Category Archives: Miscellaneous

Culture of Politics needs to change in India

Having returned to Chicago  after spending 6 weeks in Delhi, yesterday I called a young friend of mine who lives in Delhi. I was narrating my experiences of volunteering for Aam Aadmi Party in Delhi that I did in last several weeks. Even though he works and stays in Delhi, he asked me when are the elections in Delhi. I explained that the Delhi assembly elections are due in next 90 days, hardly 3 months away.

This young man is professionally educated, a socially spirited guy, wants to make a career in non-profit sector and in general well-informed. But he also represents the one catch that is typical of Indian youth: total indifference to political action! I was surprised that he does not know that Delhi- the Capital of India- is facing state assembly elections in next 3 months and that the current Chief Minister Sheila Dixit has already started doling out freebies at the expense of state exchequer to cling to power. He does not know that last 15 years have witnessed the governance of Congress Party in Delhi and the living conditions in Delhi have gone from bad to worse. A few years back, he decided to come to Delhi from a small town because he rightly felt that Delhi would provide better opportunities, but clearly never tried to see why Delhi as a city was so sick. Is not the poor governance responsible for the poor health of Delhi?

This dichotomy is a bit perplexing!

The youth today knows and understands the poor infra structure that the country has: poor roads, poor public utility services (educational institutes, hospitals, and so on).

The youth today knows and understands that there is a massive corruption and un-accountability in the government.

The youth today knows and understands that the politicians are not up to par. They are in general corrupt, incompetent and self-centered.

The youth today knows and understands that despite India having a massive pool of talent and wealth, as a country we are poor and not developing at the expected pace.

The youth today knows and understands that many other parts of world provide better quality of life to their citizens.

Yet, the callousness of the youth to politics is appalling. Their hesitation to be politically conscious is a matter of concern. The youth of today knows the ills, knows the diagnosis, yet is unwilling to align for a political engagement to seek solutions.

He/she thinks that the first job is to make a professional career for himself or herself and somehow the ills of country will be taken care by some other guys! (s)he fulfills his societal role by volunteering for an NGO or at religious places, but somehow wishes that some other well-intentioned guys will go to politics and give the citizens a better life. The Indian youth is very find of saying: “I hate politics”!

The youth understands and demands a better India, but shys away from the arena of political engagement and civic engagement. I always feel that unless we align with political action, the  less brilliant minds will continue to occupy the political arena and we shall continue to get sub-standard quality of life in India.

 

 

 

 

 

 

My speech at Chicago convention of AAP

Aam Aadmi Party -USA held its first national convention in Chicago on May 18,2013. Here are excerpts of my speech.

My Fellow Countrymen!

I shall start with my personal experience as to how I got involved with Aam Aadmi Party and that in fact may be representative of aspirations of many of people present here.

Next, I shall read the resolution that we propose to pass today at this gathering.

And then I shall introduce our dedicated team of workers and volunteers.

Last week, distributing flyers for this event at Devon (Indian market), one gentle man asked me how much money Arvind Kejriwal  has in Swiss banks. Since I was not ready for this question, I  asked, excuse me! He emphatically repeated the question with a disdain on his face. I said: “zilch”. He walked away without taking the flier from me.

This week, I was sitting in the physician  lounge of the hospital where I work and discussing this upcoming event with one of my colleagues. He said: “All are crooks. All are corrupt. Is desh ka kuch nahi ho sakta.” Now let me tell you, this physician friend of mine is a well –informed guy about India and Indian politics. He speaks 4 languages effortlessly.

This skepticism and cynicism  that ‘nothing can change’ is a lethal proposition. As someone has rightly said: “The biggest problem in this world is- The Intelligent People Are Full Of Doubts, While The Stupid Ones Are Full Of Confidence!!!”

Do we think the same way about our kids or say our family members.  As we know very well, our kids have varying abilities, skills and aptitudes. All do not have even same IQ. But we work with them steadily over years to help them find their meaningful place in life. Why we do so? Because we are INVESTED in them. Same applies to our nation also.

I am sure everyone of us has contributed back to the country in one way or the another and still continues to do so. In my observation, one of the most easy and important way for NRI is do some charity work back home. This shows that our heart lies in right place! Somehow we do not relate to this fact that why we are here in USA? We come to a country like USA and start following the things that are in place right from Day 1. We stop at a red light even at the midnight when there is not even a single vehicle on the inter-section. Chicago – the famous Windy city- has more inclement and harsher weather than majority of Indian cities. This country has full share of natural calamities happening all around the year in form of heavy snow falls, tornadoes, forest fires, etc. Yet we come and like to live here, even paying up to 40 % taxes on our hard earned income. All because there seems to be System in place. And about India, we are fond of saying: “Koi system nahi hai! Koi system nahi hai!”

Have you seen Japanese coming and settling here? Or French or Germans for that matter? Japan has probably equal population density as of India. So do not blame that India is just too crowded!

Thus one malaise that I see is the apathy to politics. However, remember this saying by Pericles:  “Just because you do not take an interest in politics doesn’t mean politics won’t take an interest in you. ”

And then, as another philosopher said:

“One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors.”

 Now, Aam Aadmi party has given us that hope! It has taken out the insecurity of ‘sab crooks hai’  and has given us an opportunity to PARTICIPATE in politics. Jai ho!!

Italy rubs India under Italian Ruler in India

Italian Marines allegedly kill  two Indian fishermen. Italy asserts that they were killed in international water, India says they were killed in Indian jurisdiction. The 2 Italian marines are charged by Indian authorities and put in jail.

The case goes to Supreme Court (SC). The 2 Italian marines ( Massimiliano Latorre and Salvatore Girone)  plead that they be allowed to go to Italy for Christmas vacation (Dec 2012). Strangely, SC allows. They dutifully return to India.

In Feb 2013, the jailed marines request again to go to Italy to cast their vote in elections in Italy! Wow, what a request! The SC allows them again. Now, they DO NOT return.

What a slap on the face! India seethes with anger.

But why did the SC act upon in such a dim wit manner?

I have 2 basic questions:

What is the necessity of sending the 2 convicts on parole for casting their vote? Even if the Ambassador of Italy gave a sworn affidavit, what is the need. Does the whole democracy of Italy survive of the votes of these 2 Italian men?

Why Govt of India did not oppose the parole?

Why should not Indian public assume that Supreme Court was playing it softly? On whose directions?

 

Vaccine Project Completed by Mission India Foundation

Master Divit
October 12,2012: Today is a historic day for all of us at Mission India Foundation. By reaching the milestone of 20,000 vaccine doses, we have achieved a feat that we feel something to rejoice at!
Master Divit (age: 2.5 years) received a shot of Hepatitis B vaccine, marking 20th thousand (20,000) dose. This completes our journey that we started 2 and half year back in the town of Narnaul, Haryana. Mission India Foundation had launched a vaccination drive in this area with an aim to create awareness about the vaccines and make them available to the children in the town and surrounding villages. The journey has been a blend of satisfaction, pleasant cooperation from all quarters and moreover overwhelming response from the community about the vaccines. During this period, children have received important vaccines like MMR, Hepatitis B and Typhoid.
India has a huge vaccine deficits. Its national average of fully immunized kids (against 6 vaccine preventable diseases) is around 45 %, a dismal performance indicator. And then inability to add newer vaccines to its immunization schedule is another missed opportunity. Thus, when we launched the vaccine drive in Narnaul in April 2010, our aim was 2-fold: 1. Focus on those vaccines that the Government has not included in its schedule, ie, what W.H.O. calls Newer and Underutilized Vaccines (NUVIs). 2. Create awareness about the importance of vaccines along with other issues involving health.
Mission India Foundation is thankful to all the help and cooperation it has received from patrons, volunteers, friends, and donors (individuals, private corporations and pharma companies). And needless to say, all the appreciation to its project team and Board of Directors who have served in the past and serving currently: this team work kept us going.
Even though, we have reached our mark of 20,000 vaccine doses, we are still providing inoculations to the kids who are due for in next several weeks.
MIF plans to launch its next program in January 2013 on civic engagement.
Note: I am personally involved with Mission India Foundation, hence a personal joy for me. Mission India Foundation is a registered charitable organization serving in Bhiwani-Mahendragarh loksabha constituency area in the field of rural healthcare and civic engagement. For details: please visit the website: www.mifusa.org

National Security: A Farce!

There is an interesting news story published on NDTV portal with the caption: “Assam: pak citizen fought assembly election”. Dated August 2, 2008 the story reads: “While passing two judgements on the deportation of 50 odd illegal Bangladeshi settlers, the Guwahati High court mentions of a Pakistani citizen to have contested the 1996 Assembly elections in Assam once again raking up the issue of illegal migration in the state.The Guwahati High Court in a 95 page judgement on Wednesday (July 30) has mentioned that Mohammad Kamaruddin, a Pakistani citizen, had contested the state Assembly elections in 1996.The judgement also said that it is possible only in a place like Assam.”

We cry foul when there are bomb blasts in India and blame the game on Pakistan. Well, who is preventing us from protecting our borders and solving the Kashmir issue! Day is not far when India may lose its Sovereignty . The thought looks dreaded but that is the way we have conducted ousrselves as a nation regarding our national security and secular practices! If the Congress party has openly divided the Indian society on the basis of religion (appeasing minorities in particular), BJP has not proven its credentials when it was in power for what it preaches! The smaller regional parties have simply acted as ‘prostitutes’ , only showing their lust for power brokerage and amassing wealth! They have nothing to do with national issues (their very creation and existence is on regional plank!). Anyway, click here enjoy the story of NDTV.

JOB: recruiting a Coordinator

We are: an NGO working in Haryana in the areas of

social and political rights

We are Looking for: A Coordinator (Male or Female)

Essential Qualification:

1. Good command over written and spoken Hindi and English

(good journalistic skills)

2. Must be computer/Internet literate

3. Passion to work for social and political issues

Desirable Qualification:

Familiar with Haryana’s culture and issues.

Academic background in Journalism and Law

Re-numeration:

Salary commensurate with experience

We are an upcoming NGO working in the area of social and political reforms: a non-partisan group with an aim to work to bring about a better democracy and governance. Though we have a nationalistic outlook, our initial area of focus will be Haryana. We need socially-committed individual (s) who feel that the politics in India has come to the lowest ebb and want to work to bring about a change- gradually but surely- so that this degeneration could be arrested. Since Independence, our political system has somehow become an example of “Revolving Door Democracy” and has been crippled with political sub-versions, maneuvers, and corruption : We will work through the mechanisms of democracy and strive to bring these issues into the focus and ask for remedial actions! This is a humble beginning but the grit and determination is strong. Thus in the initial years at least, our practices shall mainly be institutional: to study, research, and publish and take them to the public and concerned authorities and then follow-up!! In nutshell, the NGO purposes to act as a non-partisan Pressure Group to press for the social and political rights of the citizens.

Kindly get in touch with Dr Munish Raizada at Pedia333@yahoo.com ( phone: 516-570-6857/ USA) or Mr Akbar Khan (Safidon) at 01686- 231100 or 0981-319-5234 so that further modalities may be discussed. Further details may be seen at http://www.TheIOL.blogspot.com/

(posted on April 21,2007)