Monday, March 31, 2014

Political Conundrum

Vasu Reddy From Chicago
vasureddy@aol.com

General elections are just around the corner for India, and we have all media and the public discussing the upcoming elections in full tempo. Not a person or issue is left untouched, and every man, woman and child has multiple opinions on every party and every candidate who might be considering running for elected office. Caste, culture, language, region and even the slightest difference between people is made into a great big issue by the politicians simply trying to project themselves as the saviors of specific community. We, Indians are no different than any other country with open elections and candidates with resources running after elected office. There is a definite attraction to the elected office in a democracy, just so by looking at the candidates running for office; very successful businessmen and women, educated and experienced entrepreneurs, money men and women, people with societal stature, and whosoever who has the resources and or people behind them would like to run for office and run the office.

The issues for the people remain the same; education, power, prices and inflation, infrastructure and management. There is no change in the aspirations of the general public in looking forward to the next election and elected representatives, and what we expect them to do for the country. Each election cycle we look forward to the party and the leader who will lead the country to managing the limited resources that are available for better investing towards the needs of the people. It is with hope for the future the electorate goes to the polls, and votes for that bright future. The cycle of hope and elections is a constant, not just for India. The constant media attention, and 24/7 broadcasting of the promises leading to the polls keep us glued to and make us listen to the very word that is uttered by the politicians. Most of these words are often told and often repeated but they still have the punch and sting as they are told in a different time and environment, and using a different back drop.

India has dozens of parties that have a typical regional interest, and typical language or caste interest, while it panders to vote banks shamelessly, and people seem to not mind the pandering. There is very little new ideas to attract any new support, as most of the promises to develop, change, improve or whatever good English phrase that is available has already been used by the politicians. There is also a fairly old bunch of politicians that continue to either control a party or a constituency, so seldom room for newcomers into the foray.

There is a new influx of parties being formed and presented to the public as new and improved leadership, with new set of ideas. The electronic media makes it much easier today for getting the word out. The money floe from NRI and vested interests also support quick formation and publicity of a new party. While India has no limitations on politicians and political parties, there is also almost an unlimited supply of aspirations and demands by the public. A new party with a good public face and presentation of an agenda (albeit can be rehashed version of an already presented variation), will get the audience and support. India's youth and young electorate is quite en tuned to TV and Mobiles to revive and digest the ideas presented to them. There is also seemingly unlimited supply of funds for politicians who jump into the contests.

While the elections become interesting with various parties vying for the same votes, and splashing unrelenting advertisements on the public, they also represent the same ideas and promises of the past. They only point out that the incumbents have not delivered despite the time given to them in office. The newly formed parties have no history of non-performance and can easily claim that they will bring new change and new development. We the people always want to believe in the future as we always do, and we want to make sure of the same for generations to come. While we wait for the new elections and hear the same age old promises of a future full of promise, the voters have the same choices of prior elections, and just might have new faces as candidates. In coming months the challenges facing the country and its people remain, just that challenges.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Picking A Leader

Vasu Reddy From Chicago
vasureddy@aol.com

For more than a billion people the next three months will be one more crucial time for picking the next leader of the largest democracy on earth. India although a voting democracy, typically is run like a private autocracy, but people still get challenged every five years to go and vote and try to bring the much needed empowerment of the public and the public systems, to empower the country to get on with its developmental needs. India since 1947 have typically voted with heart and hope, and decades later it still is a developing country and never has started to be a developed country.

The country is still plagued with poverty and malnutrition, dowry and harassment, poor and very rich (although it is not a barrier), uneducated and labor without benefits, politics and politics; and any other societal inequality that the English dictionary can think of for a underdeveloped union. We are still at least a 100 years behind on whatever we can classify as a developed society. Every elected government promises to remove the poverty from the Indian nation, but the population and the percentage of people who suffer extreme poverty only grows larger, rather than smaller. The old saying “Garibi Hatao” or remove poverty, has just been a slogan and no government has come close to empowering the citizens to eliminate poverty. In reality poverty may not be the biggest evil that the Indian nation might be facing, considering we have had a great number of generations of politicians who have had the chance to mange the country's affairs since 1947.

The opportunity of development of the nation has been quite rapid since the 1990's when the world started to deploy telecommunications and media as tools to connect and broadcast the happenings instantly and communicate in a flash. Radios' pagers, telephones and mobiles; and lately handhold devices make information instant and communications constant across the globe. Outside of a few instances of censorship in a few countries, everyone on the planet has the ability to receive and send information with just a few key strokes. India has more mobiles than people I would imagine, and internet and television make it a place for everyone to know whatever is happening in the world as it happens. The global communications has truly made Indians quite connected with the world and Indians truly love to talk, discuss and want to know about every little thing that is happening in the world.

The rapid changes in the field of telecommunications has also brought global interest in India and Indian business, and its development. This on the other hand also brings in the scope for money making for the politicians and bureaucrats, who handle the licensing and approval process of investors within India and from other nations who are interested in building their empires. Thus the last 20 or so years of scams and scams and more scams. Politicians all of a sudden have become quite adept at winning the seats at a huge cost and then making that money from scamming the system to rake in manifold from the money they spent in getting elected. Everybody in India and outside know that the scale of corruption is 100% and no less, and everyone want to make as much money as possible while in power.

It has left very little room for the money to flow into the country's infrastructure and development, as the politicians have their hands out for as much as they can grab. The common man doesn’t see the flow of funds as they are supposed to as they lineup the pockets of the greedy in power. No matter who comes into power they constantly are looking for ways to loot the public funds and only a small portion of the money available goes into investment into the country's needs and needy.

Now we are at a time to elect a new set of leadership and a new leader to lead India for the next five years. It is probably time for the public to pick and choose someone who has no incentive to scam or loot, or have someone that needs money around them. It may be the only saving grace to pick and choose a leader who is not in need of money and not in need to scam the public. Once we are able to identify and choose such a leader, then it will flow down to the remaining people under him and the politicians who belong to the party that scams will not be allowed, and thus during the course of the next five years the money will be (mostly if not all of it) invested where it is supposed to be. What the country needs now is a leader who has no need to money and no favors owed to his family or friends, and all the resources of the nation will be truly devoted to the country.










Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Flight 370

vasureddy@aol.com
Vasu Reddy From Chicago

It has been 11 days today and still there is no sign of the missing Malaysian Flight 370 with a total of 239 people (12 crew and 227 passengers) along with it. As incredible as it sounds and in today's world, the governments of Malaysia and all other nations that are involved in searching for the missing plane have no clue of where it is, let alone what has happened to the big machine with lots of people from at least 15 countries in it. From the time 370 went missing there have been a lot of speculation on who, what, when, where and why with the Boeing 777.

The world has thousands of pieces of spy equipment in, around and over the earth, and we still have no clue on what happened to this plane. Isn't this incredible or what? We live in the world where even when someone farts, Google will find the exact location and time and pinpoint the coordinates to the nth degree, with probably a clear picture of the person and put it on the internet for everyone to enjoy the spectacle. In every place where ever you don't want people to spy on you or pry into your private space, you have your backside appearing on face book or somewhere else for the world to enjoy your private moments, and we have nations fighting with each other on spying on each other, and guys in foreign embassy’s for a long time claiming political and diplomatic immunity for seating secrets and sharing them with the WWW. All this intelligence and cameras all around the world and up in the sky and we still don't know where this big jet is.

It is very likely that the countries with eye in the sky might not want to reveal the whereabouts of the big plane, just to make sure that eye spy in the sky is not revealed to the rest of the world. It is also very likely that people with the knowledge of the disappearance of the jet might want to be quiet to avoid getting entangled in the mess of international tracking of why and how they pulled off such a blatant and dastardly act. If anyone knows about the plot behind this modern day conspiracy conducted in such secrecy, they will want to remain incognito to just save themselves with global persecution.

All said and done on keeping things under wraps and avoiding persecution, there has to be a reason for taking a big plane away from the sky and driving it down to ground/sea or to an undisclosed location; must have a purpose. What is that purpose and how will the world know about why did so many people on the plane, who have nothing to do with the agenda of the disappearance of the plane; either were subjected to their untimely whatever has happened to them? It is certain that the direction of the plane was deliberate and planned, and at this time no one is willing to come forward to tell the world why?

Several things should concern the global population on how this is playing out. The ability of a person or a small group of people to simply take over a large plane midair and simply make it disappear without a trace is incomprehensible. Allowing airlines to choose to either install or not install tracking equipment on large jets in this day and age is simply defying logic. With so many satellites both commercial and spy; looking down on us but no one is saying what happened to this big jet is simply mind blowing. All these things add to only one thing; man claims too many tall things, but simply is incapable of accomplishing simple things such as coordination and cooperation. With so many people from so many countries missing, and a mega million dollar jet evaporated into thin air, we still don't want to use the resources we have to the best possible way to find the plane, but we still have been using resources into the second week by pointing them in multiple directions. We as humans continue to fail ourselves. It is sad, but true for all of humanity that it is not just the 237 people on the plane but all of the billions of the rest of the world should be shamed to look at the news and feel sad about the incompetence of the so called WWW and connected earth with a whole lot of crap up there in the sky. May be we should simply go back to the stone age where travel was by foot or horse, and very little money was wasted on fancy transportation and telecommunications.

Monday, March 10, 2014

800 Million Plus Voices

vasureddy@aol.com
Vasu Reddy From Chicago

General elections of 2014 are fast approaching in India, and the politicians are making speeches in high gear all across the country. All across the country the anticipation of the general elections in high pitch and at peak volume. Everyone in India and all Indians across the world are in expectations for at least a change in course of the government. There is a lot of politicians jumping parties and making deals for constituencies, and getting their bank accounts ready to face the voters and parties that they plan to represent.

From some estimates in the USA, Indian general elections of 2014 might be the most expensive elections in the history of the world. Just imagine if the reported costs are going to be the most expensive, the unreported costs could be enough to eliminate the budget deficit of most of the civilized world. While the discussion on the cost of the elections and running for office is such a massive amount, how much of the money spent will be recouped by these politicians and in how many fold to what will be spending in running for office and getting elected. In whatsoever form the money will be changing hands, much of it will be wasted in booze and entertainment and a lot of will be stashed in suitcases exchanging hands to win vote blocks.

Eight hundred plus million people will be going to the voting booths and electing a new parliament, and many states will also have statewide elections in concert with the national elections. India looks poised for a change in leadership as the current PM has already announced that he will not be seeking a new term with the new parliament. Whatever party gets into the majority mode (as it looks like it will once again be a coalition government), there will be a new PM in Delhi. It might have costs billions that might have changed hands to get the new elections done, but it will be a new face on the national leadership.

The most exciting aspect of the new leadership is the hope that it brings to the population that the new ideas and new programs will be put in place to look at the needs of the people. The country is getting larger and larger in population, and are also demands of the people who can barely survive. India's estimated poverty line and figures are so far from the truth and reality, it is difficult to put value or numbers on them. Only pushing the country into education, employment and openness is what is required of the new leader of the country. For a country that has the history of culture and innovation, today's plight is not for the history books. The country really needs to focus internally on the importance of internal emphasis on self-reliance and self-development.

Everyone of India's neighbors have scant respect for India and or Indians. They blatantly and deliberately poke into Indian internal and external affairs and constantly challenge the country's integrity and intelligence. India simply doesn’t respond to them in kind or with appropriateness. The media highlights the slighting nature of its international boundaries, but never does take a shot at responding in kind, where as every news agency in countries bordering India, have a daily washing to the Indians and Indian systems. We are incapable of responding to anything; both with the country and outside of it. Everyone and anyone with a mike or a pen or a computer bash India and its people, and we do nothing about it. The recent events with the Indian Counselor in New York and how was handled can only be a testament to the impotent response of the Indian government. We; a nation of more than a billion people and that too democratic; we waste time in just bashing each other and never are together to respond in kind to aggression by others surrounding us or anyone in the world.

The new elections while sounding very big and expensive must yield leadership that will tackle this issues of the country within and also outside. The country and its people should come first and everything last. Indians are becoming more and more aware of their surroundings and their needs, specially of their children. The next leader should make us proud and face the national needs and also international threats without hesitation. India and Indians can be self sufficient and self-sustaining and there absolutely no need for backing away from facing its own issues within, and anything that comes from outside. Let us elect a leader who will put India first and everything else last. Jai Hind.

Monday, March 03, 2014

Volta-Face

Vasu Reddy From Chicago
vasureddy@aol.com

As long as politics and politicians have been alive and in action about-face is a term that is synonymous with politicians and politics. There is absolutely nothing sacred in politics and how the life and times of politicians is defined. Very seldom history has had a politician that can be found who has stuck what was said and what was done (even a great Google search will not find an example of someone who never changed positions in politics). This definitely doesn't mean that leaders such as Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Nelson Mandela and many great ones of the past and may be of the future are no exceptions to changing their mind about a position or policy. If the great men have changed their position on a specific issue, there must be a compelling reason to do so, and there must be a reason for the betterment of the society and/or a convincing enough reason to change positions.

But in today's politics, Volta-Face is just about as common as going to the bathroom or having a cup of coffee. Everyone and just about every issue gets supported and also gets rejected; depending on the time of the day, who is behind it and how much money is involved or any other reason for political and personal gain of the individual politician. Once elected and in office, nothing will prevent politicians from looking out for themselves. The love for power and the seat is greater than any loyalty to anyone or anything.

Volta-face is a total change of position, as in policy or opinion, was often referred to in the USA and UK for flip flopping on positions. For Indian politicians, this is a definition by birth. No one has to teach them to flip flop on positions for convenience, as it is in their DNA. It is self-interest that guides the politicians and nothing else and volta-face is natural for everyone involved in politics.

The INC is the party that was all alone when India was declared independent in 1947. May be some of the left wing parties had an inclination for their beliefs but INC was the sole inheritor to the independent India's political legacy in the post occupation period. We definitely have a history of great political activism through the history of greater India, prior to the occupation of the country for centuries by various invaders, but for the lack of continuity between the periods, after 1947 INC can be the sole inheritor to politics in India and rest of the parties have come to fruition as off-shoots of INC.

There is no exception in Indian politics or politicians; in staying true to the commitments to their constituents, India really has no individual or party exceptions on volta-face. 100% of the people who represent the country at some point of time have taken action that are in their own best interest and have volta-face on people who elected them.

The latest example of politicians planning and executing to self-interest is the example of INC pushing through the creation of two states from Andhra Pradesh. The reasons for separation of the telugu people are far too many to list and too many decades of politicking and manuvering to really track what is fact and what is fiction. The creation of the two states, and the conditions under which they have been rammed through is also an endless list of volta-face events. The kicker for 2014 will be congress believing that TRS will merge into INC and will give them a sweep in the newly formed state is just a myth at best. First; TRS will soon announce its decision to choose it's own partners in the next elections and will not be merged into INC or any other party. If they merge into INC the guys who yelled the loudest to create separation of the state simply would disappear and will never be heard in the future, and will be relegated to the history books. These guys are so used to being in the lime light they will never simply walk away with the glory of division and they will remain in the limelight as long as they live.

The original premise of establishing TRS was to the cause (fight for is the commonly used metaphor, which is kind of overstating it as no one fights for a separate state) of separation of AP into two states, and once the state was split TRS will cease to exist as an organization and as a party. TRS is a political party and it is natural for it to volta-face; on both issues;
  1. Disband the organization once the state of AP is divided into Telangana and AP.

  1. Merge with INC if the state of Telangana is granted under INC leadership.
It is only natural for a political party to make statements and promises, and simply volta-face on them. TRS will do the same on both the promises that it made to people when they were forming the party, and also to INC before the seperation of AP was pushed through. If they don't chnage their minds on both the issues TRS would begin the era of new political organization, and this is not going to happen.

A Child of India

Vasu Reddy from Chicago vasureddy@aol.com Howsoever I look at myself I am a child of India.   My mother and my mother country remain wha...