that day there were atleast 50 of them in the class. At the end of the session, I found except for 5-6 students, the rest professed their ‘aim’ to be ‘MS in US’. They all echoed each other just as if they were doctored in a community school of a communist state. It didn’t require great brains to decipher that most of them were not using their brains. They were merely repeating what the society instilled in them. And there lies the greatest curse of Andhra Pradesh in general and Telangana in particular.

High industrialization, and subsequent development, of neighboring Tamil Nadu is often attributed to their colonial advantage. But strictly speaking, the British never bothered beyond the ports of Madras, Calcutta and Bombay. Yet, I was pleasantly surprised when a decade back I found the best of stationary stocked at Walden, which was targeted, both in its pricing and packaging, at the upwardly cosmopolitan, being produced not at Chennai, Bangalore or NOIDA but an interior town in Tamil Nadu, Sivakasi. And that’s not a lone example. You find towns like Erode, Thiruppur, Dindugul etc booming with various small and medium scale industries. And these don’t lie in the Kaveri delta, which can be the nearest analogy to the Andhra Region, if and only if, Karnataka releases water that year. One reason I could figure out is the entrepreneurial streak in them. The will to create and do something on their own rather than work under someone, even if the pay isn’t quite appealing. Self-pride, something that is synonymous with the Tamils, looms large in them, though often it turns into jingoism. Even the politicians there chip in their bit. The country’s only steel plant which has neither an iron-ore mine nor a coal mine in its proximity is the Salem. The politicians from Tamil Nadu managed to force the Centre to invest in something that defies economic logic, just to ensure there would be regional development. What has been the contribution of the TRS in this regards? It is more than two years since the party has been in the Union Government. It holds two portfolios which directly deal with fate of poor and downtrodden, Labour Ministry and Rural Development Ministry.

Some of you might site the examples of numerous ITES firms being started by NRIs. But, investing in a booming sector with seemingly perpetual rosy prospects can by no means be called entrepreneurship. It is being plain opportunistic. Just the way people are making quick bucks out of the booming real estate business. Those NRIs who profess their ‘love, admiration and concern’ for their ‘home’ and its ‘development’, would do well to invest in ventures that are more locally relevant, that would help in the development of entire region and region does not mean the boundaries of Cyberabad municipality. Start projects which would be able mitigate the plight of displaced and deceased farmers, whose land is being given to the gyms and pool rooms of your offices. Whose MSPs are kept stagnant so that you get subsidies to take your spouses to exotic locations on the pretext of visiting industrial exhibitions. Who would have to wait for a generation to get power and water, so that you can run your premises with uninterrupted power supply.

So, my fellow classmates/ batchmates - turned-NRIs, I guess it should be pretty clear to you now why Telangana is backward. If you can do something on these lines, please do. Else leave it us. We have enough politicians out here and we don’t plan to outsource our politics to you.

This post may be very similar to what Kuffir posted. But what I am trying to say is that the attitude of people hasn’t changed much. Those who leave the shores today aren’t very different from those who left during the time of Kuffir’s graduation. Atleast, I wish that the present lot doesn’t indulge in distorting the facts in the guise of representing of people, of whom they know little.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

President - Yes, Prime Minister

Congress is truly the party of Aam Aadmi. Every aam aadmi is a leader in the party. Every aam aadmi becomes its spokesperson. No, you don’t need any authorization to express your views on behalf of the party. At times, you don’t even need to be a member of the party. One such aam aadmi spokesperson is Mr. Harish Khare. After the exit of Anand Sharma to the cabinet, Mr.Khare has self-appointed himself to the post of Chief of Defense, Congress Party. Of course, N. Ram would have endorsed the post to be Office of Non – Profit and any doubts in this regard would be dispelled by Narayanan, Chief of Defense, The Hindu a.k.a Readers’ Editor.

In this latest defense of Congress, he points out the President’s use of “(doubtful) discretion” in returning the bill to the cabinet. Can he please enlighten us what was so “doubtful” about the discretion? The discretion is an explicit constitutional right and not an undefined constitutional term, like “Office of Profit”, which has been glaringly abused and whose retrospective legitimization was questioned by the President, while returning the bill.

Again, he feels that seeking the advisory opinion of the Supreme Court, another explicit constitutional right, independent of the cabinet’s advice, is “fraught with dangerous implications”. His source of interpretation? BJP’s such interpretation when they were at the helm of affairs.

What Mr. Khare effectively says is, “If someone, irrespective of their credentials and the prevailing circumstances, says something which can be used to your advantage, use it.”. Would he then justify demolition of mosque by Congress? It is ridiculous that Mr. Khare chooses to take constitutional classes from a party which he often denounces as being unconstitutional.

Mr. Khare’s warns that “The Zail Singh temptation needs to be firmly resisted.”

So, just as Rajiv Gandhi wanted to read the letter written by Amitabh to Rekha, Manmohan Singh might want to see whom Mallika is smooching tonight on her bed and might accordingly introduce a bill, Right to Intimate Information. It would be passed with voice vote and without debate as our geriatric parliamentarians any day would prefer watching Mallika’s mouth’s silent smooches to Mamta’s mouth’s screeching shouts, which might be followed by paper hurling.

In such an event, Mr. Khare expects the President to gladly give his assent and get ready for nocturnal revelry.

I don't defend Zail Singh's act of sitting on the bill, but the very fact that the successive Governement did not pursue the bill, vindicated the accusations that there was something patently anti-democratic in the Postal Bill.

May we remind Mr. Khare, that only if one such President applied his independent thinking, we could have avoided the biggest blot of Indian democracy - Emergency. If the President is supposed to be a glorified rubber stamp, then we would rather do away with him. He rightly points out that:

“In the coalition era, almost all constitutional offices are prone to take advantage of the political uncertainties, and seek to expand the scope of their power and authority at the expense of the executive. The higher judiciary is the prime example of this over-reach. Often this kind of activism is sought to be justified as a healthy caveat, necessary to produce the requisite checks and balances.”

But he falters at the next line, when he says that it would lead to paralysis of the Government. The “over-reach” which he accuses the higher judiciary, had given inter alia residents of Delhi breathable air, demolished illegal structures, banned strikes, prohibited smoking in public places, interpreted right to information as a fundamental right etc. Something which the executive could not do in 50 years. In a democracy, over-reach happens only when the designated authority fails to perform its function.

A simple point to ponder. In which period has India grown faster? From 1947 to 1977, when there was no worthy Opposition and literally no checks on the executive or between 1987 to 2007, when there are more voices, more opposition, more checks?

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Blogger's Block - Enemy of the State?

For long people such as this person have been complaining about blogger's block. The Indian Government, with its utmost sincerity in alleviating the problems of its beloved citizens has solved the problem once and for all. Block the blogs. Naa rahegi baans, Naa bajegi bansuri.

I am unable to access any of the blogs hosted at blogspot. But yes, I can definitely access debonairblog (No, I am not giving the link as you might end up there ignoring my post), which is a favourite porn blog of numerous Indian males (Don't know about females). I wouldn't be surprised if Wordpress was left out just because it was hosting this blog. After all, what would be the state of the frustrated middle-aged senile secretaries of GoI if such sites are blocked. And what earthly use would those laptops be put into use, which have more files in Temporary Internet Files folder than in My Documents? Where those flaunting them would struggle to create a PowerPoint presentation or an Excel sheet, but in a jiffy would tell you how to clear cache?

So guys, next time you find some steamy stuff on my PC, don't call me a pervert. I am just being forcibly guided by the CERT-IN .

By the way, people tell me that they plan to use RTI to get to know the list of sites which were asked to be blocked by the Department of Telecommunication. But who knows, may be tomorrow there could be another confidential list of person who are to be denied use of RTI. Or may be the water, electricity, postal and even police department might be give confidential lists of people to be blacked out. In fact every department except Income Tax could be asked to boycott perceived enemies of the state. Oh yes, I forgot the Election Commission, which is very liberal in this regard. The other day, they supplied my mom with two verification forms for issuing her photo ID card. One with my dad's name as her initial and other with her dad's name as her initial. Now the joke is how they got my mom's name with her dad's name as initial in their records as she never lived in this state, let alone in Hyderabad, before marriage.

And in the meanwhile, all those who want to circumvent the block, and for those even pkblogs is blocked, you may use shysurfer. There are other anonymous surfing sites too, but this one allows you to log on to you blogger account and make posts. And also do not forget to enable the option in you Blogger account which lets you post by email. In times such as this, we must be well-prepared for more such censorships.