Saturday, June 11, 2011

In India high and mighty never accepts judgements that goes against them to be fair. May be it is an indication of their thought process and state of mind. Being crooked and corrupt to the bone, they think every one else to be the same.

Take for example, Ms. Kanimozhi, daughter of ex chief minister of Tamil Nadu, was denied bail twice by CBI court. Ms. Kanimozhi is in jail in relation to accepting graft in 2G spectrum case. All along Mr.Karunanidhi had maintained that his daughter is innocent, never mind court has denied her bail twice, and she has been framed by CBI and the Congress party. Mr. Karunanidhi has also expected that government should help Ms. Kanimozhi get bail.

What is the implication of such expectation? Should CBI put forward a weak case so that Ms. Kani gets acquitted? Or worse should government act on back channel and influence a judge. If Karunandihi is expecting such thing, does that means this really happens? If true, then this is sinister and preposterous. Many innocent, poor and unconnected languish in jail without even trial. But connected, influential people with money power get away from the system.

Let us take another case. Recently, US court in Chicago had cleared Mr. Tawahhur Rana of any involement in Mumbai terrorist attack. Mr. Rana, however, has been found guilty of plotting attack on Danish newspaper editor. He is likely to face 30 year jail term. Immediate reaction in India was betrayal. It is difficult to understand why was Mr. Rana found guilty of Danish cartoonist attack but not in Mumbai attack? Did a weak case was presented to extract more cooperation from Pakistan for antiterrorist operation? In that case why was Mr. Rana convicted at all? Did someone influence the system to doctor the verdict? These are very sinister possibilities. If real, why expect anything from the US. Or to get a favorable judgement, cosy up to US and do their bidding. I think, justice system in the US is fair. The system has no reason to favor one brown man over another. We should accept the judgement with more equianimity. Is this our mindset that believes that everything can be fixed, brings us to such conclusion?
Is this an indication how corrupt and crooked we are!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Ramleela Ground Fiasco and Central Government Goofup

A second player in Ramleela ground drama was government of India. First government decided to interact with baba. Four central ministers had met baba at the airport. A meeting happened at the Claridges hotel. Then came police action and congress party spokesman calling baba a thug.

Question comes, why did government did what they did? Why did the government send ministers to dissuade baba? In the end why did the government decided to use police to forcefully break the protest. Commonsense suggest ministers that receive heads of states, should not be sent to receive a nobody. It is against all protocols. I think our prime minister being a decent human being wanted to dissuade baba from carrying out his fast. Besides, many of babas ludicrous demands could not have been made even if fast that continued till eternity. Because it involved changing law, dealing with foreign governments. Government was already rattled by public support to Anna movement. They probably sensed RSS and BJP were backing the baba. So they wanted to end further protest at the earliest. Government probably hoped to create a division between Anna Hazare and baba Ramdev. Initially, baba also made some statement to this effect, by claiming prime ministerd need not come under lokpal bill. I think government also calculated baba may not be able to manage an alliance between left and right and fall on his own weight. Sadhvi Rithambara shared the dais with baba Ramdev. Anna camp that included Prashant Bhushan, a ultra left sympathiser. Anna was made to retract praise of Narendra Modi earlier.


Why did government used police force to breakup the fast. Government apparently had an agreement with baba that he will withdraw his fast by end of the day Saturday, 5th Jun, 2011. However, as was revealed later in television, it appeared that baba had no intention of honouring the agreement. Question is did government not anticipate public backlash for unleashing force on fasting men, women, children of different ages. I think, in this drama at Ramleela ground, government had two choices. Both were certain to make government look bad. One included chronic festering sore or long protest fast where both left and right hitting government with demands and questions that government cannot meet. Second option was of acute surgical pain of forcefully breakup the fast.. Government chose the second one. They probably gambled that public memory is short, and two years is a long time in politics. In the coming years, if government does something good, people may forget Ramleela ground.

Time will tell if government was right in its gamble. I think, People perceive the present government has an extremely callous attitude to corruption. If government had acted on numerous scams that has engulfed it, the present situation would not arise. Telecom minister Mr. Raja did not resign on his own. He was forced to resign by relentless opposition attack. Same about Mr. Kalmadi, and now may be another member of same family from southern alliance partner. The space left vacant by our elected representatives have been occupied by Anna, baba et al. Government has persistently tried to thwart the lokpal bill drafting effort. First a doctored CD appeared and tried to sully the images of Prashant Bhushan and Shanti Bhushan. Then effort was made to drive a wedge between Anna team. Then government came back with a much diluted bill that did not want to include Prime minister, MPs etc. All these appeared that government was trying to buy time. At this time, it beats me, what is the hurry for Baba to have a fast at this time. I think Baba's timing of fast is awful. Fast of baba will take attention away from main issue and give government oppurtunity to say that civil society is divided, so more time is needed to arrive at a concensus.
Finally, our prime minister may be an honourable man. He is clean. But he knows he is surrounded by people who are sharks. By nature prime minister is not very aggressive. He wants to lead by example. When you are surrounded by people that understands only kick in the rear end, leading by example may not be enough. Prime ministers hands are tied, there is Kalignar in Chennai, Madam in Delhi, Didi in Kolkata, and so on. Cabinet colleagues owed allegiance to not to people of India but to their bosses in the party. In this scenario, it may be difficult for prime minister to operate. But he has chosen this job and now people of India wants him to deliver..

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Fast and Fiasco in Ramleela Ground : Who Gains and Who Loses

After success of Anna Hazare in wresting a commitment from government to constitute a lokpal bill drafting committee, yog teacher baba Ramdev announced to go into fast in Ramleela ground in Delhi from 4th June, 2011. Baba demanded that government should get back black money stashed in foreign banks, give death penalty for corruption, remove high denomination currency notes in the amount of Rs. 500 and Rs. 1000, make compulsory use of Hindi in place of English among others. Baba's demands ranged from sublime to ridiculous. Ramlila ground was spruced up with airconditioner, coolers, ICU etc for baba's fast as well for comfortable stay of his supporters.
Baba's fast was forcibly broken up by police in the wee hours of 5th June, 2011 Sunday. Baba Ramdev jumped among women. He was wearing ladies clothing when he tried to flee. Baba was arrested walking away from Ramleela ground with two female devotees. His flowing beard was covered in a ladies dupatta.
There are several aspects to the events that unfolded subsequently. Firstly there was nation wide condemnation of government action on peacefully fasting people, many of them women and ageing. Certain people compared events at Ramleela ground to Jalianwalabagh. Sad as it is, I think police did not use brute force. Yes there was television footage of lathi charge. But this happened because baba was hiding among women and his supporters started pelting stone. Should baba not have courted arrest to protect his supporters from police lathi. As a leader why did he try to flee? He did not do any crime. Or did he? Baba compares himself to Shivaji. Shivaji never shown his back to Mughals. My respect for baba would have increase manifold and he would be my hero, if baba had courted arrest.

What is effect of baba on national politics? Baba arrived in Delhi in a private jet. Baba had support of Sangh Parivar and BJP. It is worth noting that BJP had felt left out of Anna Hazare movement because at least on the face of it Anna movement was apolitical. Although it can be argued that Prashant Bhushan who fights for Maoists, has ultraleft leaning. Anna was also force to retract his praise of Narendra Modi, poster boy of right. Sadhvi Ritambhara, a virulent ultraright had shared stage with baba Ramdev. Although Anna Hazare tried to justify Sadhvi’s place on the dais for the common cause of fighting corruption, relationship was tenuous. Both left and right had gone into high gear asking government to explain and if possible resign for attacking innocent citizens. I think BJP has got an issue to fight government. BJP will definietly keep the pot boiling till next election or next issue.

A question that emerges is why did baba decided to go on fast now? Baba had single handedly managed to take attention away from lokpal bill drafting. Baba's timing was awful given an effort was being made to draft a lokpal bill. Fast of baba will give government oppurtunity to drive a wedge between Anna and Baba camp and buy more time. What was the hurry to have a fast? Was someone else is fishing in troubled water? Who can this be? We know attempt had been made to sully the image of Bhushan's earlier. The major beneficiary of a failed bill, are politicians of different hue. May be they have come under one disruptive umbrella to protect their own interest. Or is it a party that is searching new oppurtunities to project as saviour of people that have propped baba up?

Real tragedy happened to Rajbala who has become paralysed for life. Had baba surrendered to police probably Rajbala would still be walking. After Rajbala, next casualty is jan lokpal bill and Indian people. As scam after scam surfaced, people of India are feeling that government is unable to tackle corruption. To the extent, PM has said he has no magic wand to remove corruption. I think lokpal bill is the answer. There has to be accountability. Baba has damaged our cause.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Fasting Yogi : Baba Ramdev

Yog teacher baba Ramdev has announced to go on fast. His demand get back black money stashed in foreign banks, hang corrupt people till death, remove Rs. 500 and Rs. 1000 currency notes, make Hindi official language and many such things. Baba's demands range from sublime to ridiculous. Government, however, taking baba seriously. Ministers have met jet setting baba at the airport. Ministers and baba have also met at Claridges hotel. Meanwhile Ramlila ground in Delhi is being spruced up with airconditioner, collers, ICU etc for baba's fast.

People perceive the present government has an extremely callous attitude to coruuption.If government had acted on numerous scams that has engulfed it, the present situation would not arise. Mr. Raja did not resign on his own. He was forced to resign by relentless opposition attack. Same about Mr. Kalmadi, and now may be another member of same family from southern alliance partner. The space left vacant by our elected representatives have been occupied by Anna, baba et al.

Government has persistently tried to thwart the lokpal bill drafting effort. First a doctored CD appeared and tried to sully the images of Prashan Bhushan and Shanti Bhushan. Then effort was made to drive a wedge between Anna team. Then government came back with a much diluted bill that did not want to include Prime minister, MPs etc. All these appeared that government was trying to buy time. In spite of all these drafting process is still on. At this time, it beats me, what is the hurry for Baba to have a fast at this time. I think Baba's timing of fast is awful. Fast of baba will take attention away from main issue and give government oppurtunity to say that civil society is divided, so more time is needed to arrive at a concensus.

It appears someone else is fishing in troubled water. Who can this be? We know attempt had been made to sully the image of Bhushan's, members of lokpal bill drafting team, earlier. The major beneficiary of a failed bill, are politicians of different hue. May be they have come under one disruptive umbrella to protect their own interest. It has also become apparent that RSS, sangh parivar and may be BJP is also joining the fast of baba. In this age of competitive fasting, Indian people may be deprived of a strong lokpal bill.