Tuesday, August 30, 2011



In my view – of all Electoral reforms needed in India immediately – the right to reject all contesting candidates is the most urgent and crucial – to cleanse the political arena of all unwanted candidates.

Why is it so urgent?

Some times – we find that we are voting for the lesser of the evils so that the greater evil does not come to Power.

Suppose X  and  Y are the only two contesting candidates, and we feel that both of them are really not fit to govern us – we must be able to vote both of them out. Instead, in the present dispensation, we may vote for X whom we may consider as being a lesser evil to the society than Y.

The Party of  X , however, starts assuming the vote really as a Positive vote for them  and for their  bad Policies too -  when actually they were voted for – as lesser of the two evils.

Political Parties are fielding persons of unacceptable backgrounds for assemblies / Parliament /Panchayat / etc at times and we all know that

Right to Vote in such cases is not an Effective Instrument for good governance, but a risky tool for self destruction.

The Right to Vote is actually a combination of several component rights.

Right to Vote implies (1) Right to Information about the candidates contesting and (2) Right to reject all undeserving candidates.

Right to Information obviously means that I know adequately about the persons for whom I am voting and that I am able to select the best amongst them according to my choice.

If I do not at all have sufficient Information about the contesting candidates – my Right to vote becomes hollow and meaningless.

Can I vote for a totally unknown person? Is that an effective right to vote? 

Definitely not.

Or, can I vote for lesser of 2 known D(evils)? Is that an effective right to vote? 

Definitely not.

Right to Vote is like Right to Life. I only have a Right to live. I do not have a Right to death.

Likewise, Right to vote is – right to vote for the best person, not for an unknown person – and definitely not for lesser of two (D)evils - which is tantamount to Right to death.

Right to Vote therefore, can only mean – right to vote for the person whom I consider the Best. This right is not merely an Individual right, which is relevant to me at my home. It is a social right – by which, I affect the whole society. Therefore I can’t have the right to vote for lesser of a few known devils or for an unknown person. That’s not Right to Vote at all.

This means : 

(1)        I must have adequate information about all contesting candidates – which enables me to judge their suitably reasonably

(2)        That all candidates must possess reasonable attributes in my opinion – for being qualified for the Posts contested.

The second may be difficult for the Law to prescribe and provide immediately. But, give me the Info – and let me be the Judge of who I should vote for and who should govern me.

I want to know –

1.   Their ages
2.   Educational qualifications
3.   Their criminal record, including pending cases and decided cases, including Jail sentences undergone (for detailed offences)
4.   The languages they can read, write, speak
5.    Income
6.   Wealth
7.   Profession or company associated with
8.   The Political Parties they were in, in last 20 years
9.   Social organizations associated with
10.                Major awards, Medals, recognitions they received.
11.                Any Major social service they have rendered
12.                Association with the Constituency – period
13.                Other Places in the country lived
14.                Any services the candidate would definitely like to render to the constituency

Unless I know as Voter, such minimum details – how can I exercise my Right to Vote? It is becoming a meaningless, infructuous exercise. I definitely do not want to know their religion or caste and get influenced by that.

As on date, Right to Vote is more or less an empty right. We vote for a party and not for the person – that too, mostly based on their negative campaigning about the opposite Parties. This is obviously not the way to exercise my sacred right to vote. 

So, my need for information is the first component right under Right to Vote. The candidates must provide this Info to the Election commission and then, may advertise or otherwise widely communicate  in the constituency in any permitted way. If they give wrong Info – the election commission must be able to debar them at any time.

Once, this right to Info is available – my right to reject becomes the second most important component of the Right to Vote.

If I find – that all candidates are murderers, or, rowdy-sheeters, or totally illiterate or for any other reason - I feel they are not fit to govern me -  I must be able to vote them all out.

So –“None of the Above” column is a must in the Ballot Paper, if my right to vote is to be exercised conscientiously.

Just as I have no right to death – likewise, I have no right to vote for a known evil person, who is unfit to govern or represent the constituency. While right to death is at least Individualistic – my right to vote wrongly exercised is a danger to all people.

What happens if many people are rejected in many constituencies in an assembly or even for Parliament? Many constituencies may go without elected candidates. In my view, this is a healthy sign of a democracy.

Let there be re-elections and let Parties, at least now, field more suitable candidates – barring all the already rejected candidates. If the same thing repeats a second time – let the state / centre be run with lesser MLAs / MPs – until the people find at least one candidate reasonably acceptable to them.

This type of active, participative democracy is essential for a country like India and needs to be implemented as first of the many electoral reforms needed in India.

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Sunday, August 28, 2011




I have adopted most of the views here from my own blog post in another Blog “wiselivingideas.blogpost.com”

What one quality differentiates the loser from the winner?

Very simply, it is his Raw Courage, and determination to achieve the Goal. The courageous man believes in his goal the most. When all others are losing hope – he remains enormously hopeful. When all others are saying – Give up, he pursues more vigorously.

That was Gandhi. That was Anna. Both arose in different contexts. Each, in his own. And  both fitted their roles eminently in their context.

The weapon used each time – was the same. Satyagraha. When doubts, lies, suspicions and criticisms  were flying all around – they stuck to their firm belief in the truth they believed in. Satyagraha was all about establishing truth in the society. Freedom from foreign rule was the Truth Gandhi strove for. Freedom from Corruption is the truth Anna is striving for.

Both proved to be dare devils – who knew that, life was not worth living, if they couldn’t achieve what they set out to.

Let me reproduce here the crux of what their courage is all about. I am not going in detail into their specific struggles – either the freedom struggle or the struggle against corruption first.

I am telling here what courage – their courage, and hopefully, yours and mine – is all about. Please apply it to Gandhi and Anna – and finally to your self. You will find each question and each poser here worth your while. You will find - If not this, where else is life. At the end, we will review the Anna Phenomenon in brief.

Ø  The very first requirement in life is – Be courageous in all of your actions. Be a Dare Devil.

Ø  But, why do we need courage? What if we live in fear? What if we live in the safety of our comfort zone?

Ø  A ship is safe in Harbour. It is well protected from storms there. But, that is not what the ship is made for. It must sail. It must carry people from shore to shore. Country to country. It must weather storms. It must get tossed on the high seas. It must get bruised. It must then get repaired. And then, set sail again. That is its purpose. That is its life.

Ø  So is the purpose of our life. The child gets up every time it falls, until it learns to walk well. It is not content to walk well. It must run. It will try. No mother can dissuade a child – not to get up and walk and then, run.

Ø  The child is born courageous. It is born to experiment with life. A child which does not get up after falling, merely for the fear of falling again, is not born yet! You and I are born to be courageous. Born to experiment with life. That is what, life is all about.

Ø  Like in the case of the child – there will be failures and failures in our later life. But, we must go through life, with enthusiasm, not discouraged by these failures. Continue  to experiment, explore, innovate, discover, enjoy and pursue your goals – despite repeating failures. If there are no failures in your life – it means, you are not experimenting enough.

Ø  Should we jump from a high mountain – as an act of courage. No. That is not suggested. But, don’t be afraid to jump from a small mound. That you can. You need to. Your legs and the whole of your body get stronger by that. Courage is mid way between cowardice and rashness. Jumping from Mountain top is rashness. Fear to jump from the top of a small mound is cowardice.

Ø  But every time – you must strive to go on raising the bar. Challenge your limits frequently. Fix new goals to conquer. You will see all the limits vanishing slowly and steadily.

Ø  Courage, of course, needs purpose and direction. You need worthy Goals. You need a Plan of action to achieve them. You must lay your own Path. Your goals must be sufficiently big, noble and ethical.

Ø  Man can progress one step at a time. There is no need to jump 100 steps at a time and break our legs. That is rashness. If you can ensure this steady progress – your life will be a great thriller –and highly enjoyable.

Ø  Courage is really very simple. You seek simple answers to simple questions. Complexity always confuses and terrifies  - by its lack of clear direction. Complexity is not needed. Simplicity is.

Ø  In the whole of human history – we find that courage is the one quality that underlines all true leadership. That’s why, it is said – one man with courage is majority.

Ø  Nothing can frighten this one man – when he is possessed by courage and refuses to be frightened. We are not talking about some nobody – we are talking about You. And me.

Ø  Courage is the first of all virtues, and all other virtues squarely depend on it. You can’t be truthful, without being courageous. You can’t love unconditionally - without courage. You can’t explore life without courage. You can’t oppose injustice without courage. You can’t be a friend without courage. You can’t be a good enemy – without courage. To live or to die well – both require courage. Life depends on courage.

Ø  Courage gets enhanced by Hope. But, it does not necessarily depend on hope. You must be courageous – even when there is no hope. Courage itself – is the only hope many times – and the best of all.

Ø  Courageous man goes farther than all others – in terms of time and effort – to achieve what he desires.

Ø  Are you a creator or critic in life? The courageous man approaches life as a creator – others approach life as critics. The critic can always find a hundred reasons to find fault with the acts of the courageous man. He can find hundred reasons not to do a worthy thing. But, victory always goes out to the courageous man. The creator made this world. Every creator did.  The critics can’t even enjoy what the creator makes for him.

Ø  Difficult times – inevitably bring out the best in the courageous man. He transforms from ordinary to extraordinary during such times.

Ø  Loss of courage is worse than loss of wealth, loss of honour and even loss of life.

Ø  Lord Krishna told Arjuna in the Bhagavd Gita that – lack of courage is the worst quality that a man can have. It is neither a manly nor a womanly quality. One must shun it, at all points of life. The whole of Gita is an exposition of Courage.

Ø  How can the Government help and how can it destroy - people’s courage? Initiative and Independence of the spirit of people, according to Lincoln, build courage in people. A nation which wants its people to be courageous must ensure that its people enjoy sufficient initiative and independence in their lives. A nation can destroy the courage of its people by destroying their initiative and independence – and thereby, destroy itself, when faced with problems.

Ø  Do you know – to love some one, to love many, or to love all, requires great courage. To hate, you only need timidity and cowardice. To see only obstacles, and not the Path to the goal - you only need timidity, cowardice and the mindset of the critic, without that of the Creator.

Ø  To be a Buddha, to be a Gandhi, to be an Anna Hazare, to be a great lover – you need Courage.  To differ from any of the courageous heroes honestly and find newer paths – also requires courage. To see that a Great goal can be achieved in your own way – requires simplicity and courage. But, to see a hundred obstacles and only obstacles in achieving it requires timidity and cowardice.

Ø  Choose therefore - courage. You as an Individual, and as a nation.

This is what I said in my other Blog Post – 101 things to do –No.4- be Courageous. Be a dare Devil. Apply it to Gandhi. Apply it to Anna. Do you not find that – all these qualities fit them well! Gandhi never asked the nation to follow him. But, the Nation did. He went and sat in his Satyagraha. Others came in and sat along with him.

Ditto, with Anna. He, and only he, announced his Fast up to death first. Others followed. Give permission. If not, I will, anyway do it without permission. Do you send me to Jail – to be company for other recent additions there. No problem. I will continue my Fast in Jail.  Do you give me Ramlila Maidan. I will do it there. Do you say- you cannot agree for an effective Lok Pal. I will continue till you agree. The whole Parliament asks me to break fast – but without agreeing to a strong Lok Pal – no problem, I will continue my Fast. I have 3 simple demands.

Lok Ayukth, Citizen’s charter, Lower bureaucracy under lok Pal. Why? Corruption must end – from PM level to the chaprasi level. You say, it is difficult. So be it. Achieve the Difficult. If not, people’s lives are difficult. It is your difficulty versus the People’s difficulty. You can’t give this to me today? Fine. Give me a parliamentary assurance. It went on like this. We all know. Even Anna’s most closest supporters were losing hope slightly by the flip flops of the Politicians. But, Anna was determined to get what people need. The struggle matters – not just the result. It will any way come.

Now look at the issue. Corruption must be rooted out. All agree on that. Is it not a simple perception? Is it not our country’s worthy Goal? It is.

But, what are the objections? The constitution does not permit. The laws do not permit. The structures do not permit. It takes lots of time. It is not as simple as you say. It is against federal structure….Objections and objections…But, tell us, is rooting out corruption the country’s goal or not?

If it is our worthy goal – change the constitution. Change the laws, change the procedures, change the structures, convince the states, but if a state wants corruption, bring it down..but, don’t say – corruption will stay because of this, this, this reason.

Is this not Anna’s Goal? Is this not your goal and my Goal? Is this not the Goal of Parliament? Yes. It is. And, it has to be.

Fix the Goal which is of paramount, utmost importance for the people, for the nation – and change all other things that come in the way. Lay a brand new path, if needed. Remove all obstacles in the path.

One thing that I need to acknowledge in all this is – we must salute our Higher Judiciary. It was never an obstacle. It in fact has been removing all obstacles. There are many Gandhis and many Annas in the Judiciary too. Likewise, there are Great Parliamentarians in all Parties. I only exhort them not to merely see the obstacles and keep them as they are – in the path of removing corruption. Remove the obstacles, Sir. It is a Historic Fight.

Anna wasn’t against any one. No one is against any one in India. We are all for one Goal now – Remove Corruption. Do all that is needed to achieve it.

 * * *  Jai Hind * * *