Monday, August 29, 2011

Amitav Ghosh on Anna Hazare movement

"In India, the events of the last couple of years have unmasked, as never before, our own 'deep state'. As scandal after scandal has unfolded, it has become evident that the collusion between politicians, corporations and the media, is of a staggering magnitude, and that it operates on a scale that far exceeds anything that most could imagine. Indeed, it has become apparent that the locus of power in the country has largely shifted from New Delhi to corporate towers of Mumbai; it is apparent also that the political class is unable to rectify this.

Something clearly had to be done: it was clear also that the formal institutios of our democracy were not going to do it. The movement that has filled the gap offers cause for both hope and misgivings. In its insistence on bringing political processes in the open, it is trying to restore of the content that has leached out of governance in India. In failing to address the role of the pivate sector in corruption it is itself ignoring the elephants in the room. What is undeniable is tht its development is a development of enormous significance."

Courtesy: The Hindustan Times, August 29, 2011

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Anna wins at last, and makes history.

So, Anna Hazare wins at last. Though there's still some room for doubt - given the Congress leaders' track record - whether the resolution passed by the Parliament under pressure from people all across the country would be translated into a bill in to to, and not without any more flip-flop, the good news is, the govt has bowed down to Anna Hazare. It's a big achievement for Anna as well as for us Indians.

As we see now, Parliament is neither supreme nor sacrosanct. The political parties and elected MPs would make us think so, but in reality, it is their family property on which they live. Much in the fashion of our religious leaders treating the Ganges. The gospel takes a beating now, and we have now reason for cheers.

Manmohan Singh and Co is visibly smarting from this defeat( God bless them), The lesson they should take from this upsurge is that the people power can be lethal at times. And the shape of democracy is not something constant, and it would evolve very fast in the days to come.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Anna's politics of anti-politics

This is ninth day of Anna's fast. There have been several talks between the Govt and Anna team. The Govt is adamant not to set its Lokpal Bill aside. Manmohan Singh seems insincere and cold-blooded, and talks in vague, ambiguous and rhetoric lingo.

The Govt practically shows no concern for Anna's declining health.

Anna team is of course disappointed, and back to square one. Anna once again tells his supporters that he would continue his fast until his Jan Lokpal Bill is passed in the parliament by the 30th of August.

Both sides now harden their stance. What now?

Mercifully, the movement is still peaceful and non-violent, and holds its ground.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Anna aesthetics

Sixth day of Anna Hazare movement.

Crowds swell even more. Tens of thousands of people throng Ramlila Maidan and elsewhere.

Team Anna makes the first move for dialogue with the govt, based on PM's statement yesterday that there is scope for give and take. But the govt seems inflexible, and does not respond to Team Anna's gesture.

It has been a peaceful movement so far. Not the slightest sign of any anarchy or violence anywhere any time. The huge swathe of Anna supporters show a remarkable discipline and patience during these six days.

"Pass the Jan Lokepal Bill or leave," Anna has said today. This might provoke the crowd, and the movement could shed its non-violence character anytime.

Is the govt waiting for the Anna supporters to explode?

I'm afraid things would get worse in coming days.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Anna momentum

This is fifth day of Anna's fast.

Anna momentum surges ahead. The supporters swell further. Not only in Delhi, but across all cities. Unprecedented, say the TV channels. The govt has started playing diversionary tactics. Manmohan Singh, for example, states that he's also in favour of a strong Lokpal Bill, but it should be on a political consensus, and that it needs time to pass such a bill. Chidambaram-Kapil-Pranab trio has slipped out from the scene.

Aruna Roy, the well-known social activist, seems to be playing a dubious role. How can she say,"Anna is ill-advised"?

I'm glad the movement is spreading everyday like wild fire. But how long can it hold this momentum? With time, it must diminish in strength. Will it fizzle out before it gets at its goal? The govt is no doubt waiting for that opportune moment.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

India is now Anna Hazare!

It's really an exhilarating experience when you see a mighty government bending to a 73-year old man's steely character.

India is now Anna Hazare. It's amazing how a septuagenarian so easily strikes chord with people cutting across caste, class and age-groups.

Manmohon Singh, P.Chidambaram, Kapil Sibal and Pranab Mukherjee have all made themselves asses in fighting with this simple, unassuming and spirited man.

The swell of crowds in cities across India and beyond rallying behind Anna is an eloquent testimony to the fact that the current UPA rulers are just dud, and they don't enjoy any trust from the people.

We need to redefine democracy at this juncture of history. Should it be it a participative one in stead of parliamentary? Should we continue with the kind that has been fucked by our rulers, and a fake one? Or should we opt for the new version being ushered in by Anna Hazare and his very dedicated team?

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Whither public education?

Noam Chomsky, the iconic intellectual and thinker, recently delivered a speech on public education in US, with insights and wisdom expected of him.

What they are doing to the public education system is going to undermine the economy that relies on a skilled work force and creative innovation, Silicon Valley and so on. Well, apart from the enormous human cost of depriving most people of decent educational opportunities, these policies undermine the U.S. competitive capacity. That’s very harmful to the mass of the population, but it doesn’t matter to the tiny percent of concentrated wealth and power. In fact, in the years since the Pell Memorandum, we’ve entered into a new stage in state capitalism in which the future just doesn’t amount to much. Profit comes increasingly from financial manipulations. The corporate policies are geared toward the short-term profit, and that reduces the concern for loyalty to a firm over a longer stretch.


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