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

CAN CHANGE IN THE SYSTEM BE BROUGHT WHILE BEING OUT OF IT?

Can change in the system be brought while being out of it?

It’s obvious answer is both – yes and no.

It all depends on the prevailing circumstances in the system – whether the system still has the elements who care for the conscious voices – or it has got deaf enough to block them on the periphery – if throwing them out is not an option.

The classic case where the centre or the core or the ‘haves’ sections of a society rule it with sheer domination – keeping the critical or hostile voices or the ‘have nots’ at the periphery – and the vicious circles of hegemony continues.

Unfortunately, it the second category that defines our prevailing socio-political system where even the world’s lengthiest written constitution has not been able to ensure the proper implementation of all its tenets – and its spirit.

Like it is always said that even if we got our independence from the British, we are yet to see a flawless democracy ruling the systems in the country. Though we are the world’s largest democracy – and a robustly functional one – the Global Democracy Index, annual ranking the Economist, finds us a flawed democracy – placing us at 35.

And it is not without reasons.

We have a transparent electoral system but the political corruption vitiates the whole atmosphere – so much so – that now the political class is considered and seen as a class apart – the elite who themselves feel and behave like supremacists. The deeply percolated VVIP culture (VIPism) has now become a part of even the smallest governance units of our country. And when you political class stars acting like it owns the country, it is the beginning of the process that starts killing the democratic spirit of the society – that starts contaminating every aspect of the society – so much so – that corruption has become a way of life for us.

The second biggest political reform movement of India, after the JP movement of 1970’s, the anti-corruption agitation led by the veteran activist Anna Hazare in 2011 was fuelled by anti-corruption sentiments only.

But like the JP movement, it, too, was co-opted by the people ruling the mainstream of the society.

If we have to set it correct, we need to overhaul the system – and to do that – we need to change the way we do politics.

To continue..

©SantoshChaubey

LATE NIGHT SUPREME COURT HEARING SHOULD BE SEEN IN THIS CONTEXT

India may mean many things to many but one thing is common – it has a robustly functional democracy – a 2:30 AM hearing on Yakub Memon in the Supreme Court shows it.

Yes, Yakub Memon’s case is not going to be a beginning to undo the chasm and malaise that beset Indian democracy.

It is not going to address the problem of ‘legal remedy getting costlier’ and therefore being not available to the majority of the population.

India’s top court, in an unprecedented move, in a first, opened after midnight to hear someone who was going to die in next few hours after being given death sentence.

And the development is indeed a positive factors, is an indicator of how strong are democratic values – irrespective of the reasons working behind it.

The point is – India’s apex court worked on it – even after rejecting Yakub Memon’s last legal options just few hours earlier.

Yes, India’s democracy is ‘robustly functional’ because India is the world largest democracy and has been so for nearly 70 years in spite of multitudes of problems working overtime to drag it backward. Its future is rightly expected to keep positive promises to work for.

In fact, India is the only democracy in the world where large population groups of different religions coexist under a common Constructional administration. Yes, religion does give them some specific leverages but that is mostly individual in nature and doesn’t intervene with the nation’s governance.

Yes, it is daydreaming to expect that this unprecedented late night/early morning hearing by the Supreme Court is going to set a trend where people with such ‘extreme grievance conditions’ will be able to knock the apex court at any hour of the day.

Majority will simply not get the coordinates required – lawyers and round the clock coverage – that Yakub Memon got and that made it possible – something that made the apex court take cognizance of a late night plea to conduct a hearing.

Debates like ‘death penalty has no place in a civilized world’ have their own validity but we need to be equally sensitive to the issue that it is an endless debate between ‘being right’ in abolishing death penalty and ‘being justified’ in demanding harshest punishment to the perpetrators (including capital punishment).

And our democracy gives space to both, or even to them who are still not clear what is their viewpoint.

And the late night hearing by the Supreme Court on plea of Yakub Memon’s lawyers and by a battery of lawyers working to abolish the death penalty from Indian penal system should be seen in this context.

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

A TRYST WITH POLITICS: AFTER 67 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

Yes, it cannot be compared and it is nowhere near to the history-defining moment of 1947 when Jawahal Lal Nehru delivered the epoch-making midnight ‘Tryst with Destiny’ speech 67 years ago on India’s first Independence Day.

It is another history-defining aspect of India, Indian politics and Indian democracy that Jawahar Lal Nehru’s run as India’s first prime minister that continued for many years went on to establish a political dynasty in India, something that should never have been the case.

Remember, the Mahatma, the Father of the Nation, Mahatma Gandhi had said to wind up the Indian National Congress in 1948 – “My suggestion is that, in so far as the Congress was intended solely to achieve Swaraj and that purpose has been gained – though I do not think what we have gained is full and real Swaraj – this organisation should be wound up, and that we should put to use all the energies of the country.”

Yes, that should never be the case. We cannot undo the past but we can think of the future based the day now. And we can hope so with a prime minister who has no family and who has willingly and honestly kept his separated wife (with mutual consent and in harmony) and his extended family away from any possibility of political patronage.

And the tryst with politics this year on the Indian Independence Day was about this man only and the sort of political changes that India has seen with him after the results of the Lok Sabha elections 2014 were declared on May 16, 2014 giving an absolute and overwhelming majority to a non-Congress party since the Independence in 1947.

The other time when a non-Congress political outfit had got clear majority on its own was in 1977, the watershed elections after the Emergency that sent Indira Gandhi packing, but the 295 seats of the BLD (Bharatiya Lok Dal) also included some 28 seats won by Jagjivan Ram’s Congress for Democracy (CFD). Janata Party had contested the election on BLD’s symbol and in alliance with CFD. And that makes the BJP (Bhartiya Janata Party) tally of 280 on its own in this election the largest ever for a non-Congress political party.

And that person played the central role in it. His intense campaigning, his direct approach and highly commendable and successful governance record coupled with his nationalist and pro-Hindutva branding, aided superbly by the sky-high anti-incumbency against the Congress-led Manmohan Singh government pushed the BJP from some expected 200-220 mark to 280 seats in the final tally.

No one had expected so, not when no single party had been able to win clear majority after the 1984 elections, not even Congress.

And the political tryst this year has made that possible. The turn of political events this year has given the world’s largest democracy a prime minister in Narendra Modi who began his life from the weakest socioeconomic layer of the Indian society, worked hard, rose steadily and gradually and ousted the most powerful political dynasty of the country from the seat of power. It was an impressive win and a humiliating defeat.

A required tryst in Indian politics after 67 years of Independence! Hope it delivers.

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

INDIA, THE POSITIVELY ORIENTED DEMOCRATIC EXPERIMENT

Yes, its governance is still in experimental phase with some pretty rough hands given the charge to run the social laboratory.

Yes, its democracy needs much more to be called a democracy envisioned in its Constitution.

But, we cannot deny, that in spite of all its weak points and all its failures, it is still a functional democracy, even after 67 years of independence and is moving ahead with its democratic experiment.

We cannot deny that the movement of this democracy is positively oriented. Yes, voices are crushed and manipulated. But voices are also raised.

Look around for democracy in the global geopolitics. Look around for democracy in countries that have been ruled by foreign powers or have colonies of the western nations.

The slate is so badly crisscrossed that it becomes too hard to find even a single satisfying example. Yes, the subjective interpretations may come with some names but that would be akin to comparing the foreign rule in America with that in India.

India, one of the culturally most diversified countries, with many languages and dialects and with many religions, castes and sects is still a homogeneous democracy, even after 67 years of an independence that came with one of the worst religious riots the humankind has ever seen.

It is the positive orientation of the democracy only that a person from the weakest socioeconomic section of the society can uproot a political dynasty that has ruled the country for the most of its independent history with an overwhelming public support.

And we are from this functionally-moving-ahead democracy. We are from this independent country that has been able to this stage of its democratic experiment.

And following its Constitution, we are free to voice our opinions. We are free to choose what we should be. We are free to choose who we are going to follow.

Yes, circumstances do affect and force to make choices, but we also have the space to fight back. A Red Fort Independence Day Speech by Narendra Modi once again proves it.

©/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/

WHY DEMOCRACY IN INDIA IS IN IMMINENT DANGER OF DISINTEGRATION?

Democracy in India is in imminent danger of disintegration. The fissures are getting clearer. The underlying reasons are getting more and more visible. This visibility looks sinister and sounds scary.

Political events and their sociopolitical and socioeconomic repercussions that are acidic to the health of social weaving and democratic principles are growing, in frequency and in corrosiveness.

If it is not dystopian, the scenario is certainly gloomy, and if the course of political deterioration continues unchecked, like it is happening now and looks set to follow the trend in the future, it is going to create a disorder (in India) that would be beyond control.

‘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.

A natural follow-up to this process is inclusion of the developments, spin-offs or causal, that anyhow relate to the political developments under purview in the column.

The principal themes and concerns of this column (in Indian context) are:

Political Authoritarianism
Political Corruption
Nepotism in Politics
Crony Capitalism
Sociopolitical Milieu
Socioeconomic Consequences
Political Kinship (the flipside of it)

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

DEMOCRATIC MUSINGS: TWO TOP POLITICIANS FROM INDIA AND US SPEAKING OVER HOTLINE

Two top politicians from India and US were communicating over hotline. During the course of conversation, the formal line of dialogue spontaneously gave way to the informal (can read personal) elements of deliberations as they were in comfort of the snoop-free zone and could take all the liberty to discuss whatever they wanted to.

The formal elements of conversation are of no interests (and so of no value) here. Out of the informal chatter over hotline, the following pointers of the conversation stand apart:

The US counterpart: It has been a chaotic time politically after the high of Osama’s successful manhunt two years ago. Economy is still unstable. Budgetary managements are giving nightmares. And security concerns add to that. The people act silly when they don’t understand the dynamics of the national security requirements. Thankfully, that fellow, the so-called WikiLeaks activist, the intelligence leaker Bradley Manning has been found guilty with a 35-year prison term. Though yet another so-called activist-but-fugitive-by-US-standards Edward Snowden remains a headache, the Manning outcome has come as a big relief, a sort of closure.

After all, unlike in your country where you guys have successfully manipulated and crushed dissenting voices from the masses, something that we cannot do here even if we try hard, and so, such favourable decisions (for us) from an independent institution like the US judiciary is an endorsement.

But I must congratulate you folks for manipulating and managing a democracy of over a billion people so well to keep the masses under control in your over-populated country.

The Indian counterpart: Thanks dear younger colleague and my superior counterpart, though we, the politicians of India, don’t consider anyone superior to us, but it is your powerful position in the global geopolitics that makes us comfortable in addressing you so.

I take your observation as compliment. Yes, it can be said, ‘we, the Indian politicians’, can teach the politicians of the world how to manipulate and manage the democracy for our own benefits, the political class. In fact, I can outline the salient features of our hard-work that the world can seek and emulate. Here they come. Please be attentive to the ‘sanctity and clarity’ of the hotline.

First one: We can efficiently teach politicians from any part of the world the ‘art of mismanaging the democracy’ to manage it in order to manipulate it.

Second one: Our achievement on this front stands apart as we are the world’s second most populous nation with over 1200 million people that makes our task of ‘mismanaging and manipulating’ the founding and governing principles of democracy a huge achievement. We inspire the seekers of our ‘art’ by our sheer ability to scale such a high.

Third one: We can be the good learning examples for the monarchies and kingdoms in trouble (and not in trouble) across the world.

We are the ‘kings’ here, in a constitutionally run democracy. We have become unstoppable now. Our flow is unrestricted. With time, we have been able to develop varying functional versions of policies, for the political class and for the stupid masses.

We have successfully endeavored to interpret, manipulate and subvert the policy matters to keep our political camaraderie flourishing, to make our political class an extended form of a monarchy in glowing health, where we keep the reigns among us only by a mutual cooperation and staged variation.

Fourth one: We can also be the learning reference point on techniques of ‘tough approach of open confrontation’. There comes a point in emergency cases (and there come so many) where you need to break the inhibitions of the staged democratic agreeability.

Such incidents have been aplenty in recent times where we removed the mask and charged upfront when we needed to tell the masses that we, the political class, were totally different from the masses, when we needed to tell them that we were a privileged, superior and elite class, and the law of the land that applied (to the masses) didn’t mean anything for us.

And we have been, yet again, successful in propagating this ballooning exercise to spread the message and so in manipulating and crushing the voices of dissent that were there.

The conversation over hotline continues..

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