Tuesday, June 11, 2013

How Advani has it wrong

LK Advani , Senior leader of the BJP , the main opposition party in India, has just quit in a fit of pique.
The object of his consternation is the elevation of former protege , Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi to Chairman of the Election Committee.
By choosing this moment to register his displeasure , Advani is playing the only card he thinks he had. Should the elections go in the favor of the BJP, Modi will no doubt corner the credit, and likely most Members of Parliament will also owe allegiance to Modi(since he is the one handing out the tickets)
But unfortunately the timing just makes Advani look petulant. I don't think anyone can make the case that that an 85 year old Advani is a candidate for Prime Minister or that he has the kind of personal pull anymore with the voters.
All Advani has to do is look back at history to see how he could have got a far more optimal result.
In the late 80's early 90's , as far as vote getting ability went and personal popularity went, LK Advani was probably worth more to the BJP than AB Vajpayee. That Vajpayee became Prime Minister probably had a lot more to do with how the allies felt about Advani vs Vajpayee, than the support each of them had in the BJP. To his credit , Advani was willing to play second fiddle to Vajpayee, so as to not derail the BJP's national ambitions.
Now juxtaposing that with the present times, its fairly obvious that the allies or potential allies will be a lot more at ease with anyone but Modi as PM. And what the allies want will count for a lot unless the BJP can approach the 240-250 mark by itself. You don't have to be a psephologist to conclude the chances of that happening are miniscule to none.

Sunday, January 06, 2013

Treating the symptom and not the disease

On December 16th a 23rd student, boarded a bus with a male friend in Delhi. She was brutally gang raped by 6 men ,beaten and finally thrown off the bus naked; left to die.
This triggered off a massive wave of protests in Delhi as well as kicked up a firestorm in the media as well as social media.
The protestors have mostly been demanding more safety for women from the government.
I have read such  absurd slogans bandied about as "Don't tell your daughter not to wear a short skirt, teach your son not to rape".
In a sense, these protests are necessary. Since nothing in India seems to improve unless there is somebody protesting. But in another sense the protests are misguided. The anger is mostly directed at the government, but what happened is likely more a societal problem than a law enforcement one.
I am not a researcher, but I have read that rape is more about power than anything else. Men who are not used to showing respect to women, are probably more likely to react in the manner, when challenged by a woman. No government can teach and impose respect for women. That is something society does.
Brutal crimes such as these are not always restricted by geography, they have occurred in a host of countries.
 They cannot ever be completely prevented.
How do those countries deal with it?
Firstly there is an acknoledgement, that at the end of the day, a crime is committed by an indivdual, not a system, then there is a system in place, to render timely justice.
The larger question here and in millions of other cases, is how efficient is the Criminal Justice system in delivering justice? I know this is not on the minds of most people at this time.
But anything short of fixing that, would be treating the symptom and not the disease.