7

Y – YOUTH | #AtoZChallenge

Y – Youth | #AtoZChallenge #BlogchatterA2Z

The fourth phase of voting has just concluded and the numbers coming in from metropolitan places like Mumbai aren’t much to cheers. Like previous years it is a pretty dismal turnout given the constant push by celebrities to go out there and vote.

India is a young country and by 2020, youth will make up 34% of the country’s population. Since the general elections of 2014, about 45 million Indians have become eligible to vote which forms about 5% of the total voters that would be going to vote in 2019.

Going by the analysis of the last election, youth played a significant part in the current ruling party coming to power. With their social media engineering, the urban and the youth take the center stage for their promotional strategies.

With so many new voters in the fray, issues of unemployment, education and skill development should have been the main topics of discussions. The top five states that have added the maximum number of young voters are Bihar, West Bengal, Rajasthan, Maharashtra and UP. Going by how the states voted in 2014 and then in their respective assembly elections – these states may hold the key to the throne with youth playing a crucial role.

To give you a perspective how their vote is important, out of the total seats about 211 seats i.e. 37% of the seats come from the top ten states that have the maximum number of new voters. You can also understand their criticality by the pitches of the PM for them to go out and vote and regularly dropping hints to vote for him.

The irony is that with the unemployment at its highest in the last 45 years and the education budget being regularly cut for the past five years, the real talking point still remains the Hindu-Muslim divide and Ram Mandir even among the youth.

I am yet to see a single debate on the skill development program initiated by the government. A data suggests not even 3% of all the people trained got a credible source of income. This surely is going to increase restless and hence frustration among the youth. The constant roughing up of students and messing up issues related to prominent universities isn’t helping either.

The issue of Kashmir is always kept on the boil using the youth machinery. Whether they pelt stones or pick up arms, there are underlying strategies definitely going wrong at some level otherwise why would so many young people choose this path.

In the cases of lynching, if you closely observe, it is usually the misguided uneducated youth that commits such heinous acts of violence. Even in the lynching of Akhlaq, the prime accused was the son of a BJP leader, who is just 20 years old. All this is propagated on the pretense of hate.

The youth comes with a lot of political uncertainty. It can swing either way or might do a completely different thing like in Kerala where more than one lakh students didn’t fill the religion and caste column in admission forms.

They are often better informed, more educated and tech-savvy than the rest of their family, and they can take a stand that goes against the family’s established political leanings.

The young voters are the most vulnerable too. They can easily be misguided by the populist sentiment and might not have the right rationale behind their thinking. With so much of information bombardment from so many touch points that it is practically impossible for the young tech-savvy voter to be away from the noise.

One thing I find in the youth of today that most of them are ill-informed and not well read and the government isn’t helping either when they are hell-bent on changing historical facts and not releasing current tenures’ performance data.

There are days when I think that this atrocious amount of free data at such cheap prices would turn out to be exactly like what drugs did to an entire generation of Punjab and Haryana. It is the latest addiction and the empty playing grounds and each neck submerged in smartphones are a prime example of it.

Everybody says that ‘Youth is the future’ but I am afraid if things continue like this, then the same youthful energy will take a perilous route that will take the country in a completely negative direction.

To all the first time voters this time, make sure when you vote, keep in mind your future and the future of this country.

For all those who feel data is the new drugs,

For all those who know that there is massive unemployment,

For all those who feel youth is being used for political gains

And

For all those who still feel that youth is the future…

It’s not a goodbye,

But it’s a GOOD BYE.

Manas ‘Sameer’ Mukul

This is the 25th post for the #AtoZChallenge #BlogchatterA2Z. My theme in Politics Category is ‘IPL – Indian Parliamentary League’, where I would be covering some relevant issues with the General Elections 2019 through the course of 26 posts.

Read the previous post here: IPL – Indian Parliamentary League

Please do visit tomorrow for the final post with letter ‘Z’

I am also taking part in the #AtoZChallenge #BlogchatterA2Z using another theme –‘Dubai – City of Gold‘. If you love travel head over to the Travel Theme and share your feedback.

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4

X – Xenophobia | #AtoZChallenge

X – Xenophobia | #AtoZChallenge #BlogchatterA2Z

Something very interesting happened yesterday. A well-known CA who does commentary on issues related to politics and economics and is currently a part-time director of RBI tweeted or I should say re-tweeted a post, which had two pictures. In one there was a crowd gathering holding saffron flags and in the other, the crowd was with green colored flags. The text on the tweet was ‘choose wisely which India you want’. It also suggested that the pic with saffron flags was from PM’s rally in Varanasi and the other one is from RG’s rally in Wayanad.

Now there are a couple of things which are really disturbing here; one that the pic which is being suggested is from Wayanad, is actually from a different rally held long back that was conducted by Indian Union Muslim League and the second is that a person of this stature and repute is sharing such fake and false propaganda news.

The tweet

There is a pattern to this where more and more people with influential power with inclination to different political parties doing it. The sad part is there is no check to it and even educated people are falling prey to it. Followers (read worshipers) of this person will automatically believe whatever is being shared. Nobody takes the pain to verify what is true or not especially when you are being bombarded with so much data every minute.

I am not saying that only the ruling party is doing that, even the opposition is a culprit of propagating false stuff but if you remember these things became a part of regular discourse during 2014 campaigning. The much-hyped Gujarat development model and the pictures related to it were circulating everywhere. Later it was found that most of them were either from Singapore or China.

Xenophobia is defined as, ‘Dislike of or prejudice against people from other countries.’

The major issue with this post is the usage of a color to fuel your propaganda. There is a constant attempt to malign one color and its association with a certain neighboring country. I know, India and Pakistan are not friends but then the government in power needs to behave like that. The official documents don’t say that it is an enemy state – I guess we should start from there. Five years was a long enough time with the kind of majority that they could have brought in such ordinances.

We need to categorically understand that we are enemies with that country and not that color. Every time there is a green flag being waved with a moon and a star in between, their supporters go overboard and start shouting Pakistan Pakistan.

A banner from J&K

For the past five years during each election whether assembly, panchayat or general, Pakistan has been a major issue. When they feel that the questions are becoming too troublesome for them and the real issues are facing really hard in their faces they start looking towards Pakistan. Nobody is in love with Pakistan, but when you keep sending wishes on their national day after the Pulwama attack then you are putting your intentions under the scanner. I know the loyal followers will start crying that it was a strategy. If it was strategy then stop making a fool out of common masses and stop spreading this hatred and fear against one color.

I am not a supporter of RG but to be frank let’s assume; even if it was a green flag and it was being waved in India and till the time it is not a Pakistan flag – I don’t see anything wrong in it. It is the flag of a recognized party that has, with proper documentation, submitted its symbol and flag to the election commission and got it approved.

You want to know what ironical and hypocritical – go and check the flags and campaign banners that the ruling party is floating in Jammu & Kashmir. Do you see a prominent color in that and did you notice how conveniently they have done away with the saffron? That is politics for you, my friend. When the PM goes and addresses a rally in J&K he proudly thumps his chest for arresting army soldiers who fired bullets against the stone-pelters – because that will promise him votes with that population. When he flies back to Delhi he abuses the stone-pelters for the same reason.

The PM, during the last assembly elections of Gujarat, kept invoking nationalism by bringing Pakistan into every speech. He even went on to say that the previous PM was in a meeting with Pakistani delegates and was involved in anti-national conspiracies. Well, for one moment if all this is true, then isn’t this failure of intelligence agencies in the first place? Secondly, why are these people roaming free – or was it just to make a mockery of people’s sentiments during the election?

The xenophobic propagation that Muslims are foreigners and they invaded us is to constantly deny that Aryans weren’t foreigners. If you have done a thorough study of ancient history, then you will realize that Aryans are as much foreigners as Muslims are. By their logic shouldn’t we hate British too – since they also ruled us for two centuries and nobody exploited us like they did – What color should we give to them and then start boycotting that too?

But to say that Aryans were foreigner would imply that Hinduism is foreign too. In fact, the current form of Hinduism being practiced is way different from what is there in Vedas. This Brahmanism of the religion and the appearance of Gods like Vishnu and Shiva take place 1000 years after the Vedas. The highlighting of the fact that Buddha is an incarnation of Vishnu is to subdue the conflicts of Hinduism and Buddhism. Going by the history of Buddhism, it left the country for about two thousand years following the conflicts.

While visiting the Temple of the Tooth Relic in Kandy, Sri Lanka, I came across some amazing facts. Hindu kings tried everything possible and fought wars to destroy the relics of Buddha, so much so that they had to finally take it to places like Sri Lanka and Thailand to keep them safe.

Quoting Meghnad Desai from his essay, ‘it is not the idea of Hindu nationalism that is worrying. It is that the government will be the propagator of this particular view.’

I am sure Pakistan will soon die its own death if they continue on the same path and the government will then find a new color to hate.

You need to think hard where you want this discourse to go ahead. I am putting this humorously but if this continues that time is not far away that we would be only left with carrots to eat and will have to boycott every green vegetable.

Just make sure when you vote this time it is not for green or saffron but for your present, future and most importantly your kids future and whether you want hate to propagate or otherwise.

For all those who like the green,

For all those who are hate fake news,

For all those who like the saffron,

And

For all those who are xenophobic…

It’s not a goodbye,

But it’s a GOOD BYE.

Manas ‘Sameer’ Mukul

This is the 24th post for the #AtoZChallenge #BlogchatterA2Z. My theme in Politics Category is ‘IPL – Indian Parliamentary League’, where I would be covering some relevant issues with the General Elections 2019 through the course of 26 posts.

Read the previous post here: IPL – Indian Parliamentary League

Please do visit tomorrow for the next post with letter ‘Y’

I am also taking part in the #AtoZChallenge #BlogchatterA2Z using another theme –‘Dubai – City of Gold‘. If you love travel head over to the Travel Theme and share your feedback.

6

W – WOMEN | #AtoZChallenge

W – Women | #AtoZChallenge #BlogchatterA2Z

Today morning I read a report about two women being abducted and raped by a man and filmed throughout the process to extract money. If this wasn’t the terrible part, the wife of the man involved in raping the victims was the one who filmed these women. Hence I decided to dedicate this post on the important issue of women and their participation in politics.

At the time of every General Elections, political parties come out with their manifestos and starting wooing the voters. Over the years they have tried to woo the women voters on the name of Women’s Reservation Bill. The honest reality is for the past 23 years since it’s initial proposal in 1996, the Women’s Reservation Bill is still floating around with no concrete steps being taken on it.

The Women’s Reservation Bill would have reserved 33% of the total seats in both the houses for women candidates. The stats tell a different story.

As of data from the first phase of elections 2019, less than 8% of the total 1,271 candidates contesting are women. As of 2014, there are only 11.8% women in Lok Sabha and 11.4 % of in Rajya Sabha, according to the Inter-Parliamentary Union.

The current Lok Sabha has Just 12.6% of 543 current members as women, far lower than the world average of 24.3%. You will be shocked to know that we are even behind so-called extremist nations like Afghanistan, Pakistan and Bangladesh where the representation is 27.3%, 20.2% and 20.6% respectively.

Only two parties from the current political fray have agreed to field around 33% women candidates. BJD of Odisha announced 33% seats for women candidates while TMC of West Bengal is giving around 41%. The story has another side to it as well. While the claim of BJD is right what it doesn’t tell is that out of these candidates about half of them are from political families and lineages.

Research by Amrita Basu in Kanchan Chandra’s ‘Democratic Dynasties: State, Party and Family in Contemporary Indian Politics’ finds that 43% of the women elected to Lok Sabha had family members precede them in politics. Surprisingly, only 19% of male MPs were from dynastic families.

The current ruling party made a huge political issue of a gruesome rape of a girl in the national capital. I still remember the towns being painted with slogans of how the current government will eradicate or at least try to curb crimes against women.

But still, cases of violence against women increased by 40 % from 2012 to 2016, according to the National Crime Records Bureau. A woman was raped every 13 minutes, a bride was murdered for dowry every 69 minutes, and six women were gang-raped every day in India in 2016.

Adding to the rhetoric, in the 2014 General Elections, BJP gave only 8.8% tickets to women candidates and Congress just 12.9%. In the Karnataka elections in May 2018, only 6 of the 224 candidates fielded by the BJP were women less than 3% of total candidature while Congress miserably hovering around 4%.

Since the first Lok Sabha of 1951 where women participation was only 4.5%, it has precariously grown to 12.15% in 2014. While the voter turnout has considerably improved over this period, it is still somewhere around 66% for women.

A lot can be said about the males of the dominant society but with powerful female leaders too, the situation still remains grim. You would see women politician taking sexist potshots at other female candidates. The whole psyche is rotten we all know that…how these powerful politicians view and perceive women is simply deplorable.

In the afternoon in front of media, they would be touching their feet out of respect while during nights they would be disrobing them in their rave parties at their farmhouses. We have case after case where a women politician or women closely linked to a politician is running a flesh trade. Government-run shelter homes for adolescent girls have been converted into their playhouses where the screams and cries will never escape the massive political walls.

Not all is grim and there is still some hope.

United Nations University World Institute for Development Economics Research’s (UNU-WIDER) work last year with data from 4,265 state assembly constituencies across four election cycles found that female representatives report a higher economic growth, about 1.8% more annually, than male legislators.

This supports previous findings by IndiaSpend, which reported women panchayat leaders in Tamil Nadu invested 48% more money than their male counterparts in building roads and improving access. Another study by the United Nations found that women-led panchayats delivered 62% higher drinking water projects than those led by men.

The Panchayati Raj systems exhibit a far more fair and gender-neutral playing ground for women – While the reservation for women is only for 33% of the seats, women make up 46% of the elected representatives in institutions.

Between 1957(the earliest data available) and 2015, the total number of women contestants has increased from 45 to 668. That is a whopping 15-fold increase in the number of women contesting. If we looked at the data for male contestants for the same years, the number has increased from 1474 to 7583, a 5-fold increase.

That means more and more women are participating and are willing to take up politics.

In 1971, the success rate for men contesting elections was 18%, whereas it was 34% for women, which is twice that of men. For the current Lok Sabha, the success rate was 6.4% for men and 9.3% for women.

All I can say is for women to improve the condition of women in the society and politics, more of them have to come out and join the mainstream politics otherwise the male dominant structure will continue to use them for their gains.

The current ideology of extremism doesn’t help either. Everyone knows how they view and treat women where they are nothing more than a commodity.

For all the women out there…please go out and vote and make sure your vote counts.

 

For all those who believe in gender equality,

For all those who think women should join politics,

For all those who treat women with respect,

And

For all those who love women as they are…

It’s not a goodbye,

But it’s a GOOD BYE.

Manas ‘Sameer’ Mukul.

This is the 23th post for the #AtoZChallenge #BlogchatterA2Z. My theme in Politics Category is ‘IPL – Indian Parliamentary League’, where I would be covering some relevant issues with the General Elections 2019 through the course of 26 posts.

Read the previous post here: IPL – Indian Parliamentary League

Please do visit tomorrow for the next post with letter ‘X’

I am also taking part in the #AtoZChallenge #BlogchatterA2Z using another theme –‘Dubai – City of Gold‘. If you love travel head over to the Travel Theme and share your feedback.

 

6

P – Political Candidates | #AtoZChallenge

P – Political Candidates | #AtoZChallenge #BlogchatterA2Z

In continuation with the yesterdays’ post, I will discuss the political candidates and candidature of the country, when we discuss what are the options and whom to choose from it is a lot dependent on us. Some might say we vote for what is available, I believe its how and whom we vote decides the kind of candidates being fielded.

A terror accused, against which the NIA has admitted that they have sufficient proof, gets a ticket to contest the election. I wonder if any other party would have done the same, the whole world would have gone berserk saying that they are anti-nationals and supportive of such forces.

It is high time that we as voters start thinking about the kind of candidates we want to see. If we vote for the current lot whether from any party, not based on the kind of work they have done but just some sloganeering then we don’t have the right to blame anyone else.

Whether it is a dynast or a megalomaniac, no one is purchasing a seat in Lok Sabha. They are all contesting and it is the majority of the people that vote and send them in. So the elections should be on issues that directly concern us. Even if we can’t choose the candidates, then at least we can pose the right questions to the ones already contesting. Aren’t they answerable?

There is a comical trend that has emerged that highlights both the hypocrisy of a party as well as its supporters. A person is accused of so many things only and only if he or she is a part of the opposition. The same candidates when they are in the opposition party are looked as criminals but the moment they join the current ruling party, a halo emerges around them signifying their innocence and it is then loudly proclaimed that they were criminals only till they were in the opposition.

The candidature of a candidate should be immediately barred or canceled as soon as they migrate from one party to another after a particular election has taken place. People voted for a symbol and the ideology he represents but then a mockery of the system is made, when the next day the candidate jumps to the other side. Election after election we are seeing this and it is a huge cause behind the current horse-trading scenario of politicians.

The much hyped ‘Joota Kand’ that took place between two gladiators of the ruling party. Did anyone try to listen to the charges that they were making against each other? Everyone got lost in counting the number of times one has honored the other with the shoe rather than focusing on the grave accusations made by both on each other. That’s a live proof that nobody is a saint even if they are under the flag of a particular color.

I grew up with a notion that whether you do good work or not but to have criminal inclination is a necessary quality if one has to succeed in politics and that’s the sad reality. Look at the kind of charges against candidates. There are a wide variety of serious charges against them including rape, murder, terrorist activity, and sedition and so on. The system even corrupts the ones who start clean with good intentions. Try to remember the time when we were in school and the teacher used to ask what do you want to become when you grow up…and nobody answered a politician.

Why to only blame the politicians when we ourselves are at fault on so many accounts? The moment our relative or someone close comes to power as a politician or a bureaucrat or even a government official, we try every possible bit to get our work done through them however illegal it may be.

Even the Supreme Court intervened in the matter but with no result. The percentage of tainted candidates who won in the last election was around 35% and it is definitely on the rise in 2019. Everyone from the BJP to Congress, from DMK to AIDMK, each and every political party is a culprit of that.

The political class has played with the law and rules in such a shameful manner that you will be shocked to know that currently, a person who has served less than two years in prison can also contest elections.

We are so dumb that the moment a movie celebrity joins politics and becomes a candidate, everyone blindly votes for them, knowing that they will hardly visit their constituency forget about visiting Lok Sabha and raising the people’s issues.

Nobody questions the returning candidates on their previous performance. Forget questioning, the candidates themselves know that they can’t highlight their own work otherwise they will be shown the mirror royally and hence they play divisive tactics.

I am not saying that every candidate is a criminal but somehow the Good Samaritan gets lost in the glitz, glamour, and influence of a criminal. A Nobel man would never be able to generate the amount of cash and muscle power required to win an election and hence the illicit and immoral will keep coming back to power. The political parties will do everything possible to keep it corrupt, the latest electoral bonds is a prime example of it.

The fallacy lies within us. Till the time we are going to vote for such much-acclaimed candidates the political parties will keep fielding them. We need to look beyond caste, creed, family, lineage, religion and focus on the issues that directly are of concern otherwise the future of your kids’ education will keep going into the hands of those educational ministers who lied about their educational qualifications under oath.

For all those who are fed up of the current lot,

For all those who vote for tainted candidates,

For all those who vote for celebrities,

And

For all those who want a change in the political candidature…

It’s not a goodbye,

But it’s a GOOD BYE.

Manas ‘Sameer’ Mukul

This is the 16th post for the #AtoZChallenge #BlogchatterA2Z. My theme in Politics Category is ‘IPL – Indian Parliamentary League’, where I would be covering some relevant issues with the General Elections 2019 through the course of 26 posts.

Read the previous post here: IPL – Indian Parliamentary League

Please do visit tomorrow for the next post with letter ‘Q’

I am also taking part in the #AtoZChallenge #BlogchatterA2Z using another theme –‘Dubai – City of Gold‘. If you love travel head over to the Travel Theme and share your feedback.

4

O – Opposition | #AtoZChallenge

O – Opposition | #AtoZChallenge #BlogchatterA2Z

Indians are the big fans of cinema – in fact, it flows in their veins. The recent blockbuster KGF saw a downtrodden guy from the slums making it to the top. Everybody loved the heroics and the movie became a blockbuster. Nobody talks about his ways to achieve things. That is how the ruling party is setting the current narrative.

Every time you question them about the policies and failures of the government and they come back with the same rhetorical answer, ‘If not Modi then who?’

Have you noticed how during every conversation with any BJP member they begin the dialogue by saying ‘Modiji ke netritva me’ (under the leadership of Modi) suggesting and trying to portray that each and every work has been done by him? So that means all the other ministers in the government are useless because at the end of the day whether its decision like Demonetization, PM is taking it or whether it is the construction of roads or whether the sale of spectrum, everything, and anything are only decided by the supreme commander.

This whole idea that only one individual is superior and not even that ‘idea’ is too dangerous. It is actually equivalent to something that they preach against – not to vote for one family while asking for a vote for one man.

I have no objection to the BJP coming back to power…that’s their democratic right but saying that PM is the only option is illogical. When you vote, you vote for a symbol and not for an individual, if that is going to be a reality then let’s remove the logo or the name of the party and simply write a four-letter word on the EVM. They won’t consider even a performing minister like Gadkari because they have set their narrative in such a way.

Where was this wave before 2013? He was nowhere with respective to the national political scenario but with directions from their Nagpur head office, it changed overnight. I am from UP and the same thing happened here. Everybody here was so convinced who the next CM would be but just before the oath-taking ceremony the name was changed and we now know who the CM is. There are reports that claim that the nameplate of a candidate was even made but with a call from Nagpur the city slept with a name for CM and woke up to an altogether different.

If you observe the political spectrum it has more or less remained the same over the past two decades. If you observe even closer you will find that whichever state had an alternate people have voted for them. Isn’t it ironical, a wave makes you win at national level disappoints you at the state level.

The options are available you just have to look beyond biases. When it comes choosing for a nation we should see the ideology and not one individual. Didn’t the same thing happen in 1974 when the slogan was coined, ‘India is Indira and Indira is India’ and we know what followed in 1975. That was the perfect example that even the supreme leader can go drastically wrong.

When you ask BJP members and ministers they will say that the prime minister gets angry if he is asked questions. To question someone means asking for accountability and that he can go wrong. The narrative that there isn’t any choice or alternative is based on a fallacy that he can’t go wrong or he isn’t vulnerable.

It has also to do with the army of bootlickers that are surrounding him. They hardly give him the correct picture and just to save berths for them to keep on egging him on whatever path he chooses. To claim that he is superior to everyone or he is the most intellectual of all is just their narrative. Saddam became ‘Saddam’ because of the spineless stooges he kept, who always appreciated him in all his actions.

Let’s not go far away, a current politician who is serving a term for his sins brought so much glory for the Indian Railways. Since independence, railways performed the best under him and the only time when it became profitable – he was invited to the most prestigious institutes around the globe to give an insight into his strategies.

What this has done in the current tenure is the lack of accountability. I am yet to see a minister being sacked for their performance. Whichever ministry you pick, the moment they are questioned for their actions they start looking at one individual and then everybody seems to get blinded with the aura he is exuding. Just remember he is no God.

The opposition was never so weak but there are options and if there aren’t then we should create some but if you say that a particular individual is great but their ideology of hate is bad then you are fooling yourself. A person who spent 50 years of his life dedicatedly working for an ideology, how can that person not have the same thought process. It’s all about how you package, brand and market.

I think a lot is in the hands of the media to start a wave and then decide which wave blows in what direction. We have been seeing the character assassination and character rebuilding of so many people over the years with the simple use of media. A once hated superstar, by media, is now a messiah, all thanks to how they portray him.

Since I began with a movie example I will end also with one. Have you seen the movie Shaurya starring Kay Kay Menon and Rahul Bose? If not then watch it. Even if you don’t catch the whole movie just watch the monologue in the end by Menon and you will understand what I am trying to say. It is not necessary that a person who has family involves in corruption and a person who doesn’t have any monetary interest be always right. There are other reasons too and some of them are imbibed in their ideology.

All I can say is the opposition needs to take a cue from Bollywood and we have seen the mightiest fail and fall.

For all those who believe that opposition is weak,

For all those against anarchy,

For all those who believe in democracy,

And

For all those who believe there are alternatives…

It’s not a goodbye,

But it’s a GOOD BYE.

Manas ‘Sameer’ Mukul

This is the 15th post for the #AtoZChallenge #BlogchatterA2Z. My theme in Politics Category is ‘IPL – Indian Parliamentary League’, where I would be covering some relevant issues with the General Elections 2019 through the course of 26 posts.

Read the previous post here: IPL – Indian Parliamentary League

Please do visit tomorrow for the next post with letter ‘P’

I am also taking part in the #AtoZChallenge #BlogchatterA2Z using another theme –‘Dubai – City of Gold‘. If you love travel head over to the Travel Theme and share your feedback.

4

N – National Education | #AtoZChallenge

N – National Education | #AtoZChallenge #BlogchatterA2Z

India is one of the youngest countries of the world with about 38% of the population below the age of 18 years and the average age somewhere around 29 years. With so much young population India has a tremendous opportunity to outgrow some of the major western economies that are being laggard behind because of their aging population. The countries like Spain and Italy have average ages around 45.

For that young population to contribute to nation building education plays the most crucial role along with basic necessities of life. With the right education and guidance, they can enhance their skills and contribute to the nation. But the stark reality is; issues like ‘Education’ aren’t being even discussed at the time of the election. It is one of the things that have fared badly under the current regime.

During the 2014 elections, their manifesto stated – “Education must create minds free from superstitions, hatred, and violence and become an important vehicle to cement national unity, social cohesion and religious amity. Our endeavor should be to inculcate moral, ethical and humanistic values in the individuals and the society.” It laid a lot of emphasis on increasing the expenditure on education and take the total contribution to 6% of the GDP.

The reality is that during the initial four years it has continuously declined with a marginal increase in the last year. The current overall expenditure stands around 3.5%. It’s startling to notice with so much underperformance in this sector there’s hardly any talk on these issues during the current elections. They are back to their ways of Saffron v\s Green dividing.

They began with a swash-buckling minister whose education itself was under question and the fact of the matter is she lied under oath in the 2014 elections. It was because of authoritarian assaults and mishandling of cases like Rohith Vemula, JNU, BHU and so on that she was removed overnight. I still remember the sight when in Lok Sabha she declared herself to be a bigger mother of Vemula than her real mother and how she would be ready to be beheaded if she is found wrong. Well, the irony is that the government made a committee to look into the matter and you will find it comical that the committee consisted of only ONE member.

A plethora of new IIMs and IITs have been started with most of the seats remaining vacant. On one hand, it is not cost-beneficial, on the other, it simply dilutes the brand of the institution. We don’t want our IIMs and IITs to become the Amitys of the world, with all due respect to Amity.

Another scheme, to increase funding in national institutions was brought in with the aim of increasing their overall global ranking. To this date, the government is yet to release any data as to how much funding was released, what is its effect, has the ranking of any institutions jumped?

I didn’t anyone question the government when they awarded a private institute, ‘Institute of Eminence’ for which the foundation is yet to be laid and aiding them with a grant. How justified is that? This is all too much visible but the enigma is in the blindness of the followers.

Since the new National Education Policy promotes the agenda of privatization, commercialization and communalization it will simply accelerate the existing culture of loot by private institutions. Barring a single government in Delhi, no state or national government has come out in the open and spoken about the absurd rising prices of educating a child. The proposed NEP clearly disagrees with the constitutional vision of a common education system.

When we were in school, our parents used to evaluate public educational institutions too, but this has seen a tremendous decline. The previous Government of Rajasthan had decided to operate 225 schools on public-private partnership (PPP) model, which was nothing but handing over public schools to the private sector. Similarly, the previous BJP Madhya Pradesh government had planned to close about 15,000 government schools and in Maharashtra, the state government has decided to close some 13,905 schools that have a student count of less than 20.

The last budget from the FM highlighted a shift in providing the aide to a government institution. Now they will be treated as loans. All it will do is convert public education institutions into commercial units with an aim to generate profits.

With RSS figures now at the helm of key educational bodies of India, a systematic communalization of education is being done. For instance, I saw that they have simply changed the facts of history where they have depicted Maharana Pratap victorious during the war of Haldighati – that is way off from what actually happened. They are rewriting history just to suit their narrative of hate.

The steep cuts in funding for research is another key issue. When students protest against it they are dealt with force and when things become unmanageable for them they declare not even the students but the whole institute as anti-national. Can you believe the institute that has given the largest number of civil servants to the country is now tagged anti-national?

If the government had been really serious about the promises made in its manifesto there wouldn’t have been so many teaching positions vacant in almost every institute. Don’t forget that all this is laying the foundation for the future of India and if you want to rule the country in times to come, this is definitely going to backfire.

Forget about the left-wingers and neutrals, what about the right-wingers. Do they don’t want their children to get a proper education or they are simply satisfied with them taking to the streets and brandishing swords on every Hindu festival? The ball is now in your court for what future you want for your child.

For all those who still have hope,

For all those who believe every child should be educated,

For all those against the commercialization of education,

And

For all those who believe the current education policies should change…

It’s not a goodbye,

But it’s a GOOD BYE.

Manas ‘Sameer’ Mukul

This is the 14th post for the #AtoZChallenge #BlogchatterA2Z. My theme in Politics Category is ‘IPL – Indian Parliamentary League’, where I would be covering some relevant issues with the General Elections 2019 through the course of 26 posts.

Read the previous post here: IPL – Indian Parliamentary League

Please do visit tomorrow for the next post with letter ‘O’

I am also taking part in the #AtoZChallenge #BlogchatterA2Z using another theme –‘Dubai – City of Gold‘. If you love travel head over to the Travel Theme and share your feedback.

8

M – Media | #AtoZChallenge

M – Media | #AtoZChallenge #BlogchatterA2Z

There are four pillars of the Indian Democracy – Judiciary, Executive, Legislature and Press. With the evolution and with technology taking over along with the bombardment of media houses and news channels, I believe the fourth pillar can now be called ‘Media’.

The main role of the fourth pillar is impartial reporting and creating transparency of how the other three pillars are performing, spreading awareness till the last village of India and informing every citizen what is happening in the country in the political, economic and social spectrum.

In an ideal democracy for proper functioning, all these pillars should perform efficiently and independently. Each of the pillars should be given equal importance and no one should dominate any other. In America, judiciary overpowers everyone and in UK it’s the legislature that is the dominant force. Hence the question arises – Is the media playing its role properly?

Ownership of media houses plays a critical role in deciding which way their narrative and propaganda will be inclined. How can one ensure transparency, honesty and fairness when the owner of an established and renowned media house gets a Rajya Sabha ticket from a political party? It is impossible to expect it.

As of now, there are more than 400 news channels including regional language ones. This makes them among the most powerful tools and with its activity becomes the center of every other pillar; their integrity holds even more importance. But everyone has their own loyalty and their own agenda.

With the advent of social media, the touch points are massive and uncontrollable. They have taken over the courts as well through their way of media justice and media trials. They are pronouncing decisions even before the matter reaches a trial court. This rising trend of handing out verdict isn’t democratic in any sense.

Even managed properly it has some positives too. Movements like ‘MeToo’ movement gathered momentum and unearthed so many heinous habitual offenders because of social media and its reach. But then again, their job is to report and then let the law take its course. With the majority of the population engaging in trolling, its usage is becoming tremendously taxing for mental health.

Something that started as a boon to the society has started turning into a bane – and it is not long before social media will lose the ‘social’ aspect of it.

Media should be playing a more progressive and constructive role in a developing country like ours, which is going through a major transition phase. They should be the voice of the largest democracy in the world and take ownership of their issues and causes. Instead, the media does the exact opposite by simply curbing the voice of the common man and creates noise about the existing propaganda and narratives.

A poor urchin falls into a bore well and everything comes to a standstill for the next 48 hours. A leading Bollywood celebrity visits court and the media goes into a frenzy. The last time something like this happened, the SC was handing out a verdict on a CM but there was hardly any coverage. I am now sure that when something like this happens, the deafening noise is created to subdue a very important matter directly concerning the public.

If you are dedicatedly running shows on the happenings of daily soaps and then I will not shy away from saying, but that’s not reporting – that is bullshit entertainment for TRPs. News like where a monkey pulls the tail of a lion – I think these sort of programs should be left to animal planets of the world.

For hours they run advertisement shows of God men just because they are paying you massively, forgetting that in a way all they are doing is promoting superstitions.

Wait for the cricket world cup to start – Instead of reporting about the matches, the newsrooms will convert into cricket pitches where every tom dick and harry would be advising what should be the next move of the captain. The educated class, at least, should understand that these are just mere diversion tactics so that the people of the country are distracted from the real issues.

They were supposed to report the news rather than creating news. These days they are just looking for opportunities to create news without even checking the credibility of the information and in the process, giving rise to a new vertical of ‘Fake news’.

Since the use of the word ‘pseudo’ is in fashion I think I can take the liberty of calling many of the news anchors behaving like pseudo spokespersons of the political parties. There is hardly anyone left who can be termed as a neutral reporter who is trying to present a piece of news as per facts.

Read the book, 1984 by George Orwell and you will understand how the media is used on a day-to-day basis by the political machinery to brainwash you. Imagine if social media and the current army of trolls would have been present during the times of Hitler. Honestly, no one can visualize the rampage it would have caused.

Media is supposed to raise voice against oppression and against the current establishment. They should raise voice against the narrative like casteism and Hindu-Muslim divide; rather they are the ones fuelling it. There is hardly any reporting of educational issues, farmer issues, and healthcare issues.

The irony is that on the launch of a new food product there will be hundreds of media personalities covering it, but there would hardly any covering the real issues of those who are growing it.

It also speaks a lot about what kind of viewership it is getting. Higher TRPs for such content means that people are hardly concerned with real issues. It is a high time that we think real hard about what is the kind of content we are watching and what are the issues that directly affect our lives otherwise it will be too late and all we will become are stooges of this maddening noise.

With one pillar so pathetically losing its credibility and integrity it is not long before, the foundation of democracy will be under threat and the signs of which are already becoming more and more visible.

For all those who use social media,

For all those who hate trolling,

For all those who watch the news for news,

And

For all those who are worried for the current state of media…

It’s not a goodbye,

But it’s a GOOD BYE.

Manas ‘Sameer’ Mukul

This is the 13th post for the #AtoZChallenge #BlogchatterA2Z. My theme in Politics Category is ‘IPL – Indian Parliamentary League’, where I would be covering some relevant issues with the General Elections 2019 through the course of 26 posts.

Read the previous post here: IPL – Indian Parliamentary League

Please do visit tomorrow for the next post with letter ‘N’

I am also taking part in the #AtoZChallenge #BlogchatterA2Z using another theme –‘Dubai – City of Gold‘. If you love travel head over to the Travel Theme and share your feedback.