Sunday, March 14, 2010

Kill Bill ???

The bill that reserves 33 % of the seats in legislatures has been passed in Rajya Sabha but it still has a long way to travel. This bill has been doing the rounds of Indian parliament for close to 14 years and this time with the Left,Right(BJP) and Congress coming together ,the detractors of the bill (read Lalu,Mulayam and Sharad) have had to eat a humble pie at least with its passage in Rajya Sabha. When the bill comes to Lok Sabha, the Yadav trinity will try to create even greater ruckus, but if the Govt. stands it ground, the writing will be pretty much on the wall.
Apart from the politics on the bill, is this really going to help women ? The answer lies somewhere in the middle of an emphatic yes or no. The bill will see women entering legislatures in greater numbers and they will have a voice, but on the other hand most of these women are likely to be proxy candidates for their male relatives. So there is a fair possibility of this bill going the way of reservations in educational institutions and govt. services, which have no doubt helped the backward classes to gain representation but the gains have been very limited and cornered by an elite among the reserved groups. The Yadav chieftains have tried to take a moral highground on the issue stating that they want quota within quota for women of backward classes and minorities , which sounds good only in theory. Lalu installed his wife Rabari as CM of Bihar when it suited him and Mulayam got his daughter-in-law to contest as MP (where she lost to Raj Babbar) to keep the seat within the family. One can fairly understand why they are opposing the bill, pure vested interest and nothing else.Reservation for women in Panchyati Raj has been a tremendous success, though there are instances where the women sarpanch is just a proxy for her male relative, but then nothing can be totally foolproof. This particular bill is a step in the right direction and especially in our male dominated society, it promises to change the power equations even in families in times to come.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

The importance of being a Bihari ...

Life comes a full circle it is said and recent events in the Indian political firmament tend to agree with it. Elections are soon going to be held for Bihar Assembly and politicians of all hues have started making the right noises. It was not at all surprising to hear Rahul Gandhi making a valid point about the contribution of NSG commandos who were from UP and Bihar as also from various other states of India. Well nothing wrong with that sttaement but for the fact that Congress Party is in power in Maharastra and it has shown the most spineless behavior in dealing with hooligans like Raj Thackeray and others of his ilk. Why has Rahul Gandhi remembered Biharis only now that the elections are due in Bihar and has he in the past done anything to suggest that he was at all concerned by the attacks on North Indians in Mumbai.Maybe I am being cynical and Rahul Gandhi is not like your average politician but one does hope that Rahul Gandhi's love and concern for Biharis does not end with the polling in Bihar.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

The White Tiger

The White Tiger by Aravind Adiga is a wonderfully written book which is so readable,full of wit,sarcasm and biting reality. I generally keep away from critically acclaimed books and especially Booker winners but this book is nothing of the sort.It tells the story of one Balram Halwai and his letters to the visiting Chinese Premier(Wen Jiabao) detailing his exploits and the reality of two India's - one inhabited by the rich and full of choices and the other India which is ridden with poverty and where there is no choice but to exist in drudgery.The wicked humour of the narrator keeps one company throughout the book and the book is a joy to read.
In fact the book details Delhi in quite detail and the mention of PVR Saket, Greater Kailash ,South-Ex and Gurgaon adds to the experience for those of us familiar with Delhi.A book that entertains and pains because it brings out the stark realities of life.A book that needs not to be just read but understood.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Theatre of the Absurd ...

The news channels are going on and on about what Mr.Narendra Modi had to say about the Congress Party (he had likened Congress to an 126 year old budhiya) and then the repartee by Ms.Priyanka Vadra Gandhi and so on. Now, if this becomes the issue on which the entire media is focusing and a matter of intense debate ,then there is something seriously wrong somewhere. Where are the real issues and why they do not get even half the publicity these non-issues get. To top it all Mulayam Singh Yadav has come out with an outrageous election manifesto for his Samajwadi Party which promises to put a stop to the spread of english language and roll back of computers.Thankfully, Samajwadi Party has no chance of coming to power on its own not even in distant future, though it might extend suppport to a ruling coalition at the centre.But in that case it would be more interested in extracting its pound of flesh for the support and not really insist on these supercilious demands.I was really shocked to see a news caption few days back where Lalu Prasad Yadav (Fodder Scam) and Mulayam Singh Yadav (Disproportionate Assets Case) had jointly proclaimed to fight corruption.Now, if people with such dubious credentials and doubtful integrity want to fight corruption then there must be something good about corruption.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Great Indian Drama ....

The fifteenth general elections are just round the corner and election related news and views are doing the rounds everywhere.Even people who claim to be apolitical otherwise are getting invariably sucked into the election mania. The Congress led UPA and the BJP led NDA are the two political fronts vying with each other for voters' affection ,but to queer the pitch has come the "Third Front" which as its name suggests is a third rate alternative and full of Prime Ministerial hopefuls.The voter is faced with a tough choice between the devil and the deep sea ,as both the UPA as well as the NDA have their weaknesses. The Congress is trying to Project Rahul Gandhi as future Prime Minister just because he has the right lineage,never mind the fact that he hardly has any experience in public life.The Congressmen are united only in their blind devotion to Gandhi family and sycophancy has been turned into an art-form.The BJP has a far better candidate in L.K.Advani in terms of experience but it seems like a divided house with Rajnath Singh and Arun Jaitley gunning for each others blood.The BJP which prided itself on being a 'party with a difference' has been reduced to a party with differences.It has been a steady downfall for the Lotus over the years and the loss of its erstwhile citadel Uttar Pradesh to BSP and SP has reduced its chances of cobbling up a majority. So where does all this leave the average Indian voter ? Which party or candidate does one vote for ? Due to this people end up choosing the seemingly lesser evil of voting for their caste or community member.One hopes that Indian electorate will be voting this time for political stability and good governance and not on narrow considerations of caste,creed and religion.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Whats Wrong With The Pink Campaign ...

By now everyone, and i mean everyone who has access to internet and/or electronic media would have come across this unique campaign to shame Mr.Muthalik and his henchmen by sending him "pink underwears".And Mr.Muthalik has decided that he will be sending sarees as return gift.A win-win situation for both sides one might think.But I feel that two wrongs don't make a right and somehow this campaign risks reducing what happened in Mangalore to a question of tradition versus modernity which it is not.It was all about individual's freedom of choice.If one wants to go to a pub ,irrespective of one's gender,one must have the freedom to do so .But surely we should not make a virtue out of pub-going.I myself go to pubs once in a while but i see no virtue/vice per se in that.In fact all this campaign is ideal fodder for news channels who have a lot to answer for making larger than life figures out of non-entities like Muthalik and Raj Thackeray.