Monday, November 14, 2016

Strange Shades of Life!

Here is a common story!

Once upon a time, there was a salaried person (or an honest businessman) and as such possessing all accounted for, so-called white money! However, since he needed to buy a property, he was required to pay a substantial amount in cash. So, what did he do? He withdrew money from his bank account in instalments and converted the white into black! He paid it off and continued living his clean life with no black money. Some time later, when he wanted to sell off his property, the same cycle was repeated because the buyer would give him cheque plus cash – the money unaccounted for in the books. And lo, in the process, he too joins the elite group possessing black money. The cycle goes on like this. You read in the advertisements that a property is available for X amount and on the other hand, all those deals are being registered at X/2. It has always been an open secret. Still no action by any government. It required a political will – way, way above the vote bank politics. 

Property is just one example… there would be many… We all know!

Strange shades of life!

On 8 November 2016, India had a glimpse of that missing political will. It came as such a shock that whoever heard about it, refused to believe and termed it as a prank / rumour.

Since I didn’t have enough cash in small denomination notes, decided to go to the bank very next morning. I have been quite used to almost instant service in recent times. However, it happened to be a long queue at the bank and took almost one and a half hours. No complaints. The bank staff was doing everything to make the experience lesser painful… distributing required forms and even getting photocopies of your PAN cards. When a lady sat on the stairs to fill a form, a staff member asked her if he could get her a chair. Very well managed. It was Vasant Kunj, New Delhi branch of HDFC Bank. My all appreciation for them… YET, you could hear some shouts from the people in the queue. Yes, the staff members kept their cool recognizing that sometimes that’s what you get in return to all good work done by you!

Strange shades of life!

Then, look at the political opposition! They were so shocked by the announcement that there was almost no immediate reaction. As soon as they regained senses, the gang went overdrive to spread misinformation regarding mistakes in the new currency and producing the picture of a lady with a bundle of the new currency to “reveal” that the lady was the daughter of a BJP leader and they all knew about the plan. The picture went viral with no one knowing that the alleged BJP didn’t even have a daughter. The mistake in the new notes was believed without bothering to check the older notes in circulation to confirm that it was sheer misinformation. Who was doing all this? While forwarding a message does not take any time, “manufacturing” it does! And spokespersons of different political parties display the same as proof in the TV debates. Just imagine the kind of forces at work to destroy the country to further their political interests.

Strange shades of life!

A senior political leader goes and joins the queue in the bank to display solidarity with the harassed public, without realizing that his presence over there is only multiplying their inconvenience. The focus is clear. Instead of seeing what can be done to reduce their discomfort, an opportunity is seen in instigating people to turn them against the government of the day. On the other hand, a school principal in Baghpat (U.P.) along with his students goes all out to help the old and illiterate to fill up their forms and smoothen the process. Look at the contrast!

Strange shades of life!

Then where are the NGOs, who are always too keen to jump at the next available opportunity to agitate and demonstrate for a “cause”.  Are they also busy in counting old currency and assessing their loss? In contrast to these NGOs and social organizations, who are supposed to be working above any self interest, you see residents / traders associations and individual volunteers coming out to help bankers manage crowds and serving the common public in the queue with water and tea with no self interest.

Strange shades of life!

Our able leaders suggest that the scheme should be put on hold for some time and relaunched later after better preparation. I wonder how any sensible person can talk like this. Is it possible? Perhaps they mean that they should  be given time to prepare themselves (!) And they claim to be honest and intelligent. Yes, they are intelligent, because they know that this initiative just cannot be withdrawn or put on hold. It can never happen; YET speaking like this serves their political interest. They know if they try to help the common people to reduce their pain, the credit will go to the government. Therefore, O common man! Your pain is my gain. I will make sure that whatever pain you have, you feel it more!

Strange shades of life!

Friday, April 15, 2016

Odd Enough! What Even?

Oddly enough, it is claimed that Delhiites  are happy with odd-even scheme. Yes, here is the complete list of people with the reason of their happiness: 
  • Car owners, who have multiple cars (with odd and even numbers) are not affected by this order. Rather, they will face less congestion, so HAPPY  
  • Two wheeler owners, who can now enjoy still better zigzagging on Delhi roads.  HAPPY 
  • Lady drivers (the category not covered under odd-even) would feel more comfortable to drive on less crowded streets. HAPPY 
  • Auto rickshaw and cab drivers get business boost up and increase in income. HAPPY 
  • The low income group, who do not own cars, experience less congested roads for walking, cycling, road crossing… HAPPY 
  • CNG car owners face less congested roads, since there is no other difference as far as they are concerned. HAPPY
See, in all these cases, pollution control is NOT the issue. In fact, decrease in pollution levels was never conclusively proved, yet…

OK, now, who are left?
  • Middle income group / Senior citizens / people who are basically field workers like sales people or cash collection agents – the people, who are not covered in any of the above-mentioned categories and they own only one petrol / diesel car.
Oh, come on! That is too small a group! In any case, they are too insignificant to make a difference (as far as vote bank is concerned!)

On the hindsight EVEN IF the pollution levels come down during the experimental fortnight, there is a need to see whether it is significant, whether there are other more polluting factors that need to be tackled and whether the gains (if any and whatever) can be sustained over a period of time.  Yes, such an exercise will throw up challenges and need to make big efforts. Surely, too tall an order as compared to cheap gimmicks to gain quick popularity and electoral gains.

And who said that this fortnightly exercise should be carried out every month?  Isn’t it ridiculous? How can one justify half good and half bad month… month after month? But, yes, the focus is very clear – to repeat – “quick popularity and electoral gains.”

Thursday, August 27, 2015

STOP This Mental Corruption !

The biggest curse for our country, India, has been the caste based reservation system. May be, it might have benefitted some individuals…., it has certainly benefitted our political class….; but the biggest loser has been the country’s unity, its social fabric, its tranquillity, its growth, people’s performance and effectiveness…. in short the country, that is India.

Unfortunately, ALL political parties blame each other for playing dirty politics, and ALL of them play this divisionary game. Caste based reservation is the most ridiculous way of social upliftment.  Somebody rightly pointed out, if we had such a system in the past, Krishna, the almighty king would get reservation benefit (being a Yadav) and poor Sudama will not (being Sharma, a Brahmin.) Can something be more idiotic than this? And today, we are not only practicing; but encouraging this idiocy.

 Is there a single political party or a leader to declare that they would work for the abolition of this system? At least, I am not aware of. 

Helping the oppressed and downtrodden and their upliftment should be on everyone’s agenda. There are problems with this system, has been acknowledged often. That’s why there were attempts like removing the creamy layer. But, that cannot be the complete solution. Logically, anyone short of financial means should get the similar benefits irrespective of caste, creed or religion. Why can’t we have simple economic criteria for every Indian?  Why can’t we invoke nationalism rather than championing the cause of a particular caste, community or religion? To my mind, the only problem with such a system will be that our so-called leaders will not be able to divide people and fetch their votes. 

The bottom line –
The people of India, look for shortcuts. We shy away from putting in our best and earn what we want. Rather, we are ready to fight and die for the cause of reservation! That’s why the leadership takes advantage of this mental corruption of the public to achieve their objective, even if it is at the cost of our country. So unfortunate! 

To hell with….

Friday, May 23, 2014

What Do You Say?

Once upon a time, there used to be a common man. He was always proud of calling himself a common man and the people would identify him as one of them.  It was a happy situation.

One day, the CM (common man) happened to jump a red light. It is not clear whether it was accidental or intentional; but when he was stopped by the traffic cop, he termed it as unintentional and apologised for his carelessness. His innocent face and apparently genuine plea had the desired effect and the traffic cop let him go with a simple warning and a word of advice. 

This incident emboldened the CM to start taking advantage of his innocent looks and convincing oratory skills. Twice again, he was able to manage the traffic cops effectively.

However, next time he ran out of luck and the cop on duty turned out to be a tough guy. The CM pleaded with all sort of reasons which did not cut much ice with the cop. Now, the CM got angry, refused to pay the fine and was not even apologetic.  The cop sent the matter to the court in a routine manner as a part of his duty.

The CM, though not very happy with the developments, decided to oblige and appeared in the court. His plea was simple – he was let off without any fine in earlier cases, so why should he be treated differently now? The judge didn’t want to be tough and to avoid any further waste of time, asked the CM to just give an undertaking that he would not repeat it in future, and go; but the CM recalling earlier cases, insisted that he should be allowed to go on the basis of his verbal assurance. Citing the procedure, the judge said that a written assurance was the least he could allow. The CM was very curt in his reply, “OK. You can send me to jail.”

The judge tried to convince the CM by recalling the instance of another associate of the CM, who had paid fine a day before for jumping a red light. The CM argued that his case was different as he had jumped the signal on a normal road. The CM had jumped a red light on a highway, which was as good as a freeway. So, the two incidents cannot be compared. The judge was spell-bound!

At this stage, a very senior lawyer intervened to educate the judge, “I will tell you what the law is. You don’t understand even English. The law states that a person who jumps a red light may be prosecuted. It does not say that he will be prosecuted. It is MAY, MAY, MAY.... it is not WILL, WILL, WILL. DO YOU UNDERSTAND?”, he shouted.

The judge was calm. Coolly, he replied, “Yes, it is MAY... and I may or may not. Who will decide that? ME only. It is my judgement, not yours! ”

The CM jumped in, “Common people are supreme. You cannot be biased against them.  You send me to jail. Let the people decide who is right.”

Out goes the message – “What is happening in this country? A common man is jailed for jumping a red light, whereas who make such draconian laws are relaxing at their homes. Come out in the streets and protest against discrimination.”

So, thus starts another movement for the common people!

Poor judge cannot even resort to such tactics! What should he do?

Friday, April 4, 2014

The biggest democratic event of the world is going to start - Make your OWN decision !

The biggest democratic event of the world is going to start, and expectedly the temperatures are rising – unfortunately to the burning levels!  

Do you see any reason for the politicians not doing anything worthwhile; but continue talking of 1984, 1992 and 2002 events, especially during election time? When the courts exonerate someone from the opposite camp, they say that the evidence has been tempered with.  At the same time if there is some adverse ruling against their leaders, they say that the court has erred.  After all, judges are also human beings. They can commit mistakes! Isn’t it the height of hypocrisy? 

Why the hell do we talk of Muslim vote, Hindu vote, Sikh vote, Yadav vote, Jaat vote....?  Are we human beings or vote banks? Really sad! Every political party deplores the acts of miscreants indulging into manhandling; but rewards such people with tickets to fight elections.  What is the logic of nominating “shoe throwers” to fight election?  Our leaders forget that such people do not subscribe to any ideology. Today if a person has attacked my opponent, tomorrow he can attack me. Encouraging such elements never pays in the long run; but sadly the vision of our politicians is short-term only. We, the people, must understand this.

While lesser known entities are cashing in to steal some lime light by creating sensational stories, even established and well-known media does not want to lag behind. In this highly charged scenario, what do these people in news channels and print media need? Your attention... and for this reason, they dig out or even create sensational stories that sell. Ethics do not mean anything for them. They are certainly not enemies of the country; but do not realize the kind of disservice they are doing to the nation just in their effort to increase their presence and ratings. This may be sad, but true.

Latest, “The Economist” has come out with their own story to join the bandwagon and say that they do not recommend Narendra Modi for the reasons XYZ. Reading the same, I wondered whether it was the kind of “Stock Buy” recommendation!  Do we need their “recommendation” to make our choice? 

Undoubtedly, we need a strong opposition; but if there is no strong government, a strong opposition can only bring in instability and chaos. This is what was witnessed in Delhi very recently. Whatever one may say about AAP, the fact is that the things would have been far better if they had a clear majority. Whether they would have been able to deliver or not; or whether it would have been better to have a BJP or Congress government is a separate issue altogether. I am only talking about the need of a strong and stable government. 

Let us think what the need of the hour is and what is in the best interest of our country. Let us not react to what others say. Let us exercise our right considering the interest of our country; because that is in our interest. We, the people!