Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Reforming the Mind Set

Vasu Reddy From Chicago
vasureddy@aol.com

The day of reckoning is here for the Indian democracy to face the challenges of leadership and guiding the vast country’s population and its diverse needs.  The transparent democracy that was destined when it achieved its independence from the UK simply has remained a paper democracy.

To start with the country’s initial leaders were part of achieving independence from the UK, and had tremendous acceptance for their contributions to achieve the country’s independence.  They were freedom fighters and philosophers, and men and women with ideals for a independent India, but not administrators and politicians of experience to handle a vast nation with complex social structure, many language and traditional differences and demographically challenging population; all of which with many more complex issues to deal with, immediately following the pillaging of national resources by the occupying forces.

There was a lot of leverage for the initially elected leaders of independent India, and it continued for a couple of decades with the romance of the leaders efforts in delivering independence to India.  While the process of independence was lead by a few, the entire nation was in full support and made great sacrifices in driving the British out of the country.  A great deal of respect was bestowed in the leaders who came into the power in the independent India, despite the lack of political or constitutional leadership, as it was in the case of the USA, the initial leaders of a independent nation are typically freedom fighters who command great respect for their sacrifices and leadership in achieving the independence of the country.

The case of the USA is a great example of leaders truly guiding the nation for peace and prosperity and accounting for national integration, development and proper planning.  India could have taken a similar route to becoming a great democracy by establishing a transparent policy making government that truly had its people in the planning, rather than the people in power determining the use of the country’s great resources.

India’s population was so used to hearing to rhetoric of pre-independent leaders and forgot that the post-independence rhetoric should have been totally different as it should have been towards the well being of the country rather than fighting an occupying force.  We continue to hear great voices which sound far too familiar to pre-independent speeches rather than achieving objectives of today’s needs.

It is the people of the nation who really should stop hearing to long winded speeches of plans that can never be achieved, and banter about the other guy who is so bad, and needs to be replaced by the new guy who can be worse.

There is really no prescription to what the country needs to do to find the right leaders, as even great promise the new leaders seem to evaporate as soon as they get into a seat of power.  People really need to stop listening to banter, focus on their well being without the politicians taking them for a joy ride every time there is an election year.  It requires a reform of the Indian mind, rather than any system.  Once we start to stop believing the absurd promises and blatantly absurd promises, we will probably begin to see that there is no truth to what we hear.  There is no immediate prescription to changing the system, except pushing for meaningful delivery of basic needs of the population.  Perhaps the Amish mindset is what the Indian communities need, so they become self sufficient in small groups, and really don’t care about what someone else is going to do for them, rather work as a great big family to tend to the needs of overall community.  If every village, town, municipality, city, and on work towards self sustainability by having people work together and achieve sufficiency, the country will see progress.  First we must reform our mind on not worrying about just me, but my community, and the rest will be progress.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Blockbusters without the Block

Vasu Reddy From Chicago
vasureddy@aol.com

Many of the previous movies are being made with the new generation of actors and some of them are bringing in audiences in great numbers to see the newer version of the great movies.  At least for the first few days people are watching them; one for the curiosity factor of comparing the newer version to the original, and the newer generation of movie goers for the hype preceding the release of the movie, comparing the newer version with the older.

Having been avoiding the newer versions of the old blockbusters, recently I saw two of them, both of the movies of my favorite actor Amitabh Bachchan.   I still remember seeing the movies of Mr. Bachchan as if it is this week and the experience of the entertainment still fresh in my mind.  I purposefully have been avoiding watching the newer versions of the great entertainers of a generation or so ago after watching Sholay in its newer form.  Such massacre of the entertainment is unparalleled, and absolutely no regard for the intelligence of the audience.  Typically movies such as Devdas, are made and remade again and again, and also in multiple languages, and have been successfully adopted for the newer age versions.  Actually Devdas was adopted quite well and enacted quite well and was entertaining and also true to the original adaptation.

The movie going experience was one of fun and excitement in the days where movies were released with regular intervals, and the many stars delivered major movies with regularity.  Very few movies came out from major actors in all languages, that failed to enthrall the audiences, and when there was a bad movie people rejected it outright and immediately looked forward to the next one.  There was no DVD or Internet that immediately put the movie for viewers to see, and the audience was the sole judge of the movie’s box office performance.

Heroes delivered fantastic entertainment with movie after movie and directors and producers were involved in making movies with such alarming regularity, the quality of the movies was quite high in bringing people to see the movie again and again and ran for weeks and weeks.  Personally I used to see the same movie several times and still enjoy the experience of the joy of entertainment despite seeing the same again and again.

For a fact the actors delivered six or more movies every year despite their star status and character actors acted in many more movies, and were absolutely true to the director’s guidance.  Movies did not take years to make, and were completed quickly and on schedule, and within reasonable budgets.  When the big stars were involved typically the movies delivered to the expectations and the producers and distributors were rewarded accordingly.  Many directors were part of fifty or more movies, some more than a hundred, all the while delivering quality and profitable entertainment.

While there is no grouse against making a good product repeatedly, the value of the entertainment should be considered.  The grace of the heroines, the song and dance routines, the dialogues catered to each role, and the hero who carries of the role as prescribed were all part of great story and presentation in delivering movies.  If we tale today’s actors and try to duplicate the work of the yesteryear’s actors, and try to recreate the magic of the playback singers, writers and technicians with just a lot of money and publicity, it is not possible.

While today’s audience might see the movie for curiosity of the newer version, the makers are unable to capture the essence of the originals.  The actors want to hype the newer versions based on the success of the original versions, they don’t deliver the product that is original.  Most times it is not possible as the selection of characters suited the personality of the actors, and support characters.  We don’t have the larger than life actors who suit the roles played by the originals.

While there are quality movies made by today’s generations of movie makers, it is best we try to leave the yesteryear’s movies as they are, and enjoy them on DVD or cable.  The money and effort will be better spent on new products and new stories that can be told in today’s time.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

In Search of a Good Leader

Vasu Reddy From Chicago
vasureddy@aol.com

Time has come for India and Indians to look for a good leader who will lead the nation to greater heights to satisfy the populations demand for better everything in the country.  From the village level to the metropolis, high raises to slums, from children to the very old, the educated to the rural folks, everyone is looking for a leader who will work on the people’s agenda rather than the master of the next scam.  For a country of some 1.2 billion, we must have a few good leaders we can find, but for some reason the country is suffering from the lack of a strong and democratically ideological leader who is not involved in any scam, but just lead the country into the next cycle of prosperity.

If we simply add-up the losses incurred by the country because of mismanagement of its resources the country would have had enough resources to provide education, transportation, telecommunications, rural development, basic facilities for all people and enough money for world-class (better best of the world) infrastructure without adding and new taxes or burden on the general population.  Sadly the money is going into a few people’s bank accounts in tax havens or being spent on getting reelected to government.

The magnitude of taking the money into pockets is so huge that the counting the zeros in any currency cannot be fathomed.  People are being caught and sent to jail, but so far none of the money has been recovered and brought back into the government coffers.  There are large numbers thrown out in public as losses to the exchequer but so far no money has been recovered that has been added to the national spending.

All political parties including the ruling and opposition parties at national level and state and local levels are all pointing fingers at each other, and everyone has some taint of impropriety attached to them.  Everyone is screaming about the other’s scams but no action is taken to bring the money back into the government or reclaim the lost resources.  Except making a huge deal about this in public and parliament, no concrete action is being taken to get the money back into the public.  The greatest misuse of resources is spoken about for a long time, but except hurling insults and referring to CBI and sending some of them to Tihar, nothing is done to get the money back from the miscreants.

In YSR AP had a leader who was forceful in implementation of programs that were popular and industrial and infrastructure development that was needed by the state.  Until his accidental death and for some time after he was hailed as the great leader who provided leadership for implementation of both populist and strong decisions that progressively affected the state and was a benchmark for the national leadership.  Since his death and a few months after, and when his son became a difficult nit to crack for the national leadership, he all of a sudden became a point of contention as someone who doled out favors for his son’s benefit.  It is tragic to first associate great leadership while alive and in death the exact opposite.  Politically the reaction of the public will never reconcile with the center that project its own image as a party that first enjoys the power of an individual leader while alive and tarnish it when he is dead.

The country needs a few good leaders who are not in for the money nor get elected, but for serving the country.  There is no individual benefit except the value of public service, and there is no need for money power but only the power of the people.  As a true and largest democracy the country needs a new breed of leaders, and India needs them now.  There is no immediate or magic trick to find someone, but the nation needs to embrace the faithful services of a true leader.  Only when people are able to welcome the leadership without the taint of money, rather with the vision of future that is full of promise of independence, we would have truly become a democracy and will see true prosperity that is becoming of a great nation.

Tuesday, April 03, 2012

All Systems Needs Grease

Vasu Reddy From Chicago
vasureddy@aol.com

The latest CBI charges against Jagan and multitude of senior level officers in the AP government was expected.  The pressure of politics adds to the charges that are superficial and mainly aimed at crippling the newly found vigor in campaign of a new party against the incumbent party, while the incumbent party is struggling with keeping the power.  What is ironic of the latest CBI charges against Jagan are that the late YSR is being projected as the person behind siphoning resources to help fund his son’s businesses by providing benefits to companies that became investors in them.

The big issues with the current set of charges are multiple:

The person behind the accusations has been dead for some time – The gentleman has been dead, and when he died he was the king maker for congress.  Unflinching in his attitude and policies that gave power to the party twice, while facing serious issues with regional issues within the state, he helped the party t retain and remain in power.  The INC is the oldest Party in India, and should at least respect its dead leaders.  Let the gentleman should be left to rest in peace, and not drag him into the dirt.

YSR single handedly instrumental for Congress retaining power in two elections – He was the pride of congress and always was beaming with pride while he handled the governance and politics.  It is for sure he raised money for the party as does everyone else.

What about the entire cabinet and bureaucracy that functioned under YSR while he was making these unilateral decisions – While dragging a dead man into accusations, what happened to the cabinet, party leaders at center and the bureaucrats who were all in power.  There is no absolute way YSR could have done something wrong by himself.  The party takes credit for all the good he has done and now blames him for wrongdoing?

The central leadership received the benefit of YSR’s leadership and also his ability to raise money – If a few favors were done to benefit Jagan’s companies what happened to the benefits received by the center?  India is full of dynastic politics and taking care if ones people while in power.  It is ironic that the INC accuses YSR of helping his son, as INC if full of nepotism from the day it was formed, and should look at its own self even today.  If the family did not help it’s own, and itself the government would have been democratic long time ago.

What happened to the advisors who were with him if he made these deals that benefited his son’s businesses – Where are the team of experts and leaders who followed YSR while in power and making decisions?  For sure we don’t see their names in the current accusations.

YSR could not have done the deals by himself in two successive governments without the blessings of the center – For all the things that are being thrown at YSR, no possible way the gentleman could have done anything without the help of the party and its leadership.  He remained loyal to the party throughout his life and died doing his job.

India is full of systems that need grease constantly, and although there is no public support for helping raise money for the party, it is a common practice to having to fund the party activities.  The scale with which this government has been exposing its own party men involved in scams is unprecedented.  While every political party involves in raising money and keep the party functioning, the current leadership in center seem to be forgetting that it needs to govern the country and its resources, rather sending its own leadership to Tihar, after realizing the benefit of their politics and fund raising.

The country really needs to introspect on top down and sideways of its leadership, and find ways to curtail the misuse of political power, and find democratic ways to manage politics and policies.  It should first stop witch hunting dead men and its own support structure when they revolt, and put forth policies that provide open governance and stop looting public resources.