JULY 1: WORLD IS SURE OF HONG KONG’S RESILIENCE TO WITHSTAND CHINESE PRESSURE

July 1, the day comes every year. But for Hong Kongers, the day has increasingly become an occasion to reflect on what their protests have been so far – to think what they should do ahead.

Hong Kong was ‘handed over’ to China on July 1, 1997 under a British-Chinese agreement that laid down certain conditions for the city-state and former British colony. For Hong Kong, a ‘one country two systems’ norm was set up and China promised to give the citizens universal suffrage in a phased manner.

But that was just the story as it was thought to be. The reality of the day is starkly different.

Since its takeover, Beijing has been trying to impose the culture and the system of the mainland on this global financial powerhouse. Chinese national anthem is being more and more used. Sometimes, Beijing tries to introduce elements like altering textbooks. One of the regular features is propping up and supporting pro-Beijing lobby of politicians and pro-Beijing group of local Hong Kongers. And the most prominent of Beijing’s efforts is a panel of pro-Beijing politicians and its chief executive officer that governs the administration in the city state.

Beijing has even tried to show Hong Kong that the mainland can do better on the parameter Hong Kong has been known globally for – the economic might with a global financial pull. Beijing tried to do that with Shanghai and its stock market last year but failed in its attempt.

Majority of the Hong Kongers, who make the city-state population it but who are in minority in the ruling elite, are worried of the designs Beijing is trying to impose.

Hong Kong always maintained a culture of free speech and expression in an otherwise oppressive dictatorship that China has been and is. Tiananmen massacre incident is a taboo subject in China and many in the generation now see it just a political incident from country’s past. But Hong Kong has always maintained the spirit of June 4 Vigil every year with remembrance march and associated events to commemorate the brutal crackdown by Chinese leadership on students and political activists on June 4, 1989. Hong Kong’s Victoria Park echoes the global sentiments on this day, be it the British rule or the Chinese autocracy.

Obviously, Beijing does not like it. But it cannot openly do anything about it. So, the other way is to try and prop up elements that support the Chinese viewpoint as is on the mainland. In spite of its sociological problems around income distribution, Hong Kong is still a financial powerhouse and an important global connect centre for the Chinese economy. Beijing realizes it and cannot, therefore, impose itself forcefully on Hong Kong.

So, even if it agreed to give universal suffrage to the residents of Hong Kong, it came with the rider that Beijing was going to be the ultimate holder of power. Hong Kongers are free to elect their next leader (chief executive) in 2017 but they are not free to elect ‘whom to elect’ – that is what Beijing had proposed in the name of ‘universal suffrage’ leading to ‘more democratic rights’. The Beijing proposal that was voted down on June 18 by pro-democracy legislators after an intense debate of two days required Hong Kongers to elect their next chief executive from a panel of three names ‘shortlisted by Beijing’.

Now that the proposal is struck down by the pro-democracy groups, the old mechanism of electing the next chief executive would be followed in 2017 – sans any pseudo-democratic assurance. A pro-Beijing electoral college of few will install someone who will be no more than a Beijing puppet, the case now. And that would be without any spectacle of ‘democracy’. And it is routine business for Beijing administrators in China. They have been far more ruthless in crushing dissent on the mainland.

When the pro-democracy protesters were gathering for their march on July 1 ‘handover’ day last year, they were talking about the way ahead on pressurizing Beijing for a ‘true democratic’ proposal. The mood on that day was optimistic and resilient about fighting ahead as the Beijing’s proposal was still not in.

Beijing did what it had to do. Hundreds of thousands took to the street to oppose the ‘autocratic proposal’ in the garb of democracy’. Protests, that were named Umbrella Revolution, raged for months. The civil disobedience nature had few incidents of minor violence. But, as expected, Beijing did not relent.

This year, on July 1, the mood is driven by the developments since then. With the so called ‘democracy proposal’ by Beijing struck down, the political deadlock is in the air. Protester are very clear now that Beijing will not relent, not in the near term and their ‘struggle for democracy’ needs to go back to the drawing board at the thought level to decide on what they have to do ahead. The multitude of such thoughts, reflecting on the developments so far, will come with a spontaneous response ahead. The world is sure of that.

The world is sure of Hong Kong’s resilience to withstand the Chinese pressure. The world is sure of the culture of free speech and expression that has made June 4 Vigil and July 1 Handover Day march regular features of Hong Kong’s social fabric. The world believes in them. The protesters should have confidence in themselves.

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

Here are some of the photographs from today’s march:

July 1-HK-Alex Ogle-The Telegraph

Image courtesy: Alex Ogle – The Telegraph

HONG KONG - JULY 01:  Protesters march on a street during a rally as they hold banners and shout slogans on July 1, 2015 in Hong Kong. July 1 is traditionally a day of protest in Hong Kong and also marks the anniversary of the handover from Britain to China in 1997, under a 'one country, two systems' agreement.  (Photo by Anthony Kwan/Getty Images)

 Image courtesy: Anthony Kwan – Getty Images

July 1-HK-AP

Image courtesy: AP

JULY 1-HK-ISAAC LAWRENCE-AFP-GETTY IMAGES

Image courtesy: Isaac Lawrence – AFP – Getty Images

Protesters carry Hong Kong colonial flags during a march in Hong Kong, China July 1, 2015, the day marking the 18th anniversary of Hong Kong's handover from Britain to Chinese sovereignty. Thousands of Hong Kong protesters marched for full democracy on Wednesday and called on the Chinese-controlled city's leader to resign, just weeks after lawmakers voted down an electoral reform package backed by Communist Party leaders in Beijing. REUTERS/Bobby Yip

 Image courtesy: Bobby Yip – Reuters

Patrick Brousseau, 35, an English teacher from Canada, plays a bagpipe in support of a protest march in Hong Kong, China July 1, 2015, the day marking the 18th anniversary of Hong Kong's handover from Britain to Chinese sovereignty. REUTERS/Liau Chung-ren

Image courtesy: Liau Chung Ren – Reuters

Thousands of pro-democracy protesters stage a march to demand universal suffrage in Hong Kong, China July 1, 2015.  REUTERS/Tyrone Siu

Image courtesy: Tyrone Siu – Reuters

GREENPEACE INDIA: “WE REFUSE TO BE INTIMIDATED BY SUCH DIRTY TRICKS.”

Greenpeace campaigners may be green activists, but for Government of India, if we go by the developments, they are anti-development.

According to reports, Greenpeace India will be forced to close its operations within a month after the government froze its accounts almost a month ago.

And if it happens so, it will be bad, not only for its over 300 employees, but also for environmental activism (or green activism).

And if it happens so, it will be a first for Greenpeace, the global not-for-profit – the forced closure in a country of its operation.

According to Greenpeace India chief Samit Aich, the organization, with funds available, can sustain itself for a maximum one month and a shutdown is imminent. The press release from the organization appealed to fight back the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) decision to block Greenpeace India funds, 68% of which, it claims, came from 77000 Indians.

Samit Aich appealed to his employees – “I just made one of the hardest speeches of my life, but my staff deserve to know the truth. We have one month left to save Greenpeace India from complete shutdown, and to fight MHA’s indefensible decision to block our domestic accounts. The question here is why are 340 people facing the loss of their jobs? Is it because we talked about pesticide-free tea, air pollution, and a cleaner, fairer future for all Indians?”

Greenpeace is sure going to challenge it in a court, like it has done it in the past. And it is expected to emerge as a winner, like it emerged in Priya Pillai case. She had moved to the court after being offloaded from a London flight this January. Indian government found her a threat to the country who was going abroad to testify against the government. The Delhi High Court was stinging in its remarks while absolving Priya Pillai this March. The court ordered the government to allow her to travel abroad and remove her from the ‘banned list’. The court also ordered the government to expunge the remark related to her ‘offloading’ from her visa.

Justice Rajiv Shakdher’s was directly hitting at the government – “Criticism, by an individual, may not be palatable; even so, it cannot be muzzled. Many civil right activists believe that they have the right, as citizens, to bring to the notice of the state the incongruity in the developmental policies of the state. The state may not accept the views of the civil right activists, but that by itself, cannot be a good enough reason to do away with dissent.”

And it is bound to happen. India is slated to overtake China as the world’s fastest growing economy and the signs are already there. The Indian government of the day wants to increase the share of manufacturing in its economy – from 16% to 22% by 2022. Now that is a lot and bound to have intense activity in the sector with the ‘Make In India’ initiative.

The government and the activists, especially, the environmental activists, will cross ways regularly. Greenpeace India comes in this category.

And Greenpeace India is facing survival crisis while writing this, as already mentioned. The government came with an order that was to affect the whole organization, and not just some campaigners. On April 9, government froze Greenpeace’s bank accounts and suspended its FCRA registration (Foreign Contribution Regulation Act) on ‘violating norms’ that Greenpeace says are unfounded allegations.

On May 8, Greenpeace India submitted its response to the MHA, rebutting point by point its accusations. They say they have not violated norms and the MHA notice has many clerical errors and is totally unfounded.

Greenpeace India expects its response to the MHA will clear things. Samit Aich said on the response – “We are confident that this response establishes our legitimacy beyond any doubt. We have addressed every allegation made against us and responded in a transparent and honest way throughout. In contrast, the MHA has used unfounded allegations and arbitrary penalties in a blatant attempt to silence us. We remain proud of our campaigns for clean air, water and affordable energy, and refuse to be intimidated by such dirty tricks.”

Let’s see what happens next. Like Priya Pillai’s case, Indian courts are always accessible for an organization like Greenpeace.

And if the MHA doesn’t act on it, we should hear from Greenpeace from the courtroom for sure, for they ‘refuse to be intimidated by dirty tricks’.

Greenpeace 1

Greenpeace 2©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/

IROM SHARMILA RE-ARRESTED: PATHETIC IRONIES OF THE STATE CONTINUE

It was expected. It has been happening ever since.

We have seen it happening year after year – Irom Sharmila is released and is re-arrested.

And yes, we know, the state has been behind it- complicit, willingly and comfortably. Her annual release is basically technical in nature otherwise the state would not let her go, unless the court rules so, something that happened this time, something that that gave her a freedom of more than a day.

Indian rights activist Irom SharmilaImage courtesy: Reuters

The court order came on August 19 quashing the charge of ‘attempt to commit suicide’ – she was released on August 20 evening – the police approached her on August 21 for the usual round as Sharmila continued with her fast not taking food and water and refusing medical checkup – and on August 22 morning, she was taken by the police again to the same ‘isolation’ ward of the Imphal hospital where she has spent so many years demanding the repeal of the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act – and where a chief judicial magistrate remanded her to 15 days of judicial custody.

So, the pathetic annual exercise of the state had a differentiator this time – Sharmila had some extended hours of freedom where she expressed about and broke down on her desire for freedom – she spent some time at the site of her protest where she began almost 14 years ago – she spent some time without the tube attached to her nose, something she has been with since November 2000 – she met people – she spoke and she interacted – and the whole world wrote about her freedom this time – because the extended hours gave us the direct access to her – one to one – reaching out,  speaking out.

Irom Sharmila-IEImage courtesy: Indian Express

In previous years, this window was not available, as without a court ruling freeing her of the charges of ‘attempted suicide’, the police would release her as one year would come to an end – only to meet the technical requirement of the law – the Section 309 of the Indian Penal Code that deals with ‘attempted suicide’ and has a jail term of one year – and then re-arrest her immediately.

This year, when the Sessions court of Manipur East ruled that Sharmila never said ‘fast-unto-death’ and freed her of charges under the Section 309 of the IPC, a Section that is set to be decriminalized by the Indian government, many of us thought the sense would prevail and the state would act with sanity.

But – but, the state is notorious by its stubbornness – it is one of the bottlenecks of our functional democracy – a democracy that has been able to survive and grow – we saw it in case of Dr. Binayak Sen – we saw it in case of Himanshu Kumar – we have seen it in many other cases – and there is no end to it in the near future – the re-arrest of Irom Sharmila reaffirms that.

The state’s pathetic ironies continue.

THE NORTH-EAST CRISIS

Yes, both, the pro- and anti- AFSPA debates have takers but what negative has happened and is happening due to the AFSPA – with many incidents including the November 2, 2000 Malom Massacre – the massacre that called Irom Sharmila, who was 28 then, to begin her protest fast-until-the AFSPA-repeal on the same day – must be accepted honestly by the state in order to come up with some better and ‘acceptable-to-most’ alternative – like has been the demand always – like has been the need always.

It is true some North-Eastern states like Nagaland, Assam, Meghalaya, and Manipur have deep-rooted insurgencies and terrorists there enjoy local ethnic support and survive by exploiting the anti-mainland India sentiments. The intense ethnic divide among the tribal groups has only exacerbated the crisis. They are fighting with the Union of India and they are fighting among themselves.

Tripura was the similar story until it got a sensible political leadership in Manik Sarkar, one of the few honest politicians the country has. The security apparatus of the Union of India and the local wing of the state’s politics can learn from Tripura’s experience to look for tools to adopt in handling and overcoming the insurgency. But, so far the condition remains volatile in other crisis hotbeds of the North-East India.

Yes, the political mismanagement and apathy has been largely responsible for it. The whole North-Eastern region is still a largely disconnected landmass with poor infrastructure and almost no industries. The agrarian economy that has the potential to evolve into big-ticket industrial units has been neglected while bilateral trade with neighboring countries that has not much scope has been made the focus of the industrial policy on the North-East so far. The whole region doesn’t produce industrial materials except coal, petroleum products and minerals meant for internal consumption and cannot be exported. Also, there is not enough local talent to support if large-scale industrial units are brought in the region. The paradropping of industries exercise was one of the central reasons that led to the proliferation of insurgencies as the economy was centralized in few hands and the locals did not benefit.

And the hostilities still continue, in spite of the Government of India making serious efforts now. There is a separate ministry in existence for the North-East region for over a decade now. The average per-capita central assistance to the North-East is almost four times of the all India average, Rs. 683.94 Vs Rs. 2574.98, as was in the 10th Five Year Plan and the Special Category Status is to continue till 12th Plan.

But, the hostilities continue, as the crisis has been in making for years and will take time and tough measures handling the insurgents and safeguarding the interests of the common people. The anti-mainland sentiment is still very much there to be exploited by the insurgents.

The experience of the people from the mainland has been pretty bad there, especially in Nagaland, Meghalaya and Manipur. Hindi cinema was banned by an insurgent group in Manipur in 2000 and is still in force. Even the biopic on Mary Kom, the Manipuri icon of the contemporary times, starring a Hindi cinema actress and produced by a Mumbai based production house has not been allowed screening. Tens of thousands have been internally displaced and thousands have been killed in the ongoing insurgency.

TOUGH MEASURES NEEDED BUT THE STATE NEEDS TO BEHAVE

The security establishment of the country does need special measures to deal with such hostile situations where the terrorists enjoy the ethnic support like is the case in Jammu & Kashmir.

But that never means allowing the security forces to go on rampage. And the AFSPA has seen many such cases – like some other draconian laws, used by the state regularly that put activists like Dr. Binayak Sen behind bars.

All such laws and special acts need to be scrutinized for the changes to be incorporated. The archaic laws need to be made contemporary. The special acts like the AFSPA need to come with enough of the stringent measures to set examples for the officers breaching the code or need to be replaced altogether with better and logical mechanisms that serve the purpose of the people as well as of the security needs of the state.

Yes, it is easier said than done. But nothing is easier in running the governments in an ethnically, religiously and culturally complex country like India that is also a functionally successful democracy. There are still many stakeholders who rightly feel left out of the process of democracy and the insurgents grow parasitic on the state and such stakeholders by exploiting the state’s apathy and the stakeholders’ frustration and such hostilities are there in the mainland India as well.

The state needs to behave when it acts with activists raising voices in democratic ways. They are our own people. They are from among us, speaking for their people, for us, and not for the insurgents.

The state needs to give space to the voices like Dr. Binayak Sen or Irom Sharmila in place of implicating them in silly cases under the draconian sections of the legal code. The wide support to these voices tells they represent for the millions who cannot speak or are not allowed to speak and the state must listen to them.

In place of forcing them in jails or in confined spaces, like has been done again with Irom Sharmila.

See the fallacy of the pathetic ironies – the law the Indian government feels is illogical and is to be done away with as explicitly told to the nation – has been used once again by one of its state governments to arrest Irom Sharmila, now a global icon of the Gandhian way of protest – by a Congress-run state government the chief minister of which invited Irom Sharmila to contest the 2014 Lok Sabha election on Congress ticket as she said after her release this time.

And see the irony holding-up the system – a judge released her quashing the ‘attempt to suicide’ charges as the state could not prove if Irom Sharmila had ever said so (fast-unto-death) – and she certainly didn’t say so since her release on Wednesday evening.

Even then, another judge found her case fit to be filed under the Section 309 of the IPC – under the charge of ‘attempt to commit suicide’ – the same IPC Section that is soon going to be decriminalized by the Government of India.

There was no need to arrest her this time or charge her for ‘attempted suicide’ and remand her to the judicial custody.

Yes, as she refused medical checkup and any nutritional intake, the police was bound to act on concerns of her health, as the Manipur East court ruling ordered, but it could have been done without arresting and charging her.

But, there is no sanity still – it was just the fear of the court order to come clean on acting in time on her health worries the police response told us – the way the police almost dragged her, as the whole nation saw in the news broadcasts, even if acting on the pretext of ‘preventing her health from deteriorating further’ – even if she was screaming – was shameful and utterly disgusting – and is to be condemned.

NDTV video: Irom Sharmila, shouting, forcibly removed from fast venue by cops

Irom Sharmila CollageImage courtesy: NDTV

Yes, the chores of the state’s pathetic ironies continue.

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

HONG KONG MARCH: DEMOCRATIC SPIRIT IS ALIVE AND KICKING

The protest march on the annual handover day in the Central Business District of Hong Kong was an expected success and that is the big news about it, this beautiful banner photograph from the South China Morning Post coverage tells us.

There were clashes with police and over 500 were arrested, that is the big news about it.

The protesters sounded motivated by the outcome and warned of more intense protests later this year demanding democratic reforms and that is the big news about it.

Over half-a-million turnout was expected and it did happen and it tells people are becoming more and more vocal and determined about their struggle.

And the slogan of this year’s July 1 handover day protest march, “defending Hong Kong Authority: No fear of Beijing’s threat of comprehensive control” explains this attitude well.

Two protest marches with largest turnouts in the recent history of Hong Kong, the June 4 Tiananmen protests vigil night and the July 1 handover day march, that has changed its character from being a ceremonial day to a day of protest, within a month, and that, too, against the might of a manipulative and oppressive government, give us inspiring shots for pro-democracy resistance movements.

Residents of Hong Kong who migrated from the mainland to have a life away from the Chinese wars during the imperial period and subsequently from the Communist rule are fighting to reclaim the life they had during the colonial years especially in the later half of the 20th Century that saw rapid economic growth making its per-capita-income among the highest in the world.

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HONG KONG MARCH: THE INSPIRING SHOTS

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Photo: South China Morning Post

The protest march on the annual handover day in the Central Business District of Hong Kong was an expected success and that is the big news about it, this beautiful banner photograph from the South China Morning Post coverage tells us.

There were clashes with police and over 500 were arrested, that is the big news about it.

The protesters sounded motivated by the outcome and warned of more intense protests later this year demanding democratic reforms and that is the big news about it.

Over half-a-million turnout was expected and it did happen and it tells people are becoming more and more vocal and determined about their struggle.

And the slogan of this year’s July 1 handover day protest march, “defending Hong Kong Authority: No fear of Beijing’s threat of comprehensive control” explains this attitude well.

Two protest marches with largest turnouts in the recent history of Hong Kong, the June 4 Tiananmen protests vigil night and the July 1 handover day march, that has changed its character from being a ceremonial day to a day of protest, within a month, and that, too, against the might of a manipulative and oppressive government, give us inspiring shots for pro-democracy resistance movements.

These are some of the moments captured, sourced here from different agencies:

Related post: HONG KONG MARCH: PRO-DEMOCRACY SYMBOLISM OF HONG KONG SPEAKS AGAIN
https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/2014/07/02/hong-kong-march-pro-democracy-of-symbolism-of-hong-kong-speaks-once-again/

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HONG KONG MARCH: PRO-DEMOCRACY OF SYMBOLISM HONG KONG SPEAKS AGAIN

Hong Kong: hundreds of thousands participate in pro-democracy march – The Guardian
Hong Kong Democracy Protest: Thousands March Through City – The Wall Street Journal
Hong Kong Pro-Democracy Protesters Emboldened by March – The Wall Street Journal
In Hong Kong, Tens of Thousands March for Democracy – TIME
Over 500 arrested after Hong Kong democracy rally – USA TODAY
Police accused of heavy-handed treatment of protesters arrested after July 1 march – South China Morning Post

It is laudable, it is brilliant, and it is there for us to see. Yes, it is not going to bring any immediate change, and possibly, not even in the near future. In fact, it can and will bring repression with the state machinery going tougher on the protesters and pro-democracy factions, parties and activists.

But, it is symbolically potent, like any such event in China, an oppressive democracy, is and has been, like the Tiananmen Protests and Massacre on mainland, like the Annual Tiananmen Vigil on June 4 in Hong Kong, like the Wukan protests on mainland or like this Annual Handover Day March on July 1, when Hong Kong was handed over to the Chinese rule 17 years ago.

The island of Hong Kong may be just a city state but being one of the economic powerhouses of the world and an industrialized and developed British colony till 1997, it is home to the values the developed Western economies cherish and that was the central reason behind the autonomy given to the islanders under ‘one country, two systems’ norms – with local rule to run the systems except foreign relations and defense.

But, then it was China, the global powerhouse of repression, the symbolism of a ruthless political system ruled by a single political party for over six decades – a period with number of events when pro-democracy voices were killed mercilessly – and the run is still continued.

And any tyrannical regime is stubbornly imperialist when it comes to expand geographically or when it comes to claim territories – or when it comes to transform the culture of the territories to suit its plans, like China has done in Tibet, like China has done with Falun Gong.

After Hong Kong came under Chinese sovereignty, the next aim was to make its civil liberties like the mainland – where no civil liberties exist.

It was never going to be easy in Hong Kong, with cherished values and atmosphere of self-rule and autonomy in existence for a long time. Yes, there was no universal suffrage in spite of the attempts to introduce it. It remained a core issue and now the Chinese government of Beijing has agreed to introduce the universal suffrage in 2017 when the city-state is slated to go polls to elect its next leader.

But this universal suffrage is nothing more than a sham step where the candidate to be chosen is from the pool proposed by Beijing. And this is a major reason among others making the Hong Kong residents worried and frightened about Beijing’s intentions and plans.

Beijing is methodically taking over institutions in Hong Kong with efforts like installing a pro-Beijing leader or introduction of the national education programme (the protests in 2012).

And realizing the real intent, the pro-autonomy and pro-democracy activists are protesting it. Organizers from the ‘Civil Human Rights Front’ claim over 5,00,000 protesters came forward to join the sit-in and participate in the March demanding democratic rights.

Over half-a-million were expected after an unofficial pro-democracy referendum by ‘Occupy Central with Love and Peace’ was signed by around 8,00,000 people, almost 10% of the Hong Kong population.

And though the police claim the turnout to be less than 1,00,000, we can believe in the higher turnout figure even if it was not over half-a-million.

And the importance of this turnout lies in its symbolic potential. Though its mention was blacked out on the mainland, such attempts are increasingly becoming difficult. Access to the information on the Hong Kong life was one of the reasons that had ‘inspired’ many of the Wukan protesters.

And with increased complexity of layers and sub-layers, controlling the virtual world of social media is going to be as difficult as raising a pro-democracy demand in Beijing today.

Yes, the June 4 Vigil or July 1 March are not going to bring any changes for the mainland China in the future we can foresee now, but it is going to make developments more intense in Hong Kong as the protesters have warned for more protests later this year.

And crushing such protests like the Beijing government does in China would not be possible without the whole world coming to know about every such development.

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

ARE WE A FAILED DEMOCRACY? ARE WE A FALLING NATION?

Thousands die but their lives are counted for some bucks and the buck is passed to be forgotten conveniently totally ignoring the fact that who died were the fellow human beings!

What sort of idiots we are or what sort of idiots we are made to look like or what sort of idiots we have been made to be fooled around so easily.

And resultantly and not so reluctantly we are forced to think about the question and the prospect, time and again, with an increasing frequency – are we a failed democracy? Are we a falling nation?

It is because ‘they’ have reduced the ordinary Indian to a mere living creature whose life doesn’t matter; the living creature, ‘the ordinary Indian’ who doesn’t figure anywhere on any priority list.

Instead, ‘they’ comfortably prey upon the developments to further their selfish agenda.

And even if ‘they’ look to come into some action, it is because ‘they’ see some political points to score in a particular case.

And who is this ‘they’ who has reduced us, the ordinary Indians, to such a state of human ruin?

This ‘they’ is the ‘group’ that defines itself from among us but places its members in a separate, superior class, pushing us to the periphery.

It is a ‘they’ that claims to be our representative only in order to claim the territory that rightfully belongs to us, the Republic called India.

So, who is this ‘they’?

This ‘they’ is a macrocosm of almost of the politicians, most of the bureaucrats, many of the business elite working in collusion with the politicians, the goons and the goons-turned-politicians. Sadly, the umbrella to cover the realm of ‘they’ is rapidly getting wider.

It is a ‘they’ that was once dependent on us and is now fast becoming parasitic on us, working day and night to reduce us to a life of ‘secondary and unwanted citizens’.

‘Their’ brazenness is in full fervour; is on full display!

And we, the idiots, the common Indians, are acting and are still poised to act as the mute spectators, allowing them to further ‘their’ class of superiority at the cost of us.

And it shall again be the case, in the coming months, when some important assembly elections and the parliamentary elections are slated to be held.

We, the voters, who don’t find good choices!

Or,

We, the voters, who can’t judge between a good person and a bad fellow!

Or,

It is the political con of cartelization to devoid us of an open atmosphere with more (and some better) choices!

THE LATEST: THE ‘OCCASIONAL’ CRY WHEN SUCH ‘REGULAR’ CRIMES NEED SUSTAINED ATTENTION

Isn’t it a conspiracy that the kids who lost their lives after consuming the poisoned mid-day meal in a government school of Bihar become the subjects of the political blame game that soon crosses all the limits of sanity?

And what about this characterized uproar every time whenever many of us, sometimes in thousands, become victims of a man-made systemic political apathy?

Why is it that we look to care for what caused the disaster whenever a disaster takes place and then forget it conveniently until next one happens?

In the case of the Bihar mid-day meal deaths, it is not even a week and the war cry that was there has died down. The chief minister of Bihar has not yet spoken. His colleagues and the political opponents have traded charges. Some more cosmetic measures have been announced and by the precedent, we can safely say, such measures would open more avenues of corruption.

And meanwhile, no one is talking anymore about the families who lost their kids. It is foolhardy to expect that we would see a campaign launched or follow-up stories pursued to get these families (and million other families in similar other cases) justice.

This silence, or to say more aptly, this ignorance, is a criminal negligence on part of all of us who are capable enough to raise the voice.

It was not a long ago, in fact it was in last July only when the nation had seen huge outrage over ward boys and sweepers performing minor surgery, dressing and autopsy, potentially threatening lives of the patients in Bulandshahr, Meerut and Balia cities of Uttar Pradesh, India’s most populous but India’s most digressive state.

For media outfits, it was a potboiler generating uninterrupted coverage of many valuable TRP hours spread across several days. There were high-pitched debates and rhetorical campaigns to cleanse the society of this malaise. The insensitive and shameless politicians and higher level government employees, who were initially, as usual, in denial mode, were forced to come forward. Yes, they did come forward after their characteristic delay but they didn’t own the responsibility, something that always happens, something that we recently saw in the course of the aftermath of the massive Uttarakhand flash floods. They just passed the buck.

In fact, they always believe that ‘we, the creatures, the voters, the ordinary Indians’ should get such treatment as it would keep us dependent on them.

And so they create such situations that force us to be in miserable condition and characteristically, whenever these ‘miserable’ conditions become fatal or epidemic, they first try to play down the scale or shift the responsibility and if not successful, they put a shameless face of concern promising the matter is being looked into and appropriate action would be taken.

Appropriation action! An alternative political catchphrase for it is ‘the toughest possible action’!

Now, see the toughness! In the very same Uttar Pradesh, where a sweeper was performing autopsy last July, a rickshaw-puller is filmed on camera this July, in a government hospital, giving an injection to a kid that takes the kid’s life. And it happens in one of the cities, Balia, that was in the eye of the storm last July for a similar medical negligence case.

See! This is how politicians see us – valueless, soulless creatures who exist only to serve the political masters and their cohorts.

Also, where were the media carriers, the activists and the aligned advocates throughout this period where they could easily see (and they have been witnessing it) that the rot was so deep and was getting deeper owing to the political callousness. In fact, they too, act vague it can be said. Whatever be the reasons and the considerations but the fact remains.

Why does it take lives of over 20 children to make a war cry on such a poor status of mid-day meal scheme in India?

Why this flood of reports now only?

Why not a sustained socially responsible campaign to put effective check on the system?

The rotten meal! It is an open fact that most of us know very well. Just step in any government run primary or middle (class 6-8) school where the mid-day meal is served and the first reaction, if you are from those of the metro middle class families, would be that you cannot eat it. Search for reports and one will come across regular reports of mid-day meal poisoning even from the metro cities like Delhi or Mumbai. The condition is horrible in small town India and hinterlands and the Chhapra incident in Bihar where 23 students of a primary school lost their lives after eating the mid-day meal represents that horror.

And most of them (excluding the political opponents here-they are the natural party to this crime) who are crying foul are aware of this open fact. Why not then a sustained campaign to pressurize the political class to act responsibly?

Like the horror of the mid-day meal, the ground reality of the government-run hospitals and health-centers is also an open fact. Anyone who can afford private treatment would never go to a government-run health unit. Government doctors, busy in private practice, using ward boys or sweepers as their replacement, is a commonplace thing and all of us and the groups crying over the Balia hospital incident are well aware of it.

Why don’t the groups looking and acting concerned at the moment run a sustained campaign against the politicians and their administrative bedfellows to pressurize them to take responsibility?

Acting only in spurts when the problem has already become chronic – the attitude is worrying. It is senseless.

It sounds more of the elitist concern of acting as and when it suits the tastes and needs of those who can raise the voice and not based on the needs of those who have been reduced by the politicians and their various colleagues as the silent majority at the receiving end of their every deed and misdeed.

It sounds like a sham! This façade has to be removed.

Chronic problems like the systemic political apathy and the political corruption need sustained efforts.

‘They’ who see us as lowly creatures need to be shown the mirror to make them realize that ‘they’ are from among us only!

‘They’ must not be allowed to make India a failed democracy.

‘They’ must not be allowed to make India a falling nation.

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

Incorporating the write-ups:

‘THEY’ & ‘WHAT SORT OF IDIOTS, WE THE INDIANS, ARE’?

MID-DAY MEAL KILLS CHILDREN, RICKSHAW-PULLER KILLS PATIENT –WHY THIS ‘OCCASIONAL’ CRY WHEN SUCH ‘REGULAR’ CRIMES NEED SUSTAINED ATTENTION

MID-DAY MEAL KILLS CHILDREN, RICKSHAW-PULLER KILLS PATIENT –WHY THIS ‘OCCASIONAL’ CRY WHEN SUCH ‘REGULAR’ CRIMES NEED SUSTAINED ATTENTION

Isn’t it a conspiracy that the kids who lost their lives after consuming the poisoned mid-day meal in a government school of Bihar become the subjects of the political blame game that soon crosses all the limits of sanity?

And what about this characterized uproar every time whenever many of us, sometimes in thousands, become victims of a man-made systemic political apathy?

Why is it that we look to care for what caused the disaster whenever a disaster takes place and then forget it conveniently until next one happens?

This silence, or to say more aptly, this ignorance, is a criminal negligence on part of all of us who are capable enough to raise the voice.

It was not a long ago, in fact it was in last July only when the nation had seen huge outrage over ward boys and sweepers performing minor surgery, dressing and autopsy, potentially threatening lives of the patients in Bulandshahr, Meerut and Balia cities of Uttar Pradesh, India’s most populous but India’s most digressive state.

For media outfits, it was a potboiler generating uninterrupted coverage of many valuable TRP hours spread across several days. There were high-pitched debates and rhetorical campaigns to cleanse the society of this malaise. The insensitive and shameless politicians and higher level government employees, who were initially, as usual, in denial mode, were forced to come forward. Yes, they did come forward after their characteristic delay but they didn’t own the responsibility, something that always happens, something that we recently saw in the course of the aftermath of the massive Uttarakhand flash floods. They just passed the buck.

In fact, they always believe that ‘we, the creatures, the voters, the ordinary Indians’ should get such treatment as it would keep us dependent on them.

And so they create such situations that force us to be in miserable condition and characteristically, whenever these ‘miserable’ conditions become fatal or epidemic, they first try to play down the scale or shift the responsibility and if not successful, they put a shameless face of concern promising the matter is being looked into and appropriate action would be taken.

Appropriation action! An alternative political catchphrase for it is ‘the toughest possible action’!

Now, see the toughness! In the very same Uttar Pradesh, where a sweeper was performing autopsy last July, a rickshaw-puller is filmed on camera this July, in a government hospital, giving an injection to a kid that takes the kid’s life. And it happens in one of the cities, Balia, that was in the eye of the storm last July for a similar medical negligence case.

See! This is how politicians see us – valueless, soulless creatures who exist only to serve the political masters and their cohorts.

Also, where were the media carriers, the activists and the aligned advocates throughout this period where they could easily see (and they have been witnessing it) that the rot was so deep and was getting deeper owing to the political callousness. In fact, they too, act vague it can be said. Whatever be the reasons and the considerations but the fact remains.

Why does it take lives of over 20 children to make a war cry on such a poor status of mid-day meal scheme in India?

Why this flood of reports now only?

Why not a sustained socially responsible campaign to put effective check on the system?

The rotten meal! It is an open fact that most of us know very well. Just step in any government run primary or middle (class 6-8) school where the mid-day meal is served and the first reaction, if you are from those of the metro middle class families, would be that you cannot eat it. Search for reports and one will come across regular reports of mid-day meal poisoning even from the metro cities like Delhi or Mumbai. The condition is horrible in small town India and hinterlands and the Chhapra incident in Bihar where 23 students of a primary school lost their lives after eating the mid-day meal represents that horror.

And most of them (excluding the political opponents here-they are the natural party to this crime) who are crying foul are aware of this open fact. Why not then a sustained campaign to pressurize the political class to act responsibly?

Like the horror of the mid-day meal, the ground reality of the government-run hospitals and health-centers is also an open fact. Anyone who can afford private treatment would never go to a government-run health unit. Government doctors, busy in private practice, using ward boys or sweepers as their replacement, is a commonplace thing and all of us and the groups crying over the Balia hospital incident are well aware of it.

Why don’t the groups looking and acting concerned at the moment run a sustained campaign against the politicians and their administrative bedfellows to pressurize them to take responsibility?

Acting only in spurts when the problem has already become chronic – the attitude is worrying. It is senseless.

It sounds more of the elitist concern of acting as and when it suits the tastes and needs of those who can raise the voice and not based on the needs of those who have been reduced by the politicians and their various colleagues as the silent majority at the receiving end of their every deed and misdeed.

It sounds like a sham! This façade has to be removed.

Chronic problems like the systemic political apathy and the political corruption need sustained efforts.

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