Monday, December 30, 2013

Return Of The New Year

Vasu Reddy From Chicago

2014 is just hours away, and another new year is almost here. Lots of excitement as it is at the time of the New Year, with everyone on holiday and in the mood for a reason for celebration. Chicago is going to be bitterly cold approaching 2014. Yesterday the Chicago Bears lost their final game of the regular season in the last minute (I was watching and it breaks your heart, just like many other seasons with the Bears), and the last remaining thing to cheer for the year, and first thing to cheer for the locals for the New Year is gone. Also, the Indians lost to South Africa in the last test match of the year, and they lost big. There will be expert commentary on the losses and the justification behind the massive losses by everyone their brothers. They just won't simply say the teams were up to no good, and they were just average and lost to much better teams. This is also quite a traditional happening in both Chicago and with the Indians.

Its also my last column for the year, and as always its good to look forward to the new year with some excitement. My publishers and readers and everyone else, I am sure are looking forward to the new year and along with it the time off from whatever each one of us do, and also a bit of a celebration. For us in Chicago, it is a really hard time on the body's fat from Thanksgiving through the beginning of the new year. Despite repeated attempts to control the intake, it is impossible to do any kind of moderation during the time. All the workouts for almost eleven months are shot in the space with one month of binge gouging.

The past year has been uneventful as it has been similar to just about every other in the recent past. Politicians continue to bicker, rather well dressed these day but they constantly mouth off against each other, and the availability of massive media outlets is making them sharper looking and sharper in bad mouthing everyone else who is in the opposition; sometimes in the same party. So nothing new can be expected in the space of addressing the people's issues, let along finding solutions for them. Neither the Indians nor the Americans, both large democracies with vastly different economic structure have done a single thing to help their people. The last straw was the arrest of the Indian diplomat in New York and the treatment meted out to her by the Americans, was simply the attitude displayed by the law enforcement in the USA, albeit with the politicians and legal system involved. At last the Indians are showing some spine in taking their own measures to give the Americans their own medicine. Hey! We are are all capitalists and not communists, so let us treat each other with dignity, specially when it comes to women and children. The Americans are not very innocent as they have done things like this to Abdul Kalam (probably most loving Indian living) and to SRK (who is definitely one of the most popular Indians), and the current fiasco in New York is not an isolated incident. So much for the friendship for Dal and Roti as professed by Obama, and Singh proclaiming the friendship between the two great democracies. For the love of god, please have the respect to at least show it for the diplomatic forces, if not for general public.

My state of Andhra Pradesh remain in boil as the state is constantly subjected to the division politics, and for months after the declaration by the INC it remain unitedly divided. There is no magic to the division as it is politicians who are finding the forum to mouth off powerful movie dialogues or equating each others activities to sports. Not a single one of them have done anything to address the people issues, but simply paying to the crowds. We have actors and orators by the thousands in the electorate, and we really don't need any training to make movies these men and women as they play to the gallerias without hesitation.

The AAP forging the government in Delhi is not a real surprise either as people are fed up of scams and incompetence and kissing behind by the politicians. Getting a band new party into power is not a surprise as it is almost guaranteed that people will vote you into power if they can hear you address their concerns. As of writing this column, AAP has fulfilled the promise to deliver free water in 24 hours of coming into power, and its a start to one of their 18 things in their election manifesto. Even if they do half of the things they described in their election manifesto, it will be a welcome change to Indian politics. I personally like this man Arvind as after just getting elected as CM of Delhi, he gets diarrhea and fever and is working from home, and has already done one thing he said he will do if elected. I don't want to forget his electing to stay at his own home and ignoring the big security detail, by saying he is with his people and he doesn't need any security. Way to go champ! And hope you will do all you said will do. Anna seems to be happy with developments in Delhi as his protege Arvind as taken the hot seat and now is the time to perform. Delhi is the seat and root of corruption and if Arvind can get the house clean, it is likely it will flow to the rest of the country from New Delhi. Here is to the newness of clean government, at least for now. Jai Hind.

Many things to move on from as the world is pretty much the same except the figure of 2013 will become 2014. While waiting for the new year, here is to wishing everyone great things to come in the new year and peace to all.

Happy New Year.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Common Man's Agenda

Vasu Reddy From Chicago

With AAP (common man's party) accepting to form the government in Delhi, it is one more time displayed that common man believes that change can happen, and when promised to meet appropriate requirements of the population as a whole, the electorate is willing to give you a chance to deliver what you promised. The fascinating aspect of the election is that people did not reject the incumbent party completely, nor endorsed the new entrant AAP completely, while allowing the current opposition BJP also some room for being a player. At the end of the week, AAP is being allowed to form the government, despite not having the absolute majority required to form the government in Delhi on its own.

Congress is extending outside support to AAP to form the government. The conditions of the AAP to form a coalition government are well laid out, and look promising. Promising in the sense of achievable electoral objectives. While the party that was started to fight corruption and the status quo, first is being forced to form the government in Delhi only with the help of INC, which has been the main focus of AAP in its campaign against corruption. As ironic as it might be, there is no other way to form a government in Delhi without the help of INC or BJP. BJP has taken the high road and has not offered to cater to the demands of AAP, and congress although has agreed to the rules of engagement to form the government, it has already started to back track on its offer to support without reservations.

It will be interesting to watch and wait to see if AAP will be allowed to from a government, and if it is allowed to form the government, how long will it survive. Will the congress party keep quiet and let the AAP execute to its poll promises? Many a questions will start to formulate for the public as this political drama unfolds.

While the intentions of Congress are not clear; weather they really are keen on supporting a new party to run a large metropolis; weather they don't want further humiliation of losing more if another election is help; weather they want to support now and back stab the AAP as soon the government is formed; or for whatever unknown reasons.

The ideology of the new party is obvious. The leaders are educated and articulate and also have a great understanding of the bureaucratic process of the government. While shunning the perks of the elected politicians, they also show the symbolism on simplicity; where as the risk of public exposure is also there if the newly elected officials don't want appropriate security. All said and done they seem to be struggling with what is a respectable representation of public interest, and what is that they have to do to get into power to start working on the agenda they laid out to the public before they got elected.

Once more in the large democracy with a billion requirements; the process of eradicating corruption is the main theme in getting a new party elected, and in this case offering to allow it to form the government. It is a wonderful step to achieve a people's agenda through elected politicians. All wonderful on print and paper and also on the internet. If and when the INC and BJP really allow the AAP to form the government in Delhi, all AAP has to do is stick to its agenda, and simply do it. It is hard to imagine that INC and BJP will simply sit back and allow AAP to do what it said to people, but if they try to put spokes into the process it is universally known that they will get thrown out of more seats and probably outside Delhi also with the next elections. If they simply allow AAP to perform to its electoral promises, they will have to hide go knows where.

India is a dirty place for politicians and politics. While we want AAP to keep up to its promises, all of them, we also know that the major political parties will not allow them to successfully implement the people benefiting schemes.

It is a great time for political observers to watch what will happen in Delhi. There is high drama, and great interest in the actions to follow. People simply hope that the party that will come into power will start to work on people's agenda. Jai Hind.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Return To The Times Of Asoka

Vasu Reddy From Chicago

Everyone in India remembers the times of Emperor Asoka. Such was his administrations focus on implementation of programs and development to take into the needs of his people, even today he is used as the guiding force to the urban and rural development, and education and transportation planning and whatever was necessary and needed and appropriate to cater to the needs of every man, woman and child in his kingdom.

At the bottom of this column, I have attached a column from for reference, which is a great adaptation of some of the centuries old governing tradition of Indian emperor Asoka the Great. This column is not an endorsement of a political party, rather a reflection of the great past of our great country, and its rulers. We have a number of wonderful dynasties that have ruled the greater Hindustan for centuries, with ideals and logic that can be very relevant in today's time. The reference to the Times of India column is also not a comparison to what is listed by a political party and what the great emperor Asoka implemented in his kingdom, it is simply a reflection of the great things that can be undertaken by the elected politicians to make India a better place for its citizens. It requires nothing more than simple planning and goodwill towards the electorate.

Nothing has changed in the perceptions and behavior of people over generations; except we simply wear differently, and look differently, and live differently; but our mindset is as primitive as the man kind is. The differences of rich and poor, the differences of men and women; the differences of back and white; and the differences of educated and uneducated; and a whole lot of wordy differences which we live with and confront every minute of our life; with haves and have not's is not just today's issue that humans handle, but has been in existence since the beginning of life.

Why do we not want to follow the simple rules of life and apply them to the governance of the country? If we read through the 18 points are put forth to the two major parties in the country, they seem mundane and to a point being childish. We the people of India have began to look at our history and try to relearn the principles of life and living? Are we so far removed from caring for what is happening to our land that we no longer can remember what is good for our society? With so many simple and steadfast examples of life and reasoning are being ignored by our elected officials, the country really needs to stop party and personal worship, and start to look at the needs of the citizens.

While the current political scenario is hopeless with all politicians embroiled on scams and controversies, and all political parties without a clear mandate nor direction, the country needs to introspect on it past and its current history. We are after all a country of great examples of courage, management and definitely sacrifice. We must get back to realizing the potential of the nation, and its people. Just because of a couple of political parties and a few politicians, the country cannot look forward to mismanaged resources and squandered opportunities for its citizens. We have always found our destiny to be great and have always found leaders who will plan and execute towards the greater good of the people. Just because a generation or two of scams and incompetence, should not deter us from looking forward to a country of opportunities and greatness.

Each one of the citizens wish for the opportunity to dream and plan for a prosperous and peaceful country, which will be devoid of corruption and incompetence and bickering. Here is hoping that the long list of needs of the people that need to be attended to will start to take center stage, and politicians become simple executioners of the mandate bestowed on them by the citizens.

Jai Hind.

18 issues raised in AAP letter to Sonia, Rajnath

The 18 issues pertaining to the common man raised in Aam Aadmi Party chief Arvind Kejriwal's letter to the Congress and the BJP chiefs includes:

1. The VIP culture should be stopped in Delhi. No MLA, minister or Delhi official will use a red beacon on their cars. Neither will they live in big bungalows nor take any special security.
2. Passing of the Janlokpal Bill, the same version for which
Anna Hazare held fasts.
3. People will take decision directly in 'mohalla sabhas', which will be held in every locality and colony.

4. The AAP demanded complete statehood status for Delhi. Central government's hold on DDA and Police should end.
5. The party also demanded a special audit of all electricity companies in the national capital from the time these were privatized. The companies that refuse to participate, their licenses should be canceled.
Electricity meters should be checked.
7. There is 220 liters of water available for every person daily. Where is it?
8. AAP wants unauthorized colonies should be regularized. Thirty percent of Delhi's population lives in such colonies and these should be regularized.
9. The party demanded to know if the Congress and the BJP will support its decision to give clean and affordable 'pakka houses' (built up houses) to those living in slums.
10. It also sought their support to give regular jobs to those working on contractual basis.
11. It wants to give infrastructural facilities like roads, electricity, water and basic facilities to the ordinary trader.
12. AAP said it is against FDI in retail.
13. The party wants to provide facilities and subsidies to farmers in the villages in the national capital.
14. The party also demanded to know the Congress and BJP's stand on opening 500 government schools, stopping donations in private schools and making the fee system transparent.
15. The party said it wanted to open new government hospitals with better facilities.
16. It also wants to have special security units for women and wants all harassment cases to be tackled within three months.
17. It wanted to set up enough courts and appoint judges so that all cases are dealt with within six months.
The AAP wanted to know whether the municipal corporations of Delhi will support them on these issues.

Past Perfect

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