WHO OWNS POVERTY IN INDIA?

Is it the hundreds of millions of people hovering around the ambiguous line, otherwise ‘termed’ the ‘poverty-line’, a line that is as controversial as the second tenure of Manmohan Singh as India’s prime minister?

Or is it the politicians who, in collaboration, with bureaucrats and number-crunchers, define who should be poor and who should not be poor and who should not be ‘so poor’, obviously, more on the paper?

Or is it the Indian democracy that has come to evolve as an exploitative System where the millions of the poor, who are as important in the eyes of its Constitution, the world’s most extensively written Constitution, as the elite politicians hibernating in the plush environs funded by the pubic money, but have been pushed to the extremes of the periphery where they are not seen even as the entities to be co-opted to mitigate the chances of emerging threats?

Or is it the multitude of the hundreds of millions of ‘poverty-line’ stricken Indians who seem to have forgotten or seem to have never known what should be the ‘quality’ of their ‘quality of life’?

Or is it the multitude of the hundreds of millions of ‘poverty-line’ stricken Indians who have come to reconcile with the developments making them subservient to the political class?

Over 1200 millions of Indians that make India the world’s largest democracy – more or less, it is a functional democracy it is said!

But this functional democracy is yet to find how to count its poor. There are many ways. There are definitions. There are methodologies. And there is confusion. Huge sums are spent on finding how to define the ‘poverty-line’ yet the controversy remains. The Rs. 30 a month ‘poverty-line’, the average of all the expertise involved. Why?

Because, the poor here are not seen as human beings by the prevailing political thought process. They are yet another votebank, a significantly large votebank that cuts across the layers of religion, regionalism and caste.

This significantly large votebank has the tendency to act most impulsively of all the votebanks. Impoverished they have been, impoverished they are, and it can be understood. They don’t know what to expect from life than to survive every coming day. They are not expected to expect from life.

Poor, they are, but they do not own their poverty. They would do all to get rid of it provided they are given the help they need to do so.

But that help is not extended to them by those who own their poverty.

Those, who run the System, the politicians, the policymakers, the elite, the business people, and the likes of them, they own their poverty.

Instead, they are given occasional shots of calculated empowerment, empowerments that gives them borrowed moments of hunger-free and relatively easier days when elections approach. A food security bill is announced in 2009 but is put in motion in 2013 when elections are due in 2014. Farm debt waiver was announced in 2008 when elections were due in 2009.

The borrowed moments of hunger-free and relatively easier days push the voters from this votebank to react impulsively to cast their votes in favour of the political outfit doling out the ‘largesse’, something that should rightfully be their fundamental right.

Those, who run the System, their interest is in keeping this votebank poor.

Once out of poverty, the prospect to get the votebank react impulsively gets a certain negative hit. Why to take this risk?

They, who run the System, own the poverty in India and they don’t look in the mood to bequeath it.

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/

RIGHT TO REJECT TO RIGHT TO RECALL TO RIGHT TO REELECTION

Suppose a Narendra Modi or Rahul Gandhi gets fewer votes than the overall NOTA (None Of The Above) votes and based on the post-election outcome, becomes the prime minister of the country – wouldn’t it be ridiculous, wouldn’t it be sacrilegious, when a candidate rejected by the majority of the electorate is given the charge to run a democratic country.

Okay, it is not going to be the case with Narendra Modi and Rahul Gandhi of the moment, but we should not be surprised, if we get an election result with significant number of seats showing significantly higher share of NOTA votes even in the very first election implementing the ‘Right To Reject’ option. Recently, the Supreme Court made it mandatory and asked the Election Commission of India to introduce the NOTA option on EVMs (electronic voting machines) and ballot papers.

On an average, 30-40 per cent voters do not vote in elections in India we find if we carry a voter turnout analysis of different elections. Reasons vary for not participating in the elections but the major reason has been the voter’s apathy to the electoral process where he finds the political parties or the candidates in fray not worthy of being elected.

As the voter did not have any option to express his displeasure than to go to the booth, complete the formalities like getting the designated finger the ink-marked, approach the polling officer and tell him he did not want to cast his vote as he found none of the candidates were worthy. The officer then would make his entry in a prescribed form and would take his signature or thumb impression. A complex, tedious and repulsive process that didn’t promise the voter secrecy of his decision! And having no secrecy with such decisions, at local level, with a polluted Indian politics, may well have its consequences.

So, the option was there but was not practical. In fact, was illogical. Also, many would not be aware that this option (right? – Section 49-O of The Conduct of Election Rules, 1961) even exists.

But after the Supreme Court order making it easier and thus practical to exercise this right as well as ensuring the secrecy, we can expect significant jump in the voter turnout, and a significant portion of this jump would certainly be the NOTA votes, voters who don’t vote because they don’t approve the candidates.

Yes, this is going to be a long-term process, spread over elections. But an upward trend of surge in NOTA votes would inspire others, who do not cast their votes for similar reasons, to participate in the electoral process.

It is true, India is still not a mature democracy and elections are not fought on development issues but on silly considerations of caste, religion and regionalism. It is true voters do not react maturely when they select candidates on these lines, when they select tainted candidates and candidates with criminal cases against them, when the elect candidates languishing in jails.

But this simple way to empower them with an option to reject all would certainly push them, who waste their vote by voting on silly considerations, to think otherwise, if not tomorrow, then, in the long run, when rejection of candidates would become a sustained trend election after election.

Also, another objection by the naysayers is this ‘Right To Reject’ is not rejection in real terms. Even if the NOTA votes polled are 20 per cent of the overall votes cast, it cannot disqualify a wining candidate even if he gets just 10 percent of the overall votes. True! But, for how long can this irresponsible show continue?

Obviously, there would be voices. And the demands would intensify with increasing share of NOTA votes in the overall vote-pie.

That would set in motion the fight to demand the ‘Right To Recall’ and hence subsequently, the ‘Right To Reelection’, cancelling election process in constituencies with share of NOTA votes dwarfing votes gained by all other candidates, recalling poorly performing candidates and holding the polls again to select the suitable candidates.

Once, the ‘Right To Reject’ becomes a practiced electoral process in the country with voters effectively using it, lawmakers cannot continue with their sham without its visible public consequences.

Yes, it is not going to happen soon. But the best outcome of this Supreme Court decision is it is going to open fronts for further ‘rightful’ demands in the future of Indian democracy.

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/

RAHUL GANDHI CONVICTS ‘CONVICTED NETAS’ ORDINANCE: WHY IT IS PREMATURE TO TRUST HIS ‘DELAYED’ CONSCIENCE?

Because, the Representation of the People (Amendment and Validation) Bill, 2013, brought by the United Progressive Alliance’s (UPA) government led by the Congress is very much alive and kicking.

Rajya Sabha has already passed it. Disruptions didn’t allow it in the Loksabha in the Monsoon Session but it is slated to be presented and passed in the lower House of the Indian Parliament in the Winter Session.

Where was Rahul Gandhi when all this was happening?

The ordinance cleared by the Union Cabinet meeting chaired by Manmohan Singh, which Sonia Gandhi was also a part of, is nothing but yet another attempt of political brazenness to subvert the guiding principles of democracy by planting the provisions of the RP Act Amendment Bill ‘immediately’, that would otherwise be in place by December, to save some big political names from immediate disqualification.

….everybody does this….but would Rahul Gandhi stop this nonsense, the RP Act Amendment Bill that, in essence, is the inspiration behind this silly ordinance, in the Winter Session of Parliament?

We need to wait till then before making any opinion.

Because, Rahul Gandhi says the political parties should stop making small compromises!

But what about big compromises?

Should the political outfits continue singing the ‘compromise’ (say the coalition ‘Dharma’) tune when it comes to some big compromise like the crucial number games of forming the government even if it means taking support of some historysheeter member of Parliament or someone like Suresh Kalmadi.

What is this small or big segregation?

Does it mean ‘not shielding the convicted politicians by not manipulating the lawmaking authority given by the Constitution’ is a small compromise while subverting every administrative, legal and moral norm to save someone like Robert Vadra, whose only connect to the fame is that he is son-in-law of the Nehru-Gandhi Family, is a big compromise and so is to go for?

Ethics cannot be compartmentalized as ‘small’ or ‘big’.

Rahul’s sudden outburst, that many would have thought be a masterstroke of positioning him again as an outsider, as the politician with a difference (that he sounded so when he had begun), falls flat by the record of his active years in politics.

There are plenty of other reasons to reason why taking Rahul Gandhi’s voice of conscience as ‘a genuine voice of concern of an outsider politician’ needs much more than this ‘public’ outburst of his anger?

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/

RIGHT TO REJECT – NONE OF THE ABOVE – BRAVO! CHEERS!

Right To Reject – None Of The Above – Bravo! Cheers!

It is evolutionary. It is revolutionary.

It is so soothing to the ears. It is unlike those so many competitive examinations that every Indian of this generation takes or the future generations are bound to go through where ‘none of the above’ option of the multiple choice questions are, many a time, a hard nut to crack, creating line of thoughts and thus confusion to pin-point the correct one.

Here, it is going to be the natural choice in ‘many cases (many candidates)’ – ‘none of the above’ being the correct and so the chosen answer.

It would be the beginning of such occasions, hopefully, if implemented, where we are going to have the NOTA (None Of The Above) option chosen, and chosen correctly by the majority of the Indians and there would, obviously, be no fixing allegations here.

Right to Reject in polls is a reality now after the Supreme Court’s landmark decision today. Let’s see what innovation (manipulation) is offered by the politicians of India to negate it – the way they are working overtime to shield the tainted, convicted of their lot.

Also, there will be loads of wisdom flowing on its ‘if and buts’, on its ‘theoretical and practical aspects’ and on its maintainability but it is an evolutionary decision that, if survives the fangs of political manipulation, could revolutionize the systemic change in the electoral process, as the bench headed by the Chief Justice of India, P. Sathashivam, said while delivering the judgement on a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed by the People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL) demanding the right to negative voting, and so would be a boon to cleanse the political muck in the country.

What is remarkable about this decision is it makes things easier for the voter while maintains secrecy of his decision and so makes his right more accessible to him by introducing a much needed correction.

In fact, there is a provision in the election rules in India (49-O – The Conduct of Election Rules, 1961) on electors not deciding to vote. It says: If an elector, after his electoral roll number has been duly entered in the register of voters in Form-17A and has put his signature or thumb impression thereon as required under sub-rule (1) of rule 49L, decided not to record his vote, a remark to this effect shall be made against the said entry in Form 17A by the presiding officer and the signature or thumb impression of the elector shall be obtained against such remark.

So, there was already an option for an elector to reject the candidates in his constituency but the process was tedious and was open to the risk of being targeted by the supporters (including the political goons) of the candidates once the name went public.

The Supreme Court decision would make it easier by introducing the ‘None Of The Above’ button in the electronic voting machine (EVM) or option on the ballot paper. The elector can easily exercise his Right To Reject without the requirement to approach the presiding officer of the poll booth putting his decision on paper and so risking being targeted later on. The Supreme Court has also ruled the secrecy of NOTA votes ‘must’ be maintained.

Though the apex court has not set any deadline for it, we can expect it to be rolled out in the upcoming assembly elections in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Delhi and Mizoram this November-December with a pro poll-reform guard at the Election Commission of India.

Implementation of the Right To Reject option in the electoral process cannot change the disturbing political reality of India in one go but it is potent enough to initiate a chain reaction for further demands of electoral reforms and probity in public life.

Until now, very few politically conscious people have been using this right but with increased ease and accessibility, it can be expected that there would be a ripple effect, a ‘Spiral of Silence’ pattern of outcome where a silent but increasing number of the NOTA votes would inspire others to join the voice of conscience. It would bring the voters to the polling booths who otherwise don’t vote because they don’t approve any candidate in the fray.

Okay, this individual right to reject all the contesting candidates in a constituency by voting negatively is not going to result in the rejection even if the overall NOTA votes outperform the votes received by the winning candidate. But, for how long?

Imagine the scenario where every concluded election registers an ever increasing number of constituencies opting to reject all the candidates with the NOTA votes outdoing votes received by all others.

The would be the natural ground to demand the Right To Recall the ‘wrongly’ elected candidates and the Right To Reelection to get a better people’s representative.

How long can such legitimate demands be ignored or ‘suppressed’ in the changed scenario?

Politicians! Beware!

Though rare, it’s the real democratic tango of Indian democracy!

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/

SOME CANNOT AFFORD EVEN THE BASIC TREATMENTS WHILE BUREAUCRATS AND POLITICIANS ENJOY THE LARGESSE

Today’s Indian Express had this news that should make us numb if we claim to be the civilized human beings.

In Assam’s Nalbari district, on Monday (September 23), a couple with their nine-month old daughter jumped into the Brahmaputra River as they could not afford the treatment cost of their daughter who had a hole in her heart. The body of woman has been recovered while father and daughter are yet to be traced. The wife was 28 and the husband 32.

It is futile to discuss and write on why the couple had to take this unthinkable decision. Ending life is no solution and such acts can never be endorsed by a sane mind. But it is equally true no one else can understand the excruciating pain the couple was going through.

How cruel circumstances can become? How ironical life can be?

Or we should say how ironical life has been made out to be – life of poverty stricken Indians and life of those who are supposed to reach-out, help-out and bring these poverty-stricken people out of their misery.

This irony reflects in a recent development.

Earlier this month, the government of India, the bunch of people elected by the ‘people’ including the millions of the poverty-stricken with an expected responsibility to bring the poverty-stricken people out of poverty, decided to divert a proportion of the scarce public funds to make overseas treatment costs free for the IAS (Indian Administrative Service), IPS (Indian Police Service) and the Indian Forest Service officers. Until now, only Members of Parliament and IFS (Indian Foreign Service) officers were extended this largesse. And there is no upper ceiling to this.

It sucks. Isn’t it parasitic?

Is this a democracy for?

Millions cannot afford even the treatment for the common fever and here, some are being treated so exclusively. When people have to travel for kilometers to reach a hospital (that is poorly equipped in most cases), why to send these fellows abroad on public money and that too, when almost every possible treatment is available in India? Why splurge, why waste, when the doctor-to-population ratio still remains critically low in India, a physician density of 6.5 per 10,000 of population against the global average of 14.2?

Why so?

Remember what the Preamble of the world’s most extensive Constitution says?

WE, THE PEOPLE OF INDIA, having solemnly resolved to constitute India into a _1[SOVEREIGN SOCIALIST SECULAR DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC] and to secure to all its citizens:

JUSTICE, social, economic and political;

LIBERTY of thought, expression, belief, faith and worship;

EQUALITY of status and of opportunity;

and to promote among them all

FRATERNITY assuring the dignity of the individual and the _2[unity and integrity of the Nation];

IN OUR CONSTITUENT ASSEMBLY this twenty-sixth day of November, 1949, do HEREBY ADOPT, ENACT AND GIVE TO OURSELVES THIS CONSTITUTION.

Yes, we, the citizens of India – but what this India is?

India of a few rich and the poor India of hundreds of millions?

Was it envisioned so 64 years ago?

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/

POLITICIANS CLEAR ORDINANCE TO SHIELD TAINTED OF THEIR LOT: WHY DEMOCRACY IN INDIA IS IN IMMINENT DANGER OF DISINTEGRATION?

September 2013

July this year, in two landmark judgments, the Supreme Court had ruled that jailed persons could not contest elections and a convicted politician was to be immediately disqualified. It sent shockwaves in the political fraternity, for future of many politicians, many big names including existing members of legislative bodies, was in imminent danger. But they had a clear ray of hope, a certain way out of the abyss, in their political brethrens.

In August, the Rajya Sabha, the upper House of the Indian Parliament, unanimously passed a proposed amendment in the Representation of the People Act 1951 (RP) to negate a landmark Supreme Court order that could have brought fundamental (and desperately required) improvements in the conduct of the political class. But, somehow, the amendment act could not be passed in the Monsoon Session of the Parliament due to the sustained ‘political’ pandemonium, over this or that issue.

It had to come down to the Lok Sabha. It was supposed to be discussed by the enlightened wisdom of the political parties on the floor of the Lok Sabha. That was, once again, supposed to be a decorative sham, as it was their collective wisdom only that had it passed unanimously in the Rajya Sabha. Even the political furor over the ordinance route now is nothing more than a sham. Had it not been the case, the amendment bill could not have passed the Rajya Sabha hurdle.

The Winter Session of the Parliament (coming November-December) was supposed to be the time for the final execution in this episode of subversion of democratic values in India’s democratic evolution.

But, suddenly, within three weeks of the Monsoon session of the Parliament, the Congress led UPA government yesterday cleared an ordinance to shield the convicted of the political lot.

And it should not be surprising at all. What is surprising is it could not be passed in the Monsoon Session after all the political bonhomie. After all, all politicians are similar under the skin they had shown once again by ensuring the unanimous passage of the amendment act in the Rajya Sabha.

But its timing worries like most of the acts of the Indian political theatre. It is ominous for the democratic spirit of the country. The ‘fact’, that it was not unexpected or it is not surprising, makes its even more menacing.

Reports say the decision in a Fodder Scam case where Lalu Yadav is an accused is just one week away. Only last week, a court convicted Congress Rajya Sabha MP Rashid Masood in a corruption and sentencing is due.

Whether reasons like these played any role pushing the UPA government to bring an ordinance so early may be debatable but the intent is always clear – it was to undermine the guiding spirit of the Indian Constitution envisioned by its framers.

And if it is timed to work for reasons as reported, it shows how irresponsible the existing political class has become to the democratic values.

This frequent audacity, the recurrent brazenness of the political class to change or co-opt anything that is coming in its way is threatening the democratic structure of social weaving in the country.

The practice was always there but it has grown at a deafening pace in recent times. The ordinance to shield the convicted politicians is just yet another democratic casualty.

*“Why India is in imminent danger of disintegration?’ is a regular column on my blogging platforms to take a periodic look (say a weekly or a fortnightly or a monthly round-up of events depending on the factors in play) on political developments that are dangerous to the democratic health of the country and contribute to the process of social disintegration of the nation..”
https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/2013/09/03/why-democracy-in-india-is-in-imminent-danger-of-disintegration/

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/

TENS OF THOUSANDS ARRIVED TO WELCOME HIM OUT OF JAIL: WHY DEMOCRACY IN INDIA IS IN IMMINENT DANGER OF DISINTEGRATION?

September 2013

Thousands gathered outside the jail to greet him.

Tens of thousands arrived in Hyderabad to welcome him, to join the procession to his journey back to home, from the Chanchalguda prison to his palatial house in Hyderabad’s posh locality, Banjara Hills.

As if, a freedom fighter fighting some colonial oppression or an activist resisting a authoritarian government was coming out of jail. But sadly it wasn’t the case.

And that is acidic for the democratic health of the country. This celebration was, once again, representative of a deteriorating mindset of the masses. Yes, it is a deteriorating mindset that owes its sustenance to the continued political manipulation of the masses.

It is acidic because the person was detained in jail against charges of corruption. In a short time, he has amassed huge wealth. In his area of influence, he is seen as a strongman. We fail to trace his political history beyond his political lineage. Apart from amassing disproportionate assets, he has not done anything to be known as a great politician, a humane politician, in making. Yet, he has emerged as a big political alternative, in course of three years only.

That is certainly not good for the democratic spirit of the nation because the malaise here represents the larger malaise in the society where people fail to understand what is right or wrong and how corruption is eating the concept of the ‘Republic of India’; where people fail to put politicians facing serious allegations out of the office till such politicians prove their innocence.

The person in question was in jail for the last 16 months on many counts of violations in Disproportional Assets (DA) case. The ‘symbolically central’ Central Bureau of Investigation has filed 10 charge-sheets against him in the DA case.

Son of a popular politician, who was also a former chief-minister, the fellow is a powerful politician, running a diversified business empire. His jail-term is supposed to correlate with his assets, that are, by most analyses, disproportionate in nature.

It was alleged and widely reported that when the powerful politician father of this powerful politician son had died in an unfortunate helicopter crash in 2009, fake reports of several people dying of shock of the untimely demise of the great leader were propped to gain mileage of political sympathy. Silly!

As a natural corollary to the dynasty politics in India, nurtured and propagated by the most powerful Delhi-based political family of India, this powerful politician son demanded to succeed his father’s chief-ministerial chair, a chair that was denied to him.

Miffed with the denial of the royal chair of the chief-minster ship, he broke away from the grand old political party of India and formed his own political outfit. And in remarkable turn of events, in a pseudo-democracy with an alienated and ignorant electorate, he emerged as a strong political force in a short period of time, and so a political threat. That could have been a call for the opponents to move in 2011.

Threat to the establishment in office and court’s interventions were motives enough for the shambolic CBI to act differently from its character. Subsequently, resultantly, this powerful politician was forced behind bars and left there languishing for 16 months.

But, he kept on growing politically stronger and became even more relevant for the political equations in the changed circumstances after the Union government announced bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh. Maintaining a strong anti-Telangana stand and riding on a strong support base in the Seemandhra region could have changed the thinking of the grand old party of India that is facing an imminent danger of being wiped out in Andhra Pradesh after the bifurcation decision taken by the Congress led Union Government.

The political cliché that there are no friends or foes in politics shows us this ugly face of Indian politics, that, with a largely ignorant electorate, is eroding the democratic health of the country; is polluting whatever that is left in the name of democracy in India.

Whatever be the reality of the reported deals, between his political outfit YSRCP and the Congress, or of the BJP’s feelers to him criticising the CBI for his plight, we are going to witness some uglier political deal-making in the days to come.

No denial to this fact that Mr. Jagan Mohan Reddy, son of the former Andhra Pradesh chief minster Y S Rajashekara Reddy, has amassed wealth beyond his known sources of income.

The detention for 16 months of a son of a powerful politician with a regional clout tells us of the veracity of allegations. Had it been the case of some common man, who could even be one of Mr. Reddy’s die-hard supporters, like those swarming outside the Chanchalguda jail or on Hyderabad roads leading to the Jagan’s house, we could have believed a detention of 16 months was possible even if all the charges were false. Running a strong media empire and sitting on huge assets, Mr. Reddy had access to the resources, to finest of the legal minds in the country.

What becomes finally of Mr. Reddy in courts in his corruption cases will take a long time. It could go even beyond his lifetime. And meanwhile, he will keep enjoying his political kingdom with loyal supporters in the world’s largest democracy.

And Mr. Reddy is not alone. He is just one among the countless of the politicians facing serious corruption allegations. And he is just one among this lot of the countless that continues to enjoy to public support in spite of serious corruption allegations. Making people with serious corruption allegations politically stronger is also corruption and we are making so many of the breed stronger with every election.

That is detrimental to the democratic concept of India envisioned in its Constitution.

It reflects again and again in celebrations like these.

*“Why democracy in India is in imminent danger of disintegration?’ is a regular column on my blogging platforms to take a periodic look (say a weekly or a fortnightly or a monthly round-up of events depending on the factors in play) on political developments that are dangerous to the democratic health of the country and contribute to the process of social disintegration of the nation..”
https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/2013/09/03/why-democracy-in-india-is-in-imminent-danger-of-disintegration/

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/

INTERACT WITH LIFE

Life creates notions – driven by one’s surroundings – the external and internal life energy regulating one’s rhythms – in proximity with one’s age, one’s body of experiences and one’s realms of learning..

Life creates notions – the symbolisms, that we follow, that we ask about – in varying proportions – based on how these notions interact..

Based on how life interacts with these notions, we move on to get on to the next stage – making viewpoints – at cross-sections of the muddled waters – at quiet of the peaceful shores – reflecting on the depth of the clear water – thinking on the events of a life in motion..

Life moves through these multiple interactions – making its own space – creating its own pace – finding its own world..

Life thus creates notions for you to interact with it – a process that consummates only when the death calls – interact with life to regulate its flow – communicate with life to organize its energy..  

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/

ROHTAK HONOUR KILLINGS: IT’S THE MINDSET – THE ROT IS DEEP – EVEN THE ‘EDUCATED’ HOODAS DON’T SEE THE POINT

Two 20-something, well in adulthood lovers, were duped and manipulated by the girl’s family after they fled to get married. The two from the same village and the same ‘gotra’ (clan), but from different families (with houses 1 Km apart), were made to believe that their families were ready to accept them.

Once in the trap, the butchers from the girl’s family, in the most horrible manner possible, hacked the couple to death, slicing their bodies in many parts. Everyone in the village knew it.

In fact, an elaborate spectacle of this butchery was made in the whole village with the severed head of the boy on display, warning others to think of the consequences before taking such a step as this couple had done.

And the spectacle was fully endorsed, highly appreciated, in a village that is in Rohtak, hometown of Haryana’s chief minister, Bhupinder Singh Hooda.

Mr. Hooda is a qualified lawyer and his son, who is Member of Parliament from Rohtak, Deepender Singh Hooda, is an MBA from the Kelley Business School, Indiana University, USA.

But do their educational backgrounds make any difference? NO! They are as backward as the villagers who endorse such killings. Villagers or the contractors of the communities do it in the name of social norms. Politicians like Hooda do it for the sake of their political interests.

Education can make you look and talk smart, can arm you to manipulate the System, can take you to the places, but it cannot make you a ‘humane’ human being when you are from the badlands of Haryana, Punjab, western Uttar Pradesh or any other place where honour killings have become an acceptable norm in societies like in Haryana chief minister’s hometown. Try a periodic Internet search for ‘honour killings in Rohtak’ and you will come across loads of results.

Both, the ‘educated father-son duo’, say there is no need for a ‘new or separate law’ on honour killings. Yes, they do condemn such incidents, but such knee-jerk reactions are more to address the pressure of media and the civil society activists, than to the issue itself.

And it’s the mindset that is to blame, a mindset that has become the System itself, and the people sick and paralysed from this mindset, have become its different appendages, elongating the run of horror.

Honour killings or ‘dishonour’ killings whatever we say, are the stark reality of this India that boasts of space-age technological sophistications.

Whatever we claim but education or civilization advancement tools like the technological achievements or economic prosperity have failed to fill the gap.

Places like the badlands of Haryana or anywhere else where the honour killings are rampant have proven how ineffective educational training have been in eradicating sentiments that push the butchers to kill their own sons and daughters in the name of family, village or community honour.

When someone as highly educated like Mr. Deepender Hooda, (a senior politician as well, even if his seniority is because of his political lineage) or someone entrusted with running a state smoothly on the principals of the Indian Constitution like Mr. Bhupinder Hooda, who is son of a freedom fighter, become party in extending support to the perpetrators of such heinous crimes in the name of honour, we can gauge how deep is the rot.

Yes, just putting butchers behind bars, butchers who feel proud in killing their own sons and daughters, is not going to change anything. Because, these butchers know they are not going to be hanged till death. Because, these butchers know, once back to their communities, they will be hailed as heroes.

They have to be ostracized. If their immediate society fails to do so, the law needs to do so.

A tough law is needed for the bunch that doesn’t know what humanity is.

A report on a TV news channel said in UK, every year, almost 12 honour-killing cases are registered and the perpetrators are Indians and South Asians.

See! Education or living in an advanced western civilization fails to make any difference. It’s about the mindset!

Use ‘honour’, ‘dishonour’ or any other phrase, these are plain killings, committed in the most gruesome ways, breaking all the norms of humanity. In fact, such killings must come under ‘rarest of the rare’ category. Courts need to finish such cases at the earliest, unlike December 16, 2013 Delhi gangrape case that took nine months. Nine months in a case that saw a massive public outrage forcing the politicians to enact a stringent anti-rape law. Nine months in a case when the policymakers sitting at the top had promised the result within 2-3 months.

Its not that the relevant laws to handle such ghastly crimes are not there in the Indian Penal Code. What is needed is severity in implementation.

Inhuman ways are needed to teach humanity to them who cut other human beings to pieces in full public view. And it has to be time-bound.

The mindset change is a long-term effort. But it is also urgently imperative that we, as a civilized society, do not bear the burden of such butchers, such criminals anymore.

And the immediate measure is the fear of the harshest punishment under the law. Yes, it is not going to change anything soon but the fear of death will be the first step on the process to the mindset change.

Education may come later on to build on the fear quotient.

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/

CANCEROUS CONCOCTION OF RELIGION AND POLITICS

CANCEROUS CONCOCTION OF RELIGION AND POLITICS

CANCEROUS CONCOCTION OF RELIGION AND POLITICS

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/