Monthly Archives: July 2009

How about a Presidential form of Goverment in India?

The idea of a change in system of governance may seem preposterous but I have given it a serious thought before writing this blog. All the problems that the present government is facing are due to our system. The days of single party majority are gone and chances of it coming back, in the near future is remote. In the last two decades we have formed innumerable rag tag coalitions, which have hurt the Indian Democracy badly. Today the governments in power need to depend and give in to the whims and fancies of some king makers. The governments concentrate more on keeping themselves in power rather than on good governance. That’s the basic problem that we face today. We need to revamp this system in to more efficient one and for that wee need a Presidential form of government.

Two great and efficient democracies follow two kinds of Presidential form of governments, Russia and United States of America. I will prefer the latter but the Russian one will suite us better.

The Russian system is such that various steps are completed before a President is elected. First a lot of candidates throw their name into the gauntlet and elections take place. The two candidates that secure the highest number votes then contest the election.

How will it work in the Indian system? The so called ‘netas’ will file their nomination papers with at least ten parliamentarians forwarding it. Due to the fragmented nature of our country no one will secure fifty one percent votes in the first stage. So the two best candidates move on to the second round. The losers will then throw their weight on the candidate of their choice. Finally we will have our own President.

Does such a system not automatically favour candidates from the more populous states? one may ask. Is there any chance that someone from Manipur or Lakshadweep will ever win the votes of a majority of the country’s voters? Could a Muslim or a Dalit be elected president? These are fair questions, but the answer surely is that their chances would be no better, and no worse, than they are under our present system. Seven of India’s first 11 prime ministers, after all, came from Uttar Pradesh, which surely has no monopoly on political wisdom; perhaps a similar proportion of our directly-elected presidents will be UPites as well. How does it matter? Most democratic systems tend to favour majorities; it is no accident that every president of the United States has been a white male Christian barring one (and all bar one a Protestant), or that only one Welshman has been prime minister of Great Britain. But i dare say that the need to appeal to the rest of the country will oblige a would-be president from UP to reach across the boundaries of region, language, caste and religion, whereas in our present parliamentary system a politician elected in his constituency on the basis of precisely such parochial appeals can jockey his way to the prime ministership. A directly-elected president will, by definition, have to be far more of a national figure than a prime minister who owes his position to a handful of political king-makers in a coalition card-deal. I would also borrow from the USthe idea of an electoral college, to ensure that our less populous states are not ignored by the candidates: the winner would also be required to carry a majority of states, so that crushing numbers in the cow belt alone would not be enough.

Why should we underestimate the wisdom of the Indian Electorate? Jamaica with a 97% black population elected a white president. In Argentina a country that is proud of its European origins twice elected, son of Syrian immigrants, Carlos Saul Menem. Peru elected a Japanese origin President in Alberto Fujimori. Indeed, the voters of Guyana, a country that is 50% Indian and 47% black, elected as president a white American Jewish woman, who happened to be the widow of the nationalist hero Cheddi Jagan. A story with a certain ring of plausibility inIndia.

The adoption of a presidential system will send our politicians scurrying back to the drawing boards. Politicians of all faiths across India have sought to mobilise voters by appealing to narrow identities; by seeking votes in the name of religion, caste and region, they have urged voters to define themselves on these lines. Under our parliamentary system, we are more and more defined by our narrow particulars, and it has become more important to be a Muslim, a Bodo or a Yadav than to be an Indian. Our politics have created a discourse in which the clamour goes up for Assam for the Assamese, Jharkhand for the Jharkhandis,Maharashtra for the Maharashtrians. A presidential system will oblige candidates to renew the demand for an India for the Indians.

Any politician with aspirations to rule India as president will have to win the support of people beyond his home turf; he will have to reach out to other groups, other interests, other minorities. In that may lie the presidential system’s ultimate vindication


The City of Joy!! oops sorry, The City of Chaos!!

Kolkata for me was always my second home(now my home). All my relatives live here and i used to visit this charming city during my summer holidays. The annual visit to Kolkata was always exciting and full of surprises. Now for the last 4 years i have been living here and Kolkata is becoming less and less charming for me.

Bengal was always very politically volatile and records the most number of political killings happened in this state. But Kolkata its capital, snce the chaos of the 60’s and the 70’s, was largely peaceful with occasional Strikes(that was treated as holidays by most office goers). I remember the Left Front winning the state elections(that the only thing i can remember happening in my lifetime) in 2006 with thumping majority and promising new wave of industrilization in the state. As far as my memory serves me the TATA NANO was announced on the results day. Mr.Buddhadeb Bhattacharya brimming with confidence(the sort of result can turn most heads) and promising new things for the state. I for one, who was always politically inclined, was quite happy with the TATA project. But problem with romantic stories are, they don’t always have a  happy ending. Things took a wild turn when a section of the farmers in Singur refused to give away lands for compensation and then started the vicious cycle of Bands and counter-Bandhs, political murders and all things that can give night mares to any administration. But Singur was not the only bone of contenation, the situation in Nandigram(another land acquisation problem) was chaotic. The opposition took full advantage( that most opposition parties do in most states) and stood against the goverment. The chaos that continued for more than 2 years in the stae drove the TATAs out.

Now why Kolkata has become chaotic? With the political situation so volatile and the ruling coalition suffering electoral setbacks, the Goverment has become inert and not taking tough administrative decisions as they fear it may back fire. So in this city you can do anything. Sit on a Dharna on important roads, call Transport strikes, torch buses and Taxis during Bandhs as if its the concerned party’s property. The agents of chaos are having a field day in the city due to the inert administration.

Change for the sake of change is not the way to go. What should we choose, the known devil or the deep sea?

Operation Vijay- Do we remember them!!!

Its been 10 years sice we won a war fought on the most difficult of terrains and to defend what was our own. A war in which our enemies where in an advantageous position due to the way a mountain war is fought( In a mountain warfare the one who are on the upper ridges are always in an advantage) and also due to the surprise element of there intrusion. In a war where more than 700 young Indian men laid down their lives to recapture what was ours. Question is, have we forgotten them? Have Kargil just ended up as a fodder for news debate?

The Goverment of India(Congress) decided not to celebrate Vijay diwas because they thought its not worth celebrating(Just a matter of more than 700 worthless lives!). They think it was a war declared by the then BJP goverment so it was not a day to be celebrated. Whay the Kargil war is treated in this way I don’t understand! Should a war to defend our territory not a war of the UPA? Should we not fave our enemies united? Has National pride been gobbled up by Politics?

Recently Manmohan Singh was the chief guest in the Bastilles day parade in Paris and the Indian Armed Forces opened the parade. The goverment, the news channels all celebrated Bastilles day and said what a proud moment for India. The Indian Soldiers fought bravely in the World War-II, so we are being honoured for our contribution for in that war. Surely the day was of great pride but for whom we fought the War in France? The British Empire.

My question is simple. The victory in the Kargil war, a war to defend our own territory, should be more important than the fight for the British Empire in WW-II?  Have we forgotten the Kargil heroes?

Cinema for Entertainment or for knowledge?

Today i was at my Mashi’s(Maternal Aunt) house and my cousin and my friends had a substantial discussion Film Making and i was a mute spectator gathering knowledge with a few suggetions here and there. One of the points raised by a guy named as Agniban is that he goes to the theatre to get entertained for 2 to 3 hours and surely has a point. My cousin who has considerable knowledge on film making says, no, i watch a movie for intellectual satisfaction and he is right in his own stand. Where do i stand in this debate? Neither here nor there! I surely go to the theatre entertained but mindless entertainment is not my cup of tea(Read this line Mr.Akshay Kumar). Entertainement that keeps me tight in my seats is my kind of entertainment. Movies that keeps me nailed down is what i call entertaiment not mindless capers!!! A few examples of recent Hindi movies are A Wednesday- a movie that was entertaining and brilliantly scripted with some fascinating performances by all the actors, Bheja Fry-A comedy film with a soul, Dev-D- Digesting Anurag Kashyap is toughbut if you can there is no better serves available and Jab We Met- A typical Hindi movie but some fantastic direction and acting took the film to a different level.

No topic on Indian Cinema can be discussed without Sholay. An epic and a cult film in every sense of it. Sholay changed Indian Cinema forever and nothing has touched its heights till now. Sholay fascinates me still now! Some of the scenes has some brilliant undertones to it which people cannot understand if they don’t see it number of times with details. Everybody says that Sholay is a typical Indian Potboiler. I completely disagree. Sholay took Indian cinema to a different level in terms of Direction, Acting, Cinematography etc. Every character in the movie added something diffrent to the movie. We never felt that this character was not needed in the movie. Can we imagine Sholay without ‘Surma Bhopali’, ‘Jailor’ , ‘Mausi Ji’, ‘Samba’ or the small role played by Keshto Mukherjee in the Jail. Every character was etched out so perfectly that it added something new to the grandeur of the Movie.

Finally I just want to end by saying that Cinema is the potrayal of the current society, sometimes exaggerated but still a potrayal. For me Cinema is an medium of entertainment but a true potrayal of our society may get a bit depressing so some rose tinted glasses and some exaggeration is not bad!! So catch the next Friday flick and enjoy!!!!!!!!!!!!

Finding Krishnendu Sanyal……….

‘What do I know about myself?’ This is a question that I ask myself a lot of times!!! Do I really know my character inside-out? The answer is a ‘Yes’ and ‘No’. Why I am i saying this? Because a lot of times i have behaved in a way that is not the way i usually behave!!! If i need to define ‘Krishnendu Sanyal’ then i will say unemotional, rude, arrogant and a pretty bossy attitude!! But why do my close friends contradict the way i think i am!! They say i am jovila, funny and a awesome guy to befriend. Who is right, they or me? A question that i don’t have an answer for. Only thing i can say that the comfort level that i share with some people, brings out the illuminated side of my character and the darker side is the side that the most of the world sees. I may say that my darker side dominates my illuminated side!! Is it right? I don’t know but it something i can’t change, thats why i have very few friends so my illuminated side remains reserved for them.

One thing i can say that i have changed a lot in the lsr 4 years!!! I have become more serious and less fun-loving, less emotional and more stoic!! My humous has become darker and i have become more sarcastic about life. But  still my very few close friends brings a change in my life.

But at the end of it all, who is the real Krishnendu Sanyal? The darker one or the illuminated one?