LONG MARCH TO DEMOCRACY

PART DONE..PART WORK IN PROGRESS..

INDIAN DEMOCRACY..PART DONE..PART WORK IN PROGRESS

RAW CELLPHONE CLIP
NEW DELHI RAILWAY STATION – 16.09.2016

WE TALK ABOUT DEMOCRATIZING AIR FARES..BUT WHAT ABOUT THESE LONG QUEUES TO CATCH UNRESERVED, LOWEST CLASS SEATS IN OUR TRAINS FOR A JOURNEY OF 20 OR 40 HOURS?

IT IS NOT THAT PEOPLE GO FOR IT AS THIS IS THE CHEAPEST SEGMENT OF TRAIN TICKETS. THEY JUST CANNOT AFFORD EVEN THIS ONE!

AND THEY ARE A REGULAR FEATURE – BE IT DELHI OR MUMBAI OR KOLKATA!

THIS RANDOM CLIP HERE HAS CAPTURED A CONVERSATION A PERSON HAD WHILE SITTING IN THE AIR-CONDITIONED (HIGHER AC) COMPARTMENT OF ANOTHER TRAIN, A CONVERSATION THAT IS SYMBOLIC OF THE CHASM BETWEEN HAVES AND HAVE-NOTS IN OUR COUNTRY!

CONCERNS THAT TELL THE TALES!

LONG MARCH TO DEMOCRACY

©SantoshChaubey

LONG MARCH TO DEMOCRACY

PART DONE..PART WORK IN PROGRESS..

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INDIAN DEMOCRACY..PART DONE..PART WORK IN PROGRESS

CELLPHONE CLICKS
NEW DELHI RAILWAY STATION – 16.09.2016

WE TALK ABOUT DEMOCRATIZING AIR FARES..BUT WHAT ABOUT THESE LONG QUEUES TO CATCH UNRESERVED, LOWEST CLASS SEATS IN OUR TRAINS FOR A JOURNEY OF 20 OR 40 HOURS?

IT IS NOT THAT PEOPLE GO FOR IT AS THIS IS THE CHEAPEST SEGMENT OF TRAIN TICKETS. THEY JUST CANNOT AFFORD EVEN THIS ONE!

AND THEY ARE A REGULAR FEATURE – BE IT DELHI OR MUMBAI OR KOLKATA!

LONG MARCH TO DEMOCRACY

©SantoshChaubey

SOME STRAIGHT THOUGHTS ON ‘SPIRAL OF SILENCE’ IN ACTION IN INDIA

THE QUESTIONS

— Is the ‘Spiral of Silence’ coming into its own in India now?

— Is the 2004 General Election a beginning point to see the ‘Spiral of Silence’ in action in India?

— How is social media shaping the ‘Public Sphere’ discourse in India?

— Is India the next big leap for a socially relevant social media after the Arab Spring?

— India shows even the robust democracies can be the perfect social laboratories for the ‘Spiral of Silence’ expressions?

— Are elections the best avenues to see the ‘Spiral of Silence’ patterns in a democracy that has loads of greys?

— Is the Indian democracy caught in a dilemma between being politically correct Vs being politically relevant Vs being politically apolitical Vs being apolitically political?

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

SALMAN KHAN HAD TO WALK AWAY..BUT..

Verdict in Salman Khan’s 2002 hit and run case: No one killed Nurullah Mehboob Sharif. He just died.

Verdict in Salman Khan’s 2002 hit and run case: No one broke Abdullah Rauf Shaikh’s leg. It just happened.

Verdict in Salman Khan’s 2002 hit and run case: No one broke Mohammad Kaleem’s leg and caused severe damage to his hand and back. It just happened.

Verdict in Salman Khan’s 2002 hit and run case: Mohammad Muslim’ thigh could not bear weight of his posture. And he was subsequently diagnosed with fracture.

Verdict in Salman Khan’s 2002 hit and run case: Abdul Shaikh (or Munna Malai Khan) just found his right foot under Salman’s vehicle. He doesn’t want to feel beyond it.

Verdict in Salman Khan’s 2002 hit and run case: Even a Google search hardly comes with victims ‘names – and even if it comes – names vary with reports.

SALMAN KHAN IS RIGHT WITH HIS OWN POSITION. NO ONE CAN DENY HE HAS COME OUT TO BE A GOOD HUMAN BEING.

THE VICTIMS DON’T KNOW WHERE THEY STAND. THE WORLD DOESN’T EVEN KNOW THEIR NAMES PROPERLY. AND WE HAD A COURT CASE IN THEIR NAMES THAT DRAGGED ON FOR 13 YEARS, ONLY TO COME TO THIS.

ACQUITTED, SALMAN KHAN WALKS AWAY TODAY. HOPE SENSE PREVAILS TO MAINTAIN WHO AND WHAT HE IS NOW.

A BIG BLOT, A BIG QUESTION MARK AGAIN ON THE SYSTEM WE ARE LIVING IN! HOPE SENSE WOULD PREVAIL SOME DAY.

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

WHY WE SHOULD CELEBRATE OUR INDEPENDENCE DAY

It is because we can freely raise such questions based on this proposition.

It is because we have freedom to express so and ask uncomfortable questions that drag our society back – questions that are still holding us back in a dock of antiquated moratoriums on many issues so vital to us – even after 68 years of getting Independence as a sovereign state.

It is because we have freedom to seek answers to such questions.

Yes, the freedom that we have is relative, but then where it is not?

Every August 15 for India is an event to look back on, to reflect on the journey so far – a journey that began for us on August 15, 1947.

The days is and should be like a profit and loss assessment – on how we dealt with the last year – and on how it fits into the aspirations of a nation that began its independent journey 68 years ago – promises that we made and questions that we raised on August 15, 2014, when we celebrated the 68th Independence Day – and on August 15, 2015, when we are celebrating our 69th Independence Day.

We should celebrate the Independence Day because we have the Constitutional sanction to look at it in this way – an analysis to take stock of what we have done, where we are and what we need to do go where we want to go.

Yes, the day is as much a cause of celebration as it is a reason for critical observation of the sanctity of the pledge that is weaved around us and our souls will always remain in eternal debt of that – a pledge that was taken 68 years ago – a pledge that every Indian of every generation – this, past and future – is answerable to – to shape this land as per the visions of the framers of our Constitution – framers who gave the world’s its largest democracy within three years of India’s independence.

Yes, there are factors in our democracy that push us backward and we cannot deny the fact that they are a major force. It rightly makes us question the system and its numerous flaws and we all must be serious watchers of such flaws and must raise voice and think of ways to go beyond the noise.

Our independence and it being within a democratic framework of a sovereign state gives us means and platforms to exercise our rights in a free Constitutional space.

Our independence in the world’s largest democracy, in fact the world’s largest functional democracy (see the spate of bloggers killed in Bangladesh for raising their voices) makes us part of a system where there are supportive voices as well, if there are hostile elements with their fangs to silence us.

15th August is an event, an occasion to renew the pledge to work against the flaws of our democracy.

Times are changing – and changing fast. Information access and the resultant chaos have the potential to lead the voice of change to have it an upper hand than those who see their benefit in promoting the status-quo.

We should celebrate our Independence Day because we all are stakeholders in the process that makes our democracy a reason to fight for.

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

EULOGIZING GODSE, DEFENDING RELIGIOUS CONVERSION: MODI NEEDS TO REIN THEM IN FOR 2019 RE-ELECTION

Whenever Narendra Modi talks about his vision of India, he talks long term, of continuing governing India at least for the coming two terms, till 2024.

Modi’s reputation on governance and the promises he has made would need that much time and the country and its voters who voted for him would rationally and logically give him the window of these ten years, provided he performs regularly, coming out with report cards on regular intervals that talk of real, solid development.

The political opposition looks nailed and in disarray at the moment. The positive atmosphere for Modi is complemented well with the factors like low international oil prices and healthy inflation rate. His foray in international diplomacy is marching handsomely ahead with Barack Obama as the chief guest of the Republic Day 2015 function.

So, it’s a good harnessing ground for him — except the internal factors of his party, his party’s coalition and the elements of ideology that could potentially derail the show, denying Narendra Modi re-election in 2019.

The country and the voters would expressively reject any attempt to eulogize the likes of Nathuram Godse. Eulogizing a Nathuram Godse is akin to the evil intent to kill the spirit of Mahatma Gandhi, a direct affront on the Indian democratic institution. And that eulogy coming from a member of Parliament from Modi’s party is ominous. It doesn’t matter if the person retracted or not.

The country and the voters don’t need mass religious conversion ceremonies. The country and the voters don’t need the ministers and politicians defending such moves and doing politics over the issue. It leaves most of us, who are looking for development, in bad taste.

The country and the voters don’t need debates or extensions over headlines like ‘India a Hindu nation’. It is simply not acceptable, going by the reality of the India of the day, and its realpolitik of the future.

Narendra Modi needs to rein them in. He must rein them in.

The country and the voters who voted him in have given a mandate in the name of development. The large and ever expanding middle class and the huge youth base vote basically on the priorities that can make their lives better, can ease the basket of monthly burden most of the families have to carry. With majority appeasement and polarization, this was the other major factor that gave BJP majority on its own.

This vote base is demanding and reacts actively. Perform or perish is what should be in government’s mind.

If it slips away, it will be difficult for Modi to come back in 2019.

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

THREATENING TV CHANNELS: KCR & FAMILY – A DYNAST AND A DYNASTY IN MAKING

Three different states were created in 2000. Two have been failed by their politicians. Another new state has been created this year and the way it is heading, it looks to join the league of Uttarakhand and Jharkhand in the years to come.

The sad story and the sad story ahead – it’s all about the political leadership and the Telangana baton has slipped to the hands of a dynast it seems. He is reaping much more than what he sowed, when by the spirit of democracy – that should never be the case – something that has seldom been the case in India.

He is the chief minister. His son is minister. His nephew is minister. His daughter is a member of the Parliament (MP). And he defends it. And he justifies it.

All in the name of democracy and threaten to bury the voices, the media voices who, in his interpretation, insult Telangana.

And he vociferously goes undemocratic in doing so, assuming the role of courts and other watchdog agencies in deciding and acting on culpability, the traits of a political dynast, who always sees himself above the people who are the real currency of his authority.

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INDIAN POLITICS: GOOD TO SEE THAT INDIAN DEMOCRACY IS EXPERIMENTING AGAIN

Politics is a social science and in a country like India, the science of politics affects the social weaving in a major way – negative as well as positive.

Unfortunately, in India, the political scenario has been mostly negative with its ill-effects of corruption, apathy and elitism.

Family rule, nepotism, dynasties and unbroken chain of tenures have created fiefdoms of politicians, that slowly and gradually, in collusion with the spirit of the ‘political camaraderie*’ (as eulogized by a senior politician), have coalesced to form a parallel kingdom of many ‘princely’ states with politicians and their families ruling with ever-spreading tentacles.

The Kings, the Princes, the Princelings, and the Acolytes, and their Hegemony – and their Rule!

For an India of an indomitable democratic spirit, it has to broken, it has to be revered, to get aligned with the textbook functionality of politics (or the academically defined responsibilities of political science.)

Wikipedia has this to say on politics (in company with its different halos) – “Modern political discourse focuses on democracy and the relationship between people and politics. It is thought of as the way we ‘choose government officials and make decisions about public policy’.”

There are discourses, debates and definitions on ‘politics and political science’ but the crux has to be this. In India ‘this relationship between people and politics’ has been highly skewed in favour of the politicians.

Time has come to change that. 2011 revived a long forgotten spirit of the gravity of the peoples’ power with the anti-corruption movement of 2011. 2013 saw a step ahead in that direction giving power to an ‘apolitical political party’, just one-year old, with almost of the members having apolitical background. None of the ministers in the Delhi Cabinet have had previous political experience.

Yes, experiments these are; no need to certify them as of now; but can certainly be lauded. It is good to see that Indian democracy is now experimenting again, after a long time, keeping in centre the concerns of the common man, the voter, the person-next-door, a person like you and me.

That is the need of the day. That has to be the war-cry demand of the times we are living in, in a Republic that is also the world’s largest democracy.

The terms ‘politics of change’, ‘politics of values’ and ‘politics of ethics’ need to take the centre-stage of the political discourse in the country.

*Never attack family: Digvijaya Singh’s lesson on political ethics to Arvind Kejriwal
http://www.ndtv.com/article/india/never-attack-family-digvijaya-singh-s-lesson-on-political-ethics-to-arvind-kejriwal-280101

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

RAHUL GANDHI CONVICTS ‘CONVICTED NETAS’ ORDINANCE: WHY IT IS PREMATURE TO TRUST HIS ‘DELAYED’ CONSCIENCE? – RTI SILENCE, KALAWATI ABSENCE!

Because, we could not (or we did not) hear him when his Congress party led UPA government, in collusion with other political parties, brought the amendment to the Right to Information (RTI) Act to kill the spirit of a landmark judgement by the Central Information Commission (CIC).

The decision by the CIC putting the political parties considerably funded by public money under the purview of the RTI Act treating them as public authorities was a historically important empowering step needed desperately to help cleanse the polluted Indian polity. But this history-making decision soon saw its nemesis and is under imminent threat now.

Within days of the CIC decision, the government under Manmohan Singh brought the Right to Information (Amendment) Bill 2013 to shield all and sundry of the political class by changing the definition of public authority to keep the political parties insulated from the RTI Act and so from the public scrutiny. After having its Parliament stint, the amendment bill is now with a standing committee of Parliament.

If the political parties claim to represent the people, and if the politicians need to go back to the people to continue to be in power, they need to be answerable to the people.

Will Rahul Gandhi mend for his mistake then and would push for the withdrawal of the RTI Act amendment bill now?

Because, Kalawati, the Rahul Gandhi metaphor, has been reduced to look and sound like a sorry figure. She symbolises the charade of life, of hope being a mere flicker and of unending run of despair. And there are countless Kalawatis like Rahul Gandhi’s Kalawati. This Kalawati metaphor has become like the countless failed assurances that, in turn, represent the millions of other Kalawatis, the Indians struggling somehow to manage their lives.

Kalawati and Rahul are inseparable because she, once, symbolised the raw energy of a young politician who was beginning his active career in politics, a politician who sent a message that he intended to be the politician with a difference, a politician who spoke his mind honestly.

Kalawati – Rahul Gandhi repeatedly tries to sound pro-people by using real life examples and anecdotes. But the ground reality of the real life metaphors that Rahul tries to convey and symbolise through his speeches fails the very intent like it happened in Kalawati’s case.

The ground reality of the metaphor Kalawati fails Rahul.

India is dotted with millions of Kalawatis – living in poverty, burdened, miserable, vulnerable.

And, the Kalawati Rahul Gandhi made the major theme of his 2008 Parliament speech could have evolved as the champion of the cause bringing qualitative changes to the lives of the millions of Kalawatis thus symbolising a young politician’s resolve to change the face of this ‘miserable’ India.

Yet, Kalawati remains, after five years, just one of the millions of Kalawatis – miserable and burdened. She still works as a contract labourer and finds it hard to feed the family of eight. Had Kalawati thought of this sort of immortalization?

Millions still languish. Thousands still die. There are many ‘Attapadis’, ‘Kalahandis’ and ‘Bidars’ in India and no one is ready to listen to their cries.

There are millions of Kalawatis looking for someone to come and help them win over the many deaths they live, day after day.

Assurances were always there. Promises will fly even higher with elections around the corner.

We need to wait to see if it is going to be different in future because we can say it is not going to be so this time.

But, there is more to reason why taking Rahul Gandhi’s voice of conscience as ‘a genuine voice of concern of an outsider politician’ needs much more than ‘public’ outburst of his anger on an ordinance to shield the convicted politicians from disqualification?

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

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/