Posts Tagged ‘politician’
Amidst the chant of “Bharat Mata ki Jai”, the atmosphere was all charged up. Patriotism was in vogue again. A huge crowd had gathered at the ground while million more stuck to their TV screens. All were living a force-fed dream. A dream of corruption free India. A dream that we can make a difference. A dream that we do matter.
We saw rebirth of a frail, thin leader. A fighter without arms. Not the demand for food, but the refusal of it shook the very foundations of the legislative of the biggest democracy of the world. We all stood in unison, we did what he said, and we followed wherever led.
As the days passed. One…Two…Three, the pressure started mounting. The health started deteriorating. People were anxious, government was worried. Not for his health but for the backlash, if something happened. More so coz the ideology of party in power was based on fast-unto-death. There seemed no way out.
Some back room negotiations ensued. A tainted ex-CM from financial capital was rushed to Delhi. Anna you agreed. Having been betrayed by Govt., time and again, you still acceded to the letter and promises as if you were just waiting to pounce upon. It’s tough for me to say, but Anna it would have been better if you had withered sitting on the fast. Alas! somewhere down the line, your fast-unto-death became wolf cries.
The corrupt politicians unclothed you in front of public. The cheer-haran was painful. I ask Why? Why did you fool us into disbelief if you were not ready to go the distance? I know it’s tough to give one’s life and I for one cannot. But why did you make false promises?
Your movement is in tatters. Our belief stands shaken. You sided with the limelight hungry, self proclaimed Guru to get the zing back into your campaign, but I am scared now. Scared to be betrayed again. Scared that I will be left again in the midst to fend myself off.
It would be tough for me to believe in another Anna. So long Hazare!
IPL auctions, held recently grabbed everyone’s attention. With millions of dollars floating around, it turned out to be a landmark event. Not everyone seemed happy though. Some politicians were enraged by the amount of wealth at display. “It’s pathetic”, said one. Its gross” said another. “Why were we left out from earning the moolah. It’s wrong”. “Let’s form a team and enter the IPL. Let’s rename it the Indian Political League”, came one suggestion. “Yes, let’s do it”, they gave a Spartan cry. We will show who the real boss is when it comes to earning monies.
“From next time on Mr. A. Raja will be the auctioneer given his huge experience with 2G auctions”, they passed a resolution. “All those who want to bid for someone at a cheaper cost, pay me 20%, I will bring down the hammer. I am the 1st, 2nd and the third umpire”, Raja promised. Point well taken!
The team was called, “Indian Commoners”, given the “aam aadmi” thing is in vogue. The team is as below.
1. Suresh Kalmadi: The way he accumulates money, he can accumulate lots of runs. His tendency to generate money out of nowhere is seen as his ability to get wickets out of nowhere. He is a genuine all rounder. He can even keep the umpires happy, if you know what I mean. He never hogs the limelight. Always owes it to teamwork.
2. Sharad Pawar: The Maratha pride. He is a bit lethargic in field. Takes time to move; needs a little push sometimes. But with him on the side, the team can make records, given his habit to make records of prices of onion and sugar. He does not care much about win or a loss. Cool as a cucumber. After all he is not a jyotishi.
3. RR Patil: A master planner. Sometimes caught off guard, when the opposite team strikes. To him even a huge loss does not matter. After all such small things happen. He is like a phoenix, rise from the ashes. The only thing that goes against him is his evident dislike for cheer leaders.
4. Mamata Banerjee: Bound to appeal a lot on the ground. Ei No Cholbe, Ei no Cholbe. Will sit on hunger strike if umpire does no give favorable decisions. Batting and Bowling will be on track with her in the team, well almost.
5. Sheila Dixit: Hell of a worker. Can make 200 in just 2 over’s when time comes. Though old age affects her memory a bit and she keeps forgetting things, considered a long innings player. Is well regarded for her mystic youth.
6. B. S. Yeddyurappa: With him, we will have our grounds to practice and play on. Whatever pitch/land/conditions we want to practice on, he will grab it and will make it available for us. Also he will cry when caught, so umpire will not give him out. He likes to keep himself in shape too. He respects the coach a lot.
7. M. K Alagiri (Karunanidhi’s son): He will hardly be present during the match but during the pre and post ceremonies, he will be there to complain that he is never given a chance to perform. Such spirit!
8. Nitin Gadkari: Will sit on the opposition and kill them. He is dealer and so is easy to deal with. Will keep asking for a wicket from the umpire. He will not let the match go on and may do a walkout, till his request is acceded to. His motto is “Eat and let Eat”, and eats up the wickets of the opposite team.
9. Narendra Modi: Tried his hand at umpiring. Took no decision and the two teams came to blows. Want to enter this time round as the player. The team is bound to win, err…only the home matches perhaps.
10. Rahul Gandhi: Likes to play test matches, slow and in whites. So that might be show-stopper. But has a fan following among elite youths (where the money is), so might be able to bring in sponsors. Also is young. Invest in future.
11. Manish Tiwari: His team is the reigning champion and he never misses a chance to be smug about it. He will murder anyone who says anything against his team. Such is his loyalty. Don’t need to know the context. All he knows is defense. He is the Wall. He can take on one, two or even three bowlers at the same time.
12. Jagan Reddy (12th man): He is a good fielder and practices a lot. Be it ‘Odarpu Yatra’. He has a lot of female fan following too. Charming! The flip side is that he will not play unless made the Captain. He will make a new team from the breakaway players if he is refused the Captain cap.
13. Sourav Ganguly: Pissed at his exclusion in the IPL, he gave his name for Indian Commoners. Unsold here too. Left has told they will find a role for him and no team in India is possible without him.
Recently a movie on the infamous Jessica Lal murder case was released. It brought the memories and related stories back into the news. The movie was called, “No one killed Jessica” referring to around 300 witnesses turning hostile. I beg to differ; I confess I killed Jessica. I, a part of the system that led to the near miscarriage of Justice, killed Jessica.
It’s very easy to sit on this side of the fence and lambast the 300 odd witnesses who turned hostile. Let me ask you one question, “What would you have done if you were the 301st witness”. I would be true to admit that I would have been the first one “jo chat pet tha” (who was on the roof).
A mighty politician’s son! Where do I stand? What can I do? I am the 301st witness; I saw what was happening and did nothing. I killed justice. I killed Jessica.
But the positive that came out of this whole episode was the heroism of media. Birth of a new media, a media which was proactive; a media which was there to help. Considered, media too was not selfless. It did what could have attracted TRP’s. But what really is the TRP? It’s a measure of the interest a news story garners from the public. The public today is interested in the proactive role of media. Up till now we had nowhere to go. Police stations were a dreaded place. Courts used to give us shivers. We have media to rush to now.
Today even common man like you and me can stand up to anyone. Be it even the PM of the country, leave aside any tuchha-muccha politician. The non-confident “I will take you to the police/courts”, has given way to the confident, “I will drag you in front of the media”.
The 301st witness will not be on the roof no more. He is ready to testify.
“Aapko koi problem nahin hogi, maine jugaad kar rakhi hai”. “Kuch setting ho toh batao”. “Are apni upar tak setting hai”. Every one of us would have come across something similar at one point or the other. What exactly is this much celebrated setting aka jugaad? Well, it can simply be defined as an improvised quick fix to a tricky situation; goes to the extent of bending the rules; wisely attributed to lateral thinking.
Let me list down the top 10 examples of jugaad in India over the years.
- The Third Front as Alternative Governance
Recent elections have shown a new trend. The opportunist, UPA/NDA discards come together to form an alternative famously known as “Third Front”. It’s nothing more than a jugaad with sole purpose to bargain hard with UPA/NDA when time comes to form the Govt. Everyone knows it is not long term, but as to the purpose of holding the Govt to ransom it has worked quiet well.
- Chidambram as Home Minister
Prithiviraj Patil was busy putting make-up and changing wardrobes amidst the 26/11 attacks. He needed to go and went he did! The big question was “Who would fill the empty chair”? Chidambram, known to be an astute economist, was fitted to run the Home Ministry. Barring a few fiasco (Hindu terror, Shoe sting et al), expected of a jugaad, PC has more or less fulfilled the role of a workable HM.
- Ravindra Jadeja as All Rounder
The lack of all round cricketers in India is well known. One too many players have been tried by the selectors. When all else failed, time was ripe for the jugaad, Ravindra Jadeja. This jugaad failed and failed miserably. It even put a question mark to the very existence of jugaad. This, until he was selected again. You can hate jugaad, you can love jugaad, you can’t ignore jugaad.
- Students and College Exams
Most of us never studied the whole semester and used to bunk the classes. At the verge of exams, we had no notes/no idea. The jugaad used to come into effect. Whole course was divided into 4-5 parts, depending upon the number of friends in the group. Each one read a particular section and then explained it to the rest of the group. I still don’t understand how, but we faired really well, Jugaad rocks!!!
- L K Advani as Leader of Opposition
The fight for the post of Leader of Opposition was out in the open. Feelers were doing the rounds. When the GenX of the BJP leaders failed to come to a settlement, it was time for jugaad. The age old tested campaigner Advani, who till then had shown inclination to retire from active politics was brought back and he did some serious damage to UPA over price rise and corruption issues.
- Security in India
Secuity setup in most of the places in India works on jugaad. Overworked/underpaid policemen; lack of proper fighting equipments; lack of transport vehicles; lack of proper police station. When people say, “How the hell do we not see anarchy in such a scenario?” I tell them it is the Indian jugaad of 3rd Degree. If you get caught by frustrated law enforcers, God help you!
- Elections year after year
If you know someone who has acted as an Electoral Officer, you would know the whole election runs on nothing but jugaad. Govt officers are made poll officers, School/ Colleges are made the poll booths, Long lines at booths with no facility at all. Locals provide the chai/paani/lodging to the booth officers posted in remote areas. In tribal areas, the poll stationary is transported on Elephants. At some places people vote under lantern light. But this jugaad has stood the test of time and hopefully will continue doing so in the future.
- Manmohan Singh as Prime Minister
When Sonia Gandhi did not accept the post of PM after 2004 victory, there was a big frenzy as to the appointment of the PM. Dr. Manmohan Singh, a respected, senior member of Congress party, was employed as a jugaad. Never contested an election, not known to be conniving politician, he turned out to be a shining success of Indian jugaad and how! Into his second term, the jugaad continues to rattle iron man Advani at his own game.
- IPL in South Africa
IPL2 in SA is a shining example in the Indian jugaad armory. At couple of weeks notice, it was decided to shift the event to SA. Frenetic night outs, back room negotiations and “karna hai” attitude paved way to one of the highly successful events in cricketing history. It was a city moment of jugaads.
- Baap of All Jugaads: Sheila Dixit (Common Wealth Games)
To term CWG, Baap of all Jugaads won’t be a misnomer. Everything was left to the last moment, to the chance. Sports Minister termed it the Fat Punjabi wedding, which turns out well at the end. A quick fix to the impounding problems, CM Shiela Dixit was the jugaad to get the games up and running. And boy did she turn out to be one hell of a jugaad. The opening ceremony was a grand success and the whole world came to know and respect the great Indian Jugaad. Bharat Bhagya Vidhata!
Indian politics has always excited me. From time to time we come across political news that makes headlines. Some of them are really special. They involve a showstopper and work of shrewd political genius. How the masters of the game are able to come out of it with flying colors makes the crux of a great politician. The top three that I observed during recent years are as below:
1. Mulayam Singh and Nuclear Deal
During UPA-I Congress was struggling to get the nuclear deal passed. PM had stated that theirs was not a one-point-understanding with the allies (presumably the Left). When Left decided to part ways, it seemed all but over as far as the deal was concerned. Just then Congress received support from unexpected quarters. Mulayam Singh who had always lambasted Congress and BJP for Babri demolition and undermining Muslim interests came to the rescue. There was a bottleneck though. BSP projected the deal as anti-Muslim and there was a threat of SP losing Muslim votes which were its bread and butter in UP.
It looked a Catch-22 situation for Mulayam Singh. He stated that his party would be taking an independent advice from the experts as per the viability and usability of the deal. They could confirm anything only after the said advice. It didn’t seem enough. If he supported the deal, BSP was bound to make it difficult for SP to hold the Muslim votes. A lost battle.
Mulayam then showed why is he the gladiator of Indian politics. Next day, papers were filled with details of the meeting between APJ Kalam and Mulayam Singh. Kalam like any other scientist and expert was expected to support the deal and he did. It was a master move by Mulayam. He brought in a Muslim expert to counter the threat to Muslim vote. Support of Kalam countered any threat by BSP. Clean Sweep.
2. Sharad Pawar, Congress and Price Rise
The issue unfolded over the last few weeks. Spiraling prices of food items left Congress with little space to breath. Government of the Aam aadmi was seen as a pickpocket. Congress diverted the blame to Pawar. He was after all the agriculture minister. There were noises from Congress calling him a direct beneficiary of spiraling sugar prices. The Sugar King! Pawar never likes to be cornered. There was a need to shut the Congress up, which he also perceived as a threat to the solidarity of NCP. There have been overtones from State Congress from time to time to assimilate NCP and Congress. There was an urgent need for a master stroke. But what?
The genius of Pawar came into play. He took advantage of being involved with cricket and being the ICC President in waiting. Shiv Saina, which had almost given up on opposing entry to Aussie cricketers in Mumbai, was used as a pawn. Pawar took BCCI chief and met Thackeray at his residence. Gave a presentation and asked him to allow Aussies in Mumbai.
What it did was to give credence to Shiv Sena, undermining the authority of State Congress. The coalition party chief himself questioned the authority of the CM. Congress backed off immediately giving Pawar latency to tackle opposition over the price rise.
3. Rahul Gandhi and The Mumbai Local
Rahul Gandhi proclaimed from Delhi that Mumbai was for all Indians. It created ruckus across the party lines in Maharashtra. A kid from Delhi trying to dictate to Mumbai. How dare he? Shiv Sena protested hard against Rahul Gandhi and tried to project him as an enemy of Marathi Manoos, successfully enough. Rahul was viewed as a Delhi lad who lacked courage to take on Sena in Mumbai.
Rahul arrived in Mumbai. Changed his travel plans at the last moment, boarded the local and mingled with the commuters. He travelled to Dadar into the Sena’s bastion and at one go, Sena stood defeated. His Mumbai local trip took everyone by surprise. He showed courage. Dared to go the extra mile. He was admired by Marathi Manoos. “My father was born in Mumbai, my mother in Italy, my great grandfather in Allahabad, and I live in Delhi. Where should I say I belong to?” He floored even the skeptics. The Sena Bastion stood demolished.
An American resident and an Indian taxi-driver in US.
American: Where are you from?
American: Oh! India, I have heard a lot about it.
Indian: Really, what?
American: It has a great cultural heritage and history.
Indian: Yes, true.
American: I have also heard there is rampant poverty there.
Indian: Well, it’s not exactly so.
American: You are saying there is no poverty?
Indian: It’s not what I said. The things have improved.
American: Why were you forced to move out of your country to work here?
Indian: I was not forced. There are greater opportunities here.
American: You lack opportunities in your country?
Indian: A lot new opportunities have come up now.
American: What is the reason for poor state of affairs in India?
Indian: Oh it’s all because of corrupt politicians.
American: Why do you guys vote for such leaders?
Indian: People are illiterate and are duped on the basis of caste and religion.
American: It sounds too bad.
Indian: Not so, as I said the things have improved a lot.
American: Tell me.
Indian: Our economy is improving day by day. We have multi-stories, malls, discos and per capita has improved a lot.
American: I heard that you guys have very high crime rate and officials too corrupt.
Indian: No it’s not so. As I said, its improving as country is developing.
American: You guys work for cheap here, don’t you think you are exploited?
Indian: I save enough to send back home. It is enough for my family there.
American: Don’t you miss your family?
Indian: I miss them dearly.
American: Why don’t you bring them here then?
Indian: I won’t be able to afford it. I go and meet them once a year.
American: It all made me sad but I really like your spirit. Bye
Indian: Good Bye Sir.
Just change American by someone from say Mumbai/Delhi and Indian by someone say from UP/Bihar and the question/answers remains the same. Is struggle the essence of life? I fail to find an answer. All I can do is vow to work harder than ever to erase the need for such questions, the need for such answers and the existence of such differences.