Showing posts from October, 2006

Cromwell In Lok Sabha

Oliver Cromwell was one of the signatories to the death warrant of King Charles I and established the Commonwealth. He declared himself the Lord Protector in 1653 for five years.

He dissolved the ‘Rump’ parliament and then formed his Barebones Parliament to which he assigned all power.

He gave the following speech on dissolving the Rump Parliament.

It is high time for me to put an end to your sitting in this place, which you have dishonoured by your contempt of all virtue, and defiled by your practice of every vice; ye are a factious crew, and enemies to all good government; ye are a pack of mercenary wretches, and would like Esau sell your country for a mess of potage, and like Judas betray your God for a few pieces of money; is there a single virtue now remaining amongst you? Is there one vice you do not possess? Ye have no more religion than my horse; gold is your God; which of you have not bartered your consciences for bribes? Is there a man amongst you that has the least care for th…

Yeh Bombay Hai

The infrastructure in India is charitably described as lousy. The worst roads are unfortunately in Mumbai, the commercial capital and Bangalore, the IT showpiece city.

Patna today has better roads than either of them. I do not know who is responsible for this shoddy state of affairs-the centre, the state government or the local municipal corporations. It could be even the corrupt contractors and local politicians. But strangely, the general public does tolerate filth, potholes, stray animals and even unpaved roads in the middle of the city.

Mumbai takes the cake in filth and a lackadaisical attitude towards its own roads and cleanliness. So the city which has fabulous citizens, a rocking nightlife and immense professionalism has decrepit looking buildings, animal shit on roads and in many parts only mud and potholes.

Class Discriminations in India

There are very few societies more class-ridden than India. While the country focuses on caste, the discriminations based on class do not let merit and fairness prevail. Caste in educational institutions undermines the concept of merit. But class works beneath the superficial surface and insidiously destroys justice and merit. Class in the Indian context is a nebulous and complex concept.You can feel it, you practice it but you cannot capture it properly. It is tied at a gross level to caste but also to economic wealth, family station, your English pronunciation and also the colour of your skin! So a poor man is going to be beaten up in the police station but a rich man will stay unharmed. It is very rare even in the most merit-based institutions in the country to see a driver's son being friends with a privileged doctor's child. We do not let people of a different class rise and the concept of merit is twisted to suit the dominant section's interests. In a more open society…

Regional Disparities

According to the 2001 census, only 43% of rural households (56% in urban) in India have electricity.The regional disparities are even more disturbing. The level of electrification in rural Punajb, HP and Haryana are 90, 95 and 79 percent. In contrast, the levels in rural WB, Assam and Orissa are 20, 17 and 19 percent respectively. Bihar has a level of 5.1 %.
The percentages of Punjab, HP and Haryana rural households getting tap water are 16, 38 and 83. The number of rural households getting tap water in WB, Assam and Orissa are 7, 5 and 3 percent respectively. The figure for Bihar is 1.38 %.

So much for being one country and so much for Jyoti Basu's 30 year reign due to the prosperity in rural Bengal.

How Good A leader Is Manmohan ?

In around a month, Manmohan Singh will reach the midpoint of his tenure as the Prime Minister. There will be assessments followed by bouquets and brickbats in equal measure. He has been successful in bringing down the communal temperature, sustaining the economic growth, forging a brave new foreign policy path, initiating some landmark acts like RTI, launching programmes like Bharat Nirman and the rural employment guarantee. He has alienated the urban educated sections because of the reservation policy, failed in convincing the left on several reform initiatives and not managed to make any headway on preventing terror.

But how good a leader is he? By common thinking and opinion polls, he is not a good leader. But going by research on leadership he is probably the best we ever had. The most influential theories on the personal characteristics of a leader have been by Plato, Warren Bennis and Jim Collins.

Plato propounded the concept of the ' philosopher king ‘. According to him the …