Insight Mahiprasad

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Wake up Gurgaon for our Daughters

We have lost one of our darling daughters on the 18th of this month in our neighbouring Delhi. She was Jigeesha, a resident of Vasant Vihar and working in Hewitt Associates in Noida as operation manager, and that she was only 28 years old and unmarried. It's not when our anguish was subsided by the murder of another darling daughter Soumya Vishwanathan, in September last. She was a journalist and was only 25 when she was brutally murdered on an important road of South Delhi. She was also unmarried.

It's really very unfortunate that we do not extend moderate safety to our progressive women. Hundreds of professional women in Gurgaon end up their day's job and return home at midnight. They contribute to the progress of our nation and society. They are hardworking, compassionate and bring cheers to their family and friends. Learning hard lessons from our neighbouring state, it's time to provide safety to our daughters, whatever way is possible because we don't want to lose them by saying that the city police was inactive. Looking at the sombre eyes of the parents of Jigeesha and Soumya, we wish no tears drop from the cheeks of Gurgaon mothers.

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Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Scary Features of New Lok Sabha

The moment the Election Commission has announced the date of polling for the new Lok Sabha, the tremors are felt inside the alliances and amongst the political parties. The thin line of fissures between the parties deem to crack in search of a better fortune. Amongst the major players, the BJP found it hard to sail pertinently when its most trusted ally, the BJD rocked the boat. The situation is no different in the rival camp. The UPA leader Congress has resented the claims of its partner NCP who clamoured for a Maharashtrian PM after the election. The matter did not subside when the Bihar satraps Lalu and Paswan, the UPA loyals, have suddenly made pre-poll arrangements in Bihar which left Congress sulking and growling. As the days are nearing, the situation seems to get further simmering which would surely make the voters confused and indecisive.

Not only the big blocks or the national parties now feel the butterfly in their stomachs, even the smaller regional blocks and parties are dithering in the same way as their national rivals. For instance, JD(S) leader Deve Gowda reacted immediately after the announcement of the polls by inviting few political parties and renamed the conglomeration as the Third Front. Sensing the importance of bubbles in the near future, BSP Supremo Mayawati threw a dinner party to the leaders of so called Third Front to understand the veracity of the claims of these leaders. The secular Left parties also do not shy away from this national behaviour as they generally play the crucial role after every general election since 1996 except during the NDA rule. For them, the BJD became secular the moment they snap ties with BJP at a crucial juncture. NC of J&K is now part of UPA, RLD of UP is new entity in NDA, Trinamool Congress had been calling Congress as the B-team of the CPI(M), is now an ally of Congress. There are so many and so forth. Let's not muddle into it so that one would not have a clear idea before the election, and make blunders by voting the right party going into the wrong block.

So, what would be the real picture of the coming Lok Sabha and the million dollar question would be who would head the government? Still the election is around three weeks away and the political parties are busy making strategies, it's time to assume in an unbiased way the silhoutte of the geography of Lok Sabha and the person who would sit in the highest chair. Going by the recent activities of the political parties, the opinion of the common men, the reasoning often aired by various experts, it seems that this time we would again see a hung Parliament. If the Congress would not reach 130 and the BJP finishes with just touching 100, it would create a situation where we would see a bunch of regional heads moving to the centre, flexing their muscles and manouvres to become the Prime Minister of India. Besides the Congress and the BJP, there are at least six leaders from various parties who have expressed their willingness to lead the Nation. Sharad Pawar, Mayawati, Deve Gowda, Lalu Prasad, Mulayam Singh and Jaylalitha would invariably hold claims, if they could manage a sizeable number of seats to their kitty. Equally, others who would not find any takers for themselves invariably create hurdles for the claimant.

India would then see a sober, hard working CEO in place of a PM, a la Manmohan Singh, who would be governed by a group of Central Committee with members like Mulayam Singh, Sharad Pawar, Deve Gowda, Jaylalitha, Lalu Prasad, Mayawati, Prakash Karat, A.B Bardhan, Farookh Abdullah and Paswan. Who could then be the best candidate for the post of CEO? Who else, better than Chandrababu Naidu or Nitish Kumar, both having good rapport for handling the administration. But how long the CEO could obey the orders of umpteen numbers of Chieftains? Maximum six months.

Monday, March 23, 2009

A Grand Governance

The present situation of Indian politics is a conglomeration of confusion and vacillation. There is no definite agenda through which a political party can be understood whether it belongs to NDA or UPA or Third Front or even Left Front. The people of India are by and large wise enough to distinguish the nature of the party by watching who it is hobnobbing with. If the party is having good relations with the Congress, it means the party is a UPA partner. Likewise, if a party is close to the BJP, then it indicates that the party belongs to NDA. If any party spat venom at both the Congress and the BJP, this surely indicates that it would go to form a Third Front, if there is an election in the near future. Every Third Front is born before the general election and dies after the govt. is formed, if they do not make it. And for Left Front, it is the CPI(M) who decides the colour and side of the other parties, which are vetted by CPI(M)'s spoonfed brother parties CPI, RSP and the Forward Block.

In NDA, all parties are free to vacillate except the BJP. Likewise, the Congress remains at the helm of affairs of the UPA, and CPI(M) and its three spoonfed brother parties are the real flag-bearers of the Left group. The remaining all other parties of India are free to travel with any group they wish to join at any time of the hour. Once LJP, Trinamool Congress, DMK, PDMK, TDP, National Conference were part of NDA, but after licking the cream between 1999 and 2004, they have now become integral parts of UPA. The BSP had many a times formed its government in Uttar Pradesh with the help of BJP. In 1989, the Janata Dal headed by V.P.Singh managed to form its government with the formal support it had taken from both the BJPand the Left block.

It sounds ridiculous when these smaller parties including the Left, call the BJP a communal party. They call it when they do not need the services of the BJP. This communal terminology suits these parties very much, as it attracts the minority votes. It is ironical that our voters are clever enough to identify which block their favorite party belongs to, but they cannot see beyond the smoke screen created just before the election. It's time now to understand the real character of the political parties. The Congress and the BJP have more common features than they differ on. Both are national parties having nationalist approach, they rule in most of the states, they have the same economic agenda, their approach to foreign policy do not vary and they are federal in nature.

If these two main political parties, the Congress and the BJP work hand in glove between each other, we may perhaps get a favorable verdict in the formation of a government. They may fight each other democratically during the election. After the election results come out, the party having more seats in the Parliament would form the government with the support of the party getting lesser number of seats. That way, they may prevent the forming of a miniscule government by parties having 20-25 seats, discouraging motley crowd to fulfil their ambition of becoming the Prime Minister, and setting up of a new and modern democratic norms of forming a government. They do not need to create UPA or NDA and obey the dictum of few vested interest groups. An agreement to this effect between the two nationalist parties is the need of the hour. If the leaders of the Congress and the BJP sit together and decide between themselves, it could pave the way for a stable government which seem to provide a grand governance.

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Sunday, March 22, 2009

The Prime Minister is going to history

Only ten years from now, our children may ask us what a Prime Minister of India looked like. By that time, there would perhaps be no post of a Prime Minister at the helm of affairs. Though it may seem ludicrous now, but the highest legislative post of India would not remain as it stands now.

During the first three decades of post independence, there were so many leaders in our country who could have made themselves at the top,but for their humbleness, inarticulate posture and being less ambitious to pounce on the highest seat. They were of the opinion that the post of PM belongs to a select few, and that they consider a very dignified and a special leader could only occupy the coveted post. But soon after the demise of Indira Gandhi, a sudden change in the perception of occupying the seat became up for grabs. One of the main reasons behind this perception could be the promotion of lineage in democracy, spearheaded by the Nehru-Gandhi family. 1988 onwards, many state leaders have been manouvering to become the Prime Minister of India.

The announcement of general election for the 15th Lok Sabha has given enough radiation to the leaders to fulfil their ambition which normally comes once in a five year. The largest group in the present Lok Sabha, the UPA is crumbling due to the aspiration of its leaders. The biggest group consists of more parties, and therefore have more leaders, and would then suffer the most under the circumstances. The leaders of these smaller parties have begun to daydream of becoming the Prime Minister. The second largest group, the NDA too has received a jolt, when its close ally the BJD also had distanced itself from the group. Sensing the importance of bubbles created by forming a Third Front, the firebrand leader Mayawati threw a dinner party to other leaders in order to remind them that she would be their leader after the election. As of now, there are at least fifteen leaders who are eyeing on the post after the election.

If the Congress would not reach 130 and the BJP finishes with just touching 100, it would create a situation where we would see a bunch of regional heads moving to the centre, flexing their muscles and manouvres to become the Prime Minister of India. Besides the Congress and the BJP, there are at least six leaders from various parties who have expressed their willingness to lead the Nation. Sharad Pawar, Mayawati, Deve Gowda, Lalu Prasad, Mulayam Singh and Jaylalitha would invariably hold claims, if they could manage a sizeable number of seats to their kitty. Equally, others who would not find any takers for themselves invariably create hurdles for the claimant.

India would then see a sober, hard working CEO in place of a PM, a la Manmohan Singh, who would be governed by a group of Central Committee with members like Mulayam Singh, Sharad Pawar, Deve Gowda, Jaylalitha, Lalu Prasad, Mayawati, Prakash Karat, A.B Bardhan, Farookh Abdullah and Paswan.

If that happens, then we would acknowledge Atal Bihari Vajpayee as the last democratic Prime Minister of India, and Manmohan Singh would be remembered as the First CEO of the Government of India.

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Saturday, March 21, 2009

Finally the West Concedes

A recent report states that the US President Barack Obama has urged its citizens to raise their standards of education in order to compete with the students of India and China in recent future. He categorically feels that a number of reforms are required to get the situation improved. It's indeed ear-soothing to hear such compliment from a dignitary not less than the US President.

The children of affluent western countries do not really face the anguish that our children are accustomed with since they learn to toddle. Admission to nursery schools in western countries are no way matter of concern, be it a government aided school or a private paid school. While here in India, we have seen during the past month how the pains were inflicted on the parents of 3-4 years old children while getting a seat in a good school in Delhi. Schooling in the western world is fun and very encouraging. However, it's not as nice here as it sounds. In U.K. the college counsellors visit every school to encourage students to join their institutions, after high school. The admission to the colleges are as easy as ABC in the western countries, whereas most of the students in India stay deprived from getting entrance into the colleges. Yet they fight, they fight for few seats, they keep fighting even if they do not get a chance to find a place in any college. In such cases, the Indian students by virtue of their fighting spirit enroll themselves in distance learning, but do not distance themselves from fighting for better future.

This aspect of the Indian students are really adorable, and that is where a commoner like Barack Obama had observed in his younger days. The earlier Presidents of United States were richer in their high lineage and so they could not perceive the spirits inherited by the Indian students. The President Obama has realised that the fighting spirit of the students of India is the backbone behind the advent of Indian growth in every aspect of life. In a way, he has conceded that India and China are marching ahead, whereas the people of the United States are slipping away. Thanks Mr. President.

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Mending Attitudes

The vehicles running on the roads of Gurgaon have a peculiar attitude of dominating. Whatever the vehicle is, the mentality of the driver remains the same. The bigger vehicles always push away the smaller ones. One needs to give space to the bigger one when it comes nearer. Being an IT hub, Gurgaon accommodates the maximum number of staff-cab running twenty four hours on the road. Most companies extend help to its staff by providing transport facilities, but fail in controlling their drivers. These drivers break the traffic rules and decorum wherever possible. It is because of them that the other domestic and commercial drivers give in to the situation, and maintain the procedures dictated by the unruly Qualis and Indica. The sudden change of lanes by these vehicles, pushing away two-wheelers, rickshaws on the edges of the roads, unnecessarily honking behind other cars, forcing their vehicles to jump awkwardly on speed breakers due to non-adherence to slowing down, are regular features of Gurgaon roads. It's true that we are living in a fast and competitive life and are subjected to move faster. But honestly, is it not the complex in ourselves that we often degrade others by pushing them aside.

These days, we speak of India to become a developed country by 2020. True, the present annual growth of economy and an economist Prime Minister at the helm of affairs, would definitely take us to achieve this feat by means of the economy of the country. But it's equally true that we are miles behind the people of the developed countries when it comes to the behaviour of a common man. It's likely that after we achieve the tag of a developed nation economically, we would need a Prime Minister who would teach us how one should be virtuous. In any city of Europe and United States, any child can move across using zebra-crossing. Any pedestrian touching the zebra-crossing, forces the drivers to use their legs on the clutch and brakes. They simply do not compromise on the issue. And here, every women at home gasps heavily with relief when they find their husbands return home safe in the evening. Elderly people, women and children are scared of trudging.

We simply need to change our attitudes. The attitude of respect for others, caring for the weak, helping children and soft approach towards the women are really the need of the hour. Honestly, we have forgotton all these virtues. These values are only restricted inside home and before the boss. The concept “that I have a decent car and I can reach office or home in lesser time and at my own convenience” creates all the trouble. If a car owner or a driver of a vehicle feels the way a commoner who uses the public transport does, it would make the job half done. Under the present circumstances where the load of vehicles are higher than the capacity of the road, the only solution that could give joyful driving is by maintaining a well defined road behaviour which is completely missing in our city. It's not the decent roads that make the city beautiful, it's the attitude of the people using the roads that paves the way in creating a modern, serene but fervent city.

Therefore, the first and foremost pursuit would be that the heavier vehicle should give way to the lighter ones, instead of scaring them. It must not only be applicable for trucks or the buses, this rule involves all the vehicles. Even a motorcyclist must tender his softness towards a rikshawpuller and the pedestrians. In doing so, we may reach our destination few minutes later, but the people waiting for us would surely have a good time waiting. If the heavier vehicle adopts the theory of 'pehle aap', the city would surely be termed as a cosmopolitan city. When the migrant birds go back to their home, they should have a good reminisce. Gurgaon really needs that reputation.

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An Educational Hub

The city Gurgaon is well known for its growth in the IT sector. As such, it is equally famous for providing an unprecedented number of employment to the locals as well as the migrants from all over the world. The speciality of Gurgaon is that the city has blossomed in a promising way and disseminated the fragrance of a big city within a span of only twenty years, which no other city in the world can perhaps boast for. As the city grew to its height, thus entered an urban youth brigade who were highly educated, well earned and encouraged themselves for an ambitious life.

To cater to the demands of these youth, the city has flourished with many schools within a very short duration to give education to the new borns of these youths. Since 1990 onwards, all bigwig schools of Delhi and around have opened up their branches in Gurgaon. DPS has four branches in Gurgaon. Other noted names are the Springdales, Amity, GD Goenka etc. Besides, hundreds of nursery and middle schools have cropped up steadfastly to provide nucleus to these big schools. Sooner, the people of this new city felt happy to find their wards toddling to the schools that are nearby to their home.

Alongside this, many private institutions who extend coaching for the entrance tests for getting admissions to the elite institutions,gradually set up their branches in Gurgaon. Brilliant Tutorials, FITJEE, Naraina, Rao's IAS etc. have their units in Gurgaon. Even tutorials like Princeton, Barron's, Jamboree provide coaching classes for SATs, GRE, TOEFL etc. here. Considering the importance of this city, the collegeboard of US has identified Gurgaon as its examination centre for the North India zone.

Gurgaon has a mixture of talents within its children. The urban children are bookish, computer savvy and indulge in academic career seriously while the rural folks are inclined to the sport activities. The good schools have all the infrastructure required for the young children. The parents are equally broad hearted to splashing out money on their children. However, the results are not coming out as expected. Despite having all these, the schooling in Gurgaon has not yet caught the attention of people of other states. The city, the parents and the schools are providing all facilities to its children, but nothing substantial is yet to notice. As is known, the small cities like Kota, Pune, Chandigarh are famous for education hub, but Gurgaon did not match these cities. why? Even after contributing a large amount of infrastructure for nearly a decade, it has nearly failed to achieve the goal of making the city an educational hub. Except a few exception, no school or institution can claim that they crack so many distinguished national seats each year.

It seems that the problem lies at the mindset of the school and institution authorities. They look upon education as a commercial aspect, rather than committment towards the cause. Most of the big name schools have beautiful buildings with green fields, playgrounds for the kids, well designed air-conditioned school buses, computer rooms, auditorium for annual functions and some claim that the school is air-conditioned only to charm the new swankys. They have in fact deceived the people of Gurgaon who look nothing but fool. Most parents do not end up bragging for the schools their ward go to, but unfortunately they do not realise that they are living in a fool's paradise. Truly, these schools have deliberately ignored the most important aspects of education and i.e. the good faculty. All the good schools of Delhi vie to enrol specialist teachers for most subjects, but in Gurgaon, teachers keep moving from one school to another in search of better pay packages only. One cannot blame the teachers only, as they are part of ongoing system. It is the schools who are responsible for the outlook they preserve and uphold.

Gurgaon has ample opportunity to create an environment of upgrading the existing schools by inducting good teachers from within and outside the city, who are serious in their jobs and are result oriented. For that to happen, all the Principals and the authorities shall pull up their shocks and make the city proud by improving the quality of their schools candidly. IT sectors and other industries may suffer due to recession and other reasons, but if the city creates an atmosphere of providing of genuine education to the people of India, then Gurgaon will emerge as a city at par with Bangalore. Being a very progressive state, Haryana deserves a city of that stature.

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