About a couple of decades ago, I happened to follow the election analysis by the then-popular psephologist Dr.Prannoy Roy and Vinod Duo. The sensational and exhilarating show, aided by its field reporters equipped with state-of-the-art broadcasting paraphernalia, which included OB vans, was sweeping the sub-continent. As it sought to reach out to the entire nation, the reports were sent out in English to Indian living rooms, and the show’s central command was receiving reports in English. I was so excited to see the crew and common people adapting to the technology. I watched one such crew with a young elite female reporter land in one of the remote villages of Andhra Pradesh. When she tried to interview a person who was just declared a victor in the election, of course with all due respects to an elected Member of Legislative Assembly, he could not even comprehend the simple question she landed to him. All she asked was, “What is the secret of your victory?” or something of that sort. He and his cronies yelled in a belligerent voice at her, “Telugu, Telugu,” demanding her to translate the question in Telugu. The bewildered reporter consequently translated the question in Telugu. The arrogance because of the freshly acquired power already inebriated the victor and his cronies. It immediately would have sent mixed messages to the viewers – to all thugs of the nation that they too have a chance in politics and to the common men that politics is continuing to degenerate. History has demonstrated repeatedly what happens when power is enslaved in the hands of such personalities (stupid and arrogant). I was thinking if people could elect this victor as their representative, they absolutely did not have any idea of an election and its meaning.
Now, twenty years later, it is no different. Or it could be worse. People are still “picnicking” to voting booths, after collecting the money offered by various political parties. At the booth, they are, of course, confused, not about electing an able leader, but about the question of where their loyalty has to be, as they have collected money from almost all the parties. Even if conscientious voters refuse to collect money, they are forced to sell their vote and ended up sealing their future for the next few years.
Well, thinking hard is one thing that not a lot of us like. But to reflect on whom to elect is one necessary exercise like cleaning the trash. What happens if I don’t clean the trash? Well. That depends. If I am used to living in the stench, I become callous to it so I do not care. For the rest of us, we always have our palms to press the nostrils tight and move on. Indeed we have been pressing our noses for quite a long time without knowing that we are suffocating. The immediate task for somebody is to make us aware that we are suffocating so that we do something to alleviate our conditions.
That “somebody” turned out to be Dr. Jayaprakash Narayan Nagabhairava for a lot of people. Followers affectionately call him JP. A physician by trade later turned towards Indian Administrative Service. He has now been in public life for about 16 years. From the first hand experiences he encountered in the field and in an attempt to bring back service and nobility into politics, he went on to found his Lok Satta party. His Lok Satta party, still dwarf in the Indian political stage, has huge ambitions like any other party. But unlike every party we would have come across in our times, this party has different agenda. “Politics is a noble endeavor” said JP in the “Rejuvenate India” program, held on May 23rd, 2010, attended by about 1000 people in the Sunnyvale temple located in the San Francisco Bay Area, an awareness creation tour, he and the Tamil Nadu Lok Satta president, Mr. Vijay Anand have undertaken in United States.
JP, with his great army of followers, a modest man, sangfroid in nature, was very attached to the ground realities. He strongly believes that if every citizen takes little positive basic steps towards public policy, the enemies of India who steal the “power” and democracy, could be driven out for ever, alluding to the thugs like the one mentioned in the anecdote in the beginning of this report. Indeed, that is quite ambitious. He suggests to the future leaders not to take politics as something that is meant for winning or losing. He stresses that public policy should be the drive behind politics. He seemed to be very impressed by the NRIs in bay area and in other parts of the country, particularly computer engineers and software professionals who have created a brand value for the nation. With the amazing hard work and management of domestic chores mostly without any external aid amongst the hectic job schedules, the NRIs are great achievers, he mentioned. He claims that he came to America to be inspired rather than to inspire.
About the structure of governance, he insists that decentralization and federalism are a proven concept in India in the past. He quoted Uththaramerur inscriptions that were unearthed recently to corroborate this phenomenon. “Cholas had given power to the local chieftains but made sure if they didn’t deliver or were power drunk or became corrupted, it is not just them who were disqualified to aspire for public office, but their successive generation was also disqualified.” And he was so impressed with the way United States and the provincial authorities have decentralized powers to the local cities and counties. “Competition between cities and their governance” yields the best for the society, he suggested.
As an administrative service official, he has worked hard to bring benefits to the masses. Under his watch, 200,000 acres of land were irrigated in Andhra Pradesh in a very short period. The comprehensive list of his achievements is available in the websites http://www.loksatta.org or http://peopleforloksatta.org/
“While there would be differences between the various political parties, the leaders should look beyond it for the greater cause”. He was pleased to note how the Union and Confederates reconciled. He noted that a couple of confederates’ statues that were decorating the Capitol symbolize the reconciliation. He preached that the political parties in India too need to reconcile and work towards the common goal. People should put the best two parties in power – as ruling and opposition – and make them compete. People should stop voting the second worst. He felt disappointed with the current situation where they are not looking beyond that.
Current political parties play with human dignity. They refuse a dignified life for Indian people. They make them beg for everything. For example, they have to be at the mercy of some authority in public offices to get a license of one sort or other, to get a telephone connection, to get water connection, etc. People deserve to be respected, he said.
Later on he took questions from the audience. Earlier Vijay Anand justified why Lok Satta has to go after power. Vijay Anand, the president of anti-corruption movement, the 5th Pillar, joined hands with Lok Satta and now the president of Tamil Nadu Lok Satta party. The meeting was well organized by Prasad Gattu, Satish, Suresh, Prasanna, Vamsi, Sreekant, Kalyan, Ravindra, Ashish, Raja, few of the San Francisco Bay Area coordinators for “People for Lok Satta”. It was a very disciplined and orderly crowd and even JP was very impressed with silence and decorum they maintained – until they started serving food. JP’s speech was a serious business to me and when people treated it like a picnic it was a bit disappointing.
தொகுக்கப்பட்ட பக்கம்: அரசியல்