In response to the news of the man behind the BBCs Hardtalk coming up with a program focusing on socio-political problems in India on Newslaundry.com and then my ramblings... I've been feeling a little more frustrated than I'm accustomed to with the system and need to vent a bit :)
Moderating? Are we talking about OUR politicians and bureaucrats appearing on this? The only way they can be 'moderated' is if they're cut off the way is done on our live debates, allowed to edit the recorded footage heavily enough for them to sound at least a lot more decent than they are, or handle 15 hours (patiently over possibly months) of footage that's heavily edited into a 10 minute package for mass consumption because they keep repeating the same irrelevant [argument/reason/explanation/excuse/allegation/agitation; take your pick], sometimes even creatively - in 15 different ways.
If he can pull this one off, it's going to be great. It might be hilarious, where all people sit and explain how great our system is and how we're better off than the failing Europe and the faltering oil suckers because our economy is still standing, it's now a question of 'for how long at the current burn rate?'. I figure it might be informative to a point, but I'm wondering what actual information any of these guys might have that would be interesting other than which scams they've been associated with and why.
Sure, money's come back from the Swiss banks in the form of foreign investments... they're eager to bring in FDI - which may be needed in any case, but not really just so they have an easier route to bring their money back. This money was incidentally made more than a little more valuable while the government watched the Rupee slide.
This article about the government supplying mobile phones to all Below Poverty Line (BPL) families on The Indian Express web site is one more possibility for a fresh scam. I'm just wondering whose relative started a company that's going to be one side of a 7000 crore partnership deal for supply of phones and services. Will due diligence happen this time? Will common knowledge be announced in public at some point and shock us all? Is now the right time to push the diesel hike through to let the Rupee slide just a little more... FDI's not through yet... in the meantime, they've been busy arguing about things (the UPAs 'bastardisation' of the government), some which don't happen all that often like this minor disagreement - that are reminiscent of the divide and conquer tactic that's been used upon us repeatedly to rule us over time, and some which probably do (how long was that pornographic clip those politicians were watching on public time again?) in the house. I can completely understand why they haven't really gotten around to solving too many of that large stack of problems let alone getting around to prosecuting the corrupt or even introducing legislature that allows money KNOWN to be swindled from the public to be returned. No matter... they're VIPs and live by a different set of rules - at the expense of general public is not uncommon; you get stuck in a 3 hour traffic jam because the traffic police stop traffic so that said VIP has a clear route to work - this used to regularly happen on my way to Gurgaon from the south east of Delhi during the CWG fiasco. What is a VIP anyway? Someone we elected who needs the best of the police to protect them from... us??? Real leaders lead from the front and by example - and should not have to fear for their lives by stepping out among the masses without z-level security or whatever they get that allows happy-to-be-violent-ministers to justify kicking people who decide to protest by saying the complaint should be against the accusers for entering a high security zone (too close to their little prince was it?).
How do they get away with all of this while they're showing off that they're better than us with the red lights on the white cars with the "भारत सर्कार" printed on the back in red, or with the fancy 'VIP plates' that you can now officially buy. For some it may just be a statement of your own chosen self worth in the eyes of the general public...
So y r v keepin (De)m dmb n apy?
This is what the corporates try to do to us more often than not when it comes to sales and marketing strategies. Whether it's the promise of many girls being magically, magnetically attracted to a plain looking guy or all the Rajni jokes, we're being pushed in the direction of the marketers choice... and politicians started up with them possibly before the corporates found these marketing geniuses.
I'm not really sure what to make out of the votes-for-phones scheme that was announced today. Have they done enough research to know that this is what will win the elections? Have the greater masses come to a point of knowledge (or lack of) where they can be bribed by cellular phones that would have to be designed to last for days on very little charge - seeing as electricity is a problem in many villages, towns, cities, metropolises and other areas across our nation? Don't worry though - the technology would be simple and cheap enough... we just need to hope that the company tasked with setting this up for all the poor people who can't afford food will let enough money trickle down for them to pay some amount of money after 200 minutes free - will the transparency on charges after this limit be kept high enough for these (Rs.32/day) families to not be held liable to pay large (completely unaffordable) bills after this allowance? Many people in the country are getting smarter - if they're kept in debt, the scope of them affording an education is lowered... then they might vote for the fools providing them with mobile phones or TVs without first providing basic food, shelter, infrastructure or electricity to power the phones they're distributing using 'small' quantities of our money. But hang on... if you can handle the logistics and cost to hand out mobile phones and monthly minutes to families who earn less than Rs.32/day, shouldn't you first see to it that they get something in terms of sustenance that actually reaches them? How about cleaning up some space for a medical facility or two?
They've systematically tried to erode any scope of education in the country by coming up with ridiculous plans, schemes, rules and laws. Politicians decide that cartoons that have been in text books for years should be removed as they're 'disrespectful' of 'leaders' (some of whom have expressed appreciation for the satirical value of these cartoons). Initially, I doubt any of the political folks had any ill intent as far as the growth of the country was concerned - as long as they were growing well, they'd do good by it. It's moved from there to 'I will do good by me even if it causes the country to slide straight to hell'. Some fool decides to waste court time on taking technology companies to court over pictures that have been posted because they're not in 'good taste'... meaning they mock political parties and/or the cartoons (leaders??) that form them.
Education is just one small part of how they're keeping them dumb. If you don't have time to learn anything because you're too busy walking for water or running away from floods, you're not really going to get much smarter. This was an incidental fallout from a suggestion made in the 50s - build a national water network - if designed properly it could have been high on the initial cost, but done at minimal energy cost. A water 'grid' so to speak... this way when one place floods, water can be routed to places that are seeing an acute water shortage. Needless to say, most of what we see right now in agriculture is crop failures because of flooding or drought for lack of balance in vision or process. Heck, if it had been built and was crumbling (much like our electrical network - the crumbling of which some people maintain was because of a coal scam, others think is part of an attempt to sabotage Anna's fast), it'd still be a massive improvement.
In the interest of destruction of our nation in favour of our 'sibalisation', our HRD minister decided to involve the school results in selection at the IITs (our premier engineering institutes which used to have complete autonomy on the entrance examinations). The 'cut-off' scores for most of Delhi university colleges were in the high 90s. Now, many of the folks who are trying to get into IIT will also try getting higher board scores - this is likely to drag the cut-off further up (hang on... where do you go from 100%?). The first list will be a bunch of folks who might not have managed to get into IIT, so will take a course in say physics from a good DU college for a year while they study for their next attempt at IIT. This will reduce the numbers of people who complete their degrees, increase the competition to get into any course at all, waste space in the few colleges we actually have in the country, increase the number of people who'd go to private universities (which usually have pretty heavy political backing and investment), which will make more money while the quality of education imparted to the people goes down again.
It gets worse though. They've gotten us to a point where most of the middle class have resigned themselves to their fates and are not patient enough to go through 4 days of processes when half an hour should have been enough. Bribing the small guys to do their jobs at an only slightly slower than standard pace has become an accepted norm. In their eyes, if you bribe, you're stupid for wasting so much time. If that little guy is helping you, you build a rapport with him... and you don't want him to move from there so that your work can be done through someone you 'know'. In other words, many of us would like to keep people from growth. One of our neighbours had issues with how much we were paying someone to do some odd jobs for us - we were told that if we paid that much then they'd have to pay that much and the guy would get enough money and skill to move on to better work - and they'd have to find someone else to do their work for them. I find this attitude quite disturbing. As many folks in India do, we've had a maid working with us for a couple of decades now. We've helped her put her kids through school and college and they're able to help out now with the mounting household expenses. While it's a little sad that they've now got less respect for their mother's work than they had before, it's also good that they've been given the tools to carve out a better life for themselves. Isn't this what being human is about? Everyone should have the opportunity to grow and growth should be encouraged.
All these issues that have cropped up run so much deeper than the corruption that caused them. Still, I have hope for the future... if we start hitting the problems one by one, we might just get out of this rut, but in my opinion, we need to clean up the cause one person at a time first...