Somethings missing!

Sunday, May 26th, 2013 @ 10:37PM

In the last few weeks I had the good fortune of meeting many important functionaries of governance – an elected representative Minister, a Chief Electoral Officer, an Inspector General of Police, Joint Commissioner, Deputy Commissioner – I am enlightened that governance is about needless ‘wheels within wheels’. We’ve complicated it so much! We’ve mystified it – made it into this ‘rocket science’ that requires the skillful dealing that we are mesmerised into thinking that you and me cannot provide!!

And so we comfort ourselves when we stay detached from it.

But things have come to a pass today. Electoral systems have stupid flaws – some so basic that a kid could think of solutions. You think you are on the voters list, but somebody else can file a form to delete your name!! The so-called ‘field verification’ is a sham because which corporation school teacher wants to climb 3 floors of a building to verify ?!! Its as dumb as this. So having your EPIC card is not sufficient – you need to periodically check that you are still on the latest voters list!!

You think the IPS officers are in charge of the law and order in your city? The most powerful men in your policing system are your area Inspector and his SIs and constables. Barring a few strong IPS officers, most have no clue how to handle an Inspector gone rotten. He can groom the local goonda or he can do a proper job of policing and prevent the growth of goondas. But today he is confident that supervision is a sham. Investigation of crimes against the ordinary citizen are at the mercy of the Inspector raj.

You think Ministers would atleast answer questions raised by their constituency members about public issues. Not any more. A delegation of citizens from Tiruppur travelled 10 hours for an appointment with a minister to explain to him that a proposed project deviation will create a major traffic congestion in their home city – and his curt reply was ‘but its already decided. Cannot be changed now.’ Arre !!! The legislative assembly building was constructed and inaugurated with crores and crores of money spent on it – yet a change in government saw the plans being changed and the building was abandoned!! He says ‘don’t we know better than you’. But do they?

Somethings missing in the way we govern our places. Some element of our ‘democracy’ is missing.

When our voters lists are not clean, when our voting percentage is so pathetically low, when election malpractices ensure that a vote does not signify the choice of an informed, uninfluenced voter – then we are no longer a government BY the people.

When political parties exclude the ordinary citizen, but have tickets only for those with money power and muscle power, for people with pedigree and real estate businesses, when the voters choice is limited to the devil and the deep sea – then we are no longer a government OF the people.

When the policing system disempowers the ordinary citizen, when policing dignity is squashed by power-abusing politicos, when our natural resources and common property are looted through illegal laws and rules and official secrecy, when public projects are decided and announced not based on public good, but based on kickbacks and partnerships, when the state promotes alcoholism amongst its teenagers for the purpose of earning state revenue, when garbage is dumped in villages, lakes are encroached, rivers are converted into sewerage, when the peoples clean air and water is taken away for few profiteers – then we are no longer a government FOR the people.

What is missing is a continuum of peoples involvement. A people’s agenda for their own cities or villages. A plan or vision that guides the governments of the day. A plan or vision that cannot be sabotaged by the governments of the day. Today we crib about what the government does. But that is because we do not have our own plan for our city. Our own plan for our policing. Our own plan on how safe our cities should be. Our own plan on the kind of industries we want in our city. Our own plan on how our common resources must be used. Our own plan on how to apply our revenues. Our own plans on how our local schools must run. Our own plans on what to do with our garbage. While we leave it to people who occupy a seat for 5 years to make these large decisions, we, who are the long-standing stakeholders – we have no plan?!!!

This is a defect to remedy.

Elizabeth Seshadri

Categories: Activities, Elections

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