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/

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/

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/