Wednesday, November 30, 2011

I am peeved

I admit it is a weird title to return to blogging after almost 3 years. However, it is the state of affairs that must be blamed for this.
I am peeved because the so called preachers and protectors of democracy are not listening to peoples' voices. 'Occupy' protesters are being evacuated forcefully, while nothing is being done to support those in Egypt who are fighting for a genuine democracy.
I am peeved because NATO and US continue to consider the world their own backyard. They bomb a Pakistani check post, kill Pakistani soldiers and simply say sorry. And, amid all this my government wants MFN status from Pakistan but is sheepishly watching all this rather than stand by Pakistan's side on this.
I am peeved because the government here is in a mess. In fact there is no governance, only administration. You ask any question and the government answers that they have a legislation on the issue in the waiting. What else could one expect from the government that is perennially in survival mode?
I am peeved because the Parliamentarians, who pleaded the citizens to uphold the supremacy of the Parliament when Anna Hazare was agitating, do not let the Parliament function. Where else can people throw tantrums and chairs in their office and get the day off as a reward?
I am peeved because it is so easy for the opposition to hold the government to ransom, despite it not having the numbers. Parliament has become an arena for blackmail where the opposition tell the government that it's the opposition's way or the highway. However, ironically, the opposition is playing straight into the hands of the government by not allowing the Parliament to function. The Question Hour is probably the most potent tool in the hands of the Opposition to hold the Government accountable. However, it only suits the government if there are no debates on crucial issues in the House. I am peeved because it is public money - yours and mine - that is going down the drain due to a non-functioning Parliament. It had cost us roughly Rs230 Crores when the winter session last year was wasted and we are losing Rs 4 crores daily this time around.
I am peeved because traditionally non-partisan instruments of the Parliament like the PAC and the JPC and standing committees have also become places to demonstrate political one-upmanship. I am peeved because constitutional authorities like the CAG are being deliberately maligned by people who have absolutely no credit to their names other that being 'orderlies' of the people in power.
I am peeved because my household budget is going completely haywire because of the inflation, the countries current account deficit is worsening because of the falling rupee and the RBI and Finance Ministry are mere spectators. True they did a fantastic job during the recession in 2008, but how long can we harp on the past? What about today?
I am peeved because the Planning Commision has become non-consequential. It is setting absurd poverty lines. Tendulkar Committee did well to change the poverty estimates simply from calorie consumption to including several other necessities. However, the Planning Commission is undoing the good by setting an arbitrary poverty line, which defies all common sense. No one in his right mind would believe that Rs32 is sufficient for a person for a day to survive in a city. One must remember that out of this Rs32, Rs18 are for food items and Rs14 for rent, transportation, education, health, clothing and footwear. The Planning Commission sets target for power generation and not even 50% of it is achieved. Besides, it slept all the while the coal availability in the country dropped and has woken up now when the reserves are well below critical levels and the country faces a severe power crisis.
I am peeved because the Government and Opposition confuse me on several key policy issues. While the government says that FDI in retail will create more jobs and the opposition insists it will lead to job losses, since most of the retailers are in the unorganised sector, no one is sure which way the balance will tilt. Besides, since when has logic become important in politics. Only thing that matters is to foment public opinion. No wonder then the media is becoming the Parliament of the general public.
I am peeved because the media has become a circus. Sachin's hundredth international century is being made into a national obsession rather than a mere statistic. What difference will it make to the greatness of the man if, God forbid, he does not achieve it? In the era of 24hr news channels, anything and everything is becoming news. I am sure Sachin's next ton is right around the corner, so please let him be.
I am peeved because even after 3 years of the 26/11 attacks little has changed and little has been done to enhance our security, while when a politicians house is robbed in Delhi, the police are able to bring every single item back within a few days.
I am peeved because the corporates can write letters directly to the PM to agree to their terms 'or else' (reference to the letter written by Chairmen of Vodafone, Airtel and Idea to the PM), but the common man has no respite for 5 years from a government he chose with the right intent but which got entangled in its own mess.
I am peeved because when one Maoist is killed, people start crying about his human rights, but when 76 CRPF men were killed in Gadchiroli, those very people didn't shed a tear. Why should they? After all, the CRPF men had enrolled to die!
I am peeved because the marking and grading system in schools have been changed but the pedagogy remains the same. Teachers cannot fail students anymore but continue to teach the way they did. Will this lead to better students?
I cannot stress more on how Nehru's promise of wiping every tear from every eye is being broken and how Tagore's dream of an India where the mind is without fear and the head is held high is being shattered.


Varun said...

You have every right to be peeved. Every citizen in India shares the same sentiment I guess. But what is the solution to such problems? What can be done about this situation? It would be nice to read your perspective on it.

Anon said...

I guess the background and your field of study does make a difference. IIMs close you and push you into a zone of indifference!

But no matter where I am, I share your peeves and anger. After all, it is our country and we have a say in things.


Chandan said...

@Varun: It is true that there has to be a solution to all this. I do have a few ideas in my mind, but that is for some other time. This post was intended to 'foment public opinion'. :)

@Anon: The education system does make a difference. No wonder than Ivan Illich has so vehemetly talked about deschooling society. But the thing is there cannot be a worse time to be indifferent. As Edmund Burke has said, the only thing needed for evil to win is that the good people do nothing.

Vikram said...

We are all peeved and there's every reason to be so. We don't need some out of box solutions for these problems. Solutions are simple, those in power and with responsibilities should do what they are supposed to do. But the irony is they 1st do everything what they are not supposed to and then do everything to cover it up.

Now here is another side of the coin. When someone else whom we don't know or a public figure does it we easily get peeved (like wo kare to sala character dheela hai). But the toughest part is how do you handle it when its one of us or our close aides involved in such acts of corruption (whether we are paying or receiving money to get jobs done quick or favour in any form)!!
I will give a live example, something which happened just yesterday to me:

Friend: Busy?
me: Boliye
me: kya khabar
Friend: arre .. ek help chahiye rahega...
me: boliye
Friend: Office me ek circular aayahai ... for the month of dec if u show 500 GBP fooding expenses... then you will get 250 GBP refund..this one time and is only for month of Dec ... Aap ke jo bhi bills honge mujhe de dena please... sainsburry wale.... if possible.
Friend: and this mail has been sent to only some limited people not all.
me: ok, theek hai, so u need bills of Dec month?
Friend: yes... only for dec
me: ok, theek hai, hamare pass jo bhi honge hum de denge
Friend: wo finanance me XYZ hai mere jaan pehchaan ka hai .. .islie mera naam randomnly add ho gaya. :)
me: waah
me: sahi hai
Friend: Also if you go to Restaurants for dinner you can give me that bill... and pizza jo order karte hain uske bhi de sakte hain.
me: theek hai
me: :)


What will you call this? I did not even think twice before agreeing to what he asked me. So, unless we start this cleaning process from our own premises nothing is going to change. Its very complex mess and will be a long way to go even if millions take to this and try clensing the sysyem with utmost honesty and integrity.