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Links 1 through 10 of 149 by Just Mohit tagged politics

We would, however, be deluding ourselves if we make believe that it is only the arts that suffer because of censorship. A free, uninhibited and open atmosphere is the oxygen that allows scientists, mathematicians, architects and those from other disciplines to think without walls, taboos and claustrophobia

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But what bothers me is this: what next? What happens when the country goes to polls again? Who do you vote for? Who do I vote for? Why do I vote for them?...
Growing up, sporadically, in this politically charged, fairly well-informed environment means that I like to think before voting.
And the more I think about the next Lok Sabha polls the more… I am left thinking...
if I had to make a decision, I am going to do it on the basis of a wishlist. So here I am going to put out a list of things I’d like to see the next government do. Some of them may be impossible due to constitutional process. And some of them may seem irrelevant to the vast majority of readers. But it is my wishlist. And these are issues that I care about. I am pretty sure not one politician will read this blogpost. But at least the process of writing it down will help me as we get closer to the ballot box. It will help me take a call.

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A year of living wastefully. This is how India will remember 2011. We spent our political and economic capital recklessly as if we had so much to spare that we could afford to waste it. So most of the year went in discussing an idea put forward by a sincere but daft old man whose only claim to fame is village development. Slavishly endorsed by our breathless, unthinking news channels, Anna Hazare rose to such dizzying heights of glory that by the end of the year, he and his team of dodgy NGOs was lecturing the Government of India on how to run the country. The government foolishly allowed itself to be lectured to. And, our amoral opposition parties, transfixed by the crowds of urban Indians that Anna drew, leapt happily onto his platform...
Why are there not enough hospital beds? Why are there not enough schools? Why do fundamental necessities like electricity, cooking fuel and clean water remain so hard to get? Why do we need police verification to get a passport when it should be the right of every citizen? Why do we need police verification to get a driving licence? These are urgent questions but instead of asking them, all we talked about in 2011 was corruption and how what we needed was a ‘strong Lokpal’ for all our problems to be solved...
The Government of India was too busy placating NGOs with inflated egos and delusions of power. While all this was happening, the man at the helm of the Government of India, the man who became famous for giving India a new direction with his economic reforms, lurked in the background, silent and wraithlike. It was as if Dr Manmohan Singh forgot some time this year that it was his job to lead. So by the end of 2011 as fog and icy weather enveloped Delhi, there was general, gloomy agreement that this is the worst government India has ever had. Sadly, it can also be said that this is the worst Opposition India has ever had. Happy 2012.

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1. I'm anti-corruption.

2. I'm anti-Anna Hazare.

3. Hazare is a sanctimonious right-wing tyrant so cloaked in his own virtue that he believes he is above the law.

4. The law is frequently an ass.

5. Nevertheless, the law is frequently our only hope.

6. Better the elected asses than the dictatorial unelected.

7. The government is playing into Hazare's hands with its idiocy.

8. Yes, these views can be held simultaneously.

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before deriding Anna Hazare's movement as undemocratic and dangerous, two adjectives that appear time and again in criticism against Jantar Mantar, it is important to assess how undemocratic and dangerous India's administrative failures have become...
Of course Jantar Mantar was a circus. Of course it bypassed the democratic process. Of course it was cleverly positioned during a lull in 24x7 news events. But do consider that the cosy, corrupt system challenged by the jamboree is itself a daily circus that undermines and bypasses the democratic process...
We condone criminal violations of the law and Constitution, wink and laugh at them or simply don't care because at the end of the day we smirk and say, "We are like this only". India's ruling classes, comfortable with the status quo, are supremely isolated from its administrative anarchy. So, Jantar Mantar felt like anarchy to them. So, they criticise endlessly instead of pushing for real, urgent change.

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(Salil Tripathi gives it to Bob Dylan in his own verse)
How many parents must tell their kids, to look down, not to ask, and keep mum? How many teachers must tell students, that obedience trumps freedom? How many countries would jail a monk, for saying om mani padme hum?
The answer, my friend, is blowing in the wind, the answer is blowing in the wind.
How many farmers will lose their land, so princelings can play in the wild? How many mums will let their girls die, because a son must be the only child? How can Bob raise a toast and say ganbei, with men who are so quick to get riled?
The answer, my friend, is blowing in the wind, the answer is blowing in the wind...
How many years can a mountain exist, before it is washed to the sea? How many years can some people exist, before they’re allowed to be free? And how many times can a man turn his head, and pretend that he just doesn’t see?
The answer, my friend, is blowing in the wind,the answer is blowing in the wind.

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To summarize, Anna-doubters and Anna-cheerleaders both have some of it right and some of it wrong. Whether you agree or disagree with me on the efficacy of his hunger strikes in the past, depends on where you set the bar for efficacy in a country as rife with corruption and a lack of accountability as India. Whether you agree or disagree with me on the ethical issues with hunger strikes depends on your moral compass and the ends-v-means debate.
One thing we can all agree on - Anna Hazare is a strong, motivated, and morally gigantic individual, whose self-control and passion for a cause is something few of us could even dream of emulating. Agree or disagree with him, you have to doff your hat to him.

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What is it about our societies that allows us, indeed often encourages us, to so devalue one-half of our population?...
The site most resistant to change, it seems to me, is that part of the human brain where beliefs, whether religious or otherwise, and values reside. These two are not inherent, but created, by education, or by our upbringing. And clearly, even today, in our homes and families, in our educational institutions, we’re taught that women are somehow inferior. So entrenched are these beliefs, that despite all evidence to the contrary...we continue to believe it.
This is why the hundreds of thousands of women who bring up families and ensure their children get the best despite poverty, and at considerable cost to themselves...have such a difficult task ahead of them. They’ve got to fight for their place in the sun and convince everyone around them that they’re capable of retaining it, of making the world a better place.

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there's enough reason to believe that we as people, have matured and come a long way in trimming down that animosity, especially via Bollywood and numerous other cultural exchanges, perhaps reiterating time and again that the rivalry is only political. Or at least I'd like to believe that India has definitely evolved and has become a responsible nation. Unfortunately though, all it took was a cricket match to topple that process of evolution. Are we not, in a sense, pushing ourselves back a 100 years?...
It's about time that we, as a nation, answer these questions. Are we going to behave like this every time we play Pakistan? If we detest them so much, it may not be a bad idea to sever all cricketing ties with them, for a cricket match can't be used as a benchmark to prove our superiority as a nation. Every time we behave like the way we did this time, it pulls us down as a responsible nation. The choice is ours.

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This is a stupid game, and we should stop playing it.
It's not even a fair game. It's not that the terrorist picks an attack and we pick a defense, and we see who wins. It's that we pick a defense, and then the terrorists look at our defense and pick an attack designed to get around it. Our security measures only work if we happen to guess the plot correctly. If we get it wrong, we've wasted our money. This isn't security; it's security theater.
There are two basic kinds of terrorists. There are the sloppy planners...and even pre-9/11 airplane security is going to catch him. The second is the well-planned, well-financed, and much rarer sort of plot. Do you really expect the T.S.A. screeners...to stop them?...
Exactly two things have made airplane travel safer since 9/11: reinforcing the cockpit door, and convincing passengers they need to fight back. Everything else has been a waste of money...Take all the rest of the money and spend it on investigation and intelligence.

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