Yes, I have hope. I indeed have faith that we shall overcome some day soon, through democratic means, political parties steeped in feudalism and bureaucracy steeped in colonial-era practices. It is very heart warming to find so many ordinary people come out and participate in big numbers to back the causes of janlokpal and women safety. All across India, common people now understand better what they need and want from institutions of governance in this age and time.
I’m sure politicians and bureaucrats caught in this time of change with out-dated beliefs and practices, are bewildered wondering why all of a sudden their authority and modus operandi are being questioned; they still think we are all examples of ‘clueless’ minority What’s increasingly becoming clear is that they are the ones who are showing up as ‘clueless’.
- Prime minister Manmohan Singh doesn’t get why he should publicly show up, empathize with the outrage of masses over the lack of safety for women in the nation’s capital and outline a clear and decisive action plan that will make a difference on the ground. Instead, he shows up very late in the entire sequence of events, almost as if he’s doing it because others have asked him to, delivers a ritualistic speech, reading from a script and asks Theek hai? to check if the recording went ok at the end of it all - showing zero emotion, empathy and personal involvement.
- Sonia Gandhi, leader of the ruling coalition, “demands action”, forgetting that she and her party are in power and are responsible for delivering not demanding action.
- Shinde, India’s home minister, asked protestors to go home because, “Putin is coming, we don’t want to give a bad impression of India to him” I don’t have say more, do I?
- Delhi police commissioner justifies attacks on peaceful protestors as just “collateral damage” we should expect and accept.
- Renuka Chowdary, spokesperson of the party in power, whose only retort to every criticism of her party is scorn, sits in a tv show hearing outraegous story after story of injustice from women hunted by rapists in power, and doesn’t have the sense of duty to intervene on their behalf in an impactful way.
- President’s son who happens to be a MP, state congress chief in Andhra Pradesh, and many others shoot their mouth off preaching to women and then hastily take their words back under duress, probably with zero idea still of why their opinion was such as no-no.
Anyway, instead of focusing on the sad buffoonery of those who have shown themselves to be too clueless to be retained in positions of power, why not focus on what we really want to say to a future generation of leaders.
- If you are in power, you are accountable. You cannot plead helplessness, you cannot demand that someone else should solve for you world’s problems, and you cannot sit still or mouth platitudes when someone tells you or the world about something that’s clearly wrong in your constituency.
- You will not condescend or patronize. Just because you got elected once, doesn’t mean you know what’s right for everyone, especially women. You will respect everyone’s opinion and free speech. You will not shout and sneer at others in tv debates. And, btw, you will not have the right to arrest someone just because they tweeted against you or your son.
- You are not more equal than others. What’s illegal for everyone is also illegal for you. You cannot justify illegal actions of your party men by citing past instances of other parties also doing the same. You cannot beat up or threaten anyone who dares to disobey you. You cannot call a bandh, you cannot make comments that pit one segment against another and of course, you cannot move with a convoy of goons. You cannot stop traffic, you cannot delay an aircraft and no, you won’t get free tickets for cricket matches.
- No slavery to your party: No, you are not bonded voting labour to your party’s bosses. You have an independent mind and you will vote based on your conscience.
- You will be responsive and organized. You will know how to set up systems, processes and hold beaureaucracy accountable on their effectiveness and responsiveness. You will also know how to deploy technology but most importantly, you will know about human suffering and how to pro-actively and swiftly work towards eliminating and avoiding suffering.