Saturday, April 7, 2012

Melody of Change


In the contemporary turbulent times when the whole world is undergoing multidimensional transformation, which have given a new direction to the way human history was being written, one cannot but help thinking what is it that he wants to see changed or more specifically what is it that he could change?

A simple look at the front page of a newspaper will give an indication that world is falling apart, from the corruption in our own country to the miseries of an African, to the state repression in middle east, to the relative unemployment among even the employer nations, to the climate change and the list does seem to have an end. While the scale of the problems is intimidating,  perhaps that of the solution is not, specially when it comes to the question pertaining to our individual role in the society.  All we have to do is to find out those little things which can be fixed and fix them.

Sounds lucid or baffling? Here is an example, we all will agree that one of the biggest obstacles in the path of human development is human ignorance or more fundamentally in case of our country – illiteracy. The problem is really big, to educate around 20 crore more Indians…solution is really simple, teach one illiterate, how to read or if that seems too burdensome, support unprivileged children in your neighbourhood. The support could be as simple as providing books or pencils. We must not seek any fame in that, if we want real satisfaction from that work.

What is it that holds us from doing anything despite our sinusoidal emotions for our nation? The indifferences we have created within ourselves are so profound that no external stimulus seem to evoke any response from us. How to fight this state of frustrating inactivity? A state where we watch prime time news as a prime time show. The key is in realizing that we are responsible for whatever happens in our society, even if it is not related to us remotely in a conspicuous manner. Owning responsibility for each and everything will be emotionally torturous in the starting, but soon it brings a change in our thinking when we begin to think how something could be stopped and also start acting in that direction.

Take an example, you see a plastic wrapper on an otherwise clean Metro platform, you may curse the unknown sinner who threw it earlier or may just pick it up and throw it in a dustbin. Even if the dustbin is located outside the metro station, carry it along with you and throw it there. Your action might not immediately change the hearts of onlookers, compelling them to accompany in your noble efforts, but they will definitely take a note of it and one day they will be part of your self purification movement. Inspire people more by your deeds and less by preaching. When a rich and well to do lawyer can replace his expensive clothes with a homespun lungi and can shake the conscience of entire world, we have much less to sacrifice and much less to change.

What is that must be change to make this world a better place? Today individual, society, nation and the world, all exist in a delicate interdependent ecosystem, change in one leads to change in other. So we need to change ourselves, our perception to the surroundings, the change is required in our belief that two wrongs make it right, they don’t. Change is required to make us believe that we have to speak up for at least ourselves if not for others, even if it is as a simple problem as enforcing a no smoking regulation in a village bus. Change is required in seeing ourselves a part of problem and hence solution. Change is required in our vision of society and our nation, because our future vision is the present of our progeny. We must change the system we are going to bequeath upon our children. Let millions of us perish in that endless pursuit of a prosperous  society, even if we can’t build a society of  our dreams in our lifetime, we shall contribute at least a brick to that. Let us contribute our own tone to this symphony of change, that will mellifluously echo in the minds and hearts of our brethren. That’s the change I want to see in everyone………to listen to and to be part of this melody of change……


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Friday, February 24, 2012

The diplomacy of law


The Supreme Court(SC) recently passed four judgments which were long awaited for, by the common people and intelligentsia alike – 2G, Army Chief’s age raw, Vodafone and Ramdev. All of them were related to corruption in some or other manner. The judgements passed were expected to leave a historical impact on the way Corporates, Politicians, Governments and ‘Aam Aadmi’ work in this country. There were similar  things on in the neighbourhood as well as in Western World, we’ll take a look on the events taking place there also.

The SC has lately started sounding ambivalent in its decision, some sort of finding always the mid way. It has also formed a love-hate relationship with the government, criticizing it at one time and conforming to its policies at the other. Lets take all the cases one by one and the mid path position taken by SC to make ‘justice seemed to be done’ while at the same time absolving the guilty.

First, the 2G case, the biggest scandal in the history of Independent India. SC while cancelled all the licenses issued there with. It absolved PM of any delinquency. The reason given was that PMO did not apprise him of the full facts and so he can’t be held guilty in the case. Sounds funny, bureaucracy in this country is not so powerful that could keep PM in dark. Moreover what happened with the principle of ministerial accountability and collective responsibility, the arch stones of a Parliamentary Governance? A mid way position where you tell the corporate that it could not go this way, but absolving  the government of any guilt.

Second, Army Chief’s Age Raw – it got to be somebody’s mistake? There is a clear cut scenario where the date was not corrected even after several requests by the Chief and later his acceptance of the date as such ‘under pressure’ and the subsequent denials. Either you punish the record keeping agency and ask it to get its act together or you tell the Chief why so late? Again, a midway, where you condemn both, and appreciate the latter for his bravery, which anyone would, since he is Army Chief and no one has doubts regarding his integrity. What precedent are you setting for less fortunate people, when a powerful person like Army Chief had to fight so much for such a simple thing?

Third, the Vodafone case, SC held that Vodafone wasn’t liable to pay taxes for the transfer deal, since the subsidiary was located in Mauritius. A boon for all those companies who  are evading tax laws of a country by locating subsidiaries in tax heavens. One of the reasons given was the investment climate of the country should be favourable. Then why did you cancel the 2G licences at all, we would have accepted that also as a fait accompli. And did you forget your own judgement in Salwa Judam case, where you dedicated a good part of your judgement in denouncing the neo-liberal policies of the government?  I am not an expert in the legal matters, but a simple reading of the IT Act, mentions that the tax will be levied if the capital is located in the country, which I guess, is located.

Fourth, Ramdev case – it was a shear violation of fundamental rights of the public to protest peacefully. Good, an eloquent judgment was written, mentioning the sleep also as a fundamental right. But Ramdev was also held complicit saying he did not follow the orders of vacating the round. If I am not mistaken, they were protesting there, not performing a rock concert. Is government authorized to suppress any protest just by ordering that place of the protest be vacated?

And about the illegal occupation of the ground, since method of protest was Gandhian, lets compare it to ‘his’ tactics. When he appeared on the Freedom Struggle scene, he broke all sorts of the law, but he never broke the fundamental law of peace. It was he, who started a new phase in the methods of protest by Congress, while Congress used to abide by the law at the time of protests earlier, it was he who brought idea of Non-Cooperation on the forefront. He  used to keep long fasts, he must had been held guilty of ‘attempt to suicide’ in that case. I believe the in this case, there should have been some strict exemplary punishment for the government. As of now, all of you have done is to make them pay compensation, that too using public money.

Now the neighbourhood, Pakistan. The judiciary almost caused a judicial coup there by maintaining a stand that government must reopen cases of President Zardari in swiss courts. And since the government did not comply, prosecution for holding PM, not the PMO, guilty of Contempt Charges started. NO midway was taken. The easy way for the court could have been to criticize the government for its omission and leave the case pending till President dies or gets 98 year old(recently an ex-minister was held guilty at this age in India).

Germany, President had to resign facing the prospect of prosecution for allegations of corruption relating to his prior service as Prime Minister of Lower Saxony. And now compare that with India, he resigned merely on the ‘prospects’ of prosecution, in our country, they try to stay unless the conviction happens.

Indian Judiciary has helped maintaining the ‘Rule of Law’ in the country throughout its entire history. Today also, it makes us feel proud when through various instruments of law, it tries to maintain public confidence in the law. But in the light of multiple cases of judicial corruptions, lack of a judicial accountability mechanism, the opaqueness of selection procedure and such ‘ambivalent’ judgements – judiciary needs to put its house in order so that others may revere it like a temple, for ever.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

एक पल जो ठहरो तुम तो….


आती है जो दिल से आवाज़

उसे हम अनसुना सा क्यूँ करते हैं

रुकने को चाहते पर चलूँ चलूँ करते हैं

इस पल की तो सुन लो आवाज़ कि कहीं वक्त रुसवां ना हो जाए

एक पल तो ठहरो कम से कम, ये पल खुशनुमां सा हो जाए


किस्से सुना रहे हैं तब से, फिल्मों के, अख़बारों के

अफ़साने से कुछ सुना रहे हैं, हम बीती यादों से

कुछ बातें तो कही सुनी हैं, पर कुछ नयी नवेली हैं

कुछ बातें तो पूरी हो गयी पर कुछ अब भी अधूरी हैं

थोडा वक्त और दो,  तो शायद एक बात और पूरी हो जाए

एक पल और थोडा ठहरो तो ये पल खुशनुमा हो जाए


सपने जो तब से देख रहे हैं, हम भटकते बंजारों से

कब से जैसे भाग रहे हैं हम, हकीकत के पहरेदारों से

कुछ सपने जैसे पकड़ लिए हों, किसी कड़वी सच्चाई ने

कुछ अभी भी बचे हुए हैं, पूरे होने की ख्वाहिश में

कुछ देर और साथ दो तो शायद कोई सपना मंजिल पा जाए

एक पल जो तुम ठहरो तो, ये पल खुशनुमा हो जाए…..