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Indian elections 2014

The 2014 elections of India are over, the verdict is out, the process of getting the mandate from 500+ million people across 930,000+ polling booths have been completed, the happiness of the victors and the despair of the losers are out in the open. Yet, as a common man, I find this particular election fascinating – specially with the verdict that has come up. Not going into the technicalities (the percentage vote swings, the conversion of these vote swings into actual seats, etc), my personal point of view of this election is based on some trends that I tried to think through from the results.

Let me start with the overall verdict – the BJP and NDA under the leadership of Narendra Modi has got a thumping majority of 333+ seats and the main other party, Congress party, that has ruled for maximum number of years in Indian history have been reduced to shambles with 44 seats only. So, the verdict has been strong and clear – a change after so many elections that has happened in last 15 years. To me, this verdict has established or challenged many things that we have been used to for last so many years:

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This has challenged the very concept of “dynasty politics” – a modern era “quota” system followed by Congress party. I find it strange that such a big and historic party still believes in the principle that the leader of the party has to come from a family with a surname of Gandhi, irrespective of the fact whether the person is capable enough to lead or not. The general perception of the leader was “weak” (which was apparent in his many speeches and “deadly” few interviews) – but still a majority of more capable leaders of the same party still believes that the name “Gandhi” will mesmerise the voters even in today’s world. Only time will tell whether this thought is eliminated or whether we see another member of that family trying to steer the ship in the future.

People are always sick and tired of corruption and scams – this has been true in the past, in the present and will be true in the future. But the frustration increases when scam after scam are exposed and millions of taxpayer’s money are siphoned off, the government, the ruling party leadership either remains mute spectators, or tries to “defend” the same as the first reaction, or tries to do some “lip service”. Add to the event of the head of the country remains silent or looks for inspiration to the party high command before uttering a word. In effect, corruption with “proxy governance” was something that happened in last few years and people have had enough of this, I believe.

The personal charisma of a leader counts heavily – sometimes much more than the party he/she represents. That happened with Narendra Modi. In spite of having some controversial past, the branding, the dreams spelt out by that person appealed to most of the people, including the 100+ million of new voters. Of course, there has to be a vision, a concrete plan to transform the nation – but at the end, you often tend to go with the perception of a person when you feel “Yes, I do think this person probably can transform the nation better than the others”.

It is also time to move on from the past that is more than 5-7 years old. New generation, today’s youth hardly believe in drooling on history (does not matter whether it is perceived as “good” or “bad”). Lives have changed, tha pace of life has changed – hence, we do want things to change fast and very often, the time period allocated for the change is in 1-2 years, if not in months. Yes, history is important – but more important is the vision for tomorrow, vision for our own lives – rather than the rich or not-so-rich history of the parties. So who cares what has happened 7-10 years ago – let’s discuss what will happen in next 1-2 years ! This probably scored heavily in the decision-making process as “development” took more priority than “RTI”, “women empowerment”, etc – rightfully so. Because with “inclusive growth”, other parameters like empowerment will come automatically.

The delivery contrast between two main persons help differentiate the difference much strongly. Hence, the more one leader failed to articulate the vision and instead kept on harping on non-priority things, the more strong the other leader was becoming in the minds of the people. So, a poor performance of a main player helps the others – now add to the fact that the other person by himself had more charisma and vision — then it becomes a double whammy to the poorer performer. So, field the best candidate who is best suitable for the role –> basic stuff, but often forgotten by some.

Finally, my belief that “development is more important than caste, creed & religion” got  more strengthened in this election. In a country like India, where the culture, the dialect of the same language, food habits, etc change probably every 50 km across the length and breadth; harping on religion, appealing for votes from a particular religion or caste do have an impact on votes. And probably this happened this time as well – but overall, I have a hunch that people disregarded this caste/religion play much more as compared to last few elections. I find it sickening when this divisive play, this polarisation of people is even attempted by so many parties.

Probably, this is the time when all of us should introduce ourselves to the external world as an “Indian” instead of a “Bengali, Marathi, etc” or a “North Indian, South Indian, etc” or any such classifications. That way, we will not allow anyone trying to “divide” us going forward.

Let’s make our country proud by taking this first step together !

We want a mature, patient, civilised world …. not to be ‘trigger-happy’

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We live in a so-called civilised world driven by the power of law, which has been formed by thoughtful groups and lots of common sense. One definition of ‘civilised’ means to have a high state of culture and development bound by basic virtues. We have found lots of ‘unions’ which gives us a platform to resolve issues at the highest levels, in case disputes are hard to solve at lower levels. We have vowed for following the rules, the ‘unions’, the ‘bodies’ we have formed across the world.
We call ourselves ‘mature’ – which has an inherent meaning of looking at a broader picture, taking lessons learnt into account  and then take decision based on facts, based on debates and consult these ‘unions’ & ‘bodies’ to come up to a decision that will be respected by all. When decisions are taken, it is normal that all parties who participated in the decision-making debates may not come to a unanimous consensus – but when a majority decision is taken, even the parties who had been advocating for the reverse, respects that. These all come under ‘maturity’.

We call ourselves ‘patient’ and that is linked to ‘maturity’. By patience, we imply that a decision will be taken by weighing different options, by hearing all sides of the story and then coming to a meaningful conclusion which we believe has been taken after much deliberation and to the best of our efforts. For that, respecting other’s opinions, understanding the context and the implications of the decision is key.

However, still why do we have the most ‘powerful’ and most ‘matured’ persons takes huge decisions in a trigger-happy manner without even deliberating with a broader forum ? Maybe that is the correct decision – but why do we have to behave like a ‘know-it-all’ person without any ‘patience’ and declare that the rest of the ‘unions’ and ‘bodies’ are of practical no-use, simply because we fear that those ‘unions’ & ‘bodies’ may come up with more logical & mature thinking that may result in a different decision ?

I hope we all can really behave as a civilised, mature and patient way resulting in uniting the world to collectively take a decision (and not just by myself) that will benefit in the long run ….

I can’t talk anymore

When I grew up, I was told by my parents, my relatives, my teachers that expressing your own opinion is a fundamental right and unless you discuss and exchange ideas, you will not enrich your thought. Sometimes, you tend to differ with someone on a particular topic, you tend to argue and even might have a verbal fight, but you still appreciate the different perspective and respect people’s different views on a topic. Each influential decision on life has different sets of positives and negatives – nothing is perfect ! But, still amidst the imperfect world, people tend to sit and discuss together to come up with what can be described as the ‘best within the current constraints’. And that is how life is supposed to roll on …. each decision has a time-stamp associated with it – a decision without a time-stamp is absolutely irrelevant – hence a decision taken at this point of time might change after 10 years … and that is why decisions are to be taken after discussions.

I grew up by believing and reciting a poem written by Rabindranath Thakur – ” Where the mind is without fear and the head is held high; Where knowledge is free, Where the world has not been broken up into fragments by narrow domestic walls, Where words come out from the depth of truth, Where tireless striving stretches its arms towards perfection, Where the clear stream of reason has not lost its way into the dreary desert sand of dead habit, Where the mind is led forward by thee into ever-widening thought and action, Into that heaven of freedom, my Father, let my country awake”

But for that, you need freedom of speech in the form that is prevalent at that point of time. Whether you actually talk and voice your opinion or whether you write something, or whether you sing a song, or whether you type your thought in the internet world – all these things do not matter. The thing that only matters is that you are free to share your thoughts and in that process can get challenged or challenge someone else’s thoughts. That is how we mature as human beings and that is how ‘tireless striving stretches its arms towards perfection’.

However, my rulers are deciding to stop talking and hence, I can’t talk any more ! Sorry, if my voice is never heard … I can’t talk any more !!

 

It’s yesterday, once more ..

It’s yesterday, once more ….
Not a Carpenters special
Another incident of terrorist attack
Another incident of loss of life
Another incident of tears from loved ones
It’s yesterday, once more …

It’s yesterday, once more …
Not a Carpenters special
We ‘spend’ billions in scams and corruption
We ‘spend’ several hours in passing the buck
We ‘spend’ efforts to take political mileage
It’s yesterday, once more …

It’s yesterday, once more …
Not a Carpenters special
Value of life is so ‘cheap’
Our expression of helplessness is so ‘cheap’
Our excuses are so ‘cheap’
It’s yesterday, once more …

It’s yesterday, once more …
Not a Carpenters special
We say ‘no’ to pointed questions on safety
We say ‘no’ to execution of proven terrorists
We say ‘no’ to a strong political will
It’s yesterday, once more …

The mighty cannot protect the common man
The mighty cannot assert himself in international forum on this issue
The mighty cannot have enough intelligence
The mighty cannot hit back if slapped
The mighty cannot act except making speeches
The mighty cannot learn from mistakes
The mighty cannot stop spending millions on entertainment to divert funds on security measures
The mighty cannot say “enough is enough”

The mighty can only say ‘It’s yesterday, once more …”

When will the day come to show your inner strength
When will the day come to act and stop talking
When will the day come to spend money where it’s absolutely needed
When will the day come to give exemplary punishment to the guilty
When will the day come to execute justice in months and not years
When will the day come for us to say “yes, we are free !”

When can we say – its not yesterday, its a new tomorrow !

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