January 29, 2010

The New Role Models - 62 years after Mahatma Gandhi

Mahatma Gandhi 2.10.1869 - 30.1.1948

Gandhi who? Sardar who? Shastri who?

30th January 2010 is the 62nd Death Anniversary of the greatest Indian in recent history, Mahatma Gandhi.

It is time to remember him. It is also necessary to remember another giant of a man Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel as well as Lal Bahadur Shastri, the third Prime Minister of India. By coincidence, all these three worthy sons of India were born in the month of October. While Mahatma Gandhi and Shastri died in the month of January, Sardar died in December.

Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel 31.10.1875-15.12.1950
Lal Bahadur Shastri 2.10.1904 - 10.1.1966

These three true Leaders, models of simplicity and अपरिग्रह, were expected to be the role models for the countrymen in terms of morality in public life.

As the people look back in time and look at the present times, sadly the memories of these three Leaders and other such leaders of earlier years appear to be fading and instead of looking up to men like them, the people seem to be looking up to a new breed of polticians - the unscrupulous, the avaricious and the downright corrupt politicians as the new Role Models - or Rule Models. This new breed of politician-leaders has hardly anything in common with their worthy predecessors except, perhaps, that some of them still wear Khadi.

These are the examples of some such "worthy" political leaders of the present time.

Jagan and YSR Reddy
Lalu Prasad
Madhu Koda
Praful Patel
A. Raja
Deve Gowda
Mulayam Singh
Amarinder Singh

With a Learner Licence

Sukhbir Badal

The selection of these distinguished persons is naturally based on the larger public perception and does not claim to be complete as the list is constantly growing and bound to grow. It is as subjective as the list of Padma Awardees.

It is possible that a politician or his admirers or detractors may feel that he should not have been excluded from this Gallery of Illustrious Politicians. If anyone has been inadvertently, fairly or unfairly left out, his name could be suggested in the Comments Section for inclusion in the zone of consideration, based on his success in following the Credo of the New Politicians’ Class.

Carpe Omnia: Take it all, seize everything
Pecunia vincit omnia : Money conquers all

In lieu of a C.V., relevant web references/links detailing their "achievement" should be adequate. Let the readers then consider whether the person is “worthy” enough or not.

Vultures and Hyenas Waiting

The misfortune of this country will end only if we, the people, decide to banish the vermin, vultures and despicable parasites. No manna will fall nor any heavenly forces intervene for this and the people will themselves have to act. Only when they are effectively hounded out from political life and ostracized in social life then can we say even with half-conviction that:
Saare Jahan Se Achha

सारे जहाँ से अच्छा, हिंदोस्ताँ हमारा

January 25, 2010

Mile Sur.....Searching for the Soul of Integration

One of the real gems promoted by Doordarshan, the Government TV channel was the video “Mile Sur Mera Tumhara” which was first telecast on 15th August 1988. Doordarshan has been performing a yeoman service for years before the plethora of new commercially motivated television channels made their appearance. This song and video are one of the all time great contributions by Doordarshan for the cause of national integration.

The song quickly became extremely popular and at that time and even now, whenever the song is heard or the video seen, it overwhelms the minds of the people, choking them with emotions for the country that they want to be truly great, not just in hyperbole.

The video was produced by Kailash Surendranath for Lok Seva Sanchar Parishad, the lyric written by Piyush Pande now as then with the advertising agency Ogilvy & Mather in India. The music was composed by Louis Banks (or Ashok Patki?) and the concept was by Suresh Mullick. It made use of the same wordings in 14 languages other than Sanskrit and featured celebrities from various walks of life including the legendary Bhimsen Joshi and M. Balamuralikrishna who also lent their voices to the magical composition. More details can be found here in a very good article.

The original video and the song can be seen and heard on the following links:

Video Link here

Audio Link here

For those who wish to hear the song here is the recording in 24 kbps.

Phir Mile Sur….

An initiative that deserves compliments is the attempt to re-create the sentiments of the original in the new video Phir Mile Sur which is being telecast on 26th January 2010. Glimpses of the video show that those who thought of and executed the new production have tried to do justice to the theme. The music has been set in the present context and the visuals are using the present day celebrities, although rather sadly, the film personalities get the limelight. The new creation is also nice and may, in time, evoke similar emotions as felt by those in whose minds the original creation - the song as well as the visuals - has been so indelibly etched.

See the video: here

More such initiatives to unite the people are needed especially as even in the 60th year of the republic, the so-called leaders who run the show are failing the people and all is not yet well.

सारे जहाँ से अच्छा, हिंदोस्ताँ हमारा

January 23, 2010

Pawar deserves the Sack

Not a day passes when the most worthless Minister in the Central Government does not come out with statements designed to help profiteers while in the same breath asserting that he is not responsible for the inflation. This is, perhaps, the first time that the country is facing an unusual situation where apart from the failure of policy and programs of the Agriculture Ministry, utterly irresponsible and alarmist statements by its Agriculture Minister are equally resulting in feeding the fire of inflation as everyone from the aam admi to the Prime Minister, who also claims to be an aam admi, is watching helplessly.

Pawar - Can we project shortage of salt next?

India-awake which has already been following his dismal track record ever since he was appointed as Agriculture Minister, has been highlighting the same since May 2008. (see this article and the links there)

Brazenness, Bluff and Bluster

His oft repeated hackneyed and bogus excuses are no longer fooling anyone except, perhaps, some of his party members. He can hide neither under the drought, nor heavy rains nor floods because regardless of these natural factors which happen every so often, people are beginning to realize that the country has entered a cycle of scarcity which may continue even in normal periods. This is happening because of the havoc being wrecked by this one man.

On 22.1.2010, he made an assertion that in his 40-50 years of political life, for the first time he was seeing price rise being linked to Agriculture Ministry. He may be right, but he (more than his Ministry) is being blamed because he may well be the first Agriculture Minister responsible to a large extent for the state of affairs and the drought and heavy rains have come in handy only to be used as shields. He also said that the Agriculture Ministry was performing its functions (of collecting statistics?).

Incidentally, even if there is drought, there is no famine. It is worthwhile to refer to the following observation in a UNDP publication on drought and famine:

“..droughts are therefore a normal feature of climate and weather systems in all countries, including those generally regarded as being “wet” and “cold” as well as those areas usually associated with the term “drought” – the semiarid areas of the tropics. While droughts may be regarded as unusual in that they do not occur all the time, or in some areas for most of the time, droughts should not be regarded as being “abnormal” and, in fact, should be planned for in all countries.”

The people have been fooled enough by talks of drought and if the country can become so helpless all due to a drought, it is indeed scary to imagine the situation in case of a real famine, especially with the present Government and ministers like Pawar being in charge.

Pawar planning to import fodder too?

In the last week, he made a statement pointing to an impending increase in the price of milk which understandably drew protests from various States. It also inflamed the volatile Mayawati who promptly and rightly insisted that Sharad Pawar be removed. Mayawati used the term “irresponsible” for his statement. She should have instead used a stronger term.

Cabinet responsibility? – Yes, for not removing him

He has been cunningly trying to shirk the responsibility for the rise in food prices. In the last week, he cleverly persuaded the Cabinet for the Prime Minister to call a meeting of the Chief Ministers of the States to discuss the issue thus pitting one against the other. The underlying idea was to kill two birds with one stone. Such a meeting would imply that both the Prime Minister and the State Governments were the real parties responsible and not him. It would also leave the Prime Minister, rather than him, to face embarrassing protests of the Chief Ministers which were bound to surface. It appears that the Chief Ministers as well as possibly the Prime Minister saw through his game and the meeting has been deferred.

To buttress his position, he also had his sidekicks say that if anything was going wrong, the entire Cabinet was responsible not him, as the Cabinet had the collective responsibility. Sure, his supporters are right. The Cabinet as such cannot escape responsibility. But that responsibility lies on the Cabinet and particularly the Prime Minister for tolerating and continuing an incompetent Minister in a crucial Ministry who only compounds rather than solves the problems. Of course, the overall economic policies also have an influence. For example, he has been implying that the poor are eating more because of the UPA programs for the poor. If that be so, on the basis of collective responsibility, he is also responsible for any failures of the Government related to its economic policies.

Sackfuls of Sugar and Rotten Wheat and other Rotten Stuff

Pawar - a welldoing Minister

Sharad Pawar has been in positions of power for long enough. Even if the general perception about his having done too well for himself and being the wealthiest politician in the country is discounted, he deserves to get the sack with sackfuls of imported sugar and rotten wheat as bonus, purely on the basis of his performance as Agriculture Minister.

A vulture lying in wait for a famine

If the Prime Minister cannot get rid of this man even now, it can only mean that he personally along with the entire Government is truly responsible for this state of affairs.

It can be termed as a misfortune of the people to have such a Government running and ruining the show.


Even as the ink is turning dry....

Even as the ink of this article is turning dry, the multi-faced Pawar, who has been himself giving excuses for the price rise while claiming to be not conerned with it, seems to have finally realized that nemesis may catch up with him. As reported by a TV channel, he made a statement somewhere to the effect that the because of the inflation, the farmers were getting higher prices! He is further reported to have said to the effect that he would not mind sacrificing his chair in trying to get a fair deal for the farmers. A mercenary trying to pose as a true martyr, no less!

How can any sensible Head of Government take such nonsense?
If he can, it only means that he still has confidence in Pawar and shares his views.

सारे जहाँ से अच्छा, हिंदोस्ताँ हमारा