23 August, 2012 09:32

Mumbai Police Commissioner Arup Patnaik gets transferred as expected. The reactions to any problems, any major major mishaps of political parties is so typical, the first thing they demand is the resignation of the person concerned. Thats fine so long as the person involved was directly responsible or the incident was caused due to his/her negligence. But what surprises is me is that beyond that there is no agenda on why the incident happened? where did things go wrong? did the organization as a whole fail in its duty?. These are even more important issues which need to be addressed. Unfortunately the removal of the concerned person seems to be the only thing which brings about a solution. In this particular instance of violence where outsiders come in the city and create havoc is something which needs to be studied in finer detail. Focussing the attention and energies on these issues will bring about more precaution and safety to prevent further instances. Removing the the man in office is fine which also to my mind is not always a pre requisite unless there is direct involvement or gross negligence. However there can be no denying of the fact that we always tend to be more person specific blaming the individual for mishaps rather than improving organizational efficiency.

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The Difficulty of doing the Simple act.

Of late i have realized that many of the important things in life are so simple to do but so difficult to execute. Stuff like weight loss, quitting smoking, being on time, these are not very complicated things to understand, they are fairly simple but difficult to execute. Hence what is simple may not necessarily be easy.

Taking this point further sometimes a complex problem has a simple solution at hand, sometimes this simple solution is just one specific thing to be done. And even awareness of that solution may be there, but there is lack of any real execution. 

The root cause behind this tendency is laziness. It is no surprise that Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru once said “Laziness is our biggest enemy”.  Breaking from the shackles of laziness is really one of the key ideas to excel in any field.

The other aspect is that at times it is emotionally difficult to do certain things which we know are right. Take smoking as an example, it is easy to come from 15 cigarets to 10 and from 10 to 5 and from 5 to 1 if you are really serious. The real challenge is to quit that last one which you smoke everyday. Since quitting of that last one signifies that you are completely giving up on that habit and that maybe difficult to accept if you have been doing it for a long time. 

Doing the right thing is often the hard thing. What is simple to do is not often easy to do. But we must persist. 

Access to justice

There is currently an interesting debate on in the Supreme Court about establishing more number of regional courts which would be the final court for appeal. One proposal says that the Supreme Court should establish more number of branches so that even people coming from far off need not worry about access to justice. The second proposal is, the Supreme Court cannot be split into various branches but we can have more regional courts which will be the final courts of appeal.

This comes in view of the high number of pending cases in the Supreme Court, in 1950 the pending cases before the Supreme Court were 680, as of September 2010 are 53,221. It is argued that one of the reasons behind this is that the appellate jurisdiction of the Supreme Court has been stretched too far. Whereas the constitution wanted the Supreme Court to be the apex court to decide matters of national importance and concerning public good. But it is believed by many that the Supreme Court has entertained too many appeals which should have been decided by the High Court itself.

But the flip side of these proposals are that if the Supreme Court only confines itself to issues of national importance then the injustice done to the citizens and which should rightly be placed before the Supreme Court if the High Court has mislead itself is necessary.

Access to Supreme Court is in a way is access to justice and if these doors are closed on the grounds that the issue at stake is not of national importance then it is a violation of the very principles of justice. Injustice done is injustice done whether at the local level or at a national level and it has to be given its due importance.

Underdeveloped-Developing-Transforming-Third World-New South

In an article in the ‘Hindu’ by Jorge Heine from the Balsille School of International Affairs, the subject is very interesting, the author speaks of the World Bank President Robert Zoellick now officially stating that the term “Third World” is now made redundant. This term was coined by Peter Worsely  in his book “The Third World: A vital force in International affairs”. The author of this book had spent many years after World War 2 in Africa and India, he had the first hand experience of how these post colonial countries were emerging. The author was particularly impressed by seeing how Nehru, Castro, Nkruhma, Nyere left behind the debris created due to colonialism and started the work of nation building.

Going by this perception of Mr. Worsely the term Third World seemed appropriate at that time, many other people at that time gave other terms like Underdeveloped, Developing, lower income each more disappointing than the other. These terms only tried to suggest that these Post Colonial countries only were a mere footnote to the real history.

In the sixties and seventies many nations in Asia, Africa and the Carrribbean were economically weak and were dependent on trade from the north, hence they created groups like Non Aligned Movement (NAM), UNCTAD, and forwarded proposals in the U.N  like New International Economic Order, sometimes these proposals got passed but very often they were not backed by any concrete reasons, they had little power apart from the voting rights in the U.N.

But over the last 10 years this scenario has changed substantially, countries like India, China, Brazil who are some of the fastest growing economies now “speak from strength not weakness”, they do not ask for aid but they want to trade. They expect a stronger say at the IFI, high table of global economic governance. Also another trend that has been observed is that these countries are not dependent only on the north countries for trade, they also trade among themselves.

Noted historian Ram Chandra Guha in a recent lecture spoke about why India is not and should not be a super power. The lecture was a kind of refutation to the media’s favourite headline “The Global Indian take over”, when there exists so much tension, conflict and disparity in our own society the take over in the world is “premature”. India’s domestic challenges and the situation with the immediate neighborhood demands more of settling immediate issues than any take over.

Therefore concludes the author the New South in the new century is going to be a strong force to reckon with. And the term Third World has been done away with.

The word “Ban”

I guess overreacting to things is what our politicians love doing especially when they see a political mileage which they can possibly gain. Take for example the issue of IPL where there has been some splendid mud slinging from two sides, the Shahi Tharror team and the Lalit Modi team, truly this battle in the IPL has been the most memorable match in this IPL 3, more memorable than the cricket matches. Since there is an Income Tax inquiry on the IPL of source of funds and how they are utilised, which is a mere inquiry the opposition parties have already jumped to the conclusion that IPL should be banned and we should go back to Test Cricket. I fail to understand the connection between banning the IPL and the fault of perhaps a few people in misusing the funds. Its so easy to make such sweeping statements for politicians about what they dont like. Anyways this time its been a bonus for IPL fans since along with great clashes on the cricket field we also seen a good clash on the political field…..

Criminalisation of Politics or Politicisation of Criminals

Sitaram Yechurry member of the CPI(M) Politburo recently spoke about the “Maturing of the Indian democracy” in an article in the Times Of India. He referred to the 4 C’s in Indian politics, Corruption, Crime, Communalism and casteism He further goes on to say that from these it is crime which manifests itself in all the other factors. Corruption is a crime, dividing people along communal lines and spreading hatred in society is a crime, suppressing members of the lower caste is also a crime. Therefore it is crime which is the common factor amoung all these C’s. The nature of the crime which we are referring to with regard to politics is of a different nature. It is said that “society creates the crime the criminal executes it” this quote however applies to those offenders who commit a crime due to certain extenuating circumstances, in which the criminal is placed in such a situation in which he is forced to commit a crime. But the crimes committed by Politicians mentioned above cannot be placed in this category. Crimes committed to gain political mileage cannot be justified.

Also the parties fielding candidates with a criminal record is a matter of concern. The Vohra committee report on the criminalization of politics has brought in some changes that candidates have to disclose their criminal pending cases, and there is a law to prevent certain candidates from contesting polls if they are found guilty under certain offences. But we also the know the judicial process in our country is very slow and can take decades when the matter travels from the lower courts to higher courts.  Hence until the matter stands finally disposed the accused simply remains an accused and has the rights to contest polls and hold public offices and offices in government.

Hence the criminalization of politics eventually leads to the politicization of criminals.