January 15 was Martin Luther King’s (MLK) Day and it was a public holiday here in the US. MLK would have turned 78 this year (2007).
His wife-Coretta Scott King – died last year (notably she was awarded Gandhi Peace Prize in 2004. This prize is instituted by India).
I am always fascinated by MLK and the cause he espoused during his short life time. His achievemnets become very important because of his application of the principle of non-violence. He replicated what Gandhiji did initially in South Africa and later in India. MLK fought for the rights of African -Americans and struggled to lessen the racial discrimination. From the media it is clear that race is still an important factor in this country. As Dr Richard J David- the Neonatologist in Chicago- who is always pro-active on issues related to the equal rights often says: race may not be biologically valid, but as a social concept it still persisits.
What ails my country! The biggest issue is that of corruption and lack of accountability in our political system. The criminalization of politics has added to the woes. Democracy minus accountability = aristocracy (babus/officials). And babus and politicians are in hands- in- gloves in modern India, thus the common man has no outlet for succor.
Solution: We badly need electoral reforms whereby the system could be made more accountable. The babus must be made accountable for their decisions or the services they provide or administer.
Do the solutions seem easy? Are these rhetorics going to deliver? The problem seems to be grave and enormity of situation seems to be over-whelming. But then we have to make a start from somewhere: it is the individual himself/herself. On a larger scale, we need a “Liberate India movement” (analogous to Quit India movement of 1942) with a clarion call to the babus of our Independent India who are exploiting us to liberate the system. That demands wide spread application of Satyagraaha.But letus not forget the babus are from within us (we pay lakhs of rupees to get our wards into jobs and the expect them to ‘regenerate’ that money!!).
We deserve better India! We demand better India!
1. “Justice dalyed is justice denied” is an apt statement. The Indian judiciary suffers from this malaise. Here is a letter written to the editor in The Tribune (http://www.tribuneindia.com/ ) on January 16,07:
Backlog: CJI should find solutions
The new Chief Justice of India, Justice K.G. Balakrishnan, has an impeccable track record as an advocate, judge, Chief Justice of Gujarat High Court and Supreme Court Judge. Now that he is at the helm of the country’s judiciary, he should find suitable solutions to the problem of huge backlog of cases.The judiciary is unable to expedite the cases at various levels due to many problems. Shortage of judges is one of them. For a long time, one fourth of the authorised strength of judges has been lying vacant in the Punjab and Haryana High Court. Why cannot senior sessions judges of Punjab and Haryana be elevated to the High Court to fill in the vacancies and quicken the pace of justice?Union Law Minister H.R. Bharadwaj informed the Lok Sabha that various high courts may get 100 more judges, but the Centre would convene the chief ministers’ conference to deal with the backlog problem. The CJI and chief justices of high courts should also be involved in this exercise.The Centre should also constitute the Indian Judicial Service expeditiously on the lines of the Indian Administrative Service to attract talent to the judiciary. There is no dearth of brilliant law graduates in the country. If the IJS is constituted, these students can try their luck through the Union Public Service Commission. This will, in fact, revolutionise the judiciary and improve the state of affairs.
Lt-Col P.S. SARANG (retd), Chandigarh
Infant Mortality Rate (IMR) denotes number of kids dying in first year of their lives per 1000 alive kids in a year. In USA, the IMR is roughly 7/1000 kids, whereas it was 3.1 in HongKong in 1999. In January,07 The Tribune (published from Chandihgarh, India) reports that IMR has come down to 42/1000 alive kids in the state of Haryana.
Web-sites which I have visited in past years and have liked them.
1. Logon to www.mss.niya.org/people/baba_amte.php
About the well known social crusader Baba Amte’s Maharogi Sewa samiti (MSS). Donot forget to see the pictures related to a ‘jungle hospital’ run by Dr Prakash Amte (younger son of Baba) in Hemalkasa, a tribal belt in Gadchiroli since 1974.
2. http://www.hinduwisdom.info/: A very good website which tells about Hinduism. Good for anyone who wants to grasp the basic understanding as well as details about this religion.
3. http://www.sarvodaya.org/: founded by the Srilankan Sarvodya leader Dr AT Ariyratne.
4. http://www.searchgadchiroli.org/Dr Abhay Bang – an MD in pediatrics and a MPH from USA, this doctor turned towards tribal interiors of Gadchiroli (about 250 KM from Nagpur) to set up a hospital. Fascinating.
5. www.cfar.umd.edu/~venu/ANNA/index.html: About Anna Hazare, the social activist.
6. www.grameen-info.org: The official web-site of Muhammad Yunus of Bangladesh who was awarded the Noble Peace Prize for 2006. His concept of micro-finance has gained world-wide acceptance. Another related web-site is: www.grameenfoundation.org
Here are 3 refernces/articles about the evolution of Gandhian philosophy on Ahimsa( Non violence) and Satyagraha (passive resistance):
1. About how Gandhi’s ideas shaped, particularly in S Africa. Click
2. The book by Tolstoy which influenced Gandhi most and he had actually read it in 1994.
3. Comparison between Adinballou, Tolstoy and Gandhi. Click
Here are more links to the themes of non-violenece, peace and satyagraha:
1. Albert Einstein Institution (based in East Boston, MA): Click on this link
Here you can find 198 methods of non-violent actions which were originally complied by Gene
2. Gene Sharp: Click here to read about him.
3. Mahatma Gandhi Library: Texas based. Click here. You can find the list of books by and on Gandhi.
6. Arun Manilal Gandhi: He is grand-son of Gandhiji and lives in USA and heads the MK Gandhi Institute for Non-violence (link) . His son is Tushar Gandhi. He lives in Mumbai and unlike his great grandfather, as per media he eats meat. He contested LS elections as a Samajwadi- Congress party in 1997.
1. Mansi : The word ‘mansi’ means plucked flower and is a native Indian (I mean American Indian) word. Hopi- American Indian, to be precise. Well, the word sounds (east) Indian too as this is not an uncommon female name. Any connexion!