Democracy, politics and all that jazz

parliamThere has been recently a lot of debate, discussion, protests and also some incidents of violence in India. News channel are nowadays having a discussion every other hour. I believe India being a democracy can afford to have such discussions among its people provided they do not resort to violence and they do not violate the law of the land. India is lucky to have very little corruption and almost total independence in higher judiciary. The internet has almost made it impossible to silence the views of both the right and the left .

I feel that neither the right nor the left can be totally silenced and nobody should even try to do so. Much to the chagrin of both the ultra-right and the ultra-left India is a democracy. We can say we have a revolution every five years where a new elected government takes over the reigns from another elected government. The subsequent governments may be polar opposites when it comes to ideology but still the country lives on. The aspirations of the people may change with time and the huge electorate of this country may favor different ideologies at different periods of time.

These days strange binaries are being created by political organizations for their vested interests. Facts are being twisted and things are interpreted to suit the whims and fancies of certain political institutions.Everything is being assumed to be in either black or white. However very rarely is it ever black or white in the real world. Most of the time reality is composed of different shades of grey. Everything is relative more or less.

The entire right or the entire left is not bad. We must allow each of them space to have a say in our democracy provided one does not try to silence the other by using violence. Our constitution has allowed both of them to be part of the political process. Barring the extreme versions of the right and the left, I hope they will continue to represent the aspirations of the people they represent in our political process and will thus enrich our democracy in perpetuity.

Why I don’t like the idea of government jobs in India

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Most people in India, especially in smaller towns and cities, are crazy about “Government Jobs”. They say that it offers “Job Security”, “benefits”, etc. I particularly am not fond of such notions. Since I have graduated as an Engineer,(without getting placed in campus, poor me right?) my parents regularly pester me whenever they see an advertisement for Government jobs. I fail to understand their fascination and lust for government jobs.

Now my hatred for so-called “Government jobs” is not without reason. First of all the system of recruitment for government jobs leaves very little opportunity for a general, physically fit, male with very little ‘connections’ or well-enough economic means to get a government job legally. It’s not impossible but very hard. So since its very hard its better not to spend any energy pursuing it and rather using it for some other purposes.

Secondly most government servants that I have seen are either bored of their jobs because they have very little to do or they are tired of their jobs. In other words the clichéd work-life balance is not to be found. Now I would rather work in a challenging environment in a corporate firm and possibly getting more or less deserved compensation instead of working my ass off in a PSU or other government sectors where my work will most possibly go unnoticed. Also the work that people are doing in SpaceX, Tesla, Google, Amazon, Airbnb like companies and many upcoming Indian startups amazes me and I would very happily love to work in such environments.

Thirdly office politics is existent everywhere but more so in the government sector(i am telling from my father’s experience) . Also laws of this country makes it possible for somebody with lesser experience to be promoted before if he/she happens to belong to a certain section of the society(i will not comment on the fairness of it). I would appreciate a place where my merit is the first priority when it comes to promotion and salary raise which seems to be the case in the private sector.

Fourthly, the whole idea of job security in the government sector and no job security in the private or corporate sector is utter bullshit. If you really have skills you will never be laid off and even if you are you can always expand the plethora of skills and get a job anyway. During recession in America even public sector job cuts also happened. Such a thing have not happened in India (as far as I know) till now but we cannot negate the possibility of it happening in future. Therefore unless the situations in the government sector improves or I am overpowered by family pressure I am not joining any government sector jobs any time soon.

P.S.- when I say about Government jobs please exclude the Defense, Civil Services, Research and Higher education jobs, because I would love to work in only these sectors of government, if at all.

Clean India

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On the ocassion of the birth anniversary of the father of the nation Mahatma Gandhi, Prime Minister Narendra Modi today initiated the Swach Bharat campaign. While it is a welcome step, many questions and doubts remain about the campaign and its efficiency remains to be seen in the coming years. Mahatma Gandhi had understood the importance of cleanliness and sanitation during his time. Even now the importance of cleanliness and sanitation cannot be emphasized any further.

We Indians are almost always pleasantly surprised to see the extreme levels of cleanliness in foreign countries. This have been achieved in those countries mostly because of the awareness of people in keeping their surroundings neat and clean and in some cases due to punishment abetted to people who litter as in the case of Singapore. It is a shame that we cannot replicate the same in our country even after six decades of independence.

In such circumstances the step taken by the Prime Minister needs to be appreciated, whether it achieves its intended objective or not remains to be seen. The steps suggested by the PM if followed even with fifty percent efficacy can do wonders for the country. The involvement of celebrities in the movement will serve to inspire more people to join the campaign. However holding the broom should not become a photo opportunity for social media crazy people.

Many people litter all around, however the involvement of educated people in doing such things is a worry sign for the country. If the citizens themselves are not aware of the importance of cleanliness no campaign will succeed. We can all hope for the best for the PM’s Swach Bharat movement and should continue to maintain cleanliness as our civic responsibility and should all those who litter around. The enthusiasm of the movement should not decrease with time and the same enthusiasm should be maintained all through till the aim of a clean India is realized.

State of the Indian Union

As the 29th state is formally inducted into the Indian union  today it raises many fundamental questions about the structure of the government and the distribution of powers in the Indian union. On the one hand India is not a purely federal state but on the other hand it isn’t completely unionist either. Ever since the formation of the Indian union after partition of the Indian subcontinent states of the Indian union have undergone changes. Many new states have been carved out and the boundaries between certain states have been reorganised.

The division of the states on linguistic lines was conceived to make the administration easier and to unite the people belonging to the linguistic groups so that their culture and heritage is preserved . But it has always been debatable. As there is no clear cut demarcation of area of people belonging to a certain linguistic group. It has lead to inter state conflicts and also the demand for newer states to be carved out of existing ones. While the aspirations of the people should always be honored but we can’t ignore the fact that it has raised many questions of whether the present method of demarcation of states is effective. Also we can’t help but wonder how many states do we actually need for administrative convenience.

Also due to the troubled histories of certain regions of the Indian union special legislatures are currently being enforced in those regions. Thus, it seems that all states are not the same in the eyes of the union for better or for worse. Besides autonomous councils within certain states have also been formed to protect the rights of the indigenous people and to let them handle their resources properly. But this again has not been totally effective as often the states and the councils have conflicting opinions on the allocation of funds and utilization of resources.

With the intent for decentralization of power the panchayats and town councils had been set up. Although many regions have benefitted from this structure many again have lots to be done for the proper decentralization of power to take place.

All these things have slowly lead to lesser people identifying themselves as Indians before bowing allegiance to the region to which they belong. With so many divisions of power in the Indian union it seems chaotic . But still the Indian union has stood the test of time, and although it may have been crippled with agitations and protests at times it is still united.

Independence

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Sipping tea Suresh was uninterestedly watching the news . Tomorrow being independence of India, the news channels were all filled with information and trivia regarding Independence day. He was simply bored so he turned off the idiot box and switched to reading newspaper. It was filled with the usual stuff about parliament being disrupted, scams, scandals and the like. Suresh now pondered to think what have come out of this independence.

The poor were still poor and rich continued being richer although there were some noteworthy exceptions. As he was born after independence of India he couldn’t relate to the independence struggle as his father did. His small shop was enough to feed his small family of three and save a little for his daughter’s education and marriage.

As he was pondering over all these things his wife came to take the dishes of his tea and snacks. Seeing his wife he was sudddenly forced into thinking about the plight of women in a country where the country is symbolised as a mother as in “Bharat Mata”. Yet in such a country women were still not safe to move freely, where in the name of tradition, superstition, dowry and honour women are still being killed. His daughter came to him asking him some questions about her geography assignment. He answered and explained as much as he could. The small girl was satisfied and got back to writing her assignment.

Answering about his daughter’s assignments he was forced to ponder what have come of the states of the indian nation. Demand for newer states were rising and who knows how many times geography textbooks may have to be changed in the coming years. He then thought about education scenario and how tough the competition was nowadays and although literacy levels has risen but still the amount of universities and centres for higher education were abysmally small compared to the amount of students. What else can be expected of a country where the lawmakers spend little in higher education and more in giving poison ridden mid-day meals through scam infested networks of middle-men.

While thinking all these things it was time for dinner. As he sat on the dining table he wondered about the price rise specially of vegetables. Onion was an expensive vegetable now which he could not afford often. Yet without expensive spices and vegetables the food was great because his wife, like most Indian housewives was adept in making delicious things out of simple and cheap ingredients. As was his custom he switched on the TV . Again there were these hippocrites blaming each other on national television for the lack of development and scams taking place in the country. It left a bad taste on his tongue, so he quickly finished his meal. After that he wished his wife and daughter goodnight and went to his bed. As he laid down he thought that India as an entity may have been free of foreign colonists but Indians are still at large not free, only the foreign colonists made way for indigenous colonists.

As he proceeded to pray before going to sleep. He wondered how amongst all these chaos and scams and injustices India still continued to remain united and functioning as a single entity. Maybe it was God’s grace that made this country survive for almost 66 years after independence from British rule. And resigning the fate of the country to God he went off to sleep.