Monthly archives of “September 2009

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The Great Indian Austerity Tamasha


Few days back minister Mr. Pranab Mukherjee’s word of advice to Mr. Shahi Tharoor and Mr. S.M. Krishna to leave their 5 star accommodation and take up accommodation provided by Government of India created a stir around the nation. Suddenly, the big old daddy of Indian politics the Congress party have woken up to dreams of austerity. The rationale behind the austerity drive is to minimize the wasteful expenditures to save public money. A noble thought I must say, finally somebody realised the importance of tax payers’ money and is now ready to bear the responsibility.
Great leaders of Congress party had a new agenda in mind, to make the nation austere and thought of preaching lessons of austerity to the whole nation and the best way they figured is to lead by examples. So, Mr. Mukherjee came in public and advised Mr. Tharoor and Mr. Krishna to stop being extravagant in their stay, doesn’t matter even if its from their own pocket. Mrs. Sonia Gandhi travelled in economy class from Delhi to Mumbai. If mother is full on for austerity measures how can son be left behind so Mr. Rahul Gandhi, the scion of the Gandhi Parivar and future PM of India (as perceived by millions of Indians) travelled through Shatabhi Express from Delhi to Ludhiana. Mr. Mukherjee too travelled economy class to Kolkata to show he is man of his words.
It feel really great to see a change in thought process of country’s leadership. Leaders are talking some sense, they are talking beyond self and there is sense of nationalism. I decided to follow this idea as much as I can, so I made sure to watch interviews and debates on the same topic. The more I watched the interviews and debates, the more skeptical I got about the success and intent of the whole Austerity Tamasha created by Congress. First of all I could not understand the timing chosen by Congress to throw the idea. Few months back, we were in deep recession. The whole corporate world was cutting down its costs to reduce the expense so as to keep its operating margins in control. During the times of recession, our great austere leader didn’t guided the country through an example. Did they? Did we heard from any of the leader that they are trying to cut cost by travelling economy class? or they are sacrificing any of the service offered to them? as far I can recall the answer is NO. How many of our leaders at least pledged to cut down their sugar consumption (as done by Pakistan’s PM) just to show solidarity with people in event of sugar shortage? the answer is no one. So the question which started bugging me is “What is the intent behind the austerity drive?”

I think the obvious answer to the question is to grab attention and prove UPA’s promise of being with common man. But why is Congress trying such a stunt at this time of the year, when they have successfully won the Parliamentary election and have a strong hold in Center, the answer is Assembly elections in Maharashtra. Maharashtra being an important state to hold strong position in Center, its important to be with common man of state. Already UPA has ired the sugarcane farmers with its inconsistent policies on export of sugar and handling the bumper sugarcane crop last year. But somehow I am not convinced this idea too. Somehow I could not figure the real idea of the whole tamasha which went on for couple of days. The disconnect between the party members for the austerity drive and also a stiff no appreciation from the opposition parties make me think, that something is really fishy about the whole episode.

Our leaders, no matter they are in power or in opposition could not digest the idea of loosing the luxury they enjoy on public money. Though nobody from UPA came in open to protest the move nor did they openly supported the cause. The opposition parties were caught off guard, they can not support the initiative because (its a tradition to oppose all government moves) nor can they write off the topic as it will send wrong signals to the whole nation. I guess in recent time no opposition would have been in such a critical situation but surely some of them showed solidarity with some the UPA leaders to support them. With no idea on what to do next both opposition and UPA starting digging their counterpart’s extravagant tenures at center, both accused each other of wasting money and were trying to prove they are most austere. Nobody had any idea on what they want to do and what they want to say, they created a mess. Rather then thinking and having a constructive debates on more innovative ways to save public money, each of them foul mouthed about every step taken by their respective governments.
I expected a good solid ideas flowing from our leader which will change the political scenario completely in the country, I though now leader will take actions which will make us believe they are really our representatives and not sitting there to mint money. As it always happens anywhere , a tamasha starts with much fanfare but fade away very soon and audience only remember the fun or drama in the whole tamasha and the actors involved and not the theme of it. Like a typical C grade bollywood movie it lacked clear script and direction, had lot of villians and only few heros certainly it didn’t had any item songs but the quick twists and turns compensated for it and more importantly it didn’t had any convicing or conclusive climax. Thanks to leaders of our country, they entertained a lot with their acts and entertained us to few days with one of their very entertaining presentation called ‘The Great Indian Austerity Tamasha’.
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yesterday I met a boy…there was something very peculiar about him…he looked exactly like me but very innocent, very happy, a real sweet heart, passionate, dreamer, obedient, shy…I could not curb my anxiety and asked him…hey brother who are you?…He turned back and replied….”Oh!! Ayush you forgot me….I am your childhood. You left me round the corner…long time back”
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