Indian politics: A conundrum of choice

This can also be titled, why I do not bother to vote any more. But lets keep that aside for the moment.

Here’s the thing, there are basically only two major national parties (yes there are others who claim to be national parties, but who are we kidding). The Congress and the NDA. There are other small time players which keep on switching sides as they see fit.

Over the past 15 years of my conscious life, I have seen the rules of both the parties (sadly more of Congress and less of NDA … but that really does not matter).

Both the parties have proved that they are corrupt and have some really royal scams to their names when they were in power. Both the parties have similar agenda. Both the parties hardly live upto expectations (however there are some exceptions to these, but they will never make it to the top of the pyramid).

Another facet in this conundrum is the fact that the Constitution of India mandates that all political parties declare themselves as upholding the socialist values of the country (at least on paper that is!). I don’t know how Mamtadi has a communist party which is against the constitution, but when have politicians really adhered to rules? So lets not bark up this wrong tree.

The point here is that the constitution more or less forces all parties to uphold the same ideological values (if any!!). Add to it that many MLAs switch sides to get something more for themselves from these two parties.

So at the end of the day, instead of debating on ideological differences, we end up seeing a simple mud-slinging campaigns between the two parties. Look they swindled x thousand crores and look how corrupt they are. At the end of the day the party going to rule is going to swindle. And that’s the sad moot point.

To the common man, it really does not make any difference whether Congress or NDA are the ruling party. All initiatives taken are so miniscule in nature that they end up being money making schemes for the ruling party (and in some cases for the opposing party as well).

So I hope the conundrum is pretty clear here … which party to vote for? The end result is the same. Choice is just an illusion.

Corrupt Administration!

The price good men pay for indifference to public affairs is to be ruled by evil men. – Plato

In an earlier post where I was complaining about the lack of revolutionaries in the system, little did I know that in a few days I would be experiencing the wisdom of Plato first hand.

We are in the process of shifting our offices from Goregaon to Andheri. The office is within 2km of my home, and pretty much what you call my locality. Due to my efforts in securing kindergarten admission for my daughter, I have also come in touch with our local administration.

Now, the person in charge of the sprucing up of the new office did not do his homework, and started the interior decoration of the office without any checks with the local authorities. Three months down the construction, when we have shifted into a makeshift office (its going to be our computer lab in the new office), and have no other alternative offices to go to, the local authorities intervened and stopped the construction.

Upon enquiry, we found out that a permission needs to be taken from the Buildings and Industries department of the Bruhanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC). Without this said permission, construction cannot go on.

Since the BMC officials refuse to parlay with “north-Indians” and they are from the Shiv Sena party, guess who has to liaison between the organization and the BMC :)

When I went to the officials, I was made to wait indefinitely biding for my time to come. Fortunately, I knew someone higher up in their chain of command and not wanting to play the waiting game, I made the required calls, and got to meet the concerned person.

I do not know whether it was my fortune or misfortune, but the person with whom I had clout in the administration was also the source of my predicament! It was his department that had raised the issue and was waiting for my organization to respond.

So began the diplomatic dance. The dance where you avoid saying the obvious and stick to the unsaid protocol. All said and done, I was presented with two choices – one, the way of the right, wherein we would have to chase this permission across the city for 3-6 months. The other, the way of the corrupt, wherein we have to pay for silencing the officials.

The sum mentioned was in the right range … I don’t know how these officials do it, but someone needs to learn pricing from them. The amount was not too high for us to outright say no, it was lower than the opportunity cost of keeping our employees at their homes :), and yet it was high enough to grease the right palms and keep their pockets filled.

We are PWN’ed and most likely will give in to their demands. The price of sheer negligence on one senior partner’s part is a 2 lakh bribe. Talking about corruption is one thing, but when the efforts to fight the system means you will lose more than what you will save, then does it make sense to fight it? We would be writing it off this year.

Singham

singham Yesterday was the world premier of the movie Singham, starring Ajay Devgan. World premier is just a euphemism to say that the distributors of the movie want to extract a bit more from television advertisements. The movie is definitely a non-stop entertaining watch, with eye-candy Kajal having some idiotic scenes, great action scenes and good sound tracks. A masala flick.

The reason movies such as Singham, Wanted (Salman Khan) and Nayak (Anil Kapoor) run at the box office, and become decent sized hits is simply that the people have become tired of the degree of corruption in the Indian system. Being tired is still different from being objective, and hence as a common man, we do not do any thing, however, in the movies, the protagonist takes on the corrupt system and by sheer force of his will (and lots of brute force) make a change happen. We like to believe in such a romantique notion.