Friday, May 6, 2011

World as I see it - May 2011 6th

How is an event like west asia crisis/corruption wave in India/any major event created/handled from an issue? What precipitates an event?

At any given time, we have common people, the interest groups(foreign players, players not directly connected like courts, business), the govts of the day affecting the national issues.

An event has people trying to affect it from the top-down, horizontal and bottoms-up approaches. We get to read and understand only the top-down influences and try to guess the future events from it. We only get to judge their motivations from the events already past. The world is a fluid entity which has escaped all the attempts to model it, thankfully. To even attempt it, is a huge undertaking for anyone.

That there was a pent-up frustration in middle-east was known to all, but that the self-immolation by a fruit vendor would provide the spark could almost never be judged. A good player in geo-politics is not someone who creates events, but someone who can save himself from the tsunami of the after effects of an events and gathers himself, co-opts the wave, then simply diverts the flow in his desired direction.

The congress handling of the corruption in the recent past is an excellent approach of the same.
Event: The anti-corruption wave from BJP, Ramdev with the 2G scam, CWG scam, and all the other scams. It was clear that the Indian middle class was behind the wave with its pent up frustrations. If the wave would have succeeded, it would have drowned Congress and Sonia.
Saving itself and Coopting it: What does one do? Congress exists for more than 125 years for a reason. It builds a small psuedo wave of its own backing someone like Hazare, on a bill which it knew which solves exactly zero problems. Then after 2-3 days of high drama, it gets Sonia to ask the Govt to accept the bill (dont ask, who else is Sonia, except the govt??). With some deft foot work, Congress and Sonia have projected themselves as pro-corruption.
Diversion: The anti-corruption has been diverted into a lokpal bill agitation. In the lokpal bill, now congress can do what it wants. It would want that the lokpal bill be itself mired in day-day, so that each day Congress can say it is doing something. The Bhusans controversy is an excellent example of the same.

It is clear for every one who is reading the reports, that the location of Osama was known to US since a long time. So the immediate question is, why now? I believe that the reason is not in Pakistan but in Tahrir Square of Egypt, where the protest erupted. With a swift blow to Osama, US has achieved a success in delegitimizing the his version and an opportunity to divert these revolutions. Whether they are successful in diverting the wave into their preferred variations or they themselves get swept in the repurcussions of this Osaman killing, we will have to wait and see.

As they say in hindi, ye khel kache goliyon waale ke liye nahi hain.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Custard Apples and Denotified tribals

Every year approximately during august, I used to make rounds of a small park approximately 2Km from my house. I was waiting for the banjaras or lambadas, as we called them. These were people of a nomadic tribe. They would sell custard apple very similar to how it is portrayed in the picture above. It was always worth waiting, as the same fruit in the regular local market would have cost more than double their price and when you count the haggling you could do with them, the cost benefit was even more stark.

I learned about that time that custard people was not a fruit grown as crops and these banjaras would go into the forest and get it from there. It was also around that time when I was regularly going around trips of about 100 Km from Hyderabad. I used to see that there were rows of these bullock carts of lambadas carrying custard apple which were being taken to the city. These lambadas would come to the city for 2-3 days selling the fruit and then moving on to their next location.

An activity which they have probably been doing since centuries. It was only yesterday that I learnt they were part of the "criminal tribes" of the colonial British empire. However this was not my first interaction with these "type" of tribes. Many tribes which refused to bow to the British authority or were nomadic and thus were considered "uncivilized", were entered into a list and notified in 1871 as "criminal tribes". The corrupt police started using this as an excuse and started pushing more and more unsolved crimes on to them. This created a social stigma for these tribes. Upon attaining Independence, this act was withdrawn and these tribes were "denotified". Unfortunately the attitudes persisted.

My first interaction with these tribes was during my college days, when one of my professors showed us a street play. It was played by members of these tribes which tried to show police brutality towards them. The reality and the stigma attached to these tribes sunk into me, two months later when the lead artist of the troupe was arrested!!

I am sorry to inform that I have no idea of what happened next. All I know was, that professor worked hard for his release, though I seem to remember a faint rumor of the lead artiste dying within 2 months from this incident.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Nationally Recognised Political Parties in India

There are 7 nationally recognised political parties in India. The following table gives their names, popular acronyms and symbols.
Party Name Acronym SymbolImage
Bahujan Samaj Party BSP Elephant*
Bharatiya Janata Party BJP Lotus
Communist Party of India CPI Ears of Corn and Sickle
Communist Party of India (Marxist) CPI(M)/CPM Hammer, Sickle and Star
Indian National Congress INC /Congress Hand(Open Palm)
Nationalist Party of India NCP Clock
Rashtriya Janata Dal RJD Hurricane Lamp (Lantern)
*except in Assam and Sikkim, where BSP candidates have to choose from free symbols. Elephant symbol belongs to Asom Gana Parishad in those states.

Also see: Recognition of a political party by the election commission.