Yes, Facebook can be used to influence elections and electoral results.
If i own a facebook page, i can literally ensure a post of my page reaches someone who was born in Gujarat , is now of 22-25 years old, lived in Bangalore currently living in Hyderabad Jubliee hills area ,part of some Congress fb group and also liked Modi, who is looking for some personal loan and looking to buy an apartment, likes Game of Thrones and also likes Night King , likes travelling but only visits Piligrim places, likes Mukesh Ambani but not Adani , shops for more of physical fitness items and attends Marathons.
Imagine that this data can be used by someone living in a far off place, creates a page, posts something and pays for ads in dollars or dirhams and influence a customer behaviour in India. When politics comes into it, this can get real ugly.
Everything you do on internet is tracked by 80+ ad companies via their cookies or track algorithms and your ad settings are defined by companies like Facebook and Google. Facebook App even analyses your voice conversations. There is also a famous pic of Mark Zuckerberg with his laptop mic and webcam sealed.
Looks at these if you want to be amazed about yourself 🙂
The recent issue with Cambridge Analytica was this data was shared/retrieved by them when facebook did not have good enough self regulations. This was used to create ad campaigns and influence people. Google is a bit better in this privacy self regulations.
Hampi and the group of moments at this place is an UNESCO World Heritage site. It is said to be holding a population of 5 lakhs during 15th century which made its second largest populated city recorded in the history at that time. Hampi is an anglicized name of the city which was earlier called as Pampa Kshetra , named after Pampa, the old name of river TungaBhadra, on whose banks this mighty city is built.
Hampi excavations revealed presence of mankind in this place from First century AD. Hampi was chosen as the city of Vijayanagara kingdom as it had torrential TungaBhadra river on the North and defensible hills on other three sides. The ruins of Hampi were discovered by Colonel Mackenzie in 1800 , an army officer in British East India Company and fought against Tipu Sultan . He then surveyed the entire Mysore region of then British India and later even became the first Surveyor General of India. He was an explorer and artifact collector. In fact, much of his collection has helped recreate Indian History and is stored in London’s British Library.
Coming to folklore , two local Chieftains, Hakka & Bukka,who are the founders of Vijayanagara Empire, reported to their Guru an unusual sight they saw during a hunting expedition. A Hare chased by their Hound suddenly turns courageous and start chasing the Hound. Sri Vidyaranya, The Guru, tells them that the place is very special and asks them to establish their local Capital at this place. The seed of an Empire was sown with the guru’s blessings.
Vijayanagara Empire was founded by Hari Hara and his brother Bukka Raya in 13th century. Later on, kings from Sangama Dynasty ,Saluva Dynasty, Tuluva Dynasty and Aravidu Dynasty have ruled the empire with Hampi as its capital until the empire was razed by Sultanates of Bijapur and Golkonda. Hari Hara and Bukka Raya are said to be some officials in Kakatiya kingdom and then they joined Hoysalas and then created their own empire.
Krishna, the driver guide for the gang ended this long 5 min monologue in a highly proficient accent of English and all five students have been dumbstruck. They even didnt listen to their college lectures with so much attention . Everyone were silent for a minute and Asha wanted to break silence and said ” Guys what are the plans for lunch ” and Krishna gave an option ” Madam, you can get lunch at Kamalapura town, which is like 10 mins . I can take a detour and we can go to Hazara Rama temple later after lunch ” .
Everyone discussed for a bit and decided none of them are so hungry but can take a lunch break . Arjun waited until the conversation stopped and acted as if he suddenly remembered something and gave Asha another Diary milk chocolate from his backpack and gave mime expressions that she can have it while they get to the restaurant for lunch. Vardhaan and Sid had a good giggle on this sight.
The restaurant was more like a dhaba under the trees and they ordered the plate meals which is the only food item they served during lunch times.The food was not so great but since all were tired with the heat finished the meal and ended with a big glass of butter milk. All six started towards Hazari Rama temple complex and the nearby Royal Enclosure. Hazara Rama temple has strips of Ramayana etched over its walls . The temple ruins are well maintained and Krishna, their guide and auto driver informed that this was a private temple for royalty in those days and was most important temple for the kings. The nearby Royal enclosures were the buildings where the royalty used to stay.
The royal enclosure had some huge structural ruins which looked like the court of the king and a celebratory arena . There was a pool or well in between and one can see an elaborate water supply system to the other buildings. Sid , Vardhaan and Arjun climbed the elevated arena or platform where the king used to watch the celebrations and were having a birds eye view of Hampi ruins. Asha and Aamukta initially decided to stay on ground but after the boys climbed and were having fun, they decided to climb and see what the deal is all about.
Aamukta asked Asha nonchalantly ” Why are you ignoring Arjun . If you dont like him, why cant you just say No to him ” . Asha smiled ” Not sure Amy , i came to this trip hoping he comes and we can chat sometime and see what to do. Things seem like going good but very dead slow ” . Arjun was looking at them even though he is just making some random noises from the top of the platform. Aamukta signalled a thumbsup to Arjun while Asha was not looking and Arjun started screaming “wohooo” but this noise was lost as other boys too started screaming “wohooo” .
They took some photos from the top of that platform and sun suddenly started coming out from the clouds. Meanwhile , Krishna, the charioteer for the group was describing to some foreigners about this place. Lot of foreigners hire bicycles and roam around the ruined city holding the maps in hand. As soon as our group came to the Auto , Krishna said goodbye to them and gave them his visiting card. Sid saw this and asked ” Bhayya, i have not seen an Autowallah giving visiting card to someone. Do you have other businesses besides this”. Krishna ” I do own a couple of lodges here in Hampi. If you are asking about why i gave a visiting card, thats for one of the lodge i own. Those foreigners are getting some friends who will be in Hampi this week and their current Lodge is already full itseems. I asked them to go to my Lodge and show them this visiting card ” .
They started their Auto and started to their next destination , Underground Shiva temple. The temple is lower than ground level and there is water all year round in the temple premises. The group had to pull up their trousers and venture onto crossing the rock steps that are overlaid on water . Asha is not interested to venture into water and did a namaskar to God from temple outside. Arjun who was ready to go into the temple didnt go seeing Asha is not interested.
Arjun started small talk with Asha ” Hey, so how is uncle doing now ? He had been operated last year right ! ”
Asha ” He is doing fine ” . Arjun ” So, what are your plans after Engineering”
Asha ” Didnt think a lot as of now . Probably will try for MS . My brother is doing MS in US and wants me to come to US as well “.Arjun “Then, marry an NRI , right ? ”
Asha got angry and gave an angry stare. Arjun wanted to divert the topic and said ” Just Kidding. I too want to go to US for MS. Will go for GRE coaching after this trip ” .
Then there was some awkward silence between the two and both started fiddling their mobile phones. Asha looked a bit frustated that there is no signal in Hampi and exclaimed ” This Airtel doesnt have signal here” . Arjun ” Dont blame only Airtel , my Vodafone, Vardhaan’s Idea , none of them have signal here. I know there will not be mobile signal and brought my mom’s BSNL Sim . Let me try adding that SIM to my phone . I will switchon the hotspot for you “.
Asha was happy with this ” Achaa, let me know once you start preparing for GRE. We both can plan and move ahead” .Arjun smiled but he was literally dancing hearing this from Asha.
Looks like Indian Railways too was excited for this trip and the Kacheguda express train started exactly at 9 PM from the platform . Arjun took out a chocolate and offered it to Asha and said ” You should eat sweet something before you start something good ” , imitating the popular cadbury silk ad . Asha knew Arjun’s liking for her but then asked why not give it to everyone . Arjun took out the chocolate packet which he planned to give in course of trip and had to give it to Sid, Aamukta, Vardhaan; very reluctantly . Everyone had a giggle and everyone knew the reason .
The train is racing towards Hospet, the destination . Since its already late night by Indian train travellers time, all the lights started to go off in the bogie and these five also decided to get to sleep.
Its 8 AM and train is scheduled to arrive at Hospet on time at 8 20 AM. Sid woke up and saw that rest of the group is already ready for the day. Sid got up and took the railway tea. Aamukta is in the call with her grandpa and took some details on paper. As soon as the train reached Hospet railway station, they all got down and started walking towards exit. They got hold of an Auto and asked for a lodge in Hampi Bazaar, the downtown Hampi.Hospet is around 12 Km from Hampi and it took them around 30 mins. The auto driver started conversing fluently in Telugu and switched to English after coming to know that these folks are studying Engineering . The English was so fluent that Arjun asked the auto driver ” Anna, how do you know English so good “. Auto driver Krishna, with a rugged look and frail beard, aged around 45- 50 years,and with a very rustic voice said ” Anna, we get tourists from all over Europe, US, Russia, Japan to Hampi and almost all Auto drivers are fluent in English, Spanish, German etc etc. I myself know 5 languages. ”
They reached the lodge in hampi bazaar and enquired for their 2 rooms which they reserved online earlier . They saw 5 people in opposite lodge with Asian features and waived to these guys . Vardhaan waved backed and asked them ” Where are you guys from ” and they replied “Japan” . Arjun replied enthusiastically ” Naruto ” with a dab. The Japanese guys reciprocated it with a smile.
The room boy of the lodge informed that these people come to vacation every Summer and stay for some ten days. Hampi is part of Indian hippie circuit many Europeans and others come to. They start with Goa, then go to Gokarna and then come to Hampi.
Krishna , the auto driver, after dropping the group came to know that Sid’s grandfather worked in Hampi and he might know him, asked if they needed Hampi tour or will it be arranged someone by ASI. Aamukta , earlier asked her grandfather not to arrange any one for Hampi sight seeing as she thought they would only take to places they are familiar with . These guys, wanted to get a good detailed tour of Hampi and explore places slowly in the three huge days planned. Krishna informed that generally they would take around 700 rs per day and can cover all the important sites of Hampi. The group decided to take the Auto but with only touring the places they want and even joked ” Now Krishna is driving the chariot for us 5 people and we are going to war listening to his Bhagavat Gita”.
The group got ready and started their tour of Hampi at 11 AM. Its summer and Hampi generally doesnt go below 35 Degrees in these days. Luckily for them, there are some clouds and even though its hot, its tolerable. They passed by the magnificent Virupaksha temple while starting the days trip but the temple was closed for afternoon break. Krishna started his six seater auto and it roared again just like its taking off to take its passengers to Moon.
First, they started their itinerary visiting the Kadalekalu Ganesha and Sasivekalu Ganesha temple pavilions on the slops of the Hemakuta Hill on the main road. There are many temples and gateways in ruins on the Himakuta hills, which are facing the main Hampi Bazaar . The giant statue of Ganesha in Kadalekalu Ganesha temple is a monolithic and is of 15 metre height. The sanctum of the temple gives a vantage view of Hampi Bazaar. Next they visited the Vishnupada temple and Sri Krishna temple . Krishna started to explain to the group that all the temples are in ruins and not much of them have any statues too. A small group of foreigners also came to the Ganesha temple and their guide was explaining the stories of Lord Ganesha and Mahabharata to them in English and these guys were having fun listening to them.
They started to their next destination, Hazara Rama temple and Royal Enclosure areas. It takes around half hour and is around 3 km from the temple areas they are currently starting from. Krishna took them to the place via a ruin which looked like a street and said ” this is the place where they used to sell diamonds on streets during Krishnadevaraya time ‘. Aamukta remembered a tale his grandfather narrated one night on bedside and said ” Yes, diamonds are a very common commodity during Sri KrishnaDevaraya time itseems. Infact, my grandfather said that there is a theory that Sri Krishna Devaraya had the real kohinoor and it got lost in time or noone has found it . ” Krishna replied ” Yes Madam , my grand father used to tell me that there is some clue in a temple on that diamond, i think Vittala temple . It would be exciting if its true ” .
” If we get that diamond, we will definitely give you a share, auto sir ” said Arjun.
Vardhaan suddenly jumped into discussion and said ” What if the story is real and we can find it . Just think for a moment ” . Everyone became silent and after a minute, Sid announced ” I will call up grand pa today and find out more about it ” .
Date : Someday in 1309 AD
Place : Somewhere near Orugallu , present day Warangal ( Telangana, India)
Its a full moon day and it still looks like a day even though the night started. The place is somewhere , around 30 miles near Orugallu, the capital city of mighty Kakatiya Kindgom. Malik kafur, the commander of Allauddin Khilji is stationed in his tent and discussing with his generals on the planned attack on Kakatiyas . They had invaded the Kakatiyas six years ago but had to return with a defeat. But now , he has determined to attack with a hundred thousand force , and the vengeance and most importantly, the desire to grab the most beautiful diamond everyone are raving about.
Allauddin Khilji is the king of Khilji Dynasty ruling the Northern part of Indian subcontinent (including present day Pakistan and Afghanisthan) . Malik Kafur was a slave who was captured by Allauddin Khilji’s army when they had invaded Cambay (the present day Khambat of Gujarat) , a port city flourishing with international trade . He was rumoured to be of Ethiopian descent who came to that place along with the muslim contingent of Baba Ghor.
Allauddin Khilji was fascinated by Malik Kafur, fell in love with him , yet castrated him and made him his enunch slave. Malik Kafur eventually became a military general and titled “Naib” , ‘a representative of authority’. Allauddin khilji was fuming with vengeance, having lost once to Kakatiyas and asked his favorite “Naib” to get him the gift of the great diamond from the Kakatiyas . Malik Kafur did not want to disappoint his lover and master . He has sent a messenger to Kakatiya ruler , the King Prataparudra asking him to surrender along with great diamond , which every one are calling it “Kohinoor”.
Date : Same as above
Place : Orugallu Fort , present day Warangal ( Telangana, India)
Prataparudra , the son of Rani Rudramadevi has successfully thwarted Allauddin khilji once . But now, he know he cannot face the hundred thousand army and having heard about Malik kafur , he has doubts on Kakatiyas victory. With the message he got from Malik Kafur, he knows Allauddin Khilji is after the wealth of Kakatiyas more than the territory , especially the “Kohinoor” diamond. Prataparudra strolled into his private pooja chamber in the palace and saw the mighty and glorious diamond shining in the full moon. This diamond has been the prized possession of his mother and great warrior queen, Rani Rudrama Devi . It is passed to him during his coronation and thats when everyone came to know about the glorious diamond , which weighs more than his crown. It is the glory, the prestige and symbol of his dynasty’s greatness. He asserted to himself ” Iam never going to give them this magnificent diamond” and called his guards to summon the treasury officers Hari hara and Bukkaraya.
Date : 2016 AD.
The clock has struck is 6 in the morning five minutes ago and Philips, a 22 year old just passed college graduate , is unhappy for getting late to the castle of Tower of London. He has completed his training and recently joined the security services company which looks into security systems at the castle. Tower of London is also known as ‘ Her Majesty’s Royal Palace and Fortress of the Tower of London” and buzzes with visitors every single day. It is where the crown jewels are exhibited and which houses The Queen Mother’s Crown. He finally reached his workplace a couple of minutes late, however nobody noticed him. He is checking the CCTV footages and glanced upon the Queen Mother’s crown . There it was, the magnificient and glorious Kohinoor diamond in the middle of front cross of the crown. Philips has an Indian friend who pulls his leg for looking after the India’s greatest and most popular display of wealth .
Philips was amazed when he read about the Kohinoor.Kohinoor came from Kollur mine in Guntur district of present day Andhra Pradesh, a southern state of India. There are no diamonds being dug now there , but this place is known to be the origin of some of the most famous diamonds of the world. Kohinoor, as it is called , then made its to way to North Muslim rulers passing from king to king.Shah Jahan, the mughal emperor had the stone placed in his peacock throne. Then it was passed on to Nadir Shah, the Shah of Persia when he looted the Mughal treasury some time in 1700’s. Later it came into hands of Maharaja Ranjit Singh,the founder of Sikh empire and decided to will this diamond to Puri Jagannath temple in Orissa.However, he lost the war with British and as per 1846 Treaty of Lahore, came into possession of British’s East India Company . It was presented to Queen Victoria and then her husband has polished it , made it even more beautiful . Queen Victoria had it in her brooch. After Queen Victoria’s death it was added to crown of Queen Alexandria, the wife of Queen Victoria’s son and King Edward VII . Then it was passed to Queen Mary’s crown and then to the Queen Mother’s Crown. It was known to bring bad luck to the men who possessed it and hence only female member of royal family had it. Philips thought for a moment about the history, the wars, the possessors associated with that colourless carbon piece.
A random thought crossed his mind ” How can such a majestic piece be ONLY ONE in this huge huge world ” !!!
This Tuesday will be the day when we come to know who would be the most powerful person of this planet for next four years. Iam not going into the candidates but i hope she wins.
US presidential election is the one of the most complex, elaborate and systematic approach of election i know. The process usually takes around 1 year with some of the best twists happening in the due course that you can only see in a Emmy Award winning Drama series.
Right from people declaring their candidacy to be President Nominee from a party , the primaries and caucuses they go through for Party conventions, debates after being declared the candidates is probably the most scrutinized process for a job.
A good visual representation of the process is here.
Technically, the US president is elected by an electoral college of 538 ‘electors’ with each state voters voting for some 438 people to vote for their to represent their candidate . Another 100 people who decide the President are the State Senators , who are a constant 2 for each state. Each state has certain number of delegates of this 438 it can send to decide the next president. This is based on population, If a state has high population, that state would have more electors. This is somewhat similar to deciding the Prime Minister of India where members of parliament vote and decide the Prime Minister(Supposedly) . However, the members of Parliament wield some power since India is a parliamentary style of Democracy whereas electors do not have any power or term .
In reality, the presidential voting in US happens this year on Dec 19th and votes are counted on Jan 17th 2017 while people vote for the candidates ‘electors’ who vote in Dec on Nov 8th.
The most interesting thing of the elections for an outsider is that almost all states have Winner take all approach of electors. ie. If one candidate gets majority votes, the entire electors of that state belong to that candidate. If a candidate is more popular in most populated states of California, Florida, Texas , then he/she has more chances of winning. Except Maine and Nebraska states, all other states have such elector model and these states have some local “Congressional elector model” . This winner take all approach sometimes cause a grave concern that a candidate is more popular nationally with more people voting for him but looses the crucial states. Al Gore, in 2000, had got more votes than George W Bush but lost due to loosing more states and thus having less electors. And there is nothing stopping from a elector , to vote for the candidate who he/she was selected to vote for during Presidential voting . This gerrymandering is not rampant but is not taken care legally, whereas in India an MP if elected on one party ticket cannot switch parties without loosing his MP status.
In US, Ballot access is restricted to people who fulfill a certain criteria of voters signatures or other criteria which differs from state to state . Ballot access is the privilege to be on ballot paper in election. In India, any person can contest elections if he has sufficient deposit money and he would loose deposit amount if he does not get atleast one sixth of valid votes polled. The voting percentage in US is not that great when compared to India and it is usually less than 60 %.
Winnability of a candidate is usually determined by the money raised and money spent on TV Ads. Transparent process in political donations is the most important thing India has to learn from US politics. Organisations donate money to candidates so that they can lobby later, but its a bit transparent. Groups called PAC (Political Action Committee) can be formed by people on behalf of candidate and they can pour in as much money as they can into a candidate campaign. Whereas we do have legal limits of campaign expenditure in India which nobody honors and is not actually sufficient for a party.
One interesting thing about US presidential election is tax payers can pay 3 dollars of their taxes to Presidential election fund which is later given to presidential candidates for their election campaigns. However, if a candidate takes that money, there would be cap on his expenditure and cannot take money from others. In a way Govt will sponsor your campaign (the current limit is around 40$ million) if you can stand in an election and can fulfill a certain criteria. Usually the candidates ignore this money and raise on their own and this money is donated to cancer research.
The rules are not same when the prospective candidates go through primaries and caucuses of their parties and thats a whole lot of complex system altogether where electoral engineering plays more role than popular vote . The parties have this some established internal democracy rules and someone who is incapable cannot be on the ballot to be most powerful person of this planet. John oliver, noted TV host, in this video informs what is wrong with this primary and caucuses approach .
US also has a bicameral legislature, ie. there are two legislature bodies like India.
The upper house in India is called Rajya Sabha where the representatives are elected by states and some are nominated by President . The upper house in US is called Senate and each state gets 2 representatives each who have 6 year terms and some of them do have elections during the same Presidential election time on this Nov 8.
The lower house in India is called Lok Sabha where representatives are elected by their specific geographical electorate or constituency . The lower house in US is called House of Representatives and each of these are won from their Congressional district. Both these House of Representatives and Senate are called as US Congress , like Indian Parliament.
It has a bit disappointing start of the last week with a party (i.e Loksatta Party) i followed, volunteered ,spent money and cherished has decided to quit elections .I am privileged to say that iam one of the team working behind the scenes to ensure the party and Dr.JP voice to as many eyes and ears as possible in this digital social media era. ;the team managing DR JP , Loksatta party and other loksatta pages in facebook, twitter and youtube platforms. I have to think like Dr JP and be sure of Loksatta work a lot of times and respond to many hundreds of people who message to these platforms (ofcourse with Admin tag wherever necessary) .I can understand the pain he felt with such a decision. I know this day would be sooner or later with the way things have been going on. I have seen his humility, his anger, his optimism, his despair, his oratory , his knowledge, his wisdom from a man to man distance . I even joke to my wife that iam probably the only person who sat in Dr JP’s chair while he was in the same room ( While setting up his laptop for Google Hangouts 🙂 ) . Although, as a follower and student i have always been learning from him and never tried to give my own gyaan to him like many people do it when they meet him.
Did Loksatta and Dr JP fail ? Analysis and statistics might say an YES but the heart would say a loud NO. He has graciously accepted that his ideals or the change he wanted to bring, cannot be possible in this electoral way. There are tons of reasons why he has to take such sensational decision of stepping away from electoral politics, some mistakes being on his side and on the side of people hebelieved in and some on the side of the people who couldnt vote for his platform.
In India, reforms happen only when we are neckdeep in sh*t.
Green revolution in 1960’s started only when our leaders realised that we cannot sustain an occupation of 50% population with the agri produce we have and processes we follow. There were some deadly famines just before our independence and building dams,canals were not sufficient to sustain the growing population. Liberalization in 1991 came only after India was almost bankrupt and couldnt raise more loans from international community. PV Narasimha Rao literally had to airlift tons of Gold from Indian treasury to NewYork in exchange for some loans. Policy reforms like RTI , Aadhaar happened after decades of advocacy, and ofcourse to the indirect impact to then lawmakers.
There is a movie scene in Telugu movie “Leader” when the hero, the state CM proposes an anti corruption law but it doesnt get passed with lawmakers objecting it .An experienced and old leader suggests to exempt the lawmakers and the bill passes with thunderous applause.Hero would be in disappointment having exempted the biggest sharks of corruption but the old leader consoles him saying you are catching the fishes and without fishes there wont be sharks after sometime. Our elected public representatives are similar to this . This is as true in Indian politics that no elected representative would pass big ticket reforms which they would be a victim of (eg. Women Reservation, strong anti corruption body, police reforms etc) .
Even in such a scenario, DrJP and Loksatta movement had brought some great institutional reforms working non partisan across party lines and across think tank intellectuals.He has worked with ADR on bringing laws for candidates to disclose their financial and criminal details in elections . He has worked with Aruna Roy drafting a strong RTI law . He has worked with Vajpayee govt and got 91st constitutional amendment restricting ministry size to 15 percent of total members in a legislature and political funding reform requiring political parties to be transparent in their funding.He has worked with UPA1 for sometime in NAC and formulating “National Health Mission” to ensure healthcare to last mile of rural India. Loksatta and Dr JP has worked closely with Justice Verma and brought the Nirbhaya act. He has fought against illogical agriculture policies and was successful in removing export of grains and now fighting to sell agriculture produce across states.The Lokayukta bill which advocates strong Lokpal to probe corruption and which was the main agenda of Anna Hazaare movement was the brain child of Dr JP. Dr JP was working in background then to ensure that movement to be fruitful.The biggest achievement is probably Dr JP proposing special status to AP and development ideas to both Andhra Pradesh and Telangana during state bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh. There are lots of policy work done by Loksatta movement and more details on Loksatta achievements are at :Loksatta Achievements
If i was Dr JP, i would put up a photo collage of all these at my door,take my monthly IAS pension from government, take vacations every month, give some talks and retire writing books.Yet this man, cannot stop working and bringing some REAL CHANGE. We all donate to some NGOs for girl child education or for some medical operation but Dr JP works to do something to ensure these cases wont need in first place trying to bring universal healthcare and education for all.We call up our MLA when our colony roads gets damaged but cannot spare a thought that we have a local representative in name of corporator or panchayat which is actually responsible for it but cannot execute it due to lack of power,privileges and funds. These small things if reformed properly,can ensure a better life for billions of Indians.Our governments are ready to provide crores of compensation to victims of Rail accidents, or crowd stampades but cannot spend lakhs to ensure better facilties to avoid the disaster. Somebody has to look through the symptoms and fix things before they are taken into operation theatre.
Our murky politics and biased media cannot ensure these things to be taken care via electoral win means. Every new political revolution was accompanied by things which Loksatta cannot associate with and is not part of its DNA. I would discuss below with some personalities entered into political arena to bring a change ie. Arvind Kejriwal,NTR,Chiranjeevi.
AAP has the biggest advantage in choosing the battle ground as Delhi.Delhi is a glorified municipality and Kejriwal has no worries on solving agriculture problems,get more investments into state , take care of law & order which are the top 3 issues a govt perception is based on. Adding to it, media bias against Modi , media publicty, freebies gave AAP the edge , which Loksatta cannot do it.You can definitely reduce traffic and some pollution with odd even rule with hundreds of authorities monitoring vehicles but it is not possible every single day.
NTR came like a storm into AP politics unimaginable at that time of 1980s.However, he had a great support from disgruntled Congress leaders , a strong anti incumbency factor and his knack of choosing people battles . Adding to it socalist measures of freebies.
Chiranjeevi , when he started PrajaRajyam and he projected as the change agent.He lost the plot in couple of months and ultimately merged the party into Congress.I dont need to elaborate on his grand failure.
Loksatta has ensured the commitment and conviction remains in the 10 years of party progress and 12 years of being a civil movement earlier .One cannot run a political party without money or media controversy. Loksatta is not built to attract these and cannot loose its DNA to get some visible progress and credit.You can always achieve lot of things when you dont care who gets the credit.Being apolitial yields more results than getting caught in quagmire and myriad political controversies in current day Indian political scenario.
However, I dont think Loksatta would be silent and this platform laid by Dr JP will continue their fight to solve problems. Our current day politics are worse but people actually got used to it . Many of us dont watch India playing cricket if we think we are loosing even if Kohli or Dhoni is batting , we dont watch movies with exceptional acting prowess but has less entertainment in it. Such is politics , we dont support an entity which doesnt provide entertainment ,vote for those who we think will win, rather than people who we want to win. At such times, we cannot afford a statesman and visionary like DR JP to continue his energy wasting in fighting political electoral games . He has to get back to his work , looking into symptoms, start the cure. Iam glad i will continue to be playing my part.
PreScript : This is the first chapter of my novel dealing with Sri Krishna Devaraya, one of the greatest South Indian King. It would be a socio fantasy fiction with Love-Revenge, Literature-Religion and a treasure hunt thriller.
“Devaa !!! get up . Arjun is calling you . How many times should i tell you not to sleep just after lunch. You wont listen to me . See, Mukta is almost ready ” Mrs Lakshmi, a teacher in a private school , just came home from her daily work and snapped at her son just like any Indian mom. They are a middle class family who lives on first floor of their house, which is not too near nor too far from one of the busy road of a good locality in Hyderabad . Mr. Krishna Prasad, a bank manager and the head of this household is yet to come home. Time is half past 4 on a sunny evening and Deva has to leave home in about 3 hours to catch a train ; ‘Deva’ is the name his mother calls him whenever she is angry with him and this alerted him more than the phone calls from his friend Arjun . His sister , Aamukta is already freshened up and is watching some videos of her facebook timeline.
Siddharth Deva and Aamukta are fraternal twins , with Sid (Siddarth) the elder one. They both have just completed Btech third year examinations and have planned for a trip to Hampi before joining some summer coaching for MTech entrance examinations . Hampi, the capital of once glorious South Indian kingom of Vijayanagara and a tourist place in present day Karnataka , is their dreamy disney land longing to visit since long ; influenced by their grandfather swamy’s bedtime stories of Hampi and of legendary Vijayanagara king, Sri Krishna Devaraya. Guruswamy , a 70 year frail old man was employed with ASI and has worked in Hampi for majority of his working life. He was fascinated by the place while excavating those ruins that he did not accept any transfers in his job. The stories of Sri krishna Deva raya battles and conquests, Tenali Ram’s witty puzzle conversations, Alasani Peddana’s intelligence were his bedtime lullabies for Sid and Aamukta. He only agreed for his son Krishna Prasad’s love marriage with Lakshmi after a promise that he will name their future kids. And in due course , the boy child was named Siddharth Deva , having Deva from Sri Krishna Devaraya and Aamukta , named after the king’s greatest literary work ‘Aamuktamalyada’.
Arjun, best buddy of Sid since school days, was initially reluctant to join the trip but changed his mind as his heart couldnt disagree with Asha tagging along. Asha is the best friend of Aamukta ; they met on Day 1 in Engineering college and these 4 hangout regularly. Vardhaan is another friend of Sid who is joining the trip. All the five people have planned to go for a trip after their third year examinations and have settled for destination as Hampi as Sid Aamukta wanted to go to Hampi. They also planned to visit the famous Gandikota gorge, the Grand canyon of India .
Arjun called again and confirmed with Sid that Asha is coming. Sid got angry that he lost a sound afternoon sleep due to Arjun but started packing things for the trip. Sid and Aamukta took an Auto and all 5 have reached kacheguda railway station by 8 :30 PM and are waiting for train to arrive on platform. Asha also has positive feeling towards Arjun but is a bit girl-hesitant to express her feelings. Arjun is not sure and had been planning to talk more to Asha in this trip and is waiting for a right time to move further . Aamukta is the class topper and the main reason for Sid’s scoldings at home for his academic achievements. All 5 study engineering in a prestigious engineering college in Hyderabad and sit in same class of Computer science stream . Vardhaan is the silent guy of the group , does better in studies and is a benchmate of Sid. He is a avid book reader , a movie buff and never misses a chance to explore new things. Sid is listening to music on his ipod and trying to call his grandpa from his mobile phone. Mr.Swamy said he would be come to send off them at Railway station but cannot come to Hampi owing to his old age knee problems. But Mr.Swamy had to cancel that plan too. He has planned everything for this college gang from the people he knew there in Hampi.
Kacheguda – Hubli express arrived on platform as per its time and they took their seats . Sid knows that Hampi trip is probably one thing that would definitely make the old man happy. But he or none of the group knew that as soon as they embarked on the train and train started , they have just started the greatest treasure hunt ever known to modern India, the Pursuit of KOHINOOR OF KRISHNADEVARAYA.
Some years me ago, there was an old man who rallied entire nation against the corrupt practices of Government.
An educated young government servant and excellent oratory leader was with him.This young man created history by being part of an historic political gamechanger which shook the strongest political party and changed politics of India.
The young leader was Laloo Prasad Yadav. And with him is Arvind Kejriwal here in this pic.
Old Man: Jayaprakash Narayan JanataParty , Strongest political party then: Congress ,Time: 1970s
Very rarely is that a vast and diverse country like India witnesses a revolution. After Independence, there were very few changes occured in India on a scale of revolution. We call them notably as White Revolution(Milk) , Green Revolution (Agriculture produce) which changed the food habits of many people. There was a political revolution sometimes called as “Emergency Revolution ” which shook the democracy of India . Then , there was Liberalisation which changed India. Such was a rare moment when Lakhs of people rallied with a frail old man with a Topi to join his fight against CORRUPTION. This “India Against Corruption” produced some good leaders who later went on to pursue their political interests. Arvind kejriwal was the one who was successful in making his political platform a bit reality.
There is no wrong in an activist turning into politician. Jayaprakash Narayan, an ex IAS officer and ran an NGO Loksatta and turned his organisation into a political entity. There are certain limitations for a Non Governmental, Non political entity which cannot be overcome unless there is political power.
When Arvind Kejriwal wanted to start a political party and contested elections, i thought he is intelligent and knew what to do.
When Arvind Kejriwal formed government with the help of Congress , i thought he knew how to do it.
When Arvind Kejriwal left the government in 49 days due to some politically silly reason, i thought he is calculative and risk taker.
When Arvind Kejriwal decided to contest against Narendra Modi and started a war against Ambanis , i thought he is getting adamant , desperate and foolish.
But when Arvind Kejriwal shared the victory cheer with Laloo in Bihar CM Nitish Kumar swearing in ceremony, he has gone mad in power and lost the game.
Yes, Arvind Kejriwal has brought some change and i applaud him for that. Even UPA1 brought some good changes like RTI to curb corruption and initiated MNREGA trying to resolve unemployment issue , the socialist way. AK can publicize that a flyover was constructed in 100 crores less budget but hide the fact that flyover design was modified and he was not the one who modified it. He can publicize that SwacchDelhi will make Delhi Clean but get funds from Central government to do that. He can publicize that Jan Lokpal is ultimate anti corruption tool but just adding a name “Jan” before the existing Lokayukta act that even his fanboys RTI activists dissent due to lack of transparency.He can blame Central Government every small thing that he is incapable of rather than pushing for reforms.He can call hiimself the new progressive politician yet give free sops to people in elections .
He has become the TRP messiah for media which is thirsty ,hungry and angry with Narendra Modi.
He has become the only hope for thousands of NGOs who do dubious work and got their funds curtailed .
He has become the real front end for the grand old congress party which cannot redeem itself and can only be happy seeing its rival BJP going down.
He has become the real hope for some of the parties who were let alone by Modi and BJP in their quest for power.
He will be remembered some one like Morarji Desai or VP Singh who was very capable and lost the game entirely in quest of power . The greatest worry is that this generation will think twice before voting for someone who can bring a political revolution. He pushed political reforms atleast by two decades . The most worrisome is that his AAPTARDs who are with high intelligence and less wisdom and create the most disturbing political discourse on new media platforms.
The good thing is there is still time,he just started his journey and he can redeem himself . He has the entire Delhi Assembly to him and lakhs ov volunteer who can work with him . And be the Good Guy who knew what to do, how to do and DID IT.
TL;DR This post is regarding the recent squashing of NJAC act by Indian Supreme Court .
There are some South Indian films where there is a village head and passes judgements on issues related to that village. And yes , many times the judgments give justice. But then he becomes old and is replaced by his son or his favorite person. We dont feel any discomfort because its usually the hero who plays the new guy role and if not, its the villain who has a hero and a rebellion . What if this really happens in a real life state system ? and let me remind you , are there any heroes in real life ? Would you be comfortable that a person who decides the most contentious issues in your village, is elected by a non transparent mechanism ?
Well, now replace Village with India , and village head with Supreme court judges . Villages might not have written rules but it is as good as our complex legal proceedings and procedures. There is no transparent mechanism on what basis they are appointed to Supreme court and high courts . Yes, Supreme court is Supreme and has delivered justice on lot of issues which were highlighted in media and became a TRP sensation. But there are many instances when an influential entity got justice in their way within the judicial constraints. Also, no one can criticize a Supreme court judgment as its a contempt of court and even considered as sedition sometimes. Yet, people in the heart know 100% Justice is not delivered 100% of all the times. We know persons who have scams of one lakh crores and even after proven guilty , can now be Leader of Opposition in a state. We know persons who got dethroned from Chief minister due to judicial intervention on corruption , yet back to CM chair in an year with you-know-what loopholes .
A former Indian Supreme Court Justice Examines Corruption in the Judiciary here and called Supreme court workings “the best kept secret in the country”
Prashant Bhushan , noted activist says out of the last 16 to 17 Chief Justices, half have been corrupt;Link is here . Not all Supreme court judges have declared their assets ( Link ) and they only describe personal and spouse assets and not other family members. Currently , Supreme court judges are appointed by Supreme court judges and this system is called Collegium.
Now some Civics 101; Legislative branch of government (i.e politicians) have a check every 5 years and are accountable to public and judiciary. Executive branch of Government (i.e IAS and other bureaucracy) are accountable to public and Legislative can control it. But why is the Judiciary exempt from check and accountability completely. There is a process called impeachment but it requires 2/3rd majority of legislatures and usually doesnt happen ; Only 2 judges have been so far . But is it not better to avoid bad than to mitigate them with such extreme process ? So, how do you ensure this close knit people organization which impacts a 1.2 billion nation’s present and future, be as transparent as possible ?
NJAC or National Judicial Appointment Commission was an act, initiated by Loksatta Jayaprakash Narayan , proposed and prepared by three eminent Retired Supreme court jurists , passed by Parliament, signed by President and ratified by 20 states as of now. This ensures that Supreme court judges, Chief justice of India, High court chief justices , High court judges , Judges transfers are recommended by a 6 member panel consisting of Chief Justice of India, Two Senior judges of Supreme court (next in line to Chief justice) , Union Law minister, Two eminent persons for a duration of 3 years recommended by Prime Minster, Leader of Opposition, Chief Justice .
Why are we involving politicians here ? Arent they corrupt and can influence judiciary ? Isn’t Judiciary supposed to be Independent as per constitution ?
Only 1 out of 6 is a politician in NJAC and its the Law minister of India. Judiciary still has the majority vote and there is a veto power for 2 of NJAC members . So, a bad judge even if he is favorite of all judges cannot make it as Law minster can object . Vice Versa , a favourite of politicians cannot make it as Judiciary is majority and 5 other people have veto power.
Yes, as per constitution “Judiciary has to be independent ” and is part of basic doctrine which is not allowed to change . But Independence can also be interpreter as Functionality and NJAC does not practically impact Independence of Judiciary.
Now some technicalities; As per Article 368 of Indian Constitution, any constitutional amendment pertaining to the Supreme Court and High Courts require special majority in the Parliament and ratification by half the states. And NJAC successfully passed all stages and got accent by the President of India. That means the whole process of framing NJAC is absolutely constitutional which is now termed ‘unconstitutional’ by the Supreme Court. But, the process of Supreme Court repealing NJAC is also constitutional.
Article 50 talks only about separation between executive and judiciary: “The State shall take steps to separate the judiciary from the executive in the public services of the State”. Article 50 is within part IV of the constitution, i.e. it is one of the articles of the Directive Principles of State Policy (DPSP). DPSP are non-justiciable in nature and therefore, in my opinion even if NJAC Act violate the article 50, it cannot be a basis for declaring NJAC Act as unconstitutional. DPSP are positive obligation of the state and not the negative obligations.
Almost all the major democratic countries (Link for some list) have higher judiciary elected as transparent as possible with sufficient checks and balances with involvement of Executive or Legislative branches of Government except INDIA. Judiciary is probably the most confused , enigmatic branch of Governance in India. Unless, there is transparency and proper process , we cannot expect for more reforms to resolve the pending 3 crore cases.
“In retrospect, the events of the 1970s and 1980s (Events preceeding to Emergency) justified the Supreme Court taking unto itself the appointment of judges, in the interest of keeping the judiciary independent. But times have changed. The judiciary’s independence is no longer in doubt. And India is a much more mature democracy, whose citizens deserve better. It is time for the highest court to loosen its grip a little, and let the pendulum, which had gone from one extreme to the other, swing back to the middle. “
I am not sure of superlatives to describe the grandeur experience titled as “Bahubali : The beginning “ . Its probably an experience i have never felt on a big screen . There were times when i watched 300 or gladiator or Benhur but this is something special and more importantly natively different. Its probably a perfect match to Hollywood’s grandeur and Indian cinema’s tales and story telling .This film was weaven like childhood chandamama stories and comic books and showcased on a canvas where it was what a normal person can imagine . After the film , there is only one thing which everyone might say “ Bow to Rajamouli for his vision and execution “ .
One cannot miss such extravaganza on an Indian screen. Rajamouli known for his larger than life characters in the movie has taken this to many levels high .One cannot be nothing; but be in awe of Prabhas’s Bahubali intelligent and physical strength, Shrewdness and Ruthlessness of Rana’s BhallalaDeva , Regalness of Ramyakrishna’s Sivagami, Loyalty of Satyaraj’s Kattappa, Beauty of Tamannah’s Avantika , Irreplaceable Nazar’s Bijjaladeva and Subdued anger of Anushka’s Devasena characters . Music by MM Keeravani is probably the biggest asset closely followed by VFX . Never before on an Indian screen was such a idea was constructed to such close perfection.
Spoilers below :
The goosebumps start when Sivagami calls “Parameshwara “ while asking to save the child ; raises a level when Bahubali lifts SivaLinga and places under falls ; gets a fast tempo when the avalanches start and Bahubali- Avantika escapes in a James Bond style , moves on to another level of cinematic experience when a living king gets his statue erected with crowd chanting his rival’s name loud & reverberating , makes the heart rush when Katappa takes Bahubali foot on his head , pumps up when Sivudu screams “Nenu evarini ” , gets us stuck to the seat watching the war strategies, war weapons, war commands , takes us to the battlefield with Bahubali and Bhallaladeva , ends only when the stamp of SS Rajamouli appears on the screen.
Ramya Krishna reminded Neelambari of Narasimha and did a one level above performance with “ Ide naa maata, Naa maate Shaashanam “ . Rana cannot be acknowledged in words and we cannot even think of anyone who can does this character so awesomely ferocious . That two glances Anushka gives when katappa calls her mad and when crowd chants Bahubali are enough to make her impact in the film. Tamannah sizzles as the warrior princes and gets us awestruck when she starts pushing the sword into solider’s heart I dont know how can one portray Bahubali with so intensity and so subtlety as Prabhas can . There cannot be words for this performance .
VFX made sure our fantasies are as fantastic as possible with background music backing the vision so awesomely that we are in a different world and traveling in a universe called “Bahubali “ .
There are some moments in movie where you cannot stop applauding the storytelling craft of the director and gets enthralled in being part of an experience never before. No one else can put an item song in such a film making it so beautifully choreographed, that tight moment you know when Bhallaladeva leaves the rope but that cannot be the end , that second you know if Bahubali kills Kalakeya , story would be too plain , that subtle humour between Bahubali and Bhallaladeva which can go wrong and many like that
War scenes makes you revere the film with the weapons you can only imagine , strategies you can only envision and action sequences choreographed like you cannot even think of. And he made it to draw inspiration from lots of things we know ; having Devasena captured like Sita and not giving up hope , Kalakeyas as some kind of Rakshasas (Or as Wildings from Game of Thrones ) , Bhallaladeva as ferociously strengthy as Ravana or Dhuryodhana , Kattappa as ever obedient Bheeshma (or as slave warriors of Game of Thrones ) .
Rajamouli has ensured people be interested and wait with more excitement for next installment by having the unthinkable twist at the end .