Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Alternatives Are Hard To Find

Vasu Reddy From Chicago

Political turmoil in democracies are common and to a certain point natural.  People should be given the opportunity to elect who they feel best represent their interests and should always have a choice of majority vote in placing someone in power to handle both domestic and international affairs that best suits the needs of the country.  Tracking the countries that are natural democracies and comparing them to dictatorial or communist countries clearly represent the value of elected democracies.

India except for a brief emergency rule, has had democratically elected government since its independence from Great Britain in 1947.  The period of emergency was full of atrocities against people of a democratic country, and it saw power wrested from the government in the next general election.   While it saw a credible opposition in the form of BJP established born out of the emergency in India, and some regional parties also establishing themselves as forces in their own states, they quickly lost focus of catering to the national needs and gave back the power to Congress.

While each election costing more and more money to win, politicians who are getting elected and the ones that are losing; both are finding ways of making the money to spend on the electorate.  The biggest spenders are by no means are guaranteed electoral wins, and the ones those win have to find ways of recouping the cost of getting elected and are taking extreme measures to get their money back, and while no one is really focused on managing the day to day affairs of the country and its people.

The just finished regional election demonstrate that the regional parties are able to convince people of their intentions in localized elections, but will they be able to communicate a national message that is coherent and achievable is not in the horizon.  While states focus on local issues, the broader and national consequences are of greater importance for the well being of the country.

Dramatic and vast projects are all embroiled in controversies and scams.  Telecommunications, sports, buildings and transportation, defense and just about every major industry is involved in some major scam, and there seem to be endless issues with siphoning vast resources into politicians and their associate accounts.

With all the controversies and scams, the economy seems to chug along, although it could be with a much higher growth if not for the scams.  The private enterprise continues to find ways to grow despite the difficulties with politics and policy, and sometimes taking in stride the enormous burden of the scams, and demands for a great chunk of the monies involved in funding the projects.

All said and done the country is lacking in a credible and nationwide opposition to the ruling party that can deliver to election manifesto that will foster the economy, and also stop the bleeding of the resources of the country.  Although regional parties are strong in localized elections, they are not able to neither deliver a credible opposition nationally, nor also muster enough national attention to become an alternate to the incumbent government.

The political outlook is quite bleak in the current scenario, and there is no immediate fix to the political system.  There is no prescription to solve the political owes of the country, and how to find opposition party that will provide a national platform.  The new generation of politicians rely more on money and muscle, rather than reforms and policies to foster economic growth and clean government.  Except dynastic politics and promoting the sons or the past leaders, the country is lacking in new leaders who come from outside of the political system, and with new ideas that address the needs of the county.  Searching for alternatives in current political environment to deliver progressive and clean government is hard to find.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Nation of Cricket

Vasu Reddy From Chicago

With all the scams and politics in the country people get a full dose of the escapades of the select few who engage in national scavenging.  There is no end to the political power plays and financial plundering.  One has to wonder if there were no kickbacks and scams what will be Indian infrastructure look like and if there would be a poverty line in India?

It is getting tiring to write about scams and politics, and there is no end to the new and improved scams and political games.  For a while Anna was a hot topic with his proposals for ombudsman in India and that too fizzled out for the time being.  Once again old and renewed political players come back, and this is like a cat has nine lives, as they keep coming back.  There is not enough space to write about their escapades and continued support of their political aspirations.  We have to find some way of finding things that are not political and not involve a scam, thus talk of the nation of Cricket that India really is.

The retirement of Rahul Dravid a few days ago is of no surprise as the gentleman gave most of his adult life to cricket, and admirably.  He could have hung on for a few more series but it was time to call it quits in his own opinion and good for him to decide on what to do with his time.  There is a lot of praise and admiration for him across the global cricketing base, and a well deserved break from the rigors of the daily grind of cricket and the demands of a billion people.  Now he can just be domesticated as the rest of the married men.  As admirable as he has been on and off the field, he immediately displayed the same class when he announced his retirement.  Once again a wonderful career and a wonderful gentleman of class, and he will be missed.

Right after Rahul Dravid’s retirement came Sachin Tendulkar’s 100th 100.  It is perhaps a feat that will be unparallel for generations to come.  While India lost the match (again when a great milestone is achieved) to Bangladesh, Sachin’s achievement once again has a universal applause and no greater feat in professional sports can be in the same category.  It made not just the Indian public but also the global cricketing nations unanimous in its praise for the gentleman.  For the time Sachin has spent playing cricket and his continued performance and his demeanor has unparallel support world over, and simple cannot be valued in any monetary terms.

Sachin lost a great partner when Rahul Dravid retired, but in the last couple of games young Virat Kohli is displaying the flair of a great one day player who has quickly raised hopes of the cricketing public with his performances.  While we cannot count his proficiency in all forms of cricket like Rahul Dravid did, he certainly has started off with the flair for a long innings.  No doubt that he can be groomed for filling the big shoes of Rahul Dravid.

The nation is happy with the cricket team’s performance and when they win even meaningless games, the public is full of pride and joy.  There is no telling if they win series after series and create records after records as individuals.  Just a day or two away from the current series decider, and once again against Pakistan, which is a hot contest.

While wishing for a successful campaign in the current series, Cricket does keep India together, and cricketers in special places of Indians heart.  All we need is the Indian team keep winning and perhaps people will forget about the scams and politics and even the hard work they put in everyday to make ends meet.  Good luck Indian team and keep making the nation happy.   

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Rahul Dravid

Vasu Reddy From Chicago

His retirement was hardly unexpected, but brought our unanimous praise and applause on a career that was extraordinary.  He had another gentleman of world cricket Anil Kumble at his side when he made his decision to retire public.  There was no need for one last series or one last test, just done with an overseas tour that was ordinary for Rahul as a cricketer, and disastrous for the Indian cricket team.

He is 39 years old, young in years but in cricketing terms is not so young.  Many of them retire in mid thirties, and very few go on as Rahul did over the years, and especially the statistics of the last few years belie that the age was a factor in his decision to quit all formats of professional cricket, barring IPL.

The retirement was not a surprise knowing the drive and dedication he has shown throughout his professional career, and continued stress on perfecting the art of batting, fielding, wicket keeping and also great dignity and respect for the gentleman’s game of cricket.  No outbursts, no emotional grandstanding, no arguments, no over jealous appealing, no sow of emotions, nothing that dissents from the spirit of the game; is all Rahul Dravid did all through his career, while delivering world class performance year after year for cricketing fans.

While in the company of the likes of Tendulkar, Sehwag, Laxman and other greats of cricket, Dravid always stood his ground; with performance and attitude that befit the great game of cricket and a great world class performer.  The years that he spent playing are full of extraordinary performances by many greats of cricket in the Indian team and also the global test teams.  None as polished and professional as Rahul Dravid, and when he announced his retirement, there was unanimous praise of the man who personified professionalism and personality that befits the game and its spirit.

One thing that stands out in Indian cricket is that the cricketers who come from Karnataka, Anil Kumble, G.R. Viswanath, B.S. Chandrasekhar, Erapalli Prasanna, along with a long list of other who have represented the country, are all great performers while being gentleman cricketers.  Most of these cricket greats let their on-field performance speak volumes and leave their emotions out of cricket.  Not to underline the state that delivered such gentle giants of cricket, but their performances are commendable in the annals of cricket.

While it is difficult to replace Rahul Dravid in the cricket team, he made the right decision to quit on his own terms.  The most endearing things to hear from is the appreciation for the game he has and continues to have, and his desire to find a simple and common mans daily chores to do that he has not been able to do with the dedication to the game he loves and played with great dedication.

While his slot in the cricket team will be difficult to fill, India will find outstanding cricketers to come in and contribute.  We still have a few more greats that are nearing their outstanding careers and we will see them exit the great game on their own terms, while we will see new and outstanding performers emerge into the international scene.  Rahul Dravid is a special man whose dedication is unmatched, and will certainly be in the minds of all budding cricketers who aspire to be a part of the Indian team.  He will forever be a role model to emulate and learn from.

Here is wishing him the best in retirement and all the happiness for a normal and fruitful life.  Rahul Dravid will continue to be a model for hard work and dedication for everyone in Cricket and for fact a great model for a dedicated and hardworking man in life.

Wednesday, March 07, 2012

Is there a Lack of New Leaders or Lack of Interest in Politics?

Vasu Reddy from Chicago

Old wine in a new bottle saying doesn’t apply to the politicians of the world who seem to come back into the pictures despite the past election losses, or the ones in power seem to try hang onto their seats by any means they can.  Democratic elections make no difference when a politician wants to win power back or come back into the lime light.

Elections get more expensive with every cycle and promises to the public become more extravagant to come back to power or retain power.  The available funds for spending are always less than what is allocated and the allocated monies get diverted into scams.  The cost of lections and getting reelected is in unstated amounts, but the politicians are willing to gamble the money to get back into power.  The cost to get elected is typically coming from the public’s money in one form or the other, and each time the numbers being siphoned get to be greater and greater.

Every local, state and central politician is somehow or the other involved in making decisions that cost the tax payers enormous amount money, and typically the decisions are to support the reelection and getting wealthy while on the job.  Every politician in India after PVNR, seem to get caught up in the cycle of scams and kickbacks, and none is sparing the public coffers from scams.

The recent elections in several states in India reflect a clear lack of direction and leadership in the state and central levels.  People are essentially voting the old cadre back to power and showing indifference to the deeds of the past.  Also, there is a clear lack of any new vision or diversity in political parties.  We get nothing but the same people on the ballot, same agenda, same intolerance to others, and indifference with the public who go to polls, and nothing new being offered to protect public interest and create opportunities for growth.

Typical of the politicians someone will accept the responsibility for the loss of their party in the elections, and immediately start blaming the others for spending money to buy the elections, and their inability to communicate their agenda to the common man.  The truth is that every party spent money that they have on targeted voting blocks, and made promises that are impossible to deliver.  The loss of elections typically come with the worst performing government, and people despite being fed the pre-election gimmicks and gifts, will still vote for change and hope to bring positive developments to their location, city, state and center.  We the people are eternal in optimism and while we take the benefit of pre-election gifts and promises, will still vote for change that might surprise with performance.

Following the cycle of elections and overall development in the country, the time with Rajiv Gandhi and then PV Narasimha Rao as the leaders of the country, which both saw serious inroads into the globalizing India’s resources, opening the economy for investment and information and telecommunications advances, the rest of the governments seem either oblivious to the global developments or unable to appreciate the democratic country’s standing as the largest such country on earth.  Even MMS, who is the chair of the PM, is unable to achieve objectives he set out and foster as the FM of the country.

There is no quick fix to election process and getting reelected in India or anywhere else, but people typically look for change in government when the government becomes overbearing.  While India’s election process is commendable in its vast enterprise and the changes public vote in, it still needs new blood to get into the electoral main stream to bring in changes of openness to the process.  We definitely need new set of leaders in either the incumbent parties or new parties who will eliminate the political graft (if not minimize it to simple political contributions that can be accounted), and really push for social agenda without money bags attached to it.

Looking at the past few cycles of elections it doesn’t look like we will be able to find new leaders who will push for a graft free agenda.  It looks like recycling the old faces again and again, and each time the government changes there is an emergence of scams of the past.  There are no immediate and logical steps to foster a transparent and open government at any level as the incumbents are entrenched in the political and financial system of the country.  We have to find a bottom up solution for changing the electoral process to eliminate the loop holes, stop the fostering of electoral graft and create a new set of leaders who are in for really serving the people’s agenda.  It might be asking too much at this stage of India’s political system to become a totally free electoral process and drive only the public’s agenda, but it is always good to dream of such a society.

Past Perfect

Vasu Reddy from Chicago vasureddy@aol.com It has already happened. Past is already on the books, recorded, and can’t be changed.   It ...