[SHSF] Youth in Politics

I read this post[click] from one of the blogger I follow.

As it happens, when the topic of politics and middle-class youth participation comes up – it starts with bringing up the problem first. A student from middle class family cannot make his/her way into political system on his own even if he/she is interested.You may cite examples proving it wrong. However, the problem is not only about bringing middle class or lower class. It is for youth in general. It is about bringing youth closer to politics & politics closer to youth.

It was enough to make me curious. I started thinking about closing this gap with what ever current knowledge I poses.

The posts point was mainly about introducing the youth into Politics through Youth Parliament in metro cities. I would like to know your view(for/against) this point.

I put forth some foolish & naive solutions for it. At that time I was reading the ‘District Development Cell'(trying google – it won’t work. Try reading govt. reports or try the links at the bottom) provisions in our constitution for development initiative. For me – politics is not limited to ‘Game of Thrones’ or ‘Price Tag’ anymore. It has expanded to the ‘real’ – ‘ measurable’ – ‘tangible’ development works & initiative. So, if I want to put youth into politics I would prefer this path where they are introduced to the political system through development i.e. through real change. This way their participation can result into some thing tangible even if it is small as a week’s work or a week program.

There was this link I found about ‘Applying to govt. to set up a Entrepreneur Cell’(To Get specific Detail do check the aicte Website and the various respective sections there) in a college. As the two names sound similar with ‘Cell’ & ‘Govt. Grant’ present in them – I thought,

Why can’t student bodies of colleges situated in a district be allowed to open District Development Cell for their respective districts ? Or Why not have a body of students as support/volunteer staff in these District Development Cell??

Just think about its possibility. There are many youth which will be left out but I think it can be one way to initiate them into socio-political work.
I discussed it with one of my friend (who is keenly interested in entering politics). I found that this is not how the ‘District Development Cell’ system works. They can be established only when DMs,Municiple Heads, Panchayat Heads of the district come together & decide to do so. Plus there is already little say of local bodies in such organization. Having student won’t change anything.

I am still skeptical though, having a curious, impatient, interested & energized youth may create new channels of working in such development cell. Further, the important part is to connect the youth with such process.

I didn’t left him after his feedback. I asked him to suggest what are his views to close this gap. (I would like you to suggest some too)

He proposed that to close the gaps students of a college first have to be included in decision making process. They should be active to ask questions to the college authority. They should be able to propose development initiatives required to better the college infrastructure & administration. For example:

Why it took 5lakh to make a speed breaker?
Why there was no open tender to bid for hostel construction?
Can the college put a computerized system for hostel food/canteen management?
Can college have a gender sensitivity program for its teachers & new students?
Will college help the near by slums in solving some of there problems?
How the central funds were spent in two years & in which activities? How they improved the conditions?…(likewise)

Students coming up to ask,suggest & inquire the college administration. As college are a small reflection of the society outside, so if individuals are active in ‘positive’ college politics then they may do so outside college. One may say that same happens in colleges. But I said earlier it was not about ‘Game of Thrones’ or only being a student representative bodies. No.

What I mean by these is that – we don’t want representative participation in college. We want individuals in college to participate in politics. Representation never works if individuals don’t have any spine to ask the authority. And I prefer if students participate in changing their college first & then their district and then head for the country politics. At present, Students do come out in protest & demand actions from the govt.How I see it is like, student protest for college politics or national politics. What about district??

To conclude it, I say if the ‘District Development Cell’ idea doesn’t work only because it is not allowed in current system – Why not create a new system which enable to do so or better modify the current one.

It is a very naive opinion/proposal. Nevertheless, I consider it to be a worthy idea to be considered. There are some obvious weak points which I am proposing like slowing down the administration, useless bickering of students over small issues, disruption in curriculum & studies(which is main focus of college), focusing students being too much active in political actions. Still, being a ‘Rational Optimist’ – I think these flaws can be overcome by little improvements with each passing year. Our constitution is such an amazing organic document, so why can’t we make such organic politico-development cells for participation of Youth.

I found this idea really interesting. So I will keep it in my mind & contemplate over it. Because I know that my understanding of the actual system is limited by my limited exposure of Indian Political structure. Our media is useless in enlightening common people like me about it. I hope the temples of education can help put some light on it – to kindle the fire into hearts of the youth.

Arigato 🙂

Few links of District Development Cells :
http://nadia.nic.in/District_Rural_Development_Cel/district_rural_development_cel.html
http://ddinajpur.nic.in/Departments/District_Rural_Development_Cel/district_rural_development_cel.html
http://coochbehar.nic.in/htmfiles/DRDC_scheme.html

Hind Swaraj

For so long I wanted to read the vision of our Nations’ father -Gandhiji. Whenever he talked to Nehru on issue of India After Independence,he used to refer this work to him . The renewed interest in ‘Non-violence’ & ‘Satyagrah’ as tools for protest, all around the globe, increased my desire to read it. And I bought this thin vision document, which costs around Rs50 in general plus add the import charges. It was a dumb decision on my side.
Later, I came to find the whole book on internet – Open for everyone to read. [check — http://www.mkgandhi.org/hindswaraj/hindswaraj.htm ]

They have whole collection of his work if you are interested.

This is less of book review, more of personal take on it.

Hind Swaraj

By M.K.Gandhi

Indian Home Rule

 

The book is written in the form of conversation between the Editor of newspaper Indian Opinion & its’ readers. It is a compilation of the conversations Gandhi Ji had with the readers. It is divided into separate topics which concerns the future of Home Rule system in India. Gandhi ji answers the questions rattling the mind of the common Indian. Through this conversation he starts to present the picture of his vision to the readers. How he imagine the Indians should live their life under their own rule. The topic goes from meaning of Swaraj to England,Civilization,Condition of India, How to become free, till his conclusion of Home Rule/Swaraj.
Please read the online version if you want to know what actually is written – it will hardly take an hour to go through it.

Now about my views on it. First of all, I would like to point that when I read some persons’ vision – I try to accept all the arguments presented. It helps me understand and have a peak at what the person wanted to convey. Like when I read Mein Kampf by Hitler, I understood his point against Jews as he saw it. The historical time period & conditions do play a role here. And it never means I concur with them .

It’s important to go through all the mud to find the gold dusts in it. There are many lessons from Mein Kampf also. And so I wanted to find some shreds of silver in Hind Swaraj.

Initially, I agreed to his problem with the profession of Lawyers in the society. But then a small conversation with friend bounced me on the other side. The point which was interesting is that – I find similarity in tactics used to resolve inter-office disputes in the corporate. They don’t need any lawyer, they use the established hierarchy & it is solved amiably most of the time. As I understand, he thought that going to lawyers for every conflicts make the conflict permanent in the psyche. There is no scope for inter-party compromise or solution, like self-handling the solution without violence, keeping in line with natural laws & social norms. And the lawyers do suck/depend on quarrels of people for there work. Don’t they?
However, Judiciary is the only governance body which is trusted by the people. His vision for other democratic body has failed today(in some way). Moreover, his prescription would have helped breed more narrow-mindedness & tunnel vision decisions. Imagine Khap Panchayat & Westernization.

I found his problem with Doctors was misplaced. Also the Problem with Machinery of any kind was back-ward looking.Though, I found his methods of protest i.e. Passive Resistance was a watershed in raising voice.

I would like to leave the criticism. Now about the silver linings.
Acc. to me, Gandhi Ji wanted Indians to be dependent on their Soul force to achieve their goals.
The first basic pushing force is sexual(from lizard brain) in nature, so he was for maintaining chastity for life.
The second is money, (from rational mind), which is being used in contemporary world to make people work hard. It has been mixed with the sexual motivation is also being used in a way so as to make people crave for healthy bodies.(Don’t you agree?).

The last one, which is hardest to follow & is independent ,in a way ,is the path of soul. And I can bet that you will agree on this. If you don’t then why the hell books like ‘ Monk who sold his Ferrari’ became so famous. So many management books I have read – with repeated suggestion of self-actualized motivation for living ones life. And as a creative(self-claimed :P) I know how much will-force is required when you make something just for the sake of it.

If you can conquer it than you can conquer the direction of your life & head it anywhere you like. Gandhi Ji wanted each individual to be a self-actualized fountain in him/herself. I found his idea being individualistic to its core; each bonded together in a complex mesh of Hindu(People of India not religious) way of life. Each empowered by the strong will of soul force, healthy body & sharp mind.

Even the visualization of each person being a fountain making ripples in the vast sea of humanity. Each ripple touching, reflecting, penetrating other ripples. The image is so awesome.

Actually, I wanted to find some Business model or Organization model in this work. And to tell you the truth I have formed a picture of it, though its still hazy. Also, the new buzz words disrupting the Organization/Systems like Cooperatives,Share economy, peer-to-peer economy, open models,e.t.c are in some way have adopted his ideas. I tried fitting disruptive entrepreneurs, new technology, social networks and creative innovators in his model – few areas did overlapped with his vision. The new internet technology base may make his vision a possibility in some way or other.

The whole idea of reading Gandhi Ji’s work is to get to the roots of his arguments. And then growing it for contemporary world adding the new innovations as fertilizers.

I will read more of his works & his vision in future. How can Gandhi Ji’s vision be completely ignored, rejecting it as Utopian??
His ways of passive resistance revolutionized the means of Protest all around the world. There is much more one can learn from him.
After all, isn’t it the desire of humans to achieve Utopia, how may impossible that dream be.

Arigato 🙂

P.S – The views are personal as per my rationalization & understanding of his works. One can always differ from them. Also I desire to fit his model into the contemporary models of development,business & productivity. When I read this post – I find some points are not so clearly presented – sorry for that. I visualize the ideas, I am still learning to put them on paper & clearly convey the image to others.

Pocket Diary -15

I was writing something, so mind is still active. I will write this fast post from my pocket diary.Today it’s on India & writing.

Tagore, ” The problem is not how to wipe out the difference but how to unite with the differences intact.”

I rarely find people, with exception of Bongalis’,who defend or like the Tagore’s thoughts on development. I connect more to Tagore & Gandhi on their ideologies on development of lowest strata of India. I don’t accept everything on their face rather judge them with skepticism.  And as Tagore said – the problem is to unite with difference intact. Do you know, Tagore & Gandhi’s ideas were different from each-other & they used to differ on most of the issues. However, this quote is related to the ‘unity in diversity’ characteristic of Indian Union. Also, this is what in contemporary management they are calling as win-win dealings (I can see similar patterns).

Gandhi,” A society that has no vision for the education of children & youth & is not prepared for the same, is doomed to die.”

The organic growth & development of society is one of the most peculiar part of Gandhian ideology. And I am interested in the organic growth of similar nature alongside with the new technology & innovations, we are discovering day-after-day. Acc. to me, Education is the core of the whole system. If you can develop a culture, an ecosystem of learning which keeps on changing & evolving with time & includes everyone – changing the society will be little easier. I know it’s easy to say that but hard to do. But you know what, I have got a life ahead of me,with my cognitive faculties working fine I will try to create such education core.(even if in a small village or town)

R. B. Austin,” I write because I have no other choice.”

Somebody(sorry I forgot your name & too lazy to check 😦 ) replied with this quote when I asked for ‘Why do you write?’ in one of my earlier posts. It was for the #amwriting series.
With so many people not involved in writing anything – they have many other choices.Even I have, but I choose to write. 🙂

Steven Pressfield, ” As writers, we’re always searching for Real.
Real, we believe, is powerful. Real is authentic. Real is true.
In fact, Real is boring. Real is tedious. Real is hell.
What we want is the simulacrum of Real.
The illusion of Real. We want artificially real.”

Steven Pressfield is like Seth Godin for me, in field of writing. His suggestion speaks to me. My interests are of contradictory nature. On one side, I want to read more and more of ‘reality’ and on the other side, I want to imagine the ‘unreal-creative-islands’. The quote itself creates opposing forces in my mind regarding writing anything. How about you?

Arigato 🙂

India Since Independence

This book took a long time to finish, totally messed my whole schedule. The only reason I will say is – It got boring.

India Since Independence

By Bipan Chandra

Rating: 3/5

If you have studied in India then you must have read history textbooks in school. Bipan Chandra was one of the main author behind them. Check those books again guys & you will know who to blame for not-so-interesting history textbooks. Actually, I never liked history or social science per se (one of the reason for choosing Science stream).
If by chance you are preparing for UPSC exams – Bipan Chandra’s “India’s Struggle for Independence” & “India Since Independence” are must reads. You can only attempt GS mains questions correctly if you have read them (but NCERT XI & XII books will also do). The first book had much better narrative-type presentation of history than the second part. This one is boring at best, with many parts repeated. Though, I agree they are required in a textbook of history.

This huge book is not divided into any parts instead it has divided the history into different chapters as per the authors perception. Half of the book is in a continuous narrative. Right from the introduction to colonial legacy & nations socio-econo-political conditions since independence. The other half takes the case-studies of particular events & incidents related to regionalism,economic state, communal-ism, women-participation,social-stigmas,land reforms. The three chapters at the end are conclusions or summaries regarding the legacy & future of the Indian State in the 21st century.

First ten chapters takes the reader from the early years of independence to the various consolidation problems faced by the country. Next five chapters are dedicated to Nehru – from his Foreign policy to the political turmoil he faced.After that the remaining five chapters will pace you through the Indira years,JP movement,Janata govt & finally Rajiv Gandhi’s years.There is also short sections dedicated to the consequent NDA & UPA-1 govt. & their respective policies.

After completing the narrative since independence in one segment, the other issues are focused on. There is three chapters presenting case-studies for the regionalism tendency across the nation. Next four chapters focus on the Indian Economy- since Independence to the Millennium. Afterwards there are four chapters dedicated to Land-Reforms , followed by Agrarian movements. Then the rest of the chapters sheds light on the issues of communalism, Caste,Untouchability & Indian Women.

The books ends with overview of post-colonial Indian State & the political economy of development. There is also one chapter on Governance related issues. The final chapters provides the achievements,problems & prospects for India in the new Millennium.

I have already said- it gets boring after you finish the narrative. Because most of the later chapters deal with the already mentioned issues in detail – it gets repeated here again. The major dis-appointment was the writing style – one has to read it with focus or you will miss the points made. It gets too detailed at times. If you ask me a book for Indian history after Independence, I would prefer reading ‘India After Gandhi’ by Ramachandran Guha.

However, if you are preparing for UPSC – skipping this book is not an option. You have to read it, you can skip Guha’s book though.
Pick it up & review your history.

[It’s generally pointed out that Bipan Chandra is biased towards Congress. As per me – he tilts somewhat towards congress & presents the debated issues diplomatically. A person without any keen observation won’t find the tilt, but I am sure most of the right or left mindset people will get it]

Arigato. 🙂

From Government to Governance

Yeah, its another book review. What can I do – I am on reading frenzy these days. Gotta finish many text-books in this month only. 😛

From Government to Governance : A Brief Survey of the Indian Experience

By Kuldeep Mathur

Rating : 4/5

Camera 360

Kuldeep Mathur has written widely on subjects of Public Administration. This one is his not-so popular(important) published work. As per the new course for Mains, the issue of ‘Good Governance’ is becoming a vital part of the exam. As its, tagline says, it’s a brief survey of Indian experience on Good Governance. It provides the over-view of the major transformation in the Governance in India,the change in the role of the bureaucracy,market & social groups.

It is an introduction to the concept of governance and the kind of transformation of the state that is taking place in India. It explores the way cooperative networks of state, market and society are taking over roles that were earlier confined to the state alone. This transformation leads to many challenges. Existing institutions of governance have to be so strengthened that they are able to face new demands. New institutions have to be forged that can fulfill the functions of coordination, control and regulation.

Reading it will provide one the whole perspective over the transformation in the statecraft of country. If you are one of those, critical of government, I plead you to go through it. It’s a short text-book & won’t take much time. One will come to know how the state changed its perception from a centralized development accelerator to control-command centralized system to liberalized-management based public-private cooperative system, and finally to tri-party (state,market & civil society) inter-dependent mechanism.

I understand that the above changes,still, have not changed the societal reality drastically, but it does provides glimpse of what may become of State (& society) in future.

If you are preparing for UPSC, you can surely pick it up & easily go through it. It will help in subjects of Polity, Economy , Social Welfare, Public Admin & Governance. And If you don’t belong to this category but like reading Non-fiction, I will plead(not recommend but plead) you to read it.

Arigato 🙂

P.S – I am concerned that this blog is becoming a book-review blog. I will surely put something different, next week. Promise. 🙂

Cataplus Terror & Social Probs

I finished reading two books today. One of them was a Novel by Sidney Sheldon & another was a textbook by Ram Ahuja. The novel is really old so, its plot looks predictable(& old). And the there is not so much to review about the text-book because I felt it as useless. Thereby, I will review both in this post only.

1. Catoplus Terror

By Sidney Sheldon

Rating: 2.5/5

2013-06-30 22.01.31

The protagonist is an ex-CIA agent well known as the Mak-the-Knife. He gets an assignment by big Oil firms to find & eliminate the global terrorist named Carlos. He accepts it & gathers his team of ex-CIA agents. It was like that Bruce-Willis movie (RED or something). All oldies reminiscing old days & still able to shame the young agents. All the while Carlos seems to be on their tail. The plot moves on with phases with team members going all around the globe, finding clues & information. Finally when they come to the phase where Carlos will be caught – the surprise awaits you. Carlos was non-another than one of the team member. He had killed the real Carlos very early in his career & impersonated him. Slowly he got addicted & created a global terrorist named Carlos.

Well there you go. You can easily figure out the rest, I suppose.

By the by it was a good read. Go through it if you want a paced thriller placed in the era of 70s.

[I don’t understand though – why every Sydney Sheldon book of my father’s collection have some Girl on its cover. Makes no sense to me as per the story. 😛 Could be a marketing gig 🙂 ]

2. Social Problems in India

By Ram Ahuja

Rating: 1/5

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I gave in to the buying frenzy, because most of the IAS coaching institutes recommended this book, it was selling like hot-cakes. I should have checked it first. A bad & useless buy.

The positive part of this book was the various definitions & case studies provided by the author. A basic understanding on how to view particular social problems. That will be all.
The fact that all the data & figures in the book are only up-till year 1997 makes this book as useless as it can get in year 2013. Even the suggestions provided has been put into place in the after years, so one has to analyze & criticize the developments themselves.

I will recommend you to not buy this book if you are taking it for General Studies preparation. Pick some-other book with current data, all the facts & datas & even info will be available in those also. I think it would be much better if you can just read articles from magazines & newspaper about those social problems. They are covered much better & much more relevant to UPSC.

Totally a NO-Buy book( unless the author publishes it with updated data)

Arigato 🙂

 

India After Gandhi

I am reading Non-fiction books now, most of them are Text-book type of material. Earlier I thought of not reviewing them, but now, I will both review them & comment on there utility from the viewpoint of the competitive exam.(UPSC here)

INDIA after Gandhi: The History of the World’s Largest Democracy

By Ramachandra Guha

Rating: 4.5/5

Ramachandra Guha is already an esteemed historian and an author. This book is being bought in frenzy by UPSC examinees , all thanks to the changed course of Mains exam and recommendation from the IAS coaching students. However, I picked it up for dual purpose of UPSC prep and for reading Guha. Already read through most of his work, this one was missing from the list. As far, the best one still is the ‘ Difficulty of Being Good’.

About this one: as the tagline & the name suggests, it is an insightful work on the history of India after the Freedom was won by Indian people.The chapters move swiftly with a narrative style, pointing out the milestones & road-blocks faced by the nation.

The book is divided into five parts.The first three parts belong to Nehru , part fourth to the later years and the last part is a summation of the various changes since independence.

First & Second part deals with the Idea of India in the sub-continent. The various forces of cohesion & secession working across the diverse geography of the country. How the leaders came to decision on complex & important issues while composing the biggest constitutional text in the world. Adding to their trouble the various princely states, faction leaders, tribals, religious riots. To even imagine how they were dealing with all these factors is enthralling at the least.

After establishing the India’s identity in the world-map, there were myriad internal & external aggression like Pakistan’s insurgency,Chinese insurgency, formation of separate state, creation of Tribal autonomous states, Rights of lower & destitute section of society and many more. The whole time the world being critical of existence of Democracy in India. One may say the issues were not best handled and mistakes were done. But the present we inhabit is because of those efforts and we should be thankful to them.The third part deals with the above factors.

The fourth part is where India seems to force its Strength & dominance position, all thanks to Indira Gandhi. Though, we all understand the effect of her transgressions whose price we are still paying. This part can invoke passionate & varied feelings in a group. So, I wouldn’t go further into it. For the last part as I said – it presents the summary of the eras gone by. There is also a whole chapter dedicated to the entertainment of Indian people(read Cinema). After all, it do shares a major part of societies reformation & ill-wills.

I thought the text may be biased towards the Congress regime. On the contrary I found it balanced in approach. All the angles were tried to be presented in the chapters. Well, you yourself is the best judge on that.

Finally, for the students who want to read it for examination point of view. Go through this book as an introduction to the history after independence. One will need more solid material to write answers in mains. This text needs to be supplemented by some text-book.

So, pick this huge 750 page narration of Indian History. One must have knowledge about the path one’s nation took to be standing at the present position.

Arigato 🙂