Monthly Archives: December 2013

CIrca 2011 -The Writing Was There On The Wall !

Today with AAP’s stupendous showing in Delhi’s Elections can we look back at 2011 and see how many did not read the writing on the wall !

Dear Mr. Gupta,

This is in reference to your article- Jantar, Chhu Mantar in IE 14 May 2011.

Frankly  I was initially quite bewildered at the hostility from newspapers and its editors, sociologist and intellectuals at Anna Hazare’s fast, his demands for  modifications and changes etc in the Lokpal Bill, his drawing attention and articulating the general public anger at corruption.

I read article after article of regular contributors and columnists of your newspaper whose writings I had over the years read and enjoyed. Whose opinions I had respected and if I had for some reason disagreed, it had atleast opened my mind to another perspective.

However this time round I have seen the pettiness, the vindictiveness, the disdain, the cynicism of these writers and contributors , including you Mr. Gupta.

“The Lokpal Bill is not going to end corruption”….no one claimed it would. It was only a first step in the right direction.

“Who chose these members from the civil society?”….. these people volunteered, came forward and offered their services and expertise. Was anybody of stature and repute not allowed to participate?

“This Committee would by-pass the Parliament”……yes it would in the Bill formulating stage but it had to be eventually passed by the Parliament.

In most developed democracies citizens do push and articulate bills and laws which are then eventually passed by their Senates, Congress or Parliaments after further debate and discussion.

 And then the most hypocritical, inverse snobbery where one of your contributor’s (and now you) mocked Hazare’s statement that he would never be able to win an election because he did not have the power of money to gift TV’s, alcohol or sarees to buy his vote. Hazare’s disain for the Indian voter was dangerous she said, almost fascist!

The gloating that we are a democracy that has thrown out non performing governments 4 times in 64 years is pathetic!

It seems most of our intellectuals, sociologists, writers, journalists, editors, industralists are cynical, hardened and a part of the system.

They “enjoy” proximity to the powers that be.

They “enjoy” their largesse, a Rajya Sabha seat perhaps?

They “socialise” with this lot. Some write little bits to keep their worth and value and some offer favours in a quid pro quo.

They are cynical to believe that this is how it is and will remain so.

 Mr. Gupta your Jantar- Chhu Mantar is a misplaced piece of writing.

This election did not prove anything except the Indian voter just carries on and on the cycle- exchanging one lot for the other. We are to put it mildly, a passive democracy.

We exercise our vote every 5 years and throw one lot out for the other.

DMK this time and the AIDMK last time.

In the next elections DMK will be back.

Is this a mature, thinking, aware voter?

The DMK has looted enough to feed Tamil Nadu 20 times over for seven generations. They have not been punished- they are being “rested” in Karunnidhi’s own words.

Did your mature voter ever demand what happens to our money? Where is it being spent? Why aren’t thieving people in prison?

No- we simply vote them out.

Then we allow this lot to loot and plunder and bring the old lot back…..”vibrant” democracy indeed.

Are we perhaps mistaking “noisy” for “vibrant”?

In West Bengal one can only marvel at the threshold of acceptance of the citizenry. They watched their state crumble bit by bit for 34 years! Delapidated ideology, institutions, buildings and Kolkatta. Many generations lost!

Now with Mamta, this informed voter which you so admire, surely deserves more than lurching from one tantrum to another.

Perhaps we should meet 5 years from now in Kolkatta Mr. Gupta?

I was given to believe that a vibrant democracy is where citizens demand accountability from the people who have been voted in to administer and govern.

Where they question and deserve a response.

Where citizen groups and pressure groups see that the Government “works”.

Where the citizen expects justice as a right and not a favour.

Where citizens do not have to grovel for what is basically theirs.

At Jantar Mantar, an aged man of another era,  from some remote part of the country, who cannot by any defintion be called cool, came to the Capital and drew the middle class out….and that is what has worried everybody.

These were not Armani clad glitterati that could be smirked at.

These weren’t your Great Unwashed who could be talked down to.

This was the Indian Middle Class Mr. Gupta which has so far been ignored.

 I know because I was there.

I met a young man from Badarpur.

He had recently filed his tax returns- for the first time he said with some pride. His two brothers were still looking for jobs.

He worked 10-12 hours a day, drove back and forth his motor cycle on pot holed roads, returned home to electric outages and no water. He wanted to add a floor to his house but the MCD and police were harassing him……the same old story Mr Gupta…Ghar ghar ki kahani.

The MLA of his locality spent 50 lakhs on his daughter’s shamiana and Kalmadi made those crores and crores, Raja made more……his anger was palpable.

I walked alongside a 45 year old single woman with 2 children who ran an export unit in Okhla. There was stinking garbage on her street which was not picked in weeks, electric outages, inspectors who demanded hafta, MCD would not let her raise her boundary wall despite 2 break-ins, no police patrolling. She paid her taxes but what was she getting in return? …Sheila Dixit had made millions, substandard material was used in flyovers, there were 23000 MCD ghost workers….she was angry.

The word on the street is-

Sharad Pawar?  Why is that man in every cabinet? Who does not know that he could buy India twice over? In another country, another democracy he would be serving a prison sentence. Any scam and his name is there !

About Sonia Gandhi, the less said the better.

Her son-in law, a costume jewellery businessman can buy The Aman…..??!

Who will punish these people? Where is justice?

My parents, in their 70’s walked from Jantar Mantar to India Gate. My father, an ex soldier who has served in the army for 38 years and fought in 4 wars, believes the enemy is within. But then you don’t have much time for ex serviceman either, do you Mr. Gupta?

You feel these chaps are paid to lay down their lives and they have no right to ask for higher salaries. Your opinion as been articulated in article after article that they should be there for patriotism and glory.

I wonder if you have such advice for Karunanidhi’s brood or Sharad Pawar’s offspring?

This was not Tahrir Square. This was Jantar Mantar swarming with Middle Class India. Not with Anil Ambani and his pals, not with Rahul’s convenient Kalavati.

But Jantar Mantar with educated, hardworking Indians who pay their taxes and try everyday- everyday to be honest.

Listen to their voice. 

They are no pushover…..otherwise we may live to regret it.