Thursday, July 26, 2012

Honorable President....non-political dilemma !

First of all heartfelt congratulations to Pranab Da for taking up the new post of President of India.

One of the few parliamentarians respected by all the parties. He has been the savior of government and specially Congress in the recent trend of Indian politics. Often called as man behind the mask, the man who has been running UPA-2 in worst of its times.

He was the one who deserved to be the PM but he was someone who can't be moderated and controlled. And this freedom loving habit of his kept him away from PM's post because in congress the top post remains with the family or someone who has excelled in the habit of nodding his head. Here is where he lacked.

Finally he is rewarded for his loyalty towards both family and then party.

Now, the big question is how will he maintain the authenticity of the top post by being non-political. President is a non-political post but in India its only on papers. If we dig in the history most of our Presidents have been from political parties, leaving a few like Mr. Kalam during Vajpayee's government.

How can a man who has been associated with one party throughout his life, has been the savior of government till a week before taking up the post of President be non-political. Its a huge challenge for Pranab Da. It takes a day to get over the jet-lag after a 20hr. flight, here its like a jet lag of a lifetime. If we go in the Hindu mythology, the Gods have been partial to their loved ones, be it Vishnu taking an identity of a dancer and serving "Amrit" to other Gods or Krishna helping Arjun on battlefield of Mahabharat. The Gods have failed but Pranab might not.

How will you be impartial "Pranab Da" ?

Its a challenge but in true spirit we hope that you will be impartial and be a non-partisan President.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Where are we heading ?

Bharat mata ki, Bharat mata ki
Tum jai bolo jai Bharat mata ki jai
Bharat mata ki, Bharat mata ki
Tum jai bolo jai Bharat mata ki jai
Sone ki chidiya, dengue Malaria
Gurr bhi hai gobar bhi Bharat mata ki jai.

These are the lines from one of the bollywood film, Shanghai and they really depict the condition of our country. One side we feel proud of our glorious past, our developing economy, our metro train but what about the majority and other half. People are dying, living a miserable life, just a square meal is not enough to say that we are developing. I am privileged to have an expensive laptop, access to internet and write this small piece. What about the people who don't have access to proper sanitation, girls who don't have sanitary napkin or even undergarments to support them ?

We talk about education, infrastructure, mobile phones but what about Human Dignity, which is dying in our country. There is so much that we don't know about our own country, the problems of tribal people, the problems of naxalities, the problems of farmers. Are they not the citizen of this country ? If yes, then why are we so ignorant about them ? Why do we don't know about them or their rights ?  Why is there huge gap between someone living in a metro and someone living 100 km. away from them ?

Just think ! Where are we heading ?

There is huge moral deficit in our country. We are not bothered about things happening around, it's just that our life should be happy and healthy but why we tend to forget that we can't be happy until our neighbor is happy. We can't change the whole government system or the entire political class, we need to do something with the existing system. Something that lasts long and is sustainable. We need to reflect on our daily actions and think how did it effect others.  Little more disciplined approach, compassion, self-accountability and action oriented life style would change a lot. Small shift in our approach of putting the blame on others rather than being accountable is required. These things are hard to follow but once we bring them in practice it is possible, one small act at a time, one focus area on self transformation will change us as a person and eventually society as a whole.

At this point of time India needs 100s of local role models in our country. Someone we can rely on, someone we can think of, relate to because its difficult to turn the history pages and follow the role models of past. History books can be our reference point but not something we can rely on and close our eyes. India needs role models, who can lead us by example, who live what they say. 100s of ideal teacher, 100s of trustworthy policemen, 100s of honest judges, 100s of patriotic politicians and 1000s of true citizens.

That role model can be you, me or anyone !!

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Innocent, Hopeful, Supportive...Learning from Gramya Manthan

As a kid I used to visit Ganga Deen Nivada for two months every year, it was more of fun and enjoyment. As the years passed by problems there started troubling me from inside. I always thought of coming back and working there but never had enough courage to come back.

When I was in Teach For India I worked with "Expansion Committee" on TFI Rural model. I believe without working in rural India it would be impossible for us to bridge the growing gap between two India's. No doubt its not easy to go and work in rural parts, the conditions are so different, luxuries are a rare commodities, sanitation and electricity is a problem. 

Gramya Manthan came in as a blessing for me. It has actually helped in understanding rural India or the real Bharat in a better way. No matter how much I have lived there, it was first time that my thoughts were more towards holistic growth of these areas. It was first time that I understood and tried hard to reach the roots of the problems. Before this I really used to propose the solution without actually understanding the problems. 

In rural parts you can't address one problem and ignore others, things are so inter-connected that education can't be addressed with thinking of livelihood, agriculture can't be made easy without thinking of energy. 

If I list down my major learning from the program, I would list them like this: 
  • I feel more connected with my people
  • I feel more responsible toward the plight of my people
  • I have to be one among them to solve their problems
  • My belief in Gram Swaraj has strengthened
  • Rural India needs a holistic development plan
  • Education can't be addressed without addressing livelihood and health/sanitation problem
  • Agriculture problems can't be addressed without thinking of alternative source of energy
  • Life is much better in rural India
  • People in rural parts are looking forward and ready to accept the change, they want to come out of poverty and   lead a better life
  • People are more Innocent, Hopeful & Supportive in rural India
  • It strengthens my belief that YOUTH is the biggest hope and there are many young people who want to work for rural India
  • For being a catalyst of CHANGE one must be ready to die and take re-birth
  • Farming teaches you the essence of life
  • How government system is made dysfunctional ?

It is first time in my life that I can understand the pain of a farmer because of delay in monsoons as I have seen  Ramdaas Chachcha struggling for twice a meal, Himanshu running from school after mid-day meal, Pankaj wasting his energy in his mid 20's.

I feel my-self responsible for many of these problems because when they were toiling in Sun I was enjoying in a metro and enhancing the huge gap between us !! It's never too late and I feel proud that today I am ready to work for rest of my life in Ganga Deen Nivada a village in U.P. with a population of 260 people and still without electricity.