Friday, August 26, 2011

Reclaim the absolute significance of the single vote

[Response to Gail Omvedt: Nirmalangshu Mukherjee from Kafila Guest post by NIRMALANGSHU MUKHERJEE AUGUST 26, 2011
He pointed at the crowd to signal what an unarmed campaign of the people can achieve. No wonder Maoists are deeply worried. Clearly, the movement, still in its infancy, has an immense potential to churn Indian political order thoroughly. The huge task is to see how and whether this churning can actually get the parliament back to the people without (much) violence to reclaim the absolute significance of the single vote. Anna & Co will be long gone by the time that happens.] 

I advised her to read my books, published by Macmillan India in 2000 and 2003 and available from - the first titled Antidote: Essays AGAINST The Socialist Indian State; and the second titled Antidote2: For Liberal Governance. If I may add, just for the record, the latter book was originally titled "Columns For Freedom" - but the Editor of Macmillan India who suddenly replaced Joseph Mathai insisted on a change of title.
Now, the second essay in my first book is titled "State! - or Why The Socialist Indian State Is A Predator." This should be fairly obvious to us today, especially if you read Madhu Kishwar's column of today highlighting corruption that plagues rickshaw-wallahs and street vendors throughout India.
But the political atmosphere in India in the 1940s and '50s favoured "State Socialism" as a means of "helping the poor." This, while the poor are debarred from "helping themselves."]

[prof vaidya: Why Anna's middle class has disdain for Parliament by nizhal yoddha aug 25th, 2011 CE Why Anna’s middle class has disdain for Parliament By R Vaidyanathan The tripod constructed by Jawaharlal Nehru consisted of socialism, secularism and parliamentary supremacy.
The socialism part went with Narasimha Rao, even though the word is still in our constitution, which declares us to be a socialist republic. Every elected representative is forced to swear by it, exposing us to total hypocrisy in running our polity.
The day the law was amended to deny alimony to Shah Bano, the edifice of secularism, too, developed a crack. In a society which considers everything, including trees and animals, sacred, the notion of “secularism” was anyway a bit stretched. It came down fully with the Ayodhya agitation. However, our constitution includes secularism in its preface. The word was inserted into the constitution during the emergency, and was not a part of the original statute.
The third leg of the Nehruvian tripod, the primacy of Parliament in making laws, was treated with an enormous amount of respect, even reverence. Members of  state assemblies and Parliament were called law-makers even though a good number among them do not know what kind of laws they make. The disconnect between our burgeoning middle classes and the so-called law-makers has been widening in leaps and bounds in recent decades. A great fault line has been developing for a while, and this hasn’t been noticed by blind political experts.] 

It has become impossible to keep track of all that is being written apropos the Hazare agitation, but the ideological churning that we are witnessing is without doubt a welcome phenomenon. The surprising aspect, however, is how some highly educated people are advocating things contrary to ordinary canons of fairness and common sense. We, on the other hand, have been consistently warning against this ill-conceived agitation and Savitri Erans should come out in the open to express their solidarity with the evolutionary forces. A momentous period in our lives, indeed! [TNM55]  

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