Saturday, April 11, 2009

Post 30 Apr - NEXT IS WHAT ??

Ever since 26/11, we have seen a surge in the number of Groups. Online groups at Facebook, Yahoo, Orkut and Offline Groups, like JNM (incidentally, who are doing great work). 'Offline' .. strange, how we refer to the real world as 'offline,' as if our real lives are no longer ONLINE!

Anyway, the real issue is (as Samsung asks) NEXT IS WHAT??

We saw a huge surge in patriotism and candle-burning and midnight vigils and promises of meeting every 26th at Gateway ... and now??
It's been 4 months since 26/11.
> Have the Police reforms issue moved even one step forward?
> Has the security improved?
> Have the threats gone away?
> Has justice been done to the city?

For crying out loud, everyone seems to have forgotten the poor souls who lost their lives!

I see the same pattern here. I receive 40-50 emails everyday informing me about how important it is to vote, go vote, find out about your candidate, find about his/her assets, know his/her criminal record, vote for the best independent candidate, etc., etc. - ad infinitum .. ad nauseum...

There is a new found 'patriotism' and we have many more 'independent' candidates in the fray. People from all walks of life, ordinary people ('one of us'), rich people, educated people, first-timers, young people .. all have jumped in.

And you know what I fear? These candidates will 'divide' the already fragmented educated, internet-savvy, gen-next votes!! I would have really liked to see the main parties back THESE new candidates - THAT would have made all the difference!

On the other hand, now what's going to happen is that the new wave voters are going to vote for these (numerous) independents, and further divide the votes. The winners are STILL going to be from one of the MAIN frontline parties.

Let's not kid ourselves into thinking that Dr. Mona Shah or Indur Chuggani and their ilk, are really going to win. God Bless them for their efforts - it's not easy - and, personally, I will be voting for an educated independent candidate myself!

What we need to happen - is to get the main parties to support candidates like Dr. Shah and Mr. Chuggani. It is THEN that we will see the CHANGE. Getting Mr. Adolf D'Souza into the Corporation is one story and getting someone into the Parliament is another!

In any case, what happens AFTER our beloved, chosen, educated, independent and most-worthy, candidate .. LOSES .. and we get the same crappy bunch of jokers once again?? That is when our real resolve will be tested.

I'm speaking from my own experience of the fight on the BIJLEE (electricity) issue. There was a huge hue-and-cry and massive din in Sept/Oct 2006 .. and the public hearing took place and then the Order was passed and people resolve themselves to the fact that 'nothing can be done' and get back to their lives. But, the key is in pursuing the issue, even when public awareness has died down. For instance, there are still a handful of us who have kept going hammer-and-tongs at the MERC, since 2006... and that's making a difference, even though it's a small difference.

I suggest a three-prong, long term approach to this issue.

1. We MUST vote - there are no two ways about it. If we do not vote, we have no right to complain.

2. We must EDUCATE the masses - its their vote that actually decides who gets into the parliament and drafts the laws that govern our children's lives. It is THEY who are the gullible, misled ones who the Politicians divide on the basis of caste, creed, religion, economy and whatever else!

3. While we are doing the first 2, we must continue to keep the bureaucrats and administrators in check. These 'babus' in the government offices are there to smoothly run the administration services and not to 'rule' over us. RTI is an effective way of doing that. Having received a reply, we must ensure that there is a systematic way of disseminating that (incriminating) information amongst all. And when I say all I mean the masses as well.

There is a fourth one - regarding the FOURTH estate - but I am assuming that they will rise to the challenge and ensure fairness by giving all citizen's issues fair mileage.

Would love to hear from all of you ...

No comments: