Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Why UPA will WIN again

In the English media and in social media there is a lot of hoopla on the rampant corruption and abuse of power in the UPA government. Some mainstream news outfits read by India’s elite  including the Economist and the Economic Times have gone so far as to declare that Congress will lose in the next Lok Sabha elections in 2014. However I’m not that sure and I have my reasons.

India’s literacy rate is 74% at the outset this might not look so bad for a democracy to function effectively. Don’t be fooled look deeper. Firstly literacy rate is measured crudely as the ability to read and write in anyone language and do basic arithmetic. The ability to make a well thought out decision isn’t a criterion as it is far more difficult to measure.

70% of India’s population lives in rural areas.  The rural literacy rate is 58% most of these literates fall in the above said criterion on just being able to read and write. The well-educated are all concentrated in urban pockets.

Even with the averagely literate the information one could obtain from the media is not entirely unbiased or for that matter is rarely so. There are 1000s of newspapers and TV channels in the country. Most of them are run by political parties or their affiliates.

This documentary will give you an idea on why it is not so difficult to make the media talk what you want to. Most of our literates hence have little ability to find the sensible correct information from the clutter.

Now let’s look at how an average Indian makes an electoral decision on whom to vote for:

India is a land of diverse cultures and castes. This also makes it the land of reservations. If you look at most people who enjoy the benefits of reservations in this century are the ones whose dads and granddads were recipients of those benefits.

Any sensible patriotic Indian would want these benefits to reach the right people. However these well-educated and wealthy lot who were the forerunners in obtaining the reservation benefits don’t want that to happen. They want their sons and grandsons to continue enjoying those benefits. So it’s only natural that they want to continue with the community based reservations. Now who will tell the truly under privileged in these communities that their benefits are being over utilized by the elite in their communities? Whom will they believe? An outsider or someone from their own community?

Naturally the under privileged communities will continue to listen to the elite in their own communities who would continue preaching support for the political outfit which would not change the status quo. Thus a lot of communities are being handled by the self-centered opportunistic community leaders.

If you also observe election nominations you would see a lot of random candidates who won’t even get their deposits even in their wildest dreams. Then why do they nominate for elections? Anybody with any amount of influence in a constituency wouldn’t want to miss a chance to profit from this influence. Hence these candidates who command influence over a few hundred votes sell out their influence to the highest bidder. So it boils down to buying votes. Even if someone wins the winner can then be bought with enough money. Everyone has a price. It’s only a question of who could afford that price.

In both the above cases the community leaders and the influentials there does occur once in a while that someone is honest and a true well-wisher of followers. Here comes the muscle power to silence these true leaders and nipping them off in the bud.

Scams Vs Schemes:
Congress even if tainted by scams always has some populist schemes up its sleeve. It was MNREGA then the Food security bill now. There is a popular dialogue in a Telugu movie ‘Leader’. “People were happily consuming chicken biriyani. First you make the chicken inaccessibly then they will eat just the biriyani. Then you make the biriyani inaccessible they will eat rice with pulses. Then you make the pulses inaccessible they will eat just the rice. When you make the rice inaccessible they would start fearing survival. Now you announce free rice, you will become their God.”

On a final note there is this factor of brand loyalty. Haven’t you come across brands advertise themselves as ‘since 18XY’. It’s imperative that the older a brand the more brand loyalty it commands. This is even prevalent with educated consumers.

Congress with the first mover advantage and the getting used to or for that matter even creating the system of Indian politics always commands a much higher edge over anyone else in the country. Moreover it has in the process made enough money that none could match. If you look at the states in which Congress has traditionally been in power like UP or Rajasthan all the above symptoms are evident. So with its long lasting power the party has cultivated the flaws in the system to its advantage.

For all these reasons Congress is invincible. If you look at the only two instances of Congress losing power they were because of a severe leadership crisis. Nobody can beat congress but for itself. Unless there is divide or chaos within the party there is little chance that it will lose. Now with Madameji firmly in command I see no weakness/chaos in the party to lose the coming Lok Sabha elections.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Please read this once before you criticize the cops

Since the time when I was three and till recently I have known my dad working for over 10 hours a day and 7 days a week. He would have been on leave for not more than 15days a year in any of those 20yrs I’m talking about. Especially during times of unrest when most people would huddle themselves in the safety of their homes I have seen my mom worried about my dad who would be in the middle of all the trouble, handling it.

When my friends and neighbors are having fun enjoying festivals, me and my family would be waiting for my dad to come home. We would be praying that there shouldn't be any troubles in his jurisdiction so that he can spend at least a couple of hours celebrating the occasion with us.

I still remember the day in which he came home with blood strained clothes and multiple stitches on his hand. People who would happily take a week long sick leave won’t understand the pain of my dad who went to work the very next day else the already thinly spread and widely stretched colleagues would find it impossible to contain the situation. 

Police officials face every form of stress you would have read in a whole book on work related stress. They are not treated politely by anyone who they come in contact with be it their superiors, politicians, other government officials or the general public.

In cases of riots half a dozen police personal are sent to contain an angry mob of over a 100. What’s worse is that the mob would pelt stones, glass bottles and in some cases petrol bombs. The police is only equipped with lathis and sometimes they would fortunate enough to use their age old British era guns. Despite the limited equipment they are also limited by the usage or the amount of damage they could inflict.

One arrest of or a charge sheet on a powerful politician’s relative’s son’s friend could land the officials involved in a lot of trouble. You might be thinking that the general public is fearful of the law enforcement officials but in reality they are more afraid of executing their normal duties properly.

One police constable patrols a kilometer square of residential area armed only with his whistle and lathi. If a robbery happens in that locality the constable will be suspended for a month or more.

When there is a murder or suicide the police officials involved are expected to pay for the formalities out of their pockets. When there is broken equipment they are again supposed to mend it or pay for it all by themselves. Their travel and other clearly documentable expenses are reimbursed to the bare minimum.

For all this they are paid a pittance and are one of the lowly paid state government employees. Their health care insurances are not honored by any hospital for the payments against them from the respective government bodies would never arrive.

Police officials in our country have to live with nil self-respect and have to kill their conscience over and over again. Beyond this if they happen to once in a while behave like humans and succumb to their emotions please understand that they can’t completely become emotionless machines.