Showing posts with label Politics. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Politics. Show all posts

Monday, May 17, 2010

Mockery of Sentiment, Law and Public Money

It is hardly fathomable that the Indian legal process took 18 months to indict a person who committed mass murder  on live TV. The excuse that Indian legal process is typically slow - should not apply to such an open and shut case. Now there is a search for the hangman; going by the hysteria of the mainstream media, especially the Satellite News channels, we might even end up having a reality show to identify the most eligible hangman. 

Why could not the police / National Security Guards or whosoever nabbed Kasab kill him on the spot?

The last 2 years of his trial has been a total fiasco, wasting public money to the extent of INR 8.5 lacs per day; Going by the law minister's statement it might take about a year more before Kasab is hanged - which translates to INR 31 Crores of expense to house a manic killer.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Thiruvalluvar Statue

Human Body:Appendix::Tamilnadu-Karnataka Peace:Thiruvalluvar Statue

The DemiGod Thiruvalluvar had already written a kural (couplet) on avoiding such farcical, useless and potentially dangerous deeds. Remembering from one of my Thirukkural lessons in School:

461. அழிவதூஉம் ஆவதூஉம் ஆகி வழிபயக்கும்
ஊதியமும் சூழ்ந்து செயல்
Weigh well output the loss and gain
And proper action ascertain.

I do not think the statue would in any way help the bonhomie between Tamilnadu and Karnataka; instead it would just act as sink for crows and source of further disputes.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Career Destruction

I do not remember knowing any better career decimating crime than this: Anti-kidnapping consultant kidnapped in Mexico. I wonder what the kidnapped guy does once he is freed; I suggest him to call himself a victim of credit crunch – no one questions and if he is big (uff..if he is more than 6 feet tall), probably, some Governments may even give him nice compensation package.

Elsewhere, a president says, “I do not know what the man told, but I could see his sole (read: soul?)”. I think lots of things could have been different had he seen people's soul a lot earlier.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Terrrorism - An Opinion

There have been extensive coverage both in MSM and blogs on the recent terror attacks in Mumbai. It pains to realize how each one of us is exposed to such acts of barbarism and I strongly feel that we need to get out from the "it won't happen to me" syndrome and at least start thinking on ways out of this menace. I am no expert in the domain, so apologies if my opinions are too naive.

Mission: We need to put across a strong message to one and all who are in positions of responsibility (or the politicians) - "Politicize Terror, Lose my Vote"; for the ones who have some brains, it can be interpreted as "Politicize Terror, Lose my Tax". I am not suggesting that the politicians have had a role in the recent attacks, I am only reinforcing that if politicizing terror is not stopped, as Kapil Sibal says here, we are only aiding the terrorists and their agenda. I read elsewhere on the Internet that terrorism cannot be stopped (I wonder how USA has been able to avert any major terrorist attack after 2001) and the victim nation can only react 'strongly' to such acts. The sad state of affairs is India is neither able to prevent such acts nor able to react. If nothing changes in a country after serial bomb blasts in 4 major cities, after scores of lives have been lost, after giving reservations for terror (Hindu terror v/s Islam terror), then the problem is far more systemic than the ineptness, inactivity, fashion-consciousness of the Central Home Minister, or loose tongue of a Deputy Chief Minister. So, dear politicians, please develop a system which aids in preventing future acts of terror and definitely one which aids in speedy, effective reactions to future acts of terror.

As a passing thought, I believe, the day (utopian though) every one turns atheistic/agnostic and unpatriotic, terrorism will die.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Lesson for Indian Politicians

I have no opinion on the result of the U.S. Election, whether it was the first time an African-American has won American election or it could have been the first time a woman could have become president/vice president of the USA.

But what I admired most about this election is this: John McCain congratulating Barack Obama as soon as he would have realized victory is not coming his way. The graciousness that a losing candidate had in appreciating the victor shows how mature the country is, the democracy there is vis-a-vis the bickerings we have here in India: pre-election, during election, post elections till it is time for the next election. I suppose this is not the first time a losing candidate, be it the race for presidency or the race for presidential nomination, has graciously accepted defeat in the history of America, but it is the one that I admired most about the whole process.

Btw, I feel, more than change it is change management that is more important. (Hey!! some MBA BS jargon!)

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Politiquote 3

Heard on Jaya TV News:
Minority DMK Government supported Union Government's finance minister Chidambaram is misleading the country on.....
the collapse of US banks, said D Raja of CPI.

Heights of joblessness!!! 

Wednesday, October 24, 2007


In capitalism man exploits man.
In communism it's the other way round.

Btw, how to file patent for "Politiquote"? ;)

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Paradox of Left

Most rights want things to be left alone.
Left alone thinks otherwise.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Chennai autos, bikes and policy comedies

Why are the auto fare meters being checked/calibrated by Chennai traffic police/RTOs?
Why do these autos are fitted with 'digital' meters?
Does the chief minister think lives of women and children are less valuable than men's?
Is the life of a motorist less valuable than a pedestrian's?

'Fare' is homonymous with 'Fair' to the perceptive ear. A perennial woe of a Chennai-wasi - including those who visit this city - is the badgering haggling of an autorickshaw driver. I have always wondered why these autos have a meter that get periodically checked by the Chennai traffic police/Regional Transport Offices. In the last 2-3 years, a period during which I have been in Chennai for about 3 months (cumulatively) without my own personal mode of transport, I was forced to use the autos for commutation and I have not had the experience of using the fare-meter even once.

I thought of opening this topic up in the public discussion forum of the Chennai traffic police website. But I had to change plans on looking at the most recent complaint there - which is just about 3 years old. At a time when some discipline is being brought about with the two-wheelers, it would be great if a meter-use-a-must policy is strictly enforced with the three-wheelers as well.

I was thinking the fare demanded impromptu by the driver would be about 20-25% more than the actual meter fare. But I was surprised to learn that they charge about 50% more (impromptu fare demanded from West Mambalam to KK Nagar is Rs.40, while the meter fare would come to Rs.19 for the same journey).

Moving on to the recent two-wheeler helmet use policy of the TN government, I fail to understand the reason behind enforcing the rule. If the rationale behind the rule is to prevent head injuries and hence save the life of the motorists then what is the rationale behind exempting children and women from wearing helmets. Does the chief minister think lives of women and children are less valuable than men's?

If helmets can safeguard the heads, the omnipresent speed-breakers (aka back breakers) can chronically harm bikers' spines. Not just these are harmful to the spines, many are the cause of accidents as an unaware vehicle suddenly applies brakes to be hit by the vehicle at its back, two wheelers sliding if the friction on the road is less. Most speed-breakers are mounds made of tar by the local menial worker at the corporation office and not one supervised by an engineer. This is not a man-eat-man world, to safeguard the pedestrian it is not advisable to kill the motorist. Is any octagenarian listening?

Friday, November 24, 2006

Hindi Vs Tamil (in 1960s)

Anna Durai and Co's rationale:
A staunch opposition to the 'imposition' of Hindi as a sole National language. The rationale for forcing Hindi to become a common language because was 'it is spoken by the majority'. Anna replied that the mere number should not count in such decisions: We have more number of rats than tigers, more number of crows than peacocks - so why should tiger and peacock be made as national symbols. He added "since English is already being taught in many schools in India, why not that be the 'common' national language? Why do the Tamils have to study English for communication with the world and Hindi for communication within India? Do we need a big door for the big dog and a small door for the small dog? I say, let the small dog use the big door too!". This was what Anna told in his 1962 address in the Parliament.

Other snippets: It is to be called 'Anti-Hindi Imposition Agitation' and not 'Anti-Hindi Agitation'. Rajaji, who supported the initial 'Hindi-common-language' principle in the late 1930s, later opposed it. Big names like Periyar, Annadurai, Rajaji, EVK Sampath - all were part of this movement. In 1950, Hindi was made the official language of India, pushing all other regional languages to a secondary status. This is the main starting point of the agitation - spearheaded by Dravidar Kazhagam and Periyar.

I had a discussion (read:argument) with one of my friends here in XLRI about the same. A discussion between him and me is as follows:

He:Look at countries like France, Germany, South Korea, Japan - the main reasons why they have developed is the common language in those places
Me: They would have achieved this development because of various other things. You can't attribute a particular event and a result just because the event is true with respect to the result. Language should not be seen just with the objective of development, language is part of the culture. It is part of the religion, it is ingrained in people's life.
He: China also developed for the same reason. We are quite similar to them
Me: I have read somewhere that there hell a lot of variations in Mandarin, hell a lot of difference in the Politics as a whole between the two countries, culture etc., so again a wrong comparison
He: If any French minister goes to a foreign country, he would address in French; same is true with a German/ENglish Leader; If an Indian leader goes abroad, there would not be any uniformity - some would address in English, some in Hindi, some in Tamil...
Me: That is the beauty of India. We have read all along, "Unity in diversity"
He: Your own leaders like Rajaji and EVR supported the Hindi establishment in Tamilnadu (He was wrong EVR Periyar did not support the Hindi establishment at any time)
Me: They appreciated the concept that people in India should know Hindi also - they saw the benefits. But I doubt whether they supported Hindi at the cost of Tamil which I guess was the proposition when they opposed.
He: Hindi is the national language. If Hindi is made compulsory in all parts of India, people from south can come to north and people from north can come to south.
Me: Hindi is the main language in 4-5 states: UP, MP, Bihar, Haryana - In most other places, it is spoken just because of the size. In each of the other places where Hindi is predominant, there is also a regional language pushed to the background like Marathi, Gujarathi etc.
He: You know Hindi is a progessive language? Tamil is not..
Me: What do you mean by progessive? Number of people or the growth in literature?
He: Both
Me: If you consider the literary wealth, Tamil IS progressive.
He: Even Gandhiji vouched for the benefits of a uniform language
Me: He wanted development all round the country and unity. He thought language would create that unity. If you see, the 4 south Indian states are probably the most wealthy ones along with Maharashtra and Punjab (again another two places where Hindi is not the language of the land), then the Hindi speaking people should learn the southie languages. In a democracy, nothing should be forced on people. If people feel the benefits, if people find the need, they themselves would learn the language. I feel, it is absolutely USELESS to learn Hindi for the sole purpose of communication. One would understand and speak better Hindi by watching TV/Movie and spending a year or two in Hindi mainland. An advantage that I could have had was, in Chennai had I had spoken-hindi fluency, I would have got a lot more pretty girl friends!! (Are Tamil girls less prettier than their North Indian counterparts --- another fresh argument should have come up but for the Business Law class)

For more detailed information on the topic, refer to the Chronology of Anti-Hindi Agitations

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Kannagi Silai - symbol of chastity?

Yet another typical instance of "Whatever you did, I will undo. Whatever you undid, I will do". But this "kannagi statue" issue prompted a discussion with my family friend yesterday. There is no denying the DMK-ADMK spat and I am neither a ADMK supporter nor a DMK basher.

For the record, Kannagi statue was installed in the DMK rule in 1968 to commemorate the "World Tamil Conference" as it was considered a symbol of Tamil culture. Removed by Jayalalitha Govt. after an "accidental" hit by a lorry and a new service lane is operational where the statue once stood. I have not seen the now re-installed statue.

I have nothing against Kannagi or her statue but I have some doubts whether Kannagi really deserves a statue or not. These are some questions that keep pestering in my mind.

1. Silappadigaram is a great work in Tamil, created by Ilangovadigal. Why can't we have a statue of Ilangovadigal instead of Kannagi?

2. Kannagi is definitely a symbol of chastity, but one of my relative contended that Kannagi is hyped up by male-chauvinistic males as she symbolizes that a 'chaste' wife should do anything for her wayward and unfaithful husband who realises his mistakes after sunset.

3. If Kovalan was sinning, Kannagi should have set him on fire in the first place. Why destroy a city for the sake of king's mistake?

4. That Pandian king deserves a statue: He died the moment he realised he has erred in his judgement.

5. That queen deserves a statue: She died seeing her husband die (Not that I am a votary of Sati!) - which shows her abundant and unconditional love for her husband.

6. How can we have a statue for a city destroyer - for whatever reasons she destroyed it - it is like encouraging violence if Madras High court (which is very close to Marina as well) makes a wrong judgement.

7. I guess Silappadigaram is a work of fiction(?!!!!), this statue might hurt the sentiment of Madurai people - remember how the current Ban Drowns the Code! Also, is it alright to have a statue for a fictional character?

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

How to make voters vote?

The biggest problem in Indian electoral scene is the poor turnout of voters. This is true for many countries and India being the largest democracy should find ways to overcome this problem. Somehow!

Let us see the problems which a voter faces and which discourage him from exercising his franchise.

The first thing that comes to mind is the idle nature of the voters. Some of them see the election as a source of entertainment, the election day as a holiday, the election campaigns as interesting dramas and think their duty is over by mere discussion with other similar idle citizens. I consider this as problem number 1.

Problem Number 2 is the fear factor, ie. the fear of violence at the time of elections, the call of extremists to boycott the polls etc. This might not be true in all parts of India but wherever it is ture, it indeed poses a grave problem.

Problem 3 may sound trivial but it is as serious as the others: Difficulty in reaching the polling booths . The difficulty can be due to the accessibility of the booth - like availability of bus,train services, severe weather conditions, or lack of additional efforts to enable the handicapped vote.

Problem 4 is easily the worst according to me. It is the Lack of Concern from the voters' side. There are sections of people in the society who hardly ever have voted in elections. Their attitude is one of 'Whoever comes, nothing is going to happen', 'whoever comes, they are going to swindle', 'what difference my vote will make in the final outcome'.

Problem 5 is very basic: Missing names in the electoral rolls . I was born in 1982, eligible to vote from October of 2000, but found my entry into the electoral rolls only in 2006, at the age of 24. The ruckus during the enrolling process and the inevitable huge slip-up in the list are only too well known.

Having identified some of the problems, let me throw some solutions as well. The associated problems are in (brackets).

Solution 1. Make people answerable for uncast votes (1,4) . The non-voters should be made to explain why they did not fulfill their electoral duty. They should be made to file the reason with the local tahsildar for their uncast vote. The eventualites for not voting and not filing the reasons would be dealt as mentioned in solutions 7-11. The mere fact that the non-voters have to go to the tahsildar office on a working day, stand in the queue and file the papers would make them feel that voting on the election day would be a far easier job.

Solution 2. Enhance the security at polling booths (2) . This is an obvious solution to problem 2. But in addition to enhancing the security, the happenings around in the polling stations could be telecast in the local cable tv. This would release the fear of most people. Even if there is an unrest, people would be fore-warned and would not add to the chaos there. Showing of election booths in TV has an additional benefit: Voters can find the best possible time to vote, avoiding the times at which the booth is crowded. Also, punishing the poll offenders severely (eg.POTA) might discourage them from committing the crime.

Solution 3. Free commutation facilities (3). It is understood that the polling booths would not be far away from the voters' houses. But in some cases, as in villages, if the distance is more, the authorities can arrange some special buses, share autos, vans etc. free of cost, so that people do not find any discomfort in voting.

Solution 4. Listen to the weather man (3). Listen to the climate would have been better. The elections should not be conducted during times of extreme weather that would cause discomfort to the voters. Elections in north India during Dec-Jan, in Tamilnadu during oct-nov, Central india during may-jun have to be avoided. I think the Election Commission is already trying to implement this.

Solution 5. Postal Votes (3). Exercising franchise through postal votes has to be extended on an on-demand-basis. Government employees like election officers and police officials normally are allowed to do this. But on a payment basis, other citizens should also be allowed to avail this facility.

Solution 6. Special efforts to include names in the rolls (5). A majority of the missing names would that be of the voters who become eligible to vote since the last election, ie. those who have attained 18 years in the last 3-5 years. The EC can make use of the std XII lists, census data to include these people. The colleges can organize special camps wherein all their students are compulsorily made to get enlisted in the rolls. Some companies can also take initiatives to force their employees to get enrolled. A nice example is the TCS way of withholding the salary amount of Rs.10000 till the employee shows his PAN card.

Solution 7. Use of Internet (1,2,3). This I feel is the solution to most of the problems, though it might throw some of its own. The Internet can be a medium through which the voters can register and then vote. The introduction of a national identity card with appropriate security details would be a pre-cursor to the use of Internet in electoral process. The EC can take cues from the various banks which are operating safely through the Internet. May be the banks can chip in with their contribution here.

Solution 8. Incentives 1 (1,4). The Government can give additional litre of kerosene (at existing prices at ration shops) per voter if all eligible voters in that family have voted. Kerosene is just an example, it can be substituted with anything else of importance.

Solution 9. Incentives 2 (1,4). Solution 8 might serve as incentive to middle, lower middle and BPL classes of the society, but what about the educated middle, upper middle and others. Each non-voter should have additional tax rate. For cases where this cannot be applied, those people should be charged extra for electricity, water and other Government supplies.

Solution 10. Incentives 3 (1,4). If a voter stays outside his state, he has to be granted leave from his office, be it Government or otherwise, to exercise his franchise. The companies can give a token 1-2 holidays.

Solution 11. Incentives 4 (1,4). Government employees who do not vote will have to forfeit one month salary. Private sector companies are also encouraged to do so. The funds collected from this would be given to finance the other solutions. Having voted in the last election (or the paper from tahsildar office:solution 1) should be an eligibility criterion for applicants to jobs.