Friday, 21 September 2012

Elections in University of Delhi

Barely a week and the campus of Delhi University seem silent as a grave. The over-hyped and over-rated student elections have ended with NSUI occupying most of the seats. And the vociferous elements have gone to their respective hibernation quarters. They would be called next year if any of the parties need them. The annual elections are a very good way to democratically elect a union body. But this is not an annual affair. All the parties keep alluring students round the year to increase their electorate. It is a very smooth and systematic process. Especially parties like NSUI & ABVP begin this process when the session starts. When you are a fresher these elections and campaigning sound extremely alluring and this happens with everybody. Even I was quite energized when I joined DU last year. So this is where these giant students body come in. they try their level best to catch the attention of students by cultural programmes, cleanliness campaigns, anti-tobacco campaigns and other works for social causes. Considering ourselves an active students and hot-blooded that we are, we become the mouse who falls bait to the cheese and lands up in the cage. The bait is not only in one form. Sometimes students get excited just because they are made to believe that they would get the opportunity to rub shoulders with few political honchos. So after getting for themselves enough na├»ve freshers the parties set out on the election journey. And this process keeps repeating every year.  DU elections are considered to be the most sought after students elections. It is a huge fad because it provides a prospect to enter directly into national politics. And that is the reason why national parties of our country leave no stone unturned in facilitating their respective youth wings to WIN even after knowing that they are violating the recommendations of Lyngdoh committee which clearly and precisely says in its Article [6.3] that ‘dissociation of student elections and student representation from political parties’. It is very thorny for them to understand this one sentence. Many of the times it appears as if it is an election between BJP & Congress rather than NSUI &ABVP. Politicians like deependra hooda, Oscar Fernandez, Sheila dikshit, and others throng the university campus on the day of voting.  They must be well-versed with the English and hindi language and also the recommendations of Lyngdoh committee. Or probably they have become brazen enough as to contravene everything that comes in their way of winning.
And they don’t stop here.  DU elections become a platform for showing off dazzling and swanky cars, heavily built men and hefty currency notes. Party which possess these three important elements in big amounts are the ones who win with a bang. Delicious free food, social gatherings free rides, beautiful faces, distribution of alcohol and freebies to students forms up the core of their original manifestos which is not made public. While this dim-witted temptation gathers few students, it doesn’t increase the turn-out for elections. This year the turnout for elections was slightly over 30%. That is it! Not even half of the university’s population comes out to vote. The enticing manifestos too don’t provide much help because firstly more or less all the parties demand for the same thing. There is nothing novel. And secondly none of them see to it that the promises they made ought to be fulfilled once they come to power. Besides one of the interesting thing is that the manifestos of these parties have been more or less same since a decade. How well-run and efficient the university is! The only promise they live up to is the parties that they throw and the fancy outstation trips they organize. The history of DU says that not a single independent candidate has been elected for any post. The woman as always becomes an object to woo voters. If they contest for any post they aren’t given votes on the basis of what issues they are raising or because it is mentioned in the constitution of Delhi university students union. It has become a history. Instead they are voted for their glamour and their heavily painted demonized visage. It was only once that a woman was elected as a president and that was in 1977.  They are mainly used by the big honchos to create scenes and grab consideration. They have no say in as far as the union is concerned.  Simon de Beauvoir was completely right when she said and I quote ‘women are not born, they are made’. Unquote.
Prem studios in kamla nagar become a very happening place during elections. It is here that most of the contestants get their attractive pictures clicked. For Rs. 800, this studio gives 3 lovely pictures. So arithmetically even if 4 candidates order 3 pictures each the cost comes up to Rs.3200 and this is when the Lyngdoh committee in its article 6.6.1 recommends the maximum permitted expenditure per candidate to be Rs. 5000. It is in actual fact hard to count how much these student bodies squander in elections.
Caste too comes to play a major role. The student politics too like the national politics is reduced to the narrow divisions of caste and class. Students commence their mind games and start selecting candidates as per the vote bases. Despite the recommendation of Lyngdoh committee in article [6.7.3] which states that ‘there shall be no appeal to caste or communal feelings for securing votes. Places of worship, within or without the campus shall not be used for election propaganda’, the parties continue to breach these proposals. Then a process starts where parties divide the areas for campaigning according to caste and religion. Grime is added to the reputation of DU. The aims of the constitution of Delhi university student’s union pledges ‘to promote consciousness among the students of the university of Delhi of the events taking place around them with a view to better equipping them as responsible and educated citizens and to build up a healthy students movement’. What an irony! When students are divided into fragments in the name of caste and religion at such an early age, how would they grow up to be civilized and responsible citizens of this country? The aims of the constitution also enlist that a sense of service to the people and a duty towards the state should be promoted among students. The students would surely grow up to learn that distributing alcohol and good food is a way of doing a service to the state and its people.




This year was no different in witnessing the painted walls and colorful photographs of the candidates. The Lyngdoh committee clearly mentions in the article [6.7.5] that ‘no candidate shall be permitted to make use of printed posters, printed pamphlets, or any other printed material for the purpose of canvassing. Candidates may only utilize hand-made posters for the purpose of canvassing, provided that such hand-made posters are procured within the expenditure limit set out herein above’. But who pays heed to this. The smaller parties are crushed in this competition of money and politics. Parties like SYS and the AISA are stomped by NSUI & ABVP in the similar fashion as BJP led NDA and Congress led UPA have done in the past with other regional parties. Who is to provide a security to these smaller groups? Why do the college authorities pay no heed to these groups? It was so appalling to see university authorities on their knees in front of these giant groups. The campus was flooded with zillions of printed posters of each candidate. The paintings were also not less. And there was nobody to keep a check on this infringement. Also it is cited in the committee’s recommendation in article [6.7.7] that ‘no candidate shall be permitted to carry out processions, or public meetings, or in any way canvass or distribute propaganda outside the university/college campuses. This was the one recommendation which was defied heavily. There were huge hoardings of the candidates and pamphlets were distributed all over the city. Whole Delhi was aware that elections are happening in Delhi University. And delhi-ites did not know this only from the news or radio channels. Students were campaigning extensively all over the city and meetings were held in every possible place except the university.
usual tussle between two of the largest groups.
Further article [6.7.8] of the committee mentions that ‘during the election period the candidates may hold processions and/or public meetings, provided that such processions and/or public meetings do not, in any manner, disturb the classes and other academic and co curricular activities of the college/university. Such procession/public meetings may not be held without the prior written permission of the college/university’. What happens in this regard is that the esteemed candidates according to their wish stomp into any random class, the teacher is asked to leave and the candidates make their impromptu inspirational and friendly speeches and mould the gullible students into their voters. With every coming year DUSU candidates arrive with some new brainless idea. So this year the dummy candidates were introduced. Once during campaigns I met this friend of mine who is from another college. And during our conversation I found out that the candidate of one of the giant party who had come to my class for a vote appeal was present in her class too and strangely at the same time. We both were totally astonished. After talking to others we found out about the new trend which commenced from this year.
As far as giving the inspirational speeches are concerned, all the candidates more or less talk in a similar tone. There have always been talks on the opening of 4 campuses for the university, probably since the time university opened in 1922. And even now after 90 years it still occupies a place in the manifestos. Also the two which have been opened, only the north one can be termed as a campus. South campus remains devoid of the basic amenities. The commuting problem is such a big issue that students usually prefer north campus colleges. Some colleges don’t even have canteens and few of the privileged ones who boast of a canteen complain of unhygienic and stale food. During admission students are always given a choice between NSS, NCC or sports and also in co-curricular activities. But nothing really happens of these. Students go for these only when they have to get their clearance done. There are few dance groups and drama groups which manage to make a mark. But these are so few that they can be counted on fingertips. Some students graduate out of university without knowing that such groups and such opportunities existed.  Hostel facilities are extremely poor. Numerically there are very few hostels which are unable to accommodate the large no of students.  Such is the condition that an ‘AAM’ student of DU can’t meet the president of DUSU. At the time of elections these groups become extra ordinarily friendly and once the election passes their rowdiness commences.
The members of union keep getting promoted to higher levels and ultimately leave college politics to join national stage and these numerous issues are reserved for next year’s manifestos. The glorious and most popular university of our country showcases such state. Is this the fate of the ‘most sought’ after student’s elections? Was this the purpose behind introduction of student’s elections in our country? How reprehensible it is to divulge that such valued institution has been so demeaning.
From such a young age students are taught of every possible filthy & sordid ways. It is fed in their minds that only through capital, might  and dissection on the name of caste can anybody win the elections. So much so that when these students grow up it becomes their habit. If the future of our country lies in the hands of such young people, then the future is definitely going to be treacherous.

Friday, 13 July 2012

BUZZ!

Pranab Mukherjee is all set to move to raisina hills in few days. The UPA candidate for presidential election, his mild and sociable nature has earned him a lot of friends. And these friends have shown their amity at the accurate time. Prime time and dailies are full of his praise. He is such an esteemed figure in the political arena today that he is capable of dividing NDA and also the left. Such is his range of friends. It is clear that BJP backed P.A.Sangma would not win this election because he does not have such wide variety of friends, infact his own party NCP is not backing him. So numerically Mr.Mukherjee is far ahead of Mr.Sangma. But one question arises here in my mind is that there are very few people who care to count his limitations. Is it because of his amicable nature or is it because people don’t want to pay attention to his negatives now that he has reached the retiring age from active politics. Few days back when Mr.Sangma called him as the “failed finance minister”, he retorted back saying the level of presidential elections should not be taken to the ordinary level. But Mr.Sangma surely left some food for thought. Was Pranab Mukherjee really a “failed finance minister”.
 There is a mood of undisguised glee in the Congress as the Sensex and rupee rebounded barely a day after Pranab Mukherjee filed his papers for presidential election. But then it simply wants to duck the question: Is Pranab’s exit as finance minister good riddance for the Congress? Or for that matter what is his legacy as finance minister?
We all saw how economy revived after the PM took over.
 It is pointed that GAAR which allowed a relook into the tax affairs of any person or assessee even after 18 years was seen as something that contributed to the negative sentiment against Mr.Mukherjee. Similarly, the retrospective taxation proposal for Vodafone also added to this.

There is no mistaking the difference between the approaches of the two leaders when it comes to the handling of the economy. “Mr. Pranab Mukherjee was Mr. Pranab Mukherjee,” said a senior Congress leader while emphasizing that the then finance minister was very much his own man who would simply refuse to accept any advice from anyone, and be it the prime minister. If this statement given by the congress leader is to be taken true then we can surely hope that there will be no rubber-stamp president this time. Let’s just wait for the day when he finally shifts to raisina hills.

Friday, 30 March 2012

Kahaani

The day kahaani’s promos were out on the television, everyone presumed that it will be really excellent. Probably Vidya balaan’s previous tremendous success made people say this. From the promos it seemed very unusual, so even I was very much curious to watch it. And today when I finally saw this intriguing movie, I just couldn't stop myself from eulogizing it. Vidya Balaan surely deserves a hats off for the way she played the character. She is so eloquent & original in the movie. The story revolves around Vidya Bagchi, the protagonist who is a London return pregnant woman. She is in search of her husband. It is her voyage in the ancient and one of the densely populated cities of india, Kolkata. While watching the movie it is very hard to guess, what is going to happen next. The moment one is able to grasp something, one sees totally different thing which leaves one perplexed. The climax is tremendously interesting. The city Kolkata has been portrayed in its true color. The varied, pulsating  and intriguing temperament of the city completely traps the audience’s mind. There is something very captivating about the city. I would really love to visit this place one day. Amitabh bacchan has very well sung  Rabindranath Tagore’s poem “ekla chalo re”. It is very much absorbing. His voice fits perfect to the song. Kudos to the movie!!!

Wednesday, 28 March 2012

WOMEN!

“Frailty thy name is woman”,said William Shakespeare,the greatest playwright of england. Be it the dark ages or the modern ages women have always been taken for granted. They have always been associated with certain specific qualities viz. weak,fragile,tender,soft,submissive. She has always been portrayed as inferior than men. She has remained confined to the four walls of her house for long. And most of the times the so-called superior sex has expolited her, assaulted her and also has used her for their own pleasure. She has remained a mere object not a living being, an unpaid object. History does  cite few examples of the powerful women, the respected women but these have always remained a handful. At some places she was put in the same category as slaves.
Just because she bores a child & suckles it, she is expected to remain confined to household chores. There has been an unwritten division of labour deeply rooted in our society. Women is to look after the home & the man has to go out and earn money so that the family can be looked after. Simone de Beauvoir, french feminist once said ‘Women are not born, they are made’. How true this statement is! All these divisions between males & females are man-made. There are numerous stupid stereotypical prejudices which humans have been following regarding women. Women has for age long bared all the atrocities laid on her. Now in the 21st  century people though claim that their perception towards women has changed but few inhuman practices are still prevalent in some parts of the world. But avoiding it all, today’s woman has
become self-reliant. She is no more the same vulnerable sex as she was. She is capable enough to raise her voice on every issue. This development of women is really an achievement for our society. It should be understood that man & woman are the two essential components of any society. A healthy society could be formed only when both its essential components contribute for its development equally.

A 'sham' democracy in Pakistan

Democracy in Abraham Lincoln’s words is a “rule for the people, of the people and by the people. It is a form of government in which supremacy of power is vested in the voters collectively and it is administered by them or the officers appointed by them. As far as Pakistan, our closest and most contentious neighbor is concerned, it came into being 64 yrs ago(they celebrate their independence day on august 14th) and it is still endeavoring to develop the institutions of politics in its society. The founding father of this nation Mohammed ali Jinnah achieved it democratically and constitutionally. Unfortunately destiny did not give him enough time to draw the socio-economic, religious & political map of this newly born state. Since its inception, the most difficult challenge Pakistan has struggled to meet has been to establish a true democratic system, which could guarantee its survival, stability and development. The plant of democracy has not taken its roots deep enough to make the country a ‘durable democratic state’. Lately there was a tussle between the pakistan’s elected government & the army and looking at the history of this nation there were predictions that army would again take over the government. Army has always remained the most important driver of pakistan’s destiny. From the very beginning Army has run a parallel government. Where government of pakistan has made it a habit to look up to United States for every assistance, army has always been anti-US. Today pakistan is neither sovereign nor independent. It is a “rentier state”, an American lackey, ill-fed, ill-governed by a corrupt, power hungry people supported by Washington. How can you have democracy in a country where people do not rule and the sovereign power of state resides elsewhere?
“We the people” are the three most important words in the American constitution and “We the people” is a phrase alien to Pakistan. From the beginning it can be noticed that almost every elected head of the state in Pakistan has not died a natural death be it Ayub khan, Zulfikar ali Bhutto or anybody else for that matter. During early 21 years of its life 1947-69 Pakistan was governed by civil-military bureaucracy under oligarchic and authoritarian traditions. This was the first chapter of dictatorship. The first general elections took place in 1970 and a unanimous constitution was passed by the Parliament. Elections are an important virtue of the government, but they are not the only virtue. Democracy does not ends with a ballot, it begins there. Creating a democracy requires a free and independent country, an inviolable constitution and sustained commitment of time and money to develop all the necessary elements. After taking abundance of assistance, Pakistan has become a mere puppet in the hands of U.S. and during all these years government has not considered it necessary to pay heed to the masses. They were left to decay in their surroundings. On the name of Islamic brotherhood, government never has felt essential to think about the issues of illiteracy, infrastructure, industry, commerce, health. Pakistani ‘awaam’ as they refer to the masses has remained cut off from the outside world unaware of what is happening across the globe. After years of military dictatorship followed by sham democracy, the situation in Pakistan has reached such a point that masses are yearning for a radical change. Their suffering is immense as people at the top continue to enrich themselves at the expense of workers & peasants, collaborating with imperialism as it ride through rough-shot over the people of Pakistan. The father of American Republic George Washington once cautioned that ‘an attachment of a small or weak towards a great & powerful nation dooms the former to be a satellite of the latter. No truer words have been spoken on this subject. Pakistan is paying and will continue to pay a very heavy price for the folly of attaching itself to America. The main causes of failure of democracy in Pakistan has been lack of regard for the country’s constitution and misuse of powers. The country’s constitution has been ignored and tampered with again and again. Another reason for the breakup of democratic rule had been the contending political ideologies propagated by political parties. The political profession is much to be blamed for playing the game of political gains and for seeking power instead of serving people and the country. The very purpose of creating Pakistan has been thrown into background. No wonder, people have lost faith in the democratic process, elections are rigged, votes are purchased, known corrupt people, tax-evaders are foistered upon poor, illiterate electorate. Elections throw up not the fittest, not the best and surely not the deserving but the scum of the community only because they are the richest or favorites of people in power. A survey of democracy in Pakistan can’t be completed without the assessing the electorate, the voters who are the makers of democracy. Democracy can never prosper in a country where half of the population is illiterate and is not able to use its votes intelligently. Feudalism, illiterate & apathetic people, self-imposed leaders and inherited policies are salient features of the wretched Pakistani political system which further weakens its constitution.
Aristotle has rightly remarked “To neglect the education of young ones is to weaken the constitution of the country”. Democracy is a function of education and it can’t be managed effectively and justly without sound education of voters and their high level of information. And for this lack of education among Pakistanis, again the government is to be blamed. They are the ones who have never felt it important to open sufficient and accessible educational institutions, thus depriving the common people of even the basic education.  Thus it can be analyzed that it is not the democracy that has failed but the politicians who have failed to run the country on correct democratic principles of equality, justice & fraternity. The remedy I believe lies in the words of Lord Beveridge and  “Power as a means of getting things done appeals to that men share with brutes, to fear & greed; power leads those who wield it to desire for its own sake, not for service it am render, and to seek its continuance on their own hands. Influence as a means of getting things done appeals to that which distinguishes men from brutes. The way out of world’s troubles today is to treat men as men, to enthrone influence over power and to make power revocable.”

Wednesday, 21 March 2012

The BIG UP elections.

Finally the BIG wait is over! The results of the elections of the largest state in india are out. Samajwadi party has emerged as a VICTOR defeating the BSP. The two biggest national parties BJP & INC have maintained there respective positions. I had followed these elections very closely. It was really interesting to watch all the parties putting so much at stake for this particular state election. From exaggerated promises on muslim reservation,playing the caste card to attracting the young generation,raising corruption & developmental issues and making BIG appealing promises. Each party had done it all. Media had termed UP elections as the semifinal for the government at centre. These results would be of very much importancein 2014 lok sabha elections. According to political experts Samajwadi party came as an alternative to the erstwhile mayawati government. SP managed to acquire most of the negative votes. By “negative votes” what they mean is because people didn’t want to see mayawati as CM again so they were not left with any option other than to vote for SP. When in 2007, BSP had got a landslide victory it was expected that because she hails from a poor family, she would understand the plight of poor people and would take the state to roads of development. But all she did was erecting statues statues and more statues.
Lately according to experts a tendency has been seen in the people of Uttar pradesh. They have started voting for parties alternately. SP then BSP then again SP. This they term as the tamilnaduisation of uttar pradesh. One of the big names in these  UP elections was of Rahul Gandhi. The moment he started officially campaigning in UP the sycophants of congress started talking of a huge victory for congress which was next to impossible for a party which had not tasted power in UP for past 22 years. Media also made him the hero and he received the maximum coverage. And also the way he campaigned so agressively and took on numerous meetings it appeared that instead of the party his own image was at stake. Hard work always pays off, but it did not in Rahul’s case. Obviously there are many reasons as to why the charisma of this yuvraj who belongs to the first political family of our country did not work and why people in UP rejected him totally. Probably the controversial statements of his party colleagues from time to time,the heavy doze of expectations from him,the tag of an outsider which he bears or the common man’s lack of belief in him and his party members, causes for the failure could be many. I am sure congress would surely find a solution to this malady, as it is that they don’t let go of a single opportunity to defend him and praise him in media.
The party which occupied the third position in UP was Bhartiya Janta Party. It managed to get 47 seats thus performing worse than the 2007 elections. When the counting of votes commenced it appeared that BJP would emerge as the second largest party in UP closely following Samajwadi Party. But gradually it retained its position. After ayodhya-babri masjid case there is a polarisation of votes in Uttar Pradesh. Muslims in UP consider BJP their biggest enemy. Shocking it was to see that even in places like mathura which is considered to be the BJP’s vote area, the party managed to get just few seats. Bringing Uma bharti and Sanjay Joshi back did not really help.
Akhilesh yadav, son of SP’s chief Mulayam singh yadav and the present chief minister of UP emerged as the real champion of these elections. When he was made the chief of UP’s elections it was said that even SP was following the lines of congress and starting with the concept of one-family party, but after this huge win it seems as if he has successfully proven his worth. Political analysts say that he has given rise to a new samajwad(socialism). People probably saw in him a young leader a leader of their own state unlike rahul gandhi. Media many-a-times compared Akhilesh with Rahul. Various debates and discussion took place on this. When asked akhilesh termed it as the media-invented story while Rahul chose to remain silent. On one hand where there was a lot of hype created in th media of rahul’s public display of aggression, Akhilesh throughout his campaign distanced himself from media and handled it pretty well. There are a lot of causes as to why SP won. But after the results were announced Akhilesh indisputably outshone Rahul, atleast this time.
My congratulations to the Samajwadi party for such a grand success and I sincerely hope that they would carve up a new image for themselves and live up to people’s expecations.

india's quest for independence

India has always been subjected to the foreign rule. From Qutubuddin ai-e-bak, mughals and then ultimately to britishers, we Indians have experienced being led by almost every kind of people. Out of all these the British rule is considered to be the most exploitative because all other rulers excluding britishers did not rule over us as some foreign power, instead they became indianised, settled in our country & did not interfere in our existing institutions. They did not consider Indians inferior. Contrary to this, Britishers assumed themselves to be the most superior race in the whole wide world. They perceived Indians as uncivilized, backward & ill-mannered. The English political thinkers gave this very reason to the whole world that the britishers took over India only with the intention of civilizing people in India as the condition of people in India was more worse than that of feudalism in England. Initially they just had trade relations with our country ( India was a very rich country that time. It was called the golden bird) but gradually they started establishing their control over whole of India. And because we were not unified we just could not do anything. They divided us & ruled over us for so many years and we just remained mere spectators. Their basic aim was to drain India of its wealth and for that they took every measure possible. Dadabhai nairoji rightly said that Britishers exploited us economically & drained India of its wealth.
They arrived officially in 1765 when Lord Clive defeated Shirajudulah in the Battle of Plassey. For another 100 yrs they ruled without any major threat. Though local peasant movements arose but they were brutally suppressed. Then came the first war of independence in 1857. Many Indians participated, but with difference in objectives. It shaked the east India company because they had not expected such things from Indians. Some prominent names who contributed extensively to this revolt were mangal pandey, rani lakshmibai, tatya tope, kunwar singh, nana sahib & others. This revolt failed due to the lack of a unified objective. There was no clear goal. Though the revolt was brutally suppressed, but it surely arose the need for a better control over India’s administration among Britishers. Most importantly the power of Indian Territory shifted to the British crown from the east India Company. Many Indians did not even participate in this first revolt of independence because their interests were not violated and some of them actually helped Britishers to suppress the revolt. Our historians & freedom fighters have termed this revolt as the ‘first war of independence’ whereas the Britishers called it the ‘sepoy mutiny’. As Gandhi believed that British rule over us only because, we let them. The day we start non cooperation they will have to leave.
After the revolt of 1857, British became more alert as they were now aware that Indians were not so easy to handle. Power shifted to the British crown and now the British parliament was responsible for making laws for India. Various changes took place. Railways were introduced, supreme court was set up, new schools and colleges opened up. But one thing should be clearly understood that the intentions behind all this were purely to gratify their own interests. Historians like Dadabhai nairoji, R.C. Dutt, Justice M.G. Ranade were among the few people who did the economic analysis of British India. They came to the conclusion that colonialism was the essence of British rule in India and their main intention was exploitation. In 1885 Indian National Congress was formed under the chairmanship of A.O.Hume. Initially the moderates in congress did not want to overthrow the British rule. Their main objective was to gain equal rights for Indian people and have a say in the functioning of the government. But gradually extremists like Lala Lajpat Rai, Bal Gangadhar Tilak, Bipin chandra Pal and others started demanding for the complete abolition of British rule. The real turn in the history of Indian independence came with the advent of Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi in 1911. He with his principles of truth and non-violence motivated people to demand Swaraj i.e. complete freedom from British rule. It was only after his arrival that congress became a mass party. People started associating themselves with the party and Gandhi was successful in arousing patriotic sentiments in Indians. Even women began participating extensively in this quest for independence. Non-violent methods superimposed the violent ones. Gandhi was perceived as the greatest threat the British. By the 20th century with the hard-work of all the freedom fighters common people became aware of the true colors of the British. Their extent of discrimination can be understood from the simple things that a board was hung up in front of every government office which read ‘dogs and Indians not allowed’. After numerous protests, defiance and tremendous hard work we ultimately attained independence on 15th august 1947. But even the independence instead of bringing immense joy, became a traumatic experience. Due to the reluctance & undue pressure of the Muslim league led by Mohammed Ali Jinnah, india had to be separated into two nations: india & Pakistan. The latter was to be an all muslim state as Muslim league had wanted. Partition caused a lot of killing, bloodshed and rage among people. Instead of becoming good neighbors, India and Pakistan became hardcore enemies which hitherto continue.
After independence, India went ahead to form its own constitution which came into existence on 26th January, 1950. Our constitution is one of the longest written constitution ever. Congress party remained in power continuously for 30 years. It was only in 1978 elections that janata party came to power.  We will complete 65 years of independence this year, but there are still few things which have remained the same: plight of common man, communalism, boundary issues, facilities of all kinds(health, education & others) and the most important of all the widening gap between the rulers and the ruled. Guess some things never obtain a CURE!

Thursday, 23 February 2012

The lifeline of a long jouney



Railways, the heart of our country which employs a large no. of people was introduced by Britishers in order to strengthen their network of exploitation. Their main objective was to make the transportation of people and goods easier and to discover the far-off places which they had not been able to reach. Thus in 1853 when Britain was at the pinnacle of industrialization, railway lines were spread in the whole of India, connecting each and every nook and corner. Unintentionally, a seed was laid which was going to  be very beneficial for us after independence. At that point of time, the railways boasted of a capital value of some 687 millions sterling and it carried over 620 millions of passengers and approximately 90 million tons of goods each year. Now after 64 years of independence,Indian railways has 114,500 km of total track. It has the world’s fourth largest railway network after United States, Russia, China. It is the second largest commercial or utility employer by no. of employees with more than 1.36 millions, generating a  net income of 9,595 crores. Now we have 17 railway zones in our country, transporting 30 million passengers and 2.8 million tons of freight daily. After independence we very well carried on with the railways network as laid by our colonizers.It became the lifeline of our economy, generating a huge amount of income every year. But as the developments in the name of railways increased, so did the train accidents. While strengthening and modernization of railway infrastructure is in progress, much of the network hitherto uses old signalling and has antiquated bridges. Every year a large sum of money is spent on railways, but the signs of development are negligible. There are numerous train accidents every year. The year 2011 alone accounted for 12-13 accidents. Is the esteemed government of our country not capable enough to provide safety to its largest income generating sector? Certainly this is not the case!
When our country boasts of the fourth largest railway network, when we demand a permanent seat in the security council, when we have been recognized as the upcoming superpower we sure can make railways a better mode of transportation. Railway ministers instead of making railways prosper, concentrate their attention on inaugurating new trains for their home state.Be it Lalu Prasad or Mamta Banerjee. All of them fall in the same category. They do what is necessary for them, to increase their respective vote banks, but what about the general public who travel by trains regularly. Does anybody pay heed to their needs? I would like to mention an incident here. A month back I had to board a train named Porbandar Express from Old Delhi Railway station.When I reached the platform, just a glance at the railway track disgusted me to the core. There was a huge heap of garbage concentrated here and there. Utterly agitated, I got in the train and tried to get some sleep, but the moment I closed my eyes I spotted an insect climbing up my seat. In a moment of hurry I got up and diverted its way. But the problem was  not finished yet, a moment later I saw a good whole family of wasps beneath the seats. The whole night I did not sleep and kept guarding my seat. And let me tell you I was not in a general class, I was in A.C. two tier. I vowed that particular day not to travel by this train again. Just imagine this is the condition of an express train which commences its journey from the capital city.
For this not the government but the general public is to be blamed.people eat and wipe their hands in the curtains assuming it to be their handkerchief. Even after the  instructions written in two languages people use washrooms when train is at the platform. They pull the chains even after knowing that they would be fined or even jailed. In local trains the condition is even worse, people sit on top of the train o stand in front of engine when seats are unavailable even after knowing that their life is in danger. Patience,we humans have never learnt. We cant just wait for a single moment.
Even if the government starts paying attention to railways, it is we who have to ensure that it remains clean and safe because it is we who use it. It becomes our responsibility to use the facilities provided to us judiciously and properly. It is high time we understand the trains can function smoothly only when we contribute for its maintenance and safety. Even we have to work at our own levels before the heart of our country turns into a nightmare!

Bapu

Very few people are aware of the fact that the first time gandhiji came to india after studying barristry from england in 1902. But he soon went back. After 9 years he came again ,and, this time never to return back. He stayed in South Africa for 20 years. He fought in Natal for indians who were taken to Africa to work. Their condition was worse than slaves. After leading the movement in Africa against british he was aware of their discriminating & exploitative nature. At a time when indians were fed up with the violence endowed by Raj on them, Gandhi’s non-violence acted as a balm on the numerous wounds. The method of non-violence was not new to india, but nobody before gandhi had thought of incorporating it in the struggle against britishers. Also it was only after the arrival of gandhi that congress party became a mass party. Few people in congress itself were opposed to his policy of non-violence. Most of them believed that britishers should be answered back in their same language. As Subhash Chandra Bose said “give me your blood, I will give you freedom.” But Gandhiji’s did not divert from his two weapons truth & non-violence. According to him ‘an eye for an eye would make the whole world blind.’ He taught people to be tolerant & self-reliant. He told them to boycott the foreign goods and use the indian stuff. Gradually people built a confidence in him. He totally changed the direction in which our national movement was heading. The ahimsa which he was preaching caught the attention of the majority. His first official movement in india the civil disobedience movement in 1921 stirred the whole of india. People participated in large nos. Even women who hitherto had remained systematically excluded from the independence struggle thronged the streets. They found a sense of security & safety in this movement unlike others which were taking place during that time only because it was strictly based on the principle of non-violence.
Gandhi completely distanced himself from the worldly pleasures. He wore a single piece of cloth around his waist and covered his upper body with another piece. Due to this he was referred to as the “naked beggar” in British parliament. And this naked beggar did what was impossible for people who were covered from top to toe. He totally dismissed the idea rooted in people’s mind that Britishers were a superior race and their civilization was better off than India’s. This view of Gandhi’s was opposed by few congress men also who had accepted Britishers as superior and had become a copy of the west.
Gandhi believed that our civilization is far more advanced. And Britishers have been able to sustain in our country and rule over us only because we had let them. The moment we stop cooperating, they will have to leave. Non Cooperation, Civil Disobedience, Quit India were the examples of Gandhi’s thought put into action. These 3 movements slowly & successfully weakened the position of Britishers & resulted finally in their departure in 1947. Gandhi though could not live enough to enjoy the fruits of his extreme hard work. He was shot in 1948. And with him ended an ERA!